Who Wears the Pants - Part 2
by Jennifer Loraine
The Corporate Playground
Men know they are sexual exiles. They wander the earth seeking satisfaction, craving and despising, never content. There is nothing in that anguished motion for women to envy.
Camille Paglia (b. 1947), Sexual Personae, ch. 1 (1990).
The first inkling Howard had that something was different was when his retreating hairline reversed course and began noticeably advancing toward his forehead. Initially he thought that he was imagining it, but after a week it became clear that his new hair was no illusion. The dingy yellow-gray strands of premature toxic aging were replaced with a luxuriant, full-bodied mat of rich brown hair. Howard was pleasantly surprised when he woke up with an erection three days in a row. His body odor began to diminish and he felt like a million dollars. Howard's digestion improved to the point where he was able to eat the Porter House steaks, burgundy-soaked mushrooms and twice-baked potatoes with mounds of sour cream and chives that he loved so dearly without the awful flatulence that accompanied his usual fare of hamburger steak and french-fried potatoes. Aside from a mild case of diarrhea and the worst case of dandruff he had ever had, he felt great. He was even more surprised when his incipient pot belly melted away and was replaced by the hard muscles of his twenties. Howard looked around and discovered that the shadow over his grimy existence had dissolved in the light of the new day.
Howard felt like he was king of all he surveyed. Howard Brian Stinson had become a man of inestimable value again. He had been validated to world, his wife and his coworkers. He whipped the black leather-wrapped steering wheel back and forth as he lashed his jet-black Yukon Suburban through traffic every morning in a harrowing fashion. The cool October wind whipped a stream of loose skin flakes from his scalp through the open driver's side window as he careened down the highway and settled like dirty snowflakes on the expensive black leather of the Suburban's upholstery. The drivers who saw the huge hearse-colored vehicle looming in their wake were terrified as it zoomed around them and left them in the dust. They invariably wiped their brows in relief after their close encounter with the ebon van as if Death itself had been tailgating them and then passed them by as if unworthy of its murderous intent.
Driving the enormous Yukon Suburban had always been an ego boost for Howard, but since his recovery he felt like the raw power of the vehicle's diesel engine was an expression of his body's youthful vigor. Howard's confidence soared. His demeanor became so direct and impressive that everyone took notice when he entered the room. Suddenly receptionists were flirting with him instead of consigning him to some dingy corner of their lobby to wait upon an executive's forbearance. It was like a dream come true; he had always wanted to be the center of attention and have women fawning over him. The women discovered that his craggy world-worn appearance was the epitome of masculine pulchritude rather than the look of a broken-down, prematurely-aged engineer.
He was alive! The world smelled sweet again and life tasted good. The Angel of Death had tasted of his flesh and found it wanting. He was invincible. He took to smoking cigarettes again and increased his coffee consumption to six cups a day. Sure he was older and the coffee forced him to make numerous trips to the bathroom, but that was no difficulty. Maturity carried its own debts. He was willing to spend a little more time in the bathroom if he could live again. No problem was insurmountable. Every day was a new adventure as he recaptured the joy of living. He would jump out of bed in the morning with fresh ideas to use in the Great Game. Howard felt like a kid playing his first game of tackle football; all full of verve and energy, spoiling to beat down every obstacle in his path. When he scrubbed his face after his morning shave, his skin took on the rosy glow of perfect health. The dead cells of his epidermis were easily washed away by his morning shower and spun down the drain unto forgotten oblivion. It seemed like every time he took a shower, he looked better.
Howard's dandruff became so severe that Anita would take a portable hand vac and suck up the white layer on his clothing the minute he walked in the front door so he wouldn't trail scurf all over her clean house. They only time his trail of human dust was abated was when he left his umbrella at home and his scalp was subsequently soaked by a sudden winter shower. Unfortunately for the condition of Anita's floors, little rain fell during that cold and overcast November. He tried every home remedy on the market, but nothing seemed to help the horrendous scaling of his scalp. It didn't matter to Howard, he was so glad of his recovery that the world's worst case of dandruff was only a minor problem. Besides, his skin didn't have the diseased look of severe dermatitis. As each small shred of skin separated, it revealed the clean glow of healthy epidermis beneath it as if he was molting a flake at a time. He put a clothes brush in his briefcase and brushed his suit in the parking lot before every appointment as a prophylactic measure. The only downside that Howard could see was the mess he made in the bed every night. Every morning he woke up surrounded by a pale shadow of discarded skin on the bed sheets. Howard's exfoliation didnít matter to him as long as his appearance improved. After all, he wasn't the one who had to do laundry, that was women's work!
When Anita quietly suggested that they make love, he was astonished at the sexual energy he that was in his possession. After their success in the bedroom, Anita coyly asked if he thought that his sterility might have gone into remission. He mulled over the idea as he reclined in bed while Anita fondled the thick thatch of his crotch. "Perhaps she's right," he thought to himself as he laid draped in the splendor of his recent sexual accomplishment, "Maybe I should make an appointment with the doctor and see if things have improved." He couldn't bear to admit to himself that he had ever been less than a man. He decided then and there to find out whether he could father children again. It wasnít right that a man like him should believe that he was any less than a full blooded man. The way he felt, he could have fathered a thousand children.
A few days later, there was a bounce in Howard's step as he bounded up the stairs to the medical office building after parking his Suburban in the lot. The unseasonably cold winds of late November whipped his charcoal grey overcoat around his legs as he hauled open the glass doors of the medical office building against the chilly blow. He knew from the urologist's excited tones over the phone that the doctor had good news for him. Howard was quickly ushered into the urologist's office and was invited to sit by the smiling doctor. The doctor blurted out immediately that Howard's sterility had reversed itself and that his sperm count was that of an exceedingly healthy eighteen-year-old. Howard was ecstatic; his skyrocketing opinion of himself had been vindicated. The doctor commented in an aside after delivering the good news that Howard had the most extreme case of seborrhea he had every seen and recommended a dermatologist. Howard laughed and said he would look into getting treatment for his scalp condition. He was lying. He had not the slightest desire to take any new medications as long as he was feeling so good. Howard thanked the doctor for the referral and paid the receptionist for the visit. He left the office and went directly to the company to give a presentation to the executives that he had been putting off for weeks. The executives were so impressed with his work that they voted to accept his ideas on the spot. They took a straw vote and asked him to develop a plan based upon the outline he had discussed with them. The expressions on the executive's faces left no doubt that his presentation had been an overwhelming success. Even the secretary taking notes gave him an approving smile. After the meeting, one of the executives came up to Howard and invited Howard to lunch with him and his secretary. Howard smiled and accepted gracefully. He had done it. He was accepted. The miasma of doom that had hung over him since the second chemical accident had finally dissipated.
