Chapter 1: A Pigment In Dire Release

Fairy tales and romance stories have a knack for ending at the most opportune time possible—that is, right after the two lovers realize they'll be able to live together for the rest of their lives and right before they start getting annoyed with the other's irritating quirks. Those stories don't even need the age-old lie, "And they lived happily ever after." We'd all assume as much anyway, because that's what we want to think.

"And then the prince kissed the princess, and they both lived." We'd all hear that "happily ever after" in our heads. We'd imagine it.

If my life would cut off at that very opportune time, I'd die happy. Heh, heh, that's really funny.

But the authors of those stories are ingenious. They know that we're all very content with never hearing the rest of the story. How the girls got fat and dumpy and smoked until they died of emphysema, and how the guys got hooked on alcohol and beat the chicks for the rest of their lives. How they had ugly children who grew up to be heroin addicts, and how they lost all their savings in a bad investment. How they eventually separated because, for the life of them, they just couldn't make it work. It just isn't like that in the real world.

For some reason, this all strikes me as very humorous. I think that means I'm depressed. Or something.

But really.

I suppose it was a series of events that led me here tonight, to this orgy where I am currently being fucked by the most gorgeous stranger I have ever seen, rather than just one single cause. I am certainly here on my own volition, for sure, but I think everything else was purely coincidental.

It's all because I'm having problems with my girlfriend, a common cause from which most unfaithful fiascos stem. Apparently, according to her, she's changed and I haven't, and that's why she wants to take some time apart.

"Oh, but don't worry," she said, the last time I saw her. "Give it a week, maybe two. I'm sure you'll find out what you need to do to keep me." She paused and, probably because of the glare I was without a doubt giving to her at the time, blinked innocently, as if what she just said wasn't the most arrogant thing she could have said. She stood silent for a moment, brushing her long red hair behind her ear, and then smiled at me between her blood-red lips. It was almost a sneer. "I love you," she said, like she actually meant it, as she stepped forward and stuck a stupid stick of mascara into my jeans pocket, as if it were supposed to mean something.

I suppose that's the real reason I'm here, above everything else. It's because I'm out of sorts. She practically broke up with me, and we've been going out for three years. I was considering proposing to her, like seriously, like I had planned on going out to buy a ring next Wednesday, until she brought that up. I have no idea what sparked it either—there was nothing different about her at all prior.

I must have gone into shock after she said that; the next thing I remember is bawling my eyes out to my friend Tom while we were eating lunch together in the college cafeteria, going on and on about how I couldn't live without her and how my life was over, and could I borrow his gun so I could go home and shoot myself? It was all very pathetic.

That's when Tom mentioned his little fetish, which practically blew me out of the water.

Now, I haven't known Tom for that long. Actually, not even a year. And I'm really surprised he was the one that I ended up going to for help, seeing as though we're almost ten years apart, he's a conservative, and he's happily married. The only thing we have in common is that we're both in the same economics course at the college.

Or, at least, that was what I thought until that day. You know that saying that one revelation always leads to another—is there a saying like that?—well, anyway, if there is, it's true. I mean, first I find out that my girlfriend apparently doesn't love me all that much anymore, which leads to my realizing that my friend—well, I haven't gotten there yet, have I?

Anyway, so Tom leaned into me real close, like he was afraid of people overhearing him (which I'm sure he probably was), and whispered, "Hey, Peter, I got just the thing for you."

I really didn't believe him; I was still in the throes of clever visions of suicidal grandeur at the time, but at least he got my attention.

"Every Friday night, my wife goes into town to see her kids, and I get the house to myself. Lately I've been having these parties… Well, they're kind of perverse. I mean, this is not for kids under eighteen."

"Yeah? Well, that got me interested."

Tom was reluctant, but he definitely seemed pleased with my interest, so he continued: "Okay, they're orgies, really. The sexual kind. Like, actually, never mind. You wouldn't like it."

Normally, he'd be right. Normally I'd be disgusted, offer a "No thanks, I've got a girlfriend," and leave it at that. Only, I couldn't use that last excuse there, and that excuse seemed to be my only excuse for not being interested in this type of thing. So I encouraged him.

