6 Filmmaking Tips From Darren Aronofsky

1. The Body is a Medium: “Wrestling some consider the lowest art—if they would even call it art—and ballet some people consider the highest art. But what was amazing to me was how similar the performers in both of these worlds are. They both make incredible use of their bodies to express themselves.”

2. Let the story dictate the form: “Early on, I was very observant of film’s rules. Now I realize that audiences don’t care about that. They just want stories…My whole thing is that the story dictates the visual style, as opposed to Alejandro Jodorowsky or Wes Anderson, where their strong style is part of every story they tell.”

3. The real moment exists between action and cut: “The closest I get to the unconscious is between ‘Action!’ and ‘Cut!’ When the actor is in the Michael Jordan zone, dunking high above the rim in super-high resolution, I become aware of what the camera is shooting without seeing my screen—I’m in the movie, feeling what the audience will feel. And then, after ‘Cut!,’ the reality of limited time and money floods back, and I think, Fuck, can I get another hit before I’ve got to leave?”

4. Bring the story to the audience’s doorstep

5. Do it again

6. Some Ideas are Simply Incompatible with Hollywood: “Toss out everything everything you can imagine about Batman! Everything! We’re starting completely anew.”

 

Source.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Pop-Tart

Look at this photograph. Examine the exotic sugar rubies coating the surface pairing well with the marshmallow-white frosting. This elite double team of oral pleasure compliments the freshly baked crust harvested from the wheat fields at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro. The ingredients are then flown to Venice where specialists examine the acquired goods and, if they’re of only the most exceptional quality, they give the green light for production. Mixed, shaken, baked, sprinkled, and cooled, the finished products endure the packaging process in an underground cellar in Paris where F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote Tender is the Night. One sample is pulled from the batch and flown on a private jet from an unknown hangar at an unspecified time to parliament where the decadent treat is heavily scrutinized by a board of aristocrats and the Royal Family. If visually appealing, it makes it to phase two of inspection.

The individual bestowed with the responsibility of tasting the pastry is chosen by the people of the world. Ballots are cast and collected from all reaches of the earth from the Sandwich Islands to North Dakota and the tribes of Budapest. The United Nations serve as a type of electoral college who also perform a full physical on the elected taste tester. After being knighted by the queen of England, the Chosen One is ready for the tasting ceremony.

The ceremony takes place at the Vatican in the presence of one first grade class, one UPS deliveryman, a Professor of History (also serving as a scribe to record this momentous event), one scientist, five randomly selected civilians from around the globe, and the Dalai Lama. The Chosen One is clad in only a white silk robe and has their head shaved and tattooed. The world waits. Will it taste good?

The Chosen One removes the treat from a gold platter lined with diamonds and sapphires. Sniffs it. Mouth waters. Brings it to their mouth and takes a generous bite. Those in attendance are at the edge of their seats, some begin to perspire. The Chosen One chews for a solid two minutes to fully exhaust their sense of taste. If the pastry is of the most exceptional quality, the Chosen One will drop dead. The first grade class put their hands together and pray that the Chosen One dies. Everyone wants the Chosen One dead so bad. “Don’t ruin this for us,” the UPS man thinks. The Chosen One swallows, loses his footing, and falls to the floor. The Chosen One is dead.

Everyone shoots to their feet, roaring with applause. Tears are shed for the martyr that has given the world its greatest gift. A moment of silence for the Chosen One. Moment over. The United Nations alert Kellogg’s that production of Pop-Tarts is to commence immediately. The world weeps collective tears of ecstasy. Babies are born and named after famous flavors. Cookies n Cream, Raspberry, Blueberry, Hot Fudge Sundae, strawberry, AND PLAIN. I rushed to the market searching for a box of Pop-Tarts. I snatched the Strawberry off the shelf and ran out of the store without paying. Sorry. I get home and back-flip up the stairs to the kitchen, rip open the box and unwrap my nutritious breakfast. I fix my eyes on this glorious sight. I cry. I cry because this work of art and personification of the divine is sacrificing itself so that I may, for the briefest of moments, satisfy my empty stomach. In memory of strawberry Pop-Tart 2/1/2013 1:30 PM – 2/1/2013 1:34 PM. 

