Secrets in Lace

Monday, November 23, 2015

Excerpt from Pickup, by Constance 'Dusty' Miller.

Constance 'Dusty' Miller

It was ten below zero and the snow was going sideways. The sun was down, and while the glow in the west was spectacular, all purple and orange and salmon-pink, the rest of the sky was metallic blue and darkening.

Tammy’s pickup truck had made it exactly one mile from the Circle-J (as Rick had always called it) where she waited tables and slung corned-beef hash five shifts a week, days or nights or afternoons. 

She had twenty minutes to pick up the piglet or staff, Mrs. Stumpf for sure, were going to have all the usual things to say.

Something had broken, and smoke or steam billowed out around the rim of the hood, whipped away by half a gale. Something was burning up under there. The smell wasn’t good. Throwing off her seat-belt, worried about fire, she got out of passenger side as quickly as she could, struggling to push the door against the power of the wind. Traffic on the I-59 slipped and slithered past, throwing slush. 

Tires hissed on wet black pavement and the wind howled in her ears.

A small, upscale black coupe pulled in just past the nose of the battered 1997 Ford three-quarter ton four-by-four, a work-truck. It was the only tangible legacy of her late husband Richard.

Connor hit the passenger-side window button and leaned over as the lady came up beside his car.

She looked to be about twenty-two.

“Hi. Looks like you’re having some problems there. I was wondering if I could help.”


He lowered the hood with a bang, nipping back to the Beemer, shaking like a leaf.

Connor dropped into the seat, grateful for the warmth. The windows were already steaming up as her wet coat dried slowly.

“Yeah. It’s just the radiator, it’s not on fire. It’s nothing electrical.”

He ignored traces of tears on her face and the sniffling, which could easily be put down to a cold.

“Okay, we’d better get into town and get your daughter and then I’ll drive you home.” He cleared his throat. “I’ve got the Auto Club, and I get three free emergency tows a year…”

He looked into those eyes.

“I’ll just say you’re a family member, right? Uh…if that’s all right with you.” Too upset to think, she didn’t question it, or the need for the sticker on the rear bumper.

She nodded, fumbling around in her voluminous purse. Connor opened up the centre console, pulling out a handy-pack of tissues.


“Thank you.”

“Connor.” He reached for the gear lever, resisting the urge to pat her leg.

She nodded.

“Thank you, Connor.” The voice was low, a bit husky, but calm.

Anyone could see she was having a bad day.

He kept his foot on the brake, studying the mirror. There was a long line of traffic coming up from behind and in the slop, it took a while to get moving. People drove insanely fast in bad weather, in fact he did it himself. If he pooched this, there was going to be one hell of a pile-up.

The wipers were barely keeping up and visibility was getting down near zero.

She blew her nose and crumpled the tissue. He proffered a hand, still watching the mirror, and she reluctantly gave it up.

Connor had a small yellow trash bag, a freebie from the DMV, stuffed into the leather pocket on the back of the passenger seat. He disposed of the moist thing, resisting the urge to wipe his hand on his pant-leg or something…

“And you…?”

“Tammy. Tammy Larsson. Two esses.”

“So. Might as well get moving.”


She took a breath and with a quick gulp, told him where she lived, which he already knew.

Depth perception was gone under these conditions, but he thought he could do it and so he went.

The rear wheels spun and then caught. They were coming up fast from behind…someone put on a signal and pulled into the other lane. That one was about as close as he cared to make it.

Even after a long day on her feet, she smelled like a woman.

There was always going to be that little rush in the guts.


Her daughter’s name was Riley, which Connor thought was a great name for a kid, but Tammy called her piglet as often as not.

The day-care centre was in the centre of Fergus Falls, Minnesota. The town survived as a market and supply centre for the surrounding farm area. It was also a bit of a retirement and bedroom community for larger centres just a few miles down the road. Other than that, there wasn’t much going on if you didn’t own a business, a farm, or work for the government.

He watched her, head down, going up the front steps into the front doors of the daycare.

Predictably, his phone was buzzing. It was Reb, his wingman.

“Hey, buddy. Nice work.” Reb’s cheerful voice came in over the ether.

“Yeah. She’s inside getting the kid.”

“So how do you think we’re doing so far?”

“Yeah. We’re doing all right.”

“I’m just around the corner.”

Reb’s face was invisible when the old wrecker, long out of service but lovingly restored to working condition, cruised past in the darkening night.

A few minutes had gone by and the light had completely gone. Connor watched the front lobby, the place apparently deserted although all the lights were still on.

The staff couldn’t really leave until the last parent-kid combo had gone.

(End of excerpt.) 

Editor's note: this is a work in progress and all content is subject to change and revision.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Is Porn Unhealthy??? With Constance 'Dusty' Miller.

An interview with Constance 'Dusty' Miller

Is pornography healthy or unhealthy?

I think that depends on how you use it, how much of an obsession it is. How extreme is what you're looking at, and why are you looking at it?

Of course a certain level of prurience is healthy, sex is healthy. Visuals are important whether it’s real or virtual. You can be obsessed with sex to an unhealthy degree. Sex is clearly a good thing on some level. Yet a blind man can enjoy sex, in their case other senses would dominate in the brain.

