I SIT IN A CHAIR, across his desk from David. David is a tallish man and handsome in a lean, elegant sort of way. Although he's dressed in the usual casual clothes that are the 'uniform' here at Del Prado, David still seems somehow to project an air of elegance.
He says, "Beverly, we're winding down the project at government orders. I can't change that. No one can change that. We have only this last summer left, at the very best. Why don't we try to make the best that we can of the short time we have left here at Del Prado?"
It's not the first time David and I have had this conversation. David wants me very much. He's an okay guy and even a friend. However, I have difficulty seeing him as a husband or even as a lover. As I have done before, I hesitate.
David takes a deep breath and then slowly says, "Look, Beverly, I know your son Ben thinks I'm a wimp. However, Ben thinks everyone below the level of some huge NFL player is a wimp."
I smile at David. I say, "Actually David, there are NBA power forwards and centers, world champion weight lifters and a few other males that Ben doesn't think are wimps. However, admittedly it's a rather small group."
David leans back and regards me. He says, "Well, be that as it may, why don't you think about us over the next few days. I know we can be together if you'll only let us try. I think we can have something very special together."
My whole future is on the line here. I pause and then speak carefully, "David, I like you. I don't know if I'm really ready for another relationship at this point. However, when I'm ready, you would be the man." With that, I give David a big, meaningless smile then rise and leave. I realize that I'm running from something that will have to be if I'm to survive financially, but I just can't commit today. I then get up and leave David.
Since it's the end of the work day, I wander down towards the gym for my usual nightly workout. As I walk, the reality of my situation becomes very clear to me. If I'm to get a pension out of my nineteen years of dedicated labor, I'll have to transfer to another, similar government funded job. There's really only one such job available for me. To get the job, I have to get a glowing recommendation from David, who'll become my supervisor in the new job. David isn't willing to have me work for him while I'm out of his reach. If I'm going to get the recommendation I need from David, I'll have to enter into a relationship with him.
I like David and he's basically a nice person. I'm sure that in his own mind he isn't really using his position to force me into an intimate relationship with him. However, that's basically what the situation is. Actually, I might even want to get involved with David, at least over the other men available here at Del Prado. However, there's always the lingering image of Randy, my deceased husband.
One day Randy walked into my life. He was a handsome, confident devil. He was six feet six inches of muscular stud. If I close my eyes I can still see his handsome face, his confident smile and his lustful need for me.
Randy met me, liked what he saw and then proceeded to sweep me off my feet.
The six feet one tall, tennis champion girl with the big IQ had never met anyone like Randy. He wasn't just big, strong and handsome; he also had a PhD and was already considered brilliant in his field.
I was bored with little boys who tried to work up the courage to approach me.
Randy didn't try to work up his courage, he tried a frontal assault! He treated me like a beautiful princess in public and a pampered pleasure slave girl in bed.
All of my previous conflicts about my relationships with boys were swept away.
Randy was bigger and stronger than me and just as intelligent. He didn't regard me as an equal, I was his lady! I had to be treated with courtesy and concern in public and fucked into submission in private.
Randy and I got married in a whirlwind of passion. We then arrived at Del Prado as just two starry eyed kids. We took one look at the surf, the sun drenched oaks and then each other. We each had exactly the same idea at the same time. Del Prado was our place and our life!
It was a good life! We both had our work. When I won awards at first, no one was happier than Randy. Later, when Randy won major awards, he insisted that I share in his spotlight.
We, Randy and I, had a son. We named the little guy Ben, just Ben, not Benjamin. Our son was Randy's delight. Randy guided the little fellow through the first few years, although most of the guidance involved Ben's inability to play well with his little playmates. Randy did have to spank Ben more than a few times, but it never really slowed Ben down. Ben was a young Randy, with more than a little of the devil in him.
Ben grew up and up, under the watchful gazes of Randy and myself. I say that Ben grew up and up. Ben is currently six feet eight inches tall and very muscular. Ben has always been bigger than his playmates and he tended to solve his disputes with the other boys with his fists. Randy and I and several teachers attempted to discipline Ben. We probably failed, but by then the other boys stayed pretty much out of Ben's way and the trouble at least wasn't easily apparent.
One awful day the California Highway Patrol visited Del Prado and told me that there had been a traffic accident. Randy was involved. I wanted to go to the hospital right away. When they slowly told me that Randy wasn't in the hospital, I broke down.
Ben was only fourteen years old at the time of Randy's fatal accident. He didn't break down. He just looked grimly at the CHP men and wanted to know where to find whoever killed his dad. Ben, at fourteen, was already bigger than either of the CHP officers.
The officers did, however manage to calm Ben down a bit when they told him that the drunk who killed his dad also died in the wreck.
Ben thought things over and saw no way he could proceed with any sort of settling of accounts.
The CHP officers seemed very relieved when Ben just sat down beside me and said to me, "It's just you and me now, Mom."
With no choice in the matter, Ben and I carried on. I had my work and I threw myself into that. Ben was always there and did what he could to, "take care of my Mom!" Ben had and still has his faults. However, lack of loyalty isn't one of them.
Ben had his school studies to keep him busy. With Randy gone, Ben had to win a scholarship to go to college the way he wanted. Ben, knowing just the one way, attacked his studies with a vengeance.
Ben is very intelligent, but unfortunately tends to be scornful of others who may be slower mentally than he is. Ben has Randy's size and more plus unbelievable strength. Ben and I have had several conversations about using means other than Ben's fists to deal with problems. The message has still not really gotten through to him. On several occasions someone who thought they could just walk over a poor widowed lady had to deal with Ben. When the police would arrive and pick Ben off the troublemaker they would ask Mom how a kid that young got that big and strong. I would then have to pretend to cry about the vicious man who picked on my baby.
Unfortunately, Ben is the very image of Randy and I have to realize that Ben is my son and not a Randy replacement. It's sometimes a little hard to remember, particularly when I have to deal with someone like David.
My walk through my memories leads me along a familiar path and I find myself suddenly at the gym. I decide to work out to try to clear my mind.
As I walk into the small but well equipped Del Prado gym I see my son Ben, attended by two men, Dickie and Big Dave. Ben is straining at a barbell loaded with a huge amount of weight. Ben finally bench presses the weight and Dickie and Big Dave then help ease the weight back into the bench rest.
Ben then gets up from the bench and he and the other two guys celebrate something of apparently great moment.
Ben sees me and struts over proudly. He brags to me, "Mom, I finally benched two hundred seventy five kilos! I had to get it done while Dickie and Big Dave were still here to spot for me. I did it!"
For whatever reason the two hundred seventy five kilos thing has been an important goal for Ben. I tell Ben, "You have done well, but you should be careful and not try to lift too heavy a weight. You're still young and you have time to accomplish your goals when you reach your full, adult strength."
Ben nods that he understands what I have said and then turns and goes off to finish his workout.
I then talk briefly with Dickie and Big Dave. They have been laid off and will be leaving Del Prado at the end of the week. Both of the men have families and the current job market isn't all that great. I can see doubt and maybe even a little fear in the eyes of the two huge men. I grasp for and fail to find some inspirational words for them. Lacking any real inspiration, I finally wish them well and then go into the ladies' dressing room to get ready for my own workout.
During my workout several people wander through the gym, mainly to pick up their workout gear before departing. Layoffs stalk Del Prado and it's very sad to have to talk for the last time to people I have worked with for years. It's even sadder to realize that the current job market doesn't look very good and those departing may have a difficult time finding new work. Since I myself may be actively looking for a job soon, the state of the job market is very much my concern as well.
One person does come in to the gym who hasn't yet been touched by the layoffs. Faith is one of the original Del Prado employees and, like me, will be among the very last to go. Faith, however, has some disturbing news of a different type. Faith tells me, "I think that my husband has been screwing some of the other wives."
Faith's revelation doesn't shock me at all; Faith's husband has, at one time or another, propositioned most of the wives at Del Prado, myself being most definitely among them. However, Faith's use of the plural wives, rather than wife does shock me a bit. I ask her about the matter, specifically about the possibility that Faith's husband may be screwing more than one other wife.
Faith snorts and tells me, "It's wives, plural, and you better get used to the situation. There are a lot of people here who can't face the fact that they might be unemployed for the first time in nineteen years. A lot of the people are desperate enough for a job lead that they're willing to screw others just in the hope that it might eventually lead to a job lead and a glowing reference."
I'm shocked. "It seems that things are breaking down among the adults here at Del Prado and the situation has to eventually begin to affect the children as well."
"Well, at least I don't have to worry about that." She smirks at me and says, "My daughter Fran is so naive that she doesn't even know exactly what it is that the boys want from her."
I sigh. "Not to worry, the boys will be only too happy to describe to Fran exactly what it is that they want."
We both laugh.
I then point out, "Almost all of the children remaining at Del Prado are the children of the original staff. The kids are now all eighteen and they'll want to begin to experiment with sex no matter what their parents want. In fact, what their parents want may actually drive them in the other direction. It's going to be a problem and I don't see any easy solution."
Faith thinks the matter over and says, "I guess I probably should have a long talk about sex with Fran. I don't want Fran to get into something over her head with no guidance as to what she should do."
"Faith, have you heard of any sex among the teenagers?"
"I have heard some rumours but I'm not completely sure." She does tell me, "However, I wouldn't be at all surprised if Annette and her daughter Amanda have, between them, screwed every male in Del Prado. Why don't you ask your son Ben about sexual activity among the teenagers?"
"I trust Ben completely and he's too sensible to get involved sexually with a teenage girl when he has his education in front of him. Actually, I'm scared as hell that he may be getting sexually involved with some little bimbo."
Faith laughs and says, "Well, Brenda may be a bimbo, but she certainly isn't what you would call little!"
Brenda is a little taller than I am. She's a sun bleached blonde with a pretty face and no brains at all. I mention the last item to Faith.
Faith thinks and then says, "Now wait a minute, Brenda has an IQ of 103."
"My point exactly!"
Faith laughs. "Beverly, not everyone can have a PhD."
"I know that. However, there has to be a tall, intelligent, PhD type girl out there somewhere for my Ben. She would be a hot looking young babe with enough sense to wait until after college to get pregnant."
Faith snorts and says, "Dream on!"
I try to picture what would happen if tall, strong Ben got his hand up some girl's dress and started to gently massage her... I then realize that almost certainly the same thing would happen as when Randy and I first dated. Of course, Ben was the result.
I'll have to have a long talk with Ben when I get home tonight. I don't look forward to the prospect.