Sell Out Man, A Blog Novel, Chapter Twenty Six

Chapter Twenty Six

 

 

Zev Bauhaus made a conscious decision to destroy what he built. It wasn’t so much destruction as it was letting things fall apart. He didn’t want to be a painter anymore and he didn’t want to continue to live the life he was living. He felt stuck and he needed to make a change. One can only resist change long enough until the body starts to collapse under the pressure of resistance. He had not been returning Marissa’s phone calls and he didn’t fulfill obligations to the galleries he was supposed to have shown at. Zev Bauhaus completely disappeared from the art world at a time when his career was in its greatest stage. Zev Bauhaus had become a famous contemporary painter and now he wasn’t fulfilling his responsibilities towards that career. No one could get in touch with him. Several people who had commissioned him for paintings were leaving angry messages. Marissa’s only communication with Zev was through text.

Zev didn’t care. He had become apathetic about almost everything. He didn’t want to do any of it anymore. He had enough of that life. Now that Amy was with another man and didn’t want to be married anymore, what was the point of anything? Most of what he did he did to support their lifestyle. The marriage gave him a reason to keep doing the things he was doing. But he hated being a successful painter. He hated what he had become even though he could now afford nice things. The thing about selling out is that you have to talk to people you would never want to talk with if you didn’t have to. You have to behave in ways that you wouldn’t if you didn’t have to. When a man sell out he agrees to pretend. He agrees to become a fake because he is not able to make it as the man he wants to be. Zev hated this about his job. He hated having to talk enthusiastically on the phone with various curators, gallery owners and private buyers. He hated the hands he had to shake and the smile he had to wear on his face. It caused Zev to loath himself. Now he had the opportunity to get out. There wasn’t much point in going on. But he was afraid. He was afraid of being unstable and alone.

Zev texted with Marissa telling her to keep the studio going as long as she could. He would pay her to send out the final commissions and wrap things up. But he wanted the studio completely shut down within two months. He wasn’t going to paint anymore. He didn’t know what he was going to do but he wasn’t going to paint. He was just trying to stay alive at this point. His body was already beginning to reject him. The stress had caused his rash to be reoccurring. He had developed a buzzing sensation all over his body, which refused to go away. He was tired all the time and there were shooting pains in his stomach more. Zev had been suffering for a long time but this elevation in his suffering was wearing him down. He could only cope with so much. He tried to lift his mood by going to see a Godspeed You! Black Emperor concert. But it only depressed him further. It was strange to be there alone. He didn’t like not having Amy to share the experience with. He cried. What a pathetic man Zev Bauhaus had become.

Zev decided to take a drive to Oxnard. Amy was gone. She didn’t work at home as much anymore. She was out a lot more. He felt like she was intentionally trying to avoid him. That it was unpleasant to be around him. The house was a mess but Zev didn’t care. He didn’t see his house as his house anymore. It was Amy’s house now. There was a strange detachment between himself and the place he used to call home. He walked through the home like a ghost. None of it felt real.  On his way to Oxnard he stopped at a café and got a double cappuccino. When he used the bathroom to take a piss he noticed he looked like a bum. His hair was a mess and he hadn’t shaved in months. It was his new grunge style. An I don’t care but still care kind of style. He wore all black and his sixty-dollar t-shirt had a hole in it. He picked up his cappuccino and walked through a crowd of bumbling idiots to get to his car. This was the advantage to being a famous contemporary painter- no one knew who you were when out in public.

