Note: This was submitted for one of IO’s story contests, in this case a story involving a towel used to cover the heroine’s nudity.
The nude prisoner, sound sleeper that she had come to be, was nonetheless awakened by the routine 6:15 a.m. clanking of the old-fashioned key. She blinked her eyes and turned on the rough wooden bench.
It was the Assistant Warden, as always, with the guard for her wing. The guards at this women’s prison farm were all female, but the officials were male. “Good morning, Towelewska,” he said, in a heavily accented attempt at her native Polish.
By habit and by protocol, the tall, tanned, thinly muscled nude got up and stood at attention, and told herself: Day 717. She cleared her throat, ready for the only words she expected to say today.
“How are you this morning?”
“I sleep on a rough bench, sir.”
“Is there anything you want?” the Assistant Warden said.
“I request clothes and shoes.”
“Request denied.” The daily ritual conversation. Then: “Interrogation at 1900 hours.” He turned and left. A moment later, the loud morning bell, resounding through the barracks, awakening the 300 other inmates. Inmates who were allowed clothes and shoes, albeit standard-issue prisoner garb. And cells that were open on only one side, and a bag for personal belongings.
She had no belongings, just her bare body. She was a mystery to the other inmates, but she felt their hostility as she ate with them and worked with them. All had been sentenced to hard labor, which meant digging trenches, building roads, chopping crops, wherever the bus took them. But she was not allowed to talk to them and they were not allowed to talk to her. Her beauty and her nudity set her apart. From what she could hear of their conversations, they were mostly “War on Terror” convicts, possibly falsely charged by this corrupt regime and put up as examples. As for her, they probably considered her a rich bitch who was somehow getting her comeuppance.
The prison was not a torture camp. This country was ostensibly an ally, and the Geneva convention was supposedly observed. The prisoners were adequately fed and not mistreated. Inspectors came through every week. But though an ally, the country was permeated by unsavory types and not entirely under the regime’s control. Intrigues went back and forth under the official surface of diplomatic good relations. It was in one such intrigue that she had been found out and taken here, without charges and without explanation, and stripped of her clothes and shoes and every thing that she had with her, even her jewelry.
Where was this place? She could not figure out. There had been that airplane ride, bound and gagged. Did they go north or south from the capital? East or west? All she knew was that she was near a sea, from the smell of the salt air that wafted here sometimes.
After breakfast they were, as always, marched out to the bus. They were driven maybe ten miles, to what looked like a series of gravel pits. She stepped out with the others, under the watchful eye of a heavy-set guard with a machine gun. They walked up a stony hill. She felt the warm stones under her toughened bare feet. It was a warm day. She would be sweating but she did not mind that. She slowed down to keep in line with the others as they trudged up in their clothes and heavy boots. She looked down at the tight abdominals of her concave tummy. There were no mirrors in her life but she knew that she was in excellent physical condition and the labor was not as hard for her as it was for most of the others.
In her undercover role as a visiting Polish fashion model she had known makeup, styled hair, painted nails, and of course a wide selection of exquisite clothes. Now she had none of these. The prison barber periodically hacked her black hair short and clipped her fingernails and toenails. Her pubic hair, formerly trimmed to a “landing strip”, had grown lush and abundant in the open air. Her armpit hair grew too. She didn’t mind; in fact her body hair kept her arms and legs from chafing as she toiled and sweated in the hot sun.
When they got to the top of the stony hill they found a flat plain of dirt with piles all over. Today’s task was to move the dirt piles into a waiting truck. She braced her widely-spread toes against the dry clods and thrust the shovel in. In a few moments she was well ahead of the inmates to her left and right. One can get used to almost anything, she mused. I’ve gotten used to being naked, to going barefoot over rough gravel, to not talking all day. . . I’ve even gotten used to sleeping on that bare bench, without pillows or sheets or even a soft pad. As long as she kept her wits about her, she would survive. Her unit must know she was here, and must know that she was being kept naked. A Geneva Convention violation. They could find a way to get her out of here. She would be released. Though she wished they would get on with it already.
