How closely she resembled my sister — not necessarily pleasing when looking her in the face, nor satisfactory in height, but with a bulging hip and a narrow waistline. She wasn't quite as dorsally engorged as those few of her friends that I had seen, yet she bore the inordinately pronounced womanly likeness that my sister had at that age. I was smitten at a glance.

She was the daughter of a shopkeeper for whom I later worked odd jobs, and her name was Catherine. Her friends called her Catty. This fact amused me; she was fittingly catlike in her restlessness and tendency to disappear, no doubt up to no good, at any given moment. This, I adored in her, even when her flightiness formed rifts in our seeing each other.

Never did I talk to her until my third day trimming bushes for the shopkeeper, who I was not aware at the time was her father. She came waltzing down the walk in her narcotic, swaying sort of gait, and we locked eyes for the most fleeting second before I spat out a phlegmy, "Hello!" and she gave me back a small, discrediting nod, and then I introduced myself and she cackled that she knew all I had to say, because she had seen her father's new worker.

Father! I couldn't believe my ears, but I felt a pang of resistance from her. She was ready to hurry on her way and tend to whatever business girls of her age had in mind; of course she was! What would a tender girl of fifteen want to do with a wretched, asymmetrical man of thirty-nine? I was but a grizzled servant in her eyes — the servant of her father, no less.

We exchanged our good-byes, and I watched over my shoulder as she entered the shop, realizing now that she lived in the upstairs, too, just like the shopkeeper himself. The gears in my head turned.

As I lay in bed, I stared at the damp, crumbly ceiling up above and thought about every thing that would repel a woman, and everything that had already repelled women in my past. For some reason, my eyes fell on the framed, dusty photo of my sister from many years ago — I estimated that she was eight or nine in the photo. I wondered why I looked there so instinctively, but then realized that it was not the photo that would repel a woman, but the warped wood on which it sat. Of course.

Then I scanned the sparse walls. Perhaps paintings or portraiture would make the peeled paint less discernible. A bit of air freshener would reduce the mold odor; better yet, candles, though those would be dangerous with the gas leak in the hall. Then a new thought came to me: perhaps I ought to just skip the month's rent and use instead to rent a hotel room for a night, and then a woman would be ready to lie down with me.

I thought about Catty and became bothered. I knew it was her who I wanted, with every fiber of my being. Never had I felt such radiant attraction. But it would be such a delicate act for her to notice me and choose me over the suitors I knew she had; a woman as pretty as her would have them. Then I worried about the shopkeeper, who was my own age and in better shape... Surely his reaction to a relation with his daughter would be a violent one, and I would need to defend myself. But that would come later. For the time being, I made it my goal to gain young Catty's trust.

For a handful of days, I arrived at the shop at the crack of dawn to begin work hours early, in hopes of seeing Catty or gaining insight on the shopkeeper's schedule. Each of these days, I found myself stranded outside for four hours until ten, when the shopkeeper opened the doors for business and gave me my list of chores. Finally, at the end of that first week, he inquired as to my peculiar ethic. From then on, I appeared at ten sharp and awaited my duty — and Catty.

One day when I was tempted again to arrive early, I showed up at the shop at seven, and from afar spotted Catty making her way back to the shop. But my every sense went numb when I saw that, at her side and with an arm locked around her, was a handsome gent of probably nineteen or so... I ducked into the bushes which lined the park across from the shop, and spied their activities with seething, fiery fury.

Before the front door, Catty and the gent faced each other and embraced one another in their arms, then leaned into each other and conjoined face, lip, and tongue for what seemed to me a dreadfully long span of time during which the world froze, and the only things that existed were Catty, the gent, and my utter hatred. Then they disconnected, hugged, and the gent turned away while Catty unlocked the door with her spare key and hurried inside.

I did not hesitate to cross the street and to try the door, but found it locked. I peered into the glass, but the glare of the morning sun prevented my looking inside. Then I turned my attention to the walk, and spotted the gent parading proudly away. My head spun, thoughts of unspeakable acts of brutality popping in and out and tempting me to follow the gent.

