Sunday, February 7, 2016

A Cop of Cafe

When she first met Calvin Morcombe, he'd just been demobbed and was still wearing his Military Police uniform. He sauntered over to the cafe where she was quietly sipping tea and contemplating a slice of Pavlova. She barely saw him approach but heard his velvety voice.

"Morning Miss. Could I cadge a cigarette?" His bright blue eyes were dancing like light on water and he beamed a smile as wide as the Bass Strait. Her breath was taken away as she reached for her packet of Capstans and offered him a smoke.

"Mind if I sit?"

Louise nodded approval and before long, the country girl and the soldier were immersed in conversation. He told her of his campaign in North Africa, his childhood in Nowra and study of Medicine in Sydney. How he adored living among the snow gums and crystal creeks of the Snowy Mountains but would prefer to live somewhere more cosmopolitan one of these days. He outlined his plans to set up practice and become a famous surgeon on Macquarie Street. She told him of her affection for theatre and dancing and her gratefulness that the war was over and life could begin again.  She was electrified, mesmerised by this handsome man with great prospects, her passport to freedom. She neglected to tell him of her boredom in such a parochial outpost and her yearnings to be a socialite.

Louise was a secretary for a local law firm, Cal about to return to medical practice and looking for a small town location in which to build his patient list.  Funny how a shared cigarette brought them together. If one could call it 'together'.  At least he'd slipped a ring on her finger and relieved her from from the boredom of stenography.  Just as things would swim along, he'd interrupt their relationship for short breaks into Sydney, making a long distance home visit or attending a course to further his career. At first, it was for a couple of days, but lately, days extended into a week or two.

Upon his return, he'd bring her gifts. Flowers, chocolates, nylon stockings.  He'd even arrived home last time in a brand new car. A Holden the colour of pale sunshine, they could ill afford it but she loved it, and the prestige that came with it. They'd christened the back seat down by lake Jindabyne steaming up the windows while the snow fell outside. She loved that car, not just because of their back seat love making. It reminded her of the desire for big city living and all that it encompassed, but they had to start somewhere and for now, this was home.

He'd also shower her with affection each time he returned, and for a while, things would become  normal. She trusted him with her heart, her life. He was her life. She, an only child. Her father killed in the Pacific and her mother long gone, frustrated by the constraints of a gossipy little town. He however, was somewhat circumspect about his emotions, his finances, his trips away. The secrecy began to tear at her. Her constant inquisitions began to annoy him.

"Cal, who is this patient in Wollongong? And if you're doing all these courses, where's your certification?" She'd pry. "Where's this hundred pounds a month going?"

He'd never answer directly, just hold her and kiss her. His constant intimation that he was doing it 'all for her'  and to not worry her pretty head about business matters was working. She felt guilty for being suspicious. 

"Lou, trust me. It's necessary. If I don't keep on top of things, we'll never progress to a bigger practice. You want that don't you? More experience, more money? A move to somewhere a little more exciting and sophisticated than this Godforsaken hamlet."

She did. She did want more. She wanted it all. She was a doctor's wife. She wanted the hustle and bustle of the city, intelligent conversation, access to theatres, dance halls and fashion. Yes, she wanted much more. As did he, but what he wanted did not include his increasingly nosey wife. The parochial country girl trying to play debutante. She was beginning to annoy him and his desire for more sophistication. Climbing the medical ladder to success did not include dragging an ignorant country girl along. He'd already found a replacement. More refined, more appropriate. Frankly more beautiful and ultimately more suitable for his career objectives.

He had a plan for Louise. First to undermine her, then to make her look unstable. Then to be finally rid of her. He would talk about his frail wife to his patients.

"She really needs a break . . " He'd say when they enquired after her.
"She's not happy here"
"She's taking medication"
"She has a heart condition"
 . . . the slow trickle of deception began to breed in a town where everyone talks.

"That poor doctor", "How does he deal with such a woman", "Dear man deserves better."


"I'd like to take out an insurance policy." Cal leans back in a Winchester leather chair opposite a bespeckled clerk at Mutual Insurance in Sydney.

"Right, I'll just take down a few more details, your date of birth . ." the clerk begins, pen in hand.

"No. Not for me. For my wife." Cal retorts whilst examining his newly manicured fingernails.

There are benefits to being within the medical fraternity. Normal protocols can often be waived for such pillars of the community.

"Of course sir. We would normally require your wife's signature but, seeing as you're 'remote', we can probably dispense with that formality Dr Morcombe."

The clerk doesn't bat an eyelid and continues questioning on the nature of the policy and the policy holder. "What amount would you like to insure your wife for?"

Again, Cal is cool, he's already done the math. "Oh, I think probably fifty thousand pounds would do it."

She never saw it coming. Not for a moment. It was a delightful drive. They'd done it many times before, picnicked by the lake. Held hands and skipped pebbles. Had coffee in the cafe across the road then driven too fast along the Alpine Way. Sometimes, they'd sneak into a lay off and he'd kiss her tenderly, then vigorously before sliding his hand beneath her skirt.

"Wanna get in the back seat?" he'd asked that day. She'd complied and started to remove her underwear. He slid on top of her and caressed her hair. This time, he didn't kiss her. He put his manicured hand across her mouth and nose and placed his full weight on her sleight body.  A small hypodermic needle in hand, he'd injected a pocket of air into her carotid artery. She'd resisted violently but he was a strong man and pinned her down until she moved no more.

The autopsy showed nothing other than coronary distress and myocardial infarction. Unusual in one so young but then everyone knew that she had been under enormous stress and pressure. Cal knew that she also had an atrial septal defect and just 20mg of air forced into an artery would be fatal and untraceable.  His obvious distress at losing a wife so young, so lovely engendered sympathy and affection rather than suspicion and criticism. He'd got away with it.

