SHORT STORY: Forty-Five Is Not So Old

photo by Alex Lear





Forty-Five Is Not So Old


It was 1:30 in the morning.  Lucinda was half a jigger away from inebriated as she held a double shot of Seagram's and 7-Up poised before her glossy, hot pink painted lips. Precisely at that moment, Lucinda made up her mind "since I'm going to die eventually, I might as well live tonight" which meant she didn’t want to go home alone tonight. In fact, she hoped she wasn't going home at all, at least not to her own home.

Billy must of thought she was a fool. "Away on business" or so he had said with feinted casualness.  Lucinda knew.  Even as she had allowed herself to act like she believed him when he said he had to go to Portland for four days, she knew.  Maybe he really did have some business to do there, but for sure he was sleeping with Sandra with her little narrow ass. It didn't matter that Billy Jo had left Thursday during the day and that Sandra was at work on Friday, answering the phone when Lucinda called on some pretense or the other. "I know something is up," Lucinda mouthed right before the cool liquor crossed her lips.

Lucinda was a public relations specialist, she knew how to make things look like what they weren’t. Who had said life was just an illusion? Wasn’t it true that illusions were part of life? The only question was do you believe? Do you believe in what’s not there? Damn, this liquor makes you think some funny thoughts. But no, Billy Jo’s disinterest was no illusion. Nor was Sandra an illusion.

Just thinking of that little 96-and-three-quarter-pound strumpet made Lucinda angry because invariably it made Lucinda think of when she weighed 115 pounds and was good to go, but that was at least eight years ago. Her eyes growing increasingly glassy, Lucinda silently surveyed herself in the large mirror behind the bar. One hundred fifty-five pounds really wasn't that heavy, “besides I'm tall and have big breasts. How is it these little skinny wenches can get men so excited, what's to it?

"Furthermore, the slut has buck teeth. What in the world could skinny Sandra possibly do for William James Brown that he likes better than what I do for him," Lucinda wondered as she took another slow sip of her mixed drink. "I don't look bad--for my age. Hell, in fact, it's not really age. It's experience. I look good to say I'm as experienced as I am."

Lucinda smirked as she thought about how Sandra couldn't massage Billy Jo's feet like she did, then wash them in a little antique porcelain wash basin--I bet she doesn't even own any antiques--dry them with an ultra-fluffy, teal-colored towel, and then slowly suck his toes as her flawlessly-lacquered fingernails crawled up and down the soles of his size-eleven feet. And for sure, Sandra had no clue of some of the more stimulating thrills Billy Jo's big toe could arouse. Like when Lucinda felt really risqué, really felt like lighting up Billy Jo's little firecracker in her sexy night sky, after cutting his toe nails with a clipper and gently buffing the edges to a smooth evenness with an emery board, after washing them in warm water with a scented soap, after tenderly drying them and then sucking them as he lay back on their bed, and after massaging his feet with baby oil, and as it got good to him, after all of that, Lucinda would climb up on the bed and slowly stroke her pussy with his big toe, stroke it until she was wet. God, a woman didn't know what she was missing if she had never reached a climax with her lover's toe tapping on her clitoris. What did that inexperienced child know about sophisticated lovemaking? Lucinda took a long sip of her drink.

Lucinda recalled how pleasantly surprised Billy Jo always seemed whenever she dropped in on him at work. With a toss of her luxuriously coiffured hair which had been crafted into a gleaming and glistening, jet black, lengthy, chemically-treated mane that languidly lay across her shoulders, Lucinda smiled slyly as she reminisced about how it had been, the last time she turned Billy Jo on at his office.

"Billy, I was in the neighborhood, on my way to that little boutique I discovered, you know the one I told you specializes in silk batiks and as I crossed Poydras I felt this twinge like a little spark of lightening." He had looked at her partially annoyed but also partially pleased as she stroked his male ego. "I couldn't wait. So..." she slid seductively around his desk, "I decided to stop here."