Tommy and the Trees of Madness

 

The screen door flew open as the young blond-haired boy burst out carrying a pile of toys nestled against his chest. He made his way to the edge of the property near the forest and dropped them on the ground, sending a toy ball rolling past the trees and into the woods. He didn’t think much of it for he was too busy placing his toy cars side-by-side to get them ready for the grand prix. He picked up a small twig and held it like a microphone.

“Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, welcome to the North American circuit, home of the finest racers and the fastest cars. Please, if you haven’t already, place your bets on the car you think will beat them all. Captain Hurley is the favored pick. Did ya see his performance last week, Jack? Oh I sure did, Tommy. Who could miss such a grand performance of speed and endurance? Right you are, Jack.”

Tommy pulled some grass out of the ground where the track would be. After a fair amount of tugging and pulling, he pressed his hands against the ground to smooth it out.

“The drivers have taken their places,” Tommy said. “Wait, Jack, where’s Crazy Charles? Your guess is as good as mine, Tommy.”

Tommy did a quick scan of the yard around him.

“He’s gotta be around here somewhere. Crazy Charles never bails right before a race!”

Tommy grabbed a toy car that was hidden under a small pile of grass.

“No worries, ladies and gentleman. Crazy Charles is pulling to the starting line right now. Drivers, start your engines!”

Making his best efforts at imitating the sounds of a growling engine, Tommy blew forth a shower of spit  from the wild vibration of his lips. He then started counting down from 10. Tommy set the faux microphone down and focused his hands on the shiny die-cast metal cars before him.

“10…9…8…7…”

More engine noises, more spit.

“6…5…4…3…”

When suddenly, the small toy ball he lost earlier rolled into his makeshift arena. Tommy fixed a confused look on the object, staring at it as if it were some foreign artifact. He then looked up and into the forest looking for whoever it was that rolled him the ball. There was no one that he could see, just the same old trees standing as still as statues.

That’s when he heard it. Someone was calling his name.

“Tommy,” it said. “Tommy, come here.”

Curious, Tommy slowly rose to his feet, gripping one of the toy cars in his left hand.

“Come here, Tommy I’m not going to hurt you,” it said.

Without saying a word, Tommy slowly walked to the forest’s edge. “Who is it?”

“A friend.”

The voice was neither male nor female. It was almost like a combination of both. Like an overlapped monotone voice of a man and woman.

“A friend?” Tommy asked.

“Yes.”

“Well, then come out. Let me see you.”

“I’m right here, Tommy. I’m right in front of you.”

Tommy took a single step back looking up and down, left and right. “Stop it, this isn’t funny.” His voice began to tremble. “Come out and show me who you are.”

“Foolish boy,” said the voice as one of the trees began to twist and turn like a towel being wrung dry.

In awe, Tommy watched as the tree in front of him became animated, stretching its branches out on all sides as if emerging from a deep slumber. The sounds of creaking lumber echoed through the forest, leaves sprinkled the ground while lush vegetation seemed to sprout along the trees exterior, starting near its roots and spiraling up to its apex. A few birds called out and flew from the forest annoyed by the sudden disturbance.

Tommy swallowed. “Are you… Are you my friend?”

“Yes, dear boy. That’s what I’ve been telling you all along, have I not?” The tree let out a final sigh that produced a sound beyond description. As if the tree were expelling its impurities while consuming the energy around it.

Tommy took a step closer, closely examining the patterns in the bark, captivated by its maze-like quality. After several seconds of admiring this grand tree, Tommy said, “Do you have a name?”

The tree laughed a long, echoed laugh that seemed distant yet genuine.

