But if you have read it - and, like me, wondered whatever befell Julia... read on.
I was startled, but I didn’t move. It was so seldom that I heard my name spoken aloud... so long since anybody had spoken more than the most perfunctory words to me, in a store or through the telescreen... that it did not even seem possible that it was my name he was speaking.
The voice came again. “Julia.”
I climbed out of my narrow bed, wrapped a threadbare gray blanket around my body in a futile attempt to defeat the early morning chill, and walked to face the monitor set in the center of the wall.
For a moment, my heart flip-flopped. I had not seen O’Brien since... well, since my arrest, and the weeks, months, of interrogation and rehabilitation that followed. A time that I had so successfully erased from my mind that even my nightmares struggled to recapture the horrors. My instinct was to run, but I stood my ground. I was in my own home and I had done nothing wrong since my release; as Winston said, the last time we spoke, it didn’t matter what we did now. Because everything we did would be what we were supposed to do.
“O’Brien.” I did not even hesitate to use his name, although somewhere in the back of my mind, a protocol insisted I call him “Sir.” But he smiled; did that little trick with his spectacles, wrinkling his nose to resettle them; and appeared to step towards me, as though he could exit the screen and materialize in my room. “We have work for you. I will expect you at...” he glanced at his wristwatch. “Nine.”
I looked at the clock. That gave me two hours, although I scarcely needed a quarter of that. The foreboding pyramid that housed the Ministry of Love was just a few short blocks from my home... sometimes, it felt as though it were just a few short blocks from everywhere, and in a way, it was. Of all the governmental offices that rule life in Airstrip One, MiniLove was the one that pervaded every facet of our lives, every iota of our beings. I nodded my acquiescence and the screen reverted to the news program that I’d been half-listening to a moment before. Another great victory was being reported, and a crowd of jubilant faces filled the screen. The war would soon be over.
O’Brien had not changed since the last time I saw him. Burly without running to fat. Crudely handsome, his face alive with cunning intelligence. Disarmingly polite. No, he had not changed, but I wondered if he could say the same of me. Only the blue of my overalls remained the same; my once dark hair was graying now, and the freckles that had permitted me to retain a hint of girlishness deep into my late twenties had faded into blemishes of discolored pigmentation. My once-slender waist had grown plumper, so that the party sash that I once wore with pride, but which had hung in my closet for so long, almost groaned with protest as I slipped it on. The cheekbones that Winston used to remark upon so admiringly had lost their definition. My eyes had abandoned even the pretense of their former sparkle.
But O’Brien remained the same. His smile remained the same. And my feelings towards him remained the same. That I could tell him anything or everything, and no matter how awful the consequences might be, his eyes and his smile would remain as calm and kind as ever. Even amidst the horrors of Room 101, where the one thing in the world that you cannot bear to contemplate is thrust living and livid into your face, so long as I could see O’Brien, I knew that I remained safe.
And now? And now I could not even remember what that horror was.
“Julia. There is a vacancy in Pornosec.”
He spoke that peculiar mixture of old and newspeak that I was sure his colleagues in the Inner Party must have squirmed to hear; Winston once told me that every man has his own rebellion, and an adherence to the old ways of speaking, I was convinced, was O’Brien’s.
He must have mistaken my surprise for confusion. “Your former department.”
I nodded. Before Winston, before my arrest, I worked at the Ministry of Truth, the government body that distributs everything from news and information to arts and literature. Pornosec was - well, its name tells that story. The Pornography Section, where great machines worked ceaselessly, churning out pamphlets, magazines and books about sex, absurd tales with titles like Spanking Schoolgirls and The Nympho Librarian. “Ghastly rubbish,” I had told Winston once. “...Boring. They only have six plots, but they swamp them round a bit.”
