Erotic Notion #15 The Statue
By Hapax Legomenon

99 Erotic Notions Index
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During a business trip to Washington D.C. I bumped into Carolyn Sanders, a girl I knew from high school. She was coming out of the Metrorail when I saw her. When our eyes met, we shared an awkward moment of recognition and indecision – who would make the first move? Or would we ignore each other? Luckily Carolyn remembered my name (I had forgotten hers). We spent a good five minutes catching up about high school in St. Louis. Carolyn played sports and I did debate team, so we hung out in different crowds. Back in high school Carolyn seemed athletic but not gorgeous; now though, she still had that cheerfully energetic presence and that generic niceness I remembered her having ten years ago. We had a brief but fun conversation. But I really had to go – I was late for a workshop. Before we said goodbyes, Carolyn invited me to a small party later that night.

"Irene Nolan would be there," she said. Irene was our class valedictorian.

"What's Irene doing these days?" I asked. (Translation: Was she married?)

"She's my roommate, silly," Carolyn said. "She's attending med school at Georgetown. If you come over, you can talk to her yourself. It will be fun."

I already had dinner plans with my boss, so I had to decline. Later my boss called to cancel, so I called Carolyn back. I'd be able to stop by after all.

Besides Irina, Carolyn had another roommate named Holly. Holly was a tiny woman (slightly older than Carolyn) who managed a bookstore. She was from Ohio and had dirty blonde hair. When I met her, she was in the kitchen tending the Indian dinner for tonight. But Irene was the main person I wanted to see. When I first entered, she was doing research on the web and acknowledged me with a nod. Back in high school, Irene seemed dull and overly cerebral. She was tall, reserved and slightly awkward, though pretty in an intellectual way. During school she was always reading, not for pleasure but more as an assertion of intellectual independence; people generally left her alone. She was always carrying around a 1000 page book on some esoteric topic: Mayan history, string theory, the fauna of Indonesia, biomedical ethics. In high school she asked a lot of questions; it was almost the class joke. Now she was on her way to becoming a doctor. Who's laughing now? At one point in my life, I used to be the intellectual type, but my intelligence had been sucked up by my silly P.R. job, daily chores and the latest musical craze. It was strange. None of us were really old, but we felt grown up and preoccupied with real estate and retirement plans. Even though Irene was still a resident, she had a sense that the world of doctors was a serious world of death and insurance and money.

We played cards and reverted to the mannerisms of teenagers. Carolyn put on a jazz CD, and Holly brought out her sketchpad and started scribbling; the sketches were hastily drawn and had random subjects: a window pane, a bird, a city sidewalk and Carolyn sitting on the couch. In the sketches, Carolyn looked serene and relaxed. And charming – how could she still be single? While I glanced over the rest of the sketches, Irene described a book she was reading about ancient medicine.

"It's interesting," she said. "Although most of the remedies might seem ridiculous, they illustrate the Roman concept of disease as simply a chemical imbalance. 'For insomnia,'" she began reading, "'take a crushed apple, ground red pepper, mint leaves and three drops of honey.' For colds... consume six cloves of garlic dipped in wine."

"Gross!" Carolyn cried.

"Roman cures were like recipes," Irene continued, "and many actually had some basis in biology. Doctors no longer scoff at primitive or ancient medicines; often they were discovered by naturalists experimenting with plants around them. Zombies, for example – weren't taken seriously until it was known that victims were injected with tetradotoxin, a strong neurotoxin. Doctors in Sri Lanka used to wrap wounds with leaves from a banyan tree which contained an anticoagulant. This book has folk remedies for all kinds of things: exhaustion, sunburn, a gloomy spirit; there are elixirs for mental acuity and sexual vigor – quite a number for sex. There are cures for premature ejaculation, impotence, romantic feelings, wedding night jitters, birth control and even pregnancy. There are remedies to lessen the sex drive and remedies to increase it, remedies to increase sexual attractiveness and remedies to ward off attention from suitors. The Romans seem to be just as enamored of wonder drugs as people of today."

All this was interesting, and I believe I even flipped through a few pages of the book later on. Later, during dessert, Irene emerged from the kitchen with three cups of tea. "I took the liberty of preparing three folk remedies from Roman times and adding one to each one of your teas. One is for sexual happiness, one is for dancing talent and the third is for cheerful disposition."

"I'll take the sexual happiness," Carolyn announced, grabbing the first cup.

"Not so fast," Irene announced. "I'm not going to tell you which is which. You'll have to guess."

"Is this like a real drug?" Holly asked.

"Oh, no," Irene said. "They're folk remedies made from things you could find at any health food store. Natural and harmless, though probably a little bitter-tasting."

"No, thanks," Holly said, "I'll stick with vino for tonight."

I took one cup and drank the whole thing in less than ten seconds. It tasted sweet and smooth, with a slightly bitter aftertaste. Not at all unpleasant. "So which one was that?"

Irene laughed. "Congratulations. In a moment you should be experiencing sexual happiness."

"Hooray," I said, expressing mock delight. "Thank god I decided not to stay at the hotel."

Carolyn took the next cup and sipped. She smiled. Deciding it wasn't poison, she took the rest. "So Irene, am I going to be the dancing fool?"

"Absolutely," Irene said.

Carolyn leapt to her feet and then stuck something on her CD player. Then, as techno music boomed from the speakers, Carolyn started dancing wildly. "Help, I can't stop!" she laughed, grabbing an umbrella and twirling around. "I can't stop!"

All of us laughed, and Irene offered the third cup to Holly, who again declined. Eventually Irene drank it herself. I sat on a wooden chair laughing at Carolyn's antics and Irene's attempt to look relaxed. To fuck her would be glorious.

"Is it working?" Holly said to Irene.

"I don't know," Irene said. "Assuming that it works, the body would need a few minutes to absorb the active substances."

