Sometimes when I masturbate I like to look at myself in the mirror.
I'm in love with my body. I thank my lucky stars every day that it belongs to me because it really is the most delicious thing. Sometimes I want to lick it all over; sometimes I even try, and fail. I feel like an inward-looking cannibal salivating over my own reflection, a hungry Narcissus gobbling flesh off glass.
I don't need anyone or anything else. My body is a temple dedicated to the worship of itself; a place where animal spirits rub up against each other until sparks can be seen flying out of the doorways, a home to stained-glass anatomical diagrams, porn-mag prayer books and meat-counter altars. It is a place I visit each day to celebrate the miracle of my figure.
When I see it reflected in the mirror, my body appears separate from me. I imagine having to take it out to dinner and buy it expensive gifts to make it mine. I picture the upheaval of courtship and collapse in an exhausted heap under the weight of the stone from which it is carved.
Thank goodness that heavenly body is mine.
It is a union I often celebrate with fireworks. Roman candles and Bengal lights beneath the skin. Rings, palms and horsetails. I ignite a bright blue flame behind my eyes as hands wander over the bronze frame from which they grow. Each day is an anniversary and a masturbatory salute from the ghost to the machine.
On one such occasion the telephone began ringing as I was climaxing. My hands had been wandering again, one stroking my smooth legs, the other my stiff cock. I was thrusting back and forth in front of the mirror like a malfunctioning robot. My hair was tiptoeing for a better view of the action, standing proud like millions of tiny penises all over my body, seconds from ejaculating.
As I quickened the movement of my wrist, the telephone tried its best to distract me but there was no turning back — each electronic bleep became intertwined with the pulsing of my cock as I shot my thick load into thin air.
I collapsed within arm's-length of the phone.
'Hello?' I said, my voice under several layers of itself.
'Is Kulap Pringprom there?'
'It's the Metropolitan Police...'
For a few days in August 2011, London went mad. Following a peaceful protest at the police shooting of Mark Duggan, violence spread across the city until the famous streets became no-go areas. Shops were looted, police officers were attacked and over £200m of damage was done. David Cameron had to cut short his holiday and Parliament was recalled. All in all, it was a very frightening time to be a Londoner.
One of the most unusual incidents to come out of the riots was the sighting on CCTV of what appeared to be a centaur participating in the disorder. In amongst the fighting, a creature with the torso of a man and the body of a horse was clearly visible, a sight which sent the British media into a frenzy. There was a national campaign to try to track down the centaur, partly out of a desire to bring it to justice and partly out of simple curiosity. It was the first time a mythical being had been seen on the streets of London.
The centaur's various offences included charging at police, throwing bricks and breaking into, and subsequently emptying, a warehouse which was home to some very special records. It was so efficient in carrying out the latter that many suspected the crime to be pre-planned rather than a spur-of-the-moment thing.
It made off with all 111 limited edition copies of a new record by Klaxons entitled Mgru, which was eagerly anticipated, not only by music critics and fans, but by scientists, artists and pretty much anyone with eyes because it was pressed on a special type of vinyl.
The unique thing about the vinyl was that its colour was allegedly one never seen by human eyes before.
I, like everyone else, was sorely disappointed to learn that all the records had been stolen and the brand new colour could not be glimpsed after all. If the unruly behaviour of the centaur on the streets hadn't been enough, the theft of Klaxons' Mgru was, in the eyes of the public, the final icing on the coffin for the mythical beast. A frenzied witch hunt followed, with the centaur being cast as the most despicable creature imaginable, an untamed brute with no right to set hoof on Britain's streets. Police were armed with tranquillizer guns and the public were issued lassos to catch the being whose image could be observed on ''HAVE YOU SEEN THIS CENTAUR?'' posters all over London.
That's where I came in. No one seemed to have any information on the centaur's whereabouts, so the police brought in what they must have thought of as either the big guns or the bottom-of-the-barrel dregs: a psychic detective.
