We’ll Write Our Own Story

He could see her down the alley, heading home. She was moving so slowly through the shadows that it occurred to him she wanted to be stopped, to be called back. In fact, as he watched, she slowed her pace to the point that she was hardly moving. She seemed to be not walking anymore, just languidly floating like algae in a light current. 

Then, in the darkest spot in her path, behind the hulking void of the American Legion hall, she turned and he saw a glint on her cheek. It struck him later as uncanny that he was able to see tears on his girl’s cheek from that far away in that darkness. The simple truth was had he not seen that tear-that simple trick of reflected light-he never would have called her back. 

He stepped away from the garage to be seen and raised his right arm and with a flap of the elbow and a flick of the wrist, beckoned her back. Seeing him she froze then, hurried no more, began to retrace her path, her pace quickening with every step. By the time she cleared the Legion’s shadow she was in full stride, long legs covering broken asphalt and her wet cheeks shining. He opened his arms ready to catch her. The slaps of her sneakers got louder before they stopped when she launched. He wrapped his arms around her and buried his face where her neck should have been and squeezed his own chest hard, his hands wrapped around his own arms. 

Having braced for an impact that never came, he stumbled backward and spun to his right, dropping a hand to the ground to steady himself. Realizing that his eyes were closed he opened them and found himself alone in the middle of the alley. He looked around quickly. Nothing. His heart thumped. He started in the direction from where she’d come, scrambling, jogging and calling her name.  He saw her, didn’t he?  She saw him. She had been there. Hadn’t she? 

Spinning his head, he noticed a faint light in one of the bedrooms of the apartment above the garage. He raced between the buildings and thumped heavily up the wooden steps two and three at a time. The door was open. He burst into the space that he knew so well calling her name. He crossed the kitchen in two strides, Then down the hallway where the dull yellow light oozed from under the door. 

He grabbed the knob and tried to twist but it was frozen. Locked. The door yielded easily with a loud crack to a single thrust of his thick shoulder.and there she sat on the end of the stripped bed, elbows on knees, face in hands weeping. The ferocity that brought him crashing through the locked door vanished in the face of her sorrow. He slid to his knees between hers and gently and finally wrapped his arms around her. 

“What?” he asked.

“I know how this ends.” she said bleakly.

Enveloped by him, her sobbing ebbed somewhat.

“No you don’t”, he said. “WE say how it ends. Not you, not me but WE. It’s us, it’s always been us.”

“NO” she sad emphatically but without anger. “You won’t change. You may think you will, but you won’t. What you were is too strong, it will pull you back. And for that person, I am just a sidekick-the kid down the alley.”

“Not true.”

“True. Is true, Was true. Will be true.”

She was wrong, he thought. How could she be so wrong? He knew how he felt and everything he’d done had been for them. She didn’t believe him anymore. It wasn’t her fault. Without realizing, they had begun to speak different languages. His was the only one they’d heard for years. He had to learn to speak her’s.

He sat back on his haunches and untied her left shoe. He slipped it off and set it aside. Then rolled off her short ankle sock and placed it in the shoe. He repeated the steps with the other shoe. Straightening on his knees he grasped the bottom of her T-shirt and lifted it up over her head where she took over and pulled it all the way off shaking out her hair in a way that seemed triumphant. She never wore a bra and her small breasts, like orange halves, were at eye level. He again wrapped his arms around her bare back and snuggled his face between them. She shivered for the first of many times that evening.

She watched him, eyes clear and alert, as he unsnapped her jeans. Then  lifted so he could peel them down and off.  When he kissed the tops of her long thighs and moved his tongue inside of them, she moaned softly. Her panties were white with tiny red roses spattered over them. Little girl panties. She had others she would have worn if she knew this was going to happen. She yielded to his touch when he pushed her back onto the bed. She scootched backward to lay instead of sit. 

He put his mouth on her soft mound where it pushed against the cotten and breathed his hot breath onto her there. When he looked up, she was watching him wearing an expression he’d never seen before but having seen in, never wanted to do without it. 

“We say how this ends”, he said firmly.

“I might be starting to believe you”, she said, her hand touching his cheek.  

Insomnia #58

The two young women regarded each other carefully., as one would study a reflection in a full length mirror. One turned out her ankle and the other did the same and watched how the calf flexed. They were both wearing shorts, but not the same kind-one had jean shorts cut high enough that the pockets showed below the ragged hem. The other wore nylon athletic shorts that were similarly short. 

He suddenly remembered his mother in a bra and panties (he had to have been six or seven because they still lived in the apartment) twisting and turning to catch all views of herself in the long mirror on the back of her bedroom door. As she modeled, he lay on her bed pretending to read a book about the Confederate general Jeb Stuart. The book was over his head by a good couple of years but he was drawn to it in the library by the painting on the cover of a dashing figure on a horse riding through gunfire. But all he could think about was the crack of his mother’s butt which he could see as a dark line through her sheer panties. 

The two women were remarkably similar in build at least from the waist down and they studied one another’s legs carefully, each twisting and turning. 

“We’re not the same person,” said the one in the athletic shorts.

“Who said we were?” answered the other. 

“Your breasts are bigger than mine”, said athletic shoes having turned to profile to better evaluate. 

Both were braless in T-shirts, one gray, one black. 

“Your breasts are fine”, said jean shorts with a sweet smile. 

“Easy for you to say,” athletic shorts answered, her gaze squarely on the other’s breasts. 

“Anything more than a mouthful is wasted, right?” jean shorts said with the same-maybe even wider- smile. 

“Where’d you hear that?” athletic shorts said quickly.

“Frankie says it all the time…”

“He does”, she answered.

“Any luck on that front?” she asked, still smiling with a bit of concern.

“He’s coming around”, she answered in a tone that conveyed the opposite.

“Frankie’s a stubborn one.” jeans short said.

Hearing his name mentioned aloud in what had to be a dream caused Frank to stir. And when he did the slight pain in his shoulder from having fallen asleep on the couch was enough to bring him fully awake. He was in the garage, the flickering fluorescent above the workbench casting a dim blue that didn’t cut much of the darkness. He had no idea what time it was, but he could still smell Teena. She couldn’t have been gone long. 

He sighed and sat up, dropping his feet onto the concrete floor, only then realizing he had an erection. He reflected on his tent pole sullenly hoping it was from the two women in his dream and not of the memory of his mother in her underwear. 

“Oh well”, he sighed, rising. “Nothing to be done…”. He pushed himself down the leg of his jeans and picked his way through the clutter toward the door. 

Getting Back to “Us”

Hannah LaGrange was feeling it. Not the wine, she was just sipping. There had been an open bottle on the counter so she’d helped herself. Samantha wouldn’t mind. She never opened one herself-that would be overstepping in her mind. Timmy was back in his room playing video games never to return so she was alone. The warm breeze had dried her and the sun had just dropped below the tree line. She sat up and flopped her legs off the side of the lounge chair. Another dip to end the day. She sipped again and set the glass back on the concrete, stood and stretched. Just the thought gave her goosebumps! She padded to the deep end of the pool and jumped in feet first, slicing all the way to the bottom. She flexed against the pebbly bottom and pushed back to the surface. Just cool enough to be refreshing.,but she didn’ jump in the pool to be refreshed. 

She breast stroked over to the side where the warm water jet was. She had a small shiver when she felt it against her thighs. Then, with a final glance back toward the house Hannah let go of the side of the pool and sank, quickly pulling her bikini bottoms off.  Then she grabbed  the side of the pool again, pressing her body against the cool wall and, legs open slightly, positioned herself carefully in front of the jet. She actually chirped when she found the right spot. Wouldn’t take long, Hannah LaGrange was feeling it tonight.

According to her mother, Hannah was a “wanter”. That was when she was feeling charitable. When she wasn’t in a good mood she’d call her daughter greedy, grabby, jealous, none of which really bothered Hannah. Guilty as charged, she thought. She wanted stuff. Things. Nice stuff. Nice things. Didn’t everyone? Didn’t her mother? Or had she been so far down for so long she didn’t know how to want things anymore. She certainly didn’t want to be like her. Sometimes she wished that Samantha Lawson was her mother. Was that bad? Samantha had it all. What Hannah was desperate to figure out was how to get the things she wanted. Until then, she’d enjoy what she could, even if, like the Lawson’s lavish house and lifestyle, it didn’t belong to her. 

Sated, finishing with a moan,  Hannah pushed herself away from the pool’s wall and dropped to the bottom to retrieve her suit which she tossed onto the patio. Then, weak kneed, she pulled herself out of the pool, and wrapped herself in a towel and went inside tiptoeing back to Timmy’s room. She cracked the door-it was dark; he had put himself to bed. 

The next afternoon Hannah’s phone buzzed on the table beside her vibrating her keys. She picked it up and turned it over. Samantha. She hit the icon. “Hello?”, she said, on speaker.

The woman’s deep, syrupy voice filled the small kitchen. “Hi Hannah. Would…would you be able to stop by this evening?”

