Оглавление

  • Chapter 1
  • Chapter 2
  • Chapter 3
  • Chapter 4
  • Chapter 5
  • Chapter 6
  • Chapter 7
  • Chapter 8

    Unknown

    Posed For Pleasure


    Chapter 1

    “Here we have fantasy, ladies and gentlemen,” Armand Fortuna says, writing the word on the green chalkboard, meticulously washed the night before in honor of his visit and lecture here at the university, “and here, we have reality.”

    And the word REALITY appears beside FANTASY, distanced from it about a foot.

    Armand pauses his lecture, just begun, to put a frame around each of the words.

    “We merge the two supposed opposites into a third entity, which we call art.”

    ART appears in a box above the two, arrows pointing to it from the two boxes below it.

    “So then, art is the synthesis of fantasy and reality to produce an effect.

    “But!”

    Significant pause, chalk poised in the air, suspending time and focussing attention, piercing gaze from bearded, moustached visage seeming to transfix the students, individually and collectively, before he continues, “There is a contradiction, a fallacy at work here in this supposed reconciliation of opposites.

    “Because-”

    And he pauses again, putting a series of R’s beneath FANTASY, surrounding each with a circle, an arrow pointing from each toward the FANTASY box, before facing the amphitheater of entranced faces once more to say, “Fantasy is itself composed of reality.

    “We can think only in terms of what lies within our experience, individually and collectively. Like matter, the range of imagery of which the human mind is capable can neither be enhanced nor diminished.

    “It is as impossible for you to think of that which does not exist as it is to think of a color outside the visible spectrum.

    “So that our wildest fantasies, our boldest imaginings are composed-in-their-entirety-of elements founded in reality, in the mundane, in the given.

    “We have no choice! We cannot help ourselves! There is no escape, ladies and gentlemen, not for you, not for Armand Fortuna.

    “So that art consists, then, of the rearrangement of the real, the juxtaposition, if you will, of the real elements to create an effect.”

    And he draws an arrow from REALITY to FANTASY.

    “Under these circumstances, then, you may well ask yourselves-or ask me, ‘How then, does one create a masterpiece’?”

    “If, after all, we are as incapable of true creation as we are of creating or destroying matter-with apologies to the future nuclear physicists or future Jeopardy contestants in the crowd-then how is it possible to have a Mona Lisa, a Sistine Chapel, Michaelangelo’s David-in short, anything at all which we elevate in our sensibilities above the mundane? “The answer, ladies and gentlemen, lies in that which differentiates an art from a science.

    “In science, we depend upon the fact of the whole of a quantity’s being equal to the sum of its parts.

    “In art, a masterpiece is a work in which the whole of the quantity is far, far greater than the sum of its parts.

    “It is the difference between a hot dog and a sausage lovingly prepared in accordance with the old secret family recipe, to cite a rather homely example.

    “It is the difference between a sportscar and a steamroller, to cite an example of art applied to science in the case of the former, and the absence of such an effort’s being applied to the latter.

    “Now, many of you were no doubt disappointed, after learning that I was to join you here for a series of lectures, to discover that, far from talking about drawing, painting, the other rendering techniques, I was instead to confine my disbursement of wisdom to this, this… thing we call aesthetics.

    “Aesthetics, so the dictionary tells us-and I just happen to have one on me so I don’t forget what the hell I’m supposed to be doing here-is the THEORY of the fine arts and of people’s responses to them; the SCIENCE or that branch of philosopy which deals with the beautiful; the DOCTRINES of taste.

    “Not to say that Noah Webster was not a brilliant, perhaps even a great man, ladies and gentlemen, but he did have his limitations. Suffice it to say that there are no Noah Websters hanging in art galleries.

    “Note how he goes from theory to science to doctrine.

    “Tell ya right now, boys and girls, the man is promising what I cannot deliver.

    “I regret this, of course.

    “Would that I could stand here and, over the course of nine weeks, propound a theory, demonstrate with absolute accuracy its unarguable facticity, and conclude by appearing before you with one or more stone tablets with the doctrine of art chiselled thereon, by either a divine or a divinely inspired hand.

    “It ain’t gonna happen, folks, because I’m just not that good.”

    “Did I uh, did I lose anybody on that?”

    And he peers around his audience intently, eyes shielded as though from the lights, unnecessary of course since the lights are on in the auditorium to permit note-taking.

    “Excellent! Nobody moved. I told ‘em those handcuffs on the arms of the seats would do the trick! “Very well, then, continuing my ego trip-”

    This time he pauses for the laughter to subside, rather than over-riding it, before continuing, “We see before us on the screen there-above us, actually-my so-called masterpiece, ‘Irene I’.

    “This is oil over acrylic on canvas, larger than life, done in a style reminiscent of what we might term billboard realism.

    “Questions to be answered.

    “Why this size? Why this mixture of media? Why this subject? Why this style, why this particular selection of elements from reality? Why not a photograph? “I am taking a great risk here tonight with you, ladies and gentlemen.

    “They say that the dissection of a joke destroys the humor in it.

    “Let us, then, hope that artistic representation does not suffer the same fate as comedy.

    “First of all, there is the matter of the painting’s size.

    “This particular canvas was stretched for me by my good and long-suffering friend…”


    ***

    “You are a liar, Mr. Fortuna.”

    “I beg your pardon, miss? Not to deny that I have in fact lied upon several occasions in the course of a long and checkered career, but I take it you are referring specifically to one or more points in tonight’s lecture.

    “I may have been mistaken or might possibly have said things with which you might not agree, but I don’t recall having deliberately lied between seven and nine this evening.”

    “Perhaps not in so many words, Mr. Fortuna, but you did lie.”

    “So. Not only a liar, but a subtle liar, then, am I, according to, to… you are?”

    “Jessica. Jessica Farnham.”

    “Well now, Jessica Farnham, suppose you tell me wherein I have displayed my apparently subconscious tendency toward mendacity.”

    “The part about when you fucked the girl.”

    “What the hell-oh! President Collins! How very nice of you to come by. Did you catch my maiden lecture?”

    “Wouldn’t have missed it for the world, Armand! Just wanted to stop by and shake your hand to tell you how very pleased I am! “Got the fine arts faculty to thinking, I’m sure! “Not to mention the student body,” Collins adds, looking Jessica up and down.

    “So it would seem,” Armand replies. “This is, I believe, one of your students, uh, Jessica, Jessica…”

    “Famham,” Jessica completes. “Graduate student. Fine arts.”

    “Yes, well, Miss Famham, what did you think of the world famous Armand Fortuna’s very first venture into the wonderful world of the academic lecture?”

    “The same as yours, I would say, Mr. collins.”

    “Yes, well,” looking from Armand to Jessica and back, “just wanted to stop by, as I say.

    “Looking forward to next week’s lecture, Armand.

    “Have a good evening now. And uh, nice meeting you, Miss Farnham.”

    And Collins moves back up the aisle, leaving them alone in the vast lecture amphitheater.

    “We were talking, you were talking about-”

    “Fucking, Mr. Fortuna. Or may I call you Armand?”

    “Please. Feel free, uh, Jessica.”

    “You fucked this Irene before you did the painting, Armand.”

    “I never implied otherwise, did I?”

    “You most certainly did! “‘Irene I’ indeed!”

    “Mystery, hidden part of personality indeed! “That’s bullshit Armand, and you know it, the part about your only just having met her.

    “You knew who she was, where she came from, everything about her. You knew what she looked like, what she tasted like, what she felt like, inside and out, before you ever put brush to canvas.

    “I saw the original, Armand! I saw all the paintings of Irene, all two hundred of them!”

    “There were three hundred.”

    “No, no, Armand. Two. Two hundred of them, you did, while she was with you.

    “The last hundred are impressions, done from memory, maybe from studies or photographs, but after she left you, after she struck out on her own, to make her fortune as a fashion model.”

    “You are a very perceptive young lady, Jessica! “But I assure you, my intent was not to deceive, to make less of my relationship with Irene, even at the outset. And if I-”

    “Save it, Armand! The idea that she was a stranger to you when you painted ‘Irene I’ simply won’t wash, not with me.

    “What I don’t understand is why you lied.”

    “But I didn’t, you see.

    “One may be physically intimate with a stranger, with one-one doesn’t know, know in the factual data sense.”

    “She was no stranger to you at that point, Armand, not in any sense of the word. What you had to know about her, what mattered about her, you knew.”

    “All right then, have it your way, rather than argue the point. But tell me-why does that upset you so? You sound almost angry.”

    “Because I have a right to be-I do, and so does every woman who ever heard of you and your work.”

    “I, I don’t understand.”

    “Being a male chauvinist pig, of course you don’t.”

    “Male chauvinist? Moi?”

    “Your damn right you are! Look, just look at what you did! You took a zero, a nothing, a… a stranger-“

    “Aha!”

    “Yes, that’s right, a stranger, you turned her into the perfect receptacle for all your feelings, every one you ever had for every woman you ever knew or wanted to know-and spilled it out on canvas, one attitude per, for all the world to see!”

    “And?”

    “And? You can ask a woman, any woman ‘and’? “Why her? Why Irene? And this time, I want the truth!”

    “Very well, Jessica; you want the truth and the truth you shall have-beginning with the fact that you haven’t been truthful with me.

    “The real question isn’t, ‘Why her?’ is it, Jessica? “The real question is, ‘Why not me?’ “Isn’t that what you really want to know, Jessica? “Isn’t that the question you screamed at the powers that be three hundred-no, make that two hundred times? “You’re smarter than Irene, you’re more mature than Irene, you’re even more beautiful by classical standards than Irene, you were somebody, she was nobody, so why her, right? “Oh, you know the logical, the factual answer well enough.

    “Irene happened to be in the right place at the right time.

    “This runaway was standing on just the right street corner and I was in just the right mood to do something about it.

    “You were in your freshman or your sophomore year, getting good grades, leading the right social life, perfectly content with your lot in life, and thenta-da! “Jessica, you are a beautiful, an intelligent girl, your whole life ahead of you and all that good stuff, okay? “So don’t. Don’t do this to yourself.

    “Have you any idea how common, how trite that is, what you’re thinking? “I mean, my agent in New York is a woman, Jessica. And she predicted exactly this reaction on the part of women everywhere.

    “So why don’t you stop being so obvious, so predictable? “Be your own person, Jessica! Live your own life, and don’t eat yourself up over what might have been.

    “What’s done is done and can’t be undone.”

    “That’s very true, Armand-ail of it; only tell me, Armand: Of all the women who feel as you say they do, how many of them have come up to you and point blank asked the question?”

    “Very well then, Jessica; you take the prize for blatancy. Happy now?”

    “Not for nothing, Armand, but you must be one terrific lover!”

    “No, no, no, Jessica!” Armand chuckles, pointing at her, breaking out into laughter, “You are not gonna get me to come out on that one! “That’s been done before. Remember the Darlene series-Darlene who came to me as a model.

    “Three hundred Irenes, fifty Darlenes-I have done all the paintings of women in series I intend to do, now or ever.”

    “Who’s talking about paintings, Armand? “I was talking about you in the sack, not on canvas.”

    “And now that you know that there is not the remotest possibility of my immortalizing you-now how do you feel, Jessica?”

    “Like hitting the sheets with you-if you’re up to it.”

    “You disappoint me, Jessica. You really do, adding that last. You had me going, there for a minute, I’ll give you that much credit.

    “My macho is not the issue here, Jessica. I have nothing to prove to you or anyone else.

    “I don’t care if you think I’m impotent or gay or whatever, and I think you an utter fool for believing otherwise.

    “Who are you to challenge me, Jessica? Just what is that supposed to mean, ‘if I’m up to it’?”

    “It means exactly what it says.

    “As for insulting you, what’s that, compared to the gratuitous insult the Irene series represents to the women of America, of the world.

    “Who are you to arbitrarily, by random chance, dip- your almighty hand into the fishpond of an entire gender and casually proclaim our absolute lack of value, one from another, by artificially elevating one of us over all the rest? “Because, by doing that, Armand, don’t you destroy, haven’t you destroyed the hopes and dreams of a million women by telling them, in essence, that they are merely blind replicas, all, all stamped from the same mold, like toy soldiers, one of whom you have selected at random to paint up as a general? “You’re insulted, Armand? What about me, all of us?”

    Armand sighs, stuffing his briefcase with his notes.

    “Okay,” he says, “let’s go. You’re on, in your capacity as emissary from the planet Femina.”

    “Take me to your pad, earthman.”


    ***

    “Disappointed?” Armand asks, as Jessica looks around at the pillared emptiness of the loft, once the top floor of a warehouse.

    “Mmmm, more like, surprised. This looks like something an artist, somebody holding his own but not famous, would have.

    “I thought you’d be wisking me up to Connecticut rather than down to the Village.”

    “No, and you’re right. This is where I started.

    “And right down there, up on the corner, across the street, is where I first saw Irene.”

    “Well gee, Armand, that IS a thrill! Maybe you should have the city put a bronze plaque in the fucking pavement!”

    “Sorry,” he says, “uh, up there in that corner is where I actually live.

    “It was possible in the early days for me to just heat the apartment up there on the mezzanine and leave the rest of the place cold.”

    Jessica says nothing, actually preceding him up the short flight of stairs to his apartment-a one-room affair with kitchen alcove and bathroom.

    “How can you-I mean why do you still uh… live like this?”

    “D’you have to know everything, Jessica?”

    “Sorry. Just, I thought, with what you must have amassed by now-never mind.

    Like you say, it’s none of my affair.”

    “Bathroom’s through-”

    “I see it.”

    And Jessica begins removing her clothing at once, casually, unselfconsciously.

    Amused, Armand follows suit.

    When they are both naked, she says, “Excuse me,” and closets herself in the bathroom, whence Armand can hear the water running.

    When she emerges, it’s his turn.

    Coming out, he sees her on the bed, stripped of its covers, just lying there on her side, awaiting him.

    “Ooh, muscles!” she exclaims, fingering his. abdominals, protruding but well defined.

    “Yes, I spend quite a bit of time at the gym these days,” he says.

    Telling her that he is painting nothing at the moment, that he might not ever again so much as touch a brush.

    Telling her that he is living here still, not because he has to, but because here is where the memories of his creativity linger, the ghosts of his inspiration.

    And he resides among them, waiting for the lightning to strike once again, anticipating the moment and dreading it for what it will demand of him, what it will take out of him.

    A long time since he has had a woman up here, he reflects, as he begins to explore her body with hands and mouth, squeezing her breasts with both hands as he feeds them to himself one at a time while she is content to lie back and passively receive his attentions.

    Very well endowed indeed, she is, he notices.

    She is one of those women who, for some reason, seem to have much less to offer with their clothes on than with them off.

    And now, he browses her flesh with lips and tongue and teeth, chewing his way gently down, down, down to her bush.

    Which he engulfs with a wide bite, head turned sideways as he raises and spreads her legs, holding them thus, bent at the knee, hands on the backs of her thighs.

    As he makes a meal of her cunt, strumming her joy buzzer with the flickering tip of his tongue, and now tongue-fucking her, shafting the long, thick, powerful appendage in and out of her hot, juicy depths, tongue in contact with her die at all times.

    And she is right and she is wrong, he thinks.

    Because he does have this faculty-given a certain quality of female raw material with which to work-of turning his partner of the moment into an object of physical adulation, losing himself in her, exciting himself by means of her, revelling in her simply being there, as though he is some convict with his very first woman after having served a very long celibate sentence, perhaps~ after having celibacy be the sentence.

    So that there is a passion at work here, an unmistakable hunger, an ardent enthusiam whose genuineness is indisputable.

    And Jessica looks down at the top of Armand’s busily working head and smiles, radiant in her self-confidence now, seeing here an opportunity for- never mind, she cautions herself. Time enough later for all that.

    For the moment, she had best stick to this phase of the project.

    And the best way to do that, she realizes, is to simply let herself go, to surrender to the flood of lascivious sensation which wells up within herself, to simply let it come, devoid of all ulterior motive.

    Even now, Armand’s cock twitches to turgid, vibrant life-easily, automatically, no strain at all, as always.

    So that now, he pulls his face back from her crotch, sitting back, haunches to heels, cock bobbling stiffly before him, rising from his thatch. at a steep, upward angle, the knob bulbous, the shaft long, thick, rock-hard.

    And now, he is on her and in her, his cock shafting into the warm, pressurized moisture of her hot pussy in one smooth movement.

    And now, he is scooping her thighs up from beneath, doubling her up, impaling her on his cock, foreshortening her pussy on it, arms holding her thus as his hands once again grasp her big boobs.

    So that he is sucking the doorbells of her nipples, making them firmly erect, even as the piston action of his cock turns her pussy into a sucking, clinging mouth.

    So that now they are rising together, up, up, up the rainbow of their shared arousal, becoming hotter and hotter, their faces and upper bodies reddening with the engorged blood of their thoroughly aroused passion.

    This is his favorite position, Armand realizes. He is above her and below her, inside and outside her, all around her.

    He has enveloped her in his maleness.

    And she is right; he is a male chauvinist, and yes, the pig epithet can well be added as well.

    Because he wants tits and pussy and legs and bod and he could really care less what is the personality, what are the thought processes behind these.

    And yes, he is shallow, has always been shallow, has deceived himself whenever he pretended otherwise.

    Because this, this! is all there is, he realizes. And the rest-all the rest-is bullshit. His reason for being here with her tonight? He just wanted a piece of ass, is all. And the rest, the buildup has importance, meaning, value to him only to the extent that it worked, in that it produced that which he wanted, that which he had been missing for so long.

    Because this is all there is, all that matters-so that it will simply have to do, will have to be adequate, will have to satisfy the emptiness, the voids in his existence.

    And the creature of the moment is adequate to the purpose-again, as usual, as always.

