Out in the Cold

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        (I write my own porn because  I can almost never find anything I like.  I know I should stick to nonfiction, but it entertains me.)


 Lottie did not enjoy being beaten, but after six hours out in the cold, she would have welcomed a sound thrashing, even from Martin, who always went for the breasts and the insides of the thighs and whom she had always despised. 

       A beating would have Settled Things.  The fact that she had not been beaten, even after the Master of the House had come home and they had surely discussed what to do with her, was cause for significant concern.

       She could see the other women sneaking glances at her through the windows, but nobody would would look her in the eye.  Julia, who lived on the neighboring estate, passed by on an errand, and skirted past her, almost running.  That wasn’t normal.  Julia was Lottie’s age, and the two girls were friendly.  It would have been normal for Julia to offer a few words of support or sympathy, or even make a joke about being in trouble (who hadn’t  been banned from the house or chained in the yard on occasion?   Even the more hardworking and compliant property found herself in trouble from time to time.  Accidents happen, mistakes are made, and sometimes, men are just capricious and like to exert their authority).  

        It occurred to Lottie that the reason she hadn’t been whipped was that she was going to be sold or transferred, and they didn’t want to blemish her skin.  Bruises are unsightly and the accepted opinion is that beat-up property is disobedient property, and who wants to buy useless, disobedient property?  

       Surely not, Lottie thought, freezing in fear.  They wouldn’t sell her.  She’d lived and worked on that estate, for that family, her entire life.  The Master of the house had been partial to Lottie’s aunt before she passed away, which had afforded Lottie some protection. 


      But the Master’s eldest twin sons were away at college now.  Tuition was expensive, and with two fewer men in the household, it was possible to reduce the staff.  They’d sold a girl only two years older than Lottie last year, and two more had been contracted out to live and work at one of the hotels in town.  

      And Lottie had lost the money.  Lottie had been given the purse and a set of walking papers in case she was stopped on the road and asked to produce identification, and sent down the road to deliver it to her Master’s friend.  It was repayment of a loan.

      Lottie had dropped it somewhere along the way.  She had no idea how much was in the purse–it couldn’t have been too much, or her Master would have sent a man to run the errand–but it was enough to make her owners furious and to send a few pieces of property out to look for it. 

      Losing the money was bad enough.  The real problem, which hadn’t even occurred to her until Martin brought it up when he was interrogating her, was that she couldn’t prove that she lost it. 

       “The little bitch stole it,” Martin snarled.

        Theft was a major offense and theft of money was a serious crime indeed.  Women were not allowed to have money.  They might be given small amounts as gifts on Holidays, but that was it.  Property was not allowed to own property of any value.  There were laws about it.

       A tearful, horrified Lottie was stripped and searched on the spot.  They went through the seams of her clothes and her shoes, even her hair.   Martin accused her of hiding the money somewhere along the road or burying it in the ground to go retrieve later.  

       “Chain her outside until Dad comes home,” said Martin, and that scared Lottie even more.  Nobody needed permission to beat or discipline the property, as long as it was his property (or public property).  Legally, Lottie belonged to Martin’s father, but in practical terms, that meant the other men in the household could do whatever they wanted to her. 

      If the boys needed to ask permission to do something, it was pretty serious, indeed.

      “You better hope we find it.”

Reader Mailbag: Miss Margo, Your Sexuality is Failing Feminism

      “How do you reconcile being a self-proclaimed feminist with your sexuality and letting men treat you like shit and beat you up?”
                                                        –Woman Stranger who Finds Me Offensive

       Well, jeez, lady.  You kinda hurt my feelings.  My blog makes some guys mad, for reasons which remain opaque to me, but it smarts a lot more to get it from a woman.

        The question itself isn’t half bad, though.

         The answer is: I cannot reconcile my sexuality and my politics.  It’s impossible.  The activities that excite me and most of the things I do in my professional capacity are utterly opposed to the majority of my values and belief systems.  I don’t bullshit myself: there’s a reason my domme business card says “Oppressor for Hire.”  That’s what I do: I violate peoples’ physical integrity and human rights, and I’d just as soon be beaten by a man I find attractive than have intercourse with him.

        But: it’s sex.   To quote the eminently quotable Dr. Freud, fears are wishes.  

        I am a responsible citizen who is more politically active than most.  I suppose that if my sexuality were a politics (what a weird thought experiment!) I’d be some sort of awful fucking fascist, but I don’t vote that way.  I’m mostly a polite guilty leftist and I’d fill every seat in Congress with a woman if I could.  

        But come on, dude (dudette?): I am not going to deny the way that I have orgasms in order to make them, what…?  More egalitarian…?  Sexuality approved by the Green Party and Ghandi?  Where are we going with this?  I have enough guilt in my life as it is.  I can’t even buy a fucking t-shirt without stressing about sweatshop workers and my carbon footprint.   Leave my sexytimes alone.

