The woman standing up in front of the group cleared her throat and smiled, a tight hard-fought smile that begged charity. “The last sexual experience I had…”
“Speak up, Marj! Pretend you’re talking to the moon. Bring your voice up from your bowels.”
Marj’s smile begged some more charity. “The last sexual experience I had was with a man called Max Skinner. He came into my room and made me a present of a packet of snowdrop seeds.”
“Louder! The moon can’t hear you.”
“Snowdrop seeds,” she bellowed. “He said they were drops of pure energy which if I planted and tended would be my spirit allies. I let him lay his head in my lap and I stroked his hair. It was all quite innocent and yet I experienced an enormous depletion of energy. Before that I had a relationship with an ugly self-pitying man called Luigi. I merely used him in order to flatter my ego...”
“Wasteful energy expenditure. Does everyone see the patterns here?”
There was a low insect noise of assent.
“So, what Marj has to do tonight, when she’s inside the box of living wood she’s made, is practice the breathing technique I taught you and inhale back into her being the energy she wasted on those experiences. Suck it back into her bloodstream by making herself into an energy magnet. Making an energy magnet of the self, I call this step in the recapitulation and recovery process.”
“What a load of bollocks,” Ben said under his breath.