David Miller glanced up from the pages he was feeding into the photocopier, taking note of the time on the clock on the wall. The nineteen year old had been working in Mail and Reproduction for nearly eighteen months now, just long enough for his job responsibilities to have become routine. Actually tedious might have been a better word, as even putting together copies of the 1977 first quarter report for nearly six hundred employees was more time consuming than difficult.
It was just a matter of copying the interior black and white pages, collating them, and then attaching the multi-colored covers before slipping the completed books into the electric stapler to bind it all together. And the new copier even did the correlating for him, making over twenty complete copies at a time before he had to start over.
No, it wasn’t the project, important as it was, that was on the brown-haired teen’s mind, but rather the daily visit of one of the copy girls who worked on the main floor of Ryan and Moore, one level above. Peggy McCallister was the kind of girl who wouldn’t even give him the time of day back in high school, unless of course she needed his help in one of her classes. And in most cases, the help she would be looking for wasn’t tutoring but having the work done for her.
But high school was behind him now and he was determined that here, out in the real world, things were going to be different. Over the last month, David had struck up a friendship of sorts with Peggy, expediting any work she brought down to the center and had even managed to have lunch with her a few times in the company cafeteria. Well, having lunch together might have been a misleading way to look at it. Better to just say she hadn’t objected when he asked if he could sit with her. Today, however, he was going to take a giant leap; he was going to ask her out on a date.
As it turned out, he needn’t have worried about missing Peggy as, the moment she stepped through the door and walked up to the counter, just about every head in reproduction turned in that direction – well, at least the male ones. Standing five foot three, two inches shorter than David, with a body that seemed carved by a sculptor, the twenty year old would’ve stood out in a crowd even without the brilliant long red hair that ran down almost to her waist.
Glancing back over his shoulder, David caught the attention of Connie Burke, the sixty- two year old retiree who worked part time in the mail room and asked her to take over the machine for a few minutes. Seeing Peggy standing at the front counter, she gave David a smile and said she’d be happy to.
Even though he had rehearsed what he wanted to say a dozen times, the minute David stepped up to the counter he forgot just about all of it. It didn’t help matters that Peggy was wearing a top that not only displayed a bit more cleavage than might normally be considered appropriate, but it was just tight enough to draw even more attention to the parts of her that it did cover. Added to that was a set of jeans so tight that they made the view as she walked away from you almost as enjoyable as the one when she approached.
“Mr. Archer needs these as soon as possible,” she said as she laid a pile of about twenty sheets on the counter between them. ‘They need to go out before the end of business today. Do you think that will be a problem?”
David took his eyes off Peggy just long enough to glance down at the request sheet that was attached to the top page with a paperclip. It called for ten copies of each, with only a simple staple at the top – not difficult at all.
Not that he said that, of course. On his very first job, back in high school, he’d been given a bit of advice that had served him well. Never say exactly how long any job will take, or how easy it might be. Better to have people marvel that you completed it sooner or with less difficulty than originally assumed. Otherwise, people will just take it for granted and expect it that quick and easy all the time.
He made an exaggerated glance back towards the copier, where Connie was continuing to make copies. He knew that they only had about sixty more copies of the report to make and that the color covers would take a half hour at best. That left more than enough time to complete Mr. Archer’s, and by extension, Peggy’s request.
“It’ll be tight, but for you I’ll get it done,” David told Peggy with a smile.
“You are a lifesaver,” Peggy beamed back. “I probably shouldn’t say so, but I really screwed up this time. I was supposed to bring this down this morning, but I got wrapped up with something else and simply forgot.”
Those were words David was overjoyed to hear. What better opportunity would he have to ask her out?
“Peggy, can I ask you something?” he said as she started to walk away from the counter.
“Sure,” she replied, turning back towards him.
David lifted the movable countertop and stepped out into the entryway with Peggy. As he did, he glanced back toward Connie who, watching him instead of the copier, gave him a smile of encouragement.
“There’s a new movie coming out next week that I’ve read is really going to be something awesome,” he began a bit hesitantly, “and I was wondering if, perhaps, you might like to go and see it with me?”
From where she was watching, it was obvious to Connie that the offer came as a complete surprise to Peggy. It was also immediately apparent that, despite his efforts to the contrary, the redhead never imagined her relationship with David as anything but platonic. Connie did however give the younger girl some credit, in that she didn’t immediately say no without at least making a show of giving it some thought.
