Tuesday, January 31, 2017

"The Real North 8th Street Romance" By Richard Vetere - 2016 Brooklyn Non-Fiction Prize Semi-Finalist

"The Real North 8th Street Romance"


 Richard Vetere

I thought my real North 8th Street romance was with Georgia.  That summer I was the only guy who was either brave or stupid enough to ask her out.  She had just broken her engagement with Gabe that early June and every night that summer when I went to the Miami Bar on North 8th Street she’d be there hanging out with girlfriends.   And like clockwork, early in the night, she’d leave the table and saunter across the room to play “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” on the jukebox.  

Though new to hanging out on North 8th Street I knew this much, Gabe managed a well-known rhythm and blues band and his father was a wise-guy but Georgia was knock-out sexy. 

I asked his cousin Little Guy if I should ask her out since Little Guy knew the world of Williamsburg, Brooklyn and its rules better than I did.  “Shit yeah,” Little Guy answered.   So I made a plan.  I’d walk up to the jukebox where nobody could hear them talk, ask her out and then leave the bar.  His friend Frankie would already be in the car and they’d drive away.  It was a like a hit but one for romance.

So, the next night I sat at the bar with one eye on Gabe and the other on Georgia.   She was on the other side at the table and just like I expected she walked over to the jukebox and played “Jumpin Jack Flash.”  I slid up beside her at the junk box.  “Georgia, you want to go out,” was all I said.   

“Alright,” she answered looking surprised.  She then told him her number and like I planned I left the bar.

I took Georgia to club in Forest Hills called the Wine Cellar for their first date.  “Nobody in the neighborhood had the guts to ask me out but you,” she said.  She had soft brown eyes, shoulder length hair, a slender build, a confidence that enticed him and the hottest ass I had ever seen.  I asked her more about her relationship with Gabe.  “We’ve been engaged twice now.  But this time, I realized I wasn’t the right guy for me.  So I ended it.”
I took her back to my parents’ house in Queens where I lived in the finished basement and they had sex for the first time.  They continued to have sex for the next two weeks and never did much talking.   The sex play came easy to them both.  I liked how she taught him new things and I taught her.

The only thing that concerned him was getting her pregnant.  She didn’t like it when I pulled out.  I remembered how his Uncle Sal always talked about how his life was changed for the worse when I got his first wife pregnant.  So despite being enthralled by Georgia I was also suspicious.

One night in the Miami Bar a guy I hardly knew came up to him and told him that Gabe wanted to see him.  His cousin Little Guy told him not to go but I went anyway.  Gabe was waiting for him.  “You got balls.  I like that,” Gabe said then pinched his cheeks.    

Later that night Georgia told him “You shouldn’t have given him the respect.” She then invited me to a close friend’s wedding the following weekend.

That night when we had sex she took off her panties and said, “These are my girlfriend Mary Jane’s.”  They were red and see-through.  “You’ll meet her at the wedding.  You’re going to fall in love with her.  Every man who meets her does.”

     We arrived at the wedding late and when we walked in I saw a woman wearing a black dress dancing slowly with a man in a suit in the middle of the dance floor.  The woman was crying.  I was mesmerized by the sight of this beautiful dark-haired woman with tears rolling down her face dancing as she did. “That’s Mary Jane,” Georgia told him.  

     Minutes later Mary Jane was sitting next to me.  The guy went off to another table.  I handed Mary Jane a handkerchief.  “Thank you,” she said.   Up close she was even more beautiful.  She was a light skinned Sicilian-American with lush brunet hair and deep green eyes.  They made small talk but she eventually told him that she was crying because she broke up with the man she was dancing with.  “He wouldn’t leave his wife for me,” she said.  
When the wedding was over I got her jacket.  “You keep doing nice things for me.  “Georgia said you’re a good guy,” she told me.
     “Georgia said I’d fall in love with you,” I told her. 
Two weeks later I ran into her and asked her out under the false pretense that Georgia left me and I needed to talk about it.  A week later I was in bed with Mary Jane in her apartment on Manhattan Avenue.  I recognized her red see-through panties.

     Mary Jane saw that I did.  “I gave them to Georgia to wear one night,” she demurred.  “She told me she wore them with you.”
I told my cousin Little Guy I was seeing Mary Jane.  “You’re crazy.  You were better dating a mob guy’s ex than that broad.  Grown men go nuts over her.  I knew this made-guy that when she broke up with him last year he shot up a bar on KIerbocker Avenue he was so distraught.  Watch yourself.”   

I should have listened to my cousin but I had no control because like other men before him I was beguiled by her perfect breasts, her perfect ass, the perfect face and how uninhibited she was in bed.  Mary Jane was also the most sensitive woman I had never met.  She cried often and without reason.  Both her parents were beautiful and born deaf.  Her father was a national weight lifting champion.  When she was only nineteen she married a big deal mob guy’s son who three months into their marriage walked out to buy a pack a cigarettes and never came back. 

  He died less than a year later in a head-on car crash with a drunk driver on the LIE.  His father made the other driver, a junkie, disappear the day of his son’s funeral.  Mary Jane never divorced him and the father took care of her for years by sending her cash.

     I took Mary Jane everywhere including my college graduation dance.  She made the college girls look like high school kids and his friends were enthralled by the fact that she was a gorgeous widow.  But his mother never liked her and Mary Jane knew it.  

 Mary Jane demanded attention and when she didn’t get it, she made the world suffer.  One day it was his turn.   She moved to Queens and I helped her get settled in.  She had a small hole in door where her old lock was and I promised he’d fill it.

One day for no apparent reason after being out for dinner then went back to her place and she broke up with him.  “You’re too immature for me,” she said.  

For several months I defied common sense and begged her to take him back.  I called all my friends day and night talking about nothing else.  

One night, after calling her number all day, I went to her new apartment uninvited.  She didn’t answer his knocks on the door so he leaned down and peeked in through the whole where the old lock was that I never got the chance to fix.  

I saw her sitting in a chair on the other side of the room nude facing the door in the dim light of a lit candle.  I could see her green eyes gleaming brightly and her full dark hair cascading down over her shoulders.  She was staring at the peep hole.  Her flesh was more tempting than the promise of a long healthy life is to the dying.  She was everything mysterious, alluring, sexual and dangerous.  

I turned away and never went back.  

                   THE END

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