So, yes, he did return Elizabeth’s friendly gaze and, yes, he did melt within the warmth of Elizabeth’s smile and, Oh, God, he did feel the touch of her body when they accidentally brushed against each other in the narrow corridor of filing cabinets. And, Oh, yes, having honey colored streaked hair, and being beautiful… unbelievably beautiful and having the type of body he’d always fantasized over, as men are able, at times, to fantasize the impossible, Elizabeth Herzon—she should only know—had become the embodiment of Mitchell Lipensky’s masturbatory daydreams. But fearing the breakup of his marriage, that had so recently mended, outside of the meeting of their eyes and the accidental brushing of their bodies and, Oh, yeah the envisioning of Elizabeth’s beautiful breasts and beautiful body and, Oh, God! the warmth of her vagina that Mitchell Lipensky envisioned in his daydreams… remained only in his daydreams.
October 15, 1958
“They’re pretty.” Taking the two floral arranged red roses, “Thanks, Mitchie.”
“Sorry it can’t be a dozen.”
Going to the kitchen, “No, honey,” searching in a cabinet, finding a small pitcher, “these are just fine.” She partially filled it with water. “And we are going out to dinner.” Placing the pitcher on the table, “Next year, when we have more money, then you can get me a dozen.”
“Nah, baby, next year it’ll be diamonds. Or at the very least, we won’t have to celebrate your birthday and our anniversary together.”
“Yeah, well, I knew it would be this way when we got married just two days after my birthday. But I thought we’d decided to celebrate only the real marriage.”
“Yeah, but if you think about it, this is our real marriage.”
“Can you believe it?” Going to him, putting her arms about him, “Three years! We’re married three years!”
“Give or take,” he said quietly, referring to their separations, adding, a bit more cheerfully, “Also if you don’t count not getting laid till Christmas.” Referring to his inability to maintain an erection for the first week of their marriage. “But what I’m finding hard to believe is that I’m married to a broad that’s that old!”
“That old, eh? Well, twenty-two’s not as old as twenty-five.”
“Hey,” nuzzling her neck, “I ain’t gonna be twenty-five for another, uh, ten months.”
“Yeah, but then I’ll still be twenty-two and you’ll be twenty-five, so then I’ll be three years younger than you.”
“Yeah, for two months!”
Both glad their son was entertaining himself, Marsha’s words were cut off by Mitchell’s kiss.
Holding off, “Marcie,” wondering when it might be best to tell her, “I’ve something to talk to you about.”
Noting the tone of his voice, she looked at him.
“I, uh…They gave me… us, a choice of Buffalo, New York, Saint Paul, Minnesota, or Peoria.”
“What are you talking about, Mitchie?”
“Marcie, you remember I told you we might have to relocate?”
He’d mentioned it, briefly, and they’d discussed it, briefly, and she’d responded positively. But, in the country, at that moment Marsha was feeling untold happiness over the renewal of their love. Also, to say nothing of the warmth she still felt due to that day’s very satisfying sexual encounter. Also, at that time she’d had no idea as to how their lives might be when summer ended and they returned to the city.
“Marcie, wherever we go it’s got to cost less to live there than here. Besides, we’ll be raised to eighty-five a week when we move and remember, it’s a salary not a draw, and wherever we go there’s established accounts they’ll turn over to us so, immediately, we’ll be making commission, too.”
Inviting Mitchell’s family to spend time in Lakeside had mended the wounds, at least so far, and—short of calling Myra “Mom”—everyone has gotten along just fine. So why would she be happy about moving away when everything was going so well?
Except, she hated the apartment, and the neighborhood was the worst she had ever lived in. And even if Mitchell was earning about what he’d made at the studio, there was the immediate prospect of more, to say nothing of the medical insurance Transco paid for.
In reality, her father, Larry and Morton being the only people she’d really miss, and after all, “How far away is Peoria?” Marsha asked.
Knowing she would pick Peoria, but surprised she’d given in so easily, “In good driving conditions, Peoria’s about a three and half, four hour drive.”
“No problem coming back to visit, then?”
“Course not! Any time! And they can come visit us, too.”
“Think we can afford to rent a little house there?”