“What’s the movie?” Peggy asked.
“It’s called Star Wars, he eagerly replied.
“Never heard of it,” Peggy said, “What’s it about?”
David told her what he knew of the plot from the article in Time magazine that he had read.
“Spaceships, ray guns, robots and guys with swords?” Peggy said, failing to hide her lack of interest. “I’m sorry, but I don’t think that’s my kind of movie.”
“Well, we could see something else,” David quickly suggested, unwilling to let the opportunity pass by.
Peggy took a long breath, then another, giving her a few moments to think of the best way to turn David down without hurting his feelings too much.
“David, you’re a nice guy, I really mean that,” she said, calling forth the beginning of what had become a familiar refrain, “but I’m sort of seeing someone. You might know him, Tim Kelly? He works upstairs.”
As soon as he heard the name, David pictured the handsome, dark-haired researcher, who was six years his senior and probably made almost twice his salary. He was sure Tim’s idea of getting a bite before a movie didn’t involve any place where they wore paper hats behind the counter.
Peggy was stretching the truth a bit when she said she was ‘seeing’ Tim. In actually, she had done little more than have lunch with him a few times, although those had definitely not been in the company cafeteria. Going to see the new Burt Reynolds film, Smokey and the Bandit tonight, was actually their first real date – real being defined by Peggy as one in which after which the guy taking her out might actually have a chance to get in her pants.
“Oh, I didn’t know,” David said, disappointment evident in his voice.
“I’m glad you understand,” Peggy smiled, thankful that she had managed to turn him down without creating any hard feelings between them. “And I do appreciate you getting those copies done right away for me,” she added as she leaned forward and gave him a kiss on the cheek. “You’re a real doll.”
As David lifted the countertop and stepped back into the work area, Connie didn’t need to see the dejected look on his face to know what had happened. She waited until he was back at the machine, then simply stepped aside to let him slide back in. She didn’t say anything until he did, and then just laid a compassionate hand on his shoulder and said that there were plenty of other girls out there.
‘Yeah, right,’ David thought, but didn’t say.
David had planned to head out to lunch once the interior pages for the quarterly were done, but decided to delay it long enough to make Peggy’s copies. In order to make the color covers for the quarterly report, he would have to open up the copier and replace the standard toner cartridge with the color one. So it just made more sense to do her project first. At least that was what he told himself, so he wouldn’t feel like too much of a jerk.
Once he was done, he handed off the project to one of the junior clerks to put them in envelopes, onto which would be attached the pre-addressed labels that were kept on file. Then he tossed the original papers, with the clip back on the front page, into the mail wagon so that they could be returned to Mr. Archer’s office.
It was when he saw a large manila folder in the wagon’s large basket that he remembered a similar folder in his knapsack. One that he didn’t trust one of the other mail clerks to deliver. Retrieving his folder, he told the clerk that he would take the basket upstairs himself. As he was waiting to go out to lunch himself, the younger teen had no objection at all.
Before he was promoted to the reproduction end, David had delivered and picked up the mail throughout the day. Some clerks found it a boring job, but he had actually enjoyed it, if for no other reason that he got to meet other people in the company and make friends. That most of the people he met were older than him really never seemed to matter.
Toward the end of his delivery run, David stopped at the reception desk and had a few words with Lisa Sweeny, who had started with the company just about the same time he had. Twenty-five years old, the divorced blonde was most recognizable by the Farrah Fawcett hairdo she had taken to wearing. Four inches taller than David, she had a fashion model’s skinny build and had, in fact, done a bit of that sort of work for a few department stores back in her high school days.
Like many of the women at Ryan and Moore, Lisa always had a smile for him whenever he stopped by. Unlike the others, however, there was a story behind that smile, one that David would always remember fondly.
It had been the night of the Christmas party, held last year just a few floors down at the City View Club. With only a few months at the company, David still wasn’t all that comfortable with that sort of thing and had decided to call it an early night. He’d come back upstairs to retrieve his copy of “The World According to Garp”, which he’d forgotten in the break room during lunch. The John Irving book was already overdue from the library and he wanted to return it on his day off tomorrow.
