Call me Weinstein. I have lived my life of quiet desperation
dominated by women. Well, not really dominated by them. More like
dominated by the need for them. Controlled by the lack thereof and the
pursuit therein.Not that I have been without some small measure of
success. After all, I was married for ten years and am currently
married again; in fact, momentarily expecting the birth of my first
child. Things have changed considerably for me, some might even say
substantially improved. I sure would.
But as I look back from the purview of impending fatherhood at my assorted ventures of Jewish jelly and neurosis, I can only shake my head and laugh. Laugh at the journey that took me fleeing from the castrating contrary shrew-esses of New York to the gentle round-featured beauties of Harvard Square. Portnoy would be proud.
I have done it all. Singles dances, volleyball games, bike rides, weekend outings, video dating, skiing. Even, God forbid, folk dancing. Peering into the well lit vestibule of Concord Meeting House at the bobbing sea of sweating bandanna’d heads, I relieved my bursting bladder in the front bushes, of the five ounces of vodka imbibed in attempt to make even that activity palatable. Yes, I have done it all. Done it all in search of the Golden Shiksa.
By the time I arrived on the scene, the great Diaspora had wended its
way from the Pale of Settlement to the suburbs of Long Island, halting
for generational deposits in Brooklyn and the Lower East Side. The
fabled charm of the newly arrived immigrant and first generation
ambition had given way to the sprawling mass of tract houses and
faceless suburbia. How I longed for the Sunday morning socialist
gatherings along the Coney Island boardwalk; the bath houses and the
camaraderie of the aging community elders as we downed endless glasses
of slivovitz; handball under the El and nasty waiters flinging forks at
me at Ratners.
But alas, it was not to be. For the suffocating insularity of Delancey Street and Ocean Parkway had given way to the sterile void of burgeoning shopping malls, ranch houses with cookie-cutter yards, and two story brick-box school complexes. Progress, I think they call it. And though the sweaty over-involvement of the first half of the century had no doubt been glamorized by the time it was disintegrating, some primal consciousness, passed through the genes, told me that what we had gained was no match for what we had lost.
Oh sure, a few memories of the Golden Era were preserved in the Holy Sepulcher Museum on East 4th Street, otherwise known as the basement of my grandfather’s house. Hour after hour, I would immerse myself in the darkly lit mazes of that sub-chamber, culling from the dusty archives little jewels of memorabilia. Dewey beats Truman. FDR Dead. Mr. and Mrs. Hyman Applebaum invite you to the wedding of their daughter, Cecilia. Little hunks of history, public and private. Glimpses of a past that no longer was. What there was, was Long Island. And a block full of boys, a one street Hebraic enclave in the middle of a sea of Christianity.
There was the mandatory block bully, who double functioned as the giver of names. Cherry. Blimp. Yag. Babes. Mine was Nooge. Luckily, I had been spared the bad fortune assigned to the bully’s two siblings, whom he christened Tush and Pig, respectively. I think he is practicing law with Tush in Miami today, if I’m not mistaken. I don’t know what happened to Pig.
The bully, as giver of names, had somehow miraculously managed to escape one of his own. Until he broke my nose by chasing me into a brick wall. From then on, he was Captain Blood.
Say what you will about Captain Blood, he kept things hopping. He plastered his attic with Playboy centerfolds and formed a club that you could join by screwing one of the paste-ups. Redman and Yag had done it, but mustering the first act of chivalry in my life, I declined, though being sorely tested.
But pictures proved not to be sufficient for The Blood, as he came affectionately to be known, as he soon wandered across the fence to expose himself to the unsuspecting girl next door, Pinocchio. She too, is a lawyer today. The Blood got some counseling soon afterwards.
If the block was cursed with a shortage of females, there was no such similar dearth of them at school. There were scores of them. Cute, pig-tailed, knee-socked, big-eyed, pug-nosed, little girls. Second grade Lolitas. And though they were foreign to me, they had a mystical power that no line drive to left or quickly flicked wrist shot could hope to match. They were mysterious, beautiful, enticing. In short, they were the Other.
