Chapter Twenty-Two: Harlot Dancers

As Dore began untying the many clever knots she made her husband navigate through in the private hours, Pam reached up to set free the pony tail she usually tied her hair in to keep it mostly out of her way. She shook her head to loosen up the dishwater blonde flyaway locks, fly, be free! then mussed it all up with her hands to make it look even wilder. Next she carefully emptied her pockets of any valuables such as her scope and put them into her trusty rucksack, which she hid carefully behind a rafter in the shadows of the grassy ceiling. She took off her shirt and stood a little self consciously in her bra, careful not to let Dore see her own shyness. Dore looked at her approvingly as she hung her apron on a branch of one of the hut’s primitive support beams.

“You are such a lovely girl, Pam, and still so young. If I were your age and still single I might let the men know it, in a properly modest way of course. You are a candle that hides its light.”

Pam was forty-five years old and didn’t consider herself either lovely or a girl, but smiled at Dore’s praise anyway. She had never been a bombshell of any sort but she was attractive in a “step or two ahead of Plain Jane” sort of way. Her years tromping around the forests and fields downtime had trimmed away any trace of the fat that she felt had made her so unattractive in her late thirties and early forties, the self-pity-cherry-bon-bon-eating years that had followed her divorce. She took a deep breath, sucked in her proudly hourglass waist, and stuck her ample-enough-for-another-look chest out. It seemed things were still holding up well there. She allowed herself a rather pleased grin.

“Maybe I do still got something, huh? Let’s hope it’s something an Arab pirate type might appreciate.” She took a careful step toward Dore. “Now it’s your turn, darlin’.” Dore made no move and simply nodded to Pam with a Please, do what you must look so Pam gently reached out and began loosening the complex knot-work of braids Dore kept her hair so severely bound up in. To Pam’s great surprise, long, lush locks the color of burnished brass laced with strands of silver fell down to nearly her waist.

“Talk about holding your light under a bushel! Good golly what I would give to have hair like yours! You keep it tucked up so tight, I had no idea!” Pam reached out and felt a lock, it was thick and smooth, nothing like the thin, dry feel of her own hopeless hair. Dore blushed a little and quietly admitted that Gerbald was quite fond of it and that’s why she kept it long for him, despite the nuisance of its required care.

Pam nodded approvingly. “I’ll bet he likes it. It’s gorgeous, Dore.” Pam shunted aside the bit of jealousy that crept around her mind and said in what she hoped was a firm yet comforting tone, “Okay, next we got to free up your bosom. Take off the smock.” Dore complied and the drab gray piece of utilitarian clothing came off.

Like many downtime worker women Pam had seen, Dore kept her bosom tightly confined. Accomplishing this was what appeared to be some kind of wrap made of sturdy canvas. At Pam’s silent nod Dore loosened the straps on the dour down-time version of a modesty-defending brassiere. Pam’s eyes widened. She knew Dore had plenty in the chest department, but the reality was, well, larger than expected. Jean Harlow, eat your heart out! Dore’s chest thrust out heroically like that of a mighty warrior queen, nothing at all like the grandmotherly flaccidity she had expected. Dore, bare to the waist with her hair down had ceased to resemble the humble washer woman Pam had grown accustomed to thinking of her as and was revealed as a Wagnerian goddess, a lovely and fearless Valkyrie. Dore was solidly built, certainly. Even after the island diet the hourglass was perhaps a bit thick, but now that her true buxom, healthy beauty was revealed the effect was something close to ravishing.

Pam let out a long, almost catcall of a whistle. “I’m going to call you ‘Wonder Woman’ from now on. You are a hottie!”

Dore blushed even harder. “Gerbald, he tells me I am beautiful, but you know him. His sweet talking is shameless. When I was a young girl in my teens I remember the village boys thought well of me and I often felt their lustful looks, but that was so long ago.”

“Girl, I’m here to tell you, you still got it and then some! Gawd, Dore, you’re gorgeous, and not just in a ‘for a woman your age’ kind of way. You could make the village boys get down on their knees and beg right now! Shit, I guess that makes me Maryann ’cause you got Ginger nailed.”

