Paragraphs for Grownups
by Mark Aster

More Mark Aster
The Journal of Desire
Jane's Guide

Friday, September 29, 2000
At rest

"Do you know what I think about you?" asks Tatyana, lying naked on her back on her towel. The light glistens in yellow curves on her naked brown skin.

"What do you think about me?" Catherine replies from her own towel, there on the grassy bank, in the relentless sun.

"You are detached," the dark-haired Russian says from behind her sunglasses, "you do not commit yourself."

"You say that like it was a bad thing."

"Commitment is life!" She says it with conviction, rising up onto one elbow. "Someday not long, you will just walk away from your Phillip, I think? But Gregori, he is my soul! To part would kill me, would kill both of us."

Tatyana and Gregori are in the room next to Catherine's, and the walls are thin. In the night she hears their bed creaking, hears the tender moans and Tatyana's voice straining toward death or tears or ecstasy.

Catherine says nothing. The Russian reaches one slim tan arm to the bottle of oil that sits in the grass between them, and pours a pool of thick gold onto her stomach. She lies back and spreads it over her already-slippery skin, down across her thighs and into the tangle of her pubic hair, up across her stomach and over her breasts, caressing her chest and sliding her dark nipples between her fingers.

Looking down at herself, Catherine thinks that their bodies are very much the same, her own a few pounds heavier, a few shades paler. Squinting up at the sun, she wonders if she's going to burn.

Thursday, September 28, 2000
That big decision just got a whole lot easier!

Once you give up on the idea of

ever getting into her pants

you'll find you can talk to her about


I think, I mean, this midlife crisis thing? I just realized, the other day, that it's, well, nothing else has ever interested me as much as women and love, as much as discovering how it all worked, finding a mate...

Now that I've done that, well, what now? Nothing else is like it.

Wednesday, September 27, 2000
Fabric and bone

In the night, a man breaks into Catherine's room and has sex with her clothing. Almost silent, suppressing his grunts and pants and moans, he rubs her dresses and panties against himself, pushes his swollen penis into the spaces of her shoes, smothers himself in her sweaters.

Catherine, sleeping in the bed, wakes up slowly, sees him standing in the moonlight naked with his head thrown back in ecstacy, her dark blue silk scarf wrapped around his hips, thrusting into one of her gloves.

"Oh," she thinks to herself, smiling under hooded eyes, "another one of those."

Tuesday, September 26, 2000
The gold press

About half the time, when two men want to make love to her together, Caroline can feel an erotic tension between them, between the men. Sometimes it lies quietly unacknowledged in the background, sometimes it comes out in accidental touches and an incidental caress, and sometimes in the heat of fucking it comes out all the way, and she finds herself lying off to one side, or standing neglected in the middle of things, while the men finally manage to get that hard cock into that hungry mouth.

The men today, tall confident Nords in dress shirts and khakis, are brothers. Which doesn't necessarily mean anything, one way or the other.

None of them say much, but neither do they fall on her and rip off her clothes. One (slightly taller? slightly older?) stands in front of her and smiles at her, puts his hands on her shoulders and draws her face up to his, kisses her lightly on the lips. His brother, behind her, touches her hair and runs his hands down the back of her dress, down her back and over her bottom.

She closes her eyes and the man in front of her kisses her again, mouth closed, his nose next to hers. He smells clean and warm.

Her heart melting despite herself, she opens her lips and his tongue slides into her mouth, and his fingers touch her cheeks and neck. She feels hands on the backs of her calves.

He unbuttons the front of her dress to the waist, and pushes it back, freeing her breasts. He takes them in his hands, big smooth hands without callouses, and gently squeezes. Looking at her, kneeling down before her holding her breasts, he makes deep quiet sounds in his thoat, sounds of pleasure and appreciation. "Ooohf," he says, and then his mouth is on her chest, and he sucks her flesh between his lips and his tongue runs over her nipple.

Behind her, his brother is pushing up her skirt, and his hands slide under her panties, over the warm softness of her buttocks. She hears him unzip his pants.

Monday, September 25, 2000
Farther down

She'd been moving aside the debris for hours, it seemed, her arms black-streaked with the dust of how many years, when she saw the first glint. Then the blocks, the panels, the cracked picture frames and old newspapers, seemed to flow away under her hands.

