Three Shades of Grey
These pieces were written a couple of years ago and are loosely linked by a theme of color and non-color (and of hot, hard sex, obviously!). It’s slightly peculiar reading them now when erotica is saturated with grey. I feel very on-trend! And isn’t that richly detailed, vibrant cover so gorgeously unfashionable?
My three stories are Slave Market in Monochrome, Based on a True Story and Good Cop, Bad Cop.
Here’s the opener to Good Cop, Bad Cop.
When Karen failed to get a Barbie doll for her eighth birthday, all the flowers in the family garden died. At the age of fifteen, Andy Edwards dumped her for Marnie Bell and Karen didn’t find out until Gemma Cosgrove passed the message on in double history class. The hummingbirds on the Chinese wallpaper in her parents’ dining room slid to the floor, lifeless.
Nobody put two and two together to make five. Why would they?
Ten years later, exactly 365 days after Karen had split with the man she’d imagined growing old with, she walked into Downtown, the contemporary art gallery where she worked, to discover the color had vanished from all the paintings. The images remained but the canvases were stained with a palette of greys – charcoal, dove, church mouse, pewter – and the blank extremes of soot black and ivory. Karen’s manager, Alicia Dean, was yammering on the phone to the police while their cleaner, a blond, dreadlocked art student called Stuart, was picking through the contents of a rubbish sack. In the newly drab gallery, Stuart’s gloved hands were a flutter of garish pink.
“Man, this is well freaky,” he muttered.
Karen agreed, a sense of dread stealing over her.
Alicia snapped her phone shut. “Rozzers are on their way,” she said with plummy-voiced confidence.
A jolt of lechery charged Karen’s insides. Oh, for shame. She’d spent a year without cock and now even the mention of men in uniform was enough to spark her lust. She was embarrassed but unsurprised. She currently couldn’t get through a single day without wanting to accost eligible young men in the supermarket, on the bus or in the street, and her definition of “eligible” was growing increasingly broad. At night, her dreams were orgiastic romps of flesh, chest hair and muscle, of deep voices, thick fingers, stubbled jaws and hot, salty skin. Oh, and of cock too. Let’s not forget the cock.
Within a couple of minutes, two bobbies on the beat had arrived, a man and woman in high-visibility jackets, him in a traditional tit-shaped helmet. Five minutes later, a patrol car drew up, blue lights flashing, and two cops sauntered in, reassuringly mean in black combats, boots and bulky protective vests. They wore peaked caps with chequered bands, each with a black baton jutting by his hip. Karen grew moist at the sight of those batons.
The morning got really exciting when forensics came along and the gallery was cordoned off to the public. “CRIME SCENE DO NO ENTER” read the yellow tape. Stuart left for college and Alicia began to cry. It fell to the female officer to comfort her and get busy with the kettle and the Kleenex. In the main gallery, crumpled white creatures in head-to-toe plastic swept dust into little pots, swabbed canvases and took measurements, photos and videos. If it hadn’t been for a minor royal due in town that day to open a new conference center, they’d have been ignored. But in a state of heightened security, anything suspicious required prompt investigation. The gallery bleeped and crackled with radio messages; there were mutterings about bioterroism; and a general air of indecisiveness hung about the place, although the latter wasn’t, in itself, unusual.
Eventually, Karen approached the three male cops who were in the long gallery, clustered around a painting entitled, A Study in Blue.
Bryn’s colleagues laughed at his feeble joke.
Karen cleared her throat. “You should take me in for questioning. I know something about this.”
The policemen got suddenly serious. The sexiest of the bunch, Sol, a dark-eyed guy with a hard, straight nose, instinctively rested a hand on his baton and glared, his body tensed for action. Karen’s cunt tingled.
“What is it you want to tell us, eh?” asked the third cop, a barrel-chested man who looked ready to burst out of his protective vest. Karen hadn’t caught his first name and knew only that he was Sergeant Carter.
She chewed her lip, thinking, I want to tell you the colors have vanished because I’m desperately lonely and I’m not getting any cock. Instead, she said, “It’s private. If you don’t want to take me to the station, there’s a room in the basement we could use.”