PATIENCE, STEAM, CABLE
Paragraphs for Grownups
by Mark Aster
I woke up in the night; her eyes were open.
"I had a dream," she said.
"No, strange." She lay on her back and I touched her face and her neck with my fingers, lightly. "There was this huge castle, all crumbling concrete and underground rivers, and clouds rising from the water."
"Do you hate it when I tell you my dreams?"
"I love it when you tell me your dreams."
"In the clouds there were these people, tangled together. And around the castle there was a city."
"Tangled people, eh?" I put my hand on the swell of her stomach.
"And a city." She rolled toward me and put her arm around my neck. I kissed her cheek. A tiny foot kicked me from her womb.
"Now everyone's awake."
Her lips touched my neck.
He opens the cover and turns on the fans, and the fumes swirl away. Gradually her skin softens and brightens, and her chest begins to move. He stands wordless, immersed in the beauty of her body, her solid neck, full round breasts, arms like swans. Her belly is a perfect gentle curve, and her thighs are smooth and elegant. Between her legs, a triangle of soft hair covers the closed line of her sex, filling with life as he watches.
She opens her eyes and sees him.
"It's like swimming in mud," she says, and he wants to kiss the crease in her brow, "it's slow, and it's ugly. Turgid."
She takes a breath, and he swallows, watching her nipples, aching to touch the ripe mounds of her chest, to kiss and caress and squeeze and lick.
"What I want," she says, flexing her shoulders and arching her back unselfconsciously, moving her knees apart just enough that her crotch cries out to him to fuck her, "what I want is a single drop of water, pure and cold, quick and immortal."
He reaches behind his back, picks up the robe, holds it out to her. She pushes it away.
He steps forward, biting his lips, and touches her, one hand on her shoulder, one at her hip. His body hums with tension. He can feel her breath warm against his face. Now he will crush her against himself, ravage her mouth with his and feel her breasts against his chest, spread her legs and possess her.
"Is this what we should be doing?" she asks, not resisting him, but tilting her head away from the first terrified approach of his lips.
"I don't understand you at all," he whispers, pleading.
"That's right," she says, and she smiles.
BM: So tell us the story behind "Steam Season"; what's at the heart of this film?
SM: Well, I'd been watching Basic Instinct, and a lot of other films also, but Basic Instinct was the one I really remember thinking how much it bugged me how women's bodies are used so much as props in Western films; I mean women's torso, our breasts and asses and legs appear as things that come out of clothes, that get squeezed and pushed and touched and the camera lingers over them not because of the woman, the character so much as, well, there's a tit! There's a tit!
BM: And that bothered you.
SM: Yeah, it bothered me really in two ways. First of course it's a dehumanization, an objectification of women, but you know that's really not so bad, we objectify each other all the time; I'm relating to you because I'm partly objectifying you as a reporter interviewing me, otherwise I'd be all like "who is this person, do I know her?" [laughs]
But the other thing is that women's bodies, our bodies get objectified in a way that men's don't, and I thought that's really not fair, and hey this is something I could do something about.
BM: So in "Steam Season" you see yourself as --
SM: Well of course the story came from somewhere else completely, but the cinematography, the mood, the color of the thing is about men's bodies as props. So you have Maria J punching and slapping Damon's chest, just over and over, and his head's not even in the scene, just his pecs and his nipples and his stomach, and her hands are hitting him and the flesh is just bouncing and turning red.
And then in the bed while he's sleeping we fill the screen with his face, and then she takes it in her hand -- she's got these wonderful big hands -- and when she scrunches up his mouth and just rubs his face into her body it's all about man as object; I mean she has her clothes on, so all right you know there's a breast in there somewhere but what you can see is his mouth between her fingers, and his lips being rubbed against her clothes, and it's like --
BM: You know that the Christopher Street Irregulars voted the scene with Damon's, uh, posterior and the kitchen knife the "Hottest Buns of the Year"?
SM: [laughs] Yeah, I thought that was great! I admit I wasn't really thinking of the gay audience all that much when we were filming, but...
BM: So you're happy with the film?
SM: Definitely! My first two you know I could hardly bear to watch them after release, but this one I can masturbate to.
SM: Oh, yeah. I think, I mean, I think when you make a film and it can get you off, that's real success.
Walking carefully in the dark
not to step on the cat.
They are lined up along the waterfront, leaning against or lying on or crouching beside the crumbling concrete.
I think of statues.
