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TRANSIT of Stories by Mark Seymour VENUS PROOFMARK AUSTIN TEXAS .
An occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge. Cover illustration based on the Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli. all © 1993. October 2007 Printed in the United States of America via www. and Streets of Philadelphia. © 1982. Near-death in the afternoon.All stories © Mark Seymour and Proofmark Publishing. © 1992. Omerta. and Sea note. Proofmark Post Office Box 200334 Austin. For a limited time only.com .proofmark. Transit of Venus. There’ll always be…. all © 1994. The Devil & Webster’s Third. The font is Adobe® Berkeley Oldstyle. ISBN 1-928757-04-9 Fourth edition. and Vicolo cièco. Human Touch. All rights reserved. edited. and We’ll always have…. The dolphin’s smile. Used without permission. Beyond the wire. A west side story. Texas 78720 www. Homage to Catalonia was previously published in Border Beat Spring/ Summer 1998 and is used by permission. Rad Dog. © 1993. all © 1995.com This book was written. A pair of 38s. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems without express permission in writing from the publisher. War & Peace Volume Two. Banshee. Homage to Catalonia.booksurge. Used with written permission. designed. all © Bruce Springsteen [ASCAP]. The Special K breakfast. and output using Apple® Macintosh® computer equipment running Pages word processing software. In Omerta the quoted Springsteen lyrics are from Atlantic City.com email the publisher at mseymour@proofmark. A little touch of Harry in the night.
............................................................................................................ 71 For a limited time only........................................................................................... 39 Banshee..... volume two.........................................................................................Contents Forward..................... 49 A west side story......................................................................................................................... 47 An occurrence at Woody Creek Bridge............................... 95 A faceful of shadows................................. 77 Near-death in the afternoon.......... 63 The dolphin’s smile..................... 103 ................................................................. 91 There’ll alway be an England......................... 3 A little touch of Harry in the night................................... 19 Vicolo cièco...........................................................................87 We’ll always have Paris... 59 The Devil & Webster’s Third.... v Homage to Catalonia..................................................... 23 Transit of Venus.................................................. 73 Omerta................................................... 101 In flagrante delicto.... 69 RadDog.......................................................................................................................................................... 33 Death............................................................................................................................................. 55 A winter’s tale... 1 Sea note................................ 25 Beyond the wire.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 67 A pair of 38s..... 37 The special K breakfast............................................ 45 War & Peace..............................
Sex has. Life is like that. they tend to be about sex and violence. has never been boring for me. observed the transit of Venus across the sun. while I’m sure the ascetics lead inspirational lives of pure spirituality. (Separately. however. the scientific members of a years-long expedition aboard HMS Endeavour. from a brain injury. If I wrote them well. while elusive and maddening at times. I insist on having one with women and one with men…) But I’m proud that they also contain the colorollaries of both— love and honor. v . of that other Venus. (Those which are know who they are. sometimes. I came to describe those periods as transits. California. often at the same moment. to find love and meaning in our lives. It was considered one of the major scientific achievements of the era. many of them involving women. I wouldn’t have missed any of them for the world… 1 Oddly enough.Forward Sailing amid the beauties of the South Pacific ‘one fine day’ in June of 1769. Their intent is to illuminate the eternal quest we are all on. like so many things that men consider important. though. Life is like that. But sex. sometimes. you may also find some of them erotic. others while living among the denizens of an industrial artists’ ghetto in Oakland. I became aware of the fact that. Gathering the stories for this book. That’s a good thing. Within a decade.1 These stories grew out of transitions in my own life. Captain James Cook of the Royal Navy commanding. within a decade of writing this. I was nearly dead myself. Captain Cook was dead on a beach in Hawai‘i at the age of 51. in Philadelphia. sometimes. some of whom were heavily involved in my life at the time and others who were scarcely aware of my interest. The stories were inspired by those women. like Botticelli’s vision. it has got to be a boring existence.) I wrote some of these stories amid the beauties of Hawai‘i. but aren’t necessarily about any of them in particular. Life is like that. led me to commit acts of great ingenuity and even greater foolishness.
I will continue to track the transit of Venus with the curiosity of a scientist. If I am lucky enough to die on a beach in Hawai‘i like Cook. to those you wish to have as lovers. on the southeast coast of Maui. late at night under the covers. James Mitchener. enjoy my stories. I hope it is Hamoa beach. gently.So. Whispter them to your lover. Until then. and the passion of a poet. May they inspire you to commit your own transits of Venus. said of it that “the finest beach in the South Pacific is actually in the North Pacific”. the determination of a hunter. who surely knew about such things. Offer them. the inquiring eye of a journalist. vi .
then the long hair beneath it. “I really wanted to see your eyes roll back in your head like the last one. the window frame sky-blue against the russet tiles and whitewashed walls of the rooftops across the way. their bicycles clattering onto the cobblestones of the courtyard as he’d chased her indoors.” Her voice was dreamy.” Her laugh was high and musical. a marmalade cat sat in the last of the lazy Saturday sun. if the cat’s doing it…” He slid one hand across her slickened thigh toward the warm center of her. He certainly envied the animal its ease. available for his tongue. god. “Hell. little brother.” “Oh. her gauzy white dress flying in her wake. “Really no?” She sighed. like the bells of the church in the square that’d announced the Angelus not long before. “Really no. He raised the glass in a silent toast— get some. “Why is that good?” “Because I don’t think I could hold my head up long enough to make it happen. inches from his face.” The edge of his hand swept a ripple of sweat across his chest. “No!” “No?” He struggled to raise his head an inch off the smooth cotton sheets. on the floor beside the bed. he watched one of the little local lizards skitter across the wall in search of dinner. I’m thirsty. It disappeared behind the tall vase full of bright flowers. From that angle. with its imperatives. looking along her elegant length and over the roseate dome of her breast.” She eased her cool fingers flat on top of his.” “Thank you. “I’m fine.” He reached for the glass of white wine. would never come. licking first its black paw. so they don’t come back to bite 2 With apologies to George Orwell 1 . He might’ve envied it its ability to lick itself.” “Good?” The fingernails of her other hand dug into the soft spot behind his knee. I’d die if you did that to me again. “You thirsty?” “No.” “Aww…” He chuckled. too. one for whom Monday. he could barely make out the arch of her cheekbone. you’re forgiven.Homage to Catalonia2 The rising breezes of afternoon fluttered the white embroidered curtains in the open window. On the broad window ledge. surrounded by a mass of dark hair.” Straining to reach his lips to the edge of the glass. “That’s good. that’s why. drying the sheen of sweat on their naked bodies. “I couldn’t stand it another time. He smiled at the picture-postcard scene: the cat framed by the stone walls of the old posada. but was more than happy having someone else’s parts. “Considering how hard you’ve worked already this afternoon.” His laugh came from deep in his belly. “Me. then its white chest. damp with their sex. sliding like a cool hand across them. Her hand clamped down on his like a satin vise. brought in from the garden when they’d come back from a bicycle trip after lunch. iced against the heat of the Barcelona summer.
reaching blindly out to grip his resurgent part. His hand came up silently.” “Which is?” Shivering.” “Your godawful Spanish…” She chuckled. “I told you.” 2 . her voice imperceptible over the sound of his lips and fingers and tongue on her and in her. Grinning. he watched a familiar glazed look come over her face. I’m making panocha. a part of you. my love. soft and sweet as the dove he’d named her. “A dog’s limp?” Her laughter was incredulous. y lágrimas de mujer…” His fingers slid into her. “Oh.” “And vatos are…” He smiled.” He lowered his face into the wetness.” She groaned. he licked the wet trail his hand left behind on her flesh. made from sugar.” He raised his slick face from her thighs so she would be sure to understand. She shrieked when the cold water dribbled onto her belly. dark eyes flashing. taut muscles in her buttocks straining to force her body against his busy mouth. her voice was a whisper. I’m too tired for this. Just when she was drifting deliciously away. “A woman’s tears? Is that what you said?” “Yes.” “Indeed? By whom? Your vato friends?” She hauled herself up on an elbows. mixed from the cold ice and the hot of her.” “I believe that. like this…” His hand slid forward. “And what does that mean. speaking from between her thighs. her stomach a concave arc under his arm. dripping with the cube he’d pulled from the wine.” “En cojera de perro. “I’ll be quiet…” She arched back. she pulled away.” His grin grew wider.” Her eyes rolling back from the pressure of his fingers at her slippery portals. heightened when he fastened his mouth gently onto her. my god…” She inhaled. “En cojera de perro. “Panocha is a delicious New Mexican dessert. no hay que creer. “Las mujeres hablan mucho y esuchan poco. “Where the hell did you learn that?” He paused. then caught herself. her head falling back against the crumpled pillows. “Panocha can also mean. She shook her head. voice muffled by her parts. the ice tinkling. “Yes. gasping with surprise and ecstasy.me in the night— and returned it to the floor. as the slick ice slid into her. stop that!” Her voice was as stern as she could make it. “I hung out with these vatos from Albuquerque. brown as you are. “Don’t disturb me. “What are you doing?” He snorted. “…and just listen to you work. my palomita. “Hey. in Albuquerque?” He lowered his face again. he eased his teeth from her swelling clitoris. “Do you have any other little sayings these friends of yours taught you?” His stubby fingers pressing inside her. “Bad boys from the barrio. “Women speak much and listen little. fore and aft. fingers adrift in dangerous waters. making it quiver. “It is said: Do not believe a dog’s limp or a woman’s tears. I do. y lágrimas de mujer. knees sliding farther apart to allow him easier access.” His grin was evil.
but from the camera truck.” The old one sipped at his single malt. as between old friends. after scanning the passing crowd. mon vieux…” The young one shook his head in awe. while the young one and the old one were having a drink or several before ordering dinner. with dinner safely inside them. Now. myself.” The old one shook his head. the old one and the young one.” The young one nodded. yes. “Though the other is my heritage. All of the carefully orchestrated bedlam was watched over by unsmiling men from the local constabulary. viejo. “Your grandfather may have gotten a French name during his sojourn in Paris. The serried ranks of marble-topped tables that fronted it were jammed with slick-haired and open-shirted descendants of expatriates from Havana and yuppie executives from the new reflective glass highrises downtown in tropicweight suits trying to look hard-eyed through reflective sunglasses and overly-hip model wannabes in laced-up leathers. “I can understand the attraction. the percentage of gay men might be high. The Café Nouveaux sat on a corner of the long Art Deco strip of renovated hotels that overlooked South Miami Beach.” The old one snorted. Earlier. hired to keep tourist buses and delivery vans out of the shot.” He sipped at his single malt and glared at the young one. easy and long. but there were surely way too damn many Germans. sat on the high barstools and watched the herd pass. Ocean Avenue had been the backdrop for a car commercial. “And if you must be cosmopolitan. that the percentage of gay women seemed high as well. “It looks like the Serengeti during the great migration.Transit of Venus Sea note The two predators. the young one mentioned. at least use the local language. “Why. loaded to the gunwales with grips and best boys and script girls and electricians and the other myriads seemingly necessary to turn the bright sunlight of South Beach into thirty all-tooforgettable seconds on German television.” 3 . I’ve been a lesbian all my life. watching and being watched by the sleek and tanned and elegant women in business suits and sarongs and skintight jeans with pierced-bellybutton-revealing tops and sheer summer dresses and next-to-nothing electric green tangas with matching elbow. “Did you ever see so many in one place and time?” “No. but you’re still just a nice Jewish boy from New York. “Did you ever. The propulsion came not from the switched-off motors of the candy-colored cars.” “You can?” “Hell.” They laughed. with heavily lacquered actors and actresses forcing bright smiles as they zoomed in short bursts down the baking asphalt.and kneepads and rollerblades strolling the narrow band of sidewalk not covered by the tables.” “Very well. just as in Key West. The old one had noted then that. The old one shrugged. leonine curls brushing his saltstained collar.
not the one with the bearded guys in the hills]. with a face and hands and a wardrobe which looked as if he’d spent years working on diesels in aging fishing vessels.” The young one hoisted his half-empty bottle. because the cute young one had developed a look in her eye like she might want to sleep with boys.” “Didn’t think you could take her. The old one had been in computers. and pull the trigger. with the carefully coiffed hair and impeccably tailored clothes and expensive white tennis shoes that went with the job. not the dirty-hands part of the job. her sleek lines and jutting bow belying the fact that. starting back when computers were big and slow.” They’d come up from a few weeks of diving in the Keys in what the old one always insisted on calling a ‘silly big’ boat. who didn’t think much of that idea. 4 . Sixty eight feet on the waterline and gleaming white. They’d come to Florida rather by accident. exactly. huh?” “The day comes I have to wrestle a woman who outweighs me for the attentions of some sweet-faced blonde.” “Then what happened?” “Then I got the fuck away from there. in any sort of weather. when they asked me to take their picture for them at the ritual sunset watch. built like an aging linebacker for a team that hadn’t gone to the Super Bowl in a decade. were with banks in countries that had no income tax and no interest in providing information on their account holders to the United States Treasury Department. the one built like Dick Butkus. “They all laughed like hell. The old one was the lion of the two. Now they were working on a lifetime of gross indolence.” “I told it to those four at the Havana Docks just the other day. and even less of me. because the young one was the leopard of the pair. The young one had been working in construction. sat tee’d up to an expensive pier down at the marina.” “That’s a promise. but not up in the air conditioning either. of course.” The young one frowned. You wouldn’t know it to look at them. These accounts. put a forty four magnum to the back of my neck. and let’s see who wants to go back to the boat with us.” The old one nodded. you take me out. due to the young one’s skill at finding a previously unknown niche in the telecommunications industry and the old one’s ability to move the resulting masses of money into offshore accounts. “What was wrong with that?” “What was wrong with that was the older one sitting next to her. before Teddy Roosevelt got into the act. “Don’t let them hear you say that. as well.” The old one smiled. “Now drink up. “Good.Sea note The young one choked on his imported beer. built lean and taut as a tennis pro. she handled like a first-class sea-going bitch. the first revolution.” “Really?” “Damn right. the m/v Alonzo [named after some obscure Cuban revolutionary hero.
the old one sighed. as ever.” “As I seem to recall. I could hardly understand what she was saying. passed slowly along the low trail in front of them. just slightly bewildered. you can choose.” The old one shook his head. even though they’re fucking gorgeous.” The old one bowed. They are prey.” The old one didn’t even turn his head. “In return for which. satiated with one kind of meat but hungry for another. we both know I have better taste in women. the old one eyed the parade. down the row from them. hair an obsidian waterfall down her back. Grass? What are their perfumes? Garland of this and flowering that and spring meadow the other thing. and we smell like meat. “For which I will be ever grateful.” “Fair enough. “The Japanese coming up on your three o’clock. back when they’d first started watching women. Their eyes are wideset. wide-eyed and starting at every quick movement and drenched with lilacs and roses and orchids. “You got some kind of serious fixation there. it’s always damn Danish girls with you. what’s this?” 5 . “Even if I did have to buy her off to keep her from messing up your pretty face with that big curved knife she pulled out of her purse. “No.Transit of Venus The leopard and lion descriptions had been echoed by any number of intelligent young women who’d found their way aboard the Alonzo in various ports along the southern coast of Florida. Meat? the young one had wondered. right?” “How about those two Danish girls?” The young one cocked an eye toward a table. if it isn’t Jap girls with big tits. no. “I’d have sworn she was an amateur.” The young one smiled as the tall Asian woman slid by. which is different. my friend. as I’ve always said. Better get it looked at by a professional. while the herds of young women. “I’m going to choose. dead animal smells.” The young one raised his beer in salute. the old one had said.” “Damn noble of you. While men’s perfumes are musk and jungle civit.” “Of course. I was drunk. “And it was dark. and they smell like grass.” “Whichever…” Head swiveling in search mode. We are predators. but had been been created when the old one explained the predator theory of human relations to the young one. “No. Like prey. When the young one shook his head. I seem to remember this time in New Orleans…” “Hey. okay?” The young one shook his head.” He swallowed the last inch. we agreed that you seemed to find better-tasting women.” “Very funny. He’d smiled. Our eyes tend to be closer together. Like predators.” The old one nodded. one overflowing with long blonde hair and tan skin and iceberg-blue eyes. “Besides. Which was why they found themselves hunkered down on the high ground. it’s got to be something… Hello. “Anything attract the eye?” The young one pointed with his chin toward the south. and she spoke in this real thick Cajun accent. many years earlier: The scent is the giveaway.
” When the waitress arrived. inches off the sidewalk. she headed for the bar. “But. “One hell of a big butt. he put them in the front row. “Always tell a woman she’s beautiful every time you can.” The two women paused to consult with the maitre d’ over where they might sit.and whiskey-dried lips. are we going to do that?” “First we’re going to have another drink. I do. “Because you’re so pretty. “That woman doesn’t even rate a word. and we should go invite them aboard the boat immediately. very beautiful.” “Which. and their makeup was so good it was invisible. Both had radiant smiles.” “Which is?” The old one leaned closer.” He laughed. too.” He raised the eyebrow even higher. my friend. The ever-so-slightly taller of the two was blonde. You chose. must less a whole compliment. knowing you. with the wide-jawed blue-eyed beauty that the young Bergman had brought to the screen. “What the hell did you think I was going to say?” “I don’t know. There they were sure to slow traffic and increase his business as they were both. I did. The blonde’s curly hair was just shoulder length. while the other was darkhaired and dark-eyed. the young one leaned across the table. the old one peeled a twenty off the roll from his pocket and dropped it on her tray.” He snorted. pulled back by a loose bow at the delicate nape of her softly tanned neck. Unsmiling. “Yes. I said you could choose. while her bosom rose in gently swelling curves over the tight bodice of a low-cut black dress.” The old one nodded. yes?” The young one shrugged.Sea note His head swung rapidly north. The brunette had ringlets down nearly to her waist. pitching his voice low.” “Alright. exactly. “How. without jeopardizing your immortal soul by an act of outrageous mendacity.” “Yes. “So?” The old one turned a raised eyebrow toward his friend. his gnarled fingers gathering into a fist on the table.” He waved a finger at their waitress. The brunette carried slightly more curve in both hip and thigh. “One for each of our predilections. with the brunette’s lips fuller and darker. who said that?” 6 .” Smiling. given what’s passed us on this street tonight. The blonde was slimmer. with the mass of heavy hair held back off her face by a coppery clip at the collarline. of course. “You can’t be that drunk…” “What do you mean?” The young one eyed the bar behind them. the rest is for you. “But not immediately. We must stalk our prey tonight. something like those two. could you bring another round for me and my ugly friend here?” He indicated the bill with his chin.” The old one shook his head. as he absentmindedly licked his salt. and have been so nice to us. wisely. but for once you’re right. even for South Beach. looking like Loren in the early days. with sweet high-riding breasts that strained against her crisp white shirt. “Which is that they are equally magnificent. you will have an opinion. “Hey. “Darlin’.
” He smiled as the waitress came swiftly back and set their drinks on the table. “Norman Mailer.” He dropped his gaze to the table again.” “So. “These women are different than that. a fabulous character by Dan Jenkins. “They. I’ve got to have a plan or I’m not comfortable.” Knowing better.” The old one swept the clipped money into his pants pocket as he stood up. the old one still didn’t look up.” “So what did it get you?” “For one thing. “And it didn’t cost me a damn thing to improve her evening. “Okay.” The old one looked up. “That works.” He raised his head to watch the two by the sidewalk. he looked much like a lion spotting a particularly juicy antelope. who’s an expert in these things.” “Speaking of patience.” Reaching into his pocket. You should read his stuff. how long are we going to be at this?” His gray eyes flashed when the old one glanced up. it got us better service.” “From a book starring Jim Tom Pinch. You do treat us well. which is always a good thing. “We’re going to walk slowly over there. “Funny man. “These will require some skill and patience.” When he smiled. wanna come back to our boat and fuck us until the sun comes up?” “No. Jenkins. baby. Hell. the young one shrugged. darlin’. why?” Aligning the bills carefully on the pile in front of him.” The old one eyed the women over the top of his glass. “Hundred dollar bills make young women horny.Transit of Venus The old one smiled.” He shrugged. the old one pulled out a heavy silver money clip. “But you know me. “The old direct approach: Hey. “Then we’ll see if they’re biting or not. “You got a plane to catch?” “No.” 7 . she might even begin to think that she is pretty.” Sighing. spear fishing won’t work this time. the young one dug in his pocket before he asked the obvious question. “Thank you.” “Okay. “Give me all your hundreds. but only on certain women.” He raised his whisky toward the two on the front row.” Ignoring the book review.” The young one shook his head sadly. “So how do you get them to take these bills— shove them into their panties until they say they’ve had enough?” There was a smile lurking under the old one’s mustache. held out his open palm to the young one. I think we’re going to have to troll for these. but his voice drifted into a Texas accent. without looking up. and bait the hooks. what’s it going to be?” The young one knocked back his beer. “No. are. He spread out the money on the table top and. he watched her big butt walk away. and do something about that regrettable behind of hers. I’m ready anyway. its surface carved by a Navajo craftsman into the muscular image of a mountain lion. “But she’s not our problem.” “You say that like it’s a quote. however.
can I use a tiny corner here?” He diffidently indicated the leading edge of their table. “Excuse me. it had served them well on the daily commute from the Alonzo to their lair at the cafe. The vehicle had been done in wet-look-black. carefully. as though in despair. Finally shrugging.Sea note Their car had been carefully parked on the street in front of the Café Nouveaux.” His imitation of Tom Hanks was perfect. Her trimmed and shaped and clear-glossed fingernail tapped delicately at the fan of pictures of the Alonzo. “I seem to have misplaced the keys to the Rover.” The women stopped talking for a moment. now their investment was paying off. Sidling through the tables at a raking angle. and then nodded. made a swishing sound as they gently brushed the marble. he stooped to tie his already-tied laces. “This will help a lot. front. “Thank you. the old one turned to the blonde and the brunette. along with being invaluable when finishing off a splice on a nylon line]. The young one noted that the women exchanged glances when the money clip arrived. The soft things. The hard things. even the young one. made a clicking and a swishing sound when it hit the table top. its faded engraving from the old days with SOG in the Nam was good for starting certain conversations and ending others. “That’s my boat. barely tolerating it on the boat]. the money clip. propping one white-clad foot on the slick black front tire of the Range Rover. giving him room. the old one found himself on the sidewalk in the narrow space between the table with the delicious women and the Range Rover. patting each pocket carefully in turn. It’d only taken a sawbuck to the valet captain to ensure the proper positioning. with its hundred dollar bills arranged as formally as origami. The last item. “Is this yours?’ The blonde’s voice was like church bells. like the Irish linen handkerchief and the white leather-brimmed fishing hat [the one that Hemingway wore in all the pictures of himself in Cuba] and the sheaf of photos of the boat. and back pockets of his shorts a steady stream of casually expensive objects. made slight clicking sounds as he set them down. he pulled out of the cargo. eying him and then the young one and then the vehicle with a touch more interest than they’d done on the first scan.” The old one bowed slightly.” Slowly. thought so. who’d memorized entire movie soundtracks. like the tiny Finnish cellular phone and the antimagnetic marlinspike knife and the case for the Serengeti sunglasses and the handheld GPS and the thin sterling silver sporran cup that folded up to display his clan’s crest on the front and the battered Zippo lighter [though he didn’t smoke and didn’t like women who did. 8 . With fawn leather seats and an Alpine sound system cranking out the Gypsy Kings through open windows [the old one hated air conditioning. it glistened like Darth Vader’s off-road vehicle. The old one nodded solemnly. placing them individually and deliberately onto the dark-veined marble. It served now as silent backdrop to the slow pantomime that the old one was doing. The blonde reached out and pulled her wine glass closer. To hide his smile.
she does tend to roll a bit. “Would you like to see it?” “Yes. making her laugh. if that was possible. Now they were looking for one even bigger.” The brunette nodded. “A good fable for our time.” Which wasn’t strictly true. Over Force Eight. “We’ve never been on such a pretty boat. but the brunette chuckled. The old one drove. maybe with a helicopter. but she handles poorly in a big sea. the young one knew. “There they are. one that didn’t show a predator’s incisors. he doubted the Alonzo would even stay afloat in anything approaching gale conditions. “Uh huh. deep in her throat. he looked both of the women in the eye. uncomprehending. not sure. “Guilty.” The brunette’s voice had gotten. When they both inhaled sharply. the old man cursed.Transit of Venus The blonde cocked her head. as they’d chartered it from an outfit in Islamorada. “There’s no crew on our boat.” “Me. pulled the laces out again and started over.” “Not bad. the blonde piped up. “We own the boat. as if he hadn’t known they were there all the time.” On the short ride to the marina. The blonde smiled.” “Gee…” Now it was the old one’s turn to stifle a laugh. “Well. but they needn’t know that. even throatier. but if the damn thing hadn’t turned out to be such a bitch in any kind of swell. and a good one. not challenging. the young one sat in the back with the blonde. “All by our lonesome…” He sighed quietly.” He looked slowly from one to the other. evoking Bacall when she played opposite Bogart. we’d like that very much. “Yes. When they both turned to view him with newly gleaming eyes. “It’s very pretty. “Forrest Gump. “Now we can go back to the boat.” He smiled back at the two bright faces. The young one. just enough smile. but the old one thought it needed to be said anyway.” “No crew?” The blonde cocked her head again. He didn’t have to wait long. right?” Her voice was achingly thick.” She was a bitch in any sea.” He cocked his head to indicate the young one. needing the distractions 9 .” The brunette edged the photos toward her with a rounded finger. “Then how…” Both women got it at the same time. set the shiny ring of keys on the table. he could see that in their eyes. After one last surreptitious glance at her friend. they’d certainly intended to buy it. The old one reached down into the cargo pocket on the side of his shorts and. The old one waited. but holding their focus. “ Do you captain it. and waited. the old one knew. after glancing down at the Navajo clip where the mesmerizing numeral 100 repeated itself over and over in an arc of green across the gray marble. Bending down toward the table. just one careful moment. his voice dropping as well. too. “I liked that movie. biting his lip.” The old one smiled back at her. or are you two with the crew?” It was a test.” The old one bowed. before he answered. exactly. How long the women had known didn’t really matter after that.
I think. and the lights and sound system adjusted. the alarms set. darlin’. The Range Rover handled well in traffic. The week before. nearly brushing him with her plump breasts. he thought. “I need someone to be sweet to me. they’d had it specially installed by the distributor who’d put them in up and down the Keys. damned thing’d never healed properly after that bad night in the Rung Sat. “So I’ve been told. swallowing a healthy dose of the icy piña colada. “Oh. as they turned down the access road to the docks. the big engine thrumming ahead of them and the Gypsy Kings playing softly on the CD. he’d been caught off-balance. “Oh. By the time he’d gotten the weatherdoor to the main cabin closed. aren’t you?” One slim hand reached out to gently touch his cheek. The old one traded glances with her.” The old one dropped his face next to hers. “I’m just fine.” “Good. Bending slightly.Sea note of the road.” The old one rested his cheek on the top of her head. the old one brought up the rear. her round bottom perched carefully on the edge of the big couch that swept across the curve of the stern cabin bulkhead. The piña coladas were fresh from the slurpee machine mounted on the wall of the galley. he got his eyelevel down almost to hers. He leaned into the soft pressure of her chest on his bicep.to six-foot swells. he could see her searching his face for something invisible. The brunette sat silent for much of the trip. “And sweeter than you let on. Smashing down into one rogue wave. and was following him down the corridor to the forward compartment. The blonde had her arm through the young one’s. “Are you doing okay?” She nodded. yes…” The cold drink made her voice raspy. favoring his bad knee. his knees locked.” “I will. Out of the corner of his eye.” 10 . thank you. whispering just loud enough for his deep voice to be heard over the Gypsy Kings. eying him from under that delicious dark arch of eyebrow.” Letting the three younger ones charge down the short gangway to the deck of the Alonzo. Sprawling into it. smiling at the steady intensity in her stare.” She slipped her arm under his. she pushed herself off the seat and leaned in close. he leaned over the wooden back. in front of her. pulling her cheek and chest tight against his shoulder. I will. otherwise. turned wrong way round. diving in the Keys. when the old one finished pouring a single malt into his favorite round-bottomed glass. his bad knee eased into the narrow space between them. the old one dragged it across the thick carpet and set it. the young one had already done the drinks. “You are much more than you seem at first glance. It felt much like the brunette looked. Pulling a straight-backed chair out from under the table. he was prone to leaning in too strong and too fast and scaring the young women. really. the fast-running launch had been pounding badly in the four. her soft hair redolent of jungle herbs and flowers. It was a reinjury. Finally.
He wanted to slide his hands up and cup both of those magnificent breasts. Opening the hatch he led her out onto the deck. he could hardly wait to see what it might mean with her. “I’m getting too old for a lot of games. so I’d like to ask you a question. regretfully.Transit of Venus “Good.” The old one reached out and touched the back of her hand. lest he seem too indifferent. He’d found that nurses were caring. her lips glistening a few inches from his. pressing her lips against his and then pulling away. She leaned forward.” His heart pounding in his chest like the EMT had just taken off the paddles. and ‘Are you nuts?’. okay?” “You noticed. right?” She grinned.” Her head cocked quizzically. and nurses knew the state of their blood intimately. the old one smiled back.” Her arm tightened around him.” “From the stern to the bow. “My mother would want me to say ‘Are you nuts?’. one he’d seen before. Taking another sip of the piña colada. “We’ll start at the back and work our way forward. 11 .” She bobbed forward. She smiled slowly. “And we can go slow. that is…” “Of course. “I know an injury when I see one.” The old one found himself holding his breath. nurses were clean. “Now that we’ve dealt with that. and thank you very much for asking’. later on. he tried to make himself breathe. a radiant glow spreading across her face as she did so. “God. but the question I’m going to ask has one of several answers. into the darkness and the stars. I’d hoped you’d say that. Sitting up straight. “Your pretty boat. if I might… ” She nodded. lest it seem too forward. She had a different look in her eye now. a long time ago…” When they happened to meet in the galley. her breasts dangerously close now. rolling of the eyes. dark and lustrous in the indirect lighting from the overhead. Her smile came back.” Now it was his turn to cock his head and wait for her reply. can I please have a tour of this pretty boat?” She chuckled. “My friend would likely say ‘We’re much too shy’. an important issue in these perilous times.” The old one thanked the karma lords silently. in that silent moment. fast as daybreak over the Bahamas. Frozen between two dangerous actions.” Her smile faded. dragging the recalcitrant knee under him before putting any weight on it. ‘We’re much too shy’. I promise. slowly. He wanted to take his hand off hers. he nodded toward the tall hatch leading to the sun deck aft. “You’re welcome aboard no matter what. hesitantly. the young one and the old one exchanged grins. huh?” Her eyes looked up from just his shoulder level. “Well.” Pushing off the chair back. then slipped her arm around his waist. she tapped her fingers lying beneath his hand. “And I say ‘yes. ‘No’.” Her smile grew wider. but my mother’s not here. but she’s somewhere with your buddy right now. in no particular order: ‘Yes’. he felt something stirring in his shorts. like the sun into the ocean over the Dry Tortugas. let me tell you about a bad night on the Ben Nghe River. “The answers are. a sight he hoped never to see again. “So that just leaves me. she licked her lips carefully before answering. “I’m a nurse. and a soft high-five. lying on her silk-clad thigh.
“You take care of that sweet thing. who’d had more than one of them opt for a little soft romance after being treated to a hard stint in the forecabin. don’t you?” The old one.” The old one poured a Coke™ for her and an orange juice for himself. kept quiet behind a careful smile. “Hell.” A thumb pointed to the starboard side. Turning. he raised an eyebrow at the young one. as we say around here. the tanned skin that showed on either side paler for the comparison. clad only in bra and panties. as far as he could get from her and still be in the cabin. “And you know who they choose.” “You’re the fucking romantic in this crowd. believe me. the enigmatic expression he’d seen in the main cabin earlier back on her face. Turning in the hatch.” “The hatch to the head. “We’ve been talking and watching the stars.” Her smile had a little quiver in it. where would you like me to be now?” She looked down at herself. “You did. She looked up.” A thick finger shifted direction from the pale bulkhead to her dark form.” “Yes. If they don’t. “As I said. the old one thought to himself: she’s better than you deserve. acknowledging the compliment. he noted.Sea note The young one was down to his sea-going shorts. balancing the drinks against the wake of a passing boat. it was with some surprise that he stepped into the aft cabin to discover her half-undressed. viejo. Pricey bits from Victoria’s Secret. so I decided…” Her chin indicated the center of the cabin. “I’m sorry to have startled you. black silk clutched to her chest.” Walking down the corridor.” He 12 . You want something hard inside you right now. go with him. Now she was kneeling in the middle of the bed. his slim chest and legs bare.” He laughed. hear? She’s better than your average bunkmate. he sat down on the bench beneath the sidelights. please. my young friend… With his thoughts elsewhere. You want some sweet-talking. that the blonde probably had even less on. is that one on the right.” Her smile was stronger now. nodding toward the darkness at the bow. which is much too dirty a place for someone as delectable as you.” “Hell. on the big bunk when he’d headed toward the galley. That meant. He’d left her sitting. in the old one’s experience. “Do you want me to go out and come back in again?” “No. that is sweet. “I’d like you right here. “Man.” He smiled. go with me. the inky blackness of her dress pulled tight under her chin. I always tell ‘em. she’s better than anything I’ve had in a long time. “The other one leads into the engine room. she just became the National Standard. a little uncertain. “I couldn’t tell which door led to the bathroom. I wonder if the damned FDA even has a classification for ‘table-eating pussy’.” The young one pulled two ice-green bottles of beer from the reefer. “Then you…” “Then I came blundering back in and caught you in the middle of things.” “I don’t think we’re quite as far along. She nodded slightly. setting the drinks down on the shelf beside his side of the bed. too.
“… and fuck the hell out of me. her arms around his neck. When he looked up. he slid upwards to meet her quivering lips. then.” The old one slid to the soft carpet and walked to her on his knees. and high time to convince her of that. “No. and fastened those luscious lips to his. “Oh. he was sure that she knew what it contained.” 13 . be a good boy…” Her hands tightened on his butt. she somehow got his shirt off and his shorts unbuttoned and urged toward his bare feet. When the deep. his head came barely up to her chin. and so was she. Growling low and fierce into her chest. cradling his head in her arms. pulling it slowly away with both hands. Coming up for air a long time later. He’d never known a woman to be far from that edge. “Well. he couldn’t get the grin off his face. She bent down. With her kneeling on the bed. its lid having been moved while he was gone. he smiled again. evidence of her desire. and she was hauling his buttocks toward her with both hands. he eased his face first to one side and then the other. He thought they were magnificent. hooking a thumb under each breast. taking a deep breath through his nose.” Which was true. Suddenly he was naked. she set about kissing every part of his face and his neck and. whether overendowed or flatchested as a piling. he asked the question that had to be asked. he buried his face softly between the mounded flesh. his lips grazing the tops of her breasts. Crooning some sweet tune of lust to herself. too shapeless. both applied and self-generated. bent on forcing what he’d erected between her hot thighs into her as rapidly as possible. my.” Her anthracite eyes bored into his. enjoying her subtle perfumes.” He pulled his chin down. “Well. “That was delicious. my dear. wet kiss was over. depending on how you defined the term. She probably thought them too big. it returned positive results. his tongue visiting each fiery nipple in turn. Then. “They’re so…” Lost in reverie. too something. Finding a long list of careful use of the things. “They seem to fit just fine. watching her pale flesh reveal itself as the copper covering eased away. Sighing. he almost missed the flash of self-loathing on her face. her legs magically wrapping themselves around his waist. staring up into her eyes. “As. Heaving himself up on his fists. endangering all the buttons.” She reached up under his chin and unlatched the bra. the grin had been replaced by something more respectful. forced upward by the coppery bra. Then. I’ve been a good boy.” With some primordial moan. his shoulders as she could reach. her fists pulling his shirt roughly aside. let’s see…” He gently placed a palm on either side. are those. she pulled him with her back onto the bed. yes. it didn’t even hurt. he looked down into a dark-eyed hellion. “Do you want me to…” His head indicated the jar of condoms next to the lamp. “I don’t need one.Transit of Venus noted an almost imperceptible shudder before she dropped the dress over the edge of the bed onto the deck. With both hard as diamonds. “Do you?” Some distant database in his head searched rapidly for any recent bad behavior.
