I took the Szentendre train twice each week. Early Monday mornings I stood at the station near my home and waited for the train to take me into Budapest, where I was an assistant professor of anatomy at Semmelweis University. Friday evenings I caught a train back to Szentendre. Between the two short train rides, my life was bland, grey, boring, and repetitive. In Szentendre I did my grocery shopping in the open market and prepared my meals for the week in the city. I was able to rent a cheaper flat in the city if I didn’t need cooking facilities. In Budapest I spent most of my time in my flat, and the rest of my time with my students.
Last autumn I began to wonder about my life. I had been on vacation for the summer, and the return to the routine of city life and work was objectionable to me. Weekends at home were no better. Lonely days and nights, some so lonely I just sat around my house and cried for hours. It took all my will to go to the train station in Szentendre that first Monday morning in September. The usual scattering of people was there, waiting for the train to Budapest. I kept my eyes down as always. I was not in the mood for idle small talk. My spirit was in turmoil. I wanted to be left alone, to avoid social contact. At the same time, I wanted love, affection, attention, and sex.
My husband… my former husband… was a dentist. He had run off with his office assistant three years before. I didn’t see it coming, and it put me into a deep depression. I wasn’t interested in anything, and I simply buried myself in my work. It had not always been so, but I was thirty-nine years old, living alone and longing for love. I would have settled for any old fool of a lover, just to be touched by a warm, tender hand again. I was grey. My hair, my complexion, and my spirit were all grey. I was a colourless lump of average looking, depressed, slightly overweight middle-aged female meat, and I felt like shit.
We’ll call her Morissa, because that’s the name she chose to use when she danced. She was not very nervous, the first time she performed. She knew that she moved well, she knew that she was beautiful, and she was an exhibitionist by nature. Still, her illogical courage led her to make her living with her natural attributes.
She began her career at ‘Le Strip’, in downtown Toronto. It was an upstairs theatre setting. Not a bar. In a bar, the girls were incidental to the drinks, and within reach of the drunks. The girls at ‘Le Strip’ were on stage individually, in the spotlight all the time. They chose their own music, usually the latest hard rock. Morissa was different, and chose some swinging Frank Sinatra, and Count Basie music.
One bad thing about ‘Le Strip’ was the lack of a rear or stage entrance. It was above some stores on Yonge Street. A person, dancer or customer, had to mount the long, narrow staircase to the box office. The route to the dressing room led all the way across behind the seats. The dressing room was at the opposite end, and some men would not take a seat, but stand in the dim light at the back wall, so they could get a close look at the girls as they came and went.
Morissa’s first task was to make the gauntlet run, from the top of the long stairway to the dressing room across the theatre. She kept her face away from the back wall of voyeurs and looked at the girl that was on the stage. She was just finishing her set, and removed her tiny pubic covering and strode around showing pubic hair. She strode back across the stage to the dressing room stage entrance and paused, turned to the audience, and spread her legs to reveal her vagina for several seconds before she darted into the dressing room.
Two seconds later, Morissa entered the dressing room from the other door. The dancer that just left the stage was glistening with sweat. She picked up a white towel to wipe herself down and looked over at Morissa.
“Who are you?” she said.
“Call me Morissa. Do we have to do that?” she said.
“Do what?” the dancer said, while she wiped sweat from between her breasts.
“Show our… uh… private places.” A black girl in a cotton robe was sitting on a stool at the cosmetics counter.
“There ain’t no private parts here, honey.” She laughed and took a long toque on a thick joint. The marijuana fragrance flowed through the air.
The drying dancer was naked, moving down the length of the room to the shower at the far end. She called over her shoulder to answer Morissa’s question.
“No, honey, you can if you want to. This is a theatre, so showing your honeypot is legal, and we get a $25 bonus if we do it for a few seconds. They’d jail you if you did it in a bar.” The black girl blew a cloud of fragrant smoke into the air and beckoned to Morissa.
