Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Poked Full of Holes, an Inferno Story

This is a repost of a post from my old blog. However, now I have pics of the scene - photographic evidence.

In 2003, I had an interesting year, I engaged in a learning experience that affected me greatly, and provided me with a tremendous learning experience. Yes, it involved more than a little bit of S&M. I wrote this narrative in September/October of 2003, a couple of weeks after the event. It was fresh in my memory then. I've decided it's time to bring it back out to share.

It didn't end up like I had planned. That's the nature of what I was asking for, though. If I got what I had planned on, I wouldn't have gotten what I had asked for. That's certainly ambiguous enough for a lead in. If I were to start at the beginning, with all the back-story, it would take too long to explain. So let me pick a time and place, and I'll tell you a little story about Inferno 32.

Place: Chicago
Time: May 2003
Event: IML

Scott was on his way to the hotel lobby from the Hellfire Club cocktail party when I caught up with him. Scott's a big man... I tend to think "lumberjack" when I see him. Maybe about 6'2", and in the area of 250 pounds, the man is big, and proportional. His legs are like tree trunks. The scary thing about Scott (as if there is only one thing about him that scares me) is that despite his size, the man is fast, and can turn on a dime. I know, because I've spent several times running from him... and one time I actually got away.

At the corridor leading to the escalators down to the lobby, I caught up with him. Looking up, I opened up a conversation, "Scott? I have a bit of, uhm, I have a favor / question to ask." Yes, I actually do say 'favor slash question'. "I was thinking about a scene at Inferno."

Scott smiled below his bushy mustache, in that way that a cheetah might smile if it were to play with its dinner before eating it. "Well John, what did you have in mind?"

Fighting a little bout of nervousness, I replied. "If you felt you had the skill, and if you thought it was safe to do in a scene, I'd really like to try something involving an intubation at Inferno. I'm asking you because I know you know your limits as a top, and because I know you've got the medical training to do it."

I fit about an hour's worth of fidgeting into the 3 or 4 seconds that Scott took to think about that. "Well, provided I had the right supplies, I certainly *could* do it. But why do you want to?"

"Well, it's an extreme form of breath control, it's the general control aspect, and it's something that scares me. For all my bondage interests, I'm claustrophobic when it comes to my breathing. I know you'd have the ability to keep me under control."

"We should talk more about it, but it's certainly something that I can do."

I sighed a bit of relief. I'd been trying to work up the nerve to bring this up to Scott all afternoon. I don't normally ask for a specific scene when I bottom, since I don't like to do scripted scenes... that and the whole fear of rejection thing. So that he responded favorably was heartening.

"I may not have the balls to bring this up with you again at the run, so you may need to be a little assertive in reminding me, if you don't mind."

"You know *that's* not a problem for me. You will probably need to be immobilized, to prevent you from hurting yourself. I might need to have some guys holding you down. Then there's the gag reflex to work around... we'd need to be able to roll you on your side in case you puked. Wouldn't want you aspirating, now would we? "

We had continued walking and gone down the escalators to the lobby of the Palmer House where I bumped into a few friends who invited me to dinner. As they went ahead, I asked Scott if he wanted to join us, and he said sure.

Scott promptly picked me up and threw me over his shoulder and walked across the lobby to the next set of down escalators. Mind you, I'm not exactly small here. At 5'10" and 205lbs I'm no lightweight, but I felt like a rag-doll to Scott. At the escalators, he put me down, and we went off to dinner.

Place: A Hotel in the Midwest
Time: Monday - Thursday, September 1 - 4, 2003
Event: Inferno (an annual BD/SM "retreat"), number 32, Setup

After IML, Scott and I went home to our respective cities, and didn't speak again until arriving on site for setup for Inferno on Monday, September 1. I arrived early and was waiting in the hotel's bar when people started arriving. David came in and we started chatting, soon Brent and Scott showed up.

David's a hottie, maybe an inch or two taller than me, usually more tanned than my sun-deprived Irish/British skin. His hair is usually short, no longer than a 1 clip on a set of clippers, and this time he had a couple days' growth on his face. We were sitting by a large window at the front of the bar when Scott came over and sat down on a stool next to me.

