Part One, Chapter 1
Now that the CD on his boombox had finished, he could hear the wind whistle, the mirror on the driver's door of his van rattle. He had driven several hours straight and was starting to feel the need for a break. Trees lined the road ahead. He had left the valley, began slowly climbing. The landscape was changing, less seared by summer heat. He was close to his destination; he thought he'd be there in ten minutes or so. The sky was palest blue with haze. His fingers tapped the steering wheel in time with the rattling mirror. I wouldn't be surprised, he thought, if there wasn't a storm soon.
Some people went to the Bahamas for their vacation, others went hiking in the Berkshires. Peter looked forward to his week at an university library. His email correspondence with a librarian there had been lively. They were expecting him; they had the microfilms and journals he needed. He was going to have fun, a break from his day to day as a restoration carpenter. There, he thought, I'm here already. He saw the sign welcoming him to Slotville, with smaller signs showing local clubs such as Rotary and Lions. However, someone had defaced the Slotville sign, struck out the 'o' and written a large 'u' over it. Peter was paying so much attention to the sign as he drove by, he just barely noticed what was happening on the other side of the street. It was something he remembered a few days later.
Nineteenth century brick and wood residences became businesses and Peter could tell he was on Main street. Restaurants, small shops. A nice little town. At the intersection with the traffic light he made a right and his motel was two blocks further on.
He unpacked his van after registering and calling in a pizza order. It was an older motel, small, just rooms in a single-story row and an office. His room, plain with a double bed, desk and dresser, and bathroom at one end, was decorated in shades of tan and cream. For some reason there was no desk chair. He would talk to them about that later. The motel was nothing fancy. He was economizing. The university was twenty minutes away, but it was very inexpensive here. He stacked books and notebooks on the oak desk, along with his laptop. All the furniture was made of real wood, solid oak. That surprised him. He picked up a book from the pile, carried it over to the bed and lay down to read and wait for the pizza.
He'd arrived on Friday. The university library was closed on weekends during summer hours, so he would not be able to start his research until Monday morning. He planned to take it easy the next two days, get to know the area, maybe hike a little, maybe shop a little. Jan, his girlfriend back home, would like a present for the house. He smiled to himself. Girlfriend. Jan and he were both in their forties. Lover sounded better. He would call her later to let her know he got in okay.
There was a knock at the door. Peter laid his book down on the bedside table and got up to answer, picking up his billfold on the dresser. He opened the door; a young woman was delivering his pizza.
She smiled at him, "Mr. Hanson?" He nodded. "Your pizza, vegetarian supreme with sour cream and black olives, extra cheese and apple drink?" He nodded again. She passed him the box.
Peter went in the room to lay the pizza and drink bottle on the bed, turned around and saw that she had followed him. She smiled broadly. "How much?" he asked.
"Twelve seventy-eight," she said, "including tax."
He gave her fifteen dollars. "Keep the extra for the delivery."
"Thanks." She put the money in a zippered pouch she carried. She raised her eyes to his and smiled broadly. "Would you like a blowjob?"
She seemed awfully young to Peter. Pretty, but young.
"I'm not kidding," she laughed. "Would you like a blowjob?" She waved her hand about the room. "Right here, right now?"
"That's a nice offer, but . . ." Peter started to say.
"The only thing you have to do is agree to play a game with me." She backed into the door, shutting it. "My name is Belinda, by the way."
"But . . ."
"It's a fun game. There are cards, you see. You roll dice," she walked past him and sat on the bed next to the pizza box. "The dice tell you which card to pick. And then we'd do what the card says." She patted the bed with one hand while the other tugged the hem of the short dress toward her knees. "What's your name?"
"Belinda, I don't think I'd better."
"Oh do sit down. Let me see. We do what the card says. After we have sex or whatever, we roll the dice again." She smiled brightly at him. "Safe sex, I assure you." She patted the bed.
"Peter, my name is Peter. That's a wonderful offer."
"Peter is a nice name. Sit down. Your pizza is getting cold." Belinda opened the box.
"Okay. Belinda." Peter sat down. He paused, then said, "I already have a girlfriend, a lover."
"I guessed you would, you're so sweet. What's her name?"
