The Pig's Tail
From the first word I read, I was mesmerized and I remained so until the end. My friends had told me the book was boring. That the author was too intense -- a writer's writer -- and that he was prone to using a wide and complicated vocabulary, but I was completely drawn into the story. I read without counting the pages. I guess this might seem odd to you, given that I am a pig.
I love it when you find an author that you really connect with. You feel that there is a very real and direct communication between you and the writer. This is rare for me: I am a pretty lazy reader. I usually have a lot of trouble getting into theory or really sophisticated texts. It's difficult for me to know whether this is just because I am a pig, or because I have a learning disability, or something.
Other pigs I know don't really read. In fact, I think it's safe to say that I am the only pig living openly in human society. You might think that I'd be famous, but I'm not. People don't pay much attention to me. I go about my usual business. Shop on Mont-Royal. Have coffee on St.-Denis. And to be honest, I enjoy the anonymity. I don't want to be treated like some sort of cause célèbre or a freak. I am just an ordinary pig, and aside from a small circle of friends, I like to keep to myself.
In retrospect, I guess my goal was always to integrate. I know there are some people out there who are very critical of the fact I shave myself, but so what? It's not like I have a lot of hair in the first place, and besides, I like to look as human as possible. It tends to make people less uncomfortable when they are talking to me at parties or whatever. I have had to live through some very excruciating moments. Some people tend to make these very stupid remarks about pigs and, I know, it's the shit thing. People --especially middle class people -- get freaked out because pigs wallow in their own shit. They make all these mental associations, as if I am unclean or something, just because there are a few pigs out there who wallow in shit.
My circle of friends tends to be fringe types. They're more liberal. Either they think it's hip to hang around with a pig, or they just don't give a fuck. I moved through a lot of social circles since I got to Montréal. Musicians, artists, sex workers, students. Most of my friends now are gays. I like fags. They're bourgeois, but in a marginal way. They wear nice clothes, smell good, have tidy apartments and stuff, but still don't give into all the societal pressure to conform. They have good taste. I've learned a lot about class since I started hanging out with fags, and that's important to know if you're ever going to move up in the world.
I think I identify with gays for another reason, and again, it's the shit thing. I think ass fucking is what really freaks people out -- it's this association with shit and dirtiness. But they've got class and style, and this is what I'm into: the contrast.
I've seen other, you know, animals around recently. And by animals, I think you know what I mean. I was at this party, and there was this goat there. We never spoke. Actually, we kind of avoided each other. It was as if we both understood the mutual embarrassment we were causing one another. I looked across the room out of the corner of my eye, all the while pretending to be deeply engaged in some conversation. This goat is talking to someone, ignoring me, and I did the same, but we were both very hyper-conscious of each other's presence.
Katja called me up about two weeks ago. Told me some friend of her's had a friend who was a sheep. Some accountant from Toronto. Would I be interested in getting together with this guy. "Fuck no", I said, "What the hell do I want to talk to some fucking sheep from Toronto for?" It came out a bit rougher than I expected, and I regretted it later. I didn't want her to know she'd hit a nerve.
* * *
My boyfriend's name is Dan. He's a lot younger than me. I think he's 23 or 24 or something. I forget. Everyone tells me he's very cute. I wouldn't know. I'm in no position to evaluate. My friend Katja says he looks a lot like one of the guys from Depeche Mode, if that gives you any idea.
I am trying to think of how to describe Dan to you. Well, he's young and beautiful, and so he believes that he's indestructible. He drinks way too much and does too many drugs. Now that I think about it, he's a bit of a fuck-up, really. And, to be frank, he's not very bright. But I've never been able to determine whether it was a side effect of the drugs, or something else. Anyway, il n'est pas un cent watt, and for some reason that makes fucking him all the more pleasurable. Last night we were at his place and out of the blue he says:
"You should get your nipples pierced."
"All of them?"
"Yeah. It would look cool."
"But not terrifically practical. They would get caught on the shag rug and stuff."