When Zev got out to his car he noticed that he left his door unlocked and forgot to take the keys out of the ignition. He called himself an idiot as he backed his car out of the parking lot. He drove and smoked a cigarette as he drank his cappuccino. It was sunny but he didn’t have sunglasses on. He loved how the mixture of coffee and cigarettes tasted. He listened to Outside The Dream Syndicate as he drove and he thought about all the ways that Amy could be deceiving him. What didn’t he know about? How was it that she didn’t want to be with him anymore? It just didn’t make any sense. They had such a good life together. How could she want to be with this guy Arthur? He was a literary nerd. It didn’t make any sense. Zev checked his phone to see if Amy had texted him. This depressed him since Amy didn’t text him. He didn’t know it then but this would become a regular part of his life. Waiting for texts from Amy. Getting depressed when a day would go by without any texts from her. Zev Bauhaus didn’t have any friends. He surrendered all his friendships for his career and for his marriage. He didn’t get many texts now that Amy had slowed down on texting him. His phone was becoming an hourly reminder of his isolation.

It was sunny in Oxnard. Zev wasn’t sure why he had come. It was a quiet town. People loafing around and fishing boats slowly moving out to sea. Zev liked the tranquility of the place. There was the smell of fish and salt water in the air. Zev walked around looking at boats and birds and everything else that made its way into his field of vision. He walked down to the beach and stood in front of the ocean. The expansiveness of the ocean made him feel better. His problems seemed irrelevant in comparison. Nothing mattered except the present moment when standing in front of the sea. Oxnard felt like a strange place to Zev. The kind of place where David Lynch could film a movie. It was a quiet beach town where you could go to be forgotten. And it was only an hour or so drive from downtown LA where everyone was trying to be known. Zev sat on a bench and smoked. He looked out over an inlet with various people fishing from the rocks. It was a bit chilly out but the sky was devoid of almost all clouds. Zev Bauhaus thought about what he was going to do with his life. He didn’t want to do anything. He couldn’t believe that he and Amy were over. They had died. He felt sick inside.

As Zev walked along one of the marinas he noticed an old wood yacht for sale. The yacht looked like it was from the fifties or sixties. Old and worn down by time and salt water. The white paint was chipping away and some of the wood seemed to be rotting. Zev walked as close to the yacht as he could but he couldn’t get into the area where the boats were parked because of a locked gate. Inside the yacht it looked like there was a lot of mahogany or redwood. The yacht looked like it refused to lose its dignity and it floated with grace and class. It could be the perfect place for him to live. He knew that people lived on boats. Why couldn’t he do that? He had never lived on a boat before. He didn’t know the first thing about boats. But he thought that an old yacht would be a good enough place for him to restart. How much could it possibly cost to live on a boat? He had a good enough amount of money in his bank. Zev took a close look at the For Sale sign. It said the yacht was $20,000. That wasn’t bad. Less then he would have thought. Zev wrote down the phone number.

On his way back to Silverlake he thought about living on the old yacht. He saw himself as a kind of old man living on the sea. He could retreat from the world and live off the grid. He could start a new life while living on a boat. Draw his cartoons, make the paintings he wanted to make, read, listen to music and maybe write a novel. It would become a good way for him to hide out from the world. No one would be able to find him. He could disappear from his current life. Being by the ocean calmed him. He had always envied people who lived close to the ocean. He felt like he breathed better in the salt water air. It didn’t relieve his depression but it was nice breathing fresher air. Zev hadn’t called anyone in months but he called the number that was on the For Sale sign. He made an appointment to see the old yacht with the man who currently owned it. The man had owned the boat since it was brand new. It was a 1959 Chris Craft. Zev assumed the man was very old.

Zev was stuck in traffic. But he didn’t care this time. He smoked weed and thought about the yacht. Amy texted Zev asking if he wanted to have dinner. She would make something. He was happy to hear from her. It was strange to Zev that Amy still wanted to cook him dinner, would still have sex with him if he wanted to and was still generally friendly towards him. It gave Zev the impression that she was unsure about not wanting to be with him. Maybe he still had a chance to get her back. But when a woman makes up her mind it is like a name written into dried concrete. The decision is there for good. A woman rarely decides to retract her rejection of a man. She is nice only because of her guilt. She feels bad for what she is putting the heartbroken man through and gives her body and favors in a futile attempt to compensate for the pain she has caused. Women are by nature nurturers they say. This must mean that they feel responsible when they see someone they love in pain. Amy still did things for Zev not because she was interested in him or indecisive about her decision to separate but because she felt bad about the man Zev had become as a result of her not wanting to be with him anymore.

