It was Friday night and the big city blues were in full swing. Amidst the swirl of alcohol and misty tobacco I was with a few of the (motley) crew from lower south side getting totally blitzed on cheap vodka and snakebites as we sat listening to the sound of rebellion coming from the Fat Larry jukebox.
Call me Joe by the way. At last count I’m 25 going on 40. Looks wise I’m tall, dark but nothing special at all. Anyway, I looked better in the shadows. In the shadows is what I do best these days. Give me a dark corner away from the bright city lights any time. Nothing beats living and riding on the cutting edge of twilight as day turns to dusk. No rules – No responsibility is my motto. Look after number one. Friday night was the night to hang loose with the band and watch the underworld come to life whilst listening to jumping jack flash having a gas gas gas.
Nate, 22, a slave to his music with his orange hair glowing neon like in the gloom lifted his shaggy head and waved his glass wanting attention from whichever waitress had the bottle of 100% proof vodka to hand. “Hey bitch babe, need a refill like yesterday. Come on honey gimme another shot.” As you can see Nate has a way with the ladies.
Across the table Bruno, a 5′ 6 pocket midget mongrel of mixed Italian/Portuguese decent and our rhythm king looked up from behind his veil of Cuban mist and flicked a peanut at our ladies man. “Hey reefer, show the lady some fuckin’ respect man. If not for her you’d have ta haul that skinny ass of yours to the bar.”
Nate made a face at the bass man and gave him the single digit salute. “Eat me, beat me, you slicked back prick.” He turned as the waitress came over with a collection of shorts and long burns on her tray. “About time honey.” he muttered sarcastically.
The petite legit blonde ignored his pimple-covered face. “Don’t call me honey or else.” said the girl as she glanced in my direction.
She was attractive in a world-weary sort of way. I gave her the once over then just as quickly shook my head at my own self-disgust. Who am I to judge anyone? I needed another hit so I indicated the empty glass. She poured my drink first much to my loudmouth buddies irritation. “Thanks.” I said. Maybe it was the uniform.
Nate sat back smirking at her as she finally topped him up. “Or else what honey?” He was leering at her, looking her up and down as he sat there grinning. I drained my glass watching the cocky little shit. All the other guys reckoned Nathaniel Boone would inevitably and deservedly end up getting a bloody good kicking one of these days. Maybe even from one of us lot if he didn’t cut the crap.
The waitress put down her tray carefully and rested both hands onto the table in front of a still grinning Nate. She nodded towards the bar where a huge black guy stood flexing his muscles like he ruled the world as he mixed cocktails and other concoctions. “Or else I’ll go get my man to rip out your heart and spoon feed it to you on a plate.”
Both Bruno and I chuckled behind our drinks. “Amen sis.” he said as Nate’s eyebrows shot off the top of his head with alarm. “You listen to the lady slickwillie. You might live longer.” said Bruno as he blew a perfect smoke ring in his general direction.
Nate had enough brains left in that thick skull of his to quit while he thought he was still ahead. He sat back all wide eyed and bluster. “Oh ah hey lady. I was just shooting from the lip. No harm meant. Ask the guys. Ain’t that right guys?” Nate probably had a yellow backbone but was a good kid all things considered and he did know how to play guitar.
“Ignore junior Miss.” I said, sitting forward so that I emerged from the shadows into the pool of light from a honey lamp that painted an orange circle on the table in front of us. “His yelp is worse than his bark. Best refill his glass. It’ll be the only way to keep the little bastard quiet otherwise.”
The waitress laughed. “I’ll take your word for it.” she said as she filled all our glasses again before walking back over to her “man” and whispering something in his ear which made him laugh and draw his finger across his throat theatrically. Nate blanched and slunk further down in his seat as Bruno and I pissed ourselves laughing.
It had gone eleven when our lead singer and earth mother arrived. By that time Nate was reduced to running his tongue around the rim of the bottle mumbling endearments to the long since departed liquor. Bruno was just – well, Bruno, and I was sat there feeling decidedly mellow after a day spent chasing money through the darkness of cyber-space. Being self-employed is definitely the way to go as far as I was concerned. The trick was being in the right place at the right time to make a killing.
Shawna saw us and came over to our little alcove. It wasn’t until she was closer did I realise she wasn’t alone. “Hey everyone.” she said brightly which was ironic since she always dressed in black. Hell, even her hair was dyed the same colour along with her fearsome fingernails. “Where’s Biffo?” Biffo was our drummer. Biffo gave a whole new meaning to the phrase. “Laid back.” Knowing Biffo he was probably on the floor in his flat snoring off a major hangover.
