"Right in his Belly!"

Friday, December 29, 2017


Aaron came from far away -- some said one place, some another, nobody ever was sure -- but he had a far-away look in his eyes. That look and his quiet wisdom -- deep but not bookish -- gave him a soft maturity that some of the local girls found highly attractive, if at first only because he was so different from the boys they knew.

The local boys never understood him and seldom tried. They were a quick, sharp, deft pack of brutes who loved the alleys. He was taller than most of them, and softer, with warm hands and a firm, round belly. He had come to their city to study an art with one master, but the only arts that inspired the local boys were boasting and seduction and fistfighting.

They resented Aaron, when they took notice of him at all. He was no challenge to them in their world, but his very existence seemed to be a rebuke to their coarseness. He was an easy mark for them when they felt like playing the bully or showing off in front of their girls. All he ever got from the local toughs was a sharp remark and a belly-full of knuckles.

Aaron never belonged in this place, where men were expected to be quick to flash a fist or swing a stout club. The culture prized boys who could bring a bigger foe to his knees, and Aaron was bigger than most all of them. But he never seemed to notice that he didn't fit, and he walked everywhere and dutifully took part in the local life.

Yet Aaron seemed always half lost in his own world, unaware of the local toughs as they clouded around him with cruel intentions. Even after they had jumped him or challenged him and their fists began to clout into him, he suffered terribly from their plunging blows, but he seemed never to expect them, or to see that more were coming. He stood bewildered, absorbing the physical violence. A blow that any other boy would anticipate and block, he received wide open. And his blatant aching reactions -- he made no effort to mask his suffering with manly toughness -- only seemed to inspire his tormentors.


Aaron's first exposure to the cruel attentions of his new home came a week after he arrived, when he was barely in his teens, at the town's annual Boy Brawl. This was a spectacle in the high springtime: A mandatory public mass brawl for all boys of Aaron's age, in the sand arena that stood at the edge of town. It took place under the eyes of all, and the young girls talked of it eagerly for weeks beforehand, speculating on the likely fortunes of their favorites. Even the matrons got a gleam in their eyes when they reminded each other it was nigh.

The citizens filled the arena grandstands, arriving early for the best views. The boys emerged into the center at the appointed time. They stood in a row and bowed stiffly, 40 or 50 of them stripped down for combat.

At a signal from the master of the arena, it began. The young men hurled together and scrummed in a mass in the middle, elbows and fists flying, each one seeking to put another in the dust at his feet.

Most of them charged for a particular rival at first. In the days leading up to the fight they had taunted and goaded one another, and when the brawl began each one lunged at a particular foe, full of the lust of combat. Nobody tried to fight as a team; that was considered unsporting. It was every lad for himself.

Aaron had no rival of his own, and all the other youths had dismissed him as too weak and soft to be a threat. Even at that age he had a visible curve of belly. But he knew he was expected to make an effort and he wanted the girls to approve of him. So after a few minutes hopping from foot to foot at the edge of the action with his fists raised, he took matters in his own hand. He walked determinedly up to a knot of fighters on the edge of the swirling mass and tried to latch one of the boys around the neck from behind.

The boy never even turned around. As soon as he felt the grip from behind he instinctively jerked his arm back with a fierce elbow-jab that rammed full into Aaron's belly. It was meant as a mere warding off, but Aaron hadn't braced himself and it caught the soft boy high in the gut and wide open. It drilled him deep in his stomach-curve.

Aaron staggered back and blurted a loud grunt, clutching his gut, and he blundered in place, howling, for a long time until he got his breath back. His antic performance was comic relief beside the tight, seething mass of the fighting, and it drew laughter and mockery from the onlookers. Above the noise a lusty laugh rang out from the woman who taught dancing to the girls near the temple, and she finished with an emphatic judgment: "What a big-belly oaf!"

Aaron blushed, and avoided looking up. He slowly pulled himself upright, and approached the mass again. This time he kept his big belly out of elbow range. He got as close as he dared, reached in, gripped one boy by the shoulder, and tried to turn him around. But the lad merely shook him off, then turned to see who was after him.

When he saw Aaron he sneered and made as if to turn back to the fight. But Aaron quickly squared off in what he must have thought was a fighting stance. His hands were up at his face. The boy, a lanky youth with wiry muscles, shrugged and faced him.

Aaron swept his arm in a wide swing toward the boy's face. The boy easily shied back and let the blow whiff past. Then he gave a look of disgust and punched Aaron hard in the stomach. The blow sank deep in his flesh before Aaron even began to react. The punch rippled his middle and drained his air again with a deep-bellied "OOFF!" and Aaron fell and rolled, kicking and groaning in the sand.

By the time he was on his knees and breathing right, the mass brawl had broken up into fighting pairs. Many had left the combat, too bruised to continue, and the remaining fighters had more room to maneuver. Each boy took up with a rival equal to his skill and strength. But some had no peer handy. So they went after Aaron to bide their time until a worthier foe presented himself and to build reputation with the crowed and have some fun at the expense of Aaron's pot belly.

Aaron didn't have to go in search of suffering now. It was delivered to him in heaping helpings. They abused his belly mercilessly with their knuckles. They knew exactly how to drive the breath out of him with their jabs and chops and yet keep him on his feet, though helpless, for a long round of stomach-pounding.

The first boy who deliberately made him a target that day was a short sparkplug of a lad. The smaller fighter merely menaced Aaron with a fist cocked as if to strike Aaron in the mouth, and Aaron quickly raised his hands to protect his face. The eyes in the crowd were on him now, lusting to see his pain, and his innocent  reaction made the dancing mistress smile wickedly and mutter, "yes, protect your face, you soft-bellied fool!" while some of the girls who had crowded close to the rail gasped and gripped the arms of their friends in anticipation.

The smaller boy delivered his blow and packed all his weight into it. He torqued his arm and stomped forward into a jab-punch that hammered his clenched fist deep into Aaron's helpless belly. The strike had all the effect the slugger could have hoped. Aaron flew back, arms windmilling, eyes bulging wide, mouth open round to sound the low, loud "OOOOO" that announced his gut-suffering.

He tripped and sprawled in the sand, writhing, and turned on his side, lost in the pain and panic of a breathless bellyache. His smaller opponent rushed up to him and gave him a firm kick in the stomach. That spilled Aaron onto his back, arms flung wide, in mindless agony, and his tormentor responded with a firm heel-stomp into his belly. Then he looked down at Aaron and spat, "get up, so I can beat you some more!"

Aaron, now beside himself in the throes of suffering and humiliation, nonetheless managed to obey his tormentor as best he could. He got to his knees, but was too breathless to stand.

The boy grabbed Aaron by the hair. Aaron's hapless hands flew to his head. "I said, stand up, SOFT BELLY!" he shouted and as he said it he delivered a swift boot to the belly of the helpless boy. Aaron collapsed again in the sand.

The merry dancing mistress led the applause and shouts of approval.

It was not to his credit that Aaron lasted more than half of the contest. He never managed to land a single blow, and he survived only as a punching bag, not worth the trouble of any one boy to take him out completely. They wouldn't knock him out, and he couldn't defend himself or fight back. All he could do was take his beatings under the eyes of the whole town. Until at last he was too deflated to get back on his feet, and crawled on his belly to safety out of the arena. When he could stand again, he staggered home and up the stairs to his room, too beaten and exhausted and ashamed to do anything but throw himself on his bed.


Aaron stood at the crest of the hill and took in the view. The ribbon of road ran in one long curve down into the dingy town that straggled between the headlands. The green sea rolled beyond. He could still name the larger buildings: the academy, the dance mistress's school, the mayory. Off to the left stood the round stump of the arena, with its flag, where he had suffered such a beating on his introduction to the town 18 years before.

The memories -- and there had been so many beatings dealt to him in this place -- moved him in no way. He merely remembered them. They left no mark on his body or mind. His purpose always was elsewhere, and his own.

And now the path led back to this place. He thought of how his new friends had shuddered or frowned when he told them where he was bound -- they had heard his stories -- but he had set out with the same calm good nature he brought to every task.

His first purpose here was to again find the one friend he had made in those years. It was an odd friendship, even he would admit, but he had kept up his correspondence with her, though they seldom talked of their realities. She, like he, had lived for the future, in hopes and ideals.

When he had come here first, a young stranger innocently walking into a den of menace, he had taken work as a serving boy in a tavern down the alley from his room. To call it seedy in a place where all had gone to seed was redundant. But he never saw things as such. It was work done for silver he needed, and he did it dutifully. Even if on many nights he seemed to serve more as the sport of the patrons than their server.

Alise Miral had worked the taps and rinsed the pots in the cellar. She was an orphaned distant cousin of the owners', a little younger than Aaron but already a tall, strapping, strong-minded girl. She was bound for better things than this scullery work, she would let you know. When she had got Aaron to speak of his own ideals and desires, she instinctively latched on to them as if they were her own. Some days he felt she was the only other person in that town with a heart.

So he would stand at the tables, with his large belly looming out at eye-level, inviting the attention of the roughs who took the place for their pleasure den, and patiently take their orders for drink. And he would go down to Alise and help her pour or prepare what was wanted. The space for their work was cramped and tight, and close contact simply was part of the job. It would be nothing odd for Aaron to find himself answering her questions about his destiny, or listening as she described the art she would make someday, with her pressed up to his belly by the wall behind her, one hand resting on his upper stomach, the other pointing or gesturing in front of his face.

