Page 47 Brothers-in-arm

                             BROTHERS IN ARMS.                                                               8-30-10

                                                                ROY GARDE

Robert Trenton had a younger brother named William, called ‘Billy’ by every one except by those at home, and never were two siblings more different in so many ways.

A month after he’d left college with an MBA Robert married a girl who lived down their road and the reason that he could do so that quickly was because he’d done a part time apprenticeship in the offices of a large local factory and had long been promised a job in the Management Training Program and they’d liked him so much that they sweetened the deal by promising to pay his full salary all the way through his training period.

Billy, however, quit high school on the day that it was legal to do so and he high tailed it to the city where he took a series of menial jobs and had himself a good, carefree time that was limited only by the amount of money that he had in his pocket.

After a few years, ostensibly for the challenge, he accepted a room mate’s invitation to go with him to his home town in W. Virginia and work in the coal mine there although the real reason was because he’d hit it off very well with the guy’s sister when she’d vacationed with them in the city and he badly wanted more of the same.

When he got down there he was unhappy to find that she had a long time boyfriend, who she was definitely going to marry, and wanted nothing more to do with him. She cleverly ‘bribed’ him into assuring her that, if she allowed him ‘one last time,’ he’d never tell anybody what had gone on between them in the city.

Seeing that he couldn’t raise enough money to even Greyhound himself back north, he took the coal-mining job that he’d been offered and he found himself a room in a private home.

Once again, he didn’t save any of his wages because he spent it all on enjoying himself, which he could do more avidly than ever before because he was being paid well. He made the excuse to himself that he should try to enjoy every minute of his above-ground time to counter-balance the dreariness of the long hours that he had to work under-ground.

He stuck it out for a few years and then, out of sheer desperation, he joined the Navy for a four-year stint. He picked the Navy because he where he was living was far from the sea and that way he’d be guaranteed an escape from the hills and valleys and the coal slag.

He was taught a useful trade, in general electrical work, and by volunteering in a clever way he then took courses in Scuba diving which led to another one in underwater welding and on to a course in explosives before studying mine disposal and so his first two years were spent in class rooms or in the field and it was only when he was recommended for promotion to petty-officer that the bureaucracy caught up with him and he was roped-in and assigned-out to sea-going duty.

He lucked into serving on a destroyer and then a frigate and he liked both of them but when he found that his next ship was to be a hulking great carrier he decided against re-enlisting.

His tours on the, relatively, small ships had all been to Caribbean islands and to South American countries and seeing them had given him a taste for the Hispanic way of life along with an awareness of the very real opportunities that were available to an enterprising man and so, when he was a civilian again, he bought a one way ticket to Puerto Rico, where, seeing that it is a “commonwealth” of the US of A, he knew that he could find work legitimately on construction sites. When he was set up nicely there he took classes in Spanish and he immersed himself in the language, which wasn’t difficult seeing that he stayed away from English speakers and so everyone that he met became his teacher, and then he sought out entrepreneurs and offered his services to them in any capacity including underwater welding.

His first extra-curricular job, given to him by a friend of the General Contractor of the construction site where he was installing electrical wiring and also doing a bit of welding, was to replace a diver who had been sent to Santo Domingo to weld a plate over a hole that an uncharted rock had punched in a fresh water barge that was on its way to Saint Thomas, which is an island off Puerto Rico.

He didn’t know what had happened to the original diver until he got to the sunken barge and then it turned out that he’d dived down with his equipment and had gone inside it and had found an air pocket there and so, knowing that it was a fresh water barge, he’d opened up the valve in his breathing apparatus to ‘outside air’ and that was it for him – first he lost consciousness and then he fell off his little platform and drowned.

Bill knew that, in his place, he would have done the self same thing but, fore warned, he stayed with his forced air and he did the job without a problem and a few days later the barge had been pumped out and refloated and was cut out of the string and sent back to its home port.

From then on, having demonstrated both his competence and his lack of superstitious fear regarding taking over a task that had killed another man, he began to be offered clandestine jobs and when all of his other skills became known he never had to do regular, poorly paid work again.

He went to several countries to do jobs and he never once traveled on a regular airline because, seeing the kind of work that he was doing, the less the authorities knew about his whereabouts the better for all concerned.