” His head rolled back onto the pillow. as she was when he apparently fell asleep. When she swallowed. mouth muffled by the sweaty hollow at the side of his neck.” She nodded. not crying or anything. “Any time…” The old one guessed he’d dozed for awhile. “Thank you for being so sweet to me. but she seemed okay. He jumped up quick. Her nipple had softened slightly. Sliding one hand down between their sweaty bellies. but it sure felt like some decision had already been made: the brunette’s body seemed torn between snuggling up to him. firmly. When he got his voice back. He kept it up as long as he could. wrapping her arms around him. he grabbed two swollen objects at the same time. “I want to taste you. he decided to dive in. Sliding one hand in the way. She wanted him bad. “And now I’m going to be sweet to you…” Her head dipped down toward his slick middle. each time punctuated by a sweet little gasp for air. he pulled her chin up so he could see into her lust-darkened eyes. when he stroked it between a thick finger and a thicker thumb. in time to their movements.” He sighed hard. because he woke up suddenly when the blonde sat on the bed.” She nodded into his palm. wetly. moving in and out of her like a well-oiled piston. hot and insistent. he started shaking. She blinked. curling an arm around the brunette. wonderingly. then went back to kissing him. 14 . her lips closed on him.” She giggled in his ear. But her clitoris was hard as a rock and slippery as if in a mountain stream. god. for a moment. urging him into her with her hands and her mouth and a tiny whimpering deep in her throat. He wasn’t sure how long she’d been awake. “Thank you. she screamed hard. and pulling away. Sliding up his body. Fanning the heavy hair over her shoulder with a flick of her head.Sea note Sliding into her was like sliding into a melon left out in the sun— slick and tight and hot. so he sank back on the pillows. ladies…” His voice seemed loud in the stillness of the midwatch. ready for any disaster. When his knee began complaining harder than he could ignore. warmly. as he slid her bottom leg up underneath his shoulder. He’d been close to the edge even before he’d been pulled. and she moaned against his lips when he rolled it between his fingertips. “Okay. he rolled them onto their sides.” “My pleasure. the other around her back. “Oh. “Is this what you want?” “Yes. Foolishly. she rolled off him onto her knees. the meeting of their bodies sounding like a vacuum dropped in chocolate pudding. darlin’. sweaty flesh separating like velcro. she smiled sleepily down at him. “As promised. not once but several times. as they often did. when he restarted the rhythm. that was wonderful. the first time…” Her neck muscles forcing his hand aside.” He grinned up at her. “You can take pleasure like that any time you want. Pushing his hands away. she held him tight until he stopped. or what might’ve been whispered between them. slickly. not once but three times. he could only whisper into her soft chest. into the soft embrace of her mouth so he went off fast.
no man in his right mind would pass up a chance to fuck her. seeing that look harden in her eye. a lot of lust. He’d like that. You can go. patting his cheek. then.” He shrugged. mister. slim and muscular. the blonde shrugged and pointed out the open hatch into the dark corridor. to make her scream with delight. dropped down past an achingly slim waist to small. pink as the moment before dawn on a clear day. 15 . and something he thought looked suspiciously like love. deciding to go ahead and lie with the truth. you can stay. “What the hell’s happening?” After looking to her friend for encouragement. but a quick one. The curls that’d been restrained by her hair ribbon were now damp and strewn around her chin and shoulders like meringue. You better hope it’s true. “What do you want?” Another test. When he let her up for air.” “Good. and her pert breasts rode high under her prominent collar bones. close enough for her to blink. he knew he wanted her.Transit of Venus even the waves had stopped slapping the pilings outside the open portholes. “But. and a harder one.” Having no words that would suffice.” “He does. he thought. what man in his right mind would let you out of his bed?” She laughed. He wanted to… The brunette’s raised eyebrow brought him back. Her slim arm lay across her deliciously taut thighs. he’s like that. darlin’.” The brunette swung dark questioning eyes at him.” He patted the pouting blonde. Lust apparently won out. a little apprehension.” Her glare cut his bullshit short. some guilt. curved and flat in all the right places and all firm and tanned. as her licked-clean lips. almost boyish hips. “Now. “Well. then held her dark stare for a long time. I believe you. too. what do you want?” Her face shadowed several emotions in rapid succession: a moment of anxiety. and unfucked if you don’t… Either way’d require a hell of a careful answer. He wanted to hold one slim ankle in each hand and plunge into the tight vale between her pearly thighs. It took his breath away. “Look. “Sorry for talking about you in the third person. She was slightly taller than the brunette. Her nipples were the same color. but what straight man in his right mind would let the brunette go? Unfucked if you do. he turned back to the brunette and leaned close. the old one pulled her head roughly to him and buried his tongue down her throat. No straight man in his right mind would pass up a chance to fuck the hell out of the blonde. nearly wheat-straw pubic hair dipped down between them.” Not sure she knew what the third person was. “He wants us to switch. “Darlin’. but he could see where the narrow strip of pale. She seemed so sweet. so virginal. You can go and come back. The broad sweep of her shoulders. I’d like that. does he?” The old one snorted. “That’s a great line. She smiled.because she slid from under the silk coverlet and stood. “Okay. I’d like that. He wanted to bite her all over. her eyes were rolling. and yet so defileable.” The old one nodded. Surely. “I want both of you to be happy with what happens tonight. even sitting on the bed.
” Flipping all the covers back. but finally remembered a container of liquid ky the young one had put in the guest head in the main salon. “…a stiff cock up my ass. Abruptly. He reached up and pulled her face down. “Oh.” “It’s okay. I’m damned glad you had this little itch you wanted scratched. That really took his damn breath away. uh…” She squeezed him using the muscles deep inside her.” “No. “It’s just that sometimes after…” She sighed. “…ah. “Hey.” She smiled. He was pleased to hear her soft grunt. “You’re right. “You’ll fit in more places. “You be careful. as though to take possession.” He wasn’t sure which was harder to believe: that she was doing it at all. The blonde reached farther up.” She smiled. he could hardly wait to hear her reason. encircling his stiffening cock with her slim fingers. “Oh. squirming against him. she opened her mouth and groaned softly.” He reached down.” Hoisting her a few inches with his hands.” He wasn’t sure exactly what she meant by that. “Don’t wait up for me. “Do have a good time.Sea note Until the blonde waved goodbye. she slid her hand up his thigh. she looked back at the two on the bed.” He fought hard not to lose what erection he’d built. “Well. “He’s got a much bigger dick.” She shook her head. “You wanted to do this because…” His voice trailing off. he slid slowly in and out of her. he is bigger. Pausing with one arm raised delicately on its edge.” He tried to imagine exactly what nasty chemicals she might’ve found on the boat. The brunette walked. or that she was doing the play-by-play while doing it.” The brunette winked. until she sat down. that took a lot of courage. darlin’. With it aimed firmly at her ass. ‘Just for special occasions. “How’s that?” 16 . where it felt as though she were trying to rip it off. and crouching above him. some guys might have a problem about that. that was nice. kissing her slackened mouth and half-closed eyes. At first.” A dreamy smile forming on her face. apparently this was one.” “I will. slamming her soft bottom against his legs. he knew it was true. swinging her leg over his. He waved a finger at the brunette. “…after I’ve been fucked hard in my…” Arching her back.” When the blonde stuck out her tongue. “…I like to have a stiff cock. I like to…” Raising herself slightly with her thighs. “Careful. and then thrust everything he had up inside her. “I hear she bites.” He laughed. to the hatch. teasing the twitching muscles at the opening with the head of his cock. On his cock. then the soft poink as her muscles relaxed and let his cock inside. you know. darlin’. “It just took finding where you kept the lubricant. in my cunt. she disappeared down the corridor. there were just the slick sensations as her buttocks gently surrounded him. pulled her cheeks gently apart. her hand working him harder. she let all her weight drop back on him. driving him deeper. or rather swayed.’ he’d said.
Surprised. but it was the same thing. “I don’t care what she says. Either way. He wasn’t so sure he liked having it back.” The last of his come dribbling across her full lower lip. she sucked in a lungful of air. With one arm he pulled her down onto the sheets. if you’d asked nice. instinctively pumping out the last two or three spurts. I always wanted to do that. he had her good and pinned. No. “I knew you had a cruel streak the minute I laid eyes on you. When he was done. he thought of all the exquisitely painful things the Nungs had taught him. lips swollen with lust. and he was going to enjoy the hell out of it. He was coming in her end. Pulling sharply out of her ass. he smiled grimly. But all good things. her Icelandic eyes open wide. she stared up at him. or if she was just using it to goad him into action. using the other to lever his way around so that she was kneeling in front of him while he crouched behind her. “Can I stay with you tonight?” Looking down at her sweet face. too. by the time he put a period on the sentence she was groaning into the pillow. but decided that. When the first hot spurt hit. “Oh. “I like it better when I’m on top. “But it’d be a hell of a lot better if you’d jam that stubby little cock of yours up my asshole as hard and as fast as you possibly can. come to an end. eyes bright with dark and stinging satisfaction. with all his guilt and pain.” He wasn’t sure which was a greater surprise: that she’d recognized it. nearly fifty and he could still do a classic wrestling take-down and not even break suction on her little pink ass. he’d give her some. like a lot of things. or that she’d liked what she’d found. my… I always wanted to find someone who’d do that. “Well. her cheek pressed against him.” She leaned forward. Looking down. As it was the second time that night. he let her head flop back on the bed. he grabbed a fistful of her hair and dragged her head down to him. but better late than never. “God. Popping his softening cock in her mouth. piercing thrust into her. ma’m. in his gym class he’d never had an opponent like her. her eyes flew open as her cheeks sucked in. Rolling her head sideways on the pillow. as this one liked things just a little over the edge anyway.” Punctuating each word with a hard. he shoved it home. but he’d beaten that move a thousand times on the mat before she was even born. he guessed. he thought. even fucking the ass off this gorgeous blonde.Transit of Venus “Good. he thought she’d wake the whole damn marina with her high-pitched wail. It. was something he thought he’d buried with the past. you might’ve stayed on top.” Her glacier-colored eyes flared down at him. all the ways to make her body 17 . with all the nights he woke screaming from the nightmares. he was happy to oblige the little bitch. At the second. She rolled her head back in order to see him. she complained through a sheaf of her wheaten hair. her fingers gripping it tight. He thought about shoving the pillow in her mouth.” Her curly head shook ‘no’ against his chest.” He wasn’t sure if she was kidding with the insult to his proudest part.” She tried to do a reverse. Not bad. wrapping her arms around him. Of course. he was able to ride her a lot longer than the brunette. with the whole fucking Rung Sat Special Zone.
the one he thought looked suspiciously like love. who’d had a face as sweet as hers. an alive little animal.” A woman stirred. he whispered back. He was thinking of his own dog out of his childhood. alright. he supposed. 18 . He wasn’t sure which one.” He smiled. and lost that urge to play. stranger?” “He’s got a bigger dick. He sighed as he lay down behind her. gently. low and liquid in her throat. The blonde was still sleeping. In a way.” She snuggled down under the sheet like a happy puppy. But he surely came awake when the brunette whispered in his ear. “I’ll hold you. “What brings you to town. as he drifted off to sleep. “But he just doesn’t know how to be sweet like you. He stiffened. he was asleep. and stroked her hair. wrapping one leg over him. With what could only be classified as a shit-eating grin on his face. if you like. The old one wished that she’d giggle like that about him sometime. when the bed moved.” She giggled. one arm draped protectively around her narrow shoulders. “Mind if I join you?” Half rolling until he could see her silhouette against the lighter bulkhead. nestled in the curve of his arm. and he wasn’t sure if he’d been dreaming or not. He even knows how to use it. pushing her face up under his ear. How quickly puppies grew up. he could hear her soft breathing slow as she fell asleep.” Almost before she finished speaking. “Sure. Then he thought of the look on the brunette’s face just before she left. You go to sleep. she was a puppy. though. her back to him. gone more than thirty years now. darlin’. just wanting to be petted. he spoke the sweet realization out loud: “Old age and treachery wins out over youth and skill every time.Sea note writhe in something just past pleasure. but forgave her when she pressed her warm breasts against his back. As he drifted off again. he chuckled. suddenly awake in the dark. He reached down. Knowing that the young one would rise early and catch the three of them like this.
Pat. you should turn in your shield. and let it trickle out the side of his fist onto the center of the stained cloth. The vodka hurt like hell when he clapped it to the cut. wanting to see who else was in the place. Harry refolded the towel carefully over the mound of ice and picked up the bottle. Harry smiled. four over the ice in the glass. a place where an open bottle was always suspect and ice was a rare commodity. The kids from the financial district had taken over the place lunchtimes. Pat hadn’t told anyone when the new owners’d bought him out with a suitcase of cash fresh from Hong Kong. came up with a handful of fresh ice out of the bin. It wasn’t easy to find now. and set it on the polished mahogany. He poured another dose on the cloth and a few more fingers in the glass.” Pat nodded and moved away down the bar. two fingers of the vodka onto the center of the towel. and Harry’d always been all right. Harry could only face coming into Pat’s early or late these days. but these days you never knew what might follow one of your regulars in the door. his eyes adjusting to the dimness. the one with so many syllables 3 With apologies to Shakespeare 19 . but if you didn’t know who owned where you drank. When Harry stepped up to the bar. but it was an clean hurt. a trickle of blood edging his hairline. and it hurt a lot less once he got a few fingers of the vodka down his throat. “You okay. and what he drank was always ice cold. Pat reached down for a clean bar towel. He ran a clean place. Harry put the bottle down and picked up the towel. but there was no telling how long the pink neon over the door would say Pat’s Place.” Pat reached down under the bar. “Sure. fine. It didn’t hurt nearly as much when he pressed the towel to his face the second time. with manicured nails and pink suspenders. Harry only drank from newly-opened containers. The time in Quang Tri’d also given him a dislike of open wounds. stockbrokers mostly. “Ice. Not that the Chinese’d been the only changes. As Harry paused in the entryway. Pat the bartender pulled a fresh bottle of Absolut vodka from the shelf. though. the Irish solemnity of the old harps like Pat. Harry?” Pat waited.Transit of Venus A little touch of Harry in the night3 When Harry came through the door. wiping it hard as he went. please. and set it gently next to the glass. the dry one wrapped around the butt of the twelve-gauge pump clipped underneath. so he set the bloody towel down and unfolded it. Pat understood the preference had to do with a couple of years Harry’d spent with the Marines in Quang Tri province. the wet hand on the bar. So many of ’em that Pat’d been forced to carry that snotty Russian vodka. folded it in thirds. As the ice cracked and settled. Pat ran the last and the best of the harp bars in the city. Pat thumped a tall glass full of ice down next to the bottle. Harry nodded his thanks and poured. cracked the seal noisily.
Captain Moriarty’s kid she’d turned out to be. after a night out on the town. a civil servant what wore a cheap suit downtown every day to City Hall. thirty-eight and nightstick and mace and cuffs rattling. the ones from the boobytrap outside Khe Sanh. his breath smelling like a distillery. He looked down at the hand clutching the nearly-empty glass. and she’d liked it for the longest time until. He’d leave the rest for the next guy. too. the ones from the nights maintaining law and order in an alley somewheres. then shook his head. eyes rolling back in her head. His uncle Mick’s suspenders’d been blue. and her. all the old cops and firemen. All he could feel now were the scars across the knuckles. They might still be going out. him being Sergeant Mick’s nephew and all. she’d had to push him off and lock herself in the bathroom until he went to sleep. The old man’d spin in his grave. It was a long time ago. suspenders weren’t supposed to be pink… His father’s suspenders’d been wide and red under his turnout coat. ice rattling against his teeth. and walking carefully up to his window. if they ever took to wearing pink ones down at Engine Company 23. The changes had started before Harry’d gone to Vietnam. wearing the uniform. God rest his soul. Moriarty. Even for stockbrokers. Harry shrugged. And disorderly. At least his came from Sweden. Jesus. She’d taught him 20 . then the Hispanics. always polishing that brass. and him squinting out the side mirror at the big-chested cop unfolding from the black and white.A little touch of Harry in the night they’d had to give it a nickname. what with him asking her out. On top he wore his shiny sergeant’s badge pinned beside the polished buttons. Mary. the color of the fire engine he rode. She’d been nice about it. coming thick and fast when he got back to the world. him and Angela. and now Chinese and Koreans and Samoans. of course. And the women. That big shirtfront’d turned out to be all hers. Harry guessed there were still a handful of harps. and that was that. That and that husband of hers. Harry shook his head. First time he’d been with a woman with that many freckles. not those days. First time he’d been with any woman in nearly a year. Setting the glass down softly on the bar. Harry sighed and drained the glass. but a captain’s daughter just didn’t date a beat cop. her with the green eyes and red hair of the old man himself. First the black cops and firemen. She’d been very nice about it. and he’d spent quite a while getting well stuck into it. of course. Neutral spirits from neutral countries. but they were going fast. and only wrote him up for changing lanes without signaling. trying to remember the feel of her under his wide fingertips. a blue so dark they looked black beneath his tunic. the smooth and the slick of her. instead of being drunk. a rosy truckload scattered all down her milky flesh. the red and blue flashers lighting up the inside of the car. Harry figured. one hand riding on the butt of the gun. and even nicer later. the Murphys and the Fitzgeralds and the Grogans. Proud harps. the siren going off like a gong inside his head. he reached for the bottle. and Joseph. the memory of that first drunken weekend back from ’Nam. it’d said on the name plate across from her badge.
He threw a double sawbuck on the bar.Transit of Venus that. Detective. there was a real possibility there wouldn’t be a next time. A new Thai place down the block. “Leave it. Pat. 21 . Thanks.” “Sure. no more driving half blind. “I’ll be going now. Pulling the heavy magnum from under his coat.” Harry owed him from the last time and. Harry wished he’d taken that last shot. the ones who’d put that 9mm crease in the side of his head earlier in the evening.” Harry stood up. Walking toward his car he saw their dark Mercedes turn the corner. old man Moriarty’s kid. he guessed. Maybe he’d get hungry later. I’ll get you next time. Pat. “How much?” Pat looked up from his racing form. Harry pushed open the heavy door and sniffed the night air. what with the guys out there looking for him.
Vìcolo cièco 22 .
She was distant and silent all through lunch. through the wall of windows behind me. setting my papers and my bare feet down softly. at the end of a chapter riddled with proofreader’s hieroglyphics. parted at ﬁrst only a sliver then. But in the morning he rang. The formal Empire headboard of the bed. and it had been playing with her hair. now crowded the pink blossoms and slick green leaves of our lone potted plant against the back wall. exactly. all phenolic and chrome. a sweet ﬁlling in an ornate confection. a thin oar-blade in a golden waterfall. One grey-blue eye. But later… Adrienne lay slathered. her ﬁngers caressing a photograph of some distant and exotic architecture. and we cuddled close under the eiderdown. Afterwards she imperially announced that she would be taking a nap while I would be allowed to begin my work. while she was sleeping. The edge of her slim hand idly smoothed the obverse page. Her delicate hand. like a ﬁrst kiss. Awake now. The wind off the sea rose faithfully in the afternoons. The overdue proofs propped against my legs. to close the wide pair of doors that led onto the balcony. And to begin things. My book. and there were harsh words and strangled silences after she’d dragged the ancient Ericsson telephone. Her wide lips. swept the hair off her neck and across her high forehead. bored into mine. a cold wind down from the Alps. while one foot slowly uncrossed over the other and the peppermint-candy sheet slid silently down. still soft and puffy from her nap. full of typos. the other hidden behind a shimmering palisade of hair. their round tortoise frames now marking her place in the crisp glossy pages of the book. Our lovemaking was soft and slow and sweet. That night it stormed. pushed catercorner in the narrow room during the night. Her marriage to another man. down the length of the bed. magically. another handsbreadth of ribs. she played more with her glasses than her food. behind the bathroom door. licked and shining. windrow of Swedish summer wheat.Transit of Venus Vìcolo cièco We’d come to this off-season hotel by the sea to ﬁnish things. she paused in the midst of turning a page in the oversize book she’d propped on the fallen pillows at the foot of the bed. exposing an ear pierced with the antique gold we’d bought from the Armenian in a narrow alley off Trastevere. her ﬂesh a tawny counterpoint to the bedclothes: tangled white cotton striped in pale pink and acid yellow and the ethereal blue of childhood’s summer sky. The room had been pale mocha in the morning but was nearly white now as the sun cast a pale painter’s light. threshing it against her face. the dreamy light of a late Italian afternoon. they curled back to show a ﬁne double line of teeth with the tip of her delicate pink tongue captured between their 23 . had distracted me. I’d gotten up earlier. careful not to wake her. the color of the wind-rifﬂed Adriatic below the balcony. I looked up to find she’d taken off her glasses. It would be the ﬁrst time we’d slept in a bed together. uncovering another half meter of smooth thigh. But. with my red pen scourging them hip and thigh.
not much into rape. It felt less like desire than revenge. almost hidden beneath the shock of wheaten hair. A good magician never lets the audience see the props. the purple and orange airfreight carton I’d been using as a desk leading the paper trail across the burnished wood toward the door. and pushed the book off the edge of the pillows. her voice pulled most of me up short and the rest down.” My resolve. a silent witness to her afternoon’s intrigue. the curve of her breasts just showing above their striped wrapper. chiaroscuro shadows forming in the hollows under her arms. she braced herself against the edge of the bed. a press ﬁt. The proofs hit the ﬂoor in a slithering pile of forgotten errors.” Dropping her head down. Clambering over the side of the bed.Vìcolo cièco ice-cream whiteness. drowning in ﬂesh. pushed it off the side of the bed. or herself. In the morning the little vial had disappeared. but whether it was against him. in the arc of her back above the ﬂare of her hips. One soft thermoplastic bounce and it lay on its side. our plunging rhythm drew forth the spume of life itself. She sighed. “Now. each suddenly missing a button. lambent on her lips. Inside. Outside. “In my ass.” Faster than a bullet between the eyes. Hard. among the scattered pillows. the mounting wind off the Yugoslav islands foamed the surface of Homer’s wine-dark sea. a long way from the jojoba distilleries of the Dinetah. crouching between her widespread thighs. dropping my shorts and shirt. rehardened. basso. I offered up her reward. I caught. pushed her bottom against me hard and fast. As hard and straight as any oak board beneath my feet. My operatic moans. mezzosoprano. and her eyes ﬂashed wide. I was stalling. “I want you. I could only enjoy it. her voice had raised the white ensign with the front of my sun-bleached khaki shorts. Her tongue slid behind her sugarcube teeth. I slid my part into hers. We sank beneath it. She arched up. her toes knocking a crumpled pillow to the ﬂoor beside her.” A subtle rose bloomed across her cheek. “No. among other things. or me. triumph. 24 . didn’t quite drown out hers. Smiling with the knowledge of delicate machinery safely lubricated. shuddered perhaps. impaling herself. the candied stripes of the coverlet ﬂuttering against her tanned ribs. the electric ﬂash of a blue-grey eye and. even shorter. when my squirming toes brushed against a tiny bottle. Placing her hands ﬂat on the ﬂoor. beneath her shoulderblades. slid it from its lair in the sheets. sliding it onto the polished ﬂoor. however invited. glistening amber in an elongated pool of sunlight. I stumbled across to the bed. her lips caressed a little sip of air. There is nothing more exciting than the discovery of a woman’s desire and. she hid her burning face in a penumbra of hair while her feet slowly slithered apart. She shuddered again.
yet he’d never before actually ached with lust. great stuff. long-haired and dripping. rise as well. or her ability to read at all. his shiver wasn’t all from the cold. He couldn’t tell if the uncertainty there was from her ability to read English. and tan. dropping his skin temperature twenty degrees in the sudden shade. her goddamn blood… “You are enjoying your book?” Watching her soft lips move. She walked toward him. far from the chill waters of chemotherapy. tiny nipples poking corundum hard against the thin horizontal band. soft. What was he doing here? “You will read to me in bed. forced up by the snake in his groin. his science texts covering the rest. she stepped lightly over him. Far away in the heat. her legs bifurcated directly above the swelling. glistening hips swaying on either side of the vertical stripe of her yellow tanga. he watched the book he’d dropped in his lap when she’d risen. from the blue-green sea. but not Botticelli’s virgin. They got into trouble only when they ventured into hot water. Lobsters were ﬁne when they stayed in their dark homes. his pale belly. and this Boston boy was far from the cold winds of home. tossing her long. Smiling. “Sure. Twenty-ﬁve long years since high school.Transit of Venus ‘One fine day’ in June of 1769. not virginal at all. the fucking doctor coming down the hall with the blood still spattered on the front of his pale green smock. how far from home. Against her beauty. oh god no. to devour the juicy. “Yeah. into her quivering smile. Against the sun reﬂecting off the gleaming water and the pale sand. a lobster’s agony. Against his betrayal. The salt water ran down her body and fell. transparent silver in the morning sun. where the winter sun still glinted off death’s sickle.” “You will read it to me.” He looked up into the dark pools of her earnest eyes. aliveness of her. Thank god for SPF30. wave-slicked hair back over her slim shoulders. Opening his eyes. or he’d have boiled in this sun. But the annual celebration of life was shadowed by a dark northern horizon. he scarcely remembered the title. Even his teeth hurt with a ﬁerce desire to bite into her taut ﬂesh. yes?” 25 . When her shadow fell across him. curved. squinting against the glare off the slick cover. from their quiet paneled study with her art books lining two walls. its blunt head aimed toward her. her feet pressing against his hips on either side. struggling to read the upside down words: The Dynamics of an Asteroid. Dear god. the expedition of Captain James Cook in HMS Endeavour observed the transit of Venus across the sun. bright and bitter sharp. She also wasn’t dying of cancer. She was everything his wife wasn’t— young. still dripping with her blood. onto his pale thighs. Transit of Venus He watched her emerge out of the tepid surf. Moriarty?” He glanced down. amid the impossibly vivid colors and the fever of Carnaval. warm. He closed his eyes. hot and wet as the slick tightness inside her.
he was sure his embarrassment would get worse. “But what about this?” “That?” Her laugh was silver bells above the surf. one yellow band lashed tight across her breasts. “You think you can keep it like that until we reach the room?” In the lobby of the pousada the smiling manager handed him a tiny slip of paper folded twice. The snail’s trail of her excitement smeared warm and sticky across his face. he leapt up beside her. He eyed the taut crease in his shorts keeping his place in the book. He smiled. he didn’t open it until 26 . not Boston. Drawing his feet close. “Okay.“No. the dark tangled curls lashing her brown shoulders. let’s go. The taste of her. “Sure. such a gift should not be wasted. bittersweet in his mouth. He’d read her taut ﬂesh.” Her tongue ﬂicked across her lips. the palm damp and warm against his. the tanga a thin yellow meridian dividing her brown hemispheres.” She shook her head. He eyed her. her warm ﬁngertips pulling him toward her. so you will not be embarrassed. his dilemma resolved itself when her slim hand grabbed the waistband of his shorts. “Even for Brazil. The rhythmic tug in his hair as her hands pulled him into her liquid center. Perhaps we should go back?” Torn between their wide bed and the wider ocean. trailing a cold line of droplets across his chest. “This is Brazil. A veritable encyclopedia of lust. Moriarty. No one will notice.” He reached up and took her hand.” With the thought of a pair of tawny globes swollen past the yellow cord of her tanga orbiting in front of his crotch. deciphering the braille texts written in her tiny crimson nipples. All night. her slick clitoris tucked deep between her tawny thighs. his ﬁngers tracing paragraphs.” “I would like that.Transit of Venus He remembered the heat of the night. that is a compliment. the primordial scent of salt water and woman ﬁlling his nostrils. Preoccupied.” “Are you sure?” Her hand snaked down. in soft cover. The cool breeze whispering of distant revelry through the swaying lace in the window. this was Brazil. Love to. Moriarty.” One ﬁnger pointed down. one swooping through the sweet gap between her thighs. “You wish to come in swimming?” He eyed the low cream line of surf dotted with brown and black children throwing themselves headlong into the spray.” She smiled and pressed her wet skin against him. the Asteroid ﬂapping to the sand. “Sure. I will walk close before you. She glanced down. her ﬂashing eyes wide. He’d read. no. He remembered why. “I thought we were going swimming. but she was right. “Come. then smiled up at him. The thumping of his heart and the exquisite pain of her nails tattooing down his back as he came inside her. neatly in half. not better. chapters of desire. alright. watching her hips bounce up the stairs in front of him. then in half again.
Must be twenty-ﬁve degrees. Only a handful of words on the page. cozy.” “That’s too bad. written in the manager’s ﬁne script. Finally. making him feel faint. the heavy dial phone resting on his bare knees. Moriarty. brushing the sudden goose-bumps on his arm with her breast.” Her dark eyes stared up at him. “Fuckin’ cold here. that’s good. though the breeze through the window was still warm. The rustle of the stiff folds in the paper drowned out her suit slithering to the ﬂoor.” She patted the bed beside her. and dropped onto the edge of the bed in front of him. an exploding depthcharge. “Shall I go?” His grandfather always said: hung for a sheep as for a lamb. its receiver weighing heavier in his hand and against his ear as the seconds dragged on. it rang at the other end. Moriarty? Cold?” “Yeah. “It will be very.” “That you.” “I have to call…” A cold sweat spread up the back of his neck. out there at that conference and all. You wanna know about my sister?” “Of course. His heart crashed once in his chest. but only twice. How’s the weather out there.” She smiled. ‘Course you’d wanna know.” “That’s good. unless you lived in Boston and thought in Fahrenheit. “I was just going to ask. Patrick. how you say. Patrick. She cocked her head against one thin shoulder. Patrick. then began to beat again. what with the wind chill and all…” In centigrade it wasn’t even a lie. “Glad you could call me back so fast.” His hand pressed the hard plastic of the receiver against the side of his head. “I have to make a call.” His heart paused. the thumping in his chest still painful. but it didn’t stop the pounding of the blood in his ears. Patrick. “It’s okay. the curve still damp where the wet cloth had enclosed it. waiting. She slid by him. she licked her lips. too.” The call took a long time to go through. “Something is wrong?” He sighed.” “Hello. Moriarty?” “Yes. “No. “Hello. Reaching out for him. “Keeping you busy making speeches at the conference.” He shrugged. You can call from here. the sheet pulled up to cover her breasts. where the truth would be nearly eighty. are they?” “Yeah. “Yeah.Transit of Venus they got into the room. alternating sweat and chills. with much clicking and screeching. He sat at the foot. something like that. Damn near froze my balls between the car and the hospital. “How’s Anne?” 27 . “I have to call home.” He watched the breeze play with the edge of the sheet ﬂuttering between her breasts. but they stopped his heart. “To the United States.” His heart was trying to beat its way out of his chest again.” “Oh. She sat silently at the head of the bed. “This pousada is very modern.” He shook his head.” “Course you were.” The heavy Boston accent punched easily through the crackling connection.
now? All the way out there?” Dropping the polite sheath. Patrick. okay… Now’s not the time for this. crossed the half meter of white cotton between them. and where the hell are you? Where the hell are you. “Come.” She jerked her chin at the phone. She slid slowly across the bed. “My wife. counting the slowing heartbeats. “I know that. as ragged as hers had been before the operation. I remember.” He closed his eyes. Ten days. what with her being your wife and all. the doc says it’s a matter of a week or so. the woman lying in the bed had all her hair and was 28 . maybe. “Goddamn flu. I deﬁnitely would like you to stay. Patrick.” “Why not. I’ll be back. Patrick.” He took a deep breath. Well. But when he opened his eyes. remember? When the doctor came out of the operating room…” “Yeah. My sister’s doin’ about as well as you’d expect. Moriarty?” The harsh laugh ripped down six thousand kilometers of wire.” “Do you.” “Why?” Her soft lower lip quivered. his voice rang naked steel against the mouthpiece. at home?” He nodded.” She sat back.” He choked down the acid taste in the back of his throat. “Because I don’t want to be alone. “Should I go now.” Her hand pulled away and tugged the other half of the sheet away from the head of the bed.” “Oh. “Lie down and we will talk. and you are.” She sighed. For a moment the soughing breeze through the curtains was the humming of air conditioning. “No.” He counted a half-dozen thumps of blood.” He sighed. then. “My sister’s lying all alone in the hospital. how is she?” “She’s dying. what with major chunks of her insides sitting in formaldehyde somewheres.Transit of Venus “Nice of you to ask. Now. then set the telephone on the narrow ledge of the open window.” He turned to stare into her wide eyes.” “I’d like you to stay. one hand reaching out to touch his slumped shoulder.” “Thanks. “Thanks for telling me. Moriarty. Moriarty?” “I’m not there. “Oh. “No. Patrick.” The cough was ragged. curling up under the sheet. “Yes. the starch-stiffened sheet on the bed beneath him was made with hospital corners. stay. Moriarty?” He shuddered once. Moriarty. Patrick. “Someone is sick.” He closed his eyes. “Okay. “I was there. That’d be damn nice of you.” The click was submerged in the rising waves of static. Yeah. Patrick.” Her hand slipped from under the sheet. the slight whiff of mildew from the wallpaper the acrid smell of disinfectant.” The thumping in his ear grew stronger as he lowered the receiver into its cradle. Damn nice. “Perhaps I should go. and pressed down on his spread ﬁngers. considering. “I’ll be back before it’s over. I see.” “That’d be nice. if she’s lucky. “Thanks. then sighed.
choking back the laughter. Only a small sigh this time. First a strangled chuckle forced its way past his stiffened lips. riding gently in and away with every breath. past her grinding hips. “Why are you laughing. holding each other close. he didn’t much feel like talking.” Perhaps it was his strangled voice. snagged the edge of her lip. “Sure. his laughter shaking both of them. her snickers only set him off again. her ﬁngers sinking deep into the soft ﬂesh of her buttocks and pulling them apart. into her.” He whispered up at her locked jaw. “I wanted you to open your eyes. When her lips found their way down his wet cheek to his mouth. I couldn’t help it. “You misunderstood what I said. rocking away the tremors racking his body. to draw out his grief and his pain. the hairs on his chest and belly tugging against the adhesive of their sweat. white as sugar. “We’ll save it for later. perhaps just her desire to open to him. nor in Portuguese. Finally they stopped. knees tucked under his arms. ﬂowing like a molten river through him. Finally the shaking stopped. staring into each other’s eyes. Not in English.” “May I wear my new dress?” She bounded off the bed and across the room. he couldn’t hold it in. With the heat from her body wafting across his cooling skin. He hadn’t felt this good in years. he shook his head. “This is funny?” “I’m sorry. they talked of love and grief and its antidote.” He smiled down at her. “Your eyes. soggy sheets.” But with his head lying against the swell of her breasts. Lying on top of him. He tried hard. rocking away the tears ﬂowing across his face. her wrinkled brow. Moriarty?” Her mouth twisted. up and down and in and out. or her imperfect English. thawing all the way down to his feet. her ﬁngers dragging a wet rope of hair away from her mouth. and he looked up into her face. stretching his new-found body. Since… Suddenly he sat up. I’m sorry.” Heaving a huge sigh. they talked. her eyes squeezed shut. “Let’s go to dinner. She stared down as if he were mad.” She elbowed her head up against the pillows. deep in his belly. But once it started. her round ass. she rocked them both gently. a healthy animal alive in its own skin. Locked in their animal communion. but a much older language. Waiting for him to move out of her.” He smiled. he felt much more like holding her close to him.” His blunt ﬁngertip tapped her taut cheek. let’s talk.Transit of Venus the color of burnished walnut. “Open your eyes. the tears trickled away into his ears. “But you did not…” “It’s okay. Her hands slid down their slick bodies. not bleached and bald and riven with tubes and catheters and monitor wires. He tried. “Open your eyes. pushing his ﬁngers hard against her smooth back. he pressed her warmth against the cold coming from deep inside him. Then they were both laughing. Plucking a long stripe of blue 29 . then he lost all control. their mouths almost touching. she held her breath while one sharp tooth.” Stiﬂed at ﬁrst. but he felt all his frozen muscles unknotting. rolling back and forth across the crumpled. her quivering thighs.
when you speak of her.Transit of Venus silk from the back of the chair. “It is only the outside. Like kids. careful not to stain it against her wet ﬂesh. Who else?” The tears quivered their way past her lips and down her chin. his voice changed.” 30 . “The Germans wore grey.” “No? Don’t you know that the woman always knows?” “Yeah.” He sighed.” Her ﬁngers pulled away from his.” “What?” Her head cocked against one delicious shoulder. They sat a long time. dropping off to slowly stain the blue silk arched across her breasts. always holding hands in public.” He shook his head. you wore blue.” He shook his head. but it didn’t work.” He sighed.” He shrugged. where Anne had always eaten all her popcorn and half of his. “Nothing. “It is sad. but not after.” “Yes.” “No. you’re beautiful. “Yeah.” He smiled. This face she’s seen every day for twenty years.” “It is right. “Now she is dying. and a decent wine. Before she was sick. where they’d known they’d always have Paris… In the restaurant they found a quiet corner.” “You still love each other?” “Yeah. tears were starting down her cheeks. “Like everyone.” He nodded.” “And now she is sick?” “No. but it is also beautiful. He nodded.” She tried a brave smile.” “Why? For the conference?” “Yes. “That was a month ago. for you or her.” “No. Sam’s distant piano playing the tune yet again. “A lot of bad times. “And how will she feel when she learns of us? It is not right. “I’m sorry. ﬁngers just touching across the white tablecloth.” He smiled.” She shook her head. and she didn’t recognize me. Almost twenty years.” He shrugged.” Tears started down her cheeks again. maybe. “That’s why only you and I will ever know.” He nodded. “Still in love. Casablanca was far away. she didn’t know it was me. Her ﬁngers batted her wet face. you have things inside. Moriarty. “I should be here. “A lot of things. good food.” He shook his head. “You should go to her.” “For right now. trapped forever in a tiny cinema on the back streets of Cambridge. “It’s right for me. and for you.” He smiled. “You have been married a long time?” He coughed. she held it away from her. I shouldn’t be talking about this with you. before she spoke. “She’ll never know. right now. His lip curled. A lot of good times. “Of course.” “Oh.” He shook his head again.” He shrugged. of course with me. nodding. always kissing. When he looked up. “Yeah. “And for you. “You and this woman.” She shook her head.” “But the conference ended yesterday.” He sighed. I guess. “But I went to the hospital one day.” “You should go.
