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Missionary Position

By:Daisy Prescott


Geoducks are for Lovers



and



Ready to Fall





To the Doers of Deeds





“Love never loses its way home.”

~Proverb





“YOU SHOULD MEET my brother.”

I had been picked up many times in airport bars, but a brother set up was a first. Not that I expected the woman sitting next to me—with her glass of Pinot Grigio—to be the type to hit on strange women, but this was JFK. A crossroads of world travelers meant anything was possible. We’d been sitting silently next to each other at a sushi bar, poking away at our phones when our identical orders of spicy tuna hand-rolls were placed in front of us. She initiated a conversation and we fell into an animated discussion about the delicious merits of quality sushi.

Married? Never. Her? Divorced

Kids? No way. Her? A thirteen-year-old daughter.

From? Portland. Her? Chicago. Her accent told me she wasn’t born there. I guessed someplace like Scandinavia where they bred supermodels.

The typical questions of where we were headed and sharing our woes of travel followed. I liked her.

“Is your brother in Dubai?” I asked. Anita had shared her excitement over her upcoming week there. I admitted it sounded glamorous and far more luxe than my travel plans.

“No, Dubai is for business and a little fun. My brother’s in Amsterdam, where I’m from. You did say you’re going to Amsterdam, didn’t you?”

Dutch. I was close. Must be all the cheese. Or chocolate.

“Oh, right. I’ll be there for a week before my work takes me to Ghana.”

“Are you a missionary?” the athletic blonde asked me.

“A missionary in Amsterdam? Is anyone that much of a masochist? I’m not even a fan of the missionary position.”

She spit out her wine. Wiping her chin with a napkin, she gathered her composure. “I thought perhaps you planned to visit Amsterdam to sin a little before doing the good work in Africa. Isn’t that what most Americans do there? Meddle with the best intentions in the name of a church?”

I blinked at my bar mate. “Not a fan of religion?”

“I grew up in the Netherlands. Churches are for tourists in most towns.”

I laughed. “I think I’ll fit right in there. To answer your question, I’m a professor. My sabbatical is taking me to Amsterdam, and then on to Accra to study the female form in Ashanti sculptures.”

“You study naked women?”

“Not only women. I’m an equal opportunity nudist. I mean I study the human form across cultures. Nothing against the penis, but it’s hard to represent one in all its glory without it seeming silly or grotesque.” I giggled, and Anita did, too. “I prefer female bodies in art with all the beautiful variation.”

She blatantly swept her gaze over my body, from my messy, dark bob down to my overnight flight outfit of an open cardigan over exposed, but tasteful, cleavage, down to my yoga pants and comfortable but not fashionable flats. Maybe she was hitting on me. I straightened the scarf around my neck.

“You really should look up my brother.” She tapped her phone, bringing it to life. “I’ll give you his information. Text him. He’ll be perfect company while you’re in Amsterdam.” Out of her designer bag, she pulled a business card and an expensive looking pen, which she used to scrawl a name and number on the back of her card.

“Your brother’s name is Gerhard?” I failed to fully stifle my snort. Get hard. Gerrharrd. Gerhard would make the perfect name for a scoundrel pirate. I’d have to remember it for my next pirotica novel.

“I know. Isn’t it the most uptight name? I wish I could say it doesn’t suit him, but he can be a complete prat sometimes.”

The garbled voice of a boarding announcement broke over the speakers. She glanced down at her watch.

“Oh, my flight’s boarding. Call Gerhard. I think you’d have fun with him.”

“Didn’t you just say he was a prat?”

“Sometimes, but women seem to love the bad boys, don’t they?” She gathered her things and left a sizable tip on the bar. “Great to meet you, Selah. Best of luck with your sabbatical.”

I smiled at my new supermodel friend. If her brother shared her genes, maybe I would look him up when I arrived. “Bye, Anita.”

“Say hi to Gerhard for me.” With a sparkling white smile and a wave, she disappeared into the crowd of travelers.

What an odd, yet friendly, woman.

I spun her card on the bar. Anita Hendriks, management consultant. She had the same last name; the brother part could be legit. Gerhard, though. Get harder. I giggled and finished the last of my saketini. Scrolling through my mental file of lovers, aka The United Nations of Peen, I realized I’d never slept with a Dutchman. Maybe Gerhard could check off an item on my fuck-it list.





