Digitally transcribed for the Gardner Francis Fox Adventure Library
The blond man took me into his arms, bent his head and kissed me with his open mouth. His hardness bulged into my loins as his arms tightened around me like the tentacles of an octopus. His lips and tongue were never still. I felt like a dainty tidbit about to be devoured by a starving man.
It was a great feeling.
He drew away his lips long enough to say “My name is Evorn Ambol. I wish you hadn’t come here while I was on desk duty because then I could have you for my own. As it is,” and he sighed heavily, “I have to turn you over to somebody on the love lists for the day.”
I patted his chest. “Maybe I can squeeze you in a little later,” I soothed him. “No pun intended.”
His delighted grin told me there were people in this Tomorrow World who appreciated sex jokes. I mentally went over a number of the ones I knew and kept handy for certain occasions. I told him the one about the French aviator in Paris during a leave in World War I. I thought he’d die, laughing.
He managed to get a card out of the file.
He scowled when he stared at it, shaking his head. “I hate to do this to a sedol like you but—”
“Diminutive for ‘sex doll.’ Hey, where’ve you been all your life, you don’t know that?”
“Practicing what you’re preaching, doll baby,” I told him, leaning forward and pinching his cheek. He grinned and laughed a little, ruefully.
“Desk work always makes me sexy,” he apologized, “far more than the others inside the Hut, I guess I store up the old genes and—whammo! I get ready to explode when it comes my turn. Most of the people back in there are different from me, though. They’re icks.”
I remembered how elated I’d been to think I was going to learn something new in this thirty-seventh century, about sex. I was about to be disappointed, I guess.
“There isn’t much to do at the desk,” he admitted. “As a matter of fact, you’re the first admission I’ve ever handled. Most of the true humans in this corner of the world are behind these walls. Not many of us get to escape the way you did.”
“From Philashington,” I nodded knowingly, “I wanted to see what it was like outside the walls.”
“Every so often they gave us a sightseeing ride through the city, sometimes even out into the country. The idea is that we’re supposed to come back here feeling better and so try harder to make babies.”
He tch-tched. “I surely do wish I was off desk duty. Seeing you in that plastidress makes my blood bubble.”
“How sweetly you put it.”
“Oh, I think up plenty of remarks, sitting here hour after hour.”
“Haven’t you got a secretary?” I asked.
“What’s a secretary?”
I cursed my dumb-headedness that seemed bound to get me into goof trouble. I said brightly, “We had a desk sergeant like you in Philashington. He wanted female companionship all the time, too. So he said that he needed a girl companion to—er—examine any female applicants who came to seek admission.”
“He did, hey? And did he get one?”
“Why not? Of course, he never got any applicants at all, but this made no difference. Some time he might get a girl applicant, so he really ought to be ready for her.”
“Say, I’m going to do that,” he exclaimed. “Especially since I’m here and you can’t examine me. You really ought to have a girl to do that.”
His baby blues went up my shapely legs in the clinging plastic, circled around my loins, touching all the bases, then slid up to my navel and my rather bounteous breasts. The boy had a thing for mammary glands, judging by the way he involuntarily pursed his mouth,
“You might be carrying weapons,” he said softly.
“Why, that’s right. I might be.”
“You aren’t, are you?”
“Certainly not! But then, you really don’t believe me, do you? I might be lying like crazy.”
He scratched his head. “I can’t imagine why you’d have a weapon. Nobody ever carries weapons in here. Even if you had one, who would you use it on?”
This boy was dense.
I settled things for him by raising my arms above my head and saying brightly, “Oh all right, you’ve twisted my arm. So take off my clothes and search me.”
The light dawned. His eyes got big and his grin split his handsome face. He came toward me, his stare fastened on the transparent plastic bubbles behind which were my naked breasts. His palms went to my sides and ran up them slowly, tenderly.
