Revolution and wars are always a pain in the ass for those who get it in the ass, and those are mostly, save maybe for few aristocratic heads, the poor and damned souls of this planet. Then revolutions are gone and assholes have taken the job and benefits of the other assholes before and the poor and damned souls are fucked again. So they pray but there’s no help coming from there either. So that’s how it went in southeastern Asia, as in anywhere, skulls by millions. Old Mr. Me knew.
But May Linh, in all her nudity, appeared to me to be neither poor nor damned. But what do I know? Anyway, she had arrived this morning, recommended by Mrs. Wan, the director of a head hunter bureau, who was looking on my account for candidates willing to work for me, that job being only to be naked all day around me.
In the apart-hotel I had rented, May Linh and I were now eating together for the first time. We were inside and not on the terrace because a tropical storm had broken out and it was pissing rain. May Linh was facing me from across the table and, from where I was, I could only see the top of her naked body but I’d study it with a passion, her lovely face, her hair that would hang around her every time she bent to grab food that was a little bit away from her, and, at all time, I could see her breast here and there and it was incredible and I was trying to get it all, afraid I would wake up and find myself elsewhere, like back in Chicago, Paris or Shanghai, or back to the life I had just before aliens were somehow kind to me and I could flee from it all.
In the obscurity created by the storm now going unchained, the atmosphere inside was hot and damp. I thought about turning the lights on but I liked the shadows the lighting was drawing on May Linh’s body. And I figured that, in the dark, she couldn’t stare into my eyes so much.
“I think I saw candles in the kitchen,” she said. She knew by now that my gaze would follow her from the table to the kitchen the moment she got up. She had a great body for her age, which I didn’t know although I guessed she was in her late forties, maybe early fifties. I liked her ass very much. But I was looking elsewhere when she came back because I was not ready yet to answer HER gaze. Indeed, whenever I was looking at her, which by now was all the time, and whenever she was facing me, like now for example as we were eating, she always looked straight into my eyes. She was staring into my eyes! As if probing my mind. Did she know what I was thinking? Wasn’t I the one supposed to stare? Was she crazy?
She tried to light a candle but the wind blew it off right away. She tried again and then gave up. It was either that or closing the bay window leading out to the terrace, and I like windows to be open when it’s hot, so some air can circulate; better than air conditioned I thought, the last thing I wanted was for May Linh to be or feel cold.
“I guess we’ll have to meet in the dark,” I said. “Maybe, like blind people, we’ll have to use our hands.” I was trying to be funny again. In the darkness, I saw her uneven teeth flashing a white smile. At least I thought it was a smile.
I realized then that, since she had arrived this morning, we hadn’t touched each other, not even inadvertently. We didn’t even shake hands at first because she came so early and I was still drunk and so pissed off. I wasn’t expecting her and now this.
Then I remembered: she told me having married an up and coming apparatchik with the prospect of a good career. If this May Linh was now spending this day, today, interviewing for a job all in the nude with old Mr. Me, it could only mean that the good old Party life she knew must have come to a stop, somewhere. No more receptions with the boys, no more traveling abroad and such, no more use of her good command of English. What gave?
“So what happened to the old boy?” I asked her.
She straighten up and there were her breasts in all their glory. She took a big breather, and started to talk again.
“We had moved to the capital in a rather nice apartment, in fact not very far from here. That’s why I was here early this morning. Had you not been here, I would have gone to see the old neighborhood. Things have changed so much. Streets I knew have disappeared, there are buildings and cars where there were orchards where I used to pick apples and pears. So, at the end, I’m glad you were here this morning because I don’t have to go back there.”
“I was told this is a nice neighborhood,” I said. That was my way to tell her I was listening and not only ogling her like a maniac.
“It is. It was. Back then, I was invited everywhere with my husband, at least at the beginning. ‘You don’t have to work’ he kept telling me. Really, I never had a chance to work. I was told I was good looking and my up and coming Party apparatchik husband was, at the time, quite happy to show me around and I was happy too, feeling proud. Wasn’t all this for the good of the people?”
