(Author's note: The following tale is an official submission to the 2013 Literotica Earth Day story contest. The idea for this one came to me while watching late-night TV, and I ended up writing half of it that first night. Feel free to leave a comment at the end if you wish, put please, don't forget to vote on this and all the Earth Day submissions.)
* * * *
I stared at Kit with a mixture of disbelief and intrigue following her suggestion. "You want to what?"
She giggled, sitting back in the hand-me-down recliner in my apartment. "I'm serious. Earth Day is all about nature and the environment, right?"
I crossed my arms with a smirk. "So you want to walk around naked to raise awareness," I said.
She grinned. Kit and I had been best friends since middle school, back when she was a gangly, pimple-faced kid known to everyone as 'Katie.' Her new nickname had blossomed along with her beauty during high school, as she emerged more and more from her shell. Now that we were both in college, Kit's natural sexiness was an occasionally alarming thing.
"Look, Kevin," she said in that tone that told me she had already made up her mind and was not about to change it. "Professor Avery said that he would give extra credit for the final if we did something 'truly original, creative and effective' to raise awareness over a particular issue. You may not need an extra twenty points, Mr. Four Point Oh, but I'm borderline."
I cocked my head. "But isn't this a little crazy?"
She gave me a sarcastic look. "When have I ever done anything crazy?"
"Exactly. You don't do crazy things. I'm the one who goes cliff diving, and hang gliding, and goes to nude beaches."
"Yeah, I know. Crazy Kev," she grumbled. "Anyway, about my Earth Day idea," she prompted.
"We could never do it," I said. "There's this thing called public indecency. You want to get arrested and thrown in jail with a bunch of butch lesbians?"
She actually seemed to consider the idea. "Don't they have any lipstick lesbians in jail?"
An exasperated huff escaped me.
"You're so cute when you're frustrated," she said with a laugh. "Why are you so against this, anyway? You're the exhibitionist. I'd think you'd take any opportunity to let your personality hang out for all to see."
She had a point there. As high school seniors, Kit and I and several of our friends went to a nude beach on the Gulf coast for Spring Break. No one else was willing to take it all off except me, and that first exploration into the world of exhibitionism had been exhilarating, to say the least. I had since made that nude beach something of a second home from May to September, heading down there just about every weekend.
That simple affectation had seen the end of many a relationship, and, I always suspected, kept Kit from being more than just a friend. I simply knew, after the way she looked at me that first time, that she would never accept a nudist lifestyle, even if it was occasional. Kit was just too conservative.
I fixed her a look. "It can't be done. Not legally, anyway."
Kit grinned and lifted up in the chair as she reached for the phone in her back pocket. "Au contraire," she quipped, tapping on the screen. "Read this."
I caught the phone with suspicion blooming in my mind. Kit had saved what appeared to be part of an article from some government website. I started reading as Kit waited patiently . . . for about fifteen seconds.
"Basically, what it says is that any individual or agency can, quote, 'adopt alternative or objectionable clothing or even lack of clothing for the purpose of demonstration.'"
I gave my friend a wan look. "Why am I not surprised that you memorized it?"
"Just that part," she said, getting up from the recliner. "Seriously, we can do this. And I'm not just pushing for it 'cause I got a wild hair up my but to do something freaky. I mean, think about it. If a hot naked chick asked you to sign a petition to save the whales or something, you wouldn't even think twice."
"Okay, I see your point," I said with a laugh. "But if we're really gonna do this, we'd have to submit an official permit request to whatever government agency handles that kind of thing, and it would probably help to get Professor Avery to sign off on it, too."
A new, excited grin flashed across Kit's face. "So we're gonna do it?" she asked with all the hopeful energy of a child half her age.
"Just . . . think seriously about it first," I cautioned her. "Something like this will probably make the news. There'll be people who will take pictures or video of it. Ten years from now, is this gonna cause a problem?"
Kit soured a moment, and started to speak, but held back. For a moment, cold rationality appeared to take precedence over her exuberance. "All right, I get what you're saying," she admitted at last. "But this isn't like making a home-grown porn flick or anything that gets leaked out. Famous people get naked on beaches all over the place, and it doesn't hurt them, so why should it mean beans to a couple of college students?"
