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COVID-69: Personal Protective Erotica
Behind the Bars,
No World


Alexis N. Wright

Photography by Joy Garnett

The COVID-69 series from Evergreen is a modern day Decameron, helping to fight off fear, isolation, boredom, and Puritanism with conscientious and creative depravity. STAY SAFE BUT STAY HUMAN!

COVID-69 is an ongoing series. Please pitch us your coronavirus/quarantine-themed porn at


I am lucky when the city shuts down in March. I can earn my finance money at home in Queens, and I am young enough and healthy enough to be low-risk for death from COVID-19. And there is this, also: a childhood of chaos and brutal loneliness has prepared me for this moment.

This is not, of course, a story about my childhood. No-one is interested in women with problems, except as consumables, and I am not the consumable in this story.

This is not a story about emotional damage.

This is a story about sex.

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“This is a story about sex.”


Imagine a three-way Venn diagram that describes the habits of the racists, therapists, and drug dealers that you’ve met. Their most notable quality in common, bold italic at the center of the image, is euphemism. Racists, and therapists, and drug dealers all deal in things too hot for everyday language. These topics must be cooled and made discreet and palatable.

You see this principle at work, also, with New York City libertines.

Because of their tendency toward soothing and distancing language, there is a category of event in the city whose online description is always a soup of keywords, something like this: one finds oneself invited to a “sex-positive,” “inclusive” event at an “intentional community,” discussing “ethical non-monogamy” with “enthusiastic consent” for some form of “intimacy,” “play,” or, for tantra types, “practice.” There is often only a sentence or two to differentiate the specific event described from its general milieu.

As a New York City libertine myself, I am a big fan of enthusiastic consent for inclusive sex-positive play. But the language is not a magic spell that summons the things it describes and, in reality, there are three essential reasons that people attend these events.

The first group of attendees struggles (or is attached to someone who struggles) to tolerate conventional relationships and the implication that they might miss out on a connection—any connection—for any reason, at any time. The second group may feel one way or the other about relationships, but has some particular sexual need to fuck strangers or indulge in a specific fetish. The final group is made up of couples in the desperate throes of a final bid to preserve their failing relationships.

When I met Ash, she belonged to all three of these groups.

Imagine: a repurposed classroom, after hours, on the 12th floor of a building near Penn Station. This is B.C. time: Before Coronavirus. Thirty people have circled up the desks, and because it is December in New York there is a black wool peacoat on the back of almost every chair.

A nice lady with a PhD is having us go around the circle getting-to-know-you style and introduce ourselves with our answer to a question. “Why do we like sex with our partners?” the PhD asks. “Why do we like sex with new people?” I am two-thirds of the way around the circle, so twenty people will answer this before me.

The introductions descend immediately into theater. “I like sex to deepen the intimacy I experience with my partner,” says a man with a bun and square-framed glasses. A woman in her forties looks at her partner and says, “I like sex as a way to explore connections and feel desirable.”

My turn comes, eventually. I say, “I’m Blanche. I like sex because it’s fun.” I try not to sound like I am laughing at anyone. “And it feels good.”

I am the first person to say this.

Twenty-nine people turn to look at me as they process what I’ve said.

Further along the circle is a youngish woman in a burgundy leather jacket. She wears heavy eyeliner, and her hair is dyed rose, and her knuckles are tattooed with letters I can’t make out. A dark-haired man in glasses and a blazer sits beside her with his hand on the back of her seat.

“I’m Ash,” she says, when it’s her turn to talk. She smiles in my direction, acknowledging me. “I like sex because it’s fun, too.”

She leans her head to one side and examines her nails. They’re painted unicorn-chrome, and her middle- and ring-finger nails are filed short. She looks back up, this time with a sweeping glance over the group as a whole.

“And because I like attention,” she says. The man with his hand on her chair frowns. He introduces himself as her boyfriend.

She finds me after the formal group discussion. “I liked what you had to say,” she says.

“Thanks,” I say, “I love your tattoo. What’s it say?”

“No regret,” she says, and lines up her fists. What they say is NORAGRET.

“That’s hilarious,” I say. There’s no way she doesn’t know about the spelling. “Provocative.”

“How long have you been polyamorous?” she asks. “I love your top. Have you met Dan? This is Dan.”

