Saturday, 15 September 2012

Chapter 1

It had been six weeks since the accident and this was his last appointment with the phisio. Susan had been a tremendous help, Dennis was at last able stretch to his full height. It was late afternoon and as he had been her last client they sat chatting after his treatment. It was then that Dennis revealed to her his plans for a shed.

Susan had never thought much about sheds but as Dennis described it her pulse began to quicken, “you will let me see it Dennis” she panted. “I’ll text you when the base is being laid” he replied. After he had left Susan began to daydream, she remembered how as a young woman she had been indifferent towards sheds and other sectional buildings but now...

Several weeks past until she received a text from Dennis, “it’s getting laid tomorrow” was all it said but Susan’s pulse was once again racing. She cancelled all appointments and as she drove the eight miles to Dennis’s house she imagined what it might be like. When she arrived work was already in progress, the massive ready-mix truck barely fitted in the narrow lane its huge bucket churning the heavy mix round and round with a relentless thumping, only to be interrupted by the occasional whoosh as another load gushed down the hopper and into a waiting barrow. “Hi Susan”, it was Dennis who interrupted her trance. “It’s a tight squeeze” she murmured still not quite recovered from her encounter. “It’s so big, how did you get it into the lane” she continued. “We trimmed back some of the foliage” replied Dennis, “gave it a real Brazilian”.

Dennis led her round the truck and she felt a shiver of excitement as the massive bucket brushed past her arm. As she approached the back garden she wondered how big the base would be. Dennis pushed back the gate and there it was, massive and glistening in the midday sun. At the far end it was like a rumpled sheet as the men used a wide tamper to smooth the surface. As the tamper was raised she could hear the suck of wet concrete clinging tightly to it followed by a resounding thud as it plunged back into the mix. This hypnotic rhythm was making Susan sweat, “are you ok” said Dennis as her offered her his hand.

He led her to the other end where the last few barrow loads of concrete was being dispensed. “It still needs tamping” said Dennis. “Oh yes” Susan responded, “oh yes”. She was fixated by the craggy lumps of concrete and marvelled at how they shuddered as another load was emptied in. “Can I touch it” Susan said and Dennis understood exactly what she meant. They kneeled at the edge of the base and she allowed his hand to guide her towards the tacky, moist surface. Suddenly she broke free of his grip and plunged her hand right into the mix. The cool, grey liquid engulfed her hand and arm as her enquiring fingers fondled the hard lumps of ballast deep below the surface. Soon she had plunged her other hand in too and in a rocking motion she thrust them back and forth.

Dennis remembered how with those same motions she had eased away his pain after the accident but now this was for her, this was for Susan. He watched as her blouse pulled loose and he could see her glossy flesh shimmering. But he knew that he was simply a bystander, Susan was mesmerised as the tamping came nearer it became louder and louder, now within inches of her fingers all she could think of was the rush that was about to engulf her. “Yes, yes” she screamed and she pulled both arms out of the mix. She held them out to Dennis in triumph; he understood. He lightly held her chilled, grey fingers and gazed at her face reddened and splattered with beads of concrete. Are you glad you came he whispered?

Friday, 14 September 2012

Chapter 2

Weeks passed and despite the demands of her busy physiotherapy practice Susan often found herself distracted by the recollection of the extraordinary emotions aroused within her by the laying of Dennis’s shed base. She wondered if he would call her when it was ready for topping out. A year ago she would never have dreamed of topping out, after all she was the product of a typical middle class household where such things were never mentioned. Her mother rarely if ever ventured into her fathers shed and if she did it was only to pass him a cup of tea. His shed was small, pokey even but back then there was something that appealed to her about it.

Sometimes she walked to her office, particularly on those late summer mornings when the footpath was full of cobwebs and she would hold her hand in front of her face to cast them aside. One one of these mornings she stopped to brush away a spider when she became aware of a scent, a strong aroma, sweet and yet pungent. It seemed to come from beyond the fence at the edge of the pavement.

The tree lined street was deserted at this early hour and so she stopped to look through a small knot hole in the fence. What she saw was to haunt her forever. In the middle of a large garden was a magnificent shed 13.50 x 16 .75 x 2.20 metres. Its proportions seemed just perfect to Susan. It was a dark brown in colour, exotic and intoxicating. It glistened in the early morning sun. Beside was an open tin with a brush loaded to bursting with a deep brown liquid. She squinted to read the label, it said CREOSOTE. This was the source of the wonderful aroma.

