The Preacher's Wife. Chapter Five
Maggie's customers included the Christians of Faith (COF) organization in Omaha. She audited their books every three months, a job of 3 or 4 days for which they paid her one thousand dollars plus the cost of a modest hotel room. By the standards of the small town in Kansas where she lived with her husband, an evangelical preacher, that was good money.
She was in Omaha working her way through the accounts one afternoon when her phone rang. It was John Bright, the President of COF in Washington, D.C.
"Margaret," he began. "You've done good work for us and I have an opportunity which may interest you. You may find it a bit strange."
"Please tell me more, Mr. Bright, but call me Maggie."
"Okay, Maggie it is. I know that you helped with that successful women's visit to Greece two years ago. With your international experience I thought of you for a temporary job we need to fill immediately."
Maggie was intrigued. She almost laughed. "International experience?" Her international experience was a two-week visit to Greece. The memory of that trip made her twitch with pleasure.
"To give you some background, the United Nations is distributing food and medicine to starving people in southern Sudan. The base for the operation is in Lokichogio, a town in Kenya near the border with Sudan. Every day transport aircraft take off from Loki and deliver food, medicine, and other emergency goods to airports carved out of the bush and scattered all over southern Sudan."
He continued. "We're one of the NGOs -- that's non-governmental organization in UN speak -- contracted to distribute the food and medicine. The UN pays us for our work, and it's an important source of revenue for us. Frankly, our Sudan program is a mess due to incompetent management. The UN is going to cancel our contract if we don't get our program straightened out. We need an accountant out there. Quickly. A good accountant. And you're good."
"How long would you need me?"
"We estimate three months." He rushed on. "I know you're married and are blessed with two children, but I'm told they are in college and not living at home. So, if you could see your way to helping us?"
"Well, it sounds interesting, but..."
"We'll pay you six thousand dollars a month, plus free housing and meals, a car and driver, and medical care if that should become necessary. You won't have many expenses, so you can save money."
Six thousand dollars per month was about the same as Maggie and her husband together earned.
"One warning," he continued. "Our UN contract prohibits religious proselytizing. You'll be fired and sent home if you do it. I don't want to offend you, but our mission is to feed hungry people, not to tell them about Jesus. This is a secular project. Is that clear?"
"Yes," Maggie answered. "That won't be a problem for me." Maggie had the impression that John Bright did not have a high opinion of enthusiastic, evangelical Christians. He seemed to be one of those liberal Christians so deplored by preachers such as her husband.
"I'm sorry to be so blunt, but the person you would replace thought it was her job to distribute bibles rather than food."
"I understand. Tell me more about the job." She was both terrified and terribly interested in what would be so far out of her life experience.
Maggie persuaded herself and her husband that she should take the job, and ten days later she arrived in Lokichogio on a propeller-driven airplane from Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.
The airport at Lokichogio was hot and dusty. Half a dozen battered cargo planes, some of them painted in military greens and grays were sitting around the tarmac. Sacks of grain were being loaded on two of them. African workers clustered in the narrow shade offered by the wings of the airplanes. A one-room, whitewashed concrete building served as a terminal.
She looked around. The land was flat, but several rocky outcrops interrupted the desert horizon. It was green, the rainy season. Outside the mesh fence surrounding the airport were a dozen tall, slender women with intensely black skin and wearing ragged clay-colored cloaks tied over a shoulder. Each of them wore a dozen metal rings around her throat, stretching her necks to an unnatural length. Several of them carried babies in slings.
An African man from COF and driving a Toyota Land Cruiser met Maggie at the exit to the terminal. His name was Joseph. He had a big, jolly smile. As they drove by the women he nodded in disapproval, "Turkanas. Very primitive. Bandits and beggars."
The UN compound was adjacent to the airport. A guard opened a gate to let them inside. Joseph parked in front of a thatched roof building with open sides. They walked into the building. A bulletin board at the entrance posted news and announcements. Under the roof was a reception desk and a cafeteria with steam tables and metal trays and wicker tables and chairs scattered around a cement floor. A book shelf in one corner was crowded with well-worn paperback novels. Like Joseph her driver, the African at the reception desk wore a brilliantly white shirt and greeted her with a big smile. "Ah, yes. Mrs. Sanders. We have a very nice tent for you."
