My name is Natalie Palmer. I don’t know why I’m telling you all of this. I mean that’s why I’m here, but you’re a total stranger and there’s nothing you can do to change anything. Still, I feel like something’s bottled up inside of me and if I don’t let it out I’ll die. *giggle*… I have to tell someone and since that’s how all of this works, you’re the lucky person.
I work… well, I worked at the state mental hospital. The main one, on El Paso Street. I’ve been there for twenty-four years, right out of high school. It’s a nice place to work. My boss, Dr. Freemont is a good person. I mean, she can be a little tough, but that’s what a boss does, right? I really like her. She’s seen me through a failed marriage, a daughter (now twenty-two years old), and now this. She’s been a mother-figure when I wanted it, a rock when I needed it, and a Doctor when all else fails. She always says “good morning” and takes a serious interest in her employees. A few people have come and gone over the years, but not me. I was in it for the long haul.
A few days ago, I had lunch with my daughter and her fiancÃ©, Hunter. They talked non-stop about their impending wedding and I smiled and nodded and was a supportive mother. Jennifer knew how I felt about men. I even warned her when she started dating this husky redneck, but when they got serious I toned it way down. I mean, just because I soured on marriage doesn’t mean that I have to show it to someone as idealistic and sweet as my Jennifer and her big, dumb soon-to-be spouse.
Jennifer is a beautiful young lady, with long, straight red hair (just like mine), and a body that could get a girl into trouble if she wasn’t as level-headed as my daughter. Hunter was a big, husky, blond good ol’ boy, just a little too much like my ex, but what can I say? A lot of girls end up marrying their fathers and we both like ’em big and stupid. I thought Hunter was a good person, so I overlooked a lot of things that I felt weren’t his fault, just my jaded opinions.
I didn’t date at that point. I kept myself up out of habit but I didn’t have a single hot outfit to my name and I couldn’t have found a pair of heels in my closet if my life depended on it. My ex, Richard, had pretty much destroyed whatever faith I’d once had in men, although I had always known that they were creeps. Not a one of them could keep his dick in his pants. Not my dad (as my mother told me), not Richard, not even Phillip, that “nice guy” I dated a couple of years ago and who I found in bed with some stripper one night. That was pretty much the capper, and the end of my dating career. All I needed now was BOB (my Battery-Operated Boyfriend), who pretty much attended to my needs without demanding that I cater to his whims. The only thing BOB needed was fresh batteries.
After that lunch, as I was walking into the hospital building, I stopped and stared at the crowd around the main elevators. It gets busy here about this time, but somebody must have opened up the floodgates. You’d think we had a celebrity caged up here with all the cameras and lights and maybe we did. It wouldn’t be the first time. Fortunately, having worked here long enough, I knew where the gurney elevator was, so I made a quick move to the stairs and took one flight up to where it was easily accessible. Easy and quiet. The gurney-vator hadn’t been upgraded when the main ones were a few years ago, and it moved very slowly, so I was sure I’d be the only one on it.
I waited so long I could have climbed the stairs to the fifth floor on my own. I heard the “ding” and the doors s-l-o-w-l-y slid open. I walked in and pressed the button and they s-l-o-w-l-y slid closed. There were doors on both sides of the gurney elevator, and both sides closed with a laziness that defied description. Still, just before they managed to close completely, a woman in street clothes got on.
Most patients here are pretty safe, and it’s not uncommon to see them wandering the halls of the upper floors, but never this far down, and never fully clothed. She wasn’t wearing a gown, she was wearing this really trashy outfit and I thought she might be a hooker. I knew she had to be a patient from her demeanor. She was about my age, with short, black hair and wild eyes that darted from side-to-side. Her hair was matted to her face, covered in sweat and her heavy make-up smeared. She had an impressive set of breasts, showcased casino oyna in a low-cut dress and threatening to burst out. Alarm bells were going off in my head, but I knew better than to make any sudden moves. I very slowly inched back toward the doors on the other side and the waiting panic button. I nodded politely, a plastic smile on my face.
The woman would have none of it. With surprising speed, she lept forward and knocked me back against the doors behind me. Her ragged breath smelled of booze and cigarettes and I wondered where she had gotten either of them in the hospital.
“They’re after me,” she breathed, her eyes darting around. “They want what I got, what I got, what I got… They want it. Want it. Want it, got to get it, pretty boys.”
“Please,” I said, trying to steady my voice. “I’ll help you, just please calm down.”
She grabbed my hand and dug her long fingernails into it, breaking the skin and drawing some blood. Then she licked the scratches! She giggled maniacally. “I have the fever, got the fever, get the fever, pretty boys. Now you have it too!” The doors slowly opened on the third floor and my would-be captor jumped out, knocking over an orderly and racing down the hall.
The orderly was Jimmy, a kid of about twenty, with a shaved head and a bony frame. I’d seen him around a few times and he was always very polite, but dripping wet he couldn’t have weighed more than 130 pounds. He was an easy target for the madwoman to knock over. I managed to help him up and he started yelling “Hey, she’s here! She’s on Third, East Wing!” Jimmy bolted for the stairs and raced downward, leaving me confused and breathing hard with excitement. I got back onto the elevator and shaking, made my way up to the fifth-floor office.