Lucinda reached down and slightly opened Billy Jo's bottom desk drawer. She propped her leg up on the edge of the drawer as she took his right hand and cunningly glided it beneath her skirt and up her thigh. Lucinda shuddered involuntarily as she expertly guided his fingers into the curly mass of pubic hair and the moist flesh of her mound. She tensed her thigh muscles when his fingers reached her clit. "Yes, yes, I needed that," she salaciously whimpered while throwing her head back and squeezing her eyes close with the same intensity as the forceful contractions caused by Billy Jo's fingertips tap dancing on the head of her clitoris. Lucinda savored the first trickles of what would soon become a flow. And then his phone rang. It was intrusive Sandra reminding "Mr. Brown" he had an appointment in ten minutes.

"That's enough," Lucinda said pulling his hand away, "for now." And then she remembered his astonishment as she bent over to slowly suck her moisture off of his fingers. "We can't have you smelling like pussy when you shake hands with the movers and shakers of industry."

When Lucinda completed tongue washing each finger, she reached into her mauve silk purse which hung by a silver metal shoulder strap dangling off her left hip. Moving aside her black satin panties which she had removed in the parking garage, she withdrew a pink linen handkerchief that was embroidered with her initials. Before she finished drying his fingers, there was a knock at the door.

"Come in."

As Sandra entered, Lucinda ostentatiously finished her task with a flourish, waving the handkerchief, "there, all clean, all dry."

After daintily refolding her handkerchief and replacing it in her brightly beaded pouch, Lucinda slowly kissed her husband on his clean-shaved cheek, paused to close the bottom desk drawer and cheerfully called out to him over her shoulder as she sashayed past Sandra, "have a good meeting honey, we'll finish ours tonight."

Pausing at the doorway, Lucinda pirouetted coyly, "and Sandra, you have a nice day. OK." That little narrow-ass secretary didn't know anything about how to administer sexual quickies, didn’t know that men liked sexually aggressive women who were otherwise the model of ladyhood.


* * *


While she was lost in the reverie of remembering the sexual games she often played with Billy Jo, an impeccably dressed young man sat on a stool one removed from Lucinda. Attracted by the resonance of his masculine baritone ordering a cognac, Lucinda turned to look directly at his massive profile. She sniffed and caught the faint whiff of an expensive cologne. He was ruggedly handsome.

"Hi," she smiled at him.

He looked at her, briefly. Lucinda saw the almost imperceptible survey flicker as his eyes started at her face, moved quickly down her body, strayed briefly to her behind--she sat up straight and slightly arched her back--and down her legs, and... and, nothing. He turned away without even responding.

She wanted to throw her drink at him. Instead she decided to annoy him. "I said, hello."

He grunted, turned his head and pretended he was ignoring her. Lucinda hated to be ignored.

She got up, slid onto the stool next to him, and ignored his ignoring her. "My name is Lucinda."


"And your name is?"


Oh god, what a common name, Lucinda thought, he probably doesn't even have a college degree. Lucinda's liquor continued the conversation, "Jawon, that's nice." Pushing her purse aside, Lucinda leaned forward on the bar's leather lining. "Jawon, I'm conducting a survey. Would you mind if I asked you a couple of opinion questions?"

Jawon grunted without looking at her.

"I take that grunt to mean, 'oh god, why doesn't this old bag just leave me alone with her silly questions. I'll answer one or two, but she better make it quick'."

Jawon was slightly taken aback by her boldness. He turned to get a second look at this woman. Lucinda leaned back slightly, crossed her legs, and did not bother to tug down her worsted wool dress. Noticing her broad, soft-calf leather, black belt with the bold, gold buckle, Jawon accessed she was probably some kind of leather freak who liked to tie down men or spank them with a black riding crop. Nah, it's not worth it, was his final appraisal. 

"If our ages were reversed," Lucinda leaned forward again, bracing her flawlessly made-up face with the back of her exquisitely manicured hand, "If I was a mature man and you were a young attractive woman, would you be offended if I brushed you off without so much as a civil hello?" Sporting a self-assured smile, Lucinda looked directly at Jawon awaiting his answer.