Her 'distraught' husband of course, could no longer live in their house and had made arrangements to move to Sydney.  The house and surgery were closed as Morcombe prepared to move to the city. Furniture had been forwarded to a new address. He merely had an overnight bag and a full tank of fuel.  Keys in the ignition, he started the car, checked his wing and rear view mirrors and left Nimmitibell and stone cold Louise behind him forever.

It was that very turn, next to that very lay-away, where they'd done the deed and where she'd met her fate. He checked his rear view mirror, more on reflex, or perhaps the draught felt at the back of his neck. His face palled and the world went by so slowly and yet so fast. It was her, smiling in the back of the car, her face translucent, her eyes dead, her once pouty mouth smiling as he slammed on the breaks - too late.


"Nice car! Barely damaged apart from a bit of a scrape on the bumper."

The first Officer on the scene scanned the surface of the vehicle, "Ah, broken windscreen too." It was moments later that the limp and lifeless body of Dr Calvin Morcombe was found hurled 20 feet from the front seat. Bloodied, broken and contorted, it was not a pretty sight. But it was the expression on the corpse's face that brought an expression of terror to a young Jindabyne policeman's visage.

"Bloody Hell, looks like he saw a ghost!"

Somewhere  in Sydney, an unknown blonde dressed in an imported Chanel suit presents an insurance policy to a bespeckled clerk.

"He nominated me as his next of kin,"

A black gloved hand takes a large cheque from a clerk's fat fingers. Red lips smile seductively.

"Thank you . . . "

"Jeremy, Jeremy Nathan . . ." The clerk can barely make eye contact for fear of getting a hard-on.

"Thank you Jeremy." The blonde sashays from the bank, kisses the cheque and places it in her purse.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Clutch and Choke

It was a good day for fishing in the Peel River, its dry banks moistened by the receding waters. It was more of a deep creek at this time of year.  It yielded little but large carp. Too bony to eat but easy to catch. Joe Franklin and his pal Finn Riddell wandered along the bank of river gums in pursuit of such a catch. Joe, a larrikin of a lad, the perfect foil to the quieter and stumpier Finn.  His gangly legs bearing the beginnings of adult hair, yet his body lithe and thin, he was built like a streak of Pelican Shit.

"You're havin' a growth spurt!" his Nana had said as if it was something surprising for a 15 year old boy. "You'll be 6' 3" like your Grandad before you're 18!"

Finn, the smaller of the two, had yet to embrace the bum fluff moustache of his counterpart. Fresh-faced and freckled, he'd been forced to don a stripe of zinc across his fair nose. The perfect foil to the the chocolate smudge embracing the corner of his mouth.

Their hook lines and sinkers had been carefully packed in canvas packs along with a swag of Vegemite sandwiches wrapped in waxed paper and tucked into brown paper lunch bags. Each had a flask of Cottees lime cordial and a small tube of Aerogard to deter biting insects. The flies that summer were in plague proportions. Not even the Australian wave was enough to deter them. Finn's mum, God bless her aproned form, had been slaving away dipping small squares of sponge cake into chocolate then covering the iconic 'bricks' with coconut. She'd popped a couple of the Lamingtons into each of their lunches but these were devoured long before the boys reached their 'secret' fishing spot. Each laughed at the other, as they extended their tongues to the sides of their mouths to salvage  remnants of chocolate. The 'lammos' were delicious.

It was hot. Christmas was over and the school holidays in full swing. It was a perfect day for casting and hooking a couple of carp. Little else swims in the Peel at this time of year. Occasionally, the local trout hatchery throws in a few tiddlers but the carp manage to out compete the little tykes and rarely can a full sized rainbow be fished in here.  The River Oaks made swishing noises in the hot breeze. Cicadas tuned in and out with their deafening song. Occasionally a cockatoo would screech its objection to the interlopers below then settle quietly among the River Oak branches happily crunching on its seeds, the husks fall noisily to the bank below.

As they approached their familiar lair, the boys peeled off their rucksacks and began grubbing around the banks for anything that might do for bait. At best, they'd find a wichetty grub or a worm. At worst, they could use the crusts from their sandwiches. Either way, it was the doing of the thing rather than the prize. Carp are poor eating so they'd throw them back anyhow.

"Finn!" yelled Joe.

The two boys had slowly separated, scrounging with deep concentration amongs the shale pebbles an deep into the soggy mud below.

"FINN!" Joe yelled again, with some urgency.

"Look what I found! Think there might be any money in it?"

Joe was waving a small clutch purse. Pink leather with a silver chain. The kind of purse he'd seen his mother take to the Masonic Hall Ball on Ladies nights. A posh purse that she saved for special occasions. Finished in now muddied satine with a small rusted pearl clasp.

Finn ran along the bank, slipping on the wet shale stones and recovering his composure after wiping more muddy smears on his shorts. No care about the scolding he'd get upon arriving home for being so dirty and having grazed his knees. By the time he reached Joe's side, the small purse had been pried open and its contents were being removed and placed on warm shale pebbles to dry.

"There's some coins!" Joe's smile of delight assured Finn that there was probably enough for an ice cream on the way home. "Not much else. A lipstick and a hankie."

A flash on the water elevated their gaze. The river being low in the height of summer was normal. What was not, was the appearance of a smooth yellow metallic form, the sun glinting blindingly from its wet surface.
"Waddaya think it is?"

Joe's head cocked from side to side trying to work out what it could possibly be. Finn shielded his eyes with a hand coated in black mud, leaving yet another smear across his forehead.

