With Elinor Glyn
On a tiger skin?
Or would you prefer
To err with her
On some other fur?
You can’t say I didn’t promise something appalling. There’s no point trying to build up to this one, it is what it is. And what it is, is Peter/Harriet furry sex-tape fic.
Let me explain. The condemned are allowed a last word.
So, there was this story in the Daily Mail (so as we know, it’s absolutely true), and subsequently in the Independent. In summary, a man was charged with the possession of extreme pornography and was on bail for six months – with the prosecution only realizing that the tiger having sex with the woman in the rather fuzzy video was not a tiger (hence the extreme pornography bit), but was in fact a man in a tiger costume, complete with Kellogg’s Frosties cereal strapline. The prosecution was dropped.
And then someone on FFA posted this comment: 'Fellow Dorothy Sayers fans, please tell me that you, too, are thinking of Busman's Honeymoon and laughing uncontrollably.'
There are two things in life I cannot resist: the common cold, and a cracky Wimseyfic premise. So here it is. You will be relieved to hear that I do at least maintain my inability to write anything explicit, so PG rating, albeit the parents in question are insane.
No shabby tigers
Who would have thought, reflected Harriet, watching as Bunter adjusted the bedroom lighting to better reflect the sheen on the tiger’s fur, that the Christmas gift of a cine-camera would bring them to this. Although knowing Lord Saint-George, perhaps one wouldn’t put it past him. It was a pity that the weather precluded outdoor filming, but a quantity of potted ferns made for a quite respectable jungle, and there was much to be said for privacy. A final adjustment of a reading lamp behind a screen comprised of a silk shirt appeared to satisfy Bunter, who was now fiddling with the tripod with an expression of fierce concentration. The necessities of a competent and discreet camera operator notwithstanding, Harriet had felt a trifle awkward at first about the inclusion of Bunter in this scenario, which went some degree beyond the duties expected of even the most personal gentleman’s gentleman. But if Bunter had been inclined to object to duties beyond the usual pale, he would have left Peter twenty years ago, and the present task at least did not involve the photographing of corpses in an imperfect state of preservation.
The tiger himself was curled placidly upon the bed, decorating the title cards with swirling vines and casting the occasional glance towards its designated prey. Peter was rather pleased with the tiger suit, an extraordinarily lifelike model acquired from a film studio. It was a trifle heavy, and took a good ten minutes to button the wearer inside it, but the result was suitably fierce, with its glinting green eyes and shimmering fur. Harriet was no longer sure whose idea the whole ridiculous business had been, but she found herself increasing glad that one of them had had it. The tiger descended from the bed and handed over the first card: India, the Jewel in the Crown - but through its dark jungles stalks the magnificent and deadly tiger, hungry for human flesh. Harriet donned her sola topee and, as Bunter aimed the camera in her direction, emerged from between the ferns into the forest of the night.
It was not a particularly complicated story - in her professional capacity Harriet would have judged it decidedly thin even for a silent picture - but it sufficed for its purpose. Harriet herself had the Agnes Ayres part, with the tiger in the role of the Sheikh. From the little Harriet knew of the behaviour of the great cats it seemed rather unlikely in practice, but very probably it was unlikely in the case of the Sheikh, too. Clad in the usual buff-coloured linen of such affairs, the explorer had woken and wandered unwisely away from the camp. Little did she imagine, as she gazed in wonder at an iridescent moth pinned to an aspidistra leaf, that the watchful tiger, scenting her with sensitive nostrils, stalking her on silent feet, was almost upon her. It leapt with a roar. She screamed – an impressive scream, it was a pity they had no facility for sound recording - and went down rather heavily beneath the animal, the effect spoilt only by the tiger’s pause to stop laughing. The great paws with their claws like meathooks tore at her clothes, helped surreptitiously by the lady herself as she struggled in its grip. The terrible mouth raked at her neck as she beat the head with ineffective hands. It raised its green eyes to her face – Peter’s eyes, visible through its mouth – the animal gaze met hers – and the mouth closed and turned aside to nuzzle at her neck with unexpected gentleness. The paws ceased to tear, and scuffed softly at her breast, her hands beating at its shoulders subsided, her fingers moved to stroke the great head. The camera whirred. The title card to be cut in later lay upon the bed: The tiger tamed? Or a new torment…
Imitate the action of the tiger; stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood... The tiger costume, reflected its inhabitant, was impressive to look at, but hot and clumsy on the inside, the paws with their sharp claws lacked subtlety. For a gentleman who prided himself on his finesse, it was a little limiting. Not that Harriet appeared unhappy; far from it, her face flushed, her hands tugged against his shoulders, the fur on his back, pulling him down hard against her. Blood and sinews knew their work. The camera whirred.
