Nothing of consequence happens for a month. We live together, yet apart. We share few joys and hoard many fears. We forget the outside world and in return, it ignores us.
Then the comfortable rut I’ve worn is filled by a boulder.
A dreaded awakening once again breaks my contented routine. Kristine has swaggered into Naptown and calls me out. I open the rusty orbs of my eyes to find hers burning into me. She has that determined stare I have come to dread.
“Sam? Sam? Sammy?”
Shit. I just know I’m expected to carry something heavy or do something unnecessarily complicated.
“I need you to take me shopping.”
“I’ll get the keys.”
Her face lights up.
“No you silly cow. Don’t be so bloody stupid.”
Her face darkens and I’m made to feel guilty again, even though, as usual, I haven’t done anything wrong. She really should factor in my morning grumpiness when making these demands.
“You’ve got everything you need. I haven’t got anything.”
“That’s not true. I lent you a T-shirt.”
The reminder that she doesn’t have a lot to call her own is annoying. Sure, I know she’d lobbed in here with nothing to her name. And not many of the items she’d salvaged from the personal property room and guard’s lockers suits her small, busty frame. Judging from the uniform sizes, the guards here were all rather beefy women.
Kristine has recently lowered her standards and was wearing a prison smock. There’s no shortage of those, in all sizes. She was constantly complaining that the dull grey hues are depressing her and wearing second hand shoes was not even contemplated.
“I need personal stuff; women’s things,’ she cries, vaguely. So, she’s going to use my known squeamish ignorance of female plumbing against me, is she? She tries to lend credibility to her demands by producing a long list that she begins reading in a monotone that threatens to go on all morning. Mysterious medicines, hygiene products, an expansive roll call of ‘essential’ makeup items. I snatch the stapled wad of paper from her, and boldly suggest alternatives for each one.
“Soap does the same thing as all of this rubbish. Can’t you shove a rag up there like in the old days? What the hell is Thrush?”
There’s a moment of disbelief, then outright scorn.
“You really don’t understand women’s needs at all, do you?”
I shrug. No argument there.
Understanding does not feature in this decision. I flat-out refuse to consider another incursion into Parasite ridden enemy territory. I won’t even think about it. Subject closed, end of discussion.
And so my education in feminine wiles is accelerate. I am to discover that females do not acknowledge ‘NO’ when they want something badly enough. Kristine doesn’t resort to something as mundane as nagging; she has the equipment to launch a different attack. Equipment that can cause unceasing tension in a region I can’t control.
Until now she’s taken great care to cover herself up. We’d come to an understanding about the correlation between Monkey see, Monkey want to do. However, like most men, I’d enjoy catching a glimpse of forbidden flesh occasionally even if there was no chance of fulfilling the desires her golden skin provokes. Of course small doses and short durations of her erogenous zones was preferred.
With my refusal still ringing in her ears, Kristine’s modest behaviour ceases at once. She begins dressing in the skimpiest clothing she can find. Stuff she had put aside as too incredibly slutty for words. I must admit some of the teenage girl inmates brought into this place had no shame.
Underwear is dispensed with beneath skirts that scarcely brush the bottom of nicely turned out buttocks. Buttons are left undone to air a full cleavage. It takes a day or two before I begin to complain about the display. But I crack when she comes out of her bedroom wearing a wide belt, sans pants.
“Umm, Kristine. I can see your truckies crack. From the wrong end!”
“Well, I don’t have anything to wear, do I?” she yells, and stamps off.
It’s like watching a soft porn channel that can’t be turned off. Boobs swing unfettered as she finds reasons to lean over me. Skirts ride up when small nothings are removed from low surfaces, directly in front of my nose. I walk around hunched, with a permanent hard on.
To screw the cap on any attempt to relieve my encumbrance, she uses her sixth sense to note my peak pressure periods. Furtive vanishings to rid myself of offending erections are interrupted with a crash of doorknobs into walls. I fear a fatal sperm build up from postponed ejaculations and unfulfilled masturbation.
Her actions thin the ice of my bridled lust. How far is she willing to push me? I curse her confidence that I would never force myself on her.
Sexual torture aside, I’m assailed by her tales of cuts and blisters won from jogging without proper sneakers. I’m awarded the silent treatment, and no dinner, when I advise her to stop jogging.
My uncaring façade is worn away and eventually I’m made to care. She knows her grievances are justifiable, the same way I know I am not risking my life to collect toiletries.
She must lack fortitude as she reaches her breaking point before I am even warming mine up. She stomps from the kitchen in a G-string and frilly half-cup bra.
“OK, fine! Don’t worry about it!”
Uh- oh. There are no more dangerous words than a woman saying that to a man.
“OK. What aren’t I worrying about?”
“The stuff that I need, stupid! I’ll get it myself!”
Ahhhhh, shit. Nice change of tactics. Just like that I’m removed from the equation.
Wordlessly I extend a hand for the list she carries. Looks like a fair bit has been added since last week’s argument.
I go through her items more compassionately even though her desires extend past the commonplace necessities.These possessions she craves will fill empty spaces in her mind the way I use drugs to evict the occupants of mine.
Eventually, after much deep thinking, I present a counter-offer.
“Alright you crazy bitch, we’ll go shopping. Now, I’m going to my room to rearrange my stamp collection, without interruption, please. Please put some fucking clothes on by the time I come out."
Triumphant, she kisses me. The show of affection speeds up the urgency of getting to my philatelic pastime.”