Salome Magazine
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LAce Posted Monday, August 28th, 2006
Dark Obsession
Donia Carey

Twelve minutes to go before NNM International kicked off its annual meeting, and this year Elsie was the keynote speaker. She’d reached the pinnacle!

But Elsie was too scared to bask in her success. An old familiar need was beginning to stretch its greedy tentacles inside her again. Like a buried virus, it had emerged, this time even stronger than before. As she mingled with the others drinking coffee outside the hotel’s main ballroom, Elsie accepted their congratulations in a trance, her mind repeating a mantra to block out her feelings of doubt and unworthiness.

Feeling agitated, Elsie managed to slip away from the other members, telling them that she’d left her notes in her car. Instead, she sped toward the Ladies’ Room, a dark secret smoldering within the depths of her handbag. She flung open the door and entered in such a rush that she nearly tripped over the washroom attendant who sat sour-faced in the corner, folding towels embossed with the hotel crest.

Was she imagining it, or was the woman giving her the fish-eye? Elsie felt guilt swim in her face, and waves of nausea minnowed through her body. What if she was found out? Her banishment would be swift and total, her shame more than she could bear. Yet at this moment, the immediate force of her need canceled out her fears.

Elsie fled into a stall and bolted the door. Safe now, she took a deep breath, let it out slowly, and unsnapped her bag. Reaching in with trembling hands, she pulled out the object of her obsession. Sensing release so near, her heart ricocheted. Drool ran down her chin as she struggled to tear open the covering of the jumbo-sized package. At last she was able to part the inner wrapper and expose its melting treasure.

She crammed and pushed the whole thing into her mouth, her tongue avidly sucking and slurping the sticky sweet residue. All caution forgotten, Elsie moaned like a cat in heat and she let herself sink deep into a tsunami of lust. When she resurfaced, satiated, she let out a deep sigh. The consummation of her desire had left her spent and breathless. Nearly blacked out, she leaned back against the cold marble wall of the booth and waited for her pulse to slow down.

A squishing sound raised the hairs on her neck; but it was only the washroom attendant mopping the floor. Elsie glanced at her watch: ten o’clock. The meeting would be starting, and she was to speak right after the opening address. She flushed the toilet and left the stall, trying to look nonchalant. To calm herself, she repeated the first lines of her speech, “How I lost two hundred pounds in just three years through ‘Nosh No More, International.’”

Attempting to regain her composure, Elsie forced herself to walk slowly toward the lobby door. Like an evil jack-in-the-box, the attendant popped out and barred the way, mop brandished before her like a lance. The blood sloshed in Elsie’s head and her whole body went slack.

NNM was clever—they had to be, to have beat the heavy competition in the weight-loss market. That woman was one of their spies; why hadn’t she realized it earlier? And she had the goods on Elsie, ready to report her to the authorities immediately.

Oh, why had she been such a fool, put herself into such danger? Had that moment of ecstasy been worth the loss of everything for which she’d worked so hard? Especially since she knew that in a little while her stomach would be demanding more, goading her to transgress again.

Elsie faced her accuser, ideas scrabbling in her brain like mice. She might be able to save herself yet. Maybe the woman would accept a bribe—she probably worked at minimum wage; those fancy hotels were notoriously cheap with their help. And whatever Nosh No More offered this stoolie, Elsie could top it.

She opened her bag and grabbed her wallet, holding it out in front of her and offering it to the attendant like a cross to a vampire. The woman scowled and batted it away. She squinted at Elsie, placed the mop back into the bucket and thrust her hand into an apron pocket. Elsie reared back, eyes blinded by panic.

“You have chocolate smeared all over your face,” the matron said, and handed Elsie a towel.

Comments [post a comment]

Posted by raymond grant [ ] on Monday, August 28th, 2006 at 8:40 AM
Nicely done, Donia! An obsessive read! I just hope she was eating dark chocolate...less sugar, more antu-oxidants!

Posted by Nonnie Augustine on Monday, August 28th, 2006 at 1:21 PM
I love this one. Pure Carey! Nonnie

Posted by Marjorie McKinney on Monday, August 28th, 2006 at 4:02 PM
Donia, this is wonderful. I love it. Perfect title.

Posted by Elsie O'Day on Monday, August 28th, 2006 at 6:12 PM
Elsie, huh???? This is a winner for sure, Donia! I was so fearful for poor Elsie and had not the slightest idea what she was supposed to face, fiffle! You did this beautifully!

Posted by Sharon Hurlbut on Tuesday, August 29th, 2006 at 2:37 AM
I love this story, Donia (almost as much as I love chocolate)!! Fantastic suspense right to the end.

Posted by Miriam Kotzin on Tuesday, August 29th, 2006 at 9:57 AM
This story is a great blend of humor "heavy competition in the weight-loss market" and suspense. I especially liked "ideas scrabbling in her brain like mice."

Posted by david coyote [ ] on Tuesday, August 29th, 2006 at 12:47 PM
Donia, Delightfully funny in a dark, obsessive way! Ah, the rationalizations we use. Elsie drives me to paste one of my poems: Habit Have a habit Have to have it Have a habit Have to have it Have a habit Have a habit Have a habit Have to have it *

Posted by kim teeple on Tuesday, August 29th, 2006 at 5:02 PM
Love this, Donia!

Posted by Gaby Gross on Tuesday, August 29th, 2006 at 11:36 PM
Wonderful! I felt the narrator's passion and shame as If they were my own, even though I didn't know until the end the objedct of her/my guilty desire.

Posted by Marcel DeClercq on Wednesday, August 30th, 2006 at 9:16 PM
Donia, I'm certain that she was eating Belgian chocolate with truffles and just a dash of Absinthe... and I bet Willy Wonka is spinning in his chocolate gravy boat. Marvelous, dollink. Call me.

Posted by Stephen Gilford [ ] on Wednesday, August 30th, 2006 at 9:51 PM
When I missed the explanation of the acronym for NNM, in the first sentence of "Dark Obsession", I thought I had inadvertently skipped over it. Then I realized it had been left out for a purpose. I had entered into a puzzle with the author. As I read on, I tried to come up with a meaning for NNM that had a connection with obsessions; "Hmmn, no "A" so it's nothing Anonymous." " One "N" might stand for "narcotics" and so on. My participation had me fully engaged and I started reading slower knowing the surprise at the end would be an explanation that included the acronym and I wanted to see if I could solve it before I got there. Of course, I didn't. I was surprised and I had enjoyed being led along this delightful route to the surprising but very apprpriate answer.

Posted by Donna Levy [ ] on Friday, September 1st, 2006 at 7:34 PM
Oh, Donia, I craved the naughty substance right along with Elsie! I know about cheating on diets, which you described so well. The power of the addiction is so strong ... as is the GUILT!!!! Very well done. Donna

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