Not a cougar, a lioness
Editor’s note: When he was a younger man, Crash Barry spent two years working as a sternman on Matinicus, Maine’s most remote island. This is another of his true stories.
She may have been tall or short. Zaftig or junkie-rail-thin. A blonde, a brunette, a redhead or raven-haired. Doesn’t matter. I’m not gonna describe her, other than to tell you her skin was soft. And she was another man’s wife.
Uninvited, she climbed the stairs to the second floor of the fish house I shared with Captain Bert’s tools, spare parts and old rope. She introduced herself with a bottle of whiskey in one hand and a fat joint in the other. Didn’t take long for her mission to become clear. She was there to have sex with me.
I’d been living on the island for two months, and my only pals were a half-dozen other sternmen. Married island women, in their role as other men’s wives, seemed blurry and distant. Truthfully, I hadn’t noticed her before. But she certainly got my attention. Quick.
For the next couple weeks, we dallied in weird places at strange times of day. She was hungry and a little freaky. Happy with action, I aimed to please.
Then one day her husband went to the mainland (according to her, to visit his girlfriend) for the night. We had the house to ourselves and she was dressed by Frederick’s of Hollywood. After a long bath in scented water, she made love to me on satin sheets, which, in my opinion, were too slippery.
Then she prepared a fine feast. A nice salad. Lobster stew and biscuits. Steaks on the grill. Steamed spinach. Baked potatoes with sour cream.
Sex for dessert.
After dessert, we lounged, naked, on her marital bed with another whiskey and one more joint. She cuddled and sighed. Content.
By 9 p.m., my drink was gone. Time to leave. It was the middle of the night, by my Matinicus clock, because Captain Bert always got underway before dawn.
“This was great,” I said, trying to figure out how to extricate my arm and unwrap from her embrace without disturbing her comfort. “But it’s late and I better get going.”
“Don’t be silly,” she murmured and snuggled. “You can sleep here. I told you, he’s gone until tomorrow morning.”
Couldn’t take that chance, of course. And besides, I’d never reach deep slumber there. My restless psyche would awake with every creaking board and whisper of wind. I knew the early return of her husband would mean my certain death at his hands.
It’s one thing sleeping with a fella’s wife. It’s another spending the night in his bed.
“I can’t,” I said, perhaps a little too forcefully. “I need to go.”
She pulled me closer.
“You have to stay,” she said, slowly, stressing each word. “I cooked you dinner. We made love. Twice. You can’t leave.”
Clearly, she wasn’t gonna listen to my rationale. I sat up and swung my legs toward the floor. Her arms were still wrapped around my torso.
“Don’t go,” she said, releasing me only when I got on my feet. “You better not. I’m warning you.”
I pulled on my boxers and jeans.
“If you leave,” she said, her voice growing harder, “we’re never gonna have sex again.”
My silent answer was to button my shirt and sit on the foot of the bed to don shoes and socks. Then I stood again. She pointed at me, her cheeks trembled and her eyes went wide.
“WE’RE THROUGH!” she screamed. “YOU SON-OF-A-BITCH!”
She grabbed an empty whiskey glass from the nightstand and threw it at me. I easily sidestepped. Thud, against the wall. Next came a flying book.
I headed downstairs and she followed, switching tactics. Pleading. Begging. Promising. She’d get up extra early and cook bacon and eggs before I went out to haul.
“Just don’t leave,” she sobbed. “Please don’t leave.”
I ignored the tempting breakfast offer and dashed for the door and into the night.
On the path back to my shack on the shore, it felt like someone was watching me. I stopped, turned, listened and looked around. Dozens and dozens of pairs of eyes glared at me from the darkness of the scrub pines. Cats. Feral cats. The island was overrun with ’em.
The woman never spoke to me again.