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Night Flight Mike
A novelette from Cheeseburger Brown
CHAPTERS 1|2|3|4|5|6|7|8|9|10
Night Flight Mike, a novelette by Cheeseburger Brown, illustration by Matthew Hemming


Three trips between the two bars were all the patience Mother had for finding Father so she gave up in favour of communing with a frosty glass of white wine. She felt like a loser. Everyone around her seemed to be mingling in groups or couples, and she sat alone on a high stool and tried not to look at herself in the mirror behind the bar.

She had gussied herself up for Jules and now he was nowhere to be found. Irritated and suddenly self-conscious she did up another button on her blouse and wondered whether even her husband could be excited by such a brazen view of her aging bosom where the once smooth skin of her cleavage had been replaced gradually by a series of fold-lines like a geographic contour map.

Without really thinking about it she allowed her glass to be refilled when it had been drained. Without really feeling anything she bummed a cigarette from a sad drag queen, and lit it with a cardboard bar match.

Smoking a cigarette made her feel seventeen: the warm, woody smell in her nostrils, the poses she unconsciously struck. She downed another glass of white wine and felt herself smile a bit despite everything.

Twice she almost got off her stool to again search the upstairs bar for Jules. On the third attempt she slipped off and found herself wandering to the dance floor instead, her hips already knocking sideways playfully in time to the pounding beat. "Just one song," she told herself.

Three songs later she had unbuttoned her blouse again and by the fifth song she had a dance partner -- a lithe Somali with fluffy hair and an unrepentantly sexual intensity burning in his cocoa eyes. He moved like an athlete, pushing himself closer to her by degrees, and then she was in his surprisingly strong arms.

"I can see you need to dance," he said into her ear, lips brushing the lobe.

"I do, I do," she agreed.

"What's your name, beautiful lady?"

"Kate," said Kate.

"My name is Asad," said the Somali. "You move like a bird, Kate."

"A pigeon," countered Kate.

"A swan," smiled Asad.

She had barely acknowledged the urge to touch his thin, graceful neck before she found herself doing so, tracing her fingers down a rivulet of sweat past his adam's apple and along his clavicle. She smiled up at him nervously and he grinned, then traced his own finger down her neck and drew a line of heat to her exposed sternum. Before she could gasp he slipped his hand beneath her brassiere and cupped her left breast gently, the nipple hardening instantly against his skin.

"Oh!" she said in a small voice.

"Ha," he agreed languorously.

Kate considered various forms of resistance: flight, combat, argument -- then decisively took Asad's left hand and put it down her pants. She shifted her pelvis to help his finger find a suitably moist angle of attack. Asad took a turn at surprise. Kate laughed at his expression and coaxed him onward, pressing against him as they swayed in time to the thumping rhythm.

Kate thought it was a really good song.

Her anxieties dissolved away with a flighty lurch in her belly -- bills, work, the household, the gulf of physical intimacy with her husband -- and she found herself feeling unbounded. In a feat of uncharacteristic immodesty she remembered distinctly thinking that she had no qualms about the possibility of the other people on the dancefloor catching sight of her pubic hair peeking above her open fly. In fact, she reveled in the display.

As the song climaxed so did she. She closed her eyes and saw a white energy radiating up through her body, out through her head and into space, leaving her numbed and buoyant. When she opened her eyes again she was dazzled by multicoloured lights and she sighed gratefully. She was unbreakable.

"Ho my," breathed Asad, a sheen of sweat on his brow.

"Thanks for the dance," said Kate.

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