The bronze sat on a thick slab of wood, naked, dusty in places, life-size, leaning back with her hands behind her and her thighs just parted, knees bent, hair back over her shoulders. Looking into nothing.

She bent down over the still figure, touching the cool metal, feeling the smoothness of the legs, cupping the solid breasts in her hands. A deep breath of the heavy air filled her head with dust, but she didn't choke.

She kneeled, her hands on the bronze shoulders, and kissed herself on the mouth, the metal hard under her lips, waiting there in the dimness with her eyes closed for the rush of warmth.

Friday, September 22, 2000
Saturday's Child

"Saturday's child has a washing machi-i-ine,

She keeps her fi-er engine nice and cle-e-ean,

She likes to fill her tanks with kerosene!

Whoa, Saturday's child's su-pi-ine,

Saturday's Ch--"

"Everything OK in there?"

"What, you never heard anyone sing in the shower before?"

"No, no, it was lovely! Really!"

"Take off that clown-suit, Honeycakes, and we'll make it a duet..."

Thursday, September 21, 2000
Vague notion

Eating the tomato, then arousing him with her tongue, pulling up her skirt and making love to him, she feels cloudily, somewhere in the back of her brain as the pleasure flows through them, that there's some reason she shouldn't be doing this. That it's somehow dirty.

But that's ridiculous.

Wednesday, September 20, 2000
As a child

"Why do we take off our clothes when we go in to church?"

"So that we will appear naked and pure before God, and show Him that we are not ashamed of how He has made us."

"It looks funny when we dance, and the boys' weenies all shake."

"It does look a little funny, doesn't it? But weenies are holy also, remember."

"And breasts are holy?"

"Breasts are holy, too, and hands, and feet, and backsides. You know the song!"

"You have pretty breasts, Mommy."

"Thank you, sweetheart. And you are a lovely child."

Tuesday, September 19, 2000
Years after

One night in her forties, Catherine dreamed that she was on a college campus, in a dorm, or on a lawn, or in a lecture hall. With her on the mattress were a half-dozen, a dozen, lovely young people, with clean hair and bright eyes and light-colored natural-fibre clothing, smiling at her with their admirable teeth.

"Tell us a story!" one of them said.

"Yeah, a story! Please?" the others chimed, their bodies relaxing onto the surface around her, their mouths moist, skins fragrant.

Catherine, in the dream, smiled and tried to look away from them, and tried to think of a story to tell them. But she couldn't think of even one.

Monday, September 18, 2000

Later on, she would attribute her insight to the fact that, when the call came, she was naked on all fours with her face pushed into the pillows and her ass in the air, with a nice thick radioastronomer's prick sliding slickly into her cunt. When the phone rang, he grinned and reached over to the bedside table and picked up the receiver, and leaned forward to drive himself all the way into her as he said Hello.

Concentrating on her clit and the stretch of his cock, she didn't really notice when he hung up the phone and began fucking her in earnest, but she felt his urgency, his joy, his unusual energy, and when, afterwards, he'd turned her onto her back and lay stickily on top of her, squeezing her breasts and looking at her with fire in his eyes, she hadn't really been surprised when he'd said it. "Aliens, baby. Fucking aliens. And they're talking to my dish."

The alien transmissions were a tougher puzzle than anyone had expected. No SETI-friendly clues as to origin, size, aspect-ratio. It took a month for the johnnies to agree that they were probably three-dimensional images, in a radial projection. Her astronomer printed out a sheaf of cross-sections and pinned them over his desk. She could see them from the bed, on her back with her legs apart and his tongue thrumming over her pussy.

The shapes weren't clean self-explaining boxes, math lessons, pictures of solar systems, but oddly disturbing rounded shapes, maybe organic, certainly alien. Some of the experts had begun to whisper (it was heresy, and he couldn't really explain to her why) that this might not in fact be a "welcome, fellow beings" signal, but instead just something picked up by accident, in passing, not intended for Earth at all.

He rose up and pushed her knees apart, fondling her tits and licking her mouth and entering her. She moaned and pulled his solid body tight against her, and circled her hips to take him in. Over his shoulder, his breath hot in her ear, she saw the shapes writhing on the wall, the curves entwined, interpenetrating. He grunted and pumped, and she caressed his buttocks. Just as her eyes began to roll up, it came to her. Lying on his chest afterwards, she told him, and he knew instantly she was right.

