I used to call my Mom for rides, back when she had the car. She was taking me home—my home, not hers. As we came up on the edge of town, the overpass took us over the highway that ran back and forth from city to city, and mine was straight ahead, through the tunnel. On top of tunnel was greenery, and beyond that you could see the city, its tall buildings, industry.
“Every time we drive this way—” she started to say.
“I know, I know.”
“All these cars—”
“It’s not as funny as you think.”
“It’s like we’re all sperm trying to get up the same cunt. You know?”
She laughed, and I didn’t, like usual.
I knew it from that moment and there’s always time to think while fucking not looking around not thinking about the paint or the curtains there isn’t anything about those things to think about but real thinking and real fucking they go together, like drinking and fucking except drinking and fucking it’s one first then the other but thinking and fucking you do those at the same time and I started thinking, fucking, when the hell it would be over and then trying to move around some under him make it all go faster but fuck if he didn’t like that fuck if he didn’t put his hand down on my mouth to hold me still like that and thinking fuck if that didn’t make it for me like hold that there let’s just lie still and let him fuck me let him fuck me to death and let his hand stay there forever as I pulled my lips back so he could feel that I had teeth and I could feel it flesh on bone not that I didn’t want to bite him but I wouldn’t if I didn’t then he might fuck me to death and that would settle it, settle it forever.
It’s not fair when you’re damaged goods that no one wants you anymore but hell, I know what it’s like to put something back on the shelf because someone else has already fucked it up.
What they don’t tell you is how when you’re damaged goods you start to think that maybe it’s supposed to be that way and maybe you’re supposed to like it.
There’s always a way to be happy and if you’re going to be damaged and happy better happy to be damaged, like the damage, like it, like it, do it again.
Thinking of his hand on my mouth like maybe he thinks he got away with something but maybe there’s something I could do to make it happen again let it happen again but more so, grab my hair and pull it back and fuck my face just use it make it cry and scream and stop it can’t much scream like that now can you. Like a pussy that can tell you when it wants it.
Damaged goods got off the shelf and wants to fuck.
That’s when I knew I was fucked is when it didn’t seem like damage any more at all, not damage, this is all scratches, bruises and blood.
He said, “If I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t do it,” and that meant a lot to me, because it meant it didn’t matter I was all over the sheets and floor and his cock most of all but he could always shower that off no matter but the sheets I felt worse about. He’d choked me with his hands and then his cock and then his hands and his cock and then I felt it all come out and tasted every flavor at once and now that was all that was all over the cock and sheets and floor, but he was very nice and said, “That’s what laundry machines are for,” and still I thought that it might take a couple cycles and some really good soap but I thought that he might know a thing or two about it because if he didn’t, he wouldn’t have done it. Probably.
It wouldn’t have made sense if I was the only one, because the whole idea was to figure something out that hadn’t yet been figured out by anyone and you don’t do that by fucking one person.
“It’s about pushing someone to their limits,” is what he said. “It’s not about fucking.”
Still I doubted it because I knew that men do all sorts of things just for the fucking and that even if he didn’t think that this was about that it probably was anyway. When I used to read Freud I knew that it was all about the fucking but then again I didn’t relate but then I figured that’s because Freud only talked about men and I could just take it for granted that for men it’s all about the fucking, even when they say it’s not it is and maybe even more so.
But this was actual fucking and here he was saying it’s not all about the fucking.
“It’s about transcending the bounds of consciousness,” he said but you know what it didn’t make sense to say it that way because for them it doesn’t work like that they don’t get more conscious through fucking but maybe we do, like thinking and fucking and thinking here like thinking maybe it’s like anything else like the more you know about something you can control it and that’s why I started with Freud in the first place; the more you know about people the more you can control them and I got that and I believed in it too, but I still don’t think that he did because for him, it seemed a lot about the fucking.
I used to look at ugly women and think that maybe they’re better off unfucked, they don’t have to worry about or deal with these men who want to fuck and then tell you it’s not fucking. I’d see them at the stores and at the bus stop, sitting smoking on a park bench and think that maybe they’re up to something better, maybe they’ve got the time for it, and the free space of mind away from men who want to fuck it’s so exhausting. Don’t say this thing or do that thing or wear this thing cause then they’ll want to fuck. Don’t be this way or look over there or let your hair blow around or it’s all gonna get fucked off. Don’t let them think there’s a way they could get a hand in there or up there or all around and wet and let them take it let them do it it’s just faster let them fuck and then maybe they’ll leave you alone for a while but maybe that ugly woman at the bus stop doesn’t have that problem.
