A ‘Mel and Jan’ Halloween Story
Copyright: The characters of Melinda Pappas and Janice Covington belong to MCA/Universal or whomever own them now. They ain’t mine. Everything else is, though.
Sex: Oh, the usual jokes, playfulness and innuendo. Nothing too graphic. Mel and Jan are, of course, deeply in love, so I guess we’ve got to label it ALT.
Misc.: This was a quickie, just in time for Halloween. I wondered what our two intrepid gals might go to a costume party dressed as, so I considered various scenes and their hopefully comic possibilities. Here’s the result...
The autumn coolness lent a crisp, refreshing nip to the air, sending multicolored leaves blowing across the cobbled walkway leading to one of the ivy-covered buildings on the university’s campus. Mel Pappas paused, then inhaled deeply of the fresh air and smiled, her hand on the handle of the door. So lost in pleasant thought was she, that she was almost bowled over by the gaggle of students who bumped the door open and emerged into the late afternoon sun. She stepped aside, then heard a couple of them greet her by name as they passed. “Hi, Miss Pappas,” several voices chorused, and one young man, bundled in a letter sweater, stopped. “Miss Pappas, are you teaching this fall?”
Shaken from her thoughts, she blinked in surprise, then recognized his face and recalled his name. “Oh, hello, Thomas. Why, I’ve been asked to guest lecture again, yes.”
His face brightened at the reply. “That’s great. Say, is it Doc Covington’s class?”
“No, actually the senior level Greek class. Um, Doctor Levine.”
“I’m in that one, too. See you then.” He paused, then asked, “Are you and Doc Covington coming to the Halloween party?”
Mel raised an eyebrow. “I’m not sure, Thomas. I wasn’t aware of it.”
“It’s a big to-do every year.” He leaned forward and confided, “Not all the faculty are invited, but you and Doc Covington sure are.”
“Why, thank you, Thomas. That’s very sweet of you. I’ll ask Jan, um, Doctor Covington if she wants to go this year.”
“We loved having you two last year. That Doc Covington, she’s a hoot when she gets a few drinks in her, isn’t she?”
Mel couldn’t help but grin at that. “Why, she most certainly is that, I suppose. It doesn’t happen often anymore, you know.”
His head turned as his fellow students called his name, then hurriedly finished, “Got to go. We’re hittin’ the Rathskeller for a few beers. Hope to see you at the party, Miss Pappas.”
“Thank you, Thomas.”
He nodded pleasantly, then trotted down the steps and joined his fellow students. As they headed down the walkway, she heard one of them tease, “Forget about it, Tom. She’s way outta your league.” A few laughs echoed, and Mel smiled as she entered the building. Oh, to be that age again. It seemed to her that a century had passed since she was a college student.
As she turned a corner, she found the hallway of the Department of History and Archeology. The department secretary was seated at her desk, clacking away at her typewriter and busily smacking a wad of chewing gum. She blew a large pink bubble as she typed, then expertly sucked it back into her mouth, never missing a beat of her rapid typing and only looking up when she heard Mel’s pleasant greeting.
“Hello, Virginia. Is Jan around?”
Virginia looked up, then stopped typing. “Oh, hey, Mel. Yeah, she’s in her office.”
Mel glanced down the hall. “The door appears to be closed.”
“Then she’s probably in conference with a student.” Virginia rose from her desk. “Coffee’s fresh. Want some?”
Mel considered Jan’s closed office door, then nodded. “Thank you, Virginia. I’d like that.”
The secretary walked around her desk toward the tiny pantry. “Sure. Cream and sugar?”
As the secretary slowly sauntered into the pantry, Mel eyed Virginia’s backside, then thought, My, my. With a figure like that in a skirt like that, how does Jan get any work done around here? She shook herself from her thoughts, then followed Virginia into the pantry. “I’ll join you and fix it.”
Virginia set two reasonably clean white mugs on the counter and poured coffee into them. As she returned the percolator to its spot on the counter, she elbowed Mel and teased, “Doc ain’t gonna get jealous, is she? You and me, sneakin’ off to the pantry together?”
Mel looked down into the secretary’s face, momentarily lost in the twinkling eyes and the grin lined perfectly in red lipstick, then waved a hand in dismissal. “Oh, Jan doesn’t have a jealous bone in her body.”
Virginia snickered. “Yeah, right. Sure, she doesn’t.”
