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I got home from the club, late. The streets were empty. Rain had started to fall. I changed out of my leather pants, my harness, and my Aussiebums, then jumped into the shower to rinse off the layers of sweat, cigarette smoke, and the pheromones of a hundred men. I slipped into comfier clothes for bed, then padded downstairs for a glass of iced tea and a snack. When I reached into the fridge for the pitcher, the light from the bulb illuminated my hand.

I paused, staring at the dark X on my palm. I retracted my hand and stood up. I closed the fridge door, then turned on the kitchen sink light and examined my hand under the yellow glow. The mark was originally black, made with permanent marker, but it had diluted in the shower. Faded. Not rinsed away. This was unusual. The lines were definite, like a tattoo.

It was like he had marked me. Branded me, with ink, instead of iron. The bouncer did it at the door. I flirted with him a little, caressing his bulging arm muscles as he examined my identification. He smirked at me, and did nothing to brush off my touches. Instead of slapping a mark of entry on the back of my hand like the other club-goers, he flipped my hand over and did it on my palm. He then leaned over and whispered into my ear the huskiest voice I’d ever heard: “So I can find you later.”

Initially, that struck me as odd that he would club at a place where he worked. He told me at the bar, later, over drinks when we were parched from dancing our asses off, that he sometimes covered for a friend who was the main bouncer. He worked here very part time. Mostly he came to be with the men. I couldn’t blame him. The men. The cock. The dancing. The whipping and milking demonstrations downstairs. Heaven was in Atlanta, and it had nothing to do with Coca Cola.

He monopolized me all night, this huge guy. He said his name was Ulysses, but everyone calls him Uly. It only added to his image of being a Russian gangster. He kept me away from the other men, grinding against me on the dance floor, rubbing his body against mine until we were basically having sex with our clothes on. People gave us room. We were in our own space.

The braying sound of the Closing Bell broke our spell. Like Cinderella, we returned to accountants and lawyers and actuaries and writers, all stumbling onto the sidewalk completely drained of energy. Some drunk, some buzzed on ecstasy, most ignoring the wet stickiness in their pants.

Uly pulled me to the alley and kissed me, then stuck his dirty hand down my pants and stroked me off. Before I came, I unzipped him and handled his beefy cock until we shot our seed together all over the cement. When we broke from kissing, I watched it mingle together in a puddle. I looked up at him. There was some sort of connection. I could sense it, mostly in how he looked at me. It was in the regret in his eyes when he said, “You get home safe ok?” and left without giving me his number. I was too stunned, too drained, to speak. I could only watch him walk away.

Looking at the X on my hand, it occurred to me this was the last thing connecting us together. Sure, he knew what I looked like now – but would he remember me? or just my body? Was I person to him, or a vessel of pleasure for his amusement? I shook my head. Club boys were not boyfriend material. They were creatures of the night. of sex. Of disobedience. It’s all play anyway, those leather personalities we craft for ourselves.

Before I could hesitate, I grabbed a kitchen rag and scrubbed my palm. It wouldn’t come off. Not a bit. Not even with soap. It was like magic. What kind of marker was this? I pondered. I knew how this would play out in a fairy tale. I would have to go back to him to get it removed. No doubt, it would vanished when he kissed my palm – and he would tell me to marry him so we could run the kingdom and live happily ever after. Or something.

With a scoff, I tossed the rag onto the counter. I padded over to the fridge and continued extracting the pitcher and pouring myself a glass of cold tea. I looked at my hand as I drank. Part of me wanted it to be permanent. Part of me wanted a mark I could wear everywhere, in public, to show everyone that a man had picked me. That a man owned me. That I was his property. Property. The word gave me frisson.

I was marked property though, at least for now. I wanted to see Uly again, one way or another. Normally, I went to the club once a week to blow off some steam. I didn’t know if the mark would last that long. The ink would fade with sloughing skin cells. I’d have to go again tomorrow. And the day after. And the day after, until I saw Uly again. I knew if I lost him, I would never stop thinking about him again; it would wear a hole in me I could never fill.

I drank my tea, made a grilled cheese sandwich, and went to bed. I dreamed of Uly, and woke up horribly aroused.

Text is fictional. This is Charles Gaget of Sports Models, photographed by Sylvain Norget for Calvin Klein.


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