“Where to, buddy?”
“The St. Francis Hotel, please.”
They rolled into town from SFO. The cabbie got off the freeway and coursed the streets of SOMA.
“Look at those degenerates! All those tight pants and leather!”
“Bothered by the gays, buddy?”
“Oh! I just think they are such barbarians! They need to be disciplined! I mean look at them! Have they no sense of decency? They should be disciplined, each and every one of them!”
“I hear you, bud. But you know what? I know a place where they are taken care of.”
“Really? Here? In San Francisco?”
“Yeah, buddy. Right here. Do you want to see?”
“Yes, please! Take me there right away!”
The cab made a sharp jolt and went down darkened streets with few pedestrians.
“This will be wonderful! Maybe I could interview someone and learn their techniques. You see, I run a clinic back home where we try to cure people from the affliction of homosexuality.”
“I see. You a doctor or something?”
“Yes. We help people with their afflictions. Do you think they’ll be able to help me at this clinic you’re taking me to? Is it a clinic?”
“Yeah, in a manner of speaking. They have their own techniques, you understand.”
“But I’m sure they’ll be real happy to show you the ropes.”
They pulled into an alley and the cabbie stopped the motor.
“Here we are, Doc.”
“This looks rather nondescript. Are you sure this is the place?”
“Oh yeah, Doc. This is the place, alright. Let me show you in.”
They went to a solid, black metal door with a large black doorknob. It was locked. The cabbie pressed a doorbell. A few moments later they heard a buzzing sound. The door unlocked. After they went though, the door slammed and clanked behind them. They entered a black space with dull light and hints of red. A blacklight hung over a tall metallic counter.
“There’s no one here?”
“Someone will be here, doc.”
A few more moments pass. The cabbie, in his blue jeans, white t-shirt, and untucked long red shirt stood with his hands in his back pockets, his weight heavy on one foot. The doctor, in his fine three piece suit and matching tie, twitched and fretted while looking around the empty space that betrayed nothing. Even the door they entered appeared to have vanished. Finally, a bald-headed man with a handlebar mustache came to the counter. His dark brown eyes peered at them, but he otherwise appeared unfazed.
“Good evening gentlemen,” he said. “May I help you?”
The doctor looked at the cabbie, who egged him to go to the counter, which he finally did in hesitant steps. The cabbie followed, hands firmly in his back pockets.
After a few more glances at the cabbie, the doctor turned to the bald-headed man behind the counter and spoke.
The bald man said nothing.
“I understand your establishment exercises discipline, uh, that is, it dispenses discipline to those, uh, what I mean to say is.”
“The doc here says he’s upset about the gays,” the cabbie blurted out, “says that they need to be disciplined. Says he runs a clinic back home that does something like that.”
“Well, I may have used the word discipline in a moment of, uh, frustration. But yes, I do run a clinic that helps people better themselves. And this gentleman said that he could show me a place that has its own techniques.”
The bald man’s expression did not change. “So, you think gays need to be disciplined, to become better humans?” he said.
“Well, yes, that’s right. It’s for their own good.”
The cabbie was pulling faces which made the bald man flinch a bit, until he resumed his stoic pose.
“I think we can help you here, doctor,” the bald man said. “Come with me.”
“Oh wonderful! Thank you!”
“I’ll wait for you here, doc.”
The cabbie and the bald man exchanged looks again, and then the bald man disappeared behind a black leather curtain, with the doctor close behind. The cabbie chuckled.
“Come this way, doctor.”
They stopped in front of a black metal gate. The bald man pushed a button and cables behind the gate began to move. Soon a platform appeared and the bald man opened the gate. The doctor walked towards the lift, but the bald man stopped him with a hand firmly on his chest.
“Now doctor, are you sure you want to see our techniques?”
“Yes, I do.”
“Because there are some hard core cases that we deal with on a regular basis and only the most severe techniques can be used to cure them. You have to be prepared for that. Are you, doctor? Are you prepared to bear witness to what you are about to see? Are you ready to see the most depraved humanity imaginable? Can your eyes stand the sight of those lesser than yourself groveling and begging for mercy, screaming for the angels above to save them? We do not shirk from our duties, doctor. We do not pussyfoot or mealy mouth here. We do not use platitudes or soothing words. We punish. We hurt. We instill pain and terror. For the good of all, doctor, it must be so. Raw, naked, sweaty, terror. Are you ready to experience total discipline and total control in its rawest, most brutal form imaginable?”
“Yes! Oh, yes, I am! Take me! Take me!”
“Very well, doctor.” He took his hand off the doctor’s chest and took him on the platform elevator. Then he slammed the gate closed and pushed a button. Slowly the lift descended, its large wheel above their heads creaking as it turned.
“We’re going down an awful long way!” the doctor exclaimed nervously.
But the bald man was unfazed.
Finally, they came to a jerky stop. The bald man looked the doctor in the eye, as emotionless as Mr. Spock, and then he opened the metal door.
“Here we are, doctor.”
They exited the lift. The space was just as dark as reception had been, but with wisps of cool white smoke dispersing what little light existed. Brightening the room more than anything were piecing screams from all directions and the striking of flesh.
“Oh my! Oh, this sounds most severe.”
