By Tim Starfield from Februs 6
What am I doing here?
Well, that’s two questions really, isn’t it. One practical, one psychological.
To deal with the practicalities first. What I’m actually doing, right now, is looking intently at a small speck of dirt under the third fingernail of my left hand. I don’t suppose anyone else would notice it; it has only swum into my consciousness in the last thirty seconds or so, and I’ve been staring at the backs of my hands now for about an hour-and-a-half. I’ve also had plenty of time to inspect the rest of my rather limited field of vision. This comprises a white sheet, a brass bed-head, an expanse of white-painted wall, halfway up which there is a small Victorian photograph of an unsmiling family group. Mother, father, and two daughters, glowering glum and stiff-necked into the future. The frame is jet black. I can also see, on either side of the bed, that there is grey cord carpet on the floor — and if I tuck my head down I can squint back through the tunnel formed by my hanging breasts and see the rest of my body, the end of the bed, more grey cord carpet, and the far wall, which is also white, but not adorned with a matching photograph. And no mirror, either. There are no mirrors in this room. I won’t tuck my head down to see all this, though, because I tried that half-an-hour ago (or was it half-a-lifetime) and I got a stray wisp of hair in my eye and it took me several minutes of highly comical puffing and blowing with my lower lip to get it back out. That’s the trouble with my kind of hair — “flyaway” they call it at the salon — very fine, and it just won’t stay in place.
Why not use my hand to smooth my hair into place? Listen, there are rules to this game, you know. I may not be able to see it from my position, but there is a door in this room somewhere; I know, I came in by it. And it’s open, as per His strict instructions. And He could come through it at any moment. And when He does, I’m not to be fidgeting or moving about. No, thank you. I know better than that.
O.K. So you’re building up a picture now? There’s a white-painted room, a bed with a brass bed-head and just a white sheet for covering, and on that bed, plum in the middle, kneeling on all fours, motionless and staring at her fingernails, is a girl. (That’s me). What colour’s the carpet? What’s the name of the family in the photograph? Just testing. You already know the answers. (Grey, and who-gives-a-toss). All right, what about the girl? Tell us more, like, what’s she wearing? What colour is her hair?
The hair on her head is blonde.
Oh, so you mean…?
Watch it mate, don’t get personal. You won’t find many “natural” blondes (as sniggering saloon-bar studs call them) in this world. I have a neat triangle of pubic hair, otherwise there’s no hair on my legs or under my arms. Unless, God forbid, I’ve missed a bit. Nope, doesn’t look like it.
“Doesn’t look like it?” You just checked. Sounds to me as if you’re stark naked here.
Do you mind? What kind of girl do you take me for? No, don’t answer that… in fact let’s stop this dialogue thing altogether. I’m tired of your damn-fool questions. And talking to yourself is supposed to be a sign of madness. I mean, you’re me, anyway, aren’t you?
And I’m her. On the bed.
As a matter of fact, if not quite stark naked, I am certainly what you could call “artistically nude”. I am wearing earrings. And white cotton panties… although… well, ”wearing” might be putting it a bit strong. I mean, they’re not designed to be worn halfway down the thighs, a thin strip of fabric stretched taut by virtue of the regulation distance I have managed to keep between my knees…
Which, by the way, are killing me, although this mattress does give a bit, despite being the firm kind, and it’s not as bad as the time I spent a whole afternoon like this on a mahogany coffee table, but you try keeping still anywhere for one and three-quarter hours and see where it gets you.
Sorry, I was saying that perhaps the knicker manufacturers wouldn’t see their product in its best light as some sort of mid-thigh accessory. Which He would disagree with, of course. I think the reason I have to have panties at “half-mast” (as He would say) is that they lend an air of extra defencelessness to the bared bottom. Sort of even-nuder-than-completely-nude, I couldn’t object to that — only to the ridge-lines made by the elasticated waist-band digging into my thighs. But who am I to object to marks?
Yes, the panties are definitely His idea of the final artistic touch. And no, the earrings are not my idea of any kind of an artistic touch. I just forgot to take them off, O.K.? And I’ve already told you, I’m not moving now.
So, The Blonde on the Bed — kneeling there, practically nude, elbows locked straight (though wobbling a bit now and then), hands and knees on a white bed in a white room, straining to catch any hint of any sound of anybody entering, otherwise completely still, as unmoving as the plug-ugly Unhappy Family in their black Victorian frame, but hopefully a sight more enticing, more alluring — The Blonde on the Bed with her bare arse in the air.
So that’s what I’m doing here.
How did I get here?
