America's Most Critical Journal (since 1999)
Fifty Shades of Mayonnaise
By Pete McArdle
I look in the fridge and it’s practically empty, only a few packets of ketchup, an ancient bottle of olives with pimentos, and a stale crust of bread. Looks like tomato-olive soup with croutons for dinner. Again.
Ah, the writer’s life! I know deep down I’ve got the goods, I have the twenty-odd published stories, and more recently, the handful of checks to prove it. However, a penny a word doesn’t buy a guy many groceries. By nature skin and bones, I’d be a skeleton wearing jeans and a t-shirt if not for my roommate, Travis.
Travis works in a French restaurant and brings home table scraps five nights a week. On a good night, there’s a nice-sized chunk of Chicken Cordon Bleu, a soupcon of French Onion soup, and a few bites of Beef Bourguignon for my supper. I save the half-eaten baguettes, with their haphazard smears of pate foie gras or baked brie with blueberries, for the days Travis isn’t working.
But my roommate’s currently away in L.A., visiting his half-sister, the stripper, and after five days of tomato-olive soup, my old, thread-bare sneakers are starting to look mighty tasty. I’m unlacing one of them, my mouth brimming with saliva, when the phone rings. It’s Travis.
“Bro, you gotta help me out,” he says. “I just remembered a party I was ‘sposed to work. The lady’s name is Bliss, she’s havin’ a huge shindig at her mansion tonight and if I leave her high and dry, she’ll never call me again.”
“Bliss?” I say, “You don’t mean the Miss Bliss Gluten-Free Cupcakes and Pies magnate, do you?”
“Yep, that’s her,” says Travis. “She’s fat as a whale and incredibly bossy, but she pays cash and always makes sure the help gets fed.”
That certainly piques my interest.
“But Trav, I’ve never waited on anybody before, plus I’m the biggest klutz going. And besides, I’ve got nothing to wear,” I say, looking down at my unlaced Converse and licking my chops.
“No problemo, pal,” he says. “It’ll be big on you but you can wear the black tux hanging in my closet. And waitin’ on peoples’s easy. ‘Can I get you a cocktail, Sir?’ ‘Another canapé, Ma’am?’ That’s all there is to it, dude. Whaddya say?”
While I’m wondering what the fuck a canapé is, my stomach commandeers the part of my brain responsible for speech, the lower left frontal lobe or Broca’s Area, and says, “O.K.! What’s the address?”
It’s a quarter to six that evening and Rwanda, my rusty old Honda, leaves behind a contrail of partially-combusted hydrocarbons as she struggles up the steep, tree-lined drive to the Bliss mansion. I have the odd habit of giving things names: my bike is Black Beauty, I call my fountain pen Foucault, my member’s Magneto and my transverse colon answers to---well, you get the idea.
When I finally reach a clearing and catch my first glimpse of Huckleberry Hall---apparently Miss Bliss likes to name things too---the part of my brain responsible for breathing, the medulla oblongata, decides to go on strike. As the carbon dioxide in my blood rises to dangerous levels, I drink in the vast grey-stone manse, with its stunning puce parapets, crenellated towers of creamy alabaster, and somewhat gay stained-glass windows. Better kiss this bitch’s ass, says my inner Hemingway, she’s clearly got a few bucks!
Branches banging off the side of Rwanda tell me I’ve left the road and I jerk the wheel hard to regain the pavement, and then resume breathing. Looking in the rear-view mirror, I see that my crew-cut is still perfect, my nose hairs are neatly trimmed, and my somewhat squinty eyes are no more than six degrees off level with the horizon.
Some folks, typically fat, ugly ones, find me handsome. They say I have the body of a fashion model. But right now you’d never know as it swims inside Travis’s jet-black, ten-sizes-too-big tux. Between my ill-fitting duds and my shockingly pale complexion, I look like an anorexic Phantom of the Opera.
A sign up ahead says “Servants Parking,” and I take the fork when it arrives and knife into a parking spot, between a grey VW and an Audi Quattro S1. That’s probably the bartender’s car, says my inner Ernest as I cut the engine, open my door and pitch face-first onto the blacktop. What a spaz, grumbles Ernest.
After brushing dirt, leaves, and desiccated insects off my clothes, I roll up my pants legs until I can see my black Cons. Then I stroll over to the Servants Entrance, so noted by the large, eponymous marble-and-bronze sign hanging ominously over the door.
