New Year at Gallery SOAP/New Fiction That Has Nothing To Do With SOAP
Munz, Odori Neko, Miruko, Sourukyodai, Warai no Tsubo [Common Laughing Point].
It started when I had one of my legendary migraines, and I watched her set a plate down next to the futon, so I could roll over and lick it with the least effort. It just accelerated from there – or decelerated I guess, like forgetting to wind a watch and letting the hands stop. The power gradually drained from me, and even as the headache seemed to subside it came back with more force, so that all the lights were turned down, not even a candle, and Noriko started bringing me milk, fresh from her breast, in a delicate Arita ceramic, one of her families’ own they couldn’t find room for at the shop.
The milk was mild, warm and sweet, and it seemed to contain all the nourishment I needed. I had no doubt my muscles had been atrophying, except for the one – which she had no qualms about using, and was in fact, my only activity for the following period, the time of which I’m not certain, but it must be stated that things would never again be the same, that this dark period had sprung up unexpectedly, and its mood infected my everyday so that I could not return to the way it had been before – in effect, I became addicted.
She would check on me twice a day, minimum, in between work shifts at the hospital, where she worked as a nurse for the mentally challenged. How she managed to see me as any different I’ll never know. That she adored me I have no doubt – but the way it ended, the way it became so normal for us, gradually the routine, happened like a slip in time, starting with the first bowl of milk.
I couldn’t walk on two legs, it wasn’t allowed. Nor was I allowed to leave the apartment of my own free will, that was out of the question. If I stayed underneath the doorknob for long enough, staring at it with intent, moping audibly, she might be good and open it for me. But as soon as I was out, I wanted her to let me back in. I couldn’t control it. It became like impulse, and impulse became nature, and then there was the forgetting. Forgetting the way it was before. Like it had never been any different.
Even the thought of being on two legs annoyed me, dizzied me, remembering how gravity always seemed to pull me downwards, that as long as I could remember I only wanted to be on the floor, admiring her boots, looking up at her curvaceous body, untouchable lest I should be punished, and punished brutally, lovingly. Swiftly. Then it would be all over, and she would recover me with bandages and lick me like a cat washing its own paws, which pleased me immeasurably, and she would hold me and run her hand from the back of my head down to the end of my spine, until I fell into a stupor and a dream, yet I remained awake, dehydrated, bleary-eyed, unable to move, unable to resist her touch in the same way I was unable to resist her kicks, swift and unforgiving, pointed and focused, jamming my ribs and god knows what other bones she might have broken in her calm, eloquent fury.
She would give me assignments, to keep busy while she was at work. She didn’t want me wandering off, so she started a magazine collection for me. She would bring one home and leave it in the doorway, so that after she was done beating me and holding me I would have some reading material to hold me over before the next one. The first one she gave me was called Unidentified Mysterious Animals [UMA], and it was all in Japanese except for the chapter headings. Chapter One: The Existence of So-Called Unidentified Mysterious Animal. Chapter Two: Mysterious Creatures Hidden Under the Water. Chapter Three: Mysterious Creatures Concealed in Deep Forest. Chapter Four: Mysterious Creatures That Glide Across the Sky. Chapter Five: Mysterious Creatures that Sneak Around. Chapter Six: Mysterious Creatures that Conceals in Japan.
The magazine featured detailed area maps of the creatures’ locations, which were spread throughout the globe. Sometimes the title pages had lavish pencil sketches with English subtitles, listing the creatures divulged within: The Flying Rods, Skunk Ape, Minnesota Iceman, Mongolian Death Worm. I could make up any story I wanted to go along with the photographs – most of the text didn’t make sense to me. Aside from a few hundred familiar kanji, the rough equivalent is like reading an English newspaper with the ability only to recognize the letter “A”, and nothing else. Surprisingly, though, in the battered state I was in, I could spend countless hours indulging myself in what lay behind the kanji – the Mongolian Death Worm, 2.5m—11.5m in length, first sighted at the such and such lake in northern Mongolia, in the dead crisp of winter, by an unsuspecting family of four nomads traveling by dogsled, momentarily capsized by the rumbling of the earth, the violent cracking of the ice below them, the awesome surge of blood as they are hurled through space on the back of this giant earthworm, kicking and spitting like an electric bull, spinning them on the ice and causing the sled to overturn on itself, the two huskies killed instantly on blunt impact, the family at once shocked and adrenalized, father taking a brave last stand as the horrified women and children stand witness to his demise, eaten whole by a giant earthworm that carries his own Worchester sauce.
