WHIP SPIRAL by Rhys Hughes


“He understood for the first time how long that arm was.”

An arm limp like a clock’s ‘meat pendulum’ or one of the stone arms, each a metaphor for a serpentine whip in the circle, nay spiral, of role play, of whipped and ‘whipee’. 

Whoopee! — this is a new substantive story by an author whose work has been reviewed by me over the years more than any other author. I don’t know what that says. That I need literary pain as well as pleasure?

And this is one of the strongest stories I can recall from Rhys Hughes, with sinewy prose worthy of any anthology of literary stories as well as fantastical ones, echoing not only this author’s often lighter absurdist ironies, but also The Brothel Creeper collection and indeed, perhaps obliquely, one story by him many many years ago that I published in Nemonymous about a ‘small miracle’ of brothels… 

It is “a mystery as to how that particular item of furniture had found its way into the spare room in the first place.” Something bigger than the room’s doorway. That is this story inside my mind. A gestalt of many old newspapers and their articles. Truth and fakeness. Oozing time. A corridor with unexpected bends. Perhaps a spiral variation on a circle jerk, definitely a tacky moon, a long lasting relationship that needs spicing up, geometry as a disciple of discipline, a jacket with three arms…

A whip is an arm with not even one sharp elbow, I guess? Yet there is at least one memorable beckoning finger in this story.

“Had it coiled itself up like a galaxy or trodden worm?”


This story can be found in a book entitled PLUTO IN FURS 2 edited by Scott Dwyer in 2022.

My previous reviews of Rhys Hughes: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/494-2/

My ongoing reviews of single stories by living writers: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2022/11/06/the-single-story-toward-a-novel-world/

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