She hesitated a moment and wracked her brain. “Was I supposed to sit tonight?”

“No, no…not till the weekend. If we…” She trailed for a moment then came back with a flurry. “…There’s something I want to talk to you about, that’s all.”

That’s cryptic, thought Hannah. “Is everything alright?” Samantha virtually never called her to talk or to have her drop in when babysitting wasn’t involved 

“I don’t know, actually….But, I’m sure it’s fine”, said Samantha hesitantly. “Around seven?”

“OK”, Hannah said brightly, conveying none of the creeping concern that was starting to root. Five hours away. What could this be? she wondered. Maybe she wants me to go away with them to watch Timmy on a trip. She had done that last fall. No, that wouldn’t require a visit-they could talk about that this weekend. “If we…” echoed in her head. What had she done? she’d known Samantha since they’d moved here-over ten years ago.

She had played soccer with her daughter Abby who was a couple of years older than Hannah and off at college. This babysitting gig was the best job ever. First, they overpaid her, enough that it was her only summer job: they wanted her always available.   And Timmy was eight going on twenty five, so he was no problem at all. There was always some wine consumed-not alot and it was, if not encouraged, definitely condoned. The pool and the hot tub were major benefits. Samantha knew she had friends over now and again but they just hung out at the pool or in the great room. Of course,  there were the fashion shows, but how could Samantha know about that? 

Hannah shook her head and went into her room to prepare to shower. She wasn’t going to go on like this all day. She’d put it out of her mind and just wait and see.

At seven sharp she pulled into the driveway beside the red Porsche and as she walked toward the door saw Samantha through the wide windows coming to meet her. The woman greeted her quickly, almost coldly. Even dressed down for an evening at home she was a striking forty year old- gorgeous in dark jeans and black cotton shirt with sleeves rolled halfway up her forearms. 

Samantha didn’t immediately clear the doorway and Hannah gave her a quick hug in greeting. “Timmy is…?”

“He’s off with Craig to a father/son party at school. So it’s just us”, said Samantha, closing the door.

“Oh, OK.” Hanna fell in behind as Samantha led the way into the kitchen. There was a sweating glass of what Maddy knew to be Pinot Grigio on the island. This would be the time when Samantha would offer her one. But she didn’t. She picked up her glass and said  “Come,” Samantha led the way into the great room and to the leather sectional that faced both the fireplace and 75 inch plasma TV mounted above it. 

“Sit. I want to show you something.”

They sat side by side on the cool leather. When Samantha hit a button on the remote a video of the Lawson’s master bedroom materialized, the doors to Samantha’s walk-in closet wide open. Hannah’s heart sank even before she saw herself on screen, strutting out of the closet wearing Samantha’s gold lame evening gown. Samantha was a head taller so the gown dragged a bit. And bunched up top as Hannah was no match in the breast department.  Hannah watched, mortified, as she struck poses in front of the mirror then looked away as she slipped it seductively off and onto the floor. She had gone into the closet after showering from the pool. So in the video between fittings, she was completely naked. She bent slightly wiggling her butt into the mirror. 

Hannah grabbed Samantha’s forearm and sneaked a quick glance at her face. It was clouded but seemed to reveal no over-the-top anger. “You know what I paid for that gown that you just dropped on the floor?”

“No…”

“Not as much as that black one you’re about to put on…”

Hannah peeked at the screen in time to see her naked backside slip back into the closet. “Can you turn it off please?” Her voice was small. 

“Really? It’s just getting good. I like the way you accessorize. Especially the way my pearls hang over your little boobs when you were topless in my leather skirt. That’s coming up…You sure you don’t want to see it….The way you pressed your arms together to make cleavage. So cute. You should see it…”

“No…” it was a whisper. 

Samantha pressed the button on the remote and the screen went black. “Suffice to say, this isn’t what I was expecting to see when I left the nanny cam running. I started noticing my jewelry was moved around-not exactly where or how I left it. Then some other things; I always hang outfits front to the door. Always. Sometimes I’d find them turned or on different hangers.

How could I have missed that? wondered Hannah. “I…I’m sorry”, she said, trying to break the thick air that hung over them. 

“I thought it might be Timmy, playing dress up. That would be fine-it’s a phase-but I thought I needed to know what was going on. But no, it wasn’t my eight year old son dressing up, it’s his teenage  babysitter.”

“I’m so embarrassed.” Hannah said thickly. 

“I can imagine. Let me ask you…how can I trust you in my house? With my son?” Samantha asked simply without sounding harsh. They were not rhetorical questions.

“Timmy has nothing to do with this. He was asleep and your door was closed”

“Are you sure he was asleep?”

“I checked on him”

“Because he told me that before turning out the light he came out to check on you. You get that? My son came to check on YOU.  And he saw you in the pool. But you weren’t really swimming, just hanging on the side of the pool…singing”, he said.

Hannah made fists and pushed them against her forehead. Could this get any worse?

“I asked him where in the pool.  And he showed me where. I know that spot….Of course, on the other hand, if you’re going to have sex in the pool when you’re watching Timmy, I’d just as soon you do it alone.”

Hannah actually wanted to cry out of embarrassment but nothing would come. She knew this was bad, she was going to lose the best job ever which meant having to man the fryer at Mickey D’s over the summer..What would she tell people? …”I’ve never stolen anything!” she pleaded. “Never did anything….”she caught herself. 

“Go ahead-finish that sentence. What were you going to say? Never did anything that you shouldn’t have? Boy, that’s a wide net.”

“Please don’t fire me.  I love being here. I love Timmy. I love…”

You’re great with Timmy and that’s what matters.. If I showed this tape to Craig-you would be so gone, so fast.

“Please don’t show him.”

Yeah, so I’ll have to keep this from him…which isn’t pleasant, believe me. Because I’m really pissed at you. I don’t know that I can trust you anymore. I gave you-you earned-the run of the house-I was never specific: don’t try on my clothes-don’t dance nakend in my bedroom, but some things don’t need to be said, do they?”

“I was out of line…”

“Obviously. I didn’t check my underwear drawer. Did you…?”

“NO!”

“Oh good. You do have your limits.” She said coldly.

Samantha’s tone finally brought a tear to Hannah’s eye and a choke to her voice. 

“I just feel this will be something between us, I’ve created this thing between us.”

“There’s no “us” right now Hannah.”

“I’m sorry…Is there anything I can do to make it up to you?

It’s a shame you’re too old for a spanking”.  Samantha was speaking to the top of Hannah’s head as the mortified girl’s eyes were fixed on the table in front of her. Hannah snorted a quick laugh as Samantha’s words hung in the air. When she looked up there was a glint in the woman’s green eyes that might signal a way out of her predicament. Hannah shrugged. “Am I? I don’t know. Never had one.” 

“Never?”

“Maybe when I was little…”

“Lucky you. I wore out my hand on Abby’s butt when she was in high school.”

“YOU SPANKED ABBY?!” Hannah couldn’t believe it. The tall raven haired class treasurer being spanked by her mother. 

“Couldn’t get through to her for a while there.  Didn’t you notice how going into Junior year she settled down. You had no more drinking parties over here when we were out?”

“Yeah-and she HAD to be home right at 10. She said she was just buckling down on her studies.”

“She’s a brain-she didn’t need to study that much. But if she came in late I was waiting with the hairbrush with a swat for every minute past curfew.”

“I had no idea!”

Samantha seemed to consider. “I think that behavior rather than age dictates punishment. In fact when I got over my initial shock at your little fashion show-seeing your naked little tush parading through my bedroom, the first thing I thought was that girl needs a good spanking.”

Hannah shrugged. “Whatever you think Samantha. I’ll do anything to fix this.”

“Be careful what you wish for”, Samantha said rising. She gestured for Hannah to follow. 

“Where we going?”

“Back to the scene of the crime.”

It was on the walk down the hall, watching Samanth’s back that Hannah started to feel something she didn’t understand. She knew what it was, that tingling, she just didn’t understand it right then. Samantha stood aside at the open door and waved the girl inside. She stepped to the right toward Smanatha’s side of the room: makeup table, the closet and jewelry boxes. She noticed a wooden hairbrush beside the mirror on the table. Had that always been there? As if in a dream she picked it up, testing its weight. Her stomach flipped. “Be careful what you wish for” echoed in her head. 

“Thank you Hannah”. Samantha took the hairbrush as if it was being offered and sat down on the straight backed chair that she’d turned away from her makeup table. Hannah’s breathing quickened-and it wasn’t just fear. “Take your shorts off.”

“Off? I thought I would just go over your lap like this.

“Not likely. I don’t spank jeans.” 

“Can’t I just take them down?”

“No, I let Abby do that once and she tripped herself walking around with her pants around her ankles. So off.” It was a command, not a suggestion. Hannah was seemingly frozen in place. “You are not going to go shy on me, are you? Now? After everything I’ve already seen?”

