"In the Black Arts women are always the dominant ones. Enslaved
by men it is their way of attaining power."
JOURNAL/ Robert King
The game of love has convoluted rules.
In spite of what the more cynical among you might believe I didn’t set out on my quest with evil intentions. I was an artist in search of truth. I still am.
If not for Dominique perhaps I might have settled for a more modest achievement, after all, I’ve always been lazy, in spite of my grandiose dreams of empire. The idea that, on my own, I would have had the discipline to take on the inhuman task of making my vision the monstrous reality it became seems unlikely. After all, even Adolph Hitler, who also thought himself an artist, had help. Otherwise he might have never quit his day job as a house painter.
Look on the bright side. What might have been the outcome if it had been someone like him Dominique had chosen instead of me?
When we first met Dominique wasn’t rich but there was never a lack of money. Although she was only 21 she had developed a very profitable small business that catered to the eccentricity that San Francisco has always drawn to itself like flies to carnage. She held a weekly event at the CROWN BATH HOUSE, a seedy steam bath and sauna spa in the predominantly gay and sexually experimental neighborhood ghetto, the Castro District.
Her pan sexual events were a smorgasbord that drew a broad spectrum of the perversely curious who, during the era of “free love,” were representative of hedonism gone mad.
Normally there was a loose theme that focused the evening. One week it might be demonstrations of the latest bondage teqneiques, another it might be a swap-meat, where couples displayed photos of their sexual interests and swapped mates. Sometimes there were costume nights, focused on one fetish or another, from shoes to rubber clothing. Occasional free improvisation nights kept things from becoming too predictable.
Although, I liked the easy money I thought her customers were crazy to pay an average of $50-$100.00 each to attend these parties. Slowly I began to understand the implications of the great, unfulfilled need for this type of public meeting ground. The rock and roll ballrooms drew the ragged young, like the pied piper drew rats, to a shared nirvana of sex, drugs and musical anarchy. Dominique drew the more sophisticated, always in search of new frontiers, to her church of the poisoned mind.
Many of her clients held responsible positions of significant power and influence. Often these hypocrites, fearful of discovery, would come masked, or disguised as some favorite fantasy of theirs. Unknown to them Dominique kept careful records.
I asked her once why she bothered.
With a predatory smile she said, “You never know when information like this will be useful.”
How true her words proved to be.
Dominique was a marketing genius.
As a result of these events she collected a following who desired more than what was possible in a group situation. She scheduled those clients who sought individual attention on a once weekly basis, sometimes more often if they were willing and able to pay the price.
In order to facilitate this new business she rented a second story suite of offices in a pre earth quake building that, at that time, housed a popular North Beach Italian restaurant, CIPRIANO'S.
Across the street from the office, in Columbus Square park elderly Italian men and women would gather each afternoon to sit on the benches. The men would laugh and talk or just sit in the sun and smoke their inevitable smelly black cigars. The women were always busy. They knit, sewed, watched grand-children play on the grass, and guarded their brood from the Hippies, whose garishly painted campers took up residence under the trees along the verge of the park. The oldest of them would sit for hours, saying their rosaries, occasionally striking their breasts and crossing themselves as they gazed with pious longing at the cross atop the Catholic church across from the park.
Sometimes, to get herself in the mood before beginning her work Dominique would stand in the window and languidly stroke herself as she smiled like a goddess accepting homage from the upturned faces of the old men below. Like a pack of ancient dogs they watched the windows each weekday for a sight of her.
The women were also aware of her. With red faces they crossed themselves and shook their fists in her direction, or made the sign of the Devil with their fingers. That would never fail to amuse her and inspire even more provocative display, until she finally tired of the game and went to work.
CIPRIANOS served a heavenly espresso that I grew addicted to. In the late afternoons, while she worked, I got wired on coffee and dreamed of empire.
The rock and roll ballroom scene facinated me. Dominique and I went dancing at least once a week. I envisioned being a promoter and producing events of our own that incorporated the best aspects of the concert format into the decidedly more bizarre themes we offered.
Naturally, Dominique was reluctant. She hated change, but I had an idea.
