She didn’t know dice, didn’t care about gambling. Something about this man had drawn her, something about the wig that was not a wig, and she stood beside him and breathed in his aftershave—an inviting lemon–and–leather scent, a little too insistent but nice all the same. The string tie, she saw, had a Navaho slide, a thunderbird accented in turquoise.
Here in Michigan, the slide and its owner were a long way from home.
"Seven," the stickman announced. "New shooter coming out."
And the dice passed to the man with the great haircut.
He cradled them in his palm, held them in front of her face. Without looking at her he said, "Warm these up, sweet thing."
"It was exciting," she said. "I don’t really know anything about dice—"
"You sure know how to blow on ’em, darlin’."
"—but once you started rolling everything happened so fast, and everybody got excited about it—"
"Because the ones who followed my play got to win along with me."
"—and I got excited, too."
He looked at her. "Excited, huh?"
"And now," he said, "I suppose it’s passed, and you’re not excited anymore."
"Not in the same way."
She allowed herself a smile.
"C’mon," he said. "Why don’t we sit down and have ourselves some firewater."
He had a nice body. Barrel-chested, with a little more of a gut than she might have preferred, and a lot of chest hair. No hair on his back, though, and she supposed he got it waxed at the same salon that provided his million-dollar haircuts.
Muscular arms, muscular shoulders, and that meant regular gym workouts, because he couldn’t have gotten those muscles simply by throwing his own weight around. An all-over tan, too, that probably came from a tanning bed. You could shake your head at the artifice, or you could go with the result—a fit, good-looking man in his late forties, who, it had to be said, was as impressive in the sack as he’d been at the crap table. And if he owed some of that to Viagra, well, so what? He got her hot and he got her off, and what more could a poor girl desire?
And the best was yet to be.
"What we did so far," she said, "was just a warm-up."
"Can I ask you something?"
He raised his eyebrows.
"Have you ever been tied up?"
"Jesus," he said.
"Just imagine," she said, her hands still busy. "You’re tied up, you can’t move, and the entire focus is giving you pleasure. I’ll do things to you nobody’s ever done to you before, Hank. You think this has been your lucky night? You just wait."
"I’ve got all the gear in my bag," she said. "Everything we could possibly need. You’re gonna love this."
Handcuffs, silk scarves, nylon cords. She had everything she needed, and she knew just how to employ them.
The last time she’d done this she’d given her partner a couple of roofies first, and let the pills knock him out before she trussed him up. That had worked fine, but she’d been stuck with a two-hour wait for the son of a bitch to wake up, and who needed that?
This was much simpler. And he cooperated, putting his hands where she told him, spread-eagling himself on the bed. And making little jokes while she did what she had to do.
By the time she was done, he was already semi-erect. She wrapped the base with an elastic band.
"Sort of a roach motel," she said. "The blood gets in and it can’t get out, so you stay firm." "Is it safe?"
"Absolutely," she said. "It’s an old Indian trick. And now you can do something for me, and after that everything will be entirely one hundred percent for you." And she sat on his face and he did what he was supposed to do, and he was pretty good at it, too. He didn’t have to be, she was so excited right now that great technique on his part was by no means required, but this made it even better.
"Now that was just wonderful," she said. She went to her bag, got out the duct tape, and cut off an eight-inch length. "And I wanted to do that first," she went on, "because that’s our last chance for that particular activity."
And she slapped the tape over his mouth.
Oh, the look in his eyes! Worth the price of admission right there. He wasn’t quite sure whether this was going to make it even more exciting for him, or whether it was maybe something he ought to worry about.
But why worry? What good would that do? What good would anything do?
"See, isn’t this neat? You’re harder than ever. And you’re going to stay that way."
She mounted him, felt him swelling impossibly larger inside her. "Mmmm, nice," she said. "Oh, yes. Very nice."
She rode him for a long time. Her climaxes came one after the other, and all they did was pitch her excitement higher. At last she fell forward, her breasts crushed against his chest. A smooth chest would have been nice, but a hairy chest was nice, too. Everything was nice when you could do whatever you wanted, and when you knew just how it was going to end.
She left the bed, reached into her purse, found the knife. She let him see the blade. She let the tip of the blade graze his cheek as she mounted him one more time.
"God, it’s bigger than ever," she told him. "You’re in pain now, aren’t you? Oh, dear, I’m afraid that’s going to get worse. Well, more intense, anyway. Optima futura, you know. That’s Latin. It means the best is yet to be. For me, that is. For you, well, maybe not."
Don’t move," he said. "It makes the blood pump faster."
"Who are you?" Mary Glenny said.
Pelfrey held still as the stranger compressed his neck wound. He didn’t have the strength for anything else. Drifting in and out of consciousness, he heard the man tell Mary, "Tom Podgorny."
"Who?" Mary said.
"Your hero for the month."
(from False Negative by Joseph Koenig)
- o -
"Let me hold this," she said.
She took the cigar out of my mouth before I could do anything to stop her. We were as close as we could get without colliding and she kept on coming. Her free hand glanced off my chest and slid up around my neck. Without her shoes on, the top of her head was on a level with my chin, but she didn’t let that bother her. She came up me like a caterpillar climbing a wall. I didn’t help her, except insofar as the wall can be said to help the caterpillar.
Her lips were open, and I tasted champagne. I’m not enough of an expert on champagne to know if it was domestic or imported. I took a backward step; she stayed with me, and we were now in position to go into the juvenile-delinquent dance known as the fish. Contact was total, and I felt a strong pressure against my eyeballs. It wasn’t painful. It wasn’t even exactly unpleasant. It was just there, and it seemed out of proportion. She shouldn’t have been affecting me that much.
She pushed off. If she had waited a fraction of a second longer we would have gone over backward.
"Weddings always make me feel amorous," she said. "I start kissing people."
Pope lowered his head, and stood absolutely still. "You followed me?"
"I’ll kill you," he said, and then shouted, "I’ll kill you!"
"Why don’t you?" she cried. "Haven’t you had enough practice?"