Hannah worked on her button with shaking fingers. Samantha reached out and caught a belt loop and pulled her in. ”I think you need a hand”

Not knowing exactly what to do with them, Hannah held her hands clutched in front of her chest as Samantha opened, then pushed her shorts down. She patted the girl’s thigh. “Step out, honey.” Hannah reacted to the soft touch and soothing voice, taking the  offered hand for balance. She let herself be led to Samananths’s right side and then, with a guiding hand lay over the woman’s lap. Samantha adjusted her slightly so her toes were just touching the floor and her bottom bent over the woman’s strong thigh. She hissed when she felt her panties being pulled down and made a small “tsk” when they stuck between her legs. She had gotten surprisingly damp down there, something Samantha couldn’t help but notice in the crotch of the light blue panties. 

The girl made another unidentifiable sound as Samantha rested her hand on the back of her thigh, just below her bottom. “I don’t really want to hurt you Hannah, any more than I wanted to hurt my own daughter when she was in this position. But I do want to punish you for taking advantage of me and to let you know that it’s not OK. And to do that I am going to really hurt your butt. There’s no way around that.”

Hannah was horrified to be feeling it again. The same way she felt when she was trying to position in front of the pool jet. Samantha lectured, and for emphasis, squeezed her bottom, patted her leg or poked a cheek. Every touch created a flutter inside Hannah. The first smack came as an open handed swat delivered firmly. Hannah grunted softly feeling the sting of it but also the inexplicable buzz that hummed between her legs. As the hand spanking continued, Hannah’s thoughts of escape-of sliding off Samantha’s lap and running for the door-dissipated, replaced by a confusing mix of discomfort, humiliation, and that tingle. Also for the first time this evening she felt strangely close to Smantha. Samantha was doing to her what she had done to her own daughter. She had to care for her didn’t she? Or she would have just tossed her out. Then, as suddenly as the spanking began it stopped and Hannah relaxed realizing she had been subtly lifting her bottom to meet Samantha’s punishing hand.. 

Hannah lifted her head when she felt the cool wood of the hairbrush patting her warm bottom. “I don’t think you’ll enjoy this part as much as the last”, Samantha said. God, thought Hannah she knew what I was feeling? There was no more time to contemplate as the woman tightened her grip around her young charge’s waist and let fly with a solid swat that landed equally on both cheeks. The blow elicited a loud yelp that could have been an echo so perfectly did it answer the swat. Then again…and again-every swat a double sound “THWACK! YOW!” Hannah yelped and wriggled and was beginning to kick when Samantha pressed the hard wood of the brush firmly against her already scarlet bottom. 

“Settle”, she ordered. “This won’t go on much longer if you behave. Understand?”

Hannah meant to just say “Yes” but that single word unleashed a torrent of sobs. “I’ll try…it just hurts…so bad.” 

“I know it does. But we’re almost done.”

“I’ll try”, she sniffled. “I’m sorry.”

“The last ones are the hardest..” 

Hannah moaned at the words wondering how they could be harder. Then she found out. Samantha delivered five more swats; two on each cheek and one, the final and hardest at the exact center of the bottom of her bum  which echoed through the girl’s void and brought a fresh wail of pain and distress. 

“Shhh, shhhh..”said Samantha gently. “You’re done…” 

“Thank God!” Hannah exclaimed. Gently crying, she didn’t seem to be in much of a hurry to move. Samantha kept her hand chastly on the girl’s leg. ”You did so well,” she told her. 

“I tried…” she answered to the floor. “Better than Abby?” she asked looking back over her shoulder.

“Abby was a tough nut-a real hard ass. Took everything in silence. Wouldn’t give me the satisfaction of knowing I was hurting her. That was her thing. I knew I was getting through, though.”

“You got through to me, for sure.” Hannah sniffled. 

“There was no doubt about that…It’s a good thing we don’t have any close neighbors.”

“I’m sorry for being a baby. I didn’t know what to expect. I’ll be better next time.”

“Next time?” Samantha scoffed. “Here-get up.” Samantha gave her a hand and Hannah pushed herself off the woman’s lap, where she sood unashamedly rubbing her burning bottom. Samantha picked a few face pads from her table and wiped the tears from Hannah’s cheeks, then a tissue to wipe her nose. She was clear eyed and done crying.

Samantha leaned over and picked up the girl’s underwear which she held open as for a child. With a hand on the woman’s shoulder for support Hannah stepped one leg in, then the other, then straightened while Samantha pulled them up and gave her the first real smile of the evening. 

“You did well. And you know what? It’s over…”

“There’s “us” again?”

“Yes”

Hannah stepped close and sat on Samantha’s lap clenching her butt cheeks against the sweet soreness she felt there and threw her arms around the woman’s neck. Samantha returned the embrace and, as good as that felt, Hannah wished she could take a dip in the pool…to find her special spot in front of the water jet. She couldn’t exactly ask to go for a swim. Could she?

Insomnia #43

The double call of the owls in the hardwoods
Had become threads in a dream that made no sense.

As a boy he had confused the deep throb of the towboat diesels pushing coal upriver,
A sound that could only be heard in the dead of night, with his own heartbeat.

When the tow went round the upriver bend and faded, 
He awoke with a start fearing that without the deep vibration he would die. 

The soft coo of the mourning doves finally woke him. 

The mossy boulders where he coiled had held the sun’s warmth well into the night 
Rattlesnakes and copperheads also liked the warm fissures
But he never minded sharing..he’d had worse in his bed.

The buttery glow of the pallid morning sun
Did little to dilute the haze shrouding the ridge.
 
He had not planned on sleeping up there
But the long day-spooked by the moon-had abruptly fled
Leaving him unsure of the path.

It was hard to imagine, so many years later
That he had touched him just the once. 
Had he meant, just the once, in that one night,
Or more than one time within that night. 
Or just one time every night of many?
His explanations were never made clear. 

Even a child knew he was full of shit. 

The overlook revealed buzzards below;
Pepper specks riding the updrafts from the valley floor.

She knew the whole time
Which was probably why she had never touched him
Which would have been his clear preference. 

But all is forgiven
Nothing forgotten

Or is it the other way around?
It would make all the difference.

She was open to him  later,
But he never lay a hand on her
Until much later when she pleaded that he wouldn’t.

Now he heard them often
Treading the squeaky floorboards at night
As he shuddered in his bag
Behind a locked door 

That wouldn’t keep them out,
If they wanted to come in. 

But all is forgotten
Nothing forgiven

The Devil Finds Work for Idle Hands

Continued from Friday Night Lights

A month later and Kristin still hadn’t sorted out what to do with her Friday nights. What was that saying about the devil and idle hands? Everyone she knew was at the game where she could not show her face. Her Mom had gone into Pittsburgh for a work thing.  To think she would miss having her around! She was just hanging-moping actually. The football field was on a hill a mile out of town and when the air was right you could hear parts of the game from everywhere. And could see the bright glow from the  field on the horizon. And, critically, she was out of pot. Which she really needed right now.  Randy or Sheryll would both be holding but they were at the game. 

She had in mind a place to try.  Her ex-best friend Lynette Talbot usually had pot in their garage. They used to get high out there when they were friends. They had broken up over the summer. It was the usual: one boy, two girls thing; laid over that “other stuff” that Kristin didn’t want to think about right now. They’d each moved on to different crowds since then, and Kristin would have been happy to put whatever it was behind them-God knows she could use a friend or two now-but Lynette was beyond bitchy and seemed to enjoy keeping Kristin as an enemy. Being here in this garage made her a little sad and nostalgic for the times they had together. She had her new pack of tough girls though and was completely lost to her. . 

The two car garage was across the backyard from Lynette’s house. Kristin had been such a fixture at the Talbot house that she would have known her way around blindfolded. There were no trees or shrubs in the yard so the garage’s man-door faced the house in plain sight so that anyone in the kitchen would see her. Did her parents even know she and Lynette were on the outs? If she got caught skulking around could she just bluff her way through with a story about looking for Lynette? Maybe…but she was pretty sure everyone was at the game. The house was dark with the lone porch light glowing wanly. 

Still, she was as sneaky as she could be, playing it like a caper movie. She even flipped up the collar of her jean jacket. The garage was locked, of course. It was always locked but she knew where the key was hidden. She picked up the half brick beside the walkway and snatched the key from the dirt as she had often done. After wiping it on her jeans she slipped it into the knob and paused. She heard the pounding of the drums, then the marching band from the stadium. It must be halftime. She shook her head rapidly to avoid thinking about the routine that she wasn’t doing in front of a stadium full of people with all eyes on her. She would cry if she thought about it.

