Love To Die For 14/27 AFTER ALICE

When a girl in a flowered summer dress comes into a nightclub you tend to take notice. The Club advertised for a temporary teller and if they were expecting any particular type it would have been a washed out dance hostess or cocktail waitress rather than a full-figured twenty-year-old with a Meg Ryan face who brought more attention round the cash register than the stage.   Harry had been manager only a couple of weeks. After a string of affaires trying to unfreeze his heart in the aftermath of Alice, and a range of ventures ending in a wine bar disaster, he saw an ad in The Times for manager of a gentleman’s club in St James’s. Suits me, he thought, nice steady job supervising armchairs of elderly colonels expiring behind their newspapers. Might even come across his ex-boss from the Army.

Two things woke him up: the interview took place in a plush red-lit basement and Gabriel, small face, big nose, asked if Harry had ‘run any girls in the wine bar.’

‘Girls ran in and out all the time.’

‘Did they go with the customers?’

Ah! ‘If they wanted to,’ he said. ‘I didn’t get involved,’ thinking Gabriel must have known as much about trendy wine-bar clientele as Harry about the kind of gentlemen who used his club.  Gabriel looked relieved. ‘It’s important not to be seen to be involved. But you have to keep control. If a hostess leaves with a client and then comes back the same night and goes out with another you could get done for harboring prostitutes.’

‘Of course.’ A new world beckoned.  ‘The waitresses aren’t allowed to go case at all. We pay them travel expenses, dress them in Janet Reger basques and they make their money from tips. Because they’re not available the punters want them more and offer them a lot to go out. You have to watch them.  The strippers get a fixed fee per performance. They’re not allowed to go case either and mostly they’re too busy anyway.’

‘Stripping?’

‘Running. To make any kind of a living they have to work three or four clubs a night. We do two shows every evening, so each girl gets two spots. So they spend their time running from place to place, changing, performing and running again. We try to fit in with their schedule and give them the spots they want.’

‘Hard work.’

‘Everyone works hard in the night business, Harry. Punters see the performance. We smell the sweat. The staff, musicians, barmaids, teller, desk clerk and doorman, are company employees and get a wage. Look out for fiddles. The cigarette girl, photographer and flower girl pay us to work there. Jeanette – front desk – manages that side of things. You just have to keep an eye they’re not overcharging the punters.’  Gabriel stood up. ‘You’ve got presence,’ he said, ‘you look honest and you learn quickly. Running a girlie-club isn’t difficult, just different. Pick the right girls, beautiful, sexy, discreet, keep a nice mix of dark, blonde and black. And keep the press out. They are quite obvious. They come in wanting something other than sex and don’t spend any money. And be nice to the Vice Squad. Don’t offer till they ask, and then get a signature, or at least take a note of name, date, what, how much. And if anyone mentions protection refer them to me. The office deals with that for all our clubs. We have the connections.’

He handed Harry a wad of bills from the inner pocket of his pearl suit. ‘Spend an evening at the Club as a punter. Find out as much as you can without letting on who you are. See if you can spot any fiddles, listen out for loose talk about clients.’  That night Harry learnt about the bishop who likes being led around naked but for a dog’s collar, the judge who likes being birched, and which celebrities prefer anal sex. His first job was to fire the three girls who talked. So he also learned the easy-come easy-go ways of the night, a place where the working day changes its name at midnight and the currency is corruption.

The new teller had a naughty twinkle. Harry watched her cashing-up. At four a.m., money in the safe, Bert the doorman said goodnight, leaving them alone.  ‘How was it for you?’ he asked Sally.

‘I never seen so much cash.’ She had a South London accent.

‘Really? I thought tellers saw heaps of it all the time.’

‘Never been a teller before either.’

Another phony, like him, chancing it in the night.

‘Want to go for a drink?’

‘I want to dance.’

‘Candy Box then?’

‘Can’t we dance here?’  His heart started. He found the soft amber lights for the stage and put on a tape. Sally swayed to Fever and her hands danced over her body. Harry swayed in front of her, blood thick in arousal.

‘I like Maria’s act,’ she said, ‘I’m going to learn to do that with tassels. D’you think my boobs are good enough?’ With one smooth movement she lifted the flowered dress over her head and jiggled her naked breasts. He stared at a pair of green tartan boxer-shorts. She laughed.  ‘Boobs, mate, boobs!’  She caressed the underside of her breasts then, suddenly, turning her back, pulled down the shorts, bent over and wiggled. Over her shoulder she said, ‘You’re over-dressed, Mr Manager.’

The spirit of Holly lives! Black tie, dress shirt and tuxedo flung over the stage couch, he danced behind her, holding her hips. She put her hand down between her legs and grasped him, putting him inside. Wow. And wham-bam. They became a single being, a four-legged animal, swaying to a loop of Fever without end.  The room flooded with fluorescent light. A team of cleaners came in, widened their eyes and retreated.  ‘We’ll come back later, boss,’ one shouted. The lights went down again and their laughter sounded from the lobby.

