Page 98 Praying For

 PRAYING FOR BIG WAVES.            8-5-11

                                                                           Roy Garde.

Donald and Olivia Hoyle had been married for eight years when she stopped bothering to put her diaphragm in.

She didn’t have to consider using other methods of birth control because her husband was already using the only 100% sure method and that was to never touch her.

She tried. God knows that she tried. The amount of skin that she flashed at him every night as they readied for bed would have aroused a dead stranger but did not get any response at all from her live, intimate partner. Could-be, should-be intimate partner.

They had put off having children to give them both time to hammer down some degrees and then some more degrees. They had plenty of time left still because although Donald was then thirty-five years old she was still only twenty-nine. Still, she had wanted to get started with their family for sometime by then but it takes two people – one to write the order and the other to accept the order and then to assemble the parts and then deliver it. There were no orders being written because it seemed that he couldn’t find a suitable pen to write them down with.

He didn’t dare tell her what his problem was with her because knowing it would have devastated her. She’d leave him at once because she’d see that there was no hope at all of ever getting him to change back to how he’d felt for her when they’d first met and that frightened him because he didn’t want to live without her because he still loved her and hoped that somehow, someday, the passion would come back.

           What had triggered his problem was the fact that she’d put on twenty odd pounds in around six months after she’d earned her final degree and – the thing that bothered him most – she seemed to be content with it. He asked himself if she’d even think about stopping when she weighed two hundred and fifty, maybe?

She’d found herself a sinecure of a job, through a friend of a friend and because her PhD give her a whole lot of clout, which allowed her to have close to unlimited free time and, reveling in being able to read for pleasure for the first time in many years, she’d ‘rescued’ the dozens of well-reviewed novels that she’d accumulated over the years, and had had to shelve, and she arranged them in the order that best suited her and she happily began working her way through them. She realized along the way, of course, that sitting around everyday and not bothering with exercising, ever, meant that the pounds would pile up but, like all addicts, the quality of what she was reading, combined with her new-found freedom to do whatever she wanted, enthralled her and she was loathe indeed to stop doing it and so she accepted her fate and rationalized that because there was more of her for her man to love it was surely ‘win, win.’

            It had been a cold winter morning when he’d last wanted to put in his order. They had always kept Sunday mornings for themselves but a long series of events like having relatives visit and having to go see a sick friend clear across the country and then his being called away as a special consultant on a big case in Scotland, and some more things like that, added up to their having to go three whole months without having even one Sunday alone together.

   What had usually happened on normal Sunday mornings, before his ‘troubles,’ was that, being a little tentative through not really believing that she’d continue to consent to go along with him on all of the marvelous but somewhat risqué things that he’d dreamed up in the preceding week, he’d dance attendance on her in an effort to ‘soften’ her up somewhat.

    To that end, he’d get up first and he’d shave closely because the skin between her breasts and on her inner thighs was very sensitive and even a little stubble irritated it and produced a vivid rash. Then he’d prepare breakfast and he’d bring his own and hers back to bed, with the papers, and he’d wake her up.

          When they had finished reading all of the sections of interest he’d take away the breakfast things and then would return to help her take off her nightgown, and then, as usual, would insist on taking off her panties all on his own, which took him several minutes to accomplish, and they would then start in on following his routines, which took several hours.

          Their Sunday morning sessions were nothing like the ones they did every second night or so through the week. Those were the standard ones wherein a little cuddling did or did not produce an erection and if it did it was dealt with summarily and merely pleasantly. In the dark.

          However, on Sunday mornings they indulged themselves. No, they fairly wallowed in themselves.

          Well, on the first Sunday back together after their long, enforced hiatus something happened that brought on the much, much longer one. The one that stretched out into two years.

They had gone through some of their preliminaries and then it got to be time to assemble the number 69.

          She positioned herself on top of him and he opened his eyes as she was backing up to close with him. He had his hands on her buttocks and he could look along the length of her body.

Her thighs and her bottom had always been rather heavy but he could feel and see that they were now much larger than he remembered them being and he also saw her belly, also bigger than ever, bulging and bunching and then came a roll of fat below her ribs and then her hanging breasts, chalk white and blue veined, bulbous and seriously non-sexy and they bore very little resemblance to the ones he’d loved to play with in times of yore.

          The combination of images resembled, to him, a cross between one of those white and disgusting Manatees with their huge girth and a wallowing, blubbery elephant seal. Once that had registered in his brain it would not go away but what did go away was his erection and in such an abrupt and total manner that he knew it was not coming back soon. Like not for ever, maybe!

           She was puzzled and disappointed of course, being suddenly left with nothing to work with, and he was both horrified at having been given that image and ashamed and distressed about depriving her of the part that she liked best but he had to get away from her that very instant and so he said something about not knowing what had happened and he got out from under and got dressed and went downstairs.

          They hadn’t had sex since. It was coming up to all of two years, as stated and as was ever present in her mind.

          They still slept in the same bed but every night after maybe a kiss on the cheek and some endearments he’d turn away onto his side and go to sleep and leave her to console herself with some surreptitious left-hand-fret-fingering of her current favorite pop song. The blues, her favorite music, was too slow and the classics resisted being speeded up with little or no advance notice.