When he walked into the small room, he found Lisa sitting at the same table as his book. It was obvious that she’d had a few drinks down at the party, but David didn’t think she was drunk. At least, not until she got out of the chair and stepped up to him.
“Oh look, mistletoe,” she laughed softly, in a voice slurred just enough to make David rethink his opinion. “You know what that means.”
David glanced up and sure enough, he was standing under a sprig of mistletoe that someone had hung from the ceiling. By the time he looked back down, Lisa had crossed the room and wrapping her arms around his shoulders, brought her lips to his.
It was a nice kiss, David thought, in fact one of the nicest he’d gotten during the holiday season. It was only after Lisa decided to kiss him a second time that what had started out innocently enough progressed to anything but.
Lisa’s tongue filling his mouth came as a hell of a surprise, but not half as much as when he felt her hand slip between his legs and come to rest against his cock. An action that produced a reaction both immediate and highly noticeable.
Even at eighteen, his next birthday being two months away, David wasn’t a total innocent. He had, after all, lost his virginity to Dorothy Morgan on the night of the senior prom. That it had been two previously platonic friends deciding to just get it over with didn’t make it count any less.
A few long moments passed after which, Lisa didn’t withdraw her tongue, or her hand. In fact, she then went even further, blatantly massaging his cock through his pants, making David feel emboldened. He brought a free hand up and cupped one of her breasts through the loose fitting dress she was wearing, letting out a small gasp of surprise when he discovered she wasn’t wearing a bra.
“You know, you are really cute,” he heard Lisa whisper into his ear as she put her own hand over David’s, encouraging him to squeeze her breast harder, “and I am so fuckin’ horny.”
Then, letting out a soft moan as he followed her lead, she kissed him again, leaving the teenager no doubt that he was about to have a fantasy come true.
Unfortunately, at least for him, reality stepped in a few seconds later in the form of Brenda Greene, one of the other women who worked in the office. She already had her coat on, and held a second one over her arm Once Lisa saw the heavy-set secretary, she released her hold on David and took a large step back, her face now expressing a look of embarrassment.
Neither woman said a word as she helped Lisa into her coat, but as they exited the room, David was able to overhear a comment Brenda made to her friend in a voice just a bit too loud.
“God, Lisa, I know you haven’t been laid in a while, but the kid from the mailroom?”
Come the following Monday, David was worried what Lisa was going to say about the incident. Would she put the blame on him for taking advantage of her inebriated state, even though she had been the one who had initiated the encounter? Worse, would she make an actual complaint about it?
But to his surprise, she made no mention of it at all. In fact, as hard as he tried, he couldn’t find any difference between the way she treated him now and how she had before the party. Was it possible that she was even drunker than he thought and didn’t remember it at all? But even if that was the case, surely Brenda had told her about it?
It was only the next day when he overheard two of the men in the office talking about the party, specifically one telling the other how far he had gotten with one of his female co-workers, that David finally understood. The older of the two cut off the younger, who had been telling the story, telling him to remember the code. After the younger had walked away, David asked him what he meant by the code.
“Office parties are like going to Vegas, kid,” he smiled. “What happens at them, stays at them.”
“The door to Mr. Archer’s office was locked,” David said to Lisa. “Could I leave these originals here for him?”
“I saw Peggy go out to lunch with Tim Kelly about a half hour ago,” Lisa said, as if to explain the locked door. “Just leave them with me and I’ll give them to her when she comes back.”
David thanked Lisa and went on to continue his deliveries. Quickly finishing with the mail for all but one office, David backtracked to one he had intentionally skipped. It was the office of Michael Davis, one of the company’s senior partners, but more importantly it was the office in which his best friend at Ryan and Moore could be found.
At first, second or even third glance, Judith Katz seemed a most unlikely candidate for that role. Thirteen years David’s senior, with curly, short brown hair, the five foot two, one hundred and forty-eight pound woman had worked for the company for just over twelve years. Never married, she was usually one of the first to arrive in the morning and among the last to leave at the end of the day. Consequently, there was little that happened at the firm that Judith didn’t know about.
Their unlikely friendship had begun with Judith’s curiosity as to why, late one night after most of the staff had gone home, the young man had taken over an empty desk and was banging away at an electric typewriter. Banging away being the key term because, even from across the room, Judith could tell that the teenager had never used one before.
“A paper for school?” Judith asked as she came up behind the young man, remembering someone saying he took night classes at a community college.
