- American Dream Serialization (Early Chapters)
- Introduction to Jim Chaffee's Studies in Mathematical Pornography by Maurice Stoker
- Introduction to Jim Chaffee's Studies in Mathematical Pornography by Tom Bradley
- Studies in Mathematical Pornography: American Dream Title Page by Jim Chaffee
- Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 1 by Jim Chaffee
- Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 2 by Jim Chaffee
- Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 3 by Jim Chaffee
- Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 4 by Jim Chaffee
- Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 5 by Jim Chaffee
- Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 6 by Jim Chaffee
- Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 7 by Jim Chaffee
- Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 8 by Jim Chaffee
- Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 9 by Jim Chaffee
- Modern Tragedy, or Parodies of Ourselves by Robert Castle
- Totally Enchanté, Dahling by Thor Garcia
- Hastini by Rudy Ravindra
- The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 5 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
- Unexpected Pastures by Kim Farleigh
- Nonviolence by Jim Courter
- The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 4 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
- The Poet Laureate of Greenville by Al Po
- The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part VI by Thor Garcia
- The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 3 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
- The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part V by Thor Garcia
- The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part IV by Thor Garcia
- The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 2 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
- The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part I by Thor Garcia
- The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part II by Thor Garcia
- The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part III by Thor Garcia
- The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 1 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
- DADDY KNOWS WORST: Clown Cowers as Father Flounders! by Thor Garcia
- RESURRECTON: Excerpt from Breakfast at Midnight by Louis Armand
- Review of The Volcker Virus (Donald Strauss) by Kane X Faucher: Excerpt from the forthcoming Infinite Grey by Kane X Faucher
- Little Red Light by Suvi Mahonen and Luke Waldrip
- TEXECUTION: Klown Konfab as Killer Kroaked! by Thor Garcia
- Miranda's Poop by Jimmy Grist
- Paul Fabulan by Kane X Faucher: Excerpt from the forthcoming Infinite Grey by Kane X Faucher
- Operation Scumbag by Thor Garcia
- Take-Out Dick by Holly Day
- Patience by Ward Webb
- The Moon Hides Behind a Cloud by Barrie Darke
- The Golden Limo of Slipback City by Ken Valenti
- Chapter from The Infinite Atrocity by Kane X. Faucher
- Support the Troops By Giving Them Posthumous Boners by Tom Bradley
- When Good Pistols Do Bad Things by Kurt Mueller
- Corporate Strategies by Bruce Douglas Reeves
- The Dead Sea by Kim Farleigh
- The Perfect Knot by Ernest Alanki
- Girlish by Bob Bartholomew
- The Little Ganges by Joshua Willey
- The Invisible World: René Magritte by Nick Bertelson
- Honk for Jesus by Mitchell Waldman
- Red's Dead by Eli Richardson
- The Memphis Showdown by Gabriel Ricard
- Someday Man by John Grochalski
- I Was a Teenage Rent-a-Frankenstein by Tom Bradley
- Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Fred Bubbers
- Believe in These Men by Adam Greenfield
- The Magnus Effect by Robert Edward Sullivan
- Performance Piece by Jim Chaffee
- Injustice for All by D. E. Fredd
- The Polysyllogistic Curse by Gary J. Shipley
- How It's Done by Anjoli Roy
- Ghost Dance by Connor Caddigan
- Two in a Van by Pavlo Kravchenko
- Uncreated Creatures by Connor Caddigan
- Invisible by Anjoli Roy
- One of Us by Sonia Ramos Rossi
- Storyteller by Alan McCormick
- Idolatry by Robert Smith
- P H I L E M A T O P H I L I A by Traci Chee
- They Do! by Al Po
- Full TEX Archive
By Rudy Ravindra
She was twenty eight, still single. Her parents were worried that she may end up a spinster, so they took matters into their own hands, tried to find a suitable boy.
Her father said, "Look at this picture, he's a good looking fellow, has an engineering degree, works for a big computer firm in Raleigh. Why don't you call him up, meet, see if…"
Her mother added, "His father is a professor at Bangalore university, a well-established family. Why don't you meet the boy, talk, get to know each other, ha?"
"But, mom he is so desi, look at his hair, with a ton of Brylcreem. Bet he speaks with a strong Indian accent."
Her mother said, "You think you are a hoity-toity American, ha? Don't forget, we are from India, that is our culture. Your sister got lucky, met David, a smart boy. If you'd have found a white boy, we don't mind. But&hwllip;" She sighed deeply.
She could read her mother's mind. She is not as smart as her older sister, who went into science, did her Master's in Molecular Biology, married her classmate, and now they are happily settled in Philadelphia, both making mega bucks, working for a reputable pharmaceutical company. And expecting their first baby.
