On the Road
“Where to partner? There’s no need to pack. I’ll buy you anything you need as a starting bonus. How does a sandy beach with palm trees and Iced Margaritas sound? Maybe we could share a hammock in the shade and you could read Aristophanes to me as we’re lulled by the crashing surf. I hear that St. Kitts is nice this time of year. Just a thought.”
“Well, since I have to start over someplace that sounds as good a place as any.”
“Excellent, I’ll make some phone calls and have our tickets and itinerary waiting for us at the desk of the Sailport. I’ll arrange for a large suite with an ocean view. The Skyye Bar and Grill overlooks the swimming pool and serves lunch and dinner. We should arrive just in time for happy hour.”
We entered Tampa as the sun was going down — an explosion of yellow, red and purple over darkening waves. After leaving Red’s car with the valet we entered the marble columned reception area. As promised our tickets, itinerary and room pass were handed to us at the reception desk. The rooms were large and we were greeted by a bouquet of tropical flowers, chilled André Jacquart champagne, Grey Goose vodka, Imperial Osetra caviar and Carrs biscuits on the circular coffee table near the l-shaped sofa.
“May I offer you a drink?,” asked Dane.
“This is a change, you serving me drinks. Is the champagne dry?”
“Brut Nature with hints of praline and hazelnut, but also displaying fresh citrus, chalk and mineral nuances. It’s especially good with caviar.”
“Sounds delightful. I love this breathtaking view of Tampa.” Dane poured their drinks then said, “Let me try to find some relaxing music. How about Blues Train, Cousin Mary and Naima by Coltrane to start.”
“A man after my own heart. You haven’t been reading my diary have you?”
“No, I’ve been reading your mind. What a fascinating mind it is.”
“You’re starting to scare me now. I’m not used to be in the company of a gentleman. Or, are you a stalker?”
“Fear not, I have only your best interests at heart. I propose a toast to a long and successful partnership.”
“Thank you, my sentiments exactly.”
“I also have menus from Ocean Prime, Oyster Catchers, Rusty Pelican, or we could order room service when you start to feel hungry.”
Red was lounging in the corner of the sofa, “Lets relax before thinking of food. Maybe we need to work up an appetite. This champagne seems to be going to my head. Would you pour me another please? Sit close, let’s get to know each other.”
“That’s an offer I can’t refuse.” Dane removed his shoes and crawled closer to reach her luscious lips. “I’ve wanted this for a long time,” he whispered.
“Me too,” she sighed, making room for him. Their first kiss was slow and sweet. Each exploring with lips and tongue the features of the other. Dane smothered his face in Red’s cascading waves of hair. “Mmmmmmm,” he moaned, as his lips brushed her ear, then behind working their way down her neck. Her perfume was subtle, yet exotic, taking him to mysterious places accessible only in his imagination. Her skin warm, welcoming. He traced a trail of kisses and bites along her collarbone to the space at the hollow of her elegant, vulnerable throat. His tongue traced her name then he blew a soft whisper across her damp, inviting flesh.
“Dane, tell me more about your work. I’m not quite sure what I’m getting myself into, or why you’d want to be partners. Why me?”
“In the broadest terms, I help people. At the end of the day my intention is to leave this world better than I found it by living with purpose. I think we have similar objectives in life. I’ve seen you as a rebel biker chick, a server in hospitality who has an easy banter with customers. I’ve also seen you as an employer with the interests of your staff at heart. I admire those qualities.
“On a daily basis I aim for simplicity and balance, to live in the moment. I meditate to free my mind of distractions and to be open to new situations. I strive to follow the principles of truth, honor and equality. I oppose hatred, bigotry and racism. I follow Dan Savage’s Campsite Rule: “I must leave the world better than I found it.” As I said before, I like to think that I’m working on the right side of the fence most of the time. I have no hidden agendas. What you see is what you get.
“I offer a service for a price, not profit based, but on equalizing the balance. I believe that greed is very detrimental to the soul. I also keep an open mind. I was taught by my brother that everyone has a story. Everyone knows something that I can learn from. I’m a student not a teacher. Listening to others, and learning from them is very important. Life isn’t black and white, there are a lot of grey areas. Right and wrong aren’t always what they appear to be. Justice is a matter of negotiation. Any lawyer will tell you that.