Certainly they had access to the reports of the weekly inspections. In her case they were individualized and intense. She was led into that small windowless room with a metal table, where the inspector waited with usually two or three assistants, or maybe they were witnesses. Mostly they were male — another Geneva violation — with an occasional female. As the others watched, she was examined all over for marks, bruises, wounds. She raised her arms and spread her legs to make every part of her accessible. She spread her fingers and even raised her feet and spread her toes. It went on for five minutes and was totally silent. Apparently they were not allowed to ask her questions. At the end, she lay back onto the table and held her legs open so that her vaginal lips could be examined for signs of sexual abuse. And then turned around on all fours so that her buttocks could be spread and her anus carefully probed in the harsh overhead light. There was no sign of torture or abuse because, strictly speaking, there had not been any. Finally the inspector would nod to the guard and she would be led back to her cell.
Her C.O., and whoever else was copied on her mission, *had* to know she was being kept naked. She was convinced of that. Though nudity was necessary for the inspection, the inspectors must have thought it odd that she didn’t come in dressed in at least a robe. And there was the all-over tan, and the tough soles. The inspectors were obviously hindered by narrow terms of reference, but permanent nudity was the only possible explanation for the tan and the soles. What else could be inferred? That she was allowed to sunbathe nude? That she liked going barefoot? She smiled mordantly at the absurdity of someone engaging in such speculations, and paused for a moment in her labors, standing upright, only a little winded, her toes curling over the top of the shovel blade. The day had to come, and come soon, when she would be led to the Warden’s office and given her release, and a set of clothes and an airplane ticket back to Base.
She returned to shoveling. The short water break at 10 o’clock, then they went back, advancing to another series of dirt piles and another truck. She was in the middle of the line, distinguished by her nudity and by being the only one using her shovel left-handed. She noticed that this was the sixteenth time during her captivity that they had done this earth-moving work; and the fifth time this month. Judging from the bus routes, the locations were all close to each other. She also knew that earthen barriers were used in the nuclear reactors that this country was suspected of building.
The ability to observe minutely, and to remember what she observed, were critical to her mission and she continued to use her professional capabilities while an inmate. She had been noticing that the guard for her wing (she thought of her as “Tasha”) did not like being given orders by her boss, a kind of sergeant (whom she thought of as “Natalya”). And that Natalya seemed to be in bad graces with the Assistant Warden. And that Natalya seemed to come to work with a hangover a few times recently. A guard with an alcohol problem, disliked by the others and afraid of losing her job, could perhaps be cultivated. The nude prisoner had noticed that Tasha had not been at her post a few times. Last month the nude had looked, with a calculated degree of surprise, at the empty station on the wing — so that Natalya noticed her face and then the empty station. Natalya no doubt put Tasha on report, and was grateful for the tip . . .
The high heat of the day arrived before the 1 o’clock lunch. The nude prisoner was sweating profusely but so were the rest in her coffle, possibly more so in their uniforms. Sweat dripped from the nude’s chin, from the downward slopes of her tanned jiggling breasts with big sun-darkened nipples, and rivered from her saturated pubic bush down each muscular leg to the bare insteps. Now lunch: water, coffee and a sandwich. She ate alone, the prisoners sitting apart, conversing quietly.
Now the truck left and the prisoners were led over a small hill. There was a large field of corn, then further on what looked like a ravine. The next task was to pluck the ears and throw them into rolling bins pulled by the guards in little motorized carts. It seemed too early in the season to be doing this and the plants were green and hard to pick. But she efficiently grabbed the ears and bent and snapped them from the stalks, glad she didn’t have to husk them. The bare ears of corn, their shape and their regular bumpy rows, would remind her of the “interrogations”.