"Well, you could just get one done." He seems to lose interest in our conversation here, gets up, and starts rummaging around the room looking for God-knows-what.
"Why are you suddenly obsessed with me getting my nipples pierced?" He doesn't react at first, still pawing through a pile of papers, and then stops abruptly. The words seem to have traveled across the room in slow-motion. He turns, looks at me hazily with a wide grin and then flops down onto the bed beside me.
"It's really hot. I LOVE my nipples since I got them pierced". Dan is always planning where he will get his next tattoo; which appendage he wants to have a hole punched in. He looks at me and starts rubbing his finger on one of my ears.
"You should get one here."
"On my ear?"
"Yeah, Right here. Where it flops over." He suddenly grabs my ear and starts twisting it this way and that, like an artist searching for inspiration. I hate having my body handled in such an impersonal manner. It's anything but sexy, and it gives me the creeps. But then he starts tweaking my nipples one by one between his fingers, and kissing my neck, and pretty soon I am getting hard. I put my hooves on his shoulder, and begin licking his ears. Pretty soon he's moving down my chest, licking my nipples with tongue, and rubbing my dick and balls.
"Stand up", he says. I get on all fours. I can't really see what he's doing so I ask him if he's gonna get a condom on. He lubes up my asshole and then slides his cock in. Laying on my back while rubbing my stomach with his hands, he fucks my asshole with his slender long dick, moving it in and out faster and faster. My front legs collapse; my ass is in the air.
"Fuck me you bastard", I growl through clenched teeth. Now he got a hold of my dick, and is jerking me off as we fuck. My eyes roll back in my head. I am seeing something blue, and then red. "Oh, fuck. You're-good-you're-good-you're…" I ejaculate on the bedspread. Shit. Now I guess I'll have to wash it.
* * *
I feel a lot of things for Dan, but love is not one of them.
"What are you writing?"
I know he sleeps around on me, and who can blame him. He's young and beautiful. He might as well take advantage of it while he can. He goes out to the clubs a lot.
"I'm going out, OK?"
What's odd is I am sure he loves me, but he'd never admit it if I asked him. I know he'd be furious if I slept around on him. He needs to know that I am there; stable and supportive as a set of bookends. We never talk about our feelings for one another.
"It must be weird"
"I don't know. Being a pig and being gay, too."
"I'm not gay."
He laughs. "Then what was that all about?" He motions to the bed. "You can't tell me you didn't, you know, like it."
"Well, yeah. But that's not the point. I am into doing humans, but I am not the one who gets fucked up about gender. That's your problem."
"You'd do it with a chick?"
"Sure I would. Why not?"
"I don't know. I just thought…"
His face curdles with disappointment. I have hurt him. Silence fills the room like a choking fog. I'd better say something.
"Look", I say, getting off my chair and walking over to him, "Do you really only fuck me because I'm a guy? You'd fuck a sow in a minute. God damn city kid. Bet you can't even tell the difference."
He looks at me accusingly; his eyes crackling with anger. "The fact you're a guy is what turns me on. I couldn't get it up for a lady pig --"
"WHATEVER! You're being a guy is important."
"But I'm not gay. And stop yelling. If you want, we can say I'm bisexual. I like doing humans. But that's it. Message over."
We sit in silence on the couch for a few more minutes. I put my head in his lap and look up at him. The Cute Cuddly Animal. I know he's a sucker for this routine. He begins stroking my chin.
"Well, I dunno. You might be into… WHATEVER! But I am totally GAY."
"Why don't you fuck me?"
We start to make out. The discussion ends here. We don't discuss his hang-ups We don't discuss the fact that he fucks animals. What do his parents think? Do they even know? I am angry with him, but only slightly. I've grown to accept how his mind works. How if he feels he has arrived at one solid conclusion, all other disparities cease to exist. I bite him more than usual tonight, just so he knows he hasn't won.
"OW! That hurt!"
