Friday, January 27, 2017

David Russell writes


On the following day, Zenobia successfully did her test-run with a reasonably presentable guy – tall, slim, grayish, in his mid-thirties – then turned up at Persephone’s office at 5pm. They were both dressed in smart executive suits. “Let’s go to my place,” said Persephone, “we need to have an in-depth talk.”

Persephone’s third floor apartment was spacious and impeccably furnished, in teak, mahogany and velvet, with a glass-topped table and much other glassware, plus an array of porcelain. She motioned Zenobia to sit beside her on the sofa.

“You’re pretty super-fit, darling; you can take on any client likely to come onto our books. I think we are kindred spirits, as well as kindred bodies – ” she blushed, and looked Zenobia straight in the eye – “I love your body, darling.”

Their linked eyebeams felt incandescent. “We must have a postscript to our session.” Where eyes had led, lips followed, breathily held for a good five minutes. Persephone pulled Zenobia up; they stood facing each other. “Our moment of destiny,” Persephone breathed.

Delicately, self-assuredly, she undid Zenobia’s clothes. Relishing the sight of her naked, she beamed and raised her arms. “Please grace me,” she whispered. Zenobia’s trembling fingers followed her example. They surged into a long, writhing naked embrace, then Persephone took her partner to the bedroom. They scaled the heights and plumbed the depths of ecstasy, then lay back, serenely exhausted after an absolute work-out. The subsequent shower warmed them and cooled them.

“Darling,” said Persephone, “we have bonded in our totality as two women, two Goddesses. Let this tryst be the foundation for our supreme power over men, so that we can take on the mightiest on our own terms, to our own advantage. Let’s keep each other fully informed of our experiences and build up our reservoir of knowledge – and perhaps apply it in many areas of activity.”

Persephone’s bookshelves were amply loaded with literature, history, philosophy, economics, accountancy . . . a true polymath. She must have other enterprises, over and above the Health Centre.

As Zenobia walked back home from Persephone’s she had some sense of coming to ground level from a flight. Her ‘common sense’ self jeered at her, and said: “Look; you’re living in a novel; you’re living in a soap opera – come down to earth.” But her imaginative self told her that the earth was dreary, and that she needed to rise above it. The tingling aftermath of her contests and her tryst gave her a powerful sense of levitation. She was her own organic airliner, or perhaps a human bat free from insanity. 


The first client was Reginald, an accountant, probably in his late 30s. This was a case of a neglected physique. A little flab had accrued, probably through confectionery and a sedentary job. But a moderate number of press-ups and sessions on the cycling frame soon burned away the calories. At the conclusion of his sessions, he complimented her on her efficiency and pressed his business card into her hand. After he had left, she looked at the card; it had address, phone number and email. Zenobia turned it over – there was a message: I’d love to meet you away from the workplace. She felt elated; her handiwork had made him desirable, and an extra reward offered on top of her satisfaction.

There was a charming, pleading look in his eyes as he left her, so after weighing up the pros and cons, she decided to ring him and exchange a date. It was great seeing this lithe, handsome man anew, glowing with the splendor of her example. It turned out that his wife, exasperated by his workaholism, had left him, and that he had sunk into depression, inertia and self-neglect. He desperately needed to drag himself out of that trough, which led him, by the power of invisible magnetism, to the Fitness Centre. Perhaps some pictures of the staff swayed his decision; he had been surrounded by the dowdy. Zenobia congratulated him and urged him to make a foray into the world. She hinted at favours if he could contact her with a tale to tell about a post-training conquest. He nodded acceptance of the challenge. Judging by the restaurant bill, he was comfortably off; that gave her food for thought. 

Then there was Gonzalo, the smouldering Latino, followed by several others – some of whom were loaded with money, but physically well past their sell-by date. The good-looking ones were smart, suggesting affluence – but she could not be sure. The perfect combination of looks and wealth was probably an ideal, never to materialise in real life. After all, most such ideals are in edited photographs. Zenobia wanted to give to humanity as much as she took from it, be a beacon of hope, a benefactress to the great mass of lonely men. She was to be the teacher supreme. With confidence in modeling, she felt she could graduate to having a statue of herself – or failing that, a plaster cast.

Thoughts of making a fortune were beginning to obsess her. She tried turf accountancy and the Lottery in moderation, and reaped a few dividends, which she siphoned off for investment. But she monitored her daydreaming very carefully. Sheer vanity and health consciousness prevailed against any inclination towards alcohol and drugs; she got her highs without hangovers – out of her own fantasies; one can be glamorous without wrecking oneself. Pierre was quite near to the perfect combination, and set her up in a luxury flat, with no heavy strings attached. His constant globe-trotting made his direct appearances sporadic – plenty of room for Zenobia to manoeuvre. He seemed in no way vigilant or possessive; she in turn assumed he had multiple involvements worldwide


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