Chapter 1: Survival by Lust
It’s a long-recognized rule that you don’t get sexually involved with the people with whom you work. I followed that rule religiously until a building fell on me. Literally. My life in all its aspects – personal, professional, and most of all sexual – has never been the same since. I didn’t just break the rule. I mutilated it.
Karen was our departmental administrative assistant, although we still referred to her as our “secretary.” I’d served a term as department head and returned to the faculty while another professor had served a term as department head. Now I was back again performing department head’s duty. This made Karen “my” secretary, although that is a completely inaccurate portrayal of her duties. Primarily she kept me up-to-date on – and edited – the various reports I had to write, meetings I had to attend, etc. She truly ran the department, allowing me to be department “head.” Only the misinformed or uninformed thought I was really in charge, and I made this plain to anyone who would listen.
Karen was in her mid-to-late thirties, so about a decade younger than I was. She had two teenaged children, and she was certainly a loving, caring mother and wife. I was fully aware that she was a woman, although I didn’t think of her as a possible sexual partner. I was happily married, and I had been completely faithful to my wife Lori for more than 20 years. Besides, Karen never did anything to suggest she was “available.” I felt absolutely no erotic attraction toward her, nor, apparently, did anyone else.
Moreover, Karen was almost plain, and nobody would even call her pretty. She had a nice smile, and her eyes were warm, friendly, and alertly intelligent, but she was clearly no beauty. She wore almost no obvious makeup, and her lipstick was a subdued shade of pink. Except when we had “dirty” jobs to do, she was always professionally dressed in skirt, blouse, or dresses. Her dresses were usually ankle- length and were never revealing or teasing. For years I’d thought of her as flat-chested, but one day when she had arrived for some cleanup work wearing jeans and a work shirt, I could clearly see that she had been hiding her C-cup-sized breasts by dressing cleverly. She did not dress to attract, entice, or excite the men at work.
Most importantly in terms of our working relationship and friendship, Karen was intelligent, bright, and witty. She enjoyed her relatively low-paying and low-prestige job by doing it exceptionally well. She had saved my ass on more than one occasion because of her intelligence and good common sense. She was on a first-name basis with all of us – at least when students were not around. She was a vital part of our departmental team. But nobody lusted after her. Certainly I did not. She was a trusted and loyal friend and co-worker. Nothing more.
The most suggestive action any of us had ever done around Karen was to tell slightly risque jokes. We never told overtly crude stories in her presence, but she was always one of the first to laugh at some of our off-color remarks. She would say, “That’s really bad!” And then giggle. She and her husband Chris were among my friends, and our two families often socialized at departmental events, public school functions, and the like.
Karen and I had formed a strong friendship. We were completely open with each other, and we often discussed extremely sensitive matters, knowing what we said would go no further. Most of the time the issues concerned student or faculty matters, but we also occasionally shared personal problems. Neither Chris nor Lori ever learned about most of these conversations. Our friendship and working relationship were based upon this complete trust and honesty. There was nothing suggestive or sexual about the manner in which we related to each other, but our trust in each other was powerful. It was this complete trust that led us to our “problem.”
Our department had recently moved from a run-down building to a brand-new facility. The department had occupied our old building for more than forty years, and it had become a running joke that it was ready to fall down. Whenever we had strong winds, the shrieks and groans in the walls made it sound haunted. It had been cited as “potentially structurally unsound” nearly a decade earlier, but we continued to work in it because we had no other place to go. Now our new building was ready, and we had moved out.
Our old – truly ancient! – building had been stripped of everything of value, but one Saturday morning in mid July, Karen and I were checking every room one last time. We were both dressed in jeans, work shirts, and sturdy boots. We stepped over unidentifiable spills, crawled and poked into dusty closets, and generally looked at everything. It was as far from an erotic adventure as anyone could imagine. We were scrounging around on the second floor of a four-story building. We thought we heard some other people working elsewhere in the building, but we hadn’t seen them yet. The air conditioning was off, and we were getting dirty, grimy, and sweaty.
