Stabs at Happiness

Stabs at Happiness

Online chase yields a thin Asian indie-type boy, 23, more and more beautiful the longer Nikki stares at the pixilated blank face.  He goes by Taj but when they agree to meet he signs this email Justin Chen.

Nikki has not had actual sex with a woman here in New York for almost a year, but she’s the sort of not-too-butch young alt dyke who emo girls like to make out with – or be seen making out with – in all kinds of situations these days.  The Club Europa is where dropdead stiletto-heeled Polish, Czech and Ukraine blondes will almost always consent to dance with her, nonstop sleazy techno, smoke machine and zebra-striped dancefloor which tends to metamorphose in a sinister manner when you’re high on a hallucinogen concocted by some dweeb chemistry major who sees experimenting with such variants of Ecstasy as 2c-b and 2c-i as imaginary extra-credit unsanctioned by any oversight committee here on planet earth.

That’s when it really fucking rocks to fall onto one of those beat-up red velvet couches with your tongue jammed in the Absinthe Minded Martini-flavored mouth of Natasha 9 or Ludmilla 6 while electrical gridwork of your physique pulsates in sine waves to the blessed warm.

Lately though Nikki hasn’t even been looking that much at girls on the internet, other than for the sake of baseline images to use in generating entirely fictional scenarios – usually far beyond a mere “date” –so that she can masturbate and cum for the sake of metaphysical hygiene… get dirty to be clean.

On one of the blogs where she likes to hang out Nikki as NineOh said that when she is ravished by some random girl’s image, she never knows whether she wants to Fuck Her or Be Her.  She asked others: Which is it for you?  Would you rather fuck this object of desire or become them?  And I mean really, like if you actually gave it a lot of thought?

There were some gorgeous answers, just in terms of people defining themselves, trying to anyway, trying to define their ideals.  But they played the game differently.  They said Jarvis Cocker, Morrissey, Kim Gordon, Arthur Rimbaud, the young Robert Mapplethorpe.  Enormous half-guessed bios and complex mythologies were attached to these names, making use of all kinds of preexisting resonant material.  No one just posted an anonymous photo and said: That One.  Instead, they felt a pull, they wanted it both ways, simultaneously (impossibly) Fucking That Hero or Heroine and Having That Career / Having Made That Art.

Nikki on the other hand out of nowhere becomes entranced by some self-possessed unknown girl just captured for one anonymous instant, and she has no idea what such a person’s daily interior life might be like (because this person would most likely not be the usual predictable professional model) – and if this girl walked towards her, met her eyes, out of a mirror or on the street, and telepathically said: “Do you want to switch?” so that she would become Nikki and Nikki would become her – Nikki likes to think she would say Yes!

(No doubt she would try to fuck her as well.)

Justin Chen as Taj said he wanted to be Egon Schiele.  That was pretty cool.  That was okay.

In email he said, “i think i’m basically submissive sexually because i’m so lazy, so fucking passive about life.  i kind of like to just lie there and and let things happen and think about it, but not really thinking, more like being hypnotized.”

This when Justin already knows Nikki desires to fuck him with a strap-on.  She has found it works best to say this right away.  Justin Chen knows she’s a dyke.  That’s a lot of why he’s attracted to her.  She’s told him how boys are usually blown away by how much they love it, surrendering while being fucked.  It’s a whole other trip.

“There are so many nerve-endings in there for pleasure.  You’ll probably cum just from the stimulation of your prostate.”

“Fantastic,” Justin said then, on the phone.  He’s so deadpan.

Now she’s on her way to rendezvous with him in Williamsburg.

Nikki has brown hair, buzzcut so short her well-shaped skull is right there.  The hair in this state is super-soft, she loves to rub it against the grain.  She has all kinds of rings in both earlobes and up on the antehelix of each ear, a ring in her left nostril, full kissy lips.  She’s lithe and fit, wearing a charcoal-gray corduroy blazer over an olive t-shirt, khaki cargo pants and well-worn docs.