"Hey Scott, was just talking with David here about planning something with you for Inferno this year. You realize you scare me... a lot, right?" Scott got that wonderful glint in his eye. I still don't know if it weirds me out that Scott finds fear such an aphrodisiac... Nah!

"No, John", David quipped, "Scott's not a monster. He's a pussycat." I looked back to David who was sitting on the opposite side of the barstool I was straddling from Scott. "Scott's a pussycat with really big claws." He made a cat-like gesture with his hand as he looks back to Scott, smiling.

Looking back to Scott, I noticed an odd 'cat that ate the canary' smile on his face. It was only a second or two before I noticed the tugging pressure on the front of my shorts. Looking down I saw a knife resting comfortably in Scott's hand, poking gently at my shorts.

Suddenly, I was sitting about half a foot back from where I was. No longer on the stool, I was sitting on the ledge of the window, looking very . . . surprised. Scott daintily folded up his knife and put it away.

I looked back at David and the three of us started laughing. Them at my sudden reaction of jumping up and back off the stool, and me out of nervousness. It was then than I went into my folder and got the letter. The infamous letter. Well, it's not infamous yet until you read it...
August 30, 2003
Scott (& accomplice(s))
To Whom It May Concern:

This note is explicit permission for Scott to continue with the scene described below, should I be screaming bloody murder for him to stop. This scene may include, but not be limited to: intubation, bondage, breath control, temporary piercing and Scott’s use of assistants to immobilize. The scene is not open ended. A mutually agreed upon time limit will be discussed and set prior to the scene starting.

After discussion of limits and interests, I have given Scott permission to perform a scene that may seem non-consensual to the outside observer. We have not discussed specifics of what will happen within the scene. We have discussed certain aspects that I would like to explore.

There are some explicit limits in addition to my standard list of limits. I normally state no scat, no women, no children, no real animals, nothing that will interfere with work and no activities that will require the attention of a doctor or hospital after the scene is done. For this scene specifically, there will be no piercing of the skin at/above the neck, no piercing of or near the skin of the penis and/or scrotum.

I have stated to Scott that he “may need to be assertive” with respect to this scene. That is not intended as an invitation for a “take-down”. I would prefer the option of cooperating with the scene early on.

I have several hopes for this scene. Stated in no particular order: to confront the fear of lack of control, to push the bounds of my experience, to see how far I can be pushed and maintain my cool, to be pushed further should I lose my cool.

John Reddy
Ps. I must be insane to request and do this.

I signed it in front of him, and then handed it to him. Mind you, this would be the first time he had read it. I had been thinking about the scene for the previous several months, and put some thought into what it was I wanted from the scene, and what limits I would be putting on Scott. As you can see from reading the letter, I didn't put many limits on him at all.

Scott and I discussed the scene several times over the next few days. It was mostly logistics. The main problem being that we couldn't find the proper equipment to do an intubation. If Scott were to do an oral intubation, that would require the use of a paralytic drug so that I wouldn't vomit or fight the tube. We both immediately scratched that one off, because Inferno was not the proper place to be doing that. He had been thinking about the scene prior to arriving on site for Inferno, as well. He had not been able to find the proper equipment to do a nasal intubation, which was deemed to be much 'safer' for the environment.

Much of our discussions happened during a supply run into a nearby town prior to the start of Inferno. I was and am still surprised and honored by the statement that Scott doesn't normally spend so much time negotiating a scene. He hadn't yet nailed down a time limit for the scene, and he was still trying to figure out what I was looking for from the scene. In all fairness, since I didn't know or couldn't express what I wanted from him, that made it much harder. But I am flattered that he was willing to take the time.

We did end up settling on duration for the scene, though. I eventually went up and asked him, "Scott, I don't like to hamstring a top, so what would you think a fair time duration to be?" We haggled for a bit and came up with Scott saying, "Okay, I'll check in at 3 hours." I said that sounds fine, and he smiled and walked off. It took me a while to realize that I had agreed to 3 hours until the first check in, and depending on the way Scott interpreted it, could be read several ways (several days?). Let the mind fucks begin.

