FRIEDA & JULY
From: Frieda Gan
Sent: Tuesday, July 09, 2013 4:54 AM
It is bloody 4 am and I have been pacing up and down since I woke at 2. I am not sure quite what to do about this so I emailed you. I know you have not heard from me in a long while and probably thought I had fallen off the face of the earth, but I was just in hiding and I know you would be the only one who would understand. Why was I pacing you ask? Well — while you may all think that I have been there done that a million times, I had never ever known what it felt like. I have a condition that causes me to be quite rigid, and while I may and please do not tell anyone, tell everyone of escapades I have had with large married men, I have not yet had any. Not quite until two days ago. I had never quite felt the desire to allow anyone quite so near me to be honest. I get a serious case of goosebumps and chills and tense up down there to the point of no entering, if you know what I mean. But he had the idea of blindfolding me, and feeling me, all of me with his bare hands before leaving me on the bed without notice of when he would come to devour me. And I waited, and waited and waited. And waited. And waited. And at the sound of the turn of the knob and his voice I was immediately overcome with desire for him. And he had me, exactly how he wanted. And I melted dear Jules, melted in his fat flabby arms, aroused by his flabby beer belly upon my stomach I melted like a candle. All over the bed. And now I am a nervous wreck, feeling quite like the candle, still, every time something touches me. I have been ruined.
Oh my God! I have just been ranting, I am tempted to not send this, but I need someone else out there to know – just like how you needed someone to know about Amin. How are your cupcakes coming along anyway?
Anyway please never mention the contents of this email to me again.
From: July Kamal
Sent: Tuesday, July 09, 2013 4:54 AM
Subject: DON’T PANIC
I’m aware this email arrives a full two days after your little anxiety attack, so by now you must be calm and detached from the whole thing. Little secrets like this can make us who we are, if we allow it to build inside us. If there is something wrong with you, you must go about fixing it. Of course this is easier for me to say, seeing how I am devoid of any real problems, because my life is a solitary one. The last time I left the house was in April, and the customers who order my goods online arrive at my doorstep with a note to collect their goods and leave cash in the pink envelope I leave outside. I don’t like people, most of all myself.
The last time I went out, I decided to step out of this person. And something strange happened. Let me start from the beginning. A few friends I once worked with invited me to a “pot-luck” dinner, and I decided to cook cupcakes. I decided to go with salted caramel cupcakes, they are after all what the blogs call a “crowd-pleaser”. As heartened as I am by the compliment, I hate it that any critique of my work has relied on tired clichés. Once, an unhappy buyer sent me an email to say my cupcakes tasted like “divorce”. I cried a full two days because it was so mean, and incredible at the same time.
Anyway, I cooked a dozen cupcakes — and wasn’t feeling like myself. Going to see people, thinking about how my hair looked — it was as if I had stolen the life of someone who was socially functional and who hadn’t had a two-year affair with her own brother years ago. I felt like a Clara or a Jean or a Monica, or one of those silly Caucasian women on TV who are built on punchlines and cleavage. You won’t believe what I or this other woman did, I/she stuffed a whole cupcake up my/her you-know-what and it felt amazing. I put on sheer underwear and a dress my brother/ex-lover Amin once said made me look like I “fucked teenagers for money”.
At dinner, there were two men and a lady. Ashraf, Leon and Ch’ing. I would serve my cupcakes for dessert, and see if anyone could sense the little “secret” ingredient. The person who could, I decided, would get to eat the last cupcake. Out of my babymaker. Munch it out of me like a barbarian. The possibility I allowed myself, this little key I was going to surrender to someone anonymous, it felt so thrilling. Ch’ing and her dumb apostrophe was too absorbed in herself to notice me, I doubt she’d bother – but Ashraf and Leon both seemed perceptive, they both also had the dark midnight chocolate-snack skin and cinnamon-sweet eyes that Amin has. Do you remember those? Both of you hardly ever got along, you always insisted on giving him that notorious cold glare of yours, which I find hilarious.
