Carol Novack
     with art by Marty Ison



Monica's my name. Don't think of that Monica, though. My game plan has nothing to do with sucking up to "great men" to imbibe their power and flatter myself they care for me. I live in the underground; reside in the virtual dreams of great men aspirants, the ones who equate sex with power. The wives, with their fallen breasts, the ones with the breasts that droop to their heels one year and rise to their chins the next, well, they owe me. Their men will never be great. I suck the embryonic power out of them. The women are as relieved as my corporate clients.

There's a great man aspirant now, chatting with the receptionist Very large he is, taking up all the pixels on my screen. Well done makeup, green-grey eyes, dark hair with silver temples, Romanesque nose, the eyes the right melange of cool and warm, a hint of erotic charisma, aspiring CEO type, number 666, sent from Hallyburton's HR office; our favorite client, Hallyburton.

Number 666 saunters into my plushly appointed office, back straight, arm extended, prepared to shake virtual hands. What, are you kidding? You don't shake hands with haute hookers. Hah! There's a tidbit of martini blubber round his middle, but I can tell he's been frequenting the tanning salons and I'm past such trifles as blubber. Double chins make me swoon. This number's sort of cute, predictably so, but bearable, without pig features; looks as if he's prodding 40, wears wedding band. A slight hint of reflective melancholia in his emotional aroma . . . ah, it's nearly intoxicating, along with the plump lower lip, implying sensuality.

"Take off your shirt and let me see what you have," I say, "Ducky duck, you're a fine example of the species, you obviously work out 7 days a week and I love those assertive nipples – just the right shade too. So what's wrong with Mitzy? Ah, but you're not here to discuss her now, are you, darlin, so remove your pants."

Great man aspirants are always obedient. It never fails. At least the first few times, they do whatever I tell them to do. After four or five sessions with smartass me, they want Shirley or Lulu, aficionados of Harlequin romance novels. The men panic after my recitals of deviant literature. Sooner or later, I'll quote Barthelme, Parker, Gaitskill, Borges, Ballard or Borroughs. Depends on my mood. Never Rand, Mailer, Fitzgerald or Hemingway, that's for sure.

The man looks puzzled, then vaguely frightened. I want to swallow him.

"So spread your legs, my darling dove," I coo. "Lie down on the virtual red rug there, costly Turkish rug, imported, tasteful, elegant. I never let janitors lie down on it, not to worry."

He lies down, spreads his legs, a comforting sign of early surrender. I gaze at the painstakingly molded thighs and the pulsing worm between them, as the hungry little creature gains in stature. I can see the great man in the making and I know he wants me to take the worm in my hot red mouth. I don't.

I stand above him, my legs straddling his body. He begs me: "Let me see them."

"What?" I ask, innocently, "What is it you'd like to see, my dovey dove?"

"I want to touch them. They are so big, like mountains I want to climb with my tongue and fingers; like modest Everests they are. I am but a poor climber, disarmed," he tells me. Sure.

"You are but a cliché of a man," I respond, with feigned fatigue, as I stroke my precious cavern through the mesh steel miniskirt I wear to work. Fucking irritating uniform they make me wear and these idiot phony nails, violet this week.

"Plead with me and recite a poem. Perhaps then . . ." I add.

He recites that Wordsworth poem about daffodils.

"You're going to have to do better than that."

So he tries T.S. Elliot; switches to Ezra Pound when I yawn vociferously. Then attempts the obvious: Shakespeare, some sickening sonnet or other.

I yawn again, without restraint. "I don't want to see your godlike face, with the chin dent, or hear you quote poetry I've heard before, so many times. You have no imagination, I say, only that expressive writhing creature you want me to consume. Lie on your back, so I can play with it, perhaps . . . as I wish."

He reverses himself. I gaze at the brown mounds of his buttocks, as he waits. He waits to be touched some way or other, even if it pains him, he must be touched.

He turns his head to look at me when he hears the sound of the chains.

"Don't look at me, not now. Maybe later, if you're good." You should know what happened to Orpheus. You did go to Yale now, did you not?

I check the rule book. I always forget the routine, though I actually know it by heart; I do not own it, simply play it. I'm supposed to undress loudly, with obscene moans, but slowly, and I'm supposed to slap him when he gives in to the impulse to see what I'm doing. I'm advised to anoint my skin with aromatic oils, telling him precisely what I'm doing. Then, when he can no longer bear the suspense, I'm to tell him he qualifies for a second mortgage at extremely low rates. After that, I'm to tickle his cock with a feather pen.

Yes, I know it's tacky, but it's only a script. Once in awhile, I don't follow it, like now. The man is crying; I don't know why. He is sobbing without restraint. There is nothing to take from him. There is nothing I can do but wrap myself around him like a birthday gift.

originally published in Cellar Door Magazine, Vol. 1, No. 2 - Winter 2005