Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Voyeur

Category: Issue 14

The Voyeur

The first and only time Maxwell Leah was caught peeping he wondered what all the fuss was about. Looking through a window at someone taking their clothes off didn’t hurt anyone.

Maxwell, the only son of orthodox Jewish parents, could not by any stretch of the imagination be called handsome. Black hair coiled around his face in sculptured curls and small black eyes peered over doughy, white cheeks.

The hedge in Maxwell’s front garden was an excellent place to watch the windows of the house opposite. His hand moved slowly in his trouser pocket as the girl removed her brassiere and cupped her breasts as if about to offer them to him. She ran a thumb across her nipple and smiled through the blankness of the glass. Maxwell was sure she knew he was watching her and the thought gave him an extra thrill.

A solitary policeman leaned against a wall and slid a crumpled package of Woodbines from his post-war, serge trouser pocket. He scanned the empty street before withdrawing the un-tipped cigarette. Smoking on duty was forbidden, but he’d been pacing the streets for hours and his lungs were screaming for nicotine. He was about to strike his Zippo lighter, when his attention was diverted by the sound of heavy breathing coming from behind a hedge. With a hand hovering over his truncheon, he crept towards the sound and found Maxwell engaged in his favourite pastime.

The policeman grabbed Maxwell firmly by the ear. ‘What do you think you’re up to?’

Maxwell squirmed in his grasp. ‘Nothing, leggo of me.’

The policeman shone his torch in Maxwell’s face. ‘You’re Harry Leah’s boy, ain’t cher?’

Maxwell didn’t answer. His ear burned as the policeman dragged him back along the path and knocked on the front door of the Leah household.

Dora, Maxwell’s mother straddled the doorway, her arms folded across her ample chest. The hall light glinted off her metal curlers and at the sight of her son’s pained face she leapt forward. ‘Let go of him,’ she barked and punched the policeman’s arm. The man relinquished his grip on Maxwell’s ear, and rubbed the place were she’d hit him. Dora pulled her son over the doorstep and tucked him protectively behind her body. Her brown eyes pierced the policeman with a dagger sharp look. ‘So, why are you bringing a son home to his mother - like a criminal?’

‘I’m sorry, Mrs Leah, I just caught him watching the young woman in the house opposite.’

‘So, looking is a crime now, is it? Why shouldn’t he look? He’s growing to a man, young men look at young women.’

‘Not with binoculars, they don’t, Missus.’ The policeman flushed and ran his finger around his collar. The look of discomfort on his face said that he wasn’t prepared to go into details of what the boy had actually been doing. He cleared his throat. ‘Look, this is just a warning. I’d keep an eye on him if I was you.’ With a last look at the pair in the doorway, the policeman tapped the brim of his helmet with his forefinger and walked into the night.

Dora put her arm around Maxwell’s plump shoulder and shepherded him down the hallway. ‘Mashugana police, come Bubala, I’ve a nice cheesecake in the kitchen.’


Maxwell continued to watch the woman in the house opposite until she married and moved away. The new occupants were a middle-aged couple who always drew their curtains and so he was forced to look elsewhere for sexual gratification.

Although he missed the ease of watching his nubile neighbour shed her clothes each night, he remained living at home where Dora fussed and pampered him. She fed him homemade cheesecake until he weighed three hundred pounds. His belly hung over his belt and gave him the look of a woman in late stage pregnancy.

Maxwell’s father, a sparse little man named Harry, had managed over the years to resist his wife’s plea to eat and put some weight on.

‘Don’t dish me up a big dinner, Dora. I’m still full from breakfast,’ he said as Dora spooned mountains of food on his plate.

‘You want our friends to think I’m such a bad cook, that you should be so thin?’

It worried Harry to see his son deteriorate into an overweight social misfit and he voiced his misgivings to Dora. ‘I don’t like to see the boy getting so fat. Why don’t you cut out the cake for a while?’

