j. l. navarro

The Existentialist

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Professor Randolph Zook, PhD, wrote lurid (some would even say intellectual) pornography under the pseudonym of Michael Vaughn.  He had begun this reasonably profitable hobby while attending college to help pay his tuition.   At the age of forty-three he took a year off to write two books: one, a dissolute novel about a Laotian nymphomaniac, a taxi-girl, the type of woman who offers her time on the dance floor for a fee; and, the other, a definitive biography of the Marquis de Sade, one of his lifelong inspirations, second only to Jean Paul Sartre.  When not on sabbatical, he taught philosophy, principally existential, at Stanford University.  Just before leaving to write his books, he was able to lease a modest cabin in the Big Bear area of the San Bernardino Mountains that offered him the seclusion he desired. 


His only disappointment during this time was that his wife of barely a year had left him and was in the process of obtaining a divorce, citing "irreconcilable differences."  The "differences" entailed what she considered his bizarre sexual needs.  He could not understand why she was so opposed to his preferences because, foreseeing such a possibility, he had thoroughly spelled out what he required of a mate before he proposed to her.  She knew well beforehand what she was getting herself into because she willingly practiced his likes with him before the wedding vows were taken.  To have her file for divorce so soon after the marriage left him with a forlorn disposition that lingered like an annoying itch.


After settling into his new home, he found himself one morning sitting on his porch drinking a cup of coffee and looking at the narrow dirt road that ran in front of the cabin.  The dawn was vanishing as the sun came up over the eastern mountains.  He enjoyed the prevailing chill in the air, the rush of fresh, cold wind in his lungs, shaking the last remnants of sleep away.  While he jotted his notes, steam rolling up from his coffee cup, he caught a blue figure from the corner of his eye coming rapidly down the dirt road.  Turning, he saw a woman in a jogging suit, her long hair tied in a ponytail bouncing behind her.  She was a lithe, tanned woman.  Without looking his way, she rushed by and continued down the road.




This story is included in The Blood Cake Vendor and Other Stories.