When I Went Back (III)

He woke me up at 6 PM after I’d been sleeping for approximately 16 hours. He brought me some more hot chocolate (I don’t drink coffee and only sometimes drink tea) and a glass of ice water.

“Dinner is in two hours! Can I get you anything else? Would you like a Valium?”

The Collector doesn’t abuse substances–not that I’ve ever been able to tell, anyway–but he has Ambien and Valium for when he travels. Sometimes he needs to sleep after God knows how many hours on the airplane.

“What’s for dinner?” I inquired.

“Never ask. It spoils the surprise. Some of your favorite foods, though. Elk steaks to start off with, though.” It was was going to be delicious .

“May I pick out something for you to wear…?” he asked me.

“Do whatever you want,” I said, knowing it was a dangerous thing to say. I wass too fucking exhausted and I knew for a fact, that this could blow up in my face. He went to my closet and selected a short cocktail dress he’d bought me for Christmas (or “Yule,” as he usually calls it) a few years ago. His boys were visiting and I distinctly remember being being humiliated when he asked me to try it on. It was shimmery blue with a low front front and is practically backless. Unless you’re wearing a shrug or some sort of cover-up jacket (he recommended a sheared white fur coat he’d given me), it is only fit for a latenight bar or to go “clubbin” in. I am not a “clubbin” type of girl and only wore it once outside the house, when we had to go to the nightclub to entertain one of his Russian clients for political reasons.

“I think we’re both too old to get into this club,” I told him, getting dressed. It was true. Unless you’re a celebrity or a major music producer, we were both too fookin old. “I don’t think we’ll make it past face control.”

“You’re gorgeous and I have plenty of cash. We’ll get in. (Russian client) will come get us if he needs to. Which he won’t need to,” the Collector told me. “I can get in anywhere, and so can you, with that beautiful fucking face and body.” He came over and kissed me.

Anyway, that was the only time I ever wore the dress out of the house, and now I’m supposed to wear it to dinner? And did I mention that when he gave it to me, he wanted me to try it on WHEN HIS TWO SONS WERE THERE? I had to put my foot down for that one. I fucking hated it when he’d try to show me off in front on them, or get competitive with them (namely the elder one, with whom he has an adversarial relationship) over who had the prettier girlfriend.

Now I asked him–not even a full day in the house–if I could wear something more conservative.

“Well, if you insist. But you look so beautiful in this.”

“FINE!” I snatched it out of his hand. “I need to shower and get ready. May I have some privacy, please?”

“You know, Margo, this is no need to be so touchy. We are going to have a lovely dinner, I promise.” He left.

I took a shower and shaved my legs (didn’t tidy up my muff, because if he thought he was getting laid tonight, he was sadly mistaken). I considered putting on some nice hosiery–God knows the man had bought me enough Wolford, La Perla, and StockinGirl to last 20 years–but I didn’t want to give him any ideas. I didn’t even put on heels, or any shoes for that matter. Then I did my hair and makeup. In retrospect, I should have just showed up looking like a complete slob, but in the Collector’s house there is a tremendous sense of pressure to look perfect, and BE perfect. Everything in the house is beautiful and perfect.

Then it was time for dinner.

I padded out to the dining room, and it was only once I started walking (the shower has a shelf seat you can sit down on) that I realized how uncoordinated I was. Can’t prove it and he’d never admit to it, but there was something in that hot chocolate besides peppermint schnapps. My money’s on Valium, which he uses occassionally to sleep after he’s been on an airplane for 12+ hours and needs to sleep after the jet lag, before he starts a grueling day of business negotiations. He doesn’t abuse it–I know, or at least think I do, because he’d offer me one occassionally and I’d count the pills and note the Rx dispenary date. But he’s drugged me before, usually after something incredibly stressful had happened: the horrific fateful weekend where everything went to shit and the Collector’s family imploded and I left; the handful of times over the years where one of our BDSM sessions went too far and I became very upset. I never complained. Why would I? If I can’t have alcohol, I am perfectly grateful for a few benzos a couple times per year. God knows no doctor will give me a Rx for benzos or anything fun unless it’s under direct medical supervision in a hospital.

In any event, I had to touch the wall to keep equilibrium on my way to the dining room. Once I got seated into a chair with arms, I was perfectly okay.

He always sets an immaculate, beauteous table. One of the first things he taught me to do to help was how to set it myself. Unless we were scarfing down delivery sushi or Indian food on the sofa while watching the news or a movie, we ate at the table every night. Candles, linen placemats, the whole bit. As I’ve mentioned before, ritual and routine are very important to the man.

He peeked his head out of the kitchen door. “I hope you are hungry!”

And in fact, I realized that I was ravenous. Besides pineapple-and-vodkas on the airplane, the Chicago layover, and whatever the fuck I was drinking in the hotel room before I got on the plane (I think it was cranberry cocktails. I like to tell myself that at least the juice has potassium and vitamin C), and the hot chocolate, I hadn’t eaten in three days.

Fun fact about late-stage alkies: when you drink, you don’t eat. It’s why so many are skinny and malnourished. When I was middle-stage, working at my last dungeon, I gained 25 fucking pounds because in addition to the booze, I was scarfing down tacos and chinese food from restaurants down the street. Middle-stage alcoholics get fat in a hurry. Once I moved back to my home state and dryed out, I lost it in a hurry, but even still…for someone who makes a living partially by my looks,and who used to have a pretty severe eating disorder, that weight gain was a devestating experience.

Anyway, getting back to the Collector’s little dinner party for two: the food smelled fucking GREAT. He even baked bread, which he knows how to do but almost never does because baking bread is a pain in the ass, not fun at all unless you’re a huge baking fan, and he’s got a great bakery on speed-dial. I know because once he taught me how to recognize very high-quality food, I went shopping for the dinner menu almost every single day. He’d leave me a shopping list. Dorian’s, Randazzo’s, Harlem Shambles, Amato for venison, you name it. Not to mention that fucking swan he orders for Yule dinner every year (don’t ask).

