As I looked in the mirror, Master flexed His fingers against my skin, as naturally as a handler would lovingly caress their pet puppy.
Editor’s Note: The following is part of a notebook Queer Time, co-edited by Ta-wei Chi and Ariel Chu, which gathers contemporary queer Taiwanese literature in translation. To read the full Queer Time collection, visit its home here.
Content warning: The following excerpt contains some potentially disturbing images of violence and BDSM
The original edition of《軍犬》| Military Dog was published in 2010 by 基本書坊, with an expanded edition published in 2013
AN EXCERPT OF MILITARY DOG
By Petit 夏慕聰
trans. Yahia Zhengtang Ma
INTRODUCING MILITARY DOG (TRANSLATOR’S NOTE)
This excerpt is taken from the Taiwanese author Petit (Xia Mu-Cong)’s novel Military Dog (軍犬). The book doesn’t just show an intense erotic encounter between a “human puppy” called Li Jun-Zhong and his Master DT, but also offers a peek into the unique BDSM and human-puppy play scene in Taiwan. The latter is influenced by—but distinct from—the Japanese shibari (繩縛) and the leather/kink/fetish culture of the US.
Rare in the history of Taiwanese queer/tongzhi literature, Military Dog—which took years to write and get published as a full-length novel in 2010—focuses on sexual fluidity and humans’ metamorphosis into “dogs” in the context of contemporary Taiwan. Fascinatingly written, Military Dog unsettles cultural norms by bringing the underground BDSM scene out of the closet and imagining the military as a distinct site of queer performance, fashioning a layered act of queering what is normal or “vanilla.” Furthermore, this important and timely work queers the universalizing pretensions of queer desire and the fundamental notions of the erotic, the individual, and the body. The project of translating Military Dog from a unique context into English seeks to document the existence of the Taiwanese BDSM scene and new sexual identities. It also offers an opportunity to imagine a new politics of sex, one that projects a vision of our queer past and future.
In the following excerpt translated from Chinese, a young military officer enters the world of BDSM, which is known as 皮繩愉虐 in Taiwan. After his own experience in the military—which, in the author’s words, is a gigantic S&M venue—Li Jun-Zhong knocks on his Master DT’s door to satisfy his burning desire and show his tremendous loyalty and submissiveness. In an exclusive sphere where any activities can occur, Military Dog and Master blur the boundaries of pain and pleasure through training, controlling, gazing, touching, sniffing, and breathing. What makes the story more fascinating is the author’s mimicry of a drill instructor’s training and oath of enlistment, which climaxes in the pleasure of accumulated erotic tension.
This excerpt is full of steamy, kinky exploration along with a generous amount of love. In the story, DT is referred to as “Master” and “Him” to indicate a relationship between a handler and a puppy. Naturally, Li Jun-Zhong’s pronouns “he,” “his,” and “him” (with Military Dog as his puppy name) are presented in lowercase. The goal of this conceit is, first, to show the human puppy’s respect, love, worship towards his Master; second, to demonstrate that (at least within the timeframe in the excerpt), DT is the one and only Master of Li Jun-Zhong. At the same time, the translator, just like the author does, adopts combined first- and third-person points of view to refer to Military Dog, celebrating the fluidity and versatility of his sexual identity. In the excerpt, readers are assumed to understand that “I” am “he” (in lower case) is “the slave.”
MILITARY DOG (AN EXCERPT)
The iron gate of the house was firmly shut. I was quite terrified, uncertain about what was likely to happen next. My skin bristling, I pressed the doorbell.
The moment I heard His voice, I began to jump up and bark. Under His rules, barking was my only way of responding.
He opened the door, and I quickly stripped down to the white briefs He had given to me.
I got into the starting position with my hands flat on the floor.
“One, down. Two, up. One, down.”
With my weight on my hands, my upper body dropped down to the floor until my crotch touched the ground. Meanwhile, He did a security check on my backpack. He drew out one pair of briefs with semen stains encapsulated in a plastic bag, spread them on His hand, and spoke to me softly: “Yeah, a big load.”
Then He continued to issue orders: “Two, up.” I obeyed and pushed myself back up. Regular training in the military had equipped me to deal with His orders.
When He pressed the stained underwear to my nose, I couldn’t help but feel humiliated. “Sniff,” He commanded, pinching me on my ears and cheeks. Closing my eyes, I was not sure if I was attracted to the smell.
I lowered my elbows off the ground and did push-ups again and again to the cadence of “One. Two. One. Two,” going down and pushing my body back up until the fig leaf that was my underwear got soaked thoroughly and visibly, so dripping wet that it stuck to my butt crack.
He called out stop only when drips of sweat fell onto the floor. “Strip.”
“Yes, Master,” I moaned in response. Then I knelt, taking off my wet underwear, about to fold it neatly.
“Put the underwear over your head,” Master ordered. In confusion, I turned my gaze on Master. All of a sudden, He gave me a hard slap.