"That's the other thing," I told her. "If we want this to be taken seriously, we're gonna need more people willing to . . . go au naturale. The more we get, the better chance we have."
Kit thought a moment. "Well . . . I bet I could get Deanna to do it," she said.
The suggestion made me arch an eyebrow. I knew Deanna. While I did not consider myself a breast man, I was nevertheless impressed by her endowments, especially since she had a penchant for wearing tight clothing of rather thin fabric. "It can't just be girls, you know. I might be able to ask a couple of my friends, too."
Kit shot me a warning look. "Just not Bill, okay?" she asked with a look of disgust. "The dude's, like, your height but three hundred pounds. I'd probably heave if I saw him naked."
I frowned. "To be honest, I think Bill would be perfect," I said with a bit of annoyance. "It would be awfully hypocritical if we only wanted skinny naked people asking for signatures."
Kit looked suitably admonished. "Okay, okay . . . you're right. But he better not hit on me. He smells like bean burritos."
I couldn't help but chuckle. "I'll make sure he showers first."
"Now, about the location," she prompted.
"It would have to be a place where there are no kids," I insisted.
She smirked knowingly. "I know just the place."
* * * *
It shouldn't have surprised me that Kit had already scouted a location. She never did anything halfway, and if she told me she "had an idea" about something, that usually meant she had already begun planning it.
Under her direction, I drove us to one of the malls in the city, which lay just off the main inner loop. It was a busy place, having been built up just a few years earlier with a new string of outdoor shops on two concrete levels. The fact that the area was so public made me both nervous and a bit excited. How could we parade naked around here?
We parked, then headed toward a broad set of stairs that lead to a theater on the second floor of the outdoor mall. I understood instantly why Kit had selected the place. The theater served alcohol, and it was framed by a bar to one side and a comedy club to the other; all three of the establishments had age requirements of twenty-one and up. The three businesses formed a nice open courtyard which was only visible if you went up the stairs.
As far as controlling the environment for our little demonstration, this was pretty choice. There wouldn't be any families, certainly no kids, and for the most part, people heading to one of three establishments that served alcohol would be less likely to be disgusted or appalled by the sight of naked men and women than if they were to, say, be going to church.
"So, am I smart, or am I smart?" Kit asked proudly as she stood in the middle of the courtyard.
I shook my head with a smirk. "Yeah, yeah, you're a friggin' genius," I told her, then snapped my fingers. "If you can convince all three of the business owners, not to mention the property manager, to go along with it."
She suddenly pecked my lips with her own. "That's your job," she said, jabbing her index fingers at me. "You're the pitch master. Write something up that'll knock their socks off, then we can pitch it to them together." She effected a bad but somewhat recognizable New York accent. "We'll make 'em an offah they can't refuse."
For a moment, I just stared at Kit, wondering once again, as I often had throughout our years of friendship, if there was the possibility of something more between us. Kit had almost always had a boyfriend, and I had always been the consoling friend when those relationships came to an end. And while we had seen each other naked at various times, the most we had ever done was kiss, and those had always been fairly chaste. Still, every time her lips touched mine, it made me wonder.
But we saw life differently; in fact, I always assumed that eventually, we would go our separate ways, with Kit settling down with a husband and kids in suburbia and me buying an old camper van to cruise the country.
I banished those wandering thoughts as I focused on the task at hand. I took a deep breath and thought for a minute. If we pull this off . . . .
I couldn't help but grin.
* * * *
Even with the benefit of several speech classes and the gift of natural charisma, I still felt the butterflies tickling my stomach whenever it came to delivering any kind of proposal. Given the circumstances in which I was about to speak, I was doubly nervous. But I knew I would make it work. What I didn't know was how the idea would be received.
Through a string of phone calls and email that spanned several business days, I had managed to coordinate the presence of the property manager for the mall, as well as the business owners in question, to a single afternoon on Friday, about two weeks before the Earth Day event.