Sell Out Man, Chapter Twenty Five

Chapter Twenty Five

 

It’s not easy falling into nothing. Nothingness takes over and refuses to release its grip. It holds you tightly between its black fingers. During Amy’s absence, Zev was gripped by nothingness. But he wasn’t threatened by it. He embraced it. Leaned into it. It was a nothingness that was permeated by a pervasive sense of pleasurable inertia. It was a kind of nihilistic Buddhist emptiness. Zev reached states of complete atrophy by not moving much and smoking copious amounts of weed. Zev finally suffered the final blow of his depression. He had withered. Zev wouldn’t shower for days. He wore the same clothes. He walked slowly down hallways with his hand in the back of his pants. Sometimes he walked around with his hand down the front of his pants, fondling his limp penis. He had fallen apart.

Zev thought about nothing but Amy. He thought about how much she was deceiving him. He thought about how betrayed he felt. He thought about what he thought she was doing. There was an elaborate idea in his brain that she was very in love with Arthur but she was keeping the extent of her feelings from him. She loved Arthur, Zev was sure of it. The thoughts about how deceived he felt kept him up at night. It’s like being knocked over the back of the head without knowing. You didn’t see it coming. You’re startled and trying to come back into your senses but the pain stifles you. Zev couldn’t believe that Amy had done this to him. Amy had become one of those deceptive women and he was the one with a broken heart. Deceived by the woman he loved. How could this happen at the height of his career?

Zev would sit in his backyard garden and smoke cigarettes. His thoughts were all crumpled together like a piece of crunched up binder paper. Zev had stopped rolling his own cigarettes because it had gotten too hard. Now he smoked the ones that come in a pack. It only made him smoke more and when he showed up at the liquor store to buy more cigarettes for the second time that day, he looked like some aged nineties shoegazer who refused to outgrow his youth. You don’t see many of those often. When back at home he would pass the day smoking cigarettes in the backyard. He couldn’t concentrate much. He was running from everything. He couldn’t even handle the burden of rolling cigarettes. There were moments when Zev was so high when he wondered if he had gone insane. Had the shock of Amy’s betrayal knocked him over into some mentally ill realm? Had he lost his mind? He was ignoring everything and thinking continuously. He was playing with his cock too much and started talking to himself. The music he listened to was music made by madmen. It sounded like walking on hands and knees through underground tunnels. One album he had on repeat was Tape Loop Meditations by Blood Stereo. The sound matched his inner state.

Zev lost track of time. He ate when he wanted to. His nothingness had become him. The marijuana cushioned him within a cotton like numbness. There was no world out there. Marijuana freed him from the ordinary and banal constraints of his mind. It made sounds tunnel through his ears and magnify in his head. It made bats fly in front of his face even though they weren’t really there. There was the continual sound of squishing a wet rag in the background. Zev couldn’t figure out what it was. Maybe spirits were talking with him. Had the same thing happened to him that happened to Artaud? Zev would hallucinate images of Amy sucking Arthur’s cock and Amy taking it from behind. Just like he had watched through binoculars during their home sex shows. Zev saw vaginas and he desperately wanted to stick his mouth on one. When stoned he became possessed by an erotic urge and ended his torment by masturbating in the bathroom while watching Pornhub. He had his food and weed delivered and bought beer and cigarettes at the liquor store. Zev knew that nothing would ever be the same for him.

