by Keith Ebsary
A mountain of steak, a bombardment of bovine, meaty, majestic, marbled and magnificent. And it’s all for my wife, the wafer-thin gorger in thong and bra picking at the slabs of flesh with slow and lazy fingers as she coyly telegraphs the imminent feast. Meat smells fill our bedroom—salt, char and blood—and the lights play over the sharp strake of her shoulders and wild lines of her ribs. She looks into my eyes, and the look is hungry, as my fingers drop one by one in a silent countdown.
Then the camera is on and the feast begins.
The first steak disappears in wolfy bites, jaws chomping in frenzy on tissue and gristle. I watch her throat bobble and gulp as her lips and tongue click in robotic harmony to the animal sounds mumbling through the juices inside her mouth.
The second steak is gentle, a quiet dinner in a riverside café, a bottle of wine with candlelight and fire. She fondles the meat with a lover’s touch, nuzzling the seared muscle with playful nips of her teeth. Meat juice precomes down her chin and she licks it away, eyes drilling through the camera to the unseen faces beyond.
The third steak is wild, ripped and shredded like the carcass of a woodland beast. She growls and barks as her fingers plunge into the wet muscle and tear off chunks that are swallowed whole. Her lips curl in predatory rage and her body hunches over the kill, a prize for her alone.
The other steaks become a smacking blur. She eats and eats and I watch in fascination as her gut bulges from the banquet packed within. The camera catches it all, every throat-swelling swallow, every satiated grunt. I try to fade from the scope of her hunger, become the shadow behind a plant. Finally the eating ends and she collapses onto the pillows behind her. I turn the camera off and join her on the bed where she lies with eyes half-open and stomach distended, glutted on cow like a sullen lioness digesting her kill. She crooks her finger, Come and I do what she says because she reminds me of everything beautiful.
Her kisses taste like meat and she is the sun inside me.
The next day the bathroom groans as her gut and anus roar the feast from her body. The sounds are distant, like planes landing in a midnight airport.
I remember the camera as the bathroom sounds change to flushing and coughing. I hope the camera was on. Our viewers need the camera like a drunk needs to disappear. And we need what the camera adds to our bank account. We are purveyors of filth, commerçants of body corruption for the depraved minds who pleasure to the binge and purge my wife provides. She gluts and excretes, and we film, edit and sell the experience for a monthly or annual fee. Demand is high and business is good. At first we cowered before the audacity. It was too extreme, too transgressive. We worried about our souls, a legacy of God from our childhood dreaming. But as your cash grows zeroes at the end and you are free to buy the shiny, deluded treats of a decadent society, morality whimpers into a corner and shivers in a pool of its own piss. Smut, money and freedom, the unholy modern triumvirate.
The star of our dark enterprise exits the bathroom looking pale, skeletal and glorious.
“Did you remember the camera?”
“Yes, I remembered the camera. I hope those fuckers like ground beef.”
My charming wife. Subsistence body with the mouth of an abusive trucker.
“It’s acting up again. The feed cuts in and out. I want a new one.”
“A new what?”
“A new camera. I want a new camera.”
We can afford it. We can afford a new camera and any other boredom toy. These days her mouth and anus fairly stream money.
“All right. Get dressed and we’ll hit the mall.”
I follow her into the bedroom as she covers the wasting over her hips and ribs. Commerce has blurred the line between health and disease. I no longer know whether she is sick or well, and she probably doesn’t know either. Her body is secondary to the income it generates. The fainting, the gaunt ribs, the erratic heartbeat, the constant chills, all of them are memories in a drawer. She carries on, resolute in her commitment to fatten our finances. Her videos are pitiless. Her self-violence is casual and unconcerned. She is the process and the process only. She is her own terrible creation.
I put my arms around her stick torso and kiss her on a downy cheek. She feels cadaverous.
“You look beautiful today.”
“I don’t feel beautiful. I feel hungry.”
“We’ll eat later. I’ll make something nice. Now we need that camera.”
“Let’s get the fucking thing, then.”
She patters out of the room and only the whiffs of moved space indicate she was even there.
Outside we get into the car, another purchase made possible through my wife’s troubled digestion. Four-cylinder turbocharged engine with nav system, all-wheel drive, heated and cooled perforated leather seats and nineteen-inch alloy rims. A hungry ride.
