Broken Rules and Broken Doors

Some Tops are big on Rules, and some have almost none at all.  The Surgeon, for instance, only had a few for me: I wasn’t allowed to swear in his presence, I couldn’t wear pants (shorts were okay in the summertime sometimes, though–he loved my legs), and I had to ask his permission before I changed my appearance in any significant way, which meant no radical hairdo changes.  Oh, and he made me quit smoking almost immediately, which was actually one of the better things he ever did for me.

This one–Mr. Toast-for-Dinner, Esq.– was a big Rules guy, which didn’t bother me at all.  I like rules and thrive in structured environments, which is one reason I generally loved academia so much.  I’m also, believe it or not, generally a people-pleaser and don’t have any problems with authority I find uncorrupt and legitimate.

Well, one of his rules was that I wasn’t allowed to wear clothing in the house unless we had company over, or a repair person or the cleaning service was visiting.  The first thing I’d do when I got back to his place (if he was home or coming home) would be to go to my room and undress and either hang my clothes back up or put them in the hamper to be laundered.

One day, he called me ahead to let me know that a few of his colleagues were coming back with him to discuss some of the cases they were working on.  I put on a nice conservative dress, refreshed my makeup and hairdo, and, when everyone arrived, I tried to play charming and unobtrusive hostess: keep a low-wattage smile on my face, get everyone refreshments, and otherwise remain attentive but as unobtrusive as possible.

I was clearing the coffee tables and loading up the dishwasher when they left three hours later.  I was also, I must admit, playing on my phone.

“Margo,” he looked up from the papers he was going over with a neon yellow highlighter.

“Hmmm?”

“Your dress.”

I looked down at myself, confused, and asked him if there was something wrong with it.  It was navy blue with a high neck and the hem was an inch above my knee.  Attractive, but not sexy–the sort of thing you could wear in a somewhat formal office environment.

“Why are you still wearing it?”  He put his papers down and rose to his feet suddenly.

I looked at the clock.  Yeah, company had been gone for almost 40 minutes.

“Sorry.  I’ll go to my room and take it off,” I said.

He started to walk towards me pretty aggressively, and, instinctively, I started to back up.

“Why did you forget?”  He didn’t scream, but his voice sounded angry.

“I was distracted!  I just forgot!  I’ll go take it off right now!”

Then I turned my back on him and started running down the hallway, to my room.

It could have ended there…but something happened.  He overreacted.  All of a sudden, I heard him start running after me.

I guess I overreacted too, because I freaked out.  I mean, I’m not used to men chasing me down, at least in the literal sense.   I got scared.  I panicked.

I ran straight past my bedroom to the end of the hall, ran into the bedroom there, closed the door, and locked it behind me.

I’d picked the worst possible room in the house to run to (but of course, I wasn’t thinking).  Every other bedroom had a heavy steelwood door with a deadbolt lock.  As it turned out, I’d just locked myself inside the bedroom that was used for guests who visited with children: it had two twin beds for kids, a crib…and the door was a light, cheap piece of shit you could buy at Home Depot.  The lock was one of those twist ones in the doorknob.

He was at the door not two seconds behind me, and I saw him rattling the doorknob.

“Margo, unlock the door,” he said.

“No!  Why the hell are you chasing me?  I said I’d take the dress off!”

The doorknob rattled, more violently this time.

“Open the door!”

“No!  You’re scaring me!”

He hit it.  Hard.  I jumped.

“I won’t allow you to hide from me,” he said.

(In retrospect, that is what really set him off: the fact that I tried to lock him out.  If I hadn’t done that, he probably would have just ripped my clothes off and given me a spanking and forgotten about it once I was demonstrably contrite.)

“Go away!” I yelled, backing away from the door.

There was a long pause…

….and then a huge thud against the door.  HUGE.

Another pause.  Then, the thud.

I recognized what it was almost immediately: he was backing up, getting in a few running steps, and launching himself shoulder-first into the door.

He was banging the door down.

I almost had a complete panic attack, because I’ve had men bang down doors to get to me twice in my life, and both times resulted in hideous experiences once they got in.

He hit it again.  And again.  And again.

How am I going to handle this…?

When he hit it again, he broke the flimsy lock and the door burst open.  He stepped inside and stood there, looking at me.  His hair was disheveled and half of his shirt had come untucked.

“What the hell are you doing?”  I asked, crossing my arms over my chest.  I tried to sound as composed as possible, which was difficult with all the adrenaline pumping through me.

“Why did you lock the door?” he yelled.  It was–is–the only time I’d heard him scream.

“Because you’re acting like a crazy person!”

He stood there, blinking, like that hadn’t occurred to him.

I pointed at the broken door.  “You just broke down the door in your own home chasing after a terrified girl half your age!  You broke your own property!”

It was true: he’d completely lost control of the situation, which was what I was trying to impress on him, because he was a control-freak.

“You look ridiculous!”  I reiterated.

He looked at me, turned at the waist and looked back at the door, and then came back to me.

Then he turned around and walked out without a word.  He went to his bedroom and closed the door.