"Can I have some more apple pie?" I asked Holly.

"Sure," she said, standing up. "I'll get some." She went to the kitchen, and I sat listening to the music and watching Carolyn prance around. Holly returned with a plate of pie, but oddly, I couldn't move. My body seemed paralyzed. I wasn't in pain, and I certainly didn't feel numb, just strange.

I tried to say something, but couldn't. Holly laid the piece of pie on the table beside me and talked about the first time she met Carolyn. I was relaxed and Holly was pleasant to listen to, but finally she noticed that something was wrong. "Hey, hello," she said, waving her hand over my face. "Hello!" She shook my shoulder, then called for Irene.

In a few moments Irene was examining me with her stethoscope and listening to my chest. "Steven!" Carolyn called out, and although I could clearly hear her words, I couldn't respond or even move. Carolyn and Holly were going crazy, while Irene studied me like a biology experiment. "Now what happened?" she said, sitting and staring at me. "The herbal mixture must have induced some kind of paralysis. "Let me get the book." She went to the kitchen and flipped open the book, then did some searching online. While Irene was busy doing her research, Carolyn started freaking out. "Is he going to be okay? Oh, god. Do you realize that I took one of your potions also? I think I'm going to be sick."

"What do you think is wrong?" Holly said.

"I can't say," Irene said.

"Is he all right?"

"I don't know," Irene repeated, putting her ear to my chest. If the circumstances were not so strange, her touch would have turned me on. "Steven, can you hear me?"

Yes, I tried to say. But nothing came out.

Holly sat on the couch with her coffee, watching with interest but not undue concern.

Unfazed, Irene continued checking for pulse and other signs of life. She touched my hand and chest region, searching for signs of anything unusual. "I need to get something," she said suddenly and went to the other room.

Carolyn sat down beside me and held my hand. "Do you think he's dead?" she whispered to Holly.

Holly took a bit of pie into her mouth and said, "That's a good fucking question."

Irene returned with a small medical kit which she quickly opened up, taking out a thermometer and sticking it into my mouth. Then she checked my blood pressure and pulse.

"Is he dead?" Carolyn repeated.

Irene ignored the question and motioned for her to be silent.

"Why is his arm in the same place?" Holly asked.

"What do you mean?"

"It's like it's frozen." Irene tried to push my arm back and forth. My sitting posture on the couch was natural enough. My back was fully erect, and each wrist rested lightly on each side of my body. Irene moved my right arm back and forth; it moved a few inches, but bounced back after she let go.

She started unbuttoning my shirt and pushing me face up on the sofa. My knees stuck straight up in the air. "Help me give him mouth-to-mouth." Irene said calmly.

Carolyn and Irene positioned my body and Irene started breathing into my lungs. It was an odd feeling, having air forced into my lungs. It wasn't comfortable, but feeling her lips against my own summoned some erotic thoughts. Pressure from her breaths caused my chest to rise and fall.

"He's not dead," Irene said, raising her lips off mine. "But I don't know what's happening either. He's suffering from some sort of paralysis or immobility. It's probably short-term. He'll probably snap out of it any minute now."

"How is his heartbeat?" Carolyn asked.

"There is none," Irene said with a smile of a scientist unable to explain everything. "Nor is there a pulse. But that doesn't mean he's in a serious condition. Many drugs are capable of weakening vital signs. On the other hand, his heart has to be functioning normally, or else his body temperature would have fallen and his skin would turn blue. No, he certainly is alive. It's even possible that he's listening to us right now."

"Steven, are you here?" Carolyn said to me.

I tried to say something or even to move, but couldn't.

"Shouldn't we bring him to the hospital?" Carolyn said.

"That may be necessary," Irene said. "But for the time being his condition is stabilized."

"But you said he has no heartbeat!"

"I said I couldn't detect one. But if the drug induced paralysis, it will wear off eventually."

"And what if it doesn't?"

Rather than answer, Irene stood and walked quietly to the kitchen.

"Do you realize what she's gotten us into?" Carolyn said to Holly.

Holly nodded and chuckled. "She's the doctor."

Carolyn kneeled over me and put her hand over my heart. "Nothing."

Holly went over and put her hand inside my shirt. "He still feels very much alive. Still warm. And his eyes…" she looked into my eyes dreamily. "No man could have such a happy and gentle expression on his expression and be dead." Although I couldn't move my head or eyes, I still could keep an eye on Holly with peripheral vision as she walked to the couch behind me.

The funny thing is that I wasn't worried or panicky. I felt fine. I felt pretty much the same as before I took the drink. There was no pain, although I could feel the pressure of touch and warmth and cold. Holly kept looking into my eyes, as though she were aware of my thoughts, concerned but not worried, curious but not alarmed. She stroked my face and neck while she and Carolyn talked about what to do. I listened, but hardly paid attention, focusing on the gentle strokes of Holly's finger on my cheek. Carolyn directed comments to me during the conversation, as though trying to keep me involved. After mentioning the hospital a few miles away, she said, "it's by the Starbuck's café. You remember it, Steven. It's by the Metrorail stop."

Irene returned again with the history book containing the tea recipes. Or should I call them potions?

"I don't understand, " Irene said. "The substances I used were common everyday herbs. Nothing was remotely potent or toxic. It's extraordinary."

Holly's hand went over my body until she brushed over my waist and then my groin area. "Irene, have you seen this?" she said.


Holly's hand rested over a large bulge near my crotch and traced the outline of it. "Didn't you say this was a tea for sexual happiness?"

