BY BLAZE ARCHER On Dauphin Street there is a man with one gold tooth who lives in an old house that was once beautiful. He sits on the porch and yells at the neighbor’s children as they play in the front yard of their house. I’m told he has a shotgun, though I have never seen it, and he will come after me with it if I stiff him. I get paid hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
When I enter the house, I am always greeted with a strong scent of marijuana. The man will go into a backroom I have never been in and come out again with a small bag. In this small bag is heroin. I pay him the money he is owed, which he always counts slowly, then puts into his front pants pocket, the one by his right hand.
When I get home, I put this bag atop the refrigerator with my syringes. I am not tempted to administer the heroin right then, but wait till the weekend. Knowing it is there is enough to satisfy me to the point where I feel an energy coursing through me like the feeling you get at the top of a roller coaster. I usually clean my apartment after putting the bag away, then I exercise on my exercise machine.
Tonight I am having sex with a woman named Sofia. She said she has her own restraints, which I like in a woman. I tell her that won’t be necessary. She has very large breasts, which I imagine will look very good tied up with a belt. She said she is not opposed to breaking skin. Our safe word tonight will be “red rover.”
Right now I am in my office replying to emails from colleagues. Everyone else has gone for the day, so it is quiet and the clack of my keys sound like gunshots. The reminder of the office holiday party has gone out. It is almost Christmas, and I will be working again this year.
I imagine my family will be having Christmas at my grandmother’s as usual. They will have a turkey which my mother will complain is too dry. My father will drink too much and start a political argument with my grandfather about Franklin D. Roosevelt and socialism. My sister will bring her three children, who will terrorize my grandparents’ cat. I imagine they will talk about their faggot relation and assume I am having an orgy where I will contract HIV instead of going to church.
In my office I close my Outlook and shut off my computer. Getting up stiffly, I put on my coat and pick up my briefcase, turning out the light. In the darkness I am without a body. Walking toward the elevator, I notice another light on. It is Dr. Prost’s office. Considering he always left exactly when his shift was over, I wondered what could be keeping him. I did not, however, stop to ask him, but continued to the elevator and pushed the down button.
I would take the Market Frankford Line to the Broad Street Line, which always cleaner because fewer people ride it, and get off at Dauphin Street. I walked toward the subway. It was night, and in the darkness I was, blessedly, without a body again. I walked down the stairs toward the subway turnstiles. There was no one in the subway stop, and this was strange to me. I stood on the east side of the platform. A light was approaching, and for a split second I imagined stepping in front of the train. But it was only for a second, and the thought passed. I was not suicidal. It was cold on the platform. I shivered despite my coat.
Sofia was exactly on time, which pleased Leif. They met in a Starbucks off of Rittenhouse Square. She came in wearing a tight black dress, black pantyhose, and an oversized black coat. Around her thin neck was draped a gauzy black scarf, which made her look like a mourning wife but sexier. She had a mole on her left cheek, and Leif imagined he would get much pleasure out of watching this mole while they had sex.
When she saw him, she smiled slightly, a faint flush of her dimples. She did not show her teeth, which Leif appreciated. “Hey,” she said, sitting down across from him. She did not order anything, which told Leif she was eager to get her clothes off. Leif had ordered a double espresso. It was nine o’clock at night.
“You look better now than in your pictures,” she said. “You work out?”
“Religiously,” Leif said. “Is there anything you need to know to prove I’m not a serial killer?”
“I got mace handy,” she said, shaking her head. “I can take care of myself. I’m a third degree black belt. I could totally crush your windpipe.”
This revelation turned Leif on, and he watched her eagerly. She had a hunger about the mouth, a faint perspiration on her upper lip. Her lips were full, like two pomegranates—they were painted a flushed deep red color. Leif imagined her as Persephone coming up for a spring orgasm, her vagina dilated and ready to be tamed. Leif quite enjoyed the feeling of a wet vagina on his tongue. It drove girls wild, and Leif liked how he could control their octaves and turn them up to ten. In contrast, Leif did not enjoy oral sex performed on him. There was something about the vulnerability of his cock in a mouth that made him itch. Any second, any sudden whim—and they could clamp down their teeth and bite right through like a nutcracker.