“Hi, Dan,” I say, but Dan is explaining to a young woman that polyamory isn’t just about sex, it’s about multiple loving relationships and being empowered.

“Dan!” she says, “This is Blanche.”

He looks over. When he looks at her she smiles less ironically, and maybe less authentically. He looks me over and smiles back at her. “Hey,” he says, “nice to meet you.”

“Anyway,” she says to me, “are you on Fet? Or Facebook? Do you want to, like, connect?”

So we do.

We end up chatting a lot. This is still before the virus. I’m involved with two people at this time, neither seriously; both are men. I struggle to find a groove with women.

“You’re bi, right?” she asks me early on.

I send her a Wikipedia link to Microsoft’s “power business intelligence” platform.

“What’s that?” she asks.

“POWER BI,” I say.

“Oh,” she says. “lol. Did you think Dan was cute at all, by the way? We both date girls.” When I don’t respond, she follows up: “Together or separately. Have you ever been with a couple?”

“I don’t do couples anymore,” I say. “Too much drama.”

“Yeah, totally, no prob,” she sends.


She sends me a meme about student loan debt.

“Do you have a lot of debt?” I ask.

“40K,” she says.

“What did you study?” I ask. “What do you do for work?”

“Psych,” she says. “Addiction studies. But for work I cam.”

“Like cam-cam?” I ask.

“Like cam model,” she says.

“Do you like it?” I ask.

“I’m my own boss and I work from home,” she says. She sends a shrug emoji. “What’s not to like?”

“Are people weird about it?” I ask.

“Some are,” she says. “That’s why I’m up front.”

“Set your own hours,” I say.

“Not too bad, right?” she says.

“Not bad at all,” I say.

A few minutes pass, and then she sends two pictures. The first is a selfie of the girl I met in person: a smirking edgelord princess in vintage. The second is a glow-up, like an after picture from a makeup tutorial: a pocket pornstar in a glorious silver wig and a barely-there tank top. Light gleams off of her cheekbones and the inner corners of her eyes and the swell of her breasts. She is wearing a push-up bra, and I can see more of her tattoos than before.

I feel both of these images as a pulse of heat and uncertainty behind my eyes, and in my chest, and between my legs.

This is the struggle of dating women for me, I think: it is simpler to date men. If you orient your sexuality entirely around a man’s dick and what he wants, no one will even notice. To move forward with a woman, conversely, you must have agency and desire.

But I’m a mystery to myself; I don’t even make the cast of my own fantasies. Women seem to require self-knowledge that I lack.

“They’d better get their dicks and their credit cards out,” I send back to her. “You’re gonna break some hearts tonight.”

“Are people you date ever weird about you seeing other people?” she asks another time.

“Sometimes,” I say. “But it’s not negotiable.”

“Dan’s being weird about my work,” she says. “He used to think it was hot. But now he’s saying it sucks that I ‘don’t respect myself more.’”

I send her a link to a role-play group: “A group where we pretend to be men mansplaining facts to women.”

“lol,” she replies.

But then she gets kind of into it.

That month, before the virus hits the news in Wuhan, she posts in the “mansplaining” role-play group:

HEY, I knew when we met that your work meant you’d get a lot of attention from men and I said that was ok, but now that I have feelings it’s time for you to change your whole life up. Your work that you ‘claim’ is fulfilling and satisfying just shows you have low self-esteem and you’re not committed to this relationship. But I won’t support you financially, either.

There’s another paragraph.

ALSO, while I know that I’VE been dating other women the whole time we’ve been involved, now that YOU are interested in other women I realize we need to focus on our relationship.

I like her post. She messages me immediately.

“I do what I want,” she says, and follows this with an upside-down smiley face.

“If he can’t handle a bad bitch, he shouldn’t date a bad bitch,” I send back.

The next thing she sends is a nude. She is a very beautiful woman; I can see why people would pay to look at her. I feel a yearning that begins with the urge to look more and longer and from closer up. It is like being caught in a gravity well.

I try to imagine what she wants from me, and what she would like me to be to her. But right now she’s just mad at Dan.

“You want to hang soon?” she asks.

“Definitely,” I say.