“Come over here, honey. Take the chair next to me.” Morissa did that, and put her costume bag on a back shelf.
“Maybe I should change my name to Honey,” Morissa said.
“She calls everybody Honey,” said a third girl. She was dressed and prepared to go on stage. She walked to the stage door, and when she heard her music come booming through the wall, she darted out the door and began her routine.
Morissa dug into her bag and withdrew first her cosmetics. These she arrayed randomly on her counter space before the huge mirror. The mirror was surrounded with light bulbs. She chose her layers of costume, one by one. She put them on carefully. She had practiced several times, to be assured that she wouldn’t make a fool of herself in the spotlight.
Morissa sat with the black girl, who still wore only her robe. It fell open, and that was ignored because it didn’t matter. Morissa learned that she was called Blue, and that she was transsexual. They passed a joint back and forth. Blue assured Morissa that the smoke would improve her routine, and she’d enjoy it more. They heard a burst of applause as the dancer on stage finished her routine with a revealing spread that earned her $25 for 5 seconds of exposed vagina.
Morissa prepared for her first performance. She was eager to see the smiling, eager faces in the audience, as they appreciated her body and her dancing. Of course, she planned to expose her vagina. She didn’t care about the $25 bonus. She enjoyed the rush of excitement she gets when she’s sexually bold, anywhere in her life.
Her music began. Frank Sinatra sang, “You Make Me Feel So Young”. Morissa flung the stage door open and strode on her long legs into the spotlight at center stage.
They pulled four Krugerrand out of a top row and each looked at one, and to see what it felt like to hold an ounce of pure South African Gold.
“Each coin is an ounce of pure gold. It’s recognized the world over as a reliable measure,” Rob Snitzer said.
“How much is an ounce of gold worth?” Solly Cohen asked.
“About fourteen hundred dollars,” Rob said.
“But that means this chest could be worth millions,” Caroline Rich said.
“We should count how many there are in one row, and multiply by the number of rows,” Phylis said.
“Fifty coins in one row,” Caroline said. “I just counted them.
“It’s exactly fifty Krugerrands,” Rob said. “Six rows across and four rows deep.”
“Six rows across makes three thousand times four deep makes twelve hundred Krugerrands,” Phylis said. “Wow!
“If gold is at fourteen hundred dollars an ounce or so, this chest is worth… uh… “ Rob said
“Over a hundred thousand fucking dollars,” Caroline said.
“One hundred and five thousand dollars,” Phylis said.
“We’re rich!” Solly Cohen sang out.
“Not so fast,” Rob said. “Don’t you think somebody’s gonna miss this stuff?”
“Sure, the guys who dumped it,” Solly said.
“I mean the people to whom it actually belongs,” Rob said.
“We don’t know, so we keep it, right?” Phylis said.
“I doubt it. First of all, what does one do with a Krugerrand?” Rob said. “We can’t just walk into a bank and deposit a few Krugerrands can we? I think we should stash it somewhere safe and see what we can learn about the loot. We wouldn’t want to steal it if it was meant to educate kids in the Congo or something, right?”
“Maybe if we can return it to somebody, we can get a reward,” Solly said. “After all, they’d still have plenty. Better than nothing, right?”
“On the other hand,” Caroline said, “if it’s money for an arms deal, selling weapons to terrorists, we would be obliged to keep it, right?”
“I don’t think it’s right to discuss it now, when we don’t really know what we have,” Rob said.
“What’s our next step?” Caroline said.
“In my opinion,” Rob said, “our next step should be to pack up and take off before that plane returns.
“That might not be for weeks or months even,” Solly said.
“Or it could be any minute now. Let’s hustle!” Phylis said.
They broke camp and packed everything securely in the two canoes. They left the Krugerrands in the chest and placed it on the floor of Solly and Phylis’ canoe. They pushed off and paddled calmly but swiftly along the small tributary toward another creek that will take them back to their car.
