“You’ve been staring at my legs for twenty minutes.”

            This statement awoke me from my reverie. I only realized that it was true on hearing it. In this age of pandemic, time and space occasionally seem to collapse in on themselves, leaving one disoriented and without bearings. I had wandered out of my apartment and taken a seat on a bench in the nearby park, enjoying the sun and cool breezes while maintaining the required “social distance” from my fellow human beings. I had begun staring at the legs of the woman who sat on the bench opposite mine, some ten feet away.

Objectively speaking, I could not be blamed. They are magnificent legs, and the woman’s short sun dress and open-toed sandals left their full, tan lengths bare to all wandering eyes. Mine had become glued to them without my realizing. Solitude had become so routine that my normal capacity for self-consciousness (and common civility) had been short-circuited.

            “I’m sorry,” I apologized. “I didn’t mean to be rude, it’s just that you are so…so….”

            “Sexy?” she volunteered, smiling provocatively.

            This made me cough nervously. “Well…,” I stammered, “I was searching for something a bit less forward. ‘Attractive,’ perhaps, or even ‘beautiful.’ But now that you mention it, yes…sexy. Seductive, even.”

            I meant this last statement to be risqué and flirtatious, and was thus disappointed when it was met with a soft laugh and a shrug.

“You wound me,” I teased. “After all, you weren’t putting any effort into seducing me. Give me some credit for creative flattery.”

This elicited another laugh. “If I had a nickel for every time I had heard that compliment,” she said without a hint of irony, “I could double the size of my condo. Seducing Men Without Trying could be the title of my autobiography.”

I thought about this for a moment, studying her attentively. “From anyone else that might sound like arrogance,” I finally replied, “but not from you.” Under most circumstances such sentiments would be empty sweet talk, but in this case it was entirely sincere, and she could tell. Everything about her was turning me on, and she could sense the effect she was having on me.

“Be careful,” she said, showing the first hints of pleasure at our interaction, “people will say we’re in love.”

            “Oh…” I sighed, unable to keep a note of self-pity from my voice. “I wish it were so. The title of my autobiography could be Lucky in Cards, if you know what I mean.”

            Even from ten feet away I could see the look of disbelief cross her face, and it was my turn to be flattered. “Are you saying you’ve never been in love?” she wondered. “A handsome older gentleman like you?”

            I must have blushed at this remark, because my face felt suddenly hot. I had gotten my share of such compliments in my wayward youth, but people’s gaze tends to skip over you more and more as the years go by. Add to that the long isolation of mass “quarantine,” the extreme allure of the woman speaking, and the combined effect was intoxicating. 

            “I confess,” I said, throwing my hands up in mock surrender. “The country songs have all got it right…a gambler’s life is lonely. I supported myself by playing cards for many years before I retired. There were good times. There was a lot of fast living. But no love. No women ever had the patience to hang around long enough to teach me how it feels.”

            She absorbed this for a moment, regarding me with breathtaking green eyes that were kind, but tinged with pity.
“Give me your email address,” she finally said. It was an order.

            “Cardsharp@Xmail.com,” I replied.

            She got up off the bench, favoring me with a look at her whole gorgeous form. The wind from the beach picked up her blond locks and sent them flowing dramatically over her right shoulder. Blowing me a kiss, she began walking away.

            “Aren’t you going to write that down?” I asked her receding back.

            “Don’t need to!” she shouted without looking back, tapping the side of her head with a slender index finger.

            “What is your name?!” I yelled.

            “Goddess Marquesa!”


            That night her email landed in my inbox. It came from an account called hypnodomme@goddessmarquesa.com. I opened it with a mixture of curiosity, excitement, and sheer fascination. The subject line on the email had been left blank. Inside the message read only: “A gift. Because sometimes gamblers get lucky XO.”

            Below the message was a link, authorizing me to download one copy of a file from a website named goddessmarquesa.com. Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I downloaded the file. It was a video entitled “Eternal Love Spell.”

            I laughed. Not at the fact that she is an erotic hypnotist. That makes perfect sense. “Erotic” could be her middle name. I laughed because I could see what she was trying to do, and I was skeptical. I had whined to her about never having experienced love, and so she was going to give me a quick fix. She was going to do to me in a forty-minute hypnosis session what no woman had accomplished in the many years of my long and wasted life. Still, I was not so rude as to forget that it is the thought that counts. I put on a pair of headphones, and hit “Play” on my laptop.

I was immediately absorbed. There she was on my computer screen, the same mouth-watering siren I had encountered in the park, wearing nothing but smolderingly sexy lingerie, garters and stockings. My mind and cock became fixated on her body, her voice began to seep into my ears like a gentle, deliciously relaxing elixir. Invisible fingers reached in to massage my brain, making everything loosen and unwind. Within minutes I was deeply entranced, pulsating in response to her velvet tones.