What devious acts did you do with my dear, sweet sis-

The door before me scraped open and the shop bell rang, catching my attention. I stared in Catty's face with my jaw dumbly agape and one eye open wide and the other squinting from the sun. I must have been an ogre in her eyes, hideous and broken. But the tone of voice she used with me, sing-songy and childlike, comforted me in some way.

"Mr. Humphrey, right? You're here for work?" she puzzled.

"Yes, thought I'd get a bit of a head start since I feel I'll have another migraine coming on," I rattled out. I hadn't had a migraine since I went off my medicines a month and a half before, but the idea was still fresh in my head. "It will be nice to have an evening to kick back."

"You poor thing," Catty sighed, "There are a few things to do. It's a shame my father won't let you come in early more often, if you suffer migraines like that."

"Perhaps you would put a word in with in?"

"Perhaps I will."

My pupils dilated as I crossed the threshold into the shop, and the rustic scent of old wood assailed my nostrils. But also I smelt something different, exciting, and vaguely familiar: It was the aroma of Catty, of her skin and of her hair. I walked along behind her until I reached the counter, and she then went behind the counter to the cigarette case. I couldn't take my eyes off her soft, pubescent legs which poked from beneath the rim of her cutoff skirt. Even more tantalizing were the stockings which she wore — too tantalizing for someone her age to wear, I knew, but I adored it nonetheless.

She turned back to face me with a sort of weird smile and a pack of Camels in one hand. With the other, she gestured a, "Shhh!" with a finger pressed to her lips. I looked to and fro between both her gushy, red lips and her short, but lean finger. I felt a bothered feeling, which I had felt with increasing frequency over the preceding week, more so than normally.

"Between you and me," she snickered while tucking the cigarettes into the waistband of her skirt, "the door was unlocked."

Catty turned away and started to make her way toward a tucked away staircase at a corner of the shop, with a sign above reading Employees Only. I thought of her going to her room and lying down, but then I thought again of the gent and a burning rage broke out within me, thinking of the things that they must have done that night... In a fit, I hurried to the foot of the stairs and stopped short, watching Catty ascend. She must have sensed my presence, because she stopped, too.

I choked on my thoughts. "You smoke? Do you also drink?" I hadn't a clue where the question had emerged, but perhaps I had thought back on the aging bottle of wine which I kept under my bed for a special occasion — a gift from my uncle when I was deemed stable once more.

Catty gave me an unreadable expression. She sort of squinted her eyes and tightened her lips, thinking. Thinking possibly of anything. Then she gave me a concise, "Not easily here, what with my father."

The gears in my head turned. Looking down, shylike, I told her, "I've got some wine. Dom Perignon. It's back at my flat."

Catty raised an eyebrow and giggled girlishly. "If you're asking me to come back with you, I will have to decline politely, Mr. Humphrey. I hope your migraine improves."

She darted up the stairs and disappeared behind a door. My heart sank as I listened to her footsteps creaking away. I inhaled a long breath, and once again smelled her aroma. My desire for her was greater than ever, and I wanted nothing more than to smell that aroma up close and taste it for myself. To have her held down and in my control, the taste of her skin granted to me only. More than anything, I wanted the smell of her sex. I could hardly bear it.

Sunken, I turned away and began my rote tasks, memorized from weeks of repetition. I mopped the floors, dusted the shelves, wiped the windows and door down, trimmed the hedges, and swept the walk, but it felt without recompense. Before I knew it, three hours had passed, and I heard the shopkeeper's footsteps coming down the stairs. He met me with a puzzled expression, and he asked how I had gotten into the shop, and so I repeated Catty's lie that the door was unlocked and I took it upon myself to clean early, because I had a migraine coming on, poor me.

The shopkeeper expressed his basic sympathies while he marched to click the neon OPEN sign on. Then, my luck turned toward the better, because he told me with some gratification that he was going out of town early in the day for business and dinner with a colleague, so it was a good coincidence that I had come early so as to finish my work before he goes. I left then, feeling quite high in spirits — at last, my night to prove myself had come, and Catty would fall for me equally.

