Just over two months ago we launched a competition to find the best, undiscovered writing talent. We called it ‘Feed Your Head’. We were inundated, with over two hundred short story submissions that our panel of author judges – including Dazed favourites, Evie Wyld and Matthias “Wolfboy” Connor – had the pleasure of reading. The standard was high, with perhaps only this emerging as a piece of general advice: speak plain, use what you know and get it across to your reader in the simplest (and therefore, boldest) possible terms. Try to lighten up, not be so consciously ‘literary’ and where appropriate, be funny. Employ a bit of Vonnegut-esque life-writing, if you know what we mean.
Inspired by Bjork’s Possibly Maybe, ‘The Ticking Dick’ is writer Lisa Goldapple’s submission to our short story competition. Lisa’s story is based on a brief relationship with ‘Axtor’, an Argentinean artist, fitted with a pacemaker who fantasises about impregnating his love interest with Siamese twins. With a drop intro that made us rewind and read it again, we’d be lying if we said it didn’t make us blush. It’s a worthy runner-up, and we spoke to Lisa to find out more about this South American-set story.
Dazed Digital: Where did the idea for ‘The Ticking Dick’ come from?
Lisa Goldapple: Someone once told me you should always start a story with a dick. Actually, I’ve never tried to write fiction. I am Manzanita. I wrote and became her as much as Leandro transformed into Axtor the superhero. I’m fascinated by how we create personas that are less inhibited online and blur the boundaries between our real and fictional personalities. We’re solitary superheroes with really crappy superpowers.
DD: There are numerous references to Buenos Aires and Argentina… have you travelled there before?
You haven’t lived until you’ve voiced porn in Argentina. Years ago I realised my romantic vision of moving to Buenos Aires to wear minimalistic black clothes and horn-rimmed specs, quaff Malbec in candelit cafes and write scripts. I spent a lot of time having that affected image down, but would also cum down a mic at 10am every Monday morning, watching lesbian porn with 5 Argentine men behind a one-way soundproofed window directing me, “Más ‘Playboy’. Más ‘hot’! We do not believe you are touching yourself.” (I wasn’t). Mortifying. I lived there for a couple of years.
DD: Is the Axtor based on someone you know? Is there an autobiographical element to your story?
Axtor is someone I once knew. Getting threatened and having ‘art’ made in your honour is as ego-boosting as having a song written about you. I got made into a dummy. He gets an elongated member mention. As a fame-hungry artist, he has no problem with any form of PR. This story is my song for Axtor.
DD: How long have you been writing? Have you always had ambitions to become a writer/author?
Lisa Goldapple: I used to think of writing as a way to blag things. Now, as I struggle with disciplining myself to write The Fucking Book, I realise it’s cathartic and cheaper than CBT. I once spent 9 days alone on a cargo boat to Colombia making characters and stories I’d written up into top trump cards on the back of cigarette packets. Axtor didn’t exist in my world then, but his card would have trumped them all.
I’ve been writing music shows for MTV on-and-off for over a decade. (Don’t hold it against me). I still write about Buenos Aires for various travel publications like Time Out and The Real Argentina. However, some stories simply aren’t appropriate. I also review for Mr and Mrs Smith. This means free honeymoons, but still no man.
DD: What authors do you admire? Is there one author or text that has moved you or had a profound affect on the way you write?
Lisa Goldapple: I’m a big fan of Motley Crue’s ‘The Dirt’ for being hilariously unapologetic, ‘Catch 22’ for concept, Daren King’s ‘Boxy An Star’ for his use of language and the idea of sieveheads, and Louis de Bernières’ sexy Latin American trilogy. This question gives me the anxiety my recurrent dreams do – the pre-exam panic of not having read the book. I know what I should answer, but actually I’m in the middle of 6 texts (oddly all delightfully pornographic) and can’t seem to finish any of them. The one that’s most intriguing me is Nicholson Baker’s ‘The Fermata’.
DD: How would you describe your writing style? Lisa Goldapple: Like a nipple hair.
DD: Have you thought about writing a screenplay or another short story based on your submission?
Lisa Goldapple: In Buenos Aires, an enthusiastic American wanted to publish three years of my travel-based rambling e-mails I’d collated, as a graphic novel. My working title was ‘The World’s my Oyster, but I’m Seafood Intolerant’. He described it as “Bridget Jones on crack”. There was talk of a chapter called ‘Goldapple: The Fruits of My Labia.’ and he had my character animated in Miami. They gave me bigger tits.
