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Mark M Lichterman

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BECOMING 68:Ain't Cherry
By Mark M Lichterman
Posted: Friday, January 21, 2011
Last edited: Tuesday, January 25, 2011
This short story is rated "PG13" by the Author.
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“Y’know, Normie,” sighing loudly, “the only thing that makes me feel better ’bout still bein’ cherry, after all this time, is that you’re cherry, too.” He waited for Norman to answer, and when he didn’t, taking a long pull on his bottle, staring at their feet, “Normie, you ever think ’bout how ugly your toes are?”


September 3, 1951

Labor Day

Fishing a pack of cigarettes out of his shirt pocket, “None that’s interesting,” he offered it to Norman, who took one, took one himself, leaned into the light Norman offered, took a deep drag… and chug-a-lugged his third bottle of beer.

Matching his friend beer-for-beer, “Know what, Mitchie?”

“No, what, Normie?”

“I’m gonna tell…” taking a drag on the cigarette, blowing twin streams of smoke through his nostrils, drinking about a quarter of his fourth bottle of beer, “…you what I, urpp, —’scuse me—reeeally think!”  


Shoving some potato chips in his mouth, spitting crumbs as he spoke. “Oh, great paleface, pray tell, what’d you reeeeally think?” Mitchell gulped down the better half of his fourth bottle of beer.

Shoving some potato chips in his mouth, spitting crumbs as he spoke. “I think it’s some kind’a ‘don’t let em touch your tits’ conspiracy with all these Jewish broads.”

“Yeah,” munching on his hot dog. “I think they think that if they let a guy touch ’em, not even, God forbid, here,” pointing to his crotch, “but jus’ on their li’l ol’ titties, they think God’ll strike ’em dead or somethin’…. Urrppp!” Mitchell smiled. “’Scuse me.” Drawing on the cigarette, drinking the last of his bottle of beer, “Jesus, Normie! Where’d my folks ever find such teensy-weensy bottles? Want s’more?”

“Yeah. Nah, they’re just regular kind’a bottles. Sounds like you’re kind’a, maybe, drinkin’ a li’l too much beer, La-pimp-sky.”

Recalling Junior Johnson’s word, “Sheet! Too much beer my ass! Livin’ in the country here, I’ve become some kind’a super goy an’ can drink beer till it’s comin’ out’a my dick… Yeah, what?”

“Yeah what, what?… Oh, beer! You asked if I want s’more beer, an’ I said, yeah, I do. I do want s’more beer.”

Extinguishing with a hiss, “Okay, pal,” Mitchell dropped his cigarette in one of the bottles. “Be right back.”

Taking his sneakers and socks off, putting his socks into one of his shoes, lining them up with Mitchell’s loafers, “How the hell you getting’ ’em past your folks?” he asked when Mitchell returned.

Handing Norman two bottles, “My dad’s so busy cookin’ he wouldn’t notice if I swiped the whole tub.” Dropping onto the stoop, taking a gurgling drink, he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. “An’ my mom’s so busy talkin’an’ schleppin’ she don’t know from nothin’.”

Sipping slowly now, Norman looking at his toes and Mitchell through the wood framing of the still-uncompleted houses to Main Street, both boys were quiet for a minute.

“Yeah, the only wej drub that ever let me feel her up,” continuing the conversation, “’cept Ina Dorfmann, was Debbie Schlumberger, an’ that was only ’cause her falsies were so damn thick she didn’t know I was doin’ it.”

“Yeah,” Norman laughed, “Debbie Schlumberger could’a kept a whole family of shvartzers busy pickin’ cotton for her brassieres alone.”

“Y’know, Normie,” sighing loudly, “the only thing that makes me feel better ’bout still bein’ cherry, after all this time, is that you’re cherry, too.” He waited for Norman to answer, and when he didn’t, taking a long pull on his bottle, staring at their feet, “Normie, you ever think ’bout how ugly your toes are?”

“No, you schmuck,” suppressing a smile, Norman looked at his toes, “I never think ’bout how ugly my toes are, an. if you think yours are so fuckin’ beautiful,” taking a swill of beer, “how’s come you don’t enter ’em in some kind’a beauty contest?”

“Hey, just ’cause you got fuckin’ ugly toes, you don’t gotta get all ticked off at me.” Also swilling. “It ain’t my fault your folks gave you fuckin’ ugly toes.”

“Mitchie, me ol’ buddy,” putting his arm across his shoulders, “I ain’t mad at’ch’ya. I loooves ya!” The last of his fifth bottle of beer gurgling down his throat, “But I ain’t no more.”

“Me, too, Normie,” Feeling sentimental, blinking his eyes to hold back tears. “I loooves ya, too!”

Draining his fifth bottle of beer. “Uh, you ain’t no more what?”

Looking at his feet, wiggling his toes, “Cherry.”

“Huh?” Mitchell looked at Norman.

“Cherry.” Norman turned his alcohol-flushed face to his astonished friend. “I ain’t no more.” Giggling, “I done been fucked.”

“Huh?” Taking a moment to register. “You got it? You? Who for ever since we been old enough to wanna fuck didn’t give a shit! An’ you been fucked an’ I ain’t! Who? Anyone I know? Who’d’j’ya do it with?”

“Well,” hesitating, taking a draw on his sixth bottle of beer. “Yeah, I’d say you do know her… Ina.”

“Ina?” Taking a moment for the name to penetrate the beer-induced cobwebs that surrounded his mind, “Ina? My Ina? Ina Dorfmann?” Somehow remembering the conversation they’d had at the beach in Union Pier. “But you said that you’d never screw a broad like Ina Dorfmann!”

