'More bad news? You look totally exasperated.'
'Yes. Our campaign signs at the north end of the county have disappeared. The Devereaux men have been intimidating the black voters up there again.'
'How does he get away with it?' I asked. 'His campaign shenanigans just go on and on unchallenged. That TV ad that blatantly calling Thad a socialist is still playing too.'
'I know, but it hasn't gone unchallenged,' Shaun Johnson said, shaking his head in resignation. 'We tried to get that taken off the air - the people in Washington would bust a gut laughing to be told that Thad Monroe is anywhere even close to the center of the political spectrum. But they said there wasn't anything they could do. Reggie Devereaux has represented Natchez and Adams County in the Mississippi Senate for twenty years, and he's a law unto himself now. He sits up there in north Adams County like he's the lord of the shire. Doesn't even come down to Natchez much anymore.'
'He's got to be up to his neck in corruption,' I said. 'A man in Mississippi can't have had power for that length of time and operate from a rural base without getting his hands dirty.'
'Not as far as we've been able to discover,' Dennis, one of the poll strategists of Thad Monroe's state senatorial campaign answered gloomily. He shifted his bulky behind in the folding chair in the temporary Democratic headquarters storefront office on State Street. 'He's squeaky clean.'
Mary, the volunteers coordinator chimed in with, 'None of my people have ferreted out any wrongdoing - other than the campaign hijinks - either. And people are dropping off our campaign because they are despondent. Some of them are even asking for assurances that those lies the Devereaux campaign are telling about Thad are, in fact, lies. So the deceptive tactics are even making inroads with our own people.'
'I'd hardly call keeping black voters from the polls as simple campaign hijinks,' the campaign manager, Shaun, interjected. 'There just hasn't been anything we can stick to him.'
'Well, there is something,' Ben, one of the campaign strategists said.
Everyone turned and looked at Ben. There had been some muttering when Ben was taken on the campaign team. He came from a pretty rough part of Natchez and had a reputation of not being on the up and up all of the time himself.
'Better in the tent than pissing into it from the outside,' Thad had said when people had grumbled about offering him a position. 'If we don't take him, Reggie is likely to,' Thad had added. 'And I'd rather that this not happen.'
'What do you know?' Shaun asked.
'Ummm, maybe not here, right now,' Ben answered, and he gave a meaningful look at me.
I wasn't part of the Thad Monroe campaign staff. But the paper I published in Natchez had already come out in support of him, and I was doing everything I could on the editorial page to effect the defeat of Reggie Devereaux - to the point that more than one political leader in Natchez had said that 'my man' had better win or I might as well close down the paper. Because, after the election, Reggie Devereaux, if he was still a Mississippi state senator, would make my life a living hell.
'You mean Chance, Ben? He can hear whatever any of the rest of us hear in this room. He's probably stuck his neck out on this campaign farther than any of the rest of us have. If Thad doesn't win, all of the rest of us can just move on to another campaign. Chance, though, will probably lose his paper - and his shirt in the process.'
'It's not something that can appear in his paper,' Ben said. 'It isn't that it isn't well known enough, but it would backfire, I think. It would amuse people and make them even more prone to vote for the legend that is Reggie Devereaux.'
'I don't have to print anything about it if Thad thought it would hurt his campaign,' I said.
'I did think I had something - there was a joke going around about Reggie cross-dressing, but when I ran that down it was just a rowdy political spoof dinner put on every year where several of the state senators get dragged up and do a cancan. Push come to shove I could work some innuendo on that - start rumors that he really enjoys the dress-up part. The best I could come up with other than that was that Reggie fucks young women - whenever he can get to one - which is every couple of hours, if the rumors are to be believed. And the women flock to him. He's a randy old bastard,' Ben said.
We all involuntarily swung our faces toward Mary to see her reaction, but it didn't seem to bother her a bit. In fact, she looked sardonic and said, 'Well, that's hardly news. I'll bet three quarters of the state knows that. There's no evidence any have been underage, has there?'
We all continued to focus our eyes on Mary. There was something defensive in the way she'd responded. I probably wasn't the only one in the room flipping through what I knew of Mary's past to find a connection between her and Devereaux when she was younger.
'No,' Ben answered. And I didn't say it was news. 'But if you want to point to a chink in his armor, that's the best I think we can expect. I've been looking for a weakness myself - and in some places the rest of you won't touch.'
'So, as far as hinting at it somehow in my paper . . .' I put out there.
'It's a nonstarter,' Ben filled in. 'Being a randy old bastard in Mississippi is probably actually worth a couple of more percentage points in the vote. As long as his wife doesn't care, it's not going to get him in trouble. And that Mrs. Devereaux is more interested in being a state senator's wife than she is in having her husband walking the straight and narrow.'