I once bit a man's thumb off in a bar. Well, that's an exaggeration. Only at the knuckle. He was trying to raise some stink about letting pigs into the bar. Showed that fucker in a hurry. We move from the couch to the bedroom. It's easier on my back.
* * *
"How could you put bacon in the salad when you knew he was coming?" The pot-luck had been relatively uneventful 'til now.
"Karen, please don't make a fuss about it. It's really not a big deal. There's plenty of other food here for me to eat. I'll be fine."
"I just can't BELIEEEVE it, Cathy. I mean, imagine how you would feel if you went to some party and someone was serving a salad with 'human bits' in it? I'd puke. Literally, I would." She turns to me. "I am SOOO sorry."
"Oh, it's OK. It's fine. Really." I couldn't bear to tell her that I actually like the taste of bacon. The idea it revolted me at first. But it happened by accident. I ordered this sandwich, it had bacon in it, and the next thing you know -- BOOM -- you're a cannibal. But I'd feel to weird going down to the dep and buying bacon, so I seldom eat it. The idea of a ham sandwich or a pork roast is enough to make me feel queasy.
"Yeah, I'm sorry", says Cathy. "I didn't realize… I mean, I didn't kind of… I don't know…" -- she lightly smacks her thin white fingers against her forehead -- "…THINK! Anyways, DUH! I'm sorry." She smiles. "What's your name anyway?"
"Uh, I don't really HAVE a name. People just call me 'pig' if they have to call me something."
"Oh." She looks at me. Her head tilted slightly to the left. A sign of depression? Her blond straight hair cascades over one of her blue blue eyes. She is chewing at her nail distractedly. She jerks her chin up, brushes her hair from her face with a sudden sweep of her hand. Her eyes scan the room quickly, and then she starts to study the floor. Did she hear me? Then she says:
"It must be weird having no name." I like her. She's young and has this undefinable yet tangible sexiness.
"Not for me, obviously. But it was an enormous hassle getting ID. It took me a long time to get a social insurance number. I don't have a birth certificate. I don't even know what day I was born on."
"I bet your a Scorpio".
"Gemini, actually. But I was born in the Year of The Pig, if you can appreciate that irony."
She laughs. Her tits are gorgeous. Suddenly Karen appears again.
"Hey, pig, there's someone I'd like you to meet. Robert, this is pig -- pig, Robert. Uh, Rob is organizing a conference at McGill about something… oh, uh… maybe you should describe it…"
"Actually it's a conference called 'Becoming Animal: Social Perspectives on Bestial Relations', and basically what we're trying to focus on is how…".
Is he British? He definitely has an accent. Perhaps he's an Australian. His thick black glasses are bobbing up and down. I can't quite tell if he's looking at me or not. He's actually kind of sexy. Probably if you got his glasses off, he'd have a very cute face. I love his hair. It's very fine and thick: reminds me of rabbit hair or fun fur or something. But he is not very sexual. Not interested in sex . Life of the mind. I should really make an effort to listen to what he's saying.
"…have actually had confirmation from a number of respected thinkers…"
"…and we're seeking a more balanced representation of…"
I wonder if there will be any money in this? I could really use another drink. My mouth feels really dry. I wonder if he smokes. Maybe I can bum a smoke off him. My feet hurt. Which is inevitable. I think I have poor circulation. I get so tired, just standing here. Someone else has taken command of this stereo. Thank God. I hate having to listen to that horrible drug addict music that Dan is always buying -- The Flying Pumpkins or whatever. I wonder if anyone here has a joint?
* * *
The conference hall is a surprisingly large. It is a theatre that was designed in the 60's; probably usually used for concerts and plays. The interior is done over in a lot of dark wood, all placed at angles, to enhance the acoustic qualities of the space. The place must seat about 1000 people. The room is half-full, but that still makes it pretty crowded. I feel that my paper didn't go all that well. I'm on stage at the podium underneath blindingly bright lights. People are lining up at the mics placed in the audience, getting ready to ask questions. I have asked someone for a glass of water, but it has yet to materialize.
