Saturday, May 23, 2020
'Bred', Part III
Late Afternoon With Mia
The trio sit. Iced tea with lemon refreshes. Lesley finds the climate warm yet tolerable. The breezes of the tradewinds bring steady cool when sitting under the shade of a thatched roof and tall palms.
“How long have you been here, Mia?” Lesley politely commencing conversation.
“Many years. I would take a guess at ten. With the weather so consistent... sunny and warm, sunny and warm, sunny and warm... the years slip by... no freezing winters... no blazing summers to mark the seasons.”
“So you’re not native to the area... having been through cold winters?” Lesley digging.
“I am not. From San Francisco... and spent a few years in Boston. Snow, rain, ice... I don’t miss it.”
“Boston. I went to school in Boston... Northeastern. You?”
“Ah... Harvard,” Mia humbly divulges, not seeming to boast. “Graduate school... and some post graduate work.”
The lofty academic credentials bring a moment of silence, Mia’s extensive educational background not expected.
“Aunt Gloria was fortunate in engaging her,” Tom stepping into the breach. “Not many with her resume willing to work in such... isolation.”
Graduate school, post graduate work, some ten years on the island, the information places Mia in an age range of late thirties to early forties, Lesley calculates. Many years of life remaining... and in Lesley’s mind stuck nowhere... an idyllic nowhere, yes... but the deep blue of the ocean horizon and thick verdant tropical vegetation must wear at some point.
“So no boredom? As beautiful as it is, there must not be much to do here.”
“The girls... I’m sure you’re well aware in visiting the dorm... were many. Much care needed. At any given time eight or nine gestating... a scheduled delivery once per month... and there were the inseminations, and of course the fertilizations... my... ah specialty.”
A wide mouthed Lesley looks to fiancé Tom, another shocking disclosure.
“Inseminations?” voice wavering.
“Yes, Mia’s specialty,” Tom again breaking a pause of silence. “Aunt Gloria had money, yes. But keeping the facility here going... you can imagine the expense of bringing in food and supplies... would have been a financial burden without the breeding program. It was... lucrative.”
Stunned again, Lesley sits back in her chair, not able to conjure another word. In the distance she hears the steady hum of the island’s electric generator, Tom having explained the source of power when she inquired about the many canisters of propane. The boat was laden. If Tom spied an open spot, he took on board another canister.
Finally she finds words.
“So impregnating women can be lucrative?”
Tom and Mia exchange glances. Yes, Tom spent much time here she concludes, able to communicate with the woman wordlessly.
“Let’s say you have a man... and a woman... married... and they very much want to have a child... children. But there are complications... possible danger... in bringing a child to term. Well... Mia... given the right facility... can make that happen.”
“The right facility... and the right amount of money?” Lesley cynically adds.
“How much?” Lesley’s cynicism swelling.
Tom looks to Mia. She takes a sip of tea, seeming to be reaching within for resolve.
“The last half dozen... $100,000 each. But there were... guess you’d say... pro bono inseminations.”
“Yes. When it was deemed convenient. The island is technically under the governance of Moriana... a small chain of Pacific islands which comprise a sovereign nation. So, there were occasions when we’d breed a child for a ranking government official... and in return Tom’s Aunt Gloria... and the island... received little unwanted attention.”
“Breed... as in cattle?”
“Gloria’s term. Used so often here... it just slips out,” a sheepish Mia explains.
Lesley becomes unexpectedly pensive, Tom expecting somewhat of a rage in learning more of Aunt Gloria and the island’s praxes.
“So the girls... kept naked and caged...”
“There’s... term it a certain environment... certain psychological underpinnings to be instilled... in keeping a girl consistently pregnant. It can be mentally burdensome as you... as a woman... can imagine. Aunt Gloria developed a regimen to best deal with that,” Mia now gushing with background information.
“Once per year.”
“For how long? How many?” Lesley gasps in both fright and concern.
“Depends on the girl... and her uterus... the endometrium. We’ve had a girl drop up to ten... other’s a half dozen.”
Drop like cattle! The beings in the so term dormitory are talked about like cattle!
Though again shocked, words of reproval don’t come. With the mention of the word ‘endometrium’, Lesley lapses into guilty silence. Though she is learning of the secrets of Shelter Island... she has some of her own.
“It’s time for Jasmine to let down for me,” Mia interrupting her thoughts. “You should join me. Tom enjoyed milking a girl during his summers,” Mia deciding to deflect Lesley’s apparent scorn by implicating the girl’s fiancé in what she considers aberrant undertakings. “And he disliked using the machine.”
