When a girl goes trysting and leaves
her lingerie behind, woe betide the innocent fellow whose wife finds it!
by Arthur Shirley
Vol. 3, No. 1, 1959
CABANA COURT shimmered in the moonlight. The minarets of the Turkish-style
cabanas looked out over the dunes like bored sentinels. About 50 yards
from the purple and pink bathing mosques, the frothy ocean tongue
licked its lips at the beach and then settled silently in the mouth of
the cove which sheltered it.
Daylight would bring droves
of thirtyish women, their lumpy flesh crowded into too brief beachwear,
their thickly carmined lips sloppily pinned together by limp, filtered
cigarettes. With them would be the children--the whining, runny-nosed,
leaky-eyed, drooly-mouthed bratlings who daily transform the virgin sand
into a scarred field of trick holes and ankle-trapping tunnels.
Like so many mindless slugs
they would crawl from their holes to gorge themselves on sunshine--but
that would be tomorrow. Tonight only the heatless moon looked down on the
quiet seaside. It scuttered behind an immodestly gauzy cloud as the sound
of muted human voices gently pushed back the silence.
The voices came from Cabana C 14. "Oh, I know
it's wrong"--the whispered regret floated on the salt-heavy air "but the
only time I feel really alive, really like a person instead of a juvenile
doormat, is when I'm in your arms like this." Her voice was young and husky
with the sweet lilt of discovered sex.
"I know what you mean. It's
like everything sort of closes in on you at once; the nagging folks and
the sarcastic teachers and the yelling people who say they're so adult
and make more commotion than all us kids. Like this, here, making love
so simple and all, at least we both know that somebody else cares." His
speech was slow and controlled, the tone very deep as though he was afraid
to let it come up an octave lest his voice crack.
They were silent momentarily,
letting the thought spread over their minds and then sink beneath the pleasant
memory of recent passion. The girl stirred. "We should really be going."
"Yeah, I guess we should.''
They got up and the boy pulled
on blue jeans and a terrycloth shirt. The girl slipped into a pair of utilitarian
cotton panties and pulled a flair skirt tight at her waist. Her fingers
groped over the linoleum floor and located a wispy summer blouse. Her fingers
swept the floor again, but--
"I can't find my bra," she
"Must be here some place."
She got on her knees and crawled
over the cabana floor to search. Finally, her voice annoyed, she said,
"I can't find it any place."
"Here, let me look."
After a quarter-hour of unsuccessful
hunting, they gave up. They lay down on their backs and slid under the
raised door of the cabana. Then they joined hands and went running down
the beach. The girl's unconfined breasts bobbled large and healthy beneath
the revealing blouse.
The next day was Saturday.
It sweated hell-like 'neath the sun. The flabby young matrons and hornless
imps were joined by their pallid men folk. The sand was dotted with the
swell of executive bellies and hirsute, heavy-veined limbs. The cabana
boys ran back and forth, deftly balancing Martini-laden trays.
One lad slid to a halt in
front of C 14. He deposited two filled goblets on a table. A feminine hand
tipped with peeling nail polish grasped one, a hairy-knuckled, masculine
hand raised the other.
"Ah, that hits the spot,"
said Mr. Bannerman.
"Umm," agreed Mrs. Bannerman.
"What's the kid doing?" asked
Mrs. Bannerman ground her
pudgy buttocks up higher on the chaise lounge, shaded her eyes with her
hand and peered out over the cabana court. She picked her son's dirty neck
out from among its contemporaries. He was methodically kicking sand over
a plate of sandwiches resting on a blanket alongside a couple sunning themselves.
The man on the blanket felt behind him to pick up one of the sandwiches.
He bit into it and immediately began spitting furiously. The Bannerman
offspring walked around in front of him and watched.
"He's playing." Mrs. Bannerman
answered and settled back.
There was silence for awhile
and then Mrs. Bannerman turned to look at her husband. "Now," she said,
"isn't it better to come down here and relax in the sun and enjoy the beach
instead of racing down at night."
"Sure it is," answered Mr.
Bannerman, "but I can't get down here every day the way you do. I take
a twilight swim to relax. Why do you object?"
"You'll catch your death of
cold. And besides, even if we have been married ten years, I don't want
our marriage to get to be one of those where we do things separately."
"You could come with me."
"And who'd look after Timmy?"
"Umm. Well, I'm not gone long."
"You're away from me all day
and I don't see why we shouldn't at least spend our evenings together."
"Guess you're right."
"Sometimes I get the feeling
that you take me too much for granted."
"Oh, come on now." Mr. Bannerman
was tired of the discussion.
"No, really. Joe Harper was
indifferent to Carol just like you are to me and look at him now."
"He looks the same as always."
"You know what I mean. Every
body knows he chases around with all kinds of women."
"Well," Mr. Bannerman tried
to keep it light. "Variety's the spice."
"There! That's exactly what
I mean. You say it like you're kidding, but I know you really mean it!"