I ran back to my room (no long on the door), got my guns and my purse, bolted for another bedroom and locked myself inside.  I slept there overnight and didn’t leave until I heard him go to work in the morning.

We completely ignored each other for two days.  When I was in the house, I stayed in that bedroom with a deadbolt lock and didn’t come out.  It had a private bathroom and when he was at work I stocked up on snacks and water, so I didn’t have to leave when he was home.

After two days, he slipped a card underneath my door.  It was a polite request that I join him for dinner.  I sent him a text message saying that I would attend.

He cooked dinner and rapped gently on my door to let me know it was ready.  I’d deliberately worn the same dress I was wearing when he threw his temper tantrum.

“I apologize.  My behavior was very impulsive and out of character for me.  It won’t happen again.  I’m ashamed of myself,” he said at the table.

I don’t think that last part is true–I don’t think this man has any use for shame–but he kept his word about the rest of it: no doors have been broken down since.

Part II: Bath Time

I heard him running the bath in the second bathroom down the hall.  We’d spent a lot of time there, after dinner and before bed.   He liked to wash my hair and soap me down with a fluffy sponge and sometimes even shave my legs for me, which was kind of sexy because it was nerve-wracking (I was always worried he was going to nick me, though he seldom did).

And we would talk.

At first I thought it was just going to be an occasional romantic gesture, but when I saw that he was making a ritual out of it, I was slightly concerned.  The reasons for my concern are entirely my own baggage: bathtime with Dad was one of my (only) happy early-childhood memories of the man.  For some reason, he got a big kick out of it.  I had lots of bath toys and we always used Mr. Bubble:

mr-bubble

He’d sit on the toilet lid or get a chair and we’d make statues out of the bubbles and bubble hats  and throw foam Nerf balls back and forth and splash around, fun stuff like that.  Sadly–but necessarily–that had to end when I got older.  I don’t remember how old, but I was still pretty little.  Dad said that he was sorry, but I was getting too old and it wasn’t appropriate anymore and I would have to bathe myself from now on.  I was sad and disappointed, but, on some level, I understood what he was saying.

So, this nightly after-dinner bath ritual struck me, at first, as kinda paternalistic (honestly, though, I do have to wonder if that was his entire motivation, but I never had the balls to ask if he was trying to deliberately do the boogie-woogie all over my Daddy Issues), and I wasn’t sure if I was going to be comfortable with it.  Additionally, my bathtime is my alone-time, and when I’m with him, I didn’t get much privacy.

Well, it turned out to be fine.  It was easy for me to get over my minor hangup, and he really seemed to enjoy doing it, and we’d have fun. It made me feel cared about.  I even let him take some photos of me in the water, as long as I was in poses that concealed everything, which I would normally never let a man do (one of them turned out so well that he blew it up, had it professionally matted and framed, and hung it in the hallway close to his bedroom).

Plus, it would put me in a nice relaxed mood for when he beat the snot out of me during the sex later.

Tonight, bath time was no going to be so much fun.

I worried that he was up to something when he told me he’d draw the bath himself–I was the one who did that.  He had a huge copper tub and it took forever to fill.

Finally, I heard the water turn off.  He walked back into the dining room and told me it was almost ready, go wait in the bathroom.

I stood up stiffly from the table and walked nervously to the bathroom.

The tub was full of water, all right.  As usual.

But there was something different.  Something…off.

I looked in the mirror above the sinks.

There was no condensation on the glass.  No steam in the room.

The water was not hot.

He strode into the bathroom carrying an enormous bag of cubed party ice from the freezer.  In front of my unbelieving, horrified eyes, he tore open the bag and dumped the contents into the water.  Then he balled up the bag and put it into the waste container.

“Bath time!” he announced happily.

I’d been through icewater torture once before: Heinrich & Co. made me sit in a steel vat of it while they interrogated me the first day of Abduction Weekend.  Believe me, that shit’s no joke.  It was horrible, and I was not eager to re-create the experience, especially for no fucking reason (Abduction Weekend had a point).

“Nope,” I said.

“Get in.”

“I don’t want to.  This is cruel and unnecessary.”

“It’s my prerogative.”

“It’s not safe.”

He reached into his pocket and took out a mechanical egg timer he’d brought from the kitchen.  “You can do ten minutes.  That won’t hurt you.”

“Don’t make me do this,” I said.

“Margo,” he said, lowering his voice, “Do you really wish to turn this into a more serious confrontation?  We can put all of this behind us in ten minutes.”

What this boiled down to, for me, was: Do you want this punishment, or what’s behind door #3?  Because it’s not this, it’s going to be something else, sooner or later.  He wasn’t going to force me to get in the water.  He wasn’t going to pick me up and dump me in, though he was certainly strong enough to do that.  I could tell him to fuck off, get my purse, and go hole up in one of the spare bedrooms that had a deadbolt on the door.  He (probably) wouldn’t try to stop me.

But then…then I’d have to wait.  For the other shoe to drop.  And, almost certainly, unless he had a change of heart after sleeping on it…he’d be plotting.

Because it’s not over…until it’s over.

