Libertine by Eric Morlock

Eric Morlock tells the story of an unconventional sex-worker from the perspective of some of the men in her life.

Image generated with OpenAI
She must be the strangest call girl in town. And it's not just the way she dresses and her quirky demeanor. The see-through nun's habit is odd, to be sure, but it's also quite erotic. And all of the ritual items on her altar don't really bother me anymore. I've even gotten used to the prayer she says beforehand. I have no reason to take offense, because it doesn't mean anything to me. But it obviously does mean a lot to her. For a long time, I wondered if it was all some kind of kinky act. But by now I know it isn't. That's the strange part. That and the fact that she seems so normal otherwise.

This waiting time is always unnerving. I have such conflicted feelings - guilt mixed with anticipation. Even though my wife hasn't touched me for months, and probably even knows I've found comfort elsewhere, I have the nagging pangs of a rank adulterer. But I also feel curiously at home here, sitting in her pretty parlor, surrounded by prints of Renoir's plump, rosy nudes, and soothed by the strains of Bach and Mozart, which she insists are her own flute recordings. A casual glance out the window underscores the otherworldliness of this place, perched on a thirty-story high-rise overlooking Puget Sound.

I'm often tempted to ask her why she conducts her business at home. Isn't it dangerous? After all, a rich client is not necessarily a stable client. I could easily imagine some lonely CEO becoming obsessed with her and frantically ringing her doorbell in the early-morning hours, or perhaps bribing his way past the doorman. I could see some half-mad, high-stakes player, consumed with lust and what he believes to be love, following her around like a common stalker. She must know the risks involved in inviting strange men to her bed. Perhaps the greater risk lies in the stranger's bed.

I continue looking out the window at the sparkling skyline of Seattle. The space needle commands my attention for a time. Its bright revolving top makes it look like the world's tallest lighthouse. Although the restaurant has been closed for hours, I can see the dark silhouettes of assorted night owls wandering about like sleepwalkers. Are they lonely? Troubled? Desperate? Do they long for love?

Soon I hear soft footfalls in the hallway and she appears in her customary black cloak. If the garment had a hood she might look like an effeminate monk. Then again, if she wore a pointed hat, she could easily pass for a very comely witch. Her pale skin and petite form make her look fragile, a quality that I like. She knows I don't care for makeup or jewelry. If she had the smallest tattoo or a piercing anywhere besides her ears, I would never come to her. And if her long black hair were any lighter, or if her eyes were blue and not brown, it simply would not suit me.

She settles into the plush armchair opposite me, crossing her legs then quickly pulling the cloak over her knees. Her lower legs and ankles are smooth and white, and her small feet are covered by black velvet dancing slippers. Her delicate hands rest lightly in her lap. The thin black band on her left ring finger is the only adornment I will tolerate. She says it is a symbol of her marriage to the "Creator." I accept this as I have accepted the large, irregular "birthmark" on her back, which looks suspiciously like a burn scar.

I can't help wondering about the music, which seems too accomplished to be her own. I suggest to her that if she were really that good she could surely find work as a professional musician, if not with a major orchestra then with a smaller ensemble. Weren't there scores of chamber groups in the area? She concedes that there are, but that the better groups travel too much. "Besides," she says, "the recitals are mostly at night and I like my nights to myself." I remind her that most recitals are over by ten o'clock, and that she could easily be home in time for her... liaisons. Her eyes flash in mock reproach. "Well I never," she moons, running her hand down her cloak. "You think it's easy to look this good? Pure velour!"

She asks about my work, and whether the software industry is hurting from the failure of so many internet businesses. Something akin to vanity - or perhaps it is just dumb male pride - forces me to lie. I tell her my company is doing fine and that demand for our products is actually up. I don't mention that most of the demand is from marginal businesses that have to settle for outdated software because they can't afford the new. I think of a few choice words to launch at the big-shot companies that are trying to squeeze us out, but I hold my tongue. This is my "down" time.

She smiles brightly and says she's pleased my business is flourishing. Then, her smile turning sly, she confides that she once had a porn site on the internet. "I figured it had to be better than stripping. At least monetarily. But it wasn't." She starts to giggle, then bursts out laughing.

"The come-on was such a tease," she says. "You show a little this, a little that. They had to pay for the rest. Unfortunately, not many people went for it."

I reply that anyone who doesn't want to see more of her must have impaired vision. "Flatterer," she says, batting her eyes extravagantly.

A sudden silence descends. Then she asks if I'd like some wine. I decline. After another lull she remarks at the rarity of the clear night sky. "A clarity rarity," she says, grinning. I nod my head. Finally, she politely suggests that we go into the bedroom. I nod tentatively, then blurt out a request I know to be fruitless. Would she please play her flute for me?

A dark look colors her eyes, but quickly dissolves. "I'm sorry," she says matter-of-factly. "You know I can't." Then she gets up and comes over to me. With a playful wink she reaches down and takes my hand. A gentle tug coaxes me onto my feet, and she leads me down the hall to her bedroom.