       I am not responsible for the oppression of women.  I live under shitty patriarchy, too.  I just happen to have eroticized my own oppression.  Yeah, it’s sick, but it is an extremely common and well-understood coping mechanism.  At least I’m having fun with it.  When life gives you lemons, and all that.  
       Finally: I can’t help who and what I’m attracted to.  That was coded into my personality before I even hit puberty.  Perhaps I have been unwise to embrace it to the extent that I have–I have perused my sexuality at the expense of my career and personal happiness.  I have indulged damn near every impulse I’ve ever had.  Maybe I’ve gone overboard.  I still regret almost none of it.

      But I believe, firmly, that if you deny your sexuality, it makes you neurotic and unhappy and it will destroy your personal relationships.  Trust me on this one.  I see it all the time.  One of the saddest parts of the job is seeing men in profound emotional pain because they feel bad about, say, wanting to wear pantyhose.   That sort of guilt is toxic to the soul.

       Oh, one other thing, lady: the other sentiments in your letter suggest that you take offense at the notion of women making a living from their sexuality, or from providing sexual services to dudes.  

       I understand.  It’s monstrously unfair that men can buy sexual attention (if they can afford it), and it’s annoying when they act entitled to it.  But entitled dude-ism did not start with me.  Entitlement is the default state of dudes.  Take it up with the P.

       I also understand that some women find sex workers threatening because sex work fucks up the female half of the “sex in exchange for relationship and material/family support” exchange. 

        I posit that as much as I politically (and even personally) dislike men sometimes, and as much as I think marriage is a loser’s bargain for women, I do not think that the vast majority of men are going to forsake relationships and family life to get laid with prostitutes and and have lapdances after work.  Most of them are ensouled.  They want love.  And someone to clean up after them. 

       And let’s be honest: 80%-90% of clients are married.  Unless he’s taking food out of your kids’ mouths to pay for it, I don’t see what the problem is.  The hooker pays her electricity bill, the wife doesn’t have to fuck him, and he doesn’t nag her about it.  There is peace in the household and you’re not fighting over sex (fighting with a man over sex is awful! Good god, I don’t miss that part of being in a relationship!)  Peace and quiet reign once more. Exactly what is the problem here?  

       Well, I don’t actually fuck the husband (unless he is a cockatoo-borrowing seducer).  I put him in pantyhose and hit him with stuff.  Why should the wife have to do that if she doesn’t want to?

        And don’t tell me that he should be able to control himself.  Yes, he should, but that’s never going to happen.  Men run around and the system is set up to abet them.  

        That is one thing this job and my awful heartbreaking experience with the Mathematician has done to me: I do not think that I will ever trust a man not to run around ever again.  I think that the best I can ever hope for is emotional loyalty and a commitment to the household.  I guess there are men out there who don’t have affairs or see sex workers, but I don’t know of any.   The only guy who didn’t cheat on me (that I know of) was the awful restraining-order Ex, John.   It’s one reason I’m so unwilling to commit to sexual monogamy: I don’t think it’s possible for the vast majority of people.

        Today I get the results of my blood work and brain scan at Rehab!  Have I pickled my noodle?  We shall see!

Confronting a Molesting Client

      The Studio acquired a new houseboy while I was away.  We’ll see if he lasts.  Most of them are excited by the fantasy, but quickly tire of doing real work, and men are useless as cleaners.  They have to be taught how to do it correctly.  Yesterday, this dude did the floors FIRST.  Who does the floors first…?  A man, natch.

       He kept sneaking looks at me and it got on my nerves.  The Studio is full of crazy bitches, but I have to say, one thing that I like about it is that apart from clients, it is a dude-free zone.   Readers will know that I am obsessed with men, but even I need a break from them every now and again, and a girl can spend a whole afternoon in the dungeon and not hear a single male voice unless it’s some poor loser screaming down the hall, and if you’re in a foul mood that screaming is music to your ears anyway.

       Houseboy kept looking at me.  I was sitting in back defragmenting my hard drive.  I think my laptop is dying.  It gets really hot.  One day soon it is going to burst into flames.

        I told him to stop looking at me.  I told him that I do not like a man in the locker room and the only reason he is allowed in back is so that he can sweep the floors.

       He said sorry, but he was STILL looking at me, and I lost it.  I lost my temper, which almost never happens.  

        I made him take his shirt, shoes, and socks off, threw a cup of water on his head, and left him outside on the roof for half an hour.  It was 29* outside. 

        The cold gets miserable in a hurry.  I learned that the hard way once when the Surgeon left me chained up in the closet for an afternoon.  We were in Florida in July and he’d cranked up the AC full blast and forgot to turn it off before leaving me.  By the time he got back it was fucking Siberia in that closet.  To his credit, it is one of the only times I saw him truly apologetic about something.  He gave me a warm bath.

        By the time I came to collect him, the houseboy was all red and holding his hands in his armpits and his nose was running.  I was in a bad mood, so I thought it was funny.  He was unhappy, but I bet you anything that he jerked off thinking about it when he got home.

         Yesterday I also told off a client for the first time in a year.  Life has really sucked recently, and I just ran out of fucks to give.

        The guy was supposed to see another mistress, but she was busy with family drama and couldn’t come in, so he rescheduled with me.  

        My heart sank the minute I got the news.  I’d seen this guy twice before, and I hated both encounters.  There are two positive things to say about him: he’s very clean and well-groomed, and he tips very well.  You’ll walk out with about $300.  That’s excellent money for an hour.