During the power lunch that followed Howard noticed that the secretary was eyeing him with a "come hither" glance. At first Howard was embarrassed by her attentions, but as the meal drew to a close, he felt a tingling in his crotch that he had not felt in a long, long time. His martial relations with Anita had improved with his health, but this was different. He had not felt an unbridled sexual attraction for a female since high school. The three Tangaray martinis he had had at lunch had relaxed him considerably and allowed his subconscious urges to surface unbidden. He positively ached for sexual release. His eyes kept being drawn to the secretary's enormous boobs to the woman's evident delight. She positively glowed at him each time she caught him staring at the objects of his lust. Howard had had a fascination with women's breasts since puberty. He had a collection of salacious magazines featuring full-color, foldout pictures of women's breasts that he kept hidden in a locked tool chest in his garage workshop.
Actually, Howard's interest in that particular portion of the female anatomy had begun long before his sexual feelings had developed. His consciousness had edited out his babyhood memories of his intense longings to be breast fed. His mother had been a rather prim and proper sort who had disdained animalistic breast feedings in favor of the more hygienic and convenient baby bottle. After the minimum necessary feedings at her breast that her obstetrician had recommended for her baby son's health, she had put Howard on the bottle as soon as it was respectable to do so. Howard had rationalized his attraction to women's bosoms as the normal sexual response of a healthy male to the opposite sex. Infantile cravings for women's teats as a source of food and comfort weren't consistent with his view of himself as a virile man. His subconscious had violently suppressed the offending memories in an attempt to maintain emotional stability. Unfortunately for Howard's sexual development, the enormous amount of psychic energy that was being invested in maintaining his sanity had caused his attention to be focused on the exact object that were causing his mental strain. The result was all too predictable. Howard was a tit man. His emotional development had been stunted due to the dearth of free psychic energy available for the normal growth of his personality. As a consequence, Howard had stopped maturing emotionally at an early age. Since the phenomena of arrested development is not unusual in a man, he was considered normal by both his male peers and women at large. His male compatriots interpreted his tantrums and self-centeredness as the mark of an aggressive masculine personality. Women were attracted to his dominate personae and his no-holds-barred approach to life. From a statistical standpoint, Howard's personality was disgustingly normal.
The Vice President of the firm invited him back to his office after lunch to continue their discussions and Howard accepted. He wasn't sure where the discussions would lead, but he felt a responsibility to himself to find out. By the end of the day, he found himself bent over the executive's desk, poring over a tentative layout of a new project. When the vice president's secretary Barbie brushed against his rear as she delivered cups of coffee to the two men, thrills of excitement ran up and down Howard's spine.
Howard stopped by the secretary's desk after the meeting was over to arrange to have copies of the layout sent to his office. After a few minutes of cordial conversation, he found himself offering to take Barbie out for a bite to eat after work. He didn't exactly intend anything untoward by the offer, it simply felt like the appropriate thing to do under the circumstances. The dewy-eyed woman accepted readily and the date was set. He met Barbie at a restaurant not far from the company and they shared such an enjoyable meal together that Howard impulsively made another dinner date with her for the next day. One thing lead to another and within a week Barbie was making dinner for him at her apartment.
Barbie's apartment was exactly as he expected. It was a one room efficiency with a small but adequate kitchen for cooking. The wall-to-wall carpet was the same color of shabby grey-green shag that he had seen in innumerable apartments when he was in college. The furniture had the slightly worn institutional look that indicated it was probably owned by the apartment complex rather than having been purchased by Barbie. The room had an inexpensive but adequate stereo system next to a medium sized TV. She had stored her tiny collection of CDs and DVDs on the bookshelves over the stereo system. The paucity of books on the built-in shelves as well as the small size of her audio and video collection indicated she did not have a very active intellectual life. From Howard's point of view, Barbie was merely a bubble-headed bimbo in search of a good screw.
When Barbie gave him the grand tour and showed him the bedroom, he noticed that the only exception to the furnishing scheme was the queen-sized bed. She invited him to sit on the edge of the black crushed velvet duvet, drawing his attention to low sturdy maple headstead and footboard before she pointed out the framed pen and ink drawings on the walls which she said had been done by a friend. He noticed that the mattress gave easily under his weight but did not appreciably depress the area around his bottom. Evidently the mattress had independently mounted compression springs to absorb shock and support a person's weight without affecting the position and comfort of the person lying next to him. As he glanced around the room, he saw that the spherical finials on each corner of the wooden head and foot boards had strange circular scars around the base of the finials as if something had been repeatedly tied around the base of the wooden balls. When the top of the duvet slipped a bit under his weight and exposed a corner of one of the pillows, he saw that the sheet and pillow slipcovers were made of black satin. Howard grinned to himself and made a mental note that he was probably not the first man Barbie had invited home. The fact that she had bought an exceptionally well made and expensive bed and then had allowed the expensive maple fittings to become marred could only mean one thing; Barbie's hobby was sex. The marks on her bed indicated that she indulged in sexual bondage on a regular basis. Her purpose in showing him the bedroom was clear; she was inviting him for a romp with her in the bedroom after dinner.
After tasting her culinary endeavors, Howard discovered that she was a spectacularly inadequate cook. Howard wasn't dismayed in the slightest, she had other dishes that he was eager to sample. The trip from Barbie's dining table to her bedroom was short and predictable as Howard had surmised earlier. His intimate contact with her in her bedroom was short and without untoward emotion. She smiled up at him after her body had stopped shuddering from her somewhat premature climax and told him what a wonderful lover he was. Then she got up from the bed and brushed her disheveled hair into place as if their quick liaison was an everyday occurrence with her. From the pleased look on her face, Howard knew that she hadn't lied about his performance and that she was telling the truth when she told him that she had enjoyed herself. He was a little surprised that she was so easily satisfied, and hoped that there was more in future offings. Howard was a tiny bit disappointed that she hadn't wanted sex of a more unusual variety. Still, he was satisfied with the outcome. Perhaps she would allow him to sample more exotic pleasures on his next visit. She was probably being careful until she had his measure. Nevertheless, each of them got what they needed. Barbie was reaffirmed as a woman to be desired and Howard had been validated as a man. They liked each other's company and the carnal pleasures they exchanged, but there was nothing more that bound them together. Nevertheless, they agreed to meet at her apartment again as soon as possible. Howard didn't feel particularly guilty over his illicit liaison, but he resolved to keep his lecherous relationship with Barbie secret from his wife.
When Howard got home he told Anita that he had a sick headache from the stress at work and wouldn't be eating dinner. He explained that he had finally been accepted at the firm and that he expected to have to work overtime several times a week for the next few months to wrap up a new project. Anita was pleased for his success, but felt a little putout that the recovery of his health had the effect of keeping him at work so much. She had hoped that he would spend more time with her after he had started feeling better. She knew that it would take a lot of talking to make him change his mind about having a baby and she wanted to avail herself of every opportunity to try. She sighed and said she understood without arguing about his schedule. She knew that his attitude about being the one who wore the pants in the family wouldn't permit her to question his decision.
