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Desdmona's Erotic Story Contests
2004 Erotic Short Story Contest
Third Prize

Our Daily Bread

He loves my buns. Martha smiled and pressed the dough onto the counter, turned it once, then shoved it firmly back into a ball.

He stuffs himself each time I bake. He ought to weigh a ton, but David hasn’t gained an ounce since we got married. Fathers have it easy: adoration from their kids, not stretch marks. He’d saunter in the house this evening, set his toolbox by the door. He’d sniff the yeast aroma and give a howl in glee. “What’s for supper, Mart?” He’d find her in the kitchen, peck her cheek, and hug her lightly as he raved about the bread. Heaven’s to Betsy, it wasn’t just the bread back then. In years gone by he might have pulled her apron off and then her dress. He’d sometimes shown his love of flour by kneading on her breasts and, once, by humping right there on the kitchen floor. But that was at the first, post-honeymoon, when everything was fresh.

Now, Martha wasn’t certain that he noticed her at all, that he cared a crumb about the chef. Life took its toll. Not that she was fat, not that, nor old. But kids, of course, (now grown and out from underfoot) and keeping house and time itself, they’d tracked their mud across linoleums, left her body sagging here and there, left a hint of crow’s feet, the spectre that a homemade dinner roll was more exciting now than she.

Darn it, anyway. Baking bread was Hell on nails. So were dishes and the laundry. Back then her hands were soft and supple. Now, the moons of Midnight Blue were flecked with paste; now they crushed the ball and folded it with vengeance, then mauled it back to round. Martha sprinkled white across the counter to defeat the stickiness, then pressed her swollen abdomen against the Arborite and promised she would lose five pounds next month. Back then, when David was attentive, back then she’d been an Eight.

Twenty pounds by Easter. It wasn’t that bad though. Her face was pretty. Her ankles still were trim. Maybe he just worked too hard. Maybe things would change. Maybe they could get away come summer, somewhere with a beach. Better, thirty pounds by June. I will. She shoved the crusted heels of both her hands into the dough to punctuate her prayer, to emphasize resolve.

Martha felt the yeast begin to glow, the flour begin to emanate its warmth. Baking calmed her, and, bless him, David always made a fuss. With fingers greased, Martha oiled her offering. She placed it in the bowl and covered it and set it where the winter sun would give it life, then touched a buttered finger to her lips. The sweet, thick, salty kiss was small reward for all her work. Then Martha gave in to temptation, sucked them one by one inside her mouth.

She was about to wash her hands and do the breakfast dishes, her thoughts absorbed in nails, repairing polish, when Martha heard the doorbell clatter. Who could that be? She hadn’t dressed, was still in just her nightgown and a wrap. But just by chance, today she’d done her hair and face before the bread.

It rang again. “I’m coming!” Why couldn’t we afford a chime? Some class. A little elegance? She trudged toward the door. If it had been his precious car, we’d find the cash somewhere.

Through the open crack she saw a boy, his case almost as big as he, selling Bibles maybe, salvation written plain across his smile. “I’m busy.” She pulled the housecoat closed across her neckline and shivered at the frosty air.


“I really am too busy ...”

“Ma’am. I’m glad to catch you in this morning. This would only take a moment ...”

“How old are you?”

“Eighteen, Ma’am. Just two minutes ...”

“I’m not a ‘ma’am’, okay?”

“Beg pardon, Ma’am. Many of your neighbours are regular customers of ours. I’m sure if ...”

She felt the cold on her bare feet. “It’s freezing. Just for a minute.” At least, a bit of company. She opened wider, stood back a step to let him enter, then stopped him on the welcome mat.

“Thank you, Ma’am. It’s very cold.”

“Why aren’t you in school? And please – not ma’am."

“Yes, ‘m. I’m off a term to earn some money. It’s university. This isn’t charity. These things are good. People really like them, Ma’am ... Beg pardon. Missus.” He set the case down in the hallway and started on the clasps.

“Martha. But not out here. It’s drafty. Leave your shoes. You’ll wet the carpet.”

“Martha. Ma’am. I’m James. It’s good to meet you.” He reached and took her hand and squeezed it lightly; he used a toe to slip out of his still-tied running shoes, then shuffled in behind her. “Thank you. You won’t be sorry.”

She led him to the loveseat, kept herself, respectably, a coffee table distant on a well-worn davenport.

“I represent the Adams Company. Quality products for the kitchen and the ...”

“James? James, I really can’t help you out ... We don’t need polishes or ...” David has a fit each time I spend a dime on something not half-price. “Get the cheap one,” every time I open up a can or write a cheque. “Don’t drive us into debt.” Just let the lad warm up; just pass the time a bit.

“Not a problem, Ma’am. Our top items are in the Bath and Beauty line.” He traded catalogues that rested on his knees.

“I don’t think, really ...”


“How long have you been at this, James?”

“Three months almost. It’s my third time through the territory. You were never home before.”

“You make a living? Enough to save for school?”

“I try. We have specials on the Adams’ Creams and Lotions. I’ve got free samples.”

“James ...”

“May I speak frankly, Ma’am? A woman in your condition ... a little pampering ... a different lipstick or something for those nails ...”

Martha flushed. He thinks I’m pregnant! The brat! Not fat at all. And what would he know. Just a kid himself. Martha pressed her arm against the cushion, starting to get up. Go pick on someone else. “I think I’ve heard enough. I have to check my bread.”

“You know that polish that you’re using? I couldn’t help but notice, Ma’am. It’s toxic. The fumes. And not just to the child, the DBP, dibutyl ...”

“It’s what I use, James. I’ve always used it. I like the smell. Did you say, DDT?”

“Ma’am, it’s D-B-P. It’s very dangerous for hormones. It’s in all of them. And there’s formaldehyde and solvent. It’s deadly, Ma’am.”

Martha stood. He’d have to go. “It’s just the price that women pay, I guess. I like the look.”

“Your hands are lovely, Ma’am. But it affects your health. That’s worrisome.”

“And, of course, Adams’ polishes don’t have those things. Right?”

“No, Ma’am, they do. They all do.”

“Then, what’s it that you’re selling, James?”

“If I could only show you an alternative.”

He said my hands are lovely. She reconsidered. “Thanks for saying it. They used to be ... The housework ...”

“Please, let me demonstrate. If you don’t love this, I’ll skip your house next time. I promise, Ma’am. I know this would be perfect.”

She eased back on the couch, close enough for him to reach. She let him take her hand in his and, with a deftness that amazed her, file each nail and gently scrape the flaking polish. She let him slip her hand into a wooden bowl and fill it full with something liquid. It smelled and felt like applesauce. Warm and cinnamon. She felt herself relax as James massaged her fingertips and talked of product benefits in slow, erotic tones.

Some kid. Just off the street. Amazing, how it tingles. “Where’d you learn this, James?”

“Adams gives its sales staff extensive training, Ma’am. It’s better if you just relax. Better not to talk at all unless you have to. Maybe even close your eyes?”

An oil was next, worked gently in the crevice of each cuticle. Not like any manicure she’d ever had. Of course, she hadn’t had much cash or time for beauty shops. Well, just on her wedding day and high school graduations for the kids, but none had felt like this. Now her body swooned to every touch. Eyes shut, she sensed the rayon cling against her flesh, the feather fold of fabric at a thigh and on a breast. She felt a whisper in her spine, and then all sorts of lurid images began to flood her living room. James? Imagine lying naked on the sofa doing this. Is he peeking down my cleavage while he works? Or was it David in her brain, the way it used to be? She felt his firm, warm abdomen curl into her, the power of his arms, the tickle of his moustache on her neck. She gloried in the memory of his bold, brown eyes the first time that they’d kissed. She sighed. Martha fought the urge to touch her breast, and just that effort seemed to make her nipples swell in expectation.

Now he shaped the cuticles, worked slowly with an orangewood stick. Could anything feel more sexy? Perhaps, if he would use the stick to gently shape her clitoris? Martha felt the blush rise up along her neck and spill onto her cheeks. God, if he could read my mind...

This had to be what Heaven was. He dried her hands and fingers one by one as carefully as if she was his child. The towel was fleece. It squirmed across her knuckles; it strolled along her palm. She nearly whimpered. She nearly muttered, “More.”

Martha’s areolas ached as James began to sand and smooth each nail. He held her hand in his and with a pumice-stone he worked the tiny ridges smooth. He talked about the Adams’ Fine Grit Blocks, the set of Adams’ Buffing Files, described each step, extolled the pay-offs for the effort, for being patient with her hands. “One hundred percent natural.” He barely mentioned price, touched lightly on the warranties, droned on and on about environment and something called “ecology”. She couldn’t fathom anything but how restrictive clothing was, how much she wanted to be naked on the couch, how much she longed to play with little toys along her flesh, how smooth and cool the stones would feel drawn slowly up a thigh. How would the buffing feel against my pearl? Like David used to, with his tongue and calloused fingers.

It must have taken ages. Hours? Or days? It didn’t really matter. Just the touch, just the chance to dream was all she savoured. Adams’ Moisturizing Cream. A new massage began. Maybe she had slept. Maybe it was real. Perhaps her husband had truly lifted her, waltzed her ‘cross the carpet, down the hall, onto their bed. Maybe he’d come early just to lay her on her stomach and lift her gown and spread her legs, to enter from behind. Maybe that was why she felt the surge between her thighs, the thrust of passion, smelled the musk of her excitement. Maybe it was real, the finger teasing her, drawing patterns on her slit. Martha winced as James’ long fingers slid across her own, pulled them slowly, firmly from the base out to the nail. Martha squeezed her thighs together and felt a quiet jolt.

A tiny spurt of fluid. A second spasm down her legs.

James jumped as well. “He’s kicking, right?”

“What? Who?”

“The baby’s kicking, eh?”

