On Saturday night of week three we gather at my
apartment. Brad and Anne, having already been through
it, can be trusted to be fair. Brad puts six poker
chips in a basket and shakes them up. Anne draws. It’s
“Oh, I can’t do it today.” she says. “I’m not feeling
well. I’ll do it next week, I’ll come early, we won’t
have to choose.”
It’s always best to ignore such outbursts. Three of us
draw for tasks. Jeremy gets Positioning, Art Scourging.
I get Succor.
Mona turns her back on us as she undresses.
“Where is the loincloth?” she asks.
“In the bathroom. Be sure to go before you put it on.”
I look at Mona’s butt as she leaves the room.
In a few minutes she comes out. She has medium sized
white breasts with small pink nipples. We go into the
smaller bedroom. The cross is on the floor. She lies on
the bed, face up, trembling. The bed creaks. Art goes
into the kitchen and puts on the gloves I have placed
beside the planter. He strips off two leaves and
returns to the bedroom. He caresses her left breast.
For a moment she is calm. Then she cries out as the
tiny nettle hairs drive acid beneath her skin. He
smoothes her right breast with the other leaf. Now both
breasts flame pink. Her nipples are erect.
Jeremy has her raise her body so he can slide the cross
underneath. He ties her wrists to the crossbar with
smooth rope. We don’t use nails. He slides the dowels
holding the foot platforms into the right position.
Then we all work to raise the cross. Now she hangs,
some of her weight on her arms, most on her feet which
she must stretch to reach the supports. She is already
crying. We fix the cross into its base. We leave and go
out into the living room, leaving her door open.
The conversation is desultory. We listen to her moans
in the background. When they stop, we look at each
other. It’s not time to take her down, but we go in.
Something has gone horribly wrong. She is hanging at an
odd angle, apparently unconscious. The dowel under her
right foot has broken off. Her arch is red. More blood
stains the cross where her foot has scrabbled. I put my
hands on her waist and push up, relieving the strain on
her arms. She opens her eyes and groans.
Jeremy slices through the ropes. She falls forward
against me, her useless arms flopping across my
shoulders. We carry her into the bathroom and seat her
on the lid of the commode. Dawn goes to the kitchen and
returns with a sports drink. She has to feed it to Mona
slowly since she can’t hold a glass. I wash off her
foot, take a look. It seems to be a shallow abrasion. I
spread antibiotic salve, bandage it. Mona slowly
recovers, starts to talk, even smiles, relieved.
She has been sweating heavily. I take off my clothes
and turn on the shower. Mona stands up shakily. I grasp
the Velcro straps on her loincloth and pull. I can
smell urine as I take it off. The others leave the room
as I guide her into the shower.
I grasp the soap and lave her, top to bottom, back to
front. At certain times she gasps and quivers. Her
breasts are still tender. I rinse off the soap and
salt. She waits while I wash myself. She doesn’t offer
to help. She was shy last week, too. I help her out of
the stall and gently towel her dry. She smiles at one
point, grasps my arm, directs me in a certain way. I
dry myself and we go out into the living room.
They are happy to see her recovery. We all go into the
master bedroom. There is no cross here, only four
single beds. I lay Mona down, face up. Her breasts are
still too tender to touch. I spread her legs and
prepare her with my fingers, lips, tongue. The others
have paired up and are removing their clothes. They
rustle and murmur.
When I enter Mona, she speaks my name softly. Soon four
couples are calling out joyously. We encourage each
other. I think about the other women. Who will I have
Afterwards, we rest in each other’s arms until the
others begin to dress. They thank, they praise. I pull
on some shorts and stand by the door.
“Goodbye, goodbye, see you next week.” Next week there
will be only five chips in the basket.
Mona will stay the night. As we drift off, I ask a
“Why did you sign up?”
“Because I wanted to see what He went through for us.”
“But they used nails. It was much, much harder for
“Yes, I know.” she says, apprehensively.