One day Olivia’s best friend called up to tell her, nearly in tears, that her long-looked-forward-to, week- long bus tour to Paris with her husband, was off because his “fucking company had a fucking emergency.” It was the first time that Olivia had ever heard her friend use that word and here it was – twice in a short sentence. The trip was a non-refundable one and did she want to go on it?

She called her husband at his Station, he was a Detective Inspector there, and they both agreed that it would be stupid to pass it up so they rearranged their vacations and a week later they found themselves at Victoria Station boarding the bus.

          The bus went to Dover and straight onto the ferry and the English Channel was as smooth as a village duck pond, much to Olivia’s relief because she was a terrible sailor, and she felt only a little queasy during the crossing.

          They got to their Hotel room without incident and as the rest of the day was ‘free’ they went for a walk along the Teuleries and around Notre Dame Cathedral and that night they went to a two-star restaurant in which her friend had made a reservation and they took a chance and represented themselves as “James and Martha Clark.”

          They found the food was as good as they remembered it to be in the other, the only other, two-star place that they’d used and they found the rudeness and haughtiness of the Maitre’D and the waiters to be exactly as they remembered it to be and they found the prices to be as outrageous as they remembered them to be.

          The days went quickly as, each day, the bus took them to different sights like Chartres and Versailles and Rhiems.

          Olivia had, of course, hoped that Paris would re-awaken his interest in her, and some response libidinous-wise, but she was horrified to find that it had the opposite affect on him. Towards the end of the trip he would visibly flinch if she attempted to merely kiss his cheek.

Again he couldn’t tell her why but it was because seeing all the French chic every day made him compare her and her hairstyle and her clothes and her perfume and her make-up and her deportment and her heft and it all fell far, far short of what he saw on the other women on all sides in the streets and in the cafes.

    One afternoon she caught him ogling, and nearly salivating over, a woman in very high heels who was walking, that is undulating, on the sidewalk in front of them and she got an inkling of what his problem with her was and, after a minute or two, she realized, with some disbelief, that the mystery was at last solved.

    She watched him more closely from then on and she noted his favorable reactions to slimness and chic but at the same time she knew that she could never compete. She’d have to spend all of her money on treatments and spas and clothes, and the like, and she had more important things to do with her time and her cash, thank you. She accepted herself to be a slightly plump but pretty English woman with English manners and priorities and with English clothes and an English hairstyle and she felt that it would be foolish and false to try to be anything else.

         He’d married her “as is” and she was still “as is.” There was more of the “as is,” was all.

On the last day of the trip they had the morning free and the bus was scheduled to leave at two in the afternoon.

They had breakfast and then went for a walk and, on impulse; they decided to check out the Metro.

They bought tickets and they got on the first train that came in.

They admired the quietness that came with rubber wheels and the orderliness and the cleanliness and the bright colors. They were delighted by the different decors of each station. More of the pleasing bright colors were everywhere and everything was, hard to believe, viewer and user friendly.

They went to the end of the line and then they crossed the platform to a waiting train that would take them back to where their hotel was.

The train must have been standing for some time because it was half full. They found some seats and they sat and waited with everybody else.

They looked at all of the adverts a half dozen times and one had a picture that was so provocative that    Olivia marveled at it and tried to make sense of it, and thus maybe tone it down some, by reading the wording over and over and hoping that the meaning would come clear that way and maybe ease her discomfort with seeing all of that skin and more than a hint of what should surely remain hidden.

Soon there was only one seat left vacant across from them and when Donald saw a young woman come in from the next carriage he prayed that she would take it.

She was the optimization of what he thought to be the ideal French woman. She was a gamin, an elfin.      Another Leslie Caron.

She had long, thin legs and a tiny skirt that showed her white thighs with each stride. She had her black hair cut short and she carried herself as if she owned a half of Paris.

His prayers were answered when she sat down across from him and she started reading a flimsy magazine, which she held up so high which meant that he could look all that he wanted because it blocked her view of him.

She was wearing a man’s shirt that was white and that was far too big for her and she had folded up, not rolled, the sleeves several times and had pinned them there. The shirt was fine cotton and every time she breathed in he could see the dark of her aureoles press against it and he also saw the pink tops of her breasts show through a split second later. Her nipples would become very evident and then only just evident when she breathed out. Her short, black skirt was split on each side up to her hips. She wore black sandals and her toenails were painted crimson red.

           She crossed her legs and the front panel of her skirt fell to one side which let him see a mesmerizingly generous portion of her right thigh and then, wonderful to behold, she uncrossed her legs and the panel stayed awry for a second or two and, God in heaven, he was staring right up Happy Valley!

           Just before she casually flipped her skirt panel back into place, front and center, he realized that what he had thought to be her triangle of pubic hair was, in fact, only the dark brown crotch of her panties, the top part of which were, strangely, a grayish color. But even so!

