I wrote a piece a couple of days ago that I decided to keep back for a collection. Thought I’d do a 500-word short to keep you entertained instead but I got over-enthusiastic. It’s around 2400 words… I have changed some details. The story is set on a Tuesday, but actually it was yesterday. No baboons were harmed during the writing of this story. For those who know their pulp history – no weasels were used to rip any flesh!
You may not have caught up with this, but there’s been a resurgence of interest in men’s adventure mags.
They were big in the fifties and sixties, which is to say before I was born and up to the time I was in kindergarten. So all I knew about them, really, was from the internet. And that wasn’t going to be enough to write a story about them.
These magazines were a type of pulp fiction, cheaply produced sexploitation and violence. Key themes: World War II, gangs, bikers, the occult.
Exhibit A, your honor, taken from the internet: an issue of Man’s Daring, with a cover picture of a woman in a white dress reduced to rags, kneeling, tied to a bamboo X-frame. Look of terror on her face. Approaching her is a Nazi officer who holds the leashes of two ravening baboons that are evidently intent on fucking her, eating her, or both. Maybe even at the same time. This relates to a story inside the mag: ‘Hitler’s Baboon Tortures in Mabuti’.
Man's Adventure, Oct 1967. See below for details.
Exhibit B from the same source: Man’s Adventure
, cover picture of a woman in ripped red dress, tied standing spreadeagled. Whip marks clearly evident on her torso. A bare-breasted female interrogator is standing by as two soldiers pull on the ropes to stretch her tighter. Stories trailed on the cover include ‘The Sex Show That Tricked the Nazis’ and ‘Women who Like Pain’.
The Nazi thing – I don’t know, but given the period when they were popular I guess a lot of the men who read them had served during World War II. Seen cruel, extreme stuff at first hand. Heard stories. Brothels were commonplace. These experiences defined their sexuality. World War II was still a big thing in films through the seventies but by then, porn was more photographic that art illustration. The mags faded away.
They were called ‘sweat mags’ or ‘sweats’. I don’t know – maybe because men got all sweaty reading them?
So on this lazy Tuesday afternoon I head off to a little independent second-hand specialist comic and magazine shop. I pass it occasionally and I’m always surprised it’s still there because I never see anyone inside. I’d guess it does most of its business on Ebay and Amazon?
I push open the door. The music coming from behind the counter is heavy gothic; it alone would be enough to make the merely curious walk straight out. The owner is a mumsy figure dressed in what might best be described as Victorian window’s weeds. Black, lots of lace, jet necklace. She nods at me kindly.
‘Oh, those,’ the owner says when I ask. ‘I don’t have any in stock. Actually they’re mostly collector’s pieces now, the kind of thing people buy and keep in plastic wrappers because the paper’s so fragile. And you’d be surprised how many of the collectors are women.’ She smirks. Like she’s a collector herself. Of mags? Of women?
Well, OK. But I browse anyway. Mostly what they have is contemporary manga, TV spinoff magazines for SF and fantasy, runs of old Marvel and DC comics. A few old copies of Analog and some other SF.
And then I get intrigued by another voice, a female one. Goth girl, twenties, old enough to be my daughter. Flame orange long hair. Black summer dress, strapless, the kind with a lot of net underskirts. Stockings, holdups, because I can see flashes of their tops when she shifts her weight from foot to foot. Big red boots.
The snatch of conversation I get is this.
Girl: ‘I have fantasies like that but you know what, I’ve never yet met a man who could carry them out.’
Owner: ‘Most men just aren’t skilled in being dominant. A good one is hard to find.’
I turn round and the girl looks at me accusingly, like I’ve crept up on her. I look at what’s on the counter between the two of them. It’s a copy of Men Today, featuring a woman in an extremely tattered and revealing red dress – almost every woman on these covers wears red – with wrists bound behind her back. A soldier holds her while an officer pulls at the hem of the dress and brandishes a whip. On the cover it advertises a story that may nor may not be related: ‘Nude Virgins for the Devil’. The thing is in a plastic wrapper, and looks like it’s not in great condition.
‘Clearing my grandfather’s house after he passed,’ the girl says defensively. ‘I want to get it valued. He had hundreds.’
‘Wouldn’t you agree,’ the owner says smoothly, ‘that truly dominant men are hard to find these days?’
She’s never seen me before. I’ve never been in here before. But that’s an introducer if I ever heard one.