But as I considered the Other from afar, it was visions of paternalism that filled my head. How I saved the Other from a bullying older brother or a huge wave at Jones Beach or maybe a wild running dog. How the Other gazed at me and thanked me for my chivalry. Oh, the bliss of the Other’s adulation. For somehow, there was a lack, a gap in me beginning to develop, that only the beatific smile of the selected Other could begin to fill. And since the raging hormones which would descend so cruelly a short time hence had not yet kicked in, I could pine for possession of the Other in a pure and holy fashion.
Every new school year brought the dawning of another Other. There was Holly Givens, she of the golden blond hair, and Diana Durham, of the cherubic chipmunk cheeks. There was Shannon Carter of the long pleated braid and the missing tooth smile, and Donna Hansen, a red haired, green eyed vixen, all four feet one of her covered with freckles; and finally, Heather Kalman, a little dot of a girl who broke my heart when her father transferred to Secaucus.
But if the Lord could take away, he could also giveth. As I pined for Heather, he blessed me with the arrival of a tugboat captain’s daughter, one Irene Hennessey, a fair skinned, freckled lass, with blond flowing hair. And if the Holy Father’s fourth grade deliverance was truly bountiful, he outdid himself and delivered the coup de grace in the 5th, in the form of Lisa Lukkasson, a Lutheran Minister’s daughter, moving into town from the Midwest. In this vision of loveliness all thoughts of tugboat wanderings and chipmunk cheeks were quickly erased. With her soft blond hair, smooth tan skin, wide ivory smile and radiant blue eyes, she was an Other like no Other. The perfect Other. Such a good Other that she lasted for not just one, but two, count ‘em, two years, all the way till the end of grammar school. Oh, thank you, bountiful Father, for thy gifts, which I will cherish and protect and honor in a faithful and upstanding way. For he who bringeth forth the mystery of Lisa Lukkason, is one to whom I am eternally grateful and indebted to. Tell me the price and I shall pay it. Tell me the burden, I shall not tarry. Oh, tell me Lord, how can I thank thee for the gift that is Lisa Lukkason.
In my fantasia of pedestal-ic love, little could I know that time was rapidly running out on my holy chivalrous universe. That a curse worse than the invading Mongol hordes was about to descend on me and defile my little world of purity. That the joys of the mental possession of the Other would give way to the gnawing, rasping, unholy carnality of physical desire. That my little wide eyed beauties pictured from afar would no longer be sufficient to bridge the gap of fulfillment the tingling in my loins was calling for.
Oh Lord, surely when I mentioned any burden, you could not have meant this. Surely when I mentioned any price, this could not have been what you had in mind. Surely, Lord, you jest.
So I ask you, oh Lord, deliver me from the strangle hold of impure thoughts bombarding my head in desecration of the Other. Deliver me, my Master, from the aching pangs of longing now filling my soul, where once purity reigned unencumbered. Yes, deliver me, oh Lord, from……………..seventh grade.
I could feel it from Day One. Something cold, hard, metallic about
this place, more like a prison than a school. The clanging of endless
rows of metal lockers; hordes of unfamiliar faces lining the hallways;
the wide open vacuum of the cafeteria; the stench and impersonality of
the locker room and gym. A stranger in a strange land.
Things wouldn’t be simple anymore, I sensed. For as frightening as the unfamiliarity of my new surroundings were, they were nowhere near as frightening as the changes happening within me. All of a sudden it mattered how I looked, what I wore. For years my mother had picked out my clothes the night before and I had donned them willingly, with no second thought. For years my parents had sent me faithfully to Vince’s Highway Barbershop, where, in between selling hot TV sets and toaster ovens, Vince and his serene cousin Tony shaved my head on a tri-weekly basis.
But that tranquil world had given way to a burgeoning era of skin-tight pants, budding breasts and pompadour hairdos. The argyle socks had to go. The red pants, long gone. My cousin’s hand-me-downs might continue to be okay, at least with the proper alterations. And Vince the barber would have to be content in seeing my head half as often and of having to pay attention to detail when he did. The look of the Gulag was out.
Within my skin-tight pants, there was no room for comfort. Between the constant war of my continuous erection and the combs and wallets stuffed into pockets, the Cuban Missile Crisis looked like a May Day parade, in comparison. Something was going to explode in my pants, of that I was sure. Hopefully all innocent bystanders would be outside the four foot safety cordon.