Mr Bunter, framing the fearful symmetry in the camera’s lens, looked on inexpressively. The observant viewer might have observed a faint blush in the usually sallow cheeks, a sheen on the impassive brow, but whatever the inner feelings they did not interrupt the steadiness of the hands as he composed his images. He had positioned the set, such as it was, himself, and was rather pleased with the arrangement of the potted plants, the striped light falling through them echoing the tiger’s barred back. Her ladyship had a regrettable tendency, no doubt owing in part to a careless distribution of the cushions doing duty for the forest floor, to turn her head away from the camera, before remembering abruptly that she was doing so and turning back with a jerk, her eyes dizzy. Against a theatrical struggle the tiger surged with a permitted violence, the scrape of a claw, the bloodless indentation of a long tooth in a soft shoulder. Bunter found his hand gripping the tripod and hastily released it.
The camera whirred. The tiger’s great back arched. The lady, the delirium of pleasure past, lay exhausted beneath the great beast, scarcely able to care whether the animal lust were to lead her once more to such luxuriant pastures, or the fate of the lady of Riga. The moth on the aspidistra trembled, a string whisked it aside, and through the greenery came salvation; the hunter with his great spear struck (Bunter’s arm, shirt rolled up, wielding a broom handle with a cardboard spear tip), the tiger roared, seized in agony at the death blow, spasmed, and lay still. The reel ran to its end and the whirring camera clicked to a halt.
The perspiring tiger, unbuttoned and reclining upon the bed, refreshed himself with a glass of water and looked on complacently as the cameraman changed the reel and the explorer rearranged the floor cushions.
‘It’s all very well for you to sit there purring, Peter. You don’t have to lie on them. Hand me that eiderdown.’
The tiger, forbearing to mention that the genus Panthera does not possess a true purr, meekly produced the eiderdown, remarking blandly that he was quite prepared to sacrifice himself to the floorboards if the lady preferred.
‘I don’t think that’s quite what the narrative requires.’
‘I bow to your superior artistry. Bunter, how’s that camera coming along?’
‘Nearly ready, my lord. The sprockets are a little stiff.’
There was an inelegant snigger from somewhere in the ferns.
‘I apologise for my wife,’ said his lordship. ‘It is well known that the writing of fiction leads to a sad vulgarity of mind. I take it that the sprockets are important?’
‘Yes, my lord. They ensure the smooth movement of the film in the camera mechanism.’
‘Then by all means attend to them. We shall await your pleasure.’ He spread the tiger-skin over the eiderdown.
‘I say, that looks rather fine. Harriet, will you join me? It is not quite such a couch as queens of Egypt dreamt on, but the beast died in a noble cause, and the hunter would claim his reward.’
‘I will. All under the leaves of life.’
Mervyn Bunter composed his shot with care and concentrated on a suitably aesthetic appreciation of the scene in front of him, as the deliverance of the imperiled lady was celebrated in the usual fashion upon the skin of the vanquished tiger. As a gentleman’s gentleman of many years standing, he was naturally accustomed to the appearance of his master in a state of undress, although the particular circumstances were new and entirely unexpected. Nor had he previously been privileged to witness the lady in a similar condition. A last dispassionate corner of his mind observed that her rather slender form, though attractive, was not the figure of woman that he would usually prefer, but given the situation he was evidently prepared to make an exception. His lordship, as he had long observed, made a fine gentleman. The camera whirred.
‘Goodness,’ said her ladyship some time later. ‘That was rather –’
‘Decidedly rather,’ agreed his lordship breathlessly, deprived even of the French language. ‘She hath a tongue to tame a tiger with. Poor Swinburne didn’t know what he was missing. Bunter, how long will it take you to handle it, d’you think. If you dropped all non-essentials otherwise?’
Mervyn Bunter, his conscious mind breaking from the depths, informed his lordship that to his regret the processing of the film and the necessary editing, must take two or three days to produce an acceptable result.
‘Then we must be the pattern of all patience. Look after the tiger, won’t you? I rather think he hasn’t had the last of his nine lives.’
Mr Bunter, hastening to the darkroom, promised to do just that.
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