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The Best of 2013
by Arthur Chappell
by Robert Buckley
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Wilberforce The Cunning
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The Night the Stars..
The Long Ride Home
Leah And The Eagle
The Shades of Gray
The Nice Guy
The Love Song of...
Its Been Going Around
Dancing with the Banshee
The Last Thing You ...
The Nice Guy
"Danny Boy, you got that look," Augie said, offering a bottle of Jameson and a shot glass. "I'm thinking you need something stronger than the usual."
Danny responded with a wan smile. "Yeah, okay. What the hell."
Augie set the glass on the bar and filled it to the brim. "There, take a slug of that. It's on the house."
Danny raised the glass and sipped. Licking his lips, he set the glass down. "You're in a generous mood."
"I just can't stand to see suffering, is all. But this stuff ain't a cure, just a temporary balm."
Danny raised the glass again and took a longer swig.
"Dumped ya, didn't she?" Augie said.
Danny exhaled a long sigh.
"I thought so," Augie nodded, confident with his diagnosis. "Well, I hope you got in a poke or two. She was a honey. —Whoops, excuse me. She's still a honey, she just ain't your honey."
"I thought you were trying to make me feel better?"
Augie refreshed his drink. "When did she drop the sack of bricks on you?"
Danny smiled again. "Right in the middle of a backrub."
"Uh-huh. Who was rubbing whose back?"
"I was rubbing her back."
"Aw, so you didn't get to poke her."
"What makes you say that?"
"Only reason to give her a backrub is to get her loose. Backrubs come before the fuck. See? I'm a regular Sherlock, ain't I?"
"Not that it's any of your business, but I was rubbing her back—after."
Augie reared up. "Now, see? That's your problem."
"Your attitude toward women. It's all wrong. No wonder they treat you like yesterday's fish."
"What the hell's the matter with my attitude toward women? I adore women."
"Exactly my point!"
Danny gulped from his drink. "You're giving me a headache."
"Listen up to thems who are older and wiser, my boy. A woman has one use to a man. She's a pussy for him to stick his dick into, or a mouth to suck that same dick. And when you're done, you're done. No backrubs. You roll over and go to sleep. You start with these backrubs after sex, you know what? They get to feeling they did you a favor, and not the other way around."
"That's the dumbest—not to mention crudest—thing I ever heard."
"Oh, yeah? So how come you're in here medicating your wounds, and what's-her-name ..."
"Yeah, Shelley. Where is she?"
Danny's shoulders sank. "She's back with her old boyfriend."
"Wait a minute. The one she was in here bitching about the other day? The one she said was insensitive?" he mocked. "Yeah, the same guy she said treated her like shit?"
"I don't know—I guess."
Augie tapped his knuckles against Danny's forehead. "Hello? Anyone home? Doesn't this tell you something?"
"All the time, women bitch and moan about guys who treat them like shit, but you know what? They can't get enough of them."
"I can't believe that."
"So, your love life is so great you can refute it? You—the ultimate nice guy. Hey, nice guys finish last, and they don't get laid."
Danny rolled his eyes and looked away.
"Go ahead, smirk. I'm right. And what about this backrub-us interruptus?"
Danny didn't raise his eyes. "That's when she got his call. At least, I suppose it was him. She jumped up and said she had to be somewhere. Later she left a message on my machine and said she was getting back together with Rafe—I think that's his name. She said she knew I'd be happy for her because I was ..."
"... such a nice guy?" Augie grinned.
"Aw, fuck you."
Augie chuckled as Danny downed another mouthful of whisky.
"Hey, what's so funny?" Charlie peered around Augie's bulk as she tied an apron around her bare midriff. Charlie was all freckles and wild red-blonde hair, with a megawatt smile that challenged even Augie's 6-foot-three, 300-pound frame as the prime attention-getter in the bar.
"Well, thanks for coming in today," Augie greeted her with mock gratitude.
"Oh, Augie. For crissakes, I told you I'd be a little late. I was challenging that speeding ticket I got last month. The hearing was today."
"Yeah, so how'd it go?"
Charlie's grin widened. "I won."
"No shit? What you have to do?"
