tagNonConsent/ReluctanceCock of Ages Ch. 04

Cock of Ages Ch. 04

byCreamer©

Baltimore, Maryland

April 20th, 1951

"Here, put these in storage," I grunted as I handed Cromwell the big ugly cardboard box with my wings and things in it. We were back at his hotel room, one downtown that had seen much better days. "I'll need them again, someday. That was a good set-up."

He looked at me incredulously. "Jesus, the angel thing actually worked?" he asked, gape jawed. Not a pretty look for him.

I shrugged dismissively. "You just gotta know how to turn 'em, It was pathetically easy. One in the mouth, two down the middle. And now I'm just a pleasant dream . . . "

"I'm so happy for you," he said, sourly.

"You know, you really need to get laid," I pointed out, recognizing a condition I rarely suffered from. "It would improve your mood tremendously. What the hell do you do with yourself during the day?"

"I sit in a hotel room and wait for the goddamn phone to ring," he said, gruffly. "I read the local paper and laugh, and listen to the radio, and wait for you to fuck other men's wives. And I take care of your laundry, apparently," he said, looking at the box distastefully.

"Just make sure that doesn't get lost," I reminded him. "If we're going to the Bible Belt, I'll definitely want to use that in Tampa."

"You're the boss," he shrugged, which was only a little bit true. "I'll send it to your storage room on the Island. You ready for the next one?"

"Ready and willing. Shoot."

"Okay," he said, pulling a new file out of his briefcase. Like mine, it did all sorts of unlikely things for this era. Just not the same unlikely things mine did. It contained a very subtle and very sophisticated computer and communication set-up. You had to know how to access it, but in Cromwell's capable hands he could access virtually limitless amounts of data, and have it printed in date-appropriate format on the spot. Handy, when you want to forge some credentials. I knew Cromwell spent most of his day staring at it, receiving news from the remote transmission that the Project broadcast from some secret location. That's where our orders came from, and things like aphrodisiacs and angel wings.

"We have one Mrs. Patricia Ann Ryan, age 24, married to one Mr. Albert Ryan, who owns and runs the Chelsea Theater east of town. Mr. Ryan is carrying on an affair with one of his ushers, a fact that will be a big scandal and close down the theater in five years."

"Why? Seems innocuous enough. This isn't the Twenties," I pointed out.

"The usher's name is Tom."

"Ouch," I winced. Being gay was not OK in the 1950s. It would be more than a decade before the Stonewall Riots. Here-and-now it was "the love that dare not speak its name", no hope of acceptance. At best, it was mental illness. Hell, they even put you in jail if you got caught. Barbarians.

"Yeah, well, denial is never pretty. Seems as if Mrs. Ryan ain't gettin' the sausage she was promised at the altar. So she spends all her time at her garden club at Easterwood Park. She lives over on North Pulaski, one of those row houses. Here's the address. And a picture."

I took the latter, first. A flawless facsimile copy of an old Polaroid of a sad-looking brunette, not particularly bad looking, in a floral print dress that should have been outlawed under a faded sweater. She dangled a burning cigarette in one hand, casually.

"Easy. One day," I figured. "Go ahead and give me the other one, too. Maybe I can pull a double."

"Showoff. Just because you're undefeated . . . Okay, we have Lisa No-Middle-Name Horcek. Elementary school teacher, engaged. Long engagement. But she gets married sometime next year."

"I bet she does," I said, taking her picture. She was a thin, almost frail little thing, with a pretty face but no shape to speak of. She had tiny tits, only barely discernable under her dress, and a waist that existed only by virtue of the fashion of the period. But she looked smart, assertive, well-put-together. I pegged her for a 'sudden romance' sort of thing.

Ryan? She might be a little harder. Some of those married-to-gay-guys women actually preferred it that way, either because they didn't like sex much or because they were closeted lesbians themselves. Or they just plain liked it better that way.

But then there were those other women who had no idea about what Hubby did when he went 'fishing', and told off their husbands' queer behavior as mere quirk or eccentricity. Or internalized it to batter their self-esteem on a daily basis. It could go either way.

I had ways to get around all of those obstacles. Regardless of which type of gay wife she was, I could find my way into her panties. I didn't even need to look at her psych profile -- I preferred to be surprised.

