I've wanted to die for quite some time now.
But because I'm too much of a weenie to commit suicide, I've embraced the fond belief that the most convenient way to partake of the sweet, groping, idiot soul-kiss of oblivion would be to find a sexual psychopath who's willing to kill me.
Now, hold on just a cotton-pickin' minute before you avert your face from this narrative with a grunt of disgust and a bemused, sotto voce condemnation, ``That boy's International Harvester tractor/disc carrol combine doesn't exactly plow parallel rows.'' Not so. Trust me, I'm of sound mind, and I'm perfectly well aware that my... eccentric... death wish may strike a chord of distaste in the average reader. But consider: Your typical 27-year old virgin fantasizes about some leggy supermodel when he (or she) engages in autoeroticism, the age-old Passion that Dares Not Speak Its Name. But when I whack Mr. Puddly, I fantasize about... myself engaged in the act of whacking Mr. Puddly. Further, the forces of Nature don't particularly cherish any organism --- vertebrate or no --- that empties its bladder into a Hefty brand plastic baggie, sets the baggie in the middle of the floor, and then alternately giggles and observes with uncanny insight, ``I'll bet it's still warm.'' As you can see, I should be vaporized immediately. To yank a bastardized mis-quote from ``Apocalypse Now'', ``Even his right hand wanted him dead.''
But I have a yellow streak running a peculiar zig-zag course down the sun-bereft, fungi-pale flesh of my back (it's either cowardice or an unusually localized case of Hepatitis B), and I just don't have the cahonies to do myself in. And besides, the whole ``Oh, woe is me, Life is meaningless and I'm a mote of dust floating in a cruel, uncaring Cosmos'' bit has been done again and again, about eighty million times since Mr.\ Mankind first feasted his sentient, surprised eyes on the senselessness and the sheer horror of existence. A suicide note and the somnolent buzz of bloated flies landing on a congealing puddle of my blown-out brains in a stiflingly hot, stinking little hell-hole of a room? Yeah, that'd be really effective --- not to mention about as fresh and original as the new ``Nancy'' comic strip. Or worse yet, the pathetic ``Oh dear Lord, he swallowed the whole bottle of sleeping pills --- let's rush him to the intensive care ward and pack him so full of charcoal he'll cry black tears for the next two weeks'' scene. And please, don't even get me started on the stultifying miasma of sleepy dread that paralyzes one's sensibility upon contemplation of the Karen Carpenter-esque ``I'm starving for your attention and love'' theme.
Give me a break.
I wanna die, sure, but at least I wanna get laid in the process.
Unfortunately, the peculiar fruits I'm yearning to taste aren't found in your local greengrocer's dairy case. Sure, it would be a piece of cake if I were a female. If you're a female, every Tom, Dick and Harry is a potential date-rape candidate who's perfectly willing to do you... and then DO you, if you see what I'm saying. If you're a female, every Robert Fulgham or Leo Buscaglia saunters into your life bearing flowers, candy, a Pepsodent smile and a country mile's worth of caring and understanding. But don't be fooled: He's primed and eager to rip off his good-guy mask and turn into a Ted Bundy if you'll just give his glands a suggestive tweak, shoot his system full of testosterone and crank the passion dial all the way up to ``murderous''. And there's nothing wrong with that; it's exactly the way God intended the relationship between the sexes to work. After all, let's not kid ourselves --- it may not be strictly PC, but we all pretty much know (down deep inside ourselves, in a little hidey-hole we don't particularly care to let anyone else peep inside) that your basic female isn't really a human being, but rather an unholy breed of salacious, frenzied alien space-monkey who's slathered with a thin coat of flesh-colored neoprene and all dolled up to look just like a regular little person. And passion-slayings are a natural, wholesome means to ensure that... well, that the ladies don't just brush the gentlemen aside and co-opt the whole gosh-darned planet.
