A pair of shackles splashed into the pool while the guard encouraged with a few low grunts and a nudge to my ribs. When I didn’t respond, he jabbed his baton into the pit of my lower arm, sending it into wild contortion before falling back into the waste with a dead *Slop!*
The first sensation to return was pain- sharp, prickling pain. It bit at my tendon, and then shot deep along my bone before fizzling down, and out my fingertips.
He raised his baton again as I shot up, lurching, and flopping my arms over each ankle as if performing a drunkard’s parody of an intoxicated elephant.
Another pair splashed down as a black pillow case covered my head, and a heavy voice boomed, “Holy shee-it! My man, th’ fuck you got goin on here?!” and then the room reverberated with hoarse, and baritone laughter. “I’ve seen some shit in my day… but goddamn! That’s a shithead if ever I saw a motherfucker! The fuck you takin’ ‘im, Balata’s?” The other guard sucked his teeth. “Birdbrain. Caught him rapin’ this fat fucker.” There were vigorous thrusts of an arm, and then I heard him mouth “stuck.” and then the other struggled through another fit of laughter, “Goddamn Keagan! Ha-ha-haa-ha-ha! You always get into the strangest shit! Well hell, I better get th’ fuck outta’ here before you start askin’ me t’ lend you a hand, or some shit. Ha-ha. Good luck man, an’ you-” a heavy steel toe bumped into my thigh. “Man keep yo’ hands outta’ buttholes! That shit’ll suck you in-”
“Actually,” the first guard interjected. “I am gonna’ need your help with this guy.”
The other guard sucked his teeth. “Fuck you mean? Yo, I’m on my lunch, I mean, if you wanna’ wait, you know, maybe. Otherwise, shit man you bagged ‘im, you tag ‘im. Peace.”
“Yeah right- remember that skinny little Bolivian bastard? How ‘bout them Ecuadorians last month? How many was that- sixteen?” he grunted as he bent to check the security of my restraints, shaking them with unforgiving thrusts.
“Sixteen.” The second guard answered surely, adding “And I do appreciate your assistance in those matters, Bill- both those, and those to come- as I am sure all interested parties would.”
He paused, and a sudden tension thickened the air. After lingering for several moments, the second guard finally dismissed it noting, “Besides, shithead ain’t got legs? Th’ fuck’re those?”
“They don’t work yet-” electricity prodded into the knave of my calf and shot along the bone until jumping restraints. My leg shocked into a wide sweeping kick with the other trailing in seized reluctancy. “See?” and then he repeated the effort on the other.
“Hold on,” the other guard marched back over and had a turn bumping my highs, calves, and the soles of my feet. Not to be outdone, the other guard started again, taking turns at first, then each at a time, until both on the same leg. Each time resulted in spastic hilarity, which only incited their enthusiasm for the sport. Who knows how long this would’ve gone on for if the kid on the bunk hadn’t become too excited and started hooting, and masturbating over his bunk to the chaos.
“Goddamnit Bill!” the second guard sighed finally, and then irritably repeated the jab, “You always get into the strangest shit!”
“Shut th’ fuck up and get the hazmat’s off the wall out there.”
The following moments were filled with pain, muffled curses and hurried dressing, and then each gripped one arm at my elbow and dragged me up, and then out the room under their guiding threat of armed agitation.
The blind shuffle of our path was marked with the stench of a fetid mop washed over wild testosterone.
Every so often we’d pass beneath a large duct blasting ice cold air that would chill the residue on my flesh- warm and cold, wet and dry- until I began to shiver in hard, episodic jangles stifled beneath the echoing rabidity of men and women of all creeds and ages.
Rich, poor, gay, and straight- their voices raged in a resounding choir of indignation.
“You movin’ them feet, shithead?” the second guard huffed. “They don’t wanna’ move for ya’, huh? Can’t say I blame ‘em- I wouldn’t wanna’ work for a shithead either! But you gotta’ try, shithead, you gotta’ try. Like my daddy used t’ tell me, ‘Ain’t no better medicine than walkin’ it off!’”
“Unless you’re a head” I joked. The first guard replied with a questionable humph, while the second snapped back “Unless you’re a head? The fuck does that mean- ‘unless you’re a head?’ How th’ fuck can that pertain to you if you’re just a goddamn head?” he paused, and then began to chuckle.
“Precisely.” I replied in a plain, sardonic tone.
