Vector -7- Manager?

Night moves...

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Vector -7-
Manager

by Lainie Lee

Cheryl Jones, as she determined to try to think of herself now, had a series of chaotic dreams. Some of them were scenes from Gerald’s past life with Cheryl inserted in place of her original male self.

One of these seemed more significant than others. A recent memory, Gerald had gone back to Louisiana briefly after graduating high school and before reporting for induction into the army. He’d had a few jobs in Los Angeles, kept his expenses down, trying to save up to attend community college with the financial help offered to people who had aged out of foster care. But then he’d found out what his draft number had been and it all seemed pointless.

So he had chucked the job, taken his savings and gotten a bus to Baton Rouge then another to the small town north of the city where one of his elderly aunts ran a board-and-care. Aunt Brontay was actually his mother’s aunt and much older than his mother had been. He had seen her last before being taken to California and then she had been frail and fragile-looking with white hair.

When he looked her up on his final trip to Louisiana, though, she had looked much younger than he remembered with black hair going gray and a youthful figure. And it had turned out that the board-and-care was a whorehouse filled with young women eager to make the acquaintance of their madam’s nephew.

Had that really happened or was it a memory of a dream, or a dream of a memory?

For in this dreaming version of the memory, after enjoying getting acquainted as Gerald, Cheryl took up residence with the other whores….

* * *

She woke up with a start, in the Oakland motel room again. In the dream she had been having, her Army buddies had shown up at the house her Aunt Brontay ran. And each had money in his hand.

“Was any of it real?” she asked but the sound of her own voice told her that at least some part of it had reality. She ran her hands over her body, lush, ripe, female. And responsive. It felt good to touch herself.

It felt good to be alive.

Someone knocked softly at the door. “C’mon in, sugah,” she called in the country accent she had used in the dream. She didn’t give the slightest thought to the fact she was still in bed, still naked.

Terry Cook came through the door, looking harassed or worried. No, he looked like he felt guilty about something.

“Did you bring me sumpin’?” she asked.

“My shift starts soon,” he said. “But I brought you another sandwich with chips and a soda from the machine.”

“Mmm,” she purred. “Put’em down on the dresser and come to bed.”

“I don’t have a lot of time,” he said but he was already undoing his pants before he set the food down.

She giggled. “This won’t take long,” she said, reaching for him.

“You don’t have any lights on in here,” he complained, almost missing the top of the dresser with the goodies he had brought.

“Whuffo’? Don’t need any lights for what we gonna be doin’,” she murmured.

He kicked his shoes off and dropped his pants, then pulled his shirt off over his head without unbuttoning it.

“You’re so brown,” she commented. “Sugah, are you a black man?”

He paused. “Uh, yeah?”

She could clearly see the heat of embarrassment travel up his body.

She gurgled a laugh. “Don’t make no nevermin’ to me, honey. Terry isn’t it?” She patted the pillow beside her. “Get in bed and I’ll be sure you forget what color the sky is.”

He dropped his boxer shorts and got into the bed.

Cheryl pulled the sheet over them both, thinking, I can read him like he was a book. I know just what he wants me to do and where and how to touch him to make him scream, or laugh, or cry.

She did all three and more besides before he got out of the bed and fumbled around, trying to get back into his clothes. She had his juices inside her now and felt them warm and silvery there.

“I’m late, I-I gotta go,” he stammered.

She pouted at him for the fun of it, but he couldn’t see her expression in the darkness. “I’m gonna be lonely here. All alone. Maybe you have some friend you could send me to keep me company?”

He stopped what he was doing to stare in her direction then he grabbed his clothes and shoes and found his way to the bathroom. He turned on the light, an explosion of vision that made his head hurt, before he tried to think of an answer.

“Sugah?” she said, sitting up in the bed and feeling the weight of her breasts move on her chest. To one part of her, that was something very strange, and to another part, it felt very right. I used to be a guy, she said to herself, almost a question. “Sugah?” she repeated.

“Are you a prostitute?” Terry asked, starting to get dressed. He had to unbutton the shirt before he could put it back on.

Cheryl tried to think about it, ideas flitting through her mind like lazy moths around a light bulb. Gerald Jones was gone. The Army would not be looking for her; they’d be looking for Gerry. And she liked what she had been doing with the night manager. She had no job, no way to earn money. She had no identification, could she even get a job? There’d been the cash she had found on the dresser, where had that come from?

She felt so alive. She could see into the dark corners of the motel room where the cockroaches were hiding from the light. She could hear the traffic on the highway a few dozen yards away outside, and Terry’s heart beating fast in the bathroom while her own heart beat more slowly. She could smell the sex they had been having, the stains left on the sheets. She could still taste him on her lips and tongue.

She reached down to a sticky spot she sensed on her belly, touching it, then carrying the salty, sweet muskiness to her lips. She knew she wanted more. And she knew how she could get it.

* * *

Terry left the bathroom light on as he made his way through the dim room to the door outside, taking a detour around the bed. Cheryl reached for him, and he almost hesitated. He looked back at her, his hand on the doorknob. She was uncovered, naked and lush, her dark hair and white skin vivid. She spread her legs wide and arched her back, thrusting both her breasts and her sex at him.

His hand cramped and he realized he’d been squeezing the knob instead of turning it.