Dore’s face burned the scarlet of a summer sunset. At last she smiled widely in an open way that Pam had never seen before. A day for firsts indeed. A bright bit of Psychology 101 popped into Pam’s head and she put it to The Plan’s advantage right away.

“Look, Dore, just pretend you are a silly seventeen year old again and these pirate types are the village boys! It’s perfectly all right to be a bit naughty in a situation like that. We are just pretending, to save our skins. So just let go and be a little more flirtatious than you would have allowed yourself back then. Well, a lot more flirtatious. We need these clowns to want our bodies badly!”

It was Dore’s turn to laugh now, in a shy but pleased way. “The village boys! Yes, I was a flirt sometimes, oh the shame. Very well. I can do that, Pam. We will make this work.”

“Right. Now, off comes the bottom parts.” Dore’s face changed rapidly from glowing sunset to kitchen flour again. Pam thought she heard her mumbling a prayer for forgiveness under her breath as she began to unclasp the ties of her exceedingly modest dresses.

A short time later the women emerged bare-chested, wearing simple grass skirts over their under-garments in materials hurriedly reassigned from the hut’s walls, making sure to show quite a bit of leg. Dore’s legs were those of an athlete, well-muscled from years on the road and standing at work for long hours, but still shapely. The strings of clam shells they had made to decorate the place while fighting the sheer boredom of their existence were now draped around their necks and bunches of hapless orchids growing nearby had been firmly woven into their free-flowing hair. Each carried a large basket full of that evening’s dinner fruit and Pam had used some of the berry juice to brighten up their lips.

“We are some glorious and sex-starved hula harlots in need of some male attention and we always get our way!” Pam announced bravely, and they both nearly lost control to a fit of nervous giggles.

“Now, Dore,” Pam said breathing a bit hard to retain composure, “remember these guys are dangerous. We don’t want them to get too close. Let’s try to lead them back up the trail where our guys can get the jump on them and the fight can’t be seen from the ship. When the killing starts, we run like hell, okay?”

“Got it.” Dore resembled some kind of wild and dangerous heathen chieftainess, a tigress of lust. If Pam had a mirror she would have been both shocked and proud of her own wanton and wild appearance. She figured she at least somewhat resembled a Caucasian Hollywood extra made into a faux-Polynesian girl, last seen throwing flower petals in the path of Fantasy Island’s latest guests. Obviously a counterfeit wahine, but still easy on the eye. A sudden burst of confidence filled her, Goddamn it, we are looking fine!

As they sashayed down the path to the beach as seductively as they could muster, Pam began to feel eyes on her. She tried not to look right or left in order to avoid giving away her men’s positions but out of the corner of her sharp and well trained birder’s eyes she could make out some of the sailors hidden in the bushes, their mouths open in pure astonishment tinged with a bit of dawning appreciation. You goofballs better keep your eyes on the pirates when we come back this way she tried to radiate back at them. These treats are not for you! All too soon they left the cover provided by the last line of palms perched along the high tideline and sauntered casually onto the still uncomfortably hot sand. Pam stifled a grimace and whispered loudly, “Remember, we want them to come ashore. We must be alluring sirens. Let’s get their attention now.”

Dore called out sweetly in German, “Come, oh wretched and lustful goats from yon ship. Come and feel my ample breasts in your greasy, godless hands!” Pam almost lost it again but realized they would be better off not revealing their identity as Europeans beyond the paleness of their skin, which she hoped would pass for pleasingly exotic in these latitudes. She stage whispered to Dore, “Don’t speak German or English to them. We want them to think we are savages.”

Dore’s brow knitted below her wreath of exotic blossoms. “What should I say, then?”

“Just use nonsense talk, like to a baby. Boo-loo ooh-loo gaga waga! But make it sound sexy!”

“Boo-loo ooh-loo! Rhumba rhumba!” she crowed back with unfettered heathen delight. “A rhumba is one of those shameless dances Spanish-speaking papists engage in up-time. I saw it on TV,” she whispered proudly to Pam.

