The Adventures of Ryan Takahashi: Chapter Twelve – The Most Beautiful Woman in the World

I am convinced that Monifa is The Most Beautiful Woman in the World. There is no doubting my conviction in this. Granted, I haven’t met every single woman in the world, but compared to the supermodels and movie stars I see in magazines, Monifa beats them all by a mile.

A very LONG mile.

Monifa and I have been sitting at D’Angelo’s Café for nearly twenty minutes, chatting over lattes and grilled hummus sandwiches (which, I might add, are incredibly delicious!). Thankfully, Sam is nowhere to be found. It’s just the two of us, a couple of businessmen in the back, an elderly woman sipping coffee and reading the newspaper, Cathy and her assistant, Micah. Micah is a college student who’s studying art. And yes, he looks and acts like a stereotypical hipster. Whatever.

“I have to know, Ryan. If you could pursue your dream job, what would it be?” Monifa asks me.

“Hm. I would say I would love to be a professional biographer. I love reading biographies and think I would do a good job at writing one.” I’m not lying when I say this. Obviously, slaving away over smelly gym towels isn’t what I’d like to be doing for the next twenty years.

“Biographies? That’s so interesting. Is there anybody in particular you would like to write about?”

“Oh, no one really. I’m mostly fascinated with ordinary, average people who do extraordinary things with their lives.” I stirred a half package of sugar into my latte. I hope my waistline doesn’t object to this!

“So you have no interest in celebrities?”

“Or politicians, for that matter. I think they’re over-exposed as it is.”

I see Cathy eyeing us from her corner in the café. She’s fixing a sandwich at the moment, of which variety I cannot tell. She must be thinking how unusual it is for me to come in here with a beautiful black woman. The two of us do make an odd couple.

“I love adventure stories. You should write one of those.” Monifa’s posture is upright and proper. I don’t think she ever slouches in real life.

“What kind of adventure stories? I’m not really interested in writing any of those kinds of books, but I suppose I shouldn’t knock it unless I’ve tried it.”

Monifa smiles. Her face is so beautiful I want to take a picture of her and frame it on my wall. Her beauty transcends any feelings of lust or sexual attraction. Her beauty is like staring at a divinely perfect piece of art. If Cindi’s body is art, Monifa’s face is also art (but don’t get me wrong; her body is also VERY fine. But it’s obviously not as muscular or unusual as Miss North’s epic physique). I wonder how she can still be single. How can any heterosexual man resist this incredible woman?

“I like adventure stories involving most anything. The high seas, deadly volcanoes, mysterious islands, intergalactic planets, tropical excursions, pirate ships, anything. I guess this is what happens when your real life is so boring.”

“Boring? How could your life be boring? You’re a conceptual artist. Aren’t they the most inventive and wackiest of all people?”

Monifa lets out a quiet laugh. “I told you, conceptual art is my hobby. By day I’m a software tester. I wish I had more time to pursue art, but that’s what happens when you work too many hours in a cubicle.”

“Nonsense. I don’t consider what you do for a living to be your life. I think what you love to do to should define your life. Just look at me, for example. I work at a dead-end job cleaning mirrors, windows, dirty towels and locker room floors. That’s not even close to what I consider to be my life. It’s just what pays the bills.”

“I guess you’re right. I should find more time for my art.”

“If you don’t mind me asking, what type of conceptual art do you do? I have little to no knowledge about this sort of thing.”

“Essentially, I like to fuse all sorts of art into a cohesive whole to tell a larger story. In Ethiopia, I briefly worked as an actress when I was a young girl. Then I started to do modeling. Then I got into photography. When I moved to America I took classes in filmmaking and drawing. Everything fascinates me. I feel like I’m great at taking big ideas and making them simple to understand.”

“Taking big ideas and making them simple to understand? That’s almost what a historian does. Except they work in recording human activity, not creating art.”

“They can almost be considered the same thing,” Monifa says.

Wow. That’s…kind of deep. Monifa takes a last sip of her coffee and places the cup on the table. Does she want a refill? Or does she want something else to eat? I told her when we first got here that I’d pay because she’s new and I wanted to welcome her to the neighborhood. I also pointed out to her that I’ll probably be the only neighbor that she’ll know in our building. The people who live there aren’t terribly open to meeting those who live no more than twenty feet away from them.

Almost on cue, Cathy walks over to our table.

“Hello you two. Can I get you anything else?” Cathy takes a long look at Monifa. I think she would agree with me that her beauty is almost beyond compare.

“No thank you,” Monifa says sweetly. I nod my head in agreement.

“Alright. Holler if you need anything. You know where I am.” With that, Cathy walks away and winks at me when she’s out of Monifa’s line of sight. Does she think we’re on a date? Who goes on a date on a Monday afternoon?

There is a long pause. Oh great. What should I say next?

“If you had unlimited resources and unlimited time, what type of…art project would you want to create?” Ah ha! I just asked an art question that allows her to express herself. When it comes to attracting intelligent women, I hope I’m on to something.

Monifa pauses to think and finally speaks: “I would love to create a series of tableaus. Do you know what that is?”

“Uh, sort of. It has something to do with pictures, right?”

“Yes, it has a lot to do with photography, but the type of tableaus I’m interested in created involve real people in real situations. I’d love, for example, to create a series of still images of people, all types of people, young and old, every body type, every shape, color and ethnicity, relating to each other in the real world.”