Mel winked conspiratorially. “Well, it’ll just be our little secret, okay?”
Virginia’s eyes twinkled ever more brightly at that. “Hey, honey, if there’s one thing I can do, it’s keep a secret.” As Mel added cream and sugar to her coffee, Virginia leaned back against the counter, her mug in her hands. “Say, you two goin’ to the Halloween costume party?”
“Why, I don’t know, Virginia. I haven’t spoken to Jan about it yet. Are you?”
“Yeah, the students handed out invitations to it today. I got one, and I think the Doc has one for you both.” She sipped her coffee, laughed pleasantly, and grinned as she recalled, “Doc Covington really got tipsy at last year’s party, didn’t she?”
Mel rolled her eyes in a pleasant, resigned manner. “Lord, yes. I haven’t seen her like that in a long time. I practically had to carry her home.”
Virginia grinned at the memory. “I think the capper was when she lifted Doctor McDougall’s kilt to see what was under it.”
“Lord, those knobby knees and those skinny legs.”
Virginia laughed. “It wasn’t the knees that started the riot.”
Mel giggled. “As the Lord is my witness, I thought that they wore something under those kilts.”
Virginia shook her head. “Nah. Not a true Scotsman like Doctor McDougall.”
They looked up as a new voice joined them. “Hey, Mel. Sorry to keep you waiting.” Jan stood at the door of the pantry, her empty coffee cup in her hand.
“Not a problem, darlin’. Virginia and I were just reminiscing about last year’s Halloween party.”
At that, Jan’s face brightened, and she pulled a paper from the back pocket of her slacks. “Speaking of which, Mel...”
“I ran into some of your students outside.”
Jan stepped into the pantry and placed her cup in the sink. “Want to go?”
Mel raised an eyebrow. “That depends. Are you goin’ to lift Doctor McDougall’s kilt again?”
Jan grinned. “If he’s got the stones to wear the damned thing again, then...”
Virginia and Mel glanced at each other, then grinned wickedly and spoke in unison. “All right!”
“So, we goin’, Mel?”
Mel smiled. “I wouldn’t miss it for anything, Jan, honey.” She looked over at Virginia. “Have you picked a costume?”
Virginia nodded. “Oh, yeah. It’s a doozy, but it’s also a surprise.”
A hopeful expression crossed Jan’s face. “Lady Godiva?”
Mel placed her coffee cup in the sink, then walked to the door of the pantry and grasped Jan’s ear. “On that note, I’m takin’ you home, darlin’. Let’s get your hat and coat.” She looked over her shoulder and winked. “‘Bye, Virginia. Thanks for the coffee.”
Virginia grinned, then winked flirtatiously. “Sure thing, Mel. So long, Doc.”
As Jan disappeared around the door-jamb, Virginia could hear Jan's voice in the hallway.
“See ya, ‘Ginny. Ouch! Go easy on the ear, Mel. Okay, okay, no Lady Godiva.”
“Jan, how long do we have until the party?”
Jan looked up from her lasagna as they sat at the corner table of their favorite Italian restaurant. “A week.”
Mel hummed thoughtfully, then said, “Well, that’s enough time to come up with some good costumes.”
“Yeah? So, what do you want to go as?”
Mel shrugged. “I don’t really know, darlin’. Perhaps we could go as a famous couple. You know, do something together.” She puzzled over it, then suggested, “Xena and Gabrielle? After all, we look just like them.”
Jan shook her head. “Nah. That would be too expected.”
“Well, that’s true. After all, you are the foremost Xena scholar in the world.”
Jan smiled over her wine glass. “I love flattery.”
Mel cast an affectionate look across the table. “Well, you are, honey.” She paused, then suggested, “A famous literary couple?”
Jan looked up, grinning. “Abbott and Costello? Mutt and Jeff?”
“Actually, how about Lord and Lady MacBeth?”
Jan snickered. “After last year, you want me to be around another kilt?”
“Hm. Good point. Besides, I’d have to spend all evening scrubbing blood from my hands.”
Jan thought, then asked, “Biblical?”
“Adam and Eve? I don’t think that either one of us has the build for Adam.”
“Actually, I’d want to be the serpent.”
“And I’d eat your apple anytime.”
Jan whispered, “Mel, we’re in public.”
Mel giggled in delight. “Why, Janice Covington, I do believe you’re blushing.”
Jan harrumphed, then sipped at her wine. “Hey, how’s about famous lovers? That’s us, after all.”
