Op. 27

 

POST-ATOMIC INTEGRITIES

 

Long Prose

 

Copyright © 1982-2010 John O'Loughlin

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CONTENTS

 

1. Chapter One: An Unexpected Visit

2. Chapter Two: A Birthday Treat

3. Chapter Three: A Change of Mind

4. Chapter Four: A Paradoxical Relationship

5. Chapter Five: A Particular Bias

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CHAPTER ONE: AN UNEXPECTED VISIT

 

It was an evening just like any other for me, an evening during which I would continue to remain in my solitary room with a book on my lap and wax earplugs in both ears, the better to concentrate on what I was reading.  The neighbours above and below would doubtless continue to make disagreeable noises in their respective flats, but I wouldn't be unduly disturbed by them.  Only someone loudly knocking at my door would have caused me to put my book to one side.  But, apart from the landlord, no-one ever knocked at my door, least of all loudly, so I had little to fear in that respect.  Tonight, however, was to prove an exception.  The clock had hardly reached eight-thirty when I was startled out of my book by the unexpected - the sound of a person boldly seeking admittance to my room!

     For a moment I wondered whether I oughtn't to ignore it, pretend I wasn't in or hadn't heard anything.  But no sooner had I dispatched this negative thought than a positive one took its place.  Supposing the knock was connected with Carmel, the young lady to whom I had recently written a flattering letter, inviting her to visit me?  That seemed unlikely but, all the same, I acted on the basis of that supposition and, putting my book to one side and carefully removing the earplugs preparatory to depositing them in their protective case, I duly hurried over to the door, which by now had become the recipient of a further knock.  "Just a minute!" I cried, as my fingers groped for the lock, though in point of fact I opened the door in less than three seconds.

     Standing there before me in the dimly-lit corridor that led from the stairs to my first-floor apartment was a young woman of average height and chest-length, wavy-golden hair.  I had scarcely recognized this much when I heard: "Joe?"

     "Yes," I replied, with a simultaneous though possibly gratuitous nod.  And then, as if in echo, I said: "Carmel?"

     The young woman smiled in confirmation and I knew at once that my wish had been granted.  Delighted, I stood back to usher her inside and then, with the self-consciousness of one who has just admitted an attractive female to his room and knows it, I gently closed the door behind her.  "So you actually got my letter this time," I remarked, turning around to face my surprise visitor.  It hadn't been the first letter to her, but it was evidently the first to have had a positive effect.

     "That was a letter I just couldn't ignore," she said.

     "Yes, it was rather special," I opined.

     "And long, too!" she declared, as though to point out that the length and the specialness were two entirely different things.  "Quite the longest hand-written letter I've ever received."

     I smiled in a sort of proudly apologetic way.  "I had intended to type it, but thought such a procedure would have detracted from its romantic import and rendered it too ... impersonal."

     Carmel smiled understandingly and said: "As you told me in the postscript."

     "Indeed," I responded, and then succumbed to a brief pause, which gave me time to note the light-blue colour of her eyes and the fawn colour of the raincoat she was wearing.  "Allow me to take your mack," I added, manoeuvring myself into a position behind her from which I could help her out of it.  She seemed grateful to be relieved of the garment and I carried it across to my single wardrobe, where a metallic hanger was duly procured for it.

     Having deposited her raincoat on the door-handle of the said wardrobe, I once more turned to face her and noticed that she was wearing clothes according to the colour-pattern I had specified in the letter as being most appropriate for a visit to my room - namely the green, white, and gold (or pale orange) of the Irish tricolour.  Shyness prevented me from taking a long, hard look at her, but I could see that she was wearing a white blouse, a gently-flounced gold miniskirt, and a pair of dark-green stockings, with matching open-front shoes.  The colour combination couldn't have been more apposite, especially as, like me, she, too, was Southern Irish.  "I see you've conformed to my patriotic suggestion," I remarked, pointing a brisk finger at each item of visible clothing in turn.

     "I couldn't very well refuse to," she responded, her pale face gently suffused by an invigorating blush.  "Naturally, I don't normally dress in such a blatantly republican fashion."

     "I particularly like your miniskirt," I confessed.  For I couldn't help noticing that it exposed more of her thighs than it hid, and that they weren't skinny but, on the contrary, pleasantly firm and fleshy without, however, being conspicuously fat.  They were the kind of thighs one doesn't see too often but can be mighty impressed by when one does - firm all the way up, rather than delicate and tapering.

     "You like minis?" she asked.

     I smiled defensively, then replied: "Some of them, though it often depends more on the woman who's wearing them than on the skirt as such.  But I do like the flounce in yours though, which grants it an agreeably loose quality, a sort of buoyancy and suggestibility.  And the material is nice, too - very smooth and semi-transparent.  I saw two women like you on Saturday, by the way.  Thought at first one of them might have been you."

     "I was in Cambridge on Saturday," said Carmel.  "So unless you were there too, neither of them could have been me."

     "Ah, well, they were attractive all the same," I remarked.

     "Tell me about them."

     I offered her a soft seat in the room's only armchair and then took myself to the bed which, being made, I sat down on.  So, obligingly, I proceeded: "The first one I happened to see as I was on my way back from the library late that morning.  The weather being so warm and bright, she was wearing a light-green flounced minidress and had bare legs, which were enticingly firm and very sexy.  I was trailing behind her in the high street for a number of yards, intermittently staring at her legs with that feeling of guilty self-consciousness which usually afflicts me in such a situation.  She automatically reminded me of you, especially with her wavy-golden hair.  But when a sudden stiff breeze briefly caught the rim of her minidress, I was granted the unexpected bonus of a glance at what she was wearing underneath - namely, a pair of frilly-white panties on a highly seductive rump!"

     Carmel blushed anew and said: "Joe!" with an emphasis of teasing reproof.

     Smiling, I continued: "She must have sensed that someone was admiringly trailing after her, for she stopped in front of an estate agents just a few yards farther along.  I ought really to have stopped beside her but, shy or vain fool that I am, I continued on my way, noting en passant that her nose was slightly retroussť, like yours.  By the time she got moving again, I was already too far ahead of her to turn back and was waiting to cross the road by the local clock-tower, headed for home.  She turned up an adjacent side-street before I could cross the road, however, and we exchanged glances from about six yards.  The rest of the morning and much of the afternoon I spent regretting that I hadn't attempted to pick her up."

