Hey, everybody. I originally posted this in the "sex and drugs" group a couple of months ago, but it occurred to me that most of the people who are interested in seeing what I write probably wouldn't be able to read it, since they aren't members of that group (duh).
The theme and narrative style of this story are very similar to those in my novel. This story is my first attempt at writing from the masculine perspective (I'm trying to challenge myself creatively). I would absolutely love any and all feedback that you guys can give me on it.
For your consideration, I present "The Smoking Room."
So, you want to know about my favorite opium-fueled sexual experience? I get this question a lot, actually. Once people find out that I’ve smoked it (quite regularly), I’m usually greeted with a barrage of questions about its effect on sexual performance. I think it must have something to do with its particularly exotic connotation in this country. People almost always sexualize the exotic, and opium is no exception. Well, I’ll tell you, just like I’ve told the others.
I was visiting a friend at his country house in Vietnam several years ago. I traveled to Southeast Asia on business quite frequently in those days, and I often stayed at this friend’s house before returning home. I had been introduced to him by another friend who knew of my fondness for chandu, or opium meant to be vaporized in those long, beautiful pipes. I don’t know where my friend got the quantities of raw opium necessary to produce a steady supply of chandu, but the end product was amazing. He certainly could have afforded to hire servants to prepare it, but he did it all himself, straining it over and over again until it was impossibly pure. He even used his own homemade wine when he soaked the raw opium, which added to its uniqueness. Anyway, I’ll stop rambling and get to the part that you want to hear.
I arrived at his house early in the evening, and, ever the consummate host, he led me to the dining room, where his housekeeper had begun laying out several tasty dishes for us. I assumed that it would just be the two of us, as usual, so I was surprised to hear the rhythmic click-clack of heels on the wooden floor as a slender young woman glided past us and took a seat across from me. She bore a resemblance to my friend, although her features were hard to categorize and racially ambiguous. I surmised that this must be the daughter he had spoken of before, the product of his short-lived marriage to a European woman years before. He had sent her abroad to boarding school as soon as she was old enough, which is why I had never met her.
“David, this is my daughter, Anna. She is home from school for a while, since she hasn’t decided on her higher education plans yet.”
“Pleased to meet you,” I replied, catching her gaze as I addressed her.
“The pleasure is mine,” she said in strangely unaccented English, eyeing me appraisingly.
As I looked at her, I couldn’t help but compare her to the American women I was accustomed to meeting. I didn’t make a habit of dating much, mostly because I found the vast majority of American women repulsive. As much as I hated it, though, occasionally my physical needs overpowered my aesthetic sensibilities, and I would visit some bar or other to pick up women. To me, all of the women that I met were the same. Bleached hair, fake nails, and hideous logo-covered designer bags which they obviously supposed were the height of fashion. I had to be a little drunk before I could bring myself to take any of them home, and I always tried to usher them out of my apartment immediately after the deed was done. Almost invariably, they insisted on giving me their numbers, urging me to call them. I never did, of course. Such were the thoughts that flitted across my consciousness as I gazed at Anna. I wasn’t quite sure what to say. My friend and I were in the habit of discussing opium-related literature as a prelude to smoking, but I didn’t know if he would find the topic appropriate for discussion in front of his teenage daughter.
Finally, she broke the silence.
“David, what do you think of Cocteau’s views on sexuality?”
I had reflected on this before, although I was finding it difficult to articulate my views in front of such an attractive conversation partner.
After pausing for more than a few moments, my face surely turning ten shades of red, I replied, “I completely agree with his assertion that most men don’t care what they fuck, pardon my language. Most men have no discernment, and they don’t pause to consider the long-term effects of their sexual behavior. I see it all the time back home. Men with children by two, three, even four women. Most people are little better than animals. As to his views on the sexuality of the artist, I cannot attest, since I am incapable of producing art, only appreciating it.”
She seemed satisfied with this answer, smiling ever-so-subtly when I had finished talking. We spent the rest of the meal engaged in such banter, and I quickly realized that her knowledge of opium literature was almost as extensive as her father’s. As the evening progressed, it became evident that she possessed an intellectual and philosophical depth that often eluded women twice her age.
When the dishes had been cleared away, she retired to her room, and her father and I made our way to the smoking room at the other end of the house. As was our custom, we first chose our pipes. I lifted my favorite, a well-seasoned ivory one, from the rack while my friend chose a sturdy bamboo model. To accompany the pipe, I chose an angular clay bowl which looked particularly appealing when paired with it. The layout tray was already prepared and waiting in the center of the large smoking bed, and we migrated to our customary spots. He lit the lamp, which illuminated the darkness nicely, providing a cozy warmth. Although I knew how to chef the opium myself, he always insisted on doing it for me, considering it part of his duties as a host. Only once I had vaporized my first pipe did he prepare one for himself. After we had both enjoyed our first pipes, he began to make conversation.
“What did you think of Anna? I hope she didn’t bother you too much with all of her questions.”
I was immensely glad of the darkness, as I was sure that my face was beginning to turn red again. I stumbled a bit, not sure what I could say that wouldn’t betray my attraction to her.
“I thought she was very nice. Very intelligent.”
