A Symphony unto Oneself

A Symphony unto Oneself

Chapter 1

     The Story The Authors
Jake was tired. He hadn't slept. He'd been studying nonstop for hours trying to get the information crammed into his head. People roamed the library like drones. Ocassionally he was distracted and would get tired, but mostly he was driven by a sense of fear and panick. He had less than 8 hours to figure out how it worked. Every cup of coffee was like a two hour fuse, eventually burning out and needing to be re-lit. The only thing that could stop him now was himself. pH
His eyes stung and his head ached and he was unable to study the manual's user-hostile pages for more than twenty minutes at a stretch before being overwhelmed by lack of sleep. When this happened, he would slump forward, into a buzzing, yellow-tinged state midway between reverie and dream; the blood would rush to his extremities and his thoughts would swirl around visions of Pamela... The backyard of the Dijonaise farmhouse he'd grown up in, lush with poppies in early summer, thrushes dying among the mustard-fields, great flapping Red Admiral butterflies migrated down from Mother England, stopping for a week to binge themselves into narcosis on poppy-pollen, headed for the Mediterranean to summer among the rich...
Of course it was all gone since he was a young man of seventeen, paved over and now a munitions factory, but in the dream he is back there as he is now, a man of twenty-six, leaning against the barn-door with the self-consciously seedy slouch of a perpetual Humanities grad student, cigarette dangling from between his slightly pouty lips. The ennui of the first truly hot, humid days -- ah, one could start drinking chilled white wine with breakfast even, just to ease the torpor, the slowly crushing lassitude which he had convinced himself and his best friend Henri was evidence of the imminent heat-death of the universe in microcosm...
And then the barn door opens and she walks out... "Oh, Jake, I was hoping you'd be home... There's something I want to show you..."
So saying, she begins to unbutton her dress, with an excruciatingly seductive button -- by -- button pace, running her pink tongue over her white teeth. He sees she is wearing no bra -- her tan cleavage catching the merciless sun among all the tiny drops of sweat with which the weather has fraught it, and he can taste their saltiness in his mind, and the texture of her skin beneath -- no bra, and (he assumes, hopes, prays) by default, panties either... He takes a step toward her, and another -- and is awakened by a clumsy library assistant dropping all fifty-seven pounds of Volume 8 (Embl -- Fils) of the Oxford English Word Origins Dictionary...
His bladder is fit to burst from all the coffee; but the insistent erection he hides beneath the lip of the table prevents him from standing, going to the men's room, pissing, and splashing cold water on his face, rubbing his tired eyes in the mirror and perhaps smoking a cigarette -- just the thing a man needs, in his case, to wake up... But he won't. He just couldn't bear to stand up and cross the room with this stiffy, certainly not in pleated chinos. He tries to think it away -- imagine that! All the men the world over trying to conjure one into existence, and I have to wish it away! And if each man is given but a certain number of them, and no more, what future night of ecstacy am I halving? Sigh...
Philip Welsh
It definately seemed like a plague affecting primarily men. He once asked a girlfriend how often she found herself getting wet "down there" for no apparent reason at odd times throughout the day, the way men get spontaneous erections. She giggled and replied, "virtually never". Why are women characterized as capricious when sometimes they seem like such intentional beings compared to men? His uncle Rajph seemed like a completely intentional being. His life was completely structured and predictable. Rising at the same time everyday, going to bed at the same time every night. Gone fishing on sunday mornings. No chance for variation. A completely structured life like a well kept train schedule. Surely Uncle Ralph didn't get spontaneous erections. Or maybe he did. pH
Thinking about uncle Ralph quickly cut short the life of his problem below the edge of the counter. Jake got up to use the facilities. He was actually getting somewhere and he began to feel confident that when the time came he'd be prepared. Perhaps he should take a walk down Bancroft and pick up another cup of coffee and a brownie at the cafe.

The feeling of warm coffee against the back of his throat was something he enojoyed very much. Walking had helped to get his circulation going and the fresh air had revived his senses. As he crossed sproul plaza he recognized the form of a woman coming towards him. She had shoulder length brown hair that was almost straight but curled slightly as it fell about. It was Joyce from his days at Piggle, Wiggle and Barney. He hadn't seen her since she left to go callabanting around in Alaska. When she saw him a big smile crossed her face and she extended her arms in a warm embrace.

