By K.A. Laity
He stared at the pustules crowning her ass and wondered
how it had come to this. She had laid claim to forty-two, but the rubious
morning light easily suggested that the addition of another five years
to that calculation would be appropriate. But that wasn't the real problem.
He wondered if shifting to the side of the bed to look
for his clothes would jiggle her phocine form awake. Deciding to risk
it, if only to go in search of some aspirin to assuage the wimble boring
through his head, he rolled slowly across the surprisingly wide expanse
of linen to the edge of bed. This hotel didn't skimp on the king mattresses,
that was for sure.
Why did his head ache so? Ah, yes the "wixey."
That had been her pronunciation of the word last night. Was it whimsy
or a a genuine mistake? He couldn't recall now, although at the time
he had been charmed by the usage.
He looked over his shoulder at her recumbent shape, a
veritable dugong in the unflattering glare. They had left the curtains
open when collapsing into their coincidental intimacy. The wixey had
not helped his performance, but she seemed unconcerned by his ponderous
efforts. Par for the course, her acquiescence seemed to suggest.
Perhaps it would be best to dress as quickly as possible
and leave. Other details of the night were fuzzy and he had a bad feeling
that she would remember. He eased himself off the bed, willing the springs
not to squeal an alarm. At least he had had the good sense to shed his
belongings in a single pile. Even his briefcase lay safely at the bottom,
still holding the relatively pristine pages of his hopefully-cutting-edge
dissection of a lately topical author, the province of all newly-minted
Zipping his pants, he turned slowly back to face her.
On her back now, a slight snore growing, he had a moment of panic wondering
whether it was more cowardly to leave or simply more considerate
wouldn't she, too, wish to be spared the awkwardness of this auroral
While in uffish thought he stood, however, her eyes blinked
open and she smiled up at him. The assurance in her expression flummoxed
him for a moment, although it also reminded him why he had come here,
wixey or no.
"Dr. Lander," she cooed, her whiskeyed voice
pleasingly husky. "Phil," she corrected herself, the smile
growing to Cheshire proportions. "I'll see you at one o'clock,
ne c'est pas? That is, I hope you're still interested in the
one-year visiting position." Her voice did not suggest this was
really a question.
Phil nodded curtly and offered a strained smile. It was
that kind of job market.