Chapter 7 Index Chapter 9

Subject:      CODY: THE STAND-IN, Chp. 8
From: (Mithryl)
Date:         1997/07/31
Message-Id:   <5rr7j9$>

                          THE STAND-IN

                      By Cody Ann Michaels
                     c. All rights reserved

                            Chapter 8

	Will I ever live down my sordid past?  I wonder.  I have been
reading through my Kyle files.  The present one, slugged KYLE95C.RAW, is
110,000 bites long.  And it by far not the last or longest.  The 95 stands
for 1995, the year we met.  I was 12.  Young , yes, but old enough in
Florida to be tried as an adult.  I certainly deserved whatever
punishments that might have been laden out for me, acting as I did to
tempt this sensitive soul on the other side of the world. 

	I have to admit, even though I am now going straight, to feeling a
certain amount of erotic pleasure from reading these original tales,
perhaps a more sophisticated pleasure than I experienced then, being more
knowledgable now of the various innuendos of Kyle's literary style.  Also,
I cannot help thinking how different he was from Smalhausen in his
willingness to explore and experiment. 

	On television last night, Charlie Rose had a panel of experts
talking about sex.  One of them said all sex is an attempt to find love. 
For some reason, that idea seemed new to me.  Especially when so often
people, feminists, in particular, seem to belie ve that sexual assault has
little to do with sex and is really about power.  Not so.  It is love that
is at the root of even the most criminal sexual act.  Dahlmer.  Packwood. 
Ted Bundy.  Kyle.  Clinton?  Oh come on.  Okay.  Clinton.  All are... or
were seeking love in their casual gropings and other clumsy foreplay. 

	I am confused.  Why can I not love?  Who do I love?  I love Kelly. 
I told you about Billy.  And there have been other guys.  Smalhausen?  Not
really.  I like him.  But he doesn't turn me on.  In some ways he reminds
me of my dad.  Also, Martin.  My shri nk.  I'm still ambivalent about
Martin.  We've only been together a few months.  He wants me to help him
with his book.  I said I'd think about it. 

	The fact is, I've reached another crossroads.  Trying to decide
whether to drop Smalhausen and go back to Kyle, guys like him.  A bit like
Smal's Jewish madchen.  On the train.  Caught between two goy boys.  Smal
couldn't remember what the other one was.  I think he had a good idea for
a book.  But he's too lazy to write it.  He was a writer once.  Before he
was an artist.  Like Gaugain.  Or T.S. Elliot.  Who was the guy who wrote
Winnie the Pooh?  Hans Muller.  Smalhausen's like him.  He says his faith
in words has left him.  He'll never get it back.  He has a bookcase full
of books he never reads.  Just the picture ones with women tied up or
other stuff.  He doesn't even seem to look at these much.  He said the
truth can't be represented in an image.  Even less in words.  If that's
true, he's wrong.  Isn't he? 

	With Kyle I felt at home.  Even though I was a slave.  You can't
imagine the degradation he subjected me to.  I'm going to edit these
stories into a book, a companion volume to this one.  Along with my own
stories.  We bounced them off each other.  We we re young.  We were alive. 
Smalhausen gives me nothing.  I want to scream at him, you're alive.  Show
it.  You've got a lot of living to do.  He merely stares back.  Like a

	Well then, teach me something.  Tell me something.  Make me live. 
Make me breathe.  Nothing.  Oh fuck it.  Let me alone.  Go on back to your
art work.  And your mother.  You deserve it.  Coward.  You are.  You're
afraid to live.  To do anything.  Maybe that's how you survived.  By doing
nothing.  By hiding behind your words and phrases.  Your skills as an
artist.  Did you ever have a real woman, Smal? 

