This story is fictional, but parts of it are autobiographical. I did briefly live in Chester Heights, but I did not attend Tuckahoe High School. My parents moved into the community after I had graduated from a nearby high school and I learned of it from my younger siblings. I used tiny Tuckahoe in this story because I liked the concept of David vs. Goliath. I did grow up in the era described here so that alone should tell you that I’m in my seventies. I did meet a beautiful young woman named Barbara during my senior year, but she was my best friend’s girlfriend. I met the woman I married when I first went to work. We’re still together more than fifty years later.
There is plenty of sex between consenting adults in this story, but it is all embedded in the story. If you’re looking for one sex scene after another you need to look elsewhere. Also, this is a long story—132 pages—so I’ve broken it into five parts. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Sr. Longo
My legal name is John…John Joseph French, but nobody who knows me—not even a single teacher--calls me by my legal name. My family calls me Jack or J.J. All my friends call me Freak. It’s not an insult. It’s a term of endearment. After all, how many people do you know who celebrate two birthdays? I have my original one—November 12, 1942--and I have my “Re-birthday”—March 27, 1951. It was the day I almost died. It was the day I was reborn. It was the day my life changed forever.
My story doesn’t start here, but this is where I’ve decided to begin—in church. It was the first week in December and a surprise blizzard had dumped almost ten inches of wet sloppy snow overnight. Luckily, I had a 4-wheel drive Jeep with big knobby tires that were great for snow or for driving on the beach, something I did occasionally in the summer at my parents’ bungalow on Long Island. It was slow going over the eight miles from my home to St. Catharine’s, but I still arrived in plenty of time to get a seat on the end of the pew.
I had been there maybe fifteen minutes when I stood for the start of the Mass. I couldn’t help but notice the striking young woman standing just behind me along the wall. Looking down I could see from the puddles at her feet that her shoes were soaked through. She had walked a long way in the snow. I’m a gentleman so I exited the row and pointed her to my seat. “Thank you,” she whispered with a smile.
I tried to pay attention to the priest, but, truthfully, I found the girl much more interesting. As I concentrated on her I realized that this was her lucky day, but I had to be in the right place at the right time. Just before the service ended I walked quickly to the stairs at the main entrance where I pulled two carefully folded objects from my coat pocket. They were Korkers—rubber soles that strap to one’s special shoes or boots with numerous sharp metal studs that give incredible traction on the slickest surfaces. Once they were in place I stepped to the icy sidewalk and waited.
It was some five minutes before she appeared with the throng of worshipers who signaled that Mass had ended. I stepped in closely behind her, grabbing her firmly under her arms even before her shoes slipped on a small patch of ice and she fell backwards. Had I not been here she would have landed on her back, smashing the rear of her skull onto the sharp-edged concrete below. She would have died from a brain hemorrhage long before any emergency services would be able to reach her. Instead, I helped her to her feet and suggested she take my arm.
“I noticed your shoes were wet in church. Once you came out into the freezing temperature those wet soles turned to ice. You’re lucky I’m an observant person. You might have been badly hurt.” We had walked almost half a block before I spoke again. “How far do you have to walk?”
“Just to the other side of Lincoln Avenue.”
“Okay…that’s more than a mile. I think I’d better give you a ride. You’ll be a lot safer in my Jeep than on these sidewalks. I’m sure that a lot of them aren’t shoveled yet.”
“You’re right. I wish I’d worn my boots, but I was almost halfway here when I realized how wet my feet were becoming. I would have been really late if I had returned to my home. I don’t know you. I don’t even know your name.”
“I’ll tell you everything at the diner. I’m sure you’re hungry. You received communion so you haven’t eaten anything since last night. I’ll give you a dime so you can phone your family as soon as we arrive. Incidentally, if I hadn’t caught you when you fell you would have hit your head on the concrete and died. I’ll explain how I know that, too. Okay, there’s my Jeep—that green monstrosity at the corner. I don’t think you’ll be able to get in on the other side because of the snow, so….” I bent over, lifted her legs with my left arm and placed her gently onto the passenger seat.
I was in my seat when I pointed to the shoulder/lap belt. “You might want to use the seatbelt. They’ll be mandatory in another twenty years. It will protect you if we have an accident. I’m a safe and careful driver, but I can’t account for others, especially in snow and ice.” I pulled the Jeep out, driving slowly and turning right at the corner. Three minutes later I pulled into the diner’s parking lot. We had just stepped into the restaurant when the waitress directed us to a booth.
“Here’s the dime I promised you, but before you go I want to show you something. Are you having coffee?” I continued when she nodded. “Then you’ll probably want some sugar.” I held my hand on the table and a second later the sugar dispenser slid into it.
“How…how did you do that?”
“Make your call. I’ll explain everything while we wait for our breakfast…or lunch if you prefer.” She was shaking her head in dismay as she walked to the phone booth. I watched her dial and speak briefly before returning to the seat facing me. She sat quietly as I began my tale.
“It happened while I was on vacation with my family in Florida. I was in third grade and playing hide and seek with my two cousins and my two sisters. I was “it” and had my head resting against a palm tree while I counted to 100. A storm blew in from the ocean; lightning struck the tree running through my brain and down my arm to my elbow.” I opened my collar and turned around so she could see the inch-wide burn scar. “That runs all the way to my elbow. It used to be on top of my head, too, but I took care of it so I’d at least look normal.”
“But, you’re not, are you?”
“No, I am definitely not.” The waitress gave us menus and we ordered omelets with coffee for her and hot chocolate for me. “I woke up a day later in the hospital. I’m sure you’ve heard that opposite charges attract and like charges repel. Well, for a split fraction of a second that tree and I had incredible negative charges. Being lighter and not stuck in the ground I was repelled—forty feet, I was told—into the side of a pickup truck.
“When I woke up I still had my eyes closed and when I tried to figure out what was wrong with me I got the shock of my life. Starting at my head I could essentially ‘see’ inside my body. I actually saw the two cracked ribs, broken bone in my forearm, and broken shin in addition to a load of bruises and cuts on my head, body, and legs. Once I knew that I wondered if I could also make my body and bones heal faster than they would normally.”
“I’ll bet you could.”
“Yeah, I could and I did. I’ve read recently that human beings only use about ten percent of their brain’s capacity. I should have been killed, but instead, something happened when I was struck that changed my brain. I had a high IQ before, but I’ve been tested more than a dozen times since and my score is always off the chart. Of course, that alone is no sure sign of success. That takes a lot more like motivation and willingness to work hard.
“Oh…I’m so sorry. I just realized that I never introduced myself--I’m John…John Joseph French, but please call me Jack. I live in Chester Heights…know where that is?” I continued when she nodded. “I go to Tuckahoe High School. I’m a senior there, just turned eighteen three weeks ago.”
Her name was Barbara…Barbara Millard She was an orphan—her parents killed in an auto accident when she was three—and she had lived with the same foster parents, the Gleason’s, ever since. She was also eighteen—roughly a month older than me and a senior at a Catholic girls’ school run by the Archdiocese of New York in nearby Yonkers.
“Okay, there’s a lot more to tell so I’d better get back to it. I had been in the hospital about three weeks. My dad had driven my sisters back to New York while my mom stayed in Florida with me. That was when I told the doctor that I was completely healed and I wanted the casts removed. Of course, he scoffed so I suggested a deal. If he would have my ribs x-rayed and they weren’t healed I’d stay in the casts. But, if they were healed I wanted x-rays of my arm and leg. You already know what happened. I was completely healed although the doctor was mystified. I couldn’t tell him how it had occurred. He would never have believed me.
“I love to read the newspaper, especially the sports section. I noticed almost immediately that certain teams seemed to jump off the page. Then my parents told us that they were going to Yonkers Raceway on Friday night. They did that at least once a year with their group of friends. Monday night I looked at the newspaper’s racing form and five of the horse names stood out. The following day I checked and they all had won.”
“You could make a fortune with that.”
