Sell Out Man, A Blog Novel, Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Eighteen

 

Arthur once saw a therapist who diagnosed him with autism. A child psychologist had told his parents this when he was a kid, but his parents ignored the diagnosis. Arthur grew into a man who talked too much, who struggled to wear matching socks, who could never listen and who was obnoxious in social situations. When Arthur was told for the second time that he was autistic, he was bothered by the diagnosis. How could he be autistic? Only annoying and out of control people were autistic. Could that be him? Arthur was gradually becoming a successful writer. He was almost paying all his expenses through writing. He had to work a part-time teaching job but he was managing to support himself through literature. People with autism still lived with their parents at his age. He had his own apartment and his future looked good. Autism didn’t make any sense in Arthur’s mind.

Amy would sometimes become annoyed by Arthur’s high energy. While they were working on editing Arthur’s book of essays, The Fantastic Life Of A Disappearing Man, Amy would continually have to tell Arthur to shut up and quiet down. She would become angered at him in the same way a person would feel angered by an out of control toddler. Sometimes she yelled at him, telling him what an idiot he was. Amy felt bad about these explosions of frustration but she couldn’t seem to stop it. Maybe the pressures of being in love with another man were getting to her. Arthur was always understanding of Amy’s annoyance with him. When she spit in his face in an explosion of rage, Arthur wiped away the spit from his face and told Amy that he was going to go sit in the other room for a little and let her simmer down. Arthur was always adoring and compassionate when Amy would lash out at him and this made her appreciate him more. She didn’t have to feel as bad about her terrible behavior towards Arthur because he accepted it. He loved Amy.

It wasn’t lost on Amy that she was acting mean and critical towards Arthur in a similar way Zev was with her. She was becoming more like Zev in her relationship with Arthur. Annoyed, agitated and bothered. But Amy loved being with Arthur. She loved the attention that Arthur showed her. She loved how grateful Arthur was to have sex with her and be in her company. She felt worshipped and this turned her on. It made her feel better about herself. Zev never worshipped her. Maybe in the beginning of their relationship but not anymore. Zev took advantage of her now and Amy felt that Zev was lucky to be getting her some of the time. This is how Amy rationalized having an affair with Arthur. Zev was lucky to be getting what he was getting from her and as a result she could do whatever she wanted with the rest of her time. It was the personal philosophy of a lunatic.

Amy wanted to be with Arthur more and more. She thought about him all the time and the amount she texted with him increased. They were meeting a few times a week at the WORD office and at her house to complete the final draft of The Fantastic Life Of A Disappearing Man. They were meeting with artists for cover art. They were completing the final formatting. Amy was involved in the publication process as much as she could be. It was a way for her to connect more with Arthur. If she was completely helpful and available for Arthur she knew he would appreciate her even more. She gave to get.

Zev wasn’t able to out run the feeling that Amy was possibly in love with that guy she was using as bait in their sex shows. Who was that guy? He looked familiar but couldn’t recall where he had seen him. He was young and had a nice body but his skin was pale. He was a terrible dresser and looked like a complete nerd. There was no way that Amy could be in love with a guy like this. It just wasn’t possible. Zev was crazy for even thinking so. Zev was a handsome, well-dressed, successful contemporary painter. He was at the height of his career and at the age of 41 still had a full head of long hair. There was just no way that Amy would fall in love with someone like that guy. This is what Zev told himself. Zev didn’t take into consideration that Zev was miserable and depressed all the time, he was growing older and slower, when he did fuck Amy she had to do most of the work because he was too tired and in his depression he had neglected to maintain any muscle in his upper body. Arthur had muscular arms.

No matter how much Zev told himself that he was crazy for feeling the way he did he couldn’t stop thinking about it. He started talking to Marissa. He couldn’t help it. He was an external processor who needed to talk with somebody about what was on his mind. Since he was around Marissa a lot at the studio, he talked to her. Zev would paint and Marissa would hand him brushes and paint. She would pick up after him and clean up any mess. She listened to Zev as he told her about his suspicions. Marissa listened to Zev tell her that he felt like Amy was carrying around some sort of big secret. She had felt much more detached from him. There was little affection coming from her anymore. Something was off. Something was going on and he was suspicious that she could be in love with some guy. Marissa knew who the guy was. She knew it was the author of Man On The Ceiling, which was one of her favorite books. But she refrained from telling Zev this. She didn’t know what to do so she played dumb like most do in similar situations.

A man always suffers alone. The more Zev felt the way he did, the more paranoid he became. He didn’t know what to do with his strong and annoying feelings. He needed resolution. He would ask Amy who she was texting and he would tell her that she was always on her phone and in the bathroom for longer periods of time. They would argue about this. Amy would tell him that she wasn’t on her phone that much and Zev would tell her that she was on her phone all the fucking time. When Amy wasn’t home he started going through her drawers to see if he could find any incriminating evidence. He wasn’t able to find anything specific but he did find some receipts for dinners she had not told him about. He would sometimes drive by the WORD office to see if she was there when she said she would be. While he was painting at his studio he would become convinced that Amy was with the other man in that moment. He would tell Marissa that he was going home early and he would drive back to his house as fast as he could. Zev would park his car several streets over and then walk into the bushes across the street from his house. He would sit in the bushes for an entire afternoon, getting his black pants covered in dirt. He was trying to discover what was really going on. Seeking resolution for himself. Was Amy gaslighting him? That couldn’t be. Zev didn’t want to believe Amy was a horrible person but he had always been concerned about certain psychopathic tendencies he thought she had. From the bushes and dirt he would watch Amy come and go. He would watch various authors come and go from his home. And then he noticed that guy.

Zev felt his heart race. He had to calm himself down. He watched Arthur get in his car. Arthur was wearing jeans and Daniel Johnston t-shirt. He looked like a nerdy guy. How could Amy be into him? How could this be possible? Once Arthur drove away, Zev got up out of the bushes, brushed the dirt off of himself and walked into the house. He noticed that the blinds were closed and there were some pillows on the floor. The environment wreaked of sex. When Amy walked out of the bathroom she was startled to see Zev standing in the living room. She pulled herself together, smiled and told Zev that it was nice to see him. She opened the blinds and picked up the pillows. Zev asked Amy what the hell was going on and Amy acted surprised. She asked Zev what he meant and Zev told her that he just saw that guy who she had over for sex shows leaving their house. Amy knew she was in trouble and she had to think fast. Zev asked Amy if she had just had sex with that guy and Amy told Zev that that was a ridiculous thought. The pillows were on the floor and the blinds were closed because she had been doing some exercises before Arthur came over. Zev asked Amy again who the hell that guy was and Amy told him.

Amy assured Zev that nothing was going on between her and Arthur. She hadn’t told him that Arthur was one of the writer’s she worked with because she was afraid Zev would get mad. She knew that Arthur liked her and thought he was easy bait for their sex shows. She was just using him and had absolutely no feelings towards him. She never had sex with him outside of their sex shows. She would never do that. Zev sat down on the couch and Amy went to sit down next to him. She told him that she was very sorry for not telling him about Arthur. Zev thought that Arthur was such a ridiculous name. Zev was angry at Amy for keeping this secret from him. He asked her how she could have sex with someone she was working with? There was no integrity in that. Why would she mix work with her sexual pursuits? Amy told Zev it wasn’t a big deal and Zev thought Amy was reckless and lacked all morals. But he didn’t want to fight with her. Amy asked Zev if she wanted her to make a good dinner tonight. She would go to the market and get him whatever he wanted. Zev was still angry but food was the quickest way to his heart. He told Amy that it would be nice if she made that good beef lasagna. Amy asked if he also wanted red wine and a kombucha and Zev told her that he did. Amy gave Zev a kiss on the forehead and told him not to worry. She got her purse and went to the market. Zev continued sitting on the couch processing what he had just discovered. He knew that more was obviously going on but he didn’t want to confront it. Arthur? What kind of person was Amy? Zev lit a cigarette and looked out the window. Something in him felt like everything was changing. He was horrified. As Amy drove to the market she thought about how close of a call that was. She had been fucking Arthur ten minutes before Zev walked in. Did he know? She would make Zev a nice dinner. She would offer him a blow job after dinner. She would try to be really nice to him. She would give to get.

Sell Out Man, A Blog Novel, Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Seventeen

 

Amy and Zev decided to have another home sex show. It’s what they liked to do when boredom creeped into their lives. They drank gin, ate dinner and flipped through Tinder together looking for some stray and horny guy to invite over. They referred to the guy as bait. None of the men Amy made contact with seemed willing to take the risk of coming to her home to have sex. Amy felt like it was too much work to get a young man to come over to their house. At least this is what she told Zev. She took a shower and told Zev that she would keep looking for someone. But she really wanted to have Arthur come over. These home sex shows were just another opportunity for Amy to be with Arthur and she wanted to take every opportunity she could get. Amy texted Arthur asking him if he was free to come over and have sex quickly. She told him Zev would not be home for a few more hours. Even though Arthur was nervous about being in Amy’s house close to a time that Zev was expected home, he told her he would be right over. He had been masturbating anyways.

When Amy got out of the shower she decided to not put any close on. They would soon be coming off anyways. She would answer the door naked when Arthur arrived. Amy understood that she had about an hour to do her sex show because Zev didn’t want to wait out in the cold for much longer than that. In the summer time the shows were longer but in the winter things needed to happen quickly. Amy applied make-up to cover the ravaged zits on her body. She plucked a few hairs down by her vagina and covered the reddish swelling with make-up. She dried her hair and made it nice and curly. She also applied a thick layer of red lipstick. She enjoyed these sex shows. She knew it turned Zev on. But in her mind, it wasn’t really for Zev. It was a way for her to have permissible sex with other men without feeling like she was cheating.

Zev grabbed his binoculars from his home studio. He had been using them to look out his windows at the various birds which would comingle in the trees. He would also spy into the windows of some of his neighbors. He would watch them for a while and think about how we all had our own private hells to contend with. Zev put on a thick parka to protect him from the cold. He gathered his marijuana and cigarettes and stuck them in the pocket of his coat. He then walked out into the front room where Amy was getting things ready. She was straightening pillows and lighting candles. She turned on the fireplace. Zev put a Suicide record on the turn table, which Amy had requested. Zev looked at Amy walking around nude. He thought about what a nice body she had. Her belly button piercing. Her polished toe nails and round ass. Her breasts which had yet to be defeated by gravity. She looked nearly perfect in the nude but if he looked closely he could see all the signs of aging.