	He said once.  I hoped this wasn't going to be another of those
pathetic, I touched her like Tennessee Williams might tell, in the back of
the boat.  She gave me her panties to hold.  It wasn't.  They had actually
lived together for a year.  Slept in the same bed.  Did touchy feely. 
Kissy.  Grope.  Fuck.  Bump and squirt.  While the cats sat on them.  She
had four cats.  She was married to them.  Not that he didn't like cats. 
But when you're having sex, you like to be alone, not have three warm
bodies sitting on top of you.  The fourth cat slept in the closet.  He
never came out the whole year they lived with Smal.  He hated men.  He
would only come out when she was alone.  Then it would come and sleep with
her. Eventually he couldn't stand it any more .  Not the cats, but the
bed.  She liked a soft mattress.  It was killing his back.  So he started
to sleep in the other room. 

	He hardly noticed when she moved out.

	That wasn't what killed it, though, he said.  She wore muslin
night gowns.  She was always cold.  How could you fuck a woman in a muslin
night dress?  Well, of course, lots of guys would be able to handle it. 
But he couldn't.  He wanted her wired.  In a teddy.  Like the pictures. 
Kinky.  I hate that word.  Black stockings.  French underwear.  Oh god. 
So pathetic.  Trying to get her to dress right was an endless argument. 
Sort of like the one I had with Kyle over the shoes.  Except, I knew how
to dres s.  At least he wasn't a foot fetishist.  How lame.  He once got
her into a leotard and fishnet stockings.  But then they couldn't fuck
because she was wearing the leotard.  It turned him on.  And he couldn't
fuck her when she wasn't.  So they were at an impasse.  How old were you? 
40.  How old was she?  30.  Pretty?  Very.  Are you nuts?  He shrugged. 
Sex is very complicated. 

	Not for most people.

	You'd be surprised.

	I felt like his shrink.  I didn't want that.  Kyle had once tried
to do that to me.  I told him to get real.  He was totally healthy. 

	What happened to her?

	She moved uptown with her cats.  I see her once in awhile.  Not
for awhile now. 

	Did you beat her up?


	Did she beat you?

	Once.  The night of the leotard.  She hung me in the doorway and
whipped me.  Well, actually, I hung myself.  She didn't want to do it. 
But later, she said she had liked the feeling. 

	What about you?

	I only did it because I wanted to do it to her, and I knew I
couldn't, she wouldn't let me, so I substituted myself instead.  I forgot
to mention, I was in drag. 

	It was complicated, wasn't it?


	I felt vertiginous, as though I were looking down into a deep pit. 
Was this what I was looking for?  Did you want to be beaten?  No.  I
wanted to do it to a woman.  Her?  Not especially.  Who then?  We hit
another wall.  I asked him to describe himself.  I was not especially
surprised when he described me.  Your girl friend, was she a redhead? 
Yes.  But she was taller.  Than me?  Than me.  oh.  The only time she
really excited me was when she stepped out of the bathroom and I saw her
in that green leot ard, which was about two sizes too small, and high
heeled black boots.  Then I thought I really had something.  And, of
course, flaming red hair. 

	She looked a little unsure of herself.  "This is so strange," she
said.  In her gloved hand was the whip.  I wasn't so sure, myself.  This
was the first time I'd ever done something like this.  Were you already
hanging?  Yes.  So you couldn't get down.  No.  I'd kicked out the stool. 
Smart.  Yes.  Then what happened? 

	He thought back with obvious pleasure.  It was starting to come. 
I was doing Smalhausen.  I could feel him thinking.  About her.  Claire. 
This was going to be so great. 

	And then I lost it.  Shit.  The phone rang.  It was Smalhausen's
mother.  O hello Cody, how are you in a flat voice calling from the grave. 
ih eard my mother's vocide  oin the 3xchange  as it came ih vrom Floriad
ahold yuopur breath
t gpoiong there.  sotypo]
I woke up.  Smalhausen was standing over me.  Sho you cracked the whip,
bitch.  Now you pay
no smal

