“OK, what it is I really like is women’s ass. The most beautiful thing in the world, to me, is a female nude body and, among her, the ass in general, the anus in particular, is to me the most exciting and desired part.” I paused and stole a glance at May Linh, on my left, sitting in her armchair inside this apart-hotel I had rented for a week. She was nude, I knew, although I could hardly see anything of her. She made no motion.
I was thinking that if May Linh had wanted to leave, she’d be gone already and that, in any case, she could leave at any time. So I resolved to continue. “I don’t know why I’m this way,” I said, “but, at the end, of all things, what I like best is women’s ass. That’s why, given a chance, for whatever time is left for old Mr. Me, I’d like to spend it surrounded by three naked women, Asian women, free women working in all due contract, which would entail that they wouldn’t mind if an old fool like me would fondle their butthole every now and then.”
May Linh still didn’t flinch and silence ensued. She appeared to be thinking when, all of sudden, she got up. Again I saw all of her, nude, standing up next to me, still seated. I thought she was about to leave but she took her glass and mine off the table and went to the kitchen. It wasn’t raining so hard anymore, finally, and the terrace and the city behind it were again illuminated. I heard May Linh go to the bathroom and I didn’t hear her close the door. ‘Maybe she likes my idea of a house with no doors after all’ I thought. She came back, with her wine – “it’s the last of the wine,” she said – and a cold beer for me. She sat.
After a little while, she asked: “why don’t you look for guys if the ass is what you’re looking for?” “It seems to me,” she said, “that it would be a lot easier for you to find it and you could have a lot more than three.”
“But I have no inclination for guys,” I answered. “Never had. Yes I like the ass, but the ass of a woman, not that of a guy. If that’s what I really wanted, I imagine Mrs. Wan was ready for anything and everything and I would be now speaking with a guy.” The moment I said it, I regretted mentioning Mrs. Wan.
May Linh was silent again for a moment. “So you mean that, if I work for you, not only do I have to be naked all day five days a week and sleep with you in the same bed and cook and clean and there’s no door to the toilets and you also want to put your finger up my anus?” May Linh said. I heard a bit of concealed anger in her voice. “Yes, I guess that’s was I’m looking for,” I said, not daring to look at her.
“So what the schedule would be? What would we be doing all day long?” she asked, somewhat defiantly.
“I don’t know,” I said. “I just moved in and the rehab work has just ended so I didn’t have a chance yet to get into a routine. But I know I sleep late in the morning, then I’d like to go swimming…”
“To go swimming???” she interrupted me.
“Yes,” I said. “I like to swim and, as a matter of fact, I had guys, from the construction crew that was rehabbing my house, to set up by my beach a lifebuoy every 25 m at sea, and a platform every 50 m. The last platform is 250 m out. In fact, I haven’t swam in a long time now but the ocean and the beach were a big reason why I bought this house I’ve shown you. I tried the water last week and it was great. Do you swim?”
“No I don’t know how to swim” May Linh said, “but I’d like to learn. I never had a chance to go in the ocean but I think I’m not afraid of the water because, when I was a girl, I used to go bath in a lake on my father’s land and I remember that I liked this very much.”
“Ok then,” I said, “I’d like someone to come swimming with me. I’ll teach you if you want.”
“We’ll see, we’re not there yet,” she said. “And what about after swimming?”
“After swimming, I imagine I’d take a shower, have breakfast. Then I’d read, probably falling asleep again during the hot hours. In the evening, I like to drink beer, eat a little bit, fruits mostly, not even every day, and write or read or just sit on my porch looking out at the ocean, smoking cigarettes. Then I go to bed around 2 or 3 in the morning, sometimes 4, usually a bit drunk. Then I have to get up once or twice at night to go piss all the beer I’ve been drinking. I’m so happy then to find my way back to bed and it feels so good to go back to sleep. And that’s my days as I want to live them. I don’t even watch TV. TV always brings me back to the horrors of this world. But I like to listen to music.”
I stopped talking and we stayed silent for a while.
“But what about my days?” she asked.
“I don’t know,” I said. “The job is for you to be naked around the house but I guess, other than your share of the house’s chores, you can pretty much use your time as you wish.”
“You mean I could leave the house?”
Her question surprised me:
“Bah yes, of course, it’s not a prison and you would not be a prisoner. You could come and go as you please as long as, five days a week, you reside in my home and, while there, you live naked.”
“OK,” she said, “I think I’m starting to understand. Now, what would the salary be for such a job?”