       But he has to tip well.  Otherwise, nobody would see him.

       He’s not a monster like Chopin…but he is a molester.  A boundaries-pusher.  He gets grabby.  He wants to cuddle and hug.

       And tickle.  That’s his thing.  He has a major tickling fetish.

      I don’t think I’ve blogged about tickling fetish as of yet.  I don’t have a strong opinion about it.  I think that I grasp the psychology behind it: just about everyone was tickle-tortured in early childhood by a sibling, parent, or babysitter.  It can hurt, but it’s also arousing. Vulnerability is involved.  It induces laughter, which is much less frightening or alarming than screaming.  I’ve talked to several tickle-fetish guys who report that their first conscious memory of having an erection was when they were being held down and tickled by an older girl.  So, yes, it makes sense.

      (side note: I have never met a woman with a tickle-fetish.  It seems to be a very dudeliocentric kink.)

      It does nothing for me.   I actually think it’s a bit lame.  But then, I sought out Abduction Weekend, so who am I to judge a man and his jones for tickling?

      I am not ticklish…just a little, on the bottoms of my feet.  This is good, because if I really was ticklish, I couldn’t do tickling sessions.  I’d lose my mind.  

      When I get a tickling session, I fake it.  It is very tedious. 

       So, yesterday…this  molesting client comes in for me.  

      First of all, he wants to “punish” me for being late.  I know it’s illogical, because he was just looking for a pretext to belt me, but I was irritated nonetheless because I was in the room and ready to go five minutes after he walked in the door.  I had everything prepared ahead of time.  

       Then I was tied down and the tickling started.  Whatevs.  I was doing my best.  I really was.  An Oscar-worthy performance.  Laughing, squirming, howling, the works.  

       And then, sure enough, about halfway through, the guy starts to get handsy. 

       I do not care if a man who pays me to be submissive cops a feel (so long as his hands are clean and he’s groomed) of my tits or my ass.  Truly, I don’t care.  I am a very practical woman and you can’t be in this business if you’re squeamish about physical contact. 

       But do not touch my face, don’t force eye contact when I’m in the submissive role, don’t touch me between my legs, and DO NOT TRY TO LICK ME ANYWHERE!

      Why, oh why, is this difficult for you to understand, Molesting Client?  

       Molesting Client starts forcing the eye contact.  Dude, I do not want to look into your face that is three inches away from mine while you tickle me.  Sorry, guy.  I just work here.  I do not want this image branded into my brain.  I do not want to have flashbacks of our special time together.  Stop telling me to look at you.

     Stop nuzzling my hair, please.  If you like the way my hair smells, you can go to Victoria’s Secret and buy some Amber Romance body mist.  It’s only $14.  

      Are you kissing the underside of my arm?  What is the matter with you?  You did not ask if you could do this.  

       You want to tickle me with an electric toothbrush?  The absurdity of this situation is starting to freak me out.

        You want to rub vaseline on my skin?  Over my ribcage?  What?

       Hahahhahaha…hey…no, sorry….can’t touch me there.  

      (three minutes later): Nope, please don’t touch me there.  No touching between  my legs, please.

      (Two minutes later): Quit it.  That’s illegal.

      Then Molesting Client puts his tongue in my ear.

      I was done.  It was over 50 minutes into the session anyway.  He got his money’s worth.

      I slipped out of my wrist cuffs and stood up from the table.

     “You’re not supposed to be able to do that!” he said, taken aback.

     “Do you think I’d let a strange man tie me up?  What sort of moron do you take me for?”

      He just sat there in his white boxer shorts, looking like an idiot.

     I was angry, but I was very composed.  I went to the supply closet and took out the spray bottle of rubbing alcohol and the paper towels.  I started to spray myself down in front of him, so that he could see that I considered myself dirtied from his touch.

       He gaped at me.

      Then I said something.  I said something just as I’ve written it on this blog.  I never thought I’d actually say this to a client, but I did:

      “Let me ask you something.  Did it ever occur to you that I am a complex emotional creature who might be unwilling or unable to achieve orgasm with a complete stranger I met 30 minutes ago?”

      He sat there, totally stumped, like he was watching me sprout a second head.  Then he said: “But I’m not a stranger!  I’ve had sessions with you twice before!”

       “You ARE a stranger!  I don’t know you!  I don’t even know your name, buddy!  What makes you think you can touch my privates or give me an orgasm?  You’re not my boyfriend!  What makes you think you get that intimacy?”

        He looked stunned.  I just can’t imagine it.  What is with these men and their empathy deficit?  

         “I thought you liked it.  I wanted to give you pleasure.”

       “I told you to stop three times.  How many times do you have to hear it?  Do you know that you have a reputation in this place?  Mistress X told me that the last time you had a session with her, you kissed her on the mouth.  She brushed her teeth afterward and said that you were gross.  You need to hire a fetish-friendly escort.  It will only be a little more expensive and she will let you touch her.  At the very least, you need to tell fetish workers in dungeons what you want to do to them BEFORE the session starts to make sure that they are comfortable with it.”