As session A started, Scott and I agreed that we would hold off until the second session of Inferno, in the hopes that we might be able to acquire the desired supplies. Otherwise, Scott would come up with something at least equally as intense to compensate. Other than a couple of random jokes and some minor head-trips, we were on hold until the following Sunday.

Place: A Hotel in the Midwest
Time: Monday, September 8, 2003
Event: Inferno (an annual BD/SM "retreat"), number 32, session B

Session B started off quiet for me. I was dealing with a slight bug, probably just allergies. I decided that since I had a scene coming up with Scott, I would hold off on play and save energy. So Sunday night was quiet, and Monday provided some entertainment. Scott did some pretty intense needle play with Mike. Mike and Scott play every year, and in fact, Mike's the one who originally introduced me to Jon Krause and Scott as two of his "favorite monsters at Inferno".

It was shortly before this scene that Scott did with Mike that I realized something. Scott was doing his scene with Mike early. Since I started attending inferno, they always did their scenes as their "last scene of Inferno". Well, it wasn't so much that I realized this; so much as David, Mike, and Joe pointed this out to me. Let the mind-fuck commence. If Mike and Scott weren't going to do their scene as the last scene of Inferno that would suggest that Scott's "big finish" would involve me. *gulp*

Monday was otherwise uneventful... that is until dinner time.

At dinner, I sat with the Chicago family. Dan, Joe, Eric, Dave, and others, as well as Scott. I was enjoying dinner, deciding that I would probably go to bed at a reasonable hour Monday, because Scott had told me to get plenty of rest for our scene. I still didn't know what Scott had planned, to be honest, and I wasn't exactly eager to find out. Call me chicken, I guess.

"So John, 3 hours, hrm?" I looked across the table at Scott and smiled, nodding... that way you smile when you wish the professor would call on someone who actually did last night's homework. "Have I told you lately, Scott, that you scare me?" "Yes, but please continue."

Scott took the opportunity to make a suggestion about our scene, "How about doing a fund raiser? We could take donations, maybe a dollar a needle?" I had thought about doing a fund-raiser type event in the past, and liked the idea of having an external goal or focus for the scene. Half-thinking he was joking about it, I threw Scott a bemused look, saying "Sure, why not."

Scott's face lit up like a kid's in a candy store. He promptly went down the table to David K, and I thought I heard them discussing supplies of needles. I quickly dismissed this whole idea. It wasn't like Scott needed any more consent from me to do the scene... Surely this was just all more mind fuck. It's amazing how wrong I can be at times. The mind fuck hadn't even begun. Within a minute or two, Scott ran off out of the dining hall.

For the next five or ten minutes, dinner was quiet. Conversation went on as usual, and nothing out of the ordinary occurred. Then John E. gets up on the microphone. John does the announcements at all the Inferno meals, as the MC.

"Gentlemen, here at Inferno, we have many traditions. One of them is pushing limits." There's really no fair way to describe John's voice, suffice to say he's got a memorable one. "Well, some of us push limits by means of consentual non-consentuality."

I'm sitting at my table nodding in agreement, thinking "Yup, just like my scene with Scott." (God, how naive can I be?)

"Some of us even go so far as to write up fantasies to request this sort of aberrant behavior. Tonight, we have one such fantasy request. The subject in question has written up a letter requesting just such a scene."

I believe this is the time I stopped nodding and started staring blankly. I whispered to myself, "No. This is not my scene with Scott. That's tomorrow. It couldn't be my scene with Scott. I didn't submit it to the fantasy committee. It was a private negotiation. This can't be my scene with Scott." It's a shame Scott wasn't there to smell the initial fear coming off my body.

"The letter starts, 'To whom it may concern'." The blood drained from my face... something to do with a fight or flight response, I believe. John continued reading the . . . MY letter, "This note is explicit permission for Scott to continue with the scene described below, should I be screaming bloody murder for him to stop." My head dropped to the table at this point and I started rocking it left and right in disbelief.

