Previously Enjoyed

Parked roadside in a forest, the woman sat in the passenger-side bucket seat. The van’s floorboard was cluttered with eight-track tapes, fast food wrappers, paper cups, and wine bottles. The ashtray was jammed with Marlboro butts and a roach clip. Early morning moisture released the aroma of eucalyptus trees, which drifted through the partially open window. She looked to her left: Ben sat, slumped over in the driver’s seat, rivulets of vomit in his long wavy hair, and on his tee-shirt and jeans. His white gold wire-framed eyeglasses lay in his lap. His neck suddenly snapped erect; he cocked his head towards her. His eyelids flew open, baring vacant, gray, faded orbs; his vomit-caked mouth cracked and spread in a demented smile. “Amanda, I’m not dead. I just had a bad night. I’m not dead . . . ” His right arm twitched. He reached for her. She jiggled the door handle.

“Don’t go, Amanda. Come with me . . . ” He tightly gripped her wrist and pulled.

Her moan evolving into a yell, Amanda awoke. Alone in bed, she oriented herself. She got up and put on a robe. In the kitchen, coffee tweaked her brain and enhanced her concentration. She thought of the Volkswagen bus, in rented storage all these years. She refused to do the math. She couldn’t part with the damned thing. The self storage business was on to a good thing, what a fucking racket: how many procrastinating customers had memories locked safely away behind sheet metal and concrete, boxes packed of debris from seemingly former lives? Ben had bought the used VW in the seventies. She and Ben practically lived in its mobile privacy, taking trips and going camping. It was not terribly spacious; in back they kept a single mattress, sheets, blankets, pillows and sleeping bags. Her memories were rich: she visualized the orange and white bus speeding secondary roads, their long hair blowing from the windows; the delightful and sometimes demented hitchhikers they occasionally picked up and couldn’t seem to get rid of. Their lovemaking was sometimes stoned, sometimes clear as crystal. Intense hallucinogenic couplings dissolved their boundaries and took them to indescribable levels of sensation. Ben would soon have a nasty date with ‘ludes and liquor. Methaqualone and Seagrams. Some users woke the next day. Some ate the dirt sandwich.

Amanda slogged to her writing desk. Her talent for writing and drawing had resulted in a series of books, greeting cards, coffee mugs and tee-shirts. Her perky, female self-affirming philosophies in Rainbow Revelations hit a nerve and found a market, though she now perceived the work to be romanticized and trivializing. It made the payments on her Northern California gingerbread Victorian home. Ben might have been proud of her. Or would he have been threatened by her success, she wondered? In the seventies they’d done odd jobs. She’d occasionally worked as a house cleaner. He’d done carpentry. Amanda vividly imagined Ben working outside, shirtless, his moist skin collecting a fine fragrant wood dust, mixing with his own scent. She sometimes tried to remember his perfume. It was now a feeling, rather than molecules traveling air.

A dozen false starts at her writing desk frustrated her as afternoon turned to dusk, then dark. She undressed and got into bed with her yogurt and television remote. Satellite provided an astounding number of channels. She could hardly believe what she occasionally saw on major premium movie channels. Really Real Sex boasted women demonstrating vibrators; a man with his eleven-inch (fortunately flaccid) penis tied in a knot; patronizing pseudo sex experts. Featured were oiled women wrestling; crazed crowds cheering and jeering nude female obstacle course runners. A laugh track would be added to the bloopers.

She clicked on to Nick At Nite. The Cosby Show played in the background as she took her silicone cock from the night stand. She squeezed lubrication from a tube and drizzled it onto the study in realism, its black, shiny head and veined shaft. Cutting to the chase, she turned it to high and moved it to her pussy, its vibrating head teasing her clitoris and labia. She slid it shallowly inside her, anticipating loss of control. The firm yet pliable cock opened her, its shaft gliding her anterior, its base rubbing her clit. It filled her up, stroking her G-Spot. Pressure, friction, rhythm and time took her there, where sensation erupted into sound. Arm working, hips thrusting, head back, she cried out in orgasm, sound carrying through open windows into the trees. In a dark, dusty space of metal and concrete, structure settled and sent out its sound waves; new sounds came to be. A consciousness inhabited a ten-by-twenty space, contemplating vivid memories of light and movement and sound; of interaction with soft, warm, living flesh. Amanda fell asleep with the television on, sitcom sounds filtering outside, imprinting wildlife.

