Stark is the complexion of Suzette’s bewildered countenance, suddenly illumined upon her tardy liberation. Exiting the closet and its uric acid smell (a stagnant pool of urine betraying her lengthy stay), she stutter-steps to the bathroom, assisted by Rockefeller.

"Sorry, Sweetie; sorry. It was cruel to lock you in, but I really had no choice... Wait... Let’s take off these pj's... Step out... Step out."

Rockefeller stoops and gently coaxes Suzette to lift each foot clear of the soggy drawers, pajama top next, then guides her into the tub.


Turning on taps, testing the water's temperature, redirecting pressure through a hose and nozzle set at "pulse," Rockefeller rinses Suzette’s compliant body, soaping, rinsing, soaping and rinsing again, concentrating primarily on her leaky genitalia...

...while she expresses total impassivity... comatose indifference... numb unawareness... save for a subtle quiver when the jet dilates her labia and gurgles in the niche of her tractable vagina... come to life... hips inclined to facilitate then to pinpoint the vibratory surge... bringing her to a quick if long-protracted orgasm... fluid from without and from within meeting like a river that invades an inland sea... salubrious meeting saline... freshwater meeting brine... flood conducted by deluge... wave upon wave sustaining the bather's inner tide.

"What am I to do with you, Miss Nguyen? Sex won’t fill your tummy or teach you to piss and poop in the proper place. All your sweet sensations are practically meaningless when you can’t form a simple sentence, can’t solve two plus two, can’t connect the dots between cause and effect. That which "our father" broke, I, for the life of me, can't seem to mend. Nor have I a clue about how to make you whole—let alone self-reliant, let alone let-alone-able; I nearly died rushing back here—disregarding traffic signs, dodging head-on collisions. And if I hadn’t made it, who would have taken care of you? Rem? From his loony bin? Precisely where he belongs; thinks he’s playing possum, but the Doctor and I know better."

Suzette, without assistance, turns her face toward the white tile wall and braces herself against it—stance widened, spine arched—which serves to spread the cheeks of her compact derrière, its anal ring distended of its own accord, a speculum-like dilation adaptively contumacious.

Rockefeller, stunned by the pose and the fact that she who strikes it does so unsolicited, is ashamed of his groin's response—though helpless to deny, to suppress, or to resist it.