Parasite Paradise

*Reader Beware!* The material below is not suitable for persons under the age of 18. Use caution before scrolling down. Post includes adult language and situations.

With that said, included below is a short story I wrote during my years at Berea College. A friend of mine once told me to write about what you know. At the time the material I knew best was parasites. My Parasitology class was absolutely riveting, and this was my opportunity to mold that with creative writing. Hopefully the experience is enjoyable for you as it was for me.

Clonorci…oh God! Cl…Cl…Clonorcis sinensis!”

“Oh baby, you make me so hot when you talk like that!”

Schistosoma japonicum!”

“Yes! Yes!”

The desk pounded an odd rhythm against the wall, a harsh rendition of the “Ode to Joy.” Forrest supposed it was an apt melody to be reminded of considering the circumstances. The most enjoyable of circumstances, he might add. One he had been enjoying for the past several months. He could feel the energy coursing through him and the adrenaline pulsing through his veins

His lab assistant was face down underneath him, her soft belly pressed against the plastic of the desk and her legs spread open wide. He thrust as hard as he could, his legs tiring from the effort. Forrest could hear her keening; she huskily begged for more. Their pants had been discarded and were lying in a heap on the dirty laboratory tiles.

“Hepatospleenomegaly…”

“Oh God, yes!”

Forrest’s body was sweating and the roaring in his ears grew louder until he could hear nothing but the cries of the woman beneath him, feel the sweat on their joined bodies. He gripped a lock of her brown hair in his palm, tugging, rubbing the other hand down the small of her clothed back to rest on her bare behind.

She loved how smoothly those scientific names rolled of his tongue, or so she told him before. It was those names which had gotten him into trouble in the first place. He was rattling off the life stages of Proterometra macrostoma, quite unconsciously, when he felt himself go over the edge for the last time. His body exploded and he collapsed onto her, breathing heavily.

**

His lab coat was wrinkled, covered in a substance no one working in the building would mistake as an accidental spill. He would have to hide it in his briefcase on the way home. He locked the research lab with one click of the key before straightening to adjust his tie in the window reflection. He watched as his research assistant pulled her skirt down, shuffling her clothes around into some facsimile of order. Forrest wondered if she had remembered her tiny little panties, thrown about on the floor?

Together they left the lab, walking in tandem down the brightly lit corridor. Man and woman were reaching the door when…

“Well, Dr. Forrest, you sure are working late. Evenin’, Miss Armstrong.”

The two scientists stopped. Forrest’s beautiful brunette lab assistant nodded demurely in the janitor’s direction, avoiding eye contact as she wrapped her white coat tightly around her.

The doctor turned then to smile in the older man’s direction while fixing him with a conspirator’s grin. “You know, Marshall, the most important discoveries are often made after hours.” Forrest winked, beginning to walk once again toward the exit. “You have a splendid night, now.”

“And to you both as well! Tell the missus I say hello.”

“Ah, yes. I will.”

At the door, the two people went their separate ways, traveling to their respective cars with nothing more than polite goodbyes.

**

It was raining when Forrest pulled beside his house, his traditional suburban home with the white picket fence. He parked the car in the driveway as the van was securely tucked away in the garage. Using his newspaper to dodge the large drops and keep his hair pristine, Forrest hurried inside. He let the door slam behind him as he shook the water off his coat like a wet dog. It felt delightful to be home. Following his comfortable routine, Forrest hung his sports jacket in the closet while carefully placing his sneakers in the holder as his wife insisted. He left his briefcase in the car.

The smells from the kitchen hit him instantly. Forrest inhaled deeply, sighing as his feet carried him in the direction of the dining room. He could make out the delicious scents of roast chicken, macaroni and cheese, collard greens…chocolate bundt cake?

Oh Cynthia, she’d baked his favorite dessert. Forrest hoped he hadn’t forgotten anything important, like an anniversary or a birthday. He did a quick scan of his mental calendar and couldn’t for the life of him imagine what kind of special occasion it was.

He saw his wife in the kitchen fishing a pan of roasted potatoes out of the oven. He walked up to stand behind her, the fabric of their clothing hardly touching.

“Good evening, my dear.” His voice was hollow against her ear.

Cynthia turned around, startled. “Robert, I didn’t hear you come in.” She leaned her cheek in for the perfunctory “after work” kiss before returning to her cooking duties. “How was work today?”

Forrest grinned, sneaking a small morsel of potato from the dish and instantly burning himself. “Oh, you know. Just the usual. Working with Hymenolepis diminuta again. I had the kids make rat poop shakes. We put the centerfuged products into a trypsin/chymotrypsin bath so they could get the dissecting scopes out and observe the released hexacanth larvae from the oncosphere. Same ole, same ole.”