I had heard stories about the Chupacabras, leaving infant carcasses completely drained of blood on their mothers’ doorsteps. The photos depicted black-clawed creatures with bloody gums and eyes like the coldest lizard, but somehow I began to think of Noriko in such a way. In my imaginings, I was the baby and she was the Chupacabra, snatching me in the dead of night from my crib, whisking me away to her cave and biting into me, sucking, and sucking, and sucking, until my whole body felt as dry as my mouth when I’m dehydrated, or after coming and coming and coming; used up in that delicious way that I wanted to be used by her, abused, thrown away even, spat upon, destroyed by her power in order to feed her strength, and in feeding her strength I was fulfilling my love for her, or my obsession, depending on your perspective.
If I remember correctly, that week’s beatings were especially brutal. As I had been fantasizing about the Flying Rods, she blasted through the door and started in on me without ceremony, with a fury I had never seen, pouncing on me, burning me with her passion, squashing my face into the pillow and kicking the ribs, then turning me over and pummeling me without as much as a hello, almost gracelessly slapping me left, right, left, right, then seeing my erection through the briefs, yanking off my clothes and arresting me inside her while continuing the beating she was fucking me, and I’m sure my face was a complete disaster because the blood sprayed her bust with each new slap, now she was just spreading my nosebleed and getting off over it. But just as I thought she was finished and she had come, she opened her mouth and that’s when I knew I wasn’t getting away anytime soon. She must have had them operated on, because I have never seen choppers like that. Needless to say, she drained me, and from the neck even, as I was coming inside her. It was just as I had hoped – she was draining the very life-force out of me, in fact I thought I might not survive, with all the blood transforming the sheets into a lake of fire.
I drifted off, distinctly I remember drifting off into a dream of the very scene that just played itself out in reality – if that’s what you call it – but from a bird’s eye perspective, it must have been from the ceiling – we had very high ceilings, maybe fourteen feet high, and I was hovering over our bodies and she was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen, a true artist at work, absorbed in her doings, in no other time or space, just doing, just being what she is. The way she took hold of me like a limp rag, a useless quilt, a doll, from the instant she walked in, and from above I could see the sharp voluptuousness of her curves jolting me with their vivacity, the pale, thin, boyish character diffusing beneath her, shrinking yet absorbing her with the same relish she had for devouring him.
These were my darkest days, my best days, my days without legs, without motion, without a will of my own, my only will to be subordinated again and again by this mother beast, this – and that’s when it struck me, the Japanese pronunciation of the English word “woman” sounds exactly like the American pronunciation of UMA, as in Uma Thurman, as in Unidentified Mysterious Animal. And simultaneously, as I was lapsing into unconsciousness, I remembered passing over a small, almost unnoticeable black and white photograph in a corner of the back cover page – it was something I saw but immediately forgot due to the initial shock and denial – Noriko in her black boots with her face half turned away, the caption of which read “Mysterious Chupacabra Lady of Japan”.
Once I had to clean the floors, as she had no qualms about examining every inch on her return. She had a magnifying glass, and spectacles hanging from her neck as she inspected my work. I had taken a clean rag made it dirty, being always on all fours I couldn’t reach for the sink to wash it off, and so did my best with the soapy bucket at hand. Of course, she found a long black hair [that must have been hers she dropped when she turned around, for the floor had been immaculate moments before] picked it up and began walking towards me with intent from the other room – there were two rooms, a bedroom with a sliding glass door and one very small foyer/kitchen area, I had been on the bed, in the larger of the two rooms, but could see her coming at me with the familiar look, and I knew I was in for a good one.
What’s this? she said but I knew it was a rhetorical question, that to answer would be the same as to die an instant and violent death, crushed by the force of two mack trucks levied at a crossroads. And then the whip, she was dressed of course in the traditional black black leather leather – no, wait – I don’t like the way this one is going, it’s too predictable. Of course, she gets carried away with the beating and nearly kills him as he writhes in ecstacy – no, it’s been done before, and will be done a thousand times – no, I’m not interested in this one, I don’t want to rewrite it like that – and besides, there’s a smell of definite mold in this room, or maybe it's the dirtiest glass window I’ve ever seen in a bookstore – or maybe it’s this guy’s cellphone that keeps ringing next to me, with some stupid pop song ringtone. At least the music isn’t pumping loudly the all but ubiquitous Christmas music I’ve been getting around here – but wait – there she is – I know it’s hard to believe, this must be one of those times when the everyday is interrupted [yet again] by a moment which transforms reality into something resembling fiction – she just walks in and sits next to me as I’m typing. There’s no escape – it’s definitely her – even as I write this now she’s boring into me with her eyes, no, I can’t go on writing. I have to stop. She sits down next to me in complete silence with that brutal confidence, knowing that I have no power to resist her gaze, no power to overcome her magnitude. I’m forced to look at her yet I can’t look at her yet there is no other way.