Charlie shrugged, and said offhandedly, "Give the mayor a blow job." She giggled at Danny.
Augie shrugged. "I believe it."
Charlie cast him a glance over her shoulder and rolled her eyes. Danny thought her smile was dazzling. As she leaned over the bar her breasts tumbled together beneath her cropped tank top.
"Hey, Danny. I hear Shelley's back with her old beau. You okay with that?"
"Isn't much I can do about it."
"Aw, I'm sorry, Danny. Don't feel too bad. I love Shelley, but she's a ditz."
"Yeah," Danny replied. "Ain't I lucky?"
Charlie's eyes held that peculiar brand of sympathy reserved for the chronically dumped. Danny stepped off his stool. "Excuse me, friends. I gotta make a visit to the boy's room."
As the men's room door closed after Danny, Augie nudged Charlie. "So, what's with you chicks anyway?"
"Huh? Whaddya mean?"
"You'd all rather give your goodies to some shitbum, instead of a nice guy like Danny."
"You been smoking something? Where'd you get that idea?"
"Okay, how many times has Danny been dumped—just counting this year?"
"Jeesh, I don't know. Let's see, Patty, Angela, Sheila—Shelley?"
"Four times. Okay, and who did they dump him for?"
Charlie furrowed her brow. She didn't like where Augie's inquisition was headed. "Hmmm, well Patty got married ..."
"Uh-huh, to that blockhead -- what's-his-name?"
"Derek. But they split just last week."
"No shit. Big surprise."
"Angela met that pilot at the hotel bar she works."
"Right. The married guy. I remember him shooting his mouth off when she brought him in. Something about having 'a little cunt stashed on every route'."
"Okay, I remember," Charlie nodded. "He was an asshole."
"And Sheila? Didn't she hook up with that phony professor?"
"He wasn't phony, he teaches over at the state college."
"Whatever. Didn't he call her 'white trash' in front of a whole class, or something?"
"Where do you hear these things?"
"Bartenders. We're all ears."
"Okay. So Danny's ex-girlfriends are none-too-bright. Is that your point?"
"No, that ain't my point. None of them was dumb. Well, maybe except for Shelley. If tits were brains she'd be a fucking Einstein. What I'm saying is the others struck me as smart, sensible girls. And they all dumped Danny for these—scumbags."
Charlie shrugged. "It's more complicated than that, Augie."
"Okay, so illuminate me."
"What's the matter with Danny?"
"Nothing. God, he's a sweetheart. Geesh, remember right before Thanksgiving? I had a redeye flight booked so I could fly up to see my sister. I couldn't buy a cab to take me to the airport that night. I was desperate and I called Danny. Woke him up. He drove all the way across town to pick me up and took me to the airport. Got me there just in time. He wouldn't even let me give him a few bucks for gas."
"Okay, so what's the problem? Does he stink; is he hard on the eyes? What's the matter with this guy?"
"No. Nothing. He's cute, and he's sweet."
"Well, okay. Then what's the fucking problem?"
Charlie shrugged again. "It's just. I don't know. Danny's more like a friend, you know?"
"He doesn't get your motor running, in other words."
"Well, it's just—he's kind of like your favorite brother."
"Oh, for crissakes. Danny will find a girl, and she'll be one lucky girl too. He'll put her on a pedestal, treat her like a princess."
"Yeah," Augie replied in a low growl. "Well, if you ask me, that's what his problem is. If he tossed you gals around like dirty laundry, you'd be clawing over each other to get into the sack with him."
"Jesus, Augie, you and your weird ideas."
Augie noticed Danny emerge from the men's room and winked at Charlie. "Ix-snay," he said. "I gotta bring up a case of Bud." He disappeared through a door that led into the cellar.
Danny resumed his place at the bar as Charlie drew a draught for another customer. Later she sidled over to Danny.
"Hey, Danny. I really am sorry about Shelley."
Danny smiled and nodded.
"Look, Danny, I think you need to know, you're a sweet guy. You're just having a run of bad luck."
"Thanks, Charlie. I'm okay. I don't suppose you'd like to take in a movie and pizza tomorrow. My weekend is wide open."