The sound of a single engine plane could be heard in the distance. As it drew near, the canoeists found a place where tall reeds grew out of the riverbank and overhung the river. The two canoes were guided beneath the reeds and rested against the bank. The aircraft was low over the treetops as it prepared to land on ‘Treasure Lake’. As soon as it passed, they pushed off again until they heard the plane returning.
“That’s it,” Rob said. “They know the chest is gone and they know it can’t have gone far. They’ll be hunting us down, for sure.
I first noticed my second wife because of her walk. I was a writer in an ad agency, and she was a temporary secretary to cover someone’s vacation absence. I’d sometimes be able to watch her walking down the long corridors in the office layout. From the rear, she looked wonderful. She was petite, about 5’2″ and 105 pounds.
There was as rhythmic sway to her walk that exuded sexuality. She swayed, but there was also an endearing little irregularity, in that she didn’t go in a straight line, but staggered slightly, side to side. It was cute. I spoke to her a bit at the coffee machine. She’d been born in Israel while her parents were making their way from Poland to Canada. Her older sister was born in Poland, and her younger sister was born in Canada.
Naomi had a shapely dancer’s body, and the sweet face like an Asian doll. I felt she liked me, and one day I did a reckless and illegal thing. She was walking down a corridor, carrying a tray of buns and coffee for some executives in a meeting room. I came up behind her and reached around to cup her breasts. I expected her to accept it, and she did. She laughed and admonished me gently that she could drop the tray. I went back to my office.
Later in the week, she came to my office during a break. We made a date. I eventually left my first wife and took up with Naomi. I got the punishment I deserved. Soon after I let her move into my apartment, she left the office temp job and became a stripper. She was very good at it, and she made a lot of money for working just an hour a day. She performed four 15 minute dances per day at about $100 each – plus tips, stuffed into her G-string.
Anyway, years later I realize she’s a sociopath, and doesn’t feel anything about anybody. I remember that early in our relationship, she told me she didn’t know what love is. I should have paid attention. She doesn’t know what any emotion is, because she’s never felt them. She was a beautiful, wonderful lover, and a disgusting, amoral person. Good luck to her.
The hostess was a former model and a friend of my wife’s. My wife was an art director and many of her friends and associates were models, photographers, designers and other assorted phonies. My wife, I learned too late, was the Queen Phoney over all other phonies. So we went to the dinner party at the interesting old home of the boring old model.
I found out after I got there that the party was a bon voyage affair for a man who was moving to New York for an interesting job as a writer for a news magazine. His wife was to move with him of course. I looked across the table at Mrs. News Writer and was not able to stop looking at her. She was Israeli I was told. Her face was stunning, her complexion was smooth and tawny and something made me desire her. Her name is Rebekah.
I hope you’ve experienced that kind of thing so you’ll understand what happened to me. I looked into her eyes, dark and deep as an ocean. She spoke with a knowing smile, her voice low and throaty yet I could hear her in spite of the conversations going on around us. I didn’t notice if her husband noticed that his wife and I were flushed with unexpected and unwanted stimulation.
“Arthur is leaving in two days,” she said. “I’ll stay here while he finds a home in New York. I’ll fly down and we’ll make the final choice together. Then I’ll come back here for a couple of weeks to arrange the rental of our home and moving of our belongings to the new place.”
“Do you have kids to put into school there?” I said.
“My kids are adults,” She said. “One’s in university and the other is in the military.”
“You look much too young,” I said.
“Thank you,” she said. Conversations around the table had quieted as a next course of the meal was served. I was embarrassed to think that everyone had been listening to our conversation, although nothing out of line was said. I’m sure the intellectual mating dance was obvious to all, with the possible exception of her husband. He seemed to be oblivious to the incredible hotness of his wife.
“Where is your home here?” I said. “Perhaps I’d like to rent it from you when you’re ready to rent it.” My wife heard that and glared at me. I didn’t care. I’d already decided I was done with her phoniness, and had to move on.
