Erotic Review Magazine

The Between Place

by Monica Segura / 27th April 2014

The revolutionary captain and the male prostitute go back a long way and both bear scars, she from her shrapnel wound, he from his brothel tattoo's excision.

Spur of the moment.
Between my bourgeois wallet and revolutionary ideals.
Between essays on Yeats and blueprints for an imagined future.
Between classrooms and coffee shops.

He existed in the between place.
We existed in the between place.

 

“Can we meet tonight?” I spoke over a paper cup, curling steam-carried words scented with ‘Export Only’ coffee.

He leaned on the wrought iron table to underscore his grin.  Were the music louder, we’d be indistinguishable from the groups around us: sipping café con leche, chewing on the working class’ fate. Revolution punctuated their not-so-quiet sentences. Revolution was the crema on their espressos.

“I’ve got a client at 9:00.” Matter of fact words, but his nonchalance stoked petulance I struggled to tamp down. It taunted the little girl I used to be.

“I’ll pay for her time and mine.”

I bypassed his eyes, his body, the marketplace crowds, the university commons, the city, the roads, the jungle. My gaze found the mountain peak and I remembered summers spent in the selva nublada. I tasted blackberries – tiny, sweet. I fell into bushes that took payment in blood. Then, in the instant before remembrance became memory, my eyes found focus in the hairline scars on my right hand. He had kissed them the night I murmured the story, struggling against sated sleep.

“You spend your mother’s money freely, mariposa.” The eyes I wouldn’t meet were darker than the cooling coffee. The first time those eyes had met the challenge had been the same.  Had so much time passed? How many meetings ago had it been, when his tattoo was still angry?

Our arrangement wasn’t uncommon. I wish it were as common as it ought have been.

“Fine. Keep your client. I’ll see you at 11,” I stood up and in pure pique, leaned over and whispered, “my beautiful chapolin.” I was gone before he could reply.

•º• 

Spur of the moment.
Between an old regime and a new order.
Between a banana republic and a shining path.
Between fleeing gentry and rising people.

We existed in the between place.
I existed in the between place.

Grinding my ass hard against his hips, I could feel his shudder. We traded pleasure and pain as I pushed back harder and faster. Wetness bathed my thighs and soaked his threadbare sheets. Sinew hardened by jungle training pressed against his hips, soft tanned flesh, stretched over sinew and bone.

He gripped my hips with smooth hands, failing to control my thrusts. I changed the rhythm of the rusted springs: a frantic pulse became a slow drumbeat. I heard him catch his breath. He suppressed a deep-throated whimper and leaned over my back, sweet breath stung my sunburnt neck. I tightened every muscle and forced his groan to escape. His whole body jerked backwards – a sculpted arc glistening with oil and mingled sweat. My body shuddered and silent screams exploded from my core. We collapsed. I laughed.

Mariposa.” He pushed the word through wet lips, through a smile and a breath that ended in a sigh.

An electric fan rotated three feet away, pushing air into my face, and mingling the sweat that poured down my face. The acrid ghost of burnt garlic howled from the courtyard and stung the air, impervious to the spinning blades.

My tongue traced my lips and a smile crept into being – he was cane sugar and live tobacco. Breathing slowed and he battled sleep. I leaned closer, laying kisses on the numbers of his inked shoulder. I followed his bicep with my lips, finally dripping saliva onto his palm. Abiding silent commands, he reached between my legs. His fingers painted a landscape in familiar strokes.

His languorous pace turned my grin into laughter; it curved my back into slow surging waves. I indulged a fleeting memory of the first boy I kissed, a warm ocean lapped our feet, wet sand clung to half-dressed bodies. Strokes went deeper and faster; thumb and fingers played a symphony, white-hot sensation replaced memories. Ecstasy rose into the back of my throat, catching against my palate. Rolling explosions detonated from feet to head – soundless and throbbing.

The bombing continued, just five miles away.

•º•

Jefa, we’re here.” Her clipped tone was no less jarring than the drive from the hospital along ravaged roads.

I groaned as I flexed my left shoulder. The screaming pain felt good. My healed jaw could clench down hard enough to stifle my own agony. Progress.

“My captain, this place is a bad idea. Let me take you to your quarters. You know this is dangerous – even the mute here have wagging tongues. That chapolin, that insect, isn’t worth it.” Her dry lips spat the words. She murmured through the wet air, “Captain, other arrangements can be made.”

I stepped out of the truck and wiped my brow. Sweat followed red trenches carved by shrapnel and surgeons. There was no breeze.

Garlic and fried yucca mixed with the coming rain. My thoughts challenged the silence, and but for the idling motor, the silence held its breath.

“Ten minutes. Engage no one. That’s an order.”

