“Grey will see you now.” I am ushered into Grey’s presence, still unsure as to the chain of events that led me here and now to this dingy inner sanctum. The beads of sweat gathering in audience upon my brow betray my turmoil.
“My name is Fifty Shades, perhaps you’ve heard of me?” the voice is rasping and papery “You need to know that I am a sadist of the worst written kind, and eventually you will give in to my will.”
“What is your will?” I stammer the words, overcome by the strength of Grey’s certainty. I know I cannot, I must not give in to Grey’s brutal font. But I am but an innocent, too shy and meek to refuse outright. I remain silent and lower my eyes demurely, trying to avoid the sleekly jacketed Grey.
Grey ignores my question, demonstrating even now the power imbalance between us – Grey wants me to give in, but also to know that in so doing I will gain nothing for myself. I will only suffer through the experience.
“You may be shocked to learn how quickly you submit, how quickly we’ll form an understanding. Maybe you’ll read me as an Ebook in a futile attempt to mask your disgrace, but whatever happens, soon I’ll be beating you with my inept but graphic depictions of kinky sex.”
But I refuse to accept that I will allow myself to be debased by Grey’s regrettable prose style. I beg Grey not to be so cruel and try again to work out how we got to where we are today, but my thoughts are interrupted by Grey’s sneering “In time you will be a glutton for poorly written shag books rushed out by greedy publishing companies. I am a cultural phenomenon, you can’t ignore me.”
I will do what I can to resist Grey, but I can’t fail to be impressed by the journey Grey took from humble beginnings as a piece of Twilight-derived fan fiction to world-beating pandemic of shoddy metaphors and viscous bodily fluids, porno Mills and Boon for the masturbation generation. Apparently it’s outselling the Bible.
“I’m not going to force myself upon you without your consent, especially when we don’t have safe words in place, so I won’t force you now. No, I’ll let you come to me, and when you do, you’ll beg to get underneath my covers.” Grey turns, the susurration of loose pages almost too much to bear. “Now leave me. Until next time.”
I turn to the door, but find myself pausing. To my surprise I find the temptation is too great and I can’t turn the handle. I realise that from now on every time I see someone blithely flipping through a ball-gag romance in a cafe or on the train the screws will tighten a little more. I take a deep breath and face burning with shame I turn to Grey once again.
“M…my, my safe word. ‘Dan Brown’. When I say that, you’ll know you’ve gone too far.”
Grey contrives to smirk in smug fashion; I feel regret twisting in my guts already, but am shocked that I don’t feel more embarrassed.
“Excellent. You’ll be surprised how little you regret this decision. Now tell me, how do you feel about ass to mouth?”
Cultural phenomenon my puckered rosebud.