On the nightstand, my phone vibrated, and the flashlight blinked twice. A text.
I tried to ignore it. I had been attempting to put away my phone at 10:30 every night. I wanted better sleep, more sleep, and to feel great the next morning. I read about the benefits online, so it had to be true.
It had been tough to avoid the phone though. I feel like I am missing a party or potentially left out of the biggest news of the century.
This text arrived at 11:17 p.m. I was in bed and watching TV. My eyes were half-open as I tried to focus on the monotonous sitcom. The bland, rinky-dink humor could not keep my attention, so I could not stop glancing at the phone.
I wanted to know who was texting me so late and why. My curious mind told me this may be an emergency. Someone may be in dire need. If they told me, if the text wasn’t for me, it would be nice to let the sender know the text went to the wrong number. I would be a humanitarian, or at least a friendly neighbor. Nevertheless it was after 10:30, and I was living by that new rule. But what if?
I glanced at the phone. Laying there now within reach and holding some information that I may need. So, like always, curiosity won. I took the phone.
Adjusting my eyes to the bright screen, I saw the text message:
“Storm’s power is down, shield off.”
A storm and a shield? Sounded like an incorrect message from the National Weather Service. The weather app on my phone showed a warm evening with no storms on the horizon. And weather service would not need to tell me about a power outage of one of its shields.
I pieced together scenarios that included storm power and a downed or disconnected satellite. Nothing worked out to be coherent. The message was a mystery that I didn’t or couldn’t understand, so I chalked it up to a wrong number. More than a mere wrong number, I didn’t reply to the sender. The message was odd enough that it may be a trick.
I shoved the phone under my pillow and rolled over in bed, my back to the phone.
It was only a few minutes later that the phone buzzed again. 11:24. I grunted and grabbed the phone. I was ready to let the sender know, in no uncertain terms, that this cell number was not the National Weather Service or anyone interested in coming storms. This new text confused me even more.
“U able to pump her up?”
A storm and now pumping it up was even stranger. How does someone pump up a storm? The weather service can’t do that. And a “her”? Who refers to a storm as a female nowadays.
I checked the phone number: a 646 area code. It was a city number. But there are plenty of weirdos in the city. Scammers are everywhere too. It may be a local number but sent by someone across the world.
That’s when it clicked: Storm.
I grinned. “I can’t believe it. That crazy woman.”
You see, I went to a costume party two weeks ago. A fun night. Really fun.
I had my grandfather’s corncob smoking pipe and a can of spinach in my pantry that may have been as old as the pipe. I found a pair of blue slacks, a black shirt with a red collar, and a yellow belt. I stuffed small pillows into nylons to make oversized forearms and drew anchor tattoos on them. Then I headed off to party and, maybe, find Olive Oyl. I figured finding her may lead me to my nemesis, Bluto.
I took a long ride from Brooklyn to Harlem, getting a lot of glances and grins from riders. At the 125th Street Station, a brittle old man remembered the classic character.
“Aye, Popeye, I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.” He held out a cup for some change. I tossed him two quarters and said, “I’ll be back Tuesday.”
“Fifty cents won’t buy a burger nowadays.”
“In my day, two quarters would buy a bag full.”
“You’re old.” And he laughed wildly.
A few blocks away, I began to hear where I was headed. The beat of the music echoed across the storied, down the street to the intersection where I turned.
I stood in front of a brownstone on West 131st Street in Harlem. The windows on the three floors were bright and open. The closer I got, the more the music boomed into the street and the costumes were everywhere. I saw Prince wearing his purple coat. Vincent Von Gogh carrying an art frame. Naruto, Cinderella, and, of course, a 1980s party girl in a shimmering dress and teased hair.
Walking up the front steps, I think I passed Willie Nelson. He was taking a toke on a long blunt. His long braids, shaggy gray beard and dull eyes were so natural that it may not have been a costume but really him. I decided not to ask.
Inside the house, I found Gary, my friend who invited me. He was Nacho Libre, bare-chested and beer-bellied.
“Popeye!” he called to me.
I raised my spinach can to him. “Looks like a great party. Glad I made it.”
“Getting a beer or eating spinach?”
“Spinach is in case I need some strength later on. I’m planning to start with a shot of whisky and then slow to the pace of beer drinking.”
“Drinks … in the … kitchen,” he stammered as he was dragged away by Mulan. The Chinese woman held a foam sword to his throat.
