Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tired

I am too tired and drained and emotional to write you.

I know you want me to write you, and I promise it is there. I've made a list and checked it twice and probably tomorrow I will write, but at the moment the wine is too weak and my heart is too full to write.

There is family drama heaped upon family drama. Knowing looks, some anger, and resentment. Love, though, so much love.

Pain.

Reflection.

Bike riding and baked goods...yes that too.

Trains, planes, and automobiles are covered.

Sandwiches to cheer one up, and random acts of kindnessnot deserved, but truly appreciated and hopefully repaid.

Rain.

Sun.

Loss.

Gain.

I want to write you. I know you may be angry with me for not writing, but I will write you. I have much to write about, and do not plan on letting it go amiss.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

House Party: Epilougue

Now it was nothing but flashes. The drive up Lake Shore was dark, with clouds clogging out all the night sky. Street lamps were stars. I was dancing in my brain; my nerves were firing and my body felt like it was under a steady stream of electric stimulation. I was thumping, heartbeat, warm, desire…and light, light, light, danced in my head, in my fingers. I wanted to run my hands through the clouds. I wanted to run my hands through the world.

The light glowed orange in northern Chicago, the trees were talking to us and urging us home, home, home...I was passing into the otherworld, where everything was bright electric light, and swirls of colors and sounds.

Young Kubrick was in the chair when we walked up the stairs, and he told us about his adventures with Tino, who had won over the hearts and minds of his boyfriend's family.

“He was much loved; he soaked it up, and when he had enough he went and passed out on a rug.”

I can imagine; my dog could be such an attention whore.

My brain was swimming. I kept thinking flashes, moonbeams and silk, and fuzzy finger passing and my phone tick, tick, ticked.

“The Electrician is here, I’m going to go say hi.” And I tripped down the stairs, out the doors and found the Electrician an orange glow in a pool of light.

“I’m drunk.”

“I can see that.”

“I’ve had a crazy night.”

“Want to go for a walk and tell me about it?”

The thought was nice. I think I said yes. I think I said yes but let’s sit down for a moment. I think I said no. I can’t remember. I was on the edge of universe and it all became a squishy darkness and an unbearable light. I talked, talked, talked and spilled out words into the heavy pressure of Chicago, it weighed down on me, and I was talking to the city and telling it about how magical it was.

“Sara.”

“Mmm…mmm…”

“Sara, come on; time to go home.”

I was asleep, or had fallen asleep, or I was awake and dreaming. The Electrician grabbed my hand and took me back toward the Bard’s.

“I can do it.”

“I know you can, but I don’t have anything better to do.”

I let myself in on the first try or the tenth try or we scaled the building or we fly I can’t remember. I opened the door “I have company,” I announced and promptly disappeared into the bathroom to pull on a bathrobe for sleeping. The Electrician and the Bard and Young Kubrick were talking.

“It’s about being engaged.”

“It’s what?” I tried to catch up. I moved the Electrician so I could make up the couch for sleep.

Engagement; the ability to engage others in conversation, or in life. It was about being the opposite of Boring and boring. The Bard sometimes called it having a project. I interjected, I tried to talk about engagement and it somehow devolved into more dreams and randomness. I talked about Korea. I talked about girls. I remembered them all, the whole line of them. They were standing there watching me and smiling and giggling, and they were beautiful. I invited them into my story. I was surrounded by girls and laughter and soft talking.

I wasn't sure if I was still talking or if I was asleep and dreaming. The world was quiet and dark, with my being running around the universe peaking in light corners. A hundred hushed voices, soft hands, and quiet whispers. They were all whispering. The sound was deafening, dangerous, and desirable.

I woke up on the couch alone. The world had grown cold and quiet. I wondered when it had all ended. My head was throbbing. My tongue was heavy and felt full.

I tried to remember what happened last night.

Friday, June 24, 2011

House Party, Part 6: This is Not the End

Two people emerged from the bathroom. A third a moment later.

I was giggly with a gigantic rush of endorphins and tequila flowing through my system. I was amused, and full of devil-may-care, which seemed all too appropriate for the moment. The filthy whores had perhaps exceed our reputation more than usual. Boring, even with the opportunity to become interesting, was still just as boring.

“Brian come with me,” The Balance swooped in, grabbed Boring and dragged him to the couch.

“What have you been up to?” someone asked me.

“Foxy and I were discussing Boring's relationship, in detail. He listened. Where is my tequila?”

The Bard has been looking for me as she is about ready to go. I looked for my bottle so that I could also be ready to leave. Boring was on the couch, but Moxy was still at large. Moxy and I played cat and mouse for the next few minutes, running in and out of various quiet corners of the house to see what we could get away with in several seconds of alone time. You would be surprised how much we could get away with in several seconds, in several discreet locations and several completely indiscreet ones.

“Where is my bottle?”

“We cleaned up!” said the Jedi, with a wicked grin.

I supposed they did have enough time to clean up. It was one in the morning and time to go home. The doorbell rang. Up the stairs came the friend and erstwhile Texter to Ms. Moxy. “This is the Texter,” she introduced him to me.

I smiled. Sometimes you couldn't help but smile. I shook hands, wondered if my hands were clean, and tried to figure out how to get everything I need and say goodbye.

My own cell phone was sending me messages. The Electrician was up late and wanted to know if I was still up.

I was.

Somehow I doubted sleep was going to be hitting me anytime in the near future.

Text: Want to meet up?

Text: I’m quite drunk!

Text: Breakfast?

Text: Ooooooh breakfast!

So I decided that once I got back to the Bard’s I would go get some food and have a discussion with the Electrician. We continued to hug and say our goodbyes.

“Ms. Devil, a pleasure as always,” said the Balance with a hug.

Ms. Moxy smiled goodbye from a seat on the floor. Her Texter looked charming and somewhat confused, which could be the late hour or the random crowd of kitchen regulars.

 I was suddenly very aware of myself, very aware of smell and sound and touch and feel and taste. I was suddenly realizing that I had drank ¾ of a bottle of Jose Cuervo. I was suddenly realizing that I needed to get away from any more temptation for the night.

And so we bid the party adieu and the Bard and I left. The Bard, who had been drinking nothing but water for the last two hours would be at the wheel. She directed us down the stairs and out to Delilah. 

The city was cool and moist. The Bard drove us cleanly up the sparkling Lake Shore Drive and toward home.

I was mesmerized by the passage of twinkling lights and slipped ever further into a tequila trip of my own devising.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

House Party, Part 5: Second Performance

And the world was silent, with nothing but moonlit illumination and city streetlamps through the windows.

“Wait. Where did they go?” asked the Balance.

I was sure the Bard gave him a look. The discussion around the table was first on where they must have gone and quickly turned into the slightly more obvious question of ‘what is going on in the bathroom?’

What was going on in the bathroom?

The Jedi, who was sadly not included in the agenda walked down the hallway to spy.

What can be seen between the small sliver of door crack exposed for a second?

White skin in the moonlight, hands, a flurry of activity. Four busy hands or six? The door was closed.

What was going on in the bathroom?

Listening at the door, what could be heard? Is that soft panting? Or giggling? Or crying? What did she say? What did she say? Who was interesting now? Another push on the door, a tiny crack appeared.

Soft lights, fingers, long hair in motion, who was in motion?…just a little more, the door closed again.

The Molester, who was sadly not included in the agenda, walked down the hallway.

