by Robert Scott Leyse
on schedule: the spike-topped iron gate has slid to the left and
clanged against one of the ivy-cloaked granite pillars, allowing
your chauffeur driven Rolls to exit your estate. I arrived fifteen
minutes ago and parked a bit further down on this winding street—a
location which allows me a sufficient view of your driveway through
the gnarled branches of this interposing oak. Naturally, I am
going to follow you, keep track of your every movement during
every second of at least the next twenty-four hours. And, my,
but how I do adore your personalized license plates—Lydia
is such a beautiful name.
another fifteen minutes we are well within the city limits—so
uplifting it is to take this shortcut through neglected neighborhoods,
pass the empty shells of stripped cars and fire-gutted buildings,
sidewalk after sidewalk glittering with broken glass. And the
scenery does have a tendency to change rather abruptly, with very
little warning, doesn’t it? Thus we are now surrounded by
such well-maintained turn of the twentieth century mansions—all
of them safe and secure behind massive walls fitted with barbed
wire and cameras, patrolled by security guards. But, no, we do
not remain here. We pass on.
few settings later your car pulls to the curb. And the street
is somehow without character, what one might deem suspiciously
plain. It could be located anywhere. Just an inconspicuous row
of necessity stores—clothing, hardware, drug, shoe repair,
grocery. But, then, appearances are not to be trusted, are they?
Who would suspect, Lydia dear, why you have really come here,
who could ever know why you have just descended that set of cellar-destined
no, there is no need to follow you down them. There is, you see,
no other exit and, after all, I know your habits so well. I know
that your wrists and ankles will wear thick leather bracelets,
that they will be clasped to gold plated hooks in the floor and
ceiling, that you now and then need to feel that whip and turn
inside out and scream. Is it that those riches of yours now and
then make everything seem too easy, give you the unpleasant impression
of all too effortlessly skimming over the surface of life? Do
you need a point of contact with reality? Do you need to compensate
for your comfort by feeling pain and humiliation, desperation
also know the exact hour at which you will reappear, know that
you will be utterly relaxed and self-possessed, almost religiously
serene. Yes, it is so pleasant to feel balanced—nothing
like being restored to one’s foundations, brought back down
to earth. And Lydia: I even know where you will instruct your
chauffeur to drive you next.
sure enough, now that night is falling and the neon is beginning
to stand out, glow a vivid emerald and red, you are standing on
the busy sidewalk of [________], brushing back your long undulating
ebony hair. And how effortlessly you stand out from the crowd—what
a remarkably beautiful face you have, how perfect is your poise
and posture, self-assured the slightest twist of your hand or
flick of a finger—how commandingly you glance about. Yes,
indeed, a very impressive femme fatale exterior, all of the I
dare you! mannerisms down pat. In other words, just the type
of invitation I find impossible to ignore.
begin to walk and I am never far from you, once or twice even
step on the streetlight-cast shadow of your sable coat. In the
same way that you are semiconscious of your shadow you seem to
be semiconscious of me, vaguely aware of the brooding young man
who now and then pauses to scan his surroundings, several times
crosses to the other side of the street only to cross right back.
Seems to be searching for something, doesn’t he? Seems a
trifle overwrought and excitable, impatient of everything in sight.
what a coincidence that you have chosen my favorite nightclub,
one with obsidian tabletops, crimson lighting, and an excellent
stage show. You take a seat at a table near the front right corner
of the stage, order your usual brandy Manhattan, and light a Gold.
On the stage some supple and slender semi-famous woman is wrapping
the microphone cord about herself while straddling the stand,
shoving it back and forth. Her orange hair blazes in the blue-white
beam of the spotlight and her thighs flash like lightning through
the slits in her long black dress.
I do not notice her for long, do I Lydia? For I find that your
performance inspires far more compelling fantasies, infinitely
stronger desires. I simply love the way you wind your necklace
about your fingers, the way its rosy beads gleam like savagely
clear eyes, seem to laugh. And I can feel the coiled energy within
you—I grow so warm at its touch, tingle inside. And yes,
rest assured that you will soon feel me in a similar manner—your
skin is going to flush and twitch and sparkle in response to the
ice crystal whirl of my nerves.
how disturbingly attractive you are, Lydia! I want to meet you
in a back alley, press you hard against a cold wet mossy wall.
I want to tear your dress into ribbons, scatter it about. I want
you maddened, to feel your fingernails scratching my face. I want
to see your sweat glistened body thrashing, your face drowning
in excitement and shock. I want your mouth all over me, to see
nothing but and drown in the vermillion of your lips. I want to
get to the bottom of your detachment, shatter your studied dignity,
cut you with glass. Already I can hear you panting and squealing,
feel the contractions inside you inundating me with a whirl of
electric bursts. We are writhing at the base of the wall and my
hands are numb with pain from repeatedly striking the pavement.