She went inside and closed the door gently behind her. The light switch was just to her right, but why chance it? There was enough street light filtering through the glass block windows to see by. On shelves above where the front of the car would be were oil cans behind which would typically be a small baggie with a couple of joints or some loose buds. That’s all she needed to get her through the night.  On tiptoes she felt around. There was something there…but… her heart almost stopped when she found the bag. It was not the small, fit in your fist baggie she had expected. When she pulled it from the shelf she needed both hands to cradle the gallon sized ziplock bag filled to bursting with what looked to be deep green buds. She was far from an expert but Kristin knew she was holding something special and probably valuable. This couldn’t be just Lynette’s.  Her first thought was to replace it and sneak out the way she came in. She was suddenly nervous and in over her head. 

Kristen was so focused and intent on what she was doing that she didn’t hear them until the overhead fluorescent flashed on. And by then most of them were inside.

“Kristin!” yelled Lynette, hand on the light switch and obviously startled  “What the fuck?”

Lynette’s pack this evening included Cassie Lawton, senior softball star who led the district in home runs for the last two years. Which meant little in the context of the garage that night, but what did matter was that she was as tall as Kristin and outweighed her by thirty pounds of muscle. Her arms were as thick as Kristin’s thighs.

“Get her, Cassie” growled Lynette. The big girl needed no direction, she had already circled to her left and grabbed Kristin by the arm in a  grip that virtually paralyzed the slim brunette. Kathy Lugar, another, but less fearsome,  softball player circled to the other side and grabbed Kristin by the other arm at the wrist, causing the bag to fall to the floor. It bounced softly, unharmed.

“Watch that for chissakes!” Lynette ordered. She was a tall, lanky girl with hair the color and seeming consistency of straw bunched in a rough ponytail. 

Kathy bent and picked it up, hefted it. “It’s OK.”

“Better be.”

“You’re ripping us off? Lynette asked loudly, surprised.

Kristin went from startled and nervous to frightened pretty quickly. She hadn’t been in a fight since grade school and she was poorly equipped to be in one now. The six girls who followed Lynette into the garage weren’t all softball players but they were all tough girls who ran in a completely different circle. This wouldn’t be a fight, it would be a slaughter. She recognized Glenda Thomas who actually worked in her dad’s gas station nights and weekends. Kristen didn’t think she was better than any of these girls, but she was different. At least she had been once. She had no idea who she was now.  Her stomach gurgled as she tried to imagine what it would feel like to get punched in the face. She needn’t have worried. Lynette stepped close, balled her fist and punched her hard in the stomach.

Kristin gasped a loud “OOF!” and would have bent double but for the girls holding her right and left. She squeezed her eyes tightly and tried to pick up her knees to relieve the pain in her middle. One of the girls holding her yanked her hair hard, lifting her face. Lynette punched her again and she gagged. When she regained her breath and opened her eyes she saw a familiar and maybe friendly face walk through the door.. It was Ben Bodine who everyone called Benji. A cutesy name for a pretty badass all-district wrestler. He wasn’t a towering beast like Frank Orsatti, their heavyweight, but one of the middle weights-around one hundred fifty tightly muscled pounds. 

She and Benji had shared freshman homeroom and a couple of classes. There was a time when she had helped him in Chem Lab and had gone to a couple of wrestling matches. He kept to himself and despite her gentle flirts had never taken the bait. He kept his hair super short and except for the bent nose, had soft features.  What was he doing with these animals? Their eyes caught and she saw something; disappointment, disgust, disdain, one of the dis’s. She wanted to look away but dared not, hoping to message a distress signal. Would he care? Was he one of them?

Lynette motioned as if to punch her again and Kristin sucked up her legs trying to shrink. “Please Lynette. No more.”

“No more? I’m just getting started.” Eyes flashing, Lynette stepped nose to nose with her captive and yanked her hair while staring into her eyes. .“You’ll wish I kept punching you”, she said menacingly before striding  off to a corner of the room where she rummaged through a pile of what looked like debris and wood scraps against the near wall. Finding what she was after, she straightened and turned, holding a stout little board about two feet long and as wide as the palm of her hand. The way she brandished it moving toward Kristen left no doubt about her intentions. 

“Turn her around”, she ordered. Kristin was alarmed at how easily the two girls handled her. 

“What are you doing?” she asked unnecessarily over her shoulder, her hair cascading over her eyes. 

“I’m going to beat your ass for ripping us off.”

“NO! Whatever I took I was going to replace once I hooked up.”

“You’re not going to replace this stuff”.Cassie growled in her ear..  Nobody has it. I had to go all the way to Morgantown for it..Too much time and money went into this to allow some baton princess to walk off with it. 

Oh God! thought Kristin. They’re all in on it. They’re going to kill me. “I wasn’t! I swear, I just wanted to get a little. I remember how Lynette kept a stash here. I just wanted to catch a little buzz. I didn’t know it belonged to all of you or I never would have…” She desperately pulled her arms and rolled her shoulders trying to loosen their grip, but it was useless. 

“Stealing from me is fine, huh? Just not from all of us”

Lynette pointed the paddle at her menacingly. “This is breaking and entering…”

“I didn’t break in. EVERYBODY knows where your key is Lynette. 

“Enough of your shit. Bend her over the workbench.”

Again, Kristin could offer only token resistance as, feet barely touching the floor, she was moved to the workbench. The edge dug into her hips as they pushed her over and flattened her onto it. She heard someone say “Get the phone out of her pocket. Her jeans were tight so whoever was digging around had to struggle to pull it out. Then Cassie said, “We should take her pants down.” 

Kristin panicked and tried to kick backward. Someone dropped to the floor and grabbed her legs. With Cassie draped across her back and Kathy holding her wrists she was effectively immobilized. She had a vision of being mauled by dogs as what seemed like fifty hands clawed at her. Someone reached around her waist and yanked at her belt, unbuckling it. There was absolutely nothing she could do to stop them from pulling her pants off. From stripping her naked if they wanted. 

“NO! PLEASE LYNETTE, DON’T DO THIS”. Her voice was ragged and breathless. 

“I’m over here sweetie”, said Lynette slipping into Kristin’s sightline and waving the paddle. “It’s not me…I’m just watching the show.”

She screamed in frustration. Her zipper was down and she felt her waist loosen. Her  jacket and T-shirt had been pushed up so her lower back was exposed. Feeling the air on her  flesh-even her back-heightened the panic as she struggled. Whoever was on the floor reached up and began tugging at the beltline on one side while someone else was pulling on the other side.She would be bare ass in seconds. 

“O PLEASE DON’T!….”, she was crying now, something she had hoped to avoid. 

“Stop!” The only male voice in the garage cut through the rabble and all hands pawing at Kristin’s clothes froze in place. Kristin opened her eyes but couldn’t lift her head as there was a strong forearm across it pinning it to the bench. 

“Stop what Benji?” Lynette fairly snarled.”I AM going to beat her ass. 

“Leave her jeans up”, he said evenly. He hadn’t liked Lynette punching her while she was being held. He thinks he might have stopped it if he was inside when it happened. Whatever, there wouldn’t have been a third punch. 

Nobody spoke for a moment and Kristin could feel the tension in the room and hear feet shuffling.

Lynette said, “Tell me you don’t want to see this little thief’s bare ass.”

“Why don’t you describe it for us? I’m sure you have fond memories.” 

There were a smattering of “ooohs” and a giggle or two. Kathy Lugar scoffed. 

“You forget who’s holding the paddle.” Lynette said, trying to maintain control. 

“That can change in a fucking instant.” Again, his voice was devoid of emotion which chilled the garage further. Kristin held her breath.

“I don’t know what your game is Benji. You think she’s going to thank you for this?. Give you a friendly blow job or a little fuckey-fuck” She jabbed the paddle roughly up between Kristin’s legs. “This princess is too stuck up for you. And us. We’re ok to steal from….” 

“Her jeans stay up,” he said in a tone that ended the conversation. 

“Alright. Fine! I’ll just hit her harder. Pull her jeans up tight”. Kathy and Cassie pulled her jeans up higher than they’d been and held them there, the seam splitting her uncomfortably. Someone patted her cheek firmly “There you go,” Her jeans clung  to her butt like denim paint. 

Kristin didn’t have time to be relieved about not being stripped. .She was too conscious of her bottom being set up like a target. After an anxious moment,  the first swat landed with a ferocity that blew all breath out of her open mouth. She was too stunned to make a sound. The next was equally solid. She yelped a loud “OWWW” following the third. She had in the back of her mind thought that her mother’s hairbrush might have prepared her for this, but she was sorely mistaken. That had been a spanking from someone who loved her.. Sound, but still a spanking. This was a beating by someone who only wanted to hurt her, and struggle as she might, she couldn’t avoid or stop it. Cassie felt her rocking back and forth, struggling to lift herself off the bench. “Don’t fight”, she whispered into her ear. “Don’t tense-don’t clench your ass it will be worse.”

Kristin heard the words from far away. She howled pitifully. She tasted blood and knew she had bitten her lip but really couldn’t feel it. She could barely breathe and feared she might pass out. The pain had settled to an overall numbing burn, accented by the relentless impact of the board, swat after swat. She tried to gag hoping to puke which she saw as her only defense right now. Maybe if she could pee herself, they’d stop but she had no conscious control of anything. 