This is my chance to shine. I’ve read about artists doing these sorts of projects. If I can impress her with this, who knows how far I can go with her?

“You’re referring to a ‘tableau vivant.’” I smile as these words leave my mouth.

“Yes! A “tableau vivant!” You’ve heard the term before.” Monifa looks impressed with my knowledge of art. Score for me!

“I have heard the term before. They’re living pictures. So, you’d like to create living pictures of all sorts of people doing what they do in real life.”

“Not just real life; but in a surreal, enhanced version of life. Picture this: A large group of skinny, beautiful women surrounding a larger, overweight woman in a circle and pointing fingers at her, while the woman in the middle crouches over and weeps. Or a group of racially-homogeneous schoolchildren turning their backs to a mixed-race    child–”

“Or an interracial couple,” I blurt out. I hope my interruption doesn’t bother her.

“Yes, that would also be powerful, especially if the schoolchildren were in their teens.”

“What’s stopping you from pursuing this sort of project? I realize you said time is always a factor, but isn’t that just an excuse we use? I tend to think we use the “time” excuse because we’re afraid of what actually doing this project could lead to.”

“What do you mean?” Monifa finishes her sandwich and turns her attention completely upon me. Her dazzling black eyes pierce through me like an Olympic archer’s arrow.

“Well, I think we’re afraid of pursuing our dreams because we’re afraid we might fail, which wouldn’t just shatter you accomplishing our dreams, but your desire to dream of anything again. If our dreams remain fantasy, we can always take comfort in knowing that we’ll never fail.”

“But how do you know you’ll fail if you never try it? If you keep on wishing for things, they’ll never happen unless you take action.”

This is where I can definitely go in for the intellectual kill.

“Maybe this is why you should pursue your dreams instead of just talking about it.”

Silence. DEAD SILENCE. DEAD, DEAFENING SILENCE.

Just what I thought would happen. Dead, deafening silence. Monifa’s gorgeous face wrinkles as she thinks hard about what I just said. I genuinely hope she gets out of her artistic funk and pursues her photography, or whatever art she likes to do. It’s a damn shame when young people talk about wanting to do something but never even try to do it. Rationalizing your behavior can be the ultimate form of suicide.

Gee, I should write a book about this.

“You know what, Ryan? You’re right. You’re absolutely right, one hundred percent right. I should pursue my art. Of course, in small chunks. I can’t do everything overnight, you would agree?” I see that Cathy has returned to the back kitchen. I think she’s conceded that we’re not going to order anything else today.

“Of course, I completely agree. Start out small. Right now, you’re doing nothing. So doing something would definitely be an improvement. Start with something modest. How about creating two or three person tableaus? I’m sure we can totally find volunteers who’d be willing to pose for a few shots. Seattle is full of artsy-types who would do anything do get into the “art scene.’”

Monifa grins. “I’ll think about this. I’m confident I can get something off the ground. But I just moved here, so I–”

“Ah, ah, ah! There’s that thing about making excuses. Do you have a camera?”

“Yes.”

“Great. Is it unpacked?”

“No, but it’s not hard to find.”

“Great. Think about some ideas, and feel free to knock on my door any time to run them by me. My ear is always open to new ideas.” Holy shit, did I just give her an open invitation to come over to my apartment whenever she likes? I’m really getting bold.

“I would like that. I like you, Ryan. I’m glad we’re neighbors.”

“I’m glad, too.”

There is another period of silence, but this time it’s way more awkward. I think it is time for us to depart from here and go our separate ways.

“Pablo should be done with your unit by now.”

“Yes, he should be. I’ll pay for us.”

“No, no, no! Your money is no good here, at least not today. I’ll cover this, my treat.”

“Thanks! You’re very sweet.” Monifa leans over and kisses me on the cheek. I feel my entire body melt at the sensation of her soft lips covering my face. Is it possible to get a heart attack just by being kissed by a beautiful woman?

We get up, push our chairs in and I walk over to the counter. Cathy has since returned, reading a trashy fashion magazine.

“I’m paying for the both of us.”

“Who’s the girl, Ryan? She’s quite a looker,” Cathy whispers to me as I hand her my debit card. She swipes it and returns it to me. I put it back in my wallet.

“New neighbor. Next door. Sweet thing. I’m looking forward to getting to know her better.”

“Holy fucking shit. She’s gorgeous, honey. You better act fast or else someone else will, trust me.” Cathy’s advice is always straight and to-the-point. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that.

“I trust you, Cathy. I trust you. I’ll see you later.”

“Bye,” Cathy says to me. “Bye!” she yells to Monifa as we head out the door.

“Good bye, Cathy. It was nice to meet you. You have a lovely establishment. I’ll be returning here often,” Monifa declares as we leave.

We stroll back to the apartment building across the street. Sure enough, Pablo is finished with his work. Monifa and I shake hands as we retreat to our respected units, separated by nothing but a thin, sound-proof wall. I close the door and collapse onto the couch.

“Wow, what a day. What a way to spend my Monday,” I tell myself.

Imagine this: I’m now next-door neighbors with The Most Beautiful Woman in the World and this Saturday I’ll be losing my virginity to The Most Muscular Woman in the World.

