Bill Burkett
6 min readApr 13, 2024

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For wives should always be lovers, too.

Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you.

I’m warning you.

Day after day, there are girls at the office. And men will always be men.

Don’t send him off with your hair still in curlers.

You may not see him again….

Julie London singing Time To Get Ready For Love

Amazon Books

Banal office romance

My life was off the rails. I labored in a job I actively disliked for more hours than I wanted to give. My commute was too long. My family situation stressful as my job. Parent was a role I never sought and didn’t fit well.

The sixties flower child whose passion matched mine had become a fledgling harridan. She didn’t loll around wearing hair-curlers, like in the Julie London song. She had a physically demanding job. With inflation pegged at 18 percent, our family needed two incomes to survive. Whether Reagan’s advent would improve things remained to be seen.

My state job was far from creative writing or newspapering as you could get without digging ditches The bureaucratic quagmire of liquor-law administration absorbed ten-hour days and too many weekends and left me mentally exhausted.

Then Lenore fixed her attention on me after our happenstance kiss. She used her clerical supervisor’s mobility to hang around my office, all official business when observed, all seduction if we were alone. The unexpected sexual tension alleviated boredom but made me nervous as hell. I began to log incidents.

A summer Saturday for instance. Working on paperwork backlog, I parked under distant shade trees, an Arizona trick to keep my car cool. Lenore showed up at my office in a lime-green terry cloth sun-suit, slathered in sun-tan oil. My log: She accused me of hiding from her! I denied any such thing. Then kiss me, she said. I did. She kind of melted into me as we leaned against the wall. When we pulled back, sun-tan oil streaked the wall. Marking my territory she said…

With the building deserted, she wanted me to fuck her in the board room under the gaze of generations of dead board members. I said someone could come in. She said part of the thrill is fear of getting caught. Not for me. I disengaged, said not gonna happen.

She trailed me into my office and started kissing me again:I’m not made of stone — you need to finish what you start.” Not the time to argue who started what. I said not in the office.Then come home with me. Right now!”

But her latest conquest Bennie, a Montanan on loan to our computer division, was a constant weekend visitor and might take umbrage. Being Montanan, he always had a pistol under his car seat. Last thing I needed was a gunfight over a woman. What I said was why hurt his feelings? She said he doesn’t own me! But it was my excuse not to go. The summer drifted by with complicated bureaucratic work on major liquor-related issues.

My wife and I played hooky for the first time in years, broke the sexual drought occasioned by conflicting schedules and too little private time. Later we drove the kids up in the mountains. A mama bear galloped across the logging road in front of us followed by two cubs. I bailed out of the truck and chased them with my 400mm telephoto. Lost them…what if mama objected to paparazzi? Decided discretion was the better part of valor and retreated. An all-around good day far from work temptations

The next day — at noon, on the elevator! — Lenore sneaked a kiss: ”No one can get me when I feel this way about you.” Given the string of conquests she listed, that was unsettling. She called that afternoon, had a fresh pot of coffee in the break room for my Thermos on the way home…Fixing coffee for me became a daily ritual. I drank three quarts a day — one on the way to work, one at work, the third going home. Only way to stay awake. In late summer she invited me to help her water the flowers of a friend on vacation. Said Bennie didn’t know the friend, so no hurt feelings.

We went into the garage and she virtually climbed my frame. I wasn’t made of stone either, though one portion of my anatomy contradicted me. I lifted her slender form onto a work bench and she pulled her blouse up: no bra. Her breasts were small, she said, “but I have a voluptuous rib-cage.She shuddered when I took a nipple in my teeth. It was my great-grandmother’s old curse: a stiff dick ain’t got no conscience. She had me unzipped and in her stroking hands before I could think. Tightened her grip, eyes wide and fierce. “I love you, but you can’t have me, because you’re married…”

Thank God for being a mature man who had been loved by real women past any chance of being rattled by a prick-tease. I gently removed myself from her hands and stuffed it back in my pants. Lifted her off the work bench. She watered the flowers. Then we sat in lawn chairs in the shade with cold beer and she reeled off her latest outings. Gently rubbing her crotch. “Most of them want blow jobs. I love the taste of semen…” I listened with something like clinical detachment. Wasn’t interested anymore…

A week later she called to say we broke a gold chain of hers in our groping. Her friend found it, and accused her of doing a boyfriend in her garage. (Hell no she told her — if I had my boyfriend there, we would have used your bed.)

As winter came she found excuses to stay late, knowing I seldom left before seven. Given civil-servant mentality, she had me to herself two solid hours. No more overt attempts, just long intimate talks. She gave me a pewter Pegasus for my desk: ”the horse of muses…” in response to my frequent complaint I was living the wrong life, had meant to be a writer. It unnerved me a little she cared more about my malaise than my wife.

Twice after she cried on my shoulder about breakups with men, she anonymously sent me bouquets of roses. Which roused the curiosity — and envy — of the new board chairman. Nobody sent him roses. When she alluded to co-workers teasing her about her crush, I got worried. Took the coward’s way out: told my wife about her — not the roses or the Pegasus, and certainly not that Lenore once had my stiff dick in her hands. Just that her flirting had become office gossip.

My wife’s idea of support was to call my desk after five to ensure I was actually working. Amusing my secretary: “Now you have two women checking on you, not just your office wife.”

After spring coed-softball practice she invited me for a drink. To place our drink in time, Mount St. Helen’s had not yet blown its top but was spewing ash and steam seventy miles south. Cars and RVs littered the I-5 shoulder as people stopped to gawk and take pictures.

My log: In the bar’s parking lot I was the only one looking away from the plume — at Lenore. “Most kissable lips at headquarters,” I said. And demonstrated, while the proletariat goggled at the plume. She was headed to a party somewhere, said she wished she could take me with her…

Over the next few weeks we had more drinks. I don’t remember forgetting my sunglasses in a bar, but she called to invite me over to get them. They were expensive Serengetttis. I went. We were in the little hall between her kitchen and living room when she pushed open a closed door. “Observe the famous bed.” Wry smile. “The one you turned down more than once.”

She said she could not figure me out. I mentioned a woman who called me an enigma. “She said you were an enigma? I wish I had been the one to say that! I love you and hate you for making me love you.” I bet her fifteen dollars she would never go to bed with me. “Got your fifteen dollars right now?” I said are you serious? “Serious or delirious…”

Why didn’t I just say bring my Serengettis to work? I was leaving for a convention, on the way home to pack. Lame excuse to turn her down again. But she was smug, having called my bluff. “You better have fifteen bucks when you get back!”

At home my marriage administrator not only did not run to my arms, as Julie London sang. She didn’t even get out of her recliner to gripe about having to get the kids to the babysitter alone since I’d be at the convention.

Volcanic ash from St. Helen’s peppered our cars. The air smelled of brimstone. The night seemed full of ominous portent. The pending eruption of St. Helen’s? Or Lenore? Damned if I knew.

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Bill Burkett

Professional writer, Pacific Northwest. 20 Books: “Sleeping Planet” 1964 to “Venus Mons Iliad” 2018–19. Most on Amazon for sale. Il faut d’abord durer.