I did not write the stories; I simply operated the machines, the kaleidoscopes that maneuvered the paragraphs around in each story. Once, a girl I worked with applied for a position in the Fiction department, but was turned down. Not because she did not have the required abilities or imagination, the department head kindly told her, but because she had them in abundance. To succeed in Fiction, the words he did not speak explained, you needed to have lost all hope.
O’Brien had paused, as if waiting for that memory to surface in my mind. “You will be assigned to the Fiction department. You will write...” and he produced from a draw of his desk, a thick sheath of papers which he passed across to me. I took it, but did not need to look at it. It was my confession, the one I had given after I was arrested. In which I detailed my every meeting with Winston, and all the other men too. And detailed the details of all that we did.
“You have a talent with words,” he said, and surprised me. I have never been much of a reader, and writing has never interested me. “You also have an expertise to share,” he continued. “You will report to the department tomorrow morning.” He turned, and the interview was terminated. I returned home, lost in thought.
Every man has his own rebellion. O’Brien’s involved continuing to speak a language that you only ever encountered in those musty old books that you found in dingy stores in the proletarian districts. Winston’s involved keeping a diary. Mine was sucking cock, and I like to think I was good at it. So I moved from lover to lover, tryst to tryst, honing my technique, expanding my experience... O’Brien said I had an “expertise to share.”
An expertise that once got me arrested.
How many times had I done it, Winston asked, the first time we made love.
“Hundred...” I told him, then corrected myself. “Well, scores of times, anyway.”
“Always with party members?” he asked, and I nodded. “Yes, always with party members.” I wondered, vaguely, what had befallen all of them. I had identified every one of them in my confession, astonished how readily their names and faces resurfaced in my memory when I knew what the punishment for forgetfulness was.
Most were merely machinery like myself, quiet individuals going about their daily business, keeping their heads down hoping not to be noticed. Others were more voluble, Party enthusiasts, ambitious and cunning. But all of them found their weak spot at the back of my throat.
I remembered the first. I was in my teens, he was sixty. He committed suicide shortly after, apparently on the eve of his arrest, and for a long time the thought of that made me sad. Now I was not so sure. Compared to what my other lovers must have gone through after my own detainment, he was the luckiest one of all.
But I did not regret whatever fates they may have met, nor those of the other people they might have implicated. In fact I celebrated it. The party was like a great line of dominoes, standing on end and circling the planet, choking the life out of everyone who lay in their path. My confession toppled one domino... myself. Then another... Winston. And then a third, a fourth, a thirtieth, a fortieth. And each of them, another thirty, forty. One word from me and who knew how many party faithful had been revealed as not so faithful after all?
Blows against the empire.
Blowjobs against the empire. The first time I took Winston’s cock in my mouth, he told me I was committing an act of political sabotage. I told him to shut up or I’d sit on his face. He fell silent, but I sat on it anyway.
“I am told you have a talent for this kind of work.” The woman who awaited me the following morning spoke as though every word was being forced out of her on the points of long, sharp pins. I remained silent, knowing that no response was required.
“You will start in Minific”... short stories, I translated as she spoke. “If your work is satisfactory, you will be transferred to Nofic.” Novels. “Your themes and plots will be of your own devising, but within the established guidelines.” No politics, no preaching, no characters who could be construed as having any role in the Party. No commentary, no editorializing. The cast of my stories existed for one reason, and one reason only. To have wild and uninhibited sex, detailed in the kind of language that the average prole not only understood but might, if he or she was so inclined, use under similar circumstances.
And that, at least, had not been translated into newspeak. A cock remained a cock, a cunt remained a cunt. It was the things that you could do with them, I discovered, that had changed.
My desk felt familiar though I had never entered this department before. Every department was identically furnished, gray plastic desks set between gray plastic screens. Fluorescent strips hung overhead, pathetically dim even when the electric supply was running correctly. Which was so infrequently that I had come to think of power cuts as the norm, and the occasional bursts of power as a passing aberration that would quickly pass.
