Video Jukebox: Ex-Girl To Next Girl

A brilliant rap from a simpler time, when a guy could rap about his girl troubles without resorting to flagrant misogyny.

Witty, funny, and musical . . . light-years ahead of so much crap that has come down the pike since.

Fiction: Journey Down, Part 4

The first week: Friday night, Part 1

Terri marveled at how it always seemed that the less you're wearing, the longer it takes to get dressed.

She looked at herself in the mirror. The outfit that Dave had asked her to wear (he had actually asked, but in Terri's mind is was totally a command) was clearly designed to make the woman wearing it extremely aware of . . . herself.

With no underwear, the shortness of the dress was foremost in mind every second -- she had to move in a very calculated fashion to avoid exposing herself. The half-bra made her already firm and sizable breasts stand out even more; and no matter how many times she checked it was impossible for her to convince herself that her nipples weren't visible through the dress. The heels were so high that she needed to concentrate a bit on her walk, and take very small steps.

It was on outfit in which one would be looked at in one way and one way, only . . . and Terri could feel herself melt inside when she thought about that.

* * *

Dinner, thankfully, went fast. Terri was so focused on how incredibly badly she needed to be fucked, and to finally cum, that she wasn't thinking about much else. Her mind was like mush . . . but Dave at one point stared into her eyes, making sure this one exchange she remembered clearly.

"Terri . . . it's clear that we hit it off, and it's very clear that you're the kind of girl who likes to be told what to do."

Terri just nodded, each word of his gently pushing on some button she was only remotely aware was there to be pushed.

"So, that's how I'll approach things. I enjoy telling you what to do, so I will do that. If there is something you cannot do, or don't want to do, then you have to say that and we'll have a discussion. In the absence of that, I expect that My commands will be followed, immediately,totally, and cheerfully."

Terri nodded again, his gaze on her the only thing keeping her attached to the here and now. "I understand," she said.

"I will try to keep things simple at first . . . so that you can acclimate yourself to the situation. At times it might seem as though there is too much, but you'll eventually see that you're capable of handling quite a bit."

Terri nodded, but "capable" was the last thing she felt at this moment.

* * *

They got back to Dave's house and the first thing he did was have her take off the dress, leaving in just the half bra, stockings, garters, and heels. He gave a very short black silk robe to put on. In truth it really didn't cover anything but psychologically Terri felt better with it on.

"This is the first thing, Terri. In my house, this is all the modesty you're allowed. You're to wear this robe, or less at all times when you're here unless I've dictated otherwise."

Terri listened, nodding.

Dave sat down and Terri didn't really need to hear the order . . . she sank to her knees and within seconds had his cock out and was on it, greedily sucking.

In seconds she found herself in that dark, soft, blissfully sinking place. The feel and smell and sounds blended into one continuous sensory hum . . . she could never recall her mind being so totally empty, empty of everything but experiencing what she was helping create . . . the rhythm of it so gently but inexorably pushing her down . . . her eyes shut tight, afraid to open them lest the entire sensory bundle disappear like some magic spell.

She had no idea how long it went on . . . Dave seemingly could hold out, hold out, hold out, and then explode instantly at any chosen moment. One moment she was deep in that warm darkness and the next there was nothing but the taste of his explosion filling her mouth . . . his hand firmly holding her there as his cock emptied . . . she moaned deeply as she swallowed every drop, sucking him dry, and feeling something inside her melting . . . slowly giving way.

Video Jukebox: You Don't Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You're Told)

Brother and sister. Guitar and drums. Not even a bass player. That's the White Stripes. It sounds like it can't possibly work, but it does. Amazingly well, in fact.

Fiction: Journey Down, Part 3

The First Week -- Wednesday

The urge to masturbate had slowly percolated down from Sunday's mind-wrenchingly unbearable to somewhat manageable by the time she got home from work on Wednesday. Terri couldn't wait to get home, eat a couple of Pop Tarts, and fall asleep. Dave had said he'd contact her but her cell phone had been silent all day.

She couldn't help but smile as she opened the door and saw the packages sitting there in the porch, an envelope sitting atop one with "OPEN ME FIRST" neatly written on it. She laughed to herself . . . men . . . as if I would tear into the boxes without reading the card first.

Terri brought everything inside and decided that since she was getting so good at this self-denial thing, she would change out of her work clothes before looking at those boxes.

She got changed and sat on the couch, opening the envelope and reading the note inside:


In these boxes you'll find everything you need for our date on Friday. Be sure you wear everything provided and only what's been provided.

I know you are being a good girl for me . . . I can feel it, Terri. And I'm very pleased and excited that you are.

I will pick you up at 7:30 Friday night. I expect you to have cleared your weekend of plans. Don't pack any extra clothes -- it's taken care of.


Terri felt that familiar melting feeling inside and the sudden wetness . . . the effect he had on her with the simplest of words . . . the way he knew that she would go along with whatever he said . . .

