Hold On Tightly – November 11th, 2001
by Bing Futch
The damage wasn’t permanent, at least as far as I could tell. My wrists felt hot and angry, the bones beneath the skin ached and groaned. Even cops tended to place handcuffs on you allowing for the tiniest bit of free space surrounding the fleshy inner circle, but these cuffs were pressed hard and firm against my skin – along with a good two feet of black rope-like material, possibly of a nylon kind of origin. It had all started off as a playful game, perhaps a bit of a dare between friends. That mood soon evolved into a full-scale fight for dominance on a too-saggy bed with not enough spring support. I fought to keep her off of me, to keep my balls safe from her probing knees. With a swift, expert move she had caught one wrist with the bolero-like fabric and quickly double-wrapped it, trailing out the slack with her right hand, fingers working the strands into a snare. Foolishly, I attempted to free myself with my other hand, only to have it likewise bound and suddenly immobilized. Palms together, black stretched cords biting into my flesh as she worked her voodoo, nicely curtailing the flailing that I had engaged in, I was rendered mostly harmless. This wasn’t what I had had in mind. Truly, it was apparent that neither of us did. But tell that to the expectant soul, the adventurous spirit – the one that cries out “anything goes!” for the sake of a release from what gets fed to you day after day. People snap all the time and go digging into their respective closets for experiences that they’ve never or seldom had. Especially these days. Especially in a time when just about everyone harbors some little bit of craziness, admittably or not.
There was a knock at the bedroom door and she regarded me with a solemn look before heading over to retrieve the handcuffs, so graciously lent by a roommate who slid them under the door. Returning to the sordid scene, she dangled them from one finger and raised an eyebrow. “A little giftie,” she said.
I had broken my right wrist back in the days of living on Ellsmere Avenue. Foolishly pedaling down the sidewalk on my ten-speed with a three-foot piece of wood stuck in my handlebars. Who was to know that my misjudgement of the clear space between two Italian Cypress trees, which bookended a stretch of pavement, would result in a completely unexpected front-flip? Or that I would fall in such a way that the back of my hand would smack into the concrete with force enough to shatter the bones within? These are the instances you learn from – what contributes eventually to your whole life experience. What a five-year old can know is simply nothing compared to the world-whirlings of a 35-year old who’s been around long enough to know that five-year olds don’t know shit and that 70 year olds, in general, should be listened to instead of shunned.
But belay all that – it felt like my wrist had been re-broken as the sting of pain and steel wrenched and fluttered up my arms; she had managed to place a knee across one of my thighs and with skill unmatched by any intense wench that I’ve known before – double-cuffed me and then stood up, watching me writhe. Well, shit. So much for control. But I was still angry – not completely, totally – in the back of mind it was all still fun, was hoping that she felt the same and hadn’t just journeyed off into a land of dread where men were bastards and women deserved to beat the living crap out of them. I knew her, but not well. This could’ve gone anywhere. I could be tomorrow’s news, some freak sexual murder case, one of those unlucky cusses, I thought.
“Take off your clothes,” she ordered.
As I type this now, I glance down every-so-often at the skin on the back of my arms – still swollen, a little puffy and red-streaked. Must’ve pinched a nerve or something, whilst the struggle ensued. At one point, I made a bold effort to assume control in this dangerous game and ended up having a judo move pulled on me, bounded wrists held above my head and twisted in such a manner that I thought the bones would snap. Her face was deadly calm. “You’re pathetic,” she said. “Behave, or I will seriously hurt you.”
She had been divorced, I had learned. The Divorcee’ Club had a new member in me, happy to be free and not at all interested in treading those fierce waters again. The work is the purpose – the conduit through which all else passes. All things of importance: my children, my legacy, my friends and least of all, my family. Learning to reconnect the brutalized strands of severed bonds, having ventured out to Las Vegas for the funeral of my grandfather, dancing in the maelstrom of life, stringing along ideals and trying not to swing in the wind on the end of some damnable rope. The rope with which families hang themselves, the rope of expectations, the rope of diminishing returns, the rope of truth that burns starting at yesterday and also at all of the tomorrows. My dominatrix told me that I was “scum” and I looked her in the eyes, noticing the black whip she held, and admitted to it. Scum, I was. I deserved this pain, this humiliation, this loss of control. The sting of leather bit into my arm and I choked back a scream, though a whimper snuck out and shamed me. She raised the whip upwards and brought it down again across my flank.
Do your worst, I thought. This has nothing to do with sex.
Like Ecstasy, like acid, like psychotropics, pain is a drug. It’s not a drug that I particularly seek, especially in the physical sense. There be enough mental, spiritual, emotional, social pain available from the counters without the all-too real sensation of nerve-endings reeling and rocking from blows, abuse, scintillating genuflections of raw abandon. Some would preach that “pain is good” and that holds a certain amount of stead regarding death. To paraphrase someone cool, “I don’t have a problem with death, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” To take it a step further – pain, when manageable, is a boost – a way of re-affirming your belief in life and health and safety. Pain is an enabler, and those that dodge it are doing themselves a disservice. True that some have a higher threshhold than others for the stuff, same as liquor, drugs, happiness and success. Everything in moderation, haven’t you been taught that? Everybody redlines at some point on something. Everyone loses control and relishes the ride, fearing the consequences. Question is: do you know when to stop? When do you scale back to keep from blowing your motor?
The red tinge on the backs of my hands is going away, but the burn is still there. It’s a good goddamn thing that I didn’t fight too much against the moment, because I probably would’ve jacked the bone right out of the socket at some point. It was exquisite though – the cut of steel, the press of her body against mine, fighting for dominance, the sudden dependence on my legs as weapons.
Here are the senses, your five points of input – and when one or more is removed, the others spring to life. Self-deprivation rarely works because, as a whole, we hate to deprive ourselves of anything. This sort of action needs to be enforced beyond our control in order for lessons of life to take effect. Shit-howdy, this wasn’t my first experiment with bondage, but it sure as hell was my first S&M experience and this girl was serious about playing the part. Sane, nice, intelligent being that I knew had suddenly lurched into Marquis De Sade mode and I didn’t recognize her at all.
It gave new meaning to the word “helpless.”
Bright spark of flaming light, shooting from my wrists and I was traveling out of my head and into another sphere – where pain was encouraged and defiance was re-thought. Now hell, I’ve done my research on this particular brand of bedroom games and know for a fact that a) you can yell “STOP!” at any time, if you’re with someone who plays fair and b) if you’re in the right frame of mind, “STOP!” is the last thing you want to yell, in order to absorb the lesson at its utmost potency. I do believe that people rarely travel outside of their prescribed comfort levels and because of this, they do not grow. Not that I’m suggesting that everyone go out and have someone hog-tie them and inflict serious pain via whips and chains, but whatever floats your boat – you should look into the floating source.
Interestingly enough that sex was not had during this brutal conflict of force. It was simply enough, an exercise of sorts. Spanked, yanked, derided and finally let go. Alms of peace filtering into a brain that had jacked-up and run round about the town. The next morning, as friends transformed back into the everyday questioned each other about the events of an evening prior, there was no sign of the furor which had preceded the calm of day. Leaving me to believe that nighttime is for wandering and daytime is for accepting. Unless you’re a third-shift kind of mentality – at which point, the whole world is different to you anyway. “How do you feel about last night?” she asked me, administering kisses to my reddened, swollen wrists. I told her that I felt okay about it. After all, it’s not really who we are, is it? Just pretend: a game. That’s all. Nothing that we sing or write or know is a true reflection of who we are now, is it? Just phantoms of thought, cloudy mirrors of reality.