Saturday, June 16, 2007

Lady's Blouse

"Half‑wit," he said.

He was talking to himself, which was not unusual. It was a quiet summer afternoon from one end of Mosquito University to the other, in­cluding the sleepy labyrinthine halls of the Greenwich Liberal Arts Building. On Fri­days, most of the students and staff went home at midday. Some of the faculty stayed late, either to lounge or to catch up on their work, and of course there was always a skeleton crew of main­te­nance workers. Johnathan, the "bug man", at the top of a six‑foot ladder, had been feel­ing pretty sleepy himself. He now hovered, eyes damp and bleary, over exotic Dr. Almquiski's desk and sighed. The woman below him had long beautiful bright red hair, but he wasn't looking at that. He was staring down her blouse.

He didn't usually do such things, but he was in just the right posi­tion for it. Nonetheless, he was trying not to be too obvious. He liked the view, but he didn’t want to make a scene.

"I didn't used to do this sort of thing," he told himself reproachfully. Sometimes lately he worried himself.

Her blouse wasn't cut all that low, but it was loose and fell away from her in just the right way. He could see the long graceful curves of her plump freckled flesh as it bulged out and sloped downward, terminating at last in sharp, beau­tiful tips. He almost licked his lips.

The nameplate on her oak desk said "Dr. Rita Almquiski". A crooked half‑smile of chagrin appeared on his face and he rolled his eyes. Voices in his head were insinuating­ly singing:

"Love‑lee Ree‑ta Mee‑ta Maid,
Nothing can come between us!"

"Goddamn half‑wit!" he told himself.

He had been to her office a couple of times the week before to check for wasps above the suspended ceiling. Late one afternoon, after everyone was gone, he'd used the electric duster in her office and several adjacent offices to coat the area above the ceiling with boric acid dust. He'd only come in today to check his success. Everyone, including Rita, said the problem seemed to be solved. He wanted to see for himself, he said, and brought in the ladder. He knew that his fiddling around above the ceiling was taking too long, and he suspected from her expression that she knew it too.

As a rule, he liked to get out of these offices quickly; he didn't really care for strangers, and, besides, the more often he worked in offices, the more firmly convinced he became that he was going to lose his temper with someone. There were too many people doing "clean" work in offices who were unpredictably hostile to people like him, who did their dirty work for them. The office workers were demonstrab­ly more crazy, too.

"Which is a pretty great accomplishment," Johnathan thought, "since most of us are pretty crazy!"

Most of the office workers on campus were women, of course—who else would work so cheaply for the State?—which made it all fit together nicely as far as he was concerned. In his mind, at least, women and craziness were inex­tricably linked. (Either they were, or else made you feel crazy.)

"Secretaries," he'd told his friend Ike, "are God's major illustration of that point."

"Yeah, there's really nothin' uglier, I guess, than a beautiful woman in an ugly mood," Ike had grinned cheerfully.

"Yeah, exactly," Johnathan smiled. The Negro custodian pleased him very much sometimes with his astute observations. The old man was nearing manda­tory retire­ment and was one of the few people Joh­nathan ever enjoyed talking to. The old man read a lot and was very well informed for an uneducated man; still, none of his "intelli­gent" habits changed his "low-class" drink­ing habits. He was a lush from the word "Go". He wasn't exactly "im­pressed" with Johna­than, but for some reason the old man found the younger man amus­ing.

"I've sure met a lot of secretaries like that," Johnathan insisted. "Women who were so beautiful. And yet so ugly about it."

"Beautiful‑but‑ugly," Ike nodded agreeably. "Yep, that's right. Those bitches are all over the place. If you pay enough attention, though, you might find the other kind, too. There's some women that are butt‑ugly, but beautiful, you know."


"You heard that song about, 'If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life, make an ugly woman your wife?', haven't you?"

"Yeah, sure," Johnathan said.

"Same thing," Ike told him. "It ain’t rocket science.”

"I see."

Johnathan often thought he "saw". He worked in a variety of buildings every day and he watched people and drew conclusions. He was smart, though he was never as smart as he thought he was. Well, who was?

"All these people who work in offices go bug‑shit crazy from the lack of windows and fresh air," he insisted. "That's my theory."

