Means Of Production

Entry by: Freya

8th April 2016
Means of production / Mr Peppers

The man’s agile body glistened with perspiration. Gabriela threw him a side-ways glance, as she buttoned her pink, linen shirt. There was no trace of revulsion in his expression. Unlike she, Mr Peppers, appeared to have drawn some satisfaction from the experience. But how could he? This was against human nature. Had the place where they kept him twisted his instincts?

Annie and Gabriela argued for months which one of the two should do it. But somehow Gabriela sensed from the beginning, this would be she, and not sensitive, neurotic Annie. What she had just been through with the stranger was so disgusting that Annie would spend months in counselling if she had to suffer it. The state wouldn’t fund such an extensive therapy and they simply couldn’t afford it on their teachers’ salaries. In any case, it was an unwritten rule that the stronger of the couple should sacrifice herself. And Gabriela was made of a tougher fibre than her wedded partner.

‘It was interesting. Thank you,’ Mr Peppers said in a husky voice, his breathing still unsettled. He stirred, creasing the bleached sheet, but he didn’t cover himself.

Gabriela stiffened. Should she respond? Dr Hutchins said there was no need to talk or even be friendly, for that matter. Most likely neither she nor Annie would ever encounter him again. And yet, lying in his arms altered something within her. The circumstances were unromantic, of course. There couldn’t be any romance when a female and a male lay together. It was a practical means to an end. But…

‘Yes. Thank you,’ she finally responded. She glanced at his naked body again. It wasn’t as ugly as she was made to believe it would be, his figure slender, his muscles hardened by heavy toil. The hair, abundant on his chest and around his groin, did not repulse her as much as she feared it would. His thing remained stiff. She felt sick, realising he caught her glance.

‘We’d better do it again, to be absolutely certain,’ he said, eying her bare legs and licking his upper lip.

She felt a compulsion to cover herself, but resisted it. The man had seen her naked. Did it matter that he now stared? She swallowed hard when the implication of what he suggested hit her. Again?

‘The doctor didn’t say it was necessary,’ she protested, though her tentative tone betrayed her uncertainty. Perhaps it was, and she didn’t know?

‘Well, I hear in some cases the procedure has to be repeated. It’s up to you, Gabi. It is how your partner calls you, isn't it?’ His tone softened, as he titled his head and looked her in the eyes.

The tiny hairs on Gabriela’s back rose in a split second. How dare he?

‘Mr Peppers, I’d prefer that you called me by my family name. That’s more appropriate in the present situation, I would think. We are not here for anyone’s entertainment. It’s an official, state business, and we should behave like professionals.’

His gaze jumped up from her legs to the curve of her breast pronounced by her tight shirt. As she approached the bed to collect her skirt, she noticed his pupils dilating. What could it mean?

His mouth twitched but then he furrowed his brows.
‘No entertainment. That’s understood. But it seemed we could be on the first name terms given we’ve just been intimate. Anyway, no hard feelings. I just wanted to be helpful. You don’t have many chances, you know. The state pays for just two encounters per woman. I wanted to help you and so I offered an additional opportunity for free. Out of my good heart.’ He made a face as if he was offended.

Gabriela reddened, guilt bolting through her. He did want to help her. It’s only thanks to him that she could fulfill her duty to the state and give Annie the greatest gift there was. What other motives could he have?

She perched on the bed next to him and started unbuttoning the shirt. He watched her fingers attentively, and then extended his hand towards her thigh, the back of his palm brushing her skin. She shuddered, but wasn’t sure why. She wasn’t afraid any more.

‘It doesn’t have to be unpleasant, you know.’ He reached for her nipple but she recoiled.

‘It shouldn’t be pleasant, either. It should be bearable. Pleasure is reserved for partners and we are strangers.’

‘I believe it’s more likely to be successful if there is an element of pleasure.’ He shifted closer towards her. She could feel the warmth radiating from his body towards hers. She noticed his lips were plump and sensual, almost like a woman’s.

As she opened her mouth to disagree, his hands cupped her face and she felt his lips on hers. He tasted of cinnamon. Why not? She thought. Perhaps he knew better. He might have done it before. Perhaps his performance improved when he enjoyed it. But would it further improve their chances if she liked it as well? Could she overcome disgust at something as unnatural as this? Females only engaged in physical love with other females. Males served only one purpose. Nobody said there was anything even remotely pleasurable about interacting with them.