Because there was one thing she could *not* get used to, and it was those interrogation sessions that were announced seemingly at random. That special room, that x-shaped table to which she was cuffed, the female tongues, the dildos . . . the tongues . . . ! She was not in the least lesbian inclined, for one thing. She cringed in the pit of her stomach as she tried to banish the sessions from her mind, but she couldn’t. She had heard from experienced commandos that one could get used to physical torture, one could disengage one’s mind from what was happening to one’s body, even get used to it.
But try as she might, she could not get used to an unwanted orgasm. And it was here that she discovered, for the first time, that she had the capacity for orgasms that were multiple. A surprising blessing for most women, but for her a curse, a terrible curse. . . The special guards, three or four a time, stationed at her nipples, her pussy, her anus . . . With each of her orgasms they reached into her soul, into her innermost private mental space, and squeezed her and shook her to the core.
The questioning itself, conducted by a man in a business suit with a notepad, was mundane. During her undercover work she had found out some surprising things that the regime would have wanted to know. But he was not interested in that; he simply wanted false confessions, as to matters she knew nothing about, to use against political opponents. She knew the answers he wanted but refused to give them. Don’t become a pawn of the regime. On that, her instructions had been very clear: Don’t become a pawn . . .
So after each explosion of her nude, sweating body she was allowed to catch her breath, and the questions were asked again, with the threat of further “techniques” if she refused, and she would again refuse, and again the tongues and dildos would attack her, and again she was dragged up over the crest of a loathsome orgasm, the spasms jerking her body one after the other as the rasping tongues kept on and would not stop . . . After a dozen or so orgasms she could not help but sob, and after a few more cry and howl like a baby. Finally she was uncuffed and pushed back to her cell, her bare feet slapping against the cold concrete floor as she staggered, her legs like jelly.
None of this, of course, left any marks on her body.
Three o’clock break. It so happened that Natalya was the one who passed out the water today. She did not look the tanned, sweating nude in the eye. More “cultivation” of her would have to be done, probably.
The next two hours brought her bare footsteps to a drier field where the corn was sparse. She toiled on, followed by Natalya in her little cart. The dust kicked up and stuck to the nude’s sweat all over. She looked and smelled disgusting, but she was used to it by now.
It was five o’clock, when she was beginning to dread the approach of the Interrogation, when Natalya said, “Stop,” in the native language. She appraised the prisoner’s gross appearance from head to toes, like a dirty sweaty animal, then motioned for her to follow. Natalya drove the cart to the edge of the little ravine and pointed to the creek at the bottom. “Five minutes.”
There was a little creek running down there. She supposed she should be grateful. It was always a relief to shower after a hot day in the fields, but for her it was usually done in the most humiliating way possible, shooting a fire hose at her in the prison yard as dirt and grime were blasted away. Evidently Natalya decided that today she was too disgusting to sit on the bus and should be cleaned now. At least in the ravine she would be free from the jeering stares of the guards, and the other inmates.
She slipped into the cool water with relief. She stayed under as long as possible to cool her head, which felt especially hot, then emerged and rubbed herself all over as the dirt sluiced off her body and made little brown clouds in the water. For five minutes she was alone . . . She allowed herself to close her eyes for a moment and think, “Aaaaahhhhh. . .”
After five minutes she was expected back up at the field, so she climbed up the ravine, fingers and toes digging into the dirt wall to get traction, and poked her head up so that she could see the field again. She saw everyone else far away, hardly in sight. Natalya had left something hanging on a stick, like she would do in the prison yard. But — instead of the usual rough gray rag that she would scrape herself dry with, before it was immediately snatched away — here was a big, fluffly, clean white towel!
The nude prisoner looked at the towel, with an open-mouthed astonishment that she had been trained not to display. And then at the guards and inmates far away. Natalya was out there in her cart, watching the day’s final exertions of the other inmates.