Irene knelt down and felt the area near my crotch. Then she unbuckled the belt and inserted her hand below my boxer shorts. Although Irene was a tremendously desirable woman, and I had always harbored erotic fantasies for her, there was nothing erotic about the methodical way she handled my penis (which jutted out from my pants in a perpetual erection). Slowly, she removed my pants, exposing a rude and substantial erection pointing out from my boxer shorts. Embarrassing, yes, but until Holly pointed it out, I didn't even realize its state. Perhaps I felt some sort of physical desire, but it felt no different than before my incapacitation.

"It's rock solid," Irene noted. She felt its outlines, looking for signs of movement or life. "This erection does suggest that the tea had some aphrodisiac effect."

Holly put her hand on my penis. "Even though it looks a little stiff, it's seems just like a normal penis."

"Yes, his whole body is that way…lifelike."

Irene continued to sit at my side, poking and taking pulse while Carolyn and Holly sat watching silently. Carolyn wanted to take me to the emergency room, but Irene assured her that the remedy would wear off soon. After an hour of nervous silence, Carolyn and Holly went to bed, while Irene stayed by my side, ready to perform some lifesaving maneuver. "Don't worry, Steven," she whispered in my ear. "You will be all right." I wasn't worried. It was pleasant even, and yes I knew that the stasis would wear off eventually. In my state, odd as it was, I suddenly found myself the center of attention, the center of some compassionate campaign to save me. Irene dozed off in the chair, awaking several times during the night to feel different parts of my body for any sign of change – my wrist, my neck, my penis. The cold stethoscope gave me a shock each time she applied it to my bare chest – calmed only by her warm hand against my shoulder.

The next morning, Carolyn was in a panic about the whole thing. Holly, the practical one, searched my pockets for identification, while Irene gazed at me, searching for an explanation. Carolyn wanted to bring me to the emergency room, while Irene insisted that there was no cause for alarm. Instead, she called one of her professors at the medical college. While waiting for the teacher to arrive, the three women sat around me, staring and wondering aloud.

"Do you think he is aware of us?"

"Of course he is," Irene snapped. "He's only paralyzed."

"What hotel do you think he is staying at?"

"Maybe we should call his job."

"No!" Irene said.

"Someone should be contacted."


"I'm only saying, what happens if it's something serious?"

"Irene, how do we know he isn't going to die?"

"Let's not speculate."

The professor arrived, an older British woman used to taking charge in crisis situations. Irene brought her before me and explained what had happened, while the other two woman left for work. The woman (her name was Martha) listened while Irene explained everything. Martha asked a series of questions while examining my body, wrapping the blood pressure ring around my arm and squeezing it tight. While Irene removed parts of clothing and moved my body around, Martha inspected every centimeter of my skin. Finally Martha removed her equipment, saying, "He seems to be dead, but I'll be damned if I can explain why."

"No," Irene said in a spasm of grief and fear. "He can't be dead. His skin is still warm, and he still has an intermittent pulse."

"Pulse? Where!" Both put their hands on various places of my body, searching for a pulse. "Interesting," the British woman said. After a bit of investigation, they detected every minute or so a slight pulse from my body, without any accompanying heartbeat. The British woman pricked one of my fingers for blood samples, and finding nothing, tried a major artery. Interestingly, although I was aware of the prick, I felt no actual pain. It was as if I saw it happening to a person on TV (and perhaps sensing some vicarious sensation), but was totally protected from the actual pain. When Martha suggested bringing me to the laboratory, Irene flinched. "You don't understand," she said. "Nobody must know about this."

"Don't be silly," Martha said. "This person needs medical attention."

"But if you tell...what would happen? It was all a mistake. How was I supposed to know this would happen? If the police found out, everyone would freak out... I would be kicked out of medical school. I could even go to jail..."

"Be reasonable. You can't just keep him here. The body will decompose. It's not sanitary. We'll need to do an autopsy. "

"But he's not dead. Don't you see?" Irene had tears in her eyes. "His body isn't decomposing. It's in stasis...a kind of hibernation. Can't you help? I can't deal with this alone. Please." Irene held Martha tightly, kissing her cheek lightly with her eyes closed. "Help me. Please."

And that is what Martha did. For the next two weeks, Martha came over every day with medical equipment, and the two of them set up a miniature laboratory in the room. Then they performed every kind of medical test, taking all kinds of blood samples. The other two roommates, assured that my condition was being monitored by a doctor and a medical student, resumed their daily routine and even managed to forget that keeping a body in suspended animation was anything unusual.

I was even brought to Martha's house once or twice for examination. Martha treated me like a cadaver, but Irene still addressed me by name and used the present tense when speaking of my condition. Sometimes they just gazed at me: Martha with scientific fascination, Irene with a sense of responsibility. After their scientific imagination ran out of ideas and they accepted the fact that my situation was neither dire nor about to change, they sat around me, gazing at me as they would a giant fish tank. One day, out of curiosity that was almost libidinous, they undressed me and brushed their hands over my flesh, which was every bit as warm and natural to the touch as before. My erect penis was cause for laughter and jokes, but they kept stroking it. Their touches provided a delicious sensation and perhaps in my previous life it would have been the subject of a nighttime erotic fantasy. But the knowledge that the touch would be only that – a touch – made me aware of how sexuality was not an act but a speculation, a paradise that could be contemplated, but never fully realized.

And yet, it brought the two women together. One evening, while relaxing on the couch, I noticed that Irene was touching Martha, holding her close and reaching underneath her garments. Martha accepted Irene's touches, and the two quickly undressed before my eyes, oblivious to the naked male statue in the center of the living room. Judging from their agility in disrobing and pleasuring one another, I guessed it wasn't their first embrace. One moment they were doctors discussing cellular deterioration; the next they were tasting each other and sighing.