Mia smiles sardonically and shifts about to rise from her chaise lounge chair. In so doing, Lesley notes her short pleated skirt flips up. The lithe woman is without undergarments, briefly flashing her mons.
Assured relative coolness? Or other reasons? Lesley’s concerns expand, expressing such more forthrightly with Mia’s departure.
“So no machine, Tom?” the words uttered with disgust. “This is all rather overwhelming. The activities here are criminal... were criminal... but the Jasmine girl... woman... remains caged.”
“Not criminal in Moriana. And I’m arranging for Jasmine’s... departure.”
“To where? What’s she going to do?”
“It is problematic. Aunt Gloria sent them... the girls no longer able to breed... to the main island then arranged for a flight out. That’s all I know. I’ll be going through her files, trying to learn more. But you should be with Mia more... learn more about...”
“Well... then walk Jasmine. Let her explain some things.”
“On a leash...” Lesley cynically suggests.
“Always,” Tom shrugs. “It’s island protocol.”
“Couldn’t help noticing Mia’s garb... the lack of it,” Lesley’s tone accusatory.
Tom snickers. “I don’t think there’s a problem there. I have you. And trust me, she finds no attraction in me. Think about all this. There’s not been much penis here over the years... only the guys coming on monthly visits with the supply boat... and she has been very happy without.”
Lesley calms herself to nod in understanding, recalling Jasmine’s attempt to get under Mia’s short skirt at feeding time. The decline was notably subtle... the rebuke less than sharp.
Iced tea consumed, Lesley places down her glass. She needs to tell Tom something... desperately. But when? Each time the tranquility of the island inures calm conversation, more concerns arise involving caged girls, an eccentric aunt, the level of fiancé Tom’s participation, and the mysterious Mia... advanced study at Harvard resulting in an extended sabbatical in the middle of nowhere.
“There’s no offspring here,” Lesley tacitly utilizing a breeding term, “why is Jasmine being milked?” deciding on bluntness.
“Two reasons. The lactate is in demand thus more cash flow. The numerous biological mothers aren’t expressing. And well... Aunt Gloria’s program... ah... once a girl is put on a schedule... you know... regularly letting down... it’s sort of... needed.”
Lesley recall’s Mia’s mention of ‘pharmaceuticals’... in the feeding bag.
“So she can’t go without?”
“They ache... the glands,” Tom glumly explains.
“So during summer break, you helped the girls... with the aching,” Lesley more taunting than inquiring.
Tom nods agreement... “it was instructional... for a guy in college.”
Lesley decides to end the inquisition. Within, she senses a degree of comfort, learning that fiancé Tom has secrets. It will make hers easy for him to accept.
To be With Jasmine
Dinner, Lesley decides not to engage in further cross examination... of neither Mia nor fiance Tom. Mia prepares simply, light fare, not much heated or cooked to be desirous in the heat. The conversation strays away from the island, Aunt Gloria and the curious activities. In the silence of consuming, Lesley gives much thought to what she has learned and discovered... but also ruminates on the many things unknown.
Why would the girls... at times up to a dozen... tolerate such treatment of their own volition?
Both Tom and Mia have encouraged her to walk Jasmine... even permitting the girl to speak... an otherwise apparent verboten activity. Should she?
The degradation comes to mind... her self image in guiding a being at the end of a length of leather. But then she realizes... it is only she that will ever see... she and the naked, hairless and plumped Jasmine. There will be no retribution in abetting the apparent wickedness of the island’s culture.
Arrested by the Morian authorities? It’s a relative impossibility.
In finishing, Lesley helps clear the table. Cleaning dishes with Mia, the subject matter returns.
“It is a nice evening for a walk,” Lesley casually commenting.
“Yes, the sun is so much less intense. And one must be aware... there is peril in exposing delicate pink flesh to ultra violet rays.”
Mia smiles. With her reference to the abundance of stretched nipple and labial flesh apparent, she looks directly into Lesley’s eyes, reading her mind.
“You’ll feel empowered, Lesley. You’re not of our ilk... of that I am aware. But do indulge. No one makes judgements here on Shelter Island. And whereas you’re naturally coming to quick conclusions, overall things are for the best... doing what we do here... what we’ve done here. There are those who have needs... needs that require attention... very exacting and firm attention. And there are those like Gloria Lamont who graciously offer it. That and fulfilling the needs of couples wanting children.”
Dishes cleaned and stowed. Mia silently steps out of the kitchen... to the front door... walking toward the low concrete structure of the dorm. She does not need to look back. She knows Lesley follows.