Tom was blushing something awful by this time. "Well, it's not what you think. It's really bad. I can't believe I ever thought telling you would be a good idea."

And I can't believe I kept pressing him to go on, yet I did.

"Okay, they're orgies. But not the regular kind. It's men only. So, when you think of getting laid there, you're going to get laid by another man. It's not really about love or meeting new people or anything like that. It's about sex. Most of the guys there are straight, I think. And they're all clean, too."

Now, to say that I was stunned would be an understatement. I was floored. I never expected anything so…wild…from Tom. I always thought of him as the stoic Republican, happily married, living in a two-story light blue house with a mini-van and an SUV, a puppy, and 2.5 kids. And yet…

And yet I was still interested.

"Look, Peter, maybe I shouldn't have said anything. Think it over. Don't make any promises. If you feel like it, show up at my house Friday at nine. That's all there is to it."

That's all there was to it. And here I am tonight; against my better judgment, I showed up. I don't think I ever really had the intention of sleeping with anyone—I was terrified at first. I mean, I've never done a guy before. And Tom said that they were all clean, but what does he know? One of them could have AIDS or Syphilis or something terrible like that, and I'd probably be the lucky one that he'd pick. I really just wanted to see what it was all about. I wanted to watch.

It's odd to see Tom dressed so…skanky…and to see some young boy hanging off his neck, giggling and placing kisses all over him. I could really only watch; it was all I intended to do, after all, until I felt a pair of arms encircle me from behind, and a deep voice rumble into my ear, "Don't be so disgusted. This is our drug."

And god, was it the sexiest voice I'd ever heard. I mean, I'm a big fan of rock music, and this guy's voice topped all those singers'. It was almost terrible. I just froze.

You know that prayer, the one that goes, "Lead me not into temptation"? I was really wishing I had said that more often at that point.

"Let's do it together," whoever was behind me continued. "Just don't look at my face. That way you'll love it forever."

That, I suppose, leads us to the present. I don't remember why I agreed, and I don't really remember doing it. The clothes came off on their own. Now, the grunts of the other men in the room, and the one above me, hardly seem so disgusting as exciting. There is something utterly irresistible about sex being demoted down to its carnal roots. And there is something thrilling about doing it with another man, like I'm doing something wrong.

Only I broke the rule—I looked at his face. At first, when he said not to, I assumed he was ugly, but he's anything but. And that makes me almost afraid. I remember back when I was a little kid, when my mom was chastising me for playing with Dad's tools when I was told not to:

"Rules are there for a reason, honey," she said. "You may not know the reason, or you may not agree with the reason, but it's still there."

Don't make me wonder about it.

He finally opens his eyes, big, black eyes, and looks down at me with a smile. I can barely breathe. How could someone so beautiful be at some cheap fuck-party?

"I told you not to look," he says, but he's still smiling.

"Why do you get to when I don't?" I retort, making a face at him, and then smiling as well. I reach up to tangle my fingers in his black hair when he leans down and kisses me softly on the lips.

"You'll love it forever."

I could hold onto him forever, thrust with him forever. And I keep thinking, oh, god, I'm gay. Oh, god, this is the worst mistake I've ever made. Or, at least, I keep thinking that that is what I should keep thinking. But I'm not really; it's there on the surface, but I'm not truly thinking that.

Truly, deep in my heart, I'm laughing at my stupid ex-girlfriend, if only because I'm fucking a guy that's prettier than she is.

"I'm sure you'll find out what you need to do to keep me," she says, as if she isn't the most arrogant bitch in the world. As if I can't live without her. As if I can't fall in love with someone else merely a week after she so suddenly breaks up with me.

I somehow don't believe that this is what she wanted me to find out.


I awake to find myself sprawled naked on my back with Tom peering down at me, grinning at me like he knows a secret I don't. He looks a little ruffled—I bet he fucked that fag that was hanging off him earlier, but I was too distracted to pay attention to what was going on with him.