His kiss burned my lips. His hands busied themselves at the attachments of the rainbow-hued and plastic garment. It opened down my back. I was nude from the top of my head to the creases of my plump little buttocks, in back. His palms went all over my flesh, gently and caressingly.
I melted against him. His hands were on my buttocks, fondling them. His palms made love circles over their smooth surfaces. I moaned a little, enjoying the moment. This made the future well worth while. It was such a contrast to the way the unisexes lived.
Then the front of my garment was falling away and my breasts jutted at him, round and white, with big dark nipples standing up. He began to make crooning noises in his throat. He goggled at my globes, he lifted his hands and ran his fingertips gently all over them.
My knockers tingled all over. “I’m not hiding anything there,” I managed to gasp.
“Never can tell,” he muttered. Well, maybe. His lips came down to my breasts slopes, ran all them, back and forth and up and down. My nipples ached, they were so stiff. His fingers were beneath my heavy breasts, gently lifting them, shaking them slightly so that he made me know I was a woman.
His tongue slid out to lap. I yelped in delight, and tried to crowd more of my breast-flesh into his munching mouth. He was shaking all over, he was as much in need of me as I was of him.
“It’s a good thing Talnov Kuyzen isn’t here,” I whispered. “This would just about finish him.”
“It’s damn near finishing me,” he grunted. His lips enclosed my right nipple. They began to work gently, like those of a hungry infant. I didn’t know who taught love techniques here, but they were doing all right. This boy knew his way around a female body.
My left nipple wanted his mouth. I gave it to him. He had me up on my tiptoes, dancing about and rubbing my thighs together. A bit of plastic had wedged itself between my legs and the chafing added to my delighted discomfort.
“Can’t we?” I whimpered.
“There’s no bed.”
“You have a desk,” I pointed out.
He lifted his head and stared at me. His surprise was almost grotesque. “A desk? Nobody ever makes love on a desk!”
“They do in the twentie—”
Whoops! I’d almost boo-booed. I started all over again. “How do you think that desk attendant in Philashington manages?”
“Say, that’s right! Even in a Philashington reception room, they wouldn’t have a bed.”
“You leave this to me,” I told him with a smile.
I fiddled with his jacket, getting it off and down his arms. He had a deep, tanned chest, with some curly golden hairs on it. His arms were quite muscular. I pinched his belly-flesh to one side of his navel, then I hooked thumbs in his plasticine trousers and got them down.
His shorts went next.
His manhood thrust up at me in overwhelming pride. I giggled and slapped it gently, back and forth. It was his turn to moan. His hips were shaking all over.
I said, “Help me now.”
My back was bare, so I turned around and showed it to him. He started kissing down my spine while his hands worked the rainbow stuff down off my rounded hips. His lips went downward onto my buttocks. He kissed them very tenderly, all over. I looked back at him over my shoulder and I watched as he went lower, down the backs of my thighs and to the soft flesh behind my knees.
I lifted a foot. He pulled the garment off. I raised the other leg, and then my sole covering was on the floor.
Gentle hands turned me. A soft mouth kissed up my leg and around to my front. I was gulping air at this point.
“The desk,” I reminded him.
His arms went around my legs. He lifted me so that my belly was level with his mouth. He went on kissing me as he carried me. I felt like the queen of the Nile. He lowered me. My behind felt the coldness of the desk, then the wood warmed under my flesh.
Evorn Ambol was a lover boy. He was in no hurry. He kissed my thighs, he parted them. He bent far forward and began to perform the mouth congress of the Hindu erotologists. My behind wriggled around on the desk until I damn near fell off.
I put my hands on his blond head. My hands kept him at his dulce opus. Then he straightened and lunged. I yelled with happiness as I took him deep. My bare legs tightened about his lean hips. My hips started to swing lazily, around and around.
Evorn Ambol put his arms about me. He rocked back and forth in a spasmodic stabbing that went on and on. My own arms were locked about his chest so I could maintain my position on the edge of the desk. Ecstasy burst inside me, again and again.