I was tasked with utilising my extrasensory skills to track down the beast. For me it meant another routine stroll into the dreamworld but for the Metropolitan Police it was the difference between public success and failure. They kept quiet about their use of a psychic detective — as police always do — yet with all other lines of inquiry ending in dead ends, they were effectively putting all their eggs in my basket. While my powers of divination have afforded me a number of past successes — locating a missing girl and predicting the next move of a serial killer — the centaur case proved to be a real challenge; but, in the end, it led to the police and I uncovering something even more terrifying than a mythical creature loose on the streets....
The process I use is simple: I stare at my breasts. Before I go to sleep I focus my gaze on them for as long as it takes to imprint them on my mind. My tits are possibly my favourite body part, so this kind of psychic preparation is a labour of love, a welcome excuse to admire the two spheres of flesh so close to my heart. My eyes are fixed so securely to the hardened nipples it hurts, but the pain makes me feel alive. I plant new seeds in my field of vision, cup and caress my breasts, set traps for monsters.
I use my gorgeous breasts as a handle for dream control to give me full access to the Other Side, where eternity whispers information in my ear. When I see them in dreams, my mammaries are never as attractive as in real life, the boundless imagination of the unconscious unable to conjure up anything as beautiful as my pair, so I see through the veil of illusion and achieve lucidity, the left and right hemispheres of my brain implanted into the chest of a dream like silicone. I am then free to do what I want, to fly in the face of physics and give logic a headache. I rarely take the opportunity to pursue sexual gratification because I get that from myself in waking life; more often than not I simply check up on the latest announcements from the Dead Zone, regardless of whether I'm working on a case or not at the time, just to be up-to-date with the past and the future.
Sometimes I pour chocolate sauce over my breasts and lick it off, but that's got nothing to do with my psychic journeys.
I am a transsexual. Not one of those unconvincing, hairy blokes with a couple of lumps on his chest, but a perfectly formed woman with a penis. As well as my breasts, I've had my face, waist, buttocks, Adam's apple and voice surgically feminised. I've had hormone replacement therapy and laser hair removal. I also spend a fortune on make-up and clothes. You'd be hard-pressed, therefore, to pick me out of a line-up as an "imposter".
I've always known that the body I was born with was an insufficient rendering of the real me, that at some point it would need to be modified in order to stand for Kulap Pringprom in the physical world. Since the age of 19, when I decided I'd had enough of being poorly represented by my anatomy, I've been making adjustments to it, an incision here, an implant there, my sights firmly fixed on an ideal of beauty so close and yet so far from that held by most other human beings.
Having had such fun playing cat and mouse with my penis, I was reluctant to release it into a dog-eat-dog world on its own, so I was always confident it would remain a best friend, always there between my legs whenever I needed it, to stroke, to hold, to squeeze.
I feel complete in my current state, with breasts and a cock. I offer "the best of both worlds," as they say, a winner with both heads and tails in the game of life. My only sadness comes from the fact that no amount of feminising surgery can help me to experience a true female orgasm. While I still adore my own climaxes, I can't help feeling that their shorter duration is a sure sign of inferiority. Turning my cock outside-in just wouldn't do it: an orgasm from an artificial vagina would still be a male one in terms of length and intensity. To know that it is something which will remain forever inaccessible to me makes me want to sigh myself out of existence but I take solace from the fact that all men, once they consider it, must also feel this way.
Anyway, I'm the finished product now, a top quality creation of medical expertise and human imagination, a transformer seized at the crossroads of a sunny day. Comparing the way I view myself with the public's attitude towards the centaur, I'm struck by the difference: the passionate self-love of a half-man/half-woman and the violent hatred of a half-man/half-horse are two positions on hybrids from completely opposite ends of the spectrum. There are no doubt a fair few Alpha males whose attitude towards me as a transsexual would be no better than that of the masses to the centaur but as I'm not in the business of sharing my body with anyone, I've never run into trouble before. My body is an exclusive gift to myself for enduring 19 years of ugliness.
