If the boat’s a rockin’…

strapped

(Continued from River Life)

“You should do it, then.” She said her voice tight in her throat.

She wasn’t sure he had heard her-as as he’d become keenly interested in the river flowing outside the window.

“Probably best you go ashore.”

“James-please”. She gripped his arm. “Don’t put me ashore-I need this job. I need this-out here”, she moved her arms to take in the river and overhanging trees that, even October’s gray light were enchanting. She could breathe out here in a way she couldn’t in the closed world of quiet desperation ashore.  “I’ve been doing well. I have. I’m…afraid what will become of me in town without this.”

“This employment comes with conditions, Emmaline.”

“I know. I understand. And I must be punished…. Please….”

She unsnapped the canvas coveralls that she wore over her clothes on foul days. Still facing the flowing water he heard, rather than saw, her coveralls slide down.

“Just do it James…Please…”

He gave her nothing.

“Beat me and let me stay…” her voice was a whisper.

He turned to look into her glistening and pleading eyes. He pulled away from her grip and nodded to the pile of coveralls. “Step out of those”. She tore off her boots and high stepped a march to extricate herself. “Stand there”, he told her, “facing the table.”

She was finally sure that she wouldn’t be put ashore. He was going to punish her here. “Oh thank you, James.”

“You might want to hold onto those thanks…”

Her shirt was overlong, covering her seat. “Take off your shirt.” She did so quickly and tossed it onto his chair. Her undershirt barely reached her waist.

“You won’t regret this James…”

“You might”, he answered. “Take down your pants.” She didn’t hesitate as the temperature in the pilot house rose. James saw her jeans loosen and she pushed them down. Without prompting she followed with her panties, undressing efficiently and immodestly as if she were alone in her bunk. The view of her bottom-voluptuous and glowing alabaster in the gray light gave James pause, if only for a moment.

“Put your hands against the window sill”. Doing as she was told, she had to lean over the table pushing her bottom backward.

With her back, as well as everything else, to him she focused on the thick trunk of the sycamore outside the shoreward window. The first flush of relief at not being fired and put ignominiously ashore faded to be replaced by trepidation and an anticipation she couldn’t quite understand.

She heard the slithering rasp of his belt being pulled through the loops on his trousers and felt something…else. She dipped her back pushing her bottom imperceptibly backward. Seeing the movement James almost groaned. He struggled to keep himself contained suddenly desiring nothing so much as to drop to his knees and lavish her back-thrust bottom with kisses. He snapped the stout leather in his hands to come back to himself.

She expected pain-how could she not?-but even so, the searing burn of the first slash across the very center of her buttocks surprised her. She didn’t move-not even a flinch-but when the second stroke fell equally upon her lower bottom and tops of her legs, her mouth fell open and remained so albeit silently for the next three strokes which burned across her tortured cheeks. The sixth elicited a choking cough, quickly silenced and the seventh a small hop as she rose onto her toes. He lashed her while she remained thus elevated, her bottom tightened by the exercise.

Once she fell back onto her heels her bottom, now coloring, softened. His belt dug into the softness, drawing a yelp. Realizing he’d been holding his breath he paused in his labors.

“I’m quit with drinking on your boat James”, Emmaline told him maintaining her position.

“Don’t make promises you have no intention of keeping.” His punctuation was a lash on the last unmarked spot high on her bottom that snapped around her hip. She gasped and allowed a moan to fill the room. He then directed the strap lower, completing his task of turning bright white to pink, pink to red and in a few spots, red to purple where the blood came close to the top.

“I mean it James….”

“Mean it or not, but know that this will be your punishment when you do. Or whenever I judge you wanting in any way. Do you understand?”

“Yes James.”

They were silent with no sound but their quick shallow breaths.

“Please James….” she said finally.

“You’re finished”, he said. “Well punished, well marked.”

“That’s not what I meant”, she said looking, flushed but dry-eyed, over her shoulder. “That is not what I meant at all.”

“Emmie…”

“Are you going to tell me you’ve never thought of having me like this?”

“We’ve established you’re a woman-so of course.”

