Love Nest, Sex Den — the Pad Is Happening
The Village is a seriously happening place. Especially if what you’re hoping will be happening involves sex, drugs, or both.
The cottages (if that isn’t too dignified a word) that make up The Village were built over time by mainlanders who wanted to experience the sun and the sand and the sea without the distractions of television, radios, CDs (or cassette tapes, or eight-tracks — some of these places are old!), or other electronic opiates. There are maybe twenty or twenty-five cottages, and they haven’t aged gracefully. Hardly any of them have doors or windows that close, there are very few actual kitchens, and I’ve only seen two or three that have bathrooms anymore. Most of the floor space inside each cottage is carpeted with sandy, permanently stained mattresses, sometimes as many as six to a room. There doesn’t seem to be anything like ownership here; whenever you’re ready to crash, you just find the nearest unoccupied mattress (or the nearest one that is occupied by someone you don’t mind getting close to), and lie down. There aren’t many sheets or blankets; I think they were confiscated by the bedbugs and lice, who took them off to be laundered.
So the capacity of The Village must be around 250 or so, although people come and go all the time, so it’s hard to get an exact count. Still, I’d guess that only about sixty people live here at any given time. Some are the long-termers, like Bo and Eliza, and others drift in and out in rhythm with their waves of consciousness.
All the cottages are basically the same. They line the sand-and-rock beach along the southern tip of Grand Seal Island, and they are crawling with people who are eating Spaghetti-Os right out of the can and singing anti-establishment songs and love ballads.
But one place — called “The Love Pad” — is different. With as many as half a dozen snoring, semi-comatose people to a room in most of the shacks, the development of any kind of physical attraction between you and the person next to you can lead to a somewhat daunting situation. For those who are bold, exhibitionistic, or annoyingly narcissistic, the carrying out of amorous relations within reach of a handful of friends and strangers proves to be perfectly acceptable. They just have at it and assume that the people around them are either impressed or unconscious. But for those who require at least the suggestion of a hint of a whiff of a gesture of privacy for sexual activity to seem anything but weird, there’s The Pad.
The Pad is like The Village Love Nest. Hernando’s Hideaway. The Conjugal Visit Trailer at Attica. It’s the designated slap-and-tickle center for those Villagers who would rather not perform for an audience. I’ve spent a couple of nights at The Village, doing my best to sleep while hovering just above but not actually touching the cleanest mattress I could find, and a few times during the night it was not uncommon for a couple of people to rise, Phoenix-like, from their heaps and slink off to The Pad for a quick little meeting of the minds. (One time, a guy got up and went there by himself — an especially sad situation given that he was probably surrounded by people who would have had sex with him as long as they didn’t have to wake up too much.)
The Pad occupies no particular place of honor in the layout of The Village, and it looks just like all the other shacks. But somehow, it became the local motel, and everyone in The Village knows where it is. I found out about it when I met Summer.
I was sitting on the beach at something like one o’clock in the afternoon. People in The Village were just beginning to stir, and there were the usual accusations about whose turn it was to open the breakfast cans. I had been awake for nearly an hour, so I was drinking a beer and enjoying the warmth of the sun, hoping Eliza would wander by shortly.
A girl walked up to me and said “hi.” She was skinny and dressed only in an old-fashioned-looking two-piece bathing suit. It was one of those clunky, overly modest suits, and it had pink swirls on an off-white background. I wondered if the girl had mugged a synchronized swimmer.
I said “hi” also, that being the height of my conversational skills after half a can of beer and less than an hour of mental alertness. The girl told me her name is Summer, which I doubt, and she asked me right off if I wanted to go to The Pad. I didn’t yet know what The Pad was, and I’m sure that ignorance was summed up in the squinty look I gave her as she stood near me and only partially blocked the sun. Summer didn’t bother saying anything more. She just took me by the hand, stood me up, and led me off between the cottages.
The Pad is a two-story, grey thing with open holes instead of windows or doors, just like the others. But inside, someone has tacked up sheetrock to convert the rooms into a warren of tiny bedchambers. Each little room has nothing but a mattress in it — a solitary mattress. Each “doorway” has a curtain across it, so you can achieve visual privacy even if half the population of The Village can hear everything you’re doing. There were four little rooms downstairs and five more up in a loft.
Summer peeked into three little rooms before she found one that wasn’t occupied. (I think some of the Pad people were violating the Prime Directive and actually sleeping together instead of sleeping together.) She led me into the room and pulled the grimy curtain closed.
Without saying anything at all, and without even a pause for dramatic effect, she pulled off the synchronized-swimmer costume and stood in front of me buck naked. The afternoon light was whipping in through the open window, which did nothing to add to the allure of the scene. Summer is kind of cute in a drugs-instead-of-food sort of way, but I was having a hard time getting my brain (and my body) in gear. She grabbed my belt and unfastened it, and she said “let’s go,” and then she squatted down to hunt among the empty wrappers littering the floor in search of a condom. I began to envy the guy who came here alone; he probably got more foreplay.
I extracted myself as best I could — not due to a sense of modesty or an old-fashioned need for courting and dinner dances, but rather due to a sense of what sex is supposed to be. It can be a romantic affirmation of a love that has endured the decades, or it can be fun game of “aren’t we cute?”, but I’m really not much into the “do it because you can” scene. Somehow, having sex with a stoned and starving addict is actually a step below doing it with an inflatable doll. At least with the doll, the only one who ends up feeling used is yourself.
After my awkward refusal of services offered, Summer walked off down the beach without saying “goodbye” or “drop dead” or “see you sometime” or anything at all, like we were two shoppers who reached for the same pineapple in the produce section and then turned in different directions at the end of the aisle. I’m sure I’ll see her around from time to time, and I don’t know what I’ll say when we meet.
— Donovan Graham, “The Shadowless Writer”
Comment — WomynFire982: why is it that when a woman wants sex, she’s a slut or a whore, but when a man wants sex, he’s “lusty” or “vigorous”? if summer wants to sleep with a lot of men, that’s great. she’s no more sad or sorry than you are, mr. graham.
Comment — FreedomFirst: You didn’t sleep with her? What a wuss.
Comment — Orson Van Dyke: The number of sexually transmitted diseases is on the increase, and many of them are becoming resistant to antibiotics. I think that Donovan made the right choice. Abstinence is the only sure alternative.
Comment — FreedomFirst: Orson, you’re a wuss, too.
Read previous blog entries in the Island Wars story by clicking here.