Erin sat in a chair along the wall, a knee-length denim skirt pulled up the left side exposing her stump. The spaghetti straps of the black top exposed the shoulders and a small remnant of the right arm. She watched Casey attach the peg leg to the dark-blue carbon fiber socket. In the background, an electric saw buzzed though a plaster mold and in the other part of the shop, a phone rang with no one moving to answer it.
“Ready,” Casey said as she stood the completed peg leg on the rubber tip at the end of the titanium shaft.
Erin stood and hopped six times, her stump swinging to help with the balance and the hem of the skirt flopping in the process. She rolled the socket liner in place over the stump and put the socket on. Balanced lightly on one foot, then applying weight to the peg leg, she looked at Casey. “Much better. That old socket was becoming un-wearable.”
“I like the color.”
“Yeah-h. Too bad I hide in pants it at work.” She leaned closer and kissed Casey deeply on the mouth letting a hand touch a breast. It was not the first time and Casey casually pulled her closer.
Thelma, standing nearby, coughed. “Sorry.” Casey pulled back and turned around. A slight blush covered Thelma’s face. “There’s a phone call.” She knew it was silly to react that way, she had seen them before. Now she felt her body grow warm from the sight.
“Thanks again for the new socket.” With a smooth, yet stiff-legged gait, Erin walked towards the door. Thelma followed and held the door for her. “How’s the new stump?”
“Been nearly a month and it’s wonderful. Jack’s thrilled too. We get stares. Not often, you see a couple where both are missing a leg. If they only knew why.” She giggled. The door closed behind them and they both made their way across the parking lot to Erin’s car. “Casey’s going to make me a peg. That is just the coolest looking thing.” She moved backwards on her crutches and watched Erin awkwardly get in the car then roll the window down.
“We should have lunch,” Erin said before blowing a kiss.
Thelma nodded and waved as the car backed out of the parking place. The sun felt good and the morning was warm. She sat on the curb. The denim jeans pant leg folded neatly behind and tucking over the waistband provided a little additional padding for one hip.
Casey walked across the parking lot, the sun reflecting off the metal pylon of the prosthetic leg with each step. “Such a great day,” she said stopping in front of her.
“Sorry, didn’t mean skip out on work.” She laughed and picked her crutches up before starting to stand.
“It’s okay. No one is coming until three.”
“Double below the knee and left below the elbow. One of the leg sockets isn’t fitting very well. I think I can make a simple change and take care of that while he waits.”
“Is he going to get something for the arm?”
“Doesn’t sound like it. His older son is seeing Robert tomorrow about having a trim.”
“What, below elbow to above?”
“Yup. Sam’s excited about it. Mack too.” She turned.
“Be there in a minute,” Thelma said watching Casey walk back. The tops of her crutches rested on the curb beside her, the tips pointing towards the door. Her eyes looked up along the blackened glass in the door, to the number above it – 3256. There was no sign naming the small prosthetics company. Casey only worked with people that had been to see her husband. Robert’s only patients at one office were people, like Casey, like herself, and all his relatives, that had wanted to have an amputation. Erin was his nurse for that office which was open only one day a week. He had another office for other surgical patients open the other four days.
She laid back on the grass strip between her and the sidewalk along the curving street though the office park. An occasional car or truck went by, but she found herself drifting into thoughts of lying on the grass at the lake where she had lived, where she had met Jack – the amputee she married just before her amputation.
“Thelma!” Casey called holding the door open.
Thelma stood and placed the crutches under each arm then made her way across the parking lot. “Huh?”
“Olivia, a new patient of Robert’s, is coming over to talk about prosthetics. She only had her surgery last week so she is no where close to being ready.”
“What’d she have?”
“Her left arm, about midway between the wrist and elbow. She’s forty-four, single, and Robert said a real knockout and loaded.”
They had just passed though the small lobby and front office into the workshop when the buzzer on front door sounded. “Olivia,” the woman said, the door closing behind her. The white cotton dress lay perfectly over her tall, slim, nicely proportioned body. The neck of the dress was cut deeply enough that it was clear that she wore no bra, yet her breasts filled the bodice perfectly. The hem ended evenly just above the knees of tanned and perfect legs without hosiery. She would have been tall even without the black high-heal shoes. The fingers, long and slender, with nails pained a pleasant shade of red, extended only from her left hand. The right hand not there, the forearm ending below the elbow, a small white gauze bandage crossed the end of the stump.
