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Chapter 5 - Earthly Delights
As Margery had told Bianca, that night in the suite at The Plaza Grand Mohandas had experienced things that he hadn't read about in the Kama Sutra. This wasn't surprising as he's never read it. He'd never been with an older woman. Yet Kat, as Margery's other identity called herself, had been amazingly sexually aggressive, taking the lead. He was used to twenty-something women who, in his culture, were or pretended to be shy - mildly flirtatious at best.
Between bouts of athletic sex, followed by both falling back to recover, he'd claimed to be the best developer and code-smith on the team. When she doubted him he said he could prove it. Then she said she an idea that would test his skills. And he said: "just show it to me, I'll do it now."
"OK I'll show you. But it might take you hours, or days, even if you're as good as you claim," she said. "You'd have to take time off, what about a sickie tomorrow?"
That was when he agreed to call in sick and spend the day proving how good he was at writing code.
After that they went at it again and he sort of forgot about it. She was quite different to the only other girl that he had been intimate with. This was a real woman. He found that he particularly liked her luxuriant bush, which seemed so mature.
"There's nothing as unnatural as a hairless pussy," she told him smiling. "That's why I don't shave. It's unnatural. I'm proud of being hirsute. I'm a hairy Kat, as nature made me."
"It's lovely," he'd said, running his fingers through the silky forest in wonder. He'd never experienced a real woman like this so intimately.
"Would you like to play with Kat's pussy again tonight?" she asked flirtaciously, suggesting that she wanted to see him again after work.
He had feared that this had been a one-night stand.
"Yes of course," he said, not believing his luck. He was already thinking about sending flowers to her at work. He gave her his home address.
But after she'd showered and was getting dressed she seemed concerned.
"I don't want you to risk your job over staying home sick to write code for me."
He'd completely forgotten his challenge and agreeing to take the day off to prove himself.
"So I'll only come if I can visit your apartment completely unseen," Kat said as she let him zip up her black party dress.
Could he use his claimed uber-skills to make some sort of widget that she could carry and gain undetected access to his rear entrance? She said it so as to underline the double entendre.
"That can be your first test. If you can finish it today I'll come and visit you at home tonight."
It was still early when she'd left to go home to change. As soon as she'd gone he went down and checked out, then went straight on-line to the electronics suppliers.
When Margery got back from her enjoyable lunch with Bianca there in her in-tray was a small parcel marked to the attention of Kat. The mail robot had long ago been instructed to direct anything labelled 'Kat', particularly flowers or chocolates, to her.
Mohandas was proving to be well chosen in many ways. She had to give that much credit to Bianca. The parcel contained a gold ladies' powder compact with a fold up mirror. A loose piece of paper inside, over the powder puff, said: ‘Press Here - when the mirror glows green - it's safe to enter’. She had her VPA, Circe, confirm this to be sure. Her reading can be a little unreliable at times.
That evening she tried his widget out and it was brilliant. It unlocked the fire doors and disabled the cameras and body heat sensors and his door was unlocked too. She shed her jacket revealing her thin silk light peach coloured blouse over her otherwise bare breasts.
"Let me have a look at you," she said, undoing Mohandas' shirt buttons and pulling the cream fabric free of his pants to reveal his fit brown torso beneath. Then she stepped back exclaimed: "Oh yes, I wasn't imagining it! Very nice! And thank you for my widget."
His Kat embraced him and gave him a long passionate kiss in return for his gift. She felt his excitement growing and gave his bulging trousers a nice rub. He was an easy one. She knew he would be entirely hers before Kat had finished with him.
Margery was impressed by his apartment and a wave of jealousy swept over her. Here was old money. The apartment occupied a full floor of a multistorey block and had balconies on three sides overlooking the surrounding parkland. It was sumptuously decorated in the style of a maharajah's palace, with bronze statues of multi-armed gods and goddesses in niches. The floors were polished hardwood partly covered with hand-woven rugs and the furnishings were low settees and some very large cushions. There was a separate scented air zoned Multidimensional video viewing room with 3D screens on all four walls and full surround audio to recreate any virtual environment. Wearing a haptic body stocking she saw that it had wonderful potential for reliving some of her more erotic recordings. She imagined leaving Mohandas tied in his bedroom while she came in here and enjoyed herself.
