The huntress approached the watering hole with
an insatiable appetite and the expectation of a certain conquest. It was an
expectation born from experience. The best prey are those who think themselves
predators, she thought. A grim smile flickered on her face.
At her destination, she circled to look for the
position with the best vantage point.
"What'll it be?" the bartender asked.
"Bailey's over ice," Deanna nodded and smiled.
She had little doubt that it would be the last
drink this evening for which she would pay. Glancing down the bar, she saw three
men, any one of whom she could have within the hour.
The bartender brought her drink. As she reached
for her purse, he held up a hand to stop her. She'd been here before. She was
good for business. Men came around for a few drinks on the hope that they would
find her here. He could tell by the hungry look in their eyes.
"Complements of the bar," he said, winking.
She raised her drink and tilted her head to toast
him, saying, "Let's see what happens."
He nodded and moved on to another guest. As she
watched him walk away, she noticed all three of the men checking her out. What
interested them, she wondered. Was it her form-fitting black lace blouse. Was
it her long, curly, auburn hair? Her dark, doe-like eyes? It didn't matter.
Men were all the same.
Whom would she pick? A woman walked behind her
and went up to the man in the middle. He rose to greet her. That leaves him
out, Deanna thought. Maybe next time. He wouldn't have been her choice anyway.
Man number two was in his 30's. He had the chiseled
features of a Marlboro man, right down to the three-day beard that was oh so
fashionable. Even from this distance, he oozed the attitude that he could have
any woman he chose. When he saw her looking his way, he raised his glass to
her. It would be fun to shoot him down.
Man number three was short, balding, and pudgy;
he was about her age. She caught his eye, then lowered hers, feigning shyness.
Was that enough bait? Or would she have to chum a little. She looked his way
again and cast him a sheepish smile. Then she ignored him while she finished
The bartender returned with her second drink.
She looked at him with an unspoken question. He nodded in the direction of Mr.
Gotcha, she thought, smiling to herself. She looked
at her donor and lifted her glass. He picked his up and walked over.
"Hi I'm Frank."
"I'm Deanna. I wasn't sure I wanted another drink,
but thanks anyway." Make them think that they're in control, she thought.
"May I join you?" he asked.
In answer, she flashed him her trademark smile.
She cast a look at Marlboro Man and suppressed a chortle when she saw his look
"So, do you come here often?" Frank asked.
She glanced at the bartender who was cleaning
a glass nearby. "No, it's my first time. I was supposed to meet friends. I don't
know where they are."
"I'll keep you company until they get here. How's
"That would be nice," she answered, acting delighted.
"What do you do, Frank?"
"I'm a lawyer. I'm in town politics."
"Oh, really? That's fascinating. Are you a man
of power?" Butter them up, she thought.
"I do okay," he responded. The modesty and assurance
in his voice told her that he was - or at least he thought he was a powerful
man, or that he was trying to convince her that he was.
"Are you ready for another," Frank asked.
"Not yet." He held his empty glass up to the bartender.
Deanna noticed that there was no ring on his finger. On second glance, she noticed
a telltale, untanned indentation on that finger. She smiled behind her glass
as she took a sip. Better still, she thought.
Frank reached into his pocket to get money for
the drink. He pulled out a key ring engorged with keys. They jangled as he laid
the ring on the bar. He reached into his pocket, groping for his wallet.
"You have a lot of keys," she observed after he
paid the bartender.
Frank looked down at the keys, then at her. "Yeah,
I'm a busy man. Lots of responsibilities."
He put the keys back in his pocket.
"Is it true what they say about a man with a lot
of keys?" she asked.
She looked away, again feigning modesty.
He pursued, chuckling, "Come on. You started it.
What do you mean? Tell me."
She smiled and blushed. She was enjoying her performance.
God, she was good.
He looked at her, expecting an answer. "I heard
that the more keys a man has, the bigger, um, certain parts of his, um, anatomy
Frank was taken aback. But he was quick on the
recovery. He laughed and said, "Well, I guess you'll have to find that out for
She looked down at her drink, finished it and
Frank motioned the bartender back. Turning back
to Deanna, he said, "You're pretty direct, aren't you?"
She locked eyes with him and said, "I know what
I like. And I like what I'm seeing."
There comes a moment when a man realizes where
things are going. Deanna had just presented that moment to Frank. She hadn't
even made him work for it. She could see it in his face: the flush cheeks, the
dilated pupils. She bet that his throat had just gone bone dry. He was probably
complementing himself on his seductive skills, the poor schmuck.