I served the cupcakes on a big yellow plate. The walk from the kitchen to the dining table was the most exciting thing I had ever done. I could feel the smushing in my thighs, a bit of the cream had begun to salivate down my leg — I cleared it with a finger, that I licked clean myself. They all bit into the cupcakes while I watched, and both men had a tinge of clarity on their faces. “This tastes…different” Leon says.
“I put something special inside, can anyone guess?” I said, attempting a smirk. Leon asked if it’s alcohol. “Vodka?”
Ch’ing chirped in, “You wish! Look at this girl, she hasn’t had a sip of it in her life! Her fridge is probably just full of milk.”
I ignored Ch’ing and looked to Ashraf. He took a second bite of the cupcake, and soon finished it. We all waited for him to say something. “I know what it is,” he boasted confidently. I raised an eyebrow, sure that he’d say something silly and get it wrong. “It’s cumin,” he said.
I was struck by the certainty of his voice — a masculine, unwavering tone — indeed it was cumin.
“My mom used to bake a lot and I used to help her as a boy, I can spot all these different spices with just one sniff. And I can tell what should or shouldn’t be in a cupcake.”
“Also, I can smell it on you.”
“The cumin, I can smell it all over you, Jules.”
At this point, I felt ignited by shame and coldness — something inside me began to melt, on the underside of my breasts and in the slit between my legs. This other woman I had become was dying at the dinner table. And I succumbed to myself once again, feeling all kinds of misplaced. The dress. The hair. The cupcake inside me. The cumin. The wanting, the getting.
I excused myself, saying I had forgotten to feed my cat. A lie so wafer-thin and shameless, still the three of them said nothing. None of them bothered insisting I stay, none of them really cared if I was there or not. These people were never really my friends, it would be silly to expect them to do what friends would do for me.
I slowly started to walk home. I got home, immediately locked all 17 of my doors. I took a long shower, hopped into bed in my rabbit slippers and the binder I have filled with photos of Amin. 20-something me was just years ago, but it feels as if so many old selves have departed.
Amin and I in Sydney, laughing at crap. Amin and I in San Francisco, still laughing. And tonight, a lone picture of me, now laughing to myself.
The days of laughing, like a little girl with absolutely no little secrets. How things have changed, Frieda.
JALIL & SIGGIE
From: Jalil “Coco” Hisham
Sent: Wednesday, 10 July 2013 12:16
To: Manfred “Siggie” Lee
i think my son broke his wrist, he might’v got it stuck in the bars of his bed and twisted his arm. ive made a makeshift bandage and it looks like he’s got a rocket launcher screwed on its pretty awesome. baby doraemon I’ll call him. this way he won’t hurt himself anymore, coco always knows what to do.
fuck those old videotapes man. we were both so fit and stupid back then, the late 90s and we still survived it doing snot and blow. remember the time we got into a gangbang and had to fuck this twink. he was so skinny and i could see his ribcage. i was afraid that my dick would go into his ass and pop out his bellybutton, but who knew the human rectum was so strong. i only did that shit with porn for a few months and once i got a job with benefits i thought i could do ok, but i still wonder now what would happen if i got to go on.
shit man the characters they wouldve asked us to play. once i was a teacher with a student who was geography retarded, so i had to explain shit with my body and my dick was southeast asia. ah southeast asia did all the colonizing in that story. the scenarios made no sense and we played with taboos so casually, i imagine someone’s dad shooting off to that. a guy with six kids and a wife shooting off to a kid being fucked so he knew his geography haha. brb my kid is screaming ive to check. maybe if im lucky he’s got his head stuck and accidentally decapitated himself this time.