“Of course I have a name. Call me Crusoe.”

“Crusoe,” Tommy said. “Nice to meet you, Crusoe.”

The branches of the tree lowered, almost as if the tree were attempting some bizarre type of bow.

“And what about me?” came a sharp, high-pitched voice.

Tommy jumped. The voice had come from right next to him and he immediately noticed a second tree, equally as exquisite and enamored with the jewels of nature.

“What are you called, Mr. tree?” said Tommy.

“Mister tree? I am no mister!”

Tommy apologized. “You’re a lady?”

“Of course! Just look at my vibrant leaves, my delicate branches that reach far and wide, observe the curves in my trunk and the beautiful flowers that sprout from my bark.”

“I didn’t know there were girl trees,” Tommy said.

“That’s absurd!” the tree cried.

Tommy tucked his chin into his chest, slightly embarrassed. A small, thin branch stretched out to Tommy’s face, stroking it softly. “It’s alright, Tommy. I’m not mad at you,” she said. “Chin up, young man.”

Tommy looked up at the tree. “What are you called?”

“Lisanne. And don’t call me Liz for short.”

“I won’t, don’t worry,” Tommy said. He watched as the growth on the trees began to move like waves running towards the shore. The leaves became afflicted with bright shades of blue, red, purple, black, and gold in an endless illusory cycle.

Then came the androgynous, monotone voice, “It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance,” Crusoe said with an outstretched branch. Tommy hesitated before gripping the end of it when dozens of skinny branches wrapped around his hand like hundreds of cold worms.

“Hey!” Tommy said. “What’re you doing? Stop that!”

His requests were ignored as more and more braches snaked around his wrist and forearm growing tighter and tighter like a pumped up blood pressure cuff.

“Please,” Tommy said. “You’re hurting me, Crusoe.”

The serpent-like branches shrank back into the larger branches. “I’m sorry, Tommy. I didn’t mean to hurt you.”

Tommy flinched as he rubbed the tender spot. “It’s alright.”

“Good. Because I really am your friend and don’t mean to cause you pain,” Crusoe said.

“Of course you’re my friend. I’m just really confused,” Tommy said.

“Confused?” Lisanne said. “How so?”

Tommy, staring up at the fluorescent leaves, said, “I didn’t know trees could talk in real life.”

“They can’t” said Lisanne.

“But… you’re talking to me right now. And I know I’m not dreaming because I remember waking up and eating a big bowl of fruity crisps before I watched cartoons. Then I grabbed my toy cars and toy bouncy and came out here to play. And then I heard someone trying to talk to me and here I am now.” Tommy said.

“We know you aren’t dreaming,” Lisanne said.

Tommy scratched his head. “So, if trees can’t talk in real life and you’re talking to me right now and I’m not having a dream then how is this happening?”

“You have a very powerful imagination,” Crusoe said. “An incredibly powerful imagination.”

“Really?” Tommy said. “Does that mean you and Lisanne are my imaginary friends?”

“Yes. We are your imaginary bestfriends,” Crusoe said. “And there are hundreds and hundreds of us in the forest waiting to be your friend.”

“But there’s no way I could become friends with hundreds and hundreds of you!” Tommy said.

“Why not?” Lisanne asked.

“Because I’m just a kid and I don’t know how to be friends with trees.”

Crusoe and Lisanne let out their respective crude laughs.

“We can help you with that,” Lisanne said. “So far you’re doing just fine.”

“You would impress every tree in this forest,” Crusoe said. “We don’t ever get to talk to humans because they don’t know how to listen. We try all the time like I did with you earlier.”

A large smile grew across Tommy’s face, his blue eyes gleaming with excitement. “OK, I’ll be friends with all of you and I will meet every tree in this whole forest. Maybe I could even build a tree house with you!”

