Lara Whittaker focused her sleepy eyes to find recent eye-candy younger guy crush Asher Prather handing her a hot mug of coffee. He softly said, “Hey, beautiful, you’ll be needing this.”

“Whoa! What in the hell happened to me? I feel so strange. Did we do what I’ve been wanting to do since we met at the Ugly Monkey?” Lara inquired, smacking her lips, not trying to be cute; she suffered from a bad case of dry mouth.

“You bet we did! I sang out, coming like your fav Pavarotti would when he gets it on. Oh, Lara, it’s getting to that time of my chef duties,” Asher said, jumping off the couch, still naked.

Lara sat up covered in a green fleece-lined throw thinking, Wish I could recall how Asher felt. With a penis that long when hard, I’m certain I would be pulsating for days.

Asher yelled from the hallway close to where she sat on his long silver-and-white-striped couch. “Lara, I’d stay and cuddle, but I’ve got a kitchen staff meeting before the restaurant officially opens.”

Lara nodded in silent understanding while sipping on her coffee. She finished the strong brew going over why she broke her five-year celibacy since her second marriage had failed. She went to the Ugly Monkey on a dare from her thirtysomething daughter due to the younger crowd and the fact no one could carry on a decent barstool conversation due to obnoxiously blasted acid rock music. She couldn’t go alone, so she dragged her best friend and nurse practitioner Marthe Klein with her.

The band, Linkin Park, took a break. She felt good about leaving Marthe at the table because two cute guys got interested in Marthe’s story about surviving the Holocaust. In truth, Marthe was only two and was smuggled out of Berlin to live with relatives in Switzerland. Lara was delighted when a gangly black-haired guy struck up a conversation with her at the crowded bar. He loved the fact of her having been published. She was reeled in by the fact he was a struggling writer working full-time as a grill chef for the high-end Prime 47 Steakhouse.

She giggled to herself as she became conscious again enough to move off the couch. Looking out his kitchen sliding glass doors, she remembered the last part of their first meet. She told him as closing time in the nightclub loomed, “You’re a sexy guy probably in your thirties wading through much talk with a middle-aged broad.”

His answer—combined with a soft kiss on her left cheek—got her all wet under the pantyhose between the cobwebs of her deepest depths: “You’re a talented writer with sexy green eyes. I don’t pay attention to your age.”

All dressed and ready to go out his front door, Asher passed by her, which broke the spell of how her crush began. No kiss, he said. “See you in the halls. Gotta run, Lara.”

Lara shrugged her shoulders and went into the bathroom for some needed mouth hygiene and a sit on the toilet. The flowing cold water helped somewhat to dissipate the feeling she could spit out cotton balls. While comfortably seated on the toilet before urinating after sex, there is usually the plop of what a guy had shot his wad into previously. There was no such distinct plop this time.

A veil of puzzlement began to form in her brain. She gathered her clothes and got dressed. Her head was pounding going down the hall to her loft apartment. In downtown Indianapolis, because of the presence of pertinent sports facilities like Conseco Fieldhouse and Lucas Oil Stadium, this fact brought forth a deluge of twenty- and thirty-year-olds who could afford the high-end rent of apartments like Factory Loft on Georgia Avenue. Lara loved living in this particular building because it was close to amazing restaurants, all types of nightclubs, museums, and various shopping department stores and boutiques.

She got into her very trendy stylish loft. Reaching her foyer, she was overcome by an intense urge to throw up. She threw her keys onto the half-moon shaped marble table and ran to the bathroom down the hall across from her bedroom. She spewed forth a jet-propelled thick liquid for what seemed like an hour.

Kneeling in front of her toilet as all the nasty contents flushed away, a familiar voice boomed out from her answering machine in the bedroom. “Lara, pick up, pick up! Don’t keep your beloved agent waiting. I wish you would get with the times and buy an iPhone. I hate talking into these damn machines!”

Cleaning up with a vigorous tooth-brushing, Lara sat down on her neatly made bed. “Sorry, Lil. I was preoccupied puking my guts out when you called.”

“Madame genius, I want to see something soon. Face of Greed has been on the shelves for seven months now,” Lil Greer said with no mercy for Lara’s physical emergency status.

“And Lil, the book has stayed on the bestseller list for two months!” Lara retorted back.

