‘Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents,’ grumbled Jo March, looking around their small log cabin.
‘Now now,’ said Marmee, their mother. ‘Christmas is a time for giving, not receiving. Speaking of which, this morning I’m going to help Hannah in the kitchen, so we have some nice food to give the poor Hummell family down the street.’
‘I wish there was something we could do to help the war effort too,’ said kind-hearted Beth.
‘I’m sure you girls can think of something,’ said Marmee suggestively, and she strode into the kitchen to start the day’s work. But something stopped her humbly shod but elegant feet in their tracks.
The maid, Hannah’s, hair was piled loosely on top of her head; her cheeks were blushed from the heat of the kitchen stove. She had outgrown her white maid’s apron several years ago, and the March family were too poor to buy her a new one. It now stretched tightly across her breasts, starched especially for Christmas, and it outlined the crisp curves of her body that vividly pulsed with the blood of her lively Irish ancestors. Marmee admired her breasts, which were like two enormous loaves of baked bread fresh from the oven, rising and rising and spilling up and out of the pan.
Marmee watched Hannah making her famous apple strudel, her long, slender fingers working it inside and out, pummeling it and flattening it and then letting it rise ever so slightly before working fold upon fold of sweet, moist layers. Marmee, as if under a spell, walked up behind her just as Hannah was pouring some cream into a jug of robins egg blue. With a startled squeal from Hannah, the cream splashed back on to her apron and her face.
‘Oh, Hannah, how wasteful!’ said Marmee, with a sly glint in her eye.
‘I’m sorry, Mrs March,’ said Hannah, her pink mouth serious but her Irish eyes smiling.
Mrs March strode over to her and held her chin in her hand. With one slender index finger she wiped the dollop of cream off Hannah’s face and held it in front of her outstretched tongue tantalisingly. ‘Let’s not waste it,’ said Marmee, and Hannah’s tongue darted in and out of her mouth like a woodpecker until all the cream was gone.
‘You are. A. Very. Naughty. Maid,’ said Marmee. ‘Let’s teach you a lesson, shall we?’ And with one skillful movement she undid the strings that held Hannah’s apron in place. She pulled Hannah closer and brought her long flour-covered fingers underneath her skirt, but then with a sudden movement, Hannah pushed Marmee up onto the kitchen bench, sweeping aside the butter and flour and spreading Marmee’s legs wide.
Hannah took the jug of cream that was meant for the poor Hummell children down the road and poured it over Marmee’s exposed thighs and stomach, and then worked it into Marmee with her long fingers like she was basting a turkey. She pulled her hips in towards her and soon found the berry she was searching for with her tongue. ‘Strawberries and cream,’ breathed Hannah heavily as Marmee yielded under Hannah’s touch as she had so many times since Father had been away at the war. Hannah’s tongue was now a hummingbird, in and out, licking every last drop of cream as Marmee cried out and then fell back, trembling and satisfied.
‘See, not a drop was wasted,’ said Hannah in her sultry Irish lilt.
Meanwhile, as the sisters sat by the fireplace, happy because the baking sounded like it was going well, there was a knock on the door.
‘It’s a letter from Father!’ cried Jo, waving it as she ran back inside.
‘Father sent us a letter!’ sang Amy.
‘From Father! A letter!’ rejoiced Beth.
‘Letter! Father! Letter!’ exclaimed Meg.
The sisters all sat huddled around the fireplace. ‘Dear Little Women.’ Jo began reading the letter in a shaky voice. It was mainly just boring news from the civil war but at the end of the letter Father signed off tenderly: ‘You, my little women, must do all you can to help your brothers, our soldiers, fighting the war.’
‘But what can WE do?’ asked Jo. ‘We’re just four poor sisters.’
‘Let’s make a hospital!’ said Beth, the good one.
‘Oh what a good idea,’ said Meg, who had no personality or ideas of her own.
‘What shall we call it?’ asked Amy, the annoying youngest one.
