Food for thought, food for thought. (Said in contemplative, Jack Handy-like tones.)
I should mention that my rabid, sudden sociability has a lot to do with how little I'm writing, which--when it's working--is an incredibly unsocial mode for me. I'm sure I'll sink back into the wordwork sooner or later, a mute termite gnawing tirelessly at the prose of tomorrow!
I *could* have left that analogy incomplete. But that would be wrong.
As I was getting my garlic toast and garbage potatoes (weekly cheese quota met! yay!), a memory surfaced of the first time I watched Raiders of the Lost Ark and saw that scene with the spiders--you know, how they go to the cave and the guide turns around and all of a sudden we see his back crawling with hairy, busy, ANGRY ANGRY ANGRY spiders. My thought at that time was: I will never, ever be an archaeologist.
Movies have stranger and stronger effects on us than we realize. Jaws gave me a lifelong fear of being immersed in deep water. Death Trap made me realize for the first time, I think, that homoerotic content could be explicit and "approved" by Hollywood. Aliens made me realize I could empathize with a female, ass-kicking action hero--until then, I'd been totally a boyfan. I'd never even *seen* female action heroes, not in a serious way. And she was still so very much a woman--maternal, for one thing, yeah, but also recongizable as a mirror of me. You know, like, when she's going down in the elevator and getting ready to blow her way through the nest, she gears up, and then she pushes her hair back. Not in a femmey way, but not in a guy way, either. I can't even really describe it--it was just so perfect.
I should be able to think of other influential movies, but my terrible memory strikes again and I can't.
How convincing is it, I wonder, when one bleats and blushes about the shame of one's own kinks and then reveals them anyway? kormantic asked me to post some of the stuff still on my hard drive, and since I was home, I briefly switched computers to see if there was anything interesting left. Sadly, there wasn't! But I did find a story snippet I hadn't mentioned, an old Sentinel kink-piece, scribbled in a wanky, unedited way, not all that good. The file name was "anon_kink," which brought it all rushing back, reminding me that I had been considering--for the first time ever--posting anonymously under a pseud. It's a pretty embarrassing piece of writing, in its way, kind of a pony-kink thing, and if you've read Anne Rice's pseudy "A. N. Roquelaure" stories, you'll know what I mean. I can't make this shit up, you know. It finds its way to me.
And all that said, I feel kind of queasy about the idea of posting it. It's not all *that* bad, yeah, but somehow there's a difference between talking about one's fantasies--Spike in a whorehouse! blinded by elves! raped by wolves!--and actually *fictionalizing* that kind of stuff. And shouldn't I listen to my nausea and keep it to myself?
Oh, hell no. You're all freaks, and you love this kind of shit.
(Except for those of you who don't, and who should go read something else, like say Beauty and the Beast, and not say things that will make me cry like a little bitch.)
Note--"haram" is deliberately spelled that way. Because I was being arty, or something.
Jim Ellison shifted in the overstuffed chair and sighed. Stephen was leaning by the door, chatting up the hostess. He'd managed to stand in such a way, head cocked, that his blond hair fell forward in an artfully disarraged lock. Jim wasn't all that sure about his brother some days. Cunning, rapacious, and charming, Stephen Ellison was his father's offspring; they were two peas in a pod. It could be hard to tell how much depth there was to him, below the easy surface. Stephen had always been opaque, even as a child.
Truth be told, Jim sometimes felt out of place in his own family. Others may not have seen him that way. Carolyn had always been good at pointing out his affinities with his clan. You like to think you don't have that Ellison arrogance, she'd once said, but you do, mister. In spades.
Stephen took another glass of wine from the hostess, patted her on the rump as she turned, and came back to sit near Jim. "Bet she's got a tight little purse," he said, sprawling in his chair.
"Mmm," said Jim noncommitally.
"They take their time here," Stephen said, frowning. He glanced around the large room, his petulant boredom more obvious now that there was no audience. "When that cunt comes back, I'll have her get the manager."
"I'm sure they just want to do things right," Jim said inexpressively. He glanced at his watch. "It's been less than ten minutes."
"You had a fucking appointment, Jim. Don't let the catering class jerk you around." Stephen put his legs up on a shallow table, crossed them at the ankles, and smoothed the pale linen. "Public service is taking your edge off." Even to Stephen that must have sounded somewhat absurd, because he went on, "I'm not talking about your ability to drop a man with two fingers or shoot a gun out of his grip at fifty yards. That's admirable, brother. But you can't lose sight of your entitlement."
