Poor Mojo's Almanac(k) Classics (2000-2011)
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Fiction #237
(published July 28, 2005)
Sunday with Forbes (part 2 of 2)
by Don Fredd

Since he had begun running some fifteen years ago, Forbes had raised it to a theological level replete with canon and creed. He tried to run most every day, but the Sunday run was special. He always tried new routes and often just stopped and walked to better view a new storefront or old landmark in the Cambridge or Boston area. During the week and on Saturday, he ran the Charles River, measuring himself against the competition, but Sunday's run was always at a meandering pace through the streets and byways of Cambridge or Boston. Racine's inclusion now complicated his routine so he decided to take the Saturday Charles River route down the Cambridge side and then across the Massachusetts Avenue Bridge to Boston.

As they loosened up on the sidewalk in front of his home, he saw that Racine was not just an occasional runner. Her stretching was methodical and practiced. Her black tights revealed calves and thighs that were well developed. When they started out jogging, she displayed an easy, fluid motion with perfect head and upper body control. He guided her out into the street and they ran silently side by side until he commented on her obvious experience. She had begun running track and cross country way back in the ninth grade and loved it. She had been doing it ever since except for last year when she had some plantar fasciatis problems. She was even thinking of trying out for the cross country team of whatever university she might go to up here.

As the sun came up and heated the cool morning air, they moved into a steady rhythm. She matched him stride for stride, and he even suspected that she was holding back just so he could keep up and talk. Conversation was one thing he had never liked during a run. First of all, it cut down on his wind tremendously, and he never felt, aside from "car's coming," that talking was that important anyway. But, for Racine, it seemed second nature. In fact there were shades of the voluble Willie in her now. She was pretty sure it would be Boston University. Tufts was still in the running, but she had looked at both on the Net and the variety of courses at BU was a big factor.

As she went on about her career goals and interests, Forbes began to assess her. He would never have guessed that she had a runner's body. He noticed that she was slightly built but certainly not underweight. Her rear was well rounded and decidedly one of her better features. No one looks good while exercising at a six to seven mile per hour pace, but Racine had the potential to be quite attractive. Her hair was naturally curly. She had worn it loose when they arrived. During dinner she had pulled it back as straight as she could, but now she had it up in what passed for a bun and it revealed much more of her face. Yes, she was, at first glance, no dazzling beauty, but as he studied her there were possibilities. With the right hair style, a bit of make-up and either new frames or contacts she could be the next 'Liza Doolittle. The biggest change, however, was her personality. Running was something she felt comfortable doing. She obviously enjoyed it and was talented. Perhaps, as a result, she was out of her shell. She was with a virtual stranger in a strange city with no Willie to come to her rescue, yet she seemed freer.

When they exited the Mass Avenue Bridge and headed down along the Boston University campus side, Forbes saw that it was closing in on eight o'clock and suggested a detour to get something to eat as it would take them over an hour to get home from here. He was thinking of the Sunset Grille as a place to relax, pig out, then stroll back or maybe even take a cab home. Racine's eyes lit up at this idea, and she posed racing him to the diner until he said they ought to use the cell phone to call Willie and let her know where they were and when they might return. He could see Racy's entire demeanor flag at the suggestion; it was as if he had told her he could not take her to the circus as promised. She pouted out the information that her mother often slept until noon or later what with all those pills she took. Forbes decided not to pursue the matter, and they began the jog down Beacon Street towards the Sunset Grille.

As they ate, Racy was effervescent. She was like one of those lake side wading birds, ungainly at the water's edge yet fluid and graceful in flight. She spoke of her past troubles since high school—therapy, stupid jobs, more therapy and pills which she hated taking, preferring to handle things via diet, exercise and meditation. She knew that, as difficult as it would be to leave her own cocoon back home in Chicago, she must do it. If she didn't do it, she'd end up like her mother maybe even worse, "At least she has me in her life; I wouldn't have anybody."

As she spoke, Forbes wondered what those in the restaurant thought about their relationship. Surely it was possible to assume that here was a father and his daughter having a nice breakfast after having bonded during a morning jog. The thought left him with a comfortable feeling; he felt as if he were part of the mainstream of society instead of one who was always on the embankment sticking his toe in upon occasion to test the water.

