I decided I'm going to start writing some of this stuff down. Don't ask me why. It's probably not important. But then again, you never can tell. The thing is this: I live on the top floor of a downtown six-story walk-up. Decent view, if you're into cities. I work nights. I pay my rent. I go to ball games twice a week. I own a telescope. What else? Nothing much. Just your basic committed bachelor, forty years old. Enough about me. What's got me putting pen to paper is this 'incident' I just witnessed. At the Shrink's across the street. That window, with the blinds half drawn (?), gives me—must be the angle—a 'comprehensive' peek; I see everything. Which is usually pretty boring. Shrink just sits there, nodding now and then, while his patients shoot the breeze. Why I bother watching, doesn't make much sense; it's like a talk show with the sound off. I can't read lips; I just check the mechanics of how folks move—you know, their body language? You can learn all sorts of stuff by studying people's postures, gestures, facial expressions; even their walks reveal more than you'd think. The trick is seeing without assuming you're wise to what they're up to. Objectivity, that's my strong point. I never judge. Well, not right away. I simply view what's-what then hazard some deductions. Take this 'incident,' for example; here's what I observed.


 
From: Susan Sinkevich (suzieQ@android.net)
Sent: Thu 10/25/07  9:28 PM
Reply-to: suzieQ@android.net
To: Denise Manning (promisespromises@yahoo.com)

Dear Niecey,
I finally did it. I'm so proud of myself. I went to Paula's therapist. And it's true, what she's been saying. I just talked and talked and talked. To a perfect stranger! In intimate detail. Amazed myself, I must admit. But once I got going, I couldn't shut up. I guess what encouraged me most was that Doctor Monk listened. I mean really listened. Not like Jeff, who only 'claims' he's listening when his mind is light-years off. Steve—Doctor Monk, that is; his clients all call him Steve—paid genuine attention. I could feel it. I could even feel it after he put me under...

It was the normal scene. Shrink pressed a button—on his intercom, I deduced—then spoke. A woman came in. Shrink stood up, walked around his desk. The two shook hands—which marked the first deviation. Shrink's routine is that he crosses to a chair beside the couch and, as his patient settles down—horizontal—he sits vertical. So she was new? The way she glanced around, that's what I figured. I knew I'd never seen her before, but I'd never scoped the doc at 4 PM. My own routine is I zoom in on a dance class in the next-door building from 4 to 5. Today the class was cancelled, evidently, so I shifted sights to Shrink, planning to swivel back from 5 to 6 when the studio hosts an aerobics class. Except I got bogged down in this so-called 'incident.'
 

... That's right; hypnosis. Can you picture me, Ms. Susie Sceptic, courting Dr. Mesmer? When he asked if I was willing, I thought, 'not on your life!' I mean it's one thing lying on an unfamiliar couch, and quite another lying on an unfamiliar couch under someone else's influence—though Steve explained it was more for relaxation than for him to take control. In fact, no matter how deep your trance you can't be forced to misbehave...

Time passed. It was the usual; patient jabbered, Shrink struck poses; patient blubbered, Shrink played block-of-ice. Why folks spend big bucks baring their souls to some cold fish beats the hell out of me. This babe poured her little heart out—I could tell from her expressions. Even choked me up; Shrink never shed a tear. Professional objectivity? Ha! Money-grubber indifference is more like it. A person gets a sense, when another person cares. Shrink cares mainly about his wallet... second only to his cock—though I'm getting ahead of myself.

What a weird sensation! He just talked; there was no twirling pocket watch or clicking metronome or any kind of pendulum. He lulled me sound asleep using nothing but his voice. At least it seemed I was sound asleep, except I was fully conscious. I remember having doubts about whether I really was under... until he proved it.

Shrink started to talk all of a sudden—the second deviation. He moved closer, wet his undertaker lips, and bent the lady's ear. Lord knows what he whispered, but its upshot freaked me out. Girl's hands and arms floated up from the couch like they were weightless or something.

Steve suggested that my wrists were tied with strings attached to balloons filled with helium. Up went both my arms, which really felt strange. They hovered all by themselves. Steve pulled them down but they went right back up as soon as he let go. He said they'd stay like that for as long as I was under. And they did, too. I went into a deep sleep shortly thereafter—a dreamless sleep, I might add—and when I woke my hands kept miming hummingbirds.