They passed hours in each other's company for two years. When the owners first noticed, they grumbled that there would be trouble from such intimacy, but though they watched, nothing ever "progressed," as they could see it, and soon they lost interest and forgot the pair of oddities in their employment. Invisible to the world, Aaron and Alise in their way had formed an intimacy all their own.

Often when he came out of the cellar to deliver his orders his mind was still back with her, formulating the answer to a probing question Alise had asked, intending to continue their conversation in the cellar. And often that conversation had to wait.

Some customer, with gnarled fists and a cruel eye, would have marked him for prey. They resented him for so many reasons -- his quiet intelligence, his superior manners in an inferior position, the way he casually wrote what they could never read.

As Aaron walked across the room, the man would veer into him and bump him hard, then turn on him.

"What do you mean tripping me, you big-bellied clown?"

Aaron would pull himself up and answer mildly, "but I didn't ..."

"So you call me liar, too?" the thug barked. "So you think to make an ass of me here in front of all these fine gentlemen?" A flurry of laughter from the house, where every eye had turned to get a view of the coming scene.

"No, sir, I merely would point out that gl-UUUNGHHH!!" which was not at all what Aaron had intended to point out, but which was the sound he was forced to make by the ruffian's bare fist clomped firmly into his unsuspecting belly.

Aaron would flop back into a post or table, instantly helpless and hurled deep into agony, cradling his belly and making faces. It was his nature to feel intensely. It was his nature to always be abstracted from the immediate moment. And sudden attacks froze his mind to the core, left him unable to anticipate or control anything. He became a mere body -- the big wise kid had become a tall dummy with a round moon of a belly that pleasingly soaked up their fists.

The open room, with its hard, stained wood floors, became Aaron's torture chamber, where the tight-fisted fighting man measured up the rage and resentment of his day, his week, his life, and paid it out in harsh pummeling fists, plunged one by one into poor Aaron's soft belly.

He'd gore one up into him that hoisted Aaron to his toes, then wrench it out and leave the helpless man leaning forward, mouth hung open, and before gravity brought Aaron down again, the thug would spear the other fist into Aaron's helpless stomach, jiggle his loins and drive him clear across the room and back to the wall.

And as Aaron stood there sucking air, eyes unfocused, the man casually strode up to him, looked him up and down, and pronounced his judgment: "Soft-bellied wimp." Then he walloped Aaron in his belly with his fist, a kettle-drum thump of a stomach-punch that produced another robust bellypunch grunt.

His punch was like a hot iron in Aaron. The pain and violation were intense, but the shock went right to his core. He doubled far over. The crowd laughed richly as they watched Aaron do another suffering stagger-dance, dissolving into softness in front of them.

"Lift him up," someone called out. "Let's see your fist-mark on his belly."

He reached down and hauled Aaron up by the collar. Aaron's mouth gaped and he whined, but he had no voice. His hands hung useless at his sides. The defenseless curve of his belly thrust out, with a visible fist-stamp creased into the fabric.

The thug spun him around and quickly bashed the flat of his fist against Aaron's open belly. When the suffering boy started to fold over from that, he swing an uppercut under him, caught Aaron right in the stomach with it, and knocked him back upright for more bread-basket punishment.

He gave Aaron a hard uppercut jab high in his stomach. Aaron barked out a sharp "UUH!" and jumped up and backward, smitten with a wicked belly-ache and breathless lungs. He took the thug's next bellypunch with his gut pushed out. He doubled over completely, jack-knifed at the waist. His hands went up under the fold of his body, gripping his stomach where he had been hit. His mouth gaped open, but no sound came out. Then he fell to his knees, and plunged to the floor.

The ruffian had had his fill. Sated, smiling, he sauntered back to his table and returned to his drink, hardly even casting a glance back at the ruin he had made of the serving boy.

Aaron stayed down a long time, but the calls for drink began to ring out. He fought to his knees, crawled to a post, used it to right himself. He wobbled to the table and straightened his shirt as best he could, though his lower belly still protruded, and took the order. Then he shuffled painfully off to the cellar.

While this happened, he noticed, the cellar door had stayed open a crack, even though he always shut it. When he came down the stairs moaning, he found Alise busy at something. But her hands trembled, and she could not look him in the eye for some time and her voice had a deeper, quieter tone. She never spoke a word to him of his frequent beatings and abuse. But he noticed, too, that after he had gotten his stomach pummeled in the tavern she found more occasion to have her hand on his bulging belly, and he often felt her palm rest there, trembling fingers touching him undercurve or upper curve.


Aaron and Alise were to meet at the tavern where they both had slaved, long ago. This was her idea. He knew she had moved on from the tavern shortly after he left the town, but she still lived in its neighborhood. Alise had written him, however, that he wouldn't be able to find her house in the town's labyrinthine streets. "Meet me in the tavern. Be there in the morning, before there's a crowd," her last message said. Aaron thought his memory for such things was excellent and he easily could find her new home, but he went along with her suggestion.

He found the tavern little changed outside; the same wood and plaster, only darker and dingier, if that was possible. He stood there lost in harsh memories as clouds and sun passed over him, with his hand against the battered door. He remembered Alise's hand laid on his stomach in just that way. He sighed and pushed inside.

The warm, stale air of the place hit him like a remembered perfume from hell. He stood blinking in the dim interior. A young girl he did not recognize stood nearby with a broom in hand, dully sweeping the boards. She glanced up at him then resumed her work. He tried to place her, but then he remembered, of course she wouldn't even have been born yet when he last was in here. He began to hope the town had forgotten him entirely.

No sooner had the thought come to him than he heard a harsh cackle and a man's voice said, "Well look who's back in town! The Belly Wimp himself!"

Aaron knew the voice, and at once remembered the sneer of the man's lip and the force of his punches. The speaker stepped out of the gloom into the space in front of the door. His black hair was salted with gray now, but he had the same sinewed arms and he looked every inch the the horny-fisted brawling sailorman he had been when he dealt Aaron a dozen beatings in this very room.

But now he smiled, held out an open hand, and offered, "here, shake." Aaron innocently accepted the grip, which instantly clamped hard and pulled him forward into a harsh jab in the stomach from the man's other fist. Aaron doubled right over with a gagging groan.

The serving girl, broom in hand, watched wide-eyed and said, "oooh!, right in his belly!" It seemed to inspire the bully.

"Just as slow-witted and pot-bellied as ever, I see," he said to Aaron, who simply stood bent double, as if bowing to the man who punched him, and heaving for air.

All Aaron could manage in reply was "oooooooaah, my belly!" He had never known to restrain his reactions; when he got hit, his mind entered a sealed world of his own and whatever flooded his thought spilled out his mouth, if he had breath to speak it.

The thug grabbed Aaron by the scruff of the neck and hauled him deeper into the place, then threw him forward into a wall. A wooden shelf jutted out from the wall for patrons to set their drinks on as they stood, and Aaron hit it belly-first. It jutted right into his stomach. He took it with an OOF!, wheeled breathlessly, and sagged back against it, his knees buckling. The old tough caught him by the throat and held him up. Aaron's big moist hands flew to the choking grip around his neck, forgetting entirely to guard his round belly. The sailor made something of the occasion.

"Somebody said Belly Boy was coming back to town," he hissed. "Did you expect a parade? Here, I'll give you a fireworks show, right in the gut."

With one free hand he gave Aaron a cruel belly-whomping. Uppercuts, jabs, chops with the side of the fist -- his knuckles did a slam dance on Aaron's poor belly. Aaron himself called out in time to the punches, OOF! UUH! OOUGH! HUNNH! The thug clouted him over and over, bouncing fists off his big belly with hollow drum-thump sounds.

The serving girl stood transfixed, forgetting her work. The other patrons shouted encouragement. "Give him another one!" "Yeah, that's it, right in the stomach!" "Knock the wind out of him." "Look at his belly!!"

At last Aaron's tormentor let him drop. Aaron squirmed on his knees, bobbing his body, both hands cradling his punched stomach. The bully grabbed the broom from the serving girl's hands and said, "watch what I do to him now. Just for you. I'll give him a belly-ache to remember."

He stepped behind Aaron, pulled one of Aaron's arms back chicken-wing, and slid the broom-handle under it, then forced it under the other arm, at the shoulder. Now Aaron's arms were pulled back helplessly. He tried to clutch his stomach, but could only reach to his flanks.

The brute pulled him up by the hair and made him stand. Aaron looked ridiculous as he tried to writhe himself out of this deeply vulnerable position, but he couldn't find a way. He gave up and simply hunched forward, gasping, his arms pulled back, as defenseless as if he had had another foe behind him, gripping and holding him open.

The brute chuckled, eyed him, and then went to work. Act Two of Aaron's Bellyache. The belly-beating that followed was twice as long and sharp as the first performance. Fists seemed to pummel Aaron's open belly from every direction; he lost himself in the suffering and felt himself drowning  under attack from a swarm of enraged disembodied fists, clouding him like hornets, clouting his soft flesh. The jabs sank to his core and demolished his self-control.

