Quid Pro Quo
You ask me what the oddest and most embarrassing episode of my life was, and one particular weekend in 1943 has to be right up there. This was a weekend that I was home from college, my younger brother Adam was home on leave before he went overseas, and my husband Dennis, who was not my husband at that time, was not home because he was up visiting some relatives of his in Tuttle, OK.
My brothers and I have always gotten along pretty well. Part of it was because I was the oldest and they knew better than to try and run my life, not that I would have put up with any shit from them if they'd tried. At the same time, we looked after each other, and if you messed with one of us, you were going to have the other two all over your ass. Ask anybody in Koenigsburg, TX. It was true then and it's true today. Still, while Eugene (nobody ever called him that) and I have always been cool with each other, it was with Adam that I had a special relationship—no, not that kind of special! Well, I guess. Sort of. That one time. All right, I'm getting there.
As I've said, we always looked out for each other. I beat up people who picked on him, right up until he graduated high school and joined the Army, and he always knew how to pick me up when I was feeling blue. When we were little kids I had scarlet fever so bad that I had to go to the hospital. They wanted to cut my hair off, but I wouldn't let them. Adam was not supposed to be there, because little kids were not supposed to be in the hospital, but you could not have kept him out any more than you could have kept out air or roaches. So the nurses just gave up: they showed him how to wash my hair and look after it, and even after I got well, he did it from time to time for years after that, to cheer me up. I've told him that if all else failed he could always be a shampoo boy.
It was late summer, hot as hinges and all the stuff in the garden coming ripe at once. I had been at school all summer, taking as many courses as I could so I could graduate ahead of time and come back and work in Dr. Muldaur's veterinary clinic. Now it was the time between the end of the summer and the beginning of fall, and I was ready for a break. I had caught the train up from A&M, and jumped off at the whistle-stop in Koenigsburg. Dad was there waiting for me and he helped me throw my stuff in the back of the truck.
As we went down the hot, dusty highway, we talked. The garden had done really well, and Mom expected to do a lot of canning. It looked like the sorghum crop was going to do well. Most of the local farmers had given up on cotton; it seemed like the boll weevil was still king in the land. He talked about people who were overseas, and who had lost a son or husband or brother. Also, Gene had left home.
"That's crazy, he's only eighteen! Did something happen? Where did he go? What can he possibly be doing?"
"You know how all he's ever wanted to do was fix cars. Well, Mr. Haller offered him a sort of apprenticeship in his garage and he jumped at it. He was so set on it, there wasn't much I could do; I at least got Haller to promise that he would still go to school until he was old enough to graduate. And he'll still come home and help us if we really need it. There's an apartment over the garage and he's living in it.
"So, what do you plan to be up to during your short break?"
"Oh, I don't know. Helping at home, I guess. Working in Dr. Muldaur's clinic. Palling around with Dennis. He's around, isn't he?" I didn't know where he would be if he wasn't. He was the sole support of his family, since his father had died, and an only son, so he was exempt from going off to war.
Dad gave me a sideways look. "He'll probably be around in a few days, but he isn't right now. He's in Oklahoma."
"Oklahoma! What in God's name is he doing there?"
"Visiting kin, believe it or not. Old Jake had an aunt or something he was estranged from, but now she's dying and she wants to make her peace with Dennis since Jake is dead. She has some land up there, too. For what it's worth."
"Hah! For what it's worth," I said. And what could that be? How many acres of dust were we talking about?
Immediately some of the shine went out of the day. I'd been looking forward to seeing Dennis. He wanted to marry me, and I had been resolutely putting him off as far as that was concerned, because I wanted to get my degree and get started in my work, but that didn't prevent me from having a ton of fun with him when I was in town. I'd looked forward to seeing his blue and gold eyes light up when he saw me, and feeling his brawny arms around me. And when we were alone together…
I love me a big man, I purely do. I knew I probably would marry him when I'd taken care of those other matters first, because any big, or tall, woman who's got a big man is a fool if she lets him get away. Ah, the bliss of it! Never to have to slouch in an effort to look short, and to be able to wear high heels, assuming that one wanted to wear such torture devices. Besides, all the way home on the train, with the hum and vibration of the rails beneath me, and each irregularity of the tracks, I'd been getting surreptitiously soaking wet with excitement, thinking of the meat and drink of his kisses, and how we'd be so eager to get at each other we wouldn't even bother with a bed, at first: we'd get each other's clothes off, and then I'd take a standing jump into his arms. He was tall enough and strong enough to take me standing; he'd cradle my ass in his hands and stick me onto his cock, which was built just like he was, wide as well as long, and I'd wrap my arms and legs around him like a lemur and just go to town, laughing and groaning, braced between him and the nearest wall.