“Then do what you will. Be assured I want it more than you do.”

He felt the ache in his own spar as it pushed against the canvas of his trousers and wondered how that might be possible.

The strap had slipped out of his hand as he slid closer and lay his rough hands on the mottled skin of her bottom. Emmie gasped as if burned. His hands slid gently up and down and squeezed softly.

“My God James-you must get inside me. I didn’t drop a tear in your strapping but will cry like a hungry baby if your cock isn’t in me soon.”

He removed his hand from her only long enough to unfasten his trousers which fell to the floor. He stepped out of them and closer, leaning against her heat-allowing his cock to rub against her backside, up one cheek and down the other. Outside her left cheek along her right hip. He let it pulse between her legs-sniffing at the inside of her thighs like a serpent probing a rock face for a crevasse.

Her moan at his serpent’s touch was deep and rumbling. “You are a torturer.”

In truth, it was less about torture as it was about exploration-finding his way along what he’d feared were long forgotten paths. But once on the right trail, the path toward her shining beacon was made straight. She pushed back and opened-James slid slowly into her glistening offering. He had expected some resistance but slipped easily and fully into a lambskin change purse brimming with the syrup of distilled morning dew.

Fully sheathed he ground his hips into the heat of her seared bottom.

“Oh, James….I’ve wanted you to fuck me for….”

Her voice caught as he pulled out as far as he could and still remain in, then rammed home deeply again, with more force than before.

“Yes!” she barked.

He looked down to see his shaft sliding in and back out, in and back out-slowly, then hard. Slow. Then. Hard. She grunted at the building strength of his strokes.

“Slap me James!” she said breathless. “Slap my ass!” she twisted sideways giving him, what she imagined to be a getter target. He slapped her tortured right cheek as best he could without breaking the slow rhythm of his deep thrusts.

“Faster James! Faster…” Knowing she didn’t mean spanking, he gripped both hips and thrust harder and faster the slapping of hip on hip now louder than hand on ass.

“James! James!…” Feeling her pitch rising, James rose on his toes and worked quickly until she stiffened, shuddered and finally broke. Her voice morphed into a high squeal muffled only when she dug her teeth into her own shoulder. He stayed inside her, still engorged as she twitched and mewled finally pulling out as she collapsed from the window sill to lay spread across the table.

“Does this mean I’m not fired?” she asked when she gathered her breath.

His answer was a hard slap to the center of her red fulsome bottom. She neither yelped nor moved, and facing as she was, James couldn’t see the smile play over her face.

“That means you’re not fired.”

He pulled her up from the table and hugged her from behind. She felt the strength of his unspent cock digging at her bottom.

“Let’s go to my bunk”, he said prodding her forward.

“Yes, Captain”, she said.

 

River Life

spanked

He sat in the pilot house watching Emmie through the wide front windshield as she hopped from the shore side barge to the outside one securing the lines in the short tow that they were contracted to take downstream. Given the light trip it was just the two of them on the boat today the other two of the regular crew enjoying a day at home.

He had taken her aboard the Maddy Belle over the summer as a favor to her uncle-whom it was better to have as a friend than an enemy. Three years widowed and a riverman for life, James Shacksbird had felt himself sliding into a comfortably solitary existence; his relationships a series of contracts, contacts and gentleman’s agreements. He relished the chance to have done something for the Deacon-to perhaps have him, if not in his debt, then at least well disposed toward him.

Watching her at her labors he had noticed a slight wobble in her gait. Something that, underway, could be attributed to a wave or the flow of current-but they were tied up tighter than a tick. Nothing was moving. It wasn’t a stagger-not a stumble-just a wobble. But with one as sure footed as Emmaline, who he had seen walk yardarms on the old schooners, a wobble was telling.

Gray drizzly October day. Couldn’t blame her, he thought. When he was drinking these were the days that did him in. He slid the side window and put his head out.

“Emmaline!”

She paused and turned toward him. “Yes?”

“Put on your life jacket.”

“We’re not underway.”

“Is that the river below us?”

There was nothing to be said. With a touch of petulance she took up her float and strapped it on. He probably would have just gone back to his book had she not paused once correctly outfitted and, coming to attention, snapped a quick military salute toward him.