We make plans for after Christmas. I spend the holiday alone, and go to a musical, and look forward to seeing her. The night before we hang, though, she cancels.

“This is lame, I know,” she says, “but I care about Dan. I have to try to make this work.”

“I understand,” I say. “Good luck.”

“Thanks,” she says. That’s the last time we talk for months.

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“People are beginning to break.”


The end of the year takes an upswing when I get my annual bonus. The firm has performed well, and I personally have performed well, and my payout will be a lump-sum of 50% over and above my annual salary.

And I am so preoccupied with my work that I barely even skim the news about a novel coronavirus that’s spreading out of a fish market in China.

In February, she reaches out to me again.

“Hey,” she sends. I think about leaving her on read.

“Hey girl,” I say.

“How are you?” she asks.

This is after Valentine’s Day, when the Diamond Princess cruise ship is in the news but financial markets have not yet collapsed. The Princess accounts for half of all known infections outside of China, and no port will allow her to dock.

“I’m okay,” I say. “More of the same. How are you?”

“Dan and I broke up,” she says.

“That sucks,” I say. “Do you want to talk about it?”

“No,” she says. “Men are stupid. Everything’s stupid.”

“Do you ever feel like giving up on people?” she asks me a few days later. “Like they’re just too awful to deal with?”

“Sure,” I say. “All the time.”

“Do you want to hang and chat?” she asks. “Can I call you?”

At this point markets are imploding.

“Work is kind of crazy right now,” I say. “Another day ok?” Hunched over a Bloomberg terminal on the twenty-eighth floor of a Manhattan sky rise, I review risk reports as the sky darkens outside the floor-to-ceiling windows.

“K,” she says.

I find a picture in my phone from the last time I sexted. There are thigh-highs and garters. “Promise,” I say, and send it.

“PROMISE,” she sends back.

“How are you?” I ask, later on.

In reply she sends a link: “a group where we pretend to be men whose mamas raised them right.” The idea seems to be that women post their problems, and other women pretend to be men and respond.

She has posted:

Why does everyone think that you have to be a cynical gold digger to want someone to take care of you? Everyone wants to feel loved and safe.

I can take care of myself financially just like I can give myself an orgasm, but it still feels better when someone else is doing it. I don’t judge other people for what they want. So how does what I want make me a terrible person?

I make a note to reply to this later, when I have time to give her the attention that she needs.

People start to talk about “social distancing” as a thing you might want to do. “If anyone has any symptoms,” my boss says to my team the first week of March, “work from home. You won’t be penalized. Don’t come into work sick.” Front-line workers in my diverse middle-class neighborhood do not receive the same courtesy. Signs go up in pharmacy windows. Stores are running out of masks.

In the middle of this I break up with someone.

I am busy with work, and I haven’t had time for a fuckbuddy, and he’s sad about it. “Do you want to see each other more often?” he asks, as we cuddle on his couch.

“Hey, I’m sorry,” I tell him “I haven’t had a lot of time lately.”

“I just care about you a lot,” he says with sad eyes, and I know it’s time.

“I know,” I say, “I care about you too. I’m just not really ready to be in a relationship right now. Or, maybe, ever. I think I don’t want that, at all, you know? With anyone.” I don’t realize until the words are out of my mouth that I’m being honest and this is true.

I go home instead of staying over, because we can’t have sex after that. On the train ride home to Elmhurst, the crowd is smattered with strangers in medical masks.

The S&P goes into freefall, and I work late every night.

One night on the train back to Queens, an old man coughs and a dozen people turn to look. A middle-aged woman glares at him, then turns to look at me. There is panic in her eyes.

People are beginning to break.

I reply to Ash’s post about wanting financial support.

“You do you,” I say. “If it makes guys insecure, that’s a ‘them’ problem.”

“That’s what money is for, anyway,” I write. “Feeling safe. Knowing you can protect yourself and take care of the people you love.”

“Fair’s fair, right?” she says when she replies. She adds a winking tongue-out emoji. “I accept people as they are, for what they want. I’m not too good for anything, and nothing’s too good for me.”

She messages me directly, “hey, do you want to see my work?” She sends a link to a profile on a cam site, and I save the link for later. Her handle on the site is Nora Grets

I poke around to see what it’s about.

