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Desdmona's Erotic Story Contests
2004 Erotic Short Story Contest
Third Prize

Baker’s Dozen


It was precisely the number of times that they had made love. Well, he’d called it making love. Irina hadn’t been able to put a name to the thing that they had shared in their short time together. Nor had she wanted to; that sort of language had gotten her mouth washed out with soap by the Sisters at the orphanage in Kiev when she was a little girl. Perhaps that was why she’d always tasted lye faintly whenever she’d taken a man in her mouth.

That first time with Peter she’d blushed a shade that would have sent the bravest of interior decorators scurrying for their color wheels. He’d made Irina come into the drugstore with him, made her stand right beside him while he’d asked for the prophylactics. He took his time, too, flirting with the girl behind the counter, his hand resting with casual familiarity on the curve of Irina’s rump while he chatted her up. The girl was very young – probably still in high school – and attractive in that carefully contrived way that Midwestern girls so often are: not a hair out of place, apple-cheeked without the artifice of blusher, all reassuring breasts and sturdy, utilitarian hips. Irina wondered fleetingly if this girl had Slavic blood as well. She could imagine her telling her girlfriends all about this the next day at the Dairy Queen: “She must have been a prostitute. I can always spot ‘em. I mean, what other kind of girl walks in with a guy, bold as buttons, and stands there while he buys rubbers? And lets him feel her up while he’s doing it? I mean, my Gawwd…” They would giggle then, of course, and trade knowing looks while they sucked on the straws of their cokes, dreaming of as-yet unknown orgasms of their own.

‘She must have been a prostitute…’

No, not then she hadn’t been. Not yet.

What she had been, that first time, was a woman – still a girl really – desperate for a safe harbor, a place to shelter for a while. There were no words to explain the nearly hysterical urgency that informed Irina’s frantic search for love. How was she supposed to know that it wasn’t normal to unconsciously flinch from a loved one’s touch? That it wasn’t second nature for most girls to know how to pancake over bruises so that they were unnoticeable the next day?

The box of condoms (why were men always such show-offs?) was a promotional offer: a free one thrown in with the box of twelve. A baker’s dozen, the girl had called it, blushing. Such a quaint, completely Western term. Americans seemed to have a knack for making the venality of commerce – even commerce of a sexual nature – sound playful, almost cute. These were aptly named, too – Black Cats. She’d studied the sulphur-eyed ebony feline silhouetted on the box, trying to imagine the person who had come up with this name. Was it a man, or a woman, she’d wondered?

He’d grinned at her with an easy, almost contemptuous disregard.

“Not superstitious, are you?”

Irina had just smiled sickly, flushing a deeper scarlet. She could feel the girl’s eyes on her, examining her as if she were an insect under a microscope. Cyka, Irina thought to herself. Bitch.

But of course she hadn’t said anything. She’d been taught from a very early age to keep silent. And Irina was, if nothing else, an apt pupil.


The torn foil wrapper on the dashboard caught the unnatural glow of the sodium vapor streetlight, throwing its reflection into her eyes each time he lifted her hips, impaling her with brutal, demanding thrusts. She pretended that the reflection was the staring yellow eye of Sirius, the Dog Star, the one that she had wished upon as a child lying in her cot on those sultry, attenuated August nights at St. Volodymyr’s. Looking out the tiny window, she would breathe a little prayer to the Virgin to send her a love, a love that would take her away from this grim, gray existence and carry her off to his dacha by the sea. A love that would make her every unspoken dream come true. The front seat of a 1974 Cadillac had not figured prominently in any of these girlish dreams.

The car rocked sympathetically with his nothing-if-not-enthusiastic attentions, its springs squealing in protest. Which was more than Irina had the courage to do. He might love me, she told herself hopefully. He has a good face

This had been her first impression as well when she’d first seen him across the small, crowded bar. She hadn’t wanted to approach him; such things weren’t done by decent girls back home. But Natalia had egged her on. And she did need to come up with the rent. It was two weeks past due already, and she’d started to dread encountering Mrs. Carmody on the stairs. The disapproving look on her face whenever she did made her want to crawl under a rock. For Irina, nothing was more humiliating than being unable to meet one’s obligations. To be in a stranger’s debt. In fact, that was why she’d started staying later and later at the small bars and pubs that lined Westland Avenue.