    If he is up to it?

    My dear, these days, Armarnd tells her in silence, this is all that I am up to!

    Certainly, he is not up to picking up a brush or even a piece of charcoal and doing something, anything with it.

    But this, this! he can do, is doing, is carrying to fruition now, as he comes and comes, injecting wad after wad of his pent-up load in and in and into her, in counterpoint to the convulsive spasms of her series of multiple orgasms as she too climaxes, soaring with him through the thrilling realms of a shared sexual paradise, not separating until their last orgasmic twinge passed, they land back on earth.


    Chapter 2

    “Let us-let me-speak tonight about the data of reality.

    “A redundancy, I suppose, we could call that expression; after all, that which is data is by definition real.

    It is real-but it is not selective.

    “Data, ladies and gentlemen, cannot select itself, you see; only we, we creative artists, we geniuses, we masters of taste and discretion may accomplish this.

    “Now, some of you have seen fit to heckle me-”

    Pause to listen to protests, denials from his audience, until, smiling, Armand holds up his hand, saying, “No, no, it’s quite all right. This is a constructive, non-disruptive type of heckling, coming from. the students and faculty of the computer graphics curriculum here at this distinguished institution of higher learning.

    “They have taken the time and trouble to prepare for us a little demonstration of the interface between art and reality.”

    “Lights, please.”

    The lights are dimmed.

    On the screen above the chalk board, a blank screen appears.

    Lines, black on white begin to emerge, travel, proliferate.

    “This is what I believe is called wire outline drawing. Notice, in this case, that it is of the painting, ‘Irene I’.

    “It will go through several enhancements, becoming by degrees more and more realistic-”

    Colors appear, flat planes at first, then crudely shaded, the shading becoming more and more subtle and detailed until a fairly creditable, three-dimensional representation of ‘Irene I’ is achieved.

    And then, in a display of technical pyrotechnics, the picture is rotated, is viewed from right, left, above and below, without interruption, in a continuous, smooth scan, until it returns to the original position.

    “-ultimately becoming surreal, that is, its representation exceeding in detail that of reality itself.

    “Now, if I can have the slide of ‘Irene I’ to the same scale, side by side with the computer simulation-thank you.

    “Study the two side by side, if you will, and ask yourself, ‘What’s wrong with this picture?’- meaning, of course, the computer creation on your left, or, if you prefer, the painting itself as shown on the right.

    “Go ahead, take a few minutes. I want no snap judgments. Study them carefully.”

    Silence.

    Then, “Very well, ladies and gentlemen, time is up. No, no, keep the lights off, please. I want to make a point.

    “Something is missing, am I right? “The computer simulation is a remarkable technical achievement, no question-but. Is it art? “Same composition, exactly, same color scheme-but something is wrong. It doesn’t speak to us. It is what it is, and nothing more.

    “And why? “Too-much-data! “Too much information, telling us, on the one hand, more than we want or care to know and, on the other, not telling us, not speaking to us about what kind of a mood the model is in-which, whatever that• mood may be, is certainly not that of the couch on which she is seated.

    “In the computerized version, however, her mood is the same as that of the couch is the same as that of the window frame, is the same as that of the floor- you get the picture, I think, no pun intended.

    “We look at Irene in the painting, we see a person.”

    “We look at her computerized, we see a dummy, a clearly identifiable but lifeless object, seated in a setting likewise devoid of life-of the life she alone could have given it.

    “We conclude, then, that reality speaks to us- and speaks and speaks and speaks, yakkety-yak, ad infinitum.

    “So that, in order to create art from reality, it is often necessary to recognize in imagination, not that unbounded, glorious leap of absolute freedom, but instead a meticulous, diligent process of search and selection.

    “My compliments to the gentlemen in engineering for pointing out the failure of Webster’s second definition of aesthetics. We have seen science at its best failing to produce an aesthetically satisfactory effect of the degree and intensity of the original from which it derived its data, hence the establishment as an oxymoron the term, science of aesthetics, of aesthetics as a science.

    “Lights, please.

    “So then, far from being a science, we see that science, with the best intentions in the world, may actually succeed in destroying that delicate, esoteric, perhaps indefinable…


    ***

    “You were very good tonight, Armand,” Jessica says, as they embrace, naked, in Armand’s bed. “Is that to be a running battle with the engineering people, or what?”

    “I find them… useful, and they find my work challenging.

    “They’re going to try again with some of my less complex work. Who knows?

    Perhaps they will succeed.”

    “Succeed at what, exactly?”

    “Succeed in seducing me, Jessica.”

    And he is inwardly amused as she stiffens in his arms, as she at once forces herself to relax.

    “Seduce you how, Armand?”

    “Seduce me into recognizing computer graphics as a valid medium.

    “Seduce me into going down there, collaborating with them, conducting various experiments with computer graphics or mixed media modification and enhancement-whatever.”

    “You’re not going to, to… let them, are you, Armand?”

    “I mean, you certainly don’t need what they have to offer you.”

    He shrugs, replying, “How do I know that until I see what they come up with? I mean, after all, that was certainly a rather remarkable piece of simulation and animation we saw tonight, wasn’t it?”

    “It was a failure, Armand, as you yourself so ably pointed out.”

    “It was a failure because of the context in which they chose to deploy their technology.”

    “That particular subject, style and original medium are not conducive to computer simulation, given current state of the art, is all.”

    “You mean you’re going to help them find their niche?”

    “Mmmm. Haven’t quite decided yet.”

    “Then don’t, Armand. Find our niche instead, okay?”

    He doesn’t reply, turning her over instead, insinuating himself between her legs, spreading apart the cheeks of her ass, checking the aesthetics of her ass hole.

    She amuses him with her obviousness, with her attempts not to be obvious. Don’t waste her valuable time, is what she’s saying.

    Don’t spend creative time in directions in which she can’t participate, in areas where she has no shot, is what she’s telling him.

    As though she has a ghost of a chance even without his getting involved with the computer types at the university, he thinks.

    He sees her looking at him, sees the calculation in her gaze, sees her picturing herself playing him like a finely tuned instrument of infinite complexity, the difficulty of doing so overcome by her consummate skill.

    Yeah, right. In a pig’s ass! Speaking of which- Armand seals his lips to the puffy pucker of her bung-large, round, protruding, obviously no stranger to two-way traffic on a regular basis.

    With whom? Armand wonders, reminding himself that he doesn’t really care, that when she is with him she is not with that other, significant or otherwise.

    Because this is all there is to her, this body and what she chooses to do with it and what she feels while doing it.

    There is nothing else to her, however much she might think otherwise.

    Her plans?

    Those are figaments of her imagination, are reassemblings of the elements of reality in combinations which are not going to be realized-made real.

    False beliefs, after all, are also composed of very real elements, their combination not finding a counterpart in reality. Indeed, some of the most spectacular imagery ever known was based upon false beliefs.

    The splendor of the ancient world was reserved, not for man, but for his gods.

    So fine, let her think what she likes; the results of that thinking are real enough, even though they are not what she has in mind by way of the final goal of their relationship.

    Armand raises her hips, raising her ass hole right with them, never for an instant losing contact, lips sealed to her bung, tongue going round and round over the segments, seeking and finding their convergence.

    And now, he pushes his tongue in, in, into her ass hole, an act he knows some women associate with sincerity-the logic of such thinking escaping him completely, but what the hell, as long as it makes him look good, right?

    So that now he is tongue-fucking her in her ass deeply (sincerely?), feeling the heat of her interior, the yielding of her rectal wall to his probing, rimming, reaming tongue, concentrating on the entrance, slackening it, stretching it.

    And only when he is convinced that she can take him easily does he sit back, then stand up on his knees.

    And now, her ass hole spread between the fingers of one hand so that it actually smiles at him, with his other hand he buttons his knob inside her ass.

    He places both hands on the belied flare of her wide hips, holding them steady, as he rotates his own hips, corkscrewing, drilling in and in and into the depths of her bowels, the battering ram of his cock head spreading the channel before its relentless onslaught.

    And now, he is fucking her in the ass, her face on the pillow, turned to him in profile, ruddy with the engorged blood of her arousal, eyes closed, a smile (of triumph? contentment? raunchiness? all?) on her face.

    She has good reason to smile, he tells himself, because he is very good at this-good and enthusiastic, this being the most creative thing he has done since his last exhibition, the Darlene exhibit, gaining him money he doesn’t need, perpetuating a fame of which he cares nothing, and leaving him empty, drained, devoid of ideas and enthusiasm alike.

    Because, in the end, what is art but symbol and substitute for the real thing-like all the rest of human endeavor, he tells himself, had we but the courage to face ourselves, to know ourselves for the big-brained beasts we are.

    From time to time, Armand feels sad, depressed that this should be the case, that, for him, all the rest of it is nothing more than lying to ourselves; that outside ourselves, there is only darkness, emptiness, nothingness.

    But, he reminds himself, he has not fared too badly in this vale of tears, in which he weeps for paradise lost, paradise that never was.

    He is big, strong, wealthy, respected-and right now, sticking it up the ass of a beautiful, intelligent, conniving bitch who is not going to make out worth a damn.

    Well, not true, exactly, he tells himself, admiring the shape of her back as he leans back to check the connection, the juncture, noting with satisfaction the ease with which his long, thick cock feeds in and out of her nether orifice, now become a toothless mouth which sucks his cock as he continues to plow in and out of her ass.

    Enlightenment, insight, truth, however unpleasant, is never without value.

    So that Jessica Farnham, graduate student, is about to earn a bit of life experience credit, as soon as Armand tires of her.

    Right now, of course, he can see them going a fair way together-especially if she and he stick to their custom of the once a week, after the lecture gettogether.

    This way, they don’t get used to one another.

    This way, they continue on in their other worlds, Armand’s the world of the gym, hers, presumably, the academic world.

    Where there are-people.

    Armand smiles to himself, imagining Jessica in bed with her boyfriend, a fellow graduate student and pseudo-intellectual, no doubt, discussing with him the Armand project.

    In which she inspires Armand Fortuna to yet another burst of creativity, in which she actually causes him, against his original intentions but helpless in the face of (her) overwhelming inspiration, to set up canvas, to take brush in hand and to capture her in her many moods, for all the world to see and be enthralled.

    So that her own creations will have the stamp of authentic artistic merit because, after all, Armand Fortuna has seen fit to paint her, to “do” her, over and over, one mood after another, one manifestation of her many-sided, versatile, ever changing personality after another.

    So that her works will be sought after.

    So that critics will see in them what isn’t even there.

    So that she will appear on talk shows on public television, or maybe even Oprah (“women who pose nude for Armand Fortuna and become famous”), and be so rich that she won’t have to give a shit what anybody thinks.

    Yes, Armand can see her now, building the edifice of her own greatness, one tier after another, a veritable tower of Babel (Jessica spoken here)-and, like that tower, destined to remain forever unfinished, falling into disrepair before disappearing forever beneath the sands of time and the fading of memory, his and her own.

    But if she is building and building now, then so is he. Except that he is building a full head of steam.

    He feels a moment of viciousness, as though he would really like to hurt her for her remark concerning his virility or possible lack thereof.

    Here ya go, babe, he wants to say to her, in action, not words, how’s this grab ya for proof positive of what he has to offer?

    This virile, this manly, this macho enough for ya?

    Stupid, he tells himself, the macho bullshit.

    Maybe macho originally meant stupid, in fact.

    Certainly, every macho man he ever knew was a total ass hole. Speaking of which-he concentrates on the work at hand, varying his motion now, rolling his hips, feeling his cock rotate its internal pressure, in the sleeve of her rectum, which it, which he stretches and fills.

    And now, he holds onto one of her hips, reaching down and around with his other hand to weigh her breasts, hanging big and heavy, beneath her, thumbing the nipples as he does so.

    And yes, he possesses her completely-even as, in her mind, he surmises, she is possessing him, is manipulating, is maneuvering him.

    And Armand wonders what the female equivalent of macho is, thinking that, whatever it is, Jessica is surely full of it, and that it goes as badly with her as it would with any man.

    His free hand explores the curves of her body, squeezing here, lingering there, as though to memorize the details of her body.

    Fine with her, no doubt, Armand reflects, fine that he should be so taken, so entranced with her that he must come to know intimately every nook and cranny of her specific being.

    And she hasn’t got a clue that what he is actually doing is confirming quite the opposite, is firming up in his own mind-once again-the unstinting reality of nature’s bounty.

    As her body confirms the very opposite of what she intends, telling Armand, telling him beyond argument, beyond the shadow of a doubt that she is as one poured from a gelatin mould-delicious, delightful in and of herself and, as though that were not enough, as an added feature for his delight, there are plenty more where she came from. So very delectable, so very disposable, is Jessica. Fully expendable like fucking toilet paper.

    And he masks an involuntary chuckle at this last, thinking of her indignation, if only she knew what he is thinking.

    Ah, but she is good, he tells himself. Or rather, she would be, but for the rest of the package, but for that load of shit she carries around in her head.

    He would have no problem in keeping her around, really, but for her ambition.

    He is a lazy guy, actually, and she an adequate means of his working off any buildup in his libido, which buildup has been, is exacerbated by his absence of any creative activity.

    Of course, it could be argued that he is creating himself, with his almost daily visits to the gym.

    And he does belong to Buck’s, which is, after all, the hardcore iron pumper’s establishment of choice; still, he knows himself, knows his own creative intensity, thus knows that he is not approaching what, in theory, should be his greatest creation with the attitude he has come to expect of himself.

    Rather, he is timid, is cautious, and is encouraged in this by the manager of the place, who seems determined to treat him like some sacred relic, anxious lest he so much as stub his toe in the locker room.

    The celebrity member treatment, Armand knows, understands, but Stan really carries it too far.

    So that Armand, like a lot of the other guys who work out there, has signed up for an appointment with Rhino, the training director of the whole franchise, for a conference, one on one, to discuss his whole training regimen, from routine to diet to rest.

    And Armand is hoping that will work, that it will somehow inspire him to the same enthusiasm in his exercise routine that he had in his painting, when the spirit was full upon him.

    Later for all that, he tells himself,, as he redoubles his efforts, humping away in Jessica’s ass.

    His free hand delves now, between her legs, down and around, to the point that he can feel his own balls and, right in front of them, Jessica’s joy buzzer.

    So that now, he is titillating her, is twiddling her twat, is cuddling her clit between two fingers, her clear, hot juices flowing freely over his knuckles.

    So that her cunt, pushed forward, displaced by the mighty marauder which services her rectum is doubly stimulated, inside and out.

    So that it doesn’t take very long at all before she is right up there with him on the scale, the ladder, the rainbow which leads ever upward, toward the ultimate pleasure.

    So that now, they are rising together, level after level, breaking through to vista after vista of lascivious, sensation, each grander than the one before.

    Hotter and hotter they become, the slap of abdomen against protruding buttocks, all of them coated now with sexual sweat, resounding again and again off the cinderblock walls of Armand’s apartment within his loft.

    Faster and faster the slaps come, one after the other until now, they sound like the applause of a single enthusiastic voyeur.

    Because Armand has summoned the pleasure beyond pleasure from within both their innermost depths, has united them in the grip of that which is far greater than themselves.

    And it has taken them over, is jerking them this way and that, only Armand’s grip on her hip and that of her rectum on his cock keeping them joined now, his fingers, slippery with pussy juice remaining on station only with great difficulty.

    As the pressure of the greatest human experience exerts itself upon their safety valves-and blows them.

    So that they are coming and coming now, her pussy’s orgasmic contractions milking his fingers of all the pleasure they contain for her, of that pleasure far beyond what she herself can contain.

    Even as Armand is spurred to frenetic, irregular activity by the ultimate pleasure, which manipulates him like a puppet on invisible strings, Wad after wad of his jism he injects into the depths of her hot bowels, as her cunt continues to milk his ever-working fingers so awkwardly curled down and around beneath them both.

    And thus do they ride out the celestial storm of unadulterated sexual rapture.

    And, when they land back in the bed, Armand rides her all the way down,’ fully inserted.

    And thus do they lie there, bearded cheek to smooth, breathing the same air as their bodies seek to recover normal temperature and respiration, he glued to her by their common surface of still flowing sexual Sweat.

    As his mighty monolith of monster meat slowly detumesces within the sleeve of her rectum until, at last, it is sufficiently flaccid that the peristaltic action of her bowels expels him, a long, thick, smooth turd.

    And their minds return to their bodies, return to their normal executive functioning within them.

    And they separate mentally, even as they have separated physically and their thoughts become once more their own.

    True, she tells herself, she gave him her ass, an act of abject surrender; but true as well that he rimmed her, and not in some hesitant or perfunctory manner, either.

    And this is their second date, following a preset and therefore recognizable-and recognized-pattern.

    What he does with his days, with his other nights, well, that is something over which she has no control, nor has she any intention of driving herself crazy over this gap, this lacuna, this imponderable within her plans.

    Enough, sufficient to the program that they are here now, like this, as she has every reason to believe they will be ‘next week-especially after what is generally recognized as the ultimate intimacy.

    Because to take it in the ass is to have the other person physically enter the very core of one’s being, is it not?

    And surely this is not something lightly done, lightly given, lightly received-especially not in the case of so avid a rimmer as Armand who, for all his fame and fortune sucked her butt as thoroughly and yes, as lovingly as would have any sophomore-or sophomoric-undergrad.

    So yes, hell yes she has him.

    Too soon to stake her claim, of course-besides which, that is something she will have to work on, will have to work out details of approach, timing, and so on and so forth-if.

    If he himself doesn’t gain spontaneous inspiration from her, from her presence, from what they do together.

    Because it shouldn’t be necessary for her to have to do-anything.

    That ignorant, barely post-juvenile slut Irene certainly didn’t know anything, much less how to manipulate so sophisticated a man of the world as Armand Fortuna.