I use my breasts to control my dreams.
My identical twin brother, Apichart, was affected by the London riots: his house in Croydon was attacked by arsonists while he was inside. He would have stayed to tackle the flames but that would have meant staying to tackle the rioters as well, which was too much for him to handle. He ended up running away and coming back the next morning to a burnt-out building.
He had nowhere else to go other than my place since all our family are back in Thailand and he doesn't have any friends. Apichart slept on my sofa and ate my food whilst looking for somewhere new to live. It wasn't an ideal set-up but I made the most of it.
One day, after an intense session with the police in which we tried to make sense of my latest visions, I returned home with a gift for my twin.
'Flowers! For me?'
'Yes,' I said. 'This one here is Sweet Alyssum. It has a strong scent of honey.'
He bent over to smell it but almost choked as he drew the air into his lungs.
'Yeah. It's just the band.'
Apichart had just had a pulmonary band fitted. It's basically a gastric band for the lungs which is installed to stop the patient smoking. In much the same way that the gastric band restricts the stomach to limit food intake, the pulmonary band constrains the lungs to prevent them from taking in cigarette smoke. The unfortunate side effect is that it also prevents them being filled with fresh air, but for some addicts that is a small price to pay.
'How's it working out for you?'
'Good,' he wheezed. 'I haven't smoked for two weeks.' His voice sounded like it had been chewed up by insects.
'I don't know why you have to go to such extremes to quit.'
'Because I'm not like you, Little Miss Perfect.'
He was right. Apichart was nothing like me, despite the fact that we were twins. He was always suffering from some sort of illness, always battling some sort of addiction, always the victim. It's tempting to compare our relationship to that of yin and yang but I actually see myself, a transsexual, as both parts of the ancient Chinese symbol, and my brother as an insignificant postscript, probably best represented by an empty parenthesis.
'Thanks for the flowers, anyway,' he whispered in size 8 Times New Roman.
'That reminds me: I was going to open the windows.'
'Why did flowers remind you of windows?'
'Never mind,' I said.
'And why do you need to open the windows? It's chilly in here.'
I dropped a blanket of silence over the conversation, hoping to smother it. It seemed to work, as the only sound to come out of Apichart's mouth was an involuntary hissing. I went around the room unbolting all the windows while humming Flight of the Bumblebee. Once I had finished, I sat down and stared at my twin brother.
'You know, it's strange,' he murmured after a while. 'You've been really good to me lately: letting me stay here and bringing me flowers. I always thought you hated me.'
He was right again. I did hate him. I hated him with all my being. My inner life was wallpapered with loathing for my twin. Its loud pattern was the first thing I saw in the morning and the last thing I saw at night.
It was time to redecorate, time to tear down the paper and reveal the cracks that ran through our relationship.
I was lying on my back, head turned to the side to see my reflection, masturbating. I had placed the mirror on its side so I would be able to view my entire body, from made-up face to manicured toes, as it made love to the air. It was a beautiful sight. The curves were just right, the muscles toned, the skin tanned — the mirror's edges framed perfection.
Warmth was enveloping me, warmth becoming intense heat. The bed I was on felt like it was made of white-hot nails, pricking my body all over. Sweat was pouring, blood was pumping. I was coming. I thrust my groin high into the air and felt my balls tighten. My cock, pointing to the heavens, was an antenna receiving messages of love and converting them into spunk, which it sprayed in intense waves over my stomach and breasts.
My groin came back down to earth and I lay flat on the bed, panting. My head was still turned so I could see myself in the mirror. The sight of hot cum oozing down my breasts and glistening in the light made me feel all gooey inside. There's just something about seeing skin painted with semen — my skin and my semen — that gives me profound artistic satisfaction. I smeared it over my breasts with my hands and fiddled with my hard nipples before allowing myself to fall asleep beneath a blanket of cum.
