A few years ago, I was going down on my lover and he really wasn't into it. I had just come off a lover who exploded at my every touch, and my newfound incompetence was seriously hard on my ego. I started to cry, which is one of the least sexy things one can do while attempting a blow job.
The man I was with started asking questions. As uncomfortable as that made me, I realized a few things. First, I enjoyed blow jobs because I liked being good at them. A lover early on had trained me to deliver them exactly the way he liked, and when I was going down on someone, my brain buzzed with his remembered instructions (Keep your hands moving! Keep your tongue moving! Twist like this!). I was skilled, but I was performing and accomplishing something with a man's cock rather than enjoying the sensations I received inside my mouth. I was goal-oriented—focused on "making him come."
My new lover suggested I try something completely different. He was going to lie back, he said, and I should relax. Put on some nice music and do whatever I felt like doing. He told me not to worry about whether he got hard or whether he came or was close to coming. I put on The xx's self-titled album (which is one slow, sexy duet after another) and listened to the entire thing while I played with his cock with my lips and tongue. For the first time I could recall, I thought about what that felt like to me. I had never before given a blow job without worrying about how long my neck could handle the prolonged up and down motion or whether my jaw would get too sore to continue.*
That afternoon, I learned the pleasures of patience. Patience is about gentleness, about making space for not knowing the outcomes of actions and releasing the pressure to produce particular results. There is something infinitely loving and sensual about introducing that sort of patience to the bedroom, which is all too often poisoned with performance anxiety and insecurity.
There is no more certain way to render me unable to have an orgasm than to order me to have one. "Come for me, baby," has always elicited a sinking sensation in my chest, and I am bemused by the orgasms on demand that so often populate BDSM fiction, as well as by the orgasms that are held back until permission has been granted. If I want to come, I have to be patient in exactly the way I just described.
For so long, an orgasm was something I tried to grab quickly, before my lover came. Then one day, I started to wonder about this. There I was, as an adult, behaving as if my parents were about to walk in on me in the family room. I was treating my lovers like a stopwatch, trying to have an orgasm before the buzzer rang, and giving up dejectedly if I failed.**
I am a woman of many goals, but I think they might represent the antithesis of the pleasures of patience. Goals accomplished provide a sense of fierce, sharp victory, but they also spur me to race and struggle. Patience is often required in order to meet a goal, but it also requires that I accept the possibility of never reaching my destination. It is hard to be where I am, feeling good, feeling bad, or not feeling much of anything at all, and yet that is exactly what "having patience" asks me to do.
Being an erotica writer has made me able to talk about sex as I never could before. Now, words like "cock" and "cunt" roll easily off my tongue, and I am much more likely to come to bed with a glimmer in my eye and say, "There's something I want to try tonight." At the bottom of all my voracious desire, however, there's a foundation of patience making it possible. That afternoon curled at the foot of the bed with The xx and my lover's soft cock has made its mark. I can say there's something I want to try because I can, at least a little, be patient and set aside worries about whether anyone's going to come or how "well" I'm doing at whatever I'm trying to do. I can close my eyes and pay attention to how something actually feels to me. I can treat my own pleasure as important, even if it takes longer to emerge than I might like it to.
* This experience was the root of "Getting Something Out of It," which appeared in Rachel Kramer Bussel's Going Down: Oral Sex Stories.
** This idea became "What's Not to Come," one of my first published erotic stories. It appeared in the dearly departed Oysters and Chocolate, and one of these days I'll reprint it somewhere.
Thursday, January 30, 2014
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
by Daddy X
Hard pressed to come up with much about patience (I’m not particularly impatient) I figured to use the prompt as a kick-off for a story. Here’s a snippet of a tale for a challenge at ERWA’s ‘Storytime’, writing something from the POV of the opposite sex. Killing a couple of birds here.
I posted the entire piece on Storytime just hours ago.
Dan Davis is an antiques dealer who comes into town every three months for an exhibit near the home of our heroine, Eleanor. They were discussing a group of Roman erotic oil lamps at the show.
Light My Fire excerpt:
We went out to dinner after the show. It was the first time we’d met outside an antiques venue.
In the cab back to my place we whispered close the entire way. We brushed cheeks a time or two, but I didn’t let him touch me, which could send me to a place where I knew I couldn’t draw myself back. I wasn’t taking him home on the first date. He’d have to learn patience, I’d decided.
He told the cabbie to wait in front of my building while he walked me to the door.
He walked me to my door!
I’m sure he hoped I’d tell the driver to go on his way. I didn’t. I’d have to learn patience as well. I took out my keys, turned to him on the stoop, head tilted, inviting his kiss.
He met me in a tight embrace, strong arms encircling my waist and back. His kiss went deep and held there, tongues tangling. A hand slid down to my backside.
In return, I sucked on him, drawing his tongue deep into my hungry mouth. I opened my legs a touch and pressed my pubic mound to his thigh where we stood, grinding against him to let him know I was interested.
“Should I tell the cab to go?” he asked, a jerk of a thumb over his shoulder.