A week later I was back at Irene's apartment, stashed away at Irene's bedroom. Weeks went by, and my motionless body became just another piece of furniture. My days were dull enough, but at night I could hear the television from the living room. For a few weeks Irene tended to me every few hours or so, and occasionally Martha would visit for a more thorough examination. Irene's roommates quickly adjusted to having me in Irene's bedroom and even talked to me when they walked by. Sometimes Irene tossed her dirty clothes at me before hurrying to work. For several days an old broom leaned against my shoulder. Oh, the indignities!

After a while I began to feel like Irene's doll. For most of the day I would sit in a shaded room lost in thought, and then I'd hear the girls come home. Irene would occasionally touch me and take skin samples, talking to me all the while. As crazy as it sounds, after the first day or so of my immobility, I never really despaired of my condition. I didn't exert myself trying to move a muscle or to establish some means of communication with the outside world. I simply accepted what had happened and turned my focus to my surroundings and caretakers. Who was Irene? Who were her roommates? Although I enjoyed the feminine attention and the occasional touch of Irene's examining hands, I was content to spend the rest of my days in endless contemplation of shadows and sunbeams and the caws of birds and rustle of leaves outside the window. It felt less like meditating than watching people on TV one never would meet. When Irene's door was fully shut, eavesdropping was difficult (especially with the noisy heater running), but I could still hear things: the telephone conversations, the TV, the occasional guests. During the day I contemplated the lovely solitude and at night I inhabited the soap opera that was Irene, Holly and Carolyn. Apparently, Carolyn was training to run in the Chicago Marathon in a month. Holly was working long hours at a job she hated (but at least was boinking one of her employees). Irene was doing her residency in a D.C. Trauma center, and working crazy hours.

One afternoon when Carolyn was the only one home, she entered Irene's room, presumably to take a magazine; five minutes later, she returned and sat before me, staring into space and muttering things to me. She smiled. "You're never going to change, are you?" she said, laughing to herself and putting her arm around mine. "And you don't even smell or look any different. Eternal youth, I suppose. Couldn't we all use it?"

She brushed her hand over my chest, reaching down to my private parts. When she found that my penis was still erect, she laughed again. "You dirty fool! " She looked at me in a special and admiring way, as if she had just realized that we were alone in a room, one man and one woman. She pressed against me. For a moment our cheeks touched, and then she moved closer to my lips, as though to kiss me, hesitating, then giving me another quick kiss. She drew back and looked in my eyes, expecting some acknowledgement. But she found nothing in my eyes. "If only you were alive," she said.

She went back to her normal business (which seemed to amount to nothing more than watching talk shows, surfing the net and taking a series of naps). But the next day, she came in and without warning took off my T-shirt and hugged me after removing her own top. There was a song on, a nice catchy innocent pop song, and she sat on my lap continuing the embrace. She unzipped my pants, and caressed my dick, pleased at how it felt between her fingers. "I can't get over how soft your skin is," she said. Then, in a flash, she pulled down my pants, bending over me until the tip of my penis touched her pussy, producing a slight shiver. Slowly she settled over me, rocking back and forth quietly, enveloping my dick with her warmth. Soft laughs, heavy breathing and twenty minutes it was over. "Our little secret," she said, hopping off and dressing the both of us and inspecting me several times to make sure nothing was out of place.

This was not exactly a regular occurrence (though it was intimate and even fun). But a few weeks later, we did it again with more enthusiasm. After that, she treated me not as a piece of furniture but someone needing attention. When she had occasion to go into Irene's room (not too often actually), she made sure to stroke my face or shoulder for a second or two. She even spoke to me ("How are you today?" "Irene's not coming home tonight," "Awww, why so sad today?" and little jokes like that).

Interestingly, the next sexual encounter I had was not with Carolyn but Holly. She had a boyfriend named Tim from work, and although I never saw him (I was the skeleton in the closet, so to speak), I heard him come over numerous times. He even slept over sometimes. He didn't seem particularly bright, but he made Holly laugh, and Holly was someone who needed to laugh (she was prone to moodiness). After they broke up, Holly seemed glum in the moments I saw her pass by. One evening she came over, rested her hand on my shoulder and whispered, "At least you never leave."

She didn't kiss me, just looked into my eyes. And then something amazing – she was close enough that I could see my face reflected in her eyes. It was as if I saw myself now for the first time. It was easygoing, a little aloof but also capable of showing true concern. As I peered at my image in her eyes, Holly disrobed and insinuated her limbs around me after easing down my shorts. Holly was a bit out of shape, but had a nice curvy figure, and I could feel her warm weight leaning over me. As we moved, the chair began creaking, and she breathed so heavily that she seemed closer to passing out than having orgasm. She slowed down, resting against my shoulder, as though she were simply resting. A minute later, she resumed her motions only to disengage a few minutes later. That stop-start rhythm continued for another half hour, until finally a quick hiccup of an orgasm brought her peace.

After it was over, she slid off and rested her head on my lap, stroking my cock Holly was not relaxed but distraught; the coupling was not an intimate act but a distraction from the pains of living. She leaned against me, humming to the radio, taking herself into some faraway land without pain. Finally, she stood up, dressed both me and herself, then walked out of the room, never to be seen again.

Was it intentional? I never did find out because a few weeks later Irene decided to move away. She took me along, but not before subjecting my body to a thorough biological examination. She stripped me, probed my orifices and took various cell samples, searching for signs of cellular deterioration. But according to her diligent records, my condition had hardly changed. Irene was the one who had changed; though still attractive, her skin had lost that youthful sheen; the antsy and unsure grad student gained the confidence of an experienced physician. Once everything checked out, she wrapped me inside a refrigerator box and put me on the back of an air-conditioned moving van.

