Submit (Page 10)

Submit (Songs of Submission #3)(10)
Author: C.D. Reiss

“With both hands, apparently.”

“It’s beautiful, Monica. Don’t make it ugly.” He tilted his head, as if trying to see through me.

I tossed my pistachio shell into the bowl with a plink, feeling surly and confused. “Was Jessica submissive?”

“No. I think it’s what drove her away.”

I couldn’t help but think Jessica’s refusal to be dominated meant she was respected more than I would ever be. I’d always be the child, the one who could be bossed around, dismissed, belittled, and abused.

“Monica, what’s on your mind?”

“No,” I said.

“No, what?”

“No. Just no.” I grabbed my bag. “But thanks for asking.”

I took big steps in my high heels, nodding to Larry, who I’d probably never see again, and went out to the hall, where the elevator waited. There was an image in my mind, a thought, and I was keeping it at bay. Something about the nuts and the things he said was bringing a memory back to me.

He caught my elbow as I pressed the elevator button. “Monica.”

“Don’t touch me.”

“What is it?”

The doors slid open. I didn’t think he’d follow me in, but he did.

“Leave me alone.”

“No. Fuck, no!”

The doors closed him in, and we headed down.

He took me by the biceps. “What is it? Is it the word? We’ll pick a different one.”

“It’s not what I want. Please. Just forget everything. I’m sorry. I can’t.”


I didn’t want to think about why. I didn’t want to answer. I looked up at him, thinking maybe I’d find some words to string together that would be reasonable or acceptable without letting through the image I held at bay. His face, his posture, everything told me I’d hurt him.

“I’m sorry,” I said as the doors opened. I ran out, into the hall, through the lobby, and into the parking lot. Lil sat with the other drivers and got up when she saw me, but I ran past. I got into my car and put it in drive before the engine was even engaged.

The downtown streets jogged the car. I couldn’t drive correctly. My mind was a soup of images I wouldn’t acknowledge. I pulled over in front of a set of bay doors on an empty dead end street and put the car in park.

My hands were shaking. I had to calm down. I had to cut a song in an hour. In Burbank. Who knew what the traffic would be?

Breathe. Breathe.

As I relaxed I felt a cord of arousal under my skirt. I closed my eyes, thinking about the silly junk I was going to have to sing, the clichés and simple chords. I had to add me to it. I had to breathe life into something dead. That was all I should be thinking about.

I heard a plink on the roof of the car. Then another. It had started to rain. Plink, plink. Through my relaxation, the memory came. The one I’d tried to shut out.

A club. Kevin and I went places and did things at night, in the odd hours, in the corners of the city, seeking out subcultures and twisted paths. Because we were artists, nothing was beneath our understanding or experience.

The club was dark. I’d been there before. There was nothing at all special about it. We sat at the end of the bar, by the wall. I’d been drinking something, and Kevin had my hand in his. His fingertips were cold from the ice in his glass, and I enjoyed the way he drew circles inside my wrist with them. I felt delicious and loved.

I heard a creak of old hinges above me. I looked up. The wall above seemed to have a hidden door, and a shelf and false wall swung out. A blindfolded woman about my age was tied to the shelf, on her hands and knees, hands and head facing the room. She wore configuration of leather ties that bound her wrists to her knees. A silver ring with the circumference of a castanet kept her mouth open and her head raised. The leather harness holding it in place was strapped around her head and connected to a hook on the wall.

The bartender slapped a metal bowl under the shelf holding the girl and got on with his business, as if girls were tied to the wall all the time. Kevin barely glanced up, and though I tried to keep my mind on the conversation we were having with Jack and his girlfriend, my eyes kept going to the girl. She wore pink cotton panties that didn’t go with the black leather garter pressing her tits to her ribs, but when I noticed a carefully placed mirror, I knew why. Her panties were soaked through at the crotch, and the pink showed off her arousal in a way leather wouldn’t. I turned back to some conversation about process art in the 1980s.

I heard a plink, plink and followed the sound to the metal bowl. I craned my neck. It contained a few drops of clear, whitish fluid. I looked up. The girl, her mouth forced open by the ring, was drooling spit and se**n down her chin and into the bowl. Plink, plink.

I caught sight of her eyes in the crease under the blindfold. She looked away when we made eye contact. I realized then that she could see through it. The blindfold wasn’t there to protect her identity, nor was it to protect her from seeing us look at her, but to protect us from seeing how turned on she was.

I wasn’t her.

That was submissive. I wasn’t that. No, no, no.

Kevin and I had gone home, and neither of us ever brought up the drooling girl. We never judged. We were too sophisticated and cosmopolitan for that. We were too f**king cool to even let on that we’d noticed. I hated us. The people we were had been hateful snobs who never asked questions about anything real. Like why a woman would want to drool her master’s load into a metal bowl and show her wet cunt to everyone.

So there I was, shaking in my Honda, because Jonathan had seen that girl in me. On his command, I’d opened my mouth as big as a castanet so he could f**k my throat.

Stop it.

I had to stop. I had to sing. But every time I heard the plink of rain on my hood, it was a pistachio shell, and I was drooling Jonathan’s load into a metal bowl.


On the way to the 101, I realized I still had that stinking diamond in my navel. It felt like a harness. I’d drop it at Hotel K after my session. My phone danced on the passenger seat. It could be Jonathan, but it wasn’t as though he was the only thing I had going on. I was really glad I looked at it—WDE.

“Hey, Monica.” Trudie said.

“Yeah, I’m on my way up there.”

“We had a change. The set’s at DownDawg in Culver City, not Burbank.”

“Oh. Did you call Gabby?”

“Yeah, I talked to her. Here, let me give you the address.”

I pulled over and wrote it down. I was glad I didn’t need to call Gabby because it would probably take me an hour to get there without yacking with my pianist for twenty minutes, dissecting all the possible reasons for the venue change.