I wear glasses. I incline my head to look at you, schoolmasterly, sternly, over the top of the lenses. It makes you squirm. You shuffle those big red boots and I can sense your stockinged knees rubbing together.
‘Kneel at my feet,’ I tell you, ‘and I’ll tell you how you can find one.’
You look at me quizzically. Big round eyes, lots of eyeliner. You look back at the owner, whose face is totally impassive, blank. And you kneel at my feet.
‘Interesting,’ I say. ‘You really want to be tortured the way the adventure mags depict it?’
‘Who are you?’ you ask.
I look at the story title on the magazine cover. ‘The Devil, evidently.’
You get it. ‘I’m not exactly a nude virgin…’
‘Perhaps not. But they’re in short supply, so you’ll do.’
‘Perhaps,’ the owner says in the same voice she’d use to offer a cup of coffee, ‘you two would like to use the stockroom upstairs?’
I look down into your big eyes. The pupils have grown wider. You’re breathing more quickly.
I take the belt off my jeans and loop it around your neck. When I tug gently you stands up, puts your hands behind your back submissively. Like you’ve done it before.
The stock room is packed with boxes upon boxes of old magazines, partly covering a worn brown carpet with a sixties pattern and grimy walls that were once cream. The storage rack against the far wall is robust, though.
‘The dress comes off,’ I you. You’re obedient. Stand there for my inspection in a thong, stockings, big boots. Then you’re standing there with only the stockings and boots. You’re not model thin. Carry a bit of spare weight, in fact, on your thighs and hips. Classic pear shape. The net underskirts would have helped to hide that, of course. Shaven to a thin landing strip.
‘You want me to tie you up, beat you and fuck you like you’re being tortured by a devil,’ I say. ‘But in the real world we do these things by consent. You know the meaning of red?’
You look at me blankly. ‘Saying red means game over,’ I explain. For a first-time meet it’s a useful let-out if you can’t handle what I’m doing to you.’
‘I don’t want it,’ you say. ‘Won’t use it.’
I yank on the belt. Pull you towards me. Exert a little power, get your attention. Smell your perfume. Patchouli. Very gothic.
‘You’d better shut up,’ I tell you. ‘You’ll only encourage me.’
I don’t exactly walk around carrying ropes and cuffs, and there’s not a lot in the room designed for bondage and torture purposes. There is, though, packing tape. I take you by that long orange mane, feeling the tremor on her body as I pull your head back. Have you kneel and use the tape to secure your hands, outstretched in front of you, together and to an upright of the storage rack. Stand back to admire my handiwork.
You’re good. Don’t look round at me. Don’t speak. Go into role.
‘If you want me to beat you,’ I say, ‘You’ll have to ask politely.’
That’s seems to disturb you. You shift uncomfortably on your knees. Breathe shallowly and fast.
‘Please beat me, master.’ Quiet, pleading voice.
I use my belt. I’m not gentle. I’m going to leave marks. I like the way your whole body jerks, reacts to the impact like a wave of shock rolling up your body. I like the hiss you make in response, like a provoked snake.
I take my time, leaving ten, twenty seconds between blows so you can compose yourself after each one.
Eventually, instead of hissing, you become more vocal. Your thong and more packing tape aren’t fully effective as a gag but stifle the loudest of your high-pitched yelps and animal grunts. The gag makes you look very damsel-in-distress.
You’re right about refusing to use red. Instead your body goes red: ass, tops of your thighs, and a large part of your upper back display an inflamed rosy hue with streaks of purple.
After a while I change my angle, swinging the belt so that the end of it wraps around your hips. While the earlier blows seemed almost to hypnotize you, the wraparounds make you squirm prettily. Display pain. And breathe more heavily.
‘You want me to use the buckle end?’
I use the buckle end, twice, swinging metal harshly into the flesh of each ass cheek. It triggers something for you. A memory, maybe, that you’d repressed, or need to recreate. Tears on your face. Streaky mascara.
I run my hands over your body, feel the heaviness of your breasts, the heat coming off you. Pinch nipples until you take a breath in and are too shocked to exhale. Run a finger around your clit. It’s receptive. Attention-seeking, even.
I shift a couple of heavy boxes. Put them down in front of you so you can lean your breasts on them, your torso flat. This presents your ass and cunt very prettily and you’re intensely aware of it. Wriggle provocatively. Probably, wriggle to find a comfortable position but I find it provocative.