Somehow he became aware that it had ended. The thug wrenched the handle out of his arms and handed it back to the girl, who was watching the sailor with a gleam in her eye. Then he bullied Aaron back to his feet and shoved Aaron back against the door.

"Come back any time you want your belly beat up!"

A woman rose quietly from the dark booth at the far end of the place. You never could see who was in that booth. At first Aaron saw only her silhouette. Then she stepped into a shaft of light. It was Alise; Aaron knew her at once by her face and shape and by the style of her clothes.

The thug gave Aaron a standing kick in the gut that tumbled him out the door and onto the street, flat on his back. He lay there under the sky, suffering. After a minute Alise emerged. Her face was blank, tight, expressionless. She helped him up to his feet. He wanted to say you look the same, you're still yo, I missed youu. All he could manage was a croak: "ooh, my belly!"

She replied, "come to my place. I will help you."


Her house was a short walk away (he could have found it easily), small but elegant. But as they reached it she gasped: The wood had been splintered at the lock, and the door hung open.

Aaron stepped ahead of her, but as soon as he passed the doorway he met two men charging out. The first held a two-handed sledgehammer. The one behind him carried an iron-bound wooden chest on his shoulder. They hardly paused to size him up. The one with the hammer swung it at the waist and mashed the heavy head of it smack into Aaron's large belly, flattening him against the wall with a pitiful OOF!

He held the iron mass firmly in place while Aaron squirmed and flailed breathlessly, to allow the other man to pass him and run off with the chest.

Alise tried to grab him, but he shook her off, and the hammer-man then dropped Aaron on the floor and took off himself, deliberately knocking Alise hard to the ground as he passed. In a second, they were both gone.

Aaron, still breathless, got to Alise and helped her up. She tried to run after the men, but he restrained her. She was sobbing and breathless herself, but not from the knock she had taken. "They got everything," she wailed, "they got it all! They knew, they knew just where it was."

She sank to the ground and he sat beside her. She looked at him guiltily. "Your object, what you came back here for is gone. It was in the chest. They took it, I'm sorry." Then she seemed to panic again. "And I ... they took from me ... oh!" she broke down in tears.

"Who were they?" Aaron gasped.

"I know those bastards," she wept. "They sulk around the temple. They did this for the priestess, Sonia, I am sure. She is behind this. But they don't know about my ... But now they will ..." She wept again.

Aaron steered her inside, made a hot drink for her, tried to calm her. In flurries, between her rage and sorrowing, he tried to piece it all together. She admitted she had told ... certain men ... that Aaron was coming back to town. But nothing more. "All I said was that you wanted something important to you and that I had it and that we were meeting in the tavern. Thar's all, I swear. I said it was valuable only to you, it had no worth here."

"That would be information enough, if it got to Sonia," he told her. During his first time here, Sonia had been a junior in the sodality of the temple, as well as a prima among the dancers. And she had taken an unusual interest in him, though hardly a kind one. She, of all the people in the town, seemed to guess that Aaron was more than he seemed, that his secret was bigger than this place and worth stealing. That he allowed himself to be beaten and abused by these louts because he had his eyes on something big.

"She never learned it, but I doubt she ever forgot that it existed," he thought. "Not her. She would have spent the years spinning her powers, guessing and testing, keeping her spies on all the roads. She would test her theories, dancing closer to the truth."

"What did they take from you?" he asked Alise.

"Nothing ... everything," she said mournfully. "I kept only secrets in that box. Your object. A few personal things. And my art. There was art in it."

"Your art? But your art isn't ..."

"It was not the art anyone sees. It was only for me. Deeply personal. I didn't want anyone ever to know, but now ..." her tears welled again.

"I will go and deal with Sonia," he said, standing.

She looked at him doubtfully. But what other hope was there? "Promise me one thing. If you do recover what is mine, don't look at it. Promise me?"

"I do."


He did his best to put her door back in order. Then he rummaged her kitchen and made dinner for both of them. She ate glumly. He tried to distract and cheer her with questions. Alise showed him her art, hung on her walls. He wondered at the beautiful scenes full of light and the lovely forms she created that never could have come from any inspiration in this dingy town.

Then she pulled out the pillows and he made himself a bed in her front room, while she retreated into the back with the lantern. He lay with the moonlight on him and tried to think of a plan. Surrounded by the joy and beauty of Alise's art, and with her sobs seeping through the walls behind, his heart felt like breaking.

No plan came to him, so he slept. He awoke before dawn, and slipped out the door, with his hood high over his head, before Alise awoke. Better this way.

The thing that had been stolen from him was a small piece of a large creation. It had been something he carried with him from his home, and he left it in the care of Alise. But over the years, more and more of that larger creation had died or been destroyed. The little piece now loomed large. Much of his own hope and destiny was wrapped in it. At any minute he expected to feel a piercing sensation, like an icicle in the heart, when it fell into the hands of Sonia, who knew well how to turn any magic against a man.

Yet that moment did not come, and as he walked the streets he drew a little hope from that, though it puzzled him. He made his way by side streets, always in the direction of the temple.

As his mind groped for a plan, it also filled with Sonia. The sun was rising. With every step he drew closer to her. He knew well the ways and rituals of the high priestess. She and he might be the only two in this lazy town awake and active at this hour.

She would have risen from sleep in a state of mind unlike his. From the second she opened here eyes she would be whole, complete, knowing herself in full, never a doubt. Unlike him, Sonia lived in full assurance of herself.

Now she was stepping into the ritual bath in the temple omphalium. Now she was rising from it, glistening; now the acolytes were toweling her gently. Now she was performing the ritual ablutions, now perfuming her dark and elegant navel with the sacred nectar. Now she was sliding her delicate arms into the gown, of finely-woven, well-wrought stuff, colored over with arcane designs and open at the center to bare her belly; now she was strapping the golden sandals to her feet.

And now he stood in the shadow of the temple itself. He had expected to meet the two thugs standing guard, as usual -- Alise had told him to expect that. But there was no guard, only a girl's face in an open panel of the ancient double-doors. She stared at him, expressionless.

"My name is Aaron, I would like ..."

"You are expected. Follow me."

The panel snapped shut, then the door opened. The girl walked down the hall, not turning to see if he followed. As she led him deeper inside, the heat and the perfumed air grew stronger. He followed her into the sanctum, and then she bowed and left.

He took a deep breath in the warm, damp air. It was as he remembered, from when another woman had reigned here and Sonia had been just one of the sodality. The red and gold; the lotus pool bubbling quietly in the center of the room, the canopies and pillows around the walls. The acolytes sat cross-legged by the pool, four on each side.

And between them stood Sonia, tall, lithe, regal, aquiline-nosed. Her black eyes flashed at him under the arches of her brows. Her face was lined and her waves of inky hair bore streaks of gray, but she was the same lightning bolt of a woman. She wore a crimson gown, and her sensual slit of a navel seemed to mock and beckon him, as ever.

"So kind of you to answer my summons, Aaron," she purred.

"Sonia, I ..."

"Yes, I was Sonia to you once," she raised her voice. The acolytes exchanged furtive glances. "Now you may address me correctly as Regina Umbilica -- Lady Belly-Button, to you," she added with a turn of her lip.

She walked slowly toward him, around the ring of girls. Her every move and gesture called constant, if subtle, attention to her bared navel, the core and source of all her power and magic. "You remember me, Aaron? You remember how I once held you here? With this?"

She flourished her hips and her long, elegant belly, He swallowed hard and took the chance. He had only a guess, but it was all he had.

"You haven't got it," he said. "They didn't bring it to you. The louts ran off with it themselves."

"You pot-bellied FOOL!" Her voice rang out. He had guessed right, but now he knew he would pay for it. "Do you think I need anything from YOU?" And she flung her arms up high, and as she did the air flickered around her and out of it congealed eight slender fists, a fan of four at each side of her, magically conjured. Each one was her hand, painted nails and all. Aaron knew this magic, and he startled. He had never seen this from her. She had grown so strong.

Sonia turned her wrists and wreathed her fingers, and as she did the conjured hands fell into formation and swam through the air toward him. Four darted forth and grabbed him, wrists and ankles, and held him in a grip unexpectedly strong, an open X. But the others came soft-handed. One tousled his hair, two caressed and teased his belly.

The fourth reached low and stroked him hard in an instant, as Sonia took a seductive step toward him and smiled.

"Your will-power is still as weak as your soft belly, I see."

"Sonia, I ..."

Her eyes blazed and she scribbled in the air with her fingers, her lips set tight, and the caressing hands quickly clenched. The one in his hair turned to a grip and held his head upright. The three below arced out and torpedoed back into him, one after another in rapid succession, plunging their knuckles into the meat of his belly. "OOF!" "UUH!" "OOGH!"

The small, sharp hands hit as hard as the sledgehammer. They circled quickly and lunged at him again, hit him again, an uppercut bellypunch, a pounding clomp down into his stomach curve, and a furious jab right in his core.


The sub-priestesses stared transfixed as Sonia punished him, writing out her wrath on his belly. Sonia flicked her hand, and the fists paused. "Would you like to try again?"

He gasped for air. When he found enough he croaked, "Yes, Lady Belly-Button."