He was gasping, choking. He shook as if with the ague, but it was a delightful kind of shaking, because it meant that he was bursting his own cloud, as the Chinese put it. He wailed and jerked and went on shaking for quite a while.
When he was done, he sank to his knees, then rolled over onto his side. I stared down at him, dumbfounded. He was sound asleep.
How about that? I decided that the men and women of the Mating Huts were conditioned only to create children. After they finished their coupling, they just went to sleep. No seconds, and forget thirds and fourths!
I slid off the desk and looked around me. There was a bank of lights and levers set into the wall to the left of the desk. There were numbers and symbols in red on black beneath the tiny lights. It took me a couple of seconds to realize that the lights, when turned on, indicated that a rut hut was in use.
The lights did not stay on very long. I shook my head gloomily. Somebody was going to have to do something about this. Making love wasn’t just a matter of procreation. There was tenderness to be shared, a meeting of souls as well as bodies. The somebody was me, I decided.
But before I could help anybody, I had to get inside. I went to Evorn Ambol and shook his shoulder.
“Is it time to go?” he murmured sleepily.
“For me, it is. Come on, lover boy. On your feet.” His eyelids rose. He stared at me a moment before memory came to help him. He flushed with embarrassment and put a hand on the desk, helping himself upright.
“I’m guilty of a dereliction of duty!” he gasped.
“If you can forget it, I will,” I smiled. “But don’t you think I ought to go inside?”
“Oh my, yes.” He ran around to his chair, sat down and began to punch buttons in the electronic bank. More lights flashed on and off. He leaned back and looked at me.
“There, it’s done. I’ve registered you. Now you’ll be taken into the Preparation Ward and made presentable for,” and his hand picked up the plastic card at which he stared disgustedly, “for this one.”
“Do you arrange for the—er—matings?” He nodded gloomily. “If I could, I’d save you for myself, but these electronic orders are recorded in the Central Office, where they’re constantly being checked.
“If I were to keep you for myself, or if I were to give you to a man who wasn’t in line to get you, I’d be punished.”
“I wouldn’t want that to happen.”
“Thank you,” He stared at the card in his hand. “But this one! Tcha!” He shoved the card into a slot in the electronic bank with a shudder.
“How come you aren’t pushing more cards into slots? I keep seeing room lights go on and off. That means couples are occupying them, doesn’t it?”
“Oh, I got that part of my job done long ago. You’re a new one, you don’t have any partner, so I have to furnish one.”
He sighed and shook his head. “I’ll have to let you go, now. I can’t keep you here forever, much as I’d like to.”
His finger pressed a button. A door opened. I walked forward, bent to kiss Evorn Ambol. Then I straightened up and marched myself toward the long metallic corridor that opened up to my stare for what seemed to be miles. I’d taken about five steps when a small hover-car swooshed down the corridor toward me. It stopped and I got in.
The hover-car took me to a large white room where three men and three women were waiting for me. They wore what seemed to be absolutely shapeless gray garments that reached to their ankles. Those garments were about as sexy as a hard-boiled egg.
I goggled a little at the males. Each of them was in a state of semi-excitement, to judge by the bulges at their groins, visible even through the drab gray of their garments. I thought at first that the male doctors and the lady nurses had been fooling around to while away the time, but it wasn’t that way at all. Just the opposite, really.
Later I was to learn that the unisexes put drugs in the food allotments fed to the men and women in the Mating Huts. These drugs were designed to keep their sexual hungers at a minimum. However, these six people in the medical rooms were thrown into daily contact far more than other men and women, so it had been easy for them to fall in love.
They were conditioned to satisfy their sex hunger only in the rut huts, like Evorn Ambol. The doctors and the nurses saw each other all the time, they did nothing to alleviate their normal wants, so they walked around with the perpetual hots. When I looked at the nurses, I really didn’t blame the doctors.