Came on the Central Line, didn’t I? Could’ve taken a taxi, but I was in plenty of time. Anyway, I quite like the Tube. I like watching all the other people, especially the women, and wondering if any of them can possibly imagine where this well-dressed, beautifully made-up young blonde-haired woman is going, and what’s going to happen when she gets there, and why.
Taxi home though, for certain. If not ambulance. (No, really, just my little joke. Nervous laugh.)
I found the house easily — a large Edwardian affair in a quiet terraced street not far from the Goldhawk Road — and let myself in with the key He sent me. That’s how that game works, He just sends me a note, with a date, a time, a word or two of instructions, like Top back bedroom, all fours, on the bed please, and, in this instance, a key. It’s not always a key though, same as it’s not always a house. We’ve used hotel rooms, deserted warehouses, draughty church halls, and on one occasion a temporarily unoccupied office in a Docklands block. That time He sent me a security pass to get past Reception, and in spite of all these people going about their normal daily routine, I had to go up in the lift, find Room 614, strip off and bend over the desk for three hours until He turned up. That time I was allowed to shut the office door, but it wasn’t lockable, and for three hours I could hear telephones ringing, and people in neighbouring offices talking and often passing my room to get to the loo or use the coffee machines, and let me tell you, I was in fear the whole time of somebody pushing open the door of 614 by mistake and finding my naked bum smiling straight at them. That time, it was a relief when He did arrive. That time…
This time, I let myself in with the key — then straight upstairs for one last pee (though I’ve drunk nothing all day, that’s strict House Rules after one particularly embarrassing occasion) and to disrobe, leaving my clothes (well most of them) and my bag in the bathroom. Forgetting the earrings, as I said, damn damn damn, but there’s no time for that now. A quick check in the mirror, yes, looking gorgeous, looking sexy (and I say it as shouldn’t), plump, curvy, skin sleek and unblemished (but that won’t last), and then into the bedroom, hop onto the bed and make yourself comfortable. Well, not exactly comfortable. But I like being here. Although if the central heating wasn’t on I’d be shivery and goose-bumpy, although the butterflies seem to be holding their annual dinner dance in my stomach and there is a kind of sick feeling which I know is fear, because funnily enough I’m a complete and craven coward, especially where pain is concerned, there is also a frisson, a tingle of anticipation, a sort of sexual arousal, an expectancy. And there is pride, too. Pride that once again I have conquered my fear, my cowardice. He wants me to stick my bottom out for Him, well by God I’ll stick it out, see if I don’t. I’m scared, but in a crazy way, I love it. It’s the same with pain. I hate it, but I love it.
That’s probably too much psycho-babble from me. It’s a curious game, this game we play. You can’t really explain it to someone. Either they understand or they don’t. And if they don’t then they never will, and all your attempts to explain will just make them think you stranger and stranger, and they edge away from you, like they would if you were giving off a powerful aroma of horse manure. I’ve never discussed it with girlfriends. I’ve had boyfriends who said they understood what I was on about, but believe me, they didn’t, and we soon parted company.
He was different. I knew that as soon as I met Him. We were at some boring drinks party and talked for an hour or so about nothing, music or something, and then He said, “I know what you want,” and then “I’ll call you,” and then He left. Oh rarity among men! Not only did He call (very unusual), but He turned out to know exactly what I wanted (extraordinarily unusual).
It’s not been a conventional relationship. I mean, I still don’t know His last name, or what He does for a living, or even where He lives — but knowing Him, learning to obey His orders, loving Him unconditionally even though we’re together maybe one day every month, has turned my life around, from the mousy girl of that party two years ago into the happy confident heroine of my own story — The Blonde on the Bed. (Sounds like the heroine of a particularly tacky thriller, if you ask me.)
And although we’re only together, as I say, once a month, I think of Him constantly. Well, for a start, there are always the marks to remind me of His most recent ministrations, and when they finally fade (boo-hoo) and I’m looking over my shoulder in the wardrobe mirror at a once again virgin snow-white bottom then, lo and behold! another letter will come with its precise and explicit instructions, and once again I’m tingling all over with the nervy anticipation I love so much, and it’s not a snow-white bot I’m staring at but a blank sheet of paper for Him to inscribe the next searing lines of His strange but wonderful poetry upon, and I’m wondering where? and how? and how many? and I’m shaky-excited, finding it hard to sleep again, and crossing off days on my mental calendar like a prisoner waiting for parole. And He must think of me, mustn’t He? All that trouble He goes to to make sure each of our scenarios is perfectly planned and executed. If genius is an infinite capacity for taking pains, then we’re both geniuses, in our own way. We each work damn hard to make everything just right for each other. I tell you, twelve days a year of intensity like this is worth a lifetime with some dozy sod who just wants his shirts ironed, supper on the table, football on the telly, and a post-pub Friday-night twenty-second bonk now and then, if he can manage it. Isn’t it? Or, as the poet put it, rather eloquently if you ask me, “One crowded hour of glorious life, Is worth an age without a name.”
