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After he saw her naked, Agatha would do anything to keep her strange secret.

"The Secret of Agatha Hill"

by Burt Whiner


Sir Knight

Vol. 2 No. 4 1960

     JAMES ARTHUR COERIGAN SHEA was not cut out, either by nature or training, to be a Peeping Tom. Which was why he found his present position, in Agatha Hill's bathroom, acutely embarrassing. The only way he could have avoided seeing Agatha undress was by announcing his presence or by covering his eyes with his hands. He was far too embarrassed to let his presence be known, and even if he had covered his eyes, he couldn't be sure he wouldn't peek.
     The revelation of Agatha unclothed was too wholly astonishing to let pass unseen anyway.
     He could not see her directly--his view was angled through the full-length mirror that lined the door--but he might as well have. Embarrassment, rather than interest, kept him quiet as she slipped out of her primly pressed blouse. But when she unfastened her tight brassiere, took a deep breath and let her glorious, unexpected breasts tumble into view...Well, Jimmy Shea had had it!
     In his way, Jimmy was as typical of the small town in which they both lived as was Agatha. Born of moderately well-to-do parents--his father had run the old Shea Drugstore at the corner of Walnut and Third Streets--he had gone through the public grade and high schools and finally, a plumber's training school. After that, he became a helper to aging Pierre Cameaux, then in charge of his own small business after Mr. Cameaux retired. Maybe it wasn't exactly glamorous, but it was a living and not a bad one for a young fellow of 23 years.
     At any rate, Mrs. Freeman, Agatha's landlady, had called him about the leak in the basin that morning, and left the key for him in the corner of the window-box while she attended her regular African Violet Club meeting.
     Jimmy had made it a little late and had been flat on his back under the basin, making a delicate pipe adjustment when Agatha came in. Which was one reason why the spectacle, unfolding before him in the mirror, had caught him so by surprise.
     The other lay in Agatha herself. Jimmy could remember her all the way back to the time when he wore knickers and she was a skinny, freckled, homely little thing in pig-tails, with braces on her teeth. Like the other boys of his age in town, he had known her vaguely--for Agatha was so strictly brought up that she had a way of vanishing at the mere approach of a male.
     She had gone away to Normal School and come back, only last year, to teach the first three grades in public school--he had no idea what her subjects were, but he recalled hearing somewhere that she was having a hard time getting along with her pupils.
     He had seen her around town, of course. It wasn't so large a community that you could help that.
     Yet, it was difficult to fix a clear impression of her. She went in for flat-heeled shoes, shapeless woolen dresses and horn-rirmned spectacles. She went without lipstick and wore her red-gold hair skinned back tightly in a trim but un-alluring bun at the back of her neck. Her face was plain and scrubbed, her figure shapeless beneath her shapeless clothing...
     Agatha stood in the center of her carpet, cupping and massaging her twin, pink-tipped surprises as though they hurt her. Which, Jim my thought, was small wonder, considering the close confinement in which they had been kept all day. Then she walked to the bureau, removed her horn-rimmed spectacles and unpinned her skinned-back hair, letting it fall about her ivory-white shoulders in a cascade of shimmering, red-gold waves. Then, she kicked off her flat-heeled shoes and pulled down her shapeless wool skirt and stepped out of it, revealing nothing but a garter belt and a pair of sheer panties beneath.
     With her back to the goggle-eyed Jimmy, she sat down on a straight bedside chair and removed stockings and belt. Then, standing once more, she slipped off her panties with a graceful, slithering motion that revealed the exquisite curve of her hips. Then, absolutely nude, she turned --and began moving toward the bathroom door.
     For a moment, Jimmy was held as rigidly paralyzed as a bird in the power of a serpent's hypnotic gaze. He had never seen anything as lovely in his life--nor was it only the beautiful, nude young body that held him. Removed from the horn-rimmed spectacles and framed in halo by the softly shimmering red-gold hair, her face was as un expectedly provocative as...as--but Jimmy was left groping for a fitting simile.
     But not for long. He recovered something of his senses while she was still a good ten feet away. As there was no window in the bathroom, he made a dash for the door, passing that glorious, nude body so closely that he almost brushed against it.
     Then he was past her and in the hall, taking Mrs. Freeman's carpeted staircase three frantic steps at a time. Not until he was safely in his car and around the corner did he stop to draw breath and mop his sweating brow. Not until 30 seconds after that did he discover that he had left his tools in Agatha Hill's bathroom...