The towel — the towel — she looked up and down the ravine — it curved, the creek with it, just deep enough for her to swim downstream —
Should she just dry herself and go back to the bus? Or just run? How long before they wondered where she was? The towel hung on a low point and seemed out of eyeshot of anyone else. Was this a trap?? The nude prisoner, fingers and toes stuck in the side of the soft ravine, her toned butt muscles flexing with her racing thoughts, looked at the towel and then at the distant guards. She had to decide fast!
. . . .
The nude prisoner ran along the side of the curving creek as fast as she could, her feet poked by the occasional sharp stone, carrying the bulky soft bundle of folded-up towel under her arm like a defensive tackle who has unexpectedly recovered a fumble and is scrambling clumsily toward the goal line. She cursed herself for her impulsive decision to snatch the towel. They will see it missing from the stick and know immediately that she’s run away. And now she could not get rid of it without showing them which way she went. Quick decisions were not her job. She had received a little training in secret ops, but she was a spy, not a commando. Her job was to observe, not act.
At least she was smart in following the creek downstream. She wanted to get to the sea. She rounded a bend and saw the creek widen. It was joined by another, and then the ravine opened up ahead of her, and a glimpse of beach.
She caught her breath and hesitated, leaning back, feeling the rough rock of the ravine scraping her bare butt. If it was a wide beach she could be spotted from a great distance. With the softer dirt the ravine had a few little grottoes. In one of them she hid and waited. The sun was very low now so she was in shade.
Hearing nothing but the waves of the sea, she sat and considered her prize, the fluffy bright white towel. How unlike the dull threadbare fabric of the uniforms and towels in the prison. Of course, for two years she had been denied the tactile pleasure of touching even that. She looked down and buried her face in the white softness. Now she stood up and draped herself. Ahhhh . . . for the first time in two years she felt covered! Pampered! Sensuous! The towel was huge, almost as tall as she was, and she wrapped her feet in it. The worst part of being naked was being barefoot. But now her feet were swathed in abundant, warm, fluffy cotton. She looked down at the silhouette of her toes poking through the towel, then wiggled them. She smiled, thinking of being a little girl on a soft bed with lots of blankets and pillows and stuffed animals, in pajamas. Pajamas with feet in them. She sat back and stretched out her legs, flexing and wiggling.
A distant pistol shot jerked her back into adulthood. It seemed to come from the corn field. As she listened another rang out. About from the same place. Were they really coming after her? Or just making a show of it? Wouldn’t the sound of a pistol simply tell her where they were?
Hating every second of it, she unwrapped herself from the towel and folded it up again. Gingerly she ventured out to the beach. Luckily, there were trees on both sides. She went out almost to the shore, feeling the rays of the setting sun on her butt. There seemed to be an island out there. Could she swim to it?
Another pistol shot, much closer. She looked up at the blue sky. Possibly there were drones or satellites up there. The towel was big enough to be seen. She found another alcove, hidden from people on the ground but visible from the air. She spread the towel out so it made a five-foot square. With rocks she laid out the number “53” on it. 53 was the code for “East”.
She hated to say goodbye to her short-lived wardrobe, but in a second she was running along the beach and then, once again possessing nothing but her bare body, she slipped into the surf.
Her front crawl was in good form. As she felt the cool salt water flow past her breasts and her lush pubic hair, she half-expected to hit underwater barbed wire. She went further and further out and realized there was none. By now the water under her must be forty or fifty feet deep. When she was about a hundred yards out she stopped, treading, and looked back. It was almost dark now and no sign of the guards. With alarm she saw an airplane’s lights way overhead, catching the last of the sun’s rays. Then she saw that it was a commercial airliner, thousands of feet up.
She turned and began swimming again, with a more relaxed stroke, toward this island, where she would either find help, or be captured, or stay indefinitely and starve, naked and alone. Night fell and she paused again. The water out here was cooler, actually cold. To hold off hyperthermia she had to keep moving.