Terri opened up the boxes, hoping it would be something that would look good on her.

She gulped softly as she went through the boxes. A short black dress, pretty low cut, front and back. Garter belt. Black stockings. A simple pearl necklace and earrings. And a pair of shoes that would challenge any woman -- the heels had to be 7", with a platform of 2".

Suddenly she realized that the outfit contained no bra or panties. She double-checked, and breathed a sigh of relief when she spied a small box she'd overlooked. Gratefully she opened it.

Momentary gratefulness gave way to another shocked gulp: The box contained a bra, but it was a half-cup bra. And no panties! She picked up the note again and made sure she'd read correctly . . .she had -- she was to wear everything, and only those things.

Terri looked at the outfit again, and this time she was grateful. Grateful for a fast metabolism and a regular workout regimen. This outfit was not one suited to hiding the proverbial figure flaws.

It was only later, between bites of tuna fish (the skimpy black outfit had steered Terri away from the "Pop-Tarts for dinner" plan) that Terri wondered exactly how Dave knew her measurements. She could tell by looking that the dress was going to fit perfectly, and the shoes and bra were the right size. How?

She recreated the evening in her mind and quickly wished she hadn't -- thinking back to Saturday night made her hot and bothered all over again. But she realized that she had not so much fallen asleep as totally passed out. Dave could have measured her extensively and she'd have slept through it.

Terri was starting to let her mind wander to what Friday, and the weekend, would hold in store when her Blackberry went off. She read the e-mail: The 10:00 meeting for tomorrow had been moved up to 8:30. That meant the preparation she'd been planning to do between 8:30 and 9:45 would have to be done between 7 and 8:15. And that meant she had a perfect excuse to go to bed early . . . and let her overloaded brain and body just turn off.

Video Jukebox: Birds Of Fire

Jazz isn't my thing. Nor is jazz-rock fusion, or electric jazz, or whatever you want to call it.

There is however one major exception -- The Mahavishnu Orchestra, a group that defined that fusion genre like no other. While every member displayed great musicianship, the driving force was guitar virtuoso John McLaughlin.

McLauhglin's guitar playing is . . . spiritual, is the only word that fits. And the only other guitarist I'd use that adjective in praise of is Hendrix. Technically, he does things that I've heard few others do, and none other with the fluidity and seamlessness that McLaughlin does.

In a 2003 survery, McLauhglin was ranked #49 among the 100 Greatest Guitarists Of All Time. #49 is about . . . 47 places too low, to My way of thinking.

This accompanying video is a series of beautiful kaleidoscopic "birds" by a very talented person known as mxurbanski. Watch and listen . . . and don't worry, you might feel like you've taken peyote, but this trip is 100% legal.

Fiction: Journey Down, Part 2

The First Week -- Sunday

Dave had driven her home, saying she'd hear from him "very soon." Terri didn't really believe it . . . it wasn't exactly an original thing to say, and for whatever reason guys seemed to often come down with buyer's remorse after fucking Terri's brains out.

Terri lazed on the couch, absently flipping channels . . . neither "Bridezillas" or "Property Virgins" holding her interest. She was grateful it was Sunday -- she felt tired, but not body tired . . . emotionally tired was the best way she could think of to describe it. She needed the day . . . well, she had the nagging feeling she needed a lot more than "the day," but she needed the day to at least be able to face the week. The (presumed) Debacle of Dave would hurt less with time . . .

Terri was seriously considering bundling herself up in her bed and passing out when her cell phone went off. She didn't recognize the number.


"Hi, it's Dave." Terri had one of those multi-faceted moments. She was shocked and excited and happy that to hear his voice, but at the same time she immediately began frantically trying to recall giving Dave her cell phone number. She gave up trying after a few seconds, her mind suddenly blank.

"Uhh. . . hi, Dave. It's . . . good to hear your voice." She blanched -- jeez, Terri, could you sound any more like an idiot?

Dave's manner was smooth without being slick. He exuded self-control, and Terri realized that was a big part of her attraction to him . . . she could feel submissive around him because he had himself under control -- he could be trusted.

He glossed right over Terri's nervousness. "Great to hear your voice, too, Terri. I called to say I had a wonderful time."

Terri didn't need any prompting. She hadn't been letting herself really enjoy how great last night had been because she'd been assuming she'd never hear from him again.

"Dave, I had a fantastic time . . . "

She felt she could hear his smile through the phone. "Well, I had a feeling . . . "

Dave that hang in the silence long enough, then switched gears.

I wanted to talk about this week and next weekend. "Dinner, Friday night. And -- keep the rest of the weekend clear . . . if things go well there's other things I want to explore."

Terri bit her lip . . . he hadn't asked if she wanted to go out . . . he just knew that she did. And, while some might have thought it presumptuous of him to expect her to be free for him all weekend, Terri jut nodded, entranced, until she realized that she needed to actually speak, since they were on the phone.

