“Maid Marian” a short story
My wife is a beautiful woman. And sort of ageless, which is very rare for a redhead. She’s 52 but people often think she’s 10 or 15 years younger than that. I’ve seen high school boys look at her. She gets a lot of attention. And this is not just because of her physical meat package. She has a lovely kind warm smile and I don’t know much about auras or metaphysical things but I would have to say she has a good one. She is a very kind, self effacing, and real.
And she is one of those women who doesn’t know how good looking she is. She doesn’t wear makeup or traditionally sexy clothes. She refuses to wear high heels and was the one who explained to me that they deform the feet and fuck up peoples’ backs. She does however have a few peculiar sartorial quirks. She works as a high school guidance counselor and has explained to me that she just got into the habit of business casual wear since that’s what is generally appropriate for educators. But I found some high school pictures in a yearbook that she’d tried to squirrel away in her closet and she had the exact same outfit on then!
What she wears every day is a dark pair of wool slacks, navy or very dark charcoal. They fit high up on her hips and drape down them, hugging them loosely yet perfectly. She has long legs and the slacks make them look even longer. She pairs this with a cotton white woman’s blouse tailored to look like a men’s button down but cut attractively for the female form. It’s always tucked in of course. Her shoes are classic penny loafers in black. She looks like a sexy librarian. Or a sexy lady FBI agent. It still turns me on sometimes even though I’ve seen her a million times. She’s kind of nutty in this area. “It just makes me feel safe and ordered” she said once. My wife’s name is Marian.
All the kids call her by her first name too. She says surnames are for gasbags. I actually ask my patients to call me Joe now instead of Dr. Gardner because she teased me about it. I was a young brand new internist when we met and still nurturing notions of self importance and god complexness. At one point she overheard me telling a customer service agent I was on the phone with “That’s Doctor Gardner” and she laughed at me. But I took it like a man. She’s good at letting you know when you’re being a fool without getting your hackles up. This is one of the reasons she is so good at her job.
My wife really enjoys her work. She does a lot more than just help someone pick out whether they’re going to take Shop or a Typing class. She really helps people. She singlehandedly got one kid to not only stop vandalizing the school but also achieve a C average by the end of the year- just by requiring him to attend behavioral modification themed chats with her twice a week (and his transformation was no small feat- this child was a habitual truant, and only showed up to school to tag the grounds with giant cartoon phalluses.)
She’s driven kids to Planned Parenthood, when they could not get a ride or were terrified their strict parents might find out they were sexually active. Her kids are over at our house fairly frequently too. They adore her and I enjoy it too. A lot of these kids have neglect or abuse issues going on at home, which I can relate to since my stepfather was an alcoholic bully. I knocked him out cold when I was sixteen though, and after that we had a fine understanding. Anyhow, one of Marian’s kids is named Carl, he’s a real nice kid and has been through some stuff as he has spent a lot of time in the foster care system. We shoot some hoops in the driveway sometimes. He just got accepted to U-Dub. We’re really proud of him.
Marian and I never had children and I suppose her kids are sort of proxies. Neither of us are infertile or anything like that. I guess we just never got around to it and did not feel a tremendous void in our lives without babies. The world is overpopulated anyway- I think we were of service to society and the environment by not procreating. And actually we do have one baby. Charlie my old dog. He’s a brown lab and but looks like a small bear. We’ve got him on a special diet which has really helped get his weight down but I know for a fact he’s managed to find some neighbor’s porch where they leave cat food out and he’s pilfering it. But Marian and I have discussed this and we don’t want to lock him up in the house while we are away at work because he loves his freedom. He is actually something of a local neighborhood celebrity because of it.
When I first moved here (about a year and a half before Marian and I met), Charlie was still a puppy, less than a year old. But he’d already developed some of his particular behavioral weirdnesses. For example, he watches you when you shower or take a bath. He looks like a lifeguard. Focused and on the clock. He relaxes as soon as you get out of the water. He doesn’t care if you’re swimming in a natural body of water though, like a lake or the ocean. Then he just lays out in the sun and falls asleep.
Charlie also likes visiting the neighbors. If they are outside he comes over for a polite pat and wags his tail then lays down in their driveway or by the front door and watches the cars goes by. He rotates numerous homes throughout the week. If he doesn’t like the vibes of someone attempting to approach the residence he growls at them in a very foreboding and convincing manner. A bunch of neighbors have said they feel very safe when Charlie is at his post at their house. His nickname is “Neighborhood Watch”. But this isn’t why Charlie is famous.