Nate was giving the bottle a blow job and Bruno was staring curiously at the newcomer who was hiding behind our singers back. “Probably trying to figure out how to pay his rent I guess.” I smiled. “Old man Bufford has been on his case again since the end of the month. Be careful, he might end up shacked up with you one of these days.” I replied as I moved along the curved seat to let her and her companion sit beside me. Shawna laughed. The sort of laugh that shines a light into the dark. Shawna was a year or so younger than me at 24 and we had known each other since we were kids. Not so tall, faux midnight hair and with a figure best described as “willowy” she was blessed with a voice that could make an angel weep. She was a classy lady who was on the road to somewhere. Playing the twilight circuit with the band was another way she could supplement her day job as a temp to pay her way through higher education. Not that we were making a bundle that is. We just toured the regular haunts hoping to get ourselves noticed from some agent or other and were paid enough to cover expenses with a little left over which we split each way. Optimism is a wonderful virtue. It was a virtue we all clung to – desperately.
“Well, that figures.” she grinned as she slipped around so that our hip bones touched. “Biffo never was one for being punctual.” She looked at Nate. “Hey proletariat, you keep sucking like that you’re going to end up in jail doing it for real.”
Nate raised an eyelid but kept his lips fixed around the lip of the vodka bottle. “Screw you.” he mumbled, his voice distorted by the glassy echo.
Bruno stubbed out his cigar in the faded silver ashtray. “Leave him be Shawna. He’s being a good boy now.”
“Oh?” she said sounding surprised.
“Let’s just say he appreciates working for the minimum wage a bit more.” I explained as I glanced at the girl sitting beside her. I tilted my head. “Hi there, I’m Joe.” I stuck out my hand across Shawna. Despite the shadows and gloom it was obvious she was a looker. She had a full head of what appeared to be reddish hair that hung down past her shoulders and looked carefree and unkempt in a deliberate way. She looked younger than Shawna but was slightly taller and fuller.
Shawna made introductions. “Oh everyone, this is my cousin Rosemary. She’s here on vacation for a couple of weeks. She’s American.
Rosemary was day to Shawna’s night. As she reached across to take my hand her face caught the light and I caught my breath. Her features were strong, defined and memorable. From that moment I knew I’d be singing about her in some backstreet bar for the rest of my days. She slipped her slim right hand into mine. “Hi. Pleased to meet you Joe. Shawna has told me all about you.” Her voice was as memorable as her looks. Each and every word was spoken with clear and pure weight that sounded as if she was singing each and every word. Her hand was warm, her eyes were shining and her lips were smiling.
I glanced at Shawna warily. “Oh she did did she?” Shawna and I went way way back. Even had a relationship of sorts when we were hipsters where we spent a hot and lazy summer exploring the facts of life. “She has been known to exaggerate and tell blatant lies sometimes.”
Shawna gasped a laugh. “You shit. I do not.” She turned to Rosemary. “See, I told you he was the modest type.”
Rosemary picked up her drink. “Nothing wrong with a little modesty Shawna.” she smiled. “Anyway, don’t they say it’s the quiet modest ones who are the most mysterious?”
Bruno laughed. “Mysterious. That’s Joe all right.”
“Shawna says you have many talents.” said Rosemary, looking at me over the rim of her glass before she took a sip. She had sat back slightly into the shadows and all I could see was the reflection of the lamp in her eyes. “She says you know how to make everything tick.”
Shawna sat between us saying nothing although I suspected she was enjoying my growing discomfort at her cousin’s questions. How much had she told her? Even about our time together? Bruno was still sat opposite watching in that way he had that made you feel he knew everything about anything and anyone. No wonder I sometimes called him the Chief. Nate on the other hand had gone back to contemplating both the bottle and his navel as his stupor sank in. I saw the Chief raise an eyebrow.
“Everything or everyone?” I answered calmly. Inside I was starting to churn. How much had Shawna told her?
The girl from the States just returned my smile.
Sinking slowly over the concrete cityscape the sun bathed the world in a twilight glow that silhouetted the clouds against the red hued sky as it slowly sank into the west. The city itself was becoming lit by neon and its heartbeat moved to the sound of the night people. This was my time. The time I was awake when most were asleep. I was at my regular bar sitting in my regular seat drinking my regular beer just listening and watching the sights and sounds of city nightlife as I loved to do. The Bartender came over cleaning a glass with his cloth. “How goes the flow Joe?” he asked as the light reflected off his spectacularly bald head.