The first guard returned another grunt, while the second snapped, “Just shut the fuck up an’ try hobblin’ along while we drag your lazy ass.” Again, I wanted to remind him who encouraged my condition, but ultimately, he had a point. The effort would certainly get my mind off the feel, and stench emanating from my long-accepted shame. So, I focused and grunted, coating the hood with a spray of frustration, while my hot breath steamed into my nostrils and back into my mouth, washed with the underlying taste of spit, shit, sweat, urine, and cum until I gagged on the stench of it all. But from these efforts I felt a catch, weak, and hysterically wobbly.
In truth it was more of a hard flop before collapsing back into their arms.
I would’ve toppled left onto the first guard if it weren’t for the second guard’s grip. “That’s it, shithead!” he encouraged dryly, but the first guard didn’t share his enthusiasm. “Goddamnit Reg!” he railed trying to regain footing. “Leave th’ goddamn D alone! An’ D!” I presumed he meant me, “shut the fuck up and do not engage with the A’s. Do you understand?” Himself belonging to the latter, I remained silent. His grip shifted and then suddenly pain shot through the back of my head. “Well?”
I felt his grip shift again when the second guard intervened, “The man answered you, Kegan. You said, ‘don’t talk to A’s’. Remember dumbass?” he sighed and then assured me “Don’t worry ‘bout him, shithead. Some dudes just wanna’ beat a dog.”
After a dozen more fans, and one very long elevator ride, we finally stopped.
By now, I’d been chilled and then thawed to the point of hypothermia, causing me to chatter to the unforgiving legacy haunting the hall in ghastly reverberations.
My left arm dropped, and a sarcastic overtone announced dryly “Praise Jesus! Shithead got his legs back. Now if you don’t mind, fuck that crazy dude, I’m out!”
“Yeah, alright. Eh dawg!” the first guard hollered in his best attempt to sound cool, “You comin’ to the bar-b-que Saturday?”
“Tell Rashida to wear that little green one!”
“Bitch, she wouldn’t touch your pasty ass if she were a crackwhore in deep, and you were the Ed McMann of crack!” he cut back. As he did, his voice disturbed the choir like a swarm of wasps who rose up with customary “fuck you’s”, or “Eh, I’ll touch your pasty ass!” and one, “Your mother eats Ed McMann’s crack, bitch!”
The first guard exaggerated a chuckle to hide the obvious blow to his ego, and then pounded on a door just two inches from my nose so that I felt every pulse like tiny hammers on my face. After several moments he released my other arm and pounded again when a shrill, agitated voice ordered us to enter.
I was led to a small plastic chair, the kind you’d find in a pediatrics’ waiting room- hard, better fitted for a toddler to swing in tantrum at his digitally engrossed parents. My knees drew up to my chest so that each breath was a stark reminder of the surreality of my state.
It was colder in here with no relieving pockets of warmth, and the cold dried the residual moisture into a flaky veneer over my constricted pores.
“Nuther ‘Double D’, for ya Ken.” The guard gripped my shoulder with the intent and will to crush it, and I could hear him breathing hard, as if mustering all of his restraint before releasing it with a hard slap adding, “Still withdrawin’, as you can see. Musta’ been worse than the others.” Shivering, and rocking now with a pale, savage temperament- my shackles again clattered to a steady, but unnerving rhythm. The guard sucked his teeth and then grabbed my arm again, holding it high, while jerking it like a gorilla with an inability to reason why it would not come loose. “Caught ‘im in the act, also.”
“Who was it?” the man sighed.
There was a scuffle of papers, and then “Damn!… no. 567D, not… aha!”
“Frank… Jepson?” he read the name as if searching his memory to confirm its existence.
“Right!” the guard answered and then confirmed, “Jepson.” But just as he admitted the name the other man interjected with disbelief-
“The pedophile?” and then erupted with the sudden realization, “Why, that’s not a homosexual at all! I specialize in adult homosexuals- why am I bothered with this? Who put this file on my desk?” He threw the folder sending a cascade of paper through the air, and then seethed “Frank-Fucking-Jepson!” To this the guard sucked his teeth loudly, assuring in a calm, suggestive tone; “Could be deeper than this though, Ken- I’m thinkin’ it’s a message to Jepson. With your permission, I’d like to pursue-”
“Thank you, but that’ll be all, A.” The other man dismissed. “You may leave us now and return to whatever station you belong.”
The guard gouged his fingers between bone, and what little muscle remained in my arm- and then defiantly lunged my entire body forward. “Due respect Ken, you didn’t witness the perversion this man was engaged in. For anyone who had, it was shamelessly unequivocal!”
After pleading his final effort, he released his grip and trailed further back until the door opened, and then shut behind me.
The man let out another exasperated sigh “Idiots!”
