White Fur

                                                                

            

     

                                                                        
White Fur
 

by Adrian Flange

 

For Ellen

                                

                                                                                

                                                                                    

 

 

      1.

 

      "So what's with the polar bear fetish?'' Ellen asks, after reading my

      first pathetic attempt at an erotic story. Her laptop screen cast a faint

      white glow on her breasts, like milk.

 

      I can't meet her big black eyes, so I look up and to the left, making up

      right-brained shit, like I do.

 

      I go: "I don't know. Polar bears. They're soft but massive. Soft white

      fur, sharp black claws. I remember the rearing-up stuffed one in the

      Natural History Museum, from when I was a kid."

 

      "Yeah?" "What age?''

 

      "I must have been about eight. This thing standing behind the glass must

      have been twice as tall as my dad. It could have well fucked him up. He

      was always getting angry with my mother for no reason. The bear could have

      responded. To protect her. Like the whole Arctic suddenly turned Slavic

      and got a big furry hard-on to wreak vengeance on stern-faced married

      surgeon bullies."

 

      Ellen frowns for a minute and goes, "So you wanted to protect your

      mother, good.  But you know, nobody actually talks in real life like you

      do. It's too accurate grammar, and trying too hard to be clever and

      interesting."

 

      "Actually, I do talk like this," I say.

 

      She looks me in the eyes and I look her in the eyes. My seeing-brain is

      really happy with how her eyes look, and with her face that goes all the

      way around them so expertly. Like she'd been practicing this face-growing

      thing for a million generations to get it just right.

 

      But my ego-brain is all defensive about the bear/surgeon/mom story, and

      this makes my sex-brain retreat a little, cower a little, hiding out,

      biding time, waiting for an opening. It is a patient, carapaced little

      thing, and it knows. My sex-brain knows from real experience of fucking

      real women that it can let me talk, act, gesture, talk more, make shit up,

      charm her circuits, work the seduction. And if I do my job for it, it will

      give me the keys to the only true heaven on earth: a woman will use her

      judgment to betray her judgment. She will let herself be carried off to

      the alien planet of Sex with a New Man. The universe will turn inside out,

      and she will surprise herself by backing into the warm pool of her own

      acquiescence. "Oh my!" she will say.  "I seem to be all rubbery-boned,

      flush-lipped, squirmy-hipped, and wet, wet, wet. However did this happen?''

 

      Women take pride in being grounded, pragmatic, embodied.  A thousand books

      they read, a dozen feminist courses to get in touch with their bodies. Yet

      they still can't tell when they're going to choose me. It always, always,

      always surprises them.  Their sex-brain's been planning everything from

      the start, doing all the casting, stage-work, costuming, lighting, while

      their ego-brain thinks it's the auteur up on the gantry.  Experience and

      culture are nothing against six hundred million years of selection for

      female self-deception.

 

      I think this all in a flash while our eyes are still locked, because I'm

      good at thinking stuff like this very quickly. I've had years of practice

      running the messengers between my science-brain, my sex-brain, and my

      ego-brain. Those messengers are swift and silent, like nuclear subs, like

      nanotech. A million fireflies behind twin suns. They run around behind my

      eyes without giving anything away.

      

      She's got no idea who she's fucking with.

 

 

      2.

 

      We're in the ground floor lounge of a hotel near the airport. She's flown

      here on a whim, a last-minute Expedia ticket on some shitty little Delta

      commuter plane out of Burlington, onto a 767 at La Guardia, to Nashville. To me.

      But not right to my house. To this hotel, which lets us pretend nothing

      will happen. I bought my house, she paid for her hotel, our accounts do

      not co-mingle, therefore our bodies need not co-mingle. This is what the

      Inner Calvinist, the accountant-brain, tells the sex-brain. The sex-brain

      smiles, and says, "Sure, separate bedrooms. Perfectly safe."

 

      Check this out for what a spazzy nerd I can be: I arrive 40 minutes early

      to meet her at the security checkpoint, after spending an hour messing

      around with my face, trying on five different shirts, cleaning junk out of

      my car. When she finally comes through the one-way security corridor, we

      recognize each other from the pictures in the articles we've read about

      each other over the years. I should receive her graciously, cool like a

      good host, like Nosferatu in his castle, like James Bond. Instead, I have

      this irrelevant, fleeting thought: she's stuck here with me until her

      return ticket; if she tried to run back now to her airplane, the fat TSA

      security hag sitting on her security stool with her .40 Glock would shoot

      her in the leg. And her airplane couldn't even fly her back to Vermont,

      since the pilot's fragged with exhaustion, the crew are gone, the fuel

      tanks are empty, so she's trapped now on my turf. Hah!