I finished my shot and pushed the glass in his direction. “The flow goes good Hank. No complaints here. How’s business?” Hank was in his late fifties and had seen off three wives and god knows how many mistresses. Over 6ft, he kept himself in pretty good shape.
“With people like you around Joe you’ll keep the baliffs and tick tack sheisters from my door.” he laughed. “Another shot to suppliment my pension?”
“Sure.” I said. Who am I to turn down an offer like that? I glanced over my shoulder feeling a twinge of disappointment at the sight of strangers sitting in our regular booth. “Any of the others been in today?”
The Bartender shook his head. “Nope. Can’t say I’ve seen them since you were all together the other night. Nice looking lady.”
“Shawna’s cousin.” He pressed the valve and refilled my glass.
“Oh, you mean Rosemary.” I nodded in a matter of fact way. “Yeah, I guess so.”
“From the States. Nice accent. Pittsburgh I think she said she was from. Charming too.” laughed Hank. “You know Joe, there are times I wish I was 20 years younger but with the same amount of wisdom and hindsight I have right now.”
“Maybe she likes older men.”
He snorted. “Oh sure. In my dreams. Cute ass though.”
He winked as I made a face and groaned something about him turning into a dirty old man. “Can’t say I’ve noticed.” I lied. It was probably the only thing on my mind since I’d met her. It had been the briefest of glimpses. Shawna had figured it was late so she told her American cousin they had best go. Surprised to feel a dull disappointment, I had watched her as she slid out of the booth and stood to put on her coat. She had turned away from me slightly and gave me a perfect view of a firm pair of buttocks packed into her tight pair of jeans. God strike me down but I love a woman’s ass in denim. Her ass held my attention so much that I was completely oblivious to the fact that she had said something and was staring at me. “Joe…”
I had a vision of those jeans being tugged over her firm backside.
That’s my name isn’t it? Someone was calling my name.
I had blinked and looked up. “Huh, sorry – what?”
Rosemary shrugged the coat over her shoulders. “I said. Good night Joe.”
I shook my head and downed my drink in one. Hank the Bartender was right. She did have a cute ass. A real cute ass. An even better one than Shawna’s come to think of it. By God, I had had some fun with her ass once upon a time. It was an interest that had become an obsession at times for I had spent many an hour worshipping it in oh so many special ways. I looked across the bar to see a stranger staring back at me. I raised my glass and the stranger raised his in perfect symmetry. Where had I – we – gone wrong? Never mix business with pleasure. Loving you was the right thing to do. How can I say things that I feel? If I could I would have given you my world. Now you’ve gone your own way I realise loving you was the last thing I should have done.
I picked up my empty glass and contemplated it. Alcohol – the reason for and solution to all life’s little problems.
“Can I buy you a drink mister?” a feminine voice offered.
I was still sober enough to appreciate an offer like that as I turned my head to see Shawna’s cousin standing there smiling at me in that way that made the world a brighter place. She tilted her head and lent an arm on the bar. “I take it women are allowed to buy men a drink over here?” she asked, her voice smiling as she said it. She looked stunning. She had tied her long hair back into a ponytail and was wearing a plain white blouse over which she had a leather waistcoat along with a pair of tight fitting deep blue denim jeans and Rough Rider boots. She looked like a cowgirl and from the sudden shift in atmosphere I could tell she had made a big impression amongst all the world-weary souls sat lamenting into their beers.
I eased back on my stool as she sat herself perfectly down on the one next to me. “Before you came in they weren’t. Now they can. I just made it a new enforceable law. Just for you. I’ll have the same again.”
“I guess you don’t do Dutch either.” she laughed as she caught the Bartenders eye. As if old Hank wasn’t staring at her in the first place – every man in the room was. Some women have an aura about them. Shawna’s cousin was definitely one of them. I caught her amused gaze and could see the teasing sparkle in them.
“Ah.” I replied with a shrug. “Now that depends on what sort of Dutch you’re talking about doesn’t it.”
Her beautiful smiled got wider as she lifted her glass to her lips. “I guess it does mister. I guess it does.”