There came an angry silence and much heavy breathing. This women’s fiction was Lara’s debut novel at the age of 56, unusual for writers these days. Lara realized she owed Lil compliance at least, even if what she put down turned out to be shit.

“All right, I’m sorry for being so flip. I can send a taste of the next offering: 25 pages by Monday.”

“See to it. Oh, I am sorry you are feeling funky today,” Lil said, not being totally heartless.

Two glasses of ice water later, Lara curled up into her sleigh bed wrapped in her $200 Egyptian sheets. She slept like the dead. Her slumber turned out to be not so sound. In her semi-comatose state, she was suspended above, watching a man and a woman wrestling naked around an ornate oriental rug that looked very familiar to her. They were intertwined, their shapely bodies enjoying an intense mission-style position of lovemaking.

There was this particular sound of the woman giggling. A rippling of repetitive sounds, much like her daughter’s laughter at the age of five. The strange series of images was interrupted by intense pounding, getting louder by the minute. Lara struggled to wake up. Putting on her robe, she shuffled to her front door.

Marthe Klein was guilty of the pounding. Marthe said in astonishment, “Good God, Lara. You look like shit!”

“Come in. What time is it? I must have drifted off for a nap.” Lara answered, shutting the door.

“A nap? You must have gotten up real early and then went back to bed. It’s going on noon.”

“Marthe, what day is it?” Lara asked, shaking her head.

“It’s Wednesday, goofball. Say, let me get a closer look. I’m concerned.”

“I’ve lost a day,” Lara said, making her way to the kitchen to make a pot of coffee.

Marthe sat down at the kitchen island. Her medical prowess kicked in. She probed, “Backtrack from the last two days. Don’t leave anything out.”

“I met Asher at the Ugly Monkey on Monday night. We were there real late, then went back to his place. After a six month hanging-out period, we finally had sex,” Lara said, then stopped pouring the water into her Proctor-Silex maker. “Well, I think we had sex.”

Marthe scrunched up her long nose and full set of lips. “What do you mean ‘you think?’”

Lara finished the process of brewing her favorite roast. She folded her arms and leaned on the kitchen counter facing Marthe. “As a rule, I lavish for days on the lingering sensation of sex, especially when it’s good. I haven’t felt that this time. Instead, when I got back to my apartment, I ran into the bathroom and puked for quite a while. That was Tuesday, yesterday.”

“Did you have a bad case of dry mouth before you threw up?”

Lara nodded. She began to feel a slight panic. Hoping the simple act of fixing her friend a mug of coffee would make that feeling go away, Lara handed Marthe her particular mix of half ‘n’ half with two Splendas.

Marthe took her mug, then asked in an authoritative tone. “Have you ever heard of Rohypnol or GHB?”

Now Lara felt a full-throttle rush of panic. She had knowledge of that particular drug. “That’s the date-rape drug! Why would he do that! I was a willing participant. Unless Asher is really twisted.”

“Lara, you have a tendency to be attracted to the wrong guy and someone years younger. You used the same behavior when you divorced your daughter’s father before the second husband. This is a criminal act!” Marthe was shouting by this point.

“Well, you really don’t mince words.” Lara said while fixing up her coffee. Marthe gave her a motherly, scolding look. Lara put her hands out, “Sweetie, I know what you’re saying. Could you stick around? I need to process all of this. I don’t want to do it alone.”

Marthe came close and gave her friend a rub on the back. She said, “I will stay all day if you like. It’s my day off. Go get a shower. I will make you some soup from what you have in the refrigerator.” Lara nodded and took her mug of coffee into the bathroom.


During the next three days, Lara was on the mend physically. Instead of having a personal pity party, she used her inner outrage and hurt feelings to begin a new writing project. She chose to take on a nonfiction novel that she fashioned to read like a novel.

Sunday afternoon, Lara was able to send to Lil the first three chapters, titling the work Allure Fades. There came a knocking at the door. It was Violet Fuller, a pretty 26-year-old pharmacist who lived downstairs on the fourth floor.

“Hey, Lara, remember you offered to fix your stovetop popcorn while we watch The Big Lebowski?” Violet said, showing her smile full of perfect white teeth, wide and glistening.

Violet’s perky petite body and mass of red hair reminded Lara of herself at that age. “Oh, yeah, come on in. I’ve been writing up a storm. I could use a break.”

