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Delta Diary 1996 (Day Four: Among the Men by the Fire)

Sep 13, 2022

Reposted with the author's permission.

Monday passes all too quickly. In line for breakfast, I see, shirtless, the man with the torn up back from last night, It’s still, raw, and leaching clear plasma. I ask him if he’s washed it, and he answers “Four times.”

At the breakfast table, Ken who, is looking over at the man’s ravaged back leans forward and speaks, keeping his voice low. “You know” he begins, “I have a real problem with that beating last night. Because that tip…”. Frazier and I are both nodding in agreement. I had noticed it too: between each blow the tip would drag on the ground.

“I mean people could have spit there, come there. . .”

“Track shit in from the outside.” offers Frazier.

“Then pop! It’s in contact with your blood. No, I don’t like that at all.”

“Plus, Blood becomes aerosolized when it’s hit by a cracking whip”, Frazier adds. “Blood Molecules floating all through the air and we’re breathing it. And if the guy being whipped has the bug? Then that’s in the air too.”

He’s right. And I’ve seen that it lots of times, a whip slapping the floor, or a wall, or a ceiling on its way to the target. I wonder how many times I’ve done that myself.

On my way to Michael’s Tape-orium class (the one I eavesdropped upon yesterday) I see two different guys walking around in shirts, boots and no pants - their scrotums enormous - clearly alums of last night.
Gil is detained elsewhere so Michael handles the teaching duties alone. It’s fascinating to see the how-to version of a scene I bottomed to yesterday. All of the classes have been great: informative and entertaining. The materials section alone is funny, differentiating between “the cheap shit” (Saran) and the “quality” (Reynolds Wrap). Reynolds, I recall, is what Gil used in our scene last night.

I decide to tag along with Frazier for a scene he has this afternoon. Last night a dungeon monitor wearing his orange reflector vest, stopped to watch a scene Frazier was executing. During a break in the action, the stranger leaned in and said “Consider yourself cruised”. They have a scene scheduled at two at the tennis court. I bring my sketch pad, my paints and an ink pen and prepare to do my first painting of the run.

We arrive early and find the Jon, the DM from last night, giving a flogging to two different guys at once. “Give me an hour with these two and then we’ll go” I watch for a while, then realize I have something at the cabin. As I am about to leave, I notice something different about our toy inventory. Jack’s metal toys: they are missing. So is their carrying case. Somewhere Jack’s manacles, head cages and vintage handcuffs are being put to use, on him or someone of his choosing.

When I return to the tennis court, it is Jon who is spread eagle, face down, on the ping pong table. Frazier is just about to get started. Jon has laid out some of his favorite toys for Frazier to use on him – a good habit to slow the spread of the plague. Frazier notices two whips whose make he doesn’t recognize and asks who made them.

“Those are Marstons, Sir,” Jon replies and goes on to identify Jay Marston as a protégé of Joe Wheeler, a whipmaaker who preceded Janette Hartwood and Sarah Lashes. He had to stop making whips due to carpel tunnel. They play for an hour at one point Frazier gets Jon to “Yellow” twice. I flip open my watercolor kit and do my first paintings of the trip. Three quick impressionistic images of the scene in progress. At one point Frazier is standing above Jon on the ping pong table delivering hammer blows straight down. He flips Jon over and moves in close to speak.

“Hey.” Frazier says “You heard there are four straight guys here at camp?”

“Yes sir”

“Well, your playing with one of them”

THWACK! THWACK! THWACK! The tendrils slam into the prone man’s back.

“What do you think of that?” Frazier places his face two inches from the man’s nose and stares. Pure Clint Eastwood.

“Oh that’s really, really hot sir!”

When the scene is over, Jon asks to see the paintings I’ve done and I ask if he’d like one has a souvenir. Naturally he takes the best one. But he says he’ll have it matted and framed and hang it in his bedroom back in San Fransisco.

