Tag Archive for Field Trial

Death Do Us Part and Green Checks

A few years before he and I met, Master’s mother had a terrible car accident and was paralyzed from the chest down.  Because of this, she used an electric wheelchair to stubbornly barrel through her life doing just exactly what she wanted to do. Master got his dominance and intensity from her. They were peas in a pod though neither of them saw it that way. Mom had chickens, love birds, and yippy dogs because she wanted to. She had a huge garden with prize winning flowers and exotic plants surrounding her home. It did not matter to her that she could not do much of the tending to any these; she just found ways to organize her health care workers into an army of animal wranglers and unintentional gardeners. She lived on her own terms.

The physical condition of someone with her injuries tends to cause a mudslide of other health issues.  She was no exception to this. Over the last year, her various infections, pressure wounds, and cardiac problems began to drag her into a slow downward spiral. Master and I visited her often, he called nearly every day to check on her, and several times we went to stand vigil at the ICU when she seemed to be about to pass way.

Watching her decline and knowing she would not live long weighed on Master all the time. He had a hard time focusing on things and became a bit forgetful. He lost his centered calm way of approaching situations at work.  He found himself unsure of how to handle his mother’s medical situation and somehow that left him unsure about life in general. Mastery was not at the top of the list of things that had his attention. Things slipped away. Rituals stopped. Play became less frequent. His thoughts turned increasingly inward as her condition worsened.

A few weeks ago, mom died. She went out kicking and screaming because despite the long decline she had been in and various advices that she consider hospice, she still insisted that she would get better.  The night before she passed her and Master had an argument because he wanted to talk to her about dying, she was having none of it. “You just want to get rid of me,” she said. “No, no of course not Mom, I’m just trying to talk to you about what is really going on,” he tried to assure her.  A plan was made for Master and I to go the next morning very early and meet with her, her primary care doctor, and her care team to get a group understanding of what was happening.

That morning we arrived before her doctor and while we waited with her for him to arrive, she suffered a ruptured aneurism. She thrashed about in pain for a few minutes, she and Master both equally confused and overwhelmed; the nurses and I understanding what was happening but with no way of comforting either of them. When the doctor walked in a few minutes later, he said she would pass within 24 hours. She never spoke again and died in less than 3 hours.

The last thing she said to Master was, “I just want you to know, this (the pain she was feeling) has never happened before, this is new.”  The reason she said this was because of their disagreements about her not telling Master the whole truth about her medical situation.  He had always been so frustrated when he would eventually find out she had been keeping something from him. Imagine the two most domly Doms you know each trying to run the other’s life, that was how they locked heads over her illnesses; each wanting to maintain control, each wanting to help the other with their burden, each fiery in their determination to be right.

In the end, neither of them felt in control. It was a very dark day. In the hours, days, and weeks since Master has struggled with feeling out of control of things.  Her animals all needed homes, her funeral had to be arranged, her accounts and assets needed to be accounted for.  What to do with her things? How to deal with her collection of dozens of ceramic statues of chickens? Each thing piling onto his shoulders and pressing him down. Sadness at her loss. Fear of doing something wrong. Wanting to honor her. All of it in a tumble has fallen hard on him.

And there I am. How does the slave find center in the Master’s storm?  How does a servant support the Master when things are so grim? Months of distraction take a toll on a relationship and in a Master/slave relationship this effect is intensified. Last weekend Master and I attended South Plains Leather Fest.  We had planned the trip prior to Mom passing and Master decided he wanted to go to take a break from all the hassles of managing her estate. We both hoped the weekend away would allow us time to focus on our dynamic. That did not really happen. Instead, Master did have the chance to spend time being more social.  Spending time with our leather family and visiting with old and new friends in the community was great. We both had a good time but still, there I was a slave at a loss for direction.

All weekend Master would turn to me and ask questions like, “where are we going next?” and, “where do you want to eat?” He planned a scene but got tired and instead we fucked and fell asleep. There was neither Mastery nor joy in him. Both left me exhausted. I had spent the prior months quietly humming in the back ground supporting him. I took leave to visit his mom, washed her face with warm water when she was feeling down, cleaned her bottom and dressed her wounds. I cleaned his home, folded his underwear, cooked his food, sucked his cock, tried to smile and bring him laughter when he was down, lifted him in every way I knew.

During the weekend, things were amplified because of the lack of other distractions and on the ride home I was exhausted. I don’t mean exhausted physically, I mean exhausted in my emotional life. I felt sucked dry like there was nothing left in me to give. As we drove home, Master seemed to notice me for the first time that day.  He said, “What are you thinking about?”  Part of our dynamic is that I am to always be transparent and always answer honestly and completely any question he asks. I knew my thoughts were on this sucked dry feeling and that Master had enough stress on him, so instead of answering fully I said, “Nothing good.  You aren’t in the mood for a deep conversation.”  He answered, “Oh yes well I have been kind of talking about fluff,” and was distracted and began chit chatting about not much again. I was glad to have averted him and we drove another several minutes.  Then he looked over at me again seeming to ‘see’ me and said, “But no really, what are you thinking?”  A second time I answered without really answering and he nodded and began talking about wanting coffee or some such.  After a few more minutes he turned again to me and said, “Wait, I really want to know.  What are you thinking?”  At this third inquiry, I answered that I was thinking that I was drained emotionally and feeling down but that I didn’t think he was up for talking about that.  He assured me that he was ready to listen and so I explained how things had been for me.

