Aphelion Issue 244, Volume 23
October 2019
 
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Sex in the Afterlife

by Stephen Faulkner




The Ouija indicator slides effortlessly across the board on its felt-tipped feet, its course unguided but for the vibrations applied by sixteen lightly resting fingers. Taken seriously, the answers received to the questions posed would mean that the realm of those who have passed over to the "other side" has been successfully contacted; taken with a large grain of incredulity, the questions asked of and answered by the succession of circled letters and pointed-to yeses and nos are merely used as a source of an evening's entertainment. Whatever the state of mind of the two participants the question "Is anybody there?" brings the heart-shaped indicator to an immediate gliding stop on the word YES.

As if they are investigators grilling a suspect, they begin with a series of preliminary background inquiries. Name: Vivian Schondel; date of death: April, 1965 (no more specific an answer than this); means of demise: automobile crash; age at time of death: 22; the vicinity in which life was lived: Jersey City and Manhattan (residence and place of occupation, respectively.) Addresses of each: garbled, a mélange of numbers and letters without any apparent meaning.

Occupation? The young woman sitting knee to knee across from her male counterpart in this time-passing endeavor looks up and smile as the indicator circles the letters P-R-O-S-T…."Prostitute?" she asks, not allowing the plastic pointer to continue. As if hearing her interruption, the pointer slides with a jerk to the word YES.

"Where were you killed?" the young man asks.

MADISON AVENUE BETWEEN 34TH AND 35TH STREETS.

"You said an automobile accident, but how?"

HEAD ON is the only answer. The indicator rests on the final N of its reply, waiting.

"You were in the car?"

YES. Clarification is complete as far as the young man is concerned. Vivian Schondel wasn't on the sidewalk or trying to cross the street when a car hit her, she was inside the car itself. His female companion, however, sees another line of questioning to pursue. "Were you on your way to a job--a trick?"

YES.

"And you never got there?"

FOOLISH QUESTION spells the sliding, halting, sliding indicator before swiftly skidding to NO.

The young woman smiles again, appreciating the retort. "Of course not," she agrees. "How could she if she was killed in a traffic accident before she could get there."

The indicator moves again, spelling out BRIGHT GIRL. The young woman's smile dies, her apologetic admission for her foolish question now a thing of regret. "Snide bitch," she mutters, causing the indicator to move to an answer. "Don't you dare," she admonishes it, and it doesn't. It halts in the blank space between numerals and letters with a shuddering pirouette on the board's dry, slick surface.

A pause ensues in which time the young man formulates his next question along with the courage to pose it. "How much did you earn for each trick?"

50 PER TRICK OR 200 A NIGHT.

"How long did a single trick usually take?

DEPENDS ON WHAT WAS ASKED. USUALLY NO MORE THAN AN HOUR.

"And for 200 dollars…?"

THE WHOLE NIGHT LONG.

"Sort of a cut rate on bulk orders, huh?'

SORT OF.

"Even if the night ran six or eight hours?"

YES.

"Even so, that was pretty damned expensive in 1965, wasn't it?"

I WAS WORTH EVERY PENNY.

The young woman stifles a derisive laugh at the comment.

YOUR GIRLFRIEND WOULDN'T BE, the indicator spells out, answering the wordless remark. The young woman is taken aback by this unwarranted attack. "Do you say that because I'm a woman and alive?" she asks, intent on striking back. No answer. "Because I can still…?" Even though the question goes unfinished, the meaning is clear. Still, no answer. Satisfied with the apparent success of her verbal counter-attack, the young woman says no more.

Another pause, a sharing of glances, supposedly meaningful looks between the two participants. "Anything else you'd like to ask?" he says, noting her resumed calm, her thoughtful expression. She nods curtly as she straightens her fingers on the indicator. "Did you enjoy sex?" she asks in a decidedly curious tone.

WITH MOST MEN I DID.

"But not all?"

THERE WERE SOME CLINKERS.

"What would you say the percentage was of the men you had sex with that you truly enjoyed?"

ABOUT 75.

"Seventy five percent?" said the young woman, a bit surprised.

THAT'S WHAT I SAID came the reply, snide once more.

The young woman takes a deep, calming breath to quell her growing anger, and then asks, "Do you miss it? Sex, I mean."

The indicator pauses in the blank strip of the board between numerals and letters, making tentative circles as if weighing alternative responses, mulling it over. Final answer: NO.

"Why not?"

Consideration again; circling in on the answer, ORGASMS ARE BETTER HERE.

"Better in the afterlife?" asks the young man skeptically. The answer to this is YES.

"But how? I always thought a woman's orgasm was a physical and emotional thing. Being dead, you have no body…."

BUT I HAVE EMOTIONS comes the reply, nearing pulling the indicator from under the young man's fingers. It skips lightly over the letters of the reply except for those in the word HAVE, settling heavily on each letter as if for italicizing emphasis.

"Orgasms with only emotion?" he says, whispering, not believing. "Is that enough?"

YES, says the spirit, AND WONDERFUL.

"Emotions of the spirit?" asks the young woman. The indicator glides to YES, then spells out EXACTLY.

It is evident that the young man still does not quite understand what is being said. His face shows his bewilderment, his desire to comprehend.

"It's nothing that can really be described," his female friend tells him, answering his pleading look.

DO YOU SHARE LOVE, the board asks, as if it is only the board, the inanimate object bridging their laps, which speaks.

"As friends," admits the young man, telling what he knows to be the truth. "A love between friends." The young woman looks at him quizzically in an effort to hide her smile.

GOOD START, the indicator spells out, racing from letter to letter. THEN WHY DON'T YOU HUG?

"Hug?" he says, felling lost.

"As friends," explains the woman as if understanding completely what the deceased woman is trying to say. "Embrace as friends."

"But there is no orgasm in just an embrace," he complains as he gets up. "I love you like I said, as a friend, and I'll always cherish our friendship, your hugs, but it's not sexual, there is no orgasm in that... those..." He is confused for a moment by the proper choice of words in this particular case. His friend's arms encircle him, draw him close. His reciprocation is done unconsciously, natural, grateful and strong.

"Maybe where she is," says the young woman as she holds him. "This is enough or maybe even better than we feel it here, in the physical world. Maybe there, where she is, an embrace does cause orgasms, or else it's an orgasm in itself."

"Spirits embracing," he says hollowly, trying to accustom himself to the concept. "Orgasmic ghosts." He shakes his head, still not convinced.

"A mingling, a blending of spirits," she says, relaxing her muscles at the same time his do the same., They look closely at one another, eyes studying eyes (brown into hazel, hazel into brown), noses nearly touching. "Isn't it enough?" she asks.

He pauses before answering, forcing his mouth into a closed, shy smile. "If I were a spirit," he says with the hint of a shrug, his eyes fixed and shining. He looks away in silent expression of his uncertainty of the meaning of his own words.


THE END


© 2015 Stephen Faulkner

Bio: Mr. Faulkner is an out of work college administrator who is now honing his writing craft. He looks forward to sharing his stories with those who appreciate his singular style and point of view. His most recent Aphelion appearance was Playing God in our July 2014 issue.

E-mail: Stephen Faulkner

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