Here’s a sneak peek at my upcoming book Leather. Wince. Repeat.
When I visited Pavlovia Denver and met Saskia and Vylette for my first-ever BDSM session, I arrived early — but instead of waiting for the correct time, I was forced to knock on the door early because I followed Saskia’s order to get hydrated a little too enthusiastically and needed to pee. This chapter starts right after I met Saskia at the door.
“I can use the bathroom and go back outside and wait if you want,” I said, following Saskia up the stairs.
“Don’t be sillier,” she said over her shoulder. “Bathroom’s to the left. Make sure you sit down when you use it and wash up, ’k?”
I scampered off to the loo for my dirt-cheap dirty deed. Whew.
When I exited the bathroom Saskia was waiting for me. She had been joined by a slender little waif with wavy red hair and warm hazel eyes, wearing a T‑shirt and jeans. She could have been Cosette — not Amanda Seyfried, but the drawing of the orphan on the traditional Les Misérables poster,1 except she didn’t look all pathetic and sad. This must be Vylette, I thought.
“Yes, thank you.”
“Excellent. Git nekkid.”
“English, motherfucker,” Saskia said, her eyes dancing. “Do you speak it?”
Murphy butted in again.
You made her mad!
Nah; she’s teasing.
Smartasshole™ joined the argument:
Make a Marcellus Wallace joke!2
“What?” What ain’t no country I ever heard of!
What the HELL are you yammering about?
She’s bald; she’s a bitch… he explained with exaggerated patience.
You’re calling her a bitch? I shrieked in horror.
She sure as hell isn’t black!
He’s gonna get us all killed!
SHUT UP OR I’LL LOBOTOMIZE BOTH OF YOU!
“I speak English; sure,” I said. “I know a little German, too.”
“Ich gesitzpinkelt,” I said, “und wusch mein hände.” 3 I wiggled my damp fingers.
How’s that? I smirked.
That’ll do, Pig; that’ll do.
Saskia’s eyebrows climbed.
“Uh… you know, sitzpinkler?” Lovely — I was murdering an already weak joke. “It’s German for…”
“Ich weiß was es bedeutet,”4 Saskia interrupted. She and Vylette traded an amused glance.
Nice going, dumbass. I told you to go with the Marcell—
Shut up again.
“I like this one!” Saskia said, eyeing me like a piece of cheese on a sample platter.
“Ooh yeah,” Vylette said, rubbing her hands together.
Interesting. Saskia still had me off guard and flustered, but I was beginning to relax at the same time. Maybe the two weren’t exclusive.
“So! Strip.” Saskia repeated.
“Oh! Uh…” I said, with a vague Where should I go to strip? gesture.
“Take. Off. Your. Clothes.” Vylette said, as if instructing a kindergartner.
Trembling with embarrassment and nerves, I stripped, taking a quick look around at Saskia’s dungeon.
It was about a hundred feet long and forty feet wide, looking like a large loft apartment. The stairs ended on one long side at the far right. In front of the stairs was a casual scattering of comfy old sofas and chairs, with two side rooms opening from the short right wall.
On the left, dungeon-type furnishings lined the walls: a tall, leather-covered table with heavy ring bolts on both sides; two X‑shaped crosses; a platform the size of a cot suspended from a steel frame; an odd rack on one wall that looked like a standup dental X‑ray platform, but with no X‑Ray device on top.
Behind the dungeon furniture, every bondage or torture device I’d ever heard of, and many I hadn’t, were suspended from wall racks: whips, floggers, masks, gags, canes, coils of rope, handcuffs, leather restraints, leashes, collars, hoods, chains, things with rubber hoses, things with electrical cords — much more than I could take in at a glance.
In the middle was a kitchen, of all things, looking as normal as you please. Well, the refrigerator opened with a huge clear silicone dildo suction-cupped to the door, and the dish rack was full of what appeared to be penis-shaped ice cube trays. I didn’t see any bodies hanging from hooks or bowls made from skulls, though.
I folded my jeans, laid them on the couch, put my tighty-whities on top, and turned to face Saskia and Vylette. My hands wandered around on their own accord, as if they wanted to cover me up but knew it was useless. Saskia and Vylette appraised me frankly; I had a sudden flash of an auctioneer bellowing What am I bid for this pasty middle-aged geek? Can I hear $20? $20? $20? Okay, $19! $19… and suppressed a hysterical giggle.
While I was disrobing, Saskia had procured a large bundle of black leather from one of the wall racks; now she held it out as if preparing to help me put on a coat.
It was an armbinder. I stared, fascinated, as she shook it out, straps dangling and buckles clinking. I’d seen hundreds of pictures of armbinders; this was the first time I’d ever seen one in person and I was about to be strapped into it.
“Let’s get him in this and then I’ll leave you to it,” she said to Vylette; to me she said, “Turn around and put your hands behind your back.” I about-faced and crossed my wrists.
“No; palms together.” I complied and felt the cone of leather slide over my hands and forearms, up to my elbows. Saskia reached around under my right arm, grabbed the shoulder strap and flipped it up across my chest and over my left shoulder. She buckled it loosely to the back of the armbinder, then repeated the process in reverse on the other side.
“Now you can tighten the shoulder straps and the laces alternately a little at a time,” she explained to Vylette, pulling the shoulder strap buckles a couple of holes tighter on each side; the big leather cone inched up past my elbows. I felt my clasped hands touch the bottom of the cone.
