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Not the One / Mark Rogers

During my adolescent years, I operated at a heightened sexual frequency. When I was eleven I couldn’t walk down the tuna fish aisle in the supermarket. One glance at the Chicken of the Sea logo—a cartoon mermaid with a Veronica Lake hairdo and a hint of cleavage—and I’d instantly grow an embarrassing erection.


As a teenager, I had a series of odd encounters with women in the neighborhood. Maybe the sexual revolution of the 60s was making adults in my suburban community shrug off their inhibitions. Maybe they didn’t want to miss out on the fun.


This encounter was probably the weirdest when I was fifteen:


Our neighbor a few houses away was Mrs. West, a divorcee. She was well put together but no beauty.


The first time I babysat for her infant I searched through her bookcase for something racy to read. I found a book on sexual deviancy that was annotated in a female hand. Reading the notations, it became clear Mrs. West was questioning her former husband’s sexuality, claiming he was a West Village homosexual. Mrs. West was bitter, as though she’d been duped. As young as I was, I could feel Mrs. West’s pain of rejection.


The second time I was called to babysit, Mrs. West told me I’d be relieving her live-in sitter, who had an appointment. When I arrived it was clear the live-in sitter was running late. She was darting around the house in a slip and a bra. The woman talked with a Middle European accent and had a gold tooth, making her look like a Gypsy. For me, it was cataclysmic seeing a strange woman in her bra. She even talked to me, half-naked, literally only inches away. I could see the rise of her breasts as she breathed. She finally got dressed and dashed off to her appointment.


After she left I was in sexual turmoil and could hardly sit down. The baby was in a playpen in the middle of the living room. He was a happy kid and didn’t seem to mind being ignored as I paced around the room.


A few hours later Mrs. West came home. I’m not sure why but I started babbling about the housekeeper being half-naked.


I said, “It was crazy. She was running up and down the stairs in her bra.”


Mrs. West stood in front of the playpen and listened with a smile on her face. She figured out in a moment that my sexual dial was cranked up to ten.


As we talked, the infant in the playpen crawled toward his mother. The child reached through the bars and began raising his mother’s skirt. Mrs. West kept talking as the skirt rose above her knees, up her thighs, until her white panties were on display. Never once did her tone of voice change, although her eyes told me she knew exactly what was happening. I can only imagine what my expression revealed. I’d been transported to some kind of sexual Wonderland.


Mrs. West said, “You wouldn’t believe how many clothes my sitter has. Come with me.”


Free of her child’s fingers, the skirt fell back below her knees.


I followed Mrs. West up carpeted steps to the live-in sitter’s bedroom. She pointed at the closet and said, “Look in there.”


I leaned in and stared at a rack of cheap clothing. Then Mrs. West squeezed in next to me, so we were both leaning into the closet. So close that her cheek touched mine. I could feel the heat. The softness of her skin.


She stepped back.


When I turned away from the closet I stared at her for a long, strange moment. The sitter’s unmade bed was behind her, the covers tousled. Mrs. West stood there. Both of us didn’t say a word.


There was a vibrating thread in the air but it didn’t snap.


I think Mrs. West weighed whether or not she should fuck me on the sitter’s bed. I imagine lots of thoughts rushed through her head. One of them was probably: A fifteen-year-old boy will never keep his mouth shut.


Then I was back on the street.


I was a virgin steeped in the chivalrous tales of Edgar Rice Burroughs.


Part of me was glad Mrs. West wouldn’t be my first.

from the memoir in progress, Fort Rosarito

MARK ROGERS is a writer and artist whose literary heroes include Charles Bukowski, Willy Vlautin, and Charles Portis. He lives in Baja California, Mexico with his Sinaloa-born wife, Sofia. His award-winning travel journalism for USA Today and other media outlets has brought him to 56 countries. His crime novels have been published in the U.S. and UK. Uppercut, his memoir of moving to Mexico, is published by Cowboy Jamboree Press. NeoText publishes his Tijuana Novels series and Gray Hunter series. His short fiction has appeared in numerous literary magazines.

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