December 21,1955: 11:12 p.m.
Leaning to the side again, putting the bottle onto the end table, wiping his Vaseline-Petroleum-Jelly-covered fingers on his handkerchief, once again he positioned himself between Marsha’s thighs and her waiting, oh, so anxious vagina.
He hadn’t been drinking homemade Dago Red, and the room was not spinning.
She was not lying unconscious under the steering wheel of her father’s 1950 Pontiac.
She was not saving herself for an unknown, far-in-the-future marriage.
He was not holding back for a distant, far-in-the-future marriage.
She was not sixteen and her father was not a sergeant in the Bayside, New York, Police Department.
There was no tampon string dangling from between her thighs.
Her mother did not have to go to the toilet.
They are married, in the eyes of God.
She was no longer menstruating.
The phone did not ring! No one was knocking on the door. There was no tornado, hurricane, earthquake or volcanic eruption…
There was just Marsha… And, oh, yes, she was ready and she was waiting, oh, so anxiously!
For the moment it took for him to position himself for insertion, he could not help but think of God’s carrot. And now! Now, parting her labia. Now! I’m there! he thought, as…
Unbelievably, the process reversed and blood ran out of millions of hard, extended cells and, “Huh?” his penis wilting, he tried to insert it… but couldn’t because…
Waiting, when nothing happened, hearing his…
“Mitchie,” sitting up on her elbows, looking at him, “where’d it go?”
Huh? Uh? Thinking he might be having a heart attack, “What’s wrong?”
What’s wrong? Still kneeling between Marsha’s thighs, the greasy Vaseline-smeared prophylactic hanging from his fully retracted penis as an icicle from a stumpy protrusion, “Marcie, I…” What could he say?
“Mitchell, are you okay?”
Looking at her, “I don’t know!”
“What happened to, uh, it?”
The expectant look he’d seen on her face before had changed to that of concern, but he didn’t see the look as concern; Mitchell saw it as disappointment. “I don’t know!”
“But are you okay?”
His feelings now were of dismay and embarrassment. “Yeah, I’m okay, I guess.” Further knowing he looked ridiculous with a greasy prophylactic hanging from his shrunken penis. Turning away, he yanked it off, painfully, along with a couple dozen pubic hairs.
“Marsha,” His feelings now of anger, and having no one to take it out on, “please, don’t ask me!”
He almost shouted, “I don’t know!” Lowering his tone, “I don’t know what the hell happened to me!” Angrily flinging the prophylactic across the room, it landed with a wet plop on the dresser. Having no idea what to say, what to do, he scrambled beneath the blanket.
Unsure of what to do, lying atop the bed fully nude, looking at the back of Mitchell’s head, bewildered by what had caused his penis to go limp, and by his apparent anger at her. Thinking, at the same time, Did I do something wrong? Also, How badly he must feel about what happened… whatever it was that happened. “Should I get into my pajamas?” she asked softly.
In addition to anger, in addition to embarrassment, Mitchell now felt guilt at taking his anger out on Marsha, who, after all, did nothing but look beautiful. But his embarrassment, plus having no idea of what to say, prevented him from saying anything.
Now came another emotion: Betrayal! He felt betrayed. Betrayed by God—again! And he felt betrayed by his own body, because when there was nothing to stop him, he’d—but really, it was God—stopped himself.
Waiting for an answer, when none came, Marsha began to get off the bed…
“No, honey,” turning, facing her, “don’t get up!” Taking her hand, urging her to lie next to him, “I’m sorry I snapped at you.”
“Was it me?” She asked tearfully. “Did I do something wrong?”
“Wrong? You?” He’d love to find a reason for this, other than himself. “No! Are you kidding? No! It sure as hell wasn’t you, Marcie. You’re perfect; you’re beautiful! No one could ever want more than you! No! You’re great! It was…” He wanted to say God, but knew, besides looking ridiculous, he would sound ridiculous, too. “It was me.” Now sorry he had told her that he was a virgin, too, because now he was afraid she’d think it was his lack of experience that had caused this… personal catastrophe. “I don’t know what happened. I was there, then it just… I don’t know, it just, uh, went away. “Marcie, please believe me! This has never happened before!”
