THE EYES

Emetic Fables from the Andalusian de Sade By Jesus Ignacio Aldapuerta Translated by Lucia Teodora Typed by Alexander http://the-usual-cannibalism.blogspot.com/

INTRODUCTION Jesus Ignacio Aldapuerta was born in the southern Spanish city of Seville circa 1950 and died by suicide in Madrid in 1987, burning himself to death in a small room on whose rent he was nearly three months in arrears. He is known to have spent much of his life outside Spain, in Central and South American and the Philippines; what precisely he did there remains uncertain, and confirmation or refutation of the many rumours, variously unsavoury and contradictory, that circulated during his lifetime will have to wait for the complete decipherment of his coded diaries. The following ‘confessions’ were found in letters and previous interviews. In his homeland, his chief income seems to have been that of a petty criminal, and served several prison sentences of theft and drug offences, the longest and most harrowing under Franco. What money he generated from his activities was generally spent on books, almost invariably pornographic, and prostitutes. His appetite for scatological literature began in his early teens, inspired by frequent visits to a bookshop in Madrid where he was introduced to pornographic pamphlets and the works of de Sade. The proprietor realized the strength of his interest and soon suggested trading volumes for sexual favours. Aldapuerta was perfectly satisfied with the arrangement and would “have the old man’s cock jabbing in my arse even when ready cash was available”, and even when the shelves contained nothing of worth he “sucked that foul Costilla de carno for abundant monetary reward”. Later, Aldapuerta spent two years at medical school where he learned the geography of the human body and something of its almost infinite capacity for suffering and degradation. He took especial delight in tending to the physically incapacitated and was thankful for the loose coats that “prevented the matrona from spotting the engorged cock that I would occasionally press against the bedridden patient”. On one occasion he found, wrapped in a wad of medical gauze ready for disposal, “a tiny circlet of white flesh”. Instantly fascinated, he washed the circumcised foreskin and took it home. He boasted to having stretched it over his own penis and “ejaculating in an instant and without manual stimulation”. But Aldapuerta’s stories are notable for embellishment and invention, and his catalogue of medical anecdotes may be nothing more then outrageous exaggeration. Needless to say, he failed to complete his term at medical school. Aldapuerta’s mother probably encourage him to write: she wrote as a hobby and had some success in contributing poems to women’s magazines. However, these efforts tend towards the romantic and sickly-sweet and hold no indication of the fervid nastiness of Aldapuerta’s writings. (Unless, of course, one were to read Aldapuerta’s writing as overt anti-influence.) It wasn’t until after his death that his family became aware of the more extreme work, but even by that time they had virtually disowned him. Like most of the later years of his life, Aldapuerta’s death is shrouded in rumour and speculation. During his final year, 1987, associates remarked a sudden unhealthy appearance and palpable air of apathy. Some said these were related to an overdue mental breakdown brought on by failure to achieve the literary fame he so much desired. Others claimed he was infected with AIDS and dread of the disease’s full onset prompted his unexpected suicide. Suicide, of course, was the official cause of his death. But there was other contradictory gossip about his being the victim of a murderous vendetta carried out by right-wing religious vigilantes outraged by his blasphemous writings and life-style.

This is, no doubt, sensational speculation, as is the story that Aldapuerta was tortured and murdered by unpaid drug traffickers. Nonetheless, he would indubitably have been please by the confusion and scandal surrounding his death. In March, 987, his partly cremated body was removed from his apartment, the building itself saved from conflagration by the unusually rapid arrival of the emergency services. The authorities took away various unburned books, documents – including what remained of his coded diaries, and finished and unfinished manuscripts – a small quantity of drugs, and the petrol canister that the police said was sufficient proof of selfimmolation. One other curious item found in his apartment, and photographed in the hands of a smiling policia, was an intricately carved dildo fashioned from the femur of a child. Aldapuerta had told several people about this device, his hueso, and how it was ideal for perineo stimulation during intercourse or masturbation. Prior to his death, however, most believe the story to be yet another example of Aldapuerta’s deliberately audacious mendacity. No foul play was suspected and the dildo was officially accepted to be a grotesque memento picked up during one of his sojourns in South America where similar human remnants are widely available. Perhaps this is an example of Aldapuerta’s cunning: his allegations were so outrageous that no one believed him, facts were so hard to distinguish from fiction that many believed all his stories to be invented. What of his fiction? Was he confessing appalling sins in his writings? Again, like his drunken anecdotes, there was probably a fusion, or confusion, of fact and fiction, or perhaps mere embellishment and exaggeration of lesser events perhaps only experienced at secondhand. For instance, the theme of ‘Armful’ concerns paedophilia and cannibalism taken to a shocking extreme. Whether Aldapuerta indulged in such practices is not know, but he allegedly confided to a friend concerning the circumcised foreskin he stole from the hospital ‘The corona soon lost its flexibility and became tough and dry. It had no further practical use so I ate it.” There is no doubt that Aldapuerta had a fascination with human remains. Further to the incidents above, in 1976, he is said to have been detained at Spanish Customs when returning from a trip to Central America. He had $4000 cash in a hold-all, which he insisted was payment for mercenary activities. What alarmed Customers Officers more was the contents of a small package Aldapuerta carried under his arm. Inside were two dried human hands, which Aldapuerta said he had purchased form a trading post dealing in war trophies. The body parts were seized and Aldapuerta detained for several hours. His only regret, other then losing his trophies, was that “they didn’t poke around in my arse for contrabando, as I had contracted a dreadful stomach illness and would have gladly showered them all in the excrement they deserved.” Such was his life, or at least the stories told about it. What of his work? In the Spanishspeaking world it remains little known, and his precarious European reputation rests chiefly on translations into French. This would undoubtedly have pleased him, for his literary idol par excellence was the Marquis de Sade, whose work indeed forms the only suitable comparison for much of Aldapuerta’s “vile, blasphemous and more then emetic” cannon. In English, the only work of his available to date had been a single short story collection, Los Ojos/The Eyes, translated by Aldapuerta himself and published at his own expense in the year before his death: he expressed a wish that by placed some of his work in the “international idiom” he might achieve some of the success that had continually eluded him in Spanish. Copies of this version of The Eyes are extremely rare, and likely

to prove difficult to understand to those unfamiliar with Spanish, which exercised a sometimes startling influence on Aldapuerta’s schoolboy English. The present edition of The Eyes is a brand-new translation from the original Spanish and includes the previously unpublished ‘Pornoglossa’. Whether the stories within are Aldapuerta’s best only time and further translations will tell; that they are amongst his most extreme and weird is certain. Those sharing the fundamentalist Catholic faith of Aldapuerta’s parents and siblings will undoubtedly agree that if a hundredth part of them is drawn from life, the manner of their creator’s suicide is most appropriate. Ironically, a rumour persists that the corpse carried from the apartment in 1987 wasn’t Aldapuerta at all, but his homosexual consort murdered and burned beyond recognition, and Aldapuerta is in fact alive and well and living in Central America, working on his magnum opus*. As to any comment from the Spanish authorities on Aldapuerta’s current state, none is forthcoming. Alive or dead, it would seem, they are delighted to be rid of the malhechor. *Aldapuerta often boasted to associates that his main literary goal was a recreation of de Sade’s lost The Days at Florbelle.

INDOCHINE A dead whore was gotten for the lieutenant every Tuesday afternoon. He had an agent in the city, an ARVN deserter much attached to American cigarettes, who used to trawl fresh arrivals in the refugee quarter for a teenaged girl meeting the requirements, recruit or re-recruit her to prostitution, and meet her near a camp gate on the day. The agent would explain that she would have to be smuggled into the camp, indicating the petrol tanker parked at the roadside as he did so, and then help her to climb inside the empty tank, telling her that she would not have to endure the fumes for long, a couple of minutes, three, four, at most. Then he would seal the inspection hatch through which the girl had climbed, get into the tanker’s cabin, and turn on the radio very loud. Half an hour later, when the sounds drowned by Jimi Hendrix or Led Zeppelin or Creem [Sic. Ed.] had definitely stopped, he would start the tanker’s engine and drive into the camp. He would park in a quiet corner in the shade of a clump of oleander, and the lieutenant would help him to take the dead girl from the tank and carry her to his quarters. She would always stink of petrol. When the lieutenant stripped the corpse and washed it down in the bathroom attached to his bedroom, he would try to leave a patch of skin still wet with the stuff (preferably on the breasts or neck or back, so that when he was having sex he could put his face down to it and draw in the odour. It had almost started to become a fetish with him). When the laving of the corpse was complete, he would carry it into his bedroom and lay it on the bed. Sometimes at the head of the bed, sometimes pinned to the wall, sometimes on a collapsible table at the bedside, he would already have laid out a large-scale map of Indochina, perhaps with recent targets circled or arrowed in red or black ink. He would begin to erect, the head of his penis pressing forward against the imitation B-52 bomb-flaps pinned to either side of his flies. Climbing onto the foot of the bed, knees between the dead whore’s separated feet, shirtless, he would unzip, squinting downwards at the pink bar of his penis cutting out across the bluish gold. He would edge forward between the vee of the splayed legs, edge back a little, making the sound of a powerful engine in his throat. He always began with vaginal penetration, darting his penis as the corpse’s thighs, stomach, breasts with machine-gun noises before cupping his bands beneath the always meager buttocks and lifting the pelvis into position for entry. Turning his head to one side so that he could watch the map, he enter and begin to thrust – sometimes, almost mantralike, and most often as he approached orgasm, gasping out the names of Vietnamese or Laotian or Cambodian cities or districts. At orgasm, he was fucking not the undernourished body of a teenaged refugee whore, but an entire nation. In her he was fucking all the recent dead, all the thousands, the tens of thousands killed in the week since he had last fucked a dead Vietnamese whore. Sometimes as he worked between the thighs, he would hold the flame of his Zippo to a breast, burning off a nipple and breathing in the smell of charred meat, mostly keeping his eyes on the map though once he had burned a finger quite badly by not paying attention to the flame. At orgasm he would lean forward and put his face directly over the burn, or directly over the patch of unwashed-off petrol. In the afterseethe of orgasm he would let his full weight settle onto the corpse, absorbing its shape into the bare flesh of his torso. Sometimes his weight would force out air from the lungs or fluid from the anus with little soft noises. His penis would stay hard and fat

inside the vagina, and come free, when he wanted to roll the corpse over, with a pop of released pressure. He sometimes got off the bed to walk around to the corpse’s head and push his penis into the mouth, asking the corpse if she liked it in the way she might really have spoken to him (“You like, huh? You like? You ree’y like?”). In the end he would get bored and climb back onto the bed to complete the fuck. Sodomy sometimes got a little messy but he enjoyed it more because orgasm took longer to come second time around. Afterwards he would sometimes wipe his penis on the map, leaving a dark smear of her and himself across the white and green paper, Vietnamese blood and shit and American semen. He sometimes thought that was really funny.

IKARUS “Where?” he asked. Then, remembering as his joy faded, he repeated the question in German. After a minute he unhoulstered the map from the door and pushed the officer around to the bonnet of the Mercedes. For a moment the officer seemed distracted by the stains on the map’s surface, staring at them as though confirmed in his belief that a new landscape was beginning to emerge from the alchemy in high explosive and fire conducted night and day over his nation. Then he reached out a hand, thin and white beyond the heavy black sleeve of his uniform, and started to trace the route, repeating his directions in a slow, careful voice, keeping the back of his head a little forward of the barrel of the pistol. When he had memorized the route, he pulled the trigger, having pushed the officer sideways a moment before so the spray of blood and brain tissue wouldn’t cover the map. He stooped over the corpse, dipping the joined index and middle fingers of his left hand into the head wound and lifting the bloodied tips to hold them over the map. Three drops of blood fell onto it, one of them almost covering the name of the air-base. He folded the map, wondering what shapes the drops would make, pressed together in the heavy paper, and got back into the car. The gramophone was wired into the engine so that as soon as he turned the key it started to play. The heavy 78, its glossy surface scored with dozens of knife-cuts, started to turn beneath the needle and chopped segments of military march, half-smothered in static. Began to pour out over the countryside again. He let out the clutch, glancing back at the cloud of exhaust suddenly mushroomed beyond the boot as though to reassure himself that the engine, drowned beneath the sound of the gramophone, was still running, and drove off, turning the steering wheel so that a rear tyre of the car passed over the German’s body. The needle jumped on the surface of the record for a moment, the segments of static-smothered march chopped even shorter, and then he was pushing the accelerator down into a stretch of smooth, straight, sunny asphalt, rehearsing the possible conversations, the possible arguments he would have with the technicians at the base. There were neither arguments nor technicians, barely even a base. The whole place seemed deserted at first: ten minutes after he had arrived, as he went to empty his bladder behind a clump of hawthorn, he found a body in blue overalls stretched out beside a gasmask that dead fingers still seemed to be trying to drag onto the bloated purple head. He had released his penis and begun to urinate before the full significance of the body had occurred to him. He twisted his head, looking around him, suddenly aware of the intense silence in the soft splashing of his urine stream, and started to sweat as he saw the small corpse of a song-thrush on a patch of grass a few metres away, and a pair of butterflies or day-flying moths, black with markings, lying nearer him like two cards flipped to the surface of a gaming table, and smudges and stains of something yellowish around the boles of trees and on weeds and bushes, as though from puffs of heavy smoke, rolling over the ground. He finished urinating, zipped and buttoned himself up, then walked over to the body and bent and picked up the gas-mask and carried it back to the aircraft, which sat pointing almost vertical in its camouflaged pine-wood ramp. A Bachem Ba 340. A Natter. Anglice, an adder. Branched and camouflage netting had been draped around it and the ramp on which is rested. He was reminded of something religious. An idol. Its wings