” “You had a ﬁght. You’re supposed to say hello. “Because you were poor. as is hers. “I always told her you were slower than the other children. Moriarty?” The voice on the other end.” He nodded. you can show me the stars.” He sighed. He’s a cop. Generations of Ryans. “But my family is from Ireland.” She nodded.” “No.” “Oh. cured in whiskey and cigars. for years and years. “He thinks so. and he taught me never to let sand get in moving parts. with books and instruments. “My father is a mechanic. coughed harshly. I can probably lie on my back and see the stars through the window beside our bed. Patrick. Then I say.” He smiled. the lot of them.” She tried another smile. always polishing those brass buttons. and she was rich?” “No.” “The man on the telephone?” “Yeah. “That you.” He shook his head. “I had to look at the stars. I’m different. and he works with his ﬁsts and a gun.” Her eyebrow curved higher. stupid.” He smiled. marching in the parade come Saint Patrick’s Day.” She shook her head.” “A wise man. “No. outside. you got it backwards. Good thick-headed Irishmen.Transit of Venus “Perhaps. you two?” “No.” “You’re probably right. I was the wrong kind of Irish. this cop. if you open the curtains wide enough. “He’s been mad ever since she married me. “But still you should be with her.” His hand slid out to trap her ﬁngers. Her brother. back in Boston. “How are you?” “What’s the matter. Moriarty?” “Hello?” “No. no?” “Yes. too. And now he is angry with you?” One dark eyebrow crept upwards. polishing those fucking badges. and hers always wore uniforms. “He’s been mad at me for years. before he picked up the receiver and his heart stopped again at the sound of Patrick’s voice. “Because I work with ideas. “It will be dark now. “But you are both American. now? That I found out where you are?” 31 . Patrick.” He nodded. “As is his daughter. So I think.” She smiled.” “Hello. is that you. “But you are not like him. “He’s a policeman. If we walk down the beach.” Her ﬁngers squeezed his. Moriarty? Didn’t you notice that I’m calling you.” He sat down slowly on the edge of the bed. He had only a moment to sense that the wind had come up.” The tears shivered as she shook her head. you see. then.” When he unlocked the door of the narrow room the telephone was ringing. rustling the drapes in the open window. “You get the best view of the stars lying on your back.” “A what?” “I’m sorry.” His smile widened. his heart hammering. Policemen and ﬁremen.
Moriarty. some goddamn area code I never heard of…” The cough barked through the wire. when you come back to Boston. god. The doc was wrong. Patrick.” He opened his eyes and set the receiver down carefully on the cradle. he didn’t notice when she came up behind him.” His hand curled tight around the receiver. “I’m so sorry. his tears falling unnoticed against his shirt. But you should remember that. “So am I. you’re a good cop. Is that why you called. “Thanks. And now she’s dead. He watched the Southern Cross riding the dark waters beyond the surf line. He shook his head in wonder. They usually are. “You’re a cop. he didn’t notice when the telephone slipped off the bed onto the ﬂoor. Moriarty. Neither were the stars. Patrick. sending their phosphorescent foam swirling up the beach.” The click was a pistol shot through the static. and you weren’t here. He didn’t notice the warmth of her ﬁngers encircling the ice in his chest. She didn’t feel a thing.” He closed his eyes. Standing. Moriarty.” He nodded. died tonight. Staring out the window at the stars and the sea. my sister. so am I.” “Damned right. from wherever the fuck it is you are. “What about Anne?” “Your wife. “So fuck you. Moriarty. He didn’t notice her body’s heat against his frigid back.” “But you said…” “I said what the doc told me.” 32 . Moriarty. the doc says.” His ﬁngers went numb against the plastic of the telephone. “No.” He watched the curling waves break. me being a cop and all. “Oh. to remind me of that?” “No. The sea was never like that in Boston. “Thanks for calling. In her sleep. pale green against the sand.” The cough was accusing. I called to tell you about Anne. You’re supposed to be good at ﬁnding people.Transit of Venus “I noticed. Goddamned right.” “Okay. Patrick.
” Vogel the Red shrugged. and I didn’t bleed to death on the ridge above Teruel. I missed the train. to throw myself against the wire?” The beloved body. “You. “Not you.” The Litvak turned to smile at his friend.” Vogel the Red nodded. The clacking of the wheels against the bomb-loosened rails dying away. only to fall gasping. Do you think I’ll have the courage of your Eva. dark shadows against the lightening sky. The stench of the urine rank in his nostrils as he hauled in ragged breaths through the pain. The snick and clatter of bolts falling home on the rifles. carving a hissing channel through the hard crust. to the thin night clouds racing the dawn across the hard gray Polish sky. The pine trees silhouetted black as burned sticks against the nacreous sky. The heavy hands falling on his shoulder as they pushed him down… “And where do we go from here?” “You. me. both hands clenched around his wounded middle. you had to take a piss at the wrong time.” Vogel the Red’s thin finger pointed south through the grime. “Me. you go to Palestine. its frozen shell broken. staring out through the smeared windowpane.” Vogel the Red smiled. as the barrel of the Schmeisser submachine pistol jammed up under his chin.” His bony thumb pointed east at distant smokestacks. The sudden chill. past the high ladder of wire lit by the searchlights. “I thought maybe we’d fucked up somewhere along the way. in case the bored guards in the towers decided they were crowding the line. “You didn’t drown in the Mediterranean. my friend. asking to become targets for the gleaming belts of ammunition lying beside the perforated barrels of 4 For Ralph Fasanella 33 . The corporal smiling wider.” “I’m glad. The burning air filling his lungs as he opened his mouth to scream. painfully thin from the months in the ghetto. to warn the others. his breath fogging the glass. The SS corporal’s hard face under the silver death’s head cracking a smile as he lowered the muzzle. The shuddering sigh as the piss drained out of him.” “Of course. half-buried in the snowbank. but still sleek next to the hide-over-sinew bodies lining the tripwire. colder than the bitter night. raking the Litvak’s shriveling groin with the tall front sight. sharp as shards of glass.Transit of Venus Beyond the Wire4 “How the fuck did we end up here?” The Litvak shook his head. “We did. smoking as it fell into the snow. shaking the blood and urine off the barrel of the submachine gun… “And me. They stood just a handspan back from the wire. choking.” The snow bright as daylight under the nearly-full moon. “Simple. The fading shriek of the whistle as the train rounded the curve in the distance. The shouting of the noncommissioned officers. under his weight. The stamping of hobnailed boots behind him on the wooden platform. I go over there.
“And always. over their dark eyes… “Just lucky. “When will he come for you?” “Just before first light. Vogel the Red sighed again. rising to meet the wisps of blue smoke ascending from the staring black orifices of their muzzles.” Vogel the Red nodded. his killers clustered around the steaming pot on the fire made from the fallen branches. “Next year in Jerusalem. “Very soon. the Litvak took his hand. “Unless that Polack decides to inform on you. the narrow palm shaking slightly.” The Litvak nodded. When the Litvak opened the door. their greatcoats strewn around them.” The Litvak smiled.” Vogel the Red shrugged.” Vogel the Red sighed.” “Indeed.” “Sure.” The faint tapping on the door made them both start. the blood coursing down her back and legs.” Turning. The unlucky ones wrapped in their threadbare blankets. “I never thanked you for saving my life in Spain.” As the Pole hissed his anxiety outside.” “Why the fuck did we always end up defending rivers?” Vogel the Red shook his head.” “Yes. steam rising from them now in the cold air.Beyond the Wire the MG34 machine guns. always in the fucking winter!” The dead sprawling on the ground.” “Let’s hope he knows that. “Good luck. The twisted stickfigure of the dead sniper huddling in the bare treetop. my friend. that’s us. the cracks between the thin panels letting in the bitter wind of dawn. I’m worth more to him alive than dead. “I’ve never known the SS to knock.” The Litvak shook his head. The bare mountains dusted with snow squatting beneath the leaden skies in the distance. They stood silently watching her body twitch into oblivion. the Litvak embraced his friend quickly.” “Yes.” Vogel the Red pointed at the fading stars over the smokestacks.” He turned and led the way to the door. I guess.” “Let’s hope it holds out. The lucky ones with heavy coats made from sheepskins.” 34 .” “It can’t get any worse. “Yes. The wounded screaming in thin. “Two lucky guys. “I guess that’s him. always. “Soon now. wrinkled hides dark with grease and dirt. Vogel the Red put out his hand. I think you’ll have the courage of a man I knew at Guadarrama and Teruel.” Vogel the Red grinned back. his broken tooth an angled gap under the cracked lips. thick rivers where the points of the machine gun bullets had torn holes in her thin cotton dress. high voices from the trenches down the hillside. thin rivulets where the points of the twisted wire had bit her. their caps pulled low over their ears. in her thin flesh… “No. “No.” The Litvak chuckled. “In the worker’s paradise.
before he changes his mind!” The Litvak could just hear Vogel the Red’s soft voice as the door closed behind him. “If I hadn’t let you go back to Russia.” The Litvak’s finger traced the edge of Vogel’s red triangle. Jerusalem was farther away. “…Remember me.” “Like Gauguin.” “I wish…” “Yes.Transit of Venus Vogel the Red tapped the yellow triangle sewn on the Litvak’s shrunken chest. you wouldn’t be wearing this. “If I hadn’t let you go back to Germany. “But you can’t. like we planned.” The Litvak went south. so Vogel the Red got where he was going first. “Remember me…” Only that.” “Such is life. you wouldn’t either.” Vogel the Red pushed the Litvak through the doorway. Quickly. so go.” “We should have gone to Tahiti. 35 . “It’d be warm there now.” “Such is life. if only in the Litvak’s heart. Vogel the Red’s journey took him east. But he would live forever.” Vogel the Red nodded. “Which you won’t have if you don’t hurry. as the Pole dragged him away through the falling snow.” Tears made the Litvak blink.
Death 36 .
clouded in soft. and yet warm and somehow comforting. frightening eternity of space. Life is a grand celebration in honor of those who have passed on and can no longer share the feast with us. with the throaty chuckling of the gulls echoing softly on the wind. with no vision of anything beyond. But then life calls. as it turned out. light bubbles of thinner mist trailing slowly by. Sorry… But the rest is still true. like an old friend through a window or over a bedsheet rosy with morning. 5 It wasn’t. grass tall and paper-thin and dry. slowly discarding layers of the tomb at each pace until the once. and death rises and shambles gently through the viscous sand toward the living. the sky. seductively. threatening grey. the mist closing round. cool. living body regains the world of light and shadow. and that’s how I’m living it. and yet again. winking softly. 37 . It will be reclining into a dune covered with zipper-edged grass. a high and shrill whistle. defining a comforting cell. yet stretching away to distanceless borders on either side. rustling softly and forlornly in the cool of the east wind. Death was just blackness.Transit of Venus Death5 It was on the beach that I discovered how death will be. blotting out any hint of the black.
The Special K breakfast 38 .
Transit of Venus The special K. breakfast I’d come up to Montreal on business the night before. She hadn’t been able to get a decent ﬂight out of Toronto until the morning, but she’d promised to meet me for a late breakfast at the hotel. I was just getting out of the shower when the phone rang. “Hello.” “Good morning, stranger.” It had been nearly a year since I’d last seen her. Though we’d never even touched each other, our relationship had blossomed on the telephone. I recognized her husky voice immediately. “Morning. And where are you?” “About ﬁfty meters from a taxi.” “Great.” I grinned. “But which airport?” “Silly boy.” She held the receiver out until it picked up an impenetrable stream of Québecois. “That answer your question?” “How soon can you be here?” She chuckled. “Are you even out of bed yet?” “Just drying my hair.” “Well, go down and order your breakfast. I’ll be there before you ﬁnish.” “Do you want anything?” “A cup of coffee and whatever that is in your hand.” “Waiter, some coffee and a damp towel for the lady.” She laughed. “Somehow I doubt that, knowing you.” There were only a few scattered businessmen left in the dining room when I came down The English were wearing dark three-piece suits, the French sipping at half-gallon bowls of café au lait. There were also a few tables of tourists— three of Japanese with video cameras piled high between their plates and one of Swedes with a beautiful fourteen-year-old daughter, her hair nearly white in the bright sun of this Northern summer. I had the waiter, a tall thin Francophone with that vaguely harried look that Frenchmen the world over seem to adopt at birth, seat me against the wall, well away from the crowd. After ordering a British-style breakfast of eggs and bacon, garnering a world-weary roll of the eyes from the croissant-fed waiter, I amused myself by staring across the room at the young Swedish girl, her breasts like ripe pomegranates pressing their points against the front of her blue-and-yellow-striped shirt. That game lasted until her father noticed her blushing under my scrutiny. His ice-hard eyes carried his message all the way across the room: My Viking forefathers carried swords and ﬁre down the length of Europe — do you think I’ll have trouble with the likes of you? The fact that he was six inches taller than me, and seemed to be having an order of steroids with his plate of gravlax, made me take him seriously. I quickly switched to deciphering the front page of the Montreal newspaper, a difﬁcult task given my four words of French. I’d understood only one headline when she came in the door.
The Special K breakfast She was wearing an elegant white summer dress, which glowed beneath the nimbus of her dark hair. Pausing in the doorway, she scanned the room, but didn’t see me until I waved. All the way to the table, her face shifted rapidly from puzzlement to amusement. Throwing her overnight bag and purse in an empty chair, she slid onto another one next to me, a big smile on her red lips. “You shaved!” I nodded. “Sure did.” “I like it with just the mustache.” Her head cocked to one side. “I think.” “That’s good. I was afraid you wouldn’t.” “But why ever did you do it?” I shrugged. “Like you, things at work have been a bit strange. If I have to make a sudden move, it seemed like excess baggage.” Her tongue ﬂicked once over a serious frown, then the smile came back. “I’ve decided. I like it.” “I promise…” I leaned forward, my palm sliding over her bare knee. “I promise to not scrape your tender thighs.” “You’d better not.” Her mouth closed off my response. When she leaned back, she shook her head and reached for a napkin. “Can’t have that.” Her ﬁngers scrubbed the cloth across my face. “Your new face doesn’t look good in red lipstick.” The waiter coughed quietly. “Anything for madame?” We both stiﬂed a laugh, and I smiled up at him. “Just some coffee.” “Oui.” His raised eyebrows indicated the damage on my plate. “And for monsieur?” “Another orange juice and a rasher of bacon.” I frowned. “Crisper, this time.” He shuddered delicately. “Oui, monsieur.” I turned into her smile. “Have to keep my strength up, you know.” “Whatever for?” I grinned back. “For the next forty-eight hours.” “And then?” Her smile wavered. “Then…” I slipped the hand with the ring under the tablecloth. “Then, my dear, we retire to neutral corners and collapse.” Her smile recovered. “Then I suppose we shouldn’t waste any time.” “No.” I shook my head. “So we’ll start now.” She raised one dark eyebrow above a ﬂashing eye. “Indeed?” “Yes.” Reaching over, I plucked her Italian leather purse off the chair and set it on the table. “Take this to the bathroom.” “But I don’t have to…” My hand snaked out. Fingers buried in the warm thickness of the hair at the nape of her neck, I pulled her close. “It’s too late. We’ve already started.” Her eyes widened. “Do you understand?” Her breath came hot and rapid against my face, her eyes uncertain. “Yes…” “Good. Do you have some cream or oil in your purse?” She nodded. “Okay, go to the ladies room, lock yourself in one of the stalls, and take your panties off. Understand?” 40
Transit of Venus She gulped a lungful of air, as if she’d just come up from deep water. “Yes.” “Put them in your purse, then take the oil and put some on your asshole. Lubricate it very well.” Smiling, I kissed her. “Your cunt will do just ﬁne on its own, I suspect.” When I let go she stood up, her body shaking slightly, then steadied herself with a deep breath. “I’m going to trust you, my friend, just this once…” Tucking her purse under her arm, she turned, her voice ﬂoating back over her shoulder as she walked away. “…but if I end up on a milk carton, I’ll never forgive you.” The waiter wondered why I was laughing, all by myself, when he brought the food. Her blush lit her way across the room as she came back. Striding up to the table, she held her purse out in both hands. “Want to check?” “No.” I smiled. “I trust you.” Somber, she stared down into my eyes. “Don’t ruin it this early.” My smile faded. “If you don’t think I’m doing this out of caring for you, caring about us, then you should turn around and go right now.” She held the stare for a long time. “That’s a great line, mister. I hope it’s true.” “I didn’t say I wasn’t doing it out of a massive, strange, and perverse desire.” I smiled again. “Just that it was a caring perverse desire.” “Okay.” Her lips trembled, then broke into a grin. “What should I do now, stand on my head?” “No.” I frowned. “That’s for later.” She giggled. “I knew you were delightfully twisted when I ﬁrst saw you.” “I didn’t know it was that obvious.” I pulled her chair well away from the table. “Now come stand here beside me.” Shrugging, she stepped over to my left side. With me sitting down, she wasn’t much taller than I was, and her plump hip pressed against my shoulder. “Well, now what?” “Drink your coffee.” When she reached down for the cup, I slipped my hand past her knee and up between her legs. She gasped, bobbling it. “Careful. You have me in a very precarious position here.” “I know.” My hand squeezed her taut thigh. “That’s the idea. Now spread your legs apart.” Sighing, she shufﬂed her feet to either side. “More.” A few centimeters. “Further.” Another millimeter or two. “That’s good.” She inhaled sharply as my hand crept up to cradle the swell of her buttocks. “Now drink your java and pretend nothing unusual is happening.” Her lips were mufﬂed by the cup, but her harsh tone made sure I heard every word. “That may be just a little difﬁcult, considering…” My ﬁngers, just reaching a slippery patch on the inside curve of her ass, slid slowly upwards. “Try.” I smiled as, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the waiter raise his head across the room. “Try very hard.” 41
and her nails tried to draw blood from my wrist. First my middle ﬁnger.” I pulled my hand down a few centimeters. unaware. The girl’s parents were quickly occupied wiping up spilled milk. then the soft poink as her muscles relaxed and let my ﬁngertip in. I winked and she started.” I pressed the side of my face against her hip. “A cramp of the leg. From le jogging. A strangled noise came from between her quivering lips. pressing against the tightness of her asshole— pressure. still more pressure. cereal spoon frozen half-way to her lips. Her voice was a low hiss. Bending my wrist. I reached up as far as I could and grabbed a handful of her. I edged my hand up her slickened thigh and thrust both ﬁngers inside her to the hilt. nearly breaking my wrist. then added the pressure of my ring ﬁnger against her clitoris. Her whole body arched when the waiter spoke. hard.The Special K breakfast My ﬁngertips caressed the liquid oozing down. kneading her clit between my knuckles. her own juices mixed with the lavish amount of cream she’d pressed up inside herself. Another stroke. Setting the cup down slowly. he turned and walked away. I swiftly slid my hand back down her rippling thigh and dragged over her chair. squeezing the soft partition between her cunt and ass. She sucked in air. When the worst of the shuddering stopped. “Finish it. Finish it now.” I felt a shudder start at her shoulders. her nails digging into my wrist. I kept a straight face. you fucking bastard. dropping the spoon into her bowl. and she sagged against me. glacier-blue eyes of the Svenska ﬂicka across the room. not enough to break the suction in either orifice. the feel of a hard. her eyes closed. as of yet. I continued that rhythm with the two ﬁngers plunged deep inside her. As both openings dilated. I pressed in again. Then my foreﬁnger. past my wrist. “Madame is unwell?” By an total act of will. Above me. Grinning. she reached over and grabbed my other hand where it lay on the table. working its way down through her stomach and hips to where her cunt and ass clenched at me. with just the slightest touch of concern. then in again. his face a myriad of expressions. Le jogging. slipping through the slick petals of her cunt into warm wetness. and her buttocks tightened against my cheek. of the little tableau that’d so startled their daughter. she groaned quietly into the cup. and didn’t stop. “Open up.” Slowly. breathing harshly through her swollen lips. not as far. As her body twitched its way over the edge. She slumped into it. She started to shudder. slick wedding ring ﬂicking against her most intimate spot must have produced a frisson of mixed emotions. I’d run out of time. I looked up into the wide. “Ah. god…” Her weight slumped against my shoulder. reluctantly.” “Ah. Oui. down my hand. just to where the ﬁrst knuckle on my foreﬁnger snapped its way through the tight ring of her asshole. 42 . I forced my ﬁngers into her. “Let go. Suddenly there was a rush of warmth that trickled down my ﬁngers.
The waiter set the bill down gently on its worn plate. said: We are. I love the smell of a woman in the morning. “Garçon!” The waiter snapped to attention. she eyed the table as a solution. I pushed my chair back far enough so she could see the front of my trousers. “Mademoiselle…” I smiled. “Oh. madame!” Turning back. I hope so. oui. yes. Waiting for the elevator.” His shrug. mister. but they’d replaced the long tablecloths of dinner the night before with short ones for breakfast.Transit of Venus In a few moments she turned her head and glared at me. perhaps just to settle her dress— she was gone. “Oui. Otherwise. madame?” “L’addition.” She stood up. Shaking back her hair. she palmed the key off the table. s’il vous plaît! Immédiatement!” “Oui. she is. Hopeless as cover. practiced a thousand times while watching Yves Montand movies. she turned sharply. Wrestling with the money in my pocket camouﬂaged the awkward twist in my pants as I got up. some things can’t be put into English. “Don’t wait for the change. “You’re going to pay for that. inhaling deeply.” Licking her broad lips. Merci. 43 . are we not? I just nodded. I set off to face my punishment.” The ﬁre shone through the glaze in her dark eyes. “I hope you can move your appointments to much later in the day. you’re going to miss them. ever so slightly shinier than before. “Madame is better?” I quickly swept my napkin off the table to cover the small damp spot on her chair. I surreptitiously curled my ﬁngers around my mustache. belied by the satisﬁed smile on her mouth.” With a quick twitch of her behind— perhaps to show her determination. I do hope so.” He eyed my wedding ring. after all. Dropping a handful of bills on the table. “And. “Ah. men of the world. It smells like… victory. if you know what’s good for you.
Banshee 44 .
As he’d done. a fleshy plug to fill her stillvibrating mouth and throat. however sturdy. with wavy blonde hair that ran halfway down her slim back. enough to look it up before going to the bar: banshee. The use of the old name had intrigued him. by her boss. that still attracted him. barely. had him convinced that she was under thirty-five. He’d always believed. when touched in certain slick and swollen places. her pert breasts and boyish ass were covered. a Cajun beauty from a wealthy Louisiana family whose status. And that she. dancing in a hidden forest glen. after the bar closed. introduced by a mutual friend. Not little people with wings. along with a body as slim as any model’s. The only thing he could find that quieted her was himself.] Her ample mouth and silken skin took after her mother. n. He’d long known that fairies blow away on an east wind.Transit of Venus Banshee He knew it was going to be weird. of course. hell. a tough coal miner who’d fled the Ukraine after the War. even her ex-husband. Sitting across from him. But her nearly lineless face. somehow. When he first saw her. she could’ve been hiding a horrifically wrinkled portrait of herself in the attic. 45 . Not that he gave a damn. once their friend left. but real. There he found that her skin. gave off a scent of delicate flowers grown in some distant jungle and then strangled before their time. coming across the bar with heads turning in her wake. She was tall and lean. fertilized in a dreary mining town in Pennsylvania. became somewhat tarnished after the War. had produced a glorious flower in the mid-Fifties. a spirit in the form of a wailing woman who appears to members of a family as a sign that one of them is about to die. and he’d have still followed her home. in the open door off the kitchen the cool breeze. a woman of the fairies. [The one that ended in 1865. smooth as satin beneath his fingers. that fairies. a flip of her hair revealed gleaming hazel eyes and a brilliant wide smile. thirsty and sweaty. so he’d chosen to believe the older definition. were real. That seemed unlikely. He even checked it when he got up in the dark. by a tight sweater and tighter jeans. walking in the same world as the other miracles he’d witnessed during his life— men on the moon. Most of what attracted him. it was said. begin to fade after forty years or so. [The one that ended in 1945. A long night’s conversation. brought out that her fiery blood and honeyed hair came from her father. but it’d been blowing strong out of the west when they’d driven into the driveway.] Their passion. still from the west. was obvious. that she was a bean sïdhe. By her roommate. ever since his Irish grandmother told him so as a child. But there was something about her. Her muted noises reminded him that her roommate called her ‘banshee woman’. He’d been warned. dried the rivulets that ran down the front of his body. in spite of everything they’d said. Most flowers. howled like some wild thing out of the dark waters of Bayou Lafitte.
then quickly opened her mouth to his. however. be impish or even hostile: a dainty sprite. the devil be damned. again. As she was dozing when he slipped into the room. and eat her until she screamed… A shudder ran through her narrow frame as she eased him back against the damp sheet. her hands against the wall. When he saw the green and yellow cans lined up in the refrigerator. Quickly downing a can. straight out of the rising sun. nor those delicious lips parting around her cockeyed smile. their breaths mingled. there to show her the third miracle he’d thought of earlier. that she was gone. those sparkling eyes. that he’d never see her. he knew he’d been right about her all along: sprite. She woke up. startled. intense. Speaking into her parted lips. not that flowing mane of hair. his arms sliding around her body. He knew. even before he felt across the cool sheets to her side of the bed. He knew. he softly slid the sheet aside and eased down beside her. 46 . knee-walking up his body. a fairy of pleasing appearance. it may. hot and rapid and harsh. and trudged back to bed and his dainty sprite. n. to be admired for ease and lightness of movement.Banshee airplanes that flew like hummingbirds. In the morning he woke to find the wind coming in the open window. the arch of her mons obscuring his vision. against the side of his throat as he went to sleep. he smiled. her pink-tipped breasts pressing against his chest. multiple orgasms. a strange. somewhere in his dark Irish heart. too. almost scary look on her face that disappeared only when her ruby-lipped center slid over his chin. he gave her the bad news: he was going to make her kneel over his face. But her howling didn’t last very long before she collapsed on top of him and he could still feel her breath.
and killed the revolution when Black Jack Pershing and Patton and I rode back into Old Mexico. And none. Then it was back to the sand again. first in Tokyo and Yokohama. 6 With apologies to Tolstoi. Phu Bai. and we froze to death in the rocks.” Then I killed them. to Lebanon. volume two6 I have many names. And I died in the sand in North Africa and the rocks at Salerno and Monte Cassino and the sand again at Normandy and the mud all through France and into Germany to the death camps and the Russians. The ones that didn’t die a thousand other ways. But I got to kill them. the first time. Then Patton took me back to the Old World to kill Germans. where I died but you didn’t know it. I was Attucks when I died in Boston. Chu Lai. At Manassas. lots of them. and it was back to the jungle again. At Wounded Knee they were Sioux. Khe Sanh. I was there. them and us. Then back to the sand again. I died at Quang Tri. I died when Villa rode into New Mexico. It was cold. Then it was Sunday. When we burned Vera Cruz and the Halls of Montezuma. 47 . And I once wrote in my diary: “June 3. When they were gone. I went to Cuba and died at Siboney and San Juan Hill. Hue. I died again. at Frozen Chosin and Heartbreak Ridge. the first time. I died for you. Cold Harbor. and go south with Smedley Butler to kill cacos in Haiti. I was gassed and machine gunned in the barbed wire. I was there at Sumter. and with Smedley Butler to kill Sandinistas in Nicaragua. Then I went to Peking and stole everything from the Forbidden City. again. when my great-grandfather killed yours. whether you remember or not. and I died at Pearl Harbor and Midway and Wake. to die at Tarawa and Guadalcanal and Saipan and Iwo Jima. Whether you like it or not. Then the French stopped dying in Viet Nam. I was there when they burned the White House. I went with Dewey to Manila and killed the Spanish. Then Pershing took me to France so I could kill Germans. I killed for you. In the Wilderness. I lived to guard the railroad in the long Siberian winter. then later at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Then Shiloh and Manassas again. Quang Ngai. At Little Big Horn they got their own back. and Chickamauga.Transit of Venus War & Peace. the first time. And I died at Chateau Thierry and the Argonne and Belleau Wood. and the jungle. the first time. them and us. the seventh of December. at Gettysburg. Laos. Danang. so I could kill the Huks in Luzon and Mindanao. The DMZ. At Sand Creek I killed the Cheyenne. years after we burned their ships along the shore of Tripoli. I was Casey and Ferguson and Schmidt when I killed the British at Bunker Hill and Lexington. I was killed.
Remember me. Cam Ranh Bay. remember me. where I killed them but you didn’t know it. where I killed everything and no one knew. and Panama. and I died in the sand. where I tried to forget what I’d done. The Rung Sat Special Zone. I killed for you. I killed them in the jungles. The Delta. Then I killed them by the tens of thousands in nameless places in the sands of Iraq and Kuwait. again. Then Desert One and the Lebanon. I died for you. Kontum. Dak To. The bars and whorehouses of Saigon and Bangkok and Hong Kong. Pleiku. Nha Trang. in Grenada and Nicaragua. Then back to the swamps to die one more time.Banshee Cambodia. again. Tay Ninh. whether you want to or not. 48 . The Parrot’s Beak. Whether you like it or not.
They’d wanted a white Christmas. They were to be the first Christmas present for her this year. “I’m so…” Their lips slid wetly. and he could hardly keep himself from pulling them out right then and there. Trapping that secret behind a broad smile. but it was enough. “…here. “And I missed you. here he was. leaving his hands free to clutch at her thighs. her tanned skin set off deliciously by the sheepskin jacket she was wearing. not when he first saw her.” He chuckled. The strain of the flight seemed to seep out of his tired body at just the sight of her. and her hair.” His teeth bit her lip. “…you so. he leaned forward and kissed her gently on the nose. She wasn’t smiling.” Pulling back to catch his breath. her hands sliding on the melted snow staining his shirt. something you couldn’t get in the islands. warm inside flannel-lined jeans. she wasn’t even within arm’s reach when he dropped the big leather satchel and swung his hands out for her. “I’ve had a hard-on since Denver. but all worth it once he’d find her waiting for him. black and lustrous as the string of Malacca Straits pearls riding deep in his jacket pocket.” “You nasty man!” She pushed him. because the weather’d been getting worse and the plane was late. and she’d decided to fly ahead to get the house open and running. with her sleek naked body illuminated by just the rosy light of the fireplace in the cabin. on ever-smaller airplanes. her legs and arms wrapped around him. the feathery snow a scrim of white on his dark shoulders. then stooped for the satchel before bulling his way through the heaving crowd to the safety of the telephone alcove across the passageway. Thompson. that magical smile on her face. first Miami and then Denver and then. her dark hair a sable hood trailing over her shoulders. Grand Junction and finally here. Leaping into his arms. “…happy you’re…” Her tongue darted down his throat. and her sweet face. wild with winter static and the wind. It’d been a long flight. he gazed into her eyes. “I missed…” Noses pressed flat. glowing with the warmth of his kisses. both now gone alas… 49 . “Whatever am I going to do with you?” 7 With apologies to Ambrose Bierce and Hunter S. they each ground their mouths against the other. He staggered a bit. But a grin burst across her face as soon as she saw him shamble out of the darkness. ever since he’d picked them up from the counter of the duty free store on his last trip. She could only get out a word or two between their mouths’ meeting. Edging forward between the welcoming families and the bedraggled passengers. freezing his ass off in tropical clothes. teeth bright against her flushed skin.Transit of Venus An occurrence at Woody Creek Bridge7 It was cold when he got off the plane. He’d wanted to see them fastened around her neck. clambering down the stairs of the puddlejumper and running across the ramp to the gate. but then it had been nearly eighty when he’d left home. she buried her face in his neck. Last-minute work on the book had delayed his departure. leaning in hard with his body. recentering his weight. but her grin was back. There he could press her weight against the wall. with the Rockies the obvious choice.
her waist.” She shook her head. Sitting up. she slid across the seat and leaned down. The roads lower down didn’t seem bad. after glancing around to make sure no one else was looking. but he knew he’d be thankful for the four-wheel drive as soon as they got off the plowed stretches and into the hills. so she had to look up to see his reaction when. “It means Santa obviously thinks I’ve been a good boy this year. she was way overdressed in the sheepskin jacket. 50 .” Her wink came fast and sudden. she pulled open the throat of her jacket. tired brains out. her hair draping across his lap. “I know I’m safe with you. “Later.” His fingers tightened on her shoulders. She’d rented a new Explorer when she’d arrived. Slapping away his groping hand. with the heater going full blast. lay her breasts. her slim fingertips tight in the woolly collar. She ran a cool hand across his cheek. “You’ve been a very good boy. low and deep in her throat. at the delicious jiggling. “Whoa…” He flinched as her cold fingertips slid between the buttons of his 501s. when she took it off and flipped the jacket into the back. pour a decent whiskey into me.” She smiled. held up as if for inspection by his favorite bra. His mouth watered at the sight.” The top of her head only came up to his eyes. at the nipples proud in the cold air. her teeth following her fingers to tug and bite at the thick cloth and the buttons over his crotch. “I’m sorry those went away. “It means…” Looking back up into her anthracite eyes. then?” He looked down into the shadowed space between her hands. There.” Her head arced down again.” Wiggling out of her seatbelt. not wanting to take his focus off the slippery road ahead. then leaned forward to plant a kiss on his face and whisper into his ear. “But you shouldn’t go totally unrewarded for driving in this terrible weather. its copper-colored silk clasping tits pink and warm and sweet as roasted apples. happy as any kid who finds his fondest wish under the tree on Christmas morning. she smiled.” She chuckled. my impatient love. sheltered by the curly white sheepskin. “But what do you think this might mean. “But I’m hoping you’ll remember how to be a very bad boy later. But he just had to stare. and then fuck my cold. “Well.” He had both of them and his gear in the car in minutes. I did pick up some good stuff to drink in the village. pressing home his point. With a pointed finger in his chest. perhaps. at the copper-clad roundness of her. he was warmed up before they got out of the airport. for him to come around the blind corner way too fast.An occurrence at Woody Creek Bridge “I certainly hope that you’re going to take me up the hill. he grinned. When her slim fingers reached for the buttons he only glanced at her out of the corner of his eye. Reason enough. her hand still grasping his fly. of course. she eased him away from her and slid down off the stainless steel of the telephone cabinet. she took a crisp white turtleneck out of a bag on the floor and quickly slid it on.” He cocked his chin at her chest. “Don’t worry. By then. the backs of her thighs. days before.
