A Pillar of Salt

Imagine being assigned the task of managing a work crew consisting of a violent sociopath, a chronic junkie, and a moralizing douchebag. Additionally, there’s been explicit instructions not to fire any of these characters without just cause.

As uncomfortable as this situation sounds, handling the sociopath and junkie would be the easiest part. I know who they are and what they’re likely to do. Sooner than later, both will self-destruct in predictable ways. Hell, if I’m lucky, their final moments as employees will be spent at each other’s throats. But what about the pontificating douche? That individual would require one wary eye at all times while our day-to-day interaction would fill me with loathing. Why? Simply put, your run-of-the-mill moral soldier tends to be wound tight with repressed desire and hypocrisy. This compels them to lash out at anyone who isn’t as miserable as themselves. People like this tend to snap. When they do, the results are ugly and memorable.

Case in point: Maybelle, the soul-dead moral pillar and bitch-from-hell.

It seems a lifetime ago when I negotiated a rental lease on a sprawling nineteenth-century farmhouse. The house was a massive money pit with with a slate roof, which an investor had bought on the cheap after agreeing to restore it along historical guidelines. The investor needed a year to come up with the necessary funds, so we struck a deal for an awesome monthly rate. Huzzah for cheap rent and living in spooky, old houses! But I needed at least one roommate to not be strapped for cash. So I asked a guy, who’ll I’ll call Buddy, to move in.

After seeing the place, he signed on with enthusiasm. It’s worth noting, we came to an agreement as bachelors; yet a week after moving in, Buddy began hanging out with Maybelle. After a second week went by, she pretty much lived there.

Buddy’s a great guy and was a terrific roommate, but he’s got one significant flaw: atrocious taste in women. And Maybelle – a reborn Christian – was particularly irritating. For example, she’d only engage three topics of discussion: her latest Beanie Baby purchase, her personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and her lurid, detailed fantasies about the eternal suffering of those condemned to hell.

As you might guess, Maybelle identified me as someone destined for the fiery depths from jump and was soon preaching to me on a daily basis. Of course, anyone associated with your humble narrator received a sermon as well. My initial reaction was to cock an eyebrow and leave the room figuring Buddy would tire of her soon enough. Things dragged on, and Maybelle was annoying, but I worked a lot, so the situation just simmered.

The one Friday evening, it boiled over. The end of a brutal work week found me and couple friends chilling in the living room with a case of beer. Without invitation or warning, Maybelle came stomping in to stand at the center of the room, arms crossed, fixing each person with her plastic-button eyes before speaking..

“Fornicators, effeminate violators, thieves: You WILL NOT inherit the kingdom of God! You will wither and curl as chaff before the flame. Unless you’re reborn, you…you… you – all of you will burn in hell. Unless you come to rejoice in truth instead of iniquity, you are dammed” – and so on.

Aggravated, I tossed a half-empty beer can at her butt. She jumped then spun to scowl at me.

“Look, Maybelle, it’s Friday night, and I’m decompressing after a seventy-hour week, so piss off! You’re forever killing my buzz with your lack of love, and your sounding brass and crashing cymbal self.”

“Sounding brass? Crashing cymbal self?” she repeated. “…Two beers has you babbling nonsense, and I wonder what Buddy will think about your throwing things at me?”

“Buddy’s on my shit list for bringing you around,” I replied. “Truth is I’m practicing restraint because he’s my friend. As for me babbling nonsense, I’ll just say this: when picking and choosing from Corinthians, you might wanna’ remember some of Paul’s finer points about preaching.”

Maybelle went bright red, and I thought she might take a swing, stroke out, or both. But my friends joined the fray and distracted her. Well acquainted with Maybelle’s tirades, they began to sing the chorus of a Chuck Berry tune modified just for her:

Maybelle leave, why can’t you be mute.
Oh Maybelle leave, why can’t you be mute.
Get the fuck out ‘fore we beat you black n’ blue.

They sang and chanted until she fled the field. Granted, the lyrics weren’t amazingly clever, but they were effective because two of the people chanting happened to be lesbians who were jonesing for an excuse to thump this preachy pest of a woman.

That particular confrontation was the impetus for me to actively work at ridding myself of Maybelle. But I was mystified as to why it was so difficult. What did my roommate see in her? When pressed on the subject, Buddy confessed that she was great in the sack, and yeah, she bitched lot but didn’t preach to him. In short, he was all in for some good nookie. He simply tuned out when she spoke. Apparently, some people are capable of doing this for decades at a time.

So I was stuck with Maybelle because I had no reason – and no desire – to kick Buddy out. He paid the rent on time, cleaned up after himself, and wasn’t a thief. Also, I had plenty of friends and acquaintances who were just as obnoxious as Maybelle in their own special way, yet Buddy put up with them.