"This scene may include, but not be limited to: intubation, bondage, breath control, temporary piercing and Scott's use of assistants to immobilize." I found myself pulling my leather vest over my head, trying to hide as John continued reading the letter. It seems that no matter how hard you wish, you cannot turn non-corporeal and sink through the floor. As the reading continued, I looked over to David, who smiled wide and gave me a thumbs-up. I was screwed.

Somewhere towards the end, John stops reading my letter. "And now folks, here's the kicker. For every dollar that you donate to the Leather Archives and Museum (LA&M) in Chicago, the bottom for this scene will take another temporary piercing." I sat bolt upright. I mouthed, but did not say, "NO!" The look upon my face was priceless, I'm told. "Donations will be accepted at Satan's Station, there will be a receptacle there."

There were over 150, if not 200 men in that dining hall, and so far, at least the people at my table knew exactly who wrote that letter. But to make matters easier for the rest of the men, someone (I will thank you, Eric) turned on the spotlight under which I was conveniently located.

As John wrapped up the reading of my hopes for the scene, I was amazed that he didn't actually read off my name. With everything else that had just happened, I was sure it would be. Even without that, I was in hysterical nervous laughter. My hands were shaking, and I was not standing up any time in the immediate future. That's when I saw Scott coming down the isle.

Running away screaming was a brief thought, but I was boxed in, and Scott would probably be able to catch me anyway. Turns out that was not necessary, as Scott tells me, "John, we got our first donation, wanna see?" I swallowed blinked, and nodded, thinking, 'what, is this a hundred-dollar bill?’ Scott smiled and showed me a hundred-dollar bill. I blinked. I blinked again. I shuddered a bit. That's around when my sense of time gets fuzzy. I had various people coming up to me for the rest of the night. Some people sharing their condolences, some people thanking me for putting my body on the line for the LA&M. Others offering to help the cause, such as the boy from Session A whom I had bruised in a wrestling match (he donated $60).

Within 15 minutes, the tally of donations had reached at least $200. I had done temp piercing 4 times at this point over the preceding 2 years. My previous maximum number of needles has been 26. And that was the first time I ever did needle, with Master JK.

I was scared. Every other step I took, I was plotting in my head the fastest course to my car out in the parking lot. I was truly scared. In truth, I wasn't feeling terribly great, and had been holding off on play through Session B so that I could build up strength for my scene with Scott the following day. I wasn't prepared mentally or physically. According to John's reading of my letter, that was to happen tonight.

I walked around for a while, feeling like a condemned man. Eventually, I snuck around behind Satan's Station, into the dark patch between the tent and the pool. I sat down in the dirt, and cleared my mind. JK had taught me a few meditative techniques, and I was not going to disappoint him by forgetting them. I wasn't going to disappoint Scott by freaking and canceling the scene. I wasn't going to disappoint myself by wimping out of something I knew I could handle.

I sat, cross my legs, rested my hands on my knees. I closed my eyes, and did nothing. The hard part was thinking nothing. It had been 30, maybe 40 minutes since the bomb was dropped on me at dinner, and I was still nervous as hell. I needed to ground myself, and the best way I knew how was to do and think about nothing. I may have been there 10 or 15 minutes, but that was what I needed. In that time, I may have had 5 seconds, cumulative of successfully blanking my mind, but the effort was enough.

I stood up, and was no longer nervous, no longer shaking. Rather, I accepted the mind-fuck that Scott had just dealt me. I asked to be pushed, and by George, that he did.

Walking into Satan's Station, I walked up to the jug with all the money in it and chuckled. It looked to be about $300 or so. The people working the Station knew I was the victim in question and got antsy when I got near the bottle. I surprised them, and myself, by going into my pocket and grabbing $15 of my own and putting it in. When asked why in the hell I was doing that, my response was, "Dude, it was already potentially 300 needles, at that rate, what's another 15? Besides, it's for a good cause."

I went to bed early, around midnight, and slept surprisingly well that night.

