Stretch (for Josh, an excerpt from our wrestling story)

Maestro of pain, I play his ribs like a piano. Knuckle each rib individually, beginning at the base, above his stomach. The hurt sharpens the higher I go, up to midrange, then gradually the pain tapers up close to the collarbone. The ribcage is an instrument few can play—its highest pitch at the middle, between nipple and elbow, though timbre varies from body to body.

I get the most exquisite response from the fourth or fifth bone up.

His legs continue to thrash. Backward crawl-like kicks, though powerless to budge himself or me. His arms pinned, one behind his back, the other under my butt, he can’t position for escape or defense.

Best of all, his body is still strong, alert. This sonata wouldn’t be half as lovely if he were fatigued or knocked out. Total domination of a still powerful being is best. A weak, stupid, or despairing victim has no energy, so his pain has no tone. But to trap and hold the young, robust, and keen is heaven.

I knew he would be perfect for this.

Next, a good Beethoven pounding. I slam my fist into his side—a healthy drum-thump and he screams in anguish. I pound southwest of his right nippeloon, bang-bang bang-bang, allegro.

His heels dig into the carpet. Toes clutched down. Tries to arch his back, but a quick right knee jab between his navel and crotch flattens him back. Wet, satisfying smack. His exposed belly heaves. He gasps for air.

Experimentally, I bend my head down to the pink slap-marks on his chest. Try to work out a single rib-bone between my teeth. Harder than you’d think. The tip of my tongue probes the pulsing grooves between the bones—I wonder what special salty taste belongs to his particular agony.

He makes a deep, moaning sound.


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