The real problem is that I'm not female, and I'm basically straight. Yes, I know that Jung would deliver a prissy, pedantic little speech on the coexistence in every human being of male and female elements, and I guess I've got a darling little Pollyanna, all pig-tails, dimples and bright-as-sunshine smiles, buried somewhere in my character. But I'm not ``funny'', if you know what I mean. No, I'm looking for a special breed of lady who's hungering for flesh, and who's cultivated a refined taste for the delights of Mortality --- a Princess of the Damned who's ready and willing to show her victim a good time before ushering him into the moist, cool embrace of the grave.
And when I met Brenda, I thought I'd found her.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. I started hitting the singles bars about two years ago, and let me be the first to tell you... you haven't seen anyone sweat as much, and to so little purpose, as I did during my first timid sorties into the putrid, decadent underbelly of Boston's nightlife. If L.L.\ Cool J can spot a ``can't-dance kid'' simply by glancing at his shoes, then it certainly wouldn't have required a technical degree to label me a ``Chunky, Virginal, Zero-Personality Loser'' the minute I stepped through the doors of each steamy, pulsating, passion-stained sweat-box and dance-a-teria I visited. I mostly hunted the succor of the nearest comforting corner, and I would huddle there, cringing and mewling inwardly, hot rivulets of sweat running down my back and seeping underneath the elastic band of my Fruit of the Looms. Thankfully, the super-absorbency of my Depends brand adult diapers saved me some embarrassing (and uncomfortable) breaches of my personal hygienic integrity. I may lack style, but I'll be darned if anyone is going to say I'm not hygiene-conscious. In any event, it took me two weeks before I could even summon the courage to lift my eyes (which were habitually fixed with glazed intensity on the Coca-cola I nursed in my solitude) and begin to peruse my fellow patrons.
But peruse I eventually did, and one night I finally initiated a courageous Conversation Attempt with a young lady sitting at the bar. She sported a tantalizing dagger tattoo on the outer curve of her left ankle, and the heady thought arose, almost unbidden, in my troubled mind, ``Now here's a woman with a sense of style. I'm sure she'd be willing to shatter my self-esteem in a sexually humiliating act, then off me.'' And so I mustered what little conversational ability I had in my social skills portfolio and addressed her :
``Hi. I love your ankle tattoo. Were you sober when you had that done?''
She glanced at me with a look of profound, withering contempt, and, grabbing her drink, withdrew into the crowd. The mass of people, all mashed together and writhing in the hazy half-light, absorbed her in an abdominal spasm of social peristalsis. Then it digested her and pooped her into some fetid romantic encounter, the details of which I would never know and the principles of which would forever confound me. Which is okay.
None of my attempts over the next few months met with any greater success. Once a girl actually told me her name --- Janice --- at which point I barfed out the following clever rejoinder:
``Oh, good. It's nice to know a person's name. Because when you're able to name something, you gain control over that object. Naming something is an act of empowerment. Who can resist the delicious, groin-tickling sense of power that accompanies the act of Naming? Not me, boy.''
Needless to say, by the end of this impassioned little speech, Janice had caught a cab. I gradually came to realize that, if I were ever to achieve my objective, I would have to downshift to ``regular guy'' status in my fledgling conversational encounters with the fair sex.
One night at The Monkey Bar, I met Terry. No woman is ugly in my opinion --- I'm a regular Mr. Chivalrous --- but let's just say that Terry's approach to the classification of ``hominid'' lay along unconventional lines. Cindy Crawford she wasn't. But she was a charming young wench nonetheless, and I managed to convince her (through a conversational process perhaps best described as "lick-spittleing") that it would be a noble pursuit for us to seek the delights of Venus at her apartment. When we got there, and as we began to establish that "nice and comfortable" mood which, I could see, was crucial to the consummation of the mating drive's imperative, I began my pitch.
``Say, Terry,' I began. 'Have you ever thought what fun it would be to... oh, I don't know... to, uh, really let your hair down, so to speak? I mean, it would be awfully nice if you would... ummm... violate my humanity through an act of violence masquerading as sex, then slaughter me like a hog in a Jimmy Dean sausage factory. Don't you think that would be a treat?''
