Forbidden Fruit - JED

Old Fashioned Word Association 

Sweat stood out from his bald pate like diamonds set on brown Kraft paper. Each gem sparkled on his taught skin, stuck by surface tension to the slick tilt of his skull. He breathed out through his nose, long and low, inhaled through clenched teeth, fighting release. He was holding it in, holding himself back, waiting, waiting, for the perfect moment. Waiting. He knew it would never come. He kept pushing. Just a little longer, just a little longer.

His hands were clenched, his teeth ground little furrows into his lower lip. Hot flashes, cool flashes. He wanted it. And then, suddenly, he blew. Too soon. His hand snapped out and he took the apple, slammed it home into his mouth, felt its cool flesh crisply part and slide around his gums, over his tongue, down his throat. It was a delicious Delicious. Sweet and wet and perfectly ripe. And it could have been so much better. If he had just lasted a little longer.

 

He stood up from the table, his legs shaking beneath him, as he tossed the rapidly browning, half-eaten, apple core into the trashcan.

Geoffrey had a theory that he'd been testing for...years now? That things were only good because you wanted them. And that you only wanted what you couldn't have.

 

It had snuck up on him, slowly at first, easing into his mind like maple syrup soaking through a waffle. Things were better when you really wanted them. Food. Sleep. Sex. Pissing. All of it was exponentially improved by the desire.

 

He’d read once about appetitive and consumatory instincts; the desire to find something, and the desire to actually eat that thing you’d found. How they were in opposition, how they played off each other. He put the theory into earnest, single-minded, practice. He had the devotion of a saint and the hungers of a starving man. He was a starving man. That was what made the eating so satisfying. So satisfying that it almost made him sick. It was disgustingly beautiful.

 

Geoffrey though about Tantalus sometimes, the old Greek in Hell. He stood knee deep in a river of cool clear water, but every time he bent to take a drink the water receded just out of his reach. He waited beneath a tree bearing the most perfect, unblemished fruit, near to bursting with ripeness, but every time he reached to pick one, the wind blew it away from his desperate fingertips. It was supposed to be this awful, fiendish, ironic punishment, but Geoffrey thought it was about as close to heaven as a guy could get. If Tantalus had actually been able to grasp the fruit, to drink the water, just once, how perfect that consumption would have actually been. The ultimate moment.

 

He told all his friends about it, so often and so repetitively that many of them stopped coming round. And he practiced what he preached. He waited to eat, sometimes days. Weeks. Once almost a month, but that nearly killed him. He waited to drink until his throat had turned to grit and bone, until every breath felt like a Sirocco on the plains of his palate. He waited to masturbate, until the point where he thought he’d forgotten what an orgasm was. He even waited to shit, to the point where he felt like a human balloon, full to bursting with filth. And the pure joy of expulsion was exquisite.

 

He had experimented with various modifications of his paradigm. Itches unscratched. Toothaches un-numbed. He regularly exercised until his muscles screamed at him, until they shook and quivered like a man on a Catherine Wheel, before gloriously relaxing. And every single instance, every single test, just proved him right. The release, the consumption, the cessation, was always heightened to near-perfection. Every time he dipped down into the 8th layer of hell, it just brought him that much closer to cloud nine.

 

Of course, Geoffrey was waiting to have sex. But that was a tricky one. It wasn’t so easy as just fulfilling the desire at the moment of its apogee, at the pinnacle peak of his WANT. Because you had to have another person involved, and the coordination was a challenge. Not to mention that not that many women were all that interested in bedding a guy with his unusual proclivities, and even if they were not many were up for a marathon of on-again, off-again sex, lasting for days on end. Geoffrey had blown past tantric years ago.   

 

Lately, though, something had been tingling at the back of his mind, the urgency of a thought that wanted to be born, like a fireant bite on his brain that was starting to swell. Of course, he had put it off for as long as he could, made himself ignore it, think of other things, distracted himself with the day to day business of denial. But now, in his moment of post-apple weakness, he gave in and let the notion rise into consciousness like the tide. Maybe, it seemed suddenly, maybe there was a deeper layer. Maybe the dissatisfaction he’d lately had with the limits of his body could be overcome in a different fashion. He had come to feel that no matter how far he pushed it, or stretched himself, it was just a body. He couldn’t reach beyond the limits of ecstasy as long as he HAD to eat to live. As long as he had to sleep, toothpicks in his eyelids were worthless. He had been dissatisfied with his body for some time now. It was holding him back. If he didn’t eat, he’d die. If he didn’t drink he’d die. If he didn’t sleep he’d die. All other pleasures were peripheral.

 

But the light in his head was showing him a way to get back to basics. The deepest, most powerful, pleasure he had ever known was denial. But it was always hard to get to the peak because of his physical limitations. Until now he’d been pushing and pushing, staying up longer, eating less. But maybe he’d been pushing in the wrong direction.

 

His heart started beating faster.

 

What if he denied himself denial? What if he waited to wait? It would be a sacrifice, sure, to eat, and drink and sleep, all the time knowing that it would be so much better if he could only put it off. It would be tortuous. But then again, that was more the point. A forceful but cool calm blossomed in his chest, a thick tingling in his skin, and a euphoric dimming of his vision. He gripped the counter top to steady himself, linoleum cool and slick beneath his sweaty palm.

 

Suddenly, he dove for the trash can. Scrambling through plastic folds and discarded cardboard, frantic fingers searching for the slick, moist surface of the apple core. His hand closed on it and reflexively, passionately he crammed the whole thing back into his mouth. It made him want to gag, the crushing, suffocating scent of apples, the overwhelming texture of fruity cartilage crunching and cracking over his gums, the sudden jarring click of a seed against the ivory of his teeth. His gorge was rising. He was full, he didn’t want anymore. He kept eating, forced it all down his throat and into his distending belly. There was no pleasure in this sensory overload at all; no rush. It was disgusting. It was wonderful.

 

He finished with the apple core, and leaned back on the floor. Oversated. He’d have to work up his tolerance, couldn’t get sick on just one apple. He’d have to learn to eat again. And drinking too. Not just water either. His hand strayed over his stomach, patted the fullness there.

 

He was excited.

 

He’d denied himself to learn the pleasure of indulgence. And that had been great. How much better would it be to indulge himself to learn the pleasure of denial?

 

 The End.