A tap, a knock, small, soft subtle. “It’s just me, let me in.”

Tap, tap, tap.

Perhaps an ear to the door, what could be heard now? Something different, some kind of pressure, a moist wet sound; girls sighing…

Tap, tap, tap.

“It’s me. I just want to watch. I just want to watch.”

A silvery crack in the door. Small light, white flesh, standing, kneeling, against the wall, hard to make out shapes in the dim light, smell of girls, dank, moist…the door closed again quick.

A more solid thump against the door. More hushed whispers behind the wood.

What was going on in the bathroom?

Another push. Another slivery crack in the door, closed faster this time. A giggle, a movement, a knock from inside the bathroom. Feline, female sound…

A tap from outside.

Tap, tap, tap.

“I just want to watch.”

The hallway was quiet.

The discussion at the table continued.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

House Party, Part 4: Dr. Pepper, Tequila, and the Devil

Moxy was still under my arm and felt comfortable there. She occasionally took breaks and slipped away to answer messages on her phone. Doomhammer and I were talking and remarked on the party foul that was currently being committed by Titan.

“What is that?” asked Moxy.

“A Coke.”

“Oh no.”

“Uh-uh, no.”

“I don’t like the taste of alcohol that much.”

“What do you want to drink?” asked Doomhammer, as always a gracious host.

“I don’t know.”

“If you name a cocktail I’m sure we can make it.”

“I don’t know.”

“Do you like sweet or sour?”

“Really, I’m not trying to be difficult, I just don’t know.”

“Okay stop. What do you like to drink? I mean, not alcohol, but what do you just like to drink?” I asked.

“I don’t know. Cola, I guess. I like Dr. Pepper.”

I look at Doomhammer. “Dr. Pepper.”

“We don’t have any Dr. Pepper.”

“No, I mean we could make him a Dr. Pepper.”

“But we don’t have any Dr. Pepper.”

“You don’t need Dr. Pepper. It’s a cocktail; it taste just like Dr. Pepper.”

“Don’t you have to light that on fire?” asked Stella.

“The fire is useful and important,” I supplied.

Doomhammer consulted his phone for a recipe and then disappeared for a moment before returning, grabbing bottles and liquors.

“Do we need fire?”

“No. I found another recipe; we no longer need fire.”

As so Doomhammer mixed up a Dr. Pepper that was composed of roughly the following:

1½ shots of amaretto

½ can of beer

A can of Coke

Pour carefully to reduce the amount of head in the drink. Or. spoon the head out. Sip. You have Dr. Pepper.

“What do you think?” I asked Doomhammer.

“Tastes like Dr. Pepper to me.” I tried it and had to agree. We passed the drink around and finally it landed in front of Titan. We all watched with bated breath. He drank. He kept talking.

“Well?”

“Well what?”

“How is it?”

“Oh, it’s good. Yeah. It’s really good.”

Doomhammer and I shared a smile. He liked it; he really liked it.

I made myself another tequila with a shot of lemon juice and ice. Moxy had another Jack and Coke and Boring followed along. We began to enjoy the slippery slide, smiling and giggling.

The Molester took pictures around the table and we giggled at him.

“We know what you are doing.”

“What?” he asked.

“Stop taking pictures of everybody’s breasts.”

“What? I’m documenting for posterity.”

“Seriously, my breasts? If you were going to take a picture of me it should be of my ass.” I said.

“Well I haven’t been able to get over there yet.”

“I’ll do it!” Fresh Ms. Moxy grabbed the camera and I posed for her to get a picture of my bottom.

“Oh yeah!”

The Molester was amused and tried to capture Stella who protected herself valiantly against his advances and his charms. People returned to the table and Mr. Jelly Belly became less of a prop and more ofan interloper on the evening with the squiggly snake joining in the fray.

“Look I’m going to come.” The Molester crouched over the table. Wrapped around his head was the wiggly snake from Mr. Jelly Bean's leg. He grunted and groaned and squeezed his fist until finally with a whoop of triumph the snake's head popped off. The Molester screamed and rushed to collect his snake.

“Look, I made the eyes pop off!”

The squishy plastic eyes became a weapon, first aimed at Moxy. She grabbed them up and shot them back and another round of kitchen fighting began. “It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye.” I reminded them.

Moxy was under my arm again, warm. My hand was on her back. Boring was nearby. He had been moving closer and closer and closer all evening. Still not willing to share, not willing to discuss what it was about his relationship that bothered him. His intentions were as clear as if they were a neon sign over his head. I was amused. The Jedi moved in behind him and started to give Boring a shoulder rub, which he relaxed into and enjoyed. The Jedi had deft hands, a quirky smile on his face, and a wink for me.

My amusement became more palpable by the minute. I captured Moxy's wrist and asked her about her tattoo.

“It’s the green man.” she said.

This seemed very appropriate to me. She tole me the story of how she came by it. I asked if she had anymore and she listed the places where her tats could be found.

“I have a fetish for licking tattoos.”

Her eyes were all smiles.

The Molester continued to try and capture pictures. Moxy slid her hand into my hair and pulled. I pulled hers back. We had a hair-pulling competition that was nothing but warm charm. The Molester was transcendent. The Jedi continued to work on Boring’s back. Boring had the stupid grin of a 20-year-old seeing two adult women touch themselves in the most wonderfully public way. I knew that silly grin, having being the bringer of the stupid look far too many times. I am a concentrated point of delight.

“Ms. Devil how do you do it?” asked the Balance.

“Do what?”

“This?”

“I’m not doing anything.”

“Leave her alone; she's just been standing there all night,” chimed in Stella.

The Balance, however was not so easily dissuaded.

“No, I want to understand this; explain it to me.”

“I’m really not doing anything!” And Ms. Moxy slid back under my arm, her hand around my waist, her head on my shoulder.

“Really?” The Balance wasn't buying it for a second.

What was I doing? Honestly? I simply did what came most naturally and didn't question it. At the moment what came naturally was the desire to lick Ms. Moxy's ear. I didn't have an agenda, I just let it happen and watched where it went.

Agendas were quickly developing, though. With each warm breath of Moxy in my neck I found myself sliding further and further into that devilsh place that always ended in the most incredulous and fiendish of my stories.

The Jedi was still working on Boring's back as Moxy and I begin to whisper potentialities into each other's ears. Finally we agreed upon what we were are up to; we just needed a moment. Moxy disappeared. A whisper, then a command to Boring, and then I was gone as well.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

House Party, Part 3: First Performance

As we talked a bell rang, and while we thought at first that someone had locked themselves out smoking we were instead greeted with additions to our play. Another old friend of the Balance, Stella, with beer (also Stella) in hand, and later the Molester’s gorgeous and friendly niece.

Stella took a seat next to the Balance and got her own introduction from him.

“We’ve known each other for 95 years.” she said.

The Balance laughed. “What, why that?”

“Because every time you introduce you me you add about five years to our friendship, so I think at this point is about 95 years.” More laughs. The stories continued. Stella tried to open her beer, but had some trouble. Moxy stops her.

“Hand it here.”

“I need an opener.”

“I know; I have one.”

Stella handed over her beer and Moxy put the bottle between her teeth and pulled the cap off.

“I think I am in love.” I said as she passed the bottle back and pressed the cap into her forhead. She smiled. The Balance gave me a knowing look.

The conversation continued. With the arrival of Stella the lineup for sitting about the kitchen table shifted. People began to move around, shifting places, seats, and conversations. There was an arm around my back, and a shoulder next to mine and I looked into the smiling face of Moxy. My spidey senses started tingling. Moxy and I were becoming fast friends, while the Bard engaged the Jedi and the Balance about random topics. Titan ran back and forth between games. I swear the vVv people never stop playing!

The Bard, asked again to sing, paused for a moment, and took a breath. Then she opened her lips and did what she does, something I had not had the pleasure of hearing her do in far too many years. She began to sing. She sings the blues. She sings …

Just another homesick child
Tired of running wild
Ready to stand trial and move on
Though I'm guilty in your sight
Have some mercy tonight
I can't make it through the fight alone


The Bard’s voice stopped the room; for all we know it stopped the world. All of us were trapped in the enchanting thrall of the words she sang.

Oh but lord, no don't make it easy
Keep me working till I work it on out


The Balance watched with his hands folded in front on the table. Stella sat next to him, closing and opening her eyes slowly. The Jedi listened, dark beautiful eyes just this side of moist, lost heart and soul in the sounds she sings. She sang the first verse and stopped.

Just please shine enough light on me
Til I'm free from this shadow of doubt

Keep me out of the Shadow of Doubt

“Yes…yes….you see what you did there? Do you see? Can you sing it again from the beginning? Just one more time?“

“No, I can’t, you have no idea.”

“I just-“

“I’ll keep going, it gets repeated.”

“Yes.”

As I try to make some sense
Of this world I'm up against
Well I know my best defense is your love
When the struggle gets insane
And the lesson's full of pain
Keep me calling out your name with Love


And she continued to sing. There was so much emotion in the bottom of her voice and the depth of her words. Ms. Moxy’s arm around my waste became even more present and real and I felt an unstoppable build of emotion as the Bard continued to sing.

Well I whisper in the dark
From the bottom of my heart
And I'm searchin for one star to shine
I will shout from mountain high
And I'll reach into the sky
Til you open up my eyes so blind


Doomhammer watched from the side, a face open, rapturous with enjoyment. Moxy’s head was on my shoulder and I could feel her soft breath and her own stillness in the presence of the Bard's voice. Titan was still. As a musician, he could not move. I understood his emotions. Musicians almost wanted to kneel before the pressure of her voice. Musicians were stopped, and awed by the unparalleled beauty of the it. She filled the room, producing echoes and turning the kitchen into an almost cathedral-like space. We were reverent as we listened.

Oh but lord no, Don't make it easy
Keep me workin' til I work it on out
Just please, please shine enough light on me
'Til I'm free from this shadow of doubt
keep me out of the Shadow.....

When she finished there was applause. Our emotions were stirred, open and exposed. We paused a moment but there was nothing to talk about in the space after her song. We just sat in awe after clapping and tried to figure out what to do next.

Finally we began to move again. Life returned as the unbridled emotion leaves us. It was decided that another smoke is in order, and it was time to refill the drinks. Musical chairs are played again, as people come and go in and out of doors. The night continued with a slightly different hue than it had before.

House Party, Part 2: Flirting and Jelly Beans

“Actually, I have a question for you two girls. What do you think about flirting? Is it okay? Do you like it? What is it about flirting?”

It was an interesting question and one I couldn’t answer with any real clarity. Moxy provided some personal insight into her own relationship with flirting, which could be summed up as, ‘I don’t mind as long as I am in control of it.’ When the question turned to me for an answer I had to be honest about my inability to answer.

I couldn’t tell anyone if I was for or against flirting because in reality I didn't consciously flirt with people. I never set out to flirt or make an effort to flirt. I would have a conversation and sometimes those conversations become more heated in good or bad ways than I would anticipate, but I didn't usually start off with a desire to make that happen. I saw flirting as something that required desire or intention. And honestly I didn't engage people in that way. I was rather of the opinion that life was a mystery and whatever happened would happen, in conversation or otherwise, and I rolled with it.

The Bard was looking for a good reason to have a smoke break. The Balance and a few others offered to go as well, and the Balance wanted to continue with a conversation started earlier relating most exclusively to one Boring and his relationship drama.

“Okay, how about this? I’d like to get the opinion of the Bard and Ms. Devil (always when the Balance says it is sounds like Deville). I know you’ve told it twice, but let’s tell it one more time for them.”

Boring smiled. And sat there. Both the Bard and I could see that he thought he was charming and handsome. He believed that charm and looks and some talents on a computer game were all he really needed to be successful. Because of this belief he responded to the Balance’s request with a “No.”

“I’m not going to push you, but I think you would appreciate their advice.”

“No. I already know what they're going to say anyway.”

The Bard and I exchanged a raised eyebrow. In that instant the Bard was done with Boring and I no longer really cared about him. For the rest of the evening Boring was nothing but closed lips, a wan smile, and a vapid attempt at social interaction, which was only compounded by being in a place where everyone else was willing to discuss their life and secrets with intimacy. When you are surrounded by people who will share about their relationships, their lives, their trials, their successes, their failures and shortcomings, it is impossible to talk to someone who won’t.

The Balance and the Bard and others went off for a smoke and I was left with the Gamers. Those vVv people! The problem with suddenly being left with Gamers was that I had nothing to contribute since I didn't play games. I tried to follow the conversation, which included incredulity at playing games like Delta Force, or admission of hours spent playing Starcraft, Halo, or Call of Duty. I had got nothing, since the last time I spent anything like hours gaming it was a game called Betrayal at Krondor and I hacked it. (I also like Tetris.)

The rest of the gang returned, and some discussion of the inability of Mr. Jelly Belly (a blow-up Jelly Belly doll sitting on top of the water cooler) ensued. The Molester found a plastic squishy snake to wrap around it, and soon Mr. Jelly Belly was dressed more inappropriately than before with the snake wrapped around his leg.

Mr. Jelly Belly was sitting in for the Cowboy, who was off doing his musical. Mr. Jelly Belly was helping to add entertainment, and despite everyone’s best efforts he continued to jump off the water cooler throughout the evening.

We continued our chats, describing our interests and talents.

“Back to relationships,” said the Balance.

“No,” from Boring.

“What about you Ms. Moxy? What happened to yours?”

“It’s pretty simply really. I’m a strong woman. There is a line where it can go too far and not far enough. He couldn’t figure out the line.”

“You sound like my girlfriend,” said Boring.

“Really? How so? Why don’t you tell us about your girlfriend?” I said.

“I…no.“

“You almost had him that time,” said the Jedi.

Almost. Boring was too reluctant. Thinking that we all understand him too well and think it tedious to discuss; he thought we were making fun of him with our advice and chastisement about his age and his youth. This was a sadness because he was missing the larger point. The Balance didn't start a discussion without a purpose, and his purpose here was really quite clear. He wanted to bring deeper reflection and understanding, to introduce a skill through which one could learn from themselves and their actions. Boring was closed down to it; perhaps because of his youth or stubborn male ego. Boring silenced himself, and in so doing created bigger walls.

The Balance put in a request for a song from the Bard, who promised that it would be filled at some point in the evening. Some gaming emergencies cropped up, and people refilled drinks. As alcohol flowed a bit, we all loosened our tongues more.

Boring continued to be boring, but the evening was becoming by the minute more and more exciting.