"Enjoy yourself, Peter?" he asks with a knowing laugh that normally would piss the hell out of me. Right now, though, it doesn't really matter to me. Maybe because I'm still thinking about that stranger, and that kinda mellows me out.

Goddamnit, it looks as if he's gone now. The place is completely deserted except for me and a few other guys that appear to be getting dressed. It's still dark out—I wonder what time it is.

I should have asked him his name before I fell asleep. Damn.

"Yeah," is what makes up my witty response in its entirety.

"Well, that's nice to hear," Tom says, his stupid grin still plastered on his face. The thing about Tom is that he looks like a washed-up thirty-year-old former high school football player (I think he is one, actually), and so whenever he makes any facial expression whatsoever, he always looks dumb. "Anyway, the wife's supposed to be home in a few hours, so you gotta go in case she gets back early."

Okay, back to normal life. Show's over, folks. Forget it ever happened. Till next week, at least.

In the meantime, I can dream about pretty black eyes as I don't grieve over my girlfriend's callousness.

Mm, yep, I'd say this was altogether a good idea. Thanks, Tom.

I get up and start to get dressed, albeit slowly since I have to search out every single article of clothing, as they've been strewn across the entire room. I'm not sure if I (or Mr. Stranger, for that matter) threw them in a wild fury of passion, or if, with everything else going on in that room, they just got kicked around. Whatever it was, it doesn't change that fact that it's very annoying now.

Worse still is that they've finally taken out the Nine Inch Nails that was playing on repeat all last night and replaced it with the fucking Braveheart soundtrack, which is somehow…just clashing.

And I can't find one of my socks. That is probably the most irritating thing of all. I bet it's under the couch, but I don't want to look, for two reasons: first of all, I don't want to blindly stick my hand under that, for fear of what sort of shit was pushed back there last night, and second, there's still some naked dude spread out across it, covering himself only with a newspaper he is currently browsing and sipping on a mug of steaming…whatever, it's probably coffee. Nonetheless, it's a little disconcerting to have to stick my hand underneath him, if only because he is naked.

I don't know how I convince myself to, but eventually I gather the courage and shove my hand beneath it. The first thing my hand touches is cold and wet, and with a disgusted yelp I quickly recoil, only to find that the thing has wrapped a piece of string around my fingers and follows me out.

I look down at it, then up to the guy at the couch, who is looking at me like I'm some sort of freak. Which, coming from a guy who's reading a newspaper naked on someone else's couch, is a lot. Especially considering that I'm fully dressed at this point, save for my socks.

Though, I do feel like a freak, a little bit, because, looking back down at the 'thing' that grabbed onto my hand, I find that it is not wet, only cold and metallic and not at all as dirty as I thought it would be. It's a necklace, the wicked-ass gothic kind, with a silver gargoyle wrapped around a ruby sword.

And I think, with a feeling that is at the same time both sinking and exciting, that Mr. Stranger was wearing this last night.

Goddamnit, I feel like a little schoolgirl. I'm grinning like an idiot.

The dude on the couch clears his throat and raises an eyebrow.

I glare at him. "What?"

He blinks, looks up to the ceiling, and then shakes his head and goes back to his newspaper. I bite back a few mean things I want to say to him. Luckily, at this moment, Tom decides to reappear.

"Come on, guys, get the fuck out. If my wife catches you, I can promise you one thing: Friday nights are not happening again."

A few groans follow this, but everyone responds and begins shuffling out the door. I quickly label my sock as a lost cause and slip on my shoes, however uncomfortable that is with only one sock.

As I exit the house, I find that it is not dark as I originally thought, only that the drapes were drawn. And, that means I spent the entire night sleeping naked on Tom's floor, with a bunch of fags fucking all around me. I remember still hearing grunts and groans after I finished with Mr. Stranger.

And, it's just weird. That's all I can say about that.

As I walk down the street in the bright sunshine, only one sock beneath my shoes and various articles of clothing draped over my arm, I feel a buzzing coming from my pocket. I reach in and extract my cell phone, idly musing over the fact that the batteries are still alive—I haven't charged the thing in over a day.