“You dare disobey me, Military Dog?”
Military Dog placed the sweat-soaked briefs on his head, unable to tell whether it was teardrops or sweat beads that rolled down his cheeks. Then I slipped the pair of underwear, which had locked my cock like a cage, over my face. I could still see clearly through His legs.
“Follow me.” Master loaded the backpack on Military Dog’s back, and the dog followed obediently at Master’s feet.
There was a mirror that defined the entrance to the living room, at one side of which a cane stood stiffly; Military Dog got scared when he saw the dog-beating cane. After unloading the heavy bag, Master picked up the rod. He tenderly caressed my head at the same time.
“Good boy! Very good, you should be afraid of the cane.”
I couldn’t help shivering as Master briefly flashed it before my eyes. Looking at the stick and reminiscing about the pain Master had caused my buttocks the other day, I felt as though I had already been beaten again. I couldn’t help asking myself if the man in the mirror was still a man, a man stark-naked, only wearing a pair of sweaty briefs on his head, his cock half-hard and his pubic hair half-clipped?
As I looked in the mirror, Master flexed His fingers against my skin, as naturally as a handler would lovingly caress their pet puppy.
“Paw,” He said.
Military Dog brought one limp hand to the air and extended another hand to obey Master’s order.
“Another one,” He said, and I obeyed. Then, just like He was conducting a military entrance medical examination, Master closely inspected every inch of my body. After stripping off the briefs over my face, Master returned His hand to my jaw and gripped my mouth, almost like He was giving His dog a tooth examination.
“Stick your tongue out,” Master further instructed, and Military Dog complied, making a panting noise. “Further.” I obeyed and hissed, and a rush of spit flowed out. Military Dog tried to wipe the spit from his chin, but Master slapped his hand. Then Master reached down to take my half-clipped pubic hair in His hand.
“Nice cock, huh,” He said, playing with my balls. Then He reached for my hole, lightly pulling the string of the tampon hanging out of my butt. “Squeeze tight so it won’t fall out,” He commanded, and Military Dog tried desperately and frantically to clench the muscles around his hole to resist Master’s hard, sharp pull.
Then Master sensually spanked His dog’s ass with the dog cane, and Military Dog looked up at Master with confusion. He met his eyes with Master’s, seeing a spark of desire in His gaze. “Good boy, bite down,” He said, grabbing the sweaty briefs. Military Dog’s mouth opened to take them.
Then Master fondled His dog’s hair, saying, “Come. I’ll clean you and wash off your man smell.”
Military Dog’s body was shaking, but he followed Master into the bathroom where there was a full-length mirror and a basket of toiletries and sanitary products.
“On all fours,” Master ordered.
Military Dog got down on all fours straight away. When Master ordered him to turn over, he instantly rolled on his back, and Master beat his arms and legs with the cane.
Feeling surprised to hear Master say, Good dog, curl up, Military Dog obeyed immediately. Master then let go of me, taking a small chair to sit beside my legs behind me.
“Look at yourself. Newborn human puppies should be smooth. You are not supposed to grow hair. I’ll shave you.”
Woof. Military Dog made a wheezing sound, disapproving. Wheezing was a signal of negative emotions, as agreed upon by Master. Master then placed His hands beneath my cock and balls, which He fondled roughly.
“Don’t talk back,” Master warned.
He returned His hand to my legs and spread a layer of shaving foam over them, then over other hairy areas of my body. Thanks to Master’s mastery of the technique, Military Dog’s hairy legs and armpits were trimmed neatly. As a result, he was left only with the hairs between his legs. When the razor started to hit the skin of his inner thighs and move to where his leg and pubic hair had once met, Military Dog realized that getting completely shaved by Master was inescapable. He couldn’t help drooling, getting his underwear soaked in his doggie mouth.
“Good boy,” Master addressed me, stroking my dick. Then, seeing the hair around his cock getting shaved off, Military Dog started to sob.
“Do dogs cry like this?” Master asked, throwing His puppy an unapologetic look.
Master reached between Military Dog’s legs and pulled the tampon out with one stroke, inflicting throbbing pain and causing Military Dog to wiggle on the ground.
“Watch out. The razor is still in my hand.”
Master dangled the tampon that had been shoved inside Military Dog’s hole over his face.
“You didn’t douche after shitting? Turn over then.”
Military Dog complied with the command and wriggled his ass. Then Master pulled his cheeks apart, shaving the remaining hair off. When Master was done, Military Dog had become a puppy with no single hair left on his body.
“Stop crying! Or else I’ll shove the tampon into your mouth.”
Military Dog held back his tears as Master returned His hands to His puppy, applying frothy soap all over and washing his body thoroughly.
“Fuck, there is something human left in your hole.”
At the divine mercy of Master, Military Dog douched and squatted on the toilet.
“Dogs don’t squat on the toilet,” Master warned.