"Yes . . . of course . . . sounds great."

"Good. Now . . . since you like when I tell you what to do, Terri . . . I'm going to tell you to do something." He paused, but clearly Terri was supposed to listen at this point, not speak. She squirmed on the couch as he continued.

"I want you to not masturbate this week. You can manage that for me, I know."

Terri instinctively pushed her legs together as her cunt tingled under her robe. She swallowed hard. The voice that came out of her . . . she wasn't sure where it came from, or to whom it actually belonged . . . she answered without thinking.

"Unnh . . . yes, Dave. I . . . can do that for you."

"Mmm. Good girl"

Her cunt throbbed again.

"OK, I have to run. You'll hear from me . . . Wednesday, about details for Friday. Bye . . . and remember . . . you promised. And I'll know if you cheat."

He hung up before she could answer . . . which was fortunate, since the sound that came out of her was hardly conversational.

She went back to flipping channels but soon gave up . . . suddenly and acutely aware how pretty much everything on TV, programs and advertising, was about sex, in some way or other. She put down the remote and pulled here robe open . . . spreading her legs, she let her hand slide down her tummy . . . . she could feel the needy heat emanating from her sex . . .

Fuuuuck . . . I have to touch myself . . . I think I'm going to explode. He'll never know . . . and I can't take it.

She let out a frustrated little yelp and closed her robe up. She was overcome . . . not with a sudden onslaught of terrible goodness, but with the unmistakable certainty that somehow he would know if she touched herself.

She picked up the remote and went back to flipping channels.

Video Jukebox: Polk Salad Annie

Tonight's selection -- Tony Joe White doing a better version of the song Elvis had a hit with. TJW's version is less mannered, more down, more . . . unnnnh!!

Totally infectious tune.

Fiction: Journey Down, Part 1

First Date

Terri fidgeted a little in her chair, then caught herself and stopped. She'd been told by several guys that her fidgeting was a "tell" . . . she tended to fidget when she started to feel excited.

Terri looked across the table at Dave, then quickly back down at her chicken. Trying to hide how she was feeling was almost certainly futile. When Terri sensed that a guy was exactly the right type, it was pointless to try to hide how she felt. It wasn't necessarily a good way to be but Terri had learned not to fight it.

Terri looked up at Dave again and she could see it in his eyes. He knew. He knew it was in the bag . . . they wouldn't be going to the movies, or anywhere else but back to his place, where he was going to do pretty much whatever he wanted with her . . . and he didn't care that she knew, either.

She hoped her gasp wasn't audible as her cunt tingled and a trickle started to seep onto her thigh.

*/ */ */

The words "first date" kept going through her head . . . everything was nearly silent -- the only sounds were Dave's subtle moans of satisfaction and the soft sounds of Terri's warm mouth sliding along Dave's cock. Terri felt that familiar warm glow inside as her head moved up and down . . . losing herself in the rhythm of worshiping cock, feeling herself slowly peel away, layer by layer . . . wondering if it was obvious to anyone else how totally she revealed herself at moments like this.

It seemed to go on forever like that . . . Terri sunk down into the perfect rhythm of it, Dave holding it off a long time, giving her the message without a word spoken -- she would have to work hard to satisfy him, to get the salty reward he withheld from her.

That realization broke Terri out of the almost meditative state she'd been locked in. Her pace increased, her sucking more forceful, her breathing in through her nose more focused, feeling the breath propelling the sucking, letting her hunger be naked now, exposed to him and her -- what she was, what she needed . . . what she had to have.

His hand slid through her hair and he held her down on his cock as he spurted, over and over . . . feeding Terri a massive amount of cum. Somehow she didn't gag, slutty greed overcoming even the gag reflex . . . she swallowed down every drop and greedily milked his cock dry until he nudged her off of it.

Panting, she sat back on her knees, eyes unfocused, suddenly aware of the trembling deep inside her.

*/ */ */

Dave lingered a while, turning on the TV, seemingly watching it. He didn't say a word . . . and didn't suggest that Terri come up off of her knees and join him on the couch. Terri shuddered a bit at the silent implication, intentional or not.

Finally he got up and helped Terri to her feet and led her down the hall. Terri wobbled a bit, feeling somewhat self-conscious wearing nothing but her stockings and heels.

Dave led her into his "playroom," and Terri really wanted to be able to look around a bit at all the toys and devices but Dave now moved with purpose and poised her right where he wanted, and within what seemed like seconds she was quite securely bound, strappado-style: arms up behind her, legs wide, ankles locked in the ends of a spreader bar, body bent forward.

Terri closed her eyes and felt Dave slowly moving around . . . surveying/admiring his handiwork, presumably. She felt her bare sex quiver . . . and then her eyes snapped open, feeling something pressing firmly against her wetness . . .

