tagIncest/TabooThirty-Six Exposures

Thirty-Six Exposures




It was just a simple manila envelope, my name and address labeled dead center—the words "photographs, do not bend" stenciled across the bottom. I'd grabbed it out of the mailbox with a thick handful of other letters and was halfway across the porch before I realized what it was.

I absently jiggled it for a second and then dropped myself into one of the old rockers we had out there, the other bills and junk left scattered across my lap as I ripped at the top edge and zipped it open with my thumb. It was all wedged in there pretty tight, two sheets of thick cardboard sandwiching the pictures—another second and I had them out, lifting the top cover away and... ...it was a woman...a girl really, eighteen or nineteen maybe, slim and posed slightly to the side, a soft roundness to her hips, a fullness in the deep curve of her partially covered breast, longish chestnut hair mantled across the gently freckled flesh of her shoulders...

Aware of the sudden hammering in my chest as I stared at her, my breathing shallow, almost labored, dizzy with a rush of pure adrenalin as I stared at her. My hands trembled as I shuffled to the next image, the girl squaring a bit more to the lens, a hesitant smile tinged with embarrassment, her right hand blurred as if she were trying to mask her nakedness as the shutter clicked.

A groaning creak as the screen door opened off to my right, "...Hi honey, how was work?"

I looked up blankly, my Mom smiling as she leaned outward, one foot on the porch, one still inside the house.

"...Good," I managed to mutter, discretely slipping the cardboard sheet back over the pictures.

"Just good?" she teased brightly.

"No, it was good," I stammered, my mind fluxed.

She rolled her eyes and let the smile come again. "...Clean up and we'll have dinner, okay? Dad's going to be running late again."

"Yeah, okay," I said, watching as she disappeared back into the house. I lifted the cardboard and slid down to the second photograph again, that same smile, the finely wrought features. I shook my head numbly, tracing down the girl's visage, down from her chin with the edge of my thumb, along the breasts with their small dark nipples, downward to that darkly rich thatch of pubic hair, along the slender rounded edge of her thigh...

"...Mom," I whispered, swaying my head yet again.


It was mid October of last year, the 14th or 15th I think. I remember how the leaves of the sugar maple were still that fiery yellow-orange, how they looked almost hot to the touch in the mangled gash the huge tree had torn through the roof of my grandmother's house. The rain had poured in hard that night, soaking the boxes of Christmas decorations and the old clothes she'd kept neatly hung on a long steel pipe. The place was dead air, even with that six foot hole to the sky, stale and old. I bent to pick up another waterlogged box, the bottom coming apart in my hands as I lifted it up and carried it across to the undamaged portion of the attic.

There were stacks of various sized boxes already piled on this side—"taxes, 71' to 80'" on scrawled on one of the them, "pay stubs, 1978-83" in magic-marker on the one immediately beneath it. I sat down thinking that all this shit should get tossed, knowing that my grandmother would shake her head and say that it wasn't doing any harm sitting up here. I spied an old banana box stashed in the corner—"Anne's school papers".

I got up and shoved some of the other junk out of the way and pulled the box into the clear, pulling the string cord to a single exposed light bulb overhead as I crouched and lifted the cover. Pictures mainly, 8x10" blowups of landscapes and artsy angles on things around the house, black and white shots in a little montage of pots simmering atop a stove, a deer with a whole apple in its mouth—and then there she was, my Mom framed in an old fashioned mirror, a bulky 35mm camera held at her waist as she clicked the nifty self portrait of herself. I smiled at it; at how effortlessly pretty she was even then. I went down through the stack, a group of high school kids kicked back against a counter in a darkroom, all of them with their camera's dangling 'round their necks, my mom second from the right, jeans and platform heels, a blouse buttoned high to her throat, a guy with thick curly hair casually draping his arm across her shoulders. I picked it out and studied it, looking at her, at the hand over her, that air of possession. I wondered if he was a boyfriend or just some guy buddy. My Mom was always very circumspect on her own youth, always bright about it, never really talking about any particulars really as concerned adolescent romances or boyfriends. I'd never been able to picture her in any type of sexual situation, which I guess you'd say is a pretty normal thing for a young kid. I just kept staring at that picture, trying to imagine her making out with this guy in some beat-up Chevy Nova or some other old 70's Detroit clunker. Letting him unbutton her blouse maybe, stiffening as he bent to suck on her untouched nipples...a flinching gasp as he bit down on it, this kid rocking his head as he tugged at it with his teeth...