back. no such luck, the kid might be down syndrome but he’s not dumb enough to kill himself. coco knows the kid is not at fault, that i should try to be a father. coco has all the feelings and the mindset of a proper father, without her around i might have just flushed my son down the toilet headfirst. bro you’ll get to meet coco soon. i don’t want to have to hide her from you, especially, you’ve seen me at my worst and you know what i’m talking about.
coco is some part of me that comes alive, when she feels like it. all those characters i didn’t get to live out back then, most of them remain in my head. memories i didn’t get to have, fantasies that could’ve been reality. but some of them are more potent. coco is one of them. she wakes me up at fucking 4 am sometimes and puts on her hair and face and lace lingerie. she locks the door to paint her nails. she puts on jazz music, like a hooker waiting to perform. then she spins. she throws her head at a lamp to smash it. she runs her fist through the wall and punches it until the knuckles bleed and crack. she jumps up to do a big leg split and lands at an angle where her ankles smash on the floor. coco wants to ruin herself but at the cost of what. my son needs her and i need her but at the same time i need me back and in all of this my son is there guiltless. why do i have to make all the decisions. why do i need to be a father and a husband and a man and a boy and all of these things at different times but not at once. how can anyone try to operate so many different people?
i woke up this morning where coco passed out. my body felt like how the twink must have felt after the twelve of us fucked him then pissed on his naked body. coco and i need to talk and i wonder if you could help us with that. you’ve always been better with the ladies. i need to do something about this and i need to convince coco that she deserves to live more than i do. i need her to go on existing without me and i know thats a huge responsibility but im willing to give all of this shit up for that. i am ok with ending it here, ive had a good life, man. drugs and stds didnt fuck me up, so i could live to have a son who can have a better life than mine. coco needs to see that she is needed. please please please bro. you’re my only hope in this, tell me when you’re free next week and i’ll get coco to meet us.
always your pal, until the bitter end
From: Manfred “Siggie” Lee
Sent: Wednesday, 20 July 2013 12:16
Yea, so sorry it took me so long, I meant to write, just didn’t know what to say. What the fuck man — that was an awkward encounter. I had always wanted to meet your son but not like that. I was not ready for all that. And yes, I see Coco is alive and very well, not sure if that is a good thing for you really. In fact she is eating you up, WHOLE. She needs to go, man she needs to go. Let her go for God’s sake. You need to find other ways to cope! I am going to come by your way again next week, and if Coco is there tell her I am going to fuck her in any hole she has open for me to fuck, and then I will carve her up with my pen-knife and fuck the fucking life outta her, so she better run. Leave. Get it? Ok? Stop clinging to her like a wimpy 2-year-old boy. Fuck man!
Banging – sigh, MAN! those were the days. I have to tell you honestly, it has been a while since I have felt anything down there. Really. It gets tough, you know what I mean? I mean man, I am at it day in and day out nothing gets me going anymore, and I miss it – my private sex life. I miss it but nothing gets me going – that’s why Kel walked out the other day. Yes he did, sorry I didn’t say anything. He mentioned feeling rejected, and unattractive being with me because he just could not turn me on. He takes off his clothes and shows me his pecs and all, and nothing. I didn’t bother stopping him. Whatever. It has been that way for a year now. Then I found my old videos, since you mentioned them. Remember those first few ones I did when I was still fresh and young and so hot! I was so hot. Fuck yea, I bet you remember. You wanted me bad then. I am not surprised really, because that young me really got ME going. When I watch myself, honest to God, I want to stick myself in myself, and stick it good. And so the other day, I tried. I watched him, the young me in the video. And I just watched, I did not allow myself to touch myself, not even a little bit, I just sat and watched, and watched, and watched. And then by the end of the night, after I had seen him do it I imagined myself to be the girl, or the other guy, and all the other recipients of my thrusting in the videos I had watched over and over again. I just imagined. And then all I needed to do was feel my warm hands upon it and I groaned a groan so deep that I felt my insides lunge out of my throat onto the coffee table. Then I just lay there on the floor, beside the coffee table and slept the best sleep ever. And you know what — I was the best sex I had ever had!