“Yeah,” I chuckled, “my thinking exactly.” I paused while our eggs and sides of bacon were served. “On Wednesday night I gave my father a sealed envelope and asked him to sign his name across the seals then I put it onto the refrigerator door. The following afternoon I brought in the racing results and opened the envelope in my parents’ presence. They were shocked that all of my predictions were correct. Then I gave them my predictions for Friday when they were going to the track along with two dollars from my allowance and directions for placing two bets for me.
The first was a horse in the third race with high odds. It went off at 18 to 1 and paid $38.20. The second bet was a parlay—the entire thirty-eight bucks--on the Perfecta in the ninth race where the odds would be roughly 4500 to 1. I also gave them three other races in between. I explained that I did this so they would trust my predictions. I know my dad; he’d go to the track and not bet for me, telling me he forgot if I didn’t prove that I knew what I was doing. I thought it was funny at the time that I couldn’t see the results of every race and that’s never changed. I can usually see five or six out of the total. The same is true with baseball or football schedules.
“Long story short, everyone bet on my choices, but fortunately not so much as to create suspicion. My mom and dad and all of their friends bet ten bucks on the perfecta, winning almost $46,000 and I won almost four times as much. I took half knowing that my parents would have to pay income tax on their winnings and placed $10,000 into a bank account for college then invested the rest through a friend’s father who is a stockbroker.”
“Did that work with stocks, too?” My smile answered the question for her.
“Needless to say, my parents went to the track more often and my personal money has grown into a fortune. My friend’s father no longer charges for my purchases and sales, but he does use the information with his other clients so he makes plenty that way. Then again, so do all of the brokers at Merrill Lynch. I actually have a contract that they have to make my trades first--before releasing the information to the other brokers.
“When all this happened I was a tall skinny and bookish kid, but I loved sports even though I was terrible so I wondered if I could make myself into an athlete. For me the obvious place to do that was the public library where I could learn all about the traits and skills that great athletes have. I was able to make myself strong, fast, and quick. I love basketball so I became ambidextrous and grew my hands and feet and body to what I thought would be perfect for playing and I developed excellent depth perception. Then one day I found a set of New York State law books in the library’s research section. That’s where I learned that eighth graders could play high school sports with the principal’s permission. I was in sixth grade then so I had time to gradually improve my body and my skills. I can dribble, shoot, and even write with both hands. I can run like the wind and jump like you wouldn’t believe.”
“I think I would believe even though what you’ve told me is unbelievable.”
“Everyone in school thought I was crazy for trying out in eighth grade, but I made the team. Our first games were on a Friday night—junior varsity at six and varsity at eight. I didn’t start the JV game, but I went in midway through the second quarter and played very well so the coach told me that he wanted me to suit up for the varsity game. I had to throw my sweaty uniform back on and run out to the gym to tell my parents.
“I did get to play when our first two centers got into foul trouble and again I played well, but we lost the game. The following Tuesday I played more and we won. The next day I was promoted to first team. I’ve been there ever since and we never lost again, winning four straight state championships.”
“Did you win any awards? Is that what they’re called?”
I smiled. “Yeah…’awards’ is good. I made second team all-league in eighth, first team all-league and all-county ever since and last year I was All-State and All-American, too. I’m sorry, I’ve monopolized the conversation.”
“Don’t apologize. It’s been fascinating. You probably should have been killed, but you weren’t and what’s happened to you has been a miracle.”
“I guess it has. Are you in any school activities?”
Barbara laughed. “I have a bunch of nuns for teachers. What do you think? Besides, I have to take three buses just to get to school. That takes me more than an hour each way. I ride the red bus to Chester Heights then the blue bus to Bronxville and then transfer again to Yonkers.”
“I can empathize. My dad told me I could try out for sports, but I’d have to walk home every day. It’s about three and a half miles and after running my butt off for two hours it’s a long walk, especially in the winter when it’s dark and cold. Sometimes I walked across the Siwanoy golf course and the parkway. It’s shorter that way, but last year I got my senior license and now I can drive which is good because I play football and baseball, too, and the baseball field is down in the Village of Tuckahoe. There’s a bus back to school, but it takes almost half an hour to get there.”
“You know, I’ve never even been to a high school game of any kind.”
“Would you like to come with me Friday night? It’s going to be a big game. Tuckahoe is a really small school and we’re going to play New Rochelle. My mom went there and she told me that they had more than 3,000 students then. I think they still have that or more. They’ll be a real challenge. They want to break our win streak. It’s up to 105 now—a state record.”
“I’d love to go. What time?”
“I’d have to pick you up at about 5:45 so have a bite to eat first. I’ll take you out for pizza after if you like.”
“That sounds great. What should I wear?”
“Jeans or slacks and a blouse, but nothing too heavy because the gym is always jammed and it gets hot.” She nodded her agreement and we rose from the booth. I paid the bill, tipped the waitress and led Barbara back to my Jeep. I drove her around the block where she showed me to the entrance to her apartment. She lived on the second floor above a number of retail stores—a far cry from where I lived in a big house on a big lot on a quiet street.
I phoned Barbara on Wednesday evening as we had agreed. She had read about our Tuesday game against Concordia, a Lutheran private school only about two miles from mine. We destroyed them, 96-40. We had an outstanding group of seniors. Any one of the five of us could score double figures at any time and we all did in this game and we also had two skilled subs with good experience. I’d had 40 and I only played three quarters. Our point guard, Tony, had twenty-two assists, but there was nothing unusual about that.
We spoke for almost an hour and I did get to speak briefly with her foster mother, Mrs. Gleason, who told me that Barbara was really looking forward to our date on Friday. I was looking forward to it, too. Most girls were dwarfed by my six feet six inch, two hundred and twenty pound frame and Barbara was no exception. I estimated her height at five feet nine inches and she was slender with medium-sized breasts and shapely hips. Her face was absolutely beautiful in my opinion—perfectly oval and symmetrical with sparkling blue eyes and a small nose—nicely framed by shoulder-length lustrous reddish brown hair. I was sure that I had a good hundred pounds on her. Looking back, I was sure I’d fallen in love at first sight.
The weather was cold and clear Friday night when I rang the bell at her apartment. An elderly woman I correctly assumed was Mrs. Gleason opened the door on the second floor. She greeted me warmly and smiled when I gave her the bouquet of flowers I had bought for her. I was met by Mr. Gleason just inside the living room where he thanked me for stopping Barbara from falling. “I’m a bank guard now so I don’t make a lot of money and Barbara doesn’t have great health insurance from Social Services so any kind of injury would have been a burden on us. Of course, her welfare always comes first.” I realized then that Barbara hadn’t told them much about our lengthy conversation.
She appeared from a door across the living room and I could tell she was shocked by my attire. I was wearing a blue sports jacket with a white button-down shirt and a blue and gold striped tie with charcoal gray slacks and cordovan loafers. I laughed as she approached. “You’re probably wondering why I’m all dressed up when I told you to dress casually. I have to dress up for games. It’s a team rule, but I have some casual clothes in my car.” We said good night to the Gleason’s and walked quickly down the stairs to the street where I led her not to my Jeep, but to my ’61 Olds Starfire convertible.
“Where’s the Jeep? You have two cars?”
“Yeah, I rent a garage a couple of blocks from my home and keep one of my cars there. The Jeep is great in bad weather, but the ride is really harsh and the heater stinks.” I held the door for her then sat behind the wheel and started the Olds’ powerful V8 engine. Two minutes later we were on the parkway on our way to my school.
“I need to warn you…well, maybe not warn you, but I do need to tell you what will happen when we get there. The gym will be packed; it always is. The school is old—built in the early 1930’s—and the gym is small. They probably violate every fire regulation ever created by packing people in at every game. They even have a TV camera that broadcasts to the cafeteria just downstairs to accommodate all of the people. I’ll introduce you to my family—my mom and dad and my two youngest sisters. I have three, all younger than me, but Angela who’s in tenth grade is a cheerleader. Mom and Dad are saving a seat for you. There are four men who always sit behind them. They’ll get up when we walk in so I can lie down and meditate. I clear my mind of everything and go into a kind of trance until the end of the third quarter of the JV game when I wake up and go into the locker room to dress for the game. I always hug and kiss my mom and dad and my sisters and I’ll do the same with you if that’s okay. I’ve asked my mom to speak with you once I’m in the locker room.”