"Would you stop with the jitters?" Kit asked me in a hushed voice as we waited in the lobby of the theater. The place opened at five o'clock, and was therefore perfect for a three pm meeting.
I stopped my pacing and gave Kit a sheepish smile. "Just going over the presentation in my head," I said. "I think better when I pace."
"Well, you're making me nervous," she protested.
I chuckled. "No I'm not. You're already nervous." I looked her over. Kit wore a short denim dress with snaps down the front that hugged her slender figure nicely. I had specifically requested that she wear it.
She inhaled deeply, staring at me. "Okay, so what. This is my grade, buster."
My eyes narrowed. "That's not what this is about," I said. "Whether you get an A or a B in this class, you're still gonna graduate cum laude. So this grade doesn't really matter."
"Says you," she shot back.
I approached her with a single step. "What's going on?" I asked. "Why is this so important for you?"
Her narrow shoulders rose and fell as she breathed. Her eyes were dewy as she looked up at me. "It just is," she said, her voice sounding more timid and genuine than I had ever heard. "This can be something really . . ." she paused a moment, eyes darting away as she gathered her thoughts. ". . . something really special. Really memorable. That one thing that I can always look back on and say I did it right."
I frowned. "By being naked in public?" I asked.
Kit huffed and rolled her eyes. "I really hope, by the time this is over, that you'll understand why I wanted to do this."
Behind me, I heard a man's voice. "Mr. Landry? Are you ready?"
My eyes were still on Kit. "I hope so, too," I told her.
* * * *
". . . which is why the importance of Earth Day is something that can't be ignored. Every year, awareness grows and the exposure increases. Everything now is 'green.' Green cars, green energy, green food, green businesses. Any business that supports green agendas is a step ahead of the game. And we aren't asking for anything other than the use of your space. No donations, no investments, nothing. All we basically want is your blessing to solicit signatures for a petition to make Earth Day a nationally-recognized holiday. That's it."
I finished my presentation and Kit switched off the PowerPoint in the small theater. The lights came back on, illuminating the seven people seated in the front row. Five were middle-aged men; two were middle-aged women. They all looked, at the best, somewhat interested and at the worst, annoyed that they had sacrificed an hour out of their day for this.
"Mr. Landry," said Charles Jimenez, the property manager of this part of the mall. "That was a very, um, compelling show. I agree that Earth Day is an important celebration. I'm just a little confused about something. You could have done all this through email. Why gather us here together?"
Throughout the presentation, I had suppressed my nerves, but now they came raging back like an inferno in my belly. I made the supreme effort to remain as casual, confident, and professional as I could as I faced the seven people in the audience.
"Because there's a hitch," I said.
They exchanged glances. One of the women spoke up. "I hope you aren't going to ask for money," she said.
I chuckled. "No, as I already said, all we want is the use of the courtyard space," I told her. I glanced to Kit, who stood off to the side, having been in charge of the PowerPoint. She looked back to me with an expression of both nervousness and excitement.
"It's how we want to use the space that requires a little extra . . . understanding," I said, and motioned to Kit.
My friend hesitated only briefly, then stepped toward me with light clips of her shoes on the polished wooden surface of the small stage. All seven pairs of eyes in the audience were on her as she approached the end of the stage. With more casualness than I would have expected, and even a bit of burlesque flair, Kit jerked apart her blue denim dress amid a rapid series of popping brass snaps and shrugged the garment from her shoulders. As I had asked, she wore absolutely nothing beneath.
I held back chuckles as eyes popped and breaths were held. The intent gazes of seven men and women were riveted to my sexy friend's beautiful body, as I hoped they would be.
"Earth Day is about nature," I stressed. "It is about looking past the trappings of technology and civilization and getting down to the basics of humanity. What better way to illustrate this than by appearing as we were naturally intended?"
For several moments, the seven members of the audience alternately stared at Kit's naked body and exchanged curious looks. Most of the men squirmed in their seats -- for various reasons, I assumed -- while one of the women smiled thinly and the other narrowed her gaze in a contemplative way.
"Are you saying that you are both going to be, um, like this?" asked the second of the two women. She was the part owner of the comedy club, I knew.