When he’d done the job that he’d been sent to do, no matter where, he’d take time to check out the possibilities in that country and that led to temporary jobs in diamond mines and emerald mines and gold mines and in the tuna fishing industry and in the oil business and – what have you. He also kept his eye out for lucrative investment opportunities and by earning good money in places like Venezuela where everybody, back then, was flush with it and taking it to countries like Bolivia where everybody, back then and always, had very little of it and making it work for him when he was doing jobs elsewhere – of course, he paid no taxes on any of it – he eventually put together a serious amount of money.

When it got to be two million US dollars he sensed that there could be no more of it out there that had his name on it so, also being tired of living rough, he decided to give in to a need that had been building up in him for some time by then and that was to go back to his home town and find a wife and buy a home and get started on having a proper family.

When his family and friends found that he’d come home they threw a coming-home party for him but it had been better than ten years since they’d seen him last and things had moved on for them all and so, after the party, he was left pretty much to himself.

All of his money was stacked away in various banks and was undeclared so he couldn’t just get it transferred to his current bank and then blithely draw on it but he knew that dirty money can be easily and safely cleaned if the owner is prepared to leave a significant amount of it in the laundry and so he took steps to get that done.

When he’d been reunited with his money he used some of it to buy a Cadillac CTS and then he put the local real estate people into a frenzy when he let it be known that he was in the market for a big house and was willing to pay cash money down for it.

When he eventually came to be a proud house owner he employed interior decorators to furnish it, using only Nature’s colors, and then, finally having enough time to look around, he set about finding himself a wife.

He didn’t have to look for long.

Geraldine Page was a twenty four year old girl who was, to say the least, very disappointed with life when she’d found that none of the job offers that she was offered on campus interested her much and so, after graduating, she was chagrined to find that she had to go home and live in the house that she’d been brought up in. That was a fate that she’d derided until it got near to the end of her senior year and had found that the possibility was getting ever closer to being probable and so she’d included her mother back into her life and was civil to her for the first time in years.

She’d never done much dating because she’d thought of boys as being unbelievably crude – if they weren’t grabbing at her they were trying to push their tongues into her mouth as if that was an acceptable act that had to be mutually pleasing – and that men, when she was junior and a senior, came on far too strongly far too quickly and presumed that even first dates were going to end horizontally.

To say that her mother, who was divorced, hadn’t wanted Geraldine to come home after college would be to put it mildly – it cramped her life style and meant that, ‘your place or mine,’ was no longer a phrase that she could use with her lovers – and so she put a good deal of effort into finding her daughter a husband and thus, by getting her out of the house permanently, regain her own freedom.

It was her driving need to assuage the void at her center that got more and more urgent as she got older that had driven away her husband. Ffirst by wearing him out with her demands and, secondly, when he found out, from various ’friends,’ that – evidently because she couldn’t get enough at home – she regularly went out searching for it elsewhere.

Not being at all happy about being so promiscuous she had a longtime goal of finding an equally insatiable man but, constantly failing at that, she was forced to ‘entertain’ many men and her hopes were raised regularly because she was attractive enough to get picked up by horny young men who always lived up to her demands on their first few nights together but then fell away as they, inevitably, found out that she was a longtime, play the field, cougar which, understandably, gave them leave to – uh – leave.

So, several years after her daughter had come home to live with her, Geraldine’s mother’s found out that the recently returned Billy Trenton, brother to the estimable Robert Trenton, was single and clearly flush with money seeing that he’d just bought a big car and then a big house to go with it, and, it stood to reason, was needing a wife. She recognized him as being a good catch for her daughter and so she pulled out all the stops and worked ceaselessly to see to it that they were thrown together often and, when they’d started dating, she spent long hours persuading her daughter to lower her impossibly high standards and ‘allow’ Nature to do a lot of the work for her.

A month or two later, at a catered dinner for the two of them at his place, Billy allowed to the fact that he thought that she, Geraldine, was exactly what he was looking for in a wife and when she’d relayed that statement to her mother she burst out with, “Hallelujah! Listen child, enough, already! All he needs is a little push to propose to you. He’s obviously on the edge so the next time that you’re alone with him let him go further than usual – Hell! Let him go all the way and as often as he wants that first night – and make sure that every time is extra good for him and because of that he’ll want to be able to do it every night. Are you listening to me? Good. Well now, the next step is, of course, to not let him have any at all the next time and – Pow! He’ll go out looking to buy a ring the very next day. I know men and you can believe me on this one.”

