By Andrew Paul Grell
“You can get it dog-style, cowgirl, or missionary. What’s your pleasure, ma’am,” asked the beefy guy at the front desk.
“Excuse me?” Rhonda tried to recover from a blush.
“Your protective gear. This is where it gets issued, I issue it to you. You need protective gear before you can start. You’ve seen the map. If you didn’t see the map, nobody wudda sent you here. Do you wanna go all the way? Or are you just here for a looky-lu? Either way, I can’t let you go in without Proper Protective Gear.” Sid, the desk guy, had a way of pronouncing capital letters.
Rhonda couldn’t decide if he was winding her up or talking in the idiom of the Experience. “What’s the difference? Any recommendations? I wasn’t really thinking about going all the way, but I guess I should be prepared if it happens.”
“If you want to be prepared to go all the way, you need prophylactics, I issue them too.”
Double blush plus tingle. Rhonda just wanted to see what the fuss was all about. All she could muster was a one-word question. “Prophylactics?”
“It gets real dirty, nasty dirty, not for the faint of heart dirty, on the way to zones six and nine. If you really wanna go all the way, or just do a six and nine, you need something to keep the gunk from getting on you. But maybe six or nine aren’t for you.” Sid was sizing Rhonda up as he was speaking.
Rhonda continued to use conventional communication modalities to move ahead. “And may I ask why those zones are not suitable, or not suitable for me specifically?”
“Ma’am, you’re just a skinny little thing. I shouldn’t be telling you things that aren’t posted on the map, but you certainly look like you need a hand to get yourself going. Zone six is packed with boxes of food. You’re gonna have to eat a lot of boxes to get to the other side. You look a tad parched, nervous? Let’s take a water break, here’s your own canteen.”
“Thank you, Sid, this hits the spot.”
“Aw, you’re quite welcome, ma’am. Zone nine is worse. I hope you like rhubarb cobbler, that’s what the carpet there tastes like, and you’ll have to munch your way through it. I shuddin’ be sayin’ all this, ya know, the surprise is part of the Experience. But you might prefer going via zone 14. The candle room. Ya gotta blow ’em all… achh, sorry, something went down my throat the wrong way… blow ’em out. But it looks like another virgin is behind you. Make your choice, young lady. Doggy, cowgirl or missionary?”
“You haven’t really let me know what any of them are. Well, I guess cowgirl gives me positional advantage. I’ll take that one”
“Here ya go, missy. Leather whip, leather chaps, horsehide gloves, spurs, shammy rag. Good luck,” Sid said with a smile. “Just polish that knob, when it fully extends, turn it gently, and you’ll be in zone zero.”
“Hi, I was waiting for someone to come in. I’m a little nervous after hearing what that Sid guy had to say. Did he tell you about the rooster, and how you have to put a ring around it, right behind the wattles, to move on? Richard Wood Johnson.”
“Rhonda Montaine. Any relation, by the way?”
“The hospital guy is my uncle. You must get a lot of ribbing about your name.”
“How so? I can’t recall any jokes about my name,” Rhonda lied, hopeful for a minimum of embarrassment.
“You never got ‘She’ll be comin’ Rhonda Mountain when she comes, when she comes?”
“Possibly in grade school, I can’t really recall. Nice collar and bling, by the way. You took missionary?”
“Yes, I couldn’t make up my mind. It sounded safe. The guy who was here just before you wished me luck, though. Something about cannibal tribes in zone 17.”
“How long have you been in zone 0? Aren’t you going to explore? I’m thinking of going all the way.” Rhonda said with a touch of junior high school in her voice.”
Richard matched her hint of 13-year-oldness. “Rhonda, I thank there’s nothing I’d rather do than go all the way with you. Besides, I was thinking about going through the door on the left, it’s supposed to eventually lead to the break room. I’ll probably need a break after a few zones.”
“Okay, Dick. Saddle up. Get a long one, little doggy, or whatever it is you’re supposed to say. Round ‘em up and head ‘em out.”
“Welcome to zone 29, the tit for tat room. Match the tit to the correct tat to move on” Richard read.
“Hey, you did that on purpose! Did Sid tell you to wait for a girl and take her through the left door?”
“On my honor as a Wood Johnson, he most certainly did not. But we both want to move on, don’t we? I’m sure there will be much worse up ahead.”
“You’re going to have to give me a boost. It looks like my size bra is up on top there. And NO PEEKING!”
“We did it, Rhonda. I guess that bell means the next door is open. Thank you for your service.”
