Melanie made a muffled groaning sound. She strained her arm against the strip of cotton wrapped multiple times around her wrist, a bit too tight. Morgan untied the one arm. She lifted it and tapped the silicone ball between her teeth.
“Oh,” he said. “I see.” He tied her hand back down and took the ball gag out of her mouth.
“Untie me please.”
“All of it?”
“Yes.” She said. “Please.”
“I did some good tying today. I thought we could at least enjoy the knots.”
“I could tell. I will not be able to get out of them myself. They are good knots. Untie me please.”
He began to untie her wrists.
“Why am I untying? Did you think of something else you wanted to be doing? What do you want to do?”
“Come lie down with me.”
He used his teeth to pull at the knot around her left ankle. “That’s not much of anything.”
She sat up and hooked her hands under his shoulders and pulled him up to her with one of her ankles still bound. It was really digging in on one side. She would have liked to have untied it herself but then he would have been more inclined to leave the room and do something else. The cotton felt like it was wearing off a layer of her skin. She wondered if it could be doing damage to the stick’n’poke tattoo of a palm tree on her ankle. She liked the tattoo. Underneath it said: DAY OFF.
Morgan put his face in the crook of her neck. He said, “What.”
“Do you think I’m sexy?”
“I’m just wondering.”
“You are putting me on the spot.”
“It’s not a hard question. There are only really two answers. Only really one if you want to keep things simple.”
“I have sex with you on average 5.5 times per week. We were having sex just now in fact.”
“You are being avoidant.”
“I think you are sexy.”
“Even with the new hair?”
“What does that have to do with it?”
“It makes me look like a mom. And what’s worse is I’ve been feeling like one. I’ve been looking longingly at infants on the metro. And yesterday at yoga—listen to me, yoga—I fell out of tree pose admiring a pregnant stomach!”
“Let’s go back to are you sexy.”
“I’m saying, am I sexy enough to be hired on sex appeal alone?”
“Ah,” he said. “We are talking about your job again.”
“I just can’t believe the pay. I can’t believe the pay. Fifteen an hour! It is all very suspicious.”
“I am making twelve. If I were making fifteen I would not ask why.”
“You have a pretty good ass,” he said. “And from most angles your face is nice.”
“Thanks,” she said. “That is very sweet.”
“I’m tired. Can we do this in reverse now?”
“Oh, okay.” Melanie sat up and untied the last strip of cotton. She was feeling insecure about her stomach so she put her blouse back on. She moved one of her ballet flats in front of her with her toe. “Kneel on the sole of this shoe and eat my pussy.”
“Okay,” he said. He had nearly half of an erection.
Melanie was over twenty minutes early for work. She went into the bathroom and ate a protein bar with the door locked. When she was finished she hid the wrapper under a pile of other peoples’ trash. She still had eighteen minutes. She went to the fire escape to smoke a cigarette and take a picture of the sky to post on Instagram.
When she opened the door her boss’s back was right there.
“Sorry,” she said to his back.
He didn’t answer her. He was on the phone.
“Sorry,” she said again, but this time she meant excuse me.
He turned around. He moved out of the way but he seemed annoyed that she had seen him there and decided to come out anyway. She stood a few steps down from him and lit her cigarette.
“Thank you Lorraine,” he said into the phone. “Thank you. No, that is quite enough. I have heard enough, please stop now. Goodbye.”
“Good morning,” said Melanie.
“I am exhausted,” said her boss. “The baby. I am so exhausted.”
They stood still while she finished her smoke.
He said, “Can I have one?”
She felt annoyed that he waited for her to finish. Now she would want another one while he smoked his. Soon she would have a bad habit.
He lit his own and then he held out the lighter to light hers. She shook her head no but the cigarette fell out of her mouth and through the grating of the fire escape.
“Sorry,” she said for a third time, and felt weary. “How is the baby.”
“Fantastic,” he said. “Outstanding. Phenomenal.”
