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Today's Story by Abigail Jardine

Don’t I have a WILD body? Isn’t it great?

Queen Bee: The Goddess of Pheromones

My mother’s youngest cousin Eileen had a stunning form and was fully aware of having a body that inspired lust in every male who laid eyes on her.  Her sweet face, with blue eyes and soft freckles scattered across her nose and cheeks gave her an impishness that defied her womanly body. The summer when I was eight years old, we drove north to visit Eileen and my mother’s family our home in Texas.

One evening, Eileen was changing clothes to get ready for a date, and I went into her room with her as she prepared. First, she sat at her vanity and showed me all her cosmetic pencils and brushes, the touches of blush she’d use, the way she wanted her hair combed, tendrils laying loosely on her shoulders. She looked stunning. Then, she thoughtfully sorted through the clothes packed tightly in her closed and chose a sheer, pale blue summer dress, low cut with spaghetti straps. She held it up to her, and pronounced it “just perfect.”

Without a moment’s hesitation, she stripped down completely in front of me and pirouetted around, her long blonde hair flying off her shoulders like cornsilk, and said with such enthusiasm, “Don’t I have a WILD body? Isn’t it great??”  I had never seen a fully naked woman whoosh her body around like that, displaying it with such complete abandon and utter celebration of herself. I’d always thought she was so pretty, but now I took in the sight of her at her pirouetting naked. She had really big boobs that bounced when she spun. Her big pink nipples stuck out, and she had lean curves to her supple hips. I remember a triangle of pale hair whizzing by and tried not to stare. I’d never seen a naked woman showcasing herself as though she herself was the dress.

A month or so after, when Eileen turned sixteen, hordes of guys began to position themselves on her front porch, much like a hungry crowd jockeying for a ticket to the final playoffs. All the guys who showed up to date Eileen were from a consistently handsome mold:  athletic, tall, even-featured. She drew them to her as pheromones call to male elephants across the savannah twenty miles away and cause a stampede of individuals from different directions all converging at Eileen’s front door.  Years later, Eileen confided in me that her 8th grade biology teacher had once asked her to go with him to get a flask in the supply room. He had slid his hand under her sweater and kissed her. “Don’t tell anyone,” he whispered to her. She smiled when she told me that story. Boys and men alike, they all wanted her.

Midway through the year when Eileen turned eighteen, my mom got a phone call from her Aunt Bess, Eileen’s mother.  Eileen had eloped with a fellow named Al and, guess what!! Eileen was pregnant!  My parents spoke with high excitement about the news and sent great, good wishes to them all.  After the phone call, I heard from the next room the hushed rumblings between my parents about, “Oh God. . . Jesus Christ . .  Good grief. . . ”

Nothing more was said about Eileen until about four months later when she gave birth to my second cousin, Scott, a strapping big newborn. About that time, we also heard through the family grapevine that she had molted Al, divorcing him almost as quickly as her apparent gestational term.

There were also more hushed rumblings that she had found another guy. This one was really good looking, as one of the cousins relayed back to my mother. Not much more was said about Eileen’s tossed-away husk of a husband Al or the new man on the horizon.

A year or two passed, and my mother’s Aunt Bess called with more exciting news. Eileen had eloped again—- and she was pregnant!  More good wishes were conveyed to all fertile parties, and again I remember some tight-lipped words of exasperation slipping from my mother’s lips as she told my father. It was in the tone of her voice, or perhaps it was the arch of her eyebrow. I overheard waftings of, “ . . . Jesus Christ. . . done it again . . . Good grief . . . “

This new husband was named Bryce, a beautiful human specimen, as if chiseled from marble by the masters. The family confirmed this to my mom. Bryce was unquestionably as handsome as the rest,  but sadly dumb as a bag of rocks. At least he had the saving grace of coming from a family that had money. His people, as he called them, had made their fortune in the transportation business, and he was the sole heir. Eileen was pregnant now with their only grandchild. Eileen gave birth to a daughter, Wendy, in a short three months after the quick wedding.

Soon after, Eileen asked my mother if I might like to spend the summer with her,  Bryce, and the two children. For a twelve-year old girl such as myself, Bryce was god like. I kept remembering the “bag-of-rocks” comment that I wasn’t supposed to hear, and I thought, “Well, he may be as dumb, but he sure is kind.” He was kind and warm. Perhaps marriage—one new baby and another one that came with the deal—all this had quenched the fiery passion between Eileen and Bryce a bit, and I was aware that he wasn’t around much. Eileen was not pleased with his elusiveness.

One afternoon, on her way back home, Eileen decided to stop by the nearby mall. As she passed a ‘50s burger joint with seating inside the mall, she glanced up and saw Bryce in one of the booths—right there–with a dark-haired girl. They were hold hands across the table and she could hear not the words but the hum of their animated conversation. In a split second, Eileen was beside the booth and slid in next to the surprised girl.  Bryce’s face froze.

“Who’s this???” the dark-haired young woman asked sharply.

