The Reading

This guy whose name is Tohonee is at the microphone reading his poems. The first one is from the woman's perspective about this guy in an arcade who starts out playing video games and ends up raping a girl in the back room, but Tohonee explains the rape like a gruesome video game adventure. Tohonee understands the impact of video games on the post-modern male. On top of that, he exudes a men's-movement-sensitivity to speak from a woman's mind.

I order a glass of wine in between the poems so I'm buzzed enough to approach this god-of-all-liberated-males after the reading.

He makes an announcement that all the proceeds from his newest book will go toward a battered women's shelter. Then he reads more poems about battering women.

After he reads, the audience swarms over him. I stay in my seat. I try to remember what Andrea Dworkin wrote about Henry Miller's stories but nothing applicable comes to mind.

By the time the crowd has disintegrated, I have some things to says to Tohonee, so I walk up to him. "You act like a fucking savior of all women," I tell him. "Your poems are such a crock." He looks at me. "I see you getting a hard-on while you read --I know these are your fantasies."

"So?" he says.

I realize I'm blushing, and Tohonee is smiling. The silence is on the brink of awkwardness, and because he's an asshole, he's not helping.

He strokes my cheek, which is audacious of him, but it feels good. There's something erotic about a tender touch from a violent man.

I go home with him.

We drive in his car and say nothing to each other the whole way there. I'm nervous and giddy, and excited with the thrill of not knowing what will happen.

In his apartment he makes us drinks and then pushes me against the wall with a kiss. "So you want to act out fantasies," he says.

Even though it's not a question, I answer, "Yes."

"You sure?" he asks, with a very serious look in his eyes.

"Yeah," I say. But he's looking at me like one of the characters in his poems, or one of the characters in my fantasies, and he looks like he could kill me. "No cuts or burns," I say. "I want this to be over in one night. I don't want to be in the hospital or anything."

"Oh," he says, "So you want to be in charge? Then you better stick to your own fantasies and I'll drive you home."




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