Before going into the backyard Zev put on gloves. He told Amy to have sex on a part of the couch that allowed him to see better from outside. Amy wanted to put on a good show and was more than happy to do anything that he liked. She asked him if he wanted her to do anything else. Zev told Amy that he wanted her to gag on the guy’s dick and give him a good sucking. He also told Amy that he wanted to see her have anal sex without a condom. Zev knew that this was risky but the extreme perversity of it turned him on. Amy pretended to be cautious about having sex without a condom. She didn’t know if it was a good idea. But this was all an act. It was one of the reasons why she preferred having Arthur come over for these sex shows. She knew Zev liked watching her have sex without a condom and she had already been having sex with Arthur without a condom for a long while. It was the safest bet.

Zev kissed Amy goodbye and smacked her on the ass. He also grabbed one of her breasts. He felt turned on. He told Amy to slut it up and he walked out into the backyard a few minutes before Arthur was expected to arrive. Zev situated himself by the garden box and made sure he had a good view of the couch from where he stood. Then he took a few puffs of marijuana and smoked a cigarette. He always enjoyed the combination of the two. Zev pulled over a garden chair and sat in it for a moment. He knew that what he was doing was nuts but that is why he enjoyed it. He heard dogs barking in the distance and he checked his phone for the time. It was almost 11pm.

Arthur and Amy immediately started having sex on the couch. When Amy answered the door in the nude Arthur threw himself at her. He forced her down onto the couch and started kissing her. They kissed deeply and this concerned Zev. Amy didn’t normally kiss guys like that and they certainly didn’t kiss that way. Arthur then went down on Amy and buried his face in her vagina. He rubbed his lips around her clit and stuck his tongue inside of her. Amy stretched out her arms, curled her spine and screamed out in pleasure. Zev didn’t like this as well. As he watched through his binoculars he noticed that he started to feel very pissed off. He wanted to kill Arthur as Arthur continued to pleasure his wife. Zev noticed that the more angered he became the more erect his dick became. Even though he didn’t want to, he had no choice but to pull his dick out and start masturbating. Amy was on top of Arthur. Zev could hear Suicide playing inside. He could hear their pleasure screams. Amy wasn’t using a condom and this turned him on. He hoped she would let Arthur cum inside of him even though he knew it was a reckless idea.

Amy managed to turn herself around and have anal sex with Arthur right in the spot Zev had asked her to. As Arthur forcefully pumped himself into Amy, Zev felt incredibly turned on. He masturbated in the darkness of his backyard garden. Kale and lettuce grew right under his dick and he didn’t care if he orgasmed on them. He figured semen was good for the soil. He masturbated and masturbated until he realized that Arthur and Amy were orgasming at the same time. Amy and Arthur both yelled out and screamed various profanities as their bodies wiggled in orgasmic pleasure. She had let Arthur cum inside of her! This angered Zev so much that when he orgasmed his semen flew several feet over to where the beets and radishes were growing. Zev also screamed out in pleasure, exploding his semen all over the vegetables he and Amy were growing. Arthur and Amy collapsed into one another and Zev sat down in the garden chair with his pants still down. He was breathing heavy as he lit a cigarette. It was one of the best orgasms he had had in a long time. But once the high of the orgasm faded the anger started to creep back in. Something was not right between Arthur and Amy. The amount of jealousy that he felt was telling him something. But he tried to ignore it.

Zev walked back inside just after Arthur left. He watched Arthur and Amy kiss goodbye and didn’t like it at all. Amy was still sitting on the couch naked and she asked Zev if he orgasmed. He told her that he came on the vegetables. Amy laughed. She asked Zev for a cigarette and Zev sat down beside her. Zev told her that it was a great show. Completely hot even though he knew it was a terrible idea to have Arthur orgasm inside of her anal cavity. Even though there was no risk of pregnancy, Zev knew the risks of disease. But his carnal perversions always got the best of his better judgement.

Zev felt suspicious of Amy as she sat there stroking her clit on the couch. Questions began to take shape in his mind. She asked Zev if he wanted to have sex but he told her he was worn out. Zev asked Amy if she liked the guy she had just had sex with. He told Amy that he noticed she kept having the same guy back to their house and wondered if there was anything going on. Amy thought the suggestion was ridiculous. Just some boy toy that she liked to fuck, is what she told Zev. How stupid of him for even suggesting that idea. Amy didn’t tell Zev that she was having Arthur over to their house several times a week. She didn’t tell him that she was editing his book of essays. She didn’t tell him that they were in love. She couldn’t do that because she had too much to lose. And Zev didn’t notice Arthur was the same guy who he had seen walking out of their front gate a few months ago.

`        Zev knew that something didn’t feel right but he tried to let it go. When Amy got in bed next to him he felt this urge to ask her if she was in love with that guy. The way they were sexual together, the way their bodies interacted, the pleasure in her face- it all suggested signs of two people in love. Zev kept his question to himself. He knew that it was a ridiculous thing to ask even though it felt right. It was as if there was a part of Zev’s brain which was now convinced that Amy was in love with that guy. He couldn’t get rid of the feeling. He knew that if he asked Amy she would only become defensive. She was about to fall asleep anyways. Zev turned out his bedside light and then gradually fell asleep as the fire in his head subsided. That night Amy and Zev fell asleep on opposite sides of the bed. They didn’t tell each other that they loved each other before falling away into the dark void of sleep.

Sell Out Man, A Blog Novel, Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Sixteen

Amy was sitting at the kitchen table. She was working on editing a short story that would be published in WORD. You could see the lines in her forehead created by aging and an overabundance of concentration. When Zev walked into the room she didn’t look up. She didn’t even really hear him. Zev placed the deodorant container and the empty package of razors on the counter. He stood there looking down on Amy. Amy looked up at Zev and could immediately tell that something was wrong. His look was indignant and afraid. In a tone that exposed underlying anxiety, Zev asked her why these things were in the trash. Amy played dumb and acted like she knew nothing about it. When Zev told Amy that he had never used these low-life men’s product and didn’t understand how they got in the bathroom trash, she said that there was no way she could know.

Amy had to think fast. Her anxiety and heart rate increased. She was close to the point of being caught and if she was caught her entire life would come crumbling down. Zev would leave her and seek revenge. He would reveal her sexual secrets and be socially humiliated by the man who was once her husband. Her career would be irrevocably damaged, if not destroyed. This is what she feared at least. It was only when Amy was up against deadlines that she would really get the job done. She was not a self-motivator. Her genius needed to be shifted into high gear by circumstances or someone else. Amy worked best when under pressure. She had a mind that worked faster than Zev’s mind. She knew she could out smart him when she needed.

Amy told Zev that some of the writers who came to the house for meetings would use the bathroom before they left. This was not uncommon. Maybe one of them had used the razors and deodorant and then placed it in the trash? This was a reasonable explanation in Zev’s mind. It was a scenario that could believably occur. Zev asked why she didn’t notice that when one of the writers came out of the bathroom with a cleanly shaved face, that he obviously must have just shaved in the bathroom. How could she not know that someone was shaving in their bathroom? Amy told Zev that she didn’t notice that sort of thing. She told Zev that she wasn’t interested in what the writers she worked with looked like. She was too busy for that sort of thing. Work was work. Zev had a hard time believing it. Zev told her that it all seemed a little strange and Amy asked him in a rude tone if he thought she was fucking someone. Zev told her that sometimes it seemed like that but that he didn’t know. Amy felt enraged that Zev would question her integrity even though her integrity was not one of her stronger points. She yelled at Zev for even suggesting that she would be fucking one of the writers she worked with. That would never happen, she told him. How dare he. Amy had enough vitriol in her face to convince a charging army to turn the other way.

Amy was convincing enough in her defense. Zev picked up the package and empty deodorant container and stuck it in the trash. He told her to please not let the people she worked with in their home shave in their bathroom. He found that revolting and disgusting. Zev was not a fan of anyone else’s presence in his house. He was repulsed by the mere suggestion that one of those pathetic and trendy contemporary writers was sitting on his toilet. Amy agreed to be more stringent about her guidelines for using the bathroom and Zev was satisfied with that. Zev told Amy that he was sorry for the misunderstanding and Amy told him that it was ok. Zev left the room with an odd feeling in the pit of his stomach. It was the kind of gnawing feeling a person gets when they can’t seem to find resolution within themselves, no matter how much they want it.

Amy sat at the kitchen table looking dumbly into her computer. She texted Arthur that she couldn’t meet with him that night. Something came up and she needed to lay low for a bit. Arthur responded concerned and upset. Amy told Arthur to never leave any of his shit in her garbage ever again. When Arthur asked her what she meant she told him about what Zev had found. It was then that Arthur remembered putting those things in the trash. He felt a wave of fear come over him. Had he blown it? He asked Amy if everything was alright and Amy told him that he was getting too comfortable at her house and he needed to stay on his game. Arthur told her that he would and that he felt like an idiot. Amy said that it was ok. It wasn’t his fault. She would see him in two days. They already had their next date made. She told Arthur that she had just averted catastrophe. She didn’t bother telling him that she had just deceived and pathologically lied to her husband. Arthur would not have minded that.

Sell Out Man, A Blog Novel, Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Fifteen

 

 

The essay about Zev Bauhaus came out in the most recent issue of BOMB Magazine. The essay was written by the well-established contemporary art critic and essayist Hanna Hartman. She had written several long essays on feminism, Jungian analysis and contemporary thought in art and popular culture which had attracted much critical attention. In the essay on Zev Bauhaus Hanna focused on the ideas behind Zev’s paintings. Hanna lived in Buenos Aires and interviewed Zev several times over the phone. Zev was stoned when he talked to her and he talked about his art in a way that he would not have if he was not stoned. When not stoned he had little to say about his art because he wasn’t sure what it all meant. He was just making pretty paintings for rich people to buy, is what he thought.

Zev told Hanna that the ideas for his paintings came from a place that light does not reach. When she asked him about this he told her that it was from the realm of the unconscious that his ideas came. In her essay, Hanna tied together Jungian ideas about the unconscious with the ideas behind Zev’s images. She wrote about how a major transformation is continually happening in the abstract paintings of Zev Bauhaus. It was a continual and perpetual transformation occurring before the viewer’s eyes. The abstracted images offered transformative ideas about oneself in relation to the blank space of our inner universe. A new way of envisioning our personal experience as human beings was expressed through the paintings. Once Zev’s ideas reach the surface, they set off a series of reactions that eventually take form where we can experience it with our own minds. Hanna eloquently and in a postmodern vernacular wrote about how she was no artist but as a non-artist she could still grasp the ideas behind the process. The best ideas that appear are the ones that come out from the dark and this why Zev Bauhaus’s paintings were of important inherent value as a modern object. We need these ideas to keep us human in inhuman capitalistic times, Hanna concluded.