BEING A PROFESSOR might sound glamorous and interesting to some, but for me it meant having to fly coach on international flights. A window seat earned me a place in a slightly higher level of hell than a middle seat or the row right next to the bathrooms where the seats didn’t recline. Still, it was hell nonetheless.

The crush of summer tourists filled the flight to capacity. College backpackers, stoners, and shifty-eyed men populated the plane. I doubted they would be seeing any Van Goghs or Rembrandts.

I wanted a cigarette. Damn quitting. Stupid aging and health. I reached into my bag for a piece of nicotine gum. Over the past three months, I’d managed to wean myself off cigarettes, deliciously comforting, soothing, invigorating, cancer-causing cigarettes. After smoking for decades, I missed the habit of it. At least flights were smoke-free these days. Otherwise, I might have been tempted to stand in the smoking section and acquire a contact nicotine hit.

Groggy after a sleep-aid induced nap, a gray sky greeted me when the plane landed at Schiphol Airport. Even in summer, Amsterdam had more rain than my beloved Portland. And cooler temperatures, I realized as I wrapped my scarf tighter around my neck. The variation in climates meant I had packed for three seasons for two countries. Ghana promised to be hot, humid, rainy, and dry, but never cool.

At immigration, Anita’s business card fell to the floor when I reached for my passport. The man who picked it up and handed it to me looked half my age, which meant he was young enough to be one of my students. This reality didn’t stop him from brushing against my side and flirting with me while we waited in line. With his guidebook opened to “cafés” I knew the type of adventure he wanted. Been there, smoked that. Before he could continue his attempt to flirt or ask to share a cab into the city, I brusquely thanked him and moved forward to the immigration agent.

Sitting in the back of a cab slowly making its way through morning rush hour into the heart of Amsterdam, I pulled out Anita’s card with Gerhard’s name on it. I admitted I was more than curious. After the attentions of the much younger man in line, I wondered how old Anita’s brother was. It would be crazy to call him. Anita was gorgeous, and if her brother swam in the same gene pool, chances were he was just as tall, blond, and athletic. Everything I didn’t typically find attractive. Although I shut down Backpack Romeo in the airport, these days my type meant anyone with a pulse, single, and not looking for a housekeeper. Viagra optional. I took pills to sleep and had a wee nicotine addiction. Who was I to judge the need for a little blue pill?

My fingers flicked the card to the beat of a techno song on the radio.

Anita wasn’t a friend or even a friend of a friend. What would I say? Hi, I thought your sister tried to pick me up at a sushi bar at JFK, but turns out she wanted to set me up with you.

No, that wouldn’t work.

Hi, your sister gave me your number. I’ve never had sex with a Dutchman, so I’m calling you. Are you up for some Flying Dutchman action?

No. Wasn’t the Flying Dutchman some haunted ship doomed to roam the oceans forever? Maybe I could ask Gerhard.

Jet lag forced a yawn from me. After stretching my arms and rolling my neck, I tucked the card back into my purse. No need to rush things.

First things first. Coffee and something made of ninety-percent butter. Maybe some cheese. Followed by chocolate.

Maybe some bitterballen.

I snorted. I might have been too old for college backpackers, but my sense of humor still lingered around that of a fourteen-year-old boy.

Amsterdam, I’m coming for you.

You too, Gerhard.





JET LAG SUCKED. I left home yesterday at five-thirty in the morning and landed at about the same local time. My brain was too tired to calculate actual travel hours, and my eyes burned like I’d pulled an all-nighter. My little hotel sat on a narrow street along a canal. Each room had been designed as a mini studio-apartment and the manager left me petite, freshly baked apple pies for breakfast. It was a nap trap. Coffee and breakfast only made me sleepier. I broke the rule about no naps on the first day of jet lag and took an epic nap—I fell asleep after breakfast and woke at dinner. First day in Amsterdam blown. Art and culture would have to wait until tomorrow.

Luckily for me, the sun didn’t set until after ten during summer. Despite being past five, I had a few hours of daylight left to wander around the center. Once outside my little oasis, the sounds and smells of the city greeted me. No less than three bicycles almost ran me over while I stood on the street gathering my bearings. Mind you, I stood in the middle of the street, but ringing the bike bell and shouting at me wasn’t the warmest welcome to Amsterdam.

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