Page 142

Somebody wearing a black ski mask is sitting in a swivel chair next to the examination table, screaming at the mannequin in what sounds like Japanese.

Bruce sits nearby, staring intently at a metal box, his hands poised over the two levers that protrude from either side.

Bentley Harrolds camcords the proceedings-the camera aimed solely at the mannequin.

I'm smiling, confused, weirded out at how focused Bentley seems and shocked at how gruesome and inauthentic the waxwork looks.

The figure in the black ski mask keeps shouting in Japanese, then signals to Bruce.

Bruce nods grimly and moves his hand to a lever, pressing it, causing lights to flicker, and in a flash my eyes move from the wires connected to the box over to where they have actually been inserted into gashes and cuts on what I'm just realizing are the mannequin's ni**les, fingers, testicles, ears.

The mannequin springs grotesquely to life in the freezing room, screeching, arching its body up, again and again, lifting itself off the examination table, tendons in its neck straining, and purple foam starts pouring out of its anus, which also has a wire, larger, thicker, inserted into it. Bunched around the wheels on the table legs are white towels spotted heavily with blood, some of it black. What looks like an intestine is slowly emerging, of its own accord, from another, wider slit across the mannequin's belly.

There is, I'm noticing, no camera crew around.

I drop the Evian bottle, startled, causing Bentley to glance over at where I'm standing.

Behind me, Jamie screams, "Get him out of here!"

Sam Ho is making noises I have never heard another person make before, and in between these arias of pain he's screaming, "I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry," and the figure in the swivel chair rolls out of view of the camcorder and takes off the ski mask.

Sweaty and exhausted, Bobby Hughes mutters-I'm not sure to whom-the words "Kill him" and then, to Bentley, "Keep rolling."

Bruce stands and with a small sharp knife swiftly slices off Sam Ho's penis. He dies screaming for his mother, blood shooting out of him like a fountain until there's none left.

Somebody cuts the lights.

I'm trying to leave the room but Bobby blocks my exit and my eyes are closed and I'm chanting "please man please man please man," hyperventilating, breaking out into sobs. Someone who might be Jamie is attempting to hug me.


"Victor," Bobby's saying. "Victor, come on... come on, man, it's cool. Stand up-that's it."

We're in one of the ash-gray bedrooms upstairs. I'm on the floor hugging Bobby's legs, convulsing, unable to stop myself from moaning. Bobby keeps feeding me Xanax and for short stretches of time the shuddering subsides. But then I'm in the bathroom-Bobby waiting patiently outside-vomiting until I'm just gagging up spit, retching. When I'm through I lie there in a fetal position, my face pressed against the tiles, breathing erratically, hoping he'll leave me alone. But then he's kneeling beside me, whispering my name, trying to prop me up, and I keep clutching him, weeping. He places another pill in my mouth and leads me back into the bedroom, where he forces me to sit on the bed while he leans over me. Sometime during all this my shirt came off, and I keep clawing at my chest, grabbing myself so hard that patches of skin are reddened, on the verge of bruising.

"Shhh," he says. "It's okay, Victor, it's okay."

"It's not okay," I blurt out, sobbing. "It's not okay, Bobby."

"No, it is, Victor," Bobby says. "It's cool. You're gonna be cool, okay?"

"Okay," I'm sniffling. "Okay okay man."

"Good, that's good," Bobby says. "Just keep breathing in like that, just relax."

"Okay man, okay man."

"Now listen to me," Bobby says. "There are some things that you need to know." He's handing me a tissue, which I can't help tearing apart the second my fingers touch it.

"I just want to go home," I'm whimpering, shutting my eyes tight. "I just want to go home, man."

"But you can't," Bobby says soothingly. "You can't go home, Victor." Pause. "That isn't going to happen."

"Why not?" I ask, like a child. "Please, man "Because-"

"I swear to God I won't tell anyone, Bobby," I say, finally able to look at him, wiping my eyes with the tattered Kleenex, shuddering "I swear to God I won't say anything."


"No, you won't," Bobby says patiently, his tone changing slightly. "I know that. I already know that, Victor."

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