Zev liked the essay. Amy had read it first. She always read essays and articles about Zev’s work first to make sure that there was nothing in it that would upset Zev. When Zev first came to be known as a painter he read many negative reviews and essays about his work. They upset him because Zev was sensitive towards what others thought of his work. He would become depressed and angry for extended periods of time, so Amy had gotten into the habit of checking the articles and essays first. Zev didn’t even bother with watching the numerous YouTube videos about his work. Amy thought the essay was flattering and she respected Hanna Hartman as a writer and contemporary thinker. She would write Hanna an email complementing her on her essay about Zev. Hanna and Amy would begin a correspondence with Amy eventually editing some of her essays. When Zev had finished reading the essay, he felt relieved. He always anticipated that people were going to write negative things about his work. Hanna didn’t do this.

A day or so after the BOMB essay came out, Zev started receiving a tidal wave of emails and phone calls. People wrote to tell him how much they appreciated his work. Others wanted to interview him. Galleries wanted him to have a one man show. A few modern art museums contacted him, interested in buying and archiving his work. Zev didn’t have a manager or agent to do his busy work. Marissa helped him with some of it but he was the one who had to return phone calls and send emails. He hated this part of his job and neglected a large chunk of it. Zev was an opportunist so he took advantage of the increase in opportunities coming his way. He agreed to sell one of his paintings to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He was going to have a one man show at a very prestigious modern art gallery in Buenos Aires. He was also going to have another one at a New York City modern art gallery. The essay had certainly put a kick in Zev’s career. He was unwillingly moving to the next level. But Zev went along with the momentum. He was getting older now and felt he should do what he needed to do to keep the money coming in.

When I make my paintings, I must have faith in time. I must believe that time is on my side, Zev told one interviewer as he toured him around his studio space. These images take time to appear. I have to give them this space to grow in. I always want to paint what I want to paint, the way I want to paint it. I think about the next steps later on. As Zev told the interviewer this, he didn’t believe himself. He felt like an imposter. He wondered if he was really painting what he wanted to paint or if that was just a lie he was telling himself and others. Was he painting what he wanted to paint or just doing what was safe?

Zev started working a lot more at his studio. He would be there from early in the morning till late at night, six days a week. Sometimes he would sleep in the bedroom at the studio. Zev wasn’t particularly happy about this increase in work but he was getting into it. When he was home he would always be angry at Amy. He felt like she was neglecting things. Dinners didn’t taste as good and the house wasn’t as clean as it was in the past. Since Amy was the one home most of the time it was Zev’s expectation that she keep their home looking nice. He wanted to come home and find everything in its right place. He wanted scented candles to be lit and nice music playing. Fresh flowers would help. But none of this was happening anymore. Amy straightened up around the house as much as she could but she didn’t care as much anymore. Her mind was on Arthur and work. Most of her energy was going into these places and this caused her to be more neglectful in her life with Zev. Zev’s anger pushed her further away.

Amy was happy that Zev was working more. She felt better when he was not around. She could be herself more and do the things she needed to do. When Zev was around he took up so much space. He was such a drag most of the time, especially recently. Amy was sick of Zev’s behavior and resented him. She resented him for not coming on to her more. She resented him for not taking control of her and giving her the pleasure she deserved. She resented him for not making her feel beautiful. She resented him for his desire to possess her like a wet sponge or something. She resented him for always being angry and unhappy despite all the wealth around him. She could hardly stand to be around the guy anymore and was happy that he was gone more now.

Amy decided to take more risks in Zev’s absence. She would have Arthur over for lunch or early dinners. When Zev told Amy that he was staying the night at the studio she would have Arthur come over and spend the night. This started to happen more and more. Arthur and Amy talked about their plans to be together. They talked about living in an apartment closer to the beach or maybe someday Arthur would live in the Silverlake house. Amy didn’t mean these things when she said them. She knew Arthur would never live in the Silverlake house. She couldn’t imagine that but she got caught up in the fantasy of her love affair and let all hesitation go. She was living in the dream that lovers live in.

Arthur knew that he would have to wait patiently. He told himself that he would just keep waiting things out. Eventually Amy would be with him. But she couldn’t be with him now. She was married to Zev Bauhaus and Arthur didn’t make the kind of money he would need to contribute to the lifestyle she was accustomed to. She couldn’t completely leave Zev for Arthur. Not now at least. But she told Arthur that one day they would be together. She talked to Arthur about her problems with Zev and used him as a sounding board. She would tell Arthur about how critical Zev was of her and how he didn’t want to have sex with her much of the time. She would tell him about how miserable it can be to be around Zev and Arthur did his best to listen and support her. But he was also trying get as much information from Amy about Zev because someday he thought he might write about him. She never told Arthur about the sex shows she had used him as a prop in. She felt this would give her away as the deceitful woman she was.

Arthur took shits in the same toilet that Zev shit in. He was sleeping in the bed right were Zev slept. He shaved in the sink that Zev shaved in. He showered in the shower that Zev showered in. He ate at the table that Zev ate at. He washed dishes in the sink that Zev washed dishes in. He sat on the couch were Zev sat. He was even allowed to wonder around in Zev’s studio and he sat in the lounge chair that Zev would sit in. Zev was being gradually replaced by the opposite version of himself. And he could feel this gradual erasure of himself whenever he was home. Amy almost seemed to not see him sometimes and he couldn’t resist the feeling that something was up. It was this feeling that caused him to think about checking the trash as he was shaving one morning. Evidence always appeared in the trash. That’s where people would forget. Zev finished shaving, dried his face and bent over to go through the small trash can that sat by the toilet. Zev found a wrapper for men’s Gillette razors. Zev never used Gillette razors before and he knew this MAGAPACK wasn’t for Amy because just under the razors was a discarded Old Spice deodorant container. Old Spice? He and Amy never used that crap. Who would think a discarded package of razors and a deodorant container could forever change a man’s life.

Sell Out Man, Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fourteen

 

Zev Bauhaus considered himself a disciple of Rimbaud. He especially practiced Rimbaud’s belief in the derangement of the senses. Zev enjoyed deranging his senses in any way he could. His regular state of misery and depression was too unpleasant. He assumed it was mental illness. He couldn’t stand being himself when sober. He had used heroin, cocaine and copious amounts of sex and marijuana to disappear from himself in the past. He drank too much and deranged his senses strongly, too much of the time. It made him a better painter. But now he had responsibilities. He couldn’t do some of that stuff anymore. He still deranged his senses as often as possible but now he had to stick to more functional intoxicants like weed, cigarettes, coffee and the occasional working woman. The conformity fame required was better tolerated when under the influence of something. In his mind, Zev would invoke men like Ken Kessey, Tim Leary and Brion Gysin as examples of accomplished artists and thinkers who were intoxicated all the time. It allowed him to feel better about the choices he made.

The more successful Zev became the more he masturbated. He had been a masturbator for as long as he knew what his erection was for, but now there was more pressure to release. The tension of his marriage and the demands of his work made him feel more tense and unhappy much of the time. Masturbation had become a form of therapeutic medication. Zev wasn’t able to come on to Amy as much as he would have wanted. He didn’t come on to her at all. He felt indignant towards her. He started to feel like she was harboring some sort of secret. Her distancing had caused him to distance himself as well. He was pissed off at her most of the time and being pissed off was not conducive to wanting to have sex with Amy. Zev should have come on to her more but he wasn’t able. He wasn’t aware that he was feeling the fear of getting hurt. Like a coward, he waited for her to come on to him. Deep down he knew he would eventually lose Amy because of his inability to desire her as much as he should.

Zev had two different ways of masturbating. When Amy was out he would go into his home studio, turn on Throbbing Gristle or some contemporary electronic musician and take off his clothes. He would sit down in his lounge chair, put his feet up and put porn on the big screen television. He would watch young and horny girls give blow jobs and be harshly fucked by various well sculpted young men. Zev would always jack off with a paper towel in his hand. He was stoned when masturbating because it made the orgasm feel better. He could get into the porn when stoned and not feel bad about the situation these young women were in. The weed helped him to eroticize women. He hated that he felt bad about enjoying pornography but knew that it was societies conditioning getting in his way. These porn actresses were liberated women doing what they were born to be doing, Zev would think. It wouldn’t take Zev long to orgasm but the pot helped him to last longer. When he finally did orgasm he would shoot his semen wherever it wanted to go. Much of it shot into the air and landed on his chest. Some would get on his legs or land on the floor. Sometimes semen would even land on his face. He particularly enjoyed this. As soon as he got the last of his semen out of him he would clean it up with the paper towel, turn the porn off and get dressed.

If Amy was home Zev would masturbate in one of their five bathroom sinks. He preferred the bathroom that was in the back of the house because it was the least used and had a dark sort of deviant but luxurious feeling. Zev would pull his pants down and watch porn on his iPhone. Or he would think about the sex shows he and Amy had had. He would use all his mental capacities to recall images of Amy having sex with a guy on their couch. He would try to remember her sucking the guy’s dick. This was his favorite way to masturbate- thinking about Amy having sex with others. When he orgasmed into the bathroom sink he would make a deep, primal sound. It was the best feeling Zev Bauhaus was able to organically create. When he was finished, he would pull his pants back up and wash the semen down the drain with soap and water. He would leave no trace of anything degenerate happening in there.

Zev also started to go to a certain strip club more. The more Amy pulled away from him the more he sought connection with strippers. He would go to a particular club not far from his home. It was just off Sunset Blvd, down an alley. The strippers were mostly young and attractive. Most of them knew who Zev Bauhaus was. Word spreads between girls. He was also one of the more attractive men to enter the place and captured the girl’s attention. The strippers would swarm Zev and offer to have sex with him and suck on his balls in the backroom. Zev would tell them that he only had one ball. Most would find this surprising and ask him how that had happened. He would tell them that it was a result of a fight where someone had crushed one of his testicles. In truth, he had lost his ball to a bad infection when he was younger. The strippers were often excited by the idea of sucking on a singular ball. Some begged to let them try. Zev assumed such behavior was because these women were desperate for something different.

Zev would normally be stoned when he was in the club, which gave him more tolerance of the bad music and the continual solicitations. He would tell the strippers who approached him that he just wanted to hang out for a little while and watch the show. Maybe later he would be interested in something. Zev would order a mineral water from some sexy cocktail waitress he knew he couldn’t have sex with. He would drink his mineral water and watch naked women display their vaginas, asses and tits on the stage. They would crawl around on hands and knees. He would watch the flashing lights and the stripper’s naked body reflected in the mirrors. It was one of his favorite ways to pass the time. He was able to forget about the work he was trapped in. He could forget about all the stupid responsibilities he had. He could forget about being duped by himself into becoming a member of the conformist world.