And now he was in Oklahoma. Damn!
"Boy, did I ever sour your milk with that news! Hey, he's going to be back before school starts again. Besides, I have another surprise for you. One that you'll like a little bit better than the one I just gave you."
I gave Dad a jaundiced look and slumped against the passenger door of the truck, trying to imagine what a pleasant surprise could be. What could you surprise anybody with in these days? A new wardrobe? What was that? Every bit of cloth was rationed. Besides, I didn't care about that kind of thing. A new car? Now, that was something I'd like. Or any kind of car that ran. Fat chance! The richest man in town didn't have a new car.
We pulled up into the gravel drive in front of the house, and Dad tooted the horn. Mom came out, wiping her hands on her apron. Beside her was a tall, lanky figure in an Army uniform.
With a whoop of delight, I tore out of the truck and ran to meet him.
"Goofy!" I cried, as my little—ha! Not so little now—brother swung me into his arms and whirled me in a mad circle before setting me down on the grass. "When did you get in? How long have you been here?"
"Couple days," Adam said. "Now, can I please go and get into something more comfortable? Mom's made me stay in uniform half the day, because she wanted you to see me dressed up."
He gave me a couple of resounding kisses on my cheeks and dashed into the house.
"Now, I do feel better," I said. "I didn't think we'd really get to see him before he had to go to Europe. How long is he staying?"
Mom sighed. "Not as long as I'd like," she said. "I think he's going to be here for a week. Lord, I'm going to be so worried about him."
"He'll be all right," I said. "They're not going to use him for cannon fodder. He's far too knowledgeable about electrical stuff and blowing things up. He'll be something technical for sure. EOD or the Engineer Battalion or something."
"I hope so." We got my things out of the truck and put them in my room. Adam was back in civilian clothes, and typically, foraging around the kitchen in hopes of finding something to munch on. Ever since he had hit adolescence, he had been a walking appetite, and that hadn't changed.
One thing had, though. He had reached his height of six feet, two inches so fast, the rest of his growth was some time catching up to it. When he got out of high school, he weighed one hundred and thirty-five pounds soaking wet. But regardless of what you heard about Army chow, it seemed to have agreed with him. I thought he'd gained about twenty-five pounds, which meant that he actually weighed more than I did. It was all nicely distributed and none of it was fat. He was still too skinny to be Mr. Universe but you had to admit he'd improved.
When the sun had begun to retreat towards the horizon and it wasn't so hot, we came outside and sat down on the porch steps.
"It sure is nice to have you back for a while," I said. "You been into town? I mean, besides when you got off the train."
"Couple of times," he said. "Mom wanted everyone to see me in uniform, so I dressed up to please her the last time we went."
"You get any looks from the girls?"
Adam grinned. "Got all kinds of second glances from girls who wouldn't have looked at me the first time when we were still in school."
"Have you taken any of them out?"
"Do you think you will?"
"What's the point? I am exactly the same guy they shot down before I signed up. Surviving training and putting on a uniform isn't going to have changed me that much."
He had a point. For some reason, he'd tended to miss with girls all the time we were coming up. I could never figure out quite why. That's not true. I knew why—I just didn't regard it as a sufficient reason. As much as we in the family all loved him, we'd have been lying to claim he was normal. Most girls like being able to add a man up, but my brother didn't add up. At least, every time you tried to add him up, you got a different answer. Even I, who knew him about as well as anybody, couldn't put my finger on what made him different. Maybe it was the air he gave of being a half-step out of synch with the parade of life. Or the inability to carry on the kind of small-talk conversation so dear to the heart of a teenaged girl. Or his blind need to bend your hapless ear with whatever he was currently enthusiastic about, or knowledgeable about, whether you wanted to talk about it or not. Or the idea you got that, behind his visionary eyes, he was carrying on some kind of dialog with someone and it wasn't you. He used to be a lot odder than that as a little kid, but Dad, afraid that he would end up not being good for anything and be a charge on the family when he got older, determined that he was going to instill normalcy into him, and he partially succeeded, though he used methods which would certainly draw the attention of Child Welfare if you used them now.