Terry looked at me askance, then queried in a puzzled voice,
``What are you talking about? Why can't we enjoy a nice roll in the hay (I'm speaking in the figurative sense) without all this craziness you're spouting? What's gotten into you?''
``Oh, don't be that way, Terry,' I cooed. ``Just tie me down, knock me around, sex me up, and then blow me out. It's as simple as one, two, three.'' I paused thoughtfully, then added, ``Four. Oh, and Terry? Could you desecrate my body a little after I'm dead? You know, just spill my innards and slosh them around in a senseless, gratuitous display of wanton savagery? And maybe use my severed genitalia as a fleshy, wilted quill to pen obscenities on your walls in the mellow crimson pigments of my rapidly coagulating blood?''
Terry looked at me with eyes widening in horror, and whispered,
``Your office supplies store isn't exactly fully stocked with paper clips and Rolodex brand personal information organizers, is it? I think you'd better go now.''
I was understandably disappointed, and as I left her to return to the mind-numbing anonymity of a pointless life, cloaked in Night's suffocating death-shroud of velvety darkness, I couldn't resist the childish urge to twist the knife of guilt in her gut with the parting shot :
``Thanks for really being there when I needed you, Terry. You really helped me out.''
For the next few months, I trudged grimly through the smothering muck of that stale summer replacement sit-com we call Life, sinking deeper and deeper into the pre-alluvial biomass of the night-dwellers and the clubbers, the users and the used, the hungry and the... well, the not so hungry. I began to despair of ever locating that Ms. Right who had the Will to Power, the Crazy Gleaming Eye, that would endow her with the testicular fortitude to turn the crank on my personal Sexy Suicide Machine.
And then I met Brenda.
She was Puerto Rican, and her mouth-watering, olive-complected face harbored a pair of big brown eyes, the kind of eyes that swallow your soul whole, chew it up, consider the flavor with a connoisseur's palate, then spit the whole gummy wad into a shining spittoon that's sitting on the floor there just over yonder. She owned me from the git-go, and as soon as we began talking, I got this kinda itchy-all-over feeling that I may well have just won the Publisher's Clearing House sweepstakes, and here was Ed McMahon in the flesh to present my award check to me. If I live to be 30, I'll never forget the silky rush of adrenaline that coursed through my frame when she appeared, wraith-like, at my side in the gloom of Carl's Cultural Exchange Bar. The first thing she said to me was,
``What's your favorite sexual act? Mine's scooping.''
``What's `scooping'?'' I asked.
``That's when a male scoops out his partner's eyeball and humps the raw, moist, bleeding eye socket.''
``Ah,'' I replied. ``I think we may be able to pursue a profitable association. Do you prefer melted cheese or chili on your nachos?''
Later we arrived at her riverside bungalow, and as we entered, the aroma of decomposition assaulted my nostrils. Her living room's decor was spartan, but not sterile: complementing the sparse furniture and puke-green color scheme was a startling array of dead squirrels, cats, and even a woodchuck or two, all hung by leathery thongs from the stucco ceiling. I did a playful Michael Richards-as-Stanley Spadowski double-take, then asked her, ``So, what's up with the hanging animals? It's a lively display. Certainly redolent of Nature and Her charms.''
She looked at me without speaking for the longest time, and I started to flush, suspecting myself of some social or cultural faux-pas. At length she turned and gestured vaguely, her hand cutting a languid arc through the pungent atmosphere.
``Oh, the animals,'' she murmured.
The conversation sagged for a few moments. I guess we didn't really need words to reveal the most important, the richest veins of each other's characters. Sometimes the most profound discoveries transcend the coarse medium of word-craft, and our souls connect along ethereal paths unknown to Man since the tyranny of the Senses subdued them in our primal ancestors.
At other times, it helps to say a little something.
``You realize, of course, that I wish to die,'' I began.
``And you also realize that I desire a cheap, demeaning death that follows a vicious act of sexual humiliation.''
``So... let's go for it!'' I ejaculated.