were very short, more like side-fins on the stubby black fuselage. Behind them. Two jettisonable rocket tubes were strapped each side of the trail-fins, and there was a white outlined swastika on the tail-plane. On the far side of the ramp there was another corpse, another gas-mask, and, a little further on, what seemed to have been a small storage depot. Some drums of chemical had exploded and burned fiercely not very many hours before. Close-to, there was a thick, pungent, metallic smell. His throat tightened on it and he began to cough, walking backwards two, three steps and then turning to run, not stopping until he was on the other side of the aircraft again, not wanting to risk that the reaction were only psychosomatic. He wondered what had happened and had a sudden vision of a Typhoon stooping over the base in the mists of early morning, emptying its magazines briefly, almost impartially, and the drums clanging as bullets riddled them. What about the chemical? Had it been toxic by chance or design? Were orders finally going out to use nerve-gas against the invaders? He dismissed the questions from his mind and put the gas-mask on. It would be hours before the first of the bomber-streams appeared overhead and he had no intention of guinea-pigging the strength of the traces of whatever it had been that had killed the technicians and animals. As though seeking to confine himself even further, he decided to climb into the cockpit for the wait and went over to cannibalize the Mercedes for something to pad his buttocks and back with. From what he had learned of the aircraft, it had not been designed to be occupied for more then fifteen minute stretched in any comfort and the thought of being to stiff to move freely when the first bass rumble of the bomber-fleets began to drift down from the wide blue sky seemed suddenly hateful to him. Terrifying. He cut out squares of padding from the front seats of the Mercedes, resting his head to one side to settle the slightly too large mask in place, feeling the skin of his face beginning to relax in the increasing humidity of the mask’s microclimate. The world was circumscribed, its colours distorted and faintly rainbowed by the thick glass of the eyepieces. He carried the squares of padding back to the aircraft and clambered up the pilot’s ladder to lift back the hinged canopy and hold it up one-handed while he arranged the squares inside the tiny cockpit. Then he climbed in himself, the bulk of the gas-mask banging around the edges of the cockpit, let the canopy drop back into place, and bolted himself in. When he settled back against the Mercedes-seat padding he found himself looking through the windscreen up the five or so metres of ramp straight into a very blue sky. The ring-sight on the aircraft’s nose was zeroed on the nothingness. The interior of the cockpit was dappled with the shadows of the branched and camouflage netting draped around the ramp and aircraft – he had the impression of crouching inside the natural cell formed by the branched and leaves of a huge tree, waiting to launch himself in ambush on the invaders of a sacred grove, a Celtic, a Teuton, an Aryan. The cockpit controls and instrumentation were almost ascetically minimal: a zeroed altimetre, an airspeed indicator and artificial horizon, and a joystick into which was set a single thick round button marked in a white Gothic script FEUER. There was another thick button on the control panel marked in red Gothic RAKETE. The silence around him was intense. His breath seemed to blast inside the mask, steadily growing louder, and he had to resist an urge to pull the mask off to listen. But he knew that it cut down outside sound very little: it was just that there was nothing around him to

make a sound. After a while he had the idea of taking off his wristwatch and slipping it under the neck-fastening of the mask. He listened to the steady ticking, reassured by its self-sufficiency, by its not being his sound. He began to review what he knew of the launch procedure. So fierce was the initial acceleration that the pilot lost consciousness and the automatic mechanisms had to be relied upon to level the aircraft off at the correct height: he knew this but somehow could not believe it. It was outside all his experience, an acceleration so brutal. It was fairy-tale. Supernatural. So let him take it on faith. Thereafter, when he had regained consciousness, he would release the transparent nose-cone and the densely packed rows of the air-to-air rockets in the nose would be revealed for firing. He stared at the nose, pointing skyward a few metres away. The rockets were there, the length of his body away. Before nightfall, he could have used them like Apollonian arrows among the B-17’s. He stirred. The cockpit was as full of sound as a shell, echoing and re-echoing in a blooddeep susurration that seemed full of sleep. He opened his eyes. Above, against an almost purple sky, black crosses fled and went, stroking the circle enclosed by the ring-sight on the nose like teasing fingers on a glans penis. Metal jingled faintly, far-off sistra, as he strapped himself into the safety harness. He reached forward for the joystick and rested his thumb gently on the button marked FEUER. He pressed. He seemed to be floating upwards very slowly, far too slowly to be natural, and he wondered whether he had been flung unconscious back into dream. Ahead of him, above him, swelling against the sky, stars winking slowly out along the leading edges of its wings like sparks, was a bomber. Was he dreaming? He could not move. Pain lay in heavy pools in his eye sockets. The bomber swelled hugest and became the sky. He was going to hit it. A single rivet in its metal skin held his attention. A tear of rust bled from it in the direction of a slipstream. A bleeding nipple. Nothing, And then he stirred again and opened his eyes. There was a little light. Wind was howling far off. His lap was full of shards of glass. They chimed faintly as he moved, looking around him. The windshield was gone. He was still looking upwards, but upwards into a ceiling buckled outwards by the Natter’s nest. He tried to look sideways, but the gas-mask had become caught in the safety harness and he could barely move his head. He struggled to reach into a pocket and take out his penknife. His sense of smell had sharpened suddenly and he could smell oil and hot metal. He knew where he was. The penknife came free and he opened it and sawed at the harness. The gas-mask relaxed on his shoulders and he looked around him. He had crashed into, and into, the bomber, about halfway up the fuselage, which seemed huge, almost hall-like, almost cathedral-like in the dim moonlight glowing through two ragged, metre-wide holes towards the tail. Flak-holes. How long had he been unconscious? His mind was clearing. He closed the penknife, slipped it back into its pocket, and began to release the rest of safety harness, moving very carefully. When he was free he pushed at the canopy. It responded gluishly for a moment, then swung smoothly outwards. He climbed out. The floor of the fuselage sang into his boots. The Natter seemed to sprout

through it, pushing up through torn metal as through a frozen soil. Like a chrysalis from which he had just been born. He took off the gas-mask. The air was cold for a moment on his face, until he passed a hand over his eyes and nose and chin, as though rubbing away sleep, He dropped the gasmask to the floor and walked around the Natter and went over to one of the flak-holes, slowing as he neared it and testing the strength of the wing with hands held in front of him. But there was almost no wind and he realized now that the howling was not coming from the holes but from further down the fuselage, towards the tail. He looked but could not see anything. The fuselage seemed, impossibly, to extend for many metres in that direction. He turned back to the hole, holding onto one edge of it and leaning forward to look out. The bomber was floating kilometers high over unending sea. Far, very far below, almost directly under him, the reflection of an almost full moon lay flat and corroded on smooth water. The sea around it, and the air, were empty and huge. The plane did not seem to be moving, rather to be hanging in high and silent air. He realized he could not hear the engines. Were they gliding? He pushed away from the hole and began to walk towards the tail, towards the howling. Down the middle of the floor ran two wide grooves. He thought they were for trolleys, trolleys of stores. Something gleamed ahead of him in one of them, running towards him. He squatted on his haunches, a foot to either side of the groove. A thread of dark liquid slid beneath him, thickening. He knew the smell. He stood up and walked more quickly towards the tail. The howling was not any louder, but was nearer. The first groove was full of the dark liquid now, almost to overflowing and a thread of it had appeared in the second. He still could not see the end of the fuselage, though he knew he had taken a hundred or more steps, walked for two or three minutes. Moonlight glowed ahead of him again through another flak-hole, and a shape hung across the middle of the fuselage just beyond it, almost tantalizingly. The howling was a voice. Both grooves were full to overflowing with the dark liquid. It was beginning to cover the whole floor. His feet splashed it. The shape grew darker beyond the moonlight. Its lines were wrong, an unnatural mixture, too gentle, too harsh. He glanced for a second through the flak-hole as he passed it, out over the same empty sea and air, and was beyond it and standing before the shape. It was a sculpture, a crucifix of broken and jagged shears and sheets of iron and steel and copper stretched between the floor and roof and walls of the fuselage into which had been set – nailed, clamped, impaled, pincered – the body of a woman. She was naked, shavenheaded –rubies of semi-crusted blood glowed like eyes on her torn scalp between the strands of a crown of twisted copper wiring – weeping, shrieking, jaw and lips clamped and sewn open with strands of steel and copper, her tongue busy and fat in a mouth halffull of blood and bloody foam. It was as though the sculpture was eating her, he thought: a fang of it pierced her throat, a second passed into an armpit and out through the back, a third, slim and dully glittering, pinned together her breasts, a fourth and fifth and sixth gorged deep on her thighs and buttocks, a seventh, thick-rooted and thinning like a horn, curved into her shaven cunt and put a fledging’s talon of steel forth through the skin just above her navel. She bled everywhere, from everywhere, in impossible quantity, assisting at her own consumption with giant lapping greedy scarlet tongues sprouting from throat and breasts

and armpit and thighs and buttocks and cunt. From one white hand, thin and flat as a leaf and pierced by a beak of copper, a slender twisting pillar of blood fell, so perfect and unchanging that it seemed to be carved of transparent red crystal. Why was she not dead minutes before? He looked up. Set into the ceiling was a giant ring of red glass, a fat ruby Orobouros swallowing its own tail. No, not of red glass, of glass full of blood. An annular tank of blood. Tubes half-hidden in the gloom trailed down from it. She was being fed with blood to keep her alive. Shapes stirred and flashed in the tank and he glimpsed a sudden round, staring, unhuman eye. It was full of fish. He walked nearer to the woman. She was blind with agony. What was she screaming? A single slack reiterated vowel, fattened rhythmically with nasalization. He realized that this was perhaps as close as she could get to ma-ma-ma-ma-ma. The sculpture was set with many long blades and serrated edges that were not touching her skin, and with coiled springs and little hearts of clockwork. They were ready for something. For what? He looked around him. Drops of blood were landing every few seconds on his clothes and hands, a little less often on his face as well. On the left, pinned to the wall, was a small rectangular notice beneath a white dangling cord. He went closer. The notice said in neat black Gothic PULL ME. He let the cord rest on his fingers for a moment. It was silk. He pulled. There was no sound but something flashed in the corner of his eye. He turned back to the sculpture. A collar or ruff of metal had slid out of the structure and fitted itself loosely around the woman’s neck. As he watched, a thick needle, sheened with a yellowish oily something, emerged from the ruff and pierced the underside of the woman’s throat. He saw it glint inside the open mouth, transfix the tongue, move higher. But not so high as the brain. She was silent now, but still alive. He stepped back to where he had been standing. The sculpture was quivering. Springs were beginning to relax and clockwork to tick and whir. A blade suddenly flashed out, almost too quickly for his eyes to follow, and the summit of the woman’s right breast had gone, sliced off very clean and sharp. Blood blossomed there almost at once, but not too quickly for him to have seen and sealed away in memory a circular page of her, a section of tightly clustered yellow buds of fat, narrow scarlet leaves of muscle. A second blade flashed and almost the entirety of her left breast was gone. The fangs quenched in the flesh of her thighs and buttocks stirred, jerked, and began slowly to come free, gouging out giant mouthfuls for themselves in showers of blood falling from her mutilated breasts. Her eyes, in the paralyzed face, were now round and glassy as the fish-eye that had winked at him from the tank above. Long bones showed through the hands’-breadth, rents in her thighs. Blood was fountaining, showering the air, and him with it, drenching him in warmth. Blades snickered over the meat gouged from her, mincing it and flinging it back over her, out over him. Saws were swinging in on the thighs, resting to the glistening femurs and there came sudden whining twin clouds of white bone fragment and bright red marrow. Her legs had been amputated. They fell away from her, were seized by further blades and saws, and began to be taken apart. The rhythm of dismantlement was quickening. A giant scissor-mouth gaped at her left shoulder and closed. The arm had dropped no more then half-a-metre before other blades had caught it and begun slicing and drilling, removing fingers and thumb, taking it apart at elbow and wrist, stripping it of meat and sectioning its bones. A closed fan of metre-

long blades kissed the skin beneath her naval for a moment, sank slowly within, very deep, and sprang open, ripping her open to the world like a book. Fragments of intestine, womb, kidney, even lung, splattered his face. A splinter of bone had blinded him in one eye. The very biggest blades and saws were swinging into place now, taking off her remaining arm, cutting in half-a-dozen directions across her chest, stomach, pelvis. Another flash of light, another blade moving almost too fast to follow, and she was decapitated, her head held in place, swinging gently. Her body sank into a frenzy of blades and drills, diminishing swiftly as it was torn and sliced into fragments and flung out against him and the floors and walls of the fuselage. Above, the tank of blood was almost empty. Fish flapped dying against its smooth floor. Fragments of flesh and bone littered the floor of the fuselage in all directions. They were piled up around his feet like snow: he had barely moved since the dismantling began. The last blades were stiffening into immobility, the last clockwork hearts whirring into silence. Blood dripped and ran from every centimeter of bare metal. In front of him, starring back dead into his unblended eye, her head had stopped swinging and reigned supreme over the empty sculpture. He stepped into its embrace, gashing a knee on a steel blade, reaching up for her. His fingers were cut as he worked her free, little scales of flesh lifted up on the welling blood. He pulled, tugged, screamed defiance, and she came free, wetly tearing, leaving dripping flags of scalp and upper lip behind her. Cradling her in two hands, he walked over the flak-hole in the fuselage wall. The moon rode beneath him, a negative pupil in a giant eye of water. He sat down on the edge of the hole, legs dangling over kilometers of emptiness, and waited , dangling the head in his lap like a child, for the impulse to come to push himself and her out and down to the black, unending sea.