“When a client approaches me with a problem my first concern is that I do as little harm as possible. That can be tricky, so I keep my options flexible. I try to respond with reasonable force. Jack Dempsey has been misquoted as saying, ‘the best defence is a good offence’. In his book, Championship Fighting he states, ‘The best defense in fighting is an aggressive defense.’ He goes on to say, ‘Each defensive move must be accompanied by a counter-punch or be followed immediately by a counterpunch. You may have the best attack in the world; but if you’re an open target—if you’re a ‘clay pigeon’—you’ll likely get licked by the first experienced scrapper you tackle.’
“Muhammad Ali said, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” As partners we’ll discuss the client’s needs and decide whether or not we can provide an effective solution. Every case is different. Am I making sense, or am I just rambling?
“I should tell you that I’ve been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, so if I start acting weird there is a reason for it. I have nightmares, flashbacks, trouble sleeping. I may get jumpy or angry for no reason. I may space out at times…
“Let’s not talk. There are more important things we can do to occupy our time. Kiss me again.”
“Gladly.” He pulled her close, their lips met and a cloud of euphoria settled on him. It was as if the two of them were alone on a desert island, sea breezes, rustling palm fronds, the soothing crash of surf, tranquility. Everything he wanted in life was now in his arms. Her breath was coming in gasps. She undid the buttons on his shirt and ran her hands over his pectoral muscles and his abs. Fumbling at his belt buckle and zipper she found his throbbing erection. He pulled off his shirt and slipped off his pants with his underwear. She did the same. Flesh against flesh they consumed each other. His mouth found her breast. Sucking her nipple was heaven. His breathing was ragged. He couldn’t get enough of her. He raised his head then traced kisses down her stomach to her navel where his tongue drew ever expanding circles. He moved his body further down the sofa and slid his hands to grip the cheeks of her ass. Thighs draped over his shoulders as he dove into her wetness. She tasted of ambrosia, succulently sweet and divine, nectar of the gods. His tongue explored and thrust its way into her warm slippery opening. Pressure was building. He felt famished and she was his only nourishment. His tongue lapped from the bottom of her slit to the top ending at her engorged clit. With his tongue he circled, then sucked the bud into his mouth. He milked it with his lips, grazed it with his teeth. Two fingers slid inside her and found her g spot as his thumb moved to her clit. Slowly but firmly he pressed and rubbed, back and forth, beckoning her to come. Straining as she arched her back and crushed his head closer with her hands. His nose rubbed the swollen nub. She was nearly delirious as her pleasure mounted and then burst in a flood of ecstasy.
Dane said casually, “We have a decision to make. We could get dressed and go to a fancy restaurant, or we could order from Pearly’s Beach Eats and spend our time in bed. Pearly’s offers a few interesting items: Fuji Apple Chicken Salad, Fresh spring greens, tomatoes, red onions, pecans, feta cheese, apple chips, and apple vinaigrette, topped with choice of a scoop of chicken salad or grilled chicken, or Blackened Shrimp Cobb Salad, Chopped Romaine, blackened shrimp, ham, bacon, hard boiled eggs, feta, and diced tomatoes, served with lemon poppy dressing. “Do either of those appeal to you?”
“They both sound good let’s share and spend the time in bed.”
Dane made a phone call and put on the bathrobe provided by the hotel. He answered the door when the bell rang. He was fishing in his wallet for a tip, when the delivery boy stopped him. “Hey man, don’t worry, you go for it.”
Surprised, Dane turned to see Red posed seductively, still naked, on the couch.
He said, “You certainly gave him a thrill.”
“He probably deserved it after a hard day. You didn’t say we should get dressed. That was one of the options.” They ate their lunch picnic style on the carpet with their backs against the couch. The food was delicious and they fed each other from the take out containers. After washing the meal down with another glass of champagne Dane bent down to place one arm under Red’s shoulders and the other under her knees. He effortlessly carried her to the bedroom and laid her gently on the already turned down bed.
Red asked, “Dane, are you intending to have your way with me?”
“Yes, any objections?”
“No, not at all. I’m looking forward to it.”
Her perfect body against the white sheets, her red hair splayed on the pillow, she looked like an angel. He saw another side of her — vulnerable, defenceless. He lay beside her tenderly tracing her features with his fingers. For some reason she was different from his many other liaisons. He kissed her softly, told her his innermost thoughts; he spoke of his life, joys and sorrows. She could barely meet his eyes, those silver pools of dreams, and when she did she felt him slip beneath her skin as though they were one entity. She made love to him then, rocked him slowly, felt his tongue circle and suck her breasts. Ran her hands and nails down his back, encircled him with her legs, she never wanted to let him go. Their lovemaking was tenuous, exploratory, illuminating. How was this possible? He’d long lost track of the number of women he’d shared a bed with. He had some regrets, but in the end he was here by his own choices. After making love she fell asleep in his arms. For the first time in his life he felt contented. If he were to die tomorrow he could say he’d lived a full life.