“Your name is Terry, and I’m Cheryl,” she said in a sultry voice. “I can be your whore, Terry, and make us both a lot of money.”

“All right,” he said and fled the room into the darkness of night.

Walking around the end of the building and across the parking lot towards the manager’s office, Terry reflected that he had never had a sexual encounter like either of his experiences that day. After his first time in bed with Cheryl, he had gone back to his own apartment in the back of the motel and taken care of his son. Then he’d delayed coming back to see to the strange white woman in 7B until after Clarence had done his homework and headed to bed. Almost the regular routine of their evenings.

Except, two hours before his shift started, Terrence Cook had slipped out of his apartment with a sandwich in a bag and made another stop to buy a Coke and a bag of chips. Then he’d gone into a white woman’s motel room and had the wildest, most thorough sexing he had ever had in his life. He’d done everything with her he’d ever heard of except sticking it in her ass and eating her pussy. Well, maybe not everything, but everything he’d ever thought might be fun to do with a willing partner.

He found it unbelievable. It wasn’t like the reality he’d known, and it wasn’t like himself.

He stopped at the machines again and bought two more Cokes and a bag of Cheetos. He smiled to himself because, though he had given the woman the sandwich he had made for his own middle of the night meal, he hadn’t bought her his favorite sort of chips. Because orange dust anywhere near bed clothes just had not seemed a good idea.

Maybe he hadn’t gone completely crazy.

He could see Mannie Pablo through the window of the office, gesturing at him to hurry up. It was ten ’til midnight, and Terry was twenty minutes late, but he did not rush to relieve the evening shift man, moving only with deliberate speed.

Mannie met him at the door. “What the fuck, man? What the fuck? You’re never late; you live right here?”

Terry blinked. It occurred to him that Mannie had been genuinely worried that something had happened to him. The young Filipino college student was a good kid who worked seven-hour shifts weekdays and one nine-hour shift Saturdays. Always on time, always did his job. “Sorry, man,” he said in genuine apology. “You in a rush? If you can stay for a bit, I’ll tell you what happened.” Or part of it, he amended silently.

Mannie backed into the office in front of him and glanced at the clock. “I got an early class tomorrow, but I caught a nap here when it was slow. Huh? So, what happened?”

“Seven-B Happened,” said Terry. “Chick named Cheryl Jones is in there and, uh….”

The kid interrupted him. “You got the look of someone who got greased good,” he said grinning.

“Yeah, well, you ain’t wrong.” He wagged his head. “Woman could suck the greed out of a landlord’s soul and fuck a whole platoon of cops straight as arrows.”

Mannie laughed so hard and suddenly he almost banged his head on the counter bending over. “You… you…” he pointed at Terry. “You are looking a bit pale,” he managed, gasping.

Terry popped the top on a Coke and handed it to Mannie. “Yeah, well, I wouldn’t be surprised if I’d gone white from the eyebrows up.” He popped the other can for himself, and they both sipped fizzy brew for a moment.

“She a pro?” Mannie asked.

“Says so. Wants to stay here and offered me to be her manager.”

Mannie squinted. “There’s that rathole studio flat on the back row, next to Mary. You could put her there.” He grinned. “Give Mary a little competition. But do you wanna pimp her? Mary gets by herself without no manager.”

“Yeah, I dunno,” Terry agreed. “That girl may be a gold mine.”

“Or at least sitting on one,” said Mannie, smiling.

“Wanna try her out?” Terry asked.

“Uh.” Mannie glanced at the clock.

“Go ahead. Young fella like you doesn’t need sleep.”

They both grinned, but Mannie looked uncertain. “I’ve not got any money. And I’ve never been with a whore.”

Terry shrugged. “Then don’t pay her. She won’t mind. Girl loves her work and would do it for free.”

“I…. What?”

“She’s a white girl,” Terry said. “Probably has a rich daddy somewhere and is doing this to get back at him for not loving her enough.”

Mannie sipped his soda again. He looked nervous. Maybe he’s a virgin, thought Terry, taking another sip of his own Coke. “She’s sweet, not hard-edged like women who’ve been in the life too long,” he said more gently. Why am I doing this? he wondered.

“Yeah….”

“Take her some candy, outten the machine,” said Terry. “She always seems hungry. Couple bags of M&Ms.”

Mannie felt in his pocket to see if he had any coins. “Yeah, well.”

He’s going to do this, thought Terry. “Just go up, knock on her door and walk on in. If she wants you, she’ll let you know. Believe me, she will.”

“Uh huh, I just….” Mannie stammered and fussed around a bit more before draining his can of soda then gathering his books and things and heading for the door. “I’ll…” he said as he went out but he didn’t finish the sentence.

Terry watched through the window as Mannie carried his stuff to his old jalopy, a ten-year-old Plymouth, then wandered toward the snack machines. Terry smiled, but he didn’t feel much humor. Kid is short, he thought, Cheryl is two, three inches taller than him. He opened the bag of Cheetos and selected a wrinkly stick of colored corn to crunch.

Mannie bought two bags of peanut M&Ms from the machine and disappeared around the corner of the building.

Terry thought, he’s gonna get his brains fucked out. He finished his first Cheeto, took a sip of Coke and selected another orange tidbit. Why am I doing this? he wondered again.

Because this is what she wants me to do, he realized.



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