She was always-different-with him when the others weren’t on the boat. She was headstrong and independent, used to running her own life and answered to no one ashore. Out on the boat, actually having to maintain subordinate position chafed her. Not a lot, but he felt it when they were on the Maddy alone. He had made mental notes to not do solo runs with her but mental notes are meant to be erased.

“Emmaline”, he called again. “Come up here please.”

One of the reasons the Deacon wanted her on the boat was to keep her out of the taverns. As he put it, his niece had an outsized thirst for strong drink. She had proven to be a quick learner, fearless, a more than capable riverhand, but always thirsty.

“Yes, Cap’n?” she asked cheekily as she stepped into his pilot house.

“You’re drunk woman.”

“Oh, I’m woman, am I? Not girl or child.”

“I never disputed you a woman.”

“Which, then, gives me leave to be drunk on occasion. If I were. Which I’m not.”

“You are.”

“Nope.”

They eyed each other across the small space.

“What then are you?”

“Perhaps, tipsy.”

“Tipsy.”

“Perhaps.”

“If so, does that seem a characteristic I would want in a mate or even a deck hand?”

“The British Navy would feed their sailors rum by the bottle.”

“By the shot actually-not the bottle. And this isn’t the British Navy.”

She was warming to the banter and became anxious when he went silent pulling on his lower lip. She had made a study of James these last months. The man was difficult to read beyond orders but she knew this to be his thinking posture. She thought of the bottle stowed on the barge, under the ropes. Maybe she had touched it one time too many that morning.

“What are you thinking?”

“Wondering how quickly I could get word to Thomas to join me on this tow once I put you ashore.”

“Ashore!? I’m not going ashore!”

“You are. We discussed this.”

“No! We…”

“The last time you were…tipsy.”

“My Uncle….”

“Your uncle would not appreciate me allowing you to drown on my watch-or be crushed between barges-because you were drunk. He will understand why you’re not on the river anymore.”

Emmaline panicked that the decision seemed to have been made already. This wasn’t a debate anymore-this was the end of her short river career.

“That wasn’t all you said!” she yapped nervously. “You didn’t say you’d fire me. You remember what you said?”

Since he quit drinking he forgot nothing. It was misery-every word he uttered stacked like cordwood in his head to be recalled at will. But these ones he let be.

“I remember telling you I’d put you ashore.”

“No. You said you would thrash me. You said you would beat me purple if I were drunk on your boat again.”

“Figure of speech. A threat to discourage you, that’s all. Fat lot of good it did.”

Emmaline was somewhere in her twenties-a full decade younger than he. She had a sharpness about her that extended beyond her tongue. She kept her dark hair short but no one would describe her as boyish. Athletic yes; nimble yes, but well-endowed top and bottom. It was solely the fact that she was clearly in his charge that had kept James from regarding her in way he might any other woman of her age and appearance.

“You should do it, then.” She said her voice tight in her throat.

Continued in (If the boat’s a rockin’…)

February Rain

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I don’t think I’ll live through this,

He told his friend as they watched the cold rain

Glisten under the oversized fluorescents outside the window.

What?

Life.

A car pulled up to the service island dinging the bell.

His friend pulled on gloves and headed for the door.

May there never come a time when you say that with relief

Instead of dread, he said with a wink as he ducked out into the weather.

Fish Prints

fish-print

And what would you have me do with these?

I’m thinking of adding color, he answered, shuffling gently through the rice paper portraits. Like on this one. I’d like some green at bottom like grass, it’s dark green, see? Then lighter green tendrils I guess-going from bottom to top.

Like kelp?

Maybe like that. Willow grass. You know? With the yellow flowers on top where they break the surface.

The younger man shrugged. What is this? The fish?

Carp.

Hmmm…aren’t they sacred in China?

This is Pittsburgh. Here they root in the mud. Then, turning his attention back to the print,  Maybe some gold color smearing down from the top like sunlight?

Why don’t you do it?

My son’s an artist, my father’s an artist. I can’t piss in a line.

