" broads " by: roxane gay
Jimmy Nolan has a thing for broads—loud, brassy women who sit with their legs open and drink beer straight from the bottle—women who always say exactly what they’re thinking and, for better or worse, mean what they say.
Jimmy Nolan has a hard time meeting broads. He’s not quite sure if this is the result of geography, circumstance, or personal limitation. Jimmy’s ex-girlfriend Marissa was the antithesis of a broad—pale, thin, precise, and polite with a watery voice and weak handshake. She says Jimmy isn’t the kind of guy broads go for and, more than once during the course of their three-year relationship, she turned up her nose when Jimmy ogled a broad passing by.
Jimmy Nolan would like to think he is the kind of guy broads go for. He likes his steak rare, enjoys a cold Budweiser, and has a hearty laugh that echoes in any room. His problem, however, is that he models himself after caricatures of who he thinks broads like. And, unfortunately for Jimmy, he’s a nice guy. He opens doors and covers his lap with a napkin at dinner, never interrupts a conversation, and always says please and thank you. Then there are his hands—slender, almost delicate hands that are finely veined, the skin stretched smoothly over bone without blemish.
It is this habit of placing his napkin on his lap that first got the attention of Greta, a waitress, a broad among broads, at his favorite diner. Greta is charmed by Jimmy’s manners and his demeanor, and how, even when he only comes in for coffee and a danish, he still takes the time to use his napkin properly. Greta doesn’t claim to know much, but she knows men. She knows that their hands and their minds wander and that they will say most anything to get into the pants of a broad like her. Knowing so much about men is exhausting for Greta. Each day, when she sees Jimmy Nolan, Greta is grateful to see the kind of man she knows nothing about.
Jimmy long ago decided his hands were the bane of his existence. Women like Marissa coo and fuss over them; they yearn for Jimmy’s lovely hands to toy with their tender bits. Marissa’s favorite thing was for Jimmy to lie next to her in bed, gently sucking one nipple while he stroked her clit with his middle finger in small, fast circles until the pleasure was so sharp and intense that it hurt. She couldn’t get enough of Jimmy’s middle finger until, of course, she met someone who was happy to take Jimmy’s place. In Jimmy’s experience, the women in his life often find someone who can take his place. Broads, they take one look at Jimmy Nolan’s hands and decide that hands so fine would crumble inside their bodies. They hardly pay him any mind at all.
Every night, Jimmy Nolan takes a bath. It’s a ritual he has perfected over the years. At exactly 10:35 p.m., after the evening news is done, he runs hot water until the tub is three-quarters full and adds a capful of musky bath oil. He sets the radio to KSZU FM, a jazz station—real jazz, not that new stuff—and after stripping naked, sinks into the bath with a heavy sigh, enjoying the swirls of steam that fill the room. Jimmy bathes with his eyes closed, his long dark hair clinging to the ceramic edges of the tub. He fantasizes about trashy and brassy broads—imagines their mouths and breasts and thighs and eyes. In more explicit detail, he imagines Greta—a tall brunette with thick thighs, large green eyes, and oddly small yet perky breasts.
Jimmy doubts that Greta knows his name, but he leaves her a generous tip every day. He compliments her on the way she manages to dangle a cigarette between her lips and hold a conversation all while pouring coffee. As he thinks about Greta, he wraps his slender, almost delicate hands around the rigid length of his cock—which is not at all delicate—and slowly strokes himself. If he closes his eyes tight, he can pretend Greta is there with him, sliding into the tub, sighing as she relaxes. Jimmy knows that Greta has long days. What she needs at the end of that long day is a hot bath and a man like Jimmy Nolan waiting for her.
In his mind, she sits across from him, smiling her slow, easy smile. She arches her leg just so, and traces Jimmy’s body from shoulder to shoulder with her big toe. Jimmy massages her foot, then her calf with his delicate hands. Greta moans softly, whispers, “That feels so good.” Greta’s skin is slick, smooth, and he can feel the tension in her muscles as his hands move higher. Greta slides lower and pulls Jimmy toward her. He imagines her full lips, brushing against his neck as she straddles his lap, and slowly lowers herself onto his cock. Jimmy breathes slowly. He wants to make the moment last. He wraps his arms around Greta’s strong frame, smiles to himself as she perches her chin over his shoulder.