          Just then she lowered her magazine for some reason and he quickly lowered his eyes and he looked down at her feet and he then noticed that her ankles were more than just grimy – they were downright dirty. Ingrained with dirt.

When his peripheral vision told him that her magazine was up in place again he looked carefully at the parts of her legs that were exposed and he saw more dirt on her knees and just above them and then that her wrists had their coating of grime too.

When she lowered her magazine at the next stop and turned her head to see which station they were at and he looked at her neck and he could easily see a line where she had splashed water on to her face but hadn’t bothered to wash any more of her.

He saw that her fingernails were bitten and dirty.

So much for “epitomizing French womanhood” he thought to himself.

She crossed her legs once more a few minutes later and he saw again her marvelous inner thigh and he realized that lust truly does conquer all because his disgust had already evaporated and he found himself wanting to take her to bed so badly that he had difficulty with his breathing. He brushed aside her dirtiness as having no import. All right, so they’d take a shower first he thought and then the vision of being in the running water with her and soaping down her breasts and her bottom and those thighs forced him to close

       his eyes and concentrate on taking deep breaths.

          When he’d recovered somewhat he looked over again but more people had gotten onto the train and they were blocking his vision of her and so he closed his eyes and went into a fantasy of living with her, similarly unwashed, the hell with it, in an unheated, cold-water garret, whatever that was, and of giving up his career and his pension and his nice house just so he could be with her and a definite plus was knowing that whenever they’d resort to doing it the conventional position it would be pubic bone hard up against pubic bone. Every morning he’d send her out to buy bread and cheese and olives and wine and then, after eating, he’d have her bring those long, thin legs back to their bed and have her wrap them around his hips and then sink . . . . Oooh, Oooh, — Oh!

           His wife was pulling at his arm to get his attention and when she got it she told him that the next stop was theirs and he shook his head to banish the vision he had of looking into Leslie’s face as she said, “Ah! Oui! Mon cherie. Quel homme!”

           He slipped his left hand into his trouser pocket to cradle his erection and thus be sure that he wouldn’t poke anyone with it and then he got up and followed his wife to the nearest exit doors.

           Lots of people were getting off at their stop and so they had to hold back for a while but the wait went on for too long and it became obvious that there was a problem. A bunch of people who were in their way weren’t moving so Olivia lost patience and went around them one way and Donald saw an opening so he tried to go the other way.

          When he got close to the door he saw what the problem was. ‘Leslie’ had dropped her keys or something and was bent over trying to find whatever it was that she’d dropped.

Two impatience and exasperated women in front of him pushed past her and he tried to follow them but ‘Leslie’ took that moment to back her rump into him as she began to stand up. When the second woman had pushed her way past ‘Leslie’ she’d made her miniscule skirt ride up and because of that all of one hip and a goodly part of her center was exposed. He stopped in confusion because to advance would not only have knocked her over but would have also come close to being lewd behavior, or worse. Also, after his reverie he felt a certain affinity, an attachment to her.

          He wanted to help her so he paused to see how he could do that.

Because of all the exposure he saw why the colors of her panties had confused him earlier. He could see that they had been, originally, all white but now they were so dirty that they were mostly gray and the crotch was entirely and disgustingly filthy! His erection faded rapidly.

A moment later he felt a tug at his back pocket and instantly knew that he’d been set up. His one hand was still in his pocket so he wasn’t quick enough to grab the thief’s right hand, the one that had removed his wallet, but he was quick enough to grab his other hand, which the guy had used to lift away his jacket to get access to the pocket.

He saw movement to his side and he looked that way in time to see ‘Leslie’s’ hand, with its dirty finger nails, take his wallet from her accomplice and then he saw her run off the train and onto the platform and then disappear into the crowds that were getting off or waiting to get on.

He shouted “Stop thief” several times but no one moved to detain her much less run after her and then the pickpocket started cursing at him and threw an ineffectual punch with his free hand and so Donald quickly turned to the business at hand and he put a wrist-lock on him and the protestations and curses changed to screams.

He pulled the man out of the train and he looked for Security people but there weren’t any so he headed for the exit to the street. The pickpocket shouted and protested all the way along the platform and up the stairs but no one came to his aid physically and the ones who said anything stopped speaking when they saw how competently Donald was controlling the situation. He was using just one hand and yet he was able

       to make his prisoner go where he wanted and at the speed that he wanted.

          There were many Gendarmes on the street, it being a major tourist area, and the two nearest ones came over to him at once and they took charge of the thief. Donald had two or three words of French and the two policemen had maybe six words of English between them so it quickly became obvious that they were going to resolve nothing there so one of them, prosaically, handcuffed the thief to some railings and then

       got on the phone for a patrol car.

While they were waiting Donald told Olivia all the details, except why he’d had his hand in his pocket.         They made a list of what had been in his wallet – a hundred-odd pounds and about three hundred and fifty francs and his driving license but luckily not their Passports, which Olivia had in her bag, and not his police badge because he’d left it at home. The loss of those would have been serious stuff.

They heard the wailing of the patrol car and soon the pickpocket and a Gendarme and Donald were sitting in the back seat and Olivia was sitting next to the driver and their siren helped them to slice through the heavy traffic on their way to the Police Station.