Howard was having a ball. His ego swelled in size as his appearance steadily improved. True, he had to make trips to the bathroom every forty-five minutes to urinate, but that was easily explained by his increased intake of coffee. As he looked out of the rain splattered office window at the grey October sky, he wasn't at all displeased by the recent developments in his life. Howard wasn't disturbed that he had started to dribble a little both before and after he peed. After all, with the amount of urine his obviously healthy kidneys were producing, that was to be expected! Aside from a few insignificant difficulties with perfect bladder control, he was the picture of health. His diarrhea hadn't improved, but that was minor problem compared against the fantastic changes that were happening to his body. He was delighted to discover that the slight forgetfulness of middle age he had been laboring under disappeared, allowing him to digest entire technical papers at a single sitting. He was so brimming with energy that he easily doubled his productivity at work. Howard positively sparkled with creativity. Fresh waste management ideas blossomed in his consciousness in a series of flashing insights. When he related them in passing during a weekly meeting, the company executives were astonished with the clarity and originality of Howard's thinking. After one particularly brilliant stroke, he was given a huge bonus when he devised a new method for surreptitiously dumping chemicals that promised to save the company millions of dollars in political bribes. He would come home each day and announce the day's successes to Anita like a schoolboy telling his mother about the games he had won in the schoolyard. Anita would smile tolerantly and listen to his excited description of his activities, taking vicarious pleasure in her husband's accomplishments.
The second week in December was too windy and cold to go outside on the weekend for any but the most pressing of chores. On Sunday morning, Howard put some oak logs in the fireplace and started a fire, then relaxed with a hot cup of heavily sugared coffee while he draped his legs across the couch arm. Anita looked on at his careless treatment of her furniture with disapproval, but held her tongue. Howard didn't take criticism well and his mood was probably to fragile to provoke with a comment on his carelessness. His rejuvenation had made him mellow and he began musing about his successes at work with Anita. When he began talking dreamily about applying for an engineering prize for his work, Anita decided it was time to put her foot down. Howard needed to be brought down to earth before he did something stupid and the roof fell in on him. Anita sat him down on the family room couch and counseled him to keep his work as quiet as possible. She pointed out that if he received publicity, the reporters would perform a background investigation as a matter of course. She reminded him that the company he was advising was engaged in illegal activities. Neither he nor the company could afford to be in the public limelight. Howard's face fell under her savage criticism and he reluctantly began to listen to what she was saying to him. His features took on a somber appearance when he realized the import of what he had proposed. She was right. Consulting for a less-than-honest company had ramifications he hadn't considered. He frowned and nodded in agreement with Anita's analysis of the situation. When his current contract ended with the company, he would have to find another, more honest, company to advise. He'd be damned if his brilliance was going to be hid under a bush for his entire professional life.
He smiled and thanked Anita for reminding him about the limits under which he worked. While he was thanking her, he was thinking about arranging for more lunchtime liaisons with Barbie. As long as he had to work for the bloody bastards, he might as well enjoy the perks.
Howard's rejuvenation ground to a slow stop over the next two months. The world changes in climate, like Howard's physical transformation, had stalled and settled into reassuring predictability. The usual sunny skies of his Southwestern clime had seemed to have permanently retreated behind steely grey clouds in December and had not reappeared by early February. Howard's appearance improved by gradual steps; each day the effects of time and weather were smoothed away by the slow return of youthful vigor. The lines of maturity in his craggy, collagen-deficient face were replaced with wrinkle-less, finely textured skin as his apparent age stabilized at approximately twenty-two. He moderated his coffee consumption and his urination returned to normal. He decided that smoking two packs of cigarettes a day was unwise and switched over to smoking expensive cigars instead. Howard's gut seemed to have gotten over whatever was bothering it and his bowel habits returned to normal. Even his dandruff seemed to get better; instead of waking up in a pile of dead skin, the flaking seemed to confine itself to his scalp. His libido continued to improve, turning his almost daily noontime rendezvous with his mistress into wild sexual adventures.
Barbie's sexual appetite was insatiable and had leanings toward the bizarre. His guesses about her liking for bondage games turned out to be correct. She had a huge collection of costumes and sexual toys that she hadn't shown him on their first meeting. On their next meeting, she dressed up in a skimpy maid's uniform and had him attach her arms and legs to the corners of the bed with wool-lined leather restraints. The sight of her spread-eagled helplessly on the bed in front of him made his testicles ache with desire. When he flipped up her short skirt to reveal the treasures she had hidden beneath her costume, he was delighted to find that she was wearing crotchless black lace panties. He practically fell over himself getting out of his pants to mount her. Howard orgasmed three times before his manhood finally wilted.
On the next occasion, she seduced him into letting her undress him and guide him to the bed, then she skillfully bound him with the same restraints that he had used on her on their previous liaison. She stood over him and grinned for a moment, then began slowly disrobing herself while watching his reaction. When she was nude, she disappeared into the bathroom for a moment and returned wearing a black leather corset and mesh stockings with high heels. She took the leather riding crop she carried in her hand and began running the loop at the end of the crop along the insides of his legs. Howard's penis immediately sprang erect in helpless anticipation of her next move. She worked the crop up until it was under his testicles and began rubbing the end of the crop on the sensitive skin between the back of his scrotum and his anus. Howard went wild. He thrashed in his bonds in an frenzy of lust. She laughed and ordered him to suck on the fingers of her left hand while she rubbed his chest and abdomen with the crop.
Howard obeyed willingly, suckling her fingers like a starving infant. When she was sure he was as erect as he was going to get on his own, she lay the crop across his chest and reached under the bed for her next surprise. She removed a black nylon case from its hiding place and placed it between his legs near his crotch. Howard could feel the rough webbing of the woven nylon strap and shuddered in an ecstasy of fear and desire. He heard the ominous heavy unzipping sound as opened the case. The next thing he knew, she was applying something cold and wet to his penis and surrounding area. He looked down over his flat stomach to see that she had placed a clear acrylic cylinder over his penis and was holding it firmly in place. A strange humming, vibrating sound started and he could feel something tugging at his penis. Howard gasped as he saw his already bloated penis become even larger in the tube. Obviously, the apparatus was some kind of portable vacuum chamber designed for just this application. She paused and hit the release button, then waited for a moment and started the vacuum motor again. His penis reached even greater heights on the second cycle.