‘You want he should be like you and that mashugana brother of yours, skin and bone? You should put your hands together that he’s healthy.’ She heaped more cheesecake onto Maxwell’s plate. ‘Eat – eat, Kindala!’ she said with an indulgent smile.


Maxwell had secured a position with a leading firm of accountants and was earning a good annual wage, when he wrenched himself away from his mother’s good cooking and bought a house in a dilapidated row of large terrace buildings.

Dora snivelled into her handkerchief as she packed his cases. ‘Make sure you eat plenty.’ Maxwell nodded absently, his mind already on the new life ahead. ‘Find a nice Jewish girl to marry. Remember, we don’t want any shiksa’s for a daughter-in-law,’ she called from the doorway as Maxwell waddled down the path and got into a waiting taxi. They sped through the city and pulled up outside his new home, Maxwell pushed a handful of notes in the driver’s hand and stumbled along the path without a backward glance.

The door clicked behind him and Maxwell gave a small sigh. He looked around the empty room. Tall ceilings and a large bay window gave the sitting room a spacious feel. Dora wanted to furnish it for him, but he refused, he had his own ideas how he wanted it to look. Her taste in flowered wallpaper and over- mantles would make him feel as if he were still a boy living at home.

Work on the house and his accountant job kept him busy, but at the back of his mind he felt guilt that he didn’t visit his parents. The niggling guilt became strong when his father arrived to tell him Dora was seriously ill.

‘It’s the C thing,’ Harry whispered as if the use of the complete word was an expletive. ‘She seems to have given up the will to live.’

Shocked that this had happened in so short a time, Maxwell rushed to her bedside.

Dora already shrunk to a mere wisp of her former size, raised a yellowing hand, and grasped Maxwell by the sleeve. ‘So, you’ve remembered your poor old mother and come to say goodbye?’

‘You’ll get well, Mama, don’t say that.’

‘Why would I get well? My only son never comes to see his mother. I should die and not be a burden on my busy child.’

Dora passed away a few weeks later and Maxwell knew it was his fault. That it wasn’t cancer, but a broken heart that killed her.

Immersed in grief Maxwell sat Shiva for seven days in his mother’s house, surveyed his shoeless feet and prayed. He was determined to hold fast to the ritual of his religion and allow himself no indulgences while in mourning. As her only son his period of grief must last twelve months.

When the initial seven days were over Maxwell returned home. He hadn’t eaten more than the bare minimum required when sitting Shiva and wondered if he’d lost weight. He ran his hand around the waistband of his trousers, and shrugged. It still felt tight but no matter, perhaps by the end of his mourning, he would be thin and people would stop whispering behind his back. In the kitchen he prepared and ate a low calorie Lox soup, although it proved a mere thimbleful in the well of his hunger.

In desperation to appease hunger pains, he reached into the cupboard above and delved into an open packet of stale Matzah biscuits. They crumbled as he forced them into his mouth and what didn’t cling to his teeth, fell across his chest and belly. He brushed the crumbs away with a discontented sigh.

A fridge-freezer, the latest thing in modern appliances, hummed in the corner and enticed him with a promise of food comfort. He paced the house, always to come back to stand before its bulk. It could do no harm to look he thought as he reached out and jerked the silver handle. The freezer shuddered and from an overstuffed top shelf a cheesecake slid forward and landed face up on the floor. The sight of one of Dora’s specialities filled Maxwell’s mouth with saliva. He decided that although he must not eat it, at least he could look for a while. He put the cake on a table, placed his elbows on either side, and stared at it.

Ice particles across the surface gradually disappeared, and the cake relaxed into the erotic softness of a woman surrendering her virtue. Maxwell extended a exploratory finger, hooked it to a curve, and eased out some thick, yellow cream. Saliva poured from the corners of his lips and he poked his cream covered finger deep into the soft, pink cavern of his mouth. He breathed in deeply and sucked. His lips made a soft pop of protest as he withdrew.