No one there could speak English either so Donald was allowed to call the British Embassy and they promised that someone would be sent immediately.

They waited some more.

Donald and Olivia sat on a bench at the rear and the one remaining Gendarme sat with the prisoner in front of the desk where the equivalent of a desk sergeant did some paper work.

Every time that the pickpocket opened his mouth the Gendarme yelled, “Ta geule”, and there would be silence for a minute or two.

The Embassy man arrived after a half hour and Donald told him what had happened. The man got permission to use the desk phone to call his office so that they could, in turn, call Donald’s Police Station in London and confirm that he was who he said he was. It would add weight.

When he got a confirmatory call back he then went over to the ‘desk sergeant’ and reiterated the whole story in French.

There was a great deal of back and fore-ing between them and many protests from the thief who invariably was given the same order to ‘shut up’ by all three participants then the equivalent of a Public Prosecutor, or whatever, was sent for.

They went through it all again for him and Donald had to answer questions that got more and more remote from the fact that he’d had his wallet stolen by this man standing here.

        The only difference from the other times that he’d told his story was that now the accused was getting his order to ‘shut up’ from four directions.

Donald was sure that in the end the French Judicial System, which he had heard so much about and that was admired so much in England by practically the entire Police Force, would insist on locking the thief up because they had that enormous, fundamental difference in which the accused had to prove his innocence rather than being presumed innocent as the naive British system had it.

          He relished the thought that the pickpocket would spend about a year in a cold, barren cell with only a plank and a bucket, emptied once a week, for company and would eat only slops and drink only water and when he was taken out it would be to get sentenced to ten years more in an even worse cell!

With rats maybe.

They all finally stopped with their back and fore-ing and the Embassy guy came over to where they were sitting and he looked very glum indeed.

“I’m afraid you aren’t going to like what I’m going to say to you,” he said. “They’re going to let him go. They can’t hold him!”

          Donald started spluttering something about surely the French way was for him having to prove his innocence but the man said that that was for serious crimes not petty larceny and that in this case their decision mostly revolved around the facts that were at hand –

1, He has no prior record. Although he certainly won’t be able to say that in future.

2, There was no wallet found on him thus there’s no evidence to connect him with your loss.

3, There were no witnesses besides you.

4, He is a French citizen and you aren’t and this is France.

“I’m afraid there’s nothing else that I can do for you except to give you an Official Letter that you can show to your Insurance Company and you can use it to help with replacing your Driving License and the rest of it.”

          Donald knew well that he could do no more through the ‘channels’. Hadn’t he been dealing with them and against them all of his working life? But knowing that didn’t make him feel any better so he resignedly thanked the man for his efforts and then he gave him details for the letter that he would write for him and have it sent to his home. He then remembered that he had no money for a taxi so he borrowed a hundred francs and he signed a receipt for them.

          Olivia had some British money in her bag so they’d be able to get home from Victoria Station.

          Donald, still fuming inside, stood up and then strolled casually over to where the thief was standing.

          He was no longer being told to ‘shut up’ because he knew that he would soon be out of there and could meet up with ‘Leslie’ to check his haul and so by then his only contribution to the proceedings was to keep a large smirk on his face.

Donald stood in front of the thief and everyone waited to hear what he was going to say to him but he didn’t say anything. Instead he moved his left hand out and up, slowly, as if to slap his face, and when that had brought the man’s hands up to defend his head he hit him hard, just below his ribs, with his right fist and with his weight behind it and not slowly at all.

The pickpocket whooshed out all of his breath and fell to the floor and lay there trying to pull some air into his lungs and not succeeding very well.

          No one went to his aid and the French policemen in the room acted as if it hadn’t happened because they all knew that they would have done the same thing in the same circumstances and, knowing that Donald was a policemen too, they had expected something like it to happen and that was why they had kept him around for the last ten minutes. No one in their profession could possibly have walked away and lost that amount of face to a petty thief.

                They didn’t have to call a taxi to get back to their hotel because the ‘desk sergeant’ arranged for a Squad Car to take them and he told them, through the Embassy man, that he was deeply sorry that they had seen a bad side of Paris and that if there hadn’t been a language problem he would have liked to take him, and his charming wife, to lunch or to dinner, to make up for what they’d been through.

 They arrived back at their Hotel five minutes before the bus was supposed to show and everyone in their group was standing around waiting so they all saw the Police Car deliver Donald and Olivia and, of course, they all wanted to know how come?

Because they’d left their luggage with the Group Leader that morning, before leaving the hotel, Donald didn’t have to go looking for it and so he had time to describe what had happened to him and for some reason they treated him as if he was a hero for losing his wallet! They all decried the, “He’s French and you are not and this is France,” bit and they all especially liked the punch part that Olivia described. It went on for so long that he was thankful when the bus pulled in and they all left him to bustle about arranging their luggage and then lining up to go on aboard.

