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American Dream Serialization (Early Chapters)
Introduction to Jim Chaffee's Studies in Mathematical Pornography by Maurice Stoker
Introduction to Jim Chaffee's Studies in Mathematical Pornography by Tom Bradley
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: American Dream Title Page by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 1 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 2 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 3 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 4 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 5 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 6 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 7 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 8 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 9 by Jim Chaffee
01-01-2015
Modern Tragedy, or Parodies of Ourselves by Robert Castle
01-11-2014
Totally Enchanté, Dahling by Thor Garcia
01-04-2014
Hastini by Rudy Ravindra
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 5 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
01-01-2014
Unexpected Pastures by Kim Farleigh
10-01-2013
Nonviolence by Jim Courter
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 4 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
07-01-2013
The Poet Laureate of Greenville by Al Po
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part VI by Thor Garcia
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 3 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
04-01-2013
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part V by Thor Garcia
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part IV by Thor Garcia
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 2 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
01-01-2013
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part I by Thor Garcia
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part II by Thor Garcia
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part III by Thor Garcia
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 1 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
10-01-2012
DADDY KNOWS WORST: Clown Cowers as Father Flounders! by Thor Garcia
RESURRECTON: Excerpt from Breakfast at Midnight by Louis Armand
Review of The Volcker Virus (Donald Strauss) by Kane X Faucher: Excerpt from the forthcoming Infinite Grey by Kane X Faucher
01-07-2012
Little Red Light by Suvi Mahonen and Luke Waldrip
TEXECUTION: Klown Konfab as Killer Kroaked! by Thor Garcia
Miranda's Poop by Jimmy Grist
Paul Fabulan by Kane X Faucher: Excerpt from the forthcoming Infinite Grey by Kane X Faucher
01-04-2012
Operation Scumbag by Thor Garcia
Take-Out Dick by Holly Day
Patience by Ward Webb
The Moon Hides Behind a Cloud by Barrie Darke
The Golden Limo of Slipback City by Ken Valenti
01-01-2012
Chapter from The Infinite Atrocity by Kane X. Faucher
Support the Troops By Giving Them Posthumous Boners by Tom Bradley
01-10-2011
When Good Pistols Do Bad Things by Kurt Mueller
Corporate Strategies by Bruce Douglas Reeves
The Dead Sea by Kim Farleigh
The Perfect Knot by Ernest Alanki
Girlish by Bob Bartholomew
01-07-2011
The Little Ganges by Joshua Willey
The Invisible World: René Magritte by Nick Bertelson
Honk for Jesus by Mitchell Waldman
01-04-2011
Red's Dead by Eli Richardson
The Memphis Showdown by Gabriel Ricard
Someday Man by John Grochalski
01-01-2011
I Was a Teenage Rent-a-Frankenstein by Tom Bradley
Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Fred Bubbers
10-01-2010
Believe in These Men by Adam Greenfield
The Magnus Effect by Robert Edward Sullivan
Performance Piece by Jim Chaffee
07-01-2010
Injustice for All by D. E. Fredd
The Polysyllogistic Curse by Gary J. Shipley
How It's Done by Anjoli Roy
Ghost Dance by Connor Caddigan
Two in a Van by Pavlo Kravchenko
04-01-2010
Uncreated Creatures by Connor Caddigan
Invisible by Anjoli Roy
One of Us by Sonia Ramos Rossi
Storyteller by Alan McCormick
01-01-2010
Idolatry by Robert Smith
P H I L E M A T O P H I L I A by Traci Chee
They Do! by Al Po
Full TEX Archive
Side Photo for The Big Stupid Review

A Pleasure Jaunt with One of the Sex Workers Who Donít Exist in the Peopleís Republic of China

By Tom Bradley

Kamakura street scene, ca. 1967

Take away the prostitutes from human affairs,and youíll throw everything into a chaos of lusts.
—Saint Augustine, De Ordine ii, 4

Sam Edwine and his presumably contagion free rent-a-date were being Red Flag Limousined through the very mountain forests where, in times gone by, Coxinga the Pirate once paused to hold a funeral for his baby, knowing heíd be overtaken and wiped out.

