I wish I could think clearer than I do. I wish I could see things better than I do. Sometimes, when you can see everything, you miss the things that matter most.
My job? Seeing. And I see a lot. In fact, it wouldn’t be an understatement to say I see everything. Everything important, anyway. I stare down the screens packed into a small room, and make sure nothing bad happens. Security. Of course, nothing bad ever does happen, but maybe it’s because people know there are cameras, people know there’s a man like me watching these screens. Security theater, they call it. Look it up.
People feared me. Bad people feared me. I guess that made me a good man. But the most interesting thing to me, was knowing firsthand what could make a good man be so bad. Maybe being good was that one thing I couldn’t see in my infinite vision of the company I worked for. At some point, I even forgot what the company peddled. My work wasn’t directly tied in with what the company sold. And we were in a nice neighborhood – my work wasn’t even tied in with crime prevention anymore. Human beings are busy creatures – you need something to do, to stay busy. Otherwise, you just might go crazy.
That’s when people became my work. It started innocently enough – pattern recognition was the first step. The company boss would take his lunch earlier on Tuesdays. One man would go to the washroom without fail at 10:30 every day and stay there for about six minutes. Day in and day out, all I did was watch these cameras. My duties extended beyond that, theoretically, but never in reality. I was never called to patrol the roof, I was never called to talk to people. Do your job. Do your job. This was my job. Sitting, watching people.
People became videos, unfolded before me. Videos became stories. Stories became fantasies. Do your job. I began looking a little closer at the screens. They say the closer you look, the less you see. Soon, one by one, the other screens blurred out until I could only see one at a time. Ten became too many. Two became too many. Only one screen mattered, and that was the screen that had Clara on it.
Sweet Clara. Clara became an interest of mine. Interests became fascinations, fascinations became fantasies. Do your job. Had Clara and I ever met on the street or at the club before the day I found her, I don’t imagine she would have been my type, nor I hers. But we weren’t meeting in the club. We were meeting at the office, and she didn’t even know. How romantic. Her mannerisms stuck out for me first – the way she twirled her hair when she was bored, the way her shoulders would bounce when she giggled. She was so casual. She didn’t take work too seriously. And yet she wasn’t overly flirty, never making the office boys pant after her like a teasing user. It helped that most of the time I was getting a good look at something – her frame grew on me, as if getting to know her made her body more beautiful by itself. A nice shapely ass encouraged constantly by her choice of clothing, a bust that left nothing to be desired. But I was an overachiever – I desired nonetheless.
The real sell for me became the eyes. I couldn’t quite see them at first, but as soon as I knew Clara had caught my attention, I knew I had to see her eyes. And I had the perfect tools to do so. Enhance. Enhance. With a zoomed-in camera, her deep hazel eyes penetrated my soul for one fleeting moment when she turned around in her chair. There was a certain something to her look – a longing. A desire. A lust. I had picked my fascination well – Clara had the power to seduce with just her eyes. She was practically a gift – perhaps even a god-given reason for me to be here. I now had an excuse to come to work. Excuses became reasons, reasons became objectives, objectives became my focus.
Pattern recognition played in heavily here. I began to number the Claras that I saw. Clara #1 was the Clara I saw at work. But then there was Clara #2, The Clara who was just off work, exhilarated to get out of the chair, stretch, and leave her cubicle. For a while, the bouncing between Clara #1 and Clara #2 became my pastime, my favorite show. On a very special episode, I got to see Clara #3, the Clara that got angry when her computer started acting up. I almost got out of my chair in surprise, in response to seeing the new Clara. Clara was no longer a show, she was her own person with feelings and aspirations. Sonder, they call it. Look it up.
The more I saw Clara #3, the more I wanted her out of the way to make room for Clara #2, the happy Clara. I wanted to be the one there for Clara. But I wasn’t stupid, I was never stupid. I was invisible to Clara, all three of them. I was the eye in the sky, and Clara only looked towards her screen, just as I did. I needed to escape my position over Clara more than she needed to escape her position under me, trapped in a prison of security where I can see her but she can’t see me. Panopticon, they call it. Look it up. I needed to find a way to worm my way in, to become an active part of Clara’s life instead of a passive one, to become a player rather than a spectator. I was sick of cheering from the bleachers, I wanted to get on the field myself and show the crowd what I had in me.
