16 April 2009

Angela Said the Safe Word

Angela said the safe word, the special word, the holy word that would make her Daddy stop beating her. Sometimes he would take off his belt and whip her bare legs while she screamed and sometimes he would stand over her bed and pummel her with his hands, slaps and fists both, and sometimes he would kick her when she fell to the floor. As much as his beatings hurt her, Angela was more deeply hurt simply by the fact that he wished to hurt her at all, that her own Daddy was the one. It wasn’t a stranger or a bad man or a boogey man or a monster. It was her own Daddy and he was the same Daddy who could give her a present, a stuffed animal from Antarctica, for no reason at all and she tried to tell him again, to remind him, but the blows came too thick and too hard.

“Penquin,” she tried to say but Daddy just kept swinging away.


Undercover Officer Angela said the safe word. If, at any point during the illegal transaction, she felt that things were going south, were getting too dangerous, she could say the safe word and the body wire she wore would transmit the signal to her fellow officers and her back-up would rush in, no question and no hesitation, guns drawn, ready to shoot and kill any person or thing that even appeared to threaten her.

Bad Boy Roy the big-time meth dealer kept looking at Angela funny, kept making comments about her breasts, kept trying to put his hands on her. When it became more than clear that all Roy’s thoughts regarding the illegal drug business had been replaced by thoughts more carnal if equally illegal, all Angela had to do was say something like “I need ice [underworld slang for high-grade methamphetemine] worse’r’n a penguin” or “I’m colder than a penguin’s tit in a brass bra” or even just “OH, shit, fellas…PENGUIN PENGUIN PENGUIN” and, within seconds, large numbers of the large men who were her fellow narcotics officers all armed with large weapons would burst through every possible door and window all of them screaming “GET DOWN POLICE GET DOWN POLICE POLICE GET DOWN.” It was a comfort to say the safe word and hear the sound of splintering wood and shattering glass, to watch Bad Boy Roy the big time meth dealer go flying across the cruddy room underneath a few hundred pounds of police officer or, perhaps, see the top of his head lift off after some coaxing with a hot load of double-ought buckshot.

Later, after all the arrests had been processed and the evidence catalogued and the reports written and the cops went to their cop bar to unwind and relax, Angela would tell the story again to everyone who hadn’t been there and she would tell them about the safe word and how it worked perfectly.


Angela said the safe word, the word once uttered that drew an immediate halt to whatever was happening. She hardly ever had used it in her edgier sex-play; the scenes were too contrived and her partners too trusted to ever really require its use. The boundaries between pain and pleasure had blurred within her over-stimulated nerves and there was little within her usual partners’ imaginations that even threatened to transgress what was left of her boundaries whether physical or otherwise. Angela couldn’t remember the last time she’d even thought about using the safe word.

“Penguin,” she said. “Penguin.”

Jeffery stopped what he was doing; he paused in his work, transfixed by the sudden intrusion of Angela’s humanity into their scenario. Her swift coup realigned the power in the room and he could physically feel it as control of the situation congealed around her.

“Penguin, motherfucker,” Angela snapped. “And I mean right motherfucking now.”

Chastened, Jeffery clawed at the knots to free her.


Angela said the safe word. Rarely did she ever resort to using it, that magic word which when uttered would draw an immediate halt to whatever was happening. It was the word to let her partner or partners know that things had gone just a bit too far and the scene should stop.

And there she was, cinched tight into a black latex corset, her limbs encased in elaborate rope bindings, her nipples transfixed with a nimbus of silver needles, her labia literally chained together through the piercings lining each vaginal lip, her anus filled with a thick butt-plug. And she didn’t like the way this game was going anymore and she wanted it to stop.

“Penguin,” Angela said. It was the safe word. “Penguin.”

Thomas drew himself upright and tall. He looked down upon Angela, upon what he had created of her.

“You really have no idea, do you?” he asked.

