Lucky Day Ch. 1byImaginator©
It is the uncharacteristic silence of the room that wakes Bob suddenly. He misses the steady ticking of the antique clock which usually sits on the bedroom dresser. Then there is the darkness. Bob wonders what has happened to the night-light which usually shines from the hallway. A momentary light through the window from a passing car reveals the ceiling and walls of a unfamiliar space. He sits up on the strangely stiff mattress of the bed and searches for the pack of cigarettes and lighter which he remembers leaving on the night-stand. They are still there, but after lighting a cigarette and laying the pack and lighter back down, his hand comes across something else: a small empty plastic wrapper. It feels square-shaped in his hand, and he ponders what possible contents it might have once held.
After taking the first puff from the cigarette, he once more lays out before his mind the pieces to the puzzle. Puzzles are Bob's specialty. However, none of the pieces of this one are where he remembers leaving them, almost as though someone came in behind him and deliberately rearranged things. He tries sorting in reverse order, starting with the most recent. There was that cup of coffee from the previous evening. An oddly placed piece, considering that he routinely took his coffee early in the morning, before giving his wife Joan a kiss on the cheek and heading for work. Joan! Where did that piece go to? And why was her suitcase packed and sitting by the front door, when he came home that afternoon?
The next piece he finds lying in his hand: the empty square-shaped plastic wrapper which Joan found in his pants pocket; he remembers her handing it to him, when it once contained a condom and had the words "Just in case" written on its back in fluorescent pink. Janice! Bob drops the wrapper and probes the darkness. His hand lands on the slender and shapely form of the woman lying next to him. She moans in her sleep. A mysteriously substituted piece indeed, but one which only hours earlier was guiding Bob through places long hidden from the eyes of other men.
Bob takes another puff from the cigarette. It tastes different from his usual brand, stronger like a narcotic. Here is yet another bewildering substitution. Then there are all those lottery tickets. Where did they come from? Now the joining process would begin. First, he tries piecing the lottery tickets with Janice. The combination reveals a scene at a convenience store on the previous Monday. This unlikely scene had been set, when he neglected to follow normal procedure and fill the tank of his car on Sunday afternoon. So, anxiously finding it near empty as he drove to work, he pulled up to the first set of pumps in sight. After filling the tank and entering the store to pay, Bob finds a tall and slender young black woman wearing a gray sweat-suit standing behind the counter with her back toward him.
"Excuse me," Bob said. "How much do I owe you?"
A piece is turned and locked into place, as Bob remembers Janice's eyes first meeting his. The bright business-oriented grin which she normally offered her customers suddenly melted into a warm and softly glowing half-smile. Its flame lingered within the frame of her lips, even after her eyes shyly retreated and wondered aimlessly over the counter.
Bob remembers her face being light brown with tiny freckles dotting her cheeks. Her dark frizzy curls were kept restrained in a bun at the back of her head. What Bob did not know was that, for the first 24 years of her life, Janice had been cloistered in the house of her widowed church-frequenting mother. She had devoted herself to a life of repressed sexuality, ever since, as a teenager, she had caught her older brother Larry with his hand stuck deep into her best friend's shorts. Katy had been a white girl whom Janice had met on the school playground during childhood, but their friendship had ended that spring day when Janice had too quickly returned from one of her mother's prescribed errands. The anger she had felt had not been directed so much toward her brother, as toward Katy for liking too much what Larry had been doing to her.
After graduating college, Janice had started with the night shift at the convenience store, where during the slower hours she had curiously thumbed through several of the adult magazines kept behind the counter, particularly the ones with pictures of nude men. And then, there had been that black policeman who came by every couple of hours to check on her. He had been a dark-skinned and heavy-set man, and during every visit had made some attempt to persuade Janice to go out with him. Her adeptness at dodging his persistent prodding had given her confidence in her ability to control a situation. But then, there had been his partner, the trim and clean-shaven white policeman who had always stayed in the patrol car. His image had provided her with ample material for her mental exercises of naïve lust. It was not until she had moved to the day-shift and had gotten her own apartment, that there developed within her an urgent desire to actually draw a man into bed with her, in order to guide him in the proper way through the unexplored regions of her starving flesh.
"Um, let me check," Janice said to Bob, quickly adjusting her wire-rimmed glasses. "Pump number 2, right?"