Eileen picked up the basket of French fries covered with ketchup and shoved them, grinding them, into the woman’s face. Twisted fries and smeared ketchup festooned the young lady’s hair and face.

“The WIFE, honey,” Eileen said coolly. “The wife, and how dare you!” Then she slid out of the booth and left.

Bryce didn’t come home that night, but Eileen made popcorn. She and I watched a great dance show on TV and stayed up late. The next morning, she and I went through Bryce’s belongings, and we boxed them up. I was so sad. Eileen called her attorney and instructed him to file divorce papers.

That night, I asked Eileen if she was ok.

“Oh, really. Screw him,” she said to me with a wink. “Listen, I look fantastic, and there are lots of good men still out there. Adios, Bryce.” She laughed and made more popcorn.

I had adored Bryce, so I cried when I realized he too had been thrown on the slag heap. In fairness, he threw himself on the heap; all the same, he was, in a practical sense, now gone.  I secretly hoped that he and Eileen would reunite so Bryce would be in our family forever, but this was not to be.

Several months later into the fall, after I’d returned home from Eileen’s, my mother looked distressed. She told me one afternoon that her Aunt Bess had called.  My immediate response was, “Has Eileen eloped again and married someone?”

“No,” my mother said with a sigh. “I need to tell you that a very large truck carrying heavy ore and, I believe Aunt Bess said, materials from a quarry or something.  .  . well, it ran a red light. Bryce was driving through the intersection and his car went right under the truck. I’m so sorry to tell you.  He was decapitated.”

It was too much for me to process. “He’s dead??”

“He’s dead. Yes. Dead. He died instantly, ok?”

I sobbed, and my mother did her best to comfort me.  It was not possible for me to imagine such a beautiful human being without his head, especially Bryce, but it was true.  Before I fell asleep that night, I could almost visualize Eileen having one good, long cry over Bryce’s untimely and brutal death, drying her eyes off as best she could, and then rising up with fists, vowing to go on.  Instinctively, I knew how she had chosen to handle this catastrophe:  she would have looked in the mirror and sworn to herself, “There are lots of good men out there, Eileen.” She would have  spat at her tear-stained image. “You will do just fine.”

Over the next few years, Eileen held off on the elopements. They had become less necessary, I realize now, in large part because of better birth control. Now she dated with wild abandon, and her living room became the new ticket outlet for sporting events where men vied for her attentions.  She was dating three tall, athletic guys—all three her boyfriends– at one time. They would often arrive simultaneously and attempt to outdo each other in their expressions of affection.  I was there the afternoon of her birthday, and the three men arrived. They sat, lanky-legged in the living room, each one eager to please, eager to have her pick him.

The first boyfriend gave her a small silver-gift wrapped box with a silver bow. She opened it and reached in to find a shining heart necklace studded with diamonds.

“Oh, this is just lovely. Thank you. I’m really touched.” She was delighted.

The men shot looks at each other, nervously.

The second boyfriend reached beside the sofa and pulled out a rectangular box flourished with red bows. He took a deep breath and handed it to her.

“Happy birthday, Honey,” he said and handed it to her.

Eileen giggled. She opened the box, pulled back the delicate tissue paper, and held up a sheer, pale pink nightie.

“Ohhhhh” she sighed, and her face flushed as pink as the nightie. “It’s so delicate and naughty. Thank you so much.”

I saw him wink at the other two.

The third boyfriend sat for a moment, and he stood up suddenly and said, “Just hold on. I have a present for you, too, you know. It’s in the car. I’ll be right back.”

He dashed to his car and carried in a heavy box at least four feet long, and almost as wide and deep. It was wrapped in shimmery paper and had golden streamers.

Eileen’s face showed surprise and anticipation, and I saw the other two men looking dejected. She knelt down to the box and tore it open and lay open the flaps. Inside was a Hoover vacuum cleaner. She grimaced with complete disappointment. She closed the box up and a silence fell throughout the room.

Finally, Eileen spoke. “Listen, you. Where the hell am I supposed to wear THIS??” Do think I’m a cleaning lady? What in the hell is wrong with you?


“Would you just leave? Leave.”

The other two guys broke into howls.

“Whooo! Hooo!

“He thinks she’s a cleeeeaning lady!!”

The dejected third boyfriend reached in his pocket and pulled out his car keys.  Red-faced and abashed, the loser knew he had rolled the dice and come up snake eyes. His six-foot-four lanky frame rose from the sofa, and he made his way to the door and vanished. His name was never mentioned again.

Eileen never married any of the three who had pursued her so avidly, but she would thrive, always finding greener pastures, always looking for just the right guy:  the one who would pamper her like a queen, make her life easy, and keep her laughing. She always knew she would find the one. And she would. After all, there were lots of good men out there.


This piece was read as part of a production of “Action Fiction!”, sponsored by Fiction365 and Omnibucket.   

Read more stories from Action Fiction! productions.


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