    And as for Darlene, well, she was surely the most brazenly blatant thing ever to walk on two legs, so much so in fact that she was typecast even before accepting her role as a soap opera villainess.

    Yes, Jessica tells ‘herself, two brilliant careers springboarded off of Armand Fortuna, so why not a third?


    Chapter 3

    “The selective use of data-that is what is required, as we established last week.

    “And our friends the computer graphics people have been working hard! “Lights out for a double slide show, side by side, and let’s see what they have for us.”

    The lights go down, the rectangles appear on the screen above the chalkboard.

    “Ah, yes! Some of the smaller Irenes, I see, less polychromatic, more limited palette and-what we have here is what I would definitely term a limited success.

    “And in fact, printed out on appropriately fine paper, properly matted, we would have a superb simulation of a-anyone?”

    Pause for the replies, Armand nodding in the dark before replying, “Lithograph!

    That is absolutely correct.

    “Notice here the capturing of mood.

    “Taking their clue from the lack of photorealism, concentrating on the entire composition, our computer friends have given us an excellent example of data selection to create a really striking rendition of the original.

    “It lacks the impasto of the original, hence its resemblance to lithography, but I understand that there are machines-perhaps only a machine-that will give the user an excellent simulation of textured paint.

    “What we see here, however, is a vast improvement over last week’s rather unsuccessful attempt to reproduce that which is, in current state of the art, not reproducible.

    “Which leads me to the subject of today’s lecture.

    “Composition.

    “Within the context of what we have thus far agreed upon-or I have crammed down your throats, depending on one’s point of view-imagination is a selective reassembling of real elements.

    “Again, for those of you who bothered to look it up, Mr. Webster seems to have fallen wide of the mark. He doesn’t even come close.

    “Imagination and composition, therefore, are revealed as being one and the same thing, when they meet upon the field of artistic endeavor.

    “Nor should this particularly surprise us.

    “To imagine a thing means, quite literally, to form its image in one’s mind.

    “And since the mind’s only stockpile of images is reality, how can we fail to come full circle and validly-I hope-conclude that composition is imagination-realized! “To realize, ladies and gentlemen, means to make real.

    “Here, finally, our friend Webster comes into his own. And in fact, that is the first definition he gives to the-the term-to make real; to achieve; to bring into being.

    “Which is exactly what we do.

    “And look what progress we are making here! “To imagine means to compose means to make real! “And all the while, the process is working the other way! “First comes reality-again, the only material with which we have to conjure-then the process of selection called composition which, if successful, that is, if the image forms in our mind, we can then term imagination! “From the imagination, then, we go to physical composition, which, when finished, becomes the reality! “Michelangelo said it best.

    “When asked the secret of his powerful sculpture, he replied, ‘The statue is already there within the stone; it is merely waiting for me to liberate it.’ “What a perfect description of the process of artistic creativity that is!.

    “Is it any wonder, then, that the symbol of all creation, of the universe itself, is that of the snake eating its own tail? “A closed circle. A single, continuous, unbroken living, interactive process.

    “To imagine is to compose in the mind is to order selected reality in the mind is to compose in reality is to form the physical image out of reality, that is, to physically imagine and thus come full circle.

    “All art-I repeat, ALL art-is this exact same process.

    “Music. Think about it. Think, for example, about the deaf Beethoven thinking about it, and you will understand at once…


    ***

    Jessica is sucking Armand’s cock.

    She is going to succeed in her plan-she knows this.

    Armand himself convinced her that this is the case in his lecture earlier tonight.

    Because the man has too much, too many creative juices flowing within himself not to create, not to get his ass in gear.

    A year since his last exhibition-exhibition and sale to the bare walls, all in one-it’s been.

    He is due, he is ripe, he is fucking ready!

    And no question at all in her mind but that she is to be his next source of inspiration.

    She can’t miss!

    She has attached herself to his lectures as the footnote that cannot be ignored, cannot be divorced from the lectures themselves.

    My gosh, she tells herself; the man has them dancing in the aisles, has them ready to run home, put up canvas, perhaps several, and work on into the night!

    He has the musicians, the sculptors, the authors all, all! prepared to jump through their own ass holes out-performing their own greatest ~expectations.

    And this he cannot do, surely, without some of the feedback’s rubbing off on him, sheer weight of general enthusiasm, emotional osmosis working in favor of his getting off his dead ass and making it happen.

    He has no real choice, dammit!

    And now, she is sucking his cock.

    She is giving him her very best knob job, her tongue delving into the ruddy eye of his plum-like cock head, traversing the taut, rounded, warm surface, going round and round the thickly flared flange at the rear, examining in intimate detail the fish head juncture beneath.

    And now, her head is bobbing up and down, up and down, the mighty shaft being forced in and out of her mouth, between her vacuuming lips, as she holds it erect from his stomach with the spread fingers of one hand.

    Important that she get his creative juices flowing faster and faster, she tells herself, and one excellent way to do this is to get his vital essence up and on the move.

    Nothing can happen now, of course, by way of his getting going; no, at the moment, she knows, all he wants is that next increment of sexual, voluptuous sensation.

    Anything else, no matter how closely allied, no matter how analogous, will have to wait.

    But surely not for very long, she reassures herself.

    No, the pattern is set. And she sees in it a circle as closed, as complete as the one he described in his lecture tonight.

    There are no choices here, really, she tells herself. He is as good as committed to action. His very soul is crying out, reaching out for the inspiration which it is her intent to provide.

    Because she knows men, knows both their ambition and their sloth, and sees quite clearly both in Armand.

    Okay, okay, granted, she is not necessary; still, she is convenient, is there, meaning here, is ready to hand.

    So that he need reach no further, need not look beyond her to get what she knows that a part of him must have.

    She is convenient-as was Irene, as was Darlene after her. And if Irene’, if Darlene, then why not Jessica?

    Yes, why not Jessica with whom he has so very much in common, as opposed to these other two, the one both innocent and ignorant, the other the exact opposite?

    Isn’t it time for Armand to settle down, to get practical, at last?

    How much longer can the man go, subjecting himself to the vicissitudes of a chance which, admittedly, has treated him far from unkindly up to now?

    She is so good for him, as is he for her.

    They belong together on a much broader scale than they are now; surely he can see that.

    Big deal, that she is in her twenties, he in his forties, even his late forties; the important thing here is that they are physically and intellectually suited to one another.

    She would have to be a complete idiot not to capitalize on that.

    And capitalize she will, she tells herself; she will milk the situation, will fucking loot the situation-and not for mere money, either.

    Because Armand can’t give her what she intends to get out of all this; it takes a world, it takes the whole world of art to accomplish that.

    Armand gets yet another big hit because of her- and then she gets one infusion of wealth after another, exhibition after exhibition, because of him.

    He is not her goose that lays the golden eggs for her; rather, he is to be the catalyst, enabling her to lay her own golden eggs, one canvas at a time, valuable, because she, Jessica, Armand’s latest inspiration, is the one who painted them.

    Vanna White, can make her own fortune on Wheel of Fortune turning letters, then hey, she can at least offer the people a little more than that ‘in exchange for undeserved wealth.

    All right, so far her output has been uninspired, but so what?

    They’ll be buying the name, the notoriety, not her admittedly indifferent daubings.

    As a long-deceased blonde bombshell once said of her violin playing, You don’t look at how well the pussycat plays the violin, but rather at the fact that the pussycat knows how to play the violin at all.

    And now, she is playing Armand’s cock, playing it as though it is some exotic, complicated flute, her mouthing, her tonguing full of exquisite nuances, each designed to bring forth a fresh flurry of lascivious sensation, to produce a fresh twinge of sexual electricity, to create that swell of sheer sensual joy within a man that makes him take a’ deep breath simply because he is alive, because he is who and what he is.

    And now-ta-da!-deep throat.

    She hasn’t done it much, but she has done it well, has discovered the trick of relaxing throat and neck muscles, of suppressing the gag reflex, of turning head and neck into a living tube for the total massage of the male sex organ.

    And she does so now, much to Armand’s surprise and delight.

    The full bore treatment, she is giving him-talented, versatile, intelligent, beautiful, sexy, grounded in the arts. Are you getting the message here, Armand? she asks him in her mind, prompting him to a realization of her image, the one she chooses to project-speaking of images, speaking of imagination and reality and the whole creative process.

    And she is ready to go all the way this way; but not so Armand.

    Because he would have her, would take her, his salami unwilling to accept even so delightful a substitute for the real thing.

    So that he pulls gently back, from her.

    At once, she is on her back, legs raised and spread, bent at the knee, round-heeled and at the ready.

    And he is on her and in her at once, such being the urgency she has managed to inspire within him.

    The urgency-and what else? she wonders.

    The creativity, with herself as inspiration, perhaps even as soon as he has popped his nuts?

    Well, perhaps that’s asking a bit much, she tells herself, but still, she has given him more than a little to think about; she is certain of it.

    Because Armand is an artist, after all, and therefore sensitive, therefore impressionable, especially by just such vivid images as she is bound to have inspired within him.

    And Armand Fortuna, she knows, is not a man accustomed to letting images or inspiration go to waste.

    Because she refuses to believe that the’ money ever had all that much to do with it, from his perspective.

    And even if it once did, that is no longer true.

    He is a millionaire many times over, she knows.

    And, living as he does, he doesn’t need but a fraction of what he already has.

    So that he is free, is absolutely free to open himself up to his own creativity which, after listening to his first three lectures, she is firmly convinced is utterly unlimited.

    On the other hand, she has noticed that the great barn of a loft is absolutely empty, except for the now famous couch of Irene.

    There is not a canvas, not a tube of paint, not a brush to be seen.

    Only the high polish of the wooden floors and the easels standing empty, somehow eerie and threatening, like gallows awaiting the condemned, distinguish his loft from any abandoned warehouse.

    It has always been night when she has come here, which, she tells herself, is just as well, lest she see the north light reflecting on bare-floored, bare walled, bare-pillared nothingness and become discouraged by the reality of the emptiness, lest she see in the loft itself a statement, a confirmation of Armand’s barrenness.

    As it is, they cross from the old freight elevator to the apartment through the maze of thick, whitewashed pillars across the plain of the empty floor, gleaming dully from the low-wattage bulbs which dot the high ceiling in their metal reflectors, not a studio at all, but some interior-exterior surreal stage, mere transitional space between elevator and apartment which must be traversed as quickly as possible and not thought about at all.

    He is fucking her and she realizes with a start that she is not responding, her mind wandering.

    And she wonders if this is not how a prostitute distances herself from her clients-present in body, absent in mind.

    Which is not really fair to Armand, she tells herself, as well as being not too smart.

    He is quite a virile stud, in remarkable shape for a man of his age and profession, admirably well hung and with a genuine skill and enthusiasm for what Ovid referred to as the art of love.

    Meaning sex.

    Because Jessica is not deceived on that score.

    Love, in the romantic sense, plays no part in Armand’s life.

    Because it would be an absurdity, would run counter to the very philosophy he espouses, would serve only to trivialize it, to have the tail wag the dog, saying, in essence, Yes, I say these things, I preach the marriage of man to his own creativity, but in my own personal life, I do not practice what I preach.

    Which is not, cannot be true in his case, she knows; otherwise, Irene would have been his forever and ever, world without end, no question.

    Because one person cannot get that close to another without, in essence, merging with that other, without making that other a part of himself.

    Which did not happen.

    Which is quite opposite of what happened, Armand endowing, infusing Irene with her own creativity, awakening the spark within her.

    So that Irene may well have come to him innocent and ignorant, but she certainly didn’t leave that way.

    And leave him she did, becoming friends for the record, but strangers in the world.

    Because people do not become that close only to drift that far apart without there growing between them a chasm of colossal proportions.

    It is as though both of them are surrounded by the envelope, the armor.of their own creativity, as unable to get close to one another as, say, jet pilots, each flying his own aircraft.

    And yes, she tells herself, she wants it to be that way between herself and Armand as well, wants to be in that position, that is, having satellited off of him, she wishes to shine in her own right.

    She wants nothing of Armand save his reknown, his reputation, that temporary linkage required to launch her into the heavens, there to glow as brightly as does he himself.

    Too much to ask?

    Certainly not for Irene, certainly not for Darlene, and very, very certainly, in all logic and reason, not for Jessica, she tells herself, as Armand humps and pumps ~way on her.

    Except He has to begin, has to get started, has to get it in gear!

    Three weeks now, and a good long time before these last weeks, she knows, and he has done nothing, has created nothing.

    This lecture series?

    Well, yes, that is creativity of sorts, but not of the variety she requires.

    Because that is nothing but looking into the mirror of his own mind, broadcasting the reflections of his thoughts.

    And of course, students, faculty, press and public hang upon his every word, relishing-as well they should-the secrets of the created process from one of the very few living masters thereof, sucking up the words from his lips.

    She has seen them, the tape recorders of the faithful, grasping for posterity his every syllable.

    She knows that they need not bother, that already the university press will publish, revised, expanded and in hard cover his lecture series under some appropriately unifying title.

    And this too makes her uneasy, apprehensive, as much so as his present lack of creativity in the artistic sense.

    Because that will require time, energy and effort.

    But then, she cannot believe that he can plunge himself into the mechanics of his own creativity and not actually produce at least some new examples of the works implicit therein.

    So that perhaps it could work out for the best after all.

    Maybe, just maybe he would be willing to use her as a model while he is putting the book together-and yes, why not?-dedicate the book to her!

    She can see it now, can see the book’s pages opening. The jacket, non-representational, simply well arranged script-title, author.

    The inside flap of the jacket, critical raves in brief, then a blank page, then a page with the words, centered in caps, FOR JESSICA.

    Yes, that will definitely do it.

    And her pussy is sucking his cock now, is milking it, is servicing it with all the articulate talent of a working mouth.

    Which causes him to go faster and faster, responding to what he takes to be her response to him which, in a manner of speaking, is correct.

    Because Jessica has translated this particular vision of the future into a fantasy, has reassembled the elements of reality in her mind in such a manner that she is indeed aroused, aroused in the physical, the sexual, the emotional sense.

    And one arousal is as good as another, whatever turns you on, and like that, right?

    So that, seeing her role as his muse, his inspiration as the key to what it is she is trying to accomplish, the first step on her path to fame and fortune, yes, hell yes, she is excited, as who wouldn’t be?

    And she responds to him, her body, her pussy.

    So that she joins him on his trip up, up, up the rainbow of his sexual arousal, latching onto it, getting with the program, making it her trip as well, in perfect allegory to that which she intends should happen in the real world.

    Because now she truly sees, truly believes in what Armand preaches, which is that, ultimately, fantasy and reality are actually reality and reality, once the creative process is well and truly underway.

    And is she not in essence creating here?

    Is she not moving, acting, living in accordance with her vision, her imagination?

    Is she not, actually, doing that which Armand himself preaches?

    And therefore-oh blessed enlightenment!-has he not himself given her the key to her success?

    Has he not virtually shown her the way, given her a lock on her project?

    A cold, a manipulative way to look at her relationship with him, perhaps, but then, she feels that he would somehow approve, that in retrospect, he will approve of what she has done.

    Yes, it’s all coming together for her now.

    All. that is required is that she get closer to him, that she stick closer to him.

    Her problem is not that this isn’t working, but that it’s working too slowly.

    Once a week, what the hell is that?

    What about evenings, week-ends, all-nighters?

    What about… lunch?

    What about, instead of waiting for him to get started, counting on him to kick this thing in the ass, she gets her own in gear.

    If you’re gonna manipulate, dammit, manipulate!

    Once a week is not manipulation; once a week is a hobby, a pastime, is only slightly more involved than the people who attend his weekly lectures- many of whom, she is certain, would love to hit the sheets with Armand Fortuna, some of whom have already done so in their minds, in their imaginations, in that world within their minds which, as Armand so aptly points out, is far, far more potent, far, far more real than any of them ever suspected.

    But not, she reminds herself, more real than they suspect now.

    So that there is that factor as well.

    If she could go up to him after that first lecture, determined to act on her impulse, on her imaginings, what is to stop any of his audience from doing so-even if it takes the form of absolute gush, of some sweet young thing coming up to him and saying, “I just had to tell you how utterly fantastic I think you are!” ~ To which Armand would reply-what?

    That she is too kind, or some such meaningless rubbish?

    Perhaps.

    Or-and in the midst of the heat of passion, she, actually gets goosepimples at the thought of this- the lightning could strike, the great man could look at the SYT (sweet young thing) and bingo! Instant Irene replay.

    And that, Jessica vows, must not be allowed to happen.

    It has thrown her off, this last thought.

    So that now, Armand is reaching his peak alone, is reaching it, is soaring beyond it-alone.

    So that all she can do is fake it, counting on her muscular control of her vagina to make him believe that it’s happening for her as well as for him, mechanically rather than reflexively contracting, again and again, as he shoots wad after wad into the depths of her pussy.

    Fakery, yes; but fakery with a certain talent, a certain sexual athletic ability not to be found in your normal, everyday piece of ass, she tells him, silently.

    And all in a good cause, which is herself.

    Armand humps her all the way, then collapses on her, clinging to her, eyes closed, head resting on one of her breasts.

    She runs her lingers through his’ hair on the back of his head, curly with the dampness of his sexual sweat-and her courage fails her at the sense of the power within that skull, at the sense of the vitality which flows within him.

    Next week, she tells herself, next week she will have the nerve to expand their relationship.


    Chapter 4

    “The medium of expression,” Armand announces, pausing to write that on the chalkboard, “meaning the physical means whereby we communicate that which is in here-” pointing to his head, tapping it with his crooked finger repeatedly, “-to the representatives of external reality-including ourselves! “Let us begin on familiar ground, with a bromide, a maxim, a piece of triteness.

