Observed and evaluated. That’s the sole commonality Klanger and I shared with Anne’s peculiar Japanese clientele.
They fetishized their relations with her. We simply enjoyed ours.
Maybe it’s a Western conceit but what we saw as perversity into abomination seemed more mortification of the flesh than any standard of sexual gratification or satisfaction.
Yet the stories she told, told in the best fashion! Anne’s timbre deep, her sotto voce manner of telling compelled this listener to draw his head closer to hers upon the pillows we shared. So close that bursts from her quietly spoken percussive syllables brushed my face.
Sure, if anyone could just get beyond kinbaku’s impossible knots, the latticing that scored the broader and meatier body parts of Anne’s narrow brown contours, and those awkward stationary suspensions these assignments invariably demanded on her form, borrowing the right amounts of dispassion, the exercises might’ve been regarded as fascinating under the proper loupe.
Instead, the tortures under which she most willingly submitted repulsed Klanger and me. Maybe our minds were too closed, too resistant to pain as pleasure (Sorry Christine Amphlett and Nick Lowe) neither of us bought the principle. Since we weren’t equestrians, neither of us included riding crops in our go-bags assemblage of accessories.
While joking about cracking such spars across firm hindquarters in order to deepen the rosiness coloring those bouncy flanks we incited to quiver, to hear the recipient of the blows repeated sharp air sucks, our amusement lay in mirthful telling, not actually inflicting this torment.
Male vanity being the monster it is, Klanger and I later suspected that after enduring the Japanese ministrations, Anne must’ve regarded our conventional attentions, those of almost any other man she serviced on the side, as the mildest of vanilla. Once wised up, though, both of us confessed to the other that we redoubled, no, trebled, okay, quadrupled his exertions.
Ordinarily one could almost claim with the most utmost exaggerated confidence that his strenuous applications ought have made her at least sore and at most fucking delirious. Ah, but being bound, trussed, elevated, and contorted exacted an enervation we thorough Westerners might’ve contemplated, though truly without knowledge, minus experiencing the acts involved, never could’ve comparatively measured.
Pride a powerful deterrent, we sure weren’t going to ask Anne which means fulfilled her better – accustomed Western habits of carnal exchange or the Easterners’ conjuring of delight through artful distress. Philosophically wouldn’t we all have heard it as a fine topic for rational adult discourse? But in real life how did one broach which threshold provided the greater release?
Upon discovering Anne’s proclivities sprinted past excessive into extreme, Klanger, a metal sculptor, and I, someone who, um, occasionally edited the odd, obscure, religious text, sharpened our assessments. After all, ignorant of her limits didn’t we just see and treat her as a complaisant means towards achieving dissolute exhaustion?
This heretofore unknown Anne appealed to our respective prisms. For Klanger, the tactile; for me, the Socratic method veering into tabloid roadkill.
Between us Klanger possessed the keener sense of touch. His fingers were also more nimble. Our hands across the same expanses of Anne’s warm skin told an identical story but his version conveyed further details.
Clues I skipped over and missed altogether jumped alive beneath Klanger’s gentle pressure. Not so much across Anne’s back or front, but the joins where limbs locked into torso, where knees, elbows, ankles bended, faint long-healed scars stitched along his fingertips.
Perhaps had Anne been a lighter complexioned woman these bondage ligature marks would’ve been prominent under plain sight. Yet not only did her dark skin conceal evidence, it also masked the other depreciations of her life. A pale woman her age would’ve been exposed.
On the way to ruin maybe?
Independent of Klanger’s investigation, my initially roundabout questions eventually became pointed. Are our defenses any lower than during the chatty post-coital phases? Why, I bet some of the most excruciatingly honest statements we’ve all ever uttered were emitted after carnal exultation. Naturally some of our more regrettable remarks have also been mentioned during the same elation.
One didn’t casually enter the realm of kinbaku. Photographs squirrelled away and only seldom seeing the light of day tickled Anne’s virgin interest. The yellowing pix found were remnants of the Japanese forces which occupied her home island during World War II.