Footsteps plodded far across the carpet and then stopped, leaving me alone in my dark corner with only the chattering comfort of my teeth and restraints. There was a quick splash- followed by a burst of running water and then another splash. A bitter waft of burnt, stale coffee seeped into the musk of my hood- black, no cream and fuck the sugar- just how an overworked and underpaid zealot takes it.
“Do you like birds, Mr. Smith?” the man asked after wrestling a pill bottle and choking down its contents with a few quick sips, before shuffling off to another corner of the room. I wanted to reply with a general “they’re alright, I guess.” Truth is, I’d never considered it before, and now that I’d finally been asked my opinion on the matter, I couldn’t muster enough shit to give in my response, so instead I offered a pathetic “Ungh” between chatters.
I soon realized however, that it didn’t matter what I thought about birds, politics, or even his wife’s tits- it was rhetorical- intended to lead me to some brilliant fucking epiphany that would set me on course to enlightenment.
He soon began talking about waterfowl, and how due the spiny, and corkscrew turn of their penis, they often rape their mates. “Geese mate for life, by the way.” He concluded appreciatively, and I couldn’t tell if it was admiration for bird rape, or if he was genuinely that impressed with his introduction.
“Did you know that, Mr… oh for fuck’s sakes!” the angry rhythm of heavy footsteps plodded toward me and with one quick Fwoosh- the hood was off- leaving my eyes once more struggling to adjust through the iridescence.
Above the enduring assault on my senses hovered a musky-sweet aroma, like old paper and green life suited for office domestication. There was a bend in the room to my right leading away into some unforeseen extension, and around this bend came the gentle running of an invisible fountain.
Two fichus stood at each side of a great oak desk in the center of the room. I watched one- drooping in thirst for a dusty glass teetering upon a chimney of frayed manila folders, all bursting with ink scratched paper.
Other caseloads rose and fell in a disjointed mountain range that spilled over the desk in a defiant irony for its appreciation, while the desk itself rose just to my eyes a good four, or five feet away. It’d been polished to mirror the faintest light as a peripheral annoyance, and there were ornate figures defining each corner- indiscernible at first, until I raised my hands for a better study.
Two Atlas figures hunched in a shallow pool of water with the weight of the desk heavy upon their backs, and up bent arms. Their penises hung low, just above the water in a curious corkscrew turn- and suddenly a quizzical realization transfixed my thoughts with an indistinct anxiety.
During this time, the man had made his way behind the desk where he stood in a slouched pose, gazing appreciatively out a large French window.
He was a bald man with a wide rounded head. He wore large frame glasses that rested upon small mouse ears, and above fat, fuchsia cheeks. His gut mounded beneath a gray polyester jacket and vest in an unusually spherical bulge, upon which he rested his steaming mug between two meat patty hands.
The window stretched to all but six inches on either side, and hollowed inward, carving a recess to sit. But as with the irony of the desk, tall wrought spires rose in defiance for such leisure, and together with the desk, made it especially difficult to use from my angle. So, I took the opportunity to rise from my seat and peel my testicles from my thigh, desperate for some glimpse of familiarity- of the city I had smelled when I awoke- but all I could see was forest.
Just an endless blanket of deciduous autumn.
An area of five acres had been etched surrounding the property, and in its stead, grew a neglected garden; now nothing more than straggled weeds and unkempt bushes- mostly roses- giving one an impression of apocalypse, more than serenity. Far to the upper right sat a lily speckled pond, dotted with fowl swimming beneath a crescentic ring of depressed willows.
Shadowed in the left corner stood a mannequin browned with age. It’d been dressed in a dusty poncho, with its downward face shaded beneath a large sombrero.
In truth, the damn thing reminded me of a stuffed Mexican bagged by some rich dentist while on a paid safari of the U.S.-Mexico border. I could just see the sonofabitch, smiling a large toothed grin, while posing low with one arm rested upon his rifle, and the other holding his kill’s head off the ground. The man took note of my shivers and removed the poncho and tossed it onto me with a gentle indifference.
“Please, allow me to introduce myself.” Rather than looking me in the eye or addressing my unclean state- which now flaked onto the plush blue carpet like brown snow, instead his eyes rose to a collage-wall full of framed accomplishments.
“My name is Dr. Kenneth Marcel, and while friends and, coworkers often reference me solely as ‘Ken’, you however may call me Dr.
“I’ve made it my life’s work to understand the homosexual.” He continued, returning to his study out the window.
“Indeed, I wrote my dissertation in the summer of ‘84 while living with two men who referenced themselves as a ‘couple’. It was absolutely- fascinating!
