Is it time for a excerpt? Why yes, thank you for asking, it is time for an excerpt.
This is a mid-story snippet from a piece I wrote for Ruthie’s Club, The Wisdom of Dogs. One of my editors wanted me to send this to The New Yorker, but I figured they would have a problem with the sex.
The Wisdom of Dogs is a short story about an American lawyer named Stephen who falls in love with a French girl who is the mistress of an important French industrialist. She wants him, but he can’t have her. Yet.
I occupied myself the rest of the day finishing up work from the week before. I didn’t often work on Saturdays, but I needed something to get my mind off Bridget and Sophie. I took Roland for another walk around five, and had steak frites for dinner at the café down the street.
I hadn’t heard from Bridget, so I wondered if anything was really going to happen that night. I straightened up the apartment anyway, just in case. Roland watched me from the bed, head down on his paws, seeming to sense that something was up.
At about 9:15, the buzzer rang. Sophie. I let her into the building. A minute later she arrived at my door.
She wore only jeans, a tank top, and a leather jacket.
“Bridget explained everything. I thought you didn’t like me. I didn’t realize you were just being American.”
“I’m sorry. Do you want a drink?”
“Just vodka. If you have it. On the rocks.”
I poured her a glass of Absolut while she looked around my apartment.
“You’re quite the bookworm. Just like Bridget.”
“A lot of this is for work.”
“What do you know about Bridget’s lover?”
“You want me to tell you secrets, is that it? Well, there isn’t much to tell. He’s about fifty or so, a big belly, no hair. I don’t know how she does it. But he has lots of money.”
“Have you met him?”
“Only once or twice. He’s not a very nice person. Rather rude.”
She took a sip of vodka and smiled.
“Are you jealous? Are you dreaming of stealing her away from him?”
“I don’t know.”
“It won’t happen. I can tell you that much. It’s pointless to try.”
She laughed again.
“Let’s go into the bedroom.”
I led her to the back, and she reached down to scratch the dog on his head.
His tail thumped a couple of times, but he didn’t move.
She put her hands on my waist and lifted up on her toes to kiss me briefly.
“Where are you going?”
She didn’t answer me. Instead she walked out into the apartment and began methodically turning off all the lights and closing the blinds. She did the same in the bedroom, and we were bathed in pitch darkness.
“What are you doing?”
“Becoming Bridget for you.”
I heard her jacket drop to the floor, and in the darkness, I could just see the outline of her form, pulling off her top. She approached me, taking my hands and putting them on her naked breasts.
“Call me Bridget.”
I caressed her breasts, feeling the nipples lengthening and stiffening between my fingers, until she pressed herself against me, rising up on her toes, her mouth seeking mine. She giggled as I kissed her and bit playfully at my tongue. I felt her hands at my waist, unhooking my belt and letting my slacks fall to the floor. Fingers probed into the fly of my boxer shorts, and soon she was gently stroking my penis.
I tried not to think of Bridget, of what she was doing now, what she might be thinking we were doing. I couldn’t make myself pretend it was her, however much these two women seemed to want me to. I struggled with myself for a few moments before deciding that I simply had to accept this as a gift she was giving me.
I reached for Sophie’s jeans, undoing the waist and reaching under the fabric. She proved to be wearing a narrow satin thong, and as I cupped her firm little buttocks in my hands, she wriggled out of her jeans and kicked them off. After a few more moments, we were both nude.
She stopped kissing me and nibbled her way down my chest. Her mouth found my left nipple, and her hand returned to my erection. She stroked me softly as her tongue flicked back and forth. I reached for her breasts, catching the nipples between thumb and forefinger, pulling on them gently. She giggled again, squirming in my grip, then she was dropping to the floor in front of me.
Still unable to see her in the darkness, I felt her hands enveloping my privates, felt her lips kissing my erection. Her mouth settled over the head and began moving slowly up and down. I stood as still as I could, feeling her tongue fluttering and massaging. I pushed my fingers into her hair, resting my hands on her head as it bobbed over me.
She withdrew after a minute or two of this and stood up.
“Did you like that?”
She pressed her little body against me again, biting at my chest.
“Bridget gave me a list of things to do, things she thought you might like.”
“Things she would do were she here?”
We moved carefully to the bed, and I lay down beside her. I explored her body with my hands, with my mouth. I felt the kinky hair in her underarms, so oddly different from what I was used to. I knelt over her and suckled her breasts until she pushed me further down. Her scent was thick and musky, her pubic hair closely trimmed. When I slipped a tongue inside her, she lifted her legs and rested them on my shoulders. I sucked her into my mouth, feeling the prickliness of her trimmed labia against my lips. She began pumping her hips at my face in time with my movements, and I felt her clawing at the sheets above me. She began to whimper and grunt and murmur little endearments that came too fast to catch. She let out a little squeak as she came, grabbing my head and holding me tight against her until the crisis had passed.
I found a condom in my nightstand and rolled it on. Sophie inspected it briefly, then threw a leg over my waist and straddled me. I took her hips in my hands as I sank into her. She locked her hands on my shoulders and began to rock back and forth.
I caressed her slowly, exploring the little pot belly around her navel, felling the way her breasts grew softer and fuller in this position. I lifted up to suckle her, and she wrapped her arms around my waist, pulling me upright. She rode me like that for several minutes before reaching another climax, shuddering silently in my arms. We fell back on the bed, but instead of simply laying on her back, she wriggled from my grip and lay on her stomach, spreading her legs and offering her little butt for my use. I entered her from behind, reaching under her to fondle her little breasts and wet sex as I thrust in and out. She braced herself against the headboard, pushing back at me roughly and grinding her hips against my hand.
I drove into her more rapidly, making her squeak and whimper under me. I felt her squeezing me tightly as I closed in on my release, felt her buttocks pressing against my abdomen with each thrust. She came just as I did, thrashing around like a fish, taking every bit of me into her. I ground myself against her until it felt like I had filled her with everything I had.
I rolled off her back as soon as I caught my breath. She rolled over, flopping against the pillows. Then she was giggling again.
“This reminds me of an old saying,” she said.
“What is that?”
“All cats are gray in the dark.”
The Wisdom of Dogs will be included in Eye of the Beholder: Stories, the first short-story collection I plan to release.
What you see here is the first completed cover for one of my reissued books, The Teaser. I published this novella near the end of my Usenet days, just before starting Ruthie’s Club. It remains one of my favorites, and was generally well-received. Readers praised the depth of plot, and I got a fair amount of fan mail from people who couldn’t stop thinking about the two main characters and how their difficult relationship evolved. This new version has been updated to clear some anachronisms and other errors.
If you missed it the first time, The Teaser is the story of Tom Dempsey and Kate Armitage, who meet as undergraduates at Yale. They soon become fast friends, but anything beyond that is impossible. Tom is the grandson of a federal judge, the son of a prominent New York City lawyer, and has a bright future ahead of him, but none of it is enough to impress Kate’s family, which traces their lineage back through 19th century railroad barons to colonial Virginia. Through the ensuing years, as Tom and Kate explore the boundaries of their almost-but-not-quite relationship, Tom must decide whether chasing what he can’t have is worth destroying what he has, and Kate must make a choice between love and money. Kate’s engagement to a wealthy friend of the family finally brings their dilemma to head.
The Teaser will be released with the rest of my works in October.