Her ankles lock against his back and then, Greta fucks Jimmy like a broad should. She is exuberant, loud, and her thighs squeeze him so tightly Jimmy can hardly breathe. Jimmy rises to meet her thrusts, enjoys the wet sound of their bodies slapping together, water spilling onto the tiles. When she’s about to come, Greta grabs hold of the sides of the tub, and lifts herself a bit, so that her breasts bounce against Jimmy’s face. He wraps his fingers in her thick, damp hair. She tells Jimmy to open his eyes, and she stares at him, her lips slightly parted.
Afterwards, when the fantasy of Greta has faded, there is a small constellation of grayish cum floating somewhere over his torso. Jimmy smokes a cigarette, thankful that his hands prove themselves useful on occasion.
Jimmy has tried asking Greta out on a date. Imagined or not, he is certain that they share a connection. Greta has a habit of resting her hand against his narrow shoulder a little too long, smiling a bit too brightly when he passes through the grease-smudged doors, taking a seat across from him when there’s a lull. During these lulls, Jimmy and Greta talk. He loosens his tie, rolls up his sleeves, and tries to flex his forearm muscles. They banter about work and politics and movies and life, and always Jimmy reminds her that his name is Jimmy Nolan. He knows that she has one kid, no husband, no boyfriend. She drinks Heineken, exclusively, likes clubbing when she can get a sitter, voted for Ralph Nader in the election, and plays a mean game of golf.
What he does not know is that these conversations are the highlight of Greta’s day. When she’s home, after she’s put her kid to bed, she stares out her bedroom window, looking past what’s really there, and tries to recall every word Jimmy Nolan has ever said to her.
On a very ordinary Thursday, after working late, Jimmy Nolan decides to stop by the diner, add a little variety to his routine. The place is nearly empty when he takes a seat at his regular booth. Greta is still working, though she looks a bit more worn than usual. Her long hair is unkempt, wayward strands creeping out of the ponytail that draws her features back. Light shadows line her eyes, and Jimmy imagines that this is what Greta must look like when she first wakes up—drowsy and succulent.
Greta smiles when she sees Jimmy, leans against his table, and drawls, “Jimmy Nolan, is it tomorrow already?”
“So you do know my name.”
Greta cocks her head to the side and fishes her notepad from her waist. “What can I get ya?”
“Coffee. A burger, rare, with everything, and a side of onion rings.”
She pens his order, chewing on her lower lip, then taps the top of his head with her notepad and heads back to the kitchen. Jimmy watches her go, the way her hips rock back and forth. He hopes she knows he is watching. Greta hopes Jimmy is setting aside his polite ways long enough to watch. When she brings his food, the only other customer in the place, a tired-looking trucker with nicotine-stained fingers and a dent in his lower lip, pays his bill and leaves. Jimmy realizes with startling clarity that, save for the short-order cook watching TV in the kitchen, he and Greta are alone for the first time.
Greta sets Jimmy’s plate before him and takes a seat, pouring some ketchup on a napkin before sliding a finger through an onion ring and twirling it in the air. “At last,” she says, winking. Greta takes a bite of the onion ring and wills Jimmy Nolan to take an interest in something other than casual conversation with her.
Heat creeps from his chest, up through his neck, and into his cheeks. He turns away and coughs as he assembles his hamburger—bun, ketchup, mustard, burger, mustard, ketchup, lettuce, tomato, onion, bun. The pickles, he eats separately, one by one.
“You play with your food the way I used to play with Legos,” Greta says.
Jimmy shrugs. “I know how I like my food.”
Greta takes another bite of the onion ring she has stolen. “That’s good,” she says. “That you know what you like.”
Jimmy can’t help but grin. “Long day?”
Greta swings one leg out to the side, her blue skirt slowly inching up her thighs. “Every day is a long day.”
Jimmy nods as if he can understand what it’s like to stand on your feet for ten hours a day, every day, but then, as he brings his burger to his mouth, he sees his hands and, blushing, quickly takes a bite, drops his food and hides his hands under the table.
Greta rubs her chin thoughtfully. “I could try and devise a clever ploy to get you in the bathroom, but I already know how to unclog a toilet.”
