Mead Perkins' bathroom had a strange and wonderful effect
on all the women who used it
"The Bawdy Bath"
by Connie Sellers
Vol. 4 No. 6, 1960
MEAD PERKINS never thought much about
bathrooms, until he found the black lace panties in his own.
Before then, his bath had been like
any other--convenient, dispensing hot water and meditative solitude. No
longer; it had been invaded.
Distrustfully, Mead poked at the ridiculously
in adequate things. Do a favor for a friend of a friend, and this was the
result. Plus lipstick on the mirror and bobby pins in odd corners.
He should never have rented his place,
much less to a young honeymoon couple. Honeymoon--the very word was saccharine
and untidy. The mirror glared at him as he wiped away the lipstick smear,
and thought how often the new Mrs. Smith must have posed here. Her scent
lingered in the shower curtains, musky and disturbingly sensuous.
Somehow, the entire room was changed,
permeated with the vibrant life it had held. Mead frowned at the seat cover;
imagine painting a garish rose upon such a utilitarian lid.
The Smiths must have practically lived
in this room, preferring it, through some youthful quirk, to all others.
Even, Mead thought, to the bedroom. He looked up and reddened at the watchful
Lascivious latrine, ribald restroom,
or whatever--he still had to get the house respectable for the welcome-home
gathering this evening, dammit. The campus clans would be gathering now,
totem chiefs of psychology, literature, sociology, English lA and muscledom--all
supposedly eager to hear about his vacation trip.
Actually, they'd come to drink Mead's
booze, and to envy him the trust fund that let him go galloping off to
distant lands. Mead didn't have to teach, but generally, it was an enjoyable
Especially, he thought, the part about
being surrounded by tightly sweatered femininity each day, unapproachable
as it might be.
He shook himself, scooped up the abandoned
panties with tingling fingers, and resolutely interred them in a wastebasket.
There were Martinis to mix, and stories to ready about a glamorous trip
that had really been a big, fat nothing.
And objectively speaking, so was Mead's
welcome home party. Oh, the chatter would be bright, and the clan heads
properly appreciative of his lies. But it would also be boring.
That is, if Mead didn't include Miss
Willa Loflin, English lA and Creative Writing. Willa had equipment for
other pursuits, but she masked it well--flat heels, skin-tight hair, glasses
too studiously studious.
They came, and it was as he thought.
Mead nuzzled his third Martini and sighed. This looked very much like it
was going to be an other long semester.
Miss Betts--Sociology II--changed
that idea in a hurry. She came out of the powder room with a gleam in her
myopic eyes and made straight for Coach Thomas.
Things livened considerably after
she made determined contact. Miss Betts had a lot of long, gangling physique
to spread over the amazed coach, and she spread it with a will.
Mead looked hastily away, and eyed
the Martini pitcher with suspicion. He didn't think he'd been that heavy-handed
with the gin. In fact, he couldn't think of any stimulant acting as an
aphrodisiac on the angular Miss Betts. Yet there she was, Circe with a
fuse blown, and running in reverse.
"Ulp!" said Coach Thomas, but Miss
Betts was already down to his lettered tee-shirt, and obviously intent
upon more earthy material.
"Miss Betts!" Willa Loflin gasped.
Mr. Crunch, Psych I, was well in to his fourth drink, and merely took an
academic interest in the action.
"Repression release," he muttered,
and looked well content with himself.
With an athletic surge, Coach Thomas
broke free, and dashed for the outer night with shirttail flap ping. Miss
Betts was in hot pursuit, not to be denied by the coach's broken-field
Willa Loflin disappeared into the
bath to recover her scholarly composure. The other stunned lecturers mumbled
hasty apologies of sorts, gathered coats and briefcases, and went home.
Mead knew how they felt. It was as
if the hallowed ivy of Monterey Peninsula College had turned suddenly to
fig leaves that didn't give a joyous damn what they covered. Miss Betts
was more than a teacher--she was an institution.
He was sniffing darkly at the Martini
shaker when Willa Loflin came down the hall. The shaker almost missed the
table as Mead focused on her.
No horn-rimmed glasses now; no tight-drawn
bun of hair; no sensible shoes. In fact, Willa was a bit wild-eyed, her
hair cascading thick and free, and she was bare-footed as a nymph.
"Mead," she breathed through dew damp
lips, and welded herself passionately to him.
He didn't say anything; he couldn't.
Mead was too busy reveling in the lush warmth of Willa's generous breasts
flattening against him, the caress of hip and thigh, the bright flame of
her searching mouth.