“HALLOO!” Rhonda cried to the people in the corridor they just entered. “Where are we all going?”
“We’re trying to find zone 40, the G-Spot. We just can’t find it anywhere.”
“Maybe we could look together,” Richard hollered. “I asked Sid at the desk about it, he said only the most experienced Experiencers could find it.”
“I’m Rhonda, this is my new friend, Dick Johnson”
“Ben Doon” the man said, shaking hands with them. “And my partner, Phil McAvity, and our own new friend, Ava Sexauer. Neither Phil nor myself would even remotely know where to look for the G-spot.”
“Too bad there’s no couch to look in or feel around the cushions,” said Rhonda. “Maybe we should give the doors a good close read.”
Ava started shrieking “Eureka, Eureka! The door with the letter ‘H’ on it and the mark next to it. My uncle was from the old country; he taught me to play piano. That’s an H moll, H flat, or a G sharp anywhere outside of Germany. This is the door.”
“That’s an awful lot of strings, water glasses and forks,” Dick observed.
“I guess we should start a cluster-pluck. One of them is going to be G sharp for sure,” Phil contributed.
“Not this one.”
“That one maybe, I’m not sure.”
“Definitely not that one.”
“This one’s close”
“Wait, wait, everyone stop the plucking! I think this is it,” shouted Ben as he plucked his string like a maniac.
“Did you feel that,” Ava whispered to Rhonda.
“I sure did and still am, whenever Ben hits the string. Oh! Oh! Pluck me! Pluck me harder!”
Ava joined in the screaming with Rhonda: “Faster! I’ve never felt anything like this! Pluck me faster!”
“Why did it stop?” Rhonda asked.
“That last bell was the door. We did it. We’re through to the next step,” Ava supplied.
Rhonda opined, “I guess this thing is for real.”
While opening the door, Phil observed, “I guess it really does take a sensitive man to find a G-Spot.”
“What’s that banging? I think it’s coming from around the bend in the hallway,” Ben said, “We should check it out. Dick, you’re the tallest amongst us, care to take point?”
“Who said Tall Privilege was an advantage? Well, here goes; maybe they know the way to the break room…”
Just a wee bit late, Rhonda spoke up. “He’s tall, but a little frail, and that banging sounded really loud. And now it stopped. I hope he’s okay.”
“HALLLOOO!” Came Dick’s counter-tenor shout. “Another party, we’re going to join forces! Follow my voice, everyone,” spoken with a new-found authority.
Rhonda whispered to Ava, “He’s come a long way. Maybe the Experience really does good things for people.”
“Really? I think it’s silly, but I had a Groupon for it. What is that?”
Dick gave his report. “It’s a pile of shovels. We’re going to need them for the room after this one. Ben, Phil, Ava, Rhonda, meet Harry, Larry, Seymour Hare the author, chronicling the outing, and Philatia. When we get all the shovels off the floor, we should be able to get in. I hope.”
“Seymour, would I know what you’ve written?” Phil asked.
“I hope so. Just a little tome about 70s fashion, Cellophane Bikini.“
“I remember that! I think I still have a copy! And Philatia, really? Isn’t that a character from an online game?” Phil continued questioning.
“You bet,” she answered. “And I’m keeping it, at least in here. I’m going to open the door.”
“Nothing in the room except, what is that, an ear-hair scissors? And a sign. ‘Find something fine enough to insert into the hole’,” Harry read. “That’s one thin hole.”
“Why are all the guys looking at me?” asked Ava.
“Ava, you’re a natural red head, aren’t you?” Phil clued her in.
“Oh no. No way. Not a chance. I’ll hit the panic button first. That Sid guy said that if anyone hits the panic button, everyone in the room gets exfiltrated.”
“Ava, I had to go through the tit-for-tat room,” Rhonda confided. Dick couldn’t have been better. Perfect gentleman.”
“Okay, alright already. All the men, turn your backs. Rhonda, you get it. You put it in the hole. I don’t want any of THEM touching it.”
“Sweetie,” Philatia said, putting her arm around Ava’s shoulders. “Are you sure you want to do the Experience? It isn’t for everyone. Maybe it shouldn’t be Groupon material.”
“I’m fine. Fine enough for that hole, I hope. Rhonda, just get it over with.”
“Way to go!” Phil yelled.
“Here’s to RCH” was Harry’s contribution.”
Ben took the sophisticated path: “Ava, we appreciate your service. And your sacrifice. Even if it was a really, really thin one. Everyone have their shovels? Door’s open, let’s get through it before it changes its mind.”
