Sucking Dick in China

The cafeteria menu for the day was a rice and pepper mixture served with chicken parts covered in syrupy sauce. Terrance ate his share and siphoned Rodrigo’s leftovers as they sat together. Rodrigo weighed a good hundred pounds less than Terrance.

Tonight, they were going into the city and getting drunk. If Terrance got lucky, he’d get a good tip about the private club in town. There was a time when getting lucky meant seducing women at the bars, but after 5 years in China, Terrance knew the only chance they had at getting any was with foriegn prostitutes, most of whom came from India and Qatar and charged extremely high prices on top of hotel fees. Sex was unaffordable on a teacher’s salary. Still, this didn’t stop him from trying.

He dreamed about the girls he taught. In desperate times, the effeminate young men. They were all teenagers from towns across Western China. Their fathers had struck it big with lucrative construction and irrigation contracts, but not big enough to send them to study in America. This is why they were enrolled in the Bayingolin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture Academy School, where Terrance taught English. He had yet to succeed in seducing a student, despite his constant schedule of private conferences and suggestions to conduct class at a local restaurant that served plum wine with lunch.

Nor would he ever succeed, for what he lacked in charm he made up for in ugliness. His appearance, along with his eating habits, earned him the nickname of the Stuffed Bean Bun from the girls in class, a fact he did not know on account of his poor Mandarin. None of the girls dared to be the first to accept any of his advances, even as a joke. He was 35 years old.

Their implicit rejections depressed Terrance, and he considered it a personal failure. However, as his tenure at the academy went on, he was more concerned with becoming a member of the private club. In his mind, that would be far better than anything sex could offer. It was a ticket to a better life, a mark of success. Those in the private club lived how one ought to, even if undeserved.

At school, Terrance tried to woo the administrators and wealthier teachers into providing more information, the secret to entry. They didn’t know a thing about private clubs, they said, which Terrance suspected was a lie.

In town, he patronized bars adjacent to the club, or, when he was feeling particularly fiendish, near the fancy big hotels he assumed club members stayed. By now, those in town who knew Terrance knew him as the man who asked and only asked about the club. Each time, they gave him the same answer as the administrators: they had no idea what he was talking about. The one time he tried to ask the bouncers for a pass, he was given a stint in the school hospital for 4 days.

“I bet the good parts of the chicken are sent to the club,” Terrance said, grabbing Rodrigo’s plate wholesale now. Rodrigo shrugged. Who knew if the world even had good chicken parts anymore. They were the only teachers in the cafeteria. Everyone else was already home for the day or coaching the extracurricular clubs to juice their paychecks and bolster their resumes. The evening classes, which Terrance and Rodrigo both taught, were reserved for new teachers and those with historically low performance. Rodrigo elected to teach these, Terrance had no other choice.

After class, Terrance would swing by Rodrigo’s dorm at the usual time, and it was Rodrigo's turn to buy drinks. It was Saturday, and they could stay out later than usual. Normally this was cause for celebration, but Terrance felt tedious as he left the cafeteria and headed across campus to the auxiliary building where he taught. Perhaps this feeling signaled the end of something, he thought, or perhaps it was a sign something needed to change were he to go on living this way.

The short walk to the auxiliary building left a map of sweat on Terrance’s pink polo, and he needed a few minutes to catch his breath as the students prepared for class, taking out their tablets. In the back row, the boys drew doodles of him. Thanks to his pink polo, he looked more like a pork roll than a bean bun.

The architecture of his class had been deliberately arranged, the seating chart mapped to keep the boys as far away from him as possible, as he couldn’t stand their cruel jokes and taunts, even if he couldn’t understand them, while keeping who he thought were the most vulnerable and susceptible girls up front.

Today’s lesson was complex sentences. He wrote on the board:

The dog chased the rabbit in the park while its owner rested at home before cooking dinner.

He had a lecure planned about how one could delineate the nouns, verbs, and prepositions in the sentence, but as he opened his mouth to speak, a waterfall of dread ran from his neck to his

stomach. The boys in the back row covered their smiles with their hands. They were planning something.

“Write this sentence on your tablets. Diagram it twice using the tree structure, showing the different possible readings. This is silent work, I will collect it at the end of class,” Terrance said. Then, he added, “Do these sentences, too,” and wrote three more on the board, all involving men at home cooking dinner.