Around 5PM, halfway through the movie, Violet giggled at the scene where Walter (John Goodman), Jeff Lebowski’s bowling buddy (Jeff Bridges), made a bungle of a blackmail drop bag full of his dirty underwear. Still giggling, she put some popcorn into her mouth.

Sitting on the other side of the front room couch, Lara turned her head. She stared intently at Violet for a long time. Violet felt that angry stare.

“Lara, why are you staring at me as if you could kill me?” Violet asked, her chest heaving.

Lara did not hold back. No putting off harsh accusations, despite her fondness for Violet. “Did you have sex with Asher Monday night, late on his oriental rug?”

Violet’s face went pale when her usual color was a ruddy peachy-pink. “You were passed out on the couch. I know this seems real sleazy. Asher has a mysterious ability to get his way with women.”

Lara stood up. She was furious to the point she was crying through her response to Violet. “How on Earth could you be so shallow, so callous? What’s wrong with you? I’ve only treated you with kindness and thought of you like a daughter! Let yourself out. I’m getting changed and going out!”

On a Sunday evening at Prime 47, one of Indy’s leading steakhouses, the large silver-and-chrome-studded kitchen was chaotic with activity to keep the crowded bar and dining room satisfied. Lara walked in from the back part of the restaurant. She passed the nicely-dressed, silver-haired, very tan, sixtyish male owner of the restaurant.

She wore her little body-hugging black dress underneath a sandalwood-colored London Fog raincoat. Her hair looked stunning, falling perfectly around her face with a tasteful touch of eye makeup to enhance her green eyes. She stormed up to Asher grilling a line of sirloin strip steaks.

“You roofied me!” Lara screamed out above the clamor and clatter of the kitchen activities. The staff of 14 stopped what they were doing. All eyes and ears were on Asher and Lara.

Asher turned around and pleaded with both hands, “Lara, baby, not here!”

“No, hell to the no! You’re not getting your way this time. Explain what the hell happened to me that night!”

He motioned to one of the sous chefs to take over for him and moved closer to Lara. “I couldn’t manage.” His dark brown eyes screamed “embarrassment.”

Lara opened her coat slightly to put her right hand on her hip. She looked almost heroic to the onlookers, including the owner way in the back, listening to every word in the highly explosive exchange. Lara began her case as though she was in a courtroom and there was no modesty in the words she broke forth with.

She said defiantly, “Oh, I get it. What took your hard-on away: my sagging tits, that ridiculous wide waist of mine, or my gravity-stricken butt?”

Asher wanted to run out of the kitchen. He noticed the owner intent on listening. He tried to explain, very ineptly, “After the first glass of wine, you got naked. I went back and got you another glass of wine with the mixture. I was put off because you had always looked so good in your clothes.” He stopped there, looking down at the kitchen floor, not able to meet her eyes.

Lara scanned around the kitchen at all the prying eyes. “Folks, it gets better. While I laid on his couch, passed out from what he put in the second glass of wine, he fucked the pretty 26-year-old neighbor from apartment 422 on his beloved oriental rug!”

By now, Lara was in tears, but fearlessly turned in a half-pirouette to exit down the back hall. She passed the owner, who nudged her by giving her a tissue for her tear-spotted face. She stopped, standing beside him.

“You’re Lara Whittaker. I loved your book. I assure you, Asher is fired. I have a capable grill chef waiting in the wings,” he said, causing Lara to break into a smile.

“Sir, I’m sorry for this sudden intrusion. I felt this type of confrontation was needed.”

He smiled back and gave her his business card. “I like sagging tits. I would very much like to take you out to dinner at the Eagle’s Nest. You know, at the Hilton.”

This time Lara laughed as she took his card. “You must know: I am only getting older.”

“My lady, I am as well. Why do think I try to cover my wrinkles with getting a constant tan?” he said, seeming to get more attractive by the minute.

“I believe I would enjoy a dinner with you. I will call you very soon,” Lara said, then made her exit out the back door to the city street of South Pennsylvania Avenue. Walking to the new Kia Soul she bought with the advance from her book, she smiled thinking about the last conversation she had with her daughter. She told me to grow up where men were concerned. She could very well be right.

The dinner at the Eagle’s Nest went very well. The grown-up man was to be not only a step in the right direction; he was someone who understood Lara’s changing body and changing mind about mature sex. She faced her transition from pre-menopause to post-menopause without regret.