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  Creative Writing Competition Wednesday 17 July 2002  
Kate Dempsey - runner up

Eddie's new girlfriend leant back with her head in the basin. "I've never been in your salon before," she said, "but you come highly recommended. My friend said she hadn't had such a pleasurable experience in a long time."

Eddie wiggled his long fingers in the stream of water from the shower. "Just relax, " he said, "and listen to the radio."

On Woman's Hour, two women were discussing the myth of erogenous zones. Eddie smiled and adjusted the taps slightly, checking the temperature and aimed the warm stream at her greasy hair.

He smoothed the shampoo into her scalp, rubbing soothingly through her shoulder length hair. She crossed her ankles and closed her eyes. He worked up a good lather and combed the soapy strands slowly through with his fingers. She smiled and her face relaxed. He rinsed out the lather thoroughly, squeezing her hair until the water ran clear. Her shoulders slumped down and she bent her neck slightly from side to side. He repeated the process. She unclasped her hands and tucked them under her robe.

He took a palmful of conditioner and wiped it through her hair. He kneaded her lubricated scalp. Her face began to go pink. She recrossed her ankles left over right. He caressed and massaged for a long time from the top of her head to the nape of her neck and around to her ears. She bit her lip and crossed her ankles right over left and back again. He could see her pulse racing in her neck. He stroked her forehead tenderly. She opened her mouth and drew a long breath. Eddie turned on the taps again and rinsed.

She staggered over to the chair and slumped down in front of the mirror, clutching her chest with her pale hand. She said barely a word while he snipped away at her hair. He would say something and she would just nod. Sometimes she didn't even do that. She kept her lips shut. But clamped in a Mona Lisa type smile.

He dried her hair in a tousled, 'just got out of bed' style and showed her the back in a mirror. She nodded and stood up. He gently removed her robe and brushed away the stray hairs at the back of her neck. Then he took her by the hand and led her up the stairs to his apartment.

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