Be as stoical as possible, no matter how much it hurts.  Don’t break down, don’t beg, and don’t panic.  Don’t give him the satisfaction.

“This is a stupid thing to do for a man who needs my trust,” I said, and started to undress with my back to him.  “Later, you’ll feel like an idiot.”

I looked over my shoulder to check his reaction.  One thing that most of the men I get involved with have in common is that they think they are the pinnacles of human perfection in this world.  They are not used to being called idiots.  Rebukes to their judgement really throw them for a loop.

His mouth was open–I’d bet anything he was going to add more time to the timer as a penalty–but he seemed to think better of it and didn’t say anything.

I approached the tub and looked down at the water.  It was deep, with a layer of ice cubes bobbing merrily on the surface.

“Start the timer,” I said, and stepped into the bath.

It was freezing, but not so painful on my legs.  It was when I lowered myself into the water that the shock of the cold hit.  I yelped and hissed in breath.  Couldn’t be helped.

My skin broke out in gooseflesh all over and started to flush red almost immediately.

He pulled up a chair and sat, crossing his legs.  Front-row tickets to the show.

How can I describe it for you…?  Ten minutes in icewater feels like a very long time.  Long enough to suffer, but not long enough to go numb.  I started to shiver violently and when he handed me a bar of soap I had difficulty holding it; it kept squirting out of my shaking hand and I’d have to rummage around on the bottom of the tub to find it.  The ice cubes clinked against the copper walls.  My nose ran and my teeth chattered.

He watched me intensely but didn’t speak.  He didn’t need to.  I knew him well enough to know what he was experiencing: he was aroused by my distress and playing it cool for the time being because he needed to be in control of the immediate situation.  The sexual overtures would come later, when this was over.

He didn’t tell me to wash me hair, which was a small mercy.  Most of my hair got wet anyway, but I would not have wanted to drop my head into that water.

The bell on the egg timer chimed.

Very carefully–because I was shaking all over–I grabbed the edges of the tub for support, stood up, and stepped gingerly over the side.  I didn’t let go of the tub because I was having trouble straightening my legs and I was concerned about whether I’d fall down.

He watched me get out and then finally stood up and fetched a big fluffy towel from the rack.  He started to rub me dry with it.  I wanted to snatch the towel out of his hands and tell him that I’d do it myself, but, like I said, I was still unsteady and I also didn’t want him to hear my voice while I was still shivering.

“Brave girl,” he said.  His voice was gentle now.  “Can you walk?”

I shook my head.  Snot was still running out of my nose.  I wouldn’t look at him.

“Here,” he said, and wrapped the towel around my torso.  He bent, put his arm under my knees, and scooped me up.  “Let’s put you under the blankets.”

I hadn’t wanted to go to his bedroom, but I’d already capitulated on so much, and was in such a sorry state, that insisting on going to my own room seemed like a lost cause.

He carried me down the hallway and put me into “my” side of his bed, covering my damp, shivering body with the white down comforter.  When he covered me, I turned on my side away from him, looking the other way.

He left and came back with hot tea and a big bottle of water for me, laying them on the nightstand table.   Then he lowered the lights with dimmer switches and sat on the edge of the bed by my body and stroked the top of my head, which was peeking out from under the blanket.

“Where I was born, we heard stories about trolls who kept treasures of gold underneath the ground.  They guarded their treasure very jealously.  You are like a rare treasure, kept beneath the earth.  There are not very many like you.”

And, like myself, reader, you may make of that what you will.

Update on the Grease Fire

Well, my landlord called me back, and I had the good sense not to apologize, which is my nature.  I mean, I cooked these corn dogs (even if I only pretended to eat them, because of my eating disorder), on med-low heat.  I turned my back for 2 minutes.

The handyman (landlord’s in another state) came and said, concerning the oven: “This is a cheap piece of shit made in China.  It overheated because it’s not wired professionally.”

(I immediately made a note of that, and the time, in the VERY UNFORTUNATE case I have to take my landlord to Small Claims Court.)

I still have blisters on my right arm and my right upper arm.  They have started to drain.  During session, I will cover them with non-stick gauze and neosporin.  I will also wear gloves and TRY to wear a shirt with sleeves unless a client requests something more risque, like a corset.

If he asks, well, it’s just a little white gauze on my upper arm, and I’ll tell him the truth and rip out my cell phone: it was a common grease fire.

I’m worried that jerks are going to assume I burned myself making crystal meth (HAHAHA!!!!! WRONG ADDICTION, MORONS!) but I really don’t care.  Half of landlords have souls made of coal dust and assume the worst, anyway)

Wish me luck.

Don’t Play Priest With My Little Pony (II)

(Continued from Part I)

The priest–let’s call him “Father John”–is the only priest I’ve ever met in my life whom I wouldn’t want to hit in the face with a brick.  Only the most conservative Tridantine Mass Catholics hated him.  He was generally adored by the community, and even the Irish nuns, who were considerably more conservative (and less educated) thought of him as some Ultimate Authority.  Because isn’t that what a priest is…?