THE SAND THE SAND Night had killed them. The sun, however cloaked in cloud, however low, would have shown them that they were already flying away from the sea, over that different, slower sea of sand and stone. They had jumped into that which and killed them, floating down in the darkness on mushroom bells of silk, not knowing what was beneath them until they hit it. A leg was broken, Hardiman’s, and his bass groans of pain were like silk themselves in the darkness, folds of sound through which the departing drone of the aircraft drove like a thick needle. The groans brought them together from the scatter of landing. It was very cold. Slowly their eyes readjusted to the starlight and they saw each other as dark shapes standing around Hardoman’s prone groaning presence The pilot, efficient even as he jumped into death, had remembered the first-aid kit; Hardiman was given morphine and slept, wrapped in his parachute. They talked over him, stamping on the harsh sand against the cold. As dawn came, their breath came alive on their lips, spurting in time with their words. The desert opened around them with the light and they looked out into it, seeing death come closer as they saw further into the emptiness. To the south-west, a thread of black smoke rose very straight towards the widening sky. It was the plane, crashed at the end of its shallow auto-piloted dive. With almost no fuel left, it would not burn fully or for long. He walked away from the others, pretending that he had to urinate, and was soon scrambling over the stony dunes towards the thread of smoke. The three of them, with Hardiman, would make slow progress. Perhaps one would stay with Hardiman and two come after him. It wouldn’t make much difference. If he arrive there soon enough and put out the fire, they might never even find their way to the plane, and even if they did, he counted on finding one of the gun turrets still working. The sun quickly grew hotter. He refused to allow himself to judge how far away the plane still was. The polished leather of his flying boots turned dull against the sharp pebbles and sand. There was nothing living here, no sign that anything had ever lived, not even a shred of plant fiber or crumb of animal dung. Above, the sky was filling only with light. He looked back occasionally to see if they were coming after him. Perhaps they thought he’d got lost, and were searching for him. Once or twice he thought he could hear distant shouting, but the blood was pounding in his ears and he could not be certain. He kept his mouth firmly closed and breathed thorough his nose. A cloud of dust and fine sand hung around him as he climbed up and down the dunes, across the occasional gullies. The thread of smoke ahead of him seemed to be getting thinner. He thought (and suppressed the thought) that he’d covered about half the distance to it. He paused and looked back. He saw nothing and set off up the face of the next dune. The backs of his thighs were beginning to ache with the effort of moving on the unstable surface of the sand and stones. He could feel pulses everywhere, in his groin and belly, in his neck and armpits, and his vision was starting to turn grey and fade around its edges. He stopped looking back, stopped caring about how far there was to go, and forced himself into the walking. He reached the plane after an hour, ten minutes or so after the fire had gone out. The first thing he did was to kneel into the shadow beneath its belly and throw up. The clothing

against his skin was soaked with sweat. He knelt gasping for a few seconds, breathing through his mouth and feeling each exhalation-inhalation sharpen the sour taste of the vomit there and in his throat. Then he stood up and walked around the plane. It wasn’t too bad. One wing had been half broken off at the root, slewing the plane into a dune so that the nest and cockpit were half-buried in sand, and the propellers of all four engines were snapped off or bent like giant metal limbs. But not too bad. The fuselage was still mostly intact and two of the gun turrets looked perfectly OK. The impact had broken the seals on the left cargo door and it hung open, seeming to invite him inside. He climbed through it, feeling the sweat in his clothing start to evaporate almost at once in the dry heavy heat inside the steel fuselage. There was a stink of dead fire. The navigator’s alcove halfway along the fuselage was burnt out, patches of sunlight lying brightly through rents in the ceiling and wall against scorched metal and melted heaps of radio and Direction-Finding gear. He gagged on the stink of burning, turning his face away as he pulled himself past to see if the radio in the pilot’s cockpit had survived. The cockpit was half-flooded in the sand that had poured through the broken windows. He dug his way into it, guiding himself at first with a torch from the equipment rack just inside the cargo door. The deeper sand was still cold with night, shielded from the rising sun inside the plane. He found the radio, working by touch with his arms buried beyond the elbows in the harsh cold of the sand. He turned it on. It worked, but something seemed to have been damaged by the crash. There was nothing but static. He’d only know for sue when he’d dug it out properly. He switched the radio off and went to inspect the gun-turrets. Unless the others were suspicious, they’d approach the plane in a group up the same slop he’d climbed. If they found the plane at all. He, with ten or twenty minutes’ head-start, had found it difficult when the smoke stopped rising. If he hadn’t already been near to the plane, and if it hadn’t crashed high up, towards the crest of a dune, he wasn’t sure he’d’ve found it. He chose a turret and sat in it for five minutes, familiarizing himself with the controls of the gun. He would have liked to test-fire it but he knew that to do so would be stupid. Afterwards, he took the thermos of coffee from the webbing in which the gunner had placed it before takeoff, and went outside to drink it, leaning against the fuselage of the plane beneath the root of a wing, and watching in the direction he thought they would emerge from the desert. The coffee was still hot. He drank three cups. He’d already seen that there was plenty of water inside the plane in the emergency tanks. Enough to last one man for a week or more. He saw them coming at mid-morning. There were only two of them. Hardiman must’ve been too bad to walk, even with assistance. Who would’ve been left with him? Probably Dobbs. He went back into the plane and climbed into the gun turret. The sun had climbed high enough to have been shining into it for half-an-hour by then. Every piece of exposed metal was hot enough to be painful to the touch. He took off his shirt and wrapped hands in it to get hold of the handle of the gun. As his mouth got drier, it tasted more and more of the coffee. The two figures came slowly out of the heat shimmer. Yes, it had been Dobbs. He let them get halfway up the slope before opening fire. They were swallowed in a cloud of sand into which after a few second he seemed to be hurling only sound, the crashing syllables of the 7.68mm bullets. He let go of the handle of the gun, pulling his shirt away from it and wiping at the sweat running down his bare torso. He watched the

cloud of sand begin to settle. When it was gone, there were two dark shapes against the face of the dune, lying low down like pools of liquid. He climbed out of the turret, walked along the fuselage and jumped out onto the sand, pulling his shirt back over his body. It was very hot in the sun now. The short walk down the slope to the two shapes made him feel dizzy. Blood, darkening already, was splashed against the sand and stones for metres. The head of one of the shapes was gone. The other shape was still alive, clasping its half-spilled guts to itself, semiconscious. It was Glamuir. He searched the dead corpse, then the live one, and carried a double handful of what he’d found back up to the plane. By mid-afternoon he’d dug the cockpit radio free of the sand. He sat searching the dial until night began to fall, finding only static. He climbed out and sat beneath the wing, watching the sky fill with darkness. He considered the possibilities. He didn’t think he’d be able to repair the radio. A search for the plane was probably already under way, but they’d been hundreds of miles, at least, off course when they’d jumped, and he didn’t think there was much chance that a search would find the plane. A cliché from a detective novel he’d been reading on his bunk in base the day before occurred to him. Something about not avoiding death, only postponing it. The thought that he’d never finish the book now maddened him. He thought of it sitting beneath his pillow in the cool of the barracks. He finished off the thermos of coffee, still thinking. The stars were out now. He watched them, picking out the constellations he recognized and saying their names aloud. Occasionally sparks of light moved amongst them. He gradually became aware that the sky was trying to speak to him. He shivered. The stars glittered. It was obvious. He went back inside the plane to turn the radio back on, the volume on full, and then came back out to drain a little fuel from the nearly empty tanks. The sound of static followed him down the slope to the two bodies. As the stars had promised, Glamuir had been kept alive for him. He put the can of fuel to one side and then rolled Glamuir over onto his stomach. The seat of the trousers was like cardboard with dried blood and shit. He tore them off rather then pulled them down. When he entered him, Glamuir screamed, feebly, like a child, breaking the crust of static for a moment with his voice. “There, there,” he said. He couldn’t get the penetration he wanted because it was difficult to get his arms around Glamuir’s body. Trying to do it, he had put his hand into the crusted slickness of the stomach wound. He did his best. Glamuir was still alive when he achieved orgasm. It was what he had prayed for. He dragged him back onto his back and opened the shrunken genitals to the cold night air and watching stars. He fetched the can of fuel and poured a little into a cupped hand. “Asperges me,” he said, sprinkling the aviation fuel. He poured the rest of the fuel into the stomach wound. It flowed into the wound clear and out to the ground dark. The Zippo caught light first time. He stepped back, hearing the screams of the burning man ascend to the Lord of Night. After a time, there was only a crackle of burning fat and hiss of overamplified static from the plane, looming temple-tall against the dunes. He waited, kneeling, for wings to sweep out black wounds in the star-cankered flesh of the heavens above him.

YIN & YANG The world was white. Even his breath seemed to be becoming part of it, hanging in almost solid clouds in front of his face, perhaps a first sign that he was beginning to turn into ice himself. He climbed the slope, gasping with effort, and the first signs of the crash began to appear out of the white ahead of him. Two fires were still burning, windharshened hearts of yellow flame sending up slanting narrow streamers of black smoke into the huge white sky. He reached the plateau and began to flounder forward through the half-metre or so of fresh snow. The snow was less deep by the time he reached the first pieces of wreckage. It looked as though the plane had begun to come apart in midair, but not very far off the ground. Deep channels were gouged into the snow, hundreds of metres long, and at the end of them he came across parts of the engines and wings, a tail-fin, the mechanism of a wheel leaking frozen black oil, suitcases even, from the luggage hold. But the fuselage seemed to have come down mostly intact. It loomed ahead of him like a dismembered torso, its huge spine snapped and the stumps of its wings trailing vividly coloured hydraulic piping and fuel lines like veins and tendons. Part of the fuselage’s roof had torn away and he could see rows of corpses still strapped into their seats, black hair on half-a-hundred different heads swinging in perfect synchrony with the wind. One of the fires was burning at the end of one of the rows of calmly seated corpses. He was walking now across the broad bare floor of ice that the fuselage had swept clean after itself. Bodies were tumbled across the ice-floor, some of them broken open by the impact of the crash. Huge wounds had been frozen by the wind and cold, which had alchemized the wet exposed internal organs into huge hard glittering jewel-settings, like collaborations between a Frankenstein and a Faberge under the artistic direction of Dali. As he approached the fuselage he was looking for male corpses, or a Caucasian or Black one, and seeing none. All the corpses were those of women, Oriental women, Japanese or Chinese, he didn’t know which. Careful for his snow-clothing between sharp surfaces of broken metal, he climbed up the fuselage to the rows of occupied seating. The carpeted aisle was slanted beneath his feet and he had to hold onto the backs of seats, clumsy in his snow-boots and gauntlets, to find his way between the two triple rows of dead, well-dressed women. They were Japanese, he thought now, well-groomed and wealthy looking. White-faces, black-haired heads hung on broken necks. Blood had frozen in purple sheets and streams and puddles on the women’s chins and breasts and laps and he realized that most of them have died from internal injuries on impact, their organs broken as though by the clenching of huge fists within them, ripe wet fruit crushed for a vintage of blood that had poured from their mouths like wine in libation to some gelid death-goddess in the seconds after the fuselage came to final rest. At the end of one row, on the left, he found the fire he had seen. It was burning on the lap of a woman in black silk dress with a silver ideographic brooch on her breast – or rather, through her lap: the floor had broken underneath her seat and she had been raped, both vaginally and anally, and perhaps also necrophilically, by phallic metal and plastic shafts of the plane’s piping and wiring, spearing upwards at the sky. The fire was small but still burning fiercely. It seemed to be fed by fuel leaking from the pipes, burning in a small

intense flower of flame a metre or so from the woman’s breasts. She had been cooked by it, and his mouth filled involuntarily to the smell of rich, overdone meat and scorched silk. Now, hours since the crash, her flesh was desiccated, her boiled features starting to shrivel back over the bones of her face, her lips drawing back from her teeth and the skin around her eyes opening out to expose the slack yellow orbs of her eyeballs, her skin tightening over the tendons and bones of her small hands, still gripping the seat-rests on either side of the pipes and wiring that had impaled her. She was the only one who looked truly dead, because the crude obviousness of her deathrape and because the heat of the fire had allowed true post mortem slackness into the joints and muscles of her upper body, though it preserved her from the onset of rigor mortis. All the others, unmoving in their seats, seemed like actresses on the set of an elaborate Japanese disaster movie, playing dead, ready to come to life again at a director’s signal, the frozen blood and the white splinters of broken bone showing through cloth here and there merely clever makeup and prosthesis. But they, unlike the cooked woman, were all sealed with the white chrism of the realm they had fallen to, the individuality of faces and clothing lessened by the crystals of frost seed into them by the unending wind. He turned around, careful to keep the bulk of his snow-clothing away from the fire, and made his way back down the aisle and climbed off the fuselage to begin exploring the wider possibilities of the bodies scattered on the ice-field. They were frozen solid, completely solid, all the way through. When he tried to tear a kidney free from one smashed torso, he found it impossible, and had to take out his knife, missing the out-rasp from the scabbard in the endless bansheeing of the wind. Even with the knife he found it difficult, having to chip and saw the organ free more then cut it, conscious that the woman’s young flesh had perhaps finally achieved a longed-for permanence in its breaking open and freezing on the snow-plain. He rapidly became skilful at taking the organs from the corpses, learning which anchoring muscles and tendons to first attack, how to lever the fingers of a temporary ungauntleted hand into gaps and rock a spleen or heart free of the ice’s grip. If the wind had been a little stronger the patterns he began to make would have been swept away as he laid the organs to the surface of the ice. Later on it would happen, as the stars began to come out, but he would be gone by then. The organs were like enormous jewels, very cold and hard and beautiful in his hands. He hunted amongst the corpses, piling ten minutes’ worth of material to one side of where he intended to work, and then slowly laying out the patters, metre-wide whorls and zigzags on the ice, trying to find the most pleasing combination of colours and shapes, the hard red fists of hearts beside the fat white tubes of intestine section, the fat glossy shells of kidneys beside the intricate glittering venation of single small lungs. In the centre of each pattern, on completion, he set a vulva, sliced laboriously out from between the frozen thighs of a woman he found for some reason more attractive or interesting then those around her. He cut the pubic scalp free with each vulva, fascinated by the glitter of light on frozen crystals of urine and blood. The black scalps flapped stiffly against the white ice in the wind, as though applauding the care he took with the creation of each new pattern. He thought of the time when the wind would begin to strengthen and piece by piece the patterns would begin to break, the organs sliding off over the smooth ice. How far would the vulvas slide? For hours, the pubic scalps flapping like tiny black banners, until they reached the sea? No, the snow, and later the ice, would