It’s just getting dark as she nears the bar where Justin awaits.  The failing city is radiant in the dusk, just for a few moments, smell of infernal industry emanating from hidden regions underground.

Swoops of letters spraypainted over other letters in other colors create an indecipherable Babylonian scrawl.  There are chalked outlines of bodies splayed on the wide sidewalk before a gone-out-of-business bookstore.  All kinds of noises fight each other and intermingle here in this dominion of cement.

Inside the beat-up red door, the bar has exposed brick walls, candlelit tables for two.  Nikki sees Justin at once.  He’s laidback, possibly shy.  He is already drinking sambuca so Nikki decides to have that too.

He says they can go to his place in a while.  He lives with his mother these days; father and older brother are in Taiwan.  His mother is going through a midlife crisis or something and so she has plans almost every night.

“She’s still hot.  You know how it’s hard to guess the age of some attractive Asian women?  She’s like that.  But she doesn’t want me to know her business, so she disguises her activities — with a lot of shit that isn’t real.”

“Like what?”

“Oh, like supposedly doing yoga, then volunteering at least one night a week reading out loud to quadriplegics and shit.  She’s also in an amateur chamber group, playing the flute.  But I know that she has a boyfriend.  She stays out all night, and she keeps buying an awful lot of new clothes.  She’s afraid I’ll talk shit about her to my dad.”

“Do you talk to him very often?”

“No, never.”  Justin laughs.

“What about your brother?”

“No.  We’ve never been too close.  He just wants to be a multi-millionaire.  What about your parents?”

“Oh, they’ve been divorced forever,” Nikki says.  She doesn’t want to discuss any of that.  Her father and mother both live in L.A.  Nikki was a whizkid student for a while and started UCLA at 16.

The tables have these notebooks you can write in with colored pens.

I’d like to suicide-bomb you, she writes, turns it so he can see.

Let’s do it together, he writes in return.

Then when Nikki doesn’t seem inclined to write any more messages, Justin says out loud: “First let’s write our autobiographies really fast on these napkins and stick them in each other’s pockets without looking.”

“Yeah, sure,” she says, the little twisted smile reflecting that she thinks he’s just in effect a good student.  “Whatever,” she says, taking a sip of her drink, not meaning the word in an unfriendly way.

“Don’t whatever me,” he says, and she laughs then.  She thinks he’s cute.

He tells her about some website which will endlessly generate insults North Korean communist-style, like, “You politically illiterate gangster, you have glaringly revealed your true colors; we will transform your country into a sea of fire!”

Nikki smiles, nodding, by her expression asking for more.  He waits before filling the empty space.

“You loud-mouthed aggressor, we will mercilessly crush you with the weapon of our single-hearted unity!”

Nikki is amused, yet at the same time doesn’t like it that this sounds like something he’s done before.  The music getting louder.

Justin says, “Should we go?  My mom will be out bowling or something in a Motel 6 most of the night.”

They take a cab to a part of Williamsburg she doesn’t recognize.  She tries to notice the street names.  Vandervoort?  Monitor?  It’s dark now.  The streetlights tint everything amber to burnt-orange.

The Chens’ apartment is on the 5th floor of an old building with a very slow rickety elevator, the kind of elevator you see in films when someone’s going to suddenly come out of the shadows with a gleaming big knife.  It’s a large apartment with a lot of green fronds and other plants, a dark polished hardwood floor, and a small white poodle who appears, barking.  Justin has a hard time shutting it up.

They go into his room, shut the door and put some music on.  The dog shuts up at last.

When they sit together on his futon Justin wants to show her some of his art books.  Nikki is actually pretty interested.  He has some exhibition catalogs from good shows, like the retrospective featuring the drawings of Eva Hesse.

She died young, of a brain tumor, back in 1970.  She was very pretty, which doesn’t hurt the cult of personality.  A lot of her work – wild hanging sculptures, like Jackson Pollock translated into three dimensions — was made of latex which has changed color and rapidly decayed just from exposure to air.  It’s temporary, meant to be so, complicating the usual commodification in which art is purchased by wealthy collectors as a luxury vanity project or just pure investment and no more.

