Rudely belching, Russell Matthews held up a finger signalling for another beer and Rosie with pink cheeks and a wide bottom arrived at the thick oak table and leaned over to deliver the pint of ale.
"Nice titties Rosie."
She pouted and said then why didn't had attempt to play with them like other regulars and he said she was too young for the likes of him to try going around the racecourse with her.
"But mom wouldn't want me being chased around the racecourse 'cos the racecourse is a place of evil with betting and violence and men crying into their beer because they've lost their week's pay and know what's in store when they get home."
"Not that kind of racecourse Rosie. I suppose it is a notional racecourse."
"Mr Matthews, I do declare you know much too much for the likes of me. You have a real way with words."
She went off, lifting up the back of her short skirt to show her panties were pink that day. Salt of the earth was Rosie. She knew how to please men. But as he'd tried to tell her if she took him on he'd tire before the finish. Well that was his theory to avoid messing with young tarts. Women become more discreet about lovers as they age.
Aye is was like young bulls chasing after skittish heifers and having to fight to get in whereas older bulls knew mature cows simply knew what was coming and, contentedly chewing cud, simply lifted their tails aside.
Bloody journalist. She'd spent half the day talking to him about his land holdings and farming methods and taking a good look abound and all that dumb-ass probing about profitability knowing she'd get nowhere on that. If she had tits perhaps he wouldn't have become so bored and that dumb photographer wanting him to try on different 'ats. Why couldn't he say hats like normal people did?
He went home grumpy from the pub but smiled when he saw Sarah his housekeeper was rolling dough. When she did that she operated almost in a trance and accepted him without question, like a cow with her tail held aside.
Russell went behind Sarah, unzipped, pulled up the tail of her skirt and pushed in under her panties and rutted until he finished, sweating.
Salt of the earth was Sarah. He even heard her say, as usual, thank you.
She continued rolling out pastry. How did she clean herself up? Did she even bother? Russell had no idea.
Next morning the truck driver who collected waste from restaurants and delivered it to Matthews Piggeries stopped as usual for a chat and handed over the morning newspaper.
"Won't hold you up this morning. You'll want to read all about yourself. Two whole fucking pages Rusty."
Two fucking pages? How the hell could that dumb bimbo fill two pages when talking to him less than an hour? The rest of the time had been spent walking about and driving over a couple of his other seven farms.
"What do you do with the semen that leaks down you legs," he wanted to say but if that turned Sarah grumpy he'd not be served good cooking for a week. So he just said, "Morning Sarah" as she plonked his coffee in front of him and muttered well it might be for some people.
He spread out the paper and found the story was the centrespread. Yes there were no ads and he swore when reading the heading, 'Call Me Rusty says Essex's Multi-Millionaire Mixed Farmer.'
When the hell had he told that skinny bitch he was a multi-millionaire? The bitch must have been on Speed.
Russell read the story and photo captions carefully and sniffed in satisfaction. Quite well done really; he hadn't spotted a single error. She'd let the cat out of the bag when at the end of the story she'd written, "According to an accountant specialising in farming clients, a top practitioner like Mr Matthews intensely but prudently farming 3800 acres of prime Essex farmland would theoretically be hugely wealthy. Land holdings alone would place him in the multi-millionaire class."
Well that was okay. Farmers liked to cry poor to fend off angry complaints about them getting subsidies and other breaks. Well farming occurred at the whim of weather and everyone ought to know that. Profitability could go down the drain virtually overnight. The bad days in farming outnumbered the good days hugely, notionally by twenty to one perhaps.
The calls started as neighbours phoned to congratulate him on the story that was supportive of Sussex farming. They particularly liked the quotation. "If it weren't for subsidies land would be reverting to its natural habitat of swamps and broom and gorse to provide breeding grounds for Britain's most hated vermin after rats."
A retired barmaid from his old days of rampaging called to ask was he still dating? He slammed down the phone and yelled, "Whore."
Sarah arrived at the doorway and said, "What did you just call me?"
"Fat old Liz Ryan just called and had the gall to ask if I were still dating. I cut the call and you heard me salute her verbally."
"Well yes. A whore whose use-by date is well gone I should think."
