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The Best of 2013

Naked Grief
by Arthur Chappell

Sister
by Robert Buckley



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By Aspire
Parking in the 60's
Nice Ass


By B.K. Bilicki
Penny's Worth
Someday
Long Goodbye


By G. Gregory
Fuck Mountain
Free Falling at ...
Queen of Temptress Moon


By J.T. Benjamin
Wilberforce The Cunning
7 PM At Mickey...


By Lynne den Hartog
Different strokes
Memories


By Richard V Raiment
Honeyed Tongues
Richmond, Dear Park


By Robert Buckley
The Night the Stars..
Corner Booth
Waking Katie...
The Long Ride Home
Leah And The Eagle
The Shades of Gray
The Nice Guy
Wait Along
The Love Song of...
The Courtyard
Its Been Going Around
Dancing with the Banshee
Jumper
The Last Thing You ...
Compassion
Coffee
Julie's Ankles
Angel

Wait Along
© 2003 by Robert Buckley





"Will, you enjoy coming to see me about as much as I enjoy snapping on a rubber glove and sticking my finger up your ass."

"It's a hell of a way to make a living, Doc, but you chose your own profession."

Doc Raines frowned and glared over his wire rims at me. "What I'm saying, Will, is I never see you unless you're sick or hurting, and I mean really sick and really hurting. Not like before Alana passed away. She took good care of you even if you didn't."

"You coming to a point, you old quack?"

"Out of the blue you come in here and ask for a routine physical examination. Just curious. You feeling all right?"

"You're the doctor, how'd I check out?"

He frowned again. I hated when he did that. I was feeling like the Duke in that scene in "The Shootist," where Jimmy Stewart as the old frontier doc breaks the news to him that he's dying.

After an unnecessarily aggravating pause, he said, "You check out fine for a man your age."

"You couldn't just say I checked out fine, could you? Had to add that age bit, didn't you?"

"Hmm, now my curiosity is really humming. You were never one to fidget about your age."

Damn, I hated this man, even if he was my best friend.

"I don't see how you keep patients with that surly attitude of yours."

"I've been practicing general medicine for almost 30 years. I'm entitled to be a crank. Now, what's up, Will?"

I couldn't put it off any longer. It was what I'd come to see him for. "Doc, can you write me a prescription for Viagra?"

Doc grinned. "Damn, I'm good. I saw that coming a mile down the road."

"Aw, bullshit, you did not."

"Did so. But to answer your question, I wouldn't prescribe Viagra for you."

"Huh? Why the hell not?"

"Because, I'm putting you on blood pressure meds, and the two ain't compatible. Besides, you're a healthy man, healthier than most I see."

"Yeah, healthy for an old wreck, you mean."

"Will, you having trouble getting it up?"

"Well—no. It's just ..."

"Then you don't need Viagra. Will, you gotta expect that the old machine isn't going to work as fast as it used to—on demand, sort of speak. Give it time, take it slow. Believe me, she'll appreciate it more. By the way, who is she? Do I know her? It's Alice Wilkins, ain't it? Had my eye on her myself, ever since Harry passed on."

"No, Doc, it isn't Alice, and you don't know her."

Doc frowned. Not knowing everything tended to irritate him.

"Well, are you going to tell me?"

"She's just a girl I met at the movies."

"I'll bet she likes you calling her a girl," Doc laughed. "Does she live in the neighborhood?"

"Yeah, she shares an apartment ..."

"Shares?"

"Yeah, you know, roommates?"

The doc looked puzzled. "Folks usually dispense with roommates by the time they get out of college. How come ... hey ..."

"'Hey' what?"

"Will, she isn't—I mean—well, what does she do?"

"Do? Well, she's, you know, over at the college."

"She's a student!"

"Grad student."

"How old is this girl?"

"Okay, she's 26. You satisfied?"

"My God, man, are you trying to kill yourself?"

"Oh, brother."

"Will, she's less than half your age. You can't try to keep up with a young girl like that."

"You just said I was in good shape."

"Sure, for the shape you're in. Don't you wonder why this girl is keeping company with you?"

"She says she likes me. Is that so unbelievable?"

He frowned over his glasses again—one of his special edition, heavy-duty frowns, like he was about to make some pronouncement that would ring through the ages.

"Well, there's no fool like an old fool."

"Thanks a bunch. How about that Viagra?"

"I won't be a party to your suicide. You'll just have to get along, and she'll have to be patient. Hope she doesn't have a short attention span."

I left the doc feeling foolish. He was right. I was never one to dwell on my age or worry about my performance. It was just that I didn't want to disappoint Theresa. Not that our first time had gone badly. In fact, it was wonderful. Doc needn't have worried, because she was patient, and gentle. And she awoke feelings in me I thought I'd never experience again.

