|The Story||The Authors|
|Here Jake paused for a moment to take stock of the situation between his legs. Gingerly he sent a tendril of consciousness down his torso and into his scrotum...ouch! Waaaaaaaaaa... Only it wasn't so bad now. Another five minutes and he might be able to stand up. He withdrew the aforementioned tendril and returned his attentions to O., for whom things weren't going nearly so well.|
|"You have sinned most onerously, child," said Madame LaRoux; "You have been a very naughty girl." She flicked her gaze (not to mention her sjambok) over at a loveseat in the corner, where those for-once-silent rascals, the Katzenjammer Kids, sulked under the combined weight of huge ice-packs and the fluttering ministrations of Wing and Wong, the palace eunuchs. Beneath the ice-packs, each child's forehead bore an identical welt in the shape of the topside of a Susan B. Anthony dollar, backwards. So true had O.'s aim been! And of an equal trueness (she knew with a chill that suddenly gripped her liver with the icy digits of a ghoul) would be the Madame's punishment. "Let the sentence fit the crime," as the nuns had so thoroughly beaten into her girlhood spent within the unforgiving walls of the Convent of the Virgin Sisters of the Roseless Thorn of Our Lady of Perpetual Frustration. Oh, but what would it be? The suspense was the worst part of it -- just like Laurent had intimated to her that rainy afternoon as they lay in his little twilit room on Montmarte, with its single round window giving out onto the whole vista of Paris like the view from within Polyphemus's eye. She felt a faint tinge of nostalgia as she remembered...Laurent, with his disorderly sheaves of poems, so young, so gentle, so eager to learn. And what she'd taught him, he'd get no degree from the Sorbonne for, to be sure, and yet -- and yet...|
Madame LaRoux turned away from the Katzenjammers and clapped her hands together thrice -- one! two! three! From the opposite corner Ursula, her shapely blonde secretary, stood to attention and came forward, eyes discreetly downcast, the unwieldy weight and shape of Grundel's Encyclopedia of Table Manners (complete and annotated) balanced atop her head. "Jawohl, Mistress?" she inquired. "Was darf ich fŸr dich tun?" |
"Call in the Mother Superior," shot Madame LaRoux casually, punctuating this seemingly random remark with an Arctic look that pierced O.'s eyes with knitting needles and then ran its fingers hungrily down her creamy flanks. And then O. knew. The punishment more than fit the crime. It compplemented it with a ferocity not seen since the glory days of the Roman Emperor Heliogabalus!
The former Clothilde l'Anguille HerpŽes, forty-seven years a Bride of Christ and for the last thirty-four of them the Mother Superior of the Convent of the Virgin Sisters of the Roseless Thorn of Our Lady of Perpetual Frustration (said expelled Carmelite Order henceforth to be abbreviated as V.S.R.T.O.L.P.F.) had not aged well. |
Or perhaps that phrase is somewhat inexact. For there had never been anything attractive enough about her to merit aging well -- or even aging, for that matter -- she was born old, and sour, and from the very first day of her life had expelled a strong, sharp, distinctly wet odor recalling that most olfactory of the Labors set before Hercules, e.g. the Cleaning-Out of the Augean Stables. Would the author be on target by suggesting that this odor emanated not from her pores but from her very personality? Very likely he would be, but time will leave the making of such subtle distinctions up to you, the reader...
And so, back to our little scenario -- well did O. remember the harpylike contours of the Mother Superior's face, the incipient liver-spots, hair-sprouting moles, and grey varicose veins coloring clawlike hands and bony wrists, and her facility with a cat-o'-nine-tails which most likely bested even the nefarious skills of Madame LaRoux, if only by dint of age.