I was desperate to get off of the subject, so I quickly changed the topic to American foreign policy, which he loved to discuss at length. I was relieved when he took the bait, and I simply listened to him chatter as we enjoyed a couple more pipes each. When my friend had satisfied himself with the cleverness of his own opinions, he rose from his side of the bed and bid me good night. As he padded down the hallway, I allowed my thoughts to return to Anna. I was suspended in that wonderful hypnagogic state which opium induces, what people unfamiliar with it might call an “opium dream.” I wasn’t really asleep, but I wasn’t awake in the conventional sense, either. It was a state of lucid dreaming in which I could direct the action to suit my pleasure. In my mind, I summoned her to me, and she began to caress my face slowly. I don’t know how long I lay like this, but at some point, the sound of the door opening snapped me out of my reverie.
Anna stood in the doorway gazing at me. For a few moments, I wasn’t sure if she was really there, or if this was simply another opium-fueled fantasy. She quietly shut the door. Before I knew it, she had made her way across the room to where I was laying, my eyes entranced by the perfect symmetry of her porcelain face. Somehow, there was still oil left in the lamp, and its flame cast a soft glow over her as she slid onto the bed across from me. With practiced movements, she selected a fresh bowl from the layout and exchanged it for the old one. Next, she placed the small wok over the lamp, squeezed a few drops of chandu into it, and then spun and rolled it once it had reached the perfect consistency. Finally, she plunged her perfect little pill into the bowl of the pipe that her father had used earlier in the evening and vaporized the opium, emitting a satisfied sigh as she exhaled it.
My face must have registered surprise at her skill, because she said, “You’re probably wondering how I learned to chef opium. I suppose it isn’t a very common skill for a teenage girl, or, really, anyone for that matter.”
She continued, “My father used to employ a pipe boy. He wasn’t really a boy, though, only a little bit younger than you. He taught me in exchange for teaching him some English and French. This was a few years ago, when I was home on one of my rare breaks from school. I’ve always been fascinated by the ritual of opium smoking. When I was little, I used to peer through the keyhole in the door when my father was entertaining his smoking friends. I finally worked up the nerve to ask the pipe boy how to prepare the opium, but when my father caught him teaching me, he fired him.”
“My father hasn’t hired a new pipe boy since,” she added, grinning at me devilishly.
While she had been talking, she had prepared herself another pipe, and now she held it to her lips, adeptly vaporizing the opium. As she exhaled columns of vapor through her nose, she was incredibly alluring, like some sort of odalisque from an orientalist fantasy. She placed the pipe on the tray and rose, standing in front of me. She pulled my face to hers, delicately kissing me, her dark, chandu scented hair brushing my face. I never closed my eyes, afraid that if I did, she would disappear. She had pulled me up into a sitting position and was on my lap, nibbling my neck.
In recent years, I had begun to notice that the ratio of grey to brown hair on my body was steadily changing, and I had taken to scrutinizing the ever-deepening lines on my face. I couldn’t believe that she wanted me. Once she had satisfied herself with my neck, she took my hand, stood, and led me to the large antique sofa on the other side of the room.
“Take off your clothes and lay down,” she commanded me.
She unfastened the silk robe she was wearing, letting it fall to the floor. As I drank in her lean, youthful form, she bent to the floor and pulled the sash from her robe. At first, I thought she meant to tie my hands with it, although in my opiated state it wouldn’t have been necessary. I was perfectly content to simply lay there and await her pleasure. Instead, she covered my eyes with it, fastening it around my head. She began to massage my chest, summoning currents of electricity across my skin with her delicate fingers. She teased me for what seemed like an eternity, only making her way to my member when I couldn’t hold back my frustrated cries any longer. I felt her take me in her hands, then in her small, soft mouth after running her tongue in circles down the length of me. If I hadn’t smoked earlier in the evening, I would have exploded right then, all over her pretty face.
Finally, I felt her climb atop me, warmth radiating from her skin. She slowly lowered herself onto me, enveloping me in her impossible tightness and heat, centimeter by centimeter, until she had impaled herself on my member. She writhed and gyrated on top of me, never screaming for fear of waking her father. I could tell when she had reached her climax by the tightening of her muscles and the way that her fingernails dug into my flesh. After the first one, I expected her to fall off of me, exhausted before I had the chance to enjoy mine. Instead, she slowed for a few moments and began to move her pelvis again, even more fiercely than before. This time, I couldn’t resist the friction of her movements, and my turgid penis released inside of her. After she had collapsed next to me, I took her in my arms, both of us held in the comforting embrace of the opium.
The next morning, I awoke, alone, in the smoking room. As I opened my eyes, images from the night before flashed before me, and I wondered if it had all been a dream. When I looked down, though, I saw the large scratches on my chest, clear evidence of the previous night’s activities. After I had showered and dressed, I made my way to the dining room, sitting across from Anna again. My friend, garrulous as ever, took the conversational initiative and continued to expound on some of the topics we had been discussing the night before. Once he had satisfied himself, he sat back in his chair, a pleased expression written across his face.
“David, you must come visit more often,” he said.
As soon as he glanced away, Anna lifted her eyes, shooting me a deliciously suggestive look.
“I think I’ll do just that,” I replied, equally pleased.