Author’s Note: If you don’t know what Burning Man is about, I suggest you visit: BurningMan.com
The naked young woman was jogging through the swirling alkali dust. Her skin was yellow — partly makeup, partly dust — with huge black polka-dots randomly accenting her body’s curves. As Kent swiveled his head, he saw another, on an outlandishly decorated fish-cycle, wearing only a bright neon-pink marabou wrapped around her neck and trailing her like a streaming fuzzy snake. Ahead, three more women, breasts the size of grapefruits, were dancing an exaggerated can-can, and chugging bottles of some greenish glowing liquid. Kent’s senses flashed into overdrive; cock swelling between his legs and feeling thick and heavy as a suddenly picked up crowbar.
Saliva bubbled on his lips.
He woke to a pounding heart and the raspy clicking brrrr of an alarm. A sweeping arm threw the clock to the floor and he swung out of bed to his own sandpaper voice chanting “FuckFuckFuck!” The day had started and already he was feeling left behind.
“Way I see it,” droned his partner Gaffner, between gulps of coffee and mouth-filling bites of doughnut, “is that they’re freak peeps out to get their freak on, know what I mean?”
Kent blinked, trying to play catch up. He must have zombied through the shower, shave, dressing, and drive to Ethel’s Cafe. Again.
“I mean, ya figure,” Gaffner continued, “in real world terms, what are they? Crafties, neo-hippies, cubicle geeks, day-to-day nothings, fringies. Then for a week, they’re out here to God knows where to do God knows what. Am I right? I say, am I right, Kent, or what?”
“I dunno, Gaff.” Kent mumbled. A blue and white woman with flaming red hair giggled at his left ear and he almost spun his head to look at her, nothing she was in his mind, not the cafe.
“Who the hell comes out to the middle of Nevada fuck-all to screw around for a whole goddamn week? Unless they’re ready to…you know…untighten a few of the ol’…” Gaffner made a twisting gesture beside his head.
Kent shrugged and sipped at his coffee.
“But you know more than me, man.” Gaffner leered and winked. “So I’m just asking. You pulled the duty last year. Did you get lucky at Burning Man or what? Should I figure to get Crash Helmet Harry worked over or not? Not that he ain’t been getting plenty of workout, but, hey, a little strange never hurt anybody, did it? I ask you?”
Kent set his cup down and rubbed at his jaw. “It’s not like that, Gaff.
It’s not sex on a stick. Besides it’s hella hot out there. You’re thinking more about water than sex, believe me.”
Gaffner waved his empty hands. “Sure, sure. I read the memo, too. Lots of hydrating. But after dark, maybe? Gotta be some shit going on. Ya can’t tell me…I mean, you’re not telling me…nothing?”
Kent shivered inside his khaki uniform. It was night, he was walking patrol last year. Wandering really, almost off-duty, out past the chaotic “camps” and RV pile-ups. He’d practically walked right into them. Heard the sounds, flicked his flashlight. Oh, Christ!
Three of them, one naked, all red skinned from the day’s sun, another with her jean shorts down to her ankles, top scrunched around her head like a turban, the third, also naked and painted like a zebra, short hair caked with dust. In the frozen tableau of his flashlight, it was an image he’d never forget: lips hovering over a slick pink gash, fingers clutching a soft breast, a realistic purple cock-dildo caught in mid-thrust, the open mouths of ecstasy interrupted.
There was a loud banging on the table in front of him. Gaffner came into focus, unscrewing the ketchup bottle, pouring thick gobbets of red paste.
“I don’t mean on-duty, fer Chrissake, but they can’t all be…lot of ’em like a uniform guy, right? Gotta be a turn-on for some of ’em.” He squinted up at Kent. “Naw, you’re bullshitting me. I know you got some last year. S’okay. I want to get me some is all.”
It’d been a week of Eden and nightmare for Kent. Each patrol shift had been a walk through a phantasmagoria of hallucinatory temptation. Chaos of the senses, the unpredictable merging with the purposely bizarre. But it was the women that had rubbed his mind raw. “Girls Gone Wild” was pathetic and adolescent compared to this. Here, they stripped away the veneer of social correctness and freed themselves in the wildest fantasy: costumed, painted, nude or mostly, and yet childlike, too. Lazing under shaded tents or frenetically dancing or simply cruising on the endless parades of bicycles.
Except for periodic visits to the command HQ or guzzling water, Kent had fought a futile week-long battle between getting a hardon and trying to make his mind blank. And now, here it was again. Aptly named, Burning Man. He burned.
“Yeah,” Gaffner interrupted. “Hey! You there, Kent? Jesus, you looked like you were a million miles…oh, I get it. Memories, huh? Little porno loops in the…” Gaffner pointed at his head. “No problem, partner. Uh, you gonna eat that last piece of toast?”
