Bill Burkett
6 min readJan 7, 2024

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at Amazon books

Me and Mrs Jones, we got a thing going on

We both know that it’s wrong

But it’s much too strong to let it go now…

— Gilbert, Gamble and Huff, Me and Mrs. Jones

Chapter 3: Pale-blue satin housecoat

I recall my early forties as a bleak period of lowered expectations and increasing depression. I had given up any thought of being an author. I had lost my newspaper career. I had abandoned a subsequent career opportunity in outdoor journalism, in deference to Chloe’s insistence we return to the Northwest and the house we occupied after her mother died. It was close to all her relatives but far from any place I could work. I hated my fifty-mile commute. I disliked being a state bureaucrat. But she wouldn’t budge. So we worked in different cities and lived essentially separate lives, with rare intervals of our old happy carnality.

After the uncomfortable social occasion involving Lenore, my thoughts turned back to the almost accidental hand-job from someone else’s wife at the Hood Canal store-manager’s conference. She had told me our night together was revenge for her husband’s infidelity. For me, our encounter had been unexpected and unplanned, almost literally an accident.

But she had briefly banished my persistent depression.

I remembered she was the manager of a distant store. Not her name. I was always terrible with names. Depressed again by retirement of my mentor, I called to thank her for a sweet memory. She teased me about forgetting her name and I cringed. The conversation lagged. I had used up all my audacity calling a woman I didn’t really know.

Whereupon she proceeded to verify seventies stories about trysts written by Ms. XX Pizan’s feminists. That is to say, she made our next assignation. She already had her assistant primed to stand in on demand before I even called. With age and intervening decades her memory is a bright blur from a dark time, until someone laments forgetting a garment. Then I remember her pale-blue satin housecoat.

She arranged for us to meet in a city where we were unlikely to be recognized, at a tavern I knew was mobbed up. Irrelevant, since this was not work. Came the day, gray and chill in a typical Northwest summer. By nature paranoid, I arrived early and circled the block for spousal surveillance. She was earlier. I saw her from a distance, sitting in her car outside the tavern.

A block away I noticed exhaust.

Around a corner behind her, the driver in a parked station wagon was running his engine, possibly to keep his windshield clear. I circled again to be sure. He was hunched over the steering wheel, gaze fixed in her direction. Not good.

I found a pay phone, called a friend in headquarters and asked him to run the plate. He was curious about the stake-out on a known criminal enterprise, but a stickler for rules. He declined my request since it was personal, not connected to the job.

But I was disinclined for a city gunfight if it was the cuckold. I looked up the tavern number, called the bartender and asked him to go bring her to the phone. He was a good sport and did.

She was understandably confused and didn’t believe herself under surveillance. But she agreed to watch for my car as I made another pass, and follow me away. If the stakeout was on the tavern, some undercover my friend refused to reveal, he would stay put. If not…I drove past. She followed me down the boulevard.

The station wagon fell in behind. Damn. What now?

Under stress the brain works like lightning. I activated my signal to alert her and turned down a side street. Spotted a fireplug and tucked in quick to block her ability to park with me. She drove past, staring at me like I had lost my mind. The station wagon was right behind her. Tail confirmed.

She jerked her car into an available space down the block. The station wagon parked two cars behind her. She marched past it, rigid with exasperation, to demand what the hell I was up to. Have I mentioned she was a redhead? I told her, and pointed. Before I could grasp intent, she stalked toward the slouched driver like fury incarnate. I knew the way you know things he was too focused on her to have “made” me. Now she was in his face demanding he roll down his window. I reached into my briefcase for my Smith nine.

The conversation was short. He left. She returned. He owned the house behind the tavern, had been burgled too many times, and suspected tavern patrons. He thought her sitting outside was suspicious. She laughed at him. She laughed at me too: “Well that was a rousing way to start a date. What do we do for an encore?”

Not her exact words all these years later, but close enough. I led her to a cash-only motel I had selected, registered us as Mr. and Mrs. Poet (the name of her favorite). Ah, America’s long-lost freedoms: no ID required or expected. I wonder what 21st century lovers do for a bed with Orwellian surveillance tracking every move.

We disrobed and reacquainted quickly. No coyness. She was hungry for more of my fingers and tongue. I was pleased to oblige. Like an idiot, I forgot to buy condoms that morning. We made do.

She produced the blue satin housecoat, a gift from the cuckold before he screwed somebody else, to wear when we rested. I had her out of it before long to fulfill a fantasy occasioned by California porn movies: sitting astride her waist to fuck her warm, pale, abundant breasts while thumbing her nipples.

One too-vigorous stroke pressed my wet cock against her lips and she gave a quick lick. Damn near finished me right there. But I had not cleared oral beforehand and withdrew quickly, too shy to demand. My orgasm across her breasts and neck was explosive. Then I concentrated on her again. Eventually we rested and talked.

She expanded on her revenge-fuck motive. But said when I got my hands on her at that conference she decided she wanted more of me, to hell with original intent. She would have called if I had not. She was not on the Pill because the cuckold had a vasectomy.

Now she would see a trusted doctor and get a prescription. Because she wasn’t through with me. It looked like we had a thing going on.

We left the key in the room. Were about to part when she realized she forgot her housecoat. I said even if they had your name, motels never call about left-behind things. Part of the code of guest privacy.

But her worry was how to explain to her husband she left his gift somewhere other than home. I remembered exactly where I put it the last time I took it off her. She later said she was struck how carefully I folded her clothing. Elementary precaution against sending her home rumpled.

Leave it to me, I said. Pulled a pair of sweat pants over my slacks. Exchanged my dress shirt and tie for a workout jersey. City shoes for sneakers. Jogged around the block and entered the office, saying I locked myself out when I went for a jog. No problem, Mr. Poet. They gave me another key. I folded and retrieved her housecoat. Given my SDR that flushed the surveillance, and now this, I thought philandering might require the trade-craft of a spy in enemy territory.

The postscript: sometime later she forgot her expensive raincoat at dinner with her husband. Instead of going to get it he raised hell. My retrieving her housecoat leaped to mind. She began to laugh. The more he raged the more she laughed.

I don’t suppose she ever told him what was so funny.

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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.