Drop #40: Behind

Meg’s cousin, Dora was coming to stay for two nights. She did voices for cartoons and had some kind of casting in town. He’d met her four times and heard her once on TV—at least, Meg had said the shy elephant with the lisp was her.

Dora wasn’t an attractive girl. She wasn’t hideous; she simply had not a single apparent alluring quality. Her face was forgettable and her hair colorless and wiry; her nose was too big and her eyes too small. Her personality was bland too – a habit of sucking on dull teeth, being the only thing of note – and her fashion sense was abysmal: she always wore thick, loose, ankle-length skirts, like blankets, even in Summer, and on her feet, the clunkiest clodhoppers: those commonly worn by nuns. Up top, she sported the frilly blouses of old people in peach, mauve, ochre, and beige, all faded.

Though it wasn’t entirely miserable to spend time with such a person, it was never altogether pleasant either. Two days wasn’t long, but long enough, and he couldn’t help making snarky comments about Dora in the days leading up to her visit, which Meg didn’t appreciate.

Getting back Thursday evening, nobody was home, but he saw Dora’s bulky luggage through the guest room’s open door. He made some dinner. His stunning wife and her plain cousin arrived soon after, one in tight jeans and a T, the other in the usual quilt and somber blouse. One got a kiss on the mouth, the other a peck on the cheek. They ate together and went to sleep.

Meg was up early and off to work; he only had to be in at 10.30. He didn’t know when Dora had her meeting, but played good host, hopping out to pick up fresh fruit and pastries. Back in twenty minutes, all was quiet so he went to check if their guest was up. Silently up the stairs, and past the bathroom, he reached the door and made ready to knock. It was open a crack and he causally glanced inside.

Dora was awake and getting dressed. Her blouse was already on but her thick gray skirt was still bunched around her old lady undies at the knee. She pulled them up, but for a good second, her buttocks were bare. Then she looked up and saw him.

‘Oh, sorry,’ he said, uncomfortably, turning away, even though she was now fully clothed.

‘Don’t worry about it,’ she said. ‘It’s just an ass. You can turn around now,’ she added, laughing.

The next day and a half were awkward and he was relieved when Dora left.

‘I don’t know why you acted so weird,’ Meg said that evening. ‘Seeing someone naked isn’t a big deal.’

‘Yeah,’ he answered meekly, pouring the last of the wine into his cup.

‘It was only her bum, anyway.’

‘Yeah, only her bum.’

‘In any case, she’s gone now, so you can relax.’

But, instead of lightening up, Phil seemed to get crankier and Meg was perplexed. Her husband had always been consistently jovial. An anxious hour would have been notable, but he was going on a several days.

‘Dora doesn’t have any more castings here, does she?’ he asked one night. ‘A call back or something?’

‘Don’t worry about it. She didn’t get the part.’

‘Oh, I see.’

‘Jesus, Phil, aren’t you making a bit much of this. It couldn’t have been that bad!’

‘You’re right. It wasn’t.’

After another week Meg began worrying about Phil in earnest. To others he might have seemed normal, as he followed his usual routine, saying and doing all the right things, but she noticed a subtle strain weighing down his face. Sure, the crabbiness had softened, but it had been replaced with clear distraction. Maybe he had psychological problems she wasn’t aware of. Maybe, they were only manifesting now. Surely, it no longer had anything to do with Dora!



‘What the hell is going on with you?’ Meg asked quite calmly.

‘What do you mean?’

‘You know what I mean. You are acting super strange. Something is obviously bothering you.’

Phil closed his eyes for a few seconds, as if recalling something either painful or divine, then looked squarely at his wife. ‘You’re right, Meg. I am dealing with something.’

‘Well what is it? It can’t possibly have anything to do with Dora anymore.’

‘Actually, it does.’

‘Come on, Phil. How traumatic can it be to walk in on someone changing?’

‘Pretty traumatic, actually.’

‘Oh grow up! You were really pretty rude to her.’

‘Because I didn’t know how to act.’

‘You know, I’m getting kind of tired of this shit. You don’t like her and you find her off-putting – I get it. OK, so she’s not that cute but how ugly can a person’s ass be?’

‘No, you’ve got it wrong. Her ass wasn’t ugly at all.’

‘It wasn’t?’

‘No; in fact, it was fucking spectacular!’ He looked relieved blurting it out.

‘It was?’

‘Yes. Absolutely breathtaking.’

‘Dora’s ass?’

‘Without a doubt.’

‘Oh?’ Meg scrunched up her face. ‘Then why have you been acting so weird?’

Phil took a second to sigh. He looked like a boss about to fire someone. ‘Because I haven’t been able to think about anything else. Because nothing I have encountered till now–no emotion, no event, no experience, no song or film has been as graphic or intense. No single other incident has been as visceral and affecting.’

‘As seeing Dora’s ass?’

‘Yes! That ass is the most captivating thing I have ever laid eyes on. I want it in a way I’ve never wanted anything else and the lack of logic, the greed blows me away.’

‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’


‘Dora’s ass?’

‘Yes!’ He seemed to endure a tiny seizure.

‘I won’t say I’m not surprised.’

‘I’m surprised too! I don’t know what kind of a man it makes me. And I’m sure it must threaten you, and us somehow too.’

‘That something else, something so bizarre is the most appealing thing you’ve ever laid eyes on?’


‘Maybe it does. To be honest, I don’t even know at this stage.’

‘Neither do I.’

‘I’m still trying to get by the premise.’


‘Was it really that incredible?’

Meg wanted to be angry at her husband, but keenly recalled the overtly scarred and muscular torso she once saw in a National Geographic magazine, which she had obsessed over in the most inarticulate, but overwhelming way for more than a month, while her ex boyfriend, Hans, puzzled over her faraway mood.

‘It was friggin sensational!’

 By E.M. Vireo


About EM Vireo
flooding the world with fiction

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