The room is very dark, as always, illumined only by a soft night light by her bedstand. Opposite her bed is an altar of sorts, a high antique bureau with door panels instead of drawers, and carved in intertwining floral and serpentine patterns. On the wall above the altar hangs a large oval mirror, with a black wooden frame carved to resemble a braided rope. Atop the altar everything is brass - an hourglass-shaped candleholder, an incense burner in the form of a Buddha, a slender flower vase, and a shiny, unadorned cross. It strikes me that, despite its sheen, the cross is the only object on the altar that looks commonplace, even generic. In my Lutheran upbringing I must have seen scores of crosses just like this.

She lights the candle and uses its flame to start up a cone of incense. Then she goes over to her night stand, on which rests a large crystal vase full of long-stemmed roses. She examines the bouquet for a moment then picks out a large, bright-red flower and takes it back to the altar. She carefully places the rose into the brass vase, smells deeply of the blossom, then turns and asks me to sit down on the bed. I comply.

Now proceeds the most unusual of her rituals. She starts to pray. Whether her words are directed to Christ, the Buddha, or the Earth Goddess, I can't tell. Perhaps she is praying to her own reflection in the mirror, for her lovely face is framed there, looking straight ahead but with her eyes half-closed as if entranced. Also visible are her hands, held palms together with the fingertips pointing at the collar of her "habit," which has inched up above the top button of her cloak. I can never make out what she is saying until the end, which I'm sure she intends for me to hear. I know the line by heart: "May we two be united in this act of love, and may we never be separated from love's sacred core."

After this is said she comes to sit down beside me, at my left. She takes my right hand and slides it inside her cloak and between her breasts. Then she puts her left hand on my chest. The idea is to feel each other's heart beating, but I can never feel a thing. Yet she is satisfied soon enough, and asks if I'd like to begin. I nod my head and she gets up and goes over to open her walk-in closet. She slips out of her cloak and hangs it on a hook. She stands perfectly still for a time, with her back to me.

The entire contour of her body is visible through the sheer fabric of her "habit." The wide but delicate shoulders, the muscular legs, the fine, round bottom. I am treated to a generous view of the latter when she bends over to change the tape in her stereo system, which occupies a corner of the closet. Soon, new sounds fill the air - more flute music, but with a sensual, Middle-Eastern flavor. She turns around and starts to dance, her hips gently swaying and her arms moving in graceful arcs. Then she reaches down and takes a swath of fabric in hand. She raises it up to cover her face, then swirls it back and forth across her body, her large breasts undulating to the movement. She is part nun and part harem-girl - for me, an exciting persona.

She slowly advances, twirling completely around after every other step. I begin to undress, hanging my suitcoat, tie, and shirt over the rear bedpost. Then I sit down to remove my shoes and socks. Rising again, I start to unbuckle my belt. I watch her perform another flawless pirouette. Then, glancing over her shoulder, I catch sight of a small black box on the top shelf of the closet. It is too long to be a shoe box. I squint hard through the dim light, and finally discern that it is an instrument case. Her flute case, no doubt. I quickly remove my pants, for she is almost upon me now. I scramble onto the bed to assume the position - face down on the comforter in my shorts. She gives the best back massage I've ever had.

She goes to the bedstand, takes a tiny bottle of massage oil from the drawer, pours some out and rubs her hands together. Then she crawls onto the bed, straddles me, and settles on my behind. Soon the air is laden with a sweet, musty scent, similar to the incense. It is patchouli, I think, and while not my favorite fragrance I can easily surrender to it. Her hands slowly spread from my neck to my shoulders, moving in small circles, firm but not too deep. She inches down to my upper back, then lingers for a while on my shoulder blades. Before long I am so relaxed that I feel I could nod off at any moment. My lazy gaze wanders around the room, until my eyes light on the instrument case again. Soon a seed is planted in my mind.

Hard as I try, I can't dismiss a sense of dismay that she refuses to play for me. For what I pay her, it seems like I'm due an entire recital. I suppose she has her reasons for declining. Still, she's said several times how much she enjoys playing for friends. What am I - just another john? I start to feel a familiar churning in my stomach, an inkling of nausea I get when I realize, someone has taken advantage of me. And so, knowing that only one thing will bring relief, I venture to pose the question again. Looking over my shoulder, I nod toward the closet and mention the instrument case. Will she play just once for me? Perhaps after we're done?

She stops rubbing, and after a long silence says, "I've told you I can't do that."

I ask why and she says it's the wrong time and place. When I remind her about playing for her friends she tells me she only plays in someone else's home. I pause a moment, trying to remember if she ever said otherwise. But I can't recall. I ask how can I be sure that what I'm hearing is her own music?

"I guess you can't," she says.

I turn my head away and let it sink into the pillow. I try my best to relax, and ignore the queasy feeling that remains in my stomach. But it's no use. My gut tells me she's lying.

Maybe she doesn't play the flute at all - maybe it's all a ruse to give people the impression she has "class." Even if I'm mistaken, what is the harm in playing a short piece, of her own choosing, for a fellow music lover? If she perceives some sort of conflict between business and pleasure, I have to balk. Her business is pleasure. Feeling increasingly annoyed, I pose the question one last time. Won't she reconsider? I'd be willing to pay extra.