Not bad, Ryan Takahashi, not bad at all. Looks like I’m finally starting to move up in the world.

It’s about time!

The Adventures of Ryan Takahashi: Chapter Ten – Monday Morning Blues

Good God. Is it Monday already?

I look at my alarm clock and see it is 4:58 a.m. I turn it off before it decides to ring.

Shit. Garfield the cat is right. Mondays do suck.

My shift at Wellford Fitness Center starts at 6 a.m., which is when the gym opens to the public. That means I have to wake up at 5 a.m. to give myself enough time to eat breakfast and get some coffee in me.

I usually make my own coffee. Today is no exception. I only buy already-brewed coffee on Sunday mornings when I make my weekly trek across the street to D’Angelo’s Café. This is partly the reason why I didn’t order anything at the espresso bar when I first met Cindi. Why pay two dollars for coffee that I could make for myself at a much cheaper price?

After a hearty breakfast of Wheaties and a bagel with cream cheese, I chase down a cup of iced coffee (I’m too lazy to heat it up in the microwave) and head out the door.

Five minutes later I enter through the back door and put on my dark red Wellford Fitness Center t-shirt that’s sitting in my employee locker. Believe it or not, the company gives us four pairs of these shirts in order to prevent us from wearing the same shirt all week. I think this is a good policy. Gyms smell bad enough. We don’t want the foul stench of employees making things worse.

I usually feel a bit depressed on Monday mornings (who doesn’t?), but today I’m feeling especially down-trodden considering my week ahead. I have five whole days before I see the Goddess Cindi again. I wonder what time she gets up every morning to start her workout? Is she an early riser, or does she workout in the afternoons/evenings? I should ask her the next time I see her.

It is my turn today to man the front desk. I’m in charge of the front desk from 6 to 9 a.m. From 9 to noon I clean and do laundry (we provide workout towels for everyone).

As the clock approaches 6 a.m., I see our first customer of the day show up. And right on schedule. It’s Dale, a 40-something businessman who’s always here right when we open. Dale and his wife are both former college athletes who have raised two ridiculously athletic children. Their daughter is currently training for the Olympics as a gymnast and their older son is a high school track star. No big deal.

I unlock the front door at the stroke of 6 and let Dale in, who waits outside patiently like always.

“Good morning, sir.”

“Good morning to you, Ryan.”

I scan his membership card and he strolls toward the locker rooms. Next I see Frances, an elderly 80-something woman who does water aerobics every morning. The class doesn’t start until 7, but she likes to be here early so she can read the newspaper before her workout.

“Hi Frances. How are the grandchildren?”

“They’re rude and they don’t listen,” she sheepishly says. I scan her membership card and wisely choose not to ask any more questions. She’s always in a pissy mood. But she seems to have a positive relationship with her grandchildren, so I’m a little taken aback that she thinks they’re rude and don’t listen.

Us whippersnappers are a real pain in the butt, aren’t we?

“Have a good workout,” I tell her as she leaves.

Frances doesn’t respond.

Somehow, my feelings aren’t hurt. My heart will go on.

Minutes later more people start to come in large groups. We’re talking people ranging from the very old to people my age looking to become as buff as possible. Try as they might, but they’ll never have anything on my Cindi. She’s buffer than anyone on the planet.

“My” Cindi? Am I claiming ownership over her? She should claim ownership over ME. She deserves that much.

As it approaches 7:30, the gym finally becomes lively with the noises of chit chat, treadmills running at full blast, the clank of 45-pound metal plates rubbing against each other and the usually grunts and groans of people getting a quality workout.

My mind starts to wander. What is Cindi doing right now? She’s definitely at the gym. She has to be. If she works out early on a Sunday morning, there’s no reason why she wouldn’t be at the gym earlier on a Monday morning.

“This sucks,” I tell myself out loud. It sucks that I have to wait five days before I can see her again. God, she’s like a drug. I’ve only met her once and I’m already at the stage where I can’t get her out of my mind.

Cindi North, you Beautiful Muscular Temptress. You’ve cast a spell on me. And I like it. A lot.

I giggle when I think about our first sexual encounter together. I totally prematurely ejaculated all over her face. I was humiliated at the time, but I can laugh at it now. It’s true when they say that time heals all wounds. But everything was totally worth it when she performed oral sex on me later. That felt divine. Absolutely divine. And I got to come on her eight-pack abdominal muscles. That was ridiculously hot.

I continue to daydream until I hear a woman’s voice call out to me.

“Excuse me, sir. Uh, excuse me?”

I immediately wake up from my mini-daydream.

“Uh, sorry. What is it? How may I help you?”

I look at the woman speaking to me and I almost stop breathing when I see her.

Hot damn.

She’s a young black woman who looks to be anywhere between 25 and 30. She’s fairly tall, maybe between 5’10” and 6”. She’s wearing a bright pink sports bra and a matching pair of tight spandex shorts that leaves nothing to the imagination. She has very dark skin that looks as black as night and as smooth as silk. Her angular face looks very exotic and unbelievably beautiful. I’m not a world-renowned traveler, but there’s something in her look and in her voice that tells me she wasn’t born in this country. I don’t know. But she’s simply gorgeous.

“I’m new in town and I have a free one-week pass. Do I give this to you?” she asks politely.