Since the Junior High had been a mating of six or seven grade schools, each elementary school gang banded together to form its own little mini-tribe. These were composed for mutual defense, as well as for staking out new turf. Our tribe consisted of eight to nine members and we were the elite of Lenox School. I had made the tribe based on my athletic ability, although I was clearly one of its lesser members. The problem was height, or lack thereof.
The tribe would do everything together. Stand in line before entering school, eat in the cafeteria, hang out in gym class, gather in the courtyard during break time. From the safety of the tribe, we could gaze out at the forbidden fruit we so desperately longed for: the girls of the other tribes, or the foreign tribesses, as it were. For not only had nature unleashed in us strange new cravings, but the educational system had provided a new and expanded context in which to exercise them. All of a sudden we were surrounded with packs of delicious and budding young nubiles. The girls of Plaza School. The girls of Schubert School. The girls of Milburn and Coolidge and Prospect and Brookside Schools. Our own paltry lot from Lenox paled in comparison, or at least it seemed they did. Maybe we were just used to them.
Status began to appear, as the inevitable cross-pollenization of the mixing of different schools in the classroom evolved. Our big guns mixed with their big guns and the female elite banded together as well. Our tribe of location was breaking down to be replaced by newer models based on social standing. As my fast fading grasp started slipping, gone were my golden connections to Dougy LeDoux and Solon Panagloss and Jerry Herman, the erstwhile power brokers of grammar school legend. Down, down, I plummeted, falling fast and finally bottoming out in the bosom of the antiestablishment. If we couldn’t be the in crowd, we would be the official out crowd, our outness being the defining character. Oh sure, we were higher on the social scale than the science nerds and the AV squad but then again, so were paramecium. Yes, we would be beatniks, the rebels, the intellectuals, at least the seventh grade version of them, anyway. I would steal my sister’s sandals and take the Long Island Railroad into Washington Square to hear the Jewish Ragtime Cowboys play the budding acoustical tunes of the early sixties.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t tall enough to be considered handsome. I did make cute, however. With my little jokes and recently liberated hair, many of the girls who sat around me developed crushes, at least the shorter ones did. Local girls, I called them. And though I was flattered by their attention, my heart longed for the seventh grade Lolitas who were hopelessly out of my reach. The age old theme of not wanting what you can have and not having what you wanted, was starting to rear its ugly little head; although I’m not sure I would have known what to do with either group, if given the chance. So, erect and farting, I continued to pine. Pining was becoming a way of existence.
There was a friend’s bar mitzvah where I met a Jewish bombshell, my first official JAP, who I would pine for the next year, and her friend, who it turned out pined for me and whose father owned the largest baseball card company in America. If only my gold digging ways had been more developed, I could be sharing box seats with Hank Aaron today. But alas, with my pining heart and semi-priapic state, I languished in the emotional wasteland of seventh grade, headed for the rocky shoals of eighth. All the rumbling miles of the LIRR, and the strumming guitars of Rambling Elliot Adnopoz and Robert Zimmerman could not dispel the dark gathering clouds on the horizon. Until I met her.
She had been the star of Brookside School, the class vice-president.
She had made the advanced class and the boys of Schubert were touting
her highly. She was being set up with the elite of our elite, tall
scholar athlete Doug LeDoux, but somehow, she fell short of the mark.
For as the blossoming young beauties vaulted vertically, Debby sprouted
horizontally. Ultimately, her tragic flaw was that she had too much
brains and brawn to make the highest rankings of the social register.
As her star plummeted, she carried a sweet sadness about her of one who
has tasted the heights and knows that they are forever more closed to
Not that she was without substantial redeeming qualities. For she was not fat, but merely short and stocky. Zaftig, they called it. Some males would kill for it, and I was one of them. And in that squat little frame developed two of the fullest, roundest and irresistibly tempting breasts known to the likes of eighth grade masculinity. It was enough to pop a zipper at thirty paces.
