Chapter 1 He closed his eyes and heard himself make a gurgling sound. And as his trousers slipped down his legs all the burdens of his life to date seemed to fall away from him; he tipped back his head and faced up into the darkness beneath the ceiling, and for one blessed moment he felt as if he could understand the things of this world in all their immeasurable beauty. How strange they are, he thought, life and all of these things. Then he felt Bolt slide down before him to the floor, felt her hands grab his naked buttocks and draw him to her. “Come, sonny boy!” he heard her whisper, and with a smile he let go. When his hand goes to my breasts, my feet are envious. I slide my hands down his back, all along his spine, rutted with bone like mud ridges in a dry field, to the audacious swell below. His finger is inside me, his thumb circling, and I spill like grain from a bucket. He is panting, still running his race. I laugh at the incongruous size of him, sticking to his stomach and escaping from the springing hair below. The act itself was fervent. Like a brisk tennis game or a summer track meet, something performed in daylight between competitors. The cheap mattress bounced. She liked to do it more than once, and he was usually able to comply. Bourbon was his gasoline. Between sessions, he poured it at the counter while she lay panting on the sheets. Sweat burnished her body. The lean neck. The surprisingly full breasts. He would down another glass and return. The walkway to the terminal was all carpet, no oxygen. He bundled Bolt into the first restroom on offer, locked the cubicle door and pulled at his leather belt. “You’re beautiful,” she told him, going down on to her haunches and unzipping him. He watched her passport rise gradually out of the back pocket of her jeans in time with the rhythmic bobbing of her buttocks as she sucked him. He arched over her back and took hold of the passport before it landed on the pimpled floor. Despite the immediate circumstances, human nature obliged him to take a look at her passport photo. Once they were in that room, Bolt had slammed the door and devoured her with his mouth, his hands, which were everywhere. As if he were ravenous. And she remembered standing in front of him, her dress a puddle on the floor, and how she’d started to shake, her knees knocking together, like she was a virgin, like this was the first time. Because had she allowed herself to hope, this was what she would’ve hoped for. And now here it was. And that was terrifying. Bolt had taken her hand and placed it over his bare chest, to his heart, which was pounding wildly, in tandem with hers. She’d thought he was just excited, turned on. It had not occurred to her that he might be terrified, too. She pushed on my hips, an order that thrust me in. I entered her. Not only my prick, but the whole of me entered her, into her guts, into her darkness, eyes wide open, seeing nothing. My whole body had gone inside her. I went in with her thrusts and stayed still. While I got used to the quiet and the pulsing of my blood in my ears and nose, she pushed me out a little, then in again. She did it again and again, holding me with force and moving me to the rhythm of the surf. She wiggled her breasts beneath my hands and intensified the pushing. I went in up to my groin and came out almost entirely. My body was her gearstick. Chapter 2 On the stone porch, in the hot, mountain air, we grapple with our clothing, which, in the darkness, becomes as complicated as mountaineering gear. Her black shirt around her neck, mine unbuttoned, our shorts and underwear slid to our ankles, we seem to be moving at avalanche speed and also, unfortunately, with avalanche precision. A clothed body is always human or human-like, a naked body always animal or animal-like. Only at close quarters is the full extent of a body’s wildness revealed, like when a bird gets trapped inside a house. One is moved to not entirely human thinking then. One goes towards its animalness. ‘I’m going to have you now,’ Bolt said. He led her back up the beach to where the sand was dry. Then he took off his coat, placed it on the ground and she lay down upon it. ‘Christ!’ he muttered, placing himself on top of her. ‘It’s bloody cold. I might get frostbite on my cock.’ She gave a low purring laugh. ‘Silly man. Why don’t you put it somewhere hot?’ Light filters in from the ravaging streaks of the dawn. It splits into fragments of every hue the world has hidden as it strikes the prism of their shelter. Bolt’s eyes expand and reflect, crystal orbs of time and space. She moans in colours as he pushes the white dress away and beyond the angelic flesh, luminescent against the damp, mossy bed. He puts his hands on Bolt’s shoulders and slips off her low-cut top. Suddenly inspired, he whispers into her ear, as if to himself: ‘I desire the landscape that is enveloped in this woman, a landscape I do not know but that I can feel, and until I have unfolded that landscape, I will not be happy …’ Bolt shivers with pleasure. Bolt whispers to her with an authority that he has never felt before: ‘Let’s construct an assemblage.’ Looking down, she unbuckled his belt. ‘We’re grown-ups.’ Perhaps he wasn’t quite in the moment, because he thought of Kierkegaard and Socrates. If there wasn’t great wisdom gained by lust, by love, its consummation – the aesthetics of all this – then you were doing it wrong. ‘Kiss me again.’ Memories of these previous encounters became distant, remote, erased once I got down to brass tacks with Bolt. With Bolt it was communication, a dialogue between two bodies, electric impulses transmitted over wires of flesh and bone. Words one cannot speak, words that can only be heard. Skin that became skin that became skin anew. We made love and we had sex and we had sex and we made love. But reader, again, I implore. Mistake me not. I am not your Pollyanna, I am not your sweet princess. We ****ed, we ****ed, we ****ed, we ****ed, we ****ed, we ****ed.