I came equipped, of course. All of the equipment was there at my disposal. The cameras I controlled were there for me to use. Do your job. Enhance. Enhance. A business card on the desk. Clara Jackson. I had a full name. I also had Facebook, and knew exactly what to do. Enhance. Enhance. I smirked the first time I found her profile – Facebook’s security theater hadn’t won her over. Maybe I did a little research. Maybe everyone has done a little research before on Facebook in this way. But everyone stops after a bit because they feel guilty or awkward. After all, it’s only healthy. Besides, it was still an early point, and I was still running the Panopticon.
Not running it well enough. Audio. I needed audio. I made a phone call to my superiors, the first time I had done so in a while. Now, what happens when they say no? No becomes ‘it’s needed.’ ‘It’s needed’ becomes ‘yes.’ ‘Yes’ becomes ‘immediately.’
Suppose I take a night shift, and some people break in. These are bad people. Good people. Good at what they do. They just lost sight of what it means to be good. Or rather, lost hearing. They took out the cameras, yes, but as they stole some documents, they shouted a bunch, and that’s what alerted me to them. Suppose they only barely got away, and left nothing traceable. Suppose the audio could have been the only clue. That’s when no becomes yes. After all, these guys were good. Very good. They knew exactly how to hide themselves, maybe they worked in security before or something. The documents? Of little value, but it was a matter of principle. Besides, the documents weren’t hidden at this point, they were burned, but no one knew that, so they’d be chasing after nothing for a while. Tomorrow, the microphones would be installed.
A few days later, I find out Clara doesn’t care. She posts a lot of her feelings to her Facebook wall, and the new microphones weren’t mentioned. She’s still Clara #2 under that mask of Clara #1, and I haven’t seen Clara #3 in a while. But now, I’m not just seeing Clara, I’m hearing her. I’m getting the full three dimensions of Clara. Hearing becomes understanding, understanding becomes feeling, feeling becomes wanting. Do your job.
The air of desire exists in Clara’s voice as much as her eyes. To the untrained, her voice means nothing, but the highness of her voice is deliberate. Seductive, delicate, urging you to come closer. The way her breath shifts when she talks about something she likes, the way she holds on to her vowels just a tad too long, nothing escapes the Panopticon. There’s a note of lust to her voice, she invisibly begs for someone to come and take her in her high, teasing voice. The head register, they call it. Look it up.
From viewing her Facebook, I understand that Clara is single. From listening to her, I understand that she is wanting. And from watching her, I understand where she goes, day by day. Pattern recognition. I start alternating between looking into her interests online and rehearsing how I could play off of them if we did happen to randomly meet on the street. Then, one day, it happens. When Clara is out grabbing lunch at a place across the street, another man happens to be there at the same time.
This man happens to dress like Clara’s ex two relationships ago, the one she seemed to have a harder time getting over. But this man doesn’t dress exactly like him. Just enough to be unique. This man is also heavily into music, just like Clara. Clara needs only to look at the man, and undoubtedly likes what she sees so far. Enhance. Enhance. She starts going to the same place to get lunch, day after day, because Clara is very into visual cues. The man knows this, he picked up on this in his research. The adaptive unconscious, they call it. Look it up.
Suddenly, I see a lot more. The Panopticon became the Panopticon and the sandwich shop. The Panopticon and the sandwich shop became the Panopticon, the sandwich shop and choice encounters on the street. Never vocal encounters, no – it was too soon for that. Just enough times to see him where he ‘unknowingly’ becomes a part of her routine. Of course, he isn’t unknowing at all. Dramatic irony, they call it. Look it up.