"Man, you are one jacked pervert," I muttered to myself and finally dropped it back into the stack, stirring through the rest of the pictures with my hand—and then, there it was. One of those plastic film canisters from back when cameras actually used film, the weight telling there was a roll inside. I leaned away from the light and peeked up the lid, sure enough the spool of film was in there. There was no way of telling if it was exposed or just some unused castoff that my Mom had stuffed in the back of a drawer. If it was exposed, I wondered if it was still good or not—hell, I wondered if you could even still get 35mm film developed anywhere. I just figured it would be a nice touch if I did get it done and if the prints were any good at all, I could give it to her for Christmas or her birthday which was in late November.

And so I pocketed the film without any more thought—an internet search told me that under the right conditions exposed film could stay viable for years, though whether or not a blistering hot attic was a "proper" condition was up in the air. That and the fact that I couldn't get the film developed anywhere local kept it tucked in my nightstand drawer through her birthday, and then through Christmas, right up until I came home for Easter break and finally searched out a company in Illinois who ran 35mm color prints off. I mailed it out before I left for school, a money order for the developing costs and two sets of prints enclosed—the girl I'd spoken with told me that they gave no guarantees on old film and that I might get nothing at all back.

Mother's day came and went with no pictures, and then the first couple weeks of June when I moved back to work with a friend's landscaping company for the summer. I'd almost forgotten the whole deal before that hot afternoon.

Nope, it probably wouldn't have really panned out for a Christmas or Mother's day gift after all I thought wryly—a print from the center of my pile, my Mom straight and erect as a ballerina, up on her toes, those bared breasts as perfect as a young girl's breasts could ever be.

"Jesus Christ," I whispered again, tucking my head to fan through the whole stack. She was stripped completely for some of them, some with those obligatory Playboy poses of the unbuttoned cardigan, one with...

I clamped a hand over the stack, knowing that I had to get out of there, an ache in my head as if my mind was going to hemorrhage. I stood up and quietly slinked into the house, seeing my mother in the kitchen as I edged up the stairs, in my room, closing the door and locking it, setting the pictures on my unmade bed, tossing the cardboard aside and just fanning the pictures out across the mattress. They were all there, or most of them at least, the extra set of prints tucked below the first. I knelt along the bed and started to rifle through them, one after the other, seeing a bit of the tension seem to ease from her features as she went from one shot into the next—the tenth or eleventh shot in and a grin of pure carnal mischief creased her face, leaning against an old wooden desk, her back arched beautifully, hair hanging free behind her, nipples hardened.

I was hard too, ragingly hard, constricted uncomfortably in my grimy jeans. I reached down and unfastened my belt, popping the button and working the zipper blindly, my cock springing free as I tugged my jockeys down an inch or two. Looking back at it now, I guess I'm surprised that I just did it like that, no thought as to the rightness or wrongness of it—actually it was probably the absolute "wrongness" of it that had me engorged like I'd never been before. I touched it and felt the heat, found my grip without looking really and just got a frantic rhythm on it, furiously stroking myself off as my free hand milled through the photos, a picture of her balanced against the footboard of a large bed, legs spaced wide, hands gripped onto the dark wood, the tip of her tongue pressed carelessly against her upper lip, as wantonly innocent as...

It exploded out of nowhere, grunting powerfully as thick ropes of semen spat out of my cock, spasms in my gut as I came so fucking hard, feeling it rippling through my brain as I forced my eyes closed to the room's light, chewing savagely into the edge of the mattress to stifle a shriek...

I sagged against the bed, utterly spent, aware of myself panting. I carefully opened my eyes and saw what seemed a copious amount of cum plastered against my box spring, dripping downward in crawly rivulets. The photograph was clenched in my hand, crumpled, a balled-up ruin.

