Janine Pounder is a Misanthrope, Writer and, London-based Whore-Enthusiast. She has released unto us lucky folk the first chapter of her debut novel, In Search of The Main Stream.
“Andrew embarks out on a journey to find his estranged son Liam. Only to quickly become immersed within the world of freelance sex work. Where they become entwiend by events that are anything but main stream. In Search, aims to explore the nuisances of life, sex and gender for the contemporary male sex worker.
New instalments released in short stories every four weeks .
Read full first chapter here
In Search of the Mainstream
Andrew had been in the bathroom for over fifteen minutes. Hunched, naked and perspiring, he gripped the towel rail with one hand while directing his penis in the other. Holding his breath, he released short sharp streams of urine into the toilet bowl. His body trembled with every drop of fluid that vacated him, leaving a burning reminder that something wasn’t right.
‘You listening?’ she shouted again.
‘Yeah…please…just give me five minutes,’ he answered through gritted teeth.
White discharge seeped out of him. He took another deep breath and wiped. The tissue felt like sand paper against his skin so he distracted himself by focussing on the ripped vinyl floor and tobacco stained walls. The state of the bathroom had bothered him for a while, but he didn’t see the point of decorating while Lauren insisted on smoking in the bath. She argued that having a ‘fag’ in the tub helped her de-stress. Yet, her argument didn’t hold much weight, considering she'd sat on her backside for the last few years living on his modest wage.
He composed himself and returned to the bedroom to find Lauren lying in bed, eyes glued to the TV set. Her chubby little digits fumbled around the mouth of her unkempt vagina.
‘We’ve only just…really? To the news?’ He cringed, perching at the end of the bed.
‘Yeah and...? Anyway,’ she said looking around her, ‘where’s my water?’
Andrew let out a sigh and plodded back to the bathroom. He found a pint glass in the bathtub; he assumed Lauren had used it to wash her hair. He thrust it under the tap and smirked as he imagined handing her the glass, sullied with bits old toothpaste and yesterday's decay. As the glass began to overflow, it dawned on him that this wasn’t revenge; just a pathetic act of a defeated man. He rinsed it out and hurried back.
‘Here...’ he said handing Lauren the pint of water.
She kept her attention fixed on the news and she gulped it down. He resumed his position at the end of the bed, watching images of a young man appear on the TV screen.
‘What’s happened here?’ he asked.
Lauren scoffed and reached for a cigarette packet on the bedside table.
‘The lad’s in a coma, he’s a gay apparently.’ She said. A cloud of tobacco smoke travelled from her mouth and hit the back of Andrew’s head. ‘He took someone home for sex. He got more than just his back doors smashed in.’
‘Jesus, Lauren I don’t wanna know.’ Andrew flinched. ‘I don’t know why they have put all the sordid details on telly? I mean, people can live how they like but...I feel sorry for the parents.’
Andrew studied the picture of the man, Tommy McCurdy, standing next to a pixilated friend. No doubt the picture was plucked from his social media profile. He estimated that he was in his early twenties. Andrew noticed that his skeletal frame, boyish looks, wispy blonde hair and freckled face made him look effeminate.
‘Is he wearing makeup?’ he asked pointing at the screen.
Lauren lent forward to take a closer look. ‘Could be wearing blusher, either that or he has rosy cheeks.’
‘My arse! I swear he has that lash stuff on, or whatever you women call it.’ He said shaking his head. ‘Fucking hell, what’s this world coming to, eh?’ He couldn’t imagine his son being like that.
Then he remembered.
Andrew pinched the bridge of his nose, squeezing away the intrusive memories of his past life. Lauren started to yap over the chimes of the ten ‘o’ clock news as the world’s horrors, summarised in short sentences, raced across the bottom of the TV screen.
‘Oi, did you hear me?’
‘What? No…’ Andrew looked up, rubbing his forehead.
‘Look at me so I know you’re listening.’
'Go on then,' he sighed. 'What do you want?’
‘Hannah needs twenty pounds for tomorrow.’
Hannah was Andrew’s stepdaughter. After a somewhat swift relationship between Andrew and Lauren, he had taken her on as his own. Her father was out of the picture; Andrew could understand as Hannah was the image of her mother. Her ass was smaller and her tits were firmer but they had the same ash blonde hair, bulbous nose and acne-scarred skin.