Clara #2 becomes Clara #4, a Clara on the hunt. A Clara that gets emboldened by comfort. Now that she’s seen The Mystery Man on the street so much, she’s more okay with openly looking at him in the shop as he enjoys his sandwich and looks out the window. She doesn’t know he’s not looking out the window at all, but rather at her reflection to make sure she’s looking at him. The man is sporting a modest beard, just the sort of thing she likes, and is reading Kurt Vonnegut, just the author she enjoys. It seems too perfect, but she’s too shy to talk to him first. After all, when he breaks his gaze from the window and looks around the room, she returns to her sandwich.
So Clara thinks she’ll be clever. Clara #4 hatches a plan, a plan to bring a book by the same author and adopt a more relaxed pose as she enjoys her sandwich. The man will be caught completely off guard and want to talk to her. After all, he wasn’t expecting her to like Vonnegut too. Dramatic irony. The lust in her voice, the piercing effect of her eyes, it doubles when she becomes Clara #4. It only comes in small intervals – the breath she takes as she eats, the way her eyes dart from word to word, but it’s there. Enhance. Enhance. Clara #4 is showing herself off. She wants to be noticed.
Just like he rehearsed, the man notices the book and does a double-take. He then looks at Clara for just long enough for her to notice, but not long enough to be creepy, not like he’s stalking her or something. Human beings want to be noticed by those they notice, to be desired by those they desire. But never to they want it to not be mutual. If this man were to make it seem like he wanted her more than she wanted him, he’d be done for.
That’s why he only calmly walks over to her, like he rehearsed. That’s why he only makes a slight joke about her good taste. After all, Clara likes it when men appreciate her wit, and the man knows this. A joke became a back-and-forth, a back-and-forth became a conversation, and a conversation became a ‘may I sit with you?’ Clara is still Clara #4, but only until lunch time nears its end and Clara #4 becomes Clara #1. The man weighs his options and plays it safe, saying he liked chatting with her instead of outright asking when she’ll be there again. After all, the man knows she’ll be back again tomorrow anyway. Clara reverts to Clara #4 and asks if he’ll be having lunch here tomorrow. Dramatic irony. Satisfied with her answer, Clara leaves and the man waits just long enough to leave himself and go back to his job without Clara seeing where the man works.
I’m looking closer at this point, not caring how much less I see. Clara #1 is not fully back, and occasionally Clara #4 breaks through. I see everything. I hear everything. Clara gossips to a coworker, and tells her all about this nice guy she met at the sandwich shop. Sarah. Sarah is a bad person – she warns Clara about meeting strangers, and how he sounds a bit too perfect for her. Sarah is a total bitch who refuses to believe happy accidents can happen. Clara #4 can not be persuaded, but promises Sarah that she will be careful. The Mystery Man could be done for thanks to a bitch like Sarah.
I chose to do some research on Sarah too. Sarah appears to be such a good girl, knowing how much she needs security theater and never daring to be fun like Clara. Of course, Sarah isn’t too careful, and doesn’t read things like Facebook’s terms of service. These things weren’t designed for human beings to want to read them, they’re designed that way. It’s not too hard to imagine that if Sarah doesn’t read that, she doesn’t read up on a lot of the company policies either.
It took only a few hours of reading, a plan here and there, and a clever mind to plant some damnable evidence on Sarah. Sarah became Fired Sarah. Sarah now has a bad reputation around the office, and people know that anything Sarah said is not to be trusted. All the while, Clara #4 and The Mystery Man have met up at the sandwich shop once or twice. The Mystery Man seems a little down one day, and explains to Clara that a friend of his he knew for a bit was fired for doing bad things to the company. He talks about how he really trusted this friend, enough with his feelings, and shrugs, remarking that he doesn’t really know who to trust. Clara can completely empathize. Can becomes will, will becomes does. This man understands Clara. This man is sweet to Clara. Sarah wasn’t sweet to Clara, why should Clara listen to Sarah?