He sat down and surveyed the class with the sternest face he could muster. When it was clear that his decision was firm, the latent excitement left the room, and disappointment settled over the children as they began their work.

Terrance was disappointed, too. He relished his lectures. They were his chance to tell jokes and express himself. His teaching style was built around speaking softly and personably, so that only those in the front row could hear him best. He compensated by giving everyone in the class unusually high marks, despite the quality of their work. But rather than love Terrance for this, his students loathed him. They could never pass the language exams needed for admission in overseas universities. His administrators loathed him, too. He gave the school a bad name. Unbeknownst to him, he likely wouldn’t have this job for much longer.

That he didn’t know was not unusual, as Terrance lived most of his life in a vague state of unaware confusion. Now, for example, as he watched children do their work, he realized something had changed recently, though he wasn’t sure why. The kids all wore much nicer clothes. Name brand designers with real leather accessories, unique fits, and bold patterns. Their outfits looked and smelled brand new, some of them still had tags. One boy in the middle row,

who was quiet and by far the ugliest in the class, if not the school, wore a tailored suit. The dark blue jacket flashed a bright fuschia lining whenever he adjusted himself.

Those were the types of suits the men wore on their way into the private club, Terrance realized. The girls in class, too, had things that he’d seen the women wear. Wei in the front had open-toed stilettos, her toenails painted blue. He stared at her feet until she coughed, when he then averted his eyes.

Where did all this money come from? How could they afford these clothes? Did a new counterfeit store open in town, or had there been a windfall from government stimulus? Terrance wished he could ask, but it wouldn’t be appropriate to go soft on them now, he thought. They’d lose all respect for him.


As promised, he showed up to Rodrigo’s dorm at 9pm. Rodrigo was still showering, but Terrance had an extra key to let himself in. Because he hadn’t gotten the same hiring bonus, his dorm was smaller than Terrance’s, but so well maintained it looked twice as large. His bedroom had a twin-sized bed with a dresser, his kitchen only a tiny fridge and hot plate. He cooked mostly eggs and milk fish from the hatchery outside of town.

Terrance turned on the TV and radio. Neither would have English programs, but at least the radio had a chance of playing music. He landed on a strange news program focused on a political demonstration happening in America and a Catonese ballad on the radio. Together, it was an incongruous pair that could have been artful, were Terrance not so restless.

Rodrigo came out of the bathroom in his usual outfit, a bowler’s shirt with a black and gold pattern, loose khakis, and closed leather sandals. His hair was slicked back, his mustache

finely manicured and dark as night. Terrance hadn’t changed since class, and there were ghostly white patches on his polo and shorts where his sweat had dried. His ankles swelled in his sneakers. He needed to cut down on fried foods.

On Saturdays, taxis lined up outside the academy to take teachers to town. Terrance had taken one once, when he first came to teach, and felt like a minor celebrity with the AC on full blast as he was ferried to one of the expat bars. Since then, he’d ridden into town on Rodrigo’s tandem bicycle. It was brown, and the saddles were frayed. As usual, Rodrigo did the bulk of the peddling, while Terrance kept up as best he could, his head bent down to focus.

He wasn’t missing much with his head down. The city close to the academy, Jiǎmíng, seemed as if it had been built overnight. The large office and apartment buildings, the highway interchanges, the commercial districts with shops and markets, even the barren mountains far in the distance, were all equally nondescript. Bland, funereal markings of a joyless world. Sometimes, after a failed day of teaching, or late in summer evenings as the sun set and the skin between his thighs stuck together, Terrance walked the streets and wondered if he had not died at some point and was now in purgatory. Of course, he knew this was not the case, that his life was too painful to be anything but real, that this real life would continue, even as he grew older and his chances at happiness grew slimmer. However, his reality felt on a lower order, as if he’d been late to the party, as if he’d missed out on something vital everyone else got to enjoy.

He concluded that something had to be the private club, which shone like a diamond in the city. The building itself was hardly different from any of the others, significant only for the fact that it stood alone, with small alleyway gaps between the construction and real estate firms next to it. However, there was an aura to the private club impossible to deny. Muscular bouncers

outside, a rotating outfit of luxury cars out front that dropped off well-dressed foreigners, each wealthier than the last. No spotlights, no loud music, no commotion. It was where people went to live truly and fully, Terrance thought. They likely discussed business deals, vacation homes, art purchases, family matters, philosophy, and science. They told jokes and laughed, putting their arms around one another like family. A large hand patting you on the back, warm like a father’s.