swallow them once they had slid free of the ice-floor that had been swept clean by the crashing fuselage. But they would be preserved, for decades, centuries, perhaps for ever so far to the interior of the ice-shelf. When the sun was hanging finally above the western horizon he had made nearly a dozen of the patters. He walked among them, trying to memorize them. The gaping woundmouths of the corpses from which he had built them were beginning to fill with powdery snow as the wind changed direction and began to blow off the deeper, more lightly packed snowfields to the north. Perhaps the patterns would be sealed against the ice by the blowing snow and when he came to the plane again he would find them still here, perhaps only needing to be broken free of a crust of snow, perhaps visible as dark hanging shadows in the semi-translucent upper centimeters of fresh ice. He would wait and he would see. Striking his gauntlets free of chips of frozen blood and viscera, he started to walk back to his hut, pondering the whim of chance or deity that had brought him the afternoon’s recreation.

ARMFUL

I was arrested as, her hot little leaf of a hand in mine, I was emerging from the street on which she had just been sold to me. Something I seemed to read in the branches of a pollution-defoliated tree across the street made me look back, and I saw in the head of her mother or father still watching from the doorway of the house; a moment later, the hand of a policia fell on my shoulder, and the head whisked out of sight. Was I set up? I am not sure. It might be thought probably, but I flatter myself that I am in the best position to reach a judgment, and I am unsure. I had paid eight-hundred pesos for a mestizo virgin fresh from cholera; from my first hearing of her in a dockside tapas bar to her purchase was, at the outside, twenty-five minutes. Could a trap have been sprung in so short a time? I thought not; I think not; but I am unsure. We were taken to, and locked up in, a cell whose air was almost liquid with heat and humidity. She (I had still had no time to learn her name) vomited thinly in a corner and I sat on a corner of the malodorous mattress and sweated and pondered my options. Her presence in the cell was then, and remains, something of a puzzle to me, but I suppose it was logical enough. I could no longer, the reasoning would go, possibly be a danger to her, and our physical storing together obviated the immediate need for anything to down on paper. That is if I, we, assume that this is not a sexual fantasy having no other existence than in my imagination, in which case logic need not apply. But assume that is not a fantasy. You will enjoy it the more, assuming thus. My papers and travellers’ cheques had been taken from me; my passport was false but it was, unhappily, the one under which I had been deported from Thailand at the beginning of the year. You may or may not be aware that there have recently been attempts to “coordinate worldwide action against child prostitution”: at the time of the deportation, I knew that I was almost certainly entered on some kind of register, which is why I had taken special efforts to avoid risk: why in fact I had chosen that particular barrio of that particular city in that particular part of the world. I have very definite reasons to wish to avoid a prison sentence, and at that particular moment I seemed no more then a phone call to Interpol away from one. And yet. And yet. And yet if she had been there… I sat and gazed at her. She was, I would guess, about nine or ten years old, puppyfat-less with malnutrition and disease. I can’t remember very much else about her, not even what her face was like, only that her skin was very clean because of the post-choleric sweating. Perhaps I should remember more, because I stared at her a long time, nearly an hour, but you must remember that I was thinking at the same time. The disease was gone, very nearly, but she did not seem to have recovered much energy. Perhaps she had never had very much. I think she was mildly mentally subnormal, but she had understood the haggling carried out over her well enough. At the beginning, I remember her starting to giggle at the Castilian lisp I gave to cinco mill and negocio. The vomit had started to dry almost at once; she squatted in the corner with her feet in it, almost, eyes almost closed, skin glistening with sweat.

It was as that skin grew dull as dusk poured into the cell that I had reached my decision. First, of course, I would take my money’s worth. And Mammon begat Moloch. The thought was enough to arm for the deed. I slipped the packet of condoms from my pocket and turned my back to sheathe myself: there was no need to alarm her prematurely, but I doubt that she would have noticed anyway. As I gagged her with my handkerchief (writing these words I feel again her limbs, thin and taut as wire, furiously, surprisingly, active under my hands), a sense of sudden irritation at the improvisation briefly possessed me; I overcame it, recognizing it for what it was, a symptom of my belief that I would be able to extricate myself from my current situation, and proceeded to take her twice, by cono, by culo, twice achieving orgasm, once throttling her to the point of insensibility, once throttling her beyond it. Well beyond it. And how was it for you, my dear? I can only echo those ambiguous words of that nineteenth century co-mentalist of mine: it was fine and hot. Very hot. When I had finished I slipped the second condom from my subsiding prick, and swallowed it. I could taste her blood and shit on it. They didn’t do anything for me. You come across me five years too late for that. In a way, so did she. I lifted her body to the other side of the cell, where there was the narrow, chuckling drain-cum-urinal I think I’ve already mentioned (looking back, I see I haven’t, but this failure of scene-setting adds verisimilitude to my story, don’t you think?), and started to try to bite her throat out. It wasn’t as easy as I had anticipated. I couldn’t get a grip, for a start, her skin was so slippery with sweat, and when I could the cartilage of her throat had a tendency to collapse under my jaws. In the end, I gnawed an opening with my incisors and did the rest with my fingers. There wasn’t much blood in her, which was just as well because there wasn’t much water running through the drain. I held her upsidedown by her ankles for ten or fifteen minutes (very easily, if you ask: she only weighed about five-and-a-half stones and I at the time was nearly three times that) and she drained as sweetly as she’d squirmed me to orgasm a little while before. But my difficulties, of course, were but barely begun. Easiest first: I cracked her skull open on the wall, widened the opening with a piece of cement pried loose from the floor, and scooped out and variously sucked and chewed my way through its – her skull’s – contents. Still warm, of course, even a little steaming. My reader is, I doubt not, a citizen of the world (note my carefulness in avoiding gender offence), an educated and well-read being, and will have heard of the experiment (alas, now discredited) with the carnivorous worms (planaria), that had once seemed to demonstrate a cannibalistic transference of the brain’s memories possible. I thought of this as her brains spilled down my chin, as I chewed and swallowed and reached my hand within the small vessel of her skull for more. If it were true, what should I see, what feeling rising, as if from mist, into memory? The wretchedness of her life, the hunger, the privations, the glitter of oily scum upon the waters of the harbour, the buzz of disturbed flies from some victim of the death squads near her childish place of play, if time for play she had ever had? The emotions of her life, or its sensations? Would the final, the sharpest memory rise into place first, my violation of her, my bursting of her immature, unripe vessels, the throbbing of my sticky hot seed in-but-not-into her? And would this be pain to me or would I, laying memory

against memory, that of the violated against that of the violator, like two halves of some broken, before-perfect object, take fresh pleasures in the deed, feeding on the dolorous delight? It did not happen, unless in dreams, and forgotten. It was not long before my fingers brushed over the slick inner surface of her cranium, and I was lifting a dangling last fragment of nerve or blood vessel, to be dropped upon my tongue and rolled savourously before swallowing. I examined her now, laying her slack, exhausted frame upon the floor of the cell and running my fingers over her to a place to begin anew. The gaping orifice of anus or vagina seemed a likely point, but my probing fingers could gain no sufficient purchase to begin the tearing out of her flesh. The piece of cement I had used in the breaking-open of her skull was roughly blade-shaped. I worked out an edge for it, singing a little to myself to the rhythm of its reiterated rasp against the floor, and used it to begin cutting fillets from her pudenda. One I ate at once, placing an end in my mouth and allowing the remainder of its length, seasoned with the sweat of prae morte and the piss of post, to hang down my chin. Slowly I chewed it upwards, the action of my teeth working blood from it to remoisten the brain fluids dried in the grooves of my face and drip to the floor. One fillet only: the remainder, whistling a little to same tune as I had sung, I laid out upon the floor in one, two, three rows. I forget how many in each. I turned her over then and, familiarized with the idiosyncrasies of my tool and her flesh, opened out her nates around the shit-and-blood-plugged anus in petals of raw flesh, sawing outward from the dark, pungent hole again and again. Here, once more, once, I allowed myself a mouthful, rolling together a ball of shit and strip of buttock and placing it centrally upon my tongue and not chewing, not chewing, not chewing, but allowing the flow of saliva to wash the flavours free, the iron tang of blood, the fumourous pungence of shit, and then chewing, chewing, chewing, and swallowing it down with a sigh – ironic, self-aware – of satisfaction. I wanted to gorge –was gorged, of course, in, at penis – but restrained myself. The smooth wall of her belly bent inward to the point of my crude knife, but did not break. I looked up, half-remembering, and saw almost at once, my eyes guided to the spot by subconscious recollection, the cheap hair-clip that had dropped free from her whip lashing head as I pounded away at her. It was tiny, but metal, and I had soon sharpened one edge against the floor and cut out an opening into her belly. Small, but soon widened by the cement knife. The cut widened, lengthened, releasing hot stench into the cell, but the bound-in coiling of her innards was reluctant, reluctant until some instantaneous point of cohesion-to breakage was reached – a last straw ultimate gota of resistance –and she was unfolded, poured out: glistening, thick, still-yet-faintly-steaming ropes and bags, vessels. I thrust my hand into them, thrust both, hefted the warm weight, probed it. A slick kidney squirmed in my clasping hand as I tore it free of its tubery, brightest applered, less then apple-sized, apple-sweet or better. My mouth was so eager upon it that it seemed no part of me, a mechanism running loose and vigorous beneath my usurped brain, but my throat opened and swallowed to conscious command. The liver was largest, a two-handed task. My face was a red mask now, my eyes and teeth white and rolling in it, sanguineous nigger minstrel I, and my arms were engorged to the elbow: if I lifted my hands, threads of swift blood sewed sensation into my very armpits.

I ate, relaxed into gorging, seasoning the fat feats of her guts with the fillets of raw pudenda flesh laid out upon the floor or with the collected balls of shit-with-strip-ofbuttock, swinging selfish hand at the flies that were beginning to filter into the cell, drawn through the window by the rich mephitis of her disembowelment. I belched, of course, intruding my own sound into her sound, the moist sound of her flesh eaten into me, the snap and tear of her flesh drawn forth from her dwindling body, and my belly swelled and tightened, sitting secure above my other swollenness, my other engorgement in the shaft and aching glans of my prick. Once, before her belly was quite emptied of its load, I relieved myself into her, a single blood-lubricated stroke sufficing for me to fire six white shafts into her red, welcoming gaping. The taste of my seed was lost in her, and my erection did not subside. Her heart was a morsel in truest sense. By then the flies were there in their hundreds, and two or three, caught up as I tore forth, buzzed briefly and crunched in the rich foldings and chambers as my teeth worked upon it. The heart did not seem like flesh: so strong was the iron of her blood in its flavour, so rich the fluids pressed from it upon my tongue, that I imagined it a flower grown of blood, wholly of blood, animate and pounding upon the black red tide that gave it life. Her ribs cracked like incongruous frost in the sweating air of the cell as I worked to outhaul the light collapsed bellows of her lungs, fragile beneath my fingers. I bit and chewed, seeming to taste the grit and fumes of the air pumped into, out of their foamy fragility over the brief years of her existence in that polluted city. The flies shrouded her in buzzing black, swirling up where my hands moved on her to reveal their eggs dry white pearls against her moist red meat. I was stripping her to the bone now, scraping muscle from the thin struts of the framework on which she had hung herself and moved. Her face was still mostly intact, mask-like on the emptied vessel of her skull, expressionless and sleeping without pain as I sliced and tore her flesh away. It I would eat last, eyes and nose and tongue and cheeks and chin. Her eyelashes, matted with some disease, were specked with fly eggs; specked too her snot-sealed nostrils, and the hollows of her face were sprinkled with the eggs, like a dust of sleep. Given time, my eating would be superfluous. She would be stripped to the bone by maggots, squirming voracious threads far more efficient then I, but fatally slow, and useless against the final residuum of the bones. At last, all possible eating –almost – was done. Grinding away at the tough little leaf of an ear, I began to disarticulate her, snapping the threads and bands of tough cartilage that anchored into place elbow and knee, wrist and ankle, shoulder and hip. I laid the bones side by side, belching the rich gases of first digestion from my distended belly, and musing on the extreme final smallness that dismantlement had given her: an armful of moist bones. It seemed hardly possible that I should have thrust out such pleasure for myself between those thin sticks of femur in that narrow bowl of pelvis, or that that small broken skull could have contained any but dull, shadowy, insect pains, not worth the shouting or gagging of. Belching more frequently, and groaning a little at the quickening rhythms of digestion, I cracked her bones and scooped out her marrow with blunt fingertips. Reanimate, by some goddish miracle, she should limp now, like Thor’s goat; shortly, as I began to smash the bones into fragments, even limping would be beyond her.

