Sweeter Than Wine

 There was an eerie golden glow radiating from the top of her head and I knew, with a feeling of enormous relief and satisfaction, that I had succeeded in my quest.

With the sheer power of my will and countless hours of practice and perseverance I had turned my lips into a wizard's wand, a magic bag of potions that with one kiss, could take anyone on the path of ecstasy to the mountain of pure bliss.

How far I'd come from the traumatic effects of that evening not so long ago when my attempt to offer a friendly, well, OK., more than friendly, goodnight kiss, had revealed starkly to me my inadequacy and inexperience. It shouldn't have been a surprise to me, of course. Robert's pure and pristine lips were never sullied by anything so ordinary, unhygienic or so human as skin to skin contact.

That night was dark and my sense of direction has never been all that well developed, in fact I had to give up an interest in orienteering when I repeatedly failed to locate the starting line, so that first time I really didn't have the right to expect a great deal of success. Suave I have never been. But I thought later I might have at least got her on the lips. As it was my first foray into the person to person art of kissing climaxed when she turned her head towards me quickly and I, out of surprise more than anything, planted a wet one on her left nostril.

I recall the hardness of it. Lips and mouth are meant to be soft and delicate. No matter how pert and pretty a nose is, when it's in your mouth, it feels hard. The whole episode was a shock to my system. I'd never before thought of the nose as an erogenous zone. Not that I'm saying it can't be. It all depends on where it is and what you are doing with it.

But right then I could feel my old familiar sense of inappropriateness climbing on board for another ride. It didn't help when, in a bright, girlish voice, she called out loud to the stars above, "I just got a kiss on the nose!"

I mean, that was unnecessary. What did she think had happened? Did she imagine I was trying to offer an alternative treatment for clogged sinuses?

Thank heavens she didn't have a cold.

I tried to dismiss my feeling of failure. It didn't matter. How ridiculous was this kissing thing? Why, people lurking around the place joined together at the mouth looking for all the world like fish trying to suck an oyster out of it's shell. Hardly dignified. Even the Maoris were not much better. Ribbing noses together, looking like the short sighted searching for each others black heads. When you think about it, it's not all that glamorous, is it?

But soon my pride got the better of me and I gradually accepted that this was a universal habit or pastime or skill and I had to master it. It shouldn't be too difficult. If I could make a mortice and tenon or a tongue and groove joint on the workbench, then I should be able to learn how to peck a proffered lip. Nothing to it. Just apply a little time and logical thought.

First of all I began practice on a moving target. That basically had been my problem before. She'd moved.

I started with a cardboard cut out of a face with a mouth shape made from strips of adhesive foam rubber draught seal. This was all right but seeing my hand was moving it about, I could anticipate where it was going to be. It wasn't a true test of my accuracy.

Then I started using a balloon suspended from the doorway. This was better. I couldn't tell where the fan would move it. I realised I looked like a chook pecking wheat in the backyard but I was finding my target. I was becoming as deadly as an Exocet missile.

Now I moved on to the next area that required attention. I knew I had lips as pretty as the One Fine Day Aria from Madama Butterfly but my pucker was an embarrassing disgrace. It looked just like someone had pulled a lollipop out of my mouth in the middle of a suck and hadn't told me.

After some trial and error and a lot of time spent posing in front of a mirror, I discovered that sucking on a lemon produced an ideal shape that, with concentration, I was able to call up at will. My pucker was perfect!

Now it was time to put all this theory, this practice to the test in a realistic situation. I started with Diedre. For hours I gently held and kissed her. And sometimes not so gently. But always with feeling, with passion. And effectively. At times, when things started getting too torrid, I noticed an unusual physical reaction, phenomenon. Steam started rising from my lips and around Diedre's head appeared a golden glow. The intensity and power of my kisses caused a thermal reaction so strong I worried about causing injury to my partner or myself. Fortunately she suffered no damage. I recognised the potential danger of my fiery talent and for the sake of a girl overcome by my cutely combustible countenance, I thought it prudent to be prepared. I believe in having only safe kissing so I carry in my pocket a small thermos flask of ice-cubes as a precaution against things getting overheated.

Soon I felt I was ready to move on from Diedre. She had served her purpose. I was about to unleash myself on a world of unsuspecting, but probably quite deserving, women.

Until that day I was busy pursuing, perfecting my newly acquired art when Alyssa, my niece, walked in the room unexpectedly.

"Robert! What on earth are you doing with Diedre?" she demanded.

"Nothing", I replied defensively as I quickly put Diedre down on the bed. "I was just admiring her. Thinking how good she looks."

She gave me a suspicious look.

"Diedre looks as good as the day Cabbage Patch kids first came out. The day I bought her for you. That Christmas." I stuttered and stumbled on.

"Come on, Sweetheart," she said possessively, "You go to bed. Uncle Robert is too old to play with dolls, isn't he?"

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