     Carmel smiled sympathetically, and said: "She probably regretted that you or someone else hadn't picked her up."   There then ensued a brief silence before Carmel's memory latched-on to the second female who had apparently reminded me of her, and I was duly asked to explain.

     "Well, the other one I also saw on my way back from the library, which I normally visit twice on a Saturday, but that was at about four in the afternoon and I had to walk virtually the entire length of the high street before I came upon her, standing in front of the advertisement-board outside the local newsagents and evidently reading various of the adverts on it.  I saw her red miniskirt from quite a distance and it had an effect on me analogous to that of a bullfighter's cape on a bull, or so I supposed.  It was very conspicuous, but I didn't think, with my short-sightedness partly to blame, that the woman wearing it would be particularly attractive, since such blatantly conspicuous colours are usually worn by the more sluttish types.  However, when I got to within a few yards of her, what a surprise I got!  Not only wavy-golden hair like yours, but the most delightful-looking pair of firm, fleshy legs as could be imagined.  And, as if to set them off, her waist, arms, and shoulders were slender and narrow, such as one only finds, as a rule, on women of exceptional quality.  Ah, such a delightful contrast!  Even more delightful than that between her gently-flounced cotton miniskirt and the tight-fitting nylon blouse she was wearing!"

     "But, presumably, you didn't attempt to chat her up?" Carmel commented, smiling.

     "Alas! as she was standing beside a man and a woman, I thought she must be connected with them in some way - possibly as a friend or even a daughter.  Nevertheless I was intending to go into the newsagents anyway, for I had decided to buy a Penthouse in accordance with a regrettably long-standing habit of mine to acquire some better kind of men's magazine on a Saturday afternoon, when the sex-starved blues are beginning to catch-up with me.  Anyway, angling towards the door of the shop, I must have attracted her attention slightly, since she gave me a quick glance as I drew close to her, prior to disappearing inside.  The Penthouse under my arm, I duly retreated to the street, only to discover that she was already some twenty yards along the pavement from the direction in which I had just come, and was about to cross the road.  She evidently wasn't connected with the couple I noticed earlier, because they were still standing in front of the advertisement-board - the woman, I now noticed, with a notepad and biro in her hands.  However, feeling compromised by the magazine under my arm, I turned in the opposite direction ... towards Elder Avenue, where, as you know, I live.  I hate being seen with a men's magazine, even when I've taken the precaution to fold it in two, so that only part of an advert is showing on the back.  I always imagine that people are instinctively contemptuous towards anyone who might be classifiable, through association with such a magazine, as a sexual pervert, a wanker or whatever.  Despite all my progressive theories, I have an almost puritanical shame of being regarded in such a light; though, to be perfectly honest with you, I scarcely ever masturbate these days."

     "Did you ever?" asked Carmel, showing no particular embarrassment, but more an objective curiosity, which had the effect of compelling me to an admiration of her intelligence.

     "Up until my twenty-third or twenty-fourth year," I blushingly confessed.  For I could hardly add that the reason I subsequently stopped wanking was because the orgasm had become less keen, as Gide would say, and the temptation correspondingly less intense.  "But nowadays," I quickly added, as though to allay suspicions to the contrary, "I only look at the erotic stimuli to be found in such magazines.  However, getting back to that young woman in the red miniskirt, I spent the rest of the afternoon and most of the evening regretting that she wasn't mine.  You can't imagine how sorry celibacy and solitude can make me feel sometimes, especially as they've dogged my steps for so many years now."

     "Poor Joe!" sighed Carmel, who had got to her feet and, walking across to me, now placed a commiserating hand on my left shoulder.

     "Do you think you'll be able to straighten me out after all these solitary, celibate, poverty-stricken years?" I painfully asked her.

     "I'll certainly do my best," she replied in a husky tone-of-voice.

     The scent of her sweet perfume had a slightly aphrodisiac effect on me and, without raising myself from the bed, I slipped a hand up her legs, bringing its palm to rest against the flesh of her outer thigh a moment.

     "Aren't you going to kiss me first?" she teasingly asked.

     "If you insist," I jokingly responded and, although I would have preferred to stay where I was, with her thighs in such invitingly close proximity to my hands, I got to my feet and, drawing her into my arms, placed a somewhat tentative kiss on her half-smiling lips.  I hadn't kissed a woman in over ten years, and so it can hardly be wondered at if the experience was a little unnerving and unrewarding initially, since I was in dire need of practice.  Yet despite my initial self-consciousness, I soon managed to apply my lips to hers with greater firmness, as the first few exploratory forays into the kissing domain were supplanted by the inception of mounting confidence and an intimation of sensual pleasure  such as I had completely forgotten the existence of during the agony of my solitary years in north London.  And, to my relief, I discovered that my mounting confidence was accompanied by a relaxation on her part, which caused her to close her eyes the better to concentrate on my kissing and the pleasure she was evidently deriving from it.  As if by instinct, I transferred one of my hands to the back of her head in order to press her lips more firmly against my own.  She responded by relaxing still further, and I was able to drive my tongue between the gap which now opened-up between them - a procedure she particularly seemed to like.  For by thrusting it backwards and forwards between her slightly-parted lips, I was mimicking the coital relationship of penis to vagina which I knew she was expecting me to establish in due course.  And yet, whilst I behaved thus, another part of me was curiously detached from my actions, inducing me to imagine how the situation would look to an observer situated at our side, especially to one who was on his knees and noting the indirect effects of my kissing and caressing on Carmel's ample legs, now that her attention was absorbed in the mouth and the rest of her body had become a kind of impersonal entity, functioning, as it were, by remote control.  Had she gone weak-kneed, this other part of my mind caused me to wonder, and if so, was she on the verge of dampening or even wetting her panties?  I couldn't answer that, for now I was withdrawing my tongue from its probing role in order to speak with it.  She opened her eyes with a start, as though from a pleasant dream, and I said: "Darling Carmel, I've waited so long for this ... that I can't express my gratitude enough, now that you're actually here with me."

