Published in:
Best Women’s Erotica
, 2000
Batteries Not Included
, 2000

So you’re walking up and down Telegraph, up and down, trying not
to look like the new dyke in town, trying not to telegraph that you are
fresh off the boat, innocent new meat just in from Indiana, come to the
big city. Actually, the small city, to Berkeley in fact, because San
Francisco is a little intimidating to start off with if you’re a
twenty-two-year-old dyke who just came all the way to California to get
laid because you have just been dumped by the only other lesbian in
Franklin, Indiana and you just can’t take it anymore.

The women certainly are pretty, in Berkeley, in the springtime.
Campus chicks in blue jeans and t-shirts and bandanas; skin in shades
you’ve never seen off a tv set. Lots of skin — they don’t seem to feel
the cold that’s shuddering your skin. You are determined not to pull the
sweatshirt out of your backpack, not to shiver in this dark green tank top
with the scoop neck that shows your ample cleavage for the benefit of any
cute chick who might happen to like tall redheads who probably still look
like farm girls.

You’ve been cruising Berkeley for weeks now. Days working over on
Shattuck, over at the games store that seemed really surprised to have a
woman actually want the job. Boys and their toys. Evenings on the
street, up and down, occasionally smiling at a woman with short dark hair
and long legs, the kind of legs that could reach back and wrap all the way
around your neck as you bump and grind, oh yes. Smiling at her and she
smiles back and your heart does the thump-thing and then she keeps going
down the street, or asks you if you have the time and then keeps going and
you’re back to walking the street again wondering where the hell women go
to get laid in this town.

Up past the hippie chicks, up past the man who tries to sell you
beads for your hair at three times what it would cost in Franklin, all the
way up to the campus, turn and start walking down again. Maybe it’s time
to get up the nerve to go into the city, into the Mission, find one of
those girl-gyms, those dyke-diners you keep hearing about, uh huh. You
walk down past Cody’s, past Moe’s, hover in the window of the poster shop,
scope out the new new-age books at Shambhala.

It sure would be a lot easier to walk into one of those diners
with a beautiful woman on your arm, a pretty little thing like that
dark-skinned girl behind the counter, the one with the long black hair
braided down her back, with the tight white shirt that outlines breasts
the size of softballs, the one walking out to take something out of a
window, the one smiling at you through the glass. Right. And now she’s
going to turn away or come to the door and ask if you wanted to actually
buy anything or were just planning to hang out there and scare away the
customers. You brace yourself, and then she stares at you real serious,
and then she winks. Long and slow, and you can’t believe what you’re
seeing, and you check to make sure you’ve got your pink triangle earring
in where she can see it and oh yes, it’s there, and then she’s coming to
the door and it’s “I get off in fifteen minutes. Want to buy me coffee?”
and you are stumbling over yourself to say yes.

Fifteen minutes and the coffee shop and her name all slide by in a
blur — you’ve forgotten her name but you can’t admit it, so you just keep
smiling and hope and pray that she doesn’t think you’re a total twit, a
ditz, a baby dyke without a clue. After coffee you’re walking down the
street and you tell her all about your last relationship and how bad it
went, doing your damnedest to convince her of your dyke credentials until
she grins and says “Hush — now is not the time” and then she pulls you
into a doorway and starts kissing you. She is at least a foot shorter
than you but she’s up on her toes and pulling you down with no hesitation
and the kissing is easy, so easy and hot you’re melting into it and then
the door you’re leaning on starts to open and you realize that that her
hand is on the doorknob and her key is in the door and this is, of course,
her door to her apartment and she’s taking you upstairs, woohoo!

She kisses you all the way up three flights of stairs and her
hands are all over you, over the tank, under the tank, under your bra to
cup your breasts, squeeze your nipples, pull you up the last steps with
her fingers tight on your nipples and her mouth latched to yours and you
are tumbling into her apartment and closing the door with your bodies
’cause your hands are too damn busy to spare. She breaks long enough to
turn on the light and light some candles and incense and turn off the
light again and then you are falling to the futon in the living room, lit
by candles, the room is full of candles and statues and flowers and
incense. You’re a little dizzy but when she pulls off your shirt and bra
and starts licking a nipple you have to know, you say “Hang on,” and “I
hate to ask this” and “What’s your name again?” and wait for her to throw
you out.