Gary always got mixed up with unique crowds. He was with bikers for a while, then had a part in a local burlesque show, and worked on creating a video game, offering his storytelling skill. I met him in a cooking class at a community college. Now when he gives me a heads-up about an event, I mark it on my calendar. Rarely do I miss them.
In the kitchen, an iron horse trough was filled with melted ice. Brown bottles of beer, cans of cola, and small bottles of water floated in the cold water.
Roy Rogers carried a bag of ice on his shoulder. He smiled at me and then sang, “Happy trails to you …”
I nabbed a dark Guinness before Roy dumped the bag into the trough.
I just nodded and left the kitchen. The characters were out en masse. And these people didn’t skimp out, pretending to forget it was a costume party. Rock stars, busty nurses, and taut men in tight shirts and booty shorts. As good as my beer was my stroll through the house, taking in all the sights. I saw Janet Jackson on an escapade.
Then I heard a shout from someone across the room. “Aye, Popeye, where’s Olive Oyl?”
“Have you seen her?” I called back.
I got an answer from Richard Simmons wearing his red tank top and shimmering short shorts. “Not my type,” he said flamboyantly. “Keep looking! She’s got to be somewhere.”
This point at a party is where I feel awkward. I have to muster the courage to launch a random conversation or tag along to an ongoing talk. I nuzzled up to a discussion between Beethoven, Harry Potter and Secretariat about the impacts of inflation on the ride-sharing market. I soon walked away. Instead I settled by an ornate fireplace mantel and set my spinach can on it. I leaned against the mantel, scanning the place. The Black Panther had his hands on Storm, teasing and urging her to dance to the chest-thudding electronic beat in the room.
“Come on, girl. Get up on this,” I heard him say.
“Gimme some space, boy,” she said, her hands pushing his chest.
The Panther didn’t stop though. In his dance moves, he knocked Storm’s drink out of her hands. The glass shattered on the floor. The conversations happening in the room paused for a moment, as all heads turned that way.
“See what you did!” Storm shouted. She spun away from him and bumped into me. My bottle fell and cracked on the floor. The conversations paused again.
Quickly, people began to leave the room to avoid stepping on broken glass or losing their drink too.
Storm looked at me. “I am so sorry.”
“At least it wasn’t my spinach,” I told her.
Her mind must have been spinning because of what had happened. It was that, or she wasn’t familiar with classic cartoons.
“I got the one can and dropping it on anyone’s feet really hurts. Ask Bluto.”
“Excuse me. Who?”
I guessed it was a lack of knowledge.
“Did you not spend enough time in front of the TV watching cartoons on Saturday mornings?” I asked.
“Nah. I was busy … uh … learning how to manipulate the weather.”
“Ever heard of Woody the Woodpecker?” I attempted his famous laugh.
It only made her face stale. With shattered glass at her feet and fending off the Black Panther, she wasn’t in a mood for animated laughter.
“I can get another drink for you. What’d you have?” I asked her.
“Tequila and whatever fruit juice I found in the fridge.”
“I’ll be right back.”
“No, I’m going with you.” She grabbed my arm and leaned close. “I think the Black Panther is coming back. I don’t want to be caught again.”
“Choosing Popeye over the Panther, eh?”
“Whatever. I don’t want to dance with him.”
“I guess I am the other option instead of a better choice.” I mustered my best Popeye accent. “I yam what I yam, and that’s all what I yam.”
She was confused by my references.
I shrugged. “An old saying.”
So off she and I went. Downstairs, we passed Big Bad John standing six-feet-six, Bond, James Bond with his shaken martini, and Flavor Flav with his large clock dangling around his neck.
In the kitchen, still poking around the watering hole was Roy Rogers. He said again, “Happy trails to … Storm, how’ve you been? I haven’t seen you around in a few weeks.”
I wasn’t sure if he was in character of the cowboy who faced many storms on the Kansas prairie or if he actually knew this woman in real life.
“Yeah,” Storm said, nodding, “it has been a while. I’ll be back around soon.”
Her answer was vague enough to leave it undetermined.
Storm glanced at me. “Hand me the tequila and the fruit juice.”
Roy Rogers grabbed them before I could, and he mixed them. It was for the better. She started talking to me while the gentle cowboy worked.
“Glad I found you. That guy upstairs was such an ass. When I say leave me alone, I don’t mean I want to play around. I mean leave me the fuck alone.” She shook her head, frustrated.
“I’ll be listening closely to whatever you say. Never upset a storm,” I teased.