“You look like shit,” Elloise said as I staggered into Dr. Freemont’s office from the staff entrance. Elloise was about nineteen and blonde in appearance and demeanor. She was a nice enough girl, but she wasn’t going to give Einstein much in the way of mental competition. Or Pee Wee Herman for that matter.
“Gee, thanks,” I muttered, sinking into the closest chair. Elloise got me some water and crouched down to look at me and make sure I was all right.
“There’s some lunatic loose in the building,” I said. I looked at the “quarter jar” on the counter beside my computer. Every time we said “lunatic” or “nutjob” or any other derrogatory term about a mental patient, Dr. Freemont insisted on a quarter. We generally used the money to buy sodas from the vending machine, but the point was well-taken. I’d give her a quarter later.
“Yeah, I heard,” Elloise said. “They told everyone to stay in their offices and lock the doors. The CDC is out there too, according to Mina.”
“Yeah. Center For Disease Control.” Elloise nodded.
“Ellie,” I said, “I know what CDC means.”
“oh yeah, right. Sorry. Hey, what happened to your hand?”
I looked at my left hand. It had stopped bleeding (already?), but the scratches were obvious. I didn’t feel the need to go over my experience with Elloise. “Oh, I, um, scraped it on my way into the building.
“Oh, ok.” Elloise stood up. “Are you sure you’re ok, Natalie?”
I smiled wanely. “Sure, kiddo. I’m fine.”
I guess I looked worse than I felt. Ellie insisted that I go home for the day, so I snuck out about 2 PM and headed for home, where I collapsed on the couch and passed out. I didn’t move an inch all night.
The next morning I awoke with a strange feeling in my head. The backs of my eyeballs ached, so I checked my temperature, and sure enough I had a slight fever. Ninety-nine even. I called in sick and flopped back down on the couch. I must have dozed because I never even heard Jennifer leave for work at 8 AM. I sat up, really feeling the fever then.
I was restless, for some reason. Have you ever felt like you wanted or needed something, but you didn’t know what it was? That’s how I felt at that time. I needed… something. I got up and got dressed and left the house in a bit of a daze. I drove to the mall, deciding I’d window shop whatever it was out of my system. Two hours later I was leaving the mall with two armloads of packages. I drove them home and dumped them out onto the bed I hadn’t slept in the previous night, then started going through them.
The first thing I came across was the canlı casino mauve pencil skirt; a little tighter than I liked to wear them, but for some reason, I just had to have it. I put it on. I found the matching pumps with 5-inch metallic heels and slipped them on. Something was missing, so I took them all off and put on the garter belt and stockings I’d bought at Victoria’s Secret. Then I put the heels back on. I added what must have seemed like a ton of cheap jewelry. I had the good stuff, but I didn’t feel like it was appropriate for this outfit, so I stocked up on big and gaudy. I admired myself in the mirror and cupped my breasts from the bottom and hefted them. They had started to sag a bit a few years ago, gravity and age and all that, but they didn’t seem saggy now. In fact, they seemed to be standing out higher and prouder than they ever had before. They didn’t really fit in the 36-D bra I’d just bought, so I had to borrow one of Jennifer’s 38-D’s. That was odd. My breasts had never even grown when I was pregnant. Why were they bigger now? I shrugged and added the frilly white blouse I had just bought. It was very tight against my suddenly demanding rack, but it would do. I smiled wickedly, thinking of showing off just a bit, and I unbuttoned the blouse down to my navel, Jennifer’s black bra showing through the crack. Perfect!
I looked at myself in the mirror. Still not right. I needed some make-up if I was going to… going to what? I didn’t know. I just knew that I needed to look hotter. Like I was on the prowl. Like a… a… I was going to say “a girl on the prowl” but I wasn’t a kid anymore. An older woman on the prowl. What did they call it now? A cougar? I smiled and licked my lips at the mirror. Yeah. A cougar. Look out, boys! It’s the MILF your mama warned you about. I laughed, feeling delicious and sexy. I went into the bathroom and applied some make-up. When my make-up didn’t look right, I borrowed some of Jennifer’s. I’d taken a course once in stage make-up and I used that knowledge to apply the make-up thick but artfully. It really did look hot.
I found a hair salon that would take me without an appointment and had my hair done in a sophisticated upsweep. I got my nails done long and downright gaudy. The pattern was very fancy and drew attention to my hands. I wanted something else that would draw attention there. I hadn’t smoked in ten years, but I stopped at a convenience store and bought four packs of Virginia Slims 120s. The brand of sophisticated cougars everywhere. My brand. I lit one up as I pulled out of the store parking lot and my lungs said “Thank you.”
I needed to go hunting. But where to go? Where to go?
I ended up at The Matterhorn, a bar and grill just off campus from the state university. It was a mixture of young and old, with an emphasis on the young. I got some appreciative looks as I walked in and sat down in a booth in a dark corner. I was nervous, shaking like a leaf, but it was as if I couldn’t help myself. I needed… something. I just didn’t know what. The clothes, the hair, the nails… It was as if my subconscious mind was formulating a plan, but it hadn’t bothered to inform the rest of me. I looked at my trembling left hand and noticed with some surprise that my scratches were healing very quickly. A little over a day and they were hardly noticeable.