Then, manoeuvring even closer, Shrink leaned over and ran his tongue the length of this woman's outstretched arm. I did a double-take at that, I can tell you, right through my eyepiece. Funny thing was, she didn't as much as flinch. Must have drugged her on the sly, or cast some sort of spell. For the next ten minutes, or so, Shrink did what he pleased. Which was plenty.

We discussed, then, what I'd said, and, as we talked, my hands and arms gradually came back down—which I might not have noticed except my underarms were wet. A bit ripe, too. I'd worn a sleeveless top—my leotard, actually—with a vest and full-length skirt. I also noticed this flood between my legs. As if my frozen-stiff body had suddenly thawed. Really embarrassing. I mean, my underwear was positively soaked. Steve was wonderful, though; totally understanding. He acted like he knew my every qualm. And he reassured me, earnestly, he could help.

Now I admit I'm no psychiatrist. I know zilch when it comes to therapy. But I've never heard of a cure that called for licking a patient's armpits. No kidding. Slobbered into them both, then hitched up her skirt. When his head eclipsed her crotch, I'd seen enough. Should've called nine-one-one right then and there.

My next appointment is on Friday at 4 o'clock—which works out perfectly; @ 5 I have my workout just up the street. Jeff is none too thrilled, by the way, on either account. Aerobics, he claims, turns boobs into jelly. And psychotherapists, according to my spouse, are overpriced quacks. I guess Jeff's feeling threatened.

But when the woman finally put her arms down, she acted like nothing had occurred. He'd rearranged her clothes, of course, and scooted her legs together. Still, you'd think she would've noticed something wasn't Kosher.

And well he should be. The more I get in touch with my inner self—not to mention my untapped sexuality—the more I see how Jeff reinforces the me I want to shed. I refuse to go through life with no more passion than a eunuch. Can a female be a eunuch? Sexless, is what I mean. I'm not frigid. I know I can respond. I'm game for anything Jeff—within good taste—wants to suggest. Is it my fault I'm not prone to 'spontaneous' orgasm?

She left then. I kept the crosshairs fixed on Shrink for a while. He shifted to his desk. Jotted down some notes. Nothing out of the ordinary. Acted just like she did, stony as a sphinx.

I suppose, @ age thirty-two, it is a bit late to try masturbation. Seems silly, don't you agree? Steve thinks I should, though. If only to confirm I'm fully functional.

So that's the scoop. What will happen next? Your guess is as good as mine. I haven't called the cops, though reserve that option. Does failing to report a crime make me an accomplice? Are journalists indictable because they choose to stay aloof from felonies they may document? I'm 'watching,' is all. Recording. Call it curiosity. Alright, call it smutty curiosity.
Damn, it's after 7; I'm late for work.

I really typed that? As you see, Denise, I've changed a lot already. This is strictly confidential, by the way. I'm only telling you—and telling you only—because we're friends. Please don't betray me!

Love,
Sue

From: Denise Manning (promisespromises@android.net)
Sent: Fri 10/26/07  2:03 AM
Reply-to: promisespromises@yahoo.com
To: Susan Sinkevich ( suzieQ@android.com)