“Yeah, sure!” Taking her hand, “Every day there’s leads from inquiries that they’ll turn over to me as soon as we decide where we want to go, so we’ll be making commissions even before we get there.”
“They’ll help with moving expenses?”
“Yeah. A hundred fifty buck moving allowance, which should cover us easily.”
“When’s this supposed to happen?”
“Sometime after the first of the year.”
October 16, to December 12, 1958
Where the hell are my 63/4’s?
I demand immediate shipment!!
Where in the hell are the goddamned eps for First Baptist Church?
Run to the files, dig up the order, check with production…
QUERY DATED: 10/13/58
TO: M. Lorin
CUSTOMER NAME: First Baptist Church
PRODUCTION ORDER: 1917392
RESPONSE: Order shipped 10/14/58…
Hey, Mike. God’ll get’j’ya for that!
BY: M. Lipensky
Pricing variables for: 61/4, 63/4, #7, #8, #9, #10, #12 or special sized C&O’s (commercial and official) manufactured out of 20 pound W.W. (white wove) or 24 pound W.W. or standard colored paper stock or B.K. (brown kraft) or bond stock with or without a watermark, or a special, customized watermark on parchment stock in tones of white, pink or blue, and glassine or cello or Transco envelopes with standard or special size, special placed windows, with regular or pointed or specialise flaps, with standard or special color and/or custom designed inside tints with standard or special color outside tints. There were 3x5 O.E. (open end) coin envelopes, 5x7s, 8x10s, 101/2x111/2s, 10x12s, 12x13s. There were special size O.E.s with regular or special flaps with/and/or clasps or string and button, or self stick flaps made of 24, 28 or 32 pound brown or white kraft or of a special weight white or brown kraft.
What’s in an envelope, eh?
Atlantic Mortgage needed by 11/3/58! Damn it! Where are they?
It’s not as if all orders were shipped late. Of the thousands of orders shipped each month, it was only those coming across the desk of E. Herzon and M. Lipensky that were.
Guaranteed Roofing promised by 11/11/58! Where the hell are they?’
Ultra Cuts 8x10 eps guaranteed Nov. 15! Where the F--- are they?????
QUERY DATED: 11/17/58
TO: J. Novotny
QUERY DATED: 11/17/58
CUSTOMER NAME: Ultra Cuts
PRODUCTION ORDER: 1914032
RESPONSE: To be shipped on this date.
BY: E. Herzon … I do not appreciate your language!
Price breaks at 1M (thousand) 2,500, 5M, 10M, 15M, 20M, 25M, 50M, 100M and 200M. All above 200M received special pricing.
The stream of queries by Transco salesman seemed to be never ending and, besides responding to impatient, irate salesmen, the days of the two trainees were spent with back and forth trips to the files and the plant, and with each trip to the plant and each conversation with a department supervisor an additional bit of knowledge was added to their growing store of information.
300M 63/4, 24# W.W. print two color, front only.
Figure quantity, size, type of envelope, special features, if any, and do not forget freight.
Requests for pricing coming from an assigned territory were forwarded to the regional salesman. If there was no salesman, the price was given, usually by phone, directly to the potential customer.
Though Peoria, Illinois, was to be Mitchell Lipensky’s base of operation, all within an approximate sixty mile radius would be considered his territory. So when—over the additional weeks of training—three requests for quotations were received—one each from Bloomington, Galesburg and Peoria—Mitchell was assigned the prospective accounts and, figuring and calling the quotations, Transco received orders from two of the three prospects and, much to Mitchell’s delight, he was on the books for the commissions.
December 13, 1958
Hidden in the narrow labyrinth formed by stacked cartons, “Five, ten, fifteen,” using a pencil as a pointer, “twenty, twenty-five.” Now counting to himself, Mitchell tallied the contents of the triple stacked row of like stencilled cartons. “That’ll be 80,000 #8 cellos.”
Making a notation on the inventory sheet, glancing at him, Elizabeth moved on.
Watching the sway of her well defined buttocks, sighing longingly—for minimally the twentieth time since starting—he followed Elizabeth and again, using the pencil as a pointer, this time, though, counting cartons, “Three, six, nine, twelve, fifteen, twenty… #9 cello, 100M.”
