by Jean Roberta
The following is a snippet from "Alpha Male," a story of mine which has never been exposed to a reader’s eyes before. Actually, it was recently rejected for a BDSM anthology, which didn’t surprise me. I think the editor was looking for a different focus, but what the call-for-submissions inspired in me was the following scene: two university grad students who were childhood friends, now both metaphorically rubbing each other raw because they seem to have clashing needs. He is into science, she is into the arts. He is annoyed, and she wants to find out what his annoyance could lead to.
So does he punish her? Does she punish herself? Has he been punishing himself? Was I punishing myself by trying to write from the viewpoint of a young heterosexual male? Nah. Experimental writing is a joy-ride, not house arrest.
If there is any punishment in this story, it serves the purpose of easing guilt and resentment, and allowing two characters to connect.
“Looking for this?” Kelly held my little baggie of prime weed as though it were a leftover sandwich that she was about to throw in the garbage.
She was wearing a retro black satin corset with garters that stretched sheer black stockings over her slim, winter-pale legs. She stood on tiptoes and tossed her streaked honey-blonde hair as she leaned against the frame of the door to my room as though she thought I would whip out my cell phone and take her photo.
I was in no mood to play with her. “Give me that,” I told her.
“Finders keepers,” she laughed.
I pushed my glasses back up to the bridge of my nose, the better to glare at her. “How old are you, girl?” The question was rhetorical.
I had known Kelly since we first met in Madame Cuvier’s Grade Ten French class in high school. Now we were two graduate students in a Canadian university, sharing an apartment like two frugal, responsible adults.
What hurt more than Kelly’s habit of leaving wet hair-towels on my comfortable armchair was the way some of her friends didn’t even ask if I was her boyfriend. They seemed to think I was too nerdy for that role.
“Bring it on, bitches,” I told them in my fantasies. “You greedy pussies go to the bar to get your needs met, but all you ever meet there are drunks who can’t get it up. There’s a synapse between what you want and what you know how to find. If you ever get a biologist like me to fuck you, you’ll never go back to the ignorati.”
Sometimes in my fantasies, I wore tights and a cape when I said this. In real life, I usually offered to hang up their coats and make a fresh pot of coffee.
Now I stood up. “Kelly,” I said, giving her my full attention. “If you want me to share it with you, you have to ask politely.”
She came up to me, wrapped an arm around my back and held the baggie as far away from me as her girlish arm could reach. “You’d just put me off. You’re no fun, Robbie.”
So the bitch is in heat, I thought, not that I would say that out loud. Several months before, we had had a crazy fuck after getting high together. I regarded this as an experiment that worked while it lasted, but it wasn’t worth repeating. I liked to think we had an understanding.
Actually, I wasn’t willing to play with Kelly as long as she was hooking up with other artsy types: actors like her, who brought the term “drama queen” to life, spoken-word poets, singer-songwriters, characters from other dimensions.
I often wondered if I could bring Kelly’s friends back down to earth by showing them a sexually-transmitted virus under a microscope. I choose to live in the real world.
I grabbed the baggie from Kelly’s hand and threw it onto the top of the corner bookcase. However, she stayed distractingly close, and her hair tickled my neck as her smell floated up from under her corset, which was undoubtedly making her sweaty and moist. She had deliberately wrecked my concentration. I knew I couldn’t work on my thesis until my smaller head had settled down.
“You’re a brat,” I said, lifting her off her nylon-covered feet. She should have known I was strong. My best experiment was my plan to pack thirty pounds of muscle onto my bony frame for self-protection. My sessions in the gym were paying off, not to mention the supplements I was getting from a guy named Mike.
“Brats are children,” she told me recklessly in her vulnerable position. “You never take me seriously.” Her large, blue-grey eyes looked as restless and troubled as an ocean. Kelly’s feelings always seemed close to the surface.
Against my better judgment, I sat down and held her on my lap, where she did nothing to discourage my rising boner. “Kelly.” I sighed. “You are such a pain in the ass that if we hadn’t known each other so long, I would ask you to move out. Is that serious enough for you?”
I honestly didn’t expect tears to fill her eyes and pour down her face. “You never tell me what you want!” she sniffed, wiping her face with both hands. “You could give me a list of rules, and I would follow them. Robert.”
Hmm. I reached for a kleenex, handed it to her, then casually groped her perky little breasts through the corset. “Could I spank you if you don’t?”
She looked hopeful, and the light in her eyes was like a glimpse of sunlight breaking through storm clouds. “Yes, really. Or tie me up. Or whatever you want.”
Robert can't resist the temptation. Who could? So who is being controlled when he spanks her? And who is more shaken up when she doesn't use her safeword as soon as he expects her to? Is the whole scene a lesson for him (Don't underestimate a woman or an artist) or for her (Be careful what you unleash in a man who seems quiet and practical)?
Or for both?
It's a philosophical pretzel. As Sacchi asked, how can it be punishment if someone wants it? Yet if punishment is really unwanted, can it be fair or effective in changing the attitude of the punished?
I give up. I just write what my characters tell me so they will let me sleep at night. :)