Here you are, you dirty old man. I never thought to see you again. Do you know I selled your house and the yellow car you admired more than me? I'm now living with a nice and good looking horsedriver near Washington. Vanessa
His name is Richard. Don't insinuate phallus before him. His third time that would happen. And, you know, you don't want any bardolaters on your posterior, hon. Oft times he quotes the bard... Example, this morning he woke up, fed the horses, went out back to the chicken coup... and had to slaughter one... well, one in the figurative sense... the chicken atrocities are no laughing matter.. anyway, he came in, covered in sanguine juice... well, you know, blood... Jesus. You'd think I was an overembellisher or some such... don't answer that... smartass...Anyway, he came in and said, "So far in blood that sin will pluck on sin: Tear-falling pity dwells not in this eye." I'm not sure if he meant, "I need to get the blood off me... and I'm crying for your help... I'm not sure... He's an odd sort of guy. Regular trinity of self. Never hits the pavement even. Sort of slips along the edge of the earth, sitting in his hansom cab, and moving with the heartbeat of Gaia... well, this isn't true, but it sure sounds believable. Just hook in the headphones... You'll hear it... oh my, Johnny Belinda resides here... tis a shame... well, my word... Gren24L
What kinda of crazy-ass newfangled designer drugs is she on, thought Jake, for the language centers of her brain to be tickled and discombobulated in such a nonsensical manner...? Why, look at her pupils -- mere pinpoints! She looks like Grace Slick circa Volunteers -- beautiful and a complete fucking loon. Sad. Whether from bad chemicals or bad men, all the best women go to seed. It fills me with despair
Much of the world filled him with despair and he often had these sorts of conversations with himself as he ambled down the street. A familiar face with strike off a reverie which would then so completely command all of his attentions that he'd often forget to say goodbye to the person he was talking to, as he had just done now, staggering off into the heart of the shopping center with his eyes fixed on some star so distant only he could see it.
He had been this way since a very young boy. His parents, teachers and peers attributed this side of his character to Jake's having wandered off one too many times among the mustard and poppy fields of the outlying Dijon countryside, and only Frere Fernand, the sharp-eyed parish priest, correctly identified it as a sign of that pernicious moral lassitude which comes from too much of the sin of onanism, self-stimulation, the Devil's worst habit, the legacy of Gomorrah. For the adolescent Jake had, and sometimes to as many as a dozen times in a single afternoon, "spilled his seed upon the ground," so to speak, and his mind became as watery as his soul. Philip
Now in the hivelike quiet of the library, the idea of self-stimulation was like a thought-disruptor ray. No matter how hard he concentrated, diagrams, equations and explanatory paragraphs spun and whirled into and out of each other on the page in front of him, never quite in focus, and the circumference of every circle contained the mammalian radii emanating outwards from the tender buds of Pamela's nipples.
He looked at the clock -- Damnit! Only seven hours left, I'll never... He shut the book. He heaved a long sigh, almost depraved in the degree of its weariness. If they only wrote these things in English, not gobbledeegook. Applied Principles of Iron Sausage Engineering and Design. Sounds easy enough, if you're of a certain mechanical bent; but try and get your mind to wriggle through the vagaries of this piece of... Chinese Algebra...
But he had no choice. He had to.