"Better." With a clap of her hand she dismissed the acolytes. They filed out with a swish of perfumed silks. When the last of them had vanished down the corridor, she said, "Ariadne, join us." The young girl who had admitted Aaron into the temple stepped out silently from a door behind one of the tapestries and came to Sonia's side.

"Those stupid geese have no skills suitable for a priestess," Sonia said. "Only the wealth of their parents keeps them here." She turned her glance to the girl beside her, still watching Aaron's reaction to her.

"Aria, here," she said slowly, "will be my heir and successor as Regina Umbilica. I have begun to instruct her in the finer ways. Her power is formidable, but raw. As you shall see."


"Explore him, darling," she said to Aria. "He's mine now. Someday perhaps he will be yours."

Aria walked a slow, precise circle around the hanging man, eyeing him up and down. As she stepped out from behind him she laid a cold hand on his flank and let it follow the curve of his round stomach. She rested it on him, then gave a sharp shove with the heel of her hand against Aaron's upper stomach. He let go an involuntary "OOF!"

"His belly is just as you described it to me, my queen," she said at last. Sonia smiled.

"Firm as a pillow and taut as a sponge," Sonia mocked. "Every time he gets a real man's fist slammed in his gut, the wimp loses all his breath."

"What a soft-bellied wimp," Aria said.

"And ideal for our plan, isn't he?" Sonia smiled.

The priestess herself now walked a circle around Aaron, a hand on his belly the whole time, one then the other touching him there; he felt her heat.

"I don't even want your magical trinket, bellywimp. Not now. All I want is my revenge on those two louts who think they can thieve from me. Do you know how furious it makes me?" Aaron could feel the tremble in her touch. He pictured the eight floating hands, each armed with a sharp knife.

"Frankly it was only ever curiosity that drew me to try to steal it from your painter-girl. But my former captain of the guards, and his idiot sidekick, think I would pay a queen's ransom for it. Of course, they're just smart enough to not trust me. They demand that I send Aria, alone, with the gold."

She stopped in front of Aaron and locked her eyes onto his.

"And so I shall. But you'll follow her."

"Why," he said. "I'm not good at spy work. They'll find me."

"You want your precious object back? You will do as I require. I told you I don't need it any more. You can have it, and whatever else is in that chest. I want those men."

"They will discover me."

"Of course then will, you big-bellied oaf. That is what I intend. Your capture will allow Ariadne to delay their flight, long enough for me to snatch them up."

"I don't understand."

"Understanding is my business. Your business is blundering into a trap. Something you do quite well. I will need time, and your weak belly is going to buy it for me."

"What if I refuse?"

"What other hope do you have?" she said, scornfully. Then added, with a cruel flicker of a smile, "And what will your Alise say if you fail?"

He hung silently. Then he drew up what strength he could rally. "I need to know more. Now. If I am to play my part properly."

Sonia ignored him, turned and walked to her desk, reached into a drawer, her back to him.

Aria spoke. Her voice high, angelic, and cold as crystal: "They will beat you up. For me. The captain is very desperate to please me; he has tried again and again to gain my favor ever since the day I arrived. He is a fool to desire so; he has no notion of my power. I would freeze his heart. But he is a man. I have shown him nothing but the coldness he deserves. That is why he intends to take me with him, along with the ransom and the magical secret."

Aaron looked at Sonia, at her desk still. She answered without turning. "Do you wonder why I want my revenge on him? But he is so transparent, so ... male. Why else would he ask for exactly Ariadne to bring him the gold? He is beautifully sadistic, but very simple, even for a man. He is the one who plunked his hammerhead into your belly last night. Yes, I know that, too. I know many things, Softbelly."

Sonia flourished one hand; the magical grip finally relaxed and Aaron fell heavily forward to his hands and knees. The magical floating hands melted into nothing. He knelt, rubbing his wrists.

"Go now," Sonia commanded. Aaron rose unsteadily to his feet. "Aria will show you out and tell you what you will do tonight."


He approached Alise's house from the back alley, and stood beneath her studio window and tapped. "Alise, it's me," he spoke low and hurriedly. He heard the back door latch rattle, and he slipped inside.

"Have you got it?" she asked breathlessly.

"No, but I will tonight. At least I think I will." She dropped, crestfallen.

"Sonia doesn't have it, either."

"Then who --"

"I can't tell you, but there's a plan to recover everything, and I must play a part in it, it seems."

"Whose plan? You tell me nothing. I have a stake in this, too, remember? You owe me the truth!"

He looked away from her gaze.

"Lock the door. Come in to the middle room and I will tell you what I know."

At the end of half an hour, she still had many questions, but Aaron was out of answers.

"First, Ariadne will go to the rendezvous," he explained again. "If she is alone -- and they will be watching -- she will be told the meeting place."

"And you will be on the next street or alley, watching her," Alise said, repeating what he had told her. "And you will follow her to -- wherever the deal is to be done. And they will capture you. And I still don't understand how you get my chest back. I am going with you."

"No you are not," he shot back. "It is a trap, I go to be captured and beaten. If Sonia fails, there's no telling what they will do to me."

"If Sonia fails, I won't. I am going with you. You said sunset? There's no time to argue. Get on your feet. Let's go."

They tracked Ariadne as she made her way to the east end of town and down a blind alley between two shops.

"I can't see her," Alise whispered to Aaron as they stood at the end of the row. "She could be playing a trick on us."

"This is part of the plan," Aaron assured her. "There's an old well back there. She'll find a scrap of parchment under the stone curb of the well. It will tell her where the deal is to be done. She has to move quickly after that; they only gave her a short time. And she has to signal to Sonia."

Ariadne soon stepped out again on the street, pulled her cloak tight around her neck, and walked quickly down the road toward them. Alise ducked into a darkened doorway and grabbed Aaron around the waist and pulled him in with her. There in the tight space he felt Alise's heart pounding against his back as her hands held his stomach. Ariadne passed without a glance.

When the echo of her footsteps on the cobbles had faded, the peered out. They saw her ahead. "Going toward the docks," Alise said.

They had to walk quickly to keep up, and carefully to keep their distance. When they got in sight of the water, the moon had risen and in the white light they saw three hukling merchant ships, fat and dark. And at the far end a trim-keeled two-master with a full cloud of sail, straining like a hound on the leash and ready to bolt for the open sea. And Ariadne had just gone up the plank and stepped aboard.

Alise and Aaron hurried from shadow to shadow till they stood by the ship, and they read "Falcon" in gold paint on her taffrail. They listened. A man's voice, from below decks, the words indistinct. Then Aria's clear laugh.

They crept up the plank and onto the ship's wooden deck. They crouched behind a coil of rope and peered in the direction of the voices. Through an open door, lantern-light shone.

"I can see my chest," Alise whispered. Aaron looked. Through the doorway he saw a wooden box. Its lock had been smashed, but the lid was closed.

They heard the man's voice again. "Now let's have a look at that gold."

"Wait here," Aaron said; "you don't want to fall into their hands. Or Sonia's."

Aaron crept toward the door.


Alise saw the dark shape leap down from the spar and land on Aaron's back, knocking him to the deck. The thud of his body dropping shook the slender craft, and with growls and curses the captain of the temple guards surged up the stairs, pulling Ariadne with him by the wrist. Aaron was on his knees, rubbing the back of his head.

Alise shrank back as far into the shadows as she could. Evidently the captain's henchman, up in the rigging, had not seen her. His view was blocked by the spread of the sail, and he had seen Aaron only when he approached the door.

"Found your spy," the other man growled to Aria. "Caught him lurking."

Ariadne pulled away from the captain 's grip. "He's not with me. He's a pot-bellied fool who thinks this magical treasure is his. And he thinks I should be his, too."

"Oh, is that so?" The captain said, grabbing Aaron roughly by the collar and hauling him upright.

Then he paused and looked around. "Where's the girl? That painter-slut. She was with him, following you."

That wasn't in the plan, but Aria took the news without missing a beat. She shrugged. "Ran off. Got cold feet. Who knows? She has no spirit."

The captain looked suspicious. "Ran off to tell Sonia, perhaps? When you double-cross a witch, you trust nothing."

The other man said, "too many spies already. I don't like how this is going. Let's kill him quickly, bind up your wench, and be off."

Ariadne ignored him and turned her body to the captain. "You think you're worthy of me, captain? Prove it and I'll go willingly."

The captain hesitated a second. It was all she needed.

"I hear you're a handy man with your fists and a staff," she cooed. He straightened up and held his chin out. The captain's henchman stood with his mouth open. She gestured with a white hand to Aaron. "I don't care what you do to this big-bellied oaf here. But before you do it, I'd love to see you give him a belly-ache to remember me by."

In one gesture the captain flung Aaron away from him and grabbed up his fighting-staff from the rack where it hung in the cockpit. Every man in town had such a weapon: They were cut from saplings, six feet long, with a rounded club at one end six inches across and tapering to three inches wide at the base. The base, too was rounded; the whole was polished and hard as bone.

Aaron remembered well what that thing could do to his soft body. The captain took down another staff and threw it to Aaron. He fumbled it, dropped it, picked it up again, held it awkwardly.

"Hans, get below and guard that damned box with your life," the captain said. "The artist-bitch may be hanging about yet, and who knows who else."