Her voice does sound like it has a slight African accent to it. I struggle to look at her face once I take a peek at her large, plump, bountiful breasts. Unlike Cindi, this woman has breasts. And very enticing. I want to squeeze them right now. But that would get me fired.

“Yes, you can give that to me. Can I see it?”

She hands it to me and I see that it’s legit.

“Alright, this is good for exactly one week, so it expires next Monday. Let me scan it for you.” I scan it and give it back to her. I take a quick look at her midriff and see she has a modest four-pack of abs developing. After I scan her paper card I look at the computer and see her name is Monifa Okendu. That’s a name you don’t hear too often around here.

“Thank you,” she says.

“Alright, have you ever been here before, Monifa?”

“No. I just moved here yesterday morning.”

“Oh! Welcome into town. Where are you originally from?”

“Ethiopia. But I’ve lived in New York City for the past three years.”

“In that case, welcome to Seattle. Would you like someone to give you a tour of our facility? I can ask a staff person to show you around.”

“Thank you, but no thanks. I think I can find everything I need just fine.”

“Alright. The women’s locker room is on the opposite side of the men’s locker room to your left. You will have to provide your own locks, however. Did you bring your own today?”

“Yes.”

“Good. It’s wise to do whatever you can to prevent against theft. We’re usually pretty good around here, but you never know. So, we offer workout towels for all our clients, including guests. Just drop them off in this box after you’re finished. Any other questions?”

“I don’t think so. Thank you very much.”

“Oh, I forgot to mention. Guests are allowed to attend all the classes we offer except for the advanced ones. Here’s a brochure explaining everything we offer here.”

I hand her a brochure and she puts it in her gym bag. Her toned arms look delicious.

“Thank you very much. You’ve been very helpful. What’s your name?”

“My name is Ryan. Enjoy your workout, Monifa.”

With that, Monifa turns around and walks toward the locker rooms. I take a look at her butt as she leaves. Holy mackerel! Lush, ample, perfectly rounded and taut, she nearly competes with Cindi’s impeccable derriere, but not quite. No one can compare to Goddess Cindi.

Well, that Monifa is quite a physical specimen! I hope she chooses to work out here long-term. That would make my mornings a lot easier to bear.

Just when I thought my morning got a little better, I look outside and see it has begun to rain. Hard. I mean, pouring down rain. Cats and dogs. Sheesh. Typical Seattle weather. Whenever a Monday seems to become somewhat tolerable, Mother Nature finds a way to slap you in the face and bring you back to reality.

The rest of my morning passes without a hitch. Nothing too spectacular. Later when I return to the front desk to pick up the box of dirty towels, I catch a peek of Monifa (whose bright pink and revealing outfit is extremely hard to miss) deadlifting what looks to be about 135 pounds, which is the metal bar plus a 45-pound plate on both sides. Not bad. It’s not quite the 500 pounds that Cindi can do, but that’s pretty darn impressive for a woman.

Wow, will Cindi ever leave my mind? Not for a long time, let me tell you.

As I walk into the laundry room I bump into Michelle, the ridiculously cute receptionist/personal trainer who works here.

“Hi Michelle. How many clients do you have today?”

“Only three. But they’re real clients, not the fake ones I’m usually stuck with.”

“You mean real athletes?”

“Yeah. One girl plays high school volleyball. Another girl wants to be a competitive figure model. And the other is a lady who’s determined to lose all her baby fat before Thanksgiving.”

“Before Thanksgiving? She better get on it. That’ll be here sooner than you think.”

“Well, she seems determined enough. See you around, sugar.”

Michelle, wearing a black Wellford Fitness Center sports bra and tight black shorts (not unlike what Monifa is wearing today), takes a swig from her coffee tumbler and goes into the workout area, leaving me alone holding a box of smelly towels. Dear God, these reek. Holy shit. If I don’t load these into the machine right away, I might just barf.

Ugg!

Oh, and by the way, Michelle usually calls every guy she knows “sugar,” so don’t get too excited on my behalf.

“That Monifa looks like she could become a competitive figure model,” I say to myself.

Loading the towels into a washing machine, I (for some really odd reason) start to think about Sam’s job offer he talked about yesterday. How would I like to be a drug dealer for the rich and wealthy? It would be easy money, these are people who don’t typically get involved in random street shootings and if I ever get caught, they could use their power and influence to get me off without any trouble. I mean, they’d do that, right?

And depending on what kind of drugs I’d be dealing, I might be able to meet more FBBs like Cindi North. Steroids and other human growth hormones are considered drugs, right?

But I’d never be able to meet another woman quite like Cindi. She’s a statuesque Goddess. But if women like her exist, there should be others like her. That makes sense. And I seriously don’t want to work here for the rest of my life. These smelly towels can always be washed by someone without a college degree.

I hope I’m not sounding too elitist.

But I digress. Sam and his buddies probably aren’t the type of people I want to associate myself with on a regular basis. I’d much rather hang out with Cindi and make love to her. Hell, who wouldn’t?

The thought of making love to a celestial muscle Goddess like Cindi is enough to carry me through the rest of the day.

The Adventures of Ryan Takahashi: Chapter Nine – Job Offer

I wake up the next morning at 10:30 a.m. feeling like a million dollars. My morning erection greets me as I roll on my stomach.