Charlie fidgeted with some glasses. "I'd like to, Danny. But I had plans to hit some clubs with some of the girls."
Danny nodded. Charlie bit her bottom lip and shrugged. "Hey, you want to come with us?"
Charlie shook his head. "No thanks. You girls are on the prowl, you don't need some odd guy tagging after you."
Charlie tried not to show her relief, even though a knot of guilt tightened in her chest.
Danny knocked back the last of his drink. "You know, Augie says my attitude toward women is all wrong," he chuckled.
Charlie rolled her eyes. "Jesus, look who's talking."
"Charlie, can I tell you something? Just friend-to-friend. I don't want to embarrass you or anything."
Charlie replied in a low whisper. "Yeah, sure, Danny."
"Well, ever since I was five years old, I think. That's when Marianne Turcotte sat next to me in kindergarten."
"Well, I just thought girls were the most magical, wonderful creatures. I remember when Marianne kissed me in the coatroom while Sister Louise Henry's back was turned. It was like I was struck by lightning."
"God, Danny, you remember that?" she laughed.
"Yeah, and I remember when I tried to kiss her back in the schoolyard and she hit me."
Charlie's smile widened. "Oh, you poor thing."
"The thing is, Charlie. You girls have always been a mystery to me. A wonderful, confounding, magical mystery."
"Aw, Danny, you wouldn't think we're so wonderful first thing in the morning, or when we got the rag on," she chuckled.
Danny smiled back. "Yeah, well like the song says, 'It's love's illusions I recall'."
Charlie started to reach for Danny's face, but caught herself and quickly brushed an errant lock of hair from her forehead.
"So, Charlie, when I'm with a girl, I can't believe how lucky I am." He hesitated a second. "No, lucky isn't the word either. I don't know how to describe it."
"You know," he continued, "I've never been able to have casual sex with a woman—not that I've had so many opportunities. It's just that, here is this amazing being, she's letting me touch her, letting me feel soft, warm skin. There just aren't any adjectives to describe the way you girls feel; the way you smell, the way you move.
"I could never, ever, just plunge into a woman. Not until I've kissed every inch of her, touched her in ways that let her know—I don't know—that I'm grateful. I like to worship her ..."
"What? Girls don't like to be worshipped?"
"Well, geeze. I mean, yeah, it's wonderful. But, Danny, we're not goddesses. Not all of us anyway," she winked.
"Yeah, well, you'll be so kind to oblige me in my illusions, won't you ma'am?"
Charlie smiled and nodded.
"An when I am inside a woman. God, I mean, to be inside her; is there anything closer to heaven than making love to a woman, holding her so close to you, trying to submerge yourself into her, every place you touch her is electric ..."
"Whoa, Danny." Charlie pinched the fabric of her tank top and fluffed it. A trickle of perspiration trickled into her belly button.
"I'm sorry, Charlie. Damn, I didn't mean to embarrass you. I've just never had a chance to put all this into words. Forget it, it's the whisky that's got me babbling."
Charlie swiped the back of her hand across her brow. She could hear Augie's exertions as he toted the case of beer up the cellar stairs behind her.
"I gotta go," Danny said, and pushed himself backward off the stool. He waved to Augie.
"Yeah, take care, Danny," Augie nodded. "And remember what I told you."
"Yeah, right," Danny laughed.
"Danny, take care of yourself," Charlie called.
"You too, Charlie. Have a good time tomorrow night. If you get lost, feel free to drop by for a slice of pizza."
"Yeah," she nodded.
Danny edged out the door as the happy hour crowd was beginning to show up.
Charlie backed up into Augie's leviathan belly. She turned, looking up into his scowl as he stood like a giant, hands on his hips.
"So?" he said.
"So, I'm waiting for you to explain to me; what is it women don't see in Danny?"
Charlie turned and looked toward the door through which Danny departed. She shrugged, and absentmindedly touched her fingertips to the dampness in the crotch of her denim shorts.
© 2003 R.E. Buckley. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written
Hot, sexy, sensual to the core - A Bit of the Apple by Robert Buckley is available from Venus Book Club
Copyright © 1996 and on, Erotica Readers Association, Inc.
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