"You figured it out, huh?" Ike laughed.

"Sure, I'm a fuckin' genius.”

“A rocket scientist,” Ike nodded as he lit a cigarette.

“Anyway, I figure the buildings all have air‑conditioning, but that's hardly the same thing as fresh air. Even air doesn't really have that much to do with it, though. It's that they can't be in the world and can't see it, either, not even as they work. The buildings have all been de­natured, and so in a manner have their in­habi­tants. Half of the secretaries on campus think that the world owes them an apology because they work in buildings where sunshine can't fall, breezes can't stir, and butterflies can't rise on the wind."

"Well, maybe the world does owe them," Ike teased.

"Maybe so, but I can't do anything about it!"

Ike argued with him a while, pointing out that some of the secretaries on campus were the best people in the world. He mentioned some names they both knew and Johnathan grudgingly had to agree. The women around campus did their best, he supposed, under the circumstances.

"That still doesn't explain these other ones, though!" he snapped.

"There ain't no explainin' 'em," Ike said. "Just like there ain't no explainin' guys who are sons-of-bitches. Either fuck 'em or fuck it, you know?"

Back in the present, however, Dr. Almquiski was no secretary. She was an English professor, even though she was a foreigner. "That makes a lot of sense," he con­sidered. And she did have one small window on the second floor, so maybe she wasn't as crazy as the others. ­­"I'm getting more and more sensible as I go along!" he thought mockinging.

Or maybe the window explained everything. You can never be sure. At first, as usual, he'd talked to her about the weather and so forth—all the safe, dull things that you have to talk about to someone you don't really know. She'd smiled and talked freely for a while, speaking in that slight and charming accent, then all of a sudden she'd clammed up. Had she mis­understood something he'd said and taken offense? It was pos­sible; even if she was a goddamn English professor, this wasn't, after all, her native language. Maybe she'd missed a "nuance" or some such thing, he thought. Yet she must have been in this country for a good while—she didn't have that lost look at all. She was bound to understand. Maybe she'd just gotten bored with him. "That happens often enough," he sighed.

She shuffled papers rapidly across her desk and started marking them. He'd gone back to trying to get the screws back in the light fixture, working slowly. Some of the screws didn't want to screw in. He'd never been in her office before and, for all he knew, might never get sent again—he might as well enjoy the view while he could. The job hadn't been too hard, and looking at her was easy. Very easy. He sighed again. He'd stretched out the job about as long as he could, though; he was going to have to speed it up. He noticed she'd stopped and started staring at him. For the last few minutes, she'd been working sporadically, looking up at him only now and then with a slight expression of annoyance. Maybe he should say something—hop­efully, something sensible—before he left.

"You're looking very beautiful today," he told her softly.

She looked up from her desk, glancing at him without much expression.

"Oh, hell, I shouldn't have said it," he thought nervously.

He'd only meant to say something friendly, something in passing. He hadn't much expected a response. A smile perhaps, or a raised eyebrow. Maybe she would just shake her head self‑deprecatingly, something like that. He'd seen it before.

"Well, shit!" she said, slamming her pencil down hard on the desk and breaking the point.

"What's the matter?" he asked, looking down at her in surprise. His face flushed and he felt a strong presentiment of trouble.

"I'm so sick of—!"

He waited, wondering. Sick of what? Compliments?

"I've been very busy lately," she said irritably.

It sounded like a complete non sequitur to Johnathan. Perhaps she knew it and was just being rude. He wondered if he should be rude in return. It was one of his defense mechanisms, and he was good at it.

"Am I boring you?" he asked.

"No, that's not it." She still sounded irritable, and it was irritating him.

She pursed her lips, picked up her pencil again and bit it. Then she leaned back in her chain, crossed her arms in front of her, and looked at him sternly. She spoke in a stiff, but amused, foreign accent.

"I know you think I don't know what you are doing, but I do, you know." God, her voice was charming, he thought.

"What?" he asked, suddenly realizing he might be expected to answer. Of course, he'd heard her perfectly well.

"What am I doing?" he asked in what he thought was an innocent tone.

"I suspect that you are just looking down my blouse," she nodded.