She took a few steps, heals making a slight clicking sound against the unpainted cement floor with each. “I’m here to see Casey.” The right arm rose, the elbow flexed, and the stump moved as if to explain why, then dangled beside her.
“I’m Thelma. Let me get her.” Her eyes scanned the woman an extra moment before beginning to turn away.
There was no need. Casey now stood beside Thelma and gave Olivia the same thorough study. “I’m Casey.” She held out her left hand.
“Must be awkward to do that,” Olivia said. “Kind of you.” It had only been a week and she still found herself reaching out with the hand no longer there.
“I have several others without the right hand and I know it is polite to extend my left hand in that case. Can I get you some coffee? Have a seat.” Casey said pointing to a chair beside the desk.
“No. I just had some. I understand you….” Her elbow flexed as she paused and sat.
“Yes, both of us actually. Robert is my husband. Thelma is married to his nephew. No use hiding anything when Robert is someone’s surgeon.” Casey giggled, and sat with her ankle resting over the prosthetic knee. “I’d started in prosthetics before I met him.” She fussed with her hair. “He did my amputation. My business is with patients of his that wanted what we all wanted.” She paused and looked again at different parts of Olivia then back at her face. “How can I help?”
“I know it is too soon….” Her stump moved. “But I will want an arm, a hook probably. I don’t know.”
“Give yourself a month, maybe a bit more. I’d be happy to help. I don’t take any insurance though.”
“No problem. I was interested in finding what the options might be … ah, appearances, terminal devices, and such.” She lightly scratched at the end of her stump. “Hooks, cosmetic hands … things like that.”
Thelma leaned against the wall and watched as Casey pulled a pamphlet from a shelf. “A lot of choices.” She flipped it open to a page. “Have you thought about something like this?” A finger pointed at a woman fitted with a hook at the end of a flesh colored arm.
“My friend has suggested something like that would be nice.” Her eyes glanced first at the picture then Casey.
“Friend?” Thelma asked moving closer to be involved in the conversation.
“A kid at school. Well actually, he’s twenty and saw Robert last year. That’s how I learned about this wonderful opportunity.” She laughed and ran her fingers though her hair giving it a slight flip. She searched for signs of disapproval. There, of course, were none.
“Both legs?” Casey asked as if she remembered him.
“Yes. Young men are God’s gift to women.” She paused with a big smile. “When they are legless, my heart just soars.
“Too bad he couldn’t be here with you,” Casey said.
“I’m sure when I come back for the arm. He had some exams at the university. I’m okay.” She turned the pamphlet and looked at the woman in the picture. The end of the stump rested on the page.
“Do you teach?” Thelma asked.
“I’m part of an isory committee. He was rolling down the hall one day. What can I say?” She chuckled. “The rest is history. He was honest about his legs. I was surprised at that. Anyway, I thought I owed it to him to be honest too – about my interest in young legless guys AND my desires about my hand.”
“It’s interesting how that kind of stuff happens. I was at a lake one day when I first saw Jack, my husband now, and his parents … they were all amputees.”
“Small world. My first husband never knew. I’m sure he’d have freaked out. Anyway, he left me a king’s ransom when he croaked. Hmmm, that’s a bit harsh … died – weak heart. Guess some would say I fucked him to death.” She snickered. “Couldn’t get enough it seems.” She paused and inhaled deeply. “He was interested in younger women, I was interested in money. It all worked out.”
“So the kid is open about his legs. Is he totally out to others?”
“Tyler is sweet. I’m surprised he fell for an older woman. There were a few lovely ‘girls’ after him. They knew about his legs. I saw one pretending to be without legs using his wheelchair.” She glanced at Casey. “Do you mind me talking about this?”
She shook her head. “No, it’s fascinating in a voyeuristic manner.”
“Makes my panties damp … if I had any on.” Olivia smirked. She brushed her stump at some hair that had fallen along her face.
“We have a woman in our family that is missing both legs at the hip, virtually no stumps,” Casey mentioned as she leaned back in the chair slightly. “Her sister in-law is missing an arm near the shoulder.” She nodded towards Thelma. “Everyone is missing something.”
“Wow.” Olivia shifted in the chair. “Are they’re many like us around here?”
“A hundred and growing, and just in the city here.”