All you can eat
Driving to the mall, my mind flickers to the beginning. Porn came first, logically the clandestine amateur fuckers smothering their master bedrooms in come and cunt while the kids slept. We watched the thrusting and spraying for insight and found only repetitive sadness. There are only so many ways a penis (or foot or toy or fist or…) can be inserted into a vagina (or mouth or ass or fist or…). Anatomy is limiting. And the kink thrill of stretchmarks and cumshots amidst toy-strewn floors soon wore off. What they all lacked was imagination. There was no concept, no real morsel for the imagination to bite into. There were also too many of them, too many bored and oversexed people all vying for the same piece of that perverted pie.
We then moved on to fetish. The market seemed smaller and riper for innovation. Yet it was even more repetitive: leather, chains, yes master, no master, my ass needs spanking master, submission, dressup. No vision at all. The humdrum transgressions of marginal people who would happily masturbate to Schindler’s List.
If we were to make money (mindless consumerism being our goal), we needed a niche. Goldilocks and the Gang Bang Bears had already been done, along with countless variations on the stern but understanding boss with the eminently blowable dick. We needed real expression, a lube-free thrust into the porn world’s cankered orifice. Yet we had nothing more than a skinny girl getting railed by some underhung loser. And that had already been fucked into permanent flaccidity. Our masterstroke came in a stream of digested pizza after an experimental deep-throat session. We had already run the porn gauntlet prior to that: blowjobs, handjobs, doggy, some anal, facials, dick, vagina, blah blah blah. Though our site was running and updated regularly, cock willing, it generated barely enough income for a weekly case of beer. That all changed as I fucked my wife’s tonsils one afternoon and broadcast it in real time on our site. As she focused on cramming as much of my dick down her throat as she could, and as I focused on staying hard in the midst of her drooly gulping (deep throat sounds like boots pulled from swamp mud), I felt her throat spasming and then a sudden warmth on my groin. My robotic thrusting had triggered her gag reflex, and she had sprayed her lunch all over my dick, stomach and legs. I froze. I hadn’t yet realized that the camera was still running. I could only process the stink of pepperoni and bile. I sat there like an idiot as the vomit congealed on my body. But she was ice. She extracted my dick from her throat, calmly wiped her mouth, looked the camera in the eyes, blew it a kiss and then turned it off with an elegant indifference. The hungry woman was born.
The next day our subscriber list tripled. The day after it tripled again. Then we went viral in the porn underground and our financial futures were forever tied to my wife’s digestive system.
We had found our niche. And it gave us an appetite.
The mall. An orgy of perfume and candy stink drowned in the gibberish of intersecting voices. In light both brutal and dull, bodies swarm in mindless syncope around icons of the meaningless. Old people sip coffee in pre-death stasis and stare into a past beyond the voided present. Toddlers abuse the air with the effluent of bowel and bladder. Teenagers scurry like manic scarecrows on a smartphone high. Storefront mannequins mime total brain death while sullen cashiers rehash midnight blowjobs.
The mall. A horrible place where my dreams go to die.
We walk inside as my skin crawls and I try to pretend that I am not transparent, that the awful sounds and people are not passing through my body and veins like some ghost cancer. We need an electronics store and then we need food, lots of food, for the afternoon feast.
As we walk and the mall blurs by, I feel distant from my own body. It all somehow doesn’t feel real, as though my eyes are watching a movie of somebody else’s life. The sensation is vaguely terrifying and I grip my wife’s twig-like arm with sudden force.
“Watch it, cowboy. I bruise.”
I look down and see the purple finger marks against her greyish skin.
“Sorry. I felt unusual.”
“Try heaving your guts up twice a week. Here it is.”
Her arm traces a lazy arc in the air as we arrive at the store. We enter and I am dazzled by the electronic nonsense arrayed in rows. I feel a sudden wave of power and confidence as I remember that I can buy anything I want. The sensation is liberating, and the money in my account makes me feel like a better man. But I look at my wife and feel a secret shame, intuit that our lives are null and void.
We catch a salesman’s attention and he comes over to make nice. I don’t care about him. I wish I could reduce the sale process to a series of clicks and grunts.