Strippers would ask Zev if he was leaving when he stepped outside to smoke a cigarette. He told them has wasn’t and sometimes they would let him touch their ass. Zev was always stepping out for a cigarette, giving the libidinal tension time to build. When he stood outside on the sidewalk he would think about which stripper he wanted to get with. He would think about not fucking anyone and just watching the show. Even though Zev had plenty of money he still felt guilty about spending two hundred dollars to have a sexual experience with a stripper. He knew he could sleep with women without having to pay them. This wasn’t too difficult for a man like Zev Bauhaus. But he wasn’t interested in that arrangement. He wanted to meet a woman and get right down to seeing her naked. No strings attached. He didn’t have patience to make conversation.

Zev would end up having sex with a stripper in the back room. After watching the strippers dance naked on stage for an hour or so, Zev was too horny to go home without a deviant sexual experience. He never picked the same woman twice and one of the reasons he liked this club was because of its continual variety. He would go into one of the back booths with a stripper of his choice. As he walked hand and hand with the stripper into the back, all the other strippers had a look of jealousy on their face. They momentarily hated the girl who had won Zev Bauhaus. Once in the back, Zev would take off his clothes and hand the girl two hundred dollars. He would sit down on the leather bench in the darkness and the stripper would straddle him. It was always the same. He would tell her to take off her top and bottom. The stripper would get down on her knees and suck on his testicle, as she put a condom on his erect dick. She would then suck his dick for a short time before getting on top of him and fucking him till he orgasmed. Zev enjoyed looking up at these beautiful whores as they moved up and down on top of him. They were the only thing he worshipped.

After Zev orgasmed, the stripper would climb off him and hand him a tissue for the now debased condom. He would thank her and tell her how good the experience was. He wanted the strippers to feel respected for the work they were doing. Some would give him a kiss on the lips before leaving the sinful room. Zev would throw the condom in the trash, clean himself off and then get dressed. He would feel a mountain of release as he walked out of the room. Strippers sat in chairs and against walls and would watch him as he walked back through the club and out the front door. Zev would get in his Audi, turn music on and smoke a cigarette as he drove home. It was always the same general routine.

Amy was starting to feel more certain that she was in love with Arthur. She would think a lot about it and couldn’t doubt it anymore. Arthur would tell her how much she had melted her way into his soul. Amy loved hearing shit like this. She would tell him how much he was her savoir. Arthur started telling Amy that he loved her and after a few weeks Amy started doing the same. She was in love with another man. But she also loved Zev, just not in the same way. She strategized about what she would do. Amy’s intellect was fierce and she felt capable of manipulating anyone into anything. If she could keep her big secret from Zev, life could go on as usual. No painful alterations would have to be made. She could have the passionate relationship she wanted while also maintaining a more ordinary kind of marriage with Zev. This was her plan and she would do all she could to make it work. She needed Zev’s money to help her live the lifestyle she was accustomed to living. She also gained credibility for having Zev as a husband. But she loved Arthur with all her heart. She adored him and everything he did. Amy was so confident in her ability to strategize and manipulate, that she thought she could keep these dual relationships going indefinably. A part of her hoped she would get caught because then she could then get out of this dreadful relationship with Zev Bauhaus and be with the man she wanted to be with. But she tried not to think about that.

Sell Out Man, Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Thirteen

 

Marissa decided to break up with Evan. He just didn’t seem like the right fit for her even though she liked having sex with him. He was young and unimpressive, good enough to pass the time but up until a point. He didn’t like Kim Gordon or Olivia Nuetron-John (her two favorites). This didn’t feel right to her. She wanted to move on to newer things but what she wasn’t sure about. Maybe she would just focus on her art and try and get her art career moving in a more serious direction. She had been neglecting all aspects of her art making practice as of late, especially the more business aspects which every artist hates. Or maybe she would just focus on being Zev Bauhaus’s head studio assistant and spend the rest of her time reading and dating. She always wanted to be more sexually liberated but never seemed to take the time to pursue it. Marissa knew she was in her prime, but also felt ashamed about possibly being perceived as a slut. After seeing Amy with another man, she had been thinking about taking more risks herself. She would never be this young or this free again.

Evan didn’t take the break-up well. He was in love with Marissa even though he tried hard not to be. He loved having sex with her and thought she was a cool girl to hang out with. Like most women should do, Marissa made Evan look better. She made him feel better about the limbo like direction his life had turned towards. He was stranded in a sea of indecision and not knowing what he was going to do with his life. He was terrified of having to lose himself and conform to the defeat most adults seemed to accept. He worked minimum wage jobs and spent the rest of his time drinking, listening to contemporary progressive music, socializing, sleeping and worrying about what he was going to do with his life. He argued a lot with his parents because he had arrived at a still-point most men who resist conformity arrive at in their late twenties. Being upset about Marissa leaving him gave him some other miserable thing to obsess about.

Evan did all he could to get Marissa back. He just went about it in a pathetic way. He texted Marissa continually that he loved her. That he was thinking about her. That he wanted to be with her. That he knew she was in love with someone else. He was relentless with regards to trying to find out if there was someone else. Marissa kept telling him no but he didn’t believe her. Why would she leave him for no one? He would come by Marissa’s apartment unannounced, in a sorry state. Sometimes Marissa would make the mistake of letting him in. She felt bad that she was causing him all this grief. Evan’s perilous behavior made Marissa even more aware of not wanting to be with him but she cared about him and wanted to do what she could to help. When she would let Evan in they would sit on her couch and talk for hours. Evan would continue to talk about how hurt he was and what a terrible mistake she was making. Sometimes they would fight and sometimes they would fuck.

Even though Marissa wanted out of a relationship with Evan she kept fucking him. She knew it was wrong but it was also an easy and convenient way for her to have sex. If someone attractive wanted to have sex with her and this someone was right there in her room she would not hesitate to do it. She liked sex and would not say no if it looked good enough. She felt bad about using Evan in this way but she also felt like it wasn’t her responsibility. He was making the choice knowing full well she didn’t want to be his girlfriend. Marissa was telling Zev this as she helped him work on a new series of large abstract paintings. Zev was gessoing the large canvas’s because he wanted the foundational texture to be a certain way. This didn’t require much focused thought from him so he had more mental space available to talk with Marissa. He told her that she should stop having sex with the poor guy. She was stringing him along. But Marissa disagreed. She thought that Evan was an adult and knew full well what he was getting into. It wasn’t her responsibility anymore. Zev didn’t disagree. He felt like Evan was acting desperate and pushing Marissa further away. He told Marissa that she was still very young and shouldn’t get locked into anything serious anyways. Especially not with someone who was crazy about her. She should just have fun and enjoy her youth. She had a lifetime to still be brutalized by the nightmares of love and serious relationships. The more he seeks the more she will hide, he told Marissa. Marissa didn’t disagree.

They talked about the San Francisco opening and other studio related things. Zev asked Amy how her painting career was going and she told him that it wasn’t right now. Zev told her not to worry about it. He was in the same situation at her age. Just keep painting and gradually things will happen. But never when you think they should. When things do finally happen, you won’t want it anymore is what Zev told Marissa. Marissa thought this was a bleak futuristic view but it was probably true. Zev was a famous painter and he was miserable. When he finally got what he wanted he didn’t want it anymore. Would the same thing happen to her? What was the point of anything then? This is what Marissa thought about as she talked and worked with Zev Bauhaus.

Marissa thought about how much she liked Zev. He was such a cool guy. Yes, he was a lot older than her but people often told her that she had an old soul. She could be with an older man. She like how honest and free spoken Zev was with her. He would talk about anything (accept the things that could get him in trouble with Amy). Marissa wanted to be able to be like that someday. Free-flowing in her talk about herself. But for now she was too afraid. She was too afraid of what people might think of her if she was honest about everything she thought and felt. This idea terrified her and it’s what kept her from putting her art more into the world. She didn’t even think her paintings were that good because everything she painted was limited by her fear of self-expression. But she knew Zev did the same thing. He was unhappy because he was not able to freely express himself in his paintings. He had to do what sold and stick to a particular style that he could easily reproduce. Maybe this was just a part of being a successful contemporary artist. The ability to hold back and make less self-revealing art.

Marissa wondered if she should tell Zev about seeing Amy with another man. Did they have a polyamorous relationship? Did he know that Amy was seeing other men? If she told him would he not care or could it destroy his life? Always trying to do the right thing, Marissa thought about the actions she took. Nothing went unplanned, if possible. If she told Zev, maybe she would have more of an opportunity to be with him. Maybe once Zev grew further away from Amy he would move closer to her. She knew she liked him a lot and she knew that he knew she really liked him. Sometimes she could feel the sexual tension and so could Zev. She was an attractive young girl after all and Zev was a decent looking famous painter. It was surprising they hadn’t fucked yet. But Zev’s loyalty to Amy got in the way. Maybe if she told Zev about what she saw, his loyalty would fall apart. Marissa respected Amy for her sexual prowess but at the same time she saw an opportunity to sell her out. But she also knew she would be a terrible person for doing so. Marissa was torn. She nervously shook her legs and picked at her hair. She felt uncomfortably restless as Zev asked her to hand him another wide paintbrush. She decided to wait until she was certain and looked down at the street and saw a black man in overalls wearing a straw hat.

Zev had already begun to have his suspicions about Amy. At first it started out as brief thoughts about her sleeping with someone else, which he would dismiss quickly. He was curious about Arthur who he knew was sometimes at their house. But he was convinced Amy would never be too interested in him. He was too young and looked like a literary nerd. But Zev knew that something was off. She was more distant from him. She was on her phone a lot more and coming home at odd times. She started getting her vagina waxed. Was something going on? Once Zev’s suspicion kicked into gear he had a hard time thinking of anything else. But at the same time, he couldn’t believe that Amy would be cheating on him so he would try to let his suspicions go. Sometimes he would check Amy’s phone when she left it on the bed and took a shower. Or when she left it on the kitchen counter and wondered into the backyard. Amy wasn’t stupid. She left no trail of the adulterous other life she was living.

The deeper Amy got into editing Arthur’s book of essays, the further into his intellectual world she fell. They started participating in a few of the countercultural art pop groups Arthur had wrote about. They would read the same books that Arthur had wrote about. Arthur would reread the books just to be able to deepen his connection with Amy. To do something with her. They went to certain modern art museums and galleries that Arthur had written about. Arthur wanted her to experience the things that he was writing about and Amy felt completely absorbed. She was bored of Zev’s world and she always needed a man’s world to deepen her sense of self. She didn’t know who she was alone. Arthur’s world was a fresh perspective. His interests felt closer to her own. Amy loved nerdy contemporary literature, anime and graphic novels. She loved silly and intellectual stuff. The kind of stuff Zev thought was too light-hearted and lame. She liked contemporary museums but Zev refused to go. Arthur was illuminating her once again after her light had long gone dead. The world Arthur turned her onto was the world that lay dormant and unexpressed with her. She had stuffed a lot of it down to be with Zev.

