Precipitation

I should have worn a bigger hat.

More brim, less style.

Add it to the list of things I should have done.

It’s a long list.

I took her hand in mine and kissed it gently. Her fingers smelled of rain and talcum powder. I love the way females waft through life smelling of flowers.

Kissing a lady’s hand was a move I’ve used many times, but with her, it wasn’t a move — it was heartfelt. I wanted to kiss her all over, but it would not have been appropriate, standing on this corner, in the rain.

I should have worn a bigger hat.

To be honest, I didn’t think she would come. There was silence on her end of the line when I asked her, and I closed the call before she could say no.

Her life seems comfortable and ordered. Money does not seem to be a problem.

As I saw her approaching through the rainstorm, I admit to wondering — what was it about me that made her make such a dangerous decision? 

Physical attraction doesn’t leave room for consequences.

Was her attraction to me physical? If it was, it would be a first. No, that’s not true. There was that one girl who liked my legs in shorts, but that was a long time ago, and this woman hasn’t seen me in shorts.

It must be something else.

I’ve always felt that people dismiss me as ordinary until I speak. I do have a way with words, and maybe that’s what it is. Perhaps she thinks something is going on inside this ordinary exterior.

Are the men in her life so boring that she would risk disaster by meeting me, on a Wednesday night, outside a bar on the other side of town — to do, who knows what?

“Were you in the neighbourhood — thought you would drop by and see what I was up to on this damp Wednesday night?” I said with my heart in my mouth.

“No. I came because you asked me to come,” she said.

Her voice was soft, but firm — no hint of hesitation.

“Can I buy you a drink?” I said, turning my body towards the neon sign a few doors down.

“Yes. Eventually,” she said.

My body and my words made me appear calm and at ease. I’ve practised this pose several times in front of the full-length mirror. I ‘liberated’ the mirror from out the front of our local charity shop — the local idiots would have broken it before morning — this was my rationale.

The mirror showed how cool I would look if the world was mirror image — the right way around was anybody’s guess.

My advance planning had stretched as far as standing on this corner at the appointed time. The most likely outcome was that this delicious female would choose the wise action and stay a long way away from me and this corner and the rain and whatever else I might have in store.

The second option was that she would turn up and I would have to behave in a way that would get her to like me enough to want to sleep with me — can you see why I had not planned this far ahead? Even a mathematician would have trouble calculating the odds of that happening.

So, now I was in uncharted territory.

What do I do to get this stylish woman to like me, let alone sleep with me?

“You look amazing. Exactly how do you manage to look that way with rain dripping off your hat?”

“Most of me is waterproof, I guess,” she said, and if I wasn’t aroused before, I was now, and I hoped it didn’t show.

“Come,” I said, “let us away to yon bar.”

I kept a hold on her hand, and she followed me to the glass door under the glowing sign.

Glad to be out of the rain, we performed the same in out of the rain dance that all the customers performed on this night.

I tried to brush some of the rain off myself — a fruitless exercise.

My companion removed her hat and gave it a gentle shake. We chose a booth and sat facing each other. Our shoes touched, and she moved hers so my feet would have room and I have absolutely no idea what that meant.

“What would you like to drink?” I said.

“Scotch — the good stuff, with water on the side.”

A sophisticated choice.

I tried to look smooth as I wiggled out of the booth and went to the bar.

The place was quiet, so the bartender didn’t try to ignore me as most bartenders do — or maybe being with her had elevated my status.

I scanned the range on the top shelf.

“Lagavulin 16, times two and a jug of water, please,” I said, and the sleepy bartender dispensed the drinks into surprisingly clean glasses, the heavy-based glasses that I like holding in two hands.

I paid — way too much — and took the drinks back to the table.

My companion added a splash of water to hers, and the aroma enveloped us both.

“So why did you come?” I said.

I knew it was a dumb thing to say as soon as I said it, but dumb is something I do a lot of.

“I’ve got a better question. Why did you ask me? You know I’m married (she didn’t say ‘happily’), you know I have children and a life. Why would I want to jeopardise that by having an affair with a man who wears hats and writes stories and likes dogs?”

“I’m an optimist, I guess,” I said — and I’m not.

She stared at her drink and gave it a gentle swirl.

She took a sip and hid behind the glass, holding it with two hands. I mirrored her, and we sat there for a moment — silence.

“If I were to let you, you know, make love to me, how would you do it?”

Now, there was a question I wasn’t expecting.

“Is this some kind of entrance exam?” I said, and I was aware of the double-entendre.

“Maybe,” she said.

The soft light and the sparsely populated bar gave an otherworldly glow to this surreal moment. The music playing only added to the illusion.

“I’d run the back of my hand across your cheek, caressing you. You’d close your eyes as my hand touched you, a sensation running down your spine. You’d kiss my hand as it crossed your lips,” I said.

Her eyes were closed, and her lips moved as though she were kissing my hand. I was glad I was sitting down because there was no way I could disguise how I was feeling.

“That would be a good place to start,” she said as she opened her eyes.

I did my best to turn the conversation to other things just so I could catch my breath.

She was enjoying my discomfit. Her smile told me so.

After a few minutes, she uttered those dreaded words.