However much she loathed the idea, in desperation, she had tried to find a suitable man on-line. She signed up on many sites like match.com, met a few men. Some were genuinely interested in finding a life partner, others were simply looking for fun. They all test-drove her but didn't make an offer. Not that the ride was bad. She pulled all the stops, gave it her best. But the men she met didn't seem interested in taking the relationship further. It was as if after sampling her wares, they decided to move on to better prospects, like butterflies flying off to more colorful flowers with sweeter nectar.
One of the guys, tall and dark, was very exciting. They saw each other off and on for a few months, she felt he's the one, took him to her parents' house. They were impressed with this handsome man, his job in New York city at a well-known Wall Street firm. Just when she felt that everything was proceeding at a smooth pace, the whole thing came to a screeching halt. He stopped calling, her calls went unanswered. She sent him several e-mails, texts, all to no avail. It was like he simply vanished from the face of this earth. She gave everything to that relationship, body and soul, cooked her best dishes, offered herself to him, did things that she never dreamed of, all in the hope he would marry her. She wondered what went wrong. Did she give away too much, too soon? Did she leave her cookie jar wide open, give away all the delectable goodies with generosity and alacrity not befitting a blushing bride-to-be?
She called Jagannath. "Hi, I'm Sara, my parents gave me your number."
"Who, Sara? I don't know any Sara."
As she feared, he had a strong Indian accent. "Well, my actual name is Saraswathi, shortened it to Sara."
He laughed. "Oh, I know, I know. My parents spoke about you. And your father called me. You have a such lovely name, named after the goddess of learning. Why Sara and all?"
"Oh, it's easy for my friends and colleagues, you know Saraswathi is a mouthful."
"I heard that you have an M.A. What do you do?"
"Oh, I'm a student counselor at Chapel Hill, help students with their anxieties, their insecurities, do my best to make them feel better."
"Yeah, yeah, I see."
She asked. "What are your hobbies?"
"I watch movies, listen to old Hindi songs."
"What about sports, do you watch football or baseball?"
"No, not really. I didn't really get into these sports. In India I was into cricket, but here everything is different. You look good in the photograph. How tall are you?"
"Five feet, two inches." Height was not her strong point. She hated that she was short. Her actual height was barely five feet; high-heeled sandals accounted for the extra two inches.
"Oh." The way he said it she knows he is a bit disappointed, is he looking a for a tall girl?
"What's your height?" She asked hoping he is not a six footer, that'll be awkward, they'll be an odd couple.
"Five feet, seven inches."
"Our parents want us to meet, you know, to, to, to…" She was tired of talking about height and stuff, next he might want to know her cup size and other vital statistics, god forbid.
"Yeah, yeah, I guess we can meet, have lunch at Udipi. They have a decent buffet. Food's not bad."
She deliberately didn't dress up, wore her weekend clothes, blue jeans and a white T-shirt.
He stood in the parking lot waiting for her to drive up. She smiled, her even white teeth on full display, one of her strong points.
They walked into the crowded restaurant, got a small table. "I eat here every Saturday."
"Oh, I ate here sometime back, some of my friends wanted to eat South Indian food." She tore off a piece of the crisp dosa, popped it into her mouth.
He ate steadily, four idlis, three vadas and two dosas. He consumed three bowls of coconut chutney, gobbled a good bit of white rice with sambar, drank four cups of hot and spicy rasam, and sat back with a satisfied look. "How come you don't eat much?"
Hiding her revulsion at his gluttony, she said, "Oh, I'm not all that hungry, had a late breakfast."
He laughed. "That's a big mistake! When you come here, you must be very hungry. This is all-you-can-eat buffet. On Saturdays, I only have a cup of coffee in the morning, that's it, no solid food." He rubbed his pot belly. "Now for dinner, I'll have a little bit of rice with yogurt and mango pickle, that's all. Maybe a few beers."
She looked at her wristwatch. "What do you want to do now? Would you like to see a movie or go to the Southpoint mall, loaf around a bit?"
"Not so soon. We still have to eat the delicious dessert, rice pudding is very good here. Also, there's carrot halwa, a little bit too sweet to my liking, not like what my mother makes, but still…"
Next weekend, she invited him for lunch at her apartment. He stood at the threshold holding a bouquet of yellow roses. He wore dress pants, starched shirt, a tie.
"Come on in, thank you for the beautiful roses. I'll stick them in a vase."
He looked around the small apartment, the many paintings. One with hands around colorful flowers caught his eye. She followed his gaze. "That's a Picasso, my favorite."
"You printed it from your Picasa album?"