     HE TRIED to tell himself, as he tossed and turned in his big brass bed, that it was the problem of recovering the tools without creating a scandal that was keeping him awake well past his usual slumber-time. But a recurrent, vistavision, technicolor vision of those delectable breasts tumbling out of their day-long confinement in Agatha's ultra-tight bra told him otherwise. Nor did the fact that it was followed by an even more tantalizing vision of Agatha, nude and lovely and provocative, turning to face the bathroom-door mirror, help him to keep his motor from racing.
     He was so sleepy, so bleary, so far-away at breakfast, that he barely managed to get the fried eggs and bacon into his mouth without hitting his ear as he mumbled incoherently to his mother. Absently, he polished off his food, rose to give his mother a peck on the forehead and departed in a pink cloud of yesterday's vision.
     At the shop, the phone rang. It was Mrs. Freeman to tell him about the tool chest he had left behind.
     "I'll put them on the front porch," she said, "so you can pick them up when you start out. Oh, Agatha says the basin works fine. She told me this morning, when she brought your tools downstairs."
     "And...?" he asked, unable to endure the suspense any longer.
     "And that's all," said Mrs. Freeman.
     "Okay," he said, weak with relief. "Thanks a lot, Mrs. Freeman."
     He hung up and mopped a sweating brow, although the weather was truly brisk that morning.
     As he went through his day's chores, he pondered Agatha and her not reporting his presence in her bathroom, at least to Mrs. Freeman. It just didn't make sense.
     During the course of the day, he managed to pipe Mrs. Kelly's kitchen sink to her water heater and completely forgot to replace the drain-stopper in Mr. Drinker's bathtub, along with lesser bits of malpractice. About three o'clock, he decided to call it quits before he blew up the pipes of half the town. The fact that the public schools got out at three may or may not have had something to do with it. Jimmy wasn't entirely sure.
     Although Agatha's route from school to Mrs. Freeman's was not on his route from Mr. Drinker's house to the shop, somehow, Jimmy found himself running the light truck slowly along it, about 3:22. He told himself it would be ridiculous chance to find her --yet somehow he was totally unsurprised when he spotted her walking under the elms that lined Maple Street. He wished he had brought his convertible instead of the truck, but this was hardly the moment to be deterred by such niceties.
     He slowed and crept alongside and called, "Agatha--get in!"
     She stopped dead, looked swiftly, up and down the street, then sprang for the truck door so rapidly he had barely time to get it open for her. "If you must," she said mystifyingly, "drive out of town."
     "Out of town?" He was bewildered. "Where?"
     "Anywhere," she replied. "A teacher in this town can't be too careful about her reputation."
     There was a snappishness to her, an old-maidish quality, that was at complete variance with the sensuous vision Jimmy had seen in the bath room mirror 24 hours earlier. Hedging his true purpose in picking her up, he said, "What's biting you, Agatha? Have a rough time with the kids today?"
     She seemed relieved at his stalling and sighed. "That little Mary Lassiter--she's a genuine, dyed-in-the-whool brat."
     "Oh, I don't know," said Jimmy. "Mary's okay if she likes you." Another sigh--then, "I guess she just doesn't like me. She hates me."
     By this time, they were almost out in the country, and Agatha regarded him owlishly through her horn-rimmed spectacles. "You didn't pick me up to talk about my tactics in class," she said. It was a statement, not a question.
     "No," he said, "I didn't. I picked you up to thank you for not making a stink about yesterday."
     "You frightened me," she said. "I didn't know who it was until I stumbled over your tool-kit."
     "But I was as close to you as--as I am now," he replied. "How could you miss recognizing me? The room wasn't dark."
     She raised a hand to her spectacles. "I'm blind as a bat without these."
     He pulled the car to a halt and looked hard at her, seeking in this taut and dried up creature the warm, womanly vision that had been crowding all else from his mind and feelings since the after noon before. Because he could not bear what confronted him, he moved quickly, deftly, to remove her spectacles. Once again the soft blue eyes returned his gaze, but without the frame of free-flowing red-gold hair they seemed lost.
     "What are you doing?" she cried as his arms went around her neck to draw the pins from the tight neck-bun. She fought him fiercely, literally blindly, but within half a minute, the glorious halo was again tumbled about her face. She made a final, desperate effort to get free of him, and something snapped audibly. A wondrous transformation took place in the wiry, struggling torso in his arms. The fullnesses of two magnificent breasts were warm against his own.
     "My bra!" she gasped. "You've broken it."
     "Sorry," he said. Then, because her lipstickless lips were mere inches from his, he kissed her.
     She held them rigidly compressed for what seemed a squirming eternity. Then, for a glorious instant, they softened in surrender, and the newly released softnesses of her breasts crushed themselves upon him.
     When he pulled away, furious both at her and at himself, she said, "Go ahead. Do what you want to. I'm not strong enough to stop you."
     "All I wanted to do was ask you for a date Saturday night," he ex claimed. "You looked so--so school teacherish. Okay, forget it. I'll take you back."
     He put the car in motion, in a turmoil of conflicting thoughts. He was perfectly aware that Agatha had practically asked him to rape her. But, somehow, he didn't want her like that. He wanted her to want him as much as he wanted her. They drove back toward town in glum silence as the twilight gathered around them, and Agatha, her horned-rims back in place, skinned her hair back to normal and managed emergency repairs in her fortress-like bra.
     They were almost to her boarding house when she broke the silence, timidly, with, "This date you were talking about--what would I have to do?"
     He risked a sidelong glance at her and shuddered at what he saw. He said, "Whatever you like--as long as you let your hair down and keep your glasses in your bag, and..." He didn't quite have the nerve to suggest she wear either a much looser bra or none at all. "I was thinking of going somewhere for dinner and dancing."
     "I--don't--know.. ." She sighed. "It might be risky." Another pause, then, desperately, "You saw all of me yesterday, didn't you?"
     "Mmmmmm--mmph!" he said. 
     "And it's given you beastly ideas?"
     "That depends on the point of view, Agatha. It's given me ideas, all right."
     "I suppose," she said, "you'll spread it all over town if I refuse to go out with you."
     He risked another oblique glance. Agatha was looking straight ahead, unfathomable behind those glasses and her expressionless face. But Jimmy got the pitch. This girl wanted him to blackmail her into going out with him Saturday night, didn't dare accept on her own.
     "It's up to you," he told her, putting into it all the TV-villain men ace he could muster.
     There was another silence. Then, "Very well," she said in a very, very small voice. "If you force me, I must."

