Robert Cormack

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Don't Call Me A Masseuse.

A short story about massage therapy.

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Dear “big” girls. Don’t be afraid to get on top. If he dies, he dies.” Anonymous

I’ve got strong thumbs. Nobody realizes how strong they are until they get on my table. Some of my clients are big girls. For whatever reason, they need my strong thumbs. By the time I’m finished, they’ve probably screamed more than any other time in their lives. They’ll say afterwards, “You’re a hell of a masseuse.” Nobody in my profession wants to hear that term. Masseuses are what we call the sex end of the business. Believe me, sex is the last thing on my mind. I never think about sex when I work.

This is important, since we’re frequently called upon to give massages in customer’s homes or hotel rooms. One client had me set up in her bathroom. She was a massive thing, covered in powder, but still smelt like putty. “You’ve got great thumbs,” she said afterwards, a compliment, sure, but I’ve earned it. I put in over five hundred hours before those thieves gave me my certification.

I say “thieves” because we pay big bucks on one hand for a license, then get told the “physical maximum” we can work per week is 25 hours. At that rate, no wonder we have masseuses and masseurs.

If I’m caught, I’m banned. I won’t get caught, though. I’ve got a regular client base for on-the-side calls. Very discreet.

I’m not one of those people, thankfully. What I can’t earn “on the table” I earn under it, meaning I do side trips. If I’m caught, I’m banned. I won’t get caught, though. I’ve got a regular client base for on-the-side calls. Very discreet.

One of my best customers is a lawyer named Mandy. She was on her way to being an Olympian in university before degeneration started in her 17th vertebrae. She put on weight, becoming thicker but still firm and, like many lawyers, she couldn’t always come in during usual business hours.

“Well, Mandy,” I told her, “my door’s always open.”

“So’s mine,” she replied, waving her hand when I mentioned the going rate for home delivery. So I became a regular at the Parkview Apartments, escorted up to Mandy’s penthouse by a tall uniformed guy with a pencil moustache. He was always staring at my collapsible table. One time he asked if his carpal tunnel could be the result of holding a walkie talkie.

It was always on, a voice crackling at the other end. He’d ask me questions about Mandy. Frankly, I think he wanted her. He had that look about him. He probably fantasized about her sitting on top of him in bed. “If he dies, he dies,” as the saying goes.

“Subject inside,” he’d say into his walkie talkie. I don’t know who he was talking to.

At Mandy’s floor, he’d wait, holding the elevator door open until Mandy ushered me into her apartment. “Subject inside,” he’d say into his walkie talkie. I don’t know who he was talking to. He was the only person I ever saw. Maybe someone else was checking the perimeter, but it was probably just him thinking he belonged in a presidential motorcade or something.

“Interesting character,” I said to Mandy one time. She told me his name was Arnie. That didn’t surprise me at all. Arnie suited a guy with a pencil moustache. Mandy pronounced it as Arnee. She’d laugh, as she disrobed, telling me Arnie could be a retriever if she got a dog whistle.

“I take it you don’t like him much,” I said, taking bottles of oil out of my case. I buy them in bulk from a Chinese emporium. “Is he harmless?”

“As harmless as you,” she said, getting on my massage table, tossing her towel on the rug. Her hair was a light blonde and she smelled of some expensive perfume. She wore lipstick, too, a deep red, so red, you’d think she’d just eaten a big animal. Maybe she had, for all I know.

Warming my hands, I set to work, her groaning, the table groaning, my thumbs going through the flab to a still surprisingly muscular back.

“Christ,” she said. “Have you ever thought of thumb wrestling?”

“It’s the only way.”

“Well, you’re killing me, as usual.”

“When are you getting your back fixed?”

“I’ve already seen a specialist. He says I’ll have enough pins to set off an airport once it’s done…”

“Oh, whisper sweet nothings in my ear, why don’t you?” she said. “I’ve already seen a specialist. He says I’ll have enough pins to set off an airport once it’s done. It’ll happen soon enough. I have to get my partnership first.”

“All I can do is relieve the tension.”

“That’s all I need for the moment.”

“Believe it or not, I’ve seen a lot of this.”

“And here’s me thinking all you do is give women their jollies.”

“Why would you think that?”

She rolled over at that point.

“Don’t tell me nobody’s ever asked.”

“What of it?”

“And you say?”

“Nothing doing.”

“Here you are in women’s apartments, good looking, great hands, and you don’t see a golden opportunity.”

“Well, aren’t you Mr. By-The-Book,” she laughed, lying on her stomach again, reaching for her wine glass. “Here you are in women’s apartments, good looking, great hands, and you don’t see a golden opportunity.”

“Depends what you mean by a golden opportunity.’”

“What do you think I’d pay you for sex?” she asked.

“No idea.”

“Guess.”

“Why don’t you just tell me.”

I’m working on her legs, the broad calves, still hard, a certain amount of cellulite on the thighs, a web of varicose veins behind the knees.

“How would a thousand dollars sound?” she said.

“Is this based on some sort of going rate?”

“You think I’ve looked up comparables?”

“I have no idea.”

“I’m just saying — damn — that really hurts.”

“You wear high heels too much.”

“I’m also very good, by the way.”

“Very good at what?”

“You’re being obtuse.”

“I’m being professional. Maybe you should lay off the wine.”

“How many times have I been here. Four? Five? Suddenly you want to pay me for sex? If it isn’t the wine, what is it?”

“Oh, brother, how corny can you get. You think I’m drunk?”