Her destination was Mobile, Alabama. I saw nothing from inside my box, but it was still lovely to feel the truck wheels racing below and later the dolly wheeling me into the house. I was eventually put on the second floor in a walk-in closet on second floor. She propped me onto a wooden chair, surrounded by random junk: trunks, old clothes, a guitar and a bowling ball. Most of the time the light was off and I sat in darkness. Yes, it was drab, but at least I wasn't buried or treated like a cadaver at some medical school. I missed contact with the outside world: a radio, the sound of birds, the regular steps of people in and out of rooms. Although Irene seemed pleasant enough, the house was mainly empty, and often Irene was away for long periods of time; the storage door wouldn't be open for days or even weeks.

Unlike her two roommates, Irene didn't form any ostensible emotional bond with who I was (or represented). I was simply her responsibility, her little secret. She took exceptionally good care of my body, dusting me off, sometimes changing clothes and wiping my limbs with a washrag. Although those examinations used to annoy me, now they seemed a sign of almost maternal concern. She would never let me go to waste.

She had several sexual partners over the years, both male and female. Sometimes I heard the voices and the stray sound of people making out (even though her bedroom was on the other side of the house). But she never unlocked the door when visitors were around. I was her secret, the thing no other person could accept. Could my presence have made it hard for her to have a normal relationship and family? Did she fear that the zombie in the storage room would scare them off? How would she explain? Had she ever considered getting rid of me? That possibility was hard to imagine; I had lived with her so long I was practically family.

Curiously, Irene never talked with me, though sometimes she dragged me into her study and sat on my lap. One night, while chatting happily on the telephone to a friend from her headset, she went into the study, undressed me, and lowered herself onto my penis. It was the first time Irene had done this in the new house. She moved up and down (oh so quietly!) while she and the man went on about movies and the latest political scandal (who was president anyway?), laughing at his wisecracks (I could hear his voice from the earphone). With a grin she continued her gyrations, sharing the joke with me while she gave herself caresses. As she came closer to orgasm, she kept quiet, careful not to give herself away. For fifteen seconds she closed her eyes while the man's voice kept talking. Pleasure coursed silently through her body, and then her body shuddered. When she opened her eyes, she stared tenderly at me, maybe the first time she'd ever done so. Then, giving me a short kiss, she resumed her participation in the conversation as though nothing strange had happened.

For the next month or two, she returned, wheeling a television into the study and watching shows while sitting on my lap. Nothing sexual, just snug relaxing after work. I now could watch the TV (whenever it was on), sometimes even without Irene. I watched all sorts of programs: news, old movies, cartoons. I enjoyed the headline news and advertisements, though the repetition grew tiresome. Once, she turned on a show and left the room, returning late at night; during the intervening time I had watched two movies, a news program and five episodes of a show about a high school teacher. For two or three years we watched a variety of shows together in silence. Her tastes were middlebrow – nothing foreign or arty – but at least her head didn't obstruct my view. Once, after a particularly awful TV show, she muttered, "Another hour of my life wasted. Really, Steven, why didn't you warn me?"

A week later, she carried me into the closet once more, and that was the end of my TV watching. She had parties more often at her house and rarely had reason to see me. Was it another boyfriend? Girlfriend? I just stared ahead contemplating my past and future, basking in memories, remembering erotic embraces. I even recalled a college girlfriend, the way we made out, the way she touched me and responded to my touch. Before my petrifaction, I read books, went dancing and skiing, contemplated the general state of affairs. Now I contemplated mortality – Irene's mortality. Every time she entered my closet, I saw the way she was aging – maybe it was just the light. If Irene died, then what? Did I really matter in this world anymore? Annihilation was just as real to me as Irene, and yet I could do nothing to counteract it.

The next time she came in the closet was to see me. She wheeled my chair out, and gave me the standard medical exam. What was she looking for? She just peered into my ears and nasal passages, examining my teeth and limbs. Nothing unusual. Did she think I was still alive? Was I still a person to her? All she did was stare.

Years went by, with visitations to the closet becoming more rare. Without human contact, time sped by, I could not imagine what month or even what year it was. When she entered again, I saw how time had changed her; Irene was now an aged woman; still healthy, but weaker, less physically capable, more detached from her body. It was frightening – maybe because my own body was frozen in time. She stood before me, looking ahead, moving her hand slowly over my chest.

"My god," she whispered, "you are so young, so beautiful." She undressed me and herself, then sat atop me in the usual way. She moved up and down, not in some hedonistic way, but as if she were performing some solemn religious ceremony. It was not pretty. Her sagging body clung to me, stroking and resting. But there was no climax. Instead of pleasure, she was busy contemplating past pleasures, thinking about wasted romantic opportunities, weekend lovers now gone, youthful erotic dreams, dreams once possible but now safely (and depressingly) impossible.

Next time Irene entered the closet with a younger woman. Irene looked frail, barely able to keep standing. Irene pushed aside the curtains, motioned to me and said, "here it is." The younger woman studied me for a moment and said, "wow."

That was the last time I saw Irene. A few months later she died. The younger woman came later to sort through her things. Before I knew what was happening, some movers had taken me away to an antique shop, where the owner peered at me, consulted a computer and offered three hundred dollars. Sold.

They placed me in the showroom with a steady stream of customers walking by. I sat next to a grandfather clock and a bronze statue of a tiger. Occasionally somebody would stop at me and make a comment, but for the most part I was ignored. Once, an eight year old boy running around the store, knelt behind me to hide from his mother. Eventually the mother came and scolded him, while the boy asked, "Is this man alive?"

"Don't be silly," the mother replied. "Come on, let's go." She glanced briefly at the price tag on my shirt, frowned and walked away.

Actually the most popular section of the showroom was for animation dolls, life-sized female figures that possessed a limited range of movement. They could wave, make facial expressions, shake hands, dance and even walk back and forth ten feet or so. Apparently one was programmed to mimic the actions of humans in their line of vision. Customers would make gestures and watch the animation dolls mimic it. Others liked to dance with the dolls. All were young females with perfect bodies and perpetual smiles. I guessed they had limited vocal capabilities, although I wasn't close enough to hear.

