Under the Roofs of Parisby Henry Miller
“Vintage Miller! . . . In terms of wit and audacity, it is probably his most successful work.” —Terry Southern
In 1941, Henry Miller, the author of Tropic of Cancer—called “one of the great novels of our century” by Norman Mailer—was commissioned by a Los Angeles bookseller to write an erotic novel for a dollar a page. Under the Roofs of Paris (originally published as Opus Pistorum) is that book. Here one finds Miller’s characteristic candor, wit, self-mockery, and celebration of the good life. From Marcelle to Tania, to Alexandra, to Anna, and from the Left Bank to Pigalle, Miller sweeps us up in his odyssey in search of the perfect job, the perfect woman, the perfect experience.
“Henry Miller at his buoyant, bawdy, rollicking best!” —William S. Burroughs
“Vintage Miller! . . . In terms of wit and audacity, it is probably his most successful work.” —Terry Southern
“Indisputably Henry . . . the use of language, the cadences, even the underlying zest and hilarity. . . . Like a voice in print.” —Noel Young, Capra Press
God knows I’ve lived in Paris for long enough now that I shouldn’t be amazed at anything. You don’t have to go deliberately looking for adventures here, the way you do back in New York . . . all that’s necessary is to have a little patience and wait, life will seek you out in the most unbelievably obscure places, things happen to you here. But the situation in which I now find myself . . . this pretty thirteen-year-old naked on my lap, her father busy taking down his pants behind a screen in the corner, the buxom young whore sitting on the couch . . . it’s as though life were viewed through a distorting glass, recognizable images are seen but discredited.
I’ve never seen myself as a cradle snatcher . . . those men you watch being hustled away in the public parks, always a bit shabby, a little shaky on their pins, explaining that the child had dust on her dress and they were brushing it off . . . But now I must admit that Marcelle with her hairless little body is exciting me. It’s not because she’s a child, it’s because she’s a child with no innocence . . . look into her eyes and you see the monster of knowledge, the shadow of wisdom . . . she lies across my legs and squeezes her naked figlet against my fingers . . . and her eyes mock my hesitance.
I pinch her lengthening legs, cover one entire cheek of her restless ass with a palm . . . the roundness and shapelessness of childhood have scarcely left her body. She is a woman in miniature, a copy as yet incomplete. Her cuntlet is damp . . . She likes it when I tickle it with my fingertips . . . she’s feeling the front of my pants for my dick . . . her fingers frighten me when they sneak into the front of my fly. I hold her arm . . . but she’s found my bush. She clutches my coat and pulls herself so close to me that I can’t keep her away from my dick, she begins to play with John Thursday . . . well, she’ll find him hard. . . .
The whore sits shaking her head . . . Such a child . . . such a child, she says . . . these things should be forbidden by law. But she watches every move eagerly. In her trade one can’t afford to feel excitement, whores live only when they’ve learned to sell their cunts and not their passions . . . but I can see emotion coming into her body, her voice is already thick with it. . . .
She calls Marcelle to her. The child doesn’t want to leave me but I set her off my lap . . . I’m almost grateful to be rid of her. Why does she want to be a—well, a bad girl, she’s asked. She doesn’t answer, she stands between the girl’s knees and the whore touches her bare body. Does she do these things every night with papa? Yes, every night when they’re in bed . . . she is defiant, triumphant . . . And when papa’s working, when he’s away in the daytime? The little boys try to make her do things sometimes . . . she never does it with them, nor with the men who want to take her for a walk.
Her father steps irritably from behind the screen. The young lady will be good enough not to question the child . . . he produces a bottle and the three of us have a drink of stinging brandy. There is a thimbleful of white wine for the daughter.
I sit with the whore on the couch. She’s as grateful for my presence as I am for hers, she has forgotten her trade or she’d take her clothes off when I reach for her leg . . . instead, she lies back and lets me feel up her dress . . . her legs are big and solid.
Marcelle is on her father’s lap in the chair. She plays with his dong and he diddles her between the legs . . . she raises her little belly and he kisses it, her spread legs show his finger sliding up in her tiny hole. Her mousetrap stretches when she puts one of her fingers in with his, and she laughs. . . .