When Amy entered the house, she was startled by the smell of cigarettes and marijuana. She heard strange sounds coming from Zev’s home studio. She wasn’t surprised that Zev was still there. She knew he wouldn’t leave. Where would he go? She put her bags down and checked her phone to see if Arthur had texted even though they were just together. She then looked in the refrigerator for something to drink. She wasn’t happy to be home. She felt like she was back in the drudgery. It was incredibly difficult living around Zev. He was getting in the way of her joy and becoming an imposition. Why couldn’t he get his life together? Why couldn’t he accept that most marriages don’t last forever and move on with his life? He had the money. When Amy knocked on Zev’s door he was startled. He yelled as if his home was under attack. Amy told Zev that it was just her. Zev had lost track of the day. He had lost track of time. He didn’t expect Amy but he jumped off the couch and told her to come in. He walked over and gave her a hug. Amy hugged Zev back.

Zev was happy that Amy was home. He had missed her immensely without knowing the nothingness he had been experiencing was a result of the grief consuming him during Amy’s absence. And to some extent Amy missed Zev. She wasn’t unhappy hugging him. She looked around the studio which was a mess. Records everywhere. Books on the floor. Cups filled with dead cigarettes and ash on the floor. Zev’s hair was a mess and he was dressed in black sweat pants and a black t-shirt with ash stains on it. He wore black wool socks which had a hole in one of the toes. The room reeked of tobacco and weed. Amy asked Zev why he couldn’t go outside to smoke. The patio door was right there. He told Amy that he was too lazy and Amy knew he wasn’t in good shape. But she didn’t want to be inconvenienced. She was in a good mood. Zev Bauhaus was a grown man and could figure himself out. He wasn’t her problem anymore. Amy told Zev that he should take a shower.

Zev had set up a bed in his home studio. He and Amy no longer slept together. His home studio had become his bedroom and their bedroom had now become Amy’s bedroom. She made the bedroom her own by bringing in more plants and hanging art she liked on the walls. She moved the bed to a different location. While Amy was putting her clothes away into her closet and drawers Zev walked in. He sat down on the bed and used a towel to dry his hair. Amy asked him if the shower was nice. Zev asked Amy about her trip and Amy didn’t have much to say. She told Zev that she had a good time. That she had a lot of fun. Zev felt angry but tried to keep it down. He wanted to ask about her and Arthur but he kept it to himself. He wanted to get along with Amy tonight. Maybe they could watch a movie or something. Amy made them something to eat and they sat at the kitchen table together. They didn’t talk much. Zev told her that he hadn’t been doing anything. Amy agreed to watch a movie and said that sounded nice. They watched the The Joker on Amy’s bed, the bed Zev had slept on for years. But now he had been exiled from his bed and his previous life. He would sleep in this bed no more. The organic mattress that he and Amy had bought together was now hers. He was sleeping on a shit mattress from Ikea and had lost the right to sleep in what was once his marital bed.

As Amy and Zev watched The Joker with their backs propped up against the wall, Zev thought about asking Amy if she wanted to have sex. He wanted to stick his dick inside her. He had a pulsating erection. But he got the sense that Amy wasn’t into it and he didn’t feel very attractive. He felt embarrassed being the only one in this pathetic shape. Amy seemed to be doing fine. Maybe she didn’t ever love him as much as he thought she did. Amy fell asleep halfway through the film. It was three hours later for her and she was all sexed out. Zev turned off the television and then shut Amy’s door. He went into the bathroom and masturbated into the sink before struggling to fall asleep.

Sell Out Man, Chapter Twenty Four

 

 

Amy was going away for three nights. To New York for the publication party of The Fantastic Nobody Life Of A Disappearing Man. Arthur and her had finished their work together and now the book was ready for readers. During the last stage of their editing work, Arthur would have his hand on Amy’s tit or he would try and reach down her pants and get a finger in her cunt. Sometimes Amy would purposefully lean over the table so that Arthur could grab her ass with his hand. They worked and played. Worked and played. Amy would reach for Arthur’s cock as they read through the manuscript. She would gently jack him off without unbuttoning his pants. Her nipples would be erect and his dick hard during most of the time they worked together. Sexual pleasure relieves the pain and boredom of work. It felt like they were back in high school.