She laughed. "No, no, no. The painting is by Pablo Picasso, this is a reproduction. He is the great Spanish painter. Haven't you heard of him?"
"No. We didn't study art. Only science and math, computers and stuff."
"Shall we eat?"
She served salmon in alfredo sauce, steamed broccoli and carrots.
He said. "I'm a vegetarian, don't eat meat."
She said, "But, this is fish."
"Yeah, yeah, it's all same to me. Pure vegetarian, that's me."
She got a fresh plate, served the vegetables with dinner rolls. No time to cook rice.
He ate a baby carrot. "Do you have some red pepper? This needs some spice."
She looked in her spice rack, found paprika, cayenne pepper, and crushed red pepper. He tried each one of them and finally settled on crushed red pepper.
"So, what do you eat for protein?"
"Lentils, beans, nuts, I love cashews, almonds. No problem for protein."
The next time, she had lunch at his place. His apartment was opposite the Southpoint mall, conveniently located off I-40. She was impressed with its cleanliness, minimalism, only one old couch, a coffee table with rings all over it, and a TV. Not a single painting, nothing on the off-white walls.
He cooked white rice, spicy mixed vegetable curry, and hot and spicy rasam. The moment she took a small bite of the vegetable she hiccupped violently, had to drink a lot of water. Her face became red, her eyes and nose started to water.
He said. "I'm sorry. Is it too spicy for you?"
"I'm not used to so much spice. Don't worry, I'll eat more rice and less veggies."
"Actually, I used less spice than normal. Well, next time I'll make it bland for you."
After lunch they went to the mall, walked around aimlessly window shopping.
He said. "My parents asked me about progress, you know, about our meetings."
"Yeah, my folks are curious too. But, can I ask you something?"
"Would you like, I mean, do you mind dating for a few months, see if we are compatible?" She wasn't sure if he was open to this idea, coming from a culture used to shotgun weddings.
Over there, a boy and a girl met just once or twice, under strict parental supervision, and then it was a done deal, wedding bells as soon as possible.
He smiled. "I guess that's okay. Yeah, we can meet often."
They met many more times, went to movies, took long walks, talked about their families, tried to find common ground. But the relationship remained prosaically platonic. In her experience, the men didn't wait this long to make a move. So, she planned meticulously to lure him into her arms. Before they jumped into holy matrimony, she felt that it was imperative to check him out, make sure everything was in working order. She invited him to dinner at her place, cooked rice, eggplant curry, cauliflower stir fry, sambar and rasam (her mother's recipes). Although she loved to eat chicken or fish with almost every meal, this time the menu was strictly vegetarian. She was glad he ate well. They polished off a bottle of Malbec. She felt rather good, and horny.
She led the way to the living room, "Would you like a little cognac?" Without waiting for his answer, she went back to the kitchen, got a bottle of cognac and glasses, set them near the fireplace, and beckoned him. They sipped their drinks, enjoying the warmth. She undid the top two buttons of her blouse, exposing her cleavage. "It's kind of hot. This fireplace is so efficient, within minutes, it gets very hot." She got rid of her sandals and wriggled her perfectly pedicured toes, painted red.
He said. "You got such sexy toes." He took each of her toes into his fingers, massaged them, sending shivers through her body. This was new to her, didn't know that, among other things, her toes were erogenous zones too; it was wild. She pulled him to her and kissed him. He was too eager, that was his first time, lost it too soon. He was embarrassed. She did her best to conceal her disappointment. "Don't worry, we have plenty of time. It'll be better next time."
When they got up, she saw that his knees were red and raw. "Oh, you got carpet burn, you are a delicate darling, ha?" she teased him.
She took him to bed, caressed him all over, knew all about a man's erogenous zones. She used her smooth and silky body, her perky breasts, her full lips. She took him into her mouth, resuscitated him successfully. This time he did a little bit better, but again failed to meet her expectations. There was nothing wrong with him except lack of experience. So far so good, she told herself, as long as the raw material exists, she can mould it any way she wants. Only a matter of time. But she remembered fondly how the guy from New York city went on and on and on. What terrific control! What stamina! Each time she had to beg him to end it, finish it off, she was sore, couldn't take it anymore. She needed a man like that. A man to make her scream with pleasure and pain, a man to ravish her, a man to fondle her black and blue. She loved to examine herself in the mirror next day, see those marks on her breasts, her lips sore from kissing, her body awash with so much pleasure, no words to describe it. But maybe she could train Jagannath, transform him from a bumbling boy to a lusty lover. Looking at him lying next to her, breathing evenly, his mouth slightly open, his hand on her stomach, she felt something, a protective feeling that this fellow needed her guidance, her support to get on in this country. Yes, she had her work cut out. Make him a proper American. Actually he is not a bad looking fellow, with wavy dark hair, very fair skin, such delicate features, his hands so smooth and gentle. He is built more like a woman, with such slender bone structure, so skinny as though he was starved when he was little. Not much fat on his bones.