She sucked in sharply as something firm pressed inside her . . . something smooth, and round, and then gasped as it was pulled out with a popping sound.

"Open your mouth," Dave said, and Terri complied without thinking. Dave smiled and slowly slid the ball gag into her mouth, coated with her juices. Terri grunted as he fastened the gag securely behind her head.

She closed her eyes and let the taste and scent of her own slutty excitement fill her head. She felt something inside her give way -- she opened up, tangibly . . . she felt as though her entire existence was focused on whatever sensation would enter her next, and fill her, complete her.

Dave moved behind her . . . his voice seemed to sneak up on her from behind and suddenly steal into her ears.

"I don't want you to cum, Terri," he said. "Can you do that for Me?" Terri nodded her head without thinking, yet somehow knowing she was capable of anything he might have asked at this moment.

Terri moaned into the gag as Dave's cock slowly filled her. She closed her eyes and concentrated on the feeling of it, her slut cunt dutifully clenching his cock, making herself whatever he might need or want her to be . . . shuddering in the bondage as Dave worked her over with his cock, taking her like he had known her forever, letting her know without a word that he was going to use her however he liked, as long as he liked.

Terri tried to squirm . . . finding her raging excitement so difficult to contain . . . fuuuuck, she thought to herself . . why did I agree not to cum? There's no way I'll be able to hold back . . .

Terri bit down on the gag when she suddenly felt Dave cock plunge deeper and explode inside her . . . the surprise of it wrenching her away from the edge she'd been teetering on. She drooled around the gag as a pang of frustrated desire shot through her like an all-over toothache.

Eventually Dave untied her . . . she vaguely remembered stumbling out of her shoes and falling onto a bed before passing out.

When Life Imitates The Comics

Most people have read a Dilbert strip at some point. But you can tell people who have never worked in a company of any size -- when they read Dilbert, they might chuckle, or smile, or generally have a minor reaction. To these people -- Dilbert is funny, but they think it's highly exaggerated . . . not real enough to be truly hilarious.

Those who have worked in any medium-large sized company for any length of time know better. As My girl lissa said the other night, "Dilbert is dead-fucking-on."

In many ways Dilbert is not only a reflection of the office workplace but a predictor. Catbert, the evil HR Director, who at one time seemed like a parody of a villain, is now shown to be pretty much standard issue. The willfully stupid things the company and the boss do in Dilbert can be read right off the headlines now.

And I've noticed over the past few years, especially, that employees now are much more likely to show their Dilbert-like awareness of the reality than they ever were before. We office drones who used to toil in silent acceptance of the essential stupidity and meaningless of the office experience now are much more likely to act like we know what we know -- and why not? The worst that can happen -- losing one's job -- is more than likely to happen anyway. If we are not laid off or moved to Topeka or outsourced to Bangladesh or downsized or right-sized, we might hang on for a while . . . or not. After a while the knowledge that there are lots of younger/cheaper/stupider/more naive people they can get for My job loses its power.

So Dilbert is not just a diversion, not just a refreshing bit of humor from a guy who gets it. If you think of it the right way, it's a very subtle reaffirmation of the human spirit. And while our employers have managed to mostly eradicate that spirit from the workplace (and get very big bonuses for doing so, apparently), it's not totally gone.

It's important to remember that. And to laugh. And to adopt the tag line from the strip above as My personal motto:

"I'm tempted to stop acting randomly."

Tempted, mind you.

Video Jukebox: Existential Baby

A great song by Die So Fluid.

That's Georgina "Grog" Lisee singing and being generally cool (and hot).

No One Shines In The Dark

subs (girls, mostly) talk to Me. I'm a good listener . . . I don't judge, I don't sugarcoat the truth, but I'm sympathetic.

There is a girl I'll call phoebe I talk to a couple of times a month, on average. phoebe is an intelligent girl in her 30s, an experienced submissive with a good sense of humor and a lot to give.

phoebe has been on again off again on again off again with a Domme in Her 20s, Who I'll refer to as Miranda. Miranda and phoebe, from what phoebe tells Me, have a great sexual chemistry, and are highly compatible in many aspects of D/s.

Where M and p have fallen apart is as a result of M's method of administering discipline.

p described that one of M's typical punishments is for p to sit in a totally dark room for hours at a time, presumably contemplating the error of her ways. This would be for something relatively minor on the scale of infractions. Over time, p got to resent this form of punishment . . . her attempts to talk to M about her frustrations fell on deaf ears, and eventually p left (for the second time), in order to preserve her sanity.

While there might be benefits to sitting in the dark (that's another post), M's method of punishment showed Her insecurity and immaturity.

The idea of punishment is for the submissive to learn the error of her ways, in a way that presumably is unpleasant enough in some regard or other to make the submissive not want to repeat her mistake. Punishment by . . . sensory deprivation over the course of hours is by definition non-productive -- aside from being deprived of the company of the Other, what is the lesson being imparted? Especially when that Other is unapproachable on the subject?

