PANNING FOR STRAY CARBON
Paragraphs for Grownups
by Mark Aster

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Wednesday, February 28, 2001
Julie doing Tai Chi

Her body flows through the room in the white light from the open window, the cool air from the late highland winter.

Now she moves, her torso, her arms, her legs, her head, all one being, with a smooth quickness, like water over rock. Now she is nearly motionless, going through the form as slowly as a sunrise.

I am sitting in the corner of the big open room, on a pile of cushions. There are few other things in the room: the door, the window, a wooden screen, a piece of graceful calligraphy alone on the wall, my book, a man, a woman. I was reading, but I looked up and watched her for a second, and now I'm not reading.

She is wearing a loose white cotton tank-top and sky-blue panties. When I'm not thinking of her as a goddess of air, as a stream flowing over granite, then I notice the parts of her. The small round hills of her chest, hints of soft nipples at the crests. The smooth cream of her thighs, a few stray hairs coiling out from the fabric between her legs. Then the old part of my brain tells me I should mate instantly with this female.

She turns her head with a glacial grace, her hands held before her with wrists straight but relaxed. Her eyes meet mine, and with the same slow certainty she sticks the tip of her tongue out between her pink lips and waggles it at me.

Then she turns away, into the light, striking with deliberation at her phantom partner. And I sigh with longing, and with contentment.


Tuesday, February 27, 2001
A large bite

The juice dribbles down her chin.


Sunday, February 25, 2001
I would not if I could

The girl sits at the edge of the road, where the people pass. Her hands are at rest in her lap. In the afternoon, the boy comes and sits beside her. "Do you love me?" he asks.

"I will kiss you," says the girl, "and I will let you touch my bare skin, and put your hand under my dress where my panties are. You may kiss my neck, and open my blouse, and feel with your tongue the spikes of my nipples. If you are patient I will take the long pulsing thickness of your sex between my lips and let you come in my mouth, and I will sit on your face and push the hungry slickness against your mouth and your nose."

"Even," says the girl, turning toward him and raking him with the tender beams of her eyes, "I will smile when I see you, and I will let you hold my hand when we walk in the street, and when we sit together I will let my thigh press against yours. I will do these things for money, or kindness, or for fun, or because the night is long and the blood flows into the secret places inside me."

"But," says the girl, "as for what would lead me to love you, that I cannot tell you. And I would not if I could."


Friday, February 23, 2001
After the Morlocks are gone

Lips on her skin, fingers touching, her legs finally relaxing apart, a broad tongue lapping gently at her thighs, sweet kisses on her nipples, the honey melting of the world.

Above on the balcony, Clarissa smiles at Kate, wide-eyed.

"It's a good thing I found her, isn't it?"

"It's a very good thing, Clarissa. You did well."

"She'll be okay now, won't she?"

"She'll be just fine."


Thursday, February 22, 2001
Dear Diary

This morning Edgar and Mary came again and knocked on the door. I saw them from my window. Mary was wearing a grey skirt and a blue blouse. She had a blue clip in her hair, on the left side.

No one answered the door, and they went away.


Wednesday, February 21, 2001
All out of bread crumbs

I am lost in this maze.

The sheets are an infinite sterile plain; I'm not going back out there!

Her arm is a long unbroken wall, warm and smooth and a mile high.

Her hair, on the other side, is a million paths that dead-end in tangled darkness, or taper down to places that even this small I could never squirm through.

Is there daylight down there?

I dig in my heels and start the long wearying climb up the slope of her thigh.


Tuesday, February 20, 2001
Sometimes I want something new

... and sometimes I want that old thing over and over again.

Move that glass into the sun, would you?


Friday, February 16, 2001
What she likes

"I like penetration," she says, and her two tongue-rings shine between her lips as she says it. She takes off her shirt and her bra, looking into my eyes; the rings in her long nipples match the ones in her tongue and in her ears. She slides her jeans down her hips. Her skin is taut and freckled. I can feel the blood flowing into my penis, adoring her body in warm pulses.

While I take off the rest of my clothes, she goes into the next room and comes back with a thick orange toy and a jar of warm oil. She looks at me standing there naked, not sure what to do, and she smiles at me. She licks her lips, and those rings glitter at me again. "Come here," she says.

She spreads oil over the blunt end of the toy. It's shaped not quite like a dildo; the other end of it flares out in a wide circle. She hands it to me and lies face-down on the edge of the bed with her legs spread and her knees on the floor. "Gently," she says. She's breathing faster, and I can see goose-bumps on the backs of her bare legs.

I kneel between her legs, holding the toy. The mounds of her buttocks are lovely and warm, and I run the back of my other hand over them. When I lean forward to kiss the base of her spine, I can smell the heat of her sex. She groans and arches her back, pushing her ass up at me. I slide the blunt end of the toy, dripping with oil, in between her cheeks.