“I have to be getting back — I’ll be missed. Walk me to my car?”

I did my best to walk calmly to the door and along the pavement until we reached her car — latest model, all the extras. Her husband was a good provider, but I knew that already.

It was still raining. I grabbed her and pushed her gently up against a shop window. It was dark, and I pressed up against her and kissed her on the mouth. She kissed me back, and her hand ran down my back.

“Did I pass muster?” I said. “Will you ring me?”

She wiggled out from under my body, and I felt the warmth of her dissipate.

She opened the door of her car and turned towards me before getting in. She allowed her dress to ride up as she slid behind the wheel. Stockings, thighs and a hint of white lace panties.

The car window rolled down with a squelch and a hum.

She hadn’t answered my question.

“Thank you for the drink, and the conversation, and the kiss. You have very soft lips,” she said.

The window rolled up, and I tilted my head the way a dog would do when it hears an interesting sound.

Her car pulled out from the curb, and I stood wondering what had happened.

Was this the beginning or the end of an adventure?

Was I lucky that it ended so sweetly or sad that it never really got going?

Only time would tell.

If she rang, I would gladly jump into her ocean and swim like there was no tomorrow.

If she didn’t ring, I had the memory of this night — the rain and the kiss and the erection that showed no signs of abating.

Either my luck had changed, or regular service had been resumed.

I drove home feeling warm and loved, even though I knew those things were probably an illusion.

I’m a big fan of illusion, it beats the hell out of reality.

I made a mental note to pay the phone bill. 

This was no time to miss an important call.

New Book: PERIPETEIA, October 31st

The police officer knocked gently on Madame Olga’s front door.

“What can I do for you, young man?”

“I’m sorry to disturb you Madame Olga, but there’s been a complaint about the elixir you sell at the local market. I’ve been sent to ask you if we could have a sample for analysis?”

This wasn’t the first time Madame Olga had received such a request.

“Come in. Sit. Rest your feet. I get bottle and give to you.”

Proper procedure would have been for Senior Constable Wilson to select a sample at random from Madame Olga’s stock and if asked, that is what he would say he did. Wilson wanted this to go as smoothly as possible. He did not want to upset this old lady any more than was necessary.

Olga returned with a small clear glass jar containing an opaque substance. The jar had a golden lid. When Wilson twisted the cap, a waft of menthol filled the air.

“You dip toothpick in and what sticks you rub on back of hand,” said Madame Olga producing a wooden toothpick from out of nowhere.

“That won’t be necessary. I just have to hand it in to forensics, and if there isn’t anything illegal in here, you won’t have anything to worry about,” said Senior Constable Wilson.

“I make you tea and bring you biscuits. I make them myself?”

Senior Constable Wilson’s partner, PC Billy Pepper looked pleadingly at his superior.

After a pause, Wilson said, “That would be lovely,” and they made themselves comfortable on Madame Olga’s old couch.

After two cups of tea and several biscuits (which were just as tasty as you would expect), the two officers made their leave and headed for their car. They noticed the gentleman next door watching them as they left.

“Do you want to give it a try, Senior,” said Pepper, “you know the boys at the lab will have a go.”

Senior Constable Wilson had heard about the effects of Madame Olga’s elixir.

“Why do you think she calls it Peripeteia?” said Pepper.

“Probably named after a gypsy king or something,” said Wilson, unscrewing the lid. He pulled the top off his pen and delicately dipped the tip in the mixture. He rubbed it on the back of his hand and sat waiting for a reaction.

Madame Olga’s next-door neighbour, Tony, noted that the police car stayed parked outside her house for almost an hour.

What he didn’t witness was the journey that Senior Constable Wilson was taking while being strapped securely into the driver’s seat of the stationary police car.

A FEW DAYS LATER.

“How did you get on with the cops?” said Tony, who was pulling out a piece of greenery from his front lawn. Tony doesn’t like things to be in the wrong place and on this morning, he took a dislike to a dandelion that had the cheek to grow in his lawn without an invitation.

Olga bent forward to see if the postman had left her any letters. She heard his noisy motorbike a bit earlier, and it sounded like he had stopped at her gate.

“They took away a sample of my elixir, apologising a lot, saying that some person thought I was selling LSD. I told them I don’t know what that is — which is not true, I do know,” said Olga holding back a chuckle.

“They haven’t taken you away in chains, so I guess they didn’t find anything?” said Tony.

“A nice cop phone me, say that it only Vicks and mint and something else they don’t know what, but definitely not illegal,” said Olga with a sense of satisfaction.

“So that’s it then. Did you find out who dobbed you in?”

“No, but nice cop said he wants a jar and could he have a few jars for the forensic staff and I said yes, I give them a special price and they are very happy.”

 

Untitled 15

What if it was possible for you to see into your future? What if it was not as simple as seeing? What if you had to choose between a series of possible futures? Would you? Would you want To? How would you deal with all the possible consequences? Madame Olga could help you. That is if you can find her.

PERIPETEIA

a very long short story

Pre-order now for release on October 31st 2019

 

audiobook

https://bookmate.com/audiobooks/pb6IdLbx

https://www.audiobooks.com/audiobook/peripeteia/401416

https://books.apple.com/us/audiobook/peripeteia/id1483876758