Tuesday

kinda turns me on, too


The musk smell on Jannaire was faint, because her own smell, or reek, to be more exact, of primeval swamp, dark guanoed caves, sea water in movement, armpit sweat, mangroves at low tide, Mayan sacrificial blood, Bartolin glands, Dial soap, mulberry leaves, jungle vegetation, saffron, kittens in a cardboard box, Y.W.C.A. volleyball courts, conch shells, Underground Atlanta, the Isles of Lesbos, and sheer joy—Patou's Joy—overpowered the musk oil. I was overwhelmed by the nasal assault, overwhelmed by her female aroma, and although I could not, at the time, define the mixture—nor can I now, exactly—there wasn't the faintest trace of milk.
"Jannaire," Larry said, "this is Hank Norton, my best friend. Hank. Jannaire."
She raised her arm as Larry handed her the bourbon and Coke, and a thick tuft of black steelwool under her arm bugged out my eyes. I mentally visualized the same thick inky hair of her bush. Tiny stop-and-go rivulets of sweat inched down my sides.
"Stay here, Jannaire," Larry said. "I've got to make a phone call."
"We'll be right back," I said.
Larry and I entered the kitchen. "Did you smell her, Hank?" he said. "Driving here from Hojo's in the car I had to turn off the air conditioner and roll the goddamned windows down."
"I'll take her off your hands, Larry," I volunteered casually.
"How? I can't just ditch her."
"No problem. You just said you had to make a phone call. I'll just tell Jannaire for you that your boss sent you out on an emergency mission of some kind."
"You don't have to do this for me, Hank."
"What the hell. You'd do the same for me."
"I'm not so sure that I would. What is that smell, Hank?"
"Woman, that's all woman."
"Did you see her fucking armpits? I've never seen a woman with unshaved armpits before, have you?"
"No, but it kinda turns me on. Is Jannaire a Catholic?"
"She must be. There isn't a Protestant in America who'd let hair grow under her arms."

from Kiss Your Ass Goodbye by Charles Willeford

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