Night was about to commence. He eased his arm from under her and left asleep in the bed. Sleeping had always been a challenge for him. Sometimes it happened, sometimes it didn’t. He had a ritual of listening to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon on his iPod programmed to repeat. Every note was indelibly printed onto his mind. Wearing his headphones, lying on the couch he drifted into a state of limbo where he would do battle with flashbacks, nightmares and muscle spasms. Sometimes he would pace in circles around the room, do calisthenics, try to watch tv. The porn channel was boring. He watched a documentary on the Black Panthers, a group he had supported when he was younger. He had met one of them at a heavy equipment training course held in Charlotte, North Carolina. He invited the man out for a drink but was told, ‘I appreciate the offer and would like to accept, but places where I can drink wouldn’t allow you and places where you could drink wouldn’t allow me.’ At the same course he met, Robert a member of the Ku Klux Klan. At a local bar he sat at his right with twenty others drinking beer around a large table. Robert explained that he was brought up in the Klan, it was family. He said it was like belonging to the boy scouts — they’d get together, have meetings, but instead of a campfire they’d burn a cross or a church. He said he had nothing against people of color, but he didn’t have the choice of leaving the Klan or their activities, he couldn’t even leave the state without permission. As the night wore on and the conversation got louder locals from nearby tables stated their points of view. The topic arose of how people of color were better treated in North Carolina than they were in Mississippi. Something in the conversation irritated Robert who stood up and asked, ‘Who’d like to see a cross burning in their yard tonight.’ Without a word, half of the patrons walked out, their drinks still on the table. The power of the spoken word and the climate of fear had been revealed. That was a moment and that sentence has been seared in memory. As an outsider Dane knew nothing of the histories that had brought this moment to bear.
Another incident involved riding shotgun with five other friends. We were driving through a dimly lit area of Charlotte when next to my ear I heard a loud bang. I turned around to see a back seat passenger with handgun drawn and sparks flying off the pavement near a black man. He said, ‘Don’t worry, I wasn’t trying to kill him, just wanted to see him dance.’ The thought repelled him then as now. What could he have done? An inexperienced boy from the prairie, beyond his depth and uncertain of the future, he did nothing.
Soul On Ice was required reading for my Humanities class at York University. It’s a memoir and collection of essays by Eldridge Cleaver who became an early leader of the Black Panther Party. A group of Black Panthers spoke to us in a theater as part of course content. Angela Davis had close relations with the Black Panther Party through her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. She had addressed civil and women’s rights, poverty and peace, health care and prison reform. This led to her arrest and trial on charges of kidnapping, conspiracy and murder. Davis’ imprisonment for over a year inspired the internationtreated ‘Free Angela’ movement; her case became a symbol of the abusive power of the criminal justice system against minorities. Free Angela Davis posters adorned university hallways and dorm rooms as did those of the Grateful Dead, Jim Morrison — American Poet and Robert Crumb’s Keep On Truckin‘. Chaka Khan attended several civil rights rallies and joined the Black Panther Party in 1967. She went on to win ten music awards and was nominated for another dozen.
It was easy to be impressed and influenced by these highly educated celebrities, as opposed to President Richard Nixon, nicknamed ‘Tricky Dicky.’ An election question concerning his appearance was, ‘Would you buy a used car from this man?’ He was defeated by Kennedy, but won against Johnson. The Panthers spoke against the Vietnam War whereas Nixon supposedly prolonged it for political gain.
Another group, possibly the Weather Underground or Weathermen, also spoke to our class. After concluding their presentation they asked, ‘Why are you people just sitting there? Why aren’t you out protesting or throwing bombs.’
They say that hindsight is 20/20. Why is that? What’s wrong is wrong is wrong no matter when it happens. When was slavery and oppression ever right. They talk about diversity as if it were something new. Everyone is unique. I don’t need to follow another’s religion, or sexual orientation to accept their friendship. We don’t have to be of the same race. These are imposed conditions not choices. The sociological theory of a generation gap first came to light in the 1960s, when the younger generation (later known as Baby Boomers) seemed to go against everything their parents had previously believed in terms of music, values, governmental and political views. My brother John and I were born fifteen years apart. We both liked music by ‘The Killer’ Jerry Lee Lewis, otherwise we disagreed on pretty much everything.