They were together on the soft rug,
and suddenly all the timid, withdrawn years didn't matter. The pointless,
shy trips to exotic lands weren't important any more.
Abandoned, delirious, Willa blended
with him, struggling to become part of him, eager and searing. The room
spun, the rug rippled in an upheaval of whitewarm thighs and coiling legs,
and they were lost in sweetwild thunder.
A drowsy century later, she whispered
it into the base of his throat: "Mead--I--I don't know what came over me.
I went into the bath and--"
Mead's eyes snapped open. The bath.
That strange, sensuous feeling he'd gotten when he'd first returned to
it and found the lace panties. It wasn't a lecherous figment of his imagination,
then. The damned thing was alive.
"Mead," Willa said again, "I'm sorry."
"Sorry?" He stared at the tangled
mass of her honeybrown hair. "It's nothing to be sorry about."
She pulled away from him, the clean
lust fading from her face. It was no longer womanly, but prim and cool.
"We've been very foolish," she said.
She came to her feet holding rumpled
clothing, and went to the bedroom to dress. Mead tidied his own clothing
and sought the Martini pitcher.
Whatever weird power his bath room
held, it wasn't permanent. It came and went. Still, there had been the
period between, and there was the logical adage about half a loaf. He sighed,
and downed a stiff drink. It would have been nice--the bed with lights
low, the cold shaker on the nightstand, and Willa serpentine beside him
all through the night.
She came across the room and held
out a cold hand to him. "Good night, Mead. I repeat--I'm sorry, and assure
you it will never happen again."
He said "damned shame" under his breath
and saw her to the door. She wouldn't kiss him good night.
When she was gone, he approached the
bath cautiously, sorted his thoughts, and stepped inside. It was true;
he felt it when he crossed the threshold. Sensuality oozed from the very
walls. Mead put his hand against a wall. It was warm and smooth.
He stepped back. The room was a tender
trap; it had taken on life from the life of the honeymoon couple who had
stayed so often in it. Such a room could cause no end of trouble. Mead
winked at the mirror. It could also lead to more than a little adventure.
NEXT DAY, Mead tried to put his new
treasure to use. Willa Loflin couldn't possibly think his lecherous latrine
had anything to do with her compulsive surrender the night before.
But he didn't figure on woman's intuitive
sense. Willa flatly refused to visit his cottage again, under any circumstances.
And away from the bawdy bath, she was cool and unreceptive.
Miss Betts was on sick leave. Strangely
enough, so was Coach Thomas. Mead struggled through his classes and went
When his door buzzer sounded that
evening, Mead sprang from his chair to let Willa in. But it wasn't Willa;
it was only Bess Douglas.
"Oh," Mead said.
"Yes," Bess said, and came thin and
springily into the room. "The mid-term papers. I thought perhaps you'd
forgotten them. And no wonder."
She bustled to the table and started
to unpack her briefcase.
"No wonder what?" Mead asked.
"That you're forgetting things, what
with the goings-on around here."
"Stop imitating a Mynah Bird,"
Bess said. "You know very well what
I mean--Coach Thomas and poor Miss Betts, and you following Willa Loflin
around like a sophomore."
Mead started to say "sophomore," but
didn't. It had been that noticeable, then. Bess was right, of course. He
was supposed to be a reasonable man of some standing. Still-- it had been
nice when the bars were down.
"The mid-terms," Bess reminded him.
They worked through two cups of coffee
and a mountain of test papers. Bess got up sometime later without his noticing.
Moments later, Mead knew he'd been
wrong all the way. Bess was far from skinny. She was neatly turned and
modeled. In miniature, true--but all there and all palpitating. She'd left
her dress and underclothes somewhere.
Too late, Mead remembered the bathroom.
Bess was lithely upon him-- and around
and under him at once smooth flesh interlocked in frantic music, in vibrant
desire that made a warm net of arms and legs, a receptive couch of daintily
Sometime later, Mead managed to say:
"Well, indeed," Bess gasped, and scurried
loose-limbed and bare away from his eyes.
He heard the bedroom door slam. "Stay
out of that bath, Bess!"
Muffled and agonized, her voice came
back. "Don't worry. Please--get my dress?"
Mead rescued her clothing from the
bathroom floor and knocked on the bedroom door.
"Drop it and go away," she said.
"You heard me. And stand clear. I
don't know what you put in your coffee, Mead Perkins, but it isn't fair."
Mead clumped away. Another one, almost
fine as Willa, and the urge had worn away as quickly. Willa, then Bess--with
the passing of swift ships, impermanent as fog wisps, hurrying to other
She came flushed and red-eyed to stand
before him. He didn't look up, but passed her the briefcase. "Good night,
"Good bye," she corrected,
and stalked from the house.