“Ashes! Sid warned me, it could get filthy,” said Rhonda. I don’t remember this being on the map. Harry, I think it’s your turn. If I’m not mistaken, that’s a waste disposal roll-off. Time to get your ashes hauled, sweetie.”
“I’m getting hungry,” Dick declared. “The more who shovel, the sooner we can eat.”
“Put your backs into it, you swabs!”
“No, lift with your LEGS, not your backs.”
“Just don’t get any on me.”
“I think that’s all of it. The door’s opening.”
“Another corridor!” moaned Dick. “Well, I think the door with the menu on it is the one we want. Let’s see if those people are looking for the same thing we are. HALOOO!”
“You folks looking for something to eat too? Gordon. But call me Gordo. Everyone calls me Gordo. And this is Kyle and this is Pat.”
Dick did the introductions back. “Rhonda, Ava, Ben Doon and Phil McAcity, Larry, Harry, Seymour, and Philatia.”
“Philatia, really, from the game?”
“The very same. Let’s look at that menu. Turkey, beef, venison, and tofu. Something for everyone. Soup’s on!”
“What’s this? What are those sticks on the table? Why are they tied to the table?” Larry was full of questions.
“It’s Jerky. Cow, deer, turkey, tofu. Jerky,” reported Harry. “And I guess we have to sit around in a circle if we want to enjoy it.”
“There’s only so much of this one can eat, you know. Which door now?” Ben asked.
Larry opined, “I think this door is the Ol’ Factory. A zone without a number, not marked on the map. Someone who went all the way said it was worth getting here.”
“What is that stink?” asked Harry.
“Sweat and pee. I’d recognize that scent anywhere,” Ben said while trying to avoid Phil’s glare.
Philatia asked, “Is it me or is it getting hot in here?”
“It’s me too.”
“Yup, Lord a’mighty, I feel the temperature risin’”
“Sweat and pee!” Dick ejaculated. “Male pheromones are in their armpit sweat. Female pheromones are in their pee. Fasten your seat belts, ladies and gentlemen. It’s going to be a bumpy flight.”
“Hey, get off me!”
“Get your hand out of there!”
“Don’t touch that!”
“When was the last time you washed your hands?
“Faster, faster! Harder!”
“Little circles. That’s it. Ahhh!”
“Is it over?”
“Only one door out of this room, and no panic button. I guess we’ll have to soldier through.” Dick, trying to maintain a grip on command mode.
“The door said ‘car wash.’ I didn’t think it would be a literal car wash. Well, I guess Ava and I are even with the guys. How did it do that? All our clothes are gone except what Sid issued to us. Remember the line from The Honeymooners? ‘How do it know?’ At least we eventually found where they hid the robes. Break room, here we come!”
“Oh, no! Not another room!” Ava cried. “It looks like a schoolyard from any Grade school. Can anyone read that sign? I think it was meant for younger eyes.”
“Final exam. Third Grade Humor. All together, now,” Dick, the youngest of them, read.
Finally feeling comfortable with Experience idiom, she started off, hoping someone would pick it up. “Twat’s that you say?”
Larry: “I cunt hear you”
Philatia: “Scum a little closer”
Phil: “I have an infuction in my ear. Was that the school bell?”
Dick, now writhing, informed his new friends “That better be the door to the break room.”
Larry spotted them first. “Look, at the far end, all the way back. Fellow travelers. Let’s compare notes.”
“How far did you guys get?”
“I went to third base. Zone 42. I had to slide. I don’t know how boy baseball players do that.”
“This has to be the greatest thing ever.”
“I am so glad I did this.”
“Did anyone get to the zone 18, the Ball Room?”
“I was looking for zone 37, The Man in the Canoe. I couldn’t find it.
“Nothing is better than this.”
“When the sign in the room said I had to let someone enter from the rear, I wasn’t expecting THAT!”
“I can’t wait to tell my friends.”
“I can’t wait to go again.”
“Next time I’m going all the way.”
“Ahem. Ladies and gentlemen.” A corporate type was addressing them. “You have each made it past kindergarten and first grade and are safe in second grade. I’m passing out some vouchers, if you come back within the next three weeks, you may bypass Sid, if you like, and start from here in the break room. You also get the Groupon rate and bring a friend for free on your next visit after that. And now I’d like to pass out your achievement pins.
Rhonda elbowed Ava and whispered “What is it? Are they letters? The first one looks like it has labia.”
“It’s Greek. Phi Upsilon Kappa Upsilon.”
“I get it. What an Experience.”