THE TICKING DICK by Lisa Goldapple
“Mon petit Vulcan. You’re eruptions and disasters. I keep calm. Admiring the lava.”
Bjork – Possibly Maybe
“I can’t get the apple off the head. It’s sore. The Sharpie hurt it. The tip is most sensitive, you know?”
Then don’t fucking draw on your dick, you dick. And yes, I do know. It has been in my mouth. It won’t again – not just because you’ve decided to write CUM IN MANZANITA down it in permanent marker (even though you managed such an impressive character count), nor because you threatened me with Megadeth lyrics and made a Slut Machine effigy in my honour. I got off on that.
Axtor, the 6ft6 Argentine artist, has died 3 times. He’s got Marfan syndrome, a disorder he calls his Spiderman disease. This means he’s unusually tall, gargantuan for an Argentine. He’s got webbed and elongated fingers and toes – and dick (no webs on that). The bubble fitted in his heart keeps his deformed aorta ticking over. Yes, he actually ticks. When he sleeps or we kiss in an open-mouthed South American way I can hear the machinations of his heart. It’s a turn on to hear him pump faster. I want to fuck him to death with superhero sex, and spend far too much time googling ‘involuntary manslaughter’. For the last few days it has seemed like he, the ticking dick, might actually kill me.
‘Manzanita’ means ‘Little Apple’, as I’m known here in Buenos Aires – hence the CUM IN MANZANITA. Axtor’s real name is Leandro and he’s a fan of proclaiming that he loves me whilst crying. Last time I cried was when a couple got on in Blind Date.
I stroke his hand over the table, trying to be completely non-sexual (not too hard) or patronising (much more difficult), and wonder how long I’ll have to do this before he’ll hand my apartment keys over. I’m not putting up with any more days like yesterday: 47 calls and 3 threatening voicemail messages.
“I’m like a bomb that’s ticking. I got voices in my head. I got a doll with needles in, wishing you were dead.”
I didn’t know these were lyrics. I hadn’t noted the rhyming couplet as he was sobbing so hard.
“I’ll get you back somehow. That’s what I’m gonna do. I’ll get you back somehow, your nightmare coming true.” Another Megadeth line.
“I want you to have a hole in your heart as big as mine.” His own eloquent words. He meant it.
I first spotted Axtor when he was doing live painting and Q&A at an Urban Art show. His hair was almost as massive as his madness. I google-hunted him down. As my banter brings all the boys to the yard, within 2 mails he had asked me out. I shouldn’t have gone, not least because he has never tried alcohol or drugs.
Within days the compliments were flowing, “I normally go for beautiful models, but look at you, all ugly in your furry slippers and bad cloths and think I must be getting less superficial.” He said “cloths”. That almost annoyed me more than the insult.
Within one week he told me of his fantasy to impregnate me with his Siamese twins.
Within two weeks he’d made effigies of me. Effigies, plural. As part of an ‘Installation Off’ with another famous local artist, Axtor publicly made the ‘Slut Machine’ – a Skalextric of blood-splattered plastic cows running through a hollowed out TV set – with ‘Media’, ‘Whore’ and ‘Slut Machine’ painted across it in dripping blood. His blood. Next came the ‘EMP-TV Dummy’ – an armless mannequin attacked with paints, words and more blood. Yes, I work for MTV.
Within three weeks the dark voicemail messages started, plus he’d texted that violently flaccid dick pic, photoshopped to shit. He’d even bothered to paint the vein navy and the tip had been darkened. You could just about make out the penned apple on the head. At the bottom he’d typed, “A big dig for a bad person.” I think he meant “dick”. I posted it on my Facebook wall. My mother commented underneath, “Won’t they disable you if you post pornographic images on your wall?” For pornographic images ‘they’ disabled me. I hate that she was right. It’s not the norm.
Right now, it’s obvious he’s been sedated. I can smell the stench of cottonmouth, coffee and madness. Each time his mouth opens it makes a sad, dry, click. After two more hours sat in this Palermo coffee shop with him clutching at me, Axtor hands back my keys, plus a customised cap he’d made me – complete with a bloodstain in the shape of an apple.
We were together for a total of three weeks.
The EMP-TV Dummy is still exhibited in Buenos Aires’ Cultural Centre in Recoleta. Whilst in its café yesterday, I sent a quiche over to a man sat at another table. He had his long, grey hair in a bun and was wearing black harem pants. Apparently he’s an artist. I think they like quiches. I think I have gallery goggles.
Published in Dazed Digital, August 2012.