Bed of Prose:  An Afternoon with my
friend, Paul
Story Codes: MF, Consensual, Exhibitionist

Bed of Prose:  An Afternoon with my friend, Paul
by  Courtney Weber

It's a cool, sunny Saturday afternoon when Paul comes for my bed.  His hair has
gotten longish and in a cracked leather jacket and giant, gold sunglasses he
looks like a parody of a 70's nighttime drama.  It's probably intentional.

"Good to see you!" I say when he enters the apartment smelling of brisk air and
sweet sweat.   

"Good to see me, too, my luscious dumpling," he replies, embracing me and
running his hand down the back of my jeans.  He apologizes for the circles
under his eyes. The night before went long, he explains.  Squeezing my buttock
with one hand and cradling my face with the other, "Mmmmmm….maddeningly

He's lying.  I never grew into my elbows or feet and can barely see through the
mass of moles and rosacea on my face.  Although today I tied a scarf in my hair
for utilitarian purposes, I think I look kind of cute.  Maybe it's for Paul.  Warm as
lavender water, smooth as cream: humor edged with a self-cutting blade: and a
brunch-worth of current arts knowledge: you feel happily alone in his illusory
world: you'd take him to mom if you could, if you'd only be sure he wouldn't try to
nail her, too.  I wrote that the night I met him.  Someday, I'll show it to him.

  I've never fucked Paul.  I may be the only female in New York who hasn't.  On
the night we met, I scored unusually high for a first poetry slam with a piece
about daisies and undulating atom bombs. He introduced himself, congratulated
me and stuck his tongue down my throat in a fashion as strangely natural as a
handshake. He's a bit of a rite of passage in the pool of poets I've discovered
but so far, I've evaded that rite.  One, I like being different.  Two, I don't like to
share.  We mess around on occasion.  It's impossible to not when you're Paul's
friend.  I set the kettle for tea and show him to the bedroom.  The super across
the alley has turned up his merengue, creating a warm ambience in my drafty

  I finished dismantling the bed frame that morning.  I've slept on the couch for
two weeks, now.  My scalp is still scabby.  The bed looks sad now, the frame
leaning against the wall, bare mattress and boxspring stacked on the floor.  Paul
asks why I'm getting rid of it and I feel for a moment like I'm selling snake oil.

"I'm redecorating," I reply.

Paul listens runs his hand over the frame.  "This is iron?" he asks.  

Oh yeah, I remember.  That was how I described it.  It's black.  It looks like iron.  
I'm not good with metals.  Good thing it's not, or it might have killed me.  Paul
doesn't wait for my answer.  He doesn't really care.  He likes the bars, I can see.

"Always wanted a headboard," he says.  "Had to hogtie the last girl."

I ignore the hot twist in my stomach.  "Get reinforcements," I warn him.

Paul grins.  "Why, pumpkin? What'd you do?  Who'd you do?  Who was it?"

I feel a hot blushing as Paul runs his hand under my shirt and along my back.  
"Majid, right?  Oooh…tell me…" I try to say no one, but instead I giggle and give
it away.  Paul pulls me onto the mattress, nibbling my neck and whispering, "
Come on, tell me.  Tell me about fucking Majid."

White chocolate kisses and black fingerless mittens—my almost lover is too
smart for my game—ooh…I should write that down.  Instead, I whisper in return,
"Only if you tell me about Chloe."

Paul pulls away, pale and shocked.  "How did you know about that?"

Oh, Paul.  Even Bloomberg must know about last weekend's moondance with
Chloe.  But not Majid, of course.  Paul knows about Majid and me, but
Bloomberg doesn't.  Chloe sure as hell doesn't.

"I think they have an arrangement," Paul lies, forgetting that it's me—the other
bookend to the roach-eaten saga.  And as if he's already forgotten to be
shocked, he reaches into my jeans and rubs me through my underwear.  "Tell
me about fucking Majid."

