:: Article

The Pleasure Principle

By Rachel Kendall.

The air is damp with the scent of semen both fresh and stale. In the corner, a man has dismantled a wooden chair and splinters protrude from between his bloody teeth. A purple-faced man masturbates furiously beside you, the veins in his arm standing out like cord, his penis red and raw like a dog’s cock. You watch two men curled up like babies, sucking on each other and think about joining in, even though you aren’t attracted to men in the slightest. You just want the feel of a warm wet orifice around you, but wouldn’t dare go and slip yourself inside a free space in case one of the men attack you. It’s been like this for days. You are the newest addition to the ward, but they have paid you no attention. Too wrapped up are the others in their fantasies. You realise you’ve all been left alone to your own devices, to fuck and fight each other to the death if necessary. You are the rejects, the abnormalites, the unfortunate users of the black-market Aphrodizia.

It started as a plaything, the Empath-e-kit, a toy, for the rich, the famous. A minor operation to insert a chip into the grey matter for a few thousand pounds, the initial hook up, tubes, wires, questions, data-input, and then left to free-base. Don’t you wish you could experience what you see on the screen? the ad said. The porn stars with their muscles ready-relaxed, their bowels emptied, their noses full of junk, you could have that perfect sex experience with the beautiful people. The giant cocks and the gravity-defying tits could be yours over and over for a price. Insert your favourite DVD, lie back and watch as genitals, breasts, lips, tongues, teeth, elbows, the backs of knees, the silky thighs, the six-packs, the tanned flesh come together to pleasure YOU. Physically safe, emotionally flat-lining, you can play your films on the ceiling of your home, feel the shudder of a woman as she climaxes with you, taste the semen as it spurts into your mouth, feel an accommodating anus around your cock, or the splash of urine warm on your chest…

Celebrities made it cool. This wasn’t some behind-closed-doors thing. This was fashionable, the way drug use became fashionable and anorexia became fashionable. It was sold as the perfect recreational device, fun, safe and socially acceptable.

But not everyone is interested in ‘normal’, safe hetero- or homosexual sex. There was, of course, a niche in the Empath-e market for the perverse, and it found its way onto the black market, under the name Aphrodizia. For those of you who like your partners a little younger, a little obese, a little anorexic, a little bit ill… open wounds, physically disabled, over 80… execution and mutilation films… Want to experience your own death? Want to witness your lover die right in front of you? There really was something for everyone. Unfortunately you were one of those perverts weren’t you. You had your peccadilloes and forked out the couple of hundred to get hooked up.

Totally safe. Safe as houses, they said.

And it seemed so. Until a sudden increase in anti-social behaviour hit the news. Harrassment, abuse, general groping, biting, licking of strangers in the street, flashing, masturbating in public, violence, suicide, mutilation and finally murder. Men tried to sever their own cocks, women injured themselves by forcing kitchen implements, garden equipment and generally anything else they could get their hands on inside themselves. Anything to scratch the already-suppurating wound.

The word ‘malfunction’ started to drip randomly into conversation. It turned out the Aphrodizia chip retained all memories of all the films, the feelings, the whole gamut, while the original Empath-e-kit erased all data between each viewing. So a man might suddenly find himself going rodeo with a beautiful blonde just as he stepped out into the road, shooting his load as the car shot him along tarmac. Women became Theresas, lost in an eternal ecstacy, forgetting to feed the baby, the dog, themselves, until mind and body were almost wasted to nothing. Then they were scooped up and institutionalised.

There is some talk here, in stolen moments of lucidity, of conspiracy theories. Hell bent on finding an answer, the patients’ discussions become heated arguments become fist fights. Either that or the conversation is halted for the need to empty one’s balls of fluid. Most seem to agree it was the government’s attempt to clear the streets of the poor and the perverted; the perverted poor. Slip in the bait and then hit them with a double whammy. Maybe, maybe not. Either way, you’re here and no one knows, you may as well be dead. Not that anyone cares anyway. You did, after all, kill your girlfriend in a moment of Aphrodizia-rage. Now you’re a number on a graph, a figure on a chart, just waiting to shoot them all down.

Rachel Kendall
lives in Manchester, UK, with a mannequin and a stuffed armadillo. She is the editor of the literary magazine Sein und Werden and a writer of short fiction and unfinished novels.


First published in 3:AM Magazine: Sunday, August 26th, 2007.