Metatron Prize


for Rising Authors

 

 

 

 

 

wren oscyth

 

SUCCUBABY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who are you?

My name is wren. I’m a writer, artist, community organiser and sex worker living in Berlin, Germany. 

 

 

What is your book about?

SUCCUBABY is an ambient conversation between David, a middle-aged, retired athlete and Bunny, a foreign exchange student who is also David’s paid companion. It’s set in the suburbs of Los Angeles as a global disaster unfolds around them, which only serves to strengthen the capitalist framework of their lives and relationship. It’s a pulling apart of the intimate, mundane moments that make up their time together, that reveal a man’s life derailed by his own constructions of manhood and masculinity; as well as a closer look at the unclear line between some forms of sex work and domestic labour. 

 

 

Could you tell us a bit about the process of writing this book?

It started during a brief period in which I was living in Los Angeles, where I developed a bit of a codependent relationship with my so-called sugar daddy. He needed a good supporting character, and I needed somewhere to live when the pandemic hit, so I moved in with him and his 20-year-old son. He was in the middle of a post-divorce midlife crisis. I had almost nothing in common with him but his fridge was always full, he had a huge TV and a treadmill in his garage. When I was with him, I didn’t have to be wren, I could be anybody. This experience of living with him was the first part of writing SUCCUBABY. Fast forward 18 months, I finally felt ready to pull a fine-tooth comb through that period of my life. It was just a matter of sitting in my bedroom and getting it down. It felt more like exorcising a past life than the process of writing a book, but maybe that’s what writing a book always feels like. 

 

 

What are some books you’ve read and enjoyed lately and/or books that influenced the writing in your submitted work?

Generally, I would say that SUCCUBABY was most influenced by the countless books which follow the feminist writing tradition of marrying fiction and autobiography/documentation. Through my exchange program, I was lucky enough to be in a writing class taught by Chris Kraus; her support gave me the gall to take ownership of presenting something so personal. Recently I’ve been revisiting a few non-fiction books relevant to my organizing work- Sex After Fascism by Dagmar Herzog, Gay Berlin: Birthplace of a Modern Identity by Robert M. Beachy and my righthand reference book, Revolting Prostitutes by Juno Mac and Molly Smith. There is a Logan February poem handprinted on linen by Little Virgil which hangs above my bed - I read that every day.  

 

 

How would you describe your book using emojis only?

💪🏻💰❤️‍🩹🦟🤦🏻🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩

 

 

Anything else you'd like to share?

Just that I’m so happy to be here. 

 

 

 

wren oscyth is a writer, artist, community organiser and sex worker from Aotearoa (NZ) living in Berlin, Germany. They are an organiser with the peer-to-peer project Trans*Sexworks and co-founder of the poetry/performance curatorial project 'drift'. They study Fine Art at Berlin University of the Arts. 

 

 

    

   

 

  

 

SUCCUBABY

[Excerpt]

 

FEBRUARY 29. MIDDAY.

 

A cluttered bedroom in a shady Sherman Oaks bungalow, the TV is on.

A young woman “Bunny” is lying naked in bed next to a white pit bull.

She and the pit bull are a similar size.

A 6’8” middle-aged thickset man “David” stands at the bedside with a bowl of grapefruit quarters.

He angles his head back as he drops them in his mouth. David is staring at another brown pit bull that lies

on the floor next to the bed.

 

 

God she’s old.

I’ve never had an old dog before.

 

How old is she again?

 

Thirteen.

All my dogs until her have died young.

 

The brown pit bull wags her tail. It taps loudly against the mattress.

 

I had a dog that lived until he was eighteen.

 

Small dog?

 

A Newfoundland cross.

 

David eats another grapefruit quarter.

He chews and sighs heavily.

 

So the only thing I have going on is a 7pm cocktail meeting until-

 

Bunny bites into a quarter of a grapefruit and the juice drips down her chin.

 

You’re dripping all over the place little lady.

                    Control yourself.

 

Bunny picks up the bowl and holds it under her chin.

 

That’s the only thing I have going on

and it’s probably only going to be an hour

an hour and a half.

 

Well I have my friend's show tonight

so tonight is off.

 

Ok, alright.

 

David sits on the bed and picks up his phone.

[Jacuzzi, jacuzzi, the water feel good on her toes]

 

These girls just cannot dance at all.

 

[Live a little, smoke a little, sip a little, drip a little]

 

They worry more about

like doing interesting things with their hands than

just like dancing.

 

Bunny adjusts positions, stretches over to touch David’s back.

 

Do you want me out of your bed so you

can look for your tooth?

 

Um, no.

I don't think I ever don’t want you in my bed.

 

Bunny smiles.

 

What about when you're looking for

your tooth?

 

Well

you could help me look for my tooth for sure.

 

David is looking at his phone.

 

Oh John Mulaney

he’s like my favorite.

Is he hosting?

He’s hosting on the 29th.

That’s the weekend we’re in Santa Barbara.

 

[They stole Lulu Lemon’s designer-

They look just like normal khakis, guys can actually wear them to work!

These are my golf pants. It’s unbelievable. They’re so soft.

They’re crazy soft. They’re stretchy, but they don’t look stretchy-]

 

Of course Karim wears his own fuckin’ jersey to Staples Center

and doesn’t wear Kobe’s jersey.

That is fuckin’ hilarious.

 

Why?

 

What do you mean why?