“Why? What about?”
“I’ll let her tell you. It’s nothing bad. Okay, that’s the school just ahead.” I pulled into the parking lot and found a place to park, grabbing my bag and locking the car before walking Barbara to the entry. I had timed our arrival well. The first half of the JV game had just ended. The teams were just walking off the floor when everyone stood and began screaming, “FREAK! FREAK! FREAK!” I waved my acknowledgment and turned to Barbara. “Sorry, I forgot to warn you about that. They get a little carried away. That’s what all the kids call me…kind of like a nickname.”
We walked along the end of the court as I pointed to the four state championship banners hanging from the wall at the other end. Behind us was another with my name and number. “What’s that,” Barbara asked.
“The school board retired my number last year which is really strange. They usually wait until a person has graduated before doing that.” I introduced her to my parents and to my sisters—Marie and Carole. The four men greeted me then rose and stood while I laid my coat and sports jacket on the bleacher. A minute later I was in a deep trance, one that wiped my brain clean of any extraneous thoughts. When I roused myself there was only the game on my mind. I stood and, after thanking the men again, I hugged and kissed my dad and mom then my sisters and finally Barbara who surprised me by turning her head so my lips fell on hers. She broke it with a smile as I walked down the court to our locker room.
Jack had just entered the locker room when I turned to speak with Barbara. “Did Jack tell you that he wanted me to speak with you?”
“Yes, Mrs. French, but I don’t know why.”
“He told me about Mass and afterwards Sunday morning so I suspect you already know what kind of person he is. He is probably the kindest, politest, and most considerate son I could hope for and that’s exactly what he is right up until he walks onto the court. Then he becomes super aggressive and the ultimate competitor. He has what coaches call ‘killer instinct,’ not that he’d deliberately hurt an opponent. Jack is also extremely smart so he knows that his behavior on the court might scare you. Don’t worry. He’ll be the same sweet young man once he steps over the line when the game is over. He knows that you’ve never seen a high school game so he’s concerned. I know from our talk that he likes you and that he’ll want to see you again.
“Now, there’s one other thing you need to know. Jack becomes physically ill before every game.”
“Yes, he’ll look like hell when he first steps onto the court. He’s always the last one out of the locker room because he has to clean up and rinse his mouth several times before coming down. The locker room is up there, a floor above us. The worse he looks the better he plays.”
“But…why does he do it? Why does he go through that over and over?”
“Because he loves the competition. He loves being a part of a team and representing his school. He loves winning and making his father and me proud of him. It’s all of those reasons and more. Jack has very high expectations for himself and this is one way he strives to meet those expectations.”
Barbara sat quietly for almost a minute before speaking. “Thank you, Mrs. French. I think I understand a bit better now.”
I stripped out of my clothes and walked into the uniform room in only my jock. The uniforms were washed after every game and I found mine hanging on its hook. I took the shirt, shorts, warm-up jersey, and socks, grabbing a fresh roll of adhesive tape on my way out the door.
Sitting on the bench in front of my locker I slowly began the process of taping my ankles. I taped them before every practice and every game and I had to be careful. If not placed properly, the tape would cut into my skin, both at the lower end of my Achilles and at the crease where the front of my leg meets my foot. I’d learned the hard way back in my freshman year to cover those areas with a strip of tape before beginning the actual supports. This was the price I had to pay for having a 44-inch vertical leap. Coming down on an opponent’s foot without the extra support could break my ankle. Yes, I could heal it quickly, but I’d be out of competition for several weeks at least.
I had just finished lacing up my sneakers when I felt my stomach heave. I ran off to the bathroom where manager-scorer Jimmy Piersall met me. Jimmy reminded me of me before my “accident.” He was bookish in the extreme and he was the only student in my class with an academic average close to mine. My teammates were gone by the time I went to wash my face and rinse my mouth. Jimmy patted me on the back as we began the walk down to the court.
I looked over toward my parents and I could see the shocked expression on Barbara’s face. Even my mother’s remarks hadn’t adequately prepared her. I shrugged it off as I stepped across the out-of-bounds line where I took on an entirely different persona. We were in a layup drill and I joined the line left of the basket to feed the shooters on the other side.
I knew what would happen when it was my turn to take the layup or shot—the same thing that had happened every single game since our pep rally while in eighth grade. I’d played well in practice and the first three games, but hadn’t needed to show my real jumping ability until then. Each of the players was handed a ball at the locker room door to dribble the length of the court for a layup once his name was called. I was the last of the starters—the last player called—when I began my dribble. I sped up at about half-court and took off for the basket once I was about fifteen feet out, cupping the ball between my arm and hand as I soared up and up. The gym was deathly silent as I neared the basket, my head even with the rim when I reared back and threw the ball through the net with enough force to rattle the backboard on its braces. The crowd reacted to the thunderous dunk with a massive roar that lasted long after I had joined my laughing teammates.
“Where the hell has that been,” Charlie Green, our captain, asked me. I just shrugged my shoulders and grinned. Ever since then the crowd has always wanted me to dunk. I rarely did during warm-ups, saving my energy for the game. I thought they’d see plenty tonight.
I had known Coach Kendall from New Rochelle for several years through my participation in summer basketball camps so I jogged over to shake his hand after the team introductions. Then I returned to our huddle. Coach Darling didn’t say much. He didn’t have to. We all knew the drill—play tough defense, rebound, share the ball, and play together. Those were the keys to any successful game.
Very few teams contested the jump ball at the beginning each quarter. My jumping abilities were too well known. Not only did I jump high, but I was a quick jumper, too. I hadn’t lost a jump ball even once since I began playing. Most teams lined up for the handshakes then pulled back into defensive position under our basket while I tapped the ball to one of our players. Tonight I tapped it to Tony who began to slowly dribble up the court.
We loved to run. That was how we could score ninety points or more in a 32-minute game, but this was part of a set play we had worked on in practice over the past two weeks. Two of our players retreated deep into the corners while forward Eli, physically our biggest player at 245 pounds moved up to the corner of the foul line, what’s known in the game as the “elbow.” I cut in front of him and brushed my defender off and reversed, leaving me open for a lob and a powerful dunk, exactly the start few teams wanted as the crowd went wild.
We were the top-ranked team in the state, but New Rochelle was number five so this game should have been close and it was, closer than anything we’d played over the past four years. The score went back and forth until we opened a small lead at the end of the first quarter. As usual, I had no idea how many points or rebounds or blocks I had, but I knew that I’d led the team as usual. We led 23-19 at the end of the first quarter.
I led our defense in the second quarter with several blocks and key rebounds that started our fast breaks, always trailing the play for a possible offensive rebound in the event of a miss. We scored a lot of points in the second quarter as we built a lead of seven points at the half—54-47.
We relaxed at half-time, splitting a bag of oranges that Jimmy Piersall had brought for the game, as we listened to Coach Darling critique our first half performance. “You played well, but we need more help on the boards and I think we need to press. I don’t think their guards can stay up with us.” Tony and Eli looked at me for a reaction. I gave them one by nodding.
Pressing can really mess up a team’s offense. Most people think that the objective is to steal the ball, but all that does is cause unnecessary fouls. Mostly, what a press does is to cause the team on offense to speed up their play. A fast pace was exactly what we wanted. We thrived in a helter-skelter game.
I was just about to enter the center circle for the third quarter jump ball when Tony pulled us together. “Listen, Freak. I’ve been talking to the guys and we agree you need to take over the offense. I checked the book and you’re 16 for 19. You already have almost three quarters of our points and you’re not missing. If we shoot we’re going to miss a hell of a lot more often. We want to run the whole offense through you.”