The moon rose over the rhythmic splashing of the nude prisoner as she stroked and stroked, like a dolphin, her skin sleek in the moonlight. She wished she had goggles, but the salt water did not bother her eyes that much. Maybe they had gotten used to the salty sweat in those hot fields. Her mind wandered, to her past undercover work, to her two years as the prison’s only naked inmate, to what she should do now. The only certain thing was that she was tired. It was now too dark to see the island, but she sensed the water getting a little warmer. Her toes reached down and found pebbly sand. She staggered onto the beach, water dripping from every part of her, and wiped her eyes and tried to get used to the dark. She heard rather than saw the stand of trees, the wind passing through them. She got a little into them and dropped into a curl and instantly was asleep.
It was the sound of the surf that awoke her, and the rising sun in her eyes. She staggered to her feet, her darkened nipples poking out hard in the cold air, and felt the thin crust of salt tightening her skin with every move. This island was very, very small. She could already see the beach on the other side, maybe a hundred feet away. Making her way through the trees was no problem for her tough bare feet. When she got to the far beach she saw nothing but sea, or ocean. No other islands.
Staying just inside the trees, in case anyone was looking, she circumscribed the island. No houses, or huts, in fact no sign of any human contact. Wait, a long burned-out camp fire. But no, there was no one here for a long time. “Hallooooo!!” She was surprised and embarrassed by her impulsive yell. But no matter, there was no answer.
Deciding no one was looking for her here, she sat cross-legged on the beach. Here I am, naked and alone, and lost on a tiny speck of island. What sea was this? Tyrrhenian? Black? Baltic? No, not Baltic; it’s not cold enough. Caspian?
She looked up. She had been awake for an hour. and no airplanes. She might be here for some time. Clothing was not a necessity, not for her anyway, and neither was shelter. But she did need food. Another tour of the nude prisoner’s tiny realm revealed nothing that looked like fruit. With her not-very-extensive commando training she had learned how to make food out of ordinary plants and trees. But the instructions involved knives, firestarters, kits . . . and occasionally the ripping up of clothing to bind sticks together. She had none of these.
She tried to ignore the hunger pangs and decided to enjoy what could be enjoyed. She walked out into the surf, then sat her bare butt down on the wet sand, feeling the grains squish into her vagina and anus, and began rubbing the muddy grit all over her body. A trick she had learned as a fashion model, good for exfoliating skin. The grains scraped and scraped her all over. She stood up and got all the other parts of her, down to her toes, then stood up straight and proud like a naked Stone Age woman wearing ceremonial mud. Now she pranced into the water again and washed it all off.
She climbed up to the finer, dry sand and lay on her back. One leg bent, she pretended she was nude sunbathing, like she often did as a model. All-over tans were important for those swimsuit shoots. She imagined the other models lying alongside her, the sheets put up so no one on the beach could gawk at them, the cosmetician and the nutritionist hovering around, braiding hair, handing out sugar-free lemonade . . . she allowed herself to smile. She squinted down at her deeply tanned breasts, blocking the view of the sea. She wondered whether the other models suspected anything about her. She was a little too busty to be a model. Also a little too muscular. . .
The distant flapping of helicopter blades got her up in a hurry, her breasts bouncing. After searching the skies and frantically running around the island she saw a little speck appear far off to the seaward side. It came closer and for a moment she wondered if she should hide. But would the regime be coming at her from the sea? As it came closer she could make out the silhouette. It looked like a Chinook but there were no markings.
She decided to stand there on the beach, not waving for help but not running away either. The helicopter descended almost to the water a few hundred feet away, and then made toward her. As it approached the beach a long rope ladder came down. Knowing she really had no choice, the nude prisoner grabbed it as it draped itself onto the sand and threatened to sweep past her. With a jerk that almost dislocated her shoulders, the helicopter rose and the ladder with it. She held on with both fists as hard as she could as she was carried over the trees, her legs splaying out wildly, then was swung around back toward the sea.
