Chapter 36: Mirrored Shields
Perhaps half an hour later, we were painting again when Kaitlyn said, “Scamper!”
Our prior discussion still fresh in my mind, she didn’t need to say anything more. While Kaitlyn began changing the massage area over from “friends and family mode” to “paying client mode,” I gathered up the paint things and tossed them into the sink, then scrubbed myself in the kitchen as well as I could. I called it “good enough” when a different Moab Police patrol car pulled up beside the house. I threw on a set of mage shorts and got out front to greet our newest client while Kaitlyn did a more thorough job of washing under the backyard shower.
I wasn’t expecting a five-one woman to get out of the car, but when she looked at me from behind those mirrorshades, any thought that she might not be up to the job evaporated. “You must be Officer Foster,” I replied, holding my hand out as I walked down off the porch.
“You always greet customers dressed so skimpily?” she challenged, not holding out her own hand, so I dropped mine.
“We go for an all-natural sort of massage here, Officer. Also, we’ve been painting the house today. I can dress in something more covering, if you prefer.”
“Hmpf,” she said, but didn’t accept my offer. “Poulsen thinks this is a good idea, so I’ll give it a shot. Once, mind.”
“Follow me then, ma’am,” I said, and led her into the massage area.
The shower stopped mere seconds before I rounded the corner, and I heard the privacy screen being pulled rapidly into place. I looked for signs of wetness beneath the screen’s edge, but it was dry as if sun-baked over hours. Tricksy minx!
Kaitlyn was well gone. She had to be invisible and sneaking around the other side of the house, going after her magewear, still inside last I knew.
I gave Officer Foster the standard spiel about showering, towels, and draping, then let her be about it.
I was walking up onto the deck to fetch some supplies when Kaitlyn emerged, wearing her summer skimpy magewear, our working tool bags in each hand, a small triumphant smile on her face.
We had the massage area set up by the time Officer Foster came around the privacy screen. She was wearing the towel like a tube dress, her bra straps selling the illusion.
Officer Foster’s underwear changed my plan: I fetched a second towel, spreading it over the massage area like a mundane at a beach.
It isn’t so much that sand gets everywhere without a beach towel, in our experience, it’s that sand gets trapped in a body’s cracks and crevices by clothing, causing skin irritation. The sand is easily brushed or washed away when there isn’t clothing in the way; thus our high priority on setting up the outdoor shower.
Officer Foster began getting rather pink above the towel line as we got her settled upon the sand, face down, sandwiching her underwear-clad body between the towels.
We worked her back, buns, and thighs for most of an hour, using our new larger magical reserves to heal all of the problems she’d accumulated from spending so much time riding a patrol car. We interleaved these workings with chatting, mostly with each other, our client being too shy to return most of our conversational serves. We’d extracted little more than her first name, Kinsey.
“Hey, Davie, what if we paint the upper part of the house Moab red instead of sand brown? Make the slats darker, like the vertical fissures on a mesa or bluff? The bedroom floor would rise above the sand-colored base of the house like a geometric butte above the desert!”
“Sounds wonderful,” I enthused. “Maybe add a sort of pale pinkish transition line between them.” Then through the bond, I added, «Kind of like her blushes!»
Kaitlyn smiled back as she helped Officer Foster turn over while I held the upper towel in a chaste tent drape, causing a fresh eruption of said blushes over her pale skin.
We worked her up to about 2:50pm when we said, “You have time to shower and dress before your shift starts at three. How did you like that?”
“It felt amazing. A lot better than having my spine cracked by the chiropractor, if you want the truth.”
“My experience,” I told her, “is that chiropractic is most effective when they are not doing things unique to chiropractic, but instead a form of physical therapy or massage. We work with the PT department at the hospital, and I can tell you that outcomes of both practices have far more evidence of efficacy than chiropractic.”
“Anyway, Kinsey,” my wife added, “I think you’ll find that the effects of this work last a lot longer besides. We won’t guarantee that your symptoms won’t come back. You’ve got years of living this lifestyle, and you’ll be going off to continue the lifestyle, so it would be a surprise if the symptoms didn’t come back. That said, you should be pain free for longer between sessions under this treatment regime. Maybe come back in a month, and we’ll see where we are?”
“Okay,” she agreed, and we let her go shower and re-dress.
«Poulsen’s right,» I sent to Kaitlyn as we stood upon the massage area, waving good-bye to our newest client. «Back in uniform, she is a different person.»
«People are strange,» my wife sent back, anticipating my refrain.
Confused, she asked, «What?»
«Old computer game from the 80s, originally created on minicomputers for use on text terminals, but it’s still being worked on today. It’s been ported to just about every operating system you can name. It has the deepest and broadest mythology of any game I can think of just now. There’s literally a kitchen sink in the game, meant as a joking reference to the idiom, ‘everything but the kitchen sink.’ See, NetHack has everything plus the kitchen sink! Some of the modern 3D role-playing games approach NetHack’s complexity, but they still can’t reach it.»
Realizing I was losing her, I said, «Point is, several of the attacks in the game are rays that your character can turn back on the assailant with something shiny. Death rays, the gaze of a medusa, that sort of thing. I always liked the shield of reflection for that, but there are several other choices. F’rinstance, at higher levels you can kill a silver dragon and craft a set of scale mail from its hide, providing both reflection and high-grade armor.»
Kaitlyn must have studied mythology at some point, because she pointed out, «Did you know the Medusa myth’s an allegory for a beautiful woman giving men an incapacitating erection?»
«You’ve done that to me a time or two, love. Makes me wonder what Ms. Foster is afraid of, though. What attacks are her mirrorshades effective against?»