It was impossible to tell whether the chauffeur was smiling unkindly through the rearview mirror at Samís cramped knees and low pigmentation. Despite the sweat guzzling heat and humidity, the guy had covered the lower half of his face with one of those white surgical masks affected by Asians with colds or halitosis, real or imagined.

How could this operator of heavy machinery have known in advance that the whore was bringing her little greasy balls of poppy tar? And, if he had known, why hadnít he felt compelled, in his capacity as the joy-rideís on-board representative of the provincial government, to blow the whistle on the tart, instead of merely taking passive measures to protect his own mouth and nose from the seductive fumes? And why hadnít he brought a mask for Sam?

The mosquitoes were so big they had body odor. The liters of plasmatic fluid theyíd already drained from Samís ankles, combined with the mollifying effects of the second-hand smoke (thick as fudge mousse in the back seat), caused famous Thumbelina Edwine to comport herself suitably in her nest of orange curls. No problem down there behind Samís zipper.

"It only takes one sperm cell, one god, one editor," he babbled out the window.

And, just as the sun was beginning to set, the tunnel of deciduous trees crumbled like socialist concrete and they came to the gate of a village, languishing in a remote quadrant of subtropical nowhere. The central authorities rented time on Israeli spy satellites to photograph places like this, in order to determine, for the first time in forty centuries, just how many population centers China might have. Tax purposes, no doubt.>/p>

As no roads capable of accommodating this tank circumvented it, the chauffeur was forced to penetrate the peculiar hamlet, but with a reluctance severe enough to be interesting. He asked Sam to close the black velvet drapes and sit back, ignorant and passive, until they came to the exit on the other side.

That, of course, only piqued curiosity further. Could this village be the reason why the whole mountain was declared off-limits? Sam determined that the curtains must be kept open, just a slit. Like Odysseus persuading his boys to tie him to the mast, Sam offered the man behind the wheel a pack of the best Flower and Willow Lane Winstons, purloined fresh from his fellow passengerís black sequined handbag while she nodded off. He further predisposed the driver in his favor by calling him shifu.

"Donít worry,Ē said Sam, pulling his outsized custom-made Lenin cap down by way of camouflage. ďIím an old China hand. I understand the delicate situation perfectly. The cops are always begging my honorable patron, your honorable boss, to keep me under wraps when I go downtown, because my sheer manly beauty causes traffic jams, like one of those anarcho-syndicalistic thingies, and—"

"This is not the same thing. Not at all."

"Oh, come off it. The mugís not that hideously pale. Is it?"

But there was something very close to fear in the soldierís eyes (for thatís what he was: regular Peopleís Liberation Army all the way). Maybe fear was on his lips, too. Red spots began to soak through the white fabric of his mask, indicating that the twin sirloins were being nervously gnawed upon. So Sam not only said okay, but meant it. For now, anyway.

The village gatekeeper skittered out of his tiny sentry box and snarled like a terrier. Like his counterparts stationed in front of every walled compound in the country, he was a territorial critter, and would piss on your hydrant if you didnít take charge and piss on his first.

Kamakura street scene ca. 1967

This uppity guy was the reason why most high- and even middle-level cadres cause their chauffeurs to be armed. The requisite hardware is not tucked under the death seat to foil counterrevolutionary assassins, but to curb these canine gatekeepers, who are made aware, through some unimaginable Pavlovian means, of exactly what types of limo come standard-equipped with Kalashnikov assault rifles.

No need for the passenger inside a Red Flag to roll down the window and state his business, nor to court snarling three-headed Cerberus by calling him shifu, or "master," while sowing at his feet an armload of snacks from the on-board ice chest, such as the black and bitter Cadbury chocolate bars with the phony French name that starts with a B, specially provided by Samís honorable patron-sugar daddy at the Foreign Affairs Ministry. Sam had no intention of sharing his yummies with anybody. The Blessed Virgin could manifest herself and offer to blow him for a bite--she was welcome to try.

At first he wondered what all the anxiety was about. It seemed to be a ghost town (one of the few things you could imagine that were impossible in China). There was nobody from whom to conceal his questionable face, just dilapidated shops and houses that would have been boarded up in a country less lumber-poor. Grey stucco, death, emptiness: it was just like Samís part of the world, minus tumbleweeds.