Father John was an Irish-American from back East…let’s say, Boston. He was a functioning alcoholic and a chain-smoker.  Blue-eyed, stocky, tall, always red-faced, hair probably strawberry blond in his youth.  He had three spaniel dogs he loved, and took them into our classes and hung photos of them on his office wall.  It was well known (though never formally acknowledged) that he had a decades-long relationship with his housekeeper (he had a private residence, unlike the nuns).  I walked in on them, whilst running errands, watching TV together or dining at the table together several times.  Nothing wrong with that, in my opinion, then or now.  People need love and he was a grown man with needs that must be met.  I just hope he kept paying her for her cleaning services and didn’t take her for granted–and he was such a good guy, I’m sure he did, and more.  Her kid from a previous relationship got into the school on a “scholarship.”  I think that’s great.  If he can’t marry her or publicly acknowledge her, at least he can support her and give her kid free education, right?

Father John was a total Vatican II guy and sympathetic to Liberation Theology.  He read lots of books and TIME magazine before TIME became the lowbrow piece of shit that it is today.  He was educated.  Compared to the nuns he supervised, this man was a tenured prof at MIT.

He was the only priest in town who would give my mother confession and the Eucharist.  Technically, it’s forbidden, because she is divorced, and also had unapproved marriages with non-Catholics. The Church was very, very hard on divorce when I was a young child (and before that).  But if you can’t confess and get the Eucharist, you can’t get into heaven (let that sink in for a moment).  If a priest doesn’t give it to you, you go to hell.  Another reason why I hate these assholes.

Father John would take her confession and give her penance and say it was up to God to judge her when the time came.

Father John also fired (“transferred”) a priest who was arrested for aggressively protesting outside of a clinic that provided abortions. The Church was batshit-insane over the abortion issue when I was growing up.  The priest was arrested, after several protests, for putting his hands on a woman walking in.  He spent the night in jail. It was on the news. The Catholic zealots thought he was a hero.  Father John gave him his walking papers at once and forbade the nuns to discuss abortion with us.  Being a head priest of a parish, he was BIG AUTHORITY DAD, so the nuns did whatever he said.

I had my first Sacrament of Reconciliation (confession) with him when I was in 2nd grade.  He could not have been more gentle.  He had his white collar and black priest clothes on, and photos of the Pope and his spaniels all over the wall, and he was smoking, as always.   He sat behind his desk, far away, and even though I was nervous, he didn’t terrorize me at all.

The nuns had trained us to do this Sacrament for months.  I knew the words: “Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. This is my first confession. I accuse myself of the following sins.”

“Go on, when you are ready,” he said.

I confessed to saying swear words (not a sin unless you say the Lord’s name in vain), being mean to my little brother when we fought over a toy, and being angry and resentful at my mother.  I also confessed that I “stole food” from my father’s pantry.  He jealously guarded the food and I was not allowed to eat without his permission.   It was Alberto Beef Jerky from a can.

“You took food from the pantry? Did you take it at night? Were you hungry?”  He sat up straight, cigarette forgotten.

“I’m not allowed to steal food.  It is the family food, and not mine,” I said.

He started smoking again.  I think he was ruminating on it.

Then, it was time for the Act of Contrition.

I said, “Oh my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended thee. I detest all my sins because of your just punishments, but most of all because they offend thee, my Lord, who art all good and deserving of all my love.  I firmly resolve, with the help of your grace, to sin no more and to avoid the occasions of sin.”

He blessed me and gave me ‘ABSOLUTION” for my petty child’s “sins.”  So now I was pure again, and could take my first communion.

He gave me a candy bar before I left.  He had a big bag, like the type you buy for Halloween, full of mixed candy.  He told me to take one I liked.

I left feeling very happy.  It was not as scary as I’d feared it to be.

Father John called someone (who, I do not know) about my father, and a shrink started visiting the school to see me.  His name was Dr. Arthur (I don’t mind telling you his name, because it’s a common and and he HAS to be dead now–he was about a million years old when I knew him).

One of the only times a man’s stood up for me in my life.  Even my mother didn’t do it.

Well, the smoking and boozing eventually started to take their toll.  He had to have heart surgery, like a triple bypass.  Then he kicked the proverbial bucket.  Everyone was sad.  Huge funeral.

His replacement was a complete piece of shit who plagued the parish–and my Mother–for 15 years.  Check this out: he was a widower with grown children who joined the Clergy in late middle age.  So, he had a family.

He would not give divorced people absolution.  He said it was against the rules.

I don’t give a FUCK about the rules, but, if you’re a believer–like my mother–this is incredibly stigmatizing. And the hypocrisy!  I guess GOD wants people to be alone and loveless all their lives.   When my mother told me that he rejected her, I blew up: “Since when has the Church ever been a friend to women?  We have no authority and they used to burn us.  If you insist, check out another parish.  Or, even better, the Unitarians”–the only church I could sit through without feeling my IQ drop 5 points every minute I was there.

He also treated the congregation like they were morons or little children.  He did condescending shit like bring in a huge toy paper butterfly emerging from a cocoon to go up to heaven, and when he lectured about Noah and the Ark, he’d play storm music on a boombox.  Nice sound effects, bro.