"I'll remember that," Jim said, just as the salesman came in.
"It's about time," Stephen said to the man in a languid but irritable drawl. "Our time is money. If you'd kept me waiting in my own office, you'd've cost yourself a hundred dollars."
"My pardon, sir," the man said, bowing with politeness. He gestured discreetly with one small hand, and the hostess came through the archway with a teak box. She brought it to them and knelt, opening it as she did to show off the contents: fat, fragrant, and finely rolled Montecristos. Stephen took a handful and passed a few to Jim, who held them for a moment at a slight loss, before tucking them in his inner jacket pocket.
"So what have you got for my brother today," Stephen asked while cutting and lighting his cigar, benefit of the well-accessorized hostess. "Bring 'em on, bring 'em on. Get those pretty little beasts out here."
Jim masked his distaste for the smell of the cigar Stephen was now puffing, and for his crassness. It was difficult to feel embarrassed by his brother. He didn't like it, didn't want to accept what he felt. He disliked himself nearly as much in such moments. A brother was a brother. You weren't supposed to feel anything but pride and affection for your blood. But he found it harder these days to travel back and forth between two worlds--the down-to-earth world of law enforcement, whose members were solid, hardworking and without affectation, and the world of his birth, a class-conscious haven of self-indulgence and manipulativeness. And yet here he was, in a haram, about to spend a small fortune on his own indulgence. He wasn't really in a position to talk, or even chuck a stone or two.
The salesman bowed again, with practiced nicety. He was responsive to Stephen, but his next words were to Jim. "We have a pre-selected kindle of betas, chosen based on the information you provided prior to your appointment, sir. We've found six we think you might like, but if these are not worthy we can refine the search. We're affiliated with many other hara--"
"Tick tock," said Stephen.
"That's fine," said Jim smoothly, letting his reply edge Stephen's aside. "We'll see them now."
Nodding, the salesman gestured for the betas to be brought in. A tall, thickly-muscled handler led the group, herding them with small clicks of his tongue and hand signs. They filed in obediently to stand in a row, displaying themselves for Jim's perusal. They had been well chosen, and he swallowed, throat suddenly dry, need triggering a sharp spike of excitement. The salesman came to his side and handed him a thick binder of doss and data sheets, which Jim took but barely noticed. He let his eyes wander down the row of males. As a group, their basic attributes didn't vary much: they were compact, slightly built animals, with pretty faces and nicely groomed hair. Individually, they varied more, and he leaned forward in his seat alertly as the salesman began describing them.
First on his right was Devon, a slim blond with short hair, peach-fuzz skin, and a valentine's face. "Devon is a first-year beta," said the salesman. "It's seventeen, plays the harp, and is schooled in basic household management, light gardening, and sexual comfort." He continued to speak, but Jim dropped his gaze to the binder he was holding and scanned ahead on the data sheet. There were pages and pages of information, and each male was rated according to an elaborate system that indexed personality, performance, and physical status. At a glance Jim could glean that Devon was healthy, fairly bright, and rather boring. "Highly docile," the salesman said, which translated in Jim's reading to a docil/+ rating of 8.5.
He glanced up at Devon, who was standing relaxed, gaze cast down to the carpet. It had long lashes, nice hair, nice round little nipples, and when the salesman had it turn, Jim could see that it had a nice round little ass as well. He wondered if that, and good household management, might be enough. He tried to imagine Devon in his bed. It wasn't too hard.
The next beta was Nico, an eighteen-year-old, first-year beta, dark and sensual looking, smooth as Devon. Its hair fell like raven's wings to its shoulders and it wore a gleaming collar around its neck of gold metal, studded with bright jewels.
"Excuse me--what's your name," Jim asked, interrupting the salesman's spiel.
The man bowed. "Wilson, sir."
"Is it true that betas choose their own collars?"
"That is true."
"Flashy, eh?" said Stephen, chuckling. "Expensive tastes, that one."
Maybe, thought Jim. He liked the male's body, but then, it was much like the first: smooth enough to suggest depilation, supple, pretty. Betas were like that--haram betas, that is. He could rent prettiness by the hour, if he wanted nothing more sophisticated. He tried to read Nico's face, and wondered if he saw a slyness there.