Still, she was doubtful of Natalia’s reasoning. Did men in America really pay a girl simply to sit and talk with them in a bar? But she didn’t wish to appear ignorant, or unsophisticated, so she’d just smiled when the man with the kindly gray eyes took the chair across from hers after Natalia left with her boyfriend.

“Buy you a drink?”

She’d smiled and given a small nod of assent, keeping her full lips tightly compressed over her teeth. She was ashamed of them and did not like to let people see them when she first met them.

“You’re Russian, aren’t you?” He lit a cigarette, politely blowing the stream of blue smoke out the corner of his mouth, away from her face. Irina thought that the mouth was a little bit cruel-looking.

“Yes. How did you know that?”

He gestured vaguely toward the door. “I know your girlfriend. I know she’s Russian too. Whereabouts in Russia?”

“From Kiev. It’s in the Ukraine, near…”

“I know where it is,” he interrupted. “How’d you happen to come to the States?”

Irina traced little runes in the condensation on her beer glass, trying to choose between a plausible lie and the humiliating truth. “I came here to be married,” she said finally, the Sisters’ teachings winning out over her own sense of humiliation about her remarkable naiveté.

He raised his eyebrows. “Really?”


He glanced at her hands. “But you didn’t. Get married, I mean.”

“No.” Irina blushed, lowering her eyes, suddenly unable to look at him. “He was not a good man… a real vnebrachnyj.” Her fingers twirled a coaster nervously on the scarred tabletop. “A real bastard.”

“But you stayed.” He flicked the end of his cigarette, spilling ash on the tabletop near her hand. A small flake touched her finger, burning momentarily. She made no attempt to move it. “Do you have any family?”

“No. My mother died when I was very young. She was a worker at Chernobyl. My father drank himself to death a few years later.” She averted her eyes again when she mentioned her father. “It is not such an unusual death where I come from, you know.

“Anyway, I was sent to an orphanage, one that had just recently been established by the Poor Clares. They were the first religious order to be allowed to have such a place in Kiev since the time of the czars. It was so nice. All the other places were run by the state. Very stern, very cold. No – how do you say it – no serdtse, no heart.

“There were many children like me. A lot of orphans in Kiev.” Irina trailed off, blushing furiously. It was not seemly to talk so much. She knew that men did not like it. This one only smiled at her though, with those thin, cruel lips.

“What’s your name?”

“Irina…Irina Yevtschenko…”

“Mine’s Peter. Peter Mallen. My friends call me Pete, though. You like barbecue, Irina Yevtschenko?” He pinned her with those warm, gray eyes.

She had so much yet to learn about eyes, and how easily they lied.


American men are evidently much more adventurous than their image abroad portrays them, Irina thought, pressing her ass more firmly into her new lover’s crotch.

It was rush hour, and the train was packed; that was something anyway. Although the other passengers gave them an occasional glance, they were largely ignored, as strangers usually are when they are thrown together in large numbers in such close quarters.

Ignored, that is, except by the man pressing against her from the front. The one leering down her blouse while Peter reamed her from behind. His cheeks were stubbled with several days’ growth of salt-and-pepper beard, and his eyes were a sclerotic yellow that matched his teeth perfectly. His breath reminded Irina nauseatingly of the open sewage ditches in parts of rural Ukraine. The stranger took full advantage of every jolt and sway of the train to press more closely against her, and by the Loop station he was more-or-less openly fondling her breasts through the sheer material of her blouse. Undergarments would have been a help but were, unfortunately, by this time forbidden her.

“Is he touching you, dushka? ” Peter’s breath was warm, insinuating, as it brushed across her ear.

Irina gave a terse nod, shuddering as he seated his rigid cock more accommodatingly inside of her undulant heat. Her fist tightened convulsively around the foil wrapper wadded in it as she remembered, with a rush of shame, how he had made her open it with her teeth while they stood on the crowded platform, and the chill that had shot through her body when the foil contacted a poorly-executed mercury filling. How he had made her extract the prophylactic from its wrapping in the same fashion, with her incisors, and give it to him with a kiss.

“Good. I want you to jerk him off.”

No. A sharp, panicky shake of her head, which a less-practiced eye might have dismissed as simply another frisson of her impending climax.

