Vol. 2, Issue #1 Feb. 2nd - Feb. 15th, 2007

I, Object (part 1 of 3)
By: Gregory Stapp
Illustrated By: K. C. Green

I’ll tell you what, the person on the other end of that 1-800 number asked me questions they ought not ask a boy from Oklahoma, especially when the ad read that “only serious rednecks need to call.” When Ernst and I talked about it, we decided what those people asked was best left unsaid, so I’m not going to reprint here what was said to me or to him. Let’s just say it was designed real good to scare off those of certain persuasions and to interest those who could really take it serious. After about a month, only me and five other guys from other places around the country got calls to be included in the next phase. It was a weeding process, they explained, and the job would be open to the one who made it through the weeding process. I guess they were looking for some kind of rare flower out in a briar patch.

Anyway, when I told the guys I’d been called to the next phase, they all raised their eyebrows. “You want to go to the next phase?”

“Yeah,” I said. “Sounds like it could be interesting.”

“Sounds like it could be fuckin’ weird, is what it sounds like to me.”

I shrugged and they all shrugged, knowing it was always a good idea to let me go about my business without too much hassle. The truth that I couldn’t tell them was that I was damn tired of being a rancher, a cowhand, a redneck, and a cowboy. I needed a change of pace and a change of scenery. This kind of thinking usually got me into trouble, but I was ready for troubles too – anything to shake it up a little. None of us would have guessed then that my trouble would amount to being bound up inside a toilet all day.

So, I went to the next phase which was about as mysterious as the first, only I had to sign a contract that they mailed to me before they’d let me go anywhere. The first order of business in that agreement was that I was to fly out to Chicago without telling anyone where I was going or why I was going or anything else. I had to go to an interview in Chicago and be fully prepared to stay there for up to three days. And when I got back, I still couldn’t tell anyone what I’d been up to. I mean, they had the whole itinerary mapped out for me, what flight I’d be taking, what my chauffeur’s name was, how I was going to stand on the street in the warehouse district of Chicago and not talk to anyone, not even the other applicants who might or might not be standing out there. It was seriously detailed. And I kind of assumed that they wanted it followed to the letter, so I did everything they stipulated in the contract and nothing they didn’t.

I guess I did my part right. But two of the six of us were taken away as soon as they opened their mouths standing there on the street corner. The rest of us didn’t even try to talk to each other. I think we were beginning to believe that we’d been selected for some weird reality show and winning depended first on following the rules of the contract. Anyway, we all waited out there on the curb for quite a long time until a nice looking lady walked up to one of the guys and said, “You can talk to me.” He wasn’t so sure, so he just looked at her. “No, really,” she said. “You can speak with me. I wrote the contract you signed.” He still wasn’t so sure, so she just grabbed his hand and led him into the office building across the street. The rest of us just eyed each other and went back to staring at the ground and shuffling our feet.

Eventually we were all brought in and interviewed. Well, I know I was anyway. I never saw those guys again so I can’t say for sure what happened to them.

Now, the interview is where it all goes from some sort of a version of a reality TV show to something they’d probably never put on TV, even these days when just about anything goes. This was a fantasy, of a sort, that I was yet to be familiar with.

She led me by the hand into the office building. That was the beginning of strange right there, to be walking into an office building hand in hand with a beautiful woman that I’d never spoken to before. She led me through a maze of stairs and hallways to a small windowed office on the third floor.

She told me to take a seat and that she’d be right with me. I told her, “Thank you,” and she stopped in the doorway.

“The first one to speak,” she said. “Interesting.” And she left the office.

When she came back in, she was wearing nothing but her bra and panties. They were real fancy bra and panties, all done up with flowers and lace and everything. I watched her from the door to her chair across from me, watched her sit just as professional as a woman fully clothed, and cross her legs, adjust her glasses and stare at me through them. I sat on a short leather love seat and she sat on a standard office chair and the whole thing was beginning to make me uncomfortable. She sat there staring at me while I listened to the minutes tick off of the clock. She peered into my eyes and made no effort to lose eye contact with me when I stared back, which made it hard because I was definitely tempted to look over her body and study the artfulness of its curves. I didn’t know if this was some kind of test, so I just met her stare until she spoke. Reminded me of a dream I’d had once where I ended up falling into the eyes of a woman sitting across the room from me. I fell into her and I became her. Followed her home in her mind even, thinking the thoughts she was thinking. This was beginning to feel like that, so I said, “I’m dangerously close to falling into your eyes,” just to break the silence and stir things up, keep me from falling in.

She blinked a couple of times and spoke. “I’m interested in using you as a medium in a work of art.” She paused in a planned way. “How do you feel about art?”