When the check came, Forbes pulled out his credit card and signed the slip. Racy let out a hoot of surprise. "Oh my God, you're left handed." Forbes nodded, conscious that most of the surrounding area had heard the shriek, and they were now the center of attention. "So am I," she blurted, holding out her left hand as if that were enough proof. "That is so cool. I've never met anyone who was left handed that I didn't like or couldn't trust."

Forbes nodded, benignly uncomfortable at being stared at by the nearby tables and began mentally running through a list of historical lefthanders the world would have been better off without. Then he decided that now was neither the time nor place to disprove Racy's theory.

On the return leg back to Cambridge, logy from a massive breakfast, they walked leisurely rather than jogged, and he began to contribute his fair share to the conversation by answering some of her questions as to why he had moved away from his family. He had really never put it into words so most of what he told her was an eye opener even to him. "My parents seem quite happy by themselves; I know they love me but they've always been quite self-contained. We each have our own interests and go our own ways. It's like when I was little and we would go to the movies. We'd buy three tickets but each go to see the film we wanted to. The same with lunch at the food court in a mall, a family of three each eating different foods at three different kiosks and meeting up later by the Pet Shoppe window. So I'm in Boston, and they're in Pennsylvania and we're all one happy family."

When they trooped into the house, Willie was out of bed and in the kitchen. She sat at the breakfast table hunched over a cup of tea her face puffy and eyes reddened. Before he said a word, Racine intoned, "Another migraine, Mom?"

Willie could do little but nod as she mumbled. "No coffee in the house?"

Forbes explained that he never drank it, but would run out and get some if it would make her feel any better. She told him not to bother; tea was fine, and she probably shouldn't have caffeine anyway in her condition.

"I think I need your help, Racy, for this one." With that Racine went over to her mother and began very gently to massage her scalp as Willie slumped back, head bent over the chair rail as if getting a shampoo. After a few minutes of scalp massage, Racy moved on to loosening the shoulder and neck muscles as Willie groaned in appreciation. Forbes, sensing her discomfort, offered the upstairs shower.

"You might go up and let the water pound on your neck and head for as long as you like; it's great for that. Just put it on 'pulse.'"

"This usually helps the best," Willie countered as she gratefully patted Racine magic hands. "After ten or so minutes of massage, I'm down to a dull roar and can think about being human again. Sorry to screw your day up like this." Forbes assured her it wasn't screwing up anything and excused himself to clean up and shave.

As he washed off salty residue of the morning's workout to the sounds of Mahler's Second, he acknowledged that Willie was truly screwing up the day. Yesterday it had been Racine; now it was Willie. The worst case scenario for him was to be trapped all day in the house with them. It was better to get out, go for a walk at least, take the Freedom Trail—anything to keep the scenery changing; thereby the conversational burden on his part would be regulated to nothing more than answering questions or pointing out mundane historical facts. Being housebound was the worst thing he could imagine.

After the shower, he finished dressing and went back downstairs. Willie, somewhat recovered, was up and about in the kitchen making notes as to what she might concoct for Sunday dinner. Forbes suggested that he would like to treat them to a meal at one of his favorite haunts, maybe the famous Casablanca for its atmosphere, but Willie would have none of it. "I want to make an all-American meal just like in colonial times since you're such a history buff."

Racine had been using the downstairs shower and emerged just at the end of the conversation to state that Willie's Yankee pot roast was to die for. Forbes, defeated on that front, turned to Racine.

"While your mom's cooking is there something you might like to do for the rest of the morning and afternoon to help you with the Big Choice?"

"I think I'd just like to hang around here. Look at your books and stamps if you don't mind; maybe catch a little TV. I just love those religious channels, especially the ones with the black churches. Those guys can really preach. I mean I'm an atheist and all, but preaching's an art form, sheer theater especially when the really good ones bring people up to be healed, wow!"

At Racine's atheist comment Willie winced, but kept on making notes for the ingredients she would need. "Molasses?"

Forbes' shrug indicated he did not know if he had any; moreover, why in the world would she want it. "I'd like to do an Indian pudding," was Willie's answer echoing deeply from within a kitchen cabinet as she hunted for even more ingredients.

