Title: Thirty One Days - Chapter 2 - Author: Ronan Jackson Jefferson
Published: Mar 7, 2014 - Contact: Rojackjeff@hotmail.com
NOTE: This is the 2nd Chapter of the story, You may wish to read Chapter 1 first.
My foot catches on a heave in the sidewalk and I nearly do a face plant. I am able to right myself, but I am staggering. I am drunker than I thought. I have consumed only four beers, but the six month layoff has become a factor. My body and brain are probably counting twelve beers. This is beginning to approach the fun zone for the old me.
I take another deep breath, tug my Brewers cap lower over my eyes, and yank the door handle. I step into the brick building.
A dark, narrow hallway leads me to a caged booth. A flat counter with a pass slot juts out from the booth. Behind the caging, the booth is covered with smoked glass. I can't see into it. I read another sign.
'Membership Fee $20'.
I dig a twenty out of my pocket and slide it across the counter.
Why is it so dark in here How are you supposed to conduct business
A hand reaches out from the slot to take my money, and hesitates. I feel eyes upon me, scrutinizing.
"Are you sure you want to join this club"
It was an older voice, belonging to somebody my father's age. Gross.
I simply nod. I did not want to speak aloud. I thought someone might hear me and recognize my voice. How ridiculous. How paranoid. Three hours from home.
"You know what kind of club this is"
What is with the fifty questions Open the stupid door, and let me in.
I nod again.
This is going to require a verbal answer, I deduce.
"Yes," I respond.
"Have you been drinking tonight"
Seriously Are you kidding
I knew this was the 'House of God', or whatever they called it, but come on. It was no church in there, behind door number one.
"Yes," I answer. "Two beers."
The almighty wizard must have ruled in my favor. His hand took my money and then slid out a sheet of paper, with a pen. I looked at the paper. Barely legible in the darkness.
'Requirements for Membership'.
No way was I going to do this.
The mind reader behind the smoked glass window saved the day.
"Make something up. Tax rules and all. We are a private club."
I quickly filled in 'Dave Watson' and an equally bullshit address, phone number and Email. I pushed the pen and paper back. A pause. The paper was returned to me.
"Read the last paragraph and sign below it."
I picked up the paper and read. Tried to anyway. It was dark, and the four beers were playing with my vision. I narrowed my eyes.
'I absolve the club and any of its members from.......blah, blah, blah'.
Eight lines of waivers. Blurring as my brain swam in the four beers.
I signed Dave Watson's name and returned the paper.
I heard a buzzing sound. An inside door had been unlocked. The door was on my right hand side. I could barely see the outline of the door frame in the dark hallway. I felt for and found the knob, turned and pushed on in.
I was immediately overwhelmed by the heat, humidity and sickly sweet odor. The guy who took my money passed me a key and a towel. He smiled at me, a welcome of some sort, I suppose. The guy was thin, gaunt and ugly, had a wispy pony tail, and was older than my dad. Grandpa comes to mind.
"Rooms are at the back, rookie," he says.
Rookie. Right. As if this is a locker room full of athletes. More likely, a room full of assholes. I grab my key and towel, nod and walk on, passing a long bar. The bar is empty, save the bartender. There are guys sitting at small tables, drinking. Some of the guys are fully clothed; some of them are wearing towels. Seeing the towel men is not a happy development.
A couple of ninety inch flat panels are playing a basketball game. Lakers versus somebody. These guys obviously enjoy watching sports. Which I find a little weird. Because I enjoy watching sports. Drinking beer and watching sports with my buddies. No different to what is going on in here. Also, I could see a pool table, a foosball table, shuffleboard, a dart board, vintage pinball games and sit-down Pac man tables.
The place reminded me of the old Colony Bar at home. It was where I took my first drink. The Colony divided the men and women into separate rooms. The place was always packed. The 'Men Only' room meant no women to fight over, no jealousies, none of the competition bullshit. It was men and sports, and men and drink. Simple, peaceful, quiet. A relic of the past.
I put my head back down and keep walking, coming to an open doorway at the end of the barroom. I look at my room key and am able to see the number, one twenty-nine. I exit the bar and enter a series of hallways. Immediately, thumping dance music fills the air. The hallways are dimly lit with red L.E.D. lighting. Some sort of attempt at ambience. This part of the club resembles a hotel. Plenty of doors with numbers.