After knocking, I step nervously across the threshold, slip on the slick Florentine tile, and hook slide to a halt between the legs of the head butler, Igor, according to the name-tag on his breast pocket.
A hunchback whose tux fits him splendidly---I’d like to meet his tailor!---Igor glares at me in silence before helping me to my feet and pointing towards a large table in the corner. At the table are at least a dozen men in black tuxes, stuffing their faces, waving their hands and squawking loudly, like a gaggle of pot-bellied penguins.
I grab an empty seat and fill my plate from platters of baked beans, hard-boiled eggs, braised baby bok choy and spit-roasted suckling pig. I’ve just taken my first bite of baby bok choy when my neighbor says, “Hi, I’m Alex Tres-Bien.”
“Glouef,” I say and then swallow what’s in my mouth. “Hi, Alex,” I start over, “I’m Chris, Chris Miele. But all my friends call me Happy.”
“Well then, Happy Miele it is! Let me introduce you to all the guys.” He points. “That’s Ray, he’s Andre, that’s Rudy, he’s Judy---don’t ask,” he whispers---“that’s Jerry, Tom, Dick, and Harry, and see that huge, tattooed guy in the corner, the one that looks like a frustrated serial killer?”
“Uh-huh,” I reply, nervously biting my nails. It’s a habit I have.
“He must be new, I never seen him before. In any case, welcome to Huckleberry Hall and let me give you a word of advice about the owner, Miss Bliss.”
Alex leans in, smelling of Old Spice and suckling pig, and says, “Whatever you do, try not to stare at her ti---”
A shadow has fallen over Tres-Bien, the words seem stuck in his craw, and I realize that the lady of the manor must be standing right behind me---I can hear her labored breathing!
My hypothalamus, the center responsible for perspiration, goes to Code Red and as freshets of briny sweat slither down my neck, I turn and fall off my chair, the back of my head clanging euphoniously against the rich, imported tile, like a well-struck note on a steel drum.
Looking up through blurry eyes of an indeterminate but not awful color---like I said, they’re just a little squinty---I see a vision of feminine pulchritude, a vast Mother Mary with arms wide enough to embrace the world, and in a pinch, fat enough to feed it. I stare into her perfectly-round face with its droll cherry nose perched beneath dark, bovine eyes, her ebony locks parted in a pair of jaunty pigtails, her precious mouth puckered in a moue of concern.
“Honey, are you O.K.?” asks the Rubenesque hostess.
“I think so,” I stammer, trying desperately to remember what Alex told me not to stare at. And then, drawn by the deeply plunging neckline of her silver Dior evening gown, I see them.
Fluffy twin dirigibles trying to float past their steel-reinforced lace moorings, monstrous milk glands that could each produce a gallon or two, huge ivory love-pillows for my head, and both of them beaming at me.
“Hubba, hubba!” I say at inner Ernest’s behest.
Then the organ responsible for monitoring insulin levels---the pituitary gland, conveniently located at the base of the brain---sounds the low blood-sugar alarm, my squinty, not-quite-level eyes of an indeterminate color roll up in my skull, and my head hits the floor, this time sounding more like a coconut.
I awaken in a strange, aquamarine place, a hunchback in a black tux holding a cold compress to my head.
“Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers,” I say, channeling my inner Tennessee. Gag me with a spoon, snipes Ernest.
“I go . . . get Master,” says Igor in his best Swiss-Romanian accent. I realize it’s him from his name-tag.
He shambles over to a wrought-iron spiral staircase, tastefully hidden in the corner of the Convention Center-sized room, shakes his shaggy head and with great difficulty, lurches up the stairs, his hump repeatedly bouncing off the wrought-iron supports, the sound reminiscent of a kid dribbling a basketball.
I lift my head and leaning on my elbows, try desperately to get my bearings in this strange, aquamarine, Convention Center-sized place. But I can’t, all I know is I’m hungry and horny and my head hurts like hell. And I also have this crazy Caribbean music playing in my brain. Oh yeah, and when I close my eyes, all I can picture are these two Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade floats that look for the world like a gigantic pair of kno---
All of a sudden I hear rapid, tortured breathing, like that of a matador in the final few seconds before the bull charges. Not bad, allows Hemingway.
“Oh, you poor skinny thing!” the great lady cries, pushing me back against the pillows with one of her sweaty yet delicate ham-hocks. I figure the party must be over, Miss Bliss’s thick, lustrous hair is now down and she’s wearing a pink, Shantung-silk robe.