And surprisingly there was none of that after-the-fuck guilt I would've expected, none at all. I was messed up, I'll freely admit that. Confused—you better believe it. Shocked that in the course of ten or so minutes I'd got to see my heretofore modest and refined mother stripped bare-assed naked and that within less than a minute had jerked myself into the most wickedly delightful orgasm I'd ever experienced—sure I was fucking shocked, who wouldn't be. But I'll tell you square that I was not disappointed—hell, I couldn't wait to get myself hard and do it again.

I slowly stood up, my erection flagging. Get hard and do it again. And I knew in that exact instant that somehow she was going to know that I'd seen her like this, that she had to know—that I wanted my Mom lying awake in bed at night, eyes wide in the darkness as she wondered whether her only son was jacking off over her old nudie pictures down the hall.


"I need to give this to you," was how I started two days later, my Mom folding laundry atop the dryer on a Saturday morning, Dad off to an early golf game. I'd already scanned each of the pictures into my laptop, backing up the images on two memory sticks—negatives taped under a shelf in my closet, the second set of prints squirreled away in the bottom drawer of my dresser.

I extended the ripped envelope the photos came in to her, averting my eyes as a sudden wave of embarrassment came over me.

"What is it?"

"I think...I did something I shouldn't have...I'm sorry I..."

The stammer was genuine, so was the unexpected blush I could feel rising on my cheeks. I pressed the envelope into her hands and forced myself to watch her reaction.

She took it with a worried expression—worried for me. Hesitant as she slid the shortened stack of photographs free.

"I found the roll of film with some old pictures you had up in grandma's attic. ...I thought I'd get 'em developed and surprise you with them."

Her hand froze and a minute shudder wracked her body. She lifted the cardboard a speck, closing her eyes and biting down on her lower lip.

"I'm sorry, Mom. I just wanted to..."

"Excuse me," she rasped, clutching the photos in her hand as she squeezed past me—I watched her stagger back through the kitchen, listening to the clutter of her footfalls as she went up the stairs, her bedroom door slamming shut.

I went up a few minutes later, pausing to listen at her door but hearing nothing, wondering if she was in there looking at them. I tried to imagine how humiliated she must feel about me having seen them. I went to my room and clicked on the laptop, a password protected document where I had the images stashed, a slideshow all my own. I played around with them for a bit and then clicked off. I was agitated, pacing back and forth like a caged zoo animal. Ten minutes passed, then another twenty. I looked out the window, a beautiful summer day. She knocked softly, once, then again.

"Mom," I said as I opened the door. Her eyes were bloodshot and puffy, arms wrapped tight about her waist.

"I'm sorry," she whispered, staring at the floor, her voice breaking.

"I'm sorry, I just didn't know..."

"I was so stupid," she stammered on, stepping past me, looking around my room, still clutching herself.

"I shouldn't have gone through your things."

"It's not your fault. I should've thrown that...that filth out myself. I'm so ashamed of..."

"It's not so bad, Mom. ...It's not"

"Oh God, don't ever tell your father about these, please, promise me..."

"I won't, I won't ever tell anybody. It's our secret. ...Don't worry."

She paced up to the window and leaned forward against the sill. I found myself unconsciously studying her ass, the curve of her hips. She was 43—a good 43, but still 43, her face attractive and softly lined, the long auburn hair of her youth cut stylishly short now, a rich grayness that had come upon her while she was still in her early thirties, peppered now with an occasional strand of darkness. I noted that she was thicker in the torso now than when she posed for her little teenage pictorial, her butt ample but not fat, maybe a bit heavier in the thighs—I caught myself doing the appraisal and stopped it.

"...You looked at them?" she intoned after a moment, voice husky.


"...All of them?"

"All of 'em," I answered, nodding.

She straightened herself, wiping her eyes, trying to clear her throat a bit as she got steadied.

"They're not bad pictures, Mom."


"They aren't. They're just like what you'd see in Playboy. Hell, all the stars pose in there 'cause it's so classy and all."

"In Playboy," she muttered blackly. "...That's just what he said too..."