       More staring.  I guess I blew his mind.

      Then: “You’re making me out to be like a rapist.”

       “Well, you’re not a rapist, as best I know, but you do exist on the continuum of sexual assault.”

       “Like how?  Didn’t you want it?”

      “I told you NO.  You know that asking a stranger to tickle her in her ‘special places’ and then groping her crotch is ILLEGAL, right?  Why would I think that was sexy?”

      He says: “You’re making me feel bad.”

       Oh, so now I’m responsible for your feelings.  Sorry I made you feel bad, dude.  I am the one with the memory of your wet tongue in my ear, but I made you feel bad for telling you that I didn’t like it.

      He looked sad…as if I’d broken his favorite toy.

       Then he took out his wallet and tried to give me money.

       “Keep your money,” I said.

        “I insist,” he said, standing there with $100 in his hand.

        “I don’t want your bribe.  And if you tell management that I was mad at you, I am going to tell them that you touched my vagina.  All the other women know about you.  You shouldn’t come back here unless you behave yourself.  I think you should see an escort willing to meet your needs.” 

       There are not many feelings better than telling a rich man that you don’t want his money.  It stuns them.  Threatens their whole world view. 

       What a jerk.

        If you are a fetish worker in NYC and want this man’s info, please contact me and I’ll tell you how to identify him.  He’s not a dangerous psycho, but he is a boundaries-pushing molester, and IMO he’s not worth the money.  He’s gross.  

Omitting the Crucial Fact

      On Thursday the nice doctor is going to tell me if I have damaged my brain, liver, and kidneys.  

       Yesterday during one of the intake interviews at rehab, I was asked how I make a living.  I omitted the fact that I work as a prodomme.  

        I don’t know if I made the right decision.  

        On one hand, the cat’s out of the bag: I checked myself into a rehab program and my family knows about it.  So do my close friends.  So do my 8 blog readers.  My college doesn’t know, but I chalk that up to being a completely irrelevant member of the faculty (though I did find a letter from HR in my mailbox yesterday and almost had a heart attack.  Fortunately, it was just spam).  I could teach in a gorilla outfit and they would not give a fuck as long as I turned in the grades. 

       Additionally, I am paying about 30% of my yearly income to gain access to a bunch of professionals.  Common sense dictates that the more they know about me, the more they will be better able to help me.  Neglecting to tell them that I work in a high-stress, quasi-legal job  with a lot of people who routinely drink and use drugs is a pretty serious omission.  

         But, to quote the Mathematician, our favorite philandering borrower of his neighbor’s Sulfur-Crested Cockatoo, “It is true that I omitted the crucial fact, but I was worried that you would be mad.”  (gee, you think?)

        You see, other than my analyst (and, I suppose, the Surgeon), I have told exactly one other health care professional about my Secret Job…and it was a bad experience.

        It was a drug and alcohol counselor at the school where I attended my Ph.D. program.  I went there when I decided that I had a problem.  I had a few sessions with her and then told her that I worked as a prodomme.  It seemed topically relevant.

         It angered her.

          She told me that I was doing it for attention and to receive the validation of males, that I was dating the Surgeon because he gave me money for textbooks (HA!) instead of doing the responsible thing and taking out a student loan, that I was not a real feminist, and that I was throwing all other women under the bus by letting men think that all women are sex objects for sale.

         Can you believe it?  Can you?  I was completely vulnerable and turned to this woman for help.  The state probably pays this woman with a Master’s degree $75,000 a year!  

         In retrospect, I should have reported her and formally complained, but I was worried that if I made a report, I’d have to say exactly what it was that made her so angry, and I didn’t want my Secret Job on any official record. 

       Which brings me to another reason I didn’t tell the people at Rehab my entire employment status: if it’s on the record, it’s on the record.  Other people would be able to see it.  Insurance companies.  Lawyers.   What happens if I get married one day and have a kid, and then divorce and have the guy claim that my history as a sex worker makes me an unfit parent?  Some of the dommes at the Studio are mothers.  Every one of them I’ve talked to about it expresses concern that the state could try to take their children away.

       The last reason that I didn’t tell them is that I’m going to be in a cohort.  The “I Flunked Out of Life Class of 2014,” Fall Semester.  It’s co-ed.  My experience has been that if some men find out you’re a sex worker (not all men, just some, don’t get defensive), they immediately objectify you and use it as an excuse to treat you poorly.  I spend enough energy emotionally managing drunk guys and chester molesters at work.  I don’t need to do it at rehab. 

      (On the other hand, I’m sure that the rehab is full of degenerates who did degenerate things when they were using, like sell grandma’s TV set for heroin.  I am positively a goody two shoes in some of the rougher AA meetings.)

        I hope I’ve made the right decision.

                              *                           *                         *

       Oh, and a quick complaint: I saw a new potential client the other day.  I didn’t like him much.  He was sort of a jerk.  He asked me if I would undress if he gave me more money.  I thought about it and decided that no, I didn’t want to be topless around this guy.  I make decisions about nudity on a case-by-case basis.

      “Nope, sorry.  I don’t think that I can do that,” I said.