"Uh, yeah," Bob said.
Janice's eyes kept darting between the cash register and Bob's face. Her shy manner was unlike that of any other black female Bob had ever met, and so he felt an instant attraction for her.
A high school math teacher in his 30's, Bob had been living the sedate and dependable suburban existence with Joan for close to five years. But his desires were kept directed toward the black girls in his classes, the ones who always seemed to respond so favorably to his kind attentions. He sat in his chair every evening, sipping from a glass of bourbon, and pondered the images of them hovered around him with their sensuous bodies and flirtatious manners, giggling with excitement to see the solution to a particularly difficult problem. It was during those evenings that the dry symbols of the equations in his mind would suddenly develop voluptuous breasts, curvaceous buttocks and thick luscious lips. Finally, after taking the sum of three particularly attractive girls, subtracting their tight-fitting and revealing clothing, then dividing himself by the remainder, the result would turned out to be a mathematical orgy of dark bold figures scrawled across the whiteness of his flesh.
But Janice appeared to him differently. The loose-fitting sweat-suit she wore did not accentuate the features of her body, and her reserved manner was in contrast with the usual boisterous nature that he found in other black females.
"Would you care to try some instant lotto tickets?" she asked sweetly, after handing him his change. "They're only a dollar each."
Bob normally did not gamble. It was not that he felt a lack of confidence in challenging the odds; after all, as a math teacher, he knew that he could have easily applied the laws of probability and won every time. Such problems which dealt only with uncertainties simply held no appeal for him. He preferred handling equations whose solutions were sure and absolute. However, with the sweet innocence of Janice's glances already changing the definition of "normal" for him, Bob's resistance to a simple game of chance seemed pointless. Janice showed him how to scratch the silvery coating to reveal the matching dollar amounts.
"Hey," she said with an unrestrained grin, "you won 6 dollars!"
"Well, what do you know," Bob said. "This must be my lucky day."
"Could be," said Janice, looking intently into his eyes. Then, it was Bob's turn to play shy. He remembered Joan, even though the solidity of their marriage was only framed by a set of precise daily rituals. The fact that she was there every morning with his cup of coffee gave a basic element to the framework, though not an essential one. Nevertheless, even this fact could easily be ignored without upsetting the order of things, or so he thought. Such an hypothesis needed to be tested.
The next morning found Bob's cup of coffee still sitting on the kitchen table untouched. He spoke a parting remark to Joan and was gone. Pieces to the puzzle had begun to be rearranged. After filling a plastic cup from the coffee machine at the back of the store, Bob went in search of Janice. There she was behind the counter, smiling as usual at his approach, supplying a new element of stability to his life. Having requested two more lottery tickets, he commenced to scratch away their silvery coatings, but only to uncover the first mismatched pieces to the puzzle.
"Aw!" Janice said, looking disappointingly at both tickets. "Maybe next time, huh?"
"Yeah," Bob said. "Guess I let that one slip by me. Well, can't win them all."
"But once is better than never," Janice said, smiling and staring into Bob's eyes more boldly than before.
"It seems like once is all it takes to get hooked," he said, staring back without once thinking of Joan.
Another drag from the cigarette, and a new piece falls into place.
Bob vividly remembers Wednesday evening, sitting in his chair, gulping down glass after glass of bourbon, and working out probability equations. But the widening of the odds kept defeating him. Also, matters were not helped by the fact that his usual brand of cigarettes had been out of stock that morning, and he had resorted to smoking an unfamiliar brand; or by the fact that six out of six lottery tickets had failed that day to produce the necessary matching numbers.
Now, staring into the darkness of the strange room, he takes a few more puffs and flips one of the pieces over, trying to make it fit. Joan had become used to the weekly scheduling of their lovemaking, just as she had become used to the normally quick foreplay, followed by the even quicker intercourse. The routine was for Bob to roll over and fall asleep, while Joan slipped into the bathroom to finish herself off. However, that Wednesday night, with thoughts of Janice still swirling in his brain, Bob's usual soft kisses to Joan's lips were replaced by his tongue lashing the insides of her mouth. She felt like she was about to suffocate, then Bob moved down to her neck. She heard him mumbling her name into her ear, but the tone was somehow different, more like "Jan." Frustrated with the buttons of her night shirt, Bob ripped it open and attacked her breasts, treating them like a hungry man who rabidly laps up the last morsels from his plate. Joan's eyes grew wide and her heart pounded fiercely, as Bob clawed at her panties, jerking them from her hips and legs and tossing them across the room. Now, he was doing the strangest thing ever: he was sucking the lips of her vagina, something Joan had never experienced before from Bob or any other man. Not really knowing what he was doing himself, Bob instinctively inserted his tongue as far as he could manage and lashed away at her insides.
