– 5 –

Wisdom is associated with men. It’s a masculine thing. After all, men are required to be wise in order to run the world. Conversely, wisdom is not a required quality in a woman. She doesn’t need to be. All she needs to be is… pretty.  But Linda was one of those exceptional women who combine beauty with a wisdom that is commendable. Of course, she wasn’t as pretty as Rose, but Rose lacked Linda’s good sense.

Lately, it seemed every time Linda came to Rose’s place the topic of discussion was Jack and his heartlessness towards Rose. At the slightest chance, Linda would veer the conversation to this subject. And Rose would try to do the opposite: avoid talking Jack with Linda.

None was more critical of Jack than Linda with two of her best friends on the brink of insanity because of him. But she admired Jack for one thing: for using women’s own weapon against them. Unlike ordinary men, he didn’t demand sex from women. He commanded it. He used their own weapon to destroy them, subdue them to his will, and debase them, mentally and physically.

‘Men are idiots,’ Linda would say. ‘Of course, men run the world but who runs men? It is so easy to get the goodies out of them.’ She equated men with dogs when she said, ‘Just hover the booty over their heads, give them some and never in plenty and you have them pleading after you with salivating tongues all day long.’ When it comes to romance and the matters of the heart, she opined once to her workmate, even the wisest of men can make silliest mistakes. It’s like their brains are not hardwired to understand the intricacies and subtleties of seduction.

‘Rose, accept it,’ Linda picked up the last conversation exactly where they left it, ‘You only think of Peter when Jack treats you good. Every time Jack has done something good to you, I have seen you open up to Peter.

‘May be you feel that if Jack is going to treat you good, he’s not good enough anymore. It’s as if he’s become lesser of a man. You know Peter can treat you way better but the fact that you are staying with the bad proves that you like to be treated rough. It’s like between good and the bad you would rather choose the bad.’

‘It’s not as…’

‘Don’t interrupt me. Hear me out. And Jack, I am sure, feels that in you and is just not willing to let that good man come up in him.’

Rose got up, to subtly manifest her annoyance with Linda, from the sill tiredly and headed towards her bedroom. Linda followed, picking up some breath and marshalling her thoughts on the way there.

‘And you can’t fool Jack,’ continued Linda with her counseling, ‘He knows every trick in the book. He knows when you are feigning something or pretending to be somebody you are not. He knows when he’s got you trapped!

‘You know when you came through that door the other day when you saw me with him? I must confess I could feel that… that raw animal magnetism in him. Even though I was aware of how it might hurt you, I couldn’t help feeling weak in his arms. At the time you came in, I was at his mercy…’

***

‘Hey Linda baby …How are we?’ Jack slaps her buttock playfully. He had come to pick Rose, and Linda was already there. Alone.   

‘Control your hands, Jack!’

Men were afraid of Linda. She wasn’t the type to take sweet liberties with. They could flirt with her all right, but only long as she was enjoying; there was no muscling in her privacy with ‘masculine heat’, so to speak. But… she was always vary of Jack.

In the game of seduction, it’s impossible for women to think after a certain point. They can only feel then. Jack understood this basic fact about women and capitalized on that. No woman, Jack believed, could resist his masculine come-on. Every woman was made to surrender to the more powerful man, and it was his job to make the woman he was seducing see that. For Jack, seduction was fundamentally about controlling and pushing. The trick was in knowing when to control yourself and when to push the woman. Control because woman has to know she hasn’t become indispensable to you, push because woman needs it. Personally, he was big on the ‘push’ part. Especially with Linda.

Linda wasn’t on his ‘hit-list’, so to speak but because ‘the woman behaved so unaffected by him!’ he had to have her.

‘Huh huh! I like that in you. You bite!’ Jack keeps on touching her.

‘This… makes me hate you.’

‘Does it?’

‘You disgust me.’

‘Do I?’ He keeps at it.

‘Of all the filthy rats of the world, you are the…’

‘Whatever…’ With this Jack grabs Linda.

‘Please Jack, leave me. Please.’ This was the word that told Jack the woman was ready for him. It was like she was pleading with him to take her. He wasn’t just confident then. He knew that the cat was as good as in the bag. He never stopped after this point, except this one time with Linda.

‘She’s coming. Leave …,’ begged Linda one last time.

On hearing footsteps, Jack lets her go but still they are too close for Rose to overlook what has happened.

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