But for whatever reason, I can't think of a single honest to God date or dating relationship that he ever had all through high school. He made pretty decent grades, especially in math and science, and he was a track star—there was a shelf in the curio cabinet in the parlor that was reserved for all the trophies he won for good old Koenigsburg High, but if there was a dance or a party going, he went stag.
It pissed me off. "Phony bitches," I grumbled.
Adam gave me a sidewise grin. "Language, sis! Better watch out that Mom doesn't hear you," he said. "I let one slip this morning—she said she wouldn't take the coal tar soap to me because I'm Serving Our Country. However, you don't have that going for you."
"I am part of the effort to ensure the health of the nation's animals," I said. "That counts for something."
"But you aren't wearing a uniform."
"All right, all right!" I said. "So, Little Bro, you look like the Army's done you a lot of good. By the way, did you ever at any point along the way, manage to lose it?"
His long-lashed gray eyes widened as he gave me a look of phony innocence. "Lose what?"
I socked him on the upper arm. "You know what I mean!"
He looked away from me, out across the sorghum fields. "Yeah."
"You don't say! Anybody we're likely to hear about?"
"I doubt it. After I made it through boots a bunch of the guys took me into town to celebrate. We went to…this place. I'd gotten paid and everything. And…well, you know."
I knew what society and the churches and all taught us about morals—and didn't believe most of it, at least not the sex part. It struck me as an institutionalized raw deal for women—where women were supposed to come to the marriage bed all pure and innocent (read: ignorant) and the men experienced. I didn't think ensuring men were just as ignorant was the solution, but it made me sad to think of my nice kid brother, whom a lot of girls could do worse than, getting it like that. But that was just the way things were.
"You be careful, now. You don't want to be picking up a disease from one of those places."
"Don't worry about me; I can take care of myself. They showed us a film in training. And we can get protection cheap."
"That's good. So, how was it? Was it what you hoped?"
"Yeah. I guess." He continued to look out across the fields.
"It wasn't, was it?"
"Well…it didn't seem like that much of a stretch from what you can do with yourself—and what you can get, um, other ways—"
I would not like to say that my brother had never had any action of any kind. There were a very few girls, mostly out-of-town visitors, who thought he looked interesting, got told by the friends they stayed with that being seen with him would do nothing for them socially, but didn't mind a little secretive fooling around with him—the kind of thing that felt good but resulted in no pregnancy, which we were all scared of in those days. None of them would walk up the main street with him, but they didn't mind necking and petting with him in some out-of-the-way place, and he accepted their terms, and got what fun he could out of it, because he would do anything for attention, for the feel of a woman pressed against his body.
"It taught me something about myself," he continued.
"And that was—?"
"I want someone to be with on a regular basis—not to have to go chasing it here and there like some of the guys do."
I couldn't think what to say. I didn't see this happening if he stayed in Koenigsburg.
"It'll happen someday," I finally said. I felt like getting up and moving around, and I got up from the steps, using one hand on top his head, with its pelt of short, thick, off-black hair, for leverage. He was ready to take the slight weight I exerted, because I had been doing this for years. I dug in my pocket for my pack of Luckies and shook one out, putting it to my lips. "Want one?"
"No thanks," he said.
"Huh! So you didn't take up smoking when you got out in the world," I commented, lighting up.
"That stuff's bad for you," he said. "Besides, it makes your hair smell. 'Course I guess it doesn't matter if Dennis smokes too. Say, I heard you were real sore when you found out he was out of town."
"I expect to be even sorer after he's been home for a while," I said. I didn't know why I said that—it just came out. A wash of pink ran along Adam's cheekbones, and I could feel my own face heating up.