The lesson that p learned, and it's not surprising . . . was that M's authority was not constructive. And as such, there was nothing to be learned gained from following her/belonging to her.

I've written on this before . . . but it bears re-stating.

An effective punishment is:

1. Close in time to the infraction.
2. Controlled in its application.
3. Proportionate to the offense.
4. Never administered in anger.
5. Limited to the offense, not used to make any other point.

The good Dominant knows S/He is in control; S/He punishes only to correct behaviors S/He wishes to change, not to prove One's Dominance. The difference is subtle, but it is the difference between a real Dominant and a wannabe Dom/me control freak.

The Cases of Lenora X, Domme Detective: The Cryptic Man, Part 13

David's is stuck in the past, and makes no pretense otherwise. It's dark and sumptuous and romantic in the very classic sense. Their food hasn't changed in 50 years and one could easily believe that the waiters haven't either . . . David's is a place that makes the diner suspend disbelief, logic, and any thought of holding back.

The plates and flatware are big and solid, like the short wide glasses from which men in suits drink single-malt Scotch, or bourbon. The women with those men might be older and elegant, or young and hot, or something in between . . . David's is the place where a woman is special simply because she is a woman; one feels it the instant one sets foot inside. It's an institution from a simpler time, and going there one is starkly reminded of what has been lost in the process of making all those gains.

We're shown to our table, and perhaps it's the candlelight but King looks very good tonight. He keeps in shape and dresses well, so he always looks pretty decent, but tonight he looks better. I muse that we must make a handsome couple -- Me in a little black dress and pearls -- I saw us turn a head or two as we made our way through the restaurant, and in this crowd that's looking very good.

I look at the menu but it's just to have something in My hands -- I know exactly what I'm having -- David's dry-aged porterhouse and a baked potato the size of My niece's head. King orders scotch and I order a martini, and the waiter sweeps away as if on one of those moving sidewalks at the airport.

It's one of those times when there is something to be said both for taking on the subject head on and for very slowly inching one's way up to it. I decide to take the slow approach -- having a bad time at David's would be criminal, and besides, I was open to the (slight) possibility that King had a good reason for not telling Me he'd gone legit.

I looked up from the menu and smiled. "They say that in the old days, they'd give the woman a menu with no prices on it, like in the classic French places."

King smiled as the waiter brought our drinks and swept away, knowing with a good waiter's innate sense that we weren't ready to order just yet.

"A quaint custom . . . no longer necessary in these enlightened times, we're led to believe. Of course it was a money-maker, too . . . if one party is ordering without regard to price it probably boosts the bottom line a bit."

We raised our glasses in a perfunctory toast and I sipped the martini . . . savoring that beautiful clean dryness, finished off with subtle herbal notes. I am not a regular martini drinker but there is something magical about a really well-made one, now and then.

I nodded in return. "Well, there is that aspect . . . ironic that it helps the bottom line to keep the woman in the dark." I tried to deliver that line as innocently as possible.

King didn't bat an eye. "In the dark? I thought the idea was to give the woman the freedom to delight herself, unencumbered by financial considerations." I wasn't the only one who could deliver a good line innocently. And suddenly it seemed as though we were talking about envelopes . . .

I took another drink from My glass. "But some women delight in overcoming those . . . financial considerations." I paused a moment. "And some men, too."

King looked at Me blankly, for just a second.

I smiled. "You know what I mean. Most men . . . don't want to win if the game is rigged in their favor -- they lose interest eventually. They seek out the fair game, where the challenges are greater, but the rewards are infinitely more satisfying."

King suppressed a chuckle with a swig of scotch. "Do tell." It doesn't matter now if he thinks he's humoring Me. I forge head in the direction of the point of this dinner.

"Well, suppose a man is . . . a gangster, for the sake of argument. The game is rigged in his favor . . . no one with half a brain loses money being a gangster. And such a man is not cut out to be a working stiff . . . but, the challenge of running a business . . . or businesses, totally on the up-and-up . . . without the game being rigged . . . one could see that being a huge challenge, with huge personal rewards, not necessarily monetary in nature. At least not solely monetary."

I finished My drink. "And in the long run . . . safer."

The waiter appeared and we ordered our dinner -- I ordered another one of those transcendent martinis.

King's expression suddenly turned philosophical. "Danger is something a young man doesn't think about. Nor is the future. Nor . . . loneliness. One ends up with everything one could want, but nothing that matters."

I am used to hearing lies. Acting jobs. Sales pitches. I am good at telling the truth from a lie, real emotion from sales pitch. I'm looking right at him and for the life of Me I can't tell if that was real or something King thought would sound good to throw Me off.

I hear Frankie Boots in My head: "Doll, when you can't be sure what's what -- just play along and see where it goes."

So I play it straight. "And what matters to you, King?"