At that moment, the two trees let out a deep bellow, their leaves rapidly falling to the ground as the branches turned black and quickly retracted into the tree like measuring tape. The once luscious growth wilted and died, the bark appearing to grow thorns the size of large swords, all while a noxious black liquid oozed from every pore of the tree, polluting the ground beneath it.

This startled Tommy so much that he stumbled and fell on his back. Tears fell down his face yet his throat was unable to produce the slightest whimper. He could only watch as the trees went through their demonic transformation, silent tears streaking his rosy cheeks. “You guys… What’s going on? Stop it, please. You’re scaring me,”

Crusoe let out a long sigh that caused the air around him to spring forth in every direction, flapping through Tommy’s clothes and frilling his hair.

An even better idea is snatching up all your little human friends and chopping them up into little pieces. Then, we could stack them on your head, Tommy,” Crusoe snapped.

That wouldn’t be as fun as butchering his mom and dad and making a little fort for Tommy to play in.” Lisanne hissed. “But we both know humans start to smell after a while and they get real messy when you cut them up.”

“No!” Tommy said. The silent tears now sang notes of despair. “No, no, no, no. Please, Crusoe. Stop, Lisanne. I didn’t mean what I said. Please stop this. I take it all back, I take it all back!”

The trees laughed their wicked laughs once again. And as quickly as they made their transformation, they went back to the magnificence they displayed earlier. The branches emerged from the trees like a rolling red carpet, the leaves springing up just as rapidly and shining bright as ever. The flowers and growth crawled up the trees once again, the thorns disappeared and the mysterious black liquid melted into the ground.

“Very well then,” Crusoe said. “Human houses would be no fun anyways.”

Tommy was still on his back, hiding his face in his hands as he wept relentlessly, struggling to breathe through the gripping terror.

“Stop crying, Tommy,” Lisanne said.

Tommy continued to cry.

I said stop crying!”

“Lisanne,” Crusoe said. “We’ve obviously scared the boy. Tommy, we didn’t mean to scare you as much as we did. What you said made us angry, but we didn’t intend to terrify you. We were only trying to illustrate the sheer madness of your statement.”

Tommy slowly let down his hands, his eyes bloodshot and slightly swollen. “That was the scariest thing I have ever seen. That was scarier than all of my bad dreams put together.”

“Fear makes you stronger. Don’t be so afraid of the darkness, Tommy.” Lisanne said softly. “We want you to be our friend. Please, Tommy, come with us and be our friend forever.”

Tommy’s face softened and his muscles started to relax. “Forever?” he questioned. “How long is that exactly?”

“However long forever is,” Lisanne said.

Crusoe said, “One thing you’re going to learn about the forest is that time is measured in more ways than one. We don’t have clocks or watches here. The trees never speak about time nor do we pay much attention to it. We can only know when we first emerge from the earth and see our first sunrise to the time our branches become brittle, our colorless leaves shiver and fall, and our exhausted bark collapses to the ground. We get to experience this world only once and during that time we see so many beautiful things. You can’t begin to imagine the splendor that exists in this world.”

Tommy’s eyebrows shot up like switchblades. He wiped away his tears and said, “What kind of things are you talking about?”

“I can’t quite tell you,” Crusoe said.

“Oh but why not!”

“It’s not something that can be understood through language. These things of unfathomable beauty and mystery you can only experience.”

“I want to experience it, Crusoe! Lisanne, please, you two need to show me how!”

“I don’t know if you’re ready for it, Tommy,” Lisanne said.

“I’m ready!” Tommy shot to his feet. “I want it! I want it so bad!”

Crusoe said, “This is a big deal, Tommy. Once you decide you want this, there’s no turning back.”

“Oh, Crusoe,” Tommy said through tears. “I’m certain I want this. I know with all my heart I want to see all that you have seen.”

Tommy walked up to Crusoe and softly placed a hand on his bark. “I want to be your friend forever.” He looked over to Lisanne. “I want to be friends with you and every tree in this forest and every tree in the whole world! I’ll be with you for as long as I can.”

