Whip Smart: A Memoir

Whip Smart: A Memoir by Melissa Febos Read Free Book Online

Book: Whip Smart: A Memoir by Melissa Febos Read Free Book Online
Authors: Melissa Febos
those of elder men. It would take a few months before my slaves’ bodies would cease, in a fundamental way, to be so human to me. They would become more akin to dishwashers, vacuums, or any of the other implements I had grown familiar with by virtue of their necessity to whatever job I was performing. But in the beginning, the bodies were spectacular, both hideous and marvelous.
    After trussing Timmy to the table with a few square knots—silently thanking the fates for designing me as the daughter of a sea captain—I removed my heels and climbed gingerly over him to stand with a bare foot on either side of his head. Here I was, towering over this wizened body with a handful of toilet paper, in this outfit, in this room.
    While certainly there is fear in the alienation from all things familiar, for me it was coupled with exhilaration. I was so distant from everything that had defined me up until then. It was close to the feeling I had gotten in the moment that I first shoplifted acandy bar from the grocery store, lied to my mother about my whereabouts, stepped off the plane alone, or pierced my skin with a needle. How can I explain this kind of weightlessness? It is like stepping off the edge of a cliff that has no bottom. There are a few minutes of complete terror: there is nothing to grab onto, nothing that matches anything in your memory. You are certain that you will perish without the ground, without the reactions that define you. Then you realize that you are still here, you are still a body, still a person, but the reality you have known no longer exists. Of course it is in our nature to settle, wherever we are, to create schemas and repeat reactions, so that we can become something that seems solid. This instinct is part of how we survive. But there is a brief period of time, when the fall has just begun and we are thrust out, when we have no choice but to accept ourselves as utterly strange, bottomless, empty. In this moment you are like a baby: a miraculous hunk of flesh and raw potential. The terror gives way to a tremendous feeling of power.
    After a brief moment of vertigo, I reached down and pulled aside my panties.


    WHEN I GOT HOME at 2:00 A.M. after that first session, only Rebecca was awake. She sat at the kitchen table, sleepily bent over Ovid, a pencil tucked behind her ear. She smiled up at me as I dropped my purse on the table and unzipped my jacket.
    “I waited up for you,” she said. “I’ve been reading the same verse since midnight.” Closing the book, she tilted her head. “So? How was it?”
    “Totally bizarre. But great. Really fun, actually. Guess what my first
’s nickname is?”
    “Toilet Timmy.”
    Her laughter was infectious, and with its first peals all the details of the past eight hours turned hilarious. We laughed at Timmy’s “accident,” his saggy ass, and every contrived phrase I’d uttered. Rebecca’s laughter erased the fear I’d felt, softened the edge that I’d rubbed up against alone in that room. Sharing her laughter, I knew I’d never tell her about the painful uncertainty, the self-loathing I’d felt, about anything that wouldn’t elicit the happy ease of herlaughter. I wouldn’t have even known then how to describe the other side of that fear, the high I’d felt by the end of the session. That feeling seemed even more private than my suffering.
    After my inaugural session with Toilet Timmy, I resumed the usual apprenticeship. On my third shift at the dungeon, only three mistresses were working. Fiona manned the silent telephone, alternating between online poker and the chat room on our Web site. I had already spent half a pack of cigarettes and the better part of an hour in the kitchen listening to Bella detail methods of securing a rich husband.
    “See, you must not appear to be arr that interested, and you must not sreep with him too soon. The powerful man has to wait for what he wants, or he wirr not want it

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