"We should be ten minutes out to sea and headed for the Southern Isles by now," Hans muttered, but he obeyed.

"This won't take but a minute," the captain said, spinning his staff deftly in his hands, twirling it in front of him, and eyeing Aaron hungrily.

Alise feared the thumping of her heart would give her away. She stilled her breath.

Ariadne stood staring at Aaron with a serene smile. "Look at his belly," she said.

Aaron shifted his feet. The captain laughed. "His belly is the perfect target, my dear lady. Let me show you what I do to such worthless men as this. En garde!"

The captain took a menacing stomp forward and poked high with the small end of his staff. Aaron took the fake entirely, raising his arms up, holding the staff crossways, as if to block a blow to the face.

The captain, laughing, clacked his own staff against Aaron's knocking it clear out of his hands, then he spun on one heel and with his back to Aaron jabbed the thick butt of his staff firmly into the other man's curved-out stomach.

"Ooooh!" Aria cooed approvingly.

"UUUUUH!" Aaron bellowed miserably. He tried to draw a breath, but nothing happened. Another involuntary moan let out the last of the air in him, and he stood now breathless. The captain was still in motion. He pivoted away from Aaron's helpless bulk, jabbed the small of the staff on the deck with a hollow thump, and lept into the air still gripping his weapon. His momentum carried him in a full rotation around the rod, and as he swung around he lashed out his leg and rammed his boot-heel into Aaron's stomach.

The force of it flung Aaron back into the rigging ropes, and bounced him forward again. But the captain was on his feet again, with his staff stuck out like a lance and Aaron got it right in his round gut. Really it was his own force that impaled his weak belly on the thing, but the captain got all the credit for it in Ariadne's eyes.

The thudding force of the blow pushed Aaron back into the rigging ropes, and he clung to them, suffering horribly from the breathlessness and the withering belly-ache he had. The captain punched the staff into him again, high in the stomach, and that dropped Aaron to his knees, huffing and sobbing.

The Captain stood over him a long second, to see if he'd rise. Aaron only bent over further and moaned.

With a laugh, the captain turned and walked to the dock side of the ship, and began to loosen the rope. "That was easy." He made as if to kick off the gangplank that led to the shore.

"Get up, get up, you weakling," Ariadne hissed at Aaron through gritted teeth. But he was too winded. He looked like he was trying to find his stomach, somewhere up inside him.

She wheeled to face the captain and the furred hem of her robe slapped Aaron's face.

"Oh, but surely you can do more? I have seen such skills often in the arena. Surely you know more than one way to beat a belly so ... deserving as his. Show me how you use your bare fists."

The captain grunted doubtfully, but he obeyed. He walked up to Aaron and began prodding him with his boot. "Up, Softbelly; the lady commands it."

Aaron wanted nothing more than to stay down, but he knew he had to perform his part. There was no other way. He found a grip on the foremast, just a few feet from Alise's hiding place, and slowly pulled himself up. His breath was coming in long gulps now, and he could not help himself from bleating pitifully, "my belly! my belly!"

The captain took his proper fight stance and raised his fists. Aaron tried to mimic what he saw, but the attempt was woeful.

Aria threw in a taunt: "Aaron, dear, did you really think I would want to be the mistress of a man with a soft stomach?" And she let her icy laugh ring out.

When he heard that, the captain flew at Aaron. He threw the first punch at him overhand -- swung his arm, and POW! socked him near the top of his belly, on the stomach-curve. Poor Aaron said "OOPh!" and froze in place.

Ariadne let out a lusty "Ooooo, right in the belly!"

The captain really was an expert at this art. He hoped Ariadne appreciated the subtlety of this strike. The punch had been a "stunner." That is, it left his opponent helpless, but with his back arched and his belly wide open. It was a set-up punch.

The captain stepped in and jabbed his fist straight into Aaron's gut. It mashed his stomach, and the force of it drove him back against the mast, suffering and bellyaching. And the captain followed that up with a two-punch combination, straight in the stomach.

Aaron folded in half with another "OOPh!" and stood there clutching his belly with his tongue hanging out and a sick look on his face.

The captain straightened up and put his hands on his hips. "Yes, my lady. Right. in. his. belly!"

Four belly-slammers in 10 seconds. He hoped she'd been counting. Aaron had no breath in him, and his knees began to buckle.

"You're not going to let him go down so easily, I hope," Aria teased.

The captain slung his fist in an uppercut motion and socked Aaron in the belly. The blow caught Aaron's body in the act of sagging forward, and it connected with enough force to drive him back upright. It also made him say, "OOP!" in a way that made Ariadne laugh.

Pain rose up visibly in Aaron like a shock wave. He turned away, grimacing, but the captain whipped the other fist and caught him with it as he turned, right in the stomach. "OOP!" By then he was in a complete bellypunch-panic.

The captain gripped his collar, pulled him out, then shoved him into the ropes again. Aaron bounced back and the captain just let him ram into his fist. The punch got Aaron -- again -- right in the belly. It stopped him in his tracks and dumped him on the boards. He rolled around like a scorched bug, kicking his legs and cradling his belly and moaning.

The captain wiped his hands like a man at the end of a job. Aria grapped his forearm. "More," she purred. "For me."

The captain was a raging bull. He hauled Aaron upright and bullied him some more. Aaron's hands never left his gut. Then the captain pulled him up in front of Ariadne, and said, "Never offer yourself to a real woman if you've got a soft BELLY!" and with that last word he rammed it into him again. From close range this time. Aaron's hold on himself had sunk low, under the belly-button, and that gave the captain a perfect window of stomach. He hit that pot belly right where it counts.

The punch drove another satisfying OOF! out of Aaron's humiliated belly. He backed away, bobbing and making pathetic sounds.

But the captain stayed with, him, swinging when he saw his chances. He jutted one up into Aaron's doubled-over belly. That made Aaron pop upright in shock. Alise saw his big-eyed agonized face for a second, then the captain swung his arm and gave him a side-of-the-fist bop in the stomach. It was just a rap, but it hit him right on the solar plexus and there went Aaron's breath again.

He put that pot-bellied wimp through his paces. He thoroughly humiliated his belly. Took him apart slowly, sadistically. Tortured him with wringing bellyaches and long, gulping bouts of breathlessness. All the while the captain poured a torrent of verbal abuse on him. He called Aaron a "pot-bellied wimp." Even if he had had breath to speak, Aaron couldn't have denied it.

Ariadne was openly cheering the captain now. "That's it! Shove your fist in his belly!"

In the end, Aaron was on his hands and knees again, staring at the rough boards with his belly hung down, pulsing out and in, as he moaned -- "oooooh! ... oooooh!" with all the wind knocked out of him.

"Kick him in the stomach!"

The captain obeyed. The boot-whomp lifted Aaron into the air, flipped him over, and dumped him flat on his back in the middle of the deck. The captain planted a heel on the bulging curve of Aaron's stomach, and ground it down to pin his victim to the boards.

Just then a flight of eight fists surged over the gunwales and before the shocked captain could react, three of them took him by the arms and hair and gripped him and slammed him back against the mast.


The captain hung eight feet off the deck. Another Sonia-hand closed tight around his throat. Hans, who must have been watching from below, ran up and three more disembodied hands flew at him and held him helpless while a fourth began choking the life out of him.

Sonia strode regally up the gangplank and boarded the Falcon.

"Get the chest," Sonia commanded, but Ariadne was already in motion, hurrying down the steps.

Her chest! Alise's heart jumped in her throat. She dashed forward, toward the open door, after Aria, but Sonia caught her by the hair.

"What have we here?"

Aaron saw Alise stagger back, hair pulled, mouth twisted in pain, and his heart roused itself. He could suffer anything himself, but this was too much for him. He willed himself to lunge out at Sonia's leg, to try to trip her, but before he could move a sharp jolt cleaved his body. A pain that seemed to come from within him. His vision dimmed and purpled and he felt himself without strength.

Sonia hardly noticed him. She was focussed on Alise. "Why did you come here, slut! You could have spoiled everything."

"You took what was mine!"

"You! Miserable bitch, you had something too good for your feeble soul to ever comprehend. I took what was MINE. Whatever else is in that chest is trash to me. But if it is so secret to you, we'll have it all out in the open soon enough."

She turned to the doorway. "Aria, come!"

Ariadne already was emerging, stiffly, eyes gleaming. Sonia flung Alise down beside where Aaron lay prostrate.

"Where is it? Aria?"

Ariadne flicked her hand and the captain's discarded staff flew into it. Sonia stared, open-mouthed. Then, with a lunge of her arms Aria plowed the staff-head into Sonia's elegant belly.

Sonia folded and fell with a sharp "OOF!" followed by a long, wailing moan. Aaron and Alise lay still. They saw Sonia's hand scratch on the deck in front of her bent head. Her other hand was pressed to her navel. She wailed like an animal.

Ariadne threw back her arms and shed her cloak and revealed herself richly arrayed in a full gown, shimmering gold and silver in torchlight and moonlight, radiantly bare-bellied, her navel deep-set, her curves goddesslike. And clasped at her throat was the magical object from Aaron's world. All the power of that lost place funneled through that artifact and into her. Aaron could feel it at once.