A once blue carpet had been worn to a shade that, in the half light, matched the walls. A speakwrite sat on the desk, a pad of ugly, coarse paper and a barely functioning pen lay before it, acknowledging that sometimes even the most skillful writer needed to jot down some thoughts, but discouraging such old fashioned behavior by their very appearance.
I did not begin work immediately, but sat listening to the sounds of the room. On either side of me, coworkers were busy at their own tasks - in the cubicle to my left, the shabbily dressed middle-aged man I noticed on my way in was detailing an especially brutal spanking session, his voice oozing relish as he described the scarlet handprints that he was inflicting upon a young woman’s thighs; to my right, a woman I had not seen, but whom I could picture as equally dowdy, was struggling to accommodate the largest cock she had ever seen in her tight virgin pussy.
I was to write about oral sex.
Do you understand the principles of Doublethink? It is what happens when ... let’s say there’s a fact that you have known your entire life. For instance; Oceania, the continent in which Airstrip One is located, is at war with Eastasia. We always have been and, until victory, we always will be. Then one day you wake up and learn that no, we are at war with Eurasia. We always have been and, until victory, we always will be. And no matter how hard you hunt, how deeply you burrow into the archives, no matter to whom you speak in the days that follow, there is nothing and nobody who shares your memory. Not a single newspaper, not a book, not even a scrap of paper or a letter written by a loved one who went off to fight. Nothing and nobody who will acknowledge that our enemy changed over night. And so you accept that we are at war with Eurasia. Always have been, always will be. At the same time as you know....
My task involved Doublethink, albeit on a somewhat less universal scale. For as long as I had been sexually active, which was ten years before I met Winston, oral sex was ... not illegal, because there are no laws, as such. Just things that you know not to do, because doing them will have consequences that you really don’t want to contemplate.
Oral sex was one of those things. It was an abomination against Big Brother. It was the source of half the diseases that swept Airstrip One - including those, like cholera, malnutrition and malaria, which you might have assumed were caused by other agencies entirely. It was the ultimate degeneracy.
Which is not why I loved it so much. Or not the only reason. But when I was arrested and my actions (not crimes, remember) were read out to me, sucking cock was the one that seemed to leap off the page, glowing neon bright against the dullness of all my other transgressions.
And now? I don’t know, maybe Big Brother got a blowjob at last. Maybe Mrs Big Brother said “fuck the Thought Police,” and got down on her knees while he was writing one of his interminable speeches. Because there it was on the news bulletin yesterday afternoon, squeezed in between the better-than-expected production figures for cocoa, and an increase in the weekly sugar ration, up to twenty grams were person. Which, considering it had previously been thirty grams, proves that even your taste buds aren’t immune from Doublethink.
Of course, the news report did not just come out and announce that hurrah, we can all go eat some pussy tonight without fear of being shot in the head. No, instead citizens were simply “reminded” that the Junior Anti-Sex League would be hosting the forty-third Annual Symposium on Fellatio and Cunnilingus at their headquarters this weekend. Apparently (this from a leaflet I was handed on my way into work this morning), the relief provided by these “exchanges” was instrumental in promoting a life replete with both full health and total abstinence.
“Attendance by party members mandatory.”
The Junior Anti-Sex League. A ghastly army of celibacy advocates whose glorious sexlessness is drilled into our heads from the moment we can listen. I was a member until the day I was arrested, which just goes to show how seriously I took their message. But a lot of people did, proudly wearing the scarlet sash that denoted their absolute dismissal of sex (while exquisitely accentuating the curve of their breasts and hips), and speaking fervently of the coming utopia where sexual intercourse was considered altogether unnecessary, because children would be born exclusively by artificial insemination. And now they were hosting a symposium on blowjobs? This I had to see.
Oh, and before you ask... the forty third annual symposium? Why yes, and if you were to speak with anybody on the street, I guarantee they will proudly inform you that they were at the forty-second. And the forty-first... and all the way back as far as their own age will permit.