She breathed in deeply, taking great draughts of the scent at the same time scanning every inch of the shed. The roof was covered in a tight fitting felt, so tight that it seemed ready to burst out. At the corner was a length of jet black drain pipe, straight and majestic, secured firmly to the feather edged cladding. The door was ajar; open just enough for Susan’s imagination to wonder what lay beyond.

Susan had become extremely aroused; she knew she had to get closer to the shed. Although desperate not to lose sight of it she moved along the fence looking for a way in, suddenly the fence give way a little, she pushed gently and then in desperation beating it furiously with her fists. Suddenly the fence gave way and she was in the garden. She paused for a moment and then rushed headlong across the grass towards the shed.

A couple of bounds away she stopped in front of this great brown behemoth which seemed about to devour her. She knew that she had no choice but to submit and with that she grabbed the thick handle of the brush and soaked the shed and herself with the brown elixir. After a few moments it was all over, she slumped to the ground barely able to catch breath. She didn’t feel violated even though the shed stood there imperiously as if to say I wanted you, I had you, now go. She gathered herself and slunk away back to the fence, climbed through it and made her way to the office unaware of the brown stains covering her hands, face and dress.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Chapter 3

Susan entered the clinic through a rear door and went straight to the bathroom adjacent to her treatment room. Confronted by a full length mirror she was shocked to see the state that she was in. Even after showering she had brown stains on her hands and face, fortunately her soiled dress was soon to be replaced by a clean white tunic but despite copious amounts of deodorant the aroma of creosote was still quite strong.

Her first patient was a woman recovering from a minor shoulder injury. As Susan manipulated it her mind wandered back to her recent encounter. For a while she seemed to be working on auto-pilot until a comment from her patient jerked her back into the present. “I hope you don’t mind me mentioning it but can I smell creosote, only my partner is building a shed and we can never get rid of the smell”? Susan blushed and for a moment was lost for words. “Oh yes, I am sorry” she muttered, trying frantically to think of an explanation, “I am afraid I tripped and fell against a newly creosoted shed this morning” was the only explanation she could think of, “I hope the smell doesn’t offend you”. “Don’t worry" responded her patient.

As she continued with the treatment Susan began to fantasize about this new shed but was suddenly interrupted by a remark from her patient. “Is it supposed to hurt”? Susan realised that her manipulation had become rather more vigorous than was necessary. “Sorry” she said again, this time realising that she must pull herself together. “So tell me about this shed” said Susan. “You know what they are like, men and sheds” responded her patient, “they always want a bigger one than their mates”. Yes replied Susan “bigger is always best”. “You sound like you are almost interested” said her patient, “most of us women a bored stiff by all this shed talk”.

When the treatment was completed and her patient was about to leave Susan realised that she might lose the opportunity to see a new shed and in panic blurted out “could I come and see the shed” but realising this remark needed some qualification she continued, “I am thinking of building a shed for my garden and it would be useful if I could get some ideas”. “Yes I suppose so, why don’t you give my partner Julian a call, I’m sure that he would be happy to show you around” and with that her patient jotted down the phone number and left.

Susan was left to ponder, her imagination was already beginning to conjure up images of this new shed when her receptionist brought in her next patient.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Chapter 4

Susan kept a supply of magazines in her waiting room, often donated by patients. At the end of one afternoon surgery she noticed a copy of a popular home improvement periodical and she began to thumb through it. At about half way she stopped suddenly at a page with an advertisement for the Sheds and Sectional Buildings exhibition in London. Her heart skipped a beat and she blushed visibly as she looked intently at photographs of sheds of every conceivable shape and size. Her instinct was to tear the page out but fearing that she might be seen she looked around the waiting room to confirm that she was alone. When the page was securely in her bag she locked up the premises and made her way home.