It nuzzles easily into the pink-brown ring of her anus; beyond that there is resistance. Her breathing changes again, concentrated and intense, and then open-mouthed with the beginnings of ecstasy. Something in her relaxes, and the smooth orange plastic in my hand sinks into her, through and past the welcoming rings of muscle. She sighs and raises herself on her arms.

"Now fuck me," she says, lying on her back on the sheets and opening her legs again. Erect, hard and throbbing and erect, I slide into her easily, and she pulls me against her with her arms and legs. Her eyes are closed and her neck bent slightly backward. Her hips move under me as she rubs herself against the length of my shaft. "Kiss me," she breathes, "kiss me while we're fucking, put -- ahhhh -- put your tongue in my mouth."

And we move in a slow delicious rhythm there on the bed, in the afternoon light, with the plug in her ass, my cock in her pussy, my tongue in her mouth, and those bright sharp rings of metal penetrating her skin. She comes for a long time, in sharp repeating waves of tension and release, and when I finally let go myself and the semen rushes out of me into the darkness of her body, she laughs and hugs my head against her neck.


Thursday, February 15, 2001
Panning for Stray Carbon

Layers of insides and outsides. I am with her, here, inside our house, in the bedroom where she is taking her sweater off over her head and I am unbuttoning my shirt. Within this inside, warm and away from the night, what we see of each other are outsides. Her skin is brown and smooth, her round breasts shake when she takes off her brassiere.

We kiss, and tiny pieces of our insides touch, her tongue against my tongue. Outside the house, above us, the air moves in immense waves across the land; the house is inside this blanket of air. Outside that is the endless night, and the watchers.

My fingers slide inside her, between her legs, in the moist hot place that she opens up to me. My outside touching her inside. I suck her nipple into my mouth: her outside within my outside. She arches her back and spreads her thighs wider. "Come inside me," she says.

Outside of us, outside the house, outside the comforter of air, but by now perhaps inside the abstract edge of the Solar System, they float in the void, reaching out with their oblivious fingers. Panning for stray carbon. Mining the universe for cast-off bits. Powerful and star-ranging as they are, the one miracle they have not learned is transmutation.

I enter her and her face relaxes. Her insides are slick around me, and I thrust, and I kiss her, and it feels good. Here inside it is hot and joyful and safe. Out there, if they were to notice us at all, it would be only as a welcome spike on a meter.

"Ah," they would think, in a language that could never actually mean this, "how nice; two more chunks of carbon, strayed from outside into the hungry innerness of the trap."

Even fucking her, her fingernails digging insistently into my buttocks, my balls slapping against her, I can taste the cold of the outside somewhere in my brain. To them we are just flecks of gold, of matter, in the stream of the night.


Wednesday, February 14, 2001
Above the knee

You can almost reach it!

Bend down just a little further.

Just a little tiny bit further.

Oh! Oh, that's perfect.


Tuesday, February 13, 2001
Start spreadin' the nudes...

Nothing could be finer
than to be in Carolina
in the mor-or-or-ning.

Nothing could be sweeter
than to spread her legs and eat her
by the dawn's early light.

(Sha-na na na-na)

"That's indecent!"

"Ha! You wanna see indecent? Hand me that orange thing."


Monday, February 12, 2001
If your score was...

0-49: Death and Love. Dark fire consumes you. What is agony for others flows down your throat like the sweetest wine. Love is an exquisite pain that transfixes your bloodless flesh and gives an instant of meaning to the deadly chaos of the void. Light is a blade that slices deep.

50-99 At the Margins. You are admired from a distance. You are the cloaked figure at the edge of the moor that she glimpses from the corner of her eye and never forgets. You are the girl at the edge of the party, looking out the window. When someone asks you to dance, you let yourself be drawn into the humid heat with a detached smile. Younger dreamers draw fantasy from the shadows under your shoulder blades.

100-199 In the Mix. Heat excites you. The right hand in the right place, the proper mouth an inch from your ear. You lick slowly up and down a friendly bicep, and fingers nudge at your belt buckle. Your nipples are erogenous.

200+ What Next? You wake up in the morning wanting to kiss something. You fall in love and out of love constantly. Sex is a circus, and you are the ringmaster. "Oh God," you breathe, "oh God yes!"


Friday, February 9, 2001
The Long Twilight (ch. 17)

In the long decades of their imprisonment, they carried out a viable routine. In the morning (or when they woke, which was all the morning they had), she would begin chanting the Words that Bring Sustenance, and he would chant the Words that Bring Strength. A long day's recitation, carefully paced not to damage the throat, spoken with just the right measure of power, the proper sussurations, the gelid feeling of rats and Powers scurrying just beneath the floorboards of reality, brought enough nutrition to keep them alive, and brought him perhaps one day closer to tearing the adamantine chains from the slimy wall, from ripping the manacles off of their wrists.