Acid cruelly dripped from Jawon's thickly mustached lips, "I think you ought to be at home baby-sitting your grandchildren instead of out here trying to rob the cradle."

"Ah ha. Well, Jawon, ten years from now, I hope you're not sitting on the other end of this question, and if you are, I hope the lady whose attention you're trying to attract, is just a bit more understanding than you are now. That's all. You may go now."

Jawon backed off the stool and walked away, leaving a dollar tip on the bar while offering no further acknowledgment of Lucinda.


* * *


Lucinda turned to face the mirror behind the bar and in the reflection caught sight of Roderick, the genial bartender, standing discreetly to the side, dressed in black slacks, a crisply starched white shirt topped with a hand-tied black bow tie, and a black and white checkered vest highlighted by a metal name tag which mirrored the bar's multicolored neon-and-florescent-lit interior. There was neither smile nor smirk on Roderick's placid face, nor did his eyes give any indication that he had watched the drama unfold. Without bothering to look directly at him, Lucinda sat her drink on the dark wood of the bar and familially addressed Roderick, "Well, Rodney don't just stand there. Freshen my drink, please."

As Roderick moved toward her, Lucinda glanced at her watch. It was almost midnight in Portland. Lucinda mischievously decided to call Billy Jo and disturb whatever little excitement in which he might be engaged. Before Roderick could pour the freshener, Lucinda waved him off, "Rodney, I've decided to go home instead of sitting here and getting my feelings hurt. Be the gentleman that you are and call a cab for me please."

Lucinda never, never ever drove her white Lexus when she went alone to paint the town. A solitary woman cruising down the avenues late at night was like flashing a baked ham in front of hungry bulldogs. Any man that she might meet would pay more attention to her car than to her, and assume that where there was a Lexus there was a big bank account that they might access. Besides, it was safer this way. Not that she had ever done much more than flirt, just to see if she still had what it took to attract a man ten years younger than she. Most of the time... oh, why think about.

Pulling two crisp, new twenties from her purse, Lucinda waved them at Roderick, "I assume this will cover my tab for three doubles and also adequately provide for your well being."

Roderick nodded affirmatively as he received the bills with a smile. His clean-shaven head was oiled to a soft, attractive sheen and were it not for the gaucherie of two gold-capped teeth, Lucinda might have found him attractive as well as personable.

"Will there be anything else I can do for you?" he asked Lucinda in a charming tone that implied he was both a trustworthy listener and a resourceful procurer.

Lucinda's liquor got the better of her normal disinterest in what other people did or didn't do. "Does diabetes run in your family, Rodney?"

"Not that I know of. No, I don't believe so. A little arthritis is all I've ever heard about, but then my folks are from the country, out Vacherie way. Don't a day go by they don't walk at least a mile and all their food is fresh, home cooked."

"You're fortunate, Rodney. Did you know the treatment for diabetes is deleterious to the libido?"

"So, I've heard."

"Watch your diet young man, we wouldn't want your libido going south before you're sixty-five."

"Ah, no mam. We certainly wouldn't want that to happen." Roderick had been idly wondering if she were single or out for a fling, or both. Without her having to say anymore he knew that she was grieving for a husband or lover who was no longer sexually active. Someone called to him from the other end of the near empty bar. Roderick waved an acknowledgment to the customer while he was wrapping up with Lucinda. "Is there a particular company you prefer?"


"Cab Company."

"No. How would I know, I don't usually take cabs."

"OK. I'll be right back." Roderick walked briskly down to the waiting customer, served him, reached under the register, pulled out the bar’s phone and rotely punched in the White Fleet number as he walked back to where the matronly woman sat.

"A cab is on the way. The dispatcher will ring me when they're outside."

"Such an efficient young man you are."

"Thank you," said Roderick with a graceful bow of his bald head.

"Rodney, one more thing."

"Yes. At your service."

