The Hand | Creative Writing | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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The Hand

Short Story


Published February 1, 2006 at 5:00 a.m.

Monday, December 6, 7:14 a.m. Happy birthday to me.

It's been a good year. I'm feeling feisty and go-getting in that über rriot-babe sort of way. I've been published, promoted, positively reviewed and even satirized. Best of all, I lost 12 pounds from sheer self-delight. Found self-esteem and lost my ass all at the same time.

So. I have a plan. Well, actually, I have a flaw. And because I have this flaw, I have a plan. At long last, I am going to learn to Swallow.

Don't ask me why, but I've always been a little shy and nervous talking with the Big Boy Downstairs. No, that's a lie. I'm not shy. I just don't like it; I have an insuppressibly strong gag reflex, I've never had anyone, er, arrive in my mouth, and the idea of swallowing any orgasmic effluvia is a big, incomprehensible eew.

Also, while I don't have a terribly refined sense of smell, I do have a strong aversion to a few specific odors: cigarette smoke, cooked mushrooms, wet dogs, and . . . groin. So on the Head Front, we're talking three problems in one. And while I know I don't have to swallow, I figure as long as I'm climbing the learning curve I might as well go for the gusto. Spitting is so unladylike.

10:43 a.m. I've been emailing friends all morning asking for help, and so far responses have included:

Abby: Just keep it in your mouth, look up, raise your finger and say, "Mmm-mmm-mmm." And then run run run to the bathroom.

Gioia: Why don't you like swallowing? Semen is very nourishing. Did you know it contains the most highly digestible form of zinc?

These women don't seem to understand that I'm dealing with something like a severe handicap gene-spliced to a crippling phobia.

I need professional help.

1:32 p.m. My friend Tav, an aroma-hypnotherapist with a specialty in sexual dilemmas, shows up at my door with a pink-striped hatbox. "I developed this kit for another client. We'll just reprogram your fears. Happy fucking birthday, darling."

"Thanks. And I'm not afraid!"

"Princess, don't lie to Dr. Daddy. If you don't want it, you're afraid of it. If you liked it, you wouldn't fear it."

"Tav, this is really sketchy science."

"Welcome to the frontier. So look, you can learn to love anything. This'll be fun. Trust me."

He opens the hatbox, and pulls out a CD and a bottle of oil.

"Tonight, run a hot bath and add a couple drops of this. It's patchouli oil blended with a few secret ingredients to smell like warm, yummy crotch."


"No, just wait. Remember, only a couple drops. You won't consciously smell it, so it'll get in under your radar. Start playing the CD when you climb in, and follow the instructions. Oh, and you'll also need these."

Out of the hatbox comes a 6-pack of jumbo bratwurst, a cooking thermometer, a quilted, yellow tea towel embroidered with a naked, erect Victorian-era man and a pastry bag -- which is full of something. Tav squeezes out some of the something onto his finger. It looks like . . . oh, God.

"Here, taste."

"Tav, is that yours?"

"Don't be ridiculous. This is an almond-flavored gelatin mix, specially formulated for authenticity of flavor and feel. While you're running the bath, heat this in a double boiler to exactly 105 degrees, and then wrap it in the tea towel. By the time you need it, it'll be down to 98.6."

He looks so pleased with himself.

"I must fly. I have a 3:30 rubber fetishist who's allergic to Latex. Just remember, darling, we shall overcome. Ciao!"

6:45 pm. There's a knock at the door, which I open, revealing Dina and her friend Haley. They're holding an extremely large package. Dina and Haley create special effects for films. But they've also recently branched out into novelties, and I have a feeling that what they're toting is very, very novel.

"Happy birthday, hottie!" yells Dina. "Forget about the head quest! Have we got something for you!"

I rip off the paper, revealing two boards bolted in the shape of an L -- long board on the bottom, short one sticking up in the air, topped by a giant, green power button.

Sitting on the bottom board is a wheeled dolly, like what mechanics use to scoot under cars. Attached to a track on the vertical board, about 6 inches from the bottom, is a kind of large, bright-purple hand, flanked by stirrups. Everything is covered in red velvet.

"Delia," says Dina proudly, "I'd like you to meet The Hand."


