Weekly Rumpus Fiction: Paula Whyman

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The next Weekly Rumpus features fiction from Paula Whyman. Here’s an excerpt:

I woke up one morning having transformed into a cockroach. One day I was my normal, within-bounds horny self, the horny self I’d lived with for decades, the one that fantasized over the good parts in A Sport and a Pastime and watched Paul Newman in Hud over and over. In what seemed like no more than a day, I’d revved into a freakish sexual overdrive. I couldn’t look at a cucumber without getting excited. I could come just daydreaming about coming. I never knew when my brain would be flooded with longing. And I didn’t want it to end. 

I tried Internet porn. But most of it was no sexier than my grandmother’s third husband’s dick, which I’d seen when I was seven and which made me laugh even then. The women with big hair and press-on nails annoyed me; their orgasms were as fake as their manicures. I wanted to see actual enjoyment. I wanted to be convinced. False ecstasy was coupled with the too-real—the viscous fluids in volumes suitable for drowning, the close-up angles on dank orifices. And all of them shaved like patients prepped for surgery. I felt not like a voyeur but like a doctor diagnosing the clinical manifestations of pleasure.

Paula Whyman’s stories have appeared or are forthcoming in The Hudson Review, The Gettysburg Review, FiveChapters, The Southampton Review, and Gargoyle. She received a 2014 Pushcart Prize Special Mention, and her fiction has been selected for anthologies including Writes of Passage: Coming-of-Age Stories and Memoirs from The Hudson Review. She has been a resident at The MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, VCCA, and The Studios of Key West. Whyman has also written humorous essays for The Washington Post, conducted interviews for The Rumpus and done commentary for NPR. “Just Sex” is part of her collection of linked narratives, You May See a Stranger. She is also at work on a novel.

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