Justin seems more relaxed now that they’re bonding over art or something.  Their bodies touch, and bump, and she feels his warm body against her.

“You mentioned those pills,” he says.  “If you didn’t bring any, I have some pot.”

“I have a couple.  We should probably just split one.  See the fleur-de-lys?  That marks the quality control of this chemist I knew in school.”

Justin nods, and lays back on the futon, taking off his sweater.  They look at each other in sort of professional clubkid manner, as if they’ve been out dancing to the one-thousandth remix of Blue Monday… slowly now Nikki begins kissing and caressing him, and he is as passive as advertised, eyes closed as they kiss.

They have to smile at each other when it turns out that they’re both wearing bright-colored American Apparel boy-style briefs.  His are turquoise-blue; Nikki’s are bright red.

Is she physically stronger than him?  Maybe.  No, probably not.  They sort of wrestle at times.  He becomes more aggressive.  He likes to bite.

She feels the 2c-b – the Ecstasy derivative – as it exaggerates the natural sensations somewhat.  She’s tripping when she applies a generous glob of lube to Justin’s sphincter, pushing it into his rectum, where it melts.  Nikki asked him earlier if he wanted to be tied up and he never replied.  On the internet he said that he did.  She asks him again now and he ambiguously shrugs in a way she decides means no.

The strap-on’s dildo is black.  It seems like a supple instrument once it’s buried in his rectum and she’s moving around.  She feels like a badass, and Justin is a badass too.  This experience will serve as masturbation fuel for all kinds of fantasies he can access of being raped in jail, or where he’s an innocent little schoolgirl picked up in a van, or some L.A. teen named Brad in a Dennis Cooper novel.  You have to be a badass to let yourself be fucked like this, squirming, his shame redeemed in the abandon of the Flesh, the Flesh, the Flesh.

He moans, “Ohhh, ohhh…oh fuck.”

Nikki feels like she’s fucking a beautiful boy who exists in space and time while also, in some blurry way, another boy who looks almost exactly like this one but who’s semi-invisible and exists in slow motion… kind of superimposed.  Justin has all kinds of poetic expressions set and reset and float above his face.

Obviously, a dildo has no nerve endings or anything, but it’s not like Nikki has to imagine something else is going on.  Fucking is an intensely physical act no matter what.  It involves all the same sweat and grabbing and stuff so yeah, it’s physical.  Penetration is obviously physical by nature.  She doesn’t pretend she’s a boy or anything.  This kind of fucking illuminates other things about the act.

Also she in general has very little trouble achieving orgasm, so yeah she can cum when fucking like this, general crotch pressure and mere participation in the spectacle is totally enough.  She loses herself at some point with a little cry in some kind of interior wave.

So there you go.

There is brown shit stuck to the head of the black dildo when it finally slides out of the deeply-plumbed hole.  It stinks but Nikki sort of appreciates the smell.  It’s so organic.

“I feel empty now,” Justin says, face slack, missing having his ass full.

“Slut,” she says, hot smile when she looks into his eyes.  He smiles back but not as hard, he’s a little removed, private, unable to process the new data yet.  He can’t think hard in this condition.

Later on they’re lying together cooling down, and Justin seems so wiped.  He notices that she notices and says, “I took a 5milligram diazepam from my mom’s to serve as a muscle relaxer when we first came up here.”

Nikki’s sort of pissed off by this.  She understands, but… Jesus.  Justin’s eyes are huge.

“Don’t go.  Just lie here with me.  Hold me, okay?”

She plays with his hair as he falls asleep.  Some music she’s not crazy about is playing in his bedroom but so what?  She doesn’t feel like moving yet.

Nikki lies there holding him for maybe an hour.  He’s breathing regularly.  She feels lazy but finally rises and gets dressed.  She goes to find the bathroom and Justin’s mother is home, walking around in sheer black panties and bra, supersexy, smoking a cigarette, mascara smudged like she’s been crying.

Wow, she’s really drunk.