"Uh, this question is addressed to the pig. Uh, I was wondering, if that is how you actually feel about human society, why have you decided to make all this effort to integrate yourself?"
"Well, uh, that's an interesting question. My feeling was basically -- and I am speaking from a purely subjective point of view here -- but was that basically there was really no future is being an animal. And so, approaching entirely from a Darwinian perspective, I felt the best thing to do was to move away from the margin, and towards the centre."
"But don't you feel that the margins are a place for radical activity? As a location to destabilize the power of the centre?"
"As a theoretical position, yes, I agree with that. But on a practical level, I felt it was far more valuable to think virally. To infiltrate and infect the centre."
A woman suddenly stands up in the crowd.
"You are fucking sell out. You are not a real animal anymore. You are just some right-wing conservative capitalist sell out. You have betrayed your own identity by co-opting the identity of the oppressor"
Ouch. A small uproar is created in the first two rows of nay and yeah-sayers. I am starting to get nervous. My voice feels tight, like it will break at any moment.
"But…", I squeak, "…this isn't just about identity. It is about survival. And the ability to survive has always been predicated on one's ability to adapt. To mimic. To camouflage. To develop the proper tools to ensure the propagation of the species. In a human world, the only way to survive is to get with the program."
Underneath the lights, it is hot. I can't actually see where the voices are coming from. They seem to emerge from a profound limitless darkness. I am squinting into the light. My throat feel incredibly dry and I wish I could have a drink of water. A moment or two later, everything goes black.
* * *
I wake up at the side off stage. A circle of people surrounds me. I start with embarrassment. How long was I out for? What did I say? The organizer of the conference looks down at me, his worried eyes reveal a mixture of concern and embarrassment. He offered me a drink from a tall clear glass.
* * *
Back at home that evening, my embarrassment gradually ripens into a sulk. I am laying on the couch with a blanket pulled up over my head. I will never leave this apartment again, I vow. I like looking at the folds and creases of the fabric, imagining mountains, sunsets and body parts. I can hear Dan shuffling about the apartment in his slippers. He is being surprisingly nurturing. It always surprises me when Dan is kind because it seems so contrary to his nature. I hear him put something porcelain down on the coffee table. He lifts up a corner of the blanket cautiously and peers at me with apprehension, as if he expects to be bitten, yelled at, beaten, or worse.
"I made you some soup", he says hopefully. The steaming bowl smells good. "Are you hungry?" I don't answer. He sits down beside me and starts rubbing my head. After awhile, I poke my head out and put my chin on his lap. I start eating the soup. It's bland, but I eat without complaint.
We don't speak for a long time. Dan turns on the TV and we begin to watch series of stupid sitcoms. I know that he is curious about what happened at conference today, but I don't have the energy to recount the whole story. Maybe tomorrow. It feels good just to be here with him. I always come crawling back to him when I am injured.
After two and a half sitcoms, I start thinking about calling Katja to tell her about what happened. It seems funnier the more I think about it. I'll call her in the morning. I should do the laundry tomorrow, too. That bedspread needs washing. Dan senses I am relaxing and as a consequence, his consoling gestures are becoming more and more amorous. Soon he is under the blanket too, kissing me. His tongue is intertwined with mine. He is rubbing his hands up and down my torso. It is slow, but good. Slow but good.
* * *
I started a new book today. It's something I had bought a long time ago and never read because it looked a bit boring. But it was really amazing: I read the first page, and I had the uncanny feeling that I was reading my own writing. I read two pages, three pages, four, ten. The way the author saw things was similar to how I saw them, but it wasn't just that. It was how she expressed herself, and how she saw what motivates people. It was a pleasant, yet eerie feeling. I'm pretty lucky to have two good books in a row like that. I always feel anxious starting a new book after I've read something really great. Nothing could ever be as good as that book you just read. It's a big relief to know I have another good book ahead of me.