He knew better, though. She swallowed a strangled gasp as he hurt her. She never ceased to be astonished at how effortlessly he could cause her such exquisite pain with the most casual of movements. She slumped back against him in resignation, struggling to keep her hips still as her hand reached for the stranger’s zipper. A middle-aged woman holding a bag of groceries in her lap glowered at her as Irina took the man in her hand and began stroking his engorged organ. She knew what the woman was thinking: Whore.’

She knew that she was not far off the mark.

Peter picked up the pace of his assault, lifting Irina to her tiptoes with deep, rhythmic strokes, strokes that were mirrored by her hand on the derelict’s erection. Her generous breasts bobbled indecorously beneath the nearly-translucent material of her blouse. A few more heads turned in her direction. Irina felt her ridiculously short skirt riding up, almost to her hips, and knew that she was nearly completely exposed now.

Still, this could be love

The two males came almost simultaneously, as a single tear spilled down Irina’s cheek.

It could be


Maybe her father had loved her, after all. God knows he had taken more pains not to bruise her with his knots than this man did. Attention to detail must prove something, Irina speculated, even if only that the person cares enough to bother subjugating you at all. To keep you from flying, like a frightened rabbit slipping the snare.

She grunted softly as the plastic cord bit into her wrists while Peter secured them to the headboard above her. This at least was familiar territory for Irina Yevtschenko. Her lovely body still bore the faint, lace-like tracery of white-on-white scars that her father’s belt buckle had permanently mapped into the topography of pale thighs and buttocks, and across her snowy, rose-tipped breasts.

Maybe this is love after all, she mused feverishly as she began to succumb to the familiar lethargy overtaking her, making her limbs feel like lead and her skin like burning parchment. She watched with a kind of detached bemusement as Peter stripped, tearing open the foil condom wrapper. He rolled the prophylactic onto his erect penis in a way that reminded Irina of her mother making blood sausages in the autumn. Even the color of his member beneath the delicate, translucent latex sheath reminded her of the links of meat that mama had twisted off, one after another.

God, how she missed her mother.

It was their shared loss that Irina initially thought drew her and her father so closely together those first few months. She was far too young and inexperienced to understand a man’s capacity for exploiting another human being for no other reason than to satisfy his basest urges, simply because he could. When her father whipped her, and later, when he used her in still more vile ways, ways that no little girl should be used, she would weep and tell herself that he needed comforting, that it was somehow her duty to provide him with any small solace that she could. She had felt that somehow she was responsible for the terrible hurt her father must be feeling, a hurt that surely was as big as her own. She thought of her own pain as a living thing, an entity that was simply trying to fill the gaping hole that had been ripped in her little girl’s heart by her angelic mama’s death.

“‘Rinatchka,” he would whisper in his rheumy, vodka-saturated rasp, and Irina would bite the tear-soaked pillow and sob, no longer struggling against the ropes he used to bind her when he took her, over and over again.

He does this because he loves me, she had told herself. And because he misses mama too. She recited this litany over and over again; how could any other answer be possible for a girl of nine, this side of madness?

Peter was much more solicitous of her, much more engaged. He would hurt her in ways that were unimaginable, indescribable, it was true; but all the while staring tenderly into her brimming eyes with his own earnest gray ones.

“Does that hurt you too much, Irinina?

She choked back a cry and shook her head, tears welling, threatening to spill down her cheeks. She knew how that would drive him into a frenzy, how it would goad him to still greater horrors, were he to see her cry.

“Good … and how about this?” She watched his hard, cruel mouth tighten, draining the warmth from his eyes as he found some more inventively intimate way to wrest a scream from her. A strangled sob finally escaped her lips, and she shook her head more vehemently. She felt the tears letting go, spilling down into her ears, filling them with warmth and muffling the sound of her own sobs. She prayed for that sleepy, syrupy ennui to come and sweep her under, to that place inside where the pain became almost indistinguishable from her orgasm.

What other hope could there be for her, this side of insanity?


Baker’s dozen.

Irina wanted everything to be perfect. She’d done her hair and nails, even splurged on a waxing. She’d arranged the cut flowers charmingly in an empty wine bottle and polished her grandmother’s silver plate candlesticks – the only possession of her babka’s that she still retained – till they glowed like burnished moonbeams in the firelight. The candles flickered invitingly, picking out the warm highlights in her soft blond hair and sparkling on the small square of colored foil resting in the center of his dinner plate. She was nervous as a cat nonetheless; she fretted that he’d been made suspicious by all of her elaborate preparations. After all, she’d still needed help dressing herself only two days earlier. She touched her left shoulder almost reverently, exploring the agonizing mystery of a deep bone bruise with her fingertips.

