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Chapter I of IV

            Leda swept before me down the dimly lit corridor. She had dropped the key into a tiny vacuum conduit, and I heard it jingling along its way to some unknown destination. She had also put her shoes into another receptacle, saying merely, "They'll be picked up later." I could only stare at her, marveling at her large-eyed beauty, as she introduced me into the wonders of "The Hidden World," as she called it with a smile. Since we had left the limousine and entered what appeared to be a janitor's closet just off the side of a lobby in a decaying building in the Wall Street area, I had almost lost contact with reality. She had locked the closet behind her, then casually, smiling at me to keep up my well-being, she unlocked the BACK of the closet and stepped into a small elevator. Inanely, the first thing I noticed was that it did not have the omnipresent small badge of inspection by the City of New York. The walls were of wood, and the lighting seemed, as most of the lighting seemed, to come from fixtures hidden in troughs at the tops of the walls, which was then reflected uniformly from the invariably domed ceiling. The corners were softly rounded, and the floor was covered completely with carpeting which looked at the same time frailly luxurious and durably long-wearing. "It wouldn't do if the carpets had to be replaced every year, would it?" She laughed again, obviously glad to be going to her destination, obviously enjoying my mystification, yet supremely sure that I would like it when we got there. Only such absolute certainty could make her answers to my questions so maddeningly infuriating. "Just be patient, you'll see soon enough." "But you can at least tell me WHERE we're going!" "Would it matter WHERE you bought an ice-cream cone, just so long as the ice-cream cone tasted good?" Maddeningly infuriating. Yet her confidence was so great---there seemed to be no problem of my expectation growing too great, then suffering a disappointment. "Will there be perfumed fountains and hundreds of dancing girls and jeweled curtains?" I asked in half-playfulness. And with seriousness she answered, "There'll be all that and more." My playfulness left, and I could only hurry after her, feeling oddly like a child being led by his mother to the circus, but, having no idea what a circus was, only quivering with anticipation and frowning at the superior knowledge of his mother.
            We had walked a few hundred yards before my excitement permitted me to observe my surroundings: the corridor was much like the elevator, paneled in wood, yet with softly curving walls. The wood was highly polished and the grain ran in beautiful longitudinal lines along the walls. It was almost like walking through an enormous hollow tree trunk which had opalized under the heats and forces of eons of time. Light came from opaque glass runways along the carpet, but the curves were so gracious that the amount of light on any part of the walls was equal. We cast no shadows in this dim fantasy world. As if hurrying us to our goal, a light breeze blew behind us, so that her chiffon dress swirled becomingly around her legs: at times it blew forward under the influence of the breeze from the rear, at times it blew backward because of our forward motion, so the dress undulated oddly, as if on a person walking a treadmill.
            The corridor, composed of curves, curved itself, so that the distance only showed a vanishing point of flawless wooded walls. Then Leda stopped, pressed the wall on her side, and a section rolled upward, revealing a tiny room with a woman dressed entirely in white standing, smiling, ready to receive her. I looked at the wall behind me and saw a small oblong of wood standing only an eighth of an inch from the surface. Pressing it, it became flush, and the wall on my side rolled upward. "Dressing rooms: do what he instructs," she said, and vanished inside as the section rolled noiselessly into place. Before me, as the door closed on my side too, stood a tall young man of dazzling handsomeness, clothed in an amorphous white garment which seemed to surround him, untouched, in a halo of cleanliness. He smiled as I stared at him and reached for my jacket. Leda had said "dressing rooms," but that didn't help vague qualms, associated with a faint surge of sexual excitement at the thought of undressing before such an incredibly handsome valet, from radiating outward from a butterfly-filled stomach. My undershirt became wet from anticipatory perspiration. The tanned, sturdy hands of the valet handled me with the understanding a window-dresser has for his dummy. I suffered myself to go limp; and with an understanding smile he removed my clothes. "Well, what happens next?" I asked in a voice which I'm afraid wasn't too readily controlled. He merely smiled. "Can you speak?" I asked, frowning slightly at the silence in return for my question. He again grinned, which tended to remove any anxiety whatsoever from my mind, so friendly and reassuring was the sincere and generous smile, and he put a long forefinger in front of his lips. More in amazement than acquiescence I lapsed into silence.
