Wednesday, January 29, 2014

38. I doubt I can easily forget tonight

Within a three week period, Senator Alan Wells (D-WA), Congresswoman Joyce Moran (D-OH), Senator John Buchanan (D-MI) and nine others, Democrats all, each had an unforeseen encounter with a mysterious woman, each ending in his or her own personal turmoil.  Whether this mysterious woman was the same one for all, or whether there were a dozen mysterious women, there was no way of telling.  For one thing, each and every one of them thought that he or she was the only one in that predicament.

In this long weekend, Alan Wells was enjoying a three-day camping trip at the Larrabee State Park near Bellingham, Washington.  It being Friday, the first day, he only had with him his two children Anita (13) and George (11).  His wife Jennifer, a hospital administrator, had to work that day, and would be joining them on Saturday and Sunday.  

The trio went hiking and canoeing, then had a barbecue at the camp fire.  At 9 pm, the children, pooped, retired into their own tent.  No light was lit within.

Alan was an amateur astronomer and had been since a child.  He even had an obscure comet named after him.  One of his prime enjoyments in camping was star-gazing and galaxy-viewing.  He never went camping without his telescope.

Their camp site was within a stone's throw from the ocean, so he shouldered his telescope and set it up among the pebbles on the beach.  The near full moon was rising in the east behind him and still hidden by the trees.  The twilight to the west had faded to a beautiful memory.  Overhead was darkness with infinite depth awash with "billions and billions of stars".  He sent a silent greeting to Sagan.

His habit, once he has set up the telescope, aimed it at his target of the night, got the rotator running and started the camera for an hour long exposure, was to lie back on the ground and look straight up with his naked eyes.  It then become more than a visual experience, but a spiritual one.  He recalled a book he once read, titled [OMNI-SCIENCE and the Human Destiny], by Mark Lee, in which there was a saying, "We are all integral parts of the Earth.  We looking upward is the planet looking outward."  It never failed to make him feel at one with all things.

But then, something intruded into his cosmic consciousness.  It was a man and a woman, by the sound of it, who had just emerged from the forest about a hundred feet up the beach,  He was not particularly surprised, but was slightly annoyed, a sentiment he quickly extinguished.  After all, this was a public beach, a moon-lit night, and a lover's lane.  "Besides," the astronomer in him said, "I should be happy that there is life on this planet." 

He did not rise to see who they were, did not know if they had seen him, nor did he care, for his attention had already returned to the star field, not "above" him, but "in front of" him.  He inner ears had begun hearing celestial music.  But his outer ears became suddenly bombarded by earthly sounds, and unpleasant ones at that, and pulled him back to earth.

"Please don't do this," said a woman's voice.  "I said for us to just take a walk on the beach."  The night breeze carried to him every word.

"I've always worked on the premise that from a woman, no means maybe, and maybe means yes," said a man with a rough voice.

"Well, sorry, to this woman, no means no."

"Really?  Do you remember the movie A River of No Return, you know, Robert Mitchum, Marilyn Monroe?"

"Yes, I do.  So what?"

"There was a scene where they were rafting down the river.  He made an advance to her, she said no, he pressed, she resisted, then her body said yes.  And it was yes."

"That was a rape scene."

"It might have started as one, but she became more than a willing participant before it was half over."

"That was Hollywood.  And my name is not Marilyn."

"It is Mary.  Close enough."

"And you're no Robert either."

"What is that supposed to mean?"

"Nothing.  Your name is Willie."

"I'm not sure that I like the way you say my name."

"Oh?  And what way is that?"

"A total lack of respect, to put it mildly."

"Respect has to be earned.  And you just trashed yours."

"Look at it this way.  My sexual interest in you is due to my finding you desirable.  Consider it a compliment."

"I don't need any compliment, and sure don't want it from you."

"So you think you're better than me?"

"Not necessarily better, but certainly different."

"You are a real bitch, you know that?  But it's your lucky night, since I like fucking bitches."

"You'll have to excuse me.  I'm going back to my tent."

"Not so fast.  The night is still young."