     She smiled in flattered response to this rather pathetic admission on my part, and then replied: "Just do what you want to."

     Oh, I had so many things I wanted to do that I didn't know where to begin or, rather, how to continue.  The kissing was fine but ... caressing was important, too!  And then there were her breasts; I needed to see them and was eager to unbutton her blouse.  They were small but firm, nestled ever so sedately, it seemed to me, in a half-sized white bra that appeared to possess a special erotic appeal of its own.  Indeed, so harmonious an impression did the combination of breasts and bra make on me ... that I hesitated to free the one from the other.  But I gently kissed first the left and then the right breast, which connoted, in my imagination, with some kind of delicious fruit - possibly a peach or a large plum.  I sank to my knees, overwhelmed by the luxury of her body, and bent forwards to kiss each of her stockinged insteps, gripping her ankles in the process and conscious of the rim of her gold miniskirt brushing against the crown of my head, as I again straightened-up to contemplate her lovely legs.  In silent wonder, with forceful pulsations of heart, I slid both my hands up the length of her dark-stockinged legs, lifting her skirt back in order to expose the entirety of her thighs to my avid gaze and discover more about her.  Ah, what physical beauty I then beheld, as my vision encompassed a pair of golden suspenders stretching from her stocking tops via a pair of delicately-embroidered white-nylon panties to the partly-obscured suspender-belt above!  I held her skirt aloft like a canopy and smacked a kiss on each of her thighs, reserving an especially-protracted one for that central patch of her panties behind which a dense mound of pubic hair would be leading a separate little vegetable-like existence of its own.  Ah, how beautiful was this woman!  She was to become my woman, and I wanted her to learn exactly what that meant this very evening, between now and the time when we temporarily abandoned our sexual adventure, some hours hence!

     "Carmel," I said, well-nigh staggering to my feet, "I'm going to teach you just what ten years of enforced celibacy in this vast city can do for inflaming a man's ardour when he eventually acquires the woman of his dreams.  I'm going to fuck every last drop of cunt juice out of your wet little hole this evening and, by god, by the time we're finished you'll know what it means to be intimate with me!"

     "Joe!" cried Carmel in a tone of delighted surprise, and, without another word, she swooned to the floor, where she lay prostrate with one arm up across her brow and one leg drawn up to a position just short of her rump.  The other arm was flat-out by her side, as was the other leg.  She had become exquisitely erotic all of a sudden, and I couldn't prevent myself from taking a voyeuristic pleasure in her exposed white panties.  Now she was like 'Chastity' of Penthouse, whose lovely form I had seen subjected to a similar erotic posture, following a swoon of fright at the hands of various hairy monsters.  My Ideal had swooned from desire and appeared even more ravishing than 'Chastity', though a similar type of woman - the only type for whom I had ever really cared.  I got down on my knees before her parted legs and, gripping her damp panties between finger and thumb, began to ease them from her capacious crotch.  There was only one sensible way to bring her back to full consciousness, and I knew exactly how to go about it.  In a little while she would be moaning from ecstasy, whilst I whispered besotted endearments into her vulnerable ears!

 

 

CHAPTER TWO: A BIRTHDAY TREAT

 

There was a concession involved with Carmel's willingness to live with me, and it related to her three-year-old daughter, Julia, who would have to be accepted as part of the deal.  No Julia, then no Carmel!  It was as simple as that, take it or leave it.  Well, I had no second thoughts about the matter and promised to be as good a substitute father to Julia as was humanely possible.  But I made it perfectly clear to Carmel that I would never marry her, nor anyone else.  I would remain loyal to her, but on my own terms.

     At first Carmel wondered whether she had done the right thing in visiting me.  For she had left her husband and virtually caused the break-up of her marriage in the process.  Now that she found herself denied access to a second husband, however, she seriously considered the possibility of returning to her legal spouse.  But the combination of my loving with assurances that I wouldn't desert her ... finally decided her in favour of accepting my terms.  And so, shortly after our first night in each-other's arms, we agreed to set up home together in Cambridge.  Carmel could retain her daughter but must divorce her husband, who, in any case, was turning into an alcoholic womanizer.

     I immediately recognized Carmel in her daughter and took to Julia as though she were my own child.  The remaining years of her childhood, spent in various flats in Cambridge and, eventually, Norwich, were on the whole satisfactory, even happy.  When she entered High School, Julia was almost a replica of what Carmel had been at the same age.  For her hair was also wavy-golden, her eyes light blue, and her nose slightly retroussť.  I expected her to do well in most subjects, and so she did.  But her bias was for languages, like her mother, and she hoped one day to teach German.

     Meanwhile my relationship with Carmel had deepened over the years, but I still wouldn't marry her, or anyone else, and she had to accept this fact with intelligent resignation.  Consequently I was never a stepfather to her daughter but, at best, only a sort of step-uncle who was fondly known as Uncle Joe, which suited me fine.  One day it would suit Julia too, but that wasn't to be before her sixteenth birthday!  It was then that the advantage of my social position became fully apparent - and not just to me!

     "Now I understand why you didn't want to marry me," said Carmel one evening, just before her daughter's sixteenth birthday.  "You wanted to mix the mature with the virginal in later years."

     "I simply wanted to remain free," I replied, keeping my eyes on the present I was wrapping in the most eye-catching green-and-silver-striped paper.  "I've always tended to regard myself, perhaps somewhat exaggeratedly, if not oversimplistically, as a free-electron equivalent and you, my long-term companion, as a quasi-electron equivalent.  I had no desire to form an atomic integrity in the strictly bourgeois, marital sense."

     "And now that Julia has come of age?" asked Carmel, her voice slightly husky from repressed emotion.

     "I intend to take her virginity," I frankly declared.  "But artificially, in accordance with my status as a more civilized type of human being."  I looked up from the carefully-wrapped parcel and caught a glint of what I took to be complicity in Carmel's soft Irish eyes.

