Monday night

Sweating palms

The sensation of frustration had been increasing all morning and, for Frank Smythe, it was not so much the fact of it but, more, the force of the sentiment, its uncertain origin and the situation that, essentially, he could do nothing about it. His awkwardness must have shown when, riding the elevator up to the 'Accounting' level with some files for signing, his work colleague, Cindy, joined him and they were alone. On entering, she smiled and greeted him.

Cindy was a very neat, pretty girl and, in her business suit with her hair tied up in a tail, Frank thought she looked just about good enough to eat. It didn't help matters that he was picturing her naked.

“How was your weekend?” Frank inquired, trying to distract himself. He could feel a line of perspiration above his upper and absently swiped at it.

“Nothing special – the usual,” she stated in a matter-of-fact way.

“Laundry.” She grimaced. “I had a good yoga session on Saturday afternoon,” she offered as a positive note.

It was not what Frank was looking for because, after that, she was not only naked but also bendy.

“Oh, that's great,” said Frank and looked away. It didn't help because the reflective interior of the elevator only replicated her naked, bendy form a million-fold.

Frank sighed and stared at the floor. He wiped the uncomfortable dampness from his palms and wished the elevator would arrive to its destination floor but, in his mind, it was only going slower while his fantasies grew.

“Is it warm in here?” Frank's inquiry attempted to sound innocent. Cindy shrugged and looked at him, her beautiful blue eyes on him making him fidget and shift all the more.

“I don't think so,” she offered, unaware of Frank's discomfort, “but you do look flushed. Are you feeling OK?”

The bell sounded and the door opened at his floor.

“Yeah,” he said, smiling but, thinking that it might look too rapacious, he stopped. “I should be fine.” He escaped into the vast maze of cubicled humanity as the door slid shut on Cindy's quizzical gaze.

Things did not improve as, navigating the corridors of the cubicle labyrinth, Frank realised that he was picturing most of his female colleagues naked and he wondered if he should denounce himself for sexual harassment. Thankfully, the person he was going to see was a guy and a fairly corpulent, middle-aged one, at that. At least he was OK on that count and, after getting the necessary expense signatures, Frank fled back to his office.

'What is wrong with me?'

He thought back over the course of the weekend and, upon reflection, could detect nothing whatsoever that might have left him so 'geared up'. He wiped some nervous perspiration from his forehead and tried to focus on the computer screen in front of him but it continued to blur.

'Maybe it's something I ate.'

Again, he did a mental inventory of his diet over the previous days and came up with a blank.

It was not the fact of being in the state of sexual agitation that was bothering him inasmuch as the inappropriateness of its timing. Frank was used to coming to work, focusing on it and then going home - he didn't consider work to be particularly 'sexy'. He realised that anyone, male or female, could find themselves feeling a little perky during the day but that, normally, it would be triggered by anticipation of an evening liaison or, perhaps more often, the delicious memory of a recent encounter. Nonetheless, his impatience grew and, to his chagrin, he found it hard to concentrate as his mind continued to wander off on lurid tangents.

'Maybe it's just normal that sometimes you 'wanna',” he suggested to himself but it was of no practical assistance.

At lunch, he ducked out to the take-out at the corner but, startled by the number of pretty women passing by in the street, he returned directly and ate, his frustration turning into grumpiness, anger and a little disgust directed at himself, in his office.

No, it didn't quite go like that.

She had been discreet, standing on the corner of the sidewalk as though waiting for a bus or trying to flag a cab but, her demeanour – the overt sexuality of her presence – left little doubt that she was not a shop-girl on lunch and what was, instead, the product she was selling.

When Frank exited the take-out restaurant with the white, plastic bag and its two, folding, foam containers inside dangling from his fingers, he had stopped and regarded her evaluating, not only contingencies but, also, her long, lean figure and, what he referred to as, 'six feet of leg'.

'Even if I do get back to work late they're not going to fire me,' he cajoled himself.

He felt a flush of heat rise to his face and, when she had noticed him, returning his stare, he took a step forward, challenging a moral that he had never even considered breaking. She began to saunter toward him, the 'easy on, easy off' Peruvian skirt dancing from her rolling hips and the blouse fluttering across ample and, probably augmented, breasts.

OK, that is when he fled back to his office.

By five o'clock, Frank was a nervous wreck and, making excuses about an 'engagement' for not doing the usual extra hour, he ran to the security of his car, some tranquil, pre-programmed music and the 20 minute commute home.

“Is that you, honey?” Martha's voice came from the kitchen and Frank approached.

“Yep,” he stated. “How was your day?”

As was her habit, his wife had, on arriving home before starting supper, stripped off her blouse and skirt in favour of a long, satin camisole. Frank entered the kitchen and, coming up behind her, interleaved his fingers across her belly.

“Hey... you,” she said, surprised.

He began to nuzzle her neck and she leaned in, her hips rolling beneath his hands.

“I was thinking,” he began.

“I hope it was what I was thinking,” she purred. She pivoted in his grasp and laid her arms across his shoulders.

“Maybe we could eat supper a little later than usual,” Frank continued.

Martha giggled and closed her eyes.

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