“You must understand, these were dark times for homosexuals.” He paused to lift the unwashed mug to his lips for a loud, though brief slurp, and then nodded; “Hmm, yes. Very dark, and terrible times, indeed. I’m not sure if you’re old enough to remember the ‘80’s, Smith, but for anyone to admit to sodomy in those days would result in an automatic death sentence.”
He set the mug down, snatched my paperwork from a tattered folder atop a pile, turning it over and upside down, while occasionally squinting in my direction until, satisfied, he tossed its contents behind him and allowed them to fall like discarded feathers, adding; “it was known as the ‘Silent Inquisition’. There was such a pandemic of HIV/AIDs, that everyone lived in fear of venturing outside their homes, lest they, or their children be recruited by- well, Gay Bangers.
“Now Smith, I unlike you do remember this era of our nation’s history. The endless march of naked flesh polished in blood by the moonlight while hung in crucifixion upon light posts above choiring children- like piñatas on Christmas eve. Piñatas, Smith.” His voice rose in steady discomfort as he wrought his hands with animated gestures. “Papier Mache effigies full of tiny, prepackaged confections waiting to be beat from their prisons into the waiting mouths of babes. Papier Mache- so named by the French, those hungry, needy, defenseless beasts who’ll stop at nothing until they have what is most valuable to our identity- the hallowed appellations of American cuisine! In short, I’m talking about human beings, Smith!” he pleaded, towering in distress while spitting, and gnashing his madness onto me as he railed.
“Human-Fucken-Beings- my god! I wonder if you truly, do understand…”
Of course, I lived through the ‘80’s- blinded by its cocaine glitz and black leather youth rebelling against their own nature. I remember the bleak political charge, each side threatening nuclear fallout- an empty script which would go on to inspire a slew of shitty films.
I was deep into junk then, and I do remember the scare of AIDS, but not for fear of my sexuality- rather, for sharing rigs. Nor could I recall the social disregard for homosexuals- shit, man- let alone the overall social decent into madness as he painted it. This isn’t to say that it couldn’t be hard for adults who consensually chose to fuck who they pleased- unless that consensual fuck happened to be a member of the opposite sex.
“Large bloody signs nailed into their chests” he began, and then paused again to remove his glasses to rub at his beady set eyes, and then added with further distress “scrawled warnings against such degradation. Degradation of the most foul- penis up the asshole, Smith.” He bent low to meet my eyes with a sudden knowing anger and repeated loudly “Penis up the asshole while his wife is eating fish.” his voice softened, trailing between emphatic consciousness and silent recall as he again made his way back to the window, confirming: “Surly- these were indeed dark, and terrible times…”
Naturally, at that moment I had objections, but fear for the amount of ape-shittery rooted in his mind warned me to remain still and not object so he could climax already- offering instead an occasionally confused, but sufficive nod of understanding.
“For all appearances,” he continued, now satisfied with my concession “unlike many social degenerates, the homosexual resembles its sexual counterpart in every respect, and indeed, you…” here he cleared his throat and quickly correcting himself added; “that is- the untrained heterosexual eye, would be incapable of distinguishing them in society. But by living among them for four months, I became the first to distinguish traits both shared by, and unique only to them.
“For example, it is in fact a gross misconception the homosexual is weight conscientious and therefore, will only consider organic, gluten free, or other, “health” choices for diet. In contrast, the couple I lived with did indeed consume a large amount of sodium, red, and processed meats, as well as gluten, and glucose in many forms. Just as any individual would expect to find amongst our present demographic of heterosexuals.
“Similar trends were further observed in the case of adoption: children vs. pets. Or, athletics versus arts/academia: as it was believed prior to my research, the male homosexual detested competitive events which, likewise would be the opposite for the female homosexual.
“Now, concerning adoption- from afar it appeared homosexuals indeed possessed little tolerance for the human child, as it reminded it of a duality comprising its own nature, that is, the ‘male’ with the ‘female’. A duality which it cannot fully satiate through parental interaction, and so- must instead be satisfied with the simplicity of animal ‘children’.
“In fact, as with heterosexual parents I soon discovered the matter depends more upon personal preference, rather than a definitive cultural, or genetic trait. Time and again, my studies defeated any such implications of a ‘sex’, or ‘gender duality’ to be appreciated by adolescents through the presence of a male/female bond at any stage. Further, concerning athletics- due to the allure of physical contact and potential for genital groping-” he paused, and then leaning in shortly noted- “which is almost always feigned as accidental- I further discovered both sexes do in fact appreciate a most vigorous game of touch, and tackle sports.
“Of course, these are only a few examples, however, there truly are subtle traits toward the opposite spectrum as well. Traits unique only to, and so could be considered stereotype for the homosexual. To offer an iceberg’s tip on the matter, for some unknown reason, they simply cannot resist a conga line.” He returned toward the window, fidgeting his stubby fingers over light salivation pooling within the dimples of his lips smacking in grotesque spasms.