    “A picture is worth ten thousand words! “Certainly, one of my pictures has far, far greater validity than, say, ten thousand of my words.

    “I fear that my teachers, from grade school through university, did not regard me highly as an essayist, and this with excellent reason.

    “Why is that, ladies and gentlemen? “How can it be that one so adept, so skilled-you will forgive me, but, this is not the time or place for false modesty-with brush and pigment should be found thus wanting in verbal abilities? “Surely, that same mind, that same… imagination was at work in here-” tapping his forehead again, “requiring nothing more than to put down on paper the images herein rampant.

    “And I dare say that most of you hardly find me inarticulate in discussing the arts-verbally-or you would not be here for this, our fourth assemblage.

    “So then, what is my problem? “The answer is quite simple, actually-I don’t have a problem! “Do not, and never did! “Because, ladies and gentlemen, the medium of expression is the means of expression, and vice versa! “Let ‘me write that down, because that is my theme tonight, the rest being mere explication.”

    And, back to his audience, he writes, on the green board, MEDIUM equals MEANS.

    He stands there, looking at it, as though contemplating a painting in a gallery, then modifies it slightly, to yield, MEDIUM equals MEANS.

    “An interactive process, ladies and gentlemen, a sub-process, if you will, of creativity.

    “Absent a medium of realization,, we have no means of communication, the idea on hold-as ideas cannot be.

    “Because ideas, my friends, do not keep, cannot be preserved-except when they have been realized, made real, communicated.

    “Our thoughts do not remain unchanged. Our imagery is ever in a state of flux.

    To say we feel the same today as yesterday is to say we are not a day older- a contention so ridiculous as not to require active rebuttal.

    “Thus, when seized by the inspiration, by that complex of images which causes us to want to create, let us hope, let us pray that we have at hand the means to do so, the medium with which to express ourselves.

    “A man may paint, and yet not write.

    “A man may compose music, and not be able to draw.

    “And so on and so forth, ad infinitum.

    “Does that mean, then, that Mozart was less intelligent, less a genius than, say, Rembrandt? “Absolutely not! “Each expressed himself, his ideas, each realized- made real-his imaginings through different means, to which were attached different corresponding media.

    “Had Mozart not had harpsichord and orchestra, how would he have brought into reality his masterpieces? “Would he then have become court painter rather than court musician to the emperor of Austria? Obviously not.

    “And so we see the importance of the correct medium as the means of communication, of realization-hence my ulterior motive all along in giving such big play to our computer friends.

    “They have at their disposal a truly marvellous medium, an interface between imagination and its realization, between the reality in here-” tapping his forehead, “-and that out here.

    “The computer is, in fact, the ideal, combining both means and medium, that is, being both the action-programming-and the material of the creative process itself.

    “Do you see it all starting to come together now? “We began with the relationship between reality, fantasy, and art, arriving at their rather astounding mutual identity.

    “We then proceeded to data-the building blocks of the creative process, of which we have identified one major sub-process as the selection of data from this soup of information in which we are swimming.

    “We showed first the misuse, the abuse, if you will of data, then proceeded to successful selection as an essential of this thing we call aesthetics.

    “But here, we get down to cases, to making it happen.

    “Fine that we have gained all these glorious insights, now, how do we get from here-” tapping his forehead, “-to there?” embracing reality with outstretched hands.

    “Through use of the appropriate medium! “We have, in this room tonight, painters, writers of both prose and poetry, musicians, both composers and instrumentalists, dancers-I could go on and on.

    “Yes, yes, relax, gentlemen, before you strain your tonsils clearing your throats. We also have computer programmers. You uh, you wanna stand up and take a bow? No? Then it’s okay with you if I continue? Thank you.”

    “What makes one, what the other? “Obviously, medium, the means of expression, which varies…“


    ***

    “Steve, my boy! So glad you could make its”

    Jessica, brow knit, looks back over her shoulder, to see the broadest man she has ever seen in her life approaching the podium, perfect white teeth brilliant In his deeply tanned face, hand out-stretched.

    They shake hands to one side of Jessica.

    “Armand, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world! “I admit, I had my doubts at first, but tonight, forget it.

    “I acknowledge you as my spiritual leader!”

    And, to Jessica’s surprise and Armands raucous laughter, Steve goes down on one knee, grasps Armand’s hand, and kisses his knuckles, exclaiming, “Your eminence!”

    “Get up, ass hole! “Oh, Jessica, this is Steve, whom you may recognize as the reigning Mister Galaxy.”

    “Mister… Galaxy?”

    “Why yes,” Armand says, sharing Steve’s look of mild surprise, “that’s a rather prestigious-okay, okay, that is THE ‘prestigious title in the wonderful world of bodybuilding, which is also an art, and probably the purest example of art there is,”

    “I’m just sorry I missed the first three lectures, Armand.”

    “Not to worry, when the book comes out, I’ll see you get an autographed copy.”

    “Gee! Autographed!” Steve aspirates, wide-eyed.

    “Smart-ass!” Armand says, playfully punching Steve in the abdomen. “Come on along with us to my place, why don’tcha, Steve? “Little wine, little bread and cheese, little uh… conversation, and we can all get better acquainted.”

    “I’ve got a better idea, Armand,” Steve replies, “what say we all go over to my place for the same thing?”

    “If you insist. I think he’s trying to tell me something, don’t you, Jessica?”

    “What I’m tryna tell him, Jessica, is that his place is a dump, a mess, a shambled.

    “I’ve seen better living quarters than that done in cardboard in an alley! “I mean, have you been there?”

    “Several times,” Jessica remarks, coolly, as they leave the auditorium, her in between the two men.

    “Then you know what I’m talking about! “One of the people in my condo is trying to sell and I’m tryna interest Armand here, because I know he’s got the bread, but so far no response.”

    And he reaches behind Jessica to rap Armand on the head with his knuckles and say, “Ey! Anybody home?”

    And Armand reaches around in front of Jessica, slapping Steve lightly in the balls with the back of his hand.

    Jessica hasn’t felt like this since she was thirteen, walking home from school with a couple of boys.

    And she is unable to focus on her plans, even though Armand has given her the perfect opening.

    She was all set to gear up her campaign, using his own discussion of means and media to suggest that he might wish to equip himself, in case the inspiration-which, as he so aptly pointed out, cannot be preserved-in case the inspiration does in fact strike at, say, three in the morning.

    She can use that later-maybe.

    But the evening has gotten out of hand, out of control.

    She is on her way with Armand to this strange side of beef’s condo somewhere, and Armand is acting like an adolescent.

    This doesn’t bode well, she tells herself, feeling frustrated, angry.


    ***

    “This is absolutely… magnificent!” Jessica enthuses, “The view of the city’s skyline is breathtaking! “And the whole place is just… exquisite!”

    And Jessica fairly pirhouettes through the condo’s vast, low-ceilinged, ultra-modern living room, with its recessed overhead lighting, its understated blues and greys offset by chrome and glass.

    “Wish I could take the credit,” Steve says, “but I inherited the place from my father when I was eighteen.”

    “Sorry,” Jessica says.

    “Don’t be. Barely knew the guy. International finance type. Worked abroad, played abroad, died abroad.”

    “Still, he remembered you well.”

    “Or his lawyer did. Anyway, make yourselves comfortable. I’ll fix a tray of something or other and be right back.”

    And he disappears into what Jessica assumes must be the kitchen.

    “None of them are yours,” Jessica says, referring to the paintings that line two of the walls of the living room, the outer wall being a picture window, floor to ceiling, one side being occupied by a wet bar running practically its entire length.

    “No, they aren’t.

    “I didn’t become friends with Steve until-after.” And Jessica understands at once that he refers to the period after Darlene, that is, after he had painted his last painting and thus had none to sell or, for that matter, give away.

    She also understands how very little she knows about Armand.

    She flatters herself that she has a handle on his character, an insight into his soul, as it were; but tonight surely demonstrates the inadequacy of this, if she is to be able to influence, much less manipulate him.

    Some casual acquaintance has been able to walk up to him after his lecture and break a pattern a month in the making.

    “Very nice of you to be so effusive in your compliments to Steve about this, this, uh, non-location.”

    She looks at Armand sideways, masking her surprise.

    Because she meant everything she said; she is truly impressed and yes, dammit, the place is truly magnificent.

    And look who’s talking, considering how and where he lives! “It is exquisitely well suited for what it is, of course,” Armand continues.

    “Neutral background, pedestal and setting for the man himself, it is.

    “There is nothing, nothing, nothing of Steve here-except himself.

    “Place makes no statement, has no focus, dcor, furniture, arrangement, even the paintings on the walls geometric, impersonal.

    “Here, there is but one work of art, and that is- “I uh, I picked up the cheese in Little Italy, the crackers are from Norway, and the wine is red from Napa, unchilled, if that’s okay.”

    “Adequate, Steve, adequate,” Armand says, leaning forward and filling the clarets from the bottle.

    “Oh? Mr. Thunderbird and Velveeta is pleased? I’m thrilled!”

    They laugh.

    And Steve flops himself down on the couch between Armand Jessica an arm over the back, behind each.

    “So. Steve. Have y’thought it over, what we discussed?” Armand asks.

    Oh, this is really great! Jessica tells herself. Not only are they talking across her, they are talking about something she knows nothing about.

    “I have, matter of fact. As I say, I was really impressed tonight. You really know how to get the old creative juices flowing, old buddy.”

    Except his own, Jessica thinks. And she was going to take care of that, before-never mind. She’s along for the ride, and all she can do is to ride it out-whatever “it” is.

    “If you could tell me a little more-”

    “Nanana,” Armand chides, “y’trust me or y’don’t. I want you for lecture eight, for the opener of the grand finale.

    “You’re in or you’re out.”

    “Maybe after I attend one more session.”

    “Suit yourself,” Armand shrugs. “I don’t need ya, but it’d be kind of a little extra zing, y’know?”

    This just gets better and better, Jessica thinks; not only is Steve to be a star attendee at the rest of the lecture series, but he and Armand have something-make that some things-going together of which she knows nothing and of which she is not a part-past, present, and, very probably, future.

    Irene didn’t catch this flak, Darlene didn’t have to put up with this static, she is better than the two-~of them put together-and now, this.

    Such bullshit, the whole thing, really.

    She is half tempted-no!

    In for a penny, in for a pound, as the English say.

    Time to be clever, watchful, patient, not to give up and walk away in disgust.

    Because it isn’t as though she has something better going for herself.

    And it’s certainly not because she’s desperate, at least not for money.

    Her folks are loaded, she is an only child in good standing on the home front, so she has nothing to worry about, financially.

    But she wants her own fame and fortune and this is as close as she has come thus far to realizing that ambition.

    To realize, meaning to make real, she tells herself, given that all the elements of her imagining-her, Armand, Armand’s fame and ability, her ambition-are ready to hand, hers for the composition, the creation.

    And then came Steve.

    “You uh, you hear from Rhino lately, Steve?”

    “Yeah, he wants me in Chicago or Saint Louis or someplace around there for a series of guest posing shots in conjunction with his lectures which, I gotta tell ya, leave a whole lot t’be desired, compared t’yours, Armand.”

    “That may well be, but what he has to say is a lot more valuable to those who take heed.”

    Then, to Jessica, “Rhino’s director of training for the whole Buck’s franchise.

    You know-the health clubs?”

    “Oh.”

    “Really, the man is an absolute genius when it comes to physical development, Jessica! And nobody knows how old he Is! “He looks what, Steve? Mid-forties?”

    “About that, yeah. But the build on him! He’s got muscles like armor plates.”

    “Which, of course, is why they call him Rhino, right?” Jessica interpolates; “That’s right!” Steve says, delighted with her perception, like it’s a big deal.

    Men, Jessica thinks. Such ass holes, all of them. Only men would think of holding a conversation about someone their companion has never heard of. Have they any idea of how rude this Is? “I’m signed up for an appointment with him, y’know,”

    “Oeez, why the hell didn’t cha say something, Armаnd? Armand Fortuna doesn’t need an appointment. Hell, If Rhino knew you wanted to talk to him, he’d call you!”

    “Yes, well, I dislike intruding, preferential treatment and all that-”

    “Bullshit! You’re the big artistic genius in the crowd, Armand. Why, I’ll bet Randy Buck would be thrilled If he knew you were a member.”

    “Y’mean he doesn’t?”

    “Stan Is saving it for a surprise.”

    This just gets better and better, Jessica thinks. Now there’s a Stan involved as well.

    And Randy Buck, of whom she has heard, naturally, the big sports tycoon-if it’s the same guy-but whom she doesn’t know personally.

    “Why do you have to see this Rhino char- person?” Jessica asks.

    “Attitude,” Armand replies, adding, “I know what my routine should be and why~ but I can’t seem to get up the energy necessary to make it happen.

    “So I thought maybe, getting together with Rhino, I could, like, get together with myself, know what I’m saying?”

    Jessica shrugs, helping herself to the cheese and crackers.

    “Could be your age, y’know,” Steve says, matter of factly.

    “No, I doubt that that’s it. More likely a problem in the diet or the supplements.”

    “You on arginine and ornithine?”

    “Sure am! Without those, I know I’m screwed!”

    “Then maybe you’d better talk to Rhino.”

    “What I figured.”

    And jeeeica Is ready to tear her hair out-or theirs. From people she doesn’t know to substances with which she has no familiarity, the conversation here has progressed. Thus far, the evening is a thrill and a half, no question.

    “Hormone level?” Steve inquires, as though going up and down some invisible check list, deciding to pause at last at this particular item.

    “Keep up with you any day of the week, pal!” Terrific! Jessica thinks. So now we’re back to adolescent macho.

    “How about it, Jessica?” Armand asks, “Have I ever disappointed you?” Not until now, she feels like replying. Which would gain her what? “Not a fair question, Armand,” Steve interjects.

    “Its a question of relativity. “Not how good you are, but how good you are compared to others is what’s relevant.”

    “Is that some kind of a challenge, Steve?”

    “Only if you’re up to it-old man.”

    “Funny, Steve, that you should be the second person in less than a month to challenge me on that score.”

    And Jessica winces, recalling her goof at the outset of her seeing Armand-which, obviously, Armand recalls as well.

    “Getting a bit tired of it, actually,” Armand says, a reproof clearly directed at Jessica. “So let’s put the question to bed, once and for all. And now’s as good a time as any.

    “Team sport, right? We keep going until one of us decides he’s had enough, okay?”

    And Jessica cannot say what runs through her mind as she finds herself walking-or is it drifting?- into the master bedroom of the fabulous condo.

    Perhaps it was the wine, perhaps her inner disturbance at her loss of control of the evening itself; but, whatever the case, here she is, undressing alongside the two men.

    And now, the three of them are naked-and Steve is unbelievable!

    Jessica has seen statues, of course-bronzes, greek marbles. And paintings of Hercules, of other heroes of legend.

    But nothing has prepared her for so magnificent an assemblage of living flesh, rippling, vibrant, massive, tanned, seeming to glow with health and vigor.

    So yes, hell yes, she is drawn to him, as he lies there in the bed.

    And yes, hell yes she wants to suck his cock, crouching there between his legs, all but ignoring Armand as he fingers her exposed, presented goodies, fore and aft.

    And she sucks Steve up, rock-hard.

    And she straddles his magnificent body, settling down on his cock, feeding his rampant invader up, up, up inside her hot, juicy cunt, then settling down on him, leaning forward so that he can grasp both her breasts, so that he can feed himself the doorbells of her nipples, one at a time, sucking them to rubbery erection.

    And Armand is behind her, crouched between Steve’s legs, sucking Jessica’s ass hole,. protruding now more than ever from the pressure of the monster within her vagina.

    Her ears are ringing.

    She feels herself dizzy, disoriented, hearing Armand say, faintly, “You’ll have to lift up a little so I can get it in.”

    Automatically, without even really thinking about it, she knows what he means, raising herself up on her knees until only the knob of Steve’s big boinker remains between her pussy lips.

    “Unnnh!” her voice says, and yet not her voice, but a voice she hears and which must have been hers because it couldn’t have been anybody else’s.

    As Armand shafts his prodigious prong into her ass hole, all the way.

    And she knows, somehow, to settle back down on Steve’s mighty marauder.

    And she can feel-as surely they can as well-the pressure of the two erections, underside to underside, separated by a thin membrane of living tissue within her, as they both fill her now, turning cunt and ass hole into almost identical, smoothly rounded, toothless mouths which suck and cling to the meat pistons which stretch and fill them.

    And which even now begin to alternate their movement, one pulling halfway out as the other plunges all the way in.

    As Armand, in his capacity of top man, sets the pace, bouncing up and down, letting the bedsprings do most of the work.

    In and out, in and out, go the living pistons of meat, their double stimulation added to Steve’s steady servicing of her breasts.

    She cannot think you this has come to pass, any of it, all of it, but she can and does accept that it has, and, thus aroused, wants only to go with the flow.

    So that the team acts as one, climbing the rainbow of their shared arousal together, mounting higher and higher, transcending level after level of sexual pleasure, until the ultimate pleasure is upon them all.

    And they are coming and coming, the pumping pistons causing each other to push out the jism from alternating orifices, quickly forming rings of pearlescent jism around the twin junctures as twinge after exquisite, irresistible twinge of Jessica’s series of multiple orgasms convulses her, the meat in a sandwich of grunting, sweating, heaving meat.

    Which humps and pumps and squirts and slips and slides ever so slowly to an overheated, panting halt.

    And Armand, businesslike, pulls back, his cock sliding out of Jessica’s ass hole, and goes into the bathroom, washing his cock at the sink, then drying it briskly on a towel, encountering Jessica and Steve on their way in.

    Armand positions himself promptly in the bed, ready to be bottom man for round two, playing with his cock, feeling it begin to respond before releasing it, lest he do too much of Jessica’s work for her.