"You may ask questions of them, sir," Wilson reminded him diffidently.
Somewhat at a loss, Jim asked Nico, "Tell me something about yourself." It occurred to him only now that he may not have prepared well enough for this. He'd thought he could walk in and discern essential differences with some notes and an inspection, maybe a quick run--the way he might have bought a horse; except that he had a lifetime's worth of acquired horse knowledge. He was far less sure he understood betas. He'd never owned one before; all his experience was at a slight remove.
"I'm from Carolina, sir," Nico said. "I came to the Cascades for grooming because I heard the men are very virile here, very traditional."
"You like that, do you," Stephen said with a dry, faint leer.
Jim didn't like the beta's silky voice, but the way it licked its lips and flashed a sharp, keen look through its lashes at Stephen cemented Jim's disinclination. A sudden pang of impatience made him look down the line again with a critical eye as Wilson resumed his patter with the next beta. They were like curried ponies in their collars and display harnesses, but far more motionless than real ponies would be. . .except for the one on the far end. Jim found the tab, flipped ahead in his binder to the doss page. Blair.
The salesman was talking about the next plush blond in the line, but Jim studied Blair, gaze flicking from data to beta, drawing comparisons. The doss page showed a photo of the creature that must have been airbrushed, because it was far more. . .textured. . .in the flesh. It had a mane of dark hair, a fuzz of curls on its chest--even a shadowed jaw. Not depilated, by any means. It was a third-year beta, twenty-three years of age. Old, by their standards, surely. And a third-year beta--if it hadn't been snatched up in its first or second years of schooling, that might mean it had some problems. It was different in appearance once you looked close, not up to the usual standards. That might be problem enough for most men.
The next time he glanced up, he discovered the animal looking back at him, eyes gleaming, ripe lips curved in a tiny smile. It was flirting as openly as it could manage, and shifting its weight in place as if with repressed energy. Its eagerness was contagious and Jim almost smiled, before the brief impulse cooled. He hadn't come here looking for a high-maintenance companion. One thing he'd considered himself sure of was that he wanted one already disciplined, who would be quiet and obedient. He flipped to view Blair's docility rating--a 6.0--then back to the personality assessment. "Frisky, ready to please, and talkative when given rein," he read, "but submissive to a strong hand."
Well, that didn't sound too bad.
"That one," he said to Wilson, breaking in again, nodding toward Blair. "What about it?" Though Wilson's face gave away very little, Jim had the impression he was startled but not displeased by his customer's interest.
"Blair is a very thoroughly trained beta," the salesman said. "It's a third-year, schooled in advanced household management and gardening, sexual comfort, and massage therapy. It plays guitar, speaks Spanish and Japanese, and regularly practices meditation. I think you'd find that Blair would create and contribute to a very well-regulated household. It was accepted for grooming at a young age and was chosen for service in its first year. It's had only one previous owner, an older gentleman who has since passed on from natural causes. Blair was returned to us by the estate in exchange for the usual consideration, and has been here another two years since then."
Wilson gave a quick, almost unnoticeable click of tongue, and Blair turned. Jim's gaze slid down the slope of its spine and bare backside. "It isn't marked."
"Yes, a fortunate detail. I believe Mr. Tomoyuki simply neglected to make such a registration. Blair was licensed solely by DNA stripe and dental records."
"It's plain," said Stephen. "It must have other defects."
"Its health is excellent," said Wilson.
"Why pick a plain one?" Stephen wondered aloud. "Who cares if it can balance the checkbook? That's not what you'll want it for. Besides, it looks temperamental. I suppose you could snip and lob the beast if it came to that."
"It's not a criminal," Jim said, dismissing the idea without consideration. "All any beta needs is a short leash."
"True," Stephen said complacently.
"Besides," Jim went on, "I think it's kind of cute." He smiled wryly at his own susceptibility, and Stephen laughed.
"Cute, eh. Okay, fine. Hey, I didn't know that was your type. Of course, how would I know. Every cathouse we hit, you just picked whatever sat on your lap first. You were always so polite."
Jim shook his head at the memories his brother's remarks evoked. "I could've said some rude things, I just never got up the nerve. I was green."
