It was 3:20 pm, the time when we pooled in the parking lot, gridlocked and blasting music, looking for our friends. The guest speaker, we called her the Sex Lady, was stashing her bag in the trunk of her hatchback when a bull moose walked out of the forest and through the hedge. The moose’s brown-black fur glinted, and his antlers, newly clean of their velvet, spanned more than six feet, reached higher than our raised trucks. They were pink with blood, as if he was fresh from battle with another bull moose. He stepped forward, parting the lake of us, and walked up behind her. We stood quiet behind our cars, hugged our binders to our chests. He nudged her neck with his muzzle, and she turned and rested a hand on his jaw. She kissed him between his eyes.

We had the Internet and we’d seen things, adult things: women having oral sex with women, men fucking women like dogs, a group of men fucking one woman like dogs. We’d seen actual dogs fucking. We knew men frowned and grunted and women moaned and bit their lips. We knew more than our parents had known and maybe more than they knew now. And because of the Sex Lady we knew the biology, the technology, even the sociology; we knew about the virgin/whore paradox and no-take-back sexts.

Sex Lady unwrapped her scarf and peacoat and set them in the car. She stepped out of her ankle boots, slid down her grey slacks, and lifted off her cable sweater, unraveling her black bun. She stood in her cotton panties and beige bra and gripped his massive head in her hands. Then she took off everything, tossed in the rest of her clothes with her keys, and shut the tailgate of her hatchback. She took hold of the flap that hung from his neck, and they walked toward the exit.

“Miss Sanderson,” we called. “What are you doing?” We gaped at her pale, flat butt, her dark nipples, her small, uneven boobs.

She looked back at us, the moose did not.

We said, “What about ovulation, fertilization, and implantation? Do you need protection—polyurethane or latex? Are you prepared for the morning after?”

She said, “It’s sad the way our skin separates us, the way we’re trapped inside clothes we outgrow.”

We said, “What about your Relationship Bill of Rights? Are his values compatible with yours? Does he want what’s best for you?”

She regarded us a moment longer before they trickled down the road and vanished into the spruce trees, his gait graceful and steady, her long black hair swinging.

That night we couldn’t sleep. We got up and searched the Internet. We swiped and tapped, clicked and leaned in, until we grew fuzzy-eyed, ran out of words to enter, and tucked back into our beds. We rested one hand on our jaws, replaying her touch, and waited for the secrets to come.


Kara Vernor
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