By Greg Tate
She had what he described as ‘’this crazy dark energy, this wildness.’’
He would’ve called it feral back in his life on the land. The life he’d left on that dead world Mother Earth, receding as fast in memory as in miles. A life where wild things like her got called feral creatures even if her species was not that of wolves, coyotes, cougars.
Once the species was no longer part of nature where would they find replacement metaphors capable of describing a woman like her?
She didn’t seem all that dangerous, really, but he got off on how ferocious her appetite for him was. An appetite that seemed to run as deep and dark as her first name–Abyssinia.
She’d been given that name by parents who had loved the cities of their birth-world so much they decided to commemorate that love through their daughters.
He thought it the perfect name for this wild darkling woman who loved mauling her lover in candlelit darkness while shrouded in the most obsidian of velveteen fabrics, veils and gloves.
He came to believe she only existed to blow his wig back in bed, that she had no other desire than to nightly mount the underside of his skullcap, crawl up into the secret spaces where he burrowed thoughts and dreams, reknit his synapses, tickle and stroke his fancy with her tapered and silk-sheathed fingers. He always waited for her with desperate anticipation. Knowing she would waste no time merrily going about the business of smashing his basic thought patterns, entangling herself with his wiring. overloading his central nervous system.
He could touch her anywhere and feel this throbbing heat beneath her skin. A near mystical force—some sort of magical dynamo that somehow kept churning and burning even when she was at rest. palpable and powered by radiation-hot emanations which neither he nor the ship that enveloped them both could neither name or source.
In this fiery aspect she reminded him of another thing already old long before he eft earth: the smoldering afterburn he used to feel coming from under the hood of a petroleum powered automobile on a hot summer day. If you attempted to plop your hand or your ass down before the thing had begun to cool down, you risked being singed, scalded even.
Sometimes just the thought of touching her could seem like that–like you were about warm yourself by her flame at an unsafe distance. Like she could scar you white if you got too close. From twenty feet across a crowded room she made him feel like the powerful motor underneath her hood could run, spew steam and hiss infinitely, never growing cold.
When the surge of actual contact with her jumped from his hands to his entire nervous system there was no denying that her surface temperature was indeed several degrees hotter than any woman he’d ever touched before.
He stayed constantly amazed that her skin didn’t stay soaked with tropical –though strangely enough, as feverish as her body always felt, she too had to work as ferociously as anybody else to generate an actual sweat on the icy ship.
After their first half- day barely leaving one another’s side he wanted to say to her ”Damn, babycakes, what are you half-woman, half nuclear reactor?”
A week later he was given to think that somewhere Out There, somewhere beyond the length of his mammoth circular bed and its synthetic antelope-fur blankets, somewhere way on the other side of his door, where he was the nominal captain of a self-piloting self-aware starship that needed a captain about as much as the now defoliated Amazon rainforest had once needed a groundskeeper. Somewhere across that reminder of his utter uselessness to the vessel ‘under his command’ , he knew there had to be some elemental chart, some measure of human emotions that could computationally break down the source of her energy into the mathematics of attraction, need, wants and separation anxieties equivalent to those governing the dangers of fatal roentgens, lethal dosages, half-life decays,
He never stopped feeling like whatever it was she was doing to him was too good to go on forever and too all-consuming not to come at some great cost—costs he was now too distracted to ever calculate.
Those thoughts were the sort he could never maintain for long in her presence–especially when she began delivering on her frequently and eagerly made promise: ‘ Boy I’m ’bout to sop you up like a flaky biscuit”.
He always felt like he was on the verge of major scientific discovery everytime she took to slaying and resurrecting him in her grand and round lovebed. As if by analyzing her effect on him he’d finally find the answer to how one woman’s sexual nature could be so powerfully different from all of her sisters– each of his past lover’s had run the gamut from passive to aggressive in pursuit of her pleasures but none had trooped so far up in his head as her.
Why was this one more prone to make a man babble and moan from the moment she claimed squatters rights on his hardened desire? Why did she alone make him feel like her ship’s captain while being in total control while simultaneously leave him feeling like he was was a doomed vessel destined to drown in her whirlpool? Why had her coronas, her aureoles, her nipples been positioned by God in such way that the mere thought of them alone was enough to sustain his arousal through the exhausting and emptying night. How was it that through this woman—a woman who’d been a stranger to him before he came out of star-sleep—how had he finally found the answers he’d been seeking from the bodies of the many who’d come before her? If only because unlike all the rest she was able to shift the center of her own satisfactions from place to place across the stormy tempest of her body whenever they got down like they got down. The lyric of a song he’d loved since he was a child always came to mind when they coupled: ”When you touch me/ You give me fever/ Sopping wet/Break me down in a cold sweat.”
That her powers of empathy were as supernatural as her physical grip also kept him slaked and slackened.
If he came to her hurting from somewhere deep down inside over the loss of Mother Earth and all he’d loved there, she immediately knew exactly where it hurt and how to fix it it— one glorious amorous caress of understanding at a time.
She liked to think of herself as good for what ailed him and she always made him take his medicine.
