Naomi spotted the unsuspecting woman near the fragrance counter on the main floor of the department store and slowed her gait so just the right number of people would converge where the brunette stood. In the last few seconds before impact, Naomi angled herself to glide between the woman and the trio of shoppers approaching from the opposite direction. Then, she lowered her hand behind her like a rudder. As Naomi slipped past, her open palm grazed the woman’s backside and she murmured, “Excuse me.”
Naomi neither stopped, nor looked back. After all, it was just a simple accident. Only when she neared the escalator did Naomi turn to see that no one trailed her. So, it was up to the fourth floor lounge.
Settling into the last stall, Naomi hung her purse on the hook so it didn’t touch the floor. Even in a high-end store like this, she wouldn’t risk it. Her eyes closed as she thought about the woman she had groped, but waited until two other shoppers finished touching up their hair and left before running her hand up her leg and beneath her skirt where it encountered bare skin. Over the next few minutes the same hand, which brushed across that woman delivered the pleasure Naomi sought.
Naomi had just enough time to grab a salad at the deli and be back at her desk on West Fifty-Fifth where she wolfed down the Bibb lettuce, pears and pecans. It was only Monday and she already had a ‘flyby’, as she called it. By the time Naomi caught the M train to Steinway Street on Friday of that week, she added two more; one in that trendy new clothing boutique just below Forty-Eighth, the other at a sporting goods store on Sixth. The adrenaline rush, followed by the furtive sexual release was at once addicting, frightening, and injected excitement into her otherwise predictable life.
When Phyllis, her girlfriend of three years, was away on business, Naomi Wallach’s nights were as routine as her workdays. A quick stop at The Empire Market, check the lobby mailbox, elevator to the eighth floor, short walk to apartment 803, kick off her heels, sort through the mail while nuking Thai chicken and edamame beans, eat over the sink, watch the evening news, something on Bravo, read another library book, remove makeup, wash, moisturize, get ready for bed, and be under the covers by eleven. Practically the only variation was which Bravo rerun to watch or book to read. Sometimes Naomi drifted off reimagining the day’s flyby.
So practiced at her precarious guilty pleasure, Naomi knew exactly when and where to find the best prospects. The week before Valentine’s Day in Victoria’s Secret or the Bloomingdale’s fragrance counter offered many younger women eager to capitalize on the faux romance of the occasion. The greeting card store the Friday before Father’s Day provided women a little older. The watch department in early June had even older women purchasing last minute graduation gifts their husbands were supposed to have gotten. And finally, there was Saks around Christmas, but only if the weather was warm, otherwise overcoats were impenetrable barriers. Flybys were only a weekday thing for Naomi because weekend crowds were too unpredictable, and besides, Phyllis was usually home then.
The following week, Naomi tried again but drew the attention of a security guard who shadowed her to the elevator, where both got on. She turned to the guard. “I’m feeling a little under the weather. Maybe the flu. Is the restroom on three?”
“Four,” the guard replied, “I’ll show you.” He walked alongside while checking to see if Naomi had lifted anything from the counter or the woman into whom she bumped. “Here you go.”
Naomi thanked him and went inside. Instead of completing her routine, she just splashed her cheeks; reapplied lipstick; and, emerged to find the guard still there. “Thank you. Think I’ll head home now.”
That night Naomi asked the mirror, “That was too close. When are you going to stop?” She heard no answer. Three days later she did it again; this time in Macy’s to a sinewy blonde she overheard speaking in a Scandinavian accent. The flyby suggested the woman wore either a thong or nothing beneath her blue nylon track pants. This led to a particularly intense interlude in the lounge and pushed Naomi to do something not done before. She was going for another.
The tall blonde, who would likely fuel Naomi’s fantasies for many nights, was now gone, but the midday crowd was thick enough to provide other targets. A curly-haired woman stood peering around the aisle on the first floor. Her short jacket and tight exercise pants would make this one especially easy. Naomi circled around to come in from the other side. This would allow her to head directly to the escalators for escape.
As before, Naomi timed her approach to coincide with a cluster of tourists that would arrive near the woman at the very moment she would. Naomi readied herself; slipping on large sunglasses; lowering her trailing hand; and then, pivoting so she would slip by sideways.
Only three feet separated them; then two; then, it happened. As her hand pressed against the front of the woman’s form-fitting pants, a hand cupped Naomi’s breast. Feeling violated, Naomi spun to confront the woman who immediately flashed a knowing smile in return.
Michael Anthony is a writer and artist living in New Jersey. He has published fiction, poetry and illustrations in multiple literary journals and commercial magazines. In addition to Twisted Sister lit mag, recent publications include Firefly Magazine, the Indiana Voice Journal, The Copperfield Review, Cowboy Jamboree, The Visitant, and Ink in Thirds. His work will also be included in two soon-to-be-published fiction anthologies.