Up, up, higher and higher, she saw the sun-kissed waves down there get farther and farther away. The helicopter was going so fast that it dragged her and the ladder behind them. The air was blasting and punishing her breasts, almost ripping out her pubic hair, whistling through her toes. She squinted and tried to look up past the tears that were unavoidably streaming toward her ears. It looked like fifty feet of ladder or so. It was pretty miserable hanging here naked in the blasting wind. Better climb up and on board. Surely there would be clothes waiting.
But . . . there was no one up there beckoning to her. No bullhorn calling down to her, no showing of the flag or the unit colors now that they were out here safe. Maybe this was indeed a trap — the final trap. She shut her eyes against the wind as she considered the possibilities. She could climb up and get attacked. Her naked, barefoot self stood no chance against a fully armed soldier with his heavy boot. Or, she could stay down here and he could cut the rope off at the top, plunging her into the sea and certain death. With no evidence that she had ever been there. Suddenly she realized the rope was old-fashioned hemp and not nylon. A serrated Bowie knife could cut through it easily.
She decided to just stay where she was, hanging by the end of the ladder, and see where the helicopter would take her.
Thus began the strangest journey of her life. This Chinook, if it was a Chinook, kept ascending until it was probably at maximum altitude. Looking down past her nipples and her freezing toes, she could see the currents and textures of the sea far below. She tried to look ahead but couldn’t, because of the wind. But looking to her side she saw nothing but water, water, water. This was no bay or inlet, this was a sea.
Her arms got tired and she climbed up a bit so she could curl her toes over the lowest rung. Her nude body was more stable this way. She wrapped her arms around, then poked them through on either side of her neck, and twisted her hands up and out in front of her, then grabbed up above. She tried various grips. She realized she must look ridiculous, like some kind of for-adults-only circus performer.
From time to time she looked up at the Chinook. Still no sound and no sign. They must have extra fuel tanks, to keep going this long. Her body was getting numb from the wind-chill. She was goose-pimpled all over. Her nipples were hard as pebbles. Her mouth was dry from all the air rushing around. Her eyes, dried of tears, were red, dry slits.
With no evidence of land, she had to find a way to tie herself to the ladder so that she could ease her cramping muscles. At first she thought it would be easy to do, but everything she tried was prone to slippage. Finally she sat five rungs up and tied the lower rungs up above her, so that she was cinched below her shoulders, like a savage strapless dress. Down below, it hurt like hell, the bristly rough hemp splitting her vaginal lips apart, scraping her clit and sandpapering the sensitive skin of her anus and up her butt crack. But sitting on a rung was the only way to anchor herself. She could now allow her arms and legs to hang free. Despite the pain she got so tired that she found herself dozing off. One can get used to anything . . .(except . . .!)
Water splashing her feet woke her up. What the hell! The Chinook was swooping low over the water and drowning her! Suddenly she felt sure the guy up there was the enemy. But she had no choice but to stay tied up like she was. It slowed and she sank up to her chin, then submerged as she tried to tread herself back to the surface. Then with a harsh jerk she was up again, water dripping from her toes as they again ascended.
She blinked and, having been awakened, saw what was approaching. There before them, coming closer and closer, on the edge of its little Aegean island, was Base.
Command was there, and supporting staff, waiting in a circle on the landing pad as the gently swaying ladder approached. The naked Lieutenant Towelewska, having untied herself and hanging by her hands, slowly descended into their midst. Every bit of her stretched-out body was on display to their astonished faces. Finally her toes touched the warm tarmac and she let go of the ladder.
She watched as the ladder jerked up and the unmarked craft sped up and away. It shrank to a speck and disappeared.
She turned to Colonel Mathews, who was giving her a strange look, glancing down briefly at her nudity.
“What the hell was that?”
The Colonel, recovering, said, “A prisoner exchange. Sub rosa, of course. . . Evidently they think you don’t know much.”
She exhaled and looked around her, then at the Colonel. “That . . . is far from the truth.”
Major Spinelli, in his unguarded way, looked Towelewska up and down and said, “Millie . . . you’re naked!”