Once home she began to prepare a meal. With her bag sitting at the end of the kitchen table, she put some water into a pan and put it on the hob to heat up. She kept glancing at the bag as she moved around the kitchen and was about to open a packet of pasta when temptation got the better of her. She grabbed the bag and pulled out the crumpled page and began to flatten it. As she drew her hand back and forth in long rhythmical strokes she began to breathe deeply and beads of warm sweat dropped onto the paper spreading their darkened rings across the photographs of the sheds. With her body arched and her arms straight she could feel the sinews in her forearms tensing and the muscles in the small of her back taught with every thrust back and forth. Within a few minutes it was all over, Susan slumped onto a chair still gazing at the page but by now the kitchen was full of steam as the water in the pan was boiling furiously.

She turned off the hob and finding that her appetite has disappeared she cleared away the food. She once again gazed at the page and realised that what had just passed was nothing less than shed pornography. What had become of her she wondered? A few months previously she had seemed content with a good job and a fulfilled life. Now she was a slave to forces that she could not understand. And that master was compelling her to buy a ticket for the exhibition.

Three days later she was there; at the Sheds and Sectional Buildings exhibition. As she approached the vast hall she could smell the aroma of timber and an exotic cocktail of preservatives and paint as well as the feint aroma of creosote. She paused at the scene in front of her; there were literally hundreds of sheds of every shape and size. Their names excited her; the Suffolk Pent, the Caldy, the Security Cabin, the Bison Workshop, the Dutch Barn, the Clayton Corner and the Mammoth, oh yes the Mammoth it stood proud in the middle of the hall its roof at least twice the height of those around it.

For the next few hours Susan lurched from stand to stand, filling her bag with brochures, this was indeed shed porn heaven and she wanted, demanded her fill. As the afternoon faded into dusk Susan began to feel exhausted and in need of a toilet. She found one and proceeded to divest herself. Soon her tiredness began to overwhelm her and she fell into a deep slumber supported only by the narrow walls of the cubicle.

She awoke with a start and noticed that the toilet was now in darkness except for a dim security light. In a state of panic she ran to the door and as she thrust it open and a dreadful realisation began to dawn on her; that she was locked in, the exhibition was closed for the night. She ran to the entrance shouting at the top of her voice, she rattled the door handles but no one came. She was alone.

She turned around and gazed across the dimly lit hall, the sheds were now just silhouettes except one, the Mammoth, bathed by a shaft of moonlight coming from a skylight directly above it looked magnificent. Slowly Susan made her way towards it, walking along the maze of aisles, momentarily loosing sight of it at the next corner it would reappear. It was as if the Mammoth was luring her towards it and she was helpless to refuse. Finally she turned a corner and there it was, in a large space sufficient for its immensity.

She cast off her shoes and began to gyrate like a whirling Dervish. She spun round and round at the same time circumnavigating the Mammoth like a favoured wife plucked from the harem to entertain the Sultan. She devoured every inch of the Mammoth, marvelling at the Corner Flashing that glinted in the moonlight and through an open window she gazed in wonder at the colossal Apex Plate and the huge rafters securely bolted to it. She could almost feel the weight of the colossal roof supported by rippling Eave Purlins.

Suddenly she came to a stop and fell to her knees. In front of her the gigantic double doors stood, wide open. She gazed into the dark interior of the Mammoth like a novitiate beholding a deity. She rose and walked slowly towards it, up a few steps and then into the Mammoth itself and without looking back she closed the doors behind her.

The moon had set and for several hours the exhibition hall was in near total darkness. Eventually the sun began to rise bathing the Mammoth in a warm glow. Quietly the shed doors opened and Susan emerged, dishevelled with her dress hanging off her shoulders. She walked down the steps in a state of serenity casually picking up her shoes. But this tranquillity was rudely shattered by the exhibition hall doors being opened and by voices shouting to each other.

With this sudden awakening from the trance Susan began to panic and wondered how she could explain her presence. She ran away from the entrance and then noticed an exhibitor’s pass sitting on a desk, snatching it she hurried towards the toilets. She tried to tidy herself as best she could and decided the best policy was to brazen it out. She strode purposefully out of the toilet and was almost immediately confronted by a startled cleaner. “Morning, early start for me” she said in the most professional voice that she could muster. She hurried to the entrance of the hall and was soon out in the street.