I shook my head, watching the bright expectation fog over his eyes. “No, not this time, Dan. Let’s be patient about this.”
“It’ll be three months before I get back, he said. “Will it feel as perfect then? Will you find somebody?”
“I’ll be fine, Dan. Don't worry about me. But what about you? Do you have the patience to wait?”
“Seems the only sex I get these days is from truck stop hookers. Not likely to fall for one of them.”
“Hah!” I said, pinching the tip of his dick through his trousers, “Going for a quick suck-off later?”
“Don’t. It’s okay if you don’t want to, right now. But don’t play with me. I don’t get to have a dating life, not like you.”
He was right. I already had in mind the fuck buddy I would call later, after Dan had gone.
Three months after that, Dan was back in town and we went out on another date, another high-end restaurant. This time I told the cabbie he could leave.
“You’re inviting me up?” His expression a child’s longing at Christmas.
“Yes, it’s not our first date anymore,” I replied, hoping I’d be as patient as he clearly was.
Once in the apartment, I poured him a beer and sat on the sofa, he at my side. We sat close. His beer went flat in the glass as we petted, kissed and drove each other sexy-crazy.
“Bedroom?” I suggested.
He nodded, “Thought you might never say that. Thanks.”
“Don’t thank me,” I said. “Not yet. Wait’ll you see what you’re getting.”
“Right now, you’re about all I want, Eleanor. I haven’t been able to get you off my mind.”
“Even while the hookers are doing you?” It just sprung from my mouth. I sure didn’t want to lose him.
“Had one that night on the road. After you and I kissed for the first time. Thought about you all the while. Several others too, over these months.”
“So someday you’ll tell me if I suck and fuck as well as your prostitutes?”
“You’ll see.” I took him by the hand and led him to my room. Earlier, I’d left the blanket turned down on an angle. Clean violet sheets.
“Tidy place,” he said. “Expecting company?”
“Get out of those clothes, get under the covers,” I said, unbuttoning my blouse.
Dan looked like Christmas morning had really happened by the time I had everything off. I took my good time, sashaying around the bed, shooting little glances at him when any article of clothing slid down my silky skin. Bending over with my butt stuck out, making sure the cheeks spread as I did, enticing him further and further into a sexual state of longing, so hard to suppress.
For both of us.
Under the covers, arms around each other, his leg between mine, we started kissing and exploring each other’s naked body, becoming closer and closer, hotter and hotter, more and more in each other’s thrall. A spinning whirl of passion and growing familiarity took us further and further into our light-headed congress.
“Oh shit,” he said. “Do you have a condom? Mine are in the van, back at the antique hall.”
“We’re not going to do that,” I said. “Not now.”
He sat up, leaning on an elbow. “What’s that?”
“Don’t worry,” I said. “I won’t send you away, not like last time, at least.”
“I just think we should know where this is going before we go all the way”
“Now you’re sounding like a teenager. What’s ‘all the way’ supposed to mean?”
“Sexual intercourse,” I said. Not till I’m married. Not with something I think may be serious. Certainly not tonight.”
“I guess I should leave.”
“Not on your life, buster. You’re not going anywhere,” I whispered in my throatiest voice. “Lay back. I’m not done with you. You’re not getting off that easy.”
“I’m not getting you.”
“Right. Not tonight. Lay on your back. I’m getting you.”
Dan pulled me to his chest. He hugged me tight, pecking lightly at my face and neck, getting himself and me hotter and hotter for each other.
I straddled his body, settling my pubis over his shaft lengthwise, tucked between my sopping labia. I slid on him, up and down, not letting his tip near my opening, trying as hard as possible to make contact with my clit, grinding, sloppy, up and down the length of him. Once, on a particularly angled curl and tuck on my part, he did make the entrance, and it slid into me good. So goddamn easy fucking slick good that I thought I might surrender. It was all I could do to twist from his steely grasp as he struggled to impale me deeper. A slurping sound escaped as he slipped from my pulsing grip.
He gasped- “Whaaa?”
“Let me,” I said.
Again, I crouched over him, holding his arms above his head, slipping and sliding our slickened parts together, tits waving above his face, nipples so hard, so sensitive, neither of us with anything on our minds but what was going on between our legs. It didn’t take long before we came in tandem, me beating him by a stroke or three. It seemed as though my climax had set him off.
As it should be. … And what a sticky mess!
I went to the bathroom for a towel, came back and lay beside him, first mopping his six-pack, then concentrating on my own belly and pubic hair. I said, “So- better now?”
“I told you before—no nooky! I’ll do about anything else with you, Dan, but no penetration until I’m married. Not with somebody I really like.”
“Why just me? What about the others? Other guys get to have you, but I can’t?”
“Oh, you’ll have me alright. You’ll have me in so many other ways, you won’t miss it.”
“Yes, intercourse is different, special different. It's about what I feel for you. I have something going with you that I haven’t experienced before, Dan, not before now, I mean. You’re something I don’t want to screw up. Can you understand that, sweetheart? Can’t we both have the discipline to satisfy each other in other ways, at least until we know we’re both serious?”
