The Sinning Lens by Mark Tryon

This trashy 1953 novel was published by Vixen Press. It tells the story of Mitch, a stunning nineteen-year-old sociology major who sidelines as a photography model. After a disastrously failed attempt to bring art to the rural community of Mullen she takes up modeling full-time. She eventually becomes entangled in the dark web of an underground pornography ring led by one Ida Untermeyer. Mitch begins to loose stray too far and she soon realizes she has to find a way out…

Her plan is a simple one: break into Ida office and burn her file cabinet. Freeing herself and the good photographers from the blackmailing claws of Ida Untermeyer. You see, Ida has this cabinet full of photos that go too far over the edge and could be incriminating to all those involved. Well, Mitch is successful! She frees herself from Ida’s sick game. This brings Mitch into direct conflict with Ida whose rage explodes into the best passage of the book…a stellar catfight which is this novel’s Bent Page excerpt. This excerpt picks up just after Ida finds out from Mitch that it was she who burned her files:

Ida pricked up her ears. “Burned them? What do you know about burning?”

But Mitch had said it on purpose. She laughed. “Oh, I know all about it–you said so yourself.”

Ida almost screamed in frustration. “Don’t you get smart with me, you little snip,” she cried coarsely. “I’ll beat your brains in!”

Mitch stood up, every authoritative quality in her sounding a ringing battle cry. “Do it,” she said. “Do it, please. Ever since I found out what kind of bondage I’m in to you I’ve wanted something like this to happen. I may not be able to get away from you, but you’re not going to get much enjoyment out of my company. You and your filthy business.”

She turned to leave, but before she was halfway across the bedroom floor, Ida leaped on her like a huge cat, her fingers entwining in Mitch’s hair.

A great joy surged through Mitch. Suddenly all her misery, all her terror, all the hurts that had come her way since that awful night in Mullen poured into her muscles like liquid power. Ida became the symbol of the forces that had victimized her. A dreadful, joyous desire to destroy the blonde came over her.

With vicious strength she planted her left elbow in Ida’s stomach and as the soft flesh gave, she swung left, her right fist coming around in a wide arc. It caught Ida flush in the chin and flung her backward to the floor.

Then Mitch was on her, raining blows on her stricken face.

This is for me and this is for Craig and this is for Vince and this is for X and for X and for X…all the unknowns whose lives you’ve enslaved and whose happiness and security you’ve ruined–you and your kind–her and in Mullen and wherever you hide out in your slimy caves. This is what I’ll do to your ugly, leering face!

Ida’s clawing fingers caught at the front of Mitch’s dress and tore it straight down. It dropped about her shoulders and she moved back and rose to her feet in order to get a chance to free her encumbered arms.

In a flash, Ida-her nose bleeding-jumped up while Mitch struggled with the dress, and swung her foot violently in a well-aimed kick.

It caught Mitch in the stomach. The breath flew from her and she collapsed on the rug, lungs heaving convulsively for air.

Ida looked about wildly. On the dresser was a leather belt. She ran quickly and picked it up, the returned to the fallen Mitch, the belt raised above her head. Mitch’s dress was hanging about her waist and her heaving breasts were straining at the tight brassiere.

The belt came down across Mitch’s back with a stinging pain that brought Mullen back like an explosion in her mind. She managed to get to her feet, and lurching forward, she grabbed at the waistband of Ida’s skirt. The band gave and as the skirt dropped about Ida’s ankles, Mitch swung hard and hit the solid flesh of one upthrust breast.

Ida screamed with pain and attempted to retreat. She stumbled on the skirt and fell back against the bed.

Mitch was right after her. She tore the blouse down from the woman’s shoulders until it served as a restraint on the freedom of her arms, then she ripped the brassiere underneath and raked her fingernails over Ida’s breasts, leaving long, red, bleeding streaks.

The tears were running down both their faces. Ida’s were mingling with blood from her nose, making a sopping mess.

Ida writhed and twisted, but Mitch sat on top of her. She reached for the belt as Ida fought madly to retain it. As Mitch leaned forward, trying to clamp down the flailing wrists, Ida sank her teeth through the brassiere into the soft breast that Mitch presented directly above her face.