“You know I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about, don’t you?” Cynthia spared a pained look at her husband from over her bony shoulder as she walked the remainder of the food to the dining room. The vacant look he expected in her eyes was gone for the moment; he was pleased. Cynthia had been coming down with migraines lately. The medicine her doctor prescribed left her a walking zombie. Forrest hardly saw a day when Cynthia wasn’t downing her pills like a child with candy.

She didn’t wait for Forrest to respond. “Would you call Timothy down and tell him it’s time for dinner?”

By the time Forrest had wrangled his 8-year-old son away from the video games, each plate was adorned with the variety of dishes Cynthia had prepared. She was almost too good to him, he thought. He took his seat at the opposite end of the table as was customary. Cynthia was brought up in an old fashioned household; all the rules of propriety were still maintained in their own home, in respect to her upbringing. Timothy sat to one side, while the seat across from him remained vacant. Their teenage daughter must have decided to stay over at a friend’s house.

Inevitably, the question of his tardiness was broached over greens. “So,” Cynthia asked as she finished chewing. “What kept you so late?”

Forrest swallowed. For a split second he imagined the mashed potatoes tasted like cardboard. “It was those college students, always making a mess. It took Miss Armstrong and me hours to clean up after lab. And you know me; I find something new and become distracted.” Forrest took a giant bite of his chicken, pretending to be heartily interested in the seasoning. “Mmm, this is scrumptious. What did you use on this bird? Timothy, don’t you think your mother’s chicken is particularly delicious tonight?” He gave his son a hearty slap on the shoulder.

He knew using his son for an excuse was a low thing to do. But he didn’t care.

“Armstrong? You mean, Kimberly Armstrong?” Cynthia seemed like a dog on a bone, bypassing his compliments to her cooking to reach the subject she somehow must have realized that Forrest didn’t want to discuss.

“Um, yes, Kimberly. I think that’s her name.”

.  Cynthia lightly tapped the front of her head as though just now putting two and two together“She used to babysit for Tim and Linley! Don’t you remember?”

“Oh, is she really the same girl? I had no idea! She looks so different.”

“I bet. It’s been, what? Five years? She must be almost 21 by now. She must have grown up.” Cynthia chewed a bite of greens thoughtfully before eying her husband. His cheeks had taken on a ruddy color.

“Yes, quite the pretty young woman.” Forrest agreed. He tried to ignore his wife’s careful scrutiny from across the table. Despite her addiction to prescribed pills, Forrest knew his wife had a keen eye.

“Yes, I imagine.” Cynthia was quiet for a moment, emitting a small sigh before speaking again. He was hiding something, but she couldn’t quite put her finger on what it could be. She felt a small pain begin at the base of her skull. “Funny, though, how she came to be your lab assistant. You never really mentioned her name.”

Forrest muttered a reply, something to the effect of “small world,” continuing to shove dinner down his throat.

“…You’re being awfully quiet tonight, Robert,” she commented, reaching over to halfheartedly slap Tim’s hand away from the salt shaker. “Is something the matter? Is work getting to you again?”

Forrest said nothing was wrong, once again smiling in her direction. He said he was tired from another long day at the office.

With a nod, Cynthia rose from the straight backed chair, picking up her dish. She wouldn’t get anything out of him tonight. The thought of the distance in their marriage left Cynthia feeling bitter; she wasn’t hungry anymore.

“I’m not feeling well. I think I’ll go take something for my head and lie down. Tim, please take your plate into the kitchen when you’re finished…”

She trailed off, moving out of the room like a dried leaf in the wind. There was nothing more to do.

Forrest watched her go, and then turned to his son. “So, Tim, how was school today?”

***

Forrest whistled on the way to work, the “Ode to Joy.” He could already imagine how hot Kimberly’s body would be once those few scientific names slipped from his lips, how wonderful she would feel beneath him. He was so distracted by the picture of her naked that he almost drove off the road.

Cynthia was asleep when he fell into bed, sleeping mask snugly fit over her brittle blonde hair. Sated from earlier Forrest hadn’t felt the need to grab her close or wrap his hands around her small breasts and rouse her from sleep. In times past he would have done just that. Instead, he found himself thinking of parasites.

Forrest walked briskly into his classroom, glad to see that Miss Armstrong had begun in his absence. Undergraduate students could be lazy especially on continuing experiments. Today he noticed their attention acutely focused on the young lady in the front of the room. He let his eyes rove over her body, clad in a tight pair of jeans and a college t-shirt. She glanced in his direction once, to acknowledge his presence before returning to the board. He felt one sharp pull in his stomach. His students could leer at her all they wanted. She was fucking him.