She was German and her face showed it. High cheek bones, wide-set blue-green eyes, a little round bulb of a nose, a huge mouth with full lips, and straight, shoulder length, brown hair. It may seem cruel to say, but she looked like a feminized version of Babe Ruth. But she was beautiful to me.
I had seen her the year before, but she was foreign to me, and, I knew, reserved for the elite. All I remembered was that she had a beautiful smile.
And so I found myself one row over and one seat back from her in eighth grade Spanish class. I was Carlos and she was Juanita. I had always hated languages with a passion, having about as much ability in them as I did with a square knot. But somehow, a glance at those soft firm breasts said that this was compensation that might make language class worthwhile.
After three or four days, I was sitting at my desk waiting for class to start, thumbing through a Mets yearbook, when she came in and settled at her desk. She half turned around to me and flashed the beautiful smile. She said “Hi.”
I almost fell on the floor. Unsolicited, unprovoked, unanticipated, I gathered my startled self and attempted to respond. I think I grunted, as some kind of gurgling noise escaped my exploding larynx and wafted toward her ears. I’m sure it wasn’t English; I’m not even sure it was human, but when it reached her, she sort of half-giggled and turned back around. Senora Delfuedo came in and class started.
My mind raced. Surely she had made a mistake, or I had made a mistake. She had smiled at the guy next to me. Except the guy next to me was Susan Hallerman. Didn’t she know we were not of the same caste? That I was beneath her and not worthy of her attention? What did she know about the lowly world of Washington Square and Bob Dylan? She was on the cheerleading squad, for God’s sake! Surely it must be a mistake. Maybe she wanted to get to Doug LeDoux through me. After all, this President Kennedy junior look alike was my next door neighbor. Yes, that must be it, I thought.
But then the same thing happened the next day and then again on a third. It wasn’t a fluke. She was actually saying hi to me, for God only knows what reason. By the fourth or fifth day, I was gradually able to utter a response that was possibly English and almost definitely human. I was in deep monosyllable with her. I think she was enjoying it.
Suddenly I was always early for Spanish class, sometimes so early I’d have to wait for the class before to leave. Weeks passed and I managed to evolve into complete sentences. Sometimes two at a time. She asked me what I thought about things. She actually seemed to care what I had to say. She was the first girl who had ever taken me seriously and I had no clue as to why. All I knew was that I was flattered.
I used whatever limited skills I had in Spanish to impress her. With hopelessly tangled syntax, I made primal little jokes like “Los Chicas son peros,” (the girls are dogs). If I couldn’t speak in the language, at least I could joke in it, enough so the class could recognize and laugh. Senora Delfuedo grew flustered but seemed to understand that I was working for a higher purpose than my accustomed C. “Yo quiero la una con los tres ojos,” (I like the one with the three eyes) I opined, in one of those enforced dialogues in front of the room. The class snickered, but most of all Debby smiled.
“Ay, Carlos,” Senora Delfuedo shot back. “You mean la una con los gris ojos (gray eyes). No, Senora Delfuedo, con los tres ojos. Senora Delfuedo just shook her head. Well, at least he keeps the class half awake.
These were the days of V-neck sweaters, high knee socks, and loafers. Debby wore them all. Nestled comfortably in the middle of the open V was a small crucifix with a little nailed form of Jesus resting on her chest. As I stared into the face of that lucky little bastard resting high atop those soft budding mounds, I imagined him laughing at me while a huge erection hoisted its way through his spreading loin cloth. “Don’t even think about it, Jew Boy; she belongs to me,” he sneered. Okay, Jesus, I’ll back off for now, but your days are numbered. Oh, to feel that soft metal erection crushed against my breast as I enveloped my zaftig shiksa and clutched her to my chest. “Whoa to thee, my savior, with thy now flattened metal schlong, mark my words, your days are numbered. The avenger has cometh.” Oh, the height of forbidden fruit. The stuff of dreams.
Sometime that winter I found the breasts could actually be touched. Not directly of course, and certainly not unclothed, but still touched, nonetheless. For Debby, I discovered, started going to the youth centers held at the Harbor Junior High on Friday nights. Although it was decidedly uncool for incipient beatniks to attend such events, the incentive was overpowering. I transcended the mockery of my friends and rode my bike the five miles in freezing cold to get there. It was Friday night. It was my temple and I was there for a religious experience.