Poetic innuendos on a crackling mic, drunken side glances and see-through
glue holding together the secrets of those who spend too much free time
together—it walks like a big city but talks like a small town…Paul's fingertips
must have woken the muse.  I'm tempted to snatch the neglected notebook from
my winebox-nightstand, but his fingertips feel good.  I hope I'll remember it all

Paul is gentle, but insistent—teasing me in tight circles.  I concentrate enough to
tell him, "Sometimes Majid tastes like caramel, other times he tastes like rain.  In
the dark, his skin glows purple.  The night we broke the bed, he tasted like
summer…" I'm losing my story to Paul's hand.  He stops.    

"Keep going," he whispers.

"No, you keep going," I say through clenched teeth.

"Gotta tell me more…" he says with acidic condescension.  I'm increasingly
turned on—and annoyed.  Paul already knows part of it.  Quiet, stealth
cornerstone at the Lower East Side bar; chuckling sweet somethings over a cold
glass of suds; tricky as his lighter flame, flickering in and out for two seasons
and a dozen rainstorms; a poisoned well of secrets bound to boil on its own
time; meanwhile you bask in your reflection in your own murky piece…I wrote
that about Majid before it all fell apart.  Never showed it to him either, but Paul
heard me read it once.  He figured out the subject.  Paul's clever.

"Majid has a Catholic fetish.  How cliché is that? " I ask Paul, as he traces a
question mark around my clitoris, punctuating lightly inside me at rhythmic

"It's a pretty hot cliché," he replies, dropping his mouth to my breast, sucking
through my t-shirt.

"It was just after the third round and I swore I was too sore to go again, but Majid
promised me breakfast if he could take me on my knees. Hands in prayer…" I
continue between breaths.  I can't do it poetic justice.  My last time with Majid
should have been filmed and catalogued.  He gagged me with my confirmation
rosary.  Gagged with beads and a crucified lord sticking out the corner of my
mouth--total collapse in three part harmony—first the boxspring cracked, and
then fell through the frame. Majid didn't stop, but thrust deeper, taking me from
my knees to my stomach, one fist wrapped in my hair, the other pinning my
shoulder to the sloping mattress.  The iron bars teetered and gave way.  I saw
white and blue and finally sparks when it crashed into my crown. Yet, I felt no
pain.  Spitting beads and broken string, I cried out for Jesus for the first time
since bible camp.

"Keep going," Paul says, fixing his motions on one hot spot.

"I didn't black out…I have a hard head…no concussion," I continue,
concentration on the story bordering on impossible.  "Sometimes, I kind of wish
I'd had.  Going to the emergency room would have been so funny…"

  It's true.  Majid and I would have laughed about it forever.  Maybe even fallen
in love.  Still makes for a nice story, ER or not.  The dawn trickling grey light
around my window shade, Majid and I cackled on the rubble of the bed, sipping
the previous night's Rolling Rock.  Flat beer.  Flat bed.  We laughed harder
when I noticed the dark streak on the white wall, a six inch gash in the paint cut
by the headboard before collapsing.  It looked like an arrow, or a jet-black
penis.  Majid stuck his finger in the slightly bleeding cut on my scalp and made
little red berries on the arrow, making it a blossoming tree branch, or a caustic
STD.   I wanted to write a poem and paint it under the mark.  Majid said I should
do it in menstrual blood.

But now I've lost my words, I have only my thoughts and they're slipping too.
Paul has me on the edge and if he stops I'll fucking kill him.  Oh god, Paul
please don't stop please don't please don't…

He doesn't.

Coming and cackling into the crook of his arm, Paul strokes my hair.  "Good
girl," he says.  "Good girl."   