Racine, her hair still waterlogged and wearing a loose-fitting kimono overwhelmed by fire breathing dragons of various sizes and colors, barefoot and a towel around her neck to catch the runoff, slumped into a kitchen chair her mother had occupied no more than a half an hour ago. "You know I read this book, actually it was somebody's PhD thesis I think, but the author had the idea that way back in colonial times the male was so dominate because the chief life skill was hunting, being able to know the animal's habits and practice your skills with the weapons you had to use. He used James Fenimore Cooper and other writers to make the point, but, as time went on, we didn't need those skills anymore. Today the female has the most important life skill and that is shopping. Getting the best stuff for the best price, clipping coupons and knowing how to bargain; that's what society values. Ever see that show The Price Is Right? It's been on for years and there's another show about Supermarkets or something."

Racy stopped her monologue, almost too conscious in front of her mother that she had spoken more in the past two minutes than she had since her arrival. To cover the break, Forbes offered up the viewpoint that he rarely shopped and even then just bought what he wanted somewhat regardless of the price. "It does seem that every store is always having a sale, though."

Willie, still in her pajamas and robe and seemingly a bit annoyed by their lack of interest in her very practical food problems, muttered, "Okay, you two, go watch TV or whatever you're going to do and let me clean myself up and then start on the dinner. We'll probably eat around five if all goes well, but I may need someone at the ready to run a quick errand for me. Now, what's the engineering mystery to that Roman bath you've got upstairs?"

While Racy used the blow drier downstairs, Willie followed Forbes upstairs, and he showed her the various knobs and levers that controlled the head, torso and lower body spray with respect to temperature and intensity. She was bemused and offered up the comment that it was large enough to contain a small orgy. "I bet your many girlfriends love this!"

Forbes didn't respond to the comment but did offer up that an ex-fiancé had helped with the accessories, and, when it came to fitting and grouting the tiles, they had worked jointly. He had used that pun several times with others but it zipped over Willie's head. He pointed out where the towels were and gave a basic run through of the stereo controls: a CD changer with mostly opera and classical (he was on a Mahler kick this month) as well as the AM-FM radio. "I'm just taking a shower not spending the rest of the morning," she joshed giving him a gentle shove out the door.


To his delight, the bulk of the afternoon was spent in true Forbesian fashion. He wandered through the Sunday papers. Racy devoured the Boston Globe's "Arts" section, and, surprisingly, offered some help on a difficult Henry Hook crossword, pulling her weight with respect to most things related to popular music. There was a gentle clash and clatter from the kitchen, innumerable questions as to where this or that was and, whenever the answer was that he did not have something, a hollow, "I'll get by" was the reply.

Willie's forte, Racy declared, was making do with whatever life presented her. "But sometimes she just drives me nuts," she said grabbing the New York Times Magazine, and in something of non sequitur, held it aloft questioningly. "Ready for the crossword major leagues?"

As for the television, Forbes' concession to his houseguests was to forego any afternoon early season baseball in favor of old movies which Racy and Willie, taking a cooking break every now and then, were enraptured by. When he dozed through much of the Merle Oberon-Laurence Olivier Wuthering Heights, he was chided for missing the greatest romantic film ever made. He then endured several "Room Decorating" shows trying to feign interest when they, perhaps thinking it would please him, found a bathroom remodeling program which they commented again and again was not as magnificent as his "Taj" upstairs.

The TV was put on hold while they ate supper. Willie had cooked Italian rather than her advertised colonial American, and Forbes' comments, not disingenuous, as to how delicious it was, had Willie beaming. "The only thing that makes me happier than preparing a meal is to see people enjoy it," she said, gesturing to all to take seconds.

As they had their tea and delighted in a simple dessert of lemon pudding cake, they talked. Racine seemed relaxed as she said the jog along the Charles had cinched it for her; she was going to Boston University. Tufts was also great but the easy access to downtown events and the Sunday ambiance of the city was a real turn-on.

When the talk of future housing arrangements came up, Forbes stayed mute. Willie expressed her financial concerns about room and board to the Boston school. Forbes stared into his second cup of Constant Comment. Racine countered her mother's point in a cavalier manner. She would just hunker down with many like her who needed roommates. Willie raised a safety issue of some Boston neighborhoods, and Forbes spoke up at last and said that, overall, Boston was about as safe as a city could get. It was then that Racine took the bull by the horns and asked directly if she might be able to crash at his place until she got settled. Forbes had an idea this might be coming, yet he was still overwhelmed by it. He managed a seemingly unperturbed rejoinder, "I suppose it wouldn't hurt for a little while."