The whore’s body is hot, and when she spreads her legs I find that she’s wet between them. She has a bush as big as my hand and as soft as feathers. She lifts her dress in the front, takes my dong out and rubs John Thursday’s nose against her whiskers . . . will I pinch her breasts, she moans, and would I be offended if she asked me to kiss them, perhaps to bite? She’s catting for a fuck, that she’s been paid to come here has nothing to do with it now . . . she’d probably give the money back and something extra besides just to get a cock into that itch under her tail now. . . .
Marcelle wants us to look at her. She’s bending over her father with his prick in one hand, gesticulating with the other, and calling loudly for an audience. She’s going to suck him off, she tells us, don’t we want to watch her put it into her mouth? Her old man beams like a hashish addict, everything’s rosy now. He’s halfway out of his chair, waiting for the little bitch to take it.
I wonder if her pleasure is half as much as it seems to be . . . she’s been taught, that’s seen at once, it hasn’t all come out of her imagination. She rubs her nipples with the end of her father’s dick, puts it where it would be between her bubs if she had any, and cuddles it . . . then she presses her head against his belly, kisses him there, kisses his thighs, kisses his bush . . . her tongue looks like a red worm hiding in his black hair.
The whore grabs my hand and holds it between her legs. She’s so hot that she almost screams when the filthy little cunt suddenly pops her father’s cock between her lips and begins to suck it. Such things cannot be, she exclaims, and Marcelle goggles over and smacks her lips a bit to prove that they can. . . .
Marcelle wants me to fuck her. She leaps onto the couch and pushes her way between the girl and me . . . there’s something so fascinatingly horrible about her that I can’t move. She slides into my arms, pushes my cock with her naked belly, opens her legs and places my dong between them . . . I turn onto my back to get away from her when I feel her bald cuntlet touching the end of my dick, but she’s straddling me at once.
“Fuck the dirty little cat!” The whore leans over me with narrow, excited eyes . . . she pulls the bosom of her dress and pulls it half off her shoulders . . . her teats press my shoulder. I hear Marcelle’s father too—“Fuck her! I must see my little darling be fucked!”
Marcelle stretches her tiny split fig, holds it open and pushes it down against my dong . . . the little monster gets it in somehow . . . I watch my dong stretch her to twice her size. I don’t know how she manages to take so much . . . but her bald cuntlet seems to gobble me up, it takes my cock in and in . . . for a moment I have an urge to throw her beneath me, spread her child’s legs and fuck that splitting little trap until it bursts, open her and open her with my dong, fuck her baby womb and fill it with jism again and again . . . She’s fucking me now, has her sweet ass against my bush, the bareness of her cunt hidden by my hair . . . she’s laughing, the puppy, she loves that cock in her. . . .
I throw her from me, push her off the couch, but she doesn’t understand that I don’t want her, or if she knows she doesn’t care . . . She clings to my knees and licks my balls, kisses my dong with her red lips—suddenly I see that they’re painted—and takes it in her mouth before I can stop her. She sucks me, and I’m almost coming . . . she gurgles and pants over my cock. . . .
“You loony bastard!” I yell at her father. “I don’t want to fuck your damned kid! Fuck her yourself if you have to have her laid!” I shove my dong into my pants and Marcelle runs to her father. “I must be as nuts as you are to have come here in the first place . . . I’m certainly not drunk . . . Now get to Jesus out of my way!”
“Papa!” Marcelle cries. I think she’s frightened by my violence, but she’s not . . . not that little monster. She shines her amber eyes at me. “Get it now, Papa! Get the little switch so she can beat me while he fucks me! Oh, Papa, please!”
I absolutely run out of the house. I’d kill somebody if I didn’t get out, and I tremble so badly when I’m on the street that I have to stop and rest against a fence. I feel as though I had just escaped from something dark and bloody, something out of a nightmare. . . .
“Monsieur! Monsieur!” It’s the whore following me. She clutches my hand desperately. “I threw his money in his face, the dirty old pig.” She sees me reaching in my pocket. “No, I don’t want any money . . .”