“Penguin?” she pleaded. “Oh, penguin penguin penguin….”

“Shut. The. Fuck. Up,” he told her and Thomas punctuated his words with blows to her face.

The safe word was “penguin” and it was the last intelligible word she ever spoke. She continued to make noises, lots of them, at varying volumes, but none of it had much of any kind of meaning and no one at all was listening.


Angela said the safe word, the magic word, the word she’d always used when things got too intense, too painful, too hurtful, and she wanted them to stop. She really couldn’t speak the safe word aloud since they’d removed her tongue and sewn her mouth shut. But she could say it in her head and she did, over and over again.

“Penguin,” Angela repeated in what was left of her conscious mind. “Penguin penguin penguin.”

Stored away as she was, put aside for the moment in a convenient place to await further use, Angela could contemplate and meditate upon the state of her suffering and the nature of the word “penguin.” The word rolled through her mind and gathered its own momentum, rolling over and over again to become independent of all meaning, a noise in spite of meaning. She conjured a giant black and white bird with a fierce yellow beak and blazing yellow eyes who would shield and shelter her, who would carry her under the ice to cool green refuge, who would at least take her head inside its mouth and crush her skull to make the torture stop, a big savior bird who would help her.

Let them have her corpse (and she’d seen what they did with corpses) if she could only salvage just a bit of her rational mind, a tiny portion able to think clearly through the clouds of unholy pain and torment if even for just a moment.

“Penguin,” Angela chanted inside the tiny cell she’d built inside her soul. “Penguin penguin penguin.”


Angela said the safe word. She fell forward through layers of darkness hot and moist like sodden, steaming cobwebs and she said “penguin” to evoke a field of ice, smooth and cool, blue and green and bright, a place to glide gently to a stop and bask under the bright Antarctic sun.

She no longer plummeted toward destruction beneath a lightning-forked sky and black-patinaed rocks no longer rushed upward to smash her lifeless among their savage angles. Angela was safe, alone and safe in an icy, lifeless wasteland of pristine, crystalline stasis. Perhaps forever, perhaps until her body hits the ground, Angela reclines and freezes.


She said the safe word. She uttered the designated and sanctified word, the word that closed the spell and shut down the linkage forged between dimensions, the word she had chosen to weave into the geometry of the spell and the word she could pull to collapse its structure. Any good spell should have such an abort switch, especially one with unknown consequences and this spell, designed to open interdimensional gateways, certainly qualified.

“Penguin,” she croaked in all its absurdity while before her spread her first glimpse of that new unfolding world her spell had revealed hidden just behind or just beneath or just alongside this world. It was a universe of teeth and spine, thorn and razor talon, and it had no limit and it was a world without breadth or width and Angela was trembling in a state beyond terror within the junction of her world and this other world, between her world of flesh and blood and that world of violence past reckoning, and she scrambled to close this doorway before it fully opened.

“Penguin,” she whispered in the face of all that gnashing and slashing. “Penguin, please.”


Angela hung there like the meat she had become, lolling as it were, on the hooks from which she depended. Scarcely more than a head and a torso left of her (and those remains still and continuously most fouly abused), the shreds of what had once been Angela drooled and pissed and shat mindlessly; she was scarred and scorned, branded and tattooed and pierced and sewn and severed and smeared with her own wastes, fucked beyond recognition and into oblivion, a monument to cruelty and pain transcendent. Her eyes rolled senselessly in her head; what they saw or did not see was no longer relevant. Snot and saliva mixed and roped down from her mouth, torn and pulped around the stumps of shattered teeth and the holes where teeth once had been.

The chains hanging from her tattered labia jingled as she stirred upon her hooks. That small part of Angela still capable of any kind of sustained thought was curled up inside her skull, smiling, and that part of Angela was again aroused by the sound of the chains and that part of Angela was content to remember that there had once been a word she could have used if she had wanted to save herself from complete and total erasure.

But she no longer did.

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