She paused. Yep, I thought, we both know about revolutions going sour.
“Thing is, as time went by, I still wasn’t pregnant. There was a time he felt it his duty to ‘fill me up’ with his sperm and he would ‘fill’ me up every day like he was changing socks. That was OK, I understood. His mother, my mother-in-law, was a witch of her own kind. There had to be a kid. After a few years, they would even have accepted a baby girl. But nothing was coming and, believe me, I’ve let him have me every which way to make him happy. I knew one of us was sterile and I was afraid it was me – my parents had only one child, hardly – and he was afraid it could be him and he would lose face in front of all his Party comrades and it wouldn’t be good for his career. So he wouldn’t go to the doctor, his witch mother adding pressure, and I couldn’t go either because by then I couldn’t go anywhere alone. I wasn’t going places with him anymore, no more parties, I couldn’t go anywhere at all. He became more and more violent at home, beatings a frequent occurrence, especially when he’d come home late and drunk for example, or when the witch was there. At the end, he didn’t even need to be drunk, he’d just beat me up, calling me all kinds of names, telling me I was just an ugly whore, that my whole body was a piece of ugly shit, stuff like that.
I never complained and, for a long time, I believed it was my own fault somehow. But he was abject and I started to loath him although he was by now becoming a powerful and influential man. Then he had a child with his mistress, with one of his mistresses I should say; it was a boy. From one day to the next, he repudiated me, quasi kicking me out of the house – my last vision of him, he was so happy to see me go and humiliated.
For me it was too late. I don’t know how old the kid was but the fact is that I was discarded shortly after my father died, as if this husband of mine couldn’t have pulled off my repudiation with my dad alive. Anyway, there was no place for me to go so I went back home to my mother, to that little house with a little yard my father had managed to preserve from the Party. Now things have changed and I’m glad I had done all the paper work to secure our property. So I went back and stayed with my mother.
Years went by. To make myself useful, I taught English to kids in my little town. Then, my mother died also, a few years back, and I remained alone. So I wasn’t thinking about anything when, one day, Mrs. Wan called. Mrs. Wan’s mother was a cousin of my mother so Mrs. Wan knew of me. I don’t know what she was thinking but she called me and told me about your job offer. I thought about it for a long time. At the end, I figured that I could at least speak in English with someone. So I called her back and I told her I would meet with you.”
“And she told you Friday, 4 pm,” I said.
“Yes,” May Linh said. “She told me Friday 4 pm.”
“And you came at 10 am,” I said.
“And I came at 10 am,” she said.
And we both smiled shyly.
“Yes, I came at 10,” she said, “but only because I knew that, at 4 pm, it would be raining like hell in this town and I had better be early if I didn’t want to get wet.” The rain outside seemed indeed to be of biblical proportions. I looked at my watch. It was 4 pm by now and you couldn’t hear anymore, at last, the honks and tonks of busy people going somewhere. May Linh got up to clear the table and she was nude and beautiful.
“You know, I’ve already seen you wet,” I said as she was going to the kitchen, getting a good look at her backside. “And I’m glad you came,” I said.
I got up myself, took some stuff off the table and brought it to the kitchen where I was going to get more drinks. At one point we almost bumped into each other. I came back with a glass of wine for her, with ice cubes in it, which I set on the table. I had a cold beer. I walked to the edge of the bay window leading out onto the terrace. The rain was so strong and thick that it felt like hiding behind a waterfall, like in Tarzan’s movies. And I thought about my house by the ocean and I was not worried and I trusted this house of mine would withstand this storm with ease and elegance.
“I’m glad I came too, so far,” I heard May Linh say. “But, now it’s for you to tell me more about this job.”
She was right. It was my turn. I had to give something. It was somewhat embarrassing just to think of it. So I said: “There are indeed things that you need to know, and more.”