The display screen shades my amusement considerably. The name "Cindy" and a number to match float across it, causing a sour taste to appear in my mouth. Cindy, my girlfriend. Ex-girlfriend. I debate whether or not to answer it, and, to my surprise, I actually do.


"Peter," that's her voice all right. She sounds vaguely upset; this doesn't bode well.

"Cindy." I say it curtly, as if she were a mere acquaintance I haven't spoken to in awhile.

"I wanted to talk to you about…well, about us."

"Yeah…?" I sound so uninterested, it seems cold, even to me. But that doesn't change the fact that I'm really not interested. Doesn't everyone always say it's better to be honest than tactful, or something like that?

I hear her exhale on the other line shortly, as if she weren't expecting me to react that way. She seems a little putout.

"I mean, I was wondering if you had thought about it at all," she says, obviously trying to redirect the conversation.

Now I know why she's called. She's wants me to come crawling back to her, begging for forgiveness for whatever the hell it was I did to piss her off in the first place. And, I think with a bit of amusement, if Tom hadn't invited me to his little…party…I probably would be doing exactly that. But she's not winning this time. She's not all that special.

"Yeah, I guess I did think about it," I say, letting my voice drift off and forcing her to stop the conversation from dropping.


"Well, I guess I realized that you're probably right."

"What?" The horror in her voice is pure fucking gold. Oh, she certainly wasn't expecting that. Bitch. It's really gratifying to be able to slap this back into her face, considering that I know she called merely to make me suffer.

"Yeah, I mean, I must have been really stupid to have gone so crazy over you," I continue musingly. I wonder if the smile on my face is coming through my voice. I suppose it doesn't matter if it is, though. "Seriously, get this: I was actually considering proposing to you. For marriage! I mean, I had been saving up for months to buy the ring! How fucking idiotic was that?"

I hear her voice squeak on the other line, like she was planning to say something but couldn't get her vocal chords to work right.

"But, honestly, you really broke it off at the right time. Thanks for that. Otherwise, I might have actually gone through with it. All the way," I pause, letting out a laugh of relief. "And then what would that have been like? Hell, I would have to spend the rest of my life with you. How awful would that be?"


"To think, I actually believed that I loved you. How fucking moronic."

Take that, bitch. How does it feel now? Huh? 'Cause that's basically what you said to me. Hurts, doesn't it?

"Peter, you don't mean that. I think you're just a little upset."

I laugh at her. It's almost shrill out of my lips. "Of course I mean that. Besides, I've already found someone else, so just leave me alone, okay? It's over."

"You've…already found someone else?" Cindy repeats, like it's the most unbelievable thing she's ever heard. Maybe it is. It's not true, after all. I haven't found someone else, unless you consider Mister-Fucking-Stranger, but I don't think he counts for two reasons. One, I don't actually know him, and two, I'm definitely not in love with him. Or attached for that matter. I'm not even gay.

"Yeah. So?"

"How could you have found someone else?" Great, now she seems skeptical.

"Why not?"

"It's only been a week since we broke up."


"And how could you be completely over a three-year relationship in less than a week?"

"Why not? It seemed to take you even less time than that. You were over it before it even ended, right?"

She sighs in a very high-pitched manner. "I can't believe this. You know, people get married after knowing each other less time than we did."

"Obviously I knew that," I say, plainly irritated by now. "I had been considering it, after all. You're the one who fucked it up."

"See, you're not over it."

"Maybe not, but I'm definitely glad it's done. I almost ruined my life because of you."

"You're such an asshole, Peter. This is why I broke up with you."

Oh, I'm an asshole, huh? The bitch. I did everything I could for her. I sacrificed everything for her, I made myself miserable trying to cater to her wishes, and she never even appreciated it.

"Yeah, well, sucks to be you, then, doesn't it?"

"Or maybe you."


I know she's not done talking yet, but I am, so I slap my cell shut and quickly turn it off before she can call back. And she can go fuck herself for all I care. She broke this off; it's the least she can do to leave me alone now.

Suddenly, last night, Friday night, seems so very far away, and that makes me really bitter.