There would be a party at the Ritz Carlton. There would be a lecture at NYU and at The New School. There would be a few independent bookstore readings which ended up having small lines out the door. Arthur’s career was looking up and he was making his way towards the pinnacle of popularity with younger intellectual and liberal readers. It was an exciting time for him. He was discovering a kind of confidence he hadn’t felt before. He seemed to be receiving a good amount of recognition as a writer and a very attractive and prominent editor was in love with him. He assumed he must be doing something right. Amy felt better than she felt in a long time. The stress of her and Zev felt gone. She was elated that she could contribute to Arthur’s success. It was a high to watch him prevail as a writer. This is what Amy loved most about love. She loved receiving the adoration, devotion and control that came from helping the object of her love to become a better person. This is what she did best. It’s how she won over a person without them ever seeing the cruelty and selfishness that lived inside of her.

Amy didn’t tell Zev exactly why she was going to New York. She said it was for work and that she had to attend to publication parties. It wasn’t an absolute lie. When Zev asked her if the publication parties were for Arthur’s book she told him that one of them was. She could tell that Zev was furious about this and she assured him that it was not a romantic vacation. She was not sharing a room with Arthur. She didn’t even know if she would see him. They would be working most of the time and Arthur was going to be very busy. Zev hated Arthur. Arthur was getting in his way. He hated what he was becoming because of Arthur. He considered asking Amy to swear on her life that she wasn’t going to be sharing a room with Arthur but he decided not to. He was certain that Amy would be with Arthur more than she was telling him. Amy would lie about anything to avoid conflict. She liked to have her own secrets. Her secrets turned her on. They turned Zev on as well. Before Amy left, Zev turned her around and pulled down her pants and underwear. He forced her onto their bed because he could. Amy rested her arms on her suitcase, which was open on the bed. Zev was fully erect before he could get his pants off. When he stuck his dick inside Amy she was already wet. He didn’t have to try. The resentment and bitterness between them was enough to make her horny. Zev fucked Amy from behind for a few minutes. He called her a slut. A little lying slut, is what he said. Amy agreed with him. She told him that she was a little whore. She couldn’t help it. She stuck out her tongue and Zev caught a glimpse of it from the side. She kept calling herself a whore and a little slut. She loved being penetrated. Zev orgasmed deep inside of her. All his seminal fluid was emptied out into the deepest parts of her. Zev fell back into the chair and Amy fell flat on the suitcase. Zev didn’t care if Amy had orgasmed or not. He never really did.

Zev pulled up his pants and Amy turned around. He asked her if she wanted a towel and she said no thanks. She said she liked the idea of traveling to New York with cum in her. Zev told her to do as she wished. He had fucked her not because he loved her but because he was completely turned on by how slutty she was. She was the whore he always wanted. Amy tried to hug Zev before she left but Zev pulled back. He knew she was going to New York with Arthur. That bitch. He told her that he would be gone when she got back. He would find some other place to stay. It was not right what she was doing with Arthur. It was cruel and unfair. How could she think it was ok to go to New York with Arthur? How could she think that doing so would not end their marriage? Amy wasn’t happy that Zev would be gone when she came back but she understood. She knew this was the risk she was taking. She would figure out the financial aspects of things later. Amy told Zev that she wanted him to do whatever he needed to do to take care of himself. Zev turned around and walked away before Amy was out the door and he felt bad about it. What if she died in a plane crash? Their final moment together would be him turning away from her as she left. So much love in the beginning and so much despair at the ending. The thought pained him. Amy took an Uber to Arthur’s apartment and Arthur and Amy travelled to New York together.

