The Longest Hour

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: October 28, 2017

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Submitted: October 28, 2017

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I lead them into the third room. Second from the back, not the best one but they only gave that one to larger groups anyway. We exchange pleasantries. They seem disinterested in their drinks, never a good sign. I am of course also disinterested as it tastes like nail polish remover searing my carotid on the trip down. Nevertheless it's become a necessity in scenarios such as this. I delude myself into seeing it as a personal custom, bordering on religious practice. I urge myself to find the beauty in the consumption of overpriced, over branded battery acid I wouldn't be able to legally procure in my country. Like a pre-concert vocal warm-up, or a dangerously under-washed jersey on game day, I cling to my clear, burning pre-amble. I steep in the luke warm tradition and hide my grimace with a laugh, though neither of them has said anything funny. Or anything at all.

 

"May we see?" one of them asks.

 

Such gallant inquisition I think. "MAY we". As if the queen herself had asked me to undress.

 

"Sure. If you'd like." I say in what I'm assuming is the epitome of coy. I begin swaying slightly to the music and turn away, knowing my face is not what they've journeyed cross continent for. I get about thirty seconds of interpersonal avoidance before they interject.

 

"May we see now please." The other one says in a tone I could barely identify as a question.

 

I shimmy onto a cushion positioned in front of them. A sort of make-shift stage in this particular set up. I continue to wobble slightly because I've been told by the other girls that movement is sexy. "Always be moving. It keeps them on their toes, makes it harder for them to touch you." One high minded specialist had gifted me. Several months ahead of me in the game, I considered her an authority on the matter.

 

"Open please." He utters. I cannot remember names and quite honestly, I struggled to differentiate in the moment. They were carbon copy. As uniform in gelled, even hairstyle and fresh pressed suits as they were in tact. I lay back and opened my legs, zoning out as I usually did at this point.

 

"Wider please." I oblige, begrudgingly wondering when the last time was either of them split themselves in two atop a glorified throw pillow.

 

They make sounds like they haven’t eaten in days. Almost child like, delighted and surprised by this new candy treat their parents have brought home for them. I am still in tact but I feel layers of myself peeling away. Like a band aid that’s been left too long. The grey sludge up around the edges, leaving you wondering how such a thing could reside on or be produced in part by your own body. You pull it slowly, feeling every microfibre strain against your skin until finally you are free. Left only with an itchy red ringed outline as a reminder.

 

I try to move, shuffle a few inches here and there, a futile attempt to diffuse focus. I am quickly reprimanded. Nicely though. Quiet and matter of fact. Their softness is almost worse than the usual gruffness of local customers. It makes it harder to feel indignant, like they are my enemies and I am above them with their brute, animalistic needs.

 

"May we see inside?" They asked as clinically as a doctor would request your symptoms.

 

I am dumbfounded. Even the most crass patrons weren't so brazen as to make such applications. Most were content with what you offered them. There was implicit power in the hands of the client and more often than not, that suited them. The suggestion of control was enough without outlandish petitions for deeper anatomy. It seemed I had no choice. I'd come this far. After all, I'd put myself in a position that allowed them to believe they had the right to demand these things. I had to accept some degree of responsibility.

 

I set my mind on it. This was procedure. This was a means to an end. No room for insecurity in business. Was there also no room for humanity? Or discussion? Or a millisecond of critical thinking? I pushed the questions out of my mind as they did little to fill my bank account or fight back the tears. I reach between my legs and place one finger on either side. Both digits stretch outwards. I know logically that time observes a certain set of principles. It adheres to numeric values; 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, and as far as we know, it follows a linear pattern. But I swear in the moments that followed, things changed. Extra seconds wriggled in, found room where scientists once thought there was none.

 

I feel like a cadaver. On display with nothing to say about it. No ability whatsoever to commandeer the situation. I am struck by the plight of science class frogs. Lain on a pan, pins in its' legs, some testosterone soaked pimple popper ogling its' insides for grades. I suddenly wish I had taken those drinks off their hands.

 

Years pass in my head. Spring turns to summer, summer into fall and still they show no sign of boredom. Their unrelenting stares are peppered with warm remarks like "hmm" and "they're different in Japan." Somehow the singularity of my demonstration brings me little comfort. Originality is rarely what one strives for with ones' genitals.

 

I do my best to ignore literally everything around me and await the whimsical chime of a security guard's voice telling us our time is up. In the meantime, I revisit my friend in the middle school lab. My stomach wrenches with the sorrow of it all. At least I could get up after this humiliation ended. My poor amphibian cohort could not. He didn't get to close his legs, look his dissectors in the eye and say thank you. He did not get to rise on shaky, landlocked legs and face the day. Perhaps what I felt wasn't sympathy, but jealousy.


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