The Torture Chamber

May 21, 2009 at 6:28 PM (Healthy Living, Humor, Wedding)

I had my first manicure today.  The wedding is only days away and Stephanie was insistent that I look as polished and refined as possible.  A tall order, I know, but she always has high aspirations for everything.

I didn’t really know what was going to happen other than I would walk into the nail salon with my current nails (which I’d actually stopped chewing and had grown out, at Stephanie’s behest) and then I would walk out an indeterminate amount of time later with bling-like fingers.  I was greeted by a small Asian woman who spoke next to no English and was guided to her station.  In retrospect, the blood pooling in the floor around the table should have been a tip to me, but I’ve never been accused of being the most observant person.

First, she started pulling out torture devices, giggling like a 5-year old who’d just eaten a case of Snickers bars and had been informed that they won a shopping spree at Toys ‘R Us.  I should have known something was up when every device she lovingly caressed had some sort of pointy end or a sharp edge.  It was like looking at the table at the end of Braveheart where they have all of the torture tools laid out and easily at hand.

How I ended up clamped to my seat, I don’t know.  I think it happened when I was distracted watching the beautiful 50″ LCD television.  Those nail ladies are sneaky!

She began using either very dull nail clippers or very sharp pliers, I’m still not sure which, to cut/tear my existing nails.  One at a time, she clamped down with them.  If I was lucky, I heard a little snap sound and a piece of my fingernail was dislodged.  The rest of the time there was no sound except my screams of agony as she twisted and ripped the nails free.

With no pause to lean back and take sadistic pleasure from what she had wrought, she immediately picked up something that looked like a coarse rectangular stone and began filing away.  Thinking the worst was over and that she was just going in to file the jagged ends of my nails smooth, and with no recovery period for me, she began filing the entirety of my fingers away.  Maybe my fingers were too long or too wide, I still don’t know.  She filed away more flesh than nail, for sure.

I don’t know how long it had been since I blacked out, but when I came to she had my fingertips covered in some sort of goo and my hands in little plastic baggies.  She roughly shoved each hand into some sort of padded contraption that was plugged into the wall.  Searing heat!  The Colonel would have been proud.  I’ve never had crispy fried Ben before, but this tiny little Asian she-devil was determined to find out, I think.  To make things worse, the beautiful 50″ LCD television from earlier had turned from pleasant distraction into an additional torture device.  Even in my delirious state, there was no escaping The View.  Whoopi taunted me, Barbara mocked me, and the urge to bitch slap Elizabeth Hasselbeck was so strong that I feared for my very sanity.  So I sat, fingertips covered in acidic goop, hands inside a space heater, and my will to live hanging by a thread.

I woke to a bucket of water being unceremoniously dumped on my head.  The tiny 100 lb. terror in front of me had changed into her black leather dominatrix outfit.  She removed my charred hands from the heaters and began speaking to me in a language I didn’t understand.  She would say something, then use a pair of pointy nippers to snip some portion of my skin around my fingernail away.  She continued this for what seemed like an eternity.  Speak foreign words, snip.  Speak foreign words, snip.  I held her gaze for a moment during this, and I now know I have seen into the depths of the darkest pits of hell.

Now I’ve never had a flathead screwdriver shoved under my fingernails before but I’ve read that it hurts like you wouldn’t believe.  I think what happened next is the closest thing to that.  My personal demon, my monster, stood in front of me, splatters of my blood criss-crossing her leather clad body like some sort of impressionist painting.  She began cackling maniacally and using a sharp metal instrument to shove my cuticles back from where they once came.  Over and over again she stabbed at my fingertips.  I would not break, though.  To give up at this point would not do at all.  Even when she pulled out the coarse stone file again, blood from her previous attempts to break my spirit dripping freshly from it, I stood my ground.  This must have been too much for her, because after filing me again for a short period of time, she stood up and pointed to the front of the store.

Released, I dragged my exhausted body from the deceptively comfortable-looking chair.  The only thing stopping me from escaping this place of terror was the credit card machine.  Once I paid, I gloriously drank in the sunshine from outside.  I had survived!

All in all, the nails don’t look too bad.  Stephanie has mentioned me going back again in the future.  I don’t have the heart to tell her that I don’t think I have enough blood in my veins to survive another visit.  I have cheated death once.  I doubt my chances of repeating the feat.




  1. Mason said,

    i was laughing the whole way through. Great story. I might have to try that one day for fun and write a story like yours.

    • Ben said,

      Writing a story is all well and good, but I must insist that you not put yourself through what has been forced upon me. Try something safer like sky diving, bungee jumping, or eating broken glass. Do not go to get your nails done!

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