She signed the register. "How do I pay for this?" she asked.
"Your NGO will pay the bill."
"This way, madam," Joseph said. He carried her two small suitcases and kept up a running line of chatter as they walked toward her new home. "This is bar, here," he said, as they left the reception. It was another open-sided thatched roof hut with a circular bar surrounded by high chairs and a few tables. Several men were drinking beer and smoking. "Pilots," the driver said. "Canadian, American, Swiss, Swede, Dutch, Russian - many pilots. Also, expats from forty NGOs and six UN agencies live here." "Expat" was UN shorthand for foreigners, mostly Europeans, employed in Loki and the Sudan.
Before them stretched long lines of khaki-colored tents spaced evenly along wide sandy paths outlined by whitewashed rocks and shaded by acacia trees. The sun was intensely bright and hot. "Shower building for women, And bathrooms." said Joseph, pointing at a concrete block building with a corrugated metal roof. Beside it was another identical building. "Shower building and bathrooms for men. Sometimes not enough water," he laughed.
Joseph led her to a tent. "Number 158. You remember number on sign. Easy to get lost. All tents the same."
The tent had a wooden door and eaves that shaded out the rays of the sun. The driver unlocked the door and handed her the key. She stepped inside. Her "home" in Lokichogio was about ten feet by ten feet in size and had a wooden plank floor. A single bed was against one canvas wall and a small chest of drawers was against the other along with a dressing table and a chair. A bare light bulb hung from the ceiling and a small lamp was on a table beside the bed. She switched on the lamp. No response. "Electricity from six to eleven every night," Joseph said.
The closet was a pole strung between two straps hanging from the ceiling. It was hot in the tent. Joseph opened up mesh windows in the sides and roof to let in air. "Safe here, but you leave money and passport locked in COF office."
"Where is the office?"
"Just outside the gate of UN compound. You look for sign."
"Thank you, Joseph. I'll come by the office after I unpack and freshen up a bit."
"Yes, madam. Welcome to Loki."
Maggie suffered her ups and down those first few weeks. She was lonely. She missed her children -- but not her husband. She had the feeling that the other expats living in the tent community were shunning her. Her NGO had the reputation of being holier-than-thou, and the expats seemed a rowdy, beer-drinking crowd. Given her job with a religious organization, Maggie believed she should live up to its strict and fundamentalist principles.
Mostly she worked. Seven days a week, For many hours each day she crouched over the account books, trying to make sense of them and get her organization back in the good graces of the United Nations. For a change, she went to the airport every day for a couple of hours and became adept at bossing the work gangs of Africans who shouldered bags of wheat and boxes of medicine and loaded them on airplanes. They called her "Memsahib."
To beat the heat, she bought myself a new wardrobe in the small shops along the dirt street that comprised the town of Lokichogio. Two flowery, wrap-around, knee-length skirts of the thinnest cotton, two loosely-woven, cotton blouses with short square-cut bottoms, and a pair of leather sandals met her needs. The total cost was twenty dollars.
She also bought bras and panties of the lightest possible material. The bras consisted of an elastic strip around her body just under her breasts, a triangle-shaped piece of cloth to cover each breast, and thin straps that went over her shoulders. That was it: no wires, no supports, and no padding. Wearing the bra she felt flat as a pancake, but the bra covered her nipples when she bent over to inventory sacks of grain, which she did many times daily.
The panties were also thin cotton with no lining. The hair of her pubic area showed through the thin cloth, but with a skirt on top of them she did not feel immodest.
She wore no makeup. It was uncomfortable in the heat. She didn't fuss with her hair. She kept it washed and clean when there was water in the showers, ran a comb through it in the morning, and tied it into a pony-tail. It was a no-nonsense look, complete with wrinkles and crows-feet which signified that she was a mature woman, 39 years old.
She liked her body in her new clothes - the swish of the flimsy cotton skirt, the sun shining through the skirt and showing the outline of her legs, the airy mesh of the loose blouse, barely reaching to her midriff, the suggestion of a cleft between her breasts, often emphasized by a rivulet of sweat. Why would anybody need more clothing? She was becoming a "disaster junkie" - as humanitarian relief workers derisively called themselves.