Once he made the bridge over Owl Creek. pissing on the exquisite sense of not only being alive but moments from fucking a beautiful woman. but they finally made it in the heavy wood door. slammed back into her own seat with the seatbelt and shoulder harness jacked tight around her. tough with his knees going soft under him once the adrenaline wore off. he knew they were safe. that he’d probably lose the arm when they hit. in that blink before it would matter. letting the heat from the furnace and the fireplace soak into their bodies. pissing on luck. All the way up the hill she clung to him as best she could. But it was only the work of a second to slide his hand down between his body and the shoulder harness. his left arm cranked the wheel. “Then I want to race you into the hot tub. He knew he had no brakes. rigid as deer. The studded tires held. just holding each other. in his gnarled hands. smooth and fast and fearless as Moss at Sebring or Fangio in the Mille Miglia. in the last straight stretch of road before they came to the creek at the bottom of the slope leading up to the cabin. with a big kiss. but better that by far than her spending the rest of her life with a broken back. pissing on stupid drivers and their stupider kids. barely. but she managed a twisted smile. crying and thanking him for saving them all.” She nodded. into the warmth and the light. knowing as he did so that he lied. “I’ll take a large glass of red wine while you’re there. by inches. he pulled her arms from around his neck and held her face. barely any steering. and he steered the vehicle between the frozen children and the waving arms of their panicked fathers and mothers and the obstacle course of disabled vehicles.” Her smile broadened. and no time at all. Finally. and finally sliding his arm back down between her and the belt to cradle her startled body against his. The eyes of everyone went huge and white as they all froze in their tracks. reluctantly. a terrible tableau of the drivers standing helplessly beside their vehicles babbling into cellular phones and their kids whooping and sliding across the roadway. “And don’t cheat…” He shook his head. With her as safe as stolen moments could ensure. licking the salt of her tears off her lips. gulping back another round of weeping. He figured. please. still damp from crying. the same patch of black ice that’d put a Grand Cherokee into the ditch and a Trooper into the opposite one. pissing on the karma lords and their bad sense of humor. They stood in the front hallway for quite awhile. “I want a very big whiskey…” He kissed her again. He even cheated by pissing off the deck onto the long slope of snow behind the cabin. before he dropped her. shiny new boots screeching against the slick asphalt. true.Transit of Venus only to discover. “Okay…” Her voice was still rocky. He had to halfcarry her into the house. He laughed when he eased his still-weak legs into the 51 . when the headlights of the Explorer caught them. and he missed them. his fingers locking tight as spring steel in her hair and the bunched muscles of his arm hauling her weightlessly up to him. but he missed them just the same. But you have to wait until I get out of the bathroom to start taking your clothes off.
even laughed at the look on her face as she came out of the bathroom. while inside the fire burned down to glowing coals. Reluctantly.An occurrence at Woody Creek Bridge burning water. he smiled. The best they made.” When she got her feet settled on the shortest bench in the tub. and sucked and licked it off her throat and breasts and nipples and belly. stubby monster of 52 . until the essence of her ‘impalpable angel’. pulling back. They clung together. carefully.” She started. “You cheated!” He nodded. her tears. her red-rimmed eyes staring into the intensity of his blue ones. lust. yes…” His hands slid underneath her. her face safe in the juncture of his neck. delicately. those curved and those flat and those in between. he could feel against his face the heartbreaking sobs racking her body. she sagged against him. his hands on the flat of her back and the curve of her bottom as if to weld her to him. taking another slug of Glenfarclas. “Now.” Then he tipped the glass and spread many dollars worth of whiskey across her chest. Cradling her arms around his neck. gazing up with near religious wonder at the exquisite tautness of her parts. Outside the snowflakes continued to fall. laughed as he slammed back his first shot glass full of single malt. “Now?” “Oh. running down into the steaming water where his desire rose. “I want to taste you now. ran down into his mouth. just beginning. her breasts crushed against his chest. Raising his glass in a toast. striding across the living room dressed only in that delicious coppery bra and a pair of crimson panties rapidly fluttering to the oak planks as she came. She got the bra off even before he raised his wet hands. Her voice was slurred by tear-swollen lips and. given how close to the edge of her emotions she already was. a drowning man climbing to his rescuer. her face flickering between indignation and laughter. It did not take long. for waves of pleasure to run through her like electricity. the comfort he needed to give. descending slowly into the hot water. his lips finding her ear. resting her soft cheek against the wet crown of his head. and still only ten years younger than her… He shook his head. as Saint-Exupéry had it. he pulled her down to him. overflowed across his lips. still puffy from crying. he looked up past them to her face. A long time later. her puckered nipples were on a line with his face once she got close enough to grab his ears with both her hands and shake him. white and slow and fat as any in Doctor Zhivago. Only when she’d stopped crying did he turn his face into the dark cathedral of her hair. Standing up as she was and sitting down as he was. hand over hand. His lips forced deep into the delicate juncture of her breasts. as she watched the gentle fall of the snow through misted glass. though he’d heard her vainly splashing cold water on herself in the bathroom. her arms leaning on the windowsill to steady her. of ecstasy this time. “Old age and treachery will win out over youth and skill every time. She’d cheated as well. His tongue and lips and fingers applied the solace she needed. Before she could react he leaned forward. her belly rippling. dropping it safely out of reach. filled his heart. her legs shaking. he positioned himself beneath her to drink from her liquid center.
missing the scattered cars and all the children sliding on the ice. where the Explorer had hit the bent plate at the approach to the bridge— cazart how many times had he told the guys over at Highways to fix it— and then. fucking autopsy be damned. bodies nearly interpenetrated by the force of the crash. Clinging to his neck. that’s how they were going to be buried. The sheriff could see. When she sat firmly down on him. the eyewitnesses all said that the driver. At the peak. it took the rescue team over an hour to cut them out of the wreck. her silken insides clinging to him like a glove. landing on its top in the frigid waters of Owl Creek.Transit of Venus their own Loch Ness. He’d come flying over from his house on Woody Creek when he got the call. 53 . wiggling until his monster found the opening to her need. whoever he was. Sheriff Thompson stood on the bluff the whole time. Lashed onto the long stretcherboard. but finally gave up. the flopping bodies of the driver and his passenger rode their shoulders like dolphins beached on some nightmare shore. and wouldn’t he dance a fine whipsong on the startled faces of the trio of neutered weasels now. probing and poking and listening and cutting away sodden clothing to slap instruments on exposed flesh. he knew he could stay like that forever. shaking their heads. gone looping into the aged railing of the bridge— goddammit how many times had he pleaded with the county commissioners to come up with the money to replace it. and he’d almost made it. bound together forever. the long cigarette holder clenched viciously between his teeth. that’s when the sheriff swore to himself. she arched against him. At the top the paramedics took over. she lost the ability to stand and slid to a safer perch in his lap. wrapped in each other’s arms. leaving the boys from the coroner’s office to struggle with the zipper on the biggest bodybag they had. just like that. the front tire blown. watching them work with the hydraulic extraction tools and the crowbars and the saws. In the on-scene interviews. the wave of her hard landing overtopping the tub. The sheriff waited by the ambulance as the crew from the fire brigade slipped and fell and got up awkwardly again on the steep slope to the roadway. come the next meeting— and through and down. scarcely turning his head. As the young deputy poured a string of jet-black pearls he’d found in the driver’s pocket into Thompson’s outstretched hand. had been brilliant. After they found the car.
A west side story 54 .
the whole thing gets wrapped up neatly.” 55 . glaring at him from beneath the penumbra of her hair. “Is it ever going to get here?” She snuggled her head down to his shoulder. I don’t. “Actually. he laid the side of his face softly against the top of her head. she rubbed the sore spot with her slim fingertips.” She nestled closer.” She pinched him.” He smiled. McGee lives on a boat in Florida and makes his living by taking a lot of money away from bad men. “Sometimes he gets laid twice. “It’s a MacDonald novel. perfect for airplanes.” “They made an announcement while you were gone that it would be landing in a few minutes. could sure crank out these things. “First of all. both things appealed to me for a long time. he must have written fifty of ’em. but he wasn’t really reading it when she came up behind him and put her hand on the curve between his neck and his shoulder. unnoticed. turning his head to bury his face in the warm scent of her curls.” He tapped the book with a stubby finger.” “Good.” He held the cover of the book up so she could see it. Her fingers dug gently into the soft muscle as she leaned down to whisper in his ear. “Tell me what appeals to you about all that. on the soft spot above his belt. a man who finds women the most fascinating of God’s creatures…” “Is that why you insist on watching every one that goes by?” She sat up suddenly.” Looking at the empty ramp outside the large windows. she sighed. savoring the feel of her hair as it tickled his day-old beard.Transit of Venus A west side story He had the book open in front of him.” “It’s the usual Travis McGee story: a woman’s in trouble. she comes to him for help. “So what are you pretending to read?” She slid around the end of the line of seats and into the chair next to him. “Do I need to have my hands actually on you to keep you from looking at other women?” Leaning in. “He is also.” He laughed. hard. I’m afraid.” “Why do you like his stuff?” He shrugged. “It’s good escape material. too much like me: alone by habit. McGee gets laid. “I want to be home now. “No…” He laughed quietly. his steely grey no match for her fiery chocolate-cherry eyes. a bit antisocial by nature. “Re-reading. “Is that why you fantasize about fucking every one of them?” He forced himself to stare back. “Now. “But it helps.” Holding the book on his palm as if weighing its import. actually. and he’s outta there. “Old John D.” She shook her head. down the hall. “Tell me the real part. he rubbed the side of his face against her soft lips. her hair a dark wave across his shoulder. tell me about this book. there’s a murder or two. forcing his head away. “And that’s it?” “No.” The statuesque blonde he’d been watching over the edge of the book walked.” When he flinched.
no more than an iron bar might if heated. to make you stop?” Her fingers closed on his shirt front. joining his fingers to trap her in the circle of his arms. her body bending unwillingly against his. An exquisite pressure. he chose his words carefully. and he wasn’t sure why it had started now. don’t do this. “Okay. to fuck them. They were tired. he reached out for her. he’d looked forward to taking it off her. “What will it take. or think about fucking them?” This was a war he couldn’t win. but if he wasn’t careful he wouldn’t get the chance. When he opened his eyes her unshed tears were a silver line behind her long 56 . “Look. serious work. my darling girl. except… “It was that goddamn grey hair. she bit her lower lip to stop its quivering. “No shit. just enough that the curve of her shirt touched his.” She snorted. but there’d been nothing to bring on such an explosion. “I guess I need to make a confession. “Maria…” He leaned in.” She softened. He put his palm flat against her back. to touch… He didn’t.A west side story “Which?” She leaned closer. sliding it along her body. and watch the sun as it set over the Dry Tortugas. Stiff in his arms.” She jerked her body away. pressing his mouth to hers. Watching her put on that delicious bra that morning. a tight confection of white lace. because there was work to do here. feeling her muscles stiffen under the silk shirt. flop down on the porch with cold drinks in their hands. wasn’t it?” “Don’t touch me. he shivered at the thought of the soft flesh riding inside. her aquiline nose brushing his. and he pulled away immediately. her breath hot against his face. “I do look at other women. wasn’t it?” She whirled. “Oh. “But I want to fuck you. “Don’t make yourself crazy like this. hiding her face in a sable mantle of hair. drawing her closer.” “Sometimes I even wonder how it would be to sleep with them.” He tightened his grasp. her tawny skin hot and slick with sweat from the heat trapped in their bedroom over the days they’d been gone. his face just brushing her hair. and were on their way home.” “Really?” White tooth gleaming.” He exhaled even slower. these were dangerous waters. They’d been away for several days. nonetheless all he wanted was to kiss her. and he could only hope he knew how. to lick the pain off her face. no…” She spun around within his grasp. painful at this distance. looking to buy a new airplane for her. my…” Sighing.” Her voice cut like a whip. and wanted nothing more than to put on shorts. He inhaled slowly. she held her hands clenched tight beneath her breasts.” “Do what?” She held herself rigid under his hand. He sighed. “Maria. “Did you think you’re the first woman to get a grey hair?” “Not the first. “But the first with you. her lips tight and thin.” “To fuck them. pulling him against her. though. It was an awkward kiss. of all times.” He set the book down on the empty seat beside him and slid that hand around her. “An old grey-haired woman like me…” “Enough. across her suddenlytight stomach. true. Pulling her to him.” While that wasn’t even remotely true. closing his eyes to escape her glare. “That was it.
” His voice was gentle. she closed her eyes. intimate. Just when he thought she’d surrendered. then. you’ll be fine. “I’m warning you…” She gritted her teeth. “Now we can begin.” He eased her clenching fingers out of the crumpled remains of his shirt. “I’ll hold you to that. slowly. or grizzled conchs waiting for a return to the safety of the Keys. here of all places. his tongue leaving a slow snail’s-trail of saliva up her shoulder. revealing the delicious swale of her neck. the near eye flashed open. trapped among a horde of strangers. heartbreakingly. sampling the tears. “You’re standing before me in our bedroom. “What do you mean?” Slowly. “I mean that I’ll describe how I feel.” A pink corner of tongue sneaked out.” He spoke softly.” “And I’ll hold you. “Tell…me…that…you…still…want…me. my love. But. not hunkered down at Miami International on a sticky plastic chair. 57 . facing the bright windows and the empty ramp. then. “Okay. as you would to a child frightened by the dark or the sound of monsters under the bed. within reach of a full booze locker and a cool shower and a bed. Travis would’ve had the luxury of holding her in his arms on the couch on his houseboat. he raised his other hand to the collar of her shirt and tugged it toward him. or just the silly threat she’d used. I promise you.” Shaking her head warily. he stopped himself from kissing them away. but he was happy to see a little smile steal across her mouth.” He reached out one hand and slid it up her back to the warm shelter of the hair at the back of her neck. he turned her so she was sitting beside him again. waiting for a Gulfstream Airways flight long overdue. her hands jerking the cloth in time with her words. sugar against her rubine lips.Transit of Venus dark lashes.” He wasn’t sure whether it was the horrified look of innocence on his face. I cradle the sweet curve of your breasts with my hands. dropping the weight of her head into the strength of his palm. I will have your guts for garters. “If you embarrass me. “Having pulled the lacy cups of your bra down. She gasped.” She cocked her head at a dangerous angle. then she shook her head again.” She inhaled sharply when the tip of his tongue touched the hollow under her clavicle. my friend. long dark lashes falling gently onto olive cheeks. then relaxed. “Tell me…” His shirt popped in her grasp. Satisfied that she was ready. “And I promise you. softly. as if they were safe in their house. he leaned forward. wisely. like this. She stiffened for a second. breathing hard as he slid his free hand across the edge of her shoulder and along her neck to cradle her chin in his palm. “But you’re going to have to help me here.” He wondered how McGee would have handled this. not surrounded by lines of bloated tourists. her knuckles white against the dark expanse of fabric. I will. dressed only in your bra and panties. burning bright as anthracite. but you’re going to have to close your eyes and imagine what I’m telling you is really happening. her held-back tears squeezed out now and rolling smoothly down in two thick salty streams.” Still holding her head gently. their faces daubed with zinc ointment like warring Apaches. very clearly. up her neck. whispering into her ear. not convinced. “Okay.
and you really must get on the plane. her hair. her perfume.” His hand. “I slide my hands down your body…” Leaving the back of her neck. “The fingers of the other push aside your slickened labia to seize your clitoris. feeling her shoulders shaking and her face still quivering against his chest— dieseling. feeling the pounding of his own blood. she sent one slim hand out to rest on his thigh. As her rapid gasps for air peaked. like an engine that won’t quite shut off. Nibbling gently at her tender earlobe. his friend David called it. they taste of honey and cinnamon. up her cheek still damp with drying tears.” “We’re coming. Her body was jerking gently. “They’ve nearly completed boarding. swept aside the thick tangle of her hair to let his mouth fasten on her ear. Falling victim to my fingers and my teeth and my tongue. and snaked a fingertip into the opposite ear. then cradled her head. he paused to savor the smell of her. easing them slowly down.” 58 . Stroking her hair in long. the tip of his tongue teasing the swollen earlobe. the skin hot even through his jeans. “Sir…” He was barely civil. his teeth punctuated his words.” Her breathing coming more rapidly now. rising quickly from behind her. “Sir…” The strange. he eased his touching. slow sweeps.A west side story she grudgingly relaxed. “What?” The uniformed man shook his head. When his lips kissed the exquisite patch of softness under her ear. his lips whispered into the dark curls. “I hook my thumbs into the edge of your panties. onto his chest. “Oh. her breaths coming quick and shallow. drawing the silken curve of her underpants tight against her crotch. rhythmically. my tongue following their descent. a finger delicately pressing into its center…” His hand slid away from her chin. her skin. his warmed hand dropped along her arched spine until his strong fingers slid into the tight gap between her jeans and her shirt. He smiled. “One hand eases into the globes of your ass. damp now not only with tears of anger but tears of ecstasy. I want you…” A few tears of his own dropped down to join hers. “We’re coming right now. and kissed the warmth of her raven hair. before he spoke again. “Both your raspberry nipples stand up.” Sighing. “I want you so much.” He rested his chin on her hair. insistent voice whipped his head around to where the airline representative stood looking anxiously at them from the counter.” He licked the fold of flesh behind her ear. The pressure of her palm urged him onward. he pulled her tight against him. “The vale of flesh between your breasts tastes of sweat and excitement.” She shivered as he twisted his fingers. sir. unnoticed. in time to the stroking and licking and probing of his fingers and tongue. pulling her bottom back toward the slick curve of the chair. as my tongue slips deep into your juicy cunt. proud.
every morning. nearly warm. I’d linger a long time. steam-the-hide-offyou showers. For a long time that winter it would read eighteen when I woke up. would prod me. Even. With the heat that ran all night. icy line of clothes strewn on the floor and the stiffened shoes to pick up and tuck under my arm. I slept in an unheated room at the top of the house. alongside the squeaking joints. Finally the alarm clock. His family owned the old seacaptain’s mansion on Lower Main Street. Sitting up was a shock. soothing bedtime showers. or fifteen. I’d have to pry it out from under me. thundering furnace in the far corner of the basement generated enough of it to melt Antarctica. standing in the old clawfoot tub. It waited patiently. and there was a stove for tea. Sometimes the thermometer would quiver on its mount in the rising wind off the ocean. warm where it contacted my body. playful showers taken with someone else. slumped against the wall. Wrestling with my bathrobe was a daily ritual. or just plain boredom. I finally understood windchill that winter. letting the water run down my stiff muscles until they moved. or a full bladder. Though it was the other guy. but there was still the rumpled. go now.Transit of Venus A winter’s tale It was cold that winter. I’d lie wrapped in the covers. Then things would get rapid. There was a thermometer hanging outside the pair of windows facing the street that I could see from my bed. while he slept in the cozy bedroom in the apartment below. banging on stiff legs down the narrow winding steps to the apartment in the basement. enough for hour-long showers. watching the needle on the thermometer. waiting as long as possible. An antiquated. outside. And the lights that worked. against his parents’ orders. not me. Or twenty-one. because it wasn’t just eighteen or twenty-one or fifteen or twelve outside. blissful wakeup showers. It never moved from eighteen. It was also the same temperature inside the room with me. my naked shoulders and back burning where they hit the cold air. Hot water was the best thing about that winter. My stinging feet would urge me to go. little spasms rippling through them. Then a long. no matter how carefully I’d tucked it in the night before. Or fifteen. safe under my pile of blankets. who had most of those. and the water was hot. long shower. that I slept in the icebox at the top of the stairs. But never rapid enough. and it was by his grace. It would lie under me all night. under the reddening skin. stiff and frigid where it’d squirmed out into the air. go fast. where it was warm. or twenty-one. arching my tender flesh away from the icy parts. Each morning there’d be the bitter moment when I’d throw back the coverlet and leap onto the braided rug on the wide-planked floor. 59 . my neck bent against the rushing water like a buffalo with its back into the storm. snuggling into the warm bits. or twelve. Then I’d move like hell down the dim corridor to the stairwell. occasionally that winter. Or twelve. And the woman.
perhaps. just a few feet away. a noise I’d think was the wind blowing across the roof slates three stories up. I’d give a little twitch of the ear. desperately soaking up the heat. rubbing it into my muscles. Good night. she’d say. smiling down at him. the lizard part would doze again and the rest of me would pause. or lingering for just one moment too long by the fire. he’d say. I knew I should gulp my tea. he’d reply. the door not quite shut. one hand fastened tight in the edge of the covers. tamp down the glowing coals in the fireplace. First she’d stand. I tried not to imagine her sleeping. nothing more. Her in the bedroom. Something heard only with the back of the mind. the slithering sounds of clothes coming off and sheets turning back. Sliding sideways through the barely-cracked doorway. a cat’s response. and get the hell out. Then he’d kick off his bashed and worn and salt-stained topsiders and pad barefoot. he’d close the door slowly.A winter’s tale It didn’t bother me in the mornings. Guess I’ll go to bed now. Then the noise would die away. so as not wake her if she were sleeping. smiling up at her. carefully shielding the darkened room with his body. sipping a last cup of tea. I’d reply. Think I’ll go to bed. making the moment last. But I’d dawdle and. raising the thumb latch and lowering it into the black iron slot as if it were a knife into nitroglycerine. making the crunching sounds of snaps and zippers. and I’d be reading in the overstuffed chair. quietly squirming to loosen a crotchful of corduroy suddenly tight with the thought of her. she’d say to me. Good night. grab my bathrobe from the hook behind the bathroom door. Good night. huge ugly toes splayed off feet like albino gorilla hands. in the middle of a bite of pastry or a tepid swallow of acid-sweet tea. I’ll be there in a minute. getting out of the chair slowly. scan the last few words on the page. listening to music. and stretch. Then he’d smile that thin contented smile of his. then it would start. coming through the thin bedroom wall. Just a little mouse noise at first. the next chapter whispering from the 60 . when I was too frozen. lying in his wide bed. that sweet Madonna smile on her face. after my shower. pulling them snug against her creamy. storing it up for the night. back where the lizard brain sits listening. nibble the last cookie or gobble the tail end of the wedge of pie or wolf down the crust of fresh-baked bread slathered with butter and honey. his thin hairy belly peeking out between the fraying hem of his checked shirt and the sagging waistband of his threadbare jeans. that’s when it would start. But in the evenings. dozing in the delicious heat from the fire. tucking it into my joints. The two of them would sit entwined on the couch. proud nipples disturbing the Fair Isle pattern of her sweater. hair curling behind her ears. too late for work to care. with the three of us sitting in the living room. golden highlights flashing in her hair in the dying light from the fireplace. rose-tinged throat. he’d say. across the plank floor to the bedroom. or a branch rubbing its leafless tips against the snow-lipped clapboards on the side of the house. the smile that put an acid twist in my guts.
up to solitude. defining the field of battle. More like a thump. the piercing resonance of whale songs. Even through the closed panel. throw it open to the cold dark hallway. the cold slowly seeping in. the plate holding just one last chocolate chip cookie or morsel of cake. Finally my eyes would close. the ghostly feel of yielding skin slick under my fingertips. waiting for sleep. Throw my dishes in the sink. Whichever ear wasn’t on the pillow would burn a little. if I rolled over too fast. Lying in bed. the quiet gasp of a swimmer hitting a cold spot in the water. an elbow or a knee finding the edge of the bed. more distinct. first my toes would cramp. The first sounds would be hesitant. no time for that. that little mouse noise. forget running water over them. burning colder where I rubbed it. her voice had the pure ringing tone of opera. 61 . stumble across the planks to the door. thirty six heavy footsteps against the abraded wood. fleeting smells. Three dozen steep. brush the pile of crumbs onto the floor for the cats. Shutting the door behind me. the teapot sloshing with just one more cup of pungent liquid in its belly. phantom tastes. jerk my bathrobe off the twanging wire hook. Too late. a shot of freezing air would trickle down my back. hard steps up to the room under the eaves. stars bright as acetylene against the velvet sky. then.Transit of Venus unturned pages. leaving an afterimage of stars seen through the moonlit mullions of the tall windows. it was already too late. the gentle whimper of a baby before it wakes. Then it would come again. Then it would be too late. Following me down the long hall and up the stairs. and I’d sleep alone in the cold room at the top of the house. it conjured up blurred images. toss my book face down in the thin pool of tea left unwiped on the table. heaving myself up from warmth and light. Louder now. and with it just the tiniest thud against the wall.
The Devil & Webster’s Third 62 .
I didn’t even twitch when he leaned over. It had that soft. well-worn Daisy air rifle.” Perhaps they didn’t understand you meant the tail. however. as though he needed to. “I told them I dressed left. After all. I don’t know. Last time I’d jumped. There was something.” I did jump. isn’t it?” Better than last time? Sure. just before my father levered an irreversible ninety-degree bend in the barrel under the edge of his brogan’d foot. to check. Though it took an effort. as the old house settled farther into the mortgage. “They are English. damn near out of my Swedish ergonomic chair. “I saw the movie. it’s late. Especially one with all the tell-tale signs of bespoke. but I’d promised myself I wouldn’t this time. scanning the lines on the monitor.” One russet eyebrow rose on his tall bronze forehead. and his sulfur-tinged breath noted: “That’s interesting. fricative quality that reminded me most of a tamped charge of damp mud leaving the muzzle of my long-lost. “Probably. I didn’t flinch when he popped into the room this time. don’t you think?” Who am I to argue with the devil? “So you’ve agreed?” Not exactly. Somewhere between too late to go to bed and too early to stay up. “Look.” Master of the Universe… “Precisely! It’s the new me. chalkstripe-ongrey-worsted three-piece suit.” He nodded. particularly the exposed appendage… “Is it?” He arched his head over his shoulder. sounded exactly like a flare going off in the tripwires across the dusty paddies. after all.” And this? “A classic. The last time had been the week before. at just about the same time of night.“But it is better. when every third kid in the suburb dresses up for Halloween in a red union suit with a pitchfork… “But people expect it. Well. it gave the same turn to the guts as watching a contortionist at the circus. The last time I’d heard that sound I’d nearly put out the right eye of my eleven-year-old best friend. Perhaps not discomforting so much as incongruous. Twenty years later and still I flinched. but if you sign right now I can start immediately.” He looked down at the gold Rolex on his wrist. just a little too far over his shoulder. when I turned around. if you’re a young punk lawyer out to make a killing on Wall Street. discomforting about seeing him in an elegant. It’s traditional. don’t you think? Particularly the subtle pattern in the tie. 63 .” Great. Somewhere in the middle of those soft hours when the cracking of the oak joists.Transit of Venus The Devil & Webster’s Third It was late and I was working hard when I heard the ‘pop’ again. the hand-turned edges and the rank of functioning buttons on the cuffs. not the last time. too right. seeing him appear like that.
“But I really prefer Lucifer.” Because it’s supposed to be nice there.” I knew I was dopey from the time. careful not to disturb the drape of the suit. and I could have the European rights sewed up by lunch. then everyone can understand them. don’t you think?” Latin for ‘light bringer’.” He shrugged. it’s not you we’re discussing. “Bravo!” A wave of his recently-manicured hand. “If that’s what one likes. “They’re all outmoded.” Excuse me if I don’t ask for the details. I’ll never know. I’m a morning person. have I got a special corner back Home for people like you. “But you can call me whatever you like. the neatly trimmed Van Dyke stiff with styling gel. Lord of the Flies. if you play your cards right. Asmodeus. Belial. Why everyone always hopes to go up There. Scratch. Old Nick if you must.” His smile turned serious.” Thank you.” Wrong.” His crenelated smile returned. you see. I guess. Must have misplaced it… “No wonder. in this mess! Boy. those…” He dismissed them with a jerk of his pointed chin. I use all the latest tools. But. no matter. Prince of Darkness. so I stalled. You’ll know soon enough. it’s hard to tell for sure. “Nice? There?” He shrugged.” Yeah.” Why am I not surprised… 64 . something hip. “Quite understandable.” So simple. “I knew you were an educated man. it looked like a smile. and still a little dazed by seeing Old Nick himself standing in my study. direct mail. “I rather like the poetic meaning. PR. “Advertising. however: Morning Light. The dictionary had acquainted me with several other names: The Old One. Much more elegant. I should have the boys at the agency come up with some new ones. Prince of Liars… “Oh. you mean. the thick nails gleaming like Waterford scythes. My wife… “It’s simple. The Adversary.The Devil & Webster’s Third “They’ll be up in London in less than an hour. Though even I wouldn’t countenance you as an idiot. Though anyone who thinks he can bargain with the devil… “Nick was better. Perhaps if we could go over the terms again… “Didn’t you read the prospectus?” I shuffled the logjam on my desk. “I meant right. With teeth as pointed as his. I always say. I suppose. swept the ranks of books and files of files along the walls. keep the terms simple. At least.” I’d done a lot of reading since the last time.” Agency? “Of course. Something au courant.” He smiled. even an idiot… “Exactly. The Dickens.
I think. Except for the part about blowing out my brains with a shotgun. then! Is that better?” Better. “But enough about me. who do you think invented advertising?” Should have known. “No. “Doing what?” Copywriting. “Not yet. okay. then?” The last time I’d heard anyone say ‘deal’ in quite that way. you do travel in the right circles. so don’t worry about it. How about this: ‘CEO of the Evil Empire’?” Very cutting-edge. How can I explain… “Okay. Such as it could be. it isn’t!” The smile got wider. “It’s all in the contract.” I’d read it. we could have another Danielle Steel here!” I closed my eyes. We’ll have to do some focus groups. “But with a little judicious rewriting.” It’s not that kind of book. But Lucifer does have that instant recognition factor. having worked in a few agencies myself. Ernest Hemingway.” His brow furrowed. I’ve read the square yard of agate type on the back of airline tickets. I think we can safely promise boxoffice somewhere in the Star Wars range. “No. “Absolutely!” He nodded.” Such as it is. At least a line of nacreous spikes showed between his thin rubine lips. I’ll read anything. “Really?” The yellows of his eyes showed. “Great! Any concepts come to mind?” How about the Prince of AIDS? Extreme Badness? The Evil Empire? “Good. “Well. “Okay.Transit of Venus “Anyway. “But that last one’s being used.” But eternal damnation for my wife… “I find that trying to get someone to sign up to have it happen to themselves is so difficult…” Easier to arrange it for someone else. Promising. We were discussing your future.” He shook his head again.” One glossy nail tapped the sheaf of parchment he’d drawn out of an inside pocket. I’d been across a desk the size of an aircraft carrier from the pockmarked face of the slimiest movie producer it had ever been my misfortune to know. “You’re right. isn’t it?” We call them customers now. “One of my best recruiters! How is he?” You’d be proud. the little polished horns gleaming among the tight curls on his head in the light from my Italian desk lamp. His 65 . the ingredients of breakfast food on three continents. too twelveth-century. “Herman!” He smiled again. given the time. “That’s not in the contract. even the earthquake instructions in the front of the telephone book… “You understand the deal. Before I decided to become a starving writer. then what do you think of ‘The Evil Emperor’?” He shook his head. Since you already know Herman.
The Devil & Webster’s Third burnished-copper hand smoothed the parchment flat next to the keyboard. “Now, just your signature, and I’ll be off.” And my book gets sold, just like that. “Before the sun comes up!” He grinned. The points of his teeth flashed. “It’ll be huge! Massive! We’re talking Book-of-the-Month! Reviews in the New York Times! The covers of Time and Newsweek!” He shrugged. “Not the same week, unfortunately. The assassination of the President will push…” He caught himself. “Sorry. You didn’t hear that.” Hear what? He laughed. A sound like a yard-and-a-half of pea gravel going down a well. “I like that: ‘Hear what?’ Yes, I’ll have to tell the boys back Home that one.” He chuckled. “Well, will you use your pen, or would you like one of mine?” His cupric fingers held out a shiny-new Mont Blanc, the black sausage-shaped one used by presidents to commit perjury on solemn treaties with countries they can’t stand. “I usually leave it behind. Sort of a souvenir.” I thought it had to be in blood. His pointed tongue clucked behind a wall of pointed teeth. “That’s very old fashioned, the blood thing. We can do it, if you insist, but ink is far more archival.” I picked up the pen. It was very heavy. It would be; it held her immortal soul. “I just sign, and the book…” “Multiple reprints! Options for half-a-dozen more!” He tapped the bottom of the page. “Just initial here and I’m sure we can double the paperback rights!” I peered closely at the tiny calligraphed paragraph. It said… “The kids.” He smiled. “Both kids.” I looked up into his anthracite pupils. The wife, the kids, all for success… “Success, Hell!” His eyes flashed. “We’re talking fame! College textbooks will carry your name right up there with Faulkner and Conrad!” His acid breath etched my face as he leaned close. “We’re talking immortality…” Sure, I signed. You don’t get a deal like that every day.
Transit of Venus The dolphin’s smile I don’t know where the place is, other than in my head… Somewhere tropical, with a soft warm breeze carrying the scent of star jasmine and gardenias and flowers I don’t even know the names of across the close-cropped lawn to the patio where we sit in the sun. The stonetopped table beside us is covered with cool drinks, their flavors laden with juices, and yet more flowers, and piles of ripe fruit, and a week-old copy of the local paper written in a language I barely understand. I’m very tan, and thinner, with the hair on my chest drying in the sun after a swim in the shallow lagoon beyond the grass. You’re even tanner, and the few extra pounds you’ve put on from all the magnificent food the cook has been preparing only make more of you to desire. [That’s a backward compliment, I know, but I surely wouldn’t wish you any thinner.] You’re wearing a large crimson flower behind your ear; I can never remember which damn ear you’re supposed to wear it over if you’re single, so I’ve just tucked it in the one that was closest to me when I came back from my swim. You’re also wearing a long white dress made out of some nearly-sheer material, with just a pair of skimpy panties on underneath. Your pink nipples, erected by the breeze as it cooled the dampness left while I caressed them with my wet hands as I set your flower in place, jut out dangerously against the thin cloth. It doesn’t matter, though, because the staff are as invisible and discreet as money can buy. Anyone else has been dissuaded from visiting us by the multilingual signs posted at the edge of the property, warning of vicious attack dogs, electronicallycontrolled land mines, and armed guards; given the tone of the signs, I didn’t think any of the rest would actually be necessary. After slamming down half a glass of whatever exotic thing was closest, I wipe my still-salty lips against the sun-blonded hairs on the back of my arm and turn toward your exquisite shape, reclining against the soft cushions of the chair. Your eyes are closed against the bright sun, but you can hear me coming as I slide off my chair and slither across the clean polished wood of the deck. A little smile slants across your lips and you part your crossed ankles, knowing what I have in mind. Even though you know, you inhale sharply when I plant your feet farther apart, stretching the light fabric between your legs, sharpening the outline of your thin panties as they describe the curve of your lower belly. My fingers prickling against the hairs on your legs, my hands and arms slide upward beneath your dress, two brown moles making twin hummocks in the white material. My fingertips nibble over the narrow straps at either side of your underpants, and curl them down. Once my hands have a good grip, they begin a slow, steady descent of your legs, the receding white line revealing the dark patch they’d been hiding. With the delicate triangle of silk untangled from your twitching feet and safely tucked in a pocket of my shorts, my hands make their way up your legs again.
