Fiction Collective Two is an author-run, not-for-profit publisher of artistically adventurous, non-traditional fiction.

The Hermetic Whore



The Hermetic Whore
by Peter Spielberg

Hardcover
1977
Price: $17.95

Paperback
1977
Price: $10.95

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The Hermetic Whore is a dark compilation of a dozen short stories, each providing a unique view into private lives of individuals and the breakdown of public order. From the near apocalyptic changes of women giving up skirts and social acceptance of sexual self-gratification to the absurdity of a pair of cats being the guardians a young girl's virginity, each story provides social commentary on the ever-changing world. Spielberg provides a unique view of some of the most pressing social problems such as children divorcing their parents to an old survivor of the holocaust being ushered into death with his oblivious family standing nearby.


"Spielberg re-creates life and death with bristling vigor." —Los Angeles Times


"Startling, offbeat, and interesting, the stories consistently puncture hypocrisy." —Best Sellers


Excerpt


In 1569 A.D., the anatomist Realdus Columbus located the clitoris or, as it is commonly called, the spinster's button.  Some four hundred years later, American social workers, with the cooperation of freethinking psychiatrists, launched a campaign to legitimize the utilization of this button for the achievement of better mental health.


I cite the above facts by way of introduction.  And I ass a corrective:  I am not, in principle or practice, concerned with clitoral masturbation.  Penile self-gratification—primarily for the aged--is my special field of interest.  Rightly so, since I am a man (though not aged) and it would be presumptuous of me to attempt to speak for women on this matter.


The Department of Social Services for which I work agrees and, accordingly, appointed two of us, one female, the second male (me), as co-directors of Project FULL LIFE—a flippant (in my opinion) imitation of military jargon whose acronymous origin is mercifully unknown to most participants:  Full Utilization of Lingering Libidos for Longlived Inmates of Federal Enclaves.


"Self-abuse is self-use" is the way one of our publicists put it.  I'm sure you've seen the message on subway billboards.  Space donated by the Greater Metropolitan Advertising Council.


The impetus for our project came from an unlikely source:  the passenger wing of the Interstate Commerce Commission.  It seems that the ICC was embarrassed by a series of articles printed in a national weekly dealing with the take-over of bus terminal waiting rooms by the elderly.  As I recall, it was one particular installment describing the condition of New York City's Port Authority Terminal, beginning with a poetically heartrending understatement "—that got under the collar of the Commissioner.