None of this could have happened without the movies. No, not that silly-assed crap they show at the mall multi-plex. I'm talking about the silver screen classics they show at the Chesterton. A retired professor of film bought it and restored it. It's a genuine movie palace. That's all he shows, the classics, and an occasional art house flick. I love old movies, films that were made even before I was born. He only shows restored prints, too, clear and crisp as the day they were made. Fortunately, some young people from the college rediscovered these cinema gems. Their patronage kept the place going, with the help of a couple of fogeys like me.

It was the night the Chesterton was showing "Sunset Boulevard" that I met Theresa. I'd remained in my seat until most of the credits had scrolled by, then got up and followed the trailing end of the crowd into the lobby. That's when I noticed a couple arguing. The guy had that smug look like he was entitled to everything. You know the type. There was something about him that made you want to smack him.

The girl—my God—she looked like Paulette Goddard. Dark hair that fell in curly tresses over her shoulders. She had an angel's face, but there was deviltry in her eyes. I could tell a fierce intelligence shone behind those eyes. She was about 5 feet 4, curvy with a sweet pear-shaped behind, clad in faded jeans. I noticed because she was bending over to gather some fliers that advertised that week's flicks. Her date grabbed her elbow roughly and spun her around. He caught his sweater in the zipper of her leather jacket and started to whine.

"Damn, look at that. You can't fix cashmere."

"To hell with your cashmere," she snarled. "You put your hand on me like that again and you'll wake up in a hospital."

He backed up and his face reddened. "Why the hell did you drag me to a movie with a bunch of people I never even heard of? I'll bet they're all dead."

"Yes, Jason, they're all dead. Why don't you drop dead too? Because no one dragged you anywhere. In fact, you weren't invited."

He bumped against her. "You little cocktease. You've been giving me signals all week in class. Little cunts like you—I'd like to ..."

"Be careful, sonny." I stood behind him and he was slow to turn around, hunching his shoulders. When he got a look at me he put the bluster on again.

"Be careful of what? You?" He laughed and took a step toward me.

"Jason, leave him alone," she called, but he just smirked. He was out to impress himself and the girl at my expense.

"C'mon, you want to start something? I'll kick your ass."

The girl tried to pull him away but he shook her off.

"Yes, son, you're about half my age, and in way better shape than I am. But, you see, you're in a no-win situation."

"Huh?"

"So you kick my ass. So what? All it means is you beat up an old man. That counts about as much on the macho scale as hitting a girl."

His face turned sour.

"But, there's always that possibility that I'll kick your sorry ass. And that would be a disaster—for you. Can you imagine word getting around that some guy on Social Security cleaned your clock? But don't let that worry you. Youth and the odds are still on your side. And I haven't killed anyone with my hands since—1973, I think."

Suddenly, he didn't seem so cocky. The color drained from his face. Cowards and bullies are so easy to buffalo.

"Yeah, right," he said and stepped back. "Tell you what; you go home with the cunt." He turned and headed for the door. He stopped just long enough to flip us the finger.

"I'm really sorry, sir," she said. "He's an asshole. He invited himself along and nearly ruined the whole movie for me. But to try to pick a fight with an ..."

"Old guy?" I chuckled.

"Oh, no, please, I didn't mean that. I think you were very—gallant."

"Well, thank you." I could feel my cheeks flush.

Her smile was dazzling. I felt like an awkward boy in the presence of this pretty girl.

"Would you like to have a coffee with me?" she asked. "There's a shop right around the corner."

"I know it. Yes, I'd love to have a coffee with you."

She took my arm, and I felt like a million bucks.


At that time of night Hank's coffee shop was usually filled with students. I held the door for Theresa as she gestured to me to follow her to a table in one corner of the room. The young patrons' heads turned to regard us then leaned close in half-whispered communications. I clearly heard a girl ask her companion, "Is that her father?"

Seated, we ordered two coffees and a cinnamon pastry for which Hank's is locally famous.

"Do you go to the Chesterton often?" I asked.

She took a cautious sip from her steaming cup, wetting her lips that were deep rose and nicely plump. "It's for a course. The only interesting course I have."

"Oh? What are you studying?"

"Hold on to your seat. I'm working on my degree in institutional management."

"Hmm, do you want to run a nuthouse or something? Ooops, I'm sorry, I guess that isn't PC these days."

Theresa's face brightened with laughter. "No, no ... museums. I'd like to manage a museum. It's really deadly stuff, that's why I took the film class. Now I'm thinking I'd like to manage a movie museum, complete with theater."

"Sounds like a great job."

