Soft Tongue by Richard Godwin

He stood in the golden sunlight of the apartment on the second floor of the Boulevard Saint Germain.

He was washing as she watched him from the bed where the sheets lay strewn and she felt lost in him.

He bent and splashed the water on his face in a gesture at once timeless and erotic, made more so by his being watched by her and she fell that day. It was as if someone had opened a trapdoor, which let her tumble headlong into the past beyond her measureless doubt, and she landed in the tanned and muscled arms of her unknowable lover.

He bent and slipped on a pair of faded jeans, the muscles so accentuated she craved more of him. He had a soft tongue. It wasn’t just the way he spoke, his tongue felt softer in her mouth than anything she had ever tasted.

He turned to her and smiled.

‘I have to go’, he said and kissed her with the lingering trace of passion that left her hungry and alone.

Downstairs in the streets they called him whore and slut and lusted for him.

The pimps used him to attract customers and the husbands who hid the truth from their wives used his body like an ash tray, stubbing out the smouldering end of their self-loathing on his skin.

He was tanned and athletic and gentle and dangerous. He had that blond fire about him and his blue eyes shone with endless sex in all its ambiguities.

He was pliant with men and masculine in the precise measure each woman he encountered needed. He could read someone’s sexual needs as quickly as he once pick pocketed the tourists who frequented Paris.

In the apartment Clara gazed at herself in the mirror.

‘Just another American woman finding her Gigolo’, she said, applying her makeup.

She sat alone that lunch time at the small bistro where a businessman eyed her with slight disinterest and her red top stood out among the subtler Parisian fashions. She’d learned French and understood most of the conversation that surrounded her, apart from the heavier argot.

She drank her wine and shopped and waited for him to return as his body was used by a tourist with a fat wallet.

And it was while he had his face pressed against the wall in the hotel room and he felt his trick ejaculate that the idea came to him.

It was less about money than the manner in which the request was made.

All the small payments of cash amounted to little.

He felt the trick pull out and zip up his fly and he turned and put his hand on his shoulder before taking the money.

He washed himself in the bathroom and left, skipping down the stairs into the street outside.

Clara was waiting for him. She knew him by the name Sebastien, although he went by many.

He was the bastard child of a killer, and he had survived by trading on his looks and sexual knowing.

He had a form of male beauty that attracted men and women and learned at an early age how to pleasure both.

And Clara had never experienced any man who could make her feel the centre of the world in this way. She pushed her doubt to the edge of the table as he walked in.

It was the enjoyment he offered, the sheer pleasure of his beauty that freed her from herself and she craved him like a drug.

His eyes were like some undiscovered cobalt blue jewel and when he entered her she felt purity.

Sebastien would sometimes laugh about this.

‘As if by being fucked up the ass by so many queers I can give the women a different taste’, he said. ‘They’re all tasting themselves in the end, I’m their wank object.’

He looked at Clara and knew where to hone in.

This grieving widow would never feel alone when she was with him.

He went shopping with her, avoiding the places where he would run into old clients and she decided that day he would be more to her than a fling.

How to hook this beautiful young man, she asked herself, and took him back to the apartment.

That sunny afternoon she used him in all the ways she’d dreamed about during the years of marriage that had now ended and she found herself curiously freed from her grief, as if the rehearsed response she’d felt was suddenly removed. She’d done the things she was expected to do when her husband had died, and as Sebastien slid his cock inside her she realised she had never been made love to all these years. It was the way he entered her, without taking, that allowed her to see that she’d been a prisoner and the sudden death had liberated her.

That afternoon as the golden light streamed through the window and turned to dusk she lost herself and didn’t feel the small scar he traced at the edge of her soul with the knowing casualness of a male whore. She didn’t feel the bleeding among the rush of fluids in her body and when she went to look at herself in the mirror she thought she looked the way she did before she got married.

They lay and drank red wine and he made love to her again before they went out to eat.

And still she hungered for him.

Her legs were weak and she ached and she needed him inside her as he sat there laughing over dinner.