After a moment of thoughtful silence, Jo, the literary one, exclaimed, ‘Let’s call it ‘The Sisters Brothers Hospital’!’
‘Sisters Brothers!’ cried Amy, the artistic one. ‘How perfect! I’ll paint a sign and put it in enormous writing on the front of our small log cabin.’
‘I’ll help you!’ cried Beth, and the two underage sisters took Amy’s paintbox outside and got to work.
Meg turned to Jo with concern. ‘But we don’t know the first thing about caring for injured soldiers. Some of them might not even have any legs or arms!’
‘Well one thing’s for sure: we’re going to need as many bandages as possible,’ said Jo, practically.
‘But we’re so poor, the only fabric we have is the clothes on our backs!’ said Meg.
‘Well, said Jo realistically. We’ll have to take them off our own backs then.’
Meg looked on with uncertainty as Jo wriggled her snake-like boys’ hips out of her constricting, frilly, nineteenth-century dress.
At that moment, Laurie, their handsome young neighbour, walked in. ‘Hello!’ he said cheerily, and then stopped short when he saw Jo wearing only her corset and stockings, her shiny black lace-up boots tapping happily as she ripped her dress determinedly to shreds with her teeth. He instantly felt a swelling in his trousers, like his crotch was a squirrel’s mouth bulging with nuts for the winter.
‘Oh hi Laurie, you’re just in time,’ said Jo, boisterously. ‘Come upstairs with me. You’ll be my practice amputee.’
‘Sure,’ said Laurie, a frisson of excitement coursing through his strapping young body as he ran up the stairs after Jo. Jo was always making him act in the plays she wrote. At first he had thought she was bossy, but now he felt a shudder of warmth down where the squirrel in his pants lived whenever she forced him to follow her orders.
When they got up to the bedroom, Laurie eagerly undressed as Jo commanded, and lay splayed out on the bed. She tied him to the bedposts with rope. ‘It’s to make it realistic, so you don’t have any use of your arms and legs, like a proper amputee,’ said Jo, sensibly.
Jo checked the rope was tight. Laurie whimpered a little as she pulled it even tighter around his country-tanned, firm torso. ‘Don’t be such a wuss,’ she scolded. ‘And make sure you call me ma’am. That’s what they do in the hospitals.’
‘Yes ma’am,’ he replied ardently.
‘Now, so I can learn how to dress your wounds, I first have to create some. Right here, on your bare chest, with this riding crop I found hanging up just over here.’
She stood up on the bed and placed the heel of her long, shiny, leather boot sharply on to his rippling chest. She pressed down on it and his lips emitted a whimper of pleasure. She felt something echo within herself, the yawning chasm of a hole, wanting to be penetrated, to be pierced, but as she was used to being a nineteenth-century martyr she ignored it and concentrated on Laurie.
‘I need to whip you now,’ she said huskily. His body quaked in anticipation of the lashes her leather riding crop would deliver, and when the first one hit his taut chest, which was covered in early sproutings of gingery adolescent tufts, he moaned in delight.
He watched Jo towering above him, the lace of her corset loosening with every crack of the whip, her stockings disappearing up into the mystery of her bloomers, the stain of her lips reddening with the effort of each lash, her breasts, which had grown since last summer at the lake, heaving out of her corset, and he wondered for a moment if maybe they would topple out and fall on to him and he would be crushed to death by those round, plump boulders. He hoped to god they would.
Blood was streaming from the wounds on his chest now, and she leant down towards him. He felt all his body turn to liquid under her command, except for the one part of him that became more solid.
‘Jo,’ he croaked, needy with desire. ‘You’ve whipped me like a horse—now ride me like one.’