She repeated the procedure twice more until she was sure she had forced his penis to its maximum size, then she slipped a small white nylon ring from the end of the cylinder to trap the blood in his engorged manhood. Barbie then tucked the cylinder in its case and dropped the case by the side of the bed. She took the crop from his chest and tickled the tip of his penis with the leather loop at the end of the crop for a minute while she grinned in triumph. She got up on the bed with him, placing her knees on either side of his hips and lowered herself slowly onto his manhood. When she began pumping up and down, Howard realized what she had done to him. The nylon ring on his penis made it almost impossible for him to orgasm prematurely or lose the magnificent erection she had created with the vacuum chamber. He couldn't move more than a few inches on the bed because of the leather restraints that bound his limbs to the four corners of the bed. In effect, he had become a living dildo for her pleasure. He writhed in humiliation at the thought, moving his hips beneath her and bringing Barbie to even greater heights of sexual frenzy. Her hair flew in all directions and her eyes glazed in mindless passion. After a few minutes, her world exploded in ecstasy as she climaxed. She sighed, resting a bit and smiling down at her helpless lover. Then she dismounted and walked out of the bedroom, leaving him bound to the bed. Howard heard a strange hollow hissing sound come from the kitchen and then she returned to the bedroom. She smiled down at him and said with a voice that was husky with passion, "Now it's time for dessert, Loverboy!"
She mounted the bed over his head and knelt with her pubes over his face. Howard looked up and saw that her clitoris was covered with a thick foamy white substance. "Eat it, Baby! Eat it or Mommy will spank!", she commanded.
Howard tentatively tongued the foam and discovered to his delight that the foam was whipping cream. He had been terrified that she was going to make him eat some horrid substance. Howard leaned his head into the mess and began licking the cream from her body. "Finish your dessert, Baby! Come on, eat my cherry, Lover! I want to feel your tongue inside of me!"
He dove in with a will and soon found himself trying to match her gyrating flesh with his tongue. His face was covered in whipped cream. When she climaxed a few minutes later, he didn't want to stop. He continued to tongue her clitoris, glorying the musky scent of an aroused woman. She patted his head condescendingly and dismounted for her next maneuver. Barbie took one of the pillows that had been discarded from the bed before they began and raised his legs to stuff it under them. Then she made him raise his hips so she could elevate his bottom from the bed. Barbie went to the bedside table and took out a leather gag from the drawer and strapped it in place around his neck. Howard's eyes went wide in absolute terror. What was she going to do to him next?
Next she took a latex glove from the drawer and put it on her right hand. Howard went pale as he considered the reasons she might want to use a latex glove. He didn't have long to wait to find out. After removing a velvet pouch from the drawer, she walked to the base of the bed took the tube of KY jelly from the vacuum chamber's nylon pouch sitting on the floor. Then she sat down in the bed between his widely spread legs and began to cover the first two fingers of her gloved hand with jelly. Once she was done, she reached up under his bottom and began to work her lubricated fingers into his anus. She lingered for awhile, massaging his tight sphincter until it loosened. When he had relaxed sufficiently, she fumbled with the velvet bag for a moment and lubed the object she removed from the bag. A minute later, Howard heard the high pitched hum as a battery operated dildo was inserted into his bottom. Howard tried to move away from the unwanted invasion of his body, but Barbie was easily able to hold him in position with her ungloved hand. When the dildo touched the area of his intestine that lay against his prostate, the effect was electrifying. He would have screamed in tortured pleasure if he hadn't been gagged. He bumped and ground his hips against the pillow in an urgent frenzy, unsure whether he wanted to shit or come.
Barbie smiled at his reactions, she had seen many men reduced to the same state in her bed. From the glazed look in his eyes, he was ready for the final step. She kept the vibrator in him for a moment, gently stroking it in and out while she removed the last object from the velvet bag. She pushed the vibrator in deeply, propping its end against the pillow while she lubricated the object from the bag with her gloved hand. Once it was ready, she removed the vibrator and began working the string of pearl-colored plastic beads up through his anus and into his rectum. Howard's massage loosened anus accepted the string easily, allowing her to complete the job rapidly and position the long tether where she could easily reach it once she was in place on his hips. She gathered her supplies quickly, dumping them from the side of the bed before getting up and removing the pillow beneath his bottom. Then she remounted him, reaching around behind her to grasp the long string from the Asian sex toy. Howard groaned in pleasure behind his gag as she stroked him with her body. He had never felt that horny in his entire life! Then she began a series of deep strokes, pulling one bead out of his anus each time she descended on him. The effect of simultaneous anal and genital stimulation nearly drove Howard out of his mind. He squirmed and gyrated in mindless response to her ministrations. She could feel her abdomen tremble in warning of her impending climax, if she thrust once more, her body would loose its pent-up sexual energy in an ultimate explosion of passion. In preparation for the moment, she reached under her and grasped his balls in her hand, squeezing hard. The pain from his balls mixed with the signals from his penis and rectum and was misinterpreted as pleasure by Howard's sex-crazed brain. She raised herself as high as she could without pulling his penis free of her vagina and drove down hard with one final thrust as she pulled the rest of the string out of Howard's anus in one continuous motion. Simultaneously, she climaxed, clamping down on his abused penis with her vaginal muscles. Howard's back arched in sexual tentany as he screamed into the gag. A second later, he orgasmed massively despite the restraining ring on his penis. Barbie stopped and rested for a moment, then pulled the ring from his penis before she removed his gag and restraints.
Howard lay back passively and let her take care of the clean up from their escapade. He was completely spent. He had had no idea that his reacquired sexuality could be manipulated to such dizzying heights. "Barbie may be an intellectual dolt," he thought to himself, "But God, what she can do in bed! If she hadn't gagged me, the neighbors would have heard me a block away!"
When she was finished, she helped him sit up in bed. Howard tried to stand and found that his knees were trembling so violently that they wouldn't support him. Barbie sat beside him and said, "Here, try these. They'll make you feel better."
She put her hand behind his head and pulled him close to her breasts as she cupped her other hand under her right teat and raised it invitingly. Howard's lips found her nipple and he began to suck like an infant as she released his head and snaked her free hand down to his crotch. She massaged his penis and scrotum gently as he pleasured himself with her teats. After a few minutes, the trembling of his legs stopped and she gently pulled herself away from him. Then she took a washcloth and tenderly wiped the dried cream from his face. When she had finished, Howard said, "God! You're fabulous! I've never felt anything like that in my life! Let's do it again!"
She shook her head and smiled as she said, "I think you've had enough for one day, Lover. We'll try something else just as good next time, okay? I want to show you some things you can do for me that I think you'll enjoy. Now let me go take a quick shower and then you can take one before we leave. By the time I've finished with you, Lover, women will die for the chance to make love to you. You've got a lot of potential, you just need some polish on the rough edges of your technique. Now come on! We've got to hurry if we're going to get back to the office on time." Despite the fact that they hurried, they were late returning to work. They blamed their tardiness on noontime traffic and a crowd at the restaurant.
