Jenney's Asshole Ch. 04byPhantasy_Star©
Episode 4: Exhibit A
© 2012 Phantasy_Star
For some, the gallery had no exit. Once the audience had been safely ushered onto the elevated floor, a tremendous glass enclosure, some 90 yards wide and resembling the dome of a catering tray, descended upon them, resting into a deeply-carved groove.
While not airtight, the seal was sound enough that the other audience—those seated outside of the enclosure—could only faintly hear the sounds coming from the interior. On the far wall behind the display hung a massive, currently blank projection screen.
Those spectators who sat outside of the dome were comprised of some of the wealthiest people in the city. They had paid a great deal to acquire the removed vantage point that their house seats provided. Per the artist's appointed lingo, these privileged people crowded around the parameter were collectively christened the "Eyes". By the same token, the audience trapped on the inside were titled the "Bodies".
Aside from their containment, the Bodies were distinguishable from the Eyes in several ways. The manner in which they had been lured to the exhibit—through intentionally misspelled craigslist ads highlighting the possibility of a sizable monetary reimbursement—was the most glaring. They were certainly not there as art appreciators.
As this filtration predicted, the Bodies were composed mostly of younger people (for the Eyes were almost unanimously middle aged); many of them were ethnic minorities, their shabbily gaudy attire suggestive of low socioeconomic status; and, as the artist's wishes dictated, they were exclusively female. Admission for the Bodies was free, but only under the condition that they sign waivers, provide IDs, and pass detailed interviews.
To the fifteen women selected as Bodies, the reasons for their selection were never fully explained to them. In truth they knew nothing of what to expect. In contrast, the Eyes clutched lavish pamphlets explaining the intended artistic concept in sufficient detail, and looked on attentively.
Drinks and light snacks were being served to the Eyes by a tall, fair-skinned and extremely pear-shaped girl dressed all in black. With tight and time-conscious motions, she went from seat to seat with a satchel of wrapped snacks and cases of chilled wine, handing them out to whomever demanded them.
Neither she nor anyone else on the outside seemed in the least bit concerned for the Bodies on the inside, who stood idly and anxiously about the dome in scattered clusters, and were not offered anything at all.
The simultaneously least and most-considered person in the entire show, however, was the young woman positioned in the center of this arrangement. Her birth name remained perfectly unknown, and in fact unimportant, to nearly everyone in attendance.
Stripped naked, her head and arms were securely locked within a plain wooden pillory. It was several inches too tall for her standing comfort, which forced her to stand on her tip-toes. Over her head, on both the front and back end of the heavy board, read her title clearly: THE ASSHOLE.
The name given to her reflected her purpose plainly—her vagina was neatly sealed shut with several layers of duct tape. What was more, the thin cable of a CCD endoscope hung out of her anus, dangling under her small butt cheeks and running down through a hole in the floor. An open, water cooler-sized tub of Astroglide rested on the floor a few feet away from her, and beside that, a smaller tub containing what even more oddly appeared to be lottery balls.
The women on the inside eyed this strange girl with varying degrees of disgust, confusion, lust, shock, perturbation and concern registering on their faces. Despite roughly appearing college-aged, tattooed with a smattering of gibberish, and of slight build, The Asshole was essentially a blank slate to the audience. She did not speak. Her impish young face registered significant discomfort, but dutifully so.
Only one person in the gallery knew her, and knew her intimately well. The Asshole trembled as she thought of her, and, raising her head weakly for a moment, their eyes locked. The Asshole's pale gray eyes burned as the blaring light pierced them, but she could not look away.
Squinting into the murk of the outer auditorium, she saw her beacon—the detached glimmer of the black-clad assistant's glasses. She saw how her hands, moving freely unlike her own, folded at the pyramidal center of her wide thighs. How she casually leaned against the wall with her half-unbuttoned blouse and Apple Bottom skinny jeans gripping her figure perfectly. How her milk-white cleavage was pushed up in a style evocative of a well-tipped bartender—which, incidentally, she actually had been, before that fateful call months ago.
That one phone call. The one they both agreed to make.
Shutting her eyes tight, the Asshole's mind rushed back to September, the memory flashing through her mind as her naked body shivered and ached in plain view.
