Love Letters from a Slave


If any one person may be said to have “authored” the dominatrix I became at Torture Garden—any one person besides myself, I mean—it is my slave Robert.  One of my earliest clients at the house, he was, from the start, my most devoted.  In a short time he ceased, in my mind, to be a client at all, our relationship developing into something far more complicated.  We came together at precisely that moment when each of us deeply needed the other—Robert after years of unhappy relationships and women who made him ashamed of his proclivities and I on the cusp of my  career at T-Garden when my enthusiasm for sadomasochism was matched only by my ignorance of it in practice.  Just as the glass gives form to the wine, so the contours of Robert’s submission shaped, in the beginning, the contours of my dominance.  When I hear myself lauded for my cool authority I know that, in many ways, that authority was forged on Robert’s back.  When I’m described as a playful sadist I hear echoes of Robert’s playful masochism.  Even my sharpest cruelties are the ones I know Robert relished.  Some of my  early sessions with him were so intense we wept together. 

It was not many weeks into our acquaintance that Robert offered himself as my slave—an offer I  accepted perhaps frivolously at first, though as our symbiosis evolved, I better understood the gravity of it.  Other girls at T-Garden warned me against encumbering myself with a client so needy, so demanding of attention, but I found my connection to Robert liberating.      

Sometimes at school, sitting in a research meeting surrounded by academics of peerless intellectual achievement, a little bell of irony would go off in my head:  I have a slave.  Sometimes lying on my belly while a lover traced his fingertips down my spine to the rise of my buttocks, I would smile cryptically when asked, “What are you thinking?”—cryptically because I was thinking about… my slave.  Clients came and went; lovers and boyfriends came and went; but Robert endured.  It occurred to me one day that any man who wished a serious role in my life would have to accept, as well, my foster child.  Any lasting lover of mine would have to be sufficiently progressive in his thought, tolerant in his temperament and confident in his sexuality to embrace the concept—and not just the concept, but the fact, the reality—of a girlfriend with a personal slave.     

One day Robert brought me a gift.  

To be strictly accurate, Robert brought me gifts every Sunday—a bowl of fruit salad, a bottle of the Kambucha tea he knew I liked, but on this day he brought an additional tribute, which he presented to me, head bowed and arms extended.  

“For you, Mistress.”  

Across his upturned palms lay a black leather whip with a pink bow around it.

“Oh, Robert!  It’s beautiful!”

He had ordered it from a fine whipmaker in England, the craftsmanship apparent in the taut weave of the handle, the heft of the instrument in my palm and the spring with which the prehensile stem snapped in recoil from my backhand volley.  I swished it in the air.   

“I tremble, Mistress, at the thought of…”

“Yes, you’d better tremble,” I interrupted.  “Because your generosity leaves me little choice but to show you no mercy.”

Robert shivered.  “Oh, Mistress…”

Let me pause here to describe my slave.  On the street he would not have appeared remarkable, but here in the dungeon, nude but for the black collar around his neck, he presented an image of subjugation as charged with dormant danger as a captive bear.  His chest, lightly furred with silver body-hair, expanded to impressive breadth whenever I offered him praise of any kind.  His buttocks were large and reasonably firm for a man his age; so too his thick thighs.  His cock and balls, which he had shaved at my command, possessed a strange chameleon quality, sometimes glowing pink and smooth, sometimes assuming a grayish cast, sometimes fading to a pale walnut beige.  His meaty scrotum, when hanging loose, put me in mind of a hash dealer’s bag.  After decades of toking every day, the resins of that drug had worked themselves into the grain of his facial structure, his brow and jaw permanently relaxed; his eyes bright with wit, though deeply mellow.  One other element seemed always present:  a wisp of sadness.  Robert was a lusty, flirtatious, outrageously naughty slave, but behind this ribaldry lay a hint of melancholy—the shadow of his unhappy sexual history, I thought.

On Sunday mornings our ritual did not vary:  

After greeting Robert at the door, I ushered him quickly into the dungeon where with a cry of “Mistress!” he fell to the floor and covered my feet with ardent kisses.  He was capable of worship for a very long time, but on most days I stopped him after three or four minutes with a sharp, “Prepare my chair!”   Whereupon, as if hit with an electric jolt, he sprang to his feet and careened across the room to fetch my seat.  On the day he surprised me with the beautiful whip, Robert’s movements struck me as more electric than usual.  I didn’t know then of the gift he had in store.  Positioning my chair so I could observe our session easily in the mirror, he placed a pillow on the seat, fluffed it, fussed with it, then stood aside, his hands indicating the readiness of my throne.  Coolly, with chin up and back straight, I walked to the chair and sat down.  Robert hurried to the satchel he always carried and retrieved the container of fruit salad which he tipped in my direction to reveal its contents.  