'And, so, we can't make anything out of that chink in Devereaux's armor,' Shaun pronounced, with a sadness of finality in his voice.
'Not unless there's a nasty twist to it,' Ben answered. 'He likes them looking young, though. We could always put one his way who is younger than he thinks.'
'Let's not even start to think of going there,' Shaun quickly interjected. Everyone else at the table was looking uncomfortable and leaning away from Ben.
A nasty twist - the phrase played in my mind as I left the Monroe campaign headquarters and got in my car for the short drive down to the river and to the house I frequently visited that represented my own chink in the armor - actually one of many chinks. But I wasn't running for public office.
* * * *
We were in my favorite position, Collette reclining on her belly on her bed and me lying behind her, my chest on her calves, my arms close in to her side and my lips and teeth nibbling on her nicely rounded, milk-chocolate buttocks cheeks. She moaned softly as I parted her cheeks and blew softly on her treasure.
'Yum, that's nice. But I want more, sugar.'
'There will be more; there's always more.'
'You seem a bit down today. What's bothering you, sweetness. Tell your little Collette. Is it this election?'
'Yes, I'm afraid it is. Devereaux's campaign is using dirty tricks - and they are working.'
'And Thad's campaign hasn't found dirty tricks of its own? Or Thad is too high and mighty to fight back that way.'
'A little of both, I would guess.'
'Cheer up, sugar. Let's think more happy thoughts - and do more pleasant things. Ummm, that was nice. You gonna be sweet to me now?'
'In a bit. You know that I like doing this. Getting in the mood.'
'Well, then, let's talk of favorite things until you give me what is my favorite of all. Oh, yes, like that. Just like that.' She let out a long sigh.
'You call all men your favorites.'
'But the others pay, sugar. Not you. Never have - well, after that first time. If you don't know the difference - '
'We were going to talk of favorite things,' I said with a low laugh, moving the focus of the topic. I had lubricated a finger and was moving it slowing into her treasure, searching. She groaned for me and lifted her hips slightly and pushed back at my hand.
'Let's talk All Hallow's Eve costume balls. I love parties, especially costume parties. You know me and dress up.'
'Yes, I know you and dress up. Is that what you're going to wear, the ball gown hanging on the closet door over there?'
'Yes, Do you like it? I'm going to go as Snow White. Isn't that the limit?'
'Would Snow White have such a plunging neckline. I don't see how you'll keep it up.'
'That's the secret of getting a man, sugar - figuring out the secret on keeping it up.' She laughed at that and I rose up along her back and leaned down and nuzzled the hollow of her neck with my lips.'
'Umm. yes, sugar. You gonna be my escort at the ball? Oh, god, yes, you stud. Don't just hold it there. Give it to me. I want you.'
I had positioned the bulb of my cock at her entrance, just holding it there, enjoying the pulsing of her entrance, her wanting of me.
'You know I can't escort you to the ball, Collette. Natchez is still a small town in so many ways. Can you imagine what a scandal that would be?'
'Can't let Reggie Devereaux see us together? Just more fodder for his box of dirty campaign tricks?'
'Reggie never comes to Natchez except at election time,' I said, with a laugh. 'He wouldn't get the scandal of it. But now,' I said in a low, breathy voice, 'We have more pressing matters to tend to.'
Collette giggled, but this was cut off by a groan and moan, as I took her wrists in my fists and started to work my cock inside her.
'Oh, sugar. Oh fuck. All of it. All of it,' she cried out, as I worked my way up her channel. She raised her hips, giving me deeper purchase.
Her pants and sighs were lulling me into other thoughts as I stroked her. Scandal. Scandal and Collette. Collette. Nasty twists. A chink in the armor. Just one chink.
When we were spent and entwined, building up to a second, slower and more sensual coupling, I leaned my lips to her ear. 'About the All Hallow's Eve ball, Collette. Perhaps you could do me a great favor.'
'Yes, sugar, for you anything. As long as you work that lovely cock inside me again.'
'I bet you say that to all of the men.'
'Perhaps. But all of the others have to pay for it.'
* * * *
The All Hallow's Eve costume ball was probably the height of the autumn season in Natchez. It was an opportunity for all to dress in early nineteenth-century costumes and to relive the glories of the Old South. Natchez tried recapture that era more than most small cities, even in the South. Everyone in Adams County who was anyone was at the Le Grand Pre ballroom in the Eola Hotel for the occasion.
I had counted on that being the case.
Collette contributed an electrifying appearance. I had counted on this as well. A classic grand staircase swept down into the hotel's lobby, where the guests were gathering, ready to enter the adjacent ballroom. I looked at my watch and then surveyed the room to ensure everyone was there I needed. Then, switching my camera to the other hand, I fished my cell phone out of my pocket - fumbling a bit as the pockets in this plantation-era costume weren't where I expected them to be - and made a call.
