Adam Ash

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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

JESUS NATION SEX REBEL, mini-chapters 9 & 10


There was a disturbance at the end of the row and Adam looked to his left. A Beloved of the female gender was making her way towards him down the line of seats. There was only one untaken seat: next to him.

He turned away. He did not look again until he heard the creak of the seat to his left. He turned to his new neighbor and nodded formally. No smile. Not that there was a law against it. It was a matter of taste. The expression of emotion outside the institutionalized emotions of events was characteristic of foreigners and manual laborers. Information workers such as he and the people sitting in the VIP seats were rather above that. Some magazines had called it the New Formalism.

No smile from her either. A nod. She had blue eyes and fair hair. He could usually tell blond when it was colored, as the new fashion demanded, but in her case he was not sure. Her eyebrows weren’t dark, and her skin was very white, but he was not sure, and he was not sure why he was not sure.

Her cheekbones were affectingly high in the approved fashion, and her lips were full. He supposed she could be regarded as very beautiful.


Adam noted the Beloved’s clothes. She was wearing black, tight over her upper body, with a touch of red at the throat. Her hat was stylish without being extravagant: gray with a smudge of rough red at the top, as if the light of the Lord had scalded it with an almighty glare.

Her face was expressionless, but Adam noticed that her body harbored the tension of a scarcely contained anguish.

He knew women’s bodies. He could read their moods there, where no one else could easily read. There was one aspect of The Approved Life that he did not scrupulously follow: his attitude to women. His habit of juggling more than one at a time was Non-Sanctioned Behavior. He followed a frowned-upon Animal Instinct. Not that he thought of himself as a sexual predator. He was a sexual outlaw. He knew he made females feel guilty, because he made them enjoy sex, something they were not sanctioned to do. He did not follow one of the slogans of the Reformation: FELLATIO AND CUNNILINGUS PUT THE DEVIL’S TONGUE IN YOUR MOUTH. In fact, he made it his business, and a very satisfying one at that, to win his partners over to these practices. He suspected that the sanction against these modes of sex was more honored in the breach than the observation.

He was secretive about it, but if anyone were to seriously check his Total Awareness Data Account, they might notice an unapproved number of linkages to Dating Sites. So far, no application of his had been blocked. He was in a higher Behavior Echelon than the usual Mature Single Dater, and allowed more dates than other men because of his early courage in reforming intellectual thought, but sometimes he could not believe how much scope he had been granted. Of course, he would never know how much until he advanced to the next Behavior Echelon. Behavior Management did not let you know what you were allowed under one Echelon until you arrived at the next level. He was at the highest Beloved level, just below Blessed.

He wondered if he should use one of his Approved Questions now. He noticed the beautiful Beloved’s breast displacement and found himself asking away.

Really, his Animal Instinct was out of control. He ought to see about checking himself into a Behavior Management Control Course.

“Excuse me for asking, but what’s the matter?” he asked. “Are you worried about what we’re going to see?”

He hoped she would count this as one inquiry instead of two.

She hissed at him.

The Hiss Master was waving his arms on a circle; Adam began to hiss along with the female Beloved.

The hiss of the audience followed the Hiss Master’s hands. He lowered his right hand, down, down, till it brushed the stage. The hissing went lower and lower, until it was as whispery as a breeze across grass, even though it emanated from twenty thousand throats. Then the Hiss Master signaled one half of the audience to take a deep breath, while the others kept hissing, and when that half had drawn breath, he signaled the other half to draw breath, so the two halves could join together for the final hiss. He sculpted the rising hiss out of the air, raising his hand higher and higher. The hissing grew louder and louder, a ferocious sound from the depths of hell itself, swooping the throng into a crescendo of pure emotion: fear, hate, contempt, a banishment of the hissed-at object to the outer edges of human incompatibility. Adam felt the sound enter his marrow. They hissed as one, seethed as one, despised as one, rejected as one: spat out the cancer between tongue and palate like the foreign succubus this object of their flaming hate was.

With a single jab of his hand, the Hiss Master cut off the hiss at its height. The spectators sat still, bonded by the communal sound and its sudden absence. They were ready. They had hissed at the effigy, and they were now ready to hiss at the fiend himself. The silence lasted for a long, long moment, and then the audience turned to each other and started chatting, excited by their satisfying expression of disgust.

Adam repeated his question to the female Beloved. One was allowed Three Repeats.

“You seem inordinately tense, what’s the matter?” he asked. He thought his tone struck just the right balance of empathy and neutrality.

“I am thirty-five years old. I am childless. My husband went missing in action in the North Korean Liberation. I am born-again, disease-free, and have had one minor cosmetic surgery. I cure homosexuals for a living. My likes are: pop music from the nineteen sixties, novels from the nineteenth century, walks by the beach, and dinner by candlelight. My favorite book in the Bible is the Song of Solomon. I am a good cook. I own a house in the country and a horse. I am great at foot-bathing and body-anointing. I hate cats.”

Her profile was a nice mix of general and particular information. He was sure he could adjust his profile on so that Behavior Management would make the connection.


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