Monday, June 20, 2011

House Party, Part 1: Introductions and Whores

This is an epic tale and will require several blogs. ~S

*****

There was some possibility that a house party with the Balance may be missed. As the Bard was touring the south there was no certainty that I would be able to get there on my own. Korea was fast approaching, though so I knew that I would move mountains to get to the obscure location of the party should it come to that. Fortunately for me the Bard returned roughly 24 hours before the party was slated to begin, and it was agreed that we would maintain tradition and arrive together.

The crowd in attendance tonight was a familiar group, minus the Cowboy (who was completing a musical theater engagement) and the Psychiatrist (who had run off to join the military and was currently missed; hopefully, he was safe and sound and making a difference wherever he may be). The usual set of Kitchen Irregulars were in attendance. Doomhammer let us in with a large smile and a warm hug, looking both ridiculously handsome and boyishly charming at the same time. Seated around the table were (of course) the Balance, sitting in the center and managing the mob, the Molester, who smiled and winked and leered cheerfully, and the Jedi, who was all warm smiles and long lashes.

The table was filled on all sides with others joining for a night of ribaldness and drinking. The new-to-me Irregulars were all gamers, as the Balance managed, ran, recruited, and slave-drove gamers through virtual obstacles and strange worlds. vVv gaming (http://www.vvv-gaming.com/)  is the circle from which the cheerful gamers at the table had been plucked. To the left of the Balance was Moxy, a dark-haired pixieish Betty Page lookalike with attitude. Across from her on the other side of the Balance sat Titan, a trumpet player turned Starcraft player with ambitions to conquer more distant planets before conquering sheet music. Next to Titan was...

Was…

Here's the thing: no matter how hard I tried I have to admit that the person sitting next to Titan was so bland and so boring, that I kept thinking (and continue to think) of him as Boring Brian. However, neither his gaming name nor his real name was Brian. For some reason that was what stuck, for reasons which may become clear as we continue.

At first the conversation looked to continue, but then the Balance decreed that introductions needed to be made. We all knew him, but we did not know each other, or for some of us it was the first time we were meeting. The Balance turned to Ms. Moxy, who with little adeu and no aplomb, said her name, her handle, and passed.

“That’s it?” asked the Balance.

“I’m sure the rest will come out eventually.”

The Balance allowed it and we moved on to the Molester, who did roughly the same thing.

“That’s it, I’ll do it. This is the Molester. I have known him since we were twelve when I baptized him in one fell swoop, blackening his eye, annoying his family, and making a lifelong friend.”

“You did baptize me, didn’t you?” The Molester smiled and laughed and shook as the story spilled out in more detail to become one of those quaint full-of-charm stories about how two young strangers could become friends of decades after a fitful start. This was how the Balance liked his introductions. Rather than name, rank, and occupation, he demanded stories. The stories that bound you, defined you, that made you distinct and interesting and special.

The Balance told a story about each one of us, some more personal than others. There were no details to sacred around the Balance's dining-room table. We were all inned or outed as the Balance saw fit. Thus it was revealed that Titan was trying to make the difficult decision of a scholarship for music or a lifelong desire to play games for a living. Ms. Moxy was a gamer, a mother, and a trouble maker. And Boring was a twenty-year-old with the most basic of relationship conflicts. The Balance related a bit of his story and said that he would ask Boring to provide further details at a later point.

The Balance described his friendship with the Bard; and while their story didn't include a baptism it most certainly contained the kind of bonding between two people that was more intimate than a marriage, closer than a friendship, and full of love and mutual respect. Then the Balance turned his introduction lens on me.

“Ms. Devil. I keep saying she is an English teacher but that is no longer true.” He continued to introduce me.

“I also keep a blog. You’ll all be there in the morning.”

“Ah, yes, Ms. Devil’s blog. Yes, the stories, that is how I got the name the Balance, although I don’t know why.”

“Because you showed up at a thousand-dollar dinner and declared ‘Tell me to wear a suit? I almost wore sweatpants.’ And it sort of balanced the whole thing out.”

“Ah, yes, I remember that dinner.” And we went on to recount tales of tequila drinking, stripping, and all manner of wild sexual excess from all parties before the Balance interjected with, “And most recently. You had a great story about your weekend with IML. You must, you must tell the story.”

And so I began to recount my tales of hanging out at conventions of Leather Fetishists and aficionados with occasional interjections from the crowd. One notable commentator was Moxy, who embodied both easily enough a supreme love of naughtiness and a temperament for tawdry quips. Her play with the Balance, her ribald sense of humor, and her absolutely no-holds-barred interaction with the circle made me like her instantly. As the crowd was amused by my tales of Leather Daddy Alpha, we briefly dipped into a conversation about my own relationship and relationships. Ms. Moxy declared “I want to be you in six years.”

“Why wait?” I responded back.

As my story would down with a description of the electric shocking that had recently occupied many of my weekends she asked “Can I have your number?”

“Honey, you can have my address.” At which point we both smiled in the most devilish way at each other.

“I am so glad you two have finally met,” said the Balance with a grin as laden with plot as Mephistopheles, “I think you should tryst.”

Smiles. It was quite clear that as the Balance would describe it, has described it, does describe it, we are both filthy, filthy whores. Both Moxy and I smiled and wore the description proudly. And why not?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Walkman

I had my first walkman when I was something like 10. I remember the first record player predated that a bit, a cheap little plastic thing to play cheap little plastic records. The walkman, though, was my favorite thing ever. Headphones full of music, everywhere I went. Freedom with the songs I wanted to listen to. A large music player to keep me constantly tugging my jeans up to keep them from falling down.

Sitting in my room making mix tapes off the radio, trying to collect all the songs I loved to listen to. My first transistor radio happened when I was nine or ten. Lovely gigantic, huge, portable with D-cell batteries and of course the ability to record when the radio was playing; I recorded so much radio. Those mix tapes were a random mix of things like Van Morrison, Samantha Fox, Bon Jovi, Madonna, and the Stones. Weird-ass collections that showed just a splash of me tweenage dabbling in high-fashion music (Samantha Fox was a hell of a lot more interesting to me then Debbie Gibson or Tiffany). Garage-sale diving and odd-lots shopping for cassette tapes to play in my transistor radio or on the Sony walkman.

Plastic, orange, toy walkman but it would play music. I managed to get a cassette of Madonna’s Like a Virgin and was obsessed with singing “Like a Virgin” and “Dress You Up.” That tape was on an endless loop for at least a year. There was a Chuck Berry tape that got just as much play, and a quadruple cassette special from Woodstock, though I always listened to the same tape, the one that started on one side with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young singing "Ohio," and the other side that began with Sly and the Family Stone. Over and over again; my young eclectic-music styling.

That orange cassette player: because of it my room was a graveyard of AA batteries that had died. I’d learn how to push all the life out of the batteries. When the music started to slow down because the batteries were dying you could hold the play button down a little, not all the way just a little, and the music would speed up enough to sound almost right. Of course if you went too far it would sound like a drunken Hal finally losing his mind, but hold it just right and you could get another hour of music out of that little box.

Later it would be replaced with a real Sony walkman, a junk shop find that had the greatest technological advance in music players ever: auto-reverse. It would play for hours and hours and whenever you came to the end of a cassette the tape would flip over and start playing in the other direction. Genius. It became an art form to learn to record things off of other tapes or the radio in such a way that if you hit the end of the tape you could turn it over just in time to capture the music at the start of the other side so that when you were listening there was only a small gap in the song. I was good at it.