Geraldine wished it could be that easy but she couldn’t tell her mother the reason why her plan couldn’t be made to work and so she asked her BFF and, when she’d gotten over her shock, they worked out a plan that should work.

The next time that they were on his couch and they’d done their usual kissing and she’d let him undo her bra, as usual, and then, when it was clear that he was tiring of playing with her breasts, she let out a little tell-tale moan and he was quick to pick up on it and he put a hand on her leg and when she didn’t block it, which was most unusual, he slipped it on up under her skirt and then dexterously into her pants and when his middle finger had done a little exploring and had found her center and was poised to go on in she, with the exquisite timing that was called for and that she’d practiced often in preparation for that very moment, whispered urgently into his ear, “Please be careful, Billy dear, because I’ve never – ” and she let it hang there.

He couldn’t believe what she was saying, not for a second – a twenty four year old woman who was still a virgin in 2010! It could never happen! – but her request did give him pause and so he proceeded with caution and he found that her hymen was not only intact but it was tough too and while it would let the tip of his finger expand its opening a little there was no way that it would let any part of it pass on through.

Billy was astonished and pleased no end – he hadn’t really thought about it but when confronted with the incontrovertible fact he realized that, in his inner being, it was exactly what he wanted in the woman who going to be the mother to his children – and so he stopped what he was doing and he extricated himself and he went to his bedroom and searched out the three carat diamond ring that he’d had in his possession for several years by then.

The ring itself had an interesting history.

He’d bought it as a newly found five carat stone that had gone through its finder’s alimentary canal many times – for one tenth of its true value which, even so, was a fortune to the field worker who’d found it and who quit his job on the spot and went home to his tiny village – and when he got to Bogota he’d had it cut and the price for that was his being willing to give up all claims to the detritus. He’d then extracted two ounces of gold dust from his stash to be made into a nice, solid ring that would accept the diamond, again no money changed hands because two ounces was much more than was needed to do the job, and he’d carried the completed ring around with him on his travels as he waited patiently to find its ideal recipient.

After seeing that the ring fitted her perfectly, and pouncing on that as being a happy omen, he let her admire it for a while and then he took her hand and led her upstairs and although she was very apprehensive she accepted that it was her time to become a woman and so she bravely went along with him and when they got there she let him undress her and then he lowered her onto the bed. When he came to join her after getting undressed she braced herself for the coming onslaught.

He started in with gentle love play and she liked everything that he did and so, as he progressed, she willingly took up every position that he put her in and her apprehension kept building up until he gave her her first ever, non-self-induced, orgasm with his tongue. He let her rest for a while and then he started up again and when she approached her second one she actively wanted to be broken into – brutally would do fine if that’s what it took – but he remained content to keep on with his exploring and his kissing and licking.

Finally, she mustered the courage to remonstrate with him and he told her that it wasn’t going to happen until their wedding night when he intended to impregnate her while she was, “still pure and, whether it makes sense to you or not, I‘m convinced that it will ensure that our first child will be a son and who will start off with every advantage that there is.”

To appease her he promised to give her at least one orgasm every time that they went to bed together and more if she asked. That made her feel a little like a pet that was being kept for its prettiness and its softness and its amiability but, she figured, there were certainly worse things in the world so she let him continue to get at her in any way that he wanted and she simply lay still and looked at her ring and could hardly wait to show it to her mother and to ‘let’ her friends see it.

When she saw the quality and the size of the stone that was on her daughter’s finger her mother complimented her on ‘giving it up’ and was astonished when Geraldine told her that she was still intact and was then forced to explain everything when she was confronted by, “What! You haven’t ever been . . . not ever? Well, I want all the details so don’t leave out anything, you hear me, Miss?”

When she knew it all, notwithstanding her bewilderment because such a thing was way beyond her comprehension, she gave Geraldine carte blanche to stay the night with her strange fiancé in his house any time that she wanted to.