"I know what the ET signal is." she said. "It's obvious: it's porn."

Friday, September 15, 2000

He leaned down and put his arms around her, and pulled her body against his, and kissed her.

She remembered, in the first instant of that kiss, with a strong memory as strong as a smell, or a taste, standing, sitting, leaning on the cold metal of someone's car in the clear night under a parking-lot moon, and a boy's arms around her, his body pressed against hers, kissing him. His arms were strong and his hands were warm. He touched her, and kissed her, and she felt full and feverish and madly happy, and to her shame and glory she bent her leg against him so the skirt rucked up, and she pressed the bare skin of her thigh against his hip while they kissed. He moaned. He whispered, "oh, baby, oh baby", and his hands slid over her panties.

She had wanted, wanted she didn't know what. Now, this man not a boy holding her and licking her lips with his tongue and kissing her eyelids, she was still not completely sure. But soon she would let him fuck her.

Thursday, September 14, 2000

When Catherine was a love-slave of an oil executive, in those dry hot years, he would sometimes come to the seraglio and arrange the women into erotic tableaux, then stroll among them naked, forbidding them to touch him, stroking himself until he came and then walking wordlessly away.

He liked to pair Catherine with Frost, a tall dark woman with short curly hair and long long nipples that he would set Catherine to sucking.

The idea was not attractive to her, although sometimes she would find a certain pleasure in the crinkled skin between her lips, and she would think about bad pornographic stories she'd read in the old days, before the water, about women with enormous nipples that they would use to fuck their female lovers, plunging the dark erect flesh into the moist dampness of the waiting pussies.

This passed the time.

Wednesday, September 13, 2000
Sweater Bondage?


"Did that hurt?"

"No! I -- ooohhh!"

"Say 'do it again'"



"Do it again!"

Tuesday, September 12, 2000
Catherine of Alexandria

The Emperor ordered Catherine tied to spiked wheels, to be torn apart, because she would not marry him. The wheels were destroyed by a bolt from heaven.

As Anubis ties her wrists to the bedposts (she can hear him breathing, imagine the painted face and the flickering candles, smell the fire), and then runs his calloused hands greedily over the bare curves of her body, she thinks about Catherine of Alexandria, bound to the wheel, knowing (or not knowing) what was (or wasn't) going to happen.

When the first drop of hot wax drips onto her skin, just above the stomach just below the breasts, her body arches and her throat shouts, and all of her skin at once burns with a delicious shivering flame.

Monday, September 11, 2000

From where she stood on the edge of the sand in the steamy night, Catherine could see a couple embracing on one of the balconies above. Heat moved between them, and sweat stained their clothes.

They moved apart and undressed slowly there on the balcony; not the rushed eye-locked unclothing of lust but the slow resigned peeling away of damp clinging cloth.

Naked they moved together again, his hands touching her cheeks, but sweat ran down his brow and dripped from her nipples, and they moved apart. He reached up to his forehead, grasped the front strands of his hair, and peeled it off backward, the scalp gleaming pink and wet. With both hands she tugged at the nape of her neck, and her hair also came off sticky and moist. Then she reached between her legs, and that mat of hair fell onto the pile also.

Liberated, caught in the moment, swathed in the heat, she put her hands under her breasts, cupping and then squeezing, and pulled them off, cleanly and suddenly, and tossed them aside. The man bent slightly and twisted, and his pubic hair and his genitals came off together, penis and testes flopping loosely.

She put her hands behind her, her fingers between her buttocks, and all the flesh of her torso slipped and peeled from the bones.

In a moment they were both skinless, fleshless, standing as two upright machines of muscle and bone, organs glistening and pulsing, the air flowing now sweetly between them, no sweat, no hair, and they put their arms around each other, and the hard clean ivories of their teeth clicked together softly as they kissed.

Catherine ran her hands over her chest and down her sides, feeling the dampness of the cloth.

Friday, September 1, 2000

Parents Strongly Cautioned was not updated for the last two weeks of August and the first week of September, 2000 (we were resting again).

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