The kitchen was also large and well equipped but it was obvious that most of his meals came pre-cooked delivered into the servery by drone. There were several toilets but only two bathrooms, one opening off his bedroom and one off the large guest bedroom that seemed to be seldom used, perhaps by visiting relatives? One of the biggest rooms in this vast apartment was his dedicated workroom where the air was filtered. There were several large screens above a long bench on one wall and opposite there was another bench with various incomprehensible pieces of equipment, several housed in their own cabinets. This must be where he'd designed and assembled her widget.
Mohandas was very proud of this room and went on about its technical features enthusiastically. The only part of this she understood was how he could scoot around the room on his old fashioned work chair over the glistening hardwood floor. And that was only because he gave her a demonstration.
He'd saved his greatest pride to last. It's his private art gallery at the heart of the apartment, a central space behind the lift-well with no natural lighting. He opened the wide doors at one end to reveal a long room with a thick dark red carpet beautifully papered in subtly striped red silk shades lighter. The entire ceiling glowed with a soft sunrise light, casting no shadows, yet could be raised to a pure white light centred on a particular painting simply by walking in front of it or by requesting more or less light, here or there, verbally. Rather incongruously in an Indian themed apartment, it was hung with European oil paintings. The largest of these, with all three panels it's big, over two metres high and nearly four metres wide, was on the far wall: Hieronymus Bosch's The Garden of Earthly Delights.
Margery gasped. She was like a sailor unexpectedly confronted with a blow-up of a habitual illicit pin-up. As a teenager she would unfold her ancient paper print of The Garden of Earthly Delights and view it as the sailor might, under the covers. Now here was the actual work. Naked Madonna writ large. When she went up close it was evidently genuine, down to the texture of the finest brush strokes. But surely it should be in the Prado in Madrid?
Her love for The Garden of Earthly Delights is visceral. There's a delicious progress from left to right. The thought of Kat taking someone on the journey, from one panel to the next, is enough to make her swoon. She imagines leading an innocent out of the idyllic, left Garden; to large central, worldly panel, and the fun of introducing them to each of its erotic debaucheries in turn. Even now, if she's alone and craves arousal, she brings the central panel up on her screen; zooming in on the debauched characters in turn; imagining how her Kat would toy with each of them. Having, in her imagination, degraded her victims and, like their God, made them sin sufficiently to justify their destruction, her Kat leads them into to the satanic dark right-hand panel of weird punishments, biological experiments and fires falling from the sky; a broken clock symbolising eternity. Margery looked away, lest the excitement of being so close to her familiar hunting ground 'in the flesh' overwhelmed her.
There were dozens of other apparently genuine paintings to look at, by Klimt and Munch and Balthus and Courbet and Renoir and Matisse and Monet and Manet and Picasso even Rembrandt and Van Gogh. Each too seemed to be the originals.
Her jealousy mounted. This was totally unfair. All these famous paintings. Mohandas must be a billionaire.
Mohandas laughed at her amazement. He found this level of technical naivety odd for someone like her in the industry. Obviously the all necessary data was in the Public Domain and readily available in The Cloud. He explained that they're all reproductions. They look so real because their surface and any underlying image is identical to the originals. They have been digitised in 3D from hundreds of images, using high definition cameras moving side to and top to bottom. Why more than one image was important Margery had no idea, don't you just hold up your hand-held in the gallery? Then he'd somehow created them in ancient oil paint or something, from the data, using one of his 3D printing thingies. Some technical gobbledygook about extruding threads of different colours. But she understood that he'd created their frames too, using a different 3D thingy of which he seemed to have a number.
Apparently he'd also made the Indian miniatures elsewhere in the apartment.
"I don't care if they are the original or not," he told her, "I hang them because I like them, not for their resale value. And I like a lot of the classics."
Margery realised that he's like an audiophile she had once bewitched, who delighted in the exact reproduction of his favourite music even more than the music itself. He wanted to be able to close his eyes and actually be in the concert hall. With 3D glasses he was there. He'd liked 'the classics' too, before he ended his own life.