Maxwell had never eaten cheesecake with his fingers, and the sensation was like no other he had experienced. He leaned forward, examined the cake closely and his heart beat faster. The topping, smooth, rich, alabaster, reminded him of skin and the woman he’d watched through his binoculars. The hole he’d made with his finger appeared dark and mysterious, an invitation to delve deeper, to explore inside. He pushed two fingers into the hole and explored the rougher texture beneath. The cake sucked at them moistly as he pulled away. Maxwell licked the cream. Blood pumped through his body, pushed heat into his face and his chest tightened. A rock hard erection pulled at the front of his pants as he plunged both hands into the cheesecake.

With frantic haste, using both hands, he shovelled the soft sweetness into his mouth. It covered his cheeks and chin and as he swallowed, he rubbed the mixture into his skin with soft moans of pleasure and with the final swallow he slumped forward and rested his face in the remnants of the cake and waited for his heart to slow. A shaft of guilt struck him and he shrivelled beneath the thought that even at his mother’s passing he was still indulging himself.

A whisper like a sigh on the wind echoed in his head. ‘Go ahead, Kindala, eat, eat, you’re a growing boy.’ He looked around the kitchen and he was alone. No Dora, just he and the empty plate.

Maxwell’s life changed due to that encounter with the cheesecake. His voyeuristic urges remained as strong as ever. The difference was they now led him to the Jewish Deli, where displayed in the window chiller, he viewed the cheesecake with a more refined eye. Cheesecake became the embodiment of all his past desire to see naked flesh. A curve in cream cheese topping could send spasms of excitement through his body. If one could become a cheesecake playboy, then Maxwell topped the poll with a new cake every day. He chose carefully, his small black eyes judging the colour, shape, and play of the patisserie’s knife strokes across the dense topping. Once home, he pondered on new positions. Sometimes he pushed his face into the centre, with the cream cheese covering his nose and eyes and ate holding his breath until his lungs were at the point of explosion. His favourite position was to place his hands on the top, press down and lick the cake as it squidged through his fingers, sort of foreplay before the main event. Devouring cheesecake was the ultimate sexual experience and Maxwell could indulge in a sex fantasy with every new purchase.


The Deli had been operating in the same part of the city for many years and in celebration of thirty years of pastry making, they held a small ceremony. Maxwell, as their best customer, was invited to say a few words. The shop was full when he arrived, dressed in his best custom made jacket and trousers, For at almost four hundred pounds he could no longer find store bought clothes to fit him. He lumbered toward the cake counter and prayed he didn’t get an erection before the ceremony was over.

The proprietor caught his eye and pulled him to the centre of the crowd. ‘Ladeeez and gentlemen.’ He tapped on the glass counter top with a knife. ‘In honour of our best customer, I have baked the supreme cheesecake, Combined, not only with citrus fruit, but rum soaked sultanas as an added fillip.’ He extended his hand towards the cake as if he were offering Maxwell a coronation crown.

Maxwell felt strength drain from his legs. The huge cake fulfilled his every fantasy. Tears filled his eyes and misted the cheesecake with a silver veil.

‘Thank you.’ His voice choked in his throat and he searched for a handkerchief to wipe the sweat gathered on his brow. His heart beat fast and blood rushed to his groin. There was tightness in his chest as his eyes devoured the perfect contours of the confection.

The proprietor’s knife, poised above the cake, swept down in one clean stroke. ‘Enjoy.’ 

‘No!’ Maxwell’s face twisted in despair. ‘You’re disfiguring it.’

He rushed at the cheesecake and covered it protectively with his huge arms. Pain, red-hot knife strokes, lacerated his chest and stole his breath.

Sinking to his knees beside the table, Maxwell whispered
‘I - I’m having a heart attack.’

He pitched slowly forward and onlookers saw a smile lift the corners of his mouth before he sank into the cheesecake’s creamy depths until his head was buried to the shoulders.

To die on the job - every man’s dream, Maxwell thought as his heart stuttered to a standstill.

Posted by littlewhitewolf on 03/17 at 12:44 PM | Permalink
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