[Part Two is here]
Sunday rolled around, and I was typing away on the computer, when I heard voices from the other room. One was Charlie's, but the other sounded like Niki. "Hey, all right," I thought, "Niki's over!" Since we'd missed the last few Bad Movie Fridays™, I hadn't seen her for awhile, so I grinned in happy anticipation and started tying stuff up online.
She and Charlie walked in, and there were hugs all around. "Hey, T," Charlie began (he calls me "T" which is, in itself, another story and perhaps an entire sociocultural essay, so we won't go into that right now), "Niki's computer is still down and she doesn't have anywhere to put her pictures from when we went out shooting…"
"Oh, hey, no problem!" I said. "Did you bring the camera? We can just download them here."
"Really, are you sure?" asked Niki. "It's not trouble for you?"
"Naw, bring it in!" I told her, "It should only take a minute or two."
We brought in the camera and found a working USB port. (Note to sushirob: we missed hooking something up because I seem to have only one functional USB port on the front of the box here.) Luckily, the camera was of a type that Windows XP recognized and Niki and I settled in to go over the photos while Charlie went back to whatever it was he was doing in the next room.
We browsed through the various folders on the camera, until we found what looked like it might be the shooting day pictures. "Oh yeah, let's get that one," said Niki, and we opened it up.
Despite Charlie's earlier suspicion that something a bit naughty had been going on, I didn't see anything that looked anything of the sort. I smiled a bit to myself, and figured he'd just been imagining things. We looked at one or two pictures toward the end, and indeed, they were from the excursion, but Niki seemed disappointed. "I don't think this is it," she said thoughtfully, "we need to go back one."
Shrugging, I went back to the folder list, and she studied the small thumbnail photos for a few minutes before deciding on a new one. "Yes," she said, "I think it's this one. I'm pretty sure."
We opened the folder.
"Oh yes, this is the one!" Niki declared happily.
And sure enough: There was a picture of Niki holding one of the AK-47's. There was a picture of Niki shooting one of the AK-47's. There were pictures of Niki in various sultry and/or threatening poses with various firearms, a picture of Niki and Jaana together with various weapons, a couple of fun pictures of Niki as guerilla (or would that be "guerrillilla?" "guerrillita?") fighter sneaking with handguns through the underbrush. There were pictures of Niki posing in front of the truck looking like a sexy, yet dangerous, gun-toting woman. This was the kind of woman that it might be worth taking a bullet just to get near, and the way she had the guns in the poses made you think you might have to.
And ... there ... were ...
Suddenly Niki leaped up and went to the door between my office and Charlie's yelling, "NO! Don't come over here now!"
"I was just going to hit the bathroom," protested Charlie from the other side of the door.
"You can't," Niki declared. "Go the other way or so!"
I hid the folder behind another window, and nudged Niki. After looking over and assuring herself that Charlie wouldn't see anything untoward, she allowed him to pass.
Charlie glanced at the computer, didn't see anything, eyed Niki and I like we were crazy, performed his bathroom run and returned to his office.
I brought the folder up again.
And ... there ... were ... um, yes. Pictures. Oh my. As it turns out, Niki, among her other outstanding qualities such as brains, beauty, and a sense of humor, also has one hell of a great ass.
At some point, Niki had managed to get Jaana to take pictures of her, some of them quite striking, and some of them that would give some of their fellow classmates heart failure. There's one of her from the waist up, from behind, her long hair streaming down her back, as she holds up two handguns, one in each hand, in the air as if making a pagan offering to the firearm gods of the sun.
Many of these pictures could hang on a wall in someone's house with no worries about unduly influencing the children. (Well, let's say an NRA member's house, because of the guns and all.) But others ... well ... could not.
Niki was unphased. "Oh, let's see that one," she said pointing at the one taken from the back with upraised arms. I brought it up and we agreed it was a good one. We saved it into the folder I was making to burn a DVD for her.
"Hmm," she mused as she looked over some of the others, "This one I think is good."
We pulled it up, and looked at it. It was a waist up nude in profile against the backdrop of the desert, with one breast pretty fully exposed. "Oh, that's a great one," she enthused, "and it's okay for everyone! Hey, we can put this one in the calendar!"