I had listened and looked into my teammates’ faces, noting that they all agreed. “Okay, but we still need to run and get easy baskets and if they double-team me you need to go to the basket so I can feed you.” That was the plan, but sometimes plans don’t exactly work out.
I may have superior skills, but I’m still human. I have good games and bad. Fortunately, my skill level is such that I can usually score even on a bad night. When I walked onto the court for the second half the basket looked like the Grand Canyon. I made my first shot, a long jumper, and my second, a dunk on an offensive rebound. I blocked their next attempt and caught the ball, dribbling down court for another layup and a foul. They missed and I grabbed another rebound. They were back on defense so I ran my opponent around the court, brushing him into two picks that freed me up for another dunk.
After their timeout I scored again on a rebound and pass from Tony to me in the corner. I was fouled and their center had to be removed with four fouls. He was replaced by a big bruiser of a player and I had one of those flashes where I could see the future. I didn’t like what I saw so I walked up to the refs. “See this guy—number 35? He’s going to try starting a fight with me so I’ll be kicked out of the game. I overheard him in warm-ups. Keep an eye on him, will you?”
Sure enough, he started by pushing me into the wall on a fast break. I made the shot and he was called for the foul and warned. Next time up the court I went into the high post on the foul line and he slugged me in the head with his forearm. This time he was called for an intentional foul. I made the shots and we got the ball again. I drove by him as he threw a vicious elbow at my face. This time he was thrown out of the game as I made two foul shots and another for the technical. There was no stopping me.
That’s the way the quarter went as we built a fifteen point lead—88-73. I still had no idea how many points I had and I didn’t care, either. I only cared that we were winning.
Tony fed me for a really long jumper that I drained easily. As the final quarter proceeded I took over the game, leading us on a 17-3 run that really opened up the score. I couldn’t miss. I’d had games like this before, but never one as important. Everything I threw up went in until Coach Kendall removed most of his starters with four minutes left. They were behind by twenty-nine at that point and he was conceding the game. Our starters left the game only a few seconds later and our subs maintained our lead until the game ended with the score 97-70.
We had a huddle as we did after every game and I was just about to walk over to my family and my date when I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was Coach Kendall. “You had to pick tonight to have the game of the year. You really were phenomenal, J.J. We had no way to stop you. I apologize for that idiot Carmichael. He’s done so far as I’m concerned. I’d never condone deliberately hurting another player.”
I shook his hand as I told him, “I know that Coach. I’ve played for you enough to know that. I never had a doubt.” He shook my hand again then I was approached by three New Rochelle players I knew from camp or playground ball. We shook hands and hugged. They were excellent players and better people.
I was just about to walk over to my parents when Tony commented, “Who’s the babe with your folks?”
“Don’t get any ideas. She’s my date. I met her in church last Sunday. We’re going to Albanese’s after we get out of here. Want to join us?” He said he’d ask his girlfriend and let me know.
My youngest sister, Carole, ran out to me, jumping up into my arms. “You played great, J.J. I loved those dunks.” I pulled her up so I could kiss her cheek, but she threw her arms around my neck even though I was a sweaty mess. I noticed my other sister, Marie, scribbling madly in her notebook. She always kept a record of my points, rebounds, and blocks, taking great pride in announcing my stats to our parents.
She looked up a moment later. “Holy cow, J.J.—you almost scored as many points as their whole team. You had 68 and 29 rebounds and—wait a second—8 blocks. Great game; you didn’t miss a single shot the entire second half!” I gripped her by the head and leaned down to kiss her forehead. I knew my folks wanted to leave so I said my good-byes then took Barbara by the hand and led her over to where my teammates’ girlfriends were sitting.
“Guys, this is Barbara. Barbara…Marlene, Carolyn, and Teri. Would you sit with her for a while so she’s not alone? She doesn’t know anyone here.” They agreed so I squeezed her hand before running upstairs to hear Coach Darling’s critique of the game. I wasn’t really listening as I stripped off my uniform and took the special scissors from my locker to cut the tape from my legs and feet. The tape was soaked with sweat--something verified when I stepped on the scale. I had lost seven and a half pounds in water weight during the game, fairly typical for me.
The mood in the shower—just twelve shower heads in a large rectangular room covered with white tiles—was jocular and carefree. I doubted that we’d face another opponent as good as New Rochelle until deep into the state tournament and we’d shown that we could handle them easily. I rejoined Barbara in the gym only fifteen minutes later. I had my jacket, slacks, and shirt on a hanger as I approached. I saw Tony and Carolyn and Richie and Marlene leaving through the back door. “I guess they didn’t want to join us at Albanese’s.”
“No…they said something about watching the submarine races.” (Okay, a brief historical note is needed here for those of you who didn’t grow up in the New York Metro area in the fifties and sixties. Probably the most popular and influential deejay of the time was Murray Kaufman, known throughout the area as “Murray the K” on AM station 1010 WINS. He coined many expressions, but by far the most popular was his “submarine race watching,” a euphemism for a make-out session even though many times there was a lot more going on than making out.)
“Okay, I’m sure they’ll have a good time. However, I promised you pizza and I’m sure you’ll understand that I’m hungry. I never have much to eat before a game for obvious reasons.” I took her hand and we walked out into the cold clear night.
I laid my clothes in the trunk right after opening the door for Barbara, joining her in the cold car a few seconds later. I had the heater on “HIGH” as soon as the car had warmed up a little. By then I was en route to White Plains Road where I turned right toward Eastchester. I turned off about a mile later and from there it was only a half mile to Albanese’s. We walked in through the bar and I wasn’t at all surprised to see my coach, my baseball coach, and the school’s assistant principal enjoying a cold one at the bar. I introduced Barbara then excused us to the restaurant.
We took a booth as I hung our coats onto a rack that was attached to her bench. “I enjoyed the game, Jack. I thought you played great. Those people sure do yell a lot.”
“Yeah, they’re great fans. What would you like to drink?” I ordered a pitcher once she had told me “Coke.”
“You probably noticed that I sweat a lot during the game. It’s not unusual for me to go through three or four towels. I actually lost more than seven pounds, but that’s nothing compared to practice. I need to drink a lot to make up for the water loss otherwise I’ll wake up around three with cramps in my legs.”
“Is every game like this one?”
I had to laugh. “No, most of our games are routs and that’s not just because of me. Basketball is the ultimate team game because there are only five players on a team. In baseball a player could go the entire game without a chance in the field and in football it’s possible to take some plays off because the action is going the other way. Well…you can do that on offense, but in basketball every player has to be in on every play, both on offense and defense. One good player just doesn’t do it. We have seven good players in my grade. The two subs are good enough to start on a lot of the teams we play against.
“What kind of pie do you want?” We talked about the options before deciding on a plain cheese pie. Being Catholic meant no meat on Fridays back then. Well, it did if you were religious. My mother served us meat-free meals on Fridays, but if I went out on my own I never thought twice about having some sausage on my pizza or even a burger.
We chatted idly for a while before I asked if she would allow me to take her on a real date tomorrow night. Smiling slyly she said, “I don’t know. What did you have in mind?”
“Well…I suppose we could go bowling. That’s usually fun or we could go to the movies in New Rochelle or Mount Vernon. I don’t think the drive-ins are open now. Or I could take you out to dinner in Manhattan and then to a Broadway show.”
Barbara’s mouth dropped and stayed there a few seconds before she recovered. “Really? You mean that? What would we see?”
“Of course, I mean it. I know I can get tickets for ‘West Side Story’ and for ‘Irma La Douce.’”
“I’ve heard about West Side Story, but what’s the other one?”
“Are you taking French?” She shook her head “no,” so I continued. “It means ‘Irma the Sweet.’ It’s a comedy that takes place in Paris sometime in the past—the thirties maybe. Irma is a prostitute and the other main character is a naïve police officer. It’s a comedy and there’s no actual sex in the play, but there is a lot of suggestive dialog. Everything I’ve read about it is very positive--in fact Hollywood’s making a movie of it. I read recently that Shirley MacLaine is going to play Irma with Jack Lemmon as the cop.”
