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Spearfish Lake Tales
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Joe/Joan book cover

by Wes Boyd
©2015, ©2016

Chapter 11

French class on Wednesday morning was just as smoky as it had been on Monday. It was a nice day outside, a little warm for this time of year, and someone got to the class before Professor Reynaud showed up and opened some windows. That made it tolerable but it was clear that it was something Cat and I were just going to have to live with. It might not be hard since we’d been around smoking all of our lives.

As on Monday, the English composition class was dull and it was hard to pay attention, but I realized that I was going to have to learn this stuff, and that was that. Just staying awake was going to be the biggest challenge, so I was going to have to learn to live with it, too.

The hands of the clock crept around very slowly, and it seemed like forever before the class was finally over with. Cat and I gratefully gathered up our books and notes, and headed back to the dorm. When we got there, we were surprised to find that it was locked. “What the heck?” Cat asked.

“Beats me,” I said. We stood there for a couple of minutes before an upperclassman girl walked by on the sidewalk. “Aren’t the two of you going to chapel?” she asked.

“Chapel?” I asked. “What the heck?”

“The college wants everyone on campus to go to chapel at ten on Wednesday mornings. They don’t actually order you to do it, but they sort of coerce you by locking up everything on campus so you have no place else to go. They even make the frat houses lock up. It’s always been that way, I guess.”

“That stinks,” Cat shook her head.

“Yeah, I know it does,” the girl said as she walked on by. “But it’s their college, and I don’t make the rules.”

“Crap,” I said to Cat as the girl got out of easy talking distance. “I didn’t know that. That doesn’t just stink, it reeks.”

“Yeah, I guess now we know why there aren’t any classes scheduled for ten on Wednesdays,” she sighed. “Do you want to go to chapel?”

“Not if I can help it. How about you?”

“Me, either. So now what do we do?”

“It’s a nice day,” I shrugged. “Let’s go walk off campus, find a nice tree to sit under and do some studying.”

“That’ll work for today, but what are we going to do when the weather gets colder and nastier?”

“Walk down to the gas station, get my car, and go somewhere,” I suggested. “There ought to be a good cup of coffee somewhere in this town, and I could stand to have one after that last class.”

“That’ll work,” she agreed. “But what happens if the weather is too lousy to walk down to the gas station?”

“I don’t know. If all else fails I suppose we could go to chapel. It’d be warmer than freezing to death in a snowstorm.”

“There is that,” she agreed. “But let’s remember to dress warmly if the weather doesn’t look good.”

While there had been some things I had been less than totally thrilled with, this was the first thing I’d come across that really irritated me about Venable College. Joanie, you sure missed on that one, I thought as we turned away with the bell of the chapel ringing loudly in our ears.

From the little that I had followed the news in the past few months I knew that there had been various student protests at colleges here and there. In fact, I remembered that they had gotten particularly sharp at the University of California at Berkley. I remembered from my first time through as Joe that that things would soon get worse in that department as the reality of the draft and the Vietnam War started to hit home, and in a few years things would get downright negative and nasty. As Joe, it had burned my butt to see kids burning draft cards and sneaking off to Canada while I did my duty, and even the memory of that time to come made me upset now – something else I couldn’t tell Cat about, of course.

But I could say to Cat, “You know those kids holding student protests out in California? Well, I know something they really ought to be protesting about.”

“Yeah, me too,” she sighed. “But I can’t see it happening here. I don’t think we ought to try to organize anything, either.”

“No, you’re right,” I agreed. “We’re too new here to want to be rocking the boat. We might just find ourselves kicked out of the place, and then where would we be?”

“That wouldn’t be real good. But before we leave here, let’s figure out some way to show our feelings about it, other than just walking off campus at ten on Wednesday mornings.”

So we just went for a walk. It was a nice day to be walking through the green and well-kept residential neighborhoods near the college. We never did stop anyplace, mostly because we didn’t want to get grass stains on our skirts, but if we had come across a park bench or something things might have been a little different. In fact, we walked enough that it was well after eleven before we got back to campus, so we went straight to the dining hall.

It wasn’t quite time for the serving to start – they were pretty rigid about that – so we satisfied ourselves by just hanging out in the lobby, where there were a few comfortable chairs. Cat opened her English composition book and leafed through it. “Wow, this really seems like Greek to me,” she said finally.