Karen had found a forgotten box of old paper files, and she was sitting on the floor going through them to see if any were valuable enough to save. I was across the hall, looking through ancient built-in cabinets. I found another pile of old files, and I carried them into the sunlit room where Karen was working. “Don’t get up, Karen! I’ve found some more great old stuff for you to check through!” I announced as I walked through the doorway.
“Hey, thanks a whole lot, Bill! That’s just what I need to . . .”
There was a sudden rumbling, and we heard creaking and grinding sounds. The window behind Karen cracked with a sharp snap, and the broken glass fell out. I turned toward the door as Karen jumped to her feet, and I reached back with my left hand and grabbed her left wrist. “We’ve got to get out of this damned place! It sounds like it’s going to fall down!” I yelled. She held onto my left arm with both hands, and I pulled her toward me and started through the door.
The floor we were standing on suddenly tilted, then gave way. I grabbed the door frame with my right hand, and kept my grip on Karen’s wrist. The door frame came apart in my hand, and I felt myself twisting and falling. We both screamed as we fell, then we collided as our fall momentarily slowed. The floor continued tilting, and I couldn’t regain my feet. I felt Karen gripping my left wrist with her left hand, and we both grabbed with our right hands for something solid to hold onto. After several loud, high-pitched squeals, the floor shifted even more and then dropped, and we fell again. There was so much dust in the air that I couldn’t see, and things were falling and crashing all around us. All I could hear was our screams and a loud, continuous rumbling and roaring. We came to an abrupt stop, and something hit me on the back of my legs. Before I could cry out, I received a sharp blow to my head. I heard Karen screaming in pain as I blacked out. I heard someone calling my name. She sounded far away. “Bill! Bill! Wake up! Bill!” My head hurt, and I moaned, then drifted back into the darkness. As I slipped away, I realized my arm hurt, too, and also I could feel something pressing on my legs but . . .
I was having a nightmare about my body being ripped apart. I became aware of a sharp pain in my left arm as I wiggled my left hand, and I was abruptly wide awake. I tried to move and found that I was completely immobilized. “Shit!” I cursed.
“Welcome back, Bill! Thank God! I was afraid you weren’t going to regain consciousness!” Karen said. Her voice came from just to my left, but was muffled. My head was turned away from her, and I couldn’t move it. Her body was lying partially across mine, and I could feel her pressing against me as she breathed.
I took a deep breath and immediately regretted it. Dust filled my throat and I coughed, again and again. Each time I did so, Karen groaned. “Bill! You’re hurting me! Try not to do that!”
I finally stopped coughing. I spat out the dust and tried to look around. There was some faint light, but I couldn’t turn my head toward Karen. All I could see was a large piece of wood, pressing against the side of my head, holding it down. It also created a small open space in front of my mouth. I could see my breath stirring dust as I breathed. I managed to move my right arm up and around a piece of debris, and I could almost touch my face. I could move my left leg, but there was something in the way and I couldn’t even reach my waist with my right hand.
“How long have I been out?” I asked.
“I don’t know. At least a couple of hours. Probably longer. Are you hurt?”
“Yeah, but mostly I’m just pinned under something. I can feel all my fingers and toes, so I’m probably pretty much in one piece. You?”
“The same. I’m hurt, but not too seriously. I just can’t move.”
“What the hell happened? And where are we?”
“There was a strange noise and the building collapsed around us. I really can’t move at all. Can you?”
I pulled gently on my left arm which was extended over my head, and pain exploded down my arm. “God! That hurts! My left arm is broken and pinned under something!”
“My left arm is trapped, too. Can you feel my fingers? I’m moving my left hand.”
I felt something touch my left hand, but when I moved my fingers to reciprocate, pain shot up my arm. “Yes, but it hurts to move my hand!”
“You’re on your back, and I’m lying on top of you, sort of crosswise. Your stomach lifts mine when you breathe, and I can feel the bottom of your rib cage against mine. At least I could tell you were alive even if you weren’t conscious!”
“I can feel you breathe, too, Karen. But I can’t move very much! My right leg is completely trapped under something. I can move my left one a little.” I slowly moved my right arm away from my head until it disappeared from sight and I felt it bump into something soft. I stretched my arm out and felt around with my hand. It was Karen’s leg!