Well, she could always pretend he was Annie. She shut her eyes, intending to let her imagination flow. He didn’t feel like Annie, though, his skin rough, his touch more decisive, his scent omnipresent on her body as if he was marking his territory. She decided she would put her mind into it and try to enjoy the experience. After all, this was for the benefit of the state and for the happiness of her and Annie.

She opened her senses to him as Mr Peppers’s caresses became more impatient. Gabriela’s breathing quickened as their bodies worked together in the singular dance. She shut her eyes tighter, thinking of Annie. But as he entered her, Gabriela knew Mr Peppers was certainly not Annie. He was unlike any female partner she’d ever had.

‘Ladies first,’ Mr Peppers said as he pushed the door to let her pass. ‘It was a pleasure to meet you, Gabi,’ he whispered.

She blushed but responded in a low tone: ‘Likewise, Johnny.’

He chuckled, and she coloured again, irritated with herself for what she’d just said. Was she flirting with him now? What was wrong with her? This was unnatural and forbidden by law.

‘At last! Darling, how are you holding up?’ Annie leapt from her plastic seat facing the room, and ran towards Gabriela, her freckled little face clouded with concern. ‘It’s taken a while, hasn’t it? Poor thing. You must be exhausted.’ Annie embraced her tightly. ‘It is over now. We can go home and forget it.’ Her tone was soothing as if she was comforting a child who just got her flu jab. Annie then tilted her head and glanced at Mr Peppers. She pursed her lips with distaste.

‘Thank you,’ she said after clearing her throat, and arched her head back towards Gabriela, obviously not caring whether he heard her or not.

Gabriela felt this overt lack of respect as a kick in her stomach.

‘Thank you, Mr Peppers,’ she said with warmth, but not meeting his eyes. ‘Have a safe journey home.’

‘There is no other way but safe.’ He grinned, pointing with his head towards the prison guard. A stout, seriously looking, middle-aged woman strode towards him, hand coughs chiming in her hand. ‘Enjoy the baby, ladies.’ He stepped away, offering his wrists to the guard.

Gabriela then found the courage to look up. Mr Peppers caressed her breast and her hip with his gaze. He then stared at her for the final time and winked. Gabriela’s mouth curled but she managed to control herself before Annie spotted the exchange.

‘Darling, I’m so pleased it’s over.’ Annie squeezed her hand, pushing her further down the well-lit corridor, aiming for the exit.

‘How are you feeling?’ Dr Hutchins waited for the couple at the reception. She approached them and patted Gabriela’s shoulder, her face full of compassion. ‘Would you like to see the counsellor? Remember we offer one hour for free as part of the procedure.’

‘No. I’ll be fine. Thank you, doctor.’

‘I know how hard it must be for you, Gabriela. My partner and I had gone through this process not that long ago. Amy, our little one, is now two years old, and cute as a button. And she is worth the sacrifice, believe me. The man will soon be back where all his kind belongs. Locked securely. You will never see him again.’

‘Unless it’s a boy. Then he’ll take him from me.’ She felt disappointed and this puzzled her. She would never have suspected she might regret not keeping the boy, if the child was to be one.

‘Well, let’s be positive and hope it will be a girl,’ Dr Hutchins smiled encouragingly, showing perfectly even pearl-like teeth. ‘There is a big chance it will, you know.’

‘A fifty percent chance,’ Gabriela murmured under her breath. This didn’t feel like a huge chance to her.

‘If it’s a boy we wouldn’t want to keep him anyway, darling. He may as well serve the state as a reproductor. That’s better than death.’ Annie pushed her glasses deeper onto her nose.

Gabriela winced, only now realising that the limited choices the boys had in the society never bothered her before. Why suddenly now? Was it because of Johnny? Mr Peppers, she corrected herself immediately. Even in her thoughts she shouldn’t allow herself to call him again by that familiar name.

‘Let’s go home, darling.’ Annie extended her hand to Dr Hutchins. ‘I can see Gabi has been affected by the experience more than she cares to admit.’

Gabriela nodded her goodbye and let herself be led to the car.

‘Darling, I know you have gone through a lot for us. I do love you for it. But remember means of production don’t matter. What matters is that we will have our little girl.’

Somehow this argument rang hollow to Gabriela. To her, means of production began to matter.