tagExhibitionist & VoyeurThe Lady Garden

The Lady Garden


'Is this place new?' the cabbie asked as they pulled up outside the pink and purple diagonally-striped double doors.

'Not sure,' Jarvis said. 'To be honest, I'm not even sure how I know about it. I suppose someone must have told me. Or maybe I read about it somewhere.'

'Tell you what, squire,' the cabbie said, 'if it were my place, first thing I'd do is get a decent sign. Can't hardly see that one.'

He had a point. The sign above the door was not that much bigger than an A4 sheet of paper. And it seemed to be shrinking. By the time that Jarvis had got out of the cab and paid the cabbie, the sign was only about the size of a postcard. 'You might know this,' Jarvis said. 'Does anyone send postcards anymore?'

The cabbie shrugged his shoulders. 'Dunno. I think it's all Instagram these days, innit?' he said.

Jarvis wasn't really familiar with Instagram. He pushed open the door and was greeted by a girl dressed in what seemed to be the top half of a naval officer's dress uniform. Below, she was wearing just black fishnet stockings. 'Hello,' Jarvis said. 'I'm here to meet a friend.'

The girl nodded. 'Looking for friendship? Well, you've come to the right place, sailor. I'll just need you to fill out a form. Likes and dislikes. Favourite foods. That sort of stuff. Oh ... and whether you're looking for a male or female of course.'

'No. The friend ... she's someone I already know,' Jarvis said. 'I think we were supposed to be meeting for a cup of tea.'

'I could probably find you a very nice tranny. Best of both worlds, so to speak,' the girl said.

Jarvis found himself wondering why the girl wasn't wearing any trousers.

'Her name ....' But Jarvis couldn't remember the name of the friend he had come to meet. 'Do you know why I'm here?' Jarvis asked a man dressed in the manner of a Jedi knight.

'The future has many entry points, young Jarvis,' the man said, 'but the past has few exits. Follow the dog, young Jarvis. Follow the dog.' And then he dissolved into a bright light.

When Jarvis opened his eyes, the sun was shining through a gap between the bedroom curtains, and Toby, Jarvis's aging black Labrador, was nose-butting his hand. Somewhere in Jarvis's head a mellow, 1930s-style voice was singing. 'The sun has got his hat on, hip-hip-hip hooray.'

'That's Ambrose,' Jarvis told the dog. 'Ambrose and His Orchestra. It's funny the things that stick with you through the years, isn't it? "The sun has got his hat on and he's coming out to play." About time, too.'

Jarvis pulled on a pair of shorts and a T-shirt, and followed Toby out across the landing and down the stairs.

Summer was late. It should have arrived weeks ago. And yet as recently as Wednesday morning there had been a stiff breeze laced with brief showers. Not cold showers. But not really warm either. Certainly not the sort of weather that one would expect for the time of the year. Not flaming June. Not strawberries and cream on Henman Hill. But now it seemed the sun had finally decided to pay a proper visit. As the voice in Jarvis's head was telling him: the sun had finally got his hat on.

'Actually, Tobe, I'm not sure that Ambrose did the actual singing,' Jarvis said. 'I think he played the violin. The fiddle. You know. And I seem to recall that he might originally have been Polish. Bert Ambrose. I think. Is Bert a Polish name, Tobe? What do you think? Maybe short for Bertoliski.'

Jarvis let Toby out through the French doors that opened out onto the terrace that led to the garden. And then he made himself a cup of coffee and he too went out into the garden. Even though it had only just gone seven in the morning, there was already some real warmth in the sun, and Jarvis decided, there and then, that he would get the folding table and chairs from the garden shed and set up a workspace in the shade of the walnut tree.

Where had Ambrose suddenly come from? How had he found his way into Jarvis's head? And then Jarvis remembered that there had been a club of some sort in his dream. And a girl dressed as an admiral. Had Ambrose been playing at the club perhaps? 'Ladies and gentlemen, please put your hands together and make some noise for Ambrose and his Orchestra.' Maybe. But Jarvis couldn't remember. That was the problem with dreams. One moment everything was right there. Right in front of you. In fine detail. Making perfect sense. And the next ....

'So ... what's your column about?' a new voice in Jarvis's head asked.

'It's generally about 800 words,' another voice answered. 'Boom! Boom!' Oh yes, the old jokes are still the best jokes. 'I say, I say, I say ....'

'Although, in practice, I generally write 800 words plus a few,' Jarvis muttered to himself. 'Got to leave something for the hard-working subbies to get their pencils into.'

