[play .mp3]
back to christmas

by Miracle Jones


The apartment of young Jack and Quinn is sparse but for a few sticks of anorexic furniture—catalog stuff which is simultaneously overdesigned and uninviting, ectopic roods as thin and cheap as complimentary pens from a bank. The palette is salmon and seawater. Hardwood here instead of carpet.

There are toys everywhere—children’s toys, I mean—round, colorful plastic ersatz fruit, facsimile pots, counterfeit meats, and simulated cheeses. There are low gates at either end of the living room, which I presume are intended to kettle a small child. In this matroyshka of penitention, the fenced-in living room also contains an empty playpen. This Playskool panopticon even has an exercise yard: from my seat on the punishingly-hard couch I can see that there is a bungee cord that swings up to the lintel of the kitchen door and which is attached to tiny mechanical legs. The rotors and servos for this kiddie-mech—surely an infernal machine meant to exhaust springy toddler quads!—are currently powered down.

The room is lit by candlelight, which feels like a rare thrill for this infant-forward space. Single candles also light the bathroom, the kitchen, and the back bedroom.

Quinn sits between me and Jack on the couch. She is touching him and not touching me. Quinn is wearing giant hoop earrings and little else. She seems self-conscious in her crisp bra and black panties. She keeps scratching her upper arm, like a junky coming down. Perhaps the cold winter evening is causing her to have an outbreak of dry skin? Jack’s nerves are also as frayed as split-ends: he could churn butter with his joggling knees. 

Jack and Quinn are both quite attractive, especially for young parents who almost certainly aren’t getting enough sleep. Like many college-crucible couples, they look alike: they both have upturned button noses and a jangly enthusiasm that would be engaging if it weren’t poisoned by too much time spent as cellmates. The grim, isolating cult of parenthood has made them punch-drunk and viperous. On some unspoken level, they hate each other very deeply.  I'm already making predictions for their humping: first they will show off, and then will travel down a well-worn groove. 

“It’s rare around here that no one is shitting themselves and asking me to deal with it,” says Quinn. She looks at me expectantly, but I don’t respond. She keeps trying to look at my notes, which is why I'm not taking very many.

 “We can be as loud as we want tonight,” says Jack. 

I drink the dregs of my cup of coffee, and then move to a hard-backed chair across the room. Jack seems to relax when I am no longer seated next to his trouble and strife. 

“Should I start?” asks Jack, looking at me.  Quinn bites his earlobe in an overdetermined gesture of performative lust that curdles my guts. I would rather watch them bicker about unwashed dishes than reenact dick-less cable softcore.

“We’re supposed to act like we're alone,” says Quinn. Yes, please do act like you are alone.

Quinn gets down off the couch, flicking her hair at me. I quail at this essential dishonesty, but remain externally placid so as not to throw too many rocks into their evaporating sex pond. She leans down without bending her knees, flexing her legs and ass. She turns around and pushes her spread cheeks into her husband’s face, swirling her anus around his mouth and nose like she is smearing his dopy face with a piece of wedding cake. He rubs her thighs and pushes her down so that she straddles his crotch. She sits on him for a moment, and then she swings over to kiss him. He bends back awkwardly against the couch cushions.  

In her black lingerie, Quinn is a perfect avatar of catalog model sexuality. She is shabby voluptuous. Her panties are see-through enough that I can tell she has recently shaved and applied some concealer. Jack keeps looking at me and giving me an embarrassed grin. Look what he has stolen from the universe! Look what he has won with his stupendous male exertions! And yet, his essential hate of his wife remains.

Quinn squats between Jack’s legs.  She unzips his pants and breathes on his crotch through his underwear, like his genitals are spectacles that she's about to wipe clean with a dampened cloth.  

She pushes her breasts together and rubs them against Jack’s knees and then swings her hair into his face. Her swinging hair comes perilously close to one of the candles. Suddenly, the distance between her hair and the open flame is all I can think about.  I try to blow the candle out from where I am sitting without interrupting them, but my clandestine exhalations only make the flame shudder. I try to create a draft with my notepad, but this is even less effective.

