~*~ ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SODOM: ~*~
BY D. DIXON MANNIX
The following is a work of fiction, and any resemblance to people or characters, either living or historical, is coincidental. Historical places are used infrequently and primarily for context. In the case that extant insitutions are depicted, their opinions, present or historical, may not be the same as those herein described.
BLANK! For Jackson's mother it was a mournful loss. In her babe she had always seen Heaven's recompense for her erstwhile husband, a man whose conjugal misconduct had given rise to a cabinet of venereal remedies that took up an entire room of the second floor. Even in infancy Jackson's mother had viewed her child's cherubic complexion, flaxen ringlets, and natural timidity as the symptoms of something divine; and when at twelve he seemed to give up aging as others gave up toy soldiers, she took it on faith that God had intervened to save her child from his father's carnal delinquency.
BLANK! Accordingly, the number twelve had become a superstition with her. Believing her son would remain forever the same, she had purchased him twelve tiny pairs of shoes, twelve miniature hats, and twelve doll-like suits with twelve twinkling buttons apiece. He had a little bed with twelve gauzy coverlets, a twelve-piece tea-set originally made for the dancing dwarves of an Indian Sultana, and an intricate little cuckoo-clock that counted to twelve with uncanny accuracy. If there was a fault in his mother's mania, it was only that she had come to fear the number thirteen in turn, and could not abide those ill-omened numerals to cross her path without the necessity of a hot tea, a cold bath, and a long lie-down.
BLANK! For Jackson's father, his son's massive maturation was a petty victory he watched with bare-faced pleasure. After years of alienage from his sanctimonious wife, her attendant maid, and his seraphic child, his offspring's tumultuous--and titanic-- transformation drew him homeward with a lecherous glee. Every surge that rent Jackson from his mother burgeoned his father's pleasure, until the son found himself enshrined in the unexpected glory of patriarchal pride. To Mr. Roddick's marginal credit, this outburst was the natural enthusiasm of discovering Providence had gifted him a son whose learning, artistry, manners, size, and beauty would be the envy of many. He felt a bright excitement at the thought of introducing his son to the wideness of the world, and began to pepper conversations with vigorous anecdotes of games, races, politics, business, and parties.
BLANK! But for Jackson the abrupt transition provoked an uneasy mix of enticement and anxiety. While he greeted his father's zealous attachment with a natural and filial affection-- and the stories with an earnest curiosity-- he could not repress the wary anxiety they stirred in him.
BLANK! Throughout the years of his distended childhood Jackson had always known that some unmovable distance sat between his parents, but the burgeoning of his own sexuality made his father's long absences and mother's graceless disapproval suddenly, unbecomingly clear. The awareness crept upon him that all Bunbury Cross stood complicit in the knowledge that Mr. and Mrs. Roddick led entirely separate lives: they slept, ate, traveled, worked, and even entertained separately. His mother's friends were among the most respectable, well-bred, and meddlesome ladies in town, while his father's were of a sort seldom heard of in polite conversation.
BLANK! Indeed, an ominous silence forbade even the mention of his father's city friends; and more, even his father's friends in the tamer environs of Bunbury Cross-- Mr. Gastron, the gourmand, Mr. Persy, the wine-lover, and Mr. Reed, the tobacconist-- were men of worldly and uncertain reputations. While not scandalous in their own right, they were allowed in the house only on his mother's sufferance and were summarily dismissed at ten o'clock on any given night.
BLANK! Still, it was through them-- and particularly Mr. Gastron-- that Jackson learned the erotic enticements implicit in his own form.
BLANK! The discovery occurred at the tail end of his three-month metamorphosis. The household had largely forsaken their daily attempts to contain his growth, and had settled instead on squashing him into his father's clothes, despite the fact that his father's dapper, well-tailored suits were too small across the hips, shoulders, neck, arms, thighs, chest, and anywhere the muscle pressed the cloth--which was everywhere. Still, they allowed Jackson to pass for decent, provided none looked too closely, and his father's determined excitement to present his son to the world of men could be waylaid no longer: a date for a dinner party was decided. His mother, who had not yet despaired of her baby's return, was against it, but Mr. Roddick proved adamant.