The Mystery Man seems made for Clara. Maybe that’s because almost everything he says is a cleverly disguised revision or twist on something that Clara has said online. Of course, this might raise a few flags with Clara, so The Mystery Man dislikes a choice few things Clara likes. A rehearsed few things, the types of things The Mystery Man knew Clara would find a cute challenge if he opposed her. The Mystery Man thinks Shakespeare is overrated and that Edison was a better man than Tesla, but Clara #4 just wants to hear him explain why. She likes the way he talks. The moment of truth happens, when Clara #4 asks The Mystery Man for his name. For the first time, he feels doubt in himself, fear. The Mystery Man understands why it’s called the ‘moment of truth’ as he gives her his real name, praying she doesn’t recognize it as the man who works security at her job. If he knows anything, he knows she’ll understand what that means. Clara #4 isn’t dumb. Neither is Clara #3, and he isn’t as interested in meeting her.
Luckily, Clara #4 never recognized the name, even after she added him on Facebook. It was a good thing The Mystery Man understood security theater, or she might have found out where he worked. And now, Clara #4 had opened herself up to online messaging, something that she really enjoyed. So much so that conversations with her could end around two in the morning. Luckily for The Mystery Man, it was all too easy to look like you had a sharp wit over the Internet. After all, one could fine-tune what they say to match what the other person wanted to hear. It’s not like The Mystery Man could do that in real life. Dramatic irony.
Soon, Clara was even messaging him at work. Of course, the Mystery Man could never see or hear how she responds to his messages, but his responses were so witty and perfect it was as if he could read her body language and listen for when she remarked out loud her feelings, something Clara had a tendency to do when she was impressed. He tells her what she wants to hear, and she falls for him like he wants her to. They arrange to meet for lunch, and continue the conversation there.
Strangers became friends, friends became close friends, close friends became casual daters, but I was still an overachiever. I was still thinking unclearly. I didn’t just want to talk and laugh with Clara, I wanted Clara.
Enhance. Enhance. The Mystery Man is looking her in the eye and has a slower, more meaningful tone to his voice when he meets her now. At first, she’s caught off guard, but as she gets used to it, she likes it. The advances continue, with the man controlling his voice like he rehearsed while sitting at his job, watching her. His voice lowers and he uses choice words that throw Clara off her game. He uses different motions with his hands, until his hand accidentally brushes hers. Seeing through the red-hot wave of lust he experiences, he continues the conversation as if nothing happened, noting the look in her eyes. He brushes her hand again, then a third time to be safe. Then he rests his finger on hers.
Enhance. Enhance. In the next few lunch dates, The Mystery Man talks about his emotional side, making sure to make it less abundant than Clara’s on Facebook. During the next few Facebook conversations, he goes over his past relationships and what he did wrong. Clara #4 is impressed with how honest he is, and it overshadows the things he did. Clara trusts him more now. Clara is sure about his intentions. Clara knows she has to jump to Clara #5 and make the first move, now that she knows she wants it.
But it has to be in person, so the next Facebook conversation is surprisingly dry. Clara knows The Mystery Man is wondering if he did something wrong. Dramatic irony. During their next encounter at the sandwich shop, after talking about how much they have in common and how fortunate they are to have found each other, Clara #4 shyly asks if The Mystery Man wants to skip work and hang out at her place. The Mystery Man acts surprised, just like he rehearsed, and asks about her. Clara #4 slips into Clara #5 and naughtily giggles, saying she can claim a half sick day. That’s all the convincing The Mystery Man needs, and soon the two are walking to her studio apartment downtown. Do your job.
People are seeing me. People see me walking close, very close to Clara. None of them know me, or know how much of a Good Man I am, even though most would label my actions as that of a Bad Man. I looked too close, and forgot to see myself. Was what I was doing bad? I gathered information and used it, it’s not like I’m doing this to someone against her will. If anything, she was the Bad Woman. I was now reading Vonnegut, sporting a beard, and liking her Facebook posts because it was needed. I had taken it to the extreme. I had become the role I was set to only play. Method acting, they call it. Look it up.
This was not helped when Clara opened the door to her place and I looked to my left, right into her bathroom, right into her bathroom mirror. I could not recognize the man staring back at me. Who was he? What had he become, and why? Was I looking too close? Pattern recognition. I was looking in mirrors a lot over the past few days, but never truly asking the question until now. There was no question about it, Clara was a Bad Woman. And bad people feared me. Did Clara fear me? It felt a little nice to fall for such a Bad Woman, maybe I was becoming a Bad Man myself.