He was no longer affected by the droll of college laboratories; that was Miss Armstrong’s duty. With his tenure he could now leave the menial work to her and focus on his research.

Forrest made his way to his office, flopping down in his worn chair. The seat gave with a creaky sigh. The doctor was in his element, surrounded by test tubes and smells of various chemicals. His office was filled with vials labeled with various names of parasites. A particularly gross collection of tapeworms and hookworms adorned the desk in front of him, lined perfectly straight. Forrest had collected these specimens himself during his graduate research. The FAA storing the worms had turned yellow with age and the parasites sat curled at the bottom of the glass like discarded intestinal lining. If he looked close enough, he could make out the rows of cutting plates on Necator americana.

Parasites had always been a fascination for him, though he wasn’t sure of the reason. In the beginning Forrest was almost afraid to eat, considering his new found knowledge of trematodes, nematodes, tapeworms and the like. Now he considered the various phyla his companions. He enjoyed his work and, in the end, the delectable and dangerous pests helped him make money. He tore his attention from the vials lining the office and changed into a clean lab coat.

It was hours later when she sauntered into the room, leaning one shapely hip against the door frame. Forrest caught a whiff of her perfume first, his first indication that he was no longer alone. She cleared her throat delicately.

Forrest looked up from his computer and noticed the calculating look in her blue eyes. “Is there something I can help you with, Miss Armstrong?”

“Your wife called.”

Forest swiveled his chair to face her. “Did she say what she wanted?”

“Just checking in, said she didn’t hear you come to bed last night.” She walked toward him. “The students are almost done with their experiments.”

“Is that so?”

Kimberly was so young, so effervescent, so intelligent; she reminded Forrest of everything he had once been, had once possessed those many years ago. She made him feel that way again, the way he did when he was young and could have any woman he wanted. With Cynthia whenever the days came when she consented to sex, Forrest just felt old. The play of light along her laugh lines, the texture of her aging skin-it reminded him that it wasn’t just his wife that was getting on in years, but himself as well. The excitement was gone from their partnership. Some may call it a mid-life crisis. Forest, however, chose to view the circumstances as a sort of transitioning from one stage of himself to another. So he continued his affair despite his genuine affection for his wife. Besides, fucking Kimberly was amazing.

She came within inches of the desk, leaning slightly inward so that her chest was tantalizingly close. One eyebrow rose. “Would you help me get something out of the utility closet? It’s on the top shelf and I just can’t…reach.”

He consented immediately. No one in their right mind would tell that girl no. He followed her out of the room, telling the class over his shoulder to continue their lab exercise. He could feel his member beginning to harden in his jeans. Perhaps it was the smell of chemicals, or the way her rear swayed in front of him, but Forest couldn’t remember the last time he was so excited.

The door to the utility closet was hardly closed when she leaped on him. Forrest felt her legs wrap around his waist as he pressed her lithe body hard against the wall. At the moment, he didn’t care if the entire university knew what he was doing, as long as they didn’t say anything. He ravaged her mouth, fondled her breasts.

She murmured in his ear how she’d wanted him all day and was already wet for him, followed by the demand for more Latin names. Forrest couldn’t understand why she allowed him to do those sinful things to her body; he never asked. He always just supposed that she was a horny teenager and he held the allure of the older man.

“Say it!”

“Why do you always want me to talk about parasites, Kim?” His voice was ragged, and he could hear the blatant desire behind every word.

“It turns me on, ok? Say it! Yank my hair!” He felt her fingernails rake his chest. Forrest was absolutely fine with her desire to hear the names of parasites he knew so well, although it was strange why she liked hearing them when she knew full well what each parasite was and its pathology. The act was just a small peculiarity which cost him nothing, though he had drawn the line at her request to call him “Daddy.”

She was doing amazing things with her tongue; Forrest felt his hips begin to piston on their own accord.

FaFasciola hepatica.”

He fumbled to unbuckle his pants while babbling the pathology of Taenia solium. Kimberly was nibbling on his ear while shoving her pants to the floor. Forrest plunged a finger into her body, delighted to feel that she was indeed wet for him. The knowledge temporarily drove all thoughts from his head, though he was reminded of his duty when she bit him hard on the neck. Forrest resumed his recitation, and was just pushing inside of her when a knock sounded on the door.

“Um…Dr. Forrest? Your wife, ah, your wife’s here. She says it’s important.”

Forrest let his head fall until it rested against the shelf. When he spoke, he was surprised his voice was steady and normal. “Thank you, Chamberlin. Will you please tell Cynthia that I will be out in a minute?”

