Sell Out Man, A Blog Novel (Bitch). Chapter Twenty Nine (Bitch).

Chapter Twenty Nine

 

Zev Bauhaus knew that he needed to be free of Amy. He couldn’t see her anymore. No more fucking. It was difficult for him to imagine his life without her blowjobs, her nudity, her beauty. But he knew that it was what needed to be done if he was going to escape insanity. He had been rendered obsolete. He was no longer capable of much. He had just enough energy to take care of basic things like eating, cleaning up and listening to music. Even his cartoons dried up. There was no creative ambition in him. When a man obsesses about a woman, everything else falls away. Many of men have lost their lives and livelihoods because of a woman. Some men who you see degenerate and deranged on Los Angeles street corners were once happily married, middle-class men. Love can destroy a man and often does. Women seem to be more resilient when it comes to the decimation of love. This is what Zev told himself. But his defenses were weak. Even though he knew that he needed to free himself from the sharp and seductive claws of Amy’s grip, he couldn’t stop thinking about her.

He had some pornography on his phone that he made with Amy when they would have sex on their couch or in bed. Zev always enjoyed filming their sexual interactions. He had several videos of Amy sucking his dick. She was so good at that. He also had some videos that he made during their home sex shows. As he was standing in the backyard watching Amy have sex with another man, he would get as close as he could to the window so that the video would be clear on his phone. He would capture Amy in her most skillful moments of fucking, but he never told her he filmed her. Zev would masturbate to these various videos every night. Amy expertly sucking his dick. Amy riding on top of a naked man on their couch. Zev would be on his back in bed and jack off while watching the videos on his phone. The light from the screen would illuminate the pleasure on his face. Sometimes it didn’t take him long to orgasm. Sometimes it took longer because he had smoked too much weed and swallowed too much whiskey. Zev didn’t mind when it would take him longer to orgasm. He could watch more than one video. Being intoxicated and naked in bed while jacking off to homemade pornography was one of his only pleasures in life. But it also kept Zev thinking about Amy.

Zev had a difficult time getting to sleep. He would lay in bed with his mind obsessing about various things. The yacht would be rocking back and forth in motion with the ocean’s currents, causing the yacht to make all sorts of creaking sounds. Sometimes, if the currents were strong, it sounded as if the wood yacht would split in half. He could feel solitude enveloping him in a way that provoked his anxiety. There were not many neighbors around. The world was far away and an enormous ocean with all of its promises for obscurity was just a stone’s throw away. In this solitude Zev would listen to the sounds. He lay on his back with his head on his pillow. He would stare up at the ceiling even though he couldn’t see anything in the darkness. He took hits from the weed pipe he held in his hands and fell asleep with each night. Zev would think about Amy fucking Arthur. He would think about all the ways Amy had screwed him over. How she had betrayed him. He would think about how he didn’t see it coming. What a horrible person she had turned out to be. Just another superficial love addict. But Zev also realized that he was not without fault. He had neglected Amy for years. He was always complaining and getting agitated with her. Nothing was good enough for him. She was always too fast or too slow. Too skinny or too fat. To energetic or not energetic enough. He loved her by breaking her down. That was how he knew how to love. It was how his father loved him. The cycle repeats.

In the darkness Zev also thought about what he was going to do with his life. He was starting all over again. How could he permanently break free from Amy? He would live on the yacht. He wouldn’t work. He had enough money to live for a few years. Maybe even a lifetime if he was frugal with every cent he spent. He didn’t want to have anything to do with the art world anymore. That he knew for certain. Being a well-known contemporary abstract painter had ruined his life. He hated the work. He would have never imagined. When he used to paint all the time in his studio apartment or in the small studio space he rented in an old warehouse in Oakland, it was his dream to be a successful painter. That was what he was working for. He knew that there were hundreds of painters out there painting longer and working harder than he was. This drove him to paint all hours of the day. He wanted to make it. Everyone had told him it was the wrong decision. There was no money in painting. He waited tables and tended bar. He taught art in a high school. One day he would be free from all this drudgery, he would continually tell himself. He believed that painting was his way out. He just needed to keep working. Eventually he would find his way. The naivety of youth.