 

      Continued spazziness: This thought seems so nasty, so uncharitable, that

      I'm mentally frozen, and when Ellen comes up to me, I don't know

      whether to hug her like a friend, shake her hand like a sexless colleague,

      or fall on my knees to worship Beauty Incarnate. I shake her hand, which

      is smoothly warm and electrical, knowing my hand must be clammy, greasy,

      rough, inadequate, but figuring she probably thinks hers feels the same to

      me. This is the thing about being adults: you eventually learn everybody

      else still has the same dumb adolescent thoughts that you used to think

      were yours alone. At least, if you read enough decent fiction, you learn

      this.

 

      Beyond the Valley of the Ultra-Spazz: half-way through the warm/clammy

      hand-shake, we both realize it's sort of stupid given the intimacy of our

      emails, so we manage the world's least elegant segue into a 21st-century

      metrosexually ambiguous hug. A hug like the Jennifer Aniston girl would

      give to the mopey paleontologist on that TV show: just enough breast

      contact to fuel his obsessive masturbation in the dusty janitor closets of

      the Natural History Museum where he works, as he imagines coming all over

      her cheer-leading skirt.

 

      The blind fossils in the rooms around him don't mind that Ross jerks off

      wildly at night when he should be cataloguing Miocene teeth. They have

      seen it all, they will see more. They abided in the dark earth for 30

      million years, were dug up to face the light reflected off school-kid

      faces for a few years, and after civilization goes, they will abide in the

      dark earth some more. Perhaps in some infinitesimally subtle way, the

      vibrations of Ross's muffled voice resonate in their rocky innards, at

      least that time he shouted, almost loud enough for Emmanuel the security

      guard to hear: "Yeah, Rachel, you elusive big-assed slut, take my cock in

      your tight Jewish ass!"  So, what must the trilobites think of us? What

      must Emmanuel, father of three daughters, think?  Does Ross ever wonder?

      Fuck no, he's not bright enough to be a real paleontologist. What kind of

      scientist wants to date a ditzy fashion buyer from Macy's?  Jesus.

 

      Anyway, the hug with Ellen lasts long enough for that train of thought

      to flash through the old imaginer, making me feel thoroughly perved-out,

      like, yeah, she's really going to enjoy a week with Dr. Creepy and his

      friends, the Artic/Slavic Sex-Bear, the Scuttling Sex-Brain from Planet

      Spazz, and Ross the Wildly Masturbating Paleontologist. Thank god we're

      not telepathic. I try to put all that to the side and focus on the real

      3-D woman in my arms.

 

      Women are always surprisingly short when you get really close to them;

      even celebrities and famous women scientists like Anya Hurlbert are.

      Ellen's head barely comes up to my shoulders. Her hips, which I'm now

      feeling through her winter coat, are broadly womanly compared to the rest

      of her willowy body, but really, objectively, they're not as broad as

      mine, which is kind of weird when you think about it. The reassuring,

      calming, wonderful thing is this: her hair has a smell that is utterly New

      and utterly Ancient at the same time, a warm smell that says

      "warm-blooded, milk-making, mammal mother."  Proven fertility, full

      womb-warranty. I feel her back and hips through my arms, and smell her

      head-smell, and feel her breasts against my chest, and the words all drain

      out of my head for a splendid minute.

 

      

      3.

 

      The drive from the airport parking lot to her hotel took only a few

      minutes. I hoped my car would impress her, but most women know nothing about
      cars, so it's just a dumb sex/advertising delusion we guys have. Like women

      thinking we give a shit about their Manolo Blahnik shoes. (Did I spell that

      right? Do I care?) Not that she was wearing over-priced foot-fetish

      floor-stabbing strappy things. She was wearing genuine mid-80s blue

      leather clogs, like from my high school days, or retro-versions thereof.

      This, I considered a great and good sign, since it reminded me of a

      clog-wearing girl named Emily on whom I'd had a three-year crush during my

      peak libido years. We imprint on this sort of stuff, you know. It stays

      with us, across all the continents and decades. How did she know these

      were the shoes to wear for a guy who doesn't care about shoes, who thinks

      male attention to female feet is something for pervey Chinese mandarins

      from the Warring Kingdoms period. I must have sent her this story before

      she got on the airplane. Or did she just read it in the hotel lounge, on

      her laptop?

 

      In any case, here we are, in the hotel lounge, sitting next to each other.

      There are five inches between her right thigh and my left thigh. It is

      common knowledge between us "she knows that I know that she knows" that we

      are both afraid our brains are too big for this venture. We think too

      much. In our sea of love, the ego-brains have grown like runaway corals

      over the sex-brains' little caves. Can the little scuttlers escape to get

      out and meet on the sea-floor?

 

      From inside our heads, they say, with shocking and total authority, "Trust

      us, we know what we're doing."

 

      And all it takes for them to break out and run riot is for me to run two

      fingers, lightly, along the inside of your wrist. g

      

 

 


 

 

 

 Adrian Flange is the pseudonym of a notorious primatologist.

 

 


Copyright      2004    Entelechy: Mind & Culture.  All rights reserved.