Egg Rolls and Fortune Cookies

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You probably won’t believe it, but when I was eighteen years old, I knew next to nothing about sex. Oh, sure, I knew the basics, and as a kid I’d scrawled my share of dirty words on the sidewalk, but as far as the reality of the thing was concerned, I barely had a clue. I was all of sixteen before, one morning sitting on the toilet, I discovered masturbation.

But once I discovered it, I guess I was afraid they might pass a law against it, so I did my best to get my fill before they did. Matter of fact, I’m still working on it, but maybe not with quite the same dedication.

It’s not that I was particularly strange, but I’d grown up in a very small town in rural Nevada. There were few girls my age (or boys, either, for that matter) within a hundred miles, and when you were lucky enough to get a date, you didn’t want to risk screwing it up by making her mad. Besides, all those girls had fathers, and every one of the fathers knew how to use a gun. You had to be on a lot better terms with a girl than I was ever able to get before you dared get around to even talking about that kind of thing.

When I was still seventeen, I started college at Reno. I hadn’t been there three weeks when a bunch of us made a pilgrimage to a brothel not far from the city and I popped my cherry. The whole thing was just about as romantic as having your radiator flushed. Cost a lot more, though.

Looking back on it, I suppose it was pretty funny. None of us would admit to each other that it was our first time, but I don’t for a moment believe that I was the only virgin in that ignorant pack of young louts. The ladies knew, though. They were all what their boss must have called “high productivity employees.” It was less than 45 minutes from the time we pulled into the lot before we were back on the road again. I can’t speak for any of the others – maybe they were cooler heads than I was – but, goddammit, I never even got a good look at her. But you should’ve heard us talking about it afterwards. To hear us tell it, every one of us had just experienced a love scene to rival Anais Nin’s most erotic tales, and every one of us left our lady begging for more. Like I said, we were all ignorant as hell.

That’s pretty much the sort of “man of the world” I was up until I was almost nineteen. Then I met Kim.

It was late August and hot in Reno. School didn’t start until September, but I’d come back early to take a part time job on campus as a landscape worker. It was a Saturday morning and I was wandering around the edge of the business district, several blocks away from the casino center area looking for a place to get a haircut. It was over two months since I’d visited the little two-chair shop at home and the campus barbershop was still closed for the summer.

She was standing in the shaded doorway of a small beauty shop, reading a magazine. She looked to be about 35 with dark, shoulder-length hair permed into a mass of curls and tied back away from her face with a wide red ribbon. She was tall, almost my height, but proportioned nicely, I thought.

She wasn’t fat, but she was a long way from skinny; you could tell there was a woman inside the white nylon uniform dress she wore. Her lipstick was a rich red, and matched her hair ribbon. Her eyes were a deep brown with long curly lashes.

She was real good looking, but it was more than that. There was something about her that just radiated a kind of (what’s the word?) – quality. Reno was full of beautiful women, but beautiful with the kind of looks that fairly shouted “Casino Girl.” She wasn’t that type at all. As I drew near, she looked up from her magazine and smiled. It was a nice smile, I thought. Unassuming, but warm.

She looked friendly; maybe she could help. “Morning.” I tried to put on my best boyish grin.

“Good morning.”

“Excuse me, but you wouldn’t know where there’s a barber shop around here, would you?”

“A barber shop? For what?” she asked, looking genuinely surprised.

I thought maybe she wasn’t as intelligent as she looked.

“Uh, I’m looking for a place to get my hair cut.”

“What do I look like? A change girl at Harrahs?” She extended her hand toward the painted sign on the big front window of the beauty shop: “Kim’s Salon” and underneath it in the same gold letters: “Hair Designs for Men and Women.”

I was instantly flustered. “Oh, uh. Well, I just… That is, I’ve never had a woman cut my hair before.”

“Got something against it?” A half smile was working at the corners of her mouth and I suspected she was teasing me.

“No, I guess not. I just never thought of myself as the type who went to beauty salons.”

“What type is that?” Now I knew she was teasing.

“You know.” She waited, her face a question. “High rollers. Tourists. Guys from California.”

“Well it’s time you changed your thinking. Want a haircut? Come on in,”

“How much do you charge?”

“Don’t worry. You can afford it. You can see I’m not exactly drowning in customers this morning.”

