The pain was excruciating as a twisting cobra worked its way
up my spine. I lay down on a Mexican weave as it was done. Amazing
that some people would pay for torture, chained-up, suspended
in cages, bleeding through orgasms, spread-eagled under a lash.
I felt like a rat in a trap. De Sade could not have made a worse
job of me.
"You like it?" he said, holding a cracked mirror
to my back. I studied the graffiti. It was livid, more like an
adder, the redder the skin the deadlier. He slipped against me,
pungent with coconut oil. His hair fell across his face and tickled
His hand brushed my thigh and I began to get excited against
my will. Was I a masochist after all? My tocquemada looked puzzled
at my silence. He moved away, misconstruing my response.
"I'm sorry. Perhaps I can change it, make it bigger, more
to your taste" He no longer looked arrogant, his hands pulling
back his long hair and securing it in a bright orange band, the
hooded lids closing in as he squinted at me in the bright, early
morning sunlight, as if fixing me in his mind like a suspect.
At this moment I wanted him to take me with that teasing look
in his dark eyes while the sand scratched my wounds. I was full
of perversions, unfulfilled fantasies, a would-be apprentice
to Madam O.
"You must rest", he said, gently, "In your
cabana." He handed me a small bag of weed, in consolation.
What irony, under the circumstances. I didn't really want him
anyway, probably come too soon, expect me to worship at his shrine,
fake an orgasm or something. I thanked him and took to the sea
for comfort, tucking the grass in a hidy-hole, under a rock.
Lashing waves and the rapacious current dashed all hopes of a
swim. I lay down at the edge and allowed myself to be continually
dragged in with a heap of pebbles then thrown out again, screeching
frustrated mermaid. I felt his eyes on me from a distance. It
was he who dragged me out, squeezing my inner arm as he hauled
me in. when I went under. I began to protest, but he was insistent.
He had regained his original insolence.
"What are you trying to prove? That you know no pain. That
sure is a strange philosophy for a woman." I muttered something
about the healing powers of salt then we parted.
David, from Canada, was attentive that night after we consumed
his cocktail of drugs. Nigel and Jack from London fell in the
fire so we stopped talking and had to drag them out, quickly.
Looking at shooting stars was fun in a surreal sky. He stroked
my back, fingering the lurid cobra. I found him attractive, but
not enough. He was a naif, out to impress me with his exes.
"My girlfriend was into piercing. She wanted me
to do her navel. I said I would if she'd do my eyebrow, so we
did. It was hellish painful." I observed the metallic glint
.It was cyberish but not especially erotic. I wondered if he
was into blood-letting as well. We walked for a while. The militia
had already crossed the beach. There was a hasty burying of joints
but they never cast a look in our direction. It was as if aliens
had landed and stayed in their own dimension. We shared a puff.
I'd eaten nothing all day because of the pain. He showed me a
necklace that he'd made out of shells. They had quite an industry
in the next cabana on the beach, forever scouring the beaches
and laying out twine and different combinations of shapes and
colours. It seemed that Mexican tourists loved to be adorned
in trinkets made by Westerners. I feigned admiration for the
piece, a trophy of scavengers. Really it disgusted me like this
all-American boy with his insistent prick. We fell about, laughing.
He strung the necklace around my thigh and I had a dream about
consuming gallons of hot chocolate then being made a sacrifice
by an Aztec priest with a piercing member knifing out my heart
like a truffle-pig. I spent the night groaning and rolling about
to the tossing
indifference of the sea.
I awoke to someone humming "The
famous blue raincoat," by Leonard Cohen.
"Hey, you were really something last night." He
was sprawled out, wearing a Mexican shawl. A butterfly unfurled
its psychedelia and fluttered overhead.
His legs were muscular and the thongs of his sandals had rubbed
blisters on his feet.
"I rescued you from the ghoul."
"Did we sleep out?" I took a slurp of stale water
from a plastic bottle. It was already hot and gay sun worshippers
were already stretched out at the waters edge, their favourite
"Did we sleep?" He mused on her boulder-like body,
wrapped around with a Guatemalan wall hanging that he had found
for her as cold set in last night. The tattoo on her back was
putrid. It had turned him on after the party. He had felt like
running his hands across it but desisted in case she woke and
objected. He made a cursory adjustment to the shawl to protect
her from the sun.
"I've been along six beaches this morning, already,
collecting shells. Do you want to see them?" I glanced across
at the booty, already heaped on his towel. It looked like the
ocean's spew. I shrugged and turned over, too disgruntled to
Later I woke and made my fakir's way across the sand to
my Cabana. There was cut melon and bread out on the trestle table.