I cleared my throat and sat up straight. “Well shucks, ma’am, I’m a large, not a medium,” I said grinning real big. She didn’t even blink. I cleared my throat. “Well, art has always interested me, but I can’t say that I understand it much. I mean, I’ve been told that it’s all about the idea these days, rather than the image. In that way, I guess I don’t understand enough of the ideas to get much when I go to the museum.” That doesn’t sound like a good answer, I know, but I really was trying to show off, at least give her the impression that I had thought about it some in the past. Of course, I didn’t know we were going to be talking about art, so I was off guard and hadn’t prepared for anything about that. While I talked, I couldn’t tell from her face if she was impressed or not. She looked like she was listening pretty close, but she didn’t write anything down.

“Do you have any issue with nudity, moral or otherwise?”

“I have no issues with moral nudity or any other kind,” I grinned.

She skipped the humor. “Do you feel that there is anything wrong with people who choose to be nude, or have any personal hesitations or dilemmas with being nude?”

I made an effort to show how much I was thinking about this question. I wanted her to take me serious. “Have you ever read that poem, The Naked and the Nude?” She shook her head. “Well, I’m just fine with nudity, my own and other people’s, but I wouldn’t want to be naked outside of my own bedroom.”

She chewed on that response for a few minutes. “Are you being real with me, or are you just making all that up?”

I tipped my hat to her, and gave her my best aw-shucks grin. “Well, ma’am us rednecks was taught to answer all questions honestly, so I’m giving you my God’s honest answers.”

This too was meant to make her laugh, the way I really yucked it up like a hick for her, but she just looked at me real steady and said, “Shall we take our clothes off?”

“Hell yes,” I said, quicker than I meant to. “I thought you’d never ask.” We proceeded to strip down to nothing, and stood there facing each other when we finished. Two people who have spent less than ten minutes together their whole lives, standing nude in an office in the middle of Chicago. I was little surprised, I have to admit, but this was fun too, not like anything I had done before , so I was open to just about anything else she might suggest.

“You’re not married are you?”

“No, ma’am.”

“Please stop calling me that.”

I shrugged. “I don’t know you’re name yet.” I reached out my hand to her. “I’m Wade. Wade Cole.”

She shook my hand with a taut grip. “Call me Twiggy.”

“I’m not married Twiggy.”

“Good.” She took back her hand, and we were returned to our relative strangers status. “Does this make you nervous?”

I shrugged. “Not so much. Less than I would have thought.”

She turned and walked across the room, over to a desk that was pushed up against the wall. I couldn’t pass up a chance to look her over while she bent over to consult a piece of paper on the desk – the interview questions, I guessed. I’d forgotten this was supposed to be some kind of interview.

“Will you be available for work out of your state for up to a year?”

I had a lot of things going on, and I had no idea what kind of work she meant or what the pay was. “I could be. It depends on the pay.”

Still bent over the desk, without looking up she said, “Perfect.” She pointed to a few things on her paper, perhaps going through what she’d already asked. I just kept staring at her body. I couldn’t help it, and she didn’t seem to notice or care. “How tall are you?”

“Six foot three.”


I tried looking at something else in the room. “Can you tell me what this job is all about? I’m not much used to being asked so many questions without knowing what I’m getting myself into.”

“I’m afraid I can’t yet. I have explained that you would be used as a medium in a work of art, and that you will receive a reward for being used in such a way.”

“Right. Okay. So, it’ll be here in Chicago?”


“Will you be directly involved? I mean, you’re the artist, right?”

Straightening herself again, she moved toward me from the desk, nodding. “Yes. I’m the artist.” I was about to ask another question, but she reached up and put her finger to my lips. “Shhhhh. Listen. If this interview has not disturbed you too much or scared you away, then I think you may be the one we’ll hire. No more questions from you right now, though.”

“All right.”

We just stood there, again, staring at each other for a while. Staring into her eyes, which we’re a deep brown like the woods after a storm, I felt as giddy as a kid on his first date. She moved closer to me. She moved into my personal space and watched me for reactions, but I held my ground. She moved closer still, until her nipples were brushing against my chest, and her lips but a breath away from my neck.

“You’re getting excited,” she said.

“How could I not?”

She smiled and pushed me away. “One last question. How do you feel about bodily waste?”

She sent me home after that, and I arrived back to a great number of calls and questions concerning my trip though they all knew that I couldn’t answer any of them. All that I could tell them was that it had been an interesting trip, and that I was waiting on a call, before I could tell them more.

The next few weeks had me busy cleaning house, getting things ready and taking care of business. She had actually called me on the plane, and had instructed me further on what to do, including telling my friends and family that I was waiting on a call. So, I knew when I hit the ground that I was going to have to put most of my stuff in storage and lease out my ranch for the next year, putting my dad in charge of it.

Excitement and a wild boyish energy charged my every move for the next month, and when I finally made it to the airport, my excitement rubbed off on everyone around me who was there to see me off.

I, Object (part 2 of 3)
I, Object (part 3 of 3)

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