She is bent over his lap, licking the sweat from his skin.
Further along, he is on his back with his knees up, and the darker man, with the long scar on his back, is poised over him with his eyes closed, slowly pushing his hardness forward across his belly.
Here, their mouths are joined rapturously.
There, he transfixes her from behind, and his hands reach in front of her and flatten her breasts against her body.
The pale woman sucks the young matron's nipple, and milk flows from the sides of her lips.
The blond young man pushes his toungue slowly into the cleft between the bald girl's skinny thighs, and she tousles his hair.
My raft drifts slowly by them on the current. They are oddly silent.
I wanted to tell him that it was disgusting, that I was humiliated that he'd even suggest it.
But I also wanted to touch him.
And I wanted to be naked.
The woman should be lying comfortably on her back, naked, with her legs open and her knees slightly bent. You may suggest to her that she wet her fingers with her tongue, and use them to pinch herself on the nipples or other sensitive areas for secondary stimulation during the process.
Kneel between her knees, and gently apply your tongue to open the outer labia. If you wish, place your palms on her inner thighs, to further open her vulva and to stimulate the pleasure receptors there with gentle stroking or firm kneading, as the situation warrants.
Now is the time you must be most sensitive to the body and desires of your particular woman. Some are optimally stimulated by the softest and gentlest nudges against the clitoris through the skin of the hood, while others will achieve release only through a full-bore attack with lips and tongue directly upon the clit, while three or even four of your fingers pound in and out of her hot juicy cunt.
Relax, and take the time to experiment, and soon you and your woman will be enjoying the first of a lifetime of unforgettable orgasms!
Isn't there anything else to talk about?
My cock in your pussy.
Anything else we can do?
Your prick in my cunt.
What hangs in the air between two people?
Your lips on my nipples.
What do we lose every time the seasons turn?
Your skin under my fingers.
What do we have left when those we love are dead?
Your hips bucking against mine, your mouth gasping for breath.
What is our purpose on Earth? How did we come here?
Your hands bound behind you, your bare breasts thrust forward, your eyes open wide.
Are we raising the children well?
Short skirts riding up slim thighs, the smell of cunny.
Is there a chance of peace? Will we survive?
We will fuck in the moonlight, and your nails will rake my ass, as always, when you come.
What is love?
I meant to turn away from her, as though we were strangers, and sleep as though I were alone. But when she got into the bed her nightclothes had bunched up around her hips, and as I was turning over my fingers brushed, just brushed, the skin of her thigh. It was smooth and hot.
Then I was on top of her, holding her arms, then our mouths were crushed together, breath coming fast, her breasts bare, her thighs open, my want slipping down the smooth maddening flesh and inside her, and pounding into the wet hotness of her until I spent, and fell onto her with her lips on my neck, and was asleep.
Further into the night, I awoke from a troubled dream to find the covers thrown back and her body, naked, outlined by the moonlight in the air above me. She held onto my hair and straddled my face, her thighs damp against my cheeks, and I licked and kissed and sucked at her, her skin smelling and tasting of sweat and semen, until she cried out and almost broke my nose with her thrusts.
Then she pulled the blankets back up and turned her back to me, and we slept like strangers, but with our buttocks pressed familiarly together in the dark.
The woman, the girl, behind the counter could be fifteen or twenty-five. Her hair is bundled at the back of her head, and metal clips above her ears hold a few stray ends. There are dark accents drawn around her eyes, small pimples and casually-applied pink blush on her cheeks. Her neck is long and innocently graceful.
Above the waist she wears a tight hooded camisole of some soft black fabric. The hood dangles down her back. Her breasts point slightly away from each other, pulling the cloth taut between them.
Her eyes are alert but distracted, darting over my shoulder at some sound from the throng, looking down at something near her feet. She scratches herself on the stomach, and her hand raises the black fabric up, baring half of her belly. Her skin is pale, almost translucent. I raise my eyes over her white flesh, the swells of her chest, and our eyes meet again.
I stand silent before her for some time, until the barriers behind her eyes flick open for a moment, and briefly I see into her soul, where something begins to melt.
She let herself into the apartment quietly, but he heard her. Before she had crossed the room, he was standing in the bedroom door, wearing nothing but the towel around his hips, his arm thrust forward toward her, half an apple crushed in his fingers.
"This," he shouted, "is not what I wanted!"