Amanda drove Highway 14 West towards Midley. SafeStor read the storage facility’s sign. She turned into the drive, used her entry code, and drove through the security gate. She made a left turn between buildings, stopped, parked and got out of her car. C-036 read her storage space door. She put her key into the padlock. It wouldn’t budge. The lock was frozen. As she grumbled to herself about hiring a locksmith to cut it, the tow truck arrived.

“Hi. Ms. Bowman? I’m Mike from the auto service. Let’s see if some WD-40 will loosen that thing up.” He went to his truck and came back with a spray can. He liberally sprayed and followed up with a cleaning rag. She tried the lock. It opened. She eased it off the latch assembly and slid the bolt. “Let me get that door for you.” Mike offered. He released the door by stepping onto the handle at the bottom, then grasped it and pulled up. It jammed a couple of times. He rolled it all the way up. It had been a long time since Amanda had been inside. She anxiously eyed the minibus.

“The keys. Do you have the van keys?”

“Oh. Of course.” She retrieved them from her purse.”Here they are.”

Mike unlocked the vehicle and got in. He turned the ignition key and pressed the accelerator. It soon started up.

“It’s air-cooled, you know.” He smiled.

“Oh, right. Of course.”

“In any case, we’ll get it over to the shop and check it out.”

“Thanks. You need not detail the inside . . . or remove anything.”

Restless, she drove to Main St. She often shopped online, but occasionally enjoyed shopping in person. The local health food store, Juice, boasted miles of aisles, and quirky employees. She wondered who’d be working today. Would the staff include the occasionally snippy seventy-five year old Millie with her long flowing gray locks, flowered mumus and negative heeled shoes? The young, friendly neo-feminist/hippie Kimberly, in her halter top, hip-hugger bellbottoms and platform shoes? Hard-bellied gym god Max, his obscenely large, vascular muscles rippling under his tee and jeans, as he patronized and used a hard sell?

Amanda enjoyed reading product labels. They almost seduced her with their promises. Copywriters seemed frustrated poets, she thought, especially when speaking to female consumers. She picked up a beautifully designed green dispenser bottle and read. ‘Our all-natural ingredients of algae, sea salt, honey and bee pollen will juice you, plump you, fill you up, fill you out. Rejuvenate your cells from the outside in. Dr. Kroener’s revolutionary All Natural Moisturising Lubricante From The Sea gently and warmly penetrates and nourishes.’

“Hi! My name is Matt. How may I help you?”

The voice came from behind her; she turned and faced the smiling young man. He was tall with dark-rooted bleached hair, brown eyes, a pierced brow, and dark skin. His eyes sparkled. Was it a nutritional potion, she wondered, that caused him to give off such energy? Testosterone was perhaps key.

“Hi, Matt. I’m looking for a tonic.”

At home Amanda forced herself to work for a few hours. She’d learned to face the blank paper and fill it up. Exhausted, she undressed, and put on a nightgown. She downed a brandy, took a blanket, went to her enclosed porch, and reclined on a daybed. The spring night was lovely and fragrant. She’d gotten used to the noises. When she first moved to the country years ago, she was afraid of the dark. Every nocturnal creature on its rounds made her fear prowlers, madmen, serial killers, urban legends. She now loved the country, its seclusion, its natural rhythms, its chaos. Cicadas chirped; a breeze blew.

