Sleeping woman with superimposed doctorate


By K.A. Laity

He stared at the pustules crowning her ass and wondered how it had come to this. She had laid claim to forty-two, but the rubious morning light easily suggested that the addition of another five years to that calculation would be appropriate. But that wasn't the real problem.

He wondered if shifting to the side of the bed to look for his clothes would jiggle her phocine form awake. Deciding to risk it, if only to go in search of some aspirin to assuage the wimble boring through his head, he rolled slowly across the surprisingly wide expanse of linen to the edge of bed. This hotel didn't skimp on the king mattresses, that was for sure.

Why did his head ache so? Ah, yes — the "wixey." That had been her pronunciation of the word last night. Was it whimsy or a a genuine mistake? He couldn't recall now, although at the time he had been charmed by the usage.

He looked over his shoulder at her recumbent shape, a veritable dugong in the unflattering glare. They had left the curtains open when collapsing into their coincidental intimacy. The wixey had not helped his performance, but she seemed unconcerned by his ponderous efforts. Par for the course, her acquiescence seemed to suggest.

Perhaps it would be best to dress as quickly as possible and leave. Other details of the night were fuzzy and he had a bad feeling that she would remember. He eased himself off the bed, willing the springs not to squeal an alarm. At least he had had the good sense to shed his belongings in a single pile. Even his briefcase lay safely at the bottom, still holding the relatively pristine pages of his hopefully-cutting-edge dissection of a lately topical author, the province of all newly-minted doctoral diatribes.

Zipping his pants, he turned slowly back to face her. On her back now, a slight snore growing, he had a moment of panic wondering whether it was more cowardly to leave or simply more considerate — wouldn't she, too, wish to be spared the awkwardness of this auroral charade?

While in uffish thought he stood, however, her eyes blinked open and she smiled up at him. The assurance in her expression flummoxed him for a moment, although it also reminded him why he had come here, wixey or no.

"Dr. Lander," she cooed, her whiskeyed voice pleasingly husky. "Phil," she corrected herself, the smile growing to Cheshire proportions. "I'll see you at one o'clock, ne c'est pas? That is, I hope you're still interested in the one-year visiting position." Her voice did not suggest this was really a question.

Phil nodded curtly and offered a strained smile. It was that kind of job market.