In early January, Howard took Anita out dancing on a Saturday night. Although the club bouncer looked at him as if he was some sort of gigolo, there was no problem about him being carded for drinking. He looked like he was just shy of twenty-six and on the make for women who had the means to support him. His appearance didn't help the club staff's estimation of him. He had chosen an outfit that paraded his virile chest and trim body and advertized to all the world that he was available for action, preferably sexual. The fact that he was accompanied by a forty-year-old woman and was being extremely solicitous of her affections only confirmed their opinions that the young man was a gold-digging gigolo who had caught a well-heeled "Sugar Mommy" to support him in the lap of luxury. Anita was pleased by all the attention she was getting from Howard, he hadn't been so polite and amorous since they dated before they were married. The night ended on a high note when they went home and Howard made love to her for hours before falling into an exhausted slumber. She noted with pleasure that his sexual technique had improved radically since the last time they had taken time to have an extended session of lovemaking. His former clumsiness with female anatomy seemed to have matured into an intimacy that was surprising. Anita decided that Howard's reading of porno magazines must have done his attitude about sex some good over the years. Perhaps they had some sort of letters column that gave hints on how to make love to a woman the way woman's magazines had articles about how to give pleasure to a man. Although she was pleased and delighted by his new found sexual skills, she wondered how he had become so adept by merely reading about them. He certainly hadn't learned the techniques from her.
The next morning, Howard slept in while Anita had her usual Sunday morning coffee klatch with the female neighbors and their infant children. Howard always avoided Anita's Sunday tete-a-tetes like the Black Plague had entered his demesne. He wanted nothing to do with the squalling brats and chattering women how had invaded his castle. It was simpler to remain in bed and reading the Sunday paper and watching the Sunday News broadcasts while sipping his coffee, than to deal with the hordes of womanhood how had taken over his living room with their unhousebroken progeny. After the retreat of the rabble, Howard emerged from the bedroom to see what plans Anita had made for the day. Although the weather was dry and sunny, it was still too chill for the lawn to begin its spring growth. As a result, it would be weeks before the lawn needed mowing. Howard thought that they might see a movie or charge a download from their Satellite service provider. Howard was a little surprised when Anita suggested they go out to the park. Certainly it was warm enough to go out if they wore coats, but it wasn't exactly summer either. Still, the cloudless day promised a good afternoon so he agreed to go.
Howard drove Anita to the park in his Suburban. When they arrived, they got out and walked for a while in the park holding hands. The last gales of winter sang through the empty branches of the trees, giving Howard an excuse to draw Anita close to him and wrap his arm around her as they walked. The park was utterly deserted. Nary a jogger was to be seen as they strolled through the leafless lanes. Occasionally the smell of burning wood from someone's fireplace wafted by them and reminded them of the pleasures of homelife during winter. When they arrived at the children's playground, it was empty. The weather was too cold to bring a child to the park to play. The steely grey sky of winter still lay like a blanket over their part of the world, making them feel alone and unloved in each other's absence. It was a time when small furry mammals huddled in their dens and cuddled against their fellow den-mates for warmth and solace against the biting wind that robbed them of their energy. Anita and Howard sat next to each other on the swings and held hands as they talked about their respective weeks at work, enjoying the simple pleasure of each other's company. A half hour later, they walked back to the Suburban and went home to warm themselves by the fire and drink hot chocolate. They went to bed early and made love before descending into a serene sleep in each other's arms.
Howard began spending evenings out with the executives from work when he wasn't visiting his mistress. He'd stagger drunkenly into the house after spending the evening at a local "Gentlemen's Club" reeking of the cheap scent that the exotic dancers at the "Club" favored. He loved to have the dancers perform "lap" dances on him and they'd invariably rub themselves against his suit. Howard passed off the smell with some silly excuse each time, explaining that he had brushed up next to a woman in a crowded elevator or whatever he could think of at the spur of the moment. Anita would look dubious, but seemed to accept his thin excuses. His evening rendezvous with his mistress became increasingly difficult to pass off as innocent tardiness. Anita almost caught him on one occasion after he spent a most satisfying evening with Barbie. After staying "late at work" one night, he came home with his dress shirt reeking of perfume. When Anita mentioned it to him, he hastily changed clothes and buried his shirt and underwear in the bottom of dirty clothes hamper. When Anita took them out of the hamper to wash them, she immediately noticed that his underwear stunk of women's cologne as well as his shirt and demanded an explanation. He hemmed and hawed for a moment, then told her that one of the secretaries had been looking at a bottle of perfume she had bought for her sister and had accidentally spilled the bottle of perfume on his lap. Anita had looked incredulous for a moment, but after a tense moment of obvious disbelief, she seemed to grudgingly accept his story. Nethertheless, for the next three days, Anita's attitude was considerably cooler towards him than it should have been. Howard thought that the incident with the perfume was to blame, but he couldn't be sure how much she suspected about his extramarital activities. Just to be on the safe side, Howard canceled two evening trysts with Barbie over the next few weeks, hoping to allay Anita's suspicions with the appearance of propriety. After a month however, his urges got the better of him and he found himself back in Barbie's bed more often than before. He took the precaution of undressing completely before indulging himself in Barbie's pleasures to keep the reek of her perfume from insinuating his clothes. After coition with Barbie, Howard would take a hot shower at Barbie's apartment to remove any traces of his carnal activities. Poor smiling Anita never seemed to catch on to his peccadilloes. Whenever he came home, she was always her concerned, helpful self. Howard noticed that she appeared more distant when he described his successes than she had in the past, but ascribed it to professional jealousy or "some woman thing".
Unaccountably, five weeks later Howard's body began youthening again. His diarrhea returned with a vengeance, forcing him to spend the better part of his day in the bathroom. At first he called in sick, saying that he was too ill to consult and that he feared he was contagious with an intestinal virus. It was a reasonable diagnosis for a layman; Howard had the muscle and bone aches that frequently accompanied viral infections and he was drenched in sweat. The continued cool weather had seemed to bring on a number of allergy-related or viral illnesses among the employees of the company he consulted for, so they weren't terribly surprised when he called in sick.
Howard was miserable. His urine output tripled overnight and he found himself rushing to the bathroom as often to pee as he did to dump the diarrhea which threatened to explode out of his bowels. His joints were so sore that he could barely drag himself to the bathroom to evacuate his bowels or empty his overfilled bladder. He groaned in self-pity as he tottered to the kitchen in his bathrobe to get his morning cup of coffee. Anita greeted him with a kiss as he hobbled by her and asked him what was the matter. He mumbled that he had a virus and poured a cup of the hot, restorative caffeine-laden drink, then retreated to the family room to watch TV and bemoan his pains. Anita came into the family room and set his coffee aside so she could take his temperature. When he objected, Anita told him that the hot coffee would give her false readings if she tried to take an oral temperature. She told him that if he felt that badly then her wifely duty required her to assess his illness and offered to take his temperature rectally if he insisted on drinking his coffee immediately. Howard declined the offer of a rectal thermometer with a grunt and pushed the cup further away from him to signal that he was ready for the oral thermometer. Anita shook the thermometer down and placed it in his mouth while she took his wrist in one hand to measure his pulse with her fingertips. Sure enough, when she removed the thermometer from under his tongue and looked at the scale, he had a sub-clinical fever. His one hundred-point-five temperature and pulse of eighty-five did not betoken a life-threatening illness, but it was an indication that his body had stepped up its metabolism to accomplish non-ordinary functions. Anita patted him on the head sympathetically and told him to stay home from work that day. Howard grumbled that he had already called in and picked up his cup of coffee for a deep draught of the revivifying brew.
