The Maiming by Doug Ordunio

They call it performance art, and Gwen Stevens was one of the best. She had been given a one million dollar grant to participate for one day in different art installations across the country. There was a hired staff of people who would put together the necessary paraphernalia in each selected gallery. The slate lasted for two months.

It was the day before the end of the exhibition. Today’s gallery was in Houston, Texas. Gwen had lain upon her stomach for two hours, allowing her ample right breast to protrude downward and hang silently in the water of a large fifty gallon aquarium that contained a variety of colorful tropical fish. As the fish swam around, a few of the more curious creatures would ascend to briefly nuzzle the mammary. This tickled Gwen, and so every few minutes, the breast itself would jiggle. The people who gathered in the gallery were watching in silence. Gwen’s cell phone vibrated. “Yes, Roger?”

“I’m giving you the five-minute warning. When you’re done, put on the robe, come out and take a bow,” he said.

Soon the alarm sounded on her phone. She rose from the water and dried herself off. Then she walked outside where the gathered spectators, some of whom had sat for eight hours, were warmly applauding. After signing a few autographs, Gwen excused herself and disappeared to get ready for the plane flight to the last location.

The next morning Roger and Gwen arrived at the Pasadena Art Museum at eight-thirty. Roger spoke the thought that he knew was haunting Gwen. “This last one is probably the toughest performance art piece I’ve ever seen. You can still back out, Gwen,” he said.

“No way am I going to chicken out. How will it look, Rog? I have to do this. This was a challenge made to me, and by inference, to all women. After I go through this, many females will feel empowered around the world.”

The museum would open at ten. She positioned her shapely body on her back—naked, blindfolded, spread-eagled. Roger moved the four gleaming metal guillotines into position. Each stood eight feet high. If the blades fell, she would lose either of her big toes or one of her thumbs.

At ten, people began to vote on the Internet. When the votes on any chosen guillotines reached 600,000, a toe or finger was excised. Large LED readouts kept the tally. Urination or defecation would take place in full view of the public. After eight hours, the long anticipated outcome—a gutsy event.

Seven hours and fifty-five minutes later, Roger rang. “Only five minutes left. You may get out unscathed.” Visions of her next vacation destination filled her mind.

The next five minutes lasted an eternity. The applause and cheering began. It was just loud enough that Gwen couldn’t hear the ringing of the bell or the sound of the rapidly descending blade...






A contraption like this, with all the guillotines, could cost a small fortune. I bet they had to use a cash advance to pay for it all!

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

You definitely have a dark side. A bit of a sadistic streak. It left me with a sick feeling inside. Maybe that was the object of your story.

Christopher Pimental said...

Definitely liked it. This deserves more reads and certainly more comments. Well done.

Anonymous said...

What an appropriate title! I was hoping she would make it out okay, but you hacked that to pieces. You did a good job building the suspense and t[ch]opping it off with the final touch.

Doug Ordunio said...

The author comments--Yes, why not a dark side??? Every one has gotten so "nicey-nice" in this day and age, like the silly world depicted in the film "Demolition Man." (I'm definitely the Wesley Snipes character.)

Anonymous said...

Ah, I remember this from editred challenge. Though you obviously used an alias on site.

c. rohrbacher said...

I liked -- I'm also surprised more performance artists are not used in stories -- maybe not to be diced up like in a slap chop, but still....

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Doug Ordunio