A Worthy Dream (R)

She would have attracted attention even if she were mortal. She stepped through the gate with her husband and the other passen­gers of Flight 191 from Laguardia though she seemed…apart; insu­lated from the crush of bodies as if an imperceptible bubble surrounded her modestly-attired form, purpose concealed in chance. Pure supernatural subtlety.

Heads turned, male and female, to linger inexplicably over her presence as they always had, always would. There was nothing overtly bedazzling about this woman ‑ her features were certainly attractive, fetching green eyes and a quick, impish smile ‑ but, again, as she walked into the slanting patches of late after­noon Florida sun filtering into the terminal, her golden hair igniting with the hint of burnished copper, this woman captured conspicuous amounts of atten­tion in a completely innocent and inconspicuous manner. She paused, checked her watch, and turned to her husband, a nondescript man with a hang‑dog face and per­petually befuddled expression, asking him to retrieve their bags. And for that instant all eyes were hers, though none present could have offered an explanation of the moment’s magnetic charge. The sole thought many could connect to that fleeting brush with enchantment: “What the hell is she doing with him?!

The heels had been a mistake. Pulling her patent-leather depart­ment-store shoes off and rubbing her stockinged toes, Samantha Stevens sat in the back of the cab glad for the ride to the hotel; it would give her time to think, to plan. She didn’t even mind her husband’s ceaseless prattling about this or that big account, the sound had become an excellent tool for centering herself, for emptying. Behind her warm, loving smile, she had stripped the outside world, this very plane of existence, from the boundaries of her perception. Behind the occasional supportive nods and slight laughs, she was as keen as tempered metal, sharp as Hecate’s dagger, and she swung that focused consciousness in slowly tightening circles, dwindling, seeking, pinpointing, until her target was freshly under her blade. She knew where to find this one and she knew what must be done. Let Darrin think she was here for a tan. It was safer that way.

“Out of this world or cosmically comfortable?”

Within the hour, checked into their hotel suite, Samantha glanced up from the suitcase she was unpacking, “What, dear?”

Darrin had opened his portfolio and stood across the bed with two poster-sized ad mock-ups in his hands. Both featured the same missile-breasted model in a sexy, pseudo space suit with her head and chest lifted heroically starward. Only the tag lines were slightly different as Darrin now clarified.

“You know – the account – ‘Spielman Bras with patented new Astro-lift for the fit that’s out of this world’ or ‘for the fit that’s cosmi­cally comfortable’.” His eyes darted from one to the other, biting his bottom lip in comical over-frustration. “Larry’s in love with ‘out of this world’, but it’s so drab. Give the man a choice between a cliché and a new idea and he’ll pick the cliché every time. What do you think, Sam?”

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