“It’s 10:30? God, Cindi’s already been in the gym for an hour and a half already,” I say to myself.

Lord, that Cindi North. That Muscular Angel is sure something. I’ve never met anybody who even closely resembles Miss North. She’s big, tall, thick, strong as an Olympic weightlifter, funny, compassionate, unapologetically sexual and cute (not super cute, but she’s not bad to look at). Come to think of it, Cindi’s a very pretty woman. Her sharp nose, low cheekbones and masculine-looking eyes may not appear to be too attractive at first, but once I got to know her, she just…became more beautiful. Some women become more beautiful the longer you know them. Cindi is one of those types of women.

After spending a few more minutes fantasizing about Cindi and her incredible body, I hop out of bed and put on a pair of jeans and whatever shirt I can find that doesn’t smell too offensive. This dark red shirt seems sufficient.

*SNIFF*

Yeah, “sufficient” is the right word.

Every Sunday morning I go across the street to D’Angelo’s Café, a cute little neighborhood coffee and sandwich shop. The owner is the mother of one of my best friends from college. I’ve become a regular there and have since come to know all the other regulars. That’s one of the dangers of living within walking distance of a great java dispenser.

I walk outside and take a deep breath. The crisp autumn air smells great against a chilly sunny day. These are the type of fall days I like. I don’t particularly care for the rainy days that we often get here in Seattle. But I’m used to those by now.

As I walk across the street I see a pretty brunette girl jogging by me. She’s wearing a blue tank top and tight black spandex shorts. She’s cute, but she’s no Cindi North. Cindi would dominate that chick.

The moment I walk into D’Angelo’s Café I’m greeted by Sam, a regular patron who happens to be a former 1960s hippie. I’m convinced he’s still a stoner. That has to explain why he’s always eating the blueberry scones, which I don’t particularly like. Sam is an older guy who has long shaggy hair, a white goatee, tattoos all over the place and a wardrobe that looks like something out of the clearance sale at a thrift shop. “Tacky” is Sam’s modus operandi.

“Good morning, chum,” Sam says.

“It’s practically lunchtime, but good morning to you too.”

Sam is reading a Seattle Times and chewing on a day-old croissant. Sam is notorious for always purchasing half-off day-old goods instead of buying anything new. That’s his choice. There’s no law against buying the marked-down stuff.

I look around for Cathy (the owner) and see that she’s nowhere to be found.

“Where’s Cathy?”

Sam is the only other patron in the café at the moment. “I don’t know. She went into the back kitchen a few moments ago and hasn’t come out since.”

Oh great. Now I’m stuck having to talk to this guy. Sam is a nice man, but he can be a real work of art at times. This is the guy who will talk your ear off about whatever governmental conspiracy theory he’s into at the time. Yes, he’s one of those types. But strangely, I can’t quite pinpoint where his political views lie. He believes in conspiracies that draw unflattering conclusions about people on both the left and the right. Maybe even he doesn’t know what he believes.

“I’ll just wait here. She should be coming back soon.”

Sam takes this opportunity to strike.

“I hear you’re looking for another part-time job. Is this true?”

“Yes, sir, that is true. Why? Do you have a lead for me?”

He triumphantly leans back in his chair and flashes a broad, megawatt smile. I think Sam suspects I don’t think the world about him. He obviously has something juicy he wants to share with me and will milk it for all it’s worth.

“As a matter of fact, I do have something for you. Do you want to hear what it is?” he slyly asks. I’m convinced this is going to be something either illegal or related to an impending political and/or social revolution. Is he planning to topple the government and crown himself King of America?

“Sure, I do want to hear what it is. I’m always open to hearing what’s available out there. Tell me, please.”

I look over my shoulder to see if Cathy has returned yet. She has not. Dammit.

Sam slowly stands up like a creeper and grabs my left hand. He pulls me away from the counter and sits me down opposite of him at his table. He burps loudly.

“Pardon me.”

“No problem.” I’m trying not to barf.

“I have a friend who knows someone who can give you a job.”

“So, you’ve never met this person?”

“No, not directly. But I know of him, and that’s all that really matters at this point.”

This sounds suspicious, but what was I expecting? I should be polite and listen to what he has to say. I have no doubt I’ll end up saying “no” at the end. All I really want to do is get my cup of coffee and pastry and GTFO. Where the hell is Cathy?

“What sort of business does this person do?”

“He buys things and sells them back to people.”

“Okay. What sort of things?”

Sam snorts loudly and ogles a young lady walking by the café. She’s a tall blonde wearing long white pants and a dark blue blouse. She’s not the prettiest thing out there, but her long legs are really something to regard. As the girl passes Sam returns his attention to me.

“His name is Theo. A good buddy of mine used to work for him. He doesn’t anymore because he recently moved to Texas. But I’ve heard good things about him.”

“You didn’t answer my question. What sort of things does he sell?” Why was I getting impatient and demanding an answer from him? It’s not like I actually care.

“He sells, well, things that aren’t…uh, quite legal…um, to the rich and wealthy.” Sam’s selective revealing of information tells me what he knows is both very juicy and probably shouldn’t be discussed in a public setting. I guess discretion isn’t terribly important to him.

“Let me guess. He sells cocaine to rich Hollywood types.” It’s an honest guess.