A far cry from the bar he was at now, Jim’s American, which inexplicably had no seating. He and Rodrgio stood in the corner, leaning on banisters and drinking cheap whiskey that made their throats burn. They were the only ones there, and southern country music played overhead while the young bartender played a gambling machine. It was hard to hear anything over the music, but Rodrigo tried talking anyway. He was soft-spoken as it is, and Terrance struggled to make out the words.

“Teaching….going…..might be next...around the way…..looking good.”

Terrance nodded. He couldn’t make heads or tails of what Rodrigo was saying, but it didn’t seem Rodigo was waiting for a response, anyway. He had looked away and bounced his head off-beat to the music.

Back at the bar for another drink, Terrance gave the bartender a once over. He wasn’t much older than some of his students, and it looked like his ear might have been pierced. Historically, these types were more willing to hear Terrance out than some of the older proprietors in town. Maybe after one more, he’d have enough courage to ask what he wanted.

Three drinks later, when he finally did ask if the bartender knew about the club around the corner, he simply turned his back to Terrance, and snuck into the back through a door Terrance hadn’t even noticed until then. By this time, the country music had receded back in

time, and the bar now played honkey tonk blues. Rodrigo still nursed his first drink. Yes, something needed to change.


He slept in the next day and woke up to a missed call from Rodrigo. He left a message saying he was going down to the river if Terrance would like to join him. He’d found a stall nearby that sold cheap persimmons. The temperature was supposed to hit triple digits today, a new record for the season, so Terrance elected to stay inside and clean his room.

On Monday, his room was no less filthy, and his penis hurt as it brushed up against his jean shorts on his walk to class. He had rubbed it practically raw thinking of Wie’s feet and her blue toenails. It would leave a small mark of blood on his underwear later that night, his only weekend achievement. There was an emptiness inside him that wasn’t meant to be there, that should have been replaced with something.

He arrived early in order to ensure his laptop correctly synced to the projector. As the students filtered in, Terrance kept his head down as he did on bike rides, pretending to fiddle with the laptop. In this case, there was much that could be seen, but today he did not have the strength to bear it.

He launched the first slide and entered his lecture, eyes half closed.

“Excuse me, Mr. Terrance?” It was a voice from the front row.

“Yes?” Terrance snapped to attention. The class was half-empty. Unusual, even for a Monday.

“Is this information out of date?” Wei was asking. “This doesn’t match with the updated exam guidelines.”

“Oh?” Terrance vaguely remembered an important email he had only skimmed. “Well, this is still important. Fundamentals are always fundamentals. You need them to succeed.”

“But will it help us pass with good marks?”

“If you listen it will.” He snapped at her. The first time for any student in his class, let alone Wei.

She tilted her head up, only so she could look down at him. “You really are the worst teacher here.”


After class, he ran to Rodrigo’s. He asked if he wanted to hit the town tonight.

“On a Monday?”

“One of those days, you know, old friend?” Terrance tried to laugh.

“I’m sorry, but no,” Rodrigo said. “I’m defrosting some meat. The cook staff found it in a cold pack and offered to trade it for some old coffee I had. I can’t let it go to waste.”

“Right, of course. Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you. You might see me in the papers come morning! Haha!”

Rodrigo wasn’t sure what this meant, or if it was meant to be funny. He smiled and wished Terrance a good night before returning to his frozen meat.


Terrance went to town each night the rest of the week, taking a taxi each time. By Thursday, he had stopped attending class, which was just as well, as the students themselves stopped showing up. Even Wei. The only student left was the ugly one with the fuchsia lined suit jacket. Terrance told him he had an A for the semester and dismissed him.

