The Pickup

        Let’s start with dinner.

I had a boiled chicken breast with white rice and an ever-so-slight application of cream sauce spread evenly over the bird.  The chicken was butterflied before eating; this created two perfectly symmetrical halves.  Since symmetry is the convention that society bases the concept of beauty on, my only question is:

Why should food be any different?

More to the point, how could anyone shovel misshapen food into their mouths?  One bite after another, imperfection after deformation, swallowed and digested.  There is no logic in demanding anything short of perfection, especially when the topic is going gastrointestinal.

        Back to the chicken…

I used the fork to slice my meat into perfect cubes, but it does take some effort.  Place the fork into the middle of the meat.  The first incision will be across the left edge, the second along the right.  Turn the fork ninety degrees and repeat.

        This is perfection of the flesh.

        This is fit for consumption.

Next, swallow the cube whole.  Mastication will only create imperfection that is mainly drawn along the grains of the meat.

        Stay in control.

        This isn’t about the chicken; this is about primal necessity.

Scoop the rice with the spoon and level it by dragging the knife across the top edge.  Don’t chew, the rice is perfect as it is, just swallow.

        Fill yourself with perfection.

Dinner is far from the point, though.  The point is that we can’t deny human needs, even if they go against the very nature of existence, especially my existence.  This is why I am in a public place tonight.  My feet are stuck to the floor and I am completely, miserably uncomfortable.  There are too many people in this club and I can feel their stinking musk infecting me, clogging my pores.

I am standing in this disgusting place, by the bar, staring through the smoke and lasers into the blackness, searching for an apparition of symmetry.  It is an illusion, really.  There is no perfection in human beauty, only a taste, a degree of it.

        Something just touched me.

“Can I get you another drink, bro?”

“What the fuck makes you think that touching is okay?” I shout at the bartender, above the music.

        I’ll have to burn this jacket when I get home.

“Listen, asshole.  It’s loud in here, how else am I supposed to get your attention?”

“Just give me another one-fifty-one.  No ice, and don’t even think about putting a straw anywhere near it.”  One-fifty-one sterilizes all surfaces on contact; the bartender’s grimy fucking hands infect on contact.

        Where was I?

There she is: the blonde I’ve been eying.

I walk towards her.

Her left eye looks to be about a millimeter or two off from the other, but aside from that she seems almost perfect.  Normally, the eye would have been a deal breaker, but there is something else that is drawing me to her.  In all the time I have been here, she hasn’t used the bathroom, touched anyone or had anything to drink other than shots.

Now she is staring at me, wondering what I want and so I extend my hand towards her and down my drink at the anticipation of touching.  I don’t really have a choice: if I appear scared to touch her, there is no way that she will come back to my place.

“Bob Nealc,” I say.

        A hand can have over two hundred million bacteria per square inch.

She looks at my hand, slowly reaches towards me, and I am suddenly reminded of Michelangelo’s angels stuck in mid reach.

Her grip is loose and clumsy, almost a perfect mirror of mine.


“Hannah Elirets,” she responds.

I pull away and mumble something about how nice it was to meet her while reaching into my pocket for the small bottle.  I quickly open it and pour a few drops onto my hands and rub them together feverously.

“Is that hand sanitizer?” she asks me.


“It’s isopropyl alcohol.” I say in a half wince, expecting to catch her palm across my face.  That would be the end of the night for me; a frantic drive home so that I can rub myself with a Brillo pad and color-safe bleach.

“Can I have some?” she asks me.

I hand her the bottle and she applies it to her hands and then wipes them on the inside of her right thigh.

“Some asshole tried to grab me earlier.  It burns like acid.”

“The alcohol?” I ask.

“No, the touch.”

        Don’t hesitate.

“Do you want to come over to my place to throw away your shoes?” I ask.  “I have an incinerator in my building and already need to ditch this jacket.”

I don’t expect her to understand, and I am already imagining her puzzled look.

        This is a test.

“I thought you would never ask,” she says.  “Do you have any ammonia in your car?”


        This is better than winning the lottery.

She is perfect, and while I may not be intimately familiar with all of her rituals, I do know that they are all hygienic in nature, and that will have to suffice.  It is more than I could have ever expected from this night.

*  *  *

Back at my place, we’ve discarded our shoes and my jacket down the chute and are standing on a sheet of butcher’s paper, in the bathroom, that I had laid out in anticipation.  Butcher’s paper won’t stick to our feet the way normal paper or plastic will.  Nothing kills the mood like constant walking-in-place to avoid sticking to plastic sheeting.

“I have to shower,” I say.

“So do I,” she responds.

We strip naked, fold our clothes and place them in perfect stacks on the counter – the same width, thickness and height.  Now we are walking in circles, examining one another.  Finally, she smiles at me and we begin to shower.  We have to completely lather ourselves with soap and shampoo three times, just to be safe.

The isopropyl alcohol cycle is when we begin to touch one another.

Next, I produce a bottle of bleach and we begin to rub it deep into each other’s skin until we are both red hot; burning with desire.

“Do you have anything stronger?” she whispers into my ear.

I produce Drano, degreaser, chlorine tablets, and some hydrochloric acid.

        She is impressed.

“Is the Drano normal or maximum strength?” she asks, batting her eyes.

“I only buy maximum,” I respond, holding the open bottle towards her, being mindful to flex the muscles in my arm.

She takes a long drink from the bottle and starts to kiss me deeply.  The blue foam created by our sloshing tongues oozes down our throats and out of our mouths.

She takes a gulp of bleach and begins biting my ears, letting the acrid fumes intoxicate our desires, our needs.

The degreaser only adds to the frenzied lust as I pull her closer.

I unroll one of the chlorine tablets onto my penis and thrust into her.  Everything burns with sensuality and cleanliness.  I lick her neck, leaving blue streaks across her nape streaking down to her breasts.

She begins to scream with pleasure and pours the hydrochloric acid over our heads just as we are both starting to climax.

        Everything is perfect and hygienic.

        Everything is clean and sterile.

Together we melt and swirl through the drainpipes, cleaning them as we go.