Now, across the Ministry, men and women were bent in hard labor, ensuring that not a single past reference to the evils of oral was left on record.
All past newspaper reports on the plagues and pandemics that were caused by cocksucking. The “typographical errors” were to be rectified.
If Big Brother (or any other Party dignitary) ever spoke out against the pestilence of pussy-eating, the “misprint” would be corrected.
A popular horror movie of a few years ago, in which an army of genetically modified carnivorous vagina ate the face off any man deviant enough to get close to them would be reshot; at the same time as fresh scenes would be added to every Pornoflic that had ever been shot.
The number “sixty-nine” would be reinstated to the numeric table.
And if any high profile political prisoner had ever had his charge sheet bolstered by a little cock sucking, the “clerical error” would be erased, and the true crime written in. And if you don’t believe that... well, look at me. Twenty-four hours ago, I was effectively a non-person, on account of having sucked some cocks. Today I have been restored to full party membership, with a responsible new job and - delivered almost as soon as I sat down - the keys to a new apartment, several streets down (but several grades above) from where I currently live.
And all because Mrs Big Brother (I’m only guessing here, but why not?) decided to lick hubby’s balls.
The pneumatic tube to my right coughed and disgorged half a dozen paper cylinders. I lit a Victory cigarette, cursing as half the tobacco tumbled out into the flame, and inhaled deeply. Then I unrolled the first of the cylinders, and glanced at its contents, placed it to one side and opened the others. All were near-identical. Six collections of pornographic stories published over the past three months had, it appears, “erroneously” included scenes of analingus (ah, so that was now on the no-no list - I had wondered) where cunnilingus had been intended; and anal fisting (that too?), where fellatio was the original author’s intent. These misprints to be corrected before the morning’s Two Minute Hate, three hours away, at which point I would be notified of further, similar, errors that required immediate attention.
I was finished an hour ahead of time. To be truthful, and even to my decidedly un-bookish eyes, the standard of writing has never been high in the majority of these collections. Character and motivation like appears as little more than cyphers, and physical practicality is completely defenestrated. What does it matter if the woman has suddenly grown a third arm, a second pussy and apparently has breasts on her back as well as her front? So long as there’s sex, and plenty of it. I read the first two stories and made my corrections, then barely scanned the others before I dropped in fresh detail. Maybe somebody would notice that Melissa, the heroine of “On My Back With A Big Boy” was managing to carry on a conversation on the phone while Big Boy had his dick down her throat, but I doubted they’d care.
The days passed quickly. The tube would belch and more work would fall out. Sometimes the task was perfunctory, a matter of merely changing a few words and sensations. On other occasions, it was more absorbing; a particularly unpleasant novel titled Eat My Shit, for example, devoured most of one afternoon as everything from the title (Drink My Cum is so much more appetizing) on in required some kind of revision.
Some classical poems were delivered, all of them dating back to the first centuries of the English language. Scholars working on recent editions had “inadvertently” replaced the poem’s original flavor with “mistranslations” discovered only in the course of “many years of subsequent scholarship.” I was, to the best of my ability, to restore the poet’s original intention, and I spent a merry hour indeed reacquainting myself with Chaucer, Shakespeare and more besides, seeking out the so-clumsy, and so glaringly obvious alterations that had been made to the original text, and writing in my own double-entendres and puns. Even at school, we had laughed at just how filthy some of those old poets and playwrights could be. Now I took a certain satisfaction from the knowledge that I was now the filthy one.
The weekend finally arrived and I barely slept the night before the symposium. Because after four days of writing ever-more inventive, ever-more extravagant, and knocked-down-drop-dead steaming blowjobs into every piece of erotica that landed on my desk, I needed to see some action.