"She must have been in this country for a while," he thought, listening closely to her tone of voice. She sounded very firm, and she didn't have that lost look. She knew what she was do­ing. She probably did know what he was doing. His heart began to thump. He still wasn't putting his guard up as fast as he should, though.

Why had he told her that she looked beautiful? Did he think that was any kind of sensible thing to say? Had he thought she'd be bowled over by it or something? Why say it at all? He'd never even seen her before today and had no former view to com­pare her to. For the love of God, the sentence didn't even mean what it meant to mean! Except to say that he thought she was attractive. "Big deal," he thought now.

She was tall, slim‑waisted, wide‑hipped. Like some kind of virgin Amazon, though of course she was not that perfect. (All humans compare badly to human myths—he knew that much!) Her bright red hair, worn long and straight, seemed to pour down over her shoulders like cascading water from a high fall. It was gor­geous. Her face, pale and handsome, was slightly marred by a sharp‑edged witch's nose, on which her large green-rimmed glasses rested easily. Johnathan thought her nose was handsome, though it was hardly her nose that interested him.

Her prominent breasts, at which he'd been staring, were not as firm as he would presume Amazonian flesh to be, but neither were they clad, as he supposed a warrior's would be, in armaments impervious to daggers, arrows, or simple outrageous passes. In fact, two small fascinat­ing arrow-points were pointed poutingly outward beneath the thin white fabric of her shirt­front. In short, he could see the damn things right through her blouse and he felt like making a grab for them!

"You've looked long enough," she added sternly. Her voice thrilled and irritated him; it sounded like that of the strict, stiff-necked teachers he'd hated and loved in elementary school. As if to complete the picture, she stood up and looked at him over the rim of her glasses. "You must see that I do not wear a bra. That has not much to do with beauty, yes?"

She had her arms crossed in front of her, yet her bosom was still plain­ly in view. She looked thoroughly intimidating and thoroughly inviting to him. Lulled by her voice in the quiet room, he smiled, enjoying her accent. It wasn't a thick or unpleasant accent, just an unusual tone, an off-the-beat syntax. For him, it was sexy, and quite hypnotic.

Finally he snapped to what she'd been saying and his face felt very hot. He wondered if he was blushing. Jesus! Why couldn't he stop staring?! Hastily he finished his work and climbed down off the ladder. He knew that the safest maneuver would be to deny the whole thing and get out of there as quickly as he could. That would be realistic. But Johnathan's grip on reality wasn't firm. And maybe hers wasn't either. Maybe she wasn't the kind of woman who preferred being lied to. She looked like a woman who could tell.

"I saw where you were looking," she persisted. "What does it have to do with beauty? That is what I asked."

"Beauty?" he said in a puzzled tone. "Nothing much, I guess. But it's as good a way as any I know for judging a woman that I don't know yet," he told her. Johnathan glanced again at the front of her blouse. Those promin­ent arrow‑points made his heart skip a beat.

"Christ, quit looking!" he told himself.

He felt that he was getting totally out of kilter, and far too far out of line. Maybe he shouldn't have said what he'd said to her, but she'd brought it up, hadn't she?

"Why do you have to judge?" she said sternly. "What's the point of that?"

Damn, he thought, she's got a question and an answer for every­thing.

"I don't have to," he laughed uncomfortably. "It's just the major flaw in my character, I guess."

He folded the ladder nervously, carried it out into the hall, and laid it down against the wall. She walked behind him with some papers in her hand, evidently getting ready to leave. Possibly she was getting ready to tell him off, too. He knew very well that he ought to quit talking to her, just get out now before anything went really wrong, but he couldn't stop himself.

"But why so judgmental?" she said. She was persistent, he'd say that for her. She sounded earnest, but her face looked scorn­ful.

"Well—listen, I didn't mean the word that formally, lady. I just meant 'appreci­ate', that's all. It's not my fault if you're beautiful."

"It isn't exactly my fault, either," she told him.

"It isn't? No, I guess it isn't," he thought.

But he didn't really have time to think, he was supposed to be working. But, hell, if it wasn't her fault, then she couldn't take credit, and if she couldn't take credit, then what was she look­ing so smug about?