"I never paid much attention to old movies," she said, twirling a curl from her temple. "I'd heard of them, but I never knew what they were about. 'Sunset Boulevard,' my gosh, I was just blown away. I couldn't believe she killed the young man at the end. I mean, she loved him so much. And, anyway, he was still narrating the movie." She laughed again.

"I think she was angry that he would leave her. He awakened feelings and desires in her that she thought were past and irrecoverable."

"I guess. Her last scene. It creeped me out so bad. She was a wonderful actress."

"She was perfect for the role. Maybe Tallulah could have pulled it off too."

"Who?"

"Tallulah Bankhead?"

She shook her head and shrugged.

"Your cinematic education still needs some work," I chuckled, and she nodded enthusiastically.

The time flew. We talked right up until closing. Hank came by to close the shop and send her manager home. Hank was one of the largest women I ever knew, but she moved like a ballet dancer among the tables.

"Will," she greeted me. "Well, you old tom cat, what are you doing out so late?"

My face was on fire, but Theresa's dazzling grin spread even wider.

"Watch yourself with this one, Dearie," she said in a mock whisper to Theresa. "He may look over-the-hill, but he has charm in reserve. Can't imagine the rake he must have been back in his twenties—right around the Civil War."

"Hank," I sputtered, "Give a guy a break, will ya?"

"Not likely," she laughed, and levitated toward the counter.

Theresa laughed too. "I take it you two are old friends."

"No, I don't know the woman. I think she's addled."

Theresa just giggled some more. Tears were trickling down her cheeks. "Oh, wow, I had so much fun tonight after all. Would you like to meet me at the theater next Wednesday? They're showing 'The Sea Hawk.'"

"Well—I ..."

"Please? I'd be nice to have someone with me who ..."

"Actually knows who all those dead actors are?"

"Don't make it sound like that," she grinned again.

"Wouldn't you rather go with your friends?"

"We're friends, aren't we?

I knew I was blushing as I tried to stammer a reply.

"Tell you what," she said. "Give me your number and I'll call you Wednesday. If you'd like to meet me, fine."

I gave her my telephone number and we got up to leave. I was going to offer to walk her home, but a couple of her friends spotted her outside and took over. She waved as they started home, with her friends giving me curious looks over their shoulders.

I was three feet off the pavement on the walk home, thinking I'd see her again the following week. By the time I took my jacket off in my apartment that old party-pooper, logic, made his appearance. I got to thinking the night was just a pleasant fluke. She most likely wouldn't call. A girl that young and pretty has better things to do than spend her time with an old guy, I thought. Anyway, I realized we hadn't even told each other our names.


The week dragged by, punctuated by a funeral for a friend of a friend. The wake was attended by a dozen desperate widows, including that of the deceased. I felt badly for the poor ladies, but since my Alana passed away I've settled into steady bachelor ways. The Doc says I'll die sooner if I live alone. So what?

Wednesday rolled around and the phone rang about 6 o'clock.

"Hello?"

"Hi, it's Theresa."

"Who?"

"Theresa, from the movies last week. We have a date to see 'The Sea Hawk.'"

"Date?"

"Um, it's okay if you can't—if you don't want to go ..."

"No-no-no, not at all. It's just; I never got your name."

"I know. I never got yours either."

"It's Will."

"Okay, well, you want to meet me in front of the theater, Will?"

"Yeah, under the marquee."

She laughed and said, "It's a date."

Date. I tumbled the word around in my head and grinned like the cat who put the canary in a safe place.

I got to the Chesterton first and purchased two tickets at the box office. I waved them at Theresa when she arrived. She said something about dutch treat, but I was hardly listening. I was awestruck by her curves. She wore a denim miniskirt and a tight, red sleeveless sweater that left her belly all bare. A guy could get lost in her belly button, it was so deep and round.

"I can't wait to see this," she said, taking my arm. "I heard all kinds of wicked things about Errol Flynn, but I never saw him in a movie."

"This is my favorite Flynn adventure," I said. "I only wish they had shot it in Technicolor instead of black and white, but Warner's wanted to use stock footage from other pirate movies, so ..."

"See what I mean," she smiled. "Where else am I going to get factoids like that?"

I was feeling like a million bucks again.

We took our seats amid a pretty sizeable crowd. I smiled; Flynn still packed them in. Then the lights went down and the screen shone with cinematic glory.

When Erich Wolfgang Korngold's score filled the auditorium Theresa grasped my arm and gasped. She was wide-eyed, like a kid going to the movies for the first time.

"Oh, wow!" she whispered.

When Flynn made his appearance she put one hand over her heart and her mouth opened into a perfect O. I was having as much fun watching her reaction as I was watching the movie.

I noticed her clench her thighs and sigh, "Oh, yes, he is beautiful. He could have me any day of the week and all day Sunday."