Sally and Harry stayed together almost a year. Well, not entirely together because they were both living with other people, she with a girl lover, Harry with Beli who had wedding plans. Numbstruck after Alice and his divorce Harry had started by drowning his sorrows but found more relief drowning his duck in every pond in the garden. He had suggested getting back with Anne but she wasn’t having any, instead fell for a realtor who treated her worse and squandered to boot, in a booming real estate market, her entire inheritance on a tide of bad deals before eloping with an illegally employed young barmaid from the Weald of Kent. Allegedly hung like a horse, he chose lamb over sheep.

Bright fluffy hair, fit young body, soft Liverpool accent, used to be a groupie with the Lovin Spoonful, now worked in Sales Aids for the ex-Para’s business scam, Beli jumped at the chance of sharing the apartment Harry had bought in Pimlico. A Liverpudlian lass, grown up in government housing with the soccer team in the days when they came from Liverpool, determined to improve herself, she got a secretarial diploma and changed jobs until finding one in line with her ambitions, in the House of Lords, eventually making do with an Hon’ble, a younger son, with whom she emigrated to the West Country.   Harry rented a room above the restaurant hired for his wedding reception. Honoring the tradition of not shagging the bride the night before, he spent it in bed with Sally and her buddy Linda. They were into hash with their sex and next morning first thing he heard was a banging at the door.

‘Harry! What the fuck! Church in twenty minutes.’ It was his friend Jimmy.  Only ten minutes late after Jimmy jumped every stop light between Fulham and Pimlico but Beli wasn’t pleased, waiting with red face in white dress, and her Mom even less so. ‘Outrageous,’ she cried. Mom had never liked Harry especially not since his remark that a woman who carries the Pill in her purse doesn’t know where she’s going to spend the night. Should have looked first but there you go, didn’t get on and never got off.  Rather than break up at the church Harry and Beli tied the knot and went on to the reception. Drunk on champagne with residual hash-effects, he couldn’t resist slipping upstairs for half an hour with Sally and Linda…

***

*Yes, there’s more to this story, so read on with a click here!

Extract from a Story a Week for 27 Weeks, so come back soon – or take the short cut and buy them now with a click!

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Love To Die For 13/27 SOLDIER, SAILOR

Alice sat at the kitchen table, drunk. Wild-eyed, face covered in scratches, blouse ripped, hands clawed. Chivas open, brightly colored Hermes headscarf too tough to tear crumpled on the floor.

‘Alice, Alice…’ She looked up, face contorted, ‘What did they say? What will you do? You’re dumping me, aren’t you?’ she stood, shoving the chair backwards. ‘You are, you are. They – are – bastards! I hate them! bloody – fucking – shit – bastards.’

‘Alice, I love you, but Alice, darling, don’t you see…’

‘See what? What? Fuck off you shit! Go back to your fucking wife then. Go on. Get out. You shouldn’t have come here unless you still wanted me. Go on, fuck off goddam bastard-cunt…’  She kicked the chair aside, ran round the table, grabbed a knife from the rack and hurled herself at him. Harry ran.   His driver took him home. Anne sat looking at herself in the mirror as she spoke on the telephone with her mother in England.  Harry felt the stirrings, looking at the reflection of her heavy breasts in the open shirt.

Her mother had warned her about him but otherwise didn’t try to stop them. People married young in those days. Anne was seventeen when they met to the sound of ‘Get off my Cloud’ and the scent of Ma Griffe at a dance at her parents’ house in Kent.  They fell in love to ‘I Got You Babe,’ were engaged a year later with ‘This Guy’s in Love’, and a year after that walked down the aisle in a flower-filled church in Chelsea to ‘All You Need is Love,’ emerging to an honor-guard and bagpipes skirling ‘Amazing Grace.’ (Harry wanted ‘Flowers of the Forest’ but Pipe-Major said that was a Lament, ‘Not good karma for a wedding, Saheb.’)

 ‘He’s here,’ Anne said to the telephone, put it down and turned. ‘Well?’

‘It’s done. I’m back. And I’m sorry.’

‘Oh Harry for God’s sake don’t give me that crap any more. You’re sorry till the next blonde. Just think about the kids, will you. I don’t want them growing up watching you shit on me.’

‘D’you mean you want to split anyway?’

‘No. I mean I want you to stop behaving like you’re still single. I’m sick of it. Holly, Charlie, God knows who else. I want a husband who won’t be unfaithful.’

‘Oh. One of those. Where do they come from?’

‘Shut up and come to bed. I just wish I could stop loving you, bastard!’  They made up with the easy moves of familiar passion, laced with tears of sorrow and forgiveness. She was a conventional girl who said she had never touched herself in that way and if she loved her teddy-bear she kept such things private.  They satisfied each other like missionaries and as she drifted into sleep Harry’s mind drifted into Alice, her intensity, her sexuality, her craziness. He felt the feelings flow in his body, and turned again to his wife. Did she have secret thoughts too? Could he keep his secret? The texture of their flesh was different, the shape of their bodies, the heat, moisture, taste and fragrance of their inner flesh. Harry fantasized about converting to a polygamous religion and having the two of them together, but Anne had been shocked when in the past he hinted at anything even mildly ‘experimental’. And she’d got rid of Charlie quick-time.