I wait for an answer that never comes. And the massage is slow to resume. This time she proceeds without enthusiasm. Her hands seem almost indifferent. And she doesn't even finish the task. After some cursory work on my lower back, she doesn't even touch my rear. She pulls off my shorts, as usual, then thrusts her hand between my legs and grabs my scrotum. I'm a bit alarmed, at first, but then she starts to massage my testicles, gently and sensuously, until I begin to respond. I tell myself that she is now aroused, as well, and that she wants me. Soon I am very hard, and she tells me to turn over. When I do, she promptly mounts me. Since this is our usual procedure I have no reason to object. Except that this time she is facing me, and hasn't removed her habit.

I suppose whichever way she wants to sit is up to her, but I'd much rather she were nude. She has such a beautiful body, and the softest skin. Of course, this way I don't have to look at the odd "birthmark" on her upper back. Still, it seems only fair that if she intends to remain facing me, I should get to look at her breasts. In this dim light, and with her body blocking the candle, all I can see are two vague parabolas behind the fabric.

Before I can ask her to remove her habit, she is off and running. Instead of her usual slow, circular motion, spiraling up and down like a helix, she starts bouncing wildly, as if I were a human trampoline. It reminds me of my very first time, back in high school, when the girl didn't know how to move or when to ease up so we could make it last. And how humiliating that this time brings the same results. I finish all too soon, and, even more embarrassing, I call out her name. "Mary!" I say, half-excited, half-bewildered. It's all one big messy mistake.

I try to be tactful. I tell her it wasn't what I expected and ask if she was in some sort of hurry. Because I could understand if she had another client... But she says no. Then she scoots off the bed and starts rifling through the bedstand drawer. She flourishes a fistful of tissues and tosses them at me. There follows a stern command for me to get dressed, after which she strides over to the closet to put on her cloak. I clean myself as best I can, then, leaving the remains, I rise to get dressed.

As I do, she steps back into the closet to turn off the stereo, then reaches up on tip-toes for her instrument case. She takes it over to the altar, opens one of the door-panels, and flings the case inside. She slams the panel shut even more emphatically, then leans back against the altar with her arms crossed.

I begin to tie my shoes. An odd, raucous voice shouts "Hurry up!" but I don't. I take my own sweet time. When at last I get up and start toward the door she says, "You're not invited back." I tell her that's fine with me, but when I reach the doorway I feel a pang and stop. Looking back, I ask, in a whisper, if I can have a photograph of her.

After a long pause she says, "Buy my video. It's called The Rabbit Habit.' Available at a porn store near you."

I walk to her front door in a haze of patchouli, with a dizzy head full of pink Renoirs and lingering gypsy music. I almost forget to leave my "offering" in the collection plate she keeps on a stand by the door. I drop in a fifty, figuring she's lucky to get anything at all.

"Try to understand," Merry Maggie says. "It's just so hard for me to say these things."

And I sympathize, I really do. It's a lousy script, no doubt about it. I mean, the story doesn't even come close to the concept. But what can I do? We're already over budget. We spent way too much on the sets and costumes. But let's face it, the people would rather watch than listen. They don't give a damn about dialogue. So when it's crunch time for the producer, the director's got to cut corners. You send the writer packing and try patch the script together yourself. God knows I'm no Mamet, but I did the best I could. The actors just have to suck it up.

Still, I feel sort of sorry for this one. She's beautiful and smart and has class. And she plays the flute like some kind of angel. If I was new to the business I'd think she didn't even belong here, like she was too good to be doing porn. But by now I've seen enough college grads come and go that nothing surprises me. Whatever their background is, any model or stripper knows there's good money in video.

But you've got to play the game. And right now the game means doing some pretty embarrassing stuff. So I ask Merry again to say the lines.

"But it's so ridiculous," she says, tossing the carrot on the pillow in disgust. She looks over at Steele, her partner. "Don't you think these lines are ridiculous?"

Steele just shrugs and turns over on his stomach so he doesn't have to talk. He looks pretty ridiculous himself, stripped to just his boxers and his cleric's collar, with his stethoscope strung across his upper arm next to a flowery tattoo dedicated to his mother. Steele is playing a monk who's also a doctor, and he's come to the convent to examine the nuns because they're all reformed Playboy bunnies in danger of dying from terminal horniness. We're thinking of adding a "Mary" to Steele's tattoo, so it works better with the storyline.

"It's offensive to me and Bugs Bunny," Merry continues, scooting over to the side of the bed. She crosses her legs and says, "If I were a lawyer for Warner Brothers, I'd sue."

We went through all this in rehearsal. The phrase "What's up, Doc?" is in the public domain, and besides, there is no reference to Bugs Bunny anywhere in the script. All she has to do is say, "Oh, Brother Peter!" when Steele puts the stethoscope on her nipple, then, "You like monkeying around, don't you?" when he touches it to her vagina. Then she pushes the stethoscope away, grabs the carrot, and after taking a bite she slowly pushes it all the way in. After she slides it out she massages Steele's jewels with it for a while. When he's ready to go she says, "What's up, Doc?" Then they do their thing.