She stood looking at him, at the curve of his belly sagging below the hard lines of his chest, his feet spread apart pointing in different directions on the damp wooden floor, the tumescent bulge under the towel, twitching now with the shaking of his body. Shards of glass glittered around his toes.
"I feel full," she said, "full to bursting. Why did you come back?"
Julie spent a long couple of minutes sitting on the arm of the couch, stroking the sides of Midori's long bare legs with her fingers and molding the smooth cheeks of Midori's rear in her palms. Then she leaned over and kissed the back of one golden thigh, stood up, and crossed the room to the table by the window. She sat there for awhile, typing at the keyboard.
"I have a question." Midori, still bound on her stomach across the back of the couch, her torso supported by the stack of pillows and her blindfolded face on the couch cushion, had raised her head enough to speak. Julie got up from the chair and walked slowly over, knelt on the floor in front of her, and taking her face in her hands kissed her long and deeply on the lips.
Midori groaned softly, and her naked body moved against the couch.
"You're supposed to ask permission before you speak," Julie said, rising to her feet.
"May I speak?" Outside on the street, a car horn blared.
"You may." Julie sat on the arm of the couch again, idly stroking the bound girl's back.
"I thought -- I mean isn't this submission stuff supposed to be about -- you know..."
"You know -- about like sex?"
Julie smiled to herself. "Is maybe being bound and helpless on my couch here, naked with your yummy little ass in the air, is that maybe a little sexy?"
Midori sighed, or moaned. "It's, well, yes it's really incredibly..."
"I'm wet. I'm hot! I'm going crazy aren't you going to -- well aren't you...?"
Julie slipped a finger in between her friends's thighs from behind and touched the moist tender skin.
"Patience, darling," she said, "patience."
And she stood and slowly unbuttoned her shirt.
"Where are you now?"
Nina's voice was a whisper, intimate as always in her ear. She said nothing for a moment, peering into the dimness beyond the end of the corridor. Water running, echoes.
"Somewhere below the base of the elevator. There's a pool of water, it looks pretty deep. There's a steel door on the other side, with the hazmat seal on it. I'll have to cross the water."
"It will be cold," Nina whispered to her through the satellite, "you don't want to soak your clothes."
She slipped off her shoes, held them tightly in one hand. The water was cold on her toes, but the floor of the pool was rough and clean, not slippery.
"Take off your clothes and hold them over your head as you cross."
She stepped further into the water, ignoring the voice. The pool was knee-deep, then hip-deep, then the cold was around her chest, the cloth of her pants and her sweater clinging to her, chilly and limp. The water was almost still, but if she stood for a second without moving, just holding her shoes above the surface, she could feel a gentle flow on her legs, coming from the left.
"Do you have your clothes off?" Nina, impatient. "Are you okay?"
Driving a limousine, she thought to herself, was much easier than this.
She rose slowly to her feet and the front of her gown fell open. The light of the flames played over her breasts and her belly. Below her navel, a sweat-damp scrap of silk clung to her loins. As she stepped forward, the muscles of her thighs rippled.
Terrified as I was by what was about to occur, her body roused in me a deep and painful desire.
Is that -- uh -- too scratchy across -- on your nipples?
No, I like it. You can pull it tighter if you want to.
There was some traffic on the way home yesterday. It was grey and cloudy, and there was steam coming out of the manholes; why does that happen?
Anyway, the driver of the car behind me, she was by herself, was this woman with black sunglasses and sort of hollow cheeks, smoking a cigarette. Not only was she smoking a cigarette, she was chewing gum at the same time. That should have been disgusting, right?
But I can't remember the last time I was so attracted to a stranger. She looked really hard, and almost hostile, and not really pretty or anything, but I wanted, wanted really badly, to fuck her. Sorry, I don't usually talk like that! But it was amazing.
She is lying on her stomach, on my bed, reading. Her shirt is loose, cut very low in the back.
I can see the shallow groove over her spine. On her back are millions of tiny fine hairs, almost invisible, infinitely precious.
"Since I last came here," he said, shifting in his chair, "I have suffered a constant haze of lust." He unbuttoned his trousers, the front of which bore several small dark stains, and let them drop to his ankles. His penis stood stiff in his lap, red and moist. He put his hand around it and stared at it without seeing.
"I think only of the next time I will be alone, so that I may touch myself. I dream, every night, of plunging myself between open legs, into wet mouths. My own warmth, touching my thighs, drives me mad." He began to stroke the rough skin up and down over the spongy hardness beneath, and he groaned.
