Today she came home angry. It has been that kind of week, each day a crisis. Sunday …Carrie was depressed, dreading work the next day. Monday …was managed, her nemesis had business elsewhere, but my wife still found herself caught up in what has become a sustained disappointment with her job. Tuesday …was bad. Carrie’s boss called her in for a meeting to discuss a performance problem, an issue concocted by Jennifer, the new Office Manager. Wednesday …my wife took a sick day, went to a movie, sulked. Thursday …more office politics: continued favoritism from the boss directed to Jennifer contributed to another unpleasant evening here at home. Today …a personal slight discovered: ”The Bitch” has been talking behind Carrie’s back with some of her co-workers.
I took off work early this afternoon and was watching a basketball game when I heard the front door slam. I found her in the kitchen pouring herself a diet soft drink with a stricken expression …her face was pained, the soda just looked a bit fizzy. There were no enthusiastic greetings for her devoted husband today. No how was your day, Tom? No “Thank God It’s Friday, my love” … No the weekend’s finally here and I’m gonna screw your brains out my supreme studmeister.” Instead, I listened to the same complaints. Jennifer is younger. Jennifer is prettier. She’s manipulative, two-faced and unprofessional. Jim’s a spineless weasel with a dick for brains. Of course, her self-involvement did not prevent me from being generously sensitive and caring, and along with sincere sympathies, I offered my usual brilliant revealing insights and sage advice. Apparently, she recognized them for the sapless bromides and impracticalities they were. Do I get a few points for trying?
It really isn’t fair. Carrie quit her old job for no other reason than to come work for Jim Stafford, anointed entrepreneur. They once worked for the same corporation before he struck out on his own to strike gold selling educational toys developed for infants — the chatty artifacts draw guilty parents who are led to believe that their budding Einstein may fail miserably in life without today’s wondrous advantages. At his urging, Carrie became the office golden girl acting as executive secretary, office manager and generally the one called upon to put out the daily fires that plague a small-but-booming company. Carrie could do no wrong, and understandable that Jim would think so as she is remarkably adept and extremely efficient. Carrie, for all intents and purposes, ran his office but was not officially the Office Manager. Last month that title was given to Jim’s new golden girl, Jennifer, fresh out of business school. Don’t blame Jimbo. When he was an infant, his parents had no mind-expanding toys to give him.
Now I’ve met most of my wife’s co-workers, including “The Bitch,” and they seem a decent bunch. If you have a spouse who makes a living in the corporate world, then you’ve probably been dragged along to one of those stiff-but-obligatory company parties, or morale-tuning, self-congratulatory ceremonial functions that leave you feeling out of touch. It was last year’s Christmas party at Jim’s new mansion on top of a hill where the spirit of the season had been invited but, apparently, didn’t want to make the climb. Young Jennifer starred while her boss beamed. In confidence, I learned that other employees shared my wife’s fantasy of wringing the little business school graduate’s neck. They had several gripes, one being that she had plenty of confidence but little knowledge of how the real world operates. It was a recognized fact, though, that as long as the boss was being dazzled by her, Jennifer would be having things her way.
After emptying the dead dishwasher and doing the dishes in the sink, I returned to the sanctuary of this my humble office. My back is to the computer. I’m in no mood for work. As I sit staring into space, I hear a door slam and some water running. Maybe a bath will lift her spirits. I figure that I’m just going to give this a little time. Carrie will eventually cool off; anger is not a chronic problem for her. In spite of being somewhat reserved, people know her as warm and generally optimistic about things. Sometimes, though, she needs a little help to see that there are solutions to a problem. She might not be able to determine conditions at work, but she has control over her own fate. There may be difficult decisions to make, but we can manage on one income. I’ll support whatever she wants to do, but the current conditions at home can not be allowed to stand.
The door to the bedroom offers no welcome but I’m not waiting for an invitation. I see my wife has retired to bed. In her pink cotton nightgown, head propped up by two large pillows, open book in her face, Carrie is off in another world while safely wrapped in the cocoon of her mundane existence. I can smell the soap from her bath, and the way her hair is piled prettily on her head with loose damp strands hanging around her ears and down her neck, not only is the tantrum over, she looks angelic. She’s cozy under the covers but not as safe as she might like to believe. I ask what she’s reading. She holds the little paperback out briefly so I may see the title—something by Faye Kellerman.
“Any good?” I ask, hoping for pleasant but willing to settle for civil.
“Decent.” She manages a decent reply but continues reading without looking up.
“I’m taking a shower.” I head towards the bathroom floating on the air of her enthusiasm.
I’m one of those people who likes long showers; once I’m in, it takes time to convince myself that it’s really worth coming out. A conservationist by nature I, nevertheless, feel that the planet’s oceans will not dry up as a result of my fetish for running water. The hot spray pounding my back feels good, and I’m able to let go of some tension. It hasn’t been an easy week for me, either.