He needed a break. His bladder was still fit to bust, and the afterimage of his daydream of Pamela still lay on the undersides of his eyelids, etched in radiantly thin crosshatchings of pyloric acid, now undoing the stay on a garter -- oh, damn! Damn it all and back again if it wasn't too much, if she wasn't a vision of perfection circa a mid-80s Oui centerspread. He turned left as he came out of the stacks and headed for the Handicapped Bathroom, which was roomy, private, and had a door that locked, detouring into the Fiction section en route for exactly as long as it took to slip a copy of The Story of O beneath his jacket. Philip
Jake entered the bathroom and was at first startled by a man sitting in a wheel chair in front of the sink. "I'm sorry," Jake apologized and was about to leave when the man suddenly spoke up. "You can't use this bathroom," he said in a squeaky nasal tone. "I'll wait till your finished." Explained Jake. "No, you can't use this bathroom at all!" The man's face was beginning to turn red and his glasses slid down his nose and pushed them back up his wrist because he had no hands. "Why can't I?" Jake demanded, standing tall over the handless handicapped man. "Because you are not handicapped!" the man nearly shrieked. "Oh yeah? Who's gonna stop me, wheel chair boy?" Jake challenged. "I am!" the man said and he jabbed Jake in the nuts with his wrist. Jake fell to the floor in a fetal postion and wet himself. cuddles
From his agonized, fetal curl on the floor Jake could see the the blanket wrapped around the man's feet, which were not feet but porpoiselike flippers, as well as the book where it had fallen open to the page on which O.'s innner labia are pierced with an antique Parisian manhole cover on which the name of her Mistress's grandfather's now-defunct contracting firm, Jacques Jean-Nicolas Etienne Robillard et Fils, stood out in bold sans-serif relief. The tightly bound O. moans with the sheer vaginal ecstacy of suddenly having to carry an extra 87 kilograms between her legs... Whrrrrrrrrrrrjjh, went the electric wheelchair, sputtering to life. "And let that be a lesson to you, squirt: Don't fuck wit da physically challenged," hissed the man somewhere above Jake and to his left; "And never, never tease a weasel, " he sang. "I will not say it twice. A weasel will not like it. And teasing isn't nice!" So saying, he motored out the door and away.
On the floor, Jake wasn't sure whether to vomit, scream, or curl up like a potato-bug and die. His balls felt as if they had been smashed all the way up to the back of his throat, and the erotic yearnings which had originally sent him to the Handicapped bathroom were no utterly dashed. Not daring to move for fear of jostling his wounded family jewels, he read on, turning the pages with his nose.
As punishment for the missing brandy-cask, Madame LaRoux had had Igor string O. up by her waist-length hair from the barn rafters, directly over the steaming manure-bins. Now, seventeen hours later, her buttocks still stinging with the delicious sting of Igor's giant paddle-ball paddle, O. rotated slowly back and forth on her hair, blinked impassively at by the little barn-owls perching among the eaves. Ah, les petits hiboux, she thought; Muy caliente. Aber, der berschne Igor hat mich noch nicht in meinem Arsch gefickt...und ich will es, ich will! Aber, es gefllt ihm nicht -- Was knnte ein armes Mdchen tun...? Philip
These ruminations were interrupted by the arrival, in the barn, of those pesky little relations summering at Chateau LaRoux, the mischievous Katzenjammer Kids. O. groaned inwardly and squeezed her eyes tightly shut, as if by doing so she could make herself smaller and smaller and finally invisible. But the K. Kids had noses tuned to such things, and immediately looked upwards and spied O. Whereupon, they began to pelt her with cow-chips, rotting apples, and a horseshoe which left a painful, u-shaped bruise across her unprotected belly...
Damn you, spoiled fucking brats! she wanted to call down to them, but she knew this would only result in new measures of severity being added to her already severe punishment... She rolled her eyes. The sinuous muscles in her vagina, strong as they were, after seventeen hours were weary and sore from holding the four rolls of Susan B. Anthony dollars in... How wonderful, she thought, eyes squeezed shut to a fresh rain of cow-dung, Would it not be to be able to drop the rolls on you little shits...? Knock you both right the fuck out! Ah mercy, the things I put up with for that boyfriend of mine!