'Do they still use pencils?' the original voice asked.

'I think so,' Jarvis replied. 'It seems that the much-vaunted paperless office is still just around the corner, just over the horizon.'

Jarvis's copy deadline was 11am. In almost five years, he had never missed a deadline. Not once. Mind you, he had sometimes flown pretty close to the wire.

He could probably write his column at any time during the preceding week. But writing habits are hard to break. And so Sunday's column was written on Friday morning. A good deal of thinking went on beforehand, but the actual writing started at 8am on Friday. 'Eight am on the dot,' one of the voices confirmed.

By the time that Jarvis had set up his table and his laptop, and opened his shorthand pad covered in hand-jotted notes, Toby had already claimed his spot under the table. 'I do hope that my feet are not in your way, Tobe, old chap,' Jarvis said. But Toby seemed to have already dozed off. Jarvis moved his chair slightly and flexed his fingers.

Right ... 'Old dogs, and children, and watermelon wine,' he typed. He wasn't sure that he was going to use the actual Tom T Hall line, but it summed up what he wanted to say: that there aren't that many reliable things in this world. And, placing one's trust in the fancier promises of politicians and would-be politicians -- especially at election time -- is almost always a mistake.

'Ten long years ago, the good people of East Norbury elected Edwin Brocklehurst as their Member of Parliament,' Jarvis wrote.

'For those of you who may have forgotten, Mr Brocklehurst said: "Vote for me and I will ensure that the number of mainline trains between London and King's Androm is doubled. Furthermore, I will ensure that the local line from Ousemarket to Condle -- a line which should never have been closed -- is once again at the service of this community."

'Today, ten years later, the number of services on the London to King's Androm line has halved. And the local line from Ousemarket to Condle remains nothing more than a thin black line on a few old maps.

'There was never any real possibility of the rail services to and from the East Norbury region being restored to what they were in earlier times. Mr Brocklehurst should have known this. But, as the late Oliver Harmsworth said on more than one occasion: Politicians will promise whatever it takes to get elected. After that, they will promise whatever it takes to get re-elected.'

Jarvis read through what he had written. Yeah, that was coming together.

'Mr Brocklehurst has now announced that he is to retire from politics. Apparently, like so many before him, he is going to spend more time with his family. So far, there has been no word of how his family feels about this.

'At the forthcoming election, the good people of East Norbury will have five new candidates from whom to choose: Oswald Martin, Sir Matt Tanner, James Herkus, Gillian Green, and Buttercup Shilling. (Ms Shilling is promising free cannabis to all persons over the age of 18.)'

Jarvis glanced down at the word count in the bottom left hand corner. So far, so good. Maybe time for another cup of coffee. 'Every good boy deserves figs and every good writer deserves more coffee,' a voice in Jarvis's head said.

When Jarvis returned to his outdoor office, coffee in hand, he set about summarising the key promise of each of the other candidates. And then he posed the question: 'How likely is it that any of these fancy promises will be met? How likely is it that any of these fancy promises can be met?

'As the world gets ever more complicated, what voters need are candidates who promise not what they think the voters want, but what they know they can deliver. A promise is a promise. Making promises you know you can't keep is simply dishonest.'

Jarvis glanced down at the word count again. It was showing 823 words. There was a little something there for the subbie to work with.

It was coming up for a quarter to ten. Time to do something else. Time to let the pudding prove. And then Jarvis could come back, read through what he had written, perhaps make a few tweaks, and then press Send.

The sun was really getting into its stride. Jarvis took off his T-shirt; and then, because he could, he also removed his shorts. 'There are advantages to be had from living in the middle of nowhere,' Jarvis told himself.

When Jarvis had bought the cottage, the garden at the back had been almost a formal garden. But Jarvis wasn't really a gardener. He liked gardens. He enjoyed gardens. But he wasn't exactly green-fingered. And so, after struggling for the best part of a year, he had hired a woman from a nearby nursery to come and make a few changes. Now, three years after Cynthia had worked her magic, the garden was more of an informal green room which, in summer at least, was punctuated with splashes of intense colour.

For 25 minutes or so, Jarvis worked his way around the small garden, talking to himself, already beginning to think about next week's column, removing a weed here and a weed there, and dumping them in the cunningly-concealed compost bin. Then he returned to the shade of the walnut tree and reviewed what he had written. Yes. A few minor tweaks and it was time to press Send.

'Will it make any difference?' a voice in his head asked. 'Will it prompt the voters of East Norbury to ask any hard questions of their candidates?'

