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From Love, Work, and the Other Things



It was nothing more than pure coincidence, being there at that exact moment, standing at the kitchen sink of his second story unit and looking down across the alley into her bedroom window. She entered and removed her blouse and sloughed her brassiere onto the bed. She loosened her skirt, wiggled it from her hips, folded it on the bed, tugged at her waist, sat, stood, and swept hose and panties toward the corner of the room. All at once she was nothing more than sculpted rises and rounds, pale contiguous curves immaculate and beautiful. She pulled a purple kimono from the bedroom door and disappeared from view. The entire disrobing required no more than thirty seconds and it took his breath away.

On Friday, he perched on his tall stool at the design table and waited for his cube mate to settle into his chair. 

"I think I've done something wrong," he said. "I've been watching the woman next door."

           His cube mate, a bear-like man in his late fifties with tremendous mustaches that drooped beneath his nose and draped past his chin, put one leg over the other and squeezed his brown eyes into slits. His baldhead was a rectangular block, the greater length extending from front to rear, a barely perceptible crevice stepped midway from ear to ear. His brow was plowed with a single furrow terminating at his temples and his face was perfectly flat. His nose was no more than a suggestion, the nostrils askew at slightly conflicting vertical and horizontal attitudes. He snapped his head to one side with an audible crunch, raised a can of Dr. Pepper high over his head and drained a stream of sparkling syrup into his mouth.


            "Peeping, I suppose, is more accurate." 

            "I see."

            He crossed his thick forearms over his thick thighs and looked up from beneath wild bushy eyebrows.

            "I didn't begin to peep, you know. It just happened." 

            The cube mate used his toe to open a desk drawer and eased his boot heel into the recess. He looked at his watch and smoothed his mustaches with thumb and forefinger.

            "Whom, if I may so inquire, is it that you have ‘Peeped’?"

            "My neighbor, next door, in the ground level apartment."

            The cube mate rose from his chair, took a section of newspaper from the top of his desk and folded it under his arm. He turned as he stepped into the aisle.

            "She must know by now that you're watching."

            "How would she know?"

            "Women know things."

            "They do?"