“I did warn you, doctor. We cannot turn back now. This way.”
He followed the bald man as best he could in the misty darkness. They went through a passageway and into a large cavernous space aglow with spotlights highlighting barrels, planks, crosses, slings, and mattress-less bed frames standing on end. Chains, ropes, and leather straps dripped from on high like unpruned tree limbs. And all of these various stations were populated by tied down, naked men with topless, hooded overlords glowering over them, each bearing their instrument of choice.
“This looks sadistic! Look at them. They’re beating those men without mercy!”
Their moans filled his ears.
“It’s called discipline, doctor. Just like you said. Each of them deserve what they are receiving. Take this person.” They walk to one of the barrels over which a man is strapped facedown and a muscled black man lorded over him. “What did this one do?” the bald man asked.
“He didn’t obey me.” WHACK! “So I need to loosen him up a bit” WHACK! “Until he learns who’s the master.” WHACK! WHACK! WHACK!
“Is this necessary?” the doctor asked.
The master bent over and grabbed the head of the man over the barrel.
“TELL THE VISITOR HOW BAD YOU’VE BEEN!”
“I’ve been really bad, sir. Really bad. I deserve this.”
The master let go of his head and hit him a few more times.
“Is that a shaving strap?”
“Yeah. Nice thick piece of leather, ain’t it? It’s the only way.”
“Would you care to try it out, doctor?” the bald man asked.
“Oh, I don’t know. I’ve never done anything like this.”
“There’s always a first time. Do you mind, sir, letting the doctor try it?”
“Not at all.” The master handed him the strap. “Here you go.”
The doctor looked at it like it came from Mars. He studied it over, looking at one side then the other.
“You hit him with it,” the master said, impatiently. “You hit him on the ass. Haven’t you ever spanked your kids?”
“Well once or twice.”
“Remember,” the bald man said, “the man on the barrel is a homosexual. Unrepentant. He doesn’t deny it. He needs to be disciplined.”
“Yes! Please! Hit me! Hit me!”
“Alright, then. If it will help with the treatment.”
“No, no! Harder!” the master commanded.
“He’s a godless homo,” the bald man whispered in the doctor’s ear. “He barbaric. Just like the rest of them here. Barbarians. He’s a threat to God and country.”
God and country brought a fury in the doctor’s eyes. He reared his arm and hand back and let loose with a loud crack on the man’s ass.
He screamed in anguish.
“YEAH!” the master exclaimed.
“That’s it, doctor,” the bald man said. “Give it to him.”
“You will not ruin my country!”
“You will not blaspheme my God!”
“You will not corrupt my children with your filth!”
“You godless, male-lusting, sweaty, filthy, horny homosexual!”
He gave the man on the barrel a few more licks until exhaustion got the better of him and he passed the strap back to its owner. The man on the barrel whimpered, his ass black and blue. The doctor patted his sweaty brow with his handkerchief.
“Do you think he’s cured yet?”
“It’s hard to say, doctor,” the bald man said. “Some of the cases here are quite stubborn. They require further treatment.”
“It must be tiring work for you all! But do you get results?”
“In time, doctor. In time.”
“Say,” the master said, “you look a little worked up yourself.”
“Well, I am a bit flushed.”
“No, I mean worked up. You know, worked up?” he said, grabbing his own crotch.
“I beg your pardon!”
The bald man took the doctor’s hands away from his crotch.
“Yes, it does look rather ‘tented’ down there,” he said.
“What are you suggesting? I’m a married man!”
“Still, doctor, even still. Tsk, tsk.”
“Seems like you might need a treatment yourself, doc,” the master said.
“You don’t mean to say that I? I mean that . . . that I’m becoming one of them?”
“Exposure can lead to contamination, unless you are strong, doctor,” the bald man said. “And even then, sometimes we ourselves, those of us who provide the treatment, can benefit from a session or two. After all, would you want your wife to know that you’ve allowed yourself to become excited in this way?”
“Oh god, no! No! She would see me as a liability and disown me! No, Christ, no!”
“Don’t sweat it, doc,” the master said. He undid the straps of the man on the barrel. The man slid off and curled into a ball nearby. “Hop on.”
“Really? You’ll give me. . .discipline?”
“On the house, doc. Come on.”
The bald man observed as the master strapped the doctor on the barrel, leaving his clothing on.
“We’ll start real gentle like.”
“Oh!” the doctor exclaimed.
“Did you feel that, doc?”
“I certainly felt something!”
“Let’s try it again.”
“One more time!”
“Oh mercy, mercy!”
“You feeling it yet, doc?”
“I’m not sure. I think so. Better try it again!”
“What’s that, doctor, I can’t hear you!”
“I said, yes! yes! Please try it again!”
WHACK! WHACK! WHACK!
The bald man nodded with satisfaction as a host of masters bearing whips and straps cued up to take turns to help with the doctor’s discipline. Satisfied that his work was done, he took the lift upstairs and went outside to have a smoke. He saw the cabbie also smoking as he leaned against his car. He joined him.
“He still down there?”
“Yeah, he’s getting his ass whipped by everyone down there. Even a few of the slaves are joining in.”
“He he he he he.”
“Where were you supposed to take him?
“The St. Francis.”
“Of a sissy?”
The both started to laugh.