David almost jumped when he heard the voice behind him, having thought everyone else had gone home already. What was worse, he recognized the voice of who had caught him using the typewriter.
“Not exactly,” David said, his embarrassment quite evident.
Curious, Judith picked up the top sheet of the pile and began reading. As she did, her mind automatically corrected the grammatical and typing errors, but even despite them, she found the material interesting enough to continue onto the next few pages before making any comment.
“Are you taking some sort of writing class?” she inquired as she laid the pages back on the pile.
“No, it’s just sort of a hobby,” David answered, wondering if he was in trouble for using the typewriter without permission. “I started writing stories back when I was in high school, and then I just couldn’t seem to stop afterwards.”
“I see,” Judith said noncommittally. “You do realize that you’re a horrible typist, don’t you?”
“I’ve never used an electric typewriter before,” David admitted. “All we have at home is an old manual Smith-Corona.”
“And your work could definitely stand the benefit of a good editor,” the older woman said, taking a long pause before adding, “but all in all, I think it’s quite interesting.”
“You like science fiction?” David asked, his tone making the possibility sound doubtful.
“Why do you find that hard to believe?” Judith asked, pickup up on his tone.
“I just didn’t think anyone that works here would like things like that,” David answered, realizing even as he said it that it was a pretty stupid thing to say.
“Because we’re all old and unimaginative, right?” Judith smiled before adding, “I’ll have you know that not only do I read science fiction, but one of my most prized possessions is a first edition copy of Foundation and Empire, signed by the author himself.”
“You met Isaac Asimov?” David asked, a sense of awe in his voice that one might normally associate with meeting the President or the Pope.
“Well, not really,” Judith replied, her reply containing a slight touch of disappointment. “The book was already signed when it was given to me by a friend; he was the one who met Dr. Asimov.”
“Wow,” David said, thinking that even that much of a connection was impressive.
“I’m not going to compare this story of yours to anything he might have done,” Judith said, still making reference to the famed author, “but I would like to read the rest of it. Would you mind if I borrowed it overnight? I promise to have it back to you in the morning.”
Thinking that if she was actually interested in reading his work, she would hardly turn him in for using the typewriter, David immediate said he didn’t mind at all. Gathering up the few retyped pages he had completed earlier, he added them to the larger pile of pages done with the manual typewriter and handed the pile to Judith.
“Thank you,” she said, promising again to have it all back to him tomorrow.
The next morning, when David stopped by Mr. Davis’ office to retrieve his story, he was surprised to be handed back, not only his original copy, but a second one that was immaculately typed.
“I hope you don’t mind, but I did a little editing when I retyped it,” Judith said with a smile. “I though it was the least I could do, since you were nice enough to let me take it home to read.”
“You changed my words?” David asked with reflexive indignation, only remembering at the last second who he was speaking to. “I mean, you changed my words?” he repeated in a much softer voice.
“Just a bit,” Judith said.
Curious, David flipped open the folder and looked at the new copy, reading a few random paragraphs. What resentment he might have felt quickly faded as he realized that by simply tightening up his verbiage and correcting a few grammatical errors she had indeed greatly improved the story.
“This is better,” he admitted, thanking her for doing it.
“My pleasure,” Judith said, adding, “If you want, I’d be happy to retype anything else you might have lying around, or plan to write in the future. With one condition of course.”
David was almost afraid to ask what that was, but, with the prospect of what she was offering, couldn’t afford not to.
“I want to see you improve,” she said, explaining that once she corrected an error, and explained to him why the change had been made, she didn’t expect to see it repeated. She would of course give him a little leeway because, after all, bad habits were sometime hard to break. But if the same errors kept popping up over and over, she would stop wasting her time.
David quickly agreed to her conditions. That had been five months ago.
“Good afternoon, David,” Judith said as she looked up from the paperback she had been reading at her desk. She put the book aside, but not before the teenager was able to see it was “The Chancellor Manuscript” by Robert Ludlum. “What do you have for me today?”
Smiling, David laid the mail on an open space on her desk. Judith glanced down at it, then looked back at him, her expression one of forced irritation.
“Now that’s not what I meant and you know it,” she said, turning her gaze to the almost empty mail basket.