Mitch pulled back with a jerk and Ida helped with a push. As Mitch fell backward, she felt her dress slipping down over her hips and thighs. She sat heavily on the floor and Ida got up, hastily removing her now encumbering blouse. Both girls were down to their undies, Mitch in her pale yellow panties and brassiere and Ida wearing nothing but a pair of tiny transparent white panties.

Again Mitch felt the belt, this time across her breasts. It cut cruelly and she cried out with pain. She flung herself at Ida, grabbing her about the knees and then they were both down, rolling over and over on the rug, scratching and clawing at each other. Mitch’s brassiere was torn from her and she had to fight frantically to protect her free-swinging breasts from Ida’s nails and teeth. Finally she managed to get loose long enough to slam her knee into Ida’s groin. The agent gasped and her hands flew to protect that region. The belt fell from her fingers and Mitch grabbed it up at once and started raining blows on her.

Ida writhed and twisted and tried to escape the cutting, stinging lashes. She crawled along the floor and huddled against the furniture. She tried to get to her feet, but each time the leather whined through the air and cut her down again. Finally she lay crying and whimpering in the middle of the floor, her lungs panting and straining for air, her body still and taking blows wherever they fell.

She was criss-crossed with red welts, from her knees to her neck, both front and back. Her panties hung in strips about her hips.

At last the fury played itself out in Mitch. She threw the belt into a corner of the room and started towards the bathroom. What she needed was a hot bath. She was sick with Ida and sick with herself. She felt fulfilled and statiated, triumphant and disgusted, all at the same time.

Ida stirred. “Mitch,” she whimpered. “Mitch.”

Mitch stopped and turned, looked down at the naked bruised form on the floor. “What?” she said calmly.

“Help me, honey. I hurt.”

“Damn right, you hurt,” Mitch said dryly, but a little spark of pity lighted in her at the utter abjectness of her victim.

“Help me up, please. Please.”

Mitch went to the blonde and helped her to her feet.

“Oooh,” Ida murmured, a strange note of lascivious coyness in her voice, “am I sore!”

Mitch looked at her in amazement. Why wasn’t Ida bawling? Why wasn’t she cursing her? The blonde head was resting against her shoulder and she felt a strange inexplicable thrill run through her. What was this?

“Please, Mitch, run some hot water in the tub and help me wash away these awful welts.”

She led Ida to the bed. The blonde sat down and waited patiently while Mitch ran the bath. Mitch came back and helped her free herself of the torn panties that still hung about her thighs, then led her into the bathroom to the tub. Mitch sat on the edge of the tub and gently laved the bruises and the welts and the fingernail-marks with warm water and gentle soap.

All the while, Ida was making little moaning, whimpering sounds. When Mitch ran her soft, soapy hands over the cuts on Ida’s breasts, she felt the points harden and Ida breathed a soft, “A-a-ah.”

Mitch was utterly confused. This was not what she had expected. At the same time she felt a kind of tenderness toward the woman she had just beaten so brutally, for she did not feel that she had been entirely fair. She had made Ida pay for every mean thing that had happened to her during the last few months. And after all, Ida could not be held accountable for everything. She had used Ida as a scapegoat, in a manner of speaking. She felt a kind of pity toward the bruised body under her hands, and her hands began to show her compassion.

Finally Ida stood up with difficulty. “Rub me real gently with the towel, will you, dear?” she begged, and Mitch patted her dry. “I want to lie down for a little while.”

Mitch helped her to bed. She turned down the covers and Ida stretched out on the clean, cool sheet. When Mitch turned to go back to the bathroom, Ida called softly, “Mitch. Mitch don’t go away. Don’t leave me.”

Mitch turned back.

Ida’s voice went on, “Come here, please, Mitch. Come close. Sit down here.” She patted the sheet at her side.

Mitch, almost in a trance of astonishment, sat down. Suddenly she felt Ida’s arms about her neck and she felt herself pulled down. The arms closed convulsively tight.

Ida panted, “Mitch . . . Mitch . . . I love you. I love you!

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