There was always food waiting for him when he rose from the dead alone in that mound of bed that took up a third of her quarters. No measly morsels were these, but instead wholly extravagantly prepared meals, things he’d loved to eat for as long as he could remember, yet mixed with other, more exotic things he’d never tasted before.
Things he never even knew could be presented together in such bizarre, succulent combinations.
She cooked like she conquered–with inordinate witchery and skill.
Many was the night she felt she couldn’t just cook for him. Nights when she felt compelled to hand-feed him herself, stuff in his mouth fingerfuls of every torn and ragged bit of fruit, flesh and foliage which she had set upon designated regions of his anatomy. One morning he even woke up to find juicy garlands of sashimi slices spotting him from head to toe. Before he could even react there she was, swimming up and down his ticklish slightly shivering frame like he’d become a canal built for ferrying her migratory hungers to a place where neither time or death held sway.
He kept expecting to wake up and find her gone, his fever broken or whatever delusionary state this was that he knew was certain to soon dissipate.
He knew he couldn’t tell anyone who might have popped in out of nowhere to ask what month or day it was or who was our last President or who had won the Super Bowl that last year before the planet collapsed— because like everybody else onboard he’d stopped caring about such stuff way before the ship had even left the solar system.
Yet the longer he stayed prone beside her the more he became obsessed with finding some way to prove she was no illusion but the only reality that mattered.
He decided the only way to do this was to make himself numb to her touch, to try and experience her while anesthetized.
All so he could prove that this romantic delirium he’d surrendered flesh and sprit to was some witchery of her making and not some self-hynposis his own.
This first required him removing all notions of ‘She’ and ‘I’ from his bedazzled realm of the senses; he had to began feeling like they were both nothing more than objects adrift in the ether—abstracted objects without muscle, bone, nerves synapses and ganglia to connect them on what would unquestionably be humanity’s last lurch towards the eternal.
It should have been as simple a matter as taking two of the yolk-colored pills the doctors had made all of them keep on their persons during work shifts.
The pills simulated morphine, a B-booster, and some form of Mexican mushroom, all without entering the blood stream–a cocktail of lozenges that when heated into vapor could trick the brain into believing that contrary states like sentient paralysis and lucid deathsleep could co-exist.
To the extent that he felt suddenly unchained to her love, the pills worked. The only problem arose when he realized that couldn’t find his work shirt or any other articles of clothing anywhere in her room. This became a sobering shock on its own–even though he couldn’t remember having worn any clothing for days and weeks running now.
When he’d exhausted all visible options and asked for her assistance she looked hurt and disappointed.
“You’re leaving? ‘ she hurled out in a gasp.”I knew you’d get tired of me one day .I just never expected it to be so soon…”
He tried explaining to her that he didn’t want to leave but that he could feel her inner Garbo coming back online, wanting to be left alone, and for that reason he thought he should know where his clothes were and return to his own his quarters.
She looked pouty, even a bit snippy now, pointing to a window that he’d never seen before but one he knew must have always been in her room:. an egress suddenly visible from all corners of her tight domicile that looked out onto an air-locked corridor. One that tunneled towards a hangar packed with gleaming shuttlecraft.
In that anterior alleyway he could see his clothes drying on heating elements in the wall that were glowering red, just like her pique with him.
He also knew that those deceptive nano-medicines he kept in his pocket were toast by now and useless for the mind deadening fate he intended for them.
He also realized that he was standing up straight for the first time in who knows how many star-calendar points and thinking clearer than he had for about as long and that it would probably be a good idea to leave her room now. Leave before he succumbed again to whatever hypersexual magnetism had kept him so willingly cooped up so long in the first place.
Not that he actually had anything better to do for the next 100 years of star-hopping either.
If the ship was banging around the universe in search of the perfect supernova while on steady autopilot why couldn’t he do the same? Only some silly residual degree of macho guilt he decided. Feelings likely driven by his shame at not adequately performing his meagre duties as the pointless ship’s captain.
This thought of course occurred to him before he realized he actually had no existence outside of her bedroom.
This realization coming just as his programming was sparked to epiphany and he came to comprehend that there was no ‘him’ that was not a figment of her sexual imagination.
This before he saw clearly that it was she and not the fictional ‘he’, a re-enactment, of sorts, of a perfectly adoring actual former lover on Mother Earth that she’d nicknamed Himself’, long before she’d even become a starship commander.
Before he sank into cognitive oblivion in sync came thereckoning that it was only She and not the fictitious He who was cavorting and canoodling across galaxies inside the vessel that served as her purpose in life when she could not be found in her budoir and personal pleasure dome.
Those too short flash of the spirit moments when her ship-time once again became hers alone. When it truly wasn’t nobody’s business what she did to get herself going as long she got There: to that far off and maybe even mythical inter galactic destination hardwired into the ships higher dream functions: the unconscious back brain of this big old star hopping thing she captained–the one sheltering and chaffuering Mother Earth’s one billion freeze-dried refugees to a fraught rendezvous with the only star thought to be beckoning and twinkling come-hither glances at them from long ways across the sumptuous and coquettish void.