I remember the age of thirteen and how my music tastes evolved to include the Violent Femmes, Kristin Hersh, Sonic Youth, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Hole and sweet, sweet Tori Amos. Throw on top of that Danzig, some Guns and Roses and you had some hard for all the grunge and softness. Good times.

Today I woke up with the lyrics to “On a Plain” in my head, which fair enough, I was going to be on a train in a few hours and whenever I’m traveling “On a Plain” is always stuck in my head. My current MP3 player , a 120gb Zune, replaced my old 8gb Iriver that decided to die, and is a fourth or fifth replacement in a long series of MP3 replacements. This amuses me because I still have my old Sony walkman and my old Sony walkman served me solidly until 1998 when I finally got my first, and only, portable CD player.

I remember what song was playing when I was listening to my music at my high-school graduation (the Doors, "The End," singularly appropriate). I remember what music was playing in my walkman when I freed myself from home (Tori Amos and Violent Femmes). I remember which tapes I would pack for a trip on the greyhound to head south and visit friends (PJ Harvey, Lisa Germano, Depeche Mode, Nirvana). I remember the music I was listening to on my first plane ride and trip to Korea (Perfume Tree, Until the End of the World soundtrack). There was music and there was music and there was music, and there has always been music. Songs bring me back so clearly and solidly to places and times and associations.

I miss my clunky Sony walkman. I still have a box full of cassettes, many dubbed from the local library in Waukegan. The MP3 player is not nearly so satisfying when its battery is dying as it rarely allows me to squeeze out just a few more plays. Yet it still provides ample expansion of my experiences, while giving me access to a suitcase worth of cassettes that I’d rather not drag around.

My music player is smaller and no longer pulls my pants off of me when it’s in my pocket, but it still secures me in the same way. It is a violent drumbeat solace to replace the sounds of the world; providing a more solid context for my reality than being visually present.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lamplight

“It’s the lamp.” I pointed.

The lamp hung limply in the air.

“Although, you did a pretty good job with it,” Young Kubrick said. He sat and smoked at the lamp that looked uninspired as it leaned toward the floor.

“It doesn’t look better.”

“At least it’s not totally broken down.”

“What have you done to it?” asked the Electrician, visiting the Casa for the first time.

“Well originally it had a wooden dowel rod and some type of metal glue. Then if fell over. I’ve added a metal chopstick to the mix. That seems to at least be keeping it up, but, well…”

“I want to write a letter to the company that made this lamp,” said Young Kubrick. “I want to write a letter and tell them how stupid the design is. I want to send them pictures of the awfulness.”

“At the moment we’ve had two lesbians and now an Electrician try to fix this stupid thing. This lamp is worthless.”

The Electrician proceeded to take apart the lamp.

“This has got to the be the stupidest design I have ever seen.”

“But it’s pretty,” said Young Kubrick. True, the lamp had been purchased more for its aesthetic appeal in the Casa rather than practical design of doing simple things, like staying up and shedding light.

“I can fix this; I just need my tools.”

“If you fix it you would be our new god.”

We were not really a group that needed new gods, but we were happy to take them on when we found them. So it was that a few days later the Electrician turned up the Casa once again, this time with a soldering iron and other appropriate tools.

The lamp was worn down and tired, flailing after too much use and wear and tear. It stood like a person drunk and used and passed on. The lamp looked like a reflection of me on this fine and fair and sunny Sunday morning and I sympathized with the lamp's desire to spread out on the floor and bask in sweet warm sunbeams. The Electrician took the lamp in hand. “I’m almost positive I can make this work.”

He pulled it apart again slowly, and set to work trying to remove all traces of sticky baggage that had lingered since the lamp first came home. He peeled through layers slowly, with deft fingers, seeking out what secrets the lamp may hold and looking for ways in which to correct the madness that lay inside the workings.

“What the hell did you put in this thing?”

I found the bags of epoxy that had been used to fill much of the inside of the lamp. The Electrician tried to peel back the old epoxy like a chef skinning an onion. After about thirty minutes the loss of the cause became apparent. “Well, I guess I can just try something a little more ghetto.”

And with that he pulled out the prettiest soldering iron I have ever seen. It had a thermostat and you could actually set the temperature rather than just plugging it in and getting whatever it chose to dish out. He heated it up to around 800 degrees and began to use some acidic grease to clean up the fittings. The plan was to fill the threads with solder and see if by building up the threads a little if it would be possible to make a solid connection that would keep the lamp together.

“It’s a stupid way to do it, but it’s the only idea I have.”

“It’s got to be better than a wooden dowel rod and metal chopstick.”

The solder was filled into the inside threads, and with a wrench and prayer the lamp was once again fitted and screwed into itself to see if, at last, it might stand on its own to shed light into the Casa.

“This has got to be the most ghetto thing I have ever done.”

He fit the rest of the pieces of the lamp back together, screwed in the bas, and then, I held my breath as he placed the lampshade on to the lamp. We had determined days before that the problem was, in fact the lampshade. The lampshade was another “it matches the rest of the furniture” purchase. While pretty, it also weighed more than the original, and so was contributing to pulling the lamp down. I held my breath. The lampshade went down and was screwed on.

The lamp stood there. It stood almost perky in the afternoon light. It stood, holding up its lampshade and did not fall down.

“Yep.”

“Kubrick!” I shouted.

He came dancing into the room, a high-pitched scream repeated three times at the magnificence of the lamp that had finally been fixed. “I bow to you, sir, I bow to you.” The Electrician smiled, amused, and accepted our supplication as we both worshipped at his toolkit.

“I’ve got to send the Bard a message,” Kubrick said, snapping a picture of the Electrician and the lamp together. “I sent the picture and it said ‘the lamp is fixed and here is the man that did it.’ The message had three exclamation points. That is how excited I am.”

“If you really wanted to show how excited you are it should have been three exclamation points and a 1.”

The Electrician giggled. Ah, geek humor. The tools were packed carefully back into a bag and we felt the Casa in the bright illumination of the sun with the promise of soft, warm lamplight in the evening ahead.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Night on the Beach

Sitting in the dark along the wall on the shore of Lake Michigan in Chicago, the night was the low-level buzz of a city mostly at sleep. Night interrupted by the occasional siren in the distance or a burst of laughter and talking. Above, the sky was a deep black far out over the lake, and as it approached the city the sky turned that sunburned orange color of city lights hitting the night sky.

Driving up the lake shore was a beautiful thing, long, dark, night-trip beautiful. On the beach was different, on the beach was more real. The lake, our land locked sea, swept out into the distance as far as the eye could see. Black glass twinkling, the night's mirror, swallowing the sky and evening and sound.

Stars twinkled overhead.

I looked up and saw clouds. Thin clouds high up in the stratosphere, the waves lapping against the shore.

The shore was dark, but morning was fast approaching, sun-up was barely a few hours away.

The sand was warm underfoot, warm underneath my hips. Hands pressed into the sandy shore, pulling up strings of silver quartz that fell through in feathers on a soft night breeze. The sky twinkled, with faint stars drowned out by the orange glow of the city.