     "You were always a bigamist at heart," she opined, and I responded with but a faint grunt.  For I would never have taken her as my woman, had I not known about her young daughter at the time.

     When Julia's birthday finally arrived, I was as excited by it as if it were my own sixteenth birthday.  For I had looked forward to it for several years, and was only too eager to establish my domestic life along new lines.  I had, however, instructed Carmel to inform Julia of my intentions shortly before the latter's birthday, so it wasn't altogether with surprise that she received a special kiss on the cheek and a warm smile from me, as we sat down to table in the evening to celebrate, by way of a private party, Julia's coming of age.  My darling companion was also quite excited by what lay in store for her daughter, and had resigned herself to temporarily taking a secondary role in my affections.

     Before I proceed to describe what followed, let me inform the reader that, by now, Julia was a most beautiful young lady whose physique, during the course of the past year, had filled-out to something approaching womanly proportions.  Not only did she take after her mother in matters of facial appearance, with exactly the same kind of wavy-golden hair hanging loosely down her chest, but she even surpassed Carmel in some matters, not least of all the size of her breasts, which were just a shade larger.  And, of course, her legs and rump were by no means devoid of physical allure, but, on the contrary, could only be described as potentially highly seductive.... Having bathed and perfumed herself, she had specifically dressed in light, semi-transparent attire for this occasion, which, in any case, happened to coincide with a warm summer's evening, and was about as ravishing-looking as such a beautiful young lady, caught-up in the first flush of youth, can ever be.  With her mother seated at one end of the table - still, at thirty-five, a very attractive woman - and Julia at the opposite end, I felt pretty smug in my central position between them.

     The meal was, on the whole, a highly agreeable one and, after a few drinks (Julia having her first taste of wine), we retired to the sitting room where the special parcel I had personally prepared for the birthday girl lay waiting to be opened.  She stared at it with an ironic smile on her lips for what seemed like a long time, and then set about freeing its contents from the eye-catching wrapper.  I was trembling with excitement as much as she and feared, for a moment, that I might have wrapped it too tightly.

     "Go on!" urged Carmel, as Julia tore the remaining wrapping-paper from the box and, with a glance at me, opened it to reveal a battery-operated red vibrator, which immediately caused her to blush a similar colour herself.

     "Oh, Uncle Joe!" she exclaimed.  "How could you?"  She had of course expected some such present, so was partly acting for my - as well as her own - benefit.  There could be no doubt that Carmel had warned her what to expect, and gone some way towards explaining its purpose.

     "Well, then, are you ready for the initiation ceremony?" I asked, and, as Julia made no verbal objection I took it she was.  So the three of us proceeded up the stairs towards Julia's bedroom, which Carmel had specially arranged for the ceremony by placing a couple of thick cotton sheets on top of the bed, sheets which would absorb any blood-letting that the artificial deflowering of our virgin might provoke.  The room itself was sweetly perfumed and spotlessly clean and, as soon as we were all three comfortably ensconced, I dutifully requested Julia to hand me the vibrator and prepare herself for the revolutionary experience ahead.  This she did by removing her slender white panties and kneeling astride the bed with her light dress hitched up over her waist - Carmel taking pains to adjust both Julia's posture and clothing to my exact specifications.

     "You may feel a little pain initially," I warned her, "but don't worry; you'll be alright in just a minute or two!"  As I gave voice to this palpable understatement, I noticed that Carmel was holding one of Julia's hands, as if to reassure her.  "Tonight's an historic occasion," I continued, "for you're going to become one of the first, if not the first, young women to lose her virginity to a vibrator on her birthday, and thus to lose it artificially."  So saying, I turned the said implement on, lined myself up behind Julia's kneeling form, took aim, so to speak, and, with an almost scientific detachment, thrust it up inside her.  There was a muffled cry from Julia's lips, but the swift vibrations of the artificial phallus were soon to evoke a positive response from her, as I gently manoeuvred it backwards and forwards in mimicry of coitus.  For Julia, the excitement of her first orgasm was fast approaching and, as it expanded towards a monumental climax, she moaned in crescendo to the shivers of ecstasy which shot through her tender clitoris with virgin exuberance.  Ah, I could see plainly enough that she was enjoying every moment of this unique experience, and enjoying it, moreover, in spite of Carmel's slightly envious proximity beside her!  This was a birthday treat Julia was unlikely ever to forget.  She had lost her virginity not to a hot-blooded male, but to a plastic phallus.  Civilization had never before achieved anything so spectacular!

 

 

CHAPTER THREE: A CHANGE OF MIND

 

I often went about town with my two women and would take especial pleasure in having them sit either side of me, whether in public or private.  In public, people would sometimes stare curiously or even disapprovingly at me and remark to themselves that I was a bigamist.  But, in private, I was completely free from what other people thought and able to behave as I liked, or almost so.  For there were of course limitations as to what I could permit myself to do with Julia when her mother was around, and even when she wasn't.  Mostly the three of us would just sit together of an evening, after I had finished my day's literary toil, and talk or watch television.  But sex was never wholly absent from the proceedings, since, with a female on either side of me, it was in the order of things for me to caressingly roam a hand over certain parts of their respective persons.

     Initially, for a number of months after I had 'taken' Julia's virginity artificially, my sexual relations with her continued to be artificial.  If we were all three seated on the big settee in front of the television, and both the women were leaning against me with their legs drawn-up across my thighs and their respective rumps facing outwards, as was often the case, my hands would never behave in exactly the same fashion towards Julia as towards her mother.  With Carmel, for instance, the hand nearest to her would perhaps delve under her blouse in order to caress the smooth skin of her back or, assuming I could get it up her skirt, push a way through the legs of her panties with a view to stimulating her clit.  With Julia, however, the hand dedicated to caressing her would never venture beneath clothing to the actual flesh, but would invariably remain segregated from it, even if I had delved under her skirt or dress and come into contact with her panties.  In that event, I would simply caress her crotch or a part of her rump through their material, which acted as a kind of artificial shield for her.  I must have been inhibited, initially, by the long-standing stepfather/stepdaughter-like relationship that had existed between us, even though she was far from being my stepdaughter in reality, or indeed in practice.  I obviously didn't want to compromise myself, especially with Carmel present.