Quinn lifts Jack up to help him get his pants down around his ankles. I bend forward, intrigued. She does this with the same economy of movement that she must harness when she changes a diaper. For a moment there is the palpable feeling of true tenderness between them. He is trapped there on the couch with his pants shackling him. Exposed, we see that he is still completely soft. His testicles are hairless, waxed, and lovingly powdered. His penis dangles, flaccid and non-threatening, like a twisted aglet from a pair of comfortable old sweatpants.

I cross my legs. His softness is a challenge. An invitation to drama. I make a few quick sketches. I'm practiced enough by now that my eyes do not leave his inert vascular nugget.

“I’m sorry,” he says. On my pad, I write the word “contrition” and underline it hard. 

“It's been a long week,” says Quinn. 

 Quinn looks back at me. I put my pen down and steeple my fingers.  I try not to even breathe loudly. This is a hostile softness; a softness that provokes.

“You like this?” she asks him.  She tries to stimulate him in basic genre fashion. She gets aggressive, squeezing his balls and sticking one nail-polish-free finger shallowly into his rectum, but this does nothing. She stands up and leads him into the bedroom.  I follow at a respectful distance.

“I'm going to fuck your whole stupid face,” she says. “Lay down, bitch. Stiff upper lip!” 

With deliberate, theatrical assertiveness, Quinn pushes her husband down onto his back. He yelps, popping back up immediately. He removes several giant-sized pink toddler Lego from beneath him, tossing them across the room with real irritation.

The abundance of toys makes me hope briefly that one of these primary-colored measles will end up inside somebody’s asshole or clamped down between someone’s quivering jaws. Jack stands up. 

“Help me,” he says. 

He and Quinn shake the comforter clean of stuffed ponies, plastic donuts, and pacifiers. Will any of these toys be repurposed for erotic exploration? Such banal, scenery-chewing deviance is all I can hope for at this point.

Quinn pushes Jack back down again on the bed and squats over him.

Finally, we establish a propulsive narrative arc! Quinn grinds her haunches on her husband’s face, mashing her (shorn, reddened) clunge into his mouth and chin, obscuring him completely. She erases her husband with her angry pussy, stropping her pissjaws on his stubble and nose cartilage like she is a dog wiping herself on newly-cut grass.

A good critic reviews what is put before them. A good critic does not attempt to improve on what an artist presents. A good critic does not offer alternatives and instead wrangles with the subject matter and themes that are presented. I accept that this will be The Sex.

What does this cruel, frustrated pussy levigation mean? It is clear that Quinn’s mastery of her husband’s face as a sexual device is total. A thin trickle of plasmic fluid runs down his neck. She puts her hands over her head and joins them together, like a boxing champ after a knockout.  This gives her more torque and greater balance to more effectively sandpaper his wriggling mouth. 

Jack makes fists as Quinn fucks his face. For a moment, Quinn and I both find ourselves staring at his soft cock. We catch each other staring. We lock eyes and then we each look away. She grinds harder, leaning down to squeeze his balls experimentally as he pounds the bed with his newly-formed fists. She runs her asshole all the way from his forehead to his chin, letting him lick the entire length of her, and then she resumes her scrubbing.

Is sexual chemistry just a mild allergy that we have to each other? Is it only when chemistry finally wears off that we can begin to effectively use each other like the objects that we actually are?

“I'm going to come,” she says absent-mindedly. Jack hits the bed over and over again like a pro-wrestler hamming it up as she shudders into his face, urinating a little down his chin. 

“mmmmffffffcococllll,” he says from beneath her.  

“mmmgdoossssssllll?” he asks.

She doesn’t get up. Two stars.


Olive is a marketing executive at Cadbury. She’s been there for almost two decades, working at their New York office. Archie is an M&A lawyer at a magic circle firm. Kirkland and Ellis or Freshfields. I can’t remember and it doesn’t matter if I do. The treatments in their brownstone are rich purple, chocolate brown, and fool’s gold: Cadbury colors. Her job wins.  

Olive keeps offering me little things.  An extra pillow. Cherry juice. A cream egg. Cocaine. I decline in the most neutral way possible.

“No?” says Olive. “It all just feels rather rude, doesn’t it? Just ignoring you? Aren’t you, what’s it called, a participant observer?” 

There is a painting over their bed of a steam locomotive going over a bridge in the falling snow. Olive and Archie still have all of their clothes on. They sit upright together in their giant California King that could comfortably fit five. There is a fire projected against one wall. It is all very cozy and civilized.

“I suppose we really should get to it then, shouldn’t we?” says Archie.

Olive presses her face up into a smile, digging her short fingers into her dimples.

“If I had the money, I would get my face permanently botoxed so that I was always smoooooth and smiling,” she says. “Smiling improves your mood and changes your brain chemistry. That’s why the Joker is so free and happy. He can’t help but smile all the time, can’t he? Like, what’s it called, Gwynplaine from Victor Hugo. Anything is possible when you're smiling!”

“I wouldn’t mind if you were always smiling,” says Archie. “Is that sexist?”

“It’s not sexist if I'm about to put your penis in my mouth,” says Olive. 

“I fear it's still sexist,” says Archie. “Hold on, let me set everything up.”

He loosens his tie and then takes it off. He removes his shoes and pants, folding them neatly in a chair by the bed. He looks vaguely ridiculous with his spindly white legs jutting out from beneath his untucked shirt, but I admire his confidence.

Archie moves over to Olive’s security familiar, a giant fluffy white bunny rabbit which is hopping up and down silently in the corner. It comes up to his waist and it is wearing a straw hat and white gloves. He puts the rabbit on the bed facing one clean white wall. 

Archie’s own security familiar is one I have never seen before, but which I am sure must be quite popular in England. It is a lightweight reproduction of a TARDIS made from canvas that follows him from room to room on rotor-driven treads. Inside, there is a mini-fridge and shelving for his papers and documents. There is a suit hanging in there, and a large assortment of Cadbury products for snacking. I have been encouraged to “help myself.”

“What should we watch, love?” asks Archie. 

“I made a new film this week for just this occasion,” she says, putting her hand behind her head as she reclines. “It should be the first file.”

“Oh, I see it, yes,” says Archie. He presses several buttons on her familiar. “Here we go!” Archie flops onto the bed, squeezing out of his white Jockeys, revealing a thin uncircumcised cock like a jaunty thumb. He begins squeezing and stroking himself, pleating his balls with one hand and wiggling one finger near the button of his prostate.

Lights flash from the eyes of the fluffy bunny. Its mouth falls open as it hunches over, giving it a hypnotized, intense expression, like a Muppet seeing its first murder. Olive’s face is projected on the wall. She is smiling into the camera, adjusting it, making sure that it is focusing on the right thing.

“So I'm a bit of an adventurer,” says Olive from the bed. “I'm a bit of a risk-taker at work and in my daily life. You wouldn’t know it to look at me, would you? That’s how I get away with it, by not being the type, you know?”

“She gets away with everything,” says Archie. They both go silent as Olive-on-the-screen puts her finger to her lips and then points at the door.

“The new guy,” she whispers into the camera with amateur gravitas. “He doesn’t know about me yet, but I’m sure he's heard stories. He's about to learn they're all true.”

On the screen, Olive is wearing a sensible suit jacket over a taupe blouse and creased slacks. The most exceptional thing about her is her beautiful skin.  I don’t know how else to describe her skin but extremely thick. One cannot see the veins in her arms, in her neck, or in her forehead. She is surely a Type IV on the Fitzpatrick scale. On the projection in front of me, she sits down at a conference table in fluorescent light. Her thick, tanned skin seems to glow. Her eyes are equally bright and malicious. Maybe her skin is so appealing because the video is being presented in luxury Smell-O-Rama: in the room beside me, Olive reeks of tanning lotion and possibility.

As we watch the video, Olive-on-the-bed unbuttons her comfortable flannel shirt. She reaches over to the bedside table and retrieves a hair bobble that she then uses to make a tight ponytail. Her strong neck muscles strain as she slowly puts her mouth around Archie’s dick, which is “quite” hard now. It strains up over his belly.

Archie is definitely a Type I on the Fitzpatrick scale. The glowing, flawlessly tan skin of his wife is a sexy contrast to his freckled, paper-thin, sugar-white legs and belly. A damp musk rolls off of them as they merge and it is easy to see why they are married. She puts her hand on his stomach and her white nail polish matches his white chest. She fucks his cock with her mouth wide open, drooling on purpose, sticking her tongue out like a shank. She grins at me and then points to the screen. She pops up off his cock. She jacks her husband off with her saliva. The several rings she is wearing clink together as he grips a pillow and twists it.