She often told herself, ‘Well, it takes all kinds,’ and her misgivings didn’t mount high enough to do anything about it until Geraldine told her that after a whole month of spending the night with him she still hadn’t been relieved of her now irrelevant ‘purity.’ AKA, her cherry.

Her mother began to think that he had to be gay and so she asked all of her round-heeled friends – they were all very discrete about it, of course, seeing that theirs was a smallish town – and one of them, an attractive blond on this side of forty and very amenable, put her mind at ease on that score when she told her that she’d let him pick her up in a restaurant one night soon after he’d arrived in town, “He didn’t have a car then and his clothes weren’t up to much and he was living in the motel but he had a kind of magnetic charm and so I decided to go slumming with him. Well, and you can believe me on this, that man doesn’t have a gay bone in his body. It was one of the best nights between the sheets of my entire life and I remember being nicely sore and content for days afterwards. But you know, I knew right from the start that it would only be for the one night because he was one of those guys who are only looking for immediate relief and who are totally without any leanings to commitment. Because of that we parted friends, which is always nice, right?”

On hearing that from a woman she trusted Geraldine’s mother was relieved but more perplexed than ever but, by recalling the size of the rock that was on her daughter’s finger, she was able to tell herself to wait and see what turned up.

The reason why Billy wasn’t driven by Nature to de-flower Geraldine was because he was ‘seeing’ his brother’s wife, Audrey, on a regular basis!

She’d been in Billy’s class in middle school and then again in high school, two years behind Robert who was that many years older than both of them, and they’d liked each other from the start and when they found out that their friends were playing a new game that they called, ‘Doctors,’ they learned the rules and then played it themselves – just the two of them at first intending to join the other groups when they’d had enough practice at it to know their way around.

They both liked doing it and were surprised and delighted when they found that it wasn’t a fad that would weaken and then be abandoned like most new things and that, in fact, even if they’d used up their lunch hour doing it they still wanted more of the same after school. On top of that, its attraction grew stronger as time went by and with all the practice that they got they became better and better at doing it and so much so that they became loathe to invite anyone else to join them because that could mean fewer turns for them at being the doctor and, later on, being the patient.

When, inevitably, Billy got his first, viable, utilitarian erection, when he was around thirteen, Audrey was thrilled to see it – not only because up to then she’d found it difficult to believe what she’d read and what everyone had told her, repeatedly, about the mechanics of ‘doing it’ – “What! That little, teeny thing? No way!” – but also because by showing up it provided something tangible and measurable and quantifiable and she lost no time in finding out how she could accommodate the thing and when they found that its eruptions didn’t damage it at all, and brought a good deal of pleasure for them both, they sneaked off to their hide-away more often than before.

When Audrey showed blood for the first time, just after her fourteenth birthday, it flowed copiously so she was forced to ask her mother about it, and, when her mother found that her daughter could go straight to tampons with no problem – she had to force herself to not ask how that came about – but, knowing what had to have caused it, it made her strengthen her warnings about how unwanted pregnancies come about and what condoms are and what they do.

The next time that she was with Billy and he had come at her, and had unzipped and had let her see how much he needed to find relief, she held it to comfort him and then she told him what she’d learned. His urgency disappeared right then and there as he was forced to qk /realize what the act’s awesome consequences could be and the responsibilities that could come from it. His eldest sister had just had a baby and he knew the amount of work and time that caring for it took.

They sat still and held each other’s hands and talked it through and they agreed that this was an adult thing and that they weren’t nearly ready to cope with it. When she showed him the flimsy condom that she’d borrowed they further agreed that it couldn’t offer nearly enough protection and so, taking it all in all, they reluctantly decided that their carefree ‘sharing’ had to end.

Because they were both died-in-the-wool practitioners of the complete act stopping cold-turkey was tough for them both but, helped by knowing that the lure was no longer there, they found it easier to give up on their get-togethers and stay merely friends, with no benefits at all, because after having the real thing so often and for so long they knew that the alternative methods that their friends were all practicing were not for them.

Things stayed like that between them until Billy quit school and went away to the city and soon after that, when she was a senior, his brother Robert came into her life bearing promise and promises.