She seemed to me curiously brittle. I have sometimes trawled my collection of pediatric texts in search of some disease that would explain this brittleness. There are several such, but I can fix none for certain, for, of course, I cannot be certain that she was brittle: she was the first and last, the alpha and omega of my experience of paedophagy: all I can say is that she struck me that way. I made no little noise in this final stage but there was no investigation, no grinding open of the cell door, no catching of me in flagrante by some saturnine official in uniform darkly stained at armpit and crotch. I had expected none. I dropped the splinters and chips of bone one by one into the drain and the dark swift current took them from me. It will be thought fortunate that I had this means of disposal of her bones. It was so, I make no denial, but I was prepared to eat even these last fragments of her, had it proved necessary. It would not have been good for my digestion, but that was the case with what I had already eaten of her – and this my bowels were telling me as I fed the drain. When the last piece of bone had been given and taken, they had begun trumpeting imminent rebellion, sonorously shafting the foul air of the cell with fresher stinks. I seized the opportunity. The floor of the cell was, as can be readily imagined, replete with evidences of my child-cannibalism, and I had already been casting for a means of damming the drain and flooding out the stains that told against me. Here, in my own body, born of hers, was the means. I crouched against the corner where the drain entered the wall, and plugged its progress with several kilograms – there is no exaggeration in this, I assure you – of semifluid dung. With a hand dabbled at intervals in the already rising water I cleansed my smarting anus as well I could and washed my face and upper body clean, and then retired to the bed. The sagged deeply, squalling metallically under my weight. From this vantage point I watched as the water spread across the floor of the cell, darkening as it found the dark stains of her blood and body still fresh, the stains lifted into the water easily; what proved deeper-set I later scrubbed out into the water with her dress wrapped around my hand. After an hour or so, I broke the faecal dam, splashing across to it ankle-deep, and the dark water drained from the floor, carrying with it the last of her (almost: her clothing would later, torn into fragments, go the way of her bones on the renewed current of the drain, and there was a final pleasure to be had from her in memorial seed-squirting into the pathetic doll’s-triangle of her knickers). A sophisticated forensic examination of the cell would undoubtedly have uncovered an embarrassment of evidences of the murder: I merely remind you of the setting of my tale. Thereafter, despite the continuation of my imprisonment some day-and-a-half, I was free. There was no case against me: none to accuse, none to accuse on behalf of. My last action before leaving the country was the hiring of a cleaning company to scour all the cells with harsh, hugely expensive chemicals: a gesture on my behalf to those unfortunate enough to have to endure them in the future, and a final insurance against any truth emerging from my ill-starred little adventure. Since then I have been considerably more circumspect in indulgence of my sexual tastes.

B.V.M. The flame flicked back into the nozzle of the blow-torch. I removed the gag and allowed the screaming to begin, then walked from the hut and sat down in my deck-chair to smoke a cigarette. A second or so later, Captain Mpengwe stumbled past me from inside the hut. I lit my cigarette and he began to vomit, kneeling in the shadow of a thorn tree. Behind us, the screaming continued. I flicked ash from my cigarette, holding it away from my body. In the sun, the ash seemed very white against the fine red sand. A black insect, glittering, strutted minutely to and fro on the toe of my left boot. The captain stood up and turned around. He dabbed at the sides of his mouth with knuckled fists and bent to brush sand from the creases of his trousers. I drew on my cigarette and blew smoke, watching him. I had not expected him to react this way. He had seen many deaths, surely, in his career. Supervised many. Been responsible, directly or indirectly, for many. He was unbuckling the holster of his handgun now, had sand got into that too? No. No, it was not the sand. He was pointing the gun at me. I stared at him for a moment, then turned my eyes away, looking out over the thorn trees, and the desert. I am – I know it better then anyone – mad, but it is not a dissociative madness, a disconnective or divorcitive, or whatever the presently fashionable jargon is. I am in the world, I observe it. I have always prided myself on being able to judge with some precision how another will react to me and what I do. Here, for once, I had not. I was not able to begin to review where I had made a mistake or misinterpretation, for he was already speaking to me. I looked back at him and said, “I’m sorry, you’ll have to repeat that. I wasn’t paying attention.” I thought of adding that the screaming did not make it any easier to hear him either, but, though it was perfectly true, I judged (correctly, I think) that it would not have been well received. His mouth opened again, then closed. He jerked his gun at me, indicating that I should move away from the hut, into the desert. “Can I bring the deck-chair with me?” If he said “No”, he had presumably decided to shoot me; if “yes”, then he merely wished to talk away from the hut, where we could speak and hear clearly. After that, he might still decide to shoot me, of course. He shrugged. I took it to mean yes. I stood and folded the deck-chair up, put it under my arm, and started to walk in the direction he had indicated. He must have gone into the hut almost at once. I heard a gunshot and turned my head to see him walking out of the hut. The screaming had stopped. He said, “Walk until I tell you to stop.” I walked out among the thorn trees. He was about three metres behind me; when I glanced back, he was pointing the gun at my back. Once, a heavy insect sewed a buzzing seam into the air between us, otherwise there was silence, except for the soft semi-crunch of our boots in the sand, until he said, “Stop.” I turned. “Here?”

I nodded towards the shadow of the nearest thorn tree. He made no response. I carried the deck-chair over to the tree and set it up in the shadow. He remained standing in the sun, pointing the gun at me. I sat down, wondering whether I would have time to smoke another cigarette. He said, “Tell me why.” “Why what?” “Why you did what you did.” “It is my job.” “Why is it your job? Do you take pleasure in it?” “Certainly. I –“ The barrel of the gun arced left-right. “Shut up,” he said. “Tell me why. Tell me how you began. Tell me why.” I thought, You are going to get very hot, standing in the sun while I tell you, but he didn’t seem to care, so I turned my eyes away from him, away into the red desert and the thorn trees, and began. “You expect me to say, of course, that it was something in my childhood. My adolescence. Or perhaps not. Whatever, there must be some explanation for it, for what I do. It cannot have been a choice. It cannot have been an exercise of will in absence of a cause. Or can it? I don’t know.” I stopped speaking. He motioned with his gun again, but so gently that it was almost as though he had not motioned at all. I continued, boring myself further. “It is a matter of religion, with me, nowadays. I worship a deity. It is sexless, but deep down I sometimes think it is female. Like a Madonna. Are you Catholic. No longer? But you will still understand me when I say that if I must picture my deity, I see it, see her as a Madonna, with robes not of sky blue but of blood red. Her face is – forgive me if you do not know the term – anaemic. In its literal sense. She is thirsty for blood. But not thirsty in a literal sense. This is paradoxical, I am aware, but that is religion for you. You understand me, I hope? I do not sacrifice lives to her, to it, to this deity of mine, who is after all, perhaps, only me myself – my self- but minds. I destroy minds with pain. Often, this means death, but death is only incidental to my purpose. I seek only to sacrifice minds. There is no surer way then pain. The crudest, the least scientific pain. The flame of a blowtorch, applied anywhere, but especially to the breasts or genitals. It will kill but, well-judged, not quickly. Just now, you have cut short the sacrifice of a mind to this deity of mine. In a way, that is blasphemy. I could choose to regard it as such. If, she could choose to so regard it. Perhaps we are the same, I and it, I and she. Perhaps we shall choose. Time will tell. Do you wish to know any more?” He said, “Yes. More.” I looked at his face. It had begun to shine with sweat. “Consider the problem,” I said, and paused After ten seconds or so he motioned with his gun again, saying, “The problem of what” “Of pain. The problem of pain.” Enthusiasm flared up in me. Perhaps a literal enthusiasm. I continued. When I had finished I was sure that at times I had been speaking too fast for him to understand me. “The problem of pain. But of course, there is no problem to pain. “Consider,” I said

“Consider the capacity of the human body for pleasure. Sometimes, it is pleasant to eat, to drink, to see, to touch, to smell, to hear, to make love. The mouth. The eyes. The fingertips, The nose. The ears. The genitals. Our voluptific faculties (if you will forgive me the coinage) are not exclusively concentrated here. The whole body is susceptible to pleasure, but in places there are wells from which it may be drawn up in greater quantity. But not inexhaustibly. How long is it possible to know pleasure> Rich Romans ate to satiety, and then purged their overburdened bellies and ate again. But they could not eat for ever. A rose is sweet, but the nose becomes habituated to its scent. And what of the most intense pleasures, the personality-annihilating ecstasies of sex? I am no longer a young man; even if I chose to discard my celibacy I would surely have lost my stamina, re-erecting in half-hours where once it was minutes. And yet if youth were restored to me fully, and I engaged again in what was once my greatest delight – to be fellated at stool by nymphet with mouth still blood-heavy from the necessary precautions – what then? What if my supply of anodontic premenstruals were never-ending, what then? Surely, in time, I should sicken of it. “Even if I were a woman, and could string orgasm on orgasm like beads on a necklace, in time I should sicken of it. Do you think Messalina, in that competition of hers with a courtesan, knew pleasure as much on the first occasion as the last? Impossible. “Yet consider. “Consider pain. “Give me a cubic centimeter of your flesh and I could give you pain that would swallow you as the ocean swallows a grain of salt. And you would always be ripe for it, from before the time of your birth to the moment of your death, we are always in season for the embrace of pain. To experience pain requires no intelligence, no maturity, no wisdom, no slow working of the hormones in the moist midnight of our innards. We are always ripe for it. All life is ripe for it. Always. “Consider,” I said. “Consider the ways in which we may gain pleasure. “Consider. “Consider the way in which we may be given pain. “The one is to the other as the moon is to the sun.” His face had turned glassy with sweat. He said: “Are you mad?” “Of course. Mad and evil, which are the same. In my case. It is sometimes said that evil is stupid. That is true, but life is stupid. Pain is stupid. If I wanted other justifications for what I do, I could say this. Or I could say that my deity commands me. Requires sacrifice of me. Perhaps this is so, but I choose not to recognize it. I disguise it from myself. My motives are clear, but I obscure them. Pointlessly, stupidly. Evilly, if you like. But it amuses me to so. I play games with myself.” “And with this?” He jerked the gun in the direction of the hut. “With that. I had the power to do it. She was there. You have the power to do now what you do. I am here. You play games with me. Perhaps we play games with each other.” He said, “No, that is not true. I want to understand why. That is all. To understand why.” I said, “Then you want to understand the impossible. There is nothing deep or mysterious about me. I am like glass, I have nothing to hide from you, and that is why you will never

understand me. Never understand what I do. Why I do it. I know this, though I also know that at any moment you could choose to let yourself understand. But you never will.” He said, “I understand you.” “Then you have chosen to do so. Now that you understand, you will choose for me. You will choose whether to kill me or to let me live.” “I chose that a long time ago.” “To kill me?” “Yes.” I took my eyes away from the thorn trees and looked at his face. That moment felt like many, many other moments I have known. He raised the gun fully. It was pointing at my head. I would have been glad to fell at that moment, but I felt nothing. I was merely bored. If he had asked me to speak again, to argue for my life, I should have refused. I only wanted to sleep, at his hands or of my own accord. It is boring for me now to say what happened. He did not fire the gun. He lowered it and walked away. A minute later, as I was drifting off to sleep, I heard a shot. He was a fool. But then, so am I. But I am a live fool. Ave Maria.

A LA JAPONAISE At Lhasa, we hired a DC3. It was very cold. I was remembering standing on the balcony of the little hotel that overlooked the runway, and enjoying the way the air gnawed at the tooth-marks on the glans of my wilting penis. Was the plane somewhere below me, cruciform in the darkness, waiting to fly us away the following morning? I cannot remember. The chiming tones in the voices of the two prostitutes in the room behind me brought me up again, rhabdomantic of re-fulfillment, and I returned to the warm erotic fug we three had created together since nightfall. There is a pronoun… no, no, that is a whisky memory. Forgive me. I am a boring old fart. A cancer-riddled, boring old fat. As I lie here in darkness, whispering into the microphone, my body seems to reveal its secrets, faecal lumps of cancer fluorescing through the melting transparency of my flesh, pouring their poisons into the clogging reticulation of my veins and arteries. They are clustered thickest in the uro-genitary region, as though feasting on the afterglow of the energies I once regularly roused there. I piss, shit blood. Either act of excretion (mostly they are combined) seems to slit me like a razor. I weep involuntarily and my mouth tastes like sour rust. Even farting is agony. It is most interesting. From Lhasa, we flew to Shanghai. Mem was – what is the word? –stoned. Stoned blind. Already. On some potent cocktail of impure hallucinogens he had bought in Delhi. And on some mephitogenic STD he had bought there also. He rotted visibly before our eyes. Stank. Whimpered in articulo delirii. We were hugely amused by him. Aleph was for an act of gang-buggery over the sea of Japan, and the flinging of his violated semi-corpse into the cleansing chill of the slipstream. Half-seriously, we debated the mechanics of it, but he died before the act could near consummation. I cannot remember my position on the topic. I had latterly discarded the literal enactments of my etudes sadiques. I had? Perhaps. I am certain that then I felt no sympathy for him. Make what you will of this partial syllogism. If such it be. To return: from Lhasa, we flew to Shanghai. It was the first day of May, laurel outlives not. Another memory comes to me of another hotel balcony in the darkness, and me leaning upon a rust-puckered railing. The air is warm. A chiming voice rises from the room behind me and the centre of my body is engorged with anticipation. I hallucinate briefly, and the distant sounds of the city are transformed into the soft clattering of a planet-girth’s of teletype machines, pouring currency in rivers in the final preparations for the flight. Would you believe if I told you that there was some danger that the end would have been achieved by negotiation, or by a demonstration on uninhabited territory? And that we obviated this? No? But you have heard the stores of the mistranslation, of course? But you cynicism will not stretch for far? Nor mine. But believe me, worse has been done. From Shanghai, we flew to an island off the town of Matsue. It was a day before. We were briefed by Lamedh, calculatedly camp. Adjectivus pandes? If you had known him, you would not quibble at the lapse. Sybarite. Pope Honorius. Forgive the free association. To return: on the day, as the time approached, we assembled on the beach, and presented wan faces and nigrous lenses to the south-east. A second sun. The air was embrittled and shattered with light. An egg, broken upon the sprawling plate of the city, with a yolk of thunderous gold. We snuffed the bruised fluids of its breaking, straining to hear, impossibly, the cries of the wounded.