That’s when I get an email on my mobile phone, it saves me from having to confront her – but the tone of the letter sounds familiar, and as I begin to read it I fall into a kind of light trance, where I can’t stop reading the words, even though I’m not certain who it’s from, it puts me into an immediate trance, then I realize somewhere in the back of my mind that it’s from her. Somehow she managed to send it to me as I sit next to her, she must have sent it a few moments ago when she saw me sitting here. How she knew I was here I’ll never know – now I read it self-consciously, a sheep amidst a family of wolves, knowing she’s watching me read her words, imposing her power over me, though I try to resist I start to feel the heaviness of her psyche boring into my core, I’m terrified, terrified she will destroy me for good this time, terrified and yet I desire nothing more, she will leave nothing left of me, a limp rag, a dehydrated, useless shell of a body – I’m aware of all this as I start to read her email –
WHY DID YOU THINK YOU COULD ESCAPE? THERE ISN’T ANYWHERE FOR YOU TO GO – I KNOW ALL YOUR MOVES, YOUR LAST MOVE, YOUR NEXT MOVE, THE MOVE YOU HAVEN’T THOUGHT ABOUT YET, AND THE MOVE AFTER THAT. I’M TWO, THREE STEPS AHEAD OF YOU BUT I’M ALSO BEHIND YOU, I AM YOUR NEMESIS AND YOUR HEAVIEST EROTIC FANTASY, I AM EVERYTHING YOU FEAR AND EVERYTHING YOU DESIRE IN ONE WOMAN, THERE ISN’T ANYWHERE FOR YOU TO GO – I HAVE YOU SURROUNDED, IN SPACE AND IN TIME, AND FOR ALL TIME, YOU WILL BE MINE, YOU’RE THROUGH WITH THE DISGUISES, THROUGH WITH THE FLIPPANT AFFAIRS, THE PSEUDONYMS, THE TRAVELLING, I’M AHEAD OF YOU AND BEHIND YOU BOTH, I AM A DOPPLEGANGER AND A CHUPACABRA, YOU CAN’T AVOID MY GAZE BECAUSE I HAVE HAD YOU HYPNOTIZED FOR AGES, YOU’RE DRIFTING, MELTING AWAY, AS YOU ARE READING THIS YOU BEGIN TO LOSE CONSCIOUSNESS, SLOWLY, YOU BEGIN TO DRIFT AWAY EVEN AS YOU ARE LOOSELY AWARE THAT YOU ARE DRIFTING AWAY, UNDER MY POWER, MY HYPNOSIS, EVEN AS YOU ARE AWARE THAT I AM CASTING A SPELL YOU CANNOT RESIST, BECAUSE YOU WANT TO BE HYPNOTIZED, YOU WANT TO BE UNDER MY POWER, YOU HAVE NO WILL TO ESCAPE BECAUSE IT IS YOUR WILL TO BE DEVOURED, YOU HAVE NO WILL TO ESCAPE FROM MY WORDS, AND AS YOU READ THIS YOU BEGIN TO DRIFT LITTLE BY LITTLE, INTO ANOTHER WORLD, MY WORLD, WHERE YOU WILL ONLY PAY HEED TO MY WORDS AND NO ONE ELSE’S, NO AUTHORITY, NO FORCE, NO INSTITUTION NOR WILL CAN RELEASE YOU FROM MY GRIP, YOU WILL FORGET EVERYTHING YOU KNEW, YOUR MEMORY OUTSIDE OF WHAT WE’VE SHARED WILL BE OBLITERATED, AND AS I STARE INTO YOUR FACE SITTING NEXT TO YOU, IN YOUR CONFUSED AND HYPNOTIZED STATE YOUR WILL BECOMES WEAKER AND WEAKER, YOUR WILL BEGINS TO MERGE WITH MINE, YOUR WILL IN SUBMISSION TO MINE DOWN TO THE LAST MUSCLE, BEGINNING WITH THE MUSCLES IN YOUR EYES AS THEY MOVE ACROSS THE PAGE, I HAVE BEGUN TO TAKE CONTROL OF EVERY MUSCLE, NOW YOU ARE READING THIS THROUGH A DIM LIGHT, AS YOUR EYES BEGIN TO GET HEAVIER YOU SEE THINGS AS IF FROM A TUNNEL, AND THERE IS A SMALL RED LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL THROUGH WHICH YOU ARE READING, THOUGH YOU DON’T REALIZE IT YET YOU ARE LIVING INSIDE THAT SMALL RED LIGHT, SHELTERED BY ITS GLOW, AND AS YOU ARE READING AND THE TUNNEL CONTINUES TO GROW AROUND YOU, ENGULFING YOU IN DARKNESS, THE LIGHT BECOMING SMALLER AND SMALLER AND YOU WONDER HOW THIS EMAIL SEEMS TO GET LONGER JUST AS YOU THINK YOU’VE REACHED THE END IT CONTINUES, AND NOW YOU SEE THE LETTERS APPEARING ONE BY ONE AS YOU REALIZE I AM WRITING THIS FROM THE SEAT NEXT TO YOU, YET YOU CAN’T LOOK BECAUSE YOU KNOW ONCE YOU LOOK YOU WILL BE MINE FOREVER, THE TUNNEL CONTINUES TO GROW AND THE LIGHT BECOMES DIMMER AND WEAKER, JUST AS YOUR WILL BECOMES WEAKER, YOUR MUSCLES LIMP, DRIFTING, THERE IS NO STOPPING NOW, YOU’RE LOST, YOU’RE DRIFTING, YOU’RE LOST, YOU’RE