Certain things are impossible to hide from a person. In time these things always bleed out because human beings communicate at a level beyond cognition. This is what Zev thought. If something was going on he would find out in time. He didn’t want to think about it now. If he approached Amy about it, where would that go? No, he would just wait. If he continued to feel the way he did then he would become more active in trying to find out. But he saw nothing on her phone to feed his suspicions and assumed it was probably all him. He was so unhappy after all. Bothered by Amy’s very presence most of the time.

The marijuana that Zev was smoking was helping his depression. He smoked it most of the time now and was also smoking a lot of cigarettes. Smoke had become a continually presence in his life but he didn’t seem to mind. He liked having smoke around in the same way people might want to have a cat or a kid around. Even though he would wake in the mornings with a slight weeze, it was only a mild inconvenience. Zev wondered if the marijuana was responsible for his suspicions about Amy. He knew that marijuana caused him to become more irrational. It caused him to zone out and think about paranoid things. If he wasn’t careful, being stoned could cause Zev to be locked inside a looping and schizophrenic cerebral state that went on for hours.

Being stoned seemed to take the angry, anxious and depressed edge off of Zev. It allowed him to feel more grounded and focused when he worked. He felt himself curious about things when he was stoned. He would read and draw more. He listened to a lot of underground music. He enjoyed simple tasks, which normally felt like drudgery. Marijuana helped him to not dread going to work and to not be in despair as he made his way through the work day. Zev was more productive when stoned and less critical towards Amy. She felt like he was a happier presence even though she knew he was stoned. Amy had less of an attraction for stoners even though she realized she advocated for Zev to start being high all the time. She would even tell him what Willie Nelson said about how if you are not going to be high all the time don’t get high at all. But now that Zev had become an around-the-clock-stoner, she had even less respect for him. He was happier in his work, he was more creative, he was more interested in things and he even read more but still Amy felt like Zev’s intellectual acuity had declined. He had become stupider and stranger as a stoner. He was clumsier and didn’t make as much sense when he talked. It was intellect that she admired most in a man. Arthur smoked weed but he was clever. And he had a nice body. And he didn’t need weed to not be in a miserable mood. Zev didn’t realize that the distance and emotional detachment he felt from Amy was because he was the less desired man.

Sell Out Man, Chapter Twelve

Chapter Twelve

 

Zev Bauhaus was continually trapped inside his head. He was always planning and scheming ways out of his current situation. He would obsess over people he felt were wronging him and he would think about all the things he had done wrong. It was a continual tornado of a negative analysis of himself and the world. Even though Zev’s San Francisco show was a success he still felt miserable. Big deal that he had sold paintings to rich people. Big deal that a musician who made terrible music owned his work. Big deal that technology icons who were destroying human freedom as we knew it had his paintings hanging on their wall. He was making work for a class of people he could not stand. The fact that these people loved his work meant nothing to him. He wanted to make work for the deviant and disenfranchised. He wanted his audience to be made up of countercultural visionaries and solitary outcasts. He had no interest in the people he was currently making art for.

Zev thought about ways he could escape into a new kind of life. He and Amy could move to Oxnard or Iceland. They could start living a different kind of life together. Their current Silverlake home put a lot of pressures on them. The house was a lot of work to maintain and their current lifestyle seemed out of balance with Zev’s deeper values. The nice clothes, cars, furniture, food and beauty products were enjoyable but Zev felt like he didn’t need them anymore. The life he was living felt hypocritical and out of balance. Even staying in this high-end hotel in San Francisco didn’t feel right to Zev. But Amy seemed happy in this life. She was living the bourgeoisie hipster life that she wanted. She liked the nice clothes and the expensive beauty products. She liked being able to liberally spend two or three hundred dollars every time she went to the market. She liked having a clean, well-organized and high design home to live in. Zev didn’t see how he could convince Amy to live a more off–the-grid minimal life.

Zev thought about other ways he could make a living. Maybe he would stop being an artist and write a novel. With a name like his he was sure he could get something published. Or maybe he could focus on his cartoons and gradually make a minimal living that way. He had enough money in the bank to buy himself time. He could have the time to figure things out if he decided to quit painting. Zev wanted to live a life that felt more congruent with his values. Values like anarchy, truth, trust, deviance and authenticity got repressed in Zev’s current role. As a famous contemporary painter, he had to be disingenuous a lot of the time. He didn’t trust anyone in the art world and he harshly judged most of the people who bought his work. It would be fair to say that he hated them. Zev was following certain rules that prevented him from being free and authentic and as a result Zev felt miserable. He felt shoved into some sort of tight box from which there was no escape. All he could do was fill the box with nice things and work.

Amy didn’t want to hear about Zev’s misery anymore. Whenever he would talk with her about how much he felt his life sucked and how much he hated his job Amy resented him. She wanted him to shut up. She thought he was such a drag. Zev had a nice life all around him. He was lucky to have a beautiful and kinky wife and live in such a nice place (the he didn’t even have to buy). His refrigerator was filled with good food and he had a highly modern studio in which to paint. He even had a sauna in his studio that he never used. Amy thought Zev was just an unhappy man. He would be unhappy in any situation he was in. Even if they moved to Oxnard or Iceland, Zev would still be the miserable person he is now. Amy thought Zev had become pathetic. A sorry excuse for a human being. He couldn’t enjoy what he had and Amy had less and less tolerance to hear about it.

Amy was happy that Zev had cheated on her that night. It concerned her that Zev’s act of infidelity made her feel relieved. It probably wasn’t a good thing that she was feeling this way. She knew that if Arthur did the same thing she would be upset even though their relationship was an open one. But with Zev she almost encouraged it. Why? Maybe it helped her to feel better about the things she was doing. Maybe it was the hope that Zev would gradually sabotage their marriage and then she wouldn’t have to be the one to end things. The fact that Zev cheated and probably cheated many times before made her feel like she could distance herself from Zev and move closer towards Arthur. It made her feel less bad about falling in love with another man.

The next morning Amy texted Arthur that she had had sex with a guy in a porno booth the night before and was thinking of him while the guy screwed her. She sent him a selfie that she took of her in the porno booth with her legs spread exposing her full vagina. She had both hands pushing up against her tits. Arthur responded immediately telling Amy that that she was such a sexy and slutty bitch. All night long he had been tormented with the thought of Amy and to hear that while he was suffering she was having sex in a porno booth with some guy really turned him on. Why did this turn him on? He should be furious but instead was overwhelmed with lust. It must be the jealousy, which Arthur knew was the strongest aphrodisiac in the world. Arthur text Amy back that he couldn’t wait to fuck her and cum all over her bitch face. He sent her a dick pic. Amy loved it and replied that soon he would have the opportunity. She told Arthur that she missed him and couldn’t wait to be with him again.

On their final day in San Francisco Zev and Amy went by the gallery and finalized all the business dealings. The gallery gave Zev a check for hundreds of thousands of dollars. It felt like a strong chunk of change in his hands. They then went out to lunch and spent the afternoon roaming around the Mission district and Nob Hill. They went back to their hotel room and took a nap. Zev couldn’t sleep so he smoked a cigarette on the balcony and watched daytime television in bed while Amy slept. When Amy woke up she took a shower and got dressed for dinner and the sex club. Zev watched Amy walk around naked and thought about what a beautiful body she had. Why didn’t he desire her more? Why did he need to go with her to sex clubs in order to get off? Why couldn’t he just be satisfied with having regular sex with her and then fall asleep in bed together just like everyone else does? Zev showered and got dressed. He wore black jeans, black boots, a black sweatshirt and a black jean jacket with a Sisters Of Mercy and Germs pin on it. Zev smoked a lot of weed before they left the hotel room.

When Zev was stoned Amy enjoyed his company. He was actually a stupid and spacey pleasure to be around. He no longer talked about the misery of his life but instead talked about philosophical theories, ideas, sexual degeneracy and all sorts of other strange and eccentric stuff. He was kind of like the man she had first met him as. He laughed a lot and was a lot less mean to Amy. He didn’t criticize her and he even desired her more. Amy did all she could to convince Zev that it was good that he was stoned most of the time. She felt that some people just needed to be stoned every minute of every day to be less angry, critical and depressed. She thought Zev was one of them.

After an expensive and drunken dinner at one of the best Italian food restaurants in San Francisco, Zev and Amy went to a few bars. They drank vodka martinis and smoked cigarettes. Several times people came up to Zev and told him how much they appreciated his art. They looked like yuppies. Higher class people. The freaks never approached him. But when Zev was out having a good time he seemed to appreciate the appreciation others showed him. Once it was late enough Amy and Zev took a taxi to the sex club they had heard so much about.

The Power Exchange was located in a seedier section of the Tenderloin. The streets were dark and it looked as if zombies wondered aimlessly around. People slept in doorways and all kinds of junk littered the streets. The Power Exchange was a famous sex club. It was a pervert’s paradise. The club had originally opened as a BDSM club but gradually morphed into a degenerate hangout for sexual deviants, transsexuals, swingers and habitual masturbators of all kinds. You paid a fee in the front and then walked into a dark facility that had many different levels and themed rooms. There was a large stage with different colored lights flashing, a disco ball and several stripper poles. Bad deep house music played through the speakers. Transvestites hung around on the stage and seduced the men who masturbated down below. As soon as Zev and Amy walked into the club, Amy was drawn towards the stage. She loved the bizarre and exhibionistic nature of it all. She told Zev to hang onto her purse and she went on stage and danced around. Zev wondered around the club checking out the different rooms. There were dungeon rooms with naked people strapped into strange contraptions. In some rooms men were having sex with transvestites as a small audience of men hovered around the room and watched. In a few other rooms swingers were exchanging partners and having sex with one another. Wondering around the club, Zev felt as if he had walked into a kind of dream dimension. This place didn’t feel real. It was like a degenerate sexual fantasy come to life. A zone separate from reality where people acted out everything they would normally repress.