“It sounds like fun, but I’m afraid the nuns would skin me alive if I saw it. Can we see ‘West Side Story’ instead?”
“Of course; I’ll phone for the tickets tomorrow morning. I’ll have to pick you up around 4:30 because we’ll have to take the train to Grand Central and then we’ll take cabs to the restaurant and theater. You’d better ask Mr. and Mrs. Gleason if you can stay out after midnight. I’ll try to get you home by then, but we could have trouble getting a cab and we’re stuck with the train schedule, too.” She was about to speak, but stopped as the waitress slid the pie onto the table.
We were mostly silent while we ate. I refilled her glass with Coke, but I could see that she’d just as soon that I drank it. She must have been hungry, because she ate three pieces to my five. I knew that I was starving between skipping even an early dinner and then evacuating my stomach before the game. I was just finishing my final piece when Barbara asked how I had found this place.
“Actually, my parents found it. My dad is involved in the Eastchester Fire Department and so is Mr. Albanese although they’re in different stations. They still go to the same training sessions and I know they were both Station Chiefs a few years ago. Mr. Albanese often stops by and he used to offer me free meals until I insisted that I had to pay. It’s one thing to offer my parents something free, but I can’t accept anything.” I paid the bill a few minutes later and we walked to my car. It was just barely 11:00.
“What would you like to do now? We probably have at least half an hour before I have to take you home.”
She gave me a coy smile before replying. “Do they have any of those submarine races around here?”
“As a matter of fact, they do.” I started the car and drove to an apartment complex near my home in Chester Heights. The road went past the end of the apartments where it ended at a turn-around. There were always places to park here. I made the turn and pulled over to the curb, turning the car’s engine off, but leaving the radio on. Murray the K was still on 1010 WINS. Barbara slid over to me and raised her face to mine. I leaned down to kiss her and I was surprised at how widely her mouth was open when our lips met. We kissed for almost a minute, our tongues dueling until I broke it.
“Have you kissed many boys before me?”
“Ummm, no—does it show?”
“A little; try to relax a bit more and open your mouth a little less. Our tongues will still be able to…well, you get the idea.” Then I stopped talking and we kissed again. She was much better this time around, so much better that I wanted to do it again and again. We stayed there for about half an hour until I had to get her home. There was no traffic at that hour so we were actually a few minutes early. We spent those minutes getting to know each other even better. All I knew was that I couldn’t wait until tomorrow night. I promised I’d call her once I had bought the tickets.
I phoned the theater at 9:30, giving my credit card number over the phone as well as my name. The tickets, the best I could get were in the Orchestra, row twenty-one--center. They would be at the “Will Call” window and I was reminded to bring my driver’s license as identification. I phoned Barbara as soon as I had ended the first call. We spoke for a few minutes before I had to go. One of my jobs at home was cleaning my bathroom and tidying my room and there was no excuse that my mother would accept. This was hardly my favorite chore, but I knew from experience that I would be done with it in less than an hour so the sooner I started the better.
I ate a relatively light lunch—four hot dogs cut into inch-long pieces then fried until the skins were burnt and served with a big dollop of mustard. I washed it down with a big glass of milk. As soon as lunch was done I began to shine my shoes for the week. All four of us—my sisters and I—always wore shoes to school and, of course, to church. We had sneakers and sandals, but there would be hell to pay if we ever tried to wear them to school. The same was true for our clothes. At home I wore jeans almost exclusively, but if I tried to wear them to school I’d probably be dead. As big as I was I was relatively small compared to my dad. His arms were the size of my legs and my legs were big and muscular.
I had just finished my three pair of shoes—black and cordovan loafers and black dress shoes—when my little sister Carole asked if I would help her do hers. She was the youngest at eight and I remembered trying to shine mine at her age so I smiled and opened my arms for a big hug and kiss. Then I held the shoes while she tried to apply the polish, getting more on me than on the leather. Still, we were done about half an hour later. After checking the clock and thoroughly washing my hands I decided it was a good time to lay out my clothes for tonight. I decided on the blue blazer/grey slacks look because I had no idea what Barbara had to wear. Based on what she had told me I doubted that her finances were anything like mine.
My first investment was about 13,500 shares of IBM which I had bought at just under five dollars a share back when I was eight thanks to one of my famous flashes. Since then the stock had split three times, once at three to one and the price was now up to almost fifty a share. I always reinvested the dividends so I now had more than 100,000 shares. Figure it out—fifty times 100,000 is about five million dollars—and that was only one of my investments. I had also done very well with AT&T and Standard Oil of Ohio, known as ESSO in those days, among others. Of course, I’d had to pay taxes on those earnings, but my net worth was just under eight million and I knew that there was almost always a track open nearby where I could pick up a few thousand more.
I was dressed and ready to go by 4:00. Checking my wallet one last time, I kissed my parents and my sisters good-bye and a few minutes later I was driving down the block, narrowly avoiding a collision with some idiot who had backed out of his driveway without even looking. There wasn’t much traffic on our street, but there was some and there were a few dozen kids living there so it paid to be cautious.
I was about ten minutes early when I pulled into the curb near Barbara’s apartment. She had told me that she’d be ready early so I rang the bell hoping that she was. As before, Mrs. Gleason answered the door and asked me into to the apartment where I shook hands with Mr. Gleason and we spoke for a moment before Barbara stepped out from her room. She asked, “Do I look okay?”
She was stunning in a fashionable, but modest dark green dress that ended just below her knees. There was a scoop neck that exposed only a small amount of her cleavage and the dress had short puff sleeves that ended half-way to her elbows. “You look sensational…just perfect.” I helped her with her coat and we were in the car for the short ride to the train station a minute later. I found a parking spot up near the station fairly easily. During the work week these spots would be in short supply, but at almost 5:00 on a Saturday afternoon the station was virtually deserted.
I bought tickets in the terminal and we retired to a bench on the platform for a short wait. Ten minutes later the train pulled into the station and twenty minutes after that we stepped out of Grand Central Station onto 42nd Street. There were always plenty of cabs around the terminal so we had no difficulty finding one to Keens Steakhouse. It had been around forever and had always been one of the city’s great restaurants. I had made a reservation for 5:30 which would give us plenty of time to eat and take the short trip to the theater less than a dozen blocks away.
Barbara’s eyes were the size of quarters when she saw the prices so I leaned across the table to whisper, “I’ve eaten here before so I know what the prices are. Please don’t worry about them. Let’s just relax and enjoy ourselves. Okay?” I took her hand in mine and kissed it gently then I told her what I had planned to order. Our waiter appeared a minute later and I explained that we had to be out by 7:00 at the latest for the theater. I knew we would be. They did this kind of thing every day.
The meal was everything I had hoped—delicious salads, filets medium rare, and fries. We skipped dessert. Frankly, we’d both had too much to eat. We had the restaurant phone for a cab and ten minutes later we stepped up to the Will Call window. I had my identification in the form of my passport so I led Barbara into the theater. “Let’s check our coats. We’ll be much more comfortable inside without them.”
We had just taken our seats when Barbara took my hand. “I’m so excited, Jack. I’ve never been to a Broadway play before.”
“I think we picked a good one. Everything I’ve heard about the show is great. Maybe next time we’ll take in “Irma.”
The woman sitting next to her had overheard our comments. “I wasn’t prying, but I did overhear you talking about seeing ‘Irma la Douce.’ My theater club saw it last month. It was fantastic. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard.”
We thanked her and turned toward the stage. Barbara whispered, “Thank you so much for this, Jack. Feel my heart. It’s going a mile a minute.”
Then she took my hand and placed it over her heart. She held it there for several minutes before she realized that my huge hand was almost exactly covering her left breast. She gasped suddenly and pushed my hand away, her face turning dark red. “I don’t know what I was thinking. I’m so sorry.”