You did these, he said waving his hand slowly above the prints like clearing suds from a pan of water.

The fish did all the work. I was a bystander.

What is it you do?

I make money.

A lot?

Plenty. But probably not enough.

Enough for what?

All of it…

Then you must try this yourself.

I’m sure I couldn’t.

Your son then?

Pfffft. He’s not my son anymore…he’s a grown man with his own cares…

Your father?

Long dead.

You should definitely give it a shot then. You seem to know what you want.

I’d like to. I just doubt that I can.

They regarded the prints silently.

I’d like to. I just doubt that I can.

You just said that.

I did?

Yes.

Twice?

Word for word.

Fuck!

He hurriedly gathered the prints and rolled them loosely, sticking them gently under his arm. He turned from the work table and approached the open window that looked onto the alley. The artist said nothing until the man had one foot out the window balanced on the dumpster.

The door, sir.

Pfffttt. He paused and looked back. Since we were talking about pissing…

Ah…yes?

The other night I awoke standing at my closet door. My dick was in my right hand ready to shower my shoes and most likely the bottoms of my hanging clothes when something-a passing car, a cloud skirting the moon-something flickered in the window and woke me. I was in the bedroom around to piss in my closet and not across the hall standing in front of the toilet where I had assumed I was. Huh! What do you make of that?

I’m sure I don’t know sir.

I had to stick my thumb over the hole on the end and scuttle into the bathroom where I thought I’d been all the time. Odd, don’t you think?

Odd, sir. Yes.

Welp, he said. Then just before he shifted all of his weight outside be paused and pulled a thick gold coin from his pocket and placed it on the window sill.

That’s too much sir.

For what…

A conversation…

Pfffttt. Watch where you piss then.

With that, he withdrew the second leg and was gone.

The artist could see no one in the alley. Up or down. The coin was heavy and well used-but lustrous just the same.

 

(The idea of the golden sunlight “smearing” was lifted from Jim Harrison’s “Mother Night”. Probably indirectly enough that no one would have noticed but, well shit…you know?)

 

An Unquiet Mind…

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I was listening to an early Murakami audio book on the train home. So, of course, I was horny. Just as reading Jim Harrison makes me hungry for rich food and wide open rivers, and Ron Rash makes me yearn for the hollows, hills and murders of my youth, Murakami fills my mind with visions of young women in white cotton panties-even when he’s writing about cats. Maybe it’s me.

So at home I go straight to the freezer for the Tito’s and pour three fingers into a short glass. No icy dilution needed when your liquor is teeth achingly cold straight up.

My beloved looked up from her ledgers to regard me coolly. Her glasses perfectly framed her dark eyes which showed the wear of the day, but still sparkled.  When she pushed them up onto her head her hair bunched and tangled roguishly around them-offsetting and accenting her perfectly formed cheekbones.

Rough day… she said more than asked unwinding her legs from underneath and standing. Without pausing she seemed to float over to where I leaned against the granite countertop still in my coat. She looked at my knuckles to find them unbroken and not bloody. She got up on her toes to pull my collar down to examine my neck for rope burns or the slice of the garrote. Nope. She gave a certain quizzical smile before sliding the back of her hand gently across the front of my pants. Ah…she said.

Ah, I replied. You still have those white cotton panties?

Sure.

Would you put them on?

I’m wearing the black ones you like.

Has to be the white cotton.

She gifted me with that crooked smile and turned away, her body swathed in the long sweater she wore around the house. You want the skirt too?

Glass at my lips-warming fumes filled my nostrils. Sure I croaked. And keep the glasses.

In the study with a fresh cocktail I pulled a chair into the middle of the room and lit a few lamps casting almond colored shadows along the paneled walls. Outside the dusk had deepened with the first freshet of a cold February rain. Should have put a fire in I thought looking at the dark, lifeless fireplace. Too late now, though.

My wife walked tentatively through the open door. The plaid school girl skirt fell no further than the middle of her strong tennis playing thighs. Definitely shorter than would have been permitted at the Academy. We had established that previously. The knee socks were new and very nice. She wore the crested white oxford shirt we had found in a Shadyside consignment shop last spring.