      He stared at me and blinked a few times, as if I’d just said something completely unreasonable. 

      “Why not?” he asked.  “Why won’t you?”

       What is wrong with some of these men and their empathy deficit?  They can’t all be sociopaths; they’re too many of them.  Good god, it must be nice to go through life without having to consider any situation of exchange from another person’s point of view.  Any human being who was not a completely self-centered moron should be able to understand why a person might want to keep their clothes on in front of a stranger they just met.

        “Because I don’t feel like it,” I explained calmly. 

        “Why not?”  Like a little kid!  And he had nice clothes and a briefcase and a company keychain!  Someone HIRED this dude!  He passed a job interview!

        “I just don’t like it,” I  said.

       “But isn’t that what you’re here for?”  The self-absorption knows no bounds.

       “Let me ask you something,” I said.  “Why do so many men completely ignore any sexual boundary they find invalid?”

        He looked puzzled, like a dimwitted student trying to make sense out of Being and Nothingness.

        “Uh, can I meet someone else?”

        Yes, I think that would be best. 

Hiring a Housekeeper and Reader Mailbag

     I’m about to start treatment at an outpatient rehab program.  If I could afford to do it I’d happily check myself into an inpatient facility for 30 or even 60 days, but that’s not in the cards.  I spent all my savings on the outpatient.  I’m not complaining–it is, after all, an investment in my life–but if I get slammed with a health crisis or major expense, I am going to be up the proverbial shit creek without a paddle.  I had to put Parrot’s necropsy hospital bills on my credit card. 

     When I got back to NYC, I hired a housekeeper for the first time.  I have a deeply ambivalent view of housekeeping, which I’ve blogged about here.  My home is never clean enough to suit me, but since I’m measuring my efforts against my mother’s, I’m just setting myself up to fail.  My mother’s house is the cleanest house I’ve ever seen.  

      Having someone clean your house for you is also admitting that you are a failure as a woman.  It is just plain disgraceful not to maintain your own household (my brother feels the same way about shoveling snow, washing his car, or doing oil changes.  Oh boy, does he have contempt for men who don’t tend their own lawns or wash their own cars!). 

      I did a two-hour shame cleaning before she arrived.  I do not want another human being to clean my hair out of the drain in the sink.  That is not a relationship I want to have with another human being (although, presumably, I’ll be doing it for a dude if I ever get married, which tells you a lot about the role of women in that patriarchal institution).  

       I assumed that the housekeeper would be Latina or Eastern European.  Where I come from, American-born whites still do most of the manual labor.   That’s almost never the case here.  

       Well, I got a nice American lady my mother’s age.  She was friendly and wanted to chat about my aquarium.  She had an aquarium, too.  

      I felt so guilty that I tipped her $100 up front and ran out to buy her bottled water and an energy drink.  Then I hid in the gym for two hours, because the thought of a grown woman cleaning my bathtub was humiliating to me. 

       I told the women at the Studio about my experience. 

      “You tipped your cleaning lady $100?  When you’re broke?   Are you crazy?” asked one.

     “I cleaned houses when I first came to New York,” said another.  “The worst were the obnoxious men who would try to hit on you and talk to you while you’re working.  Like, I’d be doing their dishes, and they’d ask me out on dates.

       Sometimes, they’d try to test me to see if I was doing a good-enough job.  It was always women who would do this, never men: They’d put some dirt or a scrap of paper underneath the middle of a big floor rug or carpet…and then check to see if it was still there when they came home.”

      I have nothing else to say.

      So, let’s answer a question from the Reader Mailbag: 

       “Here’s a question: What is your favorite place/spot/location in New York City?”
                                                                                          –Mike in Minneapolis 

               The Metropolitan Museum of Art, followed by the New York Botanical Garden and the Frick Collection. I like museums very much.

            Del Posto is probably my favorite restaurant in NYC.  I cannot afford to eat there by myself–a client takes me once or twice a year.

           If you were in the mood to talk politics with diplomats, there are several places in Turtle Bay i’d steer you toward. 

        So many others.  There are some great little fish stores in Chinatown where you can buy excellent aquarium stock, like Golden Tetras…but the stores don’t have websites.  You have to reach them through word of mouth.

        Grand Central Station. Hoboken/Lackawanna Terminal. 

       I’ve spent plenty of time in the libraries and the opera houses.

             NYC is adult Disneyland.  Everything is here, and it is the best of everything…if you can afford it. 

        Thanks for reading.  My tone should pick up soon.  

RIP Parrot

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 Update 9 AM:  They cremated her body at the avian hospital where they did the necropsy (I brought her in because I wanted to be 100% certain of how she died). 

    I am glad they did this because I have no yard in which to bury and I obviously couldn’t do it in the park and I would hate to just throw her in the trash like she was garbage.

     I did throw the Teflon skillet in the garbage.

                       *                                   *                          * 

    Parrot died.

     Fumes from the Teflon coating on a cooking pan.  No, it wasn’t me.  We had a houseguest. 

      The little ones survived because I’d rolled their cage into my bedroom that morning so that they could get some fresh air and sunlight.  