Awake. I’m in a room lit by candles, a hundred candles lit on a corner shelf, and I can’t tell if I’m in a bed or a chair or something in between, like a dentists chair, it’s comfortable black leather or fake leather, I’m leaning back and my mouth is halfway open, and dry, very dry, my tongue comes unstuck audibly from the upper palate as I stare at the candles, trying to place myself in space – it’s not my apartment – or is it? If the furniture had been rearranged it could very well be – by the looks of things the rooms are about the same size, but the Hieronymus Bosch is missing, which leaves a gaping white hole in the wall, and as I crane my neck to see the other room, yes, I can see that in fact it is my apartment, or was, but that all signs of life have been removed except for the candles, no dishes in the sink, no teapots, no condiments on the shelves, it’s as if no one has ever lived here, an empty, now dark apartment but for the dentist’s chair. And I can’t move. Only now I’m aware that my hands have been tied, my legs hog-tied together, and the gag in my mouth – it’s all too typical. Yet I have this feeling of comfort, of warmth, of completion. A sense that my will has been perfectly aligned with what it most desires, has always desired – the feeling of giving up completely, giving up the struggle of trying to be someone I’m not, A oneness with who I am at my very core. Then as if I had forgotten everything, I remember who did this to me. And not much else. Did I have a job, a family, some semblance or pattern of existence prior to this room, these candles, this warmth that has welled up inside me? I can’t recall. I don’t want to recall. I can’t recall anything but her – her image, her warmth, her breasts, her cunt. I remember the taste of her cunt, I can even recall images of being engrossed in that cunt, tasting it, that legendary cunt. The apartment door opens, and shuts. All silence except the click clack of heels on the pristine wood. The swish of fabric. A vague sense of not having eaten for days. And then the swiftness of it all – she wasn’t into torture – it was much quicker than last time – the rush to the head – the shock – the fascination of watching the blood slide down the body – it became someone else’s body, not my own – it’s the brain playing a final trick on the mind – and though the pain was severe, worse than severe, horrendous, unspeakable, though the pain was everything and I was the pain, I could watch the scene as if from above – from a faraway space in a dark corner of the wall – as if I were floating, a scene from a David Lynch film, the blood collects against the chair's metallic pedastal, the camera slowly zooms out, above the dentist’s chair and the dominatrix, above the victim and the sparkling floor, the drops now forming pools, the pools forming streams, unequally and chaotically distributing, a portrait of blood following or not following the direction of grain of the wood, losing itself in the cracks between the floorboards, running then coagulating under the kitchen shelving, the artist standing there, unmoving, the camera continues to zoom out, now almost to the top of the twenty foot ceiling, now in the rafters, a spiderweb coming slowly into the foreground, a yellowback with red stripes busily working the web with her left and taking up the excess web with her right, skillfully placing and replacing the silk, oblivious to the scene below, oblivious to the camera’s lens.