I pull her behind a fence into what must be a lumberyard. She stands solidly against me, holds her dress around her ass and lets me fondle her bush. She’s so hot that her cunt has wetted her legs farther down than I’m interested in feeling . . . her cunt opens against my fingers and she takes John Thursday out.
There’s a pile of boards to lie on. They’re rough and damp, and she’ll probably spend the rest of the night picking splinters out of her ass, but none of that matters . . . she wants to be fucked, and she’d lie on a bed of nails if she had to. With her legs spread she hooks her high heels into a crack and raises herself while she tucks her dress around her middle.
“Monsieur . . . Monsieur,” she sighs. You’ll never know, you wonderful bitch, how grateful I am for this night. . . .
I dig John Thursday into her whiskers. He hadn’t a brain in his bald head, but left alone he can fend for himself He can manage somehow. He slips through her bush and butts her rectum.
She has a flood coming down from her tail, this whore. There’s no stopping it . . . you could stuff towels, blankets, mattresses between her legs, and it would still pour down to engulf you. I feel like the little boy who had to stop the break in the dike and had nothing but his finger. But I’ll plug it, I’ll fill it with my dong. . . .
What was it like? That’s what she wants to know, that’s what she keeps asking me. She can’t forget that hairless cuntless cuntlet even when my cock is nudging into the very gates. The way it stretched and closed over my prick stays in her mind, she says. That little bare body slipping against me . . . ah, if I could have seen how it looked to someone else! But what was it like?
And when the dirty little puppy held my dong in her mouth, that painted baby mouth, and sucked it, what did I feel then? Oh, such a wicked, wicked little girl she is, that one, to even know such things exist! And so on. But won’t I just lift a bit, at her hips, to make it easier for Jean Jeudi to slip into his stable. . . . Monsieur!
An army has marched through her legs . . . an army uncounted and nameless and half forgotten. But she’ll remember this night. It’s an event in her life when she gives it away for nothing, that won’t be forgotten so easily. I push my cock into her ripe fig and she pulls at my coat to keep me down and close to her. She’s not a whore now . . . she’s only a cunt with an ache that must be rubbed away. . . .
The ache won’t remain long. I’ll fuck it out, fuck out the memories too of those others who had you. Who were you with tonight? Who screwed you? Does it matter and can you remember even now? In a day or a week they will have marched on to join those others who have come before. But I will remain, you won’t pass this one by so easily . . . my cock is in you, and there it will stay, even after I am gone. I will leave something that you will never forget, I will give you a little parcel of joy, fill your womb with a heat that will not cool . . . You lay beneath me with your thighs strained apart to receive it, and your whore’s mouth whispers words you have said a thousand times before to a thousand men. But that doesn’t matter. Before me there were no men, and after me there will be none. It is not your fault if you have no unused phrase for what you feel . . . it is enough that you feel. . . .
I club her thighs with my dong, taking it out of her and pushing it into the soft wound again and again, taking her anew time after time. They have left her ravaged and open, easy to take and easy to fuck, all those others. But I fill her, she knows she’s being fucked this time. She pulls her dress away from her shoulders again and offers me her teats. I rub my face against them, sucking and biting.
I grab her ass in both hands and crush the meat while I slip my cock toward her womb. If it hurts her, neither of us know or think about it. My balls lay in a hot pocket, a hairy nest under her tail. The boards rattle under us like the jangling bones of a skeleton.
Jism gushes out of my dong as freely as water out of a hose. The whore suddenly puts her legs around me and holds me tightly . . . she’s afraid that I’ll stop and she hasn’t come yet. But I fuck her for a full minute longer, coming into her womb even after the fire in her has been quenched and her legs fall to my sides again. . . .
The whore lies sprawling on the pile of lumber after it’s over. She doesn’t try to cover herself, . . she acts as though she had forgotten where she was, and she seems to be completely fucked out and contented. But I’m afraid that she’ll remember and try to wheedle her few francs out of me, want me to buy her a drink, pay for a taxi, tell me of her ailing mother . . . I take the first bill I find in my pockets, wipe my cock on it, and lay it crumpled on her bare belly weighted with a coin.