The dolphin’s smile This time, though, I raise the hem of your dress and duck my head, sliding my damp hair under the edge of the white tent formed above your long slender legs. I can hear a giggle, slurred by desire, escape your lips, and I can see the quivers that your desire makes in the taut muscles of your teak-brown belly. But it is the darker, thatched area between your legs that draws me; its sweat-damp curls hide a fruit sweeter than any found in these islands, a soft treasure with a succulent flavor that makes my mouth water at the thought of tasting it. My desire is to just devour you with my mouth, sucking at the precious center of you like I would a ripe melon or papaya. But first I extend my tongue, gentle and delicate as any butterfly’s, and probe the swollen bud that parts your nether lips. A tiny shudder runs up your flat belly and down your arched legs, and your hands come down to gently cradle the back of my head through the warm white tent. My tongue dips again, and again the shudder runs through you. But my own lust is far greater than my restraint, and I slide my thumbs through the slickened parts that cover your sweetly-scented cunt, and spread your lips aside so that I might feast upon you. Later, when your cries have stopped echoing back from the green bowl of hills that surround us, when your legs have slid, exhausted by far too many orgasms, from around my back, when your hands have stopped clenching in my hair, and when your breathing has barely returned to normal, I pull the white tent of your dress slowly over my head and onto your belly, exposing your heated and swollen parts to the cooling breeze. Your trembling smile reflects my satisfied grin, and our eyes say things our swollen mouths cannot. I reach up to stroke your glorious hair, streaked even blonder with weeks in the sun, and down to stroke your closer hair, streaked even darker with our juices. Reaching up, I hoist the icy pitcher and pour its contents of pure water onto your belly, a crystalline cascade that runs over your burning cunt and down your shining legs. Our laughter wakes the birds in the trees, and startles the dolphins eying us from the lagoon. It might be the end of our first month in paradise, but the year has just begun, and we have all the time in the world.
One hand tight in her hair. the earthy taste of ass. but it sure was tiring. “Well. close beside her. then moaned as he forced the fat shaft between slick lips into her cunt. her knees. a tickle against her parted lips. but I hope it was what you wanted. parting. aimed the muzzle between his closed eyes. The knobs went snick. round smooth bottom opening like ripened fruit to expose the juicy. Slowly. After the first moment. savoring the tingling copper of cunt. Her breathing quickened as she saw the instruments of exquisite pleasure laid out on the wrinkled sheet. He reached a hungry hand under. She shuddered as it rode up her welllubricated slit. thump. slide. then quick tastes of his molten tongue. then flopped back down on the bed. wedge. slitted parts. the rows of knobs flicking against the taut rim. it’s exactly what I wanted. she flinched at the sound of the explosion. her flickering tongue. and came loudly. Its tip pierced her puckered ass and he pressed harder. snick. teasing. its ridges hitting. fingers furrowing her sweaty flesh. that was different. slide. Her groans deepened as her ass made room for half its length inside her. slide. he didn’t move at all. 69 . snick. snick. He made her lick the ribs of the thick rubbery vibrator. slick flesh sliding against slick flesh. She struggled. Cradling her head in his palm. he staked her out on the white cotton. her spread fingers seemingly more provocative than protective of her moistening parts. swollen nipples brushing the sheets. pressing his cock against her lips. as it slipped in deeper. fingertips twisting a tender nipple. her delicate flesh. long probe in his hand. wedge. Her moans became groans as she eyed the slim. deliciously. yes. “Because there’s not a jury in the world that would ever convict…” Even knowing it was coming. First his fingers. opening.Transit of Venus A pair of 38s She was his captive. against her clitoris. Impatient now.38 out from beneath the pillow. the ridges going thump. wedge.” “Oh. its knobbed surface slick and gleaming.” She slid the . the ribbed hole just above clenched in anticipation. bound by stronger and tighter bonds than those he fastened around her wrists. into the soft pillows.” He closed his eyes with a sigh. he touched the fat tip of his cock to the back of her throat. he thrust his swollen cock deep into her throat. He reached out and flicked off the camcorder. thump. across her swollen lips. His thumb snaked down and forced the fat vibrator to the hilt in her engorged cunt while his fingers buried the probe in her ass. thump. “I’m not sure I’d want to do that again. Click: it pulsed faster. her mouth panting. lips open. squeezed the trigger. slide. he slid alongside. Click: the vibrator hummed a higher tune as he stroked it in and out. grabbing a handful of pendant breast. barely humming. knees beside succulent breasts. forcing it into her warm mouth. wedge against the taut rim as he whipped the unused length of the probe into her quivering asshole. her screams a delight.
A pair of 38s 70 .
It said he was shot. Women. I said. The desert had come back. and cut his throat. He smiled. They caught us sleeping. We shared everything. Wherever that was. Before. The best night we ever had. Up near Santa Claus. I wore a uniform. It hurt. From the gas. Where the good things were. RadDog and me. The sad dog. His broken teeth. We shared everything. It was a long way between water that year. He glowed in the dark. 558. I knew that I was different before. The RadDog had dogtags too but he didn’t have a name. Before. They took my guns. Inside. I carried a lot of knives. He ate the meat I brought to him. Made me a JewBoy. Man asked me if I was circumscribed. Mine had said my name. I smoked it. the man said. Before. We woke up. The side of my legs. A new boy. We shared everything. He was a RadDog. I was a RudeBoy. 2610214. Me and RadDog. all nice in the plastic bags. too. Before. Whoever he was. but he did. Past the lights. The world had been Saddamized and nothing was the same. To meet up on top of my hair. Down from my head along my arms. Nothing was the same. I was always on the run. They took my explosives. Sleeping in the sun. Before. Up the other side. He could tear your heart out. But I couldn’t remember how. He took me through the wire in the night. And a religion. But then we were both done and he was circumscribed too. But then I got one. He heard the screams. I loved him. He ate it. He ate women. He took me in through the wire. We were always on the run. Said he got shot in Santa Monica. Up the coast they said. Zen. I had a name. The book said ‘to draw a line around’ so I said no. Before. Just a number.Transit of Venus Rad Dog He was a bad dog. I didn’t eat men. When the bad dreams came. Whatever that was. Before. He loved me. From the time before. I carried the plastic explosives. Had to look it up. I carried water for the RadDog and me.56… Some more. A thin black line tattooed all in one day by Sailor Jim. Before. Before. We ran together. They took my knives. He watched while I went in to them. Said my number. Before. How it was to be different. Slept when we were tired. Drawn around me. Not the same boy I was. Around the bottom of my feet. The men with guns came. More of them than his broken teeth and my broken fingers could 71 . I carried a gun. Which he sank in their throats. It made me shake less. Before. I was a lewd boy. I had dog tags. Then the morning came. But there were more. We had nothing. He tore their hearts out. From the fire. That made the dog a JewDog. Food. We ate when we were hungry. The sand had come back. All in one place. The gas made me different. The man said only Jews were circumscribed. Rabies. The dog ate good that night. A line. Except his teeth. We both took grass to feel better. Before. but they upset his stomach. Water. He showed me where the women lay. His tongue dangled past his broken teeth. Said I had some kind of blood. our tongues hanging out past our broken teeth. I carried a knife. The sun came. now.86. Too good to be true. We went down to the towers. I knew that. Before. No. Before. It hurt the dog.
Because he was a mad dog. I woke up. 72 . He was the best friend I ever had. RadDog. Shot me too. He was a bad dog. They shot him down. They said he was gone. Said they would make me alright. Shot me with needles and drugs that made me sleep. shot him down like a dog. But not like that one.A pair of 38s fight. Said they would get me another dog.
if it’d been colder in the photo studio. two wild things tearing at each other’s clothes. since she was such a tart. But there she was. besides learning to duck whenever she cocked that right hand back. in size and shape. They always rode high and tight on her chest. and. But I always seemed to go after her with my teeth first. though. mostly. these were good. but it’s always stuffed full of those ads: jewelry. but to look down and have it be your wife… Well. They always stood up at the slightest provocation. I was eating breakfast and reading my mail— political exhortations. she looked tired. I told her. I’ll admit that the half-naked women in the panty ads probably spend an extra second or two in the fingers before hitting the trash can. then those tiny nipples. pastries. would she please present her pastries? She’d giggle and 73 . there to sneak into the gardens in the early light of a new day. Gave me quite a shock. Not that she needed the support. cats. ex-wife. none the less. her raspberry nipples. she looked good. while we watched the world pass by on the Champs Elysées. her neck. But pastries and tarts demand to be bitten. like two soft puff pastries with tiny cherries on top. if we were feeling crazy enough. mostly. Most other things. or were liable to end up under your tires on summer backroads. lying there on my desk. of course. Hemingway’s children. if it’d been sheer I could have seen her tiny aureolæ and. Then flagging down a taxi to take us to Fouquet’s for a few cognacs. There were those little lines at the corner of her eyes. was that there were certain things that women liked being compared to. Okay. and some fruits and vegetables. Then another taxi back to the hotel or. Those perfect breasts peeking out of a fifty dollar piece of lace and elastic. the ones she’d hated. on the front of one of those little color flyers. and certain things they didn’t: swans. That little analogy’d earned me a hard slap across the face. flowers. and the usual bills— when I opened the fat envelope from the department store. for the first time in a long time. That was when I could still get it up after a tableful of beer and cognac. to a pair of pink pencil erasers. her lips. biting her earlobes. and lingerie. out to Versailles. mind you. We’d felt like two holdovers from the Lost Generation. or under the bushes. Too bad the design she had on carried such a swath of lace across the cups. one hand delicately pulling up her shirt to expose the bra they were selling. particularly if they were greasy. made noise. really. Not that my bill’s that big. I’d likened them once.Transit of Venus For a limited time only I saw Stephanie again this morning. cruising from coffee at Les Deux Magots across the street to dinner at the Brasserie Lipp. The lesson. Behind the glossy red lipstick and the dark eyeshadow. those nights of conversation and silliness in Paris. Either way we’d end up in bed. were not. what with the primary coming up. God. and her eyelids seemed to droop the way they did when we stayed out all night drinking in the cafés on the Left Bank. They’d been our good times. whether from the cold or me.
tired but horny. Given my propensity for strewing clothing across as wide a surface as possible and hers for napping until the absolutely last possible minute. Ultimately a little short on sex. even the clock. as you’d expect. and turned off with the lights? Some things you were better off not knowing… But not by her. But I had to draw the line at the lamp. You could tell. It didn’t really matter what I said unless. as she began to go to bed well before me and responded when I came to bed. a very pretty Parisienne was extremely interested to know my answer. because she’d get that look in her eyes. toward the end of the year. the two large ruby dots placed asymmetrically on her breasts. Including. But somewhere. she took me home and showed me exactly what she would do. reaching down with those long. adopted as the shoot required it. It began with being a little short on money. Shrugging. It took me a long time to work out the stopper. asked in a very loud voice. only by flailing blindly over her shoulder with whatever came to hand— her panties. one of them understood English. She’d always wanted to know everything I was thinking. at first. even trust funds have their limits. 74 . I wondered if she was getting it on with the photographer. as sometimes happened. played across the scattering of freckles on her chest. first. the same slit-eyed. more often than not. indicating some jeune fille passing by our table with a delicate toss of her chin. not the rules. would have dragged on one of my paintspattered sweatshirts over a pair of her leotards. It was a big lamp. a custom we’d quickly picked up from the natives. come-fuck-me look she had in the photograph lying on my desk. or was it just a professional look now. things started to go south. the newspaper. Somewhere around the fifth or sixth cognac. she’d start to get horny. at least I could tell. delicate fingers. of course. okay. It was the little things. Once. my shoes. A few nibbles to liven things up. as painting began to be more important to me than drinking through the night. however. in a very respectable restaurant only a block from the Elysées Palace: ‘What would you do with a mouthful of sperm?’ After that. while I’d have to keep my ancient Belgian field jacket buttoned up to hide a rumpled dress shirt with half its studs missing. I was impressed. Then a little short on time. she’d ask. but that’s a story for another time. But. thank you very much. we frequently drew stares in the tonier establishments for our outfits. we would repair to the nearest café and start the cycle all over again. the ones with the feet cut off using the concierge’s gardening shears. ‘Would you fuck her?’. as we seemed to always be jumping out of bed. and rushing out just as the Louvre or the Orangerie were closing. Stephanie only enjoyed the game.For a limited time only then. she’d scoop her breasts out of the silk blouse or cotton nightgown or t-shirt she was wearing. so sometimes she’d change them such that I had to do the interrogating. she decided she’d ask the questions. She. depending on when during the day this all started. throwing on whatever clothes were handy. This kind of thing kept us out of quite a number of museums and art galleries. and offer them up to my teeth. then I’d resume my frequently interrupted game of connect-the-dots.
let’s just say I’ve often been told. Each piece weighed nicely in the hand. head thrown back. Not the hard. Perched on my workbench were the pliers I used for stretching canvases. offering them up to his smiling gaze. knew that I should have recognized the noise the first time I heard it. Down the street and up the stairs. I knew even before I pulled the cloth aside. A short run down 75 . stretched out under her arched body. I would have recognized the noise if I’d been lying beneath her myself. There was also a roll of finished paintings resting against the wall. I was setting my drawing bag down and just about to call out her name when I heard it again. There was a long-bladed knife. I agree. we came to the end. I only had a few francs left in my pocket. small hands. the little noises just as it wakes up. Horror movie stuff. But trust me on this one: you may have heard stories about the equipment of John Dillinger. lying behind the bidet. German steel. my mind was on the unfinished paintings waiting for me. that size doesn’t matter. As I watched the ecstatic way her eyes rolled back at each downward plunge. perhaps. my spare cash. her hands cupped around her breasts. but my money ran low before the sky showed any signs of clearing. That women are more concerned with caring and finesse than sheer bulk. perfect for gripping and tearing. It’s odd when you hear something that you know you’ve heard before. of course. though standing over two meters and one hundred kilos. done sometime between the fall of Napoleon and the rise of DeGaulle. just enough for a taxi most of the way back to the apartment. No. I thought. misty drizzle that dampened both my paper and my enthusiasm. small feet. as I watched the muscles in her belly ripple at each penetration. has all the wrong genetic markers: small nose. the jealousy. I thought evil things. or even the porno star John Holmes— hell. can all conspire to warp your judgment. and it had started to rain.Transit of Venus And eventually. She was riding him hard. not that— a baby. or the famous Black Stallion in pre-Castro Havana. and my sleeping bag. While. Big headlines on the front page. A mouse squeaking in the pantry. I knew they’d all been lying. the shock. and the open door. There was a dusty pile of piping left over from an ancient plumbing repair job. A statement that comes as a great comfort to someone who. but you can’t quite place… Yet I knew instantly when I touched the curtain shielding the alcove where the bed lay. perhaps three or four kilos. cold rains of winter. instead of standing at the foot of the bed watching some strange man fuck the hell out of her. Okay. lying on the sideboard not two meters from my hand. One day I’d gone out sketching in the Tuilleries. so I didn’t really notice the noise when I first opened the door. as I watched her mouth form silent words she’d never spoken. I’d used it to cut a Gouda only that morning. or the wind blowing through the broken window in the gable end. but a fine. I tried waiting it out in a bistro on one of the side streets. he was forcing up inside her… Well. a New York City firehose— they all had nothing on this guy. it was very sharp. a handswidth of serrated bronze teeth. her tight ass cradled in his big hands. even by Stephanie.
only six thousand kilometers. this picture of Stephanie.For a limited time only the stairs and down the street. and the bills— and. damn it. lay New York. she sure looks good. 76 . years later. I chose the door. and a few good reviews. But. and some decent money. tired or not. and a new loft. and a gallery.
breeds suspicion in the womb and nourishes it on mother’s milk. those tiny pink nipples. transcendent sex with a Mafia princess isn’t such a good idea. as the made guys refer to the long-standing alliances and feuds descended from those that came over on the boat from Sicily. okay.Transit of Venus Omerta “We must stop… uhh. low in her throat. It came with the territory. don’t stop…” Her fingers tightened in my curly hair as my lips snuffled through dark pubic hair like they were looking for truffles. with the family. and she thinks he might be suspicious. you take those dark eyes. you can’t get a decent Philly cheese steak in California. “Okay.” My tongue followed its silver snail’s trail down the taut curve of her stomach. that round bottom. if I’ve got to go. We met cute. The fact that my mouth was trying to encompass one breast and my fingers were splayed on and in every bump and crevice of her cunt may have had something to do with it.’ 77 .” Though I wasn’t in a position to laugh just at that moment. and started hiring guys like me. and you’ve got one hell of a package. Hell. toward my slick fingers at play. her head thrown back and her belly heaving as she edged carefully toward orgasm. I was in Philly as the weapons consultant for a hot new cop film. The years watching the old ones spar for position and power.” I took my mouth off her tiny pink nipple just long enough for a little drop of my saliva to form and fall. when she passed by. onto her belly. after Vietnam and ’68. burnish suspicion into a bright and shining icon. was walking next to me and heard me say: ‘I’d rather eat her than the best damn cheese steak in Philadelphia. This ‘thing of ours’. Somewhere in the Nineties young directors got tired of watching Sly and Arnold shooting up the planet and decided to find out how it really looks. the guy was born suspicious. walking down the street. any day I wake up is a free one. fevered. my tongue rolling her clitoris like a fat wet marble. So there I was. the stunt man. it might as well be after having fucked her as many times as I can. and then throw in the possibility of actually getting killed for love. he doesn’t even go out a door first. Or. “Why?” “Because my… oh my god. The guy doesn’t eat the first plate of food offered to him. So. If you were planning to die quietly as an old man. to show them. because. I snorted softly into the wet folds of her labia. Okay. no. The way I figure it. She didn’t even notice. it was a pretty funny thought. “…my husband may be getting suspicious. he doesn’t start his own car. her husband being suspicious. as they say in Hollywood. more correctly. I don’t care what the fuck they say. that is. who’d been and done. glistening. My buddy Albert. killing off the weak and the unsuspecting. wild. wiping from my mustache the last tasty bit of a fabulous cheese steak sandwich. so maybe having mad. The movies were both damn good money and the only honest work I’d found where I could use all the things Uncle Sam taught me. Besides.” Her breathing came hard and raspy. “We must stop meeting like this.
that is way the hell beyond a pass. worn just grazing her slim shoulders. and the day definitely got interesting from there. all he could see was that gray hair. and orifice that two delightfully twisted minds could think of… …in the back of a Philadelphia Fire Department pumper truck parked on the set for a night shot. and glared at me. though I’m still not sure what I would’ve done if they’d tried to batter their way through the barricade. following a quick tour of the set. then moved to the bed when the chair got too small for what we were doing. and a smile that hit you right in the gut. which involved her spread-eagled on the sheets while I slammed everything I had into her cunt like I was putting ten-penny nails into rock maple with the end of my 78 . in my office. but the order to shift their vehicle had come in on my police-and-fireband radio lying next to us before I’d come in her. I took my hat off and bowed. Not out of a kink for that particular method but just because there was no place. ‘Was that a pass. A short and very intense conversation preceded our walking. ‘No.’ I replied. arm in arm. …at a downtown hotel. sharp-edged. my old Marine buddy Tex taught me that. but she figured nobody would look at the dark corner of the storefront we’d taken refuge in if they could watch the flashing lights and the shiny firetruck. I guess she heard me. groping and giggling each other like two horny schoolkids. other than my decrepit swivel chair that wouldn’t have taken the strain. or covered with things that go boom. had gone that wondrously clear stone-gray prematurely. down the street. and it framed a very pretty face with the most intense dark eyes. We decided the scene in Backdraft had been done by stunt doubles who didn’t mind pain. because she whirled around. and she was on her knees and I was coming in her hot sweet mouth long before the truck’s back-up signal finished beeping. ‘The phrase Do you come here often. Albert was smart enough to suddenly remember a stunt that needed checking and disappeared. We ended up.Omerta At first Albert thought I was crazy. and were forced to run like hell. She’d had a good time. that’s a pass. as usual. I always take my hat off before I say obscene things to a woman. What with the general confusion I just figured that was the end of that. with the door triple locked and several heavy pieces of furniture shoved across it just in case some blabbermouth in her husband’s employ had recognized her. so most of what we did took place standing up. fists on her hips. a cute nose. ma’m. But I’d seen her coming the other way and knew her fine mane. where the canvas hose gave her rug burns on her ass and me on my knees and elbows. because when he turned to catch what I was talking about. Since then we’d joyfully fucked each other in every conceivable location. as the firefighters came to move the truck. that wasn’t greasy. unfortunately. as well as the weapons trailer. Which was also the explosives locker. “When you hear I’d like to eat you ’til you scream.” I smiled. mister?’ I don’t like offending women I don’t know. for the moment. pulling up clothes and laughing our butts off. position. We’d started out on the overstuffed chair in the corner.’ She started to laugh. too.
shortly before the nasty chair wore a dent in my ass. as well as a chair that wasn’t remotely designed for such activities. that’d never been closer to Italy than the hills of the Carolinas. brought up something that really wanted a soft and warm place to hide. We ended up. She took full advantage. if the ‘all’ was Korean. I reached into the front of the robe and grasped. she pillowed her head on her arms crossed on the metal rail of the balcony and began to raise and lower her warm terrycloth-covered behind. maybe it was the warm night air. My palms filled 79 . snaked my restiffened cock up her tight ass a lot faster than she sucked in a lungful of scream. came out of her as a satisfied groan of lust. It was silly to even imagine me in one of those things. ending. A range of available lubricants. happily squirming on my lap for what seemed a very long time. onto the balcony while she took off her clothes and put on one of the white terrycloth robes provided by the hotel. I decided to speed things up. warm and wet and wiggling as she was.Transit of Venus cock. The awkwardness of the position. sweaty and smiling in the shower. slowly and firmly and full of unreleased tension. provided by one of my buddies in the bribe-&-smile team on the movie crew who arranges just that sort of thing. since it’s one-size-fits-all. pulling up the hem of the robe. The room was a perk for ‘accidentally’ blowing up an expensive car he no longer wanted to make payments on during one of the big chase scenes but. Sighing. after a little nap I’d desperately needed. twin globes of wetness and tightness. or the distant sound of the surf.] With legs and arms entangled and a torrent of hot water beating down on our frantic bodies. …on the balcony of an expensive suite at one of Trump’s heavily mortgaged hotels on the Boardwalk. whadda fuck. Which. and gone out on the balcony to watch the lights of the casinos. I don’t know. So I was in the same clothes that we’d been gambling in earlier when she came through the breezeblown curtains. clean but roughened from long days spent with cold steel and hot brass and harsh chemicals in the weapons locker. along my cock. they sprang into stiff and swollen pride. one in each hand. Finally. they’d be a furry t-shirt on my frame. encouraged by lots of lascivious wiggling from that plump butt. what with slippery breasts and other wet parts that required scrubbing. her soft nipples. along with a perfect pear-shaped ass gleaming slick and pale as rained-on marble in front of me. as rape is not in my repertoire. Rolling them firmly between my fingers and thumbs. but whatever the romantic impetus was it made her decide that I should drag a fake Renaissance chair. if very wet and noisy. for my hard part to rise up and slip into her soft cunt. fortunately. Leaning forward. what are friends for if not insurance fraud and larceny? We’d finished a delicious feed from room service. provided quite a delay in my coming. we thumped our way across the porcelain to a nicely mutual. It didn’t take very long. [One of those few times when not being hung like a salami came in handy. There the horseplay under the water. along with most of an overpriced bottle of champagne that’d never been closer to France than the docks of New York. or knowing that a little piece of each of the dollars we’d spent ended up in her husband’s pocket. summarily dragged my pants down around my ankles and. dropped onto my lap.
Omerta with her sweet flesh above, I sped up the pace that we were sliding past each other below. Within moments, she was coming and then I was coming and then the sun was coming up over the Atlantic and it was time for sleep. …in the red Ferrari convertible my felonious friend only thought had gone up in a ball of fire on a street in South Philly, hey, what are friends for, driving back from the Jersey shore we had Springsteen cranked up on the CD player… Girl ain’t no kindness in the face of strangers Ain’t gonna find no miracles here Well you can wait on your blessings but darlin’ I got a deal for you right here …when she decided she had a deal right here for me, thank you very much. As her head dropped into my crotch I knew I had only a limited time before the next toll plaza on the Expressway. So, after tightening my fingers in the back of her delicious stone-gray mane, I began thrusting my stiff cock into her soft mouth in time with Bruce… I just want to feel you in my arms And share a little of that human touch Share a little of that human touch Feel a little of that human touch Share a little of that human touch Feel a little of that human touch Get a little of that human touch Give me a little of that human touch right now …and the first spurt hit the back of her throat dead on the ‘now’. She was good, I had to admit. She had everything swallowed, even licked me clean, and got my fly zipped up before I had to downshift, crunching the quarter-million dollar gears just a bit [understandable, given my shaky condition], to roll into the toll booth. I did get a smile back, given my shiteating grin, but the teller still wasn’t sure exactly why before we were off, the animal roar of the twelve cylinders throbbing in our wake. But all that began a week earlier. The gray mane was currently going up and down on my cock again, slamming me deep into her throat in return for the screaming orgasm I’d given her with my mouth. I missed the look on her face when I started to come, something about thrashing around like a fish out of water, but when I looked down again she had that self-satisfied grin going, her pink tongue licking out to capture a stray gobbet of sperm off her lust-swollen lower lip, and that started the shuddering all over again. I didn’t see her for a few days after that as the script, unfortunately, required me to show up and make things go bang and boom occasionally. Which is a lot of fun, don’t get me wrong, just not nearly as much fun as watching a blissed-out look pass across her sweet face right before she went into clitoral melt-down. So it was with some surprise, and then a lot of shock, that I saw her walk down the sidewalk past the set. It was during 80
Transit of Venus a scene where the good guys, with a little instruction from me, were supposed to shoot the crap out of the bad guys, who’d had the same pointers from me only in reverse. The surprise was in seeing her so unexpectedly; she’d never come down to the set without calling me first. The shock was in seeing her face: she carried a dark lump under one eye the shape of, as big as, and the color of a small rat. She also walked right by me like we’d never met, her jaw set and her stride tight. It didn’t take your basic rocket scientist to figure out her husband, the made guy, had taken out his suspicions on her. Now, my momma didn’t raise no fool, as they say hereabouts, and gunny sergeant Fitzgerald didn’t train me to make it through several tours in the Crotch by being one, either, so I didn’t say anything at the time. I knew enough not to contact her, too, not just then, not with his suspicions working overtime. But I did finagle a buddy of mine on the crew, one of the script girls, into going to the beauty salon where she got her nails done and getting close to her for awhile. The message came back loud and clear that if I ever tried to see her again, her nice husband would have her whacked. Just that, the script girl said, and then there was a little bit about some guy named Bruce, but she couldn’t remember what, as most of the rest of the message had been delivered at a very high volume and in an extremely shrill tone. I might’ve left it at that, for awhile anyway, if I hadn’t had visitors that night. They came upon me suddenly, in the way of unwelcome visitors, as I was coming through a dark alley from the weapons trailer to where I’d parked my car. No, not the Ferrari. That I’d put in a very safe place until my friend decided he missed the damn thing, expensive as sin or not, and I could surprise him with it. No, this was the usual rental heap I drive in strange cities, and I’d parked it around the corner in a nice safe alley where it was out of the way. It was out of sight, as well, and they’d liked that. There were two of them, as there usually were in these matters, and they were big, as they usually are in these matters, and they were planning on being very unfriendly. I’m not sure exactly what their instructions were, but the wicked sharp linoleum knife and the zip-lock bag I found on one of them indicated to me something about removing a delicate part of my anatomy and bringing it back to their boss. I’m sure her husband intended to show it to her, sweet guy that he was, probably while he was administering another beating. But they hadn’t done their homework, and what they thought they were going to face, walking up to me with those big dumb smiles on their big dumb faces, was the usual Hollywood weenie who’d cave in as soon as they flashed the big Smith & Wesson that one of them had under his jacket. But I wasn’t a Hollywood anything, and I’d been threatened by experts, and I wasn’t about to provide them with their idea of fun. What I provided each of them with was a faceful of lead slug from the .410 derringer that I carried in the side pocket of my jacket. (Hey, the man said ‘don’t leave home without it’, but he didn’t say with what, now did he?) They didn’t get ‘what do you want?’ and they didn’t get ‘don’t hurt me’, as 81
Omerta they usually did in these matters. They got none of the whimpering they were expecting, just one sudden move, faster than the guy with the big cannon under his arm could react, and then a nasty flash and a bang and then darkness as they slumped down to the greasy street. And then they discovered, too late, that the advantages of the remote dark alley work both ways, because no one came to check on what was just another loud noise in the city. The still-warm bodies went into a big dumpster down by the river, as they usually did in these matters, and I went back to the trailer. It all might’ve still gone differently, what with me willing to let it go if he was willing to call it even, as sometimes you’ve got to write these things off to experience. But I was sitting in the dark, having the first of what would’ve probably been many more beers, when the phone rang. As almost no one knows the number to start with, and damn few of them are willing to call me anyway, I took another slug off the beer and answered it. The voice on the other end, nearly drowned out by the bar noise in the background, was the script girl. It seemed that she’d been listening to the jukebox at some dive and it brought up the other part of the message. “Right before she started screaming, she mentioned something about Bruce.” “That’s what you said.” “But now I remember: it was about Bruce walking on the streets of Philadelphia.” In the dark, I set the beer down. “Thanks. You’ve been a big help.” “That’s it?” “That’s enough. Enjoy your party.” “See you on the set tomorrow.” Not very fucking likely, I thought, setting the phone down. As the staccato snare drum riff began the song on the CD, I noted the odd sensation of just three minutes changing you whole life. I’d felt it before, in the swamps of the Delta when the hawk was out, or when a stunt would go bad. But three minutes is all the song takes, and I used it to pull out some very serious toys from the large pile of them in the trailer. While I was doing that, Bruce was singing about pain and loss… I was bruised and battered and I couldn’t tell what I felt I was unrecognizable to myself I saw my reflection in a window I didn’t know my own face Oh brother are you gonna leave me wasting away on the streets of Philadelphia? “No way.” I had my hands full of cold, greasy metal that fired bullets very rapidly, and greasy, cold plastic explosives, so I missed part of the song. But I caught the end clearly enough… The night has fallen, I’m lying awake I can feel myself fading away So receive me, brother, with your faithless kiss Or will we leave each other alone like this on the streets of Philadelphia? I shook my head. “No fucking way.” An assortment of booms went into a nylon satchel and the keys to the Hummer the good guys had been 82
who worked the Philly mob squad at the police department. but he still had two big goons guarding him. I certainly hoped Paulie was a Sinatra kind of guy. Hell. He hung up. I gotta explain how I know you and all. and also the weapon of choice for any self83 . Prostitutes.” I snorted.” “Define everything. he’s a made guy in the mob. and knew me well enough not to go anywhere without me… Everything dies baby that’s a fact But maybe everything that dies someday comes back Put your makeup on fix your hair up pretty And meet me tonight in Atlantic City My second call was to another old buddy. its big diesel throbbing a tune to match the one in my chest.” That sounded familiar. if so. “Too much paperwork that way. You know how it is. I knew he’d ask me one in return. know what I mean?” Famiglio laughed his years-of-cheap-whiskey laugh. That might’ve been a bad idea. I don’t know how many of his boys Paulie sent on the wild goose chase to Atlantic City.Transit of Venus driving in the big scene earlier in the day went into my pocket. his laughter fading into coughing. As a favor to me. The message. A cellular phone went with me out the door into the night. The little black H&Ks are the choice of your governmental shooters. Rape and pillage. too… Well I’m tired of coming out on the losin’ end So honey last night I met this guy and I’m gonna do a little favor for him When I asked Famiglio where I might find Tedeschi on a night like this. He’s an example of the importance of having friends in low places. when I came silently through the back door of the social club. Bruce had known all about it… Down here it’s just winners and losers And don’t get caught on the wrong side of that line But he’d known my reaction. because he knew them all. Numbers. But I felt she’d heard the Springsteen song often enough to know the verse by heart. each yard of concrete in Atlantic City. Riding through the dark streets of Philadelphia in the truck.” I promised he wouldn’t have to do any paperwork on my account. he’d take the message at face value. Extortion. when you get done not talking to him.” “Sure I do. They started to go under their jackets for whatever they were carrying. but slowed down considerably when they saw the blunt muzzles of the two Heckler & Koch silenced MP5 submachine guns I was carrying. copping an alibi.” “Hey. Famiglio. passed through the maid. was for her to fix her hair and meet me tonight in Atlantic City. “Paulie? Hey. one on either side. “Tedeschi? We want that rat bastard for everything. he gets a piece. serious boys like the SAS and Delta. You going to visit him about anything personal?” “Maybe. make sure they can’t prove it. my first call was to her home. but I knew whoever was listening would have orders to tell him if I called and what I said. “Maybe not. he’s into everything. if his boys are up to something he’ll be down at the fuckin’ social club. Drugs.
trying to match up the slugs in their bodies. you should get some of it on your hands. but Gunny Fitz had explained the bad news long ago: If you’re going to kill someone.” His shoulders slumped with the release of tension. they were smoothbores. Tedeschi started in with all the crap that trapped rats shovel out: the usual stuff about giving me anything that I wanted. “That’s for her. They opened wide. chicken man. what with ten or fifteen rounds in each of them. I flipped the nasty tool onto the table. I tossed the satchel under his chair. the sweat starting to dribble down from his hairline. carrying no rifling. Tedeschi’s head snapped back. “I see you recognize this. the delay in the detonator was a very short one. did you?” Paulie shook his head. hard. the flat muzzle of one of the H&K suppressors pressed hard against his chest. My other promise had to wait until the two goombas stopped twitching. then stepped in and did the other one myself. It would matter when the forensic boys came around.” Turning. But he knew enough to shut the fuck up when I tossed him a roll of duct tape from the satchel and gestured for him to put a swatch across his mouth. “And that’s from me. things were going to be different. so I’d had my pick. so the blast effect wasn’t too bad.Omerta respecting movie director these days. just like he always had. his eyes slitted. It’d been an ugly building. of course. I could barely hear him screaming through the duct tape. money. I’m sure he thought that he’d get out of it. and slumped to the floor. anyway. it wouldn’t matter a damn. I’m not going to use it on you. you fuck. as well. “Didn’t expect to see me. I’d picked the pair I’d modified for use with low-power marker pellets. before they started putting those silly trace elements into the mix. from where I stood. five feet from their whitened faces. my hand cocked back. The sharp crack came after I’d turned the first corner. each showing nice sharp grooves. drugs. but I didn’t stop to chat as I went out the door because I was in a hurry. and let what I’d brought with me do its work. But when I set the guns down on the table and stepped in.” He nodded. when I pulled the plastic bag with that damned linoleum knife in it out of my pocket. As I walked the five blocks to where I’d parked the Hummer (because cops never canvas more than a four block area). somehow. and I watched the fireball rise up and disperse into the dark sky. We had more than a dozen of them in the weapons locker back at the trailer. however. “Don’t worry. The satchel charge was made from the good stuff. against the top rung of the chair when my fist clipped him under the eye. out of military stocks. While the hollow-point 9mm ammunition I’d loaded them with would pick up no spin from the barrels and thus have very poor accuracy. That’d fulfill my promise to Famiglio. anyway. You’re never going to be able to wash them clean. he knew that.” The swelling was already starting as I picked up the bag and pulled the end of the fuse sticking out of the C4. this time. I saw a couple of 84 . The forensic boys would have a bad time with this one. That done. By then they’d both have the old barrels reinstalled. whatever. I had him tape one wrist around the chair arm. I could have just walked away.
strewn from Atlantic City to Newark. as they usually do. but what the hell. as you never know who’s going to turn out to have a long memory. I turned Bruce up loud again— Well they blew up the chicken man in Philly last night Now they blew up his house too Down on the boardwalk they’re getting ready for a fight Gonna see what those racket boys can do I was sure the racket boys waiting for me down on the Boardwalk would really be pissed off when they got home. Once I got the truck started. but that didn’t happen.Transit of Venus fire trucks. once Famiglio and his boys got through with her. The headlines had it that Paulie’s death was attributed by the police to an internal struggle in the mob. The movie finally ended. but who knows. I just hoped she’d sleep better. I think I’ll head south. but Sun Tzu says that one must know one’s enemies better than one’s friends. you understand. I have no idea how long it’d be before we were in bed somewhere. She’d underlined the words on some of the songs in the liner notes. I still open all my mail very carefully. and I had one friend in the middle of all of this that I thought I knew very well. all of which seemed to imply that she’s a little lonely down there. and several squad cars going the other way. anyway. not yet. an ambulance. all the captions with last names ending in vowels. Not that I cared. Nobody came by and nobody called. but this turned out to just be a CD by Jimmy Buffett. with one hell of a big party. see if I can spot that mane of hair in the crowd on Duval Street. but we didn’t wave. from one of those mailbox places where you can rent one by the month. our fingers and mouths on each other. But I got a package in the mail the other day with a return address in Key West. maybe she’ll even let me buy her a drink first this time… 85 . I hear the Keys are hot this time of year. it’s been crazy enough I could stand a vacation. so maybe both Famiglio’s and Tedeschi’s boys had other things on their minds over the next few weeks. and I didn’t think it’d be smart to call. I’m pretty sure Famiglio was in one of the squad cars. and the papers and the nightly television were full of bad photos of bodies. I half expected to see her sweet face in the crowd. and by the time I made it back to the Coast I’d decided she’d never want to see me again.