Philip "Heir to the throne of Pauline Reage" Welsh
Here Jake paused for a moment to take stock of the situation between his legs. Gingerly he sent a tendril of consciousness down his torso and into his scrotum...ouch! Waaaaaaaaaa... Only it wasn't so bad now. Another five minutes and he might be able to stand up. He withdrew the aforementioned tendril and returned his attentions to O., for whom things weren't going nearly so well. The Scarlet Pumpernickel
"You have sinned most onerously, child," said Madame LaRoux; "You have been a very naughty girl." She flicked her gaze (not to mention her sjambok) over at a loveseat in the corner, where those for-once-silent rascals, the Katzenjammer Kids, sulked under the combined weight of huge ice-packs and the fluttering ministrations of Wing and Wong, the palace eunuchs. Beneath the ice-packs, each child's forehead bore an identical welt in the shape of the topside of a Susan B. Anthony dollar, backwards. So true had O.'s aim been! And of an equal trueness (she knew with a chill that suddenly gripped her liver with the icy digits of a ghoul) would be the Madame's punishment. "Let the sentence fit the crime," as the nuns had so thoroughly beaten into her girlhood spent within the unforgiving walls of the Convent of the Virgin Sisters of the Roseless Thorn of Our Lady of Perpetual Frustration. Oh, but what would it be? The suspense was the worst part of it -- just like Laurent had intimated to her that rainy afternoon as they lay in his little twilit room on Montmarte, with its single round window giving out onto the whole vista of Paris like the view from within Polyphemus's eye. She felt a faint tinge of nostalgia as she remembered...Laurent, with his disorderly sheaves of poems, so young, so gentle, so eager to learn. And what she'd taught him, he'd get no degree from the Sorbonne for, to be sure, and yet -- and yet... Lucky Pierre
Madame LaRoux turned away from the Katzenjammers and clapped her hands together thrice -- one! two! three! From the opposite corner Ursula, her shapely blonde secretary, stood to attention and came forward, eyes discreetly downcast, the unwieldy weight and shape of Grundel's Encyclopedia of Table Manners (complete and annotated) balanced atop her head. "Jawohl, Mistress?" she inquired. "Was darf ich fr dich tun?"
"Call in the Mother Superior," shot Madame LaRoux casually, punctuating this seemingly random remark with an Arctic look that pierced O.'s eyes with knitting needles and then ran its fingers hungrily down her creamy flanks. And then O. knew. The punishment more than fit the crime. It compplemented it with a ferocity not seen since the glory days of the Roman Emperor Heliogabalus!
Les Quatres Phillipes
The former Clothilde l'Anguille Herpes, forty-seven years a Bride of Christ and for the last thirty-four of them the Mother Superior of the Convent of the Virgin Sisters of the Roseless Thorn of Our Lady of Perpetual Frustration (said expelled Carmelite Order henceforth to be abbreviated as V.S.R.T.O.L.P.F.) had not aged well.
Or perhaps that phrase is somewhat inexact. For there had never been anything attractive enough about her to merit aging well -- or even aging, for that matter -- she was born old, and sour, and from the very first day of her life had expelled a strong, sharp, distinctly wet odor recalling that most olfactory of the Labors set before Hercules, e.g. the Cleaning-Out of the Augean Stables. Would the author be on target by suggesting that this odor emanated not from her pores but from her very personality? Very likely he would be, but time will leave the making of such subtle distinctions up to you, the reader...
And so, back to our little scenario -- well did O. remember the harpylike contours of the Mother Superior's face, the incipient liver-spots, hair-sprouting moles, and grey varicose veins coloring clawlike hands and bony wrists, and her facility with a cat-o'-nine-tails which most likely bested even the nefarious skills of Madame LaRoux, if only by dint of age.
"Pardon My French!"
Still curled on the floor, a slowly recovering Jake felt his heart begin to race a little bit faster. In all the years he'd heard about this famous book, and planned on reading it, and flipped through Simone de Beauvoir's interminable book of essays on it once at a party while sitting glued to the host's toilet seized with a bout of fearsome diarrhea, he'd never imagined that The Story of O. would be so...spiritual. So visceral and full of unpleasant details, yet so at the same time so... ethereal. His cheeks felt flushed. He read on... Philip
"The acorn does not fall far from the tree," croaked the Mother Superior, her cane tapping malevolently close to O.'s manacled feet as she walked round and round her in excruciatingly slow, geriatric circles. "Until, of course, it is brought elsewhere by a thieving magpie, by a rabid squirrel. Especially if it is a --" here she smiled, a most horrible sort of smile, revealing those impossibly lengthy yellow possum-teeth O. remembered so well from her girlhood -- "a shapely sort of acorn. A pret-ty little acorn, prettier than all the rest." She then turned to address the rest of the chamber. "And who is that thieving magpie, that tainted chipmunk?" She scanned their (if it must be told) somewhat confused-looking faces, before dealing O. a savage thwack across the shins with her cane to annunciate her point: "The devil! Satan, Old Nick, the Serpent! Evil! That's who that magpie, that rodent really is! That is who has stolen our pretty little acorn, and gnawed upon the juicy meat of her soul!" Les Fromages Verts
"I doan't untershtand --" said Fritz Katzenjammer.