"Oh, for Pete's sake."
"How do I know you don't have
a--a mistress or something?"
"I've got six of 'em, all
living in lavish apartments, all wearing mink."
"Will you be serious!"
"How can I be when you're
talking like such an idiot?"
"An idiot. Yes, that's what
you really think I am. I know. You think I'm blind and that it would be
easy to pull the wool over my eyes and the worst of it is you're right.
After all, how do I know you're faithful."
Mr. Bannerman felt his temper
rising. The weekend was his only chance to relax at the beach and his wife
seemed determined to spoil it. "Look," he said, controlling his voice carefully.
"Would you tell me just when I'm supposed to find the time for these clandestine
affairs? I'm in the office all day--you call often enough to know that--and
I'm with you at night and on the weekends."
"Well how do I know if you
really come down here to swim at night? How do I know you're not meeting
some girl right here in the cabana and making love? Last night you were
gone for almost three hours, from seven until ten. How do I know what you
were really doing?"
Mr. Bannerman's angry answer
was one word--an earthy, pithy, highly descriptive epithet that his wife
loathed. She leaped to her feet, red-faced and angry, and stalked in to
He sighed and settled back
in the sun's glare. Her damned jealousy would drive him crazy. Or else
it would drive him to give her some reason to be jealous. Mr. Bannerman
wished he had more time, more initiative, more know-how. He was definitely
beginning to feel that if his wife kept up this nonsense of accusing him
of infidelities--and these past few years she seemed to have developed
a fixation on the subject--he might as well indulge himself.
There was quiet within the
cabana. It lengthened into an ominous silence. Mr. Bannerman corkscrewed
his body to look behind him.
His wife stood in the doorway.
Her face was white beneath her tan. Her eyes were alive with anger. Her
mouth was half-opened, triggered to unleash a salvo of rage. In her hand
she held a white brassiere.
"So you were just swimming!"
She opened fire.
"Just a twilight swim--for
two! How cozy!" She waved the brassiere under his nose.
"Don't you play innocent with
me, you fat Casanova!"
"Now just a mi--"
"Running down here every night
to have your fun! Cheating! Lying! Making a fool out of me!"
"I'm not making a fool out
of you. You're making a fool out of yourself--just like you've been doing
since the day we got married."
"Is that so? Is that so?"
She drew herself up haughtily. "It's not bad enough you cheat on me, you
have to insult me too. Well, I'm not going to put up with it any more.
I want a divorce!"
Mr. Bannerman felt rather
like a man who's been hit by a truck while sitting in his own backyard
and, shaken up, but really unhurt, finds that he is being pressed to accept
a generous settlement for the accident. "Divorce," his wife had said. His
mind whirled with the thought of it. As he pondered it, the idea grew increasingly
He'd have to give up his son,
of course. He gazed across the cabana court to where the little boy was
unraveling a bathing suit that had been hung to dry. Obnoxious little hellion.
With the feeling of setting down a great weight, he realized that not only
didn't he like his son--a fact which he had long ago admitted to himself--but
he didn't love him either. He felt not an iota of fatherly affection.
Mr. Bannerman looked at his
wife. Would he miss her? Hell, no! She was a nag. In marriage her figure
had gone rapidly from petite to dumpy. She was a lousy cook. And in moments
of intimacy she displayed all the imagination of a subway turn stile.
"Divorce, eh," he said. "All
right my dear, get a divorce. I think it's an excellent idea."
Mrs. Bannerman burst into
tears. She had expected arguments, excuses, protestations of innocence.
She hadn't expected him to agree to a divorce. She turned on her heel and
slammed into the cabana. Viciously, she threw the brassiere to the floor.
She shucked off her bathing garb and began pulling on her clothes.
Outside, Mr. Bannerman hummed
to himself. It was the first time he'd done so in many years. Casually,
he wondered where the silly brassiere had come from anyway .
Darkness again. Starshine
and silence. Then the whispers of a boy and a girl. Arms around each other's
waists, trudging through the sand to wards Cabana C 14. Frequent pauses
for impatient kisses. Then soft giggling as they lay flat and pulled themselves
under the door of the cabana.
The rustle of clothing being
hurriedly discarded. The sound of quick breathing and the movement of bodies
in passion. Then a sharp breaking of silence with the girl's flute-like
cry of ecstasy.
The soft conversation of adolescents
who understand each other in a world where nobody else does. Finally the
sad decision that the time had come to leave. And then the fumbling hunt
for rapidly discarded clothing.
"Hey," said the girl. "Look
what I found." She held up the brassiere.
"What do you know about that?"
"Gee, it's funny nobody noticed
it here during the day, lying right out on the floor like that."
"Maybe they didn't come down
"Sure they did. Their bathing
suits are still wet."
"Well," said the boy, "I guess
they just didn't notice it."
"I guess so," said the girl.
"Grown ups never notice anything."