They had sex in the morning and in evening. In the morning they had sex like they needed it and in the evening, it was a slow, near-lazy kind of sex, a sex of secrets and moist eyes and kisses afterwards. Admittedly, this is what people wanted to see, what they came for. It was a show in the morning and a show in the evening.
Dr. Mette Thench was a part-time tutor at the local university and had been coming to the show for over a year now. At first, she came with her excuses; that such a spectacle might give her some abstract view on modern sexuality, that witnessing the coldness and coolness of the heated, taut bodies grinding on, to, with and at each other would confirm the vague suspicion that sex without affection was a hollow thing indeed. She thought too that her presence as a woman would discomfit the predominantly male audience; this though was unfounded. For one, she was by no means the only female to be a regular spectator and secondly, the audience were always, as far as she could tell, fully occupied in their little cordons that swaddled the viewing arena.
This club was a three-arena establishment and though the acts and their configurations changed frequently, the management made sure to hold on to one regular show, a freckle of stability in their wrinkling world. It was to this regular couple that Mette always came, irregularly at first, with curiosity and shame and then with a kind of quotidian savour, like morning coffee and evening wine.
After excuses came open desire and with that, eventually, she admitted to herself that she was taken, quite taken, with the man behind the glass: Eduardo. She was taken with his stamina, his alacrity, the body-blend of his musculature and of his penis, its girth and tone. She particularly liked it when he fucked on his knees, drawing his partner into his lap with moist plops in culminating motion. What made her like this even more was that this position was used both morning and evening, but in each possessed a different meaning. In the morning it was an expression of growling will, the utter involvement of the masturbator, and here, his partner- she called herself Cheree- became a tool, and Mette liked to watch the young woman’s body stretch out and retract like a rubber band as Eduardo performed.
In the evening though, Mette perceived in the act a rough tenderness; there was stroking and knowing looks between them and while this always caused a spasm of envy, she was relieved, always relieved, at the return of amity in the couple. This was, she realised, why she saw both shows. There was a narrative, repeated daily, apparently endless, over their groans and breaths and grimaces. This possibly intellectual take on her habits was a comfort to her.
It was true, the idea had occurred early in her watching of Eduardo and Cheree, but she thought such a thing impossible. She wanted Eduardo, you see, morning and then evening, on his knees, drawing her into his lap. She would be willing to pay and in her mind, had set her upper price. She thought it a generous amount. This idea and the accompanying images itched her for some time and even crept into her working life, where, amid a lecture on something or other, she would pause and gaze beyond her students to the back of the theatre. Suddenly embarrassed by her lapse, she would recover and move quickly on.
It was around Christmas that the university announced a restructure. Mette had been told early she would be up for redundancy, so when it came there was no surprise, though the package was smaller than first promised. When leaving day came, she fled her valedictory gathering, deciding instead on another activity. She headed into town. Due to last-day commitments she had not made the morning show, but, she reflected, this was appropriate. Directly after the evening show was over (it was always timed to the minute), she would wait in the alley by the rear doors. She thought that this was where the performers must emerge.
She rested against the club’s wall, next to the backdoor. This is fucking madness, she thought, to be waiting out the back of the club, her pocket bulging with notes.
Mette had only to wait a few minutes before Eduardo stepped out of the door and on to the street. He wore a green leather jacket and looked somehow smaller in the meagre alley light. Mette stepped away from the wall and called to him. Eduardo, she said, Eduardo.
Eduardo had already begun to walk away but on hearing that name, he stopped and turned to her. Mette smiled at him by way of greeting. Eduardo looked her over and then quickly around them, as if to make sure they were alone. Her heart skipped a beat. She was rooted to the spot.
‘Yes. I am Eduardo,’ he said, without inflection.
Mette was not sure what to say, what to say to get what she wanted.
‘You want me?’ he said again with the same implacable neutrality.
‘Yes,’ Mette said finally, ‘Yes, I’d like that’.
‘How old are you?’ His indifference penetrated her. He had done this before, she knew.
‘I’m old enough,’ she said, and here, Mette tried to make it sound sexy, as if she might possibly be more experienced than he.
‘How old is old enough?’ Eduardo was turned partly away from her now, the light above the doors only illuminating his back of green leather.
Mette tightened before she spoke: ‘Forty-nine’.
Slowly, Eduardo turned to her. His lips were larger than she remembered and they broadened into a smile, that circled slowly into a rictus. He moved his lips, saying something Mette could not make out. She tried to copy his smile, to agree with his expression, though he was already walking through the patchwork light toward mouth of the alley.
Craig Jordan-Baker is a writer and academic from Brighton, and lectures in Creative Writing at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham. Craig has previously published journalism, criticism and fiction, as well as having a number of dramatic works produced.