“Like a faggot’s call to arms. There are even-” he swallowed hard before moving toward me with animated expressions, “albeit unconfirmed- reports of lines stretching as far as several city blocks during a single conga. I have a hypothesis that links this gaiety with that of the physical contact from football-” he paused, leaning in a half-standing, half-sitting pose against the only clear corner on his desk. In his face I could see the ember of one more publication being stirred, and so I took this moment to interject my frustration, but my stirring only brought him back, clearing his throat with a straightened air- “yes. Hmm, well alas, my days in the field are over I’m afraid, so I very much doubt I will be credited with that publication.
“Regrettably,” he continued, rubbing away the thought in somber agitation, “there remains one ritual I desperately longed to record in my journal: the unstudied mating habits of the male homosexual.” He paused again to muse silently in a subtle display of favor.
Now, I had a pretty solid notion where I was, and why I was where I was- but who he was and what authority did he rank (if any) were conjectures I grew impatient to discover.
Irritably shifting forward on the hard plastic, while clanging and pleading my bruised, shackled wrists and ankles, I cleared my throat with a loud interjecting “What about-” but before I could finish, he slipped in to regain control with a raised finger and knowing smile; “Oh- naturally one would think to consider pornography as sufficient data, however, pornography is not equal to culture- and you would be wrong to think so, Mr. Smith!” He finished this thought with a bloated air of epiphany, and then, rightly cocking his head in satisfaction toward the window- he continued.
“The pair I studied had refused my interest, which, as an anthropologist placed me in a terribly unethical position. On one hand, as a participant observer, it is vital to acquire data through participation whenever possible. On the other hand, it is equally important we don’t impose cultural expectances, or prejudices upon our subjects- in so doing, we encourage what is known as ideal behavior. That is, behavior we believe others wish to see based upon considered social, and cultural norms- versus our natural selves. Much like you are now. See, despite being caught in the act of your own transgression, I’ve watched you only confirm your homosexual diagnosis through each distressing moment during this intervention. Renunciation, Smith, is a cancer of the soul.”
Now, to the uninformed it might seem like telling someone who’s convinced you’re gay, straight, bi, or whatth’fuckever, you’re in fact asexual is a clear-cut statement.
Example: “Pardon me, sir, but I’ve been watching you and noted how delicious your penis bulges in your pants and would very much like to place it in my mouth to delight in its resting weight, and girth.”
“I’m terribly sorry, but you see, I just don’t think I’d enjoy that.”
“Oh! Ha-ha, no bother. Have a lovely afternoon!” and the two resume whatever it was they were doing.
The reality however, can be more like trying to convince the court you aren’t a danger to society after dawning a Donald Trump mask on Easter- and then streaking across the White House lawn with a Russian flag caped over your shoulders, demanding, “Stand For The Anthem!”
But before I could answer, he had again shuffled on through his insanity.
“In the end, the need for data proved to be the stronger force, and to compromise, I resolved to passively observe from outside their closed quarters.” He chuckled with the mischief of a schoolboy, adding; “undetected. Of course.
“Anyway, I was able to produce several hypothetical sketches for my journal.” He pulled a manila folder from one of the wall filers and produced a small collection of laminate index cards. On each card was the illustration of a man biting the back of another man’s neck with pronounced duck-lips to pin him down during intercourse. In each depiction both men had short, inverted legs, while the dominate man’s arms were spread up, and wide. These were elaborate illustrations, including one with an unintelligible silhouette of a dark, and seedy alley, where a tiny corner scene of police brutality had been inexplicably illuminated against its backdrop.
Other sketches showed the men in similar poses; however, the scenery would change. There was one with the pair engaged while literally in flight, and still another imagining of them in a pond.
Until this point I had observed all the rules of being a good listener. I nodded when encouraged and ignored the previous warning signs of his character. This was a man of profession, after-all, and therefore any moment I assured myself, he’ll make a point.
But I see now there is no point. Like the rest of this shithole, it’s all fucking pointless!
I bet the roof is a dome.
“What the fuck am I looking at here?” I demanded at last. His face fell with the sudden devaluation of his life’s work.
“My- sketches… are wrong?” he snatched them from my hands and scrutinized them with a prejudicial air. “Ah!” he concluded, throwing them up and behind, and then returned to me chuckling. “You do realize, that I know people can’t fly, right Mr. Smith? That was merely for illustrative purpose. Anyway, I came to the analogy of a fowl while lying in my bed one evening reviewing notes. Considering the amount of pain, male homosexuals, like you- must endure while gagging upon, or taking a fully erect 9+ inch penis up your rectum. From a heterosexual’s POV, it is easy to see how I convinced myself that this must be the secret.