On this day doing the trainees assigned task of the quarterly inventory, with the exception of Gene Tarnowski—who at last sight was in his office—alone in the plant on this Saturday morning, it was Mitchell’s turn to do the counting and Elizabeth the writing.
Rounding a corner in the maze of stacked cartons, never sure how, or who caused it to happen…
Suddenly Mitchell’s body was pressed tightly against Elizabeth’s body and her mouth was held tightly against his mouth and his…no, her tongue was in his mouth and the taste of her tongue and the strange, albeit very pleasant touch of Elizabeth’s—much fuller than Marsha’s—lips along with the soft push of Elizabeth’s—much larger than Marsha’s—breasts against his chest causing an instant reaction that Elizabeth felt and responded to, by…
Letting the clipboard slip from her fingers, clasping his Levi clad buttocks in both hands, hungrily pulling his hips inward, hungrily arching her hips outward, urgently grinding her pelvis into his, that Mitchell, Oh, yeah, responded to by…
Mitchell Lipensky truly believed he loved Elizabeth Herzon! But Mitchell Lipensky knew he loved his wife, too, and the thrill… the absolute thrill of holding… of being held by this truly beautiful woman—who, very possibly, was the most beautiful woman he’d ever personally known, and who he was now kissing, and who was kissing him, which, by the way, was all but making his toes curl—was overshadowed by the irrefutable fact that Mitchell Lipensky loved his son, too, and the recent separation from Michael was a thing Mitchell had no intention of ever allowing to happen again. Besides—lacking the passion of this kiss and the thrill of this moment—he and Marsha were getting along better than ever.
However, deep down he would have given anything—short of his son—to be able to make love to this beautiful young woman with the, Oh, God, so beautiful body that he then knew—a dream come true —he could make love to and maybe even…Yes! At that moment Mitchell Lipensky thought he could spend the rest of his life with Elizabeth Herzon.
However, not willing break up his family, not willing to give his son up…
Switching to brain control… upper brain control, breaking the touch of their tongues and the magnetic hold of lips and bodies. “Please,” the word, “honey,” slipping out. “I want to do this more than anything in the world, but I can’t!” Holding Elizabeth at arms’ length, looking into her eyes, “I…” hesitating, “I,” thinking, love you! Instead, “I can’t!” He said, “I just can’t!”
Catching her breath—the affectionately said “honey” planted within her brain—however having no idea what to say, what to do, looking into his eyes, “Mitchie, I…” Considering: Tell him! Elizabeth thought. Go on! Tell him you love him!
“Hey, you two!” Gene Tarnowski called from somewhere on the other side of the cartons, “how’s about a break!”
…Fortunately, the moment was lost.
December 15, 1958 through December 20, 1958
They’d done their best to stay away from each other.
Even to the extent of not being in the filing corridors at the same time, speaking only when absolutely necessary, Elizabeth and Mitchell did their best to stay away from each other. But their eyes…
When their eyes touched they would linger, silently speaking words neither dared speak.
The Company Christmas Dinner
Trying not to look for her, Mitchell had been looking for her.
Now seeing her, his breath catching, rather than the pride he should feel for showing the strength of character he had shown, feeling a sense of guilt over…?
Never guilty about whom he might fantasize over, who was unobtainable, but when the unobtainable became obtainable and was as beautiful as Elizabeth… and was about to meet his wife?
Standing as she approached, “Elizabeth, hi!” he said, attempting to hide his nervousness, but the pitch of his voice a bit too high, speaking a bit too fast, “I’d like you to meet my wife… Marcie, this is Elizabeth.”
Thinking, My God! Marsha said, “Mitchie’s mentioned you”—not prone to giving complements such as this to strangers, especially to female strangers but surprised at Elizabeth’s appearance—“but didn’t tell me how pretty you are.”
Jealous of this woman’s marriage, hoping her tone of voice did not show the envy she had for her, “Thank you, Marsha,” Elizabeth replied, nodding to Mitchell as he pulled the chair out for her. “But he did, “returning the complement, doing all in her power to sound sincere, “tell me how pretty you are.”
“Thank you… You here alone?”