When he found a small protrusion at the top of her vagina, stiff and pointed, Bob's tongue lashed at it too, followed by his trying to suck as much of it into his mouth as possible. He felt Joan's fingernails digging into his scalp, as her hips bucked his face. Sounds emanated from her mouth like none Bob had ever heard before. Bob's penis was so hard and sensitive now, that he knew of no other way to relieve its pressure than to plant it as deep as he could into Joan's hot and moist vagina. The usual thrill that Joan had felt from their concluding intercourse would often remind her of teenage midnight skinny dipping parties in a friend's pool. But on this occasion, Bob's aggressive thrusts into her took Joan over the waterfall and into the drink. Later, as Bob lay exhausted on the bed, she stumbled to the bathroom and let the warm water of the shower rush over every burst nerve-ending of her body.
The next morning, sitting alone at the kitchen table with a small glass of bourbon in her hand and staring over at the untouched coffee, Joan pondered Bob's newly acquired skills from the previous night. She picked up the small hard plastic case which came with the test kit and, taking another sip of bourbon, glared into its blue-streaked well. Out of over 200 tries in 5 years, Bob had finally gotten a hit.
"The lucky devil," she mumbled to herself, then swallowed the last ounce of bourbon.
Having overslept that morning, Bob had to raced to the school. His daily stop by the convenience store would have to wait until the afternoon. He concluded his calculations later in the day and determined that two tickets out of four should yield the winning result he needed. But after frantically scratching the fronts of every ticket Janice had handed him, he found that all that the spent 10 dollar bill had return for him was 2 dollars. His hands shook, as he accepted the two bills from Janice. She was not smiling now, but wondering what kind of wild thing she had lured with her well-placed trail of crumbs. When she informed him that his usual brand of cigarettes were still not in stock, Bob reluctantly settled for the same unfamiliar brand that Janice had recommended the previous day. She hoped that, with the bait firmly in place, she would soon be able to snare the beast now raging in Bob's eyes.
After getting into his car, Bob from the bag the pack of cigarettes, but then also pulled from it a small square-shaped plastic package. Janice had made sure that enough of Bob's protective fabric had already been unraveled, before she dared to let her true intentions be known.
Friday morning, Bob decided to avoid temptation and pass up his usual visit to the convenience store. It was while doing the laundry though, that Joan discovered the condom, confronting him with it later that evening. He remembered her saying something strange about not wanting a two-timing philanderer helping her raise her child. His excuses of innocence and ignorance were not enough to assuage her, so she announced her plans of staying with her mother for the weekend, and that his supper was on the stove. Then she picked up an already packed suitcase and stormed out the front door.
Seeing more pieces slipping from his mind's grasp, Bob takes a long draw on the half-spent cigarette and recounts what is left of the puzzle. He remembers racing back to the store in hopes of persuading Janice that her advances were misplaced, and that he was a happily married man living a normal life. Of course, it did not matter to him that he had scratched so much of the silvery coating from the face of normalcy, that the figures underneath no longer added up.
Upon entering the crowded store, he found another black woman in Janice's place behind the counter. She was dark-skinned, heavy-set and wearing a tight top through which her nipples were conspicuous.
"Where's Janice," asked Bob.
"Oh," said the woman, "she took off early. Are you Bob?"
"Yes," he said.
"She left this note for you," said the woman, "something about something you were looking for."
She handed Bob a small greeting card. He opened it immediately and read the beautiful cursive handwriting within: "Bob, I have what you are looking for. 555-5825. Janice."
"Your lucky day, huh?" said the woman with a big grin and a wink of the eye.
Bob dialed the pay phone outside and waited for Janice's voice.
"Hello," came her sweet tones from the other end.