The waiter leant too closely into him and she felt a flash of fury as if she sensed how deceived she was.

And he looked into the heart of her desire without the shadow of a broken promise since all he offered was the necessary illusion to the passing clients to whom he sold sex.

As she was paying he went outside for some air.

A prostitute from Pigalle passed by and said ‘Hey whore, still stealing my tricks?’

‘What’s it to you? You only have to lie back and show them your snatch, what I do is harder.’

‘Fuck you.’

‘I don’t think so, what can you offer me?’

She walked away and he took Clara’s arm and led her home.

As she undressed he admired her.

She was a good looking woman who was a few years older than she needed to be to start another life that would fulfil her needs.

She had a full figure, good looks, and yet the skin was beginning to hang beneath her arms and the marks of age were clearly there.

She’d drunk too much and felt sleepy. The other night she awoke to find he’d gone out.

She came over to him and pulled off her pants, then she bent and unzipped his jeans and put her wet mouth around his cock.

As she sucked him she thought of what her money could do, biting slightly and enjoying the springy sensation of his hard cock in her mouth.

She cupped her hand around his balls.

‘I want you to come’, she said.

‘I can’t.’

‘You’re hard.’

‘Yes, no more spunk tonight, Clara.’

She stood there looking at his erection and rubbing it.

‘OK. Then that’s a waste, come fuck me.’

But it was afterwards that she felt angry. She felt as though an unseen hand had slipped a bridle in her mouth.

She lay there and watched him sleep and wondered if he were real.

Once as dawn fell from the sky beyond the Paris rooftops she fetched a razor from her purse and paused before it touched his skin. She felt as though she were about to violate a god and wondered what this made her.

She took some pills and went to sleep.

She dreamed that she was beating her dead husband.

Sebastien was washing when she awoke.

She got up and walked over to the bathroom.

‘My marriage was lonely’, she said. ‘My husband went away for weeks at a time. I knew he was seeing women while on business. I turned a blind eye because I didn’t love him. I wanted his money. He had this awful way of fucking me, just pushing it in when he was hard. He’d stick his fingers inside me without any feeling whatsoever.’

Sebastien turned and looked at her. He was drying his hair and water was dripping from his shoulders.

‘So Clara, what are you trying to tell me?’

‘That I wish I had found you.’

‘You have.’

‘Do you know how lonely I felt? Men like him go off on business, fuck other women and return to their wives.’

‘Many women feel lonely. You seem sad.’

‘I’m grieving.’

‘Grief is like the young woman who has just seen how desirable she is, she says she wants you, then she doesn’t, she is finding her power. Grief can sometimes be a mask for hatred.’

‘Are you saying I hated my husband?’

‘No, you are. You say it in the way you touch me and the way you respond when I am inside you, the body does not lie.’

She took his hand and ran it against her cunt and then brought it up to her mouth and licked his fingers.

They went out to lunch. She had found a restaurant she wanted to eat in.

Sebastien was reluctant to go there, saying he didn’t like the street, but she insisted.

As they ate in the quiet bistro she became aware that some corner of her soul was torn by the blindness of her life, that her awakening had come too late and her fate was to be tricked by a whore with the face of a god.

What prompted it was the argument outside.

Two women were having a row and one of them hit the other across the face.

Clara was trying to tell Sebastien she wanted more than sex and the noise was causing such a disturbance she got up and asked the women to be quiet.

They looked at one another and laughed.

‘This from an old trick’, one of them said.


‘You sit there with him and tell us to be quiet.’

‘You don’t know me or my man.’

‘Your man. He’s a male prostitute, he screws women like you for money, and men.’

They walked off laughing, their dispute resolved.

She sat there staring at him.

‘They’re crazy’, he said.

But there was a flicker in his eyes and she knew.

‘Are they?’

‘I’m not lying.’

‘No, I am. I’ve been lying to myself ever since my husband died and left me trying to discover who I am when death is standing outside my door.’

She asked to be left alone and paid for lunch and left.

Sebastien watched her walk away and shrugged and went to the quarter where he had a small apartment.