There was a breeze. And a weight. Moving through space, she lay on her back on a mattress, looking up at a painted ceiling. Images of peace symbols, stars and swirls, and a fat-faced sun, shone. Over her, a wild-eyed Ben lowered and rose, lowered and rose, his long hair brushing her face.”Amanda . . . Don’t you feel it?” He was fucking her: she looked down as he withdrew from her. A long, blood-drenched bone, its head a seeming joint socket, sprouted from between his legs. “Bone . . . bones!” He murmured.

“Ben, who’s driving the van?”

“No one. No one is driving.”

The vehicle sped the two lane blacktop.

She woke to the sound of male voices and car doors slamming and heard the sound of an engine getting farther and farther away. She went to her front door. Keys had been dropped through the mail slot. The orange and white minibus sat out front.

She opened the driver side and got in. She took a crumbling cigarette butt from the ashtray and inhaled. Were Ben’s molecules, was Ben’s essence, contained therein? Ancient Big Mac wrappers and french fry boxes littered the floorboard. She gently picked up a wrapper, sniffed, and discarded it. She moved between the seats to the rear cargo space. A blanket and a cotton tee-shirt lay wrinkled on the metal flooring. She knelt and picked up the tee-shirt, caressing it, bringing it to her nose, inhaling and closing her eyes. In separate plastic bags, Amanda sealed Ben’s tee-shirt, cigarette butts, roach clips, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd eight tracks. The bus interior soon shone from Amour-All and Simple Green. New seat covers didn’t hurt.

She drank coffee at her desk, considered potential projects, and sighed. Another installment of Rainbow Revelations, encouraging women to be traditionally feminine and passive under a guise of hip, New Age spiritualism? A New Age Woman’s Diet Book would obviously be a best seller. A trendy, illustrated cookbook would be a good accompaniment. Or perhaps a collection of short stories and essays, or a novel?

She stripped, got into the shower, and wet her hair. Coconut shampoo, conditioner, and bath soap scented and relaxed her. She rinsed, stepped out, put her hair in a towel, and dried herself. In a dressing room she opened a louvered closet. She chose a blue cotton knit dress, above-the-knee length. She slipped on delicately strapped black leather sandals. She removed the towel from her head and let her damp hair fall, finger-combing it. As she drove to pick up Matt, she let her hair naturally dry in the breeze; she enjoyed the freedom of wearing only one layer over her moist skin.

To her artist’s eye, the scene seemed a perfectly framed, balanced painting. His nude, prone body centered a mattress which centered the space; the forward seats seemed bookends. His erect cock was core; center stage, missing only a spotlight. His pink, tubular prick highly stood, a looped metal barbell piercing its eye and glans; it looked a tiny, ring-nosed pig, a beast of burden. She knelt over him, gently then firmly grasping his cock shaft. She gently rested her hand on its wired head, being unaccustomed to metal sprouting from mens’ pricks. How would she envelop it, ensconce it, without hurting him or herself? Intensity of touch varied, she thought: air on skin, water on skin, clothing on skin, skin on skin. His hand moved over hers and squeezed.

“It’s a reverse Prince Albert.” He smiled.


She straddled him, positioned herself and surrounded his cock in a wet glissade. Crowded with him, filled up, filled out, she briefly froze, imagining the metal loop tearing them, vaginal pressure and metal ripping open his urethra, metal abrading her cunt. She slid up his prick, then down, its shiny hard loop jostling her clitoris and wending her G-Spot. She bounced him, moving slowly up his prick, quickly sliding herself down upon it. His skin glistened in dappled light. His eyes closed, mouth slightly open, head slightly back, he rhythmically expelled small garlic-scented breaths. She faster rode him; their parts became autonomous. He more quickly huffed. His eyes opened to hers; their spasms met through wet flesh. She pulled herself off him, looking for blood.