Place: A Hotel in the Midwest
Time: Tuesday, September 9, 2003
Event: Inferno (an annual BD/SM "retreat"), number 32, session B

Seven o'clock AM came, and I was awake already. Not that I needed to be awake, mind you. I didn't have any plans until after brunch. I had been advised not to eat much this morning, and I took it to heart. The morning progressed rather lazily. A brief continental breakfast around 8AM was shared with David, and we got to actually chat a little bit. I checked in on some people I had invited for their first Inferno, that he had played with, and was glad to hear that all parties enjoyed themselves.

The morning progressed slowly, more of a leisurely pace than the pace of dreading something. I was going to follow through on the scene with Scott. That was not a question, so I enjoyed the day. Checked in on Satan's Station, since I was co-chairing the committee this year. Then around 11AM, I went to brunch.

The usual table magically assembled, with me sitting across from Scott again. I had a few pieces of fruit and some juice. The banter was light, and we really didn't discuss much of what was coming after brunch. There wasn't a need. I was going to lie down, and Scott was going to poke holes in me. Simple, eh?

I'm not sure how he phrased it, but Joe asked if I wanted support. I told him that he could hang around during the scene, but I wasn't going to be focusing on him much. He said he understood that, and he was there if I needed him

After brunch, Scott and I proceeded to count out the money, with Joe's help. Despite previous exaggerated reports, there was only one $100 bill. In the end, we counted $409. I rolled my eyes. No shaking or fear. I would take as many as I took, and I would hope to make it to the planned total. But damn, 409?

Scott had me procure a table in the bondage tent, at the end near Satan's Station. It was in the corner, so people could watch, but not walk around it easily so as to interfere with the scene. We settled down, and I stripped down to my jockstrap. Actually, during the scene, I kept my socks and my jockstrap on. Not because I thought it provided any protection from Scott should he decide to poke me there. He had agreed to not doing that. It did serve to keep my bits and my feet from getting cold.

When we were ready, Scott had me lay down on my back, and he proceeded to wash my chest and legs with an antiseptic soap. The wash/rinse process was repeated several times, with a couple of extra rinses at the end. I imagine the soap would've stung like hell if not rinsed away.

After replacing the pads I was laying on, I put my hands behind my head, lay back, and the poking began. It was easy at first. I could tell Scott was going really easily with me, using thin needles, and not doing any funky tricks with them. Matthias was around to take some pictures, as it was the beginning of the picture taking period in the Bondage tent for Session B.

The first needle went about an inch away from my left nipple. Just outside the areolas, almost at a tangent. He pinched the skin lightly, to make it easier to poke through the other side. He proceeded along with this sort of pattern until he had completely circled my left nipple.

During this time, I became aware of the audience. I noticed that Joe was there, sitting on a table nearby, watching the scene. He had a set of flip-cards and was using them to keep track of how many needles I had taken at that point. "Joe, do me a favor?"

"Sure, John, what is it?"

"Don't let me know what number we're at... no matter how much I may beg."

He smiled, "No problem." I didn't want to focus on the number of needles; it was really irrelevant to the scene, at least at that point. I was starting a small flow of endorphins, but I was still well grounded. The number wasn't so important as coping with what came next.

I looked back to Scott, he seemed happy with the arrangement. We proceeded to put more needles in. I vaguely remember Scott making a similar, but slightly different pattern around my right nipple, then going back and adding more to my left nipple. Somewhere along the line, Scott started changing gauges on the needle... 25 gauge to start, then 22 later on. He switched back and forth, with no pattern that I could discern.

Now and again, I would start to lose focus, and Scott would be there to talk me back. Mostly, though, it was his eyes that kept me planted on the table. I stayed on the table by willpower. The only restraint being my will, and the force of Scott's presence (which it rather impressive, if I hadn't mentioned earlier).

As we progressed, the pain got more and more intense. I questioned what I was doing there. I had the first real thoughts of "I don't want to do this". That's when things finally became difficult. As Scott inserted more and more needles, I began to tense up. My muscles were obeying my desire to try to fight, rather than the desire to submit. My back spasmed once, and Scott helped me relax it. Then we went back to poking me with sharp objects.