“It’s actually English, it just looks like Greek,” I said, getting up. Right at the moment I didn’t want to dig into the books, so I just took some time to look at the announcements on the bulletin board. These ranged from announcements of club meetings to things for sale, and not much interested me. There was one thing, however:

Life model wanted
Good pay
Six hours per week – 1-3 MWF
Contact Dr. Alta, Mahler 242

“Hey,” I said. “This looks interesting. I think I could use a little extra cash.”

“I thought your folks were giving you an allowance like mine are.”

“They are,” I admitted. “But I’m thinking ahead to next summer. I’m pretty sure I don’t want to spend next summer hanging around Simsville, so a little extra money would be useful if I decide to do something else.”

“I can go along with that. I don’t think I want to spend next summer hanging around home, either. I’d like to think that I can talk them into giving me enough so I could go to France next summer. That’s why I’m taking French, after all.”

“I have heard dumber ideas,” I replied. As Joe, I had never been to France, although I had spent an awful lot of time in Germany, mostly behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer rig. France sounded interesting to me in those days, though, mostly because the girls there had a reputation for being on the easy side, or so at least the GI rumor mill went. I’d heard that the girls were even easier in Amsterdam, although I’d never gotten there either. “Are you going to do it?”

“I don’t know if they’ll let me go by myself. Now, if I had another girl with me, it might be enough to talk them into it. Do you think you might be interested?”

“I might be, but it takes money,” I told her. “I’m not in a position to get that kind of money from my folks, but if I had a job I might be able to save enough to consider it. I’d actually thought about getting a summer job at a place with a residence hall. Have you ever heard of Cedar Point?”

“That’s in Ohio, right? Lots of roller coasters? I hear they hire a lot of college students for the summer. That might be something to think about, too.”

“It would do if it came down to that, but I’d rather go to France or something if I could save up the money. This might be a good way to do it. I wonder what they call ‘good pay?’”

Cat finally got up from the lounge chair where she had been sitting and came over to view the notice. “Uh, Jo, I don’t think you want to do that,” she said after one glance.

“Why’s that?”

“Life modeling. That means figure modeling. That means naked.”

How did that one escape me? Joe ought to have known that! “Yeah, so?”

“That means no clothes on, silly. There will probably be guys in the class as well as girls.”

“I repeat, yeah, so?”

“Don’t tell me you’d actually consider that!”

“I might. It depends on what they call ‘good pay.’”

Actually at that moment I think I was teasing her, but the more I thought about it, the better the idea seemed. I was still a little irritated by having the whole campus locked up for chapel that morning, and it seemed like a possible way for me to show my contempt for it a little. Besides, I didn’t see it as a big deal.

Looking back on it now, I could see that Joe was doing a lot of the thinking on that one. As Joe, I’d been naked around other guys from time to time – no, not what you’re thinking, but in locker rooms, shower rooms in the Army, and places like that. It really hadn’t struck me as a big deal although I knew guys who had been bothered by it. On top of that, I had mostly escaped the life training about being modest that most girls grew up with, Cat apparently included. In fact, if I did it I wouldn’t exactly have male parts to show off any more.

Yeah, I thought. I could do that.

“I can’t believe you’d actually consider doing something like that,” Cat protested again.

“Why not? It’s for educational purposes, not for Playboy.”

“You’re crazy!”

“There’s a good chance you’re right,” I agreed. I still hadn’t convinced myself that I wasn’t living in some sort of a hallucination, although as time went on it seemed less and less likely. “But I’ll think about it.”

Just about that time they opened the doors to the dining hall, so we went in to get something to eat, and somehow by the time we were sitting at the table the conversation had turned to something else.

By half past twelve we were done eating. “Well,” Cat said, “I guess we’d better get back to the dorm and get some studying done.”

“You go on,” I told her. “I’m going to run over to Mahler Hall and see about this modeling job.”

“Jo, you’re not really planning on doing it, are you?”

“At this point, I want to find out what’s involved. If the money is good enough, I might just do it.”

“I don’t know about you,” she shook her head. “It just seems too weird. You realize, don’t you, that if you do it then there are boys who are going to think you’re pretty easy?”

“If there are, I’m just going to have to re-educate them. Like I told you before, I didn’t come to this place looking for boys, and I’m especially not looking for easy sex.”

I still had my books and notes with me, so walked back to the dorm with Cat to drop them off. “Good luck,” she said as I left. “Don’t do it if you don’t want to.”