Mel leaned forward, resting her forearms on the table. “Romeo and Juliet? I love the idea, Jan. Why, that’s so romantic.”
Jan beamed. “Thanks. I can be romantic sometimes.”
“Oh, you most certainly can be, you charmin’ doll. So which one of us would be Juliet?”
Jan shrugged. “You, of course, Mel. You’re gorgeous, and you still look like a teenager. You’d be a knockout in a Renaissance gown. Besides, unmarried girls wore their hair long then. Your hair is much longer than mine.”
Mel, feeling the operation of her second glass of wine, allowed her eyes to gaze unfocused across the restaurant as she imagined the scene in her mind’s eye...
The summer night’s air was warm, the sound of insects from the garden soothing. She gazed out from the balcony of her room, her chin resting on her hand, her mind’s vision full of the beautiful young blonde suitor in the colorful tunic which she had met that night, and thought aloud. “Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?”
Her thoughts were interrupted by a rustling in the bushes below her. She looked down, then gasped as a face appeared below her, surrounded by shrubbery. It was the face of her love, her Romeo. My, the spitting image of Jan. As she gazed lovingly down at the face, a hand brought a cigar to the corner of the mouth, and the voice whispered, “Down here in the bushes. Don’t tell the whole neighborhood. Hey, doll, you got a roll of tissue up there?”
Mel snapped back to her present surroundings. Jan was studying her quizzically from across the table. Mel coughed delicately, then suggested, “Ah, perhaps I should be Romeo. After all, I am taller than you.”
Jan raised an eyebrow. “Me, in a dress? Yeah, right.”
“Well, it would be unexpected.” She eyed Jan, then added, “Besides, you have a marvelous figure. You’d look wonderful, Jan.”
Jan scratched at her chin. “Hm. And I bet that you’d look pretty good in a pair of tights, too.” She studied a picture on a nearby wall as she thought about it.
The smoky torches lit the main hall of the House of Capulet. The musicians played and the couples danced. She felt herself guided out onto the floor by the tall, strikingly handsome and nameless young suitor in a colorful tunic, rapier and dagger by his side. As they danced, she peered up into the magnificent blue eyes, the black hair tied back at the neck, and felt herself grow weak in the knees. God, he looks just like Mel. As they parted to arm’s length during a dance move, her eyes trailed down to the muscular, shapely legs covered by tights, and...
“Hey, who you tryin’ to kid?”
“I know not whereof thou speak’st.”
Jan grasped the waistband of the tights, reached into the front with her free hand and pulled out a rolled-up sock. She held it up. “What d’ya think, that I fell off the turnip wagon yesterday?”
Jan snapped back to reality. “Um, maybe we’ll put the Romeo and Juliet thing on the back burner for a while. Got any other ideas?”
“Well...” Mel thought, then brightened. “I know. You have a dark double-breasted suit. You can go as a gangster, and I’ll go as your moll.”
Jan thought about it...
Mel stepped out of the car, her legs covered in black fishnet stockings, the garter showing through the slit in the side of her skirt. As she stood, she took Jan’s breath away. Her black hair fell about her shoulders, the beauty mark on her cheek overshadowed by the sultry pout outlined in deep red lipstick. Jan offered her hand, and as Mel stood, she grasped it, then looked around. Her voice whined, “I’m bored, Sluggo. We gonna be here all night?”
“Sure, doll. You’ll have fun.”
“Yeah, yeah. Jeez, I had more of a blast when I was Rocco's girl.”
Jan blinked. She opened her mouth to nix the idea, then thought about the black fishnet stockings. Mel really did look hot. She grinned evilly, then leaned forward across the table. “I have a better idea, Mel. Why don’t you go as a hooker, and I’ll go as your pimp?” Mel seemed shocked. Jan urged, “Come on, Mel, you’re so classy and refined. Nobody would expect you to be a hooker. It’d be terrific. You’d have a blast lettin’ your hair down.”
Mel considered the possibilities...
As she put the finishing touches on her costume, she stared into the full-length mirror. Her long legs were accentuated by the high heels she wore. Her skirt was short and rather tight, the side slit revealing the garter belt underneath. Her blouse was tight, her bosom boosted up by her bra, her cleavage revealing. Her hair was loose and hung partially over one eye, her sunglasses resting down on her nose. She lifted the cigarette holder to her mouth, then lit it. As she blew a puff of smoke out into the room, she slung her purse over one shoulder, then strutted over to the door, opening it and slowly strolling into the living room, accentuating the motion of her hips. Jan was in the hallway, her back toward the bedroom door. Mel’s sultry voice teased, “I’m ready, doll.”
