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Desdmona's Erotic Story Contests
2004 Erotic Short Story Contest
Honorable Mention

In Their Shoes

It was one of those long weekend trips Douglas liked to take in the summer. The heat was hanging around the house like a shroud, he’d say, and he was ready to answer the call of the open highway.

Who was I to argue. A chance to escape the city, and the decorative rites involved in being the child wife of a semi-retired executive wasn’t that unbearable. Child wife? That’s what his corporate cronies called me when they thought I was out of earshot. Funny how old people think the whole world is losing its hearing once they start losing theirs.

Don’t get me wrong, I was devoted to the man and his social calendar. What’s not to like about dinner engagements and theater, right? Playing dress up and flirting with maitre d’s every other night? So what was I moping about? Maybe it was the weather.

Yep, that’s what it must be.

I had to drive of course, and believe me it was a few miles before the call of the open highway was much more than a groan of protest.

Finally, trailer ghettoes and truck oases began to give way to ragged crests of sagebrush; breaks began to open up in the blustering barrage of monster trucks hogging the fast lane. Ah, the wild and the free!

Oh, Douglas, wake up! Look what you’re missing. Hey, Dougie, my sweet pecan pie, my amnesia of the gods, take in a piece of this. Breathe deep. Reach out and grab some open space – before you and your developer buddies find a better use for it, that is.

Course I wouldn’t dare. Call him Dougie that is, let alone wake him up. Come to think of it, I’m not sure I could wake him up. Well, maybe I could get his eyes to open and his mouth to utter words. A complete sentence might be too much to expect. But half a question wouldn’t be beyond a possibility.

“There yet?”

“Not yet, Douglas.” Then, before he drifted off again: “Er, Douglas, where exactly are we making for?”

“Usual place,” as he faded back into whence he emerged from so briefly.

So what was I supposed to say to that? If he were a quarter awake he’d surely remember we’ve never been wherever it is we’re heading in my life. He was thinking of his ex. She of the vermilion hair rinse and corrugated suntan. OK, that was cruel. But she deserves it. Not my fault they didn’t get along. Not my fault she’s a hundred and fifty years older than me, and her tantrums caused dinner guests to check the paintings on the wall for candid cameras.

If Douglas is anything he’s a man who likes to keep up appearances. And if his wife can’t keep up hers, well she becomes his ex. Wonder if that’ll ever happen to me. Doubt it. He’ll be renovating the heavenly gates before gravity puts a droop in my assets.

Lucky for Douglas, I had an idea of where he wanted to go. At least my memory was intact. As if I could forget. Stink, clink and over in a blink. That’s what I call it. Don’t make much sense to anyone else, I know. But if you’d endured as many after dinner sessions as I have Cigar smoke, decanters and rambling monologues.

That’s when he used to go on about his travels. There was this green leather chair he’d sink into. A cushioned fortress, it was, with his lordship on the battlements holding forth on the topics of the day. Topics of yesterday, I should say. He could tell you more about pre-Columbians than Columbus himself.

Got him out and about though. He and his missus – the aforementioned ex – must have seen more ruins south of the Mason-Dixon line than General Sherman Oh yeah, over in a blink. Didn’t explain that, did I.

Picture this. Old guy. Big meal. Glass or two of port. Coulda been cognac, actually. He was pouring, not me. Talk, talk, talk, talk. OK, time for bed. Pretty young wife. That’s me, even if I do say it myself. Grope, grope. Prod, prod. Gasp, gasp. End of story. Over in a blink, see.

There were plenty of compensations, of course. Getting behind the wheel of the Corvette he bought me was quite a rush for a start. And then there were the Arabians. Talk about poetry in motion. Enough to give a babe an inferiority complex. Put a little arch in my step every time I went out to the barn, I can tell you.

Not every girl gets to start her own company either.

Yeah, really, I was quite the up and coming CEO for a time. Course I was also the mailing room staff and the telephone receptionist. But it was one of the few times in my life when I really looked forward to getting up in the morning. No kidding. Did wonders for my self-discipline. I even kept one of Douglas’ credit cards just for company expenses. I had to go to the mall, see, and buy all these hot outfits for the office. Well, you can’t look like a tramp in the business world, can you. Ooh, some of the dresses were a little edgy though. I was probably lucky I didn’t have to quit the company for sexually harassing myself.

