Breakfast and a Cigarette: A Novella in Four Directions
(page 15 of 16)
Ray had always considered himself a liberal thinker. He was, after all, an editor and a writer, a man who had previously made his living crafting words. And just because newspaper writing can be the most degenerate of the form, it is still, he often reasoned, writing; a creative act, a manifestation of a liberal and free-thinking mind. But he was not gay, he was sure of that. He had never wanted to have sex with a man. Yes, there were incidents when he was a boy, but every man had gone through that: the touching; the curiosity. Mona was touching him in all the right places. He hardened under her caresses. Yes, Mona was feminine in the important ways: she was sensual, erotic, and knowing; her strong features, her sturdy breasts, tall and skinny. Beautiful. Yes, Mona was a woman. She wasn't soft, but solid. He didn't know what to expect. He ran his hand over her flat stomach, pressed his face against her breasts as he gently ran his fingers along her leg toward her thigh. She gently placed his hand between her legs. Her penis was soft; her balls, small and tight.
“You don't have to do anything,” she whispered in his ear. “I'm pre-op. Pumped full of hormones. I can get about as stiff as a plate of spaghetti. Just relax.”
She squeezed him hard; held him firmly in her hand. Ray abandoned his remaining inhibitions. His rational mind began to shut down as the blood raced from Minnesota to Texas. He knew only that he was enveloped in an eroticism whose intensity he had never known, not in his teens, not even with Liz. It was as if he was twelve again, masturbating for the first time. Finally, she put her mouth on him. He felt a sudden surge of freedom, racing, like his seed, for the light, releasing him from the great constriction. He came in spasms that rippled through him until every muscle melted into a warm, buoyant sea of utter contentment.
“Go to sleep, baby,” she whispered and kissed him tenderly on the mouth.
He lay there thinking that he had attained a new level of pleasure known only perhaps to tantric practitioners or those rare Buddhist monks of whom it is said can achieve multiple orgasms because they have trained themselves not to ejaculate, a feat only dreamed of by ordinary men. Distinguished company indeed, and even if he didn't quite reach the heights of those masters, he was at least giving it a damn good shot.
In the morning he awoke alone on the couch. He dressed quickly and left through the back door as quietly as he could. On the street again, the morning light filtered through the palms and gilded the red and purple bougainvillea. He headed back to Duvall searching for coffee and trying not to think too much.
August Cotton awoke early as usual. The sun pierced his bedroom blinds, shooting triangles of morning light against clean, white walls. Outside, a raucous chorus of juncos and parrots informed him that the day had begun in earnest. August, in his late 60s, was a man of habit. He proceeded with his morning routine in a calm and orderly manner. He did not rush and he did not waiver. He had a sensible breakfast of grits and coffee, orange juice and toast. He followed his meal with one of his three daily allotted cigarettes. He sat in the kitchen slowly smoking, savoring the warm toasted flavor and pleasant roughness in his throat. The kitchen ritual completed, he shuffled back to the bedroom and began dressing. He put on a clean pressed button-down Oxford cotton shirt, white with thin pink stripes, and carefully tied an indigo blue bow tie. He stepped into a pair of slate gray linen slacks sharply creased. Finally, black sturdy shoes and a straw skimmer bounded his six-foot frame. As he dressed, the alarm clock radio circulated bits of classical music interspersed between commercials, weather, traffic, more commercials, and news. From a cut glass dish on his dresser, August scooped up his car keys, some change, and a pack of gum. He paused, as usual, to look at the framed photos behind the dish. They were Polaroids from the 50s and 60s, faded now, turning blue and grainy in their dull brass frames, giving the subjects—a middle-aged couple and a soldier boy—a ghostly cast. Another photo, recently taken, stood out from the others. She was perhaps thirty and held a smiling boy of no more than seven on her lap.
Breakfast and a Cigarette, Part II continues...