Jan turned. The hat fell from her hand. Her mouth hung open for a moment. “Oh my God, Mel. You’re...”
Mel raised an eyebrow. “What?”
“Hot. Really, um....”
Mel could see the spark flame in Jan’s eyes. She had seen that spark before, but tonight, it was a raging fire. “Uh, oh! Jan?” The little blonde began peeling off her suit-coat. “Jan? What’s gotten into you?” Jan didn’t answer, just began leaving a trail of her clothing in the hall as she approached Mel. “Jan, we’re going to be late to the party. You’ll mess up my make-up. You’ll wrinkle my skirt. We’ll have to shower?”
“I don’t care.”
“We haven’t got time for this, Jan.”
“Jan? Jan? Oh, my!”
Mel looked up. “I’ve got a much better idea, Jan.” Slowly, a grin spread out over Mel’s face. Jan placed her fork down, listening. This was going to be a doozy, she could tell from Mel’s expression.
“Yeah? What’s that, Mel?”
Mel pointed across the table. “You be the hooker.”
Jan’s eyes widened. “Me?”
Mel perked up. “Sure, Jan. It’ll be a blast. Nobody will expect that of you.”
Jan leaned back in her chair. “That’s for sure.” She squinted her eyes and imagined the scene...
Mel withdrew the key from the car’s ignition, then got out and pulled the wide-brimmed hat down on her head, seating it at a jaunty angle. As she walked around to the other side of the car, the passenger door slammed. She looked over, then held out her arm, stroked her fake pencil-thin moustache with a finger, and winked. “C’mon, doll. We got business to conduct."
“Yeah, sure. Whatever.”
Jan lit a cigarette, then glanced up seductively. Her hair hung loose over her shoulders, just covering one eye. The other peered at her from beneath the fake eyelash. It fluttered as she studied Mel. She took a drag on her cigarette, then stood, one leg slightly bent, her free hand on her hip. The black skirt was much too short and tight, but somehow, Mel didn’t care. Her eyes slowly trailed down Jan’s figure, noting the low-cut blouse unbuttoned to reveal the skin of her chest, the lace of a black bra showing. She could smell the scent of perfume. Mel took a deep breath, thought, “Down, girl,” then ambled over to take her place next to Jan, extending an arm. Jan grasped it, and they walked into the party.
“Jan, you’re squeezing my arm and walking like a drunk.”
“Sorry, Mel. I can’t walk in these friggin’ heels.”
“Of course you can. When’s the last time you wore heels, anyway?”
“You never in your life wore heels?”
“I went to Catholic school. You could go to hell for dressin’ like this.”
“That’s funny, Jan. Jan? Jan?” Mel looked around. Jan was gone. “Jan, where are you?”
“On the floor. Help me up.”
“Oh, my. You didn’t hurt yourself, did you?”
“Nah. I’m a hooker. I’m used to bein’ flat on my back.”
“Well, I’m glad that you’re keeping your sense of humor. Look, just go with it. You’ll catch on. Besides, you look rather, ah....”
“Like a fifty-dollar hooker?”
Mel smiled. “I don’t know, Jan. I’ve never met a fifty-dollar hooker.” She glanced down at Jan, clinging to her arm, and teased, “Have you?”
Under her make-up, Jan blushed, then changed the subject. “Nice night, isn’t it, Mel?”
They strolled into the large room, crowded with costumed people. As Jan was just getting the hang of her heels and learning to walk with a ‘come-hither’ sway to her step, a student dressed in a hooker costume passed her. Out of the side of her mouth, the girl whispered, “Beat it, honey. I’m workin’ this side of the room.”
Jan looked at Mel across the restaurant table. “Um, maybe. Let’s keep brain-storming.”
As they ate, various suggestions came to mind, but none which animated their imaginations. Finally, Jan chuckled. Mel raised an eyebrow and asked, “An idea?”
“Yeah. We could really do a tandem thing. You know, go as a centaur.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“We could get one of those two-person horse suits. Leave the head off, and whichever of us is in the front could dress, um, centaur-ish.”
“Who would be in the front?”
Jan paused, then replied, “Why, you, Mel. You’re taller. I’d fit in the back better.”