	When it was over, I was standing somewhere with my stomach hanging
next to a street light
look at that one
give me a kiss
get awy
Smal had whipped me all the way to jersy
and left me there
to get home
on my 
i am sorry miste, i didn't know what you was saying
That's alright.  Get away from me.
You stinking clown
I saw her face disappear into the bathroom
smal what did you do?
she moved uptown, at least that's the story they all tell around the fires
in the park at night
whatever happened to Kelly?
She said she was going to England May 10th 1940
the ugboats sank her
she went down with all hands
at least that's the story,
but everyoine knows she's in the basement in a trunk he left there when he
Right Kelly?
Let me out code

How much is she worth on Mir
I'll do the figure work
tits 10
ass 12
i\buig igunbs
]notebooik in hand, they took it away from her with all her pictures in it
floatihg aropund out there in never never land
Right, Cody?
no smal
He took a knife and carved a z in her chest
The marko of sorto
prime grade 
move her out
sotto voce she had to be taken down a peg
Give her some air
let her breathe
she's coming to
what happened?
small\ took care of you.
I know, but where am I?

You passed out
in class and had to be brought here.  Are you alright?

of course.  wow.  My head is spinning?  Smal walked back to the
laboratory.  He was almost human.  Cody, what are you doing?  This is not
the way it should be.  The once tawdry glamor girl was being quoted as an
authority.  What did it mean?  It meant she had arrived.  Now they would
ask Cody for directions, and she would tell it to them.  Or maybe not. 
maybe she would withhold a bit.  Let them twist and turn as she made up
her mind which to keep and which to select.  Smalhausen was talking to his
mother .  On a pad, he drew the figure of a young girl in chains.  He tied
her up in knots.  Twisted her.  Broke her back.  On paper it's hard to do. 
But not when you use a real person.  Smal, get away from me.  His mother
was wondering what to eat.  Smal tied the girl's hands behind her back. 
Now what?  What now?  What do you want?  He was talking to her.  She
didn't want anything.  What did he want?  He didn't know.  You must want
something.  He couldn't think.  What did she want?  She wanted to take off
the leotard and the fishnets.  They scratched.  She was like a mattress. 
Covered with cats.  She took off the leotard.  He lost interest.  He made
an attempt, but without the leotard, she was nothing.  I hate fetishists. 
They are so banal.  This woman was like the ocean.  She was full of the
most amazing ripples and vissitudes, and all he could think was corset. 
So why didn't you get a corset?  Neither of us had the money.  She had. 
But she didn't want to spend it on something she'd only wear in bed.  Th e
fishnets and leotard were as far as she would go. 

	So nothing happened.  She did nothing.  So did he.

	It was like a menage a cats.  The cats arranged themselves in
inscrutable patterns around the closet.  Where Tigris was.  Tigris was the
male cat who didn't like men.  I think he was brain damaged.  He was
neutered, but he was still male.  If you know wh at I mean.  Believe me, I
didn't.  But I had to keep him talking.  Maybe you should come in now.  He
was out on the fire escape.  In drag.  This was before drag was a big
thing.  He was still in the closet.  Like Tigris.  What did he do in
there?  I don't know.  He never told me.  Tigris could talk?  To her.  Not
to me.  Once, when I tried to reach in, he scratched me.  He was lazer
sharp.  And fast.  Wham.  He opened up my whole hand.  I didn't know it
had happened until I saw the thumb dangling off.  Th ey had to sew it back
on.  Why were you reaching for him?  It seemed the thing to do.  I don't
know.  I wanted him to come out.  Who?  Tigris.  And Euphates.  No.  She
was dead.  Who?> Euphates.  She had died before Claire came to the city. 
I forget the circumstances.  Are you serious?  She had a lot of cats
before she moved to New York.  But she only brought four with her. 
However, Claire was a bottomless pit of cat stories, and one was that
Tigris had a sister named Euphates.  Don't ask me to repeat it.  Euphates
was Tigris' sister.  Shutup, Smal. 