"Oh, well, I guess you're right," he said, trying to worm his way out of further conversation.

He said it to seem agreeable, and only being agreeable because it would proba­bly save time. Not that he thought that being agreeable was likely to smooth her feathers any. He was starting to get the feeling that she wasn't angry so much as agitated, and that she didn't disapprove of him so much as she wanted to demonstrate how clever she was. He was fairly certain that dis­approving of what he'd said was just her excuse for talking to him. Did she mean for him to demonstrate how clever he was or not? He couldn't decide.

"I'm sorry if I'm bothering you," he said, sounding bland, but feeling rather acid about it.

"No, it's not a question of 'bother'," she told him. "It's more a matter of your looking down my blouse."

"Back to that?" he asked grimly.

"Unpleasant subject, all of a sudden?" she asked with a grin.

"Sort of."

"You looked like you were enjoying it before. But good!" she laughed. "Yet not entirely so!"

"Not entirely what?" he asked. "Good or unpleasant?"

"Either! Don't you think?"

"You're confusing me now," he told her. "Maybe you're confused."

"Maybe I am. Maybe something else?"

She seemed to be asking him a question about her own feelings and he couldn't guess how to field it.

"You are confused," he said with a sudden grin. He was start­ing to get comfort­able with her odd talk. He was starting to remember how nice her breasts had looked.

"Yes, but aren't you?"


She leaned forward suddenly and kissed him lightly on the lips, then stepped back and smiled, almost shyly. He considered shyness rather un­likely in her, however, and felt uncomfortable all over again. What was she up to now?

"Uh, look, I'm sorry I brought any of it up, okay?"

"Ah! I wonder!" she said sharply, and looked thoughtful. "But I do not have the time," she added, shaking her head and shuffling the papers in her hands. She started to turn away.

"What the hell?" he thought.

They were in a dead‑end hallway that wasn't much traveled, especially not on a half‑holiday like this; nonetheless, he glanced both ways before he spoke. He already knew that most of the faculty and staff wasn't even in the building. Anything might happen. She had aroused him, of course. Her kiss had felt wonderful, but it had also frightened and irritated him.

"It wouldn't have sounded any better, would it, if I'd just said that you look eminently fuckable?" he said quietly.

"No!" she said quickly and frowned, looking as if the taste of lemon had suddenly flooded her mouth. "No, certainly not!"

"Oh. I didn't think so," he said.

The appearance of a few frown-wrinkles on her forehead made her look suddenly severe, suddenly older than he'd thought. Certainly not 30. He looked at Rita again. Or 40, either. "No, she's not that young." She was more beautiful than most of the college girls, but she must have been near­er to 50. "No matter, though," he thought, "she definitely has charac­ter." Who else would be having this bizarre damn conversa­tion with him?!

"You are not as complicated as you think, are you?" she said, her frown suddenly dissolving. She looked as if she thought she'd solved some puzzle.

He smiled at her, feeling awkward and yet like the Cheshire cat.

"Why do some women always think they know so much?" he won­dered. He gave her credit for being smart, but she seemed to see something else in him. Maybe she was looking at his work uniform and not at him. "This is great," he thought. "She's figured me out: I'm simple!" He felt like he needed to say something clever.

"Perhaps not. But no one knows that about themselves, do they?"

As soon as he'd said it, he realized it just another stupid thing to have said. He was deeply chagrinned. Clearly there was only one thing he knew that she didn't know—namely, that he wasn't as stupid as he sounded!

Rita nodded knowingly and walked away. He wanted to watch her walk, to see that wide foreign bottom of hers rocking and rolling inside her tight black skirt, but he was afraid she'd turn around and look at him. That's all he needed, was to have her assert that he was looking at her ass. Of course, he was, but he'd already discussed anatomy with her enough.

He managed to take his eyes off her bottom, went back into her office, and grabbed his few scattered tools. He tossed them into a wooden box, grabbed hold of the large dowel rod that served as a handle, and walked out into the hall. He was surprised to see she wasn't as far down the hall as he'd ex­pected. She had paused, poised, half‑facing away from him, looking back over her shoulder. What was she thinking? Was she thinking at all?

"She looks awfully seductive like that," he sighed. "She looks like she knows it, too."