Just inside the door she paused and looked at me with a perfectly rehearsed mix of anticipation and trepidation. She reached up a quivering hand and delicately pushed her glasses, which had slipped, up on the bridge of her nose. You wanted to see me Mr. Travis?

I explained as best I could about the missed assignments and the unrecorded tardiness and reminded her of what we had agreed at our last meeting. I’m afraid Miss Jensen, you’ve left me no alternative but to spank you.

She pouted beautifully and dropped her chin. I understand, sir. I’m sorry.

No need, Miss Jensen. Let’s get on with it then.

She walked haltingly to the chair where I took my seat. Eyes demurely downcast she lowered herself over my lap. My breath caught as I lifted her skirt up over her back revealing the white cotton panties tightly sheathing her bottom. I cupped her right cheek and was about to draw back when…a folder on the edge of the desk caught my eye.

It was the Kisama account folder that I’d brought home the day before. What a clusterfuck that had turned out to be! It had seemed simple enough-fairly straightforward Statement of Work but someone had neglected-it had been Elizabeth-to include the upcharges for the custom work outside of scope now they were balking at the cost.

Ahem, coughed my wife draped over my lap patiently waiting. Oh, right. Miss Jensen, I muttered. It’s time I dealt with you… I raised my hand then…I really couldn’t put it all on Elizabeth though. There was a team of five working on the document-that’s four too many to my liking. I would have one person shepherd it through from front to back…No matter. Done is done. I’ll just have to fly out there and…

Ah, Mr. Travis? my wife asked upside down. You may have to take my panties down so the spanking really sinks in…You have been rather naughty. Lift up. She rose slightly onto her toes and I rolled the white cotton down slowly revealing my wife’s bottom ready for Miss Jensen’s spanking which would …the word naughty struck me. We never really used it-seemed overly childish.

Like impure. Maybe impure was just mine. I had confessed to a priest once when I was eleven or twelve to having impure thoughts. He wanted details! I didn’t give him any-mumbled something about girls in bathing suits-right!-and he asked me if I jacked off. Just like that! I couldn’t wait to get out of there. What did you tell him?  Frankie asked me later when I told the guys about it. I told him no! You lied to a priest? We all laughed about that…

Tommy! I heard my name being called. It was my wife stuck in downward dog over my lap her panties at her knees. My shoulder’s getting a little creaky, she said lifting a hand off the floor.

Yes, right. Sorry. I reared back and delivered the first smack fully on her right cheek. She moaned lightly at the impact and relaxed-settling comfortably onto my lap. I regarded the perfect pink handprint on her bottom and thought a moment. It put me in mind of those turkeys we drew in grade school…where we would trace our hands on a piece of construction paper-I would go with the goldenrod color- then we would…

Tommy! Focus…

Yes, honey, I said lifting my hand.

Perspective

im-waiting

She felt a tweak in the small of her back while he was fumbling through the medicine cabinet. What was taking him so long?

“I’m waiting…” she said as lightly as she could.

“Can’t find the Vaseline”, he called his hands shaking.

Vaseline? She thought and sighed. “KY”, she said over her shoulder. “Middle shelf in the closet.”

“Right, Right”, he said.

He could see her from the bathroom door.

“What an ass…” he thought, his heart starting to race.

“What an ass…” she thought, her heart starting to sink.

 

Braising

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The hard work was done.
Hidden by the night's blanket-
Drowned out by barking dogs and passing coal trains
That shook the building.

The Osso Buco was my idea.
It was his favorite-
Something his family wouldn't have known.
Expecting fried chicken and hot sausage
They looked at me like I was crazy.

So I braised all night, 
Reliving old conversations to file away-
For later.
I could have been with him that night.
Doesn't mean I should have. 
He wouldn't begrudge me still being here. 
As long as I cooked.

I braised long enough to be sober by dawn.
Nothing to do but stir the sauce and wait
For the set-up crew.

His stool at the end of the bar looked less empty,
Washed by the golden glow leaking through the curtains.
Nobody would begrudge me a beer
After a long night's work.