What happened during that night is the subject of much speculation as Susan has always been reluctant to talk about it. Suffice to say that that she was never same again.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Chapter 5

 Several months had passed since Susan’s experience at the Sheds and Sectional Buildings exhibition. She had recovered her composure and was managing to deal with her job and day to day tasks but the lure of the shed was never far from her thoughts. One day, a few weeks before Christmas, she noticed a poster which read: “Melbourn Shed Society Annual Meeting at the Black Horse Public House”. She began to ponder the prospect of going to the meeting, but how could she, a woman, they were bound to all be men, but every time she thought about it her pulse quickened, she knew that she had to go.

 As the day approached Susan began to hatch a plan. She would dress as a man in order to attend without drawing attention to herself. Her long absent partner had left some clothes at her house and she tried them on until she eventually found some that would fit after she had made some deft adjustments.

An hour or two before the meeting Susan stood in front of the mirror to review her disguise. A sports bra had flattened her chest but she still cut a rather slight figure in a jacket and flannels and her feet were decidedly small for a man. Her hair was already short and she gelled it back to make it even less apparent. Her complexion was smooth, boyish even and she hoped that her voice could be disguised as long as she could remember to lower it when she talked. In any case she hadn’t intended to talk much; rather she would listen, soaking up the shed talk.

She set off for the Black Horse and upon arriving she could see a notice summoning the attendees to the left hand bar. Nervously she opened the door and was greeted by a man who seemed to be the organiser, “Hi I’m Keith” he said, waiting for her to respond. In spite of her extensive preparations the one thing she had forgotten was her name or rather her name for that night. “Simon” she blurted, the first name that had come into her head. “Well Simon, let me introduce you to some of the lads” Ric, Pete, Graham, who duly greeted “Simon” with firm handshakes, “and this is Julian and Dennis”. A moment of horror confronted Susan as she realised they had both been her patients and it was Dennis whose introduction to sheds had heralded the beginning of her obsession.

“Don’t I know you” said Dennis? “No, I don’t think so” Susan responded, trying to defend her precarious position by using the lowest voice that she could muster. “Well come on in” said Julian, let me buy you a pint. “I’ll stick to water, I’m driving” she replied. “Come one, you can manage one” and before she could say no Julian had thrust a pint of something dark into her hand. “Cheers” he said gulping down almost half of his pint and expecting her to do the same.

Fortunately Julian was immediately drawn into another conversation and didn’t notice her wincing as she sipped at the beer. But her isolation didn’t last long as Ric saw her alone and began to tell her about his experience desulphating car batteries. She feigned interest for a time but eventually lost the tack of Ric’s explanation and was about to break off the conversation by saying that she needed to pay a visit to the “little girl’s room” when she realised her dilemma. She couldn’t use the Ladies but how could she use the Gents? Fortunately the need didn’t arise as Paul interjected, “he’s not telling you his desulphating story is he, I’m Paul and this is Gerry, Gordon, Tony, Will, Roger, Ed”.

At that moment there was the sound of a loud clink on a glass, it was Keith summoning the meeting to order. “Without further ado” he said “I should like to start the video”. Chairs were noisily arranged in front of the screen and a sequence of images appeared, sheds of every shape and size, in every type of location.

This excited much comment and debate amongst the audience but all Susan could hear were those words that drove her obsession, “jamb, knee plate, ballast, mullion, bracing, trusses, flashing”. It was as if she had entered a trance, she felt detached, floating almost but with each repetition of the word provoking a shuddering climax.

Suddenly there was silence and Susan realised that the video had ended and that all the shed men were looking at her. “Are you all right Simon” said Pete? She gazed up at him, legs wide apart, slumped back on her chair and for a moment she was frozen. Pete repeated the question and Susan immediately came round. She had been sweating and could feel the salt on her lips and her clothes sticking to her rigid body. “Yes I’m fine” she blurted, “got a bit of a virus, I think I’d better go home, great show, fantastic, must come again”. “Looks like you already did lad” said a voice from the back followed by much laughter.

Susan stood up and with the whole bar staring at her said “thanks, yes thanks” and turning she moved towards the door. Once outside the cold air hit her. Her clothes felt damp and she was shivering. Hurriedly she strode across the car park but on reaching her car and grabbing for the door handle she felt a hand holding it firmly shut. “I’ve remembered where it was” said a voice. Turning, she could see that it was Dennis towering over her.