“Oh, Jan. That would be uncomfortable for you, stuck back there all night. You wouldn’t have any fun.” Mel imagined the scene...
She stood in the crowded room, warm from the glow of compliments about the costume and the whiskey she'd just consumed. A student in a suit of cardboard armor waddled up to her and asked, “Say, Miss Pappas, where’s Doc Covington?”
Mel pointed behind her with a thumb. “She’s the horse’s butt tonight, dear.”
The student looked, then pointed. “Don’t look now, but I think your butt’s on fire.”
“What?” Mel looked behind her. Smoke was curling up from the seams in the costume. She pulled the zipper open which circled the middle of the suit, then held the sides apart, looking down into the suit. Smoke curled up from the opening. “Jan Covington! You put that cigar out right now.”
Jan shrugged. “Just pass me a drink every now and then and let me come up for air once in a while.” She laughed, then added, “It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been a horse’s ass.”
Mel smiled. “Oh? Is that what your students say?”
Jan’s eyes twinkled. “No. That’s what you said once.”
Mel was taken aback. “I did?” She thought back to one of their very rare arguments, and then blushed. “Oh. I did, didn’t I? I apologize for that, Jan. It was most unkind.”
Jan waved a hand. “Ah, don’t worry over it. You were right, as usual. I was bein’ a horse’s ass.”
Mel grinned at the recollection of the argument, then thought aloud. “A centaur? That’s certainly original. But I just think that you’ll be so bored and uncomfortable in the back of that suit.”
“Oh, I don’t think so, Mel.” Jan smiled, then narrowed her eyes as she thought about it...
Inside the suit, Jan could hear the party around her. She sighed, then resigned herself to her role as the part of the centaur which went over the fence last. God, but it was getting hot in there, and she was bored. Then, she felt the top of her head bump the small of Mel’s back, and an evil thought entered her mind, encouraged no doubt by the four whiskeys she’d had that night.
Mel’s eyes widened as she heard the distinctive sound of a zipper being opened. “Jan, darlin’, just what are you doin’ in there?” she asked. After a moment, Mel’s eyes grew even wider. “Oh, Jan! Don’t! You stop that this instant. You hear me? Oh, my.”
A muffled giggle sounded from the suit’s interior. “What’s that, Mel? Can’t hear you in here.”
“Jan, I said, ‘Don’t. Stop.”
“Oh, my goodness.” Mel felt a flush creep up her cheeks. “I said, um, ‘Don’t stop, darlin’, don’t stop.’” Mel began fanning herself, then heard a little squeak escape her throat. “Oh, dear. It’s suddenly hot in here, isn’t it?” She looked around the room, crowded with groups of people, and spied the doors to the outside balcony. “Fresh air. I think I’ll just get some fresh air.” She began walking toward the doors, pulling the back half of the horse suit with her.
The cool air outside did nothing to dampen the hot flush which Mel felt creeping up her body. She stood, then grasped the railing, her knuckles tightening around the vertical wrought-iron fixtures. “Oh, my. Jan, that’s...” She closed her eyes, then swallowed. “It’s certainly warm out here, isn’t it?”
Jan’s muffled voice sounded from the back of the suit. “It’s nothin’ compared to being in here, Mel. Oh, yeah.”
Mel heard Virginia’s voice. She opened her eyes and looked to her left. The secretary was standing next to her, studying her quizzically. “You okay, Mel?”
“Um. Oh. Yes, dear. Just... indigestion, I think.” She closed her eyes again and gripped the railing even more tightly. Virginia studied her skeptically.
“Boy, that’s some indigestion. You want something for it?”
“Ah, I think... that I’ll be just fine... in a ... moment.”
“Say, where’s the Doc?”
Melinda could say nothing, just pointed at the back half of the centaur costume. Virginia glanced at the costume’s posterior, then back at Mel. She leaned against the balcony rail and snickered as she watched Mel tense, then relax and sigh deeply. Mel leaned against the upright railing fixture and closed her eyes. After a moment, Virginia elbowed Mel.
“Honey, I should have indigestion like that. You need to go smoke a cigarette or somethin’?”
Another voice joined the group. It was one of the graduate students. “Hey, Miss Pappas. Hey, Virginia.”
Mel opened her eyes and blinked, then nodded at the student. “Um.”
Virginia grinned and pointed toward Mel. “Indigestion, but I think she’s all better now.”