 Colonel John was right. Alice would get over me, Harry thought, and I her. But his heart beat faster when he thought of her and the pictures in his mind were of her, naked, writhing, rubbing, and of her face changing when she came. What would happen to her now? They said they would not send her away again. Again? He felt jealous of what he did not know.   At ten o’clock that night the phone rang. Anne answered. She listened, then gasped, started shaking.

‘What?’ She shook her head, handed him the phone, went under the covers. Harry heard the brutal tones of Patsy, Alice’s mother.  ‘She took an overdose. She’s in hospital. I’m telling you because I don’t want this to change anything you…’

He was gone.   The Military Hospital stood on a hill. He braked at the foot of the steps, stormed up, smashed through the doors, ran along corridors shouting Alice, Alice until God or somebody led him to her bedside. She’d had her stomach pumped.  He stood by her bed saying I love you until the Military Police took him away.

 The next interview was with the General who invited Harry to resign his commission and sent him back to England with his family. At Stansted Airport Anne’s childhood friend Poppy met her and between withering looks at Harry shepherded her and the children out of his life. His eyes filled with tears. The lump in his throat choked the words he could not find to say. He became aware of a rare emotion in his abandoned soul. His first Dad left him at that age for death in the service of his country but what was the difference to a tearful little boy? His siblings deserted theirs. Will their children’s children be afflicted with this deep abiding coldness, craving the fierce heat of new love? Even unto the fourth generation? Or is it the reassurance of conquest?

 Anne and the children went to her parents in Kent, Harry to a studio in Chelsea. He trudged the streets and scanned the papers for the kind of job that would suit someone like him. The Army paid him for a few months. He sent it to Anne. Eventually found work with an ex-Para selling business opportunities in chancy schemes.  Alice stayed in the front of his mind, his first waking thought and the last before he went to sleep dosed with Black Label. He tried to telephone her in Hong Kong. Sometimes he got John, who was friendly but unhelpful, or Patsy, unfriendly and more unhelpful, until one day two months later when she didn’t hang up but said, ‘No, you can’t speak with her. She’s not here. She’s in hospital again. A Navy officer this time. Also married…’

***

*Yes, there’s more to this story, so read on with a click here!

Extract from a Story a Week for 27 Weeks, so come back soon – or take the short cut and buy them now with a click!

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Love to Die For 12/27 COLONEL JOHN

Harry didn’t know when he’d felt so scared. Guts like water, he wanted to shit every step to his office next to the Colonel’s in the Headquarters Building. Harry’s deputy, the Assistant Adjutant, best man at his wedding, sat at Harry’s desk.  ‘What’s going on, Dick?’

‘He wants me to come in with you.’

That’s when it sank in how serious it was. His life, his career, flashed before his eyes as if he were a drowning man, from the moment he signed the oath through all the years of adventure and misadventure, ‘from the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli,’ all the fun of the fight and all the fun with a k, from the rooftops of Wanchai to the debs of the King’s Road, pale lilies and dusky maidens, the crack-thump of the bullets that missed him to the hollow crump of mortars, and the smell of napalm in the morning.

He saw all the parades and ceremony, from the red coats of the line to the rifle green of the Gurkhas, the brief passion of contact to the dawn mist of the jungle, climactic moments, feats of power and endurance, victory and conquest, the glory of a warrior born and bred of a thousand years. How he loved war, more than love, more than sex, more than life. And nothing blunts conscience so well as war, for atrocity is its trade. He had stood before the tomb of the Black Prince, read ‘sic transit gloria mundi’ and translated it as ‘live fast, die young,’ and remembered the good times he only heard about next day sober. Was he ready for comeuppance?  ‘You ready, Harry?’  He snapped to attention. ‘Go on.’

Dick came round the desk, held open the inner door. ‘March in!’  Harry marched in at rifle pace, halted, turned, fixed his eyes on the regimental crest on the wall.  Dick’s voice, ‘Captain West, Colonel.’

Soft Etonian drawl, ‘Thank you, Dick. Harry.’

He looked down at him. ‘Colonel.’  Lieutenant-Colonel John Baker MC, Eton and Sandhurst, Commandant, Gurkha Brigade Depot, in olive-greens ready for the firing-range, seated in a leather armchair in front of his desk. The back of Alice’s framed picture, in its usual place. He waved him to an armchair beside his. Dick remained by the door.

 Harry recognized the scene. It had been he where Dick stood when some other unfortunate officer had been brought in for Colonel John’s particular brand of admonishment. A true leader, never criticizing what you are, only what you do, he had led Harry before when they were both a rank lower in a different theater. They had a rare rapport. John, a hero who, without exception, showed grace under pressure, quintessential English, establishment, fourth generation Gurkha service. Harry, crazy, intense, wild colonial boy who’d say and do anything to get what he wanted. John called him a two-edged sword. ‘I know,’ he once told him, ‘whatever I give you to do, you will not stop or rest until you have done it.’