Zev looked back on those distant days as a better time in his life. There was less pressure to conform and very few people wanted anything from him. Even though he was poor and had to work servile and dehumanizing jobs, he was free. He could be himself. He spent his free time painting, reading and chasing whores. A lot of what little money he had was spent on mental health in a derelict San Francisco strip club. Every week, and when his sex addiction was at its peak twice a week, he would go to the Market Street Cinema after a day of painting. He would save up for the occasion and felt excited when he handed his red ticket to the fat bouncer smoking a cigarette who tore half of it off and handed the other half back to him. The theatre was filled with all sorts of women dressed in underwear and lingerie. Some wore nothing at all and tried to seduce men into coming into one of the many rooms with them. Sometime a whore would just start sucking a guy’s dick out on the floor. Zev would fulfill all his degenerate sexual fantasies in that sex cinema and come back out at 2 or 3 in the morning a happier but poorer man.

Now Zev was alone, betrayed, middle-aged and discouraged by life. He blamed it on his success as a painter. It made him miserable. Having to associate with all those pretentious and arrogant fucks. Having to pretend to be interested in people. Having to talk about things that he could care nothing about. Having to act like he believed in the work he was doing. He hated that he had to sell paintings to wealthy people whom he considered the filth of the earth. Entitled children. Malicious gluttons. Rarely he would sell a painting to a wealthy person that he respected. He once sold a painting to Nick Cave. He had always respected Nick Cave. He felt a great honor that Nick Cave wanted to own one of his abstract paintings. Nick Cave, like many, had learned about Zev Bauhaus from the BOMB magazine article. But like most other rich people, Nick Cave gradually became a self-absorbed parody of himself. Zev had gradually lost respect for the mythical man who became famous for making sad albums about his middle-aged misfortunes. Maybe not unlike Nick Cave, becoming famous had made Zev Bauhaus more miserable than he would have ever imagined. All that time and effort to become caged. One works so hard just to eventually sell out. It made no sense to Zev.

On an almost daily basis Amy would text Zev. She would ask him financial questions or questions about certain bills. Amy had always overseen their finances. She paid all the bills. Zev wanted to have nothing to do with bills or bureaucracy. He needed to focus on his art and Amy agreed to her position as the couple’s accountant. She handled all his studio accounts, expenses and she paid the employees. When Zev vanished onto what Amy started to condescendingly call his boat, he didn’t think to take care of anything having to do with his career. Zev left Amy with the mess. It is what she deserved, Zev thought. Amy had to notify various collectors and dealers that Zev was shutting down shop. She had to give the landlord a month’s notice and take responsibility for closing down the studio. She answered emails and calls from people enquiring about what had happened to Zev. She posted things on social media. Amy even called Marissa to basically tell her she wasn’t needed anymore.

It was difficult for Marissa to talk with Amy on the phone. She had been putting it off all day. A part of her felt responsible for all of this. Maybe she should have kept her mouth closed. But Zev would have found out anyway. It wasn’t her fault. She was in love with him. Always had been and so she did what she felt was best for Zev. She was suffering inside and had been ever since Zev stopped coming around the studio and responding to her texts. When she finally did return Amy’s call, Amy didn’t sound sad or distress at all. Amy sounded uplifted. Almost happy. She told Marissa that she would send her her final check and then once all the final payments for paintings came in she would send her a commissions check. Marissa wanted to ask Amy about Zev. She wanted to ask her how Zev was doing but felt hesitant to indulge someone who was causing Zev so much pain. Amy told Marissa that Zev was finished with painting for now and that he had moved onto his boatin Oxnard. Their conversation was brief and Amy thanked her for all her help. She told Marissa that this is how life went sometimes. After Marissa hung up the phone she chastised herself for not telling Amy that it was horrible and wrong what she was doing to Zev. Marissa was cowardly, always trying to avoid conflict.

Amy liked to think of herself in a particular way. She wanted a lifestyle that was different from the norm. She liked to think of herself as the non-traditional type but she kept falling into more traditional kinds of relationships. Maybe this is why she ended up cheating on every man she was in a serious relationship with. She wasn’t being true to what she wanted and what she wanted was not loyalty to only one man. Amy had fervently read Sade’s Justine. She liked to think of herself as someone who was hopeful, someone with abnormal values, someone who was intelligent and accomplished, someone who was against monogamy, someone who was proudly slutty and bisexual and as someone who didn’t want to be in a traditional relationship ever again. This is what Amy told herself. Now that Zev was gone, she could live closer to her truth. Even though she had to do more work to maintain the house and finances, she felt freed from Zev’s tyranny. Why did she get married in the first place? Amy was happy to clean up Zev’s mess, if it meant that she no longer had to live with that miserable man. But she couldn’t understand why she still missed him and longed to be with him. It didn’t make any sense, so she drank more to help relieve her inner conflict.