Oh, I do suppose cats could just as easily be substituted, but I’ve always been partial to fowl.”
“I’m sitting in your office doc,” I started slow, “layered in manners of filth no grown man should be subjected to- but for some reason, all you got on your mind is bird rape and homosexual conspiracies. Truth is, I haven’t fucked anything in probably the past fifteen years… I’m a junkie- that is my degradation. An’ while we’re on it; about my kick, how the hell did that happen so fast? I haven’t thought about bombing since waking into this shithole, and if ever was the time…” My words trailed as I held my fingers to my eyes and observed them with alien objectivity. for the fecal crust caked in my cuticles like tiny dark lakes caught beneath rising moons. Or the slip sweating down my crack- or still pooled in the dimples of my eyes, nostrils and mouth.
“Unusual- this new sensation- sobriety.” An unnerving vexation washed beneath my skin and up into my mind, where it festered into a tumor among my thoughts.
A dreaded word among addicts, or degenerates of any sort.
Sobriety- live a clean lifestyle and win a house in the suburbs with a leased luxury vehicle in its drive. But wait, there’s more!
You’ll also get this loving spouse with 2.5 kids, and we’ll even throw in a 9 to 5 at your local “sprocket” endeavor.
But sobriety isn’t the prize, because the prize is still a high, see? It’s a chemical formula cooked up in Western labs to quantify success until it is no longer relevant.
Cut, and then paste.
This irony exists because sobriety’s no one’s reward, and everyone knows it.
Rather, sobriety is the fine print detailing mortgages in HOA’s where the American dream is domesticated in nonobtrusive square lots.
And in the event you shuck a responsibility, sobriety doesn’t allow rebuttals- “acts of god”, or other whatever’s- in short, realities viewed as excuses to those fattened soft on the taste of silver.
In truth, the allure of sobriety is only ever distorted when it is forced. It becomes a thing of opposition used as a means of control- and the only reason one needs controlling is to coexist within a society who otherwise despises its natural self.
Sobriety then, beats one down and robs them of their aspirations until what remains is a legacy of manicured debt to be shouldered by their 2.5 leftovers.
At this moment, sobriety had awakened my senses with a terrible injustice raging in my mind.
The kind one can appreciate only after being profiled by a cog in a system that was itself, a zealot for its own grandiosity.
This sudden occupation reminded me of the poncho- how its dry, itchy wool scratched, and rubbed against the film warmed over my flesh. My nostrils flared, accosted by the hot musk of shit steaming from its opening, and all at once I writhed up, thrusting the goddamned thing into the air, and then vigorously rubbing, and scratching my body with welling frustration.
An unforgiving frustration for a man who was paid to be a voice of reason, instead, he used this authority to spit rhetoric at a captive audience in a closet of his own design.
He sat against the corner edge with one leg crossed over the other while contemplatively brushing the thick, gray mass defining his chin and jaw, as if my reaction had indeed given him pause to consider. After a time, he shifted this focus to digging a pudgy finger into his ear and then examining its contents, rubbing them into a tiny wax ball while repeating, “conspiracies…”
So, in his absence I finally demanded; “What the fuck’s going on here? Which one of you pig’s’ running this sty?”
He flicked away the ball, bonking a palm against his forehead, and then set to excavating the desk.
“A moment!” he implored, “just give me a moment if… you… aha!” Bending low behind one of the piles, he reemerged fidgeting seriously with a prehistoric Sony voice recorder.
The enormity of this gadget screamed late 70’s tech, with a color that was a questionable silver- maybe gray.
It had been the go-to instrument in its day and displayed this maltreatment with the proud battle scars of a missing button, and disjointed cassette door.
Once satisfied with the consistency of its hum, he shoved it into my face and proudly encouraged- “Okay!
“Please forgive my blabbering, Mr. Smith. I’d been so wrapped up in my telling, that I completely forgot to give a shit about what you have to say. Do continue.”
The moment I glanced at the instrument I became aware of unclean breath perfumed over its microphone and wanted to retch.
Instead, I swallowed hard against the sour fragrance, leaning into the recorder and calmly replied; “I bet, you’re that nut during the holidays- you know? The professed intellectual who gets shitfaced and toasts the evening with anecdotes of cork screw penises, and all your other fowl epiphanies- hmm? Maybe as you offer around these… laminated machinations of your shame?” I relaxed adding; “Except no one’s impressed, are they, Ken? They roll their eyes and snicker- maybe those with children scramble to cover little eyes, and ears- and though you’re a creature of habit, they still act offended. Every goddamn year, like you’re just supposed to ‘get it’, right? See you… you don’t have a full working idea what you’re talking about. Do you? Just a nut running the nuthouse, ain’t ya’?”