Billy didn’t keep in touch with his brother at all and the only communication that he had with his parents was the Christmas card that he sent them every year that simply told them that he was still alive and well. Consequently, Audrey and Robert found out that Billy was back in town, about two weeks after he’d arrived and a few days before the party that was thrown for him, at the same time when they were walking back to their car on Main Street, after church one Sunday morning, and they saw him walking towards the only café that was open for lunch on Sundays.

If Audrey hadn’t been there it was doubtful that their meeting would have lasted longer than it took to shake hands and to exchange, “How’re you doing?” and, “Keep in touch,” wishes but, when they’d all gotten over their surprise, she insisted that he come home with them and have lunch there, “I’ve got a huge chicken pot pie cooking in the oven and there’s plenty for us all.”

“Us all,” turned out to be the three adults and two well behaved children, a boy of eight and a girl of six, who were brought home from their Sunday Schools by a neighbor a half hour after their parents and Billy had gotten there. The kids changed out of their formal Sunday clothes but into clothes that couldn’t possibly be used to climb trees, or the like, and Billy eventually found that Sundays in his brother’s house was anything but boisterous and the only TV that the kids were allowed to watch was from wholesome videos that their father set up for them.

They were both fascinated with their new found uncle and couldn’t get enough of hearing about his adventures so that made it difficult for Billy to get away after lunch which he desperately wanted to do because the only thing that he was offered in the way of drink was cider. Soft cider.

 However, his Sunday afternoon wasn’t entirely wasted because he’d seen – how not? – that Audrey was reacting promisingly to his presence in that whenever they got to be standing close together she had to be firm about taking control of her hips – she’d found, most disconcertingly, that they’d been taken over by her center that seemed to be gaping and pulsing without rhyme or reason – and not let them yearn towards him too obviously.

He called her the next day, when he judged that she’d be alone, and she found herself, entirely against her will and against all common sense, agreeing to meet him in his motel room in a half hour.

As she was driving she kept asking herself why was she doing this and the answer came to her when she’d parked out of sight around the back of the motel and was about to get out of her car: All through her marriage she’d forced herself to not make comparisons between the staid and conventional loving that she was getting from her legitimate bedmate with the splendor of what she’d gotten with Billy as they’d learned all about it together in her formative years. Well, she’d been successful at suppressing her feelings for the best part of ten years but, when she’d heard Billy telling her children about some of his adventures as they ate the chicken pot pie, it had come to her that discovering the various exotic foods and the quaint living habits of the locals in all of those far-away countries weren’t the only things that he must have picked up there.

The combination – the lovely caring, sharing things that they’d gotten up to together back in those innocent times and the seamy, down-and-dirty, anything-goes, no-holds-barred, up-against-the-wall-or-on-the-straw-with-the-cucarachas, if-it-can-be-done-it-will-be-done, the-taking-up-of- unimaginable-positions, the, “Oh-no-Senor-you-are-too-big-it-will-hurt-me-too-much-but-if-you’ve-got-another-ten-pesos-to-give-me-then-we-can-do-it-that-way-but-not-too-deep-Senor.” – was all together too much for her and she wanted to, she had to, experience all of it with the only proviso being that it had to be by the same man because she’d be safe with him when she was as totally open and vulnerable as was called for if she wanted to be embraced by – well – by life itself.

As soon as his motel room’s door had closed behind her she felt weak and her knees would have buckled if he hadn’t caught her. He had to help her to undress and when he’d joined her in the bed and had entered her, and was gently re-discovering his old stamping grounds, she responded as of old but when he started going at her in earnest she could smell his, so familiar even though it was newly generated, sweat and she felt as if the intervening years had never happened and that they were sharing true and pure and totally innocent love again in their secret copse. However, some time later, when he’d sensed that she wanted to be treated more roughly and had complied with her wishes in spades, she found that her old habits of responding to him, and the habits that she’d accumulated over ten years of marriage, weren’t at all adequate for the job and so she had to learn by doing. She soon became very aware that keeping up with him called for a whole lot of learning.

She’d wanted to talk with him about her new philosophy but, even so, if he hadn’t known that she should to be home at around three o’clock to welcome her kids back from school, and had told her when it was time to for her to leave, she would have happily stayed with him, without speaking, for hours longer.

