Aside from the fact that she's under the spell of a dominatrix who is making her service throbbing members of the U.S. military, Tesla is just your average Cleveland girl: street smart, tender-hearted and dreading going to work on Monday morning. Her boss is the evil Marc Androse, a "Gordon Ramsey wannabe" who thinks that owning a restaurant in the Flats gives him the right to abuse his employees.
But Androse is in for a surprise. And so are readers of Muriel, the first book of an erotic trilogy set in Cleveland that tells the story of a woman's empowerment through extreme sexual conditioning. Who knew, for example, that the best way for a gal to achieve flawless, glowing skin is to suck down a steady supply of – well, more on that later.
Muriel is the work of a 50-year old North Olmsted woman who writes under the pseudonym Annie Cox. Raised in the old Brooklyn area of Cleveland, she grew up in a military family and served time herself as a combat medic in the U.S. Army. So it's not surprising that most of the supporting characters in Muriel are hardened Marines and Rangers and Seals who spare not one drop of their precious bodily fluids in giving Tesla the necessary training for a dangerous mission deep in Afghanistan.
Cox had only dabbled in writing before a 2009 accident (a negligent driver knocked her off her bicycle) laid her up for an extended period. She took advantage of the time to dust off an early version of Muriel and turn it into hard-core pornography with a political edge. "I used it to vent my frustration with the system," she says. "It was very therapeutic and it worked."
All of Cox's characters are based on real people. The title character, a 60-year old dominatrix and control freak who administered her husband's autoerotic death ("my hands were around his throat at the time"), is based on Cox's best friend, who goes by the name Cousin Donna. "She seems like the kindest, sweetest old lady when you first meet her," Cox says. "But don't ever cross her. Let's just say she has been known to 'crack that whip.'"
The slovenly and craven Marc Androse has inspired some speculation about which big-name celebrity chef he might represent. Alas, though the character was real, he is not a big name.
"He was a chef for Aramark," Cox confides. "I witnessed this chef, who was a white male, become infuriated with a young black female because she had mistakenly used one of his personal knives. He actually threw the knife at the young woman. I don't know if the incident was ever reported, and I didn't stick around to find out. All I can say is, thank God it wasn't me he threw that knife at, because I would have thrown it right back at him."
Tesla does more than that in the book. Acting on Miss Muriel's orders, she shows up for work and lures Androse into the cooler, where she slams him into a set of shelves so hard that he's "buried beneath a mountain of raw meat and metal." Before he can recover, she dashes to the boning table, picks up his personal knife, and fearlessly carries out Muriel's next set of instructions:
"When Marc comes around the corner of that table, stick the very tip of that knife into his chin and nick the fuck out of it. Leave a big enough hole in that son of a bitch's face so that he'll have to think about you every morning when he looks in the mirror."
Ah, sweet revenge!
Still, that's a mere warm-up for the trials that Tesla faces in her training, where she learns that sexual abuse is only a state of mind. It would be churlish (not to mention legally risky) to give away too many details, other than to note that when Tesla begins by kissing each of the soldiers and pledging her everlasting service to them, it's not their lips that she's kissing.
The mission turns out to be a noble one: Leading her team of sexual commandos, Miss Muriel plans to liberate a group of Afghani women and children who are being raped and tortured by Taliban Neanderthals. One of the soldiers is called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice in a denouement that gives new meaning to the term "explosive finale."
The second book of the trilogy promises more of the same. "There will always be sex, because I personally enjoy sex," Cox says. "It really irks me how so-called religious institutions and politicians try to make women feel guilty for something that is absolutely natural. And there will always be soldiers. I know that good does not always prevail over evil, but the good guys in my books will always kick a lot of ass."
Tesla will be returning to Cleveland, which offers a "plethora of characters." And as for the aforementioned beauty secret, it's suggested in the book's title: The Cum Particle.
For more on Muriel, see pinkflamingo.com/products/Muriel.html.