The landing page opens on stills of bedrooms, living-rooms, women, men, couples. It seems incredible that each of these is a window to a real person’s life.

Shame is generally alien to me. I have participated in all manner of deviant sexual acts without a hint of apprehension or regret, and done things for fun that would shock my friends and distress my family. Through all of this I have only ever felt ashamed of unreciprocated need. But when I think of clicking through to one of these chats, shame freezes me.

I close out of the window and resolve to try again later.

“Hey,” I message Ash. “Do you want me to watch you cam?”

“I do,” she sends back. “Like, it’s first of all a job but with a social/service element, so most girls aren’t exhibitionists. But I kind of am.” She sends a wink.

“Oh, cool,” I say, elaborately casual.

That night, I log into her chat.

The screen is split between Ash, on the left, and her text chat on the right. “WELCOME,” a chatbot posts. “Dirty talk in tip messages only. TIP MENU IS ACTIVE.” The “tip menu” is a mix of obvious and eclectic: “flash tits” for 200 tickets, but “poem” for 35. “Cum show” for 2,999 tickets and “eye contact” for 30. Tickets sell for .10 apiece.

In frame is what must be her bedroom: red sheets, strings of Christmas lights, and wall tapestries I’m sure she’s had since college. Ash herself is in a deep blue bra-and-panty set that reveals her sleeve tattoo. There are mermaids there, I think, or sirens. Sky.

I tip 25 for “show appreciation.” There is the sound effect of a single small clang, like a coin has dropped.

“Thanks, BlancCheck!” she says. “How are you?”

“Not bad,” I write. “Just quarantined.”

“I’ve been staying home gaming and not much else,” she says, “to be safe.”

“Not much else?” asks a guy in the chat.

“Well, diddling for dollars,” she says. She smiles like she smiled for Dan.

He tips 100 tokens, and the tip sound clangs again.

“Getting closer to that edge,” she says, with a smile.


A “tease” or “edge” show, I discover, is fundamental to the business model. This is when a girl plays with herself, but doesn’t get off. It gives everyone something to get invested in. As a viewer, like with any good show, you want to see the climax.

Ash and I both do a lot of edging in the latter half of March. She is doing this for work. I am doing it because I live around the corner from—in fact practically on top of—Elmhurst Hospital, which quickly becomes the epicenter of the disease in New York. A few years of city living will do remarkable things for your ability to tune out road noise, and I don’t remember noticing sirens before Coronavirus. But by the time the governor shuts down non-essential activities statewide on March 20th, they are frequent.

If I’m fingering myself when the sound of sirens starts—as I sometimes am—I stop. This isn’t saving anyone’s life, but it feels like the respectful thing to do. If people are going to die in my neighborhood, which I love and which has been transformed into unrecognizably empty streets of shuttered shops and frightened masked strangers, the least I can do is not diddle while the sirens scream.

There comes a night—by this time they’ve started to bleed together, so it could be any night—when we talk about poems. Ash is wearing high-heeled boots and short-shorts and a pleather halter top and she leans back in her chair with one knee up. Her legs are spread and the fingers of one hand work in her shorts as she rubs her clit. It’s been three weeks since I’ve talked to anyone in person, except for the cashier at the grocery store. I am rubbing my clit, too.

“Who picks the poem for 30 tickets?” I type one-handed in the chat.

She repeats out loud, “Who picks the poem? Just depends what feels right at the time.”

You’re so pretty, I think of typing to her. But she is not here for compliments. I tip her 250 tickets, instead. “You’re beautiful,” I say in the tip note.

We still talk outside of the cam site, and I could say this to her there. I am pretty sure she wants to date me. But it feels safer here, with our intimacy attenuated by the Skinner box between us. I’m a fan, in a chat, doing what fans in chats do.

“Thanks, Blanc!” she says. “Do you have a favorite poem?”

She looks into the camera. Her eyes are beautiful. She cannot see me looking back.

I say, “I like Rilke’s ‘The Panther’ translated by Mitchell, I guess. It’s about a panther in a zoo, and how eventually he forgets everything except captivity.”

She slides her damp fingers out of her panties to search for the poem, tapping out words at her keyboard. “…I like the end,” she says. “’At times—an image enters—plunges into the heart and is gone. Do you want me to read it?” Men are commenting their favorite poems in the chat. Someone asks to see her feet.