“I am serious,” he said. I can’t stop thinking about you, Eleanor. Every date, every hooker I’ve had along the road since the last time here, I imagined as you. None of those others even existed to me.”
I sucked the tip of his dick into my mouth, pressing against the velvety knob with the flat of my tongue. “I exist,” I mumbled around his girth.
Don’t talk with your mouth full, girl.
So maybe see the rest of this on ERWA Storytime. It's free.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
My family will tell you I have none, and at times I’m sure they’re right. I like to have things defined for me, with limits and a timetable. I even (gasp!) read the last chapter of a book first to make sure I’ll be satisfied with the ending. Yup, I’m too impatient to read the whole book first.
We all wait for things in our live. We wait for our children to grow up and turn (hopefully) into adults. We wait for progress at work. We wait for our goals to be reached. Certainly writing can try one’s patience, as the author waits for release, waits for reviews, waits to see if anyone will for heaven’s sake by the damn book.
Writing erotic romance demands a lot of patience, something I’ve had to learn. Why? Because you can’t rush good sex. That’s just a fact. To be satisfying and rewarding there must be exquisite and tempting foreplay, long and slow arousal, and even the final culmination of the act should not be rushed. So when I weave the scenes of really good sex I have to force myself to take it slow and not hurry past something really good.
When I wrote Quarterback Sneak I gave my hero a lot more patience than I ever had. He has been in love with his next door neighbor for three years but all she wants is friendship. He watches her hook up with one loser after another, dismayed by her poor choices in men and the lack of opportunity to let her know how he feels. But Valentine’s Day is coming, she needs a hot sexy guy to get her through it, especially at the big corporate party, and he finally sees his opportunity.
He puts together a game plan, just as he does on the football field, only here he’s the only play caller. I tell you, Max has a lot more patience than I ever did as he puts his plan in motion and…Well, see for yourself.
Here’s a little taste for you, the kickoff of The Big Plan.
Oh, and one more word. Patience pays off. Quarterback Sneak just hit the best seller list at All Romance eBooks.
Kurt lounged in her doorway, jacketless, sleeves rolled up, a big grin on his face. Butterflies danced a jitterbug in her stomach as she remembered the last time they’d been naked together.
“Rumor has it you’re the new queen of chocolates.” He chuckled.
She saved her document and turned to face him. “And they are delicious.”
“I’m sorry I didn’t think of sending them myself.” His gaze raked over her as if his eyes were undressing her. “New outfit? I like it. Very sexy.”
Oh, my God. Men are so predictable. Max called it. How interesting what a flirty outfit and a mysterious admirer could do to a situation. If she’d shown up in her usual slacks and sweater, without the secret admirer, would he even have known she came to work?
“Thanks.” She gestured at the box. “Have some candy, why don’t you?”
“Won’t your ‘secret admirer’ object to you giving them to another guy?” He used his fingers to gesture air quotes.
“Why?” She deliberately plucked a chocolate from where it nestled in the box and popped it into her mouth. “Is there some reason he should be jealous?”
Kurt unkinked himself from the doorjamb and ambled over to her desk. “There might be. Who is this guy, anyway? How come no one has ever met him? And where was he when you and I were doing the horizontal tango?”
“He was there all the time”a deep voice boomed from behind him.
Kurt’s head whipped around.
Max appeared behind Kurt, a fake smile plastered on his face although a touch of anger flashed in his eyes. “Stacy and I had a little misunderstanding. No biggie. It’s all patched up now. Anyway, she won’t be doing the tangowith anyone else anymore. Her dance card is filled.”
Deedee stood in the doorway, eyes wide, face flushed with excitement. “Sorry, Stacy. He said you were expecting him and just breezed on past me.”
“No problem. He’s right. Go on back to your desk.”
Deedeewas a statue in the doorway, eying Max like he was a piece of candy in that box.
“Go on, Deedee,” Stacy repeated.
Kurt narrowed his eyes. “Wait, you’re Max Sullivan, right?”
Max put on his professional smile—the one he used when local news interviewed him after a triumph on the field.
“Yes. And you would be?”
“Kurt Macallister.” He reached out a hand. “I never miss a Warriors game. ESPN is still replaying that video of the Hail Mary pass you threw in the game against the Patriots.”
“Yeah, my fifteen minutes of fame,” he joked.
Stacy watched the two men in her tiny office space and smiled to herself. She could almost hear Kurt’s brain burning as he tried to figure out what she was doing with Max Sullivan. Max, on the other hand, behaved pleasant but aloof and looked as if he wished Kurt would get out of there already.
Winking at Stacy, he walked around the other man, lifted her from her chair, and pulled her in tight to his chest. Then, without further warning, he brought his lipsdown on hers in a kiss that curled her toes and sent moisture flooding her panties. His body was hard against hers. All of him was hard including his rock-hard penis imprinting itself on her flesh through her flirty little skirt.
If he gave a performance, it was a damn good one. So good her wits scattered like leaves in a breeze.
“Well.” Vaguely, Stacy heard someone clearing his throat. “Apparently this isn’t a good time to chat with you.”