	Jump Smal.  Jump off the fucking building if it makes you happy. 
Just don't blame me.  Is all I ask.  It's not my fault, Smalhausen.  I was
sick of him and his stupid hangups.  They were worse than cat stories.  I
beat him off.  It was no use.  He was l ike his mother.  They both acted
the same way.  Like quarks.  Or disembodied photons.  Two crystals that
have been split by a single beam of light and come out lumpy.  I knew I
couldn't help him.  He was useless.  Or am I seeing him the wrong way. 
Can't we turn this around.  Suppose you use one photon and one mu
particle.  Does it give the same result>?  Photon asked his mother.  What
were the other cats' names?  He couldn't remember.  I knew he was lying. 
I was swallowing blood.  I didn't know if it was his or mine. 

	How do you know he talked?

	I heard them.  In the closet.  Whispering.  He was some kind of
familiar.  She was a witch.  Smal, you could get us both burned.  What are
you playing with?  Fire.  I threw a torch bomb into the closet.  I heard
them screaming.  Was he making this up?  D id he believe it?  I couldn't
be sure.  I felt him scrambling around inside of me like I was pregnant. 
I suddenly realized!  Oh my God.  Smal.  In any case, I never saw them
again.  I only saw him once.  I had come home suddenly, and he didn't have
time to get to the closet.  He was a lean cat with an oddly shaped face. 
It was almost chinless.  It reminded me of a character who used to be in
the funny papers.  Mr. Milchtoast.  People were always dumping on him.  My
mother used to taunt my father.  For b eing afraid to assert himself.  Mr.
Milktoast, she called him.  I don't think she noticed the difference in
spelling.  It was just the word that pleased her.  Tigris looked like
that, back over his shoulder, at me.  Then he was gone. 

	Eventually, she let me down.  And I fucked her.  It wasn't very
interesting.  Because she had taken off the clothes.  And was just a naked
fuck in the hay.  What did she look like?  Like you.  Only taller.  Red
hair.  No.  She didn't look like you at all .  What am I saying.  The
cheekbones were entirely different.  Her's were flat.  Your's are like
Katherine Hepburn's.  In fact, you look just like Katherine Hepburn in the
Philadelphia story.  Claire didn't look like that.  She was pretty.  No
one would k ick her out of the hay.  But you were different.  In fact, the
only time she looked like you was just before, when I saw her the first
time in that outfit.  I think I was projecting.  Anyway, I lost it after
she got undressed.  And went back to looking li ke her old self, which
wasn't bad.  No.  There was one other time.  She sat up, and she had this
look on her face, that screamed rape. 

	It was amazing.  I only saw her once.  Just then.  When she was
scared, and I had turned into an animal.  She had desire written all over
her face.  And?  And I couldn't get the leotard off.  I couldn't get
through the crotch strap and the tights.  She w as wearing tights, not
stockings.  It was like a double layered iron chastity belt.  Why didn't
you cut a hole with scissors?  She wouldn't let me.  She thought I might
stab her.  She insisted on taking the whole thing off.  What happened?  My
dick went l imp.  It was all over.  She tried to give me a blowjob, but it
was dead as a doornail.  It just hung there.  Eventually, we got up and
she made coffee.  We sat there talking about how it didn't matter.  It was
just as good hugging and feeling.  That's all she wanted.  A hug.  She
knew she wasn't going to get one from me.  I couldn't stand her.  She had
put on her nightgown.  The muslin one.  Because she was cold.  It just
spoiled the whole thing, if you know what I mean.  That was before she
moved in.  It only got worse.  They lived together for a whole year and he
never touched her. 