       She was supposed to be with me for 30 years more.  I was going to buy her a boyfriend parrot and everything.  She was such a nice bird.  She was timid and shy, but a very nice bird.  

      I threw out her cage.  I could have sold it or given it away on Craigslist, but I couldn’t bear to look at it.  I had to get rid of it.  Her little perches and toys and all.  I put it on the curb and it was gone when I came home from work.

      She died a horrible death and I was not even there.

     Guest is very sad and apologetic (it was an accident) and will buy me a new parrot, but I don’t want a new parrot.  I just want Parrot.

     I feel badly about all the things I did not do for Parrot.  I should have bought her more toys.

      There was a dark time in my life when she was the only thing that I loved.  

        Parrot, I’m sorry.  You were an awesome parrot and you did everything right.  The Vet said it happened very quickly.  I hope it wasn’t painful.  Bad enough that you were living in my apartment when you should have been flying around Africa.  

         You were the best Parrot.

Night Intruders

     When I was about six years old, a young woman was murdered in her apartment a few blocks away from my mother’s house. 

      It was not an ordinary murder (if there is such a thing).  It was gruesome.  I can’t give out the details without compromising my privacy, but take my word for it: it was the type of murder a serial killer would commit.  Her body was mutilated. 

     The town freaked out.  Suddenly everyone was checking the locks on their windows and walking their children to the bus stop.  The murder and the hunt for the killer were on the front page of the paper every day.  My mother wouldn’t let me read the stories because of the violence, but I read them at my father’s house.  He never shared the belief that children should be protected from the horrors of this world, and if there was anything he despised in a person more than stupidity or cowardice, it was naivety. 

     The murder scared Mom very badly, and her anxiety intensified when they could not find the killer.  The victim was new in town and the police speculated that perhaps the killer had followed her from wherever she came from.  I don’t think they ever caught the man.

    My mother has always had a profound, even neurotic fear of night stalkers.  Practically ever woman I know is scared of home invasion, but my mother has a particularly bad case.  She was worried sick over this murder.

     Well, my father approached her and said that he knew someone who had a very good guard dog, and they were going on a two-week vacation soon.  They wanted my father to watch their dog for them, but would my mother be interested in keeping the dog instead?  Maybe the dog would help her feel better.

      Mom agreed to take the dog for two weeks.

      I was delighted to hear that we were going to have a dog in the house.  The family Cocker Spaniel had passed away the previous year, and I’d wanted a new dog ever since. 

       This dog was no Spaniel. 

       It was some sort of German Shepard mix–probably GSD and Rottweiler– and it was huge, long-legged and broad-chested.  I know everything looks bigger when you’re a child, but this was a very big dog by any objective standard.  It probably weighed more than my mother.   

       That dog made us nervous the minute it got out of the car.  It didn’t run around to explore, or try to play.  It didn’t bark.  It didn’t shyly approach and try to make an introduction.  It stood there calmly and stared at us, sizing us up.

       Mom put him in the back yard for a few hours to let him acclimate.  Then she went out by herself and hand-fed him some chunks of hot dog in order to make friends with him.  The dog ate the food, but he wasn’t very friendly.  I know GSDs are aloof with humans they don’t know, but there was something weird about this one.

      Mom decided she didn’t want him in he house until he warmed up.  It was early Fall and the weather was warm and dry, and he had access to the garage and a shaded backyard, so I don’t think it was an imposition on him.  Mom would go spend time with him every day, but that dog, I’m telling you, did not give a shit. 

      Sure enough, though, he did start to guard the perimeter.  He’s walk along the fence, nose to the ground, as if doing a survey of the terrain.  He’d jump up on his hind legs and keep through the knotholes in the wooded fence. 

      He was a quiet dog.  

      Well, one day, towards the end of the second week, he jumped the fence.  It was a six-foot fence, but he jumped it.  For the record, it was the first time he did it.  If Mom had known he could have done it, she would have chained him.

      Around 8 or 9 PM–right before my bedtime–I heard something tapping against the sliding glass door of the backyard.  My mother was taking her bath.  My brother was watching TV. 

      I went to the door and parted the hanging blinds.

      The dog was there, as tall as me and staring straight into my eyes.  His face was smeared with blood and he was holding the severed leg of a cow in his mouth, as if it were a great big rawhide doggie bone. 

      The whole leg.  Hoof and all. 

      Tail was waggin’. 

      I screamed.

      My brother ran over and saw, and he started screaming, too.

      My mother came running down the hall.  She was holding a towel over her body.  She’d come so fast that she didn’t bother to wrap it around her, and she was dripping water everyplace.  She slid when she got to the room and almost fell.  

       The dog was still standing at the window, wagging its long bushy tail.  Little pig, little pig, let me in.

      She sent us both to our rooms and called Animal Control, but they were closed for the night.  She was afraid to go out there alone to chain the dog.  She called a few neighbors to tell them what was going on so that they could get their pets indoors and to ask if any of them had a man to borrow to get the thing on a chain or inside the garage–it jumped out once, it could do it again.

       No takers.

       The dog retired to the lawn right underneath my bedroom window and proceeded to devour its prize.  The grating, crunching sound of tooth on bone kept me awake.  I kept picturing the hoof.  I kept thinking that the dog was going to get in through my window. 