The nurses were dolls. One was a redhead, one a blonde, the other a brunette with hair falling to her shoulders. Despite the face that each woman wore those shapeless garments, you could see that these girls were stacked, with plump, big breasts and shapely legs. Their hips were neatly rounded and looked soft as harem cushions.
“Hi there,” I exclaimed. Not until now did I realize that I had forgotten to put on my rainbow-hued and plastic outfit. I was mother naked. The doctors looked at me and their man-hoods reacted cordially. I felt complimented. I giggled and looked from one to the other.
The youngest doctor said, “The info card says you’re an escapee from Philashington.”
“Right the first time. I got tired of those dull old rut huts. I wanted to see the outside world.”
The middle-aged doctor said, “A shame. The Earth needs all the babies the huts can produce.”
“We think the rut huts are exciting,” said the other younger doctor, rather primly. He had a habit of looking down his nose at you, I noticed.
I said, looking from the doctors to the nurses. “I like a little variety with my loving. It makes for better relations. And babies are conceived faster.”
It was a wild stab in the dark, though it was based on reason. Having babies is not just a matter of sex relations. There has to be some pleasure, as well. These poor characters in the Mating Huts copulated as a matter of sheer duty. No wonder the authorities had to keep them in eternal readiness.
The older doctor looked interested “What do you mean? Babies come when the male semen enters the receptive female womb. It is not a matter of better relations, at all.”
“Want to bet? That’s the trouble with your thinking. It’s too hide-bound. You think along the lines laid down by the unisexes long ago. And the unisexes hate you sexed-up people. They make you wear uniforms like those, that are definitely not designed to keep you sexually excited, but you can’t do anything about it.”
“You’re a rebel,” said the brunette nurse, thoughtfully. “Sometimes I’ve had dreams about making babies someplace other than the rut huts. Once I dreamed I was out in the open air with Doctor Thagdorn and—”
The middle-aged doctor gasped.
“Anthara, remember where you are! This sort of thing has no place in the Preparation Ward.”
“What about that?” I asked, pointing to his bulging attraction.
Anthara smiled and asked, “Yes, how about that?”
“Go ahead, honey,” I told her.
“I wouldn’t dare!”
I moved with a swinging motion of my hips toward Doctor Thagdorn. My hand went out and my fingernails started scratching. The good doctor shivered and looked at me helplessly.
“Does anybody know what goes on in here?” I wondered.
“Certainly not,” said Thagdorn.
“Then nobody but you six would ever know if you took time off to ball one another, would they?”
The blonde nurse came across the room to one of the young doctors and plastered her front against him. She lifted her pretty mouth for a kiss.
I stepped behind her when I saw the horrified look her medical man was giving her. I put my hands on her hips and swung them gently.
“Like this, honey,” I told her.
“Oooooh,” she went.
The doctor gasped. His reflex muscles overcame his scruples. His lean hips rammed right back at his golden-haired girl friend. He was getting very excited. Hell, he had been very excited just looking at me. His hands came down onto her hips and worked them the way I had done.
He kissed the blonde nurse.
Anthara held up her hand to me. “I’ll take over, thank you.” She walked up to Doctor Thagdorn and caught hold of him in both her hands. She blew a kiss at him with her pouting red lips.
“Olos, darling,” she breathed. “You want me very much. We’ve never been lucky enough to meet in the rut huts. And we’ve always been too stupid to do anything anywhere else.
“I’m going to have you, Olos. Right here and now Let the others watch, if they want. I don’t care. Do you?”
“Hell, no,” he growled and put his big hands on her behind, bringing her in close.
I looked at the redhead who was staring with big green eyes at four of her working companions. Her tongue-tip came out to lick around her mouth. From Doctor Thagdorn and Anthara, her stare went to the young doctor who was standing with his peos tilted like Don Quixote’s lance about to ram a windmill.