‘Aren’t you the same?’ Harry responded.

‘No. I just give the orders,’ and they laughed, over hot sweet tea in a cool jungle dawn, a brief interlude in the chase after their Sandhurst-trained foe and his AR15 armed troops, both sides made equal by John Bull and Uncle Sam Colt. John borrowed Harry’s cigarette to burn a leech off his elbow. ‘I quit smoking seven years ago,’ he said, ‘but at times like this, mist rolling back, sun glimmering through the canopy, I want one as much as ever.’ But he didn’t inhale. It put Harry off quitting for years. Even without any leeches about.

 Now, on the edge of his armchair, Colonel John turned to look at him. He looked a long time. Was he remembering too? No, this wasn’t a remembering look. This was a look sizing him up. Or stripping paint. Straight in the face. Between the eyes. Harry held the gaze. Clear gray eyes. Like hers. John ran the pink tip of his tongue along the underside of his clipped mustache. Harry’s mind detached, to kissing a girl who shaved down there. Not Alice.  The Colonel brought him back. ‘Harry,’ he said ‘you could have a good future…’ so, this wasn’t to be the end, ‘…but you keep putting it at risk with your drunkenness and general misconduct.’  He must have weighed his words, measured the dose for the lowest level of pain to remedy the complaint. He didn’t seem angry but very, very serious.

‘Colonel, I’ve never been unfit for duty…’ Harry began, but stopped when John held up his hand. No excuses. Never complain, never explain.  ‘Harry, have you any idea at all of how much we protect you?’

‘From what?’ puzzled.

‘From yourself, you idiot, from the consequences of your behavior!’ He waited, silent.

‘Do you understand why we do it?’

He shrugged a No.  ‘It’s not just because we like you! We need officers like you in combat, in action, but in peace time, frankly, you can be a liability. There is a cut-off point. You have reached it.’

He paused, then, ‘Dick, would you go out for just a minute?’  Was that it? Just a rocket, soft delivery, low impact? As the door closed behind Dick, John continued, ‘That was business, Harry. This is personal. Will you stop seeing her?’

Harry dropped his eyes. His stomach suddenly felt small and hard and tight, his throat nauseous. He couldn’t look up.  ‘She’s a young girl, Harry. She falls for people. She’s done it before and she’ll do it again. But you are dangerous.’ The Colonel stood, crossed to the window, outlined by the light. ‘Even if you were single I wouldn’t want you around her. You know you can stop yourself. If you stop then she will. It might take a while but she’ll get over it. We can’t send her away again. Her mother and I realized that doesn’t work, not after the last time.’

‘What last time? What happened?’

‘She hasn’t said anything to you?’

Harry shook his head. Obviously she’d had experience but he had not asked about previous relationships. He never did, with anyone, thinking that the best way to stop them asking about his.  He felt really strange hearing her Dad, John, his C.O., talking about her.  ‘If she hasn’t told you, she has her reasons. I’m not going to, and I ask you not to ask her. But I need to know if you will now stop.’

‘Anne said you were speaking to Alice this morning. What did she say?’

‘I ask you again. Will you stop seeing her?’

‘If I agree, will you let me tell her myself?’

‘This is the last time, Harry. Will you stop seeing her?’

Harry held his head in his hands trying to still the thunder and took many long breaths. The years rolled by and visions of years ahead. He could see only chaos and confusion. He looked up. ‘I’ll stop, Colonel John. And I’m really sorry.’

The Colonel stepped away from the window, put his hand on Harry’s shoulder. ‘Then let this be the end of it.’ He called to the door, ‘Dick! Come in please….put it on record I have warned Captain West about his conduct and have him sign it. Harry, take the day off, go home to Anne, start putting things right.’

What could he do? Would she be at polo tomorrow? Today was Tuesday. Tuesday…they had a standing arrangement to meet on Tuesdays at the apartment. He would go there and tell her, face to face, with love and gentleness. If they hadn’t locked her in …

***

*Yes, there’s more to this story, so read on with a click here!

Extract from a Story a Week for 27 Weeks, so come back soon – or take the short cut and buy them now with a click!

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Love To Die For 11/27 THE COLONEL’S DAUGHTER

Alice confided in one of her married friends whose husband was away on maneuvers and who let them use her apartment while she shopped in Kowloon. Small, modern, décor bland, decorations portable in the style of military quarters whose occupants would exist for a two-year tour and move on, it became a haven where, naked at last, they could learn each other’s bodies and love in the afternoon on the army-issue officer-standard double bed.

‘I want you. All the time,’ she said, ‘from the moment I set eyes on you.’

‘Love at first sight?’

‘What’s the other kind?’