“Say that you want it with all of your heart,” Crusoe said.

“I want it with all of my heart,”

“Say you want it with all of your soul.”

“I want it with all of my soul,” Tommy almost whispered.

“Ok, Crusoe. He truly wants this, he’s ready,” Lisanne said.

Crusoe agreed. “Tommy, it’s time for you to meet the other trees of the forest. It’s time for you to become one of us.”

Tommy took a couple steps back.

“Are you ready?” Lisanne said.

“Yes,” Tommy said.

“Then close your eyes.”

Tommy’s slowly lowered his eyelids. His world was dark, but he could feel the air changing. He could taste it, the metallic flavor of the air. The earth started to shake violently. He fell on his side but kept his eyes squeezed shut.”

“Keep your eyes closed,” Lisanne said. At least it sounded like her voice except a little deeper and harder to understand.

“I am!” Tommy said.

But Tommy could only keep them closed for so long. After several seconds he stole a peek and instantly wished he didn’t. The trees were turning into the nefarious creatures that haunted him earlier. Except, this time, Crusoe was slowly descending into the earth. Lisanne shot up into the sky above the clouds and not a moment later did every tree in the forest follow her lead, shooting up into the sky like thousands of loosed arrows. Tommy watched as flames shot up from the spot Crusoe once resided. The brilliant flames licked the air, searching for something to burn. Tommy was terrified. The fear crept over him like it did when he would fall in a dream. That brief moment you experience an ethereal terror of horrible, unexplainable suffering that paralyzes every muscle, freezes every bone, and electrifies every last nerve in your body.

It was like being tied at each limb, watching the horsemen ride off in every direction as the coiled ropes grow smaller and smaller, moments before reckoning.

Tommy shrank into the fetal position and placed his thumb in his mouth. From all around him thick black branches sprang up high enough to cast a shadow that consumed him in complete darkness. The branches looked to have deep scars spread like wicked tattoos all over their exterior where red liquid flowed like hundreds of tiny rivers. The monstrous branches then began to twist and weave together like rope before falling onto Tommy, forming a heinous sight to behold. The black branches meshed together into a single organism; rhythmically pulsating, its surface boasting patches of random growth like a demonic atlas.

Those hungry flames pounced on this organic spawn of the earth, consuming it like a feast to a starved man. As soon as these flames engulfed its prey, the structure sank back into the depths of the earth, leaving behind nothing but a single violet lotus standing all on its lonesome like an erected flag on a battlefield.

Rebirth

“Tommy,” Lisanne said. “Tommy, can you hear me?”

Tommy felt like he was being pulled up from the ocean floor, escaping a great pressure.

“Tommy, look! Hurry!” Lisanne said.

Instantly, Tommy felt weightless; every part of him instantly aware of every sound, every smell, and every thought to ever be conceived. He felt great power emanating all around him. He witnessed a sunrise that seemed imaginary. It’s magnificence striking enough to induce deep feelings of anguish and sorrow at the beauty not ever to exist through the eyes of mortal men. His sympathy would soon diminish, for it was irrelevant to Tommy.

“What do you see, Tommy?” asked Lisanne.

“I… I don’t know. I don’t know yet, Lisanne. I’m just afraid forever might not be long enough.

Escape to Candyland

Put down your fucking drink and think for one second. You’re giving yourself a mini panic attack over nothing. She’s just a woman. A plain, simple, gorgeous woman. And you already know you’re handsome as hell. Shit, how many times have you had sex just this week? Yeah, you’re smooth so don’t bullshit around with this idea that you’re some hopeless oaf with zero chances with women. You’re getting laid tonight. Not by just any broad in this place. You want her.

What the hell is it about her that’s got you all flustered? This never happens and it’s a bit pathetic. Now finish your drink. Order a stronger one, you pussy. You don’t ever need the help of alcohol to talk to dames. This will be the one exception nobody will have to know about. The bartender notices you staring at her.