Dinner was elk steaks with white truffle butter (my favorite meat) and white asparagus. Scalloped potatoes and a big spinach salad with avocado on the side (“I thought you would need some potassium,” he said, and he was undoubtedly right). The last thing you want if you’re malnourished and go into withdrawal are severe muscle cramps. Worst pain I’ve experienced in my life, and I’ve suffered scarring second-degree burns on my arm from a kitchen grease fire.

Frankly, I was worried he’d lay a shit ton of heavy questions about our breakup on me, but he didn’t. He’s not a compulsive womanizer or a natural -born salesman like the Surgeon, but he can be charming and even seductive (he sure seduced my mother in meeting her one weekend and then in their telephone conversations after our breakup). He can leave a very positive impression on people. Boy, did he turn up the charm over our dinner, from the food to everything else. It reminded me a bit of our first several dates, when he hired me as a professional submissive. Even after that, he could be the perfect boyfriend when he wasn’t pulling one of his crazy stunts.

“Thank you for wearing that dress. I know you’re not fond of it, sadly. I love what the candlelight is doing for your decolletage. You are such a beautiful woman.” We were dining exclusively by candlelight. His country has a long history of dining by fire and candlelight, especially when the seasons change and the hours of daylight start to get very short. They still do it today, even with electricity. Some restaurants and bars–especially old-fashioned ones–still offer it. Generally I don’t like sitting in the dark, but for a few hours, it does create a lovely ambiance.

He reached out and touched my hand. I was mostly done with my meal. I could feel his sexual desire for me radiating off of him; it was palpable. To tell you the truth, it was making me a little fucking nervous. Back when we were still dating, one thing I always enjoyed is that he remained very attracted to me, even after over four years. And I was always attracted to him. But I know that after two years–or, shit, with some men, after one year–the sexual attraction starts to wane. The Collector’s attraction to me never decreased. If anything, it increased as my boundaries deteriorated and our relationship became more perverse, and we planned on marriage and a baby. He was ready to be a father again, and he very much wanted a daughter.

Now, tonight, my first night back, all this just made me anxious.

“I would really like some wine,” I said.

His brow furrowed. “I do not know if that’s a wise idea, Margo.”

I laughed. “That’s never stopped you before. Do you think I don’t know what was in that hot chocolate? What, do you think I’m going to get out of control in your house? You know I don’t act out even when I’m smashed.” It’s true. I don’t get aggressive or morose or histrionic. And getting remotely out of control is impossible, unless I ran out and got some booze while he was at work. At my request, he’d shut down his small bar for guests and moved all the liquor to a locked mini-cooler and put a double lock on the wine closet. I couldn’t get into either without a crowbar. Believe me, I’d tried a time or two in the past.

“Very well then. Not very much.” He poured a glass for me. I think it was pinot noir. He was keeping it in an ice bucket on the table with just a layer of ice on the bottom.

“Do you miss (Younger Son)? He misses you very much.”

“Of course I missed him and I was so very sorry that I hurt him.”

“We can discuss this later, when you are ready. You put him through hell when you left, Margo. Thank God he was already accepted to university because he became depressed and his grades went to hell.”

I started to tear up. I knew all about Younger One’s problems when I left the family. The Collector had elaborated upon them at length during one of our last conversations. “You have an OBLIGATION to Younger One!” he’d ranted. “He is crushed!

What about YOUR obligation to your own son? What happened to that? What about your obligation to your Elder son, Praying Mantis, whom you cut off when everything turned to shit, and now you won’t help him again until he come groveling back with his hat in his hand? This is what I thought, but I never said it to the Collector. I did say it to my shrink.

So, back at the dinner table: I teared up when he was talking about younger one. The Collector stood up to embrace me and I drew back and said that I was sorry, but not ready.

Again, he had the good grace not to be offended. I could tell how much he wanted to touch me. He sat back down and just reached out and held my hand. “Everything will be all right, Margo. You’ll see. I think we should spend some time alone together. When the time is right, we’ll tell him you’re back. He will be so happy.”

Then he asked if he could give me a bath. No, I wasn’t ready for bathtime either, and I said I wanted to sleep in my room until I felt comfortable.

I thanked him for dinner and then helped clear the table. Then I went to my room and changed into gym shorts and a tank top. I locked the door. After a little while he knocked and I asked through the door what he wanted. He told me that he had hot chocolate for me and he’d just leave it on the floor outside. I waited until I heard him walk down the hall. Then I opened the door and took the chocolate and went to bed.

To my knowledge, he didn’t try to get into my room that night.

In the morning, he was completely respectful. He proposed fun things to do.

For the next week, he was the perfect boyfriend. He took me to do all of the things he knew I love to do.

We went to the Butterfly Conservatory. He got a few butterflies on him, but I got lots of them. You have to stay super still so you don’t scare them or crush them. He said, “Oh, they like you!” He knows animals love me. He took lots of pictures.

We went the NY Aquarium. We both loved that. They have a special shark exhibit, and the Collector loves sharks. They are probably his favorite animal. He loves Hammerheads the best, and has a beautiful poster-sized photo of a Hammerhead in his home office. The photo was taken from below, close to the surface, so all you can see is the outline of its body as it’s executing a turn, so the body is almost a circle. He had it hanging in his work office for a while before he decided it might give visitors and clients a bad impression. I think sharks look scary as shit–the dead black eyes, ugh! But we also saw lots of amazing fish and a huge sea turtle. And penguins! And a beautiful jellyfish tank.

We went to the Cloisters. I’ve been there before and wrote about it here. He knows A TON about history and art. I know a lot–definitely more than most people–but He knows almost everything, so he was a great tour guide.