I know most people are not exactly geniuses (saying that as the chick who almost burned her apartment down), but common people–illiterate people–have understood the concept of an afterlife for several thousand years, at least.  And Catholics don’t need a paper butterfly to grasp Resurrection. If you want to explain something really pointless and moronic to the “flock,” priest, try explaining the Trinity.

Anyway, I’m getting totally off point.

The point is: what happened when I was playing priest with My Little Pony.

Father John was sitting at his desk, huffing down his 100th Marlboro Lite cigarette of the day.   This was before computers, so he had a shitload of paper files on his desk and a word processor (remember that blast from the past?).

“Tell him what you did!” the nun ordered, and shoved me forward.

“I pretended I was a priest with my horse dolls,” I said, looking at the floor.

“You may leave me to speak with this child alone, Sister Philip (she’s dead too, reader).  I thank you for your concern,” he said.

She left.

He asked to see my toy ponies, so I took them out of my rucksack and handed them to him.  He lined them up and pretended to make them run.

“You know, when I was a boy, I wanted to be a jockey.  I grew too big and heavy, through.  You have to be small to be a jockey.

Do you want to be a priest?”

“No.  I was just pretending.”

“Women do a lot of good in the Church.  It’s a bit like social work. There is work in the Church for all types of people.  Not all nuns are like Sister Philip.  She worked in the Magdalene Laundries. Do you know what that means?”

“No.”  I was too young to know.

He picked up one of my My Little Ponies, a pink one, and said, “This is the cutest one.  What’s her name?”

“Sparkle,” I said.

He bent over his desk and said, “You didn’t do anything wrong.”

“Please don’t tell my parents,” I said.

“What could I possibly tell them?”  He gathered up my toys and handed them back to me.  “If you are summoned to the vocation, you’re summoned.  If she asks, tell Sister Philip that I taught you your lesson.  That’s the truth.  It’s not a lie.”

I put the Ponies back in my bag.

“Be careful of what you say out loud, my dear.  The teachers here do not come from our culture.  I didn’t become a priest to punish people.  God decides that in the end; I try to help, but I can’t tell if anyone is true of heart.  But do remember: there are two types of people in the world…the type that eat their humble pie, and the type who go to hell.  When you sin–and we are all sinners–eat your pie.  But you did nothing wrong here.”

Then he reached into his desk drawer and pulled out the candy bag, and offered me a treat.

What a good man.

Oil Fire (Almost Burned My Apartment Down)

UPDATE 11 PM:  My blistering is very, very bad. My neighbor saw it and said I should probably go to the hospital, but there’s nothing they can do except put me on narcotics for the pain, and since I’m on Naltrexone for the alcoholism, opiates won’t work on me.

My biggest fear right now is that I am going to break open a blister accidentally, like in my sleep.  That will make the pain a million times worse.

(I’d post photos of my blisters–LOOK AT MY OUCHIE!–and my burned up stove, but I already emailed them to my landlord, so it would be a security breech.)

I talked to my brother and he calmed me down.  He said: “Your landlord is going to have to buy another cheapass little oven from Sears and repaint the scorched, blistered areas of paint around the stove. Even including labor costs, this is a $500 mistake AT MOST. You didn’t let his house burn down and you reported it to him immediately.  He might be pissed, but this is not a big deal.  He has pictures of your injuries, and your rent on time.  DO NOT offer to buy a new stove yourself.  I wouldn’t pay a landlord shit besides my rent.”

I did some research online.  Apparently, grease fires are very common and get big in a hurry.  Every personal story I found the was the same, essentially: “I was checking my text on the phone for 20 seconds and smelled something and found flames shooting up to the ceiling. Then I poured water on it and burned the hell out of myself.”

I will NEVER leave a stove with grease unattended again, and I just bought 4 more fire extinguishers from Amazon.

If Abe had been in the apartment, he would have died from smoke inhalation.  Thank God he was at the boarder, because they had to close early one day and I couldn’t get to him in time.

*                                        *                           *

Well, last night was a shitshow of horrific proportions.  Nothing like this has ever happened to me.  I don’t even know HOW it happened.

I was cooking with vegetable oil of the stove and turned my back on it to go use the toilet.  I was gone two minutes, tops.

I wash my hands and come back, and the fucking pan was on fire.  

I freaked and immediately did the stupidest thing imaginable: I grabbed the mop bucket, poured water in it from the kitchen sink, and poured the water all over the fire.

Bad idea.  Bad, bad idea.

All that the water did was make the oil come out of the pan and spread all over the stovetop.  And the oil, was still on fire.

The flames were increasing and there was smoke.  A LOT of smoke.  The smoke alarm went off.

I grabbed the fire extinguisher.  I was in such panic, though, and the fire was spreading, that I could not read the instructions (bet your ass I’m going to be practicing that thing out in the driveway today).

I came very, very close to just running out and calling 911.  But when that fire spread–and you know how fast it can happen–I’d lose everything.  Also, I live in a house with four apartment units.  It  would be unfair to my neighbors.

I got two towels and beat it out, hoping they wouldn’t catch on fire (they didn’t…but they are ruined, of course).