The sun is setting on our last night here. At dinner Tim takes the microphone for the last time, announcing the hours of the dungeon and the location of the fire ceremony and he details the procedure for checkout in the morning. “Time is getting short Gentlemen. Have fun.”

I have a scene with Paul a guy I met through Ken. We talk and he tells me some whipwork would be nice. Not to blood but marks would be fine. It will be my only topping scene all weekend and I decide to do the whole thing with my new three-foot whip. I am a modest talent and indeed Frazier and Ken – rank newcomers a few years ago – have both passed me by in their whip handling skills. But I have an ace in the hole: a thing I do that I have literally never seen another topman do with a whip. And I am hoping it will make for a memorable scen today. I have Paul in the same upright frame Fraizer and Ken used on Sparky last night Paul is shirtless, facing me with his arms chained overhead, using HIS suspension cuffs since I still haven’t found a decent pair myself. I’m shirtless too, as I often am, because when I get into a scene I start sweating immediately. Heavy leather, even a t-shirt becomes an impossibility for me, which is how I stumbled into my little gimmick.

I start by laying on gentle snappy flicks onto Paul’s chest. Nip, nip, nip, while I hold eye contact. I let this continue throwing in an occasional harder snap. Then after a few minutes, before I throw a longer stroke that goes past him, wraps around and bites him in the left shoulder blade. That gets his attention. Good. Then I continue with little snaps to the chest, - brushing near his nipples but not touching them yet. Then I throw another long one, this one to the right and biting his back on the other shoulder. This goes on, building in intensity. Surrounding him with little bites, front and back, and before popping him with a harder one.

Nip, nip, nip, nip, nip, nip, nip, nip, THWACK.
Nip, nip, nip, nip, nip, nip, nip, nip, THWACK.

I let that go on for a while. And then I make my move.

I step back and throw a hard one. The whip sings by Paul’s chest missing him entirely. It whirls around behind my left shoulder and bites my own back. I take another step back and snap it around my right shoulder where it bites me again. I snap myself a third time and feel shivers, like icewater pouring down from about five feet up. shivers as sensation washes through me like electrical current. Pauls eyes are open now and he’s watching my face. As I trade strokes with Paul, back and forth the feeling of topsace increases. The first time I did this in a scene with a girl it won her rapt attention. She had been drifting into the slow eyed languor of subspace, but the sound of me whipping myself woke her right up. Her eyes locked with mine and got bigger and bigger and bigger.

Our beating continues as I lay it on hard first on him, then on me, then back to him. I feel the heat come up and I my blood rising, the excitement, and the wild sense of power – so much more vividly that when I am merely throwing the sensation at my partner. Language is inadequate to describe the primordial experience, particularly when it tips into the mystical. The scene goes on for a while, but as happens sometimes when I start to go deep in a scene I often find my memory of the events partially erased, like a film negative whose image has been obliterated by exposure to intense heat.

Afterwards I wipe down Paul’s back with a clean damp towel. He has a whole mess of welts and weals but he isn’t bleeding anywhere. Paul returns the favor and wipes down mine. We take seats in a corner of the dungeon where we can watch the rest of the action and talk. He tells me of his fucked up childhood and I tell him of mine. He asks how I started whipping my own back and I tell him, truthfully, that its because of Jesus Christ Superstar. My parents had it in their record collection when I was an impressionable kid, and the whipping scene always made me want to feel the whip. When I became a novice top, and started practicing with a whip, I laid it on my own back just to explore what sensations I could create with it. When I started doing whip scenes, it occurred to me to try trading strokes with whoever I was whipping – just to show I could take what I dished out. I wasn’t expecting it to open up whole other worlds of almost spiritual dimension but that’s what happened and my whipping schenes become unexpectedly powerful than ever. He asks if I ever thought I had ever felt attraction for men and I confess that I haven’t. It occurs to me to mention that I’ve seen femmy drag queens that look like they would work for me but it’s the mannerisms of femininity that really attract me. Its only then that I realize that I haven’t seen a drag queen all weekend. Paul concurs, smiling. “Nope, only butch guys at Delta.”