"Dunno. Might be an old car or something?"

Little went on in the country town of Nundle. A sleepy village on the outskirts of Tamworth NSW. Years ago, when gold was found at Hanging Rock and Swamp Creek, it had been a bustling town of prospectors from all over the world. But since, it had reverted into a small farming community. Everyone knew everyone. If a baby was born, everyone knew about it. If someone had an affair, everyone knew about it. If there was a prang at the corner of Gill and Oakenville, everyone knew about it. Few of the township even owned a car so it was a mighty big deal when one ends up in the drink. This latest turn of events however seemed to be the Peel's best kept secret. The boys were hell bent on solving the mystery.

Bait gathering and fishing became unimportant as both boys stripped down to their shorts, leaving shirts and shoes on the bank. They waded in to examine the object. As they forged a watery path across the shallow creek, it became clear that it was indeed the roof of a car. Snagged on an old log, probably during flood time in Spring. From the bank, only the roof could be seen but the body of the vehicle had formed a natural dam. As they rounded the object the discovery of pink fabric, flowing atop the water and a partially decomposed corpse had them terrified and excited. Still seated, her faded pink gown, remnants of brunette hair flowed gently with the current as if trying to escape their anchorage. A choker of pearls, still in place around neck.

"Bloody Hell!!" both boys spat in unison. "Better call the cops."

The whole town turned out to watch the palaver that involved retrieving the vehicle. Instructions were being yelled left right and centre as men tried to tie a sturdy rope around the  Holden 48-215. The muddy water's of the Peel barely revealing the grisly passenger within. Women raised hands to their mouths in horror, shocked at the discovery but not so much that attaining a voyeuristic position was a priority. Mumblings about how 'awful' it was, how things like this just don't happen in Nundle. It took a good 10 men to secure the vehicle and unwedge it from the sticky mud. As men hauled and harrumphed, the car began to move slowly across the river, towards the bank, leaving little eddy's and whirlpools in its wake. Harry McCormack, the most senior of the two officers on duty that day, began to wave the crowd away.

"Nothing to see here folks. Go back to what you were doing. This'll be a job for Sydney detectives."

As he shooed the reluctant audience from their viewing vantage points the car slowly emerged from it's watery grave. Water gushed from the windows as the body of the woman was slowly revealed. The men, pulling the rope had their backs to the ordeal but when Harry McCormack took a closer look, he began to laugh. Not just a snicker or a giggle, a hearty belly laugh, a guffaw in fact. He'd seen some crazy things before, but as a country cop most calls involved drunk and disorderly, an occasional kerfuffle with local Abbos and the odd domestic. Joe Curry had shot himself accidentally in the face years ago but he was an ape and most thought it poetic justice. But what appeared to be a young woman in a ball gown, in the prime of her life, now lifeless, had him clutching his belly in hysterics.

"Alright fellas, good job," he managed to stutter through his tearful giggles, "Looks like we've rescued a Mannikin!"

Continued in Part 2 A Cop of Cafe

Posted for River of Mnemosyne Challenge No. 7
Clutch and Choke

Monday, February 16, 2015

To Bury a Mountain

Continued from Muse 8: Ghastly Truths

The flames had subsided and a thin pall of smoke was rising through a hole in the roof of the Goddess. The front window was shattered and firemen were cleaning up around the debris. A small crowd had gathered to watch the event in the darkness of the early morning. The fire had looked more spectacular than it actually was.

A phone call, a mad dash in the car and Reya and Iris stood in disbelief. A paddy wagon was parked next to the fire engine, Dave's terrified face peering from the caged window at the rear.

The fire chief introduced himself and explained that he thought it was arson, they found a pile of blackened 'smalls' in one of the dressing rooms and the smell of petrol was quite evident.

"It'll take a proper investigation but I'm pretty sure this was deliberately lit. We found Dave up the street at Mulligans, drowning his sorrows and smelling of fuel. The cops have him in the van. You might want to follow them down to the station." He gave Iris a nod and turned back to the cleanup at hand.

  "Reya, he wouldn't do this. I know he wouldn't do this!" The desperation in Iris' voice honest and convincing. Although even she thought he might be capable of such a thing after his violent reaction to her indiscretion.  

The structural damage wasn't huge, plenty of water and a load of soaked stock but Reya was insured. It wouldn't take much to repair the window and clean up the mess. Reya tip-toed amongst the puddles and broken glass. A  large pile of blackened silk and lace smoldered from the first dressing room. The firies had done their job and prevented the fire from ripping through the whole shop. Most of the mess was the result of water dousing the flames.

Dave was 'escorted' into one of the holding cells. He's known to police round here. Not for any wrongdoing but because he's a local and a decent bloke. They're all on first name basis.  He's drunk as a lord, out of character for this clean-living, hard working man. 

"I threw her out . . .it's all my fault, I threw her out .  ." was all he kept mumbling.

"Take it easy Dave," reassured one of the Police Officers, "Let's get you out of these clothes and you can sleep it off. We'll talk about what happened later."

The Sergeant instructed his young charge to find a clothes for Dave, before retaining the fuel stained trousers as 'evidence'. 

Dianne was furious that Iris had declined to leave with her.  She was convinced that this one would be easy. She'd wasted weeks on this little recruit. Iris was to be her key. Her passport out of debt and a way to a new life. Dianne's story paralleled that of her nemesis. A young girl on a terminal spiral into depravity. Only Dianne had succumbed to smack to relieve the numbness of being slavered on by rich old men. She'd also become a slave to her 'manager' Joe Camilleri. She was a prize at the Platinum Club, one of Joe's most sought after girls, and she owed him money. She owed him a lot of money. She'd accumulated a mountain of debt that needed to be buried, eliminated and Iris, or someone of her ilk was to be here payload.  He'd guaranteed to let her go if she could find someone to replace her willingly and with youth, beauty and talent. Iris had all these attributes but that cow Reya had talked her out of it.  