From a random assortment of building blocks I had created a plan. The rock and roll sub-culture, the rampant growth of alternative religious and pseudo- philosophical cults, the “Flower Children, their minds blown by psychedelics, the unwinable, cynical war in Vietnam, and the breakdown of an ever more hypocritical morality had generated a moral chaos. I sensed that a vast uncharted opportunity was just over the horizon. Whoever got there first and staked out a claim would skim the cream.
It was my 21st birthday. Across the bay the fog had just peaked the Marin hilltops. Over San Francisco the sky was a soft, robins egg blue. We were on the deck. Exhaustion webbed Dominique’s eyes with shadows.
“Dominique you look whipped.”
“I am King. The business has become much too complicated, even for me. One person cannot be all things.”
She nodded, too tired to answer.
“I think it's time for a change.”
“What kind of a change.” Her eyes narrowed.
“I think we should expand.”
“Simple. First we add other types of programs to the format, both for the public and the special clients Second we produce larger scale events. Third, we call them seminars.”
I smiled, pleased with myself.
She frowned. “Why seminars?”
“It sounds more respectable than prostitution.”
“I have no desire to do anything else.”
“Not you Dominique but there are a lot of people that don't get turned on by your kind of weirdness. Why should they be left out?”
Always practical, she was quick to respond.
“How can they be included?”
“Simple. We hire other people who specialize in other areas. Everybody has some off the wall philosophy they want to push. There are more and more sheep in search of a shepherd to tell them what to do. Why should someone else get them?”
“What do you suggest?”
“That we advertise, offer a structure to work within; management, advertising, financial planning; package seminars, therapy programs, orgies, whatever.”
A sly smile teased her face.
“And what do you plan to be in this brave new world you envision, my love? God?”
“Why not. If I can pull it off.”
“And what role would I play? The anti-Virgin?”
Finally she said, “I like the idea.”
She stood up and stretched. Her fingers flexed and grasped at the sky.
She sat down again, spread her legs and arched her back. She raised one leg and pressed her stiletto heel against my groin.
I massaged her foot. I stroked the tender whiteness of her calf. As I moving higher and highe her legs spread to expose the erotic architecture of stocking tops and garters. Her hair fell like a shadow across her face. Behind it, fevered eyes burned into mine as we played the game of love.
"IN THE ARMS
Enfolded in the hands that kiss,
the lips that bless,
the smooth caress,
a heart in darkness, cries softly.
The mystery lies defiant in the arms
whose whispered yes portends good-bye.
on the avenue of love."
Her eyes closed she sat for a long, silent moment. A rapt focus
ridged her brow.
"Well? What do you think?"
"You loved her very much."
"Why do you say that?"
"This poem is not about me."
"Who else has been so cruel to you?"
"It wasn't about her, Dominique. It was about the concept of
love, at least my version of it. Anyway," I said, impatient to get
beyond this subject, "Tara couldn't help it. Her life was a mess.
I didn't help much."
"Do not get me wrong, my love. I am glad that she left you. We
might not have found each other if it would not have been
"I suppose that's one way of looking at it."
"There is always more than one way."
"What is that supposed to mean?"
"Come with me, and find out." She said, her smile inscrutable.
She stood up, took me by the hand, and led me from the room.
"Where are we going Dominique?"
"I have a surprise for you."
Beyond the door, a breathtakingly beautiful blond girl in a
gossamer, ivory night dress lay afloat upon a night black sea
of sheets. Lush golden curls waved across creamy shoulders.
Her milk and honey complexion was a flawless frame for
eyes stained a cobalt blue so intense her gaze seemed a violation.
"This is Michelle."
Surprised, I turned to Dominique.
"What's going on Dominique?"
She laughed and then, quite seriously said, "I realize that
sometimes I am engrossed with my business and that you
might become lonely so I bought you a pet to play with while
I am busy."
"Yes, my love. A pet."
She reached out and cupped the girls face in her hand.
"Is she not beautiful?"
What could I say?
"Yes, she is."
"Do you like her?"
"Of course I like her, Dominique, how could I help but
"Good but remember, she is only a toy."
Dominique bent upon her a fierce kiss that forced her back
against the pillows. As she pulled away blood tainted the girls
She clasped my hands and drew me down, into