"Ja," chimed in Hans, his brother. "Me neider. Der magpie und der chipmnk are de shnake?"
"Oy," said Fritz, "Und vich vun ate der acorn?"
"Ja, und I vant ein acorn too!"
"Ja, ja, me too also! Und some corn-chipsen! Und candy!"
"Ja, candy! Shocolate! Erdnussbutter!"
"Ja, ja! Und a pony!"
Pp le Pu
Madame LaRoux shot a silencing glance at the mischievous children, then clapped her hands again thrice -- one! two! three! -- as she did whenever she issued commands. "Wing, Wong -- would you take the boys downstairs and let them play in the Iron Sausage until supper."
The two eunuchs nodded, and left with the Katzenjammers. As their tongues had been removed along with their manhoods, Wing and Wong were unique among the household staff of Chateau LaRoux in not having to answer the their mistress with a "Yes, respected Mistress" under penalty of three days and three nights locked inside the Iron Sausage. They had seen what Etchings, the head butler, had looked like after his stint in what at the Chateau amounted to Solitary, and the sight had not been a fetching one, to say the least...
Sor Juana Iez de la Cruz
"I knew I should have left those rascals with Der Captain," said Madame LaRoux, seemingly to herself. "If it weren't for my poor sister, God rest her soul..." Les Fromages d'Or
"And now for our little pea-shooter," she mused, turning back to the Mother Superior and O. upon the dais, and Ursula off to the side bent over her stenograph. "So she is possessed of devil, is that what you would have us believe, my dear Clothilde?"
"Precisely," replied the wimple-and-habit-swathed crone, tapping her cane on the floor for emphasis.
"And how, in the methodology of the Church, are such devils driven out? How are we to get our good girl, our sweet, obedient O. of bygone days back?"
"Torture," replied the Mother Superior in a voice whose sudden matter-of-factness thrilled and surprised the helpless O. as much as it terrified her. It was as if her old Mother Superior had been waiting the length of an entire career for such an opportunity. And -- O. had to be admit -- oh, but wasn't it thrilling to be part of such a drama, such a venture -- an exorcism! Jumpin' Jeepers, what would Laurent think?
"Yes, torture," repeated the M.S. "The devil has a firm hold upon the girl's soul, even the untrained eye can see that. He has dug in deep. He has spread roots. He has tunneled in her intellect, made excavations in her heart, and run one of those sleek silver Metro lines underneath the pavement of her psyche. And he will not, I think, give up such sizeable holdings without the administration on our part of extreme pain..."
"I was hoping you'd say that," said the Madame, and the two of them exchanged a reptilian smile which seemed to O. to encompass not only a punishment, but her whole Fate, her past present and future. Her soul. Her self. Her very existence, the cogito ergo sum she'd worked so hard to memorize notwithstanding. And she felt herself filled then with a greater, deeper fear than she'd ever known before...

On the floor, Jake could barely contain himself. He was prudent enough now to stand, limp to the door, and lock it. His trembling fingers fumbled with his fly as he unzipped it, ever-mindful of the bruised orbs within... Ah, Pamela! he thought -- I'll have you yet, if only in my dreams...
