A Versatile Man. by Stephen C Berg

Submitted into Contest #2 in response to: Write a story about someone who defies social conventions.... view prompt



Vincent van Nezla had a fetish. He preferred to call it a selective desire, but it was more than that. He also liked to party and, when in Paris, did so, with the gay set. His favourite party trick was to sabrage, or ‘neck’, a champagne bottle using a sabre. Most impressive, when done well. His Parisian friends all had fetishes too, of course, which is why he felt comfortable in their midst.

Although his father’s head office was in Paris, their factory was in Reims—the family was in the glass manufacturing business. Five hundred years ago, in the 16th century, they had sold glass imported from England to the monks in Champagne, who needed stronger bottles to hold their fizzy wine. Dom Pérignon was pleased with their quality and blessed their endeavours, God had been on their side ever since.

Life in Reims could not compare with Paris, but Vincent enjoyed it nevertheless—he was easily satisfied with the best. His time was divided between playing tennis at the family-owned Château Les Crayères, dining at the Brasserie Le Jardin and clubbing with his friends. He also showed his face now and again at the factory—time permitting. Their products included not only champagne bottles, but fine glassware, all forms of optical lenses and recently, in conjunction with Swarovski, crystal mirrors. Vincent, due to his friendship with the crystal producer’s son, was responsible for this latest coup, taking credit in his usual modest way. 

Standing naked in front of his full-length bedroom mirror, he admired what he saw. His long-limbed body, still youthful, was slim, taut and tanned. He practiced an hour of Wim-Hof breathing and yoga exercises every morning, then took a ten minute ice bath, to keep in the best possible shape. His most charming features, he’d been told, were his winning smile and dark, wavy, shoulder-length hair. He brushed it now, being careful to avoid his ear. 

It had been almost ten years since he had gone through the front windscreen of a taxi whilst crossing the Sydney Harbour Bridge. A car had crossed the centre line, hitting them head-on and Vincent, who was not wearing a seatbelt, flew straight through the glass, then through the front screen of the car that hit them, ending up in the front passenger seat. The taxi he had been in was then crushed by the ten-wheel dump-truck that had been following it. Ironically, not wearing a seatbelt had saved his life. The glass had cut away half his ear and scarred the left side of his head and face. It gave him a roguish look, which appealed to his pretentiousness.

He sauntered over to his double bed and lay down on the unmade satin sheets. It was still early, his meeting with Henri at their favourite cafe wasn’t until eleven. He gazed up at his mirrored ceiling and fantasised, listing the things he would like to do with Sofia Coppola—the list was long. She, along with Claire Danes and Gisele Bundchen, were his favourites. Scarlett Johansson also passed the test, her husky voice a bonus. But Sofia, he would crawl over broken glass for, she had that Roman nose he loved. The face and body were important too. Like all men he could appreciate shapely legs, firm breasts, full lips and sensual eyes, but the nose was what turned him on. The nose was the pièce de résistance. He felt himself getting hard and decided he had time.

Recently, their company, Nezla Glass, had had a breakthrough in innovative design. They’d discovered how to transform a window pane into a mirror, by merely standing in front of it, then back to a window again when you walked away and the sensors could not detect you. The product had sparked the interest of the Japanese, whose minimalistic approach to interior decorating suited such things. Vincent, being the heir to the family empire, was given the task of establishing relationships. He knew very little of the technicalities of the glass (Vincent said a designer could follow him to explain the boring details if necessary) but his father knew his name and decorum would impress, so a first class ticket for Tokyo was purchased.

Vincent arrived at Charles de Gaulle Airport in good spirits. Despite his hangover, he was excited to be going somewhere, especially Tokyo. It was well known as a party town and Vincent had an unlimited expense account. The only thing, he said to himself, was that the Japanese girls had small noses. The ten hour flight went all too quickly; movies, champagne, a chat with the air-hostess, who had the desired visage, and a sleep, then the Captain’s voice on the speaker, announcing their arrival into Narita.