   As he’d been explaining the details of the episode a part of his brain had been still marveling about what had happened in the police car. Olivia had touched his hand in a commiserative gesture and he had taken her hand in his and had held on to it and he’d found comfort and then something more. He became aware of her perfume, which was, and always had been, Violets and Lavender, and he found himself breathing deeply through his nostrils to search out more of it. He would have bent his head to her shoulder the better to smell her but having the police driver there inhibited him.

          He moved their hands, which were resting on her thigh, on to her lap and he surreptitiously pressed the back of his hand into her lower belly.

          She was thrilled but it was so unexpected that she didn’t react for a second or two and then she glanced over at him and smiled and when she got a smile back, and saw ‘that’ look in his eyes, she squeezed his hand and she too pressed it towards herself and she eased forward in her seat a little so that there was less belly there for him to press and more of her center.

           Donald was astonished to find that he had to slip his left hand into his trouser pocket to do some northerly re-arranging again and she saw his action and she increased the pressure on his hand. She let herself start to hope.

          When it was their turn to board the bus Donald found that he’d involuntarily paused on the bottom step so that he could watch his wife’s behind as she went up ahead of him and again he marveled.

As they walked up the aisle everyone they passed, already seated, wanted to talk about his escapade and people offered him loans and asked how they could help and it was some time before they could sit down. He had whispered to Olivia to keep going all the way to the back seats, which were empty because they are never popular places to sit for older groups, but when they got there some of their fellow passengers followed them all the way back to ask more questions.

When the bus started and the people had all gone back to their seats, and thus were all looking forwards, he turned to his wife and he bent down and opened her blouse a little at the top and he breathed deeply from between her breasts and the familiar perfume – it permeated her body because it was the base of all of her toiletries – that he had erstwhile scorned as too plebian for words was, he now realized, exactly the right one for her. He undid a button and was able to kiss the top of one breast and that did it for him.

He reverted to being eighteen again.

        There were some blankets under the seat and he pulled one out and he draped it over themselves and then his hands started to flow over her body and he unhooked her bra as expertly as he done when they were on their first dates and she slipped her panties off without waiting for his pleas to do so which was something that she’d never done on any of their dates.

He wouldn’t stop. He couldn’t stop.

When he started in on the low moaning that she remembered so well, and that she also remembered would only get louder, she took a handful of tissues from her bag and she slipped under the blanket and she unzipped him and eased it out and she marveled and gloated for a minute. He had never in his life been harder than he was at that moment and she hadn’t touched his penis in years, nor anyone else’s, so she lingered for a moment, enjoying it. When she tried to caress the darling testicles that she had always been in awe of and that she’d loved to – oh! so gently – pet she found that they were so distinctly separated and so hard-balled and so up-tight against the base of his shaft that she knew that she had better move quickly because if she had been merely pleasuring him in one of their preliminaries on a Sunday morning before getting it on she knew that she would have had to disengage several minutes earlier or it would have been too late to stop everything from coming to a crashing halt and she would thus carelessly deprive them both of enjoying the main event.

          She took immediate action to change his moaning to gasping and then to silence.

          It took her just ten or twelve seconds to accomplish it.

She couldn’t believe the pressure or the pungency or the sheer volume of his emission. It came jetting out and hitting the back of her throat and it kept on coming. She couldn’t possibly contain it all in her mouth and the handful of tissues that she had held in readiness became saturated and was a useless soggy mess before he’d even finished erupting.

         “Oh! The poor dear,” she thought but could not possibly have said, as she emerged to reach for all the rest of her tissues and then she ‘went down’ again with them to clean him up after she’d used some of them for a little silent gagging and spitting.

The other passengers, the ones who were close enough to hear and savvy enough to identify the various sounds that had come at them, put it down to his looking for necessary relief after the excitement that he’d had that afternoon, or, maybe to something that was in the Parisian air. They didn’t look around but they sure did wish that that last loud gasp would turn out to be the final one.

          For a man fellatio is a lot like a Chinese meal in that they are both very welcome but the easing of both kinds of hunger is short lived.

When they were about half way to Calais he was moaning to find relief again and she had to do her submarine bit for him once more but this time it took her much longer and she had to call on her long forgotten techniques to get results.

There were no tissues left but she found a way to manage because there was much less to cope with!

When he’d recovered some, fifteen minutes or so later, he was compelled to start in with touching her again and they whispered to each other about what routines they’d do as soon as they got home and could get naked and have room to spread out.

   By the time that they got into the outskirts of Calais he found that he wanted her as badly as he had earlier but he didn’t want to be blown again, he needed the real thing. He needed full access and full penetration. He wondered how he could possibly wait until they got home.

          He also wondered for a second whether, when they’d finally gotten naked and were on their own bed, he should keep his eyes closed at certain times with certain positions but then he dismissed that thought as he realized, through his hands and his reactions to what they caressed, that his wife’s plump breasts and ample belly and large thighs were just what he wanted in a woman.

Perfect as is.

          When they got within sight of the ferry they heard a public announcement to the effect that the Channel was very rough and that passengers should expect a bumpy crossing.