At home she poured a glass of wine and lit a joint, sat at her computer desk, and accessed the internet. She found it invaluable for research, but tended to go off on tangents, and become overwhelmed with information. An exciting discovery could take her writing in unexpected directions. She accessed Google and randomly typed Volkswagen bus; search results returned 105,000 sites. For diversion, she created a chat room: ‘you are in AmandaB’ read the welcome in the stark electronic box.

HereNow: hello amanda

AmandaB: hi. who are you? where did you come from?

HereNow: no one. nowhere. wassup?

AmandaB: not much

HereNow: you lie, amanda

AmandaB: excuse me?

HereNow: you just fucked that guy. the one with the jewelry in his dick

HereNow: i’m not dead, amanda. i just had a bad night

HereNow: bone . . . bones . . .

The hair stood up on the back of her neck. She signed offline, sat, and shook. She instinctively locked the doors and windows. Idiot! That won’t keep the wild things out! She poured a glass of brandy, went into her bedroom, and locked the door. She undressed and got into bed with her drink and her remote control. She was soon nodding; television had that power. Brandy didn’t hurt.

She rode a crowded subway, standing and steadying herself with a strap. Passengers were packed in. She felt a hardness against her buttocks, a prod. She turned around. A disheveled Ben stood, wearing a tie dyed tee-shirt and jeans, his dark blond hair flowing over his shoulders. He carried a battered suitcase and an old table lamp, its cord dragging the subway floor. “Moving sucks!” He smiled. Amanda moaned and woke in her bed, lying on her stomach. Her middle was held, lifted; white buttock orbs rose over a centered dark slit. She felt primally pierced in a right-on G-Spot bulls-eye rage. Primitive orgasm soon rocked her, her screams traveling night space, mingling with a wildlife energy hum.

Amanda moved through days and nights to the sound of bird and cicada song, of tires on highway pavement, of late-night television drone, interspersed with quiet. Her vehicles didn’t move from the driveway. Mornings of coffee and moving sunlit patches on the hardwood floor evolved into afternoons at the keyboard and evenings on the porch.

Silence is a sound, she thought, a low-key energy hum. The quiet sometimes reverberated in her head; she thought of chaos and pandemonium suddenly breaking through its hum; of her brain suddenly screaming and rebelling the seemingly endless, linear monotone. Sleepless nights might be accompanied by different sound: a chorus originated in her brain, traveling pathways, singing in her ears. Its lyrics were indecipherable; its presence was distinct.

Darkness has its shades, she thought: the inside of the eyelid; the gray to black in a night-filled room; the pitch black of a moonless, starless, country night. Forms played in the darkness, patchwork intensities of shadow moved. One seemed protected by a blanket: pulling it over one’s head perhaps magically voided the power of the dark, severing vibrations, connections.

Sleep is a narcotic, she thought: sleeplessness could be a needy, howling monster. When taken by sleep she wanted more and more. Unconscious life pulled her through dreamless stretches and dramatic imagery: the monotone of quiet hummed there; dead people and dead pets visited; planes fell from the sky.

Scent gets inside you, she thought: aroma entered, traveling cilia, traveling taste buds, moving in moist pink tunnels. Roses and excrement, baking bread and rotting garbage, distant wood smoke and decaying wildlife penetrated, melding with her cells, becoming part. There was no way to keep it out, without sealing up herself, without closing her flesh doors.

Amanda sat at her keyboard and typed. From behind, smell, touch and sound played her senses. The scent was of a lightly perspiring male, and of fragrant wood dust; the touch was rough male skin upon soft cotton; the sound was a dream, a nightmare, a whine, a croak. Strong hands rested upon and gripped the tops of her shoulders; fingers teased the sides of her neck.

“Amanda . . . ”

She typed.

Visitation—A Supernatural Thriller by A. L. Bowman Chapter One

Parked roadside in a forest, the woman sat in the passenger-side bucket seat. The van’s floorboard was cluttered with eight-track tapes, fast food wrappers, paper cups, and wine bottles . . . .

© 2003 A. F. Waddell. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission from the author.

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