Then suddenly, it stopped amid a shuffle of feet and a loud “Hey” from Lynette. What Kristin couldn’t  see was Benji stepping up and grabbing the paddle on the backswing. “Enough”, he said, wrenching it from her hand. “Owww”, she whined, grabbing her wrist.

“Enough. You made your point.” Reacting to the change in the room, Cassie, careful not to push on her, rose, giving Kristin the first full breath she’d had since she was pinned. Kathy Lugar released her wrists then strangely patted her head and slipped a lock of hair, damp with tears and sweat off Kristin’s face and behind her ear. “Sorry”, she said, a tiny puff in her ear. “That was efff’d up,”

She Lay where she was, crying softly as the drama played out behind her out of sight. 

Lynette was clearly enraged but not unhinged enough to make the mistake of getting up in Benji’s face. His glare put her back on her heels. His eyes never left hers as he reached out with his empty left hand and said, “Gimme”.

Shayla Brooks, a solid little girl in a leather jacket and biker boots handed him the pillow sized bag of dope. His eyes slowly surveyed the room, 

“We’re all  friends here, ” he said in a flat tone that indicated the opposite might be true. It was lost on no one that he was still holding the paddle and pointing it generally at everyone as he spoke, lingering on the softball players who had held Kristen down. Cassie, never one to back down, shrunk a little as her cohort Kathy shuffled a half step behind her. 

“We’re supposed to split that up!” Lynette complained, trying to keep the shrillness out of her voice. Benji looked at her as if trying to place a stranger who might have looked familiar. “I recall”, he said slowly. “Thank you. This pot belongs to all of us, but it was my cash that fronted it. I might be starting to doubt somebody’s judgment…or temperament to manage this deal.”

He pointed the board directly at Cassie and Kathy. “You remember what we talked about, yes?”

“I do”, said Cassie. 

“You’ll take care of it, right?”

“Yep.”

He tossed his head, indicating Lynette. Go with her, she has my scale. Do what we discussed.”

“You got it, Benji”, the big girl nodded. 

He was about to toss her the baggie but pulled back. “I’ma take a little off the top..if nobody minds.” he opened the baggie and stuck his nose in. “Ahhh, this is the shit.” He sighed, performing a little. “ I need a bag.”

Marie Quintana  petite, brown and beautiful green lipstick matching her eyes,stepped from the shadows and pulled a baggie holding a single joint, out of her back pocket. She tucked behind her ear where it disappeared behind a fall of tight black curls. She handed Benji the baggie. He smiled his sweetest thank you and reached into the big bag, pulled a small healthy pinch out, stuck it into the smaller bag.

“You realize you’re already getting your cut”, Lynette said, not being able to help herself. 

“Yep. This isn’t for me” Slipping the paddle, which all the girls at least glanced at, under his arm, he wrapped the bag tight, licked the top and folded it over. He closed the big pot pillow and tossed it to Cassie. “See you at my house sometime tomorrow.” She nodded. 

Lynette, frustrated and steaming, left first banging through the door followed by her doubting minions heads down except to nod at Benji. The softballers left last with a nod then a look toward Kristen who was standing uncomfortably in front of the workbench her back still to them. “Kris”, said Cassie, which some people called Kristin. The beaten girl raised a hand in acknowledgement of the gesture and the last two girls left. 

“All gone”, said Benji and she turned stiffly, taking tiny shuffling steps. Her face was a mottled ruin of tears, snot and blood below her lips. Benji handed her a bandana from his back pocket. “It’s clean”, he said. She wiped, dabbed and blew and went to hand it back.

“Keep it”, he said. 

“Thank you…I guess.” she said. 

“No worries.”

“No, really. If they would have gotten my pants off….” She shuddered. 

“Yah, that was a tough one. 

“Why?”

“Lynette was right. I REALLY wanted to see your bare ass.”

Kristin pulled a face that was equal parts grimace and grin. “You missed your chance. I’m sure you don’t want to see it now.”

“Now I have to see it. See what kind of damage she did back there.”

“There’s something for sure…burning and squishy” When she tied to straighten to her right, she winced and caught herself back on the workbench.

“Why did you let them do that to me?” she asked on the verge of crying again. 

“Took me a few minutes to get the lay of the land. My thought, ok? Walking in on this? Was some kind of lover’s spat.”

“We’re not…! she protested.

“….I know you guys are a thing-at least you WERE-I’m not up on the latest jib-jab. But you broke in. You were taking her shit.  You deserved something, you know? Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time…So she wanted to swat your ass, fine. But she was taking it way too far. But it only happened because you came here to steal from her. 

“I wasn’t…Then she caught herself and started sobbing raggedly. “My life is so fucked up right now Benji. I don’t know what I’m going to do. 

As smoothly as he would have on the mat,  he took a quick  slide step and was immediately in front of her. He underhooked her arms and gave her a firm hug-across the back and shoulder blades-all warmy friendly and not lusty pervy. “Your life is what you want it to be. Past is not prologue. You will write your own story starting tomorrow.” he said into her ear.

She sniffed. “I got snot on your shoulder.”

“Had worse.”

“Are all wrestlers philosophers?”

“Hell’s  yeah-we try to keep it a secret though”. When she looked into his face, beside the naughty glint in his eye she saw real concern. And that was the look she responded to.  

“Now”, he said stepping out of the hug, “lets have a look at your butt.” 

To Be Continued…

Friday Night Lights

Kristin lingered across the hall pretending to read her phone waiting for the bathroom to clear. She was using the girl’s down by the shops which was usually empty. It was Friday so she was in avoidance mode. The standard harsh light inside was overwhelmed by the morning sun flooding through the  frosted windows. The girl in the mirror looked positively garish. The chestnut brown hair was still there-the red highlights especially stunning but pointless now. She looked closely into the brown eyes above the smattering of freckles. Not too bloodshot. Drops would help. She pulled them from her bag and threw her head back, not being able to resist the head shake that was a part of the dance routine that the rest of the majorettes would be doing at the game tonight. She should be out in front-just left of center-high stepping as the stadium lights glinted off the red in her hair, the color chosen to match the tunic she would never wear again. 

Among certain circles, Kristin Kelly being kicked out of the majorettes was THE news of the football season. A senior, five-eight, and leggy, she had been a majorette for four years. She would have been captain, too. She wasn’t a big time pothead. Just a little now and then to “even things out”. Sure it sounded stupid, but that’s what she’d said. Then to have been caught with a joint in school and everything changed.

“What were you thinking?” Her mother had shouted. Donna Kelly had been a majorette herself in high school and went to football games only for the halftime show. Not yet forty, in the right light, she could be mistaken for Kristin’s older sister. She kept herself in trim with a fanatical devotion to tennis and a three hundred dollar monthly check to a personal trainer.. 

When Kristin had come home and told her mother what had happened Donna caught herself in mid swing. Kristin flinched, shocked that her mother had almost slapped her and frightened that her hands seemed to be shaking. “To your room NOW!” Kristin scampered up the stairs two at a time. She knew what her Mom was capable of but she’d only been threatened with spankings for the last two years. Threats had been enough to keep her on the straight and narrow. Her last one had been very unpleasant. 

Kristin had no sooner flopped crying onto her bed than she heard her mother stomping upstairs then into her bedroom for a hot second, then stomping down the hall and bursting into Kristin’s room. A bad sign; her mother was a knocker-protective of her daughter’s privacy. Not today. She had one hand on the doorknob and in the other was her large hairbrush which as far as Kristin knew only had one function. 

“No, Mom…Please!”

“Turn over!”

Seeing the fire in her mother’s eyes she hesitated only a moment before rolling onto her belly. There was a long pause.

“Are you going to do it or should I?”

“Mom…” It was essentially the same question  she had asked two years before. “You or I?” , she repeated. Then, as a recalcitrant fifteen year old, she had stubbornly held her tongue having Donna yank down her pajama bottoms-scratching her leg with a nail in the process- and pull her over her lap so the hairbrush could do it’s work. 

This time, careful not to say or do anything that would further inflame her mother, Kristin reached under and unbuttoned her khakis. Then, lifting, pushed them and her underwear down almost to her knees. She pulled her pillow tight to her face. At least she wasn’t making her lay over her lap which would have been humiliating.  Kristin recalled thinking once that if her mother did follow through and actually spank her as a fully grown seventeen year old, it would be more embarrassing than painful. She was wrong.

The first swat Donna landed was loud and solid-ringing up her arm to the shoulder. Kristin cried out loudly and of course her mother was torn between, “Jesus! That HAD to hurt” and “GOOD! That really hurt!” 

After a dozen solid smacks, Donna took note of the bright red backside and heaving shoulders and her eyes stung unexpectedly. She called the punishment over and sat gently on the bed. The pillow under Kristin’s face was wet with tears of frustration, shame and hurt. 

“I’m sorry, Mommy” She  sobbed into the pillow. 

