By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
"Then her face lit up. She said she had a proposal for me. She knew I was interested in the extremes of experience, and that one extreme that could almost never be had safely, by a normal person outside of wartime, was the experience of killing someone. Since the question of whether or not she was going to die by a gunshot wound to the heart was moot, there existed the unique opportunity for me to be the one to pull the trigger. She wanted me to shoot her. For her, it would mean that she didn't have to die alone. It would still be suicide, absolutely, she said, but it would make her death an intimate experience, the most intimate experience of our lives.
"She had a plan. We would drive up to the Angeles National Forest, to the spot she wanted, where she would dig a shallow grave. Then she would lie in it, and I would put the gun to her chest and pull the trigger. I would leave her there with her own gun. She would likely never be found, and if she was, no one would ever think of me, since I had no motive and hadn't seen her in years.
"I could see that she trusted me in proposing this scenario, and I felt I owed it to her to trust her sincerity. I thought about it, and about all the things women had asked me for in the past, some of which I had tried to give them. I began to catch some of the suicide's lucidity, and the thing started to look like the perfect relationship: a nice drive, an afternoon in the forest with this terrific woman -- because she was pretty terrific always, and still was -- then this act. When I started to think about what I might feel driving home, I was committed.
"I sat on her bed drinking coffee and watched her pull clothes from the closet, discarding one shirt that had no button, choosing another. Her body always looked nice without any kind of exercise, but it was like watching someone you've lived with for a long time get dressed in the morning -- no desire, only approval. I picked up a magazine on her nightstand that I'd already read, and we talked about an article on Robert Mitchum, and we both laughed when I read the best quotes back to her. She settled on jeans and a blue plaid work shirt.
"We didn't talk on the drive. She had her feet on the dash, and the shadows of trees slashed over her ankles. She smiled occasionally, but didn't seem lost in thought. She told me to turn onto a dirt fire road, which we followed to its end. When I stopped the car, she told me what she'd purposefully left out: It's a five-mile hike, all uphill.
"So we walked the five miles up, on a trail at first, over a pass, around another hill, then we headed cross-country over a ridge, to a spot out of sight from any road or footpath. The site she'd chosen was a shallow dip in the side of a hill, clear of any spring runoffs. I watched her dig, and never felt that she wanted me to stop her. I wouldn't say that what I felt was love, but it was very free, the freest I've ever felt with another person. I did wonder, why the grave? But it was what she wanted.
"When she was done, we sat together and shared a cigarette. Then she pulled the Glock from the waist of her jeans and a pair of rubber gloves from her back pocket. She watched me put on the gloves, then held my hands and positioned the gun over her chest, demonstrating the angle. She climbed into the hole, lay down on her back and looked up. In her plaid shirt she looked like an Egyptian pharaoh dressed as a lumberjack.
"I tried kneeling beside the grave, then straddling it, accidentally pulling her hair with the ball of my hand as I swung over. She yelped, and I apologized, then she laughed kindly.
"In the end I climbed down into the grave, knelt on her stomach and hips and held the gun to her chest. The whole time I was settling myself, she looked at the sky. But then she laid her hands lightly over mine, and looked at me, and I pulled the trigger."
HE HAD BEEN LYING NEXT TO ME VERY still while he told the story. Now he sat up on one elbow, his face over mine. He kissed me, then stroked my hair a little.
"What do you want?" I asked again.
"I want to choke you with my hands while I fuck you. It will leave bruises, but it will feel good. Will you let me do that?"
I nodded. And that is what he was doing when his wife walked in wearing a terrycloth robe. She stopped short at the sight of his hunched back. Evidently, she didn't expect that he'd be fucking me while she wasn't there.
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