There was a rather long, pregnant pause after this comment, which was broken by Willie's throwing herself into a kitchen cleanup action and ordering all to stay put until it was time to dry the dishes. Only when Willie was ensconced in the kitchen putting leftovers away did Racy come over to Forbes' side of the dining room and whisper that she just asked him that to get Mom off her back. "You'll probably never see me at all once I get up here." This raised Forbes' spirits considerably, enough for him to become expansive and reaffirm the offer.

"Really, if you need a place to stay; mi casa, su casa." It was a phrase he despised, but it was all he could think of at which point Racine thanked him profusely with a wordless hug.

After the washing up, which had a lighthearted repartee to it, they mustered back in the living room. The TV acted more like a campfire than a medium of entertainment as they gabbed away the time, discussing various relatives about which Willie had many stories. She was now the center of attention, enjoying the limelight as she mimicked the voices, acted out the walks and repetitive gestures of the uncles, aunts and cousins involved. Forbes broke out some Galliano and made Harvey Wallbangers for each of them as a coda to Willie's fine meal. The talk became even more animated with Racine rising to the occasion and telling some tales out of school concerning her mother and her "fabulous" driving ability. It was nearing ten when Forbes looked at his watch and was surprised to see how the time had flown.

They had a 2:00PM flight out of Logan so they needed to be out of the house by no later than noon to make it. Forbes had taken the whole of Monday off and, as Willie was offering up some last minute reminders to a blasé Racy, he took a moment to plan what he might do once he had his freedom tomorrow afternoon. It was Racine who broke his reverie by coming over to him, thanking him again for his hospitality and giving him a perfunctory hug goodnight, waving "Ta" as she ascended the stairs for bed.

With Racine upstairs it was Willie who broke the strained moment with her own thanks for his hospitality. To do this she moved to the couch and, almost as if she were going to propose, sprawled at a right angle to him, one knee nearly on the floor the other tucked under her. "You've been the greatest this weekend. This was exactly what Racy and I needed, a getaway to something new and fresh. I haven't seen her so talkative and alive since I don't know when. I know she's going to do well up here, especially with you to guide her. I know she's almost twenty one, but in many ways she's just a little girl." She paused here to see if there was any reaction, but Forbes merely nodded, not quite certain if these were just declamatory statements or something he was expected to respond to.

"Of course, that means we'll be seeing a lot of each other as I'll probably be dropping by every time I can scare up the airfare. If that's okay, I mean."

Forbes turned to face her. His grand hospitality gestures might well doom him, but he was forced take that chance. "Sure, just give me a few weeks notice, and we can set something up."

Willie leaned over, held his shoulders and grazed his cheek with what might have been a kiss. "You're so open and easy to talk too," she murmured as she pulled back and held him at arms length as if he were a sweater she was estimating the size of.

It was the first time in his life that Forbes had been considered easy to talk to, let alone open. Was she lying or had he put on such a believable act? She leaned back, slumped against the back of the couch both feet barely on the floor. It struck him that she was still wearing pajamas, not the kind she had spent most of the day cooking in, but something more formal, loungewear it might be called for a Fifth Avenue hostess who was giving an early evening soiree, a two piece lemony outfit with a matching darker silk robe that was slightly oriental in style. Also, she was wearing makeup.

"I went through a period after Peter and I split where I hated all men. I mistrusted anything they said, from my plumber to anyone who was even remotely friendly to me. They were all trying to screw me in one fashion or another. I've been told that I transferred those feelings, unconsciously of course, to Racy and that's why she's had some issues." Here she glanced at Forbes for a moment but then gazed out across the room and continued her monologue to a muted PBS Masterpiece Theater version of what Forbes suspected might be a repeat of George Eliot's Daniel Deronda.

"I should have known Peter was running around on me during the first few years. The signs were there but I just ignored them. After the divorce he told me of the women he had screwed even while we were engaged. I think that's why I got pregnant. I wanted to take something out of the relationship plus, maybe, it would bring us back together. It did just the opposite. It just gave him an excuse to go to other women while I went to birthing classes alone like some unwed mother. At least, after she was born, he agreed to counseling at my suggestion, but that was a bust as he spent the time enumerating my faults." She looked at Forbes, patted his knee and made a face. "I have a few as I'm sure Racy has told you." Rather than answer her directly, he smiled.

