I pressed her thigh and death smiled
Death old friend, death and my cock are the world
I can forgive my injuries in the name of wisdom, luxury, romance
Sentence upon sentence, words are healing lament
for the death of my cock’s spirit has no meaning in the soft fire
Words got me the wound and will get me well, if you believe it
All join now in lament for the death of my cock
a tongue of knowledge in the feathered night
Boys get crazy in the head and suffer
I sacrifice my cock on the alter of silence
— James Douglas Morrison
An American Poet, 1943-71
The aforementioned stanza, penned by Mr. Morrison in a poem titled, “Lament,” I quite assure you contains no purposeful metaphorical references toward transvestites – although its meaning may seem risqué and ambiguous. The following story is as true as I can remember. Blocked for many years because of its rather painful memories, it is not an exposé — but rather a dirge of remembrance past:
The rush was immediate. I needed to feel that high again – and I needed to feel it fast.
I had just snorted two thick lines of cocaine while stopped at the southbound onramp of Interstate Five in Hollywood. Some asshole next to me gives me the bird. I ignore him and cut him off at the green light. Disneyland – Anaheim and home – are my immediate destination and concern. And I couldn’t get there fast enough to relieve the anxiety over what I’d just done – and, moreover, the ordeal I’d just been through.
Minutes before, probably all of about ten, I’d had a serious conversation with Brandi, the Chateau’s lone “female” pro submissive. She’d asked me to beat her senseless and leave her bound and gagged and hanging on the St. Andrews Cross after a client had ridiculed her to tears for being a transvestite and “not a real whipping girl.”
She needed me.
How could I have denied her?
But now I was having to live with myself after leaving her, bound and gagged – her bum cheeks horribly bruised and lashed – suspended, as I continued getting the hell out of Hollywood as fast as my sky-blue ’65 Mustang with the 289 horses would take Me. I was feeling guilty. Really fucking guilty.
But first, a little background on the situation, and on Brandi:
Brandi and I often played during “down time” at the Chateau. It was she who was primarily the recipient while honing my skills in the Disciplinary Arts. It was she I caned endlessly on those rare occasions when there were no sessions to conduct for a male trainee master. (I was not a pro at this time.) Caning was her favorite, her absolute favorite – a good six-of-the-best, followed by a five-barred gate – British style, with lines crisscrossing ever so elegantly showing depth and control of the tip of the rod. This brought us immeasurable pleasure, as aficionados of well-constructed corporal punishment. Brandi would parade her bare ass after such a thrashing, showing off her marks with a beaming pride I’ve yet to see since.
As the Peruvian flake numbed my gums and the rush had me now near feverpitched over what I’d just done to Brandi, a memory of her quickly emblazoned across my mind: There she was, hanging – bound, gagged and suspended from the huge St. Andrews in the notorious Red Room. Writhing. Loving every second while intensely hating herself for nothing that was her fault.
An overwhelming feeling of sadness coupled with guilt overtakes me as I pull into the fast lane and put the miles between here and there. I’m still thinking of the torment I’ve just put her through. Why? Was it really consensual CP? I tell myself it was because this is her M.O.-going to the extreme like this each and every time. I wonder how she deals with the torment she must live with day by day, just being herself in this crazy world where there is no such thing as “normal.” It must be awesome, overwhelming in and of itself to the physical pain, which has to pale in comparison.
Yeah, I really loved those days. And yeah, I really loved Brandi. As a friend. As a treasured friend, one you’d like to keep forever – but one that you know you won’t. She was that kind of person. I loved those days in kind of a bittersweet way: Sun-drenched afternoons in the middle of Hollywood’s industrial district (a far cry from the Hollywood Hills and Tinseltown image runaways seek every day) and its palm trees, Rolls Royces and tall, blonde and blue-eyed, bronzed-skinned girls in string bikinis.
Spanking and punishing Brandi and every female bottom that came my way was how I lived back then. I couldn’t get enough. I was like a kid in a candy store, literally. No thoughts on consequences. No thoughts of repercussions. Not a single care as to why each and every submissive had come for discipline. I never batted even a single eyelash as to the hows and whys they came through those doors.
Brandi always eyed the assortment of paddles in the hall (some with holes, some without, some made from solid oak, or maple. Others made from poplar, a soft wood just perfect for a “board of education” …). As I marched her into one of the upstairs dungeons for her correction, she marveled at the oiled canes from Singapore – and crook handled ones from across the Atlantic. Even simple kitchen items such as a rubberized spatula could (and would) elicit screams of utter torment from Brandi when used the way she wanted. When she was under the gun, it was nothing but pure, unadulterated angst being spewed. But something I didn’t understand back then was just how much she needed this. She would tell me once: “The more hatred I take on – the more deplorable and disgusting I am to those who beat me – the more intensely I savor the need to be hurt.”