Because I had been playing with my tits prior to dozing off, it didn't take long for them to reappear in my dreams. On seeing them, I was able to question the reality I found myself in and achieve lucid dreaming.
I flew straight over to the Dead Zone to pump some ghosts for info. I was a Columbo of the dreamworld, a psychic detective in a Technicolor raincoat, puffing on a never-ending cigar and demanding "just one more thing" of eternity.
''HAVE YOU SEEN THIS CENTAUR?''
This time my vital clue came in the form of a painting hanging in a gallery I was directed to by a helpful spirit. It was a vast canvas, taking up an entire wall, but the most striking thing about it was the colour, which was one I had never seen before. Although it could have just been a creation of my unconscious mind, the chances were that this was the colour of the Klaxons records that were stolen by the centaur. There were various shades of it, all interacting in an Impressionist style to create the image of a mountain. It was an utterly breathtaking piece of art.
Seeing a brand new colour for the first time is a curious experience. You keep waiting for it to change or for your vision to correct itself because your brain can't accept that it's real. A sore thumb for sore eyes, it seems to stand out more prominently than its counterparts. The best way I can describe this colour, which I shall call Mgru, is as a sarcastic pink or orange, but with a hint of gold impersonating lime. The more I try to describe it, the further away I feel from Mgru as it, like all colours, can be grasped by sight alone. Suffice it to say, Mgru is very striking.
I came back from the dreamworld with a brand new colour and an image of a mountain: two clues which turned out to be crucial in discovering the whereabouts and intentions of the wicked centaur.
'Hi, honey, I'm home!'
I had just got back from another meeting with the police and was bearing gifts for my twin brother again.
'I got you a t-shirt and some jam,' I said.
'You shouldn't have. Wow, it's a very bright t-shirt!'
'I know. Yellow's your favourite colour, isn't it?'
'No. But it doesn't matter.'
'You should put it on straight away, and crack open the jam. It's strawberry.'
'Maybe later,' Apichart muttered. 'I feel a bit sick at the moment.'
It came as no surprise to learn that he was feeling ill. My brother was always moaning about something. This particular complaint was yet another for the pile, which was growing bigger by the day. There was a huge mound of his grumbles by the kitchen door, waiting to be taken out to the dustbin, but neither of us could be bothered to shift them. They just sat in a black bin bag, smelling of sour grapes.
I was sick of him being sick. His aversions, addictions and allergies just made him look weak to me. He could be running from a spider, chasing the dragon or dying from the sting of a wasp, but he'd never be grabbing the bull by the horns. In fact, it was when he had been stung by a wasp that I decided he had had one too many adverse reactions and vowed not to waste any more compassion on him.
Apichart had been regularly attending meetings of a wasp fighting club, which is where grown men cheer on an insect in a battle to the death with another insect. They are placed in a specially made "arena", where they are poked through the walls with sticks to make them angry. I told him repeatedly that it was a cruel blood sport, like dog fighting, and if one ever got loose he would be in serious danger. Well, a wasp did get loose on one occasion because the crowd was too enthusiastic in its poking and capsized the arena, allowing the enraged wasps to take out their frustration on the humans. Unsurprisingly, it was Apichart whom they targeted. He was stung several times by both insects and suffered a severe allergic reaction, his face swelling up, his body breaking out in a rash and his breathing becoming difficult (just like it is now).
Obviously he didn't die, but it was a close call, and all self-inflicted. It was then that I realised he would always be attracting trouble and was to be avoided at all costs if I wanted a quiet life. His coming to stay with me after the riots was the first time we had spoken in about three years. Some people say it's harsh that I dislike him because he's weak, but being fit and healthy myself, I don't want to feel like I've got a parasitic Siamese twin attached to me, trying to suck out all my energy.