BLANK! It was halfway through the soup that Jackson felt the heat of Mr. Gastron's gaze upon him.
BLANK! Mr. Gastron-- despite the weightiness of his name and his reputation as a lover of food-- was a delicate, wheedling Frenchman and the world's least surprising bachelor. He dressed fastidiously, spoke flamboyantly, and smelled perpetually of thickly floral unguents. Yet in all his years of residence no whisper of scandal had been heard, and the citizenry of Bunbury Cross-- though wary-- dismissed him as a curiosity. He strove to live, he said, as chastely as a priest, and enjoyed a furtive amusement that the Protestant English missed the stab of his humor.
BLANK! Still, in the close privacy of the dining room Jackson felt the Frenchman's taut attention like a candle burning inches from his skin. Their eyes never met, and Mr. Gastron's theatrical disinterest never faltered, but with every movement an intangible fire licked at Jackson's flesh, tracing every muscle, searing across his shoulders, and teasing down the massive contours of his chest.
BLANK! He began to sweat.
BLANK! He ignored it at first, resolutely turning his attention to his father and Mr. Persy's lamentation on the decline of Portugese madeira. The latter gentleman had begun in earnest, though Mr. Roddick had joined him more from the novelty of enthusiasm than any real regret. Yet for all their dry despair Jackson found himself intrigued--the making and preservation of wine not featuring largely in a Classical Education-- and would occasionally lay a question to the mourners as to the significance of "powdery mildew" or "phylloxera." Almost forgetting his uncomfortable warmth, he pressed his weight forward upon his elbows, hips slung back, the slope of his spine an S-shaped curve that dipped right above his buttocks. Then, in innocence, he dug his fingers absently through his hair, brushing a single damp curl away from his eyes.
BLANK! The heat hit him like the blast of a furnace, withering the flowers and crinkling the paint beyond. Dumbfounded, Jackson's eyes abruptly rose to Mr. Gastron, only to find the Frenchman admiring a looking glass his mother had recently added to the far wall.
BLANK! Jackson's muscles began to steam, his whole body clamped with some inflaming pressure. The air around him shimmered in a sweltering haze, so that the everyday vision of the dining-room became a delirious mirage of wallpaper, wood, glass, and silver. Sweat boiled out of him, brimming from his skin and teeming from his brow, plunging in heavy drops that splashed upon the table. In a bare instant his clothes were drenched, his shirt plastered to his heavy pectorals and the heaving line of his abdomen, sweat pouring from the rims of his shoes. Beneath his chair was a storm of water, trickling from the seat and running down the legs to the puddles below.
BLANK! No one seemed to notice but the maid, who flew into a frenzy of activity. Pitchers of water were hurried from the kitchen to preserve the flowers and fill Jackson's glass in a continuous stream. The floorboards were coated with thick towels, until the volume of the water overflowed those sodden boundaries and began to leech into the carpet.
BLANK! Jackson, shaking with the effort to maintain some image of decorum, reached for the butter knife.
BLANK! The spell of the heat shattered. His chair crashed back against the wall. The china tinkled gently as his thighs rammed the table's edge. The entire dinner-party looked to Jackson with unadorned astoundment.
BLANK! They were the first swear-words he'd ever spoken.
BLANK! Jackson was insensible to the impropriety, clutching furiously at the red welt on his palm-- the seared impression of the knife's red-hot handle. It was only when the low rumble of repressed laughter jarred his ears that came to himself and, reassessing the preposterousness of his situation, looked down.
BLANK! He was soaked: his dark curls a black mass stuck to his neck, his jacket dripping, the fat discs of his nipples pointedly visible through the saturated cloth that sucked his chest. But worse, in his pained confusion Jackson had unthinkingly reared to his full height, completing the destruction of his wardrobe: his shirt had wrenched itself from his trousers, revealing the muscular crease above his hips that led the eye down; his pants, thick with water, seemed suspended only by the huge, barely-constrained thing that bulged from the front of his trousers.