“Here comes the new guy,” she says. “He just got promoted to the American office. This is supposed to be a meeting about the launch of Dinky Deckers in the Congo. I actually worked very hard on a plan to brand them as sort of a Nigerian prestige product, but that’s not what we're actually going to talk about in this meeting. He's about to test whether it's true that I'm the office slut and that he can jump me whenever he likes, so long as he asks first and he's nice about it and lets me take video.”

This is all being said for her husband’s enjoyment. It is working.

“Nnnnnnnhhhh,” says Archie on the bed, leaning back. She fucks his cock with her mouth harder now, squeezing and stroking. She presses one hand on his stomach like she is feeling for cancer. She stares hard into her husband’s eyes while her husband watches the screen. She is getting something strong out of what he sees.

“I'm an HR nightmare,” Olive says, without looking at me. “I say yes to everyone. For my own legal safety and for their own legal safety, I insist that we record everything. I'm supposed to report all romantic or sexual interactions in the office to HR. I think this is supposed to be a deterrent, but I treat it like confession. Of course, I'm also fucking the HR guy.”

It doesn’t matter if this is true or not. Archie moans like he is being disemboweled.

“Archie and I go to parties where everybody has to bring some homemade porn,” says Olive. “There're lots of couples there. Some people just read stories. Anyway, it always turns into a sex party without being weird. Nothing breaks the ice with strangers faster than some homemade porn. You could tell people what you're into, but it's faster just to show them.”

Projected on the wall, a nervous-looking younger executive in a very nice suit but with a terrible crewcut is shuffling papers as Olive puts on lipstick and beams at him. They sit down across from each other and she leans way forward, letting him see down her shirt. Archie moans again beside me on the bed as Olive sucks him harder, no longer stabbing him with her eyes, too focused now on the rhythm of his ritual milking. She is ready to straddle him now. She climbs on top, leaning far to the right so he can still see the screen.

On the projection, Olive laughs at something the young executive says, laughing too loud, laughing as an aggressive challenge. Maul me. The camera moves up and down: her bunny familiar is hopping, triggered to jump along with her amusement.

She puts her hand on the executive’s thigh while she laughs but then leaves it there when she stops laughing. The young executive stiffens up all the way to his too-tight collar. He gets very red in the face. She leans forward, moving her hand up to his chin.

“Is there something you wanted to ask me?” she says to him, her legs askew beneath her roly-chair as she leans into his absolute terror field.

“Oh fuck,” says Archie, bucking on the bed. Olive slips off him as a baking-soda-volcano of hot cum bubbles up onto his round belly, splashing down onto Olive’s testosterone-flushed face as she tries to catch it. His semen plume momentarily defies gravity before twirling into a very satisfying sticky spiderweb. He comes quite a bit, which is surprising considering that they haven’t even been fucking for very long. I watch him writhe. He is having one of those anus-throbbing orgasms infused with longing and the bruised feeling of unfulfillable hunger. It is very emotional. 

On the projection, Olive is rubbing the executive’s penis through his suit pants, petting it like she is smoothing out a wrinkle. The executive has pushed himself all the way back in his own roly-chair and is gripping the arms of it like he is on an airplane going through turbulence.  She whispers something to him and he pulls off his suit jacket and hands it to her, trembling. She drapes it on the floor in front of him, kneeling down, but not before smiling at the camera and opening her red mouth very, very slightly like she is feeling a breeze only she can feel.

Archie is already getting hard again. I suppose it’s Olive’s turn to come now. They are just going to keep doing this while the video plays.

I must admit, they are having good sex, but who remembers good sex?  Good sex is obliterating which is why we have the impulse to record it, to seek out recordings. 

Three stars.


Blade and Kandy Kay’s house is a fucking wreck. There are white nationalist pamphlets, posters, and flags everywhere. Fortunately, the mess is from clutter and not decay. I don’t see any moldering food and the smell of weed overpowers everything else, so I keep my swelling gorge down. 