"Who's 'he'?" I wanted to know who got her clothes off...the fact pretty much evident in my brain that if this mystery guy got her to shuck her clothes for the camera, he pretty much had to have royally fucked her brains out. I'd been playing with the thought for the last two days, every time I was whacking off over her pics, thinking about the guy behind the lens jamming his big cock down her teenaged throat till she gagged, giving her a ferocious, hair-pulling bang on that bed she was posed against, driving her into wrenching orgasms again and again, voice wrecked with shrieks of utter abandon.

"He was such a liar," she sobbed bitterly, dabbing her eyes as she at last turned to face me. "I'm ashamed that you saw them, and I'm sorry. I hope you'll be able to..."

"You were beautiful in the pictures and I'm glad I saw them," I blurted—which wasn't in any way part of what I'd been planning to say.

"God..." she whispered, covering her face with her palms.

"No one else will ever know about them," I spoke up. "It'll just be between us, our secret...and I meant what I said about being glad I got to see them. ...You were beautiful in them. Most beautiful girl I've ever seen."

"Oh, God," she groaned, still hiding her expression from me, though I thought I heard a smile of sorts in there, a smile of sheer exasperation. "Now I'm even more embarrassed, if that's even possible,"

"Don't be embarrassed about anything, okay," I said and then on impulse went over to my dresser and took out the other photos. "...Second set of prints," I chuckled uncomfortably "...It was gonna be my secret stash."

"You were going to keep looking at them?" she said in genuine horror as she grabbed them from my hand.

"Probably," I answered.

"...Just don't think about this anymore, okay. Please."

"Unless you decide to give me 'em back?"

"I am so mortified," she said and stepped for the door, pausing to lean her forehead to the wood, eyes closed. "...You must think I'm such a slut."

"I don't think that," I lied—actually not a lie really, because I didn't think she was a slut, just a racy little babe with a really terrific body, one with a little more mileage on it than I'd ever imagined just two days prior.

"I feel literally sick over this."

"I always thought you were the most beautiful mother anybody ever had. Now I know how beautiful you were when you were younger. ...I meant it about hoping you let me see them again."

She walked out without another word and softly shut the door. I sat against my bed and for the first time realized what it was I wanted, what I really wanted.


Nothing like a nasty secret to build a bond of trust between two people, and this deal with my Mom and me was at least to her, about as nasty and dirty as you could get. And I treated it as being off the map, not alluding to it, no thinly veiled comments about it, just a smooth lake without so much as a ripple as I'd have dinner across from her and my dad.

Time was in play, and time had its own pace.

Two weeks passed before she brought it up while we sat alone in the kitchen over dinner, just the two of us.

"How are you doing, honey?"


"I mean about, you know...about that with..."

"Your Playboy spread." I teased, watching as she stared a hole into her plate.

"Please don't call it that, you have no idea how humiliating this has all been for me."

"You ever wonder about all the women who've posed for Playboy over the years, Mom. Think of them all...the one from the old Charlie's Angels, the one who died..."

"Farrah," she grinned.

"Yeah, her and Cindy Crawford...all those actresses and models."

"Just stupid naked girls in a dirty magazine."

"And some of them have sons, right, and you know that sooner or later they're going to see those pictures," I winked "...you know, probably hide 'em under the old mattress."

"That is such a creepy, creepy image."

"Look, like I told you that day, I'm glad I got to see them. You're stunning, amazing."

"Were stunning," she arched an eyebrow wryly. "...Past tense."

"You'd still be stunning, Mom, to anybody."

"...Thanks for the compliment, phony as I know it is," she said, standing up, rubbing my shoulder as she took the plate from in front of me.

"So, what are my chances on getting that second set of prints back? I really do want to see them again."

"Stop," she laughed, "...You look at some girl your own age, not me. And you shouldn't be looking at that junk anyway. It's...it is so goddamned demeaning."

"It helps if you call it art and I really do want to see 'em again. ...We can look at them together if you want."

She turned and gave me "the look"—no not that "look", but the one that I'd gotten when I was fourteen and announced that I was going to built a diving suit from a design in Popular Mechanics and try it out in the local lake.

"I'm serious. I've looked at them already so I don't really see the harm. ...Have you looked at them?"

"Just enough to want to crawl off under a rock and die."

"Come on, did you look at 'em or not? ...I'm betting you did look at them, and that if you were being honest, you'd say they were beautiful. ...So?"

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