“Given the circumstances I guess it’s okay, but that’s my left leg you’re groping!”
I suddenly felt her hand on my left knee. “I can touch your left leg, too! And I can see most of your left side.” She said. “I’m completely pinned in, too.”
“I can’t see you at all. See how much you can move, Karen.”
“I can move my right arm and my left leg. That’s all. And I can turn my head a little. Can you move your leg?”
I felt her hand against my left thigh as I moved it. There was debris pressing in all around us, and I could only move my leg a few inches. Karen kept her hand on my thigh.
“When the noise stopped and you didn’t say anything, I thought you were dead!” She said. “Then you began to breathe under me and I held my hand against your leg. It made me feel better, touching you. I didn’t feel so alone.”
I moved a small piece of debris and found I could reach from Karen’s waist to about her left knee. I deliberately avoided touching her crotch. It was clearly within my reach. She giggled. “I’ve heard stories about bosses sliding their hands up and down their secretary’s legs! I never thought you’d be doing that to me!”
Karen moved her own hand, and she had could touch about the same amount of my body as I could hers, although I could move my leg a little more than she could, allowing her to touch slightly more of me. But she could also see part of me, too, but there was a piece of debris pressing into my chest, and it prevented me from seeing anything lower than that. I tried to move it with my right arm, but it didn’t even wiggle.
We discussed and reviewed our situation. It was plain we couldn’t free ourselves. She was lying face-down, on top of me at an angle. Both of our left arms were over our heads, with something heavy pinning them both down. Our fingers touched, but my left forearm was broken. Both our right legs were pinned under something heavy and hard. We each had some motion in our right arms and left legs. But we were completely trapped.
But we still didn’t know what had happened. Clearly we were lucky to be alive. But for how long? Pain was throbbing in my broken left arm and in my right leg, and I was already beginning to get cramps in most of my muscles. Even though we kept talking, we both realized we were probably going to die. Every half hour or so we said the Lord’s Prayer and recited the 23rd Psalm together. Then we patted each other on the knee and were silent. Other than her touch on my leg, all I felt was pain. And it was getting worse by the minute.
It was several hours later before we heard voices. It took another hour or so before our yells were heard, and then someone called to us that they would get us out as soon as they could. Time dragged on and we didn’t hear much of anything. The throbbing pain throughout my body was gradually becoming unbearable. Karen was making more and more frequent painful groans, too. She suddenly spoke.
“Bill! I’ve got to urinate! Bad!”
“Me too. But I figure I’ll hold it as long as I can, then just go. How much more uncomfortable could that be?”
“I don’t really want to lie here for hours in urine-soaked clothes! I need your help!”
“What do you want me to do, Karen?”
“Pull my pants and panties down. I’ll lift my hips a little bit off you and you can push everything down. Please! I really have to go!”
My first thought was that I shouldn’t touch Karen that intimately, but I quickly changed my mind. We were likely going to die in this collapsed building, so what the hell would it matter? I reached down and slid my right hand down my right leg, then reached under her body and began to unfasten her jeans. I had a fleeting thought that destroying a woman’s dignity was the first step toward seducing her, but I shut it off. Surely not with Karen!
My hand rubbed over her pubic bone in the process of unfastening Karen’s pants. She grunted, but didn’t complain. A minute or so later I had her jeans undone and with her lifting her hips up and moving as much as she could, I was able to push her pants down. Something was on top of her right leg just below her knee, but I managed to get her pants down almost to her ankle on her left leg and to her knee on her right. Touching her bare legs gave me an immediate partial erection. Her skin was soft and decidedly feminine.
“Now my panties!”
“There isn’t any dignified way to do this, Karen!” I was fighting hard to keep the obvious link between seduction and loss of dignity from overpowering me, and my growing erection didn’t help.
“Well, just grab them and pull them down! Hurry!”
She twisted and lifted her hips to give me access. I had to pull her panties down from each side and again from the back and front. As I did so, I touched her bare buttocks and the backs of my fingers brushed through her pubic hair and down her bare thighs. My penis was now fully erect in spite of my incredible discomfort and pain.