Random House was trying to attract a younger and more intellectual consumer base. They were publishing more hip, young writers. Intellectual and nerdy types. Writers obsessed with gender terms, race relations, sexual equality and pretending to be weirder than they were. Arthur’s book of essays was expected to be a big seller for Random House. He was going to be the new Bret Easton Ellis. They had high hopes for Arthur’s book so they paid him quit a lot for the rights to his book. They also paid for two first class tickets to New York and a five night stay at The Ritz Carleton. Amy and Arthur felt like they made it in the literary world. This was it. On the plane ride, they slept covered in soft wool blankets and they drank top shelf liquor. Arthur wasn’t a big drinker but he couldn’t resist the Hendrick’s Gin Amy kept ordering. They watched episodes of The Office, laughed and Amy kept her hand on Arthur’s cock for a lot of the way. It made them both less nervous.

Arthur and Amy shared the same room at The Ritz Carlton. They did almost everything together. It was as if they were attached by a string. Amy wanted to be there with Arthur and Arthur wanted Amy there. They went to investigate areas were Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground hung out. They went by the spot were CBGB used to be. They walked around Greenwich Village. They walked around Times Square and went into one of the last remaining sex shops with a porn movie theatre inside. They ate in seedy Asian restaurants and ate fast food. Amy went to Arthurs various readings and lectures. She went to cocktail parties with him. She went to the publication party at the Ritz and was by Arthur’s side the entire time. Everyone assumed that Arthur and Amy were together and many wondered about what had happened with Zev Bauhaus. But nobody asked her and Amy had forgotten that she was even married. Zev wasn’t texting her and she wasn’t about to text him. She removed her ring in the Uber before getting to Arthur’s apartment. This was time for Arthur and Amy to be together. Zev Bauhaus spent most of his time home alone. He didn’t go anywhere.

It’s The Only Way I Will Write This Novel

I have paid someone to come and point a gun at me. I am paying him $60.00 a session to keep the gun pointed at me until I finish a chapter. I have instructed this gun pointer that I must write one chapter while he is here. This means I must write it, edit it and then post it on my blog. If I am not able to do all of this for any reason, I have instructed the gun owner to shoot me. I have also instructed him to come shoot me if he does not hear from me in seven days in a row because that means I quit writing the novel (I had to pay him an advance for this). It’s the only way I will write this novel.

 

Every time I want the gun pointer to come and point his gun at me, I just need to send him a text and give him about an hour or so. When he does get here I have a chair prepared for him. He likes where I have placed the chair because it gets a lot of sun as he sits pointing his gun at me. The chair is a comfortable chair, which I have placed right besides my desk. I have no idea what kind of gun he points at me. It seems to be a different one each week. Today he had a shotgun but I don’t know the make. So far I have spent over two thousand dollars on this project. I presume I will spend at least a thousand more. It’s the only way I will write this novel.

 

The gun pointer asked me if it bothered me that he was just sitting there pointing a gun at me as I typed. I told him that it didn’t bother me much. By chapter eleven I had gotten used to his presence. The gun pointer does smoke and so do I, so that works out well. The gun pointer keeps asking me how much longer I will need him for. I tell him I don’t know. I need his presence for however long it takes. He needs to be here when I text. It’s the only way I will write this novel.

 

I’ve explained to the gun pointer that writing a novel is very challenging work for me. It exhausts me and takes just about everything I have. Even writing and editing three or four pages. I assume this is because of the subject matter of Sell Out Man. It is a difficult novel to write. I tell the gun pointer that if he is not here I will do everything I can to avoid writing this novel. I will kayak around. I will organize. I will go for walks. I will look at naked photos of women on Twitter. I will read. I will sleep. I will give in to my resistance and that is why I need him here. I have a story to tell that I don’t really want to tell but need to tell. It’s the only way I will write this novel.

 

I think the gun pointer thinks I am nuts. Maybe I am. Maybe I have lost my mind. I don’t really know. Maybe a writer needs to lose their mind to write a decent novel. I don’t even know if my novel is any good but I continue to write. I have a story to tell and if I don’t tell it now I never will. This is the essence of all good literature, I tell the gun pointer. He tells me that he is a simple man. He lives on his boat with his dog. He doesn’t get involved in these kind of affairs. I tell him that is ok. He is probably better off and I appreciate his presence. I need him to want to be here. It’s the only way I will write this novel.