The night sky was neon black as we walked along the river front just enjoying the sights and sounds of the city. Back at the bar we’d sat making small talk about the usual things. Life, the universe and everything. How we’d got here, what we were doing now and where we hoped to end up in the future. Normally I’m not one for discussing my personal life with someone who was for all intents and purposes a complete stranger but I felt strangely comfortable and at ease in her presence. She appeared genuinely interested in my life and opinions, which made me appreciate her even more.
We had left the bar and had wandered where the mood and the breeze had taken us just enjoying each other’s company. Sitting on a park bench on a grassy embankment above the city river we sat eating hotdogs under a crescent moon. Her face was in silhouette when she suddenly said “I only have seven days left before I go back home.”
I didn’t say anything but sat looking at her only hearing the rise and fall of the waves. She brushed the crumbs off her thighs and turned to look at me. She held my gaze. For the first time in my life I appreciated time. I suddenly realised that time was not infinite but finite. My world had shrunk to seven days.
I wanted to say something profound but the surge of despair caught my voice. But she quickly lent forward and rested her fingers against my lips. “Shhhhh. I know. I feel it too.” I took and kissed her hand. “In a way, I’ve known for a long time.” she whispered as she moved closer to my side. She saw the question in my eyes as I lifted my arm for her to slip under. “Shawna always talked about you.” she said as I felt her warm breath on my right cheek. “By phone or by e-mail. She would tell me everything about you. The things you did together.” She looked at me in a sad way. “She always said she thought you were the one. She still doesn’t know why she broke up with you. She tried to tell me once, she told me she was day to your night. Does that make sense?”
I dropped my gaze and looked out over the river at the cityscape. It made perfect sense. I nodded. “Yes.”
Rosemary raised her hand and caressed my cheek gently. “It took her a long time to get over you Joe – a long time.”
“I thought she was the one too.” I said. I had the sudden urge to explain everything. “But I always felt she wanted me to be different. To be – normal. I think she was afraid to tell me that for it would have changed everything. In my heart I probably know what it was she wanted to tell me – what she wanted of me. But if I became what she wanted me to become I would have spent the rest of our days together living a lie.”
Rosemary sat listening silently. I could see the moonlight reflecting in her eyes. “Shawna told me.” she said softly. “Shawna told me the reason why.”
Finite time stood still. We were staring at each other with an intensity that was as binding as it was overwhelming. Time may be finite but our thoughts were eternal. Her lips opened slightly and I could sense she was adrift in a storm of indecision and reasoning. Her bright eyes were wide now. I could feel the rise and fall of her breathing and the thunder of her heart.
Shawna had TOLD her?
I could feel her warm hand in mine. With my free hand I pulled her closer until our faces were not six inches apart. “She told you?” How could Shawna tell her something as intimate as that?
Rosemary was still looking at me but there was a different light in her eyes now. Her lips parted slightly as she nodded her head. “I know.” she whispered. “I know about the spanking.”
In those early morning hours we made love until we couldn’t make love any more. Lying across my chest entwined, sated and languid in the snare of sheets I listened to the rise and fall of her breathing as she dreamed a dream that maybe, just maybe I was part of. Gently I reached up and brushed away a strand of hair from her cheek as her lips curved into a secret smile that made her groan softly. She was silver under the moonlight that bathed the room in its frosty glow. Pristine and pure she looked. I closed my eyes feeling the dull ache in my loins and the empty surge as the whisper of past sighs filled my head.
So much had happened between us in such a short space of time. I opened them to find my gaze drawn to her buttocks, which curved in a way that couldn’t be described without failing to do their grace justice. They were perfect. She was perfect. Seven days. Time enough to live a lifetime You’re just too good to be true. I can’t take my eyes off of you. You were like heaven to spank. God I wanted to do so oh so much. At long last love had arrived and I thanked God you were alive. You’re just too good to be true because I can’t take my eyes off of you.
The riverside breeze caught her copper hair as she whispered the words “I know about the spanking.”
Her eyes still held mine but her face bore a faint flush and her hand gripped mine tighter as if afraid to let go. A pallid stark sentence but with one word that rose above all others. It felt as if my chest was in a vice like grip threatening to choke the very life out of me. Such a simple word. But a word with resonance and utmost meaning to me. She knows. This woman whom I’d never met until yesterday knows. She knows.