In the bright light of the Starbucks, Leif noted that there were no irregular patches on her skin, though this could be because of foundation. Her waist was slight, though she had almost overly large breasts. Leif imagined it would be hard to find a bra in her size, as she was not in any way obese. He was eager to see this bra, and unclamp it from around her chest. Leif was fascinated by women’s lingerie, the softness, the fluid contours over the woman’s curves. There was something so enticing about panties—the treasures they held securely all day, to be discarded like the eggshell of a newly hatched chick. There was one woman who would allow Leif to wear her undergarments, though Leif soon learned that asking for this of most other women made them wary of sleeping with him, and so he merely enjoyed the softness of their womanly wares on his bare skin as he removed them.
“You live around here, right?” she said. “Want to show me your apartment?”
“Sure,” Leif said. He sipped the last of his double espresso, and stood up. Sofia followed suit, her fluid movements like that of a cat. There was something feline in the way she expressed herself, an independence of her movements, of her brown eyes that were almost black. She wore eyeliner round the lids, making her look vaguely like a more overtly feminine David Bowie. Her hair was cut short in a pixie cut, the unruly strands of curly black hair becoming her thin, angular face. Leif noted there was nothing sweet about her, just angles and twisted turns. He liked that. It would mean she wouldn’t mind being bitten.
The night air was crisp and clean as they walked toward Rittenhouse Square. Leif lived right on the park, though he hardly ever enjoyed its lush green trees or even really noticed them for that matter. Walking up the front steps of his apartment building, Leif took out his keys and opened the front door. A doorman greeted them, discreetly not alluding to the fact that this was the fifth person Leif had brought home that week but nodding courteously at both of them. Leif showed Sofia to the elevator, and pressed the up button. Leif was on the fifth floor, overlooking the park from his living room window. The door of the elevator opened, and Leif and Sofia got on.
Immediately, Sofia took off her coat to reveal her bare, brown shoulders. Leif took off his coat too, and when the door of the elevator opened they both walked toward apartment 503. Fishing out his keys, Leif opened the door and turned on the light. The apartment was illuminated in soft yellow, which served to enhance the brown leather sofa and the black and white prints on the walls. Sofia walked in and draped her coat across a chair. “Would you like something to drink?” Leif said. Sofia shook her head.
Leif laid down his coat on the sofa, also taking off his gray suit coat. Sofia walked calmly up to him and loosened his tie. This feminine gesture pleased Leif considerably, and he allowed himself to submit to her caress. She coiled the tie on top of his coat like a snake. Sofia began to unbutton Leif’s shirt to reveal his slick six-pack. Her eyes were thin, revealing the Asian part of her. Leif discarded his shirt on the back of a leather armchair. Half naked, he allowed Sofia to run her hands along his muscular biceps.
“I don’t kiss on the mouth,” she said.
“That’s fine,” Leif said. “I wasn’t planning to.”
Sofia smiled faintly, and began to take off her dress to reveal her lacy silk bra. She stepped out to her pantyhose, revealing her red underwear. This red captivated Leif, and he struggled the temptation to ask her to try it on. Instead, Leif unhooked her bra and draped it on the sofa along with his tie. Her breasts were pert, like two brown pears on a plat. Sofia peeled off her panties to reveal her carefully trimmed pubic hair, which Leif appreciated. He gently took her elbow and showed her to his room. The bed was made, and the restraints were resting on the duvet. “I like them tight,” Sofia said softly. “Really tight.”
“Okay,” Leif said. Sofia got on the bed, and lay spread eagled with her vagina facing Leif. Leif carefully restrained her, adjusting the straps so that they made Sofia gasp.
“It’s fine,” Sofia breathed. “Just like that.”
From a bedside drawer, Leif took out a thick leather belt. It had a thick silver buckle, and was well worn. Sofia let out a low moan, her tongue inching between her full red lips.
Leif stood over her with the belt, drinking in her vulnerability. His dick was starting to harden in his pants. Quickly, Leif discarded his pants and his underwear to reveal his hard cock. It stood proudly at attention, and he could see Sofia’s eyes take in its girth.