She gave me her address and phone number and asked me to call first if I decided to look at the place so she could make it nice. I said I would, and we dropped the dance of seduction we’d been doing below the surface. We returned to the general gab around the table while we enjoyed really excellent squab. The hostess graciously accepted my compliments on the meal. My wife later told me that the hostess hadn’t cooked it, just ordered it from a caterer. It came with the uniformed servant who had brought the courses to the table.
Three days later I left the office at noon and drove to the address that Rebekah had given me. I called ahead from the car and she told me it would be convenient for her as well. She opened the door in a white terrycloth robe, a white towel wrapped around her head, drying the just washed hair.
“I wanted to be nice and clean for you,” she said. “I have a feeling you’re a cunnilingus kind of man.” I was caught off guard and hesitated a moment before I replied.
“You’re right,” I said. “Perhaps you’re a fellatio kind of woman, so please show me where the shower is.
We enjoyed each other that way three or four afternoons each week, until she moved to New York. It had to end, so it was just as well. My wife and I split up as we would have anyway. I enjoy my freedom, but I miss Rebekah.
I had grown fed up with the rampant mendacity in my high pressure, high pay profession. The others all seemed to really believe in what they were doing, but I couldn’t see how they could do that. Word games, puffery, fancy presentations and liquid lunches were a way of life. I couldn’t live it. I decided to take time away from it and get a job where I could be alone, outside. I’d had enough of being stuck in a studio, with windows that don’t open and recycled air is pumped in.
One Friday evening when I left my office on the twenty-ninth floor, I caught the express elevator. A courier driver named Jeff got on the elevator with me.
“Do you like your job?” I said.
“Yeah, I love it,” he said.
“Why?” I said.
“I’m alone, but have contact with the dispatcher. He feeds me calls to pick up and drop off things – small packages, envelopes, stuff like that.
“Do you make a decent living?” I said.
“I get along.”
Out on the street in front of the building I saw the guy’s car. ‘Winged Wheels Couriers’ was on a sign in the back window, and a phone number. I put the number into my iPhone and went home to my empty apartment.
A few days later I was on the road, car S17 on ‘Winged Wheels Couriers’ fleet. I started early in the morning for some regular, every morning runs, and then fielded calls by Herbie the dispatcher.
“S17,” Herbie said in my radio.
“S17 here,” I said into the hand microphone. Herbie gave me a pickup at a small book publisher and I set off to get it.
I walked into the reception area, and the young woman there somehow caught my attention. She was not particularly pretty, but good enough, and had a lovely, creamy complexion. The thing that intrigued me, however, was that she seemed to be hiding herself from herself.
She wore large, round glasses with thick tortoise shell frames. She wore a huge, thick, dark green sweater that was totally shapeless. She kept her face down, and seemed to avoid actually looking at me. The second time I went there she was the same.
The third time I was sent to that publishing house was about two weeks later. That time, I wanted to see her look at me.
“Will you have dinner with me on Friday?” I said. She lifted her head and looked at me for the first time.
“Yes,” she said. We made our arrangements and I departed.
When the end of Friday work time came, I picked up Maria at her office and took her to a nice Chinese buffet restaurant. We had a nice time, talked about her job and about how happy she was to be there with me. It was the first time she’d gone out with someone since she had split from her husband.
When I took her home, we agreed that she’d come to my apartment to have supper with my son and I. He was twelve years old and lived with me. I was having an old boyfriend over too.
She arrived by taxi at the appointed time. It was remarkable how comfortable we all were, even my quirky son. It just was a rare evening when the people and the conversation all flowed together comfortably.
After we had several happy hours together, I drove her home. She invited me in and I went. We made love with the same inexplicable ease and comfort as we had enjoyed at supper. The following evening I was invited to her apartment where she made supper for me. We then made love again, and it felt very loving.