But then my friend who recommended Freud had said it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what you look like or if you’re short or fat or manly or let your hair grow in too much they’ll still look around the room and wonder, I wonder what it’s like to fuck someone so ugly. So it turns out they’re not better off at all.
We’re all fucked.
It got to be so I couldn’t look at a woman on the street and not think about her pussy. How hard it would be to get to it through her clothes, if it was up her skirt or down the front of her pants and whether she looked poor like it would be sour from the night shift and polyester panties or sweet from rich women’s products and never sweating, if it was prickly from shaving or smooth from waxing or hidden away behind a curly dish scrubby’s worth of pubic hair like the soft side of Velcro, if it held the smell of it in ready or if you really had to get in there. It got so I thought I could smell one when they came into the room with me, clothed or unclothed, which was something new I knew I hadn’t had that power before but then I did and if he could do that all along, I bet he could, and I just had to learn it from him.
They’re all the same but different and I remember that much from before. There were some that were all inside and some where some of it stuck out and some were nice and neat and symmetrical but not mine and when I figured that much out I thought maybe I’d just take a bit off that right labia, just a bit off to even it up but you can’t really do that without feeling it too much can you, and the blood, so how can you fuck without feeling it is what I want to know.
I worried a lot that he’d catch something or that I’d catch something or that I’d catch something from him, but I’ve heard that with the fluid transfers it’s much more likely they’d catch something from him than the other way around, or more likely I’d catch something from him because while sometimes he’d let go inside of them he’d just as often pull it out and stick it in my mouth so I could taste them together and see what went and what didn’t and if I loved her.
I think it was better when I thought I might die because then I knew I wouldn’t have to heal or cover the wounds or think about if she would come back. If she did have something let it die with me. Sometimes as he choked me everything would go black but I could still feel and think and envy her, and that was enough to know I was alive and wish I wasn’t.
I like the teen television shows and I like them because it’s always about how a mediocre girl has to choose between dating two attractive boys who are very different and it’s never about sex, and how it’s never about how boys get mad because some other boy raped you and now you don’t know how to fuck right and you don’t want to know how.
There’s always something for him to do with his cock but he didn’t seem to notice that there’s not enough for me to do with my pussy in this fuck and get fucked set up when he’s fucking them over there and I’m just waiting. He thought that I could touch it or touch her or maybe wait and touch him but he didn’t get that for me it wasn’t the touching like it wasn’t about that for me, it was about being subject to someone else and how can I be subject to someone else if he just wants to fuck new pussy while I wonder why he hasn’t put his hands around my throat in weeks.
“You’re an important part of everything,” so he said. “I wouldn’t do it without you,” so he said.
Wouldn’t or couldn’t?
I’m the woman that makes the women feel safe around the man.
My mom told me about her ex-boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend, and she said it was disgusting because this woman wouldn’t wash above her neck.
“He told me. He said it was like she sat in the bathtub up to her neck, soaked a little, and then got out again. There was a line there where the water went up to.”
“What was he doing with her, then?”
“They’ll fuck anything,” she told me. “If they’re desperate, and they’re always desperate.”
She got reflective for a moment, and I think we both felt how alone we were. We were supposed to be with the men, but they were out fucking women with bathtub lines. There was something peaceful about it.
“Every woman has a cunt,” she said. “Every single one.”
Something about the ugly ones bothered me the most. Like they represented everyone who had deceived me into thinking that only beautiful people were worthy of fucking. Like if there was anything about you that wasn’t pretty that it was a reason to hate you and to take that hate out on you. But not only did ugly people fuck, he fucked them, and you could see in his face that when his cock was in them he couldn’t tell the difference.