She opened her eyes and glanced over Max’s shoulder. Kurt still stood in front of her desk, hands in his pockets, irritation and maybe jealousy lining his face.
Max lifted his mouth from hers. “Yeah, that’s right. Stacy’s leaving for lunch and won’t be back for a while.” He turned his face to Stacy, still holding her close to him. “You ready, sugar?”
Stacy’s mind spun. She barely heard whatever comeback Kurt made, too busy staring at Max through lust-clouded eyes. Lordy, the man was gorgeous. Clad in black slacks and a black V-neck sweater, with a smidgen of sexy chest hair peeking over the ribbing, his outfit practically matched his hair, and the blue in his eyes appeared deeper than ever. He topped it all with an elegant camel colored sport jacket and a smile that came straight from the devil himself.
“Get your purse, Stacy,” he told her. “Time to go.”
“Um,” was all she could manage.
Max took a step back, his sensuous mouth crooked up in a smile. Sensuous mouth? When had she put those two words and Max together?
“Stacy? You ready, sweetheart?” His warm voice wrapped itself around her like an erotic blanket.
“Uh, yes. Let me get my purse.”
Pulling her scrambled brains together, she managed to retrieve her bag from her desk drawer without dropping it.
“She may be late getting back,” he told a dumbfounded Deedee as they sailed into the hallway.
Monday, January 27, 2014
I don’t have the patience to write much about patience. I’m old enough to be accustomed to dealing with its necessity, but I’m not inclined to dwell on it. At least not on the enduring-what-must-be endured variety. I know about waiting for results of medical tests, waiting for healing, waiting for a child to be born, waiting for the return of a loved one, and even waiting to recover from the sharpest moments of grief. Maybe this kind of endurance, when you have no choice, doesn’t really count as patience, although how you handle it does.
As erotica writers, though, we often deal with a different sort of patience, the kind that promises an erotic payoff if your characters can just hang on and wait obediently for what they want so much they can hardly stand the delay even when they know the waiting is, in a way, its own reward. Maybe this is more anticipation than patience, but I’ll go with it.
I don’t actually write about this sort of thing very often, and the snippet I’m about to share may not even really fit the topic, but I’m too impatient to wait for some other take on the subject, so here we go. A bit of context first, though. “The Bullwhip and the Bull Rider” won’t be in print until later this year, in DL King’s anthology She Who Must Be Obeyed, coming from Lethe Press. It’s actually an expansion of an interlude mentioned briefly in passing in a story I wrote long ago, “Bull Rider,” which takes place mostly in a country western bar in Amsterdam, but this part comes earlier, when the bull riding girl has just beat all the guys for the trophy, and then beat up her own brother when the girl she wants rejects her and runs to him. The sultry singer with the rodeo band takes her in hand, so to speak, and teaches her a thing or two about patience, among other valuable lessons.
Her trailer was dented and cramped, but I saw right away that it had a narrow built-in bed. She saw me eyeing it.
“Not yet.” Her voice turned stern. “Wrangling a bull is one thing. Treating a lady right is something else. Especially your first time.”
Well, there wasn’t much I could say to that. In fact, I couldn’t think of anything to say, and, while I surely knew some things I’d like to do, I didn’t know how to go about them with a gorgeous worldly woman like Miss Violet Montez. I’d seen her before at rodeos and such-like gatherings, and fantasized a bit like I did about movie stars and photos in the kind of magazines cowboys tucked under their mattresses in the bunkhouse, but never imagined I’d get this close. “Yes Ma’am,” I said, trying to sound polite with just a hint of cocky, but it didn’t come out right.
“You sit down in that folding chair and don’t stir while I change into something more comfortable.” I perked right up at that, but then she added, “and while you wait, give some thought as to whether you want things sweet, spicy, or downright nasty.”
I knew my preference, even though I wasn’t exactly sure what she meant, but I’d got my brain working enough to know the right answer. “Whatever a lovely lady like you wants is what I want, too.”
“We’ll just see about that.” She scooped up some clothes from the foot of the bed and edged into the tiny bathroom, leaving the door open. I knew better than to get up from my chair, but I did crane my neck to see what I could see. It wasn’t much.
The low-necked satin blouse sailed out through the bathroom door, followed by her voice. “Never came across a girl bull rider before in a regular rodeo. Things must be changing for the better.”
"Not yet,” I admitted. “Not officially. Except at small local shindigs where anything goes."
Her short black satin skirt with rows of gold spangles followed the blouse, and so did her high-heeled sparkly cowgirl boots and a pair of nylon pantyhose. I wriggled in the chair to see if I could hook that last with my foot, with no luck, but I did get a glimpse of a bare shoulder through the door.
“Well, you can sure handle a bucking bull, but you need to work on self-control, ” she said over that shoulder. “And it remains to be seen how much else you can handle.”
“Yes, Ma’am.” It seemed like the safest thing to say. Now I could see that she was shrugging into a blue-checked shirt, which didn’t fit much with my hopeful notions of “something more comfortable.”