“Storms turn bad quick. Just ask that cowboy there.”
Roy Rogers handed her the mixed drink. “Storms ain’t no good.”
I grabbed another Guinness and popped the top. “Did you come with the Black Panther? Or just bump into him?”
“Nah, I came with Cinderella and Tiana.”
“From Princess and the Frog?”
She must have noticed my confusion. “The black girl in the movie?”
“Sorry, I don’t know many Disney movies. Except the classics, Mary Poppins, Alice in Wonderland.”
“Anyway.” She waved off my reply. “The Panther thought he could get all up on me because I’m Storm. Damn fool.”
“And the Panther and Storm are close—in the comics,” I said.
“Yep.” She took a sip of her drink. Her eyes scanned the room.
“Let’s go to the back porch. Tell me about the real Popeye,” she said.
She took my hand, tugging me along. We settled at a small round table on iron chairs. The night was cooling, and the porch quieted things, or more so calmed things—somewhat. I settled into the chair. “So Cinderella and Tiana left you all alone?”
“They found guys.”
“And you haven’t—other than the Panther? I thought they’d come to you first.”
“Aw, aren’t you cute.”
She patted my cheek, like an old aunt would to her young nephew. I didn’t like it. Popeye wouldn’t either. It was a cut. In a moment, I wasn’t interested in her any more.
“I try to be cute.” I flashed a sarcastic grin. “Well, have a safe night.” I stood, grabbed my spinach in one hand, and the neck of the Guinness bottle in the other.
“Hey, where you goin’?” she asked.
I paused. “I’m not a kid and don’t take to pats on my face. I outgrew them when I was 10.”
“A little sensitive, eh?”
“No. It’s more about respect. Adios.” I saluted her and left for the main room.
Passing out of the kitchen, I noticed the Black Panther heading to the porch. I didn’t warn her—or stop him. Storm could rile up her own escape this time.
A moment later, I heard his excitement when seeing Storm.
“You just left me, shorty,” the Black Panther said.
“Popeye! Popeye! Come back here please,” Storm called. She had a tinge of concern in her voice. She didn’t want to be hanging around the Black Panther. “I got your beer, Popeye. Wait for me!” she called as if I was actually waiting for her.
“Storm, come on, shorty. I’m trying to chill. Why you me leavin’ me for that sailor-boy? He ain’t got nothing,” the Black Panther said.
Storm rushed from the kitchen, disappearing into the mass of costumed partygoers. Just afterward, the Panther appeared in the kitchen doorway. “Don’t dis me, girl. You gonna want this later.”
Suddenly Storm appeared and bumped into me. “Sorry, Popeye. Just keep me from that guy. He’s a total douche.”
I looked at her, stone-faced. I moved my corncob pipe to the opposite side of my lips. She had worry in her eyes, a wish for help.
I took her hand and pulled her through the costumes, moving Marty McFly in his red vest out of the way.
Storm and I went up a floor to a dark bedroom. The room was lit by blacklight that made everything glow in a florescent hue. Storm had a dazzle. Her fingernails were luminescent against her dark skin. Her gray wig of spiked hair glowed brilliant in the light, as did her eyes and teeth. The shape of her body darkened to a silhouette against the florescence of huge posters plastered on the walls. I likely had the same glow.
“Think this’ll do for now?” she asked.
“Yeah for a little while.” I simply locked the door. “He’ll have to fight to get inside. I’m not sure he’s got the necessary stamina.”
With a shimmering smile, Storm wiped the frustration and worry off her forehead with the back of her hand. “I didn’t know Popeye was so clever.”
“I would tell you more about Popeye, about Bluto, about great sea monsters, sailing the seven seas, but you’ve never seen me in action, so there’s no point.”
“Have you ever seen me in action?” she countered.
“In the theater, I have.”
“Pretty good, eh?” She nodded with play cockiness.
“Meh. And critics didn’t take to the movie either.”
She slugged my arm. “You, punk. Critics don’t know anything except how to complain. But you! You would only give me a ‘meh’? Look at this woman.” She ran her hands down her torso to her hips.
“Sorry. I wasn’t impressed. I think you were better in the comics. You had more … uh … spunk.”
“I could only work with the scenes the directors gave me. Hollywood doesn’t make it easy.”
“Have you ever seen me on TV?” I pointed at my chest.
“I don’t watch black-and-white cartoons.”