“Tomorrow, maybe,” I say. The sirens have started again. “I’m dropping offline for a while.”

She messages me later.

“I can’t sleep,” she says. “Do you want to talk?”

“Sure,” I write, and I call her. I ask, “How you holding up?”

“I don’t know, not good,” she says. I watch myself in my bedroom mirror, propped against the headboard of my bed. She says, “I miss people and human touch. I miss things when they were normal. I hate looking at people and thinking they might make me sick. I want a hug.”

“I’m sorry,” I say. “It’s a terrible time for the world. I think you’re doing really well. I’d give you a hug, if I could.” My reflection does not look put-together or exactly like myself. It is tousled, and sleepy, and unconstructed.

“What about you?” she asks. “Are you doing ok?” I rise. I pick up my cosmetic organizer from under the bedside table, and drift toward the mirror to sit.

“I’m ok,” I say. “Just working.”

“Aren’t you freaking out at all?” she asks. I consider this while I unscrew a bottle of liquid eyeliner.

“Do you really want to know?” I ask. I stroke a narrow edge of black liner outward along the lashline. One eye is defined, now.

“Of course,” she says.

I define the other eye. “I think…” I say, and check my work. The edge is neat. “This is easier for me than normal life. What makes social distancing hard for people is—I guess there’s more than one thing—there’s a grief that everything can change and you’re powerless to stop it, right? That everything can be taken from you. And some people have never had to face that before.”

“Yeah,” she says. “I guess. But I think I miss people more. Like just… Being around people. ”

“That’s the other piece,” I say. “I think this has changed how people connect. Not just in the distancing or being reduced to bodiless voices and images. It’s also, there’s a tension, right? Where you’re trapped between terror and need. And keeping them in equilibrium is hard, in a way most people have never had to navigate.”

“That doesn’t bother you?” she asks.

I open a tube of black mascara. Leaning close to the mirror and eye to eye with myself, I say, “I don’t know. I don’t mean to sound dramatic. But I guess I’m there, already, all the time. So this is easier than ‘normal life,’ for me. I don’t have to force myself into the world where the pain is. For once in my life, I can rest.”

I work mascara through the lashes of one eye and then the other. The label of the tube says it’s made with clay from the Amazon. It has travelled around the world to get to me, and I’m the only one here to see myself wear it. When it’s on, I look like a woman again and I recognize myself.

“I’m glad you’re okay,” she says. “It’s good to hear your voice.”

“I wish I could help you more,” I say.

“Will you stay on the phone?” she asks. “For a while, while I fall asleep?”

“I can do that,” I say, and I leave the line open. I listen to the stillness of her need to know that I am here, imperceptibly closer than before. When the sirens wail outside, again, I mute myself to protect her. I don’t want her to have to hear.

I wake up in the morning and read the news, and the news about my neighborhood is bad. Around the corner at the hospital, thirteen people have died in the night.


“God, guys,” she says in her chat the next day. “I want to do a cum show. I haven’t had sex in weeks.” She glances meaningfully at the vibrator that rests beside her on the seat.

Her goal to come is 5000 tokens. At 800 for the night so far, she’s more than four thousand short.

“High goal,” types some guy who’s not a regular.

She smiles mysteriously. “Maybe, maybe not,” she says. “At a thousand I rip up my tights, though.” She wears black panties under black lace tights that are patterned with leaves and vines, and a black bustier, and black knee-high buckled boots. “At two thousand I cut off my panties. At three thousand I edge and spank. I’m excited,” she says, and smiles.

I think about how she sounded last night, when she wanted to know I was listening to her breathe. I can make this happen for her. I’m not normally frivolous with money, but there’s nothing to stop me.

I tip her 200 tickets to top off her first goal. In the tip note, I say “Let’s prove him wrong.”

When the chat clangs she sees my message, and she laughs. “Thanks, Blanc,” she says. She slides the chair back from the camera and smiles. “Alright, guys, time for these tights to go.”

She stands. From this angle, the camera captures her from mid-breast to knee. She becomes pure sexual object, individual only in the movements of her tattooed fingers and the mermaids that coil over her skin. She curls her hands in fists through the leaves and vines of lace on either side of her crotch. Her fingernails are painted chrome and they flash when she does this.