“Ready?” Leif said. Sofia nodded, and with a quick thrust of his arm Leif began to strike her with the belt across her large breasts. With each stroke they shuddered, and Sofia gasped, “harder.” Leif cracked the belt across her breasts until a thick welt began to form, but still Sofia kept screaming for more. Leif’s dick was throbbing with blood. The welt burst, and blood began trickle between her two breasts.
“Fuck me,” Sofia grunted. Leif set down the belt and straddled her hips. He grabbed a condom from his dresser draw and hastily sheathed his hard dick. Sofia moaned loudly, and Leif thrust his dick into her vagina and began to thrust wildly. Her vagina was so wet that his rubber-coated dick went in like the proverbial hand into a glove, and each thrust was slippery, almost too slippery. Sofia groaned and screeched while Leif grunted with each thrust of his pelvis. When Sofia orgasmed, her whole face became as white as salt, and her scream tore the air into many shreds. Leif continued to thrust till he climaxed, a deep guttural exhalation of breath as he unloaded his semen into the condom’s reservoir tip. Pulling out, he splayed on top of Sofia, and they both panted and sweated into one big web of limbs.
“Get me out,” she said. Leif got up and undid the restraints. Sofia’s wrists were red, and Leif knew the bruises would last also for days. She sat up on the bed and stared at Leif silently, a faint smile on her lips. “Do you want to do this again?” she said. Leif shook his head.
“I start work at seven,” he said. Sofia pouted, but got up and walked toward the door of the bedroom.
She stood in the doorway and looked at Leif as he ran his fingers through his slick-backed hair. The product was beginning to wear off, and the strands had become shaggy. Sofia preferred this to their previous slickness, and wished she could tease his hair further into disarray and chaos.
“You have my number,” she said. “Call me.” Leaving the doorway, Sofia went into the living room and began putting on her clothes. First she put on the panties, then the bra, and moved on to the pantyhose. She wriggled into them with a becoming twitch of her behind, and Leif watched from the doorway as she then thrust herself into her dress. Putting on her coat, she hid the marks of the restraints beneath her sleeves, and walked toward the front door.
Walking across the living room, Leif opened the door for her. Stepping out, Sofia gave him a last lingering look before closing the door behind her. The click startled Leif so that he jumped slightly, then he walked back into his bedroom and made for the shower.
Turning on the tap, Leif waited till the water was warm before walking into the streaming jet of water. He stood beneath the shower head, letting the hot water caress his blood-warmed body. His eyes stared straight ahead of him at the tiled wall of the shower. Leif did not move his hands but kept them silently at his side. For 20 minutes he stood quietly beneath the water, letting it soak him till his skin wrinkled. Leif then turned off the tap and walked out, scrubbing himself with a periwinkle towel before donning a white cotton robe.
Leaving the bathroom, Leif walked into the bedroom. The restraints were still on the bed, along with a small trickle of blood on the sheets. Leif put the restraints away and threw the sheets into a garbage bag which he left in the living room to be taken out in the morning. Leif then took out a fresh sheet from the linen closet and remade his bed. He made sure to create hospital corners and tuck the sheet in securely. Leif had always surprised women with how good he was at this.
Leif walked back into the living room. His mouth was in a frown, though he did not notice this cognitively. Sitting on the couch, Leif leafed through a newspaper on the coffee table, attempting to read a headline about a shooting in San Bernardino. The letters swam before his eyes and soon Leif was reading an article about veteran suicide rates without realizing he had switched articles. Setting aside the paper, Leif stared into the distance of his living room and suddenly felt cold despite the heat of the room.
An image of Sofia bleeding resurfaced in his mind and stuck there. Leif shivered, and his palms began to itch. Getting up from the sofa, Leif walked into the kitchen toward the refrigerator. His hands slid to the top and he fingered the box of syringes. But something lingered, and he did not pick them up.
“No,” he muttered. “I’ve got work tomorrow.” Leif turned back to the living room and began walking toward the sofa.
A weakness in his knees stopped him. Stumbling, Leif leaned against the wall and breathed heavily. The living room swam before his eyes, and he became dizzy. The floor tiled, and Leif collapsed on the floor.
PREVIOUSLY: PART 1