Anyway, no doubt you’re wondering where I got the idea in the first place.

It began when I saw this real cute Indian dancer one time at a resort. Some charity event Douglas was involved in. Anyway, the idea suddenly came to me. Pow Wow Perambulations. The name was Douglas’s actually, but the concept was mine. Well, why not? There’re all these guys selling exercise routines with their own themes. Kickboxing and what have you. Why not inter-tribal dancing. I even came up with a slogan: You don’t have to jump through hoops – But what if you did?

It was Douglas though who came up with the start-up money. To keep me quiet, maybe that was all it was. I did go on about it, I’ll admit. But that’s what budding entrepreneurs do, isn’t it. That’s how they get financed. That and playing along with the old grope, grope, prod, prod.

Before Douglas came round again we were in the parking lot, slotted between a high rise truck and an ancient sedan, all fins and chrome. I braked a bit sharper than I intended, and he shuddered and then began squinting and spluttering as if a time capsule had dropped him into some gore movie or something. You’d have thought he was in a strait jacket the way he tussled with that seat belt. Sometimes I wonder where sleep takes him.

“Where are we?”

“It’s ok, hon. We’re at the hotel.”

“What hotel?”

"The hotel. The only hotel they got here, as far as I know. That is if you don’t count the motels. Don’t you recognize it? I do, ‘n’ I’ve never been here before.”

“So how come you know so much about it then?”

“God, Douglas, if you’d have showed me the photos once more I swear I could have got here blindfolded. Didn’t you used to bring her here?”


“Her. My predecessor in your matrimonial bed. She whose name I prefer not to utter.”

“Oh her. Yeah OK, we’d best check in then.”

Oh her. You’d think he’d remember her name even if I don’t want to. On the other hand, perhaps this is the place where he’d most want to forget it. Apparently this is where things really started to go wrong between them. Don’t know the details of course, but Douglas dropped a few hints in that annoying way he has of burbling half a sentence and leaving me to try to work out what he’s talking about.

Seems like it was a favorite place of hers. It was her idea to come here. But then they’d go home and she’d get sorta distant with him and would want to sleep in a separate bedroom. That’s what Douglas told me anyway. Poor old guy. He’s not much of a thrill, it’s true, but if he’s all you got And she wasn’t exactly at her peak, for that matter. She mighta got the guys brandishing their cudgels back in the days of the Flintstones. Now she’s more of a candidate for a terminal makeover.

Once we were in the reception area I could see why Douglas kept coming back, despite the problems with his missus of the time. The place reeked of power plays and shady deals. He was in his element, so to speak, even if he was a bit past taking full advantage of it.

Columns outside the main entrance made you feel as if you were about to enter a temple. It was all I could do not to bow my head and say my prayers. Just as well I didn’t, bow my head anyway, because as soon as you walk in you’re dwarfed by this huge staircase – leading up to the bedrooms I was about to find out. To one side is the reception counter, all dark polished wood and stern hotel staff who look as if you better produce a marriage license and evidence of a hefty bank account – not necessarily in that order – if you want to stay here. On the other side, high-backed chairs circled low tables, each with a copper ashtray at its center. Empty when we arrived, which gave it a sort of museum quality. You half expected to see labels on the chairs. So-and-so sat here during the great mining stock swindle of ‘86. That sort of thing.

If you still fail to be impressed after signing in and getting your room key, the mural over the stairway should set you straight. Murals may be admirable works of endurance, but they’re not always very subtle, are they. Here we have the usual line-up of pioneers, pimps and opportunists who arrived in these parts bearing the usual gifts of civilization. Land barons, card sharks, cowboys, miners. They’re all there on that wall clutching the tools of their various trades. In one corner a mounted Indian broods doubtfully. In another, a saloon girl does the cancan. What else can a poor girl do, I ask. Does anything ever change?

Douglas led the way to the reception desk. Ladies first until they become wives, and then they follow after. That seems to be his rule. I was supposed to know my place, I guess. So he wasn’t expecting to hear my voice. Truth is I wasn’t planning to open my mouth at all. And then the guy behind the desk made some comment about the room they didn’t usually rent unless it was a special request.