The redhead sighed. The young doctor managed to say, “I ought to report what’s going on here, but the hell with it. Thenna, I’ve had the rut huts for you ever since you came to work here.”
“Me too, Bentos. But—” The young doctor looked to me for help. “Where?” he asked, glancing at Thagdorn and Anthara, at the other young doctor and the blonde nurse. These four were just standing there, rubbing bellies. I looked around the room. “Over here,” I brightened, remembering Evorn Ambol.
I made the doctor remove his garment, then sit down on the chair. I gestured the redhead to strip and to straddle his hips. She gave me a grateful look, took what she wanted in her gentle hand, and guided it to her flesh. She sank down slowly. The doctor damn near screeched with delight.
The redhead started bouncing up and down. The other four were all eyes, watching Doctor Thagdorn said, “I never heard of anybody doing that, that way. It’s very interesting.” He added hastily, “Educational, too, of course.”
“Neither have I,” murmured Anthara hopefully. “If there were another chair here, I’d like to try it, myself.”
I looked around the room. “Well, we do have a stool, over here. It’s a little high, but I think we can overcome that handicap with a little thought.”
They ran for the stool, tossing their shapeless garments to one side. Doctor Thagdorn perched himself on it and Anthara mounted the stool, and then his maleness. The brunette was an unsteady rider, so I stepped forward.
“Loop your legs around the stool,” I advised. “Fasten your ankles in the rungs.”
She nodded and slid her legs forward, missing a beat or two. Then her feet dug in and she gasped with sudden understanding. A delighted smile broke out on her face. Her backside began to joggle gelatinously as she posted up and down.
Her arms slid around the doctor and she kissed him with parted lips. I heard them both moaning in their delirium of delight.
I looked at the other young doctor and the blonde nurse. They were staring back at me, having already removed their sack-like clothes, hoping I’d be able to do something about their plight. And they were in a plight, all right. The doctor was as aroused as a man can get, and his blonde lovely was beating her pale white hips against the air helplessly.
The room was no help. The chair and the stool were being occupied. I asked, “Don’t you have an obstetric table? You know, the kind with metal stirrups for the woman to rest her heels on while she’s being examined?”
The blonde squealed, “Hendon! The next room!” They ran ahead of me. The blonde perched her behind on the black cushion and lay back. Her shapely white legs came up so she could plant her heels in the stirrups. The doctor came between her thighs and pushed. She wailed out her pleasure. I left them, closing the door gently behind them. I looked at the chair and the stool. I sighed. It looked like I was odd girl.
So I paced up and down for about an hour, wondering how in the world I was going to catch the attention of Anders Orion. In the Mating Hut, I was as good as a prisoner. If I should escape from here, my female body would be all the proof anyone would need to know I didn’t belong in the outside world.
It was my job to kill him, but I hadn’t the faintest idea as to how I was going to lay eyes on Anders Orion, much less a bullet or whatever they used in 3693 to kill folks. I had my orders, though. Search out the Tyron of Earth and destroy him.
Maybe these doctors and nurses would know a way. In gratitude for what I’d done for them, they might help me get away and find Anders Orion.
On the contrary, as it turned out. When Doctor Thagdorn and Anthara finished with each other, about two and a half hours later, they both turned to me with happy faces.
Anthara said, “You will be very welcome here.”
“Indeed you will,” chimed in her lover. “I’m going to put you in charge of the rut huts.”
“Now wait a darn minute,” I said.
Thagdorn raised his right hand. “Look what you’ve done for us, here in the Preparation Ward.” His face beamed at me. “We won’t be standing around here for hours on end, not knowing what to do with ourselves any more.’
“Indeed we won’t,” nodded the brunette, licking her lips.
The others were dismounting, by this time. The redhead clung to her Bentos, an arm about his waist. Her green eyes shone at me. “We’re ever so grateful, I don’t understand why we never thought of it.”