Dave couldn't focus. The house was quiet, empty without her.  He went through the top drawer in the bedroom. She'd taken everything. Even the lilac underwear.  Being alone right now wasn't good for him, he was going to head into town. He needed a drink.  

He didn't recognise her from the beach. It was dark and he hadn't got a good look at her face. As he drove closer to the stalled Corolla and the frustrated brunette kicking its tyres, he suspected nothing. The woman ran her fingers through her hair and looked as if she was on the verge of tears. 

"Dammit! Not now you rusting piece of shit!" She yelled at the inanimate object as if by some miracle of magic it would just begin running. 

She looked up and eyeballed Dave who had slowed down and wound the passenger window. He felt compulsed to say something even though he wasn't really in the mood.

"Can I help?"  

"I dunno, I think I've run out of petrol" She replied, clearly exasperated.

"No problem, I have a jerry can in the boot."

He pulled over to the curb, popped the boot of his car and retrieved a 10 litre plastic container with a yellow spout. 

"Here, open up the petrol cap. I can give you enough to cruise into town."

As he poured the liquid into the tank, the yellow spout became dislodged. Petrol oozed from the cavity and splashed all over his clothes.

"Damn thing, does that all the time!" he quickly replaced the spout and continued pouring. 

God, I'm sorry." Dianne feigning guilt that her rescuer had doused himself with petrol.

"No mind. It'll wash out. There, try and start her."

The car coughed a little but started. 

She wound down the window, thanked him and took off.

The Jerry can had given her an idea. Hell hath no fury.

She'd ruin both of their lives and be gone before midnight. Nobody knew who she really was, what she really was or where she really came from.  Breaking into the shop was a snack. Just a simple lock on the back door. A deadbolt and alarm having never been installed in the rush of reservations. A small detail neglected.  She doused the shop, arranged a pile of lingerie in the first dressing room, having it smoulder for a while would give her time to escape. She'd be long gone before anyone suspected a thing.  As the garments began to burn, she slipped quietly into the night.

 Reya decided, rather than renovate, she'd close The Seventh Goddess, attend to the structural repairs and perhaps lease it to another owner. The insurance money was more than enough to see her into an easy retirement. 

Iris had enrolled in night school and had the farm for sale. Dave wouldn't be out of prison for four years or so and she was no farmer. But she was a country girl, not designed for the big smoke. She'd stay at Wiseman's Cove.

In a small town, not too far from Wisemans, a tall brunette is now a blonde, holding the hand of a woman barely past puberty. Stroking her face and telling her how beautiful she is and how well she could do as a dancer in the city.

The End

Muse 1 "The Seventh Goddess"Muse 2 "The Forensics of Spume"
Muse 3 "The Way of the North"  
Muse 4 "Virginal Zoophilia"   
Muse 5: "Stakes and Lies  
Muse 6: "A Meal of Her Loins"   
Muse 7: "Controlled Burn" 
Muse 8: "Ghastly Truths"  
Muse 9: "To Bury a Mountain"

Ghastly Truths

Continued from Muse 7 Controlled Burn

Iris turned up on Reya's doorstep with no more than a single suitcase on wheels. She looked tired and a little forlorn. Leaving Dave had been harder than she thought. He wouldn't speak to her and had avoided her company completely for the last 24 hours as she packed a few things. She'd left without saying goodbye, just left a hand written note pinned to the kitchen door apologising and thanking him for being a good man but just not good enough.  He tended his cows and didn't enter the house until she'd wheeled her case down the driveway.  His heart empty and angry.

The two women sat at a small kitchen table, a sliver of light forming a beam across the floor in the early evening. Reya poured each of them a cup of Earl Grey and put a small plate of ANZAC biscuits on the table. She brushed a sleeping cat from her chair and sat in front of her young assistant.

"I'm going to tell you something. I want you to listen. The city is no place for a young woman with nothing. And Dianne . . well, she's not all she seems. I've been doing a little investigating and, you my girl, are about to make a huge mistake. One that I made many years ago."

Iris sipped her tea, blowing the hot surface to cool it down.

"I left Wisemans when I was just 17. I'd had a huge row with my parents. Well, Let's say I wasn't the best of daughters. I ran off the rails a little. Wasn't particularly good at school but I had a pretty face and a nice body. I'd experienced men . . anyway, that's beside the point. I did the same as you, packed a bag and caught the next bus out of town.  I had no more than a hundred bucks in my pocket, nowhere to go and nowhere to stay. I was so young, so stupid, yet I thought I was being clever and independent, I just hadn't thought it out.

I found a hostel that was cheap and started looking for work. I was surrounded by bars, strip joints, dive's. Drunken men lolled in the street, hookers stood in doorways.  I was befriended by the woman who ran the hostel. Most of the 'visitors' were women, some bought men back to the dorms. I tried to get work but I was inexperienced. Nobody would hire me so I began doing chores for rent. I'd clean, take bookings. She was good to me. She fed me, let me stay, even gave me a little cash. .  She'd stroke my hair and tell me how attractive I was, that I should be a model or a dancer. She flattered me, bought me clothes. I thought she was becoming my friend but no, she was literally grooming me.  One day a very well dressed man came into the office and she asked me to leave. I could see them talking and looking at me through the glass pane in the door. I knew they were talking about me. When he emerged from his conversation, he asked if I'd like to work in his club. He wasn't bothered about the fact that I was only 17, "I won't tell if you don't." was his response.