"This is an animatronic hand. It can move all the ways a regular hand can move, it can go up and down on its track, and it rotates 360 degrees on a swiveling 'wrist.' Also, it has a little hydraulic thing that lets it move in and out as well as vibrate."

"As you can see," adds Haley, "It's pretty lifelike, except for the fact that the thumb is nubby, like a cat's tongue, and the fingers are a little thicker than real life."

"And," I note, "it's purple."

Haley twinkles. "My favorite color." Dina gives me an odd-looking glove. "Now look, it's operated by this glove, which is embedded with motion-capture sensors. There's a transmitter at the wrist built into a What Would Jesus Do bracelet. Just cuz we're naughty.

"The idea is that you lie on your back, put your feet in the stirrups, and snuggle yourself up against the Hand. Then you manipulate your gloved hand in mid-air, and The Hand does exactly what your hand does. So you're doing yourself, only from a much better angle, and you don't get a cramp because the animatronic hand does all the actual work."

Stunned, I can only ask, "What about the velvet? Doesn't it stain?"

"Nope," says Dina. "The velvet's made from recycled soda bottles. Wipes clean with a damp rag. So it's good for you and good for the environment!"

1:11 a.m. Bath run, drops dropped, pastry bag heated and wrapped, bratwurst opened, CD popped in, me naked, a bong hit for good luck. Houston, we are ready for liftoff.

I hit play, and pulsing techno fills the room as I slide into the tub. Tav's voice slinks up under the music:

Greetings, my sweet, and bravo to you for facing your deepest sexual fears.

For the next few minutes Tav guides me through standard hypno territory: slow, cleansing breaths, muscle-by-muscle relaxation, walking down imaginary stairs leading to a shining golden door, through which one enters into a powerful hypnotic trance.

Now, deep in your hypnotic trance, you turn and see another golden door emanating powerful sexual energy. Reaching for the shining crystal doorknob, you fling the door open and walk into a room filled with beautiful, naked men looking at you with lust-filled eyes. You want all of them. You walk over to the most beautiful man and say, "You! I want you!"

Now repeat after me, Sugar.

I, of course, repeat.

Now darling, pick up a bratwurst.

He continues with his step-by-step instructions, but then I happen to open my eyes and see a giant bratwurst sticking out of my mouth. I gag and accidentally bite it in two. Deep hypnotic trance or not, this is fucking ridiculous. I need help. And then I remember The Hand.

I jump out of the tub, smear the patchouli oil on my face, grab a fresh brat and the pastry bag, slap the power button, and lie down on the dolly. Glove on, feet in stirrups, I slide forward and open myself to the big, purple, vibrating Hand.

I do a little testing to coordinate. The Hand is backwards to my hand: right is left, left is right. But I get the hang of it pretty quickly. And damn if those kitty-tongue nubbins aren't a work of genius. This thing is unbelievable. Oh, my God! Oh, my God! I can't take much more of this! On the CD, the still-droning voice of my Obi Sex Kanobi seems to know, because he says:

He can't take it any longer, and neither can you. So, toss the brat, stick the pastry bag in your mouth, and give that baby a squeeze!

As my hips fling into the air I squeeze the bag, savoring the warm, almondy goo. I arch again for one long moment, and then collapse. Wow. Wow. Ow.

I slowly pull myself out of my orgasmic haze. I'm still on the dolly, but I have shot myself halfway across the room and crashed into the couch. I sit up. Ow! What the hell? I look down.

Oh. My. God.

The Hand and I have not parted company. Apparently, we can't. It seems my gloved hand was in open spasm when I launched into space, and now, disconnected from its power source, the animatronic device no longer works. It's open too wide to pull out, and no amount of power-Kegeling helps. It just won't close.

I scoot myself back to the L-mount and try to reconnect The Hand to its track. Nope. I tip the L-mount on its back and kneel over it. I flip it back and try connecting doggie-style. Still no luck. I call Dina and Haley. They better be able to fix this. I am not going to the emergency room. I will not become some kind of urban legend.

December 7, 2:30 a.m. Lying on the floor, waiting for rescue. I'm starving, and have no choice but to polish off the rest of the pastry bag and the remaining four bratwursts -- which, I discover, are surprisingly pleasant to swallow.

Happy Birthday to me.