This is my third week in the Indie Ink Writing Challenge. And my challenge this week comes Runaway Sentence, who wants me to:
write a story about desperately wanting something that is very, very bad.
Actually, this is the second time that I’ve gotten a challenge from her (the first one is here). I was planning on writing a non-Indie Ink piece this for earlier week as well, but this challenge ended up consuming me. I almost want to to keep getting challenges from Runaway because they seem to help me produce some of my best writing.(In my opinion)
And as for this challenge, the focus for me became not so much what that very bad something was as to why someone would want it to happen.Bad things happen, but are they necessarily bad to the person who wants it?
DISCLAIMER: I hesitate putting this disclaimer, but I figure it wouldn’t hurt. Parts of this are kinda graphic; sex and violence sort of thing. Also the story is a bit on the long side.
There are lines, everyone has them. These are the lines that define what your limits are. That point in which you will go no further. There’s a line for everything; for sex and depravity, for booze and drugs, for pain, for boredom and loneliness. These lines are what define you, they are the boundaries of who you are, of what you can do.
As Don Tate awoke from a pile of his own piss and vomit he was thinking about this fact. Well, that and the origin of the piss and vomit. He assumed that he was the origin, though in all honesty there was no way for him to be entirely sure.
Strewn about him was about half a dozen bottles of Jameson Whiskey, bought just the previous day. The vomit, having been expelled hours prior, had solidified into a gelatinous blob, a yellow-ish color with half digested chunks of pepperoni pizza in it. Imprinted in the vomit was a negative image of the right side of Don’s face, looking like a Roman would on a coin. His face was the same yellow-ish color as the blob, the vomit had also solidified in his right ear, plugging it and making the world around Don sound muffled in an otherworldly fashion.
Don’s current sad state was no accident. It wasn’t a house party or a night out with friends in which he simply lost control. No, the half a dozen bottles of whiskey were imbibed by no one other than Don himself and for very deliberate reasons. He would argue that it took far more control to continue drinking rather than to quit after, say, bottle two or three.
No, last night was a kind of experiment for Don Tate. It was the night in which he decided to find his line for alcohol consumption. To test his limit. To hit rock bottom in a new way.
It started about six months ago, Don’s experiment with hitting Bottom. He had just recently been dumped by his girlfriend of two years. She told him flatly that the reason she was leaving him was because he was too boring. That he never tried anything new or took any risks. After the standard period of self-loathing and depression and Who-Needs-Her-Anyways rants, Don began to go out and look for women.
He ended up meeting a girl, her name was Brenda. She approached him at the bar and a few hours later (and 11 or 12 drinks) Don found himself taking her back to his place. Long story short, they started fucking. And in the middle of coitus, Brenda began to scream at Don, not from passion but as a demand. She demanded that he start hitting her. She said she wanted bruises. She said to stop being a fucking pansy and fucking HIT HER!
Don didn’t know what to do. He had been with few women, and they had all been fairly conservative, sexually. A kinky session for Don usually involved simply a blowjob, and there he was now, inside of this girl who demanded that he assault her. He slapped her across the face. He did it gingerly and awkwardly. It was a light brush, really.
She screamed for him to do it harder, so he hit harder. She screamed for him to hit her harder, so he hit her harder. She screamed harder still, and Don slapped her in the face so hard that his hand stung from the force of it. And when that still wasn’t enough he kept hitting her. Brenda didn’t need to demand anything anymore. The way Don began to see it was that if the bitch wanted bruises, than dammit he was going to give her fucking bruises. His hand was on fire by the time he climaxed, at which point be apologized to her, with tears almost forming in his eyes.
“There’s no need for you to apologize,” she said, stroking Don’s hair as he laid on top of her, “you only did what I wanted you to. I’m into being dominated, it’s a huge turn on for me. I should be the one apologizing, I should have warned you. I’m sorry if I made you uncomfortable.”
“That’s the thing, I was uncomfortable at first but by the end, I mean I liked it. I know I shouldn’t have liked hitting you but I did and I didn’t know I was capable of hitting a woman like that I should be ashamed of myself.”
“Hey hey hey, slow down there. We’re two consensual adults, there’s nothing, nothing to be ashamed of. And besides, you learned something about yourself tonight, didn’t you?”
“See, you learned that you’re into domination, that you have a little depravity in you. That’s a truth about yourself that you’ve discovered. And you haven’t hit bottom, in your depravity, I think.”
“. . .”
“Listen, this was honestly really tame for me. If you really want to push your limits, see what your boundaries really are, let me know. I’ll show you some real kink.”