David grinned even broader as he picked up the manila folder that he had taken out of his backpack and handed it to Judith. With a grin of her own, she flipped it open and scanned the contents for a few moments before closing it again and laying the folder on top of the mail.
“You know, even on that old Smith-Corona, your typewriting has gotten better these last few months,” she noted, “and speaking of improving, how did you make out on that English Lit exam?”
“B-,” David said, thinking it was a long way from the D he was contemplating in the beginning of the semester.
Over the last few months, Judith’s insistence on his continuing improvement had also been extended to his school work, with the betterment of his grades the tangible result.
“You know, I wasn’t going to mention this until you were done with it,” Judith said, changing the subject back to his writing, “but I think that this is the best story that you’ve done so far. So good in fact that I really wish you’d let me show it to one of my friends over at Argo Books. He’s looking for some writers for a new authors anthology that he’s putting together.”
“I’m still not ready for that,” David answered, still lacking the confidence in his writing to even submit his work to one of the local fanzines.
“All right, suit yourself,” she said, aware that it remained a touchy subject with him. “Did you come up with a title for it yet?”
“New Horizons,” he smiled.
“I like that,” Judith smiled in return.
“Well, I’d better get going if I want to get a sandwich before my lunch break is over,” David said. “We still have to wrap up the quarterly report and I’d like to get out of here on time today.”
“Then you’d better move your ass, young man,” Judith laughed.
David laughed as well as he turned and walked out of the office. As he did, Judith watched him perhaps a bit longer than propriety called for, thinking, as she did, it wasn’t a bad looking ass at that.
Twenty five minutes later, David headed back towards the mail room, eager to wrap up the day’s work. The moment he walked into the room, however, he knew something was wrong. Bob Madison, the department manager, who rarely actually came down into the mail room, was down on his knees in front of the new photocopier, with the maintenance doors wide open.
“What happened?” David asked as he stepped over to the machine, now seeing Connie standing behind Bob with a worried look on her face.
“We have a problem,” Bob answered as he got back up from the floor, “but not to worry; I’ve already called the service company and they promise to get someone over here by five at the latest. They assured me that it’s just a quick replacement of the focus module and then we’ll be as good as new.”
“Five o’clock?” David repeated.
“That’s what I said,” Bob replied, “and that means I’m going to need one of you to wait for the repair tech and finish off the quarterly report once he gets it up and running.”
A frown filled David’s face. He knew there was no way in hell that Connie was going to stay, so what the manager was really saying that he was going to have to stay and compete the work.
“I don’t suppose we could just run off black and white covers on one of the other copiers?” David asked, pretty sure of the answer already.
“Considering what we are paying on the rental of the new machine,” Bob replied, “I’m not about to go up and explain to the big boys upstairs why we didn’t use it. Do you have a problem with staying around, David? I know it’s Friday night, but...”
“No, I don’t have a problem staying,” David said, thinking at the same time that if he hadn’t put Peggy’s project ahead of the report covers, none of this would be happening.
“Fine, then that’s settled,” the department manager said as he wiped off his hands on a small towel.
At a quarter after five, long after just about everyone else had left, David got a call from the service tech saying he would be there in another twenty minutes. Even if the repair only took the few minutes that they promised, there was no way he was going to be able to finish his work and still get home to his parents’ house in Brooklyn before eight-thirty, not with having to make that connection between the RR and F trains. Between his disappointing encounter with Peggy and the copier breakdown, this week was certainly ending badly.
“David, what are you still doing here?” he heard a familiar voice ask from the behind the front counter.
He turned around to see Judith Katz standing there, a small package in her hand.
“The copier broke and I’m the lucky guy who gets to stay and wait for the repairman,” the teenager replied. “Then I have to finish off the quarterly reports, so they can give them out on Monday.”
“Oh, that’s too bad,” Judith said, adding that she had just stopped by to drop off the package in her hand. It needed to go out with the weekend shipment of things to the California office.
“Well, let me take care of it as long as I’m still here,” David offered as he walked over and took the small box from her.
“I hope having to stay didn’t ruin any plans you might have had,” Judith said. “I mean it is Friday night.”
“Nothing of real importance,” David replied as he dropped the box into the large canvas bin that would be picked up by UPS later in the evening.
“Well, it was important to you,” she noted, picking up on the disappointment in his voice. “What was it?” she asked out of curiosity.
“You’d think it was pretty stupid,” he replied.
