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Warm Leatherette

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J.G. Ballard's romanticized, voyeuristic view of car crashes had many a musician in tizzies over erotica that was less than tantalizing. Abhorrent, some would call it. Yet, it was there for fodder to fuel the few fetishists caught in the web of symphorophilia, be they closeted or not. Most of them were. With black duvet covers pulled over his huddled shoulders, Gary licked his index finger and thumb and pulled another page of his book aside. A prose so cumbersome you had to take a little extra time to imagine what was happening, but the tingling happening somewhere below the belt but above the knee spoke volumes about what such a novel could do to someone with this kind of penchant for sexual violence. Sweat pooled in uncomfortable places, as it went.

In an act of finality and frustration, Gary peeled himself out of his dark underwear, all dewy with glandular excretions of mixed origin. His cock swayed a little to the left, only half-mast but twitching at the head. It took a while to settle back into a comfortable position, but with his body propped against many feathered pillows and legs splayed to each side. One hand grasped the book and the other cupped his balls for a split second before he moved to try to stimulate himself hard. The technical, almost medical descriptions of sexual acts as played out in the novel had him doing sort of a word replacement in his mind to give it a little flavor.

With soft strokes at first, head tilted and mouth open with a breathy pant, Gary soon found himself lost more so in a fantasy than in the moment. He conjured images of light, short ginger locks, a steely gaze with narrowed eyes and pouting lips. It wasn't long after that he sent ejaculate spitting onto the bed-sheets with maybe a droplet or two on the book itself. How many seconds had it been? He never really struggled with time, in this way, but when something got him so hot and bothered he just couldn't hold himself together for long. A downside to the whole thing was the man of his dreams was not there, in reality.

Shockwaves, soundwaves, synthesizer wave tables and he recalled the time he bashed his knee into a door in such a fervid attempt to reach his instruments, which gave him a second thought and brought to mind the idea to proceed with caution. A quick cleanup and clothes back in their place, he then stood up with dizziness from such a passionate act and stumbled out the bedroom door and into the hallway. One, two, three, four doors down and into what was essentially a homemade studio minus much of the equipment he usually needed to fully produce, all elsewhere at the time. He did, however, have his Minimoog. 

Notes were played but nothing recorded except for on a piece of note paper. But it wasn't so much a song as it was a collection of ideas and thoughts, and gradually it went on from that to become something he didn't anticipate -- a love letter. He laid it all out in black ink. He signed it, too, but knew he'd never send it. Not via post or even courier. Parts of it were pretty enough to be woven into lyrics, and some of them were taken directly from his Telekon album. His blue eyes ran back to the quote over which he left his signature, "This wreckage I call me would like to meet you soon."

But when?


It's easy to go overboard as anyone star-struck would know, but most would realize that you cannot simply park your car outside of a cafe waiting hours for the object of your affection to come wandering out so that you can give a hello. It required delicate handling, and also required getting rid of the unnerving, tempting thought to floor the gas pedal and literally crush your crush under the wheels of your automobile. Gary's palms were sticking to the steering wheel. How could such impulsive thoughts be running through his mind? 

Oh, but there he was, at last and in such a luxurious suit. Gary sat up straighter to peer out the windshield for a good look. Yes, a suit, a tie, and what had to be an expensive watch. It may have been a mirage but the illusion was he walked stiffly, rather like you would imagine an android to behave on the move. Alarming as it was, Gary's leg twitched like he was a mere thought away from mowing down the very person he thought himself to be in love with -- a thought only amplified by catching a rerun of his Top of the Pops performance last night. How could one learn telepathy to project the thought into another's head that, oh yes, they're perfect for you and would you like to get in an accident with them and fuck to the memories of the crash?