We were still early on, and my physical responses to the pain and stress kept increasing, though I was managing to keep them in check with Scott's help.

Finally, I began to break. In retrospect, I suspect it was around the 80's or 90's. I could feel the tears welling up inside me. Another needle. I squinted my eyes and contorted my mouth in a silent plea for release. Another needle. Then another. The sobbing came like an avalanche. I couldn't hold it back, and I didn't want to. My body went tense for a while, and I just lost myself in the sobbing.

Somewhere along the lines, I began to remember in full, Technicolor, Dolby digital, surround sound quality, my first temporary piercing scene. In my mind's eye, I could see myself in a basement/garage in Baldwin Park, California.
Jon standing over me to my right, Brent standing over me to my left. It was my first temporary piercing scene and Brent's first time doing it as a top. Jon was teaching both of us. I had been in conflict with what I wanted then, too. It was an intense pain, and I was locking up my body in response.

"John, you need to relax. Feel your legs go limp. Imagine them stretching out towards the far wall. Feel them getting longer. Your arms are stretching out."
In my mind, and back in the real world, both were happening. I was relaxing, and ready to continue on with the scene. I sniffed a little bit to clear my nose, squinted a bit to clear my eyes before opening them. I looked back up to Scott, and nodded. That was all we needed for him to know I was grounded again.

My memories begin to jumble together, but so I can't be entirely certain about the sequence of events.

After that first break, I gained a new friend. A fly began to land on me from time to time, or buzz near my head. It was truly annoying. I find this particularly ironic, don't you? I've got over a hundred needles poking into my chest and abdomen, and here I was, whining about a fly.

If you couldn't tell by now, this is what some people refer to as a pain scene. I was in quite a lot of it. Somewhere along the line, I came to the blindingly obvious realization that Scott was rather enjoying it. "Scott? Has anyone ever told you that you're a sadistic bastard?" He looked at me and smiled, with a little chuckle, "Yes, but they usually put 'Sir' at the end." He prepped another patch of skin for a needle, and inserted as I finished the statement. "Gotcha, you're a sadistic bastard sIIIIRRRRRGH!!!!" (In case you missed it, that was a "sir" blended with the generic statement of pain "ARGH". -Editor)

Along the way, I heard someone mention it was time for afternoon snacks. So I asked someone, either Joe or Dan, to grab me a cookie before snacks ended. I hadn't had much to eat that day, and I would want a snack with some sugar when we were done.

I am known for making ... distinct noises when doing certain pain scenes. I bring out Klingon, Latin, and some twisted cross between Woody Woodpecker and Roscoe P. Coltrane from the Dukes of Hazard. Well, along the way, someone (Joe?) made a comment, asking when I was going to start speaking Klingon. Here I am: Scott standing over me, with me screaming with each needle he's putting in now, making eye contact with Scott, and still I take the time to give the audience the finger . . . Well, ya just had to be there. :)

Somewhere further along the line, I started weeping again, just lightly. Not so much that it stopped or slowed the scene. Heck, I can't even remember a reason for the crying, my body just wanted some sort of release, and that worked. I suspect we were around needle 150.

I was a constant noisemaker at this point. I've seen scenes like that in the past, and thought, "man, that's gotta be annoying someone." Well, apparently, it occurred to me during one particularly painful poke. Out of my mouth, instead of a scream, yelp, or growl, came "I APOLOGIZE TO ANYONE'S SCENES THAT I'M INTERRUPTING!" I promptly started chuckling... that is until the next needle, which prompted inexplicable giggling. Again, it's amazing how the body reacts to intense pain.

Scott had been sticking needles in me for a long while at this point... over two and a half hours. It was starting to take its toll. I wanted it to stop. I sincerely wanted it to stop. He was putting in one, after another. They were in patterns around my nipples. They were up and down my sternum and across my chest. They lined my rib cage at the bottom, went down the middle of my stomach, surrounded my navel and across my abdomen. I couldn't take any more... Well, that's not true. I didn't want to take any more. I had my fun, and "wanted to go home".