          They got off the bus and hurried to get on board hoping to find secluded seats in the main cabin. Olivia was already rather green both because of hearing the announcement and because the ferry was rising and falling perceptively even though it was still tied up to the loading dock in the harbor.

Donald was still so horny that he couldn’t get his mind off having proper sex with her and his hands showed every sign of wanting to wander again and so – secluded seats or not “someone might come along” – she put her bag between them to keep him away for a while.

She was feeling worse and worse and she knew what was to come so she wanted to go somewhere where she could be sick in private for the length of the crossing and it was when she pleaded with him to find her somewhere to do that that a good idea came to him, and immediately after that another one came, and the two added up to sheer brilliance. According to his lights, that is.

The first idea was to go down below to the vehicle parking deck and get into their bus where they could lie down on the back seat and do whatever they wanted. The second one was acknowledgement that it might be possible that a long cherished fantasy of his could shortly be acted out in real life.

          Just then they felt the ferry get underway and Olivia was already getting signals that she was about to become violently sick so he pulled at her arm and told her that he knew a place where she would be in private and that helped her to subdue the nasty feeling somewhat and she readily, and gratefully, went with him.

          He picked up a bucket from a pile that had been stacked for the passengers use and he took her down the two gangways that led to the parking deck.

          As they approached the bus he worried that maybe the driver had locked it but when he tried the door it opened and he saw that the driver was inside, also looking decidedly green.

It turned out that there had been so many break-ins, in transit, which resulted in many of the passenger’s personal items being stolen or damaged, that the Bus Company had instructed their drivers to stay in their vehicles for the entire crossing.

Donald told him that he and his wife were going to make the crossing in the bus and so the driver could go and find some fresh air if he wanted to and the driver thanked him profusely and ran off to do just that, taking his own bucket with him.

The ferry cleared the harbor and then it really started to roll and pitch and he’d barely lifted Olivia into the bus, and had lowered her into the front seat and had positioned the bucket, before she threw up in Technicolor and in astonishing quantity. Donald had to keep moving the bucket quickly to coordinate its placement with the ship’s motion.

When she was producing nothing but a little bile now and then, but was still dry-heaving at fixed intervals, he helped her up and he half carried her to the back of the bus where he laid her down on the back seat. He took the bucket outside and he emptied it into the bilges and washed it out under a sea water faucet and then he carried it back in and returned to his wife. He positioned her so that her head was to one side and above the newly positioned bucket.

She was his wife and she loved him and she would willingly do anything for him and it wasn’t something overly rough or crude that he wanted to do to her but he knew that it was self-indulgent and opportunistic and smacked of being unfair so he decided that he wouldn’t proceed with his second idea, which was to act out his fantasy, until he got her permission to go ahead.

          He knelt down and although she was past caring what happened to her he explained that he was going to make love with her “doggy fashion” and that maybe, maybe, their having sex might, might alleviate her sickness somewhat.

          She only groaned in answer but it was a slightly up-beat groan so he took it as a “yes.”

          He arranged her body on the bench seat, athwart ship as it were, and he slipped off her panties and then he lifted her hips until her knees were under them and he then leaned her weight to one side so that the back of the seat held her in position. He indulged in a little judicious kissing and licking to get really hard again and then he knelt behind her and he dropped his pants and he entered her and he held her hips in place and he waited to see if what his ex-ship mate had told him, sixteen years before, was true.

They had met up in the war. It was in 1940 and it was on the first Royal Navy ship that either of them had ever served on. The crew had been given a two-year commission on a single screw frigate that had a reciprocating engine and that had been converted to burning oil, instead of coal, and that was older than either of them by at least ten years.

           It was assigned to convoy duty between all of the Home Ports and Gibraltar which meant that it spent a good deal of the time plowing through the Bay of Biscay, either going North or South through it but never around it, and, consequently, every crew member was quickly and permanently cured of sea-sickness for life.

           Donald was a Telegraphist and Michael (Mick) Wright was an Able Seaman and ordinarily the two would hardly have ever met but on a small ship like theirs all of the different divisions’ messes shared the same space in the forecastle.

As darts partners they were nearly unbeatable and they started going ashore together as ‘oppos’ which is what such friends were called.

One night they were in a nasty, dirty bar in Devonport and they’d come ashore with only enough money between them to buy five pints of scrumpy each. “Scrumpy” is rough cider and it is half the price of beer and is more potent than beer but it is not exactly a pleasant drink.

They were nursing their last pints, it was an hour from closing time, and Mick said, after a long silence,   “Will I tell you about the biggest perk of being a Ferryman, now?”

Donald said sure.

“Well don’t think that I’m proud of doing it, will you now, but there’s nothing else in the world that can touch it for giving pleasure and most ferrymen want to try it and after doing it once then they’re hooked, be Jesus! Fairly. There’s no real harm that comes from it but it sounds to be a bit crude and some say it’s even close to rape itself but I wouldn’t want to go that far myself.”

          Mick explained that he had been a crewman on his father’s big cod-fishing boat and had never liked having to work as hard as was required on one of those so when he heard of a job going as a deck hand on one of the ferries that picked up people from the trains from London, in Wales, and took them across the Irish Sea to catch trains on to Dublin, and vice versa, he applied for it and he got it.