I follow the numbers down a corridor, make a left, then a right and head deeper into the building. I keep moving, scanning the doors. Some of the doors are cracked open. Some of the doors are wide open. There are single men in these open door rooms. Sitting on small cots or lying down flat. Some of the guys are ass down. Some are ass up. Most all of these guys are completely naked, the small white towels cast aside. Not the same civilized scene as the guys drinking beer and watching the basketball out front.
As I move further in, there is man traffic in the hallways. I have to squeeze by two forty year old guys, having a serious close chat. An ancient guy drifts out of a doorway, gawking at me, smiling as I pass. How disgusting. Other males drift into and out of the rooms, using the hallway to get around some sort of maze. Finally I see my number on a door. I am at the dead end of a hallway, middle door, with a room on each side of me. The doors on these other rooms read one twenty-eight and one thirty. I quickly key my door and step in. I close the door behind me.
Well, I made it. So far so good. Kind of nasty though, so far.
My eyes accustom to the small room. The room is about seven feet long and five feet wide. The entire room is mirrored. All of the walls and the back of the door are covered. As is the ceiling. Mirror, mirror on the wall, I bet you have truly seen it all. I bet.
Against a side wall is a cot, about three feet across. There is a small locker bolted to the end wall above a night table. I toggle a light switch on the wall. The light rises up to a screaming intensity. I can see a plastic bowl full of colored condoms and mini lube sticks. Christ. Lovely, isn't it
The light is blasting off every mirror surface, seemingly intensifying. It must be like this inside a microwave oven. I toggle the light back down, dropping the wattage lower and lower, setting the mood. What the hell am I talking about, setting the mood I think I need way more alcohol than these first four beers.
I toggle the lights off. Pull the two beers out of my clothing. Set them on the night table. Take my jacket off and toss it on the night table as well. Pop the top off one of the cans and begin to sip. I relax back on the cot with my head against the wall. I notice a red light on the ceiling, directly above me. It must be a smoke detector. No way would there be cameras in here. Cameras would be illegal. A serious, nasty breach of privacy. I think some amendment covers this.
A few minutes pass and I hear the door next to mine open, and then close. A patron has entered. The light is turned on because I see bright laser beams of white poring through the wall into my room. I can see perfect circles cut in the wall. The circles are at various heights and range from peephole size to three inches in diameter. Holy shit. Peepholes and glory holes.
Quietly, I shift on the bed, slipping my eye to the nearest peephole. I carefully run my finger against the edge of the nearest three inch hole. It is smooth and polished. No jagged edges. I can see into the next room. A hulk of a man is undressing. His shirt comes off first. The guy is about five foot six in height, and easily, two hundred pounds of steroid enhanced muscle. The guy is a tank. A pit bull. Shaved head, massive gold stretcher rings in each ear. His upper back is heavily inked. As is his lower back. Great. A guy with a tramp stamp.
I sip more beer and continue watching. The guy drops his jeans, and then peels off his gitch. Gross. Completely naked. He grabs a towel and wraps it around his waist. Then he reaches for something out of view. When his hand comes back he is grasping what appears to be a dog leash. The leash is a black leather strap with a loop handle at one end, and a metal clasp at the other. He wraps the leash around his wrist and exits the room. Before the door closes, he snaps off the light. The bright white laser beams die.
For a second I am blind, as my room is back to near full dark. When my eyes accustom, I notice a leash and a collar are hanging on the end wall beside my locker. What the hell are these things for Does every room have them I slide empty beer can number five into the locker and pop number six. Might as well go for the soda. I take a big gulp from can number six and set it down on the end table.
My fingers run off and begin to touch the collar. I lift it off the hook and bring it close. The collar is black, heavy leather, about an inch in diameter, and covered with pyramid shaped metal studs. I finger the leash. It is of the same heavy material as the collar. Weird stuff, for sure. I let go of the leash. Stand up in front of the mirror, loosen my shirt and wrap the collar around my neck.
I cinch the collar. I hear it click.
Feels good too.
Makes me a gambler.
Or an idiot.
I am not wearing this thing. No chance. Too fruity.
I try to unsnap the collar. Nothing happens. I twist the collar around on my neck, bringing the back to the front. I toggle up the light and look at the mirror, trying to decipher the hasp and lock system. I tug and twist and pinch at the collar but it won't open. I stand as close to the mirror as I can. My stupid eyesight is blurry; the beers are catching up with me. I can see a slot on the collar hasp. A key of some sort will be required to open the damn thing. Shit sakes.
I have my first souvenir from the House of God.
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