Empty Rubber Prison
I am not to be played with. I am not a toy. I am my own master. You are my master too. I know that I will love you. I will not be played with. Playthings don't have feelings. I do not feel. I am not being played with. Your hands are warm and cool at the same time. They are soft but they touch me roughly. I asked you to. I wanted you to. Your body is hard. Mine is too. We are biological counterparts. In this way, we fit together. I am on my back, on a bed, or a couch, or just an arrangement of cushions on a dirty floor. It doesn't matter what you call it. It holds me up while you fuck me. Which I asked you to do.
Your name is unimportant, Roger. We met two weeks ago, in class. Advanced Philosophical Studies. The professor began each class by laughing. You turned and looked at me and your eyes said, "Is this guy nuts?" Later you actually asked me that question, over two steaming cups of coffee at the campus cafe, which you'd invited me to. You bought the coffee and you put too much sugar in. It was so sweet I nearly gagged. It was still hot. I drank it and told you what you wanted to hear, that our professor was clearly insane, while you tried not to look at my cleavage and I examined a poster on the wall, advertising a band called "Fuck Everything," and I wondered if fucking everything would be unhealthy. I never once wondered if fucking you would be unhealthy. I was your master then. Already. Do you remember?
I grew up without parents. I had masters. I also had a roommate, whose name was Erica. Neither of us had any toys. The orphanage couldn't afford them. They could afford to feed us. We loved them. Erica told me so one time, at 10:03 PM, three minutes after lights out. She said that she loved our masters and that I should too. It was how to get ahead. A week later Erica brought a toy into our room - a science kit, something someone had donated. She said, see? And she never let me play with it. I looked through the microscope once, when she wasn't there. There was blood under it, blood that moved and squirmed. Blood is subdivided into cells. Those cells writhe as though they want to run away, but they cannot get outside of the whole. Neither can I.
Public school. Twelve years. I played field hockey. I had school spirit. I did my best. When I was a junior, I was invited to try out for the school play. Ragtime. It was a guy who was asking. The girl with the locker next to mine asked him if that was some kind of sick joke, asking a girl to try out for a play called Ragtime. The guy told the girl that he didn't get off on that kind of humor. He said it was because he was gay. He walked away and she called him a fag. She didn't look at me or speak to me again. The whole time I pictured them fucking. I pulled on my parka, right there in the building, where it was seventy degrees.
When I was sixteen I lost my virginity at a party. You were relieved when I told you I wasn't a virgin. I've been with three men, and you were relieved, and the first one Dave didn't know the difference, didn't know that I wasn't moaning in pleasure, didn't know until he pulled out that I wasn't turned on, that what was lubricating his dick wasn't my pleasure but was in fact blood, blood whose cells wanted to run away, but I didn't, and I told him that he was great. He was not as good as you, though, Roger.
I don't play with men. We have fun. I was never in love. I'll tell you that I thought I was. That's the truth. I did think. Often.
You tell me that I am gorgeous as you rub my skin. You are correct. My appearance is an amalgamation of appearances I've found in popular fashion magazines, pornographic films, and the classroom. It's all about appearance; it's all about concealment, showing just enough to entice without revealing enough to make you feel as though you have nothing more to gain from me. I only tell you that I want you to fuck me when I am still partially clothed. My shirt lies on the floor, my bra is unstrapped and slipping but still on my shoulders, my dark jeans are unzipped just far enough to show you that I'm not wearing anything underneath, and I whisper in your ear that I want your cock inside of me, and I lick your ear. I love you, Roger. None of this is an accident.
I did have one accident. Two days after that first cup of coffee, we were talking about film. You said that reading into a film is the only way to understand it. I mentioned extradiogesis. You didn't know what the word meant. That made you feel bad. I did not want to make you feel bad, Roger. I love you.
You asked me my name. I told you that I love you. I am loving you now, pulling at your hips as you fuck me. I feel.
I told you, exactly one week after we slept together for the first time, that when I was little I wanted to be an astronaut. I wanted to walk in space. I wanted to surround myself with emptiness, emptiness that is quantifiable, emptiness that Erica's science kit could explain, not emptiness like looking at Dave's face and seeing pleasure and nirvana and not feeling it, not loving it. You looked grave. Then you kissed me. Kissing is a physical interaction, wherein the two partners press their lips together. Excessive kissing may lead to suffocation. There are several documented cases. I know exactly how long to hold the kiss, exactly when to breathe out, exactly how low to moan to get you hard. You pull back and say that it wasn't meant to be that kind of kiss. I almost laugh. I laugh. I tell you that you're wonderful. You're too good for me, Roger. Please stay.
Eventually, that night, you fucked me. I could feel your weight on top of me as you told me that I made you feel lighter than air. I could feel a gentle sense of friction inside of me as you penetrated me again and again. Friction is heat created by the rubbing together of two surfaces. You want to keep me warm, Roger, even though I am nothing but cold. The term “friction” is also used metaphorically to discuss relationship issues – when two people “rub each other the wrong way.” We are in no danger of rubbing each other the wrong way, Roger. I know exactly how to rub a man.
When you were done fucking me, you laid down beside me, sweating, breathing heavily. I sweat too. I sweated when Dave fucked me. I sweated when I played field hockey in high school. Everybody that is biologically human sweats. You run your hand along my face and tell me that love could save the world.
Fuck you, you god damn son of a bitch. If not you then some other philosophy class sap out to save the world from Big Bad Corporations, Global Warming, Terrorism, or some other ridiculous capitalized Threat To Us All. The boogeyman lurking under your bed is easier to keep at bay when he has Donald Trump's face, isn't that right? But that's not what you're really afraid of, Roger. None of you are really and truly afraid of corrupt politicians who want to "steal your rights." None of you wake up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night because the ozone layer is being depleted at that very second. None of you avoid going out in public because the terrorists might happen to blow you up. That isn't what really eats at you. None of you ever wanted to be an astronaut. Or maybe, just maybe, you did, and that's what scares you.
You're fucking me. It's a bed we're on, your bed, in your apartment just off campus. It is a nice apartment. Two bedrooms, one for you, one for your roommate, plus a living room and a kitchen. It's neat. You are not a neat freak, you told me, demonstrating this by tossing your keys onto the table without arranging them. There are scratches on the table under your keys. They've landed there before. Your roommate is not home. He has a girlfriend, or possibly a boyfriend, but at any rate he is rarely at home, which gives us plenty of time to fuck. I love to fuck. I love you, Roger. You slide in and out of me and moan and tell me I'm gorgeous, tell me I'm the one for you, tell me that you've never had such an erotic experience before in your life, and I repeat those things back to you. I have never had such an erotic experience before, either. When you're done you ejaculate into the condom, still inside of me, and as I tell you it was just as good for me as it was for you, I wonder how long it will take for your sperm, trapped in a rubber prison, to die of deprivation.
Daniel Loring Keating grew up in post-Industrial New England, where he earned a BA in Creative Writing from Chester College of New England. He has recently obtained his MFA in Creative Writing at the California College of the Arts, and is the Managing Editor of Eleven Eleven Journal. His work has previously been published in Strange Fictions, Petrichor Machine, Obra/Artifact, and the Hungry Chimera.