“Don’t worry, I won’t,” I reassured her. “And I’m not going to do it if I don’t get a pretty good deal out of it.”

It was getting close to one o’clock before I got up to the second floor of Mahler and found room 242, which was an office with the door standing open. There was a heavy-set woman sitting at a desk there; I would have guessed her to be in her late fifties, and going gray. “Dr. Alta?” I asked. “I’m here about the modeling job.”

“Sorry, you’re a little too late,” she said. “Fortunately for me, I found someone else after the girl I had lined up chickened out, but let me get your name in case the new girl doesn’t work out.”

I was a little disappointed to hear that, but not real disappointed. I didn’t see any problem with doing it, but it was obvious that Cat did. I didn’t want to cause any problems between us, since she was going to be my roommate at least for the semester, and possibly for the full year. “Sure, I can do that,” I said.

Just at that moment, Deanna brushed past me and up to Dr. Alta’s desk. Once again, she had tears running down her face, and her clothing, usually pretty neat, was disheveled. “I just can’t do it, Dr. Alta,” she cried. “I thought I could, but I can’t. I’m sorry, but I won’t do it.” She turned around and brushed past me again, heading for the door. That made twice in two days she’d lost the courage to do something when it came down to doing it and it made me feel sorry for her.

Dr. Alta shook her head and looked back at me. “I take back what I just said. Are you willing, or are you going to chicken out on me, too?”

“It depends on how much you’re paying.”

“There aren’t many girls who will model in the nude, even for a class,” she sighed. “I pay pretty high, eight dollars a session, six sessions a week. The sessions take about forty-five minutes each, and you get a fifteen- to twenty-minute break between sessions.”

That was pretty darn good money for six hours work at a time when the minimum wage was $1.60 per hour, so someone working a minimum-wage job took home only a little over sixty dollars a week – before taxes.

I started to say that I’ll take it, but then thought better at the last instant – I could see Dr. Alta was in a corner. “Make it ten bucks a session and you’ve got a deal.”

“Ten dollars! You’re killing me!”

“Who else do you have to do it?”

She looked at me for a minute, then shook her head. “All right, ten bucks it is, so long as you’ll actually go through with it and not bomb out on me.”

“I won’t, unless I get sick or something. I made you a deal and I like to think my word is good.”

“I’ll warn you, people get ideas about the girls who are doing this, and they’re not pretty ones. That’s why I’m willing to pay high. You’re going to get some problems for doing this. If you work out, aren’t late, and stick out the whole semester, I’ll see that you get a bonus.”

“I’ll make sure you have to pay it,” I smiled. I didn’t do the math in my head just then, but I was sure it would be more than I could make in a summer at Cedar Point. “Now, what’s the deal on this, other than I don’t get to have any clothes on?”

“Come on over to the classroom and I’ll fill you in.”

It really was pretty simple. Except for putting on or taking off a robe for breaks, I couldn’t dress or undress in front of the students, but there was a screen in the corner of the room, so that wasn’t a big deal. I would have to sit or stand pretty motionlessly and hold a pose, but I would be allowed a couple of brief breaks each session, so it wasn’t going to be too uncomfortable. Dr. Alta said she would help me get into the poses at first, but after I learned what I was doing it would be a little more up to me.

I went behind the screen and started taking my clothes off. By now, students were starting to file into the classroom. I was a little surprised to see that it was mostly girls, although there were some guys present. From what I could tell, the guys were actually interested in drawing, not just in checking out a nude girl. Dr. Alta explained to the students that she had been able to come up with a model after the one Monday had not shown up, and that this was the first time I was doing this. Then, she put me in a pose, and the students started drawing.

After a while, Dr. Alta gave me a break; I pulled on my robe, and wandered around a little, just to loosen up. While I was doing that I got to glance at some of the student’s drawing pads; some of the work was pretty good, and some, well, it wasn’t. After only a few minutes I had to reassume the pose again.

All the while the drawing was going on, Dr. Alta was wandering around the classroom, offering hints, suggestions, and constructive criticism. It didn’t take me long to realize that she was a pretty good teacher. I knew I had no real talent for drawing – at least Joe hadn’t had it and the lack of talent had apparently carried over – but I could see that she was looking for nuances, the things that make a drawing spring to life.

In spite of the fact that I wasn’t doing much of anything, the hour went quickly, and soon the students were filing out. I pulled on my robe to wait for the next class to show up. “You did well for your first time,” Dr. Alta said. “You seemed to be very self-composed and didn’t seem nervous or anything.”

