Onto the Scene

Brooklyn, New York
Friday, October 7, 1977
Early evening

She was having one of those days. Seemed like every time she got into something, an interruption came along. The last X-acto knife blade in the house broke when she was laying out the design for this year’s holiday cards. She was putting the final touches on some brownies when the president of the tenants’ association dropped by and insisted on haranguing her about the latest building drama. Even her afternoon bike ride was cut short by storm clouds and drizzle. So Carla wasn’t surprised when the phone rang in the middle of her bedroom workout, just as it was getting good.

She disengaged from Jason. “Play with yourself a minute, baby. I’ll be right back.”

He opened his eyes and exhaled loudly. “Come on, Carla, let the machine pick up. Don’t make me late for rehearsal.” He had to meet his fellow musicians over in Fort Greene in less than half an hour.

“The machine’s on the fritz. Could be a customer for Michael. I promised I’d get all his calls.” Her husband was a freelance photographer whose business depended on word of mouth contact.

“I’ll be just a minute.” She picked up the phone on the third ring. As she listened, her free hand absent-mindedly played with the spiral phone cord.

“Hi Namiko. What’s up?” Her best friend from high school had just moved from Honolulu to an apartment down the hall and was taking a rare night off from her music composition homework. She wanted to come by and visit. Michael was having dinner with his parents in Westchester, so it was a perfect time for the girls to spend some time.

“I’d love to hang out tonight. Jason and I are just finishing up. Can you come by in about twenty minutes?” Carla threw an amorous glance the guitarist’s way as she watched him become increasingly erect. As Namiko went on for a bit, she nestled the receiver between her scrunched up shoulder and right ear and started massaging her own breasts, moving her other hand to the soft wet spot between her legs. She licked her lips as she made eye contact with him and silently mouthed, “Wait for me, baby.”

“Sounds great. See you soon.” Conversation over, she dropped the handset into the cradle and jumped onto the bed. “OK, baby. Let’s fuck.”

*          *          *          *          *          *

Carla heard the doorbell ring as she was toweling off from her post-coital shower. Jason was long gone, having grabbed his guitar and bolted, right after his orgasm. She threw on a white terrycloth bathrobe and headed for the front door, hair dripping wet. Namiko, sporting a light cotton dress with a bright floral pattern more suited to their hometown, was standing at the entrance. Continue reading “Onto the Scene”

Return of the Nickname Crew

Flushing, New York
Thursday, June 14, 1979
Late morning

He felt out of place among the racially diverse working class straphangers, a conservative looking white guy in a navy blue summer suit. The subway car was standing room only. With a firm grip on the pivoted metallic overhead grab handle, he was standing amidst what looked to be a Filipino family, a young mother and four children. The air conditioning was not on and none of the car’s windows were open. Thankfully, the day was off to an unseasonably cool start.

It was a clear, sunny day, allowing him to enjoy the expansive view of Queens available on the elevated excursion through Queens on the #7 train before it went underground near the end of the line. He hadn’t taken this trip in almost ten years, when a fellow CIA section head had gifted him tickets to Shea Stadium for Game 3 of the 1969 World Series. He smiled thinking of Tommie Agee’s heroics (the Mets’ centerfielder had led off the game with a home run and made two amazing defensive plays in the field) and the combined shutout pitched by Gary Gentry and Nolan Ryan.

Now he was climbing the stairs from the mezzanine of the Main Street station, trying to get his bearings. The agreed upon location for the meeting was a hole-in-the-wall coffee shop just east of Main Street on Roosevelt Avenue.

His watch read 10:56 when he entered the establishment. He grabbed two menus from the counter and sat down at a small booth. The Professor, dressed in a plaid work shirt and tan khakis, showed up four minutes later, precisely on time. Pancho silently extended his right hand toward the seat across from him. His former Army buddy groaned as he scrunched his 6’ 4” frame into the seat. The waitress came over, coffee pot in hand. They nodded and she poured them each a cup. She asked them if they wanted milk. They declined with a smile and then pretended to read their menus for a minute. The Professor was the first to speak.

“Been a while, Pancho.”

He didn’t respond immediately, finally saying “Yeah, a long while. I’m glad you could make time for me.”

“This is the closest thing I get to free time. Dog days of summer. The spring term ended about a month ago. Fall semester doesn’t start ‘til mid-August.” The Professor sipped his coffee. “So what you been up to, Pancho? Last I saw you, you were shipped to Japan with the OSS brass, after Berlin fell.”

“There’s not much to tell.”

He explained that, after closing out the Pacific theatre operations, the OSS was disbanded, its functions distributed between the State Department and the War Department. He went with War in the split and, after much bureaucratic haggling, landed with the newly-formed CIA.

“So you’re a vintage Cold Warrior working for the permanent government. Figures.”

“And you’re a commie professor at a state university. Positively teleological, no?”

“Yeah, I suppose. Everyone finds their true resting place.” The Professor chuckled. “So why don’t we get any sleep?”

Pancho laughed. “Well, I work all the time. And you just got divorced.”

“Right. So you know about that too. You no doubt have a complete dossier on me.”

“Roger that.”

The Professor crossed his arms. “OK, let’s cut to the chase. You didn’t come here to drink coffee and engage in sarcastic banter. What you got cookin’?”

Continue reading “Return of the Nickname Crew”