Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Excerpt - The Auction

I'm actually quite shy and inept in social situations, and easy to embarrass. Maybe that's why I like writing about shame - the hot and helpless thrill of public exposure and humiliation. Fiction takes my worst fears and transmutes them into something not just bearable but actually filled with delight and power - which is one of the extraordinary magics of writing. Here's the science bit: we often write about stuff that we don't want to experience in real life. How hard is that to grasp? Apparently, for some people, pretty difficult:  if you've been unaware of the Paypal Censorship shitstorm going on ... well, here's a catch-up. It's stressing the hell out of erotica authors right now.

And as promised some time back, here's an excerpt from my short story The Auction, which appears in Mischief anthology Shameful Thrills: girls who should know better. It's a very, very dirty story even by my standards - and a really rough ride for the heroine. Enjoy it with her...

‘First time on the block,’ said the auctioneer, grinning. His skin gleamed with sweat. ‘Can you see that blush? She’s practically a virgin.’

She squirmed with shame as the catcalls and whistles rose to a new crescendo. She was wearing only tiny cut-off jeans and a deep-necked tee-shirt hacked off so short that it barely covered her breasts. There were big manga-style boots on her feet but they didn’t make her feel any less vulnerable, only clumsy and uncertain of her footing, like a newborn calf. Above the boots, hold-up stockings covered her to mid-thigh. They had been white to start with but they were stained with dust, and the lace was torn.

‘What do we call you, Red?’ he asked.

‘Antonia.’ The word seemed to burn on her lips. 

‘Sweet. You scared, Antonia?’

‘Please. . .’

‘You should be.’

Her legs nearly gave way under her and only his grip on her elbow kept her on her feet. The shift of her hips made the tight shorts press into her ass crack and she gasped with discomfort, but the sound was masked by the gales of laughter from their audience.  

‘D’you know what’s going to happen to you?’

She shook her head.

‘Of course you do. I’m going to sell you to the highest bidder, bitch.’ The insult was savored, and Antonia felt the heat run through her body like a shockwave. ‘Whoever wants your cunt the most tonight is going to get it. Of course, you’ll be lucky if he only wants your cunt—and not every other orifice. See anyone out there you like the look of, Antonia?’

She twisted her face away, shutting her eyes, but he transferred his grip to the nape of her neck and squeezed warningly.

‘Look at them. You’re here because you’re worth money to them. Look them in the eye—it’s the last chance you’ll get.’

She looked. There were—what?— maybe a couple of hundred people out there, men and women, standing near the front or sitting on the hoods of cars and lolling across parked motorbikes further back. Black clothing and leather predominated, where they had bothered to cover up against the night air. It looked like a scene from a Mad Max movie. There were a lot of grins, but not one of them reassuring.

‘One of those lucky people is going to be fucking you real soon. One of them’s going to own you, bitch. You know what that means? They can have anything they want from you.’

Antonia couldn’t help whimpering. She was shaking with tension and she knew he could feel it.

‘Shall we have a look at the goods then?’ he called out, and they answered with enthusiasm.  ‘Right.’ He parked the beer bottle between his belt buckle and his stomach—where it stuck up like a crude glass erection—and tugged a small piece of plastic from his pocket. It was a cable tie. Scooping up the smooth fall of coppery hair that Antonia was so proud of, he twisted it into a rope and secured it with the tie. His movements were swift and practiced. ‘I like to see a good handgrip on a slave,’ he informed her, wrapping the bright ponytail around his left fist and pulling her head up and back. Tears brimmed in Antonia’s eyes.

‘Now, I see we’ve got a good big pair of tits on this one,’ he remarked to the crowd. Retrieving his bottle, he took one last sip and then upended it over her breasts, dowsing both thoroughly. Shame burned through her body all the way to her core. The liquid was chilled and the smell of cheap beer made her head swim. She was aware of the sudden pull of her nipples as they tightened in response to the unexpected cold shower, poking out against the taut and now clinging cloth.

The auctioneer tossed the empty bottle back over his shoulder. She heard it smash.

‘Yeah, that’s nice,’ he purred, flicking her nipples with his nail to accentuate their jut and pinning her as she flinched. ‘Imagine getting your cock between these, gentlemen. Look at the size of them! And real too! But don’t take my word for it; see for yourselves.’

Buy Shameful Thrills at Mischief : Amazon US : Amazon UK
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Fulani said...

Liked the auction scene, it does draw the reader in.

Paypal: as is often the case we don't know the behind-the-scenes story. Some people are suggesting it's a knock-on from the credit card companies threatening to withdraw facilities from some erotic publishers, last year - that meant several had to find payment brokers who specialise in 'high risk' accounts, charge more for it, and PayPal found its own margins on transactions were swallowed up. Others are suggesting it's a moral stance, and they've been flexing moral muscles more since Peter Thiel, a noted libertarian and one of the company founders, left it. Or else it's trying to align its policies with Ebay, who now own it. And so on.

Whatever's behind it, though, there will probably be a period of disarray and then new options will emerge. I know one publisher that already has alternative payments systems in place is now trawling Fetlife inviting self-publishers whose books have been 'banned' on Smashwords, Bookstrand and All Romance to publish with them instead.

Janine Ashbless said...

Yeah, there's a lot of discussion going on behind the scenes, and I think a lot of publishers are shifting stuff about on the quiet. They must realise how vulnerable they are. If some of the biggest financial players have suddenly decided for unfathomable reasons to enforce a "nothing that offends publically morality" clause, then where's that going to leave m/m, BDSM, sex outside wedlock ... any of us, in fact?

(Though I really can't see how selling books is a "high risk" activity. It's not like investing in undersea diamond mines or anything!)

Jennifer Denys said...

Hi Janine

Terrific excerpt.

Re: paypal. So glad you have aired this (I knew you would!). I am horrified - not only that someone has the temerity to tell us what to read (are they a nazi regime or what?) but that publishers (including my own) feel they have to give in to such ultimatums.

Is this the start of a slippy slope - books with incest, et al today and BDSM tomorrow? It doesn't make it any easier for me to publicise my chosen genre to people who have not tried it yet - the opposite, in fact.

See you at the conference.


Janine Ashbless said...

Some manager at Paypal has been quoted as saying that they regard BDSM as "as bad as rape".


I don't personally read fiction in the sub-genres currently targeted. But this is pertinent, I feel: