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Desdmona's Erotic Story Contests
2004 Typewriter Contest
Third Prize

The Key of B

She pulled his clothes from the closet in great handfuls and tossed them on the bed. Stained work pants, a hat, a painted tie, his one suit – onto the bed – two sweaters, a shirt…his favorite shirt. She paused; it still wore his scent. She buried her face in the fabric for just a moment before folding it with care and hiding it amongst the piles. Then she placed everything into boxes along with the telegram that began ‘We regret to inform you.’ The packing didn’t take long; he hadn’t had much.

When she was done, she stacked the boxes by the door and called Good Will, not the Salvation Army because she wanted nothing to do with armies ever again. Then she wandered through their small, dark apartment, picking up the things that had been his: a pipe (she’d given it to him as a joke, but he’d loved it,) his books (she preferred the radio,) a baseball mitt (oh, how she hated that he made her go to all those Dodger games.) She gathered everything she could find that was his, and she carried it all to the door.

Finally she came back to the bedroom and the old, wooden writer’s desk he’d placed in the corner because there hadn’t been room anywhere else.

All the loose, white paper she put back in its box and tied up with some string. The green, glass lamp – she didn’t need it. The preferred pen, the pencils, the Elements of Style, she gathered it all up and brought it to the front door and buried it in the boxes wherever she could find some space. Let them sort it, she just wanted it out of sight, gone, forgotten. Every last bit.

She went back to the bedroom for the Underwood #5.

The thing squatted on the desktop, its black cover grayed with dust. His machine, his typewriter, more his than anything else he owned. She tried to lift it, but it was heavy, and the damned thing slipped and came down hard on her pinky. With a cry, she jerked her hand away and fell back into the desk chair, nursing her smashed finger.

“Damn it!”

Damn it and damn him and damn everything else.

“Damn the whole rotten world!” Her shout bounced off empty walls.

Tears came, though she’d sworn there wouldn’t be any. She tore the cover off the typewriter and balled her fingers, preparing to slam a fist down on the keys. But she didn’t. Instead, she reached out, almost with reverence, to brush the tips of her fingers gently over the cold, metal buttons, over the smooth return lever and the dry, black ribbon.

He’d loved this thing, this typewriter, had scrimped and saved to buy it second hand, was so proud of it. She pressed a key, anticipating the sound. She remembered the earnest clatter it made when he used it and had to close her eyes against the pain. She pressed another key: the six, then the Y, the H. Her finger slid down and she ran a polished nail around the B, circling the letter. B. She pressed the key and the typebar struck with a crisp snap. B.

B for Brendan.

He’d prefaced it by telling her she was his inspiration, that he’d be the next, great Irish writer with her by his side. Then he’d left her lying naked and tangled in the sheets to go to the Underwood. His mistress he called it, and he certainly spent a lot of time with his hands on that machine instead of her. She sighed and dropped her head to the pillow; this wasn’t the first time.

She whispered his name, whispered for him to come back to bed, but it was too late. He was already sitting down at the desk, already rolling a sheet of white bond over the platen. He began to type.

Threading her fingers into her hair, she draped one leg over the other then twisted her torso and pointed her toes. She whispered his name again, cajoling.


He often called her his Varga girl, and he loved it when she struck a pinup pose.


But this time, no, it wasn’t going to work. He didn’t look at her, didn’t stop typing. His mistress had lured him, and the machine had a firm hold.

She hated the Underwood.

She lit a cigarette and rose from the bed, walking naked into their small living room, around the shabby couch and the mismatched end tables to where the battered radio sat. She switched it on; Marlene Dietrich’s thick voice poured from the speaker. She turned the volume up, drowning out the rat-a-tat of the keys. Though it was early for such things, she made herself a drink, and then she swayed back into the bedroom, swinging her bare hips to the music, trailing a scarf of smoke behind her.

He didn’t say anything, though she knew the music annoyed him. He’d put his trousers back on, and the braces cut across his broad shoulders and crisscrossed his back, red from working in the sun. She dipped a finger in her scotch and ran the wet tip playfully along the curve of his shoulder. He shrugged, and the clatter continued without a pause.

So she sat on the bed, watching his back and its subtle play of muscles as he typed. She hummed along with Marlene, a song about love and indifference. Sunlight pierced the thin, makeshift curtain hung across the window, and cigarette smoke arabesqued in the beams. She rose and danced, swaying around the desk, but still he didn’t look away from his words, didn’t take his hands off the Underwood.

Oh, Brendan.

She dropped the cigarette into the scotch and settled her bare bottom on the desk, on top of his papers, beside the damn machine. She parted her legs just slightly to let him catch a glimpse.

And his fingers paused, the keys falling silent. She smiled.

He didn’t look up, so she opened her legs another half inch. Slowly, without moving his head, he slid one hand off the Underwood to touch her leg. A soft, brushing touch, but enough, and she sighed, leaning back slightly onto her hands, opening her legs a little more, bracing a heel against an open desk drawer. His hand continued, over the leg, the soft inner thigh, into the delta of her Venus. His words. He said things like that, and though she thought they were strange, she liked the way they sounded: beautiful, erotic. His lips curled at the corners and again, he brushed his fingers against her flesh, soft and light, up, over the other thigh then back, down into the tender curve where her legs met, gently rustling the hair. She gasped and closed her eyes, and the flat pad of his finger pressed against her.

“Brendan,” she whispered, and he circled the finger. Her legs fell open all the way.


He pressed harder, circled again. Her head tipped back, and her hair brushed against her spine. Another finger joined the first, twisting, taunting and she arched into his touch. Sunlight warmed her face, adding to her flush, and she opened fully for him, for Brendan. His chair made a scrapping noise, and his finger was gone, and before she could even open her eyes, his hands were on her hips.

“Up,” he said. He didn’t need to speak twice. She slid off the desk, and a pile of his papers slid with her, fluttering to the floor like petals.

He turned her until she faced the Underwood, faced her rival. She was gripped with an absurd desire to stick her tongue out at the thing and then his finger, on her again, circling, teasing – ahhh! – and his other hand sliding up her back and she forgot the machine, forgot everything as her former desires reasserted themselves. He bent her forward over the desk, over the typewriter, until her elbows touched the wood.

The platen was cold and smooth on her breasts, and her nipples crinkled in response. The warmth of his chest on her back heralded the whisper that tickled her ear.

“Is this what you had in mind?” He circled his finger again and her hips jerked. With delicate slowness, he slid his finger away and pressing her forward with his hips, laid her bare clitoris on a cold, round typewriter key.

“It’s the B.” His voice, low, husky. “Me, my finger, my tongue, licking you there, making love to you.”

His hips pressed into her, and through the wool of his trousers, she felt his hard cock. He was a writer, particular about words, so it was always cock, never penis. His cock, hard and straining against the fabric. One of his hands had come down next to hers on the desk for support, and the other slid along her hip, undid the fly of his trousers, laid his naked cock against her round bottom. His knees pressed hers outward. She tried to buck against him, but he had her pinned, cold key on her clitoris, hot cock on her back. Then he moved, fingers pulling at her, blunt head sliding to find its place and then a swift, rude motion of hips, his and hers together, and an exhalation of sighs.


She shuddered and pressed her temple to the cool wood.

He rested inside her, firm and unmoving, but his arm trembled beside her head. Slowly, he shifted back then pressed into her. The B licked at her clitoris and a high-pitched “Ahhh” escaped her. The typebars, rising from the pressure of her pelvis, scratched at her flesh. He receded and pushed again, filling her, his body shaking against hers. A moan rumbled in his belly, pressed flat to her behind. The typebars scratched again at her tender skin, her ribs and the undersides of her breasts. She clenched around him.

He moaned again, hips gaining speed. The wet slide of his entry sounded obscene in her ears, and she concentrated on Marlene’s voice, thick, sultry, like molasses spilling in from the next room. The key lapped at her clit again. Her body rose to the rhythm – in, out, in, out – and the world sank down to those few things: his cock, the lick of the key, the scratch of the typebars at her skin, Marlene singing somewhere in the background. She gasped, ready, open eyes watching the tremble of his arm. And then – yes there! Her eyes snapped shut and she howled, body clenching and shuddering, fingernails scratching at the desktop as she came, on him, on the Underwood. A moment later he joined her, the slap of flesh ceasing abruptly as he buried his cock, pouring himself into her, jerking and straining and gasping for whole breath. And then quiet and panting and soft caresses and his weight resting gently on her back.

A month later, he had sailed for England and then the red shores of Normandy.

When Good Will came, they removed his things with slow inefficiency. They were old men, after all, past their prime and good only for carrying boxes and driving trucks. She sat on the couch, smoking. She didn’t watch. Finally, only the Underwood was left, for which another man came, younger, much younger. Dark-haired, smiling, she hated him instantly. Until she saw him limp.

He stared at the Underwood for a long moment, and then with obvious stiffness, he crouched and pulled the cover from the machine. He looked over his shoulder at her.

“This as well, Ma’am?” His voice was deep like Brendan’s.

“Yes,” she said and took a drag of her cigarette. She avoided his eyes.

“You’re sure?”

“Yes. Why?”

“You could sell it. Get good money for one in this condition. Any office’d buy it in a snap.”

“I don’t need money.”

He glanced around the apartment, and she hated him again, wanted him gone and the machine with him. He didn’t notice, only sighed and laid his fingers on the keys like he knew how to use them.

“Do you type, then?” She couldn’t quite keep the contempt from her voice though she doubted he heard it. He was still smiling.

“No, Ma’am. I write. Novels. Hope to be published someday.” He shrugged and shifted his lame leg. “Wish I could afford something like this now, though.” He caressed the shiny return lever.

“What’s your name?” she asked, sitting forward to stub out her cigarette.

“Brian. Brian Sheehan.”


B for Brian. She almost laughed.

“Take the thing, then. I can’t bear to think of it in some office. It was made to write novels, not type memos.”

He looked stunned. “That’s very generous, Ma’am, but I couldn’t.”

She walked through a veil of smoke to stand beside him and look into his young, eager face. Brian Sheehan, who writes novels and drives a truck. Brendan would approve. “I insist. Write a great novel, Brian Sheehan. I’ll be looking for it in the bookstore.”


“Yes,” she said, summoning a smile. “Really.”

Slowly, a bright, Irish grin bloomed on his lips, lighting up the darkened room. He turned to the Underwood and his hand reached out to brush softly across the keys.

She knew that touch. It was a lover’s caress.

I was a screenwriting major in college, and currently I work in television production in New York City. Last year I realized that I didn’t have the passion I once had for screenwriting, so I decided to go back to writing prose. Just two weeks ago I graduated from a prestigious genre writing workshop, and I’m currently working on a fantasy novel. This is only the fifth short story I’ve ever written and will be my first published work.

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To: Angelina Acquista

Desdmona's Erotic Story Contests
2004 Typewriter Contest
Third Prize