We went book shopping. He even bought me a dress. I have lots of dresses in my closet at his house–most of which he bought me–but he loves to buy me dresses and he can afford it; it’s not as if he’s racking up debt. So I let him. He wanted to buy me lingerie too, but I wasn’t ready for that.

We went to a few great restaurants, including Del Posto, which is one of my very favorite restaurants.

We were having a great time. Unless he’s acting crazy, I really do love his company. I fell in love with him for several reasons, one of which is that I truly enjoy his conversation and I admire him. Or I did, until everything turned to shit one weekend. That week just reminded me of why I fell in love with him in the first place. He can be so much fun, and he genuinely enjoyed introducing me to new experiences. New foods, new places to go, new travel experiences, new shopping experiences. He taught me a lot about cooking and he was always very patient with me, even when I ruined the food sometimes.

(Unlike with his Eldest Son. One time we were at his house in Europe and Eldest was told to cook scallops. Now, scallops are surprisingly hard to cook. One minute too soon and they’re raw. One minute too long, and they’re tough. Well, Eldest cooked em a minute too long, and the Collector yelled at him, which shocked me because this man never raises his voice.

“We’re trying to eat them! Not play hockey with them!” Like chill the fuck out, we have more scallops in the fridge. Supervise him so that he can learn. Later that night, in the bedroom, I rebuked him, which I seldom have the courage to do where his children are concerned. I guess my inner educator came out. I have taught a LOT of young people the age of Elder Son, starting when I was 25 years old.

“You can’t teach anyone anything by yelling at them! You’re not a drill sergeant in the Army! We had 20 more fresh scallops in the fridge! Maybe he’s mad at you all the time because you hurt his feelings. And you yelled at him in front of me, which is humiliating for a young man! Was that the point?!” I’ve seen the Collector dominate people, most especially myself. I know what he’s like when he’s in that mindset.

He was sitting on the bed taking off his socks and paused to consider. Then he said, “Well, you have a point.”

“I think you owe him an apology.”

Well, I don’t think the Collector gave it to him, because the next day I said, “I can teach you how to cook the scallops. It helps to have an egg timer or the timer on your phone.”

Praying Mantis said, “He can cook his own fucking scallops from now on.”

ANYWAY, back to the time I went back: at the end of the week, we watched a movie, “American Factory.” It was really good. We were sitting on the sofa, and I let him snuggle with me. He hugged me under the blanket with his head on my shoulder. Then me laid down with his head on my lap. It was nice and I felt comfortable. He looked so cute and emotionally needy, and he’d been so respectful, I started stroking his hair.

That was the last good day. Then everything got ugly. In a hurry.

When I Went Back part 1

I went back to the Collector once.

For over a year, he was relentless in getting me back. With one exception, the men I’ve fallen in love with have all been stalkers, but the Collector was the most persistent. I stayed in my Western state because it felt more safe. I stopped using the email account he’d used to communicate with me for years and opened a new one. When I stopped working as a prodomme in San Francisco, took an office job, and eventually started domming in my home town under a new stage name with all-new photos, he found my ads on the sex worker ad malls and started emailing me there. He called my mother at her home and would talk to her for hours–leaving her with a very positive impression, of course. He send me birthday cards and gifts, none of which I opened. When I decided to teach a course at one of the local colleges in exchange for a partial tuition waiver (and a nominal salary), he somehow found out and enrolled in the course, which was online due to COVID.

I went to the administration and explained that he was my Ex who was stalking me long-distance. They told me that they needed to see a restraining order before they could block him from taking the class. I’ve been through the restraining order process before and the last thing I wanted to do was have to answer some very awkward questions about our BDSM relationship.

“He doesn’t need to be in my class! He’s an attorney in New York! He’s not working on another degree!” I told the administration. The administration was sympathetic–I could tell that they believed me–but their answer was the same: restraining order, or it didn’t happen.

Every time I logged into Skype, there were his texts: You’re hurting me. Stop hiding from me. I had to change my phone number twice and he found me both times. How, I do not know, and the anxiety about not knowing fueled my ever-increasing paranoia. The third time he found me, I gave up and got TracPhone, which is a virtually untraceable burner.

In the meantime, I was ranting and raving about the man to my therapist once or twice a week.

“Stop letting if affect you to this extent. You don’t owe the Collector anything. He dragged you into the gutter and made you do the worst thing you’ve ever done,” the therapist reminded me.

“But you don’t understand. You don’t understand what he’s like. What if he sends the school administration my ads? What if he sends the ads to my mother and tells her I’m and S&M hooker? He could ruin my life! And sooner or later, he always gets what he wants!”

“Well, you don’t have to give him what he wants.”

But in the end, I did.

“Margo, just get on the plane. I’m looking right now. There are still three leaving today. I will make you the reservation immediately,” he said when I finally called.

“I need to go home and pack. I need to get my contact lenses and makeup bag and cancel my appointments. I need to tell my family where I’ll be going!” I sniffled pathetically in my hotel room, surrounded by the detritus of my last session. Of course I’d been drinking and made the mistake of reading his most recent emails to my work account, which is what made me call.

“You don’t need to bring makeup and you don’t need more clothes. Everything is here, exactly as you left it. I’ll buy you whatever you need. I’ll take care of it. I’ll take care of everything. We can discuss it all when you get here. Just get on the airplane. Margo, this can’t go on! Do you know what this has done to me, Margo?”

That’s what they all say when I leave: I can’t believe you’re doing this to me!

“I’m going to get there and you’re going to punish me for leaving you!” A very legitimate concern.

“I will not! I promise you I will not. I would never hurt you, Margo! I love you!”

The magic words.

I got on the airplane. A first-class ticket back to God-knows-what. Except that if I was being honest with myself, I knew exactly what. Layover in Chicago, during which I told myself You need to turn around and go right back home. Instead I boarded and availed myself to the complimentary booze.

