“Did you catch the game on the weekend?” Billy asked.
A man shuffled into the chamber through the glass. He was tall and rangy, boxers one size too small struggling to contain his cock. Archie didn’t pay much attention to him as he pressed the button in front of him. A roaring pillar of light filled the chamber. The boxers fluttered to the floor, empty. “No, I had to fill in for Janice. Her kid caught a cold.” Archie replied. “I heard the Socks won.”
Billy nodded. A man had entered his chamber. He hit the button. The light bathed his face. “Yeah, it was a good one. Real close.”
Archie turned to face Billy, and felt the heat of the beam on the side of his face. He had a perpetual tan, his skin always warm gold, he went through a shit-ton of moisturiser, though. “That's good, they’ve been pretty one-sided lately.”
“Mmm.” Billy made a sound of agreement. “What are you up to this weekend?”
Archie shrugged, and ran his eyes over the man who had just stepped into the chamber. Older guy, muscles that had once been hard but had gained a little fat, but were still impressive. “Hitting the gym, that’s about it.” When the door closed, he hit the button with an automatic movement. “I thought about going to the club, trying to find a guy, but don’t know if I can be bothered.”
“Well, if you don’t do that, Daisy is doing her rib marinade and we’re gonna have a barbeque at mine on Sunday. You’re invited.”
“Her marinade is great.”
“She won’t tell me the secret. Claims it's grandma made her promise never to share.”
“Bullshit.” Archie pressed the button again. The light consumed a guy he never even looked at. “It's probably a packet mix and she doesn’t want anyone to know.”
“I dunno. Never had a shop sauce like it.”
Archie grunted, then turned back to the window. He didn’t need Sharon writing him up for inattention again, and docking his pay. “I’ll see if I can make it.” A dark-skinned man with a bit of paunch, but thighs as thick as tree trunks, was waiting for him with an impatient glare. Archie hit the button. The light roared up, and the man’s jockstrap landed on the floor.
It was silent for a while, except for the thwomp as the light rose up every minute or so. Then Billy spoke up again. “You ever wonder why these guys come in?”
Archie shrugged, which was probably his favourite answer to most questions. When Billy looked at him like he wanted more of an answer than that, he said. “Probably just bored. I know how they feel.”
“Yeah, I walked past the new center, down on Rosa St, last week and I was this close to just joining the queue.”
“You should’ve told me you were feeling so down.”
“Nah, it ain’t that.” Archie watched a guy with dark, curly hair all over his body go up in light, and tried to work out how to explain it. “I’m not down, just get the feeling I’ve reached my time. I’ve fucked guys and girls, got the apartment I wanted, done some kinky shit in the bedroom, tried a few hobbies. I only got the job to pass the time.”
“Yeah.” Billy nodded. “S’pose so, no real need for jobs anymore.” Thwomp sounded as Billy pressed his button.
“They only have these buttons to make us feel useful.” Archie laughed. “They could make it all automatic and shit.” He shrugged. “I appreciate the gesture though.”
“Well, you better come to that barbeque if it's gonna be your last one.”
“Yeah, alright.” Archie shrugged. A handsome man with dark gold skin stepped into the booth. Archie pressed the button, watched him disappear with a burst of light. His briefs landed on the floor. Archie imagined it was his own worn, grey boxers. His cock gave a little jump. “Yeah, I think I will. Then I’ll go home by that place on Rosa St.”