Judith was a lesbian. Only she didn't have short hair and she didn't wear wooden beads. Neither did she have a girlfriend with a moustache and legs like a Russian shot-putter. In fact, Judith didn't have a girlfriend at all; she preferred the anonymity of one-night stands with girls picked up in gay bars and communal changing rooms. Judith particularly liked the changing rooms at the exclusive gym she attended where all the tanned PR girls hung-out, stripped to the waist, chatting nonsensically about their executive boyfriends and the latest skincare products. Whilst the nubile objects of Judith’s affection compared the benefits of the latest three-for-the-price-of-two offers in Boots with make-up bags gifted with a purchase of two face creams in Debenhams, Judith would happily eye-up their scantily covered buttocks.
Judith’s own choice of underwear was hipsters, as they flattered her slender hips but, as a voyeur, she preferred thongs. Often she would imagine ripping them off with her teeth and, after rampant sex, flossing with them in the same way she might do after enjoying a particularly good pork chop. Not that Judith should eat pork because it was against her religion. Well, her father’s religion. Anyway, it didn't really matter about Judith’s fondness for pork chops anymore as her father had disowned her when she’d told him that she was “coming out” and that she’d rather die than spend another evening, at his behest, with his best friend’s son who had a PhD in engineering. That last dismal night with Englebert had resulted in a massive showdown - the culmination of years of Judith’s self-hate for being her father’s lackey. The acne-covered Englebert would have tested even the most stalwart socialite but, since Judith found nothing remotely interesting about the internal workings of office photocopiers, and had no knowledge of the functionalities of dynamic equilibrium, the evening had held even less interest than her great aunt’s funeral. And Aunt Florrie had been a hundred and six when she died and only two people under the age of ninety, excluding Judith and her parents, had turned up. So it had been exceptionally dull.
Of course, there were good things and bad things about not having your father’s love. Or his money. In fact, Judith’s life had been somewhat difficult for six months when, without the comfort of her father’s allowance, Judith had been forced to wait tables, in addition to her office job, to pay her bills. Although Judith enjoyed prying on her customers’ conversations and flirting with city workers in order to elicit a big tip, it had been an enormous relief when her father was run over by the no 33 bus. In his statement, the driver had declared he hadn't seen Mr Freud crossing the road; a fact which Judith thought highly unlikely as her father weighed twenty stone and had been walking his Great Dane, Hildegard. However, it also seemed unlikely that the bus driver was an assassin and Judith wasn't one to complain about minor details. So, even though poor Hildegard had also perished, Judith was finally relinquished from her father’s influence and took comfort in the knowledge that Hildegard’s retinas were used to restore the sight of a Chihuahua from Golders Green.
Unlike Judith, her mother had been distraught at the news of the tragic accident. Indeed she’d been distraught until the day Solomon’s will revealed that there was more than enough money for mother and daughter to live in luxury for the rest of their lives. Judith and her mother celebrated with champagne and pork medallions on a bed of exotic rice. Nevertheless, Judith’s mother was a good woman and kept her joy well hidden, wearing black for six whole weeks and impressing all the neighbours with her solemnity. Until she met the new head butcher at Waitrose and was spotted barbecuing spare ribs and drinking sherry on the Sabbath.
So, it was shortly after her father’s death, and her mother’s exodus to Spain on a prolonged tour of the vineyards, that Judith found herself at a crossroads in life. Having temporarily handed over the management of her father’s pawnbroking business to Jerri Scholar, her father’s deputy, Judith continued with her office job whilst pondering her single status and the future of Solomon’s Gold Mines. Judith didn’t trust Jerri Scholar because his name was, in fact, Gerry Schulberg and Judith had a deep-seated mistrust of people who changed their names for fashionable reasons. After all, this was the twenty-first century and none but the most bigoted was the least concerned by the fact that she was an (ex) Jewess with a penchant for young girls and pork chops. Not that Judith broadcasted her sexuality but, when she’d had fleeting affairs with younger women dissatisfied with their boyfriends, none of them seemed that bothered by either her sexuality or their own changing sexual preferences. Modern life was one big new adventure which, at times, young adults and teenagers seemed to consume faster than wholly appropriate - even to Judith, who was still only thirty-one.