A month after Maggie arrived. she had unsnarled the account books and decided to take a field trip -- the field being southern Sudan which was about the size of Texas and had a population estimated at 10 million people She wanted to visit the places where the African employees of her organization were distributing food. Mostly, she was curious.
Travel to Sudan from Loki was only by airplane. The few roads were in miserable condition and they were plagued by shifta (bandits) who roamed the region. The UN aircraft were old and decrepit cargo planes which had outlived their lives in military air forces. There were no seats on the planes; passengers sat in fold-down canvas benches along the sides of the cargo bay. The planes were loaded with sacks of wheat, boxes of medicine, bicycles, farming equipment, and construction material -- every imaginable item needed by humanitarian aid organizations working in the African bush
There were no regular flights. The procedure was for Maggie to go to the airport and inquired as to when a flight might be going to where she wanted to go, ask to hitch a ride, and climb aboard. The pilots would drop her at one of a hundred dirt landing strips in southern Sudan. After she finished her work, she would radio Loki that she wished to leave. In due course, an airplane would land to pick her up, kicking up a cloud of red dust on the improvised runways.
Before planning a trip, all expats were in touch with the UN security officer to find out where they could go and where they shouldn't because of fighting between the army and rebels.
Maggie spent a week traveling from one remote airstrip to another, wearing the same clothes every day, sleeping in charpoy beds in thatched huts, eating goat stew, wala-wala (boiled millet), and ful (fava beans). At each stop, she met with tall, slender black men and women who accompanied her to project sites where she witnessed the distribution of food to people whose livelihoods had been destroyed by many years of war.
She ended her visit in Rumbek, the center of UN relief operations in southern Sudan. It was a tent city, a smaller version of Lokichogio, with a dirt airstrip, a cafeteria, a bar in an open-sided hut, electricity in the evening, and, mercifully, a small, square concrete building with showers and bathroom facilities. She would spend the night there before returning to Loki the next day.
It was late afternoon when Maggie arrived in Rumbek. She took a shower and cleaned herself up, and headed for the cafeteria for something to eat. The bar was next to the cafeteria. The sight of several expats sitting at the round bar drinking cold bottles of Tusker beer lured her. "To hell with my attempt to be pious," she said to herself. "I haven't had a beer for a month. It's hotter than hell and I'm thirsty and tired."
She sat on a stool beside a nice-looking young man, ordered a beer, drank it down, and ordered another, along with a bowl of roasted peanuts, a lentil curry, and flat bread. She talked to the young man sitting beside her while she ate. He was English, just out of a university where he had studied Swahili and East African language and culture. He was polite to a fault. She almost kicked him when, on being introduced, he called her ma'am."
"What's your name?" she asked him as she downed the last swallow of beer and ordered a third bottle and more peanuts.
"Brian," he answered.
"I'm Maggie," she said. The crowd at the bar had cleared out. Bedtime was early in the Sudan. The mosquitoes buzzed around and they sprayed their arms and legs with Deet, an insect repellant. She felt a familiar tingle as she talked to Brian. The thought of sex crept into her mind, but she dismissed it, mindful of the possible humiliation of being turned down by a boy who might look on her as impossibly old and unappealing.
The god of good luck intervened. Faye arrived, pulling up beside the bar in a Land Rover with a UN official named Mark. Faye lived in Loki, and Maggie knew her slightly. She was a tall, willowy English girl, about 30 years old, a veteran of several years in Africa, and the reputation of being a Loki slut with an affinity for tall, black Sudanese rebel leaders. Mark was also tall and slender, about 30 years old, and was impeccably dressed in matched shorts and bush shirt. Although he was Swiss, he spoke English with a plummy public school accent which contrasted with Faye's cockney twang.
Faye and Mark were dusty, sweat soaked, and haggard from a long day in the field. "What a trip," said Faye. "And now they tell us that all the tents are taken for the night." The UN tent camp at Rumbek was the only place for hundreds of miles with electricity and running water.
Maggie said, "Faye, there are two beds in my tent. You could stay with me. And Mark, could stay with...oh, sorry, I've forgotten your name."
"Mark could stay with Brian. He has a tent to himself"
Faye whispered in her ear. "Why don't you stay with Brian? I've got a thing for Mark. And Brian is a cute boy."
