Two Lovers, Talking About Snuff Films


From aerial perspective the city looks like it’s sitting in mold as the snow melts and everything turns brown. I am smoking weed from a dolphin-shaped pipe and Joel is looking at me strange like he’s in love, and everything is ephemeral, and time is a construct, and I reciprocate his warm gaze, wondering if he can sense my apprehension. When I look at him all I can see are his blue eyes. The bluest eyes. They remind me of Hitler and his love for blue eyes. I pet his blond hair. The blondest hair, Nordic and genetically very weak. I kiss him and his lips feel like softness and moisture, accumulating in my mouth, until we are now pulling each other’s hair, licking each other, drooling, putamenacingly. What is Joel’s relationship with his father like? I wonder. Probably terrible, I answer myself. Meanwhile, Joel’s hand is encroaching on the surface of my upper right breast. I can feel my cervix expanding, just as it did the moment I first laid eyes on him, over half a year ago, at the summer camp in Beaumont, and abruptly I choose to terminate “making out,” disengaging from Joel’s face.

“I’m sorry,” I say.

“Sorry for what?” he says, sounding genuinely surprised.

“Disengaging. Physically.”

I nudge the dolphin pipe three millimeters across the coffee table.

“Do you want some more?” I ask, consciously changing the subject.

Joel lifts the dolphin pipe with his fingers, cradling it like an extremely premature birth. I watch Joel place his mouth around the hole at the center of the dolphin’s tail. As he inhales, I see the fiery embers disappear and it reminds me of the word “snuff.” We were talking about snuff films earlier today at the office. Brad pitched a story about missing native women in British Colombia and their supposed affiliation with underground snuff film enterprises, however he could not gather enough evidence to write about it. The idea of “underground snuff film enterprises” resonates with me. On my way home I thought a lot about people need to see humans-inside-out in order to have orgasms, and even though I cannot remember ever hearing that this exists, I’m sure it has to. I begin to wonder about the relationship between violence and sex, anthropologically, biologically, neurologically, etc. I look at Joel, and I assume he’s probably seen quite a few in his life.

“What’s the first snuff film you saw?”

“What’s the first snuff film I saw?”


“Oh,” he laughs and he thinks for a moment. “Actually my friends used to play pranks on each other in high school… Where someone would open a laptop in front of another person’s face, when they were sleeping, put on a snuff film, and they would have to wake up to it.”

Internally, I am trying to justify how this is a “prank,” also wondering if this is typical behavior in males aged 8-18. Perhaps males are compelled to more visceral forms of Schadenfreude than females, I don’t know. Joel tells me that he was pranked with The Dnepropetrovsk Maniacs, a video involving two teenagers hammering a man’s face into sludge, and I become even more fascinated by this kind of behavior, firstly of the maniacs, secondly of Joel’s friends. I begin prodding Joel for more details about the scene.

“You don’t want to know.”

“I do want to know.”

“No, it’s bad.”

“I don’t care.”

I am staring at him invitingly, ready to listen.

He sighs and rubs his hands on his legs. He looks back at my face and I am waiting.
“You could hear the man screaming,” he says, finally. “Then the scream turns into this gargling, wheezing sound. Coming from escaping air as the mouth and trachea collapse, into, like, a pulp. Then they started stabbing the man’s chest with a screwdriver. The lungs are being punctured, and the sound kind of deflates with them.”

I am highly amused by this description. While it evokes delightful, novel feelings of sublimity with me, I am simultaneously horrified and feel sad.

“I cannot believe this,” I say, clasping my mouth in astonishment, somewhat overdramatically.

“I know. It’s fucked up.”

I start to imagine seeing this man, this object, sitting there, doing nothing, and I imagine advancing on him, waiting for the appropriate moment to reveal my weapon, so as to not disturb him.

“What were the killers like? What were they saying?” I ask.

“They were laughing the whole time!” says Joel. “They were laughing, crazily, like they were having the best time in their whole life.”

“That’s insane,” I say.

“Oh, it’s real fucking insane.”

Naturally, I am filled with many questions about the human experience- about pain and pleasure, objectification and fetishism, empathy and sadism, etc. I look into Joel’s blue, blue discs, with black little apertures in the center, recording me, and his eyebrows rise, slightly. Judging by his expression, I believe he feels comforted to have spoken about these things, possibly from a heightened, romantic perspective. I caress his head, as a mother would. I bring it close to my chest. I rub his back, and hold him in my arms, swaying from side to side.

That night we make love several times for several hours, until the sun comes up, and his head is now on my chest, dewed with sweat. We are breathing silently, relegated to the privacy of our own minds. I am reminded, for some reason, of the bestiality video Mr. Hands, which involves a grown man receiving anal sex from a horse, and this later actually kills him due to intestinal damage. I decide to tell Joel about the time my friend in high school played a prank involving Mr. Hands. Sydney burned fifty copies of the video and distributed them amongst all of the library computers, orchestrating it so that when people came in to use them in the morning, the video would just start playing automatically on all the machines.

Joel laughs and says that it’s “brilliant.”

I laugh, pleasantly reflecting on it.

We both have to go to work in two hours, and as the sunlight emerges boldly from the horizon, I am never reminded of the upcoming spring. Instead I am only lost within a season-less haze of reoccurring binaries involving tragedy and comedy, life and death, night and day, male and female.