'I certainly hope so,' Jarvis said. 'I certainly hope so.' But he also recognised that people tend to listen for what they want to hear. 'Oh, well. One does what one can do,' he told himself.

Jarvis closed his laptop and took his chair out into the full sun. The warmth of the sun's rays on his body felt good. Very good indeed. Almost erotic. Or perhaps there was no almost about it. Jarvis lay back in his chair, spread his legs slightly, and watched as his cock began to fatten and grow in the sun's warmth. 'Interesting,' he said to himself. 'I wonder how far it will go. All the way?' And if it did go all the way -- without him actually touching it -- should he just ignore it? Or should he call upon the services of Mrs Palmer and her five daughters?

'Tis a terrible thing to waste an erection,' a voice in his head said.

And then Jarvis thought that he heard another voice, a woman's voice. 'Gosh that looks nice,' the voice said. Of course it couldn't have been a real woman's voice. Jarvis was in the middle of nowhere. And a visiting car could be heard from half a mile away. At least. But then, as a writer, Jarvis often heard voices in his head. Jarvis's own voice trying out sentence structures. Searching for rhythms. Characters' voices rehearsing bits of dialogue. Hearing voices was one of those things that he had long since learned to live with. 'It's just part of being a writer,' he told himself. 'Perhaps an essential part of being a writer.'

'I rang the doorbell, but there was no reply,' the woman's voice said.

'The doorbell? Ah, yes. Well, you can't hear the doorbell from out here,' Jarvis said. 'You can only hear it if you are in the house. I suppose that I should consider getting a second bell. Perhaps out on the terrace.' And then he realised that it was a real voice. And it was coming from a real woman. It was coming from Angela.

Angela was a consultant archaeologist of some sort. Jarvis had met her when they were trying to save the Old Corn Store at Widecombe. Jarvis didn't believe in saving old buildings just because they were old, but the Old Corn Store was also beautiful. And it gave Widecombe a point of focus. 'Without the Old Corn Store, Widecombe would be no more than an untidy crossroads with a misshapen village green,' Jarvis had written.

'Doorbell?' Jarvis said. 'Umm ... yes. No. Sorry. I didn't ....' And he tried to cover his growing erection.

Jarvis's shorts -- along with his T-shirt -- were on the table under the walnut tree. And Angela was now standing between where Jarvis was sitting and where his clothes were. 'My ... umm ... clothes,' he said, waving a hand in the direction of the walnut tree.

'Oh, don't worry on my account,' Angela said. 'I've seen naked bodies before.'

'I was just ...,' Jarvis said.

'Enjoying the sun. Yes. And who wouldn't? It has taken forever to get here this year. Still ... it's here now, and that's all that matters.'

'I didn't hear you arrive,' Jarvis said.

'That's OK. I wasn't expecting a royal fanfare or anything like that. I was just passing. I thought that I'd pop in. Say hello. You know how it is.'

'No. I mean I can normally hear a car from a good half mile away. At least.'

Angela frowned. 'Ah ... yes,' she said. 'Yes. I have one of those new electric cars. Just to try. I'm not sure if I'll buy it or not. It hardly makes any noise at all. I suppose that we'll get used to them. In time. But, at this stage, it's ... well ... a little bit strange, to be honest. No brrm, brrm.'

What Jarvis found strange was not an electric car that travelled in near silence -- no brrm, brrm -- but the fact that his cock which, with the arrival of Angela, he had expected would collapse, seemed to be continuing to grow.

'This is such a perfect garden,' Angela said, making a sweeping gesture. 'So private. My little garden is overlooked from both sides. And while I'm sure that Tom Turkle would be more than happy to gaze down on me should I choose to indulge in a little, umm, sun bathing, his cow of a wife would not be at all pleased. And as for the Reverend Cedric Hopkins (retired) .... God only knows.'

Jarvis smiled. By his own admission, he was not very good at judging women's ages, but he seemed to recall Angela saying something about a 40th birthday. Upcoming, perhaps. Or recently passed. Either way, she was a very pleasant sight, dressed in her summery dress and her strappy sandals.

And then Angela's face suddenly lit up. 'Oh, silly me,' she said. 'Of course. It's National Nude Day, isn't it? I completely forgot.' And, to Jarvis's complete surprise, Angela first removed her dress, and then her knickers, and finally her bra. She kept her sandals on. And she kept the butterfly pendant that hung on a gold chain around her neck.