Sure enough, there she was. Her and her V-neck and loafers and knee socks and little metal Jesus. Debby was dancing with other boys, many boys, tall, handsome Biffs and Brians. But I didn’t mind; surely she would dance with me.
Hoping that I didn’t smell too bad from the ride and with the icicles starting to defrost from between my toes, I lurched across the room and descended on her in the middle of a gaggle of girls. Hen talk, I think they call it. She looked shocked to see me.
“Would you like to dance?” Debby hesitated. Oh no, she’s going to reject me! Jesus was sneering.
“Why sure, I guess.” She seemed to be coming back to her senses.
We strolled to the center of the dance floor. I put my arms around her and awaited further instructions. A fit of honesty overcame me. “I don’t know how to do this.”
Debby laughed. “Just relax, I’ll lead, you follow me.” We started slowly moving back and forth. It was heaven. I clutched Debby tight to my chest, trying to suffocate the living bejeepers out of the smarmy little crucifix.
“I didn’t expect you to come to someplace like this,” she started.
“Well, you know.” It was the best I could do. At least it was English.
“You don’t like Gene Pitney?”
“Oh, he’s all right.” Who in the hell was Gene Pitney? Was he some guy who was after her? I made a note to find out.
I settled into the soft flow of the music. For once I could relax. Oh, the soft press of those majestic breasts upon my beating heart! Closer. The smell and feel of her fresh washed hair upon my cheek. If I could die right now and forever be eternally frozen in place. Oh, if only.
But it was not to be. The song ended and Debby thanked me and went back to her consortium of hens, who gave a little giggle and waited for the next Todd or Dennis to approach. And so it was that I found religion, at the Holy Tabernacle of Baldwin Harbor Junior High. Friday night services were everything to me.
Much to my dismay, I had inherited something from my grandfather that
put me out of commission for two years: halitosis. I don’t know why or
when or where, it somehow just arrived. As if things weren’t tough
enough, what with the war going on in my pants and all. Now all of a
sudden, people wanted to keep at a distance. They turned their heads
curiously while I talked. Hands cupped noses. I was becoming a master
of profiles. Intuitively I knew that something was wrong, but it was
months before anybody said anything. And when that finally happened, I
did what any rational totally fucked up fourteen year old would do. I
clammed up. If they couldn’t hear me, they couldn’t smell me, I
figured. Except it was putting a hell of a crimp in my fledgling little
Youth Centers were a thing of the past. Girls were a thing of the past, for that matter. I kept a cordial relationship with Debby from the safe distance of a row. Apparently she was making a final play for my long desired next door neighbor. Consigned to the ninth circle of hell, I resigned myself to watching from the sidelines. I considered buying season boxes.
My enforced monkhood brought new forces into play. I had half heartedly taken some guitar lessons several years prior, which I had abandoned in favor of my Walter Mittyesque pursuit of women, er, girls. But since my voice, or at least the accompanying sewage, had failed me, I locked myself in my room for hours at a time, developing a new one. Furiously I practiced, furiously I picked. Jewish Ragtime Cowboy stuff. Dave Van Ronk. Reverend Gary Davis. Doc Watson. The years spent down at the fountain of Washington Square would not go to waste. Despite my stubby little digits, I became a cracker jack finger-picking guitar player.
But what was one man alone? If you had a band you could get chicks, or so it seemed. For me there was no choice. It was the only voice I had. Harpo speaks.
But as suburban teenage beatniks, arty young intellectuals carrying our copies of Catcher in the Rye and Naked Lunch, we could not have a rock and roll band. It was the antithesis of everything we stood for. It was acceptance. It was Status Quo. It was wrong. It was……………….. but what about the chicks? They dug rock and roll bands. I had watched in amazement as four math teachers put mops on their heads and mouthed the words to a Beatle song playing over the PA, while a room full of girls stood on their seats and screamed, tears streaming down their faces. Wow. It was something to see. Certainly I could do with a real guitar what Mr. Cardello was doing with a cleaning implement hanging from his head. Couldn’t I?