I started as a waitress but it wasn't long before I was dancing and stripping. Being ogled by drunks, slobbered on by old men.  Along with it came a stiff drink or three for courage, a line of coke, or two, or three. It was a downward spiral of stripping, sex, drugs. It was supposed to be 'no contact' but when someone throws $1000 at you for a blow job in a booth, it's hard to say no. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. The money was great and I wasn't qualified to do anything else. I did pay off the debt but it left me empty. Beneath the tough exterior, I became lost, sad. Others danced to fast loud music, I chose Sade and Rickie Lee Jones. I remember dancing to "It's OK, it's not that bad . . " But it wasn't OK. It was awful. It was like taking Valium and becoming disassociated from everything. There was always some financial emergency, a reason to stay or more to the point, nowhere to go."

"You think Dianne is recruiting me? For something like that?" Iris' mouth is agape.

Reya took a sip of her own tea, "Yes, yes I do."

"What happened? How did you get out?"

There was this woman, she'd been a stripper herself and started a sort of rehabilitation program for dancers, hookers, addicts. She befriended the bouncers on the strip that I was working and would leave small bags for the girls. They had things like cosmetics, donated toiletries in them and literature on a support group to help us quit. I began to squirrel money away, took it easy on the coke and started going to her support group. I was still dancing but managed to save, a lot. It's lucrative but demoralising.  Iris, I was one of the lucky ones, I had a head on my shoulders."

Reya continued, explaining how she'd stayed in the club for almost five years yet still attended the rehab group. How they'd found her work in the retail industry. First as a shop assistant, still dancing at night. She'd grown through the ranks, ran her own department, finally left the sordid world of clubs and leering gazes to become manager of her department. She'd never married due to the shame she'd carried from her previous career. She'd taken lovers but none had stayed once they knew her past and, at 50 years of age, she decided finally to come home to where it all began.

Iris, my point, is leave if you're not happy but not like this. Plan ahead, acquire some skills, find somewhere safe to live and work you enjoy. Stay away from Dianne. Stay here for a while if you need to wrap your head around what to do but stay away from that manipulative woman. She's bad news. I've known her kind.

As if on cue, Iris received an SMS.

"We're going tomorrow. Found you a job. Platinum Club. Meet me at 10. Mulligans bar. :* Di.

"Reya, she's found me a job, what should I do? I can't go home, I can't stay here indefinitely."

Reya opened her laptop and Googled "Platinum Club". "Look you silly girl, look at this joint. You want to be a pole dancer, a stipper, a sex worker in the dark end of town?"

Iris' eyes begin to well as she checks out the web site. Its banner in Flash showing women covered in foam, languishing on tables, wrapped around shimmering poles, the faces of onlookers pixelled to protect their identity.

"Is this what you really want?"

Iris began to cry.

Muse 1 "The Seventh Goddess"
Muse 2 "The Forensics of Spume"
Muse 3 "The Way of the North"  
Muse 4 "Virginal Zoophilia"   
Muse 5: "Stakes and Lies  
Muse 6: "A Meal of Her Loins"   
Muse 7: "Controlled Burn" 
Muse 8: "Ghastly Truths"  
Muse 9: "To Bury a Mountain"

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Controlled Burn

Continued from  Muse 6: "A Meal of Her Loins"  

He was waiting for her when she arrived home, barefoot and wet hair. He, in not much better condition, the edges of his trousers sodden and damp sand deposited throughout the living room. 

She knew immediately something was wrong. That somehow he knew. 

"Where the fuck have you been?"

One short question with a single curse word stopped her in her tracks, had her reeling, wondering what to say? What to do? Where go go? There was no hiding from this.

"I wagged class and went for a swim. Gonna take a shower." 

As she made a half turn to walk away from him, he rose from his chair and hit her hard on her right cheek, knocking her to the ground and spilling the contents of her shoulder bag. 

"Dave for fuck's sake. I just went for a swim, what is wrong with you." 

Iris was stunned, her hand held against a growing red welt on her cheek. He'd NEVER hit her, never. Perhaps this time she deserved it. He knelt beside her and put his hands hard on her shoulders, pushing her down onto her back on the cold wooden floor. He straddled her and with one hand across her mouth began undoing his trousers. She flayed at him with her arms and mumbled indiscernible abuse through his hand. He was furious, she'd never seen such anger in his eyes.

"Fucking bitch. I gave you everything. I allowed you to do everything, and this is how you repay me? You lie, you deceive, you let some lesbian bitch do what you never let me do! " 

She's struggled wildly and managed to connect a knee to his crotch and he released his grip momentarily. She rolled from beneath him and crawled towards the door, trying to rise as he lunge at her, pulling her down by the hem of her shirt.  They scrambled, limbs flying and fighting. She hit him in the chest and lashed out with tanned legs. He bent his forearm across her throat and pinned her down until something clicked and he reneged. He was left kneeling, exhausted, confused at the animal he'd become. She lay still, breathing heavily and stunned that he'd ever do anything like this.

"Dave . . ."

"Shut the fuck up. Just shut up."

He wiped his mouth with his hand but the slow burn of hate hate had already begun in his heart. He's never flashed like that. For a moment, he wanted to kill her, snuff her out like a candle flame between wet fingers, but he couldn't. The silence while they collected themselves was palpable.  She, sunk into the depths of shame and he simply in a state of abject disbelief that he could have had  such thoughts about the woman he supposedly loved.

He picked himself up and pulled up his fly. "Get out. Just pack your things and get out." Then disappeared, slamming the front door behind him.