"Look, I'm just not going to use the carrot on myself like that," Merry says. "I know I said I would, but now I don't want to. Okay?"

I should have known that's what it was really about. Offensive to Bugs Bunny? Give me a break. But anybody could see why she wouldn't want to stick herself with a carrot. It is on the sleazy side. So maybe we can compromise on this one. I ask her if she could just rub herself with the carrot, instead. Get it wet and maybe sprinkle it on Steele's shorts or something. Then pull his shorts down and use the carrot to fiddle with his bat and balls, as planned.

Merry just sits there shaking he head, with her fake rabbit ears bouncing back and forth. At least she didn't complain about wearing those, or taping a big cotton ball to the back of her habit. She also agreed to play pop tunes on her flute instead of classical stuff. "White Rabbit" and "The Bunny Hop" have got to be a come-down from Bach and Beethoven. And she's not asking any musician's pay for it, either. Not that we'd give her any if she did...

"Can't we just lose the carrot?" Merry asks. "I'll say whatever you want if we can just get rid of that thing. How about we just yank it and leave it on the cutting-room floor?"

I'm still not ready to give in, so I throw out another idea, hoping she'll finally bite. Because this is getting real old real fast. I feel like I'm trying to pull a rabbit out of a hat. So I say what if she just sucks on the carrot, goes down an Steele right away, and when he's hard she could yell the lines right into his stethoscope: What's up, Doc?

Instead of laughing along with the crew, Merry heaves a big sigh and says, "I wish I had a 'no vegetables' clause in my contract."

There are a few more chuckles, followed by a long silence. I don't know what she wants to do so I tell her she'd better decide because we're on the clock. After a bit she says why not do what she does on her website? She probably knows that's the main reason we hired her, because of the nun's outfit and because she's so damn pretty. But I have to tell her honestly that the stuff on the website is too soft-core. She throws up her arms and says, "You're kidding! And just how many models do you know who can disrobe while standing on their head?" When I ask what she's talking about she practically hits the roof.

"You didn't watch the whole thing, did you?" she shouts. "You people! You didn't even go to my pay site! All you wanted was a busty broad who dressed like a nun. Am I right? You didn't give a good goddamn about anything else, did you? Well? Did you?"

I say no in a quiet voice.

"So, you didn't care a flying fuck about what I could do or what kind of talents I had. And even if you did you were too cheap to find out. Right?"

I say yes.

She settles into silence. I can almost see the steam coming out of her ears. Suddenly she hops onto the bed and just stands there awhile with her hands on her hips. Then she calls out, "Roll the cameras!" and takes a few bouncy steps over to the headboard. I signal the cameraman to wait, and ask her what the hell she thinks she's doing. But she just shouts again to roll the cameras. Then she reaches down to her pillow, flings the carrot away, and positions the pillow at the center of the headboard. She whispers something into Steele's ear and he rolls over on his side, propping his head on his hand like an interested observer. Finally she looks over her shoulder and addresses me directly. "I suggest you roll the cameras, because I'm only going to do this once." I may be stubborn, but I'm not stupid. I roll the cameras.

Merry Maggie turns around and stands very still, staring awhile at the crucifix we nailed on the wall above the headboard. Then she slowly brings her hands together at her chest, as if she's praying. The room is so quiet that I wish we had some music going, even some of that raunchy soundtrack we're going to dub in later. Just when it starts to get uncomfortable Merry bends over with her arms outstretched, like she means to touch her toes. I figure she's going to pull up her habit and maybe stick her head between her knees like I've seen way too many times before. But instead she gathers the hem of her habit between her ankles, puts her hands on either side of her pillow, and then in one smooth motion pushes up into a headstand.

Merry's body is straight as an arrow, and the habit is still snug against her skin from top to bottom - or bottom to top - because she's still holding onto the hem with her ankles. Her boobs and bush stand out as clear as day through the sheer material, which makes for a nice tease. Pretty soon she eases her legs back so her heels are touching the wall. She moves her feet so both the front and back of the hem are pressed against the wall between her heels. The rest of the habit sort of billows out on either side.

Then Merry starts to spread her legs. While keeping the hem tight against the wall, she slides her heels along so the habit starts to stretch out. She inches along until her legs form a V and the habit looks like an upside-down petticoat or something. Merry holds that position for a while, like she's building up the suspense. Then she lets the curtain down. She moves her heels so that the front of the hem goes loose, and as she slowly slides her legs back to the center the whole habit starts to fall away. First you see the knees, then the thighs, then the bush, then the navel. She has the skin of a goddess.

Finally Merry moves her feet away from the wall and lets the back of the habit fall onto the bed behind her. Now the front of the habit is draped over her boobs. She whispers to Steele again and he gets up and kneels beside her like a disciple or something. Then she props her feet back against the wall and lets her arms go free so she's actually balancing on her head. She stretches her arms all the way out to either side so her body looks like an upside-down cross. I tell Camera One to go to wide-angle until she breaks the pose. After a bit she whispers something else and Steele scoots up next to her, still on his knees so he's looking at her bush. I tell Camera Two to zoom.