The taxi drivers were always different, but they all broke into the same conversations with Terrance. The company must have made everyone watch the same English tutorial videos. They asked how he was doing, if he was able to get the news from home, if any of his family lived here. Terrance ignored them. The first stop was always the same expat district, with the same bars and same teachers who went there each weekend. When he told the drivers to keep going, their demeanor would instantly change, and they’d drive the rest of the way in silence before dropping Terrance off at a bar of their choosing, perhaps their old favorite, or perhaps one that would fleece Terrance for all he had. Who knew. The city was so large, it was hard to keep track. The only thing that linked all the different bars was the language barrier. The further they got from the city center, the less English was spoken. Terrance didn’t know the Mandarin words for “private” or “club.” He’d try to ask, but all that came out were words for whiskey, beer, how to find the bathroom, how to get from one location to the next, why am I here.

By next Monday, Terrance was out of money. Whenever he checked his bank balance, he was told to make an appointment with the next available virtual teller for further review. Quarterly payday was still weeks away. He barely had enough to survive. In such times, the best thing to do was push the limit. He went to Rodrigo’s dorm to borrow some money, but he wasn’t there. When he tried his key, it wouldn’t turn. Rodrigo had changed the locks.

“Excuse me,” Terrance said. One of the math teachers was walking by. Terrance had met him once, he might have been from Canada. “Do you know where Rodrigo is?”

“Oh, Rodrigo? He went home to visit family. He should be back by spring term.”


“I believe he took a plane.”

“No, I mean how do you know?”

The Canadian looked offended. “He told me at dinner.”


“Yes, our dinner. Sir, are you okay?”

Terrance needed to sit down. “Dandy.”

“Do you know Rodrigo from town? Is there a message I can leave for you?”


The tandem bike was still there, outside near the entrance. Rodrigo had left it unlocked. Terrence got in the front seat and peddled as fast as he could, partly for revenge, partly for no reason at all. His body needed to do something as he thought. He took a left turn where the taxis usually went right. He’d never peddled on his own before.

He kept a rough balance sheet in his head. Lunch could be added to his cafeteria tab, assuming he had credit left in his teaching account. He could save half for dinner, maybe ask the other teachers for their leftovers. Some markets might take pity on him when they closed for the night and had to throw away their skewers and mushrooms. Then, he thought of all the emails from the administrator he ignored. There might have been something about this account credit in there, and maybe change of cafeteria plans. Then, he thought of emergencies that might crop up. What if he needed to go to the hospital, or what if he was mugged. And what about his credit card bills? He felt sick.

This wasn’t the way he expected his life to turn out. When he was younger, he thought he’d travel the world to see beautiful locales. Ten years ago, he thought he’d have settled down by now with a wife and child. Three years ago, he’d at least expected to be happy. Instead, he

was broke and out of shape. His only dream was to join a private club. He spent his free time thinking about teenage feet and the lives of others. How stupid. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d spoken to his family, the last time someone said they’d loved him, or the last time he’d been excited for tomorrow. Worse yet, he couldn’t imagine any windfalls coming his way. Things were headed downward, one day at a time.

“Maybe I’ll just kill myself,” he said aloud. Maybe that’s what needed to change. He was pedaling over a canal, there were no cars on the bridge.

The thought of suicide had never occurred to him, but as soon as it had, it may as well never occurred at all. He would never do such a thing. For one, he didn’t know the first thing about committing suicide, and he was too lazy to find out how. For another, something told him that he was bound by fate to keep living this way, a momentum pushed him forward. Each day would be worse than the one that came before, and he had no control otherwise. He’d squander everything and spend the rest of his life wondering where it all went.

Terrance stopped the bike. He was out of breath. Dark thoughts scared him. He was in an unfamiliar part of town. The buildings looked old, from the 20th century. They were made of wood, and little motorbikes were out front. Only a few street lamps lit the sidewalks.

The door to a noodle shop was propped open, and steam flew out into the night, dissipating as soon as it hit the air. It had a yellow sign. Terrance stumbled in. The shop was empty outside of an old man sleeping at a corner table. There was no cook, only a girl at the counter with thick eyeliner and dyed purple hair. He recognized her, she was one of his old students.

“Mr. Terrance?” she said.


“No, Xie.”

“Right, Xie.” He remembered Xie. She had a sense of humor and left early in the semester. “Where have you been?”