There was one element in the scene that stuck in his eye like a chunk of foreign matter. He looked, then looked again, and was sure he saw one of the best street drainage systems heíd come across south of the Yangtze River. Lining the edges of the avenue which the car was so isolatedly moseying down were actual gutters, clearly surveyed beforehand and executed with excellent concrete, the better to serve as definite channels for whatever fluids might run off the sidewalks and street.

The logical positivist in him tried to ask the whore if she saw them, too; but she didnít seem to grasp the question, for Sam had never learned the dialect word that might distinguish the idea of gutter from the idea of street or floor or toilet. The driver was anxious enough about letting Sam peek out, so it seemed better not to importune him for glosses on the history of this verboten townís civil engineering.

The social history of the absent or invisible burghers, on the other hand, was another matter. It was freely available, and was spewed forth as quickly as it could be improvised.

"They are, shall we say, a national minority. Yes, thatís right. Indigenous and so forth. Something not too unlike your Navaho tribesmen, Dr. Edwine. But not so, um, happy. An actual ethnic group is what they are, whom we the Han majority are selflessly trying hard to rehabilitate, reclaim and modernize—"

A point of a white-gloved finger indicated the Han presence in this so far un-peopled community: several P.L.A. regulars manning a long hose on an elephantine tanker truck that slowly approached from a side street. Sam ignored them for now.

"How do those lips taste?" he asked, as yet more scarlet roses bloomed on the surgical mask in the rearview mirror.

Samís sugar daddy had hired no obtuse chauffeur for tonightís joy ride. Sarcasm didnít necessarily escape him. He flipped his white fingers at an imaginary insect, as if to say, "Who cares what a big-nose like you believes or disbelieves? Nobody, thatís who. Youíre obviously neither a successful capitalist nor one of their pet scribblers, or you would be in Beijing right now getting fat and staying cool, instead of sweating here with me in this piss-hole, eating out of a box in the back seat of a superannuated jalopy and considering yourself to be living it up. Nobody will hear you blab about what youíre going to see in this place. Even if they did, they wouldnít care enough to believe or disbelieve. Youíre just a male Anglo Saxon from Utah-zhou, pushing middle age at that. Your complete, irremediable obscurity is the reason youíve been brought in from the extreme occidental desert to pretend to tutor the Foreign Affairs Minister, and to kiss his ass for more or less outrageous favors like tonight. So ask me anything, Dr. Nobody, and Iíll tell you the godsí honest truth, if I happen to feel like it. Meanwhile, the inmates of this hell will remain whatever the party says they are."

Sam felt he simply must take exception to that facile application of the adjective "irremediable" to his obscurity. And he wasnít so sure about the "pushing middle age" part, either. It hardly mattered that the unkind words hadnít come from the front seat, but from his own self-loathing imagination. Some vestigial trace of self esteem must have caused Samís upper body, if not his spirit, to lean forward in the seat, because the driver shouted, "No! They must not see your face!"

"Who the fuck must not see my—"

Two or three eyes peeped out from behind an overturned honey wagon halfway down the block. Something too tall stooped out of a cobwebbed doorway. Three more shambled after, their skins so unwashed that it was difficult to tell if they were clothed. The edges of the street began first to twitch, then to writhe as, one by offputting one, a hobbling mob gathered around the vintage Red Flag cadre-mobile.

"I saw some of these monsters hanging from the cliffs a while back!" cried the whore, all perked up now. "They were spying on us! You know, like monitoring our progress!"

And Sam did recall, at one point in the recent past, craning his neck at the surrounding mountainsides, his eyes tracing the vector of a orange and turquoise-crested myna, and seeing something green and rank as vegetation squirm with its own animation up there. Heíd assumed it was the opium inside his eyeballs making things undulate like the draperies in Roderick Usherís parlor. But now he felt like Siddhartha, exposed to the non-princely world for the first time.

They followed along behind the car: microcephalics, mongoloids, every sort of cripple, accompanied by other wretches less easily categorizable, who gaped and mewled and waved woven-grass alms bags, their faces contorted with puzzlement over the strange iron creature slithering through their midst.

Kamakura street scene, ca. 1967