Thursday, July 8, 2010

Mixed Motives

Characters in fiction always want something. Sometimes they want it with all their heart, and at the same time, it is the last thing they want. That happened to Sam Ryder one steamy afternoon:

Sam parked his bike against the back wall of the office, where there was a little shade. He pulled a crumpled towel out of his pocket and mopped his face and neck, reaching under his tee shirt to wipe his belly and chest and the small of his back while he was at it. Damn, he thought. He should just shed the tee shirt and wring it out. Only a few blocks away the sea breeze was like the poster child for island living, but here in the heart of Naha, it was the sauna from hell.

Sam pushed the door open and slouched into the office, beads of sweat pooling on each spike of hair until they were heavy enough to plop onto the floor. His eyes fixed on Yayoi. Dressed in white and pale blue, she was the picture of cool.

“You need this,” she said, getting up to bring a glass and an icy pitcher of jasmine tea to his desk.

“I need a shower.”

“Step out back and I’ll get the hose,” she laughed. Their office had no such amenity as a shower.

Sam was sorely tempted. Damn. How did she stay so crisp looking? Her white lace blouse looked as if she’d taken it freshly ironed and slipped it over her shoulders mere moments ago. There was not a hair on her head out of place. And her face, while slightly pink, looked smooth and dry. Was she immune to the Naha humidity? Damn. She was too perfect. He pictured her turning the hose on him, and him grabbing it and spraying her instead, the two of them laughing as they cavorted like kids. Tempting. Yes.

If she did hose him down, he’d need to go home and pick up some dry clothes. He pictured himself with Yayoi, both of them on his bike, racing up the hills, chasing the breeze. He imagined them pulling up to his place…

His place? The top floor room over Sawami’s father’s bar? The oven-like space with the wilted futon on the floor, last week’s jeans and tee shirts in smelly clumps dumped onto the moldy tatami? That place?

“Tea!” He turned his best puppy dog grin on Yayoi. “Exactly what I was dreaming of.”

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