He changed and went to the club at the street’s end where he was buggered by two different men in the space of fifteen minutes.

Clara sat in her hotel room considering she should return to America.

She slapped herself in the face and screamed ‘fool’ in the mirror.

Then she went down to the hotel bar and proceeded to get drunk.

She looked at her shoes and her dress and felt out of place among the stylish fashions the other women were wearing. She felt the object of fashionable ridicule and scornful scrutiny.

She thought of Sebastien and his body and remembered the first time he entered her.

And she saw a man enter the bar and sit alone thumbing a map.

He was obviously a tourist. She went over to him and said ‘Mind if I join you?’

‘Is that an American accent I hear?’, he said.

‘It is.’

She smiled and slid onto the stool and they talked about Paris and why they were there.

And at the end of the evening she went up to his room and watched as he staggered around in the twilight, pulling off his clothes.

She thought that the barman had short-changed her and she checked her purse, then remembered he had paid for the drinks. Suddenly she felt cheap and lonely.

She stripped and stood there looking at him, wondering how she had ended up there with him and he touched her and said ‘Come on’.

She thought of how Sebastien had felt.

She lay down next to him but when he started to climb on top of her she pushed him away and got off the bed.

‘Hey wait a minute, you fucking prick teaser’, he said, grabbing her hand.

She was fumbling in her purse as she pulled away, but all she could find was the razor and he lunged at her and she cut him.

There was something strangely erotic in the way his flesh popped open and spurted her with blood and she wondered what it was. She kept cutting him until she sat panting on the edge of the bed.

She felt wet with the juices of death and desire and she thought about her young lover.

She sat there until the police took her away.

As she was driven off by them Sebastien found another wealthy woman.

He walked her to her hotel in the moonlight thinking of the parts of Paris they would avoid.


Richard Godwin writes dark crime fiction, and he lets it slip the net like wash into horror.
His work has appeared in many publications, places like A Twist Of Noir and Pulp Metal Magazine, as well as in three anthologies. His play ‘The Cure-All’ has been produced on the London stage.  His first crime novel ‘Apostle Rising’ is about to be published and will be released for sale onto the market at the beginning of 2011. You can watch a video ad of ‘Apostle Rising’ by using this link . All his published works can be found at his site.

29 thoughts on “Soft Tongue by Richard Godwin”

  1. She never truly lived until the end. There is life in the blood after all..

    An odd, cold story. It reminds me of when I stubbed my toe yesterday, how it ached. But even then, it was a hot ache. This is just cold. An icy cold ache.

  2. Now there’s a counter-intuitive story. A very gradual build to an unexpected, yet inevitable, conclusion. I got so lost in this woman’s perspective that everything else faded away.

  3. Now that’s what I call an intro. Smooth as glass and sets up the glow of what photographers call the “golden hour.” The prefect time to set a photograph or paint a portrait. Turns out it’s the perfect setting for a story of languid pace that, as most languidly paced, golden houred settings do, easily, slowly, without effort, reveal the blood filled monster lurking inside (in all senses of the word) all of us. The rest of the story falls as naturally into the perfect framework of those two opening sentences. That’s how it’s done, mate. Exactly how it’s done.

  4. Erotic and sad. I’m recovering from cataract surgery, haven’t been reading much, and couldn’t stop.

    I loved this,

  5. Desparately sad for two reasons. One, because it’s almost too late when she discovers what she believes is the love of all loves–dark and dangerous, and consciously, I think she deceived herself into believing he belonged to her. Mostly though, because her obsession with her dark knight destroyed her and even while she is being led away to her own end, his life goes on without so much as skipping a beat. He’s a real prize, after all.

  6. You held me to the end despite my trying to pull away when things got ugly. The exploration into this woman’s feelings was fascinating. The staccato rhythm of the sentences reminded me of the riffling of a deck of cards, and just as with a game of chance that might follow, I did not find any of this tale predictable, and I believed in your version of Paris.
    Nice job; twisted and dark, and entertaining as well.

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