Charlie found a dead body. Well, a part of one. See, I always bring Charlie home a nice big grass fed, humanely raised bone from the organic butcher shop each weekend. And he has a particular modus operandi with it. He’s always felt simultaneously proud of and very generous with his bone and so when I’m relaxing in front of the TV at night he likes to climb up on the couch and drop it in my lap just in case I want a chew. It’s gross but I can’t yell at him because this was one of Charlie’s acts of love.
Well one evening he’d spent a little longer outside than usual. I’d already showered and was half asleep on the couch when he climbed up there and joyfully dropped a man’s severed arm in my lap. “Holy jeezus shit!” I yelled and jumped up and fell over the coffee table.
I of course called the police. They never found the rest of the person the arm belonged to. They located the particular trash bin Charlie dug it out of but did not find anything else in there or at the county dump. It was trash night and everyone’s bins were out on the curb waiting for the garbage truck to come the next morning. The cops figured someone probably just drove by and dropped the arm off in one of the bins. I did feel sorry for the person who was murdered and dismembered. And I wondered if something was wrong with me because after it happened I just took another shower and went to bed. But then the police eventually contacted me and informed me that they ran a DNA test on the arm and it matched 5 different backlogged rape kits that the county had finally gotten the funds to process. They never did have any serious suspects and the case was eventually closed. So a serial rapist got his due and it turned out to be a happy ending. Charlie was briefly famous online because our local news station reported on the story. I told Marian about it over dinner on our first date, which I suppose was a slightly grisly choice but she didn’t mind. In fact, she was excited to meet Charlie.
That’s another area Marian and I have found compatibility in. I’ll discuss all manner of bodily functions, treatment plans, surgeries, and procedures at the dinner table and she doesn’t mind one bit. She harbors no puritanical hangups about the human body, and has a strong stomach. She finds my work interesting. Charlie really loves her. He always offers to share his butchers bone with her too. And she always thanks him for his generosity and then politely declines. I am profoundly lucky to be with her.
And we are there for each other. I got viral encephalitis five years ago, I’d been working too hard and stressed out about my mom who was sick and I ended up running my body down. Marian had taken me on a ski trip try to give me a break. We weren’t gonna do much skiing, more like get a change of scenery, sleep in, relax in the hot tub, and roast marshmallows in the fireplace. But upon arrival I promptly collapsed in the hotel lobby.
It hit very suddenly. I went from just feeling drained and little achey to having not one but two grand mal seizures. They carried me out of there on a stretcher. It took me a full six months to get back on track, and she was there for me every day. She took a leave of absence from work and cared for me herself. Now it’s like it never happened.
Last year, when one of her parents got sick, I really wanted to be there for her too. Her mother was a heavy smoker and she was diagnosed with emphysema. Once she was released from the hospital, she was very depressed and fretful about being chained to an oxygen tank. She didn’t have anyone because Marian’s dad had already passed away and Marian’s siblings elected to not give a damn about their sick mom. So Marian and me were over at her house every day trying to cheer her up.
Marian and her mother were not close when she was young; Marian said they butted heads constantly, that her mother was a control freak, very strict, very moody and also screamed a lot. It upset her to see someone who she once perceived as so powerful to be so scared and vulnerable. Yet they did begin to form a relationship they’d never had before. I saw a genuine bond begin to develop. It was cut short when later that summer her mom contracted pneumonia and was gone in five days. Marian was very broken up about it. And she stayed sad for a long time.
She went to her grave a couple times a month and I knew she was having a hard time. She was definitely depressed. It had been a year. I suggested delicately that maybe a therapist could help and I was surprised that she agreed so quickly. I got a referral from a trusted colleague for a good psychologist and Marian made the appointment. She went to see her every week. Within a couple months she was ready to start rejoining the world. She mentioned that she thought it might be nice if we could do something romantic together. I wanted to be there for her but I wasn’t sure what to do. We used to do a lot of fun things on weekends like going to the shooting range together or hikes in Olympic National Park or catching a movie and dinner in the city. I suggested the latter but she said she’d like to do something a little more wild. I said I’d come up with something different.
I don’t know what gave me this crazy idea or why I thought it would be appropriate but here’s what I did. One time years ago Marian had told me about a secret fantasy she had. She and I have always had a great sex life but we never got around to any kind of role playing or sex toys besides a vibrator. We were always pretty straightforward sexually.
But I’d remembered she told me one time how it might be fun for me to pick her up in some public place like I was a stranger, and take her to a hotel room. I thought that sounded corny as hell but I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. I asked her what kind of stranger am I? A tall dark one? And she said You’d be a scientist, a brilliant man, doing secret work for the government. Again, I thought that sounded somewhat goofily specific and not that sexy really but she seemed to have it clear in her head how she’d visualized it.