“There isn’t really much to be nervous about, is there?”

“You may not think so, but you wouldn’t believe some of the girls I’ve had posing in this class over the years. I know this is personal, but you wouldn’t happen to be a nudist, would you? I’ve had a few over the years and they never seem to have any problems.”

“No, I’m not, but it might be interesting to give it a try some time. I’ve never had the opportunity.”

“Well, that’s interesting. I really think you’re going to work out very well. I noticed you had some scars on your legs. What was that all about?”

“I was in a bad car accident last spring and I was a while getting over it. I was in a wheelchair for nearly two months, but I’ve mostly shaken it off.”

“I would say to not worry about the scars. I think they’ll go away in time.”

“I’m not worried. It could have been much worse. By the way, when do I get paid?”

“You’ll get a check at the end of each month. I’m going to have to have you fill out some paperwork before you leave, but you’re going to be what they call a ‘student casual’ employee.”

“Do you mean that I’m actually going to be a college employee?”

“Such as it is, yes,” she smiled. “And I’ll bet I know what you’re thinking.”


“Most students here tend to chafe at the rather restrictive clothing restrictions. I don’t think much of them myself, but it’s what the administration wants so that’s what they get. So now, you get paid to be totally free of the restrictions, at least for a while.”

“You got that right,” I laughed. “It does seem kind of ironic, doesn’t it?”

“It does to me, too, but this is a special situation. By the way, if you’re interested, there is a photography class that will probably want a model a little later in the year. I can pass your name along if you like.”

“Sure thing, if it’s pretty much the same as this.”

“It’s pretty close but a little different. There won’t be as much work with them, only a few sessions, but it’s money.”

We talked for another few minutes before the next class started to show up and I had to get serious again. I got back up on the posing stand, and got into pretty much the same pose as earlier. While the students were drawing, I was thinking. This was darn good money for not doing much of anything. It obviously wasn’t going to be anything I could do all my life, but it sure opened up the options for next summer – and there was still the chance that I could get a job at someplace like Cedar Point.

Either way, a lot of my concerns about next summer were gone that quickly – if I handled it right, I wouldn’t have to hang around Simsville and pretend that I was Joanie again next summer. After a year of college it was a lot less of a concern, but it was still all too easily possible to slip up somehow.

Like the previous class, this one went quickly; soon I was back behind the screen, pulling on my clothes. Once I was dressed I discovered that Dr. Alta was gone, but when I looked into her office she was there. I spent a few minutes filling out the paperwork and gave it to her. “All right, with that done I’m taking off,” I said. “See you Friday. Same time?”

“Same time, and thank you, Joan. I think you’re going to work out just fine and save me a lot of headaches this year.”

“I’ll do my best,” I told her. On the way out, I thought that Dr. Alta seemed to be a pretty nice person, and that I was probably going to enjoy working with her and might learn something useful along the way.

I made a fast trip back to the dorm – I didn’t have long before my American Government class, and at a minimum needed my notebook. I got to our room just as Cat was leaving, grabbed the notebook, and followed her out the door. “Since you took so long, I take it that you got the job,” she shook her head.

“Yes, and it was pretty fun.” I decided to not tell her about Deanna; it was clear the girl had some problems and I didn’t want to add to them. “I’m going to be making good money for not doing much of anything, so maybe Europe is in the cards for us for next summer after all.”

“That would be neat. It would be a lot better than doing Cedar Point or working in a burger place or something. But doesn’t it bother you to do that?”

“Not really. In fact, I’m a little surprised that I’m not very concerned about it at all. It really went pretty well. I think it would be different if I had to be a stripper or something, but it’s not like that at all. This was actually pretty serious, and I didn’t have any hassles from the students or anything like that. It’s kind of like the climbing class yesterday. It’s fun to know I’m doing something that very few people would be willing to do, having fun with it and making good money besides. On top of that, there’s the reward of the possibility of something like France hanging out there in front of us.”

“Well, now that it’s a possibility, maybe that’s something we’ll have to look into a little more. I’m not sure I’m totally thrilled with you doing it, but if you’re all right with it I guess I don’t have much to complain about.”

“We’re probably going to have some differences along the way, Cat, because we’re different people and we look at things differently. Sometime you may find yourself doing something that I have problems with. If that happens, we’re just going to have to give each other a little room and learn to live with it.”

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To be continued . . .

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