THE VOLUNTEER • by Lucian J. Janik

“I want to thank you for volunteering for my experiment,” Lydia said as she led Martin into a small office.

Martin surveyed the windowless room quickly. It had an examination table and a steel cart with a computer and LCD monitor. Attached to the USB port of the computer was small white box with a dozen multicolored wires hanging off it. At the end of the each wire was round sensor similar to an EKG. However, the box had no instrumentation, just a single red light on the front.

Martin’s attention returned to Lydia who was wearing jeans and a v-neck tee shirt. She had long, dark brown hair that was tied in a ponytail and pulled through the back of a Boston Red Sox baseball hat. His eyes travelled from her blue eyes to her full lips to her cleavage. He quickly looked away.

Martin was secretly in love with Lydia. He enjoyed watching her eat soup at the university dining hall, the way she puckered her lips to blow on the spoon to cool off the liquid. He had concluded that she was a master’s degree student, but had no idea what she was studying. Martin considered himself extremely lucky when he saw Lydia tack a notice on the cafeteria bulletin board. When he saw that she was looking for volunteers for an experiment, he was the first to call.

Lydia closed the door. “I cannot explain the nature of the experiment because I do not want to bias the results.”

Martin shrugged. He breathed in Lydia’s perfume.

“I need you remove your socks, shoes, and shirt.”

Martin felt himself blush. He removed his sneakers and white socks then paused. He was embarrassed to expose his bony, hairless chest to Lydia. Surely this woman had dated athletes with broad shoulders, massive chests and six-pack abs. However, as he peeled off his polo shirt, he could not help but feel a little thrill to undress in front of a woman.

“Go ahead and lie on the table,” Lydia directed.

Martin complied and Lydia began attaching sensors to his temples. When her slender hands touched his chest, his nipples hardened. He glanced at Lydia to see if she noticed.

Lydia smiled. “I know. It’s a little cold in here.”

Martin wanted to respond, wanted to say something witty, but words escaped him. He smiled back.

Lydia finished wiring his ankles and then began typing on the computer. The solitary light on the white box turned from red to green. She abruptly turned off the lights and left the room.

“Close your eyes and relax,” Lydia’s voice announced through an intercom.

Was that it, Martin thought. Was this a cardiovascular experiment? A relaxation experiment? A behavior experiment?

Martin was not sure what to do. After five minutes his mind began to drift. He remembered feeling Lydia’s warm hand on his chest. He imagined her running her hands down his torso. He felt his heart beat faster as his fantasy grew. Lydia removed her hat and ponytail, letting her hair fall upon his naked chest. She moved on top of him, pressing her flesh against his. She placed her lips on his mouth, pressing her tongue against his teeth.

Martin was startled out of the daydream when the intercom crackled to life again. Lydia’s voice was cold.

“Not in a million years, Martin.”

Lucian J. Janik is an American writer living on the northwest shore of Lake Ontario.

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Every Day Fiction