“Yes, but…” not wanting to admit to being alone, knowing Mitchell would know it was a lie, “my, uh,” glancing at him, bringing her attention back to Marsha, “fiancé is orthodox, you see, and refuses to go to company Christmas parties.”
Looking from Elizabeth to Mitchell, feeling something, sensing a…? sort of tension between her husband and this young woman. “You’re going to be married?”
Continuing the lie, “Yes. We haven’t set a date yet, but, uh, Howie’n’I’ll do it sometime next year.” Noticing Marsha’s eyes shift to her hand, she held it up. “We’re going out for New Year’s, and I think he’ll give me a ring then, as a kind of New Year’s present.”
“Oh! Well, I wish you good luck. We’ve been married three years now. Matter of fact, our anniversary was just yesterday.”
“Yesterday?” Avoiding each other, not having spoken for the past five days, her eyes now on Mitchell, “I thought you mentioned that your anniversary was a couple of months ago.”
Possessively taking hold of her husband’s hand, “Yes, in October. But we were married twice, you know.”
Elizabeth smiled. “Just in case it didn’t take the first time?”
“No.” Tossing an innuendo that actually was as far from the truth as possible. “It took real good the first time, but Mitch was in the service then, and…”
“Oh? You never told me that,” Elizabeth said, looking at him.
Becoming more uncomfortable by the second, slowly turning the stem of his wine glass between his fingers, “We never talked about stuff like that.”
“Yeah, that’s true . What were you in?”
“In the service?”
“Yes!” Marsha said, for some reason becoming annoyed. “He was in the Coast Guard at the time and was stationed in New York…”
Looking at her husband, “Excuse me, Staten Island,” then back at Elizabeth. “We weren’t sure if we’d have time enough for the blood tests and the three day waiting period before our real wedding, the one in December, so we were married by a court judge in October. When we were sure he’d have enough leave time…” Hesitating, Marsha asked, “Are they still doing that? Making people wait three days before they can get married?”
Handed a glass of wine along with a “Merry Christmas” by Gene Tarnowski when she’d entered the room, sipping a bit before answering. “Howie and me, we haven’t gotten that far yet so I’m not too sure.”
Thinking, if she’s getting married, it’s strange she wouldn’t know this. “You converting?”
Taken back by Marsha’s question, “Huh?”
“You said your fiancé is an orthodox Jew.”
Still confused… realizing, “Oh, I’m Jewish.”
The moment she’d met her, Marsha had enviously noticed that besides being beautiful, Elizabeth’s hair was naturally blonde and her eyes naturally—naturally?—green.
“Funny,” Marsha said—saying what Mitchell had said when he’d met Ruby, which was the punch line of an old joke neither remembered—“you don’t look Jewish.”
Having heard it before, “Yeah, I know, but my mom’s Scandinavian.”
Well aware that in the Jewish religion you are what your mother is. “A Scandinavian Jew,” Marsha said, adding, “Don’t know why, but I never thought of Jews as coming from Scandinavia.”
“Sure we do!” Mitchell said. “Don’t you remember what the king of Denmark did when the Nazis made Jews there wear Stars of David on their coats?”
The well publicized picture of the king of Denmark wearing a Star of David pinned to his coat, leading a mass of people, all of whom also wore Stars of David came to mind. “Oh, yes, now I do.” Pulling the threads of their conversation together, “Anyway,” Marsha continued, “we were married by a judge in October, then the rabbi in December.”
Introductions and small talk through, an uneasy quietness fell over the table.
Sitting across from her, Mitchell did his best to look anyplace but at Elizabeth.
Sitting alongside her husband, looking steadily at the face of the young woman on the other side of the table, the shadow of a dark thought began to form in Marsha’s mind.
As for Elizabeth: her gaze lingering on the face of the young man that sat across from her a little longer than necessary, then sensing Marsha’s eyes on her, Elizabeth’s eyes shifted to those of the young man’s wife, then to the wine glass before her and the quietness became even more pronounced.
“Mitchie, they’re playing a slow one.” Standing, she pulled him to his feet. “Come on, baby!” Marsha said a bit more emphatically than necessary, “let’s dance!” Possessively linking her arm through his, nodding at Elizabeth, she led him from the table.