When Zev wondered back into the main room with the stage, Amy was completely nude. A large group of men had gathered around the stage and were watching her. Some masturbated. She made out with various transvestites and let them dance with her. Zev felt turned on but afraid at the same time. Things seemed like they could get out of hand. Amy was drawing a lot of attention to her and this made Zev feel uncomfortable. He sat down in a seat in the darkness and watched Amy as she danced around. Amy had no limitations. She would do whatever she wanted. When in these sorts of situations, she seized the opportunity to take advantage of it and become the exhibitionist she enjoyed being. There was one very attractive transvestite in particular who Amy seemed to be getting along with. They seemed very turned on by one another. Amy took off her clothes and played with her dick. They kissed and let each other rub against one another. This turned Zev on even though he didn’t want it to.

Amy came down from the stage with the transvestite. She was naked and holding the woman’s hand. Amy came up to Zev and introduced him to Mellay. Mellay was completely nude as well. She had large breasts and a big dick. Her hair was long and pink and she wore a lot of make-up. She stuck out her masculine hand and Zev shook it. Mellay told Zev that he was a lucky man. That Amy was very beautiful. Amy asked Zev if he wanted to come play with them in one of the rooms. Zev felt pissed off because he had just wanted to hang out in this environment with Amy for a little while. Zev preferred being a spectator at these events. He didn’t want to bring so much attention to himself. But Amy had quickly jumped into the action and now every pervert’s eye was on her. Zev told her to go have fun and maybe he would join them later. Amy smiled and then walked off with Mellay pulling her towards one of the rooms.

Zev went out front and smoked a cigarette. He observed the desolate and depraved streets. What poverty existed in the world. There were no other attractive women for him to mess around with. He thought about doing something sexual with a transvestite but just couldn’t stomach it. He was mad that once again Amy was having all the fun. When he walked back inside he went in search of the room Amy was in. He walked down several dark flights of stairs and then he heard her loud laugh in the distance. He could hear Amy screaming out in pleasure. She loved to put on a good show. He saw one of the rooms with massive amounts of men crowding around. Most of the men were masturbating and Zev found that repulsive. He was able to get close enough to where he could look into the room and he saw Amy lying flat out in what looked like a dentist’s chair. Mellay was vigorously pumping herself into Amy as Amy had another transvestites dick in her mouth. A few of the spectators touched Amy’s tits but Mellay would tell them to keep their hands off. Zev didn’t know Amy was interested in transvestites. He knew she was bisexual but didn’t imagine she could enjoy something like this. She had never discussed it. He felt betrayed and a bit humiliated. What was she doing? But at the same time knowing that Amy was his gave him a sense of ease. He tried to relax himself and get into watching the show. Several men asked him if he was with that girl and he felt slightly ashamed when he told them he was. But he also felt pride. Amy was the star of the deviant show and she was his. He admired her for her sexual courage.

They left the club an hour or so after getting there. On their way out Amy kept asking Zev if he wanted her to suck his dick before they left. Zev wanted it but he told her not to worry about it. He wasn’t a performer like Amy was and felt awkward doing sexual things while people watched him. He preferred being the one watching. But he was also upset that he didn’t get to have any sexual fun. In the taxi back to the hotel Zev was quiet. He felt uncomfortable around Amy. Like there were aspects of her he didn’t know. For the first time in his marriage to Amy he wondered if Amy could be an entirely different person than the one he thought he knew so well. Maybe that explained all the emotional distance. But Zev didn’t express these feelings to Amy. He knew it would only cause a fight. That night Zev and Amy fell asleep on opposite sides of the bed. Amy felt like Zev always got angry at her after they did sexual things together with other people. A kind of jealousy that she found immature and lame. She knew that by the next night the jealousy would turn to lust and Zev would want to have sex with her. She just had to deal with his bad mood until then.

Sell Out Man, Chapter Eleven

 

Chapter Eleven

 

Arthur was mad that Amy traveled with Zev to his opening in San Francisco. He felt a nervous tension in his chest that he never felt before. It followed him everywhere. Was this jealousy? He tried to forget about it. He read and wrote. And watched shows on Netflix. He attempted to go about his life as normally as he could. But he couldn’t stop thinking about Amy with Zev. He thought about them holding hands and having sex. He was angry that Zev was with her and he wasn’t. He felt rejected and shut out of something very important to him. He told himself that he was being irrational. Amy was married to Zev. What the hell was he expecting? He was just Amy’s lover and shouldn’t make any more demands on her than that. If he did he knew he could lose her.

Arthur told himself to keep his anger to himself. He had no right to feel the way he did. He knew what he was getting into. Maybe in time if he played it cool Amy would leave Zev for him. But if that was going to happen he had to play the game. He had to act like everything was fine even though he felt like he was in despair when he was away from Amy. Arthur felt gradually he would win Amy if he just kept on playing it cool. Let Zev keep being the miserable man that Amy had said he was. Let him keep being mean and unappreciative towards Amy. Gradually he would lose her. When Arthur texted Amy he acted like he wasn’t preoccupied with her. He kept his texts about sex and funny little comments. He didn’t ask Amy any personal questions. He would win Amy by being the more fun and easy going man.

While at the opening Amy received a text from Arthur. She checked her phone in the bathroom. Arthur told her that he couldn’t wait to make her cum and Amy told him that she wanted his dick in her mouth. This excited Amy and put her in an overly good mood that night. People were everywhere and more people had showed up to the opening than expected. There was a continual small line out the door to get in and see the new Zev Bauhaus paintings. She needed to be there for Zev. She needed to make sure he had the support and attention from her that he needed when in these sorts of uncomfortable situations. It wasn’t much fun for Amy to have to be so attentive to what Zev was needing.

Zev was anxious that entire night. He stood at the back of the gallery with a continual glass of red wine in his hand. He was wearing his standard black suit with black boots. His hair was dyed black and he looked like some kind of gothic hero. He could have been an obscure industrial musician. But he was Zev Bauhaus. An angry and miserable man. He was a man who didn’t like people although he smiled and was very nice whenever someone tried to talk with him. He answered questions about his paintings enthusiastically. He pretended like he cared. Zev Bauhaus was a sell out man.

Zev would go out the backdoor into the alley and smoke cigarettes. Sometimes people would join him and sometimes he would be fortunate to make it out alone. Amy would continue to talk to people about Zev’s work and Zev would get a break. When alone he would stand there and look around. He breathed cigarette smoke deep into his lungs. He looked up at the San Francisco skyline and could smell Chinatown in the distance. He thought about how much he hated being the center of attention and longed to be alone. He wanted to wander around the San Francisco streets with Amy. He wanted to get out of his current imposter role.

Several attractive women flirted with Zev that night. This was the only thing he enjoyed about these openings. That and the free wine and cheese. Even though Zev was a rich man he always enjoyed things for free. One woman in particular was very flirtatious with him. She wore a tight fitting, black dress that went down to her mid-thighs. Her thin legs were bare and she wore black boots. Her hair was long and brown and her nipples stuck out when she talked to Zev. She asked Zev if he saw anything that was turning him on and Zev looked at her breasts and told her he did. She told him that was good since it was her intention. She told him that she loved his work and would love to fuck him. These were the kind of girls Zev liked. Slutty and forward. Not ashamed about their strong desire to get off in strange ways. Zev told the young lady that he would love to fuck her. He told her he found her to be incredibly attractive. She whispered in his ear to meet him out back.

Amy didn’t think much about Zev’s absence. She figured he was smoking a cigarette and talking to people. She didn’t mind that he was gone. She could flirt with men and women and talk to whoever she wanted. This is what Zev assumed. Since Amy had been responsible for starting Zev’s career through her writings, people would ask her about Zev as if he was a subject matter she had exclusive information on. She didn’t find talking about Zev nearly as interesting as she once did. To her Zev was now just a sad and defeated man. He wasn’t anyone special anymore. Marriage and unhappiness had destroyed his mystique. Amy would try and change the subject to talk about other things. She would ask people questions about themselves. Amy felt a responsibility to be the life of the party and she wanted to make everyone in that gallery happy. An impossible task of course since the gallery was filled with an obscene amount of people.

She said her name was Aspen as she sucked Zev’s dick. They found a private doorway in the alley and Aspen started kissing Zev. Zev stuck his hand down Aspen’s shirt and felt her breasts. He pulled her shirt down so he could see her tits. Aspen squatted down and pulled out Zev’s erect dick. She sucked it with a similar enthusiasm that Amy did. Aspen then stood up and pulled her dress up. She wasn’t wearing any underwear and she turned her bare ass towards Zev. He thought about how nice it looked. She told Zev to fuck her right there and Zev thought that was strange. He wasn’t prepared to have sex in that dark doorway. But his pants and underwear were already around his knees. He felt like a fool standing there with his erect dick pointing right at her. He told her that he didn’t have a condom but she didn’t care. She told Zev to stick it in and Zev’s lust and desire caused his rational decision making abilities to go limp. Zev did something he had never done before and enjoyed it. He had sex with one of his fans at a gallery opening. He felt this was the kind of thing that should happen at his opening. Famous musicians and actors get a similar treatment so why shouldn’t he? This is what Zev thought about before his mind went blank and he disappeared in the dopamine burst of an orgasm. Aspen pulled down her dress and Zev pulled up his pants. She told him that was good and didn’t seem upset at all that Zev had orgasmed inside of her. They both smoked a cigarette while looking up at the San Francisco skyline. Aspen said goodbye and gave him a kiss on the cheek.

Amy and the three gallery representatives had managed to sell all of Zev’s paintings during the first few hours of the opening. Mark Zuckerberg had bought a few and Tim Cook from Apple bought one over a FaceTime session with one of the gallery representatives. The guitar player from the pop heavy metal band Metallica stopped in at the gallery opening with an attractive young girl leaning on his shoulder. Zev and he talked for a little while and he told Zev how much he admired his work. He asked Zev if Metallica could possibly use one of his images on an upcoming album cover. Zev said sure even though he wasn’t sure about it. That wasn’t the direction he wanted his work to go. Zev wasn’t a fan of Metallica but he knew the guy (whose name he didn’t know) was a well-respected guitarist. Zev appreciate him for his skill and high level of accomplishment. He decided to buy one of Zev’s most expensive paintings because he liked how thick and black it was. Zev felt slightly excited that he had sold a painting to one of the most famous guitar players in the world.

Zev considered the opening a success. He sold all his work and got laid. He felt a bit bad about cheating on Amy but he felt like she wasn’t giving him the attention he wanted. He had been mad and sad about her distance and neglect for a long time. Fucking Aspen was fair compensation for the distance that existed between both of them. At around 10pm Zev convinced Amy to disappear from the opening with him. He told Amy to not say goodbye to anyone. They would just leave. Amy felt bad about doing that but Zev insisted. He was ready to go and Amy submitted. Zev grabbed Amy’s hand and they walked out the backdoor as if they were just going to have a cigarette. The gallery was still filled with people. He would miss Trent Reznor, who would come a bit latter. Zev didn’t care much about him anyways.

