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The Second Annual Fiction Issue

Being A Monster

These stories are part of a novel I'm writing, and the novel is about how we create the idea of utopia, and then what happens to that idea. We start out with a kind of dissatisfaction, something isn't quite right with the world; it's unjust or unfair...
JH
Κείμενο John Haskell
1.12.07

Photo by Roe Ethridge These stories are part of a novel I’m writing, and the novel is about how we create the idea of utopia, and then what happens to that idea. We start out with a kind of dissatisfaction, something isn’t quite right with the world; it’s unjust or unfair or we can’t seem to find any happiness. That’s when rebellion starts, and these stories come from the part of the book dealing with the idea of rebellion. Bonnie found me another job. I was to star—that’s the word she used—in a video. She didn’t say it was a video game, but that didn’t matter. It was being filmed in a warehouse downtown and I arrived in the morning. I parked near a flower store specializing in funeral flowers, found the entrance door where people were bringing in lights and monitors, and when I walked in I found the assistant director, Maria, who told me what I would be doing. The part I was to play was the part of the monster. The video game had a story, and in the story a monster would be wreaking havoc on the citizens of an imaginary town, and the object of the game was to stop the monster by killing it. I found my dressing room, which was really just a converted bathroom, and I found my red costume draped over a hanger on the shower rod. I thought it was going to be a monster costume, a gorilla or space creature, but what it was was a bodysuit, made of stretchy material, like Lycra. Embedded in the material were small photosensitive electronic wafers sewn into the cloth. Except for the headgear it was a one-piece outfit, and so I sat on the chair in the bathroom, took off all my clothes except my underwear, pulled the costume up my legs and over my arms, and when I emerged from my changing room Maria took one look at me and told me I needed to take off the underwear. Which I did. In the end, when she zipped me up, I was completely covered in red, everything except my face and my feet. Because the floor was cold they allowed me to wear my socks. The crew was still setting up equipment, so with the costume on, I found the craft-service table and stood there, drinking lukewarm coffee. Without the weight of clothes I felt light and springy, and because the bodysuit was so snug I was practically nude. Instead of a monster, I looked like a superhero, like Superman or Spiderman, and when I looked around the warehouse I was half looking for an evil deed that needed my assistance. The warehouse itself was an open room, a large open room with lights and several cameras facing a wall covered with blue paper. The images were shot against this blue screen so that once the film had been shot, the images could be placed in whatever context the producers wanted. The director, whose name was Auggie, patted my back, felt my arm muscles, and told me I was going to be a great monster. “What kind of monster am I?” I asked him, but he was already talking to another man, a grip or a lighting person. When the set was ready I was told to stand in front of the blue wall and then walk back and forth. “In a particular way?” I said, and Auggie told me to crouch, and then to look around as if I was looking for something to hunt. We did this for a while until the actress came into the room. Her name was Erin and I could see she was an actress because she was attractive like an actress. Plus, she was the only other person in a bodysuit. We were twins except her bodysuit was white and shimmering, and where I had a cap, she had her hair uncovered. I could see in her long blond hair the electronic wafers that would indicate the action of the strands of her hair. I was the monster and my main job was to carry her. When the director told me to lift her up in my arms I nodded and she nodded to me and I held her, one arm holding her knees and one arm under her back, and because my nose wasn’t covered I could smell her. She smelled good. And because there weren’t any townspeople or houses, just the two of us against the blue wall, there was nothing to take my attention away from her. Her bodysuit covered her completely but because it closely conformed to the contours of her body I couldn’t help think, or imagine at least—and it really wasn’t a leap of imagination—that she was naked. The lights were bright on her bodysuit, and I didn’t want to stare but there were her breasts, among other things, clearly defined. And the director was telling me to look, to see her as a prize. I’d just taken her away, he told me, like King Kong. She was my treasure and my love and so I looked at her as if she was a prize, a prize I deserved, a sexual prize even. I was looking at her, thinking a monster would look at everything, at the cleft in her chin, her ribs sticking out, at her stomach and the indentations in the fabric made by her pubic hair. And although I was doing most of the breathing, because I was holding her up, I could see the muscle of her belly going in and out. She wasn’t what you’d call a large-boned girl, but she wasn’t petite either, and after a while I was beginning to feel a tension, in my arms, but mainly in my back. And this sensation of tension gradually turned into a sensation of pain, in a spot right about where a bra strap would have been. I tried accepting the pain, or tried trying to accept, hoping that with acceptance the pain would lose its meaning, or at least its old meaning, but the pain must have seen through my trick because it didn’t go away. At one point I expressed an interest in taking a break, but I could see the camera person—who always seemed to be in the middle of a shot—was right in the middle of a shot, so I didn’t really ever get a break, and sometimes Erin would talk to me, but I found talking difficult. I needed a bigger distraction. I was feeling something I called pain, and one way to counter pain is to find a distraction. There I was, holding a woman in my arms, and that was a distraction. I looked at her abdominal muscles, and her nipples poking through the thin material, and the pain went away, and what took its place was arousal. I realized I was getting an erection. In Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Caliban is a creature who’s in a situation that requires him to act in two different ways. There he is, a creature living comfortably in the only comfort he knows, getting along perfectly well until his island is invaded. A storm comes and a ship lands and this guy named Prospero takes over. He’s been a duke in Italy and he acts as if the island was his dukedom, as if he owned what before had been un-owned. He’s a magician and his magic is a kind of technology that gives him power, and because he has power, Caliban becomes his worker. Servant might be a better word, or even slave, but in the beginning Caliban was happy enough, because in exchange for his work, he was learning a language. And it would have been fine except Prospero had a daughter, Miranda. Although Caliban had never even seen a woman, he seemed to know what he wanted. He had access to her room in the cave where she lived, but I think the incident that happened, happened by a pool, a spring-fed pool deep enough for bathing. Caliban was watching Miranda bathe in the pool, and when she came out of the pool, stretching her arms so that the sun would warm her naked body, that’s when he stumbled out of the bushes. Miranda looked up and Caliban saw her trying to cover, with her hands and her arms, the private parts of her body, and because he wasn’t a thinker, he acted. He acted on feelings that existed along the back of his spine, and along the back of his spine he was drawn to her. Caliban is portrayed as something not quite human, and it was that not-quite-human aspect I sympathized with. When he goes to her, he doesn’t know what to do except hold her. It’s the urge he has, to press his skin against her skin, and when he does, that’s when Prospero arrives, and that’s when his real punishment begins. And that’s when his rebellion starts. Rebellion is a kind of arousal, and I don’t know about Caliban, but my own arousal was starting to intensify. Erin was slipping down my body and I had to reach down under her body to get a better purchase on her, to find some place I could grip. The heavier she got, the lower she slid down my bodysuit, and the lower she slid the more excited I got. She was hanging in my arms, and I don’t think the camera could see any telltale bulge in my bodysuit, but if she slipped down any lower she would feel my bulge. I could have put her down. I could have said, “I have to let go,” and let her slip out of my arms, but I didn’t want to let her slip. I wanted to hold her right where she was. And the more I held her where she was, the more my back was aching, and there was a battle between my aching back and my aching prick, between putting her down or holding her there, and between the two of them I didn’t dare move. I was stuck, and half of the experience was agony and half of it was pleasure, and because of the pleasure I didn’t let go of the agony. THREE STORIES | 1 | = 1226) { echo "2 | "; } if ($limit >= 1227) { echo "3 | "; } ?>