I enjoyed the display room immensely. It was always full of people and activity and even a classical music radio station (punctuated by news broadcasts). Apparently, the United States was at war (again) with an Asian alliance; I kept hearing the voice of a man who stubbornly insisted that the only way to protect our sovereign soil was to invade another's. Nobody in the showroom paid these news stories any attention. Other news piqued my interest: space elevators, cures for cancer, brain-enhancing drugs, fish genetically altered to taste like chocolate. It was nice being exposed to pop culture again (though I didn't want to become awash in it). Apparently, everyone was crazy about a new bit of software that created symphonies and sonatas at a touch of a button; half the teenage world was roaming inside a imaginary African jungle (actually a videogame), and everybody was raving about a light-hearted movie about a man and his talking dog. After a while, the news became dull and repetitive. How many terrorist attacks and corruption scandals can a brain absorb anyway? Eventually it becomes a blur. Luckily, a middle-aged man bought me a few weeks later.

He was an artist who bought all sorts of curios for his apartment. The first thing he did was undress me and place me in the middle of a group of other male nudes, some holding swords, others playing football. He moved them so all the statues faced one another. He was a kind of computer animator; he used software to make a prototype, and then took out perfectly formed ceramics from a baking machine. Most of his creations looked bland and lifeless – perfectly formed, yes, but lacking individuality or character. He stared long and hard at me, searching for some quality about my face or body to add to his latest prototype. His studio was littered with ceramic limbs and half-built manikins. Each time he began a new mold, he would stare at me, running his hands down the contours of my chest and face. But I was no Adonis; my body was young and slender, though utterly unremarkable. As he ran his hands down my thighs, I saw the flaw in this man's artistic vision. He was so obsessed with symmetries and ideal forms that he was utterly incapable of appreciating the imperfections of individuality. These imperfections were a necessary part of a figure's beauty, but he tried to hide them. My own figure was not a glorious sight, but he found it a subject of endless fascination. Even when he tried to make a slavish copy, he did so cautiously. He lacked spontaneity and the confidence to let his hands take charge. I was no art critic; I had never even taken an art class. But day after day I watched him repeat the same motions with the same disappointing results. He had to stop imitating and give into his creative impulses.

That occasion did come, though not in the way I anticipated. He entered the studio totally nude, with the lights turned off. He flipped my body onto the rug and curled his body around me. I remembered thinking, well, I don't exactly find this erotic, but it was certainly interesting and intense too; I could understand why some really got into it even though the thought of a middle aged man's hairy body slapping against my own seemed slightly repulsive. But interesting; yes, the days were growing long, and amusements were harder to come by. As soon as the artist found the point of penetration, he thrust immediately ahead, trying to put it all in. And withdrawing, he tried again, filling the raw void, and so on. Finally, he froze, as sperm spurted within me and I heard for the first time in a long time the sound of a man being completely satisfied. To tell the truth, I had forgotten how it sounded, how it must have felt, the straightforward quenching of physical desire, the sudden abandonment of humanity in an unrepentant assertion of power. I was struck by the sharp differences between male and female orgasms. The female was constantly striving to achieve; the male was basking in conquest; the female was surrendering, the male was terrorizing; the female was withdrawing into herself, while the male concentrated all his attentions on the warm fleshy object that occasionally emitted sighs.

He lay with me for a good twenty minutes, then quickly stood and drew on his sketchpad. Then he went to his computer and enthusiastically began twiddling with the animation program. Fifteen minutes later, I could see the ceramic results. It looked unsightly. No matter. He had broken through an impasse and now let his creative energies guide him instead of trying to subjugate them. There were other occasions, yes, random and sudden outbursts that nearly always caught me by surprise, but over time they become less frequent; play toys become tiresome, companions become expendable. A year later he was moving, and I ended up at the same antique shop as before (at a substantially reduced price).

The lower price fetched a buyer almost immediately. The buyers – a young couple – brought me to their home and set me inside a recreation room filled with 20th century relics. There was a jukebox, a pool table, a lawnmower, a shelf filled with books and old newspapers (all lovingly wrapped in plastic). They put me on a rocking chair in front of a typewriter, as though I were trying to write a novel. It was more of a hodgepodge collection than an attempt at historical accuracy, but it was a feast for the eyes. Every few weeks some new object was added: an iron, a black-and-white TV, a row of soda bottles. The woman paid me no attention when she came to clean the room: no undressing or carnal embraces, no sitting on my lap (although oddly, the husband passed through the room several times totally nude – he did that relatively often in the morning). I was just part of the decor; nothing erotic about that. No affectionate touches, no midnight undressing, no secret sessions of passion. Then, after the woman showed signs of being pregnant, they added objects for children: a toy train set, a Barbi doll house, a chess set. Occasionally they had parties in the room (and in fact the room had five office chairs, a recliner, a coffee table and a lamp with an incandescent light bulb). For the most part, the couple visited the room rarely until the day a crib was stuck into it.

The couple now had a baby girl. The room I stayed in wasn't the baby's room but a sort of waystation, a place to store baby supplies. The mother spent time here, ironing with the baby next to her, sometimes just burping her with the radio on (fallout reports from the Asian conflict, anti-immigrant riots, updates on the Mars mission). Then one day, out of the blue, the baby came crawling into the room totally on her own. She looked up eagerly at everything while taking a crawling tour of the room. Hadn't she just been born? The mother followed her, but it became a habit; almost every day the child returned to the room, eventually on her own two feet. The room offered multiple opportunities for play (although the mother looked on nervously and had to rearrange some antiques onto higher shelves).