She didn’t know it, but she had already been hurt.
The hurt, you see, took her pain away.
A dichotomy in terms?
Not on your life.
It’s like someone who’s a cutter; who mutilates their own body. They do it because the pain they inflict takes their mind away – even if for a fleeting moment – from the far greater pain they feel between their ears. From the head that will not be silent.
It was hard for me to understand at the time, but I fully understand it now. I deal with women like this on a fairly regular basis. All I could do then was my best to help my friend – to listen, to give a consoling hug when she needed it. Brandi was much more in tune with what she needed than was I.
Yes, Brandi was an admitted pain slut – one for which every session was played out to the point of madness; as the last edge play session she would ever do, every single time. It always had to be this way with her. Every session was more intense than the last. I guess finally something had to give. You see, Brandi could take more than the average girl. No one ever underestimated or questioned her thresholds, which were, in a dominant’s eyes, unendurable pleasure prolonged. What she could endure was truly something to behold. Even up to the bitter end, when the self-hatred manifested itself into such ugliness that it paralleled not only her despise for what she put up with – but her hatred for the tormentors themselves (myself included, I believe).
But then you see Brandi wasn’t really a girl at all. She was much, much more. Not a girl? More than a girl? Speaking in tongues, again? No, just one of the most beautiful human beings I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Having completed my formal training many months previously at the chateau, Brandi and I became very good friends through the many countless sessions of mine she’d sit in on (and would always end up being a part of somehow). She didn’t put the willies in me like she did some of the other regulars, who didn’t understand her and scoffed at her differences. I didn’t care that she dressed in drag and sometimes wore makeup. I saw her for what she was – a true kindred spirit, desperately in need of love and affection from her fellow dominants and submissives. The only family she would really ever know.
It pleases me today to know that Brandi did receive that love and affection. At least from a few of us.
Now, a little clarification: The word “transvestite” is derived from the Latin “trans” (cross) and “vestia” (clothing). And if numbers mean anything to you, over 90% of male cross-dressers are strictly heterosexual (Brandi was the exception). The rest are homosexual, with a few bisexuals making up the balance. Brandi didn’t have a girlfriend. She liked men. Liked the way they smelled. But mostly, Brandi liked to dress up for them and take their beatings. (Those that would indulge her.)
I asked her once if she was gay; if she’d ever made love to another man. “No, I think I’m just in the wrong body,” she uttered sadly to anyone in the lobby who would hear her words. Our eyes met. There was no shame. Just utter despair and hopelessness.
She was such a thirsty child; yet filled to the brim with more real life than anyone her age should have to deal with. Grades and keeping part time jobs were what her friends were into. Brandi was on a different existential plane altogether.
I could hear her pain resonating in her words. In fact, sadly, Brandi was never to make love to another human being in her short, angst-ridden journey of twenty-three years.
We played a game once. I secretly told her I had always felt seventeen. Brandi groaned and admitted she felt “forty-seven.”
We had a long talk about that and the feeling she consistently emphasized was that she wanted to be accepted. Just accepted, for crying out fucking loud. Accepted and not stared at in line at the supermarket. Accepted while getting a beer at a concert. Free to be who she was and surrounded with those she chose to be with at the dance clubs. … Just accepted. I don’t think it ever happened for her – except in the closed confines of the chateau.
The thing I remember most about her was how kind she was to everyone – client or non-client – who came into the chateau. If a dominant off the streets wanted someone to beat, Brandi would offer herself up. (Even if she’d just come out of a session.) She’d smile, run her dirty, unkempt fingernails through her short, cropped, two-toned blonde hair and hardened features – almost presenting herself as a beacon to her abusers that she’d gladly absorb their hatreds, their preconceptions – from any man with cash for her fee. Often times she’d tease me about not being a pro, flashing wads of cash, then showing me her “beauty marks.” (Years later I would compare her to Kurt Cobain, the late lead singer of the grunge band, Nirvana, in drag. The comparison was ultra-bizarre when I actually did see Cobain in a dress with makeup!)
So why did I do coke with her? Why did I enable her – even possibly further her drug addiction? Simple. To help anesthetize the pain – our pain. To numb the unforgiving world which was to be her Alcatraz. To forget. Even if for just for a few more fleeting moments as razor blade met with mirror.