Then she gave me a shy sidelong glance and put her fingers to her mouth. "It's okay," I assured her. "He's always had that effect on women."

She grinned. "That girl is a great actress, playing so hard-to-get."

"That's Brenda Marshall. She's lucky she got the part. They wanted Olivia DeHaviland."

I'm usually annoyed when folks talk during the movie, but Theresa's whisper was so soft and feathery. Then to my amazement I realized my cock had lengthened down my thigh and was probably leaking from the tip.

Throughout the flick Theresa reacted to various scenes by squeezing my hand and leaning into my shoulder. She touched her chin and bit her lip during the Sea Hawks' retreat through the jungle when their Panama raid was betrayed, and whispered a plaintive "Oh, no" when Flynn's Captain Thorpe and the remainder of his crew were captured by the Spaniards and condemned to life as enslaved rowers on a Spanish galleon.

But when the Sea Hawks escaped their chains and took over the Spanish ship, that's when I think I fell in love with Theresa. The rough and tumble English sailors scurried into the rigging, tossing their erstwhile captors into the sea as that magnificent Korngold score came up again, this time in chorus. Theresa jumped to her feet, inserted two fingers into her mouth and let loose with an ear-splitting whistle, then she clapped and shouted "Yay!"

In an instant the rest of the audience was also cheering and applauding. I hadn't experienced such audience enthusiasm since the kids matinees I went to at the old Strand.

Theresa held my arm again and leaned into me during the climactic duel between Captain Thorpe and Henry Daniell's traitorous Lord Wolfingham. It was a remarkable duel, shot almost entirely as shadows on the wall. Flynn the hero triumphed again, and won the girl and saved England and the Queen.

In the final scene, as Flora Robson as Queen Elizabeth knights Captain Thorpe and gives a rousing speech before her sea hawks take on the Armada, I noticed a tear trickle down Theresa's cheek. Then, the final triumphant chorus of the Korngold score:

"For the Queen ... And for England!"

Theresa stood and the audience followed her cue cheering like a bunch of kids.

The audience chattered happily as we all exited to the lobby. A tall bald man in a dark suit stepped in front of us and said, "Young lady, I sure do hope you come to my theater often. I haven't seen an audience cut loose and enjoy a film like that since I was a kid."

Theresa grinned as I said, "I was thinking the same thing."

"Well, Sir, it's a pleasure to have you and your daughter at my theater."

"Um, the young lady isn't my daughter. We're just a couple of friends and movie fans."

"Oh, I beg your pardon," he said, and frowned a bit. "I just assumed ... well, no matter, glad to have you. I'm Art Jennings. I own the Chesterton."

"Pleased to meet you, Sir. And thank you."


Once outside, I asked, "Up for a coffee at Hank's?"

"No, I'm so pumped from that movie, I don't need any caffeine. You want to just walk?"

"Sure, I'll walk you home."

But she steered me away from the campus. We talked about the movie, and she hung on my every word as I explained how Spain was a stand-in for Nazi Germany, because the movie was shot during the war. But after a while our conversation turned personal.

"How come a handsome guy like you is all alone?" she said, and bit her lower lip.

"I used to be married. My wife died ten years ago."

"I'm sorry."

"She was still young. Something kinda showed up on an x-ray one day and she was gone soon after. I guess I couldn't see myself married to anyone else."

Theresa had taken my hand and squeezed it. "That's sweet."

"How about you? How come the guys aren't fighting each other to woo you?"

"Woo?" she laughed. "Well, I've been kind of celibate for a while. I thought maybe I'd concentrate on getting this degree in a hurry, so I had no time for, you know, romance. But, I don't think that was such a good idea."

She kept steering me away from the campus until we found ourselves one street over from my building.

"Now here I was trying to walk you home, and I'm nearly home myself. I better get you a cab."

I was hoping I could flag one down, but we were already at my door and I hadn't spotted a taxi.

"Well, aren't you going to ask me up?" she winked.

I was feeling kind of warm and a sheen of perspiration moistened my forehead. I tried not to stammer.

"I guess you have to come up because I'll have to call that cab ..."

She held the lapels of my jacket and stepped close to me. "I had a really great time tonight," she said, then she kissed me. And it wasn't any friendly peck. Her luscious lips locked on mine and my knees just about buckled. When I felt her tongue trace my lips I was just about gone.

She broke the kiss, took my hand and led me up my own stairs. I might as well have been a puppy led on a leash. I fumbled with the keys before we slipped through the door and climbed the three flights to my flat. The whole time my head was in a swirl. I closed the apartment door behind us as she turned and faced me. She kicked off her shoes and raised her hands behind her head to lift and shake out her hair. Her breasts weren't big, but that sweater sure showed off their shape.