“My second-hand, mail-order Russian whore,” he smiled. It was the way he liked to introduce her to his friends, the few he’d bothered to let her meet. Thank God for that. They usually ended up sharing her, when they’d had enough to drink and jammed enough cocaine up their noses, and some of them made Peter look like St. Francis of Assisi by comparison. At least she was usually spared the ropes and the crude household implements on those occasions. But they would be dining alone this evening.

Just the two of them.

She’d been right; he was initially wary. He studied her closely, watching her every movement and gesture for the slightest nuance that might reveal an ulterior motive on Irina’s part. But if nothing else, Irina had become the consummate actress where it came to the weaknesses to which the flesh is heir. By the second glass of pinot blanc, they were both nude on the carpet before the fireplace. She conjured the proper mixture of dread and desire into her forest-green eyes as he bound her wrists and ankles with her stockings, then arranged the poker on the cherry-red coals in the fireplace.

Only a little longer, she whispered to herself as he practiced his twisted arts upon her seemingly still-complaisant body. She had a sudden – and horrifying – revelation: What if she missed it, missed the slow fire that he inevitably kindled in her through this persistent and perverse degradation of her body? What if she needed it? Needed to be hurt and humiliated in this way in order to give herself, in order to be loved?

What if I love him?

This was too monstrous a concept for Irina to entertain; she rejected it out of hand when he introduced the tiny wire plumbing brush into her protesting anus.

“My hot little Russian tramp,” he mumbled thickly, simultaneously plunging his rigid, unsheathed cock into her helplessly wet depths.

The potent neurotoxin that she had obtained from Natalia’s boyfriend and coated Peter’s wine glass with had evidently not as yet affected his ability to sustain an erection. He left the brush in Irina’s ass while he entered her; it seemed to enhance his appreciation of the act. He gave the handle a playful twist every now and again, simply because he enjoyed the sound that she made when he did, Irina knew.

Dushka,” he groaned.

It was only then, on her knees, an obscenity of flesh with its ass in the air while he plunged into her with the careless violence that had characterized every relationship she’d ever had with a man, that Irina saw the winking reflection of the firelight on the foil-wrapped condom. It lay untouched, unopened, on his dinner plate.

Oh, God…

“Are you superstitious?”

Sherilee Fedders stared at the exotic-looking blonde with the fashion model’s cheekbones as if she were that two-headed calf she’d encountered in her high school biology textbook. The one in the chapter on genetics, and mutations.

“No, I don’t guess so … not so’s you’d notice, anyhow.” The girl behind the counter hazarded a wary smile as she studied the woman who’d posed this odd question. She was blonde and willowy, but with large breasts; still young, and almost beautiful in a faded, used-up sort of way. She looked awfully familiar to Sherilee, except for that terrible bruise on her left cheek, just peeking out from behind those oversized sunglasses. She wondered if the woman had been in some sort of accident.

“I’m not, either. Not anymore.”

Irina flipped the pristine, unused foil packet onto the counter between the girl’s hands, watching her fingers draw back from the unopened condom as if it were a venomous spider. She noticed that her nails were bitten nearly to the quick: Corn-fed Midwestern girls evidently had their demons, too.

Irina returned the girl’s tense smile coolly. With a little luck, they wouldn’t find Peter’s body until she was far, far away. She was due for a little luck.

She walked out of the drugstore, pausing for a moment on the sidewalk to remove her sunglasses and turn her face upward, her eyelashes catching the first pale flakes that had begun to drift down out of a sky the color of an old bruise. She touched the bus ticket in the pocket of her threadbare winter coat as if it were a talisman, wondering if her unborn child would have its father’s kindly gray eyes.

She said a silent prayer that it would not inherit his cold, dead heart.

This piece was inspired by, among other things, the women that I am privileged to work with and for several times a month at a local domestic violence facility. Courage does have a face, and I see it every day in the faces of these brave women. You might think it paradoxical that a woman who writes in the genre, and the vein, in which I do would feel strongly about such things, but ... well, I guess it is paradoxical.

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Desdmona's Erotic Story Contests
2004 Erotic Short Story Contest
Third Prize