Strange Taste, Pt 19 - lick

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

She had impressed him with her attention to personal hygiene, the way she prepared herself for him in the bathroom, the subtle dab of scent behind her ears, her oral cleansing routine.

Alyn prepared the house meticulously for Georgie’s arrival. She had impressed him with her attention to personal hygiene, the way she prepared herself for him in the bathroom, the subtle dab of scent behind her ears, her oral cleansing routine. Georgie would want to prepare herself tonight, and bathe in the morning, after their never-ending night of love. He turned on the transistor radio on the kitchen windowsill, made himself a lemon squash, then sat at the kitchen table and made a list of things to do on the back of an old envelope. I Am Woman was playing intermittently on the wireless. Alyn felt himself stir with eager anticipation, he stopped writing - as he realised:

That’s who Georgie is - my woman.

There were seven sachets of fungi in the freezer compartment: toadstools, wild and magic mushrooms, all of them hand-picked on his bike rides to fields and forests, leafy glades, deadly-secret retreats. After quaffing his squash, Alyn rinsed the glass, placed it on the mouldy draining board to dry, then opened the fridge door. Fortunately, there was enough food left for him to cook Georgie breakfast in the morning, when he gave her his surprise: eggs, streaky bacon, a pot of Marmite, and white sliced bread to toast under the grill. The butter was rock-solid. He took it out to soften in the balmy summer sun on the windowsill, then extracted one of the fungal sachets from the freezer box, to defrost, before stewing...

Georgie would break with family tradition when she came tonight, knocking on the pink front door. Alyn found the key in his wooden bowl of knickknacks in the knife drawer, walked through the dusty living room to the hall that housed the coin-operated electricity meter, and unlocked the door. Having used all his change on the dreaded call to Katie, he prayed that the power would last all night, imagining all the lights going out as Georgie climbed on the bed to make love. She’d need hot water: for when she prepared herself for him, and during their aftermath, when they bathed together, when he soaped her breasts. He shook his cherished woman from his mind and went to the scullery to fetch some coal.

The coalman always knocked twice before entering the olive-green back door, leaning forward, pouring out his dirty cargo, like a human chute, into the dingy black coal hole, choking on the clouds of dust, coughing and shouting, ‘Coalman!’ Alyn paid him 60p for a sack of anthracite: a hard, jet-black coal that burned slowly in his stove and gave out an intense heat.

The anthracite was stored behind three splintery wooden boards. Alyn never attempted to remove them for fear of creating one almighty avalanche of coal and dust. He loaded a heap of fuel into its scuttle, carried it to the stove, lifted the heavy cast iron lid, and poured it in. Next, he lit the gas wand with a taper, thrusting the flaming poker into a hole at the base of the stove. The boiler would take hours to heat enough water for bath-time. Alyn supposed that he could always boil a saucepan of water for Georgie, if she fancied a cat’s lick before she came to bed. His hands, face, and nostrils were black with coal dust. He ran upstairs to wash, stripping off his soiled clothing in the cool bathroom, rinsing the heat of the poker from his flushed face, shivering as the chill of cold water ran down his chest - imagining it was Georgie’s lick.


Submitted: January 13, 2021

© Copyright 2021 HJFURL. All rights reserved.

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