But I wanted her gone and bided my time for an opportunity to present itself.

A few weeks later, I came home between shifts to grab a pack of smokes. Leaving the engine running, I jumped the fence, and headed for the back door. This route caused me to pass my bedroom window, and who should I spy kneeling on the floor? Maybelle of course.

She was reading one of my books, a BDSM graphic novel,  enthralled and completely unaware of her surroundings. Standing outside the window, I looked on for good two or three minutes wondering if she’d ever glance up and notice me. There were a couple of books like this in my collection, but the one she held featured exceptionally graphic depictions of sadism and hardcore sex.

The story line was germane to such books: a woman is kidnapped, brutally tortured, and enslaved by a sex cult. The protagonist hates every minute of it until she doesn’t. It was all male domination, lots of hoods, whips, and ridiculously cruel scenarios meant to keep a reader fapping.

A pretty rare and expensive book to have pre-internet, I kept it stashed at the bottom of a box. So the discovery of that particular novel meant she’d read through a thick stack of smut to become enchanted by the dirtiest, most hardcore and, frankly, tackiest piece of smut in my entire collection. Thinking on this, I noticed she read with great care flipping back and forth between a few pages.

My first instinct was to storm in, raise a scene, and see if she died of embarrassment. Then I got an idea.

Pretending my key jammed in the lock, I cursed loudly and kicked the door as though frustrated when entering the house. This gave her plenty of time to clear out. A short time later, I found Maybelle on the couch flipping through TV channels. When I asked where Buddy was, she started bitching about how he was in the other room getting high because I was a bad influence and so on. She was still bitching when I left.

That night, I went through the book until I found the scene where the slave finally breaks and has a ‘cathartic-secular epiphany’ of sorts while choking on her master’s cock. There in the middle of the page, I affixed several sticky notes which read approximately like what’s below.

You know you want this, you uptight twat. You want to be fucked and used like a little whore until you break. That doesn’t mean you’re sick. It just means you’re human. What’s sick is that your warped and ideology-fused brain takes this so seriously that you can’t handle it for what it is – a fantasy. That’s it. It’s nothing more than hyperbolic fantasy about a kind of freedom. Imagine being free of all the shit, obviously, weighing you down. All the shit you want strapped to everyone else. Here’s an idea, instead of sneaking in to peek at this pipe dream, and then storming out to make others miserable with your guilt, try one of these approaches:

  • Own the fact you like sex – dirty, rough, kinky sex – knock off the reborn holier-than-thou routine, and stop hating others for enjoying it as well.
  • Fuck off, and go lock down some poor slob, and then make him feel like crap every time he wants some loving. If you can goad him into getting rough now and then, you can pile on the guilt afterwards, and enjoy a bite of  cake.
  • Go forth to become a devout reborn Christian, one that’s dead inside with hypocrisy and lies. If you do, just be sure to beat yourself up properly whenever these ‘shameful urges’ crop up.

PS – there’s a piece of thread in here. If it’s moved slightly, or missing, I’ll know you’ve been back to read this filth – again.

There was no thread of course. Saying it existed was more effective because when our paths crossed afterwards, I’d give her a little wink and a smile.

Two weeks later Maybelle disappeared. Buddy was unconcerned. Later he related how she’d gotten wasted on wine coolers and wanted him to tie her up with a bungie cord. Buddy was down for that kind of fun. She freaked just before he secured her wrists, twisting free accuse him of being a “demon” and a “rapist” before storming out.

Telling Buddy what I’d seen and written felt like excessive cruelty, so I never mentioned it. But I cannot help but wonder what went through Maybelle’s mind when she read my note. It made me think of Lot’s wife on the plain outside Sodom as the city was destroyed. One tiny glance back to witness God’s wrath, and ZAP! Is this what happened to Maybelle? I mean, a myth that potent and ubiquitous is impossible to ignore; so was the night of wine coolers and bungie cords her glance? Did that moment betray Maybelle’s secret longing to the invisible man on high who judges each thought and deed?

A few years ago, I found Maybelle on Facebook. She lives in Alabama and is married to a preacher. They own a Bible camp. All things considered, I’m not sure who made out worse – Lot’s wife who stands near the Red Sea to this very day or Maybelle shrouded in secrets and toiling in Alabama sun.


12 thoughts on “A Pillar of Salt

    1. I appreciate the comment, especially because this was one of ‘those posts.’ You know, the ones where you’re compelled to spend a ton of energy trying to make it just right only to then find yourself wondering if it was worth the effort? Responses like this help to assuage doubts, so thanks.


  1. Sounds like a very annoying person. Though truth be told I’m sure plenty of the uptight bible thumping crowd secretly wish or want a more adventurous sexlife or personal life as it were. But fail to get it out a false belief it’s wrong etc.

    Liked by 1 person

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