I moved my lips up close to her ear so only she would hear my words. “Don’t apologize. I’m not sorry at all.” Then I leaned forward the final inch to gently kiss her shapely ear. It must have tickled because she began to giggle. I kissed her cheek and turned again to the stage. The orchestra was just entering the pit and several had begun tuning and warming up. Barbara looped her arm in mine as we waited for the overture to begin.
The show was everything it was supposed to be—the music, the singing, the dancing. The audience showed its appreciation with a standing ovation at the end with Barbara and me leading the way. We took our time exiting the theater, waiting patiently at the end of the line for the coat check room. I tipped the woman who gave us our coats and helped Barbara into hers before donning mine. The sidewalk in front of the theater was relatively deserted when we finally walked out. I’d been to the theater before and I knew how hectic the crowd would be with everyone trying for a cab or rushing to the subway. Now I stepped to the curb, raising my arm in signal. Five minutes later a cab stopped and I helped Barbara in. “Grand Central,” I told the driver. The tab was only six dollars so I gave him a ten and helped Barbara out. I checked for the correct track on the schedule board and we hurried to the train, arriving only a few minutes before it left.
We sat back in the seat as Barbara snuggled in close to my body, her head on my shoulder. “I had such a wonderful time tonight, Jack, last night, too.” She reached up to kiss me, but it was only a quick one. The train was hardly the place for a hot make-out session.
We pulled into the Pelham station at 11:42. I took her hand and led her to the car. A minute later she asked if there are any submarine races on schedule tonight. “I think there are scheduled races every night of the year,” I replied with a chuckle. “You just have to find the right place. We need one here in Pelham so we don’t have to drive all the way to Chester Heights and back.”
“I agree,” she said with a sly grin. “We could miss half of the races.” I laughed as I turned left away from her apartment to the village’s small independent movie theater. As I expected their parking lot was almost empty. I backed into a slot in the back row and stopped the car, leaving the radio set to 1010 WINS for Murray the K. For some reason he had a sub working so I changed to 770 AM—WABC and Cousin Brucie. Barbara slid across the seat and into my arms.
With some of the other girls I’ve dated I’d have my hands all over her tits or even up her skirt, but I knew something about Barbara that I wasn’t quite ready to reveal. I had told Barbara on the phone about how I knew that she was going to fall and be severely injured. I called what happened to me a “flash.” It was as though a snippet of film—a coming attraction, if you will—had been shown in my brain. That film showed her falling on the slippery concrete. It wasn’t long, only about two or three seconds, but it was enough.
There had also been a second flash, this one longer. It showed two elderly people with matching wedding bands, me with white hair and the woman I knew was Barbara with gray. We were obviously in a hospital room and I could tell that Barbara was seriously ill. I’d had any number of girlfriends before Barbara, but she was going to be my last, if only I didn’t fuck it up.
She must have been a smart person because she learned how to kiss really quickly after last night’s brief lesson. All I knew was that I wanted to kiss her for the rest of my life. All told we shared only three kisses over the next half hour with but a few seconds between, mostly to laughingly wipe the spit from our faces. At one point she opened my glove box looking for a napkin or paper towel, finding instead a small box with the word “Trojan” on the side.
“What’s this, Jack?”
“Those are condoms.”
“Oh…I’ve heard some of the girls talking about them, but I’ve never seen one and I’m not sure how they work.”
“Open the box and take one out if you wish.” She pulled one of the foil-wrapped packets from the box.
“What do you do with this?” I knew they didn’t teach contraception in a Catholic girls’ school so I thought I’d have to tell her.
“Open the packet.” Once she had the condom in her hand I told her to unroll it down her finger.
“This is much bigger than my finger.”
I couldn’t help myself. I laughed my ass off. “Thank God for that!” I was practically choking.
“I don’t understand, Jack. Won’t you explain it for me?”
I took a couple of deep breaths. “It’s not for your finger. It’s for my penis. Do they have sex education in your school?” Barbara gave me a look that asked if I was crazy. “I didn’t think so, and even if they did I doubt that there would be any discussion of contraception.” I took the latex sheath from her hand and held it up for her to see. “When a couple decides that they want to have sexual relations there are changes that occur to their bodies. I’m sure you know that the man’s penis becomes erect—an erection—to enable penetration and the woman’s vagina becomes lubricated to make that penetration easier. The Church has declared that contraception is a sin which is a totally ridiculous concept. What we need in the world are more children who are unwanted by their parents or whose parents can’t afford to clothe or feed them.
“Condoms are also used to prevent venereal diseases although they’re not perfect. They are, however, a big help in both regards.”
“Were you planning on using these with me?”
“No…you’re not my first girlfriend. I’ve had those for a while. You’d be amazed at how many girls practically throw themselves at me. Last year we played an away game at Rye Neck. I went outside the gym for a drink of water and two girls gave me their phone numbers, promising me that they’d take the very best care of me—both of them at the same time.”
“Did you call them?”
No. I dumped the paper with their numbers into the trash as soon as I walked back inside. Having sex with someone who would throw themselves at a total stranger just because he can play basketball could be dangerous, not to mention stupid. The last thing I need is some sexually transmitted disease like gonorrhea or syphilis.”
“So, I guess that means you don’t think I’m sexy.” I almost laughed because her teasing was so obvious.
“Yeah,” I replied. “I always make it a practice to date women who are ugly fat slobs.”
“Oh, shut up and kiss me.” I dropped the condom into the plastic bag I kept in the car for trash and wrapped her into my arms as our lips met again. I started the car at 12:35 to drive the two miles or so to her apartment. I pulled to the curb about a hundred feet from her door. We walked together, my arm around her until we reached the entrance. The last thing we did after kissing for more than a minute was to make arrangements to attend Mass together later this morning. I watched her climb the stairs and open the apartment door before walking back to the car. Fifteen minutes later I was home and in bed, falling asleep almost immediately.
I had a bit of a surprise when I woke up so I phoned Barbara to ask her about it. She agreed immediately that I should bring my little sister—eight year-old Carole—to Mass with us. I sat her in the back seat as I drove into Pelham. Carole held my hand as we walked to the apartment and went up the stairs. I introduced her to the Gleason’s as we waited for Barbara. Carole ran to her for a hug then we were on our way to the church only a mile away.
Once I had parked Carole walked between us holding both of our hands. Looking at Barbara she asked, “Do you hold hands with J.J, Barbara?”
“Yes, I do, Carole. Is that okay with you?”
“I suppose so, but why do you want to hold his hand?”
“Why do you do it, Carole?”
“I want to be safe. J.J. is big. People driving cars can see him and sometimes he stops me from falling.”
“Did you know that he did that with me, too? That’s how we met. I would have been badly hurt if my head hit the sidewalk.”
Carole was obviously thinking as we approached St. Catharine’s. “Barbara, do you like my brother?”
Barbara stopped and knelt to face Carole then spoke calmly and quietly so just Carole and I could hear. “Yes, I do. I like him very much.” Then she hugged Carole and took my other hand. Together we climbed the steps into the church. We sat on the aisle near the back. Mass began on time and passed as slowly as always. I attended because it was something my mother and now Barbara expected me to do. My mind often wandered and I had another flash that told me a lot about my future relationship with Barbara. She took Carole with her for communion while I remained in the pew. A few minutes later we walked out into the sunny day and that was when I received my best surprise of the morning. My dad was there to take Carole home.
We were in my car when I laughed. “Thank you, Dad!”
“Jack, that’s a horrible thing to say.”
“Don’t get me wrong. I love my sister. We have a bungalow out on Long Island and we don’t have enough bedrooms so Carole sleeps in what used to be strictly mine. She wakes up really early every morning and stands next to the bed until I wake up and let her climb in with me. Obviously, that won’t continue much longer, but she’s done it every morning since she was three and I always welcome her. She snuggles up to me and we go right back to sleep until we wake up again around eight or so. However, having her with us, even on a date to attend Mass…well, let’s just say that I much prefer having you all to myself.”
“Do you really want me all to yourself?”
I smiled then leaned over to kiss her. It was just a short one before I answered her question. “What do you think?” Barbara laughed then kissed me again. “Want to know what Carole asked me on our drive over? She wanted to know if I had ever kissed you.”