“That’s perfect, Dore. More like that!” Pam whispered back. “Calypso bistro, bongo wongo marimba hoochi-koochi!” Pam shouted at the top of her lungs while performing her best imitation of a parade float beauty queen’s welcoming wave. In the distance she could see the junk’s crew beginning to rouse to their racket.

About halfway down to the water’s edge they set their baskets down on the sand. Pam squinted to see if they had the pirate’s attention and found that they did. The sheet-wrapped goons were beginning to chatter and point at them. Pam motioned to Dore to follow her lead and set the baskets down, slowly to make sure there was a nice long view of that which was unfettered and freed to gravity’s whims, then began motioning to their abundant offerings with alluring gestures of invitation that would put any game-show co-hostess to shame.

“Ooga, beluga! You swarthy schmucks! We got’sa some froota loopas for you-ah!” She turned again to Dore who was mimicking her gestures. “And now, we dance!” Pam whispered to her blushing, but gamely seductive, friend.

“You start!” Dore hissed at her.

“Ka-looka looka kooka looka!” Pam sang at the top of her lungs as she began to shake her belly and her breasts as hard as she could in a move she had seen on a Don Ho TV special when she was a kid. She continued to vibrate as she slowly turned around to give them a three-hundred and sixty degree view of all the available goods. Dore followed her lead, turning in the opposite direction, her shaking was a speed or two slower but she added a warbling bird-like cry in her powerful church choir alto. Go, girl, go! Pam grinned at her as they came back around again. Next Pam stopped shaking and began a circular swaying of the hips while her arms lithely made gestures of come hither toward the boat.

To both Pam’s relief and growing trepidation at what would come next, she saw their ploy was working. Several of the odd-looking ship’s invader crew were slapping each other on the backs in what was surely an exchange of lascivious dares. Several more worked to untie a small craft lashed to the deck, a longboat that they proceeded to lower into the water. They’ve swallowed the hook, line and sinker! Time to reel in! Pam and Dore continued to shake and gyrate their scandalously half-clad bodies as if trying to stay upright in a fearsome earthquake.

Suddenly an older captain-type fellow emerged from the upper decks and began shouting at the crew. He had enormous white handle-bar mustachios and wore a ridiculous oversized turban right out of a storybook. The men just pointed at the beach and looked back at him with shamed but imploring grins. The captain-type narrowed his eyes to stare across the water at the distraction, so Pam and Dore both waved coyly and blew kisses to him. With a dismissive snort and wave of the hand, he marched back into his cabin. Whatever happened next would be no responsibility of his.

The majority of the men immediately began crowding into the boat, stepping on and over each other as they vied for a spot. Still, a few others remained on the deck, either unimpressed by the beachside burlesque show or under strict orders to remain on watch, their faces scowling fiercely. They would have to deal with that bunch of fun fellows later. At least they had most of the moths coming to the flame.

“Oh shit, here they come!” Pam hissed out of the side of her mouth to Dore, who had really gotten into the spirit of the thing and was busy pushing her prodigious breasts up with both hands, in offering to the oncoming boatload of hormones. Pam’s eyes widened at this impressive display of wantonness and, not to be outdone, began a snaky, pelvis-thrusting, dance that included some low front bends complete with jiggling. She couldn’t be completely sure but she thought the pirate types were now rowing faster. If this wasn’t so damned dangerous, I’d be having a pretty good time,she admitted to herself ruefully. Thank the Lord, the Methodist ladies of Grantville aren’t seeing any of this!

When the boat hit the shallows and the pirates were just starting to clamber out into the gentle surf, Pam and Dore began their backward retreat to the trail. They left the fruit baskets where they were, hoping to slow them down a bit more. Walking backwards as rapidly as they dared while still beckoning and cooing coquettishly, they reached the line of palms just as their admirers reached the baskets. Pam and Dore both began pantomiming eating the fruits and a fair number of the men paused to fill their hands with the offering, biting into the luscious fruit with sly smiles that anticipated more delights to come, their eyes never leaving the women for very long. Good, now most of them have their hands full of nice, juicy, slippery fruits instead of on their weapons. Pam had caught a good look at the wicked scimitars, daggers and several exotic-looking pistols they wore shoved into their belts and lost any doubts she might have had that they were facing dangerous pirates, or whatever passed for a seagoing scoundrel in these parts.