She was exhausted and sore, and content, and when she’d gotten it together enough to start getting dressed she said, “My God, William. Why, oh why isn’t your brother even a half as good as you are in bed?”

“Don’t call me ‘William,’ ” he replied, “it’s ‘Billy’ and it’s because I’m younger than he is, of course.”

When he called her again she, not wanting to risk being seen going to the motel, invited him to come to her house in the afternoons, he already knew the hours that were appropriate, and she told him how to use the rear door from the garden which could be easily reached via a path that ran down the back of her row of houses and that was rarely used by anyone.

They enjoyed their two or three hour trysts every day for months and because he kept to his promise about showing her something new every time – which saw to it that she forgot what not being happily sore 24/7 felt like – she became so content with her life that she had to be careful about letting her happiness show. Children have a way of sensing these things and so, knowing that she shouldn’t try to fob them off with nonsense, she told them that she was practicing Pilates and that its power to drive away ennui is marvelously effective.

When Billy had stabilized his love life with his two women he decided to look for a not-too taxing job and he found one in the maintenance crew at the factory where his brother was the General Manager.

He’d had to join the union to get the job and it had a strict rule about finishing work the second that the factory whistle blew and so he’d be in his car and on the way home at around four thirty-five and as he left the parking lot he’d see that the management’s lot was still full and he knew that it would be close to seven before his brother would leave his desk.

That gave him and Audrey two hours to get together and she soon set up a routine in which, on the three days of the week that they’d settled on when the bloom had faded a little, she’d see to it that her children were getting on with their homework when four thirty arrived and she’d leave them with their nanny and then drive away to attend her ‘Pilate’ class.

Billy managed to have everything his own way for around a year before the powers that be wore him down enough to get him to agree on a date for getting married to Geraldine.

He held the reception in Robert’s country club and he paid for everything and it went very well indeed.

They were driven to the airport when it got to be that time and they flew to Bermuda for their honeymoon – it was an island that he’d never visited before and he’d picked it for that very reason – and when they were in their suite he got to be inordinately excited as it came to him that he was minutes away from employing one of the entrances to the world to get it to live up to its name.

He once again explained his philosophy to his new wife, about seeing to it that the breaking of her hymen and getting impregnated was achieved in the shortest possible time so as to ensure a male child and one that was off to the best possible start – she didn’t understand, no one did not even Billy but he’d thought that he’d done so when a High Holy man in Ecuador had spelled it out for him when they were both under the influence of a certain potent weed. He remembered something about how it was ‘En La Manera De La Madre Naturaleza’ and how that was made evident in that with most other animals the male mounts the female, when she’s in heat, with little or no ceremony and what could possibly be a better way to advise her reproductive system that it should become ultra receptive in a hurry than by having her hymen ruptured or, if there was no hymen, having her vagina bruised and abused by forced entry? The advice had stayed with Billy ever since although he wouldn’t have even thought of following it if he hadn’t found himself in the unique position of having both Audrey and Geraldine available to him at the same time.

So, although his new wife didn’t understand his doctrine she was willing to go along with whatever he wanted to do because it was all much of a muchness to her and; especially, because she was now properly married to an affluent man and; because she really did want to know what all the hype was about and; because she’d always wanted to have children and; because her clock was ticking – and so when she’d let him guide her until she was bending over the bed he bulled his way into her, disregarding her cries, and, sure enough, he got the job done in a matter of seconds.

When he released her she fell forward onto the bed and he arranged her body so that he could lie down too and then he promptly fell asleep even though she didn’t stop crying for hours. Paradoxically, and cruelly, when she changed from outright crying to whimpering the difference in volume woke him up, ready for more and eager to go, and although he took much longer and went a lot slower the second time he hurt her some more and that made her start crying again. Her tears continued to come and go as the night wore on and they got to be more copious as he tried new things with her in an endeavor to get acquainted with her idiosyncrasies and to satisfy his curiosity about her potential for innovative love-making.

In the morning, at the crack of noon, she managed to sneak away from his embraces to call her mother for guidance – she’d fully intended to come home again that same day because she couldn’t believe that what she’d been forced to do for him, and to him, could possibly be ‘normal’ behavior – and it took a whole lot of persuasion, over the phone, before she agreed to stay and put up with more of his ‘outrageous’ demands.

