Emily, a divorced high school teacher whose ex-husband gambled away their retirement fund, whacked me in the chest with a baseball bat.
“Harder. Like Barry Bonds”
“Nevermind. Just swing with all your force. Let it rip. Don’t hold back.”
She looked at me like I was an alien, then swung again, this time with a bit of rage. I could feel my ribs crack.
“Yes, exactly like that.” I paid her and she left. What I was looking for didn’t happen. She was the first one, but she wasn’t the right one.
It started with a simple tweet. I will pay you to hurt me. Women only. Send me a DM for details. It went viral. My inbox was filled with women wanting to hurt me. I asked each of them why they wanted to do it. Lots of answers ranging from an abusive relationship to issues with mommy or daddy or they’re just broke and needed the cash.
After Emily came Becky. She was petite and wearing a yellow sundress. Her boyfriend had fucked her best friend on Christmas Eve.
“Can I ask you something?”
“Why do you want me to hurt you? I can’t figure it out.”
I can’t either, to be honest. “Well, I have this theory that through physical pain there will be some kind of awakening. Like pain will change me, a metamorphosis if you will. Does that make sense?”
“Not at all. Shall we begin?”
“Go for it.”
She reached into her red Coach purse and pulled out some brass knuckles, put them on her right hand. “I’m so excited.”
I was dead inside. “Me too.”
Becky busted me up pretty good. Straight to the nose. Blood and tears spilled out. But, once again, nothing. I was the same as I’ve always been.
I’ve never felt anything my whole life. Not love. Not sadness or happiness. Not anger. Not jealousy or remorse. My mind is a blank space. A void.
I’ve been hurt by 35 women. 17 broken noses, 8 stab wounds, 13 black eyes, 26 broken bones, 3 punctured lungs, and a skull fracture. I’ve spent a lot of time in the hospital. It’s been an exhausting two years. After all the damage, all the blows, I still felt nothing. I was beyond frustrated. Well, until #36 came along.
Jennifer sent me a long DM talking about striking a literal blow to patriarchy and other political and societal stuff that I didn’t really understand. She used a lot of exclamation points.
She walked into my house carrying a metal toolbox. Jennifer meant business, which was fine by me. Her hair was cut in a stylish bob and she had the kind of face that made me wonder why any man would want to harm or disrespect her.
“So, how does this work?”
“Just do it. It’s as simple as that.”
Her smile had bad intentions. “No small talk or anything?”
She reached into her toolbox, pulled out a drill. “Take off your shoes and socks.”
I stared at her for a beat, then I did as I was told.
Jennifer got on her knees, pressed the drill bit on top of my left foot, and squeezed the trigger, powering through until she punctured the wooden floor beneath my foot.
My screams were louder than the drill, but not her laughter. And it was that laugh, which sounded like birdsong covered in lava, that caused a tremor inside me. Movement. Something important and foreign.
I pulled out my wallet to pay her.
“What are you doing?”
She shook her head. “We aren’t done yet, Josh. Not even close. I’m going to seriously fuck you up.”
Dear Lord, it felt like 5000 volts shot through me, from my heart to my stomach. What was happening to me?
She proceeded to fuck me up, emptying her toolbox on me. Wrenches, chisels, pliers, vice grips. I welcomed all of it. Unrelenting pain had never felt so good.
Jennifer tended to my wounds. Despite her affinity for bodily harm, she was gentle with me now. She wasn’t like the other women, who all seemed to just want to relieve stress or something. Jennifer was unique, she had a purpose.
“You ready for another round?”
“My body is your canvas.”
She climbed on top of me, straddling me. A position of control. Jennifer leaned down, her hair brushing my cheek, and whispered in my ear. “Can I choke you while we fuck?”
That was the most erotic thing any human had ever said to me. “Please do.”
A week later she called me. “I’m thinking Olive Garden and a movie tonight. What do you think?”
“Authentic Italian food sounds wonderful.”
She came to my house at 5:30. Her skirt was tiny, her blouse was revealing, and my heart was pounding all weird and shit.
“Jesus, you look stunning.”
“You’re sweet. And I like your face. But I was thinking we could skip the dinner and movie and do something more risqué. You game?”
“What do you have in mind?”
Her smile swallowed me whole. She reached into her large, black purse and pulled out a hammer, headed to the bedroom. I followed.
She once again straddled me. “Do you want the blunt end or the claw?”
“You know what I want.”
Jennifer turned the hammer around in her hand, then raised her arm high in the air and held it there.
And it was at that exact moment that I realized what had been lost to me my entire life was now found. She had transformed me. Everything that came before her was dead and buried. I was a new man now. And I was in love. She now possessed my heart, soul, and mind.
The hammer came down. I didn’t feel any pain. I didn’t feel anything but pure happiness. The kind of happiness that made me want to cry.
Biography: Chris Milam lives in Middletown, Ohio. His stories have appeared in Jellyfish Review, JMWW, Lumiere Review, Molotov Cocktail, Reckon Review, Lost Balloon, and elsewhere. You can find him on Twitter @Blukris.