He picked up his spectacles from on top the dresser and placing it firmly on his nose, turned to her. She drew the cigarette away from her lips, whistling a plume of smoke in his direction. Satisfaction played around the smirk on her lips.
“And what are you so excited about?”
She tongued the cigar to the corner of her mouth and scooted off the bed, dragging the covers off her in the process; revealing her naked body. She stretched with a nonchalant abandonment, paying him no attention. Absent of intent, he found himself staring at the perky dots on her rather flat chest. She gave him a knowing smile and turned away. Her small buttocks wiggled as she squirmed into her jeans.
“And what are *you* staring at?”
Ignoring her sarcasm, he marched past her towards the door, his brown briefcase firmly gripped inside a fist.
The slam of the door interrupted her. Thank God.
Outside the motel and into the comfort of his old Benz, he found the silence overwhelming. This was always the difficult part, being alone with himself; with his sins. He turned the radio on and drove through the open gate into the stretch of dirt road. The time showed 11:43 pm.
With no streetlights and an absence of human life for miles around, his old fear of being found out by thieves or worse, murderers, came rushing back to him. He wondered if today was the day God would finally decide to take his due. Heaven knew it had been long coming. He turned the radio off.
Jeremy stared at the blank television screen in frustration, all the “I can magically bring back the lights” games now exhausted. From the porch, he could hear his grandmother’s enthusiastic laughter. He wondered if he would one day be allowed to braid his hair too, like the kids on T.V.
There was never anything to do here, a wonder his parents mandated these visits.
He strolled from the hall to the dining area. Finding nothing in the fridge, he made towards his room, then a sudden halt later, towards his grandparent’s. His grandfather sometimes kept a collection of the weeks newspapers; he had not read the most recent comic strips.
Christine held Amina’s mirror at arms-length, inspecting the grays of her new hairstyle. She smiled at what she saw, drawing the mirror from one angle to the other.
“Oh wow Amina. This is nice.”
“But I told you. You look so beautiful”
She smiled at the mirror one last time before handing it over to the hair-stylist.
“This one dier I know that you are expecting some tip pehhhh, but I will pay. You deserve it.”
“Oh madam!,” Amina quickly retorted. She bowed her head and played at her fingers.
The older woman laughed at the obvious show of pretend-modesty and rose to her feet,
“Give me a few minutes; let me pick some money from the room”
The bright lights of the professor’s Benz radiated off the boot of his wife’s van as he parked behind it. He turned off the car’s engine and picked up his black bag from the passenger’s seat. Outside, he noticed the outdoor lights were still off. He muttered curses under his breath as he strutted inside, set to bark angrily at his grandson for again, reneging on his responsibilities as “defacto man of the house.” He pushed the door open and stopped short of his prepared rebuke.
Christine was seated on her favorite sofa, a distant, forlorn look on her puckered face. Across her, the professors brown bag stood balefully edifying as center piece of the center table. In silence, he slowly walked to the seat beside her and sat down. Both stared absently at the brown bag, each waiting for the other to start.
“Take out the contents of this bag.”
The professor pulled the bag towards himself. The unwinding of its zip echoed through the dead-silent room.
A camera, blindfolds, a nipple clamp, a red gag, a small dildo, handcuffs, a whip. The professor took each out carefully and without pausing, as if every sound his toys made off the table created cracks; cracks that could at anytime give in. Suddenly, he stopped.
“Bring it out John.”
The professor stared at his wife’s face, his as placid of emotion as hers.
Her voice was barely a whisper, “Bring it the fuck out, John.”
He scooped out a handful of pictures and spread them across the table. Some ruffled off and slid across the carpet. One settled in front of his wife. She picked up the small Polaroid and shoved it into her husbands face. He pushed his spectacles in place with a finger.
A naked girl, barely 16, stared wide eyed into the photograph; an old man, John, lay on a dirty mattress next to her, a hand between her thighs, the other holding the camera out.
“God will punish you Jonathan. You will never know peace!”
She was screaming now,
“You bastard! you bloody bastard! Imbecile!”
John stared down at his feet. Quiet.
“God will punish you!!! God will destroy you! Peace will never be yours!”
He lifted his head up.
“Yes. But why?”