In the car, driving out the Black Rock playa, Kent spaced again. The salty flat and blue mountains made it easier. For long moments, he had the vision of himself, naked except for his socks and boots, hair tangled and crusty, running down the heat-waving asphalt, body painted with moons and stars and whatnots. I’m a freakin’ human box of Lucky Charms. He smiled at the thought. I’m loose. I’m joining. I am! His clothes felt heavy on him, the holstered gun an aberration. I’m losing it, he reminded himself. Can’t do that.
Gaffner cleared his throat beside him. “Look, uh, partner. I know we’ll be pulling different shifts ‘n’ that. So. I just wanna say…just…you know…anything I see out there…stays out there, know what I’m sayin’?”
“Yeah. Huh? What’d you say?”
Gaffner rolled his lips together. “Off duty. Whatever…I’m not going to say anything…to anybody and…”
Kent looked over sharply. “And what?”
“Nothing. Just that…you know. You’d do the same for me, right?”
Kent shook his head. “I don’t think you ought to…expect to…”
“Oh, sure, sure.” Gaffner pulled out a chapstick tube and ran it over his upper lip. “Jeez, my mouth is already drying up like a fuckin’…” He fumbled the metal tube and dropped it on the floor of the car. Head close to his knees as he bent to pick it up, he muttered.
Kent’s eyes were back on the road, mind beginning again to replay images from last year.
“What did you say?”
Gaffner hesitated, looked out the side window. “I’m gay, man.” He quickly spun his head to see his partner’s reaction.
“Oh. Yeah.” Kent shrugged.
Gaffner nodded. “Okay.”
For the first three days, Kent had day patrols. His mind was overloaded with fleeting images that he catalogued: painted women, fire-eaters, troops of cyclists, bizarre constructions, dust-coated wanderers, families huddled under the shade, and everywhere eyes that watched him: stared, flirted, blinked, flickered, and went blank.
For the first three nights, after showering off the penetrating alkali dust, he lay on his bed like a drugged man in a fever, his cock a rigid reminder of all the naked, tempting flesh he’d seen, walked past, yearned for. Each night, his ‘condition’ worsened. The first night, he jerked off and restlessly squirmed until sleep finally took him. The second night, he jerked off twice and — after four beers — eventually fell asleep. The third night, he was practically banging his head against the thin walls. He was tempted to drive up to Reno and pick up a prostitute, but knew it would have been like fucking a piece of cardboard.
Night four: on duty for a four hour patrol. Eight to midnight. Barrel fires, neon strobes, and the new moon darkness that engulfs the desert.
Snatches of music drifted here and there and merged into a blended cacophony that urged him into dance steps despite his practiced march. Now and again, the scattered pools of laughter and shrieks cut through his mental haze.
Just before midnight, he caught a passing glance of two naked men, bodies wrapped in glowing phlorescent wands. As they passed, Gaffner started to wave and then let his hand drop back to his new friend’s bare butt. Kent nodded absently and walked on.
Static and then a faint voice from his radio. “Two-two. I’m hitting the shift now. Get some sleep, buddy.” Kent flicked the switch off.
“So, you’re off now.” The soft voice behind him started Kent. He whirled.
She was gold. A thin bodysuit of shiny metallic…something. His eyes strayed in the dim light across her. She lifted her chin with a broad smile, ran a hand through her hair. “Been walking around all week with that hard cock, haven’t you?”
Kent swallowed loudly. He shrugged. “Kind of difficult out here not to…”
She nodded. “I remember you from last year. Flashlight man.” She giggled. “You don’t remember me?” She opened her mouth in a parody of orgasmic delight. “Now?”
“A year’s a long time,” Kent said roughly. He shifted on his feet, starting to turn away.
Her hand fell on his arm. “You don’t have to…”
Kent stopped, looked back at her.
“I mean,” she said, stepping closer, “that was just…you know…the night…I was experimenting. It was okay, but I do like guys.” She looked straight into his eyes.
“This must be hurting.” Her hand went to the front of his pants. She stroked down the length of him. “Ohhhh, very nice.”
“Look, I really…” Kent’s hoarse voice was a softened croak.
She laughed. “Oh, I know…and I really!”
Before a thought could bloom in his head, she’d slipped down, easily unbuckled his belt, unzipped him, and wrapped a chilly hand around his hardness. He felt her moist tongue licking his cockhead and shivered as she slowly took him into her mouth. She sucked at him a couple of times and then slid back up his body.
“There’s an empty sofa just over…have you got a…condom handy?” She nuzzled his face and felt him nod. “Purrrfect,” she whispered. Her hand encircled his cock again and, by it, she led a few yards over to a couch someone had set out on the desert floor.
Kent fished the condom package out of his pocket.
She took it from him. “Good man,” she said, tearing it open. He felt her roll it down over him and shuddered as she squeezed him tightly. She leaned down close, straddling him. “Foreplay later,” she hissed. “Lots of it.”
She giggled. “But for now…” They gasped together as she slid him inside her and began rocking hard against his hip thrusts. Kent felt his body burning with the desire for her, for this, for the nowness. He was finally part of….it.
© 2005 William S. Dean. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission from the author.