"There was quite a list—I had no idea about money, didn't respect how hard he worked to provide a good home. I was always looking for a new career. I didn't dress stylishly enough, didn't keep up with current events so I was an embarrassment when he took me to his company outings, etc. etc. etc. Then there was the sexual issue. I was cold in bed, refused his advances. You want to know what his advances were!" She changed positions and faced him squarely, sitting Indian fashion, her robe slightly open but fanned evenly around her.

"He wanted to do it in the rear. Not doggie style," she added quickly thinking that he might not have comprehended her euphemism. "I mean in the ass type of stuff! When I wouldn't, he said everybody he had been with did it; it was a common as a blow job. So that's why I lost him, according to him anyway. Well, let me tell you; it took me years to get over the damage he'd done to my self-confidence. I'm almost fifty and still trying to get my shit together." She began to cry. It had been something Forbes had sensed was in the wind, black clouds scudding towards him, thundershowers not far behind, but he still hadn't decided whether to bolt or ride out the storm.

"I'm sorry. I barge in here, foul up your weekend, tell you my life story and parade my dysfunctional daughter before your very eyes. I'm sure you can't wait for any return visit." She was a true sight now. Her eye makeup was vaguely reminiscent of Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange. Tears had channeled themselves down her cheeks leaving grayish streaks which accented her age lines. He offered her his handkerchief.

"God, you even iron your handkerchiefs. How precious." She blew her nose with the most unfeminine of honks and absently wiped her eyes and cheeks before recognizing how stained his handkerchief had become. "Yeah, like this will ever come out?"

It took a few minutes of silence and deep breaths on her part to quell the passing cloudburst. Forbes, for his part, reached over and patted her knee as she, in turn, stroked his hand in some form of emotional reciprocity.

"You want to know the weirdest part. I shouldn't even be telling you this, but two years ago I was volunteering at St. Joseph's Hospital in Chicago's Oak Lawn area, and they had a Christmas party at some rich doctor's house. Anyway, I got really drunk which for me is just a few glasses of wine and this Calcutta intern starts to make out with me. I'm feeling no pain at this point and haven't had a man touch me in well over a decade so we find a bedroom and do the deed. When it's over he gets up to leave when another Indian guy, maybe a doctor I don't know, he comes in and hops on me. Somehow I end up on top of doctor number two, and before I know it doctor number one is jamming his thing into my ass. I'm yelling at him, but either they don't understand, or they think I'm merely expressing my ecstasy. Five minutes later when it's all said and done and I'm lying there on the bed wondering how many coats we've befouled, I think to myself, that wasn't half as bad as I thought it would be. Here I lost a husband because I wouldn't do it that way. Of course, I know that line of thinking is bullshit, but in the space of thirty minutes I set a new personal record for depravity and came out of it pretty well. Strangely, it was a turning point for me. No, I don't ever want to have two men and forget the anal routine, but somehow I had faced some inner demons and, since then, I've had my head on straighter. Some kind of therapy, right!"

Forbes was numb during the conversation. His vivid, cinematic imagination had followed her words in living color, but he could not envision her in any orgy, foreigners or otherwise.

"You don't think I'm a slut do you?" she said seeing the look on her face.

He shook his head. "As you said, it was a kind of release for you."

"I knew you of all people would understand," and with this she leaned slightly forward from her lotus position to hug him, her upper body weight propped against his. They hugged for a few minutes, her head just behind his right shoulder. He could hear her sniffling and hoped that she hadn't begun to cry again. When she pushed back, her face was in line with his, and he saw that she hadn't been crying at all. She was smiling. As he returned her smile, she pressed forward again and kissed him on the lips.

It was brief, a brush on the lips, but she followed it up by gazing into his eyes and then repeating it with something more prolonged which could not be mistaken for anything but passion. It struck him like a lightening bolt. He thought that he was misreading her actions, but then she took his hand and pressed it to her breasts which had been modestly exposed between the folds of her now opened robe and unbuttoned top. She moved closer, pressing against him, she said, "This has been the perfect weekend. I never want it to end." They stayed like that way for a few minutes and then she released him, got to her feet, quickly shed her robe, pajama top and bottom and stood naked before him as if inviting inspection.

"This is me. This is what you get. Thirty pounds overweight. A rear end and thighs with so many craters they look like they were part of an artillery proving ground. And these have seen better days." As she spoke she hefted her breasts with the cup of each hand.