Yes, thinking exactly what he was afraid she might be thinking, And you’ve never had intercourse before, either. Blaming this on her husband’s lack of experience. Relieved that he wasn’t ill, though, Marsha did feel a deep sense of loss because of what should have happened, and could not believe that after waiting all of her adult life, after all of her months of planning for this night, Marsha could not believe that she was still a virgin.
Knowing how bad he felt, a remembrance of something she’d read coming to mind, It’s possible, I suppose. Trying to placate him, “Know what I think?” Maybe, maybe in a way it was her fault. “Maybe it was the pepper.”
“Pepper? How in the hell could it be pepper?”
“I heard, or read someplace, that sometimes too much spice, or spicy food, can affect people—uh, guys—in some ways, and maybe this… that,” her head nodding vaguely in the direction of his crotch, “is one of the ways.”
“Think so?” Willing to believe just about anything, “You really think so?”
“Yeah, you always got one, uh,” vaguely tilting her head again, “you know, before.”
“Yeah! Never had a problem getting ’em! Even when I didn’t want ’em, I’d get boners!”
“So? Who knows? Maybe it was the pepper.”
“I don’t know,” he said doubtfully. “It’s been over twenty-four hours since then,” Actually, Marsha’s first attempt to make a meatloaf had been over forty-eight hours ago. “And I only took a couple’a bites.”
“I know, Mitch”—although, in Marsha’s mind the pepper theory was a very distant possibility, actually, she really thought it was due to his inexperience—“but what else could it be, then?”
“Yeah”—grasping at straws, and he was sure willing to grasp at this one—“maybe you’re right.”
Mitchell and Marsha were still lying next to each other.
She was still naked and he was still naked.
He moved his mouth to her mouth.
They kissed, they hugged. Mitchell caressed Marsha’s breasts and Marsha caressed Mitchell’s penis.
And it was not limp now! No, it was not limp, not at all!
Coming off the bed, going to the dresser, getting another prophylactic, he opened it, rolled it and rubbed Vaseline onto it. Getting back into bed, between Marsha’s open thighs, Don’t get soft! Please, God, don’t let it get soft!…
“Shit!” Rolling the prophylactic off his penis, “Ouch!” along with another twenty-one pubic hairs.
“What the hell’s wrong with me?”
“Yeah, I’ll bet it was the pepper.” Just about as disappointed as he, doing her best not to show it, “Come on, baby,” attempting to console him, “let’s let it go for tonight, and we’ll try again in the morning.”
Totally embarrassed, “Yeah, Marcie,” he said. “Maybe you’re right, maybe it is the pepper, or”—fishing, looking for some excuse, any excuse—“maybe I’m still tired from the drive and all the excitement of getting married and having you here with me.” If Marsha’s pepper theory was a very distant possibility, “Yeah,” a new thought striking him, “I’ll bet that’s what it is! Maybe I’m right!”
Terribly upset, “Maybe, when a guy sits too long in one position, maybe something happens like, uh, the blood or something gets cut off… Nah.” Disappointment sounding in his voice, “That’s not it, I’d’a never had a boner in the first place then”—he’d had lots of those in the last four days. “Maybe it’s that I’m just too excited when we do, uh when we try to do it.
And once again, any straw, “I’ve been looking forward to making love to you for so long now, Marcie. Yeah”—doing his best to convince himself—maybe that is it! “Maybe I’m just too excited.”
Oh, yeah! That makes a lot of sense.
Having absolutely no way of knowing, even so, speaking with positive knowledge, “I’m sure this happens to lots of guys when they’re first married. So don’t worry about it, Mitch, I’m not”—oh, yeah she was—“and I’m positive you’ll be able to do it in the morning!”
Extremely worried, “God, Marcie, I sure hope so.”
“Don’t worry, honey,” stroking the side of his face, “I love you no matter what, and we’ll have all our lives to make love.”
“Yeah,” trying to lighten the situation, “and we’d better do it before I go bald.”
“These damned rubbers, they’re scalping me!”