Yes I actually was.
VICKI & ALEX
From: Chastity Victoria Lee
Sent: Wednesday, 14 August 2013 4:23AM
I wondered how you were the other day, but did not bother. You are probably too busy with your life. And to be honest, I never really thought you cared much about any other thing but yourself. It is always about you. Have you ever thought that maybe if you cared about something other you would not have need for those pills you constantly pop? Never mind. I need you now. And this time to listen. Will you? I really need to go. I am not sure who else to write to but I just need someone to know that I am going so someone will come and find me. I am sitting here sawing my coffee table with my bread knife. I guess I am procrastinating and I need something to do with my hands. So I decided to write to you instead. This poor coffee table could be useful to someone.
I am just confused, you know? I mean I have never in my lifetime thought that I was sexually attracted to my own kind. You know that I had been in love with our sister’s husband all my life! That was a hard lesson and though it was a long time ago, now I still remember the feeling clearly. Of course Elizabeth would marry Dan, and of course Dan would love her, she was the beautiful one. All my life I had wanted to be Lizzee, but I was not. I was the plump one. The one boys befriended to court the beautiful Lizzee. Though I dare not say this aloud, I resent her. I resent my twin sister, though she knew it not.
But you know, the desire to be wanted, to be beautiful, to be accepted and loved has really taken over me and I have crossed the line to obtain it.
One of my students who I always thought of as keen told me one day after class that she thought I was intelligent, and so beautiful. I did not believe her at first but after some repetition I was taken. So that night, after that long dinner at Lizzee and Dan’s where I saw them kiss in the kitchen I really wondered what it was like to be kissed like that. In my intoxication I called her, my 14-year-old student. She was over in a flash and really made me feel wanted, desired. She wanted me and I felt beautiful, I felt sexy. I know some girls will never understand how lucky they are to be born beautiful.
They find love so easily, but I am not sure now if it is love they find. I guess we the less attractive ones have had to look harder.
Maybe we just find a purer version of love. I don’t know, when she came over, and leaned over to embrace me I just melted into her arms. She told me I was the most beautiful thing inside and out and when she kissed me, the first time I had ever been kissed, I exploded with a want so desperate I consumed her. I just devoured her whole. I swallowed her within myself, sucked her tongue, her plump juicy cheeks, and I inhaled her, drunk deep. She nursed me with her tender breasts as if I was a baby, and I drunk. I drunk from that perky 14-year-old breast and I liked it. That was how it began, and for the few days and nights after that we stayed in, we explored one another, and we talked, we laughed, we sang. I smelt her and loved it, all of her, the sourness and the sweetness. And I ate her up and let her fill every part of me fully. Her fingers are divine, and I don’t know for no loin has ever penetrated me but if this was sex it was good. That awakened something in me and made me want more. So after the weekend had ended we skipped school, and we lay in the bathtub. I felt a selfishness come over me and I wanted to stuff her, all of her inside me so nobody else can claim her, can ruin her. She was mine. Until things came to an abrupt end when her parents came knocking on my door. Of course the school came to know and I was quickly dismissed.
It was over too quickly and I feel like scum yet what am I to do now I can’t ever see her again? What am I going to do, I am so desperate for her. So desperate that I would rather die.
From: Alex Lee
Subject: Re: Going
Date: August 20, 2013 7:30:21 PM GMT+12:00
Sometimes I think there are desires that God makes available to us, as if to test our character, and our reaction to it will then be met by reward or punishment. At this age you should treat every want with suspect and distribute action onto these desires selfishly, which is what I wouldn’t expect from you, but I have faith that you can change.
You may say that I take these pills out of selfishness, but at least I’m thinking about me. About changing myself and bettering myself. You’re too busy trying to live out your sick fantasies for motherhood, which you’ve considered to be the pinnacle of selflessness so much so that you’ve picked up a 14-year-old whose breasts you polish like a damn pervert.