He felt sorry for her. She was obviously chilly. There were goose bumps on her arms and upper thighs. She stood in front of him expectantly, waiting He knew that, if he delayed, he would destroy her. He stood up and, as he embraced her, he loosened his belt and let his khakis fall to his ankles, moving her backwards in an awkward, pornographic dance step as he did so. She reached for his sweatshirt and, as she might undress a two year old, pulled it up over his head and tossed it behind her.


Sex with Willie was comfortable. Yes, that was the word that first came to mind when it was over, and they were entangled upon each other on the small couch, covered by an afghan his mother had made. She was soft, warm and yielding inside. She joked about their clumsiness and the lack of proper space. She made love as easily as she made conversation. When she neared her climax, she made soft mewling sounds, and, when release finally came, she collapsed around him as if all the air in her body had deflated like some giant Macy's parade balloon. He moved to get up, but she had held him close to her. "Let's just keep close like this for a while."

They were together for ten minutes before she, perhaps sensing his discomfort, light-heartedly slapped him on the rump and said, "Some of us have a big day tomorrow."

He got up and dressed quickly, almost shamefully. She remained on the sofa, merely pulling the afghan loosely about her in a clumsy manner which added a dimension of vulnerability to her nakedness. She reminded him of Edouard Manet's Olympia as she leaned back and placed her arm behind her head, but he was quick to notice that the artist's model used in the painting had decidedly less armpit hair than Willie who, either through laziness or a back to nature philosophy, disdained that aspect of feminine grooming. "I don't know where we are going to go from here," she said. "Perhaps you'll never want to see me again."

There was a long pause before Forbes answered. "It is going to be difficult."

"Is it the cousin thing? It's not like we'd have to live in a West Virginia trailer park with an albino retardo who looks like that "Dueling Banjoes" kid in Deliverance. Or is it just me? If you just met me after last call in a bar or something, and we had a one night stand, what would you be saying now?" There was a tone of self-deprecation to these words.

"I've enjoyed you being here."

"But! I sense a 'but' coming. Is it but I'm close to fifty, your first cousin and an emotional basket case with a daughter who is over twenty and just starting college?"

Forbes knew he had to do something to prevent a meltdown. She had dropped an emotional grenade on the floor, and it was his stoic duty to throw himself on it for the sake of all concerned. He sat down beside her and held her to his chest. "Tonight I felt that as if I had a family. When I was with Racine at brunch I imagined that people would be looking at us and think we were a father and daughter out for a jog. When we were home this afternoon and you were cooking and we were just lazing around, well, it was like I was a boy back home only this time you and I were the parents, and we were trying to convince our wayward child to go to school or clean up her room. As for us together on the couch just now, it seemed quite natural. After, I felt reassurance. It was like you said about your Indian experience from the Christmas party. It may be a turning point." He felt but did not hear Willie crying. Looking down he saw the front of his favorite all cotton sweatshirt absorbing her tears.

She looked up at him, kissed him and said, "God, if your parents or, even worse, Racy, ever found out. Could you live with that?"

He didn't answer. "I think we both need to get some sleep, think over what happened and then, in a few weeks, see how we stand."

"You're right; we need to 'process' as my shrink says."

He kissed her and they held each other until the antique grandfather clock struck eleven thirty, at which point she got up, wrapped the afghan around her like a Navajo brave and walked him to the stairs. She kissed him briefly, hugged him for several minutes and clung to his fingertips as he plodded up the stairs.


With each step upward he felt a little more weight of the world leave him. It was as if he were underwater and desperately needed to get to the surface. The upstairs was familiar territory to him. He would be safe there, and, as he padded barefoot down the hall past his beloved study which Racine presently occupied, he longed for tomorrow to be over whereupon he could safely retreat to his music, stamps and the comfort and order of the eighteenth century.

As he entered the bathroom to pee before going to bed, the thought occurred to him that he was unclean. The need for a quick shower to remove the fluids and smells he and Willie had propagated became overpowering. He flushed, stripped his clothes into a pile and walked into the shower turning on the nozzles full bore. The immediate cold blast was a shock to his system, so much so that he repressed a howl as he endured the numbing discomfort. He held his ground like an early Christian martyr until the warm water gradually took over and the intense spray offered some solace as it assailed him from the front, behind and on top. Sheila had once joked, when he had all the jets on, that it was like being in a car wash, and he admitted, after a few trial runs, that perhaps the force was a bit too much. He rarely used the shower at this potency. Tonight was the exception.

