How the need to prove his worth to his recently deceased father led our man on the edge to an earth-shattering climax

 

This month, I’m going to describe the most powerful orgasm I ever had. But first I want to tell you a story about when my father died. He had cancer, the creeping kind. It started in his colon, then made beachheads in various vital organs, and after three years it had him ready to surrender. He lived in Geneva so it was tricky to spend much time with him, but when the doctors told us he’d taken a turn for the worse, I flew out to see him. I was hoping that I’d be able to give him a boost, and also that we would have a heart to heart chat, one of those cinematic father and son moments when wisdom is passed down.

Our relationship had always been pretty monosyllabic. Apart from our genes, we had little in common. He was a respected scientist with the World Health Organisation, I interviewed starlets from Hollyoaks for a living. He loved me, of course, but he also disapproved of me. I didn’t have a proper job. I hadn’t produced any grandchildren. I always got the feeling that I’d let him down as a son.

The hospital was so clean you couldn’t imagine anyone being allowed to die there. But in his room, the scene was awful. His hair was gone from the chemo and his skin was yellow and parched like a treasure map. His eyes were deep in their sockets, as though his face was shrinking back into the skull beneath, in preparation for death. I sat down and did all the things you do instead of facing the facts: I plumped up his pillows, moved his fruit bowl nearer, offered him some magazines I’d bought.

What did I feel? Apart from the initial surge of pity, I felt a sense of urgency. Now that he was so obviously close to dying, I wanted him to reveal some amazing truth about himself and our family. So while I stroked his forehead, I half expected him to say in a croaking voice, “Son, we are actually the secret kings of Portugal, and it’s time for you to claim your crown.” Or, “In the locked drawer of my desk you’ll find a formula that will give you special jumping powers. Use it wisely.”

I was brought back to Earth by a yelp. He clawed back the sheet and I saw that he was pissing blood. He screeched for me to fetch the bedpan, and – as he was too weak to sit up – I had to guide his penis into it. Holding my father’s cock, I watched as blood shot out of it in a bolt, as though from a sudden neck wound. Now I was paying full attention. He was a tough guy and yet this disease was whipping him. I looked at his face. If they’d given me a gun, I would have shot him right there.

Ten days later, he died. My siblings and I flew out to be with my mum. Knowing it was coming, I’d bought a new set of clothes for the funeral, expensive and black. We hugged and spoke softly for a while, and then my mother decided that she’d like to view his body before the undertakers took it away. It was down in the basement, where they had a chapel of rest.

“I want to say goodbye and make sure he looks his best,” she said. Then she asked, “Does anyone want to come with me?” My brother, sister and I swapped glances. As invitations go, a trip to see your dad’s corpse doesn’t rank very high. Certainly, the PR people at Legoland aren’t going to be shitting themselves. But we realised we couldn’t just let her go on her own and, after a few seconds of awkward silence, I cracked first.

I guided her to the lift, and then down a long green corridor, which was eerily empty and silent. When we got to the chapel of rest, I took a deep breath and followed her inside. It was just a bedroom really, with a crucifix above the bed, upon which lay my father dressed in light blue pyjamas and a bathrobe.

Because of the bleeding penis moment, we’d never had that heart to heart chat, so now I was determined to set things right. I’d say a proper goodbye. Show him I was responsible, an adult at last. He wouldn’t have to sit there in heaven worrying that I was fucking things up as usual. With my throat swelling and tears pricking at my eyes, I squeezed my mum’s hand and whispered to him, “You can rely on me. No more playing the fool, I promise.”

Farewells finished, we walked back towards the lift. Emotions swirled inside me, a mix of grief and determination. It was a terrible moment, but also a powerful one. I had pledged myself to a fresh start in life. We had gone maybe 50 yards when I realised that I’d left my scarf on his bed. It was a tasteful Georgina Von Etzdorf creation that had cost me over 100 quid. There was no way I wanted to ruin my solemn moment of closure but… well, it was a great scarf…

For about ten seconds, honour and financial meanness battled it out in my brain. There could only be one winner. I dashed back to the room, grabbed it off the bedspread. “Ooops,” I said in a goofy voice, before looking briefly at his face. “That stuff I said, Dad? Starting fro-o-o-m… now, okay?” They were the last words I spoke to him. But not the last he said to me. In fact, I kept hearing his voice in my head for ages afterwards. When your dad dies you do feel you have to step up to the plate, to put away childish things and become a proper man. You have responsibilities. To be a breadwinner. To keep the bloodline going. To honour the family name.