My stove and the grill above it–with the fan and the light–are BLACK.  I hope it’s just soot.  If not, well….

Also: I burned the hell out of my right arm.  Woke up to ten blisters.

My landlord is going to kill me.  There goes my security deposit! I’m about to to start cleaning.

Oh, something else: the fire did something to the electricity. My fridge, next to the oven, turned off.

I stayed up for an extra hour, paranoid, to make sure the fire didn’t somehow “come back” and to let out all the smoke.  I barely slept a wink last night.  The burns hurt, and I was paranoid that the fire would start again in my sleep.

I don’t even know HOW this happened. There was nothing flammable on the stovetop except the oil….in a pan. What happened?

Sucky Update

Well, guys, I just wanted to check in.  I don’t know what to tell you.  I had to have surgery, so I went off the Naltrexone.  It was a minor surgery and everything is fine…except that I relapsed.

Physically, medically, I can’t explain it. I’ve been MOSTLY sober for years, but when I started drinking, ALL of my physical symptoms came back.  That’s why I haven’t been blogging–I’m too sick, and my thought process is too unclear.  I can’t write. I have no focus.

A week ago, I took 4 days off to get through the DTs. I threw up in a bucket by my bed. On the third day, I started to hallucinate.  I’ve had mild auditory hallucinations before, as if I heard the sound of white noise or a radio coming in from next door, but these were REAL hallucinations. I saw things that were not there. I TALKED to them. I talked to ghost hallucinations in my bedroom.  And I knew, when I was doing it, that they could not be possible, but I saw them, and tried to touch them.

I had to go to work.  I thought the withdrawals would be done by them, but they weren’t, so I had to limp to the gas station at 4 AM and buy 3 of those little airline bottles of whiskey. I must have looked like hell.  My eyes were watering and I was shaking all over. The Indian (not Native American) clerk asked me if I was okay.

Now I know that I will probably need 6 days.  I know it’s going to hurt like hell, but I have to do it. All my bills are paid and I have money in the bank, so it should be okay.

I have fucked up so badly.  I can only sleep for three hours at a time. I lay in bed and cry, but I know that I brought it on myself.

How He Would Punish Me

We were laying together in bed, sitting up on the pillows, in a hotel in Copenhagen. It was about 9 AM, and he’d already fucked me.

“When the time comes,” I ventured timidly, “How will you punish me…?”

“Punish, or discipline?  They’re two separate things, you know.”

(They are.  Discipline is control with respect.  It’s positive and intended to better improve the individual, even if it hurts.  It’s what they do in the military (at least, in a good and competent military).  It’s what teachers do to children in school.

Punishment is deliberate cruelty and vengeance, even if it’s just.)

“Punish,” I said.  I was afraid to ask, but I had to know.  I was starting to tremble.  Everything in my body was tense, and I was getting excited.

“Suspend privileges.  Take away your use of furniture; make you sleep in the kitchen on the floor without a blanket.  Corner time, so that you may ruminate on your infractions. Beating you in a way you could not process.  It would not be pleasant.  Making you wear something humiliating in public.

…Is this arousing to you…?”

(I’d started to rub myself under the blankets.)

“I can’t help it,” I said.  I was ashamed, but the longing was very strong.  My eyes were suddenly full of water and I was salivating.  When I swallowed, it hurt.  The sex drive is deep; primordial.

“I want to see it,” he said, and threw off the bedding to expose me. His voice was calm and authoritative.  He knew exactly what he was doing.  “Don’t stop.”

“Please, X.  Please don’t hurt me from inside.”  I spoke his name.

“The only thing that I like even more than the sound of my name in your mouth is when you beg me.”

Crying, now.  Not sobbing, but all the water was leaking from my eyes.  The emotion was building; impending. It felt like standing in a river.  It felt like standing in the water at the ocean, when the wave sucks the sand out from around your feet.  It felt like vertigo.

“I want you to come for me,” he said.

I did.  It was almost involuntary.

Smirking, he got out of bed and looked down at me.

“I just made you come with the power of my words.  Imagine what I could do to hurt you.”

“You won’t have to.  I will obey you in all things.”

He nodded.  “For your sake, I hope you do.”

Clients Who Stalk (II): This One Sends Spies

So, yes, let me tell you about my new stalking client…

Since I started working again in San Francisco, I’ve written at length about the ways in which the clients are different from my clients in New York.  The most prominent distinctions are their professions and racial demographics: in New York, my clients were mostly gentile white men and Jews…lots of MBAs, lawyers, and financial services creatures (most of my regulars, though, were PhDs or some sort of egghead, because they gravitate towards me).  In San Francisco, I get gentile white guys and a lot of Asians and Asian-Americans, including Indians.  On the whole, I think they’re a little younger than my New York clients (ugh…young clients…the older ones are usually better, IME).  A lot of them work in tech or computers.  What’s worse: a financial services creature or a Silicon Valley tech bro who feels conflicted about women because he spent his adolescence and 20s locked in a computer lab…? (To be fair, I spent mine in libraries, but it’s not comparable because I was also always getting laid.)