The plane touched down in the middle of the night and I texted him when I arrived, expecting to take a cab into Manhattan. He was already waiting for me at the baggage claim.

CONTINUED TOMORROW

When They Won’t Let You Up (BDSM Nightmares)

Let us discuss one of the worst things that can happen to you when you’re being submissive:

You’re tied up and the guy won’t let you go when you safe out and ask for it.

It’s happened to me twice.  Which, given my significant experience with about two dozen tops, says a lot.

Both times were terrifying.

The first, and by far the worst, was with my restraining-order Ex, John. It was December in Lake Tahoe and there was a foot of new snow on the ground; more coming down every minute. It was the middle of the night. I could not have gotten out of that house without snowshoes.  Even if I called the cops, they would not have been able to come. There was no auto traffic that night.

He started being a rude, abusive jerk, ignoring my limits, during the session. I was dressed in a fishnet body stocking with my arms locked behind me.

I safed out and asked him to let me go. I wasn’t a shrieking basket case, either (not that it would matter if I WAS a shrieking basket case). I called it off and expressed myself in very clear words.

The guy would. not. let me go.

“Why did you agree to do (this thing) and then renege?”

I kept repeating, “Let me up. Let me up.”

I kept thinking, I am going to get raped and I cannot get away from this man, even on foot. This is going to happen.

He kept asking me why I “reneged.”

He tortured me for about an hour.  I was terrified, but holding my composure. Eventually, he did release me.

I ran to one of the spare bedrooms and locked the door behind me.  He proceeded to pound on it, yelling that he never should have let me up until I was “broken.”  Yeah, I’m not making that up.

He broke the door down.

The next morning, I had to endure shoveling the driveway with him in order to get a ride home.  He had snow tires.

I broke up with him once I was in my apartment. We stayed broken up for 5 months.

Eventually, due to his relentless efforts, I took him back.  And I stayed.

I stayed for five more years.

My Horrific Fast Food Experience (Communist Revolution Now)

My Twitter tweet:

“Should I write a blog post about working at Long John Silver’s for a year and a half for $5.15/hour? The worst job I’ve ever had in my life? My gratitude for not working there ever again? #Thanksgiving”

Well, the response from my 8 readers was positive, so I’ll do my best.

I got hired at Long John Silver’s after a 3-month job search. I was 16, and expected to earn my keep. Old enough to work, you’ve got to work.

So, of course, I applied to all the retail places at the mall. Then it was fast food. Fast food is bottom of the labor hierarchy. Let’s not kid ourselves.

Jack in the Box did not hire me. I had no labor experience. Neither did Burger King. A man who had a huge crush on me when I was in High School, who later went on to serve as a tank crewman in Iraq and came home to be an air-conditioner machine repair man, who eventually committed Selvmord, said “I work at Long John Silver’s. I can help you get a job there.”

I went in for the interview. They made me watch multiple videos telling me I would be fired and prosecuted for anything if I stole anything from them.  As if Long John Silver’s had anything to steal, besides, maybe, the purse of money at the end of the night. It really says something when your employer openly says he expects you to be a thief.

It was $5.15/hour.  I considered myself lucky, because at that time it was $4.25/hour.

Let me tell you, good reader, what I had to do: I had to constantly stock ice, clean the dining room, empty garbage that weighs 30 lbs, scrub everything down, clean pubes out of the male toilet, restock the freezer with “key lime pies,” deal with an aggressive Mexican fry-cook who wanted to “date” me, and, again, deal with a person on the drive-thru.

For $40 a day after taxes.

I remember, vividly, coming home and collapsing in bed. My healthy teenaged body would ache. My clothes would reek like oil.  My feet would hurt. My back would hurt.

I will suck dick for money before I go back to that. As long as the guy isn’t a scary piece of shit, it’s not remotely comparable.

Interview to be my boyfriend

I am doing an interview for you, a new potential boyfriend.  Please answer honestly (ha!) and completely:

Do you hate your mother, or just have a very weird relationship with her?

Are you a genius and at the height of your profession?

Do complete strangers call you “a total fucking asshole?”

Do you experience road rage?

Are you capable of breaking into your ex-girlfriend’s apartment when she leaves you? Does home invasion give you a boner?

Are you a sadist? Does saying things like “You’re my property!” turn you on?

Have you published in peer-reviewed journals?

Do you hire sex workers, and then blame the sex worker for doing that work?  Are you a massive hypocrite?

Do you fantasize about murdering your colleagues because you’re so damn competitive?  Do you actively try to hurt their careers?

Are you jealous of my parrot, Abe?

Are you capable of borrowing a cockatoo, or, alternately, abandoning your Amazon parrot at the dog pound when you got tired of him?

Are you emotionally unavailable?

Married?

Will I eventually have to get a restraining order?

Do you have a personality disorder?

Will you go through my purse, my phone, and my drawers?

Are you a notorious womanizer?

Are you a millionaire who is absurdly cheap?  Will I have to grovel to you to help me out with rent once in my life when I’ve fallen on hard times, after we’ve been together for years?

Do you tip 10%?

Are you ostensibly a Democrat, and then give money to Republican candidates “because taxes?”

Do you have strong opinions about black Americans, even though you have none in your social orbit and practically never speak to one?

Do you own Gucci loafers?

Are you old enough to be my father?

Extra credit if you are Jewish.  Sephardic guys to the front of the line.  Extra extra points if you fetishize me because of how white I look, but would never marry me in a million years.

Punching the Collector in His Eye (Part III)

When he finished his work, he considerately asked if I wanted to put on a little makeup, because he knows that I don’t like to leave the house with at least some mascara and cover-up for any skin imperfections.  Without it I feel ugly and exposed.  Contrary to what most men seem to think, makeup is a mask.