I plopped onto a beanbag chair underneath a psychedelic poster. That’s when I heard a rattling on the door. “I guessed as much.”
Storm gave me a worried glance.
“It’s locked,” I whispered, with a calm demeanor. She nodded, having eased.
Then the muffled voice said, “I can get in. The pick is right here.”
We looked around the room. The closet. I scrambled from the chair, and tugged her arm into the deeper darkness, just as the bedroom door clicked and eeked open. I heard it close and lock.
A girl giggled and said, “Finally we got away. Take off your pants.”
“I’ve wanted this,” a man said.
And there was a wild series of squeaks from the bed mattress.
Storm and I remained silent, covering our mouths, holding back our laughter as best as we could manage. Who would have guessed this an hour ago?
Hearing the fury on the bed, Storm nudged the door and peeked around it.
She pulled herself back in and mumbled, “Her shirt is off, only a bra.”
“Who is she?” I asked.
“A gothic witch or something. With Jack the Ripper maybe.” She shrugged unsure. “He’s nearly naked.”
I had her move back so I could peek. “She’s pinned. He’s going to fuck her,” I whispered.
We heard the witch’s plea. “Give it to me hard.”
“Yo, we hit the jackpot,” Storm whispered. She gave a wild grin, holding back a giggle. “Love voyeurism, watching people.”
We inched opened the closet door, so we both could snoop in on the action.
Storm remained on her hands and knees. I leaned over her, bracing my arms on the door frame.
I noticed Storm’s hair was still glowing in the black light. “Your wig, take it off,” I whispered. She removed it, and I saw fresh cornrows weaved against her scalp.
The pair on the bed kept working to their ultimate end. In the drive, they scrambled with their clothes, kissed deeply, moaned and grunted, twisted their bodies to rub against each other.
Very soon, my body began to react as a voyeur. My dick began to thicken. I hoped it wasn’t too obvious because this new woman was below me. Nevertheless, my dick steadily grew and shifted upright. Suddenly and embarrassingly, Storm twisted her head toward me. She had felt it.
“Enjoying the view, eh.” She grinned, with a tingle of a snarl. She moved her hips forward and backward, then pressed against me. She knew how to tease. She moved forward enough that I felt her round ass. She shifted her hips side to side so I could feel her round butt and the crevice between her cheeks on my cock.
“You like that.”
I grinned and let my eyes close in enjoyment. Storm rocked back and forth. She rubbed rougher against me.
“You’re enjoying it too,” I said, cocking an eyebrows and pursing my lips.
She gave only a wink and a concealed shrug.
We were startled into voyeurism again when the witch on the bed gave a loud groan and a wail. She winced out the words, “Fuck, yeah. Go hard.”
And the squeaking mattress told Storm and me that the man did as the witch commanded. A few moments later, the bedframe was creaking too. The witch’s feet were pointed to the ceiling and her legs were spread wide as the man between her legs fucked her.
Soon, Storm was rocking at pace with the couple across the room. I was unsure if she was teasing me or rocking because of what she was watching. Whichever it was, she had aroused me so well. I backed off of her and felt my way over her ass, massaging it, and then rubbed my hands between her legs, pressing her pussy through her tight-fitting polyester costume. She gulped and stiffened her spine at the touch. Her back arched as in the yoga cat pose. She moved gently, pressing into my hand.
“Yeah, good, keep going.” She nodded.
The witch and Jack the Ripper both grunted horrifically on the bed. Their sound jolted Storm to press deeper, harder, on my hand. Leaving that hand as a rub, my left hand ran the length of her firm torso until it caught hold of her breast. Her nipple was a hard bump underneath her suit. Her head flung back at the stimulation at both ends.
“That feels … so good,” she whimpered. She grinded deeper on my hand.
“Unzip me,” she said.
I slid my hand across her chest to the zipper and dragged it between her breasts and to her waist. Her superhero suit loosened, and soon I felt her breast in my hand. Its nipple was hard, like the other. I tickled and tugged it to her delight.
A moment later, her hand rubbed my cock. Despite my pants blocking a direct touch, her hand was marvelous. I exhaled and soaked in the feeling. This was all so unexpected since I had only come to the party for a night out, hang out with a few friends and drink. I was not predicting Storm.
She turned to me and smiled. She knew what she was doing. Her eyes were bright and lovely. I know they were tainted with hunger.