Unfortunately, wheelchair boy had a key to the handicapped men's room. Just as Jake had released Buford (don't all men name their penises?) from his denim prison, the door swung open and in rolled the handless flipper man. "What the hell do you think you are doing?!" he screached. "You can't do that in here! You are not handicapped!" "Oh go fuck yourself!" Jake said and kicked the door shut, pushing wheelchair guy back out of the bathroom. Jake realized he would never have enough privacy in this book store with that handicap fascist lurking about so he decided to go to the library to finish his business. No one would bother him there. none
He zipped his fly, tucked The Story of O. under his arm, and found himself whistling, for some momentarily inexplicable reason, the theme song to "Little House On the Prairie." The image of Melissa Gilbert, young and innocent and so very, very earnest, mingled with visions of the helpless, bound O. receiving her inaugural duodenal piercing...and trusty ol' Buford began once again to fill with blood as he pushed open the door and left the Handicapped bathroom. Taking une oui-oui
The hallway was empty and silent, flush with the doughy grey light of the rainy twilight outside which fell in through the tastefull placed skylights. As he headed off into the labyrinth of the stacks, looking for a suitably remote backwater of the Dewey Decimal System to be able to continue his erotic reenactment of the tragicomic rise and fall of Michael Landon, Jake began to get the feeling he was being followed. He stopped and listened, but in the absence of his footsteps on the lino, the only sound to be heard was a low electric wine which he assumed came from the banks of flourescents on the ceiling. Snap out of it, he told himself; there's nobody here but me..." Les Fromages du Mal
But of course he was wrong. Philip
Three aisles back, in Religion, between 224 (Prophetic Books of the Old Testament) and 295 (everyone's favorite number in the DDC: History and Teachings of Zoroastrianism (but you already knew that)) a dark figure in a wheelchair whirred forward at a snail's pace, bright eyes piercing the late afternoon gloom like a cat's.
His name was Evan, and he had waited years for this moment, had crossed mountain ranges, deserts, and oceans to arrive at it, had bided his time and chewed the insides of his mouth to shreds over so many lonely nights he could no longer remember any other life before this...pursuit, shall we say. This Grail-less quest. Before it had begun there had been the orphanage, true, The "Little Wanderers" Home for the Crippled, Deformed, and Teratogenetic (how fucking patronizing of them, of the founders, he thought, to be so goddamned inclusive in their blasted nomenclature...) but those memories had been buffeted by the high winds of so many of the earth's most frozen and desolate places, and as a result had retained very little of their formerly horrific character. They were smooth and probably necessary but ultimately, to Evan, useless.
Lucky Pierre
(My dear friends Bill and Ben Tremblay once hypothesized that each of us possesses a super-power, just like all those superheroes in the comicbooks and cartoons do, only less dramatic than invisibility or x-ray vision, more rooted in the immediacies of our lives. (As an aside, Flaming Carrot Comics once boasted a villain boasting the sinister moniker "The Chair," whose sole super-power was the facility to turn himself into just that: a chair. May wonders never cease!) Thus, this guy's power is the ability to open any jar, no matter how tightly screwed on the lid is. And this woman possesses the unique ability to sense, and fill, the unpleasant holes in any conversation. What's yours? My own is that I can always make pals with strange dogs, no matter how unfriendly their outlook on the human race may be; and Evan's, it must be said, was a supernatural patience approaching that of granite. Evan could wait better than anyone else.) J'm'appelle Phillippe
Jake, meanwhile, fairly breezed through the deserted stacks, past 386 (Inland Waterway & Ferry Transportation), 393 (Death Customs, oh my!) all the way to 399 (Customs of War and Diplomacy -- a very large section indeed, boundless with erotic possibilities, and far enough from away stairwells and windows to as to assure him (he thought) the necessary, delicate privacy so essential to the completion (at last, damn it!) of his wank) where he sat atop a mostly-empty reshelving cart and focused his attentions once more on the torrid plight of poor O. Li'l Serge-y Gainsbourg
...her position on the bed, lying on her back with wrists and ankles tied with wide, tacky neckties to the four bedposts, O. noticed what appeared to be the nose of a camera protruding from inbetween the bas-relief of two baroque roses in the ornate ceiling medallion. No wonder Monsieur Dieu-Da had been able to save her just in time, just as that mean old Mother Superior was stoking up the coals in the Iron Sausage and preparing for another round of trying to cast out O.'s demon -- no wonder indeed! Why, the entire chateau must be bugged and monitored...
Her thoughts were interrupted then as Monsieur Dieu-Da himself came in, wearing nothing but a red rubber clown-nose and a huge... Mercy me! she said to herself, as he climbed atop her and began the arduous task of trying to force her dimensions to actually expand to and accommodate his own, he certainly is well-endowed.