     But a hot-blooded young woman can't be kept at bay for ever, nor be satisfied by artificial stimuli alone, and I soon realized that Julia was becoming more demanding of me as her sexual feelings deepened.  Carmel realized it too, and one day, when, for once, the two of us were completely alone together, she said: "Joe, my daughter will require more than the indirect caresses you casually bestow upon her, if you wish to retain her sexual respect.  There are, I'm sure, quite a number of young men who have carnal designs on her and who would be prepared to provide her with more substantial satisfactions in your stead.  You can't expect her to remain a kind of sexual accessory to you for life.  So either enlarge your carnal relations with her or ... break them off altogether!"

     These words sounded slightly sinister to me.  For I knew exactly what Carmel was hinting at.  And yet, I was still opposed to marriage, if only because I preferred the idea of remaining a free-electron equivalent in the company of a pair of quasi-electron equivalents.  Marriage, however, would simply transform me into a bound-electron equivalent and the woman I married into a proton equivalent.  Was I to relapse into an atomic integrity, I who looked forward to the day when electron equivalents would be freed, once and for all, from atomic constraints?  It seemed unlikely that I would relapse into such a thing, and yet I was becoming increasingly fond of Julia and would have preferred to retain her sexual interest than oblige her to look for someone else.  So I said to Carmel: "Since I haven't married you, why should I marry Julia?  If she wishes to conceive a child by me, let her do so without recourse to marriage.  I'd no more dream of deserting her than ... deserting you."

     Carmel looked grave and retorted: "But you can't make her pregnant with that bloody vibrator!"

     I nodded in agreement and said: "Then I shall have to do it with the aid of that mechanical copulator recently invented by an acquaintance of mine.  By depositing a quantity of my sperm in the device, I'll be able to make her pregnant indirectly and, as it were, artificially - without recourse to physical contact."

     "Do you seriously suppose she'll be satisfied to have you indirectly making love to her through that mechanical contraption?" Carmel retorted, somewhat sceptically and even angrily.

     "She'll damned well have to be!" I sternly replied.  "For I can't bring myself to actually have sex with her - I who am at least twenty-five years her fucking senior!"

     At that moment, Julia strode into the room and we felt obliged to terminate our heated conversation.  Nor did we take it up again until some months later, by which time, however, my attitude had distinctly changed, partly because of Julia's refusal, in the meantime, to be party to my former plans.  Rebelling against my artificiality, she had threatened to desert me if I persisted in my intentions and, as I couldn't bear the prospect of being left with just the one woman, I gave-in to her and resignedly set about the task of making her pregnant through conventional means.  It transpired, however, that I was unable to do so.  For I had become well-nigh impotent, over the years, without realizing it, since contraceptives had always come between me and the possibility of Carmel becoming pregnant.  My ejaculations just weren't forceful or copious enough to reach into Julia's womb and cause a pregnancy, and nothing she could do or say by way of seducing me had any appreciable effect on their outcome.  Eventually it began to dawn on her that the only way she could become pregnant through me was indirectly, with the aid of the mechanical copulator, and, although she was fundamentally against the idea, her growing love for me had begun to sway her in that revolutionary direction.  Thus it transpired that, no sooner than three months after she had categorically refused to countenance the prospect of an artificially-induced pregnancy, she changed her mind and agreed to give it a try.  Naturally, I would still continue to give her direct sex, the way she wanted it, but she now knew that such sex could never lead to the fulfilment of her dreams.  That, on the contrary, would require the services of the special machine I had promised to obtain, and once she was astride it, there could be no question of the enclosed sperm failing to reach its target!  There would be a bull's-eye every fucking time, with the virtual guarantee of a pregnancy in due course.  Why therefore shouldn't she, probably the first woman in the world to lose her virginity artificially, now become among the first to acquire a pregnancy artificially - through the recently-invented penetrative contrivance which mechanically mimicked coitus?  Besides, now that she had fallen deeply in love with me, what choice did she have?

     I smiled my satisfaction at her about-face and assured her that, come what may, I would never desert her, even though, through moral compunction, I couldn't ever marry her.  A free-electron equivalent I intended to remain, even with two quasi-electron equivalents dogging my steps and, seemingly, just waiting for me to trip up!

 

 

CHAPTER FOUR: A PARADOXICAL RELATIONSHIP

 

One day Carmel said to me: "Tell me about the previous women in your life."

     I blankly stared back at her a moment, as though I hadn't understood her request, and then somewhat shamefacedly confessed: "There weren't any."

     "You're kidding me!" she exclaimed.  "Didn't you once tell me that you'd been hopelessly in love with a girl called Cami?"

     I blushed in recollection of the fact and shamefully admitted its truth.  "But that was unrequited love," I continued.  "There had never been any physical contact with women before you came into my life."

     She smiled in a sort of deferential way, and asked: "What, exactly, was this Cami like?"

     "Rather beautiful," I replied.  "For, like you, she had wavy hair, blue eyes, a slender figure, sexy legs, and, well, one of the most seductive-looking rumps I'd ever seen on any woman.  A rump in a million - most eye-catchingly provocative!  Physical beauty is a golden mean, you know.  One must be slender, but not too slender.  One must have flesh in the right places, but not too much flesh.  Ah, how delicate is that dividing line between the prosaic and the merely attractive upon which true beauty walks!  Yes, she was indeed a beautiful woman."

     Carmel seemed moved, possibly with envy, for her next question was: "And were you more deeply in love with this arse-biased seductress than you subsequently became with me?"

     I was courageous enough to be frank and admitted as much.  "But that was largely because I was a youth when I knew her and had become a mature man of thirty by the time I received a visit from you," I added.  "It makes all the difference, you know.  Youth is emotional, maturity intellectual.  I could never have loved you as I loved that girl.  Nor anyone else, for that matter."

     "How flattering!" Carmel objected.