      It suddenly occurred to me that my father sent us the dog to murder us all in our sleep.  It made perfect sense. 

      Maybe the dog killed the young woman down the street.  Maybe my father did.  

      I was up for most of the night, listening to the bones crunch. 

     My mother called the owners and they sent someone to pick up the dog early the next morning–it was that or Animal Control, my mother said.  She was furious.  

       She drove to a few nearby cattle ranches and asked if they’d lost any livestock or had a dog attack.  She gave them all her contact information.  She wanted to pay for it.  We never did find out where that cow leg came from.  It was hard to find the owners, because the cattle were on grazing land rather than homesteads. The owners did not live by the animals. 

       I told my father the story of finding the dog outside the door, holding the cow leg as if it was a stick for playing fetch.  

      He thought it was hilarious. 

Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2 and Scotch on the Rocks

    I think it was Chopin who pushed me over the edge.

    I hate to say it like that, because it sounds like I’m blaming him for my decision to drink.  He’s an awful person and I’m sure the list of his sins and transgressions is very long indeed, but it’s not his fault that I picked up.

     I was well on my way by the time I saw him.  I’d had late-night (early-morning?) sessions twice that week and decided to sleep in the dungeon rather than run home in the blizzard at 4:30 AM.   We have cots and linens in back for the women to use.   Both nights I’d asked the manager for a hit from her bottle of Glenlivet in her locker before I went to bed (“bed,” ha…ha…ha).

     A drink before bed.  A bullet to the brain.   That’s really what I used to call it, you know.  As in: “Oh, I’ll turn in shortly…I just need one bullet to the brain.” 

     But I digress.  Where was I…? 

     Chopin came to see me.  I had no idea he was going to visit.  He didn’t book in advance.  I was sitting in back, chatting with my new Top via IM, and the receptionist came in and told me that Chopin was coming for me in 15 minutes and he was in a foul fucking mood.

      I didn’t have time to prepare myself.  I hate to rush preparation for a session.  I like to think about what I am going to do to him, and in what sequence.  If it’s a roleplay, I like to rehearse a bit.  It’s…professionalism.  I can definitely wing it if I need to, but I like going into session with everything in order, right?

    With sadists like Chopin, though, I like to have a little advance notice so that I can get my armor on. 

      I had no time to prepare. 

      I started to panic.  I wanted to run away, actually, but what could I do?  Where would I go?  Also, I wasn’t going to throw the new receptionist under the bus–he would have given her holy hell if he came all the way to the Studio in the snow and was told when he got here that I wasn’t available.  

      So, I went through with it.

      I don’t even know why this fucktard likes me.  I’m way too old for him–by ten years, at least.  He never sees women my age.  Ever. 

      Oh, wait.  I do know why he likes me!  He told me!

      (Get out your barf bags)

       “Do you know why I came back for you?” he asked me.

      I was strung up from the ceiling, standing on my toes.  He was playing Rachmaninoff on his tablet (and thanks for ruining the Piano Concerto No. 2 for me, asshole).  It was so dark in there I could barely see, which, I suppose, is just as well. 

      You came back for me because I did something really, really bad to sex workers or children in my previous life.  There is no other explanation. 

       He gave me a pretty sound caning, which was far and away the easiest part of the session.  I really don’t care about the pain.  I know that’s incomprehensible to most people, but even if I’m not turned on in the slightest and getting it from some douchebag I secretly despise, like our favorite piano-playing sadistic surgeon dentist here, enduring the pain is basically like manual labor to me.  I may we well be mowing someone’s lawn or helping them carry boxes down the stairs.   If he’d kept his mouth shut, everything would have been fine, but Chopin is a talkative motherfucker, and everything that comes out of his mouth, you’ll wish you’d never heard.

       He gave me hell about “leading him on,” as if any woman in her right mind would do such a thing.  He said that he’d like to make me cry, but there was no way I was going to give him that satisfaction.  Besides, I never cry in sessions.  I’ve left a few looking like I got hit by a bus, and I never shed a tear.  I didn’t even cry for the Attorney, which is probably why he’s STILL emailing me.

       Then he returned to the topic at hand.

        I could barely see him in the dark, but still wouldn’t look at him.  It’s a trick I have: when the going gets rough, minimize as much of the sensory input as you safely can.  It reduces the memory.  I wanted this man (“man.” ha, ha) to take up as little space in my memory banks as possible. 

        “I came back for you because you said you were a teacher.  I like that.  I need someone to help me train these sluts.  I have a new one coming up from Washington.  She needs an older, elegant submissive woman to look up to.  You can set a good example for her.”  

        He let me down and gave me his email address and $300.  Chopin is notoriously cheap–it’s one of the ways he fucks girls over–but he gives me a lot of money.  I take it because I earn it, but it’s a bribe and I know he’s just trying to manipulate me.  I know he’s not doing it as a gesture of appreciation, and that makes the money feel a little dirty to me, however much I deserve it. 

       Afterward, the receptionist asked me how it went, and I told her what he said to me.