Faye turned to Brian. She was anything but shy. "Brian, dear, why don't you give Mark and I your tent and you stay with Maggie. She won't mind."
Maggie hadn't said that she wouldn't mind -- but she wouldn't. The thought of having an attractive man near her, even without sex, appealed to her. She was lonely.
Brian blushed -- which made her feel even older -- then smiled, and said, "Of course, if it's alright with you, Maggie."
It was, and Brian and Maggie finished their beer and peanuts. Inconspicuously, she grabbed a handful of condoms from the bucket on a table in the bar and put them in her shoulder purse. The UN provided condoms at all its sites. "I'd better start carrying these with me again," she said to herself, as the two of them left the bar and stumbled drunkenly through the lines of tents. Her tent had two twin cots an arm's length apart, each covered with mosquito netting, plus an electric lamp. Brian left to retrieve his back pack from his former tent while she undressed for bed.
"What to wear?" she thought as she undressed. Usually her bedtime apparel was only a loose sleeveless t-shirt leaving her buttocks and pubic area bare. Anything more than that in the heat was uncomfortable. In the low light of the single light bulb, the t-shirt, she judged, was sufficiently modest but she put on panties to greet Brian when he returned. She could take them off once she was beneath the rough sheets on the cots.
Brian called through the flap of the tent. "Are you decent?"
"Yes, come in."
Maggie was no stranger to men. Since her first affair six years ago, she had bedded a dozen men. (Being an accountant, she counted carefully.) All her affairs had been while she was traveling on her business. She had a strict rule of not risking extra-marital sex in the small town where they lived. Her husband may have been suspicions about her activities, but he enjoyed the income she brought to their modest household too much to confront her, and she respected him and her marriage sufficiently to avoid a scandal. Now, thousands of miles from home, the possibility of scandal was not on her mind.
She greeted Brian with a smile, facing him, not attempting to conceal her body under the skimpy t-shirt and panties. He was wearing trousers and also a t-shirt. He gave her a nervous smile in return. "We have 15 minutes before lights-out. We can go to bed now, or sit and chat a bit. I have some more peanuts we can eat."
"Let's chat and eat peanuts." He sat down on the edge of his bed and she sat down on hers, facing him, their knees almost touching. She handed him a bowl of peanuts and he took a handful and give the bowl back to her "It is fun talking to you," he added. "I've been lonely out here."
"So have I." She relaxed a bit. At least he had some interest in her.
He continued. "I need mosquito repellent on parts I can't reach on my back. Can you do me? And then I'll do you -- if you wish." He laughed nervously. "I'm worried about catching malaria. I slather on mosquito repellent and sleep under netting."
"That's wise." He handed her a tube of repellent. She got up and sat down on her bed beside him. He pulled his t-shirt over his head and off. She rubbed the repellent into his back, then onto his shoulders, and onto the back of his neck, feeling her breasts pressing against his back. "Maybe I'd better stop there," she said, "Your turn."
She turned around to face away from him and pulled the back of her t-shirt up to her shoulders, aware that her breasts were partially exposed. He began massaging the repellent into her back, his breathing shallow and quick against her neck. He was closer to her than he need be.
The single light bulb in the tent flickered and then went off. "Lights out." she said. The tropical night descended and the tent was in total darkness.
"I can't get to your neck and your shoulders with your t-shirt on. Do you want to take it off in the dark," he asked with hesitation.
She pulled the t-shirt over her head and he massaged the ointment into her shoulders and her neck and his hand moved around to the front of her throat and down onto her chest to between her breasts. She turned her head and her lips met his cheek, and his hand moved to the breast over her beating heart -- and they kissed, she twisting her body to meet his lips, to put her arms around his shoulders. He pulled her down onto his lap and leaned over and kissed her and his hands ran up and down her flanks, stopping at her breasts, brushing over the thin fabric of her panties.
"Oops," she said, "I'm tangled up in the mosquito netting. Hold still or we'll tear it." She pulled the netting from under her back. "Life in the bush is difficult!" she laughed.
"This cot is awfully small." he said.
"I'm worried about it collapsing from our weight. Don't make any sudden movements." Lying on her back, one of his hands on her crotch, she opened and closed her legs around it.
It'll be a bit uncomfortable, but shall we give it a go?" he asked.