But we were hopelessly compromised. How could we abandon the acoustical schizophrenia of Bob Dylan that we were committed to? Little did we realize that that pithy icon would abandon us instead, to the nether regions of electricity. No. We were pure, committed. Anti-cool.
So we formed a strange little unit peculiar to the era, in the acoustical format, called a Jug Band. Perhaps it was the successor to my grandfather’s balalaika band or the wailing Klezmer bands, so recently revived. Hey, I suppose they wanted to get chicks on the shtetl, as well. But unlike the balalaika and Klezmer units, the heart of the jug band was formed around a rhythm section which consisted of an upside-down washtub with a bass string attached to a movable broom handle; a thick moonshine jug which was blown into; and a ribbed aluminum washboard which was scratched with finger picks. People weren’t sure if we were opening a Laundromat or forming a band. But with our scattered array of guitars, banjos, harmonicas and kazoos, along with our fabled rhythm section, we aroused curiosity, if not female hormones. We played at school functions, Unitarian (Atheists who believe in Jews) Churches, anyplace that would have us. The girls eyed us, if somewhat askance. “Well, they’re………………. interesting, I guess.” Not the passion we were hoping for, but anything was better than indifference.
Yes, Jelly Roll Joel and the Creole Jug Stompers was making its mark. In truth, we weren’t half bad. The band roster looked like it had been taken off a B’nai Brith Memorial. Weinstein. Levitt. Lefkowitz. Schwartz. Rosenthal. We reached our high water mark when we got invited to the immortal WBAI marathon hosted by the even more immortal Larry Josephson. At least in the annals of mid ’60′s New York, that is. Josephson reviewed the name board and toyed with us, introducing the band at various points as Jelly Roll Joel and the Nazi Jug Stompers, The Frau Von Buderhofen Pimpernels, The Third Reich Revival Good Time Jug Thumpers, The Gaon of Vilna Drum Majorettes and finally, Shalom Alechem and the Fab Five. I felt thoroughly de-nazified by the time we left the studio and boarded the cattle cars headed back to Long Island. Jelly Roll Joel had soared on the New York airwaves and been molested by the best.
But alas, there was still no passion. Despite our best efforts, we couldn’t match the power that Mr. Cardello and his hanging tresses of Lestoil had mustered. And I still had halitosis.
Fortune finally smiled on me in a most peculiar way. I got food poisoning. After three days of constant vomiting, diarrhea, fever, sweats, and a general wanting to die, my parents called the doctor just to make sure that wasn’t in fact what I was doing. And with the calm presence of my aging pediatrician by my side, I spilt my horrible little burden. Was there anything, anything, I could do, in case I survived, to be liberated from the frozen lake of Hades? The MD listened patiently, nodding her head. When I finished my litany of woes, she took out her pad and quickly jotted down one word: Delex. Very good, she said. That was all. And with this pithy offering, she departed, splitting the night air like the great white medicine man she was.
I gargled in the morning. I gargled at night. I gargled furiously. I gargled so hard and so long my mother went into atavistic fits of pain long forgotten. Delex had come to liberate me. It started slowly at first. Wary heads were turning from ninety degrees to a cautious forty-five. By six weeks, I was actually receiving full frontals from distances as close as forty-eight inches! People would brace for the upcoming blast and lose their balance from not having to recoil. I took the warning label off of my vocal chords. I was almost ready to talk to girls.
And so as the summer of ’66 approached, the dark clouds were dispersing from the long storm-laden sky. Though I had reached my full adult height of a lanky 5′ 6″, I had developed into a musician of some note. I was going on a six week bicycle tour of Western Canada. And suddenly, Debby was being very nice to me.
The flame had finally burned out. The torch that Debby had carried
for the immortal Doug LeDoux had finally ebbed into non-existence after a
three year vigil. Not that Dougy had abandoned her for someone else.