"Hi," he said, "this is Bob. Listen, I got your note. Maybe I should explain something to you, before things get more confusing than they already are. You see, I . . ."
"Hey Bob," said Janice. "Did you win anything? Did you play some more tickets?"
"No, I, uh," said Bob. "What I'm calling about is . . ."
"Aw, that's a shame," said Janice. "Listen Bob, I have those cigarettes you were asking for. I can give you directions to my apartment, if you want to pick them up."
"What?" asked Bob. "I'm not sure I understand."
"Just stop by," said Janice. "You won't be disappointed. I live on Fairway, in the apartments two blocks from the main intersection. Mine is number 13. See you soon?"
"Sure," said Bob.
Perhaps things had not gotten as complicated as supposed, he remembers thinking to himself as he pulled into the parking lot of the apartments.
Bob takes one more tug on the cigarette butt and ponders how the final pieces fell into place. Janice opened the door just enough for him to slip through, but then she immediately shut it. Her hair was hanging loose now, its frizzy locks draped over her shoulders like wild clinging vines. She wore a bright pink long-sleeved night-gown; the white lace of its cuffs and collar made her skin seem darker. A fresh sweet scent mingled with the warmth of her smile.
"I just made some coffee," said Janice. "Would you care for some?"
"I don't think . . ." said Bob.
"It's no trouble," she said. "Have a seat, while I go pour us some."
Bob sat down on the couch. Looking around the apartment, he noticed a bookcase loaded with an assortment of hard and soft-bound volumes. There were several more on the coffee table in front of him. Looking between his feet, he saw something protruding from under the couch. It was a magazine with several of its pages folded back. The opened page showed a nude white man reclining on a bed with his hand wrapped around his long thick penis. Just as Bob finished chuffing the magazine back under the couch, Janice appeared with two steaming cups.
"Here you are," she said, handing him one of the cups and seating herself on the cushion beside him.
"I figured since you didn't get any coffee at the store this morning," she said, "that you'd probably be wanting some."
"Well, thank you, Janice," said Bob. "I've been needing this all day."
They sat silently, sipping from their cups. Janice set hers down and sat back with her hands folded in her lap. Bob set his down and carefully placed his arm across the back of the couch. Janice then slid to the front of the couch, carefully removed her glasses, than slowly turned her head to face Bob. Her eyes lifted to meet his, as her lips parted slightly. Her dark pupils seemed to smolder with a deep glow, as Bob felt himself being drawn toward the flame. He let his lips gently brush hers, testing to see if she would pull away. Instead, she leaned forward in pursuit of him. He fell into her snare and pressed his lips closer to hers.
Her soft untried lips clung lightly to his, as he pressed even closer to strengthen the seal. But then, she separated from him and stood up, looking down at him with a feverish look on her face.
"Did you bring it with you?" asked Janice.
"Bring what?" replied Bob.
"The thing I dropped in your bag yesterday with you cigarettes," she said.
"Oh," said Bob, "you mean the condom. Yeah, I've got it right here in my pocket."
"I thought that it would be an easier way of letting you know my feelings," she said. "But I have to tell you now, that I lied to you over the phone. I don't have the cigarettes. Actually, I hid the brand you wanted, just to see if I could get you to follow my lead."
"But why so shy?" asked Bob. "Why all the subtle ploys?"
"It's just that," said Janice, "well, I've never been with a man before. And when I met you, I felt like I had to have you, but in my own way. I know you've had a lot of experience with your wife, and I'm sure you could teach me some things. But I wanted this to be special, not same old, same old. I lured you here, so that I could show you myself just how I wanted you to touch me."
Janice undid the top button of her night-gown, then the next button, then a third. She sat down close to Bob, taking his hand in hers, and inserting it between the folds of her collar. She pressed his fingers into the middle space of her collar bone, where they lightly brushed the base of her neck. Then, she lifted his hand and pressed the back of it against her neck and chin. Bob stroked her jaw, as she tilted her head back and closed her eyes. Maneuvering his hand to the space behind her ear, she let Bob play with her frizzy curls. His fingers became entangled in them, then he lifted them away and leaned in to kiss her neck. He brought his other hand up her back and to her opposite shoulder. Janice pulled away again, then stood up, smiled down at him and extended her hand. She led him to her bedroom, where she made him stand at the foot of her bed, watching her.