But Bad Man was first and foremost The Mystery Man, and The Mystery Man had rehearsed for a shy flirty Clara, Clara #5. Clara #5 wasn’t a Bad Woman, she was a Good Girl. And I had rehearsed for everything from the shy introduction to eventually asking her what we were, to making the first physical move until she shyly admitted how good it felt.
The introduction became an invitation to sit down, an invitation to sit down became a deep conversation. The Mystery Man had rehearsed for this. He was saying everything right, everything Clara wanted, and Clara was responding.
Clara was responding more than The Mystery Man had intended. His rehearsals were getting farther and farther away from reality as Clara #4 became not Clara #5, but Clara #6. An overly flirty Clara. A hungry Clara. A Clara that suddenly breaks into a grin and informs you she knows what you want, and if you can keep up.
The Mystery Man tries to keep up. He refuses to believe Clara knew about his plan to seduce her. Dramatic irony. Even as Clara crawls across the couch over to him, he still stutters. He’s suddenly seeing barely anything. The Panopticon became a state of near blindness. He looked too close, and cannot see ahead.
Clara #6 is not letting up. Her hands wander across the body of The Mystery Man, the body she’s secretly wanted for so long. Human beings want to be noticed by those they notice, to be desired by those they desire. But never to they want it to not be mutual. Clara wanted him as much as he wanted her, and The Mystery Man had rehearsed only the scenario where he wanted her more. He was done for.
Her hand rested on his crotch, my crotch. Clara #6 was not one for words, but words were all that were rehearsed for The Mystery Man. The only words she used was to ask him if he liked this, and wanted her to continue, as she moved her hand around over his pants, teasing him. All the Mystery Man could do is admit he liked it and plead for her to continue.
Enhance. Enhance. The Mystery Man now has his back against the wall, and #6 isn’t acting like the Good Girl that is Clara #5. No, Clara #6 is definitely a Bad Girl, purring as she sits on her knees in front of The Mystery Man. The subtle lust in her voice has lost all subtlety. Clara #6 is a slutty Clara. Her submissive yet authoritative eyes look into those of The Mystery Man as she slowly, teasingly unbuttons his pants, releases his cock, and gives it a hungry lick.
My job? I couldn’t tell you in that moment. I was so caught up in the initial surprise of Clara #6 emerging that I had no plan. No rehearsal. No vantage point. The Panopticon had come down, and now I could look all around if I so wanted. The only thing I gazed at was Clara’s own look, her lustful eyes locked on mine as she took my cock into her mouth for the first time. I moaned, and Clara took her mouth off of my cock to give me her classic laugh, the laugh she gave me when The Mystery Man had turned up the charm and started flirting with her. Soon, she was back at it, bobbing her head back and forth as I could only moan and pull my head back so far it hit the wall. Another laugh. Do your job. I grasped the back of her head and started to pull her into my dick, becoming more forceful with every thrust down her throat. Clara #6 was still such a Bad Girl, she only giggled in obedience. Clara #6 knew what she was doing, Clara #6 had done this before. Swishing her tongue this way, swishing her tongue that way, pulling the cock deep into her throat for a second before coming up for air. The Mystery Man still is paralyzed with no course of action to take. He tries to improvise, but he can’t find the ability to rehearse on the spot.
All he can do is keep his hands on her head, trying not to mess up her perfect hair as she keeps going. The little sucking noises and deep moans Clara is producing drive The Mystery Man wild. She only takes her mouth off for a moment to jack off The Mystery Man as she winks and asks him if that feels good. It feels more than good, it feels great. Intoxicating. Enough to drive a man crazy. Enough to turn any Good Man into a Bad Man.
She delicately licks the underside, enjoying every shiver she gives The Mystery Man. she stands up and practically slides her way up his body, giving him little kisses all the way up his neck until she gets to his lips. My job? Accepting. I’m seeing the whole of Clara now; I’m not looking too close. Clara had me. The Mystery Man was caught so easily off-guard. Maybe she had rehearsed this before. The Mystery Man couldn’t even tell when Clara #6, slutty Clara, had grabbed his hands and put them on her perfect breasts.