“Well of COURSE I’m naked!” she exploded. “I’ve been naked for two f**king years!! Not a stitch, day or night! Sleeping on a bare bench!” She was yelling at the men all around her and as she gesticulated her breasts bounced wildly, her bare feet slapping on the tarmac. “Burning my ass off in the summer, freezing my tits off” — pointing at them — “in the winter!”
“We . . . we assumed there was no hurry. We . . .didn’t know,” the Colonel said uncertainly.
“You didn’t KNOW!” She thrust her arms out, causing more jiggling. “Those idiot inspectors didn’t say??”
“N – no.”
“Well couldn’t you figure it out!!” The nude lieutenant put her arms on her hips, eyes flashing, an angry naked woman furious at the clueless clothed men around her. Then she caught her breath, remembered her rank, and looked down. “Sorry . . .”
Now she stood at attention and saluted. “Begging your forgiveness for speaking so freely, sir.”
The Colonel returned the salute. “It’s O.K. After what you’ve been through you’re entitled to a little outburst, Lieutenant. Or maybe I should say, Captain? . . . We recommended you some time ago. Your commission came in last month.”
The nude officer said, in surprise, “Oh . . . Thank you, sir.”
Major Gordon said, “The inspector said you had no marks. But . . .” He pointed to the vertical rope burn on her concave tummy.
“Oh yes . . . that’s a result of that . . . unconventional rescue. I had to tie myself to that hemp ladder.” She opened her legs and spread her vaginal lips. “You can see it down here too, just below my clitoris.”
The men were openmouthed and, in fact, they were the embarrassed ones. Towelewska had no sense of modesty. Two years of going completely naked 24/7, when everyone else is fully clothed, will do that to a girl. Though she surely could detect their discomfort. Maybe she was still mad at them and this was her way of getting even. As their eyes opened still wider she turned her back to them, opened her legs, and reached back to spread her lower cheeks. “You will notice rope burn also around my anus and extending up between my buttocks.” She was as casual as if showing them a scratch on her finger. As she turned to face them again she said, “These marks were all caused by the ladder. I was not physically mistreated at that prison.”
“Thank you, Lieut — I mean Captain, we can debrief you later,” the Colonel said. “And you are still naked — ”
“Sir,” she said, again at attention, deciding to be obedient. “Respectfully request clothes and shoes.”
Before the Colonel could answer, Master Sergeant McNeil, the Base Quartermaster, a slightly shortish black man with a friendly face, appeared with a big towel. “Thank you Ron,” the Colonel said, and threw it to Towelewska.
She did not wrap herself with it; she just held it to her side. Most of the men just wished she would cover herself already.
“Keeping you naked,” the Colonel said, looking down at her body quizzically. “An interesting way to try to break you.”
“They did not succeed, sir.” She blushed as she realized that during debriefing she would have to tell them about the “interrogations” and the “techniques”. “The questioning was quite mundane, sir.”
“Just about the Grishin – Chernenko affair, then?”
“You guessed correctly sir. I said nothing.”
The Colonel looked around. “All right boys, show’s over. . . Captain, you must be tired and hungry. Ron, take her downstairs. Debriefing tomorrow at 0900 hours.”
A moment later the nude Captain, still holding the towel in her hand, was in the elevator with Sgt. McNeil.
“I just can’t help looking at you, Miss Ludmilla.”
She hated that name. “Oh Ron, just call me Millie like everyone else.”
He continued admiring her perfectly-toned, tanned body as she leaned casually on one foot. She smiled and exhaled and relaxed, finally. Then the elevator opened and the two walked past the astonished faces of the four-man mess crew.
“What do you want to eat, Miss — I mean, Captain?”
“I get a choice?”
“You’re a command officer now.”
“Mmmm . . . how about some of your hot cakes? . . . And then, a bed with lots of blankets and pillows.”
“Sure thing, Millie.”
“And pajamas. Ron,” she asked as they passed through another door, “can you get me pajamas with feet?”[end]