Cooing in sympathy, they rose from their places and surrounded him, touching him with their pale fingers, and kissing his hair.
Five miles to the north, the river forks. The lefthand, western, fork winds up into the hills, narrows and swiftens into a stream. On a hill above that stream sit two women, playing a large green drum.
One of the women is tall and slender, with large hands and long fingers. She plays with her eyes closed, swaying gently back and forth. She is swathed in loose white cotton.
The other woman is small and round, with ruddy skin and large wide eyes. As she drums, she looks across at her companion, and she smiles, and her tongue flicks over her lips.
Clouds are gathering.
Now I --
Oh, please do.
Do you want...?
Should -- ah!
Walking the deck on my watch, long after midnight, I came upon her leaning on the aft-rail, looking down into the water where the cable, barely visible in the moonlight, entered the dark water.
That day, and the five long days before, I had watched her from the bridge, watched her on the deck with her crew, manhandling the heavy spools, forcing the cable into its slots, slowing it with a certain grip as it ran through her gloved hands. The muscles in her arms and her broad shoulders bulged and strained, sweaty and big as a man's, and her body moved compactly from rail to rail, her breasts bound against her chest under the thin shirt, her shoulders bare. Now, in the night by the aft rail, she wore only a thin shift, and those muscles rested, tense, under the cotton.
Without thinking, I put my hands on her shoulders and began massaging her flesh, kneading the knots into smoothness, pressing out the tension. She sighed gratefully and pressed back against my hands. Her skin was rough and fragrant.
As her body relaxed, my hands caressed her less violently, and my lips touched her hair. Still facing the dark water, she raised her shift above her hips, exposing the naked curves of her arse. I opened my pants, freeing my swelling manhood, and slid in between the warm columns of her thighs. She sighed and spread her feet further apart on the decking. My member glided easily into the heat and dampness of her cunny, and she pressed her hips back to take me more deeply into herself.
As we fucked on the deck, I slipped my hands up her belly and chest to squeeze her broad round teats. She groaned as I thrust in and out of her, and after a long ecstatic time her cunt tensed and squeezed around my shaft, and I had my release within her, in that strong warm darkness between her legs.
We rested together against the rail, her hand on my flaccid organ and my arm around her waist. "When I was young," she said, "I wound coils in the city. One evening, after working for too many hours, a grey blankness came at the edges of my vision. I thought I was going blind. It was gone the next day, and my eyes were as ever. I had forgotten about that until today."
I would like very much to fuck her again.
Through the fog
Is anyone here?
I am here.
Oh! I can't see you...
I can see you.
...there in the dark.
I have dreamed of you.
Where is the door to the street?
For a dozen nights, I have dreamed of you.
I seem to have lost my way.
The sound of your breath, the touch of your fingers on my knee, the moist ripeness of your lips.
Why is there no light here?
Your body, I know, is clean and rounded beneath your clothing.
What is that sound?
Has anyone ever touched you in the dark, touched you in your shadowed places, touched your throat and your heart?
No. No, that has not happened. Where is the door?
Have you been kissed on your tender breasts, on the slope of your belly, on the warm and pungent center of your sex?
You are youth, and warmth, and eyes like clear water. Seeing you would make anyone hungry.
Please, I am lost.
The fragrance of your breath is like a flower.
Under the city there is another city, or multiple other cities, of darkness, concrete, stone, rusting pipes, the singing of trains, the flicker of lights.
In a room at the bottom of the long, long flight of dusty steps, there are three cots under a string of dim bare lights.
Two young women come down the stairs, nearly every Saturday night, leading two men, different men each time, men who look about them curiously when they can look away at all from the women, the women who are slowly shedding their clothes and lying down on the cots.
The men take off their clothes, and go to the women, and the women kiss them and rub them with their bodies, and let them rub their faces across their breasts, and then turn them over and engulf them, and begin riding them breathlessly, riding them up and down naked in the dimness of the chilly room.
And then a door hidden in the shadow bursts open and three loud large men thunder into the room, and the men on the cots, woozy with lust, are chased naked up the stairs and beyond the great metal door, which the men crash shut and bolt and come down the stairs again to where the women are going through the clothes of the departed men, cooing and laughing at what they find in the pockets, in the purses.
And then all five of them push the cots aside and put down the blankets and caress each other noisily and with great hilarity, and then they turn out the lights, and sleep in pitch blackness, and somewhere from far off comes the sound of dripping water.
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