She’d been to New York, it turned out. That’s where her father sent her. She wanted to go to art school, but when she got there, she discovered they weren’t making any of the art she wanted to make. The other students, from Beijing, Los Angeles, Mexico City, and London, were too interested in how to draw a straight line, as she put it, or the different colors of a flower. Soon after arriving, she fell in with the crowd near the park and started doing drugs, a new type of heroin that’d just been invented in America. She’d invited the crowd to sleep in her room and stopped attending classes. She gave her teachers gifts so they allowed her to stay, but eventually tired of the charade and came home on her own volition. The decision to leave America and the people she grew to know as friends came so easy to her, she realized, that she didn’t want to be an artist after all. On the plane ride home, she went through horrible withdrawals and passed out in the tiny bathroom. Her face turned blue, and she’d almost died.

“Is that why you dyed your hair,” Terrance asked, “to remember all that you’ve overcome?”

“Do you look in the mirror to remember that you’re ugly?” she asked in return. She put a packet of noodles in the microwave for Terrance and asked for his story.

Terrance told Xie he’d been in this part of China for 5 years now, before that he taught at a remote Ohio village. Things were much different there, he said, and he felt isolated. As soon as the opportunity arose to teach in a real city, he jumped at it.

“Was it what you expected?”

He couldn’t answer. The dark thoughts from his bike ride returned.

“Surely, you’ve made a friend here, though, right?”

Terrance thought of Rodrigo. Could he even call him a friend, after he betrayed Terrance by changing the locks on his room?


“Well, maybe you should try joining the club.”

“The no-friend club?”

“No, the private club. You must’ve seen it.”

Terrance couldn’t believe it. He hadn’t even asked, and here it was, offered. Adrenaline surged through his body, his brian released a metric ton of serotonin. The dark thoughts faded away. This was it.

“How do I join?”

You needed to have an insider vouch for you. Like most nice things in life, entry to the club came about by charm and circumstance. Lately, things were loosening up a bit, and access was easier to come by. The local kids could pull the right strings for the right price.

Terrance thought of the children in his class, their expensive outfits, Wie’s open-toe stilettos, her blue toenails.

“What do you need from me?” Terrance asked. He was panting. Then, tripping over his own words, he added, “I don’t know where to get drugs.”

Xie laughed. “Please. As if I would need to ask.”

“I don’t think I have anything,” Terrance said. He couldn’t believe he’d gotten this far, only to have nothing to give.

Xie stared at him.

“Wait,” Terrance said. He pulled Rodrigo’s key out of his pocket. “I have property.”


“Yeah, I have a spare apartment here. I keep it as a study. I don’t find myself using it much, so I can give it to you. You can use it as personal space, maybe invite the park crowd up there! Haha!”

Xie said nothing.

“The key can be a little tricky sometimes, but if you turn it really hard, it should work. It’s a pre-war building, so sometimes the lock is jammed. If that happens, one of the custodians in the building can let you in, they have higher quality keys, the bastards. It’s on campus, actually. The 34th floor of Tower X2Q. They gave it to me when I won a teaching award, but I can give it to you no problem. If I give you the keys now, do you think you can get me into the club? We can meet tomorrow to sign the paperwork. I’m eager to see how things are in there. Also, my schedule is free.”

Xie laughed. “I don’t need your spare apartment. I can get you into the club.”

“Why? Why would you do that for me?” His eyes were wet. His smile was wider now, and genuine.

“I don’t know. I don’t need the money, I guess. And if I did, I could always get another pass. Plus, you were nice to me in school. You gave me good marks even when I stopped attending class.”

“You were always so smart.”

“It helps to be kind.”

Xie gave him a painted medallion that had the word “Friendship” emblazoned in colorful letters. Terrance liked where this was going already. All he would need to do was show this to the private club, and he’d gain entry. It was that simple.

“I don’t know what to say,” Terrance said. “I don’t think I can ever repay you. This came into my life at exactly the right moment. You’re an angel.”

“Don’t mention it,” Xie said. The warmth and joy of spontaneous generosity that was there a moment before had left her face, replaced with a tepid regret. Terrance recognized this change, and made haste to exit the noodle shop as quickly as possible, the noodles Xie had warmed for him left untouched. He knocked a chair over on his way out, waking up the old man.


Outside, a cab was waiting for him, different than those at school. This one ran on gasoline, and had smooth, rounded chrome. The door to the back opened automatically.

The driver was a foreigner and spoke perfect English with an accent Terrance couldn’t place. He wished him a good evening, called him Sir, and commented on the weather. The car was noisy, and rumbled pleasantly. Terrance felt parts on his body move as the engine dragged the car’s wheels over the concrete and potholes. Outside of walking, this may have been the first time his body felt any physical sensations in years. Most of his life was spent on his ass.