 

He’s doing it for the money, he tells me. He could care less about me. I am already a has been. I mean nothing to this world. Who care about novels like Sell Out Man. What a waste of time. Why not do something more productive and useful? Sometimes I think he dislikes me enough to shoot me. I get slightly concerned but that is ok. It’s the only way I will write this novel.

Sell Out Man, Chapter Twenty Three

 

Chapter Twenty Three

 

 

A famous contemporary painter who suddenly disappears from the art scene can’t escape the scrutiny of the public for long. People were taking notice of Zev Bauhaus’s absence. In the quarterly art journal Art Texta brief article was written about how Zev Bauhaus no longer had the prestige he once did. The article exposed the cancellation of several of Zev’s upcoming shows. This article brought more attention to Zev. Not the kind of attention anyone would want. In The Sokal Hoax, a literary and art magazine, the prominent cultural critic Dorothy Niken wrote a scathing article about how Zev Bauhaus had been partly responsible for shaping the work of so many contemporary abstract painters but that he no longer held that elevated position anymore. She wrote about how the quality of Zev’s work had been in steep decline over the years and now with his disappearance from the art world he had exposed himself as the burnout he had become. The article was called A Fall From Abstract Grace.

There was an article written in Higher Superstition, a very hip cultural magazine, which suggested that Zev Bauhaus was a scapegoat being used to divert attention away from the sad state of contemporary abstract art. Marissa read these various articles but Zev did not. He didn’t care and he didn’t want to know. Why would he care about such things when his life was falling apart? Zev didn’t understand then, and he wouldn’t understand for a long time, that his life was falling apart because he could not stop obsessing about Amy and what she had done to him. Zev had forgotten about himself. He had ceased all forms of exercise and didn’t care about what he ate. His quality of dress greatly declined. He no longer cared if he wore the same black jeans for days in a row and didn’t take much time combing his hair. He often neglected shaving. The times that Zev did come into the studio, Marissa noticed how shitty he looked. He had lost weight and looked like a skeleton of his former self. Marissa couldn’t help feeling responsible for this. Something in her knew that Zev Bauhaus was on the verge of closing the studio. He would retreat into some other world and it was her fault. But Zev would be free and she couldn’t help but see this as an opportunity.

Marissa was masturbating more frequently. Work at the studio had become more languorous and dull. Zev wasn’t working much anymore and there was nothing to do. Unfinished paintings stood around like forgotten relics. She would come home at night, make herself dinner and read while on her couch. It happened every time. As she read she would gradually start to pleasure herself. She couldn’t read for more than ten minutes without putting her fingers on her wet pussy. She had been feeling unusually horny but assumed it was because she was not getting laid. It was better that she was pleasuring herself than dealing with some guy. Guys were so much work. As she ran her fingers through her pussy she would visualize Zev. Why Zev? He looked terrible. In her mind she would see him in his disheveled and degenerate state and this turned her on. She liked guys who looked beaten up and grungy. It was a cool nineties look. She would imagine Zev on top, vigorously penetrating her as she looked up at him. Or she would visualize herself giving Zev oral sex and this imagine almost always made her cum. She was certain he had a nice penis. Why was she so obsessed with Zev? Especially now in his miserable state. Was something wrong with her? After Marissa orgasmed she would brush her teeth and fall asleep alone in bed. Sometimes she thought she might die this way.