Zev and Amy took an Uber to North Beach. Zev wanted to show Amy around North Beach since she hadn’t spent much time there before. They went into City Lights Bookstore, the home of beatnik literature. He took Amy to the second floor and showed her the beat section. They bought a few books by Kerouac, Gregory Corso and Burroughs. The crazy ones. They then walked across the alley to a bar called Vesuvio Cafe. They sat on the second floor and looked out through stained glass windows. They looked at the exotic lights of Broadway. They both drank Irish Coffees and looked through their new books. Zev talked to Amy about the beats. He told her that Jack Kerouac had a drink at this bar before going off on his solo journey in Big Sur. They had bought the novel Big Sur that Kerouac had wrote about that period of his life. It was one of Zev’s favorite books. He told Amy about how Kerouac got in a fight on the sidewalk outside of the bar. They talked about beat culture and how it didn’t exist anymore. Beatniks were now just seen as losers and deviants. Solitary outcasts. Zev wanted to be a beatnik more than anything else.

San Francisco was cold that night. Just how it is almost every night of the year. But the liquor in their stomachs kept Amy and Zev warm. They walked along Broadway past all the strip joints. Zev told Amy about how in one of the strip joints they walked past a stripper had shot a cherry from her vagina right into Zev’s face. Zev told Amy that he was completely repulsed by it and almost threw up. Amy couldn’t stop laughing. Amy wanted to go inside a porn movie theatre that they passed but Zev wasn’t feeling horny anymore. Amy convinced him, telling him that he wouldn’t get many chances to be in a coin porno booth with her. Zev agreed.

They went inside the porn theatre which was dark and lit with red lights. A non-attentive man with a bald head filled with tattoos sat behind the counter reading a book. Zev got some quarters from the change machine and they walked towards a booth. As they walked down the long and dark hallway Zev and Amy heard the sex sounds of the porn movies playing behind the closed doors. You could hear the sound of men masturbating. Zev and Amy walked into one booth which was dark besides the shining light of the porno screen. The floor was sticky and Zev put a few coins into the machine. Amy sat down on the bench and unbuttoned Zev’s pants. She started angrily sucking his dick. He could feel her teeth scraping against his sensitive skin. But he liked the slight pain her teeth created. It caused him to become intensely erect. Something about pain and sex got him off. Zev looked at the porno film playing on the screen and Amy also watched it as she continued to work on Zev’s dick. She then stood up and pulled her pants down. She turned her ass to Zev and told him that she wanted him to fuck her just like he fucked that girl. She told him to do it now and Zev stood there a moment in surprise. How did she know? She told Zev she didn’t care. She thought it was hot and wanted him to give it to her just like he gave it to that slutty fan girl. Zev gave Amy what she wanted and fucked her till he orgasmed for a second time that night. He was living the sexually deviant life he wanted but in his ignorance, didn’t realize he should be careful about what he wished for.

Sell Out Man, Chapter Ten

Chapter Ten

 

E.M. Cioran wrote about how weak men depend upon a woman’s love to prop them up. Zev felt a distance between him and Amy and gradually he grew weaker. He detected a perturbation when he put his arm around her and tried to pull her in closer. He could tell that she didn’t love him as much anymore by the way he noticed the hair on her arm standing up when he got close to her. When she would smile at him it felt forced. There was something that felt like acting when they were together. Zev would try and forget about it.

There was a time when Amy was very in love with Zev. When they first met nine years ago Amy and Zev fell in love. Possibly it was love at first sight. Zev left the relationship he was in and Amy left the relationship she was in and immediately they were together. They tore apart their entire lives to be with one another. Amy thought Zev was the greatest person she had ever met. A true artist who was handsome, sexually deviant and kind. Once she saw his work she became his biggest fan and started writing various essays about his work and submitted her essays to various art and literary magazines and websites. Up until that point in Zev’s art career he didn’t have too many fans. He was a struggling artist. But Amy was a successful writer with a popular blog. She had several books published and wrote about everything from art, fashion, contemporary literature and women’s sexual liberation. The essays she wrote about Zev’s work brought him a greater audience.

Amy’s essays about Zev’s work were fervent and filled with enthusiasm. It was hard not to become a fan of Zev’s work and personality when reading her essays. In one essay she talked about the person Zev Bauhaus was. She called him a Mark Rothko of our time. She described him as a mysterious and anarchistic character. A person who didn’t care about the norms and petty preoccupations of society. He lingered in the shadows and stood on the outside. He chain smoked and read existential literature. He wore all black all the time and walked like a man mindful of each step. He was slow and calculated. Deviant and obscure. He was just the kind of artist our uptight and conformist culture needed.

Gallery owners started to contact Zev. More people visited his website. He started getting emails from people telling him they were a fan of his work. People wanted to talk with him and ask him questions. Various magazines and websites requested interviews. People had never wanted to talk to Zev Bauhaus before. He was obscure and unimportant. Just another artist contributing to the self-centered mass of unwanted creative detritus. But now people wanted his perspectives. They wanted to hear him talk. They wanted to display his paintings. Gradually the mystique created by Amy grew. Amy was very in love with Zev and any man who has the love and admiration of a woman like Amy is seen as possessing something all the rest of us are missing. Amy’s love made Zev Bauhaus a stronger man.

Amy was young and beautiful. The first year they knew one another they had sex all the time. Zev thought Amy was beautiful and sexually gifted and he wanted to share her with the few friends he had. A woman as beautiful and skilled as Amy needed to be shared. Zev always considered himself a good friend. They had threesomes with several of Zev’s friends. They would have his friends over to their apartment in Downtown LA. They would drink and do psychedelic drugs and spend the evenings having sex and talking. It was a liberated time in Zev and Amy’s life. Zev didn’t realize then that the sexually liberated woman he was helping Amy to become one would day turn on him.

After six months together Amy and Zev were married. Zev and Amy moved into their Silverlake home. Now that Zev was a married man living in an expensive home he had no choice but to pursue making money. He had serious responsibilities now. He was no longer and itinerant artist. He now had the pressures of domestic living weighing down upon him. As much as he didn’t want to he started taking opportunities being offered to him. He showed his work in various gallery shows all over the world. He gave interviews and he pretended to be enthusiastic about his work and the modern art world. He sold himself by being the kind of artist he was not. Several corporations contacted him for paintings. Rich people started buying his work. Facebook asked him to do a mural at their headquarters. Before Zev knew it he was making a lot of money and was in high demand. The art world was in love with Zev Bauhaus. A painter like no other. Zev was on top of the world and this made him uncomfortable. For the first time in his life everything was going well. He had a beautiful and intelligent woman completely devoted to him. He lived in a beautiful home. He had a lot of money in his bank account. His work was in high demand. As a result, he started getting panic attacks. He would run out of movie theaters and restaurants feeling like he couldn’t breathe. His anxiety grew. He knew that now he had a lot more to lose and he was convinced he would eventually lose it all.

Zev suspected that Amy could be cheating on him but he didn’t think much about it. He would have the thought and then immediately dismiss it. There was no way Amy could deceive him. He trusted her more than any person in the world. But Zev was growing older. He was past 40 now. He had to dye the gray from his hair. He moved slower and gradually became more burned out. He was negative most of the time and his misery grew like a cancerous tumor. The more successful he became the more unhappy he grew. But he assumed that Amy accepted these things about him. She was committed to him for the rest of their life together he assumed. Amy would tell Zev how much she loved him. She would tell him he was the love of her life and Zev would believe her.

But he started to feel like something fundamental was missing. The hugs and kisses gradually went away. The closeness he felt when next to her became more distant. Amy became angry more often when Zev would put his arm around her. The sound of Zev chewing food would torment Amy. The sound of his voice frustrated her. His misery was something she couldn’t find attractive. The sex was less and less often. Zev needed to do more and more perverted things with Amy and that frustrated her. She wasn’t as interested in the sex shows, sex clubs and swinger experiences as Zev was. But she pretended to be more interested than she was. She wanted to please Zev so she went along with it. She knew that Zev couldn’t be turned on by ordinary bedroom sex. He needed to take things a lot further. Amy wanted to stay in bed and watch Netflix. She wanted to have sex and then relax. But Zev needed to do all of these perverted things. He was never happy on a Friday or Saturday night unless they went on a sexual adventure. The more domestic Zev became, the more he needed strange sexual experiences. Amy felt like she was no longer good enough for him and began to look for men who made her feel like a queen.

Zev slept more and more in the other room or in his studio. He would go to bed angry. Sometimes he would pitch a tent in his backyard and sleep outside. He was feeling more and more alone. Amy was gone more often. She worked more and went out with friends. Zev didn’t like it when Amy had friends over to their home and Amy resented this about Zev. She wished he would be more social. Amy’s lack of interested in Zev made him feel more isolated. He felt less loved even though he wasn’t aware of it. Love is like an ice cube. It melts away when the heat between two people gets high. The immense love Zev once had from Amy was now dwindling to next to nothing. Amy tried to maintain the image of loving Zev just as much as she always did but it is impossible to hide true feelings. Human beings communicate at a level beyond words and pretense. We also communicate through feelings. Zev felt the absence of Amy as time went on.

Why did this always happen to him? Why did he always end up feeling this way in relationships? Zev wondered about these things. Zev tolerated not being loved and abandoned emotionally. He tolerated being less loved because he assumed this was what he deserved. He assumed that he intentionally would cause a woman to fall out of love with him by being mean and critical towards her. He was fearful of the intensity of a woman’s love and would gradually chip away at it. Zev was only able to feel desire and intimacy with a woman when she no longer was interested in him. When she was cold and distant. Then he could really love a woman because he was receiving the kind of treatment he felt like he deserved. Anger, frustration, deception, distance, repulsion and resentment were the kind of feelings he needed to feel to get closer to a woman. He had grown up with a father who made him feel terrible about himself. His mother had emotionally neglected him and sided with Zev’s destructive and mentally ill father. Zev’s father was a proud Bauhaus who had made lots of money. He was sadistic and mad and had to make Zev the terrible son in order to feel like a righteous man. As well respected and financially successful as Zev’s father was, he was the worst kind of abusive deviant. From a young age Zev learned how not to be loved. Amy’s distance and lack of connection felt normal to him. His depression and isolation was what he deserved for being the worthless person he felt like he was and he wore this depression and isolation as if it were normal. Meanwhile Amy was having the time of her life. Arthur was what she now wanted in a man. She was now invested in helping to build Arthur up as she let Zev down.

