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Antony and Cleopatra…After Dark

February 21, 2010

(Finally, erotica meets historical fiction.)

CHAPTER 7: Pyramid of Flesh

It was a sultry, sweltering summer night. A gaggle of eunuchs stood guard outside the canvas tent, fanning themselves foppishly with date palm leaves and yawning in disinterested boredom as screams of passionate delight shot from the tent like the arrows of the archer-goddess Satet herself. Antony had just returned from a hippopotamus hunt with select members of his royal entourage, and, as the eunuchs well knew, slaughtering animals always turned him on. The hunt had been a great success, and now he was enjoying a different kind of prey, the best kind of all: woman. And not just any woman, but the ruler of Egypt and the source of innumerable erections both within and without her country’s borders.

Hardly had Antony tossed his weapons into the hands of a young slave and rinsed his filthy hands in a basin of cool water before he began to feel the urge to visit his queen. Brusquely, he asked another slave where Cleopatra was. “The Queen is reclining in the garden, my lord, eating figs and honey,” the boy replied. “Fetch her,” replied Antony. The boy ran off to do his master’s bidding. Antony sighed and conjured a mental image of his beloved in the nude, bronzed by the rays of Ra.

The boy returned, breathless and panting. “She asks you to meet her at the canvas tent near the eucalyptus grove,” he said, leaning against a rounded column in his exhaustion. “My lord,” he added.

“Off with you,” Antony replied. “See that my knife is polished and sheathed before morning.”

“Yes, my lord,” the child said, and ran off.

The canvas tent, site of countless couplings. Just the thought of it aroused the muscular man further, but he knew it would never do to let her know how desperate he was, and besides, she would need time to dress–or, rather, undress. He walked slowly, dripping with sweat in the twilight heat. Flies buzzed about his head and he swatted them away with an irritated hand. Insects, he remarked to himself, do not defer to rank. A gadfly pesters a king. He sighed and walked on, trying not to let his feet carry him any faster than his mind knew they should. Unlike his beloved, Antony derived no pleasure from anticipation. He knew what he wanted, and he wanted it now. He wanted her. Because he was Mr. Vain.

In the tent, Cleopatra had instructed a slave to girl light long candles and incense and then sent her out with a playful swat. As the child exited the tent, Cleopatra surveyed her blossoming voluptuous figure with the critical eye of a livestock tradesman. In a few years the girl would be old enough to join her mistress and master in all manner of mutually pleasurable games. Cleopatra made a mental note to acclimate the child to her touch so that she would be a pliable and sensual companion when the time came.

She heard footsteps, sandals in sand: Antony approaching. She grinned, unable to contain in its entirety a squeal of passionate glee. With a sweeping gesture she pulled her gown over her head and tossed it onto the pile of pillows that would serve as the lovers’ bed. Antony didn’t like to waste time on delicate preliminaries. He was a ravisher.

Just as the sun descended, in he strode, like a hungry animal seeking its next meal. His eyes caught hers and lit them ablaze. She stood stock still, eyes wide, watching the hunter. He suddenly sprung, enfolded her in his arms and effortlessly steered her backward onto the bed. She screamed theatrically, knowing how he enjoyed the thrill of the capture, enjoyed feeling that he was hurting her, that this was the first time. Their thousandth first time.

Outside, the eunuchs rolled their eyes and sighed, transferring their weight first to this foot and then to that. Longing to catch a few hours’ sleep, they waited and waited for the frenzied pounding to end. Deep in the distance, a Sphinx howled.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 7, 2010 8:24 pm

    Dear Meaghan:

    I have just stumbled upon your magnificent website this very afternoon, and I have been chortling since. Your idea is simply grand! Historical erotica, or more precisely, ancient historical erotica! The greatest exemplar of the Muse Clio! How verdant the garden of antiquity, how redolent in its chromotropic anthophorous pulchritude. Pin-wheeling elbows jostle me to the throng’s apex, and amidst a sea of bursting flashbulbs, I announce, “Athenians, read Meaghan’s blog, it is rad and she is a babe! Download the latest hot podcast today, guaranteed to melt your puny warbling iPod, only $1.99 ! Smokin’.”

    Joaquin.

    ps: minor erratum: eunuchs foppishly fanning themselves with eucalyptus leaves? Those would be rarae aves indeed, since eucalyptus and the entire Myrtaceae family are native to Australia. Perhaps Strabo’s perambulations were more widespread than we thought?

    • Kate permalink*
      March 9, 2010 2:20 pm

      (Holy shit! Joaquin Phoenix reads my blog!)

      Re the botanical mistake: I stand corrected, sir. You are a gentleman and a scholar. The Sunday posts are parodies, I always write them in another voice, often a misguided and ignorant one, but I take full responsibility for this inaccuracy. I don’t know how I got it into my head that they had eucalyptus in that part of the world. Must have been because of the Greek name. “Papyrus” would have been a better choice. Really anything would have been a better choice.

      The sphinx howling in the distance is also problematic. As a member of the cat family, more or less, it’s more likely that a sphinx would yowl or caterwaul or something…

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