Smiling widely, she says, “I’ve brought you some fresh, organically-grown food, lovingly prepared by M. Jean-Luc LeDouche, my own personal world-class chef, and I fully intend to feed it to you.”
The woman’s face hardens, like a bag of Sakrete left out in the sun. “Don’t fuck with me, sonny,” she says and picks up a spoon.
I look up at close to a quarter-ton of powdered, privileged, lipid-rich flesh, hovering several feet above me, my cerebral cortex does the math---using Gauss’s gravitational flux theorem---and my mouth pops open.
“That’s a good boy,” she says, spooning me split-pea soup with little bits of ham and just a hint of sherry. “We’re gonna get along just fine.”
Another spoonful and then a bite of Gruyere on melba toast.
“I’m Miss Francesca Bliss,” she says, smiling and adding a dollop of sour cream to the soup, “but all my friends call me Fresca. Now open wide for the choo-choo!” she coos, the split-pea soup really rather good.
I swallow a mouthful and say, “Nice to meet you, Fresca, I’m Chris, Chris Miele, but all my frie---”
“Silence!” she bellows. “This is my house and I make the rules. You shall be called ‘Mr. Miele’ and you will address me as ‘Miss Bliss.’ Got it?” She whacks me on the forehead with the spoon and I feel a frisson of pleasure intermixed with fear.
“Whatever you say, Miss Bliss,” I reply, trying not to stare at the rack of lamb au jus with new potatoes and string beans almondine sitting on the nightstand.
She sees me staring, smiles impishly, and tears a rib from the rack with her bare hands. I’m literally drowning in my own saliva as she teases me, bringing the savory meat close to my mouth and then pulling it away.
I’m beside myself, intoxicated by the scent of mint jelly, and as the succulent pink flesh flits in and out of my vision, I fight an overwhelming urge to pick my nose. It’s a habit I have. When I can stand it no more, my pinky heads straight for my right nostril and then it happens.
My wayward hand accidentally grazes one of Miss Bliss’s pendulous dugs---I feel the nipple stiffen through the sheer material---and then a current of incredible sexual energy passes between us.
Quick, pinch her nipple, hisses Hemingway and I comply, keeping half an eye on the lamb chop.
Miss Bliss groans loudly at my touch, her nipple now the size and feel of a Tootsie Roll, and as I roll it between my thumb and forefinger, she shudders mightily and her mouth forms a tiny “O”---the exact same shape a woman’s mouth makes after the “big O.”
Could it be? Did she just come?
By way of an answer, Miss Bliss hands me the plate of lamb and while I wolf it down, she takes out a cigarette and lights it. As she sucks on the butt, a healthy glow informs her otherwise pallid features and in a husky voice, she asks how my mom could ever allow me to be so skinny.
“Whumpf,” I say before swallowing a mouthful of new potatoes. “Actually, Miss Bliss, she died when I was only five,” I say, helping myself to another lamb chop. “The two of us were on vacation in Australia, hiking alone in the outback when we were attacked by a pack of ravenous, sex-starved dingoes. While I hid beneath a billabong tree, sniveling like a little child, my mother was ravished repeatedly and then eaten alive by the ugly, ungrateful beasts.”
“How awful!” cries Miss Bliss, cigarette smoke spurting out her nose. “For your mother, I mean.”
“Yes, I’d imagine so,” I say, surprised to find myself still angry, after all these years, at the travel agent who laid out our itinerary.
“Pinch my nipples again, Mr. Miele,” orders Miss Bliss, my saintly mother apparently forgotten, “Now!”
I do, this time slipping my hand beneath her robe, and she comes almost immediately, her piggy little eyes and massive jiggly thighs squeezed tight. After catching her breath, Miss Bliss reaches for another cigarette and I---or perhaps it’s Magneto, between him and Hemingway, I have no idea who’s calling the shots---politely inquire, “Miss Bliss, when do I get to come?”
“You’ll come when I say so, Mr. Miele, and not a moment before! You see I’m bigger and wealthier than you are, so I give the orders. Now eat your green beans,” she says, not fooled by the way I tried to hide them under a pile of freshly-gnawed lamb bones.
Eat the fucking beans, says Ernest and I do, although I pick out every last little sliver of almond. It’s one of my many odd habits.