As the husband and wife walked from the table, as much as knowing Marsha had Mitchell and she didn’t, Elizabeth also knew she was an ex fat girl, that she would always be an ex fat girl and that for the rest of her life every day would mean another day’s struggle for her to remain an ex fat girl. Subconsciously turning the stem of the wine glass between her fingers, Elizabeth enviously, so enviously, looked at the trim, slim backside of the young man’s wife.
As a teenager, although a number of girls had attempted to teach Mitchell Lipensky how to dance, because, first of all, he truly had no developed sense of rhythm, and secondly—which was really first—because the mere proximity of a girl’s body that close to his would always bring about a physiological reaction that the girl, in most instances, would pretend not to notice and, though most times was flattering to the girl, the often noticeable, instant physiological reaction—except on a few occasions when he grew older—was always embarrassing to him.
Knowing she could do it to him so easily! Knowing that sometimes just the light touch of a finger moving along the soft underside of his bare arm, that often the mere brush of her lips over his, and most certainly the press of her body against his would always bring about an erection, tightening her arm about his waist, moving her pelvis against his, she expected to feel it… but didn’t.
“Mitchie,” tilting her head back, looking at him, “how come you didn’t tell me how pretty she is?”
“I don’t know. Guess I didn’t think it was all that important.”
Wanting to ask, “Did you ever go out with her?” but knowing that since working at Transco he had never spent an evening or day, when he wasn’t working, away from the apartment. Except, she thought, on that Saturday when he said they were taking inventory. Marsha wanted to ask, “Were you really at the plant taking inventory last week?” But of course he would say “yes”. So instead, “She likes you,” Marsha said.
Knowing full well who she meant. “Who likes me?”
“Your friend Elizabeth. I think a lot.”
Trying to sound flattered—which he truly was—“Really?” he questioned, looking directly into Marsha’s eyes. “If she does, she’s never gone out of her way to show it.”
Looking into her husband’s eyes, knowing she would know if he was lying. Knowing him, as she’d told him on numerous occasions, better than he knew himself, studying his face, Marsha decided he was telling the truth. so…
Tightening her arm again, “Mitchie,” purposely rubbing her lower body against his, moving the side of her face to the side of his face, “I love you.” she whispered in his ear and was rewarded with…
Feeling his wife’s breasts against his chest and the swaying, rubbing motion of her pelvis against his, “I love you, too, Marcie.”
Now, Oh, yeah, now it was there. So “there” that he had to walk closely behind his wife on their way back to the table.
Cutting into her choice of dinner: steak, “So where’re you going? Where’s the company sending you?”
Eating one pea at a time, “My territory?” Looking up from her plate, “The Loop.”
The Loop? Taking Marsha a moment to realize that Elizabeth was speaking of downtown Chicago. “They’re giving you the Loop?”
“Not the whole Loop!” Her fork spearing a minute piece of broiled trout, “Just a small part of it.”
She’s getting the Loop… part of the Loop, Marsha thought. And they’re sending us to goddamned Peoria! “That’s pretty lucky!” she said.
“Yeah. Well, you know they’d been advertising for a female salesman, and when I applied for the job they asked if I’d be willing to relocate and I told them I wouldn’t, and I guess so long as I’m their first female salesman they’d rather keep an eye on me anyway, I’ll be working with Bill Krupper, till…”
“I worked construction with Bill’s son, Earl,” Mitchell interjected. “Earl is the one that suggested I apply for a job here and Bill’ll be retiring in a year or two.”
Annoyed at the interruption, going on, Elizabeth said, “Bill’s one of the older guys and he’s starting to have a hard time covering it all, so I’ll be working with him, and when he retires they’ll split his territory, maybe even into thirds, and I’ll get part of it.”
Yeah, Marsha thought, along with hundreds of accounts. “Like I said, that’s pretty damn lucky!”
Marsha had something she was jealous of: Mitchell. And now knowing she had something Marsha was jealous of, “Yeah,” Elizabeth said nonchalantly, eating a piece of steamed carrot, “guess it is.”
And, Marsha thought, pretty goddamned unfair!
Seeing the look on Marsha’s face, Tough shit! Elizabeth thought.