I had been thinking about that. I had learned that someone working in a factory 12 hours a day, six days a week, was making between 200 and 350 coppers a month, from 200 to 250 for a woman, from 300 to 350 for a guy. I also knew the little whores working in the numerous brothels of this capital, especially when ‘catering’ to foreigners and expats, could make between 2.500 and 3.000 coppers a month, if they were young and pretty and willing, but they could only keep at the end just about 500 to 600 coppers a month, tips included, just about what would make a dentist or a doctor’s assistant. I had also learned that a young engineer or architect was making between 800 and 1.200 coppers a month, 800 for women, 1.200 for guys. So I knew 1.500 coppers a month was already a very good salary in this country, even for someone living in the capital. I also knew it costs much much less than that for people living in the countryside.
“So,” I answered, “the salary will be 2.000 coppers a month, all expenses paid, plus another 2.000 coppers a month that would be deposited in a fund opened in your name. You’ll be able to cash in that fund only when you get fired, when you decide to leave or when I die. So, in all, 4.000 coppers a month.”
At the end, it was only $400 a month for me. I guess May Linh knew the change rate; then again, maybe not. In any case, I still felt cheap for a second. But if I would have offered her one million coppers a month, the whole plan wouldn’t be fair anymore and that would defeat the purpose.
“This is very good money in this country,” said May Linh. “And that includes anus fondling and sex I presume.”
“Yes, that includes the fondling and sex I guess,” I answered.
“Very well, then,” she said. “Is there anything else I should know?”
“No, I think I told you everything,” I said.
And it was true, I had spelled it out for her and I was surprised she was still here. By then the rain had totally stopped. So I got up and went to the terrace to smoke a cigarette. I stood by the railing, overlooking the city which seemed to come back to life all at once after the storm. Honks and tonks of busy people all of a sudden seemed so loud.
I turned around and looked at May Linh. She was still seated in her armchair, in the darkness of the apart-hotel where not a single light was lit. She was nude but I couldn’t discern much. She had her legs crossed. She sighted and got up and, again, stood right in front of me, hiding nothing, looking straight into my eyes, before turning round and taking our empty glasses to the kitchen. So I looked at her ass as she walked away. When she came back, with one beer, for me, and nothing for her, she joined me on the terrace.
“I need a couple of days to think about this,” she said. “In the meantime, could you please send me the contract you mentioned, so I could read it? I’ll also need a doctor certificate showing that you don’t have AIDS or any venereal diseases.”
“What?” I said, dumfounded. “But, but… look at me, I haven’t had sex in years now and, for the most part, I’ve always been faithful to my wives. In fact, I wish I had known a lot more women than I did and been more daring and courageous instead of feeling guilty every time I wanted to do something with them. What do you need a certificate for?”
“Look, Mr. You,” she said – and I realized that she had pronounced my name for the first time – “I’ve told you that I’ve known only one man in my life. I don’t know yet if I’ll accept your offer but if I do, I don’t want to finish my life with a sexual disease you’d give me because you have planted your dick in every ass holes you could find in the world. This is not negotiable.”
I could tell she meant it and, thinking of it, I could understand. At least, she was considering my offer. Moreover, she had done her part, letting me gaze at her all day, even bending over when I asked her to this morning.
“OK,” I said, “I’ll tried to get the AIDS free attestation as soon as possible, tomorrow maybe if at all possible.”
“And what about the contract?” she asked then.
“That too, you’ll have it tomorrow evening the latest, if you give me an e-mail address where to send it to.”
“OK then,” she said, and she went inside where she had set up her clothes since this morning. She had been nude all day around me but, as she was leaving, I felt like I had no chance to look at her really, that it was just a glimpse, that it was already over. In a few seconds, she was dressed up. She went into the kitchen and came back with a piece of paper where she had written an e-mail address.
“I have to go,” she said. And she turned around and left, just like that.
I stood in the obscurity for a long while, not quite knowing what to think after such a day. She had arrived at 10 this morning, it was 8 pm by now. One thing I knew for sure, I couldn’t go back tomorrow to my home by the ocean as I had planned. I had to stay in town at least another day to get a fucking medical certificate. God damn, how was I going to deal with this? And the contract, the first line wasn’t even written….
Then I got out of my reverie, went back out on the terrace, grabbed my beer and lit a cigarette. I looked at the city below. Somehow, I felt good. At least, I had managed to get through the whole shebang. I was surprised with myself; maybe for the first time in my entire life was I able to express precisely my own desires. If a May Linh could take it, then others could as well. And, for the first time as well, I felt that I could indeed pull it off. So I drank my beer, and the next, and the next, in honor of the aliens who made this possible.