"Look, Theresa, I—I mean—you're a young girl and ..."

"You're a very handsome guy who is going to waste. Will, help me here, okay? The movie, and talking to you, and everything has just made me so—oh, God, my panties are soaking wet. I know I sound like a slut, but ..."

"No, gosh no, Theresa, I just ..."

She pulled her sweater over her head, baring herself entirely from her waist on up. Her breasts were beautiful, turned up and tipped with dark rosy nipples. She stepped over to me and pulled my arms around her.

I hadn't touched soft girl flesh like that in a long time. A voice a million miles away was saying, "Will, what are you doing?" It faded away.

I heard something zip and then I felt her skirt fall at our feet. She kissed me again and my hands wandered over her back. She stepped backward and we made our way to the bedroom in lockstep, like she must have had radar in her ass. She undressed me while we were still standing then pushed me backward on the bed. She slid her bikini off then and lay down next to me.

"Theresa," I said, my voice hoarse from my thick throat. "I'm not sure I can ..."

She glanced toward my cock, which I hadn't noticed had hardened and was pointing toward the ceiling. "Let me," she said, and smiled.

She closed her hand over it, grazing the tip with her thumb. A thousand generators whined in my head and I just gave myself up. She leaned over and flicked her tongue at a cap of precum that coated the tip. Meanwhile, my hands had minds of their own. They were squeezing her breasts and relishing her soft belly flesh.

Theresa rose on one knee and then straddled me. She eased herself onto my cock. I nearly fainted from the onslaught of sensations as her body enveloped me, then she began to ride me in a slow, deliberate rhythm as my hands stroked her thighs.

"God, you feel so good," she moaned. "I'm so bad, I'm so bad. I'm going to fuck you so good."

She threw her head back. Her eyes were half closed and only the whites showed. She began to whimper.

I was at her mercy, a moth held fast by a spider, a mouse held in a cat's paws.

"Oh. Will ... I'm such a bad, bad, bad, girl ... I'm so bad. Come in me ... please. Hurry! I'm coming ..."

I came before she did and I thought I'd never stop. Then she cried, a long plaintive moan, and shuddered.

She fell against me, her head nestled onto my shoulder and her breast pressed against my ribs.

"Do you think I'm terrible?" she said, an enticing sincerity in her voice.

"What? No, of course not."

"I'm not a slut, Will. I just needed to ..."

"Theresa, stop that. I never thought any such thing. I—I loved it. Thank you."

"I loved it too."

"But, I think I'm done for the night."

"That's okay," she yawned. "I'm sleepy."

She pulled the bedclothes over our shoulders. Seconds later she fell fast asleep.


I awoke as the first light of morning brightened my bedroom. I was spooned together with Theresa, my nose nudged the cleft of her shoulder blade and her ass curved against my groin. It took my brain a few seconds to process what had happened. I had slept with a girl who was young enough to be my daughter, if I had a daughter. I reviewed the reel of the previous evening's events. She had seduced me, no doubt no how. Played me like a 13-year-old. I smiled.

The sensations that the touch of her body set off in me were a delightful symphony of electrical currents. My own body hadn't felt so alive in years. I thought of Alana, and remembered how she felt when we were young.

For a long time I just held her and listened to her breathe. Then I reluctantly got up. As I lifted the bedclothes, the aroma of our sex from the night before wafted through the room. I almost got back into bed.

I made us coffee and breakfast: Eggs and bacon and toast.

"That smells good," she said, stepping into the kitchen wrapped in the sheet from my bed. "It woke me up."

"Good morning. Have a seat."

We didn't talk much, just smiled a lot and ate. Maybe I should have talked about last night, but she was so at ease and everything seemed so right, I didn't feel we needed to analyze what had happened.

A sharp rap at the door startled us both. "Who in the hell is that banging the door with a baseball bat?" I grumbled.

I got up and opened the door to find two cops, one with a nightstick in his hand. "Yeah? What's going on?"

"Mr. Kannady?" the older cop said.

"Yeah,"

"We're looking for a woman who was reported seen in your company last night. She didn't return home and her roommates are concerned about her."

I must have looked awfully stupid. His words were meaningless.

"Sir, do you know where Theresa Tiompkin is?"

Before I could answer, Theresa stepped around me, still wrapped in the sheet. "That's me, and as you can see I'm perfectly fine. Geesh."

The younger cop nearly dropped his nightstick. His partner narrowed his eyes and gave us both a once-over. "As long as you're all right, Miss. Your friends were very worried. I take it they don't know you're ..." The cop let it drop. He nudged his partner and they started back down the hall.

They were almost to the stairs when I heard the older one say, "Lots of girls put themselves through college that way."

