Jaishankar shivered, not because it was too cold, which it definitely was, but because a jolt of desire ran down his body just as he set his eyes on the widow. He sat on a frayed cane chair, in her small verandah, surrounded by towering pine trees and a splatter of wild geraniums. Her three children ran around the verandah in various stages of undress, their rib cages jutting out like those children in Somalia, completely oblivious to the chill; a chill, that grazed the insides of Jaishankar’s bones, especially after it had rained all night in the hilly town.
“Sahib, coffee.” She said, holding a dirty tray with a cracked ceramic mug, and steaming filter coffee inside. Jaishankar stared at her, rather stared at her olive coloured cleavage spilling down her blouse, the seams of which were on the verge of tearing. Her cheap cotton saree wafted of sandalwood and sweat; somewhere between his legs, desire reared its head.
“Theek hai ji, thank you.” He said. He regurgitated the phlegm stuck at the base of his throat and spat a mouthful at the bed of geraniums, to his left. He watched in fascination as the dirty green, thick mold slid down a purple flower and splat on the grass bed below. He then cleared his throat and turned to talk about the matter for which he had visited the widow’s home.
“Saritha, I have heard rumors about you.” He said and allowed the base of his throat to loudly scratch his Adam’s apple. He could feel another cluster of phlegm forming there.
Saritha squatted on the ground next to Jaishankar and shooed her three children away. “What rumors, Sahib?”
“That you…” He cleared his throat and spat again at his favorite bed of geraniums, a waft of freezing wind shook him with vehemence, “That you…you know…give favors, in exchange for money.”
The widow stared back at him, her eyes glistening. “What?! What are these rumors, Sahib? Who told you this?” After mumbling for a few seconds, about her lack of comprehension, understanding dawned on her face, her voice trembled, “Have you come to arrest me, Sahib? Where is the constable?”
“No..no I have not come to arrest, not just yet. I have come…” He cleared his throat again, and his trousers suddenly closed in on his groin and made the simple task of talking to the widow, a challenge. With the tightening of his trousers, or rather hardening of his penis, a welcome surge of warmth engulfed his body and it took a massive amount of self-control to not grab the widow’s olive breasts and chew at her nipples. “I have come to ask, if you know, you will help me…how you help those other men.”
The widow’s mouth opened as she took in a deep breath. A heavy veil of silence fell over the verandah, even the children froze between playing kabaddi, and the only thing that broke the stillness was a violent bout of wind.
The widow opened her mouth to say something; he could see her throat working and her collarbone jutting out in righteous defiance. He spoke quickly, to make his desperate point clearer.
“Look Sarita, you give me what I want and I will make sure you’re not arrested,” Jaishankar spoke, he was already antsy sitting out there in the verandah; wary of any passers-by who might see the celebrated police inspector, Jaishankar, in the house of a whore.
“But Sahib, the rumors are not true. Look at us, me and the children, do we look like have any money to feed ourselves?” Saritha pleaded, her eyes filled to the brim.
“It has been six months since my husband died, we are only surviving on the frugal savings we had when he was alive. My children haven’t had a proper meal in days. We are low-caste people, Sahib. Not even memsahibs want me to work in their homes.”
Jaishankar’s stomach dipped, while he knew she was telling the truth, his struggle with his sense of morality was short. Especially when his lions roared imagining Saritha’s supple breasts cradling his face and his hands squeezing her round, smooth bottoms.
“Fine, we have enough witnesses to state that you have been illegally operating as a sex worker, Saritha. Wait for me, I will come back with a constable.” Jaishankar spoke and stood up.
“No Sahib, please. My children will be on the streets, Sahib.” Saritha fell on his feet and begged him for mercy.
“Then give me what I need, Saritha.” He spoke, a rueful smile already lining his lips, his confidence along with his desire expanded, knowing that the outcome would be exactly what he wanted it to be.
“Fine Sahib.” Streams of tears ran down Saritha’s cheeks. “Meet me at the abandoned boathouse by the lake tonight at 10:30 pm. I can’t do anything here with my children around.” She said, softly enough to make sure her little ones did not hear her. And instantly Jaishankar broke into a smile. His initial apprehension vanished at the how quickly Saritha had succumbed to his demands. He then wondered, if perhaps, she really was the whore he was making her out to be. It excited him to think that maybe his lie did have a grain of truth. He shook his head in barely concealed glee, he was getting what he wanted, and with such ease.
“Make sure no one knows about this.” He said and walked out, leaving his filter coffee half empty.
Lately, Jaishankar had been dying for a release and none of the town whores were good enough to satisfy him. It wasn’t until he had laid his eyes on the helpless young widow, Saritha, that he decided to concoct that small to lie to get what he wanted.
His chest swelled at the victory and his cunning mind. No other police inspector in the entire state could have boasted of intelligence as bright and vile as that of Jaishankar.
That night Jaishankar walked down the empty lake with a spring in his step and a song on his lips. Even the biting chill couldn’t dampen his spirits, perhaps it was the excitement of touching Saritha or the four large scotch shots he had that night. Even that darn phlegm had subsided after his drink. Somewhere in the mountains he heard a long howl and looked up to notice a full moon shining through an array of clouds.
By the third song, he had reached the abandoned boathouse. It was unlocked, a broken padlock lying among damp weeds next to the door. It was a beautiful night, he thought. The kind of night where the sky reflected its marvelous beauty on the water of the lake, the kind of night where even young, nubile, innocent widows learned to break locks and unleash the temptress within. His penis was hard, hard enough to be painful and he couldn’t wait to release it.
He opened the door, slightly ajar and saw her silhouette against the subtle rays of moonlight, falling through the slits of the wood that made the boathouse. He paused a moment to admire the widow, even three children hadn’t dampened her curvy body, if anything, enhanced it all at the right places.
“Come Sahib.” She said, stretching her arms just as the mountains resonated with another howl.
In a dog-like frenzy Jaishankar removed all his clothes before stumbling towards Saritha, he was done waiting. He had dreamed and fantasized about this woman since a month now. His right hand reached out to grab a blouse-clad breast, as he squeezed it hard and took her small mouth inside his, whole. Saritha did not resist, neither did she initiate. Jaishankar had his way with her, tearing her clothes, biting her, chewing her, bruising her, pulling out clumps of her hair. But now that he had her, there was nothing that was going to stop him from ravaging the widow…
… except for perhaps, the three little children who stood by the door, with sickles in their hands and drool dripping down their mouths.
It did not take long before the wolf howled again and the widow commanded her children to unleash themselves on their first whole meal in the last fifteen days.
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