The Pleasures of the Senses
“No, not for me the stormiest pleasures of the senses, Voluptuous enjoyment, overwhelming frenzies...” Alexander Pushkin, 1830
To each his own, I guess. I rather enjoy having my senses overwhelmed. Just the other the day I was as happy as the proverbial clam: the kids ran through the house waving light sabres and yelling lines of Star Wars dialogue, while I cranked AC/DC as loud as I could bear it and the spicy scent of a chicken curried simmered on the stove, as I opened all the windows in the house to the first sunshine of spring and cool breezes wafted over my skin and through the house. I finished washing the dishes and applied some delicious vanilla-scented hand creme. Total sensory overload - and I loved it.
But what if a cool spring-scented breeze was completely alien to you? What if you were so used to eating freeze-dried nutrition bars that the mouth-watering smell of curry spices were completely distracting? What if the pleasures of the senses were so unusual to you that you found yourself being overwhelmed by their effect on your sensory systems?
This is the problem faced by Makiko Dolan, the heroine of my recently released story, Mako’s Bounty. She’s a bounty hunter who spends most of her life in her beloved little spaceship, a Zebra 180. No chicken curry for Mako; she subsists on pre-packaged, perfectly nutritious dried food. No springtime for Mako; she’s a spacer for whom planets are a strange and alien experience. Her first experience of Earth is trying to adjust to the heavy pull of gravity, while hoping that she won’t have to encounter that completely unnatural phenomenon known as “rain.”
Under usual circumstances, Mako, who is an adventurous type, would take her time to study, enjoy and internalize these new sensory experiences, but she doesn’t have the time. She’s on Earth to capture the space pirate she’s been chasing for nine long months. She needs to be on the top of her game, not entranced by the mind-boggling flavors and sensory jolts of ice-cold, freshly-squeezed fruit juice. Mako will find that Vin Sainte, her bounty, fully intends to use her sensory system against her. She’ll discover that Vin, in and of himself, is a sensory experience that she will be unable to handle or refuse. Poor Mako *grin*
How do you think you would handle being in Mako’s grav boots? Are you the type to enjoy the stormiest pleasures of the senses? Or do you find them too distracting? I’m the former, obviously. Why, even now, the scent of the product I use to control my unruly hair is making my nostrils twitch. My feet are laughing in happiness at the feel of softest cotton. My ears are complaining about the weight of my glasses. Sometimes I wonder, in this constant barrage of sensory stimuli, how I ever manage to get anything done!
Mako’s Bounty is an e-book, available from Decadent Publishing, Amazon and all the usual online retailers. You can read the opening here.
Bio: Diane Dooley was born in the Channel Islands and grew up in Scotland. After many years of moving and traveling she finally settled down in Upstate New York where the summers are short and the winters just might kill you. She lives with her best friend/husband, who can’t fix a damn thing, and two obstreperous boy children in a falling-down farmhouse in the sticks. She is very happy.
You can check out her previous and upcoming publications on her blog, Diane Dooley: Writing, Stuff and Nonsense.
I’m giving away a pdf copy of the story. To enter the giveaway please answer this question: What is your favorite thing to smell? Contest ends Friday, March 23 at midnight EST. Please leave your email address in the comment so that Diane can contact you if you win. Contest is international.