John and Miranda

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The Granddaddy of All Lies by Max Ludington

John woke with a start and scanned the room. Miranda was shuffling in one corner near the door, struggling to get dressed. She held onto the jamb with one hand, pushed herself into a pant leg with the other. She looked tired, disoriented as though she had slept too long. Her tight, dark curls were a mess, standing up at the back, matted to her forehead at the front. What John liked most about Miranda, at least compared to the girls who came before, was that she often fell asleep and stayed the night. He loved the way it felt when she drifted off in the crook of his shoulder, the weight of her head increasing as she let go into sleep. She was swearing under her breath.


“Fuck fuck fuck,” she said, still holding onto the door. With her pants still half-down, she hopped over to the bed and dropped down on the bottom corner. Out of the push-up bra she normally wore, her breasts hung low against her chest, but still firm. Her nipples were long and slim and shaped like teardrops.


Sun slanted in between the curtains, had already made its way onto the sheets over his feet. For a basement with high windows that looked out onto a sidewalk, his apartment got a lot of light. He was warm, didn’t want to move, but his stomach was empty and his bladder full. He sighed and moved the heavy duvet away, exposing his naked skin to the crisp morning air. “Did you open a window?” he asked. “It’s only April, for Christ’s sake.”


“It stinks in here. You should air the place out every now and then.” She looked at her watch and shook her head. “Fuck.”


“What are you late for?”


“A client.”


“But it’s eleven a.m.”


“Yeah, well, I’m about twelve hours late. Hand me my leg.”


John reached down under the covers and pulled out her leg, the black blade at the bottom tangling in the blankets. “It’s caught.”


“Here,” she said, and leaned across him. Her breasts slid over his leg and cock. He looked down at her ass as she struggled with the blankets, one buttock stretching back into a long shapely leg, the other ending six inches below in a twisted and puckered stump. She wrestled with the prosthetic as though it were the last root from a stubborn tree stump. “God, you really can’t function in the morning. Fuck, I can’t believe I fell asleep again.”


She swung the leg free, passing it over his chest and face before bringing it into place under her stump. As she slid herself into the padded cradle with a soft hiss, John felt his cock expand and roll over on his abdomen. In the daylight he could see everything much more clearly than by the candles they lit at night. Miranda stood up, stepped into her pants and hiked them to her waist. Without buttoning them, she picked up her bra, reached into it backwards, fastening it at the front and then spinning it around into place before lifting it up over her tits. A moment later she was pulling her blouse out of the piles of clothes around the bed.


“Miranda . . . ”


“Sorry, man. I got to go make some phone calls. I’ll let myself out. Why don’t you take a nice long shower and maybe wash this stuff? It really does stink in here.” With her shirt hanging, two buttons undone, and her shoes hooked by two little fingers, she slipped out of the room and into the hall. John heard her pass through the kitchen and into the stairwell of the building. A few seconds later the curtains bellowed as the pressure changed from her exit sucked new air into the room. John rolled over and pulled the blankets back up to his chin.


On the nightstand was the envelope she had opened the night before, the ten crisp twenties she had flicked between her fingers as though she were snapping to a quick tune still inside. John blinked and reached over. It wasn’t the first time she had forgotten to take her pay.

John scooped his stale clothes into black garbage bags and made his way across the street to the laundromat. It was always deserted so early on a Saturday. A woman of about forty sat on a folding chair near the back, her crossed leg kicking a colorful plastic sandal. She was reading a magazine about celebrities. John smiled and began to separate his clothes into the large, drum-like washers.


Halfway through the load, John found Miranda’s lacy, red thong in the leg of one of his pants. He pulled it out and examined it for the first time in the light. Once, a few months before, she had let him hold a pair to his face, rub them against his chin. She charged him an extra twenty that night, she said, because she wasn’t into that weird stuff. Looking through the lace, John could see the woman at the back watching him over her magazine. By the expression on her face, he guessed she was thinking these belonged to his wife or girlfriend. John rolled them into a ball and stuffed them in his pocket.


Money was on his mind. Miranda had a no nonsense attitude about it, a regular pattern. She came in, hung her bag over the back knob of the door, counted her money and then sat down for a drink. She always kept the envelope with her: even when they hit the bedroom, she’d lay it down on the nightstand where she could see it. John always figured it was nothing personal, just an aspect of the trade. If she ever fell asleep, John assumed she would take it in the morning. In fact, most times, she was gone before he even woke up. Lately though she had been getting sloppy. The washing machine went into the loud spin cycle.


The woman at the back of the laundromat stood up and checked her dryer. Her legs were short and chubby, but nice, clad in stretchy, black fabric. Stirrups disappeared down the arches of dry, scaly feet into her thong sandals. She looked John over and smiled invitingly. The whir of his machines died simultaneously, like jet engines cooling down.


As he shifted his clothes into the dryer, John thought of the first time Miranda had come over. When the buzzer had rung and he’d let her in, he was shocked: there was nothing wrong with her. She was tall and blonde, wearing a short black jacket over a white blouse and long black billowing pants. John frowned, thinking of her ad, but she walked past him and over to the couch where she sat down with a loud click. As her pants tightened around the knee, John could see the articulated shape of her prosthetic leg. She smiled and ran her hands down her thighs.


“I’m Miranda,” she said.


“Obviously . . . ” he replied nervously, regretting his tone immediately. She frowned and reached into her leather bag.


“Do you have anything to drink?”


John moved to the kitchenette and poured two glasses of cheap rye over ice. The bottle was almost drained and he was forced to wait as it drizzled a fair amount into each tumbler. As he came back into the living room, Miranda had laid out six types of condoms on the coffee table, as well as a printed list of rules. John set her drink down beside a fluorescent pink circle wrapped in cellophane.


“Two hundred, right?” he asked, and pulled a folded envelope from his pocket.


She nodded and took the cash, counted it with her quick, sharp snaps, then stood up and began looking around the apartment. She lingered over his music collection. She pulled out an ELO vinyl, set it on the turntable and said, “So what do you do?”


“Is it your leg?” he asked, taking a sip of his rye. She looked at him closely, set the needle on the record and walked over to the coffee table to pick up her drink. She knocked it back with a single belt.


“Is that a problem?”


“Well, I just thought . . . I thought it would be an arm or something.”


“Or something? You know, it’s kind of limited, really. I mean, fifty-fifty, arms or legs.”


“Oh, I—”


“Would you like to see?”


“I guess.”


Miranda stepped in close to his chest, looked him in the eye. She laced an arm around his neck, then another, until she could cross wrists behind his head. She pressed herself against him, starting at the top and slowly moving down until he could feel the hard metal of the prosthesis against his knee. Her breath was cool against his neck, but her skin was hot. She slid her hands down his back and sides and then trailed them to her midriff where she slowly undid the button at her waist. She stepped back and began to slide the pants down over her skin. She was wearing a high-cut black thong, straps resting up near her waist. There were some flesh-colored bandages crisscrossing under the fabric of her panties. An inch below her hips, she stopped and looked him in the eye again. She nodded questioningly and he swallowed and nodded back.


A loud screech sounded the end of his drying cycle. John tried to move around the woman between him and the folding area, but she seemed to be purposefully blocking his way. She looked up at him and smiled. John thought of the underwear in his pocket. She had obviously seen it, knew it came out of his laundry bag. He wondered at the nerve of some people. Didn’t she know he was seeing someone?


John packed his clothes without folding them and left the laundromat in a huff.



George Murray and

George Murray and