Later when watching a mobile mechanic work on a huge £15,000 tractor to ensure used parts weren't fitted, Russell took a call from Lady Hamilton who invited him to dinner on Saturday and she said her daughter Susan would be there. He accepted but five minutes later realized what that was about... the Hamilton's were scratching for loans to keep their estate intact. He called back and apologized saying he was sorry but he would have to cancel because he was er due to have a rectum examination on Friday.
Lady Hamilton gave the impression she was about to vomit as she cut the call.
At 4:00 Russell carried out the routine of going to the local pub for a couple of pints and returning hoping to find Sarah making pastry. She seemed to make a hell of a lot of pastry, at it almost every afternoon.
At the pub he learned Rosie's mom must be able to read because she said her mom had read that Mr Matthews was filthy rich and that Rosie ought to marry him.
When he replied he would be too big for her, the sweet kid opened her mouth wide and said she had a wide mouth. He cried poor and said the newspaper had got it wrong; the fact was he was millions of pounds in debt.
"Oh you poor man. I'll ask daddy if he can help out."
Russell thought that would be unlikely because her dad washed cars for the local Ford dealer.
He arrived home to find Sarah was making pastry but her daughter was sitting beside her.
"Mom wonders if you'd like to show me the new extensions to the barn.
Russell was completely sucked in and said right-tee-ho and they began walking off until Jennifer began telling him her favourite past time was screwing.
He stopped and clutched his heart and said, "What?"
"I think I'm passing a testicle."
"Omigod," she said and fled.
He returned to the kitchen and wishing to avoid a lousy meal being served he said, "Sorry Sarah but..."
"I know, you want someone closer to your age which is...?"
"Well come over here, I can't let you go without," she said, stopping the pastry rolling to pull up the back of her skirt.
Russell went to an agricultural machinery field day sponsored by a local firm, Ginter, Lupton, Shipwash. He was watching the operation of a giant hay baling machine he was thinking of buying when a kid's or a woman's arm slipped through his (it was a small arm) and then a French perfume of indescribable beauty assaulted his nostrils honed on farm muck.
He looked at the blue eyes and great teeth of Annette, Charlie Shipwash's youngest daughter. She wasn't much over thirty.
"Hi angel, still selling equipment to make poor farmers even poorer?"
"Well I say pull a condom over the heads of crying poor farmers like you and you'd still look like lying pricks," she laughed and Russell laughed with her.
"I guess after that big spread in the Post, gold diggers have come out of the woodwork to offer you never-ending sex and marriage or marriage and some sex?"
"Yeah a few."
"I suppose Lady Hamilton would be one of them?"
"Yeah one of the first."
"You've never been at me for sex and you've known me for ever."
"Yeah and now you're gold digging."
"The truth is Rusty this selling business is not all it's cracked up to be. If you could give me a couple of kids and leave me well-endowed when you've finished with me, one way of the other I would be very happy."
"That's the best offer I've had. You should know I'm dull."
"I can't fuck all night any longer."
She giggled and said that was a relief.
"I get grumpy."
"Don't we all? You have heavy responsibilities. How many people do you employ permanently?"
"Forty-two including twice daily milking contractors this year. I'm looking to buy more machinery to try to get that number down a bit. Look I'm interested Annette. You have great tits. What about a try-out without obligation?"
"Yep I suppose so. We could go over to the hay barn now if you wish."
"What about a weekend in Paris?"
"Oooh Rusty, I can feel myself lubing already. I'll find you later and take you to lunch."
"What so your mom can get a memory fix on me?"
"Oh Charlie you are needle sharp."
"Actually it's Rusty."
"I know. Just testing for Dementia."
She walked away and Russell looked at her butt and thought that could take a pounding.
They went by airplane to France for three nights because she'd never done much flying but with all the extra travel to and from airports and traffic delays, air travel proved to be a poor option. As soon as they arrived Annette wanted to go shopping and Rusty wanted sex. She said sex could wait and left.
"Fucking gold digger," Russell grumbled, paid for the hotel room for the three nights, left her a note and went to the airport to catch the first available flight home.
* * *
Russell's ringing phone awoke him next morning. It was Ida Shipwash who was crying and accused him of abandoning her daughter in France.
"Wrong, she abandoned me."