“I wouldn’t, I promise,” she said.
“I wanted to watch Wonder Woman on TV; it’s my favorite program,” he admitted.
“See, I’m not laughing,” Judith pointed out.
“I know it’s only a television show, but I do enjoy it,” he added. “I missed this episode when it was first on and I was hoping to catch the rerun.”
“I’m afraid I’ve never seen it,” Judith commented. “I usually watch Donny and Marie at eight.”
David wished he could’ve said he’d never seen that particular show, but he would’ve been lying. Next to the Brady Bunch Variety Hour, Donny and Marie was his mother’s favorite program. She never missed it, which forced him to watch Wonder Woman on the old black and white portable in the basement.
The few times he’d seen Donny and Marie, he thought the idea of a real life brother and sister singing “couples” songs to each other rather creepy. At least on the Brady Bunch show they were only actors playing a family.
“You know, I’m sure Donny and Marie is also a rerun,” Judith said, as if she was just thinking out loud.
Not sure why she had said that, David didn’t reply.
“What I meant was, if I didn’t watch it tonight, I really wouldn’t be missing anything I haven’t already seen,” she went on.
David still didn’t get where she was going with this, but gave her his attention regardless. In a few more moments, he was certainly glad he had.
“So, if you wanted to come over after you finish up here,” Judith offered, “you could watch your show on my television. I’m only ten blocks from here, after all.”
“That would be awesome,” David replied, unable to believe his good fortune.
“In fact, we could even order a pizza and have dinner together before the show,” Judith added.
“You sure you wouldn’t mind?” David asked.
“Not at all,” Judith smiled, “You know I always enjoy your company.”
Judith wrote down her address, in case David didn’t remember it from the one time he had delivered some papers Judith needed when she was out sick, a month before. She also added her phone number so that he could call when he was leaving the office, allowing her to order dinner from the corner pizzeria, so that he could pick it up on his way.
When the copier repairman arrived shortly after Judith left, it only took a bit more than ten minutes to put the machine in perfect working order. While he had been waiting, David had done as much pre-assembly work as possible to speed up things later, and once he actually began took whatever short-cuts he could. He was sure no one would complain that each booklet had only two staples instead of three.
Picking up the pizza on the way, David arrived at the high rise where Judith lived at ten to seven. At first, the doorman at the desk didn’t believe that he wasn’t just the delivery boy, but a quick phone call up to the tenth floor apartment confirmed that he was an expected guest.
On his previous visit, Judith had been reluctant to let David past the front door, lest he be overly exposed to the flu bug that had caused her to stay home. This time, however, she was waiting with the door open as he exited the elevator.
“Just in time,” she smiled as she stepped aside to let him carry the still hot pizza past her. “I’m starving.”
She directed him into the small apartment’s kitchen, telling him to just lay the box on the counter. As he did so, David looked around at both the kitchen and the adjacent living room, which was visible over the half wall that divided both.
The apartment was meticulously clean, and tastefully decorated, the sort of place he dreamed of having himself one day. The centerpiece of the living room was a plush, inviting couch, before which sat a large Zenith console. It was, he quickly decided, even larger than the television that sat in his parents’ living room.
“Project all done?” Judith asked as she followed him into the kitchen a few moments later.
“Boxed and ready to be distributed,” he replied as he turned around to face her.
In his rush to put down the hot box, David really hadn’t taken too long a look at Judith back at the door. It was an omission he now corrected. She had traded the conservative dress she had worn to work earlier for a pair of black slacks and a white pullover. It seemed strange to see her dressed so differently, but he couldn’t put a finger on why it felt that way.
“What do you like to drink?” Judith asked as she laid out some plates for the pizza. “I have juice, soda, or if you want, beer.”
Technically, David was still underage, but his father had been letting him have the occasional beer at home ever since he’d turned eighteen. Figuring that having dinner at a friend’s home was close enough, he said he’d have the beer.
Sitting at the table and eating their pizza, they made small talk, touching pretty much on the same subjects that usually dominated their workplace chats. Judith had the kitchen radio on in the background and David abruptly paused when he heard Foreigner’s Feels Like The First Time come on.
“That song is awesome,” David said. “Don’t you think so?”
Judith didn’t seem to be too impressed by the recent release, prompting David to ask what music she thought was good.