"Might, I use your phone to make a quick long distance call?" requested Lucinda while removing another crisp twenty from her purse along with the note page on which Billy Jo had written his hotel telephone number. "My husband would just love to hear from me at this particular moment." Roderick took the twenty with his right hand and handed the phone to her with his left.

"Take your time," Roderick said over his shoulder as he moved to the far end of the bar.

"Mr. William James Brown, please. He's a guest." Lucinda smirked at the thought of calling Billy Jo from a bar.

Although she felt her mood turning foul, when Lucinda heard Billy Jo answer the phone, she brightened her voice, "Hello, my lover. Where ever you are."

"You know where I am. I gave you the number and you called it."

"I miss you."

"I miss you too, honey."

Then there was an awkward hush as Lucinda waited for Billy Jo to indicate interest in her. And waited. And waited.

"Other than missing you, I'm doing all right, thank you," Lucinda finally broke the stalemate, not bothering to mask her sarcasm.

More silence.

"I'll be home late Sunday night."

"Should I wait up?"

"You don't have to."

"Billy Jo why do you..." her words trailed off into a strained silence. Something was in her eye, she paused to dab the edges of her left eye with the heel of her hand. "You know where I am now?"

"No, I don't Lucinda. Where are you?"

"I'm sitting in a bar, but I would rather be somewhere with you."

Again, silence.

Something else was in her eye now. "Billy, I just want to make you happy. Be good to you. Make it all good to you..." Lucinda abruptly stopped babbling. "You see you've got me babbling. Would it excite you if I told you I wanted you so much that we could make phone sex right now. And...," Lucinda paused. "I started to say something really naughty but this is a mobile phone and anyone could be listening."


The liquor kept her talking long after she normally would have stopped.

"I'll be forty-nine next week and, in another four months or so, you'll be forty-six, and that's not so old. I was thinking maybe some other medication might help you, I mean, maybe, make you feel less, or, I mean, feel better, or...," his tight-lipped silence was not making it easy. "Are you sorry that I couldn't have children?" As Lucinda questioned Billy she instantly regretted saying anything and wished that he would say something. Anything. "Billy are you there?"

"Yes, I'm here."

"And I'm not."

"Lucinda, I think you've had too much to drink."

She had not realized she was slightly slurring her words.

"It's all right. I'm catching a cab home."

"See you Sunday night, honey."

Lucinda held the phone to her ear long, long after the dial tone sounded following Billy Jo hanging up. As Lucinda lowered the phone from her ear, Roderick moved toward her. Before she could hand the phone back to him, it rang and startled her. She almost dropped it. Roderick grabbed it, also catching hold of her hand in the process of securing the phone.

"It's OK, I've got it." She left her hand nestled in Roderick's as he used his free hand to expertly hit the talk button, shift the phone to his ear, and answer, "Hello." While he listened to whomever was talking, Lucinda tightened her fingers on Roderick's hand. "Thanks. She will be right out."

Roderick hit the talk-off button and leaned on the bar without trying to pull his hand away. "Your cab is outside."

"Is it?"

"Yes, it is."

"Rodney, you wouldn't be interested...?"

"I don't get off until four and I've already promised..."

"Just kidding." said Lucinda unconvincingly as she reluctantly released his hand. "Have a good night."

Lucinda slowly descended from the stool, studiously attempting to maintain her balance and walk as straight as she could. Roderick shook his head. She didn’t have a ring on her finger and she was calling her husband from a bar at almost two in the morning; Roderick had seen so many like her, "the world is full of lonely people."


* * *


At the door Lucinda paused before heading out into the chilly dark. Who was she fooling, she had never cheated on Billy Jo. And never would; even if she did like to sometimes pretend she would enjoy being promiscuous. No, what Lucinda really enjoyed was being desired. Desired like Billy Jo used to do before his illness flared and… Lucinda didn’t want to think about it.