He let the water pound his face and neck and then switched the cycle to a pulsating flow that, in theory, massaged the body. It felt like tiny needles puncturing his skin. As an afterthought, he hit the soap dispenser and began to form a lather which he smeared over his groin in a cleansing action but, though he was loath to admit it, there was some pleasure as he recounted what had just happened downstairs, and the fervent wish that it really did not happen; he had merely fallen asleep and dreamed it.

Just as he decided he had had enough of both the shower and his reverie, there was a sound from inside the bathroom. He thought he detected the shadow of someone flitting past the frosted glass blocks that outlined the front of the shower door. He hit a button and the spray went to a fine mist and only from the nozzle slightly above his head. This allowed him to hear quite well. He was certain someone was in the room, and they were using the toilet because there was the unmistakable hiss of someone urinating and then the water pressure dipped slightly as the toilet flushed.

His first instinct was to run, but he was trapped, stark naked in the one area, ironically, he always felt most secure in. The shower door moved slightly as, whoever it was, was having trouble discovering whether it pulled out or slid along a track. It opened partially. He stupidly covered his privates with cupped hands and childishly closed his eyes not unlike those he had seen in holocaust movies when they stood before their Nazi captors. When he had the courage to look, he was stunned to see that it was Racine and not Willie coming back for seconds as he had feared. She was naked and moving towards him holding a white towel between her tiny breasts. For a moment he thought the towel might be a gesture of modesty on her part. This notion was quickly dispelled, however, as she expertly flipped it over her head and, in a deft maneuver, formed it into a turban. "I can't get my hair wet or it will look like shit tomorrow."

She smiled at his semi-tumescent state as she came up to him, hooked her arms around his neck and pulled herself up as if she were climbing a tree. She kissed him hard on the lips and then with a soft sigh, slowly slid her tiny body down onto him as if he were a banister. He wanted to protest but each time he formed the words she stifled his mouth with hers. Within a few minutes she began to rock back and forth almost as if she were on a swing and was pumping her legs to go higher and higher. With each stroke she began making mewling sounds which struck terror into Forbes as he had just heard the same notes of pleasure from Willie, and the bizarre question crossing his mind as to whether female orgasmic sounds were an inherited trait or something Racy had picked up from being too much a fly on her mother's bedroom wall. She cried out in final pleasure. Forbes tried to blunt the noise that was bouncing off the tile walls by yanking a lever and turning the nozzles on full tilt. Slowly, as her rapture ebbed, she relaxed her thighs and glided down to the floor. "God, that was great; the water jets right at the end hit me in the ass and just about blew my mind. It's like that spanking stuff. Did you ever get kinky into that? Where the hell were you anyway? I almost fell asleep a couple of times waiting for you to come up here. Did she talk the pants off you about how rotten my dad was?"

She paused in her soliloquy, took a step back and looked at him. "Christ you didn't come yet, did you?" Without even stopping for an answer she placed her forefinger to her mildly dimpled chin in a parody of a Shirley Temple dramatic pose. "Now, how can we take care of that problem for you? Wait, I know," and, as she dropped to her knees before him, she seemed to chortle. "This Boston University deal is going to be the absolute greatest time in my life; I know it."

Disembodied Forbes watched her head bob back and forth upon him which, oddly, reminded him of one of those woodpecker-like creatures one sees in novelty stores that sway back and forth dipping into a beaker in an ersatz form of perpetual motion. He tried to absorb her pleasure as best he could, but he kept thinking of the future. The life he had known for all these years was ending, falling apart due to his own decadence just as Rome's did. If he could somehow overrule his hormones, if he could keep from coming there may well be a chance, but in one last delicate machination Racy defeated his tepid resolve and accomplished her mission. He spilled his seed in caricature of wanton pleasure. As he did, he tilted his head upwards to the shower head and let it fill his mouth with water to mask the anguish. Perhaps it was possible to drown this way; he doubted it, but at least it would be poetic justice. Regardless, a way of life he had grown to love all these years was over. From downstairs he could barely detect the muffled sound of his antique grandfather clock as it belabored the midnight hour. Sundays were over.

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