“Hi there, can I help you with anything today?”
“Yes. We need a camera. The other one crapped out.”
“Can I ask how you’ll be using the camera?”
“Personal films, mostly. Some documentaries.”
My wife gives me a look. So serious.
“We need something with high definition and easy uploads.”
He pulls a few models and I choose the most expensive one out of principle. I don’t need that much camera for the surprises we have planned, but I enjoy buying it. I take the camera and then notice my wife swaying on her feet. I grab her as she starts to faint. The salesman rushes over to help.
“Is she all right?”
His eyes shoot away and I see the shame at his own prying tongue. I should feel bad about lying to the nice man but I don’t. I prop my wife up as her emaciated body comes around. The salesman takes the camera and scribbles something on the label. Holding my wife like you’d hold the wind, I lead her towards the cash. I pay, feel big and then we are back out in the mall and its horrors.
He knocked fifty dollars off the price. Starvation discount. By invitation only.
Streams of glory
“One hour,” she says, looking into the camera, “one hour and then I dine. I’m feeling particularly hungry today.” She rolls the “hungry” in her mouth like over-chewed gum. “I hope you can join us for the feast…”
Of course they’ll join us. They always do. Once a kink digs into the male psyche, it never really leaves. It’s always there, like the sad stink of a dying bar or the memory of your first girlfriend’s breasts.
We had stopped at the grocery store on our way back from the mall. I always enjoy a secret laugh at the cashiers. They have no idea that the items in our bulging cart are only a way-point to perversion. They must wonder where it all goes. Surely the stick woman cannot be eating all that. And the XY drooler with her, where does he put it all? No matter. I enjoy the bewildered faces and smile like a handicapped two-year-old as my thoughts fill with excreta and money.
We lay the food on the bed so the filthy sacrament can begin. My wife is in bra and panties, her body is Gulag gaunt. I suddenly wonder where she went and whether she will ever return. I have no time to pursue the thought. The camera is ready and I imagine that I can already hear the genitalia slapping in worn palms. Today the theme is grease. On our stained and spotted eating quilt are chips, fried chicken, fries, cheeseburgers and a host of other heart-stopping delicacies. I wipe the saliva from my mouth, look at my wife, mouth the word Go and count down to the time when her jaws grind reality into paste.
The fries go first, snatched up in great handfuls and chomped into starchy nothingness. Then come the cheeseburgers, more cheeseburgers than I count, ground and grunted down until all I smell is the revolting tang of relish and saliva. Up next is the fried chicken, buckets of the stuff, and she pulls the skin off every breast and leg to suck the grease in like a human shop-vac. After the chicken I turn away and let the camera witness her descent into the dietary abyss. Finally she is finished and slouches over the ruins of her feast like a junkie on the nod. I tap my wrist, our signal for the purge. Lazarus sounds come from her mouth as she rouses herself from her food coma. She stands and sways on her feet, the swollen belly gestating an unholy mulch of food. I wonder if she’ll make it to the bathroom, if this time her stick legs and failing body will give out. But I can’t help her. Until the camera is off I can’t help her. It would spoil the illusion and the magic would die. She manages to take one step and then another, holding her hands out for balance like a toddler at the park. She waddles on a line between collapse and despair. This time I follow her into the bathroom with the camera. I will record every vomitous burst and every fecal stream. She sees me hovering with the camera and a sudden rage burns in her food-dulled eyes.
“You…fucking…bastard,” hisses from her mouth. Then her head is in the toilet, hair dangling in the water, as she retches and fills the bowl with a stinking, tormented mess. The purge continues and I capture it all. The sounds are desperate and mean. I feel that I should turn away but her filth and degradation are magnetic. I begin to understand what our viewers see and the realization crushes something soft inside me. Yet staring at her slumped near the toilet bowl, face Holocaust skinny, bones a brittle showcase for the empty growling within, lips clown orange from the Cheezies and barbecue chips…God help me, I get hard.
We knew the ride was over when our viewers disappeared. It started slowly with a cluster of cancellations and then barreled until we were vomiting for an audience of none.
