You will have noticed we haven’t been online a whole lot for the last few weeks. This was due to a house move. We didn’t move a long way, but it certainly felt long-drawn out due to screw-ups by lawyers, the telecoms company and others. We’re still surrounded by cardboard boxes, still won’t have proper internet access for another week or so, but the house is brilliant.
More about that in later posts. In the meantime, the experience of moving prompted Fulani to start a cycle of stories based loosely on the theme of moving house, of which the one below is the first.
Memory Dump – free short story by Fulani
Moving house involves packing. But what do you do with boxes that never got unpacked, went straight into the attic, when you moved into the place you’re now moving from?
You can just carry them with you, unopened, to deal with another time.
You can take the view that if you never unpacked them, you never needed what was in them. They’re now redundant and should be disposed of.
You can take the view it’s best to find out what’s in them, just in case.
I took the third view.
Three cardboard boxes, each one a cube about two feet on a side. It was a surprising amount of stuff.
The first one had notes, newspaper cuttings, tourist brochures, maps – the detritus of a novel I started and never finished. Did I still need any of this? The novel itself, what I wrote of it, I still had on a flash drive somewhere. The rest of the material, I couldn’t remember why I thought it was worth keeping. And at the bottom of the box: some teensy, flimsy female underwear and a brown envelope containing half a dozen photos, the old instant Polaroid type we used before digital became the norm.
I remembered. Megan. Malaga. Four years ago.
The last summer we were together, we went to Spain. It was a good holiday. We browsed the street bookstalls, photographic collections of tattoos, fashion, shoes, suggestive poses. Got drunk in a basement bar. Megan went to the toilet, came back with a half-smile and a thrust of the hips. Put her underwear into my hand. We fucked in an alley.
‘Do it to me hard.’ Her voice was low, cracked, urgent. The tone and the codeword, hard, that meant she wanted violence. I pushed her up against the stonework. Watched her ass grinding against it with anticipation. Slid the belt out of the waistband loops of my jeans. Wrapped it round my hand, twice, leaving eighteen inches or so loose. Hit her across the breasts and thighs with it. I could see flesh bounce under her thin summer dress, hear the echoes of the blows coming back at me from further down the alley, like distant gunshots. Or maybe they were distant gunshots. I heard the sharp intake of breath and low whine of need unleashed at each blow.
I turned her around, her hands against the wall and ass exposed to me, legs apart. Her heels meant her pussy was at exactly the level of my groin. I took her fiercely, using the belt on her shoulder blades as I thrust against her.
One thing about Megan: petite and frail-looking as she was, she could take a huge amount of punishment, begging for welts to cover the bruises. I didn’t hold back.
It was only in the artificial light of the hotel lobby, as we walked through to the lift, that I truly saw the effects of our coupling: the red marks shading to purple, visible as she walked and her skirt slid across her thighs, the snail-trail of spunk on the back of one leg, the dirt on her hands and the back of her light dress. The night porter paid no attention. Tourists: he’d seen it all.
In the room, I dragged her to the bed by her hair, tied her hands behind her back with the thin cloth belt of her dressing gown. Admired her excitement, the hot shiver running through her body and the way she opened her lips compliantly. Then forced my cock down her throat.
I took pics of her tied and waiting expectantly; pics of her, cock in mouth and eyes rolled all the way up to stare into the lens; pics of her with semen dribbling from her lips.
It didn’t last. On holiday, away from our daily and weekly routines, we’d been a conspiracy of two, intense and focused. Back home, obligations of work and daily commitments eroded the time we could share. Our relationship faded, more slowly than bruises and welts, but with the same inevitability. It was a relationship we both needed but somehow couldn’t make time for.
Rehearsing with the local amateur dramatic society, Megan started fucking the guy I thought of as the Second Murderer – because that was the part he had in the play. She’d found someone else to conspire with.
Random paperwork. Bank statements, credit card statements, landline and mobile phone statements, all of which I now deal with online. Receipts for car repairs from three cars ago, for electronic equipment I threw away even before I’d moved into the house we’re now moving from. A screwed-up ball of gaffer tape.
And in that ball, a story.
That ball memorialised a filthy weekend in Paris, a brief, intense, deeply exciting and exquisitely dysfunctional relationship. Why had I thought it might last? She was a decade younger than me, a financial exec on three times my salary, running an office with a dozen guys who obeyed her every command. I didn’t obey; I challenged and I disciplined her. That was what she wanted from me. I was a journey, an extreme she needed to experience.
I hadn’t brought any sex toys with me.
‘Really?’ She was incredulous. ‘I thought that was the whole point of the weekend. I thought you were going to tie me naked to one of the headstones in Père Lachaise and giving me a good thrashing. In fact I remember you explicitly promising exactly that.’
It was true. I had.
Instead I bought gaffer tape in a flea market. Later that evening, walking back to the hotel along a street waiting for rubbish to be cleared, something clattered underfoot: I’d kicked it accidentally. Bent to pick it up. A piece of turned wood, something that had once been part of a chair or small table.
Cut to an hour later: Tanya, spread face-down on the small double bed of the budget hotel with the pillows under her hips to raise her ass. Wrists and ankles secured to the metal frame. Despite being invented in World War II to make waterproof seals on ammunition boxes, gaffer tape has a multitude of uses including those connected with sexual and fetishistic pleasure. Tanya liked to think of herself as an escape artist, so binding her fingers together with more tape was an obvious strategy. And the tape also made a semi-effective gag, once her mouth had been stuffed with underwear to prevent her using her tongue to moisten the adhesive side and the skin it adhered to. The ‘mmmph-mmmph’ sounds she made were… arousing.
As were the contortions she tried to make, and the long-drawn out muffled moans, when I used the turned wood to trash the twin globes of her buttocks. I didn’t stop until the mattress was wet with her tears, and then I fucked her furiously, leaving her tied face-down.
Afterwards I went for a beer across the street, and didn’t release her until I’d fucked her another three times.
It wasn’t Père Lachaise cemetery, illicitly entered during hours of moonlight (bearing in mind it closes at 6pm in the summer); it wasn’t an elegant, stylish fuck. It was a cheap hotel with kitsch flowered wallpaper, neon lights flashing on the ceiling through the blinds, and whores working across the street. It was Paris grunge. It was a low-budget, effective and absolutely hot scene.
I found some bunched-up gaffer tape in my suitcase when we got home. I’d been too sentimental to throw it away.
Again, it didn’t last. Not for any bad reason, but because Tanya was a high performer at work, as well as in the bedroom – or anyplace else we had sex – and as ambitious at work as she was imaginative in her fantasies. She was offered a move to New York, and took it. Last I heard, she’d gone even deeper into her explorations of pain, living with a guy who was into playing with needles and fish hooks.
She’d always liked men who stretched her boundaries.
Third box. The oldest and dustiest of them. There couldn’t be anything I’d want to keep, after much a long time.
Contents: notes dating back to my master’s degree, a train timetable, a couple of old tickets. I examined the tickets with curiosity and had a sudden memory shock. Vanessa. The first woman I’d ever tied up.
We’d met at university. Started our relationship at the least convenient time, right at the end of the academic year, at the party when five of us were leaving the house we’d been sharing. I moved into a job a hundred miles away, that being the era when graduates were able to find jobs with relative ease.
Since she’d stayed on, being offered a doctoral scholarship and a position as a teaching assistant, it was a long-distance affair. A couple of times a month I’d travel to her place, or she’d travel to mine, depending on our schedules. We’d stay in bed for two, three four days at a time. The bondage started out as a form of messing around. I’d use pantyhose (as she called them; where I was brought up we called them tights) to bind her wrists, and everyday implements such as elastic bands, clothes pegs (pins, she called them), plastic rulers and dripping candle wax to torture her. We didn’t even think of it as kinky. It was just experimentation.
These particular tickets were, firstly, one I’d used for travel to a conference, and secondly, one she’d used to come and meet me at the conference. In those days mobile phones were the size and weight of housebricks and the only people who carried them were business wheeler-dealers with money to burn. She’d phoned the conference and left a message with the organisers. Mid-morning on the second day of the conference, I picked up the slip of paper from the conference message board: ‘Vanessa, 7pm, train station’. I felt drained, having surfaced from a thoroughly indecent night of repeated fornication with… I can’t remember her name. Tall, voluptuous woman, long dark hair, wide mouth, easy smile, enthusiastic cocksucker. We’d smoked a lot of her dope stash, drunk a bottle of brandy and fucked a dozen times or more through the night. But she was there as the PA and occasional mistress of some captain of industry who’d been called away to deal with some industrial-scale emergency. I remember, when we were in bed, she described how it felt being lent out to one of his business partners. She’d found it ‘enlightening’, she said.
So, having had a dozen cups of coffee through the day, I arrived at the station at 7 that evening to find Vanessa in one of the coffee bars there, reading a book. She looked up, surprised.
‘What are you doing here?’
My turn to look surprised. ‘I got your message’.
Her eyes rolled up to the ceiling. ‘I left that yesterday. Came up last night. You weren’t here.’
‘Oh… I’m sorry.’
‘Well, it worked out fine. I waited for you, and you didn’t come, and a good-looking man asked if I was OK. Which I wasn’t. I think at first he thought I was a hooker, but we talked and he offered me his place for the night. Well, not just his place. And he tied me up and whipped me very nicely. So now I’m on my way back home. He works for a European something-or-other agency. Expensive apartment, top floor of a tower block over looking the river, with a jacuzzi on the roof garden. It’s very cool, stepping out of a jacuzzi and then fucking thirty-four floors up, looking out over the city.’
I had to agree, it would have been.
‘The strange thing was, he could only climax while he was wearing a gas mask. And next time I see him, he’s promised he’ll take me to a fetish club. In Munich.’
There wasn’t a lot I could say to that.
‘What are you doing?’ Jen asked, coming into the room with a couple of steaming coffee mugs.
I looked up, startled.
‘Oh… Checking these boxes before I throw them out. There’s no point taking stuff with us if it’s just going to sit in another attic for another seven or eight years.’
Jen smiled. ‘Absolutely. But that faraway look… I know you, remember? Intimately. You’ve found some memories in those boxes, and you’re doing a memory dump.’
She does know me. Intimately.
‘Whatever you found in those boxes, or whoever you found, it’s good to let go. I was going exactly the same, last week. Because we’ve got a whole new house to move to next week, and a whole new future.’
She was absolutely right. The boxes went out in the trash. The memories? Well, I’ve let them go as well. But not before writing them down.