People astound me. I mean it. People absolutely astound me. I am thirty-two years old (as far as I can tell, although Winston was convinced that the calendar was as unreliable as any other information we are expected to swallow) and not once in my life, outside of the whispers of a lover, have I ever heard phrases like “suck him off” and “lick me out” spoken out loud. But I walked into the hall where the symposium was being staged, its walls brightly decorated with photographs of cocks in mouths and tongues on clits, and every conversation I heard... every single one... was either recalling or anticipating oral sex.
Was it bravado, people not wanting anyone else to realize how dull their love lives had been in the past, and now desperately trying to adapt to the new world? Was it relief; gloriously reveling in the freedom to suddenly broadcast acts that they’d hitherto kept locked deep inside? Or was it simply the mindless murmur of the hive, everybody scampering to prove what good Party members they were, by discussing their sexual tastes in the same way they might (and did) announce their attendance at nightly committee meetings?
My money was on the latter.
I saw a face I recognized. Mrs Parsons. She had been a neighbor of Winston’s until her husband was arrested, and I assumed that she’d simply disappeared alongside him. But no, here she was clinging to the arm of a beetle-browed man, telling another couple how they’d been married for three years and, in all that time, she had never once sent him to work without a blowjob.
“The Party does not ask much of us,” she was saying, her face aglow with the kind of triumphant radiance that you normally associate with the original martyrs of the revolution. “The least we can do is willingly perform the few requirements it does have.” And beside her, beetle-brow nodded earnestly. “I perform my other responsbilities so much more diligently since we married,” he said seriously, and I seriously wanted to throttle them both. How much hypocrisy can any one society breed before it simply tears itself inside out?
On the stage, a woman in the regalia of a Junior Anti-Sex League elder was holding forth on both the medical and psychological benefits of regular oral sex; “reminding” the audience how science long ago established that male semen is nature’s most effective cure for so many of the diseases that assail society, and that the recent outbreak of diphtheria in the north was certainly due to women failing in the duties that Big Brother had been advocating from the very beginning. A voice from the crowd cheered loudly at the sainted name and, for the next few minutes, the woman’s voice was lost beneath the chant of “B-B! B-B!” Feet were stamping, hands were clapping. The room was alive with noise that only slowly receded back down to a hum.
A short film was shown, putting into sound and action the scenes that were frozen around the hall. Another speaker took the stage to remind women of the need to ejaculate copiously into the open mouth of their partner when he went down on them. For, just as his cum was a wonder drug, so hers’ was packed with the proteins and nutrients that would permit him to control those animal urges that might otherwise encourage less safe sexual habits. Then another film, a woman demonstrating how she taught herself to squirt.
Fresh faced youths spoke of how daily doses of either male or female ejaculate aided them with their studies. An elderly woman testified to how her husband’s cum cured her cancer, while a university lecturer swore that regularly licking his wife’s pussy had not only increased his vocabulary, it had allowed his tongue to master seven foreign languages.
And all of it in the name of Big Brother, in the name of the Party. No discussion of emotion, or even of sex. No suggestion of togetherness, or pleasure or enjoyment. Forget what I was saying earlier about Big Brother having finally got his cock sucked, and wanting to share the joy with the people he governed. Because this had nothing at all to do with joy. This was about control. This was about taking an illicit pleasure that too many people had enjoyed... as my own charge sheet had clearly shown... and by making it legal, rendering it harmless. Harnessed to the state machinery, conscripted into the Party politic, sex had been completely divorced from the equation.
Winston used to describe the Party as the heel of a jackboot grinding down on a human face forever. As with so many other things, Winston was wrong. It was the blade of a jackknife slicing out your pleasure centers. Forever.
I needed to fight back.
What were the first words I ever spoke to Winston? Well, I wrote them, to be accurate; “I love you” on a tiny scrap of paper that I pushed into his hand as we passed one day. I didn’t know him at the time; he was just a face I’d seen and done my best to get close to, a man whom I wanted and who I believed might want me. Later, he told me that he saw me so often that he thought I might be a member of the Thought Police, watching and waiting to arrest him for who knows what transgression? My note chased those thoughts from his head. As it was to start chasing away others.