It was as he was thus engaged that the door opened a second time and in walked Madame LaRoux herself, wearing strapped about her waist the most enormous prosthetic penis O. had ever had cause to behold. The lifelike organ in question glimmered under a thick coat of vegetable-based lubricant, and when O. gleaned -- by dint of the Madame's movements -- where she intended to insert that fearsome appendage, she tried frantically to warn the hapless Monsieur Dieu-Da, huffing and puffing away atop her, by fluttering her eyelids in a clever approximation of Morse code. But to no --
It was at this point that Jake's throbbing, lusty reading-session was brought to an abrupt close by the silent and sudden apparition of the man in the wheelchair. Goom-Bah
His book slipped from his sweaty, hair festooned palms as the vision from beyond moaned, "Jake, Jake! I've returned from beyond with a message. You'll go blind if you don't put down the books and meet a nice girl." With uneasy strokes, the ghost struggled at the wheels of his chair. They made an unearthly whine as they spun on their rusty axles. Jake was filled with revulsion the apparition drew closer. Once more, it opened its mouth to speak, the foul odor of the grave belching from its gaping maw. "Jake, heed my warning! Tonight, you will be visited by three ghosts -- and you will learn!" Jeff S.
Jake was not so much frightened as annoyed by this damn guy in his damn wheel chair. It was plain to Jake now that the only place he would get any privacy was in his own home, which meant he would have to check out the book. With a heavy sigh, Jake approached the check-out desk and proffered his tattered old seldom used library card. The librarian behind the counter took his card and the worn copy of the Story of O. and stared hard at Jake over her wire-rimmed glasses. Jake drummed his fingers on the counter as the woman looked at the computer and back at Jake over her glasses. "You have $32 in unpaid fines." she said icily. Jake glance around and it seemed every one in the library had stopped what they were doing to stare at him. He sighed again, paid the fine, picked up his book and was on his way. Jake locked himself in his bedroom and continued where he left off but it wasn't long before he'd fallen asleep. At exactly 1:00 am Jake woke up. There was a young woman in his room. She had a milky complexion and was dressed like Stevie Nicks. "Who are you?" Jake asked, "And what are you doing in my bedroom?" "Didn't Evan tell you that I was coming?" Jake shrugged his shoulders. "The guy in the wheel chair?" the woman prodded. "Oh, goddamnit, that guy!" Jake put his hand to his forehead. "I am the ghost of masterbation past! Come - er, take my hand, I want to show you something." said the ghost, sounding much more ghostly now. Jake couldn't resist her so he took her hand and together they flew out the window into the cold night. Evguenie Sokolov
The lights of the city below flickered in the frosty air. As they flew on through the night, Jake thought back on his many happy teen-age evenings, feeling the dulcet tones of Stevie -- his Gold-Dust Woman -- washing over him as he lay in bed, eyes closed, caught up in a fantasy world. Just Stevie and him. Bathing in a cold river. Feeling her heaving -- "JACOB!!! What are you doing in there?" Good Lord! He was home again! It was 1976 and his mother was opening the door on him. "Yes, Jake." said Stevie,"Remember this moment?" "Remember?" Jake asked, trembling, "How could I forget! I couldn't get an erection for almost a month after this!" He watched in horror as he re-lived, as a spectator, the horrifying drama as it unfolded. "Oh my GOD!" screamed his mother, hair in curlers, Noxzema on her face, "Is THIS what we raised? An animal? Irv, get in here! See what kind of an animal you've raised!" Jake watched in agony as a large man in striped boxer shorts and a t-shirt barreled into the room. "Oy! You see, Shirley? I told you the boy was spending too much time in the bathroom. But NO! You said it was from the Passover matzoh." Jake wanted to die. "After everything we've done for you!" sobbed his mother, "This is how you thank us?" "Jacob, you are going to have a long talk with the rabbi about this -- I can't believe this," said his father, shaking his head, "you who we spent all that money on for a bar mitzvah. Oh, if only your grandmother were here to see this. She must be spinning in her grave!" "This was twenty years ago!" moaned Jake. "Why are you doing this to me? I loved you. I trusted you. You were my fantasty!" "Yes," said Stevie, "I was. But look what it got you. Your poor mother and father, traumatized." "Traumatized? TRAUMATIZED?!" yelled Jake. "Twenty years of therapy and I still suffer from erectile dysfunction for days after I hear a Fleetwood Mac song." Stevie shook her head. "The night is growing old and we still have much to see. Touch my breast and let us be gone." Without thinking, Jake reached out and cupped her soft breast in his hand. Instantly, the scene changed... Jeff S.