June 15, 2012 by The Citron Review
I’d seen The Graduate, so I knew what Mrs. Sheridan was doing when she asked me to come up to her bedroom. I’d made passes at her at my sister’s wedding reception, fooling around trying to stick my hand up her dress, telling her she was the best-looking of all my parents’ friends. I meant it, too, the way a seventeen-year old kid means the stuff he says when he’s tipsy on beer for the first time in his life. Mrs. Sheridan liked to drink and kid around too, and we all knew the stories of how she’d made a cuckold out of Mr. Sheridan with Norm Blake, the banker.
Mrs. Sheridan had me carry an armful of clean laundry up the stairs while I waited for Jerry to get back from work. He had a job at a McDonald’s. We were going to a party at the home of one of our classmates. On Mr. Sheridan’s side of the bed was a stack of Playboy magazines. Mrs. Sheridan picked one up, gave it a cursory glance, tossed it on the bedspread. It fell open to the centerfold, a young woman with enormous tits. Mrs. Sheridan’s tits were pretty big, too, though they sagged in her shirt.
“Just put the clothing on the bed there, Tommy,” she instructed. Then she had me sit down in a chair by the window while she put some of the clothing away. She handed me the Playboy. “Dale says the interviews are good,” she said. “I never read it myself. Do you like the interviews, Tommy?” Her voice had a teasing quality but I ignored it, pretended to take her question seriously.
“Sometimes they’re pretty good. I don’t read it all that often, though.” I sat in the director’s chair and flipped through the magazine. Meanwhile, Mrs. Sheridan, having put the clothing away, lay back on her bed like some old time movie star, Mae West or somebody. She started doodling with her hair, twisting a few strands between her fingers, looking all dreamyeyed. She was wearing a housedress and it came up over her knees; her legs were spread haphazardly. Casual.
I continued to stare at the Playboy, though without focusing on the words, waiting for the time to pass while Mrs. Sheridan lay back on a pillow.
After a minute, Mrs. Sheridan got up from the bed. I sneaked a quick look at her to see if she was angry or embarrassed, but I couldn’t tell.
“Let’s go downstairs, Tommy.”
Charles Rammelkamp’s new collection of poems entitled Fusen Bakudan (“balloon bombs” in Japanese) has just been published by Time Being Books. It deals with missionaries in a leper colony in Vietnam during the war. Charles is a fiction editor for The Pedestal.