February 20, 2013

Porn On Highway 81

Report This Article
What is the issue?
Shutterstock
Shutterstock

Behind the counter at Cloud Nine Adult Books on Highway Eighty-One, somewhere in Virginia, you’ll find the Butterfly Kiss, the waterproof Pink Rabbit, a hole in the inventory where the Cream Pie Pocket Pussy is supposed to be, a tobacco stained collage of Catholic prayer cards, a clock that stopped before it started and Amelia Jean.

Amelia Jean’s duties include: ringing up sales and restocking shelves, answering phones and accepting deliveries, greeting customers and directing them to the peep show booths, keeping an eye out for shoplifters and sitting behind the counter in a halter top (she’s allowed to wear a sweater on cold days as long as she keeps the buttons undone and her nipples hard).

Amelia Jean is not a key holder. So, every morning she arrives to work to meet Gus, the owner’s nephew, who looks her up and down slowly before spitting into his cup and removing a rusty chain with a key at the end from the pocket of his overalls. The days when he is quiet are the good days. The days when she has no marks that show are the good days. The days that Gus looks too curious and gets too close and lets the deluge from his chewing tobacco slowly succumb to gravity in one long torturous stream while looking her square in the eye, those are the very bad days.

Either way the door is unlocked, the lights are turned on, and a Google search of “porn on 81” leads the mildly lascivious and terminally shy into Amelia Jean’s orbit.

Amelia Jean never sees the peep show girls. After opening the store Gus drives his old black van away and returns with the noise of young girls and not-so-young girls being ushered into the back door. Amelia Jean always stops what she’s doing to observe the rhythm of the key opening the padlock, the padlock twisting open, the chain being lifted and the door being open, the door being closed and the chain being dropped, the padlock being twisted and locked. When she hears the sound of Gus slapping the door as if it were a horse being motivated forward she returns to the minimal tasks required of her to begin the day and busies herself until Gus drives away.

Cloud Nine is on a stretch of highway where God tests the piety and the patience of idle Americans. A mile or so down the road, an awkward merging of one lane into the other causes traffic to slow, often to a dead stop, right in front of the store. When there has been an accident, and the gridlock lasts for an hour or so, the drivers of the sixteen wheelers cut their engines, abandon their vehicles and walk up the hill to Cloud Nine.

It costs five dollars for three minutes of time in one of the peep show booths. The girls are instructed to near climax towards the end of minute three so the customer more often than not neglects to stop the timer and is required to pay for an additional three minutes. If anyone complains about the process they are given a five-dollar coupon to a Cracker Barrel that closed two years ago and asked to leave.

Gus’s security cameras cover all angles of the store and connect to a remote viewing station in his home. When the phone rings it is usually Gus telling Amelia Jean to put on lipstick or empty the ashtray. Twice a month Gus gives Amelia Jean three hundred dollars peeled reluctantly from a wad of twenty-dollar bills he keeps in the breast pocket of his overalls. On a good day, when this transaction is complete, he peels of an additional twenty-dollar bill, stuffs it into the waistband of her cut-offs and says, “Something to think about.”

Amelia Jean never sees the peep show girls. When the day is done Gus arrives to usher her out and return the babes in boxes to their point of origin. She never knows from where they come or to where they go. But so far, from the gridlock on Highway Eighty-One, nothing has been reported. TC Mark

Ann Bettison Enzminger

Wayward Media Artist, songstress, Texas expat and shutterbug Ann Bettison Enzminger abandoned all of her meaningful …

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 69,029 other followers