The hell with it, Mead thought, and
poured an earned drink. Then he doubled his quota. And the hell with tomorrow's
classes, too, he decided, and had another belt.
He sat with head in hands, wondering
what wild gods had presented him with a sentient bathroom, what perverse
power made him seek a permanence so often denied. Mead took another drink.
MORNING SUN jack-hammered his eyelids,
and grape crushers strode barefoot across his tongue. Mead winced erect
and stumbled for a cold shower.
Slowly, chillingly, his head cleared.
So did his nostrils. That musky, insistent odor was in them again--the
smell of tenderness, of woman flesh textured for caresses. Mead toweled
himself roughly, angrily.
Gift or no, this lascivious latrine
would have to go. He wondered briefly if the disinfectant people could
do anything about it. The door buzzer rattled.
"Okay!" Mead yelled, and was immediately
sorry. He put a hand to his head.
When he swung the door open, he felt
himself shrink inside the terry-cloth robe.
"Professor Perkins," she said, dimpling.
"A moment," he sputtered, waved vaguely
at the couch, and dashed from the presence of Lori Romain without even
wondering why the dazzling campus queen had called.
Mead took with him a picture etched
indelibly upon all five stunned senses. There was distilled attar of pure
redhead, the physical impact of creamy skin, green eyes and flame hair--and
her voice, throbbing with silver trumpets and muted drums. The flavor of
Lori was a tangible thing in his dry mouth.
While his fingers missed button holes
and fought with zippers, Mead tried to calm himself. One: post graduate
student Lori Romain would most certainly be here for nothing but advice.
Two: the lush, sought- after redhead no doubt had too many suitors lurking
in the background already. Three: she was much younger than Mead Perkins.
He didn't count to four. Lori effected
him beyond logic, as she did every male within seeing distance. But the
man, who got her would probably live in a rajah's palace, and stand her
upon a golden pedestal in some pagan temple.
He shut his eyes as the quick-tapping
of her heels came down the hall, paused before his closed door, then turned
into the room across the way--the bath.
The bath! Mead lunged for his doorknob,
missed, and tried again, knowing he was already too late. Lori Romain was
shut with the precocious precincts of the bawdy bath room.
Mead galloped out, intending to pause
only long enough to fortify himself for flight. Not that he would mind
an inspired interlude with Lori. But, as the sage had said--that, too,
would pass away.
To taste such a glory, then lose it,
would be far worse than to have never known the wonder that was Lori Romain.
Mead tossed off a raw slug from a
brown bottle, shuddered, and hesitated over the thought of another. For
want of a decision, he was lost.
She drifted toward him, and he could
have sworn she rode a sun-shot cloud. Wearing nothing but her own beauty,
she was a master's panorama of sculptured breasts and soft curves. There
were sweep and taper of thigh and satined stomach, and Lori was crowned
high and accented low by the redbronze flame of hair.
At first it was mystic, brushed with
gentle magic and blessed by ancient rites of flower goddesses. Her flesh
was velvet, fitting to him in hungry haste.
The gentleness lost itself in tempered
violence, in the thigh-seeking, hip-searching madness of creamrose skin
and nippled thrusting that grew in frenzy until it found and clung mightily,
until it crested in a wonder wave that swept starfoaming over them.
Lori talked softly, her crushed poppy
lips at his ear. She told him of waiting, of wasted time. He tried to say
things about ages, about in fatuations, but she would not listen.
At last, he told her of the bath,
forced himself to describe the strange powers of that room. If Mead had
to be anything at that moment, he had to be honest--with Lori and with
She listened, smiling, the brush of
caressing fingertips at his bare chest.
"All right, darling," she said then.
"The bath is alive, or magic. I'll admit something pushed me into this
faster than I'd planned. But I did plan it."
She shushed him with a ripe mouth,
and drew away to say, "I think it's wonderful."
"You're--you're not sorry?"
"Sorry? What a word!"
Mead breathed in the fragrance of
her hair, and decided to shut the hell up.
After a moment, Lori said, "Mead,
do you think it could be--well, lonely?"
He blinked. "Lonely?"
"The bathroom. From what you say,
it effects women more than men--therefore, it's male. Let's build another
bath to keep it company--all pink and feminine."
She could have had the world stood
on end; all she had to do was ask. "Of course. There's room enough at the
end of the house. It can be placed back-to-back."
Lori giggled. "No, dear. Not back
to-back. That would be ridiculous."
She wriggled closer to him.
Mead thought back-to-back was ridiculous,