I looked idly around the trailer. It was dented and shabby, but with colorful pictures on the walls, mostly old rodeo posters, and some fancy duds hanging on hooks, along with…
I only just caught myself from bolting straight up. On one hook, coiled neat as a rattlesnake, hung one of the longest bullwhips I’d ever seen. I looked wildly around again at the posters, and there it was, in a corner of what looked like the oldest one: “Miss Violet Montez, Queen of the Bullwhip.”
I’d seen her way back then! She’d been performing her tricks at the State Fair when I was just knee-high to a fencepost!
Did she still use the whip? On what? Or maybe who? Some of the racier pictures from those bunkroom magazines came to mind. Not enough room in here to swing a whip like that, though. I didn’t know whether to be relieved, or disappointed. So many thoughts whirled through my mind that I didn’t hear Miss Violet stepping out of the bathroom.
“Like whips, do you?” Her voice, right behind me, made my head swing around so fast my neck cracked.
Right in front of my eyes and nose, close enough that I could tell she didn’t shave her private parts but did wash them with lemon soap--though not in the last few hours--was a pair of denim cutoffs so short and tight even Daisy Duke couldn’t have got away with them. Looking upward, I saw an expanse of bare midriff topped by the blue-checked shirt, unbuttoned and tied tight under full breasts half-uncovered and straining against such confinement as there was.
I wrenched my gaze upward to her face, trying to tell whether I was being challenged to release those breasts, or even unzip the shorts and give those private parts an airing.
She read my mind. “Don’t get big ideas, cowboy. You only get what you earn.”
“Yes, Ma’am!” I’d do most anything for a woman who knew not to call me “cowgirl.”
“All right then. You can stand up.”
Fast as I stood, she backed up quick enough that I didn’t get to brush my own tingling chest against her bountiful one. Then she was sitting on the edge of the bed, one of those high arrangements with drawers underneath to save space. She crossed her long legs, bare all the way up to kingdom come and down to a pair of dusty boots that had seen real work, not like her fancy sparkly ones.
“Now take off your belt.”
My belt? With my brand-new shiny trophy buckle? I unbuckled and slid the worn leather out of the belt-loops so fast my split-second of hesitation couldn’t have showed. I hoped. She just held out her hands, palms up, and I laid my prize possession across them like an offering.
I was all set to reach for the zipper of my jeans, but she ordered briskly, “Now turn around.” I turned.
Faster than I’d got it out, she had the belt back in the loops with the buckle perched between the small of my back and my ass. “Slip your hands down in there right over your butt.”
It was awkward, but I did my best, ending up with the backs of my hands right against my skin and the belt buckled around both hips and wrists. I could have wriggled loose, of course, but by then I was bound and determined to please her enough to earn, well, whatever reward there might be. Besides, the feel of my own hands against my buttcheeks, especially if I wiggled my fingers, was tantalizing in an odd sort of way. Maybe soon it would be her hands there. One way or another.
“Turn around again.”
I turned. She leaned back a bit. Her shirt looked likely to slip right off one or another of her breasts, if not both, and I could see the outlines of her nipples poking out like they wanted to speed up the process. It occurred to me that she was enjoying all this a whole lot, which made me enjoy it even more.
“Not bad,” she said. “I’ll give you a little reward you haven’t really earned yet.” She stuck out one of her boots and nudged me in the crotch with its toe. “You can clean up my boots.”
The boots were even grubbier than I’d noticed at first, with worse things than dust on ‘em. Well, so were mine just now, and the crotch of my jeans wasn’t much better after riding the bulls. It was getting mighty damp, in fact, which could be a help in the cleaning department. I mounted that boot.
My elbows stuck out enough to give me some balance. Carefully, so as not to put much downward force on her foot, I squeezed my thighs around the stiff leather and moved myself back and forth, first by tilting my hips, then taking tiny steps forward and back. My jeans got a whole lot wetter. My rhythm got faster. The pressure between my legs was building so high I could hardly stand it.
Her face didn’t give me any clue as to whether I was pleasing her, but her nipples seemed to be poking out even more, which didn’t sooth my state of frantic arousal one bit.
“Self-control, hotshot, self-control,” she scolded. “Keep your attention on your work.”
Whew, I’m so impatient to share this that it’s hard to stop here, even though I’ve already gone on too long. But I’d better leave plenty for the actual book.
Thursday, January 23, 2014
by Giselle Renarde
I've never been entirely clear which generation I belong to--X or Y? According to Wikipedia, Generation X spans birth years from the 60s to the early 80s and Y is early 80s to 2000. I'm in my mid-thirties. I was born right on the cusp. Maybe that's why I've never seen the qualities typically associated with either of those generations in myself.
This is going somewhere--I promise.
When I worked in the business world (this would have been maybe 2002-2006?), I couldn't get over the number of V.P.-by-thirty types. They were everywhere--in my company, my clients' companies, my clients' clients' companies. The kids were in charge. Twenty-somethings were the bosses. It was... weird.
Me? I never wanted to leap-frog ahead. I've always believed in climbing the ladder, and that should take time and maturity. When I think of myself just out of university... WOW! I was incredibly juvenile. My interpersonal skills were terrible because I hadn't learned how to relate to other people with compassion.