We were quiet whispers in the night. We whispered quietly to each other, with warm sand warming our bottoms as we sat and pushed the pebbles and look up at the night. The dark brought out stories. Stories of debauchery, stories of life, stories of being children on beaches, being younger near the waves, swimming, diving…

The wind moved across the shore and we giggled at the sounds we could hear in the night. Feeling like ninjas, secure in our shadow overhang, hidden from the city behind us, exposed only to the lake that sipped and slipped in front of us.

There was epiphany in the cool night air.

A look up at the sky.

“The clouds are gone. Look they have moved away.” And the dark was dark around us. The moon had already dipped below the surface so there was nothing but the now-faint twinkle of stars.

“What time is it?”

“Early, probably four a.m.”

“Damn. It’s four a.m.”

“The sky is getting lighter.”

“Evil day ball.” Giggles.

“The clouds came back.”

A look up and the clouds were streaking again across the sky, filled now with more light picking up the sun as the Earth slid around its rotation, bringing us closer to face the glowing light.

We laughed as the world began to lighten around us, bringing with it wakefulness, destroying our ninja stealth on the shore. We snuck back through the shadows before they completely vanished and walked along cold and deserted city streets toward home.


Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Whitey's

Whiteys

“Are you hungry?”

“No, but I’d watch you eat.”

“I’m hungry.”

“There’s a McDonlad’s.” I pointed out the window.

“Anything but McDonald’s.” We continued to drive. We drove up Western Avenue, which I was told was the longest-running contiguous city street in any city. I was amused by the history lesson as we continued to drive.

“And, also, apparently without any freaking fast food. I’d even take a Taco Bell at this point.”

“Mmmm. That’s unfortunate.”

“If it continues this way I think I am going to go to Whiteys.”

“What is a Whiteys?”

“White Castle.”

“I’ve never been to a White Castle. Aside from seeing the movie, which I think may count as having a White Castle experience.”

“That is not the White Castle experience. We are going to White Castle.”

I sat back and enjoyed the ride as we drove across town to find an open White Castle where food (or at least some reasonable facsimile of food) could be purchased. The first thing that hit me was the smell. The smell was truly powerful. This tincture of grease and meat and fats and cheese and it all sort of forced itself on you.

The next thing I noticed  was the stark white and silver of the place. It was nothing but white tile and silver stainless steel. There was a sense that it was trying to be antiseptically clean, but somehow failed to do so. For all the clean and shiny it just didn't seem that clean and shiny.

I got  another history lesson as we stood there. “When it was designed they used all the stainless steel to make it look cleaner so it would appeal more to people. You know, it came along in an age when people really felt that fast food was dirty.”

“Uh, huh. You know there is like nothing here I can eat, right?”

“I thought you ate chicken.”

“I’m not sure that anything that they have on the menu is composed of actual chicken. Also, this place smells like bacon. “

“Delicious.”

“What is the American fascination with bacon? It’s disgusting.”

“I don’t even know you anymore.”

“I don’t like bacon.”

“Bacon makes everything better.”

I find it amusing: the American obsession with bacon. I had gone to a Denny’s not too long ago where the menu was covered in things made of bacon, including bacon shakes, bacon balls, and bacon pancakes. A surfeit of bacon. A wrongness of bacon, really.

“Mmmm, bacon.”

I smiled as we got colas and a bag of small, greasy burgers.

“Do you want anything?”

“Not a chance in hell.”

Laughter as we moved back into the fluorescent city lights with a bag full of greasy stains, meat patties, and fries.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Hipsters, Surrounded by Them

I was very much looking forward to seeing Dengue Fever on Saturday night at the Empty Bottle. I got everything together, made a decision about dinner, and got on a train, which lead me to a bus heading for the show. Along the way my ride was interrupted by a festival in Wicker Park on Division. It was busy and bustling, and the bus went around to get out of the way. Interestingly enough, the side route for the bus put me closer to my desired location. The sign at the Bottle said the show would start at 8:30, but the website said that the show would not start until 10:00; being confused I rushed through dinner so I would be at the Bottle no later than 9:00.

The sign was a lie. I pulled up a chair in the back of the bar, got a glass of wine, and settled in for the hour-long wait to enjoy the show. As I waited I watched the crowd. While watching the crowd I was forced to come to the startling realization that most of the people flooding slowly but surely into the bar, were hipsters.

Hipsters are apparently a current subclass of pop culture. I have to admit that before the summer of 2009 I did not know what a hipster was. I was not aware of the term hipster. I could not actually identify a hipster. Then, in the summer of 2009 one of my trainees lead a mini-teaching session on identifying a hipster, complete with handout. During the class I learned the identifying features of a hipster (scruffy beard, tight V-neck T-shirt, skinny jeans, smartphone) and how to identify a hipster if I ran into one on the street.

So now, as I sat in the bar waiting for the Dengue Fever, I realized that I was surrounded by hipsters. Apparently the hipsters are very into Dengue Fever. I figured that would be fine. I don’t mind different kinds of people. I know that I hang out a lot of people, and my friends run from A to Z, so I figured I might have a chance to add a few hipsters to the list.

However, hipsters don’t seem to really mingle well with people they have never met before, so I didn’t really get much of a chance to meet new people.

And then the first band was up.

The first band was very much a hipster band. At this point I learned something very important that I had not known before.

I didn't like hipster music.

In fact, I loathed it. I loathed it a lot. It was auto-tuned, boring tripe with painful drum machines and poorly executed musical riffs. In a word, hipster music was awful. Truly awful. I don’t like to speak ill of new music; I like to give it the benefit of the doubt.

But there was no need for benefit here. The band sucked.

The next band to go on was worse. With more auto-tuning, the same movie sample played over and over again, and the same rhythm for all the songs. It was spectacularly bad. Hideous. I wanted out, I want to climb the walls to get away.

It was during this general wall climbing that I saw signs for a festival. This was the festival that had interrupted my bus ride. The festival had bands. A lot of bands. One band in particular had played at 7:00 that very evening at the festival. Dengue Fever, the band I had come to see. They had played less than five hours ago and this was their second act of the evening.

That sucked. It meant the band I was looking forward to seeing had played less than four hours ago on a hot stage in the middle of a street in Chicago. As they climbed up on to the stage for their set, it was obvious that they were a bit worn out. It was visible, and even though they worked very hard to keep their energy up, they were off just enough that it was not a great show.

Good, but not great.

Ah well. The hipsters seemed to enjoy it, but it was hard to trust the judgment of the same people who had enjoyed the previous two bands. I realized that hipsters weren't all bad, in that apparently they did have somewhat good taste in music; however, I would have to reserve judgment. I couldn't completely fault the hipsters this time. Not…this time.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Drives

Road tripping is an American luxury in a land with so much land, so many well-maintained roads, so much sprawl. A large vehicle engulfs me as we wind up the roads around the lake on a late-night drive.

The lake was sparklingly mystery that reminded me of Shimer and when this trip was made with Shimerians after late-night trips to Evanston or the city. Tonight the lake filled me with memories of pasts and thoughts of the future. The lake disappeared behind the trees and the trees were everywhere. Dark and encroaching, filling the void in the land, make space and raising property values on million-dollar homes.

We drove in the dark and listened to music.

Dark.

There was something about the American dark sky. No matter how far out you went in Korea there was never any truly dark sky; always the ever-present fluorescent light broke up the night and chased away the dark. Sometimes I wondered if Koreans weren't a culture afraid of the dark. The cities were always bright as day, regardless of the hour; no shadows could hide on the streets or in the halls. Not so on a dark-night drive up the lake shore.