"And here's some re-fills for your kit," Cromwell added, tossing five little packs on the bed. Pheromones, date-rape drugs, aphrodisiacs, mood enhancers, sedatives, amnesiacs, a hand-selected twenty-second century pharmacopoeia that was guaranteed to charm the panties off of any mortal woman no matter which brand of hair crème you used. I gathered them up and noticed Cromwell shaking his head.

"What?" I demanded.

"Just wondered if you get tired of doing it all the time."

"What, fucking for a living?" I shrugged. "I'm sexually obsessed. That's why I got the job. You should try it some time."

"I'm married," he pointed out. "And they won't let us go back downstream until our mission term is up.

"You won't be married for almost a century, yet," I countered. "Go out and get yourself a piece. Slip one of the blue ones into some slut's beer. See how far you can go," I encouraged, teasingly.

He actually considered it. I could hear his wheels turning. He had been in the field for over a year, and hadn't seen his wife in at least that long. When he was done they could pop him back into the stream so close to when he left that, apart for some superficial aging, his missus wouldn't know he'd gone. "I don't know . . . it ain't my gene pool that's supposed to be playing back here in the olden days."

"Quit worrying! You don't have anything nasty or they wouldn't let you in the program. And I think you know how babies are made. Go out, have yourself some fun."

Cromwell took the tab. "You're a bad influence, Tom. Maybe I will," he said with a shrug. "Beats staying in here. Ain't even got TV yet. Or radio. I got to watch on that tiny little screen I brought."

"My heart bleeds for you. Get laid. Try 1950s pussy -- it's the real thing. And it will take away all of these moods you've been having."

"Asshole," he grunted.

Mrs. Patricia Ryan was actually a lot prettier than her picture (which wouldn't be taken for another few years) showed. I scouted out her house over on North Pulaski Street, a quaint and cozy little row-house. I walked back and forth in front of it a few times wearing a non-descript business suit, a hat, and carrying a briefcase. Every now and then I looked at a card I was holding. No one bothered me.

The house was cute, in a tacky sort of way, but it had had some construction done recently. On my third trip by I saw what it was: a bomb shelter.

You've got to love Fifties Paranoia, almost as much as Fifties Pussy. The shelter gave me my game plan.

Patricia was, indeed, at her garden club at the park, and I walked by there a few times, too, just to see her out of the house. She and four other women were planting petunias or some damn thing in a flowerbed and gossiping. Patricia looked content with the work, but generally unhappy. I circled the park without her noticing and headed back to her house to wait for her. While I waited I painted up my back-story and printed out the documents I needed from the sophisticated computer hidden in the lining of my briefcase. Real solid spy stuff.

She came home just before lunch, and I was waiting for her on her stoop.

"Yes, can I help you?"

"Are you Mrs. Ryan?" I asked gruffly.

"Why . . . yes, I'm Pat Ryan. Can I help you?" she repeated.

"Civil Defense, ma'am," I said, pushing a fake badge at her. It's actually an interchangeable Federal badge, completely authentic, along with a card that showed that I was David Meyers, Inspector of Civil Defense Projects. "You've recently had a shelter installed?"

"Why, yes, yes we did. Last week. My husband worries so much about those . . . horrible bombs."

"We all do, Ma'am," I agreed. "If only more people thought like your husband. I'm here to inspect and rate your shelter as a part of Baltimore's Civil Defense effort. We are, as I'm sure you know, high on the list of Russki targets," I said, confidently. Of course I knew nothing of the sort, but people always want to believe that they're important enough for their enemies to strike them. Human nature.

"I, I didn't know about any inspection!" she said, nervously.

"It's a new policy," I said, soothingly. "Started at the beginning of the month. Yours is only the fifth one I've done. We check for construction, supplies, ventilation, occupancy, all of that. So we can compile an accurate count and estimate survivors in case of attack. You can never plan too much for that sort of thing."

"Well, sure," she agreed. "It's right back in the back yard. Please come in," she said, unlocking the thick wooden door.

The house was comfortable and decorated with heirlooms, hardwood floors, lots of antiques. Someone from the Old South had died and left the Ryan's an assload of heirlooms. She led me back through the kitchen and out of the back door. The entrance to the shelter was a manhole-like cover at the back of the yard. I nodded and opened it, revealing a dark hole with a ladder running down one side.

"Is there light?"

"Battery lantern, just at the bottom of the ladder. Or at least it's supposed to be there, according to Al."

"Thanks. Mind coming down with me?"

"Uh, sure, I suppose," she decided, nervously. I went down first, which allowed me to get a full peek up her dress as she descended. White cotton panties. Nice. Hey, I'm a perv. News flash. Sue me.

I lit the lantern as her feet hit the floor. The shelter was very basic, four bunks against the walls, a small space beyond for a kitchen, a "bathroom" set-up beyond that. Minimal storage. I started scribbling notes on my legal pad.

"Um, sleeps four to eight, looks like . . . about three thousand cubic feet . . . steel reinforced concrete construction . . . food for, looks like three weeks, six if you stretch it. Water?"

"He built in a cistern over the top," she answered. "It comes out in the kitchen. He can refill it from the hose in the garden."

"Body disposal bags?"

"What?" she asked, paling even in the dim light of the lantern.

"Plastic or rubber bags to seal bodies in, in case of attack. To protect against disease," I added.

"Um, I don't know. He hasn't mentioned it to me, if they're here."

"Hmmm. Doesn't sound like he's made you very familiar with the shelter. Either that, or he doesn't want to alarm you."

"He doesn't tell me much," she admitted with a small frown.

"Most men don't. They all have secrets," I agreed with a kind smile. I suspected Mr. Ryan probably had a few down here himself. "Sanitary facilities . . . medical supplies . . . okay, I think we're ready for the ventilation check."

"The what?"

"We have to seal the place for an hour, with people inside," I explained. "To ensure that you can still get fresh air in the thing during an attack. Don't want anyone to suffocate down here. That kind of defeats the purpose."

"Right," she said, absently. I brushed past her -- rubbing seductively up against her was easy in these tight quarters -- and went back up the ladder long enough to close the hatch with a clang.

"What are you --?"

"Like I said, ventilation check," I repeated. "We've got to stay down here for an hour. I'm going to release a gas that will stain any leaks above bright green," I said, taking one of the wide-area aerosol pheromone disbursers out of the case. "It's harmless, just a marker. But it will show any flaws in the pneumatic integrity of the structure." I was completely bullshitting, but if you do it confidently enough no one questions you.

"Oh," she said with a nod. "A whole hour?"

"It's standard procedure," I said, nodding. "And we like to have the people who are actually going to use it participate in the rating. It kind of gives you a vested interest in the result. Too many people are getting ripped-off by unscrupulous contractors who are using poor designs. Might get a lot of people killed, if we were under attack."

"That makes sense," she said, already looking a little uncomfortable.

It was starting to get warm, with the lack of fresh air, two warm bodies, and an electric lantern going. The hiss of the pheromones also added to the closeness, and in a moment I was stripping off my jacket and loosening my tie.

"Sorry," I said with a grimace. "My least favorite part of the job. I'm a little . . . claustrophobic."

She smiled back, warmly. But she still had her arms folded protectively over her boobs. Not a good sign. Time to move this up a notch.

"Might as well do an extended inspection while we wait -- I'm supposed to do one a week. Mrs. Ryan, does your husband keep a weapon in the shelter?"

She frowned. "I don't think so . . . of course, he wouldn't tell me if he did. He's very . . . secretive."

"Mind if I look around for them? It's recommended that they be stored in a hidden location, to prevent theft or accident."

She shrugged, bored. "Sure, go ahead. We've got time."

"Thanks," I grinned, and started talking while I searched. I launched into a long monologue that casually mentioned my first wife dying of cancer (to promote sympathy and establish my single status), how I buried myself in my work to keep from being haunted by her (to build confidence that I was a hard-worker and good provider), how I didn't ever think I'd find anyone else like her (to establish the possibility of fated romance), etc. All this crap gives the woman information that she wants to know, but since I controlled the flow I also controlled how and what she actually heard. By the time I had finished searching the south-facing bunks, I had established myself as a take-charge man who was sensitive and single. Then I found what I thought I'd find. Under the top bunk on the north side.

"I . . . see your husband likes fitness," I said, casually. She couldn't miss my skeptical tone.

"What do you mean? He's got a belly like Santa Claus," she said, confused.

"Well, he likes reading about fitness, then," I said, holding up the two muscle-building magazines I'd found. The pages were worn and dog-eared, and a few of them were stuck together by . . . protein.

And that wasn't all. Inside the back page was a letter from one of his friends. A really close friend, apparently, and one with whom it was clear he had been intimate. Patricia grabbed the letter immediately, and began reading. The tears started before she got to the second paragraph.

