Revisiting the Manuscript: The Human Chokehold
The manuscript, as many know, deals with the very powerful mixture of sex and violence. Fairly unapologetic. Quickly spiraling out of control. Doing research for it has been less than pleasant. The video was part of that.
If you get easily disturbed, I'd recommend you go read some blog that details a the trials and tribulations of a happy family of five "just trying to live life one day at a time." Otherwise, you might have nightmares.
The video is shot in a hotel room. I can't make out the details of the city visible through the window in the background. It is dark and the shades are mostly drawn, though it looks like the room is on the upper floors. The camera is stationary.
A chair stands in the room. Standing on this chair is a female who is nude except for the hood over her head. It is hard to make out details of her body, but my guess would put her at middle age ... just like the guy standing next to her.
There is a noose around her neck.
The noose is attached to a point somewhere above her head. There is little slack in the rope.
The man has his hands between the woman's legs. He is masturbating her. The moans say she is enjoying it. Though, if you've ever heard a woman moan there is sometimes no way to discern pleasure from pain and fear.
Then she utters the magic word. I believe it was, "Now!"
The man yanks the chair away. Her hands go to her neck. She is swinging. Her breath is cut off by the noose. Her legs bend back at the knees. The only sounds are the strains of the rope and that of her body trying to breathe. It's a losing battle, as is her attempt to loosen the noose.
The man, who had gotten out of the way of her swinging body to watch with fascination in the background, moves in to grab her. The video ends. Her face unseen. Outcome unknown (I assume she lived because I highly doubt this was her first time in front of the wheel so to speak).
The video was not erotic to me. It was research. It wasn't even what I was researching at the time. (I believe I was actually looking up the amount of deaths by erotic asphyxiation every year that could actually be categorized as such and what their common factors were -- how many were solo based on how many had a partner present and so on. It is those little touches that give a manuscript its realism.) The images stuck in my mind, though, and I knew I would use them. I would most likely not have a happy ending like this one (presumably) had. My scene would end far, far worse.
Writing is my escape from the problems of the day. It's my way to get all the little stories out of my head. When finally deciding to write this one, you may remember that it was born out of several different things (a missing girl in Eureka, a twisted snuff scene, the idea that people often put a lot of faith in people and gave them all kinds of power all while playing with things they don't truly understand). Oddly enough, it is not really motivated by anger, but when I'm angry, I work on it. Therefore, it has an edge.
I like the idea that writing can be just as dangerous as film. Maybe even moreso, because it gets in your head. It stays there. You fill in the blanks. You personalize it. You make it yours, and you can't get rid of it so easily.
You most likely never saw the video I described. I imagine you won't forget it for a while. You pictured the hood being a certain color (I never mentioned it). The carpet, too. You filled in the missing furniture. You decided on the lighting. You decided on the ethnicity of the participants. You decided if the man was bald or had a full head of hair. You imagined the woman's breast size. What her nipples looked like. You determined what, if anything, the man was wearing.
You created all of that in your head. I had zero to do with it. You recreated the video. And while you may have found what I wrote to be disturbing (or erotic if you're one of those fun people), you are the one who made it so. I gave you the canvas, and you painted it. That's something writing can do so much better than film. Film can hint at things, too, but the details are still overwhelming. Film manipulates. Writing creates.
The next time you're in a hotel room, remember this. Think about what went on there. Maybe this video will come back to you. Maybe something else will. If I did my job correctly, these images I helped you create will hit you at the most unexpected of times. It may or may not have bothered you, but that is of less concern to me than the fact that you participated. Because if your mind did it once, it can do it again. That idea is in there now, and like LSD, it will find a home and roost. It may never show its choking face again.
And then again ... the next time you are masturbating in the relative safety of your bed ... it may come back.