Frank took a big sip from his glass. Gulping,
he said, "I like you too."
Beaming up at him, she thought, is that the best
you can do?
Frank put his arm around her shoulder. She nuzzled
"It's chilly in here," he said.
"Yes, but you warm me," she replied, nudging
her shoulder into his chest.
"Are you married," he asked.
"No. I was. But not any more. How about you?"
"Me neither," he lied. He looked away to avoid
looking into eyes that might see through his deception.
Most of them can't look you in the eye, she thought.
This one's just like the rest: lying, cheating bastards. Once again her theory
was proven: all men are the same. Well, there had been one exception: the one
who told her that he'd fallen in love with her. The altar boy - or at least
that's how she remembered him. What a loser he was.
Frank interrupted her reverie. "So, what do you
She asked, "Do you mean for work or play?"
"Work," he began. "No, play!"
She chuckled, "Let me just say that I'm one of
the rare women who enjoys sex like a man. There aren't many of us."
The rest was simply waiting for the right number
of minutes to pass - enough time so that Frank could tell himself that the alcohol
had clouded his judgment.
"Do you live nearby?" she asked.
"Yes," he stammered. "But we can't go to my house.
I'm having it renovated."
"Of course," she said, thinking, we couldn't
let the wife and kiddies know what Daddy is up to, could we? Someday Mrs. Frank
will learn, just like I did.
"I know a place," she said.
They spent the remainder of the evening in a
motel room, in a sequence of simulated passionate embraces of an unremarkable
kind. There was a moment when something Frank did, or something he said, or
the way he said it brought to mind her ex-husband - the one who'd taken a mistress
and started a second family while still living as husband and wife with her.
To quell that memory, she delighted in the pain that she administered to a sensitive
part of Frank's anatomy.
After spending themselves, they fell asleep back
to back among rumpled sheets.
Some time later, she awoke. She nudged Frank.
When he roused, she questioned him. "Are you still here?"
"Whu?" he responded.
"You're still here. Did you expect to stay the
"What are you talking about?" he asked, rubbing
his eyes. "What time is it?"
She pressed, "You've had your fun, why are you
His mind clearing, there was disbelief in his
voice as he asked, "You want me to go?"
"We're done," she said, "Why are you still here?"
He flicked on the light. Getting the message,
he struggled from the bed to collect his clothes. "I can't believe you're kicking
me out," he snapped. "I paid for this room."
"We're done, aren't we?" she asked. She pulled
the sheet up over her naked shoulders, conveying the message that the property
that he'd held hours ago was no longer available to him.
"I don't get you," he said. "Was it something
I said? Something I did?"
"No," she said. "We're just done."
Frank finished dressing. "Can I ask you for your
phone number? I'd like to see you again."
"You can ask," she snickered.
Frank kidded, "Come on. We had a good time. Let's
do it again."
She replied, "If I want to see someone again
- if they're good enough - I ask them for their number. I never give mine out."
A wordless moment passed. The lull in the conversation
She suppressed a chuckle, thinking, you poor,
confused boy. You weren't ready for me, were you?
Frank broke the silence as he buckled his belt.
"You're not going to give me your number, are you?"
She shook her head and said, "Sorry."
"You're a piece of work," he spat.
"And you're not?" she shot back. "Aren't you
supposed to be home with your wife and kiddies?"
Frank's face reddened.
She raised her voice. "You got what you wanted.
Isn't that what all of you men do? Screw the woman, then leave."
"Well, let me tell you something, sister," Frank
hissed, feeling in his pockets for his keys.
"Don't give me that victim crap. You knew exactly
what you were doing."
She flashed her best innocent smile at him. It
was the one she'd used in the bar.
He continued, "Do you want to know something?"
"When we were done, I did more than leave something
in you. I took something away too. Did you feel it?"
"What are you talking about?" she snapped.
"I know your type. You give it up willingly,
like you did a hundred times before. Do you know what I took, what I'm going
to walk out that door with?"
She shook her head, uncertain of the point he
"It was a piece of your soul."
"Get out," she shouted.
He plodded toward the door. Before slamming it
behind him, over his shoulder, he shot, "As if you had any soul left."
Then he was gone. She looked at the clock. It
was too late for another run at the bars. She had to get up for work in two
hours anyway. But the next evening wasn't far off.
She felt something cool on her cheek. Swiping
at it, her finger came away wet. Was it a tear? No, it couldn't be. She had stopped
crying a long time ago.