I'm sure that many of you know that Europeans have slightly different views on nudity than do Americans. I knew that myself. What I didn't know was that sometimes, the American view of nudity doesn't quite occur to the Europeans.
"Um," I said, trying to think of a way to put this gracefully, "No, I don't think you can put that in the calendar."
Niki looked at me, puzzled. "Why not?" she asked. "It doesn't show anything!"
"But ... I mean ... it shows your breast, though," I pointed out.
She waved me off. "Yes, but it's only the SIDE," she explained as though pointing out something that should be obvious to a three-year-old. "You can show this to children or anybody. It's fine. It's only the SIDE."
Well, true. It was only the side. And a very fine SIDE it was, too. (Definitely enough to make me pretty damn envious and consider a boob job for myself, but that's beside the point.)
"Charlie, come see this," Niki called into the other room, obviously needing some outside support against my obvious prudishness. "We can put this in the calendar, yes?"
Charlie walked in.
He looked at the picture.
I saw no drool, and BY GOD you bet I was watching for it, but there was a bit of eye-widening going on there.
"Um," he said, unknowingly echoing me, "Nooooo .... that wouldn't be .... good."
Niki was incredulous. "What?" she cried. "But it doesn't SHOW anything! It's just the SIDE!" It was obvious that these crazy Americans must be looking at something else.
"No, that's porn," Charlie said in his usual subtle and discreet manner.
"IT'S NOT!" she yelled.
"In America, that's porn," I said gently. "You can see your nipple there."
"You guys are kidding me. Seriously. You're fucking with me. This is PORN?"
"Pretty much, yeah," Charlie agreed.
Niki shook her head and rolled her eyes for a minute. "You know this is NOTHING in Europe," she said, glaring at us as if American sexual mores were our invention.
"Hey, we didn't make this stuff up!" I protested.
"Okay." Niki still looked a bit disgusted. "Okay, Charlie shut your eyes for a minute." Charlie grinned and did as he was directed, and then put both hands over his eyes for good measure. We minimized the SIDE picture, and then brought up the folder listing again. Niki picked out another one to try, and we brought it up.
"Okay, what about THIS one then," she said in triumph. "There is no nipple, there's nothing. You cannot see ANYTHING in this one. Charlie, you can look."
In this picture, Niki was completely nude, laid back against the truck, with one arm holding a handgun covering her breasts, and the other hand with handgun covering her lower bits.
"Um ..." Charlie and I both said in unison.
"If you show that picture to Matt, his head will fucking explode," stated Charlie. (Matt, if you'll recall, was the other guy that was out with them the day the pictures were shot.)
"Really?" Again, Niki was incredulous. "But you cannot SEE anything!"
"Niki," I said, "If you don't mind showing these pictures, I think we should at least charge money for them, because they're better than a lot of the pics out there."
(What can I say? I'm always looking for a new MAKE MONEY ONLINE!!! Opportunity. Yes, I know, I'm going to hell.)
We all looked at each other and started cracking up.
The funny thing was, she was right: you couldn't see anything more than you would if she were wearing a skimpy bathing suit. Something about the American hangup with nudity, though, made it for sure that these pictures probably shouldn't be passed around through department email.
There were a few others Charlie wasn't allowed to see, although to my mind, these were a lot more tame than the above two. (Mostly containing bare behind only.) Actually, the vast majority of pictures on the camera were fully clothed. There were a few that Niki took using her sunglasses as a filter that came out really fabulous. They had a reddish tinge that was very artistic and stunning.
The time passed quickly, and it was past my bedtime when I finally burned Niki her CD, and bid her good night. Charlie took her home, and returned shortly afterwards, which brings us back to the beginning of our story.
In talking about it later, I said thoughtfully, "I know you, and I know Niki, and so that didn't bother me. Either there's something very, very wrong with us that I didn't get freaked out jealous over that, or there's something very, very right."
"I'll take 'very, very right'," Charlie said with a grin, as he hugged me and we walked back inside.
And you know, I believe I'll take that too.