    And now, he closes his eyes as the two of them emerge from the bathroom and Jessica dives on top of him, seeming eager to suck his cock-or to have Mister Galaxy servicing her ass.


    Chapter 5

    “We have ranged from the notion of art as imagination realized to the materials of which it is physically constructed.

    “So that it must seem to you-hopefully, it does seem to you-that we have taken this subject, aesthetics, in some logical order, showing you that which is aesthetic, or what we would term artistic success, as well as that which is not and which therefore, by the same standard of judgment, is a failure.

    “Using computerized examples of partial and total failure, thereby depersonalizing such characterization, we have seen the underlying character of art revealed for what it is from the objective standpoint, which is-much to the delight of the computer people-information.

    “We live in the so called information age, ladies and gentlemen, so called because there’s so damn much of it around.

    “SO that the world, our world is, In macrocosm, confronted by the same problem which has beleaguered art-man’s compulsion, man’s inner need to seek it out, to create it, to understand it since time immemorial-in the face of this floodtide of information which, moment by moment, inundates and permeates us.

    “How sad that we cannot all, like Michelangelo, perceive the statue hidden within the block of marble.

    “No, to us, most of us, I dare say all of us these days, the world is one large, unyielding mass of uniform, uniform.,. give me the word.”

    “Garbage!”

    “Crap!”

    “Scrap!”

    “Junk!”

    “Thank you. I think we all get the idea.

    “Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it’s true; never has there been so much bad stuff around as there is today.

    “Artlessness, Pseudo-art. Pre-art, which will never live up to its own potential, this last the saddest of all, perhaps. And beyond that environments, segments of our society, whole societies in our world, in which the aesthetic has vanished, is lost, art and the possibility of art extinct as the dinosaur.

    “Wrong compilations of information, compilations of wrong Information, meaning that which precludes the exercise of the imagination in the creative mode.

    “Consider simpler ages and times-the art of the caveman, of ancient Egypt, of Greece, of Rome, of the Aztec and the Maya.

    “There, there! is art, is undoubted art, is art to be contemplated, wondered at, thought about, absorbed, remembered.

    “Where Is art, where is the artistic community to be found nowadays? “Remember the Realists? Remember the Impressionists? The Surrealists? “Where is the school of artistic thought to be found today, ladies and gentlemen? “Who are its founders, its gurus, its practitioners, both pure and heretical? “What is its name, for crissakes?”

    “You have no answer to that, nor do I, because there is none! “If art Is Information, and we live in the information age, then one could logically conclude, could one not, that art is everywhere.

    “But in light of what has just been said, one could as well be drawn to quite the opposite conclusion, which is that art is nowhere to be found, outside of museums, the message being that true art is a thing of the past.

    “SO then, what do we have? Art is everywhere and art is nowhere. Which is my theme tonight.

    “Let us examine four terms.

    “We have-let me put them up as we go here-ornamental, beneath which we put functional, and beside these, aesthetic-that word again-and below it, ugly, by which is intended not necessarily the traditional term but rather that which does in fact offend the eye.

    “Our methodology here will be to combine either or both these first two features with first the aesthetic, then the ugly, and thereby move from the discussion of what the aesthetic is to that of where it can be found in the contemporary world.

    “So, taking the first of our combinations, we see very quickly that…”

    Jessica cannot believe it, cannot believe that the man she sees down there lecturing, his audience banging on his every word, is the same, the same… animal who last week did what he did with her, with her and Steve, who is, who is-right over there, dammit, his attention as rapt as that of the most ardent art geek in the crowd.

    Her mind drifts back, the scene before her eyes, Armand in his tweedy sportcoat with the suede patch elbows and insert from lapel to right breast gesticulating with the chalk, fades from her vision.

    She was riding Armand’s prick, Steve-Mister Galaxy himself-sucking her ass hole now, preparatory to insertion, which was very efficiently effected.

    So that now, Steve was top man.

    It was Steve’s big prick reaming her ass hole now, while Armand lay on the bottom, helpless but aroused, unable to move but being acted upon with ultimate lascivous result clearly in the offing.

    As Steve rode and rode, muscles no doubt strutted and bulging, form following function as he drove the three of them higher and higher up the rainbow.

    Onward and upward! Excelsior!

    And she could see Armand looking over her shoulder, even as he sucked one tit while fondling both breasts, could see him looking-at Steve.

    So that there was a communication between them at work here-Armand and Steve, that is.

    Central to the action, it was as though she were not really there, as if her presence were somehow arbitrary, if only in the sense that it could be any girl, any woman here, given certain minimum standards-in other words, the criteria which had given him Irene, had given Irene fame and fortune- were in full force, but in a context which could do her no conceivable good.

    It could be argued, she knew, that out there, in the real world were millions of women who would give all they had to be in bed with Armand Fortuna-and another several millions, perhaps even more, who would be have been similarly ecstatic to have hit the sheets with Mister Galaxy.

    But, as fate would have it, it fell to her, whose plans and intentions, whose goals and desires lay utterly elsewhere, to be the hour of the hour.

    She was of no more significance to them than would have been the track, had they been running a footrace, or the pool in which they would try to out swim each other.

    She was, in short, apiece of athletic equipment.

    And how she resented, how she still resents Armand!

    Because he has betrayed her, has treated her in a manner in which, perhaps, she deserves to be treated; but how could he possibly know?

    Unless-could it be?

    Because face it, the man is an intellectual giant, no question.

    So that it is entirely possible, is it not, that he was, has been on to her right along, seeing very well what she is after, and using her as, on a much grander scale, she intended to use him.

    Except that, right then, there was no humor to Armand, but rather a determination to win, to prove to Steve that he, Armand, was the better man where it counts.

    Not good, this, she told herself. Onto her or not, what was happening was bound to leave him depleted or, if not depleted, then unavailable to her for another week-most of which he would undoubtedly use recovering, if the marathon fuckathon was to run its course.

    But there was nothing she could do about it, any of it.

    She had to stick with the program-especially now.

    The time to walk out, dignity intact, future obscurity assured, was before she in fact walked the other way.

    Useless now, stupid and harmful, it would be, were she to decide, mid-stream, that she had had enough.

    So that yes, she had no choice but to let the two men fuck themselves to death, with her as mutual fuckee.

    What would they do next? she wondered.

    Repetition? Maybe. But surely a mind as fertile as Armand’s could come up with something more interesting.

    At least, she told herself, among the’ three of them, hers was the least demanding task.

    All she had to do, really, was to ride out the storm.

    What would Armand think of her?

    Again, that made no difference, not any more.

    What’s done is done and can’t be undone-one of Armand’s favorite sayings, and certainly never more true than in her case.

    So she simply made the best of it, letting go in her mind; allowing the triple stimulation to take its course, letting herself drift, letting herself be carried along up the rainbow by the bumpy, grinding ride, by the distension and distortion of her innards.

    As the two big cocks went about their work, which was of neither pleasure nor procreation, but of competition, of manly, male, macho oneupmanship, the issue hot and heavy and very much-undecided at this point.

    And it was actually quite easy for Jessica, in the event.

    She had merely to let it happen, and happen it did, fore and aft-and within herself as well.

    Because she came when they did, vaginal convulsions and anal twinges adding to the exquisite pleasure of the moment.

    And fore and aft, they repeated the pumping out ceremony, their generous jism oozing, being squeezed out of both her nether orifices.

    And this time, after the last spasm of their shared climax bad passed through them all, they lay there, collapsed in a heap, the two turgid intruders slowly detumescing within her, Armand’s dropping out of her pussy, then Steve’s becoming sufficiently flaccid that the peristaltic action of Jessica’s bowels expelled him, turd-like.

    And he dragged himself up off her, did Steve, did the mighty Mister Galaxy.

    And he was slow to get up off the bed.

    So that Jessica rolled off Armand on the opposite side, going to get up, but Armand reached out a hand, stopping her.

    “Better idea,” he said.

    And Steve, who had been on his way to the bathroom, stopped, turned, looked at him, expectant.

    Armand lay on the bed, eyes closed, pronouncing, “Way it works is that the first one of us up gets to fuck Jessica. Second man has to clean ‘er up the hard way before he fucks her.

    “Naturally, any time you wanna concede-”

    “In your ear, old man!” Steve says, grinning. “And you are on, pal! “Lookin’ forward to havin’ you clean ‘er up before your pathetic attempt at round three.”

    SO that Jessica lay there on the bed, double load oozing slowly out of her, whatever had been left inside her, and onto the sheet beneath her, trying not to think about what would happen after she got fucked by one or the other the third time.

    Too revolting to think about, that, she told herself; and yet, think about it she did, wanting it to be Steve.

    SO that Armand would be humiliated, therefore vulnerable, malleable, with her controlling him with a combination of contempt and sympathy, stick and carrot to get him to “do” her, to portray her a hundred times over, as he did with the nonentity Irene.

    The men were In the bathroom, side by side, washing off their pricks, draped Into the basin of the sink.

    She did it to herself this time, she told herself; she is off In unfamiliar territory, off on a tangent in the wonderful world of macho bullshit.

    What the hell did these guys have to prove, either of them, for heaven’s sake? she asked herself, truly mystified.

    The one a wealthy, famous and successful painter, the other Mister Galaxy, the living symbol of manhood itself, according to Armand, according, probably, to Steve himself, and here they are, enmeshed in some sophomoric fucking contest.

    Who the fuck needs this? she asked herself, but she knew the answer only too well.

    She did, did and does.

    Because what else has she got going for herself?

    An indifferent talent, academically gifted, of wealthy parentage, she could no doubt land some so-so job in an ad agency when she gets her master’s.

    Which relates to fame and fortune how?

    Which only relates to a relatively well paying position of reasonable responsibility and business suits, to be worn every day except for holidays, weekends-those she wasn’t traveling and didn’t have to work-and vacations.’

    While some nothing, some know nothing bitch from out of the gutter gets ten big ones an hour or’ whatever, her face on the cover of the fashion magazines, over and over again, her face and body on the Inside, in both articles and ads, appearances on talk shows, welcomed In the best social circles-forget it, okay?

    No way. No way does she take a hike on Armand Fortuna.

    Because it’s simply ‘norworth it.

    They came back out of the bathroom, the men, the over-grown boys.

    They got on the bed on either side of her, each helping himself to a breast, the plan being, obviously, to inspire themselves using her to the point that they could raise a hard on, staking their claim In the prescribed manner and, upon successful completion of the mission, vacating the target area for sanitary operations courtesy of the Loser, who would then have the choice of either mounting up or surrendering.

    In the event, Armand managed to raise an erection first, a thing Jessica could have predicted, this being a case of mind over matter.

    So that Armand lucked her as Steve looked on morosely.

    At this point, Armand was working away, the action more mechanical than enthusiastic.

    Nevertheless, he acquitted himself well, popping his nuts, coming again and again before pulling out, Jessica remaining in position afterward, legs raised and spread, bent at the knees.

    To her amazement, Jessica saw Steve, now at the ready, however belatedly, getting onto the bed.

    “First things first,” Armand reminded him.

    And sure enough, there was Steve, right down on her, his tongue probing her cream-filled depths, eating her pussy thoroughly as Armand watched, grinning.

    And only after he had well and truly cleaned her out did Steve mount Jessica, riding her up, up, up the ladder of his sexual pleasure until he too climaxed, his motion as well become a dispassionate, determined horizontal dance.

    He pulled out as Armand came out of the bathroom and, to the amazement of both Steve and Jessica, Armand practically dove onto the bed, onto her snatch, eating her as though they were alone and he just beginning his evening.

    He ate her and with her Steve’s sauce, and him with a beard and moustache!

    And whatever the imagery of his mind might have been, it worked; because he was up and he was hard as he mounted her.

    And he rode her, a triumphal gallop of the hips, pistoning in and out of her, riding higher and higher, until he came.

    “Your turn,” he told Steve.

    And Steve could only shake his head and say, “You win, old buddy.”

    He wins? Jessica asked herself. Just what is it that he won?

    She saw no prize, no trophy, nor did they have a monetary bet going.

    And yet, Armand’s triumph was an unmistakable fact.

    He was practically strutting as he marched into the bathroom, this time running the shower, his cock still rigid, huge and stiff, going down only very slowly.

    And Steve offered Jessica a hand off the bed and led her into the large, glassed-in, tiled shower enclosure, joining Armand.

    So that they showered together, the thrill of wet, soap-slickened skin rubbing against its like prevalent as they scrubbed themselves thoroughly.

    Afterward, they dried off together and Steve put on a terrycloth robe as Armand and Jessica dressed in silence.


    ***

    Armand and Jessica went into the subway, still not speaking, out on the street, taking separate subway trains, Armand’s only gallantry being to see her safely onto hers before catching his own.

    So it went.

    And Jessica understood, understands, none of it.

    She cannot fathom the meaning of Armand’s scene, in the larger sense.

    So brilliant here, so academically charming and witty, his talent beyond dispute, his reputation in the art world secure, secure as it must be now days as an isolated, individual phenomenon of genius.

    Because he’s right about there being no major movements with which artists can identify in today’s world.

    Which makes it all the more important, if she is to succeed in that world, that she attach herself to his star, which is in the perpetual ascendant.

    Because she will not use him as a springboard to a modeling career, la Irene.

    Nor will she become a soap opera villainess, in the manner of Darlene.

    Rather, she will stake her claim in Armand’s own back yard, in the world of art.

    So that a linkage with him will be a statement concerning her own abilities, will cause the critics, as critics are in the habit’ of doing when properly inspired, to see that which is not there.

    Things like talent, insight, empathy-whatever.

    Whatever, she tells herself, so long as she becomes famous, so long as her canvasses command ridiculous prices, perhaps even those which accrue to Armand Fortuna’s works.

    Accrued, she corrects herself.

    Because Armand has no paintings, owns not one of his own works, has retained none of them.

    A few have been given to museums, most notable being the huge ‘Irene I’, but to view Armand Fortuna’s works, one must buy the coffee table books of his three exhibitions.

    Because his works are, for the most part, privately owned.

    And this private ownership is unlikely to change much, at least in Armand’s-and Jessica’s-lifetime.

    Which means that the market in Armand for-tunas has been effectively wiped clean. The bazaar stands empty.

    But then, she reminds herself, so does his studio. “… which is, in essence, bad information. “Having neither function nor aesthetic appeal, we see a whole body of art-art so-called, we should say, since that which lacks aesthetic appeal and yet is not functional is hardly art, except in the mind of the one who created it.

    “But perhaps I am preaching snobbery here.

    “After all, who is the arbiter of taste, empowered to say that this is aesthetic, but that is not? “And can it be that good intentions, besides being that with which the road to hell is paved, are sufficient to constitute art? “Can we not, by adding qualifiers to our original definition of art, in essence qualify whatever we please? “Can we not go from bad imagination to bad but real elements to terrible composition to create art which is to most of us unacceptable? “I appeal to your sense of democracy and fair play, ladies and gentlemen! “Rebel, ye student masses! Reject the C, the D, the E! What do they know, your teachers, right? “Relax, folks! Just kidding. Really.

    “Because, if all there was to aesthetics, if all there was to art were the what of it and the where of it, then that argument would have validity; but, as we shall see next week, that is far from the whole story.

    “Hint. Why? Why art? What causes man to create, to imagine, to compose, to inform? “Think about it. Those of you with the time or the inclination, research it and see how my findings compare with your sources.

    “Why art? “Does that question excite you as much as it does me? “Until next week, then, same time, same auditorium, goodnight.”

    The applause mingles with the shuffling of feet and Jessica surprises herself by simply sitting where she is, making no move to approach the podium, where Armand is stuffing his briefcase with his notes.

    After last week, does he expect her to come to him as though nothing happened? she wonders.

    And what of Steve, sitting where he is, like herself?

    And Jessica decides that she will leave it up to Steve.

    If. If Steve goes down to the podium and lingers there, if he moves off with Armand, then she will have to abandon the field,’ will have to contact him some other time.

    She will have to call him up- And she realizes that she doesn’t even have his telephone.

    There’s one in his apartment in the loft, she knows; she has seen it, beside the noisy little refrigerator; but he is too famous, too famous and too rich to have a listed number.

    So that, if she is to get at him at all, it must be now-or next week.

    And she is unwilling to have his last memory of her be that of her stepping glumly, silently onto a train in the subway after some crazy fuck session with Steve and himself, a kind of ball game with naked bodies in which she was the ball.

    You owe me, you bastard she beams at him with powerful thought waves.

    To her relief, Steve merely waves at Armand and leaves, following the last of the crowd out of the upper doors.

    So that she has no competition for Armand’s attention.

    And he apparently is expecting her company, because he stands there, watching her progress as she makes her way down the stairs to him.

    “Shook ‘em up a little tonight, didn’t I?” he chuckles.

    “Yes, Armand, you’re very good at that.”

    Arid her tone of voice tells him that that was not a compliment.


    ***

    “So. With all that talk about means and media, Armand, have you gone out and bought yourself some brushes or anything?”

    “Did I ever tell you the story about that?”

    “No, you didn’t,”

    “When I was finishing the Darlene series, I had used up most of my paint, had worn out all my brushes.

    “So I let the pallette and the technique of the last three paintings be dictated by the materials on hand. The results were, to say the least, spectacular, a surprise and a revelation to me.

    “The gallery got the canvasses, the garbage man the empty paint tubes and frazzled brushes, the soap opera got Darlene after the exhibition and I got a clean slate out of the deal.

    “My seventh lecture will cover the whole experience, beginning to end. The creative process and the role of accident.”

    Not what she wanted to hear at all, so she says nothing as they approach his building.


    Chapter 6

    “What’s the question?” Armand asks, doing his best imitation of Hulk Hogan rah-rahing his fans, leaning forward, one hand cupped to his ear.