Jimmy leans forward, one leg twitching uncontrollably. “Why do you need to get me in the bathroom?”
Greta stands, smoothing her outfit. “Follow me.”
Again, Jimmy watches her walk away, stares down at his plate, and at the empty space across from him. He practically trips over his own feet as he extricates himself from the booth. His leg still twitching, he makes his way to the bathroom and pauses, studying the two doors before him. After a quick debate, he curses for quibbling with himself about which door she’s behind and decides Greta will be in the ladies room. Greta is sitting over the sink, her ass against the faucet, legs slightly spread.
“Took you long enough.”
“I got lost.”
Greta laughs, and Jimmy shivers. She has a vulgar, voluptuous laugh, one that echoes like his. She reaches out and takes hold of the narrow length of his tie, pulling Jimmy closer. He stumbles forward, falling into her, his nose pressed against her cotton blouse. He inhales deeply. She smells like grease, tobacco smoke, lipstick, and a perfume he’s never smelled before—a perfume only broads wear, he thinks. Shyly, Jimmy takes hold of Greta’s waist and looks up at her.
“Jimmy Nolan,” she says.
Taking a deep breath, Jimmy brushes his lips across Greta’s. He memorizes every faint groove, the way her full lips come to a point in the middle and never seem to close completely. It’s been a long time since he’s kissed any woman, and an even longer time since he’s had the opportunity to kiss a woman properly—wetly, with lots of tongue, hard enough to leave his lips swollen the next day. The tip of his tongue slips past her lips, and he traces the hard edges of her teeth before venturing further, finding her tongue, thick and flat, salty. Greta’s legs spread further apart, and she wraps them around Jimmy’s waist before clasping the back of his neck, letting her long fingernails dig into his skin. Jimmy Nolan tries to become the kind of guy broads pick up in a diner. He undoes her ponytail and wraps her soft, thick hair around his fingers. He growls, as he feels her back arching, her breasts pressing against the flat of his chest.
Pulling her head back, Jimmy drags his fingers from the tip of Greta’s chin, along the column of her throat, to the top of her blouse, hurriedly undoing each button, one of them flying off in the process and landing on the floor with a loud ping. Greta is silent but she kisses Jimmy with an intensity that frightens him. Beneath his slacks, his cock is hard against the soft fabric of his boxers. He brings his mouth lower, sinking his teeth into Greta’s neck, pulling at the tight flesh, and tracing the red marks he makes with his tongue. In the morning, he wants Greta to stare at herself in the mirror and draw her fingers over the bruise he will leave. He wants the world to know Jimmy Nolan was here.
Jimmy looks up for a moment. He almost doesn’t recognize himself in the mirror. His face is flushed, a sheen of sweat covering his forehead and upper lip. His eyes are flashing, nostrils flaring. Greta tugs his tie again, and Jimmy takes her small breasts into his slender, almost delicate hands, enjoying the weight of them as his fingers follow the curves, squeezing softly. Reverently, he pulls each of Greta’s nipples into his mouth. The textures of her body against his tongue send shivers down his spine and thighs. Greta presses her fingernails into his shoulders. Jimmy starts to nibble her nipples with his teeth, exerting just enough pressure to feel the taut flesh give way. He persists until Greta is moaning and grinding against the hollow sink beneath her. Jimmy rests his nose against Greta’s breastbone. She smells different now.
He doesn’t bother removing her skirt. He knows how broads like it when they’re being fucked in bathrooms. She instinctively raises her ass as he shoves her skirt up around her waist. He can hardly control himself as he slides her panties, a purple, silky thong—the kind a broad wears—down her legs, leaves them dangling from her ankle. Greta takes hold of one of Jimmy’s hands, and one by one, pulls his long fingers into her mouth to the third knuckle, lathing them with her tongue, grazing them with her teeth. She makes loud, sloppy sounds that remind him of her kisses.
“You have beautiful hands,” she whispers. “The first thing I noticed about you.”
Jimmy is startled. He looks at his hand, in her mouth, imagines reaching into her body, reaching past the viscera in search of something he can’t quite put to words. He can’t help but say thank you. Greta takes the hand she is sucking, pushes it down the center of her body leaving a wide, moist trail. She firmly plants his hand against her cunt and stares at Jimmy.