I started after them. "Hey, what's that supposed to mean?"

They stopped and turned. "Well, sir. That's a young girl and you're ..."

"Older than dirt? Well, I haven't joined AARP yet."

"Well, sir ..."

"Listen, sonny, nothing's going on here that's anyone else's business."

"If you say so. Have a nice day, Sir."

As they left I muttered loud enough for them both to hear, "Horse's ass."

When I got back inside the apartment Theresa was already dressed. "I'm sorry, Will. I don't know what they were thinking of. There've been plenty of times when one or two of the girls didn't come home after a night out. We never called the cops. I'm gonna kill them."

"Did you tell them who you were going to the movie with?"

"Yeah, so?"

"Nothing." But I knew why they called. She was out with Mr. Fossil. Not coming home after a night out with a young man wouldn't be cause for anything more than a few giggles. I'll bet they imagined I'd had her tied up some place.

"I better run," Theresa said. She gave her hair a shake and kissed me. "See you next week at the movies? They're showing 'High Noon.'"

"I'd like that. It's a great film."

"Okay, see you Wednesday at the Chesterton."


I was looking forward to a long, dull week—a week so long that Wednesday looked like it was a year away. I wanted to see Theresa again; I wanted her company. But I also wanted her body. I felt myself becoming greedy for her touch, for the sensations her touch ignited. But along with the desire there were now doubts. Maybe this isn't as right as it feels, I thought. Was I some kind of lecher?

Then I began to worry about my ability to satisfy such a young girl. I used to chuckle at those Viagra ads, but a scenario began to play in my head, of Theresa disappointed as I apologized for not being able to give her the pleasure she deserved. That's what led me to try to cajole Dr. Raines into giving me the little blue wonder pills. Well, he slammed the door on that notion, and made me feel like an old fool to be keeping company with Theresa.

Saturday, I was sitting at the counter at Hank's. I was alone, still trying to sort through my feelings and doubts and hopes.

Hank poured me another cup of coffee. "Nice girl you were in here with the other night," she said.

"Yeah," I nodded. "She's a really nice girl."

"I'll bet she nailed your hat to the ceiling."

I nearly choked on my coffee. "What?"

Hank smiled one of those crooked, leering smiles. "C'mon, Will, you got it written all over you. You slept with that girl, didn't you?"

"Well—I—that's none of ..."

"Oh, puhleeeeze. I just can't understand what you're moping about. She's a honey."

I frowned. "Jesus, Hank, look at me."

"Hey, Will, I do look at you. I'll bet a lot of ladies look at you. I shouldn't be telling you this, but you're a good-looking man. You're tall, s quare-jawed, and that iron-gray head of hair of yours—well I know some gals who'd die to run their fingers through it."

"But, Hank, she's so young, and I'm ..."

"Hot!"

Damn, she got me to blush. "C'mon, Hank."

"Listen, Will, it's hard enough for a full-figured gal like me, but I'm picky anyway. If a handsome young college boy wanted me, damn, I say bring it on. If a fella as handsome and classy as you wanted me, well bring that on too."

My eyes were watering. I wanted to say something but my throat had gotten thick.

"Will, a pretty girl has taken a shine to you. Makes all the sense in the world to me. Tell you the truth, I'm kinda jealous of her bony white ass."

I laughed out loud. I put my hands on her cheeks, pulled her close and kissed her.

Behind me I heard a subdued, feminine voice say, "Well, that's more his type."

I turned to face three young women sitting at a table looking straight at me. I could tell which one made the remark because she quickly averted her eyes. I stood up and stepped over to their table.

"Good morning, ladies. Is there something we need to discuss?"

They shot nervous glances at each other, but said nothing.

"I'm guessing you're all friends of Theresa?"

"We're her roommates," one said. She had dark red hair and seemed to be the most mature of the three.

"Oh, yes. The worried roommates. That's awfully considerate of you, calling the cops on her for staying out all night."

"Well, we were worried," the suddenly shy one said, then looked away again.

"Like I said, very considerate."

"Look, Sir," said the leader. "Don't you—I mean—you're so much older than Theresa—wouldn't you feel better if you dated, you know, a woman your own age?"

"Feel better than what?"

"Well, I—just thought."

"Look, Miss, Theresa and I are friends. We like to watch old movies together. I enjoy her company and she enjoys mine. I think she and I have a right to choose our friends."

She didn't say anything, but looked uncertainly at her companions.

I nodded and said, "It's been a pleasure meeting you all. It's good to know Theresa has a lot of friends who care about her."

I turned and started to go when I heard the one who hadn't said anything whisper, "You should have asked him if they've had sex."

I spun around. "Well, aren't you sweet, dear? Thank you so much."

