Adam Ash

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Sunday, August 06, 2006


146. THE MEAL.

“I’ve cooked a delicate meal for you, Eve, so your stomach can ease itself back to good food.”

There was green pea soup. There was a tender white fish. A light white wine. Root vegetables cooked and subtly flavored.

Adam had to admit it was a marvelous meal, and that Ezra was a gracious host.

Eve insisted on drinking a third glass of wine, and her gaunt face became florid and red, like a new wound. She laughed a lot, in a novel, harsh way that disturbed Adam but that Ezra encouraged.

They were sitting on the couch afterwards, with Ezra facing them in an armchair, eating a chocolate mousse.

“When we were married, Eve liked to pig out on chocolate,” said Ezra, and she and Ezra chuckled together, sharing some private joke. Adam felt as though Ezra was flirting with Eve, or goading her on towards something. Eve’s hand plopped down in Adam’s lap, as if to reassure him. He felt himself becoming aroused. Her hand stroked him absent-mindedly.

“I love chocolate,” Eve said, “and so do you, Ezra. Chocolate is Bible good.” The two of them burst into laughter.

“Come and sit here by us,” said Eve.

Ezra crossed over and sat on Eve’s other side. The atmosphere changed on the couch, with another man, husky and chuckling, on the other side of Eve.

Now Adam had an erection, and he was shocked to discover that Eve’s other hand was in Ezra’s lap. He wanted to shout out in protest. He wanted to smash Ezra.

“I have something to ask,” said Eve.

“Fire away,” said Ezra. “We’re all ears.”

We? Thought Adam. You don’t speak for me, buddy, only for yourself.

“Something important, that may be difficult for you. But it’s important for me.”

“We’ll do our best.” There he goes again.

“I want you to share me,” said Eve. She looked at both men in turn, as if demanding their express consent. “This is a sacrament. This is my gift to you, and the gift I want from you. Do you freely accept this gift?”

It was a strange thing, Eve had to admit to herself. She wanted to enter forbidden territory. She wanted to smash the rules of Jesusland, once and for all. She wanted to establish her equality with these two men – more than that, her domination over them. She wanted to rule over them and their desires. When she was facing death alone in prison, she was sad -- torn beyond the end of her tether -- that she would never get the chance to tell Adam that she loved him. But now that she was safe again, and free, she wanted to exert power again. She wanted to make these two (men, males, her Jesusland superiors) do something that they as proud testosterone-driven creatures would not want to do. Something as totally against their proud natures as sharing a female. She wanted to challenge their male way of possessing women by demanding that they share. It was a species of revenge for having been made to feel so afraid in jail, so powerless that all she wanted to do when she was there, was to tell Adam that she loved him. In an agony of powerlessness, she had been willing to succumb to love instead of adhering to her dream of power. In prison she had wanted to declare love for the first time in her life. Now she wanted to shatter the weakness she had fallen into then. She wanted a final power, which was also its own paradox: to have power over them, and to have them have power over her, both at one and the same time.

It would be a final power beyond the idea of power as well, because it would be a transgression against everything Jesusland had always forced upon them. Now it will come to pass: we will break down this prison built by the Bureau of Behavior Design and Management and become sexual outlaws to the most extreme degree. We will act out the truest protest against Jesusland that we, three of its citizens, are capable of. We will fight back with our sexual organs, the only instruments that stand between us and the total oppression of Jesusland. These organs of ours are our weapons of resistance. We will start our rebellion in the bedroom, and reach out from there to encircle everyone in a new paradise of sexuality. We will break the rules and free ourselves, and, in this microcosm of freedom, establish a template for the entire society. We will smash our oppression from within, in the most intimate act of transgression possible.

“Do you accept this, Ezra? What do you say?”

She asked Ezra first. He was silent for long seconds. Adam wondered what he was thinking about. Adam realized that he did not know Ezra at all. They had become intimate over Scarlet and Eve’s rescue, but what was Ezra really like? He seemed to be always in control. He was devilish, but was there no chaos in him? Did he have doubts? He seemed to have a kernel of absolute certainty, which Adam envied. Ezra had never harbored doubts about his physical courage. Adam thought, what if I had real physical courage, as I proved in Eve’s rescue -- why wouldn’t I just get up now and smash Ezra, and take Eve, like a cave man, like an early specimen of humanity on the tree of Creationism?

“Sure, Eve,” said Ezra, in that easy, attractive, fluid, slightly haughty and devil-may-care way of his.

“Do you, Adam?”

Adam looked at this new Eve, this very old new Eve, thin and scrawny and gaunt. Her roundness gone. Her softness gone. Her ripeness gone. An Eve of angles instead of orbs. He marveled that he still wanted her. But what kind of claim did he have on her? He had betrayed her in her absence with the V-doll, with Scarlet, and -- just about -- with Ruth. Maybe Scarlet was a forgivable transgression, because Scarlet was willing, but what about the other two? He had forced himself upon them. They did not want him, but he had wanted them, and made them be with him against their wishes. Was it enough that he had stopped at the brink with Ruth? Would Eve want him if she knew him for what he had shown himself to be? When he had transgressed against the V-doll, and when he had forced Ruth to be with him, he had transgressed against all Females, and that included Eve.