She laughs instead, and says “Kali, my name is Kali” and then she
gets this wide grin and lies back on the futon and says “Kali is a
goddess, you know? Worship me…” You’ve never touched a goddess before,
but your mama didn’t raise no fools and so you skin you and her out of
clothes as fast as you can, before she has a chance to take a proper
breath or change her mind and then you’re kissing her. Sucking on her
toes and calves and knees and thighs, up around her clit, up her curving
stomach and softball breasts, down to fingers and up again, kissing and
sucking and licking until your mouth is dry and her skin is wet and
shaking in the wavering light of what seems a hundred candles.

You worship her with mouth and hands, you slide a finger in her
cunt and then another until they are slick and salty and you bring them up
to your mouth and taste them, lick them with Kali’s eyes on you,
glittering, and she breathes “More” and you go down, you breathe on, lick
and suck her clit, slide two fingers in again, thrust back and forth and
she is writhing beneath you, she is silent but her body speaks. It
whispers and moans and whimpers and screams and she is almost almost there
and you can’t quite do it, you can’t get her there, you can feel the crest
waiting there, the last lap, the last mile and you’re not going to make
it, you’re not good enough and you are ready to lay your head down on her
stomach and cry if she will permit it.

You stop, removing the once-thrusting, now-sore fingers. She
whimpers, and your stomach churns and you take a deep gasping breath.
Kali opens her eyes then and sees you and she is not angry. She is
twisted in on herself, she is bathed in sweat, dripping in the candlelight
and she says, “It’s okay” and takes a deep breath and you can see that she
is going to try to come down, to relax, to let it go and dammit, that is
not good enough, you know you can do better than this and then inspiration
hits. You slide back down, your mouth is on her again, on that
sweet-salty mound, on that wet nubbin, and while you lick and she
convulses silent again, starting the climb again, your hand reaches out
and grabs a candle.

Your eyes are closed against her skin but you can feel the slim,
cool shape of it, bubbled with old dripped wax, long and hard and
untiring. You wave it in the air to put it out, you wait for it to cool
as your tongue tickles and touches, twisting to penetrate every crevice,
every inch it can reach and when it is exhausted, when it feels that it is
about to break in two, to shatter into a thousand pieces, that is when you
reverse the shape in your hand and slide it into her, into her dripping
cavity, sliding it smooth and hard into her and Kali gasps beneath you and
her hands come down to your shoulders, her fingers dig into your skin and
you know that you guessed right. You push and pull, thrusting hard and
fast until finally, finally her back arches, her hips convulse and she
freezes still and silent for an endless aching time and even if your
fingers and tongue fall off you are not going to move one inch in the
wrong direction. And then she relaxes.

She pulls you up, after a time, and you make love in all the
clever ways that two young dykes in the prime of their strength and
stamina can, and she discovers how easily you come, how even
nipple-sucking can do it, and she says that she might forgive you for that
someday. Hours pass, and the candles are long burned out, and you are
settling down to sleep but can’t quite get comfortable, there’s a lump, a
bump in the sheets under your hip and you realize that you’ve left the
candle there and are surprised it’s still in one piece and you reach down
and pull it out and in the thin moonlight you realize that it wasn’t a
candle after all.

A statue of a goddess, a naked goddess, and the bumps you took for
dripping candle wax are breasts and curved hands, many hands, and you
catch your breath, wondering if you have committed some form of sacrilege,
if Kali will recoil in shock, horror, dismay and she must see it in your
eyes because she laughs and laughs and eventually, gently, explains that
she is not religious, definitely not Hindu, that her family was in fact

She herself had turned atheist long ago, and got the statues from
the new-age bookstore for free. She tells you that she only kept them
around ’cause they were pretty and they seemed to turn on the chicks and
you blush and are grateful for the thinness of the light. She also said
that even if she did believe in the goddess, she didn’t think She would
have minded being deep inside a woman’s wet cunt. Then she confessed a
secret, that Kali was only her work name after all, that it impressed the
bookstore clients. Her true name was something she took seriously, and
she never told it to lovers unless they stayed around long enough for
breakfast. And when you’d gotten over being embarrassed and amused and
slightly shocked, you told her that you thought you could probably arrange

M.A. Mohanraj