Her mouth opened as if she said ‘wow’.
“That’s exactly how I felt,” Thelma said. “Do you think Tyler’s lady friends will come?”
“Leah probably will. She’s the one that was pretending to be legless. Holly, the other gal, will as well. I’ve offered to pay for their surgery and any hardware. I’m amazed as how expensive all these things can be. Tyler spent about three grand on his chair.”
“Sporty chairs can be expensive and a good powered chair can be fifteen or so,” Casey offered. “That is kind of you to help them.”
“That is the one thing I ‘can’ do.” She laughed.
“You and Tyler, ah, live together.” Thelma quizzed.
“What can I say? He fucks real-l fine.” The word stretched for a while. “Leah and Holly come over too.” She paused considering how much to tell. “I like to watch them with him … with each other.” She stood quickly. It was hard to tell if she were just leaving or about to flee out of embarrassment, though it was hard to believe Olivia could ever be embarrassed. Halfway to the door, she turned back. “I’ll let you know.” She pushed at the door then turned and leaned against the half opened door. “Nice meeting both of you.” The door closed behind her.
Thelma glanced at Casey with a mild expression of surprise. “Wish I could have done something when I younger.”
“Yeah-h … but she could have been their mother.”
“Kind of like you and Robert in reverse.” She laughed then Casey joined in the laughter.
Leah rocked back in Tyler’s wheelchair and balanced, moving the wheels slightly with her hands. “When?” The chair fell forward and landed on the front wheels. “I’m so ready. Finals are almost over. How much longer?”
“Not much. She goes back to get her hook after about a month.” He leaned back on one hand and flapped his short left stump a few times. The other leg ended so close to the hip, there wasn’t anything to move. Looking at him dressed, one would not know he had anything past the hips.
“I think I want both longer so I can wear legs.”
“If you can’t?”
“Are you shittn’ me?” He shook his head, shrugged his shoulders, and watched her stand. The bottom of her t-shirt, ripped off and frayed, exposed her toned stomach and the hourglass figure. The black thong hardly covered her shaved pussy. She knew he was looking there. Her fingers pushed at the waistband. “Ya want to fuck me.” Now the patch of fabric covered only the lower half of the slit. “Or just watch me play.”
“Yeah,” he mumbled not really expressing an opinion.
She bounced on the couch at the far end from him. The thong snaked along her legs then she held the fabric tight against her face and inhaled deeply. She held them by her cheek and looked at him. “What?” She again held them close. “I can’t help it if I like the way I smell.”
“Leah, you’re crazy, you know.”
“Fuck you! Not like you’re all that normal … both legs gone ’cause you ‘wanted’ to be that way.” She smiled.
He reached for the panties and pulled them from her hand then pulled her towards him. Her face fell against the shorter stump. He could feel her kissing along the faded scars. She looked up at his face and held his erection. “I’m going to do both like the short one.” She again kissed the stump still holding him. “Maybe just one. Well, I’ll know by the time I talk to the doc.”
Allison dried the last dish and placed it in the cupboard. Older, yet still attractive, her blouse revealed a pleasant outline of her breasts just as her jeans clung nicely to her shapely hips.
Leah leaned against the counter and sipped on a bottle of water. “Mom,” she started then sipped again attempting to not lose all the fake confidence she had walking from her bedroom.
Her mother turned and wiped her damp hands across both breasts. “What is it sweetheart?” One hand rested on the edge of the sink, the other reached over and turned the water off. “You seem tense. How are your finals going?”
“I have one more, day after tomorrow. So far, I think I’m going to have all A’s in my classes this term.”
Allison closed the distance between them and wrapped her arms around Leah burying her face between her own ample breasts. She pecked at the young woman’s head then let go. “I’m so proud of you. I wish your father had lived to see you now.”
“Yeah.” Her father had been a firefighter and died several years before when a burning building collapsed while he was inside. “Mom,” she started again. “Can I ask about Dave?” Dave was her mother’s latest boyfriend of just a few weeks.
“Sure. Just about anything.” There was a nervous laugh and she straightened her posture then brushed both hands along her hips before pushed one inside a pocket. Her feet were bare and one crossed casually over the other leg.
“He’s missing both legs. I was just curious why you picked him over Thom. Thom was a real hunk.”
“There is just something about Dave that makes me feel good in ways that Thom or even your father didn’t quite do.”