“I am too honey.” said Donna, sitting beside her daughter in a strangely tender moment.  “I’m sorry about this” she gingerly patted Kristin’s hot bottom.  I was just so mad and disappointed for you as well as in you. I thought I had to do something.”

“It’s alright Mom. I deserved it.”

“Maybe if I’d have done it before…instead of just threatening”

“Not your fault…”

“We’ll just have to find something else to do on Friday nights.”

“Not this, OK?” Kristen said with a smirk into the pillow. 

“Well, that will be up to you, young lady”, she scoffed, happy to lighten the mood. She squeezed her daughter’s ankle and got up. “This was hard work. I’m going down stairs to have a drink. Feel free to join me when you pull yourself together.”

Continued…The Devil Finds Work for Idle Hands

Jennie’s Over the Knee

Continued from Jennie’s Behind the Bar

It wasn’t long before Jennie found her way to me. She had been scrolling through her phone at the other end of the bar. She got close enough to smell the smoke. 

“You’re supposed to have a cigarette after…” she said slyly.

“I did…”

“That was just kissing…”, she said. “I mean the BIG after.”

Unaccustomed as I was to this sort of banter, I had enough game to reach into my top pocket and pull out the second purloined cigarette. “Covered” I said. 

At that her look, while still smiling and open, seemed to slip from simple flirting to something more intentional.

“Here let me show you something” She thumbed through her phone and found what she was looking for. “You should print this as a poster”, she said, shoving the phone close to my face. It was a photo of four young women facing a wall, pants down and bright red bottoms very much on display. The title lines read “Spankings will continue until morale improves.”

Now it was my turn to smile and lean into her game. Keeping my voice low, since she had folks at the other end of the bar, “You’re not going to call that little love tap back there a spanking are you?” I scoffed.

“No” she said.” I’m just showing you what real spankings look like.”

“I’m well aware”, I leaned back and gave her a squinty “older guy knowledge” look. 

“Oh yeah? Your place or mine?” She asked, tossing the line so easily it could have been a joke. She slipped the phone into her back pocket from where it winked at me as she purposely wiggled her backside as she walked to refill her friends.

It wasn’t a joke but a good and seemingly simple question. My big empty house was not too far away. I  had kept it when Timmie’s mother ran off  because she had taken the advice my old man had given and I’d ignored: ”It’s just as easy to fall in love with a rich one as a poor one.” She had been a secretary for a builder that had done quite well on a few subdivisions upstream. Through him she met an architect who had done better than “quite well” and now she lived in a big new stone home with a pool quite a few zip codes from mine.

True, my place had that special rumpled quality that will happen when a guy lives alone for a couple of years. Even Timmie gave up trying to make sense of all of my habitual nonsense on her monthly visits. But for the general dishevelment, my place made the most sense, and I was going to tell Jennie that when her orbital trajectory next brought her around, but she beat me to it.

“Let’s do my place”, she whispered conspiratorially. 

“You live over in The Run, right?”

“Above Champion Plumbing.” 

I knew the place. Big shop with apartments above. Probably for the best. The last time Jennie was in my house was for a team pizza party when she was fourteen and those memories mashing up against this reality might have been more than I could bear. Might have. 

“Mike Champion is like my mother’s second cousin. So I got the place on a deal. I’m the only one there and nobody works at night, so it’s quiet.” The wink wasn’t necessary. I got the point.

“Besides, I have something I want you to try.”

My curiosity,  on top of everything else, was piqued. Things seemed to take on a life of their own after that. A slow night got slower as Jennie chased off her crew with a few free drinks and we were able to close early. “I’m going to head over now, if that’s OK. I’ll leave the porch light on-door will be unlocked.”

Trying not to rush, it took me about fifteen minutes to close up. Her beat up little Subaru was parked beside the Champion Building where a set of wooden steps ascended to a small platform porch with a railing and enough room for two folding resin chairs. A faded awning was the roof. 

I turned the knob and stepped into a small, clean kitchen. On the counter, beside the sink was an unopened bottle of Blanton’s. For my money, the top of the bourbon line and definitely above Jennie’s pay grade. I was holding the bottle when she came out of the bedroom. She had changed from her jeans into what was normally her bartending uniform: black mid calf Yoga pants and a green “Oaks” T-shirt. She had brushed her hair out so it framed the smile that made my heart flip.She turned, modeling, “Since you’re always checking out my ass in these, I thought you might like if I wore them.”

I did indeed and told her so. “Is this what you wanted me to try?”

“Mmmmm”, one of the things. 

“Had to set you back.”

“I never thanked you properly for getting me in at The Oaks.”

I didn’t tell her that I should be thanking her. She had brought some new life to the place; business was up a bit not, a lot but some. Regulars responded to her smile and enthusiasm. Nothing against Jolene, but “chill” was her thing. She was very good but could be off putting over time.  And I’ll be damned if Diana didn’t start coming around more in the evenings. Sure, some of that was checking out the new bartender’s performance. But some of it was checking out the new bartender. 

I snapped the seal on the bottle and opened the cabinet above the sink. There were four short, square highball glasses, compliments of The Oaks. I gave Jennie the raised eyebrow and in return she winked and bit the tip of her tongue at me again. 

“Do you want one?” I asked.

“No, I’ll try yours.”

One ice cube, two fingers of bourbon and a couple of swirls to unlock the flavors. I nodded her over and tossed a “C’mere” her way. She slid in beside me and I raised the glass to her. 

“Not like that”, she said. “Take a drink.”

I did and she pulled my mouth down to hers and made sure to lick every droplet of the liquor off my lips as well as anything left in my mouth. “Yummy.” She said, “Bourbon’s good too.”

“You said you had something else for me to try.”

She smiled and put her finger to my lips and backed away, then turned and walked into the living room. Again, neat and relatively spartan, sofa, wall mounted flat screen, armless chair that drew my attention. As I was surveying, she went to the corner and retrieved something. She handed it to me handle first as if relinquishing a sword.. “Isn’t it a beauty?” It was a highly polished sorority paddle with Greek letters decorating one side. The other side bore the signatures of dozens of girls and dates. It was from the 1960’s. “I picked it up at an antique shop over in Larimer a couple of weeks ago. “It was in the window! I saw it and my heart started flipping and my face went all hot. Had to have it.”

“I must have been in a state because the woman in the shop asked me if I wanted to try it out. I almost had a heart attack! I didn’t know if I would try it out on her or she on me.”

“Why didn’t you ask?”

“I could barely talk as it was. All this…stuff that’s been in my head for years. I thought it was just me! Turns out they’re fetishes and a lotta people have them. Seeing there was someone else…” I remembered what I’d found in Diana’s office but said nothing. 

“You should take it back and tell her it doesn’t work.”

“Get her to demonstrate!”

“You’re liable to get a sore bum out of the deal.”

“That would be the hope.” With that, she turned round and bent, hands on knees and for the second time that evening offered her bottom for a smack. I hefted the paddle and pressed it into the stretched lycra covering her bottom enjoying the give.  Then pulled it back and flicked her backside with a wrist slap. She wriggled and said. “Thank you sir, may I please have another?”

“Yes you may. But not right now…” Taking her arm I stood her up and walked her over to the chair, where I took a seat. The paddle was a little impersonal for me. I wanted my hands on her. 

“Let’s start with a little spanking between friends.” Her face was flushed and she was alternating breaths between nose and mouth. I spread my knees and drew her in, grasping the top of her pants. Her eyes closed as I slipped the back of my hand against the velvety softness of her belly. I pulled further down in front unil I could feel the hair against my fingertips, then further to the dewey confluence of her legs. 

“We had better get these down”, I said, moving both hands to her sides and peeling.

“…Yes…” she said huskily as if awakening from a dream. Without panties the soft garment clung between her legs but for a moment before rolling to her feet where she stepped out of them. .

I would have thought after ogling her as thoroughly as I had over the weeks that she would have had few secrets. I would have been wrong. As she slowly offered herself over my lap she revealed a flawlessly rounded, deeply cleft bottom, in a  perfect shade of cream accented only by the light peach  blush the paddle had left.. I settled my right hand over her right cheek eliciting a charming little gasp and wriggle. “You’re ready for this…” I said.

“Mmmmm”, came her answer. “So ready.”

I slapped her lightly a few times, alternating cheeks. If she suffered at all it was in silence, her slow undulations as she lay over my lap the only reaction to what was happening. I was quite literally, feeling my way, switching from full on smacks to slaps with my fingers but never extending my arm, only turning my wrist which was turning Jennie’s bottom a beautiful mottled pink. I had settled into a rhythm that was working for me, but maybe not for her. She tried to speak but her voice caught. Clearing her throat, she said, “Harder, please.”

“Harder?”

She looked back over her shoulder, clear eyed with cheeks almost as pink as her bottom ones. With a devilish smile she said “Spank me like I was bad.” 

I had been afraid of hurting her. Now I was afraid I was boring her. 