She says, “My name is Susan Chen.”  Yeah, she’s sexy as hell.  She gazes without comment at the strap-on dildo and its harness which Nikki is holding – she had taken it to the bathroom with her to wash the impacted shit off the dildo head before putting it in her bag.

When she gets it that Nikki wants to leave she says she’ll call a car service for her.  This is good because sometimes it’s hard to get a cab in some parts of Brooklyn this time of night.

Attention drawn first by the smell of his cologne, Nikki discovers a shirtless black man lying on the couch who looks like he’s brooding, staring without speaking at the beigy wall.  He gives off some hint of a bad adrenalin vibe, drama suspended maybe soon  to re-ensue.

She gets dressed and takes the elevator downstairs, and then waits outside there in East Williamsburg for the car service to show up.  There’s nobody around on the street…  though some cabs pass by, end of shift, not even glancing at her.

Spooky atmosphere.  She wills herself to be brave.

It takes a while to get home.  Maybe she’s pretty stoned, ‘cause she finds herself lying sideways in the ganja-smelling backseat gazing out at weirdly-lit scenery all the way, loud sub-woofer slow motion reggae making some impression on her.

She takes off her jacket up in her apartment and after considering taking a shower she lies down in her clothes, can’t sleep, gets up later and dons a navy-blue hoodie.  She goes back out after washing her face and brushing her teeth, realizing today she does not have to go to work.

In an automat two blocks away she finds Meld43, an older guy who has a blog, they’re friends she supposes, he has MS and doesn’t make an issue of it, if he broods on this or finds tragedy or meaning in suffering she can’t tell.  His laptop is on while he drinks coffee, she joins him there after fetching a Mexican hot chocolate, turning off the music in her earbuds just as the riff for Surf Goths begins.

Meld43 says, “This just says Yes does not mean.”

Nikki waits, then says, “That’s it?”

“Yeah.”  He looks her over.  He’s not so badlooking for a dude in a wheelchair with an incurable degenerative disease.  He takes his rimless glasses off.

“Have you been to the doctor lately, where they have these illustrated faces on the wall — someone in pain from One through Ten?”

She shakes her head.

“Ten looks pretty bad,” he says.  “Nine is definitely uncomfortable, but Eight when pressed acts all stoic and says ‘It could be worse.’  Want a Vicodin?”

“Yeah.  Thanks.”

He’s taking three or four different kinds of pills, sorting them with shaky hands.  The disease makes him subject to unpredictable symptoms including something called ‘electrical pain.’

It’s cool of him to share narcotics.

He asks, “Have you been up all night?”


“What’ve you been doing, NineOh?  High on research chemicals again?”

“Effects’re wearing off.”

Nikki says nothing for a long time, then: “I fucked a cute emo boy.”



“How was it?”

“Oh… well, it’s always awesome having sex with someone who’s beautiful, but… afterwards he was really clingy.  He didn’t want me to leave.  He kept saying ‘I just want to hold you!’  It went on and on.  God.  How many times am I going to have to play out this scene with a boy who supposedly wants emotionless sex, wants to be ‘used’, but then actually he ends up really wanting something incredibly traditional and boring, basically a girl to fuck and then hold all night long?”

Nikki realizes, within a few moments, that she’s lying, confusing Justin Chen with someone a few weeks ago.

“Shit!  That was some whole other dude.  That was more like Shawn.”

The look Meld43 gives her seems understanding or something, amused, left hand quivering while he waits for the medication to hit.

Outside, in that world visible through the big window, the violet-gray light is becoming pervasively paler, more transparent, while all kinds of people are going to work, walking beneath barbaric splendor of superhigh buildings which extend into great holes in the sky.

Nikki watches.  She knows this kingdom, maybe.

Or nobody does or ever will.

Read more about I. here.

Read more about Sam here.


  1. deep sleep says:

    read it twice. thoroughly enjoyed it!

  2. gullotine says:

    After read it, I think a lot. Thanks! I really enjoy it!
    Great! The article is very helpful to me.

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