    “Why art?” the audience shouts back, in sufficient numbers to cause reverberation.

    “Why art?” Armand repeats. “What is there within man which drives him to produce, for sheer aesthetics, that which he and the rest of us could very well do without? “Or is the drive to create within the artist-after-the-fact the same as that which compels a Thomas Edison or a Henry Ford? “For answer, we have a figure who bridges both considerations-Leonardo da Vinci.

    “With Leonardo, we see the common denominator-the artist and scientist, combined into one.

    “So that the answer would appear to be-and I contend that in fact it is-yes.

    Yes, these two drives, which are particular applications of imagination are one and the same, indivisible and with liberty and justice for all! “What then is the nature of what we may term- because that’s exactly what it is-creative imagination? “Creative imagination, ladies and gentlemen, is-” pausing to write on the board the word INQUIRY.

    “Inquiry!” Armand shouts. “If. If art is a presentation of information, then, then! we have our answer to the question, ‘Why art?’ “Why art? Because, in the words of our nation’s favorite sleaze tabloid, inquiring minds want to know.

    “That’s right, ladies and gentlemen-” leaning forward, transfixing those in the front rows with his sweeping gaze as he taps his forehead repeatedly with his finger, “I want to know! “I want to know if reality will confirm itself to me, in some fashion, by presenting my data back to me in the form I have envisioned and with the function I have envisioned for it, given my selection and manipulation of it, given the means and the media I have chosen for its presentation to the world and thereby to myself.

    “Let us, therefore, enunciate a principle.

    “If art is information, then its creation is inquiry! “And yes, I would mind writing that down.

    “If you think it’s true, it’s worth remembering.

    “If you disagree, then what’s the point of recollecting it? “Fear not, however; the book is in the works.

    “To get on with life here, what do we have? “We have, I think, established insight, or at least an insight, into the conscious motivation of the artist, the inventor, the researcher-the housewife improving her cookie recipe.

    “And the feedback, the by-product of the product? Aesthetic. An aesthetic.

    “A mood, a thrill, an appreciation of the effect, the result of the information.

    “Let me write down this chain reaction, the chain reaction of the reality interface of the successful work of art.”

    And he writes,


    IMAGINATION – INQUIRY – PRODUCTION – RESULT


    “I submit to you, ladies and gentlemen, that the end product of the creative process is not the tangible product-the semi-final item in the process in the gospel according to Armand Fortuna-but the demonstrable effect, the affect, if you will- engendered by the function of that which has been produced.

    “Not the airplane but flight itself was the true culmination of the Wright brothers’ efforts.

    “Not the can opener or the opened can but the action of opening itself is the aesthetic of having invented the can opener.

    “There you go, ladies and gentlemen, if you come away with nothing else from tonight’s lecture, you will remember having heard for the very first time the words aesthetic and can opener used in the same sentence.”

    Armand pauses for the polite laughter and smattering of applause, and Jessica asks herself, how can it be?

    How can it be that the rutting boar hog of two weeks ago and this cultured genius are one and the same? Almost, after last week’s lecture, she was tempted to ask him this very question.

    In bed with him in his loft apartment, unable to work up her own libido because of the recollection of last weeks gross bestiality-a bestiality accompanied by a cold determination on Armand’s part to succeed, to prevail in his contest with Mister Galaxy.

    Fire and ice, is Armand, surprising her. She would have thought him all fire.

    She would have found in him the simple genius, the absent-minded professor, living in a world of his own, floating through this reality in a bubble, a macrocosm of his own thoughts.

    But no, she discovered someone quite different from this preconception, found a man very much of this world, this reality, this time and place- much more a man of the world than she is a woman of the same, for all her supposedly clear and cynical powers of observation.

    Fire and ice, he is, as she discovered in bed last week, as he fucked her while she lay there not responding to him, doing that at which women are so good, “having a mood”.

    And that didn’t work, either.

    She was having a mood, he a piece of ass.

    She didn’t want to be an active sex partner? Hey, no problem, babe!

    Because he will simply use her as an object, as a piece of appropriately shaped meat for purposes of masturbation, his eyes closed, his viewscreen vivid with who knows what images-images, she recalls recalling at the time, made all the more vivid by his belief-and hers-that imagination is comprised entirely of elements of reality.

    And Armand, if he is nothing else, is surely the master of selecting those elements to create a masterpiece, whether a painting to hang on a wall, or a drama to be played out in the mind, featuring, naturally, Armand Fortuna.

    Yes, he is fire and ice, as she thought that she was, until he reduced her to a warm puddle.

    Still, she thought she saw an opening last week.

    As the lecture series progresses, surely the book is not keeping pace, she told herself.

    Where are his notes?

    She suspects that they are those stacks of paper she sees in his open roll-top desk, jammed into a corner of the tiny alcove which precedes his bedroom.

    Where is his word processor, his typewriter?

    They are nowhere to be found here.

    So that there, there! is her opening, her possibility of contribution to him, to his greatness and thereby her own.

    He doesn’t wish to paint? So be it!

    She will become his amanuensis, his editor and confidante in that creative process, one which must surely be more onerous and less familiar to him than brush and canvas.

    Because if the written word is to be the means, ink and paper the medium, he must depend upon others.

    For his proper mtier, she reasons, he needs nobody other than himself; but a book is a horse of a different color.

    Yes, a book is an artifact with whose mechanics he is unfamiliar.

    His art books are not really his; his only contribution to them was to give permission for the reproduction of his works-during that brief period between creation and sale that they were, physically and legally, his-and to sign copies on request.

    So that he knows nothing of the authoring trade.

    Not that he has some publisher looking over his shoulder with suggestions and deadlines.

    Still, she knows Armand’s ego well enough that he will want to see his words of wisdom in print and looking like something worthy of himself.

    Maybe, maybe she could get to where she wants to go that way, she tells herself.

    Wouldn’t that be something, now! ‘Beyond Art and Passion,’ an inquiry into the nature of aesthetics, by Armand Fortuna, as told to none other than Jessica Famham.

    Granted, the world of books is much less flashy than the world of art; still, she knows she could thus gain an “in” with the right people, the right crowd of the semi-cultured and the pseudo- intellectual.

    And who knows?

    She might become an author as well as an artist in her own right.

    ‘My Life with Armand Forturta,’ she thinks; that has quite a nice ring to it, does it not?

    So that she did begin to warm up, to respond, not so much to Armand Fortuna’s obviously masturbatory attentions toward her, but to the idea of this alternative channel, this other, perhaps even better way to get where she is going.

    Because face it; the extended, massive, multi-canvas depiction of woman in her many moods was done to death by Armand in the two Irene series.

    Even the allegorical representation of woman, of the sensual, dark, evil side of her was fairly well exhausted in the Darlene series.

    So what more does Armand have to say on canvas, really, concerning her, either as herself or as the representative of her sex in general?

    So that the critics could very well decide that Armand Fortuna has reached a stage of redundancy in his life.

    Or, more accurately, that redundancy has lost its charm, since what could be more redundant, even exquisitely well done, than multiple paintings of the same subject, however fascinating she might be, in and of herself or as Armand chooses to depict her?

    But the book, now, that is a sure-fire success-if properly done, of course.

    Because the book will shine, will glow with the reflected glory of three smashingly successful exhibitions to rave critical and popular acclaim, as well as the continuing popularity of the three pictorial tomes commemorating them.

    So that the book can’t miss-nor can anyone connected with it.

    And she thinks of another reason he could find her useful.

    What about the book’s distribution?

    And she experiences a wave of apprehension that the university will see fit to publish the book for sale-at the university book store itself, or at best those around campus.

    But she, she! can and will see to it that that doesn’t happen.

    She will fire up Armand with the desire to spread his words nation-wide, internationally, even. She will appeal to his vanity to see to it that the book is a best-seller, that it sells better than the hottest fiction, better than the most well done non- fiction.

    She could do that for him, for herself, for them as a team.

    And she remembers herself, last week, feet bicycling awkwardly in the air above and on either side of Armand’s humping, bumping body as he plowed away, his rampant ramrod pistoning juicily in and out of her now sucking, responsive pussy as both of them became hotter and hotter, each about to get off on a private fantasy, Armand’s an ego trip of the ultra- lascivious, hers that of the super-ambitious.

    Tonight, she tells herself, snapping back to the present, to the momentarily incongruous vision of Armand, fully clothed in sport coat and tie, gesticulating, emphasizing, being both witty and pedantic, driving home his points, imparting new insights, new perspective to his entranced audience.

    Not, Jessica reminds herself, not that she is not a true believer as well, but that she must keep her faith in its proper context.

    Which is not that of personal enlightenment but of personal gain-a tool and a device, her understanding of and belief in what Armand is propounding, tempered by the use she intends to make of it.


    ***

    “I didn’t see Steve in the audience tonight,”

    Jessica says, pointing out this act of infidelity~ “No, you didn’t. He’s doing some guest posing out west. Part of a big membership drive for the Buck’s franchises.

    “We talk daily, matter of fact. He always calls me from the road.”

    Telling her, in no uncertain terms, that her allegation of abandonment could not be more untrue, that they are the best of friends and perhaps even something more.

    “Well, good that he recovered from our night together.

    Reminding him that they have been, could be again, a threesome, a trio, if necessary a mnage trois.

    “Wore his ass into the fuckirtg ground that night, didn’t I?” he asks, grinning wickedly. “Mister Galaxy! Eat cher fucking heart out!”

    She smiles, trying to ignore the tawdriness of his unique habitat.

    How the hell can he stand to live like this?

    No wonder he spends so much of his time at the gym, she tells herself; it’s certain nobody would want to pass any more waking hours here than they absolutely had to.

    Armand tosses his briefcase onto the cluttered plane of the open roll-top desk, en passant.

    “How’s the book coming?” she asks.

    “What book?”

    “The one to come out of the lecture series.”

    “Oh. That’s just.an idea. Well, an idea and a commitment to the university. I don’t have to start working on it until after I finish the lectures.”

    “Have to? What a strange way of putting it. It’s not as though someone assigned it to you, after all.”

    “I assigned it to me,” he tells her, as they undress.

    And in his tone she reads the compulsion, the obsession-and her opening. “If you need any help-” she begins. And he laughs, cutting her off. “I’m sorry,” he says, “it’s just, just-never mind.”

    She looks at him for a moment, puzzled, before comprehension strikes.

    “Oh! You thought, you thought I meant-don’t be ridiculous! “I meant if you need any help with getting stuff typed, edited, revised-that kind of thing.

    “It wouldn’t be all that unusual, you know. Many authors use the services of graduate students in fields related to their expertise for that sort of thing.

    “And I’d be happy to do it for free.”

    “Well, that’s very generous of you, I’m sure, and I really do appreciate the offer; however, I have the services of staff and faculty at the university for that sort of thing, and I’ll be conferring throughout with your dean, matter of fact.”

    “Yes, but that’s not very convenient, I don’t imagine.”

    “You’re absolutely right, Jessica; it threatens to be a pain in the ass, having to go back and forth to campus and all.”

    “Plus,” she adds, “it’s going to mean considerable delay in publication. I should think you’d be most anxious to-”

    “No, no, no. I really don’t care about that. The important thing is that I get it all down on paper eventually.”

    “I see. Still, as you say, it’s not going to be all that convenient for you.

    Maybe I could serve as a sort of runner for you, back and forth.”

    “Yes,” he sighs, lying back naked in the bed with her, “but then, how would I confer?”

    “By telephone?”

    “Now, there’s a thought,” he says, but goes at once to sucking a tit, fondling a breast, obviously not interested in continuing the conversation.

    Low priority, she thinks, stroking the back of his head absently. Something that never entered her mind. Not only is he not anxious to publish for the sake of publication, of fame and fortune, but he has no real need of her services.

    Some typist in the faculty offices is going to have more to do with the great work than is she.

    “I can’t wait to see you in print,” she murmurs.

    And he stops sucking her breast, stops squeezing it to look up at her and ask, “Why are you so interested in the book?”

    “Well, I’m certain that it will be an amplification of the lectures, won’t it?”

    “If you call headnotes and footnotes, bibliography and index amplification, then yes, I suppose it will; but you see, that’s the part I don’t look forward to, the part I look to the dean and his resources to handle.

    “He’s going to get an ‘in collaboration with’ out of it.”

    “And a royalty share too, I suppose.”

    “Well, the university is; that is, I’m taking a big cut on that part, sort of a gift to them. Like I say, basically, I just want to see my notes in order, in the academic sense, all properly illustrated.

    “The computer people got a big kick out of the part I let them play in the whole affair, on that score.

    “But, forget about it. Got nothing to do with you and me.”

    I see that, she thinks, as he resumes his attentions to her breasts. She sees as well that her and the book on the same planet is a dead issue.

    Because there is simply no way that he is going to let her have the most miniscule piece of the action.

    And she was to be everything from his muse to his secretary?

    Forget it! Dead issue.

    And yet, here she is, physically speaking the closest person in the world to this dynamo of creativity.

    Who is creating nothing, nada, zip.

    Who is resting on his laurels, even as, at the moment, he rests on her body, on her breasts.

    Who is wallowing in his fame and fortune, even as he now wallows in her flesh.

    Who is tasting, enjoying to the fullest his existence, even as he tastes her pussy, even as he plunges his tongue into her juicy depths.

    Who is interacting with the world, even as he is strumming her joy buzzer with his tongue, titillating it, stimulating it.

    And she responds, her hopes become once more vague, formless, but still alive, their very nebulousness giving her cause for renewed determination, as she tells herself, Okay, it’s back to Plan A.

    He must paint!

    He must paint in a manner somehow related to her, the process of his renewed creativity in some very real fashion directly, intimately, actively involving her.

    The book is low priority time-wise? So much the better!

    That way, it will not interfere with his output when the lightning, the true lightning, the lightning of his painterly creativity strikes; when she causes it to strike.

    All she has to do is hang in there. Meaning here.

    If she can do that, if she can stay as close to him as she is, then surely, she can see to it that she is-involved.

    Besides, the “My Life with” book idea isn’t half bad.

    Let Armand give away his profits. Let the ass holes at the university limit the edition instead of making it the best seller she would have.

    If push comes to shove, if she can’t make it any other way, then yes, hell yes, she’ll put in enough time with Armand to have something to write about and yes, even to talk about.

    Oprah, here I come!

    That’s right, Armand, she tells him in her mind, thaat’s right, as he warms to his task, as he makes a meal of her cunt and she lets herself go with the flow, lets her body respond to his avid attentions, lets herself feel primitive, primal, primordial, a big brained beast, that brain devoted exclusively to the apprehension of the lascivious sensations which permeate her body, which surge through it again and again like sexual electricity.

    Because it doesn’t have to be Armand.

    Armand is arbitrary to her sexual needs.

    He is well built, well hung, generally virile enough, but so what?

    Many others are as well-younger others, for that matter, Mister Galaxy.

    Yes, that’s right, folks, she and Mister Galaxy have made it, have made it over and over, have made it straight and kinky-that will make a particularly juicy episode in her book, she reminds herself- coming out of her animalistic mode just long enough to make that note to herself for future reference.

    So that she is walking out of this far from empty handed.

    She will succeed, if not beyond her wildest dreams, then certainly in accordance with them.

    Fame and fortune come in many flavors, after all, and she’s not all that particular.

    Notoriety, if accompanied by wealth, is certainly even, acceptable; if she can’t live with Armand, then at least she can live with that.

    So yes, hell yes, why not?

    Why not let herself go, surrendering to Armand who-does-not-have-to-be-Armand?

    Because it is to her own sensations, to the sensuous, voluptuous, erotic awareness of herself, as delineated by Armand’s ever-working tongue to which she gives in, in which she reposes full confidence.

    She is what she is and not otherwise, and what she is is more than satisfactory to herself, is more than deserving of the sexual attentions lavished upon it by reality, by the world through its arbitrary, temporary representative of the moment.

    Who does not have to be Armand, does not have to be a genius, does not have to be in any way outstanding or even special.

    Who is merely required to be adequate.

    And now, Armand is pulling his face back.

    And now, Armand is sticking his cock in.

    And Jessica closes her eyes, the cynical part of her mind finding it amusing to picture Armand’s reaction if only he knew what she really thought of him right now.

    He would probably so hurt, so insulted that his cock would go instantly limp.

    Which, she reminds herself, would not be worth it.

    Because raising herself up, up, up the rainbow of her pleasure is more important, far more important, than putting him down.

    So yes, let him have his fun-his eyes closed fun, she appends looking at him, seeing that his orbs are in fact shut, shut tightly, in fact, brows knit, concentrating on whatever vision is taking place on the viewscreen of his mind.

    Yes and yes and yes! she tells herself, using him as he is using her.

    Yes to the floodtide of lascivious sensation which even now sweeps over her, inundating, permeating her with its tingling intensity.

    Yes to the future, to the health and beauty and youth which enables her to enjoy it.

    And yes to herself, to her own greamess, to her fame and fortune which, dammit, this fucking bastard is going to help her attain, like it or not, intend it or not.

    So that now, they hover at the summit, at the peak of their capacity to contain the pleasure which continues to generate itself within them both, with every thrust of his mighty marauder, with every contraction of her snapping pussy.

    And now, they are coming and coming, her pussy milking him of wad after wad of his thick, hot, copious jism, her voluntary contractions now replaced by the automatic reflexes of her series of multiple orgasms.

    Thus do they ascend together to separate sexual paradises, thus do they zoom and soar independently of one another-only to merge physically as they descend slowly back to earth, where Armand pulls his monster out of her at once and strides into the bathroom, not looking back at her.


    Chapter 7

    “The creative process and the role of accident,” Armand announces, pausing to allow the audience to take down the rather lengthy statement and title of the evening’s lecture.

    “Once again, I have asked the computes people to assist me. Lights, please.”