“You’ve been brainwashed,” I told them. “You people in the Mating Huts have been playing at sex according to rules laid down by the ones who hate sex—the unisexes.
“They don’t want you to have any fun when you create babies. They’re out to make it as much of a job as sex is possible to be. You do it only in beds in the rut huts. You don’t get to feel good about it, you don’t even look forward to it. Except maybe in a couple of isolated cases.”
I was thinking of Evorn Ambol when I said that; he was a true lover boy. But most of the folks inside the Mating Hut were just like these doctors and nurses. They had a job to do, this was the only reason they were kept alive, to make babies for mankind.
Bentos was nodding, faintly smiling.
“Yes, you’re right. The rules were laid down when they built the huts, over a hundred years ago. The unisexes naturally were the rule-makers. They hated the sexed people. They didn’t want them to have a ball in here, they just wanted children. You can change all that. You must be one of those natural lovers, as you mentioned.”
I nodded, not daring to tell him I was from the past, where people enjoyed their sex because it was an integral part of their very nature. Let them think me a rebel; it was safer.
My main job was to get out of here and kill Anders Orion. I needed time in which to work out some sort of plan. First of all, I had to learn more about this world of 3693. I could do that in the Mating Hut.
So I said with a bright smile, “I’ll be happy to stay on and act as program instructor.”
Doctor Thagdorn murmured, “None of this must get out of the Mating Hut, you understand. We don’t want the unisexes to hear that we’re all having a ball.”
A buzzer sent what sounded like a Bronx cheer throughout the Preparation Ward. Anthara moved toward the intercom.
“Has the escapee reported?” asked a metallic voice. I recognized the voice as belonging to Evorn Ambol. The poor boy is torn with jealousy, I told myself. He said, “She should have checked into Rut Hut 4738 by this time. Or do you find her unsatisfactory?”
“No, no,” said Doctor Thagdorn. “We have just concluded the tests.” He added acidly, “I didn’t know there was any rush about her case.”
“There isn’t. I was just curious.”
“You go back to monitoring the reception room, Evorn. We can handle our affairs nicely, thank you. Without interference.”
The intercom went dead. The blonde nurse shrugged. “Poor dear. It’s such a lonely life, being in the reception room. Nobody ever comes to get recepted—if that’s the right word.”
“Except me,” I said brightly. “You’re the first one I ever knew that came here from the outside world,” muttered Bentos. “The very first, in a hundred years.” His face became interested. “How did you do it?”
“I escaped from Philashington. Tell you about it sometime.”
Doctor Thagdorn was sitting on a bench, writing on a card. He said, “I’m supposed to put you in Rut Hut 4738 with a young male named Thintor Krumm. I think that can wait. I’ll put through a reversal order and a hold.”
“I’m not too tired,” I said bravely, I remembered Evorn Ambol’s regret at my getting the man named Thintor Krumm. If I were going to have a problem with him, I would just as soon wait, at that. I was a mite sleepy-eyed, I admit.
“Anthara, take Eve to the slumber chambers,” directed Doctor Thagdorn. As Anthara nodded and moved across the room toward a blue door, the good doctor eyed her Swinging haunches. He said softly, “And hurry back, dear.”
It began to look as if I’d started a trend. I walked with Anthara—she’d slipped into her shapeless uniform by this time—along a couple of corridors.
“The slumber rooms are all on the lower floors,” she explained. “These rooms have blue doors. The rut huts have red doors. The medical rooms have white doors, the dining rooms are green. That way you can’t go wandering in to disturb somebody who might not wish to be disturbed.”
She opened a blue door. I stepped into a small cubicle with a bed, a writing desk and chair, an easy chair. There was wall-to-wall blue carpeting underfoot, and a couple of restful oil paintings on the wall. A glass screen had been set into the wall. Naturally, being from the twentieth century, I figured it was a television set.