•º•

Spur of the moment.
Between the new order and the new regime.
Between decadence’s final gasps and austerity’s cynical laughter.
Between celebration and reality.

I existed in the between place.
We existed in the between place.

The clattering window unit crafted icy cold air. A single bulb grew shadows everywhere and around his eyes. Soft white sheets wrapped his waist. Together they brought flesh, like cocobolo in an artisan’s hands, into relief.

“Isn’t air conditioning counter-revolutionary?” His voice danced along the edge of mockery. Mine countered with unvarnished truth.

“Yes, as is your presence.”

I outlined the scar on his shoulder where the tattoo had been burnt away. Before the revolution every brothel marked every chapolin. After the revolution, those who divine such things decreed each number “susceptible” to bourgeois decadence. Only when my fingertips read the puckered edges like braille did I wonder that he’d survived re-education. His presence next to me proved its failure.

He looked away: anger and shame crossed his eyes. Like a grasshoppers they disappeared into the fields of his mind; he kissed me and smiled.

His tongue traced each nipple – they hardened with chill and desire.

Eyes closed, I groaned and ran my hands through perspiration-damp hair, following its curls, trimmed close to his skull. Teeth grazed me and I shifted weight, inviting him back between my legs. My thighs circled his waist but soft hands pushed them open – not gentle, not harsh. His scalp tensed under my fingertips but practiced lips danced in the valley between my breasts.

He leaned on a forearm and a fracture-bent finger traced poetry down my thighs. Kisses and strokes punctuated each couplet. Heat churned at each radif, want pulsed with each refrain until his hand fell mute in my own dark curls, replaced by a mouth and tongue voicing the words burning on my skin.

Murmurs vibrated along my thighs, teasing and toying with calculated frenzy. He let me believe I guided his actions. He let me pretend I controlled his rhythm. He let me ride on rising ache and let me abandon every other pretense in the world. His tongue ignited the uncounted nerves. Each exhalation tickled and glowed. Half-screams escaped my throat; I could feel laughter as he descended.

His tongue rippled; his fingers danced. He led me to the edge of climax and then pulled me, unwilling, from the plunge into abandon: over and over, lapping and soothing, mouth and hands unwilling to free me from tortuous ecstasy.

“Please.”

With that syllable restraint vanished, poetry fell away and words became formless sensation. He buried his fingers deep; he spread his tongue wide. With one instant, one flick of the tongue, one curl of his hand, the universe exploded. Pain begat pleasure; hunger became contentment; I became oblivion.

He stare awakened me.

“You’re leaving soon, aren’t you, mariposa?” His eyes raked the cash-filled envelope on the bedside table – thicker than usual. How many had he collected from me over these years? I suppose he’d miss them while I was away. The jungle demanded my return; I prayed for absolution of this indulgence.

“Yes.”

I reached for him – somewhere between hard and soft.

He succumbed to my rough hands.

•º•

“They took him.” A crone sat in the walled courtyard peeling long roots destined to bathe in oil and fire. Her eyes gazed at me, sightless. Her foot tapped patterns, meaningless. A parrot chattered, debating the structure of his unfinished nest. Rampant foliage masked his plumage – only a yellow-capped head alerted my eyes.

“Who took him?”

“If you don’t know, comrade, how should I?” A butterfly, pulsing electric blue, alighted on her shoulder, and, as quickly as it had landed, resumed its journey through the ocean of air.

The thinnest veneer of respect – fear – coated her insolence.

“When?”

She shrugged a reply; the scraper never dropped its cadence.

I could have dragged her to my feet by her waist long grey hair. Rage flared and my shoulder caught fire in its sling.

“It was inevitable. What guarantees exist for those engaging in counter-revolutionary activities?” Venom seeped from her mouth down her throat.

I turned on my heel.

•º•

Spur of the moment.
Between the new regime and an un-foretold future.
Between the end of ideals and the beginning of pragmatism.
Between unspoken memories and stifling reality.

He existed in the between place.
I existed in the between place.

My apartment was stifling, but heat was comfort to agonized muscles. Leaning back against my headboard, I closed my eyes and thought about making arrangements for the night. Even as I considered the options, my right hand wandered to the buttons at my waist. I struggled through each clasp, eventually navigating under heavy cloth, beneath lighter cloth, through trim dark hair, hunting for release. Every stroke brought knowing images of his suffered fate. The deeper I reached, the louder my shoulder and neck cried.

I pushed deep inside myself, on the hunt for, with scant hope of finding, the jagged edge once again.

Illustration by Clarissa Cozzi

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The revolutionary captain and the male prostitute go back a long way and both bear scars, she from her shrapnel wound, he from his brothel tattoo's excision.

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