"This conversation's getting wild," he said. He got up from the porch steps, brushing dust off his skinny butt, and went into the house, leaving me alone outside with my smoke.
The next day Mom asked me to pull weeds in the vegetable garden and that was when I saw the cucumber. Earlier in the summer, the garden had been full of them, but Mom had caught and pickled nearly all of them when they were small. I knew that in the pantry there were jars of pickles of all kinds: sweets, dills, bread-and-butter sliced. This one had been overlooked and was even bigger than salad cucumbers were allowed to get. It was so late and ripe it had a bronze flush to it. I bent down and picked it, hefting it in my hand. It was hard and vaguely three-sided, and warmed from its exposure to the sun. It felt exactly like a cock, I thought. All it lacked was the knob. Holding it with one hand and sliding my hand up and down it, I realized my pussy was getting hot and swollen, like a sun-ripened fruit.
I took the cuke into the house and washed it very thoroughly. This was necessary, for cucumbers straight out of the garden were not the sanitized things you see in the grocery nowadays. Those are waxed, and slick and oily to the touch. This one was knobby, slightly grainy with garden dirt. When I had cleaned it and dried it, I stuck it under my pillow. I was looking forward to bedtime tonight. I had not planned on a date with a cucumber when I came home, but it was better than nothing.
However, after dinner, Mom and Dad had to take the truck into town. I didn't feel like going with them. They didn't take Adam with them, because he said he was going for a run. That boy loved to run, even when he wasn't competing. You'd have thought he'd have enough running in basic training, but go figure! It was almost like an addiction with him and he felt out of kilter if he didn't get his run every day. Nobody knew from endorphins in those days, but he knew what was good for him.
I had seldom found myself alone in the house when I was coming up. Mom and Dad preferred to load us kids in the truck and haul us along when they went into town, and the boys were always in and out when we were home.
I went to my room and lay down on the bed. It was hot, and I had to close the curtains against the sunlight and keep the windows open to let in a breeze at the same time. A small fan sat on the high old bureau next to the bed, and I turned that on, training the air to circulate onto my body.
I took off my pants and pushed them down to the end of the bed, and unbuttoned my shirt. Under my shirt, I almost never wore a bra. Then, my breasts were pretty small, and they were very high and firm, so I didn't really need one.
I hadn't really planned to play with myself during the day, when it would have been so much more convenient, as well as safer, to wait until everyone else was in bed, but I suppose then I should have chosen something different to read. One of my friends at school had a copy of Tropic of Cancer which her brother-in-law had smuggled from overseas, and she'd lent it to me. It was pretty raw stuff, but it worked; fresh moonshine may not taste very good but it can still get you drunk quicker than you can say.
Nevertheless, I found that I preferred my own imagination to Henry Miller's misogynistic musings, and I put the book aside and caressed my body and let a montage of images and remembered sensations pass through my mind. I twirled my thumbs over my hard nipples—oh, if only Dennis were there to lightly pinch one and flick the other one with his tongue! Ah, tongues—the dance between Dennis' and mine when we kissed…the taste and feel of that one little place on the underside of his cock, up near the slit, that when I licked it, he absolutely could not keep his hips still and he could not keep his voice down. The way he sounded when he was spurting deep into my cunt or into my mouth.
I couldn't stand it any longer. I brought the cucumber out from its hiding place under my pillow. It was still slightly warm from having been out in the sun, and I had taken care to maintain its temperature by washing it in hot water. Holding it in both my hands, I put it in my mouth, to get it wet and because I was still thinking of Dennis' cock, hearing him say that's it honey, you get down on your knees where you belong and open wide. Take it! You'll take it from me, Zandra!
I stripped my panties off and kicked them down to the end of the bed to join my slacks. Parting my legs wide, I nudged the tip of the cucumber between my swollen labia. I needn't have wetted the thing; I was already hot and slick down there, and the cuke went up inside me as easily as a plug into a socket. It was so long there was plenty of it for me to grab even when I was full, stretched nice and tight around it. I lay still for a second, savoring the feeling of having something between my legs even if it wasn't what I'd planned on. Then I began to work it in and out.
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