The upper layers of his epidermis had begun sloughing off at an astonishing rate; when he got up that morning, his side of the bed was covered with two-inch square peelings of dead skin. Every time he moved, clouds of scurf billowed from his body and settled in whitish translucent trails that marked where he had passed. When Howard disrobed at the end of the day to take an evening shower to hold down the human dust that threatened to smother him, he saw that the bottom of his underwear was filled with heaps of particulate-sized dross. Outlining the places where his white boxers had gotten caught in the crevasses of his loins, the fabric had been begrimed with taupe stains where the silk had been saturated with a sludgy combination of sweat and scurf. He threw his expensive boxers on the bathroom floor to be picked up by Anita and showered in disgust.
The next morning the weather had improved substantially. The sky was clear and the Sun shown brightly on the cold ground. When Howard got up he had not recovered from his illness. He still felt feverish and drained of energy. His joints ached so badly that he wondered for a moment if he had Dengue fever. Howard had read of an outbreak of the mosquito-borne disease in a Reader's Digest Article while he was waiting in the Urologist's office and remembered the hideous symptoms of the painful disease. His professional excursions into the field often took him to secret chemical dumps guarded by swarms of hungry mosquitoes. He rarely returned from one of his expeditions without at least one mosquito bite, despite saturating himself with the most powerful chemical repellant on the market. Since he had read that there was no treatment of the disease other than a palliative treatment of the symptoms, he decided to stick it out and see what developed. Besides, he didn't have the characteristic measles-like skin eruptions and the high fever associated with the disease. If he had Dengue fever, he would be over it in seven days at most. He called in sick again that day and the day after as well when the symptoms continued unabated.
Day-by-day his anatomy transmogrified as his reversed biological clock returned him to the body he had occupied in his youth. Anita canceled her Sunday brunches in sympathy for his feelings so that he wouldn't have to hide from the women in the neighborhood. In the space of two weeks, he looked like an eighteen year old; the hair on his chest had thinned and his physique lost the bulk it had acquired in his senior year of high school. Howard was in a panic. He couldn't return to work looking like a high school kid! How could anyone take an eighteen-year-old's engineering advice? He'd be laughed out of the boardroom! What would his mistress say? After he considered Barbie's likely reaction to his new found youth, he convinced himself that Barbie would be even more attracted to him. Barbie was such an empty-headed tart that she'd probably like having a teenager for a boyfriend. About the only male intellectual equals Barbie had were fifteen-year-old boys. His regression might make her feel more at ease and therefore more accessible to his passions.
After thinking about it for a few hours, he concluded he might be wrong in his initial estimation of Barbie's reaction to his change. He decided that he was right that Barbie would probably be untroubled with his new age. The only problem was that she'd probably be too comfortable! Barbie might unilaterally decide that their age difference entitled her to become the ascendant individual in their relationship. The idea that she would try to boss him around had never occurred to him before. He had always been the one who made the decisions and it had never crossed his mind that she would react any differently. Suddenly, he was seized by a mental image going to a restaurant with her and being shushed by her so she could order their meal. He imagined how he would wince in embarrassment when she refused to order his customary beer for him and request that the waiter bring Coco-Coca for him to drink instead of an adult drink. It would make him feel like he was being treated to dinner his babysitter rather than going out on a date with his mistress. Once he thought about it, he realized that she wouldn't have much choice in what she ordered for him to drink; the restaurant wouldn't serve him if she ordered booze for him and not even an air head like Barbie was stupid enough to order an alcoholic beverage for someone who was underaged. If they made a scene, the restaurant's management might decide that she was "contributing to the delinquencyÖ" and call the police. He'd be lucky if she didn't order milk for him to drink!
When he thought of getting into bed with Barbie during one of their noontime revels, the image of her dominantly mounting his diminished body and locking him in place in bed with her knees filled him with horror. His physical transformation would cause her to change her conception of him as her virile masculine lover into seeing him as a mere boy-toy to be kept for her sexual amusement. His daymare continued with the humiliating scene of her solemnly instructing him in the slow patient tones women used with ignorant children the proper techniques he should employ to make love to a woman. In his unwelcome fantasy, she acted as if he was a pimply-faced, sexual neophyte who had never been with a woman before. He could imagine her sitting bestride his hips and helpfully condescending to guide his immature penis into her vagina for him while making comments on how sweet he looked lying beneath her. It was not exactly the sort of thought that Howard found titillating. Instead of looking down at her enormous gravity-flattened breasts and gripping them firmly in his hands the way he normally did when he saddled Barbie to make love, he'd be looking up expectantly at Barbie's dangling teats like an infant waiting to be breast fed.
Howard shook his head to rid himself of the disgusting fantasy and made an immediate decision. He called the Vice-President of the company and told him that personal illness forced him to take an indefinite leave of absence from consulting. He was vague about the exact nature of his illness, saying only that he had no idea of when he would be able to return to consulting. The executive sounded disappointed, but accepted his reasons for leaving. He told Howard that the company was sorry to see him go, and said that he hoped that Howard would recover quickly from his illness.