That's when the whimpering started. "Please stop, I don't want anymore. Please stop." It was quiet. I don't know if anyone other than Scott heard, but I know he did. And that's when I realized he wasn't going to stop. "Don't let them win John." Scott began to verbally coach me through each needle. "Don't let them win. You're stronger than they are." That managed to help me through for a while.

Scott's coaching helped me through a lot of the pain. I was overloaded, and broke again. The sobbing came in torrents. I didn't want the scene to continue. I wanted to be done, but I knew I had signed up for more than I could handle, intentionally. I was getting what I asked for. What's more, I knew that Scott would totally be able to force the issue if I tried to get up and end it. Forget any thoughts of trying to remove the needles.

My sobbing abated after the initial torrent. I was still trying to deny my circumstances, eyes squeezed shut, hoping for it to end. I felt Scott grab hold of another piece of skin. I heard myself yelp in pain as he inserted another needle. My eyes shot open, and looked to him, pleading with my eyes for him to stop. Another piece of skin, and I was pierced again.

My brow furrowed, I let out another yelp of pain. Then another needle, and I barked complete gibberish at Scott. Another needle, and I was free of the confusion. Replacing the doubt was new resolve. There was pain, but it was no longer wearing me down. With each needle, I found new emotional strength. I was spewing a near constant stream of what should've been obscenities, if I had the mental power to construct coherent sentences. "Good, now we're getting to it." I think Scott saw something in my reactions he liked. I wasn't whimpering anymore, I was full on energized.

The pain from this new barrage of pain and needles carried me for several minutes. Finally, Scott made the dread comment. Looking to a clock he had set up at the beginning of the scene, "Oh look, I've got 4 minutes left. Let's see how many we can get in!"

Thus began the marathon. Scott looked at my skin long enough to get the needle lined up, then switched back to eye contact with me while inserting it. We made eye contact through my screams until he went to get the next needle, which he promptly lined up before looking back to me and inserting that needle. There were no breaks. It was one needle, and then the next. I was a continuing torrent of pain and screams. Finally, when I thought I could scream no more, I was right. My voice gave out and I could scream no more as he continued the needles.

And then he was done. "Okay, John, it's 3 hours. Here's your check in." I wasted no time, "I'm done, we're done, that's enough, no more no more no more no more." I was semi-hysterical at the time, but conscious.

Finally, Joe let me see the numbers. I knew we had long since gotten into triple-digits, but I didn't know the number. I honestly thought we had done more, but 234 needles was more than enough for me that day.

Joe added, "And FYI, you did about 30 to 40 needles in the last 10 minutes."

My mind was reeling. I think it had shut down at that point. Not in a bad way, mind you. I just wasn't thinking. I was flying high on a massive flow of endorphins.

All that was left was to remove the needles now. Two hundred thirty four needles. First Scott pulled them out one at a time. Then three or four at a time. That's when I learned a valuable lesson: Shave, or at least trim my chest/body hair when doing needle scenes. I'm a hairball, and somehow, which each needle or handful of needles that Scott pulled out, there managed to be a tuft of hair included.

The needle removal lasted about a half hour. It wasn't nearly as painful as the rest of the scene. It was painful, but could have been so much more painful. I must find a way to properly thank Scott for being so kind at the end. I know there's many ways to make the removal as, if not more, painful than the insertion.

Finishing the removal, Scott sprayed me down with alcohol. Not that it did much in the way of sterilization or cleaning... but did get me to make more fun faces.

When we were done, and I was cleaned off, someone handed me a napkin-wrapped bundle with two cookies and an apple... the bundle I had asked for earlier from afternoon snacks. I offered one cookie to Scott, and kept the other for myself. Finishing that, I took the bottle of antiseptic soap that Scott handed to me. I was instructed to go wash off with the soap, lather rinse, repeat a few times, then come back and find him.