I frowned as I searched for the emotion in her eyes that I expected. That look – a mixture of surprise and then distaste. Shawna’s look. That look she had given me when I had revealed – confessed my innermost wants and desires. You want the reason why we broke up? There you go. “Spanking? But why?” I could still hear those words. It took a lot to shock Shawna. Shocked didn’t begin to cover it. You could add aghast, unsure, disappointed and wary to the list. Her idea of perfection wasn’t so perfect after all. “I don’t think – I don’t know if I want to do that..if I want you to do that to me Joe.” she had said in a way that had me cursing my own soul. I was helpless as I watched her slipping away from me as she had the sudden realisation I wasn’t the man she thought I was.
Time had passed as it always does but even though our friendship remained, Shawna seemed to me distant now. That word had come between us and would always be there. But what I thought was between us wasn’t. Shawna had spoken of us to another. Now this other person was admitting it to me. How was I supposed to react? Why didn’t she distance herself as Shawna had done? Did she look upon me expecting me to be ashamed of who and what I am? But as I looked into her crystal clear blue eyes there was no pity, revulsion or scorn. There was another emotion. Something that took my breath away even as I tried to explain. “I don’t think you realise what..”
She raised her hand and pressed her fingertips to my lips again. “Shhhhh. You’re wrong Joe.” she said. “When Shawna told me the reason why you broke up I understood perfectly. ” She eased herself back as I still held her in my arms. Her face had an acceptance and serenity about it. “Its the reason I came.”
Money talks. But it can’t sing and dance and it can’t walk. Not when I have you here with me I’d much rather see you forever in those blue jeans babe. We had finally reached my excuse for an apartment. A one bedroom loveshack that hadn’t seen the light of day in a long time. The flotsam and jetsam of my existence lay all around and the only sound was the refrigerator cooling the beer and the hum of the hard drive as it downloaded stuff.
We hadn’t said much during the taxi ride home. We didn’t need to. We knew exactly what the other was thinking as we sat in the rear of the cab simply staring at each other oblivious to the streaks of neon and metal flashing by. As soon as the door of my flat was closed Rosemary came to me. Insistent and urgent. Our bodies melted into one as I led her to my bed. “Joe.” she whispered as I dropped to my knees in front of her and immersed myself in the sights and smells of her buttocks and hips sweated into denim. “Oh God Joe, you have no idea. No idea how long I’ve waited and wanted this.”
She gasped as I grabbed her hips and manhandled her around so that I had a prefect view of her backside. Pushing down on her spine, I made her bend over from the waist so that she had to rest her hands on the bed. Her rear expanded deliciously, pushing out the denim in an obscene way that had me literally drooling with electrified lust. Her arse curved out on all sides in a way that was blatantly erotic and the rise and fall of each sphere was, to me, what God put me on this earth for. “Joe. I need you to do it.” she gasped breathlessly. “I need you to just do it right now mister.”
Unclasping buckles and buttons, I took a firm grip and pulled and tugged her jeans over her wide hips with a studied determination that bordered on the fanatic. As I stripped her, I knew there was no place I’d rather be than right here right now with this woman who wouldn’t be forever in her blue jeans.
She was perfect with jeans but more without. Once I had cast the denim aside she was left standing there below the waist in nothing more than God had intended. She was everything I had imagined her to be and more so. Curvaceously feminine hips tapered down to a pair of suntanned thighs and legs that were strong and firm to my touch. Her backside was the pride and joy of her. Anything I say here would not do its magnificence justice so I’m not even going to try. As she bent slightly and rested both her hands on her knees I lent forward and kissed both cheeks in deference and reverence. My God. She had a backside born to be spanked. A backside born in the U.S.A.
I would have gladly spent the rest of my days staring, drooling, moulding it to my whim but Rosemary had moved onto a higher sense of wanting than I had reached so far. She stood straight, turned full frontal and reached out and pushed me back from her onto the bed. Even in the dark moonlight I could see the fire in her eyes. “You can paint it another time Joe. ” she breathed throatily. “But right now I need you to show me heaven.” She knelt on the bed and with deliberation laid herself across my lap making sure her arse was exactly where she wanted it to be. I stared at it as it slowly undulated too and fro, up and down in front of my face. I glanced at this American woman who had turned and reached behind herself to undo the ribbon that held her shoulder length hair in a ponytail. She had a smile on her face. “Go on then mister.” she grinned beneath her red veil. “Show me what this English vice is all about. Give me the spanking you think I deserve and know I want.”
We stared at each other as I slowly raised my hand whilst hearing the words of a song in my head – “I have flown five hundred miles and I’d of flown five hundred more just to be the man who had flown a thousand miles to spank your bottom making it hot and sore.”