Zev and Amy spent Saturday together. They drove into the industrial section of the Arts District in Downtown LA and tried out a new outdoor bar. There were cactuses and fire pits everywhere. People could smoke there. Zev ordered an IPA and Amy ordered a cocktail. They sat under an umbrella, listened to the music being played and didn’t talk much to each other. There was a palpable tension between them but they were trying to do something fun together. They both smoked cigarettes and drank their first drinks quickly. Amy got up and bought them another round. The alcohol buzz was gradually loosening them up and they started to talk. Not about anything in particular. Just about bullshit. But Zev was angry. It was hard for him to casually talk with Amy. He felt like she should be making more of an effort to be affectionate with him considering what she was putting him through. She wasn’t holding his hand. She wasn’t rubbing his back. She wasn’t giving him a kiss. There was a real distance between them that he didn’t like. He was sure she wasn’t like this with Arthur.

When Zev was angry at Amy she had no desire to be affectionate with him. She was repelled by him. Amy knew that if she made more of an effort to be affectionate with Zev he would gradually loosen up. But she didn’t want to make the effort. She wasn’t that concerned with Zev anymore. She wasn’t going to try and alleviate his anger by doing things she didn’t want to do. It was up to Zev to be more loving with her. Zev assumed that Amy’s lack of affection was the result of it all going towards Arthur. Zev bought the next round of drinks and they ordered food from a food truck that was parked outside the bar. They ate in silence. Amy was disgusted by the chewing sounds that Zev made. It made her feel rage inside. Amy couldn’t wait to go home. She went to the bathroom for an unusually long time. Zev was convinced she was texting with Arthur and felt insulted that she would do this while out with him.

In the car ride home, they were both on the verge of drunkenness. Zev blew smoke out of the driver’s side window and played Tony Conrad’s Ten Years Alive On the Infinite Plain. Amy couldn’t stand this kind of long-durational, minimalistic music. What was the point? Zev would tell her that it was therapeutic. It put the brain in a contemplative state. But Amy was always too much on the go. She was a quick girl, racing through life. She needed more melody and tempo. Zev smoked marijuana as he drove on the highway back to their Silverlake home. He was upset that Amy still wasn’t paying much attention to him. She didn’t even talk to him about his dwindling career. She didn’t seem to show much concern about his declining health. She didn’t show much interest in him at all. Thoughts like these ran through Zev’s head and he couldn’t help but tell Amy once again that he knew she was in love with Arthur. He knew that she was in that bathroom for a long time because she was texting with her dishrag boyfriend. Zev was wrong. She had been taking naked selfies in the hip bathroom to send to Arthur at a later time.

Once they arrived back at the house, while standing in the living room, Amy told Zev that she couldn’t take it anymore. She wanted out of the marriage. They needed to separate. Something needed to change. Zev Bauhaus couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He was shocked that Amy wanted to leave him. He stayed with her after her transgressions. Her lack of loyalty infuriated him. The one woman he was certain he would grow old with was telling him she wanted a divorce. How could this be? He knew it was because she was leaving him to be with Arthur. Amy was leaving him for another man. This was a thought that was impossible for Zev to comprehend. It caused cracks to form in his bones. It caused restrictions in his arteries. Most oxygen left his body and he flew into a rage. He called Amy a fucking bitch and a whore. He told her that he hoped she died. He would be better off if she was just dead. He kicked the living room coffee table piled with art books into the air. He was throwing a temper tantrum. Amy was mortified to hear that Zev wanted her dead. Was her life at risk? Zev walked quickly into his home studio and slammed the door. Things fell off the walls. Amy broke down in tears in the living room. Of course Zev didn’t want her dead. He was just very hurt and said things he didn’t mean. How else could he hurt her back?

Zev’s heart was beating fast and deliberately. What was he going to do? Amy was leaving him for a younger man. That bitch. He sat down in his Eames recliner and lit a cigarette. He smoked it quickly and lit another one. His mind was racing and he couldn’t focus. He was worried that he might have a panic attack. His eye site was pixelating and Zev did the only thing he knew how to do to calm himself when on the verge of a panic attack. He took out his cock and started masturbating. Thankfully he was alone.

 

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 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 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.