To celebrate their first month, Harry booked a room in the Peninsula which had just bought its eight Silver Shadows. He pictured romping in one with Alice but it didn’t work out that way. People they knew or who knew people they knew populated the bars and restaurants. Getting through the lobby demanded mastery of invisibility or at least disguise. In his enthusiasm Harry forgot the need for a seventeen-year-old, however independent, however willful, to get home before parents send search party. Or armed posse. He even forgot he ought to get home to his wife, until something reminded him. It’s easy to get carried away when you think you’re in love and damn the consequences.

She loved that afternoon surprise of luxury, performing a seated strip on the massive bed, telling him just what she was going to do to him, and to herself, once everything had come off. She loved doing it herself, he watching, and then watching him. She loved to tease, touching herself, touching him, darting away, young proud breasts dancing until he chased and grabbed her, wrestled her to the floor and pounded in.

For seventeen she knew some tricks, running her tongue up his back from anus along spine, up his neck and turning him over down the front of his body, licking his chest, sucking his nipples and kissing down his belly until her mouth was in his loins and his between her legs and there they stayed, licking, sucking, kissing, buried in each other’s groin, rubbing faces from side to side, vibrating tongues on sex, tantalizing until seized by the frenzy that will not be denied, the insatiable Mistress O.

‘And now do it to me!’

‘Do what?’ And this she loved, and so did he, as her arms went round his neck and her lips brushed his ear and her voice described what she was going to do to him in every tiny detail, playing the strings of arousal as her soft voice breathed the words, her body rhythmically rubbing, her legs spread against his thigh, pushing into his hip, a little faster, slowing to a tease, then rubbing hard to one of her seemingly unlimited orgasms.  ‘Boarding school,’ she said.  ‘Tell me more,’ he said, and she did, and showed him too and kept him up with sexy little stories of female frolics. So, he thought, that’s what Dads pay for.

 She’d wanted to go back to UK, work in Fine Arts, one of the auction houses, maybe do a degree, but for now she had to stay with her parents. ‘They want me home for a while – home’s anywhere when you’re in the Army, isn’t it? I didn’t want to come to Hong Kong but now I’m glad. Sotheby’s can wait. I’ve got you, now.’  That caused a frisson. Anne had used those very same words on their wedding night in Claridge’s, after the more than drunken reception in Knightsbridge. ‘Now I’ve got you,’ she’d said, rolling naked on the floor, not knowing what and who he’d done the night before, Anabel, another story. Those words scared the shit out of him then. Now he just murmured, ‘Yes, you’ve got me, Alice, but now I’ve got to get home.’

‘To your wife.’

‘And kids.’ he added, ‘don’t worry, we’ll work something out. Just give me a bit of time,’ the mantra of the unfaithful.  ‘One more,’ she sighed, sliding her glistening fingers down as she knew he loved to see her take her private pleasure, the gentle beginning, the quickening of breath and finger, the point of no return when her face changed and nothing could stop her, and that was when he would grab her hands and hold her down and make her lie still, but she could not, twisting and crying until he relented when, desperately reaching for climax, her hand rubbed free while he thrust deep into her shuddering screaming ecstasy.

It felt strange seeing her father, every day.  He would watch Colonel John carefully for any reaction to anything he said, any difference in behavior at work, in the Club, at dinners when they sat around silver-laden tables, gorged on mediocre food and drank loyal toasts. And on polo days. John played, as did his wife Patsy who rode hard and shouted loud, the kind of woman Harry didn’t get on with, having no sexual buzz about her at all, and played like a man.  He still went out with friends and colleagues, and only Mad Mac said anything. They were eating steak and fries and drinking Buds in a converted godown restaurant open to officers, other ranks, civilians and locals. ‘Young Girl Get Out Of My Mind’ came on the juke-box and Mac said to Tod, ‘They’re playing Harry’s song.’ He took no notice. Not a good strategy.

 Next morning Anne faced him as he was about to leave for work. ‘We need to talk.’

‘I’ve got to go in now. I’ll be late. The driver’s waiting.’ He made himself sound calm and tried to push by her to the door.  She stepped in front of him. Five foot four of rigid frigid contempt. Voice vicious. ‘Colonel John is expecting you to be late. He’s talking to Alice now. It’s got to stop…’ Visions of shit and fans filled Harry’s mind. She went on ‘… I thought it was just going to be one of your quickies. I thought if I left you to it, it would blow over. But it hasn’t, has it? ‘  He shook his head. Usually he could put them out of his mind, the casual infidelities, but he thought about Alice every moment of every day except when engrossed in work or riding for goal. He had looked into the future and seen her at his side. Or on top. Or underneath. Love, lust, whatever. Her sexuality was his magnet. As his for her.  Anne’s cold rage brought him back. ‘For God’s sake, Harry, why the fuck did you pick on her…’  It would have been ungallant to say she’d picked on him. He said, ‘It just happened.’