Sell Out Man, Chapter Nine

Zev was sitting at a café during a break from working. He had just finished his final painting for his upcoming show at Hang Gallery and Marissa and the other intern were applying thick layers of mate gloss to it. Zev was smoking a hand rolled cigarette and pretending to read a book as he watched people walk by. He heard someone say his name and he looked to his left with a feeling of dread. Zev never liked being recognized in public by people who knew him. It was Sandy Goldstein, a head curator for the MOMA in downtown LA. Zev couldn’t stand Sandy but he stood up to give her a hug. He felt slightly ashamed for being seen smoking a cigarette since he knew that smoking had become so taboo. But he tried not to care. Sandy asked Zev how things were going and Zev pretended to be enthusiastic about work. Zev was on his best behavior when talking with people in the art world. He had to maintain a professional image and come off as someone who was very serious about his work. Selling art to rich people was serious business. Sandy and Zev spoke for a little bit and then said their goodbyes. Sandy told Zev she was looking forward to seeing his latest works and Zev told Sandy about an upcoming essay on his work being featured in BOMB Magazine next month.

When Zev returned to the studio Marissa and the other intern where still hard at work. Marissa looked at Zev who was organizing a bunch of papers at his desk. She wondered if she should tell Zev about what she had seen the night before. She wondered if Zev knew that Amy was dating other men. She knew that if Zev did not know about Amy’s deviant behavior she could mess things up for him. Maybe she would try and talk with Amy about it first. Marissa was that way. Always trying to be ethical. Her Christian guilt caused her to always want to do the right thing. It was a drag. She decided to keep her mouth shut about it for now.

Zev observed the painting once it was finished. He didn’t like to see any gloss stains on the painting. If the gloss wasn’t brushed in evenly enough it would create little white pustules. Marissa knew it would upset Zev to find any pustules on the painting so she slaved away making sure there were none. Zev told Marissa that everything looked good and when the paintings were all completely dried they would finish packaging and sending them. The show was in two weeks and Zev was already supposed to have the paintings there a week and a half ago. The gallery needed time to clean the paintings and to go over them looking for any damage that needed repair. It also took a considerable amount of time to hang the paintings. The gallery knew that they were dealing with Zev Bauhaus. They knew everything would not go according to plan when dealing with a painter like this so they took what they could get. They tried to remain friendly and told Zev to just get them all the paintings as soon as he could. The gallery would be rushed to get everything done in time for the show. Zev felt a sense of pressure that he didn’t like. This is why he hated doing one man shows, he told himself.

Zev left the studio early that day. He told Marissa that he would see her later that night at the party. On his drive home, Zev thought about living by the beach. He thought that Oxnard would be a great town to get away in. He and Amy had the money to buy a nice home on the beach. When he was there he noticed several for sale. They could live an hour or so outside of LA and live a more quiet and healthy life. But he knew Amy would never go for it. She liked city life. She liked living in Silverlake, surrounded by friends and culture. Her job would also prevent her from living too far away. She needed to be close to the WORD office in Downtown LA. Zev thought about possibly buying a beach house and just spending weekends there. Maybe she would want to do that. He also thought that he could stay there alone whenever he wanted, but decided he wouldn’t want to be away from Amy if he didn’t have to be. It was odd to Zev that he found Amy so frustrating as a human being but didn’t ever want to be away from her. What was wrong with him?

When Zev Bauhaus arrived home the front yard looked nice and tended to. This put Zev’s mind at ease. When he walked into the house the front door was open. Caterers were coming in and out. Amy was inside getting things ready for the party. When she saw Zev, she smiled and gave him a hug. She kissed him on the cheek. Zev asked her if there was anything he needed to do to prepare for the evening’s party and Amy told him that he should just go and relax and take his time preparing for the party. Zev felt like that was just what he wanted to hear. He had no desire to help.

Zev didn’t like having anyone over to his home, let alone a party. Amy was a highly social person so he had to let her have her parties once or twice a year. Amy would throw parties every weekend if it was up to her. Zev went in his home studio and turned on music. He listened to The Residents. Eskimo was one of his favorite albums by The Residents and he listened to it as he put his feet up and sat in his black leather Eames chair. He kicked off his black low top Doc Martins and looked up at the wood beamed ceiling. He looked around and the various paintings on the walls and at his massive collection of books and records. He was listening to The Residents through his Bluetooth speaker system. He felt upset that he didn’t listen to records as much as he wanted to because it took so much work and didn’t sound as clear. Bluetooth and iTunes had become a much lazier way to listen to his music.

Zev tried to clear his mind by taking a few deep breaths. His mind was always spinning. So many thoughts. Too many thoughts for one man. The thoughts never stopped coming. He was consumed by them and no matter how hard he tried he could not get out of his thoughts. He had heard people talking about discovering his true self. That he was pure consciousness and not his thoughts. That once he entered or discovered a state of pure consciousness he would no longer be afflicted by the burden of his thoughts. He tried meditating and doing whatever he could to discover this state of pure consciousness but he could never get there. There were always thoughts. A continual tornado of thoughts that were impossible to escape from. Zev liked thinking and didn’t have issues with being overly identified with his ego. He thought people who did not identify with their egos were drones. He had no desire to be an enlightened drone. He liked ego. He just wished his ego was not so hyperactive and filled with as many negative thoughts. Zev was a tormented man even though he looked very handsome and successful from the outside.

Zev smoked some marijuana and a cigarette simultaneously. He picked up his notebook which he would draw his cartoons in. He took a black felt tip pen and started drawing. His cartoons were ridiculous. They were sloppy. Looked like something a child would draw. He drew six boxes on the page and then he filled the boxes in with the same character profile and this character’s different thoughts. He had drawn this low-life character thousands of times and assumed it was his alter ego. Zev would express his deepest worries and preoccupations through the character. He wanted to create a character who was reclusive, sexually deviant, didn’t give a rat’s ass about the law and how he is perceived. He called this character The Toilet Ruminator and he wanted to make thousands of cartoons about this guy. This was the real work Zev wanted to do. Subversive, beautifully honest cartoons about the ridiculousness of life. He would call the eventual book Toilet Ruminations.

Zev drew and smoked cigarettes for an hour and then Amy came in and told him that he needed to get dressed for the party. The guests would start arriving in an hour or so. Zev took a shower and then shaved. As he was blow drying his long hair Amy came into the bathroom and asked him a question. She walked over to Zev with a hungry look in her eyes and reached through Zev’s towel and grabbed his cock. Zev let her and Amy took off Zev’s towel and got down on her knees. She started sucking Zev’s cock and Zev grabbed onto the counter to avoid falling over. The combination of being stoned, tired and receiving an expert blow job could make even the strongest of men fall over.

It took Amy about three or so minutes to bring Zev to climax. Zev was very turned on every time Amy gave him a blow job. He didn’t understand why he didn’t ask Amy to suck his dick more often since he knew she would love to do it whenever he asked. After Zev had orgasmed in Amy’s mouth she swallowed it down and said yum. Amy got up and kissed Zev on the check. She said that she hoped that would help him be more relaxed for the party and Zev laughed. He said that it certainly helped.

Zev was in charge of the music that night. There was a bartender and two cooks in the kitchen making different appetizers. Two servers dressed in all black brought the food around and also got people drinks. The house was filled with people. There was a valet in front, parking people’s cars. This is what people did in LA. Most of the people at the party were writers, editors and publishers. There were friends of Amy’s from the gym and yoga studio she went to. There were friends of Amy’s from high school who Zev could not stand. There were various artists and indie film makers. The lead singer from the band DIIV was there. Courtney Love dropped by for a little while and the great Los Angeles poet John Tottenham was also there. John was the only person there that Zev liked and admired. Marissa was also there and she brought Evan along. Amy thought it best that Arthur didn’t come.

Zev wanted to play music that people had never heard before. He wanted to turn them on to weird things. He played albums from Duster, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, The Dead C, David Toop, Russian Tsarlag, Jandek, Nudge Squidfish, Richard Pinhas, The Fall, Throbbing Gristle, Nurse With Wound, Boyd Rice, Einsturzende Neubauten  and Tangerine Dream. Many people commented that the music was weird and many more people came up to him to ask who he was playing. The more Zev drank and smoked the more social he became. He talked with John Tottenham about the music he was playing and different authors they were reading. They also talked about the brutality of the creative process. Zev ate and talked with lots of other people. People were excited to talk with Zev. It was not often they could socialize with a famous contemporary painter. Lots of people asked Zev about upcoming shows and what he was working on. Because Zev was drunk he had the courage to be more real. He talked about his cartoons and not about his paintings. People were surprised to hear that he was making cartoons. Why the hell would a famous painter be making cartoons? But Zev talked about his cartoons passionately and people thought they sounded interesting.

Zev didn’t talk much to Amy that night at the party. Amy was drunk and she had done some coke. She was drinking vodka martinis like they were going to become extinct the next day. Zev observed that she practically gulped them down. Amy socialized with everyone and everyone loved Amy. She was the life of the party with a large smile imprinted on her face. She laughed a lot and talked a lot. She wanted her guests to be happy and to have a good time and this energy was contagious. The party was lively and went on long after the caterers and bartender left. People swam naked in the pool and hung out by the fire pit. John Tottenham met a young woman who was a fan of his poetry and had sex with her in the back bathroom. Amy gave a blow job a young Asian video game designer that she had a crush on. He was high on LSD and weed and it was the greatest blow job he had ever received in his life. He would never be the same after that. She had sex with another woman in her bedroom, a woman she occasionally hooked up with. They snuck away quickly late in the evening and got each other off. She had told Zev she was going to do it and Zev didn’t care. He found it to be a turn on that Amy was such a sex machine.

Zev went to sleep around 2am. The high of being drunk was turning into the acidic sickness of not feeling so well. He drank a lot of water and smoked a cigarette. He avoided saying good night to everyone but told Amy he was going to bed. Amy felt happy to be able to spend the rest of her night with her friends and not worrying about what Zev would think of her behavior. She stayed up that night till 5am talking, laughing, showing people her tits, drinking and doing drugs. It was a great release for her. She was in her happy place. Zev fell asleep that night listening to Amy laughing and shouting out. He thought she was out of control and it annoyed Zev that Amy could be so reckless. Sometimes she had no limits. But it was also the thing he loved most about her.

The next morning Zev woke up early to let the cleaning crew in. He drank his coffee and smoked cigarettes in his studio while several people cleaned up the house. He felt terrible and remembered why he hated drinking so much. Amy was still asleep and would stay in bed till 12pm. This pissed Zev off but he smoked some marijuana to help him not say anything. To just be happy when she woke up. It was Saturday and they were going to spend the day together in LA.