The shower felt pretty good, actually, relaxing after the high-stress level of the past few hours. I was bouncy... flying high. I came back to find Scott, and followed him back to his room. He pulled me into bed where we lay down for a short while before the cocktail party.

Place: Between there and here
Time: Between then and now
Subject: Reflections

I processed the scene for days... In the first day, the only thing I could say about it was "Wow". Even weeks later, I'm getting new insights about what happened. Truthfully, it was a life-altering experience, for the positive.

I stayed through the beginning of teardown for Inferno 32. Working with Chuck, Satan Station broke down fairly quickly. Much faster than he had anticipated, so by mid-afternoon, we were done. For a while, I helped with the rest of teardown.

I had been buzzing all morning, still riding the high from the previous day. As we broke for lunch in mid-afternoon, I finally felt myself falling. My energy level dropped off, and I started to close up emotionally. I decided that it was time to leave. I had 12 hours of driving ahead of me on my way home, and I wanted to be home. I had no more energy to give to teardown, and didn't want to be in the way.

I kind of stalled on my way out. I didn't want to leave, but I knew I had to go home at some point. Scott and Brent had work to do, and I was turning more emotional. After saying goodbyes, and giving out some cigars, I made my way to my car, and headed out.

It's amazing the sorts of things that can trigger emotional reactions. For example, when I stopped by Cabin 9 to say g'bye to Eric & others, Eric was just putting on his Les Miserables CD. Les Mis sticks with me. So when I finally got in the car and started driving, I was singing ... I don't remember which song, but it didn't matter. I broke out into tears, sobbing. I suddenly felt so empty and alone... and I got to thinking...

After the scene was over, several people who I would consider family came up to me and told me that they were proud of me. That was confusing to me at first. "What did I do that could have earned such a compliment?" I would minimize that and other compliments by saying "Oh, I just lay there, Scott did all the work." It wasn't until I was driving home and falling apart emotionally that I realized that yes, I did have something to be proud of.

I had asked to be pushed to the breaking point and then some, and we did, twice. Yes, I couldn't have done it if Scott hadn't been there to help me through it, but I was an equal partner in the endeavor. I had asked for it. I had weathered the pain and the emotional conflict. I hadn't been restrained. In theory, I could have gotten up and walked away. I could've called it off before it even started.

We didn't go further because I had stopped the scene when I was given the chance. Knowing what I know now, I am confident we could've made 409 needles. At the time, I didn't believe I could take any more, now I know better. I learned what I needed and wanted to know about my limits... My so far are merely the realm of my experience. As my experience increases, so do the limits. With the right man, I can fly.

I realized that I had experienced submission as I had only a few other times.That loss of control, where I know what's coming will be something I don't like, or don't necessarily want, but what I'll endure for him... because I know in doing so, he receives pleasure. The feeling of safety, knowing that however much I hurt, I will not be harmed.

In my first break during the needles, where I flashed back to JK, I experienced a fond memory. Normally when I remember good things about loved ones who have passed, it is always tinged with a sense of loss. There was no loss weighing down this memory. Only the realization that what I learned from him will continue with me.

I do have concerns that people will think this "raises the bar" for me in terms of the kind or quality of scenes I will participate in. Some people may think that I'm a pain pig in that I get off on pain. What I've learned is that pain of this magnitude will never be erotic for me. It's emotionally cathartic, and an expression of submission. I may prefer to bottom, but I'm still picky about who I'll be submissive to.

The high lasted for weeks after I got home. A co-worker who always accused me of being a grouch even noticed. I was, and still, am a much more pleasant person around the office. After this experience, even the bureaucratic insanity of my office and our client seem like nothing. A little perspective on stress and pain does wonders.

It also brought a little levity to the office that I somehow managed to hit redial on my cell phone while driving home. In doing so, I left my boss a voice-mail of me singing Les Miserables.

To those who watched the scene and did not interrupt no matter how 'urgent' they felt it was, I thank you.

To the family that kept an eye on me and supported me before and after, my love.

To Scott, who made this exploration possible. Thank you, you Sadistic Bastard, Sir.

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