“Mangos today, Mistress!  Fresh mangos today!”

“Oh, yum!”

He placed the fruit salad on the cage table and then dipped again  into his bag for the tea.  He twisted off the cap and with a bow presented it to me.  

“Your drink, Mistress.”

“Thank you, Robert.”

While I sipped, he dropped to his knees and taking my foot reverently in his hands, unfastened the buckle and removed my shoe.  Watching this man old enough to be my father kneeling before me; clutching me in his large, gentle hands; kneading the tensions from the ball of my foot, my arch, my heel, I again heard that little bell in my head:  I have a slave.    

“Robert, I’m disappointed.”

He did not look up, but I felt his massaging hands hesitate.

“You’ve been here for almost fifteen minutes and you haven’t showed me your cock!”

Now he did look up, the near alarm in his face replaced by a wry, almost coquettish twinkle. Carefully Robert returned my foot to its shoe, rose and bowed.  He crossed again to his bag, brought out a CD and inserted it into the stereo system.  I don’t remember what music he played, but it must have been one of the classics of acid rock, for I recall, as the opening bass riffs thumped, Robert moving his arms in wavy motions.  Gradually, rhythmically, he sunk to his knees.  Whipping off his belt, he rolled it up, put it in his mouth and bent forward, his shoulders and arms still swimming.  I reached out and took the belt from his teeth.  As if on cue one of the rock guitarists struck a piercing lick like the passing horn of a speeding car, and Robert, as if to avoid the note, fell away from my hand.  Leaning back on his knees, he peeled his shirt over his head and rocked bare-chested forward and back, forward and back, his coquette’s eye firmly fixed on mine.  Now to the quickening tempo of the music, he shimmied to his feet and unzipped his fly.  Robert’s gyrating hips were not quite those of a Chippendale stripper—his dance was more innocent, less practiced than that—but his hedonism seemed no less robust.  Whenever he performed for me this way—and Robert danced almost every Sunday—I pictured him as a young man in the 1960s dancing in a meadow in Golden Gate Park while the Grateful Dead played on a distant stage and fogs of sweet smoke drifted through the crowd…  

Robert dropped his pants.  Underneath he was wearing a pair of tight red briefs across the rear of which was printed (and here he cocked his bottom up so I could read): BITCH.  Looking at me over his bare shoulder and jerking his buttocks in time to the bass, he slipped the BITCH panties over his cheeks.  Ai-Li had once witnessed Robert’s dance at my invitation and had spoken to me later of how she enjoyed his commitment to it, his utter lack of irony.  Now, as he pulled BITCH down his legs, I had to agree.  In the parlance of his youth:  Robert was a gas! 

“Robert, you always make me smile.”

“That is my purpose on this earth, Mistress.”  And here he whirled around and with the motion of his pelvis swung his large penis back and forth like an elephant’s trunk.

“Oh dear.  You’ve nicked yourself.”

“This morning.  Yes.”

“You must take better care when you shave your balls.  Remember they belong to me.”

“I have not been a careful steward of your holdings.  I deserve to be punished.”

“You will be.”

“Thank you, Mistress.”

“Do you have something for me?”

“I do!”

  Every week Robert brought me a letter rolled up like a scroll and fastened with the leather choker I used to collar him.  I had given him this weekly task to make his service to me more meaningful, but he had taken it far beyond my imagining.  Robert possessed the heart of a poet, and the beauty of his imagery sometimes made me catch my breath.  “She can field strip the human heart and put it back together in the dark,” he once wrote of my sovereignty over his emotions.  Every letter was an outpouring, every week a new vow of love.  Distinctly carnal love, to be sure—the letters were deeply, if sweetly, obscene.  He wrote with relish of my cock up his ass; he extolled my excited nipples when performing acts of cruelty upon him.  Sometimes he included illustrations of his penis at attention or my black vagina, drafted with the pen held in his teeth and his hands clasped behind him as if I had tied them.  Other times he regaled me with pornographic stories of slaves forced into unspeakable degradations—slaves forced to lap up the Queen’s mucus discharge or her menstrual blood; slaves brought before the Queen and for her amusement made to suck the cocks of billygoats and donkeys; slaves caught peeking at the Queen in her bath and lashed spread-eagled to the desert floor with birdseed in their eyes; slaves nailed to a frame and impaled in the anus by a blacksmith’s blazing iron—this as punishment for writing secret love letters to the Queen.  Whenever I acknowledged one of these wild stories Robert became so aroused I would have to invent a new humiliation for him—nothing as extreme as in the stories, of course—but some new posture of submission, a new toy up his ass, a new mess to lick clean.  His release was never more explosive than on those days of ritual mortification.