She faced him, taking several steps in his direction, and look­ing him up and down.

"So, you want to fuck me, yes?"

"Uh, yes," he said, now thoroughly confused. It embarrassed him that she said it like that, right out loud, there in the hallway. He'd felt safer when they'd been near her office. He hadn't said it nearly that loud.


"Uh, any time, anywhere..."

Is that my big mouth, he wondered. Sure, he'd dreamed of saying some­thing like that to a stranger like her, but now that he had, he wished he hadn't. Christ!

"Right now?" she asked, lifting her eyebrows and nodding her head toward her office door.

"Yeah, sure, I guess." What do I do now?!

"You do not sound too sure?"

"Listen, are you really serious?"

She smiled at him—it was that smirking look again—then glanced down the hallway in both directions. "Here, I'll show you," she said. Slowly and with some effort she pulled at her tight black skirt and didn't stop until she'd raised it all the way to her waist. As her skirt rose the first few inches, Johnathan was a little repulsed by the moderately thick dark red hair on her legs.

"Christ, it looks like she only shaves it as far as the hem of her skirt!"

Or maybe it was just how her hair grew. He wasn't against women being women, but he couldn't help it, he was used to regular fastidious American girls. It only took a moment however before he got vividly interested. She wasn't wearing any panties. Like many other men, his interest in vaginas was so universal as to be limited only to his own species. Coyly she patted herself. It was the most delightfully fluffy bush of pubic hair he'd ever seen. It was bright red, of course; he'd seen a lot of redheads, but he'd never had one of them show him her—.

"How you like my—umm, ah, what you call it? Ha! Good, hah?"

He'd never heard any woman smirk so much. She was still patting it, looking terrifically pleased with herself. Her tone seemed so prideful, and he wondered about it. He got the impression she'd done this before and knew its effect. No doubt the others had enjoyed the sight. He certainly did.

"No reason I should be different," he thought, and tried to swallow.

Involuntarily, he took a couple of steps toward her.

"No!" she snapped, holding up her hand to ward him off. "You stay there, for now! You just watch!"

He was ready to watch; she had his undivided attention. Her bush fas­cinated him as thoroughly as her hairy legs had upset him. His responses to signals like these were unerringly predictable. It's one thing that men understand traffic lights better than they understand most women, and quite another that, in all probability, traffic lights under­stand women better than most men do. Johnathan nodded his head as if he might say something, but didn't. His throat was dry and his ears were hot and there was a painful, growing tight­ness in his trousers.

"Egads, I could hammer nails with it," he thought idiotically.

Rita turned loose of her skirt, but it was so tight that the folds of the thin fabric clung to her belly and buttocks as tightly as a spider's web. She put her hands on the lapels of her blouse and pursed her lips as if tossing him a kiss through the air.

"Why don't you pull out your thing and show it to me?" she grinned.

"Uh—oh, ah—well, not here!" he spluttered.

"Okay," she said agreeably, sounding easy to please. "But is it a nice one? You can tell me that, at least!"

"Uh, yeah, sure..."

"Good. Anyway, it better be! You want to see more of this?"

Johnathan swallowed hard, then nodded nervously, and said, "Yes."

"Say please."

Why not? "Yes, please," he grinned.

Quickly she separated the snaps on her blouse and pulled it open. Her pale freckled breasts were heavy, yet seemed as finely and purposely shaped as artfully constructed pottery vases. Johnathan sucked in his breath. She moved her thumbs deliberately, slowly, across her nipples. He licked his lips.

"I'm dreaming," he thought, feeling faint.

She was an erotic cornucopia. Johnathan was terrifically excited and excitedly terrified. He thought about running toward her and he thought about running away. She was probably crazy. He was certain he was.

"Are you trying to give me a hardon?" he asked her.

"Nothing as nasty as that!" she teased him, grinning and clos­ing her eyes. She slipped her hand between her legs.

"Nasty and crazy!" he thought.

He would have bolted right then, except that her face and arms flushed such a bright lovely pink! He stood there pa­ra­lyzed, won­dering if she flushed like that between her legs as well. What would it feel like to be inside her when she did it? Johnathan sighed. Rita definitely had nerve, he concluded.