Miss Bliss lights up again---between the cigarettes and her heft, I worry for her heart---and then plops herself down on the bed, the Posture-pedic springs protesting mightily. She takes a quick drag of her cigarette and proceeds to tell me all about herself.
“I am a woman of peculiar tastes, Mr. Miele. I hate long, leisurely walks along the beach, I despise politicians with idiotic monosyllabic first names, like Newt or Rand or Mitt, and I’ve no use for wallet-sized photos of newborns or sexual intercourse. What do I like, you ask?”
She waits a beat, frowns, then flicks my ear with the butter knife.
“Ow!” I say, rubbing my ear. “What do you like?”
She glares at me and raises the butter knife threateningly.
“What do you like, Miss Bliss?” I say quickly and cringe for the blow that doesn’t come. When I dare to open my eyes, the wealthy behemoth’s smiling again.
“I like A-1 sauce on both sides of my steak, Mr. Miele. I enjoy people who laugh when I fart, I.V. sedation gone wrong, and movies about global warming. But most of all, I love long, wet, sloppy oral sex---bag out, no cream.”
Both Magneto and Hemingway come to attention at this.
“Will you eat me, Mr. Miele?”
“I’d love to!” I gush.
I hear a loud Bong! as the butt of the butter knife bangs off my skull.
“I’d love to, Miss Bliss,” I rephrase, ruefully rubbing my head.
“Good,” she says, suddenly business-like again. “But first you have to sign this non-disclosure agreement.” She whips out a sheaf of legal papers and hands it to me.
“But Miss Bliss, what do these papers mean?” I ask, anxious to get Magneto out into the open air and desperately hoping that I’ll be the one on top.
“What the agreement says, Mr. Miele, is that I can cut your nuts off if you ever tell anyone what happened here tonight.”
“Fair enough,” I say. I grab Foucault from my back pocket, make sure he’s got ink, and with a flourish, give her my John Hancock.
Grinning, Miss Bliss claps her hands and like that, it’s pitch black. “Igor, bring me my sex toys,” she commands, and a disembodied voice says, “Y-e-s, master!”
Igor? Where’s he been hiding all this time, I wonder. Then I realize Miss Bliss must’ve been using him as a chair. I’d heard some low rumbling from that general vicinity but had naively passed it off as gas.
“Kindly disrobe, Mr. Miele,” says Miss Bliss, and needing no further encouragement, I slip out of my oversized tux in one easy motion, like a lobster on the molt. I can hear my heart pounding loudly, ka-thump, ka-thump, ka-thump, but then I realize it’s just Igor, painfully ascending the spiral staircase.
A huge pair of meat-hooks suddenly lift me off the bed, I hear the mattress groan as my elephantine lover shifts beneath me, and I land on top of Mount Fleshmore, eager to plant my flag!
Warm, eager lips close around my member, and as Magneto starts into his happy dance, I feel for a moist fleshy fold with my fingers and then dive into it face-first, licking and kissing and teasing it with my tongue.
“Ex-cuse me, Mr. Miele,” snaps Miss Bliss, cranky and irritable once again---This broad really puts the pole in bipolar, observes Ernest---“but would you mind taking your tongue out of my goddamned belly button and see if you can’t put it to some good use?”
“Sorry, Miss Bliss!” I say, laughing weakly. “You know I once had a girlfriend who really liked it when I---”
Sharp, battle-hardened incisors start to dig into Magneto and I quickly shut my trap and head south towards the Promised Land. After one or two more false starts, I finally find the hairy Heart of Darkness, the Love Moat, that slime-covered Cave of Carnality from whence we all spra---well, you get the idea.
I barely get my mouth into position to do some damage when Miss Bliss comes, spitting Magneto out into the frigid depths of outer space, and leaving me to hang on for dear life as she bucks like some crazed, epileptic bronco.
I wait until the world stops heaving, hoping against hope that it’s finally my turn to get off, but then I hear the sound of a match being struck, and my hopes and my woody quickly fade. I feel a very unpleasant warmth between my legs and I say, “Uh, Miss Bliss? Please don’t blow smoke up my ass.” I’d always wanted to say that to someone but the moment had never seemed right.
“Oops! Sorry, Mr. Miele,” she says, cheerful once again, and then she tosses me to the floor like a used midget wrestler. Miss Bliss claps her hands, the lights come back on, and I find myself staring at Igor’s size-thirteen brogans as he stands there holding a large cardboard box marked “Sex Toys.”