She didn’t even have to think about her answer, which surprised David.
“Back when I was even younger than you,, “ she smiled, pausing to take a sip of her beer, “I learned that Elvis was King. In all the time since, I’ve never heard anything to make me change that opinion.”
“Including the Beatles?” David asked.
“Including the Beatles,” Judith repeated, never having been as impressed by the four lads from Liverpool as her friends had been.
Between them, they finished off half the small pie, then, after putting the leftovers in the fridge and rinsing off the dishes, Judith suggested they take the rest of their beer and move into the living room. She turned on the television and put on Channel 2, lowering the volume with her remote control. The CBS affiliate was still running local programming and neither of them had much interest in it.
“You know, I was thinking on my way home,” Judith said as they sat on opposite ends of the small couch. “If television is really that important to you, you should save up for one of those new video recorders that they’re coming out with this summer. Then you could watch your favorites whenever you wanted.”
“For what I read they are going to be selling them for,” David replied, “I don’t think that’ll be happening any time soon.”
“Well, perhaps you could convince your Dad that one would be a great addition to the house,” she offered. “I’m sure there are shows he loves that he doesn’t always get to see.”
“They say the timers are only good for one show at a time, so I can just see the arguments about which show that was going to be,” David pointed out. “Besides, you can’t imagine the time we had convincing my Dad to go for a color TV a few years ago when the old black and white finally gave up the ghost. Change has never been his thing. He still even prefers records to 8 Tracks.”
The show that was on the TV came to a close and Judith used the four button remote to raise the volume as the Wonder Woman theme song came on. Glancing at David, Judith could see the excitement in his eyes.
“I liked the show better when it was on ABC last year,” David said as the credits rolled, explaining that when it had originally aired, the show had been set in World War Two. “With them putting her in the present this season,” he added, “some of the storylines are just like those on The Bionic Woman.”
Judith nodded her head in agreement, just to be nice. As the story unfolded, she couldn’t see how a change in time period would’ve made that much of a difference. The show really didn’t seem much different than any of the other action shows that she’d seen.
In fact, the only real variation seemed to be the curvaceous Miss Carter running around in a tight-fitting, star-spangled swim suit. Simple as it might have been, David certainly did seem to enjoy it, the physical manifestation of that enjoyment evident the few times Judith glanced over at his lap.
Not that she could really fault him for something she herself was sometimes guilty of. David’s mentioning of the Bionic Woman reminded Judith that she herself had watched the “Six Million Dollar Man” a few times, for no other reason than it starred Lee Majors.
Finally the closing credits began to roll, and the on air announcer reminded viewers to stay tuned for the “Incredible Hulk”, coming right up after a few words from their sponsors. Judith glanced back towards David as if to ask if he wanted to watch that a well, but he anticipated her question and said he’d already seen the impending episode. Hitting the off button on the remote, Judith caused the green giant that had replaced the dark haired heroine on the screen to instantly fade from view.
“Wasn’t that great?” David asked, still filled with excitement.
“It was certainly ... something,” Judith smiled, appreciative of the fact that at least David had enjoyed the show. She had paid little attention to it herself, having spent more time watching him that was happening on the screen.
“Thanks again for letting me come over to watch it,” David said as he started to get up off the couch. “I really appreciated it.”
“It was my pleasure,” Judith smiled. “You know, it’s still early; do you really have to go?”
“Not really,” David replied, thinking that he hadn’t had a curfew since graduation. “I just thought you might have other things you need to do, and I didn’t want to overstay my welcome.”
“Nonsense, I enjoy your company,” Judith replied, “and aside from the little time we’ve talked about your latest story, I don’t think we’ve had a chance to talk in almost two weeks.”
David found himself counting backwards, and it had indeed been that long since they’d had more than a five minute discussion about anything. Normally, they tried to have lunch together at least once a week, twice if they could. He really couldn’t explain why, but it was often easier to chat with Judith about what was going on in his life than it was to friends his own age.
“So tell me, what have you been up to, other than school and writing?” Judith asked.
There really wasn’t much to tell; the two aspects of his life that Judith mentioned, along with work, of course, took up just about most of his time. Still, he shared what there was as Judith listened carefully.
“Would you like something else to drink?” Judith said as David finished recapping the last ten days.
“Sure,” he replied, “but I think I’ll go with the soda this time.”