“There a guy at school that is missing both legs. We’ve talked and I like him.”
“That’s great. There’s no reason to be ashamed of being with someone without legs.”
“Oh, I’m not. It is just that I find him particularly exciting BECAUSE he doesn’t have legs. Is that how you feel about Dave? I mean, would you have dated him if he had legs?”
Allison was silent and walked to the refrigerator, opened the door, stared inside, closed the door without taking anything out, then looked back at her daughter. “Ah.” She cleared her throat and rubbed her hands again on her jeans. “Preferences in a guy can be complicated.” She looked at Leah and dragged her tongue part way across her lower lip as if there had been something there. “Some women like big burly men, some like….”
Leah cut her mother off. “Yeah. I know all that. I just wanted to know if you liked him because he was legless. What if he’d only been missing one leg, would you have found him as exciting?”
“Is that the way you feel about your friend?” Allison asked without answering the question.
Leah nodded her head and watched her mother nervously dodge the question. “Mom, it’s okay if you feel this way. It’s pretty obvious that you do, you know.” She paused and there was only silence. “I don’t want to have to hide my feelings and I wish we could talk about this.”
“I always have had a thing for legless men.”
“Good. I thought so. I’ve seen you sneak peeks at the new amputees at the rehab center where you work. I have too. That’s why I like to visit you there.”
“It feels kind of nice to have that out in the open.” Allison again opened the refrigerator and took a beer out. “Do you want one?” She asked, her head slightly inside, then took a second bottle out without waiting for an answer.
Leah tilted the bottle up high and sucked half the golden fluid before stopping. She turned and walked into the living room and settled casually on the couch, an arm tossed over the back, a barefoot on the edge of the low table. She sat alone for several minutes until Allison joined her sitting at the other end, her bottle still mostly full.
“Does he know?” Leah asked.
Allison shook her head slowly. “I’d lose my job … I need that job.”
“For the money … or the rush of seeing an amputee?”
“Yeah-h. It seems you understand a lot about these feelings.”
“More than you might know.” Leah finished the beer and put the bottle on the table. “Will you ever be able to tell him?”
“I keep hoping he will say something first. Guess that isn’t going to happen.”
Leah twisted on the cushion and let her chest swell a few times with deep breaths. “If I lost my legs….” She paused and watched her mother’s face closely – no reaction. “If I did, how would you feel?” She pulled one foot across her knee and held the ankle.
“I can’t pretend like I would think it was the worst thing that could happen.” Leah watched her mother speak trying to gauge the words. Her mother continued, “I see people without legs live good lives, Dave for example is very independent.”
Leah nodded and shifted her hand from the ankle to her thigh. “So, you wouldn’t mind.” Her hand rose from the back of the couch and her head rested casually on it.
“What are you talking about?” Allison began drinking faster and in larger gulps. She squirmed a little then turned and folded her legs like a loose pretzel. She fiddled with her toes interlocking some fingers between them.
“There isn’t any good way to say this I guess. I want to get rid of both my legs.”
The shocked expression gradually vanished from her mother’s face as she absorbed what she’d heard. The last of the beer was finished and the bottle placed neatly next to the other one. “How?” she simply asked without any judgment.
“Tyler, the legless guy at school, knows a surgeon.”
“Is that how he became that way?”
“Oh-h,” Allison mumbled while un-crossing her legs. “Really?”
Leah nodded again.
“Oh, my God.” Allison crossed a foot over the other knee.
Both women sat in silence for several minutes as they thought about the conversation. Then Leah stood and took the bottles towards the kitchen. “Want another?” she called over her shoulder.
As Leah put the bottles in the recycle bin, Allison stood behind her and wrapped both arms around her waist. She pecked at her daughter’s neck. “I will love you however you are.” She maintained the hug and kissed the cheek then earlobe.
Leah twisted in the encircled arms and put her arms across her mother’s shoulders. “I can go anytime. Will you come with me?” She leaned her face quickly forward to delay any response and covered her mother’s lips with hers. She felt her mother’s tongue slip between her lips. Leah let a hand slide downward until it covered a breast. “I love you,” she whispered. The hand remained in place for a moment feeling the bare breast hiding beneath the blouse then suddenly pulled away.
Her mother replaced the hand and whispered, “It’s just fine.” The kiss resumed.