By the time Wendy was four or five, most of her playthings were moved into a corner of the room. There was a kid's beauty salon, a miniature doll collection, a walk-in game world. She often played a kind of virtual tennis against a holographic opponent. Luckily I had a marvelous view. But when she became old enough for school, she spent less time in the room, leaving me alone with my thoughts and meditations. I reminisced about old memories (both pre-statue and post-statue). These memories never changed or left me but became less distinct, more embellished each time I digested them. Most of the time I simply contemplated the simplicity of the moment: the shadows, the sunbeams, the creaks and groans of the house. The family – they were called the McCurdy's – frequently left the house. Vacations, weekend trips, I had no idea. I didn't give these absences a second thought until one day I heard a loud explosion outside the house – so loud that everything in the room started shaking. A minute later another explosion came, this time followed by human voices and the sounds of running and airborne vehicles. Where were the McCurdy's? An hour later, I heard a third explosion, followed by silence. A panic struck me. What was happening? Was there an accident? An attack? An evacuation? Were the McCurdy's ok? I had never really worried about my demise; it was inevitable really, and pain existed more as an observed sensation than something that effaced my being. What was I anyway? A random consciousness, an immobile ghost granted near-immortality. But what if it all came to an end? What if the family never returned? What if through some natural disaster or war I were totally destroyed? How would it feel – would it hurt? I understood the nature of mortality; I'd already witnessed the aging and death of my first owner (and the suffering that accompanied it). These were humans. But what was I?

I had human longings; I missed the McCurdy's. I wanted them to come back, especially the girl. I couldn't stand the isolation. I just wanted things to be the way they were. I no longer pined to become human; I just wanted to hear sounds of people. I still enjoyed the vagaries of human company, the regrets, the soothing unpredictability.

After a few weeks (I'm guessing), the McCurdy family returned. Nothing in their voices indicated a crisis. I was relieved. But time flew by more quickly, and Wendy was already eight years old, then nine, then ten. She spent an hour or two every day after school in the recreation room. She did homework there and sometimes had friends over. She called me "Mr. Peeps" and greeted me every day with the name. I don't mean she treated me like a person, but the nickname suggested a place for me in her life.

But really I was losing track of her. Time was speeding up, and she was changing rapidly before me. Hearing her talk required more effort. She would say something and quickly move to something else. Couldn't she sit still? She regularly fought with her mother and often stormed into my room for refuge. One day, totally out of the blue, she hit me – in the shoulder – very hard. It hurt. Yes, pain. Then she hit me again. And walked away. At first, I thought some inner trauma triggered it, but she started doing this on a regular basis – not with malice, simply a desire to hit something.

Suddenly she was a teenager, no longer adorable, but cute, flirty and even a bit dangerous. She had friends over, talked on the phone more often and generally ignored me (as well as her parents). She stayed in my room with the door closed even though she wasn't doing anything special: brushing her hair, posing in front of the mirror, chatting with friends. And one day she took off her clothes to change outfits. Completely, right in front of me. And yet she was preoccupied with school, what friends were saying about her, extracurricular activities, boys. I wanted to touch her. For the first time in a long time I felt the desire to touch and be touched. As a statue I was used to just accepting this stasis, but now I wanted to break free. This state of longing kept me on edge, eagerly awaiting the next day's visit.

She was basically a good kid, but around her friends she was a completely different person. They gossiped about boys at school, who was dating whom and where they'd go for college. All three girls talked about a boy named Roger. Whenever his name was mentioned, they'd all start laughing. College. I'd forgotten about that. She would go off to college, and then she would be gone for good. One of them dipped down to kiss my cheek, causing all of them to laugh.

"If Roger's your boyfriend," one of them teased, "why don't you marry him?"

"He's not my boyfriend!" Wendy shouted.

The other moved my torso and nodded my head up and down. "Wendy," the girl said in a man's voice while moving my head up and down. "I'm your boyfriend, so why don't you kiss me!"

"Shut up!" Wendy said, while her two friends laughed.

"Wendy," the girl continued in the deep voice while leaning my torso ahead, "I love you, Wendy. I can't wait to make wild hot passionate love to you!"

"Stop it," Wendy said, grabbing me at the shoulder. "This is not Roger; it's only Mr. Peeps, and he wants to be left alone."

"Why don't you kiss him?" the first girl said.

"Quit it!" Wendy said, wrapping her arms around me. "He's mine, don't fool around with him. If you can't act civilized around Mr. Peeps, you had better go home."

"Guess what; Mr. Peeps is currently involved in wet and steamy affair." The first girl kissed my neck and started taking off my shirt.

"Quit it," Wendy protested (although I wasn't sure if she was angry or just pretending). "He's not your boyfriend."

The girl kissed me again and slid her fingers down my naked chest. "What – are you jealous?"

Wendy grabbed her hand, and tried to push her away, but the girl held onto my chest. It was only play-fighting, but the noise of the yelling was loud enough to cause Wendy's mom to come in.

I had been just a prop for their teasing, but a few days later, I heard Wendy talking to Roger on the phone, and while she did, she sat next to me, running her hands through my hair. A week later, she did the same thing while talking to someone named Jim. After she hung up the phone, she put her hand under my shirt, and I could feel it discovering the texture of male skin. "Oooh, nice," she whispered. Then she removed my shirt and stared at my chest. For a few moments she gazed at me, then wrapped her arms around me. Her eyes were closed; she was imagining what it would be like to hold a man like that, to be with him, to give herself. She let go and leaned against me, moving her hand against my eternally erect crotch. She slipped her hand underneath my pants and touched me. I could feel it. The touch was incredibly stimulating and erotic, but the girl wasn't really doing anything erotic except holding it gently and trying to trace the shape of it through the fabric of the underwear.

Suddenly, she heard a noise, so she moved back, put my shirt on and left the room. Was she afraid of being caught?