Her mother had succeeded at that by describing what she had gone through on her own honeymoon – to make it lurid enough to get the job done she’d had to dredge up some of the more bizarre things that had happened to her over the years since then, including one guy who had actually wanted her to assist him with some of his earthy ablutions, and there had been a whole lot of them and, she had no doubt, there would be plenty more of them in her future. However, she’d long learned to take the rough with the smooth in her efforts to allay her internal, pitiless demons – alas, always only barely adequately each time and always far too ephemerally. She’d also promised to ask her, Geraldine’s, father, to have a word with Billy, when they got home, about curbing his enthusiasm somewhat. Ha! What a chance that had of succeeding she thought even before she’d finished saying it!

Robert was envious of his brother’s new car and his splendid big house but he took comfort from knowing that at least his garden was much nicer than Billy’s. He spent most of his free time in it caring for his tomatoes and peppers, and like that, and his wife meticulously tended to the decorative bushes and the flowering trees, and the artfully positioned flower patches, whereas Billy only went into his garden to sling his hammock between two trees.

After a while Billy got tired of Geraldine and her mother’s constant harping about how his garden looked like a construction site so he called in a Landscape Architect and he gave him carte blanche to transform the grounds, front, back and sides.

  When it was finished, a few short weeks later, Billy, who always ate lunch in the factory canteen because that gave him more time to play cards with his fellow workers, told his brother, who always went home for lunch, about his new garden and that he should check it out sometime.

Robert did so, that same afternoon, on his way back to the factory and he was dismayed to find that his lucky but worthless brother had, with one signature on one check, gotten himself a garden that was at least as attractive as his own.

It affected him badly and he felt so discouraged with the unfairness of it all that when his new sister-in-law invited him in for a cup of coffee he accepted gratefully.

Geraldine was already tired of having to put up with the impossible-to-curb and overly-avid attentions of her bull of a husband and she had long admired Robert for his kindness and politeness and gentleness.

She had recently found out that Billy was tom-catting – not just with Audrey, the whole town knew about that, but elsewhere too – and so she was feeling despondent and because of that it came to her that here and now, meaning while she had Robert in her living room, was her chance to get even.

She would never have believed herself capable of doing such a thing but she actually tried, and succeeded, to seduce her brother-in-law. It was way out of character for her and her clumsy attempt was helped tremendously because he was feeling despondent too but, nevertheless, ten minutes later they were in bed together, stark naked, and, not only that but she hadn’t bothered to darken the room by pulling the blinds down!

Robert was very gentle with her, as she’d known that he would be, and he initiated new action only when he’d analyzed her reactions to a previous one of his. When, at last, her hip movements got to be serious about getting it done he somehow knew that she’d enjoy it much more if she was allowed to be in charge and so he held her tight and then turned with her until she was on top of him and then he lay still and let her work her hips at her own pace and so she was able to give herself a low-passion but highly satisfactory orgasm and she was so grateful that she forgave him for being a little rough with her when he was striving – up hill, as it were – to get his own.

As she lay on top of him, still wrapped in his arms in the after-lull, she realized that this was the way that she’d always hoped that it could be between man and woman and she would have liked to have him stay with her and keep caressing her bottom for hours. She whispered all of that information into his ear along with all kinds of endearments.

He was both immensely grateful to her – no matter how faithful he’d been to his wife he, like nearly every other man on God’s earth who found himself in similar circumstances, had often wondered how it would be to lie with a woman other than his wife and now he knew and he was immensely pleased that the knowledge had been obtained in house, as it were, decorously and fairly openly and painlessly – and he was highly flattered by her whispered praises and purrings and so he responded in a like manner and before he left her their level of rapport had climbed up until it was in danger of rising above the mattress and swamping them.

When he caught the time – this would be the first time ever that he’d be late getting back to his desk after lunch – he tore himself away from her and he got dressed hurriedly.

She was far too languid and pleased with herself to get up from the bed and so she lay there watching him and when he returned to her to kiss her goodbye she murmured, “Darling, darling Bobby. Why, oh why isn’t your brother even a half as good as you are in bed?”

“Don’t call me ‘Bobby,’ ” he replied, “it’s ‘Robert’ and it’s because I’m older than he is, of course.”