“Alright young lady,” I growled and pulled her tightly into me, left arm circling her waist. I raised my right hand straight up and brought it down hard but not full force on the middle of her right cheek. I could feel the difference immediately. My palm tingled and the blow echoed not only through the room, but up to my shoulder. “Yessss…” was Jennie’s hissed response. So I continued, alternating sides, then settled for awhile on the soft thickness at the bottom of her bottom. She became more and more animated and gifted me with “Ouches” and mewls. We both enjoyed, she more than I, the swats that landed exactly between both cheeks and rang down her valley creating an avalanche of deep feeling that brought yelps. 

I took a pause to slip my hand tentatively between her legs. Where she had been damp was now in flood. 

“Good God, girl!”

 “I know, right?” she fairly giggled and spread her legs in a way I  couldn’t have imagined a few short days ago.. When she again settled, her outside foot was on the floor, bracing herself to push upward, raising her now deeply colored bum and her dripping sex upward. 

“May I have some more sir?” she giggled. 

A few more smacks to her tensed right cheek brought her foot back up off the floor and a resumption of her slithering movement distracted from my mission. 

After a swat I left my hand where it was for a moment and squeezed lightly. She froze attentively, then began to move in a most lewd way as my hand slipped from her solid right cheek, down to the top of her thigh, then between her legs. It wasn’t as if I was traveling uncharted territory down there, but it had been awhile since I’d walked this particular path. “Ahhhh”, she sighed loudly as my fingers finally found that spot within her.

I could have held my hand steady and let her do all the work but there is nothing like pleasing someone you wanted to please. So I caught her rhythm and rubbed until she cried out and shuddered, arching her back. She relaxed in phases, settling and twitching, then deflating completely hanging across my legs like laundry. All the while I was gently stroking her warm cheeks. 

When she finally, with my help,  pulled herself up she sat on my lap and wrapped her arms around my neck. “I can’t believe you made me cum..”

“That was the point, no?”

“Hadn’t thought about it. Just wanted my ass beat. Anything else was in the hands of the universe…and you,” She grinned as I gazed down to where she was glistening-her bush looking frosted in the lamplight. 

“Round two”, she announced and stood. As she moved into her bedroom I did what I’d been doing for weeks; watched her bum walk away but never like this. I saw a soft light switch on and heard a rustling of bedclothes. 

“You coming?” she called

I stood, having to arrange myself to walk comfortably. We’d have to do something about that.

“Don’t forget the paddle”, she said.  I would have.  

Jennie’s Behind the Bar

I didn’t set the whole thing up. Parts of it, sure. Not the whole thing. Not the way it played out. Not in my wildest imagination could I have…well, that’s a lie. I could have imagined it. I spend much of my waking hours imagining just such things. But in the beginning, I had nothing but the best of intentions. 

It was close to ten on a slow Thursday night when the buzzer alerted me that the back door had been opened. The only keys out were mine and…Diana’s, who walked through the swinging doors from the back room. A six foot tall redhead who wore her hair short and was partial to leather jackets and tight jeans. Tonight the jacket was short and brown and the crew neck silk jersey under it inky black. Diana had owned The Oaks for a decade and had hired me to manage it eight years ago. Help being what it is these days, I’m also the night bartender during the week. 

Bars in the valley had a lifespan. We were well beyond being the new kids on the block but nowhere near being yesterday’s news. The clientele was mostly familiar, which was not bad exactly, but less than good. It was a good crowd, dependable and predictable but there was something to be said for new blood. Not necessarily for me, I’d gotten to where predicable and dependable were positives. But you could feel it in the folks around the bar. There was a sameness to the place and crowd. For every person who bellied up to our bar for the familiarity of it all, there were two who might be interested in something different. And who would go someplace that offered a change from routine.

“Welp”, said Diana, stepping behind the bar and helping herself to a heavy Tito’s rocks, “We need a bartender.”

“Tell me about it.” I said. 

“No, really now. Jolene is having ankle surgery in a couple of weeks and will be out of commision for a while.”

Jolene was our daytime bartender during the week and handled the heavy load of weekend nights. Which she didn’t mind because that’s where the money is. I jumped in to help if it got too busy. Diane would help out too. It was a secret-not a secret-that Diane and Jolene were a couple. 

“Jesus…”

“If he could make a decent Negroni, I’d hire him.”

Desperation made me ask, “You know Jennie Angelo?”

“Who?”

Jennie had played basketball with my daughter in junior high. Having played a bit in high school myself, I was roped in to help coach. We weren’t very good but we had fun. I had heard she was a bartender and had run into her a few months ago, behind the bar at a little roadside place across the lake. It was busy and she was handling the crowd well. As a kid, she was alway high energy and now at twenty nine or thirty, she hadn’t lost that. Plus she’d picked up a good six inches  which would have been helpful back in the day.

“Hey Coach!” she said when I squeezed in at the end of the bar. Still a great smile which she tossed at everyone. In this business, you need to be on the lookout for talent all the time, so I made a mental note. Drank two beers, caught up a little and left her a ten dollar tip.

“You think she’s happy there?” asked Diane after hearing my pitch. 

“Long hours, beer mostly, shots…crowd is coming and going: kids and old men.” Which meant shitty tips, even for someone who looked like Jennie. 

“Think you can bring her in?”

It wasn’t hard. A few days later Jennie was behind the bar sharing an audition shift with Jolene. Jo had a very chill persona which fit her ice queen good looks and flowed behind the bar in a way that never seemed rushed or hurried but always got her to where she needed to be. She heard and saw everything. Jennie was her polar opposite. It was fun watching her effervescent energy bouncing around back there.

My concerns that she might bowl over the waif-like Jolene were allayed as they worked well together, each complimenting the other.  At the end of the shift, even with splitting tips Jennie made more than any night at the other place. She was more than thrilled and gave me a hug and cheek kiss on her way out after closing. Jolene, used to working alone and possessive of her place, gave my girl (as she and Di referred to Jennie) a thumbs up and she was brought aboard. 

After that first shift, she was plug-and-play. I would be with her late in the evenings to help if needed which was seldom and act as her barback-filling ice, running for liquor, whatever. Basically, I enjoyed sipping a bourbon at the end of the bar and watching her work. When I say it like that , it doesn’t seem like I was checking her out. But I was, and as time went on, I felt less and less skeevy about it. She was a woman now, not a pre-teen. Since I’m as subtle as a sledgehammer, she’d catch me eyeing her and wink or smile or stick out her tongue between her teeth which made me feel a way that I didn’t know if I was comfortable with. I got used to it, though.

She was touchy-feely, would lay hands on me in passing and if we were side by side, I could count on a hand rubbing my back. “Hellos” and “Goodnights” usually came with a quick hug. “I’m glad you looked me up”, she told me once. “I am too”, I answered pretty sure we were talking about the bartending gig. Some of her crew from the other place had followed her to The Oaks and livened the place up a little, giving us all a quick shot of energy.

It was a couple of weeks later, in the back room near the ice machine, that she first gave me a kiss that wasn’t a peck on the cheek. Her lips, full and wet, opened to allow her tongue to slip into my mouth and explore. She tasted faintly of gin; a surprise as I hadn’t seen her nipping. I told myself it could have been peppermint. I wasn’t into doing a whole forensic analysis as her tongue seemed to be engaged in counting my teeth. My embrace was less reluctant than previous quick hugs we’d shared. I explored her back intending for all I was worth to stop at the beltline. Seems I wasn’t worth much. My resolve lasted as long as a snowflake on a windshield as my hands slipped over her hips and cupped her bottom. She was solid back there and did a little clenching as if I needed more stimulation. For a moment a matchbook couldn’t have slipped between us. Just as my arousal was becoming manifest, I released my hold and she withdrew her tongue with a finishing kiss on my closing mouth.

Her eyes were shining and her cheeks were flushed and she gave me a happy smile that warmed me as much if not more than the embrace had. “Finally!” she said.

“I didn’t know this was a race”, I said, feeling both spent and energized. 

“I’m not a kid anymore.”

“I’m starting to get that…”

“You never were quick on the uptake”, she said, her smile turning sly and crooked. She either remembered or intuited that smart-assery in a woman is a desired feature and not a bug.

“Timmie knows I’m working here”,she said unbidden, referring to my daughter-her erstwhile teammate and school chum. 

“Uhh…” I stammered a bit, that skeeviness trying to bubble up again. “I didn’t know you guys were still in touch.” 

“Online” She shrugged, “I’m a bartender, I follow everybody. I posted that I was working here and she reached out.” She must have seen the cloud scud across my face. “Don’t worry, Coach, there will be no posting about you tonguing my tonsils.”

Her tone was so bright and her smile so wide that I couldn’t resist laughing. Neither could I resist grabbing her arm and turning her half way round. I telegraphed the smack to her bottom well enough that she could have easily blocked it or turned away. She did neither and in fact stuck her bum out a bit to provide a better target. It was a moderate slap, somewhere between a pat and a solid smack. 