"Not for me.  And not with you."

"Why not?!  I'm not good enough for you?"

"Don't take it personally, Willie.  Not too many men are.  Now if you will excuse me, I'm ready for bed."

"Bed?  Mmm.  Thanks for the innuendo.  I accept."

"Good night."

"Not so fast."

"Get your hands off me!"

There were some struggling sounds.  A loud slap.

"How dare you, you fucking cunt!"

She screamed.  The sound of two bodies falling on to the ground.  She tried to scream again, but it ended abruptly as if a mute button was pushed, leaving muffled nasal groans.

Alan got up on his feet and walked towards where the sound had come from.  He could discern the vague shapes of two figures writhing in the sand.

"Freeze!" he yelled.

And they did, but only momentarily.  The man came shooting on to his feet to face Alan.  The woman remained flat on the ground.

"Who the hell are you?" said the man, while advancing one step.

"Not your concern.  Just follow my finger and leave."  Alan pointed at the camp ground among the trees.

"Are you a cop?"

"Not your concern either."

"Then why don't you stop messing in other people's business and get the fuck outta here?!"

"After you."

"Sure, no problem, but you'll have long to wait.  Tell you what.  Go back to your hiding and resume jerking off, or whatever you were doing, but be patient. I'll let you know when I'm done."

"You're done right now.  MOVE!" said the senator evenly.

"You wanna make me?"

"If I have to."

"Looks like you have to."

"Then I guess I'm gonna have to."  Secretly Alan doubted whether the brown belt he had earned in Karate a couple of decades back, which he hadn't exactly honored through diligent practice, had faded to grey if not back to white.  Well, now was the time to find out.

As they squared off, Alan assessed, by the stance of the man, that he wasn't formally trained in the martial arts, "but he might have done street fighting of sorts, who knows."  To strike the first blow was not his intent.  He hoped that the man was just bluffing, and would walk off if called.  But he seemed intent on fighting, perhaps to demonstrate his prowess to the damsel in distress.  

Realizing this, Alan then switched over to tactics.  He recalled the Chinese martial arts saying, "If the opponent does not move, I do not move; once he begins to move, I move first."  So he waited for the man to attack.  He had preplanned counter-moves for several possibilities.  The one committed by the man was a basic straight forward boxing-style punch with his right fist - the easiest to counter, with a choice of several counter-moves.  One was to slap the man's arm sideways with your left palm, then close in to deliver a hard body blow at his solar plexus, followed by an upper cut to his jaw if necessary.  Alan's chosen counter-move was a side-kick at the man's mid-section.  The kick had a longer reach than the punch and Alan leaned his body back with the kick, while the guy' body was leaning forward with his "door was wide open".  The man's punch fell a full foot short, and Alan's kick went straight into his abdomen almost to the backbone.  The guy fell flat on his back, hitting the back of his head on a rock, then doubled over into a fetal position, gasping for breath.

Alan said to the woman, "Are you okay?"

"Yeah, I'm fine."

"Well, better get moving while the going is good."
Strangely, she did not make a move to go.

"YOU FUCKING SON OF A BITCH!" came from behind.

Alan turned to face the crazed man, just in time to have the stick in the man's hand make full contact with the left side of his face.  His glasses flew off into the brush.  He did not fall, but he was seeing stars, and not of the astronomical kind.  In quick succession, the man aimed three fist blows at Alan's face, none of which making contact.  The man moved in again to launch another punch.  "The one trick of this one-trick pony", thought Alan, as his counter-move rearranged the man's nose.  The man fell to the ground again, but this time did not get up.

The woman touched Alan's damaged cheek, and whispered, "Oh my God."

She took him by the hand and led him to her tent.  "Please wait a second."  She went in, then came back out with a hand bag.  "I'm too scared to sleep in my tent alone."  She looked at him pleadingly. "Hi, I'm Mary."

"I'm Alan.  Look, why don't you just pack up and leave?  That'd be your safest bet."

"I can't.  I came in his car."

"Oh.  Um, well, you're welcome to sleep in my tent.  I'll sleep outside, at the entrance."