The air was cool; the road stretched out long with hints of fog. Lights were turned down dim, and then there were no lights at all, nothing but open, dark sky. I leaned back so I could see up through the window, laying down, talking, silent whispers over light music and into dark night and misty drive.

Somewhere up there was the universe without end; somewhere in here, in this large car, the universe was locked up with me. Dark fell down around us, dark, and movement, and nights without end. Memories and talk, pasts and futures, thinking about the long weekend that was and how it was and where it was; words floated out between wet lips, making steamy little breaths into the cool night as stars twinkled.

Night drives are drives of reflection. Night drives drive you right back into the center of all your experiences, huddling them together in a primal way, in the moving cave that opens just enough to let in twinkling starlight. Night drives are the vigil, the silent meditation that brings the presence of the gods and spirits and demons that chase me, that chase us, that chase the universe.

It was cool as my hair danced in tendrils of night wind through a window and I was lost in the pull of it.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

The New Normals

The Bard, the Balance and I sat on couches and talked at the going-away party that wasn’t for the Psychiatrist, who was leaving us for the military. I was sad about his leaving, and I missed my chance to say goodbye. The living room regulars were scheduled to be in attendance, the Molester, the Cowboy, the Jedi, and Doomhammer. Words like slumber party had been tossed around. Alas, as often happened when one joined the military, plans were rearranged at last minute so that now only the Balance, myself, and the Bard were sitting on the couch.

The Balances asked us about our weekend and we began with the tales of Shibaricon first.

“What is it, though, about being tied up? Why?” The Balance asked.

“What do you mean?”

“What does one get out of it?”

This was a perfectly valid question and one which, interestingly enough, there were answers for. Most notably during Shibaricon while I ran off to learn about strap-on harnesses and rope cocks, the Bard had taken in a session entitled “Sensing the Rope with Hedwig,” which was an explanation of Hegwig’s dissertation on rope and the kink community. It was an ethnographic study on the use of rope in three countries, and examined the relationship between rope and its users.

“It’s not about sex, or what you think it is about,” the Bard explained.

And it wasn't. It was about art and practice and art forms; learning a skill and learning how to apply the skill. A person that tied wanted very much to perfect the notes, and the shape and the form of rope.

“One man, he talked about his first time at Shibaricon and how he went around and bought every kind of rope he could get. Sure, people were trying to push and pull him in one direction or the other, but he didn’t care about that. He just wanted to have the rope.”

We talked about how words like dominance and submission and sex had nothing to do it. “How did Hedwig put it, that people think, sure tying someone up with rope is nice and all, but at the end of a day it’s all about a right proper shag.” We all laughed. We laughed because we knew that the shag, the fuck, was the least part of the experience, indeed if it was even part of the experience at all.

“It defies things like submissive and dominant,” said the Bard. “One of the women in attendance had worked with some of the best rope masters in Japan and she knew lots of rope bottoms. She says the rope bottoms would be confused if you asked them about being submissive. They are not being submissive, they would say. They are contributing to the art form and perfection of a master artisan. Submission never really enters into it.”

“I have this gamer I was talking to; I came online and he was chatting away with a bunch of people online by the time I got there,” said the Balance. “And he was telling this room of people that women don’t really like large cocks, that it’s just not that important.” I raised an eyebrow. “He also said that no one was really into choking. He said there were a lot of things that people say they like but the truth is ‘no one really likes that.’”

“I spent the weekend at two entirely different conventions where I am pretty sure people would argue that they really like it.” I responded.

“I just don’t understand his desire. I tried to argue with him, because I know people interested in choking, and bukkake, and rope, and leather, and I just cannot understand how someone can sit there and say that ‘no one really likes it.’ What purpose does it serve?” the Balance asked.

My theory was that this is partially a protective stance for people who have (but don’t want to admit) desires that someone, somewhere, said were abnormal. Maybe it was spanking, maybe it was catholic schoolgirl uniforms, maybe it was both.

“It’s the difference between a kink and a taboo. Something taboo is much worse than something just kinky.” We bandied about with this thought of “but nobody really likes that” trying to figure out the often caustic hetronormative response to things like kinksters, and queers, and open interest in fetishes and desires.

“It’s the same sort of moral outrage and backlash that Kinsey got after telling America in the late fifties that ‘You are all a bunch of kinky motherfuckers.’ It may be true, but no one wants it to be true.”

“That just doesn’t seem like enough.”

“It’s people with a normal fetish who just can’t seem to let go.”

“That’s a good way to put it,” said the Balance.

“I stole it from her,” I said, pointing to the Bard.

“I mean, come on, a convention that singlehandedly can rent out the Hyatt in Chicago for five days for a private convention of leather men, and fill a market for the same number of days with people coming just to buy the gear? At some point you have to admit that “normal” is in the minority.”

“Yeah, but nobody really likes that.” We all laughed.

It was the kinksters and the queers, the dykes, the faggots, the grandparents wearing leather vests and learning to tie new knots that all made me laugh. It was the man pushing his walker around with grey hairs poking out from under his leather cap. It was the beautiful black woman with bound breasts, rolling around in a wheelchair. It was the Bard with her love of rope, the Balance with his fetish for words, the Electrician with his violet wand, and me with my leather bag that was the center of attention. We are the normal for us. We are the new normals. And we like it. We like it a lot.

Nobody really likes that, but here we all are anyway.

It’s okay if you don’t want to like it. We will like it for you. We’ll like it just fine.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Back at the IML

One thing I learned from spending a weekend with people into leather and rope: people into leather and rope will notice everything about leather and rope. On the way down to the IML on Friday with the Electrician, one of the gatekeepers commented “Your boots are laced wrong.”

I looked down, thinking he said my boots were untied, but in fact what he had said was that my boots were laced incorrectly. It took a moment for this to hit me and then I was a little miffed. Granted I’m probably not the best boot lacer in the world, and when I had originally laced up this pair of Doc Martins I may well have been hung over, but they had been laced and doing just fine for several months now, so why should I worry?

While we walked I sort of regretted wearing a short skirt that would show off my boots, as I had the sense that everyone was now looking at my boots. Paranoia is fantastic.

After four hours of walking around the market on Friday it was time for dinner. The magic box of knowledge, upon consultation, spat out the location of a Mexican place within walking distance, so the Electrician and I headed in that general direction. I made an offhand comment about my feet being sore.

The Electrician looked at my boots.

“That’s because your boots aren’t tight enough.”

“Not you too.”

He shrugged. I stewed.

The next day at Shibaricon, while waiting to learn how to tie rope harnesses and dildos, I mentioned that the leather men and leather people had pointed out that my boots were apparently a horrific catastrophe.

“Oh, yeah; I noticed that when I sat down,” said the spiked-hair boy next to me. “You really need to fix the laces.”

Fine, fine. I was spending the weekend with the two groups of people on the planet who would take notice of my boots and the laces, fine.

The next morning, the lovely Bard rolled over in bed and said, “You know what I was thinking?”

“What?”

“We should go to IML.”

I had been trying to convince the Bard to take a bit of time to enjoy the experience and was happy that she wanted to go. I checked in and found the Electrician would also be there, and sent a message to let him know that we would look about for him as we browsed through the aisles.