‘You have to ask, slut,’ I tell you.
You take a deep breath. ‘Please sir, master, Devil, I would really really like you to fuck me right now.’ No, not as clearly as that because the gag is still in your mouth and you have to pronounce each word separately and as clearly as possible. You say it like you’ve been rehearsing the line in your head.
No condoms. I’m not the kind of guy who carries them around in his wallet just in case.
I pull your head up by your long hair and whisper quietly in your ear.
‘I’m going to blindfold you,’ I say, ‘and leave you here waiting for me. I might be two minutes. I might be an hour. I might go and have a coffee before coming back. I haven’t decided yet if I want your cunt or your ass. Maybe both. I expect you to be in this exact position when I return, or I’ll take your styling red boots off you and use my belt on the soles of your feet.’
Your response is along the lines of ‘Mmmnngh!’
As I’m saying this I notice some elastic bands on the floor. Interesting. I double them up until they grip tightly on nipples and around your clit, compressing it until you squeak. The blindfold – well, some old newspaper and more packing tape.
When I go downstairs, intending to explain I need to find a convenience store, the owner is standing behind the counter. She has two condoms out next to the till.
‘Just in case,’ she says conspiratorially. ‘Would you like a coffee?’
She can’t tell me anything about you. You come into the store once every month or so, buy back copies of occult fantasy magazines.
‘So you introduced us to each other despite not knowing either of us and sent us up to your stockroom to play?’
‘Well, two people in one day asking about men’s adventure magazines. It was too much of a coincidence. And this place can be a little crazy-making sometimes. I mean, last week I had a whole porn shoot going on here after hours, and before that, a group of witches wanted to use the roof of the building for a rite.’
It’s maybe twenty minutes before I get back to you. By that time you’re whimpering, drooling, and the makeshift blindfold hasn’t stopped the tears staining your face. Your chest is heaving and you’re struggling to deal with the sensations of the elastic band. For all I know you’re struggling to subdue your raging emotions.
I do exactly what I promised: fuck you hard in the hole of my choice. You’re at a pitch now where you come very quickly, maybe within thirty seconds. I take longer and that’s how I find out you’re capable of multiple orgasms.
Fifteen minutes later you’re lying on the floor, splayed out, trashed, wrecked, shaking.
‘A true dominant,’ I say, ‘would probably make you kneel up and thank him for the experience. Then he’d slap your face hard, turn on his heel and leave you to take off the elastic bands, which in itself will be painful as circulation returns to your nipples, and sort out your clothes.’
You lever yourself into a kneeling position.
‘Thank you for the experience, master,’ you say humbly. And turn your face up to receive the slap.
‘May I,’ you whisper, rubbing your cheek, ‘have a way to contact you?’
‘With the owner downstairs,’ I snap, deliberately sounding annoyed.
Next day you text me pictures of your ass and back, with a message ‘I’m proud of these. Am I a sick pervert lol?’
I did a thorough job, evidently. More bruising came out overnight.
‘Yes,’ I text back. ‘Just let me know when I can do it again.’
Ten minutes later my cellphone bleeps. There’s a pic, something that looks like a screen capture from a retro fetish movie. A naked woman hanging by her wrists, legs wide apart, feet several inches off the floor. Probably caught mid-scream except a ballgag plugs her mouth and distends her jaw. Next to her is a bare-chested man in a torturer’s hood, wielding a flogger. There are stripes on her breasts, stomach and the fronts of her thighs. The message is: ‘Can u do this to me? Make me ur dungeon slave!! Am free whole weekend Friday to Sunday!!’
It’s going to be an entertaining weekend.
Footnote: classic pulp covers can be seen on the Men’s Pulp Mags blog, Fantasy Ink (which covers the SF/fantasy end of pulp), Killer Covers of the Week (for murder/detective pulp, mostly novel covers), Pulp International (check out the vintage Japanese porn covers), Stagmags, which is the source of the image used above and a seller of classic pulp on Ebay, and last but by no means least, Comic Book Bondage Cover of the Day which has a massive archive.
Or if you want to read something that’s a bit like pulp but not quite, and does have extensive scenes of bondage, torture, whipping and other diverse bdsm activities, you could have a look at The Secret Circus of Pain and Degradation, which is also now available on Amazon.com Kindle.