“What did you tell her?”
“I would never lie to her so I told her that I did it as often as possible.” Then I showed her by kissing her again. Finally, I started the car and drove us to the diner where we enjoyed another great breakfast although she did laugh when I told her I was going to play basketball this afternoon.
“Don’t you get enough of that during the week?”
“No, I usually play seven days a week. The gym is open for recreation Saturday and Sunday from two to four. All the guys on the team go to play and so do a lot of others. Some of the games are really intense, but we do look at the big picture—winning another state championship—so we try to make sure that nobody gets hurt. Mostly, it’s a lot of fun.”
“It’s hard for me to relate. We don’t have anything like that at my school.”
“I’m not knocking private schools, but there are a lot of things that we have that you don’t. For one thing, all of our teachers have to be certified by the state. I don’t know about a high school, but I do know that there are teachers in some parochial elementary schools who have never even attended college, let alone learned how to teach. On the other hand, I’ve had a few teachers who I think would be better off selling insurance than teaching. Of course, you have God and religion which we’re not supposed to have and you don’t have the distraction of kids making out in the hallways—at least I hope not--and I hope you don’t have to worry about your students getting pregnant like two of my classmates did this year. I guess that every school has its pros and cons.”
“You’re probably right. I know that there are things I love and things I can’t stand about my school although you’d be wrong about the pregnancies. We weren’t told anything, but one of my classmates just stopped coming to school even though we knew that the family didn’t move. When do you play again?”
“Tuesday afternoon; we usually play every Tuesday and Friday unless there’s a holiday. I’ll phone you Tuesday night, okay? But you have to tell me if you have homework. I don’t want to mess up school for you.”
“I promise that I’ll tell you, but I usually read on the bus so I get a lot of my work done before dinner.” I found it amazing that Barbara and I could speak so easily to each other and that we were so comfortable in each other’s presence. I checked my watch and saw that we had plenty of time. The only question was—did we want to spend it in the diner or in my car. Barbara solved that question for me by standing. I paid and a minute later we were in my car, but where to go? Then I had the answer.
My dad owned a plumbing and heating business in Mount Vernon only a few minutes from the diner. The street was strictly commercial—a Monday to Friday kind of place so I doubted there would be anyone there on a Sunday. Five minutes later I pulled up in front of French Plumbing and Heating, Inc. The street was deserted. In those days the only stores open on Sunday were delis and, thanks to Blue Laws, there was no beer sold before 1:00 p.m. Barbara took the hint and pulled my mouth to hers as soon as I had turned the car off. We spent the next forty minutes swapping spit and dueling tongues. I couldn’t speak for Barbara, but I was actually thinking of skipping basketball and I might have had Barbara not mentioned that she had a report she needed to finish. I sighed, gave her a quick peck and drove her back to Pelham.
I phoned her as promised Tuesday evening. “Hi, Jack, did you win? How many points did you score?” That was how she began our conversation.
“We did win, and quite easily. I had twenty-two.”
“What happened? I thought you’d score more than that.”
“It was payback time. Friday night my teammates sacrificed their games to support me and our team. Their unselfishness was one of the big reasons why we had a relatively easy victory. You don’t score 68 points without a lot of help. Today I turned the tables. We played Eastchester and we’ve killed them every time we’ve played over the past five years. I decided that I’d only score on offensive rebounds and foul shots. The rest of the time I made a move to the basket and forced them to double-team me. Every time they did I was able to pass to my teammate, mostly for an easy layup. So I didn’t score a lot, but I did have more than twenty assists and more than twenty rebounds. Rebounding is more important than most people realize.”
We spent the next hour talking about school and what we were studying. Once again, I marveled at how comfortable we seemed to be with each other. I asked her if she wanted to attend Friday’s away game in Yonkers. Even though she went to school there it made sense for her to take the bus to Chester Heights where I lived. Yonkers was a big city with more than 70,000 people. We agreed that I’d meet her at the bus stop and she would come home with me to change her clothes and have a bite to eat. Then I’d drive her to school so she could follow the bus to the game.
Everything worked out perfectly. I walked into the Yonkers High School Gym with Barbara, paying for her ticket and giving her a five so she could get a soda or a snack if she wished. We sat together watching the JV game until my family came in to join us. I lay on the bleacher behind them at the half for my meditation then followed my ritual hugs and kisses before walking to the locker room to dress. My kiss with Barbara had a little extra in it, especially when she gripped my head to prolong it.
I caught a little grief from my buddies once I got into the locker room, but I knew they were just jealous. Barbara was a beautiful woman with a great body. Hell, I’d be jealous, too if I saw her kissing someone else.
I taped up, dressed in my uniform, and threw up all in the space of fifteen minutes before walking onto the court. Looking over to Barbara I saw her wave and smile. Apparently, she knew better what to expect this time around. I joined the layup line, mostly to loosen up my muscles. I didn’t need to practice shooting; I got plenty of that every day at practice. It was my goal to sink fifty straight foul shots every day before practice began. That’s what I did every day while other guys were fooling around and taking shots they’d never dare in an actual game.
Here at Yonkers they introduce one player from each team who meet at mid-court to shake hands before moving to the foul line. As usual, I was introduced last and waited to shake hands with their center, Marcus Coburg. It was a cool reception both ways—there was no love lost between us. Our history went back two years to a play in which he had intentionally tried to injure me. He had rebounded a missed shot and had viciously swung his elbow at my head. Luckily, I’d had one of my famous flashes just a few seconds earlier so I was able to turn and duck my head. He still hit me, but it was a glancing blow instead of one that would have probably broken my nose. Worse, he tried the same thing later in the game and he repeated the next three times we played, too.
I’d had two flashes on the bus earlier so I had a good idea what to expect and when. I won my 427th consecutive jump ball to open the game. We were about to run our opening play when Coburg shot his leg out in my path in an attempt to trip me. Instead of trying to avoid him I faked tripping and stepped onto the outside of his ankle. I could feel it crumble as he fell to the floor in anguish. I knew he was done for the rest of the game, at least, but I’d managed to get even at last. Normally, I’d go to the opponent in the name of sportsmanship to express my concern, but that would never happen with this asshole. He had to be helped from the court, swearing at me the entire time. Hey…I didn’t make him try to hurt me. I wondered then how many times he’d tried that with other opponents.
I knew one of their guards fairly well so I asked him. “He’s no loss, believe me. All he does is try to hurt people. He’s been kicked out of two games already this year and he’s had at least one technical every game. Truthfully, I’m glad he’s hurt. He’s just a total asshole. You should have heard him brag about how he was going to take you down.” We might have continued, but he was finally off the court and the ref had blown his whistle to continue play.
I passed it in to Tony, brushed my new opponent off on Eli and took the lob for an easy dunk. We pressed from the start and disrupted their offense more than half the time. We went up early and stayed there, winning eventually by twenty-six even though I only played five minutes in the second half. I met up with my family afterwards and I made sure that my dad told Coach that I had his permission to skip the bus back to school.
My parents volunteered to stay to stay with Barbara so I hurried into the locker room to strip out of my uniform and cut the tape from my ankles. I rushed into the shower, soaping up my body with both hands and using the soap in my hair, as well. Then I dried myself, handed my sweaty uniform to Jimmy Piersall so he could return it to school for washing before the next game, and dressed as quickly as I could. My wet towel joined my sneakers, socks, and jock in my gym bag. Hurriedly, my hair still wet, I almost ran into the gym. We walked out together with my family, Barbara holding my right hand and my gym bag in my left. We walked through a group of disgruntled male students, some of whom made comments about hurting me the way I had hurt Coburg. I moved Barbara behind me and turned to face one of the closest. “Well, here I am,” I said as I dropped my bag. His bravado evaporated in a flash when I took a step toward him. The crowd dissolved and we continued our short walk.
We were in my car and on our way when Barbara asked, “Would you really have fought with that guy?”