Karen moved her legs as far apart as she was able by pulling her left knee toward her waist. I held her clothes down as far as I could, and I heard the hiss of her urination for most of a minute. “God, that feels good! I really had to go.” I didn’t get wet, and I could hear her urine dripping steadily through debris below us, so at least I wasn’t going to end up lying in a pool of her urine. With her crotch only inches from my hip, that had been a real possibility!
I was also starting to think about that other special opening in Karen’s crotch. My own need to empty my bladder helped me to think about other matters. I could smell her urine, and that odor only increased my own problem. As soon as Karen finished, I said, “Okay, Karen. Now it’s your turn to undress me. I’ve got to go, too. Even worse now that you stunk up the place!”
In spite of our situation, Karen chuckled. I knew she was also thinking about the sexual implications of undressing me, even though we were trapped in rubble. With her right hand she undid my belt, unsnapped my jeans, and unzipped me. In the process her hand bumped against my erection. She said nothing, but continued getting me undressed. “Hurry!” I urged.
When my jeans were down near my knees, Karen pulled my undershorts down, and pushed everything as far down my legs as she could. Her hand again touched my erect penis as she did so, only now it was completely bare. She quickly pulled her hand away from my body. I moved my left leg and managed to get my clothes around my left ankle as she had done, but whatever was on our legs prevented us from pushing my clothes lower than my right knee.
“Karen, you’ve got to aim me! Point me so that I don’t get either of us or my clothes wet!”
Karen giggled again as she took hold of my erection. I was able to turn my hips a little in the correct direction. “Okay, Bill! Let her go!” She giggled, but her breathing had changed. Touching my penis while her own pussy was uncovered was turning her on, too.
Karen held my penis as I took a very long piss. Even though I really had to go, being sexually aroused shut down my ability to urinate for several minutes. Her hand felt warm, and I could feel heat radiating out from my groin, apparently from her touch. She released me when I was finally done. “I can’t wait to see how you describe that one in my annual evaluation!” She joked. “Under what category do you put, ‘Held boss’s penis so he wouldn’t piss on himself?'”
We both laughed, bouncing our stomachs against each other. I was acutely aware of our partially naked bodies touching. I was also now aware of the soft pillows of her breasts against the left side of my chest. Karen’s skin felt smooth against mine. “You did that very well, Karen. Do you practice by helping Chris aim at the toilet?”
Karen giggled. “I have to admit that holding your penis while you pissed was a first for me! Yours is only the second one I’ve ever touched. Well, not counting my son’s when he was an infant, of course.”
“So, whose is bigger? Chris’s or mine?” I was curious, but mostly I wanted to get my mind off the pain. I’d forgotten it as I urinated, but it was again getting worse by the second.
“You men! Just like little boys!”
“I’m not asking about little boys’ penises! Well? I know you were looking at it as well as holding it!”
“Not that you’re small, but I think Chris is thicker. Yours is about the same length. So now are you going to give me a lower evaluation for being critical of your equipment?”
“You’re just lucky I can’t reach your breasts or I’d compare them to Lori’s!”
Karen snorted. “Unless she wears really lifelike padded bras, she’s bigger than I am!” She was quiet for a few seconds. “I know we’re probably going to die in here, and I’m still in an awful lot of pain, but I feel a little better. I’m really scared. I’m glad we can still joke around.”
“I don’t know if it was taking a leak or what, but something sure helped with the pain. It didn’t feel quite so bad for a few minutes.” I remarked. “But right now it’s a little drafty on my crotch!”
Karen giggled. “I felt a little less pain, too. Even now. Maybe it’s just because my bladder isn’t full and getting smashed every time you take a breath!”
As we lay there, gasping in our relief, still half-undressed, we heard a scraping noise. Several seconds later the dim light near my head was partially obscured, and then a thin plastic tube came slowly into view near my face. “Hey!” I yelled. “You’ve reached us with a pipe!”
Voices echoing through the pipe encouraged us. Using my right hand I soon had the pipe positioned near my face where I could easily reach it. Karen could not see or feel it. I described our situation, and after several additional tries, Karen yelled, and an hour or so later she had a pipe near her face, too. Our stiffness and cramps were getting much worse, but at least we finally had a realistic hope that we might be rescued.