Now Merry reaches behind Steele's butt and slowly pulls his boxers down. Then she slides the front of her habit off her boobs. She squeezes her boobs together and whispers again. Steele sticks his dick between her boobs, and Merry says "Oh, Brother Peter!" following the script like a pro. Then when Steele spreads her legs and rubs her with the stethoscope she's right on cue with, "My God! You sure like monkeying around, don't you?" Finally, when Steele gets some wood, she grabs his dick like a microphone and says, "What's up, Doc?" Steele actually remembers the next line: "My prescription is a large dose of me!"

They go right into a sixty-nine, and after they get good and juicy Merry braces herself with her hands, gets her feet set, and springs away from the wall. Luckily Steele goes along with it and they land on the bed just like they were on the wall. They keep licking for a while until Merry decides it's time to do it. With Jesus looking on, she hops on for a ride. And they go at it like rabbits.

Hi! I'm Sister Mariah and I've got a body built for sin. But I don't think of sex that way. I think that sex is holy and my body is a temple. If you want to see just how holy my temple is, come inside! But you have to be an adult. If you're under 18, go away, or else God will strike you dead!


Do you like my habit? I made it myself. It's one hundred percent silk, and when I'm not wearing any underwear you can see everything! But you don't get to see everything yet. I don't just take it all off at the drop of a coronet. I'm a good nun. And if you want me to go all the way you have to be a good boy. Do you promise to be good? If you do, then go on.

Next >

I don't like bad boys. A guy has to be considerate and show me some respect. And he has to put safety first. God meant for us to enjoy our bodies, but only if we care enough to be careful. Guys who care make me hot. Just like all these camera lights. Want to see me cool off?

Next >

When I get hot I like to put a fan between my feet and point it straight up. That's where I got my name, because they call the wind "Mariah." Anyway, this fan has three speeds, and my habit floats higher and higher with each setting. I think I'll put it on "Low" first. They say it's bad to cool off too fast. If that's not enough for you, just be patient. I know your fantasy, and I've got my fan to see!

Next >

What do you think of my legs? I do aerobics every day and jog twice a week, so that keeps me in shape. As you can see, I also play the flute. I call it my "magic" flute. Did you know Mozart wrote an opera called "The Magic Flute?" I'll play a little tune from it. Since I'm showing off my legs, I'll play in "legato" style. Get it? Meanwhile, I'll switch the fan to "Medium."

Next >

You weren't expecting to see my womanhood already, were you? After all, a nun has to protect her reputation. Remember, I'm married to Jesus and he'd think it was a sin if I took off all my clothes right away. You'll just have to wait. Meanwhile, I hope you like my G-string. It's white silk. It makes me feel pure and chaste. And what better music to play than Bach's "Air on the G String?" Now I'll turn the fan to "High."

Next >

My habit looks like a big black parachute, doesn't it? I feel like I'm flying. Just call me "The Flying Nun!" All this breeze feels so cool on my skin. It doesn't hurt to have such a skimpy silk brassiere, either. My breasts are still a little sweaty, but they won't be for long. In fact, I'm thinking of taking everything off right now, even the habit. That way I can feel free and natural, just like God intended. Speaking of nature, here's a little tune called "On The Trail" from Grofe's "Grand Canyon Suite." I like to bounce around when I play it, so I can pretend I'm riding a mule. Care to ride along?

Next >

Whoa! Hold on, pardner! If you want to see this filly prance without a harness, you'll have to show me some silver. I may be a hardcore nun, but I'm not about to take a vow of poverty. I learned my lesson on the strip circuit. I like to eat and pay my rent. Be a gent, and spend some cents! You won't regret it. I assure you, my next act will rock your world and turn it upside down. Curious? I'll never tell. Let's just say I'm so limber I'd make a gymnast jealous. Except to do what I do you don't need big bulging muscles - just a hard head and a stiff neck. Do you have a hard head and a stiff neck? Join me, and you will. I guarantee it!

If she wasn't so good-lookin I'd kick her out on her ass. My girls do what I tell 'em, or else they're gone. I don't care what they think of my ideas - if I hit on something that's going to bring in new customers, the girls damn well better go along with it. Anyway, it's not like I ever ask 'em to do anything illegal. Not one of my girls ever had any kind of sex on stage, not ever. Hell, I don't even let 'em do lap dances. I figure if I want one of 'em to go a little bit kinky on herself, she better not complain. I mean let's face it, this place ain't the fuckin' Playboy Mansion.

So when little Sister Maria up there says she won't go the extra mile for me, naturally I get pissed. Some of the other girls do a lot sleazier stuff than poking themselves with a flute. I could see her point if I wanted her to use the playing end of that thing - but hey, no way. I just think if she stuck it in just a little, with the bottom part of the flute, it'd give the boys a rise. I mean isn't it kind of a natural thing to expect from a stripper who plays the flute? 'Cause when you think about it, isn't a flute just a big old shiny penis symbol? Like a dildo with holes? I don't know what I'm going to do with this girl if she doesn't come around.

