PINK LIPSTICK WITH GLOSS (FOURTH HEAD FROM THE LEFT) by Mark Cravens

The latest  Slush Pile  fiction at Dig Boston:

THE ROOM HAS THE APPEARANCE of something from a science-fiction film—all white, sterile, windowless, with a digital clock hanging high and centered on each of the four walls. I sit in the long black leather sofa that rests by the door, concentrating on the wall in front of me. It is grotesque, but necessary to the experience. Heads—faceless, hairless, porcelain heads—protrude from the wall with open cavities from the nose down.

At the top of the hour, these open spaces will be filled with the mouths of women. I won’t be able to see anything except their mouths and they won’t see me at all because the faceless heads have no eyeholes. And for sixty minutes those partial faces are all mine.

This is not a free service. At Previews, the Kissing Room is only one of the rooms offered. There are other rooms. My friend Roger goes to the I-Room. My belief is that anything goes in the I-Room. I don’t know this for sure because Roger hasn’t told me much. In the brochure there is an asterisk by the I-Room option, Clients must sign non-disclosure statement. The I-Room is insanely expensive—twelve hundred per hour.

The light comes on just on the other side of the wall, and soon the empty mouth holes are filled with actual mouths. Once all those empty cavities are filled, I have my choice of head. I’ve paid for sixty minutes to kiss any of those mouths that I want, or just one if that’s all I want. Or I can sample every one of them, which I often did when I first started at Previews.

All of the mouths are very attractive and very different. The first one from the left is bright red lipstick. Second is bright red lipstick with gloss. Different colors go down the line, alternating between non-gloss and gloss. Pink is next, then darker red, black, and plain. Of the ten heads on the wall, I’m stuck on pink with lip gloss, fourth one from the left, and have been for the better part of six months. Because I know her. She’s Roger’s wife. I think.

(read more)