"There are going to be six of us," I said. "And yes, we intend to be naked."
"I'm not sure about this," said one of the men. "I mean, hey, nice view, but what about the legal aspect?"
"We've already been approved for the permit," I said, holding up the paperwork. "So long as we conduct ourselves appropriately, we are not breaking any laws. This building is more than a thousand feet from any school, and there won't be any children coming around. We will even have a representative of the police department on hand to keep things orderly."
Another man laughed. "So this is legal?" he asked incredulously.
I nodded. "In this context, yes."
Murmurs and comments rumbled between them. Kit glanced back to me, her cheeks ruddy with what I knew to be a combination of excitement and nerves. I gave her a wink; she smiled and winked back, remaining where she was, proudly nude with her hands on her hips. I had to hand it to her; for my straight-laced friend, the fact that she had gone even this far was a surprise. I could not help but admire her nude beauty. Kit was one of those women who truly looked better without clothes. She possessed lightly tanned skin, toned limbs, a flat stomach, and by far the most incredible ass I had ever beheld upon such a slightly-built woman.
"What kind of benefit can we expect from this?" asked the female co-owner of the comedy club.
I was ready for this. In fact, I had hoped for such a question. With a quick nudge to Kit, I sent her back to the rolling trolley upon which my laptop had been set.
The lights dimmed again, and the towering screen behind me was filled with the image of hundreds of naked men and women walking along an avenue in the mid-day sun. "Have any of you have heard about the Nude Day celebrations in San Francisco?" I asked rhetorically. "The most recent was last year, and literally thousands of participants turned out. More importantly than that, but businesses along the streets where the parade was held enjoyed as much as a three hundred percent increase in revenue, just for the single day the celebration lasted."
Raised eyebrows and favorable nods were exchanged by my audience, and I continued. "While we don't expect such a dramatic response, it can hardly be expected that your businesses would suffer. Once word gets out, it will be the talk of the town. You'll enjoy greater exposure, higher revenue, and earn for yourselves a place in the history books as the most progressive businesses in city history."
I stepped to the end of the stage and gave them my best penetrating look. "Now tell me, how much is that worth to you?"
* * * *
"Holy shit, you did it!" squealed Kit as we left the theater half an hour later. She jumped into my arms and pressed her lips to mine in one of the most soulfully sincere kisses she had ever given me.
I tried not to think that the tips of my fingers, as I cupped her denim-clad cheeks, were within an inch of her naked genitals. "I guess you can say I was inspired," I told her. "You were magnificent."
She made a "pfft!" sound and rolled her eyes. "All I did was take my clothes off."
"Which tipped the scales," I said, looking into her eyes. "This was both of us; we did this together."
For a moment, Kit's soft pink lips parted moistly and she gave me a smile of pure affection. Then she pushed away and hopped down, landing on her feet. "We're gonna do a lot more together," she said with a wicked smile.
Now it was my turn to roll my eyes.
* * * *
With everything in order -- permission from the business and property owners, permission from the city, permission from the police department, and all other attendant sundries taken care of -- all that was left was the waiting game. Kit and I went to our Sociology class every week but shared none of the details with our classmates concerning our upcoming Earth Day event. That was not an easy task for Kit to fulfill, since she was often in the habit of bragging. And in fact, those fellow students of ours who had shared classes with Kit before took her reticence at discussing our Earth Day event as some kind of threat; obviously, if she was hiding something and not bragging about it, it must have been something really, really good.
If they only knew.
As the fateful weekend loomed closer and closer, the anxiety accumulated, compounded when I received a call from one of the local television stations.
The voice of the woman on the other end was breathy and energetic. "Hi! May I speak with Kevin Landry, please?"
". . . I'm Kevin," I said guardedly.
"Oh, good! Mr. Landry, my name is Theresa Cortes with KWAC Channel Twelve Action News. How are you doing today?"
I chuckled. "I'm doing just fine," I said. "How are you?"
"Just peachy," the woman said with an airy laugh. "Mr. Landry, I'm guessing you know why I'm calling."