  Breathing back to normal, returning from the orgasmic high, I'm suddenly
irritated.  I feel like I missed something.  Maybe it's just the "good girl" thing
that's annoying me.  Majid never talked after sex.  Sometimes he'd tell knock-
knock jokes during the act, though.  We both liked to laugh in bed.  I lie and
think I don't miss him.  Reminding myself of the final cliché—over cooked, over
baked, over done—at least for me, anyway.  I'm nauseous even thinking of
trying to write it:

  Girl arrives at party, scalp scab still fresh—that's me, if you can't tell.  Girl sees
Guy—that's Majid.  Guy pretends not to see Girl.  Girl sees Guy with Guy's "Ex"
—this would be Chloe—and realizes "Ex" isn't Ex after all.  Girl steals bottle of
Tanqueray from host's liquor cabinet, drinks most of it en route to apartment,
passes out in a ConEdison truck.  (Fortunately, I woke before the cops found
me.)  Surprise ending: "Ex" sleeps with Paul a week later.  But maybe that isn't

Paul knew the party story.  He didn't know about the chapters of private tears to

The kettle screams.  Some things take awhile and others don't.  I go to the
kitchen, noticing the shades are up and the super can surely see me strolling
around in old blue panties.  I also notice I don't care.  Paul's pants are around
his thighs when I return with two steaming cups. An eager penis attempts to
push through the cotton briefs.  "My turn," he says.

"Whatever," I respond and turn to the kitchen for milk and honey.

"Excuse me?" he snaps, suddenly angry.

Courtesan Guilt—the title of a poem I wrote last year.  Returning what you've
just received; expected to pay for what you thought was a gift…Chicks love that
poem.  Guys don't.  Yet I laugh as though kidding and reach for his underwear.

"No, let me do it," he says.  "Just keep kissing me," and pulls me onto his lap,
rubbing my ass with his cock and pushing up my shirt.  "Feed them to me," he
hisses.  I make my breasts into one, while his tongue flicks a figure eight around
my nipples. It feels nice.  We make a comfortably awkward pretzel on my
unsheeted mattress.

  "I want you to tell me about hog-tying Chloe," I whisper.

"Damn, you're nosy…" he replies, muffled by my breasts.  He groans, pressing
himself harder against my pubis.

"Oh, and you're not?"  I'm annoyed and he knows it.

Paul groans again, eyes squeezed shut.  His voice is thin.  "After Mala's book
party…Majid went home early.  She came up to me, saying she heard I had an
amazing cock."

I reach behind me, squeezing his wrist until he stops, when I take over.  He's
thick and warm in my hand and my cold fingers make him jump.  Chloe's rumor
isn't so far off.  I whisper, "Go on."   

"Okay…wow, that feels good…she came home with me, right?  Jumped me in
the hallway…put my hand up her skirt before I could get the key in my door.  
Almost had my whole hand in her…fucking crazy…

"She kept saying she wanted me to use her, so I dragged her inside, well, I
didn't drag her—like, pretend drag her?  By the hair…" He moans again,
rubbing my thigh.  "Goddamn that feels good," he says.  I squeeze him harder.

"And then?" I ask.

  "So that's when I tied her ankles and wrists behind her with a computer
cord…pulled her onto my lap and fucked her.  Oh…fuck…"

  He tries to continue but his story is breaking into moans, digging stubby claws
into my leg.  I know he's had a lot of women, but suddenly wonder when a
woman last touched him.  I drag the belt from his pants.

  "Keep talking," I tell him.

His face freezes and his breath breaks, I release my grasp and slap his bare
thigh with it. He gasps, looking shocked and then furious, gentle eyes melding
into blue-hot metal.  I wonder if I've gotten him to the place where men get
dangerous if they're teased too much, but I slap him again.  He falls back on the
mattress, arms spread and shirt open, white chest vulnerable.  I belt him twice
more, one on each nipple and a full lash on a now red-thigh.  I begin to stroke
him once more, slowly.