He wasn’t certain whether she was more likely to consummate his passion or tear off his flesh and consume it! It was what he'd always wanted—a lewd and attractive woman coming on to him at ninety miles an hour, and yet it was—not exactly what he'd imagined. It wasn’t as if he hadn’t been scared of women before; he’d just never been scared Shitless! As he watched her, she shivered a little and shook her head. She said something in Russian—at least he thought that's what it was—maybe she was just telling herself to stop while she could. With a final shudder, she closed her blouse and pushed her skirt down, brushing hurriedly at the wrinkles. She straightened her collar with one hand and pointed to her office with the other. Her face looked very businesslike for a moment, then she smiled and spoke softly.

"You wait for me," she said, leaning forward and kissing his mouth again. "I will be right back."

She smiled brightly, then turned and walked purposefully down the hall­way.

As she turned away, he still couldn't help admiring her behind. It shifted gently back and forth in her tight skirt. He felt like a dog on a leash; more than ever he wanted desperately to follow her and just as des­perately to run away. He swallowed hard and stayed where he was.

He lingered in the hallway, pacing back and forth in front of her office. He was overjoyed and paranoid at the same time. If she was serious, he was in the catbird seat! But if she was teasing? What if she'd only nailed him down there so she could go call the Mosquito University Police Department and have him arrested?

He hadn't actually done anything, except speak to her, but sometimes, he knew, just speaking to women can be the worst crime. He could at the least lose his job. He was supposed to be working, not teasing lady pro­fessors into fondling themselves in the hallways, and certainly not boffing them in their offices, rutting around on the carpeted floor as if nobody had a home or a bed!

Maybe she'd simply gone for the day—he hadn't seen her carrying any purse down the hallway, but he hadn't seen one in her office either. Maybe she just meant for him to sit there in her office until his stiff crazy cock shriveled down to a Vienna sausage.

It hadn't happened yet, though. He shifted nervously from one leg to the other, as aroused as he could possibly get, as agitated as a kid who needs to pee, knowing that he didn't have the nerve to stay and wait. He was stewing in his own foul juices.

"Goddamn it," he thought miserably, "That is what she means for me to do!"

Oh, but maybe she really would come back. It was possible. She might get him naked and wildly excited, have him leaping and prowling around her office like a beast—then she'd snatch his clothes and laugh and run out the door with them! Where would he be then? Standing there like an idiot, his erection waggling, his ego flagging, his libido popped like a pimple. Job security kaput! He tried, but couldn't think his way out of it. There was no clarity in it, no clarity at all.

He waited a long time and she didn't come back. Twenty minutes, then thirty, passed. He got more and more nervous. His erection began to fade. At last he picked up his ladder and tools, and walked slowly toward the elevator, barely lifting his heavy black shoes, scuffling them softly but insistently across the smooth polished floor.

It was stupid to try to screw up the floor, he knew. Three times a year he had to pitch in to strip and wax them. It wasn't a job that he liked, and now he'd have reason to like it even less.

When he came to the fire exit, he glanced down the hallway to the elevator, but decided he'd better not. He knew he could get to the first floor and out of the building faster and more simply by taking the stairs. He didn't want to go past all those offices. He didn't want to see any faces. There was no telling what was there. Maybe Rita, maybe some­thing worse. He had a sudden terror that if indeed he had escaped from anything, it wasn't by a very wide margin. Opening the door anxiously, he stumbled on the stairs, cursed under his breath, and wondered if he'd given up too soon. Had he screwed himself out of a fast and easy, loose lucky lay by being so neurotically fastidious?

"It's possible," he sighed. "Shitfire!"

Why couldn't he just forget it? How she'd found the key to him so quickly, he couldn't imagine—but she had. This wasn't anything to tell any­one about, not even Ike. The way he felt now, he wondered if he'd ever have the nerve to look down a lady's blouse on campus again.


Current draft: 06/27/05
©1989 Ronald C. Southern


Mushy said...

Good story and like!

Shrink Wrapped Scream said...

Hey Ron, this is great! I love the new look to your site, too. You really seem to be with the muse now, good on you.

Ron Southern said...

As you see, there is not much foot traffic here. La di dah.