However, Judith was not about to knock the society which, more or less, had accepted her ways. Particularly as she had recently discovered that, if she chose carefully, she could also solicit the attentions of older married women wishing to spice up their flagging sex lives and whose husbands thought female one-on-one titillating rather than grounds for divorce. As it turned out, Judith liked mature women as much as she liked younger women. Although younger women had the benefit of the freshness and enthusiasm of youth, the experience and determination of older women to obtain at least one more orgasm before they died impressed Judith, and more than made up for any sagging buttocks. Judith’s only exception to this mantra was women who had sagging buttocks, breasts which touched their knees, and who also participated in aqua-aerobics. Having witnessed the carcass of an elderly aqua-aerobics swimmer hauled inelegantly from the pool one day, Judith had decided aqua-aerobics was a precursor to sudden death. The image of the bulging body, complete with yellow rubber cap and frilled costume, would remain imprinted on her memory forever.
So it was one day at work, whilst Judith was contemplating her future and refilling the photocopier (about which she now had more knowledge of its internal workings than what she felt wholly comfortable with) that the unexpected and yet, perhaps also the inevitable, happened. Out of her employer’s office came a vision of loveliness so great that Judith’s heart fluttered with the stirrings of lust and, very possibly, love. Judith had been beginning to wonder if love and marriage was something that happened only to heterosexuals. She had almost entirely resigned herself to a life of physically satisfying but emotionally barren intercourse when Shelley, eighteen-and-a-half with big brown eyes and hair from a L’Oreal advert, tripped gaily into the open-plan office with the aptly named Mr Hands following close behind, his palms hovering over her curvaceous derrière.
So the delightful Shelley joined the team at Handy Hands’ Stationery Suppliers and became the object of both Judith and Mr Hands’ desire. Unlike the salacious Mr Hands who could barely stop himself salivating over Shelley, Judith found herself adopting traits that she had previously thought more particular to love-struck heteros: gazing into space, doodling hearts on her notebooks and maintaining a safe distance from her love interest in case of embarrassing rejection. As the weeks went by, Judith found it increasingly awkward when Shelley would pull up a chair, her soft breasts pouring over the top of her cheap low-cut tops, and ask Judith to demonstrate the finer details of Excel spreadsheets. Unfortunately, Judith would often imagine herself sucking Shelley’s sweet pink nipples and was unable to concentrate on the job in hand which, for the purposes of demonstrating Excel, was rather a hindrance.
So with love in her heart and confusion in her logic, Judith stayed on at Handy Hand’s Stationery Suppliers despite the fact that she was sure Jerri/Gerry was on the fiddle. Profits at Solomon’s Gold Mines were down and Jerri’s excuses about the gold price crashing, whilst seemingly plausible, didn't tally with her examination of the spreadsheets. She supposed that Jerri thought that because she’d only worked in a small office and had never been ruthlessly ambitious he didn't think her capable of spotting any irregularities. However, the fact was that Judith had inherited more of her father’s aptitude for numbers than her mother’s aptitude for the consumption of Spanish Cava.