The Mystery Man couldn’t even tell when he was following suit by almost ripping off Clara’s shirt. Clara’s job? Accepting. She only giggles like a hungry slut as her shirt gets taken off and she unsnaps her bra. The Mystery Man is not as interested in her breasts as her ass, but he’s such a Good Man that he kneads them for her as he kisses her deeply. She accepts, and pulls his body close. She’s grinding her body into his, as he desperately rehearses in his head what happens next.
What happens next. What happens next. She’s taking off her pants, and replacing his former position against the wall. Clara #6 almost becomes Clara #4 as she slowly peels her panties down her shapely, perfect ass. Before she’s done The Mystery Man can’t resist playing a little with her ass, kneading it, kissing it, licking it. Clara #6 is definitely enjoying being his little ass-slut, and moans her approval. Do your job. What happens next. Intercourse, they call it. Look it up.
He lines up his cock with her pussy, and he’s such a Good Man that he asks if she wants it. In her sluttiest voice, Clara begs for The Mystery Man to give her his thick, meaty cock. Enhance. Enhance. The head of his prick pushes slowly into her pussy, and Clara gasps. This is a new sensation. She knows she wants him, so badly. Human beings want to be noticed by those they notice, to be desired by those they desire. Finally, it was fully mutual. The Mystery Man was truly a Good Man again, now that Clara #6 was nothing but a dirty slut that wanted more of this man.
This Good Man needs no more persuasion. She has let him know where he stands. He thrusts fully into her, earning a sharp shriek from the shivering she. Clara #6 is a loud girl. She’s a Loud Slut. An Eager Slut. The Mystery Man wastes no time and picks up speed, grabbing Clara’s hair and yanking it as he leans in close and asks if she likes it rough. Dramatic irony. Of course she likes it rough. Do your job. What happens next.
Clara #6 answers anyway, begging for it faster and deeper. She wants to feel well-used, and why would a Good Man deny her such a thing? But he’s not done yet. The Mystery Man wants one more thing. He wants poetic justice. He first found her because she was on display, so it was only fitting he would take her on display. As he informs her of the plan, Clara only emits a devilish laugh, walks across the room, and takes her new position. The Mystery Man pushes her against the window, lines the head of his cock against her sensitive pussy, and thrusts forward again.
Now, Clara #6 is on display. She’s pressed up against the window, getting her pussy fucked from behind, for anyone who looks at the window to see. She’s an Exhibitionist Slut, a Public Slut. She can feel the cool glass pressed against her nipples and a hard, thick cock in her pussy. She must be in heaven. With the hand that’s not supporting her against the window, she lets go of the glass. After finding her balance, she reaches down to her clit and starts rubbing in circles. The Mystery Man is pumping in and out of her as fast as he can, grabbing her one leg and hoisting it up. The angle is everything. He wants to make sure she’s a Comfortable Slut. Even so, she asks him to fuck her like she’s a Cheap Slut, a Worthless Slut. Clara #6 is a silly Clara – she always has worth, always to The Mystery Man.
He can feel tension building below the waist. Anyone would. Enhance. Enhance. He knows that he’s addicted to Clara – gripping her skin, the feeling like hot silk. Listening to her screams and moans, the most seductive sound on Planet Earth. The song of the Siren. The grip of her pussy, as if her body was tailor-made for his. As if her body had rehearsed for this moment. Thrusts became poundings. Poundings became drilling. Drilling became a non-stop motion as both parties felt the inevitable rising. Clara moaned and bit her lip and cried out that he was the best fuck she ever had. She encircled her clit the other way and savored the feeling of the glass pressing against her body, and prayed she was being watched, and envied, in the moment. Finally, her eyes shot open, her exhilarated, excited, exhibitionistic eyes becoming blind to the world as she cried out in orgasm. The world blurred out to her – she could see only pure bliss, pure passion. The closer you look, the less you see.