There was no need to slip out of my clothes. I wasn’t wearing any. I raised eyebrows at the brunette girl who nodded and told me garments would be ready for me when I was ready to wear them. I crawled naked between the sheets.
I woke to the rumble of my stomach that told me I was almost starving to death. I slid out of bed and opened a closet door. A long, shapeless white garment hung there. A pair of boots rested on the floor beneath it. They looked as if they had been designed by an old maid aunt who hated womanhood.
“Yech,” I said.
I took down the white shroud and examined it. My eyes closed in sheer desperation. Rather than wear this thing, I would go naked. What the hell! I was in a Mating Hut, wasn’t I?
Then I started to get stubborn. The unisexes didn’t want anybody to have any fun, hey? I took the garment over to the solitary window in my cubicle and studied it more closely. With a needle and thread, I might work wonders with this thing.
My hands gripped it. I ripped. Then I started searching for a needle and thread. I didn’t find any, but I did find an intercom. I threw the switch.
“Emergency central,” a voice said. “I need scissors, a needle and some different colored thread,” I said. “The sooner, the better.”
“Your request has been codified.” The voice went away. About ten seconds later there was a little click in a metal section just below the glass screen built into the wall. I walked over, lifted the metal lid. There was a scissors, needle and some spools of differently colored thread in the receptacle.
I went to work. I shortened the shroud so it became a micro-skirt. I sewed a wide vee in the middle of the damn thing, down to my navel so it would show the inner slopes of my breasts.
“With apologies to Yves St. Laurent and Ceil Chapman,” I muttered.
I put the dress on. I had tightened it, made it fit like a second skin. I didn’t look too unappetizing, I decided. I had no mirror, but a woman senses these things. Yeah, I would raise a couple of eyebrows when I paraded into the dining hall.
I looked at the shoes. I could not wear them, not the way they were, like boots. I got the scissors and cut away the imitation leather until I had a not ungainly sandal of sorts. It showed my bare feet, even a part of my pretty little toes. I retained a strip of fake leather to fasten it on.
Eve Drum was about to make her grand entrance.
I walked down the corridor until I found a green door. I pushed it open. The many tables were filled with men and women in the white shrouds. I thought for a minute I was in a monastery.
Forks and knives clattered. Somebody knocked over a glass. Heads turned and bodies shifted. Nobody even breathed, except maybe me as I strolled forward casually, smiling and nodding at the still white faces all around me.
The men looked at my legs, visible from the upper parts of my thighs to my hand-changed sandals. They goggled at the low, wide vee of my garment, holding their breaths in case my breasts fell out. I proceeded as casually as I could amid the barrage of those stares to an ordering panel.
I pressed studs below signs I could not read. I was too excited to eat. Well, almost. I didn’t look at what I was ordering. I was the target of all eyes. Admiring eyes in the males, jealous eyes of the females. I let my hips wiggle and made my shoulders shake very slightly.
I put on a show. And they loved it. Forks and knives began to bang against the glassware. Voices shouted their delight at what they were seeing. I grabbed the platters that came out of the food chute. I looked around for a table.
Fifty men rose to their feet, offering to make room for me. I walked toward a big, husky man and plunked my plates down in front of him.
I lifted a fork and stuck it in a bowl of cereal.
“Ech,” I said.
My Smile dazzled the big man across the way from me. He pushed his platter of sizzling grilled steak at me. “Take mine. Please. It would be an honor. And then tell me who you are so I can ask for your hut next time I go on rut call.”
I nodded and reached for a knife.
“Won’t I be taking your food? I mean, I don’t want you to starve. And—the name is Eve Drum.”
“I love cereal,” he said bravely, grabbing a spoon, We ate in a silence that was like a fog around us. I don’t think anybody else ate at all. Half the folks were standing, gawking, trying to get a better look at me. A voice said, “Eve Drum, you are under arrest!”
I went on eating.
The steak was delicious.