So I just said “Okay well we should do that” but thankfully she never brought it up again. I think even though I didn’t mean to, I embarrassed her. And the truth is, it’s because I was embarrassed. I am more comfortable in the world of science and logic, I perform better in these well defined parameters. I never liked theater or artsy stuff. I guess I was afraid of not being good at something. At not getting it perfect. My folks always wanted me to be perfect. I guess it’s strange to have all these deep revelations come up all just because my wife had depression and I was thinking of finally initiating some harmless sexual fantasy with her but I did experience these particular insights.
I had some anxiety over this! But Marian had already helped me out because all I had to play was a scientist, and as a physician, that is not a far stretch. So first off I did some research so I would have a good script. I got on the laptop and read up on Nanobacteria. And then I waited until Friday and I rescheduled a couple patients so that I would have the afternoon and evening free. On Fridays, Marian customarily does some shopping downtown and then has a coffee at a certain coffee place and starts to unwind from the week there. I know this because I’ve talked to her on her cell phone there many times. I even know which specific couch she sits in.
I figured this would be the perfect place for her to meet the handsome and mysterious stranger scientist. I almost wore these wall street suspenders I graduated in but decided against it. I drove down there and parked. My palms were sweaty. I looked at my mug in the rearview mirror and took a deep breath and cruised in there. It was a rainy windy day, which fit the vibe. I stood there brushing the rain off my trench coat and saw her over at her favorite couch. There were some random customers and a few students and teacher types sitting over there too, with laptops and coffees.
It had been a little while since I’d seen Marian out of context, not in our home, but in a public space as a separate autonomous human. We hadn’t gone out since before her mom became ill. Looking at my wife I was struck by how beautiful she is. She is still the prettiest woman I have ever seen. For a second I got a little turned on staring at her, thinking about her. It gave me the courage to approach her. She was all surprised to see me and got up to give me a hug but I was prepared for that and said something cheesy like “I don’t believe we’ve met before”. She looked at me funny and so I quickly launched into my speech about how I was a lonely CDC scientist in town for a seminar and that I saw her from across the room and knew I had to introduce myself. I actually stuttered.
She started laughing and I could feel my face turning bright red. I was about to start laughing too but I was trying really hard to stay in character. But then she was like “Oh no! I’m sorry… okay uh” And she pulled herself together and then she smiled and put out her hand and introduced herself. “I’m Marian” she said. I shook her hand and she invited me to sit down, and made room on the couch for me.
I sat down and she asked me where I flew in from and I said DC and then she asked what I did for a living and that’s when I said “M’lady, allow me to explain to you about airborne nanobacteria.”
I told her I specialized in the study of the smallest pathogenic bioareosols we know of, excluding viruses. These nanobacteria, while significantly smaller than other cellular organisms, are thought to play a significant role in the spread of disease and also oddly enough, in the formation of raindrops. Naturally the government is studying my nanobacteria and their role in the “global dispersal of infective agents” as well as the “nucleation of raindrops.”
“What’s nucleation of raindrops?” Marian asked, and she crossed her legs in my direction.
I said that these tiny bacteria are excreted through the urine of various creatures, and after the fluid has evaporated, the winds simply blow them up into the atmosphere and stratosphere. Sticky proteins found on the surface of the nanobacteria act as very effective cloud condensation nuclei; they have a strong tendency to aggregate or stick together, forming clusters upon contact which creates a cloud seeding effect. When the clusters become large enough, they also become heavy enough to “drag” a raindrop down to earth with them. Thus, simultaneously creating precipitation and spreading potential disease across the globe with the rains.
Marian was looking at me very pleased I thought. I hadn’t seen her get this much of a kick out of anything in months. She murmured, “That was fascinating.” And I said “Yup.” And then we sat in an awkward silence. Then she scooted closer to me and asked where I was staying. “Oh yes right!” I said “I got us a hotel room! I mean,” I paused and deepened my voice. “I have a very nice suite at the Carlyle, if you care to join me”. She smiled real big and said she would. I helped her on with her coat and we took a cab to the hotel.
As soon as we got into the room we were tearing each other’s clothes off. I was so surprised how hot she was for me. And I was getting really turned on. It felt like the very beginning again. We were making out and I unsnapped her bra and pulled her panties down. Her bush is magnificent. My wife is a redhead and she has an almost supernaturally beautiful firecrotch. Her bush glows like a radioactive peach. I was so happy to bury my face in it. It had been a while. We fucked like teenagers again. On the bed, on the floor, back on the bed.
And then afterwards, we ordered room service and I lit a fire. We ate our hors d’oeuvres and steak and mashed potatoes on a rug in front of the fire. I looked over at her. At my lady. I sat there beaming at her.
“Thank you” she said.
“Maid Marian” I said, and I kissed her.
Copyright © 2013 by Kim Campion
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