“I love you.” In the past, and for all of time, it seemed, the Pornosec carved emotion out of the sexual equation before the first cock was even erect. There was no room for affection, no room for feelings. It was animal couplings from start to finish.
I gathered all those things in my heart, and I restored them to my stories.
I started slowly, subtly, gently. A violent scene might unfold into a sudden moment of tenderness, and the partners would suddenly be revealed as lovers, sharing tenderness even as they shared his cum. Or a harsh word between Master and submissive might be softened by him admitting that he loved her despite all her faults.
Little things, little words. “I love it when you suck me dry...”; “I love you when you ask me to do it.” I told you before, Winston once said making love is an act of quiet revolution. If that is true, then being in love is an act of open rebellion.
The characters in my stories were all deeply in love. And oral sex, the sucking and licking and squirting and swallowing, and every other wonderful thing that goes on in between, that was the vehicle with which they displayed it.
Let the animals fuck and grunt as much as they wished. But when they took one another into their mouths, the primitive vanished, intimacy was restored.
I remembered my first time, in the woods behind my parent’s home, with a boy I’d known since we were infants. Curious, innocent, playful, inquisitive. He showed me how to hold his cock, I showed him how to stroke my clit. And one afternoon, with the sun in the trees turning the world to shards of gold and green lying with my head on his stomach while I rubbed him, I suddenly wondered what it feel like in my mouth.
I leaned forward. Not nervously, not tentatively, just curiosity and play, and closed my lips around the head. And he cried out so loudly that at first I thought I’d hurt him; then he came so hard that I knew I hadn’t.
After that we did it whenever we could, taught each other what felt the best, learned the little tricks that transformed a lick into languid liquidity, a suck into something sensational. And then one day he disappeared, and my father murmured something about his parents having said the wrong thing to the wrong person, and somewhere in the back of my mind, I found myself wondering whether that was the start, and the root, of my rebellion? The loss of my friend bound up with the pleasures of our play, and my life since then had been devoted trying to recapture them both? Because the moment I put that suspicion into thought, I knew that Winston had been right about one thing, that afternoon as we relaxed in that tiny rented room over Mr Carrington’s junk store out among the proles.
“We are the dead,” Winston had said.
“We are the dead,” I echoed softly.
“You are the dead,” said the telescreen that we had not even known was installed in that room. And then all hell broke loose.
Which means I was not even momentarily startled that night when the telescreen broke off from its usual inane jabbering, and that same cold, metallic voice ordered me to stand still in the center of the room; was neither panicked or confused as the armed men in uniform burst into the room, grabbed me roughly and bundled me downstairs, into the back of the waiting van that sped me into the darkness. Then disgorged me in a heap at the same feet that were the first I’d seen the last time I was arrested, a lifetime ago when they took Winston and I.
O’Brien did not move as I picked myself up, did not speak as I rose unsteadily to my knees. I reached for his belt, unfastened it quickly, then popped the buttons of the exquisitely tailored pants that the Inner party alone were permitted to wear.
His cock was already erect, and again my mind flashed back, to the last time that I was dragged, fearful and tearful on that occasion, to a room whose very number, Room 101, was a byword for terror amongst even the people who had never had a single reason to fear it.
There, I had come face to face with my greatest fear, and O’Brien with his eyes and smile had helped me overcome it. Tonight, those same eyes, that same smile. I angled his cock to my lips.
“I love you,” I told him and reached for the glass of Victory gin that stood on the floor beside him. I took a mouthful and swilled it around, and then my lips engulfed his cock.
He moaned, struggling to speak as my tongue traced the gentle contours of his helmet. “I know,” he finally gasped in reply, and I took him deep again, only slowly, almost unwillingly allowing my lips to draw back up his shaft.
I could feel the blood pounding, and it melted into my heartbeat as I opened my throat and sucked down to his balls.
Big Brother? No, not much bigger than average, actually.