King pauses a moment. It's not a studied pause -- he's genuinely considering the question.

"Living long enough to enjoy all this money I've made. Being able to do what I want without worrying so much about who wants a piece of Me. Not thinking about cops, Feds, and DAs with axes to grind. Doing what I like with my money, and, yes . . . making more of it with the game not being rigged, as you put it."

He's telling the truth. Martinis or not, I can tell.

"So why not tell Me, King? You know you could trust Me."

King's expression softens. "I know, X. I know. But I have found that there is a certain value in certain people thinking I am still in that 'rigged game.' Surely you can understand that."

I nodded. Really was self-evident - I shouldn't have needed to ask.  Damned martinis!

"The killings -- I'm pretty sure you're not the target."

"I know I'm not." He paused to drink more scotch. "For a long time, X, I had to have that sixth sense about who wanted to do me harm and who didn't. I couldn't have survived without it. And I still have it. One benefit of that former life I don't mind retaining."

I want to talk about envelopes but King is rolling.

"Once you ruled out Bobby Astro, something fell into place for me. I realized that that world spins on its own axis. There are a few psychos who can't let go, but once you leave it, as long as you leave it the right way, it more or less goes it way and you go yours."

I sip the martini, wondering how many of these I can have and maintain My wits. Assuming I still had them.

"Then why . . . " He reads the question in My mind.

"Why all the envelopes? Well, it's not that I don't think the Blog City PD can solve this, X, but I trust you more than I trust them. I had too many of those clowns on my pad for too long . . . I know their limitations. I knew that you would work hard for the money, and these murders are happening at places I own . . . so I've got an interest in stopping them."

Smooth as silk he pulls an envelope and slides it across the table. I barely feel Myself taking it and slipping it into My little bag. The bastard is good.

The waiter appears with our food. King looks across the table at Me before he digs in. "Besides, it might be confusing if I gave you that later."

The Cases of Lenora X, Domme Detective: The Cryptic Man, Part 12

Blog City's District 4 precinct house is distinguished from the other old shabby buildings on its block only by the police cars parked all around it and the constant stream of people coming in and out, pretty much 24/7. District 4 covers a big slice of Blog City's night life, legal and otherwise. Being a cop in this part of town is never dull and considered within the Department as the best place to work to get promoted, because of all that action.

Inside, the precinct house is not unlike the outside -- old and shabby and in need of a very good cleaning. I make My way up to the third floor, where Arty Daniels' office is, mindful of the slightly lingering looks from the cops I pass on My way . . . I made sure to dress as non-flashy as possible, but it's not that . . . cops simply can't help themselves. Even the women, I'd noticed.

The one advantage to an old, shabby filthy building filled with cops is that you can smoke wherever you want. I light a cigarette and lean My head into Arty's office to let him know I'm there; I can see he's on the phone. He waves for Me to sit down so I plop down and wait for his call to finish. I blow some smoke towards the ceiling, idly musing that the nicotine stains on the ceiling are a better color than whatever the hell it was originally.

Arty hangs up the phone and looks at Me with that self-satisfied look that tells Me he's got something and can't wait to bring Me in on the big secret.

He lights up and opens a file folder in front of him on the desk.

"OK. I was thinking about the places where we've found the bodies. Professional domination studio, pool hall, restaurant. No connection except all are owned by King. Obvious, but pretty much a dead end. Right?"

I stub out my cigarette in the "Police Tactics Convention, 2002" ashtray and sit up a bit. "Right."

"Well, I got to thinking about that and did some checking. And some digging and talking to sources. And I don't know what it means . . . and maybe it means nothing, but . . . " Arty pauses for dramatic effect.

I lean forward, a little peeved at the theatrics.

Arty lowers his voice a little. "As far as I can tell, X . . . King has been 100% legit for three years . . . maybe longer."

I'm speechless a moment . . . King? Legit? Arty continues, filling the silence. "I can't tie a single illegal thing to him. He was never involved in drugs, that we know of, but there's no prostitution, no illegal gambling places, no loan sharking, no protection shakedowns, no phony contracting schemes . . . nothing. The snitches I talked to have him totally out of the game for a while now."

I turned this over a bit. King, having lots of money but not having the time a young man has, cashes it all out and buys more legitimate businesses, having figured out that they could have a use other then as fronts for laundering money. He lives longer, sleeps better, and sleeps in his palatial triplex overlooking the City instead of on a cot in a cell in BC Correctional.

It wasn't totally far-fetched. Old gangsters are rare . . . King always was plenty smart.

I collected My thoughts and looked Arty. "OK, let's say that's true. What's the connection to the case?"

Arty looked as if he was going to start a long expository speech, then caught himself. "I'm not sure. But it must mean something, right?"

I liked Arty's optimism in the face of the highly random nature of the universe. "If it's someone from his past . . . maybe that person is trying to pull him back into the life, somehow?"