I thought again of my sister as I locked my door behind, bottle of Dom Perignon tucked under my arm. When I had been down with her that time before my institutionalization, it was not as I had imagined it; perhaps that was because what I had fallen for was her child self, not the adult self that I now knew. Stumbling upon the picture of her which I had framed was an epiphany; it stirred within me a primal feeling which I know now that I have always had, but never knew how to put into expression.

There was one thing I knew to be true: My sister's wide hips were the same now as they were then.

Then I thought about Catty as I made my way to the walk. I considered her legs as I had seen them earlier, and I recognized that womanly shapeliness. This would be my satisfaction as I had expected it years ago. This would be the night, and the Dom Perignon would be my ally.

I was surprised to find the shop door left unlocked, but the shopkeeper's vehicle was gone, so I knew that he had already left. But the door being unlocked told me that Catty must be home, and ostensibly alone. It was about seven o'clock, and the sun was hanging pink in the sky with clouds forming an arc around and over it. I thought about her legs again.

I crept into the shop and my heart rate quickened. I had a brief second thought, an abrupt terror that made me wonder how she would react to my unexpected presence. But then my carnal desires returned and I couldn't stop myself as, all in a blur, I proceeded through the shop, up the stairs, and through the door at the top.

I stood at the end of a hall which extended to my left, with two doors on the right, one at the left, and a window in the center wall letting in red afternoon light. I took not more than two steps when a curvy silhouette stepped out of an opening door, her appearance masked by the light shining in. She gasped, and time froze.

In the time that all stopped, I realized with gleeful eyes that Catty stood before me nude, with only a bath towel wrapped tight around her body to mask her form from me. As my eyes adjusted to the light, I noticed the stunned expression on her face — not sure what to do, but certain that it was strange and abnormal.

"My father's just left," she squeaked, clutching her towel tighter to her and swaying somewhat toward the room across the hall. My eyes flicked toward it, and I could faintly see a bed beyond the open door. I looked back at Catty, and down at her thick legs, then up at her reddening face.

"I brought this wine as a gift for him," I muttered, "but I saw that he wasn't here. I suppose..." I let the silence blossom.

Catty swayed a little. "You suppose what?"

"I suppose I could leave you with it, yes? And you could... you could deliver it to him, yes?" The blood in my brain was draining elsewhere. I could hardly think, let alone formulate words. My desperation was tangible.

"Yes..." she sighed. She put a hand out, the other still clutching her towel.

Cautiously, I crept forward with the bottle outstretched. I ceased to move an arm's length before her, and then my eyes fell inexplicably on the wine. I fell deep into meditative thought, recalling every moment of being down with my sister. Remembering her resistance only intensified my present feelings, knowing that I would incite the same reaction now. I could no longer take it.

I met Catty's eyes, now frightful — she felt my energy and intentions.

I dropped the wine and then I found my arms pushing Catty against the window, and in the next moment her towel was at the floor, and the wine bottle bounced on the carpet at my feet. Time was reduced to brief, hot flashes and bursts of feelings: First sensations of dull impacts — her fists against me as I pushed her backward — then the soft texture of blankets and mattress, then an overwhelming hotness and friction, and then the wetness that threw me back years, to the remembrance of my sister.

The cries and screams and shrieks invigorated me further. I couldn't stop myself, and once I smelled it — the smell that I can only describe as desire — there was no way to stop myself from taking in every detail. Oh, I dominated her. I tasted her. I savored every second of this sweet refuse from the world which despised my existence. I tasted her sweet bitterness, and I tasted the mouth which screamed, and those red, full lips. It was every bit of satisfaction that I had ever wanted.

The ecstasy was so great, so indulgent, that I couldn't find it in myself to care that we had been caught, even as the shopkeeper appeared behind me with rage and hatred in his eyes, my bottle of Dom Perignon raised high and directly over my skull.