     "You shouldn't imagine that it reflects poorly on you," I retorted, a trifle piqued.  "Age brings reason, quietens passion.  It's better that way.   Though while you're a youth you would never believe it.  Then I'd gladly have sacrificed my freedom for her, become a bound-electron equivalent in marital fidelity to my proton love.  I'd most certainly have proposed to her, had not my passion been unrequited.  Her sex-appeal was too strong to be ignored; it was as much as I could do to restrain myself from raping her on a number of occasions.  But I had to be content with fantasies in the long-run, imagining what I'd do to her if ever she consented to my advances."

     "A thing, however, she evidently didn't do," Carmel deduced, almost maliciously.

     "She came damn near it once or twice," I averred, feeling a degree of pride in spite of the humiliations which such recollections ordinarily caused me.  "Had she not been going out with someone else at the time ..."

     "Unlucky you!" Carmel disdainfully interjected.  "You must have become something of a prize fantasist after awhile."

     "Particularly where she was concerned," I admitted.  "There was nothing I wouldn't do to her or get her to do for me."

     "Such as?"

     "Oh ..." I hesitated to answer, caught between the hook of shyness and the bait of vanity.  It would have been impossible to reveal everything, given the number of fantasies involved, so I settled for some of the more memorable things, replying: "I would lift her up off her feet, turn her upside down, so that her legs were spread-eagled in mid-air, and then plunge my scent-crazed nose into her naked fanny, which, at that juncture, would be wide open like a flower.  Or I would pull her legs back over her chest and squat down on them, forcing her arse up in the air and exposing her crack to my avid tongue.  Or I would get her to pick something up off the floor while keeping her legs straight when she had a short skirt on, and take special pleasure in what this revealed to me.  Or I would make her kneel down in front of me with her skirt hitched right up and her suspenders on display while she held my cock between outstretched fingers and whispered gentle endearments to it.  Or I would get her to dress-up in her most dignified fashion, with dark-blue stockings, a grey skirt, white blouse, etc., and then make love to her fully clothed and standing up.... Oh, there was no end to the things we'd do!"

     Carmel smilingly shook her head, as though to emphasize ironic perplexity.  "Yet, in reality, you did none of those things," she jeered, "since Cami remained no more than a fantasy in your life."

     "Quite so," I regrettably admitted.  "Instead of being an accomplished lover, I became an introverted voyeur - a psychic spectator at the self-imposed spectacles I would nightly put on, in my imagination, for the benefit of me alone.  I was lucky not to have succumbed to a cerebral haemorrhage on occasion, so much sex-appeal did that girl's image possess for me!"

     There was a faintly-mocking look, mingled with an element of sympathy, in my companion's large eyes.  "Tell me, when did you first come to realize that you were a bigamist at heart?" she asked.

     The question baffled me at first, since I had never known myself to be one, not having married even one woman in the past.  But Carmel was obviously alluding to my dual allegiance to Julia and herself, which I suppose approximated, in her imagination, to a kind of bigamy.  Sublimated bigamy ... would be nearer the mark, since I still had no intention of marrying anyone.  So I replied: "I was never literally a bigamist, though you're right to assume that I had a fondness for two women simultaneously at one time - long before Julia came of age.  The first was of course Cami, whom I've just told you about.  But sometime after I fell in love with her, she introduced me to a close friend of hers by name of Margaret, and it wasn't long before this friend began to acquire some of the affection which had formerly been reserved for Cami alone.  There must have come a time, therefore, when my feelings towards them were about equal, though I never ceased to love Cami.  She retained a compelling sex-appeal, whereas Margaret's appeal, though not entirely devoid of sex, was primarily cultural.  Divided between these two women, I was in transition between youth and maturity, the heart and the head.  When you entered my life, however, I was no longer in transition but wholly dedicated to the head.  That's why I was prompted to attempt seducing you through those letters I wrote, though I never expected any of them, not even the long one, to succeed, in spite of my prowess as a writer.  Your visit that evening came as quite a surprise to me, since I feared a letter inadequate to sway you over to my side.  Had you been less civilized, you'd almost certainly have required something more concrete and practical of me.  But you were evidently a mature woman of exceptional spiritual accomplishment.  Also a brave woman, I should add.  Few others would have entrusted themselves to a virtual stranger, a person they hadn't seen in years, as you did.  Vanity alone would have precluded it."

     Carmel was visibly flattered by this eulogy, despite having heard variations on it before.  "I must have been mad!" she jokingly declared.  "However, now that I know a little more about your past, perhaps the sexual fondness you've recently acquired for Julia is intelligible within the framework of a reverse transition you're undergoing ... from the mature to the youthful or, rather, immature again, as from the bloated head to the undernourished heart."

     "A metaphorical overstatement, dear lady, since I'm by no means in love with Julia," I assured her.  "On the contrary, the girl's damned-well in love with me, and that is why she's on the road to pregnancy right now.  I don't requite her love, but I do give her physical pleasure.  I was unrequited myself as a youth, in every sense of the word.  Now you can't tell me that she's in exactly the same position!"

     Carmel had to agree with me there, but couldn't help remarking, all the same, that Julia's position was akin to a second wife cohabiting with the first.

     "To a degree," I conceded.  "But if you came to me in the spirit, she exists for me in the flesh.  Neither of you is my real wife, for I am not and never shall be married.  You, dear Carmel, are simply a girlfriend, and Julia's the same.  When you came to me, you'd already fulfilled yourself as a mother, having a little daughter to your name.  I saw no reason to make you pregnant again and, I'm relieved to say, you didn't oblige me to ... largely because you considered one child enough for a modern, liberated woman like yourself, who had spiritual and intellectual interests to bear in mind.  Now Julia is on the way to her first pregnancy, which, in all probability, will also be her last, since she, too, must conform to the Zeitgeist and behave as a liberated woman - a quasi-electron equivalent rather than a proton equivalent.  And to the extent that both of you are unmarried quasi-electron equivalents, you're in effect quasi-supermen rather than simply women, and cohabit with me in a liberated context.  I have no desire to marry a quasi-superman, but I don't object to such a person living with me if she avoids putting too many demands on me."

     Carmel blushed faintly and softly asked: "Do we?"

