Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Walter Wallace - Chapter 49

For the fifth time that morning Mark Tanenworth put on his tie. It was a common monthly ritual he held in preparation for the Citadel general executives meeting. As General manager of CitaRail he would always attend these meetings with a slight flutter in his belly offset by a confidence that he would not be called on – the trains ran on schedule, like clockwork. In his 17 year tenure at the head of the rail network he had made very few decisions, faced no crises (until recently) and generally worked off the 20-year plan that the outgoing manager had provided him. There was a faint whistle of impending doom, like the cartoonish way that bombs fell from the sky, in that he had no ongoing plan beyond his predecessor’s vision, but that was still three years away. Plus a suicide bomber had beaten the falling shell to the punch in the form of the Newport Haven Disaster. Plus Mark needed to stop likening that incident to terrorism.

In the three weeks since the incident Mark had been in a state of mild depression, which seemed to compound on his already meagre self esteem. Instead of the tirade of abuse he had expected to receive, Simon had simply abandoned him the way that only a family member can do so. A simple text message received just after midnight on that horrid day read

Go home. Sammy will take care of it.

Simon had not snarled at him when they passed in the hallways of Citadel Towers, nor had he humiliated him, berated his ego as it sagged like a deflated balloon still strung up to the door as a welcome for a party already one month forgotten, wishing to be popped out of its misery, given a resting bed in the garbage, away from the glum expressions that it could once turn to smiles. But maybe the beration was required because Mark sat in his darkened room awaiting a directive, lacking a purpose, still strung to his old job.

Maybe Boss had learned some new subtlety; maybe this was his new form of torture. It was out of character, but it was definitely effective. Mark had spent years unconsciously loathing his job. He had spent subsequent years loathing it secretly. And he had spent this latest year revealing this secret to Stevie -

He wondered where Stevie was. He had tried to call him but never got through. He worried about the wrath of Sammy. Stevie would be lucky if he even knew to hide, but who would warn him?

- Anyway, he had revealed his desire to escape to Stevie and it had almost cost him the job he hated. Now he was denied the duty of the job, but also the freedom to escape. In limbo, perjury; the air seeping out of the loosely tied knot.

He left his apartment, stuffed his tie into his pocket. He scaled down the fire escape, sheepishly peering into Simon’s apartment, hoping not to see his brother for fear of the awkward encounter, then realising he did want to see him when he saw nothing.

The elevator ride was long and lonely. He had one more go at the tie using the mirror but it came out with the knot skinnier than ever and the front end barely reaching the ridge of his protruding belly. He impulsively measured his belly the whole way round, using his hand as the metric. He did not notice the elevator easing to a stop. The doors opened, revealing his personal assessment to the four slim businesspeople who waited to board. He was oblivious to them still as he finished measuring the whole way round.

“Eleven handspans...” he sighed to his reflection, sagging his shoulders before- “Shit!” the well attired businesspersons (three of the men, each sporting precisely measured ties) entered the elevator reluctantly. A wave of heat flushed to his face. He wanted to defend himself – eleven handspans was a lot but he did have relatively small hands.

The elevator kicked on, descending a few more levels. He recognised the lady businessperson as one of the women that frequented his fantasies at night - the thickest necked of the men was usually the brute from which he saved her or outmanoeuvred with charm to win her. She was standing closest to him, slightly in front. She had a tight grey skirt that loosened a little as it reached the top of her knees. The lower half of her legs were smooth, naturally toned from years in heels.

The elevator stopped and two of the men stepped out, leaving his rival and his dame. Mark’s sly eyes climbed back up to where the skirt pulled tight over her ass. The slight arch in her back and the curve from her slim waist to womanly hips accentuated her figure. Her shoulder blades were slightly visible through her high fashion business shirt. Her neck slightly visible as her hair was done up. He preferred it down, lusciously free and wild, but that was always part of the fantasy: he would have her against the wall, bearing her weight effortlessly. Her skirt was still on but he was already inside her. Her top was ripped open, balancing lightly on her bare shoulders. Then she would reach up and take out the hair clip and the dark brown locks would fall in graceful waves, a few strands clinging to the sweat on her forehead. She moaned, he was barely getting started. Gonna need more time; push the stop button.

“Excuse me?” the businesslady said.

Mark came back to reality in a rush. “What’s that?” he said, flustered, catching his breath as he spoke. He wasn’t sure if he had been holding his breath in the fantasy or letting it flow in audible intensity – neither bode well for his normalcy.

“You said...” fantasy lady’s face grew concerned as she deciphered the echo in her memory, “I think you said ‘Push the stop button’” Her concern, at least initially reserved for Mark’s wellbeing and that of the greater elevator community, now transferred to a homeland issue. She edged sideways a little, afraid to turn her head towards the front of the cab again, afraid to keep looking at him. Mark was still catching up to the present as he tried to decipher the past. He must have fallen too deep into the fantasy. Way too deep! He realised he was hard, arched his back to disguise it but the pelvic backswing drew Lady Elevator’s attention downward. “Eww!” she said, in a tribute to her youth, or perhaps to her daughter’s, she shuffled sideways.

“What the fuck?!” Chad exclaimed dutifully (Mark was only guessing his name was Chad at this stage, that was his name in the fantasies – the pleasure was in the details), “Fucking sicko!” he stepped towards Mark, cocking a backswing of his own.

“Brad! No!” his lost love cried, “He is Boss’ brother!”

Mark, cowering at the threat, straightened himself up as his challenger backed off in a huff, beat his chest. The situation couldn’t have been much worse, but Mark salvaged two facts from the wreckage in that instance – the rhyming reason of his anti fantasy’s name; and that Lady Saviour knew who he was. He tried to reconcile the situation but an inopportune smile crept to his lips as he thought of Brad: The Gorilla from Chad, “I’m sorry, I-”

“Please don’t. I just want to try forget this.”

The elevator stopped and the two fantasy fellows alighted. Brad looked over his shoulder as he walked away, pouted his superior chest and jaw line until it almost became an underbite.

As the doors closed Mark thought he almost saw Brad put his arm around Priscilla. The role reversal of his fantasy and reality sparked claims of irony or maybe just desserts, who knew? Mark imagined the two having coffee, clicking, eventually heading home and having wonderful beautiful people sex. The kind of sex that only happens in a movie – two strangers fucking like they had been in love for an age.

He could see Priscilla walk out of the bathroom in Brad’s work shirt at three in the morning. She had a bottle of low carb beer in her hand, but not on her breath. She lent over and kissed him, swung her bare thigh over and slid his cock in her pussy in one swift motion. She sat upwards, maintaining the magnificent arch in her back as she ran both hands through her hair. The shirt parted to reveal her breasts almost up to the nipple. His hands wrapped around her hips, fingers sinking into the soft contours of her ass.

“You like that?” she teased, “Want me to keep going? Or do you want me to stop?”

“No.” Mark growled. He stepped forwards and put his hand out. A faint cry of reason caught his attention for a moment but he brushed it away in the heat. He pushed the stop button. “I’m just getting started.”

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