“What about the puzzle?” I asked.  It is challenging, but I’d figured out one of the borders.  I’d hate to dump it back into the box.

“Leave it there.  You can work on it tomorrow,” he said.

I went to my bathroom to put on the 5-minute version of my face and asked him what I ought to change into, clothes-wise.

“You look perfect as you are.”

“Collector, it’s cold outside, and anyway I can’t wear this–” I gestured at my blue cotton gingham dress with a bow, reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland–“out in public.”

He went to the coat closet and took out his long quilted parka.  Everyone in the Tri-State area has a puffy coat for the hard winter weather.  It’s basically a sleeping bag with arms.

“Put on socks and your boots and wear this.  Nobody will see.”

So I bundled up and put my boots on.  While I was doing it, I noticed that my arrows were gone from underneath my bed, where I store them.  My bow was there, but the arrows were gone.

I didn’t say anything about that.

We took the elevator down and walked through the lobby and out onto the street.  The parka kept me warm, though I’d get a cold draft from underneath up my bare legs.  I still felt exposed, like everyone had Superman’s x-ray vision.

We got a cab and went to the zoo in Central Park, specifically the Tisch Children’s Zoo, which is a petting zoo full of nubian goats and sheep.  It even has an alpaca!

Who wouldn’t want to pet cute goats…?  You can touch their horns and weird feet!  I love goats!  I wish I could have goats!

He knew it would make me happy.  He knows how much I love animals.

He gave me quarters to buy food from the dispensers to feed the animals.  I didn’t have my purse, so I didn’t have any money.  In fact, he told me “don’t worry about your handbag” because he would “take care of everything” before we left the house.

He took a bunch of photos of me with his cell phone.

There were all of these little children running around the petting zoo and it made me happy, but it also hurt my heart.   Because I don’t get that, and the older I get, the more unlikely it is that it will ever happen.  How is it possible to be happy and sad at the same time?

Then we walked to The Strand bookstore, and he told me that I could pick out whatever I wanted.

He’s an avid bookworm (we all love the Kindle, but let’s be frank: nothing compares to a physical book), but he didn’t leave me alone so that he could browse by himself.  He was with me the entire time.  What did he think I would do…?  Run for it?

I feel so much pressure whenever he asks me to pick something for myself because he has such a demanding sense of aesthetics. I feel like I’m being judged on my taste.

I picked out a charming Berlitz “German for Travelers” phrase book from 1954 (when “Mein Herr” was still the default polite way to address a strange man) and a Tim O’Brien fiction book, In The Lake Of The Woods.  O’Brien can turn a phrase.  I also picked a hardbound book about pirates.

Then the Collector took me to the children’s section and said, “Pick out a book for your future daughter.”

And what, o what, am I to make of that…?

Before we went home, we stopped in a Duane Reade close to his place.  He went to the makeup section where all the nail polishes are.

“Are all of these the same?  Or is one brand better superior to the other?” he asked me.

“I dunno.  I guess Essie and OPI are the best,” I said.

He picked out a sky blue one, because it matched my dress.  No man has ever bought a cosmetic for me before.

An hour later, he was painting my toenails.  No man has ever done that for me, either. Not even a client.

“Margo,” he said, bent over my feet while I laid on the sofa with my legs in his lap, “I want you to allow me at least the opportunity to make you happy.  Didn’t we have fun today?”

What could I say to that?

Punching the Collector in His Eye (Part II)

So I fell on the ground and screamed (because I was scared): “You can’t hurt me!  This is not okay!  This is not playtime!  If you touch me, it’s assault!  I’ll call the police! I’m covered in bruises! I’ll show them!

I realize this is hypocritical, given that I just punched the man in the eye (for the record, if he’d called the cops on me, I would have immediately admitted it and taken The Police Cruiser Ride of Shame to the 10th Precinct), but he wasn’t in danger of me fucking killing him.

I was afraid! He could do anything he wanted to me!  I’m naked on the floor!  Without my guns, how could I stop him?

We stared at each other, me on the floor with my arm in front of my face, and him panting.  His eye was tearing and red and his shirt tail had come out of his pants.

I saw the composure drop over his face then, like dropping the blinds.  I did not know whether this meant sanity had been restored, or things had just became even worse.

“The police.”

“Yes!”

He cleared his throat, nodded, and then started to tuck in his shirt.  When he spoke again he was out of breath but his voice was otherwise low and calm, like normal.

“Margo, look at me…and then look at yourself.  You know, Margo…you are a troubled young woman with a documented history of eating disorders and alcoholism.  You have been on medication. Sometimes, when young women are troubled, they do things to themselves.  They mutilate themselves.”

I lay there on the floor, my panic suddenly evaporated.  I could not believe what I was hearing.

He continued: “I’ve seen you do it myself.  I sent you to three therapists in the last year because I am concerned for you, Margo.  I did it because I care, and I am worried.  I sent you to rehab for the same reason.”

Shit is now occurring to me, readers, and it’s not pretty.

All I could do was whisper: “I’m not crazy.”

He shrugged.  “You’re a S&M prostitute.  I don’t hold this against you, of course, but many people might.  They might think you were crazy to do it.  And all I am is a gullible older man with a midlife crisis, who took this unstable, opportunistic girl in off the street into my beautiful home.  I’m a sucker.”

I just lay there, completely gobsmacked.  What blew my mind was that there was nothing factually inaccurate with anything he said (except about him being gullible, hardy har-har, like anyone is going to snooker the Collector…the idea of me taking advantage of him is preposterous.  Nobody takes advantage of his man).  He wasn’t lying.  It was just…the way he would twist it around to make it seem like I am a nutso basket case.  For what, out for what–to get his cash?  Even his own sons don’t worry about that, because, I’m telling you, there is no woman on earth seductive enough to persuade this guy into giving her any money he doesn’t want to!  And I don’t even do that anyway!  I’ve never done it, in my life!  I’ve always supported myself and paid my own bills!  And he knows it!  He knows what sort of person I am!