Near-death in the afternoon 86 .
we started for Spain.” We could all see that Villalta’s bull was very large and angry.Transit of Venus Near-death in the afternoon8 It was spring in Paris and everything looked just a little too beautiful. or toreros. afterwards that would strike me as odd. He came all in a rush. We leaned forward to watch the three matadors below us. He was straight as a lance and walked like young wolf. From their faces they might be major league ball players. The kid with the chubby face is Chicuelo. We had barrera seats. the Gin Bottle King. lit a cigarette. directly under the royal box and immediately opposite where the bulls would come out. black and white. but the young American knew much. wearing a straw hat and shoes that were obviously American. They all have the easy grace and slight slouch of the professional athlete. said that the picadores were too cautious and the pics badly placed. weighing over a ton and moving with a soft gallop. You want to watch him. Gitanillo. “Sure. Without hesitation the bull charged. He knew that Villalta had been gored the previous week in Málaga. Gordon’s celebrated product as his sole weapon in one of the four most dangerous situations I have ever seen.” the boy grinned. absolutely deadly and absolutely vicious. Below their heavily brocaded costumes they wore pink stockings. for the original story idea. Richard Seymour. He did not say that he had seen Villalta being gored. told by him one warm night at the Hemingway Festival in Key West. Someone drew us a fine map of Spain on the back of a menu. aren’t you?” Mike asked. “He’s not very fancy. As he charged I suddenly saw what bullfighting is all about. The one next to him is Villalta. We knew nothing of bullfights then. said: “The show’s going to begin. That’s Gitanillo. Our objective— to see bullfights. Fully equipped with this menu and our old clothes. “You’re an American. He seemed like some great prehistoric animal.” I had noticed Villalta. big. We left Paris one morning and got off the train in Madrid the next noon. 87 . We saw our first bullfight at half past four that afternoon. He knew why Villalta had a big gauze patch over one tanned cheekbone held on with adhesive tape. He’s the great one. or cuadrillas. whom later we were to learn to know and love as the Gin Bottle King because of the great feat of arms performed at an early hour of the morning with a container of Mr. The procession of bullfighters was led by the three espadas. in a wonderful gold brocaded jacket. The scalper explained in Spanish and broken French that they were the first row at ringside. The American. the gypsy. The young American. Mike and I decided to go to Spain. “But I know this gang. Just behind the three principals — and after your first bullfight you do not look at their costumes but their faces— marched the teams. 8 With apologies to Ernest Hemingway and thanks to my father.” said a young man to my left. One. who would have charge of the killing of the six bulls of the afternoon.
after Villalta had made many unbelievable passes with the muleta. does not drink gin— leaned stiffly out over the barrera. Then he went out to kill the bull. the bull stood very still. He planted the next pair. It is a tragedy. but the smoke and the bad light made it difficult to see beyond the nearest tables. by the way. He was studying the bull. The American looked drunk. “He’s the boy with the cape. as the horns struck on either side of him. Perhaps it was the memory of the horns in Málaga but. some time after midnight. the color of his hat. The American moved close to Villalta’s table and stopped. We saw him again. because a few minutes later it would be his duty to kill him. His lower teeth were biting into his lip. a little red cloth the size of a large napkin. he leaned back tight against the fence and. just withdrawing his body from the rush of the bull’s horns and floating the cape out with that beautiful swing. “That swing he did with the cape’s called a verónica. His face glistened with sweat in the sun but was almost expressionless. The new bandage showed at the open throat of Villalta’s shirt. perfectly balanced. Villalta planted his first pair of banderillas sitting down the step that runs around the bullring. The tragedy is the death of the bull. When the bull had passed the blood spread like wine on the front of his jacket. Each time the crowd roared. thoroughly competent man in your wife’s mind. In the end. Villalta did this seven times. Olé!. Then there was only silence as the brave bull charged. tall and straight as a tree. he delayed his move by the smallest part of a second. all right. swung back on his heels and floated his cape like a ballet dancer’s skirt into the bull’s face as he passed. It was never supposed to be. 88 .Near-death in the afternoon Villalta stood his ground. As the bull charged. Again the crowd roared. in Albedo’s. near the bullfighter’s pensione in the Vía San Jerónimo. He did not relax until the bull was dead. The Sunday crowd cheered and then cried out in one great warning gasp.” The man who had just done the seven wonderful verónicas was standing against the fence just below us. Then he flopped the cape at the bull at the finish of a pass. never take her to a real bullfight. The bull whirled and charged again. The Gin Bottle King— who. as Villalta turned.” said the Gin Bottle King. Villalta was sitting with his woman and two men. Only his great chest heaved in the glare of the sun from the sand. Villalta turned towards us and spread his arms. There are no drawn battles in bullfighting. He nodded to us. Once he went out to kill the bull it would be him or the bull. rocking slightly from side to side. his legs rigid. But if you want to keep any conception of yourself as a brave. swung it around behind him and walked away from the bull. You cannot compete with bullfighters on their own ground. Villalta repeated the performance. swung forward over the brute’s head and planted the two darts in his hump. same way. so near to us we could have leaned over and touched him. Without moving. hard. Bullfighting is not a sport. He searched the room slowly. very young and very serious. the crowd roared. The lip was pale. A very great tragedy. Toward the back.
At the end of the turn the heavy square bottle came up and around and landed hard against the back of the man’s head. The American stood against the whitewashed front wall of Albedo’s bar with the bottle clutched to his chest. especially so soon after your injury in Málaga. approaching the American from opposite directions. He spoke to the American in English. The American spun his body in a graceful verónica as the second man ran at him. looking for his knife. They hunched forward and talked behind their hands. holding them back.” The two men with Villalta jumped up together. When the men stepped away. The American did not seem to notice. There was a thump like a dropped melon and the man flopped back on the cobbles.” His face was a mask. Great One. He sank to his knees. “It would be good if you left immediately. making the bottle miss. Villalta’s face darkened. lying still against the wall. The large man lunged and then pulled back. The room was silent. Handing it to the American. In one swift movement Villalta rose and swept his arms across them. The two with knives came at the same time. But bending swiftly forward from the waist. Only the slightest flicker of pain pulled at his mouth. Then the two men circled. “Much trouble.” Mike said. they rushed the American.Transit of Venus “Señor Villalta. The man with no weapon hesitated. Albedo reached behind the bar and turned back with a bottle of Gordon’s gin. “I think that boy is in for trouble. The three men stood in a shallow arc a few yards away. When the American had passed they rose together and followed. low and with the blades facing up. “I salute your bravery. the woman clutched her shawl and followed them out. waiting. “But I would like a drink first. but the bigger one was faster.” Three men. Two of them held knives. The other nursed his wrist. There was only pale moonlight outside. The bottle flashed again in the moonlight and caught the large man on the nose. he pointed toward the door. but Mike was standing on it with his boot. two of whom had sitting with Villalta. He went down fast. He held the neck of the big bottle between his brown fingers as though it were a toy. “Go now. Then he swung the bottle sideways. pushing against the table.” the American replied. He looked away and flicked his fingers as one would at a fly.” he said in his good Spanish. the knife rattling over the cobbles. When we did not move. you fought the brave bull well. only a little slurred by the drink.” he said. He looked at us as if for approval. I left money on the table and we went to the door. he swung the bottle two-handed over his head. “Go. Albedo came out from behind the bar. The men saw us and stopped. “The killing was magnificent. catching the man on the wrist. were at a table near the door. flat and firm. The boy stood still until the knife was just close enough to reach him. The second man locked the young American in a bear hug from behind.” he continued.” I agreed. holding his 89 . sullen and hard faced.
He seemed to know everyone in Madrid. 90 . We all agreed that bullfighting can be an exceedingly dangerous occupation. We saw the Gin Bottle King often that summer. by the end of the season everyone knew the story. the American unscrewed the top of the bottle and offered us each some.Near-death in the afternoon face in his hands. While he never mentioned it. at the bullfights and at Albedo’s and the other bars. As we walked away. but he did not drink.
Transit of Venus We’ll always have Paris She had the coffee. As they were when the waiter rolled in the table covered with the sailcloth-weight drape and the silver pots and Limoge china cups and crystal glasses. carrying the scent of her perfume across the table. with the sun burning through the haze. the novel shouldered aside entrants carrying the colors of Doubleday and Simon & Schuster to cross the wire first. The reason the champagne would go to waste was because she’d put on the satin nightgown I’d found in a little shop in London. and the book had come from behind. the old man forgetting the time differential as usual. but the two of us were unlikely to finish the bottle. entire fields of nightblooming roses had given up their short lives for that smell. all paid for by the longsuffering IRS. whipped home by lengthy lunches between sales reps and editors with single-malt whiskey and young Bordeaux and nouvelle cuisine. the selvage of the nightgown edged with a froth of lace as white as the Pacific surf and soft as confectioner’s sugar. But publishing had been a muddy track this year. Her breasts forced the fabric into a curve as gentle as Hanauma Bay. We were drinking it only because my publisher had called. Underneath the snowy robe. excellent as ever. behind Wolfe and Marquez and half a dozen other runners. Flinging mud in the faces of those farther back in the pack. waking us early. She. a dusty Victorian mauve. His voice had cracked and wheezed when he announced that my book had won the Prize. not even expected to show. As they’d remained through the brioche and croissants and raspberries and juice and coffee and the first glass of champagne. hoping that guests would take it home and enjoy being billed for several thousand francs on their American Express. maybe. it looked like a woolly t-shirt. On the 91 . on the other hand. being petite enough. the nightgown was that purple that’s not really purple. and I had the orange juice. The old man had doubled the print run and even authorized an ad or two in the trades. After the second glass. had ordered up breakfast with champagne. the tight bastard. perching like an Erector-set on acid against the horizon. on me. the little projectile from Epernay sailing over the pale pink and white flowers in their boxes at the edge of the balcony. could actually wear it. It had been a dark horse. The arc of the cork’s ascent topped the iron skeleton of Eiffel’s greatest erection. I. We both had the champagne. she’d eased off the thick white bathrobe the hotel so gladly supplied. The curve of its descent preceded a spray of expensive bubbles onto the sea of rooftops below us. her skin as tawny as the Hawaiian sand. The wind ruffled the discarded linen napkins and the skirt of the gown. A crime to waste Perrier-Jouët on rain-slicked slate. the one that looked demure only when she was sitting upright with her knees pressed carefully together. what with the Germans anschlussing the independents and the Japanese having a yen for bargains among the conglomerates. or Bordeaux grapes silvered with dew. once I struggled the cork out.
When I felt a delicate cluster of toes exploring up my leg. Sliding down into my lap. the long alabaster column of her throat pressed against my ear. as she slid slowly off the chair. she somehow arranged that the front of it fell open and the curves of her breasts. her face seemed hard pressed to choose between a smile and a blush. with what must have been a very silly look on my unshaven face. Finally. They did the work that a million years of evolution had honed them to do: under the tablecloth. not with such fervent demands being placed on such a very delicate part of me. when I thought I could keep the worst of the tremor out of my voice. she held me tight until I stopped.” She chuckled. slickly. a negative silhouette of her bikini bottom. its proud embroidered logo soaking up the champagne I’d spilled when I’d been pulled. I started shaking uncontrollably. Not that I did. wetly. her long tanned flank revealed all the way to the thin white line. not once but several times. hot and wet and insistent. branded across her hip by the Hawaiian sun. each time loud in my ear and each time punctuated by a sweet little gasp for air. It took me a few tries. Licking her lips won out. Her encouraging noises and even more encouraging fingers were doing their part. I asked the obvious question: “Why?” “I believe the locals call it droit du seigneur. I’d never really understood Willie Nelson’s line from Electric Horseman. and it looked to be a near-run thing between what she was trying achieve and my sliding off the chair onto the floor next to her. either. the one about finding the keno girl who could suck the chrome off a trailer hitch. Her arms wrapped around me. the hem of the nightgown riding up in a most delicious manner. When she swallowed. I didn’t really believe she’d do it. not until her lips closed on me. into the soft embrace of her mouth. slid down either side of my face. I didn’t notice the triumphant grin on her face at first. I was stiff as anything Eiffel ever built. Until just that moment. as well. as I was blearily watching the lacy clouds above me chase each other before the wind. I thought she’d guessed as much. but I was pretty sure there wasn’t a towing ball in the world that stood a chance. but I found that the clouds paled next to real lace when the purple of her gown blocked out my view of the azure sky. but I could only watch. her tender flesh prickled ever so gently by my whiskers. With her smoldering bottom rubbing against the softening evidence of her work.” 92 . I wasn’t sure she’d ever worked the casinos. too. not really. When her foot bumped up against my tour passionnel. sure enough. a victory I was happy to see. underlying the roses. she laid her head on my shoulder. came the subtle pheromones of damp womanhood. She won. warmly.We’ll always have Paris westerly breeze. firmly. she crouched under the table with the heavy folds of the robe doing unforeseen duty protecting her knees. soft and round and rosy and succulent as peaches ripened on the trees of childhood summers. when she was sure. her voice still throaty with what hadn’t gone down yet. fortunately. “Because it’s not every day that my man wins the Prize. to get my wind back. But.
Her face was somber. there was one component of it that seemed to be missing here. I thought I could just see it in the distance through the gaps between the ancient buildings. While the right of the lord to partake of village maidens is one that has. but my sense of history is good enough for the Académie Goncourt.” “I wonder…” Turning. “I thought that only applied to beautiful women on their wedding night. sadly. but the twinkle in her eyes cut the chill of her voice. “Obviously an oversight on somebody’s part. all the way to the bed. She carried in my arms as light as one of its feathers. “Can you rent NotreDame by the hour?” Her laughter carried like a nightingale’s song on the morning breeze.” Sitting up straight. 93 .Transit of Venus My French may only be good enough for ordering pomme frites in Montréal or vin ordinaire in Marseilles. primly hiding those luscious globes from my gaze. fallen out of favor. she adjusted the edges of the nightgown.
There’ll always be… 94 .
creating the manuals that allowed computer users to attempt a fraction of the neat tricks they thought their Macintoshes would perform when they bought them. over a round of sickly beers that should’ve caused her to invoke her Czech forebears and call down the wrath of Plzen upon their brewers. I met her some forty years later. as the Queen she’d been named for had said. we met in a trendy brewpub south of San Francisco. I wore golden handcuffs in Silicon Valley. Yet a volcanic interior hid behind that facade. but only. Once our friend made her goodbyes. She was so good that. Indefinitely. I was happy to hear. the classic upperclass Englishwoman: tall and lean. at a glance. Their passion. begin to fade. say. convinced me that she must be under thirty-five. for her. Sex. but we were able to exchange a few pleasantries. produced by the fall of ‘54 a glorious flower. The next several hours were spent in a quiet Irish bar and then a nearly deserted Chinese restaurant. if she’d been born in Montana. when her work visa ran out. working with the best that Stanford Hospital could field. wavy blonde hair caught in a long braid that ran halfway down her slim back. Her career as a nurse might’ve given her a clinical acceptance of the necessity of mingling bodily fluids. Her fiery blood and honeyed hair came from her father. with eyes closed. Introduced by a mutual friend. and a few significant glances. thinking of England. agreed with that I began to actually have hope for the evening. an RAF pilot. She’d been divorced for several years. but infrequently. however. fertilized in a typically English dreary January.Transit of Venus There’ll always be an England Victoria Lila Jones-Smith was. pert breasts and boyish ass hidden beneath a simple but elegant dress that buttoned all the way up her neck. finding out all the little things that strangers moving headlong toward bed want to know about each other. when most flowers. and with as little actual contact as possible. But her nearly lineless face. The roar of a pack of yuppies in full mating cry was nearly deafening. I immediately suggested that we take our conversation somewhere quieter. Her ample mouth and silken skin were from her mother. She was a world-class surgical nurse. an entire team of surgeons downed tools until the hospital administrator convinced the INS that she should be allowed to stay in the country. along with a delicious body as slim as any model’s. and so fervently. a woman for whom intrigue and gossip were life’s-blood. The idea was so quickly. where the girls I grew up with never heard of wearing SPF15 to block the effects of the sun. however sturdy. max. from a guy who didn’t know that women 95 . would surely be something that one did because one must. I’d’ve said thirty. I’m so good at my job that my new boss had promised to fire me a moment before the company downsized itself out of existence. impersonally. who’d wisely changed his name from Jaruzelski when he left the Polish Brigade to become a flyer. revealed through gleaming hazel eyes and a brilliant wide smile. a Czech beauty from a wealthy family who’d fled Prague after the War.
so I didn’t even twitch a muscle for fear of scaring her off whatever this fantasy might be. you understand.’ When she came back. vibrating but unspoken. just to ward off the attentions of a drunk on the corner. too. though.” She dropped the level of her beer by a couple inches. Not that any of that meant anything. then slapped the glass back onto the table. There is an instant. warm fingers. I was in the endgame of a separation from a woman who didn’t know that men wanted intimacy. where she waited nervously.” I watched her stride through the motley crowd like a prize filly through a stable yard of mutts. dark honey hair twitching over her firm butt. “This is what we’re going to do…” 96 . or just misinterpreted. Each of us had been told. She worked out at a local gym a couple of times a week. I carried her beer and my whisky over to our small table by the big windows at the front. Her resolve seemed only an inch deep. just as the light was changing. any man can tell you. The two of us had crossed an invisible barrier somewhere during the hours we’d spent together. but the feel of her beneath her coat. filled with the usual suspects: university students in black art-school regalia. ‘Yes. certainly made my fingers itch to find out what else was in there before the night was out. but we were both a little afraid we’d been lied to. We ended our evening in a raucous artist’s bar downtown. in the air between us. which was very similar to the taut young bodies in the men’s magazines I bought. or exaggerated to. however. vatos from the east side with head rags and bad attitudes. However. that the other ‘really. This probably had a lot to do with her looking the way she did. which wasn’t often. and aging bikers in long hair and leathers sprinkled among the crowd around the pool tables in the back. when you just look at a woman and know that you want to sleep with her. Then. “Can you hold that thought? I have to go pee. gave me hope that I wasn’t the only one interested in finding out if our friend’s description of us was at all accurate. and me looking the way I did. and the walk back had required me to put my arm around her. I worked out whenever I thought about it.There’ll always be… weren’t for beating. she leaned over and stroked the side of my face with her strong. rising quickly to her feet. “Okay. really likes sex’. As I watched her legs carry her with long strides down the hallway into the back. the walk from the bar to the restaurant had required us to hold hands. just in order to make it safely across the street. I would. it was with a gleam in her eye and a determined angle to her shoulders that made me take a slug off the whisky before she sat down. The kiss she snuck in. really. ‘I surely would. and it felt like there was no going back for us before we sounded out the limits of the new territory we’d entered. which was like any aging middle linebacker in the NFL. she nodded.” Her full lower lip quivering with unsaid thoughts.’ I thought. and I reached out first to give it form. that moment welled up inside me. “I’ve been thinking what the next step might be for us. though. The question hung. muscles sliding beneath her sweater. by our gleefully indiscreet friend.
you bastard.” She did get clean. At her urging. so it almost looked easy. Negotiating the wine. the pink roses I brought matching the color scheme by accident. though. she pushed me away a bit. the bedclothing elegantly turned down. Which is what we did. this is not what I usually come home to. her eyes widening. she’d gotten there. Sliding a knee swiftly up each flank. impaling herself neatly. Grinning. either. “That. and the room lights artfully lit when I heard the key in the door. and I’d just poured a glassful of it when her arms went around my neck.” Kneeling at tub-side. I slowly slid my arm. and the champagne was cold. at a very nice local hotel. and a bottle of cold champagne in it. she pushed me bodily backwards down the hall onto the bed. either. the jacuzzi looked big enough for her and someone as big as me. before my hands scrubbing her flesh drove her out. Once she realized that there were no hidden cameras. Not your Trader Joe’s méthode champenoise. “Thank you for this. and a gradual shift toward the steam-filled door of the bathroom. on a night when she got off at a reasonable hour and didn’t have to go back the next day at all.Transit of Venus What we were going to do was meet that weekend. as my fingers found their mark. she relaxed and sank blissfully back into the hot water. up between her silken legs. the hugs. with my bootlaces and my belt and my shirt buttons. She assured me that the room would have a big bed. She stiffened at first. I think she more or less awakened from some dream state when her tender parts hit the hot water. “After a very long day at the hospital. she sat back. Wiggling slightly to press-fit my part inside hers. Just before I needed to come up for air. the kisses. the hand a heat-sensing torpedo aimed at her soft underbelly. the thick terrycloth house bathrobe ready on the pillow. until I was as naked as she. but I’d done some juggling in college. The cork from the Pérignon caromed off the ceiling at the same instant her bags hit the hallway floor.” She sipped at the champagne. or Freddy Kruger. this was a heavy green bottle of your premier cru Dom Pérignon. my flag of need pointing up at her slippery center. where she gamely struggled. Drying didn’t help. I leaned over and kissed her soft. the roses field-stripped and arranged in a crystal vase. she knelt over me. or whatever other horror she’d envisioned just before her face went on a milk carton.” 97 . was a hell of a trick. or whips and chains. she grinned down at my stunned face. though. but went limp again when they opened her underwater portal and gently entered. I had the jacuzzi full of hot bubbling water. very clean but still not quite dry. and a glass of champagne. is for making me come without you in the tub. either. and sank her tongue halfway down my throat. I assured her that I’d be delighted to get there ahead of her and welcome her in with a big hug. but didn’t get to the blissful state of hottub relaxation. The room was beautiful. So. all the while strewing her surgical greens in our wake. looking around as if wondering how. “This isn’t what I usually come home to. a kiss. exactly. what with me insisting on getting at each crevice and cranny on her body with the towel. champagne-glazed lips. a jacuzzi.
But the feel of her warmth against my belly. almost scary look on her face as she did so. That didn’t last very long. but she heaved a sigh of relief. it wasn’t going to be long until the next time. knee-walking up my body. I gave her the bad news: “I’m going to make you kneel over my face now. she eased me back against the damp sheet. I found that I was only able to call her merely ‘Lila’ a little while later. thankfully. I wanted to be able to come inside her. thrusting me quite involuntarily up into her. went out. our breaths mingled. hands against the wall. moaning delicately. a millimeter at a time. She sat up. very rapidly. I couldn’t move my arms or legs. ruby-lipped center slid over my chin.There’ll always be… My contrition was evident. her head thrown back. so I suppose something got through. but I tried to smile and wink at her. and wrapped my arms around her. all wiry cunt hair and slick lips. then quickly opened her mouth to mine. either. and a fizzing noise in my ears. while it might have been a long while since the last time I came in a woman’s mouth. but I finally got that the litany was just my name. I’m not sure how well it worked. Suddenly I knew that. her fingers clenched in the hair on my chest. this woman certainly could ‘suck the chrome off a trailer hitch’. made my teeth ache. my lips numb and rubbery. leaning down and shouting at me. slamming myself into her hot wet core. when I suddenly went lightheaded. my ears seemingly stuffed with cotton. so I wasn’t totally surprised when the lights. that didn’t seem quite right. startled. to take what was in her mouth out to correct me. over and over and over. which was extremely disturbing until I figured out that I was strapped to a moving table. I couldn’t answer her. finally ready to spill my salty surprise into the depths of her. soft warmth that was smothering my nose and mouth [well. 98 . I couldn’t tell at first what she was saying. as I hardly had a chance to moan one or the other of her names up into the deep. her dark-haired mons obscuring my vision. and was engaged in showing me exactly how that was done. that I learned she insisted on both first names. intense. sadly. maybe a couple of chances] before she collapsed in postorgasmic trembling on top of me. and I’m going to eat you until you scream…” As a shudder ran through her narrow frame. I didn’t remember anything after that. nectarine-shaped breasts against me. but there was a terrible burning sensation in my arm. however. I was very glad of that because. As this was the first time for us. She rode the wild pony for a long time. was Victoria Lila. either. but my desire was even more so. so she quickly found herself face down in the pillows. in the immortal words of Willie Nelson in The Electric Horseman. There was a strange. But it was only when she began slithering down my body. nearly spilling her over backwards. until I noticed that a strange ceiling was whipping past over my head. I thought it might be ecstasy at first. when she was unwilling. even in ecstasy. At the side of the gurney. top to bottom. thank you. surrounded by masked people in green scrubs. Speaking into her parted lips. pressing her pinktipped. I sat up very suddenly. a look that disappeared only when her wet. with me kneeling behind her soft cushioning bottom.
It’s the little triumphs that make life worth living. or even time. I guess. my hand clenched in hers. or those delicious lips parting around her cockeyed smile again. We’ve tried everything we did the night I went down for the count. felt them slamming cold hard things onto my chest. and watched the piercing lights overhead spin toward darkness. dimly heard them yelling numbers and medical gibberish at each other. She likes the changes. standing beside my hospital bed. Given the days in the hospital. it turned out to be a very long time until the next time I came in a woman’s mouth. I can call her just Lila and get away with it. or just anesthesiologists who talk loud. her sweet lips whispering my name. Once the docs had said I was out of the woods. if they’d been keeping world records. she slipped into her uniform and snuck back in to see me after lights out. when I realized that I might never see that flowing mane of hair. I could see her lips move. though. because all the snorting and thrashing I did. forcing her away from the gurney. back around the turn of the millennium. she seemed to be saying something about my heart. particularly now that my stamina has increased in places beside the track and the gym.Transit of Venus Then the nurses were wrestling with her. Though I couldn’t hear her low sweet voice. but working out has done wonders for this old body of mine. and who am I to argue with a pronouncement like that? But the first face I saw when I woke up was surely angelic enough: it was Victoria Lila. My time in the mile might be a world-record. The last time I saw her face. would’ve kept any roommate not totally comatose wide awake. and many more inventive things besides and. and I’ve done a lot of things differently since then. as I looked up into the frowns of the nurses and doctors. That was quite awhile back. too. but it was almost worth the wait. while she proved Willie Nelson right yet again. I thought my heart was breaking… I don’t know if there are really angels. orgasm is apparently not a life-threatening behavior. We were worried at one point that the monitors would start beeping but. Luckily my insurance covered a private room. when I can time it just right. every once in awhile. it was disappearing behind the slowly closing doors of the operating theatre. because. 99 . but a voice in the darkness said ‘he’s been given a second chance’. electronically at least. tears streaking her cheeks. That was odd. those sparkling eyes.
There’ll always be… 100 .
” I insist. and you’re still [barely] in your raincoat. your mouth soft against mine. deep in your throat. You cannot see the teeth-clenching look of abject lust on my face. you part your legs. I suddenly stand. I turn you around. over the smooth warm curve of your bottom. With fingers. and tongue I stroke. When you are rising up that aching curve toward orgasm. my cold nose delving into the cleft of your warm ass.” 101 . more in lust than cold. Fortunately. to the deep wetness of your widening cunt. “More. the lightest the labia minora with the tiny bump of your clit just peeking out from the darker lips that surround it. and lick all your parts. exposing the delicate curves of your sweet ass. the lower half of your body humping gently against my face. So it makes you inhale sharply when I swiftly drag your hips back to where you balance on the back of the chair. your legs spread. I bend you down over the back of the chair. nibble. up past the arch of thigh where your stockings end. Pulling the tail of your coat down over my head. my lips [wetted by my aching tongue] descending on yours. I walk you backward into the room. sliding your raincoat up. up past your knees. to your swelling clit in its flapped nest. when I can feel your insides throbbing. “Open for me. to the clenching nubbin of your asshole. After stroking your sweet face.Transit of Venus A faceful of shadows We’re just in from the hell-bent ride from the airport in your new BMW. the waist cinched tight below your breasts. Within I can see the rosy parts. nor can you see what is rising to worship you [my sweats dropped silently to the floor]. Open yourself for me. With your arms supporting your weight you slump. Opening the collar of the coat so that your soft breasts drop free into my hands. With only a slight moan of reluctance. teeth. I fall into warm wet shadow. into position. Slowly I lift the hem of your raincoat. from the tongue-rasping hair on your soft belly. sighing. when your firm legs are quivering. tires screeching in the turns and throttle wide open on the straightaway. and the cleft in your peach-shaped ass opens. You moan at the sound of my voice: “Open. I lower my face against you. nor can you see me drenching my steel-hard cock with lubricant. your soft breasts and taut nipples rubbing against the nubbly fabric of the cushion. I kneel down behind you. and press my fingertips against the inside of your thighs.” Your booted feet slide apart. After one long tongues-down-throats kiss in the doorway. and I steer you toward it. Shivering slightly. my bristly cheeks pressed against your soft ones. and the dark flesh rose clenched in anticipation above them. there’s a soft upholstered chair. I’m wearing my usual rumpled-on-the-red-eye sweats. tickling your Cheshire smile with my fingertips and getting them licked by your tiny pink tongue in return.
smashing my cock into you. coming. making a soft sucking sound as your sodden lips come open. coming inside you in a long burning stream of desire. yes…” The touch of just the soft tip of my cock sends a delicious shudder through your body. “Is your ass ready for me?” Your answer makes me stiffen. your hands snake back and grasp your soft cheeks. Then I am lost. until all your pinkness is exposed. My question makes you stiffen. and I pause. even tighter and hotter and wetter than I remembered. A strangled scream greets the soft thud as my body slams against yours. “Please…” Your voice is so soft I can barely hear you. Your hands try in vain to open you further. I pull myself into you. “Oh. pressing everything I have into that hot space inside you. coming.There’ll always be… Almost hesitantly. “Fuck me now…” Grasping your hips. 102 . Slowly they part.
” “Then I suppose we should go to bed. “Ohh. we skipped romantically back to the hotel. this being California and all. complete with tubs and saunas and showers. the dark hair rustling in the quiet. she hugged me again. I arrived out of breath to ﬁnd her halfway through her ﬁrst beer and her third order of maguro. But the hotel only has three ﬂoors. One last glance around the room for anything out of place. so we wouldn’t pass the CPR test without more practice. That shit lasted a half-block or so. “Entirely too late. so I carefully tucked my newly-purchased little pink tools under the pillows on my side of the broad bed. though.” I smiled. isn’t it?” I nodded. Alone at last… I pinned her against the paneled walls of the cab and we tried breathing for each other for a while. I opened the lock and pushed the door open. She pushed herself away. “Ahhh…” She smiled. topped off with a few tasty morsels of unagi and saba. mixing the rufﬂes and ﬂourishes of the XIXth with the soft pastels of the XXth to produce a bizarre Mendelian cross of yuppie weirdness. until we tired of banging into each other and nearly falling down. however. even with my bulk sprawled across it. then a sedate walk took over for the rest of the trip. “Hold that thought while I slip 103 . then off at a dead run to the sushi bar down the block where she was headed from her last meeting. one she’d deduce quickly. Arm in arm. down my zipper. squeezing her against me.Transit of Venus In ﬂagrante delicto I knew exactly what she’d say: ‘What the hell is that?’ Which is not something you really want to hear in a moment of tenderness. The trailing power cords would deﬁnitely be a clue. so they also disappeared under the pillows. trailing soft ﬁngers down my shirt buttons. “A little late for second thoughts.” She smiled up at me.” “No. She’s so small that. She walked in under my outstretched arm.” “Knowing you…” She shook her head. “Just a ﬁgure of speech. “Flattery will get you everywhere. really. we took the elevator. with space for a couple of Russian weightlifters to spread out in capitalist comfort. Giving two crooked smiles as a tip to the doorman.” “I guess we should. Turning. After dinner we eyed the sensual onsen next door. done in the current ﬁn de siecle style. the lot washed down with a brace or six of Kirins. The rest of the room was quite nice.” “Exactly where I intend to go. but we wisely decided to hold off for another time when our blood-alcohol levels had gone down. how nice!” She’d noticed the new spray of ﬂowers I’d put on the low table under the window. We proceeded to demolish half the Western Paciﬁc tuna ﬁshery.” “Really?” One dark eyebrow rose. there’d be a few square meters of crisp white sheet left over. you make it pretty. A silly bed. “Everywhere?” Little did she know… I put on my best innocent look. “They make the room so pretty. it would convince a parole board.
“I think I’ll leave that to you.” Picking up a tiny bag. I shook my head. “Right now. She shook her head. I smiled into her thick hair. inexorably.” Slowly. and I stared hard into that shadowed eye. she shut the door. I spun her in place. pressing the uppermost knee gently toward her chest.” I did my best Lon Chaney canis lupus imitation.” 104 . her eyes widened.” She glanced down. I’m told. “Of what?” I winked. snarling into her tits. “Second thing…” A step and a half took us to the bed. our faces meeting in a delicate kiss. “All the better to eat you with. yes. her thighs locked together. I think I know how to get it back. “…aren’t I?” My hands gripped her tightly. but never a wolf. “Of me? The big bad wolf?” She smiled shakily. I’m to be ravaged by a wild beast…” One dark eye sparkled in the shadow under the arm. brushed and sleek in satin and lace. “I’m afraid…” Hands soft against her ﬂesh. Her breathing quickened. a few weasels. I leaned closer.” “I’ve never been to bed with a wolf before.” Giggling. “Where do you want me?” “What?” Her voice was mufﬂed by the door.” Smiling. Except standing there naked. “Shall I get into bed?” The door swung open just enough for her to peek out.” Her ﬁngers grazed my lips. “This will not do. “Quite a number of toads. “No. But I wrapped a ﬁst around it anyway. she winked and disappeared into the bathroom. the smooth satin of her bustier squeaking against the sheets.” Leaning down. head for tail. you understand. Her slim hand worked much better. her hair trailing off on both sides. now that you’ve found it?” She snuggled her face against my chest. I reached into the cleft between her legs.” “First thing…” I scooped her up in one hairy arm. There’s nothing stupider than standing in the middle of a strange room. “Oh. just to keep it warm. you just stand right there like that. “Don’t worry. “You’re so sweet…” I smiled. alone. I told you I knew how.” She laughed.” “It’s cold out here. “Anything special you’d like to do with it.” I suspected as much. incisors bared. breast and bum. my dear. Her bottom clenched. “See. “A wolf in sweet clothing. she laid one arm across her brow. “Do you bite?” “Oh. She lay back against the plumped pillows. talking to a door. “Mmm. so some of it was still there when she came out. “I think I know how Little Red Riding Hood felt. her hair a dark cloak trailing behind. one arm wrapped around her waist while my other hand curled underneath a breast. just like that.In ﬂagrante delicto into something sexier than this suit. It’ll go away.” Feigning a swoon. her eyes ﬂashed. and a horse’s ass once or twice. her breath deepened.
