*** 5-star Silver Medal winner in the 2014 Readers’ Favorite Annual International Award Contest ***
Growing numb to life, to his on-and-off girlfriend of many years, his career, even Scotch, a man turns fifty. He is a translator who can no longer dream of translating beautiful works of fiction. He is an amateur musician who can no longer dream of expressing his life on a higher plane, without words. As he glares inside himself he sees little but his declining sexuality, his crumbling hold on life, a growing list of failed relationships, and a darkening well of loneliness.
Stumbling upon an image on the Internet one night, he suddenly hears cell doors sliding open. He stares at a young woman, in profile, beautiful, unblinking, regal. Instinctively he knows that by lingering on that image he will shatter a relationship that has kept him on the sane side of loneliness as surely as if he stepped in front of a speeding eighteen-wheeler. But desperate to feel alive again before time runs out, he knows he must see the stranger behind the pixels on his laptop screen.
Although it is her image that first transfixes him, his eye afterwards chances on a handful of words on the Internet page. She is a dominatrix. The word triggers something inside him, blows the dust off fantasies trickling back to adolescence, and slowly begins to re-choreograph his decades of sexual memories. Was he ever really the dominant male he thought he was? Did he have a sexual alter-ego? Was this the last card he had to play in life? The face on the screen held the answer. He would find out even if it killed him.
JUST as K two months before had thought of showing up in Mexico as a surprise, he now thought of meeting her at the airport. Eventually, he had dismissed that idea. He had thought of her constantly, more intensely and for longer than he’d ever thought of a woman before, and that was reason enough to rein himself in.
He did not understand why she seemed to like him so much. Was he that starved for affection that he’d trip over anyone offering it? It wasn’t his money that attracted her because she knew he had to save up for each session, canceling once because a small check from a new client had bounced.
It wasn’t physical attraction. He was almost a quarter century older than she was. If he had seen her walk by on the street, not knowing she was a domme, he would have said, “Shit, that’s beautiful.” She would have no trouble attracting men her age. Although he was flattered by her “liking,” he took it with a grain of salt, just as he had done during their second session:
“If I were just a little, little bit older and you were just a teeny bit younger, I’d shag you myself.”
It was a while later during that same session, when he was bound hand and foot facing the floor and couldn’t react, that she exclaimed out of nowhere:
“God I love anal sex. I love it!”
He never did remember in what context she’d said it, but from that moment on the image of having anal sex with her got equal masturbation billing with his spanking fantasies. It was no mean accomplishment.
In the end, her two months of absence weren’t the eternity he feared. She had told him before leaving that she could arrange for another mistress to see him while she was gone. Quickly, loyally, he said no.
“I’ll send you her name and phone number anyway.” However, she never did.
After less than a month of rehab, he was ridiculously happy. For the first time in his life, or so it seemed, everything had become easy. He hadn’t the slightest urge to get stoned despite spending hours with people who still had the urge to some degree or other. Some were the bravest people he’d ever met, scratching their way hour by hour in the belief that there was another kind of existence waiting for them. Others, often the ones he instinctively related to most, tripped, just disappeared, or ended up being sent back to Stage 1 or admitted to the hospital before their death wish could come true. Some had been going through the revolving door for years, as addicted to rehab as their substance of choice. Yet already he felt he could walk away without the slightest risk of falling into the hole again.
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Award-winning author Wayne Clark was born in 1946 in Ottawa, Ont., but has called Montreal home since 1968. Woven through that time frame in no particular order have been interludes in Halifax, Toronto, Vancouver, Germany, Holland and Mexico.
By far the biggest slice in a pie chart of his career would be labelled journalism, including newspapers and magazines, as a reporter, editor and freelance writer. The other, smaller slices of the pie would also represent words in one form or another, in advertising as a copywriter and as a freelance translator. However, unquantifiable in a pie chart would be the slivers and shreds of time stolen over the years to write fiction.
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