Let me make it clear here and now that I was never under the influence of any drug or alcohol during a session with Brandi – or anyone else, for that matter. It was made clear to me very early on that drugs – if you chose to indulge – had their own place and time. And that place and time was not anywhere near the chateau or a session. Partaking in such activities places both the dominant and the submissive in grave danger – as expectations, thresholds, and personalities can, and often do – fly perilously out of control, which in stark contrast should be the essence and aim of every safe, sane and consensual session.
Safe, sane and consensual BDSM.
There are no alternatives as far as I’m concerned.
I remember taking Brandi to Barney’s Beanery (a horrendous choice) one summer afternoon for lunch. The waitress with purple hair and rings coming out of every orifice approached our table. She stared at Brandi, dressed in Salvation Army attire – then looked down at her pad and started scribbling before we’d spoken a word. Brandi and I just exchanged disgusted looks, shaking our heads, sensing her disapproval. I apologized for Barney’s not being the best choice. (They’re in the city of West Hollywood and they’re anti-gay if you can believe or understand that!)
“That’s okay, Sir,” she said, half smiling at me over her menu which she didn’t seem to be reading.
Although it is impossible to remember the exact conversation, it went something like this:
Master Mark: Can you tell me when you first realized you felt trapped in a man’s body?
Brandi: As early as I can remember I was fascinated with women’s nylons. Their legs were so smooth, almost like silk. I always found myself looking at women’s legs. Then there were high heels. I loved the look, the sexiness.
Master Mark: So you played with your mother’s nylons? Did you wear them? Her shoes?
Brandi: Yeah. I loved the feel under my jeans. Wore her shoes in secret also.
Master Mark: So you started cross-dressing when you were relatively young. Still in grade school?
Brandi: (nods, plays with food). I was about seven, eight as far as I can remember. I don’t remember much about my childhood. Just that I thought I was weird and really, really different from just about everyone else.
Master Mark: Were you ever caught?
Brandi: Yeah. When I was around eleven. I was all made up and had the nylons on and my mom walked in with laundry and caught me masturbating furiously.
Master Mark: What happened?
Brandi: She beat me. I had to stay home from school almost a week. She called me a pervert.
Master Mark: (consoling Brandi, who has a teardrop running down her cheek) You know we love you at the house. We love that you have the pride to show off who you really are.
Brandi: I think for me, the hardest part is the non-acceptance thing. People judging me before they even know me. Like the waitress.
Master Mark: It’s kind of like fighting a losing battle.
Brandi: (nodding emphatically) Yeah. Can we go now, sir?
Master Mark: Of course.
Can we go now, sir? …
Can we go now?!
I looked into her tired, sad eyes and nodded that, yes, we could go now. Brandi didn’t want to spend any more time in public than was necessary. The chateau was her haven. It was there that she truly felt safe.
That was the last time I saw Brandi, when I dropped her off that afternoon. She killed herself that evening. Left all the pain and anguish behind in this physical world that is, all too often, very physical and mentally taxing. I think a little piece of me died that night, too. That’s why I don’t understand those who point fingers at people who may be a little bit different. Brandi, a graduate of Hollywood High, a lifelong resident of this city which promises so much, but yields so little, never lived long enough to reap the benefits of her neighborhood. Brandi wanted to be an interior designer. She would’ve been a good one; she had an eye like you wouldn’t believe for decor – and an innate sense for what was pleasing, aesthetically. There, in that reality, she was never judged or denigrated. Only admired and praised.
Remembrances of conversations days before with Brandi filled my head like Giants’ Stadium sold out for a Bruce Springsteen concert. She talked about “snuff.” How wild it would be to go out that way.
If only I’d known enough to pick up the clues.
Rest in peace, my friend. I shall never forget you, nor will those who shared in the shortness of your life, laughter and tears.
They say you may not always remember those you have laughed with. But you will never forget those with whom you have cried.
They are waiting to take us into the severed garden
Do you know how pale and wanton, thrillfull
comes death on a strange hour
Unannounced, unplanned for
Like a scarring, over-friendly guest you’ve brought to bed
Death makes angels of us all
and gives us wings where we had shoulders
smooth as raven’s claws
No more money, no more fancy dress
This other kingdom seems by far the best
until its other jaw reveals incest
& loose obedience to a vegetable law
I will not go
But for a feast of friends
to the Giant Family
James Douglas Morrison
— From “An American Prayer”
Coming next week: Don’t miss Mark E. DeSade’s next story ‘The Disciplinarienne’