‘What does she want it for?’ he asked, watching Lauren drop her cigarette into the pint glass. ‘Can’t she get a job? She’s seventeen.’
‘Don’t start’ Lauren snapped. ‘She has got a new boyfriend, Ashley or something. He has a car apparently, and they’re going out tomorrow. I don’t want him paying for her, you know what young lads are like. He’ll buy her a MacDonald’s and then demand all sorts.’
‘Well, shouldn’t he pay if they’re going on a date?’
She pointed her pink manicured claw at Andrew. ‘I want my girl to be independent.’ She said prodding the empty space between them. ‘I told her you would leave it on the mantel.’
Lauren's bag started to vibrate. Andrew turned to see her bolt out of bed, her flab flapping like a flag at half-mast. Andrew joked that he hadn’t seen her move that fast in years, but she ignored him as she rummaged through her black PVC studded handbag. Andrew hated the thing; he found she had a tendency to choose accessories that made her look like a hooker. She pulled out her pink diamanté flip phone.
‘Put the kettle on.’ She ordered, staring at the screen of her phone.
‘Who’s phoning you at this hour?’
‘Mind your own business,’ she snapped climbing back into bed. ‘Put the fucking kettle on.’
He slapped his hands against his thighs, let out a sigh and made his way downstairs followed by an added demand for chocolate biscuits. Halfway down, he became aware of his nudity. Images of Hannah walking through the front door flashed through his mind. He considered going back to get his dressing gown but as Lauren was keen to get him out of the way, he decided against it.
He returned holding two mugs of tea and packet of chocolate biscuits dangling from his mouth. Feeling the heat travel from the mugs to his knuckles, he hurried to put the drinks down on the bedside table. Lauren flinched, holding her phone close to her chest.
‘What’s up?’ He asked. ‘I’ve brought you what you wanted for God’s sake.’
‘It’s nothing. I don’t want you crowding me.’ She said, shooing him away. ‘I’ve just heard from Lisa; she’s having trouble with John.’
Andrew had never taken interest in Lauren’s friends. Though one drunken evening John had confided in him that he'd taken a job as a lorry driver so he could screw other women while out on the road. Lisa was as hefty and as foul-mouthed as Lauren so Andrew kept it to himself, enjoying the fact that he had one over on them. Andrew sat back at the end of the bed, trying to hide the smirk that creeped across his face.
Lauren finished composing her text and turned her attention turning to the tea and biscuits. Andrew fumbled with the TV remote, distracting himself from the noise of eating and slurping. She reminded him of a cement mixer, shovelling food into herself and sloshing it around in her gut. She always wanted more, to consume more, sniffling, snuffling, bloating, belching...
Andrew concentrated on watching a reality show about the Met police. A group of teenagers in Bermondsey were shown having an argument with two police officers. The police ordered them to move on, saying they were intimidating local residents. They looked harmless enough. Andrew remembered that everyone used to be out gossiping in the street when he was a lad growing up in Barnsley. Things just weren’t the same nowadays, of course. Communities had all but disappeared, since immigration and Thatcher. Though, he chuckled, the old witch had saved him from following the footsteps of his father, living a life amongst the darkness and dirt of the Pit.
Andrew’s felt a sudden chill as the tiny hairs at the back of his head began to stand on end. He knew she was watching him. His heartbeat rose as he dutifully turned around to face her. She stared at him with a half-raised smile, ready to be entered again.
‘Read for round two?’ she asked before licking away the droplets of tea from around the edge of her mouth.
He shuffled up the bed and positioned himself next to her, trying to conjure up images that would make him erect. Crumbs covered the bed, they had even found there way within folds of her neck. He grabbed her breast in a disguised attempt to brush the chocolate brown flecks off her chest. He closed his eyes and nuzzled her hair inhaling the aromas of tobacco smoke, sex and sweet perfume. She reached out to him but he shoved her hand away.
‘Don’t touch me.’ He ordered as she looked up at him with a wry smile.
He held her by her wrists and climbed on top her. Looking at her greedy expectant face, he took a moment to decide who he would visualise underneath him today. Making his selection he thrust inside her in quick, empty bursts imagining her to be the only person she cherished, her daughter, Hannah.
Copyright Janine Pounder (2016)