What do you mean by that?

If you’re looking at porn fifty times a day, it’s probably an obsession. If you haven’t gotten laid in a while, and you’re thinking of going solo, it might help to spark some interest. 

Assuming you’ve masturbated since puberty, you’ve done it thousands of times. The younger you are, the less artificial stimulus you need. Older people need some help. Marginalized people, a person with some issues might need some help. At some point, there are few surprises left and it’s just a chore. It’s something that your body needs but the mind can’t get into sometimes. Great sex depends on foreplay—even when you’re alone. Which is a bit weird, especially if you’re really self-conscious. We still wonder what other people might be thinking. Has anyone guessed that I might be whacking off right now? It’s like the walls are watching sometimes—and they have their own sort of running commentary. Let's be honest. Most of us aren't that good-looking. We know what we look like. Yet it must be done. Most humans have some narcissistic impulses. What if we don't turn ourselves on? It makes it awfully hard to give ourselves pleasure, which the human body needs.

Are you a member of any particular singles group?

No, although there are places I’ve considered.

Such as?

So why not?

Because they are parents without partners.

Too much reality then; not exactly what you’re looking for. What about dating websites?

Yes, but they want money to communicate with other members, so I’m shit out of luck. Also, too many of the men are looking for surrogate mothers and unpaid domestic servants. I’m not all that interested in a quick splash in the park. Some of them are worse than that. Some of them are real creeps, and of course you’re never going to know up front who’s who and who’s what.

See any people you’d like to meet?


Do you ever look at porn?


Care to expound?

Sure. There are times when you want to write some erotica, and without a little external stimulus, it’s left entirely up to your imagination. There are some areas where I have absolutely no experience. Let’s just say it’s been a while and we’ll leave it at that.

So what are you looking for in porn?

Holy. Some kind of production values. Some kind of encounter that isn’t cheesy as hell. Something I haven’t seen before. Something with a little bit of redeeming social value…

The story is important, in other words. So what about kidnapping, non-consensual sex, simulated rape?

It has its place. It depends on how desperate and how up-tight you might be. To be raped…by the right person, that might be all right. The trouble is, it’s never going to be the right one. I suppose that’s why they call it rape. It might have value if we are unable to give ourselves permission to express ourselves sexually. The rape fantasy is one thing, the reality is of course extremely abusive. To be dependent on a rapist clearly isn’t good and healthy at all.

Have you ever been obsessed with porn?

Yes and no. Last winter, I was writing some stuff and I needed inspiration. I looked at quite a few sites and watched quite a few videos.

Were those all sites for men”

Unfortunately yes.

Do you watch the whole thing?

Not really. For the most part it isn’t very good and you skip to the next one. Most porn is real crap, it’s not sensual at all. A lot of it is just plain boring. It’s exploitive and kind of degrading if the people are not that attractive. It also depends on the activities.

Did your sex life improve?

To some degree—yes.

So what would turn on a Dusty Miller?

A bit of an approach, for one thing. Some kind of courtship ritual, some kind of mating dance. Some kind of seduction or flirtation, because I think that’s what it takes. Two people rutting like pigs with no real emotional connection doesn’t really turn my crank. Cute guys, that’s always good, but just try not to be too much of an asshole about it. I am by no means a sure thing, and it doesn’t take too much to turn me off. Sex is all in your head, when you get right down to it. I don’t want to have sex with someone I don’t like.

When was the last time you watched any kind of porn?

I watched a couple of minutes the other day.

How did that make you feel?

Well. It’s been a while, and it did kind of get my heart racing.

Is that good?

I suppose it’s better than nothing.

Do they make porn for women?


What’s the difference between porn and erotica, erotica and romance? What makes a good love story? Do women really look at this stuff?

Sometimes, but rarely. Let’s see. Porn is porn, prurient for its own sake. Erotica takes in the written word, more than pictures or video. Erotica is porn with some class. A good love story is about that emotional connection between two people and their challenges, the challenge that must be overcome to get together.

So what turns you on?

A little sensitivity. A hairy chest and a nice guy with a brain in his head. Some kind of emotional connection. The way a man talks is everything. I can't stand idiots, for one thing.

How narcissistic is BDSM?

I don’t know. Probably to some degree for both partners. I suppose it’s possible that some are looking for the sort of attention that focuses on themselves exclusively. That’s why a complementary pair is so crucial.

Hence the dominant and submissive partners.


So are you dominant or submissive?

A little bit of both, I should think. For me it’s more about role-playing games, than any great role that can never be changed.

It’s sex-play.


So what’s it really about then?

It’s probably more about the fantasy than the reality. In that sense, it’s probably healthier than self-denial, guilt, shame and all of that ilk.

Any advice for men?

There’s someone out there for you. A relationship works both ways. It’s a bit of work. Don’t slap women around. It’s probably not worth it, not if it’s gone that far.

Thank you for talking to us.

Not a problem.

Any last words?

You’ll have to wait for those. For one thing, I ain’t dead yet.

Let’s hope you find someone.

Yeah, right.

Thanks, Dusty.