‘Bollocks. You can’t bloody help yourself, can you? You know you’re fucking your career too, don’t you. You’ll get kicked out.’  He could feel blood drain from his face and his throat dried.  Anne took a breath. She was wearing the red hot-pants they designed together and had made up in Penang, their previous posting. She said, ‘John doesn’t want a scandal. Nor do I. If you stop, if she stops, then nothing happens. It won’t go any further. He won’t take disciplinary action.’

‘It’s not an offence,’ Harry began but she shut him up with a voice of scorn.  ‘No? How about conduct unbecoming? Don’t kid yourself, they’ll find something. You know how much of your drunken rioting’s been overlooked – in fact that’s the only good thing that’s come out of this sordid little affaire, that you’ve stopped beating the place up. Now go!’ She turned away. ‘Anne, I’m sorry I’ve hurt you but it’s not a sordid little affaire.’  She spun round, arms akimbo. If her eyes were flashing fire before, now it was lightning. ‘What are you saying?’

‘Nothing. Just that it’s not a…’

‘Do you love her? Do you think you’re in love with her?’

‘I didn’t say…’

‘Just tell the truth. What do you feel? Tell me. Go on.’

‘I don’t know.’

‘Pathetic! Fucking pathetic, Harry. You and truth, total fucking strangers. You’re like those pathetic creatures whining “sorry darling, it’s not you it’s me, I’ve met somebody…” like they don’t want to say they’ve cheated, they’ve shit on you, they’ve fucked you over. Fucking outrageous.’  Pathetic creatures was one of her favorite expressions. He developed an artificial sense of injustice, retorting ‘Oh, really, Anne. And how would you know about those pathetic creatures?’  Virgin when they met, unfashionable in those days, she said she’d never been with another man, not even when military duties had taken Harry away to the jungle for months at a time and revved up his sexual appetites for when he returned to civilization, or Singapore anyway, to Lisa and Holly, while she in London awaited the wedding day even after well-meaning friends hinted about his lifestyle.

‘I know a pathetic creature when I see one, Harry, and I see one standing in front of me right now.’ She started to cry. ‘Oh God, this is pointless.’ Then, after a moment, angry again, ‘Get out. Go in and see the Colonel. See if you can save yourself, and I’ll see if I can stand the sight of you when you get back.’

***

*Yes, there’s more to this story, so read on with a click here!

Extract from a Story a Week for 27 Weeks, so come back soon – or take the short cut and buy them now with a click!

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Songs of the Beasts

The Yellow Emperor summoned the Twelve Beasts of the Cosmic Zodiac and bade each sing him a song

I Will Survive, squeaked Rat

Ox  lowed, Everything’s Alright

I Light the Night, roared Tiger

Rabbit whispered, Imagine All at Peace

Higher and Higher, sang Dragon

Snake hissed, I Have No Hands To Be Tied

I Wanna Be Free, neighed Horse

Sheep bleated,  All I Need Is Love

Let Me Entertain You, chattered Monkey

Rooster crowed, Look At Me Now

I’m Your Best Friend, barked Dog

Pig grunted, I’m Everybody’s Friend

Huang Ti clapped in applause.  ‘What about you, Boss?’ chorused the Beasts.

‘Well done, Beasts,’ declared the Emperor, ‘for minimising YouTube ad pollution….’

‘Sing!’ they yelled.

You won’t get any sleep,’ he said.  See what they thought of his song.

What Beast are you?  Do you like your Song?  Or what Song would you like instead?

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Love To Die For 10/27 THE ALICE AFFAIRE

Nicole Kidman face, white-blonde hair, black alice-band, honey-colored angel-dress, trumpet sleeves, bare honey legs, Courreges boots: the Colonel’s daughter. Sitting beside Harry’s wife: brunette, blue alice-band, tie-dye top, blue bell-bottoms, flip-flops, children.  He felt their eyes on him as he dismounted at the pony lines and walked across the field, treading in. The divots weren’t too bad in the dry. Footballers got upset when the horses carved the ground up. A bank of girls in dark glasses filled the pavilion stand. She put hers on as he approached.  ‘Hello darling, this is Alice Baker, just out from UK. She’s dying to meet you.’ He knew who she was. He worked for her father. Making the morning reports he would try not to look too obviously at her photograph, framed in silver on the Colonel’s desk.

‘Hello Alice.’ Did her hand squeeze a moment longer than convention? Harry felt both excited and uneasy. Same symptoms. He kissed Anne and their little ones, Georgina and Justin, little hippies in flower-power dungarees.

He’d always wondered about dark glasses. Never wore them himself, preferring sunlight. He bought a pair next day, very dark with thick sides so Anne couldn’t see where his eyes went. Convincing himself the squeeze was deliberate he wanted more, still thinking like a bachelor after four years of marriage, acting like one too when chance was there to be taken.