I brought my hand down harder than I intended but it was exactly what she wanted. The lady from Pittsburgh tensed as my palm crashed across both her cheeks with a firm meaty “SPANK” causing a crescendo of wave like ripples to wash over her rear before her flesh gently subsided to leave only the tell-tale red blemished mottled tattoo of my palm print in its wake. She didn’t cry out but merely expelled a gasp of discovery as she accepted her first spanking from someone other than herself. There was a brief dance of her hips over my eager and pained lap before she settled back down to raise her buttocks for me once more. She twisted her head to look adoringly at me. Her face was aglow with colour and life along with a smile that meant everything to me. “You did that just right Joe.” she said joyously as she licked her full ruby red lips. “Now can I have some more mister?” I didn’t say anything. I didn’t need to. We were here together doing what we wanted to do and being what we wanted to be. That was all that mattered. As I spanked her hard again I knew I had found my soul mate – even if it was for only seven days.
Those seven days passed as they were always destined to do. But in those seven days Rosemary and I had lived each day to the full. They were days of life, love and spanking and they would be memories we would cherish forever.
On the eighth day it was night again and the city hummed to the strobe of the neon flickering enticingly in the dark like amorphous fireflies. I was at my regular bar, in my regular seat, drinking my regular drink thinking irregular thoughts for this day – the day after she had gone – had been a long never-ending and soulless one. The vodka sparkled in the light as I gently swirled it before emptying the glass in one go. I could feel the bite of the alcohol smothering my emotions along with the dull ache that crushed my chest in its vice like grip. Hank the bartender was standing in front of me drying a glass watching as I fought my pain in the best way I knew how. He had that look on his face that I had seen countless times before when he saw someone on the downward spiral into desolation and despair. This was a first for me. I had come close to it a few times but never this close. Hank sighed. “You won’t find your answer there Joe.”
I pushed the empty glass towards him and snapped my fingers. “Maybe, maybe not. But I sure as hell am going to have fun trying. Make it a double for good luck.” I hunched forward feeling the weight of loss getting heavier and heavier. Sure hoped Hank wasn’t in a lecturing mood. Just the alcohol. The alcohol will do fine – for now.
Too many people offering sage advice in one day to keep a man sane. Even Shawna – who should have known better. She had called at my apartment after she had returned from the airport. “Move on Joe. I know she’s my cousin and all that but there’ll be someone else.” Guess she had figured out that her cousin had a “thing” going on with me for the seven days she knew me. How much of a fling was anyone’s guess and not my problem. That raised another question. Had Rosemary told her about the spanking as Shawna had originally told her before?
I doubted that somehow. Hank poured my drink and screwed the lid back on the bottle. He stood looking at me for a second. “Life isn’t a rehearsal Joe. There are those that do and there are those that reach for the bottle to keep their regrets at bay. To live a life of regret is to live a life unfulfilled.” I lifted my head and stared at him. “In all the years I’ve known you I’ve never considered you the type to settle for anything other than a life where you’ve made your dreams come true. Don’t disappoint me Joe. But more importantly – don’t disappoint yourself.”
With that he turned and walked away to leave me contemplating the vodka in my glass
It was the fourteenth day.
The sun shone brilliantly through the window as I stared at the unfamiliar grey concrete cityscape below as it was bathed in an orange day glow caressed by a hot and humid swirling breeze. So much had happened since I had been in my regular bar, in my regular seat, drinking my regular drink that last time. I had called Hank the bartender back. I had looked at him for what seemed an age but was probably not in all truth. It was a life changing moment. Every breath I take – every move I make – is because I’m thinking of you. I nodded at the bottle. “Open it.” I waited until he unscrewed the top then lifted my glass and poured the vodka carefully, deliberately, back from whence it came. I reached across and shook his hand for he had been a good and wise friend to me over the dark years. “So long Hank.” Hank had just smiled.
I made my way through the milling throng of people carrying my whole world in my right hand and on my shoulder as I finally reached my destination – and my salvation. The man in uniform looked up as he checked my profile. “Business or pleasure Sir?” he asked pleasantly as he opened one of the suitcases. His badge said “US Customs”.
I smiled at him as I saw a familiar face waiting for me in the distance behind the barrier. “For pleasure and for life. Definitely for life.”
The man handed me back my passport with a smile as he saw someone running towards me. “Then have a nice life Sir. Welcome to Pittsburgh and the United States of America.”
I nodded and walked through security into the loving arms of my future wife and the woman I would spank for the rest of our days…