At first we thought there had been a mistake. The money seemed inevitable, and we wondered what we were doing wrong. We slipped our tongue into the slit of the porn underground and soon heard rumours of a new game in town. Apparently a funeral home down in the States had found interesting ways to repurpose and film the freshly dead. It was new, transgressive and exciting. And it made us old, tired and boring. So we pushed the envelope and got wilder with each shoot. She ate more before each purge until the stretchmarks spidered across her food-pregnant belly. She ate so much that I had to carry her to the bathroom because her spindle legs could no longer support her food bulk. Sometimes she wore costumes, skinny haunted nun or emaciated French maid. Sometimes she’d gorge on dog food, wet and dry. Sometimes she’d eat raw flour or dry oatmeal, washed down with gallons of milk as a semen substitute. Sometimes she’d simply drink water until her belly bloated and the piss ran down her legs unbidden. It made no difference. They had seen our crazed dreams and turned away.
The zeroes dropped from our bank account until we had nothing. I panicked. I could no longer buy those outrageous sealskin boots, watch my shows in sound and colour so vivid it made reality smell like cat piss. The money made me bigger and better. I didn’t want to live without it. I didn’t want to drone my life away in an office and live through my TV. I was special and unique. I was somebody I wanted to be. My wife had no reaction. Starved and abused to the point of non-existence, she spent most of the day sleeping or gaping at food magazines with a drooly lust. She moved through the house like mist. The only thing that roused her from her stupor was the promise of food, but she could no longer keep it down and her teeth cracked on anything harder than cheese.
We now had time, a horrible amount of time, to fill the voids we had created. The prospect terrified me. I no longer knew the skeleton who shared my life. She was a stinking, skinny mess with holes for eyes and starvation for skin. Her breasts had never been large, but now they had faded into pre-pubescent lumps, glorified nipples stubbing out from scrabbled ribs. Her hair was pasted-on straw, a child’s drawing atop a face of bruised shadows. Stripped of all fat and shrunk to muscle and sinew, her hips jutted like a saddle for death’s ghost to ride. Her legs were whispers supporting the dream of a girl. Had I once loved this thing? It seemed impossible.
Yet these changes meant little to me. They were the static of distant sounds, a nibbling at the edge of my mind. I knew she was sick. I knew she was dying. I simply didn’t care. I wanted her to eat and eat and eat and then purge and starve until I felt the world and all my problems sucked in through her ravenous maw and then excreted in bursts of absolution. She was my release, my gorging penitent, my dark flower of an unholy cuisine. In her was the abacus tapping its sick math on the windows of my soul. In her my endless tired days were razed and rebuilt in the madness of her gluttony. I loved her. I hated her.
One morning we sat as strangers in the wreck of our life. The idea was breakfast but the reality was sadness. I had cereal and she was retching her way through a piece of dry toast. The sun shone in our kitchen and the air was warm. I tried to feel good but the feeling had died a while ago.
There were words somewhere and I was supposed to say them.
“You like nice this morning.”
She had spent the night writhing from phantom pains. Her hands shook and her pupils were stretched to oubliette black. She stared at me and then through me. She shook her head and clumps of hair drifted to the table like birds. She looked old beyond time, a vomit-weathered statue corroded by disgust.
“I hate you.”
Her voice slid over my skin like a rancid breeze. I looked out the window. There was grass and sunshine, washed cars, trees in bloom, asphalt warming in the heat. I smelled flowers and heard children playing. It was all ugly and despicable.
Then I was crying and I didn’t know why. UG
Keith Ebsary lives in Quebec City. He has published fiction in Zygote Magazine, The Danforth Review and Here Be Monsters. He has fiction appearing in issue 29 of Front & Centre, edited by Matthew Firth.
Joel is the “J” in J. Nilsson Photography. He’s a fashion & hobbyist photographer out of St. Paul, MN. After taking a basic photo-developing course in high school & spending hours in the dark room learning about lighting, Joel realized he had a passion for photography. Getting his first Digital-SLR camera in 2009 he’s continuing to learn the new processes of creating his favorite images now assisted on the computer. His interests are skewed towards photos of the beautiful female form, but he also enjoys landscapes & capturing nature. He fell in love with a quote he heard on an audio recording one year that stated “Elegance is refusal.” — meaning less can be more, elegant is not cluttered, so he’s been inspired to incorporate that into his shooting style ever since.