The dawning realization that this is how he would portray me to other people if we parted on bad terms…and that people would probably believe him!  I felt betrayed.  Like I was sold out, and it hadn’t even happened yet.

And then I thought: This conniving fuck has thought of everything.

He knocked me out.  Knocked…me…out.

I started sobbing, which is extremely rare for me.  I am not a crier.  I don’t even cry in therapy.  It felt like all the strength and fortitude ran out of me like water.

“You don’t care about me!  You’re a liar!”

“I love you, Margo…but do not EVER threaten me.”

He let me cry for a few minutes and then came back with a blanket to cover my nakedness.  He was perfectly calm now.  Why wouldn’t he be?  I’d capitulated and he’d regained control of the situation.

He helped me up and gave me a hug and stroked my hair.  Then he led me to the sink in my bathroom and gently told me to wash my face while he picked out some clothes for me to wear.  While I got dressed, he took out his cell phone.

“I need to call the office.  I’m going to work from home today.  I think we should spend some time together.  We are going to have a good day.”

A good day.  Whatever the hell that could mean in this situation.

“Don’t hurt me,” I sniffled.

“I’m not going to hurt you, Margo.”

Too late for that,  I thought

He called his office.  Then he said that he absolutely had to get some writing done because he was working under a deadline, but it would only take a few hours and then we could spend the rest of the day doing something fun.

He left the room and came back with a bag.

“I bought you something while you were gone!”

It was a puzzle of The Unicorn in Captivity,  (South Netherlandish, ca. 1495–1505)..  He’d bought it for me at the gift shop at The Met.

Am I the only one who sees the irony in this?

“You can work on it while I write,” he said, peeling off the plastic shrink wrap.

We went to his office space and he retrieved this rolling body-pillow thing he lets me use when he wants me to be on the hardwood floor instead of using the furniture (unless I’m being disciplined or punished, of course–then I just get the cold, hard floor).

“Can I play with Abe while you write?”  Abe likes to ‘help me’ when I do anything craft-y like puzzles or wrapping gifts.

A shadow crossed his face: “I think we should focus on each other.”

Behold, the Collector: The Man Jealous of a Little Parrot. 

“He comforts me, though,” I said.  “If he poops on the floor, I’ll clean it up right away.”

“All right.  Go get him.”

I went to get Abe, but Abe did not want to come out of his cage.  Abe and seen (or at least heard) the fight and my crying, and he was upset and just wanted to hide in his little cloth hidy-hut.  It made me feel guilty.

I worked on the puzzle for a few hours while he worked at his desk.  He’d take 10-minute breaks to refresh himself and work on the puzzle with me.

“It’s lunchtime.  What would you like to eat?”

“I’m not hungry.”

“Just hot chocolate for you, then.”

He sounded cheerful and pert.  His eye had stopped watering.  It was red, though.  There was no swelling.

“I’m sorry I hit you in the eye,” I said, which might or might not be true…I honestly can’t say.

“It’s okay.  It looks very macho.  I can tell the people at work that I got into a bar fight!”

The joke was kinda funny.  The Collector in a bar fight!

(Actually, he’d probably do just fine.)

“I’ll finish up in an hour, and then we can go out!  We’ll have some fun.”

Oh God, I thought.

“Where are we going?” I asked.

TO BE CONTINUED

 

 

Punching the Collector in His Eye

I had a fight with the Collector and punched him in the eye, which resulted in an even bigger confrontation.

I have never in my life hit one of my boyfriends (or anyone else for that matter) unless he specifically wanted me to in the context of an erotic encounter.  I have never hit a partner even when I was with a douchebag who deserved it, which was most of them!  I know this sounds weird coming from a professional domme, but I’m not a violent person!  The last time I hit anyone was probably my little brother when I was twelve!

The Collector has been sending me to a hypnotherapist to help me with my concentration, alcoholism, and memory recall.  He did it for several years himself and swears that it helped him.  Perhaps it did, because his ability to recall information and recite entire conversations verbatim is superlative and it really helps him at his job.  Whenever I write anything academic or professionally it looks like a library bomb exploded around my desk; most of the Collector’s citations are memorized.

My Freudian analyst was also a personal fan and I know someone else who swears it helped them stop smoking.  The Collector pays for the therapy sessions, so told myself I should try it.

“Is it going to be like a 90s daytime talk show, where the hypnotist makes you dance around with a mop thinking it’s Frank Sinatra?”  I asked him.

“No, it’s not like that at all!” he laughed.

I didn’t care for it at first.  Hypnosis is A Real Thing, but some people take to it much more easily than others.  After several sessions I did not perceive that it was doing anything for me (although the meditation aspect was relaxing…I never tried to meditate before.  Sounds too much like prayer, which is pointless to me).

“You have to practice at it.  I’ll help you,” he said.

Well, we worked on it.  We certainly did.

I have multiple concerns, but chief among them is that I do not give a shit if I never remember parts of my childhood that I don’t already remember.   If I could get most of it wiped from my brain, like in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, I would do so.  Happily.

As we all know, the Collector has what might be euphemistically called boundaries issues when it comes to me.   It’s difficult to talk about because obviously Tops have boundaries issues–it’s what they do.  BDSM is partially about intimacy and (in my BDSM fantasies, at least) doing stuff that would be illegal in any other context.

We did some stuff over Christmas after I got out of rehab that I haven’t posted because I’m too self-conscious and I am pretty sure that he would shit purple twinkies if he knew I was sharing with my 8 readers.

But you know him, he always wants more, more, more!

He wanted me to work on remembering the last meal I shared with my father.

“Tacos with the rest of the family at my favorite Mexican restaurant before I left for Ph.D. school,” I said.

“No.  The last meal you shared together, just the two of you.”