The streets receive me, as bleak and foreign as before. . . .
* * *
Tania’s letters will find me, no matter where I go. Two arrive, one in the morning and the other by late post. She is lonely!. . . .
. . . think I will go crazy if I have to go another night without a fucking by you. I keep thinking about that big prick and all the wonderful things it does, and I would give anything I own if I could just feel it again, and take it in my hand. I even dream about it! It isn’t enough to have Peter fuck me. Sometimes it is hard to keep from coming to see you, even when I know you would probably be angry with me and not treat me nice.
Don’t you ever think about me and the good times we had together? I hope that you do and that sometimes you wish I were there in bed with you, sucking you off, playing with your cock, and fucking, Mother wishes you were here to fuck her too, I can tell because she talks about you so much. She is always asking what we did, just what happened on the times when you fucked me and even what we said! I don’t think she is letting anybody but Peter fuck her now. She has Peter and me go to bed with her every night and she makes me suck her off a lot. I don’t care, I like to do it, but I wish that you were here so that I would be fucked more often. . . .
And so on. “Love from Tania,” closes this letter. The second one is longer. Tania has discovered a new thrill and, as she writes, I have to tell you about it right away. Isn’t that strange? It’s because I would like to have you do it to me. Everything that anybody does to me would be better if you were the one who did it to me. I guess that’s because you have such a big cock. When I think of how big your cock is I feel goosepimples come up all over me. And I was even thinking of you part of the time when he was doing it to me!
I was so glad to have a man fuck me again (Mother watches me like a hawk) that I could hardly wait to take the time to undress when we went to his room. He wanted to lie on the bed so we could play with each other, but I kept getting so hot that I couldn’t stand it, and he had to fuck me. I was acting so crazy that he was afraid I might jump out of the window or something. Oh it was wonderful to feel a man fucking me again. Peter is kept so busy fucking Mother that he isn’t so much good any more, and this was the first time that I have had a good one since you went away. He dragged me all over the room! He had already fucked me twice when he told me that he was going to show me a new trick, but he didn’t have any trouble getting his prick hard. I just let him put it in my mouth and sucked it a tiny bit, and in a minute it was just as good as ever! Then he laid me on the floor on some soft pillows and had me lie on my stomach while he started to fuck me up my ass.
It was wonderful, of course, although it wasn’t as wonderful as when you ram that big cock of yours into me that way, but then I was just a little disappointed because it wasn’t really new after all. Then I suddenly felt something new and strange. At first it felt as though he had come and the jism was going into me, but then it began to squirt hard and I knew that he was making pip in me! Oh what a queer and wonderful feeling that was! His big cock was stuffed into me and nothing could get out, it all went up inside. It was so hot that I felt as though I was burning all through me, and I could feel it squeezing into every bit of my insides.
It seemed as though he would never stop, and it crept up and up in me, making me feel all swelled up like a pregnant woman. When he was all finished he took his prick out very slowly and said that if I held it in, it would all stay in me. You can’t imagine how I felt after he had taken his cock out, lying there with a man’s piss inside me and feeling it all through my stomach every minute.
Then he took me into the bathroom and I let it come out again, litres and litres of his pipi pouring out of my ass while he stood in front of me and made me suck his Jean. . . .
* * *
I’ll confess. . . . it gives me a hard on to read Tania’s letter. I know the little bitch so well. . . . so fucking well, I might say . . . that I can imagine the entire performance as well as though I were there. I can close my eyes and see every gesture, every move she would make. I go marching back and forth across the room with a dong that would do credit to a stud horse. I don’t know why the thought of pissing up that smooth round ass should evoke such results, but I can’t get rid of the damned thing.
I go for a walk, feeling that one leg drags slightly. I’m bait for every whore on the streets, and they all make a pass at me . . . they’re experts at judging a man’s condition. But it isn’t a whore I want. I want another Tania, but one with whom it will not be necessary to become so deeply involved.
I do not find her on the streets.