So, why did she keep thinking about how unfair it was that she had been a virgin when she first married, stayed married for five miserable years, spent seven wasted years so-called “dating” until she found Billy Jo floundering in a marriage that was all but legally over; so terribly unfair that now that she have found the man she wanted he didn’t…

Lucinda had salvaged Billy Jo from Betty’s neglect. That woman was so…beneath Billy Jo, so incapable of helping him achieve the finer things in life. Unfortunately, for Billy and Betty’s children, all three of them looked like their mother and, worse, acted like their mother. They were all parasites, they just wanted what little money Billy Jo had saved, which wasn’t much. What was a measly $78,000 anyway?

It’s amazing what one can think of when opening a door.

Betty didn’t understand Billy Jo, what he wanted in life, what a legal career could mean. She was uneducated and Billy Jo deserved more. Betty undoubtedly didn’t know how to do all it took to keep a man—Lucinda used to say to “keep a man happy.” These days she cynically just placed the period after man. Later for this happiness crap.

But wasn’t she entitled to happiness? People admired her—she came from a good family, was well educated, took care of herself. That thing with her uterus didn’t stop her from being a woman. And my, my, my, wasn’t she some kind of woman? Exactly the woman Billy Jo needed as a helpmate to eventually become a judge.

Lucinda loved Billy Jo. He would be a public success, and God knows he was privately terrific. Lucinda loved the way Billy Jo made love to her, even though she knew he was not as interested in loving her as she was in being loved by him… Oh, this was all too… Lucinda pushed against the burnished brass plate etched with the club name, Black Diamond.


* * *


As the door swung open, an early morning gust sent a shiver through Lucinda and she suddenly remembered asking Billy Jo to turn around. “I want to suck too,” she had said while he had been patiently slurping her wetness with an almost disinterested expertness.

In her dating career, which seemed like another life time ago, she had had the opportunity to sexually examine maybe twelve dicks. Ah, the variety of the male sex organ, the little differences, particularly when aroused. She liked the feel of some, especially the way they throbbed when she squeezed or how they jumped as she teased the scrotum with her fingernails; for a couple of others it was how they looked, the veins pulsing on…what was his name, yes, Andre, light-skinned Andre, with the thick veins crisscrossing the surface of his thing, or the hooded darkness of Jerome’s uncircumcised penis; and then there had been the size of Harold’s tool. A  basketball player’s big dick, but he hadn’t known what to do with it, or without it, for that matter.

Love making with Billy Jo had been the biggest turn on, surprisingly so—oh, you could never tell just by how a man looked, or even how he danced, you could never tell if he knew how to make love without using his dick. Billy Jo knew. And Lucinda really, really liked that.

Moreover Billy Jo wasn’t squeamish about her freaking him. He hardly moved the first time she inserted a forefinger in his rectum, while she was sucking him and he was busy down there giving her head. Why was she like that? What did it look like? She supine, he on top of her, his head bobbing between her quivering thighs, his knees astride her head, his member in her mouth, her nose just beneath his taunt testicles—Lucinda really liked that he was clean so the smell was never suffocating—and her hand spread across his bottom, one long finger deep inside him. What would a photograph of that look like?

He never questioned her, or made her feel embarrassed or feel anything but happy to have her way with him—not even the time she reminded him to shower and have a bowel movement before they jumped to it when they had been out on that wonderful weekend at the spa in Nevada, and had had a big lunch, and a scrumptious dinner, and had been out all day and dancing half the night, and...her finger was all the way in him, plunging at him, and the more deliberately she pushed, the more he nibbled at her clitoris, and she sucked him so hard she was afraid she was going to hurt him, but it felt so good. Why? Why all of that? Why did it take all of that?


* * *


At the curb, the cab driver held open the back door of his maroon Toyota Camry. Lucinda slid in, thanking the driver by flashing a wide smile and making no attempt to hide her thighs as, one by one, she slowly swung her legs into the sedan. She would have really given him a good peek but he was studiously not looking, and Lucinda was not sure whether he was just being a gentleman or if, for some unfathomable reason, he really didn’t want to catch sight of what lay between her legs.