Three minutes later, there she was, at the head of the stairs, poised. The hubbub in the lobby died down and faces turned toward the top of the stairs, first of a few, and then of everyone else as it became known that she was standing there. I had the sense that everyone was holding his or her breath.
Some were swept into breathlessness by her glorious beauty, a milk-chocolate queen provocatively dressed in a flowing white ball gown, her face half concealed by a white, feather-plumed mask. The contrast of the stark white and the creamy chocolate was delicious, the slash of scarlet at her full lips, sensual and suggestive. Others, well aware of her charms and recognizing who she was, were breathless because they couldn't quite grasp her audacity, the impropriety of all. The air was permeated with the heady aura of sensuality, beauty, scandal, and effrontery. Natchez would be abuzz with the retelling of her entry for weeks. It might even be blown up into local legend.
I was hoping for this too.
As Collette came out of her pose and started to move down the stairs, it was as if air was being let out of a balloon. The reality that this was happening swept across the party crowd in the lobby and a buzz started to build, a mix of awe, shock, admiration, and delicious indignation.
Collette was oblivious to it all - smiling that coquettish smile of hers. Her lips parted and all eyes were captured by the scream of red against the milk-chocolate skin and the stark white of the gown. Her teeth were as white as the dress. Her lips full of invitation and promise.
The hands of the women in the lobby went to their mouths; the hands of a good many men instinctively went elsewhere.
Down, down, down, she came. Slowly and dramatically. The crowed parted as she reached the bottom stair, as if by signal clearing two paths for her - one to a closed door into the ballroom and the other to the hotel's entrance out onto the street.
Collette unerringly glided onto the path to the ballroom, and there was a gasp of surprise and censure by several who would have her take the other path.
She stopped, ever so briefly, in front of Reggie Devereaux, his mouth agape, his eyes bugging out. She smile with demurely boxed head in his direction, flicked her fan open, and played momentary peek-a-boo. Then she was on the move again, to the door into the ballroom, which she opened herself and then, usurping the role of hostess, turned and smiled, and in sexy, deep, clear-toned contralto said, 'Shall we?'
Collette was looking directly into Reggie Devereaux's eyes when she said this.
All tension in the lobby was exploded and the partygoers - remembering now that the ball included a surprise each year and abuzz in this, one of the most surprising and memorable ball tricks of many a year - began filing into the room. The orchestra, on a dais, struck up a waltz.
Collette kept on walking across the wide expanse of the ballroom, until she reached a set of French doors out into the gardens, which she opened and exited into the night.
Everything was all right now with the guests. It was just the hotel's All Hallow's Eve surprise. Some years it was a trick and some years it was a treat. This year there were some who declared Collette's brief presence a clever trick. But there were others who secretly looked up her visitation as a treat, and their minds wondered over previous magical encounters with Collette. What they all could agree on, though, was that the hotel had outdone itself this year in its traditional Halloween surprise.
My eyes went to Reggie Devereaux, and I held my breath. Would he bite?
Yes. Although he was being greeted from one side to another as he walked through the crowd entering the ballroom, he was walking faster and with more purpose than the others were, and he was so focused and in such a trance that he only perfunctorily acknowledged the greetings of his admirers and enemies.
He walked straight to the French doors through which Collette had passed, and then he too was swallowed up in the night.
I gave then fifteen minutes and then I too exited the French doors.
I didn't have to go far, and I let the sounds I was expecting to hear - wanting to hear - guide me to a private little side garden.
The were sitting on a garden bench, the senator sitting directly on the bench, and Collette sitting on his lap, facing away from him. She was arched back, an arm slung around his neck, pulling his face down into the hollow of her neck. The bodice of her dress was pulled down, Devereaux was cupping Collette's breasts with his hands.
It was evident from the way Collette was moving on his lap that she was already sheathed on his cock.
She sensed I was there, at the edge of the shadows. She had expected me. It had all been prearranged. Seeing that I was in place, Collette reached down and bunched the sweep of her skirts up to her waist, and turned ever so slightly.
The moment had arrived. I raised my camera and called out, 'Say 'chink in your armor,' Senator.'
Devereaux looked up at the camera in surprise and distress - still with the cloud of lust planted on his face, as I had hoped it would be - as I started clicking off shots in rapid succession. The setup was beautiful. I got the expression on his face - and the feigned passion on Collette's. More important, Collette had exposed her lap and turned her hips so that I also got clear shots of Devereaux's cock in Collette's ass and - most important of all - Collette's own cock perkily bobbing in the air.
'Gottcha,' I exclaimed as the clumps of partygoers Ben had coaxed out into the garden started to arrive on the scene.
The people of Adams County might think that extramarital couplings with young women enhanced a Mississippi state senator's aura - but I well knew that they wouldn't think the same at all about seeing photos of a state senator fucking a black transvestite.