July 27, 2015
By Ben Arzate
John leaves the private viewing booth he lives in. He has to walk four miles to leave the booth area and enter the magazine section. He walks past aisles dedicated to amputees in diapers, vintage kiddy porn, car crashes, and horses in Nazi uniforms. Each aisle is two miles long. The floor under John’s shoes is crunchy with dried semen.
John turns down an aisle dedicated to Latina MILFs. He walks past the men who are looking at the magazines and jacking off. One man turns around as John approaches and cums on his pants.“Hehe. Sorry!” the man says.
John sighs. He grabs a magazine off the shelf and wipes the semen off his pants with it. He tosses the magazine on the floor. He walks until he comes to the middle of the aisle. There is a sign in the shape of a bar floating parallel to the ground. It is as high as John’s forehead. John walks into the bar. Fake booze bottles rattle. “Ouch! Shit!” John says.
John rubs his forehead. A bruise forms. John pushes the bruise like a button. He winces in pain. A green door drops from the bar like a projector screen. John opens the door. It leads to a descending staircase. John walks down the staircase. He steps over a dog sleeping on one of the steps. The staircase ends at another green door. This door has a sign above it that says “Smegma Bill’s Tavern.”
John enters the tavern. There’s a real bar inside. “Don’t Be Cruel” by Elvis Presley is playing on the jukebox. John walks up to the rail, where a man is watching a football game on the TV.
“Excuse me, are you Smegma Bill?” John says. The man turns to John.
“Yup. That’d be me. I don’t open for another hour, but you’re welcome to pull up a stool and watch the game.”
“Actually, I’m here about that dishwasher position.”
“Oh, yes. What’s your name?”
“Okay. Come with me, John.”
Smegma Bill leads John to the kitchen.
“No interview or anything?” John says.
“What for?” Smegma Bill says. “You don’t need a bachelor’s degree and a three-year internship to wash dishes.”
“I guess not.”
“You seem sane and smart enough. My daughter used to wash the dishes, but she’s gone off to college. Don’t do anything really stupid and we’ll get along fine.”
Smegma Bill shows John where the sink is, where the dish soap is, and where all the dishes go.
“My wife does all the cooking,” Smegma Bill says. “She’ll be here soon. I’ll introduce her.”
A young man walks into the kitchen. He wears a cowboy hat and carries an acoustic guitar with no strings.
“Ah, you’re here early. John, this is my son. His name is Billy Jr.,” Smegma Bill says. “Billy, this is John. He’s our new dishwasher.”
“Um, hi,” John says. He finds himself staring at Billy’s stringless guitar.
Billy opens his mouth. Guitar music comes out.
“My son’s a born musician,” Smegma Bill says. “He’s going to be performing later tonight. Go ahead and get started on the dishes in the sink. I’m going to help him carry in his sound equipment.”
Billy sets down his stringless guitar. He and Smegma Bill leave the kitchen.
John goes over to the sink and puts dish soap in it. He turns on the water. As the sink is filling, he looks over at the stringless guitar. He starts breathing heavily. He feels his hard-on growing. He looks at the kitchen door then walks over to the guitar. He starts to caress the guitar. He kisses the neck. He feels the wooden body of the guitar. He rubs his face over it. He feels the area around the sound hole. He sticks his hand in the hole.
John feels his body shrinking. He presses himself against the stringless guitar. He licks and kisses its wooden body.
When he is small enough, he climbs inside the sound hole.
He curls up at the bottom of the inside of the guitar.
He feels as if he is cuddling with a lover.
He feels safe.
He forgets that he lives in a private viewing booth in an adult bookstore the size of a city.
He forgets walking on semen-encrusted floors.
He forgets that washing dishes is the only job he could find.
He forgets that anything bad could ever happen to him.
He forgets that anything could ever happen to him.
He forgets that he has a body.
He is shaken out of this state by a loud knocking noise. He is thrown around as someone shakes the guitar. He falls out through the sound hole. He returns to normal size when his body hits the floor.
He stands up and sees Smegma Bill and Billy.
Billy is holding the guitar. He opens his mouth and discordant guitar music comes out.
“Just what in the hell were you doing?” Smegma Bill says.
“I was just. I,” John says.
“Not only are you a goddamn pervert, you let the goddamn sink overflow!” Smegma Bill points at the sink. There is a puddle of soapy water on the floor around it. “You weren’t even here an hour and you already fucked up. Get the hell out of here. You’re fired. Don’t ever come back.”
John leaves the kitchen and then the tavern. He walks up the staircase. He forgets about the dog and steps on it. It wakes up and bites his ankle. He kicks the dog and it runs down the stairs. He gets to the top of the staircase and goes through the door. The green door raises back up into the floating bar.
He walks up the aisle. He looks at the magazines. One of the magazines has a woman whose body reminds him of the shape of the guitar. He grabs the magazine. He unzips his pants and takes out his hard-on. He jacks off until he cums on the magazine. He tosses the magazine on the floor and walks back to the private viewing booth where he lives.
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