Otto Burnwell

Dangerous Flavor

You took a six-month rental on a trailer at the Ardent Gardens mobile home court off a listing you found in a local penny saver paper. Turned out to be okay. A furnished ten-wide belonging to a long-haul trucker away working the west coast through the winter.

You’d parked in front of the trailer and unloaded the stuff from your pickup. The engine’s hot metal hadn’t stopped ticking before Mrs. Cavallo from next door came knocking on the side of the trailer.

She brought you half a pineapple pound cake as a kind of housewarming.

She said she noticed your pickup right away because the place had been empty for a couple of months. She apologized, saying she’d made the cake for a potluck at the Community Center and asked if you wouldn’t mind finishing it for her. She leaned in, giving you the chance to look down her blouse as she whispered that she shouldn’t be eating all that cake herself.

But, she said, you looked like the kind of guy who could work up an appetite.

You knew a come-on when you heard it.

She must have been a beauty back in the day, however far back that might be. You weren’t much for judging a woman’s age. She’d filled out a bit since then. Her bosom was held in check by the wire and lace of a harness-like brassiere. Her hair was full and raven black, although she probably colored it. It framed her face making her look wild and untamed, like she was standing in a windy place, only there wasn’t any wind. Her complexion was a smoky olive tone, and her eyes were a dark brown under penciled eyebrows. She wore her makeup a little too heavy for your taste, like she didn’t trust she still had her looks. Which would definitely give you a boner if you wanted to dwell on it.

You made yourself ready for a bit of hot conversation, to be neighborly. But careful not to give her too much reason to expect an invitation to come inside, looking for something for the cake.

She didn’t bother. Instead, she promised to bring you something fresh when she had a chance, and left you standing there with the plate.

The cake was delicious and you ate it all.

A day or so later, she brought some popovers.

See, I remembered, she said. She started to hand you the plate, then hesitated and asked if you had a wife back where you came from. Seemed obvious where she was leading. You told her no, no wife. A girlfriend here, she asked. No.

Well, then, she said, handing you the plate, when you do, she’ll thank me. She gave you a fingertip wave and went back to her place. You began to wonder if your radar was rusty.

Each time after that, when she brought you a treat and you’d say thank you, she’d wave it away as nothing. Your girlfriend, she’d say, she’ll thank me.

Beyond giving you a chance to look down her blouse that one time, and commenting on your appetite, she didn’t bother with any questions. Nothing about where you came from, what you did, how long you planned to be around. She’d tell you what she made, ask if you could finish it, and leave it with you.

There had to be a reason. Every few days she’d bring over a pastry or cake or pie she’d made. No chit-chat, no dawdling, nothing to make you believe you were anything more to her than a handy place to deposit her treats.

But there was something going on.

She never closed her curtains. You could see into her trailer. Sometimes, in the morning, you’d see her in bra and panties. Sometimes a see-through nightie. Sometimes nothing at all.

In the evenings, you’d see her hanging up laundry, or working in her little patch of a garden. She’d be dressed in a halter top or tube top that emphasized her bosom, and cut-off jeans so brief you could see the thong splitting her ass cheeks.

She never glanced your way, never checked to see if you were watching. She went about her business without any nonsense. Without much clothing. Except when she came over.

You asked around. You learned she’d been in the double-wide for years. Nobody remembered there ever being a Mister Cavallo, and no one ever heard her talk about him. Someone remembered that someone elsehad mentioned a couple of different guys living there sometime back. One was a retired acrobat or something. But that’s all anyone recalled.

Listening to her talk, the little she did talk, was sexy, like someone who lived down the road from Dracula back in the old country. Not that she could be a vampire. You’d see her outside in the sunlight before you went on second shift at the RV plant. She cooked with garlic. Lots of garlic.

You mentioned the garlic, how good that smelled.

Makes you bitter, she said with a squint of distaste. Stick to pastries. She leaned in again like the first time and said, those make a man sweet. Your girlfriend will thank me.