Thereafter, cosmesis, and the cool smooth fingertips of a half-dozen Philippina theatrices enlivening our skin towards shallowness. Epicantic folds were bestowed upon us by the application of masterly gums and we practiced again the shielding coprolaliae of shock devised for us against mischanceful encounters with authority. The sound of a steamwhistle, climbing like a rocket into the over-lowering sky. Our vessel was arrived. We embarked, the fresh cotton of our medical vestments harsh against the heightened sensibility of our skin. I remember – or did I watch another? – leaning against the sternrail, savouring the harsh tobacco of a Turkish cigarette. It drizzled, the sky weeping its poisonous dusts onto us. I liked my lips but tasted nothing. I then, finally, the stub of my cigarette into the wake and heard, distinctly through the pulse and churn of the ship’s engine, the staticked hiss of its quenching in the envenomed sea. We handed over our personal possessions and received our new identities in handfuls of lighters and half-empty cigarette packets and family photograph and rice paper ideographically spiked. A final briefing in the oily bowels of the ship around the longnosed ambulance. Qoph was farting with excitement, trying to irritate Gimel by twisting each act fortissimo con vibrato. The ship rocked as it rode the larger waves near shore. The engine of the ambulance was started. It thundered in the confined space of the hold and the grey exhaust enfolded us in choking diesel. We found our places in the rear of the ambulance. We disembarked, driving straight from the ship onto a newly constructed jetty. A party of officials was standing on the sand of the beach. They watching us. Overhead, a fighter hung, pointed towards the open sea. The officials stood motionless, watching us. I watched them out of sight through the window in the back doors of the ambulance. Matsue had been heavily bombed. There was a thick, peculiar smell in the air, like dust baked with rotten meat. A narrow flag, black, tongued at the air above the shattered bulk of a temple, forming irregular syllables again and again. Down a side-street a banner hung in tatters. At the time, I could read a single of the Chinese characters upon it; I do not remember what it was, or whether it was used in its original sense. We were soon beyond the town and crowded and tugged each other for the first glimpse, through the observation panel at the front, of the sky above our destination. Smoke, smoke, smoke, smoke! The engine thundered us onwards. There were difficulties, of course, increasing in frequency and severity as we neared our giant playground, but our planning had been meticulous and our driver and his assistant, selected from many thousands of P.O.W.s, had been prominent on the Japanese stage before the war: their betrayal affected their eloquence not at all. Besides, the nearer we got the more those who questioned us knew the full scale of what had occurred, and the more they were aware of the value of the ambulance. We in the back sat very still, savouring the inspissating stinks on the air and exchanging quiet jokes about the refugees tumbling along the road beyond the ambulance windows. Quoph suggested at one point selecting a suitable pair of young women from the stream and inviting them into the van for medical treatment behind closed curtains. I think he was more than half-serious but he withdrew the suggestion very quickly when Gimel threatened to put him in need of medical attention himself with a carefully placed bullet. Gimel, of course, was no longer interested in females grown above waist height, but he was also determined to do nothing to risk the success of our venture. I often wonder what happened to Gimel. It was in Sydney, twenty-three years ago, that I last saw him. And he

had seemed the likeliest of us all to avoid the risks of the wholehearted pursuit of pleasure. The closer we came, the more excited we grew at the appearance of the refugees. Almost all seemed in shock, many were half-naked, many bore vivid burns or dripping wounds, some bandaged with the clumsiness of shock, some not bandaged at all. I believe that if Quoph had had the courage to repeat his suggestion, there would have been a majority in favour of it. Even Gimel’s eyes were glistening and he stirred restlessly in his seat as we ground by a crocodile of schoolgirls in torn and scorched uniforms, stumbling along in military order under the direction of a miniature schoolmaster from whose chin hung a coiling thread of constant blood. By then, even in the ambulance, the smell of burning made it unpleasant to breathe. At intervals clouds of smoke poured over the road, and intermingled with the wailing of the refugees and screams of the unattended wounded we could hear the clang of sirens and crackle and crash of giant fires. As though the city was a huge museum of architectural techniques, the buildings around us started to reveal more and more of their internal structure, lacking at first windows and roofs, then walls and entire storeys, and finally lying collapsed in wide heaps of raw material, brick and wood, as though waiting to be rebuilt. The ambulance rocked and jolted over the littered streets. Twice already we had had to reverse and find another route towards the centre of the city. Soon it would be impossible to continue. The stream of refugees was dwindled to almost nothing now, and the sounds we could hear were mostly those of the city’s consumption by fire. We were only minutes from final stopping, I think, when the roasted young woman rose beside the ambulance windows from the rubble, gesturing to us to stop. The smell of her invaded the ambulance at once. How she was still alive, I do not know. The hands with which she was gesturing to us were naked shining bone, and the destroyed flesh of her body, glistening with melted fat through a covering of dust, seemed mostly unmarked, though her hair was burnt off. She was weeping, though very gently, as though her injuries were only trivial, and it was more the shock of what had happened to her that was troubling her. We stopped the ambulance and carried her out of sight of the road, one or two of us sampling her roast flesh, pulling strips of her from her breasts, even before we had laid her to a suitably flat surface. I, uninterested in her as meat, was allowed a minute or two to sample her vagina with my penis. I scalded myself in doing it: even internally, she was boilingly hot. The congealed fat in my pubes I wouldn’t be entirely free of for more then a day. A second before orgasm, I jerked myself free and had salted her from belly to face before one of the waiting gourmands, shouting, could push me off aim. I thought she was dead by then, but as my semen hit her face her tongue emerged and tasted it. I think she though it was perhaps rain, finally falling to quench her from the smoke-shrouded heavens. I returned to the ambulance to wait for the eating to finish: Shamekh later told me that she remained alive for almost the entire session, staring straight upward. Quoph had pissed on her face to see if she’d taste it again, but she didn’t, and even her eyes stayed open under the stream, staring upward through sockets overflowing with urine. I suggested that maybe she was dead then but Shamekh said no, she was still breathing. Her breasts and thighs had yielded the best meat. Toward the end her heart had been visible, throbbing irregularly through the stripped cage of her ribs. Gimel had thrust a

chopstick into it and blood had fountained thickly and surprisingly, washing her upper body and face clean of what Quoph and I had seasoned her with. Then, Quoph and Shamekh had masturbated onto her, sadistically anxious that she should not leave them clean even beyond death, and after that they had all piled blocks of concrete over her and come back to the ambulance, belching and smiling at the success of the first encounter. The ambulance was taken as far as it could be, and left in the safest place we could find. The fires were at their fiercest by then and visibility was down to less then ten metres with smoke. Daleth, eschewing a gas-mask, would later to be found in a relatively undamaged corpse of a pregnant woman, having been perhaps suffocated by a gust of poisonous gases, and I myself almost lost my way back to the ambulance at the end of the way, some fault in some gas-mask’s seal allowing a little smoke into the eyepieces and nearly blinding me as I explored the ruins of, I think, a hospital. Ah, but bliss it was in that dawn to be alive. The slight scald I had received in penetrating roast vulva earlier in the way served merely to heighten the sensitivity of my member, and the rapes, necrophiliac and living, I carried out during that long, smoky day remain among the brightest of such memories. If I have a single regret, it is that I was perhaps too undiscriminating in my tastes, once spending an enjoyable half-hour over the simultaneous castration and buggery of a muscular, broken-backed youth whose lusty screams doubtless masked the dying moans of a delicious pucelle, a metre or so away, who I can only suppose was his sister and whose orifices were tightened by agony beyond any hope of penetration by the time I stumbled across her. Half-an-hour of buggery-cum-clitoridectomy with her would have been considerably more enjoyable than its equivalent with her brother, who was a little too loose for my tastes. But such is life. By the time we were assembled at the ambulance at the end of the day, our uniforms soaked with enough blood to suggest that we had slaved tirelessly in human assistance, I had enjoyed more then enough to compensate me for the omission, and I would hear of better occasion for regret from my exhausted comrades in the course of our slow emergence from the city. I grow tired now. More tomorrow, perhaps.

ORPHEA With the edge of the photograph he skimmed the last of the semen from the head of his penis and flicked it down onto the white splash on the yellow sand of the desert. The edge felt very sharp, almost as though it would draw blood. He had already started to fell husked by the heat: the sensation of masturbation at 40 C had been unlike anything he had experienced before: at one point, a few seconds before orgasm, his heart had been beating so fast that it seemed to purr or vibrate inside his chest rather than bear, and he had wondered whether climaxing was going to kill him. He ran his finger down the edge of the photo, smearing the residue of semen out so that it would dry more quickly. He had brought the photo in a small town on the edge of the desert; it was the third he had used; it would last him until the city, he though. He walked across the few feet of sand separating him from the car, zipping and buttoning himself up one-handed. The sand was very fine underneath his feet. He hadn’t touched it, hadn’t wanted to touch it, though he couldn’t quite understand why. The dis-desire was still with him, seemingly strengthened by the fact that he had spilled semen onto the sand. He reached the car and pulled the towel away from the driver’s window and got in. A patch of seat not shielded by the towel cut scaldingly into the underside of a thigh. He dropped the photo onto the back seat face-up and turned the key, running the engine in neutral for a few seconds, feeling his skin loosen under the blast of cool air from the air conditioning. He drove back onto the road and ran the car up to and slightly beyond the speed limit. When he had been standing on the sand, the desert had seemed huge, expanding in a all directions around him in a red-gold ocean-plain until it dissolved into the sky; on the road, it seemed to have flattened and shrunk, losing its death-mystery, or veiling it in preparation for the next time he stood outside the car. One-handed, he put a tape reel into the bulky tape recorder sitting in the passenger seat, umbilical’d to the lighter-slot, and pressed PLAY. The tune-in hissed and the car was filled with static, his favourite so far, recorded towards midnight in the car-park of the motel he had used three days before. There had been a meteor shower going on at the time, tears of bright light against an acne of stars; he had no idea if the quality of the static (rich in bass and mid-treble) had been influenced by it, but it was good to think so. He blinked slowly ten or a dozen times into the unreeling ribbon of tarmac ahead of him, seeming to see the bright tear-streaks of the meteors on the red-black universe behind his eyelids. Another car passed him going in the opposite direction, a white Ford like one he had almost bough at the beginning of the trip. He pushed his hand through his hair, squeezing at the top of his skull at the memory. When he dropped his hand back to the wheel, a little blade of hair, sealed together with dried sweat, dislodged, began to dance irregularly on one temple in the swirl of the airconditioning. He tried to read its dabs on his skin as Morse but its messages were nonsense, streams of jumbled vowels and consonants with only an occasional digraph conveying anything to him. He turned the air-conditioning up and the blade stopped touching his skin, held free on the increased flow of air. His right ear, nearer to the tape recorder, had started to feel hollow, desensitized by its unequal exposure to the static. He had experimented with the tape recorder on the back seat, directly behind him, equidistant from each ear, but the flex connecting it to the lighter-slot had been