The Sister plays a pretty mean flute, though, I'll give her that. She's practically a professional. She likes classical best, but she's just as good with jazzy stuff and even rock- and-roll. I let her play whatever the hell she wants, long as it ends up good and raunchy. Right now, she's standing real still, with a blue light on her, playing some Bach I think. All you can see through her nun's gown is the outline of her legs and just a tease of tits and beard. But the boys never seem to get impatient. Matter of fact they usually give the girl some applause after the opening bit. I guess even guys that can't tell Beethoven from the Beatles know talent when they hear it.

So, even though it's a slow night, Maria gets a nice hand when she's done with the Bach. She takes a little bow then goes right into something jazzy, 'cause she knows the boys want to see some skin pretty soon. After a few riffs, she starts to do her thing. While she's still playing, she bends way over and gathers up the bottom of her gown with the end of her flute. I guess she sprays something on the flute so the fabric will stick to it. Anyway, she sort of swirls the gown around in big figure-eights until enough of it is gathered up to show most of her legs. She knows right when to stop, so the boys won't see her beard or her butt too soon. Then she starts to dance, kind of twisting and strutting to the music, and working her way around in a real slow circle. She takes her own fuckin' time, alright, but she's got such good stems that the boys don't care.

When she finally struts all the way around, Maria goes right into the old bump-and-grind. The red lights come on and she starts playing that old strip tune they used to use for shaving-cream commercials. Even though it sounds strange at first coming from a flute, she can make it groan and growl so it's real down and dirty. Some of the boys start to whistle, and when she wraps some more of her gown around the flute the whistles turn to whoops. Pretty soon she's got it worked so all she has to do is raise her flute up high and you got a full beard or butt shot. After a while she grinds halfway around and gets ready to show some tail. When those four big notes come she jerks the flute up down up down so the boys get a nice little ass tease. Then she grinds back around to the front and does the same thing with her beard. The boys really eat it up.

When Maria finishes the strip tune all the stage lights go out. They're only off for maybe ten seconds, but a few of the boys start to boo. Then all the white lights flash on and the boos are history. Maria's turned around again, with most of her gown twisted around the flute so it's about halfway up her back. Her ass is amazing. Then she goes right into that hot rock tune called "What is Love?" and she starts shimmying and shaking for all she's worth. Her ass gets to bouncing like it's got a motor in it or something. And you don't hardly notice that she's twisting the rest of her gown around the flute till she's pretty much totally nude. All she's really wearing are her little nun's slippers.

Finally, when she's done ass-teasing, Maria jumps all the way around to face the audience. The boys really whoop it up. She's got a full, thick beard, and from what I've seen most guys like the hell out of that. And of course her tits are outrageous. Big and natural, with dark, fat nipples. At different parts in the song she really shakes those hooters big time. Like coming right up there's that part that goes "Don't hurt me. Don't hurt me." A few of the boys shout out the lines, and she leans over the edge of the stage and shakes those suckers right along with the words. Right, left, right. Left, right, left. Next time she plays that part she'll shake her hips the same way. That's when she's supposed to poke herself with the flute.

But she doesn't do it. So what am I going to do with little Sister Maria? I can't have even one of my girls messin' with me, 'cause then they'll all think they can get away with the same kind of shit. Before you know it I'd have a whole stable full of lazy-ass strippers on my hands. I don't see how I can let this slide. Probably a lot of club owners would, though, 'cause bottom line is the girl brings in customers. But it just pisses me off no end that she won't do what I say. Like she's too good for this place. And after I took her off the fuckin' streets. She'd still be playing for small change if it wasn't for me. I figure I got to read this girl the riot act. Nobody screws me over and gets away with it.

I catch the 6:45 bus headed for downtown. Even though he's late, the driver gives me a dirty look. It could be my thermos, because they don't want you bringing food on the bus, but more likely it's my cross. It's a big brass crucifix that hangs almost to my belt. I've got it outside my jacket so people will really notice it. But I never preach to anybody, so this driver's got nothing to worry about. A lot of people think I'm this crazy holy-roller type, but I just turn the other cheek to them. I know I'll have a place in heaven when my time comes, so I let the evil eyes pass me by. I always try to do what my Jesus would do.

I take an empty double-seat near the back and slouch down so the driver won't notice me so much. The sunglasses should help, and I've got to think it's the cross most people remember about me. And that's good - they should remember it. They should keep a fond memory of it, so maybe one day they'll go out and get one of their own and try to live according to His will. That's why I wear the cross. It's not just to show I'm a believer, it's to show other people the Way. But, right now, I can't be concerned about other people's souls. I've got important work to do. And if I have to use the cross as a shield, so be it.

I get off a good five or six blocks before the Square, so it looks like I'm not headed there. When the bus is out of sight I pull a Mariners cap out of my jacket pocket and put it on. It'll help me blend in with the fans that hang around the Square before the game. I don't wear it with much pride, though. Not like my cross, which I now slip inside my jacket. I guess the team's doing all right this year, but I couldn't care less. To me baseball is a dirty game played by crude, foul-mouthed young men who think they're doing something important. Some of them call themselves Christians, but I don't believe it for a minute.

