**Alert** This is quite a long piece, four and a bit pages in MS Word, in fact - but hopefully it won't put you off...
The new massage parlour was situated at the end of a row of shops on the main street that ran through my town. The building was small and its name was written on the section of wall above the door in exotic, swirled black letters: ‘Paradise Parlour: A feeling like no other’. Set behind the name was a peach coloured sunset with the silhouette of two palm trees and a figure lazing in a hammock between them. It was, perhaps, everything one would expect a massage parlour to look like from the outside. I didn’t, however, expect the windows to be blacked out. A clever idea, I thought, and went in nonetheless.
Inside there was a small desk to my left with an equally small receptionist sitting behind it. The pictures on the walls intended peace and relaxation, as did the soothing music oozing from the corner speakers. Tan leather sofas and chairs were placed in the waiting area opposite the desk. In the middle, a wooden table with magazines, coasters, a pot plant. The whole atmosphere resembled a sauna-cum-living room.
“Can I help you?” the receptionist asked me, her voice like honey-milk and it scooped me out of the trance I didn’t know I was in.
“Oh, yes thank you. I got this through the post,” I produced a crumpled flier from my jacket pocket, “and thought I’d come and investigate. How much for a full body?” Her eyebrows raised just enough for me to notice and she typed away on her sleek, white laptop. Eyes down she displayed her garish blue eye make-up.
“A full body is thirty nine, ninety nine, sir.”
I didn’t expect anything much lower than that so I wasn’t too surprised. “You accept cards, I gather?”
“Certainly, sir. Just pop it in there.” She slid the credit card scanner towards me with one push of her dainty index finger, lengthened somewhat by a gleaming white finger nail.
I put my card in, entered my PIN and was told to wait for someone to call me through. I sunk down into one of the comfy sofas and sat patiently.
Coming from one of the rooms beyond the desk I thought I heard sizzling.
“Mr. Rogers?” I turned my head sharply and saw a man in a white shirt and trousers. His face was heavily tanned, probably sprayed on and his blonde hair appeared bleached because of his complexion. He stood about six and a half feet tall, average build, but with a voice of similar silkiness to his desk woman. I stifled a smirk.
“Yeah,” I said, breezily and walked towards him. He turned and led me down a short corridor with doors on either side. It was like a prison walk. We reached a door on the left and he stopped abruptly causing me almost bump into him.
“After you,” he said, almost whispering as he opened the door and let me in. “Now, just slip your clothes off in there” he said, gesturing with his hand towards a small, curtained booth “and put the robe on, please.”
I did as was instructed while he pottered around various different oils and lubricators.
I emerged, robed up, and paced over to the bed. I noticed a drain in the floor near where the bed was. Strange, I thought but quickly ignored it. I spread myself out on the bed and put my face in the padded area at the top.
He lowered my robe to my waist and I felt his warm, smooth hands on my back like melting butter.
“Right, I think we’ll start with your spinal area,” he said as he pressed and prodded around my backbone, “you’re feeling very tight and stiff. Ok, so just relax, Mr. Rogers. Close your eyes and let yourself go. This is going to feel wonderful.” His voice was syrupy.
I listened to his footsteps walk over to one side of the room. A door slid open. The sizzling sound from before buzzed into the room and intensified as he returned, putting a tray down beside the bed. One by one he placed searing hot coals along the length of my back, five in total. It felt sensational. Each piece melted its way through my skin like a fat bloke making an arse crease in the sofa. The smell of my burning flesh made me salivate and I dribbled on the floor.
After a few seconds the coals lost their heat so he replaced them with new ones. He pushed the newly laid coals hard into my back and I heard my blood crackle and spit as it boiled.
Seconds passed. Luxurious, blissful seconds and I savoured each and every one of them. He slowly removed the coals piece by piece. I felt resistance as he pulled because of my skin sticking to them. He had to cut a couple of them away.
“How did that feel, sir?”
“Uuuuuh,” I groaned at the floor, “incredible.”
“Good. Now I’m going to focus on those stilt-legs of yours. Try and relax once again, Mr. Rogers.”
I closed my eyes and listened again as he tinkered with his tools behind me. He took hold of my right leg, lifted it up for a second or two before lowering it back down gently. I felt a cool, metallic hardness encapsulate my lower leg. The left one received the same treatment. Then a machine hummed to life. It wasn’t very loud but the feeling was unbelievable. I felt pressure gradually mounting on each side of my legs and soon realised that he’d put them in a pair of mechanical vices.
“Stop clenching, Mr. Rogers.” I heard him say.
“S – sorry.” I managed.
The force of the vices soon became so much that I felt something give. There was a bulged ripping sound like when a popcorn bag is about to burst. The masseuse spluttered and protested before he switched the machine off.