            He pressed a small oblong on the wall and another partition slid open, revealing an inner room covered with the opalized wood. The repetitions of decor became familiar to me, but throughout the repetitions I could think of no more beautiful surface. I imagined someone in heaven complaining about the boredom of the everlasting clouds before anyone could complain about the polished, infinitely variegated, luminous wall coverings which ran almost everywhere. The floor, however, was not carpeted, but of the same wooden material with a drain in the center. I looked at the walls to see them pierced with hundreds of tiny holes, and there was a distant glint of water through one of the holes of the drain. Again I looked in worry at the young man who seemed in charge of my fate, and, continuing to smile, he touched another control and from the wall slid a cocoon-like mesh affair shaped like a stretcher. It was obvious he wanted me to lie down on it. As I turned toward him to sit on the warm material of the mesh, I was shocked to see him make a minor adjustment in his garment, and suddenly it seemed to come apart at every seam, and he was left holding it in one hand, naked except for a rather complex affair of white around his loins. I sat frozen in position: if these were the preludes of the evening, I could scarcely imagine what the evening itself might be like! I was now happy for the bond of silence between us, for I could think of no adequate words to express my appreciation of his body. He might be a dancer, certainly a swimmer, so that each muscle was long and lean and defined with a grace not found in those who like heavier sports such as football or weightlifting. The overall effect was one of smoothness, yet there were lines and curves of muscle which moved with grace completely foreign to even the best-executed frozen Greek statuary. Helpless in admiration, my eyes swept down the lines and up the curves of his torso, yet the feeling was of such refined, purified beauty that there was no hint of sexuality in my feeling. The extraordinary quality of beauty of the body that stood before me was such that I wanted merely to watch it as it moved, yet that incomparable body moved toward me and a hand reached out to ease me back onto the webbing. Still about his face played a smile which now bordered on the angelic. Thoughts of ultimate disappointment in the evening strode through my brain: could I enjoy the evening if I had fallen in love with the dressing-room attendant? The flexible framework adjusted to my form, and my mentor nodded his head and closed his eyes. I closed my eyes, and then a body-temperature spray of frothy substance came at me from all directions. Using only his bare hands, he went all over my body, ensuring that the spray contacted my flesh, and his thoroughness would have amazed a physician. I was feeling glad my hair was short---I wondered what Leda would do with her hickory tresses. At a certain point, completely relaxed under his strong hands, I felt a polite tapping on my shoulder, and at the same time I felt the spray cut off in the area of my head, and his hands affixed themselves over my ears. I couldn't resist opening my eyes, and he blinked once and smiled, dripping with a pinkish foam which I knew covered my own inferior body; then he brought forward two tubes, and as my eyes widened to see what was going on, small globules of some warm substance hit my eyeballs. I started in surprise: common eye drops were insufferable to me---my eyes were very sensitive---but before I could fly off into panic, the warmth became comfortingly cool, and my eyes felt as if they'd been extracted and buffed to remove the tiredness and then gently placed back into the sockets. I opened them again to see him making motions that I should turn over, but before I could grasp the sides of the netting with my hands to do so, like a closing clam-shell a second half of the netting dropped softly on me, and the whole apparatus flipped quickly over, then the lower part lifted, and he began his cleansing motions on my back surface, forgetting not any square millimeter of flesh. I felt like a small child again, giving myself up to superior forces, and my mind reveled in the sweet smell of the foamy spray which shot from all sides. Each time I parted one eyelid to look at my scrubbing captor, he'd look down at me with a beneficent look of wellbeing, as if to say. "You have to admit you're enjoying this, aren't you?" His body glistened in the wetness, and I could scarcely resist reaching up to touch the wonders of his chest and expert arms. A slight frown crossed his face and he took my hands and put them firmly down at my sides, but the refusal was so good-natured I could hardly be offended. I'm sure he was used to it. Again the clam-shell of webbing came down, and I, helpless flapjack, was turned once more, this time to get clear liquid sprays which instantaneously removed the foam. My valet opened his mouth and nodded at me, and I opened my mouth to get a blast of the same antiseptic solution which was bathing my body. At last the shower was over, and I was standing in the doorway as