"I think we should." Thus, she casually assented to sex. She laid back on the bed and pulled her panties off.
He stood up in the darkness and took off his trousers and his underwear. He found his way through the mosquito netting to lie down at her side in the narrow bed and she felt his nakedness. She had a momentary qualm. "He's a boy, the youngest man I've been in bed with -- and I'm nearly an old woman." They pressed together, side by side, kissing.
"Comfy?" she asked.
"We are like two sardines in a can. May I get on top of you."
"You may. It's done that way. Sometimes." They laughed together as he carefully maneuvered his way through the netting to lie on top of her.
"But you'll need a condom," she added.
"How am I going to put one on when I'm lying flat on top of you and can't move without falling out of bed - or tearing the mosquito netting."
"Where there's a will there's a way. But find one. My purse with condoms is under the bed. Your cock is all too close to my pussy."
"I saw you pick up several condoms in the bar."
She giggled. "And I thought I was being sneaky."
"Damn netting," he said as he reached out to the floor with one hand, rustled in her purse and pulled out a packaged condom. He bit the plastic cover and took it out.
"Give me the condom and arch your back so I can get my hands down there and put it on," she said. He did so, and she maneuvered her hands between their bodies, found his erect penis, and rolled the condom on.
"My cock is ready."
"I'd like to be kissed first. And you may play with my boobs. Romance, you know?"
"Demanding, aren't you?"
"A privilege of my age and experience. How old are you anyway?"
"Jesus, fucking Christ. You're a child."
"Wow, that's strong language from the church lady."
"Is that what they call me?"
"The church lady!" she thought. "The expats call me the church lady! No wonder I never get invited to any parties." And then aloud, "I have tried to be a model of rectitude since I got to Loki. I thought it was expected of me. Please be discreet about this. I have a husband and children and I'm working for a religious group. I don't want to be involved in any scandals."
"My lips are sealed. So are your legs. Perhaps you could spread them further?"
"I'll try." She spread her legs and he was instantly inside her. She gasped. "You don't waste any time."
"I haven't had sex since I got her a month ago."
"Nor have I."
It only lasted a few strokes and he shuddered and then was quiet. As he panted, breathing hard on her cheek, he asked, "Did you come? For real, I mean. I was much too fast."
"No, I didn't. You were indeed too fast." She liked that he was concerned about her enjoyment.
"Don't worry, I have a quick recovery. Can we do a makeover? I was too eager. I'm sorry."
"Don't apologize. A hard man is good to find," she laughed. "But you're crushing me, and it's hot. I can't breathe."
"Oh, sorry." He rolled over and nearly fell out of the narrow bed. cot sat on the edge. "I have to pee," he said. "Now."
"So do I. Too much beer. I have a flashlight. Let's go to the bathroom." She rustled around in her back-pack for one of her flowery skirts and put her t-shirt back on. Brian put on khaki trousers and a t-shirt. She opened the tent flap and stepped outside into a night that was as dark as the grave. "Close the flap quickly," she said to Brian, "so mosquitoes won't get inside."
Hand in hand, the flashlight lighting their way, they walked down the row of silent tents to the bathroom building. Nobody was stirring in the tent city. A million stars shone brightly overhead. They kissed and she went into the women's side of the bathroom and he went into the men's. In the darkened compound, only the bathrooms were lighted.
She urinated in the flush toilets and was looking at herself in the mirror over a washbasin when Brian walked in. She gasped, then said in a whisper. "What are you doing? You shouldn't be here. Somebody might come in."
He whispered back. "Everybody's asleep. And I had a sudden urge to fuck you again. Right here. Right now. To redeem my poor performance up until now." He moved to her side and put his hand between her legs and ran his fingers up under her dress. He kissed her on the lips while his hands continued to explore.
"We can't do it on the bathroom floor. That's gross," she said.
He laughed. "I've never fucked a woman in a bathroom."
"And I've never been fucked in a bathroom." She couldn't keep from joining him in the laughter.
His hands pulled the dress up to her waist. "Lean over the washbasin. I'll take you from behind." His penis was out of trousers, hard. They kissed, and she turned to lean over the basin, and he pressed hard behind her.
"I like the looks of that white ass. It's never seen the light of the sun."