The next day she phoned me. It was nice to hear from her. There was a blush of happy excitement in her voice. That somehow made the sad message that she delivered to me not so sad and almost sweet.
“I want you to know how wonderful you are, and you have saved my dismal life,” she said.
“What do you mean?” I said.
“You reminded me of why I loved my husband in the first place, and what our marriage was meant to be, and I’ll be grateful to you forever. I can’t see you anymore. I’m going back to Keith and I just thank you so much. I didn’t realize that I needed help to make the transition back into my marriage. Keith agreed we’d do it right this time.”
I wasn’t really happy that I’d never again enjoy Maria’s body, which is magnificent. Her skin was just wonderful to touch and taste. But I’m just a transition man. I don’t get to have a real relationship, I guess.
It was never my intension to be a Transition Man. In fact, I didn’t know I was one until a woman told me I was. Even stranger, I actually never heard of Transition Men until Judy said it to me. She was a very beautiful, tall, slender married suburban mother of two teenage children. She popped up on my monitor back when I had ICQ on it.
“Hi!” she wrote. “This is Judy in Chi.”
“Hello. How did you know I would know what Chi is?” I wrote back.
“Everybody knows Chi is Chicago, don’t they?” she wrote.
“I don’t know what everybody knows,” I wrote.
As time passed, we corresponded, and I guess we both liked what we read from each other. She told me she’d married a guy who had been a platonic friend in high school. Such a pal, it seems, that he took her out to lunch the day after she lost her virginity to some other guy, I assume. Somehow, they eventually married and had first a daughter and then a son, both of who were teenagers and in high school. Her husband had grown indifferent to her, and I suspected he had an outside lover. I still can’t understand a man who would grow indifferent to a truly beautiful woman with a remarkable body and flawless skin. One thing that especially drew me to her was her desire to do ‘everything’. She had a movie-star kind of face, a lovely body with large breasts and nipples, long legs that were very attractively shaped. Long black hair was a perfect top to the whole.
We grew to trust each other, and even feel strong affection for each other on line. Eventually, I had a good excuse to go to Chicago, and after I was checked in to my hotel room in the Ritz Carlton, I wrote to her with details of where I was. She wrote back about her estimated time of arrival, and I prepared by stripping down and putting on my Japanese silk robe. She tapped lightly on the door and I welcomed her in. She was just as beautiful as the photos she’d sent, and I hoped I measured up to the photos I’d sent to her. Apparently, I did.
I undressed her and lay her across the bed and lowered my face between her thighs. She made delightfully encouraging sounds, whimpers and moans mostly until the climax when she stifled a scream. She lay on the bed in a magnificent living graphic pose of beauty, her eyes closed as she recovered from her intense convulsions. I looked down at her in appreciation of her alabaster skin against the dark pattern of the hotel bedspread. I removed my silk robe and draped it over her. I sat at the obligatory hotel room corner table and sipped coffee I’d made with the hotel’s in-room equipment.
Looking at Judy, I was able to fully appreciate how fortunate I was that this fine, lovely, neglected woman permitted me to enjoy these special moments with her. I was attracted back to her internal sweetness and had a sudden impulse. I held hot coffee in my mouth and swallowed it at the last second before I put my lips and tongue on her. She caught in her breath at the feeling and almost immediately had another series of spasms.
As she left the room, five hours later, she said, “I never knew one could make love all day.” Now she knew it.
We met in this way once each month for about a year. During that time, she moved ahead to leave her husband and kids. She found an apartment not far from them with an extra room should they want to visit her overnight. She did not force the sale of their mutual home at that time.
When the affair had run its course, I was becoming interested in a woman closer to home. Judy and I met a final time, happily. I thanked her for the wonderful hours of love-making, and the new ‘firsts’ she had shared with me. She thanked me for being there for her, restoring her excitement in making love, and also the ‘first time’ things we explored together. Finally, she thanked me for being her ‘transition man’, from stilted married woman’s life to a level of freedom and adventure.