The call was brief, yet for Nicole, it still felt entirely too long. Everything did that day. Her owner stood in the back porch with her black hoodie pulled up and her cell phone pressed to her ear. She spoke clearly and assertively to the woman on the other line.
"Hello? Yes, my name is Freakybu—uh, I mean Jenney Chesterfield, and I am representing Nicole Aurbech, who I believe might be perfect for you. Yes, I saw your ad in the paper. I am a personal friend of Ms. Adara's. I'm sure if you mention my name to her, she'll remember me."
Jenney paused, listening, then placed her hand on her hip.
"Of course. But could you elaborate a bit please?"
She paused, grinning widely, hearing words only she could hear, and clearly encouraging ones at that. She then began to pace back and forth, nodding quickly.
"Mm hm! Yep! No, that sounds perfect. Oh, no, I'm not her mother. I'm her...manager."
That fiery glimmer in Jenney's once-docile hazel eyes truly frightened Nicole these days. Jenney continued with an almost ecstatic look on her face.
"Uhh, yes, we're available then. 5:45 is excellent. Hm? Oh yes, we have the address right here, unless it's different from—oh, well then, excellent! Yes, we can bring those. Alright, we'll see you there! Farewell!"
Nicole swung back and forth limply on her hammock, raising her eyebrow.
"...Farewell? Really, Freakybutt?"
"Pffh, whatever, Nicole. You were too nervous to even pick up the phone. You're going, and that's it."
"But, nothing. Remind me what that says on your lower back, Nicole?"
Nicole sighed, and cupped her round jaw in her grubby little hands.
"Property of Freakybutt," Nicole responded in a childish huff, remembering that indelible mark on her back she'd committed to years ago. But it wasn't just a memory that she suffered. That commitment had everyday significance—and consequences—as well.
"That's right, Nicole. You're my property. By the way, how's your anus doing?" Jenney asked as she walked over to her possession, mussing Nicole's short thicket of black hair teasingly. Nicole felt a wave of humiliation, at first saying nothing. Jenney's fingertips trailed down the back of the girl's slender neck and paused above the knot of her spine. A shiver went through Nicole's body, promoting her to speak.
"It hurts. Like, a lot," Nicole said, looking up at her towering friend. The height difference between them that was once subtle had become more pronounced over the years. A late and final growth spurt had not only endowed Jenney with a few extra inches of height, but also an even sharper set of curves, particularly below the waist. Nicole, by contrast, remained the same short, flat, tomboyish scamp she was when they first met.
"Well I'm sorry Nicole, but there's a possibility that it may have to hurt a little more this evening. I'm not sure what the interview criteria for this thing is, but I'll be sure to pack some extra lube just in case," Jenney said as easily as if she were talking about going on a picnic. Nicole lost her composure.
"Freakybutt, please! You've already fucked me up the ass like, a dozen times this month. And if you haven't noticed, that strapon you use is friggin' gigantic. Look at me! I'm tiny! That thing's like a third leg compared to me! Am I ever gonna have, like, normal vaginal sex ever again? Look, I'm just sore and grumpy, can't we try this some other—"
"Shhhh," Jenney said, stroking Nicole's gaunt shoulders. "I understand all your pain, Nicole. You wanna know why? Because if you don't remember, I've felt it myself, all thanks to you."
The old guilt maneuver. Nicole rolled her eyes, but it still worked on her. It was just one of many angles Jenney dredged up in her desire to manipulate her. Nicole could never be sure if Jenney had ever forgiven her for what happened in the Community Commons back in college, or the needless health scare she endured thereafter.
Nicole sighed. "I...I know, Freakybutt. I'm still so, so sorry for all of that, I—"
"Shhhhh," Jenney said again. "You've almost paid your dues. But you remember our agreement."
"God..." Nicole uttered. She knew what agreement was being mentioned. It was something she agreed to while drunk, but Jenney recorded every word. And true to the order of their relationship, Nicole was obligated to follow it through. "Y...yeah, I remember our agreement, Freakybutt."
"Repeat that specific line for me again, Nicole. You were so happy to belt it out when I was the one suffering. Let's see if we're on the same wavelength now that things have changed."