“She’s a 10,” he said.

You give him a polite nod as you bring the glass to your lips.

“She’s always in here, alone. Men are too chickenshit to even talk to her. Actually, I’ve had to beat the hell outta some fellas who thought it wise to get themselves shitfaced before talking to her. They’d be eating the sidewalk outside just as soon as they reached out to grope her.”

The sting of the alcohol feels electric. Your heartbeat reminds you of the task at hand. You attempt to order just one shot more. The bartender furrows his eyebrows at you and puckers his lips. An odd facial expression that no doubt meant you were about to regret making that decision. Instead, you slowly rise out of your chair and finally make your way to the end of the bar.

Her eyes are closed while her head moves from side to side ever so gently to the melody of True by Spandau Ballet. Her thick blonde curls cover her breasts, red lipstick, a small mole on her neck. Her eyebrows so thick and perfect. She makes you promises in silence.

I know this much is true.

You’re so close to her now that her perfume crawls up your nose and rings bells of pleasure in your head. An entire chorus rings out through your body and suddenly you feel the need to sit down. This angel was powerful.

Her eyes slowly opened, meeting yours immediately. You take a deep breath before putting on your most charming smile, which, after those drinks, was nearly impossible on account of your face being numb. You hope for the best.

Her smile was perfection. You wonder if she’s smiling because of you, or if she was smiling because of her. Did she find pleasure being impossible to get? Now you see her long eyelashes, one small dimple in each cheek. Are you sweating? Fuck. You feel your forehead recruiting moisture to gather ‘round for a grand appearance. Who cares? You complement her elegant white dress. You look more beautiful than anything I’ve ever seen, you hear yourself say out loud. She bats her lashes and looks down at her drink holding back a large smile. You tell about how you’ve been watching her all night. Not in a creepy way you quickly add. More like an admirable sort of way. You recount the slew of emotions you were hit with when you first saw her. You even happen to slip in a fantasy or two about taking her out to dinner or a movie sometime. Her dimples become larger with her smile. You even admire the way she tucks her hair back behind her ear. You inch closer.

“I’ve never felt this way with someone I’ve just seen. I usually never have feelings for the women I talk to.”

She cocked her head slightly to one side. What the hell were you thinking saying shit like that? Don’t get too personal. Just keep it surface and dive down only when absolutely necessary. Slow down and maybe let her take the reins for a bit.

That’s when you realize something.

I am so, so sorry. I haven’t even introduced myself. I’m Alex, you say with your hand out. She slowly slides her hand in yours, her warmth creeping through your fingers and up your arm, cascading through your entire body. You felt all her energy, it was incredible. You swallow hard and say she truly is the most beautiful woman you’ve ever seen in your entire life and even if she wasn’t into you, you absolutely had to know her name. She clears her throat, her grip tightening on your hand and says, “You can call me Candyland.” She leans even closer. “And I’ll be your woman for the night if that’s what you want.”

You watch her Adams apple jump up and down as she spoke. What was this? Have you just been touched by some miracle? The moisture on your forehead crawled down your face.

“You really aren’t like any dame I’ve ever met,” you say.

She says, “Baby know that. There’s just one major difference between me and the ordinary lady.”

“Oh yeah?” you say. “And what would that be?”

She’s now leaning so close you catch a whiff of her makeup. She whispers, “I have a fat cock,” and gives you a wink.

You have a very strange erection; palms sweating profusely. You thought she was joking until you watch as she groped herself revealing a swollen outline in between her legs that surely was not a vagina. Everyone in the bar is watching you, anticipating your next move. The only sound is the jukebox switching records. A thousand thoughts race through your head. You suddenly remember the time you first learned to ride a bike with no training wheels and chipped your front teeth. You remember stomping on bees in the field in elementary school. You remember asking Sarah to prom by hanging a sign from your neck saying, “Come Prom With Stupid?” Life flashed before your eyes. This was another one of those pivotal moments. Your life was suspended in this moment.