"Huh?"

"For your vote of confidence, thinking an old duff like me could have sex. Wait till I tell them all down at the Golden Age club."

I winked at Hank on the way out. But once outside I was frowning again. I figured they must have been giving Theresa a hard time too. Sure, it's one thing to flout society's conventions, but I didn't want to be the cause of any grief and ridicule for Theresa.

I walked home and let myself in. Mrs. Molotov stood at the foot of the stairs like a squat gargoyle. "Young girl upstairs," she said in her leaden Russian accent. "She wait outside your door for you. Tsk-tsk, old man like you going hurt yourself."

"I don't suppose you'd believe me if I told you she was my nurse?"

"Hmmph! Nurse like that put old man in hospital." She snorted and went back inside her apartment.

I climbed the stairs and found Theresa sitting outside my door. She jumped up and ran into my arms.

"Hey, what are you doing here? What's wrong?"

"Can I come in?"

I unlocked the door and we stepped through. She tossed her bag on the couch and let loose a long sigh.

"I met your roommates at Hank's a little while ago."

She spun around. "Oh, God, were they awful to you?"

"No, not at all. They seem like good friends. They're concerned about you."

"They're three pains in my ass."

I started to laugh and she gave me a mock punch in my arm. "Stop it. They really are."

"They just—well—look, Theresa. I didn't think we needed to talk about this, but, you know, I'm an awful lot older than you. People just don't think it's right for a young girl like you to ."

"Aw, screw people. I like you, Will. I've never known anyone like you. You can talk about anything and you listen to me and you're patient and you don' t cut me off when I talk and . I really love making love with you."

I thought I should say that maybe we shouldn't see each other any more, that it would be best for both of us. But I wanted her so much then. Someday I knew we'd part ways. She had a whole life ahead of her and, I had no doubt, someone special in her future. But I didn't think I could stand to lose her, not just then.

This time it was I who kissed her, a lingering kiss. I stepped back a bit and lifted her T-shirt up and over her head. Then I bent and slid one arm behind her legs and the other around her back. I lifted her and carried her to my bed. She was smiling when I set her down.

"Just like Errol Flynn," she said in a soft, feathery sigh. She lay back and I tugged off her jeans and her panties.

"There's something I used to do—used to like to do with my Alana," I said.

She lay across the bed, her knees bent at the edge and her feet dangling off the floor. I kneeled, and winced as a bolt of pain zinged up to my hip.

"You okay?" she asked.

"Bad knee. All eaten up with arthritis, it's okay."

I gently parted her thighs. A wet, syrupy streak divided the outer lips of her pussy. Except for a sparse grove of wispy, dark hairs, she was nearly as smooth as a baby. I leaned closer and kissed her thighs. She gasped and began to lick her lips as I got closer to her labia.

She caught her breath and then moaned a long sweet "Ooooo" when I kissed her pussy. I tugged her lips apart gently with mine, then I let my tongue linger along her inner folds. For a moment I was in another place, and it was Alana I was licking, and probing. She hadn't wanted me to lick her, but I persuaded her once. Afterward she looked forward to that part of our lovemaking, and I would continue to bring her to orgasms until she protested that she would be too raw to wear panties in the morning.

Theresa's thrashing shattered my reverie. "Oh—oh, God. Oh, God, Will."

My face was dripping with thin viscous fluid. Alana never did that.


Theresa lay like a limp rag doll on my bed, a dreamy smile stretching across her face. I sat and watched her for a long time as she catnapped. Finally she propped herself up on her elbows.

"I have to go," she pouted. "That was wonderful, Will. No one ever ate my pussy like that."

She shook out her hair and dressed. I just watched her, fascinated and enthralled.

She stepped to my door and turned. "See you Wednesday. Don't stand me up."

Then she was gone, and the room wasn't quite as bright.


Wednesday morning I woke up with a swollen knee, must have been a change in the weather coming. I barely got around most of the day, and ate a couple of pills the doc had given me a year ago. By early evening the swelling had gone down but I walked with a slight limp to the Chesterton.

This time Theresa had beaten me to the theater. Her face brightened when she saw me and she waved the tickets at me. "My treat tonight," she said.

I nodded and hobbled to her side.

"Are you okay? Did you hurt your leg?"

"Yeah, about 30 years ago. I suppose I should get it replaced with one of those plastic and aluminum things."

She took my arm and we entered the theater. Mr. Fleming nodded as he took our tickets and tore them in half. We stopped at the concession for a super-sized popcorn and made our way into the auditorium.

Theresa took my hand as the curtains parted. A rider crossed the silver gray landscape as a plaintive guitar strummed and Tex Ritter crooned.

"Do not forsake me, O my Darlin' ..."

