In other news from the world of artistic malpractice, Rowan Somerville has won the not-exactly-coveted Bad Sex in Fiction Award, largely because of this extraordinarily awful line:
Like a lepidopterist mounting a tough-skinned insect with a too blunt pin he screwed himself into her.Gad! That’s the kind of thing to send a satyr staggering off to a monastery. Compare and contrast with this wholesome, tender, understated love scene. Or with this stormy blaze of passion:
And it was a feast to remember. The conversation, jokes and arguments that typically characterized our meals had been replaced by an almost reverent silence as we tucked into our food, savoring every bite. I was almost beginning to be glad that Debray had shown up.
That is, until later that night, when I finally had Tania alone. We had stepped into our tent, and after that excellent meal, I was looking on her as the dessert course. I took her in my arms, kissed her passionately, and then started to softly croon the “Song of the Volga Boatmen”, knowing that her favorite sexual fantasy was to pretend to be a German countess being ravished by a Red Army private. She melted in my arms, and began nibbling at my ear. A propitious moment, she obviously thought, to lower the boom.
“Che”, she said. “I forgot to mention it earlier, but we had a little trouble in Camiri.”
“What kind of trouble? Yo–oh-ho-oh…”
“Well…Che…baby…the reason I didn’t radio you beforehand that I was bringing Regis with me is because the police found the jeep that our contacts had made available to me parked on a side street, and they seized it. The radio code book was in it.”
“Yo-oh-ho…Oh oh! The radio code book? You left it in the jeep?”
“Yes. It was right next to…uh…the map showing the way to our encampment.”
I held her at arms length, and I’m not entirely certain that my beret didn’t shoot off my head and flip over in the air like a pancake. Tania began babbling an explanation.
“You see, I had only expected to be in Camiri for a half a day, but I wound up having to wait there for three days because Reej” – I shook her violently – “Regis! Regis, wanted to take some photographs for the book he’s planning on writing about you, and he’s a bit of a perfectionist, and he wanted to get the pictures just right, and I guess the longer the jeep sat there the more suspicious the cops got and so they finally confiscated it, so we stole a car and – you’re hurting my arms!”
I released her and stared into the middle distance, my mind reeling. It wouldn’t take even the stupid local police very long to figure out that there was something amiss going on out here in the hinterlands, and to report it to the army. I turned on Tania in fury, haranguing her on the slackness of her revolutionary vigilance, her irresponsibility, her addle-pated carelessness, working myself up into an even greater lather than usual because this is not at all the kind of “dressing down” I had in mind.
To her credit, she hung her head submissively, crying softly. After I had expended my wrath, she looked up at me with glistening doe-like eyes and said, “I’m so sorry, Che. I guess you wouldn’t be interested in seeing the surprise I have for you.”
“Tania, I think I’ve had all the surprises I can stand for one day.” She wiped a tear from her eye. “Oh, all right. What is your surprise?”
She smiled slyly and stood with her back to me. She languorously removed her olive-drab tank-top, then unfastened her belt buckle. Her arms worked like two slow, sinuous pistons to lower, with some considerable effort, her hip-hugging slacks down over the exquisite convexity of her firm little rump, her buttocks finally popping out like two sweet rolls from a toaster. With an index finger, she directed my gaze – as if direction were needed! – to a tattoo on her right cheek. The tattoo was a likeness of yours truly, based on the famous Korda photograph (the one that, in a previous flight of silly feminine fancy, she had suggested using to market t-shirts in order to fund the revolution).
At that moment, I didn’t care if the whole Bolivian army was breathing down our necks. I fairly burst into song.