Two hours later, Guy came home. Two of his friends had arrived and were watching TV in his basement den.
“Hey, there you are,” one of them said. “Your sister let us in and told us you’d probably be back soon. Where were you?”
“In Capitol,” Guy said as he hurried down the stairs to meet them on the couch. “You’ll never believe who’s hooking there.”
“You went to the whorehouse?!” his second friend shouted.
“Hey, not so loud, John, you idiot,” Guy said. “My sister’s upstairs.”
Too late: Thea heard them, and she was now eavesdropping.
“OK, so who’s working there?” John asked.
“Remember that girl I had a crush on, the one who used to share an apartment with my sister?” Guy asked. “Petunia LeBar, or Petunia Walker, as she calls herself now. Petunia Streetwalker’s more like it. She’s a whore over there now.”
“No way!” the first friend shouted. “Petunia’s sucking dick over in Capitol?”
“Yeah, Bill, that, and taking it in the pussy and in the ass,” Guy said. “She served me with a smile, the dirty little whore.”
I can’t believe it, Thea thought. I won’t believe it.
“How was she?” Bill asked with a lewd smirk. “I mean…her body…her skills.”
“Oh, better than I’d ever imagined,” Guy said. “Such a nice, tight little body. And can she ever suck dick! I’m actually kind of disappointed, though. I thought she was a better person than to be doing that kind of work.”
I know she’s better than that, Thea thought.
That night, Petunia lay on her cot, weeping, as were a number of other ‘Commodities’ (as the staff of Capitol referred to them) in the bedroom they shared. Even the mind-controlling Creep that had just been put into them to help them sleep, which was just starting to take effect, hadn’t prevented them from expressing themselves on at least some level.
Oh, Guy, she thought as she sobbed, I’m sure you think of me as nothing better than a lowly whore, with that fake grin on my face, tricking you into believing I enjoy my ‘work’. If only you knew that you were seeing, hearing, and feeling a false me; my true self was weeping the whole time, and though you may have been disappointed with me, I was much more disappointed with you. You didn’t know that I was being forced to have sex with you, but were you being forced to have sex with me?
The next morning at breakfast, she sat with the talkative man and the woman who’d kept shushing him again. Normally, everyone was randomly assigned seats at different tables for every meal, to prevent the development of friendships; but by fluke these three were put together again. She couldn’t eat from her bowl; she just sat and frowned. The green Creep put in all of them kept them docile, but it didn’t force her to eat.
In fact, she even found the will to talk with the others, if in that typical, sleepy way. “Have any of you…,” she began, her tired eyes flapping, “ever had to…service a client…who is someone…you know…personally?”
“Yeah,” the woman whispered. “There’s this one…asshole who’s always…hated me…He’s come here…regularly…to fuck me, ever since he learned…I was here…He ass-fucks me…and comes on my face…Spanks my ass…all just to…humiliate me…Bastard.”
“A gay man…fucks and blows me…regularly,” the man said. “But not because…he knew me before…He just likes me…Still, I’m not gay, and I hate…having to…service him.”
“A guy…I used to know…and like…just had me…in all three holes,” Petunia said, tears rolling down her cheeks. “I feel so…trashy.”
“Don’t show…too much feeling, sweetie,” the woman whispered. “I used to…cry like that…Then, when I…tried to escape…with two…other women, I saw her…dying…in front of me…They used those…killer worms…on her…They kill us sometimes…we have to be…careful…They’re watching.”
“I can’t…hold it in…anymore,” Petunia sobbed.
“Try to stop…feeling anything,” the woman whispered. “I’ve gone through…this bullshit…for so long, I don’t…feel anything anymore…I’ve turned off…all my emotions…That way, it doesn’t hurt anymore.”
“I wish…I could do that,” Petunia said, now trying to stop crying.
“So do I,” the man said. Then he whispered, “What’s your name?”
“Petunia.” She picked up a bread roll and bit into it.
“We shouldn’t…be doing this, but I’m Wendy…They’ll hear…They don’t like…for us…to get close.”
“What difference…does it make?” Sam asked.
“They’ll kill us,” Wendy said.
“I know,” Sam said. “The way things are, I’d rather die.”
“Shut up,” Wendy whispered. “I don’t want…you to die.”
“I’ve got to get out…of here,” Petunia said. “I’m going crazy.”
“You’re not alone…in that feeling,” Sam said. “But it’s…so fuckin’ difficult…It’s impossible…They’d never…let us go.”
“That Frank guy…got out,” Wendy whispered. “They announced it.”
“I think…they were lying,” Sam said. “To give us hope.”
“I think…they were lying, too,” Petunia said.
“Why lie?” Wendy asked. “Why give us…false hope?”
“To keep us…from despairing,” he said. “If we lose hope, it’ll affect…our physical health, and we won’t be…desirable…as Commodities anymore.”
“Still, we have…to try to get out,” Petunia said. I can’t…live like this…If only…someone outside…would help us.”
“I’ll try…to get out, or be killed,” he said. “Both options are…OK with me…I’m straight…Sucking dick…isn’t OK with me.”
Suddenly, a voice boomed from the intercom: “Stop the chatter down there. Eat. You’re having your showers in ten minutes.”
Again, they all kept quiet for the rest of their meal.
If only someone outside would help us, Petunia wished again; Guy, I wanted you to help me, not to hump me.