Iris knew better than to argue. It's her fault, he clearly saw, and she's hurt him beyond belief. Crazy thing, she didn't feel an ounce of guilt and realised that she wasn't in love with him anymore. He bored her but until this, he'd been a safe bet, a good provider and easy to get on with. She wasn't in love with Dianne either, it was just a moment in time, an experiment, a brief infatuation. It was awesome, it was frightening, it was outrageous. Now, things are looking up, she has permission  to leave her dreary, cow-stenched life and go back to where she belongs. And if she's lucky, Dianne might come with her.


Dianne's face betrayed her inner joy at 'mission accomplished.'

"She's good," Dianne studies a slightly chipped, painted red fingernail while nonchalantly talking to a male voice on the other end of the phone.

"Oh she'll do it, she just left her husband, doesn't know a soul. No skills other than retail and pole. Won't take much to push her over. She'll do it."

"You're a clever girl Di." The male voice clearly appreciative of his protege's recruitment efforts. "She looks good in the photos, just need to break her in."

"Yes I am Joe. I'm very good at what I do, but it's time to end it. She starts, I leave. That's the deal."

"You got it baby. If she measures up. You're free. Debt paid, nothin' else to talk about."

"See you Saturday Joe. Be there." No sooner has she hung up and there's a text message from Iris.

Dianne needs this. She needs the stupid country girl to come with her. She needs to be absolutely sure there's nothing left for Iris in Wiseman's. The marriage is over, she's sure of that. Poor poppet messaged asking to stay but . . Dianne put her off.  

The polished red nails speedily navigate her iPhone. 

"No, better if you don't stay with me. What if your crazed husband comes over. Go ask Reya if you can hang with her and we'll leave Saturday morning. I'll pick you up. Just be cool for a couple of days. It'll be alright."

"You're what? Resigning?"

The indignation in Reya's voice is more than disappointment, it's shock and awe. 

"What for? What happened? I thought you were happy here, finding yourself. Having fun? It's that bloody tramp Dianne isn't it. Putting silly ideas of fame and fortune into your head 'Oh' Iris, you've got such a lovely body . . Oh you'd make thousands dancing in a city club' . . I can just imagine the bullshit she's imprinted on your churlish, nihilistic brain. You used to be a sweet girl, a good wife, a great help. A few weeks with this trumped up tramp and you've turned into an idiot"

"Reya," Iris chose her words carefully, as she wasn't expecting a tirade and wondered why Raya was so vindictive, "He's thrown me out. He saw something he shouldn't and he's mad as hell. It was over before but, it's definitely done now.  I'm going back to the city. Dianne . . ." "Don't you talk to me about that woman Iris. I warned you about her. I'm just  . . "  

Reya reins in the emotion, barely believing that this girl is about to repeat history.

"Iris, It's your life. When are you leaving?"

 "Well, I was hoping, perhaps I could stay with you until Saturday, I just need a day to collect my stuff. I suppose I should talk to Dave. He was furious last night, wouldn't talk to me at all. I spent the night on the couch."

Reya felt a little ashamed of her outburst. She had no real right to tell this girl what to do and with whom. Perhaps staying over would give her a chance to talk, get to know her better, convince her that the decision she's making may not be for the best.

"Of course, Iris, you can stay as long as you want. Now, get to it and unpack those boxes over there."

It was more a protest than full blown arson but the lights and sirens made a big deal of the fire.  Smoke billowed from the Seventh Goddess as windows were smashed and water spewed over silk and lace.  Whoever started it, did a good job of halting business at the Seventh Goddess, ruining Iris' job prospects and fitting in perfectly with Dianne's plans.

Muse 1 "The Seventh Goddess"
Muse 2 "The Forensics of Spume"
Muse 3 "The Way of the North"  
Muse 4 "Virginal Zoophilia"   
Muse 5: "Stakes and Lies  
Muse 6: "A Meal of Her Loins"   
Muse 7: "Controlled Burn" 
Muse 8: "Ghastly Truths"  
Muse 9: "To Bury a Mountain"

A Meal of Her Loins

Continued from Muse 5: "Stakes and Lies"

Pole dancing had become boring and less challenging since Iris had mastered the class . The lessons were repetitive and she and Dianne attended less and less. They'd taken to walking and talking along the beach on balmy nights. Skinny dipping in the rock pools, comparing sexual notes, talking about moving back into the city, leaving their past - leaving Dave.  Physical contact between them had become affectionate. Lying on their stomachs on the cool sand wearing nothing but bikini bottoms, heads supported by palms and elbows, knees bent, Dianne's foot gently rubbed Iris' calf. She didn't resist. In fact she loved the contact.

Reya had given Iris a subtle warning about the friendship with Dianne after their 'fashion night'.  Without giving too much away about her own past, she intimated that Dianne's attentions were not 'normal' and asked Iris to guard her heart. 

"Iris, I know women like this, I've been in a similar situation. Be careful. She wants something from you or to take something from you."

"Oh pish Reya, we're friends. You just sound jealous."

"I was once influenced by a woman like her." Reya continued, "After I left Wiseman's in my teen years, I found digs in the city with a young woman my age. We were close, very close but it was all a sham. It was all a ploy to get me into a business that proved devastating, humiliating. In the long term, it shaped me but I suffered much before I could leave what was a terrible and abusive situation. I was conned Iris, it nearly ruined my life, and I was just a silly country girl that fell for it."

Iris wasn't really listening, didn't really care. She busied herself dressing a mannequin in the front window, imagining the body was that of Dianne's.  She had a deep respect for Reya but a burning desire for Dianne. She was sure she wasn't sexually inclined to truly love another woman, or even have sex with one, but the delightful prospect of touching that perfect body, kissing that perfect mouth, purely as an experiment, began to invade her thoughts.  She would never act on the impulse, well, unless Dianne initiated it.