     WHEN AGATHA emerged, Saturday night, all Jimmy could see was was that she was swathed in some sort of black wrap and had her hair bound up in a white babushka. But he didn't care. This was one date he'd really gone all-out on. He had made complete arrangements for a reservation at the best roadhouse in the vicinity--23 miles away--a carefully preordered menu...and, if all went well, a reservation in a sleek, modern motel halfway on the road back. He had never gone to such pains or expense before. But then, he had never wanted anyone as much as he wanted this funny little schoolteacher with the hidden body.
     From the very start, the evening was catastrophic. Before they were a mile out of town, it began to rain. Then, on the one half-dangerous hillen route, a few miles further on, a huge trailer truck all but forced him off the road on a curve, and he felt his right front wheel hit something that caused the tire to explode with a sharp report.
     Annoyed, Jimmy, removing his jacket, got out of the car and got at it.
     By the time he had the change made, he was a sodden wreck and more than 2 hours had passed. The angle of the hill had caused the jack to slip three times, and the darkness hadn't helped.
     "Why don't we go home, Jimmy?" Agatha suggested as he got the motor started. "After all --"
     "Damn it," he said. "This was one date I didn't want to foul up."
     "You didn't, Jimmy," she replied. "It's not your fault. Please don't be upset. I don't mind."
     A sudden feeling of warmth, of genuine affection for Agatha passed through him. He extended a damp right arm and drew her close to his side. She made no resistance--rather, she snuggled close as he started the car.