     "No.  Although young Julia puts more demands on me these days than you do," I averred.  "She it is who requires palpable sex at least once a week, whereas you're usually content to manage with less.  But, on the whole, I have less sex with the pair of you than most married men have with their one wife.  That's as much a credit to your spiritual precocity as to my physical restraint.  Instead of degenerating into a lecher, I remain relatively chaste, even though I cohabit with two quasi-supermen who look like women but function, more often than not, as men."

     "So you're not a bigamist after all," Carmel observed, in what seemed to me like a slightly disappointed tone-of-voice.

     I resolutely shook my head and said: "Of course not!  My life is too spiritual to permit me such a morally reprehensible liberty as to be married to two women simultaneously and to have regular sex with them both.  Liberty, however, is scarcely the word.  For one would be shackled to two proton equivalents in an atomic integrity doubly hard to break out of.  I, remember, aspire towards electron freedom, which is why I could never marry you.  Besides, you're a liberated woman for whom marriage would be equally out-of-the-question.  One can't imagine two men getting married, at least not as a rule, because two electron equivalents, even when they're fond of each other, don't form an atomic integrity.  Well, neither is it right that a superman, a liberated man, so to speak, should marry a quasi-superman, or liberated woman, since a free-electron equivalent and a quasi-electron equivalent don't form an atomic integrity either.  To marry you would be to discriminate against you as a woman, and that's something I absolutely refuse to do, since you've adequately proved to me, on a number of occasions, that you're capable of behaving like a man - not least of all when you dedicate yourself to writing a new book.  No, and I wouldn't wish to discriminate against Julia either, young as she is.  No daughter of yours deserves the traditional role of woman thrust upon her!  She was destined, with her fine intellect, for a quasi-electron status, and I therefore regard her as a liberated woman, to be treated as a kind of equal.  We may live together as spiritual companions, but we shall never get married.  Is that clear?"

     Carmel nodded her head in resigned confirmation.  "I sometimes think that, despite your sins of omission and commission, you're potentially, if not actually, the greatest philosophical genius of the age," she respectfully opined.

     "Were you a woman and not a quasi-superman, I'd have reason to consider you ill-qualified to judge in such matters," I averred, somewhat sententiously.  "But since you speak as a quasi-electron equivalent, I'm obliged to take your opinion seriously, even though you'll never know what it means to have the intellect of a free-electron equivalent."

 

 

CHAPTER FIVE: A PARTICULAR BIAS

 

Another day Carmel said to me: "You know, I've very rarely seen you with a book by a woman in your hands.  There are only a few books by women in your library, which leads me to assume that you don't much care for female writers."

     I blushed faintly in involuntary confirmation of Carmel's assumption, put down the book I was reading, which happened to have been written by a woman, and waited for my darling to sit down opposite me, before launching into a response.  "As a matter of fact, I don't much care for female writers," I confessed, blushing slightly, "since their intellects usually function on a lower, more matter-of-fact plane than my own, and either bore me or offend me with their particular bias.  Of course, all women writers are to greater or lesser extents quasi-supermen in their professional lives, because they tend to function as quasi-electron equivalents.  So before you accuse me of discriminating against women, I must tell you that, on the contrary, I'm really discriminating against quasi-supermen who, for a variety of reasons, not least of all psychological, are unable to approximate to supermen, i.e. to a genuine free-electron equivalent, like myself."

     Carmel looked momentarily puzzled and asked: "What, exactly, do you mean by 'their particular bias'?"

     "I mean that, even as quasi-supermen, they retain something of a woman's point of view, and so speak more for their own interim sex than for men as a whole," I replied.  "To revert briefly to conventional terminology, one might say that, consciously or unconsciously, an authoress generally writes more for other women than for men, which is why her writings can become tedious or irrelevant to a man.  Moreover, she usually writes on her own level, which, at best, isn't that of a superman but of a quasi-superman, a mind appertaining to a female body which, although to some extent intellectualized, still falls short of being truly intellectual.  Now there's no reason why such a person shouldn't write books, since, as a quasi-electron equivalent, she cannot be discriminated against as a woman.  Yet there's still a good reason, founded upon dissimilar intellectual capacities, why a genuine superman should prefer not to read those books, but concentrate, instead, on the most intelligent writings being produced by fellow-supermen.  I received adequate confirmation of that fact some time ago."

     "Strange you didn't tell me about it," Carmel remarked.  "But perhaps you will now?"

     In truth, I would have preferred to let the matter drop there and then, but, since Carmel insisted I tell her, I reluctantly complied.  "It was one of Vera Stanley Alder's books, The Secret of the Atomic Age, which I had borrowed from the local library," I proceeded.  "I can't pretend that I was particularly ingratiated by the title to begin with; for I'd already got to a post-atomic stage of thinking in my own writings and had little respect for atomic integrities.  Nevertheless I persevered with her little book until the end, and when I'd finished reading it I was overcome with relief, since its main arguments weren't particularly convincing.  Indeed, I realized, in the light of my own work, that they were tragically delusive!  For while her contention that man had fallen from the spiritual realm of God to the material realm of the world was not without some justification ... in light of Biblical tradition, her conclusion that man had need of a return to God (the Father) through correct natural living ... struck a distinct discord in me, since her thesis emphasized the goodness of the origin of life in the solar atoms, the evil of the descent of life into the cruder atoms of the material world, and the need for man to refine on the atoms of his mind in order to get himself transmuted back to the level of God again.  The artificial life of modern man, encouraged by scientific invention and endeavour, was sharply criticized from a bias favouring the natural.  Indeed, the production of natural atomic energy, which the ancient Egyptians had apparently succeeded in producing, was considered of more benefit and importance to humanity than the production of artificial atomic energy, such as we encounter in the modern age.  Dame Vera clearly had great respect for the ancient wisdoms, which she considered superior to much of what goes-on in the world today."

     Carmel smiled in semi-ironic fashion and concluded: "But you evidently think less highly of the ancient wisdoms yourself?"