"Little do you know. But shut up and fuck me - before somebody comes in here."
He took a condom out of his pocket and put it on and then his penis probed her backside as she wiggled her hips to help him - and then he was inside her. "I want to be sure you come this time," he said.
"That's nice of you. I will -- if you can last more than three strokes."
"Cheeky bird, aren't you?"
She looked in the mirror at herself. Her lips were parted, her long brown hair - with a streak of gray - was disheveled, hanging in strands over her face, the wrinkles on her forehead and the crow's feet around her eyes were prominent. She said, "I'm a mess."
"I want to see your tits while I fuck you. I couldn't see them in the tent." He pulled his penis out of her and pulled her t-shirt over her head and tossed it on the floor. She leaned over the wash basin and he entered her again. Her breasts bounced loosely, her penis going deep within her. "You're the most beautiful woman in the world."
She raised her head from the wash basis to see herself in the mirror. "Liar. I've never watched myself being fucked. This is interesting."
"I agree. It's interesting." The voice came from the entrance to the bathroom. It was Faye. She was standing in the doorway, dressed, hands on hips, an amused smile on her face.
They both turned to look at her, Maggie's hands going instinctively to her breasts, Brian suddenly motionless.
Faye brushed by them and opened the door to a stall, "Don't let me disturb you. You look like you're having fun. But I need to pee. Desperately." She closed the door behind her. A moment later they heard the sounds of urine splashing in the water of the toilet.
"Oh, God, I am so embarrassed," said Maggie.
"Your reputation as the church lady is ruined. So, shall we continue?" His penis probed within her.
"They'll probably fire me." For some reason, she thought that was funny and laughed. He continued to stroke within her. "Faye?" she said.
"Yes?" came Faye's voice within the bathroom stall.
"Would you guard the door while we finish."
"With pleasure." Faye came out of the stall, slapped Brian on his bare buttock as she passed and took up a position near the door. "I never thought I would see this. You have hidden talents, Maggie."
"Just guard the door, if you would, and keep people out." She turned her head to look at Brian, his penis still within her. "Let's do it. If you can."
"Yes, I can. You are bold."
"Believe it or not, I'm not a virgin."
"I'm starting to realize that."
"Let's try to get off together."
"I'll try, but I can't stay hard all night. "
"Is that a complaint? You won't have to. I promise."
"I am loving this," he said. "Are you ready?"
"Hold it for just a second, if you can. I'm almost there." He paused in his rapid thrusting and let her hips move up and down on his penis.
"Okay, now. Fuck me hard," she said. He did. His body and penis driving into her backside, making a loud sucking sound, her breasts rubbed against the tile of the water basin as he bent her over more and more. And then she climaxed, her hips waggling as she sought every centimeter of his penis within her, and she felt his knees buckle as he climaxed, and the walls of her vagina burned with fire and outraged nerves, and her hips twitched uncontrollably, clenching and releasing him within her.
"Oh, shit," she said, "That was good. Thank you. I needed that."
"It was my pleasure," he said, gasping for breath.
"It was entertaining," said Faye from near the door.
Maggie turned her head to look at Faye. The two of them laughed together. Then she said to Brian, "You can get out of me and off me, please. I'm bent double and beginning to ache."
"Oh, sorry," he said. "I was enjoying being in there." He pulled his penis out, stripped off the condom, heavy with sperm, walked into a bathroom stall and flushed it. He came out of the stall, picked up his trousers and put them on.
Maggie stood up and pulled her dress down to cover herself, picked up her t-shirt from the floor and put it on. A large wet spot grew on the crotch of her skirt. Looking in the mirror, she tried to arrange her hair which was plastered down on her face. "I am mortified," she said to Faye. "Please don't tell people about this."
Faye walked over to Maggie from the doorway and kissed her full on the lips. "I'd like to be friends with you. Can we do that?" She turned to Brian. "You too." She walked out of the bathroom with a parting remark. "Now, let's see if I can go to sleep after watching that. I may have to wake Mark up."
"Let's go back to our tent," Maggie said to Brian.
"May I fuck you again?"
"No! I'm tired and sleepy."
"In the morning?"
She didn't answer, but kissed him on the cheek, took his hand, and the two of them walked in silence through the darkness to their tent.