Ms. Wright jogs along a sidewalk, her knees pumping waist-high in front of her, thighs stretched tight inside black bicycle shorts. Breasts bouncing, swinging side to side, strapped inside a white sports bra. Elbows bent L-shaped, hands limp and flapping loose at each wrist. Feet slapping the concrete sidewalk in tennis shoes. Her stomach skin, tight and tan. No stretch marks. Nothing to show for being a mother. At her crotch, the black spandex stretches to cover a small bulge. Bigger than camel toe. Swelling bigger than moose knuckle. Way bigger than a clit. Ms. Wright’s crotch swells, bulges, bounces. Another stride, her foot stamping concrete, and the bump inside her bicycle shorts starts to inch down one spandex leg.
We’re jogging alongside a park of green grass. Ms. Wright, glancing at the pages of a three-ring binder I carry. Each page, a clear plastic sleeve that shows six Polaroid snapshots. Each picture a man’s head and shoulders numbered in black felt-tipped pen along the bottom edge. The six hundred—plus vein-drainers who signed aboard our project. These shank-shuckers and baby-barfers. The tadpole-tossers who passed their hepatitis screening. With one hand, I grip the top edge of the binder, pressing it into my waist. My other hand turns each page, my fingers twisted around a pen. With every footfall, the binder bruises my bellybutton. The heavy hundred-plus pages. The bump inside Ms. Wright’s shorts, it stops a moment, hung up by the elastic band around the bottom of the leg. The spandex and elastic bend, blossom, burp, and a pink ball drops, shining wet, bouncing one, two, three dark spots of damp on the gray concrete. Ms. Wright says, “Fuck.” Whispers the word, slapping her leg where the ball slipped out. The pink ball bounces four, five, six spots backward on the sidewalk behind us. Seven, eight, nine wet spots, and a dog leaps from the grass to snatch the ball in its teeth. This black dog—sleek as a seal on stick legs, small as a cat with pointed ears—its black gums snap shut on the pink ball, and the dog races away across the grassy park. Stopped, watching the dog shrink, smaller and farther, Ms. Wright says, “You know that movie, Wizard of Oz?” She says, “The dog that played Toto was a cairn terrier named Terry.” Watching her pink ball disappear in the distance, Ms. Wright says, “In the scene where the witch’s guards, they chase Toto out of the castle, in the final take, one of the guards, halfway across the castle drawbridge, he made a flying tackle and landed on poor Terry. Broke the Toto dog’s back leg.” The dog was off the picture for weeks. True fact. Back to jogging, her knees pumping, her hands flapping loose, Ms. Wright keeps talking. That same Wizard of Oz movie, the actor Buddy Ebsen almost died from an allergic reaction to aluminum dust, part of his costume as the Tin Woodsman. The actor Margaret Hamilton was supposed to leave Munchkinland in a ball of flames, only the flash fire ignited her green copper-oxide makeup, setting fire to her face and right hand. Buddy Ebsen lost his part to Jack Haley. Margaret Hamilton lay in bed for six weeks, wrapped in gauze and Butesin Picrate. Ms. Wright glances down at the six Polaroids I’m holding. The next six cum-casters and pudding-pullers. Jogging along, she says, “Actors have done lots worse stuff for their craft.” The pink ball, she says it was molded from silicone. Two-point-five ounces. Twenty millimeters in diameter. A Kegel exercise. You put the ball inside and tense your pelvic floor. Used to be, Asian women would insert two metal balls with mercury inside their hollow cores. The mercury would shift all day, rolling the balls, stimulating the women, getting them hotter as the weight of the balls strengthened their pussy muscle. Their husbands came home, and those revved-up housewives would fuck them at the front door. True fact. Too bad the mercury would tend to leak out, Ms. Wright says. Drive them nuts. Poison them to death. Nowadays, most Asian girls go around with jade balls inside. The stronger you get, the more weight you can carry. Jogging now, the crotch of her shorts swell. The spandex stretches thin, the color going from black to dark gray. Another stride, and something pops out the elastic leg. Thuds on the sidewalk, ricocheting, skipping, skidding, to land in the gutter. Round as a tennis ball, white, but smooth and veined as marble or onyx stone. It’s a Kegel-exercise stone, Ms. Wright says, stooping to lift it with both hands. Two and one-half pounds. Wiping the stone against the leg of her shorts, brushing dead leaves and grains of dirt from