Who, me? Not easy, you say? Well, let me welcome you to my mundane world. I picked up a contract with a major edutainment publisher to design an interactive computer game. Not to bore you too badly, but the game is mainly a typing tutor. If you haven’t guessed, my area of expertise is graphic design. I was given the instructions and drills; my job is to take boring pedagogy and create a fun experience with it. I came up with a little character to help guide the student — personified, it looked a bit like a loose-jowled carrot. The publisher decides, at the last minute mind you, that my delightful learning aid looks too phallic. Okay, no problem. Things can be reworked. I suggested the fix, a minor alteration, just removing his little cap but, no, they want a whole new design. I’ve had a week to rebuild and reprogram all the 3-D models that now resemble a suspiciously malevolent garden gnome. Did you think the life of a digital artist is easy?
All in due time, teeth cleaned, hair brushed, I emerge from the bathroom dapper and ready for battle. I take the book my wife is reading out of her hands, close it over the bookmark and place it on the bedside table. Grasping her arm, I pull her out of bed.
“Tom, no! I’m not in the mood for this now,” she protests. Her resistance is futile. I sit on the edge of the bed and maneuver her until she’s seated on my lap. My hand is in her thick brown hair; I pull her head to me and kiss her gently on the mouth…with a little tender persistence, I have her attention.
“You sure, sweetie?” My other hand persuades her legs to part slightly.
“Yes, I’m sure,” she replies softly and with a pout.
As we talk my hand is on her breast. I explore with fingers and find a nipple through soft cloth. A little manipulation makes it grow hard; then I draw her chest to my mouth and nibble on the tiny rigid protrusion only partially protected by the thick material. I hear her breathing. Her belly-button is but a quick pit-stop on the way to where her nightgown folds under, and fingertips trace her cleft, the small petals of her flower discernible through the soft fabric. I kiss her again while my thumb teasingly persuades her where a girl can be easily persuaded. I feel much of her reluctance evaporate as her mood discovers that her body is in charge.
Pulling away from her hungry mouth, her face now in my hands, I look her in the eye. “You made quite a scene in the kitchen.”
“I am royally pissed with that repairman,” she says, having caught her breath.
“As you should be, baby,” I commiserate. “I’m not happy about it, either …we’ll get it taken care of.” I kiss her on the bridge of her nose. “Right now, your concern is with me, and what I’m going to do about your behavior tonight.”
“Tom, let’s not go there…no games now, okay? … This has been a really bad week.” I have her full attention. Her mouth is slightly open; her eyes are wide and alert.
“Yes, it’s been a bad week and yes, no games.” I kiss her again, a wet kiss that prompts her mouth to open wider and invite my tongue. My hand slides down her front and this time finds its way under her nightgown; fingertips stroke where cotton is now damp with expectation. I want to taste behind her ear, her neck…a gentle purr escapes her lips and I’m there to kiss them again; our tongues tease, and Carrie is getting in the mood.
“Stand up and take your nightgown off,” I command. A subtle shift in tone of voice, with one short sentence a line is crossed, like one of those video transitions where the screen flips over, it has become a different scene. Carrie is now a girl without options.
She stands and faces me, arms crossed in defiance. Our eyes lock for several moments. She realizes I’m not giving an inch. With a sigh of resignation, she reaches down to grasp the hem of her gown …I enjoy the sight of her peeling her pink wrapping up and over her head revealing a more pale pink below. Panties, slippers, must also be banished…no use for them where she is going. The look of disdain on her face is priceless, but she does as she is told. Call me crazy, but I’ve always had a fetish for the nude body of a woman. I’m a catalog of kinks. Carrie’s body is the one I’ve found to crave.
Her eyes are downcast, mouth a diffident frown. Her posture is a slouch, shoulders pulled inwards, hands crossed defensively to cover her front. I find it curious that, after the countless times I’ve seen her undressed, she can still act like a shy schoolgirl. Is she merely being coy? I believe everything takes on new meaning when she knows she’s being punished.
“Stand at attention,” I instruct. She hesitates, then squares her shoulders. She is an erect bare soldier, hands at her sides. I rise from the bed and walk around to stand behind her. I gently trace the line of her shoulders, down her upper arms; reaching around to cup her breasts, I test their fleshy weight in my palms. Her neck calls to my mouth. I fill myself with flowery scent, press my torso against her buttocks and lower back, the skin there soft making me hard. Her body is ripe for exploration, a rigorous inspection, with eyes, with hands, with fingers, mouth and tongue, I want to see her melt, hear the quickening of her breath, the low exhalations of arousal, always the same discovery that never gets old.
I take her hand and start to walk her in the direction of the door. “Where are we going?” she asks. She knows she’s on her way to get a spanking.