The fat ones had fat pussies and I imagined letting myself eat so much that my pussy got fat and how if I did, he wouldn’t care, and I thought about how that didn’t stop him from saying something whenever I wanted to eat something he thought might make me fat. Like it wasn’t about that at all, he just wanted to tell me what to do and you know after a while it gets old. One day I asked him what that was and he said it was never about fucking beautiful things; beautiful things are the things you love and everything else can get fucked was the idea. I had a lot of time to think about it while he fucked fat pussy and ugly pussy and old pussy and young ugly pussy but not too young—you have to be careful about that, he said.
There are some invisible lines he wouldn’t cross, like he still believed in them. Not all men do that and I knew it for a fact because I was there. And again they made it out like it was my fault like I was younger than I looked and like I should have known better not to look like that.
I liked the women most who wouldn’t fuck at all but then he’d treat them like they were ugly just because they wouldn’t fuck and then I knew that there was something wrong with his argument from before, like didn’t he think about that?
“I don’t get it,” I asked her once, like it was a question but it wasn’t. “Sometimes they talk like loose women are good, but then sometimes they talk like tight women are good, and maybe they just talk like that so that nobody feels good about themselves?”
“Oh no,” she said. “That all makes sense. They like loose women as in, a woman that isn’t too good to fuck them. But then when she’s fucking them, they want her pussy to be tight so that it feels good rubbing up on them. That all makes sense.”
“You don’t think her pussy would get loose if she’s always fucking everyone, though?”
“No, honey. That’s the bullshit part.”
One night he went out without me and there was something just not right about it. So I followed him and I guess he was dumb or he thought I was dumb or that maybe I wouldn’t care because he didn’t try to hide where he was going at all. Probably he didn’t think of me at all and wouldn’t that be the worst of it. Well the worst of it was that it turned out he lied and not only did he not go where he said he would go, there was someone there he said who wouldn’t be there. I’d seen him talking to her on his phone although he said it wasn’t her or if it was her that it wasn’t important or that it wasn’t what I thought it was.
She was too good to fuck with me around, that’s all I knew at this point. Like the rest of them were fine to fuck with me but this one was better maybe she wouldn’t be into it if I were there he had to go out on his own for this one. Like they were both better than me they were going to fuck and I wouldn’t be there watching or grabbing his balls from below while he laid her on a table and fucked her, come all over the hardwood. Like she was something special when I used to be something special and I thought if I weren’t the only one I’d be the only special one or at least that’s what he’d said.
He lied and he lied and he lied and he lied.
I waited and waited and waited.
They were in the club and then I snuck inside too, my heart beating. I couldn’t hide, I had to see them, see what’s going on, see where they’re going. I saw them and I saw them and I saw them go into the bathroom and I knew he’d close his eyes and I knew he wouldn’t see me if I followed and I hoped they wouldn’t lock the door. I knew he wouldn’t but what in the hell if she did? But she didn’t.
I found them in there found her on the sink and him in front just fucking away like he did and she held on to his back and held him and looked at me over his shoulder. And I wondered if she knew who I was and if she did why didn’t he bring me along and I could tell by the smile on her face that it wasn’t because she didn’t like me. I spoke with her a minute through those eyes nothing out loud that would have told him I was there and it wasn’t about him.
I came up behind him and I bashed her, I bashed her good. She was bleeding all over some of it went down the sink but some of it went on the floor and he knew he’d have to speed up now, he’d have to get in there before she stopped bleeding because if he didn’t get in there before she stopped bleeding and he kept going after that’d make him a corpse fucker and that’s something he wasn’t. But if he was done by the time she stopped bleeding it’d be all right. And it was all right that I was there now because I was the only one who was, she just wasn’t anymore and if you asked him there was nothing wrong with what I did till now. It was ok that I followed him and ok that I looked at her and even more ok I made her bleed on him and everywhere.
I made him come in my mouth and even though I’ve tasted women’s blood before this was better. She slid down off the sink and on the floor it looked like maybe she hit her head on her own maybe she was in there doing something and she fell. But we were the bloody ones who got to go home and fuck and the sheets they were ruined I said and he told me, if he didn’t like it, he wouldn’t have done it let the laundry sort it out.
I’ll never get caught. People who get caught are always the dumbest people according to this boy I fucked who grew up to be a cop and most of the cases are never solved. It doesn’t work like on the television when the cops catch the killer or the lawyers catch the killer or the prosecutors catch the killer or the forensic analyst catches the killer or the coroner catches the killer it just doesn’t happen most of the time. Well I’m not a dumb person and I’ll never get caught but that doesn’t mean I have to do it again even though he says he thinks I should because, he says, that was hot.
