When Louis entered his room Maria was not there. He got out of his ACS (air conditioned suit) and stood in his underwear ready for a rub down. The moisturizing of skin dried out by ACSs was how brusher sexual relationships tended to form on the Solar Farm. If you wanted to have sex with someone you could invite them to moisturize you and/or offer to moisturize them if they are a brusher. Engineers would often offer to moisturize a brusher, but the brushers felt animosity towards them. The brushers thought that engineers saw brushers as beneath them because brushers walked around outside brushing Sahara Desert sand off solar panels while engineers kept the farm running. This was the third time in a row that Maria had not met Louis after a shift. Louis had given her his room access code, but she had resisted giving him hers.
Louis moisturized his front and lower back and then looked at his upper back in his bathroom mirror. Big flakes had formed where he could not reach. They itched like shit, and when he was in the ACS its arms were too thick to allow him to reach and scratch his back. He had tried moisturizing the bathroom doorframe and rubbing his back against it, but still patches were missed. He could always ask another brusher or an engineer to help him out, many of them would not mind getting at his back. But Maria had not told him that their relationship was over, and he could not confront her when they were out brushing because with everyone in their suits it was impossible to know who was who.
He put on a shirt, pants and shoes and headed to her room. When he pressed her bell the door’s computer told him she was not home, so he stood there rubbing his back against her doorframe while he waited for her. About an hour later she appeared in her underwear glistening with moisturizer, ACS in her arms. When she saw him her eyes widened in what looked to him to be legitimate shock. “Oh shit, Louis, I’m sorry I forgot about you.”
That she had actually forgotten him compounded his offense: “What do you mean you forgot about me? I sent like five messages over the last three days, where the fuck have you been? My back’s flaking up a storm!”
She pressed in her door code with her back to him so he could not see what it was, and let him into her room. She went to her bedroom side table and got out a bottle of moisturizer: “Take your shirt off and I’ll tell you.”
When he pulled it off her eyes widened again: “Damn, too bad we hand in our brushes when we finish a shift.” She sat on her bed and patted her lap, so he sat between her legs.
“Look, I met an engineer and I’ve been seeing him. I was going to tell you but he told me something that put you completely out of my mind.”
Louis would have gotten up outraged but he did not want the moisturizing to stop: “What did he tell you?”
“He’s getting fired, that’s why I’ve been spending his last days with him. Apparently the company that owns this place is bankrupt.”
“Holy shit! Are we losing our jobs?”
“No, people need power, dummy. The government’s taken over. Come over to my sink, I’ll get these flakes off but I don’t want them on my bed.” He took off his pants and shoes and met her in the bathroom. With him sitting on the sink, Maria got her hairbrush and started raking away.
“You haven’t asked why he’s getting fired if the government’s taking over. They’re apparently replacing the engineers with their guys.”
Louis would not have been sad to see them go. But she had piqued his interest: “Why not just keep them on?”
“You heard about how they think Iran’s weaponizing their solar farms, right?”
“Uh yeah. So what, he thinks the government’s weaponizing ours?”
She tried tapping her hairbrush on the sink to dislodge the sticking flakes. Running the remainders under the tap just stuck them down, so she sighed and tossed the brush in her bathroom’s bin. “Why else would they be bringing in government guys? How does a power company go bankrupt anyway? People haven’t gone back to using candlelight. Anyway the engineers aren’t too pissed because get this … they’re still going to get paid their salary indefinitely. They’re getting fucking bribed to stay quiet, Louis. Okay you’re done.”
Louis jumped down and took his underwear off so he could shake the flakes that had clung to them into the sink. “So what are you going to do?”
“I’m going to the media. I’ll pretend I have appendicitis and so they’ll chopper me to a hospital. Then I’ll flee and get out of the country.”
“But you’ll have no proof. Why not stay here until Xmas break and together we’ll get some?”
Maria lifted an eyebrow. “I guess that would be a better plan. But why would you do that, Louis?”
He put his hands on her waist and kissed her. When he had finished he opened his eyes and looked into hers, and Maria peered down at the erect penis nudging her. She grabbed it and led him to her bed where they fucked. When they were done they held each other until Maria was asleep. Louis then got dressed and out of there. Maria was woken by two men in suits and sunglasses storming into the room. One stood at the door while the other went to her dresser and threw some clothes at her. She screamed Louis’ name as they dragged her down the hall. When they went past his room, she saw him standing in his doorway smirking.
“Enjoy Gitmo, you slut!” he spat in her face as they carted her away. She tried to jerk out of the two men’s arms so she could attack him, but their grasp was too strong and one of her arms dislocated in the scuffle. In pain she dropped to the ground, so one man grabbed the dislocated arm while the second guy held the other, and they dragged her along the floor. Louis’ iPhone went off, and when he swiped it Siri told him $500 had been added to his account: nearly double his normal wage.
Born, raised and living in Sydney, Australia, Scott is currently writing a thesis about child molestation in homoerotic horror. He tweets @scottjjlewis.