          Inside a week he knew as much about Ferry boating as any man working for his company. This was not because he was such a good seaman, which he was, but because there was very little to it. You let the cars drive on and then you let the people walk on and then you let go and you steamed across and three hours later you’d tie up and you let the people get off and then you let the cars drive off. Then you did it again. Two trips was a day’s work. A long days work sure, but there was a lot of competition for the job. You were required to do a little cleaning and painting on the way but nothing too strenuous.

  He soon found girl friends at both terminals.

           The ferries operated in all weathers in those days because if you didn’t make the crossing you didn’t get paid and the wages were only barely at subsistence level so you had little choice. The Irish Sea can get just as rough as the Bay of Biscay but not once, not even with a full gale blowing, did the Captain choose to stay in the harbor and wait it out in all of the time that Mick worked on them.

          “Get to the ‘perk’ for crisake,” said Donald, “do you think that maybe I don’t know what a fucking ferry is?”

          “So I will too,” said Mick.

           He said that when the crew knew that a particular crossing, after a series of calm ones was going to be good and rough, as soon as they’d cleared the harbor and had properly stowed away all of the cables and were secured for sea, they would rig up a thick wooden screen affair back aft on the upper deck behind a ‘Crew Only’ sign and in a spot that no one could look down on.

           The screen was essential to keep the wind and weather away and it had a footing, on a hinge, that had what you could call ‘stirrups’ on it. There was also a harness that was hung from two eye-bolts in the overhead.

          After a half hour or so at sea one man, who had no pressing duties at that moment and whose turn it was to initiate the proceedings, would put on a ‘fore and aft’ hat and a watch coat with a white belt and he’d carry a large flashlight and a clip board with a form on it that said “Sea-Worthiness Check-Off List” in large letters. None of these items were ever used normally except on the annual inspection by the Port Authority.

          He’d go through the main lounge as if making an inspection but what he was looking for was a woman who was between thirty and fifty, give or take, and who was travelling alone.

           It didn’t matter if she was pretty or not, or even if she was downright ugly, but it was important that she

       wasn’t too heavy because she would have to be half carried aft along the upper deck and, later, all the way back to the main lounge.

          Most important was that she had to be thoroughly and completely seasick.

          Anyone who has been really seasick knows that after a half hour of being totally miserable and emptied of anything more to throw up, except liquids that should never see the light of day, and still having to endure having your body constantly tossed around, something inside your brain gives up and stops acknowledging outside stimuli, apart from the ships motion that is. While you don’t want to kill yourself, exactly, you’d be quite pleased if someone did it for you.

When he’d found the most likely prospect he’d try to talk to her and he’d want to hear only grunts and moans and no sense at all coming out of her mouth.

If anyone else was near enough to overhear, and not totally wiped out with sea-sickness themselves, he’d say something about her needing the Sick Bay and he’d stow her luggage in a locker and then he’d help her to her feet and take her out of the cabin.

          He’d take off his ‘uniform’ and put it in another locker, along with the other paraphernalia, and he’d take the woman up and back aft to the shelter that they’d rigged.

         He’d put her feet in the ‘stirrups’ and he’d arrange her arms along the ships rail so that she could both hold on to it and throw up into the sea, though it was unlikely that she’d have anything left in her stomach to throw up by then, and then he’d put the harness around her shoulders to hold her up and also to stop her from falling or jumping overboard.

          He would then feel her up to be quite sure that she was too far-gone in misery to react to what was going to happen to her.

          He’d then lift up her coat and her dress and her underslip and he would keep them up and out of the way with clips that had been fastened on to the harness for that purpose.

          He’d then take out his knife and would cut, sideways, through the crotch of her panties or knickers. They did that because when she got home and got undressed she’d be able to rationalize away the cut but would be hard pressed to find an explanation if she found that she was no longer wearing any.

           By then, at last, he was ready to get to the point of all their efforts. Most of the crew were married and\or had girl friends so they weren’t doing this merely for sex – they all got plenty of regular sex – it was the quality and the uniqueness of what was about to happen that made them go to such elaborate lengths.

          The man would feel her up again only there was nothing scientific about it this time in that he only wanted to get as hard as possible. He would then slip on a condom and he’d get into position behind her and he’d enter her and then grab her hips firmly to minimize ‘natural’ friction – so as to prolong everything – and then he’d keep still and wait and he’d pray that every seventh wave would be a really big one.

 Her paroxysms and her churning stomach and her every cough and groan and moan and attempt to spit to clear the nasty tastes from her mouth, and especially her dry retching which was spasmodic but got to be very strong whenever the ship rolled hard, all sent muscular contraction signals to her core and his penis, because it was rove up deeply into that core, would be squeezed and pulled at and rippled at, fairly pummeled in fact, and it was all indescribably pleasurable. That is, for the guy, of course.

When he could no longer force himself to keep still and accept the pleasure any longer he’d move in and out of her a few times which was all that was needed and the release was always out of this world too. As if he hadn’t had any sex for months.