"Betray" you, girl? You daft!? I don't BELIEVE you. This Denise. You're thirty-two? Always thought you were younger. Guess not. Kidding. What's this foolishness about your not getting off; that true? You mean never? Girl, that's awful! Not even solo? Wiggle them fingers, woman. Mine do fine. I'd rather have a man, but useful men are scarce. Get that itch, you can't be waiting on scratchers—though I DO have one lined up. Details later. First things first. What's with this email bit? I phone; you never pick up. Let's meet for lunch. As you well know, the internet's not my thing—too damned impersonal. Unless... if it's easier for you—less embarrassing (?)—go right ahead. Ashamed Jeff's such a dud between the sheets? My own conclusion. Any man worth spit can make a woman come. Upgrade, girl. Or hire yourself a stand-in. There's this Marlboro Man I know... Never mind. Have you thought of getting a vibrator? Yes, I'm serious. Handy little things. I own a cute little plug-in—with 'scandalous' attachments. True, it's no Adonis, but gets the job done. In a pinch, so to speak. At least you'd know the sensations you've been missing for FAR TOO LONG. Teach yourself how to use it, then teach Jeff; it'll save you YEARS of therapy—though I must admit hypnosis sounds like a rush.
As for me, I think I've finally found a fella. Kind of. Sort of. Let's say "maybe." Nothing serious. We like banging,
baseball, and bowling in roughly that order. Mick works nights. We meet on weekends, usually at my place; his is way-the-hell downtown. No parking. Been once, is all. It's funky. Mick's into astrology. Or is it astronomy? Not that "what's your sign" jive; I mean stars and planets; gazing at 'the great beyond.' Odd hobby for a two-fisted guzzler of Bud Light beer.
All right, I'm slumming. I've had it up to HERE with lawyers and stockbrokers—your hubby excused. Mick's no six-figure catch, I'll concede, but he fill's out his Ben Johnson's. Makes no apologies, either, for hairy-chested maleness—which, damn-it, I like. On top of which he's clean, no STDs. These days unsafe sex is a none-too-common luxury. You wouldn't know, of course, but for us single gals, dating can be lethal. Ah, to be blessed with health, have an un-maxed charge card, and get regularly laid!
Please call.

Love,
Denise

It's 5:05 on Friday afternoon and I got him; Shrink. On video. Rigged a Camcorder to my spyglass and shot a triple-X eyeful. What a degenerate! To think I've studied this guy for a month without suspecting his sleaze-ball hanky-panky. Doctor-patient, God-mere mortal, my eye; I swallowed the whole charade—makes me feel like a chump. I hate getting snookered.

No telling how his victim's going to feel when I clue her in. If I clue her in. People don't take kindly to hearing they've been had. Tend to aim their outrage at whoever blows the whistle; kill the messenger. Don't mind bearing the brunt, so long as I'm believed. Aye; there's the rub. I'll be the one she doubts, calls a liar, denounces as a "Peeping Tom"—while disregarding the evidence. You see my dilemma.

Then there's Shrink. Sure, I've got the goods, could mail this DVD to the boys in blue. Or I could shake Shrink down with the threat, though I'm sure he'd worm out someway. Besides, I'm no extortionist. No caped crusader, either. Shrink's a menace, no doubt about it, but the problem isn't mine; it's his—not to mention hers. I shudder to think how she'll react to what he did.

Get a load of this; I'll run the disk. Give you a play by play; let you be the judge. Let who be the judge? I'm writing this to myself; haven't decided what I'll do with it. Put it up on YouTube? Wouldn't pass the censors. Post it at some porn site? That's unfair to her. Shrink is into some pretty twisted nastiness, could ruin a reputation—even if you're zonked and can't be held responsible. Incredible, what folks do when they think they're unobserved.

Okay, enter victim. Wait; I'll fast-forward to the part where Shrink gets chummy.

There; see how he's yabbering... inching closer... taking out a pin? See that? Stuck her! Poked her right through the cup of her Maidenform bra. Geeze, that must've hurt! Except she didn't wince. Must be so stoned... Check that; must be... Hypnotized, of course! What a dunce I am. But how'd he put her under so goddamn quick? Must've laid the groundwork during that first appointment.

Brace yourself for what comes next; he's hoisting her skirt... shucking her panties... wedging apart her thighs... tugging a cotton string—attached to an oozy wad of batting—dangling it like a mouse by its blood-soaked tail... lowering the clotted mess to his gob—I warned you—and chomping it—swear to God—munching it, side to side, like a cow chews cud... all the while undoing his Tai Chi Pants... replacing the gory plug with an implant of his own.

Crude, I grant you, to have video-taped a rape I might've prevented—or tried to prevent—but look; Shrink's in-and-out so fast, how call the cavalry? Slam, bam, thank you ma'am, he's done... dismounts... wipes off... rifles through her purse... scores an extra tampon... corkscrews it in... wrestles her clothes back on... and just like that he's fucked his unsuspecting patient.