            I don’t remember much of the rest of that night. The trance itself was like a stationary roller coaster ride. My body remained still, but my soul careened from place to place like a pinball hitting every bumper in a crazy machine. My mind became liquid, waves of feeling rose and crashed like breakers on a stormy shore. Eventually the turbulence exploded in an orgasm so intense it literally left me charley-horsed. Gasping, I got up, cleaned myself off, came back to my laptop, and hit “Play” once more.

             I woke up the next morning a stranger to myself. The whole world seemed different, and it wasn’t because of the pandemic. I felt wonderful and miserable all at once. High on life and sunk in gloom.

            I showered and groomed more carefully than I had in a week and set off for the park. I had been perched for two hours on the same bench where I had met her when she finally appeared. She was dressed much less casually than the day before, torturously stunning in a tight red dress and black nylons like those she wore in the video. When she sat on the bench my chest tightened at the sight of her garters peeking out from the place where the hem of her dress rode up to reveal the tops of her thighs.

            “What have you done to me?” I asked through clenched teeth.

            “Taught you what you wanted to know,” she replied.          

“I can’t stop thinking about you,” I protested.

            “Why would you need to?” she rejoined, an amused smile making her face even more painfully beautiful. “Lots of people spend most of each day thinking about me. Welcome to the club.”

            “I want to be with you. Do things for you. Make you happy.”

            She laughed. “My website makes it possible to kill all those birds with one stone,” she said. “Buy my recordings. Use them. My bank account will fill, I’ll be happy, and you can have Me deep inside your head as much as you like.”

            I stood up from my bench and took a step toward her reaching out to touch her, but stopped as she raised a restraining hand.

            “Please…” I begged.

            “A pandemic is raging,” she said, “do you want to put Me in danger?”

            As soon as she said it my heart froze. No! I couldn’t see her hurt in any way. Let the rest of the world burn, as long as she was safe and happy!

            I lowered my head in surrender, but began sobbing. I couldn’t control myself.

            She stood up, her face a mask of sympathy. “I give you permission to kiss the ground beneath my feet,” she said. As she walked away I did just that. The park wasn’t crowded, but the few people there must have been shocked to see a gray-haired man in neatly pressed clothes, down on all fours, lips pressed to the asphalt of the walking path.

            The next few weeks were a blur. I spent the nights watching her videos and listening to her recordings. Surrendering to the sweet ecstasy as my mind dissolved under the brilliant glare of her will.

            The days I spent in the park, rain or shine. Some days she would appear, and we would talk. I hung on her every word, learning about her tastes, her interests, her sense of humor. On other days she was in a silent mood, but she would let me sit and bask in the sight of her as she read a book or enjoyed the sunshine. I always waited to leave after her, so that I could kiss the spot where her feet had rested, or press my nose against the part of the bench that had cradled her ass and inhale her scent.

            It was bliss, but it was torture too. My appetite for food diminished. I lost weight. My sleeping was fitful. My complexion changed.

            “You look awful,” she said as we sat facing one another on our usual benches, one day several weeks after we had first met.

            “You did this to me,” I accused. “This isn’t any kind of love I’ve read about. Love begins like a bonfire, but if it is true it mellows. Becomes sweet. You keep burning in my blood like a narcotic. You hypnotized me into addiction, not love.”

           She met this with a silent smile. After about a minute, she asked softly, “Is that what you really believe?”

I hesitated, expecting her to say more. To protest. But she just held my gaze in her emerald eyes and waited.

            I lowered my head. Tears rolled down my cheeks. I thought for several minutes, and raised my eyes to meet hers again. Staring into her gaze for a minute more, realization hit me like lightning.

            “No,” I answered. “This is not addiction. Love might fade when it is for other people, but not for you. You seduced me the day we met, you have been seducing me ever since, and you will keep seducing me for as long as I draw breath. Not because of anything you do, not because of any special effort you make. Because of who you are. What you embody. You are too special. Too magical. To know you is to love you, and to love you is to want to love you more.”

            She winked and blew me a kiss. “I told you you got lucky, gambler,” she quipped. “Other people have to love and lose to learn this lesson, but you never have to lose Me. You just have to suffer.”

            “I am suffering,” I groaned. “What can I do? What do you expect me to do?”

            Standing from her bench, she declared, “I expect you to thank Me.”

            And so I did thank Her. On my knees, hands clasped before me as if in prayer, as people all around us gawked.

            I thanked Her then and I thank Her still. What She taught me is a higher truth. The poets say that to have loved and lost is better than to never have loved at all. I can’t speak to that, but one thing I have learned: to love Goddess Marquesa and suffer endlessly is better than…well, just about anything.


 The End