After working as Doormat at a fetish restaurant for a while, I got tired of feeling the boot. The job wasn’t difficult; it was just psychically draining. I would lie beside the podium while the Hostess-Mistress stood on me and greeted the guests.
“Good evening, milquetoast,” she would say to every man who walked in. She would twist a man’s ear as she ground her heels into my back. “Do you want milk with your biscuits, or do you want a real drink?”
The restaurant had a full menu of ginger smacks, wet noodles and pound cakes.
My job was not to complain.
If I was lucky, the Hostess-Mistress would cross the room to her cross and crucify the guest. That would be a relief. I wouldn’t have to hide in my shell. I would turn like a turtle flipping from plastron to carapace and wait for the Hostess-Mistress to return from the nailing. And she would stand on me again, and once more I would feel the boot. But at least it would be on my front instead of my rear. And this time I would be wearing my boot-proof vest. If I got stabbed by her heel, I would not die.
Eventually, I got tired of receiving the boot. I needed a promotion. I needed to advance from Doormat to Door Mistress. I needed to stand on someone while I greeted guests. I needed to find someone to be my Doormat, someone named Matthew, or Matt.
Happily, my colleague Sir Matt was able to switch. When he wasn’t in his chaps and spurs, when he wasn’t beating people with loaves of sourdough, he put on the boot-proof vest and became my step stool.
I dressed accordingly for my moment as Door Mistress. I prepared my accessories: stockings, garter, garter snake (for later), necklace, polish for my fingernails, a hammer for my iron nails (the pounding would come later), earrings, hair piece (but no herpes), makeup, eyelashes, leather lashes, wristwatch, wrist bracelet, locking wrist bracelets, Underalls (but no overalls). Then, the real votive offering: the boots (for giving a good booting).
Before I put on the boots, I warmed them up. Hence, the heel-in-the-mouth routine. Tonguing the heel was no problem, but I had to avoid hitting my tonsils with the heel cap: the cap against the epiglottis would be uncomfortable. I moved my lips from the heel to the toe, from the toe to the vamp, from the vamp to the piping. By the time I got to the piping, I was smoking. I was ready to do some vamping, I was ready to show off for the guests’ cameras. I wasn’t embarrassed, not in the least. I was ready to explore the counter foxing, the pull strap and the shaft! I owned those boots!
My shift with Matt went smoothly. Balancing on his back, I greeted guests politely. I asked each guest if he (there were few she’s) was ready for the “appetizer,” the “main course” or “dessert.” I stayed at my post all evening, as did Matt. He just lay there, unmoving. He might have been sleeping. He didn’t complain.
When I got home, I didn’t take off the boots. I rested my feet on an upholstered, inanimate footstool and kicked back with a book, a softcover about one sex maniac or other.
Thaddeus Rutkowski is the author of the books Violent Outbursts, Haywire, Tetched and Roughhouse. Haywire won the Members’ Choice Award, given by the Asian American Writers Workshop in New York. Tetched is now a short film. He teaches at Medgar Evers College and the Writer’s Voice of the West Side YMCA in New York. He received a fiction fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts.