tagNovels and NovellasMaragana Girl Ch. 17

Maragana Girl Ch. 17


Chapter 17 -- The Brat on a Bicycle

Criminal # 98945 finally returned to her normal routine as August drew to a close. She continued to deliver Victor's packages and messages, greet customers at the music store, and deal with a backlog of issues affecting Eloisa's band. She continued to rehearse and sing. She divided what little free time she had between Sergekt, Eloisa, and the Dukovs. Kim's life was completely full, about as full as a person's life could be.

Ironically, Kim's job with Victor Dukov became a refuge of sorts in her life. Her constant activities and social obligations might have worn on her patience had it not been for the days she spent alone on her bicycle, pedaling hard around Danube City. Victor no longer had to exhort Kim to ride fast to make her deliveries. She was under so much pressure from the other areas of her life that she vented her stress speeding along the quiet streets of the nation's capitol. She moved about so quickly that her boss stopped nagging and berating her. She became his favorite employee, held up as an example of what Victor wanted from his riders. That was not entirely a good thing, because now he placed Kim in the uncomfortable situation of constantly asking his other employees why couldn't they deliver their messages as quickly as she was delivering hers.

One afternoon Kim saw Victor berating Malka Chorno. True to her word, it was obvious Malka was quite used to being yelled at unfairly. She quietly stood at attention while Victor exhausted his long list of complaints and criticisms. Kim saw a huge irony in the situation, as Malka stood straight, listening to the complaints of a small businessman. In spite of losing her uniform, and in spite of everything else that had happened to her, Malka still looked and acted like a cop.


Kim's first night back at the Socrates Club was filled with celebration. Every criminal in Danube City was jubilant over the double cancellations of switchings; Dukov's two-month suspension of corporal punishments for their help with the farms, and the added cancellation of one switching for each criminal who participated in the fire-fighting effort. The criminals had undergone a harrowing six weeks of hard work and danger, but then returned to Danube City to receive a respite from some of the harsher aspects of their sentences. The past hardships and current absence of pending physical pain changed the criminals' outlooks on their lives. Kim noticed a difference in both the speeches and the music of the Club from the year before. The music, especially, became much more philosophical instead of morose.

Kim sat at her usual table, drinking Danubian beer and eating the usual salted deep-fried vegetables with her friends. It had been exactly one year since Criminal # 98945 started coming to the Socrates Club. Her friends commented on the anniversary and on how different she was now from whom she had been when she first came in. Kim ordered another round of beer and then stood up at her table. She put her hand on Sergekt's shoulder and smiled at him. Then, in Danubian, she addressed her group:

"A year...it's really hard to believe it's been a year since I've known all of you. In some ways it seems like it's been a lot longer, and in other ways it seems like the last year went by in a flash. But...your friendship...it means more to me than I could ever express, even in my own language." With that she raised her glass. "Here's to this time next year, to our freedom, and our continued friendship!"

Everyone at the table enthusiastically raised their glasses.

Later that night Kim and Sergekt went to an intimacy room for the first time in nearly two months. She was desperate for some good sex. Once they had the door closed it was Kim who took charge. She pushed Sergekt on the bed and grabbed his hands to pin to the mattress. For a very long time she held him down as she passionately kissed him. She could feel him getting hard, so she began licking around the base of his penis and kissing the tip. As he got even harder he arched his back and ran his fingers through her hair. She got up and straddled him, grabbing his hands and pushing them back down on the mattress. Kim's gritted her teeth in an intense passion as she lowered herself on him. She guided his hands to her breasts. He massaged her nipples as she came, and then came again. Two months! There was two months of sexual frustration pent up in Kim.

The couple waited for a while, and then resumed their love-making, this time in Sergekt's favorite position, with Kim on her elbows and knees, and her bottom spread and high in the air. Kim seductively moved her bottom back and forth, as Sergekt remembered his girlfriend on her bicycle from last fall. That's right, he thought to himself, I'll owe her a nice hard spanking if I ever catch her on that fancy American bicycle she's got. As he pushed hard into her and she groaned with pleasure, Kim didn't realize her boyfriend's thoughts were on spanking her cute brown bottom.

Kim briefly fell asleep on her stomach, as Sergekt gently ran his hand over her bottom cheeks and his fingertips ventured into the darker area in between. As he studied his lover's bottom and lay recovering from his exertions, Sergekt pondered the problem of how he could catch her while bicycle riding in a place private enough where he could put her over his lap. The only solution would be to somehow find a shortcut where he could secretly pass her and then surprise her by catching her from the other end. Yes, he thought, there is one such spot on the way to my mother's garden plot, a utility path that bypasses the main bicycle trail. Sergekt gently patted Kim's bottom, thinking about the attention that it was destined to receive the next time they went bicycle riding.


Malka Chorno entered the Socrates Club for the first time at the end of August. She quietly asked the doorman whether or not she should wear her policewoman's belt, given the club's rule about clothing of any kind was very strict. No, was the answer; that comes off. Here you are a criminal, just like the rest of us. We're not worried about who you were before you were sentenced.

At the beginning Malka sat alone, given that she had no friends in the club. She watched several groups perform, and then Kim and Eloisa perform together on stage with three of Eloisa's musicians. As she watched Kim perform, Malka had a chance to reflect on her misplaced loathing of the American. She felt bad about how she had treated Kim, but couldn't see how that damage could be repaired.

Malka was extremely lonely. Because everyone in her former life had turned their backs on her, Malka had been completely by herself since she had been sentenced. She felt she deserved what was happening to her, but the pain of the betrayals by her former friends weighed on Malka tremendously.

Malka's isolation ended before Kim's singing was over. One of Sergekt's classmates, Tuko, noticed the ex-cop as she quietly sat by herself. Tuko had a girlfriend prior to the riot at his school, but her parents prohibited her from seeing him after he was sentenced. Tuko had not been able to find anyone else to go out with, and had given up hope of having a normal relationship until his sentence ended. That was too bad, because of all the members of the group, Tuko and Sergekt were the most adventurous when it came to reaching out in their personal relationships.

The disgraced ex-cop presented Tuko with an opportunity and a challenge. He found her fascinating and wondered how approachable she would be. She was 7 years older than the members of Sergekt's group, but Tuko didn't care about that. She was pretty and tough looking, as well as somewhat mature, precisely the kind of woman Tuko secretly fantasized about having in his life. Well, here was his chance. Finally he walked over to Malka's table and asked her to dance.

Tuko's relationship with Malka took off very quickly. Malka accepted the first dance out of sheer boredom and loneliness. At the beginning she had real reservations dancing with a criminal almost a decade younger than her. However, Malka knew that the old rules and protocol in her life no longer had any relevance. She now was a criminal herself, and if this guy was still in his teens, so what?

While Sergekt and his classmates watched in dumbfounded silence, Tuko bought some beer and fried vegetables for himself and Malka and sat with her. It was weird to see her smile and converse. Kim and Eloisa could tell that both Tuko and Malka were sexually aroused, something that became very evident the next time Tuko invited her to dance. Shortly afterwards the Socrates Club's newest couple headed towards the stairwell door and disappeared to go to an intimacy room.

Sergekt and Dima looked at each other, a bit shocked at Tuko's departure from their table and its result. "Well, that was fast."

The group now was faced with a dilemma. It was customary that any member who started dating someone from outside the group would bring his or her partner to the table, and the person would become a de facto member of the group. That was what happened the year before to Kim when she started dating Sergekt. Malka, however, was much more of an outsider to the group than Kim ever could have been. Kim, although a foreigner, an English speaker, a drug user, and Asian, at least was the same age as Sergekt and his classmates, and like them, a recent high school graduate. More importantly, she never had been a police officer. Kim had no past associated with her, nothing to make anyone hate her before meeting her.

An ex-police officer was different, especially one with Malka's background. The beatings Kim's friends had endured left them traumatized and afraid of anyone in a blue uniform. Until two months ago Malka Chorno had been among the cruelest of the police officers, one of the worst tormentors of criminals. Now she was a criminal herself, precisely because she had stepped over the line in her mistreatment of Criminal # 98945. How could she sit with the group? And yet...the group's subculture and their friendship with Tuko demanded that any partner of his would become one of them.

Fortunately that night the group was not confronted with the issue, because Tuko and Malka never re-emerged from the intimacy room. The group discussed how to handle the situation with Malka, should she continue to go out with Tuko and he end up bringing her to the table. Finally Sergekt stated:

"Look. Officer Chorno is really Kim's problem. I think it is up to Kim to decide how we should treat her. As far as I'm concerned, whatever she says is what we'll do, and there'll be no further discussion. It's Kim's choice."

Kim was not pleased that Sergekt was dumping the problem in her lap, because she felt she really had no choice. She felt morally obligated to come to terms with her former nemesis, but she really did not want to do so by mixing Malka with her social life. Nevertheless, Kim's conversation with the old priest at the Temple gave her no alternative other than to forgive Malka for what she had done. Kim knew that Malka had repented and even tried to apologize...sort of... That meant she had to treat Malka like she would treat any other fellow criminal.

"I...suppose...that we're all criminals, and now Malka is one of us. She's not a police officer anymore...or at least not until she gets her badge back. You're asking me what I want, but that's the wrong question, because what I want doesn't matter. You see...I don't have any choice. That priest obligated me to forgive Malka, and I'm going to have to, as hard as it is, I'm going to have to. So...when Tuko brings her, I'll just deal with it."

Eloisa gave the guys an angry look, and interjected "It's not fair to put this decision on Kim."

"Life's not fair, Eloisa. I think you know that better than any of us at this table. It's not fair, but I have to forgive Malka. So, when the moment comes, she'll join us. That's my decision."

Tuko spent the next two Saturday nights sitting alone with Malka, as both of them worked up the courage to re-join his group. Finally, on the fourth Saturday Tuko and Malka were together, Kim decided to approach them and resolve the issue herself.

"You might as well join us at our table. You two look ridiculous sitting here by yourselves, so come sit with us."

Malka gave Kim a sad, but gratified look. The invitation meant an end to her isolation. She sat quietly and was extremely reserved around the others, but now she had her place at the Socrates Club. Even when she was not with Tuko, his friends would expect Malka to join them at their table. It was the beginning of Malka's transformation, the simple act of sitting at the same table with a group of fellow-criminals.


Sergekt's life changed radically at the beginning of September. He decided to reduce his hours at his restaurant and enter Danube City University to study hydrology. He knew right away what he wanted to do with his degree. He would seek to improve Upper Danubia's irrigation and public water supply systems, to assure that severe droughts never again could lead to a national disaster like the one the country recently had endured.

Sergekt had to seek permission from the sentencing judge to enter the university. Kim and Eloisa attended the hearing, as did Sergekt's mother and aunt. Sergekt knelt with his head on the floor while his Spokesman presented the formal petition. The judge then ordered Sergekt to kneel upright and explain his plans. Sergekt quickly summarized the experiences he had endured over the summer. He started by describing the collective humiliation of the young men clustered around the pumps as they watched their efforts to save their parents' gardens end in failure. Right after that came the mobilization to save part of the nation's commercial crops, and finally the horrific week fighting forest fires. He saw all that had happened to Upper Danubia that year as unnecessary.

"What distressed me, your honor, was that the water to meet our needs was there, deep underground, but we had no way of getting to it. The technology to get that water also exists in the world, but in other countries and thus is useless to the Duchy. Now I know what I want to do, and what path the Ancients have chosen for me. I will try to become educated to help solve our nation's water problems."

The hearing was really a formality, since there was no doubt what Sergekt wanted was perfectly reasonable and useful to the country. He would have to attend his first year of classes naked, of course, but there was nothing unusual about that. Plenty of convicted criminals studied at the university, and there were even a couple of criminals with lengthy sentences working as professors.

Kim noticed Sergekt's confidence in himself rose as the semester progressed. He became concerned about his future and looked upon his present as a temporary phase in his life. Just a few months before Sergekt had confided to Kim that he felt he would never be able to see himself as anything other than a criminal. Now, with the beginnings of his career as a hydrologist crowding out other concerns in his life, Sergekt's entire focus had changed. He had found his purpose.


Cynthia Lee decided to visit her sister for the second time in the middle of September. Originally she had wanted to visit in August, but had to delay her trip because of Kim's fire-fighting duties. She re-scheduled once it was obvious the fire danger had passed and there was no further chance Kim might be mobilized to fight forest fires.

As before, it was Spokesman Vladim Dukov who had to pick Cindy up from the airport, given its location outside the Danube City collar zone. However, the whole tone of Cindy's trip would be different this time, because the only reason she was visiting was to see how Kim was doing and spend some time with her. Kim requested a week off from both her jobs, which freed her during the days to spend time with her sister.

Because Cindy arrived before the equinox, Kim did not have her winter cape yet. She was naked when she greeted her sister at Dukov's office, and would stay naked the entire time Cindy was with her. This time Cindy managed to get over the shock of her sister's constant nudity rather quickly. One thing that helped was seeing how accustomed Kim was to living naked, to the point she no longer even noticed. Her younger sister was perfectly comfortable with her body, which made Cindy question, for the first time, the values of a society that required people to be dressed at all times, whether it was practical or not.

Danube City was at its best during the late summer and early fall, so Kim had the opportunity to show Cindy around and familiarize her with the many monuments and historical sites the area had to offer. She took her guest to the Temple of the Ancients and King Vladik's Castle and explained the historical significance of both locations. Cindy marveled at Danube City's beauty: its fancy old buildings, endless parks, and quiet streets. Cindy thought to herself, this place has some real tourist potential, if these people could ever figure out how to market themselves.

Kim spent hours talking to Cindy about her life and what had happened to her since last Spring. She told Cindy the story of her final switching and its results, and tried to make her understand the underlying values and line of reasoning that determined how the whole affair was handled after the offending officer was arrested and sentenced. Kim eventually moved to the topic of the entire Danubian judicial system and its emphasis on corporal punishment instead of incarceration. She shocked Cindy with the following statement:

"It's actually a pretty good system, even if it has its problems. I mean...people really do have the chance to turn their lives around, and we criminals have a chance to do something useful and get ready for our futures. Yes, I got my butt whipped three times, and it hurt worse than I think you could imagine, but I'd take that over a jail cell anytime."

Kim's conversation with Cindy moved on to Dukov's stalled judicial reform pending in Parliament and what he hoped to achieve and change by trying to re-write the 1780 punishment code. The legislation had not gone anywhere over the summer because of the constant emergencies afflicting Upper Danubia. Kim suspected the legislation would eventually be forgotten, which was a real pity. Cindy disagreed.

"Kim, I don't think either you or Spokesman Dukov understand what an opportunity you have. You say there's a lot of good will towards criminals because of the fire fighting. Use it. Have all those people you helped call the Parliament and pressure the...deputies? Is that what they're called?" Kim nodded. "Alright, deputies. Have people call up the deputies and tell them this is how they can thank you for putting your butts on the line in that forest fire. Pass that reform."

Kim thought about her sister's idea. Cindy pressed her point. "Look, I've been taking some political science classes in college, so I have some ideas. What Spokesman Dukov needs to do is have his supporters lobby the Parliament. Have them call the deputies. Have the firemen you helped call the deputies. Then have them hold demonstrations in Rika Chorna Province and here in the capitol. Make sure you get the press involved. You do all that, and you'll get that reform passed."

"I don't think they do things that way around here."

"Probably not. That's why, the first time there is a real public relations campaign to make some changes it'll be such a shock that it'll shake things up. I'd bet, maybe once the public gets used to nagging the Parliament over things they want, things in this country might change and the system won't be so stuffy."

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