Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Meaning of Talent


A short story inspired by this image sent to me by drydiggins who thought it would be fun for me to take requests.  Not a bad idea, actually.

She sat in the blond wood desk and wondered if she might have chosen a better skirt for the occasion. This one almost blended into the wood that seemed to mold around her body. When she'd dressed earlier in the day, it hadn't occurred to her that she might find herself ready to seduce her professor, but now? Well, it seemed her only option. She had to know.

She shifted in her seat and swung her right leg over her knee then quickly reversed motion and put both feet firmly on the floor. Her knees pressed together, she ran her tongue over her teeth.  As discreetly as she could, she placed her hand over her mouth and checked her breath. 

Dr. Hathaway paced the front of the drab classroom. The rake, he'd accentuated his brown jacket and tan pants with a teal tie. She smiled at this bit of whimsy and wondered if there weren't a wild man hoping to escape that staid interior.

The flash of blue reminded her of a tropical fish trapped in a muddy pond like the one where she used to skinny dip with her boyfriend, The Farmers Son. She always thought of him as that - The Farmer's Son. His real name was Troy, but that just seemed wrong. He should have been a Jeb or a Caleb or a Bo. A Troy didn't ride a tractor wearing just a baseball cap and his Levis with the Skoal circle imprinted into the back pocket, but a Caleb would.

Her eyes stayed on Dr. Hathaway, but now her mind had wandered to those late summer nights at the pond. The Farmer's Son stood in the moonlight, his tanned chest and abs rippled with muscle, his hand not quite hiding the black cloud from where his hardest part sprang. She started to cross her legs again and stopped. Tapped her pencil. Checked her watch.

"So what the writer is trying to do is...." His voice had a bit of that New England clip, just the faintest flat r sprinkled throughout his lectures. She pictured him in tennis whites, in khakis rolled up to show in sockless feet in faded blue Topsiders, in a Tuxedo, preparing to walk up the curved steps of a country club. She shook her head to clear it.

Dr. Hathaway stopped pacing and looked in her direction, his left eyebrow cocked just slightly above the right. His hazel eyes held her gaze for a second before he straightened his tie and resumed pacing.  He seemed to think better while in motion.

Finally, he leaned against the lectern and fiddled with his cuffs as he dismissed the class.  While she dawdled by looking through her pocketbook for nothing in particular, the room emptied.  She considered her options.  She had to know if his nearly-hyperbolic compliment about her written pieces was sincere or whether he was just like every other creep who just wanted a piece of her gorgeous ass and would use any means necessary to get her in bed.

A little frown formed on her lips as she thought about how her looks often got in the way of being taken seriously.  She didn't want to be ugly, but she would have liked to have been a little less.  A little less leggy and blond and well-proportioned and lovely of face.  It would feel so good to take a compliment without question, but she'd learned that was impossible, at least where males were concerned.

She would find out his intentions by coming on to him.  If he took the bait, she'd know that his statement that her writing was so good, it was unlike any he'd seen from his students before was just an attempt to lure her into bed through than appeal to her ego and her desire to become published some day.  If he didn't, then she felt confident that he'd meant what he said.

She closed the clasp on  her purse and hesitated.  What happened after?  If he was sincere and he refused her advances, what would she do?  How would she face him in class, on campus?  She glanced down at the notebook where she'd doodled some geometric shapes around the name Troy.  She thought about the hurt in his dark eyes when she told him how she'd mistakenly succumbed to the flattery of one of the college boys who attended a special writers' workshop at the community college.  She thought it was best to tell The Farmer's Son the truth and hoped he would understand.  He didn't.

She stood and slipped her purse strap over her shoulder.  She had to know.  If Dr. Hathaway had meant what he said and he believed her to be so talented, she'd simply apologize and explain to him that she'd been tricked before.  She'd tell him how she'd come up with this silly scheme to find out the truth from him.  Surely, he'd understand.  Writers, artists are all a little crazy and impetuous anyway, aren't they?

She conjured her sunniest smile, smoothed her skirt and started toward the front of the room where Dr. Hathaway stood with one hand on the teal tie watching her.

********

21 comments:

  1. Quite possible but that's not how it happened to me.

    ReplyDelete
  2. And she came on to him with such cautious subtlety by thrusting her pelvis into his little professor...

    Excellent story, Lisa. I want to hear how it turns out!

    ReplyDelete
  3. excellent direction from the image to the page...

    ReplyDelete
  4. "...with one hand on his teal tie."

    Mercy!

    ReplyDelete
  5. very good indeed~now I want to know what happens next and can picture it going either way.

    ReplyDelete
  6. And....AND THEN WHAT HAPPENED??? Woman, you can NOT leave me hanging like this!

    ReplyDelete
  7. The picture and the opening lines bring back a memory. Back in the mid-60s, my strait-laced father spent a few semesters as an adjunct instructor at a woman's college. This was the mini-skirt era, and one evening he came home and complained how uncomfortable it was to stand in front of a classroom filled with coeds showing their legs and more.

    Without thinking, I said something like, "I didn't think that would be a problem for you," and he answered, thoroughly offended, "Do you think I'm immune? "

    Actually, until that point, I had. It was hard for me to accept that a guy my father's age-- in his forties, for Pete's sake-- might still have carnal interests. EEEEWWW GROSS!

    ReplyDelete
  8. i like the ending as well. while i love to read what you write i hope this is the end of this story. I know what happens next in my mind and that (IMHO anyway) is the mark of some good writing.

    use the short story to set it up and WALAH a great narrative about 3 people
    I count Troy as the third person becuase his part really shined.

    Looking forward to reading more of your work

    ReplyDelete
  9. I like the lead up to letting the imagination go. I love the picture, I can imagine the rules and stereotypes that those images conjure up. Growing up in the 60's I saw my sisters in those very conforming and appropriate clothes, but yes, they could become oh so sexy!
    Good work Lisa.

    ReplyDelete
  10. And, and, and... What happens next :-)
    Cheers, jj

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thanks to you all for the great comments. Let your imaginations run wild!

    ReplyDelete
  12. His little professor! Ha!
    Well done. :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. The farmer's son seems like more fun. Nice story. (Catching a moment at Mom's.)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Great writing, Lisa. I was engrossed from the first word to the last.

    Oh, and I'm not trying to hit on you. Promise. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  15. I used to be an actor. So if you need someone to play the part of the professor, just let me know!

    Great stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I don't think there is going to be more, is there. You're going to leave it that way - lady or tiger - and we're not going to know. SHE has to know but we don't get to. I think that works quite well. The story is more likely to get stuck in my head this way than if it were finished.

    But the picture seems to answer for us... or does it? He might have been fishing, but then when she came on THAT strong (all those thoughts of Troy) he was intimidated... And so I doubt she can ever know, either. Huh. The more I think about this, the more there is...

    ReplyDelete

And then you say....

(Comments submitted four or more days after a post is published won't appear immediately. They go into comment moderation to cut down on spam.)