Jo, until that moment completely focused on her whipping, wanted to yell at him to shut up you tiny man, but then she felt the heat burning from inside her bloomers. She tore them off and lowered her full weight down into Laurie’s firm saddle, her thighs quivering uncontrollably. As she did so, she reached over and untied his hands from the bedposts and, as if he completely understood, he took the riding crop from her. As her wet lips engulfed him hungrily and she rode him like she’d never ridden any horse before, she felt the sharp lashes of the whip across her voluptuous, aching breasts and screamed out in surprised delight as they came together and fell back into the bed in a crumpled mess.
‘Well what am I going to do?’ said Meg sulkily hearing the moans coming from the kitchen and bedroom. ‘Everyone forgets about ME in this household.’
Suddenly, there was a knock on the door. ‘Allo!’ said a grizzled looking old soldier, on crutches, and with both arms in slings.
‘My first patient! That was quick,’ said Meg, a little surprised. She helped him lie down on the only sofa they had. ‘Now, what seems to be the problem sir?’ He lay sprawled, hirsute and swollen, sweat glistening over his gelatinous calves.
‘Well, I’ve broken me arms, both me legs are shattered, but the real problem is this.’
He gestured to his pants and, with a healthful thrust that belied his other injuries, the drawstring of his hessian shorts fell down and his enormous, throbbing, civil war cannon was revealed.
Meg, who still remembered how good life used to be when they were rich, saw his brassy, shining cock and immediately thought of the candlesticks they used to own. The sunshine coming in from the only window in the room shone on to his fleshy sword and made the bulbous sores he had acquired due to poor antebellum sexual health shine and twinkle like the Christmas tree they would have to forgo this year.
‘Well well well, YOU are a decorated soldier,’ whispered Meg, and she suddenly felt herself sitting in a pool of damp. Instinctively, she looked up to see if the roof was leaking again. It wasn’t. With sudden voraciousness, she leaned forward and clamped her sweet rosebud lips around the one remaining good limb of the soldier, which was engorged with puss, and tasted a little bit like potato. She licked at him the same way their cat Mr Whiskers did with a long rotting fishbone, and she let out a shriek of delight when her hard work paid off, and a fusillade of pus came streaming out of the soldier’s rusty but still workable piece of field artillery.
Outside, Beth and Amy had run out of paint, and their sign stood half-finished.
‘What’s all that moaning going on inside?’ asked Beth.
‘It’s the injured soldier,’ said Amy.
‘Funny, it sounded like Marmee,’ said Beth.
‘And Jo,’ added Amy.
‘And Meg,’ said Beth.
They looked up at their work. The sign that was supposed to say THE SISTERS BROTHERS HOSPITAL read THE SISTERS BROTHEL. ‘It’s a shame the paint ran out before you could finish,’ said Beth. ‘But I think the message gets through. Look!’
And there in the distance were hundreds, nay thousands, of soldiers, limping and injured, hobbling towards the big bright sign on the March house in a serpentine line that continued back for miles.
‘Father will be so proud of us!’ cried Amy.
‘We’re really helping the war effort after all!’ said Beth.
‘This is the best Christmas we’ve ever had!’ said Amy with a twinkling smile, as the moans from inside the house reached a crescendo and the small log cabin came falling down around them all.
About the Author
O. Starrey Knight is a fledgling author and figure skater therapist. Her moving depiction of a traumatic exam result she suffered in year nine English was acclaimed as a world-first by judges at last year’s Eugene Regional Figure Skating Therapy Championships. They called it ‘a dramatic portrayal of the lasting grief that getting a B in high school can have on a-now-forty-eight-year-old-woman, and a testament to the real power of figure skating in overcoming such tragedies’.
She is currently working on an erotic fan fiction tribute to the United States’ own Declaration of Independence, which the renowned Swedish theatre director Cressida von Cresside has expressed interest in adapting to the stage. In addition to all these achievements, Knight is an accomplished seamstress and tail designer, handcrafting the safety pins by which the tails are attached to the bottom of the human’s corduroy jeans by the flickering light of an enormous candle that has been burning in her log cabin since 1964.