That was his first woman, now he knew what it was like. She was pretty good, knew how to please a man. Wonder how many men she had been with. Did she kiss them like she kissed him, take them into her mouth? Did she caress and fondle them like she did him? Did she do this, do that, the very thought sent him into a fit of jealousy. How he wished he had some prior experience, how he wished she was a virgin, untouched by any man. He would have been free to use as her a blank canvass, leave his unique mark on her, no other man to compare him to. He felt woefully inadequate.
He asked, "How many men did you sleep with?"
"Ouch! You must think I am a whore! You know Jagannath, in this culture, we don't discuss our past affairs, everybody has them. It's futile, only leads to unnecessary problems." She was shocked at such a crude question, but covered up her annoyance with a bright smile.
"But I feel sort of, sort of…jealous. You have all this experience."
"Just, relax, Jagannath, relax. It'll all work out eventually." She almost laughed at his naivety, but remained serious; she didn't want to aggravate him any further.
One evening, after a few minutes on the top, he said. "My wrists hurt, can we switch places?"
She was happy to oblige, and when she was right in the middle of it, he asked. "How come you have hairs around nipples; some of them are real long." She felt cheated out of her climax, somehow managed to keep moving, he didn't last long anyway.
She got out of bed, wore a robe and gulped a shot of whiskey. "Does the hair bother you?"
"It's just that for a such lovely breasts, the dark hair is distracting, you know what I mean?"
She knew exactly what he was getting at, ever since her puberty, while she felt happy to see her boobs gradually develop into such shapely and perky globes, those ugly hairs also started to sprout, just like weeds in a colorful flower garden. She asked her mother about it who had no answer, except to tell her not to worry too much, some girls have more hair, that's all. She had a slight fuzz on her upper lip and chin, which she cleverly concealed with makeup. When possible she wore long sleeves to hide her hirsute arms. Of course, she shaved her legs and under her arms routinely. But the hair on her boobs bothered her, she couldn't shave that area, couldn't wax, too painful. Just pluck them whenever possible. But after a while she gave it up, to hell with it. If a man found them distracting, so be it. She will give him such a good time, he won't even think of the darned hair.
"Jagannath, it won't hurt for you to do some pushups, belly crunches, you'll improve your stamina." She was concerned that he didn't last long enough.
Jagannath laughed. "I'm not fat, why should I exercise? If I work out, I'll become more skinny, simply skin and bones."
"Jagannath, exercise will develop your muscles, you'll be stronger, also have more staying power."
He laughed. "What? Staying power, ha! Am I running a bloody marathon or what? For the type of work I do, sitting at my desk, day in and day out, what I need is more coffee, that's what I need."
"By staying power I mean, when you are with me you can last a little longer, instead of losing it in less than five minutes." She felt bad to drive the point home, obviously he failed to read between the lines.
His face and ears became red. He yelled. "You mean go on fucking you for many hours, like a bloody machine? I'm sure some of your lovers did that, didn't they? Now you want the same from me? Only whores can endure such long fucking, they are used to many men, one after the other, for the whole night. A normal woman is satisfied with a few minutes of sex. I read somewhere the average intercourse lasts about seven minutes."
She was bothered by his name, felt that the time had come to talk to him, they had been dating for a few months now.
"Jagannath, you should shorten your name to Jack, easier for people. Jagannath is difficult to pronounce."
"Do you know the meaning of my name? It's Lord Vishnu's avatar, a very auspicious name. It's bad enough you have defiled your lovely name. You try so hard to fit in, but let me tell you something. For Americans you'll always be a brown-skinned Indian girl." He shook his head and walked out of her apartment. He told himself, this is the last straw. All these months, he listened quietly to her relentless critical comments about his English pronunciation, his clothes, his shoes, his use of fork and knife, the sacred thread across his chest, his daily prayers right after the morning shower, his Saturday visits to the Venkateswara temple in Cary, his vegetarianism. But his name, chosen by his near and dear, after consulting the learned pundits who painstakingly pored over the Hindu scriptures, studied the position of Jupiter and Saturn, was sacrosanct. His devotion to Lord Vishnu was unconditional, it was unthinkable that such an auspicious name be sullied to please some ignorant people who were unwilling or unable to pronounce it.
She never saw him again. He didn't return her calls, her texts, her e-mails.
© Rudy Ravindra 2014