Lucinda slid all the way over to the driver’s side of the back seat so that she was directly behind him when he got in. After she gave him the address, Lucinda folded her arms, briefly; she made sure the door was locked and then pushed her body deeply into the corner of the back seat.

Lucinda knew what she was going to do. Lucinda knew what she shouldn’t do.

She scooted down, lay her head on the fabric of the backseat and pretended to sleep.

Her hand crept under her dress. She had not worn panties.

“Any particular way you want to go?”

“Oh, whatever. I’m sure you know how to do your job. Take whatever route. This time of the morning, what difference does it make? Are you…?” Lucinda stopped herself. She didn’t want to make small talk. She wasn’t even mildly interested in this young foreigner. She certainly didn’t want to know what country he was from with his African accent. What did that matter?

Yes. Her left hand was there.


“Don’t mine me. I babble sometimes after a drink or two. I’m not used to drinking.”

Good, he was taking the expressway. No lights. No stops.

If he turned around and saw her—God, I would be so embarrassed, Lucinda lied to herself, halfway hoping he would look at her, would… “Oh.” She scooted down further and gapped her legs wider. Forefinger in the hole, thumb on the button.

She was beginning to breathe heavily—is that why he turned the radio on? “Is OK I play radio?”

“Yes. Of course.” Their eyes met briefly in the rearview mirror. Could he imagine how smooth her thighs were? The treadmill and the exercise ball were really an effective way to keep her legs toned. What would he think if he turned and saw her, saw down there? The way she kept her private hair close cropped. How the dark of her looked in the shadows, the deep chestnut of her bulging labia major set off by the cream of her dress bunched up almost to her hips. Would he pull over and try… even on the expressway? What would he do if he could see the glistening sheen of the beginnings of a mildly musky flow dripping down there?

Lucinda smiled wanly. The guy looked away and pretended to be just driving a woman home. But Lucinda knew. Maybe he could smell her arousal. “Billy.” Barely audible, her utterance was more a release than a sounding. Lucinda wanted to touch her nipples, to rub them between her thumb and the side of her pointing finger. She could smell the driver, he reeked of Old Spice or was it one of those obscenely-colored (whoever heard of quality perfumes in those garish shades), one of those obnoxious body oils those unkempt street merchants hawked? Lucinda closed her eyes.

Lucinda imagined Billy Jo’s lips sucking her breasts. Could you call this sex? A short tremor shot through her. Lucinda’s legs jerked and she bumped against the back of the driver’s seat. She knew she should stop. Billy. Just thinking about him.

She turned slightly sideways as though she was going to curl up on the seat or like she was trying to get comfortable, or look out the window. Or anything but… “Oh.” Why was she doing this to herself? She never usually made sounds during sex with Billy Jo because she usually had him in her mouth when she came. Lucinda wanted to stop, wanted to move her hand. But. “OH!”

“You OK, lady?”

“I’m OK.” Lucinda caught her breath and held the air inside her chest, tensing to enjoy the sweetness of the release that was just about to happen.

Lucinda paused, turned and looked up at the rearview mirror; she was certain the man was leering at her. But he wasn’t. At least he was pretending he wasn’t. Lucinda was sure he was waiting for her to close her eyes and then he would stare. “OH,” a sudden contraction caused her to jerk. Her free hand flew to her mouth. She bit her fist.

Lucinda knew that men got off on watching women please themselves, however, she no longer cared whether he was furtively observing her. Lucinda squirmed as she continued and her thumb press hit just the right rhythm. “Oh-Ohhh.” She turned her head just as the driver adjusted his rearview mirror.

Patrice Orobio saw the woman fling her head back and open her mouth, like she was, well, like she was… No, she couldn’t be. These crazy  American women. He didn’t like that they were so out of control.

Meanwhile, in Portland, after replacing the receiver and pausing for a moment of silence, Billy Jo lay on his side in the dark, Sandra firmly massaging his back.

"That was Lucinda."

"What did she want?"

"Nothing. She was drunk."


—kalamu ya salaam