Cracks in the Surface of Human Culture
Dateline: Wednesday March 29, 2011
Excerpt From a Major Television News Program:
Dan looks up from the neat pile of papers sitting decoratively in the middle of his desk and says, "Good Evening Ladies and Gentlemen, the major story in tonight's broadcast are the deteriorating conditions in the Midwest. Areas of Kansas and states bordering the east and west beginning to see encroachment of sand dunes as local ecology reverts to desert conditions. <Cut to footage of sand dunes invading a corn field with disastrous consequences; the moisture is being literally sucked out of the soil at the base of the stalks, leaving the growing plant bereft of the water it needs to survive. In the distance, huge dunes can be seen like the advancing waves of a solid tsunami that promises to engulf everything in its path. As the camera pans to give the views a full panorama of the encroaching danger, the Anchor continues,>
Drought regions in Southern Russia are increasing in size while rainfall is increasing in other parts of the world. Old glaciers continue to shrink at accelerating rates while polar ice caps melt. Atlantic storms are increasing in intensity and frequency while the average height of waves in the mid-Atlantic continues to increase in size. <Cut to stock footage of video taken from a freighter trapped in an Atlantic storm. Tremendous waves wash over the deck as the prow dives into to oncoming waves repeatedly. The background noise from the groaning substructure of the ship's steel frame has been electronically enhanced by one of the network's sound engineers to sound louder that the din of naked destruction from the storm. After shocking the viewer with the noise of the storm, a stock tape of the Arctic icecap is played to awe the home viewer by its whiteness and utter silence. The break allows the Anchor to continue,>
Satellite scans of the polar regions reveal that the Antarctic hole in the ozone layer has doubled in size while the recently discovered hole over the Arctic has tripled in size. <Cut to prepared animation of growing hole in Antarctic hole contrasted with Arctic hole. The animation is quickly followed by a rapid sequence of interspersed videos from the wheat fields of Canada and Kansas. The clip is carefully crafted to create alarm on the part of American viewers.> Western provinces of Canada have experienced record harvests as unseasonably warm weather improves growing conditions. Kansas farmers have been devastated by drought for the forth consecutive year.
<The Anchor begins the finale to the piece; the network intends to show that it is not insensitive to the changes in the Third World. (Although from the producer's and director's viewpoint, they have no sympathy for the "Great Unwashed" of the Third World. Third Worlders can't afford to buy their sponsors' products, nor do they watch the program. ) The next scenes will imprint on the home viewer that the devastation caused by the erratic weather is world-wide. As the Anchor drones on about the damage to the world, a montage of fresh videos of Far Eastern decimation is interspersed with stock footage of the great North Korean famine of the late nineties. >
North America is not the only area hit by the weather changes; The barren fields of the formally fecund fields of the big plantations attest to the migration or depopulation of the workers. In many areas, the fertile hillsides of the forest have been stripped of anything edible. leaving terrain that looks as if a devastating war has been fought over the useless soil. Drought has transformed promises of rich cornfields with shriveled, stunted shoots instead of tall stalks of grain. The rich dark mud of the rice paddies are cracked, blackened wastelands populated by the brown, sere wisps of rice plantings. In rural areas not even soldiers are getting enough food and they prey on the local populace using their guns to steal what little remains to supplement their scanty rations. In cities, sawdust is mixed with the meager supply of flour to bake bread. Government rations in Asian countries are as low as ten tablespoons a day; noodle manufacturing mills that once processed rice into noodles now use seaweed instead. Every tractor, oxcart and wheelbarrow in the affected countries have been pressed into use to distribute food as it is shipped in from First World countries. People are foraging in the city parks for anything remotely edible; the bark from trees, roots of ornamental plants, and grasses. Even the zoos have been decimated as midnight poachers steal through the gates in the dead of night to harvest the caged animals. Pigeons and doves, once the scourge of sanitation in modern cities, have become rare sights as the hungry citizens of cities trap and eat them. Pets have to be kept indoors and carefully watched lest they become a neighbor's dinner. Cases of human cannibalism have been reported in outlying areas. The staring, starved eyes of severely malnourished children as they sit vacant and listless with hunger fill international observers with pathos as they witness the stunted bodies with twig-like limbs and folds of fevered skin dangling from their emaciated and bony rib cages. Orphanages are filled with children whose families can no longer care for them; unwanted newborns are abandoned at the hospital of their birth. Pneumonia, measles, diarrhea are epidemic in children in the least affected areas. Many of the sick or aged are too weak from hunger to search for food or suffer the rigors of a journey to the nearest city. The roadsides of the Far East are littered with the decaying corpses of those who tried but who were too weak from starvation to continue to walk.
<Cut to scene of raging river cresting the deep ravine at the base of mountain in Peru and washing away the flimsy hovels that the desperately poor farmers have constructed out of available materials from the forest. The scene is short, but the erosion of the debris filled torrent is evident at a moment's glance; the side of the ravine collapses catastrophically, causing half the village to slide into the rushing waters as the ragged villagers watch from the hillside above. The scene rapidly shifts to an aerial video of the Aral Sea; the once proud and prosperous lakeside fishing villages are now dusty ghost towns thirty miles from the edge of the lake. >
Lakes and rivers all over the world are either drying up or have become raging torrents that devour everything in their path. Bordered by Kazakhstan and Ubekistan, the Aral Sea , once the world's fourth largest inland sea, has become a dust bowl surrounding a tiny polluted pond. The story is the same throughout Africa and the Far East; Lake Victoria bordered by Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania shores are barely a fifth of their former size and in Asia; Lake Sohung in Korea, Lake Erye in Australia, Lake Baykal in Southern Russia have either disappeared or diminished to mere ponds.
The periodic change in the weather pattern known as the El Nino Oscillation has become stalled in the warm water state and caused world wide devastation. <Cut to rapid sequence of video clips of the effects of the world's wild weather. Scenes of blizzards, hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, tremendous hail storms, and flooding fill the viewer's television screens as the commentary continues.> The notorious El Nino of nineteen-eighty-two and three which left over two thousand people dead and caused thirteen billion dollars in economic losses has been dwarfed by this, the longest El Nino on record. Current estimates project forty billion dollars in economic losses in Third world countries alone as well as a possible five thousand people dead from direct affects of the storms. This figure does not include the one hundred thousand lives lost in low lying areas due to the rise in sea level or the hundreds of thousands of lives being lost to starvation caused by the drought. The average sea-surface temperature have climbed five point three degrees Centigrade or eight degrees Fahrenheit. Landslides, mudslides and flash floods are as common in western South and Central America and the Western United States as are droughts and crop failures in South America, Africa, Indonesia and Australia.
Ecuadorian coca producers estimate that if El Nino continues, the coca crop will be reduce yields as much as seventy-five percent this year alone. The fishing industry has been decimated by the confinement of deep ocean nutrients to the depths of the Pacific Ocean. Fears that increasing global temperatures would cause droughts in the southern United States have proved unfounded as El Nino's effects continue to be felt. Temperatures have remained cooler than normal and annual rainfall has increase. Even cities in like San Antonio, that had previously only seen two blizzards in the past one hundred years, have suffered from freezing winters for which the natives are ill prepared. City fathers which dealt with the blizzards of eighteen-eighty-one and nineteen-eighty-one by simply closing down the city are now girding for winter by purchasing snow moving equipment to clear the roads. Local meteorologists are predicting multiple snowfalls this winter of blizzard intensity in south central Texas.
In other news, Japan has promised along with the U.S. and the EEC to increase new investments in the third world. Critics of the plan have stated that this means that for practical purposes, that the investing countries are subsidizing their luxury industries. Much of the monies spent in the third world are being pocketed as bribes by local officials. Financial analysts agree that in time, most of the mony will probably find its way back to Europe, Japan and the U.S. from the sale of luxury goods and sales of cars, medications and clothing to the Third World.