Having no choice but to crouch, Military Dog could see his freshly shaved genitals. He was left to completely expose himself in front of Master, who was standing and observing him. Military Dog felt utterly humiliated.
Then Master cupped my chin in His palm before taking hold of my jaw. “Come. Open your fucking mouth.”
Holding me in place with one hand, Master grabbed a toothbrush, penetrating it deeply into my mouth and brushing my teeth on all sides, making me choke. Master then gave His puppy a reassuring and comforting pat.
“Rinse your mouth.” Master pointed at the water bowl, and at Master’s command, the human-dog hybrid obeyed: his entire body had been cleansed thoroughly.
Master said, “Only clean dogs get Master’s love.”
Moving back to the living room on all fours, I could hardly recognize myself in the mirror. Upon hearing Master calling me by my name—“Li Jun-Zhong! Li Jun-Zhong!—I summoned the willpower to stand up, even though the numbness and tingling in my knees almost caused my knees to buckle.
Master then placed His hands on my shoulders, squeezing my chest, circling my nipples, pinching my abs. Master snaked His hand lower, and my body was awakened, voluntarily wriggling to offer stubborn resistance. Turning my gaze on Him in the mirror, I saw Master’s face flushed with anger.
“Fuckup. I should be harder on you.”
Master threw a piece of paper in a fit of anger, and I shivered and bent down to pick it up from the floor.
“Did I say you could move?”
At the command of Master, I withdrew my hand.
“On your knees.”
With a resounding bang, I dropped to my knees at Master’s feet. I had displeased Him and when His anger flared up, there was no room for negotiation. It was my pleasure to obey.
“Bend down, bite this.”
Slowly, my upper body tensed up, and I jerked my head forward and opened my mouth to obey Master. Master shoved the paper into my mouth.
“Lift your fucking ass up.”
I knew what awaited me the instant the dog cane cracked. As I looked in the mirror, Master struck the rod and savagely whipped me with my hips high in the air. Clenching my teeth, I hardly dared to breathe or protest. Blow after blow lighted a fire in my body, my ass turning red as Master caned me.
“Stand at attention in front of the mirror,” Master instructed; my numb and aching ass burned, and I tried so hard to stand still as soon as I received the instructions.
Heels together, toes apart, feet and arms fixed at the side…
To my astonishment, the position that I had become so familiar with in the army suddenly felt unfamiliar and rusty. I saw myself in the mirror, that stark naked man whose thick bush of public hair had been shaved cleanly and thoroughly. My pelvis looked like that of a little boy who had finally become a man. I couldn’t help but feel slightly aroused.
“You took an oath when you enlisted, right? The words of the oath are on the paper in your mouth. It’s a master-slave contract.”
Upon Master’s explanation, I, standing still in front of the mirror, lifted my hand and swore the oath loudly:
I, Li Jun-Zhong, with sincere humility and wholehearted honesty, do solemnly swear that I, as Military Dog being kept and handled by DT, will serve Him as my Master all my life. Section One: …
After uttering the oath, I turned around and saluted Master like a soldier. After Master returned a military salute, I handed the oath to Him.
“Military Dog, kneel!”
I got down on my knees in front of Master, finding that the military salute had created a bond of respect between Master and Military Dog. There was no more cavorting and playing about with each other; now, everything was solemn. After swearing His oath as a Master, DT grabbed the collar he had bought from the pet shop the other day and put it on Military Dog’s neck. Then His hands moved down my underarms and waist, and He petted me tenderly.
As soon as I lifted my hand to return a salute, Master gave another command: “From now on, bark to salute.”
Woof! Woof! I gave loud barks, my stomach muscles tightening.
“Good dog. Put out your paws.”
My hands got wrapped with gauze.
“This way, your hands become dog paws. Hips up, forehead to the floor.”
The puppy followed Master’s command and wiggled. Lying face down gave Military Dog acute hearing; he could tell that Master was walking away from him, then coming back. He then spread my ass wide apart. I gave into my curiosity and looked up at Master, seeing His gaze steely and piercing in the mirror.
“Can’t help looking, huh? Come closer.”
For the very first time, Military Dog saw Master’s fully naked body. Seeing Master’s mind-blowing nudity, I felt a flare of coolness in my back entrance.
He thrust a finger into my hole, which spread fire across my body and made me bark, woof, woof, woof…
Before I could cry out, He inserted something huge in my hole, something far thicker and larger than the tampon, making my tight ass split in half. Is Master stabbing His dick into me? I wondered, and tears streamed down my face until I saw Master petting me almost caringly.
“Look into the mirror. See what I shoved inside you?”
In my watchful gaze, I saw a black tail between my butt cheeks.
Master addressed me and gently rubbed my skin as He ordered me to the mirror to look at myself in a sitting position. What I saw reflected was just a loving couple, the naked Master and His beloved Military Dog. The man named Li Jun-Zhong had now become a dog to the core in front of his Master.