“You have beautiful hands,” she says again.
Jimmy nods silently and lowers his mouth between her thighs, licking the warm spaces between his splayed fingers. Greta shivers, and Jimmy shyly spreads his fingers, exposing the downy strip of her pussy lips. Sliding his tongue between them, he licks upwards. Her taste changes from subtle to thick and sharp along this intimate geography. Her clit, when he reaches it, is softer than he imagined, but sensitive, her thighs trembling each time his tongue passes over.
“Your hands,” Greta says hoarsely. “It’s your hands I want.”
He rises slightly and leans forward, resting his forehead against the upper swell of her breasts and slides two fingers inside Greta as he presses his thumb to her clit. She is tight—tighter than he expected—and her wetness slides around his fingers like warm water. Greta is tracing his shoulders with her nails, and she has carefully wedged one of her feet between their bodies, pressing the arch against the hard length of his cock. Jimmy Nolan notes Greta’s flexibility.
Jimmy slides a third finger inside Greta. She adjusts, spreading her legs wider. He twists his hand and arches his fingers upward, exploring the silky smoothness covering hard bone, the way her cunt curves. He tries to find the deepest, pulsing part of her, though he is not quite sure that such a thing is possible. The opening of Greta’s cunt puckers around his fingers. Taking a deep breath, Jimmy lets his pinky slip inside of her. Slowly, at first, he begins to fuck her with his fingers, sliding them to the third knuckle then pulling back, then sliding back in. There is a sound—a soft, squishy sound that Jimmy Nolan hopes he will never forget. Greta begins rocking her hips, and she moans a high-pitched, squeaky moan that borders on laughter. Her thighs are slick with sweat. The bathroom reeks of disinfectant, grease, and sex.
Greta pounds her fist into Jimmy’s back. “More,” she says tersely. “More.”
Jimmy fucks Greta harder. Faster. The muscles in his arm burn from shoulder to wrist, but he doesn’t stop. He presses his thumb against the palm of his hand and slides his entire, delicate, finely-boned hand inside Greta’s cunt. His fingers curl into a fist, and Jimmy Nolan thinks it is a marvelous feeling, the sensation of Greta’s insides clinging to his hand. Greta lifts Jimmy’s chin with one finger and forces him to look at her. Her expression is serious—one of intense concentration. Her eyes are cloudy, her lips open wide. Jimmy holds her gaze, grabbing Greta’s ass with his other hand, thrusting his fist in and out of her with deliberate strokes that make her whole body tremble. Her moans are louder, throatier now. Jimmy does not know how much longer his arm will last, but he continues fucking Greta, rolling his fist around inside of her, rubbing his knuckles against the soft doughy pad just below her clit, his own hips rocking in rhythm with hers. His cock is throbbing, and he knows that soon, very soon, he will come all over his boxers, and he will have to walk home in the wet spot.
Suddenly Greta throws herself back, her head hitting the dirty mirror. Jimmy blinks. Her cunt spasms around his hand, wetness oozing over his wrist, trickling along his forearm. He leans down, licking some of the moisture. It is entirely satisfying.
“Don’t stop,” Greta says, through clenched teeth.
Jimmy does as he’s told and continues fucking Greta, but harder. His hand feels raw, knuckles chafed. He catches a glimpse of them in the mirror, their bodies at awkward angles, practically entwined. Jimmy likes what he sees. After a final husky groan, so low Jimmy can hardly hear it, Greta’s body stills. He tries to pull his hand out, but Greta shakes her head.
“Not yet,” she says.
They sit there, leaning against one another for a long while. Jimmy can hear the cook cleaning up the kitchen, leaving out the back door. They are silent, save for slow, heavy breathing. Finally, Greta kisses Jimmy’s chin and nods. Slowly, Jimmy slides his hand out of Greta’s pussy. He traces the soft, exquisitely soft folds with his narrow pinky. Greta takes his wrist again, pulls her hand to her lips, kisses the open palm, then closes his fingers over the memory of her lips. He smiles widely. Jimmy Nolan is dizzy, delirious. He is slightly incredulous to be holding a broad like Greta in the palm of his slender, almost delicate hand.