I pulled a blank.

“I don’t particularly want to remember this,” I said.  It was true.  I don’t want to remember this shit.

He kept pressuring me.  A few days later he brought it up again and I was in a bad mood that morning and I snapped.  I raised my voice.

“Look, Collector!  You’re not my shrink, okay?  You don’t get an all-access VIP backstage pass to everything that goes on in my head!  In my life!  I already give you 90% of what you want, sexually!  You’re so invasive!  You’re not my psychologist!”

“I’m not your psychologist…?”  He stood there, completely unruffled by my outburst.

No!  And I don’t care how many years you spent on the couch with your analyst in London!”

“I’m not?  All of this time, you thought we were just having conversations…?”

He cocked his head to the side and then did one of his signature moves that I used to think was sexy but now drives me crazy: The Collector’s smug, condescending smirk. 

WHAT!?!?  I thought, letting the implications sink in.

I walked right over to him and punched him in the eyeball.

He didn’t even step back or raise up his hands to defend himself!  I’m sure he never thought in a million years I’d do something like that!  And I did it!  I just clobbered him upside the face! And I did a pretty good job of it, too, for a girl with scrawny bird arms who never hit anyone with a closed fist and never learned how!

And I didn’t apologize!  I didn’t ask to take him to the hospital or anything!

He yelled and put his hand over his face and bent over at the waist.

I just stood there, waiting.  I was waiting too.  As soon as his hand went down, I was going to punch him again in the same place!!!!  YEAH!!!

He finally looked up at me, but didn’t take his hand off his face.  He was breathing hard.

“You should not have done that,” he said.

“Oh, fuck you!!” I yelled.

“Go to your room RIGHT NOW and stay there until I decide what to do with you,” he said.

“I’m not going to my room!”

He took his hand away, and there were tears coming out of his eye and streaming down his face.  I really got him.   His face was all red.  It was real pain.  He was breathing hard.  The way one does.

“Then go lean over the table,” he said, panting.

Now, I know what that means: it means he’s going to beat me or fuck me or both.  I have received many beatings bent over the table, both for maintenance and for punishment.

“Fuck you!  I’m not leaning over your table!”

“DO IT!”

“NO!”

Then shit got bad.  Shit got really bad, my friends.

Then he ran over to me.  I turned my back in an instinctual move to run away from him, and he put his arms around me and lifted me off the floor. 

“Go to your room or go to the table!” He screamed.  I’ve never heard him scream except for the time he broke the door down a long time ago.

The confrontation has just escalated dramatically in a heartbeat and I’m still furious but I’m also scared because I’m vulnerable.  The Collector isn’t a big man, but he’s my height and very strong.   Besides a few bad “clients” being intimidating scary dickheads, the last time I had a man impose himself on me physically was the Surgeon when he made his final house call, and we all know how that turned out.

I started flailing and kicking around and screaming at him to let me go.  I was telling myself that I needed to go for his balls, but I couldn’t figure out how to do that and I was panicking.  We are struggling, like actual struggling, this is not funny.  I was clawing at his hands.

“See now why it suits me that you’re frail?” he screamed in my ear.

Aaaaannnnddddd….another piece of the puzzle clicks into place.

I let go of his hands and starting batting at his head.  I was doing it from behind me, so there wasn’t much leverage.

He let me go and shoved me at the same time and I fell on the floor.

You might be wondering why I didn’t run for the elevator, but what was I going to do?  I was butt-ass naked.  I didn’t have my purse or my wallet or shoes.  What was I going to do?  Run naked into the street?  Like he wouldn’t have caught me before I got to the elevator anyway?  And what was I going to do, leave Abe?

It gets worse.  This is all the writing I can bring myself to do now, but there it is.

Meet the Boys II

So, the next evening started as a scene of domestic tranquility, until it got weird and sexualized.  It was actually so normal that it struck me as bizarre, because readers will know that normal is not my thing and it was not exactly typical in my childhood homes.

Dad was in the kitchen making dinner–a pork loin–and he’d baked bread, too, so the house already smelled good.  I was in the big room playing chess with the young one. I was losing, as usual, because I’m the world’s worst chess player (I’m not so bad at the logic part, but the game involves spatial reasoning, and I can’t reason my way spatially out of a wet paper bag), but we were enjoying ourselves.

After he mopped me up with ease in about a dozen moves, I asked him if he wanted to play again.

“Yes!” he said.  “It is fun!  When I play with Father, I always lose.  Everyone always loses with him.”

Oh, believe me, I know, I thought, but of course I did not say that.

Then, I suggested that we switch colors because maybe I would get his good luck if I played black.

He said that he always played black, and so I did the next reasonable thing and challenged him to a thumb war.

It was the first time I ever touched the boy, other than when I shook his hand when I met him.  As I said in my last blog post, I’d been trying very hard to avoid even the slightest suggestion of impropriety.

Well, for whatever reason, we both found it hilarious and started laughing.  He was making these kung-fu noises before he smashed my thumb down.  We were both laughing really hard and telling each other not to cheat.

Then I said we should arm wrestle, and that was even funnier because it was even more ridiculous.  He is only 14, but he is still bigger than me and I have skinny little bird arms that have gotten even skinnier because I haven’t been able to lift weights since the grease fire (couldn’t risk opening the wounds), so the “competition” was a joke and we were both laughing our heads off like it was the funniest thing in the world.  You know how sometimes something is so funny that you can’t stop laughing…?  It was like that.  The tears were coming out and I was probably running my makeup.  I don’t know why it was so funny.

Then he suddenly stood up from the table, ran over to me, and picked me up.  He started spinning me around, making helicopter noises, until I had vertigo.  I was screaming and laughing, but I didn’t seriously tell him to put me down, so I guess it’s my fault…?

He ran with me into the kitchen to show his Dad.

“Look!  See what I’ve got!” he said.