     IT WAS WELL PAST midnight when he pulled up in front of Mrs. Freeman's house. "Better go 'round in back," she suggested.
     He shrugged, but obeyed, feeling like something long left out to mildew as he crawled stiffly out of the car. The rain had subsided to a drizzle, and Agatha moved swiftly ahead of him. She unlocked the back door and led him into the kitchen. Having switched on the light, she turned to face him, and she seemed suddenly to have grown taller. Looking down, he saw that she was wearing high heels, and that her legs were as shapely as those of any showgirl. Then he looked up, slowly, at her figure, at her face...
     She had removed her dark wrap and tossed it on the kitchen table, and the gown she had on, if simple, was adequate. The delectable curves that had been haunting him all week were covered, but not concealed. Above the gown, her face was framed softly by that glorious red-gold halo, and even as he looked, she removed her glasses.
     "Do you want to come up--or would you rather have something here first?" she asked him.
     "You want to wake up Mrs. Freman?" he said, sotto voce.
     "Oh..." Agatha laughed softly. "Mrs. Freeman's gone away over the weekend to visit her sister."
     "Then that's why..." He stared at her. "You lovely little devil."
     "That's why," she replied.

     SOMEHOW, THEY got upstairs, and he stripped off his sodden clothing savagely and flung it on the floor. When he looked again at her, she was just stepping out of her dress, revealing to his hungry eyes that she was wearing nothing underneath. Once again, he was looking at those magnificent, utterly unsuspected female glories, and this time there was nothing to stop him.
     "You'll be gentle..." she said, a light of alarm in her eyes as he advanced on her.
     But Jimmy was far past the point of being gentle, he was filled with a primitive madness of desire that would have brooked no denial, even had one been offered. Picking Agatha up, he all but hurled her to the big brass bed, and leapt after her. He gasped as their flesh made full contact at last, and although she cried out and winced with pain, and her body went briefly rigid, he wreaked his desire upon her as if she were a captive maiden in a sacked city. Again and again and again, he took her, until she lay sobbing into her tumbled pillow...

     THE NEXT DAY, he had a hell of a cold and was forced to stay in bed. When his mother went out, he tried to call Agatha, but the Freeman phone did not answer. He felt like a dog, like a heel, like the underside of a snake. She had offered him her virgin self, and he had destroyed her. He thought of calling the hospital, of calling the police--but then he remembered how great was her concern for her reputation as a small town schoolteacher.
     Monday morning, although his cold was better, Jimmy still stayed home. Finally, in the afternoon, he went over to the Lassiters. His sneezes and sniffles had subsided to a non-contagious degree. He and Tom Lassiter were having a beer in the front parlor when little Mary came home from school.
     She ran up to give her daddy a hug, then said, "Daddy, you'll never guess what?"
     "What?" asked her father, winking at Jimmy.
     "It's Miss Hill," said the girl. "All of a sudden, she's beautiful--and she's nice now, too."
     "I'm delighted to hear it," said Tom Lassiter, who belonged to the local school board. He turned to give Jimmy another wink, then said, "What are you grinning about? You look like the cat that just ate the canary."

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