I told him about the drift that had happened over the preceding months during his mother’s decline.  I was not angry, wasn’t upset, or really any emotion; I was simply exhausted. I understood that all of his behavior was reasonable given the circumstance but that I had arrived at that emotional point where there felt like there was no more within to put out. Power exchange 101 it would seem but without anything flowing in eventually I had nothing left to give out. I felt empty. Master listened, really listened, and in some odd way seemed I like a man awaking from a long dream. He was surprised because he truly had not been aware of how drained he felt also.  He thanked me for talking to him about it and said he would ponder how to ‘fix’ things.

The next afternoon, we went to a bank to handle some account stuff for Mom’s accounts. As we sat there, the bank associate asked what type of checks we would want.  I asked what types they had and she showed me a book filled with colorful check styles. Wheee!  I love pretty things and so it was fun to flip through.  Master had been sort of distracted, leaving me to do most of the talking as had become his normal custom of late. I started to pick something I found pretty and he turned and said, “We will get the green checks.”    Boring checks that had nothing pretty about them were not making me happy so I pouted and turned to him with a look of confusion. He said to the bank lady and to me, looking me in the eye in a direct sure way that I had not seen in months, “We will get the green checks.”

I knew the sound of my Master’s voice.  It had been quieted by the storm but now I heard it.  There was no grand repair plan.  No apologies needed.  No dramatic flourish.  Simply by turning his focus back to his authority, he had infused my soul with a rush of fresh energy. As we drove away from the bank we both felt the energy flowing. Unstopping the dam was so quick and the center of my world was righted.  Since that moment, there have been no more wishy-washy decisions, no more distracted, confused times.  There has still been stress and sadness, but Master has his feet again and I am filled to overflowing with a sense of purpose.

People often fear failure so much that they bring failure to life. Instead of fear or failure, Master embraced his own humanity.  He accepted that yes he had lost his focus and nothing about that meant he was a ‘bad Master’ or ‘a failure’.  What death had parted, Master’s hand rejoined.

The Dog, The Duck, and The Handler: Insights on Mastery

When I was about 13 my Boy Scout Troop volunteered to help with a field trial for dogs. For those not familiar with a field trial, it is a competition for hunting dogs. A couple of my troop mates wound up with what seemed a rather fun job. They sat behind a large dirt pile, grabbed quail from their cages, tucked their heads under their wing, and threw them out over the water. As the discombobulated birds began to fly, they were suddenly felled by a shotgun blast and plummeted into a pond below so that the dogs could retrieve them. I’m fairly certain that there was nothing safe about being the bird thrower in such circumstances, but to a younger me it certainly seemed like a fine way to spend an afternoon.

The job I was assigned was far less glamorous. Rather than spend my day idling by the pond in the line of fire, I wound up working on the field side of the competition. Basically I was a gofer for the dead birds which the dogs were unleashed to retrieve. I spent the whole day riding shotgun in a beater pickup truck with a somewhat humorless man. We drove back and forth all afternoon. On one end of the circuit, he would stop the truck and I would get out to retrieve a dead duck from the pickup’s bed and place it in the field. At the other end of the end of the journey, I would get out to pick up the dead ducks that the dogs had retrieved. Carrying dead birds is a rather disgusting task. That the dead birds were mangled and covered in dog slobber only added to the day’s misery.

One thing that stands out in my mind about that day is that we were promised lunch. By the time it was lunchtime I was good and hungry. What I did not count on was lack of hand washing facilities. I don’t know what I expected to get for lunch, but I was disappointed my rations consisted of a dry bologna sandwich and potato chips. It is hard to imagine anything sounding less appetizing than eating finger foods with my dead bird and dog slobber covered hands.

The whole day wasn’t entirely wasted as I managed to learn a few useful things that I have carried with me for the rest of my life like the meaning of the term “trucker’s tan.” Since I was riding in the passenger seat, my wicked trucker’s tan was backwards, but for a week or so afterward it served as a reminder that I never again would be suckered into a field trial.

I cannot say that I learned much about field trials other than that they seem like a miserable way to spend one’s day. I do remember that there was one particular dog handler who trained probably a quarter of the dogs in the competition. I mostly remember him because none of his dogs seemed particularly adept at retrieving. After releasing the dog from its lead, he would blow his whistle and point in the direction of the target. Frequently the dogs would run a few yards forward at the sound of the whistle before turning around and looking at the hapless trainer with a confused lost expression.

Another thing that I noticed was that sometimes the various trainers would point one way even though the target was located in a completely different area of the field. Not knowing anything about how one would score a field trial, I don’t know whether the dog that follows the misguided instructions of his handler is better or worse than the dog that ignores the handler and retrieves the dead duck in short order. I think that the obedient dog is certainly the better one.

There are a lot of reasons that one might send the dog on a path that isn’t direct. Perhaps the straight line is hard for a dog to navigate or has other obstacles, or perhaps the straight path puts the dog out of the handler’s line of sight. Sometimes the handler simply does not know where the fallen bird is. In any case it is not for the dog to decide which direction he should go; the dog should simply follow.

Telling this story to my slave, she remarked that she was not surprised that I would think the obedient dog the superior one because it is also how I expect my slave to behave. I hadn’t really made that connection, but her simple observation was correct. I expect my slave to follow my direction and not decide which way to go. Much like the dog sent on a circuitous route, sometimes the directions I give her may seem to have no reason to them. Sometimes, I am leading her down a path towards a destination that is not apparent. On other occasions, it is the journey itself that pleases me. Sometimes, I simply want to take enjoyment in watching her follow my directions obediently. In my frailties, sometimes I may not know the right way to the destination. But in any case, it is not for her to decide that. Her path is to follow.