    The large-scale computer screen projection shows up on the screen above the chalkboard, barely visible, dark grey on almost black.

    “A series of randomized points-random as to location, random as to color-is given a certain amount of time to appear on the screen, mirror imaged four ways, in four quadrants touching at the center of the screen.

    “The resultant image, a not very exciting series of symmetrical dots-you see it there, ho-hum and like that-appears, there is a momentary pause as this image is captured by the program, and the screen goes blank.

    “We next see this image being dragged across the screen diagonally one way, forming an elaborately striped multi-colored ribbon-“And here we see it coming down the opposite way to form a sort of X shape.

    “But watch, just watch what happens where they converge!”

    Appreciative oohing and aahing from the audience.

    “Here we see a design, intricate, elaborate, worthy of the centerpiece of the finest Persian rug!”

    “Let’s isolate that image-”

    And the excess of the diagonals is removed from the diamond shape of the design at the center of the screen.

    “-and there you see it, ladies and gentlemen, a design which was not planned, which could not be predicted, the output of a controlled accident.

    “Lights, please.”

    “Now, I could have belabored the point, causing further exclamations of surprise and delight, by causing the screen to fill with the unique, decorative pattern, a sort of gift wrap effect.

    “Or I could have made it into a frame, then put words of wisdom within, creating a sort of computerized needlepoint.

    “But the point is, we have just seen an example of the use of accident in the creative process.

    “And so it is, in all artistic creation! “Let us, however, define this particular accident.

    “Aristotle tells us that to define a thing means to say to what class of things it belongs and then to say how it differs from the others of its class-a refining process which, pursued ad infinitum, would lead us from the universe to the smallest atom thereof.

    “I submit to you that we define as accident the effect upon ourselves of the difference between what we had envisioned and what in point of fact eventuated from our creative efforts.

    “In the example shown-for example-we did not know what specific design would result, but we knew, generally speaking, how it was formзd, what its overall size and configuration would be, how long it would take for the computer to create it, and so on.

    “So that the accident exists in here.”

    And~ he taps his forehead.

    “The accident lies in Our wonder and astonishment at the beauty of that which we have created! “The computer wiz who programmed the thing was no less impressed than were you, ladies and gentlemen.

    “There was no accident in the means or the medium! “The computer is what is is, the program, the display screen, the internal circuitry are what they are, following the rules of electronics, the rules of the program-all the rules that apply physically, without error.

    “Indeed, the only accident possible to the process itself would consist of electro-mechanical failure, which did not occur.

    “But. That specific design was not planned, not predictable, was, with respect to its creator-meaning, specifically, the guy who ran the program-and to you as well, an accident.

    “On a very trivial scale, we could say that the unimaginable has occurred.

    “We could no more predict that pattern and its effect upon us than we can next week’s lottery numbers.

    “Accident.

    “If the motivation of the creative process is informed inquiry, then whenever the answer is different from that we anticipated, we rightly call that an accident, one of the major thrills-and quite often major disappointments-in the creative process.

    “It is a thrill if the accident is aesthetically pleasing or acceptable, a disappointment if it is not.

    “So that it takes a certain courage to…

    Yeah, right, Armand, it takes a certain courage to do what she is doing, Jessica, watching him, tells herself.

    It takes a certain courage to hang in there while he does nothing for her, given that he could do it all for her, could make it all happen for her.

    She has imagination-a great imagination!

    And all the elements of reality are present for her to create her masterpiece of manipulation.

    But it’s not happening.

    The book is untouchable, the painting nonextant.

    Which leaves her-where?

    Which leaves her, essentially, the plaything of a great man.

    Yes, she could sleep with him. Yes, she could have his telephone number. But no, she cannot be involved in any way with the book, and about the sacred activity itself, she dare not even ask.

    It will come when it comes, in due course, she tells herself. She has to believe that it is there within him, bubbling, boiling, building pressure.

    So that; sooner or later-and probably sooner rather than later-it will erupt.

    Armand will explode in a spate of release of pent-up creativity.

    What’s wrong with a fourth series of explorations of the feminine mystique-her feminine mystique will do quite nicely, thank you?

    So what if there have been three of these already?

    Is the world grown tired of Christmas?

    How many years have those same tired Charlie Brown specials run on TV?

    In the movies, what is the Friday the Thirteenth series up to now?

    She could go on and on, for heaven’s sake!

    So yes, Armand, you can damn well do yet another series of paintings based on the woman you’re currently sleeping with, who just happens to be Jessica.

    All night, she stayed with him, slept with him.

    Except that there was not all that much sleep involved.

    He could not seem to get enough of her.

    He was like some twenty year old in his prime and in love-even though she knows that he loves only his inner muse, the spark of his creativity.

    He made a meal of her ass hole, of her ass.

    He fucked her in the ass, in the mouth, in the cunt, what seemed to her like over and over, practically non-stop.

    Because when he wasn’t fucking, he was building up to it, devouring her with eye and hand and mouth, turning her this way and that, tasting her, exploring her.

    And okay, he flopped her around like she was a rag doll, treating her like a piece of meat. And okay, she can even accept that his enthusiasm was for his own sexuality rather than for herself, perhaps even a macho thing-except that, in her experience, macho was customarily reserved by men for when there were other men around.

    But whatever, the fact of the matter is that he was persistent and potent-in other words, a real stud.

    A real stud, Armand, that’s you, she tells him in her mind, looking down there, where he is driving home point after point to his audience, now become practically disciples, some of them, she would guess.

    And only after she left him that morning, he on his way to the gym-to which, he assured her, Steve had not yet returned-only when she was once again by herself, on her way back to class, did she realize what he was doing.

    Of course he was a fucking stud!

    He was a stud because, at the moment, he couldn’t be anything else!

    His creativity was, is blocked, and so that was all he was capable of doing, his only means of expressing himself, faute de mieux, for want of something better.

    He was Patton between wars, Alexander the Great between campaigns-a ball of energy put on hold and periodically discharging all that excess power by other means.

    She was going to inspire him? Bullshit!

    If anything, she was in the way, providing him cathexis and thus delaying the crisis which would cause him to erupt, volcano-like, in tremendous creativity.

    No, no, she tells herself; that’s giving her way too much credit. She is arbitrary in his life, is incidental to it, is merely something to help pass the time, nothing more.

    In time, he could grow to depend upon her-but if he did, it would be as a part of his private life, or even all of it.

    For whatever that’s worth, she appends.

    Because Armand’s private life means virtually nothing to him. One look at his living conditions is sufficient to prove that.

    The man has no private life!

    Even his most significant sexual activity-she cannot believe that what they do when alone really means all that much to him-takes place, as it were, in performance.

    Because Armand is no novice to group sex; she could tell by what happened over at Steve’s, at Armand’s instigation and virtual insistence.

    So that even his sex life is public, in the sense that he brings his full image to bed with him in a bed not his own, whether that of Steve, of his agent (Jessica has seen but never met her), or of some wealthy patroness of the arts.

    And she? What is she to him, then?

    His groupie, is what.

    Yes, she is nothing more to him than the representative of all those ditsy douchebags who ooh and aah at the sight of him.

    Not that he is all that hard to look at; but neither is he a matine idol.

    Or perhaps it is his greatness of soul which causes his admirers to stop and stare, as though he radiates some aura, some perpetual glow of creativity, a sort of incarnation of the prime creator, and not very far removed from the original at that.

    Am I lucky or unlucky? Jessica asks herself, chiding herself for asking, for admitting to herself that, at this stage of the game (Her game? His?), she has come to depend on luck.

    But what the hell, why not? she reasons.

    Irene depended on it, as, no doubt, did Darlene, to a lesser degree.

    Hell, she reminds herself, Irene didn’t even depend on it; it was something that simply happened to her, unbooked for and almost certainly, initially, at least, unappreciated, unrecognized for what it was, the chance of a lifetime.

    Certainly, the melancholy figure of ‘Irene I’ didn’t have a fucking clue.

    “… with the same surprise and delight as any of you, ladies and gentlemen! “And I beg of you not to look upon this as false modesty or ill-disguised braggadocchio, but rather as a confession of genuine humility in the face of that over which, frankly, I had no appreciable control.

    “To project a mood and then to find in that projection a feedback far stronger than the input-well, you might think such an experience affords a deep inner satisfaction, but it doesn’t.

    “Rather, there is an uneasiness, a frantic reaching back, of trying to remember in intimate detail, step by step, the process whereby the far-greater-than intended work was created.

    “Not what did I do wrong, but rather, what did I do that was so absolutely correct that I can’t even remember doing it? “Frustrating as hell, let me tell you; and yet, it happens, happens all the time, happens when I least expect it, every bit as much a mystery to me as to the least informed viewer.”

    Poor baby, Jessica says, silently, sarcastically, The stuff just pours out of you, doesn’t it, you fucking pig?

    And yet, the audience is eating it all up, can hardly wait, some of them, to rush home, set up their easels and start causing all those happy accidents.

    How about when you clean out my snatch with your tongue, Armand? How about when you sucked Steve’s jism outta my snatch? Jessica thinks. Were those accidents?

    Did they come as a surprise to you? Were you shocked and disgusted, Armand, or was it just me?

    If ever there was a case of fire and ice, of contrivance and manipulation in the service of his passion, Armand has to be the prime example.

    And as in his sex life, so in his art, she is certain.

    Of course, there is the matter of his inner muse.

    Can it be that there yet resides within him that spark of innocence, that which allows itself to be informed and amazed by the world?

    Certainly, with Steve, his actions were those of a boy, and not a very mature boy at that; still, what makes her think that boys are ever truly innocent, are na ye in those matter which must, surely, have preoccupied them from a very early age?

    So that the fire may well be there, but so is the ice, so is that which looks on coldly, which calculates and manipulates.

    And which, no doubt, manipulates her as well.

    Not that she doesn’t deserve such treatment, she tells herself; after all, she did come to him.

    But how could it have been otherwise?

    He was, is the great artist and she was, is, the zero, the nobody, drawn to him impurely, drawn to him, not by his greatness but by his track record of side effects.

    He did not set out to make either Irene or Darlene famous or rich; rather, their fame and fortune are side effects, fall-out, by-products, waste products, even, of his artistic effort.

    Which, she reminds herself, is presently on hold, in abeyance, paused, in recess, inactivated-and possibly quite dead.

    Ever think of that, cookie? she asks herself. That nasty little thought ever cross your conniving, angle-shooting mind?

    What guarantee does she have that Armand will ever paint again?

    Might help if the man owned a brush or some tubes of paint, or a sketch pad not yet filled with rather disappointingly crude studies (she knows; she has looked at them) for paintings already done, sold, gone forever, ancient history.

    But the fact is, Armand is out of business.

    He has, in essence, taken the money and run.

    And is his continuing to hang onto the loft, to live there, his implicit commitment to a resumption of his glorious career-or is it simply a monument to the inertia of his private life, to his indifference to creature comforts beyond his animal appetites?

    Even that, now that she thinks about it, she finds puerile but hardly innocent.

    It’s like a boy’s tree house, a clubhouse, furnished with castoffs, relics from the real houses of the membership, carted here and thrown together to form a den, a cubbyhole, a, a… lair-yes, that’s it, a lair-into which they can crawl to do as they please-to eat junk food, to talk dirty, and to play nasty, sexy games.

    The loft is pristine, is spotless, even in its emptiness; only the living quarters are slovenly, vaguely unsanitary.

    It is as though he is at great pains to keep the empty floor between the rows of thick columns polished, a monument-vast, empty, meaningless and therefore imbued with mystery-to his greatness, with himself living there in a corner, tucked away unobrusively, the resident caretaker so that it can be concluded that every great work of art is, at least in part, an accident.

    “How could he-in the case of architecture they-have done this? “Answer: They didn’t, the end product being far greater than that which they had intended, than that which, with their mere mortal skills, they dared intend.

    “Let us take a clue from medicine.

    “That noble profession is at its most noble-and its most honest-when it tells us that medicine does not heal, but merely creates the conditions under which the healing can take place.

    “So it is with we creators, we artists, in many, if not all cases-we do not create the masterpiece, but rather that combination of skill and accident the results of which, when completed, are so proclaimed.

    “Would that I had a glass of plain red table wine, ladies and gentlemen, and would that you each had one as well, so that together we might offer up a fervent artist’s toast-to accident! “Next week, we shall meet for the last time in this series, at which time we shall look behind the motivation, to answer the question, What is the true purpose of art? “Hint: Hiding cracks in the plaster is not the answer.

    “See you all next week and have a good one.”

    Applause and shuffling feet and Jessica joins Armand at the podium.

    “Feel like a late supper out somewhere?” he asks. “I didn’t get a chance to eat before coming here tonight.”

    “Fine with me,” she replies, thinking that this-just shows how little she knows about him, even living with him for a week now, while hanging on to her off campus apartment, which she keeps as an extension of her clothes closet as well as a mail drop.

    What did he have to do with himself all day, he who has no classes to attend, unlike herself, that he had no chance for supper?


    ***

    He gives no clue, makes no statement about his day.

    Was he at the gym, working on some new routine?

    Was he wandering the streets of the city, taking his muse for a walk, waiting for the stupid bitch to wake the fuck up?

    Only when they have finished eating and waived dessert does he tell her, “I’ve quite a surprise for you, back at the loft.”

    And her heart leaps within her as she prays to nobody in particular, Please let this mean what I think it does.


    ***

    In the event, physically at least, it does.

    She can actually smell it, a faintly musty odor of raw wood and freshly dried acryllic gesso, as soon as she steps off the elevator.

    And the vast emptiness seems, somehow, crowded, as she spies the backs of stretched canvasses of every size, leaning against the pillars.

    She wanders up and down the rows of. pillars, silently counting. He is not going to short-change her, dammit, not when she has conjured, has willed this to happen.

    Well over a hundred canvasses, she counts, before she stops, turning to see him leaning against a pillar, hands in his pockets, watching her.

    She goes over to the easels, disappointed that none yet bear a canvas.

    But there, in their midst, the large, metal cart, wheeled out from the wall, its drawers all standing open to display row upon row of full tubes of oil and acryllic paint.

    The lower shelves hold cans of paint, as well as turpentine, linseed oil, mineral spirits.

    And on top of the cart, if there were any doubt but that he is about to recommence, glass jars, each sprouting a plume of brushes.

    “Well, Jessica? Waddaya think?” “Armand! I, I don’t know what to say! “You mean, you mean your, your muse… your muse actually…

    And Armand nods and smiles, redfaced in his delight, as she falls into his arms.

    She knew it, she knew it, she knew it!

    There was Irene, then there was Darlene, and now-“I was walking along Central Park West, heading for the Metropolitan to visit ‘Irene I’ as I do from time to time. I had just come from the gym and lunch-a late lunch, actually. I had stopped in on the way up from downtown at Ray’s for pizza. I decided to have the pepperoni, two slices because I was hungry. I could have gone for three, but…”

    Jessica tunes him out.

    She is on the verge of realizing her dreams and this fucking yutz is standing here informing her of his stomach contents this afternoon.

    “… and suddenly, it struck me.

    “What was I doing, visiting the past, when right here before me, right in front of my nose-”

    She pulls back from him gently,. Positioning herself right in front of his nose.

    “Was the answer! “So I called Philippe, my canvas guy, I went over to the art supply store and the camera shop, and I spent the rest of the afternoon unpacking paint, putting stuff away, taking delivery of the canvasses and cursing myself for a fool, for taking so long to listen to myself.

    “I mean, here I am, discussing aesthetics and the artistic process, instead of being in the midst of the process itself! “If only I had seen it before I began my lecture series!”

    “Maybe you simply lacked the right… inspiration back then.”

    Begging the question. Fishing for compliments.

    Wanting to hear him say it, to give credit where credit is due.

    “No, no, that wasn’t it.

    “It was more a case of not being able to see the forest for the trees.

    “That’s it, it was exactly like that! “I had concentrated so hard on peering in and in and into the depths of the individual that I totally ignored the world of the common denominator.

    “All of my work to date is defective! “It’s like reading a fucking dictionary, looking at the goddam things! “You can read the meanings writ therein, but they tell you nothing, nothing, nothing of the outside world, of reality itself! “A cute, clever trick, they were, and that’s all they were, all they are, wherever they are, which is out of my sight, which is all to the good.

    “We must look through the individual, past the individual. We most proceed from the particular to the general. We must go beyond the real, beyond our perception of the real to that which makes a statement, which expresses a truth to which each of us can relate, to the interlace, the confrontation between the• individual and reality, to the manner in which we handle and fail to handle the problem of self and other.”

    “I’ll get my things and clear out.”

    “You do that, uh…

    “Jessica,” she prompts.

    “Right. Of course. I tell you, when this thing came over me, it was like a bolt of lightning struck! “How many situations does an individual confront in the course of daily existence? Millions! Billions! “And what are the complexes, the reactions which are activated by such confrontation? “Fear, hatred, desire, you name it! “And underlying it all, the common thread, the drone in the bagpipe of our existence-sexuality! “The mechanism of confrontation, of the individual with the world, is that of our own sexuality.

    “All encounters are fundamentally sexual, and by stripping away the veneer of society, of convention, we can reveal, we can reveal-it remains to be seen, one canvas at a time, just what it is that we can reveal.”


    Chapter 8

    “To the extent that they enlighten, all perceptions are revelation,” Armand pronounces.

    “If the conscious motivation of the artist is to inquire through creation, is not the purpose of art to actively receive, to absorb the answer thus elicited? “By this same logic, ladies and gentlemen, if art is integral to the artist’s life, that is, if art is not thought of merely as a spectator sport where he himself is concerned, then it follows that his purpose is not simply to hear the answer to his inquiry, not merely to hear and understand it, but to be thereby-transformed! “The true purpose of art, ladies and gentlemen, is not the end product of the effort which produced it. That is a mere by-product, a residue of the process! “The true purpose of art lies in what the artist becomes as a result of having created it.