I bostancı escort glanced up and down the street to see if anyone was watching me, then I followed her quickly into the darkened interior of the salon.

The cool rush of the air conditioner was instantly refreshing and I paused to let my eyes get accustomed to the dim light. Just inside the door was a chest-high counter with shelves built into the front of it to hold the hair products she sold on the side. To the right, a mirror ran the length of the wall and two upholstered swivel chairs were arranged in front of it. A portable cart stuffed with scissors, hair rollers, spray cans and brushes stood next to the chair nearest the front. Two big hair dryers attached to comfortable looking cushioned chairs were against the opposite wall. In the back, through a latticework screen, I could just make out two sinks and two closed doorways. Rest rooms, I guessed. Except for the area in front of the mirror, the whole place was carpeted in a charcoal grey. The walls were a pale orange color (I guess you’d call it peach), as was the upholstery on all the chairs. Two posters, copies of Monet watercolors, were nicely framed and hung on the front wall. In strategic corners, there were big potted plants.

Sheer lace curtains tied with satin ribbons covered the front window. I’ll admit it made me nervous. I felt like I’d accidentally wandered into a ladies’ room.

All of it had the gloss and smell of newness and, I guessed she must have just opened recently and was running it by herself.

“Come on cowboy,” she was standing next to the chair, patting the back of it, “have a seat.”

I sat down in the chair and she spun it around facing the mirror. “This place looks brand new. The inside anyway. You just getting started here?”

“This is my third day in business and you’re my eighth customer,” she sighed. “I’ve got an ad coming out in the throwaways next week, so I’m hoping that will attract some business, but so far it’s slow as death.”

“Where did you work before this?”

“I just moved to Reno last month. My sister talked me into coming and said I could move in with her. Then, just when I signed the lease on this place, she took off on me. Moved in with her boyfriend down in Carson City.” Casually she tossed the magazine she’d been reading onto the counter beside her and it flopped closed. It was The New Yorker.

“The New Yorker, huh? That where you’re from?”

“Afraid not,” she laughed. “I’m from Sacramento, originally, but I’ve been living in L.A. for the last ten years. The New Yorker is mostly a sort of a literary magazine. Lots of stories and things.”

“I know. I read it myself, sometimes. If I sound like a hick, it’s just because I am one, but even some of us hicks have heard of the New Yorker.”

She’d been standing behind me, arranging a towel around my shoulders, but now her eyes met mine in the mirror. Smiling, she held a finger to her temple and pretended to pull a trigger. “I’m really getting off to a good start with you, aren’t I? I didn’t mean to be patronizing. I’m sorry. Can we start over? I’m Kim Champion.”

“Whit Harper. Pleased to meet you, Ma’am.”

“Whit? I’ll bet your buddies had fun with that name when you were younger. Come on back and let’s get you shampooed.”

“It’s short for Whitney, and they still do,” I said, following her to the shampoo basins behind the pink lattice. “Does this cost extra?” I only had a few bucks and I didn’t want to be embarrassed when it came time to pay.

“All part of the service,” she laughed. “Sit down and relax.”

This whole procedure was brand new to me and I don’t mind saying I was pretty nervous about it. I guess I knew that lots of men had their hair cut in places like this, but I wasn’t one of ’em – until now. I leaned back and let my head hang down in the grey-colored shampoo basin and Kim went to work. She wet my hair down with warm water and then worked a big glop of shampoo into a lather. Her fingers were strong but gentle and the way she massaged my scalp felt terrific. I groaned softly with the pleasure of it.

“You like that, do you?”

“You can just keep doing that all day long, if you want.” I’d had my eyes closed, but opened them up to find myself staring at her left breast. The shiny white nylon of her dress was stretched taut across it as she leaned over to wash my hair. I could see that she was wearing a bra, but it obviously wasn’t one of those steel-cage kinds because she was bouncing slightly as she moved. If I’d wanted to, I could have touched it with my tongue; it was that close.

When she’d finished washing my hair, she squeezed it out and left a towel hanging over my head while I followed her back to the chair. When I sat down, I was already a little embarrassed; I’d started to get a hard on while she was washing my hair, so I made sure to stay behind her when I stood up.

I’ve already said she was beautiful, but she was almost old enough çeliktepe escort to be my mother and I usually confined my looking to girls around my own age.

