Sunday, 2 September 2012

Chapter 4

Susan kept a supply of magazines in her waiting room, often donated by patients. At the end of one afternoon surgery she noticed a copy of a popular home improvement periodical and she began to thumb through it. At about half way she stopped suddenly at a page with an advertisement for the Sheds and Sectional Buildings exhibition in London. Her heart skipped a beat and she blushed visibly as she looked intently at photographs of sheds of every conceivable shape and size. Her instinct was to tear the page out but fearing that she might be seen she looked around the waiting room to confirm that she was alone. When the page was securely in her bag she locked up the premises and made her way home.

Once home she began to prepare a meal. With her bag sitting at the end of the kitchen table, she put some water into a pan and put it on the hob to heat up. She kept glancing at the bag as she moved around the kitchen and was about to open a packet of pasta when temptation got the better of her. She grabbed the bag and pulled out the crumpled page and began to flatten it. As she drew her hand back and forth in long rhythmical strokes she began to breathe deeply and beads of warm sweat dropped onto the paper spreading their darkened rings across the photographs of the sheds. With her body arched and her arms straight she could feel the sinews in her forearms tensing and the muscles in the small of her back taught with every thrust back and forth. Within a few minutes it was all over, Susan slumped onto a chair still gazing at the page but by now the kitchen was full of steam as the water in the pan was boiling furiously.

She turned off the hob and finding that her appetite has disappeared she cleared away the food. She once again gazed at the page and realised that what had just passed was nothing less than shed pornography. What had become of her she wondered? A few months previously she had seemed content with a good job and a fulfilled life. Now she was a slave to forces that she could not understand. And that master was compelling her to buy a ticket for the exhibition.

Three days later she was there; at the Sheds and Sectional Buildings exhibition. As she approached the vast hall she could smell the aroma of timber and an exotic cocktail of preservatives and paint as well as the feint aroma of creosote. She paused at the scene in front of her; there were literally hundreds of sheds of every shape and size. Their names excited her; the Suffolk Pent, the Caldy, the Security Cabin, the Bison Workshop, the Dutch Barn, the Clayton Corner and the Mammoth, oh yes the Mammoth it stood proud in the middle of the hall its roof at least twice the height of those around it.

For the next few hours Susan lurched from stand to stand, filling her bag with brochures, this was indeed shed porn heaven and she wanted, demanded her fill. As the afternoon faded into dusk Susan began to feel exhausted and in need of a toilet. She found one and proceeded to divest herself. Soon her tiredness began to overwhelm her and she fell into a deep slumber supported only by the narrow walls of the cubicle.

She awoke with a start and noticed that the toilet was now in darkness except for a dim security light. In a state of panic she ran to the door and as she thrust it open and a dreadful realisation began to dawn on her; that she was locked in, the exhibition was closed for the night. She ran to the entrance shouting at the top of her voice, she rattled the door handles but no one came. She was alone.

She turned around and gazed across the dimly lit hall, the sheds were now just silhouettes except one, the Mammoth, bathed by a shaft of moonlight coming from a skylight directly above it looked magnificent. Slowly Susan made her way towards it, walking along the maze of aisles, momentarily loosing sight of it at the next corner it would reappear. It was as if the Mammoth was luring her towards it and she was helpless to refuse. Finally she turned a corner and there it was, in a large space sufficient for its immensity.

She cast off her shoes and began to gyrate like a whirling Dervish. She spun round and round at the same time circumnavigating the Mammoth like a favoured wife plucked from the harem to entertain the Sultan. She devoured every inch of the Mammoth, marvelling at the Corner Flashing that glinted in the moonlight and through an open window she gazed in wonder at the colossal Apex Plate and the huge rafters securely bolted to it. She could almost feel the weight of the colossal roof supported by rippling Eave Purlins.

Suddenly she came to a stop and fell to her knees. In front of her the gigantic double doors stood, wide open. She gazed into the dark interior of the Mammoth like a novitiate beholding a deity. She rose and walked slowly towards it, up a few steps and then into the Mammoth itself and without looking back she closed the doors behind her.

The moon had set and for several hours the exhibition hall was in near total darkness. Eventually the sun began to rise bathing the Mammoth in a warm glow. Quietly the shed doors opened and Susan emerged, dishevelled with her dress hanging off her shoulders. She walked down the steps in a state of serenity casually picking up her shoes. But this tranquillity was rudely shattered by the exhibition hall doors being opened and by voices shouting to each other.

With this sudden awakening from the trance Susan began to panic and wondered how she could explain her presence. She ran away from the entrance and then noticed an exhibitor’s pass sitting on a desk, snatching it she hurried towards the toilets. She tried to tidy herself as best she could and decided the best policy was to brazen it out. She strode purposefully out of the toilet and was almost immediately confronted by a startled cleaner. “Morning, early start for me” she said in the most professional voice that she could muster. She hurried to the entrance of the hall and was soon out in the street.

What happened during that night is the subject of much speculation as Susan has always been reluctant to talk about it. Suffice to say that that she was never same again.

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