Afternoon rush hour, his taxi stuck in traffic. Showing good Manhattan etiquette, people have driven their cars into intersections hoping to sneak past the changing reds, ending up caught in front of approaching uncaring cross-towners, everyone honking their horns at once.
He took out a twenty, gave it to his driver, and got out, nearly getting hit by a bike messenger who flipped him off.
Well, walking to the gym makes more sense, he supposed. If you’re going to work out, might as well walk. But first something to drink.
He ducked into a corner store, nodding to the Korean woman behind the counter. Grabbed a kombucha and got in line, checking out the woman in front of him: Black hair pulled back in a ponytail. Baggy pink sweats with coffee stains. Green Converse High-Tops. Hard to tell if she had a good body or not, though the face…hm, almost looks like….
The woman almost jumped, nearly dropping her box of Tampax. She turned around, eyes wide.
His eyes perhaps just as wide. —Dominique.
She cleared her throat. —Um, no, you must have me mistaken for someone else. My name is Kristen.
He looked at the Tampax. —Oh….sorry.
She turned around and stepped to the counter and he watched her pay and leave without looking at him.
He paid for his Coke and walked out on the sidewalk, spotting her pink sweats in the crowd. Upper East Side. Same area. But….
He walked to the gym, changed, and got on the treadmill. The gerbil wheel. Thursday night, his night alone. Wife off at her therapist and afterwards tv night with her friends. Daughter at basketball practice and open-mic poetry night. His night to work up a good sweat, sit in the sauna, and a session with…Dominique. It had to be her. It was. He knew her voice, and the face, even without the black eyeliner and blood lipstick. Of course, he knew that wasn’t her real name, though it could have been. And of course he supposes she must have a life outside of the dungeon. But dirty pink sweatpants?
He ran thirty minutes, zoning out from everything. Except Dominique. That’s part of it, the anticipation. Knowing what she’s going to do to him later. But green Converse? No socks?
He took a sauna, showered and went outside. Nighttime, but still too early to go to her place yet. That was part of the game, to be on time. So he took a walk over to the river, watching a tugboat go by in the dark water. A man a little ways upriver caught a fish, laughing, and he wondering if he would actually eat the thing. Then back between the buildings to her apartment.
He rang and she buzzed him up. She opened her front door and frowned, wearing a black latex bodysuit with thigh-high spike leather boots and a studded leather belt. Lips shiny red, black eyeliner, long red fingernails. She said nothing until she closed the door behind him. —Hello Pussy. Ready?
—Um, yes Mistress.
He handed her the envelope of money and followed her into the dungeon: Walls covered with huge black curtains, candles burning in the corners. On the floor the large square mat with black pillows. She turned around, hands on hips. —Take off your clothes, Pussy.
He did. She watched. When he was naked, she held out a pair of pink panties. —Put these on.
He said the thing he loved to say, over and over: —Please don’t make me wear panties.
And she responded like she always did, like he always wanted her to. —If you were a real man you wouldn’t have to. But you’re a pussy, aren’t you?
Sometimes he shivered at this point, though not that night. —Yes. Yes, I’m a pussy.
He put on the panties and crouched on the mat on all fours, watching her slip on her strap-on, a big thick black thing with realistic veins, and rolled on a condom. He closed his eyes while she pulled his panties down to his knees, lubed him, and made him beg. He tried to relax and forget everything, enjoy being filled up, but as she penetrated him, all he could think was, She’s got a tampon in right now.
She got it all in, cursing him the whole time, and reached around for the usual reach-around. Except his cock wasn’t hard.
She froze. He thought maybe if she would have immediately insulted him for not being able to get it up that they might have been able to keep going, but there was a pause, where he knew that she knew that he was thinking about seeing her in the store, in the real world.
He asked her to stop. She immediately pulled out, staying in the game. —What’s the matter, can’t take a real cock?
But it was too late somehow. He apologized. —Look, I guess I’m not into this tonight.
She rolled the condom off the dildo and lets it drop on the floor, shrugging. —Next week.
He nodded and stood, the panties still around his knees. He looked at her.
She shrugged. —Keep them.
He dressed and followed her to the door. She opened it. —See you next week?
He tried to smile. —Yes, of course.
After the door closed, he heard her yell, —Shit!
He almost knocked on the door again, to say something. He didn’t know what. About asking her to go for a coffee. But that felt dumb, he felt dumb, and walked down the stairs.
He caught a cab on 2nd and, inside, leaned his head against the window, the glass cool on his cheek. Watching the store lights and people.
Back at the apartment he checked his watch. Still a little time. He looked in the back of the Village Voice, turning the pages. Pictures. Phone numbers. Here. This: A woman dressed in black, with long black hair. Smiling and looking at him. Mistress Black. He dialed the number.
A woman’s voice answered.