With every year that goes by, I realize how much I didn't know the year before, and how very much I have yet to learn.
That's why I've never been keen to rush my writing career ahead of its natural pace. Don't get me wrong--I would love to sell more books and earn more money, but I don't feel that I "deserve" huge success right away. I don't think anyone deserves that, necessarily, but seems like there are a lot of authors who will do whatever it takes to make it big.
I don't want to be critical of ruthless self-promoters. When it comes right down to it, they're just more driven than I am. Honestly, I wouldn't find myself so irritated with authors whose twitter streams are a steady flow of books ads and "Yay! My book has a hundred million 5-star reviews!" if I weren't so jealous of their ability to do so. I have trouble selling myself.
This is obviously an antiquated notion, but I believe success should take time and effort. Feel free to say it's envy talking--it probably is--but when authors achieve wild successes by morally questionable means, it bothers me. Why? If readers weren't inspired by a bunch of sock puppet 5-star reviews to buy other books, would they be buying mine instead? Probably not. So why do I even care about other authors' ethics and practices?
I guess I just feel like we should all operate on a level playing field.
The thing is--we do. In any industry, some people are going to cheat to get ahead while the rest of us schmucks toil away to scrape enough cash together to pay the rent. For someone who's led a fairly immoral personal life, I have surprisingly high ethical standards when it comes to my writing business.
At the end of the day, I guess I'd rather eat oatmeal three meals a day and go to bed with a clear conscience. I can't control other people's actions. Only my own.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
“Some countries are too fucked up to have birth certificates so it won’t be perfect, but its close.” The young man kicked his feet and scooted his office chair to the next monitor and tapped it with his finger. “The bots are in the server’s root partitions. They’re just waiting. That’s how it works. The bot is this tiny piece of software code that just lurks where the security system can’t see it. The bot goes on lurking until I say ‘go’ and send out the signal to my bot herds. My bots - our bots - “ he glanced at Swami Sri Prabhavananda, sitting on the floor - “will start sniffing the records, filtering for females only and feed us the names.”
A young woman held up her hand to pause. She was brown skinned, with black almond eyes, long braided, shiny, almost indigo hair, a straight nose and high cheekbones, a classically beautiful Indian woman. She turned to the old man and jabbered it all back to him in Hindi. The old man nodded attentively. The woman lowered her hand.
“The way a botnet works is, I’ve cracked into the servers around the world where public files are and birth records are kept. City Halls. Hospitals. Income tax registers. That’s where the names of the baby girls get registered when they’re born.”
The young woman passed the information back to the old man who looked courteously amazed and nodded.
Alex watched his face as he listened and felt an odd admiration. Who could tell how old he really was. He sat at the feet of this adoring, gorgeous woman Alex would give his right nut for to screw silly, even once, and the old man just went on listening to her intently. Had the old goat had her? Did he ever sample the wares of his privileged status as some kind of resident saint or other at the monastery?
He said something. The woman turned back to the young man and said “Baba-ji asks, how long will it take to harvest all these names?”
The young man sitting at a monitor and a battalion of keyboards laughed. “Why’s he in a fucking panic now after three months? Come on, Dalaja, it’s just names not credit card numbers.”
“Please, Alex. This is a most serious question.”
He shrugged. “That’s more like up to you. I’m the hired help. I'm done. You’ve got top of the line bandwidth concentrators, but it’s not great bandwidth to start with, not for this part of India. You want bandwidth? Try cracking into an Indian mother fucking communications satellite and see - “
“G-SAT 8. I’m in.”
Alex was speechless. “Seriously? You?”
She scowled. “Because I’m a woman? You think I can’t? Because I’m a woman you think you’re smarter than me?”
“Whoa!” He held up his hands. “I mean, okay you’re a girl, you never told me shit how you’re doing this.”
“You’ll have your band width,” she snapped.
“Just tell him my end is pretty much ready.”
Baba-Ji looked troubled and said something. She shook her head and muttered back. The old man sighed, put his hands on his knees and stood, straightening his saffron robe. He waved his hand. She spoke back. He spoke to her sternly and waved his hand again.
“He wants to show you something,” she said, “After working hard for three months, he thinks you deserve to understand what you’re doing this for. This is his opinion.”
Dalaja followed Baba-Ji down the hall. Alex walked behind not out of humility but to keep the view of that ass swaying in her jeans. I’m so at the end of this shit, thought Alex. Three months with no women but this feminazi bitch who practically hates me. When I finish the job and make my pickup, I’m going home, I’m hitting the clubs and I’m going to do every bitch I can nail to make up for lost pussy. I’m going to wear my dick out till I can’t piss straight.
Baba-Ji brought them to the farthest corner of the sanctuary and down a humid flight of stone steps. The steps were ageless. They had been repaved many times and were still worn into a dip in the middle where generations of solitary men had gone. The oil lamps had been replaced with halogen lights, but otherwise it would have been the same as when the monastery had been founded three thousand years ago.