Don continued to see Brenda for three months, the two never meeting each other before 10pm. And each time they met, Don learned something new about himself: he learned that he is capable of having objects inserted into his rectum, that he is into asphyxiation, that’s he’s capable of urinating on someone (in a sexual manner, no less). Perhaps most important, he learned that he will not do anything involving defecation. Don Tate had found that line, his complete and utter rock bottom in sexual depravity. He discovered a Truth about himself, a boundary which was not tied up to any societal obligations, only to the Self, in the truest sense of the word.
He and Brenda went their separate ways after “the Logging Incident,” but Don became determined to find other lines in the sand, new Rock Bottoms. New Truths.
It was to be a journey of self-abuse and self-destruction as a means to self-discovery.
Don started to go to bars with the intention of getting into brutal fights. He wanted to test his limits in pain; how much he could take, as well as how much he could dish out. We all have a cruel streak in us, Don wanted to find out how cruel.
The test started when Don smashed an empty bottle on the head of a rather large biker dude. He knew he would lose, but that was the point. Blood flowing from his temple, the Biker Dude lifted Don up by the throat, attempting to crush the windpipe; Don grabbed another bottle, after which he was tossed onto a pool table. The Biker Dude proceeded to beat Don’s face into a bloody pulp, over and over and over again. When enough people managed to pull the berserking biker off, Don had two eyes swollen shut, three missing teeth, a tongue partially bit off, with lips that had holes torn in them from the remaining teeth. He spent a week in the hospital.
But he had endured, Don hadn’t begged for mercy; no, he took it all. Witnesses stated to the police that they only pulled the Biker Dude off of Don because of his reaction to the beating: despite the punches, despite the pain, Don had kept smiling and worse yet, he actually began to laugh, which was horribly disturbing to the witnesses; seeing this bloody pulp of a man not even try to get away but no, almost taunt the Biker Dude, who witnesses say became visibly disturbed and distressed himself as it appeared he only kept beating Don as a way to get him to stop with the creepy-ass smiling and creepier-still laughing.
And yet, Don felt guilty for harming the Biker Dude, who needed several stitches himself. Who was, in Don’s mind, undeserving of the pain. It was himself, after all, who started the fight, for no reason other than to get into a fight. He picked his target because this giant of a man was the person in the bar most obviously suited to cause excessive pain. Dishing out pain was something Don had discovered he had no taste for (except when requested in the bedroom, of course).
The next test that Don undertook was to find his line for loneliness, isolation and boredom. Ask someone in a repetitive, menial office job and they will probably tell you that Hell is not fire and brimstone, but a cubicle with nothing to do but sit and wait and no one to talk to.
What Don did was that he shut himself in an empty closet with nothing but his own thoughts to keep him company (there was a light in there, though). He allowed himself to get snacks as this was not some sort of hunger strike. He also kept a clock in the closet; part of boredom, Don felt, was the fact that you could see exactly how much time had passed and how slowly time seemed to be moving.
He found that the mind starts really hating you when enough time is spent without any sort of stimulation. After 12 hours, Don found himself laughing uncontrollably. He couldn’t stop and it became painful (his face was still healing). The pain gave some sort of stimulation for the brain, though, so that when the laughing subsided he began flicking sore spots on his face. It gave him some form of distraction.
After enough time, in Don’s case approx. 36 hours, you apparently begin to talk to yourself and not in the way people normally do, as in to remind themselves of something or as a means of motivation or whatever. No, this was a conversation between distinct personalities. Some joined in, while others would leave for a while and come back later, like they all had distinct lives with stuff to do. It was almost as if Don’s mind was creating a world for itself to interact in. After 25 hours of this imaginary world, Don realized he had found his Line and any longer would be a serious risk to his sanity. It was a new Truth and he was done with this test.
This brings us back to Don’s current test, among the piss and the vomit and the bottles. He felt weak, his body drained from the binge marathon of the previous day,
Don’s life had fallen apart, with his experiments. He was fired from his job, his family had disowned him and his friends abandoned him. His apartment, once full of furniture, was now an empty shell; the only thing remaining was a 16 inch television, the rest had been sold as a way to afford rent.
His loved ones, they kept telling him that he was likely going to kill himself with…whatever it was that he was doing. Which was entirely true, and Don knew it. But is it better to live a safe existence or to test yourself, to see what you are truly capable of; to hit Rock Bottom, to cross the Line and be able to say “yes, I have been to the edge and I have endured,” even though you may end up destroying yourself? Who is more alive anyways, the one in their comfort zone or the one near destruction? Who knows more about themselves?
Don is going to clean up the piss and the vomit and the bottles and then he is going to clean himself up and go and learn a new Truth. Or he was going to die trying.
And that was alright.