BLANK! Drawing his gaze up to the rest of the party, Jackson found himself surrounded by faces tight with the tension of unuttered laughter--save for Mr. Gastron, whose jaundiced eyes fixed on the presence between Jackson's legs with a pale and predatory reverence.
BLANK! "E-excuse me. Please." Jackson stammered; then, rallying: "Gentlemen, please. Pray excuse me."
BLANK! He gave a stilted bow-- his hair flinging wet drops on the tablecloth--and strode from the room with every ounce of purposeful determination he could muster. The door closed behind him with a subtle click, and there was a moment's pained silence until Mr. Roddick, with impeccable timing, murmured something dark and knowing in the vague direction of Mr. Gastron.
BLANK! Pandemonium. A cacophony of laughter so riotous that the maid, hurrying back with another pitcher of water, screamed at the thought that Jackson's gigantic growth had finally terminated in spontaneous combustion. In her parlor, the raucous din roused Mrs. Roddick from the melodramatic pages of East Lynne, and arising in a scandalized fury she fell like judgement upon the party. Not all her husband's self-assured charms could convince her but that Jackson had been the victim of some intentional and unfeeling ruse, and she exiled her husband's comrades from the house with no uncertain terms. Even when Jackson's own account matched his father's, Mrs. Roddick remained convinced that the peculiar heat-- on the origins of which both father and son were curiously reticent-- was the effect of those sinner's souls on the son who remained her pride, if not her joy.
BLANK! For Jackson, however, the embarrassment was the lesser of two evils, although it offered him a convenient excuse to avoid the consumptive stares of Mr. Gastron. Indeed, the secret panic that clutched his heart was of a very different sort.
BLANK! As a result of his insular life, Jackson had come to view his nightly reveries as a kind of petty indulgence. Sinful? Perhaps, but trifling: insubstantial things that caused harm to no one and whose unreality was unmistakable. But in the fevered eyes of Mr. Gastron had threatened the fulfillment of every deviant desire, and Jackson was thrust into the knowledge that his own body was the material of others' fantasies and his own sexual consummation. What had seemed but playful shadows now seemed a figure looming beyond a darkened door, and it is a mark of Jackson's nature that he did not plunge headlong through it. Instead, anchored by the weight of inexperience, he lingered at that threshold, feeling more completely the depths of his unpreparedness than the lure of the unknown.
BLANK! Thus it happened that-- when his mother banished his father's company from the house-- Jackson said nothing, masking his relief under the pretext of humiliation. However Mr. Roddick, with an utter ignorance of his son's character, mistook this indifference for but the habitual assent of an expansive childhood.
~*~ AUTHORIAL NOTICES ~*~
BLANK! This chapter--and the next one-- were never supposed to exist. Or, at the most, they were supposed to be a brief aside before plunging into what is now the fourth chapter. However, it quickly became apparent that a good deal more action was required before dropping Jackson into the mix of his disreputable father's even more slanderous companions; if nothing else, Jackson's character itself--hidden to preserve a sense of discovery throughout the first chapter-- had to be far more exposed...
BLANK! Indeed, it was this probing of Jackson's soul that prolonged these episodes, as the right mix of bawdiness and coercion necessary to overcome his unthinking reticence was required. Some might view Chapter II as a "false start," and in a very real sense it is; his father's first and faulty attempt to bypass his son's scruples. Chapter III continues this action, however.
BLANK! Then, of course, there is the notion that solid erotic writing requires an escalation of content in subsequent installments; I am ashamed to say I have been forced to hold off on such for a bit in order to drive the narrative forward. I hope you all found this episode engaging, however.
BLANK! Again, sans further ado, MY NOTES:.
"Accordingly, the number twelve had become a superstition with her."
"For Jackson's father..."
"Mr. Gastron... was a delicate, wheedling Frenchman..."
"Then, in innocence, he dug his fingers absently through his hair, brushing a single damp curl away from his eyes."