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"Very well. Marva doesn't like you. She's only going with you because you're going to get her into that party in Westchester. Once there, she'll dump you and go off with a young lawyer in a BMW. But first she'll tell everyone there that she's your dominatrix and that you're such a worthless and poorly-endowed slave she's dumping you. Just before she leaves, she'll convince a group of Log Cabin Republicans to grab you and tie you down to a workout bench, whipping your bare ass with your own belt. He likes it rougher than that, she'll say on her way out."

My dream date. The coolest party of the summer. My fantasies of how the night would go dissolved into a demented S&M nightmare, a parody of a Janet Jackson video. I felt like puking except my stomach was empty because they hadn't brought my damn salad. "Was -- Was that what turned me evil?"

"That and 25 years of the same shit. Trust me, it will not be fun. But it doesn't have to be like that. She can be yours. For as long as you want her. As can any woman."

He held out a small envelope. "Using the instructions in this envelope and a few products from Love Drugs, you can create a solution that will give you the whip hand, so to speak. Just spray a little on the passenger seat of your '87 Honda, and she'll absorb it through her skin. Then make a suggestion and see what happens. Later, she'll remember it all as if it were her own decision to obey you."

"I don't want to control --" I began.

"In this world, you have a choice, not between good and bad, but between passive and active. Don't pretend that refusing to take control of your life makes you better than me."

He was right that I wasn't a particularly good person, even in my early twenties. Maybe the only difference between him and me was laziness. Hadn't I jacked off recently to one of those "mind control" fantasies weirdos wrote on alt.sex.stories?

"There is a difference," I said after a moment. "I'm a skeptic, you know? While you've bought into this whole ideology to explain what you do. I'm skeptical about politicians, religious fundamentalists, wiccans, pundits, Ann Landers -- anybody who's got a grand theory to explain the world and how I should live my life. Even myself. Especially myself. I'm even skeptical about the existence of evil. Who's to say that's not better than what you believe in? Maybe you gave up more than you got."

"Maybe." He held out the envelope. "You can think about it."

I looked at the envelope, and my salad came. The waiter couldn't put down the salad because the outstretched envelope was in the way. "Take it." The waiter looked at me imploringly, the dressing in its little side bowl beginning to slosh onto his hand. The envelope did not move, and neither did the gaze of my terrible counterpart.

"OK, OK," I took the envelope. "But I'm not saying I'll use it." He shrugged and the waiter put down my salad.

I really am lazy. I stayed home that evening and listened to my Ben Folds Five CDs. Two years later, I still have the envelope, sealed, in my underwear drawer. I don't know what happened to Marva. I'm still a dork.



Charles Anders thinks the phrase "Log Cabin Republican" is intrinsically the funniest thing ever. He can often be heard in the BART stations of San Francisco muttering "Log Cabin Republican" to himself over and over again, while giggling uncontrollably. He is the webmaster of www.godhatesfigs.com and news editor at Anything That Moves.



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