Been more than an hour though. More like four, in my opinion, though I’m not wearing a watch of course, and parts of me that shouldn’t be are falling asleep. They’ll get a rough awakening pretty soon, however. I wonder what He’ll use this time? The strap, the crop, or that funny-looking whip with all those thongs, which I thought was a joke at first, it felt so gentle, but after half-an-hour I was screaming blue murder and I was bruised purple for a fortnight. Or the cane? It’s strange, but I’ve always had a fascination for the cane. (And, He would say, the cane thinks very highly of me too.) I was terrified of it at school, even though I never saw it, was never even threatened with it, and I realise now they probably never used it, possibly never even possessed it, but you know the way the rumours fly around the playground or the dinner hall… anyway, since I can remember, that sick dread of being made to bend over and lower my knickers for the cane had been part of my sexual subconscious, part of my secret erotic world…
There I go again, psycho-babbling on.
Anyway, now you know the full story of The Blonde on the Bed, which is kneeling, nude, arse up, waiting for a strange man (very strange!) to come through the door. And beat her.
This waiting, this seemingly endless waiting, it’s all part of the game, isn’t it? Drives me nuts, but in an odd way it serves to screw up the tension till I can hardly bear it, which is an oddly “high” feeling to have. Who needs dope when you can make your own adrenalin? Kneeling, waiting, kneeling (you never really realise how heavy your head is, do you?) like the sacrificial victim in a bad B-movie, waiting for the monster. (Yes, Fay Wray on Skull Island, screaming in terror as she waits for King Kong, that was another crucial moment in my childhood, late at night in flickery black and white on the television, too excited to get up off the sofa and go back to bed, even though the rest of the film was a tragic anti-climax concerning a silly man in a monkey-suit and some airfix model planes.)
SSSH! The long vigil is over. I’m sure I heard a floorboard creak, on the stairs, or on the landing already? Yes! There’s someone in the room, I’m sure of it, I can sense it. Now I’m tenser than ever, shivering all over. Will He approve? Is my bottom still the “most lovable, most kissable, most whippable in London”? Where will the onslaught begin? And how? Will there be a brief electric kiss? Or a gentle caress, His rough dry hand stroking my smooth skin? Will He run His fingers through my hair? Or will the first official indication I get that business has well and truly begun be the sudden explosion, the livid crack of fire of strap, crop or cane across my exposed rump, or unprotected thighs? Or, no, please not, the tender soles of my feet, which He beat once until I cried like a baby and begged Him to stop (He didn’t)?
A voice, a hoarse whisper. “Jesus Christ.” A low whistle.
THAT’S NOT HIS VOICE!
Panic! Terror! Don’t turn around, don’t break the rules, play the game! But… what if…? no, think!… but, help! I’m stark naked in a strange house with a total stranger… I mean… HELP! (All this in a split second, and silently.)
“Good girl Natasha. Well done.”
That’s His voice. Allah be praised! Wave after wave of relief, coursing through my veins, relief so warm and so welcome I could wet myself. No, I mustn’t, Shan’t. But everything’s O.K. He’s here, He’s here! Every little thing’s gonna be alright. Not going to end up in the Sunday papers, or in prison, or headless under a floorboard somewhere. He’s here, its O.K. But who’s that with Him? Eh? Who is it? No, don’t turn around, don’t spoil it now, for God’s sake, you’ve done the difficult part.
“Christopher, may I present Natasha?”
Oh, so He’s brought some geek called Christopher, has He? A friend, a brother? An uncle? No, sounds too young. But how dare He? How dare He bring anyone else along without asking me? What’s this nerd going to do, watch, for heaven’s sake? I mean, was I consulted? How dare He? (But still I haven’t turned around, or taken any active part in the situation. Discipline is discipline, after all, and my training has obviously been of the best.)
“What do you think?”
“Jesus, David, she’s fantastic! I mean, beautiful, God, you lucky man!”
I’m warming to you, Chrissy boy, you say all the right things. But you’ll still have to leave, I’m afraid, just as soon as I’ve made it clear that I have absolutely no interest in getting involved in any threesome. (But I haven’t spoken — and I won’t, will I? I mean, I never do in these situations, and I can’t break the habit now.)
“As you know, I’m going to Australia for six months and I’d like you to take proper care of Natasha for me while I’m away. She’s very special to me, you know, and I need to be certain that she’ll be correctly looked after.”