He had never committed to her in the first place and seemed content to
spend his time alone, surrounded by soccer balls and math books. It was
incomprehensible to me. Could he not feel the gnawing, aching longing,
playing on his soul, that only the pursuit and seizure of his chosen
beloved could bring to an end? I mean, what was wrong with him? I
would kill for his height, for his looks, for his athletic grace. Girls
would throw themselves at him, and still it wouldn’t matter. Here I
was screaming out, “take me, take me,” grasping at ankles, hanging from
lampposts. Yet, to he who could have it all, it didn’t matter. It was
then that I figured out Dougy LeDoux’s reason for existence. He was
there to show me the basic unfairness of the universe. My own personal
experiential guru. O thank you, Great Master. Perhaps in your all
knowing wisdom and indifference, you can proffer your leavings to one
not so noble of spirit, to one who would be grateful for whatever scraps
of undesired carnality are discarded from your table? Do what you
want, white man. To Dougy LeDoux, it just didn’t matter.
But to Debby it did. As June approached, she was looking forward to a long lonely summer whose highlight would be working in her father’s sweater factory. But just like two years prior, out of the clear blue, she started inviting me into her life. I don’t know why she picked me out, but she did. My first reaction was as it had been before. I looked around to see who she was talking to. This time not even Susan Hallerman was there. Unless she was invoking some incorporeal spirit, it must have been me.
It started in dribs and drabs. A special hello at lunch. A stolen trip to say “hi” as I stood in front of the bomb-blast otherwise known as my locker. A little wave from the hallway into my homeroom as I patriotically saluted the flag while trying to shield the morning’s erection from the stern gaze of Mr. Appleby. What was going on here? My friends were nudging me. The woman of my dreams, my soft breasted cheerleader, for whom I had lusted in my heart as well as my loins, was throwing herself at me and all I could do was slip into reverse from neutral after having been in overdrive for more than three years. What was wrong? Was I suffering from Weinsteinus Interruptus?
That’s it, it was a trick. It was God’s little cosmic revenge for liberating me from halitosis. He had made a pact with his special agent here on earth, the smarmy little crucifix that nestled above the golden mounds. The metallic icon had never forgiven me for putting the full court press on his swaddled manhood back at the Harbor Junior High. Yes, the two of them had secretly infiltrated Debby’s soul, causing her to beckon me for some mysterious reason, only to laugh in derisive ridicule the moment I snapped at the bait. “Surely you jest, Rumpelstiltskin, you can’t be serious.” But I thought? “Get real, Sneezy. Or is it Dopey, or Grumpy?”
No, I just wouldn’t have it. No way they were fooling me, this ungodly trio, the Father, The Son and the Holy Pom-Pom Goddess. I would not be their work here on earth.
Subtlety wasn’t working. Debby got bold. As I gazed into the nether regions of my metallic cubicle trying to decipher if the hardened object on the upper shelf was a slide rule or a tuna fish sandwich, she snuck up from the rear, and biting her lower lip, asked me if I would like to walk her home. After all, it was on the way to my house. I told her I would have to check my busy schedule. It was open till 1997. I would love to walk her home.
We walked and we talked, about what I have no idea. My feet were suspended six inches off the ground. We walked past the greasers playing handball and hanging out at Woolworths. We walked past the local coffee shop where the frat crowd peered out and wondered what the hell she was doing with this jamoca. A traitor to her class. Debby didn’t seem to care. We passed the grocery store and the Shoetown and hit the main drag. Debby asked me if Ringo Starr was my favorite Beatle because he had a big nose also. Up until that moment, I never knew that I did, but I guess one man’s button is another man’s schnazolla. I told her I preferred Paul, being a melodist myself.
As we walked, I snuck furtive little glances over. Pinch me, I’m dreaming. Firm curvy legs covered by green knee socks and bottomed off by penny loafers. A plaid pleated dress with broad swaying hips and sensuous buttocks pulsating to burst its confining dimensions. And of course, the tight omnipresent V-neck, forest green, with the keeper of the mounds snuggled firmly in place, the protector of Fort Knox. The soft wonderful mounds pulling Debby firmly forward, sure, uncompromising, certain in their rectitude and direction. Oh, how I longed to hold, to touch, to caress.