I hate to make generalizations because I don’t want to be racist or to stereotype people, but, on the whole, my experience with East Asian clients has been very positive (Indians, alas, are another story).  They tend to be good clients because they have no concept of “sin” and, historically, sex work has been regarded as a perfectly legitimate, if personally undesirable, profession for a woman in their cultures.

There is one thing I’ve noticed about SOME of them, though, that I’ve never seen before with any other clientele (which brings me to my stalker):

They treat seeing sex workers as a male-bonding sport.

Other clients don’t tell ANYONE in their lives that they come to see me.  They don’t talk about it with their guy friends.  Part of that is the stigma surrounding BDSM, especially for submissive men, but it’s also simply not part of the American culture to talk about seeing sex workers (with the possible exception of going to strip clubs with your friends, as a group) to your friends or colleagues. I could envision a bunch of 20-year-old servicemen in San Diego getting drunk and deciding to go to a brothel in Tijuana as a sort of adventure field-trip…but mostly, men are secretive and solitary when it comes to hiring sex workers.

Some Asians don’t see it that way.  As I’ve said, they have zero shame about it, and they also think it’s all in good fun (which is true, or, at least, it should be), and it is also a macho/masculine thing to do.

As I said in my last post, I did sensual massage for two tours in San Francisco.  I decided that it wasn’t a good fit for me, so I stopped.  In that time, about half of my clients were Asian or Indian, and a LOT of them immediately started referring their buddies to me.  I’d get emails: “Hi Margo, this is X, my friend Mr. I-Heart-Massage-On-My-Lunchbreak loved you and said I have to see you for myself.  May I book?”

My new stalker is an early-40s wealthy Korean businessman I met doing sensual massage. He LOOOOOOVED me (they kinda fetishize my height and coloring, which is odd to me) and immediately started sending his friends.  He’d book me for a session every day I worked in SF. I started to be weirded out when he’d show up with two friends, and the other two would wait in the car or go get a drink or a bite to eat until it was “their turn.”

On one hand, the business was good, right…?  And they all were happy to screen.

On the other hand…there was something offensive to me in the way these guys were passing me around like a jar of cookies.

My soon-to-be-stalker started to ask me if I’d do outcalls to visit him in Palo Alto.  At first, he just asked me, which is fine, but then he tried to talk me into it.

Then he started asking me for pictures, and if he could record me (NOPE sorry).

Then he asked me if I was willing to see him and his friends at the same time. (Same time for what?  I only have two hands!  I can only give one person a backrub at once!)

Then his buddies would come it, and try to convince me of the same things.  Like I said, these clients are not subs and they come into the session with a totally different mindset.

The stress reached critical mass and I blacklisted my soon-to-be stalker (not to his face) and stopped doing sensual massage.  Nope, not for me.  My ads under that stage name disappeared from the internet.  I’d only done it for 6 shifts in all.

Well, Stalker McStalkerpants did not do the sensible thing and move on to the next appealing woman on Eros.  Oh NOOOOOOOO.

Somehow, he tracked me down under my prodomme name, and started emailing me through that ad.  I don’t know how he could do that (especially since I never show my face in my ads, distorted my body statistics slightly, and wore completely different outfits, and my ad copy was different).

Actually, I do know how he could do that: obsessively checking and comparing all the ads on the sex worker ad malls and emailing the women he thought might be ME.

It probably didn’t take him as much time as my New York City stalkers, because the market in San Francisco is considerably smaller.

I ignored him completely.

He starts trying to book a massage through my Google Voice.  BLOCK.

Then, it gets weirder…

I started to get booking requests from totally new clients, asking for leg-worship sessions or tease-and-denial.  We do the usual email exchange and set something up.  They come in, and all they want is a massage (which they didn’t say in their email).

Well, now I’m on the spot.  It wasn’t what I expected, but I’m already dressed and the session is booked, he’s paying me…so, I did it.  This has happened with three different new clients, and they were all middle-aged Korean guys.  After the second one, I started to feel concerned.  Spidy sense started going off.

They’d book a second session for the following week, and, sure enough, they’d ask, towards the end of the session, “Hey, why won’t you see Stalking Client?  He really likes you!  He recommended you!  He wants to see you again.”

Now, reader, please imagine this from my perspective: I’m standing by the bed, trying to get the tension out of this new guy’s calves or shoulders, la-dee-dah, I’m thinking everything is fine…

…when suddenly he lets me know that he is essentially a fucking spy sent by my stalker to convince me into seeing his stalking friend again.

Yeah, very very uncomfortable.

And now I have another problem: if I admit to being the sensual massage provider, stalker will know for a fact that, well, it’s me.  If I say “I have no idea what you’re talking about,” I still have deniability.  But if I deny it, I can’t be honest and say, “Your friend was a boundaries-violator who made me uncomfortable.”

But, why would I say that anyway…?  Stalker doesn’t give a shit about my comfort, or else he wouldn’t be a stalker.

So, I get the spy out of the room and then immediately blacklist him, too.