“You ready?” she asks, and then she tears the lace apart. There is a ripping sound as it splits and reveals a fist-sized window of black silk panty and pale inner thigh. She begins to laugh. She says, “We can do better than that,” and pulls fistful after fistful of lace taut between her hands, grabbing and tearing and laughing and laughing, revealing more of her body with each act of destruction. The viewership of her chat, which rarely goes over two thousand on an ordinary day, is ticking upward. The chat clangs in offbeat rhythm with other people’s tips.

At the end, only the seam down the middle of her crotch holds any lace where it used to be at all. She reaches out of frame to retrieve what turns out to be a scissors.

“Let’s finish this up,” she says. With a single snip, the remaining lace separates and all that is left of the tights around her crotch is a circular frame for the main event.

She slides back down into the chair. “That was fun,” she says. She drapes first one knee and then the other over the arms of her seat so that her legs are spread, crotch forward. She lifts the scissors in front of her face.

“Panties next, guys,” she says, and swings one booted foot. She smiles like a sphynx at the camera. “Three thousand people watching. Does everyone like what they see?”

With her free hand she pulls the waistband of her panties upward, dragging the silk tight against her crotch. It is possible to make out the outline of her pussy lips. “What do you think, guys?” she asks the audience. “Do you want my panties off?”

Someone tips for “kiss,” and she smiles. She kisses her fingers, and blows the kiss at the screen slow through parted lips like she’s exhaling a lungful of smoke. Her chrome fingernails dance from her inner thigh to the ragged edges of her tights, then back down to press her fingers against her clit through her panties.

I open the tip dialog and I put in the number 1000. I have never tipped this much before. A hundred dollars to destroy a pair of panties feels wasteful, and decadent, and horny, and dumb, but it will make her feel like she has racked up a win against the universe. She will go to bed knowing she’s extracted this from the world with her beauty and charisma; I will go to bed knowing she did this, for me, while an ineffectual mob of men with their dicks in their hands looked on. And maybe we both need that.

I tip a hundred dollars.

“Thanks Blanc,” she says, “I guess it’s time.” She slides the edge of the scissors between her panties and the heat of her body. “I can’t wait to come,” she says as she pulls the fabric forward and taut with the blade of the open scissors. It is possible to catch a glimpse around her panties now, and there is a clanging of tips as the audience appreciates this.

In three snips she saws through the crotch of her panties, and with each cut a little more of the taut damp cloth peels back. Cut by cut she reveals a manicured pussy and dusky inner labia.

When she’s done with the first cut she makes another at the waistband, sawing through silk until she can drag the whole mangled scrap of fabric out from under herself.

“If anyone wants these, DM me,” she says. “Three thousand tickets.” She smells them and laughs. “You can tell how wet I am,” she says, and drops the panties and scissors out of frame.

She leans back and fingers her clit. Over four thousand people are watching now. “What do you say, guys?” she asks. “Are you going to let me get away with being bad, tonight? Or do you think I should punish myself?” She slides her hands up over her breasts through the bustier and pushes them together.

I start to touch myself at this point, and I open the tip menu. I am committed. 1000 tokens. One hundred dollars. Clang.

“You’re the best,” she says. “Thank you so much.” She licks her tattooed fingers, slowly, looking into the camera. “I want all of you to get turned on,” she says. “I want you to come with me, when it’s time, when we get to the final show.” Her hand drops to her pussy, and she starts to work her clit. “Look at me, at a time like this,” she says, and slides the two middle fingers of her opposite hand with their short chrome nails inside herself. “All I can think about is getting fucked.”

She fucks herself. Her arm works, wreathed in mermaid ink and open sky, shoving two fingers into herself so the letters “OR” on her knuckles slide in and out of view. She is very audibly wet. “It feels so good,” she groans. “I want all of you to watch.” Tips are clanging in. I wonder what would happen if I played the tip noise while fucking her. I think of paying her to set it as my ringtone.

“Oh my god,” she says breathily, “oh my god, I have to stop and do spanks. I have to stop.” She pulls her fingers out of herself, but keeps playing with her clit. “I want to get fucked so bad,” she says, and puts her thumb and middle finger together. When they separate again, a thread of viscous juice connects them.