He was holding a paper to-go cup in one hand and a notebook in the other. Gary failed, in all the ways his head was caught in dreamland, to stop himself from leaning directly on the car horn and sending it blaring. He recoiled from the sudden noise, as did a couple people in the vicinity, particularly the target of the spying whose to-go coffee had not only spilled down his white buttoned shirt but also found its way onto the papers he was holding as well. An angry or maybe pained shake of hands to try to clear them of what was undoubtedly scalding liquid sent the notes flying and the paper cup had by now rolled into an open grate to never be seen again. 

Knowing full well that this was his fault and his fault alone, Gary jumped out of the car and made his way to assist. Stalking or no stalking, it'd be rude to just pull away and speed off into the sunset after ruining someone's day. Apologies tumbled out of his mouth as much as he stumbled over them. He picked up paper after paper as they whirled around in the wind, a few of them seeking to follow the cup to their doom. He caught a glimpse of the word 'garden' scrawled out a couple times in quick handwriting. The damage was done and not everything could be recovered. Ultimately, the outfit ensemble would need to be dry-cleaned as well. 

 "I'm so --," Gary went to say he was sorry for what seemed like the thousandth time but he was stopped by a sigh. 

"Don't worry about it."

It seemed wrong. This first encounter, this the first exchange and after all of the nonsense it would end in soft dismissal. At the risk of overstaying what little welcome he could hold claim to in the moment, Gary presented the collected papers to the other man and smiled -- no teeth, but all warmth. 

There was a certain glint of mutual recognition before he even opened his mouth, but Gary got to the point first with, "You're him, right... John Foxx?"

"I am he and you're Gary Numan, aren't you?" 

It could have come down to fainting but with the muscle clenching of determination, specifically centered around shoulders and ass cheeks, Gary kept himself upright. It was a rush of all sorts of chemicals in his brain, he couldn't begin to count what he was feeling. When you meet someone you've wanted to meet for a while and it appears they're everything you ever wanted them to be, wires can be crossed and those crossed wires could short. After all, they did have so much in common. It was possible that John was the only person who could truly understand the draw of symphorophilia in the same way.

 "Yes!" he responded, maybe a touch too enthusiastic. 

John had a way of holding amusement in narrowed eyes yet appearing impatient in all other regards. "I liked Replicas. What made you decide to go solo?"

It was like being unprepared for a television interview but having to push through with an answer, Gary didn't feel like he had time to go over the whole of it and much of it didn't matter anyway. "Creative differences, in a way, but we still work together at times. You get it! Billy told me a lot about the goings-on of Ultravox."

A knowing nod was given in his direction, then a pause before John said, "I was half expecting you to actually be a robot."

"Who's to say I'm not?" Gary said, adding a laugh meant to be genuine but it quickly faded with nerves.

It all came down to an uncomfortable, unpleasant silence that ended with John nodding once again. Swirling winds pushed leaves between them at their feet. It wasn't really the dream meeting Gary imagined all of those lonely nights with his hand down his pants, salivating over Ballardian concepts intertwining with this fixation he had on John Foxx to be the one to act out the scenes with him. With such a lack of luster, he could only look down as he contemplated what to say next. 

John made the move to speak first, "I'll see you around, then." And with what could be approximated as close to a heel spin as one could achieve in loafers, he walked off to his own car without even waiting for a goodbye. It was only then that Gary realized that John was actually quite a bit more pissed off at the entire incident than he let on, maybe with the passing of time lending itself to thoughts of how difficult it would be to get all those ideas back in place. 

It became evident in that moment that his dreams were shattered. Much like a phoenix from the ashes, however, Gary resolved to take on a different approach, one he believed was a mark of insanity by mere existence. It was a return of the obsessive desire to hit John Foxx with his car. There was no grand rejection. There was no emotion, really. A brushed off, halfhearted encounter. No spark, no spark at all but that was what was missing. As someone who just had to have visions of car crashes swirling in his mind as much as Gary did, John might be pleased to end up on the receiving end of a fender bender.

Yes, maybe so.