Stalker has sent three guys to me (that I know of).  The last one was a retired computer executive whom I thought was pretty cool, and not a spy for Stalker, because I’d seen him 3 times and he hadn’t dropped the bomb yet, but, sure enough….as he’s getting dressed to go, he says, “My friend, the Stalker, really likes you, and will give you a $1000 tip to see him again.  More, if you do threesomes with one of his friends.”

WHAT?! WHAT?! SINCE WHEN DO I OFFER THREESOMES WITH CLIENTS? A $1000 TIP?  WHAT?!

I took a gamble and blurted: “I don’t want to ever see your friend again for any reason, and if he ever shows up at my door, I am going to call the police.”

What is up with Stalker and his friends?  How does he have this many friends willing to do his bidding and book sessions with me and try to push his creepy agenda?  And does he really think, after all of this, that I would be willing to see him EVER AGAIN?

What this also means is that Stalker is monitoring my ads and touring info online, just waiting for me to be in town so that he can have one of his jerk buddies call me.  Really healthy, normal adult behavior there, Stalker.

It’s to the point now where I am paranoid of taking clients who  have Asian names, which is completely unacceptable for my business because they’re at least 25% of my clientele.  I sit here scrutinizing the names in my message box and typing them into Google to find out what nationality they are.

I don’t want to antagonize this guy because he’s obviously entitled and pushy as hell, which is spooky, and also because he’s rich and he has a network of friends who apparently see nothing wrong with his behavior.

What I think I am going to do is have a male friend call Stalker on his cell phone and politely say “This is Margo’s friend.  Stop calling her.  She never wants to hear from you again.”  That’s it, that’s all.  I’ve had to do this before, and it ALWAYS works.  The sound of another man’s voice drags the stalker out of his little omnipotent fantasy world and back into reality.

Still…what a sick, disrespectful fuck.  Like I said in my last post: the stalkers do this because they don’t see you as fully human.

That’s the conclusion of Clients Who Stalk.  God, I hate these guys.

Heart of the Lamb

IN THE DESERT

In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
Who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.
I said: “Is it good, friend?”
“It is bitter—bitter,” he answered;
“But I like it
Because it is bitter,
And because it is my heart.”

                –Stephen Crane, p. 1895

My younger brother is a hunter, and when he takes a deer from the mountains in autumn I request that he bring me the creature’s heart.

This year he hunted a boar instead of a deer.  I would have been curious to have the pig’s heart (Lord knows the chops, bacon, and belly we’ve eaten from this animal have been excellent and far superior to any pork found in the grocery store), but I was working out of town during the hunting trip and forgot to ask.  Too bad.  He could have brought it in the cooler, like the huntsman delivered a boar’s heart in a box in place of Snow White’s.

I had to improvise, as I did in the years when I lived far away: I went to the butcher and purchased the heart of a lamb.  It cost $1.99.  I know heart is considered to be offal, but it still struck me as strange that an organ of such talismanic properties could be bought for so little.

I took it home and thawed it in a bowl of cold water.  Then I carefully removed the slippery, thin outer membrane cut away the pieces of fat.  The bare heart was dense and slippery, approximately the size of a tennis ball.  I took my sharpest knife and sliced it down the middle, butterflying it, and then put it in a metal bowl of icy saltwater for two hours in order to leech as much of the remaining blood out of it as possible.

I put it back on the wooden cutting board and cleaned the inside of blood clots and the rubbery tubes that connected to the arteries.  It takes a long time to clean and prepare a heart.  In my experience, only sweetbreads are as labor-intensive.

I seasoned it with coarse salt and black pepper, rubbed it with olive oil, and wrapped it in a pocket of tinfoil with a few cloves of garlic.  Then I left it in the oven on low heat for two and a half hours while I made a stew, goulash-style, with carrots and onion and a few chunks of high-starch potato to thicken the broth.  The tomato paste and paprika turned the liquid red.

When I took the heart out of the oven and unwrapped it, it no longer resembled a heart to me.  I had transformed it.  When I cubed it, the flesh did not resist the knife.

I put it into the stew and let it simmer.  By the time it was ready to eat, it was dark outside.  I had spent many hours with that heart.

I sat at my kitchen table and slowly, deliberately ate the life of the lamb.  Now it is a part of me.

The Burning Stag

This is the dream that I had the other night:

I dreamed that I lived in a white house with a porch all around the outside, like porches used to be.

It was winter outside and snow was flying, as it so often is in my dreams (in my dreams, it is almost always cold and snowy).

I was playing with my parrot, Abe, and I saw a light from outside the window.  It looked like firelight, so I ran out to inspect.

There was a huge stag standing in front of the porch.  His breath turned to vapor in the frigid air, and he had enormous antlers.

His antlers were on fire.  The flame illuminated the night and the snow around him.

He was not burning up, not dying.  It was just that his antlers were on fire.  Like the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of God, whom I do not believe in, but whom I recognize as a religious trope. I know how fire is presented in the Bible.

I cautiously approached him (I have never killed a deer, but the men in my family have, and I know how to dress one).  I felt that he wanted to speak to me.

Then I woke up.

………………………….

P.S. These fucking dreams, fucking dreams I hate them, that is all