  He swallows and continues.  "She went to the window to smoke…oh, Jesus
that feels amazing…I didn't let her.  I fucked her from behind with her tits
pressed up against the window.  God, she has an amazing ass…"

  The kids in the apartment upstairs are pounding the floor with horrible little
feet.  The merengue has switched to Chrismas carols and it's barely October.  
My room is still cold, but we're both shiny with sweat.  I see Chloe and her fat
ass, and Majid's rotten-penis-painting and a half dozen like him before in
different shapes and colors…I stroke Paul harder.  But his story is lost, he's not
even there but in the razor-thin place before the body takes over—Jesus Christ I
need to write this shit down.

Paul suddenly opens his eyes.  "So I stuck a thumb in her butt and made her
call me daddy.  She came twice that way.  And dear god, her ass is fucking

I rip the scarf from my hair and run it through his teeth, choking the end of the
story.  Wrapping his wrists with the belt, I push both his hands into a steeple
above his head, holding him down with one hand, pushing aside the crotch of
my panties with the other, taking him inside me at an angle so sharp we both cry
out.  I squeeze him like I'm going to cut him off at the testes.  I want to break the
bed again. I want to crash through the boxspring and land on the downstairs
neighbors' kitchen table.  I want to break this man's body and keep a piece of
inside of me for all time.  I want a ritual male sacrifice in my honor and I want to
remember all this shit and write an epic poem later.

  Cheeks smashed together, his arms still above his head, my elbows burning,
I'm nearly smothered by the mattress and Paul by my hair.  I come loudly and he
comes louder, in a wail that could be a sob.  He pushes through my grasp and
wraps his bound arms around me, holding me tightly, sweat sticking us together
like fresh cement.

  We lay for awhile in silence.


We must look so cute.  

A young married couple, presumably, given a castaway bed from some old
friends, too poor to rent a truck and must lug it to Brooklyn on the subway.  The
train is crowded and smells like bad breath.  Paul's knuckles are white around
the pole and I grossly wonder if it will smell like me.  I feel weird.  Paul is quiet.

"So," I say with the intention of a joke.  "You're going to tie up Chloe on your
new bed?  Maybe skip the reinforcements and send her back to Majid with a real

Paul looks at me, blankly.  My joke isn't funny.  Not even to me, actually.

"Eunice," he says.  "When we get to my place, I want you to rape me."

"I think I just did," I reply, uncomfortably.  I envision the welts beneath his
trousers and shirt.  His wrists are scuffed.  I'm sore between my thighs and have
a weird kink in my neck. I took a shower, but I feel I need another one.

"No, I want you to really do it this time," he says, blue eyes calm and serious and
a little needy.  God.  He really is a sweet guy.  "Maybe when we get to my place,
or maybe next week.  Or maybe you break in through my fire escape and I wake
up while you're gagging me."

  "I don't know," I say.  I really don't.

  "Sneak up behind me and put something up my ass, maybe.  Whatever you've
got on you.  High heel shoe, or something, that'd be perfect.  Just don't tell me
what you're doing before you do it.

  "I'll think about it," I say.

  "Do that," Paul replies.  "Just think about it."

  The train rocking gently beneath millions of people high above us, dozens
crowded around us, nodding into their bibles or dissolving into their
headphones, all carving in their own dark little ways to hurt and love each
other.  All dark and delicious, delirious and mysterious, clouded with thoughts
that scare them and actions that surprise and make them oddly strong.  I swear
I'm going to write this all down.

  I take Paul's hand.

Copyright© 2015 Courtney Weber

Courtney Weber is a writer, performer, astrologer and Tarot reader. Her fiction
has been published on and in Bank Street Magazine. Her short
story, "This Is What Gets Me" was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and
mentioned in "Notable Short Stories of 2004." This year, she was a finalist NYC
Midnight Madness short story challenge. Under the pen name of Sister Mary
Manhattan, she is the author of the cult-favorite astrologyexplained.blogspot.
com. Currently, Courtney is working on designing a Tarot deck.  She has a habit
of losing shoes in public places
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