“Not Hollywood types. Theo works and lives up here. He sells stuff like that to those rich Microsoft and Amazon types over on the east side.”

“He’s a dope dealer to the software and Internet moguls in Bellevue and Redmond. Beautiful. And why would you think I’d be interested in this sort of job?”

“It pays really well. And you don’t have to pay taxes, for obvious reasons.”

Sam leans back in his chair and takes a small bite out of his croissant. Out of the corner of my eye I see Cathy come out of the backroom. She looks embarrassed to have a customer present in her establishment and she wasn’t there to serve them immediately. She rushes to the counter and apologizes profusely.

“Ryan! I’m so sorry. I didn’t know anyone was here. I was in the back room making soup, and I had no idea-”

“Don’t worry, Cathy. I was having a pleasant chat with Sam here.”

Cathy is a 50-something year old woman who might be the nicest person I’ve ever met. Cathy was married to her husband for 19 years before he came out of the closet as being gay. That was very surprising. But apparently she wasn’t totally shocked and took it all in stride. They had only one child (Stan, my buddy from college) and their sex life was essentially nonexistent. I know all this because she’s very open about her personal life (Stan is too embarrassed to tell me anything and I don’t blame him), almost to the point that I try to order my coffee and food as quickly as possible so I don’t have to listen to her go off on another one of her stories. Between Cathy and Sam, this can be quite a colorful little place. And I don’t mean color in terms of skin color, if you know what I mean.

“What would you like today?”

“I’ll have a 12 ounce nonfat latte and a strawberry muffin, please. That sounds like that would hit the spot.” Cathy’s strawberry muffins are almost orgasmic. Better than her blueberry scones, which are as dry as the Arizona desert.

“Alright. Are you doing okay there, Sam?”

“I couldn’t be better,” Sam says, still leaning back in his chair dangerously. I’m afraid he’ll fall over and break his neck. That would ruin everybody’s morning.

“Okay. Don’t fall down on me,” Cathy says, placing a newly baked, crisp muffin on a plate. My mouth waters as she hands it to me.

I sit down at a table next to Sam and instantly realize I should have asked for the muffin and the latte “to go,” but that would be weird considering I rarely ask for things to go. Besides, as much as I can’t stand Sam, I wouldn’t want to hurt his feelings by running off on him in the middle of our conversation.

“So….are you in?” Sam says, leaning in close to me. I doubt Cathy will be able to hear, considering the sound of her steaming milk is about as quite as a hundred jackhammers working on a busy street all at once.

“I’ll consider it,” I tell him. I really won’t consider it, because committing illegal acts for a living does not sound like my cup of tea. Even though these clients are supposedly “high class,” that doesn’t make it any less illegal. I guess it would limit the chances of me being caught by the police.

“Good. A job offer this good doesn’t happen every day. If you really want to work for my buddy, you know where to find me every week,” he says. With that, Sam gets up, throws away his coffee cup and leaves the café. I breathe a sigh of relief as I watch him clumsily cross the street in the middle of a green light. I’m amazed he hasn’t been hit by a car yet.

By that time Cathy (who can make a great tasting latte faster than a speeding bullet) is done with my drink and places it on the front counter. I get up to retrieve it. I take a small sip and make a subtle sound of approval. Cathy, washing her hands, looks at me with a bright smile on her face.

“What did he want?”

I take another sip and savor the flavor. “Nothing, really. He wanted to offer me a job.”

“A job? What kind of job?”

“Oh, nothing serious. He has a friend who’s looking for some help with a few random things. I told him I’ll consider it, but I won’t really.”

“Good. Anything involving him will be nothing but trouble.”

I sit down and grab the newspaper Sam was previously reading. I take a small nibble at my delicious strawberry muffin and look up at Cathy.

“I agree.”

The Adventures of Ryan Takahashi: Chapter Four – Meeting Cindi

I’m racing up I-5 so fast I’m afraid I’m going to get pulled over by a cop. Right now I’m driving in the far left lane (the furthest left lane is for carpools) doing 75 mph. I should probably slow down. The police are usually out in droves on Saturday nights.

Grace Gonzalez. I had no idea she went by a different name. I’ve seen about a half dozen videos of her online. She only posts videos showing her working out and displaying feats of strength. Nothing pornographic in nature. A lot of FBBs also work in porn because bodybuilding isn’t a terribly lucrative enterprise. But trust me; there will always be horny guys like me who want to see their beautiful bodies in “action.”

It’s a little unusual for a woman to want to meet an unknown man alone at her house. Despite her freakish strength, this doesn’t seem very safe. I could be a serial killer. Or a rapist.

Hell, she could be the serial killer.

Oh shit.

Nah, that can’t be true. She’s legit. I’ve seen her work. She’s definitely an athlete, not a psychotic killer.

I exit I-5 and head west toward her home. Fifteen minutes later I’m in a quiet residential neighborhood filled with upper middle class homes. How much do bodybuilders get paid? I suppose that depends on how much money they win competing in contests.

Because it’s so dark I slowly peer to my left to try to catch her house number. I think I spot it and I pull over to the side of the road and park. My heart is thumping at least a thousand beats per minute. I feel sweat dripping down my back. I think my fingers are shaking. I’m surprised I made it here without crashing into a light post first.