dangerously stretched and besides, it was impossible for him to change or stop a tape reel while driving. It was difficult even with the tape recorder on the seat beside him, but he was practiced now, and could do it without taking his eyes off the road for a second. Two or three times in the early days he had nearly killed or been killed changing a reel. He hadn’t, as in the past, had the feeling that he couldn’t die until he had finished what he planned to do. He could die before he reached his destination, very easily, but he didn’t care, though it mattered to him very much that he should reach the city and book into the hotel overlooking the road down which the two cars would come. As they had come so many times in the dream. He glanced back over his shoulder, not able to see the photo where it lay on the back seat, merely acknowledging its presence to himself. It was publicity for her latest film, he though. She was laughing, baring a moon’s curve of teeth. There was a mountain in the background, misty with distance. He thought it was European, not American, but didn’t know why. He no longer felt the need to see or even find out about the films she starred in. The tape reel ran silent for a few seconds. A mechanism clicked. He took the reel out and put another into the machine. Another good one, one of the first he had recorded, in a hotel overlooking the sea. His taste hadn’t been as pure then as it was now, and there were still a few words in the static, bobbing up into its seething like debris floating up from a sunken liner into disturbed surface water. In his motel room later in the day, standing with an empty glass in his hand and watching the sun eviscerate itself on the sharp line of the horizon, he felt the dream coming again. He sat down on the floor and lay back, stretching himself, allowing the glass to fall from his fingers. He closed his eyes and the shadowy images sealed into sharp focus inside his head. There was synaesthesia this time too, as there had been increasingly as he made his way west, nearer and nearer. The glitter of street-lamps on the cars’ metal smelt to him of burnt rubber, and he tasted the smear of blonde beyond one windshield, in the passenger seat, as blood. It lay thickly on his tongue. When the end came, the scream of brakes and tyres was colour, golds and greens and reds radiating through his head like the stress fractures in a hybrid crystal. He opened his eyes and sat up. The sun had caught the traces of whisky in the glass lying on its side next to him, and they glowed like splashed of molten metal. He picked the glass up, tipped it toward the ceiling and allowed a last drop to gather and run onto his tongue. Later he showered and went to bed. He was two days away now. As he drove away from the motel in the morning, he felt as though the sun rising at his back was blasting him into the west, blasting him forward into a space it had cleared for him as much inside his own head as in the world outside. He drove in silence for two hours, not needing the static or the picture still lying on the back seat, not for the time being. Finally he was beginning to feel that he was invulnerable, invulnerable until he had finished, until the dream had played itself out below the window of his hotel room, until he had walked out of the room, down the corridor, into the elevator, out of the hotel, onto the street, and reached out for and picked up what was waiting for him inside the smouldering wreckage. The desert absorbed him into itself. He drove. In his motel room that night, for the last time, he squirted semen over the photo, covering the smiling face. Only the mountain remained visible, rising from the irregular splash of

his semen as though from a sea of foam, or a sea of milk. The image caught somewhere inside his head, as though it snagged against a hidden memory was washed up on a reef of archetype. He washed the photo in the bathroom and rested it to dry on the windowsill. She smiled, and in the background the mountain rose, misty with distance. The dream would not come again. Its realization was too close in time and space, and the tremors or reflections of it that had reached him over weeks were gone, swallowed into its nearness. Instead, that night, he dreamed of other things, his brain weaving a long shore of black sand from the ceaseless sigh of the air-conditioning. Three or four skeletal palms cut their shapes into a star-crowded sky, and the smell of the sea was too clean. Meteors wept from the zenith. He awoke on the morning of the final day. Before evening he would have booked into the hotel overlooking the road down which the cars would come. Before he left the room he tore up the photo and set fire to the fragments one by one over an ashtray. Yellow flame ran up the curve of her smile like caries. He crushed the black ashes with the tip of the index finger of his left hand, feeling little sparks of heat sting into it, and stood before the mirror to write an ‘A’ inside an Ω on his forehead. There were many other impulses inside his head, red and rich, but fulfilling them would delay him, or prevent him arriving altogether. He went out to his car. Got in. The tape-recorder sat beside him on the passenger seat, squat and heavy and self-contained like an idol. He took off a shoe and started to smash all the glass in it with the heel, working furiously and concentratedly, starting to sweat heavily almost at once. A head appeared in the window of the reception cabin, staring out at him. He looked up once and then ignored it. Droplets of sweat started to smear the symbol on his forehead. He started to tear the tape-reels apart, draping the magnetic strips over the seats of the car, over himself. There were two heads in the window now. He put the shoe back on and started the car. A drop of black sweat flowed suddenly into his right eye, stinging, blinding it. He drove into the red-gold desert, Last day. He didn’t switch the air-conditioning on. Instead, he wound down the windows and let the air outside flow in and over him, fluttering the strips of tape. By mid-afternoon the air was scaldingly hot. Lengths of tape fluttered through the windows, undulating on the air like tongues of seaweed around a wreck. Occasionally one would break free and be lost, writhing for an instant in the rearview mirror into knots that tied and untied themselves. He grew dehydrated and something solid that he would once have recognized as pain settled around his head and tightened. At midday he drew over to the side of the road and passed a few deciliters of bright yellow urine into an empty mineral water bottle. When he had finished he inverted the bottle over his head and drove off. The thick fluid dried quickly in the heat, crystallizing in his hair and adding a thin glaze to his features, blaring pungently in his nostrils. The symbol on his forehead was almost gone now. He arrived in the city at dusk. The coloured lights of traffic signals seemed to be crystallizing out of the thickening darkness, appearing ahead of him, to left and right, everywhere. Like eyes, opening on his coming. He went into the hotel stinking, still trailing fragments of magnetic tape, with an obviously empty suitcase swinging in his hand. The receptionist gaped at him, didn’t reply for a few seconds when he asked for a room, asked for the room. He paid cash. His head throbbed. He could feel the receptionist’s eyes watching him as he went to the elevator. She might ring the police. Almost certainly, she would call the

hotel manager, describe him. But he knew how it would sound, knew what the manager would say. Some guy coming in after an all-day party, so what? If his money was OK, forget it. There would be no words to capture the truth. He put the key into the lock of his room and turned, pushed. The room opened in front of him. He went in and closed the door. Outside the window, down in the street, the lights of cares flowed and stopped, flowed and stopped. He leant his hands on the sill and stared down on them and waited. The three heavy eyes of the traffic signals opened and closed on him. The glass of the window vibrated minutely in its frame. The cars flowed and stopped. He waited. It was two or three in the morning. He had felt the glass in front of his face grow cool, cooler, cold. The cars came less frequently, and sometimes the giant green Cyclops eye of the traffic signal glowed on him for minutes at a time. His head was very clear now, like glass, transparent to ever passing second. The glass of the window vibrated in its frame. Two cars flowed together beneath him, on opposite sides of the road until the last few seconds. Sound crashed out beneath him, and the glass vibrated violently in its frame. There was no synaesthesia, no distortion. Everything was as it should have been. He left the room and got into the elevator, peeling strips of magnetic tape from himself and dropping them to the floor. The lobby of the hotel was brightly lit and perfectly silent. He walked to the door and out into the street. Beneath a wide star-strewn sky, enormous, like two beasts brought together in a semi-cannibalistic mating, the two cars waited for him, perfectly silent now, lying in an irregular circle of scattered debris. As he got closer, he smelt gasoline. Something moist drifted across his face. Gasoline was spraying onto the air. He walked forward into a mist of it, a rain of it, soaking into his chest and face. He closed his eyes and knelt and reached forward through the shattered side-window to grope for the thing that he knew was there. His fingers brushed softness, moved downwards, gripped and seized, and drew the thing out to him. He stood and walked to the side of the road. He wiped his face with a sleeve and opened his eyes. As he had read, as he had been told, the weight was surprising. He walked to the edge of the pool of light spilled by a street-lamp and squatted, placing the thing in his lap. Shapes moved on the periphery of his vision, man-sized shapes, but he ignored them. Nothing could stop him now. Even in violent death she was beautiful. He put a finger between the half-open lips and ran the tip over the teeth that had smiled for him over the days of his coming to this moment. He put more fingers into the mouth and levered it gently open. Blood form the stump was soaking into his trousers. He unzipped and eased his penis out. It had been erect from the moment he smelt the gasoline. He pushed it between the teeth, into the warm mouth, settling the head down onto it. His lap was full of gold. He took the Zippo out of its pocket and held it away from his body. With his other hand he gripped the nape of her neck and held her down on him. He was balanced on his toes now, squatting by the side of the road with heavy gold in his lap balanced on his toes, balanced perfectly. He span the wheel of the lighter. Someone had begun to shout, whether at him or the crash he didn’t know. It was hours too late to care. The lighter had caught. A faint breeze turned the flame away from him. He brought his arm in towards his chest and touched the flame to the gasoline-soaked cloth above his heart. Presently semen began to drip from the oval tracheal opening visible in the raw muscle of the underside of the stump. A minute or so later, still burning furiously above the waist, he toppled over and lay on his

side. An ambulance crew would find the head, still almost perfect, still clasped securely into his lap, still nailed onto his turgid penis. Only then would they realize whose the decapitated female body in one of the cars had been.

UPRIGHT He had nursed masturbatory fantasies of flogging the boy for nearly four terms. There was an alcove in his room, closed off with a dirty gingham curtain and representing some leftover oddity of the clock-tower’s conversion into living quarters, and here, face touched to musty cloth, he had frotted the fantasies to vivid life morning after morning, timing his orgasm to the sound of the breakfast bell and lapping at one bare plaster wall with the pale leaping tongues of his semen. The wall and floor of the alcove were coated with semen now, crystallized to faintly glistening yellow, layer on layer. Recently a mould had started to grow on it, furring it with purple and red; since the end of the first week of his committing the fantasies to the dry reality of his closed hand, the alcove had stunk. But that had never mattered: no-one else ever came into the room. It was the highest of the ten or so in what had been the school’s clock-tower, and he had always cleaned it himself, to save paying into the masters’ cleaning fun. Or so he had always said; in fact, it was so that he could always be certain that the room was locked and empty when he was not there. Nowadays he burnt the magazines regularly (he enjoyed possession of them even more because of this) but there were nearly always one or two in the room, and he no longer wished to take any more than the necessary risks. The boy’s name was Mandiola. He was eleven, rubio, icily confident both of his world and of his place in it, slender, good at French, drawing, sports, popular with his fellows, slightly suspect with perfects and masters, and possessed of a perfect, almost cherry-red, almost cherry-sized circumcised little glans penis and platonically perfect alabaster nates of which a conjoint momentary glimpse on a nature ramble was his (the mastigopaedophile’s) most treasured possession. He took Mandiola for Religion, Divinity, and had hated and lusted after him from almost the first day of their acquaintance. Mandiola had been not the worst behaved pupil in his class, but was certainly one of the subtlest and most inventive of the Raggers. Mandiola was, almost certainly, the mastermind behind the rag of the untuned radio, which had begun three weeks before; there was an active, if careless, vindictiveness in the rag that matched well with what he knew of the boy’s character. The rag itself was this: on most days now, someone in the class held concealed in his desk a portable radio tuned between stations, with its volume set to almost inaudible. Almost, almost, almost. There was a world of psychological subtlety in that word. He had a dozen times been on the point of ordering every desk opened for inspection and had a dozen times restrained himself almost too late, on realizing that the faint thread of static he could momentarily hear might be a dying fly on a windowsill in a far corner of the room, or a jet aircraft kilometers away over the orange groves, or the sound of some acoustic experiment drifting down the corridors from the arcane of the physics laboratories. If he ordered the desks opened and found nothing, he lost, and lost hugely; but if he ordered them opened and found, then he won for ever, or for the remainder of the term at least. It was too much to hope that Mandiola himself would be found to have the radio in his desk. Ah, too much to hope for, but not too much to fantasize upon. Three or four times since the rag had begun, as the class copied down notes from the blackboard, he had risen from his seat and walked up and down the rows of desks, trying to decide where the

whisper of static was coming from. Glances were exchanged behind his back at this, he knew, for he was not a habitual prambero (as the school slang went), not like Vicunas, the Latin master, who barely touched the shiny seat of his trousers to his chair for the whole of the lesson, preferring to sweep up and down censering the air with the fumes of his pipe and the knuckles and skulls of misconstruers and mispronouncers with a rule, or Neruda, who taught French, or on certain days, the deputy Head, Lozano But prambero or not, he could never decide, and would sit down back at his desk able to read nothing from the studiously blank faces in front of him. It was a very clever rag, he had to admit. A very quiet sound is almost as easy to imagine as it is to hear. Sometimes he wasn’t even certain if it was a rag. Perhaps it was the pipes, or creaks of the building settling after the very hot summer, or even a kind of tintinnital harbinger of middle age. The sound could have been all of these things; but it always sounded to him like the static of a radio tuned between stations, concealed in one of the desks with its volume set to almost inaudible. And then, three-and-a-half weeks ab initio, during a lesson in comparative classical religion, victory was handed to him. The rag was in progress, he was almost certain of it, for he had heard static whispering somewhere in the room as soon as he had come in, and had sense the eddying to and fro of knowing glances as he checked the previous day’s homework. He was turning back from the blackboard, about to ask a question, when a set of speakers crackled and the static suddenly increased in volume, hugely, filling the room. For a second he could not believe it. The sound was too loud: it must be coming from outside: speakers being checked for sports day, prize-giving, a fire drill, anything. Then he went a little weak at the knees. From underneath the lid of Mandiola’s desk, hitherto, incredibly, unnoticed, there hung a thin green wire, with bare copper twisted in a tiny noose at its end. Holding down an erection by force of will, he walked towards the desk. The sound got louder as he approached it. It was almost painful to listen to it. Relaxed in victory, he was able to admire the composure not only of Mandiola himself, but also the rest of the class. “Open your desk, Mandiola.” He had to shout to make himself heard above the static. Mandiola, playacting even now, a minute or less from supremely condign punishment, jumped as if with surprise; stared; half-shrugged; lifted the lid of his desk. Half of the interior was packed with wiring, green, yellow, red, blue, and with glittering or matt black electronic circuit, microprocessors, dozens of little pieces of metal and crystal and plastic he couldn’t put names to. The other half was filled with a single huge speaker. He could seethe centre of it throbbing with the force of the static pouring from it. The sound was getting louder all the time. “Turn it off, Mandiola.” He was screaming now. Mandiola was staring at him, his small, moist, perfect mouth half-open. “Turn it off, and get outside.” Mandiola didn’t move. O, Gloria in excelsis, it was better than he had ever imagined it would be. This justified a beating the likes of which the school had not seen for terms. For years. “Turn it off, Mandiola, and get outside.”