What was I doing here? This wasn’t me. I spent the last two years of Saturdays watching old movies alone and eating popcorn. Even when I was dating, I didn’t just go to a bar and pick up a man. My dates had been of the “friend of a friend” variety. “I know someone who’d be perfect for you.” If I’d only had a dollar for every time I’d heard that.
“What’ll it be?” asked the college-age waitress.
“Scotch and soda,” I managed to say, gulping. “Heavy on the soda.” She nodded and left. I took a cigarette out of my purse and dangled it from my lips, hoping that smoking would calm my nerves. While I was digging for a lighter, one popped in front of my face, already aflame. I accepted the light and looked up.
The owner of the lighter was about my age and gorgeous, with greying temples and perfect teeth. His clothes were expensive and his scent was high-quality cologne. Two days ago he would have made me weak in the knees. Now, it was like my pussy was on strike. Nothing. I needed… something, but this wasn’t it. The waitress brought my drink kaçak casino and Mr. Hottie insisted on paying for it. He was so charming even the college-girl waitress was smiling at him.
“Bonjour,” he said in a heavy French accent. Oh, how that would have made me quiver once. Now… What was I looking for? What did I need?
“Hello,” I managed somewhat dismissively. If this was a pick-up, I was coming across as the most unreceptive target of affection in the history of dating.
“I am Charles Renoir,” he said, undeterred. “May I sit down?”
“It’s a free country,” I replied, taking a sip of my drink. He nodded and sat opposite me in the booth. Wow, how could he be interested in someone so disinterested? I really didn’t care if he was there or not and even I couldn’t figure out why. Miss Puss was as cold and bored as she would have been in the presence of my own mother and her bridge club.
“I am visiting my son Thomas here in your charming country,” he said, nodding toward the other side of the room, “and we saw you from across the bar. We both thought it would be so wonderful if you would join us for dinner.”
Across the room was a young man looking at us. Staring, really. He was a good-looking blond kid in his early twenties. Hello! Miss Puss opened an eye. You’d swear she was winking at Tommy the way she was doing back-flips in my panties.
I smiled at Charles. “I’d be delighted,” I said, my interest suddenly obvious. It was just the source of that interest that wasn’t readily apparent.
Charles, I learned, was a widower. He worked for a huge French conglomerate and was well-enough off to send his only son to one of the best technical colleges here in the States. Thomas was majoring in medical technology and was a junior. All through dinner, Charles kept a hand on my knee. Unbeknowst to Charles, I was doing much the same with Tommy-boy. Fortunately Thomas, like most Frenchmen, knew how to keep his mouth shut in matters of love and sex. Everytime I looked at the junior Mr. Renoir, I got butterflies in my stomach. This was what I was looking for and as the night wore on, my nervousness faded to be replaced with a strange boldness I had never known before. Soon Charles was emboldened too, and as we danced, he cupped my ass possessively. All the time he was doing this, I was staring and winking behind Charles’ back at Thomas, who got the message. He formed an “O” with his left hand and slowly inserted and removed his right index finger from that hole. In and out. I smiled and nodded.
To make a long story short, I spent the night with Charles at his hotel room. My marriage had been excellent training and I faked three orgasms that night. The next day, Charles left for Paris. Ever the gentleman, he paid an extra day for the beautiful hotel room and after another faked orgasm, he was off to his real life abroad. He wasn’t out the door five minutes before I was on the phone to Thomas, whose number I had cribbed from Charles’ phone.
“Guess who this is,” I said when he answered.
Thomas laughed. “I’m guessing this is the beautiful Natalie of whom my father is so enamored.”
“And I’m guessing like father like son,” I said.
“You may be right,” he admitted. “We do have much the same taste in women.”
“Well after you drop Charles off at the airport,” I said as seductively as I could manage, “why don’t you come back here and see what daddy likes?”
“I just may do,” he said.
“Bullshit. You’ll kick daddy out of the car so fast he’ll think he’s already been frisked by security.”
“You’re right,” he confessed. “Here he is. It was nice talking to you, Brenda.” I guessed the ‘Brenda’ was to let me know that Charles was now right there beside him in the car.
“Hurry back, lover,” I said and hung up. I was hungry. I ordered room service (on Charles’ tab, of course) and called in sick to work again. I keep a thermometer in my purse and I checked my temperature. Stuck at 99 degrees even.
To say that my time with Thomas was just hot sex is to insult what happened. It was the hottest, nastiest, illegal-in-47-states kind of sex that I’d ever had in my life. Up until that point, my whole sex-life was a sham. Even the real orgasms seemed like fakes in hindsight. I was flying on Cloud 12, having passed Cloud 9 several hours earlier. When Thomas Renoir left that hotel room that night, I was a quivering mass of cougar-flesh. I wasn’t in love, mind you, but I was definitely in lust, but not just with Thomas. With men. Younger men. Much younger men. I had found what I was looking for and I was determined to find more.