I step out of my car and look closely at a modest two story off-white (at least I think the house is off-white. It’s difficult to say for sure in these conditions) house surrounded by a chain link fence, several green hedges and a tall oak tree in the front lawn. I don’t see any guard dogs anywhere. The house number matches the address she gave me. I take a deep breath and approach the front door.

As I step on her porch I see a handwritten note taped to the door. It reads:

Dear Ryan,

If you’re reading this message I can assume you found my house. Right now I’m sitting at a coffee shop just four blocks away from here. It’s called Anytime Espresso and it’s right down this street heading east. I look forward to seeing you there.

            Kisses,

            Cindi.

Of course! She would never meet me alone at her house. She would much rather meet me in a public setting. I follow her directions and briskly approach a small business area adjacent to the residential homes. Sure enough, there is an establishment called Anytime Espresso. I’m guessing this place gets its name because it’s open 24/7. But I could be wrong.

What I hope I’m not wrong about is Cindi being here. I didn’t come all this way just to be stood up. Why did she originally tell me to meet her at her home when all along she intended to meet me in a public place? Did she decide to meet me here at the last minute? Or is this going to lead to some scavenger hunt where I have to snoop all over Everett looking for this woman?

Before I can finish asking myself more useless and incoherent questions, I open the door and look around. My blood pressure must be through the roof.

I see a barista sitting at the counter looking at her phone. She peers up and sees me standing there like an idiot.

“Welcome. What can I get you?”

“Hi. I’m meeting someone. Did you—”

“She’s in the back. Over there.”

She points to a door that leads to a separate room. I casually nod to her and head toward my destiny. She continues to read whatever is on her phone.

Every step makes my knees shake. My breathing turns heavy. I can now feel the sweat dripping down my legs. If Cindi is actually in this building, I think I’m going to faint.

Standing right in front of a closed wooden door, I slowly extend my right hand and grab the doorknob. It feels cold, like the ominous opening to a haunted mansion. I twist the knob and push the door open. It creaks noisily. I take a deep breath, wipe a drip of sweat off my cheek and walk in.

I look around.

I see her.

She’s sitting at a small table in the far left corner sipping an espresso and reading a fitness magazine.

Cindi North.

The Woman, the Myth, the Legend.

She looks up and sees me standing there like a horny bastard.

“Hello there. Ryan, I presume?”

“Yes. That’s me. Cindi, right?”

“Yeah. Come on over. Have a seat. Do you want anything?”

Besides the obvious?

“No thank you. I’m not thirsty.”

I creep over to her table and give her a look over.

Oh. My. God.

Oh. My. Fucking. God.

Look at this woman’s body. I mean, look at her! (I realize you can’t see her, but let me tell you, she has a body that could stop the space-time continuum)

She’s an eye-popping specimen. Wearing tight blue jeans that show off her tree stump thighs and a short sleeved low-cut blouse that shamelessly exposes her massive biceps, Cindi is everything I dreamed she would be. Ripped, tanned, ridiculously muscular and wearing clothing that intentionally flaunts her gargantuan figure, Cindi is without a doubt the real deal. I feel my penis harden. I’m surprised it isn’t hard already.

She stands up and shakes my hand. Her grip is firm. I can feel her hard, callused fingers as they wrap around my soft fingers.

“I’m glad to finally meet you in person. I’ve been anxiously waiting for you to show up.”

“Likewise.”

That’s the best I can do? Great.

“Sit down. Let’s talk.”

Wow! She’s tall! I couldn’t tell from her photograph how tall she is, but she definitely looks down at me when we meet face-to-face. I’m a good 5’7”, so she must be at least 6’3” or maybe even 6’4”. She has light brown skin that looks like a very dark tan. And from the looks of it, her skin appears to be as smooth as leather. She speaks with a deep, gravelly voice that I guess is caused by taking steroids. I bet she sings baritone in the choir.

Standing next to her, I’m amazed at how massive she is. Her wide shoulders take up the whole room. Her forearms are as thick as my legs. She looks like she could carry a refrigerator on her back. And let’s not forget about her legs. Holy cow, I’ll bet she could crush a bowling ball between her magnificent thighs.

“Did you find my place alright?”

“Oh, yes. And I obviously found your note.”

“Yes you did. Good job. Are you sure you don’t want anything to drink?”

“I’m very sure. I just want to talk.”

“That’s fine with me. Tell me about yourself, Ryan. Or do you want me to go first?”

“Nah, I can go first. Unless you’re dying to share something with me.”

“Well, I sort of am. You probably want to know why I’m specifically seeking out an Asian guy.”

She’s right. I am dying to know that. But I can’t force her to reveal that yet. It’s too soon. I’ll let that pass and change the subject to something else.

“I do, but let’s not go there yet. I’ll start with myself. My name is Ryan Takahashi. I’m single, I work at a gym doing janitorial work and I desperately want a career change.”

Cindi laughs. Her laugh is deep, melodious and very sexy. I feel my stomach twitch.

“Why do you want a career change? Don’t like mopping up other people’s sweat?”

“That’s certainly part of it, yes. I think I could be doing something better with my life. I want to be a writer. But jobs for professional writers are scarce. Very scarce.”

“Hm. I’ll bet. Try being a professional bodybuilder. There’s very little money in that.”