 Next polo day, Duty Officer, war-room keys chained to his wrist, Harry had to sleep in the Officers Club across the field from the pavilion. Lunch, mulligatawny soup, kedgeree, gin pyoz: big slug of gin, a little warm water, tiny pearl onions sozzling at the bottom, served up in a shallow glass, dash of angostura to make it pink and interesting like the best things in life. A few of those, anything goes. Including Harry. Once he stepped out of the bar, onto his pony, fell off the other side.  It was OK to play on duty. If the Chinese invaded the orderly could run on the field and tell him. He would Paul Revere to the war-room. They always said they’d take Hong Kong with a phone call.

After the game, tea in the pavilion. Cucumber sandwiches, brought from the Club, delicate china cups decorated with green crossed kukris, silver sugar bowls, linen napkins, white-gloved orderlies, the Raj in remnant. Anne took the kids home for tub time.  Alice, tea cup balanced on knee, sat talking with a dark-haired Gunner lieutenant and a couple of young Hussars in striped polo shirts, sweaty white riding breeches, brown polo boots, sprawled in rattan chairs. From where he hoped he couldn’t be seen ogling her legs, Harry stood chatting with Robin, old bachelor major, kind face with lines of glory, passed over for promotion. Like Harry, bored in peace time, unlike Harry, OK with it, Robin ran the rifle range out in the sticks and came in to Sek Kong for the polo. Ball-player more than horseman, he would steal goals while the cavalry rode each other off.

 People drifted away to homes and barracks dotted around the New Territories. Alice’s parents had gone, as had the young Gunner. A few lingered, Mac, short, bearded Texan who ran the civilian stables, Tod, cynical Long Islander, typical big American. Tod claimed to represent an import-export firm called Ciao but asked what it was they imp or ex ported would grin, ‘Just stuff, y’know. Products.’ Harry liked to hang out with them and listen to them avoid talking about what they really did for a job. 

She wasn’t talking to anyone in particular, looking edgy, Ray-Bans pushed back, glancing his way often. Dark eyebrows, clear gray eyes.  ‘Anyone for a drink in the Club?’ Harry made the invitation general. People had things to do, places to go, people to see. He needed one or two, for cover.  Mac said he had business to attend and drove off with Tod in an aerial-encrusted van, American Laundry painted on the sides. No-one ever saw Mac take in any shirts and once when Harry asked him to do a few he stared at him like he was stupid.

 ‘Come on, Robin,’ said Alice, flirting, ‘let’s keep Harry company. Someone has to.’  The three strolled across the field. A group of soldiers were converting it back for soccer, tamping wood blocks into the polo goalpost holes, setting up for another week of pedestrian sport.

Leaving Alice and Robin in the bar, empty on a late Wednesday afternoon, Harry checked out the Duty Officer’s quarters. He thought of taking a shower but didn’t want to be away too long. There were stories of Robin’s preferences as there were always stories of bachelors in their forties but you never knew, and Alice had an air of sexual charge that made men hard from twenty yards. And Harry wanted to keep the smell of horse-sweat, the energy of having ridden the afternoon with a huge animal vibrating between his legs.  Polo, he thought, sexiest game ever. Sweating heaving galloping horses, slapping leather and drumming hooves, fierce rivalry between riding warriors. Boxing was violent, football tough and baseball elegant. Polo combined everything in a divine blend of war and sport, and girls do love horses! Watching the blondes at the matches he knew why they wore dark glasses and bit their lips and crossed their legs, nostrils aflare – like the horses.

He returned to the bar. Robin was telling a Gurkha story, one where a young soldier just out of training had been given the task of washing Robin’s car.  ‘…and he did. Buckets of warm soapy water, sponge and cloth, he washed it. Outside and in. He washed the dashboard, carpet, seats, trunk, opened the hood and washed the engine. He only stopped when the battery spouted sparks and he realized maybe some parts don’t need washing. It’s not that he was stupid. They don’t have cars in the Himalayas. He was carrying out instructions. Without question.’  ‘Isn’t that a bit scary?’ she said.  ‘It’s where they have the edge.’

She was drinking brandy and ginger. Robin looked settled, holding a beer. The Sherpa bartender stood at ease, smiling, impassive, starched white jacket, colorful Nepali topi on his head. Harry orders a Tiger, bartender springs to attention, clicks open the can, pours into a silver goblet with grapes and flowers in high relief, places it on a salver engraved with the name of a long-gone comrade, comes round the bar to present it like priest offering communion. About turn, back to the bar. Robin starts another story. Alice and Harry look at each other. It is enough.  ‘I need the bathroom,’ she said and went out.  ‘What’s going on with you and Alice?’ said Robin.  ‘What d’you mean?’

‘Come off it, Harry. You’re playing a dangerous game.’

‘For God’s sake, Robin! Nothing’s happened. Why, she say something?’

‘Didn’t have to, old boy. I’ve seen the way you look at each other. Others must have noticed.’

‘Shit.’

‘Don’t let it hit the fan, mate. What about Anne, your kids for Chrissake. You’re lucky, Harry. Not many men have what you have,’ raising his voice, ‘and more to the point she’s only seventeen – and her father’s your C.O.’

‘OK, OK, I’ll take her home. Stand in for me for an hour?’

‘She lives ten minutes away.’