“What’s that all about then?” I blurted out. Me and my big mouth.

Apparently it was no secret to Douglas, who began wiggling his eyebrows and clearing his throat like he does when he wants to change the subject. The guy gave him a glance, like what do you want me to say.

“Just some old stories,” the guy said at last. “There’s a strange atmosphere in the room, that’s all it amounts to really.”

“Lot of nonsense,” Douglas interrupted. “Slept in there several times and never noticed a thing.”

Well, I couldn’t just leave it at that, could I. Wasn’t I entitled to a bit of excitement once in a while?

“A miner, they say, did himself in up there after his girl dumped him,” the hotel guy went on after some prompting. “Every now and then someone experiences something ...”

“Experiences? What does that mean?” Well, I had to know, didn’t I.

“Oh I dunno. Sensations in the night. Chills, shivers, creepy feelings. That kind of thing.”

That’s one man I never want as a character witness for me. Talk about vague. Of course Douglas had to step right in with a lip-wrenching sneer.

“Ha. People let their imaginations run wild, that’s the trouble.”

But Douglas had reckoned without the impulsive pleading of a girl just wanting a bit of an experience to talk about when we got home. Something more than the predictable steak dinner or whatever it was going to be in the hotel restaurant.

Oh please, pretty please. Just for me. Let’s take the key to room 13, or whatever this haunted room is numbered. There. I’ve hit him where it hurts. Even a stuffy old husband like Douglas has a public image to maintain. Nothing embarrasses an old man like a young wife getting emotional.

“Very well then,” he said, with a condescending smirk in the direction of the counter. “But you’re going to be disappointed, my dear.”

Wouldn’t be the first time, I thought, but anyway let me be the judge of that.

After dinner the only thing on my mind was climbing back up those twisting, creaking back stairs, and along the hallway with the old brown and white photos of guys grinning over their winnings and girls in frills waiting to get their share. Just the thought of the key turning was enough to give me a tingle. The squeaks and groans could have woken the dead the first time we went up – and that was early. What it would be like after Douglas had droned through his after dinner monologue, fueled by cognac and a cigar, God alone knew.

Finally. The old man was on his feet. I followed in his wake. Or at least, I tried. It wasn’t easy going at that pace. Moonwalking was never my style. Especially after half a bottle of wine. At this rate, those stairs were going to take forever. Typically, Douglas made out that I was the problem.

“What’s the rush, my dear. A little patience and dignity never hurt anyone.”

Nor did a little excitement, but what he knew of that he’d forgotten before my time.

The room, when we eventually reached it, was darker than anyone intended, owing to the overhead bulb being dead. Douglas was too tired to complain, otherwise he never would have slammed down the phone after such a short wait.

“Damn place,” he growled. “Can’t raise a soul. Service here never was much good.”

I changed into my nightdress while I waited for him to use the bathroom. I’d treated myself to a black satin chemise from a catalog specially for the occasion. Not that I expected it to generate an admiring soliloquy. Solitary refinement was turning out to be my lot in life. But at least I knew I was hot. By the time I’d had my turn in the bathroom, in any case, Douglas was well away. I was ready to drift off myself, for that matter. The room was cooler than I expected, and I was quite ready to turn out the bedside lamp, pull up the covers and tune out the recurring tremors welling up from the lump in the bedclothes by my side. As was my custom, I turned towards the edge of the bed and welcomed sleep in a fetal tuck.

It could have been hours later, or it could have been minutes. I really don’t know. All I can tell you is what I felt. At first, I didn’t believe it. I’ve got to be dreaming, I thought. But it’s one thing to imagine someone’s stroking your tush. It’s quite another when a clawhammer grip pulls apart your cheeks and then a couple of fingers slide between your tender regions. No dreaming that. Dougie, you randy old devil.

“Ooh, hon, what are you doing to me?”

No reply. OK, I could handle that. Maybe he’s trying my patience, I figured. Not that he’d ever done anything like it before, but if it feels good ...

At first I recoiled from the rough skin on the palms as they surfed alongside my spine and came to rest on my shoulders. The strength in those hands was kind of calming though. I felt like one of those lizards that scuttle around like they’re on crystal meth and then go into a stupor when they’re caught. No point in fighting what you can’t resist, I guess. That’s not pc, I know, but what the hell. It’s the truth.