And yet with all the outrages catalogued in Robert’s letters, I can truthfully say only one thing unsettled me:  his simple declarations of what I meant to him.  I was, he said, his reason for living.  He was, he pledged, the vessel of my will.  Without me his existence would have neither form nor substance.  Without my caresses he would never know love.  All his thoughts, all his hopes, every flicker of emotion, every fantasy of happiness he invested in me.  If, one day, circumstances took me from him, he would be content to die.  I must say when Robert wrote in this vein, I sometimes had to put his letter aside.  I had collected, in fact, at home, a stack of letters, which I intended to read on some future date when I felt myself equal to their intensity.  

That date had yet to come.

On this day I slid the collar off its scroll and as always put the letter away for perusal later.  “Your neck, please, Robert.”  Like a child settling between his mother’s legs to have his hair combed, Robert rested his back against my knees.  I leaned forward and fitted the choker around his throat, my own hair briefly brushing his neck and shoulder. 

“Mistress,” he said.  “I have something for you.  May I give it to?”

My hair continued to tease his nude skin as I fiddled with the collar.  “What do you have?”

“May I show you?”

“Just as soon as I …  As soon as I…  There!  Yes, you may!”

Robert stood and crossed the room.  I had noticed, when he arrived that morning, a slender package protruding from his satchel.  Now blocking it with his body, he tore away the wrap, prepared the gift for presentation and slowly turning, advanced on my chair with head bowed and arms outstretched.   

“For you, Mistress!”

“Oh, Robert!  It’s beautiful!”

There are classes a dominatrix may attend to learn the fine points of flagellation—or of shibari or of strap-on or even of scat play.  Every sensual city supports a floating university of dark arts.  But I had spent enough time in university.  My vanilla hours were consumed by study, by classrooms and scholars and research and assignments.  I had little enthusiasm for burdening my leisure with more of the same.  And so Torture Garden became my university and Robert, if not exactly my professor, perhaps the lab in which I learned my skills.  My whip technique I had perfected on his buttocks.  My cruelty I had measured in the test tubes of his balls.  His back was the blackboard on which I calculated complex formulas of pain; his body my prototype for all submissive men.   

Now I seized the whip he had brought me and cut a swath through the air.  Delight lit Robert’s face.        

“Hold onto the cross and stick out your ass.”

Robert did as instructed.  The new whip balanced comfortably in my grip as I drew my arm across my chest like a tennis player poised for a backhand.  With my other hand I pinched the leather leaf at the tip and snapped the whip forward so it landed with a pop precisely at the center of Robert’s left buttock.  He jumped.  

“Thank you, Mistress!”  

My marksmanship was generally keen, but a new weapon usually required some practice before it became an extension of my hand.  On this day some of my strokes went astray.  A light blow aimed at the top of his cleft landed instead on the back of his thigh—and not lightly.  He jumped.  Another strike intended for his right hemisphere, struck lower and caused him to cry out in pain.

“Was that your balls?” I asked.

“Yes, thank you, Mistress!”

I  repeated the blow, this time aiming for his balls, but the tip of the whip swished harmlessly in the air.  Through these missed strokes—and the ones that landed—Robert held patiently and cheerfully to the cross.  And something about that image—the poignancy of his white back and white bottom, the black leather collar around his neck, his head lowered, his hands above it clinging to the cross—something about that particular tableau rang again the little bell in my head:  I have a slave.  

I felt a great welling of affection for Robert.  It was as if each toss of my whip threw out a line that bound him to me ever more closely.  I imagined these lines as arcs of light, tracing the trajectory of my lash—and as the strokes grew more confident, as more of them hit their intended marks, I saw him pinioned by these cords of light.  No pain was too intense, no torment too severe, there was no degradation I could force him to endure—neither billygoats nor ravenous birds nor forced consumption of my menstrual blood—to which my slave, my dear sweet slave, would not reply with love’s alacrity:

“Thank you, Mistress!”