'I'm sorry,' she said. 'You should have said.' And then she placed her shed clothes on the table beside Jarvis's, picked up the other chair from under the walnut tree, and carried it out into the centre of the garden, placing it facing Jarvis's chair. 'Just as well that the sun did come out, eh? Imagine National Nude Day without the sun.'

Jarvis frowned slightly. 'National Nude Day?'

'I meant to put it in my diary,' Angela said. 'Still .... What a glorious day for it. What a glorious day for National Nude Day.'

'I suppose so,' Jarvis said.

'National Nude Day,' a voice in Jarvis's head said. 'Who comes up with all these days? And while we're on the subject, when is Pink Hippopotamus Appreciation Day?'

'You know ... you definitely have better weather out here,' Angela said. 'You're only a mile or so from the village, but ....' And she leaned back, spread her arms and legs, and let the sun fall on her naked body. 'Ah ... yes.' And then she reached down and fluffed up her unusually luxuriant tuft of pubic hair. 'As you can see, I haven't even got around to trimming my lady garden yet. I was going to do it about a month ago, but then Felix wanted to take a photograph.'



'Your ... boyfriend?'

'No, no. Felix is a photographer. Professional. I sometimes get him to do bits and pieces when we are carrying out excavations. Photographic record. You know. We do our own. With our phones usually. But sometimes we need something a bit more professional. We were working on a dig over near Taklemore, and Felix said that he wouldn't charge me for the photography if he could photograph me for some collection that he was putting together. He assured me that no one would be able to tell that it was me. And so I agreed. He said that he wanted my lady garden to be as luxuriant as possible. Hence no trim.'

Angela ran her fingers through her dark mahogany-coloured bush for a second time. 'I'm still not sure how he knew that I was rather more hirsute than many of my sisters. Not actual sisters, you understand. I don't have any. I was an only child.'

Jarvis nodded.

'It was quite interesting. He -- Felix -- had me put conditioner through it for a couple of days before he took the photographs. And then, on the day, he brushed it up and used a light hairspray. I must say that it was quite effective. And I thought that it looked quite sexy -- if you are into a bit of lady garden.'

Jarvis nodded again.

'Do you like a bit of lady garden, Jarvis?'

'Umm ... yes. I suppose I do.'

'Good.' And then Angela stared at Jarvis's crotch -- where his hand was still making a losing effort to cover his still-growing cock -- and she frowned. 'Oh, gosh. I'm sorry,' she said. 'Did I ...? Did I interrupt? Were you ...? You know.'


'I didn't realise,' Angela said. 'I'm sorry. Crashing in here.'

'What? No.'

She laughed. 'If I had a cock -- and a private garden like this -- I'm pretty sure that I'd be giving it a bit of a tug in the sunshine too. In fact, I'm sure that I would. Combining National Nude Day with Masturbation Monday. Although today's Friday, isn't it? Still ....'

'No. I wasn't ... umm. I think it must just be the sun.'

Angela smiled. And then she nodded. 'Well ... whatever .... But don't let me stop you.'

'But that's the point,' Jarvis said. 'I wasn't actually doing anything. It was just happening of its own accord.'

Angela continued to smile. 'I believe you,' she said. 'Millions wouldn't. So how is it now?'

'Well, now you're sitting there -- without your clothes -- talking about your lady garden -- how do you think it is?'

'The little bit that I can see looks pretty nice. But your hand keeps getting in the way.'

Jarvis sighed and moved his hand. 'Better?'

'Oh, yes. Much better,' Angela said. 'Thank you.'

'So ... what now?' Jarvis heard a voice in his head say.

And, as if Angela heard the voice too, she said: 'Well, it may just be the sun of course. That's certainly a possibility. I suppose. But we still don't want to let it go to waste.' She moved her chair slightly closer. 'Well? Are you going to show me how it's done?'

'Somehow, I rather get the feeling that you already know how it is done.'

'Well, yes. Naturally. In a general sense, anyway. But I like to think that, whenever possible, it's good to learn the finer points from the expert. And, in my experience, there is no greater expert on how to handle a stiff cock than the man whose cock is being handled. Now ... shall we begin?'

'I think you're going to have to,' a voice in Jarvis's head said. 'I don't think that she's going to give up.'

Jarvis took the weight of his cock in his fingers, placed the ball of his thumb on top, and slowly stretched the warmer-than-usual tube of pale flesh until he had almost covered the bluish-pink helmet head. And then he slowly pulled his hand back towards his body, causing his swollen cockhead to appear to reach out towards the attentive Angela.

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