Porno

night
Thomas Bresson

He was watching a porn movie. An oldish porn movie, one maybe from the nineties; you could tell it was older because it had a plot. He preferred porn movies with plots, he did not like “gonzo.” The porn was playing on the TV, not on his laptop; he was on the sofa alone. He had already masturbated, came, whatever, but still he was watching the porn movie. He was interested in seeing what happened if you kept on watching a porn movie after already having masturbated, it seemed like an interesting solitary experiment, to ironically savor the bad acting; ironically savor the breast lifts and the grunts and moans; the terrible mechanics of the plot. The plot of the movie was about two girls who were college roommates — they had lots of sex — and then the two guys in the movie invented a drink that made girls (more girls than just the two girls) want to have sex even more — made them want to have sex so very much more; constantly, even.

Ridiculous.

The two girls in the movie (and the two guys) were too old and hardened to play college students, even if their ages had been right (they weren’t) there was something hard and mean and unpleasant about their eyes. Maybe this was a mistake, their eyes said, but it’s too late to back out now. Then, in one scene about thirty-five minutes into the movie, there was a cat. One of the girls had a cat.* This was meant to be a touch of realism most likely; the girl having a cat in her collegiate apartment. Maybe the director or the key grip had a cat and thought it would be funny to put the cat in the movie, probably, one would figure. The cat made him think of a baby — guileless, innocent; he had never seen a domestic animal of the genus Felis silvestris catus in a porn movie before, nor in fact any sort of animal in a porn movie ever, not even a donkey ha ha. The cat made him think of a baby with its guilelessness and he shifted uneasily on his sofa, which was made of fabric not leather — he was not a black leather or any kind of leather sofa sort of guy; though he was watching a porn movie, he was not “into” leather in any sort of sense. He shifted one leg — he did not want to be thinking of a baby while he was watching a porn movie — lifting his leg as if to rest it on the opposite knee, then uncertainly putting the leg down again. The cat was a tabby cat — mostly orange, a little white. The cat was briefly visible in the background of one scene, not a sex scene, only a transition scene where the actors were attempting to recite stilted dialogue while also mentally prepping themselves to have sex. A lightly clad girl moved down the hallway (and there was the cat in the background). I’m gonna get that Rocco the girl said into a cell phone, this was part of the plot.** A guy intercepted her halfway down the hallway. Forget Rocco, he said. The cat’s eyes followed the girl, watching her in the purposefully non-intent way of all cats, its saucer-like eyes following, its head barely swiveling, in order to carry on the formal pretense of having a lack of interest in the girl, the pretense of not-giving-a-shitness about the girl. When in fact, the cat did give a shit. The cat cared, but did not understand; as it watched the girl the cat did not understand that the girl was a sex actress, a pornographic movie star; instead the cat was thinking that the girl was a normal girl like any other girl. In this, the cat was mistaken. The cat did not know what human sex was. This was the cause of the mistake. And of course if the cat did not “get” sex, then certainly the cat did not understand the idea of being paid to have sex so that strangers could then pay to watch this sex in the privacy of their living room on their Panasonic TC-L42E5 42-inch flatscreen TV. The cat was innocent, if innocent meant the concept of understanding the idea of hallway, of window, of sun, of sunlight, even of people and girl, while also simultaneously not understanding the concept of sex or fucking or porn stars or anal: this was innocence.***

The camera cut to another scene, one with no cat in it. A sex scene. The man felt vaguely nauseous, why? He felt unpleasant, but unpleasant in a different way from the unpleasant eyes of the actress, Kirsten Price was her name; not her real name; he knew this. He fancied that he had seen the camera reflected in the clear glass saucers of the cat’s eyes, thought he had seen this in memory, since the cat was no longer in the scene and people were about to have sex — thought he had seen the cameramen and the director and the key grip and all the other assorted hangers-on and the catering table and the caterers even and even the film camera with its twin black camel humps, twin Mickey Mouse ears holding the film canisters, even though they no longer shot porno on that type of film anymore and used digital video instead.**** This was an entirely fake memory as nothing had been visible in the cat’s eyes. He felt lonely; considered pausing the movie; did not pause the movie, muted it instead, was moved to call his girlfriend, was intensely conscious of being a man alone in an apartment, the phone rang; “I feel very alone,” he would have said if his girlfriend had picked up, eventually managing to get the conversation around to that topic, but the girlfriend did not pick up as she was otherwise engaged and thus the feeling continued.*****

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1) He had once read in a novel the following “fact”: kittens who are immediately taken away from their mothers do not develop a fear of fire — are not afraid of fire and will in fact walk directly up to a roaring fire, their whiskers crackling from the heat. But this was just in a novel, and so he was not sure if this was a fact-fact or just a made-up “fact”-fact.

2) The movie was not very cleverly called “Roommates” and did in fact star Kirsten Price (real name: Katherine Barrett; born: 1981).

3) Five weeks later in the newspaper he would read an article which touched on the following topic, tangentially: a study has shown that babies are not afraid of heights; place them in a room with a glass floor over a large pit and they will crawl directly over the pit despite not being able to discern that the glass paneling separates them from the pit. This was a fact-fact, not a “fact”-fact, and he nodded in confirmation, something internal having been confirmed by his reading. But he did not think of any connection with the kittens, then or at any point later on that week.

4) He did not however go so far as to imagine the actual food that would be served on the catering table, candy or cold lunch-meat sandwiches or a cheese plate or veggies with a creamy white dip or anything; this was the point at the outer limit of his imagination where imagination stopped and formed only an outline of the concept of the food, to be filled in by dream-stuff and ether.

5) “Otherwise engaged and thus the feeling continued,” continued in the manner of a stone being cast into an entirely still pond on a very moonlight night, the moonlit ripples breaking the crystalline surface of the water in the exact center of the pond,  and progressing, progressing with great resonance from the center of the pond in an exact radius, spreading and widening in a tight circle which filled the pond until it touched the edge of the pond where the pond reached the edge of the land, where grass grew. Then the ripples bouncing, refracting back, and then silencing themselves with the refraction, rippling into nothing — so then the still pond again, containing nonetheless the sense memory of the smashing stone, the surface break and the ripples, in the same way that a feeling may continue while outwardly and even inwardly there is no evidence of the feeling whatsoever. Crystal, resonance; fire, falling. The fire of the moon falling, replacing the once-existent now non-existent spot where once the rock had fallen but now was replaced by stillness and the image of the moon. TC mark

BUY OLIVER’S NEWEST THOUGHT CATALOG BOOK HERE.

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