Now she had spread a thin silky cape over me and was fastening it behind my neck. The cool slippery fabric reminded me of a pair of woman’s panties, and where it touched my bare arms, it felt both warm and cold at the same time and sent little shocks of electricity clear through my trunk and right to my groin. The material was kind of a brown color but you could almost see through it except for where the big pink flowers were. After quickly running a comb through it, she started dividing my hair into sections and clipping the sections in place with these pink plastic clips.

Staring at my image in the mirror, I pictured what the guys at Gustavo’s barber shop in Sagewood would say if they could see me now.

My ears felt like they were on fire and I could see my face turning red in the mirror. But there was something else, too; I was starting to feel turned on by all of it. Slowly it dawned on me that everything in the shop, and the whole experience was designed to be a sensuous one. The soft fabrics, the perfumed odors, the pretty colors. So this was what attracted women to these places! I’d never thought of it like that.

“How about a cup of coffee?” she asked. Then, when she saw the doubt on my face, she laughed again. “Don’t worry; it’s free.”

I found myself laughing in spite of myself. “You must think I’m the cheapest guy west of Scotland. It’s just that when you’re a student trying to get by on a scholarship, you learn to watch the pennies.”

“A student, huh?” she called. She was already in the back, pouring coffee for both of us. “What are you studying?”

“English Lit.”

Now it was her turn to laugh. “English? I’m not making fun of you, it’s just that you don’t look – or sound – like the English Lit type.”

“Well, when you grow up in Sagewood, Nevada, you don’t usually wind up talking like Shakespeare – and you sure as hell don’t dress like Lord Byron. Not if you want to get along with your neighbors, anyway.”

“That’s fair enough, I guess. I was a literature major myself, but nobody would ever mistake me for Virginia Woolf or Emily Dickinson. How do you take your coffee, Whit?”

While she cut my hair, we both talked about ourselves the way people do when they’re getting to know each other. As it turned out, Kim had got her beautician’s license right after high school and had worked at it while attending UCLA. She wound up with a Masters degree and a teaching credential, and she taught high school English for four years. She’d been married for a while, but after her divorce she found she couldn’t make it by herself on a teacher’s pay. Finally she figured she could make more money doing hair; she was right about that, too. I talked about school a little, but she mostly wanted to hear about Sagewood – what it was like, how many people lived there, what they did for excitement, the girlfriends I’d had.

I never knew what she found so fascinating about any of it, but I was flattered that she seemed so interested. Somehow she was more comfortable to talk to than any female I’d ever met before, no matter what their age. I even told her the whole story of losing my virginity, and I’d never told that to anyone before without adding a lot of lies to it.

She finished cutting my hair, sprayed some sissy-smelling stuff on it (which I really liked, but I’d never admit it), and blew it dry. It was probably the best looking haircut I’d ever had in my life and Kim was for sure the nicest lady I’d ever met. I was a little ashamed that all the time she was cutting my hair I had a hard on for her. When she’d finished, I rose from the chair, dug in my front pocket and held out the lone five- dollar bill.

“Forget it, Whit. It’s on the house,” she said.

“Hey, I can’t let you do that. I’m not rich, but I’m not quite a charity case yet,” I said.

“Let’s just call it an introductory offer. I don’t want you going back to those flea-bitten barbers who’ve been cutting your hair. Next time it’ll be eight bucks.” She could see I was still dubious. “Please?”

The smile she gave me sent shivers up and down my spine and I could feel that she had me blushing again. “Okay. Sure. And I will be back; you can count on it. See ya.” I started for the door when she called to me.

“Whit?”

“Yeah?”

“Look, do you have to be somewhere this afternoon? I haven’t had anyone to talk to in a month and I’ll go crazy if I have to spend the rest of the day here by myself. If you’ll stick around for a while, I’ll buy us lunch.”

I didn’t need my arm twisted. She called over to a Chinese restaurant and had them send over a bunch of little paper boxes of stuff. I know it makes me sound like even more of a rube than I do already, but I’d never had Chinese food before; it was delicious. We sat together on the little couch in her waiting area at the front cihangir escort of the salon, both of us eating out of the same boxes. I was amazed to see her eat with chopsticks; I stuck to a plastic fork. The couch was so narrow that we couldn’t help but touch. Besides rubbing elbows, her thigh was pressed hard against mine. I could feel the warmth of her right through the leg of my levis and you can guess the effect it was having on me.