"That bastard, he promised me . . ." she started, her shoulders sagging.

"He's . . . a . . ."

"I don't know when he started," she confessed, tearfully. "And he said he didn't do it often, but . . . a few years ago I came home from my mother's unexpectedly. He . . . he was . . . in bed . . . with another man!"

"My God!" I said, feigning shock. This was the Fifties, after all.

"Yes, it was . . . horrible. To see my husband, being . . . buggered like that," she sobbed. "I threatened to divorce him. So help me, I did! I threatened, and he promised -- promised! -- he'd never do it again. He isn't a terribly affectionate man," she revealed, "but to see him being . . . intimate . . . with another man like that, it . . . it . . ."

"I am so sorry," I began in a whisper, sliding closer to her and putting a supportive arm around her. The pheromones were thick in the air now, and I saw her breathing pattern change away from crying and towards more serious pursuits. Cortisol, the stress hormone. It hikes up the flight-or-fight mechanism, biochemically, but it also sends a surge of interest down the reproductive areas. That's why so many erotic encounters happen when the shit hits the fan in a natural disaster or war. Nature has a way of making sure it gets one last chance at your gene pool before you get killed.

I matched my own breathing to hers. That kind of entrainment is subtle, but it can have a powerful psychological effect, especially in a moment of weakness.

And she was weak. God, was she weak, and vulnerable, her self esteem and self worth lower than this crappy fallout shelter.

"He promised me he would stop," she repeated. "I trusted him. But this, this!" she said, brandishing the letter, "this proves he didn't. Look at the date -- look at the date!" she demanded. I looked. It was three weeks old.

"He never stopped. He just . . . he just came out here, instead. God damn him," she swore. "God damn him!"

"Perhaps you should divorce him," I suggested. "Expose him to everyone."

"Don't think I haven't considered it!" she said, agreed, fiercely. "A woman doesn't expect too much in a marriage, but she does expect her husband not to be a goddamn pervert! You know, he hasn't touched me in months?"

Bingo! Referring to her own sexual activities so blatantly was as good as an invitation. I nodded. "That would stand to reason if he was thinking about . . . well, did he show any strange proclivities in your . . . marital life?"

"He . . . he . . . Oh, God, I can't believe I'm talking about this with a stranger!" she said, her social filter kicking in briefly. It was gone a second later as she stared me in the eye, her pupils dilating in the gloom. "I'm no prude -- really, I'm not. But he only liked . . . well, he liked it when I -- I can't believe I'm saying this -- he liked it best when I was on all fours. Like an animal. He never liked to do it face to face. And the few times we have done it in the past year, he always tries to . . . put it into my bottom. I even let him once, but it hurt and I made him stop. I know some women like it that way -- no, it's true, you ought to hear them down at the beauty shop -- so I didn't think much of it, until I caught him with his . . . lover," she said, distastefully.

Ah, the closet. Long, long gone by the time I was born, but back here in the Dark Ages it was still actually a crime to be gay. And the social stigma was overwhelming. I actually felt sorry for the guy. If he had put off being born a few decades, he could be running a cozy little bed and breakfast up in the Appalachians with his ruggedly handsome partner, Steve, while he worked on his Marilyn Monroe collection. But here-and-now, he was subject to arrest and prosecution, not to mention divorce and disgrace.

"I . . . I don't know what to say," I said. Actually, I knew exactly what to say. "That must make you feel . . . so bad . . . for him to dishonor you as a woman, this way."

"It's unbearable," she agreed, with more tears. "I feel like such a failure! What did I do wrong, to drive him to that? Am I ugly?" she demanded.

"No, not at all, you are a very, very attractive woman," I agreed, with just the right amount of emphasis to make it clear that I was personally attracted to her. That was the bait. Self-esteem redemption is always a quick way into a woman's panties. And I was on an express line.

"Am I . . . am I that . . . bad," she whispered, "you know, in bed?"

"I . . . I'm afraid I wouldn't be the best judge of that," I said, chuckling good-naturedly. She realized what I meant and laughed a bit, too. Then I fixed her with a stare and thought, very loudly, Yet!

I didn't say a word, but I didn't have to. Those thoughts are communicated subtly, through facial expressions and body language. I caught the responding cues, too -- she knew what I was thinking. And she was thinking it, too.

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