Well I didn’t do it so I thought maybe he wouldn’t go right back to it like maybe he’d be a little more careful or he would think once or twice or three times about it first especially if he wanted to bring them home like I wasn’t a threat to anyone or technically any body but that’s where any one lives or dies.
When he fucked them I could see he wasn’t thinking about me anymore and he wasn’t thinking about them either he was thinking just about her and fuck it if I wasn’t jealous of her maybe because he was thinking of her or maybe because she was dead or maybe because he was only thinking of her because she was dead. I used to think you couldn’t be loved and you couldn’t be dead at the same time but the way he looked when he was thinking about her I think she’s dead and loved now and maybe that could’ve been me and maybe it still could.
Or maybe he shouldn’t trust me as much as he did.
I don’t know where he got this idea that he was immune to it like he couldn’t die too like it was only the cunts that died like it was something about it like it was only if you took the shots you died and not if you had the gun but if thought a little more rationally reasonably about it he shouldn’t have fucked them and left me alone left me unsupervised unwatched alone thinking about death and if I couldn’t trade mine trade one take someone else’s make it mine and just kill him off because after all he was the thing they all had in common and fucked if that wasn’t a way to put an end to it and after all those weeks of begging me for blood I didn’t think much more about him that way I guess or maybe I did and it was all a reaction to him. People walk around like they know there’s violence but they don’t think that way about like it couldn’t happen to them even though they should know that they’re people and that’s exactly the kind of person that it happens to and they should know better but he in particular should know better and he in particular around me. And I remembered a fight I got into once where this man told me that I couldn’t disagree with him without using the same terms and if I used the same terms that was de facto agreement so that even if I told him he was wrong I had to agree in order to do so and I thought that if I disagreed that was good enough.
Even if it’s all about him if he’s dead he’s gone and that’s a good enough contradiction if I want one.
Mom came home late one night crying and you could see where the bruises were starting to form. She’d gone out with this guy and you could tell she tried really hard to look pretty and he could tell too because then he thought he was the one with all the power. Now when she put on that dress I reminded her she didn’t have to try that hard to impress a man you know they’ll fuck anything and she said yeah, but maybe he’s better than that.
In the morning before she got up she called me into her room and beside the bed she told me to always remember that it didn’t matter what you think about this guy he’s just as made of flesh as the next one and his biggest mistake is letting it control him but don’t forget you can control it too, just get the knife.
I didn’t get the knife because I didn’t want to hurt him that way I didn’t want to hurt him from the outside I wanted to hurt him from the inside like he hurt me and so I got bleach instead. It was always around but when I started to think of using it for this purpose it became something else and I wondered if he could sense me thinking about it this way like I had poison in the cupboard this whole time. I wouldn’t get it down with physical force but you know so little actually comes down to physical force you just have to intuit the other forces at work and use those ones instead. So the next time he brought someone home I smelled her pussy and I smacked her ass as I bent her over the bed frame and then I told him to fuck her bent over like that as I went to get something from the other room. I told him it was special and that he might like it because you never know what he might like and then I got a shot glass and all I did was I filled it up with bleach and then I walked back into the room and I said drink this and I put it in his mouth and he had his hands on her ass and I had one hand on the back of his head and the other on the glass and I just tipped it back and it was automatic how he swallowed. Well she knew something was wrong and got to going while he choked and spat and then he started vomiting and as he did I thought to myself that if he didn’t like it he wouldn’t do it and I thought if I didn’t like it I wouldn’t have done it even though I didn’t like it and the sheets would never come clean. But you know that’s what they think is that people only do things if they like them but like, what if they’ve never made a bad choice in the life and what if they’ve never met a woman like me before?
The worst thing left when he was gone was all the time I had to kill myself like there was no one to do it for me, all act and no react.
And no one asked me why I did it like they didn’t think I could have a reason.
Charlene Elsby is a philosophy doctor, former professor, and the author of Hexis, Affect, and Psychros (forthcoming in October from CLASH Books). Follow her on Twitter @ElsbyCharlene.
*Art by Evan Isoline