Outside the tinted windows, the people of Jiǎmíng were getting produce for dinner, meeting friends for drinks, sweeping up trash, shuttering shops, holed up in offices putting

finishing touches on projects, coming home to their children. The lights of the city never looked so beautiful.

Terrance was at the private club. The door opened. He stepped out, feeling elegant. No one else was around, there was no fanfare, no audience, just a quiet street with a man guarding the door. It felt natural, just as he dreamed. He placed the medallion in the guard’s hand with confidence, the man’s hand dry like baby powder. He looked at it, lowering his sunglasses to inspect the coloring of the Friendship letters, and said something indecipherable into an ear-piece mic. He opened the door for Terrance with a small nod.

The lobby was opulent. Thick red drapes hanging from the wall, fixtures and chandeliers gilded with fine gold edges, expansive staircases with heavy rugs leading to the second floor, neatly dressed men walking silently with drink trays to and from the well-stocked bar in back. The crowd was cosmopolitan, every nation represented, every language spoken in hushed discussions that softly echoed off the drapes.

Terrance was underdressed. The other patrons wore evening wear. Gowns or tuxedos if they were older, expensive casual wear otherwise. Despite the disparity, no one looked askance at Terrance, no one paused their conversations as he walked through the room. He was welcomed as one of their own. He was in the private club. He was here.

Before making it far, a young woman lightly grabbed his elbow. She wore a suit. “You must be new here,” she said. Indeed, Terrance was. She could show him around.

First, she led him to the bar. He could have anything he’d like. Since this was his first time, it was on the house. After this, the drinks would need to be paid for, but the club had a

credit system he was welcome to use. He asked the bartender for a double, no, triple, of an aged whiskey from Croatia. The glass he was given must have weighed a pound on its own.

The woman gave Terrance a cordial tour, explaining the origins of the club, the relationship they held with the authorities, the membership palette, costs, and plans of expansion. Terrance ignored all of it. He was too happy. Reality didn’t factor into his equation. If it did, if he allowed it, the artifice may have crumbled.

They were on the second floor now. Oak doors lined the hallways, the lights were dim, and the chatter from downstairs slowly faded away. The woman’s voice was lower. This was the heart of the club, she explained. This is why people came, and this is the service they provided. Typically, there was a special fee to see what happened behind these doors, but she liked the looks of Terrance, and wanted him to have the best introduction possible. She led him to the first door on the left. Next to it on the wall was a small, black piece of glass. There was a button beside it.

The woman’s finger hovered over the button. She looked Terrance in the eye. Her breath shallowed, and she raised her eyebrow.

“You do know what we do here, right?”

“Yes,” Terrance said. “Of course. That’s why I’m so happy to be here.” This was the most convincing lie Terrance had ever told in his life. He had come too far to do otherwise.

“Right.” The woman’s tone of voice changed. It was subtle, but Terrance picked up on it, as it was something to which he’d grown accustomed. He was slime to her now, not to be trusted. She reacted the same way Xie had after handling Terrance the medallion. But, like then, it was too late to go back now. A contract had been formed of sorts. Or, rather, a momentum outside of

them took hold. Fate was in control. The woman pushed the button, and the black piece of glass dissolved, leaving a hole in the wall.

The room was a typical bedroom, albeit a luxurious one. Inside were two men, two women, and three dogs. The men still wore their suit jackets, but were pantsless, whereas the woman had their dresses tucked to the side. One man laid underneath a dog, sucking its erect dick and pleasuring himself. A woman had a dog on the bed and penetrated it with a strap-on dildo she wore. In the corner, a man and woman, a couple, took a dog from both ends--the man’s face in the dog’s ass, the woman’s crotch in the dog’s snout. The first dog busted in the man’s face, and at that moment, he came on his own. A thick rope of cum shot high into the room like a firework. The woman on the bed stopped fucking the dog to watch it burst, her mouth agape. The black screen went off.

“Wow,” Terrance said. “So this is what life can be.”

“Exactly,” said his guide. “Would you like to see more?”

“Yes, I think I would.” His head felt light, and his heart beat fast. That momentum was back. This was the private club, and he was in it. He was privy to this information now, this lifestyle. He was privileged.