Dad looked up from the oven, with a big smile on his face: “I see you take after me!”

The kid started laughing again and reversed himself, making car motor noises, and started to run off down the hallway.

“Hupp!  Don’t run too far with my prize, boy!” His father shouted after us, laughing.

He carried me into the reading room just off the hallway, which is essentially a minor library.  It has windows in it, and the orange sunset light was coming in, but it was a bit dark.  New York doesn’t have the amazing, world-renowned sunsets of my homeland, but sometimes the colors still come through.

Then the elder son came in.  The one who’d looked at me in my bath the night before.

I don’t think that I can convey the change of atmosphere in the room.  We both stopped laughing immediately.  You could have heard a pin drop.  It was as if the temperature dropped 20 degrees.

He strode right up to us and extended his arms…and then said, incredibly:  “It’s my turn.  Give her to me.”

What THE FUCK?!  I thought.

The young one gripped me tighter and started to back away.

“Put me down, please,” I said.  My voice was calm, not breathless or screetchy. I was suddenly scared and I wanted to re-exert control. I also noticed that in all the roughhousing, my skirt had ridden up.  I was wearing bike boyshorts underneath for modesty, so nobody was getting a show, but, when your skirt goes up, well, it’s a thing.

He did not put me down!  WHAT?

I started to try to help myself out of his arms.  I wasn’t making a huge fuss because I didn’t want to be dramatic, but I wasn’t going to just sit there and take it.  The situation had suddenly gotten weird. Also, even though I’m skinnier now, I’m not a small woman–I’m quite tall and I’m not going to let some teenager hold me after I told him to put me down.

THEN it occurred to me that he did not put me down because he was scared of his brother.  I don’t think he was ignoring me; I think he was off in his head.

Something is going on here that I don’t understand, I thought to myself. I felt I was looking at two boys that had a secret together.

The older one approached again, still holding out his arms.  Like I was a book or an inanimate object.

“Put me down NOW!” I repeated, and rolled out of his arms and onto my feet.

Then came the voice from behind us, in the doorway.  It was in his language, so I couldn’t tell what he said, but it sounded a lot like What is this?

It was Dad.  The Calvary had arrived.

He extended his hand to me and I immediately ran over to him.  I know that made me look weak, but I was scared. At the same time, I didn’t want to get the young one in trouble, because he hadn’t done anything wrong.

“(Young one) and I were just horsing around,” I said.

Dad stood there, appraising the situation.  I understood, instinctively, that the boys were afraid of him.  There was a lot of tension in the room.

He told the younger one to keep an eye on the pork loin in the oven, and then took me by the hand and pulled me down the hallway to his bedroom, where he fucked me, quickly and violently, on the carpet.  The competition–if that’s what it was–had apparently excited him.  I tried hard not to make noise, but, you know, it had to have been obvious to the boys what was happening.

Then we all ate dinner at the table.  I guess you can imagine the ambiance for that one. Dad was the only one with any appetite, but we all ate, all right.  The wit here, on the scenic Western slope, is: If he’s treatin, you best be eatin.

Secrets run in families like streams of water, down through generations.

Welcome home.

The Crate

When I came back to his house (I could come in by myself by then; all the security guards and front doormen recognized me), I found him in the living room.  He’d changed out of his suit and into gym shorts and a t-shirt.

There was packing material all over the floor–cardboard, foam–and he had a tool kit out and was…

…assembling something?

I’d seen this man assemble shit a few times before, and beyond replacing lightbulbs it always had something to do with ME, so I froze and took notice.

(The first time, it was removing the door from my bedroom.  The second, drilling a hole through his kitchen table to install an screw-eye so that I could be chained through it during dinnertime, like a prisoner in an institution. “What are you doing?  Are you really drilling a hole in your beautiful tortoiseshell furniture?!” I asked, incredulous.  I mean, this table is probably 100 years old, the material priceless and endangered, and here he is with his shirtsleeves rolled up, drilling away.  Not to mention: “How are you going to explain the hole to dinner guests?”  “Take out the hardware and cover the hole with a vase of flowers,” he said.)

“Hello, Darling,” he said, still working.  He was using manual tools and not the power screwdriver–consulting the manual.

“What is this you’re working on?”

“I bought something for you!  Ordered it online.  It just arrived today!”

I stepped closer and took a closer look at the pieces that were spread out on the floor.

It was wooden and had bars.  It looked like…

…a crib?!  For a baby?!  

For a moment, I didn’t know whether to be elated or completely horrified.  I’m going through some complex emotional issues right now concerning whether or not I’ll ever have a family, as I am rapidly approaching the later part of my child-bearing years, and I know my mother went into early menopause.  I never wanted children before, I was always against it and assumed I’d be happily childfree, but recently I guess there is something to that “biological clock” trope and I’m starting to think that if I decide that I DO want a family, I need to step on the gas.  This is completely new to me, and it’s stressful.  I know several women in their 40s who have happily born healthy babies and I still have time left to decide what I want to do, but it is stressful.

I can’t tell anyone about this anxiety.  I don’t have a shrink right now and I’m isolated.  I can only tell you, my 8 readers.

So, getting back to our narrative: I took a closer look at the packaging and what he was assembling.

It was not a crib.  It was a dog crate.  A fancy wooden dog crate.  Looks a lot like this:

 

dog crate

The first time he put me into it, we were having movie night.  He sat on the couch with the crate close by.  He gave me popcorn and a diet Pepsi I could drink through the bars with a bendy-straw.

It was not comfortable being in the cage because I’m tall and have long legs, so I couldn’t really relax, but, you know, for a few hours it’s tolerable if you don’t have joint problems and aren’t a crybaby. I did have a matress pad and a blanket.

As it ended up, he became too excited knowing that I was in the cage, and he could not focus on the movie.

He stopped it and let me out.

You can guess what happened after that.