I am only aware of the river of thought-suspending emotion we
have become together—almost as if the veil of existence
is ripping wide open, revealing the mystery on its other side.
yes, I am now sitting at your table, have suddenly appeared from
out of the dark red light of the club. You cannot suspect how
long I have watched you, do not know how certain I am. True, on
the surface I am playful and joking, all laughs and lighthearted
charm. But then, you are a perceptive woman, aren’t you
Lydia? You cannot help but detect the tension and hunger and pain
and dread which churn behind the veil of my manner and agitate
it is with my suffering that I snare you, with my inner turmoil
that I fascinate and subdue. All of your probes drown in my depths
and that is why you are so anxious to please. People you are able
to categorize you feel superior to but pain is bottomless and
that is why you will never know me. People with readily ascertainable
personalities turn you off but already you suspect that, for anything
you know about me, you will be mystified by something else. Yes
Lydia, I know you well.
fact, I cannot be said to have a personality in the usual sense.
And so who am I? Simply a collection of masks, well-acted roles.
And I am highly versatile—get to the bottom of one role
and I’ll switch to another, play it so completely that before
long you will believe I could not possibly have been anyone else,
that the previous version of me was but a creation of your imagination.
And that appeals to you, doesn’t it Lydia? How you do love
a good game of psychological hide and seek.
already my hand is stroking your thighs and toying with the tops
of your stockings, already I am nipping your ear while whispering
that we should leave. And you readily agree, don’t you Lydia?
Indeed, how could you not?
how pleasingly blinding is the swirl of the neon and the slash
of the headlights, how nice to be in the midst of a crisply darting
breeze. And your eyes also dart, don’t they Lydia? You are
a trifle uneasy, wondering about our destination. But why bother?
You know as well as I that you cannot help but come, that the
strongest part of you is the one which lead you to leave the club
in the first place—the same part which attracts you to the
stroll down a garbage littered alley, up a set of dusty narrow
steps, and through a rusty-hinged door. Yet the room itself is
quite sumptuous, decorated in the highest style. Yes, in the same
way that the outer shell of an oyster conceals a pearl this beat
up building conceals such a room. Simply never can trust exteriors,
never can know.
of the walls are mirrors and a dusky indigo light flows from several
glowing disks on the ceiling, thickens the air. You slip off your
coat and toss it towards the base of the window, stand in the
center of the room in a shimmering crimson dress. And how expertly
you remove it—such smooth nimble gestures, a graceful frenzy
of manner which twists my nerves from their pathways, fills me
with such tingling as-if-drug-induced warmth. And yes, I would
like to assist you: nothing like the sensation of slowly peeling
your stockings down your thighs, as strong as they are sleek and
soft. And how rhythmically the curtains undulate behind you, how
thick and supple and downy they are. Why don’t you tear
them from the rods and use them as veils, perform a dance? No
need to worry about privacy—the windows are painted black.
That’s right, twist and wind below the lights as they illuminate
the rippling symmetry of your immaculate body—mesmerize
me with a symphony of movement, inundate me with rapt appreciation,
make me need to lose my tongue in your throat.
luscious wet ruby lips! They taste like mashed pomegranates and
brandy, are so responsive and warm. And those gasps and squeals
and excitement-slurred whisperings of yours! They send ice crystals
up and down my spine, have my vision blurred. Such confusion!
Tremulous fingers are winding the dark waves of your hair about
them—do they belong to you or me? And I am looking into
a pair of deliriously silvered eyes—mine in the mirror at
the head of the bed or yours upon your face? And what has happened
to the sense of touch? Why is it that I seem to be both sinking
into warm mercury and floating above the bed in suffocating mist-saturated
why, Lydia, does such panic seize me? Why is it that one moment
I want to slam your head into one of the mirrors, that the next
I want to be so worshipful and indulgent and kind? Why do I at
one and the same time want to cut you with a knife and lick you
tenderly, crush your skull and give you every comfort on earth?
Why do I both love and loathe? Is it because you mirror me so
perfectly, because every time I look into your eyes I see myself
staring back? Is it because part of me wants to leap from a building,
one of us is screaming. Who is it? Is it I who stuffs the sable
sleeve in your mouth or you who stuffs it in mine?
was born in San Francisco, grew up in various locales about America,
lived in Paris for a spell, and now resides on Manhattan's Upper
East Side. Upon arrival in Manhattan he worked as a New York cab
driver on the night shift, with the aim of atoning for a sheltered
upbringing and having adventures the likes of which he'd never
had before and he wasn't disappointed; subsequently he acquired
over a dozen years of experience in the legal field, where he
was pleasantly surprised to find that additional adventures, of
the office politics and shenanigans variety, were to be had; presently
he works in the advertising field, where he's not looking for
any special adventures, having decided to explore the option of
separating work from fun and games and having secrets that are
easier to keep. He skis in Sun Valley, Idaho, surfs with board
and body in southern California and Puerto Rico, once took a belly
dance class in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and probably shouldn't mention
his lousy attendance record at the yoga studio down the street.
He eats fish heads and insects and drinks blood, but can’t
be paid to eat potato chips or cake.
is a co-founder and the editor of this webzine (launched May Day,
2001); and the founder and editor of the ShatterColors
Literary Review (launched May Day, 2006). His three
novels are: Liaisons for Laughs: Angie & Ella’s
Summer of Delirium (July, 2009), Self-Murder (April,
2010), and Attraction and Repulsion (June, 2011).
© 2001 by Robert Scott Leyse