The Bard was on a mission: she wanted to rope and little would dissuade her. She was also looking for books. I was sure the two could be found. With me as a guide I took her into the depths of the market and we went hunting for rope and books and the Electrician, who finally appeared after a long hunt at the end of an isle of leather bodysuits, talking to friends. Once he disengaged I tugged his arms and pointed at the boots.

“I can’t take it anymore,” I told him. “Everyone says they are wrong. I want the Leather Men to fix it.”

He laughed at me and shrugged. “Come this way. I’ll hook you up.”

And he did. It is fortunate that the Electrician is so well…connected… and within a few minutes I had a nice leather boy at my feet, quickly pulling out laces and giving me options for how to retie them.

“Whatever works.” I said to him.

He drew in a breath as he looked at the tongue of my boot.

“Was it really that bad?”

“I’m going to lace it up with bars; it will undo some of the damage?” I sulked as he pulled my foot firmly between his legs and went about the task of lacing. He was quick and sure fingered and did a damn fine job. I was jealous and forced to admit when he was finished, not only did it look better, but felt better as well.

“What do I owe you I ask?” as the Electrician smiled smugly, being right about the lacing.

“Oh, don’t worry about it. You could buy some raffle tickets if you’d like.”

“What are my options?”

“Well, you can get five for five dollars, or for ten dollars men can get their inseam, or women can get a bust's worth.”

I pointed to the Bard. “Can I get her bust's worth?” In a competition of boobies the Bard will always win, having the most wonderfully exquisite plump breasts in the vicinity at the moment.

“If she doesn’t mind.”

“Go right ahead.” The Bard said with a smile.

I pulled out a ten and passed it off, while the raffle ticket roll came out.

The lacer looked at the Bard and asked “do you mind if I put my face between your breasts?”

“I don’t if you don’t.”

“It really does make this a lot more fun.” And with that he dove in and proceeded to administer a very enthusiastic motor-boating to an amused and smiling Bard, while I got at least two yards worth of raffle tickets.

The Bard and I thanked the Electrician and our borrowed lacer, said goodbye and walked back off into the market to get lost among the stacks of leather and toys; amused and satisfied with the market and the happy openness of the Leather Men.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Shibaricon Interlude

The Bard and I had tickets for Shibarcon for Saturday. While we had wanted to check out the entire weekend, one I had procrastinated a bit too long, and two, it was hard to make everything that was going on in Chicago over Memorial Day weekend. So it was one day of Shibaricon for us.

It was an early day, and the weather was looking gray and nasty. By the time we got to the conference it was around ten a.m. but still the dull gray of early morning and just the hint of rain sprinkling down. As we walked toward the door the Bard asked if I knew where I was going, but unlike IML I did not have a secret tour guide and no way to be sure that I either knew where I was going, or was going the right way. I looked in front of us.

“Ask the girl with the purple hair.”

“What?” the Bard asked back.

“Purple hair, good bet she knows where to go.” The Bard smiled and purple-haired girl gave us extremely clear directions to the registration area of the conference. From there it was a just a matter of filling out our forms, promising yet again not to be bothered by whatever it was we might see, and collecting our badges. The Bard had her badge in just a few moments but mine was missing. After a few sweeps over it was determined by the pretty brunette with blue rope tied up her leg, that I did not have one. Apparently this was the first time it had happened. Fortunately I was on the book so it was just a disconnect that had taken place somewhere. Unfortunate for me.

“What do we do if they don’t have a badge?” asked Blue Rope.

“We’ll have to make one,” said the more senior administrator. A few minutes later I was presented with a badge that had been colored in with highlighter to let everyone know that I was in fact allowed to be there, but only for one day really. I was also personally introduced to security to let them know what was going on with the missing badge.

“We just wanted to let you know about this one. She’s okay. She’s special. Keep a special eye on her.”

I love being special.

“I promise I’m not that dangerous.” I said. And smiled an ‘exactly that dangerous’ smile.

The gatekeepers smiled and waved us on in. The Bard and I looked through our course schedule and tried to figure out what it was exactly that we wanted to see.

“Boobs?”

“Boobs.”

“Boobs.”

It was determined that the first workshop we would attend would be “Boobs in Bondage” by Morpheous. Which meant the hard part of the work was now out of the way. It meant a half an hour wait, which was easily filled by my desperate need for coffee as I was feeling rather sleep deprived after an evening of IML events already under my belt.

I met the Bard as she chatted pleasantly with other con attendants about music, and the best way in which to smack someone. The gray skies got grayer and started to rain just a bit as we all began to pour down the stairs and into our perspective rooms to get seats.

As we walked into the room we found that we were not alone in our love of boobies. Indeed, the room was absolutely packed with people. (Including several of the presenters who were showing off their skills at the conference and who were not currently engaged otherwise with rope.) Again the group was that wonderful collection of people of all shapes, sizes, colors, orientations, and ages. It seemed so odd to think of how isolated and insular life could become when everything was interpreted through Korean-colored glasses. Somehow the world was so much more expansive. I appreciated more just how much freedom I had when I was home, and just how much I gave up to go and do the work I do where I did it.

Morpheous was big, bubbly, jolly, and warm-hearted. And he loved his boobs. He was in good company because the sixty or so other people in the room also loved boobs. Morpheous also liked tying them up, which was, of course, the purpose of Shibari, and a conference dedicated to the art of Shibari was to perfect the art of tying people up. Morpheous explained to us that he was going to teach us how to tie up all kinds of boobs; we’d go from mosquito bites straight through to watermelons, and a tantalizing collection of bondage bunnies was introduced to use, the stunt boobs for Morpheous’s show.

Since he did not want to discriminate at all, Morpheous began by tying up boy boobs, feeling that this was something that was an area that was far too often underserved  by bondage. He was quick and expert in his movements with the rope, knowing just how to get all the pieces on and together before the watching audience could see exactly what he was doing. We were hung on his every gesture and his explanation as he turned his bondage boy bunny about showing off ties and how to place them right. He was a good presenter, knowing how to engage the audience, demonstrate an appropriate amount of knowledge balanced with a perfect amount of absent-minded play. We were with him every knot of the way.

After boy boobs came small boobs, then slightly larger boobs, and of course fake boobs. We learned positions for tying hands, both behind the back for those that were very flexible, and behind the back for those with less mobility. We learned how to tie up nipples with painful Japanese juke rope for some interesting predicament bondage. We even learned how to give a helicopter. In the two hours that he had us he showed us the ropes in more ways than one.

Occasionally as he would tie he would become distracted by the boobs underhand, and have a moment, while tweaking a nipple and saying out loud, “I love my job. Boobs.”

“Boobs.”

Workshop time fast approached and we were all encouraged to stand up and try tying up our own boobs. En masse the room stood up and everywhere girls and boys took off shirts, showing off the most beautiful collection of breasts one could hope to see at lunchtime in Chicago. Shirtless, everyone took time twisting around rope and demonstrating what was learned as people talked through with the partners the twist and turns. Morpheous, job not done, walked about as we tied, tweaking a nipple here, adjusting a rope there, and keeping us all on track as we worked with the boobs that had been presented.

The casual camaraderie of the moment was what stuck with me. That we could all be standing there, strangers to each other, and yet totally comfortable getting naked and applying rope in mysterious ways as a master artisan looked on and guided us, was something that struck me as simply amazing. It was a different community, to be sure, not one made of leather, but one that had brought us all together just as strongly, and was tied just as tight.