“How many times have I been here. Four? Five? Suddenly you want to pay me for sex? If it isn’t the wine, what is it?”

“Loneliness, dummy. Sex cures all. You interested or not?”

“I think I’ll stick to being professional,” I said.

“Oh, ho,” she laughed again. She turned and sat up, breasts hanging, nipples erect. “Professional, huh? Well, what if I, say, don’t take rejection very well. Or, say, I’m used to getting my own way?”

“Still not interested.”

“Well,” she said, taking another sip of wine, let’s look at a scenario, shall we? On your way to the elevator, I say to Arnee — in my best dog whistle voice — ‘Arnee, please escort this gentleman out, will you? He’s been rather naughty.”

“You’d really do that?”

“What do you think?”

She fluttered her eyelashes. It looked phoney as hell.

“I know you’re doing this off the clock, darling,” she said. “Not exactly what the licensing board wants to hear, is it? Not to mention being naughty. Kind of a double whammy, wouldn’t you say?”

“Session’s over,” I said. “Get off my table.”

“Suit yourself.”

She got up and went over to the intercom.

She pushed her hair back, the fat under her arms, cresting the towel.

Arnee, darling,” she said. “Can you come up and escort my masseuse downstairs?” She pushed her hair back, the fat under her arms, cresting the towel. Arnie was asking if there was anything wrong. Didn’t the sessions usually last an hour? She put her forehead against the intercom.

“Aren’t we the little detective tonight,” she said to him.

Taking her hand off the intercom button, she then went to the bedroom, returning in a silk dressing gown. “How was that?” she asked.

I was packing up the table, putting the bottles of oil back in my case.

“You’re bluffing,” I said.

“Are you sure?”

“Where’s the struggle?”

“Surely a criminal lawyer like myself understands the futility of resistance, wouldn’t you say? Stay calm, don’t excite the prick?”

“You’ve got one active imagination.”

She took her wine glass out to the kitchen and refilled it.

“Drink before you go?” she asked.

“No.”

“Let’s see how a big girl does it, shall we? Can I summon up the same rage and indignation as those girls squeezing into a size two? I think I can, don’t you?”

“Well, all right then,” she said, walking over to the door. “Why don’t we see how a big girl does it, shall we? Can I summon up the same rage and indignation as those girls squeezing into a size two? I think I can, don’t you?”

“You sure you want the publicity?”

“Are you kidding?” she grinned again. “Hell, I’ll get my partnership on sympathy alone. Not to mention all the women coming to me because I know what they’ve been through. And I do, darling. I’ve been touched by unwanted hands. Who’s to say I haven’t? You? Mr. Under-the-Table?”

She opened the door just as the elevator bell rung.

“Last chance, darling,” she said to me.

“Did you ever have a conscience?”

“Absolutely. Until I gained fifty pounds.”

“Miss Chambers?”

Arnie was standing there at the elevator.

“Yes, Arnee,” she said. “Escort this gentleman downstairs.”

“Cops?” she said, innocently. “I have headache, that’s all.”

“Should I make a phone call?” he asked her.

“For what?”she asked.

“I thought maybe you wanted the cops.”

“Cops?” she said, innocently. “I have headache, that’s all.”

“Are you sure?”

“Of course I’m sure.”

“Suit yourself,” he shrugged, motioning me to get on the elevator.

“Till next week,” she said to me. “Be available.”

I got on the elevator next to Arnie. As the doors were closing, Mandy turned, swinging her hips, smiling back at us. Arnie looked like he’d never seen a woman in a silk dressing gown before. A big woman, anyway.

“She had me going there on the phone before,” he said to me.

“Me, too.”

“Can I ask you something? Does it ever get, you know, physical?”

“Yeah, I know but, like, she’s just lying there, right? I’m mean, she’s big and all, but, still. Never tempted?”

“I’m a massage therapist, Arnie.”

“Yeah, I know but, like, she’s just lying there, right? I’m mean, she’s big and all, but, still. Never tempted?”

“I wouldn’t have a job very long if I was.”

“No, right, of course,” he said. “It just seems odd, though.”

“In what way?”

“Her being on the table naked and all. I don’t think I could do it. I guess that’s why you’re the masseuse.”

“We don’t call it that. Besides, it’s masseur, not masseuse.”

“Okay, masseur.”

We reached the ground floor and the elevator door opened.

“This won’t get back to Ms.Chambers will it?” Arnie asked.

“What won’t?”

“Me asking you this stuff,” he said. “I wasn’t trying to be dirty.”

“No problem, Arnie. I probably won’t be back.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t know”

“Okay,” he said, opening the front door. “We’ll see you if we see you.”

Not that she wouldn’t go back hating herself again. Big women always do. Even when they’ve won, they hate themselves later.

I went out, put my stuff in the trunk, then looked up. She was there on the penthouse balcony, smoking a cigarette, hair blowing. It was too high up to tell if she was smiling. I suspect she was. Big women who win always smile. Everything’s a personal triumph. If she’d heard my conversation with Arnie, she’d probably smile even more. Not that she wouldn’t go back hating herself again. Big women always do. Even when they’ve won, they hate themselves later. Then they need to win again.“Be available,”I kept hearing her say. I would be, wouldn’t I? She’d make sure of it. I drove off thinking about that.

Robert Cormack is a satirist, novelist, and blogger. His first novel “You Can Lead a Horse to Water (But You Can’t Make It Scuba Dive)” is available online and at most major bookstores. Check out Simon and Schuster for more details. Other stories and articles by Robert Cormack can be found at robertcormack.net

 

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