 

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 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.

Sell Out Man, A Blog Novel, Chapter Twenty

 

Chapter Twenty

 

Marissa was getting ready for work. She showered, brushed her teeth and put on the same pair of underwear she wore the day before. She decided to wear a black dress. She didn’t often wear dresses but she liked her legs and thought she should do so more. She then put on her high-top black Doc Martins and brushed her long dirty blonde hair in the mirror. She used a brush shaped like a teddy bear. Marissa had been spending her evenings as a newly single woman doing what she wanted. She had more time to be alone and get some reading done. She didn’t have to worry about texting or calling Evan. She missed the sex but her alone time was what she needed right now. She wanted to conquer the feeling of boredom by getting more into her interests.

One of her more analogue and antiquated pleasures was listening to the radio. She had a small, mahogany Sonny radio that she kept on her kitchen table. It was on all the time. She liked listening to college and local FM radio stations. Obscure indie music was her thing. She also liked the goofy and adolescent radio show hosts. But sometimes she also liked to listen to NPR to see what some of the more liberal and bourgeoisie media sounded like. She liked some of the radio shows on NPR and she also liked listening to the news. It was how she stayed informed about the bullshit that was going on in the world. It made her feel smarter and listening to NPR had gotten Marissa interested in more contemporary politics. She had been listening to the live broadcasts of the Donald Trump impeachment trials and was getting caught up in it.

As Marissa was getting dressed she was listening to a live broadcast of an impeachment senate hearing. She couldn’t believe the people who were defending Donald Trump. It sounded like madness to her that this was even happening. It was obvious that Donald Trump was a malevolent crook and she didn’t understand how people could defend him. These were the worst people in the world, she thought. Listening to democratic senators talk about how protecting America’s true values and liberties by holding those accountable who think they are above the law, gave her hope. She hated Donald Trump with all her heart and was worried that he could end the world. He was that much of a psychotic madman, corrupted by too much wealth.

As Marissa walked to work she thought about how Amy was deceiving Zev. Listening to the impeachment trials had made her think a lot about people who deceive, betray, lie, steal and are only thinking of their own best interests. They are narcissists and Marissa suspected that Amy was one. What she was doing to Zev was pitiful. She was acting on her own selfish greed and not thinking about its effects on Zev. She was just as bad as Donald Trump and these people needed to be held accountable. There was too much injustice in the world. She should tell Zev about what she saw. She envied Amy’s sexual liberties but thought she was acting terribly.

When Zev woke up he noticed that Amy wasn’t there. She wasn’t in bed next to him? He felt the bottom drop out in his stomach. His first thought was that she was with that guy. His heart raced as he picked up the phone. It was 6:04am and there were no texts from Amy. He got up to see if Amy was at the kitchen table but she was never up this early. He texted Amy asking her where she was and if everything was ok. He texted her again and again and got nothing back. Zev smoked a cigarette and paced around in his underwear. He kept checking his phone to see if Amy texted back. Nothing. He was in agony in his helplessness.

He received a text from Amy at around 8am. She had gone back to the house she was at the night before to get her phone. She told Zev that she was ok and that she had gotten really drunk the night before and left her phone at the party she was at. She was on her way home. She emailed Zev letting him know what happened because she couldn’t remember his number. But Zev hadn’t checked his email so he didn’t know that everything was ok. He was pissed off but it took him a moment to settle down. He felt great relief that everything was ok. Amy had just gotten too drunk to drive, forgotten her phone at a party and slept at her friend Kimberlee’s house. Amy was now on her way home and everything would be fine. Zev didn’t know that she stayed the night with Arthur, fucking his brains out and sucking him dry.