You lick your lips and quickly wipe your forehead with the sleeve of your jacket and say,

“So, Candyland, your place or mine?”

She agrees to let you take her home with you. Every seat in the bar is empty due to the standing ovation you receive. You see one guy slowly nodding his approval, another gives you two thumbs up, bottles of champagne are being popped open, someone grabs a microphone and delivers a heartwarming speech recognizing the immense bravery you displayed tonight. Men line up to shake your hand and you swear you even see one guy wiping tears from his eyes.

You smile down at your date as the two of you walk to the exit. She wraps an arm around your waist and rests her head on your shoulder. You kiss the top of her forehead as you exit the bar hearing the jukebox start playing Urge Overkills hit tune, “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon.”

A note from Cynthia

Dear Lucille,

I hate this complex delirium.

How am I supposed to hold down a relationship when nothing makes me happy, nothing satisfies me. Maybe I should’ve thought more about this before Jake asked me out. Now we’re three weeks in and I’m certain he knows I’ve been cheating on him with his friend Tyler. And Josh. Oh, Brandon and Lance as well. I don’t count his brother since he didn’t cum.

Part of me likes to think I know what I’m doing. Part of me also likes to think I’m an incredibly sweet, genuine, honest girl. I didn’t plan to cheat on any of my boyfriends. What kind of person would I be if I did? There are times, however, when it is premeditated but usually only when I’m going thorough my dieting regiments that require me to take this supplement that makes me incredibly horny nearly all day everyday. The slightest thing turns me on. I’ll be at the grocery store and walk into the same aisle as another man and my crotch immediately gets warm and moist. My mouth  gets a little dry and the tip of my nose gets cold. A strange combination, I know.

I have a profile on nearly 15 dating websites. Take that as you will but I swear to god I’m not desperate. It’s just like using a filter on single dudes without having to go through all the trouble of having a slightly awkward conversation with them at the bar while my brain seeps in shots of whipped cream vodka. It’s much easier to setup casual encounters with complete strangers this way. Granted, there are countless creepy perverts who shamelessly beg for me to fulfill their sexual fantasies. One guy wanted me to fuck him with a 13 inch dildo while wearing a clown suit with the makeup and everything. He told me he would film it and send it to his family.

I’m a whore. I know that and it doesn’t bother me. The only problem is that now I’m treading in some deep water because for whatever reason all these one night stands aren’t enough. I need a steady relationship and yet I can’t have sex with just one man. Unfortunately, it’s not considered normal to cheat on your partner several times with multiple men with no remorse and yet it’s something I find to be vital to my well-being. Hopefully I won’t get caught anytime soon. I should probably stop making sex tapes before my boyfriend finds out.

Please respond ASAP. I lost your number and I’ll need someone to talk to when shit hits the fan.

Yours truly,

Cynthia

An Offer I Couldn’t Refuse

While on vacation in Washington I decided to drive up to Seattle to celebrate my birthday. Now, turning 25 really isn’t that big of a deal. And if it is, I must be missing something. The only significance appeared to be the fact that I was even closer to 30, I was single, no solid career, and several credits short of a college degree. Despite all this, my birthday was still my special day and I was going to make a big deal out of turning 25.

At the hotel I showered, shaved, and dressed in the flashiest outfit I had in my suitcase. I checked myself out in the mirror, combed my dark hair over to one side, plucked a couple rogue brow hairs, and tested out a few flirtatious smiles. That last part didn’t work too well. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t crack a decent smile. They all seemed to say, “come home with me and nobody will ever see you again.”

Oh well.