Sonia's magical hands melted into air, and the limp bodies of the two men slumped to the deck of the Falcon. Now it was Ariadne who flung her arms high and spun out eight forms of her own hands into the night air. They pounced on Sonia and rifled her body as she sobbed "no, no, no." They took rings, bracelets, necklace -- every magical element and ornament. Two hands brought them to Ariadne, who donned them one by one.

And then the gripping fingers raised Sonia and held her upright in an open X.

And then the free hands started punching her hard in the belly. Aria seemed to have no need to direct them with her fingers, as Sonia had done. They obeyed her mere thought. She turned from Sonia's torturous "OOFs" and looked down at Aaron and Alise.

"I have appropriated your item. It was the final piece of power that I required to gain mastery over Sonia. Poor Sonia, who never could rule herself."

Sonia gasped out half a curse as Aria, but a fist in the stomach silenced her.

"You have proven useful," she told Aaron and Alise. "I have no further need of you. You may go."

[to be continued]

Monday, January 30, 2017


Brandy decanter shape, long, elegant torse, not a curve of her imperfect, ripe hips, narrow shoulders, arched in the back, proud in the belly. The long, elegant curve of her belly-dancer body. Navel like a deep sigh, hood and hollow. Flare of hips, wineflask below the waist. She chose low-horizon jeans to emphasize, Queen Omphale; the fabrics clung and cupped her at the widest, belly and hips all bare and out.

Thursday, January 26, 2017


Knocked off-balance, sucking wind, I stumble, potbellied, into his fist.

Bellyache hell. Still OOF-ing out the shock of his punch. No thought for defense at all. Nothing but a punched belly.

He saw me stunned and took full advantage. His fists found my belly again and again. Each slug in the stomach left me stunned from the suffering, and ripe and open for the next one.

I was battered and helpless. I had no wind in my body and no fight left in my bread-basket. My knees wobbled so much I had to lean on the wall.

I begged him not to do it. I offered no defense, but I pleaded. I offered my belly in a gesture of peace, stood with hands and gut relaxed. "Don't hit my belly!" Which is exactly what he did. With a drill-punch smack in my stomach.

Oh, my belly! I leaned against the wall, shamelessly bare-bellied, and sobbed.

Sunday, June 5, 2016


He took a lot of time dressing. He was after a "look," and he kept changing outfits till he liked what he saw. Whatever it was, the pants rode low, down on the hips, to expose his belly. And the top, if there was one, was a short, open fest, or a tight T-shirt top that easily rode up. Sometimes he shamelessly wore a girls' bellyshirt in the ring.

Then, after he oiled up, he headed for the ring. He always entered the same. Jeans slung low on his hips, gut thrust out, hands held up, like he was accepting applause (or surrendering). Head high, smiling, seemingly unaware that he looked like a walking target with his belly jutting out bare in front of him.

Being the "jobber" in the match, he always was introduced first. While the better-known fighter got introduced, the jobber just slouched in the corner, looking bored, pot-bellied.

When the bell rang and the fighting began, he had his hands up high, defending his face, and his belly stuck out like a hanging curveball over home plate.

And somehow, he's the only one in the arena (and in 40 million TV living rooms) who doesn't see it coming.

You know he isn't expecting it because the fist socks him right in his stomach and he doesn't flinch or brace. The fist just torpedoes his belly. It's in and out of him before the OOF! bursts from his mouth.

After the punch-jolt and the OOF! there's that frozen, silent second of winded agony. Then he goes all to pieces, grips his belly-curve with both hands and staggers around the ring at a full flounder, all grimmace and gasp.

Then he blunders back into his foe, who gives him a bop on the head to make him reflexively stand upright, and his hands go to his noggin. And while they do his rival winds up his arm and his fist does a cannonball in the wimp's bread-basket.

This time he folds right over it, busted limp in his middle, lifted to his toes by a sock in the stomach. His face is down toward the floor but still the wimp gives up an OOF! that shakes the rafters.

When the rival wrenches the fist out from up in his gut, the wimp flops to his knees, cradling his punched belly, and he keeps going down, falling, rolling, thrashing on the mat, his feet flailing in feckless kicks, his hands gripped to his soft belly. His eyes are wide in breathless panic, and his mouth hangs askew; the only sounds that come out of him are long, low belly-ache groans.

He was still winded when his rival strode impatiently up to him and kicked his forehead and knocked him flat on his back on the mat. Like the jobber he was, his hands instantly forgot about his vulnerable gut and flew to his head. He even arched his back in pain, so his belly thrust right up and out at the booted bad-man.

And once again, he seemed the only one unaware of what was on the way: the hard rubber heel of a size-12 Texas cowboy boot stamped down like a hot brand right smack in the middle of his bare belly.

In the crowd, you could feel the electric second of anticipation before the stomp, and then when the boot came down it was like a thunderbolt. The poor potbellied wimp on the mat flailed arms and legs helplessly like a broken toy. His face looked mad and it seemed like his tongue lolled out at one point.

It was painfully obvious that this beating was far past his ability to endure -- and that such ability, in his case, was embarassingly low. Yet he had put himself there. It was safe to laugh at him, mock him, enjoy his suffering.

The brute reaches down, grabs the wimp by the hair, yanks him roughly up to his knees. Jobber sags weakly, kneeling, hands up trying to ease the hairpull. His belly protrudes dutifully for the brute to draw back a leg and swing a boot-kick up into his gut.

Bellyboy hits the mat again in full-on stage-5 bellyache mode. He's flopping like a caught fish and crying. The brute does a few poses for the crowd before returning to his hapless victim, who has now gotten himself together so far as to rise to his knees on his own.

The brawler saunters up, and lays a hand on his hair. The jobber musters all he has of courage and strength and swings a punch against his tormentor's stomach. It bounces off. Swings the other fist the same way. Same result. The brute laughs, and pulls the wimp upright, swings him by the arm, and tosses him back into a corner of the ring.

The wimp turns as he stumbles into it, and hits it with his back, then slumps there, arms draped on the ropes. The thug approaches confidently. There's a lesson he has to teach this fool who took shots at his abs. He grips the wimp by the throat and bends his head back over the top turnbuckle, forcing him to arch his body, belly out. The wimp's hands are all at the wrist above the grip on his throat.

The brute holds his other arm aloft, in a fist, and looks around the crowd as if to ask, "shall I?" Whistles, cheers, shouts of "do it!" For once, though he can't see it, the wimp knows it's coming and manages to bleat out, "no, not my belly!" just as the fist hammer-drops on his stomach.

This time the bellypunch-grunt came out of him in a long, low UUH! that sounded like it started in the bottom of a kettle drum.

And there's still 15 minutes of TV time to fill until the next match!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Can't Take It in the Belly

He gave me a classic four-punch bellyache. Sealed with a kick.

First a chop in the pit. No warning, just let fly a sidearm punch, and his hand's edge jutted into my bare belly. He chopped me high on my stomach. Totally winded me and froze me to the spot.

Bug-eyed and stunned, I watched in silent horror as his other fist served me up a belly-busting uppercut punch.

It was a real stomach-masher, a slug to drive the OOF! out of my gut and double me far over.

He pulled me upright again, rared back, and POW! - he let me have it. Right in the belly with his full-force fist. Drove me right back to the wall, and he caught me there as I arched myself away from the impact. Caught me good and hard with a bellyslammer. Pinned my belly-button to my spine and sent my breath on a long vacation. I was on my way to my knees before his fist left my gut.

My suffering and weakness drove me down to the ground, and I writhed there and grovelled on my belly.

I tried to rise and he caught me stretched out on my side, sucking for air, and gave me a contemptuous kick with his boot to my belly.

I scrolled in the sand helplessly, mouthing a winded, silent "O!"

Sunday, July 12, 2015

OOF! Right in the Belly!

So I dashed up behind the barkeep and grabbed his elbow. I got it, but despite my advantage in height and weight, he shook me off easily. When I went for him again, he was ready. He backed into me as I lurched forward, and jammed his elbow right where he knew my belly would be.

I took the brunt of the blow in my upper stomach. Intense, overwhelming bellyache exploded in my core. And his punch kicked the wind out of me and left me too stunned to take another breath. My last word was UURFF!

The beefy little beast was warming to his task. His elbow-shot to my stomach had shocked me dumb and I stood like a martyr bound to a stake, wide open, helpless, and unfit for torture. Not the kind of man who hardens himself against pain and takes pride in his physical endurance. No, nothing but a softbelly.

He turned and rose from the crouch in which he delivered his elbow to my gut. The sound of my bellyaching told my tormentor he could take his time with his next move. This pot belly wasn't going anywhere.

My shirts always fit tight, and in my initial struggle with him it had bunched up around my chest. So I was as bare-bellied as Britney Spears when he started beating me up, and I stayed like that until the end. I must have looked like I was asking for it, like I was offering my belly-button for a bulls-eye. He looked at me, looked at my bare midriff, and punched me right in my belly.

I had just manage to suck a breath into my body in the aftermath of his stomach-buster elbow jab, but that breath came right back out of me as a lusty OOOUPHFF! when his fist hit my belly. It felt as big as a bowling ball in me and it seemed to explode me. I staggered back, arms flailing and hit my back against the wall. I instantly folded far forward, bent double, with both hands pressed up into the fold of my body, cradling the place my belly used to be before he socked it into the Twilight Zone.

