[If you have not already done so, you must
read the Introduction
Revenge Should Have No Bounds 004
Chapter 1 (2 of 3) – The Clients
I read slowly and purposefully. I savor the unfolding tale. I pause often to contemplate the words I have just pored over, and from time to time I jot down a phrase or fleeting idea in a little pocket notebook I always carry with me. After an hour or so I tuck away Mr. Tacitus and let my mind float in contemplation of Bernard’s relentless with-it-ness, the city’s crackling edginess, the imminent meeting with Walter, the luxurious notion of spending the rest of the evening all by myself in my co-op.
I start for the hotel, and since it is a spectacular autumn day with an incandescent sun high in his heaven I decide to walk the twelve or so blocks rather than take a cab. I don’t mind the crowded sidewalks; their anonymity leaves me feeling comfortably alone. It is just past four, so I make the time to browse the windows and their expensive displays of goods. I do not fail to see myself reflected in their polished glass: long legs, short red skirt, creamy blouse, a red felt beret.
Yes, I do have the look.
A book store has mounted an eye-catching display of lush art books to coincide with the new show of Spanish paintings on tour from various European museums. A few doors further along is a justifiably renowned pastry shop that is a branch of a Parisian original; its display appeals to a different appetite.
La Ville is an upscale hotel on the corner of Vale of Lilies and Ibis where everybody who is somebody stays. It’s the place to hang at if you want to see and be seen. Even people who don’t want to be seen are seen there as they go about their furtive assignations.
I like the place.
The suites are always immaculate: the beds are large, the showers spacious, the towels nappy and plentiful. The room service injects fresh meaning into ‘expeditious’ and the management is as discreet as it is discrete about its guests. It sits on Halcyon at the corner of Ceyks and overlooks a pleasant park replete with walking trails and a small lake for boating and swimming. La Ville has its private dock and beach with direct access from the lower lobby. In the summer I like to sunbathe there for a little while if I’m a bit early for a client. Families love it.
The main lobby is vast, airy, and Renaissance cavernous. It is its usual bustle of grouped guests and service personnel seeing to the small pleasures of late lunches and afternoon cocktails. Bellhops and a large party of Japanese tourists with tour guides throng the check-in counter in anticipation of their stay in our fair city. A susurrus of chatter enfolds the area, interrupted by the dinging of bells, the ringing of cells phones, the too enthusiastic laugh. In passing I notice several working girls I know fairly well, but here we studiously avoid acknowledging each other. I wend my way through this happiness to the banks of elevators at the north end of the lobby. I enter the express for floors twenty through thirty along with some teenagers in beachwear and two clusters of golfers raucously talking up the morning’s foursomes at Viridian Hills. I pretend to be unaware of the insouciant stares of all concerned. I just have that effect on men. It’s something about pheromones, I’ve been told by some of my medical friends.
When I knock on twenty-two-oh-three Walter opens the door and, beaming, invites me in with a flourish. Walter is in his early seventies, a retired English professor once of some note in his field of twentieth century American literature. I’ve been seeing him for over a year now, and we share a mutual comfort. As a sophomore at the University I had actually taken a course from him; after I’d gotten to know him I pointed this out to him, but he did not remember me. It had been a fairly large class. Walter had been a dying breed: a professor of English and American literature who still read, taught and thought about English and American literature and believed it was a worthwhile as well as enjoyable thing to do. By the time his age cohort finally had the decency to retire even the deconstructionist had been consigned to the dustbin of once oh so fashionable theories and the department was colonized by hordes of hegemonic neo-colonialistas and their many diversities. No more Beowulf, no more Shakespeare. It’s why I had switched my majors from English and Film with a minor in Poetry Workshop to Computer Science and Classics with a minor in Accounting. But that’s a tale for another time. For now, Walter and I always enjoyed talking about the latest books we had read.
Walter’s wife had died about ten years before he retired, but, as he had once confessed to me, he was still interested in women. “Of course,” he added, “the fires that once burned so ferociously are now banked, but the embers linger.” We had no regular schedule, but every two or three weeks he would call the Service and arrange something with me.
I genuinely liked Walter – indeed, I like most of my customers. He was cultured and refined. He was extremely well read along a wide gamut of interests and he had an attractive mind that was as sharp as ever. He was up on everything from world politics and the latest Bordeaux vintages to jazz, philately, and restaurants. He was no Charles Atlas on the physical front, but who is at his age? Sometimes he didn’t even want sex with me, just companionship, as he called it: pull the sheets down and cuddle naked together on the bed. He might fondle my breasts, run his hand through my pubic hair, and imagine that he was thirty. If it came to sex, it was slow, soft, gentle. Sometimes he’d come, sometimes not. It hardly seemed to matter to him. But if he felt like it, I’d help him. He was never shy about asking. But always the gentleman with me.
“How have you been, dear?” he asked.
We hugged briefly.
“Pretty busy, Walter. Like usual. And you?”
“I never have trouble filling up the day. I’ve hardly made a dent in the shelves of unread books I have. And new restaurants are constantly opening up.”
“I had lunch at Signora the other night. It was class all the way.”
“Ah, yes,” he nodded, “I did have dinner there about a month ago with my son and his wife. Great wine list, especially the northern Italian ones.”
He took my hand and led me over to the bed. We stood each on one side and pulled the cover down, exposing the crisp clean whiteness of the sheets. We lay down and hugged. After a while Walter began slowly to undress me, peeling off my skirt and blouse. He seems to like savoring what is to come by exposing me in just panties and brassiere. Then Walter takes all his clothes off, and he is pleased to note that Mr. Johnson is erectly oblivious to his age and its putative obtunding of desire. He lies on his back and moves my hand to where he lives with intensity.
TO BE CONTINUED