It was more or less plausible but it didn't quite "play." Plus, the cops (and Me) had been over all of King's enemies, real or imagined, with a fine toothed comb.

Sometimes you just know a thing. Arty and I exchanged a glance and it was clear to both of us that for reasons we both knew but couldn't prove in any court, King was not the target. whoever was doing this found a convenient hook to hang these killings on . . . in all likelihood whoever was paying to have these killings done didn't know that King was now 100% solid tax-paying citizen.

I like cases where I have a bad feeling early on, and then gradually it improves. I don't like cases where I have no feeling early on and end up with a bad feeling. I lifted My eyes skyward in silent communication with the dear departed Frankie Boots . . . this one ain't no ground ball, Frankie.

I got up . . . Arty looked he hadn't been expecting Me to leave. I stopped a moment.

"What is it, Arty? Unless you have some other revelation about this case I need to get out of here."

Arty looked at Me impassively. "No . . . just thinking about stuff, that's all." I nodded and walked out of his office.

Thinking about stuff. At times I wish I could just stop thinking about stuff.

* * *

On the way home I called mandy at the office, making Myself feel less guilty about pretty much blowing off work today.

Just hearing mandy's sweet voice brightened my mood. Nothing major -- apparently I picked a good day to play hooky. Mrs. Frankenhauler paid her somewhat large outstanding balance, mandy informed Me; a few weeks ago I'd have been hanging on that news eagerly . . . today it made little difference -- I hadn't even looked in King's last envelope to see how much was in there. I laughed to Myself that I suddenly was the kind of person with large sums of cash laying around her apartment and not even needing to know how much it was. I made a mental note to give mandy Mrs. Frankenhauler's $3,000 as a bonus.

I made another call -- time for the envelopes to stop. If I was convinced King wasn't the target I certainly couldn't keep taking his money.

* * *

This time I insisted we meet in a restaurant that King didn't own. I was feeling self-righteous and feisty and didn't want to be on King's turf at all.

King, perhaps sensing the situation, responded like the masterful tactician he was: he didn't object to My wanting to not eat at one of his places. In fact he embraced the idea . . . and suggested David's.

Fucker. David's served the best steak in the city . . . King knew that I couldn't resist David's. And dinner at David's meant dressing up a bit . . . and he knew, in that place, with its tremendous food and romantic atmosphere, I'd feel more girly, less . . . judgmental, less inclined to really take him to task for withholding something that had to be pertinent to the case.

I got off the phone, parts upset, anxious, pissed off, and excited. Domme Detective X. Remember. Focus. You're angry. No more envelopes. Be firm.

I stopped at a red light and suddenly the only thought I had had to do with what I was going to wear tonight.

The Cases of Lenora X, Domme Detective: The Cryptic Man, Part 11

I lolly-gagged in bed . . . mandy made Me some breakfast and a cup of coffee and then scooted off to the office . . . I lingered, munching on a bagel, half-watching Regis and Kelly, admiring Kelly Ripa's effortless sexiness -- it's really hard to do the "I have no idea how hot I am" thing and pull it off.

I put the plate back on the nightstand and turn the sound down, rolling over and stretching with a sigh, wishing mandy was still here in bed with Me . . . it's one of those days where I feel as though I could nap all day and not feel rested, yet if I did force Myself out of bed I'd be fine.

I close My eyes . . . I'm not taking any chances today.

* * *

Arty Daniels is your classic plodder, and proud of it. He has no pretensions of extreme intelligence, no witty banter or good looks to ease his way up the organizational ladder. He's not known for bold moves -- he's brave, but no more than the job calls for. But what he does have are street smarts, persistence, and a veteran cop's understanding of human nature. And he didn't like to lose . . . he really hated it, in fact. And that trait, perhaps above all the others, made Arty Daniels a very good cop.

Arty's ancient chair creaked as he leaned back and looked at the whiteboard of "clues" in the Cryptic Man case. To call them clues was to give them a status they hadn't achieved -- disconnected facts weren't clues until one made that intuitive leap to associate them . . . they weren't clues until the solver turned them into clues. Arty laughed -- just like cryptic crossword "clues" . . . they were, just like the evidence in this case, simply a bunch of things strung together . . . waiting to be made into a clue.

Arty pulled out a legal pad and began to write.

1. Not a psycho. Psychos have a pattern, a preferred thing they get off on. This killer wasn't pursuing any crazy compulsion.

2. If not a psycho, then a pro. If a pro, then:
2A. Who's paying?
2B Why?

3. King isn't the target . . . someone wanted King dead and has the money to pay for all these hits, he could afford to do directly after King. Unless the idea was to make King really scared, first. Possible.

4. Victims . . . no connection whatsoever.

5. Places. All owned by King . . . other than that, nothing.

Arty paused, then got up and headed over to Records.