"Stand up, you potbellied wimp!" he said as he grabbed me by my ponytail and jerked my body upright against the wall. My hands instinctively flew to my hair. I felt like my body was still deeply caved in the middle from his punch, but now I had my belly stuck out again.

He made something of the occasion. From close range he hit me with a one-two bellybuster combo: a straight jab followed by a wicked hook, both of them right on the belly.


I crumpled like tinfoil and started rocking and foot-shuffling, doing the bellyache dance with both hands gripping my punched gut and moaning and sobbing as I stand and suffer.

He grabs my shirt, wheels me around and lets my own momentum throw me back against the wall.

I hit it with a smack and rebound into the hallway, my back arched in pain. And there's my bare belly again, like a hanging curve ball over home plate. He steps into the swing and plants a rocksolid fist in my exposed belly.


I flop to my knees like a marionette with snapped strings. One slug in the belly took all the starch and strength out of me. Just one punch put me on my knees with a howling bellyache.

Hands glued to my belly-button I rock on my knees, moans and sobs my only words. But my body says it all. I can't take it in the belly. I'm nothing but a potbellied wimp. Humiliated, I raise my hands to him, speechlessly pleading for mercy. But he just laughs and drills his boot into my belly. Stomach-kicked, I tumble to the floor and writhe there, rolling and kicking and lost in my bellypunch suffering.

I'm in tears from getting my pathetic gut stomped by his fist. With all the breath kicked out of me, and a roaring bellyache crippling me, I can only crawl, not run, toward the door. But I need to get my body away from him, and those horrid fists. I've got myself on my feet, and I stagger into the barroom. Both hands grip my punched belly, and no power in me can budge them from tenderly cradling my stomach.

I had all the grace and dignity of a plucked chicken. He caught me by the hair at the end of the bar. "Leaving so soon, Potbelly? I don't think so. Get back here so I can give you the belly-beating you deserve!"

His fist felt like a sledgehammer as it hit me, with the driving weight of his full body leaned into it, right smack in the belly.

He forced sound out of me like a crude squeezebox. He stole my voice when he stuck his hand in my belly. And he made it say stupid, humiliating things I never would let myself say, like "OOF, UUH, OOMPH, OOOAAH, ... Oh, my belly! Right in my belly! No, please, not in the belly, please not in my bel–OOUFF!!"

I've got my back to the waitress in the hallway, watching, but she knows he just punched me in the stomach because she can see the look of victory on his face and she can see the flesh ripple on my loins and hips.

And, of course, she also can hear me blurt out my humiliating belly-grunt, my forced confession of inadequacy. The punch drives me back, and, off balance, I windmill my arms out and lean forward, which is right where he wants me. A real skilled fighter will do that to you. Not only does each punch torture your belly and ravish your pride, each one sets you up for the next shot, leaves you particularly exposed to it.

And now I was nothing but a human punching bag, a belly wide open for fists. He hooked them up into the curve of my upper stomach, and each one lifted my feet off the floor with the power of their thrust. The waitress told me later he gave me seven bellyslammers in that position – she remembered each distinctly – I would have guessed it was 70. Then he pulled me upright, with my back stretched back against the bar. Aware of the girl watching him, he paused, slowed, and swaggered.

"Are you ready for this, bellywimp?" He said, menacing my belly-button with his free fist. I had no breath to answer him. He didn't care. He was showing off for her, tormenting me to impress her with his dominance

Monday, March 9, 2015


It would be lovely if there could be a sustainable Belly Punching Forum as a virtual watering hole. It could work only if pictures and videos were forbidden. Copyright issues bring down every open one, and those that remain are limited to individual producers. Which leaves us without the Belly Punching forum. As for the special subset of "men who get off on suffering a punch in the belly in front of a woman" (and the women who love them), we are probably too few to have enough semi-public members at any one time to sustain a forum. So a belly-punching blog will have to do.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


He had a belly that begged to be slugged, and he had a bad habit of showing it off. It's like he was asking for it. And he had a mouth that didn't know when to quit. And now 10 biker-gang toughs had him in the clear California sunlight outside their clubhouse, ready to deal him a bad belly-ache.

He's in black boots, tight jeans, and he's shirtless, with only a short black-leather vest open in front.

They're around him in a ragged ring, roughing him up. He staggers stupidly from a shove; one of them grabs his shoulder, spins him around. As he stands astonished the thug hauls off with his fist and whomps him in the belly.

"OOF!" Lips rounded out in a belly-button O announce his ache. Eyes go wide with the panic of feeling all the breath socked out of him and knuckles deep in his stomach. With first touch of a fist on his belly he's broken. Can't fake it. Can't hide it. Total humiliation. He's sobbing, staggering, gasping, cradling his poor punched belly. A punch in his gut stole his voice and everything else.

A different biker rips him upright, throws him back to the clubhouse wall, and holds him there by the neck. "You're the pussy who likes to belly-ache about us, eh? I'll give you something to BELLY-ache about!" and with that the thug slams a fist into his stomach.

He had no air left to lose. His whole body looked like it wanted to explode out of him -- bug-eyed, tongue pushed out, fingers flared. And the middle of him crumpled in, T-boned by a fist.

The bully swung him around to face the rest of them and held him there for all to enjoy the sight of him looking down, gasping, at his own exposed belly, the fist-mark pink on his stomach. His mouth is tragic, and he has that comical look in his eyes like he was being eaten from inside.

Then the bruiser shoves him and he drops to his knees in full windedness, with a fist-mark branded on his belly.

But their hands grip him and pull him. They're just beginning to have their fun. His face is wide-eyed, mouth twisted in the supreme effort to draw a breath into his stunned body.

The one who started it rudely hammers another punch to his belly. With a sour "UUH!" belly-boy instantly folds over, cradling his stomach, gasping at the ground and mooing out a low, loud bellyache.

They pluck him upright again. He stands stiff and winded, with agony in his face. They shove him around the circle, twice. He, unresisting, staggering. His mind is one punch behind reality. Flapping arms like a flightless bird, he blunders belly-first into every fist ready to greets him.

The moment he got punched in the stomach his whole body would go limp. The way he took it you'd think he got hit in the belly with a wrecking ball. And his face would burst into the most comical OOF-expression. His eyes would go crossed and bug out. His cheeks puffed, like he was stuck saying the letter O. You could really see the wind get knocked out of him.

Then he'd jack-knife forward and double up around the bellyache, with his hands pressed up under his belly and his mouth gasping at the floor. Or he'd stagger and stand breathless, feet shuffling in the bellypunch dance, while the shock of pain possesses him.

Either way he would be a man who had totally lost himself. Every punch in the stomach doubles him over or drops him to his knees gasping and cradling a bellyache.

"Hold him up," the beater demands.

Two of them grab him from behind by the arms and hair and vest and rudely pull him upright, arms away from his body, bread-basket arched out.

"Punching bag!" the beater declares, as he shoves a jab into his victim's stomach. The bare belly blurts out an "OOF!" His clenching reflex lifts his knee and bends his upper body forward, straining in their grip on his arms. His hands, pinned to his sides, claw at the air. He can't protect his midriff, and now the beater swings a full-armed uppercut into the pit of his belly. The upward force of it high in the belly rockets his body upright, wide-eyed in agony, and poses him as a perfect punching-bag target for the next fist. It's a knuckle-jab to the stomach that pins his belly-button to his spine.

They made him dance a belly-dance there. How? First they stood him up on a chair back against the back porch rail, tied his arms back to it, then kicked the chair away. The stress of being held up by his arms got to him at once and he began kicking the air and found his voice again. But they quickly silenced him with a round of punches to the belly. Watching the reaction on his face looked like he swallowed a fistful of cherry bombs and now they were blowing up in his belly one by one. Held up and helpless, he just dangled there OOF-ing while they pounded out a fist-beat on his stomach. They called that a "belly-dance."

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


My fight opens with me making a series of ineffective lunges and haymaker swings toward my opponent. He easily dodges or blocks each one, and he responds to each one with a hard punch in my belly.

Each of these counterpunches makes me recoil and grab my belly. But he holds his fire and lets me recover myself and go at him again. And again he baffles me and whomps me in the stomach. These jabs to the belly take their toll on me, and soon I'm puffing and wheezing and weak.

She knows he is doing this to impress her. It angers her against him. But another part of her is turned on by it all.

That's when he gives me the big uppercut in the stomach. That does it. As someone calls out "bellyslammer!" and they all laugh and cheer, I grab my belly and "OOF" out loud and body-rock up and down convulsively while my wobbly knees try to move me away from him. I lose balance and dash to my knees, body upright, still gutpunched and lost in a bellyache.

He walks in front of me. Wide-eyed, I clench my hands and hold them up in a begging gesture. But he mercilessly kicks me in the belly. Black boot to white belly. My whole body jolts, freezes, wide-eyed, and then I pitch forward, face-down, belly-first. And quickly I flop over onto my back, writhing and shaking, stomach thrust up, arms and legs fish-flopping, in the helpless zombie-dance of the winded.

... wind knocked out of me ...

The necessary other-half of the humiliation belly-punch. I let myself get so vulnerable that she saw a man square his arm and ram his fist straight into my helpless belly. And it stripped all the self-control from me, and made me a physical fool in front of her.