“What happened?” I asked.
“Oh nothing to worry about, sir, just a bit of cartilage, that’s all. Let me wipe myself down. You lie there and enjoy yourself.”
“Now, where were we? Are you still feeling ok, Mr. Rogers?”
“Mmm, very good thank you.”
“Good, now I noticed your feet look a bit rough and dry. I’ll sort that out for you. Hope you’re not ticklish.” He giggled and clasped one of my feet in his hand while he cheese grated it with the other. His panting grew heavier the more effort he made.
“You know,” pant, “you should walk around bare foot more often, sir” pant, “it’ll help refresh your feet and,” pant, “stop them getting like this.”
More grating, frantic this time. He stopped periodically to pick chunks of my feet from between the grater’s razor edged holes. When he started again there were squelching sounds and the grater got more slippery and uncontrollable.
He spent a good hour freeing my feet of rough skin and dryness but it was well worth it. Now, just two bloodied stumps, he rubbed the ends of my legs with ‘Zest of Lemon and Lavender Extract’. The sting blew my mind. He was doing a fantastic job.
“Ok, Mr. Rogers I think we’re all done back here, if you’d like to roll over for me we’ll continue onto your front.”
An undignified task I’ll grant you but I managed it and, when I lay on my back, the pressure and contact of the coal holes made the experience all the more pleasurable. Another upside to lying this way was I could see things. The masseuse, for example, looked more like a butcher or a surgeon and, upon seeing him, I understood the necessity for the drainage grate...
“Let me put this over your eyes if you’d just shut them tight for me. There, thanks.” The masseuse placed what appeared to be a used but freshly chilled sanitary pad over my eyes and nose. The smell was intoxicatingly pleasant and I breathed deeply through my nose, exhaling slowly.
Upon waking up I felt an immediate and exhilarating sensation. It’s like my skin was on fire but wasn’t burning. I tried to move my head to have a look but couldn’t, I could only seem to be able to move my eyes. That’s rather worrying...
“Ah, hello sleepy head. Your time’s up I’m afraid so if you’d like to hop off and get dressed again.”
“Er...I – I can’t...”
“N – no...What did you do?”
“The full body, Mr. Rogers. That’s what you asked for isn’t it? That’s what you’ve been given.”
“Why can’t I move my head? Or my arms, or anything?”
He giggled his girly little grin again, that time I stifled nothing back, “Look you fucking manic tell me why I can’t move my body. This wasn’t part of the arrangement.”
“Mr. Roger’s, please calm down. I was doing my job. And a damn good one it was too.”
“Was it? I’d like to see it then, please.” The masseuse turned and wandered over to a draw behind him. He came back with a circular mirror on a handle and pointed it at me. “There you are,” he said cheerily, as if at the end of a haircut.
“Well, let me see my body then...” I urged like a frustrated teacher versus a belligerent student.
“Erm...Mr. Rogers you no longer have a body...Did you not read our policy on the full body massacre? It was on the website – “
“Full body what? You son of a bitch.”
“Mr. Rogers, please don’t shout, you’ll disturb our other customers. Now if you just relax I’ll put you in this contamination jar, ok? It’ll keep you fresh and free from disease. You’ll feel fine tomorrow, I promise.”
“Wait, n – Look, I feel fine now just I’d rather have a body instead of just a head.”
“Well you shouldn’t have asked for the ‘full body’ in that case, sir.”
The speed at which I yelled made my sentence sound like one word, “I didn’t fucking know it’d turn out like this – oooooh-ah-ha-ha-haaaaaaaa...” I was literally weeping. I was a weeping head. I couldn’t cry into my hands because they were gone, I couldn't lean on someone’s shoulder unless someone held me there, I couldn’t wipe my nose with a tissue on my own. The most I could do was pucker up some spit and flob in the man’s face, which I did.
“Mr. Rogers, I’m sorry but your time is up. There’s another customer waiting to come in here so, I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to escort you, and your clothes, off the premises.” He said, wiping his face with his sleeve.
“Fine, you do that, but you won’t have seen the last of me.” Why was I getting so defensive? I literally didn’t have a leg to stand on.
“Ok Mr. Rogers, time to go.” And with that the masseuse picked me up by the ears, put me under one arm like a rugby ball and scooped my clothing up with the other.
On the way out I noticed the other bloke waiting for his ‘massage’.
“I wouldn’t bother, mate. It’s a bloody sham – a sham.” I yelled.
The man looked at me, bog-eyed, mouth agape, and stared after me as I was taken out front, round a corner and chucked into a bin underneath my clothes. No one heard me scream.
“Right. You must be Mr. Benson,” said the masseuse upon return, “here for the full body? Follow me, please.”