Boys, as always, explored the hidey-holes that had served as Imperial Troop redoubts. The explorers often recovered such saucy “treasures” from the Pacific conflict.
Sedately pornographic in nature, the rope bondage models’ lacquered hair, frozen into passivity demeanors, and skillfully flapped open kimonos clashed smartly against the severe restraints binding and splaying their naked forms. Ghastly to peer at in the beginning, repeated glimpses transformed what Anne had seen as violent. Indeed she soon beheld essentially raw power and beauty.
Through these poses Anne discerned stoicism rather than suffering. An attribute she accepted as strength.
In her late teens, Anne set off from what I envision a Polynesian idyll seeking to become a disciple of this strenuous discipline. Of all authors whose characters engage in pursuits, self as well as the world around them, Jack London and Hermann Hesse might’ve recognized and appreciated the wandering inquisitive young woman and the hazards she encountered along the Pacific.
During this period of her life I could barely imagine Anne. Younger, less worldly, much less put-upon, the last strands of girlhood still clinging to her, unencumbered by children (and the fellow who sired them), maybe she smiled with greater ease and lightness. Not like the knowing woman met years later. Maybe that’s when she acquired the cigarette holder. Wasn’t it the kind of prop someone young assumed in hopes hastening away any apparent immaturity?
By the time of our introduction the bounce in her adventurer’s step had become a mature confident woman’s calculated stride. A gait best performed in clear Lucite platform shoes.
Seemed the few men willing to share their kinbaku knowledge with an outsider were also less than scrupulous. Learning exacted more from her than she received. Of course. She was then a young, unformed, uninformed woman. Her masters took advantage of the gulf between her raging ignorance and their willingness to exploit Anne’s main flaw, youth.
She and Klanger had much in common. Oceania/Polynesia, although the cultures among the islands involved differed, they were certainly alike in more respects than not. Prompted by me, he related a lot of their less intimate chatter. Their Pacific, lives on their respective bits of solitude just several feet above sea level, sounded like inside baseball to this mainlander.
Normally quizzing partners about past trysts just wasn’t done. It showed a lack of propriety. That sort of snooping was also improper. Most importantly, there was always the risk of being compared unfavorably against a prior slap-and-tickle.
With Anne I violated my own rules. I ripped open the envelope of extenuating circumstances. After all, she was a woman who “worked on the side.” Besides, how many disciples of Japanese rope bondage could I expect to run across in my lifetime?
Furthermore, being a defrocked journalist, who else other than me could’ve put forward possibly squirm-inducing questions?
Say this about Anne, shame had become a remote notion. She volunteered several curious instances. Only two worth repeating.
The first man must’ve mainlined Yukio Mishima during his impressionable formative years. Similar to Americans who swallow Ayn Rand whole in theirs.
Compact, head shaven clean and shiny, mirthless, this, man’s, or more precisely, master’s cruelty was a foregone conclusion. Worse, supreme self-assurance that skated into arrogance let this martinet strut beyond boldly.
Depending on the client’s whim, Anne either went through her trials in hotel suites – always swank Strip properties – or inside playrooms, chambers, dungeons situated around Las Vegas’ nether regions.
A guess, but who should doubt that “daddy!” the most common safe word inside these cauldrons?
Or backed by enough stacks of spare, discretion assuring, careless, and uncaring cash, convert lodgings into that cell away from home. Las Vegas prides itself in its ability to accommodate the most outlandish requests – no questions asked.
Need a portable apparatus which will suspend a tied woman above the floor? Sure! Right away! The desk will have it rolled up and assembled in a jiffy!
The Mishima admirer chose away over on-premises. He demanded his cave walls sweat.
Anne said temperature had been set high inside that evening’s cell. A humidifier had been procured to raise sweltering into conditions akin to a tropical clime at its most torrid. Sickly green and yellow lighted their confinement.