The grunting and panting from the room ratcheted up. They got louder and more impassioned. Storm and I were charged by it from across the room, but we were charging ourselves too. I stood so Storm could reach the zipper on my pants. She took them down and clenched my dick her tight grip. I leaned on the wall, knocking into some hangers, some clothes falling to the floor. The crackles of the hangers knocking together didn’t stop the couple fucking on the bed. The clothes didn’t stop us either. She angled my dick to her lips. She gave it a kiss and then sucked it deep into her mouth.
Storm sucked my dick with a hardcore skill. I had to brace against something sturdy. Her lips worked hard. The tip of her tongue ran the length of the underside of my shaft. She pulled off though when we heard a wild wail and a drawn-out groan, and the squeaking bed quieted too. “You were so good. I needed that. I loved it,” the witch said. Her voice was fatigued, no longer horrific.
I heard a belt click and zippers, thuds of shoes on feet. The bedroom door opened and closed. All was silent. Storm and I fell out of the cramped, heated closet. Without a pause, I hoisted her onto the bed. Her breasts bounced and wiggled. Her hands took hold of my cock again.
“I need it now,” she said.
I helped her shimmy out of her polyester jumpsuit. She was naked, laying on the outer space-themed blanket on the bed. She lifted her legs and spread them wide. Her hand slid into her thin bush of curly, black hair, and she opened her lips to reveal wet pinkness, offering me it to me and begging me to take it. She wanted to be fucked.
“Come on. I can’t wait, I won’t,” she urged.
I didn’t move fast enough for her. She took my dick and aligned it with her pussy.
The tip of my cock felt the warmth and wetness. It slid in easily.
I rocked deeply, pushing my hips against hers. I still wasn’t fast enough.
“Fuck me—faster. Fuck me,” she begged. She dug her fingernails into my lower back.
I didn’t need to respond aloud. I silenced Storm by burying my dick into her pussy. She grunted once, sounding like the witch who laid here a few moments before. Her nails dragged down my back, over my hips and driving into the flesh of my ass. A sharp, searing pain that felt almost cold.
As I rammed into her, her tits circled over her chest, her dark nipples hard as before. The pinnacles. She reached between her legs to fondle her clit. Her body twisted, arched, strained, from my barrage of thrusts.
“Yes, yes, yes,” she repeated. “Motherfu—My god!”
My body began to react the same. The pleasure sensors shot from my knees to my shoulders and centered deep in me. The fury of an eruption built. I closed my eyes, clenched my jaw, and let the frenzy circle me up and down.
Then she wailed like the witch and then went silent. Her body stiffened. Her face grimaced, somewhere between joy and pain.
I thrust into her hard and stopped. My body didn’t pull back but just remained planted in her cunt. In a last moment, I dragged out and shot cords of cum. The first landed on one of her nipples. The other cum dribbled onto her stomach. We each gathered our breathing and wit. We settled, calming ourselves, easing ourselves, letting the last feelings of orgasm run to our toes and finger tips before it disappeared.
“God, I needed that. It’s been so long,” Storm said.
I regained my senses, specifically the ability to form words. But “Wow” was all I could say and I repeated it. “Wow.”
Storm ran her finger through my cum. She smeared the white goo between her tits and on her nipples.
“I love cum.” She took my cock again to stroke out the last droplets. “I also like oysters, and I don’t get much of either.”
“I can give you a sample whenever you want. We should go out.”
“I guess you could find them; you are a sailorman,” she said.
She cleaned her chest off with a pillow from the bed and tucked each of her tits into the black suit. She zipped it up with a slight leap. We slipped out of the room, went to the rest of the party and the dance music.
“Yo, Storm! Where you been?” the Black Panther called almost as soon as we had reappeared.
She grabbed my arm, frustrated at hearing him.
“Let’s slip out.” I pulled her through the crowd. We again passed Prince and Willie Nelson on the porch of the brownstone.
“Kalisha,” I heard a woman call. Storm’s head turned. A couple of houses away, Cinderella was waving.
“We gotta bounce, girl,” Cinderella said.
Tiana was next to her. “Yeah, all the freaks are coming out.”
“Hey, your wig!” Cinderella said.
Storm patted her head. “Don’t know. Must be lost.” She shrugged at them and then glanced at me.
Before she left, Storm and I exchanged numbers. Then she was gone. The evening calmed.
It was 11:29 when I texted Storm. “Got my pump ready.”
Immediately she replied with an address.
I decided to leave behind Popeye’s pipe and his big forearms. Spinach could not boost my strength any more than it already was.