How could he refuse her now, absent himself from her desire, awful and offensive as he felt it to be? What right did he have to pull a rabbit of morality out of his sullied hat and hold it up against her like the reek of garlic against a vampire? The fact that he spared Ruth did not seem enough now. But how could he share Eve with someone else? How could that be love? Love was an intimate thing between two people. How could you bring a third person into it? He was afraid that he would stop loving Eve if he shared her.

He should refuse. But if he refused, he would cede his love. He would give her over to Ezra. And he would be giving her up if he shared her anyway. She was forcing him to give her up. How should he give her up – by sharing her or by refusing to share her?

She looked at him. Her eyes did not blink. They were bigger than before. They bored into him, with a light behind them, as if her whole mind was thrown into her eyes, and thrown into his eyes, echoing off the back chambers of his mind.

He nodded. He couldn’t refuse her, as much as it confused him.

“Say it.”

Now she wanted him to say it. He had managed to nod, but his tongue did not want to shape any words of agreement. That much of a commitment he could not make.

“Say it, Adam.”

Her big eyes. They demanded. Commanded. The nerves of her mind ended and began in them. Exposed. Concentrated. Aimed at him. Exerting power over him. Why was she punishing him like this? Or was God behind this, taking His revenge for him wanting to sodomize Eve to make her his handmaiden? Taking His revenge against him, Adam, for wanting his old revenge over the death of Sarah? He was unworthy of both Eve and God. He deserved this.

“Yes, Eve,” he said.

He was losing a part of his soul. Then again, what did it matter? He had the soul of a sinner. He had sinned against Eve with the V-doll, with Scarlet, and with Ruth, in spirit if not in the flesh.

“Thank you. I want to share myself with you, my rescuers. I want to lose myself. I have held on to myself for too long. All my life I’ve done this, held on to myself. I wanted power. I still want power. But now I believe the biggest test of power is to give yourself away and then see how much of yourself you retain. I had a lot of thinking to do in jail. I thought about God, and what He had planned for me, and how I had planned my life. I had an ambition before I went to prison. I thought about how God had possessed the Virgin Mary, and how we could reverse the process, and come to possess God. I wanted, through a program of sex as prayer, to show all female Beloveds how to be a host of Mary’s in reverse, so they could possess God. I was going to be the new Mary, leading all of us Mary’s to God. I was going to finally integrate sex and religion. Make them friends instead of enemies. That was my big dream. I spoke to God in prison, I was alone in His sight, and you know what He did? Do you know?”

“God is mysterious,” said Ezra. Adam did not know what to say. Ezra always had an answer. That was the thing about Ezra. That was part of how he was a confident rascal, a devil. He could always further a conversation, even if he himself was not in the conversation. He could always bat the ball.

“God refused,” said Eve. “He was not there.”

She had both their penises out and as she bent over Adam’s, his first memory of her lips came back to him, in her room, on her bed. He wondered, was Eve not committing a sin now? Yes: that was what it was: they were sinning and damning themselves now, the three of them against God.

“I do not believe God exists,” said Eve. “If He did, He would’ve spoken to me, when I was all alone facing death in prison. That is the time I needed God, and He was not there. I had always had my small rebellions, but now there came a big one. I realized, in the end, I am alone. We are alone. The universe is indifferent.”

She was syncopating her speech with licking him. It was some kind of jazz fugue. Like her singing in the club.

But if she did not believe in God, she could not be sinning against Him. For Eve, this must be something else. What was it? If God was absent, and there was nobody to sin against, what were they doing? He listened to Eve with a sudden fervor, seeking an answer; his body wanting to know what it was doing, wanting to learn from her words.

“This is what a mouse knows when a snake catches it and swallows it down. This is what it knows when it struggles against being consumed. It is what a buck knows when it is torn to pieces by a lion or a crocodile. It bleeds, its flesh is ripped, and it knows, there is no help for it, it will die, the universe is indifferent. There is no God in such a world. There is only our consciousness, and our sentiment. We have only our sentimentality against this vast indifference. We have only our love of that which melts our hearts, our tenderness before the banality of that which we find touching, adorable and cute. We look at a baby, and we become sentimental. A natural instinct. A mother animal looks at her young, and she becomes sentimental. Babies are the essence of the adorably cute. We go gaga over them. That is what makes us survive in the indifference of the universe. That is all we have. Our sentimentality. Some call it love. They are wrong. They are making an attempt to give nobility to sentimentality, but it is nothing but sentimentality. It is a cheap, tawdry thing, this only thing that we all have. We turn our media into trash to keep our sentiment alive; we produce and consume our trashy songs, our trashy books of romance, our trashy movies, our trashy belief in Jesus. We try to call it love, but it is sentimentality. Yet it is not weak. It is strong. The sentimentality of a mother for her baby, that is very strong. She -- and we -- are wired for sentimentality. Because we are conscious, we play with this feeling, we try to give it nobility, we call it love. That is what our consciousness aims at, nobility, but it cannot be, because the universe is indifferent. Maybe there is nobility in some art, in artifacts our consciousness places outside itself, but in us, in our hearts, we have only sentimentality. Our tears are easy. Our eyes would have to remain dry in the face of indifference for us to be noble. But they are not. We weep at the sight of beauty, of everything adorable and cute. We are each a brief spell of sentimentality in the great indifference of time and space. Science has it right. It studies the indifference. It does not bring sentimentality to it. Pure science proceeds without sentimentality. Maybe science is our noblest answer to the indifference. Maybe codifying the indifference is a noble strategy. But we are human, we need our sentimentality to paint the vast white of blank indifference in colors we can live with.”


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