“Yeah, well I lied!” Becoming defensive. “An’ Ina ain’t your Ina! Ina’s everyone’s Ina!” He giggled. “’Ceptin’ ‘your Ina.’ An’ when I saw her in the hall…”

“At school? When you saw her in the hall at school?”


“How? How’d you see her in the hall at school? When I called, before you moved, she said she was movin’ to, uh…”



“Peoria. She tol’ me she tol’ you she was movin’ to Peoria.” Giggling again. “She said it but she wasn’t. She said it so’s she wouldn’t have to go out, or, in your case, stay in w’ch’ya. She tol’ch’ya ’cause she didn’t know what else to tell ya.”

“Didn’t know what else to tell me what? I don’t understand.”

“Mitchie, she, Ina, tol’ me she liked ya, really liked ya…”

“Well, then, why’d she lie ’bout movin’?”

“She knew you’n’me are buddies, an’ she asked me not to tell ya that her’n’me, uh, saw each other.” Taking a cigarette, he offered one to Mitchell.

“No, thanks.” Shaking his head, “Saw her? Shit! Lighting one of his own, inhaling deeply, “You fucked her!”

“Well, yeah,” Norman smiled broadly. “I did! Oh, boy, I really did fuck her!”

Envious, “So why’d she lie?” Downright jealous, “Why’d she say she was movin’ for?”

Taking his time, sucking on both his cigarette and the beer, “Ina said that when to two’a’ya were on that date, that you did somethin’ to ’er.”

“Me?” Mitchell said innocently. “I didn’t do nothin’ to ’er.”

“Nothin’? Oh, yeah! You didn’t do nothin’ but shove a flashlight up ’er box.”

“Oh, God!” Laughing, Mitchell put his head between his hands. “‘J’ya tell ’er that? ‘J’ya tell ’er ’bout the flashlight?”

“Shit, no! Jus’ ’cause a broad’s a whore don’t mean she wants everyone goin’ ’round tellin’ everyone she’s a whore, uh, jus’ ’cause she’s a whore.” Stopping, giggling again, draining his sixth bottle of beer. “That, urpp—’scuse me—make any sense to you?”

“Kind’a.” Remembering Frank Rizzos ruse of bringing his old Captain Midnight ring as an excuse to get Gina into a bedroom. “So, what she say ’bout me?”

“Ina said she don’t know wh’ch’ya did to her, but she knows you did somethin’, an’ thinks…” Beginning to laugh, “she thinks you’re…” laughing so hard tears rolled down his cheeks, “Ina thinks you’re some kind’a… Oh, God!” swiping his hand over his face, “Ina thinks you’re some kind’a pervert.”

“Pervert!” Catching Norman’s laughter, Mitchell began to laugh, too. “Ina thinks I’m some kind’a pervert jus’ ’cause I shoved a flashlight up ’er box an’ turned it on an’ scared the shit outta ’er an’ she beaned ’erself on the steering wheel? That’s what’s botherin’ ’er? That’s why she thinks I’m a pervert?” Laughing, he fell off the stoop, onto the grass.

“What the hell’s going on here?” said in a stern, kind of bantering way. “Everyone’s wondering where you are. Beer! How in the world did you ever sneak…” Pointing her finger, Myra counted the bottles. “…twelve bottles of beer past your father and me?”

“Beer?” Mitchell looked at Norman. “Beer? J’ya drink any—urpp—beer, Normie? Two other guys must’a left ’em here, Mom.”

“Beer? No, ma’am, Mrs. Lipensky, ma’am. Me’n’ol’ Mitchie here ain’t drunk no, urpp—’scuse me—beer. Like he said, must’a been them other two guys that brought ’em.”

“Yeah, sure, them other two guys, huh?” Smiling, turning, heading back to the backyard and her party, “Bullshit!” Myra said over her shoulder.

“Mitchie, did I jus’ hear your li’l ol’ mommy say ‘bullshit’?”

“Yeah, guess so.”

“So, you lookin’ forward to school tomorrow?”

“Always hated the thought of it before. But now? You bet’ch’ya! Shiksas! The place is lousy with bee-U-te-ful, blonde-haired, blue-eyed shiksas that don’t think their tits’r made of gold.”

Scrutinizing his friend through partially closed, fuzzy pink eyes, “You really been fucked?”

“Yeah,” Norman said dreamily, “I really been fucked.”

“So,” Mitchell asked jealously, “how’d it feel?”

“How’d it feel, that I’ve been fucked? No different, Mitchie. You got this big thing built up in your mind and it ain’t no big deal.”

“No big deal, huh?”

“Yeah,” closing his eyes, both reliving the minute and teasing Mitchell, “It’s just that when you slip it in it feels, oh, God, it feels so smooth and so, uh, slickery, an’ so, oh, God, it felt so warm!” Groaning as if in the throes of passion. “Ummmm!”

“You dick! Stop already!”

Smiling, opening his eyes, “Like I said,” Norman said, “it ain’t no big deal.”

“Yeah, no big deal.” Listening to Norman, he’d poked his index finger into the opening of the bottle and, pulling it out with a pop, Mitchell brought the bottle to his lips, hesitated, lowered it and, “Blonde-haired, blue-eyed shiksas,” he said, “Niles is full of ’em.”

“Yeah? Good luck, buddy.”



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Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado

(((HUGS)))) and much love, your friend in Texas, Karen Lynn. :D

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