“I definitely need to be punished,” she says, and she’s mischievous again. “Look at me, playing the diddle while Rome burns. How many spanks? Five? Tip for how many spanks.” She reaches out of frame again. There is the sound of tips clanging and she glances at the screen. “Ten it is,” she says, with a laugh. When her hand comes back into frame, she is holding a wooden paddle.

She flips to lean over the back of the chair, presenting her ass and pussy. “You ready?” she asks, peering over her shoulder at the camera. Her lips are parted, eyes bright. She is breathing hard. “One,” she says, and brings the paddle down on her ass cheek with a SLAP. “Two. Three.” Tips clang. The count of viewers ticks upward. “Four.” She moans raggedly. “FIVE.”

She is panting. Five thousand people are watching. She pivots to look backward from the other side and switches hands on the paddle. Her ass cheek shows a hint of pink. “I’ve been so bad,” she says. “You have to punish me. And then we can come. One.” She smacks her own ass again. “That stings, so good, two,” she says. I am ready to watch her get herself off, and to get off with her. I have to back off from my own orgasm, and I stop to just watch for a while. “Three,” she says, gasping, as she paddles. “Four.” She pauses to rub the paddle in a circle on her ass. She laughs breathlessly. “Last spank,” she says, readying the paddle. “Here it is. Five!”

She drops the paddle on the floor and flips to slump bonelessly, knees over the arms of the chair again. She hisses softly. “Stingsss,” she says. “I’m so ready to come, I want you to come with me. Please,” she says. She squeezes one of her breasts and watches the camera with lidded eyes. Her open pussy is deep, wet, dusky pink.

I wonder if she is interested in real BDSM. I tip another thousand tickets to put her over the top and do not feel this is too much to pay for the show. I finger myself again.

“Yessssss,” she says. She fumbles the vibrator out from behind herself on the chair and turns it on. She sets it against her clit. “I want you all to jerk off with me,” she says. “Chat rules are off, you can dirty talk.” Her hips rise up against the toy as it buzzes. Her hooded eyes gleam.

The number of viewers ticks upward and the tips clang and her voice has gone girlish, mewling. “I want all of you to come with me, use me, watch me,” she says, “I want you to come on me, come in my pussy and on my tits and on my face, I want your dick in me or your pussy on me, rub your pussy on me, oh my goddd…”

She is close now. Text flies by in the chat. Men tell her they are coming for her, nutting, coming inside her, that she’s beautiful, that she’s incredible.

“Let six thousand people take turns on me,” she moans, “you can all come on me at once,” and then her body locks, humping upward, eyes vacant and animal, hair a drape of silver falling over the arm of the chair. She lets out a long moan and it pushes me over the edge. She is incredible to see. I come at home watching her. Six thousand people do, maybe. She has this power.

She goes slack in the chair, panting hard. She drops the vibrator out of frame. She is a fucked-out beautiful ragdoll, made out of magic and come.

“Okay,” she says finally, breathlessly. “Thanks guys, that was amazing. I love you all. I’m going to drop off. Thanks, Blanc,” she says, and pauses.

“Did you want me to read your poem?” she asks, as an afterthought.

“Don’t worry about it,” I type. “Another day.”

“Goodnight guys,” she says, and logs off.

She sends me a message later, when she’s had some time to recover. “Thank you so much,” she says. “You can send me money online, you know, if you want. Or like…. Give it to me in person, after quarantine, when we hang. If you pay through the chat they take a cut.”

“After quarantine” hits me like a shot of adrenaline, and I feel a bolt of fear.

“I wouldn’t mind doing that, I guess,” I say. “But I don’t want to be confusing. Like, I’m not looking for something conventional… Or a relationship, you know.”

She laughs. “I’m unconventional,” she says.

“Maybe you can read the poem tomorrow, if you’re still down for it then,” I say.

I have clarity, in this moment. I know what my fantasy is.

I want to look into her eyes while she reads me my favorite poem and know she can’t see me looking back. I want to be anonymous and hidden and to watch her come for me, while six thousand strangers watch.

I want to love her, but safely, from far away.

I want her image to plunge into my heart, and be gone.