       “Stop talking,” she cut me off.  “I can’t handle that.”

       Then you’re in the wrong line of work, I wanted to snap at her, but I didn’t.  Who knows what issues she has.  
        I told my English friend, Betsy.  She shuddered. 

        “Margo, I’m so sorry.  He’s vile, isn’t he?  Here, want to have a drink with me?”

        Why yes, yes I would.  An ocean of Scotch to wash it all away, please. 

        Ten days later I was standing at the bathroom sink in my mother’s house, wretching up Pedialyte.  I couldn’t keep anything down.  Withdrawal.  Physical withdrawal.  It finally happened to me.

        “What are those marks on the side of your thigh?”  asked my mother, concerned (she was holding my hair.  Bless her heart.).

         I hadn’t had time to put on pants when I rushed out of bed.  I was standing there in my underwear and a tank top.

        “I don’t remember,” I lied.  

         Ten days clean.

Eight Days Clean

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    I’m about to fly back to New York.  I’ve cleaned up as much of the wreckage as I could long-distance, but it’s time to go back and do the rest in person.  

     My mind is working all right again and my energy levels are up, and I suppose that I could start to write about the ten days of events that led to me walking out of my office on campus, taking a cab to JFK, and flying several thousand miles to my mother’s house with nothing but my handbag, my laptop, and a copy of Harper’s that, incidentally, I was incapable of reading.  

     Oh, I tried to read it.  It was a long flight.  But I was entering my second week of bad insomnia, and I was experiencing mild auditory hallucinations.  So I’d pick an article, read a paragraph or two, and then give up and just blink owlishly at the text.  

       Yes, I could start to write more about that flight and the ten that that preceded it, and maybe I should do it while the memory and the trauma are still fresh…but I just don’t think that I have the emotional fortitude right now. 

      I crashed and burned, my friends.  See this lawyer here, who is apparently standing in front of the Gates of Hell?   I crashed and burned like the cars in the background. 


       After a half-dozen pitiful relapse-failures over the course of the last few years, I have finally had a relapse worthy of the name (actually, I don’t think that “relapse” is a very accurate word in this case, as it suggests returning to a previous condition.  This was worse than any of my previous conditions). 

        The good news is that I still have my teaching jobs.  I wish I could take credit for it, but I think the fact that we had four snow days in the month of January has something to do with it–it was impossible for me to fuck it up if I didn’t have to be in class.  

      The bills were all paid up by the time I got on the airplane.  I worked a lot since the New Year.  A lot.  In retrospect, this is probably the last thing I should have done once my emotional health started to deteriorate, because once it started to go, it unraveled very quickly. 

      I gave up keeping track of all the sessions I was doing.  Usually I’m good about keeping records…but it started to get depressing.

      My last week there, before the cab ride to JFK, I had twelve appointments at the Studio.  Two of them were fine.  The other ten were an All-Star lineup of psychopaths and degenerates.  In my entire career, I have never had a string of bad clients like that, one after the other. I won’t name names, but I’ve written about a few of them in the pages of this blog.  I am not blaming them for my drinking; I only bring them up to impress on you how this contributed to the overall hellishness of the situation into which I’d delivered myself.  My time spent working is about all I remember clearly from the latter end of January, because I don’t drink around clients and I don’t drink before class (I am a professional, after all. HA!).

      When combined with my savings, I have enough money to enroll in a rehab program.  It’s outpatient, so I’ll be able to work at my teaching jobs.  

      Today is eight days clean.  I’ll be starting the rehab with a clear mind (well, sort of), which will hopefully give me a head start.

      I’d ask you to wish me luck, but–and I hope this doesn’t come across as hubris–for the first time since I knew I wanted to stop drinking, I don’t feel like I need it.  I am done.  D-O-N-E. 

      I remember standing outside of an AA meeting right around the time I managed to get 90 days together.  I was talking with this guy, a middle-aged jazz musician.  He had long red hair and a ZZ Top beard.  I still run into him from time to time. 

      “Don’t go back out, kid,” he said.  “It only gets worse.  Believe me.  I’ve done the research.” 

       He wasn’t kidding. 

     P.S.  All is not lost–I’ve come back to life enough to get some of my sense of humor restored!  Check out the special Valentine I sent to the Mathematician, aka Dr. Cheating McLiarpants!  

       It’s actually not a valentine card…it’s a magnet I bought at a store.  A magnet for the fridge.  That’s all I sent him: this magnet in an envelope.  Anonymously.  To his work.  No return address.  

         Oh, I wish I could be there when he opens it.

Thanks for Nothing, Asshole


The Reports of My Death Have Been (Only Slightly) Exaggerated

    Sorry, everyone.

    Two weeks ago I was locked out of my email and blogger account.  It took me a week to fill out the forms necessary to get back into my account because I was worried about other things.  FWIW, I couldn’t have written much, anyway.

    I finally regained access to my account this morning.  

    I’m writing this from my mother’s house.  I’ve been here almost a week and I’m staying for a few more days.

    Now that I have access to my email, though, I’ll start responding to correspondence and comments.  Thanks for your patience.  

    I have a lot to blog about, but I have to get my strength back first.