I asked Maria for tortillas and omelette. She was done up in
flowers for some festival or other. I ate, hastily and sipped
some camomile tea before heading into my cabin. The mosquito
net lay sprawled in tatters. A massive crab struggled down a
hole in the corner of the sand. I grabbed a towel and headed
for the shower. A French girl had just left, her behind dimpling
as she frisked about, naked, oblivious to being observed by two
insalubrious characters knocking back Ballantyne's whisky in
their cabin. Lizards slithered up and down the grey stone wall
and the black shadow of a scorpion hovered on the trellis. I
suddenly felt exhilarated I remembered watching Louis destroy
a nest of horse flies in the early days. How the muscles on his
back quivered as he blitzed them with a spade, not allowing one
to survive. Now the executioner was peacefully sweeping the sand,
before taking to the conjugal hammock and dreaming away another
They called him Death, the tall, lugubrious Mexican in the
neighbouring cabana. He collected the jewelry team on his way
to beach-comb. He was a Sugar Daddy in reverse, too old to be
a gigolo like the disco boys that the American tourists recruited
to dress up in beads then pander to their needs later in bed.
In fact, he was a profiteer; a snapper up of unconsidered trifles
the Autolycus of the beach. Still, he appeared to have inimical
charms. I could imagine the depravity of being pleasured by his
claw-like fingers and entered by his Tower of Silence prick,
Nirvana was ever such! He must have a charming personality, be
a rising star in the beach parties, a crystal winkler par excellence.
His vision was pure abalone. There had been deaths here during
my stay, usually drownings, the most spectacular this week the
suicide of a gay with Aids, leaving his boyfriend to mourn him
on the shore-line like a Victorianrunaway after being jilted.
There were the deadlocked Austrians afraid to return home after
a girlfriend had drowned after insisting on swimming blind-drunk.
There was the drunk's shoe that we found the next morning,
after he had been kicked by Louis and driven away by Death the
night before. Death stared, impassively at me. I clutched my
body purse and looked him coldly in the eye. He touched my back
with his tentacles.
"Bad, very bad, you should never have allowed this,
a woman with so much natural beauty." My snake was aroused,
instantly. It uncoiled and hissed in his face. He panicked, grabbed
it in a futile attempt at suppression, and flung it across my
body, bolting out of my nightmare. I spent the day in a stupor,
smoking, sucking melons and drinking camomile tea and chocolate
Night was blasted by extercet shooting- stars in
a wild Mexican sky. Robert, from San Francisco lit up a joint.
He was enjoying a holiday away from years of abuse in the classroom.
We shared it around as the waves turned Purple Emperor and jet-setted
across fiery shingle.
"This is a goodbye present," he drawled, "you
must visit me in Alt."
Later he trudged away across the arroyo to the bus stop under
the palms. We watched him, a homing pigeon, or a damaged finger
returning to the source of pain, the income. Death was returning,
as lightning struck his victims, to the coffin, to sleep until
the hunger resumed and he would set off again, in search of life-
blood. My cobra began to twitch. It had already slaked it's thirst.
A group had flopped around the fire as the night chill was
setting in. snakeheads of flames consumed me in a furnace of
stars. I lost all feelings, save those of a creeping venom penetrating
my blood stream like a tunneling rat in the veins. As Bluebird's
latest victim I writhed in torment on the spit in the torture
Somewhere, someone was playing a flute, a piercing accompaniment
to pain and the writhing dancing of serpants. My mouth was full
of leaves. Had they buried me already, what was left, that is,
charred remains and the torturer's mark branded on my soul, the
persecution of the inquisition, those godly men with their insatiable
lust for revenge. Now came the ecstacy. So this was what they
craved for in those temples of depravity, those so called Pleasure
Palaces, the ultimate fix, and a cross between heaven and hell.
Then came a pause. I was being lifted out of the fire, away from
the torment and the fever, sweating out my innards. I had been
branded, the scar grooved into my back That eternal, ghostly
music continued to play as flames spluttered and spat. Probing
fingers miraculously released me as I catherined in the dark
then I cried.
"Coca-leaves," he muttered," against the
pain. We use them for our children, for babies, when they suffer
in the gums." I faced up to my nightmare and I found the
memory of a needling prick, stabbing and stabbing with no compassion,
now soothing balm on my wounds, my livid gully of a back, then
sensitive manipulation of my genitals. My executioner had snake
charmer's hands, but they could be as tyrannical as the sun,
as the stooping eagle on his chest. He was the impregnator, the
maker of rainbows, dyed in the skin.
"Do you specialize in necrophilia?" I gasped
.A cobra slid between my thighs and, swelling its throat, found
its way inside where it danced like Salome. He crushed me in
his arms. The studs on his leather jacket bruised my thrusting
breasts. Would that the piping could never end, that the musician
the conductor of my affairs would play on insatiably, mercilessly.
Once it was done, I recognized those claw-like hands, resting
on my pulsing stomach. Who else could it be but Death, such were
his fatal charms.
"Fooled ya." He breathed.