The master’s civilian mufti consisted of exquisitely-tailored, finely-tooled, ostentatious labels. However, for their session he dressed decidedly downmarket. Barefoot then, a loincloth sufficed to gird and support him.
Plainly a physical enthusiast, the master had whipped himself into the leanest state of muscular hypertrophy possible. The room’s hues, haze, perspiration slicking skin and running into eyes painted one lurid figure.
He never trussed her hurriedly nor routinely. He had his ritual. So ingrained in them both after a while, Anne knew exactly when the jute (or was it hemp?) rope ceased being mere pressure and would deliver pain.
Sometimes the master tightened the binds just to hear the taut fibers whinge. Other times just to coax involuntary gasps from her. If his handiwork ever amused him, Anne never saw him crack a smile or grin.
Naturally he immobilized Anne into the least forgiving positions conceivable. Not to plead for quarter both drained and emboldened her. Seared by the master’s merciless whim, the duress mined mental resolve that steeled his disciple against the impinging his coils imposed.
Finished with his rope work, he’d effortlessly shoulder her and slip the loop onto the hook of whatever served as hoist. His hard unyielding body knifed into hers. She thought given the amount of their mutual perspiration they’d be eels against one another. He possessed a sure grip.
For the longest, the master observed her aloft being. His gaze so intense he seemed to survey her.
Dissatisfied, always dissatisfied during the several occasions he’d engaged her, the master taught Anne then had her repeat numerous Japanese phrases. After the first few times together her mnemonic ability made his hissing phonetics unnecessary.
And no, she had no clue regarding the significance of those spoken by rote words.
He either responded incensed or mollified. If it the latter, he unrolled some monologue which she believed explained … well, what she’d never know. If it the former, he raged. Sweat droplets that meandered down his torso to darken and adhere the loincloth upon his sex and rear then streamed the length of the master’s body until pools outlined his soles.
She couldn’t measure how long his comments or harangues lasted. He taught her the Japanese word for “whimper.” Upon his command she did until his satisfaction reached.
Informality ended their sessions. Sensing Anne on the cusp of unconsciousness, the master would, depending on how she’d been positioned, trace the fissures her bondage created and slide fingers along the rivulets pouring down her skin. More words from him in more Japanese he never bothered explaining and the same effort which lifted her returned her to earth.
Strangely with him release lacked the intricacy of captivity. A few flicks and the bonds not only loosened but easily fell to the floor. Or maybe freedom did take a similar amount of time and the resulting delirium curtailed her awareness.
The end process momentarily robbed Anne of balance. The master was there as support until her pins straightened. His rescue lacked human warmth. A hard, wet vise embraced her.
Given the chance, she believed he hoped to break her.
The second instance was nowhere near as involved. While Anne was bound, the other man’s rope work didn’t task her to the same -nth as the harsh master’s. Nor did he elevate and let her dangle.
Instead his hotel suite’s bedroom served fine.
He, let’s call this genial and bespectacled client Salaryman, behaved pleasantly. If it hadn’t been for the naked woman in his bed crisscrossed and bound by hemp (or was it jute?) what they practiced ought’ve been mistaken as no more than eccentric.
On these occasions Salaryman wore his usual corporate rig. Dark suit, white shirt, modest tie, buffed shoes. He sat in a wingback on either side of the bed. A rocks glass half full of expensive Scotch purled on a nearby accent table. In his hands, a newspaper.
While Anne waited, Salaryman perused the broadsheet. When he came across an article intriguing him, or, this being America, he considered confounding, he’d ask Anne to explain.
That’s it. That’s all there was to their sessions. Inquiries from a clothed man and answers out of naked woman rendered helpless.
Simple as Salaryman’s demands were, his were her hardest to fulfill. Whenever he scheduled and before they met she always struggled to remember reading that day’s edition, and to be on the safe side, the prior day’s as well.
An irregular newspaper reader at best, Anne truly dreaded when Salaryman insisted on Monday appointments.
(To be continued.)