Should I ask her how she makes a living? Of course not! Talking about money would be a horrible idea. I…uh…wow! I can’t stop staring at her amazing body! She’s so incredibly thick and defined. Every inch of her body is covered in muscle. She must have muscles layered on top of other muscles. God, I just want to lick her arms right now. I want to bury my face in her bulging biceps and-

“Are you going to ask me how I make a living?”

That woke me up from my mini-day dream.

“Oh? Uh, no. You don’t need to answer that. Money might not be the best thing to talk about at this moment.”

“Okay. Fair enough. Why are you into female bodybuilders?”

“Why do you think I’m into female bodybuilders?”

“Ooh, good answer! Let me guess…you’ve probably never met someone like me before, right?”

I nod my head silently.

“There has to be the element of curiosity. I’m guessing you’ve seen a lot of pictures of female bodybuilders, am I right?”

I nod my head silently again.

“Okay, okay. You probably get turned on by looking at women with muscles. Is it that simple?”

“Ding, ding, ding. We have a winner!”

Cindi laughs again. She’s a very pleasant lady. For some reason I get this impression that all FBBs are serious man-hating meatheads who would rather crush your skull than tell a joke. I realize this is an atrocious social stereotype with absolutely no merit whatsoever, but that’s the impression I get. Cindi (or Grace, depending on which name she goes by) is a nice woman. Very nice. I could get used to this.

“Well, if you’re looking for a woman with muscles, look no further. Do you think you’ll ever meet somebody stronger than me?”

“I highly doubt it. You’re stunning, Cindi. Or should I call you Grace?”

A slight smile creeps across her face. There has got to be a story behind this.

“Grace Gonzalez is my professional name. My birth name is Cindi North. I was adopted when I was a baby and I’ve never met my biological parents. I know I’m part Puerto Rican, so I go by Grace Gonzalez to honor that part of my heritage.”

“Have you ever sought to locate your birth parents?”

Cindi’s smile disappears. Oh, shit. I may have asked too personal of a question!

“Yes. But they don’t want to know me. My birth mother was fourteen when she had me. My birth father was in this 40s. As you can expect the circumstances of my birth were not pretty.”

Her father was a pedophile? Was her mother raped? Dear God, this is getting heavy.

“If you don’t want to talk about this, you don’t have to. We can talk about something else if you’d like.”

“That’s okay. I’m not ashamed of my life. What I can’t control I shouldn’t worry about.”

“Hm. Have you ever been married?”

“Yes, twice. I divorced my second husband almost three years ago.”

“Are you looking to remarry?”

“No, I’m looking to have fun. That’s why I put that message on Craigslist.”

“All work and no play makes Cindi a dull girl?”

Cindi chuckles again. If she’s laughing, I must be doing something right. Right?

“Something like that. In addition to having two husbands, I have four kids.”

Holy shit! Four kids? She’s a MILF!!!

“Four kids? How old are they?”

“This might shock you, but I’ve had four kids from four different fathers. I’ll admit, that kind of makes me a whore. I had my first-born daughter when I was sixteen with a boy I knew in high school. My second child, another girl, came when I was eighteen. Her father was a neighborhood boy I grew up with. I had my third child, a son, with my first husband when I was twenty-five. We divorced and I had my fourth child, my third daughter, with my second husband. I was twenty-seven.”

Let me add these things in my head. According to her bio, she’s 48-years-old, which means her eldest daughter is 32, her second oldest is 30, her son is 23, and her youngest daughter is 21. Wow. I’m younger than at least two of her children. Damn!

“That’s quite a life. I have no kids. Nor have I ever been married.”

“Do you plan on getting married?”

“Sure, but not yet. I need to meet the right girl first.”

“Do you think that girl could be me?”

I stare at her in disbelief. I can’t think of a good come-back.

“I’m kidding, Ryan! I know you’re not looking for a serious relationship with me. You’re looking to fuck.”

That slightly startled me. Somehow, when she said the word “fuck,” it hit me on a gut level that I’m going to have sex with this woman in a short while. Wow! That realization is enough to give my already erected penis an additional jolt.

“That’s rather crass, but yes.”

“Can I ask you another question?”

“Sure. Go ahead.”

“Are you a virgin?”

I’m stunned again. Did she just ask me that? How do I answer? Do I tell her the truth, or do I make up some story about how I’ve had sex with so many girls I’ve lost track?

“I’m, uh, well, I…”

“You are. Just admit it. It’s okay. Don’t be embarrassed.”

She sounds very reassuring and nonjudgmental. Her eyes glow with love like a mother tending her young. How can I not answer her honestly?

“Yes, I am.”

“I knew it! Somehow, I knew it the moment you walked into the room. But that’s okay. We’ll change that. Follow me.”

And with that, Cindi gets up, pushes her chair in, drinks the last of her coffee, puts the magazine back on a bookshelf and walks toward the exit.

“You seem harmless enough, Ryan. Let’s go to my place.”

“Okay.”

That last line is delivered weakly and almost to myself. Is this real? Is she inviting me over to her place for sex? Well, that shouldn’t be too surprising, considering the fact she posted a sexual ad on Craigslist in the first place. But it’s getting real! Like, really real! I’m about to have sex with a strong, muscular female bodybuilder!

If this is all a dream, I’m going to murder someone.