    “Art leads to perception leads to revelation leads to transformation-transformation of the artist and, to a greater or lesser extent, of the world into which it is thrust, from mind to hand to the eye of the beholder.

    “How often do we hear the query, ‘What does this painting say to you, what does that sculpture do for you?’ “And in the answer to that, my friends, lies the purpose of art.

    “Thus do we come full circle.

    “We begin with imagination, that of the artist, that of the observer, and we end with the transformation of the imaginer.

    “That is the purpose of art, that is the impact of aesthetics.

    “The painting is the discarded carapace, the shed skin of the artist as he was! “And the observer, seeing this evidence of inspiration becomes himself inspired, his imagination fired up, and he himself is thereby transformed as well.

    “Too much, you say? “I ask, I expect, I claim too much for art? “That’s quite all right. You do well to doubt, to question me.

    ‘And we know. with whom lies the burden of proof, do we not? “You have, no doubt, noticed the gentleman in the bathrobe seated here on stage.

    “Those of you familiar with bodybuilding will recognize the current Mister Galaxy, Steve Xenos.

    “He has been kind enough to appear here tonight to illustrate, in clear and unmistakable form, to prove, if you will that the underlying, the fundamental purpose and deepest motivation of art is in fact transformation of the artist and, by osmosis of observation, of the observer.

    “If you will, Steve.”

    And Steve removes his robe, to reveal himself naked, but for a g-string.

    And Steve at once begins a slow posing routine, to the awed, silent appreciation of the audience, as Armand continues, “Consider the imagination of the bodybuilder, which is, in the words of the military recruiting ads, to be all that he can be, this taken in the physical, the literal sense.

    “The elements of reality are the parts and the whole of his body.

    “The means is exercise, the medium flesh-bone, muscle, ligament.

    “The product is, of course, exactly what you see-which is, ladies and gentlemen, nothing more than the residue of what you will see.

    “The snake sheds his skin and becomes renewed, transformed, annually.

    “But here, here! we see that which is transformed- what? Weekly? Daily? “No! Here we see that which is transformed moment by moment, as all the bodily functions are geared, along with the mind and the will, toward this very transformation.

    “The body is its own masterpiece, transformation both the purpose and the action itself-to transform by transforming, always, always dealing with the output itself.

    “Here, here! we see transformation in its purest form.

    “Not the transformation of stone into sculpture, of paint into painting, but of the body, the physical being, into that which is greater than itself and which, in turn, is transformed-and so on and so on, ad infinitum, forever and ever, world without end.

    “The scriptures tell us, ‘Now I see as through a mirror darkly, but then face to face.”

    “And so it is here.

    “Many of you take what I say-all that I say-metaphorically, as though I am casting similes, speaking in parables.

    “But this is not the case, I can assure you.

    “Because here, here! is the unvarnished reality,. is symbol, yes, but substance as well, is both symbol and substance combined into one unarguable-thereness! “Here it is! It is real, it is right here before you, it is what it is and not otherwise! “Let’s watch for a while, let us absorb the facticity, the reality of what we here behold!”

    And Steve completes his posing routine, as though competing for the title.

    He finishes and puts his robe back on, leaving the auditorium by an exit to the side of the chalkboard, to enthusiastic applause.

    And only now does Jessica, seated in the audience, realize how she missed a chance, how, blinded by her own ambition, she overlooked what could have been a golden opportunity to have, for her very own, that which is the envy of every man, the desire, whether of fantasy or of active lust, of every woman here tonight.

    For the very first time, she wants Steve, really wants him-now that it is probably too late.

    “Transformation,” Armand continues. “Let’s think about that together here. Far too large a concept to be cavalierly, flung out, en passant, is it…

    But Jessica doesn’t hear the rest of Armand’s lecture, her mind now turned to Steve-to Steve and to the possibility of hitching her wagon to that particular star in some way, now that Armand has apparently been inspired by a concept so esoteric that, try as she might, she cannot grasp it.

    If they were still on speaking terms, she could have asked for an explanation; still,’ the only valid part of that explanation where she is concerned, the bottom line, would be that they are finished.

    For the rest, she will simply have to wait and see what comes out of his inspiration.

    To the astonishment of those over whose feet she must step, Jessica leaves the lecture.


    ***

    Male and female created he them, Armand says to himself, as Steve and the sun-bronzed, muscular female bodybuilder writh and intertwine on Armand’s bed while he takes photo after photo of them, his camera whirring and clicking as he extracts one film cartridge and’ inserts another, sweating, red-faced, as excited, as aroused as are Steve and his partner.

    The masterpieces that will come from this! He tells himself, now pulling back for the long shot, now zeroing in on the juncture of cunt and cock, zooming in to capture the lunging, plunging action of the meat piston as her cunt sucks Steve’s cock, the mighty boulders of his buttocks clenching and unclenching, big balls locked to the base of his cock, her ass hole clearly exposed beneath her articulated, working mouth of a pussy.

    Flesh on flesh, flesh in flesh, intimate and yet depersonalized, idealized and yet with the reality of the physical contact, its thereness before him indisputable.

    The play of the muscles, strutted, sweating, ruddy beneath the tans in their passion.

    And the canvasses, the painting suggesting themselves to him now,’ one, two, three, right on up and up the scale of numbers, the task not daunting but eagerly embraced.

    Naked, Armand works, so that his own cock is huge, is bobbling stiffly as he moves this way and that, now crouching at the foot of the bed, catching the juncture in intimate detail, now springing up onto the bed, standing there, his bare feet digging into the mattress as he gleans the overhead shot of the action.

    The action and the action and the action!

    The aura, the spirit of it! The generality, the universality of it!

    Because, as in all things, as the real approaches the ideal, it becomes generalized.

    Steve is not Steve, nor is the woman herself alone; rather, they are both of a type, are paragons of that type, the ideal of every man, every woman- and redefining themselves with every repetition of exercise, with every set, with every workout.

    And now, in a workout of a quite different kind, they are transforming themselves, moment by moment, building and building the pleasure within those ultra-developed bodies of theirs, interacting with it, merging with it, as Armand envisions painting after painting, all in the surrealist mode now, all exploring in intimate detail the juxtaposition of flesh and iron, flesh and flesh, flesh and its own ideal, the striving for that ideal, the agony and the ecstasy, the frustration and the achievement and all points, all phases, all aspects in between.

    They move unbidden, from position to position, in a kind of horizontal mixed couple posing routine.

    So that now she is on top, giving full, physical vent to her lust, rolling her hips round and round, reaming her pussy with his wonder wand now, and now pumping, forcing the piston action atop him.

    And now, they disconnect and reconnect, she lying atop him, back to chest, the insertion their most prominent feature, the look of sexual transport on her face and his making them look quite other than themselves.

    And this is also valid, also a part of the truth of it all, Armand tells himself, capturing their expressions.

    As it all comes together, as man reveals himself here as ultimately, exclusively a sexual, a sex- driven creature, his desire for transformation itself a part of that deeper, that atavistic desire.

    And Armand will show it all, all! through his art.

    Roll after roll of reference material, he shoots, as the muscular couple build toward climax.

    And that too, he is most careful to capture in intimate detail, as well as in the long view.

    And they do not disappoint, Steve’s muscles strutted and gleaming with his sexual perspiration as he swims upstream in the bed, humping his partner ardently, thrusting with each injection of his sperm into the depths of her hot, flowing cunt, even as her pussy lips convulse, again and again, milking him of his load in the throes of her series of multiple orgasms.

    Were he not so busy recording the event, Armand would probably come in sheer empathy, he tells himself.

    But he dares not miss any of this exquisite reference material.

    But, on the other hand, he must, he must get closer to the action, must, must know, must more than behold, must feel, must, mustCloser and closer to the humping, pumping Steve’s ass comes Armand, jaw slack, drooling as he spreads the cheeks of Steve’s ass, as he seals his lips to Steve’s bung, as he works lips and tongue over his balls, down the pulsing, plunging shaft, tasting the mixture of jism and pussy juice which coats it, as he explores the juncture of pussy lips and cock with his flickering tongue, as he descends to the woman’s ass hole, coated with the overflow of mingled fluids running down from her pussy, running out of it as Steve holds her there, doubled up, mighty arms and shoulders holding her bent, impaled on his cock which continues to service her as the two of them come and come.

    Only when the last spasm of the hot action has passed, Steve settling down on the woman, releasing the backs of her thighs so that her muscular legs descend on either side of Steve’s own legs, only now does Armand pull back, satisfied that he has captured within his own sex-fevered brain the essence of the action.

    Steve stands up, offering the woman his hand, which she accepts.

    As the two of them shower together in Armand’s cinderblock, plastic-curtained shower enclosure, Armand, ignoring his own hard-on, sketches furiously on a spiral-bound pad, making visual notes on the series of paintings he intends to create.

    Yes, this exhibition will be as great a success as his others, he knows.

    In the others, his works spoke of the individual’s experience, calling out to the viewer to recognize, to see in themselves, in their memories, the moods, the attitudes, the realizations so clearly and diversely expressed by Irene.

    With Darlene, he spoke to his audience of their lusts-for power, for fame, for fortune, for every experience catering to the senses life has to offer.

    Yes, to speak to the individual of his and her own past and desires, each viewer beholding in each painting a personal reflection, whether experienced or desired, whether of thought or of action.

    But now, he will go the other way.

    From the specific to the general, reaching down, down, down into the depths of our drives, our desires, our dreams, our yearnings, devoid of the veneer of civilization, shown naked, bared for all to see.

    No longer, Yes, I remember this, but rather, Yes, I have always known this, this is not personal but absolute truth.

    To speak to human nature rather than individual experience-this will be his triumph, this will be the first paintings in today’s world to go the other way, to break through the present obsessive preoccupation with the individual, to reach back and capture once more the archetypes, the shared imagery which lurks within us all.

    And Jessica?

    Armand smiles at the thought of her, of her petty, obvious ambition.

    Too late, Jessica, he tells her; she is, was at best a more mature, more intelligent Darlene.

    But that’s been done.

    Blatant ambition, unabashed selfishness, raw greed has been captured on canvas, the canvasses sold off, the model catapulted to fame and fortune.

    Time to move on, which Jessica understood far too slowly to avoid being hurt-if she was in fact hurt, if she was not actually too cool, too calculating to be hurt by having taken a shot that didn’t work out.

    He wishes her well, actually, Armand reflects, lying back on the bed, ignoring rather than avoiding the wet spot. On balance, she would have been a much better model than Darlene, a much purer, more mature example of what Darlene represented-what she still represents on the soaps.

    And yes, he could even have turned out better paintings with her for inspiration, he supposes-except that the paintings themselves are unimportant.

    So no, he has lost nothing there, has gained, has realized his insights, has achieved his transformation, or rather those particular transformations which accrued to that inspiration.

    The bemuscled couple emerges from the bathroom and Armand is struck once again by their completeness.

    Living works of art they are, the exception to the rule of end product as the discard, the negative of the artist’s transformation.

    Because when the artist himself is the medium; when he is both subject and object of the process, there is no discard, no residue-unless it is a picture of himself, some BEFORE version-before, and therefore inferior to now, given that there can never truly be an AFTER, not so long as development continues.

    “You uh, you need us for anything else tonight, Armand?” Steve asks.

    “No, no, Steve. Oh, and I won’t be at the gym tomorrow. I’ll be here instead.”

    “I figured. Come on, Doreen, let’s blow this dump.

    “Geez, Armand, not for nothing, but have ya given any thought, any consideration at all to that unit that’s open in my building?”

    “Steve, as you might have gathered, at the moment, I have other concerns to address.”

    Steve shrugs and turns away, by way of reply.

    Quickly, Steve and Doreen dress.

    Armand, still naked, pauses beside his desk, picking up two checks, handing them to Steve and Doreen.

    “For this kinda loot, I’m available anytime,” Doreen says, adding quickly, “as a model, that is.”

    Making it clear that she is a bodybuilder and model and nothing else, notwithstanding the scene here tonight, a thing which Armand did not misunderstand to begin with.

    “Of course,” he replies, “and thank you for coming.

    “And Steve, thanks for everything.”

    “My pleasure,” Steve responds. “I learned a lot.”

    “Oh yeah?” Doreen says. “When was that?” They all laugh and Armand sees them to the elevator.

    And now, he stands there in the vastness of the darkened loft, the blank canvasses stacked here and there against the pillars.

    Tomorrow, he tells himself. Tomorrow, he will begin. It will begin. TomorrowHe hits the light switch and the empty aisles of the loft gleam, the polished wood of the floor reflecting the lights.

    The large canvasses, he will begin with, he tells himself.

    But first, a pitcher of iced tea, super-strong, he must have.

    Never mind tomorrow, never mind time of day, day of week. It is time to begin, is what time it is.

    And he needs no sleep, he needs no sex, he needs no reflection, no contemplation, no composition, not even the photographs.

    What he needs, he tells himself, is to work, to create-to create and create and create and thereby transform himself.

    Jessica stands before the full-length mirror in her bedroom, looking at herself, turning her body this way and that.

    How could Armand have thrown her out?

    How could he have resisted her in any way?

    Check the ass, check the face the boobs, the bod, the legs. Perfect!

    And then, like a bolt from the blue, the bullshit.

    Going in another direction, and like that, she was, she was-and reality sets in.

    What she was, was obvious, transparent.

    What she was, was a smart-ass, pseudo-intellectual graduate student who actually thought she could make an impression on, could have influence over, could play with the mind of probably the greatest artist in the world today.

    What she was, was side meat, a piece of ass, a way of passing the time until his next inspiration.

    She wanted to inspire him? What a laugh, when all the while, inspiration meant only that he would want her out of the way, ASAP.

    She was lower than low priority; she was no priority.

    Still, she tells herself, she need not come away from the experience empty-handed.

    Because Steve, being a strictly physical kind of guy, would be bound to be attracted to her.

    True, he probably had more offers than he could handle-but from how many people who have done what they did?

    So yes, hell yes, she has a claim there, she figures. And, since he is a friend of Armand’s-real ass hole buddies would be her guess-who knows?

    Perhaps she could still see Armand, from time to time. After all, it couldn’t hurt her own career any to be known as a friend of the great man, friend. and former-never mind.

    That would be pushing it.

    Plus, if her relationship with Steve should take off, then she herself would want to minimize her recent adventures with other than Steve, right?

    But now, she tells herself, Wait. Fall back, kiddo. Regroup.

    Because the situation isn’t all that cut and dried with Steve, any more than it was with Armand. And there is no reason for her to make the same mistake twice.

    She should go after Steve-if she goes after Steve-more casually, that is, as something to do sometime when neither of them has anything better to do, or maybe anything at all to do.

    She’ll join the gym, seeing them both there, no doubt.

    And Steve will ask her out, remembering, knowing what she has to offer, knowing and appreciating much more than did, than does Armand.

    And that is the way she will end up with Steve, end up having her picture taken with Steve, end up becoming known as his girlfriend AND acquaintance of Armand Fortuna, as well as being “an artist in her own right”.

    Because she knows that she has what it takes, knows that she can turn herself on practically at will.

    And now, if proof of that were required, she pulls her vibrator out of the drawer of one of the nightstands flanking her bed.

    An element of reality, she tells herself, mimicking Armand’s lecturing voice, in her mind.

    By means of masturbation, she tells herself, using the vibrator as the medium, she shall proceed to create a happening here.

    She lies down on her bed, raising and spreading her legs, bent at the knees, as though this were the moment of insertion for Armand, or Steve, or whoever.

    She turns on the vibrator, its simulated cock head and shaft buzzing, the sound reverberating off the waits of her bedroom.

    Lightly, she touches the tip of her tongue to the shimmering head, then plunges it into her cunt, guiding it in, in, into herself, the buzzing becoming all but inaudible.

    And now she fucks herself with the vibrator, rubbing her breasts with her other hand, feeling the warmth of her arousal begin to permeate her whole body.

    In and out, in and out of herself, she plunges the vibrator, her thoughts turned, not upon Armand or even upon Steve, but upon the picture of herself using the vibrator, upon her own sense of completeness, upon the arbitrary nature of all others outside herself.

    Because this, this is the true expression of her sexuality, she realizes. She wants, she needs, she ultimately desires only herself.

    So that her orgasm becomes the true artifact, the desired result of her creativity here, incorporating no other.

    Insert vibrator B into slot A and manipulate until orgasm C is achieved.

    And now, she feels her juices flowing, feels herself becoming hotter and hotter, feels her face and chest flush, feels her nipples go erect and stiff, the glands beneath them becoming still firmer.

    Higher and higher she rises, up, up, up the rainbow of her arousal, through level after level of sexual pleasure, each deeper, more thrilling than the one before.

    And now, she abandons herself to herself, to her physical self, to her own voluptuousness, her own sensuality, to the picture of herself fucking herself with the vibrator, a closed universe of one.

    And she knows that she will succeed, that she will go all the way like this, that nothing, nothing, nothing will interfere with her, that she will produce ,a masterpiece of an orgasm.

    And now, she is coming, her hot, juicy cunt sucking the vibrator, milking it of the ultimate pleasure with the powerful contractions of her multiple orgasms.

    And she is zooming and soaring through the rosy empyrean of her private sexual universe, until, at last, she drifts slowly back down to earth.

    And tosses the vibrator angrily onto the floor, pressing a knuckle to her lips, tears welling in her eyes at the realization that this was no masterpiece and that she is not, after all, transformed.


  • Chapter 1
  • Chapter 2
  • Chapter 3
  • Chapter 4
  • Chapter 5
  • Chapter 6
  • Chapter 7
  • Chapter 8
  • создание сайтов