I checked my wallet. I needed to stop by the cash machine in the lobby. Since the room was charged to my card, I decided to get started on a little pregame. I opened the black mini fridge and gazed at the assortment of alcoholic beverages. A wave of relief seemed to trickle down my body and through my bones. Tonight was going to be a good night. I snagged three mini bottles of the Jack Daniel’s honey whiskey and sat on the edge of the bed. I unscrewed the cap of one and downed it in a few seconds. While my throat was still on fire, I opened the next bottle and poured that right down my gullet. I squeezed my eyes shut as the burning sensation caused them to water. I blew out a small breath before I freed the lid of the last bottle. I stared at the pirate caricature on the bottle and whispered, “to you, captain Jack,” and sucked down the sweet liquid.

I felt the blood creep up to my face as I stood up. I looked in the mirror and smiled at the reflection. Much better, I thought. I checked my cellphone before stuffing it in my pocket. No new messages. I slipped on some shoes, switched off the lights, and made my way down to the lobby.

I left the ATM with a few hundred bucks. I exited the hotel. It was already getting dark and it wasn’t even dinner time. I started walking down the street to one of the local bars an employee at the hotel told me about. Halfway there, a black woman stepped out in front of me. I stopped in my tracks, apologized, and started to walk around her. She, too, sidestepped to block my path. I looked up at her. “Excuse me,” I said.

“No, no, excuse me!” she said. “Oh, you know me, always finding a way to keep people from getting to where they need to be.”

I let out a nervous chuckle. “Yeah, for sure. Goodbye now.” I began to walk around her and again, she stepped in front of me.

“Sir, I’ll suck yo’ diiiick.”

“What?” I said.

She looked from side to side and started picking her nose. “I don’t normally do this type of thang but hey, I’ll suck yo’ diiick. I’ll suck it good and dry for two dollas. I’ll suck it for tree dollas.”

I started to laugh. This was a joke. “Tree dollars?” I asked. “How much is that exactly?”

She began to growl and scratch her head with both hands. “Gimme yo’ dick! Lemme suck it! I want money!” she cried.

I had a feeling this wasn’t a joke. I was dealing with a crackwhore and I wasn’t so sure what to do. How was one supposed to politely decline a blowjob? I’ve never been approached by a woman offering to blow me for money. Especially not by a woman who looked like she hadn’t bathed for weeks with dirt in her hair, stains and tears in her clothes. God, she reeked.

“Ma’am, I’m sorry, but I have to be getting to the bar now,” I smiled. “It’s my birthday.”

“Happy birthday, nigga!”

This caught the attention of a couple people who were talking near us. I quickly exchanged glances wearing my best “please help me” look on my face. It didn’t work.

“Thanks,” I mumbled. I started to feel light headed. The JD was starting to hit me a bit harder.

“I’ll give you a special deal since it’s ya birthday.”

“Oh yeah?” I said with feigned excitement.

She nodded and leaned over to whisper to me. She said I could put it in her butt. I shuddered.

“You know what, I just met you and I don’t know if I really want to do that right now,” I said. She looked up at me with big puppy eyes looking as if she was about to cry. “Don’t take it personally, I just planned to spend my birthday over at the bar and get smashed.”

Then she began to cry. “Please lemme suck yo’ dick. Please. I need crack. Oh baby, baby.. I need my crack.” She then walked up to me, rested her head against my chest, and wrapped her arms around me. Her sobs grew louder and longer with each passing second. I shushed her and awkwardly patted her back with one hand. The woman then started spewing out huge, wet, nasty coughs into my new shirt.

“Easy!” I said. She seemed to settle down a bit. I felt terrible. I haven’t felt this bad since that summer in high school when I took a girl out on a date and she crapped her pants at the movie theater. I tried settling her down by telling her it was all going to be alright.

“It ain’t gunna be ‘ight. I need crack,” she said.

“I know, I know.” I then began running my hand through her nappy ass hair. “Everything’s going to be ok.”

“No, it won’t.”

“Yes,” I assured her.

“How?” she asked.

I then pulled her hair behind her ear and whispered, “I don’t use lube. Get ready to make some money.”