Build Your Own Slam

“How much?” He had his wallet in his hand, as gauche and bourgeois and endearingly pathetic as they always were.

She shrugged. “Depends on what you want.”

“I want to believe it.”

She stared at him, hand on hip. She blew a bubble, let it pop, sucked the gum back in and resumed chewing. “More specific.” She said it like a mechanic trying to get someone to describe a ping sound coming from somewhere behind them in the car, but only on the highway, and only when it’s cold.

“Not… I don’t need you to pretend that I turn you on. I know I don’t. I just need to believe you like me. You know? That you’re here because you like me.”

“We call that ‘the girlfriend experience’. You want the whole thing, it takes a while…” She looked at the cheap hotel clock-radio and then off into space for a moment. “Say, eight hundred dollars.”

“I’ll have to go to a machine—”

“It’s fine. I’ll have to run home to change clothes, anyway.”

“Why?” He’d already stood up, started putting on his coat. “Just wondering.”

“Your girlfriend doesn’t dress like a hooker. And we’re going to stop for pancakes.”

All Of The Above

Have you ever heard thousands of people screaming under water? Some of them constantly, some in fits and starts, some only in rare burst-pipe spasms of terror and despair?

I’m pretty sure this is Hell. Some version of it anyway, from some religion or sect of one I’ve never studied. I couldn’t tell you what exactly it was I did to put me here. I stole a few things, nothing big… I mean, we all do, right? I cheated on Helen three times, one-night stands. I didn’t even try to avoid that cat I ran over on the way home from the Strokes concert. I looked up a fifteen-year-old girl’s skirt at a picnic once and fantasized about it for years afterward. Take your pick?

It could be something I didn’t even know was a sin; maybe to get out of here I have to figure out what it was.

A Matter Of Tastes

She looked over her shoulder, straining to see her own back in mirror. “Are there any marks? Any redness left at all?”

“No, Mistress.”

She turned her head away from the reflection, was silent for a time. The air was cool against her bare skin, replacing the vague warmth that had itself replaced the sharp sting. Eventually she reached around to slowly zip up the dress.

“May I ask…”

“What, Sophie?”

“Why do you let him whip you like that? Even though he leaves no marks? Why do—”

“I don’t let him do it, Sophie; I make him do it.”