          He’d lower her clothes, to keep her warm and dry and then he’d go and find one of his shipmates and relieve him of whatever duty he had and a look and a nod of the head aft was all that it took.

         One by one all who wanted to do it took his turn. Each one would pop down into their mess to pick up a

       condom from the box of a gross of them that was kept there and then would go aft.

He’d clip up the woman’s clothes and would feel her up to get hard and for the thrill of being able to touch a strange woman’s private parts and also to be sure that she was still way too far-gone to protest.

         He would then fit on his condom and would get into her and would hold her hips close and would keep still and wait for her body and the sea to do their work.

         They all wore condoms because the feeling they got was so intense that they needed to tone it down and thus make everything last longer. Also, so as not to disgust the guys who came after them and also for protection and, not least, because too many women giving birth nine months after taking the ferry might alert someone and put a stop to their best perk.

The last man to use her would rearrange her clothing and take her out of the harness and free up her feet and then take her back to the main lounge and give her a fresh bucket to hug and then return her luggage to her and he would then take down and store away the wooden screen and the rest of it so that it would be available on the next rough crossing or by the crew on the return journey if it wasn’t them.

There’s a limit to most things, even trips to paradise.

         Donald thought that the whole thing was totally despicable and was more than “close to rape itself” and he doubted very much the truth of the whole ‘condom’ part, he thought that that had been added to ease the teller’s conscience, but he didn’t say any of that to Mick because, apart from that story, he was a decent enough ‘oppo’ and it might have led to the end of their friendship and they’d had a lot of good times together and their present commission had another year to go. Also, there was a war on, wasn’t there? Why cause another one?

          He was, however, very aware that the story had aroused him and he knew that he’d never forget what the Ferrymen’s favorite perk was.

          He said, “Pity we can’t take some women on board of us. There’re nothing but rough crossings for us. But there again, how many women would there have to be? One of them could hardly stand still for ninety men every night and anyway there’d be hell to pay because none of the horny bastards would want to wait for his turn!”

         They had both long emptied their glasses and they had no more money so they reluctantly got up and went back to their ship.

           On the ferry, Donald was in seventh heaven. Mick had got it exactly right. It was indescribably marvelous and after experiencing it for less than one hour he felt that he’d caught up with all of the sex that he’d gone without over the last two long years.

          Because he’d nearly used up all of his reserves on the bus ride earlier he was able to take his time in the back seat and indulge himself and do strategic withdrawals when needed to avoid ending it. In his resting periods he was able to get re-acquainted with his wife’s, long neglected and now once again beloved, nether regions.

         He would have liked it to go on for hours more but, all too soon, he felt the ferry change its heading and then he heard a change in pitch of its engines, which told him that they were entering harbor and that he had to end his visit to Nirvana and start pounding away to get to the climax. When it came it was worthy of the word.

          He was also pleased with himself for having thoroughly and completely re-confirmed the theory that having sex does not relieve seasickness because Olivia had dry retched all the way across even though the sex, in which she’d played an essential if not a fully participating part, had been well nigh continuous.

          He sat her up, after putting her panties back on, then he wiped her face with his handkerchief and then he told her that soon she’d be fine again because they were already inside the harbor and that, in ten minutes or so, their bus would drive off the ferry onto DRY LAND – which are the two most-loved-to-be-heard words of the seasick – and then he took away the smelly bucket and he lost it somewhere and then he went on deck to look at Dover’s cliffs and the rolling green hills of England, now more beloved than ever.

          She gave birth to their first baby nine months after their Tour and she said that she hoped that it hadn’t been conceived on that horrible crossing – “While I was wanting to die and while you were poking around back there for the longest time” – but, rather, that it had been done in their bed the next day.

The ‘next day’ had, fortuitously, been a Sunday and she still remembered how tender and sweet he’d been and how much he’d liked re-discovering her whole body and how the pleasuring had gone on and on and that even their honeymoon, of fond memory, hadn’t been able to hold a candle to it.

          As for Donald, he loves his wife more every day, especially on Sundays, and he loves his children and he is both a good husband and father and he has only one quirk to speak of.

          He insists that they spend their vacation touring Spain every year and that they reserve a cabin on the ferry that leaves Plymouth. That one goes straight across the Bay of Biscay to Santander unlike the one from Portsmouth, which hugs the coast all the way down and skirts the always turbulent Bay. He refuses to listen whenever anyone tells him that the Portsmouth ferry is much easier to get to from London.

    Olivia put on fifty more pounds in her childbearing period and they ended up with two girls and one boy.

    He often tells her that her extra weight doesn’t bother him a bit. “Just more of you to love, little darling,” he’d say.

He’s decided that he will visit Paris again – he calls it ‘The City of Enlightenment’ rather than ‘The City Of Light’ – only if he finds himself beginning to lose interest in his wife’s body on Sunday mornings – and thus in need of a be-thankful-for-what-you’ve-got boost – although his memory of some dirt encrusted thighs and a despicably filthy crotch is still vivid enough in his mind to be recalled easily and that invariably does the job adequately.