He punched the stop button and laughed. “Thank you for that! Do you know what that was, Mr. Smith? Such proud bravado! You don’t, not yet- but I’m going to break it down for you.
“See, you aren’t here because we intend to fully rehabilitate you, sir.
Catch, and release. Ha-ha, no. In truth, that has never been the intention of this facility- and yes, you are in that facility, Mr. Smith. No, you, like all had the opportunity to govern yourself in accordance with societal norms- to become an ‘Acceptable’. It’s now my turn to dictate your existence, and Smith, before the end, you’ll be glad it was me.
Unfortunately, the government ceased its interest in homosexual subculture shortly before my graduation, which, you can imagine greatly exacerbated my future endeavors. So, I found myself here instead.
“Now, since my arrival can you guess how many social degenerates I’ve observed? Hmm? I wish I had a number to give, heck- I’d settle for a daily approximation myself. In the end however, well it’s really just a number to satisfy attrition, isn’t it? How many D’s we have lost. Lost, Mr. Smith, as in dead, not reintegrated into society, and, ha-ha, certainly not escaped. Because in here, Mr. Smith, the only attrition which matters are in resources- beds, medications, or maintaining adequate sustenance to satisfy the law, and such.
“That’s because degenerates like you, Mr. Smith, whether they be addicted to drugs, sex, violence or any other immoral drive- are always a brimming supply. Do you know what is rare? I’m sure you’ve heard this before- it’s decency. Social purity, and honor. If any of that sounds alien to you, it is because they are some of the things we identify as ‘humanity’. Mutual respect for our fellow man, Smith, is what separates us from our bestial counterparts.
“Only you aren’t human. No D truly is, rather, you all belong to an offensive class of subhuman- less than the ape, even.
A social disease which must be discovered, and then culled from our society before you reach a size of biblical devastation. You exist only to take from your betters, and by so doing you leave nothing in your wake- you, and all degenerates alike. So, if I fail to offer you any semblance of humanity, it’s only because I have learned to profile the deserving, versus those who merely expect. Doing the right thing, Smith. Not because there is a reward, but, well to quote the children’s song, ‘just be good for goodness sake’.
“Oh, and before you repeat how somatic your intentions are, please understand I am aware not all my D’s are homosexual. But do note this, those who aren’t are quickly discovered and thrown back to wherever they belong. My method assures this, and if you think getting shat on, or covered in cum, and other such is the worst we have to offer, then I want you to imagine the most horrifying depravity a degenerate can muster. Got it? Good, now understand that is nothing to what awaits you should you prove to be anything other than what we say you are. See, we designed hell, Smith. Whereas god,” he paused to cross himself, then pull a beaded rosary from within his shirt, kiss it passionately, and then placed it back while finishing; “merely plagiarized our schematics.”
He finished and then stared triumphant behind a mask of smug contention.
After several seconds I gestured to myself, mouthing ‘my turn?’ to which he clicked the recorder and nodded, ‘Why not.’
“See Ken, humanity ain’t just about being good for no fucken reason. Hell, that ain’t even the message behind that dumbass song. The opposite, actually.
It ain’t about striving for unconditional love, or compassion either.
An’ it sure as shit ain’t about ‘decency’, or ‘honor’, as you put it- but time and again there is always some honorably decent person pushing a degenerate’s sense of social purity. So, I’ll consider that.
“Now, people like yourself, always get that wrong. Worse, they like to lump god into the mix, parroting how perfect and eternal its love, and forgiveness is- as if we’re all supposed to ignore the reality of the child born into torture. Or the soldier, or reporter, or just- regular-fucken-Joe who’s drugged, and then beheaded by those who would serve such a master. And because it doesn’t happen to you, you justify it with the same fucking Chatty-Cathy response; “it’s all a part of the plan”. No doc, god is very much human, as are we all D’s, A’s, an’ fucks alike.
“It is, because humanity comprises all behavior- at least, it certainly reflects this. You can’t cherry-pick and then discard the bruised fruit as mere waste, Ken, it still has purpose. Suppressing your self, or apologizing after the fact does nothing to right the wrongs you cause when it boils to the surface. Balance, doctor, that’s where humanity resides.
It is where you’ll find god, decency, and all that other hot fluff t’ tickle your fancy. Balance of, and between the mind, and body. Everything else is a slip toward depravity.
