Thomas Stewart is a young fiction writer, essayist, and poet. He regularly features in Litro Magazine, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Storgy, The Stockholm Review and many others. His debut poetry pamphlet is soon to launch and you can follow him on twitter here.
"“Nobody wanted Masked Man. One editor essentially told me to go into the bathroom and scrub my mouth out. ‘This is porn!’ he exclaimed. It was the use of the word ‘porn’ that irked me. A simple one word could trivialise my work, reduce it down to something smutty, best forgotten and never address in polite company‘
It’s pornographic yes, but not porn.’ In a world, so very obsessed with sex, I find it humorous that people are still scared of it.
They speak in codes. Huddled forbidden whispers of, ‘You know…s-ex’ –like a teacher would jump out the page and cane them for their thoughts. Masked Man is a sex story, but is about disguises and curiosities. Sex as a means of fulfilment, as a way of gathering meaning and the hidden games we play."
Read full short story here
He shows me a photograph of a man on his knees wearing a mask. A man with a dick in his mouth, sucking, looking from cut out holes. He shows it to me and says, “I will ask him for us” and in that moment we are partners, it’s his treat to me, his favour, my birthday present. I’m asking for you, for us, and all I can think is: who is this man? Why does he wear a mask?
“Does he come with it?” I ask.
“Yes,” he says.
And I don’t like the mask. It’s inhuman.
“He’s straight. Has a girlfriend.”
Wearing the mask, a reconciliation. It’s not him, not his doing, he’s not sucking, the man in the mask is, and when he wears it he is not him. I think about what he sees, think about those slits and droopy holes. I think about the taste of dick and pre-cum, going from one to another, down on his knees. We serves us in our chairs. We are separated by his mask.
I watch all kinds of porn. I watch two guys fuck a girl on a desk – tell us how much you want this job. I watch a gay guy and his friend beating off over some porn – let me help you out, it doesn’t count if I suck it. Threesomes, dicks in mouths, fingers in holes – let me fuck you with my finger, fuck your tight hole. I think of guys asking me questions, the confessions, their fetishes. Can I piss on you? You ever fool around with your brother? You ever wanked off on the bus on the way home? Wear a mask. My dick in my hand, jerking off over porn, I think of the mask and the man between my legs, sucking and swallowing, hidden behind the blackness, a faceless being, not our own. I lose my erection, it is limp in my hand, disobedient. My body no longer belongs to me.
He says, “are you free later?” and I look to my limp dick and think, am I? Think, why couldn’t I be? Am I really going to do this? And I do. I am. I’m walking. Walking to his house, one foot in front of the other, in the sun.
I walk and think about fucking the man in the mask, not knowing him.
I step into the house and move into the room where he’s waiting, as always, on the sofa, dick in hand. He’s naked. I join. I undress in front of him and I see his dick get harder. I sit down beside him. The man in the mask is nowhere to be seen. Not here yet. I want to ask but I don’t, I just look down at his dick then at my own, get it out, join and we’re both working together, we’re partners again, this is how things work. There’s a schedule, a timetable, broken by the sound of the door, then footsteps.
The masked man is in the doorway. Fully dressed – does he not undress? – and wearing the mask. The man in the mask stands, does not move, just watches us. Did he wear the mask down the street? Did he pull it out of his pocket before he came through the door? It’s black. Black with two round holes cut out and I can see his eyes are dark brown, somewhat ebony. His hands are large at his sides, his shoulders broad. He’s muscular, abs popping out of his shirt, his head covered. The man in the mask walks forward and I feel my friend’s hand against my leg, he’s pulling on it, easing his own leg on top of mine so we’re looped, our arms touching. The man in the mask gets down. It’s slow, comforting. Suddenly, if not randomly, he’s got my dick in his mouth and he’s sucking it, hard.
There’s teeth. A lot of teeth. Hard against the sides, gnawing. His tongue is introduced. He’s circling it around the tip and down, slowly, better, much better. I look, see the silky black on his head, this puppet bobbing back and forth. I see my friend, and he is my friend, he has given me this gift, this man in the mask, he is looking at me, me, there, getting serviced. His mouth is open, like he’s something shocking and the intrigue terrifies him. He kisses my lips, barely, and falls down to my neck, sucking and biting it. I hear his moan, when the man in the mask goes for him, taking his cock all the way in his mouth, going harder now. I wonder if my friend is also in pain or if he likes the pain. I watch.
I watch as my friend gets his dick sucked and this man in the mask, this man who has come from the street, who has walked in and been disguised is sucking away. A man who has done this and doesn’t want anyone to know. I think about whether I will cross him in the street, may see him looping arms with his girlfriend, kissing her with the lips that had my dick, my come. I wouldn’t know. I wouldn’t know who I was looking at, a man who was down there, tending to my most precious part.
The man in the mask pulls his head up, gathers his breath. With the holes I can see that he blinks, looks at both of us again, urging us to keep going on ourselves. I do but I can’t. I can’t sit here with the puppet staring at me. I can’t sit here and have him take my come, shoot my load into his mouth. The man in the mask blinks again, he’s going to have one of us for the second time. I reach out, grab the tip of his mask, and pull.
The mask is down on the wooden floor and the room is nothing but silence. We are clothed now. My friend is silent as he scurries around the room barefoot, picking up the last dregs of socks and underpants. I put on my shoes, tying my laces, wishing they’d hurry up. I hadn’t expected the man in the mask to run, if anything I’d expected him to yell, maybe break our noses, kill us. But he did run, the minute I pulled off the mask he got up and ran to the door, sprinting outside. I caught his face, the thick eyebrows and brown hair. The man in the mask was a handsome man but he ran before I could say anything, do anything. Ran before I could maybe grab his bulge and take out his dick, see what he would do. Ran before I could tell my friend to eat his asshole and see what he would do with that. Ran before I could ask why did he put on the mask, what was he ashamed of?
“I’ll see you again,” I say to my friend who is now in the kitchen, making tea.
He looks at me, make a sort of “yeah” noise and I leave.
The street is cold, I wonder if the man in the mask was cold also. I wonder if he ran down the entire street, mortified. I walk, past cars, past houses, past people. The street smells of chimney smoke, the ground is hard and cold. Beneath my feet, a mask, black, with two cut-out holes. I bend down, pick it up, feel the fabric between my fingers, as I had when I snatched it from him. I stuff it in my pocket and keep walking. Walk faster. I want to get home, I want to put it on, be the man in the mask.
I turn the corner and beneath my feet, another. Another silky black with two holes, the same size for the same head. I pick it up, caress it, push it into my pocket, walk again. I walk faster, wanting to run but don’t. There aren’t people on this street, I am alone, with my masks and ahead of me, another and as I pick it up, another again, more and more as I keep walking, keep walking faster, as fast as I can, more and more of this breadcrumb trail of masks, all the way home.