” 105 . A mufﬂed shriek from farther down the bed made me come up for air. mufﬂed by thighs and bellies. peeling back the slick labia.” “Yes.” She arched her neck to look at me down the length of our bodies. She apparently liked it when my tongue penetrated her. “Or was it like this?” Her eyes disappeared under ﬂuttering lids and her lips shone as her tongue polished them. just starting an orgasm. sounded like a vacuum dropped in chocolate pudding. When my hands pulled gently at her cheeks. but it wasn’t going to be much longer to the next. her mouth vacuum-sealed to me.” Her lips brushed against me when she spoke. And thank you for swallowing. Breathing heavily. “All that. when I fastened my lips around the soft bump at the top of her cunt and rolled it ﬁercely with my tongue. and I plunged my free hand deeper in. “That…” She swallowed noisily. “Like this?” I curled them around the soft structure between her cheeks. “That was magniﬁcent. She shuddered. It’d been quite a while since the last time I’d come in a woman’s mouth. she moaned quietly. dividing her lips like a sun-warmed fruit. major and then minor. “Why is that always so damned important?” “You have to admit. Our coming. Her body stiffened beneath me. my ﬁngertips slipping slowly inside. “Or like this?” One stiff ﬁnger slid along her wet edges into the suction beyond.” I chuckled. ﬁngers curling in beside my gyrating tongue. opening her wider. “Men!” Her body shook with laughter. Leaning down. her breathing harsh and ragged through her nostrils. her lips pulling hard at my center.” I stiffened when her lips took me. her hands clenched at my bottom. pulling me closer to her. “And will be.Transit of Venus A scoop of ﬁngers ran up her cool thigh into the heat. engulﬁng her whole vulva. it’s not very romantic watching someone run into the bathroom. and I pressed her face against me. When it was over we rolled apart. but I decided I liked it. she lay on her back. one cunt-slickened hand slid up her back and its ﬁngers twisted into her hair. I did my best to suck her inside out. My hands slid down the smooth inside curve of her buttocks.” I trailed my tongue across her quivering thigh. led by her shaky hand. and then lying there listening to them spit very seriously once they’ve gotten the door closed. forcing my swollen cock farther into her quivering throat.” Her head ﬂopped down amid her dark nest of hair. Her teeth grabbed me gently. Wolves sometimes get carried away. “Oh. “All that and more. My mouth opened wide. “Do I want to know what that means?” “No.” It’s a mixed sensation when someone laughs with their mouth wrapped around your cock. Pulled from her molten core.” Her face turned blindly toward my groin. yes. our sweaty ﬂesh separating like velcro. all the while trying desperately not to seem like they’re hurrying. “Sorry. the back of her throat vibrating around me. “It was. the ﬁngers of one hand curled idly around my softening cock.
tugged her legs apart against the white cotton. one breast-high. Standing in front of me. “I’ll be very good. I shook my head at her. the other cradling her soft bottom. the soles of her feet pink against the pillows. Maybe even a great surprise.” “Do I have time to run inside for a moment?” Her voice was plaintive. until it slipped into a leer. “Why don’t I believe you?” “Because I’m a man?” “No.” “You don’t know what the surprise is.” She rolled off the bed and slipped into the bathroom. I can tell.” She shook her head again. “Go. slitted parts. “Any minute now. “Most of them. inviting a quick lick and a nibble. “You’re hiding something. the red marks of the bustier’s constraint fading slowly.” She tightened her grip on me. I will. Little did she know… She came back naked.” “I will. and she came toward me slowly. “Because you have a deliciously perverted mind. “Tell me something I don’t know.” She shook her head. trying hard to look serious.” I winked. into the soft duvet. I slid the other behind me to grab the fat tube I’d hidden there while she was in the bathroom. “But about this ‘will’ stuff…” “Yes?” I nibbled at her damp ﬂesh. her eyes closing. and I can see it hard at work.” “I insist. legs dangling. “And standing there.” I pulled her closer. pulling her with me. lips open. as my ﬁngers opened her round. you’ll never ﬁnd out. the ribbed asshole above clenched in anticipation. but hurry back.In ﬂagrante delicto “I suppose it would. her breasts were tucked below my chin. her bottom curled over my thighs.” She took in a long.” “This is a good surprise. “You should have gone before we left home. She shuddered delicately. I stroked her back and thighs with one hand while the other reached down and slowly.” I grinned. Levering up on one elbow.” I edged backward on the bed. rolling her nipples between my ﬁngers. She pulled my head up for a kiss and my hands took over the duty. Her body softened under my hands. enjoying the seduction.” “I’ll be good. When they opened.” One eyebrow rose.” I slapped her bottom. “A surprise. While one hand delved into her warm valley. what do I have to do?” “Be good. “And trust me. her dark eyes stared into mine. mister. I was sitting up on the edge of the bed. head and chest bending across my lap to rest on the coverlet. Are you going to tell me what it is?” I shrugged. ragged breath. 106 .” “Okay. deliciously. Her mouth panted. “Very good. “Something’s hard…” She laughed. “What about it?” “When is it liable to start?” I chuckled. “Alright.” I wrapped both arms around her. mister.” “I like surprises. smooth bottom like a ripened fruit to expose her juicy.” Her face was all innocence. swollen nipples brushing the sheets.
I switched it on and slid it.” I leaned over and planted a kiss on the nearest buttock. against her clitoris. as it slipped in deeper. ﬁngers furrowing her sweaty ﬂesh. When she stopped shaking. laying it aside. in and out. My ﬁngers snaked down and forced the fat vibrator to the hilt in her engorged cunt while my thumb buried the probe in her ass. opened. When she’d relaxed. pressing harder. Grabbing the ribs of the thick.” “That’s not how I want it. “Don’t you dare. She moaned when I forced the fat shaft between slick lips into her cunt. thump. wedge. thump. Her moans become groans when it hit bottom. along her quivering thigh. She slid away from me.” 107 . she sucked in a loud breath. “Come here. even pressing her bottom up with each stroke. snick.” “But I will…” Clamping her buttocks together with my free hand. parted.” I could barely hear her whisper. slide. I smiled. then?” I slid across the bed. drawing her knees up under her chest. the ridges snicking softly against the opening of her cunt. I’m here. Her groans become sighs as her ass made room for half its length inside. into the tight ring of her ass. slide. slide. its ridges hitting. “I know what you do want…” One dark eye looked back at me past the dark fall of her hair. “I can stop. “You okay?” I vibrated it rapidly. wedge. the ridges going thump. lying back against the pillows. “You don’t want to. thump. half-turning to face me. then I pressed it slowly home again.” My ﬁngers teased. “You okay?” My ﬁngers paused. I patted the sweat-matted hair on my chest. Click: it pulsed faster. Her moan was mufﬂed against the drool-damp coverlet. I carefully pulled the vibrator from her cunt. The knobs went snick. “What. I worked it slowly in and out.” Her chuckle was half a cough. “I can stop. grabbing a handful of pendant breast. the thick gel felt cold against her heat. her slick bottom rising. my other hand reached for the slim. “No?” She sat back. its knobs tugging at her ﬂesh. I eased the probe out. “Okay. I laid the tube aside and reached up under the pillow. Her breathing quickened when she heard the thump of my instruments of exquisite pleasure hitting the bed. rubbery vibrator.Transit of Venus Squeezed over my ﬁngers. wedge. across her swollen lips. The knobbed probe slid out halfway from her internal pressure. her screams a delight. She shuddered as it dragged across her well-lubricated slit. “…so we might as well get it over with. the rows of knobs ﬂicking against the taut rim of her hole. a barely-humming. tamping the gel into the soft space between her lips. Its bulbous tip pierced her puckered ass and I pressed harder. slide. ﬁngertips twisting a tender nipple. long probe lying on the bed. wedge against the taut rim as I whipped the unused length of the probe deeper into her quivering asshole.” She clambered across the bed to kneel over me. Click: the vibrator hummed a higher tune as I stroked it in and out. then moaned quietly into the coverlet. snick. her thighs lying outside of mine. I slid the other hand under her. its knobbed surface slick and gleaming. snick. slippery tickle.
With a long series of convulsions. slipping one hand into the space between her thighs. a half dozen. “You have no idea how this feels.In ﬂagrante delicto I handed her the gel.” I grinned. setting her down on my middle. A moment of pressure. across my belly. “Do it now. though. “Oh. mouth open. I came deep inside her. Our ﬂesh smacked together wetly. “Are you sure you have to go?” “Yes. then a snick as her ass opened and the head of my cock slid in. Her hands slid up to hold me tighter.” “Sorry. pliant ass. “Please…” “Open yourself wide for me.” I arched up into her.” “That’s good. pressing down softly. very still. “Somewhat.” She gulped. “Tearing it off won’t help. yes. “Seems superﬂuous. she trailed her ﬁngernails down my chest. and she sat down suddenly. “Now what?” I reached down. “Now you make it happen. Lying beside me later. pointing at my stiff cock between us.” She sat down slowly. working her hands around me like she was putting pinetar on a Louisville Slugger. scooping her up under the armpits. Once. Another few inches forced their way up inside her. “Okay?” “Ohhhh…” She took a deep breath.” She nodded. pulling it apart. cradling her shoulders in my arms. Reaching back.” I sat up. A baker’s dozen and I slid my hands down her back to grab her buttocks. staring down at me. and along the shaft of my cock. She sat. Fast. as she marked each one with a mufﬂed grunt in my ear. my lips found her ear. trapping her elbows against her body. “Oh. she sighed. shall we say.” She patted the slickened end. stufﬁng my swollen cock deep within her opened. “Oh. the last inch of my cock wedging into her ass.” “Right.” She ground her ass down against me.” Her blush was wonderful.” She shrugged. “And I seem to recall a bad experience…” “Uh-huh. Holding just the tip with her ﬁngers.” “Nothing I do will convince you to stay?” 108 .” I smiled.” She whimpered again. “I need to fuck you. then her ﬁngers groped deeper into the crevice of her ass. swallowed.” “Not the ﬁrst time. “That’s what counts. Now. after the warm washcloths and towels and kisses. my…” She opened her eyes. a little whimper. squirting a handful of gel into her palm. “Lubricate that. “And what makes you think this is my ﬁrst time?” “It’s our ﬁrst time. whispered back. a dozen strokes.” She smiled. Burying my face in her hair. her hands slowly parted her cheeks. then gave a brief shudder. “Do it. “Ohhhh…” I slid my hands down to her waist.” I shrugged. Another deep breath. carefully. painful…” I ﬂinched. “Ready for the rest?” She nodded.
“You know how this is…” “Unfortunately.” She smiled wanly.” I twitched my cock against her ﬁngers. too.Transit of Venus “You could convince that part of me.” I shrugged. One last kiss and then.” She buried her face in the pillows while I got dressed. back into bed. “Come back soon. “I even want you to do that again…” “As soon as I can. I set off for home.” “I’m sorry you have to go.” I reached out and stroked her hair.” I sighed. Please. “Me. but sat up for a kiss before I left. petite and dark as Piaf herself.” I stroked as much of her as I could reach and tucked her. whistling Je ne regrette rien. “More than you know. “But the rest of me would regret it. 109 .
In ﬂagrante delicto 110 .
“Then write one hell of a good story. his face still had that look of profound disbelief on it. a place where things previously only imagined might actually have to happen. The cabbie was obviously itching to ask. I’m too horny to wait. hissing and snarling like two big cats: “Tonight I’m going to have him first. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to hold it together more than a couple of floors.“Say. and pulled my cash out. buddy…” “Yeah?” I glanced back.” By this point the cabbie was half-turned.” I shrugged and grinned. His cock is mine. The doorman. and their tongues down my throat alternately. my son. rearranged my pants [with some difficulty].” “You just shove a finger up inside you. but lashings of champagne and a lot of good laughter improved things immensely. as they’d threatened to all along. the laughter died off real quick. “How da fuck do you make that happen?” “Pray to all the right gods.” “I don’t care. honey. But then they began to paw at me. It was all I could do to keep my zipper up and my shirt buttoned as four hands. of course. and she knew it. as they each leaned in to kiss me. With an armful of woman on each side. Because now we were on seriously scary territory. pulling me back and forth between them. almost sisterly. I sure as hell hoped I was up for all this… As we were coming back from the restaurant they started in. leaving me to deal with the money. but Marie’d prepared well and looked delicious.” “No. longer. hell. Fortunately my notes and presents went over well and elicited. operated by two slightly drunk and very giggly women. Their drink-slurred mouths were saying the same outrageous things they had in the cab. not sure if he was seeing what he thought he was seeing. the clerk at the front desk. those wet and shining glances that speak of fervent emotions to be expressed later. I could see the cabbie glancing in the rearview mirror. and wetter. I got out. her hair shining silver against her creamy skin and dark eyes. The grinning women slid out. even the young bellhop didn’t fare any better. too. I am. Pandora was as pretty as Marie had described. staring over the seatback. their dark eyes 111 . The jovial mood held all the way up in the elevator. initially. groped me unmercifully. Once we were in the room. first softly. then as the competition seemed to set them off the kisses became warmer. Fortunately. in both of them. It seemed innocent at first. Her voluptuous figure and mass of black hair were exotic and exciting. I hadn’t blushed like that in years. You got to fuck him first last time. before he crashed the cab. When he leaned out the window. as my two dates were shameless as we tacked across the marble lobby toward the elevators. we made it to the hotel. only louder. totally incredulous.Transit of Venus Prometheus Dinner was odd. “Two of ‘em…” He shook his head. but I’d paid the fare and started to walk away before he got up the courage.” The cabbie was still shaking his head when he drove off down the street.
Prometheus widened as we negotiated the bedroom. Safely past, I was told to handle the drink and music department, while they disappeared toward the bathroom. [Getting there, of course, required having to pass the bed again. I was reminded of the poetic phrase oft-quoted by my friend Billy: “Oh, no, not there— in that room lives the dreaded pole goblin…”] When Marie came out alone, I was concerned. But a little smile on her sweet face said that whatever was happening, it was okay. Given that her face was flushed and she only had on her bra and panties, I wondered exactly what had happened. But I wasn’t able to ask before she came up and gave me a hug and a kiss. Backing away when I began to touch other things, though, she shook her head. “I think she’s just a little shy right now…” I looked down at her. “Shy like you?” “No, you ass.” She grinned. “Shy like you.” “So what does she want to do?” “More like, what does she want you to do…” I sighed. I’m no good at these games. “Okay, what does she want me to do?” “She wants you to go in there and make her feel comfortable.” “Okay.” This was dangerous ground. “And what might that be?” She shook her head. “You’re right.” She smiled. “You are always slower than the other children.” She pushed me toward the bedroom. “Just do what you’d do if it was me in there, waiting for you.” I paused in the doorway, whispering over my shoulder. “If it was you in there, I’d take your clothes off and fuck you silly.” She nodded. “So, do it, silly.” With a big inhale, I went in. No man ever entered a dark room, expecting to find a wild animal waiting for him, with more trepidation than I did just then. But if it was just a woman in pretty lingerie and a big smile, how dangerous could it be? Plenty, I figured, what with the bra and panties just crying out Victoria’s Secret and her smile signifying a long and complicated night ahead. “Hey, there, big fella. Come here often?” I had to laugh. “How long have you been waiting to use that line?” “Ever since I saw my first Western movie.” Pandora held out her arms. “Want to come give me a kiss?” No less than I wanted to live to see daylight, but I figured cool was the way to play this one. “Absolutely.” I sat down on the edge of the bed. “Just as soon as I get some of these clothes off.” “Oh, let me.” She stepped forward, her breasts in their black lace cups dangerously close to my face. “You looked so nice tonight in your tweed jacket, particularly over this sexy tuxedo shirt.” Her fingers slid the Irish bespoke jacket off, her hands brushing my body, and flipped it onto the straightback chair across the room. “But I’m not sure if I can get this pin off without hurting you.” Once she’d leaned down, a wave of raven hair sliding across my face, her lips only inches from mine, she could’ve ripped it right off as far as I was concerned. But I hit the little lock with trembling fingers and got the exquisite gold dragon off my neck without puncturing anything. Her fingers snicked open the buttons on my shirt as 112
Transit of Venus fast as if they were snaps, and she peeled it off me like a whiter, stiffer skin. “My god, you are hairy, aren’t you?” I wasn’t sure if that was a compliment until her mouth came down on me, sliding from my neck through the mass of hair on my chest and onto my belly. Her fingers followed, tracing my outline, until they joined her face at my trousers. There they performed the same magic trick they had with my shirt, and then I was far more naked than she, with my cock pointing in the air. She leaned in, her hair falling against my thighs, her breath hot against me. “Oh, she was right.” The fingers of one hand curled around me. “It’s so…” Just fast enough, my hand slid into the thick hair at the nape of her neck and pressed her mouth onto me. I flinched involuntarily at the exquisite warmth, then bent over to whisper into the mass of dark hair in my lap. “Out of your mouth that’s a very sweet lie. I’d thank you for it, but I’d rather you used those lips for better things.” As a gentle moan escaped her, she opened her mouth wide and slid me deep inside. I shuddered, fingers tightening in her hair, and I slid my other hand down between us, cupping her breasts in my palm. Without taking her mouth off me she reached back, undoing the snaps of her lacy brassière. It followed, unerringly, the trajectory of my jacket onto the chair. If she was only a foot or so taller, she’d have had a hell of a career in the NBA… I gasped when she whipped her mouth off me, staring stupidly down into the wide grin on her face. As she sat up she leaned forward, pressing her soft breasts around my throbbing cock with her hands. She winked and slid towards me, pressing me back onto the bed. First her lips, then her breasts snaked up my body, across my belly and chest and face. When her delicious tits made it to my mouth, she stopped and let me enjoy them for just a moment. Then, rolling off me, she lay back, her arms stretched out over her head, her erect nipples riding high above the swell of her breasts. That wicked grin was back, gleaming at me from behind a swath of her dark hair. “Think you can get my panties off?” I could’ve gotten her black lacy bit of nothing off if I was blind drunk and had my hands tied behind my back, so this way figured to be easy. She arched her hips up, which helped, and kept her feet together long enough for me to slide them off. Then she parted her legs and locked her ankles behind my back, her smooth calves under my arms, pulling me up onto her. When I came even with her, I noticed she held something in her outstretched arms. Purple and soft, it was a length of climbing webbing I’d hidden under the pillows. “What’cha got there?” Her chuckle was low and throaty. “Marie told me this was under there.” “Unh huh.” I nuzzled into the soft flesh of her neck. “What’cha wanna do with it?” As I’m a much better ‘s’ than ‘m’, she came up with the right answer. “I want you to tie me up with it.” “Really?” My mouth slid slightly south, onto her taut nipples. “Whatever for?”
Prometheus She groaned, panting slightly. “Because…” She wriggled as my teeth made short work of her flesh. “Because I’m sure I’m being a bad girl, coming into your bed like this.” “Well, in that case…” I sat up, flashing an evil smile of my own. My hands slid up her arms, pinning her wrists to the bed. Her eyes widened and she licked her lips, and I knew this was going to be alright. Moving like lightning, I had another hidden toy in my hand and her wrists crossed before she could flinch. “But you don’t get the nice purple webbing.” “No?” The disappointment was a blur on her face. “Oh, no, that’s only for girls who’ve been very, very good.” I slid the narrow black velcro around her wrists and tugged it tight. “You get the strap the bad girls get.” Just then Marie’s warm body pressed against my back, hands sliding around my body, one across my chest and the other dropping to cradle my cock. “Is this a private party, or can anyone join in?” I dropped my head back to rub against her face. “Perfect timing, my love. I was just about to need a helping hand.” Her fingers tightened on my cock. “I love to help…” “Great.” Arching away from her ministrations, I slid an arm around her and pulled her beside me. “But I need your help someplace else right now.” Her sweet smile flashed up at me, and she pulled my face down for a long wet kiss. When she stopped, we were both breathing harder. “You tell me where, I’ll be there.” I indicated Pandora’s open mouth, her own breath coming faster now. “Go sit up there, and you can hold her legs while I arrange things.” She clambered onto the bed and kneewalked awkwardly across the rumpled covers to squat behind Pandora’s head, after carefully sweeping her ebony mane aside. “Like this?” “No, darlin’.” I reached across Pandora’s body and slid my hand up between her spread legs, slipping two fingers gently inside her. Marie gasped, her eyes closing; Pandora gasped, her eyes opening wider. Tugging, I pulled her until my fingers brushed Pandora’s nose. Pulling her down, I slid my fingers out, their wet tips dragging across Pandora’s lips. “Like that.” Marie balanced uncertainly on Pandora’s face, not wanting to move in any direction for fear of touching her. I struggled to contain a grin, trying not to show all of my evil lust over their delicate situation. “What…” Marie shrugged. “What now?” Reaching down with my free hand, I grasped one of Pandora’s slim ankles. “Now you hold this for me.” Raising her leg high, I handed the ankle to Marie. With Pandora now awkwardly spreadeagle, I cocked my head, carefully eying the dark triangle between Marie’s thighs. “Is her tongue inside you?” “Oh, no…” Marie shook her head violently from side to side. I shook mine, more slowly and vehemently. “Well, it better be, and soon.” The edge of my hand slid down the inside of Pandora’s taut thigh, three of my stiff fingers dropping suddenly into the soft opening of her cunt. “If she knows what’s good for her, that is.” Marie arched up, just a 114
and she rubbed the tip of my cock around and around the pulsing wetness of Pandora’s exposed center. but my fingers showed her the rotating motion I wanted. I stared back. Arching up.” Her anthracite eyes bored into mine. I could let go. A huge shudder ran through her body right then. mostly because I couldn’t help it. at the precise moment I saw the pink flash of Pandora’s tongue swipe across her cunt. As Marie reached my side. Then I felt her body soften. I slid one hand down Marie’s front. She went stiff in my hands. She began to slide me toward Pandora’s cunt. “I don’t know…” My fingers tightened in both places. “But only if you’re willing. “It… ah… feels very strange. I smiled and she smiled back. but Marie was into playing the game now. a heady mixture of ecstasy and anger making them flash. Lips moving. she pressed them both tight to her heaving breasts. “It… feels… very… ah…” Her head dropped back. my answer equally without words: Because it gives me pleasure… I knew I had her there. “I want you to prepare her for me. and everything else be damned. my love. very much. turning her face away from me. as could Marie. Pulling her close to me. Pandora tried to capture it. burying my curled fingers in her sopping cunt. she silently mouthed a plea: Why are you doing this? My smile slid away.” I slid my tongue as far as I could down her throat. I let my smile creep across my face. her fingers were warm as she grasped me firmly. clipping her erect clit with the tips of my fingers. as a ripple of pleasure ran across her belly. burying my fingers in her hair. Popping the velcro loose. and the other up her back. but it didn’t seem to matter. With her legs enclosed in her own grasp.Transit of Venus bit. When Marie opened her eyes again. I called Marie away from her flickering tongue. don’t you?” “Oh. reaching out her other hand. just for a second. whether it was from the impact of Pandora’s mouth or mine. “I… don’t… know…” Her body shuddered slightly. now isn’t it?” Marie’s voice was staccato between huge gulps of air. because those had been her marching orders to me just before Pandora arrived. With a bent finger. they had that look in them. and she squirmed her bottom toward me. and I rubbed my palm gently across her warm mound of Venus. and she slid her lips to mine. When I handed her Pandora’s loose ankle. I held out my cock for her. “You want this. I quickly slid Pandora’s arms around the outside of her knees and just as quickly reapplied the tie to her nowparallel arms. “I want you to prepare her ass for my cock. she seemed to climb off Pandora’s mouth ever-so-slightly reluctantly. and scored perfect ‘keep-away’ with my cock. I wasn’t sure.” 115 . “That’s better. Pandora was breathing deeply now. her kiss warm and delicate. the one where she was going to take pleasure.” That stopped the ‘keep-away’ game cold. A gentle spasm in her belly muscles showed her rising desire. I whispered in her ear. no matter what form it took.” Marie looked puzzled.
her eyes twinkling. exploring her depths like a blind man in an unfamiliar room.” I’m not sure what she would’ve said when she caught her breath. Dropping flat on the bed. setting a hard and fast pace for what had become our fucking of Pandora. Her arms around me. gently. she shook her head gently. no…” Pandora shook her head from side to side. “Oh my god…” After that. When she dragged the jelly double-dong out. when Marie burrowed her tongue in deeper. but Marie knelt beside her. Marie lifted her mouth off Pandora’s pulsing bottom. Marie’s rapt gaze followed the blunt tip as it pressed against the slick and pink opening. she pressed her face against Pandora’s quivering ass. she took a deep breath. I reached forward and shook her trapped wrists.” My chin indicated the dresser. Her hands on my hips. I flinched. Then. “Boy. I was well aware of the odd and exquisite sensations Pandora was feeling. as she pulled against the bonds holding her arms. her lips pressing softly against my belly. With a long drawn-out sigh. “Oh. but she was gone. but her tongue bathed me gently. her fist tight around my cock. only strangled noises came from Pandora’s open mouth. however. Sliding forward slightly. are you going to owe me big time…” I had my mouth open to answer. there was much more of that to come than Marie knew. its length and diameter flopping obscenely on either side of her fist. “The big one. her breath coming in sharp bursts. much less the struggle of a woman torn between the equal terrors of flight and orgasm. One hand reaching out blindly. I had to grin. But my strap would contain the thrashing of a Siberian tiger. “As if you had a choice. stroking her cheek with a delicate hand. “It’s 116 . her moans quick and short and pleading. She stopped yanking at the velcro. but her voice rose an octave or two when I hit bottom. but Marie was having none of that. her mouth centered over Pandora’s bottom. Pandora never quite screamed. forcing my cock into Pandora like an iron wedge into green wood. and began spasming. “I can’t take that thing…” I laughed. we both heard Pandora inhale. Widening in stages. Marie pulled and pushed at me. leaning in. Pandora let me into her body. Marie whispered into my ear: “What about her cunt?” I nuzzled her with my cheek.Prometheus A smile flickering across her lips. waiting for deep teeth marks at least. she slid around behind me. savoring the hot tight feel of her. as low and wicked as I could. “I was saving that for you. my balls rising involuntarily. she pulled me out and patted my cock with her fingertips.” As she came back. I would’ve entered her slowly. Having been the recipient of her tongue-lashing in that delicate spot. Levering herself up off the bed. I could hear the tiny zipper slide open and her inhale sharply.” “How…” Her voice trailed off. she dragged me closer. “Go get the toy bag. When I began twitching. pressing those taut cheeks apart with the palms of her hands. her face pressed against my neck. she brusquely pulled my cock around to meet her open mouth.
Dropping her head back against my chest. We all moaned together. I didn’t give her a chance to make room for the dildo inside her before I reached down and opened her cheeks. “Are you really ready?” “Oh. darling. in the end. disappeared into her. and lifted her bottom off her heels. dropping her weight onto the jelly cock. that this was going in a much different direction than she’d anticipated. Marie slid the dildo out. With a whoop. she ran the long dildo into Pandora’s cunt as if forcefeeding her some immense salami. her thighs coming to rest against Pandora’s. “It’s just that it’s your turn. please…” Slumping forward. Marie came out the reverie she’d been working under. When she had it timed to Pandora’s breathing. Marie nodded seriously.” She didn’t understand. When the big dong was at its inwardmost. running my hands down to her wrists. down her thighs. I was impressed. I grabbed her hands and stopped her. ramming it as far as I could get up her ass. “You better help. no matter how hard she tried. and set her gently down on its end. splitting open her tender part. love. “He’s just kidding. down under her. made her arch off the bed. She arched her back. yes. “But I’ll be damned if I will…” Pushing me back with a sharp elbow. why wait? I slammed my cock forward. pressing it into Pandora’s cunt. as she slicked up the near end of the dildo and engaged the opening of her own cunt. now. to be forgiven. Her slipperiness came in handy now. He’d let you go in an instant. but I yanked my hands off her bottom. and slick dong passed between her fingers and into Pandora’s cunt. faster breathing.” Resigned. inching the big thing inside. Shaking her head. “I’m ready…” I wasn’t sure if she could take it. that motion transferred to the dildo. pulling her slippery hands away. then back in again. “Take it…” Her eyes flashed as the center of the long. slithering backward gently so as not to break 117 . with a very interesting look on her face. “Fuck me there. “It’s okay. fat. through Marie’s fingers. It forced open the ruby swollen lips. Faster dildo. Her hands were so slippery that they couldn’t get a grip on me. Pretty soon we’d found the right rhythm. I hoped. you can take it…” With Pandora shuddering under the assault on her cunt. I slid her forward. me wet and hard and her wet and soft. though. she slid down its length. That move pushed her forward.Transit of Venus okay…” She looked tenderly down into Pandora’s startled eyes. she nodded. perhaps I let it go on a little long.” Pandora sighed. Marie sighed heavily and reached down between her thighs. pressing herself against me. she sped up the action. not until my hands slid down her arms. Distracted by the sight of it sliding through her lips. then Marie’s evil laugh startled us both. I grazed the outside of Marie’s arms. if you want it to go where it’ll do you good. now. “Oh. slowly. Ignoring her protestations. I think.” I smiled.” With an invitation like that. Marie pushed her ass toward my stiff cock. faster breathing. Using both hands. if you asked him nicely. the blind end of the dong grazing her parted thighs. Marie watched my cock pop out of Pandora’s ass. Reaching out. faster in and out of her cunt.
I thrust a final few frenzied times into Marie’s sweet bottom. hell…” I chuckled. then slamming forward. slow kisses between three faces. one argent and one sable. then Marie fell softly into her arms. Keeping as much of my weight off as I could. “If that’s the case. That told me where I should be going. does that mean this is hell?” “I don’t know.” The sucking one laughed.Prometheus contact. What was unusual was the sensation of a wet warm mouth. but when their mouths met.” Sitting up. one to each wet cunt.” They squealed when my fingers found the toys they wore: a little butt plug for the argent and a big ribbed vibrator for the sable. She smiled. then arched my back. I knew I wasn’t going to last long in that hot tight space. even if it meant they stopped what they were doing so well. one sucking and one licking this time. “I thought I’d died and this was heaven. I found their cries rising rapidly in volume and intensity. …I seem to remember long. the tub a mass of sudsy limbs. in over thirty years since the problem got started. When I thought they were both past the point of caring. then I don’t want to go there. “So. and four hands on my body. no. nestled gently over my middle. I lost all control and flopped back onto the bed. I reached out and peeled the velcro off Pandora’s bound wrists.” The licking mouth stopped. When I woke up. “We were wondering when you’d wake up. slick as ball bearings in butter. I eyed the sight of two heads. finding their clits with my fingertips. coming inside her like a firehose. I shook my head.” “I’m not sure you get service like this in heaven. It was a vision to remember. …I seem to remember more champagne. I’ve had many mornings like that. so I ran my hands down both their bellies. good morning!” Their harmonious greeting was a treat. “Let’s see how hot things are down here. I was wrong. That wasn’t unusual. …I seem to remember a bath. with the two of them laughing as we all wrestled for the soap. Pandora’s hands slid apart and her legs lowered. then we’ll know. and my thumbs rubbing their 118 . Her bonds gone. but it was up to me to get us all there. Raising my head off the pillow. I was hard as a rock. when I struggled up on one elbow.” “Wake up. my hands slid between their legs. fortunately they quickly went back to work. The licking one stopped long enough to tickle the hair on my stomach. tongue to tongue. The soft cries of both women were delicate chimes in my ears. whacking belly against buttocks and thigh against thigh. “Oh. With my palms cupping their sopping mons. I discovered it belonged to the dark-haired one. Rotating them gently. two warm mouths riding up and down on my cock. with them touching me and me touching them everywhere. at the tip. …I seem to remember falling asleep.
“If this isn’t heaven. 119 . I think Pandora was just as astonished to see Marie descending. difficult against the suction of her mouth. from where I sit…” I had to shudder when their open mouths fought for control of the end. helpless. I could hear Pandora’s moans. She seemed hesitant to leave the show until she saw what I was holding out for her. But I was probably the most astonished of the three. the dong slid out slowly but inexorably. Pandora dropped her head back. the devil’s got a hell of a lot of explaining to do about the bad reputation he’s picked up along the way. so cunt dropped down onto mouth and mouth onto cunt with very little last minute adjustment. so maybe it was better this way. and was able to take it all. she got the ride. clinging to the slick cunt lips. I lifted her up and swiveled around with her.” They both dissolved into giggles. While they were laughing. Quickly laying the toy aside. swapped end for end. ribs flicking at the pink entrance as it came. talking was an effort of will. the other hand pressing the wide ribs of the vibrator further into her cunt. electricity pulsing through my body as their tongues flicked at me. and then she smiled and licked her lips. I watched their mouths sliding along my cock. I only allowed myself a dozen or so strokes into Pandora before I moved on. right down to the root. and I wasn’t about to waste a minute of it. Stroking Marie’s cheek. because they started right in. astonished. onto her. I pulled Marie’s face up away from Pandora’s body. sliding one arm under her shoulders and the other between her legs. “I’d have to say. I enjoyed that for awhile. deep into her throat. She’d gotten oh so much better since I’d met her. With a solemn expression on her face. hell no. the baseball strike. fingers marking their place on my dripping cock. but it’d probably give me a fucking heart attack if I could. Marie had an arm curled around Pandora’s waist. As I crouched down to watch. please…” I guess she could read a raised eyebrow even upside down. but I knew I had a long way to go before this was over. Marie pulled at the massive vibrator. and I had to quickly think of baseball. as warm and wet as fresh apple pie. and she devoured it. mouths and fingers and tongues. but I’d eyeballed the whole thing pretty good. I gave her my cock. Sinking my hand into the hair at the nape of her neck. and it dropped down against the triangle of hair between Pandora’s upraised legs. curled against my chest. Marie grabbed my cock.Transit of Venus warm clits. her face wet with Marie. between Marie’s legs. lashing at each other’s clits like they’d been starving for them. this was better than I’d ever dared hope. pressed for time. me too. heads dropping to the sheets. one finger probing at her ass. When I finally got up on my knees. and felt Marie shudder in response. in order not to come. so I dragged it out. smiling at me upside down. “Oh. Since Marie was the smaller and lighter. Way past in-my-dreams and well into beyond-my-wildest-fantasies. then pressing her face down into the space I’d just vacated. It slipped inside. I figured it was high time to move things along. pulling it to Pandora’s waiting cunt. It seemed too bad that I couldn’t see what was happening at both ends at the same time. I crawled down the bed and off the end. Inching forward on my knees.
