New Voices: “Fuck Me in a Whale” by Sasha Brown

February 12, 2024

On a hookup one night, Cecile is led to a house on a beach that ends up being a hollowed-out, beached whale. Sasha Brown’s “Fuck Me in a Whale” is a surreal tale of viral fads and hustle culture, with meaning that will yawn wide and swallow you whole.


The guy seemed fine, but Cecile had thought they were going back to his place and now they were on the beach instead. It was dark and misty and she didn’t see a pier or a dinghy that might take them out to a houseboat or anything. A houseboat would be cool. She would fuck a guy on a houseboat.

“Where’s your place again?” she asked. She was almost sure his name was Brad but it would be so embarrassing if she was wrong, so she was trying not to use his name at all. She’d taken off her shoes when they hit the beach, and her feet were cold. The sand was clammy and the sea smelled rancid.

Brad or whatever pointed. “See, we’re almost there.”

And sure enough, looming through the fog, right there on the beach itself, was a sort of great indistinct lump. It didn’t look like a house: no sharp roofline, no gables. It looked like a great big plastic bag full of water. The floppy end bobbed in the surf. As they neared, she saw it for what it was: a tail, attached to a great beached dead whale.

The whale lolled on its side with the night waves hissing around it. A ramshackle tin pipe jutted from its blowhole, with a little metal hat on top.

“Holy shit,” Cecile said. “Are you trying to fuck me in a whale?”

“I know it seems weird,” said probably-Brad. “But you gotta see inside. I did it all myself.” The whale’s face loomed sideways behind him with its big baleen cartoon grin. When Cecile pushed through, it felt like being in a car wash. Bristles against her, yielding but stiff. They made a whispered sproing as she went.

Inside it was more spacious than she would have guessed. Not by much. It was cozy. The whale’s ribcage arced above them, great ivory pillars with dull red flesh in between. Brad lit a fire in a little iron stove; the smoke went out the blowhole chimney, tidy as could be. He had a futon set up against one wall, and a kitchenette at the back.

“See?” he said. “It was good enough for Jonah, and the old guy from Pinocchio, and it’s good enough for me. Pretty cool, right?”

“It kind of is,” she admitted. “Did you…hollow it out yourself?”

“Oh yeah, it was a whole thing. I hollowed it and cured it and, like, all kinds of stuff. I got a whole YouTube channel about it. Whale House Life. I have ten thousand subscribers.”

“You didn’t kill the whale yourself or anything, did you?”

He leaned back, offended. “Jesus Christ, Cecily,” he said. “That’s fucked up. What is it, the 19th century? Who kills a whale? Where would you get a harpoon? It just washed up. It was just here, and I was like, that’s really sustainable.”

She wasn’t sure he was using “sustainable” in the same way she would, but she felt bad about implying he was a whale murderer. She liked his place. It was creative. She was going to fuck him anyway, but now she was definitely going to fuck him.

The whole time they were fucking, she thought about how 19th century meant the 1800s, and how needlessly complicated that was. Someone should make a decision, like you can only call it one number or the other.

* * *

Brad texted her the next day but she didn’t text back. He seemed fine but his whole thing was pretty intense, and she was afraid she’d end up on his YouTube channel. She found the channel and watched a bunch of it on 2x speed—honestly the whole whale house deal looked really cool—and then she felt like it was too late to text him back. Then she sort of regretted overthinking it and went back to the beach, hoping to just run into him; but there wasn’t a whale there. She didn’t really remember which beach they’d been at. It had been so foggy. It still was.

It was the fourth or fifth beach when she again spotted the dim gray bulk of the whale, and she immediately had second thoughts. Why had she been looking for this guy? He’d think she was a stalker, and get really intense back, and they’d end up in one of those serious eight-month relationships where you have to remember what he was like in bed for the rest of your life.

She trudged up to it anyway though, only to realize it wasn’t his whale at all. It didn’t even have any baleen. Its jaw gaped open with dull rock-like teeth snaggling out of it. It smelled awful. No one had fixed it up or anything; it was just a dead whale.

She could maybe do it, though. She’d watched the videos. She could put a chimney out its blowhole. If she wanted to, she could—

“You get out of here, hussy.”

An old woman was worming out of the dead whale’s throat. It was a narrower fit than Brad’s had been. Maybe the lady was just starting to work on her whale. She was red and slimy with gore.

“This is my whale,” said the old lady. “Find your own whale.”

“Sorry,” said Cecile. “Sorry.” She backed away.

But she could already see another one a little ways down. She hurried over to it. It must have just beached; its eyes were still rolling. The old lady had climbed back inside her whale. This one could be Cecile’s.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered, hoisting a heavy rock over her head. At least she could make it fast.

The rock didn’t work. It bounced right off the whale’s rubbery head. Cecile was forced to wait, cross-legged and damp and cold on the beach, for it to die.

Three separate people came up trying to take her whale. “Absolutely not,” she told them. “I was here first.”

Finally, the whale heaved its last shuddering breath. Cecile pushed through the baleen and squished across its spongy tongue. She had to wriggle down its throat, squirming and elbowing, but eventually she plopped out into its stomach. She sat with her knees up and vomitous sea water all around her and turned on her phone light. The stomach stretched just over her head. Like she was in a nearly-deflated balloon. The water was pink with dead krill.

But she knew what to do. She just had to clear the organs out. Carve herself a space. Right to the ribs. She was willing to work; she liked a project.

By the end of that first night it didn’t seem exactly homey yet, but it was dry. She curled up under one of its kidneys to sleep. It felt like a weighted blanket. Tomorrow would be so productive.

She woke to the sound of industry. She shushed through her baleen door into the sun. The fog had burned away and all around, everywhere, were whales. Sperm whales, right whales, humpbacks, littered up and down the beach. A gargantuan blue whale had a whole team of dads on it.

Everyone, everywhere, hollowed out their whales. Piles of innards strewn all around. Each pile was festooned with gulls, pecking away at whale parts. Crabs scuttled in and around the heaps. So much hustle. Everyone was working so hard. Everyone seemed cheerful. There were enough whales to go around.

Sasha Brown is a Boston writer, gardener and dad. His surreal fiction is here or coming in lit mags like
X-R-A-Y and Prime Number, and in genre mags like Bourbon Penn and F&SF. He’s on twitter @dantonsix and online at


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