     "Indeed," I confirmed, "because I can't refrain from equating them with a certain primitivity, which involves too great an emphasis on nature and the natural, as befitting a less civilized age.  No, I couldn't share Dame Vera's respect for the ancient wisdoms, and neither could I share her opinion that man must get back to God, from whom, by some mysterious process, he had fallen, along with the rest of Creation.  This 'fall', corresponding to Old Testament theology, is defined by her as involution, which reflects a concession to materialist criteria, whereas the return to God, and thus to the realm of the purest atoms, involves evolution, during which time or process the individual puts the good of the community above self-interest on the material plane, and so behaves like a true Son of God by living according to the highest natural principles in loyalty to the spirit.  Life may therefore be interpreted, in Dame Vera's logic, as proceeding from God to man, and from man back to God again, which would correspond, using the letters of the alphabet, to a development from 'A' to, say, 'M', with a gradual struggle back to 'A' again."

     "Whereas you, by contrast, regard it as proceeding from 'A' to 'Z', or from a diabolic alpha absolute to a divine omega absolute?" Carmel surmised.

     "Absolutely," I rejoined.  "But in Vera Alder's limited logic there's no place for the Holy Spirit, and consequently things are required to proceed back to the Father, which, to say the least, I can only regard as a most unsatisfactory state-of-affairs!  Now the fact that she thinks otherwise is partly attributable, I believe, to her basic mental constitution as an upper-class woman, for whom the Alpha is apt to appear more of an ally than an enemy, and who is prepared, in consequence, to adopt a much more euphemistic, optimistic, and complacent view of cosmic energy than ever a man like me could!  She, however, is the kind of thinker who is accepted in England, whereas I, with my post-atomic lucidity, can only be an outsider there.  Nevertheless I learnt from her book to be wary of women writers and to treat them as a separate category.  For they're very often in league with the Devil without realizing it.  Unfortunately, no matter how intelligent the woman - and Vera Alder has more than the usual quota of academic intelligence - she will never become a superman but remain, at most, a quasi-superman, functioning on quasi-electron terms.  No absolute equality can be established between the sexes on the human plane!"

     I had got quite worked-up with righteous indignation by now, and might have succumbed to a tirade of abuse against false prophets and diabolical muddleheads ... had not Carmel interrupted me to ask: "But wasn't there any aspect of her book you liked?"

     Halted in mid-flight, as it were, I was obliged to take my bearings and scan my memory for an answer.  "Yes, there was actually," I at length replied.  "For I enjoyed her prose style quite a lot, which reminded me of the lush, rather quirky style of John Cowper Powys, who would qualify on a number of grounds, not least of all his bias for nature and the natural life generally, for recognition as a kindred spirit - perhaps the nearest thing to a male equivalent that Dame Vera could ever hope to find.  However, I also seem to recall that her advocacy of fruit-eating made a positive impression on me, since I subsequently made more room for fruit in my diet, thereby hoping to improve the quality of my mental atoms, so to speak!  Yet I'm fully aware that a partiality for fruit in its natural state is a bourgeois or alpha-stemming tendency, and that the more civilized people, even when they aren't particularly conscious of being such, tend to prefer fruit at an artificial remove from the raw - namely in the form of various kinds of fruit pies and/or yoghurts."

     Carmel nodded affirmatively, recalling to mind the occasion when I had told her that it was a bourgeois shortcoming to regard doctored or artistically-shaped food, such as one encountered in burger bars and fast-food joints generally, as 'plastic'.  Considered from an evolutionary point-of-view, only that food which had been severed, so to speak, from its natural roots through artificial shaping was worthy of being equated with a higher order of civilization.  Thus chips or, to give them their American name, fries, when shaped in such a delicate and intricate fashion as was generally the custom in burger bars reflected an evolutionary progression beyond roast potatoes, which still resembled potatoes in their naturalistic appearance.  Those who ordinarily preferred chips and/or fries to roast potatoes were more civilized in their gastronomical tastes.  Doubtless the same applied to those who ordinarily preferred apple pies, carefully wrapped and boxed, to raw applies.  It was the difference, to put it crudely, between the city dweller, with his daily exposure to artificial influences, and the suburban or rural dweller, who lived closer to nature.  The difference, in other words, between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie.  Tough luck if you shied away from this fact, like Count Dracula from the Cross!  I suspected that Dame Vera preferred apples and roast or boiled potatoes to apple pies or chips, and said as much to Carmel, when she had concluded her recollections concerning my opposition to such bourgeois failings as the inability to regard synthetic or artificially-shaped food with respect.

     "Not that I'm particularly partial to such food myself," I continued.  "But, then, long and painful confinement in the metropolis did have the effect of obliging me to regard most aspects of urban life from an objective rather than a narrowly subjective point-of-view.  Thus in theory I betrayed or, if you prefer, transcended my class origins, without, however, becoming too much of a proletarian in practice.  I always longed for the day when I'd be able to move out of London and return to my suburban roots."

     "I'm glad you decided to return to them with me," said Carmel, offering me one of her most endearing smiles, such as subsumed a wealth of fond memories.  "Strange how you still retain the logic of your urban exile."

     "Yes," I agreed.  "But once one has attained to the Truth, no matter how painfully or against one's deepest wishes, one can't very well refute it thereafter.  That's why, despite my admiration for certain aspects of Vera Alder's book, I was unable to subscribe to its central arguments.  Believe me, there are quite a number of bourgeois intellectuals who would profit from a lengthy spell in the city!  As a rule, they live according to their suburban or rural lights, without realizing just how dim such lights can really be!  One would have to live a long while in the city to acquire an inkling of the distinction between those lower, bourgeois lights and these higher, proletarian ones.  And live there, I might add, as a superman rather than as a quasi-superman with a fundamentally feminine psyche.  I wouldn't want to discriminate between men and women, Carmel, but it's impossible, in matters of literary taste, for a free-electron equivalent not to discriminate against a quasi-electron equivalent.  We must attend to the higher and more truthful writings.  They must content themselves, for the most part, with the lower, largely illusory writings appropriate to their mental level."

     Carmel smiled but said nothing, and I concluded that our discussion was at an end.

 

                             

LONDON 1982 (Revised 1983-2010)

 

 

POST-ATOMIC INTEGRITIES

 

 

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