I thought about what he’d expected of me. As a youngster I’d been fascinated by books, and I’d told him I was going to be a writer when I grew up. He’d grafted to put me through school and university, and yet here I was pushing 40 with no book to my name. At once, it became my mission. I was going to get between hard covers whatever it took.

I hawked myself around various publishers until one agreed to take a punt on me. Admittedly, they commissioned a sex manual instead of a sensitive novel, but a book was a book, and I figured it would be easy to move onto greater things once I’d broken my duck. I wrote like a demon. 70,000 words in three months. Whenever I felt tempted to take a break, I’d feel the presence of my father urging me on. I was the prizefighter jogging through the cold, drizzle-damp streets at dawn, he was the coach riding a bicycle by my side.

Because I was working so hard, I effectively gave up having sex. But on the day I handed the manuscript over to my editor, I knew that was about to change. At last I was a bona fide author, and everybody knew that authors got more beaver than Grizzly Adams. Look at Charles Bukowski: an acne-scarred alcoholic, but he couldn’t move for groupies. Henry Miller, a satyr. HG Wells, I don’t know why he bothered doing up his flies in the morning…

In the week before publication, I was sent off to the provinces on a book tour. My first gig was at a shop in Leeds. I prepared a witty speech and planned to scope the crowd for sexy girls while delivering it. I would invite the best looking one back to my room for ‘coffee’. An earnest woman from the publishers met me at the station. Her name was Jenny. I didn’t fancy her, but – literary lion from the Big City that I was – I generously wasted some killer charm on her during the cab ride to the bookshop. As we walked in, I noticed that my photo was in the window under the headline “MEET THE WRITER”. Fulfilled and utterly confident, I winked at my dad somewhere up there in the sky, and pushed open the door.

The store was crowded. It was a home run! The manager came over and ushered me to a lectern set up in the middle of the shop. There were fifty plastic chairs arranged in rows, but bafflingly only three of them contained punters. “I’m so sorry,” he said. “We got 300 for Melvyn Bragg last Wednesday, but I’m afraid to say you haven’t quite… generated the same spark.” I must have looked downcast because he added. “There will be customers wandering through, perhaps they’ll stop and listen. Oh, that reminds me, as there are children in the shop, can you not refer to anything sexual…”

Given that my book was called Real Sex and chiefly contained advice on how to use items of fruit as a dildo, this was going to be a tall order. And so it proved. My script abandoned, I waffled away for 15 minutes, during which I managed to lose a third of my audience. Neither of the two who stayed behind bought a copy. I had failed myself and my dad.

After that… well, to tell you the truth, I had a bit of a breakdown. Jenny took me back to the hotel and as we sat in the bar the enormity of it all hit me like a cricket bat. I started crying, blubbing about how I’d let him down. Hugely embarrassed, she put a consoling arm around my shoulder and bought me a succession of vodkas. I can see now that it must have been appalling for her, witnessing the collapse of this arrogant London twat, but it also triggered a kindly response. Maybe she felt guilty – she had organised the failed event, after all – but the next thing I remember is lying on the bed and watching her unbuckle my belt, saying, “You poor, poor thing.”

Pity sex… you can scoff, but to me it was a godsend, like having an angel lift me out of hell. Selflessly, she gave me what I needed. She lay down, and I gently eased her legs open as though cracking the spine of a new hardback. She moaned softly as I thrust away inside her.

Usually I think about all kinds of things while having sex, from images of eye surgery to delay orgasm, to images of Greta Scacchi naked to spur it on, but that night one message beat through my skull over and over again. I am a writer! I am a writer! It was like Jimmy Cagney in White Heat, “I made it, ma! Top of the world!” The moment when a loser finds redemption. But instead of dying, I had a shuddering, staggering orgasm. I pulled out and my climax shot straight over Jenny’s head in a white blur, like tracer fire. It thwacked audibly into the headboard. My limbs changed instantly from tensed steel to rubber bands.

I collapsed, emptied, hollowed out like a canoe. Lying on the pillow, I eventually got my breath back. I turned to her with my confidence restored. Seductively, I said, “Maybe we can do this again when my book goes into paperback?” She looked at me, her work done, not an angel now but a publisher once more. The look said: Paperback? Don’t hold your breath.