I feel I’d like to invent a new genre, not just Fiction nor Faction but Friction – studying the abrasive contact areas between people – here is my somewhat adult themed story, not for people of a nervous disposition. NB this is a story not a memoir.
The vain hairy man had been enticed to come to me again, he was easy to trick into submission, he responded well to flattery.
He was lying on the bed on his back, naked, his limbs heavy and unresponsive, his breathing slow. Tall and overweight he filled my bed, his arm swung out wide nearly reaching the other side.
The gas fire was keeping the room warm and dimly lit. I had long enough to take my time and be very thorough.
I was well-prepared with pots of cream, wax strips, cotton buds, scissors and tissues, sleeping pills, his Gillette razor, a plastic sheet to cover the bed. I knew exactly each step I was going to take and how it would be done.
His clothes, as always the pale chinos, checked shirt and black corduroy blazer thrown on the chair, the black suede crepe-soled shoes below. His boxers lay on the floor where he had stepped out of them leaving a hollow form of his shape. I was tempted to throw them all out.
I took photographs to record him like this in the blueish light, lying there languid, peaceful and unguarded. His chest hair, the bushy eyebrows and curled eyelashes. His genitalia, the centre of his world. His hands, the short fingers that I didn’t like.
It was an effort to get the plastic sheet spread out over the bed beneath him and to roll him onto his front, his head pointing away from me, clear of the plastic, I didn’t want him to suffocate.
How might he feel if he knew what was about to happen, beyond his obvious horror, I couldn’t guess but he wasn’t going to be given the chance to change my mind. His wine glass stood empty on the bed side table, just a trace of white powder in the bottom.
Wearing a disposable apron I worked fast, shaving the greying wiry carpet across his back and shoulders and on his buttocks and legs. Then smearing the cream to remove every trace, his flesh soft and freckled made me feel queasy. I scraped the mess away with the plastic spatula that came with the tube and wrapped the stuff in tissues, I washed him down with warm water and blue j cloths wiping away the smears of shaving soap, cream and hair, rubbed him dry with the old towel I had kept for drying my cat.
I turned him over, laying him on his back, arms and legs akimbo.
The skin of his chest and belly was delicate I didn’t want to cause damage by scraping too hard. This was about humiliation not physical damage, the familiar patterns disappearing, his torso turning pale and smooth as I worked, looking more like a side of pork than a man, physical beauty reduced to a slab of pale, flabby meat. The physical changes altered my perception of him too.
I shaved away his greying beard and moustache, leaving the cream longer to make him seem baby-faced and unable to grow a beard. I cut him a couple of times, tiny nicks, on each one I pressed a piece of torn tissue and left it to dry. I smeared the paste on his eyebrows, waxing and pulling would surely wake him. I tried plucking out his eyelashes with tweezers but his lids were too slack revealing his eyes beneath, watching me so I snipped them off instead, the cut hairs lay curled in rows across his cheeks reproaching me but I took a photo, then just blew them away.
His hair had been the first thing I’d noticed about him. Back then it was long and curly and made a kind of halo round his face as he stood against the light. He would spend too much time looking at himself, from various angles in the mirror applying stuff to make it stand up more or at least stay where he put it. Now it was grey, cut short but still curled between my fingers.
His ears looked too small, tight against his head as though they had never properly unfurled.The skin stretched taut on his skull was blueish, gleaming in the soft light as it was uncovered by the razor.
His flesh felt repulsive, cold and clammy, under my hands and though some areas had flushed pink as I’d scraped and rubbed, everywhere now had a pale and bloodless look.
Standing up to stretch my back I saw what I had done, a single moment of remorse then his face was alien already, no longer the man I knew, hardly a man at all.
All the detritus of hair covered cloths, empty tubes, clumps of soggy tissues went in a black sack along with the plastic sheeting and apron, the spatulas, razor, scissors and the towel.
I took more photos in harsh flash-light then showered, washed away the last of his semen and erased the smell of his skin on mine.
I wanted him to see what I saw, I printed out one of the photos and wrote a message on the bottom in black felt tip pen and propped it up where he would see it when he woke.
I stood thinking back on our years together in the shared room on the third floor of No 7 Chantry Road with the bath directly below the attic window, and of how comprehensively I’d been fooled. Those malignant scenes were becoming as distant stills from an old film, fading into grey.
The taxi would be here soon, I sat by the gas fire and sipped the rest of the wine as the sun came up above the roof tops to the east and thought about nothing very much.