More than a selection in music, this art collection revealed at least one of Mohandas' fantasies. It was a collection that the notorious twentieth century playboy Hugh Heffner might have chosen. Somewhere in this apartment she would find a silk dressing gown and maybe even a tobacco pipe.
Margery had been lost during all Mohandas' technical talk but felt better that it was evident that his pictures, although physically identical to the originals, were not very valuable.
"That's odd isn't it?" she told him, caressing his torso. "It's like all those exact replicas of Michelangelo's David. But only the original in Venice is worth much more than the marble and the cost of carving it." Her fingernails were sensuously carving his chest as she spoke. Kat pushed his shirt off his shoulders and it lay, spread out, fleshy, like a cast off skin, on the red carpet. Now he was her David in cream cotton pants.
After a few subtle questions Margery learnt that he'd inherited this apartment from his mother. His workroom was in what had once been her private sitting room. And no he wasn't wealthy. He'd sold off most of his mother's original artworks, which had once hung in this art gallery, to make his changes. That was when he'd perfected his art copying techniques. Even the Indian bronzes of Ganesh, Parvati, Shiva, Lakshmi, Durga, Kali and so on, were now reproductions of his mother's originals, somehow scanned and then made from real bronze in a great big green boxy thingy with a window, that he proudly took her to see in his services area.
All the credit he'd got from the art sales, and almost everything he earned now, went to buying more equipment for his hobbies: like building the electronics for his flying robots and writing their software. Again Margery was annoyed. It didn't seem appropriate that a code writer, thirteen years her junior, should live comfortably in such a palace, invisibly consuming past family assets, when her apartment was much more Spartan and down-market.
Margery determined that Kat should set that right.
Mohandas' art collection was an ideal place to begin this subjugation. So Kat insisted on viewing each piece around the room. All the while clinging to his bare arm.
Among them was Jean-Honoré Fragonard's painting of young man fallen before a young woman. He's gazing up her voluminous skirt as she comes towards him on a swing, with her white stocking clad legs in disarray, her skirts billowing open to his gaze. Its full title is The Happy Accidents of the Swing.
"Why do you have this one?" Kat asked. "Are you a voyeur? Does looking up a woman's skirts turn you on? That's a bit off isn't it?"
Mohandas didn't know what to say. The way she'd asked it made him feel perverse. Of course he had imagined himself in the painting. Yet he's never been fixated or voyeuristic like his friend Raj, who describes himself as a 'pants man'. Raj likes summer in the gardens when young girls rest, legs apart, on the lawns or hitch up their skirts to sun their legs. The map of his lunchtime walks with Raj is more Miro than Mondrian, as they wander in circles around a lawn for Raj to get a better view; or make a sudden bee-line towards a distantly glimpsed opportunity, all the while chatting away earnestly about economics as if disinterested. Once when stood-up by Raj for lunch, Mohandas had gone to the Gardens alone. There he discovered Raj helping a colleague out of a tree that he'd somehow persuaded her to climb. Mohandas had guessed at an office dalliance. A skirt over his head was Raj's idea of getting a room.
To hide his present embarrassment Mohandas quickly moved Kat on to the next painting. But like someone in the twentieth century proudly showing off his new slide projector to the neighbours, he'd accidently left a pornographic slide among the holiday snaps.
The next one was Rembrandt's portrait of his mistress Hendrickje Stoffels: Hendrickje Bathing in a River.
"Oh yes," Kat exclaimed, delighting in this second embarrassment. "That's more like it isn't it? Look into the shadow below her bundled skirt and the way it's held in front of her legs and there's an even more intimate view reflected in the stream. But alas for deviants like you, her most interesting reflection is below the bottom of the frame. You are a real pervert aren't you? You're more turned on by these up-the-skirt images than by all your nudes with their cunts fully on display aren't you?"
She was being deliberately crude, bumping her hip against him and grazing his arm with her nipple; playing with his mind. 'Pervert' and 'deviant' were obviously not intended to be insults but badges of honour.
Now they were both smiling at the Fragonard. But now he had accepted the proposition it was time to have him join the club.