Who is clearly—once she snaps out of it—none-the-wiser. Acts like waking from a catnap—refreshed more than corrupted; which hardly vindicates Shrink from having banged a virtual stiff—like making it with a corpse. Necrophilia, is what that's called—I looked it up. The man's got problems. Don't we all? But his are a lot more sinister than, say, my ogling babes in tights—women likewise unaware they're being... what; abused? Hardly. 'Appreciated from afar' is how I'd describe it. Compared to Shrink's shenanigans, mine are downright wholesome. Certainly 'innocuous.' Looked that up, too; means "not harmful or injurious or likely to offend." And that's the difference between us, in case you're keeping score.

At Lunch


DENISE

You didn't.

SUE

I did.

DENISE

You didn't. For real? You said that; that "sex is dirty"?

SUE

Would you kindly keep your voice down? Yes, I used those very words.

A waiter comes to take their orders.

DENISE

Caesar salad.

SUE

Make that two.

WAITER

Another refill, ladies?

DENISE

Not for me.

SUE

I'm fine.

The waiter leaves.

SUE (cont.)

I guess I blurted it out while I was 'under.' That's the virtue of hypnotherapy; your defences are somewhat lower so you speak your mind.

DENISE

If you say so.

SUE

It's true. I've always hated being grabbed, groped, pinned down, then penetrated. It hurts. Badly. Jeff's too thick, or I'm too narrow down there.

DENISE

Then why...?

SUE

Marry him in the first place? His choice, not mine. I was perfectly happy dating—with a little light petting.

DENISE

Was he?

SUE

Yes—initially. His needs seemed... I don't know... refined, more platonic than 'lover-like'—thus my strong attraction. Sex was unimportant.

DENISE

Since when, girl?

SUE

Precisely! It turns out Highbrow Jeffrey has had a base-brain all along.

DENISE

Oh? Jeff's kinky?

SUE

Excessive. Wants sex constantly.

DENISE

As in hourly?

SUE

Biweekly.

DENISE

You call that excessive?

SUE

Don't you?

DENISE

More like meagre rations.

SUE

Hey, whose side are you on?

DENISE

Yours. Relax. If you say twice a week is excessive, it's excessive.

Denise withholds further comment. Their entrees arrive. The waiter exits.

SUE

You were saying?

DENISE

Twice, for me, is like this salad.

SUE

Meaning?

DENISE

In another hour I'll be starving.

SUE
(ruefully)

So order a burger. Pig out. Wolf down some fries.

DENISE

All I meant was that Jeff's sexual appetite is far from out-of-line. You've only been married, what; four, five months?

SUE

Eight.

DENISE

Virtual newlyweds.

SUE

Spare me.

DENISE
(pause)

What, on earth, is wrong, girl; wrong for real?

Sue lowers her head... stares at her plate... prods a tomato with her fork... sorts through dribbled seeds as if they hide a clue to what exactly ails her.

 

"Jeff hates me, Steve. He mistook my sexual apathy for chastity. 'My little virgin,' he called me. Even that was misleading; I pretended to be a virgin to fend off his advances—or to postpone them for as long as I legitimately dared. I actually timed our wedding night to coincide with the onset of my period. Bled right on cue; Jeff swelled with pride. He was so grateful he allowed my poor torn nether parts weeks to heal. Was that wrong, Steve? I realize you're my doctor, but you're also a man. If your wife had deceived you carnally, wouldn't you hate her guts?"

Steve Monk sits impassively, eyes on his patient, observing, without remark, her superficial traits—roused despite his contempt for the simpering psyche they so succulently belie: her buoyant bust, teeny-bopper hips, and waxed-smooth extremities crying out for attention disavowed by a mouth he longs to suck, violate with his tongue, then forcibly inseminate, gag the rich-bitch suburbanite with his cum then flush it down with piss. Somehow simply the sight of Susan Sinkevich mutates Steve's proclivities.

"Time to relax, Susie. Two black-eyed Susans, remember?... Relax... Imagine pitch-dark pupils turning baby-blue... Getting drowsy... Relax... Sleepy... Relax... Surrendering to a numbness that spreads from tip to toe... a conscience-quelling paralysis that renders you blissfully irresponsible... blameless for the wicked sensuality you are aching to indulge."