I released her arm and she rubbed her targeted cheek, more for effect than anything. 

“Finally”, she said again. “Thought I was gonna have to draw you a map.”

“Go wait on some customers why dontcha…pushing her toward the swinging doors. She disappeared, trailing a laugh. I reached into the ice machine and pulled out a few little moons and held them to my eyes, then the back of my neck. I felt like I had just stuck my finger in a light socket and actually felt a little lightheaded. A cigarette would be good. It was a shame I’d quit. But I knew DIana slipped out back now and again to burn one, so maybe in her office?

Her office door was always locked but there was a trick-not much of one-but a trick. The molding around the door was poorly attached and could be pushed  aside. Then a finger, even one as fat as mine, could be slipped behind the strike plate and release the latch. The switch above the copy machine turned on the overhead fluorescent which was too much for the small room, There was a couch, an old refinished desk, steel locking cabinets a few well positioned lamps and a safe so big and old the it would have been there from the beginning. Place was neat enough to see no cigarettes on first scan. I went around the desk and sat in the chair-nothing in the middle drawer, nor in any of the three left ones. Stapler, broken stapler, old Blackberry, and how many paperclips does one woman need? I had almost given up when I pulled the bottom right drawer and there was the slightly crumpled green and white soft pack. I sntached it up and was relieved to see there was at least a half pack, so she wouldn’t miss one. Also a couple of lighters, one of which I borrowed.. I must have wanted that smoke pretty badly because I almost missed what else was in the drawer.

The pack had been sitting atop a ping-pong paddle. An older one, with the sandpaper on one side and hard green rubber nubs on the other.. My buddy had a table when we were kids and we played a lot. There wasn’t and never had been a ping pong table at The Oaks. My chest lightened as I held the paddle and thought of Diana, then of Jolene, then of Jolene and Diana and tried to remember if I’d ever heard or seen anything….My mind reeled and my hand wanted to shake  as I replaced the paddle and took a second cigarette. I did my best to put everything exactly as I found it, shut the lights, locked the door and left the office.

Outside on the loading dock I leaned against the cool block wall, filled my lungs with the sweet menthol smoke and felt the nicotine firing synapses in my brain that had been long asleep. Things suddenly looked brighter and the traffic sounds wafting from up the hill were sharper. I looked at the burning end of the cigarette and took a second drag. Maybe it wasn’t the nicotine…I tossed the butt into the parking lot where it landed in a shower of red sparks. Damn! Even that looked pretty. I let myself back in and took my seat at the end of the bar.

Continued….Jennie’s Over the Knee.

Buck

There were those that said Junior was never the same once he got back from Korea. Just as many said he wasn’t the same before he left. 

Junior lived a few short blocks from Buck Wilson who left town after high school at his country’s behest to walk point in  Vietnamese jungles for two years. It was a job with severely limited prospects. Now, some years later, Buck was a big, gentle guy who delivered appliances for Sears. He’d catch himself crying at the coffee shop now and again-Buck never drank-but that was about it. Except for he hated trees or any place where he couldn’t see everything within a hundred meters all round. Among his favorite spots were the parking lot at Sears before it opened and drive-in theaters before any cars got there. 

One time a lady friend asked him for a ride to visit her daughter out near Frick Park in Pittsburgh, with its towering oaks and sycamores. He sweated in the cooling shade then, to be accommodating, took a walk with the ladies and the daughter’s dog along the park. He hesitated but a moment when the women veered down a path into the woods, the dog nosing a squirrel. He followed, dragging his feet as through sand. The humid Pittsburgh summer had raised a riot of thick green on both sides of the trail: rhododendrons, laurel, sumac and jagger bushes that closed, reached and grasped. The women stopped when they realized they were alone and back tracked  to find Buck frozen in place vibrating like a tuning fork. They gently turned him and let the dog lead them back to the road.

Afterward with the women in the kitchen, Buck took his coffee to the porch and never once took his eyes off the treeline. 

Bob knew enough people with enough history. Christ Almighty, his own Uncle Nick had been a prisoner of the Germans in World War Two. So he really didn’t care how many Junior had killed in Korea, somewhere between none and a hundred depending on how high he was when he was telling the story and who was listening.. Bob’s concern was who Junior might kill now. Or had killed recently and how to keep it from blowing back on him and his. 

Sylvie

I learned Sylvie had died from her niece Naomi who felt obligated to make the call though we’d been estranged for years. She knew the old woman had loved me and thought I should know though she didn’t call until Sylvie was in the ground.

It was the latest volley in an imaginary battle for a woman’s limitless affections. Sylvie had enough for everyone, something truly limited people could not fathom. She had hired me back in the day-when the neighborhood turned and she wanted someone more substantial than her niece behind the bar. A sin I didn’t commit but was never forgiven.

I graduated from the bar to the kitchen, where Sylie taught me everything I needed to know, which was nowhere near everything she knew. Her chicken cacciatore became my specialty and her sauce was indistinguishable from mine. Naomi stayed jealous though she had no real interest in cooking. 

She stayed as a waitress and in the beginning our battles were waged sotto voce in hisses and snarls and stares. Then grabs and pushes, unseen slaps, until our area of operations moved out of sight into the storage room after hours where an old couch had been reclaimed for late night crashing. Actual  fighting would have been less damning and damaging. That came later, after Naomi had heard that I was selling coke across the bar and threatened to tell her aunt. It was an old story and a one-time mistake borne of poverty and the need of a quick score, but my embarrassment at being found out and fear of the loss of Sylvie’s trust brought a collapsing wave of desperation that sucked all reason out of my head. . 

Later I would remember hitting her. It would come to me in flashes like one of those old timey crank kinetoscope viewers they had in arcades back then. First she is standing there with her arms straight down at her sides, fists clenched, defiant and perhaps a little afraid. Then my right fist lashes out and connects with her jaw. At the last moment, realizing what was happening, I pulled the punch hitting her just hard enough to drop her solidly on her bottom. She sat on the floor blinking and wagging her head from side to side like a confused puppy. 

Almost as stunned as Naomi, I quickly extended my now open right hand. She took it and rose unsteadily to her feet. A cursory glance showed no blood nor outward evidence of damage. Pulling the punch had saved us both. Assuming, of course, that our regular angry coupling was off for the evening I tried to fashion some words of apology and mortification. Before I could open my mouth she said, “I’m sorry”, her eyes dulled and full. 

She withdrew her threat to expose me to Sylvie-such a breach of confidence, that a punch to the jaw was not just warranted but desired. The tears overfilled and ran down her cheeks in two glistening streams, one of which I thumbed, leaving the other to drip off her chin before she wiped at it with the back of her hand. 

I was moving toward the door when she said, “You can’t just leave.” I didn’t know what was left to do until she turned and lowered her jeans and rolled her panties after them. She bent over a stack of  beer cases. “I don’t want the last touch from you today to be a punch.” It was the only sex in our roughly six month tryst that could be even remotely described as tender. Or as tender as banging one out in a storeroom over a stack of beer cases can be.  

The next day she showed up wearing more makeup than usual to cover the bruise that had bloomed on her jaw overnight. She leaned in. “Never hit me again where others can see”, she said firmly, writing the script for our time together. 

When Sylvie stepped away in her eighties, she rightly sold the place to Naomi, who seemed well suited to be an owner; maybe only because she was no more than marginal at most other things. I stayed on, cooking, refining the dishes, tweaking  the menu, tending bar, doing the necessary things to keep Sylvie’s Bar and Lounge moving forward. Our affair, such as it was, cooled, then over a short time, disappeared. Burned out, more likely. 

Not too long after I stepped into the kitchen on a Thursday morning ready to make my orders for the weekend and prep for the lunch trade. The lights were on and coffee was brewing. A woman was standing, her back to the door. She was slender and rangy wearing snug black jeans and a white T-shirt. Her red hair was thick and short, brushed straight back and as she turned revealed a full sleeve tattoo on her left arm. She extended her right hand and went to introduce herself. 

“I know who you are”, I said, taking her hand firmly. Monica Perez was a chef at Tim’s Hideout, a steak joint out on the highway. She was until very recently it seemed. I looked around the kitchen where I’d spent so much time and it suddenly looked foreign to me. That’s how I knew I’d been replaced. I had splurged on my own set of knives which I gathered and wrapped in their canvas. 

“Chef…” She began. 

“Tony”, I answered. “You’re a chef. I’m a cook.”

“I’ve eaten here.” She said, trying. 

“The food?” I asked, having none of it. She winced slightly leaving me surprised and embarrassed, And surprised that i was embarrassed. 

“I’m sorry. My bad. Getting fucked before coffee makes me grumpy.” I said, heading for the door. 

“Wait” She said. “You know Katie’s Corner uptown? “They need a che…”she stopped herself. “A cook of your experience. Talk to Kate. Katie Sole. If you’re going I’ll call her.”

To be continued…