By Andrew Macdonald


Adelaide was still busily typing at the keyboard of the word processor in the corner of the living room when Oscar came up from the basement. He paused behind her for a moment, admiring the smooth grace of her neck and shoulders. She was, he reflected, one of the most attractive benefits of his relationship with the Air Force. He had met her four months ago in the Pentagon office of his Vietnam buddy Carl Perkins, where she worked as a civilian analyst. She had grown up in a tiny town in Iowa, earned a B.A. in mathematics from Iowa State University, and been in the Washington area a little longer than a year.

Although at 23 she was 17 years younger than Oscar, the two of them had been strongly attracted to one another, and he had made a date with her on that first meeting. The relationship had developed very nicely, and lately she and Oscar were together three or four times a week. She was bright, generous and helpful, and always cheerful, a refreshing antidote to his own tendency toward gloominess.

He would have asked her to move in with him by this time - and she certainly was waiting for him to ask - except that he hadn’t been able to reconcile his anti-System activities with that close a relationship; how could he hope to keep such things secret from a wife? Already it was awkward explaining to her why he was unavailable sometimes. Impulsively, he leaned over her, slipped his arms under hers, and cupped both of her full breasts in his hands. She continued typing, but leaned back against his body as he began gently squeezing her nipples. He felt them hardening through the fabric of her blouse.

“Hey, you want me to finish this proposal for you, or what?” Adelaide giggled, still valiantly trying to type, but now also rubbing the back of her head provocatively against Oscar.

“What,” Oscar answered emphatically, with a grin. “It’s already nine o’clock, and I’ve been fantasizing about you all day. I don’t think I can wait any longer. Stay here tonight, and we’ll get up early enough tomorrow for you to finish the last page before you have to leave for work.” He moved his hands back under her shoulders and lifted her from her chair.

On her feet, she turned and flowed smoothly into his arms. He hungrily kissed her mouth, her neck, her ears, her mouth again. His hands fumbled briefly with a button and a zipper at the side of her skirt, and it fell to the floor about her ankles. He slid both hands into her panties.

She snuggled against him and whispered into his ear, “Hey, fella, don’t you think we should either close the drapes or go into the bedroom?”

“Oops! I forgot about the drapes.” Oscar blushed and hurried to the window, while Adelaide scooped up her skirt and disappeared into the hallway.

It was just after midnight when Oscar next glanced at his watch. He stood in the doorway to the bathroom for a few moments, hesitating with his hand on the light switch. Adelaide was asleep on the bed, lying half on her back and half on her side, uncovered, and the light streaming over Oscar’s shoulder from the bathroom cast the soft contours of her body into sharp relief. She was a beautiful woman, one of the most beautiful he had ever seen, long and lean and lithe, with silky-smooth skin, perfect thighs surmounted by a luxuriant bush of reddish hue, a flat belly, magnificent breasts, a graceful neck of extraordinary length, and a face so lovely, so pure, so childishly peaceful and innocent, that looking at it nestled gently there in the pillow, half obscured in the tangle of her long, golden-red hair, made his heart ache with desire, the way it ached when he watched an unusually spectacular sunset in the desert or came upon an especially glorious vista while hiking in the mountains. Adelaide was really a marvel of Nature, he thought.

Instead of turning out the light Oscar stepped over to the bed, gently brushed aside her hair, and kissed her softly on the lips, trying not to waken her. Despite his care, her lids opened wide as soon as Oscar’s lips touched hers. He gazed silently into the clear, blue depths of her eyes for a moment, and then he felt her arms pulling him down against her. He made love to her again, more vigorously this time than before, almost brutally, and then he turned and lay back against his pillow, while she snuggled into his arms and fell asleep again, with her head on his shoulder. The bathroom light was still on.

Oscar was very sleepy himself now, but he remained awake a few more minutes, thinking. Adelaide was a bright spot in his life, and he was extremely fond of her. But she had a meaning to him which went beyond personal affection. She was a symbol of everything that really mattered to Oscar. She was beauty and innocence and human goodness personified. She was the prototypal woman of his race. She was Oscar’s ultimate justification for his private war against the System.

Nothing was more important, it seemed to him, than to ensure that there always would be women like Adelaide in the world. Anything which threatened to preclude that possibility must be stamped out.

Oscar mused on the difference between his own system of values and that which seemed to be the norm - or at least that which was enunciated by the media spokesmen. They talked about individual rights and equality and the sanctity of life. To them, a flat-nosed, mud-colored, wiry-haired mongrel spawned by one of the mixed-race couples he had been shooting down was as precious as a golden-haired, blue-eyed little girl who might grow up to be another Adelaide. More precious, actually. Despite their prattle about “equality,” it was clear to Oscar that their vision of the future was one in which the mud-colored mongrels would inherit the earth. He shuddered involuntarily.

He remembered something he had witnessed in Washington a few years ago, during a period when crowds of White university students, Christian clergymen, Black activists, show-business personalities, and politicians formed outside the South African Embassy nearly every day to carry placards and chant slogans against apartheid. He happened to be walking past the embassy quite by chance when two South African women who worked there were going inside. They had stopped to show their passes to one of the policemen who formed a cordon on the sidewalk, keeping the demonstrators away from the entrance. One of the women was a tall, striking Nordic beauty, the other a rather plain brunette of average height.

Several of the demonstrators pressed forward to heap invective on the two. He noticed one young White woman in particular, probably a university student and probably not unattractive herself under normal circumstances, whose face was contorted with hatred as she shrieked, over and over, “Racist bitch! Racist bitch! Racist bitch!” It was clear that she was directing her spite specifically toward the tall blonde, almost as if that woman, more than her shorter and darker companion, represented everything the demonstrator had been taught to hate. A White clergyman standing a few feet away smirked approvingly. The clergyman was holding a placard which read, “All of God’s children, Black and White, are equal.” But some, apparently, were more equal than others!

It was the same with all of the tears the media people were spilling for Oscar’s victims. They blathered on and on about the sanctity of all human life, and about how no one had the right to judge another and take his life. Oscar thought about how few tears these commentators had to spare for the victims of ordinary criminals - rapists, muggers, armed robbers - who killed scores of people in the United States every day. In truth, they cared about some victims much more than others. He was sure, for instance, that they would all enjoy seeing him torn limb from limb or roasted over a slow fire.

It was entirely normal, of course, to care more about some people than others, to want to protect some and to see others destroyed. The difference between him and them was that he didn’t try to deny that fact - and that he wanted to protect his own and to destroy those who threatened them, while they seemed to hate their own and to love those who were utterly unlike themselves.

He had read enough literature from the 18th and 19th centuries— even from the first half of the 20th century - to be quite certain that his own values used to be the norm. How had the inversion of values taken place? He shook his head drowsily. That was something he never had been able to puzzle out, even when he was wide awake. Well, the answer could wait. He knew what he had to do, and tomorrow he intended to strike another blow.