The other rooms were similar to the first. Men, women, and dogs in interchangeable positions, all fucking and sucking. The dogs changed, but were all large breeds, like German Shepherds and Labradors. Terrance noticed the dogs were always calm, almost empty. There was no pleasure or agitation in their faces.

“Well, I think that’s enough,” the guide finally said. Her face was flushed. “Hopefully, that gives you an idea or two of your own.”

“Oh, certainly,” Terrance said. He wanted to reach out and grab the woman’s hand. He wanted to invite her somewhere.

She led him to a room at the end of the hall. There was no black glass next to this door, and it had an isolated air. She brought him inside. It was dark. Couches and beds lined the walls, and there was a small fridge with bottles of fresh water.

“You can wait here while I complete your registration downstairs, is that okay? We call this the relaxation room. Our patrons use it when they want privacy, and our canines then they need a break. We place them here until they’re ready once more.” She took a look around. “Look, there’s one now.”

Against the wall, a large German Shepherd laid on its side, sprawled across a mattress. It’s stomach was huge, as if pregnant, and the nipples protruded like tiny mountains.

“You can make yourself at home. Once things are squared away downstairs, we can get started on the membership package you’d like. Do you have an ID I can see?”

Terrance handed her his wallet. It was made of plastic and fell apart at the seams. “It’s in there somewhere.”

“Of course.”

The woman left, locking the door behind her. Terrance took the nearest seat and waited for his eyes to adjust to the darkness. He was sweating, out of breath. Excited and scared. The things that were on his mind earlier, the things that dominated his life—Rodrigo, Wie, his students, his job, the future, dreams—were so far away that they might not exist anymore. He wasn’t even sure he existed. Things like this didn’t normally happen to him, perhaps that sleeping old man had killed him in the noodle shop and he was in heaven now.

Yes, that had to be it. He was in heaven. Troubles were over now. These were the good times, this was the change. He’d finally made his parents proud, they raised a happy son.

He grabbed a water in the cooler to celebrate. It was delicious. Fresh, straight from a source. It wasn’t desalinated or depoluted. It was real. Life was real.

Joy is best when shared with others. He went to the dog on the mattress. From the looks of it, it was a girl dog. It was too dark to confirm, and, even if it hadn’t been, Terrance wasn’t well-versed in that world of anatomy.

He poured some water into a cupped hand and bent down. The dog’s tongue was out, and it looked at Terrance with tired eyes. The water fell through the cracks between his fingers. There was nothing there to give. He put his hand on the dog’s belly. It was warm, and the touch felt good on his palm, like touching real leather. Again, this was something real. He was connected to this dog, they were both connected to the earth, to humanity.

He got on his knees, lifted up his stomach, and undid his belt. His penis was already erect. He wasn’t horny, just happy. He put it in the dog’s mouth, which was warm and wet. It felt amazing. The dog was too tired to do anything, but that was fine. Terrance had the power here. He moved his penis around, exploring every corner of the dog’s mouth, every sensation it could give to Terrance. He had autonomy again. He was in control of the dog and, perhaps, in control of his life, too. He was gentle with the dog, and the dog gentle with him. This may have been what love felt like. They accepted each other.

Deeper than the happiness and love he felt in this moment, there was something greater underneath it all. A sense of hope. A rare hope. All the tears Terrance stored from the past week, from the past 35 years, they broke loose. This was the best day of his life.


Downstairs in the office, the woman was having trouble processing Terrance’s membership. He was the worst applicant they’d ever seen. No money, all debt. About to lose his job, no connections, no status. It was embarrassing. They’d have to do something. Maybe drug him and send him out of town, or maybe move the club again. Not to mention the reassessment and overhaul they’d need to take of their invite program. What a headache. She could have slapped Terrance for all the extra work he’d put her through.

“Can you get the man in the relaxation room and bring him out back? Terrible fit, Code Deep Blue,” she said to a man at a computer. “This is awful.”

“Sure thing. We just put a body in there, actually. Canine was pushed too hard.”

“That dog was dead?”

“Yeah, the fridge is full of banquet stuff right now, so there was no room. Is that a problem?”

“No,” the woman said, after thinking. “No, it’s not a problem. Everything should work out okay.”