 

Why is that hilarious?

 

‘cause you’re not supposed to wear

if you’re

if you’re

I don't know if you know who this guy is

he’s probably

at the time that he was playing basketball and shortly thereafter

he was probably the most recognizable person on the planet.

Maybe him and Muhammed Ali.

So if you ever get to that point you never wear your own shit.

You just don’t.

You wear other people’s shit.

Like that’s ridiculous.

That is ridiculous.

So fuckin’ ridiculous.

 

[...extremely simple tip to jump higher immediately!

You’re gonna be surprised at how simple this tip is but there has been decades of research and

bio-feedback... Antarctica-]

 

Have you heard about this?

Oh

nevermind.

I thought this was the pink-

They found a pink mantaray.

They think it’s the only one in the world.

 

Wow.

Can you Google it?

I want to see a photo.

 

[The fires recently have been so much worse than anything we’ve seen.

They’re bigger, they’re hotter.

They’ve burned places they haven’t burned for millennia.

The scale is just unprecedented.

The fires-]

 

Okay here we go

there it is.

Oops, no

that’s not it.

I keep thinking that’s it.

 

Is that it?

 

No.

 

A plane rumbles overhead.

 

Just google it.

 

I’m starting to get frustrated.

 

Why don’t you-

 

Because I know it’s not this far back.

 

Why don’t you just Google search-

 

You know what?

That’s like asking for directions.

God dammit.

You know what my daughter used to call flamingos?

Maflingoes.

 

That’s cute.

 

We tried so hard to never ever correct her

but other people did.

And now she calls them fucking flamingos.

Let’s see if it’s in the

it’s not.

Pink.

Uh was it a bat ray?

I’m just gonna say ray.

Pink ray.

Well that didn’t work.

 

You should type in manta ray.

 

I think it was a manta ray.

Pink manta ray.

There it is.

 

Wow. Do they know why it’s pink?

 

Yeah, so

pink for a mantaray is albino for everything else.

 

That is amazing.

“Super rare pink manta ray spotted in

the Great Barrier reef.”

 

Pretty cool.

 

Pretty cool.

 

The white pit bull jumps down from the bed. David picks up the fruit bowl.

 

So you don’t eat this?

 

David points at the pith left in the bowl.

 

It’s the best part for you.

I don’t know if you know that or not.

 

Well you can feel free to eat it.

 

David stands up and walks around the bed.

 

Well I'm not gonna eat your

whatever they call it.

 

Pith.

 

I don’t even know what they call it.

 

Pith.

 

Huh?

Pith?

 

Yeah.

 

Interesting.

I think at some point in my life I knew that because that sounds familiar.

 

David laughs.

 

That little glass of scotch has got my day off to a great start.

 

I’m so glad.

Are you still feeling mean?

 

Am I what?

Are you still feeling mean?

Are you going deaf too?

No, I'm going

I can't understand your accent.

 

Right.

 

David stands at the end of the bed. He stares at the middle distance in front of Bunny.

Bunny climbs off the bed. They both start pulling the pillows off the bed.

They throw them in a pile on the floor.

 

Did you know that there are glow in the

dark rabbits?

They’re not in the wild but

 

Because of the shit we feed them?

 

No

It’s like

It’s actually this guy I was seeing

 

Can you take away your bowl of pith?

 

Yes, relax.

 

Bunny moves the fruit bowl from the bed to the dresser.

David and Bunny strip the bed.

 

Um this scientist made it happen to get

some kind of prize.

And basically it’s something

 

Bunny throws the bedding on the floor.

 

There’s a dog under there.

 

David points to the bedding on the floor, which is now moving.

 

Oh really?

 

She loves that shit.

 

Which dog?

 

Crystal.

I’m going to take this opportunity to wash

so these were brand spanking new clean sheets when

 

Okay so for glow in the dark rabbits,

you splice their genes with um

jellyfish.

 

Can you pull the bed that way?

 

David and Bunny pull the bed away from the wall.

The mattress has a foam extension, specifically cut to fit David’s height.

 

So we’re gonna take this off and put it on top of this.

 

David and Bunny lift the layers of sponge offcuts until they uncover a small platform underneath.

 

And then this

we’re gonna set this right here.

 

David removes the platform from the bedframe and rests it on the floor behind him.

 

That’s not it there, right?

I’m about to be really unhappy.

Lift this up a bit?

 

Bunny lifts the corner of the mattress.

David shines his phone light under the mattress.

 

This means it might have fallen out of my pocket.

It’s not in that mess of cords over there right?

 

No.

 

Okay we’re gonna tilt this forward.

 

David and Bunny tilt the headboard towards the opposite wall.

 

Okay, let’s put this back.

 

David puts the platform back in front of the headboard.

 

And then this.

And then lift this up.

Can you lift it up?

 

Bunny lifts the corner of the mattress.

 

This bit?

Nothing under there right?

 

No.

 

Bunny lowers the mattress back down.

David groans and clears his throat. Bunny coughs.

 

Do you know how much that little motherfucking thing costs?

Like 600 bucks.

I could not be more annoyed.

Okay well.

We know it’s not there.

 

So you wanna pull apart this corner?

 

Yeah I’m just gonna look down on the floor first.

 

David struggles to get onto his knees. He looks on the floor.

Bunny picks up the last grapefruit quarter.

 

Do you want the last bit of grapefruit?

 

Yeah probably.

 

Yeah, thought so