I just love touching people. Their hair, their clothes, their skin. I have no problem touching feet, nails, you know, some of the gross stuff like pubes and pits. It just doesn’t bother me. I know I’m making them more beautiful, even if they’re ugly.

It didn’t feel like any special day, but in retrospect I should have known something special was going to happen, just by the way the leaves on the trees were blowing, and the air. The air just smelled sweeter than usual.

I walked into my room and my client was already in there, her bare back turned and she was seated. She was hoisting her long, black hair up with a clip. She turned to me and my heart immediately shot through my throat.

“Hi, I’m Angelina. I need a deep-hydration treatment, after that exhaustively long flight. I still have no solution to that awful, dry air on the planes.”

She was the most beautiful person I have ever seen. I see a lot of beautiful women in my profession. In person she just glows. I was stunned for a moment and couldn’t find words. The floor felt as if it was rising; and I had to take a deep breath before I could even take another step into the small, dark room, lit only by candles.

I just need to act normal with her. That’s all, just do and say normal things. I can’t help what runs through my mind.

I couldn’t believe her lips. It sounds cliché, but her lips protruded like petals wanting to be kissed. As she lay back I turned on the steam treatment and just tried to keep my cool. Something inside me is transformed in her presence; I have no other words to describe it.

She lay there like a corpse. It was beautiful. Her skin was…seamless. That’s the word, seamless. She was seamless.  Each of her body parts melted into another. Her face melted into her neck, which flowed into her chest. Nothing was attached, it was all one piece of flawless beauty. I specifically remember feeling like I wanted to melt into her body and feel it from the inside. How would it feel to walk in her legs.

As I gently scrubbed, exfoliated, toned, massaged and hydrated her skin, I watched my fingers enter her face and pick it up. I could just take her face with me everywhere I go. I could prove to everyone how perfect her skin is. I could take her eyes and lips. I could take her hair and get lost in it. I could swim in her skin.

She seemed edible.  She was so sweet and delicious. I drank her and it was like silk. I sank into her curves and continued my work.

Extractions? Could I humiliate her with extractions? Should I make her feel imperfect and real? How will she feel once I squeeze the garbage from her pores?

She will feel small. I can make her ugly. I can ruin her. I can destroy her. I will suck the sick pus from deep inside her and let it ooze slowly, leaving a stinking trail of infection. I want to see tributaries of waste streaming down her face, tainting her like poison. I’ll bring it all to the surface. We’ll see what she’s really made of.

And just like that, I made her squirm in pain.  She grunted like a sow.

“I’m sorry; I don’t mean to make you uncomfortable. These are just really stubborn—,”  I recited as if I meant it.

“No, of course. I hate this part.”

Of course you hate this part, you whore. They pile on crap makeup using sponges and brushes used on dozens of others, transferring bacteria and dirt from other peoples’ filthy skin to yours. It’s what you get when you fucking smile all day at everyone and bring sunshine to the darkest parts of people’s lives.

Where is your sickness? I’ve looked and looked.

~ by yearzerowriters on January 21, 2010.

9 Responses to “Touching”

  1. Wow, that was a fast switch – no holds-barred. I love the opening descriptions (head malting into her neck!), and was seriously taken aback at how quick it turned ugly – with no lead-in. One minute the narrator doesn’t mind, the next he/she has an angry opinion. I want to learn more about this narrator – this reads like it wants to be a bigger story, so much more between the lines. Can we have more on this please? A sequel? Love that last line ‘Where is your sickness?’ Chills.


  2. thanks. apparently i’m not psychotic, so it’s not easy for me to write psychotic characters. this was an exercise for me, which may or may not have worked. but i thought, if republicans make no sense to me, and psychotics don’t, either, then the logic that i have that a lead-in would have been more necessary, why not make her turn from obsessed to enraged?

    i had a really tough time with this character, not sure i’m going to write this narrator again. we’ll see.

    thanks for reading!


  3. I love the fleshy corporeality of this. The manipulations and contours of the skin. That last line IS great, “I’ve looked and looked”.

    Excellent stuff


  4. You could have fooled me – and I mean that in a complimentary way – it was just chilling from first to last. I think you’ve got SOMETHING down, would love to see this character in the off-hours, it’s has a zing of the cinematic. Something a little Sweeney Todd. With very little, you’ve created a complicated character who clearly has some unique issues. Hope you decide to explore it again – just good chills.


  5. For me, the switch was too quick. I would like to feel the turning point. I think the paragraph leading up to the switch has the potential to turn a little more.

  6. I can see Daisy’s point – the switch is very abrupt but without being a “twist”. On the other hand I love the writing and teh feeling in this – you’re building up a whole corpus of away-day and service industry worker pieces! All with the same message!

    You know, if it hadn’t been for the “like a corpse” line, I would have sworn this was about a mortuary mortician for whom the body’s “actions” were fantasty.

  7. Very tactile, and erotic. But what happens toward the end? I read that last part twice and still could not understand why the narrator suddenly became so venomous.

  8. i’m not defending the quick turn, but here’s the deal: if you’ve ever had a facial, you would know that the switch from pamering wonderfulness to the painful, humiliating grossness of extractions is abrupt.

    granted, not everyone has had a facial so the experience is not universal. i was mirroring that experience in this story, which magnifies both the beauty and transcendence of the first half of the hour, with the clinical part of the second. extractions is where they literally squeeze your skin’s pores and take out the yuck. it’s gross and ugly.

    thanks for the comments, though! very good points all taken.

  9. That was great. Disgust mixed with admiration, doused lightly with mild insanity. Thumbs up!

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