Someone here collects anatomically correct pop culture porn figures that you can pose. The fun of these toys is to cram injection-molded cocks and fists into pliant plastic slits in transgressive combinations. There is a whole shelf full of these dirty bibelot, and there are some set up on the coffee table: bearded hitman Keanu Reeves has his leather pants down and his comically-large cock out. It is inches away from Suicide Squad Margot Robbie, who sits before him with her legs splayed as if about to do toe-touches. Her red mouth is frozen in a permanent shocked O.

“That’s not weed you smell,” Blade tells me, leering at me from where he is stretching out his legs on the floor, just like Suicide Squad Margot Robbie. He is thin and wiry with dark eyes that are flat black and glassy. His eyes don’t reach the back of his brain. He is not wearing any shoes. “Just in case you are thinking we do drugs here: we don’t do drugs here.”

I try not to react to this obvious lie.

“What you smell is wolf urine. You can buy it online. You just go to predatorpee.com. That’s where we get ours.”

I take a deep breath. Maybe he isn’t lying.

Blade dyes his hair Bible black, whereas Kandy Kay is a natural blonde. Kandy Kay’s rolling curves are maternal, ample, and inviting. Her face is wide and smooth and rosy. She has dimples on her elbows. She has hypercolor skin: just touching her makes her flush. She seems innocent. You want to mess her up.  

Kandy Kay writes for a blog called “Pure Patriot.” I believe it is this blog that is the primary source of their income. Her full name is Kandy Kay King and she was born and raised in Alabama, but she only has a slight Southern accent.  

Blade is substantially younger than Kandy Kay, almost twenty years her junior, which makes him just out of high school.  They both wear large golden wedding rings with Lord of the Rings runes that glow in the dark. There are wedding photos on the walls. This would be a comfortable suburban home if it weren’t covered in Confederate battle flags and (evidently) wolf piss. 

The photos actually seem to be a few years old, which causes me to raise an eyebrow.  Was Blade still in high school when he married Kandy Kay?

“When do you start reviewing?” Blade asks me.

I hope that he can tell from my body language that I don’t want him to talk to me.

“We're not ready yet,” he assures me.  “Don’t start reviewing yet.”

Kandy Kay is still in the bathroom, where she has been since she let me in. She answered the door and then hastily ducked away, holding a towel up to her face and clutching her white robe tightly around her tits. Both Kandy Kay and Blade have wolf familiars, of course. The familiars both sit patiently by the couch, watching me with electric blue eyes.

“So does all this offend you?  Are you like...pissed off by our lifestyle?”

I pick up an anatomically-correct Captain America action figure and move the penis up and down. I set it back down on the shelf.

“I bet you think we're Nazis,” says Blade.  “I bet you think we should all be put in camps and never be allowed to speak our minds.”

Honestly, I am perfectly happy to see fascism relegated to its proper role as an empty sexual fetish.  Leather and cruelty and austere power dynamics will always be exciting, even as God and family and racism will always be deeply boring.

Kandy Kay finally comes out of the bathroom. Full YouTube tutorial make-up. Purple blush high up on her cheeks, like bruises. Blade whispers something to her and she shrugs, patting him on the leg.

“Are you ready, milkdud?” he asks. She smiles and nods and takes her robe off. Then she helps him undress, which seems like the part that matters. She rubs her hands over his abs, spreading her fingers wide and smiling. He flexes for her, flexing his shoulders, flexing his back. His weathered skin is criss-crossed in thin white scars. His back, shoulders, and biceps are covered in Avengers and Game of Thrones tattoos.

She sighs, evidently full to the brim with satisfaction, pleasure, and expectation. 

Once naked, they both turn to the wall where there is a giant American flag nailed above the couch. They each put their hands over their hearts. They each take a deep breath and recite in unison: "I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

I remain seated, but they don’t seem to mind.

“We always say the pledge before we fuck,” says Blade.

“Always,” says Kandy Kay.

Now Kandy Kay sashays into the back bedroom. The wolf drones follow her and so do I. The bedroom is lit by flickering LED torches that provide a cold light meant to simulate fire. The wolves lay down at the foot of their canopy bed. Blade stumbles into the bedroom after his wife, seemingly drunk on his own horniness. His penis is as stiff as injection-molded Chinese plastic.

