Joey hikes up the mountain in his tight jeans and leatherwork boots. The afternoon is surprisingly hot for the middle of November, so he throws aside the green sweatshirt as he strides further along the steep dirt path. The dog charges ahead, chasing the squirrels, and digging into the fresh rich soil, the thick leaves rotten under the trees. At the peak of the climb, Joey stands, grinning, then adjusts himself as he squats on his haunches to survey the mountains to the west of him; in front lies Tennessee, and the Appalachian Trail. The dog whines, bored to be no longer running. Joey stands, pisses next the maple tree, and then walks back down to the cabin. A storm threatens to hit. The dog is fed, and then the axe found. It's new and sharp. Taking off his black t-shirt, he pulls out logs one by one. Swinging hard Joey breaks a sweat as he splits the logs into kindling. He carries everything to the front porch. Once the axe is put away, and the fire stoked, he sits in the swinging chair with a cup of Baileys, listening to the wind and the wood stove--he thinks of this one girl and smiles.

When I talk of alter egos and personas people look at me strangely. 'You mean like voices in your head?' asked Deanna, stepping away ever so slightly. Yes! I mean, no! Words stumbled over each other, mired in verbal diarrhea. Schizophrenic is her implication, but no! I am sane! I am, its true! It's just that--well, what? What is it then?

I have alter egos. We all do. Psychotherapy talks of there being a base personality, with layers of other personas that can be accessed consciously or not. Feeling shy? Shyness is not necessarily the whole story, it can be in reaction to an event, or perhaps a class/ cultural background telling you how to behave in certain situations--you see, I'm English, middle class and in theory I should be married, with kids and a well paid professional career. Those restrictions I deliberately sidestepped. Others kept hold of me though, and sexually speaking I'm reticent, I find it hard to ask for what I desire.

Some years ago I wrote a play about families and sexuality. These days I play with those characters I developed to help with my inherent Englishness in all matters erotic. I personify each of these friends of mine, dressing, walking, speaking, dancing uniquely for whichever one I need. To give less mixed messages I take on these different personas to reflect my desires, and what I feel like giving and receiving at that moment. Anyway, I like dressing up! As a born-again performer, this is perfect for me!

Amanda wears tidy, conformist business suits at work and skimpy black dresses for dates. She likes to be treated as a lady. Romance her. Offer her fine dining and flowers. Undress her slowly. Let her surrender her usual control to your touch. Blindfolds and restraints and ice cubes--

Samantha is sensual and cuddly. She is a sweet and tender lover, a little slow to initiate, yet keen to learn from the more experienced. Shy but enthusiastic she is!

Johnny loves to empty the closets looking for props, strange items and costumes for his stories. Lets pretend, he says often, then takes you both to the grocery store in the chosen outfits. Driving around town, he looks for adventure with his hand in your pants.

Joey? Now Joey is a tough case, never saying more than is needed to charm and seduce. Joey climbs inside looking for the internal rhythms, the hidden heartbeat, discovering your unique undulations when he teases, tastes and explores every inch slowly, lingering as he finds the murmurs and groans of delight when you lose yourself in those sensations--he loves to fuck.

Do I sound insane to you? It makes sense to me, to enjoy different personas. I like it. It's fun! What more can I say? I think I'll stoke the fire now there's all this cut wood lying on the deck for me--