The four of us- me, Ben, Dave and Manny, look for the key to his back door. Ben lifts up a potted, wilting fern. “There we go,” he says, unlocking the door and swinging it wide open. The guys think it’ll be funny to take naked pictures of me and stash them around Eric’s apartment. I’m not sure what’s so funny about it, but I don’t care enough to ask. Eric’s my latest fuck buddy, the other three are in his death metal band.
I sit on Eric’s bed while the three of them argue about how to pose me. When I peel off my jeans and panties, the argument stops. “Oh, for fuck’s sake,” I snap, “you’ve all seen me naked before. Get over it.” It takes a minute for them to all realize what I mean. Manny blushes and laughs nervously. Ben snorts and chugs a beer.
I agreed to let them photograph me, mostly because they bet I wouldn’t. Ben knows exactly how empty I am and exploits it at every opportunity. It was probably his idea. I’m not self conscious. I’ve gone beyond that somehow. Dressed, naked. I don’t care either way. I hit bottom five floors ago and I just kept falling. I’ve fucked each of them at least once within the past few weeks. I even fucked Dave right here in Eric’s bed. Eric said he didn’t care, he even encouraged it. Crazy seems to be the new aphrodisiac.
Dave finally gets down to business. He takes a Polaroid camera from his bag and points to the bed. I strike a pin-up pose. Dave frowns. “Pussy,” he says. “Let’s see it.” I spread my legs ungracefully. “Get on your knees, ass in the air,” Dave barks. I flip over, facing away from them. “Now look over your shoulder.” The flash winks, the camera whirrs. Manny grabs the photo as it slides out of the camera and shakes it. The trio gathers around as the picture of my naked ass develops. “Not bad,” Ben says. The others nod in agreement.
“On your back, spread ’em,” Ben demands, deciding to take charge. He yanks my knees apart. Click. “Grab your tits.” Click. “Quit fucking blinking.” Click. Roll over. Click. The curtains cast a peculiar sharp shadow across the bed. To amuse myself, I try to fit at least one body part within the dark confines when I switch poses. No one notices, they’re too preoccupied with my pussy. I watch the dust float and sparkle in a sunbeam as they change the film. “Vodka,” I gesture to Manny to refill my glass. I start to light a cigarette, then decide it isn’t worth listening to Dave bitch about the odor.
Our little entourage moves into the bathroom. I lean against the shower wall. Again, they argue about poses, each reaching over to raise a leg, lower an arm. I threaten to get dressed and leave if they don’t shut the fuck up and take the pictures.
I don’t know how Eric’s going to react to these photos. Sure, he loves to fuck and he’s a pill popping drunk, but he also considers himself a practicing Catholic. He even has a giant Technicolor tattoo of The Virgin Mary on his calf. The guilt runs narrow but deep and pops up unexpectedly. It took months to convince him that I didn’t want to be his girlfriend, I just want to fuck. He’s adamant about not wanting a relationship, which is fine, I don’t either. We’re bad for each other in the kind of way only addicts are. I bring him booze, he fucks me on demand. We burn together.
We move through the rest of Eric’s apartment. I bend over the cold tiles of the kitchen counter, lay across the stacks of magazines on the coffee table, even straddle his weight bench. When the film runs out, the guys hide the photos throughout the house. They tuck photos into drawers, coffee cups, behind throw pillows, under the toothpaste, anywhere. I see Manny sneak one into his back pocket. I position my favorite one next to the soap on the shower rack, knowing Eric will see that one first.
Eric calls that night, his voice is shaking so much I can’t tell if he’s furious or excited. I say I’ll be over in a minute. By the time I arrive, he’s found more of the photos. “Who took these?” he demands, shaking a handful at me. I tell him and he looks at me incredulously. It dawns on me that he’s jealous. I simply watch as he gathers the photos and piles them in the kitchen sink. He searches his pockets then asks for my lighter. I hand it to him without a word. It takes a few tries before the flame catches the corner of one of the photos. Eric stalks off to find some pills. I gaze at the flames as they lick and consume the photographs. As the Polaroids melt and buckle, the images of my naked body distort and finally burn away in a thin plume of black smoke.