Pull up a chair, friends and neighbors. I bring you a new installment in that most popular of tag-label categories, The Biz.
At this late date, constant readers will know that I am an unapologetic, tried-and-true sadomasochist. My sexuality is queer as a three-dollar bill; I think the only thing orthodox about it is that I’m a pure heterosexual.
Consequently, I understand many of the people I’ve met at the Studio, where I practice in my professional capacity. Not all of them–heavens, no–but many. I understand their needs, and I empathize with them. Were I male, I would almost certainly be doing exactly what they are doing, sitting–literally–where they are sitting, in that chair in the consultation room.
Most of them recognize that I “get it.” Especially the masochists. We identify each other on some subconscious inner radio frequency. I’m not making that up; that observation has been expressed to me on several occasions.
Well, there’s one guy who hires me on a regular basis whom I don’t grok at all–not one damn bit. He boggles my mind, as a matter of fact. And yet, he loves me.
Let’s call him…Joey.
One of the reasons I am telling you about Joey, gentle reader, is that I know Joey would not object if he knew that I was writing about him. Indeed, the knowledge would fill Joey with excitement and happy anticipation.
Joey comes to see me, and every time he does, he brings in paperwork.
Paperwork that only your employer, your spouse, and your accountant should lay eyes on.
Bank statements. Online banking printouts from his checking, savings, and credit card accounts, going back months.
Income tax records.
His passport and Social Security Card.
And much, much more…
This is the session: I sit across the desk and methodically go through the paperwork, often reading aloud. Assuming an air of casual cruelty (or trying to, anyway–in my head, I am actually pretty alarmed at what this man is doing to himself), I rattle off numbers, addresses, telephone numbers, purchases, the names of his old fraternity brothers.
I threaten to blackmail him. I threaten to call his wife, his ex-wife. I threaten to ruin his life.
I pull out my cell phone and take photos of his credit cards (front and back), his bank statements. A picture of him holding today’s copy of The New York Times, just like the terrorists do in their videos. I take audio recordings of his voice. I say that I could text the photos to anyone–anyone at all!
I go through his wallet–everything in it–and make xerox copies of the various business cards I find. I take the money out of his wallet, count it, and put it in my purse. I make him turn out his pockets. On occassion, I have trotted him outside in the bright winter sunshine to an ATM and made him withdraw cash to give to me (I know his PIN numbers).
I laugh at him. I ridicule him.
“What the hell is the matter with you, you sick little monkey?” I shout in his face (that part involves no acting on my end, I assure you).
“You’re holding my life in your hands!” he says, pleading (he repeats this a lot). He twitches in an agony of terror and arousal.
“I know that! What is the matter with you?” (Boy, he has no idea, but I really mean it.)
I think that he might come in his pants towards the end, but I’m not sure. Don’t know, never asked.
And get this: he leaves the paperwork with me!
The next time he visits, he asks me what I did with the paperwork.
I tell him that I keep it in a folder in a fireproof safe in my apartment. He loves this.
(The truth is, I only keep a few pertinent details so that I can throw them in his face during the session. The rest of the paperwork I run through my paper-shredder. Then I shred the shreddings. I’d burn it if I could figure out a way to do so without setting off the fire alarm. I don’t sweat during the session–that’s his job–but boy, do I ever sweat when I destroy his paperwork. I actually feel fearful for this guy. It’s the damndest thing.)
The closest that the Surgeon ever came to finding out that I was working at the Superstudio (that I know of) was when he found a picture of Joey’s bank card in my phone when he (the Surgeon) was snooping through it (don’t ask).
“What’s this?” he asked, his brow furrowing. He turned the screen towards me to show me what he was looking at.
Uh-oh–think fast! “Uhhh…my student lost his bank card and thought he might have left it at someone’s desk. He sent out the photo so people would recognize it if they saw it.”
The Surgeon relaxed, mollified.
Anyway, except for this insane game Joey likes to play, he seems normal. Educated, white-collar job, wife he seems to have a good relationship with, healthful recreational interests. He’s athletic, not bad-looking (I am not attracted to him in the slightest, however). Doesn’t drink much. No drugs.
So: what’s going on…? I understand the link between fear and arousal very well (for all you normals out there, it’s the reason why horror films contain so much gratuitous sex). Is Joey just taking that ball and running with it? I don’t know. Every now and again I send Joey and e-mail with a photo of his paperwork attached. This works him up into a frenzy and he comes to see me within a day or two.
I wish that I could say it was easy money for me, but it’s not. It’s really, really not.
Joey is lucky that I am an ethical person…but he doesn’t know that I’m an ethical person. He doesn’t know anything about me, other than the fact that he enjoys the way that I handle him.
Eventually, he’ll tire of me–familiarity with my mannerisms will take the edge off of the terror–and he’ll move on to someone new. What if she’s not like me? What if she’s nuts? What if she gives him what a part of him really wants, and exploits him? I mean, none of this is my problem. It’s Joey’s problem. But sometimes, as I delete his pics on my phone and shred his bank statements, I wonder about it.