Goddamn Giants! They blew it. Tenth inning. Made me miss my 4 PM with Shrink; by 5, he was nowhere on the premises—nowhere I could spot him, from my elevated perch. I did, however, catch the final cool-down at AerobiCentre West. And lo and behold, who do you think was panting and sweating among the ranks? Shrink's patient—cantaloupe boobs set bouncing to the music's manifest throb. Should have made the connection; she wore Spandex one day to therapy. Sheer coincidence, of course, that her class meets up the street. Still, I should've 'deduced' it... though folks are hard to identify once they're out of context. Ever met a bank teller outside the bank? You know you know them from someplace, just can't pinpoint where. Poor excuse, I admit, for a shamus the likes of me. Who am I kidding? I'm no more objective than Shrink's sneak-thief hard-ons. Guy pisses me off. Didn't realize how tiny his clay pigeon was—is. Lined up with her exercise-mates she looks like an r-rated elf—a bit buxom for her body typebut pint-sized and huggable. Makes you want to coddle her—then fuck her six ways from Sunday. Men are all alike; we're horny as toads.

Whoops; the phone.

"Yeah."..... "Hey, Sweet-Cheeks, had a hunch you might call."....."Yeah, till Saturday."....."No, they lost."..... "How 'bout my place?"....."Hop on a bus. Better yet, I'll spring for a cab."....."Sure, take-out's fine; then 'ShowTime.'"....."No, already got one."....."I thought you loved science fiction, but don't sweat; this is a whole different genre."...."More in the home-movie category."..... "Uh, uh; surprise."....."No, I've said enough. Trust me; it's a grabber." ....."Eight?"...."Okay, nine. See you then."

Poor Denise. Has wedding bells for earrings, and wants kids, to boot. Wait till I spill the beans about my being vasectomised. Haven't had the heart (or inclination) to clue her in. Whenever she gets uptight about 'forgetting' to take the pill, I have to smile. All her pregnancy scares amount to wishful thinking. Otherwise, she's terrific: undemanding, independent, pleasant to look at, partial to sports—a whole-hog fan of the Giants, and frisky in the sack. Who could ask for more? I lucked out; Denise is a peach.

 

"You've been doing what? Say no more; I don't want to hear. And I sure as hell don't want to see this 'surprise' you shot yourself. You recorded an actual rape and expect me to watch it; and what, nibble popcorn, dim the lights, swill some beer, slap high-fives? Well, here's news for you, Mick. Rape is not a sport, it's a goddamn crime. And I will not be your after-the-fact accessory."

 

It's 9:30 PM. My "peach" just bawled me out then left in a huff. All I did was set the stage for "Psycho-the-rapist." Thought that title was clever. Sweet-Cheeks disagreed. Bit my head off the second I mentioned the footage was authentic. Branded me a 'chauvinist'—meaning: I think men are superior. We're stronger—I mean, physically. Certainly less emotional. But men who arm-twist women (or hypnotize them) into non-consensual sex, in my book, don't win any prizes—except Blue Ribbon Asshole. What got me into trouble was hinting rape is sexy. Not to its victims, I'll grant, but watching can prime the pump. Shrink, I told Denise, was humping a patient blind. Right across the street. Taking 'obscene' advantage. Which I caught on camera. Why not take a peek? I mean, it's not like Niecey is prudish—far from it; we've rented our share of porn flicks. Some of them pretty hardcore. What's the difference, I argued, if the sex is fake or real? In fact, the fake stuff's more erotic when it's true-to-life. Her parting shot? 'If 'the distinction's lost on me, then I could get lost myself.'

In the blue-tinted glow of an HDTV, Mick eats lukewarm take-out, eyeballs glued impassively to the high-definition screen.

 

It takes Denise an hour to link Sue Sinkevich to the sight-unseen footage. Even then the connection seems farfetched... implausible... ridiculous; she dismisses it... as her head makes contact with the pillow... as her mind returns to Mick—dismally disillusioned and sick-at-heart.

Creep!