They continued down into a vast cavern, cool and dry. There were two monks seated at desks writing in books. In the farthest shadows the bound books became scrolls wound on wooden rods stacked in pigeon holes. It was impossible to tell in the light how far back they went. There were tens of thousands of rolled scrolls and finally books whose bindings had evolved along with the changing technology of their times. On the wall where the monks sat writing was a giant stylistic fresco of an Indian man and woman, obviously in love. Baba-ji stopped in front of the fresco and turned to Alex. The monks stopped writing and waited for him to speak.
“Shiva,” said Baba-ji, pointing at the image of the man. Then, pointing at the woman, “Parvati. Wife.”
“This is the god Shiva,” said Dalaja.
“Shiva the destroyer?”
“Shiva is a god of transformation. Vishnu sets things in motion, Shiva causes them to run their course and to be incarnated as something new. The woman is his lover and wife Parvati.”
“So in your religion gods have wives? Do they fuck?”
“Of course they do. Not like your dried up old God.”
“You have zillions of gods.”
She repeated this to Baba-ji. The old man held up a scholarly finger, spoke at length and then paused for her.
“He says there is only one God. Of course there is. But God has infinite faces and identities. Reality is nothing as it seems. All the universe, all things that exist in the universe are variations of energy. But the great masters knew that all energy has consciousness. All energy is aware. Where there is life, energy has the opportunity of experiencing itself as consciousness. Where there is the most energetic concentration of consciousness, there is a god. The god has many faces, many personalities. God is the mother with the baby sucking life from her teat. God is also the tiger that devours the baby. God is the life giving milk of the mother and the cobra venom that stops her heart. God has many forms. But there is only god.” She paused to wait for Baba-Ji to go on. He pointed to the image of Parvati and prattled on for a few moments more.
“Baba-Ji says Lord Shiva has lost his woman,” said Dalaja, turning back to Alex. “A jealous god caused the great explosion that created the universe so that he might shatter Parvati’s energy into five billions pieces, like a broken pot. Without his woman to make love, there is no natural passion or joy for Lord Shiva and no energy or will to transform. And so Shiva created Man and gave males the great task to restore his woman back to his arms. Otherwise a great dullness and loveless entropy will turn the stars cold and the universe will end in a trillion years.”
The old man made a noise and held out his hands.
“Is that what this is?” Alex nodded towards the shelves.
He spoke at length again.
“Baba-ji says that the purpose of the male’s existence is to restore Parvati to Shiva. That is all that males are necessary for. To shed seed so that women may be born. Women are what are important. When five billion females have been born and named, Parvati’s journey of anguish, of endless birth and death will finish. What you see here is a noble undertaking, the great duty of males, a task that began over 3000 years ago in this place and has continued patiently from father to son, for generations.”
“What you see here is bullshit. They didn’t even know how to imagine a number ‘five billion’ back three thousand years ago.”
“Your western mathematics system is based on numerals including the number zero invented first in India. Where was that developed? In this place. Why? To consummate this purpose. This hall where you stand is the birthplace of mathematics. Imagine such a vast project, whose end you will never see in your life time, which you will pass to your children to be carried out with infinite patience over the millennia until it is accomplished. And now the technology has been invented by the inspiration of Lord Shiva to bring it about speedily, for there is no wholeness for the god without his woman to love.”
“Five billion bitches? Really? Shit fire. It’s good to be Shiva.”
“You don’t understand the nature of existence,” said Dalaja. “How long have human beings existed? Fifty thousand years? A hundred thousand years? A million years since our ancestors climbed down from the trees? Two million years? How long, how patiently Shiva has waited for only this thing, for the day when his lover will be with him again. Has any man ever waited so long and faithfully for his woman?”
“Yeah, but - five billion bitches?”
“There is only one ‘bitch’,” said Dalaja. “Asshole. Baba-Ji doesn’t know the word asshole. Lucky for you.” She said something to Baba-ji. Baba-ji rolled his eyes and spoke at length again.
“Suppose a grove of mango trees,” said Dalaja “ - it is an illusion! You see many trees, but they are all only one tree. There is only one mango tree. There has only ever been one mango tree in all existence, but it is reincarnated endlessly and appears in many places in all moments of time so there is the false illusion that there are many trees. But there is only one eternal mango in its many incarnations. All women, all that are, all that have ever been, are incarnations of Parvati. When there are five billion women who are known, past and present, Shiva will claim his lover. Then there will be no reason for males to go on existing. With no women left in the world to give birth Shiva the merciful will allow males to peacefully die away from nature taking their mischief with them. Shiva and Parvati will make love endlessly and transform the world into a heavenly paradise with the energy of their passion. And what do you care, either way, you will have three million dollars.”
“That’s what I’m talking about,” said Alex.
Baba-ji snapped something off in Hindi and the monks jumped to their feet.
“He asks if you are ready to this thing for him.”
“Shiva gets laid. I get paid. What can go wrong?”
“Waiting on you, Dalaja.”