But. I adjusted her to me and me to her. after Marie and I stood in the door of the hotel [beside a stunned doorman] and waved a long and slightly tearful goodbye to Pandora. She moaned. how could I resist an invitation like that? Resting the back of her head in my palm. With the massive vibrator back in Pandora’s cunt. if anyone had cared to measure. after we finally got the door closed behind us. and then leaned in. perhaps a goodly mouthful. come…” Her eyes half-closed and a spasm of lust ran across her lips. Well. After a delicious breakfast. but before it hit the tile a second time. Below me Pandora nuzzled into Marie’s cunt. that big white grin I love so much back on her face. her mouth finding Marie’s cunt again. come in my ass now…” So I did. even the baseball strike proved worthless. half of my cock was jammed up Marie’s ass. hands a blur. like the song says. collapsing like that. making a delicate little pop as it broke suction just at the end. and patted the tip with her fingers.” Hey. with buzzards circling overhead. Marie winked at me. my long-deferred orgasm receded just enough for me to see what was happening at Marie’s other end: she’d found another toy. but they seemed to hold up okay. ya gotta leave the dance with what brung ya.Prometheus because she licked her lips. too. with more than a little struggle. with slickened parts falling about the place and various toys getting underfoot. Pandora even had the presence of mind to cup my balls with one warm palm. and I was reduced to mentally changing a tire. and had slipped it into Pandora’s ass. to keep from spraying everything I had into her throat. it started all over again… 120 . This kept Pandora’s neck from breaking and gave me a place to kneel. Now that I knew it didn’t matter when it happened. Quarts. for which I was grateful. that was definitely the closest I’d gotten to coming. When she started sucking on me. Both her hands instantly wrapped around my ass. with lots of quiet giggles and sighs thrown in for good measure. the long narrow one. “I want to suck you. she was whipping toys in and out of their respective orifices. shoving my cock to the back of her mouth. I’m surprised I didn’t crush both of them. in the desert. how I did. as a mere man. “Oh. and fed her just the tip of my cock. I think it bounced once on the bathroom floor. so I eased my wet cock. out from between her ravening lips. mouth forming a soft moue of desire. pulling me tight against her face. not a bad shot without looking. Sorting things out after that was a bit awkward. Oh. and so a long session of careful and delicate cleansing of cocks and cunts and toys and asses ensued. after a lot of three-way kissing in the lobby. “Oh. pushing the whole pile of womanflesh further onto the bed. Turning her head back at almost an Exorcist angle. I pulled the little plug from her clenching ass with my fingers. I should think. her moans now almost continuous. But the hotel had lovely soft towels and lots of soapy hot water. after we came back up in the elevator. I held her head back in place. Peeling Marie’s cheeks apart with my thumbs.
the noble one. the information. and he included his address. The day had started well. It was not a famous name. The prize awarded. there at the bar they all went to on those rare days when it rained. at Harry’s Bar… (for the story I sent them. where a man’s address should be. that Papa had sprayed across the room with a shotgun. not yet. this was to be a self-inflicted wound. clean character assassination. He missed it. at the bottom of the page. the heavybarreled Smith Corona. there in the City of the Angels. Judged. through the thing without cojones. the International Imitation Hemingway Competition. one day at the end of the rains. many drinks. So he wrote to Los Angeles. bold. and only they had it. the mail. No. at the dense. in Los Angeles. For he wasn’t writing a swift. or a sparkling fusillade of invective. for pleading was without manhood. where it rarely rained.Transit of Venus In Hemingway’s footsteps In the middle of the year he heard about the contest. that he booted the slick new machine. to old Harry. And not to his sterling entry. Done. And he asked them. It was a man’s thing. so that they might send the information to the right man. He decided he must enter the contest. the information about the contest. there in the Bar. And they sent him the information and he wrote the story and sent it to them. there. without pleading. one lonely day in Idaho. rotten smell of self-pity rising from the page like the night mists off the Venetian marshes. And he gave them his name. It was not a great name. the grand false manhood. see Across the slope and into the trees on page 125) So it was with the great sadness. 121 . that contest. there on the porch. like Spring and the bulls in Pamplona. buried in the back columns like the mines that Victor Charlie left buried in the damp trails for him to find. until he had read the paper. Then it would be famous. and then he would enter the contest. harshly as a barking dog. but they would send him the information. and celebrate his winning of the contest. He asked them to send it to him. And then he would have a drink. for the information he knew they had. There. He laughed once. Finished. for what he had to do now. without cojones. in the intermittent sunshine. for he knew the only lion he would bring down today in the tall literary grass would be himself. combed and polished and lacquered like some prize bitch trying for a blue ribbon. to prove he had the manhood. with its case scratched and battered from his time in the trenches of the written word. He needed it. there was the awful truth: the International Imitation Hemingway Competition. the old one. but it was the only name he had. this name. the automatic one he had bought after the old one had died the good death. It would have been the right one.
of the Keys. No. and he was not going to linger over a dinner for two at Harry’s Bar and American Grill. The winning piece did have the ring of Papa. and it was about a bartender. and the fish. and the river. But he did not write of drunks. and the houseboats. as he had intended. and he could never again enter it to prove he had the manhood. and the heavy drinking. The worst was the winner. but it was a distant ring. a Harvard man. the winning. he decided on the only honorable thing left for him to do: throw himself on the keys of his rapid-fire machine. And when he read farther and found that they had stopped it. Not Papa’s Florida. and the open water. (for the story I wrote in response. and wrote about them with respect.Vìcolo cièco That was not the worst. Though Papa had always respected bartenders. true. a drunk. he was from North Fort Myers. his losing. So it had not been his. see Rain in the City of Angels on page 127) 122 . the grand false manhood. and from Florida. the contest.
He supposed he had better go and limped to the car. The dark ones are the best. hard and grey as steel in the winter sunlight. though they had said he would never walk again when they brought him down on the stretcher. far from the mountains. down the good roads from Melones to Mariposa and across the hill country to the South. thinking only of her and how she would look. It was still Winter in the mountains. still strong and hard but broken from the mountains. But here. where sound of the waves is drowned out by the shrill sound of the skate wheels.Transit of Venus Across the slope and into the trees The young captain stopped the car at the crest of the hill. long after the last run of the day. cold wicked wind from the sea. for beating the Germans. 123 . Soon he would pull open the doors of Harry’s Bar and she would be inside and he would have made it home again. The captain felt dizzy from the medicines and the wind and he leaned against the car to take the weight off his leg. the thin shining line of the sea. farther off. He had come back. She had been waiting there a long time for him to come back. dark and tall and damned beautiful. He started the big engine and drove off toward the lights of the city. He got out of the car favoring his injured leg. it felt almost like Spring. the blond ones are no good to sleep with. She would be waiting there for him. He had met her there. with the snow and the mud and with the mucking rocks. a strong cold wind from the sea. at Harry’s. hard and true. his skis vibrating in the shining rack in the strong. the bar they all went to on those rare days when it rained. which hurt him still. and he would kiss her and feel her soft breasts against his body. He hurt today. though he had hardly felt the pain when they had given him the medals. He hobbled into the phone booth out of the wind. the evil hidden rocks that had smashed his leg. a clattering handful of medals. bright now in the failing light. They thought he might find her at the bar. She had come striding into the room. there in the cold wind by the sea. and how they would hold each other and kiss each other. waiting at the edge of the water. and they said that she was not at home. lying in the snow and the rocks. and he could smell Venice and the filth in the canals. The patrol had found him there. actually. before he had driven down from Mount Reba. blue and shivering. He called. but he still looked at the city and at the sea. he thought. In the distance he could see the bright jumble of the city and. there in the City of the Angels. He could smell it on the wind. That had been yesterday. just where the coast road met the main highway again.
Across the slope and into the trees 124 .
It was still Winter there. He had met her there. up in the snow and the mud and the rocks. one lonely day in Idaho. the old one.Transit of Venus Rain in the City of Angels Late in the year he heard about the contest. hard and true. It was a man’s thing. He decided to enter the contest. there in the cold wind off the sea. a story combed and polished and lacquered like some prize bitch up for a blue ribbon. and then he would have a drink. in Los Angeles. In the distance was the gleaming jumble of the city and. He thought of her and how she would look. the noble one. when she had come striding into the room. But here. the contest. its case scratched and battered from his time in the writer’s trenches. Today he had driven down the good roads from the mountains and across the hills to the South. He sat in the car. he started the big engine and drove off toward the lights of the city. He could smell it on the wind. clean fusillade of words. he would win the contest. even on those rare days when it rained. and he could smell Venice and the canals. for the story he needed to write today. He missed it. just where the road met the main highway again. far from the mountains. where it rarely rained. and celebrate there in the Bar. and how they would kiss each other. the thin shining line of the sea. farther off. They said he might find her at the Bar. Then he would be famous. He stopped the heavy car at the crest of the hill. bright now in the failing afternoon. the black automatic he had bought after the old one had died the good death. actually. to prove he had the manhood. that Papa destroyed with a shotgun. He called on the cellular and they said she was not at home. many drinks. at the Bar where he always went. She would be waiting there for him. the heavy-barreled Smith Corona. waiting at the edge of the water. Soon he would pull open the doors of Harry’s Bar & American Grill and she would be inside and he would have made it home again. out of the strong wind. and he would hold her tight and feel her soft breasts against his strong body. with cojones. the grand false manhood. dark and tall and damned beautiful. 125 . Finishing the story. there in the City of the Angels. it felt like Spring. a story of the Keys and the open water and the big fish. like Spring and the bulls in Pamplona. With luck. She had been waiting there for him to come back. It would have been the right one. and too cold to write. a story offered up to Papa’s ghost. the strong wind from the sea. where the sound of the waves is drowned by the shrill skate wheels. and booted the slick new machine. stalked like a lion in the tall literary grass and brought down with a swift.
Last rites 126 .
Transit of Venus Last rites The room was black except for the glow coming through the small barred window in the door. It is soon over. tears forming in the corners.” Tears ran down his cheeks as he huddled farther back on the thin mattress of the cot. Father?” “No. “Will it hurt. lowering his head until he could see nothing but his feet. It’s time. and then you are in the hands of God. They stopped outside the door and he heard the rasp of the lock. The light was blinding after the darkness of the small room. the stern men. The priest came up close behind him and put his thick-fingered hand on the young man’s shoulder. he stood and walked to the door. “I’m afraid… So afraid. When the door swung open the flash from the hall forced his eyes closed. I can’t face it. After a moment a silhouette blocked the light and. and he squinted again.” Sniffling to hold back his tears. Acid clawed its way up his throat and he could barely speak. squinting. The procession. I don’t want to go. “Father. “Come.” He looked up. “Look up. my son. He saw the weeping women. but you made your commitment to this hour a long time ago. but he could hear the footsteps coming down the hall. my son. as the radiant dream in white turned and hesitantly smiled. he could just make out the silver crucifix on the chest and the white patch at the neck of the man in the door. I’m told. Father.” The priest sighed. Seated on the narrow bunk against the far wall. taking him closer to the end. my son. he couldn’t see out. “Please.” His voice caught in his throat. Behind him. Come. swinging forward and back.” he choked. The echo of their steps ran down behind them and stopped. all too soon. Look up and face it like a man. “I can understand your fears. he could hear the soft clicking of beads as the priest began to mumble. 127 . the two attendants behind the priest merely dark blurs. The door in front of him opened and he watched its lower edge swing past his feet and stop against the wall. my son. and he stepped forward into the hall. reached the end of the hallway. He turned and walked slowly down the hall. The priest cleared his throat. You must face your responsibility now. And. it’s quite painless. The priest moved away. the organ began to play. it’s time.
The White Knight problem 128 .
“Alright. Lenny didn’t laugh. you’re so smart… Rook to Queen’s Seven. going by the rulebook. “Besides. and his stomach was in bad shape. The headlines were still an inch high in the Post. I got a cousin’ll do it for you cheap. homicide detective. shaking his head to clear it. over the years.” Pete rarely won in mental chess. asshole. that was a different precinct. One hand picked up the receiver and tucked it under his ear while the other hit SAVE. Wanna come take a look?” On the bus up to 94th street. late last year. What’s happening? You guys lose another one?” “Really funny. hung on the cyclone fencing like a side of beef. He could still see that girl’s body. Lenny remembered the other times he’d ‘taken a look’ for Pete.” Pete’s tongue clicked. He’d heard all Pete’s jokes before. Most of the cases were solved by traditional police work. and of those a majority by the time-honored system of informants. Lenny wondered how much help he’d really been to Pete. “You stand to take a break?” “Sure.Transit of Venus The White Knight problem The telephone rang twice before Lenny. 129 . Little green men doing the bad thing on innocent civilians. He played chess with Lenny two nights a week.” “You got bugs. the compiler’d been spitting up error messages all morning. “I can see the front page now: ‘New York’s Finest Says: It Was Dem. Pete.” “Okay. and offering opinions only to him as well. Still others remained a mystery to everyone but the victim and the criminal. Definitely the ugliest Pete’d ever called him in on. Not Us!’ You’ll sell a lot of papers in the subway. call an exterminator. I’ve been chasing bugs around this program for days. “Schwartz here. Pete. Lenny hoped this one was neater… He’d had the flu for over a week now. That was nothing unusual. They still hadn’t found the creep who’d done it.” There’d been a murder the week before. Pete occasionally used him as his ‘fresh eye’. The program wasn’t going well. NYPD. “Good move. But they’d always limited his involvement to asking questions of Pete.” “How’zit hanging. No telling when the building’s rotten wiring might crash his system. Lenny?” The gravel voice of Peter Howard.” “I try. There’d been that rape case in the parking garage. long before he’d come to any conclusions. until the victim’s body had disappeared from the apartment during the investigation.” Howard’s laugh came filtered through years of bourbon and Lucky Strikes. The guys downtown say we got flying saucers up here. “Damn. What’ve you got?” “A real Sherlock Holmes number. They’d been friends for a lot of years. Lenny supposed. but only on cases a little out of the ordinary.” Lenny laughed. never other officers or civilians. wiseass. what they did would be frowned on by the department. The captain don’t think it’s so funny. okay… You wanna hear about this or not?” “Sure. realized it had rung at all.
Pete was wearing his usual jeans and an old leather jacket. outta this wind. but Pete still looked both ways before carefully peeling back the ‘CRIME SCENE— DO NOT ENTER’ sticker pasted across the crack in the door. Lenny dug quickly in his pocket for a tattered handkerchief. and they rode it to the eighth floor. The hall was empty. He could see a few books. Can’t seem to kick it. figuring it out. a rare blessing.” Lenny shrugged. kid. “Find any glass embedded in the face?” 130 . eh?” Pete rolled his eyes. the heavies from Homicide. “And end up patrolling toxic waste dumps on Staten Island for the rest of my life. Pete. The place is just up the street. you know. the print guys. None of ’em got any better idea what went down here than me. careful to stay away from the irregular pattern of white tape. feet skidding in the slush.” Pete nodded. The air inside was colder than in the hallway. No thanks. “Get a job checking the locks in some shopping mall out on the Island?” “Just tell them you forgot your cigarettes. Walking carefully across the street.” He pointed at the taped outline of a sprawled body on the faded Oriental carpet. The elevator worked. you stay out here. you jerk! Then what would I do. right between the eyes. They all been here. the lumpy arc of the head pointing at their feet.” He led the way through the door. hardly. the way the weather’s going. his bald spot protected against the cold by a navy watchcap. His sneeze was explosive. you look like a flasher in that goddamn thing. Someone’s sad end. Killed him instantly. so I’ve been working at home.” Pete snorted. Pete touched his shoulder affectionately. What are they going to do?” “They could cancel my ticket.” Nodding.” “Let’s get inside. Had it for a week at least. he flinched as the passing cars threw it up from their spinning tires against his dirty raincoat. then closed it behind them. his bristly mustache rimed with ice. “I guess the cleanup squad has been and gone?” “Yeah. some worn furniture. Didn’t even bleed. After the bus pulled away in a rank cloud of exhaust. “There he was. And they all got squat. built in the ’20s when the East Side was filling up. you still sick?” “Yeah. Lenny waved. They practically refrigerate the computer room downtown. kid. They’d believe that. “Jeezus. Somethin’ broke his face.” Stepping sideways along the edge of the carpet. I still get the willies ever time I do this. “I might get over it by August. You’ll catch your death. right by the windows.The White Knight problem Waiting on the corner of 94th and Third. “Jeez. several cheap prints on the wall. “You’ve got over twenty years in. “Damn.” The apartment house was a typical stonefront ten-story.” Lenny looked through the open door at the nondescript apartment. the coroner says. Photo.” “Sure. “This is one of those mothers gonna keep you up nights. Lenny eyed the glass fragments that formed a ragged fan across the strip of wood flooring under the windows. “Which is nothin’. you know?” Lenny smiled.
The front door was locked when a friend of his came to take him to a Knicks game last night. Pete considered it a personal insult if the criminal didn’t leave enough clues to catch him. both.” “Yeah.” Lenny smiled. That’s what the suits downtown want it to be: a nice mob hit. Didn’t even hear the glass breaking. He worked for the wise guys. “We talked to both sets of neighbors. and they discovered the body. idiot. “Anything special about the victim?” Pete nodded. “Maybe. Lenny. “Shit.” “It’s cold out. Pete. the Mafia. I’m sorry. Helps me forget.” “Outside?” “It’s eight goddamn floors straight down to the street.” “The what?” “The wise guys. Tie it up.” Lenny frowned. too. “Any sign of the weapon or the perp?” “Listen to you!” Pete laughed. “My mouth…” “It’s okay.Transit of Venus “Couple pieces. I’m fresh outta ideas.” Pete pointed to a long rectangle of cardboard loosely fastened to the inside of the windows. “Two panes of glass are busted. and the guy across the hall. right beside each other. Anyway. He got the super to let him in.” He shrugged again. no killer. “Now. Nice and neat. on the floor. 131 .” Lenny smiled. You know.” Pete shook his head. The guy’d been dead a couple hours. “What kinda upbringing you have. any weapon?” Pete shrugged. as well as the people upstairs and downstairs. No weapon. “It’s nice you forget. maybe?” Lenny raised an eyebrow. throw it to the reporters. People close their windows and old buildings have thick walls. The hot bet down to the precinct is a helicopter. on the ledge.” “A soldier?” Lenny scanned the room in vain for any militaria. “But there’s no sign of it.” Pete sighed.” Pete frowned. Nothin’. Funny thing. this stiff wasn’t a soldier soldier. No fire escape on this side of the building. “Not that kinda soldier.” He edged around the end of the carpet. nothin’. though.” “Tell me somethin’ I don’t know. and outside. Me. “Right at head height. no unusual noises. no witnesses.” “Somebody waiting for him in the apartment. “Perp! Where’d you learn to talk like that? The movies?” “Very funny. No struggle.” “Ah. anyway.” Pete shook his head sadly. There’s glass on the inside.” Lenny measured the taped vacuum left by the victim. “We got nothin’. I learned it from you. Nobody reported any strangers. “He was a soldier. anyway?” Lenny just stared. your ass.” “Ah.
” Lenny stepped carefully into the splayed feet of the taped figure. Standing on his toes. Somebody’d in the building’d gotten a new refrigerator. rimmed in jagged glass. up close.” “Then he must have been looking at that roof when he died. glinted in a momentary ray of sunlight. but don’t say I didn’t tell you. but the wind was still enough that there were still kids playing ball down the end of the block. a snubnose . here I was beginning to think you was a detective. “You know. Of course there’s footprints. A zillion footprints. Can’t take a cast inna snow. that’s why I call you in on these things. and colder.” Pete smirked. Big letters ran off the torn edge of the patch: Kenmore. 132 . Could’a been kids playing. The killer was up there. but the crack of the bat against the ball brought him out of his observer’s trance.The White Knight problem “Me. Except there ain’t nothin’ on that rooftop. “Even we could figure that out. I’ll give you somethin’ to think about with your lunch: Pawn takes pawn. Maybe you’ll be smarter after you get some food in you. across the street.” “Footprints?” “It’s been snowing for a month. If we can figure out the weapon. “Whatever hit him is the key. he sighted over the smudged K at the empty rooftop across the street. Jeezus. now. we’ll know the killer. All bloody. we got here. close to the cardboard covering the windows. he couldn’t place it. I don’t buy it. Some transients. but it was wrong. Pete had gone back to his undercover. The ball fizzed the half block through the air and crashed into a row of garbage cans lining the curb near him. after the approximate time of death. Mob hits get done with a gun.” “A regular Sherlock Holmes. “You found him on his back?” “Yeah. Convicted a peeping tom with it last winter. It was just beginning to snow again. could’a been anybody. “I’ll see if the captain wants to spring for a ticket to Denver to get us some snow plaster.” Lenny shook his head.” He opened the door. “Denver PD.” His cocked finger poked behind his ear.” “Great. They’d arranged to meet later at the chess club.” It was an hour later.38 riding in a shoulder holster under his leather jacket. to tell me the obvious. We’re still checking ’em. anyway. trying to absorb the layout of the building. staring up at the broken windows. It was wrong somehow.” Pete snorted. “What’s the building?” “Residential hotel.” “Okay. and ten more this morning. Face up. “If it’s a hit. the angles and distances. They had six guys check out last night.” Lenny reached out and gently pried back the piece of cardboard. Lenny forced his mind blank. mostly salesmen.” “Brilliant. when Lenny stood across the street from the apartment house.” Lenny cocked a thumb at the window. it ain’t like any hit I ever seen.” Pete snorted. The twin holes. “Let’s go get somethin’ to eat. The kids began yelling for him to throw it back.
He shook his head. “Was it in New York. one of the older kids noticed the ragged line of blue numerals inside Lenny’s forearm. Give it back. Before he could pull it down.” “Found it. Lenny picked it up with his good arm and cocked it for the throw. A little kid with a runny nose swore on his mother’s grave that they’d found it in the gutter not a yard from where he stood. it’s always best to smile. mister. The rest of them nodded in agreement. that was weird. another a cousin on Ryker’s Island. The battered tennis balls or shredded softballs that found their way into street games never made a noise like that. I’ll pay you for it. “It reminds me of where I was born.” He watched the lizard eyes of the bigger kids blink: How much was this fool willing to pay? “I’ll pay good money. When he brought it down to eyelevel. It’s ours. so I keep the tattoo to remind me of them. “No. give it back. The story was hard enough to explain to adults. “Where you was born?” “Yeah. “Here? On the street?” “Maybe. Pulling aside one can. Lenny smiled at him. “If you found it on this block. “What’s that on yer arm.” After the haggling was over. I just asked you where you got it. So soon they forget. maybe. it had dented both of them before falling to the ground. Enough for everybody. with tattoos. New York teaches its lessons early. It was white.” The oldest and largest kid stood at the front of the pack. realizing what had been wrong. But numbers. not quite. Raised to shoulder height and dropped on the damp sidewalk. and hard. but it was much too small.” Lenny nodded. he felt lucky to get away for only twenty bucks. “Like summer camp. “Hey. this was beyond them. No stickball ever cracked off the bat. The others crowded in close. When surrounded by savages. mister. He froze. mister?” “A tattoo. his hand out.” Lenny smiled wider.” A camp where kids were born. “I didn’t say you stole it. alone you were vulnerable. mister?” Lenny closed his eyes and shuddered. or Jersey?” 133 . More like a prison. bewildered. no more.Transit of Venus The ball lay trapped between two cans. Alone. “We didn’t steal it. When Lenny extended his arm to pat the snot-nosed kid’s head. like a baseball. it grazed his fingers on the rebound. One had a brother in Attica. I never knew my parents. “Where’d you get the ball?” The answer came like a whip. mister. On the street you were safe in a group. “I was born in a kind of camp.” The kid looked up. Enough of their brothers had come back from the service. like a baseball. his jacket sleeve rode up. he realized that no stickball game’d ever seen a ball the likes of the one in his hand.” The kid’s face was hard and closed. Two thirds regulation size.” A tattoo they could understand. or from jail. What’s it to ya?” Lenny pulled his wallet halfway out of his jacket pocket.” That they understood. “Where?” Lenny pointed down the sidewalk. Even after its long flight. This was no ball he’d ever seen.
“What?” “A pelota. The kids on 94th Street had backed away from him slowly. “That’s it. he settled his shoulders inside his overcoat and started the long block to his apartment. probably nobody does. Their world was so small. Shrugging. A very old game. “What kind of ball is it?” “In my country.” “What is it used for?” “Ees called pelota. I have seen this boll. the woman heaved a sigh of relief. then edged away on the hard seat. He’d gotten off a stop too soon. Lenny cursed loudly as the bus doors closed.” Their little faces seemed to fade before his eyes. “Upstairs on three. For the jai-alai. their bodies shrinking to the stick figures in the striped uniforms that were his lost playmates. His eyes filled with bitter tears. either. si. and in the Connecticut.” Lenny’s forehead wrinkled.” He nodded. On the street. Lenny took his ball and went home. cluttered cubicle. stared for a moment. His wrinkled hands turned the ball over slowly several times. in the back. his face resting against the cold glass of the bus window. never. its counter and floor jammed with tools and tennis and squash rackets in various states of repair. Lenny was nearly to his stop.” The old man worked in a tiny.” He pointed toward the escalator. people who talk to themselves are dangerous. The Basques. If he doesn’t know.” Lenny was nearly back downtown before he stopped sniffling.” The old man nodded gravely. you avoided strangeness. the jai-alai. before he remembered. “Many times. then the aquarium eyes swam up to blink at Lenny. they play it. the jai-alai. “It was in Europe. Been with the store for years. but I never see a pelota in Nuevo York. “Where you find thees boll?” His voice was an accusation. taking the weight off his bad leg. obscured by night and fog.” The old man shook his head. “Milford. His white hair was an elegant mane over eyes staring myopically through glasses an inch thick. The salesman at Abercrombie’s hadn’t a clue what the ball might be. In a country called Germany. even more permanent mark on his soul. “It was a long time ago. just far enough to turn and run. Getting off at the corner. does racket restringing and repairs and stuff.The White Knight problem “No. “Thees no boll from Nuevo York. “They play in Florida. you know. When Lenny stood and pulled the signal cord. works in the tennis department. “There’s this guy.” He smiled grimly. 134 .” “You’ve seen one like this before?” Lenny perched precariously on the edge of the scarred workbench. old guy. Lenny knew the mark on his arm was only the visible portion of the deeper. so he walked as little as possible in the winter. His limp was always worse in the cold.” The fat woman next to him turned.” The old man refused payment. On the street. Old Spanish guy. Milford.
He punched in the number and waited. that’s it.” Pete shook his head. one guy. Call me when you’ve got him. Sherlock? Any brilliant conclusions?” “Just one. Lenny hung up. and he’ll have one distinguishing characteristic. “One arm will be visibly larger than the other.” Lenny held the receiver away from his ear until the noise died down. Lenny sat at their favorite table. what’s his name.Transit of Venus He called Pete from his favorite spot.” “Find anybody in that hotel across the street from Connecticut?” “Hang on a sec. the tub. “How’d you figure it out? There weren’t no clues. with what?” “Tell them to look for a dark-haired guy. Arregui. you want this guy or not?” Pete sighed. I think I’ve found your man. idiot. “Could be.” Lenny smiled. “The hitter’s got a fat arm?” “That’s it.” “That’s it?” Pete laughed.” “How ya doin’. head thrown back out of the steam rising off the roiled surface. he’d composed his face. by dragging the telephone into the bathroom and propping it on top of the toilet. “I want him. arranging the pieces of their current game. “How?” Bending down to retrieve the fallen chessmen. He lay back in the hot water. while it rang. tumbling chesspieces onto the floor. “What the hell do I tell them? Is this guy armed and dangerous? If so. Yeah. “Homicide. It’s Lenny. “Was he the killer?” “Yeah.” “Did he say why?” 135 . when Pete stormed into the little Italian café out of the cold.” He shook his finger in Lenny’s face. wiseass?” Lenny smiled.” Pete rustled papers. The fuckin’ works. Early twenties. they don’t have him ten minutes. Videotape. You think he’s connected?” “You mean to the wise guys?” “No. “They got him. enjoying the vision of the chaos he’d just created. “You sonofabitch. to the murder. “Hey. Written confession.” Lenny shrugged. “Milford PD pulled him in and he dumped straight away. Throwing himself into the open chair. The hot water was exquisite after the long day in the cold. “Yeah. Sergeant Howard speaking. he spills his guts. Worse yet. Weird name. so I call Milford PD.” Pete banged his fists on the table.” “Of course.” “Okay. I bet they’ll just catch him coming home. He probably won’t speak English very well.” Pete snorted. dissolving flakes of snow flying across the chessboard. Pete was furious. When he came back up.” Snickering. Call Milford. Pete. Nothin’. Lenny concealed his smile beneath the table. This Basque guy.” “Which is. sending water sloshing up the sides of the tub. Zaran Tomas Arre… Arreg… Arregui.” “Hi.
with the glass scattered inside and out. Milford is going to ship this clown down here. “But it really was simple. “Yeah. That left only the roof across the street. really.” “Yeah. While we knew it went out the second pane.” When Pete snorted.” Pete glared at his chess partner. rolling his eyes. like the British use in Northern Ireland. I figured. this fronton thing. and laid it in the middle of the chessboard. “Sure. so they smashed his fingers. there it is. I’m sorry. Kid owed a lot of money and couldn’t pay. Anything hard would have stayed in the room with the victim. So. Some kind of loanshark thing. it was a fluke finding it. “It had to be something that bounced.” Lenny picked up the ball and let it fall. “Certainly. Lenny waved a finger in his face. Our friend Zaran is an expert with it.” “This is obvious?” Lenny nodded. goddammit! How’d you figure it out?” “Elementary. the department owes me twenty bucks.” He shrugged. leaving the glass on the ledge. “Okay. “By the way. It had to have landed in the street.” “What the hell for?” 136 . took out the white ball. “So talk.” “The fronton. once I found the weapon.” Pete nodded. the killer might have missed it too. “Don’t start with me. The killer couldn’t have struck from inside the room. They was both jai-alai players. outta that jai-alai place up to Milford. give! I gotta do my report tonight.” Pete lunged across the small table. and there was no fire escape. then had to trap it quickly with both hands as it scattered the chessmen. three guys.” Pete leaned across the table. since it got dark so early. With what. made it obvious. okay.” “That’s what Milford PD called it. but some kids’d already found it. my dear Howard. his face quivering. and the DA wants to know how come I got so smart all of a sudden. I went back after lunch.” Lenny smiled. “The weapon? You found the damn weapon and didn’t tell me? That’s withholding evidence!” Lenny reached into his jacket pocket. The weapon had to be silent.” “This?” Pete nudged it skeptically. “This is a weapon?” “In the right hands. “Now. but I’d almost figured it out without it. you’re still sore over that Sherlock Holmes crack.” Lenny sighed. they want all the paperwork for the arraignment inna morning.” “Thus ending his career. or someone would have heard it.” “But you didn’t know what you were looking for.” “We swept the street. it couldn’t have made it back across the street to the roof.” Lenny smiled. a fuckin’ ouija board?” “The two broken panes. alright?” “Sure. That ruled out a rubber bullet in a teargas gun. “Okay.The White Knight problem “The victim’d done his kid brother. Two.
Just a little lucky. “Once I had it. in the cold. A British soldier had gathered him in his arms. “You know. waiting for the guy to come to the window. And mate in three moves.” 137 .” Lenny sighed. But the soldier’d been right. you almost have to admire Arregui. it’d been years before Lenny would learn enough English to remember them.Transit of Venus “That’s what it cost me to get your evidence away from the little fuckers. “You are Sherlock Holmes. shaking his head. light as a feather.” Lenny shivered. Smiling. he was very lucky. incredulous looks on their well-fed faces. the rest was easy.” Lenny laughed. “Yeah?” “Yeah. How he hated the cold. God knows how long he was up there. The corporal’s words had only been gibberish then. “Knight to King’s Rook Four.” “Not really. They’d come through the gates of the children’s camp at Mauthausen.” “I’ll be damned. “Check. It’d been cold and snowing the day they’d come to save him. Lenny rolled the ball across the table into Pete’s hands.” Pete looked down at the remains of last week’s game.” Lenny smiled. “By the way…” He pointed down at the table.” Pete sat back in his chair. standing up there on that roof. a little legwork and a little luck found me an old man downtown who’d seen jai-alai played back home in Spain. Once I knew it was a pelota.
The Wood 138 .
The moon trickled gently down through the grasping fingers and tentacles of the trees. a house. A flash fire had burned them all. gathered in a pool of moonlight. A short distance along it brought us to the lowering edge of the Forest. solid and solemn as Coldstream Guards. to yet another forest. a castle. The dead forest didn’t seem evil. giving a rendition of himself to the forest. All of them. of groves near and forests far away. striving to grow. thick and study pines with the stark branches and clotted cones of winter. After a swift walk through the slumbering village. walking sedately. snow. Their trunks and spidery branches were charcoal. were formed up in wooden rank and file. Down the road came a silent procession. the fluteplayer. stood weaving slowly from side to side in a patch of particular darkness. Rising to leave. His shadow flitted like a dryad through the trees until it disappeared in the depth of the grove. a large orderly stack of logs. we became enchanted. Inside was a totally different aspect than that from the road.Transit of Venus The Wood9 It began as an ordinary trek in the woods. and moved on the Road to the World. making the night twist and flutter to the rhythm of his silvered stops. Those were the saddest of all. Then. Massachusetts in early 1971. Resting on a wind drift of pine needles. They were as soft and deep as. paled in the moonlight to a silvery white. The quiet stroll changed to a furtive search. The road led. enlivened only by the splendidness of the nearly-full moon amid scuttering clouds. We. Gathering our courage. We came over a small rise and a long stretch of the road lay straight in the hollow before us. laid inches deep. we. dressed in black. Then a blink of the eyes. and indeed seemed like. the three of us. puddle-hopping from moonbeam to moonbeam. Skimming hesitantly along its fringe. still green. around several bends and over several hillocks. The trees. The needle floor had burned and grass grew thick underfoot. leaving milky pools like fox-fire or luminescent seas on the needle carpet. a stealthy hunt for a werewolf. and the snow changes in an instant to cheap horror-movie fog. came out on the high road. He carried a black flagstaff before 9 Written in Nantucket. the three of us. rising from hidden springs of dry ice laid on in the wings of our stage. we spoke of summer days and rainy days. it seemed malignant and ominous. A boy led. Seeming ages later found two of us trapped like mesmerized rabbits or headlight-dazzled deer in a wavering shaft of moonglow. Occasionally one tree would have a single branch or section still growing. those dead trees with one spark of live left. The other enchanted one broke the spell and ran. a swift perception change. merely incredibly sad. The needles. 139 . The third of our party. looming suddenly quite small out of the dimness was a mountain. Those trees were dead. we plunged in. Then he existed only in the steady crunch of his footsteps sounding softly over the flute. backs to the piled logs.
mounted on a black stallion. Following close behind was a bereaved gentleman. pale man. along the horizon on the hilltops. It seemed to flow across the sky rather than fall. Then came another sign. shaking with laughter. a black flag furled upon it. but we discovered earthly delights as entrancing as the celestial pyrotechnics. Behind him came a tall. my comrade wished for more such comets to light our way. over the crest of the hill. but my comrade. was trying to console her. which flickered on and off as we walked. incandescent white. catch and hold each one as a steady glow. and the clink and jangle of their harness. The moon. we could see through the glass that the deceased. wearing a tall black hat over his black suit. a tiny man or dwarf. Sprinkled through the grass and scrubby bushes on either side were thousands of scintillating stars or diamonds. by stopping and moving slowly back and forth. back a distance into the wood on the other side of the road. came a unicorn. Resuming our pace. gave off a lambent light brighter yet than the moon. A distance down the Road we stopped and reclined into a mossy bank to rest. and twinkled in a myriad of colors. the road rose before us. In the very instant before we could comprehend the appearance of a unicorn out of legend. also sable-dressed. turning. dressed in black jester’s motley. On it ran. The entourage moved past us and. driven by a huge. and went out. holding the bridle of the off lead of four black horses. glowing silver under the moon. while containing her own grief. the breath whistling from the horses’ nostrils. The hearse they drew was an ancient one. carried effortlessly by its forehead. flowing like a mountain stream. The old woman was crying silently and the girl. we noticed. was an iridescent trail of dewdrops. and it was huge.The Wood him. The carriage contained an old woman and a young beautiful girl. Its mane and tail waved in its wake like seagrass. Its tail. silent but for the faint tinkling of bells. made by the searchlight moon in the dew. we watched both the ethereal stars above and their brothers to either side. She was dressed in a long white gown. yet another portent in a night of portents. somber black man holding the reins of a black mare. staring forward with tears rolling slowly down his cheeks. turned the thin wisps of fleeting cloud above us into flowing lace. The fluteplayer gasped and I shouted. as it came abreast. As the cortege approached. we stepped off the road. Then it flared once. over the road. mounted on high wooden spoked wheels. not encased in a coffin but lying draped in a white shroud. and into the night. a handsbreadth slash across the ebony sky. and pulsed. After the horseman came an open carriage. was a beautiful woman of middle years. From over the distant moors. pale steam in the moonlight. only caught the last fading glimmer of the immense meteor the two of us had seen. Continuing on the Road to the World. while its bony lance. The only sound was the crackling of the ice on the road under the horses’ hooves. Rounding a curve. from the same direction as it had appeared came a young girl. an opal in the black velvet of the jewelry box of heaven. We turned and moved on the Road to the World. its sides carved and gilded and set with large glass panes. which she lifted 140 . We could.
streamed in billows behind her. white as the unicorn’s. walked on down the Road to the World. she too disappeared into the darkness. Her hair. the three of us. Or perhaps the thin chime of silver bells. so faint and delicate was it. one-handed. We. Skipping daintily on. 141 .Transit of Venus delicately. before her as she ran. As she crossed the road we could hear the distant music of her singing. carried on the wind of her passage.
Life is like that. The stories were inspired by those women. Captain Cook was dead on a beach in Hawai‘i at the age of 51. the scientific members of a years-long expedition aboard HMS Endeavour. (Those which are know who they are. many of them involving women. Captain James Cook of the Royal Navy commanding. Within a decade. California. sometimes. like Botticelli’s vision.From the foreword: Sailing amid the beauties of the South Pacific ‘one fine day’ in June of 1769. It was considered one of the major scientific achievements of the era. of that other Venus. I came to describe those periods as transits. others while living among the denizens of an industrial artists’ ghetto in Oakland. but aren’t necessarily about any of them in particular. ISBN 1-928757-04-9 PROOFMARK AUSTIN TEXAS . observed the transit of Venus across the sun. some of whom were heavily involved in my life at the time and others who were scarcely aware of my interest. Life is like that. These stories grew out of transitions in my own life.) I wrote some of these stories amid the beauties of Hawai‘i. sometimes.