The affair started like this:

He said to her, come and put your pussy in my hand.

He being an old man, she did not take this seriously.

Because she did not take this seriously, he came over to her and put his hand on her breast. She being a young lady, with a young lady's sensibilities, pushed him away. He put his hand on her pussy and pressed hard with two fingers. She pushed him away again. He said, come on, I think you're excited. It feels hot there. She was excited and hot, but being a young lady, she was not excited and hot in the way he meant. She hit him on the head with the first thing that came to hand, which was a newspaper. He said, hit me again, that makes my cock hard.

She said, don't you dare.

Here, pussy pussy, he said.

The affair continued like this:

She came back the next day.

She was a young lady, but she was also his secretary. She was a writer, and so she was poor. She needed the money. She was actually fond of him, despite his old man eyes that were watery with clouds, his fat Persian belly, his shaking arthritic hands. He was a writer too. A good one. Not a great one. The same could have been said of his looks, considering his age. She liked that he was a writer, a published writer. She did not like being called pussy, or having her breast touched without being asked nicely first, but after thinking about it she was excited that another writer, a published writer, had come on to her. She also had not had sex for several months. At this time, she was ovulating. When she was ovulating, even an old writer would do, even an old married writer with cataracts, even a vulgar old married writer with cataracts who said here pussy. And she was fond of him after all.

She was also curious as to what would happen. Being a lazy writer, she hated making up plots. In this case, she thought, here was a story in the making, and the plot would be written for her. All she had to do was take notes. Sit back and let it unfold. Just put the pussy in another writer's hand and let him do the work for her. He was more experienced. He would know how to make it interesting.

So the next time he said here pussy, he got pussy. Then he got pussy without underwear. Then he put his fingers in pussy and made pussy wet. Then he could say things like fuck and cock and pussy and come, all in the same sentence, without being smacked on the head with a newspaper.

She began to like the word pussy. She even began to think of herself as pussy.

He started to call her pussy all of the time, instead of her real name, which was Laurel. He hated the name Laurel, he said, before eating pussy for the first time. After he ate pussy, the pussy ate him.

After this turn of events, she said, wiping her lips off with toilet paper, remember the story about Puss 'n Boots? Puss 'n Boots tricked an ogre into turning into a mouse and then ate him up. Then Puss 'n Boots got all of the ogre's vast fortune.

That's a nice story, he said.

The next day in his study, he put pussy and fuck and cock and come all together, and this time not in a sentence manner of speaking. It wasn't bad at all, she said to him after he came, considering that he was old and arthritic. But the floor of the study had been hard. She had gotten dust all over her clothes. She had bled a little bit. She did not like the way he smiled, although she could not explain what it was about his smile that she did not like. She also had a view of the underside of his desk the entire time. Even though it was a two hundred-year-old desk that cost two thousand dollars, still she did not find the view to her liking.

The affair ended like this:

There was a wife involved in the ending. The wife was not pretty, and she was not young either, but she was very smart. Her smartness had something to do with why the affair ended.

No, the smart wife did not catch pussy and cock and fuck and come all together one day. Not in a sentence. Not in a story. Not in the way people usually put pussy and cock and fuck and come and married man and smart wife all together.

The wife was rich, because she was smart. She invented things. People paid her a great deal of money for her inventions. The inventions, unlike those of many writers, were quite practical and usable.

The old writer liked that his rich wife was rich.

The rich wife liked that the old writer was old.

So one day when Laurel asked him, do you love me? he said to her, I love my wife. Then why are we doing this? she asked him. She really wanted to know. She had become emotionally involved. She should have known better about endings involving married men and rich wives and cock and pussy, but she ignored what she knew. I like pussy, he said to her. I like it when my pussy comes. It's my pussy, she told him. So shut up, she told him. Is pussy mad? he asked her, laughing, his cloudy eyes opening very wide. Why do you love your wife? she asked him. Is her pussy nicer than mine? No, he said, your pussy is much nicer. It's just that…just that…well. What? she asked him. Well, her purse is bigger, he said to her. He really said this as nicely as possible, under the circumstances. It was true; the wife's purse was quite big, and filled to the brim. Without her purse, I'm nothing, he said to her. So we really can't get caught. In fact, I was about to tell you we have to stop doing this kind of thing. I think she suspects something. We can't have that, can we? She said to him, Ah, the ogre can't lose his fortune. I see. Is pussy mad? he asked her, nicely, seeing that she was weeping. I'm not a pussy, you stupid old man, she shouted at him. Fuck you. She picked up the nearest thing at hand, which was her own shabby little purse, and threw it at his fat belly. It was so shabby and so light that it did not hurt him at all.

The story ended like this:

No longer a pussy, but a sourpuss, she quit working for the old writer. She resumed thinking of herself as Laurel.

Laurel, being a writer, did what writers do when they have unhappy love affairs.

She wrote.

Not satisfied with the original plot and characters, Laurel tried to make the old writer sound cleverer than he had really been. For example, she wrote that he had read in the paper about a recently discovered letter written by James Joyce, in which he addressed his wife as "my one-eyed whore." The letter sold for a quarter of a million dollars. Laurel wrote that the old writer had called her "my one-eyed puss" after he had read this. But it did not really seem to fit the story. It was a decent idea by itself, but not really clever, and she was not a good enough writer to make it fit completely.

Laurel then tried to make it sound more romantic. As if he had been in love with her, at least a little bit, for at least a little while. That he had called her my darling or baby or dearest heart, and that they had made love to each other tenderly. But it came out sounding sentimental and completely unbelievable. So she cut that, too.

She then put some background into the story, trying to make it deeper and more believable, to explain why she had come when he had said here pussy, and why she had become emotionally involved even when she knew that the old writer was not in love. She went into a bunch of autobiographical stuff about being molested in Catholic grade school, and having cold parents who didn't love her very well, and her father having an affair, and then something about Freud. She also wrote that she had loved pussy willows ever since she was a small child and that he loved pussy willows too and that was what brought them together in the first place, this mutual love of pussy willows. She even made him a blind opera singer instead of an old writer, and herself a plain and unattractive woman but with a beautiful voice, so that of course they were meant for each other, because he would fall in love with her voice and wouldn't mind that she was plain.

Then she tried out several endings. In one, she ran away with him. In another, she ran away from him and broke his heart. In another, she ran away and did not break his heart, but he died of cancer. In yet another version, she put wife and cock and fuck and pussy together, with cock getting in major trouble for putting together cock and fuck and pussy, and pussy running away, with cock reconciling with wife by way of fuck. She even tried, for the sake of unpredictable endings, wife and cock and pussy and then pussy and wife and fuck and then cock shared equally between wife and pussy, with wife giving some purse to pussy since pussy was poor, and then cock with the cook, who made good cakes for everyone involved.

But that also did not work out. It sounded melodramatic and completely unbelievable, was what some people told her when she showed them the story. They also said that the autobiographical bits, though quite well written, did not seem to fit the rest of the piece. Being a writer, she cared too much about what people thought, so although she very much enjoyed writing the last version, especially the part about the cook and the cakes, she tossed this ending away as well.

She was grumpy for a few days. She ate ice cream bars, the kind with the chocolate on the outside and vanilla on the inside, bumpy all over with almonds and caramel. This did not help much in the writing way of things, but she did feel better.

Then she remembered what she had thought about earlier. About putting pussy in the old writer's hand and letting him do the rest. Sitting back and taking notes. Writing about it later, with the plot already set out for her.

So that is what she did.

Copyright © Jennifer Oh 2009.

Title graphic: "So the Next Time" Copyright © The Summerset Review, Inc. 2009.