How could a man—a man she had slept with—watch, while another person suffered, unconcerned... let alone make a video of it? How could a man she loved—or wanted to love—take pornographic pleasure in another person's pain? For no doubt about it, rape caused pain: physical, mental, and spiritual agony... left deep wounds... fearful scars... and stirred up childhood memories best left un-revisited:
 

Huge face; Uncle Dewayne's. But I's safe, snug in my bed. If I preten' to sleep, he'll mayhap go 'way. Don' wan' him be kissin' on me! If only I could melt into these sheets. Or turn invis'ble. Uncle Dewayne's all scratchy; cheeks full o' prickles. Somebody make 'im stop; I wanna scream. Cain't. Got his big ol' hand spread over my mouf; sneaked the other one, naughty-like, inside my pee-jays, tuggin' off the bottoms. Not 'upposed to do like that; I'm sound asleep. Don' I wish. Lips be crawlin' ev'where. I got to pee. Wants to do like Daddy do to Mommy; one time I seen, but I's too little; Uncle Dewayne, that hurt! No one home 'cep' Willie—poops his pants, still; sucks his stupid thumb. 'Sides which, he's 'mos' done wiff; he stopped them awful grunts. Whispers, "Never tell. You do, Niecey, I swear, I'll kill you." I believes him, too—ain't no place I can hide.

EXTERIOR STREET — DAY

A woman exits a taxicab. She wears a full-length skirt and loose-knit sweater. She carries a purse—like a miniature duffel bag—slung by a strap over her left shoulder. She checks her watch.

PULL BACK

A man, nearly twice the woman's size, lurks in a storefront. The woman passes. The man steps out and follows. The woman walks unaware.

INTERIOR — OFFICE BUILDING LOBBY — DAY

Through the front door's glass we see the same woman waiting impatiently. At last we HEAR a BUZZ. The woman quickly enters.

ZOOM IN — OFFICE BUILDING LOBBY — ENTRANCE

A man's gloved hand catches the door before it closes and locks automatically.

INTERIOR ELEVATOR — DAY

Twin doors part. The woman, then the man, enters a lift—the man appearing anxious, the woman ill-at-ease—as the twin doors shut.

WOMAN'S POV

The doors reopen.

CLOSE-UP

Wide-eyed, the woman cringes, as the man extends a note. She grabs it.

REVERSE ANGLE

The man is blocked from sight as the twin doors once more meet.
 

Just like some high school kid, passing a mash note, I finked on Shrink—that's assuming she reads it; the heads-up I handed her. So far, nothing's changed. I'm back at my post. Shrink is in his chair; his patient's on the couch—jabbering as usual. I missed the first few minutes. Nope; she must not have read it. Would've split, by now, busted a gut to have Shrink arrested. Must've tossed it. Unless she's leading him on, wants to catch him in the act herself—mistrusting (who can blame her?) my 'Good-Samaritan's' tip. Should've slipped her the disk. Too late; it's shattered. Sent the pieces to Denise, along with my apology.

("Two black-eyed Susans...")

Holy smokes, you won't believe this!

("... remember?... Relax... Imagine pitch-dark pupils turning baby-blue...")

Same procedure; Shrink is doing his number.

("Getting drowsy... Relax... Sleepy... Surrendering to a numbness that spreads from tip to toe...")

Her eyes are glazed like a Zombie's. Wake up, you little fool!

"...a conscience-quelling paralysis that renders you blissfully irresponsible..."

Hey, snap out of it!

"...blameless for the wicked sensuality you are aching to indulge."

He's wrestled off her sweater... Goddamn, he's stripping her... Woman's totally oblivious... docile as a lamb... Got her on the rug, now, down on all fours with her back arched... bare bum raised... spanking her with his schlong, before he shoves it in. Can't tell whether she's butt-fucked or schtupped; they're both facing my way. Shrink's a bit out of focus; I've zeroed in on her. Got her eyes wide open. This is twisted; looks like she's awake. Acts as though she's hip to everything going on; she's looking straight at me—or looking in my direction; I'm safely out of range—but looking as if she knows there's someone out there watching; someone... I'll be damned; the little minx just winked!

Okay; that does it. From here on out, I put pen to paper never again.

 

*      *      *

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