Dune’s knees scrape against the carpet, pressing red patterns into each cap— a criss-crossed record of the time. She’s on her knees giving head in the music studio of her current lover, Nina, but the scene’s power comes from the fact that she isn’t. She’s on her knees in a living room in the eighties, sucking off an amalgam of porn images and father figures, sucking off the parts of herself usually tucked away, the unforgivable Burt Reynolds inside.

Nina’s couch is long and boxy, scratchy and patterned in beige, brown, and black stripes of varying thicknesses. It is the largest fetish object Dune has ever played with. The couch conjures and unlocks an entire lineage of taboo desires in Dune, with its magical ability to summon elements not physically there— like the carpet under her knees. Dune rarely gives Nina head. She’s most usually satisfied riding Dune’s ass, nearly to completion at which point— but not sooner —she likes to be finger fucked, hard. But this couch was asking for something different, and they wordlessly understood it to be a time- traveling- faggotry-inducing scene.

They are two pervy men in the eighties— mustachioed and pretty like their fathers had been with a trace of Dune’s namesake David there as well, a man who succeeded at nothing but transmitting the joy of an off-colored joke into the blood of his offspring. Dune’s pleasure entwines at the DNA level with whatever is taboo, twisted, and off from her daylight self.

Gay porn, like the mesmerizing vintage scenes on loop at the Grandville Andvil— an uptown bear dive where Dune is comfortably always the only woman—turns her on because it relieves her from the burden of caring about exploitation, gender violence, and patriarchy. These seventies and eighties gems of art, with bad tan lines and excellent hazy lighting, open onto fantasies of a bad student getting rammed by a bulging teacher. The twink is bent over a sturdy desk, the orange of his over tanned body in perfect harmony with the brown wood. Dune isn’t turned on by dicks or men’s bodies, but she is turned on by the autonomy from concern. The lack of a woman in the scene turns her on. The freedom to be hard and dirty and callous and perky, without the risk of reproducing the harm that often goes hand in hand with these things, IS the fantasy. A freedom from the care, concern and righteousness that govern her politics. The fucked up grandfather inside of her that never gets air.

Her grandfather David is a wink. If you look hard enough, it becomes clear that her grandmother has all the power. She runs the show and David gets pleasure from his passivity. He is responsible only for suffusing every room with a reminder of his lecherous nature. Motivated by a compulsive fear that someone, a grandchild or daughter, might mistake him for a sweet old man. Inserting references to his libido into all things, a trait Dune repeats unquestioned, taking every opportunity for sexual innuendo, regardless if the effect is to turn the moment hot or uncomfortable.

The effect doesn’t matter so much. What matters is that Dune never let anyone forget she is a third generation pervert. She relies on her tiny size and softness to provide exemptions from her behavior being read as threatening or predatory. Or maybe she wants to seem threatening to some. She knows she intimidates men through her lack of caring about them. She likes the power it gives her and she likes the shock her raunchy comments have on those around her like a snake in the grass.

So this new couch is giving them a kind of sex they never had before— the women are not in the room. Nina’s dad is fucking Dune’s dad in David’s house. Dirty down low men doing nasty things on scratchy furniture without tenderness. The time warp inscribed in the couch’s pattern that Nina and Dune volunteered to unlock with their born-female-this-time no matter, bodies. In two days Dune will drag her horny body back to a cabin in the woods to make words of it all, but for now, they have a portal and a lifetime of unproduced semen to release.

"Red Knees"

excerpt from The Bed is Still on Fire