I’m sitting at my desk at work, conscious of the hours that are whittling away, and I recall a time of youth when time had such a delicious sense of urgency. When I was pressed to become someone, to go out and do things, when I felt like heartbreak was a badge to be earned and no writer would be equipped without it. Maybe this is what you yearned for from the little girl you seduced, at that age they taste as delicious as danger, too stupid to know better, and risk-takers of the best kind.
I knew I wasn’t unattractive as a young man, and I could be charming when I wanted to. I had the imposing height and clear face of someone who could’ve been dashing, if he was a bit more brash and brave to speak. I was already by then, seeing a psychiatrist that the campus contracted to help me. He had been rotating me on different pills because each had strange side effects, one of which, I would say, was positively desirable. It was one of those pills you saw advertisements everywhere for, on the tube and in the papers, on TV where the pill would change a man’s life from sepia to full colour.
This medicine fixed something in me but not without a cost, I felt numbed from my own personality. As if every emotion was within reach and mine to possess, except my true self and its reckless ways had been banished to a cellar underground.
In this state, I walked up to a girl after class. She looked like a girl with ideals for herself, self-assured and certain of the young woman she was meant to be, and I wondered if this was infectious. I observed a folder she was carrying, on it was a “SASSY” sticker. A now-defunct magazine young girls in the 90s read at home. It’s ridiculous, how young women were always pursuing self-definitions with magazines, motto’s and anthems, as if a little bit of “SASSY” made you a fuller person. I told her I loved the magazine, and she beamed, clearly impressed that someone had recognized the sticker. We went for a coffee, and I had water, because my doctor said the pills weren’t to be taken with alcohol or caffeine and I didn’t want to dilute its their effect.
The thing I learned about her was that she had a good heart. One so immense with space, full of empty ideals and wishes for herself. I slowly persuaded her to spring-clean. Soon, when she allowed me to love, it was the best and worst feeling I’ve ever felt. I don’t know, Vicki, if you’ve ever felt what it’s like. To have someone allow you to unleash your love, to let it bloom and soar like a monstrous wave. To have this other person be in a position to suffer your love’s nutrition and occasional whiplash.
What I overestimated in all of this, was the strength the pills afforded me, they allowed me a vessel of a man, who I later bestowed the strength to love and be loved. But in all of this, my true self remained chambered underneath. His sadness unexpressed, whistling melancholic things within me, stranded in a black ocean and struggling to come ashore.
I know you must wonder what happened to she and I, if at last my true nature broke free and overwhelmed my spirit with cruelty, or goodness prevailed. The truth is that both men still reside inside me, and the girl has been here this whole time, she has acclimated to my different shades.
Good and bad are parts of who I am, and you should let yourself capture both light and dark. I don’t know why people tell us that we should strive to be one, a perfect embodiment of joy and contentment, when characters like those only exist in books. Will yourself to feel, and treat desire as if it was a stranger knocking at your door. As lonely you may be, and large and welcoming your heart is, those strangers knocking have their own needs too. And it is this element that poses danger. I no longer take the pills I used to, and it’s hard for me to differentiate, to observe things for what they are.
As your brother, I wish you had never lived, but there is some satisfaction to having seen your life unfold the pathetic way it has. But still, I really believe there is hope for you. Both of us have been cursed with a kind of curiosity that taints our blood, makes our tongues and bodies yearn for alien pleasures, but we must fight them. We may never emerge winners, and go on fighting our whole sad lives, but the battle is what sustains us. Triumph, dear Vicki, is always a trap.
Al Zaquan wishes letter-writing was a more common activity, though he’d think twice about revealing that much of his self to someone.
Raina Ng thinks of the first line in the U2 song Miracle Drug whenever she meets strange characters, especially when they cause her to never look at a cupcake the same way again.