“No…I knew he’d back off. He was all mouth. If he really wanted to hurt me he and his buddies would have jumped me without any warning. How about we get some seafood tonight? I know of a good restaurant just down the road in Bronxville.” Barbara agreed and ten minutes later we were seated at a table, menus in our hands.
I ordered a pitcher of Coke as we checked the menu. I had to laugh when I showed one item on the menu to Barbara. “No, thanks,” she said with a smile to my offer of garlic bread. I passed on it, too. I decided on the seafood alfredo and a tossed salad with bleu cheese dressing. Not surprisingly, Barbara ordered the same.
She started the conversation by telling me how much she liked my family. “Your mom and dad are so nice and so are your sisters although I barely know Angela because she’s always cheering at the games. I especially like your little sister, Carole. It’s so obvious how much she loves you.”
“She always has nice things to say about you, too. Say, I just had a thought. Want to come to Tuesday’s game? It’s at home against Gorton. That’s another high school in Yonkers. They’ve always played pretty well against us.”
“I’d love to, but how will I get there? You’ll be at school and your parents will probably get there long before I can get to Chester Heights.”
“You have a driver’s license, don’t you?”
“I’ll pick you up for church Sunday and after breakfast I’ll let you drive to your school then back to mine so you’ll know how to get there. I’ll draw you a map, too.”
“You’re going to trust me with your new car?”
“Yeah…aren’t you trustworthy? Is there a place you can keep it at your apartment?”“There’s some parking in a fenced lot behind the building and I’ll make sure to lock it, too. Oh, Jack…you’re the best.” I thought she was going to continue to tell me that she loved me, but then I realized that it was too soon.
Our salads were delicious and very fresh which I found surprising considering that it was mid-December. We ate in comfortable silence. Every once in a while I’d look at Barbara and I always found that she was looking at me at the same time. We just smiled at each other and returned to eating.
The alfredo was a great choice. The shrimp and scallops were tender and delicious and the sauce had obviously been freshly made. It really was a great meal. We left a bit after eleven, driving to my favorite parking spot at the end of the apartment complex, only two blocks from my home. I moved to the center of the seat, telling Barbara that we’d have more room that way.
We began kissing, lips locked together and tongues dancing in desire. The windows were steaming up when Barbara moved to straddle me. We never broke our kiss when she began to dry hump my thigh. Seeing this as a signal that she wanted to go a bit further I lightly brushed her nipples with the back of my hand. Her moan of pleasure died in my mouth so I did it again, this time a little harder. She responded by spreading her legs and grinding her pussy into my leg.
I opened her blouse and snaked my hands around her to remove her bra. A second later her glorious breasts were in my hands. I wasn’t someone who thought that playing with a girl’s breasts was all about some kind of stupid conquest for me. This was about making her feel good—maximizing the pleasure she was experiencing. I rolled her sensitive nipples in my fingers, being careful not to pinch or hurt her. We continued like this until she threw her head back, groaning in her ecstasy. “Jack! Oh God, Jack—that feels so good.” Then looking into my eyes she whispered, “I’m a virgin, Jack.”
“And you will be until you decide otherwise. Barbara…will you …will you touch me?” She looked confused so I continued. “I mean here.” Taking her hand, I placed it lightly on my rock hard cock.
Looking straight into my eyes she began to rub me through my slacks. “What do you want me to do, Jack? Please tell me.”
“Undo my belt and open my pants then pull down my zipper.” I continued to massage her breasts then when my briefs were exposed I used both hands to move my cock and balls through the leg hole. I had tried boxers a year ago when I received several pair at Christmas, but I didn’t like the feeling of no support so I threw them out and went back to the briefs. Barbara took me in hand and began to slowly stroke me. Her touch was like velvet, exactly what I imagined her pussy to be as her slender delicate hands moved up and down my thick shaft.
I probably could have made my penis as big as a horse’s, but I never saw the appeal. A really long cock would mean either having several inches out in the breeze while fucking or driving into her sensitive cervix with every thrust. I was perfectly satisfied with my seven and a half inches. Yes--I had measured it one night way back in junior high. Now I was being stroked by an absolute goddess. She must have enjoyed it because she gripped me tighter with every stroke and what had begun as slow gentle rubbing was now approaching a feverish pace.
“Barbara! Please! If you continue like that there’s going to be a terrible mess. I can’t send you home with semen on your clothes and in your hair.”
“It would squirt that far?”
“I’m afraid so. What you’re doing to me is heavenly, but….”
“What f we used one of those things? Those condoms?”
“Yeah…that would work.” Barbara leaned forward again to kiss me then she turned to open the glove box. A minute later she had rolled the thin latex sheath over my organ, taking care as I had instructed to pinch the nipple tightly to keep air from intruding the space between my skin and the lubricated rubber.
Stating slowly again, she ran her fingers up and down, squeezing tighter and tighter and, once again, building her pace until she was in full masturbation mode. I usually had good orgasm control, but tonight I’d had plenty of sexual stimulation from Barbara’s sweet lips and her hard sensitive nipples. She hadn’t been at me for even two minutes when my hips thrust up violently and long thick ropes of slick sperm-laden semen erupted into the tip. It was more than full by the time I finished more than thirty seconds later, sinking back into the seat in exhaustion.
My breathing was deep, slow, and labored as I began the trek back from the abyss of my orgasm. I could see from the alarm on Barbara’s face that she’d never experienced anything close to what had just happened. “Are you okay, Jack?”
“I know that appearances can be deceiving, but…yeah, I’m more than okay. That was great, better than great. It was incredible. Just let me get rid of this and clean myself up then I’ll gladly take care of you.”
“Me? How?” I leaned forward to kiss her, whispering my thanks into her ear then I rolled down the window and eased the condom off my shrinking penis. After tying it into a knot I tossed it through the window, closing it quickly once that was done. Reaching over the seat I pulled my gym bag up, unzipped, and pulled out my still damp towel. Then it was a breeze to clean myself and dress.
Once that was done I took Barbara into my arms again. “I hope that didn’t scare you. Orgasms can be pretty intense. That one sure was.”
“I have to admit…that was my first male one.”
I looked at her and we began to giggle. “I didn’t realize that this was confession time. Do I get to give you penance now? For penance give me a long deep and juicy kiss.”
“Penance isn’t usually fun at least it’s not supposed to be.” She leaned forward and we kissed as I moved her down to the seat, her head near the steering wheel. My hands found the button and zipper on her slacks then she lifted her hips to help me get them off her slender body. I folded them carefully over the seat back. I couldn’t send her home with slacks that we’d stepped all over. That would never do. Her cotton panties were next. I felt the moisture in the crotch and I could easily smell her arousal. I began by kissing her lightly then my kisses went to her ear and then her neck. I followed by kissing each areola and suckling each nipple. By now Barbara was a panting wreck, tremors coursing through her body.
They only got worse when I plunged my tongue into her navel, licking clockwise then changing to the opposite. Finally, I moved between her legs and attacked her quivering pussy with the broad of my tongue. Starting at the bottom of her slit I moved forward slowly, teasing her terribly. I continued for more than five minutes, my strokes getting lighter and more teasing every time. Barbara was shaking uncontrollably when my tongue penetrated where nothing had ever been before. She responded by wrapping her shapely silken thighs around my head and humping my face with incredible vigor.
The dashboard clock told me I had to hurry. It was almost time to take her home. I spread her legs wide, moving her hard bud out from its hood then I sucked it between my teeth and gnawed for almost a minute. Barbara’s shaking turned into thrashing that ended with a mighty convulsion from which her body was lifted almost a foot above the seat before it collapsed with a mighty exhalation onto the firm leather almost totally out of it.
I pulled her up into a sitting position then struggled to return her panties to her body. Her slacks followed and finally I clasped her bra and buttoned her blouse. I backed out the door and helped her to stand so I could tuck her blouse into the slacks and help her back into her coat. We left then, driving to Pelham where we kissed goodnight just outside the apartment door. She turned as I descended the stairs, blowing a kiss. I smiled then turned and walked out into the cold clear night.