"Jan. So you see . . ."
"Oh, I don't think that'd be a problem. She lives with you?" Peter slowly nodded. "Would she be home now?" He looked at her closely. "Bet she is. I'll call her." She opened the pouch and got out a cellphone. She dialed a number. "Larry, this is Belinda. Hi." She stood and walked toward the bathroom. "I'm looking for the home phone for Peter Hanson. Yes. Room eight. Great." She turned on the light. She grinned at Peter, said, "This will take just a second," went in and shut the door.
Peter finally realized what was happening. He put his piece of pizza back in the box, got up and walked to the bathroom door. It was locked. The fan was going. He could hear Belinda laughing, say something that sounded like "Right," and laugh again. Her voice lowered so he could not hear distinct words. He thought about knocking, but that did not seem like a good idea, so he just stood there.
After what seemed like ten minutes to Peter, the fan went off, Belinda opened the door and handed the phone to him. "Jan's a sweetheart, you're lucky. She wants to speak with you."
Peter took the phone, looked at it warily, looked at Belinda. He held the phone up to his ear, "Jan?"
"Peter. I don't know what you've gotten yourself into, but she sounds okay. Go ahead. Take care though. I love you."
"Jan?" Peter said, but it was too late. She had hung up. He stared at the phone for a moment; he stared at Belinda. "What did you tell her?"
"Most everything. Not too detailed." She laughed. "I mean, we haven't done anything yet. You've just met me, are just starting to form your impression. And the same's for me, too. Your pizza is getting cold." Belinda went back to her place on the bed. "Could I have a piece?"
"Sure. I guess so." Peter followed, sat down on the bed on the other side of the box, took up his piece of pizza.
"Your work on old buildings sounds interesting. Jan says you use old tools, old wood if possible, so restorations will match the original. This piece all right?"
"Yes, I guess." Peter shook his head, took a bite of pizza.
"All right to pour the apple drink in cups?"
"Sure." He shook his head again.
Belinda hopped up, got two styrofoam cups from the dresser, brought them back, handing Peter one. "I'll pour."
"We can eat pizza first, schmooze and stuff before the blowjob." She poured her apple drink. "Or we can do it right now, if you want." She looked sideways at him. "Schmooze first, all right."
"You're . . ."
"I don't beat around the bush much, do I?" She took a sip of apple drink. "I'm glad you're a vegetarian. I knew I'd like you right away. Oh." She looked at him. "I have to make another call." She got her phone out. "Hi. Dave. This is Belinda. Hi. Yes. Well, something's come up." She laughed. "Well, you know how it is. I'm going to be busy for the rest of the weekend. You're all right aren't you? Good. I'll tell him. Thanks!" She closed the phone and smiled at Peter. "Dave says we can have a free pizza tomorrow. Isn't that nice?" She put the phone away.
"Pizza?" Peter was still shaking his head.
"Sure. We can drop by or just call it in. If Shirley delivers it, you'll like her." Belinda finished her piece, looked shyly at Peter. "All right if I have another?"
"Thanks. Your turn to schmooze." She took a bite and he watched her lip ring move as she chewed. Belinda paused before taking another bite. "So, what brings you to Slotville?"
Peter waved his hand over at the desk and books and papers. "Research."
"No, I'm interested in medieval literature. I work with my hands all day. I do brainwork to relax."
"Medieval stuff? Likes Ribbesdale?" She watched him.
"You know the lyric. I hope you do. The women of Ribbesdale, a Harley lyric."
"You know that?" He looked at her more closely.
"Sure. Though my interest is more into things like the naughty fabliaux in the Harley manuscript."
"The Old French ones?"
"Sure. The woman who spoke with her cunt. Three women and a penis." She smiled. "See, we're kindred spirits."
"But you're . . ."
"I'm supposed to be dowdy, gray haired, wear spectacles," she laughed, "rather than being a spectacle." She reached out and touched his leg. "I'm eighteen, just out of high school, going to college in a few months. I can't wait." She lifted her hand. "I mean about the blowjob. Think about more stuff to schmooze about, I need to get my things." She hopped up, started for the door; she turned around and gave him a quick kiss. He had never been kissed by someone wearing a lip ring. He stared at her. "My stuff is in my car, be just a minute."