That's my reason for wanting to avoid him. My reason for hating him, and doing so with a passion, is slightly less rational. Now that I have emerged as a resplendent butterfly, I don't want to be reminded of my previous existence as a revolting little caterpillar. My twin looks exactly as I did when I was in my caterpillar phase: he has a characterless appearance and is unmistakably male. There is only one thing I hate about myself, and that is my past. If I could have it lopped off by a surgeon, I would; the sight of it twitching at the bottom of a bloody medical bin would be a dream come true for me. Apichart was a living reminder of that which I wanted dead and buried, so I hated him.
'Why are you being so kind to me?' he asked.
'I have my reasons,' I said.
I was following in the footsteps of the general public by referring to the brand new colour as Mgru. Everyone had assumed that the title of the Klaxons record was also the name of the colour and they were probably right, although all the band said was that the word had been unearthed from the collective repressed, a name for something tabooed long ago. Reynolds, Righton, Taylor-Davies and Halperin were in the business of dis-entombing memes of the ancient past, conducting musical experiments to rewrite the menu and reinstate the eighty-sixed. Some people, in trying to imagine what the colour would look like, speculated that it was on the far left of the spectrum, thus explaining its possible tabooing due to long-established superstitions about the sinister side.
Eventually the public got to see the colour, albeit it in an unexpected form, and all speculation was usurped by direct observation.
I informed the police about my dream of Mgru and the mountain, and it was decided that a small expedition should be sent up Mount Islington to search for the centaur. Mount Islington was the highest peak in a small but uncharted mountain range stretching from North London to Essex. It was so under-explored that many people didn't even know of its existence. Those who did were also familiar with stories about the area being populated by monsters.
'How about I take you for dinner and a few drinks if we get down from here alive?' The bald-headed policeman I had climbed to the top of the mountain with asked me out for the fourth time.
'I'm alright, thanks.'
His dog, the police sniffer, was also hounding me. It was meant to be leading us to the centaur, having been given the scent of a horse earlier, but was far more interested in my groin.
'Sorry about her,' the policeman said, dragging the dog away. 'She must be a lesbian... and who could blame her, eh? Beautiful young woman like you...'
'Hmmph,' I said.
I used to love dogs. They were a source of comfort and inspiration to me. I loved their loyalty above all. However, one day I decided to carry out a test on my golden retriever to ascertain the extent of his loyalty, and the result was that my faith in canine devotion was completely destroyed. My friend hid behind a bush in a park and jumped out as I was walking past with my dog, exactly as we had arranged. He then pretended to beat me up in a prolonged attack, giving my pet ample opportunity to step in and attempt to save me. The stupid mutt did nothing. As I lay on the ground having the pretend shit kicked out of me, he blithely chased his tail. I gave him away the very next day to an animal shelter, saying I could no longer look after him.
'Do you believe the stories about beasties living up here?'
'Look!' I said. 'Is that Mgru?'
There was a plume of smoke coming from behind a pile of rocks in the distance. It was the same colour as the painting I saw in my dreams.
'That's bloody amazing!' the policeman said, clearly moved by the sight of Mgru. The words trampled each other on the way out of his mouth. 'What did you call it?'
'Oh, yeah, like that record by the Klaxons.'
'It's just Klaxons, not the Klaxons.'
'OK, love. It is amazing, though.'
Once the policeman got over the initial shock of seeing a colour for the first time we set off in the direction of the smoke. I was wearing high heels, so moving quickly and staying upright proved rather difficult. It took us about twenty minutes to reach our destination, and in that time the policeman again mentioned the idea of going for a drink together.
'Don't you like men?' he asked.
'I'm OK by myself.'
When we reached the source of the smoke we found the remnants of a bonfire, on which were Klaxons records, some still intact, others melted into grotesque shapes like Dalinian timepieces. There was no centaur, but a few hoofprints were clearly visible in the dust suggesting the beast had been there shortly before, burning copies of Mgru.