Kandy Kay kneels down on a thick, circular rug in the middle of the floor and then bends over. Blade reaches down and lifts up her ass until it rests against his cock. He slides it up and down for awhile and then he falls to his hands and knees. He eats her pussy from behind, kneeling behind her on the rug, while she stares at me—smiling and focused and then not-focused and blushing. She wriggles and flexes while he slobbers and frigs.

He brings his cock back up to her. He uses her pussy to moisten the swelling head and then he spreads his legs, squatting, in order to slide his hairy, slightly-discolored action figure cock into her. This is theater in the round, contrived and controlled, but somewhat generous in its invitation to the audience to gawk.

She grunts, yelping, as he thrusts up and sideways. Their wolf familiars both look up from where they perch as she squeals, baring their mechanical teeth. Blade fucks her with possessed mindlessness, bearing down on her, turning one foot sideways to get a good angle. The look on her face is beatific. In control.

“ja, ja, ja, nimm mich von hinten,” she says, looking over her shoulder. “Fick mich härter. Jaaaaa, zerstöre die Muschi der Mutti mit deinem Schwanz, meine Junge!”

He must be doing something right. Kandy Kay begins yipping theatrically, very-high pitched, her eyes wide. Blade squeezes her ass. She clutches the rug and twists it. Her face is as red as the dawn over Stalingrad. The gyrations of Blade shock through her, rebounding from her knees back to her ass and then slamming back against his pumping eight-pack. She brings the bunched-up rug to her own mouth and bites down.

She looks up at me for a moment, but she seems perplexed by my presence. She bucks, clucking, oblivious to everything. Her pupils are so small that her blue eyes look like shard of glass. She is an orgasming snake-computer.

“Aaayayyyyyyhhhuhhh,” yells Blade, pulling her ass to him and holding it for dear life like he is staunching a spurting battlefield gash with a fistful of gauze. They pant together, stricken and spent, hunched over and sore, too tender to move.

Eventually, he slides out with a groan and leans against the bed, hooking his arms around the wooden bedframe like he is perching on the edge of a swimming pool. Kandy Kay falls forward onto the rug, curling happily onto her dimpled arms. 

“Reinige uns, Werewolf!” she yells, lifting her chin in imperious command. One of the wolf familiars pads over to her and lowers its snout into her ass, lapping and vacuuming at her dripping pussy, vibrating as it cleans. When it finishes, it pads over to Blade and begins licking and cleaning his softening penis, pulsating as it massages away all of the still-warm semen covering his shaft and balls.

“All the excess semen is saved in a pouch inside the wolf,” says Blade. “We send it away to white couples all over the world who're looking to make white babies.”

This is nauseating, but I am also fairly certain that the semen scraped off Blade’s dick will not be usable for artificial insemination. Somebody is lying to this very young man and I guess I know who.  

“We aren’t ready for children yet,” says Kandy Kay, rising to one knee. She darts a look at Blade but he is ignoring her, fuck-drunk and pussy-dizzy. “Not yet, anyway. There's still so much work to do.”

It's hard to tell how much of their lifestyle is a transgressive fetish and how much is sincerely believed. I want to believe that none of it is real, but that is never true about sex. At least they aren’t breeding. 

One and a half stars.


Shiva insists that we meet at a long-term care facility about thirty minutes outside of town. She is waiting for me out front on the curb, standing alone in the sunshine. She seems upset. As I walk up to her, Shiva looks down at my shoes and then frowns in my face, squinting at me. She has no familiar with her that I can see.

“Okay,” she says after a long time. “You seem fine. This is going to be the most fucked up thing you’ve ever seen in person, just like I said. Follow me.”

Obviously, this is a provocative statement. I'm skeptical, but intrigued and happy to be romanced in such a fashion.

I give her the slightest nod. She spins around on one heel and leads me onward into the nursing home. We pass the front desk and then tromp silently through the (human not wolf) piss-smelling halls together.  

I prefer to look at her rather than the decomposing, geriatric genpop of this sad death-orgy. She is wearing blue jeans that are so faded and tight that the denim is more like sky-colored paint. Her black, feathered hair hangs loose and she wears dark eyeliner. I suspect that she has brown eyes normally—that her bright green eyes are the result of contact lenses. The chartreuse-on-brown creates an interesting effect, making her look like a dragon that has taken human form. The ability to project subtle but indefinable menace through totems of artificiality is surely the most potent sign of volcanic sexuality.