it, Ms. Wright says, “A couple months of hauling this, and my pussy could go to the Olympics ...” All of this, training for World Whore Three. She says a real movie star is willing to suffer. In that Singin’ in the Rain movie from 1952, the actor Gene Kelly danced the title song, take after take, for days, with a fever of 103 degrees. To make the rain look right on film, the production used water mixed with milk, and there was Gene Kelly, dog-sick but splashing and soaked in sour milk, smiling happy as the best day in his life. In 1973, some movie called The Three Musketeers, Oliver Reed got to sword-fighting in a windmill, and somebody stabbed his throat. Just about bled him to death. Dick York trashed his spine while filming a movie called They Came to Cordura in 1959. Kept acting despite the pain until 1969, as the witch’s husband in Bewitched. Spent fourteen episodes in the hospital and lost the role. Ms. Wright shrugs her shoulders, still jogging, her hands tossing the exercise stone back and forth, the weight making her biceps muscles pulse big with each catch. She nods for me to turn the page. Trading this crop of ceiling-spacklers for the next six weasel-teasers. Turning the plastic page, I tell how Annabel Chong compared a gang bang to running a marathon. Sometimes you felt full of energy. Other times you felt exhausted. Then you’d get your second wind and feel your energy rise. The actor Lorne Greene, Ms. Wright says, who did the TV show Bonanza, years later he was filming his other show, Lorne Greene’s New Wilderness, and an alligator bit off his nipple. Saying this, she’s looking at the Polaroids. Her knees pumping, her boobs bouncing, her eyes stay fixed on one single picture. A young carpet-seeder. Number 72. Same eyes as her, same mouth. Nice. Not somebody who’d bite off your nipple. For my part, I’ve tried to pace the gang bang the way Messalina would, spreading out the ugly yogurt-yankers, the old and obese bone-honers, the dirty and deformed gland-handlers as far as possible. A monster inserted between every eight or ten ordinary sea-monkey sprayers. Ms. Wright nods at a familiar face, joystick-jerker number 137, and she says, “He’s hot . . .” A washed-up TV ham looking to toss some baby gravy. At Ms. Wright’s crotch, something new swells under the black spandex. The bump jiggles down her leg. Pops under the elastic. Flashes bright green across the sidewalk and is gone into a storm drain, rattling, banging, pinballing down metal pipes in the dark. “Fuck,” Ms. Wright says, watching it gone, “that one was genuine jade.” The two of us, heads bent to stare into the iron grate of the storm drain, I say how Aristotle used to write philosophy while holding a heavy iron ball in one hand. The moment he’d start to fall asleep, his fingers would relax, and the ball would crash to the floor. The noise woke him, and he’d keep working. “Aristotle?” Ms. Wright says. She looks from the storm drain to me. Yeah, I say. True fact. Ms. Wright’s eyes squint, narrow, and she says, “The man who married Jackie O?” And I say yeah. Turn the clear plastic page in my three-ring binder. Show her another six Florida-floggers. Ms. Wright tells me how the famous lover Casanova used to stuff two silver balls inside the ladies he was dating. He claimed it prevented pregnancy, the silver did, because it was a tiny bit poison. The same reason why folks wanted to eat food with silverware, because silver kills bacteria. Vaginal weights, she calls them. Some ring with bells inside them. Some could be little rolling pins. Some in the shape of chicken eggs. You carry them while you run or bicycle or do housework. Jogging along, tossing the stone from palm to palm, where it lands with a hard clap, Ms. Wright says, “My only beef with jogging is when I rattle.” She says, “Sometimes I feel like I’m a can of spray paint.” The stone smacking into her other palm, the sound of one hand clapping. I turn another page in my three-ring binder. Another six fly-fishers. At rifle rubber number 600, Ms. Wright says, “Good ol’ Branch Bacardi ...” Looking into the distance, the green grass horizon where the dog disappeared, Ms. Wright says, “That cairn terrier? That little dog Terry, who played Toto in the Wizard of Oz movie? You know that pooch is still around?” When the dog died, the owners had Terry stuffed and mounted. In 1996, the dog sold at auction for eight thousand dollars. True fact. “Toto wasn’t even a boy dog. Terry was a girl,” Ms. Wright says. “Even dead, that girl is still making people money.” Something round and heavy, it’s already inching down one leg of her shorts.