One point of contention involved Kent State University and the shootings of unarmed college students protesting the Vietnam War when confronted members of the Ohio National Guard. Twenty-nine guardsmen fired approximately 67 rounds over a period of 13 seconds, killing four students and wounding nine others, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis. John’s opinion, being a Korean War vet, was that anyone stupid enough to put a flower in the rifle of an armed guard deserved to be shot. I vehemently disagreed with such callous waste of human life.
The night passed fretfully. I awoke having to pee, then tried to escape the dream I’d had been living while in a somnambulistic state. Red awakened me wearing a black sexy negligee, “Hey, what are you doing here. Come back to bed.”
“I was having nightmares and didn’t want to disturb you.”
“Can you tell me about them, or are they too painful?”
“They don’t make a lot of sense — explosions of light and sound, being chased, closeups of horrendous faces, blood, lots of blood.”
“Hold me, perhaps I can help you to relax.” Enjoying the comfort of her head on his chest her body nestled close, naked breasts against his skin, the scent of her hair, her perfume transported him to another world where he drifted into peaceful sleep.
He awoke refreshed with Red lying beside him, her head resting on her hand watching him intently.
“It’s good to see you awake. You looked so at ease when you finally fell asleep. How do you feel?”
“Great.” Her hand slid down to his already hard cock. She said, “Somebody else is awake. I think I’ll reacquaint myself with him. She slid between his legs and licked his erection from the base to the head while still holding his gaze. “Mmmm, you taste like us last night. How delightful. She swirled her tongue around the rim before wrapping her lips around him while slowly sliding down and up pausing only to lick him like an ice cream cone.
“It’s my turn,” she said as she straddled him and rubbed the head of his cock against her clit. They were both oozing with juices. She closed her eyes and bit her bottom lip as she manipulated him to her will. Increasing the speed and pressure she slid him inside her and panted, “Fuck me! Fuck me hard!” To which he eagerly complied. Their orgasms exploded simultaneously as he held her hips and pumped her up and down. She rolled to her side keeping him deep within. He squeezed the cheeks of her ass pulling her against him.
“How was I?” Dane enquired.
“If you have to ask, you have a lot to learn. I don’t score lovers on a point system, nor by dick size. Let’s say you were almost as fun to ride as a Harley.”
“Don’t hold anything back just to spare my feelings. I’m a big boy, I can take criticism.” answered Dane. “I have to admit I’ve been going through a dry spell, but I’m open to suggestions, role playing, fantasies, bondage, anything you desire.”
“That’s promising. I wasn’t disappointed in your performance if that’s what you were asking. You’re not the best, but not the worst by any means. Average isn’t a bad thing. Knowing that you’re open to exploring your limits is encouraging. Have you experienced Tantric sex?”
“If that has to do with the Kama Sutra I have read it, or at least looked at the pictures. Most of the positions look to be beyond my acrobatic abilities, although martial arts has kept me quite flexible.”
Red continued, “Sting has bragged that he and his wife have had eight-hour lovemaking sessions using the ancient practices of Tantric sex. Are you interested or have I forever bruised your delicate ego?”
“Eight hours? Wow, I have new respect for the man and I thought he was most impressive for his singing.”
“Tantra is not something that can be learned by reading a book or watching a video. It requires becoming more in tune with your inner self. Translated, Kama Sutra means ‘treatise of pleasure’. By having sex the Kama Sutra way you can truly make your partner feel loved, and provide a sexual experience that would awaken the very essence of their soul.”
“That sounds fascinating. Lead on teacher, I’ll follow. First, let’s pack our belongings, deliver them to the pickup area, have breakfast and wait for the airport shuttle.”
We asked at the Sailport desk about breakfast. Unfortunately, they only served a brunch buffet on weekends. They recommended Datz Tampa on MacDill street about ten minutes away by cab.
The restaurant wasn’t much to look at from the outside, but inside it was colorful and cozy. I ordered the The Eggs Barbacoa. It was phenomenal. Red tried the Chicken and Waffles and said it was very good! For drinks I had a Bloody Mary while Red went for a Mimosa or two. An hour later we were on the plane for St Kitts.