“I wasn’t sure what you’d be like, but it doesn’t matter,” she says, turning back and almost smiling at me as we pass a group of palsied veterans playing Settlers of Caatan. “One of the problems with being such a shrewd, fast, and perfect judge of character is that you never really get to fuck strangers. No one really surprises you after about five minutes of knowing them. So then they aren’t strangers anymore. Not that we're going to fuck. Unless?”

I don’t even bother shaking my head.

She scuffs her sandals as we walk through the linoleum labyrinth.  Her eyes are cast downward. In this place of ugliness and medical dissolution, I feel like I am following a ci-devant liberal noble to her execution before the Paris mob, a new Charlotte Corday, a hero of the reaction who takes sneering pleasure from the jeers and hates of the red masses. Shiva actually is a modern aristocrat: she made her money as a dermatologist after studying as an undergraduate to be an astronomer, a passion she later abandoned. She tells me all this later after a long, languid postmortem coffee.

Two competing smells from my own childhood alternate in this nursing home as we march: 1), the warm, throbbing smell of plastic, sweat, and cafeteria food that one would also encounter inside a cheap corporate Southern daycare and 2). the mildewy, humid spice of an elementary school library. The pungency creates nostalgia so strong that I start to become very anxious and very aroused. I try not to be influenced unduly by my particular personal reactions to these smells.

We stop in front of a suite of private rooms.  There are names beside each door on construction paper, names written in big balloon letters meant for children. I fight back existential dread.  I try to remember that when death finally comes to people at this age, it is a relief: the reaper is only really collecting the dry Styrofoam clamshells that the flies and maggots have already culled. Death only gets the bits that have fossilized.

Shiva puts her hand on the doorknob. Down the hallway, a giant medical polar bear lifts its head up and sniffs our DNA. It’s okay: we are both meant to be here.  We both have clearance from the nurse’s station.

“It doesn’t matter how much money you make,” says Shiva.  “Nursing homes are so expensive that they get it all in the end, no matter what.  They take everything. Eventually, the state pays them to hold you in a place like this until you die, like they're holding my father here. This happens to everyone, basically.”

Inside the room, an extremely old man is sitting in an overstuffed armchair with his chin on his chest. 

“Gina?” he asks, blinking at Shiva, seemingly embarrassed that he isn’t sure. He ignores me completely. 

“He thinks I’m my mother,” says Shiva, smirking at me. “She left us when I was five or so. I can’t blame her. We were not a cosmetically smooth family, and surfaces are everything. He was a wreck when she left. So was I.”

The old man in the chair leans forward, blinking at us both, trying to put everything together. Shiva picks up a wooden chair from under the window and puts it in front of the door to block it. She points at the chair, snapping her fingers.

“Sit,” she says. “I don't think the nurses here know what I've been doing, but I don’t want them walking in on us.”

I sit in the chair that she indicates. The room smells like bleach and pipe tobacco. The only light in the room comes from a single banker’s lamp beside the bed. The lamp seems out of place. A gift?

“There was always sexual tension between my father and me while growing up,” says Shiva.  “After my mother left… he never did anything to me, but I could tell he wanted to. Isn’t that just as bad? It really fucked me up. I used to lay awake at nights, literally streaming from my pussy while thinking about how it would be between us. I was alone with it back then, just twisting and feeling awful.  I could get off in minutes chewing that particular bone. The fantasy was actually just about how easy it would be, how I knew that he would let me do it.”

“Gina?” her father asks again.

“Shut the fuck up, Dad,” she says with a cruel twist in her voice. “It’s not real sex, I guess. He's never been inside me. He doesn’t even really know who I am. If there's a hell, I guess we're both going there. Him before me. But luckily, there isn’t a hell.”

She picks up the remote for the television, a big clunky clicker with only a few buttons. She starts cycling the channels, turning the volume all the way up.

“I'm a humanist, actually. I think human beings are the most developed form of sentience that exists. We don’t come from god. We come from our parents. I don’t believe in aliens or a perfect economic system either. I think we're all alone in the universe. We're the first and only creatures smart enough to know how small and useless we are. It makes you dizzy, if you really think about it. Here we are, a miraculous byproduct of billions of years of perfect accidents, and mostly we're bored and insecure and self-destructive. Yes, I'm about to suck my own father’s cock and that's a fucked-up thing to do. But I want you to know that I'm doing this because I'm more lucid than most people. I'm a free person without limits. A future person. I'm here on planet earth because of him, and I want to make his last days exceptional. No one else would do this for him with the care and attention he deserves.”