The graduate student blinked sympathetically. “Oh. Sorry. You okay?”
Mel nodded, then squeaked, “Oh, yeah. I mean, I’m much better now, dear.”
The student looked at Virginia. “Say, you want a drink?”
The secretary grinned evilly, then pointed at Mel and replied, “Can you get me what she just had, hot stuff?”
The student held out her arm. “Come on, ‘Ginia. Got just the poison for ya.” The secretary wound her arm around the student’s elbow, and they left the railing. As they passed the back of the suit, Virginia slapped the rump of the centaur suit and whispered, “Doc, you’re a bad girl.”
Jan looked over at Mel, who was studying her intently. After a moment, she shrugged and asked, “What?”
Mel raised an eyebrow. “Jan, darlin’, after all these years, I just know you too well. No centaur.”
Jan scratched her head, then brightened. “Got it, Mel.”
Mel raised a cautious eyebrow. “Yes?”
“We both know our sizes. You get my costume, and I’ll get yours. No peeking. We don’t find out until the night of the party. How’s that?”
Mel smiled. “How interesting, Jan. I do believe that I like that idea.” She allowed a slow, wicked grin to spread over her face, then nodded. “Deal.”
“No cheating, now. You have to wear what I get you, and I have to wear what you get me. Either one of us chickens out, and the loser owes the winner ten bucks. You up for the dare, gorgeous?”
“You got a bet, cutie.” They shook hands across the table, and then nodded in satisfaction. Their eyes met, twinkling. This would be fun.
On the night of the party, two large cardboard boxes sat, unopened, on the bed. Jan studied Mel with an expression of barely-contained curiosity and Mel just smiled in response, then said, “You ready?”
“Let’s do it, Mel.” In unison, they opened the boxes. They stared into them for a long moment, and then looked at each other. Slowly, grins spread across both their faces and they began laughing, then hugged each other. Jan looked up into the deep blue eyes and said, “We’ve been together too long, Mel.”
“Nope. Never.” She touched the tip of Jan’s nose with a finger. “Just long enough to learn to think alike.”
In the early hours of the morning, the front door of their cottage squeaked open. Mel entered, her arm wrapped around Jan, who was doing her best to walk a straight line. They clicked on the hall light and entered the living room. Jan waved a trophy in her hand, then set it down on a nearby table. “Yup. First prize in the costume contest. Hot damn.”
Mel laughed. “I think that it was our impromptu dance that won it for us. My goodness, Jan, I had no idea that you were so good. I was just following you. Where did you learn that?”
“Algiers, baby.” She headed to the kitchen. “You want a nightcap?”
“Don’t mind if I do, cutie. Make it strong.” In a moment, Jan returned with two drinks, then paused and admired the picture of beauty before her. Mel stood in the living room, replete in a rather revealing harem dancer’s outfit, her jewelry jingling as she reached out for her drink.
As she took it from Jan’s hand, Jan noted, “Jeez, Mel. You look hot. I don’t think that it was the dance that won it for us.”
Mel smiled at the compliment, then allowed her eyes to trail down Jan’s figure, clothed in an identical, and similarly revealing, harem costume. “I don’t think so, either. After all, the committee was composed of your students. I think that they were delighted to finally see what resided under your floppy shirts and khaki pants after all these years.”
She giggled as she sipped her drink. “They’ll be lookin’ at you differently from now on.”
“Nah. I’m nothin’ compared to you.”
“That’s sweet of you to say, but trust me, their eyes were buggin’ out at you during our dance number.”
Jan kicked off her sandals and looked down at her figure. “So, ya think I still got it, gorgeous?”
“Oh, I most certainly do, cutie.” Mel’s eyes twinkled, and she asked, “Jan?”
“Will you show me that dance again?”
Jan blinked, then raised an eyebrow. “A private showing? I dunno, Mel. It’ll cost ya.”
Mel sat on the couch. “Oh? How much?”
Jan stood in front of Mel. “Twenty bucks, gorgeous.”
Mel sipped her drink as she allowed her eyes to take in Jan’s figure, clothed in the rather revealing harem costume. “Um, that’s a lot.”
“Trust me, it’s worth it. You haven’t seen my private show.” Mel gulped, then looked up at Jan, who shrugged and said, “Suit yourself.” She turned and began walking toward the kitchen.
“Will you take an I.O.U.?”