“It fits everyone a little differently, depending on how long their arms are and how broad their shoulders are,” she continued. I heard laces slithering through grommets behind me and the leather cone shrank around my wrists and forearms, pressing them together. “But you also have to look at how muscular their back and shoulders are too. Most guys are too big for their elbows to touch in back.”
Vylette murmured assent, helping tighten the shoulder straps further as Saskia kept snugging up the laces. My elbows pulled toward one another and my breath hissed out as the armbinder drew even farther up my arms until it stopped about halfway up my biceps. The shoulder straps molded across my chest and my shoulders rose and pulled back as the armbinder got even tighter, until I was standing ramrod straight with better posture than a maître d’. Saskia was right: I was too big for my elbows to meet in back. But she got pretty damn close.
“There we go,” Saskia said. I could feel her knotting the laces at the top and tucking them inside. “All nice and neat. Now we just need to make sure the straps aren’t twisted,” she said, stepping in front of me, “or riding up too close to his neck and—” she broke off, looking down. “Someone’s enjoying himself already!”
Mr. Stupidhead was standing at attention like an Army recruit waiting for inspection.
“I’ll say,” Vylette agreed, checking the shoulder strap on the other side. I blushed brick red, feeling my breath catch. For 30 years I’d fantasized about being tied up. Twenty minutes ago I’d been sitting in my car; now I wearing one of the most elaborate, restrictive bondage devices in existence.
“How does it feel?” Saskia said quietly, catching my eye. “Think you could get out?”
I squirmed around a little — very little. The sensation was breathtaking. My arms were so tightly restrained behind me they felt as if they were cast in concrete. I could roll my shoulders around a smidge, but from the elbows down I couldn’t so much as wiggle my fingers.
“Uh, no,” I said. “I’ve seen a zillion photos of these things and I always wondered if you could just pull one arm right up out of the top, but…”
“But you’re not going anywhere, are you?” Vylette finished for me. I shook my head, still blushing violently.
“He’s all yours,” Saskia said, ruffling my hair. “I’ll be in the office if you need anything.” She disappeared into one of the two rooms down at the end of the dungeon.
Saskia was right again: Vylette did have a wicked evil smile.
“C’mere,” she said, hooking a finger through one of the shoulder straps on my chest and tugging me forward. I followed her and her wicked evil smile across the room to a leather-covered bench, still marveling at the feel of the armbinder.
“Okay; facedown on the bench,” Vylette said. I sat, scooted back and turned—
No, wait. I stood back up, turned around and put one knee on the bench, then—
Hold it; that wasn’t going to work either. I straddled the bench and leaned forward—
HelLO! Mr. Stupidhead said. No squashee, please!
He decided he didn’t feel like standing at attention any more and wilted. I stood back up and tried sitting on one hip, then leaning sideways—
If Vylette’s undominatrixy giggles were any indication, watching me figure out how to lie facedown on the bench was a riot. It would have been a lot easier even while wearing handcuffs; the armbinder made it close to impossible.
At last I got situated on the bench without crushing Mr. Stupidhead or falling on my other one.
“Stay,” Vylette said. “I’ll be back.”
I stayed, trying not to hyperventilate. It was happening. It was happening for real. I was helpless, left alone to struggle and wait for whatever waited behind Vylette’s wicked evil smile. I wasn’t fastened to the bench, but even if I managed to get up without a pratfall and get down the stairs before they caught me, I doubted I could open the door.
I tried wriggling around in the armbinder just for form’s sake, but my arms were welded together. I could feel the leather against my back sliding around a few inches either way but other than that I might as well have had no arms at all.
Being bound and nude made for an overwhelming cocktail of emotions: I wanted to be untied; I wanted stay tied up forever; I wanted to go back to doing something safe and normal and boring again; I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next. I felt scared, excited, vulnerable, and embarrassed, yet somehow liberated — empowered — all at once. I was doing it! After a lifetime of hiding from myself, I was doing it.
I relaxed, letting it all cascade over me. For better or worse, I’d opened Pandora’s box and there was no closing it again. Maybe I’d hate this; maybe I’d love it. But I would know.
Before long I discovered that being left alone in strict bondage is, at the risk of sounding melodramatic, transcendental. You can’t fidget; you can’t get distracted by Facebook or a text message; you don’t lose a good train of thought by jumping up to rummage through the fridge. Life is full of trivial things that demand too much attention; when you’re tied up you find yourself sequestered from all of them. It’s just you and your thoughts, and they run deep: Why are we here? What is the meaning of life, other than the Monty Python film? How do you unscrew the inscrutable? It’s a headspace everyone at least pretends to strive toward; like a lot of kinky folks I find bondage takes me there better than anything else.
Lost in this rare introspection, I didn’t hear Vylette returning. A small hand ran through my hair, clamped down and yanked my head back with surprising strength.
My eyes snapped open to see Vylette’s penetrating gaze, inches away. Her rosebud lips were still cocked in that wicked evil smile. I don’t know if there really is such a thing as a soulgaze, but I felt as if a searchlight had stabbed into me, exposing everything I’d ever tried to keep secret, even from myself.
The wicked evil smile relaxed for an instant; Vylette opened her mouth and spoke.