That too, thought Jim. "I'd like to try it out," he said to Wilson.
"Of course." As the handler led the others out, Wilson said, "Blair will lead you to a pillow closet, if you'll follow, sir." Jim did, while Stephen was offered the use of his own private room and choice of diversion.
The beta male, padding with silent, barefooted grace, led Jim down down a carpeted hallway to a dimly lit and mirrored room with no windows, heaped with colorful pillows and caches of useful accessories. The room was relatively small and round, with a domed roof and white plastered walls. There was a full and even elaborate wetroom visible through one arched doorway; the sunken bath took up most of floor, which was otherwise tiled in a mosaic of dark blue.
Once inside, it stood waiting for his attentions, head slightly bowed, hands clasped behind its back. Jim sat on a delicate wooden chair that he barely trusted to hold his weight, and began to remove his shoes. The beta dropped to its knees on the floor, silently but with significance. Jim put his foot back down.
"Service," Jim said, inwardly pleased by this first show of training. It came forward, still on its knees, and undid Jim's shoelaces, giving Jim a chance to observe the hands. Nice hands, if a bit square and strong-looking. The crown of its head was a tumble of curls radiating from a dark diffuse star. Not dyed. A good sign.
He sat back and let the creature massage his feet for a few, ritual minutes, with a lotion carrying the scent of oranges. "Post," he said when he'd had enough. The young male's hands slipped away gracefully and it resumed its place, standing three or four feet off. Jim stood and shucked his shirt, then went to take a closer inspection of his prospective purchase.
He liked what he saw. He didn't know what Stephen's complaint was, but after all, his brother prided himself on having exacting tastes and his opinion could usually be taken with a grain of salt. The animal was attractive, with the compact build of its kind, and short--no pocket beta, but short enough. Jim stood behind it and picked up a handful of its hair, pushing up through the massed weight with his fingers, feeling how soft the strands were. He stroked the bowed nape of the animal's neck and thought he heard a tiny sigh of pleasure, then walked around and tilted its chin up, examining its eyes and teeth for the sake of throughness. Its eyes were blue and bright and took the opportunity to fix interestedly on him. Jim turned the creature's head to one side, forcing it to look away, and examined its collar. It was leather; macrame with small beads. He approved the modesty.
He took hold of the leash dangling from the collar and tugged the animal gently toward a padded barre, bending the creature over it, then fixing the leash to the ring on the nearby wall. The male lay belly-flat across the length of the barre with one cheek pressed to the leather, hands still laced at the small of its back. Jim pulled up a chair to sit behind it. He parted the cheeks of its ass; it was clean and shaved and oiled there. The oil smelled of almonds, but Jim could scent the subtle musk beneath. He slid one finger up inside, then two, feeling for any sign of damage. The animal's muscled hole clung tightly to Jim's fingers, spasming the further upward he pressed. He heard a stifled moan of enjoyment, and removed his fingers. He examined the genitals next, rolling the soft scrotum in his hands and handling the cock with neutral touches; both were secured by leather straps that restricted their movement, part of the lower harness circumscribing the creature's ass and hips. Jim could feel a slight fullness of arousal, but there was no way that any beta male could become erect in this kind of bondage. Few men wanted an unbound mount during sex; even thinking of it made Jim grimace with self-conscious disgust and end his examination.
He stood up and pushed the chair away while undoing his belt and trousers. He took his cock in hand and stroked himself fully erect in a few moments, then pushed himself inside. When he was balls deep, he settled himself and stroked the lightly-haired flanks, gauging the fit. The creature's thighs trembled warmly at the intrusion. Jim slapped a rounded asscheek and the beta moved on command, internal muscles clutching at Jim's cock, rump rolling against the cradle of Jim's hips.
"Oh yeah," Jim murmured, satisfied. The snug tunnel of muscle working his cock was hot and skillful and he could tell that the beta had been ridden regularly and well at some point, and not poorly used. Often in cathouses you got betas who'd grown dull with rough and repeated use, and Jim had grown accustomed to that, but he recognized a well-loved pet when he saw one. And experience had benefits, too. This one knew what to do far better than the seventeen-year-old Devon would have.
He rode to a sharp orgasm--too long getting laid, Jim, he thought in the moment's flare--and then rested for a few moments, chest heaving, against the silken weight of its body.