Those sweet melancholy notes pierced my heart. I tried surreptitiously to wipe my eyes.

The scene changed from the outlaws waiting for the noon train to the wedding of Marshal Kane and Amy the Quaker girl. Theresa leaned over and whispered, "She's awfully pretty, and so young."

I wondered if she realized what she was saying. "Uh-huh, Grace was an ingénue, very young, and ethereally beautiful—just like you."

She looked at me and smiled, but there was something else in her eyes, some uncertainty.

Onscreen the marshal desperately tried to recruit deputies to face the gunmen who had come back to settle scores with him. He was turned down at every turn, abandoned and shunned. His fair-haired bride flatly said she would leave him if he faced the ruthless killers. The clock ticked relentlessly in real time toward high noon.

"The marshal is so stiff," Theresa said. "Not his acting, but the way he moves."

"Yeah, Coop was hurting through the whole shoot. He had ulcers, and he was in constant arthritic pain—like me." I said.

The clock struck noon. Marshal Kane wrote out his last will and testament and walked out onto an empty street to face the Miller Gang. In the opening gunshots he nailed one the bad guys. Theresa grabbed my arm and held her breath.

The gunfight ranged throughout the town. Then it looked like the outlaws would catch the marshal in a crossfire, but a gunshot rang out and another outlaw lay in the dusty street, shot in the back by Amy the Quaker bride.

"Bout goddamned time," Theresa said.

The evil Frank Miller grabbed Amy, holding her at gunpoint until the marshal showed himself. But as the marshal stepped out, Amy broke away. The marshal took down his nemesis with one bullet.

The danger dealt with, the street filled with the townspeople who had cowered out of sight. One loyal teenage boy drove a buckboard onto the street. The marshal helped his bride up then turned to the townspeople. Removing his tin star from his vest, he tossed it into the street, climbed aboard with his bride and rode away. Not a single word of dialog. It was one of the most powerful and controversial endings to any American-made movie.

Tex Ritter's mellow vocals came up as the camera backed away:

Do not forsake me, O my darlin', Although you're grievin'—don't think of leavin', Now that I need you by my side . Wait along—wait along—wait along ...

My eyes were about to spill over, and I didn't want Theresa to see. I wondered if Gary Cooper felt uncomfortable, being cast with a twenty-something Grace Kelly.

I thought it was time to tell Theresa, as much as I enjoyed her, as grateful as I was that she'd brought magic back into my life, that maybe it was a good idea that we go our separate ways. Like Marshal Kane understood, a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.

But when we got to the lobby, standing there in the middle of the milling crowd, Theresa turned to face me.

"You know what I liked about that movie?" she said. "How she stuck by her man even though everyone else deserted him or ridiculed him."

I tried to speak, but she shook her head. "And, at the end, when he tossed his badge in the dirt, it was like he was telling them all, 'you bunch of hypocrites, who cares what you think about anything?"

"Theresa, I ..."

"Well, I don't have a badge to toss in the dirt, so I guess this is going to have to do." She pulled me close and kissed me. You could have heard a pin drop in that place, except for a few gasps and some titters.

After we broke our kiss she grinned and took my arm. Mr. Fleming greeted us at the exit. "Thanks for coming, Sir, Miss. And thanks for reviving an American tradition."

"What's that?"

"Falling in love at the movies."


Theresa and I saw a lot of movies through the fall and winter, and into the spring. She got her degree in June, and landed a job at a film museum in San Francisco. It was time. We said our goodbyes, sad that something wonderful had come to an end. But I was glad for her. She kept in touch, despite a whole continent between us, with letters and later with email once she cajoled me into getting a computer.

Her latest message contained a picture of her with a young man. There they were, two people in love. I smiled when I read, "You'd like him, Will. He's a lot like you. And he likes to lick!!!!"

And there I was, daydreaming at Hank's counter when Doc Raines climbed onto the stool beside me.

"You wouldn't be interested in going on a double date, would ya?" he rasped. "That is if you've given up your Lolitas."

I laughed out loud. "A double date? What, are we back in junior high school?"

"Aw, don't be a pain in the ass. Alice Wilkins said I could take her out, but she's got this thing about first dates and she wants to double up first."

"Can't blame her. After all, you're the only guy I know with an unlimited supply of Viagra."

Doc stewed for a bit before he demanded, "Well, will you or not? Can you get a date?"

I called down the counter. "Hey, Hank, you wanna go to the movies with me and doc and his date?"

"Woohoo! You gonna let me hold your hand when the lights go down?"

"Sure, you can start with my hand."

"Oh, baby! Bring it on!"

Doc blanched. Hank and I laughed like a couple of kids.

© 2003 R.E. Buckley. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission from the author.


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