(Clam City News ed. note:  We assume that EOTU Ezine office manager, Carrie Turtlefoot,
chose this story because she, too, makes frequent trips to the post office.)

Safe with Me
Kate Fitzgerald
art by Sandy DeLuca

She's in front of the post office.  Laminated, fading placards surround her.  She leans against a table, passionately explaining the situation in Montserrat to the white-collar man in tie.  He seems enthralled and I briefly wonder if it is her or the subject matter as I mount steps two at a time.  I'm eager to deposit my package and women like her make me shake my head.

A marvel.

Passing her, her voice reaches out, touches the tops of my legs, sliding, slipping down.  Backs of my knees.

Standing in the line, "Insured mail only," I shiver.

Sunglassed, I reemerge, hoping to avoid the woman, her presence, her politics.  Because I am horny, embarrassed, clueless.  What in the world is happening in Montserrat?  Where is Montserrat? Was I adventurous enough to stop and learn? Use the excuse? Face the yummy woman in the crepe skirt, pale arms, cream voice?  The man is still there, arms folded tightly over his blue tie.  Something about his body language, his stillness, tells me that while he seems to be diligently listening, inside his head he's watching her mouth, counting the number of teeth she has, peering under her pink cheeks to spy full, pounding capillaries straining beneath the noonday sun and her urgent monologue.  He is clearly nuts. He has that singular, enviable talent of seeming completely normal.  I'm frightened for the woman's safety.  Not enough to stop.  Again, her safety.

I pass by her, glad, breathing out at my escape. I notice, aside, that there's a partner working with her, floating behind.  A shimmering throwback to Flower Power and love-ins, with long, unmanageable locks resting on a tie-died peasant blouse. Macramé sandals  Fantastic! supporting stubbornly want-to-be-bare feet.

I climb into my car, top down.  Naked.

The partner babe has cruised over silently, stands beside me, and thrusts a basket under my nose.

"Fresh baked bread?" partner babe queries.  I jump with surprise.

"Uh. No." is my reply, wondering suddenly if the entire time that table has been a bake sale, has nothing to do with what I had thought were pictures of devastation and death.  In Brigadoon Montserrat.

"Free sample,"  the partner babe barks, drawing a towel in the basket back to reveal a still warm loaf of dark rye.  Instinctively I reach out.

The partner babe giggles, pulling the basket away.  "You take a hunk from that and I can¹t sell it.  Unless you want it?"  She challenges.

My eyebrows pull together and I look at her.


 I don't like her, want her away from me.

"Okay."  I say and I shake my head.  I start the ignition.

"Not buying?"

The crepe skirt woman stands at the other side of my car, peering at me.  Green eyes.  Vanilla wafts about.  Second-hand haze.  She smiles her question at me and I catch it in my stomach.  Her eyes track as my hand moves protectively up, dragging fingers through my hair and coming to a stop on my steering wheel, separating her. Us.

Her grin opens my gut.

Her dark, generous hair settles itself on my chest.

"Not today, sorry."  I try to sound like the adult that I am.  I hear a quiver in my voice.  She's never heard my voice.  She'll think I always sound as if a dried pea is rattling around in there.

"The money's sent to the relief effort in Montserrat.  It's quite good."

I want to pull her into the passenger seat, drive her to the alley behind the post office and fuck her.

 "I..." Desire rolls through me, making my eyes water. My fingers clench.

 "Go ahead and taste it."  She purses her lips and grins at my discomfort.  Taking a loaf of the bread from some wide, mother-earth skirt pocket, she tears off a chunk and holds it out.  Her hand shakes.  My stomach jumps.  "No, really."  I stare at her hand.

Want to pull it to my face, feel her fingers curl in my hair when she cums.

"Please."  The pleading in her voice rumbles through my foggy lust and up I reach.  I consciously overshoot, my fingertips meandering down her forearm, wrist before arriving at the bread, which by now has bloated into a fairly shabby metaphor for sex.


I eat it.

And drive away.  Sweet crumbs of rye stick to my lip.  Flake off in guilt and passion trembles.  Perhaps the Catholic Church has it right about lust.  A kind of rape, invading someone with covert means.  Might not they struggle if they knew? If she'd heard that in a glance I had wanted to glide my tongue against her, sample her as her body pushed against my mouth... if she had heard that, what possible response could she have had?

Slap me.
Fuck off.
Tell me where.
Tell me when.

I lick the last of the rye from my fingers, yearning for her thick taste, glaring in its absence.  I wish I could read minds, but no, then one could read mine and I feel the heavy weight of the bread low in my throat.

By the time the post office, the table, the woman are out of sight, the line between thought and action seems hardly significant.  The lushness of the bread, the rein-less fantasy convinces me that action has transcended thought.

In lust I flail.  An Un-Novocained patient.

Drilled, drilled, drilled.

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