The sound of retreating footsteps was his answer. Forrest met Kimberly’s hazy gaze, wanting nothing more than to thrust fully inside and feel her muscles clamp around him. His sense of duty kept him from doing just that. She nodded in understanding, withdrawing and slowly putting her jeans back as they untangled their limbs.

Moments later Forrest joined his wife in his office. He had done the best he could with his appearance, even going so far as to find a tie to hide the love marks on his neck. He figured he looked the picture of the tousled parasitologist after a day of research; Cynthia would understand.

And there she was, smiling at him. “Good afternoon, darling.”

She seemed utterly ill-suited to the surroundings. She was a picture of a southern lady in the midst of a scientist’s beehive of unkempt order and tasteless jars of worms. Her perfectly styled hair caught the sunlight; Forrest thought she looked like a bowl of ice cream in the middle of a Thanksgiving dinner. She didn’t belong there.

The drug haze was gone; Cynthia would know what he had been doing only moments before. Forrest moved to the opposite side of his desk, maintaining distance. “What brings you down to the university today, pet?”

“Did Kimberly not tell you I called?”

Was her voice a tad harsh? Or was he imagining things?

“I don’t need a reason to visit you at work. I am your wife.” Cynthia turned on her heel and reached down. She straightened, holding a crisp brown bag out for him to take. “I brought lunch.”

Forrest was unsure of what to do. The nostalgic part of him wanted to cross the room to take Cynthia in his arms, place his roughened lips to hers and reassure her that he was glad she’d come. Instead he was unmoved, hands shoved deep into his pockets. “You didn’t have to bring me lunch.”

“It’s proper for a wife to care for her husband.” Cynthia refused to look at him when she said that. He could see how difficult it had been for her to come. The emotions were written on her face.

“I thought I would stop by on my way to church. We’re having a bake-off.”

“That’s nice, dear.” Forrest shuffled papers around to avoid going to her. It wasn’t that he felt no love for his wife; that was not the case. In fact the entire affair with a girl young enough to be his daughter had absolutely nothing to do with Cynthia or his feelings about their marriage. He was simply a man bogged down by the banality of his life. His profession ie salary left little recourse to remedy whatever mental affliction from which he suffered.

“I thought that you and I should take a vacation soon, just the two of us.” Cynthia began softly, reaching around the space to grab his hand. “Just a nice weekend to get away. It’s been so long since we’ve…”

A hard rap sounded. Kimberly stood scowling in the doorway, her beautiful mink hair disheveled. “Doctor, one of the students has a question for you that I wasn’t able to answer. I told him you would be right out.”

Forrest widened his eyes. “Not now, Miss Armstrong, please.”

Cynthia turned toward the doorway, noting the way the younger woman glared at her. “Well, Kim Armstrong. It’s been a long time.”

She forced herself to hold out a hand in greeting. Kimberly took it as though the skin was contaminated. The contact was as light and perfunctory as possible, bordering slightly on rude. “Yes, Mrs. Forrest, it has been.”

Cynthia straightened while taking in the adult version of the girl she would always remember as the gangly pre-teen who watched their babies after school. Kimberly stood still under the appraisal. Cynthia saw her glance at Forrest as though she wanted him to say something. For the first time, Cynthia acknowledged the connection between the two, and the strain hanging in the room like a blanket.

Without any further utterance, Cynthia diverted her gaze and gathered her worn purse. Her posture was defensive.

“I can see that you two are busy. I feel just awful for imposing on your time.” She made sure to inject as much bite in her voice as she could manage. She couldn’t pretend anymore. The evidence was there, right before her eyes. Cynthia’s head began to pound and she strove to ignore the pain.

“Cynthia, you don’t need to leave right now. Stay for another moment.” Forrest finally moved from behind the safety of his desk, reaching his arms out to her. She saw the giant hickey on his neck, only partially hidden behind his tie. She couldn’t hide from the truth any longer.

Cynthia flinched away from the contact. She reached into her purse instead, digging deep until her fingers wrapped around a familiar cylinder. She tugged the pills out into the light and attempted to remove the child proof lid.

“We can have our talk when I get home today.” Forrest continued as he watched his wife struggle.  “I’ll even fix dinner. Miss Armstrong, would you please go attend to the class?”

Kimberly didn’t move. Cynthia noticed that the superiority plastered all over the girl’s face; why had she tried to pretend that nothing was wrong?

It was with much difficulty that Cynthia finally won her battle. She removed two slightly yellow pills and stuffed them to her mouth, swallowing without water. Even the familiar act filled her with the strength she needed to continue.  She lifted her head until she held Forrest’s gaze, speaking soft and emphatically. “After church, Robert, I need to go to the pharmacy to renew my prescription. I’m running low. Dinner will be ready when you get home. Don’t you even worry about that vacation.”

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