"Your stuff," Peter said as the door closed behind her. He looked at his books. He looked at the pizza box. He took another piece of pizza.
Belinda was back a few minutes later. A black canvas bag hung from a shoulder strap. In her hands she had another apple drink. "Oh, thanks for pouring me more. I brought some drink for later." She dropped her bag on the desk and took the apple drink over to the ice bucket on the dresser. "Be back in a second with ice." She paused with the gold colored metal bucket in her hand and examined Peter's books, smiled at him, and went out again.
She came back with the bucket full of ice. "Want any in your apple drink?"
"Sure," he said. "Thanks."
"And some for me. There." She stood, took the bucket back to its place, came back to the bed and sat down. "Fourteenth century verse. Alliterative revival. Interesting. I'm glad you're not a television person."
"I'm hoping to do research at the university library. I'm . . ."
"You don't have to worry about that, the game's over Sunday night. I turn into a pumpkin then. You'll have a week of bliss in the library." Belinda sipped her apple drink. "I really hope you'll agree to play the game."
"You are an amazing young woman," Peter said.
"Why, thank you." Belinda leaned over and lightly kissed him.
"You have me floundering. Are you always such a whirlwind?"
"Nearly always." She laughed. "Are you working on the Gawain poet?"
"No, the Morte Arthure. I'm studying the language of the Morte Arthure poet and relating it to the language of other revival poets." He glanced at her. "Including the Gawain poet." He paused. "What would we be talking about if I was an amateur radio enthusiast?"
"Probably about the ionosphere and its influence on radio waves." She smiled at him over her cup of apple drink, the tip of her tongue showed briefly between her lips.
"I thought so. Amazing."
"But I am interested most in naughty stories. Which led me to fabliaux, which led me to the Harley manuscript with your lyrics. Interesting mix there, saints' lives, religious poems, secular lyrics . . ."
"And incredibly lewd fabliaux." Peter smiled at her, starting to relax.
He looked at her.
"For your blowjob. First I'll give you a great blowjob." She laughed. "If I say so myself." She stood. "Then we talk about the game we'll play this weekend." She glanced at him. "All right?" She took a step away from the bed. "I like to have my clothes off when I give a blowjob." She smiled. "You can do what you want." She bent a little, crossed her arms, gripped the hem of her gray jersey dress and straightened, drawing the dress over her body slowly. Peter watched amazed. Finally, the dress was over her head, then in the air. She folded it and laid it under her bag on the dresser.
She was slender; her short, blondish hair fell around her face, then away as she straightened again. Her breasts were modest, softly rounded. Each nipple held a small silver ring. Her pubic hair was shaved, except for a small vertical slash of dark hair above her slit. On her back hip, on the left above her round ass cheek, was a crude tattoo, "Steve's Slut," in grotesque gothic lettering which looked a bit blurred. She had a cloth or leather band, dull black with a chrome ring, on each wrist. The ring was about one inch in diameter, he thought. There were similar bands around each ankle. She had nice legs. She had nice everything.
"Who's Steve?" Peter asked. He held his cup on his knee.
Belinda turned and smiled at him. "Oh that. Steve was my boyfriend. I knew he was bisexual, he decided he was really gay, so his new slut is William. Do you like guys?" she asked. "If you do I can give Steve a call. I'm sure he'd . . ."
"No, I prefer women, thanks. I guess." Peter floundered again.
"It was a pretty stupid thing for me to do, I know, putting his name on the tattoo." She walked back to the bed, sat down, leaned over and started to unstrap her sandals. She looked up at him. "I mean just 'slut' would have been all right." She bent back down.
"Sure. Like the maids of Ribbesdale. How did that poem go?"
"Wild, I think," Peter said.
"Something else, too." Belinda picked up the empty pizza box, got up and placed it on the dresser. She reached into her bag, pulled out an object. She turned back to the bed, opened her hand and showed him the condom. "I know. I know. I'll never get to taste you, but I promised Jan." Her brown eyes sparkled. Peter noticed her mouth was wide. She leaned down, put her hand on his shoulder and kissed him. She really kissed him this time. "Ready?"