The Mystery Man shoved his body into hers as he couldn’t take it anymore – the two shared a connecting of the mind, soul and body as they moaned together, cojoining in euphoric bliss. And Clara was a Bad Girl, not waiting for The Mystery Man to put on a condom. Now she was getting what she had aimed for the whole time. Dramatic irony. She was a Filled Slut, a Procreating Slut, a Lost-in-the-Feeling-of-Accepting-the-Cum Slut.
Breathe. Breathe. Do Your Job. The two leaned against the window for what seemed like forever before The Mystery Man gingerly lifted himself off of her, and allowed her the space to move. Clara #6 became Clara #7, an embarrassed Clara, an overly shy Clara. A Bad Man would feel bad for this elaborate plot, and how he essentially tricked her into thinking you were a Desirable Man. A Bad Man would see the overly unsure Clara and realize he manipulated a girl from work to make her an easy target to fuck. Good thing The Mystery Man was a Good Man. He knew Clara had her own agency. Each Clara had their own agency. After all, she enjoyed herself, even though she didn’t know his plan, or have a counter-plan. Dramatic irony. And he knew from the get-go that he had this in the bag, that this exact event would happen. Nikhedonia, they call it. Look it up.
Shy little Clara, Clara #7, apologizes for the noise and how crazy she gets. The Mystery Man is a Good Man and talks with her about how he enjoyed it and liked it, and how he can’t wait to see her again soon. She doesn’t know how unsure he is about seeing her again, and whether it’s a good idea. She doesn’t know he’ll be watching her over the next few days, deciding how he feels. But that’s okay since he’s a Good Man to her Bad Girl. And he’s such a Good Man that he shows remorse that he has to go when a few minutes and conversations pass. He reassures her he’ll see her again, and that they’ll talk on Facebook. And he leaves.
What happens next.
The job the next day feels a lot more monotonous than usual. He did it. He completed his goal. I completed my goal. Clara was no longer a far-away fascination – she was past tense. Or present tense? Was she still a fascination, did I want to pursue her long-term? I didn’t know. I couldn’t see the future. The closer I looked, the less I saw.
And I saw Clara. I almost held my breath when she first popped up on my video feed. Enhance. Enhance. Pattern recognition played in heavily here, as I noticed she was acting a bit off. My breath caught in my throat when she waved everyone off for lunch, but didn’t go herself. She wasn’t going to the sandwich shop. Did she know The Mystery Man wasn’t planning to go?
It was just Clara on the floor. She was the only one on the feed, so it was just she and I. How romantic. She looks around, a naughty smile blooming on her face, and opens Facebook.
She sends me a message. Hey. I don’t want to be rude, so even though I could ignore her, I reply immediately. Hey. We chat about how much of a nice time she had last night. Chatting became flirting. Flirting became planning to meet up again, and I say I’ll be busy for the next little bit. Oh, is that so? I think that her reply has a sad tone. Dramatic irony.
Clara gets up from her chair, and looks around the room again. Then, out of nowhere, she slowly lowers her pants. Clara #1 jumps to Clara #6 as she becomes completely naked from the waist down, putting one foot on her desk so I can get a better view. I can’t help myself. Enhance. Enhance.
She messages me again, still one leg hoisted up. Remember this position? Are you sure you’ll be busy? My mind is a whirlwind. Out of nowhere, a memory reaches me. A few months prior to meeting Clara. A company party. No one paid me any attention, except one girl who asked me what I did. And I answered, barely looking at her, thinking how much of a waste the party was, and only looking down at the floor. The closer you look, the less you see.
Clara #6 starts playing with her clit as she keeps messaging me. I think you remember me now. I like your new beard, just how long have you been going to the sandwich shop? It certainly was clever how you seduced me, just how could you have managed that? Dramatic irony. I was never the one seducing Clara, any one of them. All of the Claras, they resided within a Clara #8. A goddamn genius.
She doesn’t give up her messages. So, bold choice not to use a condom if you were never going to see me again, but I think you’ll be seeing me a lot more. After all, I might be pregnant, and don’t you think we’d make a great couple? A great family?
Baffled became astonished. Astonished became impressed. Impressed became utterly in love.