Two weeks later, same venue, the alignment of the sun, moon, and stars in perfect order. Gary's eyes were set on John from the second he walked out of the cafe, this time he took care not to startle him. The car door slammed, the engine revved, and John pulled out of his parking space and fell in line with the sea of humming motors, each heading to their own destination. He let a few seconds distance pass by before he too took off into traffic, two cars away from his target. His heartbeat seemed to sync with the speed he increased with a push of the pedal, gaining on the vehicles in front of him in order to pass and be directly behind John Foxx.

He'd never run someone off the road before so he didn't know what it was going to take to do so, he was drenched across his forehead and neck with feverish perspiration in anticipation of it all. He lifted his eyes to the sky just once as he made his way to take his place, bumper to bumper. He could see the back of John's head through the rear window with brief pondering of what it would be like to kiss his neck. That idea alone was enough to add weight to Gary's foot, triggering the car to jump forward. The screeching of metal on metal was a battle cry. Once the initial hit sent a jolt through John's vehicle, there was no going back.

Gary sped up again, this time twisting the steering wheel in such a way that the edge of his car's front bumper scraped the side of one of the back taillights, putting it out with the shattering of glass. As his eyes searched again, the rear view mirror gave Gary a glimpse of John's face. Was that a... smile? It was like his heart skipped a beat. A smile, and then a little letting off the brakes to slow down and let the cars meet at once. He was playing right along with the sick game. All of this only gave confidence that lent itself to Gary pulling alongside of John as the road split into two lanes. Yes, it was a smile. Confirmed. This is how the car crash tango began.

A light brush, a tap, but such a shrill sound. A clank and a cut as paint peeled from brief collision. It wasn't quite enough to knock John's car completely off balance but it began to have that kind of wobbling effect. A maneuver in which Gary pulled back only to jerk his vehicle back towards John's really upped the ante. They took turns knocking into one another, Gary now and again catching that wild look in John's eyes when he looked into the window. It was maniacal, but the whole thing was insanity from the start.

It was time for a final blow. 

Gary slammed his foot down on the gas and sped up until he was in front of John. How fast were they both going at that point, it was hard to say. The vehicular dance ended with Gary putting on the brakes at full force, making him come to a halt right in front of the other car. It was seconds later that he was sent flying forward with his head hitting the steering wheel column, glass shattering all around him and leaving dainty cuts across any exposed skin they could find. Though the pain was also pleasure, it was searing in a way he never anticipated. Dizzied, he moved himself and all at once went tumbling out the driver's side door which was half off its hinges. 

He couldn't see John at first but his determination to find him was not hindered by the blood trickling down his face nor the hurt that felt like lightning strikes flashing through his body. He crawled forward until he located the other vehicle. There was a small fire in the engine, charring the metal frame but John had been thrown through the windshield and landed somewhere in the grass away from any threat of the blaze. He was already up and dragging himself towards Gary, like they were symbiotic in the moment. John's face twitched, with such a nasty slash down the side of his cheek that oozed the red that wandered over his lips. 

In a moment they were face to face, damaged and broken by the accident but looking into each others eyes like there was a soul connection there. Now, this was a true meeting. Forget false starts at coffee shops with quaint mishaps, this was unbridled, ferocious passion. John seemed surprised, in a pleasant way. He went to speak but coughed and hacked until he caught his breath.

"I hoped it would be you," he choked out, a smile revealing one chipped tooth. "Here we are."

Gary felt lustrous yearning like never before, not even in the wildest reaches of dark imagination. He reached one trembling hand to cup the side of John's face, their lips meeting with blood from each mingling across them. They were shaken, they were injured, but above all they had unlocked a sexual energy previously untapped. Though weak it was like they knew no way to stop themselves from descending into these depths.

"Here we are," Gary echoed, though his voice wavered.

The shared fantasies of symphorophiliacs met in this hellish nightmare of twisting melted car parts, smoke and gasoline. 

Raw, disturbing... but unparalleled.

True love.