Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Original Sin of Biff Penfield


[This story has been revised based on previous comments.]


Biff Penfield had been warned by his fraternity brothers not to go out with Nebula, the vixen from Chi Delta Chi, a sorority rumored to be aligned with the Dark Arts. Hazing was one thing, but Nebula was considered to be bad mojo. Some of the boys she dated disappeared or flunked out of school.

Biff was game for anything, however. He’d heard that Nebula had erotic charms that were known only to certain Chinese concubines. How could he pass up the invitation to go swimming at her father’s deserted mansion on Long Island?

Nebula slowly descended the steps in the shallow end, violet eyes sparkling beneath long, jet-black hair. The tattoo of a snake writhed from her navel up to her left shoulder, circled her neck, and fell upon her right breast in serpentine fashion.

Biff, wearing nothing but the designer clothes given him by Mother Nature, treaded water in the deep end and watched Nebula swim toward him using—what else?—a sultry breast stroke that was slow and mesmerizing.

Biff felt intense waves of ecstasy as his mysterious host physically joined him and spun her body a full one-hundred-and-eighty degrees. His legs circled Nebula's torso, and his hands clutched her thighs as she hung upside down in the blue water, her body straight as an arrow aimed at the underworld. And then he was unconscious, Nebula disappearing into a black maelstrom beneath the diving board.

“Well, what happened?” asked Biff’s frat buddies as they stood around his hospital bed. “What did she do?”

“I’m not sure,” Biff replied, “but if I don’t get the tattoo of this snake lasered off my chest and shoulders, my parents are gonna kill me.”

Biff lived an ordinary life in the years ahead, but on certain moonless nights when the tide was high, he found himself scratching his chest and shoulders. Temptation not rebuffed has a way of leaving an indelible mark, even if unseen …

… not unlike the taste of a forbidden apple lingering on the palate of mankind, which must forever swim in a pool of regret while searching for a lifeguard on a tall wooden platform.

Painting: Lilith, by John Collier, 1892, public domain

25 comments:

Lisa said...

Fantastic!

Scott from Oregon said...

frea....

ky...

Charles Gramlich said...

I really like the image of the taste of the forbidden apple lingering on the palate of human kind.

Billy said...

Lisa, thanks. My ego always needs stroking -:)

Billy said...

Scott, Hawthorne was freaky too -:) A 19th century Stephen King.

Charles, the ending seemed necessary to unify the vigentte and solidify the theme. Thanks!

Marja said...

My hear is standing up Great story. Just couldn't imagen "his left leg behind his neck" I absolutely love the last sentence.

SandyCarlson said...

Lilith as the alternative to Eve is a beguiling creature. She and her snakes hearken to the goddess tradition that predated notions of submission and all the rest. I wonder if this young man itches for a time and place free of all those crazy inhibitions that came with a patriarchal tradition.

Love it, Billy, as usual!

(Pssst...This week's prompt will be circles. I hope you'll join us!)

SzélsőFa said...

That was...uhm..somehow..tasty!

paisley said...

oh this was expertly written.. i am in awe.. thank you so much for sharing it.....

J. Andrew Lockhart said...

I love how you write -- it flows so well. :

Bernita said...

The leg behind the neck bothered me too, but the last line redeems that.
Oh we is bad, we women, and I'm not sure we can blame the patriarchy for all of it.

Jo said...

Great story, I loved it......a tight write that moves like that serpent, with a resonant ending:

Temptation not rebuffed has a way of leaving an indelible mark, even if unseen

Billy said...

First, spooky fact: when I uploaded the pic of Lilith with the serpent, it jumped onto my desktop as wallpaper without my giving my PC any command to do that. Creepy!

Marja, thanks. The left leg behind his neck is a leftover from the first draft, and I should have revised better. The original was a humorous piece about a guy getting tangled up from too much "Kama Sutra," so to speak. I think the piece needs better description to show that the Lilith figure is using some kind of arcane art/Kama Sutra technique that lands him in the hospital. Thanks for the feedback.

Sandy, I think your interpretation is quite valid. If you look at the response above, you'll see that the story originally was aiming at another theme, which I think carried over to this to some degree ... and which you picked up on nicely.

Szelsofa, the pic gave me inspiration LOL. Was fun!

paisley, you are way too kind ... but I'll take the comment anyway ROFL Thank you so much.

j. andrew, thanks. If I haven't already said so, I'd like to link my site to yours.

Bernita, the leg is indeed not explained adequately (see comments to Marja and Sandy above). It definitely needs some revision. Glad you and Marja pointed it out. Thanks.

Jo, this one was fun to write. And I couldn't believe I found a pic that matched the story so well. After I uploaded it to Blogger, it somehow jumped onto my desktop. Kinda spooky since I didn't give my PC a command to do that.

david mcmahon said...

There is always great imagery in your writing, Billy.

If only I had 48 hours in each day so I could visit all my favourite sites every single day!

Thanks for the great comment on my books photo.

floots said...

i know it's called original sin - but i'm up for a repeat :)
beautifully and beguilingly told
thank you

Billy said...

David, thanks--and yes, we need 48 hrs. a day ... 8 days a week to keep up with blogging :)

Billy said...

floots, many thanks. I think these will be a regular feature every week, alternating with poetry.

Miladysa said...

I really enjoyed this - very descriptive :-D

Billy said...

Thank you Miladysa! I sent you a reply to your note. Let me know if it doesn't arrive. It was a beautiful story. I have added your link to this site--Chapter and Verse.

Lane said...

Not only did I really like this take on original sin, I've learnt a new word -'hazing'. Never heard that here.

I think you are fast becoming a Quirk Master Billy:-)

Billy said...

Lane, yes, hazing is an awful custom here in the States. As for as being a Quirk Master, over the years I've gone from literary to mainstream to horror to quirky literary, like Vonnegut. The novels that got published by small presses were a YA, quirky literary, and two mainstream that are rather like Tom Robbins, slightly quirky. None have made me a household name ROFL.

writtenwyrdd said...

That's a lovely painting of Lilith. I've always liked it. I tried to paint my own version once and it sucked!

The story is lovely. I wanted a bit more consequence, though. Perhaps this one wants to be longer? but your use of language, as always, is gorgeous.

Billy said...

THank you, Written. I had never seen the pic before, but it certainly "fit the bill." :)

cargwaps said...

my my my. erotic yet ethereal. I wonder what Nebula did to poor Biff. :) I thought the designer clothes description didn't mesh too well with the whole theme. But hey, it went down well in the end right? :)

kudos billy. as always, I am riveted to your writing. *stalks off to read more entries* ^__^

Billy said...

cargwaps, I thought it best for the reader's imagination to fill in the details about Nebula's activities. :)