The dog sniffed at the bonfire like a ship with a wet nose docking at a foreign port.
'Looks like he scarpered,' said the policeman, turning in a circle, hands on hips.
'So where'd he go?'
'I don't know. But more importantly: why was he burning records up here?'
I walked over to the edge of the mountain and gazed out at London. Darkness was just beginning to descend on the city and lights were flickering into life, creating a dot-to-dot picture of nothing in particular. I was staring at the same streets that one week earlier had been full of rioters and looters. The streets had been tidied, the shops repaired; Big Ben was still standing, the London Eye still turning; but the capital was not the same. It would never be the same again.
Fear gripped me so hard I felt like a grape in a bowling alley.
'Yes,' I said to Apichart. 'Another present for you.'
This was the best one yet. I felt confident it would be the gift that broke the camel's back.
'Thanks so much!'
'Put it on.'
He sprayed it on both sides of his neck, and I went round opening the windows. This was a special perfume, a perfume I had heard about on the news.
'It's quite an intense smell.'
I waited, but nothing happened.
'Oh, by the way,' Apichart said. 'Have you seen the papers? They're going on about that new colour.' He handed me a copy of the Evening Standard.
The newspaper's front page explained how a number of Londoners had seen the Mgru-coloured smoke coming from the top of Mount Islington yesterday. Descriptions of the colour ranged from "radioactive claret" to "a really, really aggressive beige".
'What's it like?'
'Like a sarcastic pink or orange with a hint of gold impersonating lime,' I said absently.
I wasn't really interested in Mgru. I was more concerned with the effects of the perfume on Apichart.
I heard on the news about a particular perfume that was known to cause wasps to attack, so I immediately went out and bought it for my twin. Apparently it contained chemicals that send out a message to the insects to assail the person wearing it. That was the message I had been trying to send out on the allergic Apichart's behalf all along: sting me! The flowers, the bright t-shirt, the jam — all were intended to attract wasps in the hope that they would attack and kill him. Unfortunately, all those things make vespids happy, so Apichart remained unstung and alive.
The perfume, however, was another story. That was guaranteed to turn a wasp into a motherfucker in seconds. Several wearers of it, the news item assured me, had become magnets for angry insects and were only left alone once their bodies had swollen to twice their normal size.
That was how I was going to commit the perfect murder, the long-awaited destruction of my weak, ugly twin: a sting operation.
'I wish I could see that new colour. I imagine it would...'
'Excuse me,' I interrupted. 'But I'm going to masturbate here on the kitchen table now. Would you mind going outside for a while? Thanks.'
I took the whipped cream from the fridge and when I turned around again my brother was gone.
Some clever fellow, realising that the smoke coming from Mount Islington was being used as a communication tool, decided to take notes as soon as he saw it rather than stare in open-mouthed wonder like everyone else. His information showed that the centaur had been creating smoke signals to convey a terrifying message to an army of supporters. This astute person deciphered the signals using a Polybius Square, with which alphabetic characters are converted into numeric characters, and alerted London to an imminent attack.
Just as I had been broadcasting a message to wasps with the perfume, the centaur had been sending out an instruction with smoke to a large group of fellow centaurs to besiege the capital city. The chaos London had experienced during the riots was nothing in comparison with what the legion of horse-men had planned. Some people took up arms while others fled the city, but no one was without fear. It was alleged the UK Defence Secretary literally shat himself when he heard the news.
I continued to have my weighty dreams but the police dumped me like a suitcase full of lard. They were suddenly too busy coordinating operations with the military to require the services of a lowly psychic detective anymore. It didn't bother me — I still had uses for my breasts.
So what about the outcome of the two parallel plots? Were Apichart and London successfully attacked? All I will say of the plans is that, just like a pair of twins, one was a lot stronger than the other.
Stephen Moles has written for the stage and screen, and doubles up as a media analyst.