The unhealthy situation came to a head one day when Judith, stomach aching and with a splitting headache caused by her unrequited love, was not at her best. Feeling particularly irritated that she’d run out of staples just as she was about to affix her final spreadsheet of the day, she dutifully headed down to the stationery cupboard, deluxe stapler in hand, to replenish her supplies before packing up and returning to her flat to spend the evening leaving woeful messages on Facebook. Judith was in two minds about Facebook as occasionally her exes would leave encouraging comments about her now undesired single status but, for the most part, Judith was besieged with a stream of photographs of lattes or cream cakes. These visual feasts only served to make her more depressed as, although Judith didn't have a weight problem, she didn't need to be reminded that some women could eat anything they wanted and still not have to work-out. So, feeling somewhat peeved about her situation in life, Judith refilled her stapler and pocketed the remainder of the packet. She was returning down the corridor, wondering if the news about her stapler being refilled would be sufficiently interesting to post on Facebook, when a loud squeal reverberated from the broom cupboard. Judith realised the squeal was that of a woman in distress and, more importantly, a woman whose high-pitched girly squeal was instantly recognisable as that of her beloved Shelley.
With her adrenaline running high, Judith threw open the door to the broom cupboard aghast at the thought of Shelley clinging to a top shelf, the portable steps having fallen away. But what Judith found was not Shelley holding on for dear life and about to fall into her arms but the poor girl wedged up against a stack of disinfectant, cleaning cloth in hand, wearing an expression of sheer terror. In front of the terrified Shelley, with his head buried in her breasts and a hand up her skirt, was Mr Hands grunting and moaning like a sow in labour.
As Judith absorbed the ghastly scene, her gaze locked with Shelley’s pleading eyes. “Help me,” mouthed Shelley as Mr Hands’ fingers encroached inside her knickers. Shelley’s pitiful appeal pierced Judith’s heart and reservations, and with explosive fury Judith marched into the broom cupboard, grabbed Mr Hands’ testicles as if she was going to bite into a massive pork chop and stapled them with all her might. Mr Hands screamed. And screamed. And with a final scream of ear-piercing stupendousness, Mr Hands collapsed to the floor writhing in agony, tears flooding down his beetroot face.
“You bastard,” said Judith and, as she was never one to do anything by halves, bent down and stapled his testicles, not once, but twice more to be absolutely certain Mr Hands would never, ever, touch her dear Shelley again.
On completing her rescue mission, Judith held out her hand to the trembling Shelley and the two of them retreated to the office, cleared their desks, deleted all the electronic spreadsheets, shredded the paper ones, and sojourned to the Chinese restaurant for a dinner of sweet and sour pork balls accompanied by Spanish Cava. It was over a second helping of the pork balls that Judith, her emotions still running high and slightly intoxicated by the wine, declared her undying love to Shelley.
Not knowing what to expect, Judith held her breath at the possibility that pork balls might be thrown in her face. So it was a huge relief and surprise for Judith, even bigger than when her father had been mowed down by the no 33, when the almost inconceivable happened: Shelley declared her undying love in return. It transpired that Shelley had loved Judith since the day she’d joined Handy Hands' Stationery Suppliers and the only reason why Shelley hadn't declared her love was that she had no idea that Judith was also a lesbian. In her innocence, Shelley had been led to believe that most lesbians had moustaches and legs like a Russian shot-putter and that Judith, who had neither a moustache nor unwholesome legs, could therefore not be a lesbian. As for herself, Shelley believed she was a misfortunate rare exception to the lesbian rule and, lacking interest in hairy ladies with muscular thighs, she would be doomed to a life without love.
So perhaps it goes without saying that Judith and Shelley got married and lived happily ever after. But in this case, not before Judith had first fired Jerri/Gerry for embezzlement and discovered her father’s payments for a lease to a flat registered to a woman who, coincidentally, shared the same surname as the bus driver who had run over her father and poor Hildegard. On balance, Judith decided her mother didn't need to know this information as it was pointless spoiling her new-found happiness. As Judith deleted the evidence she surmised that, even though she was still in the learning phase of life, she’d already discovered that all over the world people were screwing each other and it didn't really matter what race, religion or sexuality you were. Neither did it matter whether you were fat or thin or beautiful or ugly. Or even if you did aqua-aerobics. All that mattered was that you got to share a little love.
|Never underestimate a woman. Or the power of her stapler.
Pork Chops and Promiscuity is taken from my short story collection A Modern Life now available on Amazon.