I cringe when Miss Bliss opens the box but all it contains are various snack-cakes: Ring-Dings, Twinkies, and Ho Ho’s. The great lady tears open a package of Twinkies, breaks one in two and smears the delicious cream-filling all over her dark, wide areolae.
“Mr. Miele,” she purrs, “I think it’s high time you had dessert!”
Like that, I’m all over her, licking Twinkies off her tits, eating Ring-Dings from the crack of her ass, and stuffing Ho Ho’s in her hoo-ha. As my blood-glucose rises to near coma-inducing levels, I suck and lick and nibble the sugar-sweetened flesh, Miss Bliss writhing violently and trying to set a world record for orgasms in her weight class. She comes when I lick her clit, she comes when I caress her shoulder-blade, she even comes when I say the word “pomegranate.” Suffice it to say, she comes in mysterious ways, the entire time crying out for me to eat her.
I’m now a Twinkie-fueled madman, I make love to the woman’s love handles, rub my balls against the soles of her feet, and come twice in her left armpit. The processed sugar has apparently gotten to Miss Bliss too, she sticks a parfait spoon full of Bosco up my ass---yet another “first” on this crazy, godforsaken night---and screams, “I want you to really eat me, Mr. Miele. I want you to gnaw on my little toe like a wild, naughty dingo!”
Exactly what happened after that I couldn’t tell you, but I clearly had some sort of mental breakdown. Post-traumatic stress syndrome, Twinkie psychosis, orogenital overload, call it what you want, but my pre-frontal cortex---the center responsible for self-control---definitely left the tracks that night. Apparently I did the unthinkable, and then I passed out.
I wake up the next morning covered in vanilla frosting, coffee-cake crumbs, and something that looks eerily like blood, raspberry jelly perhaps. I stagger into a beautifully-appointed bathroom the size of my apartment, take a long, steaming-hot shower, and find Travis’s tux hanging on the bathroom door.
Igor has apparently had it altered and dry-cleaned, and now it fits me like a glove. I wander downstairs, my belly still bulging and Magneto whistling show tunes, and there by the big ballroom doors sits Miss Bliss.
She grins at me with great affection, and I return her smile, the prior night a hazy smorgasbord of lamb chops, new potatoes, Ding Dongs and kinky sex.
But then I notice her elevated foot.
Although the foot’s heavily-swathed in white, cotton bandages, I can see Miss Bliss is now missing a toe.
The horror! The horror! whispers my inner J.C. as I stand there, aghast at my own inhumanity and unable to speak. Even Hemingway’s at a loss for words.
I am a monster! The media will call me Hannibal Miele, they’ll say I’m Jeffrey Dahmer’s secret love child, and that the title of my favorite book is “To Serve Man.” They’ll even interview my dentist, Dr. Wang, who’ll bring up the time I---well, you get the idea.
“Don’t feel bad, Mr. Miele, it’s what I wanted,” says Miss Bliss, drawing me out of my dark reverie. “Last night was the most erotic night of my life, I must have come at least twenty-five times! We are now one in the truest sense, Mr. Miele, and besides,”---she looks down at her truncated tootsie---“I do have nine more.”
I cannot stomach any more of this madness, I sprint out the front door of Huckleberry Hall and roam the perimeter until I spot my familiar, faded-gold Honda. Although she’s almost as old as I am, Rwanda starts on the first try---easy-peasy, Japanese-ee, notes Ernest---and together we flee the dark, awful place where I had my first taste of human flesh.
As the Bliss mansion disappears from my rear-view mirror, I ponder all that occurred the prior evening and imagine what a strange yet compelling romance novel it would make. Of course, due to the non-disclosure agreement I signed, I’d have to alter a few facts.
I’d change my character to a virginal college co-ed, make Miss Bliss a handsome young buck who likes a bit of the ol’ slap and tickle, and have the two of them fuck doggie-style in a room full of handcuffs, whips, and chains, instead of gooey cream-filled cakes. If I could write about that night truly and with passion, why, a book like that might well end up atop the bestseller list.
That shit’ll never sell, scoffs Hemingway. A man has to write about something bloody, and glorious, and important, like war or landing a thousand-pound swordfish.
“We’ll see, Papa,” I reply, smiling dreamily, “we’ll see.”
As my faithful steed, Rwanda, gallops west down the busy, five-lane interstate, I absent-mindedly fondle my balls with my free hand. It’s a habit I have.
Pete McArdle, February 2013