In the evenings (which meant: when they began to grow tired and need sleep again), they would talk for scant minutes (how much left to say after so many years?), and then recite softly, he the Words that Bring Courage and she (not feeling the need for courage, or perhaps only for another kind) the Words that Liven Beauty.

Their captors had bound them, left them for dead, forgotten them, not knowing just what they had caught.

Now, days beyond counting gone in an ill-remembered swirl of the Words, he strains again against his bonds (bonds that no ordinary man, or even wizard, could have broken in a year) and they break, shattering surprisingly quietly with the tensing of his body.

He goes to her and wrenches the cuffs from her wrists and ankles as easily, and wrenches the door of the cell from its frame, and finally with one strong blunt foot smashes a whole in the brick wall that has covered the door for thirty years, and finally the light comes in.

Stretching her body deliriously in this incomprehensible new freedom, she sees him turn toward her, his face invisible because the light is behind him.

And she wonders if, in her beauty, she ought now to trust his strength.


Thursday, February 8, 2001
True love

Even though it was cold she had no coat, not even a sweater, over her dark blue top and tight flared jeans. She was young, just old enough to be getting into the driver's side of the little blue sedan. She stopped for a second and looked around, straight brown hair swinging around her narrow face, looked around at the traffic coming up the hill, looked at my windshield.

Here I am! Here I am!

Did she see me?


Wednesday, February 7, 2001
Cindy, smoldering

I know he can see the shape of my breasts under my T-shirt. They're good breasts, not huge but big enough to fill his hands. I'm thinking about my breasts filling his hands, and his tongue lapping at my nipples. So he can also see that my nipples are hard.

He wants to squeeze my breasts and open my legs and fuck me, with his head next to mine and us gasping and moaning into each other's ears, and my fingernails scraping down his back. And I want him to, but first he has to look into my eyes and kiss me, and kiss me, and kiss me, and take my breasts in his hands and suck on my nipples, and look up at me with those eyes, and kiss me again until I'm aching for him, and my body and my legs open because I want him.

Oh God, he's so cute trying to get his pants off without stumbling.

Must restrain mothering instincts until after the sex.


Tuesday, February 6, 2001
Hazards of space travel

He fought madly against the unyielding bonds, his eyes clamped shut, trying to close his ears to the unspeakable sounds as the larger of the two star-demons tore his partner's suit from her lithe body and bent her back against a bulkhead, stroking her skin with its moist tentacles and slowly but unstoppably probing between her thighs with a pulsing purple pseudopod.

His eyes flew open as his own suit was ripped open from the waist down. The other star-demon, a five-eyed grey mass with a scent like cloves and gasoline, swayed over him, rubbing its oily membranes over his thighs and his stomach. He gasped as the warm slipperiness of the alien endoplasm gathered around his penis and began to stroke insistently upward.

Against his will he felt himself hardening; the desparate orgasmic screams of his partner and the synthetic human sex-pheromones filling the eerily-humming cabin fired his lust and crowded out his rational brain.

The tiny corner of himself that could still think, huddled in one corner of his mind, looked on helplessly as the demon engulfed his lower body, and waves of unholy pleasure began flowing through him. The creature's oily grip on his staff intensified as his hips bucked, and the alien formed a tight slick hole around his thrusting flesh. The edges of the hole were ridged and pulsating, and he screamed in horror and ecstasy as the hideous monster brought him to an endless inconceivable orgasm.

After an eternity, the hot mass of flesh rolled off of him and lay beside him on the matress.

"Whew," she said, smiling, "you were really into it tonight!"

"Yeah," he said, shaking his head, "seems like."

Her eyes narrowed. "You weren't fantasizing about me being one of those, like, elf-women again, were you?"

"No!" he assured her, "no more elf-women. I promise!"


Monday, February 5, 2001
Slippery

She cuts away my clothes with long deliberate strokes, the bright silver blades of the shears flashing in the light from the shattered window. When I am naked, she runs them over my chest and captures for a moment the flaccid cylinder of my penis in the open "Y" of still-cold metal.

Then she giggles, gently lowers them away from my flesh, closes them loudly beside my ear (I break out, finally, into a sweat that rolls chill down my skin), and moves back.

Then quiet.

When I finally open my eyes, she is lying on the divan, reading a magazine, her legs (long and slender and lightly furred) up on the arm.

"Caramel?" she asks, taking one from the box and offering it in her merciless pink fingers. But of course I cannot move.


Thursday, February 1, 2001
Lesson three

Two young women, nicely rounded, kissing.

A man standing nude by a stream, his hand around his erection, his eyes closed.

A woman slipping off her dress, looking out of the page, her face startled. Her breasts are heavy in the brassiere.

"Not bad, not bad. But can we see a little more imagination?"

A woman on her back in a starry void, naked, holding her thighs apart. A long line of grey men with briefcases wait their turn to dive headfirst into the darkness of her sex.

"Okay..."


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