The reading group
January 22, 2006
A couple invited me to a threesome. The woman was attractive. I thought why not. Not with us, they said.
Three Russian girls.
But that would be a foursome, I said.
It is initially, they said, but one gets killed. The other three make love after the killing.
How do I know that person won’t be me? I said.
You don’t, they replied. That’s part of the fun.
Do you want money? I said.
No. All you have to do is promise that if it turns out to be you, you will not resist.
I said okay, but how is that decided?
A potato-sack race, they said, ten yards, last sack dies.
And is killed with what?
No weapon, they said, an orgasm, obviously a big one.
I meet up with the three women in a park. The couple are there too with the sacks. I get into one. It’s a bit damp. The four of us line up for the race.
And we’re off.
The Russians have obviously done this before. I take two jumps and fall to the ground. They cross the finish line.
Then everyone looks at me.
I tell them the deal is off, I want out. They say, no, you agreed. I pat the grass and say this is not good; too firm. They say yes, but your bum is.
Touch me, I say, and I’ll scream. You do that, they say, we’ll smother you with ice cream.
You can’t I say, I’m ticklish.
One of Russians says what’s the matter, are you English?
Yes, as a matter of fact, I say. I’ll take a good caning, any day, but not death. I have a backlog of New Left Reviews to get through.
You read New Left Review? says the man.
Yes, I tell him, but rarely get past contents.
No way, he says. Me too! I can never get past that point.
The Russians appear baffled. But the husband and wife are ecstatic.
We’ve been looking for years, they say, for someone who can’t read New Left Review but aspires to. We’ve also got The New Yorker on CD-Rom – every single issue.
At this we make off without the girls, a threesome at last in their Hampstead kitchen. We sit and each read a New Left Review essay aloud. Within a week we’ve covered November-December 1998 to January-February 2003 – just before the Iraq war. In a week or two we’ll be up-to-date.