My thermos sloshes as I walk. People are bound to think I have iced tea or lemonade in there - something cool to drink for a warm summer evening at the ballpark. But what I've got is hot. Red hot. And it's not for me. It's for a certain friend of the devil I'll be meeting very soon.

When I get to Pioneer Square there are even fewer people around than I expected. But it's after seven now, and I guess everybody's at the game. There's maybe a dozen people on the street, mostly scarfing down pretzels from the vendor guy. As I head toward the Square I notice that he's already starting to pack up. Things are working out just fine.

But where's the music? I can almost always hear it from the street. Then I spot her at her usual place, in the corner courtyard by a transit grate. When she plays she stands on the grate so the air will lift up her dress. Sometimes a good blast will send that thing high enough so you can almost see her privates. She's a real piece of work, this one. Playing holy music in a see-through nun's dress without any underwear. And the police can't do a thing about it because it would violate her "rights." That's the justice of Man for you. Well, sometimes a good Christian soldier has to fight the good fight to make sure God's justice is done.

The little harlot is leaning over her instrument case, and I get a sinking feeling thinking she's about to leave. But no, I guess she was just putting her beggar money into her purse. She straightens up again with her flute in hand, and says something to two husky guys with Mariners jackets. It looks like they're all that's left of her audience. Then she starts playing, and I go sit down on a picnic bench nearby. These baseball guys make me mad, not just because they're holding things up, but because they've got no self- control. Their game's already started, and they're still gawking at the pretty girl with the large breasts and the dark triangle between her legs. They're like a couple of naughty little boys caught in a witch's spell.

I wait. I know by now that as long as she has an audience she'll keep on playing. Sometimes she'll play until it's dark and there's not a single soul left in the Square. And it's not like she needs the practice, because she's pretty good, I have to admit. It's mostly classical music, with a lot of stuff that sounds like it might be Bach. I know I've heard some old hymns in there. Once in a while she'll dance while she's playing, all sleazy and suggestive. That really sets me off. To think that this fake nun can get away with acts that sacrilegious - it's just too much to take. She's got to learn a lesson.

This tune she's playing now is so slow and forlorn that I get a knot in my stomach, because it's probably going to last an hour and I figure those gawkers will stick around till the bitter end. The longer they stay, the more I'll think about backing out. But then one of them checks his watch and pokes his friend in the arm. The guy is so hypnotized that he barely reacts. The other one practically has to drag him away kicking and screaming. Maybe sports are good for something after all.

I look around me and see there are only three other people in the Square - a young Negro couple chatting up a storm, and an old bum sucking on a bottle from a paper bag. I keep waiting. I have to be patient.

The harlot finally finishes the tune, and she stands there a while with the flute to her mouth, like she can't decide if she wants to play some more or not. Then she lowers the flute and kneels down beside her instrument case. All of a sudden she looks over at me with her head tilted. "Any requests?" she calls out, but I just wave her off. She starts taking her flute apart.

The whole Square is quiet now, and I look over my shoulder to find that the couple has moved on and the only person left is the bum. I take the top off the thermos and stick my finger in to see if the stuff's still hot. It is. I wasn't sure if a mixture of tomato soup and fruit punch would stay hot for an hour or more. But I poured it in when it was still bubbling just to make sure.

I'm a little nervous, so I take some deep breaths to calm down. It's the first time I ever even thought about doing something like this. And that bum's still got to leave before anything can happen. Little miss harlot looks like she's ready to go, and I can't take the chance of anybody seeing me, not even a bum. But then she lights up a cigarette and leans back against the wall. All of a sudden I feel calm. I think how she must feel so satisfied with everything that happened. How she made the City let her keep doing what she's doing, as long as it's not during working hours. How everybody's supposed to think she's doing "performance art" instead of the unholy act it really is. And how she's got more business than ever. I bet she's so proud of herself.

I just stand right up with the thermos in my hand, and head on over there. I might do the deed no matter what. It all depends. I stop maybe five feet in front of her. She takes a long drag on her cigarette, then says, "Hey there, friend. Seems like I've seen you around here before. Are you a 'Square-Head'?"

I don't know what she means, but it sounds kind of insulting. I give her sort of a dirty look.

"It's not an offensive term," she says, and throws her cigarette away. "Some of us use it to describe people who hang around Pioneer Square a lot. That's all."

I just keep standing there, without saying a word. She points at my thermos and says, "Whatcha got there? Beer? Wine-cooler? A gallon of Margaritas? Better be careful when you get to the stadium. They might not let you in."

I still don't say anything, so she shrugs her shoulders and starts to walk away. But then I ask her why she does it, and she stops in her tracks.

"What?" she says.

I ask the same question over again. Why does she do it?

"You mean perform?" she says. "I do it to express myself. That's all."

I wait a second, then point at her dress. I ask why does she do it like that?

She heaves a big sigh and shakes her head at me like I'm an idiot or something. "Look, friend. I don't have to explain myself to anyone, okay? The only responsibility an artist has is to serve the Muse."

I tell her she's no kind of artist.

"Hey, if you don't like it, that's too goddamn bad."