“Oh. right. Actually I don’t mind it when he kicks. It’s ... nice.”

“I’ve got a baby brother. Mom said that, too. Sometimes.”

“Would you like to feel him move?” This is crazy, Martha. He’s just a boy. Probably too young to shave.

“Ma’am?” He blushed, then wrinkled up his adolescent nose in apprehension. “My ... my hands are greasy.”

“It’s ok.” She took one, placed it on her housecoat in a moment of abandon, guilt welling up within her.

“It stopped, I guess.” Clearly James was nervous; clearly he was wary. “I ... I could do your other hand now. If you have the time. You think that you could make an order?”


“The Cream? Or set of Pumice Stones? Perhaps the Fruit Solution for the soak? You did enjoy it?”

“Of course. They’re wonderful. I can’t believe that it’s all ... natural. Yes, do the other hand. I’ll order two of everything, and ...”


“And ... an after shave. Something nice.” For David’s birthday or for Valentine’s. She didn’t even ask the price, she was so anxious to go through the catechism one more time.

Martha had a second secret jolt as James applied his chamois to the newly gleaming right hand fingernails. He didn’t seem to notice that her left hand drizzled lazily wherever flesh lay bare, a cheek, an arm, the back of neck. Talons. Martha yearned to arch her back and sink her claws into the furniture and give a feline yawn, then slink across the rug and shrug her tail.

James rambled on about the non-existent babe.

She didn’t quite remember when he finally left, or what the total came to. She punched her dough. And then she drew a bath, stood naked at the full-length mirror in the bedroom while the water filled the tub. She tried them out, her nails. Watched sparkles of reflected light that nested for her chin, that winked through arms in self-embrace, cupped breasts and rolled her nipples. She admired the way they peeked from pubic hair. One hundred per cent natural. She walked them up her hips and slid them down the crease atop her thighs. She skipped them, danced them. She gently flicked the seeping labia and let a whimper force its way from deep inside her throat.

She nearly overran the tub. Martha took her time, forgot to dust the living room, forgot to thaw the beef she’d need for meatloaf. Forgot about the clock until the water finally chilled her.

Martha laid out outfits on the bed. The cocktail number. Of course, it shrank ten years ago. The sun dress with the daisies: no longer stylish, tight, and out of season. What about the teddy? She hadn’t tried that on in years. Fond memories. One torrid summer night before the kids were born, but David laughed out loud the last time that she’d struggled part-way into it. Her closet was depressing.

Martha stood beside the vanity and touched the bottles on display. Some scent to complement the nails? None fit. There was nothing there to captivate her David, nothing that he loved.

Without a stitch of clothing Martha walked into to the kitchen where ranks of Kaisers cooled and dinner rolls, still joined together, snuggled on the breadboard. The smell was overpowering. The oven warmth had dissipated. Martha felt a chill and pulled an apron on, tied it round her neck and at the back, just that and nothing else. Maybe something fast to cook. He’s starving after work. She checked the time. Too late.

Instead, she found the gift she’d bought that morning, thinking first to hide it. But on an impulse that she didn’t fully understand, she opened it and sniffed. Then Martha dabbed some, lightly, once behind each ear, careful just to wet her finger pads in order not to stain the gleaming nails. Underneath the apron, she touched a drop between her breasts. She drew a dotted line south from her naval.


The front door closed. She heard the stamp of work boots, the quiet clank of toolbox settle on the floor. It took a minute. She held her breath. “Wah-hooo!” She smiled. “Mart? Ya’ baked today! It smells delish!”

His sturdy body pushed into the kitchen. Smiling, David eyed the golden bread upon the counter. “Oh, Martha. These look good enough to eat.”

“I got a manicure today.” As he idly fondled rolls, she laid her palm across his knuckles. She might have rapped them yesterday, admonished him to wash his hands or go without. This time, her fingers only crept up lightly on his wrist.

“Oh yeah? How do we afford that?”

“It was free.”

David turned. Glanced at the apron. Frowned. “Jesus! You’re naked.”

“I’ve just been feeling lazy.”

“What’s going on here?”

“Just a manicure. A salesman came this morning.”

“What the Hell was he selling?”

In an instant, she knew that he’d forgotten all about his daily bread. His eyes met hers directly. They asked her questions that they hadn’t asked in years. And just as fast she knew the answers – now that she had claws.

“He was so sweet, David. He didn’t charge a thing.” It made her blush to be so coy.


“Just kiss me, David.” And he did.

In one sense, this is my coming out party. I have web and ftp sites at asstr where I’ve “reposited” my small collection of short shorts. ( & ) I’ve taken a few very instructive dips in Desdmona’s Fish Tank, and I’ve participated in a few asstr “festivals.” I’m an aging Canadian who won a scholarship to take a college writing class when I was 17. Just over forty years later I’m adding a second line to my bio. In between, I lived some things to write about. I’m hoping to add line three a little faster.

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To: johndear

Desdmona's Erotic Story Contests
2004 Erotic Short Story Contest
Third Prize