‘Robin.’

‘No, dammit. If there’s nothing going on then I’ll take her home.’

She came back to her bar stool. Harry got in first. ‘Robin and I can’t decide who should take you home.’

Robin said quickly, ‘He can’t anyway. He’s Duty Officer.’

‘Oh, Robin,’ Alice pleaded, ‘couldn’t you take over for him? Just for a couple of hours?’

 And so it began. Discreetly at first. After handing the war-room keys to reluctant Robin they walked to the long grass at the end of the polo field, Alice in step at Harry’s side. The opposite way from the parking lot. Neither said anything. He thought she could hear his heart. He still had on his polo gear. ‘Should we pretend to hunt for a ball or something?’ she said. He liked her voice, clear, like her eyes, like her skin, like her way. She could not pretend.  ‘It’s nearly dark,’ he said.  ‘Never too dark to find balls.’ Her hand reached out as they kissed, that first sweet taste of honeysuckle, but the polo-breeches were tougher than denim. ‘Get these off,’ she said, husky, pushing him down in the grass after a few moments of standing struggle.  ‘They don’t come off that easy. Boots first. Needs a boot-jack. You put your heel in the V and pull.’  ‘I know! I’ve got a V. I can jack. And pull.’ Yeah, thought Harry, as she turned her back, knelt and poked her butt out. The dress rode up – nothing underneath. Natural blonde.

Sitting behind he put one leg between her thighs and, hoarse with excitement, rasped, ‘OK, pull! Mind the spur.’  Grabbing the heel in both hands she lifted his booted foot to her crotch and started to ride. His breeches were ready to burst as she rocked on the leather, breath loud and fast. He lay back and struggled with his fly, wrenching at the heavy metal buttons until he came free. He was about to pump in time with her when she looked back at him over her shoulder gasping, ‘It won’t come off.’

‘Hold tight,’ he said, lifted his other foot, placed it against her bare buttocks and shoved.  ‘Wheeee!’ she cried and fell forward, holding the now empty boot and they didn’t wait for the other one to come off because his manhood was out and roaring rampant and he knelt behind, rammed in, and they mated like the survival of the human race was at stake.  ‘No underwear?’ Harry said later as they lay catching their breath.  ‘Took ’em off in the john.’ That got him going again, the thought she’d planned it.  ‘Oh, it was long before that,’ she said. ‘I’ve been squeezing my legs round you all afternoon, watching you ride that pony, thrusting your hips, it was all I could do not to make myself come sitting next to your wife, thinking about you fucking her and me. Talk about wet!’

Fishing in her purse Alice pulled out a scrap of white cotton with a pink teddy motif and threw it in his face. He breathed in her fragrance and she buried her face in his groin. ‘Ah, horse,’ she murmured and her hand went down to find his already there. They lay side by side in the grass, rubbing each other to ecstasy, watching their blurring hands, feeling their hot juices and smearing them over their flesh.  ‘Pink Teddy bears?’ Harry said, looking at her panties now soaking up both their come.  Alice grinned, really naughty. ‘I love my Teddy.’

‘Ah!’

‘You must meet him. You can watch us.’  In all my philandering, thought Harry, I had not met anyone quite like her. Since Holly.  ‘I love to love my little Teddy.’ She was exciting herself again, breath coming faster. ‘More,’ she cried, ‘come on, do it again, yes, now rub my panties on me, yes, right there, yes, that’s it, oh God, that’s it, yes, yes, yeeeees!’  Mounting again he rode her hard until the night air chilled their drying sweat. He dropped her home with whatever story she had, and took himself back to the Duty Officer’s quarters. They knew they’d see each other soon. Can’t help it in a small military community like Hong Kong…

***

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Extract from a Story a Week for 27 Weeks, so come back soon – or take the short cut and buy them now with a click!

 

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Sweetening Sweetie

We’d had her a while but she looked like she was pining after we moved house.  You know how it is, you’re busy, you think ‘I’ll deal with it tomorrow,’ and next thing you have a crisis.  I asked someone who knew about these matters, but what they told me was too vague, really, didn’t give me the confidence I needed to take action.  So I went online to one of those web sites that give specialist advice.  I had to spend a little money and a day or two later the items arrived, with chillingly comprehensive instructions.  Couldn’t go wrong.  I printed them out in large font – didn’t want my glasses getting in the way in the struggle I knew was to come.

Gently I lifted her up, cleaned her up down there, and following the exact format probed around with a chopstick to get rid of the clingy bits.  Then came the challenge, holding her still while I snipped and trimmed.  Finally, moistening the bed, I stood her up and tied her in place with the special wire provided.

Now it’s a matter of wait and see.  She does look good.  We always knew they needed extra care and attention and sure thing I’ll make sure she gets it in the future.  Just looking at her gives me pleasure.  I completely understand Mr Miyagi’s love for his.  Now she is re-potted perhaps she will love me back.  When we bought her years ago we named her Sweetie 2, after our first bonsai went to bonsai heaven.

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