Pam winked at Dore, mission almost accomplished and began to edge back into the trees, still cooing and beckoning their prey on. Come on, you ass-holes, follow the pretty ladies!

There was some discussion amongst the pirates, undoubtedly as to whether to proceed into the trees or not. This didn’t last long as the pirates seemed to feel they were in no danger and if any unfriendly “natives” appeared they would be able to make short work of them. Overconfidence and lust proved to be just the right combination. The pirates assumed they were being led to where the real party would start and gamely followed along.

Pam and Dore had not quite reached the spot where the ambush awaited. Unfortunately, some of the pirates had grown impatient and were catching up to them more quickly than expected, their hands eager to get a hold of offerings intrinsically more alluring than fruit. Pam gave Dore a small push, a signal to move faster. A pirate caught up to Pam just then and grabbed her wrist, hard. Pam felt a note of panic ring through her but kept smiling. Dore paused and was looking back, allowing a look of worry to cross her face. Pam gestured with her chin for Dore to move on but she knew her friend wouldn’t leave her. A second pirate was closing fast. The plan was in danger of falling apart and Pam’s heart began to race. The one who held her who now used his free hand to grab one of Pam’s breasts, causing her to yelp.

That was all the signal Gerbald and the Swedes needed. Pam watched in amazement as a large sage green and mustard-colored blur came rocketing out of the brush. Suddenly the man pawing Pam was sporting a bright red gash where his throat had been, the work of Gerbald’s deadly katzbalger shortsword. Pam knocked the dying pirate’s still clutching hands away from her, they were all that was keeping him upright. He collapsed into a growing pool of his own blood as if all the bones had gone out of him. An identical fate met the next pirate closest behind, who hadn’t even had time to begin to think of pulling out his own weapon. Good. Pam thought, her blood running cold. The decaying, tortured faces of the beheaded Chinese sailors flashed in her mind, and any shreds of guilt at planning the death of these people evaporated.

Pam and Dore began running, Pam pushing Dore ahead of her as much as Dore was pulling Pam into the tall grass away from the action. From a relatively safe distance, she saw Gerbald down a third pirate with his katzbalger as the bosun shoved his cutlass deep into the gut of a fourth. The Lojtnant, not to be outdone, skewered another through the chest with an ornately decorated longsword. No one fired a shot in order to keep the action inland a secret from the remaining pirates at anchor. One or two of the pirates managed to get their weapons out, but Gerbald and the Swedes outnumbered them now and made quick work of them. It was finished as rapidly as it had begun. The sailors dragged the pirates’ bodies off into the tall grass to hide them, then scuffed fresh sand and scattered leaves across the trail to cover the drying pools of blood just in case anyone else came looking. Pam hoped they would, since the same fate awaited them as befell their brother pirates.

Pers, for his keen eyes and Rask and Torgir, both experienced marines, remained on watch at the ambush site while the rest of them went back to the camp to regroup. The bosun, in his early fifties although aged prematurely by years of sea winds and the relentless sun, was doing his level best not to look at Pam, and losing that battle. This was possibly the most bare female flesh he had ever seen outside of a dimly lit dockside whorehouse and the poor fellow was obviously shaken. Pam smiled at him patiently and quickly got back to business as he did his best to focus on a nearby palm tree yet still appear to be listening to her.

“Good job, everyone. That worked really well. I have an idea for part two, so tell me what you think.” All the men listened intently to Pam’s next plan, mostly managing not to stare at the ladies’ exposed expanses. Dore stood unashamed beside her, a lioness gazing proudly at her brave and clever young companion, head and other assets held high. Gerbald grinned like a fox in a henhouse, obviously pleased to see his Christian wife of so many years standing before him in unfettered heathen glory. Dore saw his look and rather than become annoyed as she once would have, gave her husband a serene smile. Pam saw this exchange out of the corner of her eye. Oh gawd, what have I unleashed? When Pam finished outlining part two of her plan the men all coughed and mumbled their agreement before fleeing the sight of so much female flesh. Pam giggled as she and Dore retired to the main hut to get ready for their next show.


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