"Oh Alan, you are my hero!"  She went on tip toes and kissed him on the wounded cheek.  She went back to her tent and brought out her sleeping bag.

"Here, let me take it for you."  He reached for her hand bag.

"Thank you."  She passed him the sleeping bag instead.  Together, they walked to Alan's tent.  Alan looked at his children's tent thirty feet away, and all was well.

She set her hand bag down on the ground and took the sleeping bag from Alan.  Alan zipped open the tent and gestured her in.  She went in, and laid the sleeping bag on Jennifer's air mattress near the back wall of the tent.  Alan brought her hand bag in and handed it to her, then retrieved the solar lights he had left outside, and set the half dozen of them around the periphery of the floor space, which glowed with a cool white light.  She went back outside to brush their teeth.  He pull his air mattress and sleeping bag out of the tent and laid the sleeping bag on the mattress at the entrance.

"You don't have to do that Alan," Mary said, tooth brush in hand.  "The mosquitoes will eat you alive.  Come back here.  I won't bite."

Alan hesitated, then brought the mattress and sleeping bag back inside, and set them up at the entrance.  When he first re-entered, his eyes did a double take.  She had magically changed into a see-through forest-green negligee which revealed more than conceal.

"I hope you don't mind me making myself at home."

"No, not at all."

"Why don't you lie down.  Let me dress your face for you.  It looks a mess."

While dabbling some ointment on to the cut on his cheek, she leaned down and gave him a lingering kiss.  "This is for saving my honor, my knight in shining armor."

"Thank you.  But I'm not a knight.  Just a guy who happened to be in the wrong place at the right time.  By the way, I am married."

"Not very happily."

"Where did you hear that?"

"Just call it feminine intuition."

"Close, but not quite."

"I can tell by the way you look at me, like now."

Alan closed his eyes.

"I bet she hasn't kissed you like this for a long time."

No, Alan admitted to himself, but his lips were too occupied to speak.  They seemed to have taken on a life of their own, and kissing seemed to be their top priority.  He let them.  Then, he felt her hand on his groin...

His own hand automatically raced there in self-defense, but stopped half way.

"Don't tell me that you're not interested," she whispered.

"You're a very attractive woman, but..."

"Surrender yourself to the night."

"Look, my children's tent is just ten feet away."  

"I'll be quiet."

When they were finally lying back, breaths still heavy, hearts still pounding, she said, "It was wonderful, Alan, but don't worry about it.  It's only a one-night stand.  Tomorrow, we'll go our separate ways; you'll go back to your wife, and your not too happy life."

"Be it as it may, I doubt I can easily forget tonight," he said dreamily.

"Say, was that a telescope you had set up on the beach?"

He slapped himself on the forehead.  "Thanks for reminding me.  I'll be back," he said.

"I'll be here," she said, with her deliciously sweet smile.

But when he came back with the telescope, she was gone, as was her handbag, though her sleeping bag was still there.  He waited fifteen minutes and she did not return.  He then went to check on her tent, and it was unoccupied.

He couldn't sleep that night.  In the morning, Jennifer saw his facial cuts and bruises and raised her eye-brows.

"Oh, I got into the middle of a fight I was trying to break it up."

"What fight?"

"Between a man and a woman."

"And the man beat you up?"

"No more than I beat him up."

"And the woman?"



When Alan got back to the office on Monday, he found a padded envelope on his desk, bearing "CONFIDENTIAL.  For Senator Alan Wells' eyes only."  There was no return address.  

Without the confidentiality warning, his secretary would have opened it and screened it.  As is, he had the option to open it himself, or ask the bomb squad to do it.  He picked up the letter opener on his desk.
"Senator Wells, please find in the attached flash drive a video you will find self-explanatory.  Objective: Withdraw Bill 1724.  If it goes to a vote, regardless of outcome, the video will go public without further notice.  I hope it won't come to that."  There was no signature.

He played the video, and saw himself ushering the woman into his tent, then what happened in the tent, ending with him saying, "Be it as it may, I doubt I can easily forget tonight."

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