There have been disturbing reports of mass migrations of insect populations as the world's weather continues its change. The numbers of insects are astounding; estimates of the migrating population are conservatively estimated at five billion insects. Formally innocuous insect groups have multiplied into sky blackening hordes as the bird population has declined due to poisoning by agricultural toxins and open refuse pits. Local droughts have caused mass movements of entire insect populations, destroying the remnants of the crops and further damaging the ecology.
Epidemiologists fear that the increase in vermin will increase the number of possible vectors for disease. Virologists have stated for years that cutbacks in the world rainforest have liberated unknown viruses that have the potential to ravage population centers. Public health officials agree that the problem is serious. The overuse of antibiotics in the last thirty years have rendered most of the more virulent organisms immune to the all but the most dangerous of antibiotics. Normal medications are impotent against these super-diseases. Although the older diseases can still be treated with antibiotics, in people infected with the new diseases, formerly treatable diseases like tuberculosis become opportunistic and ravage the weakened immune systems, causing devastating effects.
In national news, many of the nation's largest cities have been overrun by a horde of rats and mice hordes that seem to be multiplying exponentially. Health workers fear that the unrestrained overpopulation will lead to a series of rodent bites which will cause a outbreaks of rabies in the general population. Biologists speculate that the mass insect migrations may be part of the cause of the increase in rodent population.
Howard was at a complete loss after abandoning his job. He dithered around the house for a few days, then called his mistress. He was secretly terrified that Barbie would become angry at being ignored and inform Anita about their affair. After beating around the bush for a few minutes, he told her he was ill and couldn't see her that week. His excuse sounded lame even to him, but there was nothing he could do about it. Howard had no intention of letting his mistress see him looking like a teenaged boy. He couldn't bear to be thought of as a child by a woman who had been so recently impressed by his virility. The terror of being exposed to Anita as an adulterer hung over him for a week. He hung around the phone for days waiting for Barbie's response, but the phone remained silent.
The only bright spot that week were his relations with Anita. His libido had increased to the point where all he could think about was sex. Everything seemed to make him horny. Watching TV was out with his libido in such a frenzy. Just looking at a woman made him erect. When he discovered himself getting horny while watching reruns of "Roseanne", he turned the TV off. There were limits and getting horny while looking at Roseanne's chunky figure made him feel like a pervert. He started spending his mornings in the bathroom while Anita was at work looking at porno magazines. Since he had to be sit on the toilet anyhow for the vicious case of diarrhea he had contracted, he thought he might as well enjoy himself. He had bought the magazines the year before in an attempt to boost his flagging sex drive. Unfortunately, they hadn't helped revive the urges the toxins had destroyed. Now Howard employed them in the bathroom to get instant relief from the overpowering craving for sex that threatened to unbalance his mind. Mere masturbation wasn't enough to keep his sex drive in check though, the minute Anita came home, he would fairly leap on his wife and tear her clothes off.
Throughout it all, Anita was a good sport. She enjoyed his attentions and didn't have any particular objections to making love in the family room after a hard day at work. Or in the kitchen, dining room, bathroom shower, entry hall or any of the other places in the house where her sex-crazed husband immediately disrobed her and made love to her upon her arrival home.
On Thursday morning he looked at himself in the mirror and started to panic. His beard was almost gone and the long twisting nails on his fingers looked more like claws than the well-groomed manicure he had cultivated since his rejuvenation. Howard had to take a pair of shears to give his fingernails a rough cut with the scissors before he was able to get purchase on his oversized nails with a pair of nail clippers. His toenails were so oversized that he was forced to trim them just so he could walk around the house. What was going to become of him? He went to Anita and told her that he had to see a doctor about his condition. Anita told him that if he went to a doctor and told him about his change in physical age, the resulting publicity would result in his prosecution for polluting. Since there had never been a recorded case of rejuvenation, the only explanation for what was happening to him was that the toxins that his body absorbed must have somehow caused him to physically regress. If his doctor became curious and decided to report the incident, the Center for Disease Control would become involved. Their first step would be to look into exactly which chemicals had caused his apparent rejuvenation and his involvement with polluters would come out. She told him that he brought the whole thing on himself by aiding and abetting polluters with their crimes. She pointed out that at his present size, he wouldn't be able to protect himself from rapes if he was put in prison. He was beyond the help of any doctor. She told him to be patient and wait, surely the process would either reverse itself or stop of its own accord.
The unnatural wet, cool weather was starting to get on Howard's nerves. He didn't mind a few days respite from the hot Southwestern Sun, but the dreary constant rain of the past months had become depressing. It was April and the Sun still hadn't made its reappearance to herald Spring. Howard felt like that Earth itself was conspiring with his odd physical malady to keep him indoors. He missed the camaraderie of work and longed for the lost opportunities to visit his mistress. He was bored. Apart from sitting around the house in his oversized bathrobe watching TV, there was nothing to do. Howard noticed that mind was beginning to be affected by disuse; his short term memory was getting rusty. He had forgotten to take out the garbage on two consecutive pickup days, forcing Anita to take the bags of rotting garbage to the dump herself. He seemed to be suffering from the same mental malady suffered by teens and preteens all over the world; selective amnesia. Fortunately, Anita didn't make much fuss over it. She simply loaded up the back of the Suburban with the garbage and ran the errand like any other. Howard wasn't too pleased that she used his van for a garbage truck, but it was obvious that she couldn't put four forty gallon bags of garbage in her little car. Since it was his fault that the garbage pickup had been missed, he decided to keep mum about the untoward use of his vehicle.
A few days later, Howard intercepted an angry message on his answering machine from Barbie telling him that she was through with him and not to call her in the future; she had found another lover. He heaved a sigh of relief that Anita hadn't heard the message from his mistress before he had a chance to erase the evidence. He moped around the house for hours after listening to Barbie's message; her decision to drop him as a boyfriend had hurt his pride. When Anita came home, he was still sulking speechlessly over the permanent loss of his girlfriend. When he said he'd like to go for a drive or call one of his old friends to calm his nerves, Anita reiterated that it would be best if he didn't drive his car or call their friends. She told him that no one would ever believe that he was forty-four years old and that they must keep his condition secret from everyone. Anita went on to say that with her doctorate in biochemistry and pharmacology, she could state categorically that there was no known treatment for his condition. Since he couldn't be cured by medical science, they could only do nothing and hope for the best. She reminded him of and how hard his previous company found it was to keep his two prior poisonings out of the news. Anita offered to help him document his condition by taking his measurements three times a day along with his weight and vital signs. She told him that there was a chance that if she gathered enough data, she'd understand what was happening to him and might find something she could do for him.
Who Wears the Pants - Part 3
Copyright 1998 by Jennifer Loraine. All rights reserved.