Penance, Part 5

Read the entire series here. I’m exploring some concepts that I started to work through in my essay “BDSM is Not Repentance” using this experimental semi-fantasy flash erotica series. It is not intended to model realistic and healthy approaches to penance, sex work, or even BDSM, but to inspire thought about how we use BDSM and what role, if any, it can play in true repentance.

The next session begins one long week later, on a hot, humid evening. The doorbell rings at seven on the dot. This time, the man is prepared. So this Dominant is cautious? Okay. He’ll just have to be clearer and more confident about what he wants. With that in mind, he opens the door and folds to his knees without a word. The Dominant pauses, a wiry sketch of black and silver in the doorway, scraping their boots on the welcome mat. The man shifts restlessly, wishing he had a cushion. He looks up at the Dominant’s face. 

They blink at him, expression neutral. “Are you going to let me by?” 

“Uh, yeah.” Honorific intentions forgotten, he shuffle-rolls to the side to make room for the Dominant. Only when he clambers to his feet do they give him some hint of expression, a slight smile. He feels himself stand a little straighter. 

They ask for water again, this time seated on the sofa. He fetches it with a flourish. Along with their papers (the same as last time?), they pull out a handkerchief to cushion the glass on the coffee table. 

Are they going to do the same thing as before? He has to do something; this is ridiculous. He drops to his knees again, right next to the Dominant. 

They look…displeased. What is wrong with them? 

“I want you to sit back down in the chair while I go through these papers,” they say.

“What? Don’t Dominants like it when clients grovel?” It comes out more indignant than he intends. They raise their eyebrows over those steel-rimmed spectacles. 

“Sorry,” he mutters, moving back up to the chair in a tangle of embarrassment and arousal. 

“Thank you. First of all, we’re not a monolith.” They tick off the item on their fingers. “Second, I haven’t discussed a kneeling protocol with you. Third, I asked you to sit by me in the chair.” 

The man’s breath hitches as it clicks into place. So his kneeling was seen as disobedience. Maybe they’re closer to punishing him than he thought; this could work. 

Before he knows it, he’s fetching the blue notebook and asking the Dominant to read. 

He watches their eyes narrow as they page through his entries, all some variation of “I don’t need to write in this; I just need to be punished so I can move on.” 

He waits for the explosion, an order to ‘assume the position’ or something. 

They close the notebook. “Would you rather make audio recordings?” they ask, smooth as ever. What? “I notice you said you want to move on,” they say, removing their glasses, “and yet you wrote the same thing over and over. Perhaps you need a different medium and more time.” More time?!

“No!” he blurts, wondering what parallel universe he’s just entered. “What do I have to do to get you to just punish me?!” 

The Dominant’s eyes harden, like black marbles set in their face. They stand, temporarily looming over him with glass in hand. He braces in the chair, aroused but sickened by sudden fear of what he’s provoked. Maybe this is it, he thinks. 

But the Dominant walks past him to pour their remaining water onto the thirsty Monstera plant. Frozen in place, he watches them walk to the front door.

“Try again,” they say. And then he’s alone.

-To be continued-