Dave's thoughts were also being invaded. The lack of communication with his wife, no sex, nil attention, was driving him crazy. He'd let her have her head, learn how to dance, he'd put up with her cool demeanour, until now. 

Instead of going to bed before her, he'd left the house after her, followed her, waited for her and her new friend to leave the studio. Nothing suspicious there, just two women going for coffee. He'd seen them the other night as well, at the Goddess, laughing and playing dress ups. She never wore lingerie like that for him. By the time he had the courage to actually go into Mulligans and check out the dance lessons, she wasn't there, and he was disturbed to discover that this was no ballroom class. 

A shy and quiet man by nature, he'd waited for the class to end. As the last client left, he approached the instructor.

"Hi, I'm Dave. I'm Iris' husband. I came to pick her up but she doesn't appear to be here."

The limber woman, still wiping beads of sweat from her decolletage and cleavage, dispassionately told him that Iris hadn't attended for a couple of weeks, even though she'd paid in advance through to the end of the course.

Confused, Dave left the 'studio'. Angry that she'd lied about the type of class, furious that she lied about attending.  The green monster raised its ugly head and he was sure she was having an affair. Who with, he had no clue, but there was no erasing the thought of her in her lilac lace, fucking another man. Kissing him, fellating him, sleeping in his arms.  He couldn't go home in this 'state' and so descended the boardwalk steps and headed towards the beach to collect his thoughts, cool down, rehearse how he would challenge a deceitful and potentially unfaithful wife.

Dianne's foot, tenderly caressed the back of Iris' leg. They were sheltered beneath the stars, a bed of sand and a wall of sandstone kept them secluded from sight. Not that anyone would be wandering this way so late. This was a sleepy hamlet and a secluded section of beach that only the locals patronised. A lone fisherman, about 20 metres away, cast his line and sat on a small camping chair waiting for a bite. Dianne wasn't at all bothered about the prospect of being 'seen' but this man was intent on his catch, his back to the women.

Iris rolled onto her back, Dianne still on her stomach beside her, traced the young woman's face with a slender finger. 

"You're very beautiful Iris, you'll do well in the city." 

The finger traced the lines of Iris' jaw, along her chin and down her neck. She didn't move apart from the tiny goosebumps now rising on her forearms, and the erection of tiny nipples on shapely breasts. The finger travelled around one nipple, then the other, beneath her breasts and down to her navel. Neither women spoke as the finger slid between bikini bottom and flesh. Fingers made contact and Iris let out a whimper of delight.  Lips locked and she experienced her first girl kiss. Soft and warm, not the bristle of Dave's five-o'clock shadow but a soft and adorable lock of lips and play of tongues.  The hand on her pubes now gently working until she could feel herself dampening with delight.

Dianne disengaged from the kiss, "You alright?" she whispered. 

Iris said nothing but her barely audible moans, the firmness of her clitoris, the slight rising of her hips, spoke volumes. Dianne's tongue began to trace the same lines as her finger had as Iris' clenched fingers dug into the damp sand.

Dave blew his nose as he approached the fisherman, the tears he'd shed had made it run and he didn't want to be discovered being so unmanly.  The two men politely exchanged pleasantries.

"Good night for it!" Dave offered up but didn't stop walking.

"Yep, no bites though." The fishermen cast another line out through the breakers.

As he walked onto familiar ground, moonlight reflected something in the distance, something between the rocks, skin on skin rising and falling. A couple having risque sex, one going down on the other, thinking they're out of site. He kept walking by the shoreline, wondering if they'd see him and wishing that he and Iris had the courage to get down and dirty on a moonlit beach. He couldn't avert his gaze, the 'man' was shapely, pale with long brown hair.  Now getting to his feet and helping his partner to do the same.  

It wasn't a man at all, it was a woman, a tall, slim woman with rounded buttocks and large breasts and her partner was . . . Iris!

Dave was speechless, more hurt than if his wife had an affair with another man. What began as a distraction to his woes and a titillating moment had stabbed him through the heart as he turned and began to jog back along the beach, his chest tightening, his heart racing. He passed the fisherman without acknowledgement before falling to his knees and beginning to sob with sadness, anger, shame. While he's home eating a microwave meal, another woman, not a man, is making a meal of his wife's loins. The pain of it was intolerable.

Muse 1 "The Seventh Goddess"

Muse 2 "The Forensics of Spume"
Muse 3 "The Way of the North"  
Muse 4 "Virginal Zoophilia"   
Muse 5: "Stakes and Lies
Muse 6: "A Meal of Her Loins"   
Muse 7: "Controlled Burn"  
Muse 8: "Ghastly Truths" 
Muse 9: "To Bury a Mountain"

Stakes and Lies

Continued from Virginal Zoophilila

Iris was unsettled. Sheets tossed and legs dangling from the side of the bed. The heat from Dave's body repellent and the memory of another's brief but memorable contact has her hugging a pillow against her stomach, arms around it, in a sweet embrace. Iris has a girl crush and her new found sexual confidence scares her. It's hot, too hot, metaphorically and physically. The slow hum of a ceiling fan seems not to bother Dave, who sleeps fitfully until the 4am alarm. 

Dianne. . . oh, Dianne. Tall, elegant, funny, interesting. Iris had never met anyone like her. After each class, they towelled down and lately had brought another change of clothes, spent evenings on balmy sidewalks eating supper, talking, laughing, drinking. 