When Amy did get home she looked bedraggled and beaten up. Had Zev given her a hug he would have noticed that she smelled like cum. Her hair was a mess and she was wearing the same clothes she had gone out in. She had her thick black rimmed glasses on and she told Zev she had a terrible headache and was going to bed. Zev helped her into the bedroom and she told Zev that she was sorry to worry him. She told him that she couldn’t remember his number and felt so bad. No one else had his phone number because Zev didn’t give his number out to anyone. Very few. He hated talking on the phone. Amy felt bad as Zev helped her into bed. She told him that she was very sorry and Zev went to get her some Advil and water. He was happy she was home and he told her she should rest. He would bring her back some lunch. Amy felt like she dodged a bullet, once again. The excitement turned her on.

Marissa had all the paints and brushes ready for when Zev arrived at the studio. The two paintings he needed to work on were set up and ready to go. These two paintings were going to some modern art museum in Barcelona Marissa didn’t know that name of. This was the morning she was going to tell Zev about what she knew. Her youthful idealism kicked in. She needed to do her part to fight back against the injustices and greed in the world. Zev needed to know. Zev came in late to work wearing black jeans, a black t-shirt and black boots. His hair was almost down to his shoulders and he hadn’t shaved. On his way to work he was listening to Sonic Youth and had smoked a fair amount of weed. That was the nice thing about driving a new, black Audi with tinted windows- no one suspected the driver of being a stoner.

Zev climbed down from the ladder. He had been painting the top part of the canvas a bright blue color. He came down and sat in a chair looking at it. He didn’t think it looked good but he would go with it. The marijuana helped him to have more liberated ideas. As he sat contemplating the painting Marissa came and sat next to him. Her heart was racing and she didn’t know what to say. Zev thanked her for getting everything set up well. He also noticed that he liked how she looked. Very gothic industrial. That style turned him on. Marissa decided to just come right out with it and tell Zev what she saw. Zev scratched his head as he listened and felt validated that his suspicions were true. He wasn’t crazy after all.

Zev asked Marissa many questions. Marissa told him that she was positive it was Arthur. He was one of her favorite writers. She saw Amy making out with him in The Line Hotel. They were very close and adoring of each other and she thought that he should know. Zev knew that there was more going on between the two of them. What he had felt while watching the most recent sex shows was true. Amy was in love with Arthur. He told Marissa that he had to go and Marissa felt very nervous. Had she just destroyed everything? Zev told her that he was going to confront Amy and that he wouldn’t tell her that it was Marissa who had told him so. Marissa made Zev promise. He did as he walked out the door, noticing that his high had completely turned into a low. He drove back to his Silverlake home as quickly as he could but of course there was traffic. Never had traffic sucked so much.

When he got home Amy was sitting up in bed watching television. Zev hated it when she watched television in the daytime. She should be more useful. He walked into the bedroom and confronted Amy right away. He sat down in the chair opposite the bed and was smoking a cigarette. What the fuck was going on? What was she thinking? He knew that she was in love with Arthur. Amy played dumb and asked what the hell he was talking about. Hadn’t they been through this before? Zev told her that someone he knew had told him that she saw Amy at The Line Hotel kissing and adoring Arthur. Zev told her that she was caught. He knew that she was in love with him, he kept saying over and over. Amy tried to deny it for as long as she could. She told Zev that she had just met Arthur there for a work meeting. That there was no kissing or adoring. She told him that whoever had told him about her was lying. Zev continued to tell Amy to cut the bullshit. To stop being a pathological liar. He knew. With a sigh of defeat Amy finally conceded and told Zev that he was right. That she was with Arthur but she was not in love with Arthur. Zev put his head down. What was he going to do? He wanted to kill her.

Amy told Zev that she had been seeing Arthur for a few months. That they had sex a few times a week and also worked together on editing his book of essays that was coming out in a few months. She told Zev as much as he needed to know. He couldn’t believe that she was having an affair with the guy she used for their sex shows. What kind of person was she? What had happened to his sweet and kind wife? Zev asked Amy if she ever fucked Arthur in their house and she told him of course not. She would never do that. They only fucked in the car and at his place. The only time she fucked him in their house was for their sex shows. Zev couldn’t believe it. Amy was having a love affair with Arthur. More was going on than what she was telling him. He kept asking her if she was in love with him and she replied no each time. She just liked having sex with him. He was fun to hang out with. That was it. She didn’t bother telling Zev that he blew it for not having more sexual interest in her. For not being more adoring of her. She couldn’t tell him this because she still needed Zev to help support her lifestyle. She also didn’t want him to hate her. She had her reputation to protect.

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, 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.