Next a thumb and index finger arced around each collar bone, and coarse hairs grazed my shoulder blades. It was like rolling on a doormat, or rather like being rolled on by a doormat. Being exfoliated is a form of masochism that grows on you, I guess; otherwise people wouldn’t pay good money for the privilege. It suddenly dawned on me though that Douglas has a chest as smooth as mine. Quite a bit more wrinkled, I hasten to add, but definitely hairless. So was this some sort of utterly un-Douglas-like joke?

One thing for sure, whatever was probing my subterranean fissures felt completely un-Douglas-like. The muscles below my waist turned from granite to quicksand about the same time as all rational response dissolved in my brain. I mean, this should have been alarming, not to say terrifying. Douglas never wanted to do things like this. In the dark, in the middle of the night. And even if he did ... well, he’d have to admit it himself – in the realm of the boudoir he can’t always do what he wants when he wants, if you get my drift.

Yet nipples don’t lie, and mine were definitely being squeezed by a pair of hands as big and as hot as hair dryers. I wasn’t imagining that heat pump plunging into my innards either. Douglas, you torrid dynamo. Can you really be doing this and snoring at the same time? The man’s full of surprises.

We came together, I swear it. He didn’t make a sound. He didn’t have to. I felt like a car wash turned inside out. All wet and throbbing. Talk about internal combustion. Wow.

Now let me sink into slumber again before my head starts throbbing with all that wine. That third glass was too much. On the other hand, maybe it was just what we both needed. Although isn’t alcohol the fuel for erectile dysfunction? Guess I was wrong.

Just as quickly as those fingers had slid over my skin, they slithered away. And the same down below, where thrust gave way to nuzzle and then departed leaving a moist glow.

In the morning Douglas and I both took our time waking up. He was his usual self really. Didn’t have much to say as he went through his pre-breakfast routine. If he remembered the frisky escapade from the previous night, he certainly didn’t show it. I was beginning to think it was a dream, except the wet patch beneath me showed at least one of us had been having fun. Eventually I tried prompting. A husband ought to be able to say something to his wife the morning after. ‘You took me to paradise’ might be a bit much to expect. But something along the lines of ‘Thanks for the memories’ would be acceptable.

“Well, you seemed to be enjoying yourself last night,” I said.

Douglas smiled faintly. “Dinner was OK,” he said. “Don’t know why I come here really. Not the food, for sure. The atmosphere, I guess.”

I persisted.

“I was thinking more of after dinner.”

“You enjoyed my little ... "

“Yeah, that’s more what I was thinking ... "

“... banter over cognac. I do tend to go on a bit sometimes, I know. But you find it entertaining don’t you, my dear.”

“Oh, oh sure.”

Douglas didn’t have a clue what I was talking about. Obviously he must have slept through the whole thing. I didn’t know men could do that. The coital act is more forgiving to women in that respect. In my limited experience anyway, the best lovers tend to stay conscious.

The masculine mystique was still occupying my thoughts as we checked out. The morning shift was on duty at the reception desk, and a fresh face wanted to know how we’d slept. Douglas growled something about the light bulb being burned out, and the hotel guy apologized.

“The room doesn’t get a lot of use,” he explained. “Someone must have forgotten to check things. Anyway, as long as you got a good night’s sleep.”

“Like a log,” Douglas said.

“No trouble from the ghost then?” hotel guy chortled.

“Didn’t bother me? How about you, dear?”

Douglas didn’t wait for an answer. I suppose he thought he didn’t need to. As for me, I’d already moved on to thinking about my predecessors in that room. I was starting to understand why Douglas and his ex had their problems. One thing I couldn’t understand though. Was that miner’s girlfriend crazy or something?

A freelance journalist and eternally hopeful writer of fiction, Means migrated from Britain to the Sonoran Desert eons ago. In Their Shoes grew out of a curiosity about being in anyone else’s shoes, or indeed wearing shoes at all. And writing about it is so much easier than cross dressing, don’t you think.

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To: A.L.Means

Desdmona's Erotic Story Contests
2004 Erotic Short Story Contest
Honorable Mention