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Evening Out

The fine autumn evening was beginning to close in. Alan was lounging on the settee with a can of beer in one hand and the TV screen on the wall jibber-jabbering about some football feat.  Sal was lounging the other end of the settee looking at Alan, bored with talk-talk feeding into her head. Her long hair was awry, as was her mood. She had dressed sloppy to match Alan. She slowly stood up putting her wine-glass on the table, said, “OK,” to the non-listening Alan, and quietly left their living room.


Thirty minutes later, Sal suddenly burst in through their living room door. “I’m fucking fed up with this, Alan,” she threw at him with no attempt to conceal her anger.

He looked at Sal in astonishment. She did not elaborate on what ‘this’ was. She was wearing clothes he’d never seen before and must have kept secret: a tight leather skirt, long shiny boots, a lace blouse allowed a suggestion of her bra-less nipples, half covered by a small black leather jacket with long sleeves down to her knuckles. Her face was thickly painted with make-up. Her long dark hair was scraped back into a ponytail which she had managed to fan out over her shoulder-blades. And her dark eyeshadow emphasised the whites of her eyes which shone at him like fizzy lightening. She was slim, presenting her body invitingly. Her image was provocative. Very. But it was not to lure him. She was aiming to provoke him differently. “I’m fucking fed-up,” she repeated and stood still and erect, in front of him, glaring pointedly as if she expected a response. She was angry. He should have been aroused by the image, her challenging stance. She looked gleaming with desire, a conquest on offer, cheap, and ‘available’, a tart in her late-twenties. They’d been married six years, and perhaps boredom was setting in. He wiped his hand across his eyes. Was the plan to make him jealous that she’d find someone else? He couldn’t tell what she was angry about. She’d never dressed like a whore, even when he’d known her at school, and she’d flirted with boys.

He decided to stand up to face whatever she was doing. He put down his beer-can and flicked off the TV which turned in fact to some wailing pop-music till he hit the right button. His baggy clothes drooped in contrast, and their dusty, dim colours seemed blurred in the fading light. His bald shaved head looked like the shiny white of an egg, with half the shell gone. He was hardly a match for her dressed-up image. He felt dowdy, and she was vibrating.

“What’s up, Sal?” he asked with innocence. He seemed a kid, confused and lost, facing her sexual challenge. It made him sexy. He wanted her a lot. He stepped forward and held her shoulders as if to comfort whatever was suddenly wrong. So she kicked his shin with her boot. He stood back in surprise and let go of her. There was a big question mark imprinted on his face.

She continued scowling, “You don’t fucking get it, do you?” she said again with a thrumming urgency. He looked at her with painful surprise and conflicted. He knew he was not too smart and often didn’t ‘get’ things. He had never shone at school, and as an electrician now, he could not keep up with the constant new regulations imposed on his trade. But it was true he didn’t ‘get’ what was going on in his home right now, with his wife. He looked at her slender body, sizzling and decorated to get the hormones going. He had always thought she was a luscious shape of human flesh formed in curves around her strict and upright centre, which he admired and desired. But now the hard steel edges were bruising him. When he made no response, she said again. “You don’t get it,” and looked away. Then, almost as if she had rehearsed it, “You just think I’m a weak, helpless woman, so you can think you’re a fucking male dick.” She looked with scorn at his drab appearance and his casual, sit-around life-style. “I’m going out this evening.” And with emphasis, “To get laid.” She emphasised it to get him going, hardly a cupid’s arrow and more like buckshot to blast him to pieces. Which it did.

She stretched her arms up and no man could mistake the commanding invitation  of that lithe pose. And waiting for some response from his sagging stance, she sighed with a disappointment. She wanted him to know she was excited. And to see she was determined on satisfaction. And she was telling him it would not be him.

His non-response rejected her, even though she knew she would not have let him have her at that moment. Not this evening. She went on, “Fuck you, Alan. I’m going down that pub, in the next village. The Roast Pig or whatever it’s called. Full of grubby blokes, all as dirty and ugly as their fag-ends. I’m going down there, and crash through their door looking like this,” and she indicated her clothes as if he might not have noticed them. “I’ll slam the door shut so it bangs and they all look at me. Then if any of them got the guts to come at me, they can have me. If they all want me, they can all have me.”

She no longer expected a reply. He was aghast at this new person, almost not a person, a sudden make-over, with venom. Normally they never talked about how their lives were, what they were feeling, what she wanted, the frustrations. He knew though, that she was bored with working at the supermarket check-out, smiling impersonally at customers she did not know. They had wanted to have children together by now, but none had come along.

As if they were on the same track, she said, almost angrily reassuring him, “And if I fucking get pregnant, we’ll get rid of it. OK?” At that moment the front doorbell rang. She sighed, as if defeated in her efforts with him, and briskly turned to answer the door. Silently she and Rose, her friend from around the corner, came back in. Rose was dressed similarly, black shiny ankle boots, and patterned tights, with a short silver, satin skirt slit at the side of her thigh. A black silky blouse with the top buttons undone, invited more exploration; a silky scarf around her shoulders. She had the same painted make-up and her reddish-blonde hair looked curled and waved at the hairdressers that afternoon. They both stood with their high stiletto heels stabbing the carpet and staring at him. He thought of grabbing them and fucking them, but they were intimidating, not inviting him. Their stern impassive defiance put a wall round them.

Rose said, rather unnecessarily, “We’re going together.”

Alan, at a loss, as so often, said weakly, “You don’t have to go.”

Sal scoffed, “Huh.” And the two women grinned at each other. “Yes, we’re going, whatever you sodding think.”

“You want me to come along too?” he asked, dreading having to go with them and also dreading having to stay at home on his own.

“You can stay here,” Sal said, “And wank yourself with your remote.” And laughing, they turned on their sharp heels and made for the door. Their swaying hips seemed almost to laugh at his sad dejection,  as they swaggered confidently away from him without looking back.

“Look after your fucking selves, for god’s sake.”

“We can do that alright, ‘big man’,” Rose yelled back sarcastically as they scuttled down the steps in their titillating gear.



He was lying in bed long after midnight; sleep was refusing to soothe him. Sal returned. He did not turn over to look at her as she undressed. She got in beside him, and he turned over to face her. She had a swollen eye. After a minute or so, he said, “You’re going to get a black eye, there.”

            She looked at him with the other eye. “There were five,” she said. “And one was nasty; fucking hit me, he did. I’ve never been slapped in the face so bloody hard,” and she pointed with her finger at her eye.

            “Fucking, damn stupid,” he said, giving the obvious verdict.

            “Yes. There weren’t any love in it.” And she shut both her eyes. “Rose had to go off to the hospital; I think she had a broken bone in one of her hands.”

            “You’re crazy, Sal, you know that?”

            “I hated it; every minute of it, Alan. I couldn’t stop them; once they’d started. I think they hated us.” She looked expressionless as she lay in his arms.

            He felt sort of sorry for her. And the urge was suddenly so strong he penetrated her. She hardly moved. As he lay back afterwards, he said with resigned satisfaction, “Number six”.

            “Thanks,” she muttered and remained limply holding him. “More like love, that was. Fucking, thank you.”

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