The grungy little girl tried to turn, but her body accidentally twisted under the mesh of the hammock as she did, making her feel like a fly in a web. "Argh, wait. First, can you help me out of this? I'm trying to stand up," Nicole said irritatedly as she wriggled inside of the hammock.
Wordlessly, Jenney grabbed the girl and lifted her up, freeing her from the tangled bed. Still cradling her with the strength of her own two heavily-inked arms, she stared deeply into Nicole's eyes. "Repeat it," she said again with a smile on her sharp pink lips.
"Our agreement was...that you would be repaid when we, uh..."
Jenney rocked the girl in her thick arms. "Go on."
"When we permanently resize my poop chute," Nicole blurted out, her face flushing crimson as she realized that she brought all of this on herself, even down to pioneering the crassly juvenile terminology being used. Words she blurted out errantly as a stupid teenager were being forced back upon her. Words she'd be made never to forget, apparently.
"That's right. And my friend Ms. Adara knows all about that. It's for your own good, trust me."
It certainly seemed like the frequent rectal abuse Jenney doled out to her now was still a form of retributive justice. But could Nicole ever truly atone? Was there any degree of rectal agony she could allow herself to be subjected to that would quell Jenney's lingering sense of wrong?
Maybe this final circus she was being roped into would prove sufficiently punishing enough for her to drop the issue once it ran its course. Nicole sneered with her pierced little lips, but remained quiet. Jenney patted her head as she cradled her.
"And to answer your earlier question. No, another day is not an option. They are only holding auditions today, and I suspect we're the very last people to interview, since they close at six. Now get your pretty little ass upstairs and go take a shower. We have to leave soon," she said as she tossed the Nicole on the wet lawn like a bag of trash.
Once the Eyes settled in after some chatter, the music piping in through the P.A. system—"Pachelbel's Canon in D", which seemed to have been chosen deliberately—quieted down to silence. Soon a woman's voice could be crisply heard through those same speakers. It was deep and monotone, almost placid, but with a forcefulness behind it that immediately captured the room.
"Good afternoon. My name is Marjam Adara. I would like to welcome you, the Eyes and the Bodies alike, to Exhibit A, my new multimedia art piece here at the Neue Stadtwelle Museum. We, of course, are all painfully familiar with the mundane sphincter. Closed tightly shut, prohibitive and impulsive, it is the Id in essence. But with this work, I found it necessary to dig literally deeper to find an honest analogue to the Ego."
The nervous coughing, crinkling of wrappers and shuffling of pant-legs coming from the Eyes indicated a growing discomfort in their ranks. As Ms. Adara's words were unintelligible to the Bodies through the heavy glass, the small teleprompter above the doorway flashed her commands, first in English, then translated into Spanish. She continued in her unsettlingly frigid monotone.
"This piece is the culmination of years preparation and revision, and I believe it to be a concise exposition on the connecting themes of post-colonialism, capitalism and dehumanization that I've struggled with in earlier works. To the Bodies, the rules have been outlined to you previously, and all further directions can be viewed in real-time on the teleprompter you're currently looking at. For the Eyes, simply sit back and observe. The program runs for 45 minutes. Thank you."
A pristine hush then fell over the scene. The large bleach-white walls around them faded to gray as the lights quickly dimmed. Suddenly, a blurry, fleshy image flashed upon the giant projection screen.
At first it was unidentifiable; a heavily pixelated mess of pinks, reds, and washed-out blacks. Then the camera came into sharper focus, inspiring a resounding wave of gasps in the outer audience. The image, now crystal clear, was a live video broadcast of what some had already suspected—the young girl's rectal passage, viewed intimately and plainly through the lens planted in her bottom.
"Past the Id's restrictive portal, we see something more vulnerable—The Asshole's Ego. Here she is solipsistic, inward-looking, insular, hidden, hiding."
A handful of couples in the Eyes section had by this point stood up and walked out of the exhibit in vocal disgust. The majority, however, remained fixated by the large veiny filth-cave being so vividly displayed before them. Their quickened senses were then lulled again by Ms. Adara's narration.
"Now I ask one of the Bodies to elect herself to retract the camera from the womb of The Asshole."