Presently, she stripped me and bound me with a series of thongs that, it didn't really surprise me to learn, she had woven from the abdominal muscles of cute little floppy-eared doggies she brought home from the pound. (This hobby, by the way, required no little investment of discretionary income, as you've no doubt learned if you've ever had to pay the licensing and vaccination fees for a pound pooch.) Then she disrobed, ripped one of the festering carcasses down from the ceiling, burst its belly with a single cherry-red fingernail (a hiss of gas escaping from the glassy-eyed squirrel as she did so), and smeared the foul cascade of juices over her thighs and upper torso. Her breath came in fast, heaving spasms of passion that rocked her flesh like a ride on Space Mountain. Well, that's not a great visual analogy, but I think you probably get my point. I was breathing pretty hot and heavy myself. Her eyes locked with mine, and I saw Torments in those eyes: the promise of damnation and decay, the sweet forfeiture of all that was noble for the desolate thralldom of Carnage's dominion.
The thongs were tightening, inscribing scarlet arcs in my skin and teasing purple weals from my puffy flesh.
It was showtime.
With a flirtacious smirk, Brenda turned from me, switched on her Magnavox 13-inch TV and sat down to watch a re-run of the hit Fox series, ``Studs.''
I looked at her expectantly, trying to ignore the uneasy feeling slowly blossoming in the pit of my stomach.
``Uh, Brenda honey? Aren't you... I mean, well, I know it's a good show and all, but.... I'm pretty much ready to go here, as you can plainly see.''
She turned to me, a smile tugging at the corners of her sumptuous, fleshy lips.
``Sometimes,' she breathed in a husky voice tinged with all the smoldering passion of her culture's fiery blood, ``the denial of Need is the most exquisite torture of all.''
She paused, her head swiveling back to the screen to watch the shadow-people prancing and pouting in the glittering crystalline box-palace at the corner of the room.
``We both know how bad you want it,'' she continued. ``And you know I can do it. But it ain't gonna happen. Not ever.''
And she traced a path through the animalian body-fluids coating her thighs, her fingers seeking the pleasure mound from which her own fluids oozed and mingled with the essences of Death.
Eighteen hours later, she dumped me out of her car (she had thoughtfully decreased her speed to a mere 15 miles per hour) a couple of blocks from my place, and an itinerant salesman, bag in hand, released me from my sinewy bonds. (Muscle tissue is incredibly tough, and the gradually contracting thongs had severed tendons and ligaments as they bit into my frame. I now walk with a cane, and I continue bi-weekly sessions with my physical therapist to this day.) I have never seen Brenda again, although I still meet her in my dreams; and I often encounter ``Brenda ghosts'' who look like her for a moment until, upon closer inspection, their faces resolve themselves into those of strangers --- cold, haughty, and unaware of the connection my mind has fashioned between their countenance and that of Little Miss Doom, the Dark Goddess of Carnal Despair. She could have done me. It would have been a triviality to her, an act as insignificant as emptying the contents of one's nasal passages into a soft, silky piece of facial tissue. Instead, she chose to condemn me to an apparently interminable existence. Although I have not given up on my death-quest, I suspect that Brenda's prophecy, the life-sentence she dispensed with a capricious toss of her jet-black curls, was right on the money. It ain't gonna happen.
``The denial of Need....'' The need to couple, the need to sup of the fishy fruit of sexual union, the need to forfeit one's humanity, and the need to die. And the need to do all four at the same time, if you can possibly swing it (although this latter may be a luxury, and not strictly a need). Each one of these needs is intensely human, and intensely private. And they're all natural. We rejoice in the act of creating new life; we legitimize the coupling of Flesh in ceremonies that climax with the hurling of a barrage of Hartz bird-seed (to protect our feathered buddies from bloating) at the blushing newlyweds. Is it then so wrong, is it so unnatural to lust for the harsh caress of life's termination? After all, dying is every bit as natural as birth. And, from what I've heard, it's probably about as much fun.
But I'm glad that the Lemaz program allows a couple to cooperate and to support each other throughout the difficult birthing process.