“Wow,” she said. “Nice.”
“Have I told you about the birth,” he said.
“Yes, but I wouldn’t mind hearing it again.”
“Well, we knew it was happening when her water broke.”
“Yes. That is reasonable.”
“So I got in the tub first, and then my wife got in the tub.”
Gregor, one of Melanie’s abhorrent coworkers, came out onto the fire escape with them. He saw that they were smoking and his eyes lit up.
“Mmm,” he said. “Can I have one?”
“Yes,” said Melanie’s boss, so she had to give one to Gregor.
“Thanks,” he said. He took it back inside with him.
Her boss stubbed out his cigarette and lay it carefully on the rail. “What was I saying?”
“Oh, yeah. I wanted to talk to you about your wage.”
“Okay.” Melanie felt nervous. The $15 had been a mistake, maybe. She had been spending like crazy, now she was going to be cut off.
“I think that I will give you a raise beginning next month. As it is the last day of the month, that will be tomorrow. I will give you $18.50 per hour.”
“Precisely that amount. Per hour.”
“I’m glad you think so.”
“Yes, absolutely. It is positive to me.”
Melanie knocked on Morgan’s door. As she pulled her hand away a sheet fell over her head and covered her body like a ghost.
“Haha,” Morgan said. He had his head poked out of his apartment window on the third floor.
“Let me in,” she said.
His head disappeared and the buzzer rang. She opened the door with her ghost arm and walked up the stairs. His apartment door was open.
Morgan was in the corner by the oscillating fan. “I’m nude,” he said.
Melanie unzipped her dress and let it fall off of her body. She shrugged off the ghost sheet.
They both walked silently to the bed and he lay down flat on his back. She sat down by his waist.
“That hurt last time. The shoe.”
“Oh,” she said.
“Sit on my face this time.”
“Okay.” She moved awkwardly up the bed with her knees on either side of his body.
“Move up higher just a bit,” he said.
She put her hands on the wall. “I wish there were something up here for me to look at.”
He seemed to be controlling his breathing in an uncomfortable way. She moved down so she was sitting on his chest with her knees in his armpits. “I got a raise today.”
“A raise? Did you get a promotion too?”
“No, just a raise.”
“Now this is getting suspicious.”
“I agree. I didn’t do anything remarkable. I gave him a cigarette and he gave me a raise. I’m starting to feel really dangerously sexy.”
“I am feeling so, so suspicious. I cannot let this go.”
“Can I help?”
“Perhaps. Write down the address of your workplace before you leave.”
“Okay.” She pulled his hair into a tight ponytail on top of his head and it made his eyebrows raise up. “You look undeniably hilarious.”
Morgan walked slowly and carefully down rue Saint Antoine O, looking over his shoulder every now and again. He had on different clothes than he would normally wear. He was in the mood for confrontation and he looked the part. On his head he wore a black hat and everything else he had on was black, too.
Melanie wouldn’t be on her lunch break for another fifteen minutes. Morgan crept into the building and walked up the four flights of stairs with his back against the wall. A woman and man walked past and ignored him or didn’t see him at all.
He scanned the numbers in the hall and double checked what Melanie had written. Studio 12. There were two big doors made of particle board, and a smaller painted door to the right which was open just a crack. Morgan crawled on his hands and knees over to the smaller door. He could see a pair of crossed legs. The legs fit Melanie’s description of her boss as accurately as any legs could.
“Yeah,” Melanie’s boss or so Morgan assumed said quietly. “Yeah, yeah.”
Morgan lowered himself until his stomach and chest touched the floor. He spread his arms and legs out.
“It’s true,” said the boss. “I have no money. The money I have I don’t deserve. Yeah. Yeah. I have a small cock, it’s a disgrace. I have the smallest cock in the world. I want to put it inside you but I don’t deserve to. It’s not even a cock, I am such a worthless pile of crap.” He began to breathe more heavily. Morgan could see through the gap in the door that he was touching his penis through his pants.