The bright spotlights were turned back on, flashing harshly down upon the women inside of the bubble. Startled, The Asshole flinched and squinted, reflexively trying to pull her head and hands back out through the rigid wooden ports. Predictably, this was to no avail, and only scraped her tender young flesh.
All of the women slowly walked a few inches closer to the squirming, lone naked girl in the center.
From their perspective behind her, all the women could see was a helpless figure. Her skinny legs and little pasty teenage bottom wiggled like those of trapped vermin. The sticky mesh concealing her crotch only added to the effect, de-emphasizing her gender and reducing her to something of a doll, or toy.
Muted murmurs resonated from the outer audience around them as they closed in, words they could not hear, aging and perversely attentive faces they could barely see past the harsh white light.
Finally, one of the Bodies asserted herself. A squat, heavy-set woman with crimped black hair and pencil-thin eyebrows lurched forward. At first she squinted uncomprehendingly, but upon reading the Spanish translation on the teleprompter, she nodded and quickly tugged the cord out. The Asshole wriggled, curling her toes, but remained silent.
"Now place the cable on the floor, and stand back."
The woman did as told. The projection screen went black for a moment and a peripheral camera descended from the rafters outside of the dome. The screen then displayed a sterile and colorless overhead view of the proceedings, looking almost like surveillance footage.
The voice over the P.A. responded. "Thank you. Now we will observe the Ego's sustenance. Will one of the Bodies please go to that container on the floor and retrieve one of the balls, and hold it high?"
A rail-thin, dark skinned woman wearing pink sweatpants and a Tweety Bird hoodie stepped forth cautiously from the mob and lifted one of the lottery balls. She hung her head with an incredulous sulk on her face, as if wishing to remain emotionally disengaged from this bizarre show; her eyes scanned the polished floor listlessly. The overhead camera zoomed in on the item in her hand, displaying it on the large screen. Printed clearly on its surface: $500.
"Thank you. Here we learn that as the Id restricts and the Ego hides, the arrival of the Superego—external Bodies, supra-foreign, separate and disparate..."
As the presentation continued, the full-figured gallery assistant walked to a nearby switchboard in the darkness. Her pale arm extended to it, flicking a few indistinguishable levers which cued the cold drone of dark ambient music. Ms. Adara continued.
"...the hiding becomes hoarding, retention. Physiologically, it is important to remember two things: that the lower alimentary canal's primary function is to transport waste to the external world. We must also remember that the rectal muscles are such that one cannot always voluntarily eject a disconnected foreign body. This conflict of interests embodies the crux of the Ego—artificial barriers now obstruct its true function..."
A few more people in the outer audience, frustrated with the increasingly obtuse nature of this unfolding piece, hastily fled the scene. Yet the vast majority of the audience—comprising a headcount of nearly two hundred people—continued to stand arrested by the lewd display unfolding before them, their collective noise increasing above the scraping, monotonous music.
"Bodies, the rules of the first phase of this piece are simple. There are 150 lottery balls. Each ball has a value of $500, as printed. There is a combined total of $75,000 in the container. You will be given a full half hour. When that time is up, the tallied amount stuffed inside the Asshole is what you'll be collectively recompensed for participating in this project."
There was a tremendous stir amongst the women in the glass cage as they each comprehended the red words flashing across the LED screen.
"...Keep in mind, the monies acquired will be divided evenly between the Bodies, so if maximum profit is your goal—and who amongst you do not ultimately share this goal, lest you be elsewhere?—it's in your best interest to work as a team in order to fit as much money as you can inside of her..."
The Asshole hung her head, her neck too weak to support its weight anymore. Goosebumps rose on her tender flesh.
"...It would also be in your best interest to ignore her screams, pleas, or any other petition for your sympathy as a fellow woman and human being. Since, after all, we are not a feeling-based economy. Of course, as Bodies, you are still free agents. You are all free, alternatively, to stand there and appreciate my work of art uncorrupted for a half hour. That is, if you have no need for money, and like your life the way it is. The choice is yours. It is always yours."
Immediately, the Bodies eagerly swarmed around the poor shivering girl bound to her station. While some of them clearly were uncomfortable with this arrangement, none of them protested. The Eyes found a delicious schadenfreude in enjoying the desperation that these lower-class women displayed at the mere mention of a reward that, to them, was pence.