 “Gina, you are so beautiful,” he says. 

“Shut the fuck up, Dad,” Shiva says, whirling on him with glittering fury. His mouth claps shut and he curls up around his collapsed chest, his arms and legs quivering.

“He likes the abuse,” says Shiva, smiling at me. “It’s the only thing that still gets him hard. Porn doesn’t work. I’ve tried.” She bends down in front of her withered father and strokes the back of his head. She unbuttons his brown silk pajama top and kisses his mottled chest. She works her hand down under him and pulls his silk pajama pants down. He's wearing an adult diaper, which she gently undoes as he stares at her, his eyes growing wide and spittle forming on his lips. He is indeed hard.

“Do you want me to blow you, Dad?” she asks.

“Gina,” he says. “You came back.”

The old man’s cock sticks up from his unwrapped diaper. Now that it is exposed, he begins playing with himself, stroking it, shutting his eyes. Gina watches him masturbate.

“Sometimes he takes care of himself and I just watch,” she says. “I do always try to get myself off as well in order to train myself to enjoy this and to make meaning out of it.”

This ancient man is very good at jacking off. He is tender with himself, stroking slowly from his base to the tip of his old grey cock. He grits his teeth, working his hands very quickly just behind the head. He squeezes his cock like a jammed finger he is trying to pop, rubbing fast and mechanically.

Suddenly he grabs the back of Shiva’s head and pushes it toward him, clutching her long black hair in one trembling hand. Shiva acquiesces. She begins angrily sucking him off as the man’s eyes drift toward the television. She snakes her hand down into her own pants as she sucks, squatting down as he spreads his legs, rubbing her clit.

“You like the way I suck your cock, Dad?" she asks. "You still like this?” 

He moans, leaning his head back. He flexes his bare toes. 

She stops suddenly and stares at me to see how I am taking this. I maintain my neutral composure.

“I know it seems a little awful that he thinks I'm someone else. I know that's maybe a little grey consensually,” she says. “But trust me, my mother would never have consented to this in a million years and he knows it, so he is having a non-consensual fantasy himself. I think we cancel each other out, consent-wise, ethically.”

She starts up again, working her fingers in her tight, sky-colored jeans and I see the wisdom in the fact that she is not ignoring her own needs, even in this horrible, sterile, sad place. 

“It’s me versus the universe,” she mutters, as if reading my mind. She prods deep at the base of his cock with her muscular fingers as she sucks. She licks the head of his penis like it is 90-year-old melting iced cream.

He fumbles at her face again, trying to pull her closer to him. She backs away, squeezing and stroking. 

“You going to come for me, Dad?”

He waves his hands in the air beside the overstuffed chair. He reaches out and grabs for the mechanized-walker beside him. Countless post-millennium advances in gerontological technology and there are still cut-in-half tennis balls on the legs of the walker. 

Shiva stands to one side as cum dribbles out of the end of her father’s cock. He moans, pushing forward, his jaw open and his jowls wobbling. One last hot dribble splashes to the linoleum floor.

“I’m not surprised that his prostate has outlasted his memory of me,” says Shiva. “He wasn’t a good person, but no one is, really. The problem is that we think there's some basis of comparison. There isn’t. And, really, I guess this isn’t all about him, if I'm being honest.”

She finishes herself off now, turning away from me, resting his gnarled hand on her head and staring out the window.

When she's done, she presses the button to summon a nurse. Her father’s semen glistens on the floor. His ectoplasm. The residue of his ghost.

“Let’s go,” she says. “It’s a good thing he’s got a diaper under him. He’s pissed himself. Probably shit himself, too. They'll take care of all that here. I don’t clean up after him. That’s going too far.”

This hasn’t been the most fucked-up thing I've ever seen in person, but she's definitely managed to impress me. I scramble to find words to articulate the aesthetic stasis I feel. She hasn't defeated the universe, or even deflowered it: but at least she's trying. 

Four-and-a-half stars. 

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(c) Miracle Jones 2019