I was full as could be and told her so when she opened the last of the paper take-out food containers.

“You mean there’s more? Kim, I couldn’t eat another bite.”

“I can,” she said. “I always save these for dessert. They’re egg rolls.”

She reached into the box and pulled one out. It was a vegetable roll – a cylinder, about four inches long and a little less than two inches thick. It was wrapped in wonton skins and had been deep fried to a golden brown. She opened a small container of Chinese mustard and dipped the egg roll into it, coating the end with the hot yellow sauce. She held it up to her mouth, but instead of taking a bite, she stuck out her tongue and touched it to the end of the egg roll. Her tongue was long and came to kind of a point at the end. It was so wet it glistened, and she kind of swirled the tip of it around on the end of her “dessert,” licking the mustard off.

“I love licking the outside like that. Some people use sweet and sour sauce, but I like the spicy tang of the mustard.”

I swallowed hard and noticed that my heart was beating like a tom-tom. It was cool in the salon, but I could feel the perspiration starting to break out on my forehead. I wondered if she knew what that had looked like.

“Anyway, the outside is nice, but I like best what’s inside of these things. I hope it’s still warm in there.” She stuck the end of it in her mouth and began to suck on it. As I watched, she pushed it in farther and farther until she barely could hold the end of it. Then slowly, she pulled it back out of her mouth. It was coated with her saliva and real slippery looking. All the while she was staring at me like a cornered fawn. Somehow, she’d managed to take a bite of it, and the vegetable filling mixed with stringy white egg was pouring out of the end of the thing. Then, licking her lips once more, she ate the egg roll in two bites, just as cool as could be.

There were two more of them and she repeated the same performance, a little more slowly and sensuously each time while I sat there transfixed, oblivious to the fact that my erection was throbbing visibly behind the fly of my levis.

“Mmmm. That was as good as I remembered.” She was whispering now, as if she were afraid that someone would overhear. “Oh, Whit, we can’t forget our fortune cookies! Want me to read yours?”

“Sure. Why not?” It came out real hoarse and I tried to clear my throat.

“Let’s see.” She cracked open the little crescent-shaped cookie and unfolded the rice-paper fortune to read it to me.

“‘Someone will teach you how to make love this afternoon,'” she read. Then, looking me straight in the eye, she added hesitantly, “If you want her to.”

I tried to speak, but could only nod dumbly. She smiled and put her hand on my knee to brace herself while she stood up. I was still struggling to stand while she crossed quickly to the front door, threw the bolt, and flipped the sign to “Closed.”

* * *

I followed Kim through the doorway at the back of the beauty salon and was surprised to see that it wasn’t a rest room at all. Not exactly, anyway. There was a sink and a toilet, but behind a little half-wall was a single bed with a nightstand next to it. The bed was made up prettily with a patchwork quilt only partially covering a set of snow-white sheets edged in eyelet lace. Two huge pillows with matching cases were resting plumply at the head of the bed. I looked at her questioningly.

“You never know when someone might feel faint and need to lie down,” she said, closing the door behind us.

By that time, my blood chemistry must have included about 50 percent adrenalin. My heart was pounding and my hands were shaking so badly I don’t think I could have unbuttoned my Levis if I’d tried. It seemed like hours since she’d read the message to me from the fortune cookie, “Someone will teach you how to make love this afternoon.” In fact, it was less than five minutes ago. I hadn’t spoken a word to her since, but had watched mute as she closed up her salon and led me to this little hideaway room. Somewhere down deep, I still half suspected it might all be some kind of a practical joke.

Kim slipped off the high-heeled white pumps she’d been wearing and kicked them toward the foot of the bed. The polished nail of her big right toe had snagged her panty hose and the naked tip of her toe was sticking through the fabric. I must have been in bad shape, because even that seemed not only to add to my arousal, but somehow to make her seem a little helpless and endearing. She sat down on the edge of the bed and patted the mattress, signaling me to sit down beside her.

“We need to talk a bit, first, Whit. I want to be sure we understand each other.”

I sat next to her, crossing my ankles and clasping my hands between my spread thighs. I suppose I was trying to cover up the bulge in my pants.

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