A few days later she came back, this time with less fear of being interrupted. I awaited her next move. She undressed me, removed everything but her underwear and held me close. Not in a sexual way, but a warm tentative embrace. She did that for some time, while keeping her eyes closed. I was amazed; my whole body was overcome with the thrill of new sensation (even though I'd experienced it many times already); it was called lust; it came so suddenly, and yet it would leap away just as suddenly and go off to college or to some faraway city. But that moment – and only that moment – was glorious and unforgettable...before it melted away.

A few days later she returned again; her parents were out of town, and she entered the room totally nude. I waited for her embrace. I wanted consummation, but not separation. Titillation, I'd had enough of that – several lifetimes worth. What was its purpose really? Can a man be eternally aroused without finding fulfillment (Yes, I still called myself a man). Like previous times she merely held me close, straddling me without seeking penetration. I could feel the weight of her hips on my lap, brushing against my erection without really opening herself. She was not trying to fuck, merely trying to imagine what fucking would be like (with Roger, Tim, or whomever it was). This was practice fucking.

But it was better than no fucking at all. She gave my face a series of passionate kisses, and then continued down my arms and the rest of her body. She gave my penis a quick kiss (the first woman who'd even done this to me as a statue) and straddled me again. Passion, kisses, teasing, testing, brushing, a moan, the light touch of pubic hair against my skin, repositioning, shoulders against shoulders, nervous nipples and a slight pressure of a teenage pussy against a man's excitement. Bodies were touching, but not joining. For a moment I yearned to be human again, to make love to this virgin in the most normal way possible. But before there was penetration, she stood and walked away.

I was stunned. It had happened so quickly. Days zipped by – long lonely days. I waited for Wendy's return. In fact I could think of nothing else. How could she leave me? (Actually she still came by several times a week to do her homework or talk on the phone). I wanted her to stay; yes, I admit it. I was selfish and lonely and unwilling to resume my previous dispassionate state. I wanted her; I wanted something; I was impatient with the days, but I could do nothing. Time was my prison.

Then, one night, Wendy entered the room again. How much time had gone by – a month? a year? Wendy was in her nightgown; she undressed, embraced me and quickly fit my erection into her pussy; her lack of inhibition made me think she'd already lost her virginity. Now she caressed my limbs without reservation or embarrassment. I could feel her warm embrace upon me, the nervous breaths, the clenching and unclenching, the nudge of her neck against mine. Her rapid movements slowed to the point where her body no longer asserted but responded. Instead of allowing me to withdraw, she simply let my penis slide in and stay there while her pussy savored its presence. Then, she pushed forward slightly, so the overall effect was not that of thrust-and-parry but ebb-and-flow. The closer she embraced me, the more of me she accepted into her.

Wendy was perfectly comfortable with the male form; she was no longer an innocent, and yet there was awe in her eyes during our embrace. Time was slowing. Her movements were more precise. All I could think about was the give-and-take of her pussy against my erection. As she concentrated on attaining some sort of equipoise, a shudder started within her and reverberated throughout our bodies. Her face changed expression at glacial speed. It seemed she was no longer breathing; she was simply trying to mirror the shape and manner of my own frozen desire (which only inflamed it more). Not only had Wendy entered my realm of physical desire, she was inhabiting my sense of time. For the first time I realized that I did in fact have the power of movement, but it was so infinitesimally small that no one – not even me – had noticed it. As Wendy's movements became smaller and less noticeable, I saw I had some limited ability to guide her forward. Like a ouija board in which participants exerted no actual control, both of us were holding tight, obeying unseen forces, eagerly awaiting the outcome. She touched me. For the first time in a long time (not since Irene), this teenage girl treated me as a physical presence, not simply a projection of some private fantasy. Her body tensed and relaxed while her face remained still. Her eyes – only centimeters away – were calm and soothing and distant (much as my own distant stare must have tantalized the others).

Her face pressed against my cheek, breathing quietly. I seemed to be approaching one amazing orgasm, but was powerless to control it or predict its arrival or even explain its biology. I was aware of a multitude of sensations; it was if individual skin cells of Wendy's were offering caresses. I wanted Wendy to feel what I was feeling and vice versa. I was ready for some grand final moment, and yet this moment was prolonging itself and lingering beyond my reach. It was glorious and frustrating. A multitude of emotions and sensations coursed through my mind. No, not to me – how to explain? I was no longer a single self, but a bundle of irreconcilable sensations seeking the mind's attention (only to dissipate after receiving it). I felt anxious, needy, eager, sad, bored, panicky and extremely relieved – and I could see how each of these feelings sent a voiceless shudder through her body. Her steady warmth pressed over me; her body gripped mine like a sweet comfortable vise, and that perennial feeling of solitude slowly began to dissipate. This vise had already become a part of me (like an appendage fused to my body). I could no longer claim to possess emotions or sensations she did not feel also. Time passed; seconds, minutes, days. Arms wrapped around shoulders; shoulders wrapped around arms. Two brains, one brain. I now realized I was thinking too much about myself – and thinking too much about thinking. I stared at her – and saw her staring at me. Our bodies trembled in silence, motionless, unable to advance or withdraw. Each mutual body tremor became less intermittent, lower in intensity and longer-lasting. Each embrace was a long and sustained release, punctuated by occasional twitches of tension. Each release lasted longer than before; alternating days and nights became indistinguishable as I lost awareness of everything except the feel of her soft skin around mine. She remained with me, and suddenly I realized I was thinking too much – suddenly I realized I was thinking too much about thinking – suddenly I realized that – suddenly I

Started 2000, finished 2006-7.

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"Instead of pleasure, she was busy contemplating past pleasures, thinking about wasted romantic opportunities, weekend lovers now gone, youthful erotic dreams, dreams once possible but now safely (and depressingly) impossible. "
Gustav Klimt, Allegory of  Sculpture
Gustav Klimt , Allegory of Sculpture
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