* * *

Vallie actually owned quite a nice wardrobe . . . but when he was working he tended to dress down -- he stayed in the part of town where people didn't pay much mind to their neighbors and dressed not to be noticed. But when the job called for it, Vallie could afford to dress very nicely, and did.

This time worked called for it. Monty's Men's Store was near the bank; Vallie got $3,000 in cash and made his way to Monty's. He did have several credit cards in various names, but those were only for non-working times.

The sales clerk at Monty's might've looked askance at Vallie in better times, but commissions were down lately and these days you couldn't tell a millionaire from a pauper anyway.

Vallie was not one to linger in any one place too long, stores included. He saw what he wanted right away, picked it out, and in less than fifteen minutes he'd been measured for alterations, and paid for a beautiful Armani suit, two dress shirts, and two silk ties. $2,882.90. The clerk's eyes widened a moment at the sight of $2,900 cash but he got over it quickly enough to take the money and give Vallie his $17.10 change. He confirmed the suit would be ready tomorrow by 11 and took the shirts and ties and left.

An expensive fifteen minutes, but well worth it in the larger scheme of things. One last job, then leave Blog City behind for a good long time. The back half of a big payday and a lengthy vacation beckoned.

* * *

In My dream I was . . . someone important, it seemed. It was hazy, but I seemed to be in charge of lots of things, and was telling lots of people to do things. The phone was ringing but I couldn't quite reach it . . .

Slowly I woke up . . . the fucking thing was actually ringing . . . mandy wouldn't be calling Me unless the sky was literally falling . . . who the hell . . .

I reach the phone . . . without My glasses the Caller ID is a meaningless blur. "Hello?"

"X, it's Arty." I'm contemplating pretending I'm an answering machine but I don't think I can pull it off. Plus I said "hello" already . . . I think.

"Arty . . . hi."

"I figured out a couple things, I think. Can you come down to the precinct?"

It's one of those times where I know what the right thing to do is, and I'm getting paid so damn much I can't not do it . . .

"OK, Arty. I'll be there in an hour." I don't wait for an answer . . . I'm up and turning on the shower within seconds. In for a dime, in for a dollar, as Frankie Boots used to say.

Belonging And Not Belonging

"I wanna glide down over Mulholland
I wanna write her name in the sky
Gonna free fall out into nothin’
Gonna leave this world for a while"

From "Free Fallin'" Tom Petty

Sometimes a thing just . . . hits you a certain way. You're not expecting it, and an insight, or a lesson, or just a new way of appreciating something just falls into your lap.

I've heard "Free Fallin" plenty of times. Tonight, driving home form work I heard it again and it was . . . different, somehow. I listened to that last verse, quoted, above, and I felt, much more deeply than ever before, Petty's alienation. And my own.

I've long had the thought . . . that the world is very broadly made up of just two groups of people: Those who belong and those who don't. By that I mean: those who are able to just go along and get along, adn those who don't. The former group never seem particularly unhappy, or stressed; the latter group never seem to be fully happy, totally relaxed, 100% at ease.

When I heard those lyrics tonight, it really crystallized it for Me. It was one of those rare and wonderful times when a song in a moment transports one to some other place, a place of immediately heightened understanding. An understanding that can only be described as bodily.

And from "Free Fallin" I went right to "You Don't Know How It Feels":

"But let me get to the point, let's roll another joint
And turn the radio loud, I'm too alone to be proud
You don't know how it feels
You don't know how it feels to be me"

One powerful thing about the belong/don't belong division is how obviously and strongly it cuts across all of the other divisions in life. Sex, race, religion, economic standing, gay or straight, kinky or vanilla . . . no accident of birth or life circumstance insulates us from belonging or not belonging.

Another powerful thing about this divide is how easy it is to recognize in people. We can meet someone for the first time, and within minutes, if we are looking for it -- and sometimes when we're not -- we know which side of the divide they fall on.

And, as far as I can tell, it's more or less impossible to "switch sides" in this divide.

That this divide is so universal, so easily recognized, and very hard to cross leads Me to logically conclude (or at least expect) that it must have some utility.

But . . . what utility, exactly? And what does any of this have to do with any aspect of D/s?

Well, for Me at least, knowing about it, thinking about it, swimming in it . . . revelatory musical discoveries about it -- don't help. To "not belong" feels just as bad when it feels bad . . . and retains its sour goodness when it feels good.

I wonder if D/s couples from opposite sides of the divide are a good match? For that matter, perhaps people from opposite sides of the divide make good (or no good) vanilla couples?

The way it feels to Me -- I couldn't imagine being intimately involved with someone who was happy-go-lucky, totally at ease with life. What would we talk about? But for others, that difference, extreme as it is, could be just the thing . . . I can see two people complementing each other like that.

For right now I don't have any overwhelming insight. For today, to have been reminded so powerfully, so totally, of who I am and where I stand on the side of this massive existential divide, was enough.