Jack, Frazier and Ken are all busy once I am up on my feet and walking around, so I decide to seek out the fireplay demo, the last event listed in the program. Fireplay is a scene I sort of stumbled into and have found myself one of the two main guys down at the Edge who actually have some mastery of the technique. So the idea of a fire scene seems like the perfect way to conclude the weekend. Possibly even an opportunity to show off. I ask a pair of passing leathermen if they if they know anything about it and they say no. Neither does the next guy I ask. But the third offers me directions and I start walking deeper into the night, a part of the camp I haven’t been to before. Whatever route I have chosen is clearly wrong because when I finally see the circle through the trees I am above, at some distance away surrounded by trees coming down a steep hill and on top of a five foot drop to the ground below.

It’s not at all what I imagined. In the clearing below me, Six large torches burn silently at the center of a circle of forty or fifty men. Although there are hushed conversations going on, the crowd is largely silent. Finally, one man steps towards the center and speaks to the circle around him: about what the weekend has meant to him. About the warmth and good times. About the friendship and ability to just be himself. And all the great sex. This gets a round of chuckles from the crowd. He finishes his speech and rejoins the circle and the night is silent once again. Then another man steps forward and shares his truth. Then silence again untill another man steps forward to share. Then another. And another. Peter, the crucified man from Saturday is the fourth or fifth to speak. His words are simple, but his Cajun voice is brimming with passion, and I curse myself for having left my notepad behind. I do remember him describing his big scene as “the culmination of a lifetime of desire” and thanks he everyone for helping him realize his dream.

I have to fight the sudden urge to jump down from the wall take my place in the circle and to share what this weekend has meant to me. I want to express for all of us Black Rose, how amazed we are that a place like this even exists. Where strangers can come together leaving doors unlocked and irreplaceable toybags left out in the open. I want to tell them that as a straight man I’m envious. That the brotherhood I feel here has no real corollary in the straight world. I want to but I don’t. I’m afraid I’ll fuck it up. That I won’t have the words to say it right. And the realization that Im not going to join them, takes something out pf me, a feeling being punched in the gut. As if by instinct, I move further back into the dark woods away from the flickering light, and brace myself against a tree feeling like the tears might come. But none do. Perhaps next year, I tell myself, I will be worthy to take my place among the men by the fire.

But just as I’m stepping away to depart into greater darkness, this happens. I hear noises immediately in front of me, and almost trip over two guys making out on the ground. “Ouch! Watch out!” says a voice and a second voice starts laughing. Clearly I am not the only one hiding from the light in the shadows. I apologize and as I walk away I burst out laughing too. Outside the woods, there is another circle of men gathered together and talking, occasionally exchanging hugs. Bob, the architect of the crucifixion is among them. He recognizes me and says hey. We hug and again he plants a big smooch on my lips. We start walking bac towards the girls gym and talk about the weekend. I congratulate him again on Saturday’s Crucifixion and he responds with a quiet “Thank You” As we reach the brightly lit entrance to the gym, I see his eyes are wet with tears.

Inside the gym, the action is still going strong. I watch for a while, but I am tired. As eleven thirty approaches the full exhaustion overtakes me. Jack and I confer briefly before he marches off with two friends, again leaving his bags containing thousands of dollars of irreplaceable gear without so much as a thought. At the Command Post we hear that next year’s run will be scheduled for Labor Day for warmer weather. Someone else says a storm is coming: a hurricane with hundred and eighty mile an hour winds moving up the Ohio Valley. According to the weatherman, the eye will be directly over Silver Spring Maryland tomorrow at 3 PM. I return to my bunk too exhausted to write and plunge instantly into deep dark sleep.

Next: Conclusion

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