Dianne was different. Iris hadn't quite worked out how or why but her lack of inhibition was exhilarating. Another searcher for a sea change, she'd left her 'partner' after an ugly breakup and come to the quiet ocean side hamlet for some respite.

"I won't stay," she'd told Iris, "Wisemans is a pit-stop. Somewhere I can catch my breath, get my self strong and move on."

"So why here?" A still naive Iris sipped what passed for a Mojito in these parts.

"Why come to Wisemans Cove? It's a shit hole, there's nothing here but cows and surfers, slobs and country jerks. The best thing about this town is the Goddess, and Reya of course . . and this . . ."

She disparagingly points to her lightly minted cocktail,  " . . .is the best they can do for a cocktail."  

Iris is not a drinker, her bravado brought on by a little too much liquor.

"Iris, you're lovely. You have a beautiful body. You pole like a pro, yet you're terrified of taking a leap. Any kind of leap. Come with me when I go home, we can have so much fun. There's so much to do and see."

Iris is hurt by her new friend's accusation of being parochial but know she's absolutely right. She's lied to her husband now for over a month. Every Tuesday and Thursday, she'd been doing her Pole class, drinking with Dianne. . .in fact there had been times where both had skipped class and spread a rug on the beach, laid back and talked 'what if' scenarios. She wants to leave.

Dianne spoke little of her past. City girl, ex-model, does the pole thing to keep fit. She shied away from relationships other than to say that she'd been burned by one or two.  Something about her was charismatic and charming.Their conversations were light and trivial but funny and exhilarating. Iris loved being in her company. 

"Hey, it's late night Thursday, let's shop," Dianna had departed from their usual habit of grabbing a bite and sharing a drink. "Take me to this Seventh Goddess, let's try stuff on. Get sexy, take some selfies!"

Reya was surprised to see her employee on her night off.

"Hey Iris, taking advantage of the staff discount tonight?"

"Hi Reya. This is Dianna, we thought we might get risky if that's OK."

"Keep yer knickers on and have a blast!"

It had been a quiet evening with the exception of some shy man passing by the window every 20 minutes. Reya was happy for the company and with a new delivery, keen to have her assistant 'model' a few pieces. 

"You know what," Reya is already flipping the 'closed' sign on the door, "Let's close early, we can have some fun, there's bubbly in the fridge."

Each picked the raciest of outfits, the raunchiest of corsets. . . stockings, suspenders, accoutrements and toys. Music played, champagne drunk, each cat-walked their fantasy gear. It began tame enough with lace and colour, but as the evening progressed and the bubbles lightened their spirits, their costumes became more burlesque. Dianne's gaze on Iris never fazed. Her stare intent, studying, as if under examination. 

Freya noticed the attention lavished on Iris by Dianne. Preening, pinning, suggestions . . .she'd seen this before. The attentions of a recruiter on a younger subject. Had they been dealing drugs, she'd have called Dianne a pusher but said nothing about her concerns.

"Ok ladies, it's late. Iris, don't you have a husband to go home to?"

Iris giggles, swills down the last drops from her champagne flute.

"Yeah, thanks Reya, we had a blast." She casts a sassy eye towards Dianna.

As Iris turns to go into one of the dressing rooms, Reya notices Dianna's index finger tracing the nape of Iris' neck, then down along her spine and a friendly slap upon her butt cheek before she leaves her to change.  Reya says nothing but the observation is recorded for posterity. She was once recruited in a similar way, but in a different circumstance. She can see the vipers before they poison, and this one had many fangs. The stakes are high for a vulnerable country girl should, she choose this path.

Dianna, dressed in a very alluring black and red corset, looks every part the burlesque queen, lace-topped stockings and high heels. She looks like a high class hooker, she looks good. Until, she turns like a pro and patronises Fraya.

"Don't you worry Mama, I'll take care of your liddle puddy tat!"

Freya has had enough.

 "Last drinks ladies, time to go home."

As she draws the blinds on the doors, she spies the shy man, hovering beneath a streetlight, pays him little mind and douses the lights.


Dave might be a tired man, a hard working man, but he wasn't a stupid man. Although these days, he's becoming an angry man, a frustrated man. At first, three days' work in a lingerie shop was a tolerable escape for a city wife on a dairy farm. Iris had always made his dinner, left his lunch.  But lately, there's work, and 'dancing' on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He wonders about Iris' dance partner, whether there's something untoward going on.

Poor man sat two days a week, in front of a microwave dinner, went to bed and barely felt his wife sidle in next to him. He'd enjoyed the 'lilac' sex, but she'd never been like that again. In fact, she'd barely said much to him beyond the mundane. Any attempt to discuss her dance classes was met with "I'm tired", or "They're fun. I learned the two-step."Then he'd been away making stud bookings, promoting the farm, winning prizes with Beatrice. But all this had been for her. He was building up the business to sell. To take her back to where she wanted to go, to become citified and gentrified. He might be a quiet man but he knew what she wanted and had his succession plan in mind.

He sat in his familiar armchair and uncharacteristically poured a scotch. Being awake this late is also, very uncharacteristic. She's not answering her phone and she's definitely not at the club. It's a country town, everything's closed by 10:30. The scotch does it's work and his mind begins to wonder whether he can still trust her, or whether she's found someone else.

Muse 1 "The Seventh Goddess"
Muse 2 "The Forensics of Spume"
Muse 3 "The Way of the North"  
Muse 4 "Virginal Zoophilia"   
Muse 5: "Stakes and Lies  
Muse 6: "A Meal of Her Loins"   
Muse 7: "Controlled Burn" 
Muse 8: "Ghastly Truths"  
Muse 9: "To Bury a Mountain"