	All the cats are dead now.  I got a call from her the other day. 
No.  It was before that; anyway, Tigris is dead.  He was the last of the
four cats to go.  He was 22.  Ancient for a cat.  Kohoutek had died a
couple of years ago.  And Speedy was long gone.  Pywacket had died too. 
That hit her hard.  Pywacket was the grandmother cat.  She had spawned
them all.  Tigris and Euphates.  The fertile crescent.  That was it.  That
was the name of the train.  To Florida.  The Florida Crescent.  She has
more cats now.  But they aren't the ones who lived her\e.  Tigris was the
last to have memories of this apartment and what it was like to live her.e
especially in that closet.  It must have been hot.  In the summer, we did
not have air conditioning.  I was concern ed about him.  Even though I
knew he hated me.  Without me, he could sleep with her.  He often did when
I was away.  So I was between them.  He must have been glad to leave. 
Speedy wanted to say.  She was the little golden wonder cat who loved
anything t hat male or had the smell on it.  She could fuck a rock if it
smelled like4 a man.  Someone threw a brick through our window oine night,
and Speedy humped that rock for the next three weeks She had been neutered
too.  All the cats were.  But that didn't stop her.  She put her arms
around me when they were about to leave.  Claire said I could keep her if
I wanted, but I said no.  Sgyrt yhsy After that, she ignored me.  The few
times I visite d in Claire's new apartment.  She sat on the bed and turned
her back to me.  It was over.  Smal, you're crying. 

I can't help it.
he sat there and bawled.  I think we're getting some place.

Why didn't you keep her?

I .. it was too much trouble.  Letting another woman into your life.  I
couldn't handle it.  So I let her go. 

he cried some more.

do you want to stop.
no.  let's go on.

more crying.
he just sat there.
Speedy obviously meant something.  But what?
How did you feel when Claire told you Speedy had died?
Like something was over.
I didn't have to think about anymore.
She was an old cat.  She was Tigris's mother.
I forget how Kahoutek was born.  Under a comet.  She was named for it. 
But she wasn't Speedy's sister.  I know that.  She was descended from
Pywacket.  Pywacket sat on the refrigerator and watched everything.  She
was a very grave senior cat.  Claire nev er treated them like people.  She
treated them like cats.  Once, when Tigris and I were sick at the same
time, she took care of him and left me to rot.  "Tigris is sick," she
said.  Well, what did she think I was?  I'd come home with cramps and a
fever.  She didn't seem to be interested.  I wanted some chicken soup. 
She said maybe she'd go out later and buy a can.  I finally had to go and
get it myself.  By this time, I had diahrhea.  Stinking cat. 

	Were you angry?

	Suyre.  Wouldn't you be?

	I don't know.  I'm askuying you.

	You read that in Caxton, didn't you?  The weird spelling.  And all
that.  I can tell.  You aren't fooling me.  You're a witch.  You can be
burned at the stake.  They spelled any way they damned well pleased before
they introduced this dictionary craze.  Where they locked language in a
book and said it had to be spelled just right.  Try reading those old
texts sometime.  They make a lot os sense.  If you know what you're
looking for.  Who is Caxton?  Guy who wrote books before the dictionary
showed up.  The historieisty of Troyyyeeee Something like that.  The point
is, it didn't matter how they were speleled.  they could read it.  for
it's meaning.  You've got to get language out of the dictionary and back
into the books.  Burn the fucking dictionary.  And he did.  Smal, I think
you've gone a little far.  Save and exit.  Take the disk. 

	You sent the laptop where?
	oh my god.
they've got the bogie.

	I didn't know.  I didn't think.  I just wanted it fixed.  This is
how they get their information.  By sucking off busted laptops and other
hardware sent in for their inspection.  You might as well have turned the
blueprints for Project Alpha over to them on a velvet cushion.  These are
the specs, I tell you.  We've got them.  Incoming at four o'clock.  Kiss
my ass goodbye, Tigris.  It was like a lazer.  Right across my behind. 
His claws.  As she forced my tush into his face.  I told you I never saw
him.  He sliced it right down the center.  That's how I got the name
Smalhausen Two Pricks.  Want to see?  What were you wearing?  A black
corset.  Seven inch spikes.  Push up bra.  Frederick's of Hollywood.  She
really did a number on you, didn't she?  I think I'm hemmorahaging.  Smal
pitched forward and fell on his face.  Blood oozed out of his mouth.  The
painted lips.  The false eyelashes.  The darkly rouged face.  He looked
like one of the girls in his Death of Soul paintings.  I couldn't figure
out who it was.  Then I knew.

Chapter 7 Index Chapter 9