He didn’t even bother to wait for further dumb insolence. With one hand he pulled the boy out of his seat, and with the other he struck at the centre of the throbbing speaker. It broke easily, very easily. A shaft of something passed up his arm, leaving it numb, and he guessed that he had received an electric shock. But the sound was still getting louder. He tightened his grip on Mandiola’s arm and turned to another boy. “Goyeneche, have that silenced by the time I get back.” He hauled Mandiola from the room, delighting in the gaping stares that followed him, the class’s final failed attempt to rescue something from the wreck of the rag. “It worked very well, for a while, didn’t it?” he said in the corridor outside. “For a while. But I knew it was you all along.” But Mandiola was crying too much to answer him now, and perhaps had not even heard him through the gale of static blowing after them from the open door of the Divinity classroom. One of the physics laboratories was free. He gagged Mandiola with his own tie and stripped him, rationing himself to a single caress of the buttocks before he dragged him to, and began to lash him to, one of the benches, facedown, with circuit-testing wires from the electronics cupboards. He hauled Mandiola’s legs apart, tied the small feet into place, and gazed in reverence upon the tiny circumcised penis and scrotum, dangling pathetically between the trembling thighs, encircled with a faint, pale gold pubescence. Above them, the boy’s anus was a perfect pink lowercase ‘o’, a tiny mouth in a smooth white eyeless, noseless face, seeming to suck inwards for the heavy rod of the penis he had now released from restraint, bulging stiffly upwards in his trousers. But there was no way he would be able to justify that to the headmaster, when the time came. He knelt between the slender legs, took the penis and scrotum into his mouth, and gently tongued an erection from them. The glans penis tasted bitterly of urine. He stood up and walked over for one of the rods with which the highest latches on the lab’s windows were opened and closed. The static was too loud even here now for him to be heard, but he gave the lecture anyway, as it wanted ten minutes to the end of the lesson. “One form of sacrifice to Artemis amongst the Spartans, Mandiola, my boy, was, you will be doubtless be interested to hear, a flagellation of youths to beyond the point of orgasm. It was a species of fertility rite: an admixture of blood and semen, you will understand. I am not sure whether you have one half of the admixture in you, hovering yet on the brink of true pubescence as you are, but I am sure that we can make up in blood what we lack in side – and I, of course, can always supply that if the need arises or the whim takes me. But enough of preliminaries: to business. Artemis Orthaia is impatient for her sacrifice.” He lifted the rod and began, only briefly annoyed that the static deprived him of the sound of the rod descending on the boy’s initially perfect buttocks.

THE WINNOWING He walked up to the counter. The bored clerk said, hand hanging palm down over the five neat piles, “Deutsche?” He shook his head. “Polnisch?” He shook his head/ “Russisch?” He shook his head/ “Tschechisch?” He nodded, the hand dropped, the form was picked up, handed over, a pen dropped beside it. He smoothed it out with otiose care on the counter. It was pale green. He picked up the pen and began to write.
Name Maiden name (where applicable) Age Nationality Mother tongue Race Date of birth Place of birth Identity card number Marital status Spouse’s maiden name Spouse’s age Spouse’s nationality Spouse’s mother tongue Spouse’s race Spouse’s date of birth Spouse’s place of birth Spouse’s identity card number Names and ages of children (if any) . Father’s name Mother’s maiden name Mother’s place of birth Mother’s date of birth Names and dates of birth of siblings (if any) : Paternal Grandfather’s name Paternal grandmother’s name Paternal grandmother’s maiden name Maternal grandfather’s name Maternal grandmother’s name Maternal grandmother’s maiden name.

He looked up at the clerk, who shrugged and made a short sideways movement with an index finger. He put a dash and read on.
History of education (give dates and name of institutions attended) Certificates

Languages spoken Languages understood History of employment (give dates and names) Current employment Current place of work. Have you ever suffered from any of the following diseases or medical conditions: Alcoholism: YES/NO Cancer: YES/NO (If YES, specify type) Chilblains: YES/NO Diabetes: YES/NO Dysentery: YES/NO Ephysema: YES/NO Goitre: YES/NO Haemorrhoides: YES/NO Head aches: YES/NO Mammitis: YES/NO Measles: YES/NO Mumps: YES/NO Orchiditis: YES/NO Phimosis: YES/NO Phthisis: YES/NO Quinsy: YES/NO Tuberculosis: YES/NO Uvulitis: YES/NO Vaginismus: YES/NO Yaws: YES/NO Any other disease or medical condition?

He didn’t understand some of the words. Against these he put a question mark. Have any of your close relatives ever suffered from any of the following diseases or medical conditions (if YES, specify relation) :
Alcoholism: YES/NO Cancer: YES/NO (If YES, specify type) Chilblains: YES/NO Diabetes: YES/NO Dysentery: YES/NO Ephysema: YES/NO Goitre: YES/NO Haemorrhoides: YES/NO Head aches: YES/NO Mammitis: YES/NO Measles: YES/NO Mumps: YES/NO Orchiditis: YES/NO Phimosis: YES/NO Phthisis: YES/NO Quinsy: YES/NO Tuberculosis: YES/NO Uvulitis: YES/NO Vaginismus: YES/NO

Yaws: YES/NO Any other disease or medical condition?

Again, he put question marks against name he didn’t understand. The clerk had disappeared through a doorway behind the counter. A lavatory flushed. A few seconds later, the clerk reappeared through the doorway, shaking his hands dry. He continued with the form.
Have you carried out military service? YES/NO (if YES, give dates) Do you have a criminal Record? YES/NO (if YES, give details, including Police Identification Number) Are you the subject of a Restricted Movement Order? YES/NO (If YES, give Supplementary Identification Number) Have any of your relatives or friends carried out military service? YES/NO (If Yes, give dates) Do any of your relatives or friends have a criminal record? YES/NO (If YES, give details, including Police Identification Number(s) where available) Are any of your relatives or friends the subject of a Restricted Movement Order? YES/NO (If Yes, give Supplementary Identification Number(s) where available) Please use the following space for additional information you feel would be of value to the presiding authority. I declare that, to the best of my knowledge, the foregoing information is correct and that I have not deliberately withheld information of possible value to the presiding authority. Date.

He picked the form up and held it out to the clerk, who shook his head and indicated that he should check through it. He read through it again, correcting a few mistakes. The clerk accepted it and indicated that he was free to leave. He went out of the room. When the clerk was alone, he crumpled the form into a ball and dropped into it a slot set into the wall behind him. He then reached down behind the counter and pressed a switch. The faint humming of the X-ray machine built into the counter at waist height stopped.

PORNOGLOSSA The following represents a selection from a manuscript forwarded to me by a correspondent in Ceuta [A Spanish enclave in Morocco. Ed.]. My correspondent (whose name I have promised not to reveal) believes it to be at least fifty, at most a hundred years old. It consists of a glossary for a language highly suitable for the composition of ultra-violent sadistic pornography. I have never been able to ascertain whether the words are of any natural tongue. The author or transcriber remains unknown; my part in the work that follows has been, I must insist, that only of a selector.
An acute accent indicates the lengthening of vowel; a circumflex is an orthographic device indicating prefixion () = vowel determined by first vowel in morpheme following = becomes âm-: male prefix ê-: prefix indicating a smaller part, fragment, hanging piece -h- > -v- (* f > h, i.e. –f- > -v-) hae: old woman’s breast; flaccid breast in general; êvae: such a breast hanging in shreds after sexual assault he: to rape and achieve orgasm at once or after single pelvic thrust hio: the perineum hi: to cut the perineum hí: to rape (in general); hiz-: to achieve orgasm during rape i: the penis; yí: the penis of a boy -k- > -g-; -kh- > -khkikh: to produce moist noises during anal rape: yîgikh-L to make such during rape of gagged victim ka-: to set fire to the pubic hair (cf. wa) kae: burnt pubic hair (cf. prev.) kao: a flesh-hook kheo: anus of a child; yîkheo: anus of especially young child or baby khe: the (unraped) female anus; âmgkhe: male anus kio: to breath stertorously, as in strangulation ki: to breath khí: to rape per anum; khiz-: to achieve orgasm in anal rape kho: the mature female anus after rape, esp. leaking blood l-: to cry out (in pain) lae-: to spit or cough with mouth full of semen lao: yellow-blonde pubic hair lao-: suffix ind. death/dying li: a finger; êli: a fingernail lí: to bite off a nipple; liz-: to achieve orgasm (purely) by this m-: to clitoridectomise; yîmm-: to clitoridectomise a prebescent girl (* bm- > m-; yibm- > yimm-) mae: the clitoris; yîmae: clitoris of a prepubescent girl mao: single pubic hair torn out by roots; ômao: handful of pubic hair torn out by roots mio: pear-shaped (of breasts)

mí: to rape a mutilated vagina; to rape wearing spikes etc. on penis or with spiked dildo, knife etc. -ml- > -mmml-: to flog to death; yimm-: tp flog to death slowly mlae: testicle; yîmmae: testical of a child mlí: to rape anally male (esp. youth or child) using scrotum as rein; mliz-: to achieve orgasm thus mlo: the breast of a mature female; yîmmo: precociously developed breast in female child mo: the buttocks -mr- > -mmmr-: to pour an irritant, e.g. brine, acid, into wounds mra: to pour hot liquid into wounds; to urinate into wounds mrao: improvised whip mri: )heated) pincers for tearing flesh; mrí: to rape with an instrument, esp. anally; mriz-: 1. to achieve orgasm by masturbation during such rape. 2. to achieve orgasm by penetration of instrumentalised orifice. mró: mouth full of blood after teeth have been broken or knocked out (e.g. preparatory to oral penetration_; âmmó: piece of broken tooth (cf.qio) ng-: to concentrate (excessively) on vagina in acts of sexual torture; ng()gl-nql-: to perform cunnilinctus with biting ngae: menstruating vulva ngao: open vulva ngeo-: to urinate into the mouth, esp. as intended to choke ngio: vagina as an object of rape ngí: to rape per vagina; ngiz- to achieve orgasm during such ngo-: to pierce sexual organs, breasts etc. with needles o: the vagina; yîo: the vagina of a child ó: women regarded collectively as sex-objects ô-: collective or aggregative prefix -p- > -bp-: to brand pae: a branding instrument pao: handcuffs pio: a chain pí: to rape with a red-hot instrument (e.g. soldering iron) -q- > -gq-: to suck blood from small wounds (on breasts or sexual organs) qae: chestnut pubic hair qao: nipple; êgao: nipple partly severed after biting, cutting etc. qíá: to choke with penis in the act of fellatio qê(h): prefix ind. philia, fetish: (h) indicates that voicing of the initial consonant of the morpheme to which it is attached does not take place. Qêqao: nipple-fetish; qêre: coprophilia; qêlao: necrophilia qeo-: to bite off the glans penis, esp. of a child qe: hymen; yîge: hymen of a child; âmge: joc. Anus of a male child or male anal virgin

qio: to break the teeth of prep. To oral penetration (cf. mró) qí: to force fellation on; qiz-: to achieve orgasm during such ql: to bite and suck qlae: the earlobe; êglae: a partly severed earlobe qlio: a toe; êglio: a toenail; êglio: hanging toenail qli-: prefix ind. lingering or prolonged nature of action qo: black pubic hair qra: catamite; anal patient qreo: the thigh qrio: a many-thonged whip qrí: to torture the feet r-: to draw back prepuce r(): prefix ind. action is performed with heat, e.g. rigrí-: to torture the feet with heated instruments; rongo-: to pierce sexual organs etc. with heated needles ra-: to gouge out an eye raí: to use an empty eyesocket as sexual orifice, e.g. after eye-gouging rao: blowtorch re: faeces; ôgre: an insult meaning a pile/heap of shit (* khre > hre > re) ri: the eyelid; êvri: partly severed eyelid (* pri > hri > ri) -s- > -zs-: to achieve orgasm; -z- form taken by this as intrasuffix sao: the skin, esp. unmarked or perfect skin sio: the eye -sp- > -zbspá: woman sr-: to cursh the nipples with an instrument, e.g. plies, pincers srao: framework for suspending victim for flogging etc. sreo: prepuce -t- > -dt-: to slap tae: red pubic hair teo: dark-red pubic hair (cf. to) to: pubic hair darkred as a result of bleeding -ts- > -dzts-: to castrate ts(): prefix indicating action is performed with cold instrument etc. e.g. tsiví-: to rape with an icicle or freezing dildo tsao: sound made by shoulder/hip-joint giving way, esp. in fat woman tse: white-blond pubic hair -tsl- > -zltsl-: to whip tsle: sound made by flesh tearing free under pincers; wound left by this tsli: var. of tsle (qv) tso: sound produced by breaking hymen tsó: masturbation into an open wound; tsó-: to use a wound as a sexual orifice; tsoz: to achieve orgasm in such

-tsr- > -zrtsr: to fist tsrí: to rape with fist or with a large object tsro: a dildo -w- > -ow-: to be bruised wae: a fresh bruise wa: to soak the pubes in inflammable liquid preparatory to setting them alight -y- > -jy-: to bleed from a sexual orifice after rape; yîj-: same of a child yá: smell of burning flesh yî-: diminuitive suffix ylae: a severed limb yr-: to flay a breast yrí: a flayed breast; yrigl-: to suck blood from a flayed breast yro: a gag PRONOUNS ga: I be: you (gen.) obe: you (gen. fem.) obwe: you (to a helpless female) laóbwe: you (to a dying female) [adding âm- makes these male, e.g. âmobe, âmmaóbwe] (ór)ro: she (gen.) Ogwo: she (of a helpless fem.) Laógwo: she (of a dying fem.) Yellaógwomng: a dying female was bleeding spasmodically from a sexual orifice (after rape) –ell- continuous; -mng =spasmodic

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