They argued and got nowhere and Ida screamed that it was a woman's prerogative to go shopping and he countered by saying not when she was his guest in an expensive trip to France.
"Annette feels abandoned in France."
"Well go over to her. I paid for the room for three nights before I left so if you go now you'll have two nights of free accommodation with her."
"Very well but I expect you to pay for my travel and associated expenses."
"Get fucked and goodbye Ida."
Charlie Shipwash called Russell a few minutes later.
"Er Rusty, I understand my women have caused you some upset."
"That's putting it mildly but nothing I can't handle."
"Um that big baler you were watching being demonstrated?"
"Yeah looked what I wanted but £72,000 is a lot of money."
"Look Rusty, you have been dealing with us for years and in view of the upset my women have caused do you think we could do a quick deal for £64,000?"
"Is the baler still at the demo site?"
"No but we can get it back there pronto but will need to condition the cut grass again. Say 1 o'clock today?"
"Great Charlie, I'll be there with Gavin my Cranston Farm manager who is my chief haymaker. I think we could conclude on that deal at that price... um providing we are offered an extended service contract?"
"Anything you say pal. Sounds good to me."
At the pub that afternoon after completing a very successful farm machinery deal, Russell sat at his table and Rosie came over with a pint of ale.
"Mom says all kinds of women are chasing you to become a permanent lodger in your bed."
"They need to be more than good at sex Rosie. They have to have good farming knowledge, be prepared to muck in when required, oversee management of the house and farms in my absence and enjoy chatting to me without being dominant, enjoy going to football and sleep when I sleep."
"It sounds like you require a miracle. The only bit of crumpet I can think of who's around the mid thirties to come close to those requirements is Eloise Dubois. But you won't like her because she thinks like a Frog although she came to live here from France when she was sixteen. She's now about thirty-six."
"Plump and red-faced and all the time thinks about food?"
"Do not prejudge her. She comes here each Tuesday for lunch. Come next Tuesday at 12:10 and I'll seat you at her table. She usually comes alone."
"Okay. Don't forget to flash you panties as you walk away.
Ah they were black lace today.
Russell drove home thinking well perhaps he ought to marry again. Heather his wife had died seven years ago, slamming her car into the side of a bridge when travelling too fast for the icy conditions. She'd been unable to have kids and they'd decided against adoption. If he married a young enough woman he might get a son or two to inherit the farms or more correctly his businesses. This babe Rosie was on about was around thirty-six, young enough to have kids but she was a Frog. They were nothing but trouble to a guy... stubborn, combative, fat and enjoyed their food far too much and he'd also heard French women peed standing up.
Nah he'd give the French fishwife a miss.
But on Tuesday Russell had twelve Charolais calves in a horse float behind his Defender and was approaching the pub and thought why not take a look at the chic. After parking he topped up the water troughs inside the float and went into the pub.
He looked around and couldn't see a fat Frog, er former Frenchwoman.
Rosie carrying a menu rushed at him and over-acted hugely.
"Oh Mr Matthews, taking a break from one of your big cattle round-ups today I see. Now where can I seat you? Ah over here with Miss Eloise Dubois."
Russell was pleasantly surprised. Eloise didn't look particularly French and she smiled pleasantly.
"Oh Eloise, this is this district's most successful multi-million dollar farmer Mr Russell Matthews. He's asked to be seated with you."
Russell could have throttled the loud-mouthed kid.
"Hi Eloise. Um I can sit at one of the empty tables."
"No Mr Matthews, please sit with me."
"A cocktail?" he offered.
"No thank you."
"Er Perrier water?"
"Oh how clever of you to think that."
"A bottle of Perrier water and my usual pint thanks Rosie."
"Certainly My Lord."
As Rosie left Russell said, "You must excuse Rosie. I believe she is attempting to set you up with me."
"I think so too."
"And I'm just a farmer like any other landowner around here."
"Yes of course Mr Matthews. So I take it that big newspaper article about you was a load of rubbish?"
Russell ran a finger around the inside of his collar.
"Um actually it was a very accurate story. I shall not lie to you Miss Dubois."
"And why are you now addressing me formerly?"
"Because you chose not to call me Russell. My mother taught me etiquette."
"Oh forgive me Russell or may I call you Rusty?"
"Either way but I like the way you pronounce Rusty with slight amusement in your voice."