“Be patient.” She shifted in her chair with her chin in her hands watching the code passing by the Linux command line on the screen. When it paused she put her hands to the keyboard, rattled across a few keys and waited again.
It’s so different from the movies, thought Alex. There’s no drama to this at all. It’s not like people think. Most of the time you just sit and wait for the script to run, or the bots to beep, or the email to come in. It’s not like John Travolta holding a gun to Hugh Jackman’s head and demanding he crack into Fort Knox and then two minutes later he’s in. I’d say, fuck you John, go ahead and blow my brains out cause anything worth cracking takes weeks to crack into. When somebody goes after a big target what you see is a trash can full of empty Mountain Dew bottles and chips bags. You don’t spend that much time actually doing stuff. You spend most your time thinking, visualizing systems, tapping a few keys, running a few scripts and root kits and then waiting around for something you buried to sprout.
“Okay,” said Dalaja softly.
“What was that?”
“Hops,” said Dalaja.
“You think that’s going to be enough?”
“The hops roll over at random every seven seconds. Untraceable.”
“Not bad for a girl.”
Alex scooted over to admire her work. Hiding your work is the hard part, thought Alex. It takes a certain kind of humility not to let people know who the smartest guy in the world really is. Dalaja could enter the GSAT-8 satellite pretty much at will. Getting in wasn’t even the hard part. There were pre-written scripts for that. But to cover your tracks; to do that you had to be smarter than the guys hunting you.
“The connection routes through Mumbai to Qatar,” said Dalaja, “then to Moscow, then to Hong Kong, then to the University of Beijing then to the Satellite, then loops back to a pool of preprogrammed hops. You can’t trace the source. Like chasing a rabbit around the world. You’ll trace down maybe two hops and then the route changes. They’ll think it’s the Chinese anyway.”
“Marry me,” said Alex. Dalaja threw an empty water bottle at his head. “So we’re good to go now?”
“I’m good. Are you good?”
“Good people don’t do this.” Alex scooted back to his own consoles. He typed in four passwords. Waited. Typed in the last password, his mother’s name.
For a vertiginous moment nothing happened. He worried the screen had locked and was about to push the F5 key. Then the bots began singing. “ET just phoned home.”
The names began to pour.
At first a trickle. Then a fire hose. Then a tsunami. Different languages. Different alphabetic systems. Different years of birth going back almost a hundred years. A torrent of baby girl names.
He typed in the baseline number of 950,875. Those were all the hand written girl’s names from the vaults below, auditable by Lord Asshole on demand; recorded and carried from villages and towns going back before Rome and Alexander and Buddha. Girls born into wealth and poverty, freedom and slavery. The cherished and the raped. Women of the ages, nothing left but their names and their daughter’s names. New York City, the daughters of immigrants. Baby Boom Beijing. Names. Names. More names.
The counter rolled up. Two hundred million. Eight hundred million. One billion.
“First billion in.”
Dalaja’s chair squealed as she rolled across to look.
“Two billion and counting.” Alex felt her hands press on his shoulders, her warm breath on his ear as she peered over him to look.
“Two billion,” she whispered.
“Am I good?”
“You’re very good.”
“You too,” he said.
“Eight hundred million, nine, - three billion.”
“What are you going to do when this is over?” he asked. He felt her chin digging into his shoulder as she watched the counter. Her silky hair which smelled of coconut tickled his cheek.
“I’ll be with Lord Shiva,” she said.
The minutes passed, the counter raced through its numbers.
“Four and a half,” said Alex. “Eight hundred million. Nine, nine and a half -
Dalaja jumped to her feet. “Five!” she squealed. “Five billion brides!” Alex held up his palm. She slapped it hard. “I must dash and tell Baba-ji.”
“Wait - ” Alex spun his chair around but her sandals were already slapping down the hallway’s stone floor.
He watched the numbers slow. Soon the torrent was a trickle. He glanced outside the window and saw Dalaja running fast across the grassy courtyard to the monastery’s sanctuary. Well, she’s still here, thought Alex.
Its bullshit, but when nothing happens - do I get paid? Fuck!
He rolled his chair across the floor to another console and logged into his Cayman Islands account. Holding his breath he checked the balance.
Three million. It was there. Plus fifty grand. A fifty thousand dollar tip? Jesus. Nice doing business with you Baba-Ji, you deluded old bastard. Sorry, no refunds.
He stood and went over to the window to see if the old man was coming. Dalaja’s sandals were lying abandoned in the grass.
He stood at the window and waited. He had a feeling. Dalaja hadn’t come out looking for her sandals. The feeling persisted. He leaned on the wall and took out his cell phone.
His mother’s phone buzzed in his ear. Seven times.
“Hello - “
“ - I’m not home at the moment, please leave a message.” BEEP
He ended the call, dialed again.
“Hello, I’m not at home -”
He stopped the call, dialed again.
“Hello, I’m not at home -”
He stopped the call, dialed another woman.
The phone went on ringing.
He stopped the call, dialed another woman.
The phone went on ringing.
He stopped the call, dialed another woman.
The phone went on ringing. He put down the phone.
Outside the monastery; the sound of men calling out names.