She kept it up. Cinnamon buns from the ladies’ breakfast. Apple turnovers from the men’s bridge night. Raspberry Torts. Blackberry Tarts. Peach cobbler. Spiced layer cakes. Blueberry muffins. Banana bread puddings. Cinnamon rich and sugar sweet. Cherry pies. Plum puddings. Rhubarb pies.

You couldn’t help paying attention to the smells that came from Mrs. Cavallo’s place. The smells of cooking sugar set your mouth watering. You’d find reasons to stay home evenings or get up early, waiting for her knock against the side of the trailer.

This last time, when she comes knocking, she doesn’t bring a covered dish. Instead, she invites you over for something right out of the oven. Something she’s trying for another dinner at the Community Center. She wants to have you taste it and tell her if it’s any good. You say, sure, bring it over.

She insists it has to be eaten there. It’ll cool off too much to bring it over.

Of course it would.

You tell her, yes, you’d be glad to. Here’s where you give the neighbors something to gossip about, being in her house.

She’s not coy about it. She’s already on her way back to her trailer. You follow.

Could be she’s not really looking for anything from you. You watch her shoulders, ass, and legs as she walks, considering if you could manage to show a little hot, wet gratitude if you had to.

Thinking about it makes you hard by the time you reach the door to her place.

You’re glad she doesn’t bother glancing back at you. Your boner looks like you brought over a zucchini for the veg in tonight’s dinner.

The inside of her trailer is spacious but filled with all kinds of dark, heavy furniture that looked like it came from a Transylvanian castle. She bustles around the kitchen, fitting oven mitts on her hands to pull the dessert from the oven. She chatters about how she wanted to try this out on someone before doing it for real at the Community Center.

You say okay and perch on the stool at the little breakfast bar. She cuts and scoops out a slice onto a small plate for you.

She leans across the breakfast bar, resting her chin on her interlaced fingers, watching for your reaction.

You fork a piece off and taste it. This is something really special. Better than anything you’ve had so far. You nod. She’s right. This is terrific straight from the oven.

She’s glad, she says. This one’s always the hardest to get right, but when it comes out just so, it’s worth it.

This is definitely worth it, you say, and take another bite while she watches you.

All the fruit, the natural sugar, changes how a man tastes, she says, stretching out that last word. Makes them—she pauses, searching for the right word—delicious. Women, at least where I come from, don’t like how men taste. They all need a little something. She points at the pastry on the baking sheet. All these, the fruit pies, puddings, pastries, sweeten them up. Which, she laughs, makes baking very dangerous. For men.

You think you know what she means, but you’re not sure. So you point at your plate with your fork and tell her this doesn’t seem all that dangerous.

A man who doesn’t take care of himself, she says, tastes very bitter. She makes a face and shivers. Like cheap dish soap. You probably wouldn’t know. Fruit? Sugar? Cinnamon? Fixes you right up. Sometimes, she says, sometimes a man tastes so good, a woman can’t stop. Can’t help herself. She doesn’t stop until she’s eaten everything.  That’s what makes baking so dangerous where I come from.

It’s the tongue thing she does that lets you know this dessert comes in two parts. You put down your fork.

Mrs. Cavallo comes around the bar and kneels in front of you, unzipping your fly, working your pants down to your ankles and pushing your knees apart.

A woman has to be very careful how she bakes, she says. Not too sweet.

She rolls the head of your crank between her teeth.

Some women, the wives, she says, licking her lips, don’t mind if we eat the sex off men. Most are assholes. Mrs. Cavallo shrugs. Maybe it’s an accident they make their men taste so sweet for us. Maybe not.

Mrs. Cavallo, you ask as she wedges her soft shoulders and large arms in between your thighs, your cock stiffened, awake to her nips and strokes. Mrs. Cavallo? What brought you to this country?

Nothing left to eat, she says. You watch her nostrils flare as she inhales, and your pecker disappears down her throat, swallowing you to the root.

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