R U T H  N I N E K E

Is This Weird For You?

Sex Acts And Emotional Problems

Upstairs, in the middle of a large bedroom, opposite the stairs, a naked man stood before a four post bed.

His pale skin bathed in the warm bulb from a metal lamp beside the chair on his left side. The shadows on his body, most pronounced where his hip and pelvis met his buttocks, created gentle contrast against the room’s soft peach walls.

“Michael, this is Caitlyn,” Paula said. She walked past him, to her supplies on the bed.

Her subject was confidently comfortable with his lean and toned body. Dark hair, almost to his shoulders, curled about his brow and behind his ears. Light hazel eyes topped a playful grin as Michael spoke.

“I heard you got canned,” he said to Caitlyn, his voice strong and melodic.

“I did,” she nodded.

“That sucks.”

Paula took her seat in front of Michael’s thigh.

“Caitlyn, will you hit record?” she asked.

A foot behind her a camera was set on a tripod. Caitlyn pushed the red button and looked at Michael.

This was easily the strangest thing she’d experienced indoors since moving to New York, and meeting Paula.

Michael folded both arms above his head, and stretched the top of his body to the right.

Caitlyn glanced briefly at his crotch, where Paula’s left hand clutched his thigh tightly in place as she focused on adding a swirling tribal pattern to his oblique.

“Is this weird for you?” Michael asked.

Caitlyn brought her eyes to his.

“I’ve never been fired before.”

“No,” he said. “I meant watching Paula fake tattoo me naked.”

She’s not naked,” Caitlyn slipped through the hole in his sloppy syntax.

She turned her back to their art project and explored the room. Across from the bed a stopped up fireplace caught her eye. Over it hung a square painting of an embellished blue and green countryside set against a muted yellow sky.

“Don’t mind this prick,” Paula spoke up. “He just loves attention.”

Caitlyn chuckled quietly, resting her fingers atop the fireplace as she observed the unframed canvas.

Caitlyn could feel Michael’s eyes on her when he asked, “What’d you get fired for?”

She turned around as Paula answered, “Because her prick ex-boyfriend wouldn’t send the files she needed for a meeting this morning.”

“Oh God,” Michael cried. “Were you a corporate slut?”

“Excuse me?”

“You worked in one of those four-person pods, didn’t you?”

“Oh, so you’re an artist too,” Caitlyn countered knowingly.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Michael prodded.

“You have something against people in pods?” Caitlyn asked.

“I’ve got something against the seated, sub-par mental and emotional Olympics of mediocrity which corporate culture breeds – yes, inside of pods. The good news for you is you’re free. Now you can start actually using your brain to create the life you want to live.”

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