"Are you a compulsive voyeur? I bet you're one of those deviants who choose to sit downstairs in a two level carriage on the platform side, gazing up in delight as women board the train. Should I check for equipment under the seat when I use your bathroom? Have you got a camera in a shoe too? You're one of those perverts who secretly spy on women's toilets and dressing rooms aren't you?" she asked, enjoying his rapidly disappearing smile.
He was totally outraged. He shook himself free and stared at her, angry and wounded. How could anyone suggest such a thing?
"I'm just playing with you," Kat told him, smiling. "I find your up-skirt pictures very arousing too. I really do," she added unhelpfully, taking him in her arms.
Her greater height allowing her to hold him as mother might hold a distressed child. He was still injured and struggled but she held him until he felt better. Then, looking around ostentatiously, Kat gave him another playful pat or two with her metaphorical paw, claws out just a little:
"I love this blood red room, in the centre of your apartment like this, it's very Freudian. It's your mother's womb isn't it? So it must be confusing for you to come in here to enjoy your erotic paintings. I mean on a subconscious level. Can you get off in here? Or are you blocked by oedipal confusion?"
He was appalled, things were going from bad to worse. What sort of person did she think he was? He'd never tried to 'get off' in here. These pictures aren't pornographic. They're great art.
But she'd hit home. He realised that she was right about the room, it is alarmingly Freudian. This had been his mother's gallery. So maybe his desire to replace her art with his art is subconscious - evidence of a latent Oedipus complex. Perhaps his wish to deny his pictures' erotic content is Freudian. He realised that he needed to change the colour scheme, at the very least.
The whole gallery experience was very disturbing and at the same time, arousing. Mohandas had always dreamed of sharing his art collection with a responsive woman. He'd been able to feel Kat's voluptuous breast and occasionally her hard nipple brushing against his arm through the thin silk, as she held him to her while flirtatiously going from painting to painting, particularly pausing and admiring the nudes. Yet by comparing them, in the most lascivious and intimately physical terms, to herself and to women in general, she had repeatedly pointed to a pornographic intent. She had steadfastly refused to treat them with the respect that great art is due yet their alleged pornographic sexuality was apparently what she'd liked about them. He wanted to deny that they were pornographic while at the same time being excited that her alleged motivation for liking them was pornographic.
On one occasion Kat had pushed her accusations of his perversity to another level when admiring one of his Balthus paintings. The painting depicts a pubescent girl, appropriately with a cat. The naked girl is uncomfortably posed over a chair with her arm stretched up towards the cat, that is crouched on a table behind. Kat implied that he had chosen to hang it because he was a paedophile. Again she'd started analysing it sexually on his 'perverted' behalf. This was a step too far. He'd refused to let her go on with her vile implications. So to stop her disgusting accusations he took it down and faced it to the wall.
"Oh don't do that," Kat had then said to him. "She's so beautiful! If you don't want to hang her, can I have her?"
In his confusion and anger he'd picked it up and handed it to her like a petulant little boy.
When Margery had seen the Balthus she was reminded of her of herself at that age. Her mother is in the background gazing out of a window, waiting for Uncle Ron to arrive. What a rush of mixed emotions she experienced! She decided to have 'Kat' make Mohandas give her the painting on the spot. Soon it would be easy for 'Kat' to make him do anything. So this would be an early overture. First Kat exclaimed admiringly that she could see what he, the pervert, liked about this one: the girl was still a child. She asked him if a deviant, like he, frequently wanted to have sex with children. She was just starting to have fun, suggesting things that he might do with a little girl, based on Margery's actual experiences that age, when Mohandas declared that he was not a paedophile and took the painting down, facing it to the wall. She was slightly disappointed at how quickly it had worked. She'd hoped that Kat's exquisite delight in his growing discomfort would last longer. She was barely into recalling a typical session with Uncle Ron.
At less than a metre wide it will be easy to wrap and carry away tonight on her hover-bike.
Her favourite, The Garden of Earthly Delights, is far too big to carry now. Kat will make him give her that too, after she's organised a courier to take it away, along with the Fragonard and maybe some others. Mohandas will soon be Kat's, to do with as she wants.
The Fragonard and Rembrandt have confirmed her plan for the first stage in his training and very soon Kat will be introducing Mohandas to her garden of earthly delights.
Kat excused herself to visit his toilet. She would need to remove her knickers once again.