This last speech is all for my benefit, isn’t it? I mean, these two must have obviously discussed everything in detail, and now He’s breaking the news to me of a change in our arrangements. Oh yes, sugaring the pill, all the guff about “very special to me”, but still a bitter pill. I didn’t know He was going away. Couldn’t He have told me? Sooner? I could have gone with Him. Have to jack in the job, they’d never keep it for six months, but He’s more important to me than a stupid job. He knows that. I don’t want Him to go away. He might not come back. I don’t want Him to go. My bottom lip is trembling. Perhaps if I cry and make enough of a scene He won’t go, or change His plans and take me too. I’ll cry. I’ll howl and wail like a child for its mother. (But I don’t cry. I do nothing. You’d make a fortune if you sold me to the Getty museum. Tell them I’m a statue, they’ll never find out.)
“So, Christopher… if you’d care to do the honours?”
Surely, I must raise a protest now. I object on two counts, m’lud. One, I have no desire to be beaten by, to share my innermost erotic fantasy world with, a total stranger. Two, that soft, deep gentle voice I love so much, so loyally, so fiercely, has just prostituted me, sold me, handed me over, naked and defenceless, to somebody I’ve never met, with the casual, off-hand tones of someone passing round the peanuts at a Rotary Club sherry do. I object. I protest. But do I? Do I even open my…
Yes I do… I scream… because… clearly…
…this guy… Christopher… needs… no… special
…prompting… and is… laying… on…
…like a good’un… with… it… must be… the… tawse… the bloody… split-tailed…
…tawse, Uh huh… ah… temporary respite… breath back… don’t forget to breathe… gulp… better… gulp… and then…
The next onslaught, fresh strength, fast and furious, hard, accurate, this chap knows his stuff, bloody expert, quickly lose count of strokes, my legs are scissoring and I’m trying to run the marathon on my knees, my poor bottom is sawing and swaying in the air, dancing its own crazy rumba in time with the vicious whistle-hiss-splat! owww! strokes of the leather strap, does this guy play squash or something? My head has collapsed between my arms while my hands, lost control of them too, my hands are clawing, scrabbling and scratching at the bedsheet or even clinging onto the headboard as if for dear life, my throat is making strange gurgling sounds and my cries are no longer distinct one from the other but one long howl, muffled by the mattress, but in no way impeded by the fact that my mouth seems to be filling, whistle-hiss-splat! oww! filling with wet hair, wet because I’m dribbling, snotting and crying all at once, because I’m being thrashed, you idiot, that’s why, the blows are raining down, now on my bum, now on my thighs, oww! that was really low, where are my knickers when I need them, a sticky rope around my legs is where they are, sticky? yes, sticky, because I’m sweating, you numbskull, this is bloody hard work as well as being whistle-hiss-splat! oww! bloody agony, this bloody guy bloody knows what he’s bloody well doing, I’m thrashing around like a landed fish, thrashing, thrashing, this is a bloody thrashing-and-a-half and no mistake, my arse is on bloody fire, I’m going to be whistle-hiss-splat! hell, I’m swallowing snot, aren’t tears salty? owww! I bit my tongue, all right I’ll scream, I’ll scream, I’ll scream, I’ll scream at him to stop because I just can’t take this any more, not this hard, not like this, I can’t stand it any longer, I won’t endure another whistle-hiss-splat! owwwwwww! stroke, and that was between my legs you bastard and I’m crying and I’m screaming and I’m coming I’m coming Oh my God I’m bloody well coming Stop Yes No Don’t Stop Don’t Stop Don’t stop Oh Oh Oh…
So now The Blonde on the Bed is a blubbering mess, hair flying everywhere, face streaked with tears, snot, runny make-up, sweat, shaking, half-crying, half-laughing, clutching the wet screwed-up sheet, pumping her knees up and down to her chest, like an Olympic sprint cyclist on the warm-down lap, shaking, heart pounding, you can see it beating inside her rib-cage, and can see the livid lines criss-crossing her flanks and her rump, hard lines etched onto the glistening flesh? How could you miss them? There’ll be some good long-lasting marks there for her to admire, cherish, remember and anticipate. And now she looks across at the two men in their dark suits, and through her tears she is smiling at them, laughing, crying, shaking and grinning uncontrollably, and they are smiling back. And the shorter one lays down the evil-looking tawse, and the taller one murmurs something and claps him on the shoulder, and the shorter one leaves the room, and gently closes the door behind him. And the taller one is shrugging off his dark jacket, and he is smiling at her, he is pleased, and she is smiling at him, even more pleased that she has pleased him, and she stretches her arm towards him, and turns her wet face towards him, and he is coming to her, folding her in his arms, caressing her, stroking her hair, holding her in his strong arms. And he is kissing her. Kissing her. Kissing her.