Jan stopped and turned around. A slow grin spread out over her face, and she nodded. “Hold onto your seat cushions, gorgeous.” She pulled the veil up and fastened it over her face, allowing only her twinkling hazel eyes to show, and then clicked on the Victrola phonograph, selecting a recording of middle eastern music and placing it on the turntable.
When the sensual, rhythmic music began filling the living room, Mel remained fastened to her seat on the couch, her eyes growing ever wider at the scene unfolding in front of her. Finally, she squeaked, “Oh, my. You sure can earn twenty bucks, can’t you, darlin’?”
The following Tuesday morning, Mel sat at the kitchen table, studying the front page of the newspaper, as Jan joined her at the table. She looked up at Jan over the wire-rimmed glasses resting on her nose, then smiled. “Morning, cutie.”
Mel smiled knowingly and waited as Jan sipped at the coffee, finally awakening enough to speak. When she did, Mel looked up again.
“Did I do... you know, anything, um... crazy at the party?”
“My goodness, were you that drunk that you have to ask?”
“Just checkin’, Mel.”
Mel smiled again, then returned her eyes to the newspaper. “I don’t think so, darlin’. Why?”
“Well, when I walked into the lecture room yesterday morning, I got a round of applause.”
Mel smiled yet again. “Do tell.”
“Come on, Mel. Spill the beans. What did I do this time? Was I a bad girl?”
“No, dear. You were very good.” After a moment, she added, “Very good, indeed.”
Jan considered the answer for a moment, then shrugged and sipped at her coffee again. After a moment, she noted Mel’s smile. “What, Mel? What? What did I do?”
Mel adjusted her glasses, then allowed her blue eyes to sparkle toward Jan. “You really don’t remember, Jan?”
“Oh, my God. No, I don’t.”
“Well, in that case...” Mel reached across the table and patted Jan’s hand. “I’ll just have to let you wonder about it for a while, won’t I?”
Jan covered her face with her hands. “That bad, huh?”
“No, darlin’. That good.”
Jan’s fingers parted. A bleary hazel eye peeked out from between them. “Huh?” After a moment, she shrugged and lifted herself from the table, her coffee cup in her hand, and sleepily shuffled toward the bathroom. “I’m gonna take a shower.”
Mel looked up, then teased, “Before you do that, go look under your pillow.”
Jan stopped, looked back at Mel, and puzzled at that comment. Then, she slowly turned and resumed her sleepy shuffle toward the bedroom. A few minutes later, Mel heard the familiar shuffle of bare feet approaching across the wooden floor. Jan reappeared in the kitchen. “Mel?”
Mel looked up innocently from the paper. “Yes, Jan?”
Jan held up her hand. There was money in it. “There’s twenty bucks under my pillow. Where’d that come from?”
Mel smiled. “Why don’t you use it to take me out to a wonderful dinner tonight, and I’ll tell you all about it?”
Jan pondered the thought for a moment, then nodded. “Um, yeah. Okay. Sure.” She turned and resumed her slow, sleepy shuffle toward the bathroom. Mel watched her go, then smiled as she turned the page of the newspaper. Jan’s muttering voice echoed as she shuffled toward the bathroom.
“Man, this house is gettin’ weird.”
Mel called out, “Oh, Jan?”
The sleepy voice echoed from the hallway. “Yeah?”
“Virginia made quite a nice Xena, didn’t she?”
“Um, yeah. Who was that Gabrielle with her, though? Damn, she looked sorta like her.”
Mel lowered the paper and squinted in thought. “Gabrielle? I don’t remember seeing any Gabrielle with her.”
The shuffle of bare feet began again, and Jan appeared back around the corner. She locked eyes with Mel, who shrugged innocently. Jan stood, her mouth open. Her sleepy eyes slowly turned away from Mel, looked up toward the ceiling and then back down to Mel. “Nah. Couldn’t ‘a been.” After a moment, she shook her head, then turned and resumed her sleepy shuffle back toward the bathroom, her voice laced with disbelief. “Like I said, this house is gettin’ weird.”
Mel sat, listened to the shower start, and then smiled down at the newspaper. After a moment, she chuckled and spoke, very quietly, to herself. “Mel, honey, you’re goin’ to hell for that little lie.” Then, she folded the newspaper, rested it on the table, and laughed again. “But it’s worth it. Forgive me, but it’s so worth it. I just love to mess with that girl’s mind first thing in the morning.”
The End. -djb, October, 2004.