News & opinion on Greater China and the even Greater Beyond: by Biff Cappuccino.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Ch01 Busted (just the opening, incomplete, trying out third-person narrative for the first time) 1000wds

When he heard the loud clumping of the police team coming up the stairs of the short-stay hotel, he knew it was all over at last. Payback. It had been a long time in the Chinese mail. He didn't know it, but he felt it. Knew it. Like sighting a 22 rifle on a macaque and feeling the right impact, the one that's more sound than punch, when you know the bullet's going home. That was how he felt. In reverse. Like the monkey. The bullet was homing in on him, slow-mo. But instead of giving in and collapsing in fear and attempting to escape the inescapable, he continued heaving, pounding, his breathing loud, gasps escaping into the torrid stench of the barely furnished room, his hair wet and the sweat running down his face gloriously. Wet was a plus. Like perspiration making a weightlifter’s arms lighter than air, he felt empowered, stronger when wet. Not panicked. Reality not entering in because he could stave it off for a few moments more. Long enough.

He didn’t notice the heat or the sweat. She did, but it was all part of the exotic low-budget, penny-pinching English teacher experience. It was novel, queer, off. But at least it was different. Different attitude, rules, conversation, jokes, pastimes, foreplay, sex. What did it mean? What did it matter. She’d lie later and brag about how much the cheap skate had spent on her.

He’d half-forgotten the plankton smell that he’d once mistaken for a stench. It was now wafting up from the girl, his student and mistress. On arousal she gave off a seafood pheromone punch that dispersed silently like a puffball underfoot releasing an attack dose of hooked spores. She emerged from bathrooms conquering air fresheners. She left a raunchy presence in dressing closets that punished China’s line-cutters. On arousal the same pheromone punch somehow emerged from her mouth, strong-arming gum and mingling with breath mints in a mongrel raunch like week-old garbage, the vinegary tang evaporated, the rich underlying purulence still there.

He didn’t mind it. In fact he liked it. Filth was fun. Especially when it was make-believe as it was now. More comedy. She was a pretty girl spending top-dollar on knockoff tote bags, designer jeans, impregnation pumps, French skin crèmes, and loitering around expensive international restaurants offering bad food and connections to the lay-about scions of the connected. She was still unaware of her feminine odor because no one had told her. Some part of her olfactory mechanism had thrown in the towel soon after puberty. He figured he was doing her a favor by fucking her and she didn’t know it.

His focus was elsewhere. It might as well be. He knew what was coming. He'd made the mental adjustment. Thought it through. It didn't bother him now. Didn't even interest him. Just a distraction to be overcome. There was no time for thinking. Too late for action too.

So his focus remained in the room. Where his sweat was dropping down to the body below, just visible, the white skin of her narrow waist, her breasts jiggling on her rib cage just a tactile blur engaging the spread fingers of one hand, only visible in infrared, the girl whimpering in a different tone now, now that getting her man off was being pushed to the back of the priority list, now that panic was replacing it, fear reprioritizing everything.

She was starting to stiffen, unconsciously closing the scissors of her legs, her body playing out in flesh what her mind was playing out: fear. She was going frigid and impeding his plunging, his rooting ever deeper, his aiming for maximum torque. He spoke Mandarin in a soothing tone, "No, no, Sarah." Hearing her name whispered confidently, relaxed her and the rest of her softened immediately. "Chill out. It's going to be okay. I'll handle it. I always do, right?" and he gave a wheezing sardonic laugh, arched his back, concentrated on maximizing the itch that would turn into heat and then liquid fire and then waves of shut-eye white joy. He was almost there. Looking for the catalyst. Trolling for the right sensation.

Now the footfalls were stopped and hammering on the door started, "Open up! Open up or we'll kick the door in."

He was still breathing, bent over, and hard into her, slamming up to his hips to get into a narrows in her insides, to maximize his penetration, his pressure, his possession, his imaginary, hoped-for, orgasm-generating humiliation of her. Something he had never told her. Something she would not have believed about him if someone else had suggested it.

He said dreamily, trying to distract the public security officers, not realizing he wasn't loud enough to be heard, "Huh? What!"

Someone outside said crossly, "No, no, no. I have the key. A door costs money. No kicking in the door."

"Shut your mouth. Fuck your door, hotelier. The security bureau will pay for it."

Remembering his previous encounters with the high-handed officers of this agency, men who took orders from no one in the city limits, not even the mayor, the hotelier had little faith in this bureau's desire to serve the people.

He wheedled, "But it would be rude to the other guests." In his best weaseling voice, his rounded shoulders rising in impotence like a waiter pinned to the wall by a vindictive customer, "But, oh, just a minute. We'll be right there," and a tinkling of keys sounded through the door. The movement of metal was enough to distract the head simpleton, the one with the gun in hand, who now stared at the flash cockeyed like a toad fixating on a glittering bug, as if daring it to move again.

"There, there," the hotelier hissed and then chuckled self-consciously, "Almost got it," he was saying, now in a more self-effacing tone.

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