The boss went on: “You don’t need me. I don’t deserve you. You are rich and gorgeous and I am your slave. I am nothing and I will do anything for you. Spit on my face, spit on my small cock, step on my balls with your high heels. I want you to fist my ass with my money in your hand. Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah.”
Out loud, Morgan went, “A-ha,” and immediately regretted it. He got up from the floor and ran quickly down the hall and out of the building. He texted Melanie, “A-ha.”
She texted back, “What have you discovered?”
He sent, “I will explain later. Come over at 8.”
“What is that?” Melanie pointed at the box on Morgan’s night stand with her elbow. She wiped sweat off of her face with one of the pillows from his bed.
“It’s a sex harness.” Morgan tore the lid off of the cardboard box. On the cover there was a photograph of a smiling couple, the woman supported around the man’s waist by a leather and metal contraption.
“Oh,” she said. “Who goes in it?”
They both stared at the photo on the box. Morgan said, “Well if we’re going by the photo, it looks like it will be you.”
He took the thing out of the box and lifted it up in the air to inspect it. He looped one part around his neck and one part went around his torso and there were two loops hanging down for her legs to go through. He helped get her into it so she was hanging off of him at the waist.
He looked down between them. “It will be difficult to penetrate you.”
“Take your time,” she said.
They moved slowly and mostly he supported her weight with his arms.
“I am cumming,” she said, and it was clear that she was not.
He said, “Me too,” and they looked at each other.
Melanie went to the bathroom and peed and washed herself. Morgan came to the bathroom door and shouted through it, “I figured out your suspicious work situation.”
“Tell me,” she said, “I am thinking about masturbating, maybe.”
“Okay. I eavesdropped on your boss while he was on the telephone.”
“He has a kink.”
“A kink. He gets horny when women take his money.”
“Oh. So you think—.”
“Well that is alright, I guess, right?”
“I don’t know. He is using you to feel horny.”
“That’s true. Now that I don’t like.”
“Are you masturbating?”
“Oh. I will come with you tomorrow. We should confront him, that’s what I think. Come out of there if you’re not masturbating.”
She opened the door and looked at him. “Okay, we will confront him tomorrow.”
“Do you want to use the harness again?”
“No, thank you.” She covered her breasts with her hands. “Do you want me to blow you?”
In the morning Melanie and Morgan got ready to go to her job when normally only Melanie would get ready to go to her job.
“Damn,” said Melanie. “You look pretty confrontational. I think I need to look a little more confrontational.”
“Take this shirt,” said Morgan. He handed her a shirt from his closet. On the front it said: WHAT OF IT?
“Perfect.” She pulled it on over her tank top. She was absolutely less sexy than when she was wearing only the tank top.
They took the metro to Melanie’s workplace and rehearsed what they were going to say.
“I’ve had it,” said Morgan.
Melanie repeated, “I’ve had it.”
“You can’t use me for your horniness, it is not moral.”
“It is not moral,” she said. “You can’t use me for your horniness. I am a human being and I do not deserve this money.”
They marched into the building and up the stairs to the studio.
“Hang on,” said Melanie. “Before the bad part, I want to say goodbye to my coworker who looks like Martin Shkreli.”
“Topical and unfortunate,” said Morgan.
“Just be careful when you pass the reactor core.”
“What is that? And what the hell is in that barrell?”
“Nuclear waste.” Melanie rapped on the metal barrell with her fist.
“Yikes.” Morgan picked up a torn page of a manual from the floor. “What space language is this written in?”
“STAR-CCM+,” she said. “It’s a computational fluid dynamics code.”
“I guess they’re not here. Okay, we can go do the big confrontation now.”
“I thought you were a janitor,” he said.
“Yes, I am. A janitor with assorted responsibilities. I do some nuclear engineering once I have finished mopping and taking out the trash.”
“Damn,” said Morgan. “For $18.50.”