We reached Debby’s corner. We stood beneath an ancient oak tree with decades of lovers’ initials carved inside of hearts now grown over with bark. Behind us was the ominous presence of a large red brick Lutheran Church, with a huge cement cross blessing its front facade. In these hallowed halls, Debby’s family, the Neumaier clan, had gathered for years of assorted confirmations, services, and whatever other Pagan rituals those of the ilk indulged in. The most reverend Hermann Lukkasson, father of the fabled Lisa, had delivered the holy incantations that Debby had soaked up, absorbed, and otherwise interweaved into the pulsating libido her sixteen year old hormones were now calling forth. She turned to face me and we stood for what seemed an eternity, her beneath the Oak and me between the opposing crosses, now sneering up at me from her chest and leering down on me from the Temple of the Omnipresent Goyim. As always, Debby led.
“Well maybe we should get together sometime.” Followed by a small bite on the lower lip.
“Well maybe.” Great. She had given me an opening big enough to drive a Mack truck through and I was searching for the keys to the Volkswagen beetle.
I gazed down at her beautiful tooth-filled smile, her full lips pulled tight against it. Smile lines bracing the upper corners of each side of her mouth. Chestnut brown hair, straight and full, cascading to her shoulders, with soft even bangs falling in front to the top of gently curving, mossy eyebrows. And just below, the greatest of treasures, huge, wide-set luminous eyes, with brilliant blue-green radiator coils for irises. I didn’t know that eyes that light were possible, at least on something that wasn’t albino.
Debby waited. She spun and began to step away. “Well, I really enjoyed talking to you Craig. Call me sometime.” With that she started walking away. NOOOO! Please God, don’t let her get away! No telephone, not the anxiety of that, act now, now, what are you waiting for, puberty breath?
“Deb, uh, Debby?” She stopped.
“Well, I thought uh, maybe we could, you know, uh,………. like maybe make some plans uh now, I mean while we’re both still here and everything.” I think it was English. It was enough to stop her, anyway. I wondered if she thought I meant while we were both still here on earth.
“Why, um, sure Craig. What did you have in mind?”
My God, she’s going to do it! What did I have in mind? You mean I had to provide content to this nebulous offering? I had not evolved past the form of it yet.
“Oh do, oh sure. Well let’s see. Yes, that would be good to know.”
Debby gave me a quizzical smile. “Well what do you like to do, Craig?”
What do I like to do? I like to fantasize about attaching myself to your ravenous body and becoming a permanent appendage therein for constant and continual paroxysms of sensual delight through the boundless eons of time.
“Like to do, well, um………….” Got to think quick. I can’t drive and have no money. Where can we walk to, cheap. My father would lend me five bucks. Nunleys, that’s it. Miniature golf.
“Well, um, we could go to Nunleys, maybe play miniature golf. Would you mind walking?” Oh God, why did I say that?
Debby laughed. “Sure, that would be fun. And when would you want to do this?”
Oh man, she needs a time and a date too? The woman was relentless. Actually asking me to make decisions. I was hoping she’d do it all for me.
Let’s see. It was Wednesday. I couldn’t let this hang; the anticipation would kill me. And yet I couldn’t be overeager. Don’t rush it, be blasé. Oh, whenever. No, the anxiety would be torture.
“Well, uh, how about Saturday night?”
“This Saturday?” Oh God, I had blown it. Way too anxious.
“Well, you know.”
“This Saturday would be fine.” YES!
“Craig, what time did you have in mind?”
Okay, slow, steady, we’re definitely getting to the end here. This was just detail stuff. Let’s see. Dinner at 6.30. Shower. Sneak out of the house. “7:30?”
“7:30 would be great. Craig, do you know which house is mine?” Know which? I had the blueprints in my garage.
“Oh, no. Which one is?”
“It’s number 738. This side of the street, third house down from the first cross street. We have our name on the post in front.” The Saxons. No, The Super Saxons. Purveyors of Christian Babies since 1571.
Debby walked the three steps back to me. She reached up and pecked me on the cheek. “Okay, Mr. Craig Weinstein, I’ll see you at 7:30 Saturday night. And don’t be late.” She spun and started walking off.
I gazed from the hypnotic trance that I had just entered, at her short swaying form, sashaying down the street now, away from me. I breathed deep the sweet flowing fragrance of her quickly planted kiss and brush of sweeping hair. My knees began to tremble. God was near.
Seventy-two hours. If I could just survive the next seventy-two hours, I’d give anything. Anything.