"Yes Rosie told me you have an interesting way of saying things. Actually I did think of rusty nails when I said Rusty."
"You mean Rosie had spoken to you about me?"
"Yes she has. She said you were interested in dating me."
"But you are too young. God she shouldn't have said that. Where is my beer?"
"Here My Lord," Rosie said, arriving with the tray.
They watched her serve and said thank you and watched her walk away and when Rosie flipped up the tail of her skirt to expose aqua panties Eloise giggled and said, "That girl obviously enjoys your company. I bet you flirt with her outrageously."
"Um I might but I've not laid a finger on her."
"I should hope not. At thirty-four am I too young for you?"
"Rosie said you were thirty-six."
"Ah so Russell, you have conspired with Rosie to set this up to give you a chance of dating me?"
"Not quite. She said you lunched here Tuesdays and it would be a good opportunity to meet you. I can't recall it going beyond that."
"And so how did the subject of me come up?"
"You might not like this."
"Be a gentleman and allow me to be the judge of that Rusty."
"Well Rosie's mom told her since the publication of that article all sorts of women have been chasing after me to join me in bed. Her mom reckoned they'd need to be more than good at sex to please me. Further, the woman of my choice would have to muck in and be prepared to manage when I was away and enjoy chatting to me without taking over and like going to football matches and sleeping when I sleep."
Eloise said, "I'm surprised you didn't specific big breasts and a small butt."
"Um I thought that but didn't say it."
"Oooh an honest man. Go on."
Rosie cocked her head in thought and then said I appeared to want an angel and the only person that would come close to my specifications would be Eloise Dubois but I wouldn't like her because she thinks like a Frenchwomen although you had lived in England since coming here when you were sixteen. She said if I came here at lunchtime on Tuesday I might meet you here, and here I am."
Eloise said, "Well all I can say this is incredibly interesting, being discussed like a piece of meat by a waitress and a randy farmer in his late forties."
"You misunderstand," Russell countered. "I was asked to specify the type of woman who might interest me and gave it and Rosie thought about that and said you were the nearest woman she could think of who came near to fitting that specification."
"And my breasts, do that fit your specification?"
Too late. Russell stared at them without thinking and when he looked up Eloise was glaring at him icily.
He groped to appease. "No they are too perfect."
"What?" she said and looked astonished, as if he were some breast size and shape guru.
Feeling he was out of his depth and no longer accepted, Russell said, "I shall move to another table."
"Don't you dare. This is one of the few conversations I've ever had with an adult male that actually intrigues me. You did discuss me like a piece of meat, own up or I'll know you are a liar."
"I did not regard you, sight unseen, as a piece of meat and be very careful about calling me a liar."
Not in the mood to back down he said, "Or I might thump you."
"Omigod, a weather-beaten middle-aged farmer who thinks like a Knight of old."
"Laugh away, I won't become distressed."
"I would not laugh contemptuously over that. I find it immensely cute. God in this age of men becoming pussy-footed here is you, a guy who would consider hitting me."
"Are those good grounds for accepting an invitation to date me?"
"I'll consider that," she said, as Russell topped up her water glass.
"Thanks," she said and smiled. "Are you still reasonably sexually active?"
He said with a sigh, "Of course but I can no longer go all night."
She giggled and said thank god for that and that made Russell think he'd heard that before. Had modern women lost the ability to go the full distance?
They talked on, both aware that young Rosie was keeping close watch on them.
Finally Russell said he must go. He had a load of calves outside in a trailer.
"A British breed no doubt, Angus?"
Eloise smiled and said he really was an interesting guy.
"Why?" he said. "Because I cart around Belgian livestock?"
Being French of course she knew the origin of Charolais cattle. "And because you are a tease."
He waited till Rosie had disappeared into the kitchen and stood and said he must go.
"Leave your card with me please."
He handed one over and left wishing he could kiss her but a young woman like that might vomit at being publicly humiliated.
"Well?" said Rosie, hands on hips.
Eloise smiled and said quite a surprise package really.
"Then you might see him again?"
"I might. Thanks for the introduction love."
Eloise drove home in her Toyota Hilux pickup, aware it needing replacing. But the farm was for sale and her uncle was in no mood for spending on farm vehicles.