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Fiction Friday: Excerpt from “Uncaged” by Justine Loots, from Adults Only

Adults OnlyToday’s Fiction Friday is an excerpt from a short story by Justine Loots, included in Joanne Hichens’ collection of stories of love, lust, sex and sexuality – Adults Only.

Loots’ story has a magical realist twist and a man who prefers to not be seen naked from behind. Coco, the hooker he frequents, tries to figure him out after she feels two blunt spikes jabbing into her while in bed with him.

Read the excerpt, shared by Burnet Media:

If you think only women don’t like being seen naked from behind, you haven’t met Dirk Van Hengel.

Coco finds it quaint, the way he strips off in the bathroom, emerging in a bathrobe which he shrugs off under the sheets. She’s tried undressing him in the bedroom, but no tequila. And if her hands meander down his spine, he steers them away from his business-class backside. Coco wouldn’t insist on being on top – not if she weighed a hundred and eighty kilograms like he does. But for Dirk, it’s non-negotiable. So here Coco lies, his sweat dripping onto her face in sync with his grunting. She should tell him the sheet’s knotted, that she can see the lumpy planets of his butt in the mirrored ceiling. That’d teach him for never looking up.

The sisters like his Dutch accent but it’s phlegm-in-the-throat to Coco. Still, he asks for her each time. It must be his taste for brown girls, which he shares with his forefathers. When they settled in South Africa, they took Khoisan women as wives on account of their shortage of women. Well, that’s their story and they should know: they wrote the history books, right? There’s no shortage of women now: Dirk has no wife because of his eating plan, or lack thereof

Coco chose her hooker name because being brown is her USP. That’s Unique Selling Point if you aren’t business-minded. Black might be beautiful but brown is beautilicious. Put that one in the history books. It beats Basters, what the Dutch-Khoisan children were called – as if you can’t be a bastard because you’re uni-coloured. Other words came later: Bushman, Hotnot, Coloured. Not that Coco cares. One client calls her Liza Minnelli because she straightens her kroes hair. As long as they pay, they can call her what they like. But no pillow talk. She’s no shrink; she makes men grow. Besides, what must she do with the stories they leave scattered behind them like entrails? There’s no washing out those stains. Coco’s a hit-and-run girl so Dirk Van Hengel isn’t a bad fit. He finishes quickly, and after sex he doesn’t chat, he eats.

Right now, he’s lifting her hips up towards him. It’s not so easy with one hand. He’s propping himself up with the other.

That’s when it happens. Instead of the fleshy mounds of his fingertips, Coco feels two blunt spikes jabbing into her, under her hip. She arches her back, inching away from the… prongs? Does Dirk have a Taser? She’d never have suspected he likes his women comatose. If that’s what this is, she has seconds before he stuns her into whatever story he’s reliving: the dead mother; the date that went wrong – the one he drowned in the Rhine or the Danube or whatever the hell river runs through Holland. She rolls over slightly, checking for the Taser in the mirror – but no surprise, her sightline’s blocked by his nether end.

She sees something else: in the reflection, Dirk’s derrière throws down… a rope? A curly tail? A helix of DNA? Maybe this is what happens when women conceive. The ancestors slide down a spirit baby to earth. Coco freaks out about the rubber. Take back the spirit baby! she wants to yell. But the rubber’s in place. Dirk’s good like that. She needs to limit herself to one panic attack at a time. She strains to look under her hips. She can’t see a Taser… but there’s no hand either. Before she can identify what it is, the image fades. The sound of Dirk’s ecstasy should be part of that Exorcist film. It’s a horrible, strangled squealing. Coco’s still conscious though. She reminds herself this is a good thing.

After Dirk’s gone, Coco examines her hip in the early morning light. What exactly is she looking for? She finds nothing. Dirk’s flattened her, that’s all – not just literally. His day’s had a kick-start since he’s an early riser, as it were, but she can’t even muster her usual irritation with the pigeons for not tearing themselves from the bins to croon about her end-of-shift.


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