The Japanese had arranged a limousine to drive Vincent directly to the Conrad Hilton in Shimbashi. Checking in, he noticed a tall girl behind the concierge desk, her name tag said ‘Masae’, but she looked exactly like a Sofia. He devised a plan to approach her once he had unpacked and freshened up. He had no meetings until the next day, so the evening was his to indulge.

Masae looked up as Vincent strode across the lobby. He exuded a certain aura, one couldn’t help but admire him in his tight-fit jeans, royal-blue tailored dress shirt and gold Audemar Piguet watch. His tan leather-soled brogues, tap-tapped across the polished lobby floor, announcing his arrival. 

When he was close he smiled at her, “Bonjour, I am Vincent and I would like to find a good restaurant for tonight.”

“Certainly Mr van Nezla, any particular style?”

Her strong, clear voice caused Vincent to pause, before continuing his rehearsed speech, “I heard there is a Michelin rated sushi bar close to here, in Ginza?”

“Oh, I love sushi. That would be Jiro. It has three stars and is only a short taxi ride from here. But I think it would be very difficult to get a booking for this evening.”

“I would be disappointed if it wasn’t difficult. By the way, you are tall, Masae, like the Kenyan tribe, the Masai.”

Her large eyes and long slim face balanced her nose superbly, Vincent admired her form. He hoped her legs were in proportion, but he couldn’t see behind the counter. The makeup she wore was a little overdone, he wondered if she had an acne problem.

“I could try if you like,” Masae said, looking at him with those deep, dark eyes that Vincent longed to drown in.

Vincent knew he needed to act upon his instincts. Daring ran deep in the van Nezla veins, especially when fired with desire, so he said, “Please. And why don’t you book for two and join me?”

Masae smiled and calmly dialled Jiro. She spoke for some minutes in Japanese, this gave Vincent time to observe her more closely. She had a certain je ne sais quoi about her, she was truly beautiful, in a virile way, like an Amazon. Her hands were large, but elegant, with slender fingers and her nails were French tipped.

“They have had a cancellation and have space for two at the counter, but not until late. I am so surprised you could get in.”

“It is meant to be Masae. What time do you get off?”

“Not for another hour. Can you wait for me in a bar near here? I can give you directions.”

Ten minutes later Vincent sat sipping his Campari soda at the counter of the cosy, street-level bar, one block from the hotel, his seat gave him a clear view of the front door. Each sip calmed him, he felt like a naughty teenager on a first date. 

When Masae entered, Vincent was immediately struck by her size, her legs, with the added length of high heels, seemed to go on forever. She wore white jeans, a white t-shirt and a black, long-cut blazer. Her jeans were held up by a studded belt and she wore large, hooped earrings. Her hair was no longer up but flowed down to her lower back. They were eye to eye when he stood to greet her.

With time to spare, they fell into an easy conversation. Masae was witty and caring, Vincent enjoyed her quick, interesting responses. She asked questions also, without being intrusive, just enough to tease and tempt him into opening up further. He felt he could tell her anything, as he did with his best male friends. Her way mirrored his. It was as if they had already slept together many times and this was their second month of dating.

The advantage of running with an alternative group of friends is that one is exposed to the immoral and risqué. Vincent preferred these gay circles because he found the conversations stimulating and honest. He encountered amongst them cross-dressers and transvestites, they intrigued him, Masae reminded him of those encounters. She was stunning, he could not take his eyes off her face. Then he realised what she was.

Masae recognised his dilemma and placed her hand lightly on his knee, “Vincent, in Japan they call me a new-half, or lady-boy. It is not easy for me, I’m all alone and I really like you. Can we still go for dinner? I can give you what you need, I am versatile and I want to make you happy.”

Vincent hesitated in his reply, pondering the advantages and disadvantages of versatility. 

“I’m a versatile man also, and we do have a booking at the best sushi restaurant in the world.” 

August 12, 2019 21:06

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