“Now, do you want to know where I learned such an insight? I discovered it in intermittent forms through the haze of my tenure these last umpteen years. Sometimes it would manifest in the empty space between a plunger and a spike, other times in reflection of experience. The point is, doctor, heroin saved me from your menial existence, and awakened my mind to a fuller reality. That, and all the low dejects clinging to its scene. Human beings who, according to you are unworthy of such a title. So, yeah- I’m proud to have had a “socially degenerative” experience, and even though you try to deny it Ken, in the end it is only after we are recognized as members of humanity- unconditionally- that humanity will discover a true sense of being. Hell, go ahead, try to deny it- you’ll only appreciate what I’m saying that much more. But I gotta’ warn ya’, Ken, because there is an event horizon to that rabbit hole should you keep missing steps.”
Our eyes never wavered the whole time I spoke. Mine, transfixed with masked energy- his, smiling over veiled imprudence for not anticipating my response. Each, refusing to back down, until suddenly the recorder clicked, as he cleared his throat and then bent down and removed my restraints. After tossing them dejectedly toward the door he returned to his study of fowl with a dismissive wave.
“I’m tired now, and with so many more of you to deal with today, I think we’ll end our battle of semantics here.
You are to go into population with the other homosexuals, Smith, but first, around that adjacent bend you’ll find a door on the far-right wall. You’ll find it immediately, it’s the only one. It opens to a full bathroom, fitted with a toilet, sink, and everything needed for a hot, five-minute shower.
When you are done, along the opposite wall you’ll find a shelf with your new uniform, and next to that, another door. Dress, and then knock. Goodbye Mr. Smith.”
The office’s addition was a dark façade of the other only minus the desk, and grand window. Instead, it’d been forested with plants, hanging, and rooted free in mounds of fertilizer spilled onto the plush, sky-blue carpet. They’d been placed every which way around its interior, thus making the prospect of finding the door a venture better expressed through the imagination of some great Victorian diarist.
Worn manila folders wedged upright in the dirt like tombstones at the plant’s base. I picked one up and found a single sheet of paper with a distraught picture of Half-Pint’s neighbor, while scrawled in large red print read; “DECEASED”. I squinted harder in the dark, but just as I began to piece the fuzzy lettering together, Ken encouraged from his window, “Yes, through the garden, and along the wall, Smith.”
After pushing through, and then following along a far wall I came to a closed door. It’d been sealed so tight, that when I opened into it an unexpected wall of light surged out compelling me to shield my eyes.
‘Finally,’ I thought removing my hand to adjust, I get to rid myself from the plaster cast! Private shower and hot water! Maybe this place ain’t that bad after all.
In truth, the room was no larger than a broom closet. There was a sink and toilet, except the toilet was a urinal with a load of excrement piled in its mouth and a sign hung onto its handle reading: “Out of Order”. The sink- caked with shaving scum and toothpaste spit, had been positioned above the urinal’s flush keeping it from view, if not for the sign. The shelf too, was a crude effort consisting of two uneven brackets, and a single wooden plank. It’d been positioned up high, though just within my reach.
Then there was the shower- nothing more than a mop-drain with a short garden hose attached to the sink and hanging low like a beat green snake.
This wasn’t a bathroom at all, just a makeshift janitor’s squat.
About three minutes of my five, choked down the drain in sporadic shoots of rusted pipe water struggling to run clear, but at last, the water washed over my body in a hot, and steady flow.
I stood for a moment’s eternity, allowing its warmth to thaw my core, my head, and limbs.
As it did it naturally loosened the filth into streams, and then running torrents down the drain.
On the floor by the urinal sat a thirsty bar of soap, with dirty finger grooves squeezed into its sides as if it’d been choked in desperation for more lather.
But despite its dry, and cracked neglect, it slid over my body with the satisfying release of filth. I lathered my back, front, arms, legs, face, feet, hood, shaft and balls. In-between that, I scrubbed the bar between knaves, crevices, pits, dimples, cracks, and generally over every existing pore.
I lathered my hair until clumps of the tiniest particles loosened, and washed down the drain until my skin, and scalp felt taut and clean. At that moment the hose abruptly shut off, leaving me shivering, though satisfied.
There wasn’t a towel on the shelf, but there was a uniform as promised, so after a minute or two of air drying, I reached for its contents- toppling the entire structure with these efforts. The uniform itself wasn’t anything original- just a generic pair of tighty-whitey’s, with a well-fitted jumpsuit dyed a curious piss yellow, and marked with a running painted “D” on its back, and legs.
Once dressed, I faced the opposite door, cleared my nostrils and then knocked.