That specific and humiliating way I responded to the shock and body-panic of a sharp punch in the stomach. The potbellied, kettle-drum impact thud, then the clownish OOF! sound I make.

Then the achingly long seconds of my breathless silence. The full throes of it, when my diaphragm just won't budge to let my lungs draw air. That frozen, dying feeling. The spear of pain that he lunged into my stomach transfixing me, crucifix and san sebastian in one pose, pinned bug. Every second it goes on adds a lead weight to my humiliation. Every second I lie there stunned and gape-mouthed, tear-streaming, unbreathing, the brand burns deeper into my belly.

The brand is her gaze, whether she wills it or not.

Finally I draw a breath, but a scant one, and quickly bleated back out. And so it goes, breaths coming more rapidly, but my bellyache still owns me, and I can only grunt and bray and make sour faces -- uuuh! ooooouu!

All that from one punch right in my belly. Even if it was a cheap shot, a boy's supposed to be able to take one or two stomach punches, or at least recover quickly from them. But there I am, still down and belly-punched, long past a count of ten, if there had been one. The panic possessing me, my body writhing in embarrassing tortured poses I would never allow her to see me assume. A head-to-toe picture of complete male failure.

She's not a bad girl. Really. She tells herself. To like this, a little? She looks at me and knows, pityingly, that I'll always be shy of her because I am ashamed that she watched me get my belly beat up. That's what a nice girl would feel, right? A girl that's not a bully's slut.

My belly is right there when he takes his victory stomp/pin.

Before he's finished with me, he's given me a nickname -- oof-belly. And that's what he and his gang will be calling me, loudly and publicly, for a few days at least, until they tire of mocking my belly and move on to some other sport. I hope. Meanwhile the other girls who did not see the fight, will hear them taunt me and go ask her what it's all about. And she will retell it in detail many times. Some will want to hear it more than once.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Yes, It's Deliberate

It's the stun of awareness that hits you when you get a punch in the belly in intimacy.

This person, who makes you feel like he just rammed your stomach up your lungs with a casual shove of his fist, is loving this.

Is getting off on it. On having given you that punch right plump in your gut.

Your lover erased your person-hood for the duration of your suffering. And the sight of you proving it, writhing and belly-aching, is an erotic delight.

The eyes that sparkle as they watch you get humiliated by a belly-punch -- those eyes deliver the second wallop, the invisible follow up punch, the one that takes all the voice out of you, the one that hits your soular plexus.

Monday, June 24, 2013


these two are about to have a belly-punch fistfight. Who do you think will win?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Punchable Pot-Bellies

Gathered from here and there.

Flaunting your pot belly can earn you some unwanted attention.

Straight knuckle-jab in the stomach will wind him. 

It doesn't matter how tall you are, if you're a pot-bellied wimp.

Bare for a bellypunch. 

She wants to see you to do it to him.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


He's facing the crowd, posing and smiling. You seem to think he doesn't see you get up. You walk up behind him with your belly stuck out. And he just jerks his arm back and mashes his elbow into your stomach.

OOF! Instant bellyache. You fold in at the shoulders and grab your stomach with both hands and spin around. You stagger away from him with all the breath socked out of you.

Everyone in the arena is thinking the same thing. The announcer simply puts it into words. In long, low tones, "uuh! Right in the belly!" It hits you like the stamp of a brand -- right in the belly. Soft-bellied wimp. Can't take it in the belly.

Still breathless, you stagger stupidly to the edge of the ring and drop to your knees there, hands still pressed to your stomach. Tragic-mouthed, bug-eyed, you finally get a feeble breath into your stung lungs, only to wail it right out again, "oh, my BELLY!"

Yes, you waste your precious breath on announcing the obvious. Every eye on you can already tell that, yes, you got elbowed in the belly. Especially those giggling three in the front row, who are pointing at your belly as you lean against the ropes and sag your half-stripped body toward the crowd.

Then you feel a big grip in your scalp, and you're rotated by your hair, while you hear his voice call out, over you, "get your belly back up here, so I can beat you properly," addressing you, but bawling it out for the crowd. And with that, he's thrown your arms back over the top rope, and pinned them there in the tangled ropes, so you're slumped belly-open, arms wide.

He can beat you at his leisure, for the entertainment of the crowd. He grips you under the chin and pushes your head back, forcing you to arch your back and thrust up your stomach. Then he raises a fist, which you cannot see but which looms like a hammer over your helpless belly, and lets it hang there a second so everyone in the house -- except you -- can see what's coming.

Your upside-down view of the crowd shows their faces lit with expectation, some shocked, some cringing, some laughing. Then he drops the hammer on your stomach.

Your body jolts in shock and you blare the effect of the punch from head to toe. Head jerks, mouth opens to OOF out the impact, body falls back into the ropes but can't drop. Legs kick helplessly, fingers clench in suffering. You can't escape till he pulls you out of it. You're hung up there like a belly punching bag. And he's in a mood to show off.

Thursday, February 7, 2013


"Come in," she said. I opened the door, and caught my breath, though I managed not to gasp. She stood across the room, just turning as I entered, casually setting a glass on the table, a moment framed so perfectly she must have been a long time setting it up.

She wore her belly-dance gear. The one I like best, the dull gray-blue one, the one that almost vanishes into the background when she wears it, so that her dance becomes a whirl all of bare hips and belly, fingertips and smiles, navel-kisses fluttered with every step.

And the gold sandals, and her hair set just so, and as she turned to face me she let her hips tip toward me, back-arching, belly-flaunting, and she looked me in the eye and arched one brow and smiled.

Invitation is too weak a word. She knew what she did to me. She knew all my erotic buttons, and what happened when you punched a fistful of them all at once. I began to walk toward her.

And I walked right into a bellypunch. He must have been right behind the door, because I didn't get one step past it when I saw a big brawny arm swing around from my side and plunge a brass-balled fist plump into my stomach. It was a perfectly placed punch in the gut and it took the wind right out of my belly with an OOUFF!!! I doubled right up, with a big, bad belly-ache.

There were two of them, it turned out. I saw the other after he hauled me back upright. I was still folded in half mouth toward the floor, my stunned belly still frozen breathless. I felt my hands pulled behind my back and someone tied my wrists there. Then they un-jacked me with one hand, and forced me upright, and they both presented me open-bellied to her.

Her twin muscle-thugs held my arms tightly on either side. As if I was going to try anything with my wrists already tied behind me. Or maybe they just did it to make me look vulnerable to her.

They held me up in front of her and let her casually look me up and down, and back again. She stepped casually past me, her hand lingering down the front of me as I shivered shirtless.

"Take him down to the dungeon," she purred to the twin towers behind me, "and beat up his belly."

They hustled me down the steps and threw me down on my bare belly on the cold concrete floor. I was perspiring in fear and my belly hit the icy floor with a soft splat. I heard her chuckle, then the stiletto click of her heels on the floor. Then I saw her in front of me -- or, exactly, I saw her sumptuous pumps and perfect painted toes. Because one of the goons had his knee pressed to my back to hold me down. The other apparently was tying my ankles together, and lifting them up enough to hook them to something.

"Something" turned out to be a boat-engine lift, and with a touch of her slender hand on a switch (and the big thugs roughing me along), she had me hoisted up, hanging upside down, ankle-bound and hands tied behind my back. She let it lift until she was about eye-level with my navel, then she locked it there.

She strode slowly up to me. She set a fingertip in my navel, then dragged it down to the center of my belly, midway to my sternum. She paused, bent down, and planted a lipstick kiss on me there. Then she turned and walked away.

"Now," she told them. "Give it to him in the belly. I want to see which one of you can make him 'OOF!' loudest. I marked it so you won't miss. Punch him on the kiss."

The chain or cord that held me was anchored to a free-rotating wheel, so they could turn me to face any direction in my helpless pose. The brawlers took up position on opposite sides, and began a game with my helpless belly.

One would grab me by the hair, which I have plenty of, and turn my body to face him, navel-out. Then he'd line up his shot and deliver some sort of show-off-y chop or punch into my stomach.

Disoriented, flipped, spun, dazed, I had no hope of anticipating their blows to my bread-basket and no hope of resisting them. The height she had me, they could swing straight jabs and overhand shots right into the "sweet spot" of my gut, and get the breath of me every time. The kind of sharp, shocking blows that in a typical fight only go to the head. In this beating I took them in the belly.

First one would jerk his fist into my soft stomach or jab an elbow into the pit of my belly. And stand back and let her watch me suffer. Then she'd signal the other one to take his turn.

I swung like a pot-belly pinata while they took their whacks on my bread-basket. She cooed and purred them on the whole time, teasing and suggesting what the winner might enjoy.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


All my life I've secretly been a henchman at heart, not a hero.

You know, a henchman: The gang of helpers and lackeys who gather about the Bad Guy in the story or the movie. The ones whose only function is to get beaten up in the big fist-fight brawl scene -- beaten like fools, dispatched quickly, vigorously, and visibly by the hero. Often all it took was a series of chops to the belly. One of the fine arts of henchmanship was knowing how to charge out into a fistfight with your belly stuck out like it was searching for a fist to "OOF" against.