We stare at each other. Then I take a look around me real quick and see that the bum is gone. So I tell her she's just a Godless harlot and her art is an insult to the Almighty.

"Oh, blow it out your butt," she says.

That's all I need. I grab the thermos, yank it back, and heave the stuff right at her face. But she spins around fast and it lands on her back instead. First, she goes real stiff, then she lets out a big scream. All of a sudden she starts clawing at her dress, and I realize she's actually going to take it off. Right in front of me. She's got it all the way up to her neck before I finally do something about it. The sight of her naked behind makes me so mad that I rush ahead and push her to the ground.

She turns over and looks up at me with pure evil in her eyes. "You lunatic!" she yells out, and starts to get up. "You fucking fundamentalist lunatic!"

Now I'm just seeing red. I raise the thermos up high and bring it down right on her head. She falls on her back like a sack of flour, with her dress covering her face. The whole front of her body is naked.

I stand over her for a long time, breathing hard and feeling like I'm going to be sick. Finally, when my head clears a little, I think to check if she's alive. I see her chest heaving, and that's a big relief. But I'm still so mad I don't know what to do with myself. I feel like I'm standing beside a she-devil, a true agent of Satan. And I wish I really had splashed the stuff all over her face. But she was too fast for me, the little witch.

Then I get an idea. But I don't have much time. If anybody shows up, I'm sunk. I go quick to her instrument case and jerk it open. I fiddle with the flute till I can fit the two parts together. Then I rush back to her side. I dip the flute in some of the soup on the ground, then draw a thick red line across her chest, from one side to the other. Next I draw another line, from her neck all the way down to her mound. Now she's got a bright red cross on her body. A bloody-looking cross to remember me by.

I stare at my work of art for way too long. Then I get the kind of scare that only the devil can bring.

"Hey, asshole," she says from behind her dress. "Who do you think you are, my father? Why don't you just shove it in and get it over with? But do it deep and hard. Make me squeal and squirm, just like daddy did."

I'm so shocked that I feel like I might pass out. For a second I wonder who hit who over the head. My mind starts to spin and my whole body goes sort of numb. I just stand there like a pillar of salt or something, with her flute hanging from my hand, pointing at her privates. What did she say?

Finally, I snap out of it and start to think straight. I look at the red cross on her body, then I look up into the sky. I think about my Jesus on the road to Calvary. That cross on His back was like the burden of all mankind. And when they nailed His hands and feet to the wood He was taking on the pain of the whole world. Then, just before He died, He looked down on all the sinners and asked His Father in heaven to forgive them. When I look back down at the harlot, I think of her as Mary Magdalene weeping at the feet of our Lord, and asking him for forgiveness. I know I can't do this, because it's not in me. I'm not big enough. But I don't have to do the work of the devil, either.

I drop the flute and run.


  1. Eric Morlock’s startling, uninhibited, deeply-complex “Libertine” is a short masterpiece. Though some may be dissuaded by its very length, it is well worth the effort to digest this gem. The narrative as viewed affords fewer answers than questions, but it does satisfy the initial queries that the story poses: why won’t Mary play the flute for her sex trade customer we meet first, and what is the origin of the “birth mark” on her back?” Morlock speaks convincingly in the tongues of the various men who take up space in Mary’s life: the john, the club proprietor, the film producer, etc. Though it is at times crude, even vulgar, Eric’s story is true to the nature of the beast. I recognized a lot of the characters – from my own sordid past – Eric; well done.

    1. Hello Bill,
      Thanks so much for your kind and perceptive comments about this story. I wrote it years ago, and it is gratifying to see it in print after all this time. It was the last story I wrote before turning to playwriting, and I feel it to be my best. It was a challenge to write, as I have so little in common with the men in the story and didn't want to disrespect the sex worker. I do, however, share that crucial aspect of her life depicted on the last page. May you find more conspicuous success in your own writing going forward.

  2. Each mini-story is well-crafted and pulls you in. Then the finally ties much them together. She’s a pretty unforgettable character. Love the graphic, too.

    -D. Hensom

    1. Hello D.H.,
      Thanks for your comments. It was interesting to fashion the structure depicting the sex worker's history. Despite their transgressions, I must say I enjoyed assuming the personi of those four men. I'm glad you found all of the scenarios compelling, and that the protagonist was such a memorable character.

  3. As a female reader, I wanted to distance myself from some of the pornographic situations. But then you knocked me out with the scene in the square. This is a powerful story. Well done, Eric.

    1. Hello Rozanne,
      Thank you for your thoughtful reply. It means a lot to me that a woman can bear with all the carnal mischief in this story, and appreciate it for what it is meant to be: a sympathetic reflection on the damage wrought by sexual abuse. Obviously, all abuse - whether physical or emotional - is destructive, and leaves it's mark. And yet, if the abuse happens in adulthood and is relatively short-lived, I think in time it is possible to heal from the psychic wounds. But child abuse? Of a sexual nature from a parent? I don't know if one ever recovers. I think the scars inflicted in such a way will be lifelong, and that, perhaps, they can never be forgiven.

  4. HI Eric, I agree with you 100 per cent.