atomizers from all sides shot an incredibly fine mist of cream and oil on my wet body. Then we went into the same room I'd entered, and I was aware of a sudden coolness, and in very few minutes realized I was completely dry; the cleaning solution had evaporated very quickly, and the spray of oil prevented me from feeling dried out, instead I felt flexible and supple, and my hair (I sound like a TV commercial) fell into place without a tangle, and even with a new sheen. But that sheen in the hair was far overshadowed when I saw my eyes in the mirror that swung down from the ceiling: every bit of the student's red veins had vanished from the whites of my eyes, they gleamed with a whiteness that had no touch of ugly yellow, and the very irises seemed scrubbed to jewel-like brilliance. I looked back on the valet and realized this was one of the reasons his face was so attractive: his eyes, though sparkling and alive, had the uncanny perfection of glass eyes in a store window mannequin. He bowed almost sarcastically before me, as if to say, "What more could you want? Isn't everything wonderful?" I smiled and again reached out to touch him, but again my hand was intercepted, this time by his handing me a garment like the one he wore. It was complex, but so functional in its complexity, that it served its purpose without giving the impression of being in the way. Most of the material was in a narrow pouch into which he unblushingly placed my not-quite-soft penis, but when that was in place, most of the complexity vanished as I felt gentle support being given to each testicle individually. It fit perfectly, but the material was by no means as elastic around the testicles as it was around the penis, so I can only imagine that he properly sized me up while he was washing me. I wondered what difference there would be in design for someone who hadn't been circumcised, since the garment seemed so incredibly tailored for each nuance of the body. Four strands, two from the corners of the top and two from the bottom, wrapped around the hip in an effortless way to become two loops, and in the mirror I could see him attaching another strand in back, to hold the whole affair up. Thus the buttocks were left completely free, the back of the upper legs were unencumbered, but every motion including a wide split could be performed without disturbing the basic support given by the trifurcated pouch in front. Two cloth loops dangled, and he intimated that I should pull the one on the left. As I tugged, cunningly contrived fastenings tightened the whole affair, making the cloth literally adhere to the flesh so that the lines of each vein could easily be traced. Pulling the other way and relaxing the cloth permitted it to form a scanty yet unrevealing supporter. He grinned impishly as he pointed to the loop on the right, which I tugged at unawares, and was startled to find the entire garment seem to come apart at every seam, and there was only a billow of white on the floor. I gasped, half in surprise at the action, half in disappointment that my teacher hadn't pulled his cord. This time his grin revealed the flat surfaces of glistening, flawless teeth, and he bent to fasten my loincloth again. Then he reached into a closet and pulled out a counterpart of the loose gown he had been wearing when I'd first entered the dressing room---it seemed like hours ago. The gown seemed to be all over bits and ends of material, and I looked at it in as much lack of comprehension as an American woman would look at the making of a sari, for that is the only garment comparable that I can think of. With an effortless tuck and pull, it could be made as revealing or as concealing as I wished; a twisting motion sufficed to change the density of the material so that it could be as tight or as loose as I wanted. Again, freedom of movement seemed to be the key to the garment, yet as my valet deftly taught me the folds and turns of the material, many varieties of comfort and accommodation revealed themselves, until the garment took on the aspects of a completely pliable mass which, though seamless, could be perfectly secure and concealing without grasping at bits and ends of cloth, if I desired, and could be removed with one smooth motion of the hand. Much against my will, since he made it so clear I wasn't to touch him, he again showed me how to take mine off by taking his off, and the impact of that most delightful body again made me draw my breath in admiration. I found myself longing to pull on the loop that hung from the right of his loincloth, but I couldn't bear to perform an action which would again cause his lovely face to lose that ineffable smile. I was still staring at him when the door behind me opened and I turned to find myself again facing Leda in the almost-forgotten corridor. "Ready?" she asked, smiling in her little-girl way. "I---I guess so." "What do you think of "The Hidden World" so far?" "I---I---" and I looked back at the closing door, catching only a glimpse of his brilliantly muscled calves as the door slid shut. "Oh, you haven't seen anything yet." She reached out her hand to mine, and we continued up the corridor.