BY: GEORGE KAPLAN

Mary Louise, a bookish, redheaded, freckle-faced, eighteen-year-old virgin, who suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, dispenses with Tim, her loving but far too serious and conventional high school boyfriend, then thrusts herself, groin first, into the 1960s sexual revolution, pioneering concepts such as friends with benefits and serial monogamy, while earning two college degrees in statistics. Nicknamed Tookie by her doting father, she engages in often humorous escapades with innumerable unsuitable lovers, whom she seduces with her oral virtuosity. But through it all, the one thing she really wants escapes her—a man who will truly love her, despite her faults, and give her a daughter.

TAYLOR JONES SAYS: In Only Tim Sent Flowers by George Kaplan, Mary Louise (aka Tookie, although she doesn’t like the nickname) is a young woman with Asperger’s Syndrome, who is obsessed with men and having sex. The story starts out when Tookie is eighteen in 1969. Unhappy with her first boyfriend, who is devoted to her, she sheds him and starts hunting for someone more to her liking. Not especially pretty, and social awkward due to her Asperger’s, she gallops through men like wild horses on stampede. Believing sex is all she has to offer, she begins to study techniques and fully embraces the free love mentality of the sixties. But what she really wants isn’t a non-stop series of one-night stands, it’s a man who will love her for herself and give her the daughter she craves.

I was frankly amazed that Kaplan was able to pen such a realistic, flawed, human, and three dimensional character who is a female, as that kind of depth in female characters is rare in male authors. You can’t help but empathize with this poor mixed-up girl, who is really very sweet.

REGAN MURPHY SAYS: Only Tim Sent Flowers by George Kaplan is the story of a young woman who suffers from undiagnosed Asperger’s Syndrome. Tookie, whose real name is Mary Louise, is raised by overprotective parents who know there is something wrong with her, but they are sure just want it is. She obviously isn’t retarded because she is very, very smart. But she is very socially awkward. Deciding that she isn’t pretty enough to attract men without some added appeal, she begins studying sex techniques, becoming an expert at oral sex. Constantly on the prowl for Mr. Right, Tookie cuts a swath through all her male coworkers, single or married, going easily from job to job and man to man, all the time looking for love with all the wrong people. While in the background, Tookie’s first boyfriend, the only man who truly loves her, keeps waiting for her to come around and see the light.

Only Tim Sent Flowers is a heart-warming, heart-breaking, realistic story of an endearing misfit, struggling to fit in with a world that doesn’t understand those of us who deviate from the norm, whether by choice or disease, and doesn’t really want to. Kaplan handled the subject with both compassion and sensitivity. Bravo.

Chapter 1

Freedom

“A man might forget where he parks or where he lives, but he never forgets oral sex, no matter how bad it is.” ~ Barbara Bush,

First Mom:

The Wit and Wisdom of Barbara Bush

(Tookie)

I love penises. Okay, I admit it. The male organ is my favorite body part. But I don’t have penis envy. I like being a girl. I’m not a girly-girl and don’t care much for clothes, fashion, or makeup. But I’m definitely not interested in women. Men have many shortcomings, but they’re the only ones who come with the male sex organ. I never wanted one of my own because I’d be stuck with the same one all the time and variety is the spice of love. I may not be Marilyn Monroe, but I know how to get my hands on a throbbing cock when I want one. But I wasn’t always that way.

I was almost nineteen and 1969 was half gone before I shed my first boyfriend, but, sadly, not my virginity. I discovered boys the first day of kindergarten but, a decade later, they hadn’t discovered me until I unexpectedly received a phone call, my first from a boy, from Tim.

I was new in town—Daddy’s company moved us often and we stayed nowhere as long as three years—and, as usual, the boys at school ignored me. Perhaps my dark-red hair and green eyes, the two things along with my intelligence that made me special, put them off.

My only girlfriend, Sue, had a boyfriend, but I hadn’t had so much as a nibble. When the phone rang as I passed my parents’ bedroom, I answered it to hear a nervous-sounding boy’s voice.

“Hello. May I speak to Tookie, please?”

“Who’s this?” A boy could be calling me? I hope he doesn’t want help with his homework. That’d give me an opening but I want someone smart.

“Tim Burgess. We met—”

“I know. My name is Mary Louise. I don’t like Tookie.”

Daddy gave us nicknames but mine was stupid. Mom was Chunkin or Mother Chunkin, Beth was Princess, Daniel was Chessman, Mike was Good Mike, and Jake, the baby, was Bad Jake or Black Bart, depending on how he was behaving.

Tim was the oldest of a brood of boys who lived two doors down in the house at the corner. His brothers played with my brothers and his baby brother, Joey, played with Cathy Orzag, the little girl who lives in the house between us, who I babysat after school. I knew who he was but hadn’t met him until that afternoon when he picked up Joey while I was babysitting. Why’s he callin’ me?

“Would you like to go to the movies on Saturday?”

“I’ll check.” I put the phone down and floated to the living room. A boy with his own car just asked me out. How can I get ’em to let me go?

“Mom, Dad, Tim Burgess, a boy who lives on the corner, wants to take me to the movies Saturday. May I go?”

Let’s see if the direct approach works.

“You’re awfully young to be going on car dates.”

My worst fear. Daddy’s so protective.

“But all the other girls do.”

“If all the other girls jumped off a bridge—” was his stock response.

“Dear, kids start dating younger than we did in our day.” Mother always tried to be supportive.

“Beth is a year and a half older than her and she hasn’t gone on any dates.” Daddy got that stern look on his face he got when we argued with him too much.

He was always kind and loving but didn’t like backtalk.

“But, but—”

“No buts. You’re not going and that’s final. You’re too young and inexperienced to sit in a dark movie theater with a boy.” He picked up his newspaper and started reading it again, signaling the end of the conversation.

It’s taken me so long to get asked out. I don’t want to miss this chance. It might be my last. Maybe we could do something else. I slowly walked back to their bedroom and picked up the phone, trying to come up with something. “I can’t go to the movies with you.” Please don’t give up on me.

After a long silence, he tried again. “Could you go to the basketball game on Friday?”

I tried again. “How about the basketball game at school on Friday?” I asked my parents. They can’t object to this.

“You’re awfully young to be dating, Tookie.”

“Daaaadddy.” Whining usually worked with Mom.

“Dear, there will be hundreds of people around. It couldn’t be a more public place. I went to games when I was her age.”

“You did?” Daddy seemed genuinely surprised.

“You didn’t know me then. I always had dates to football and basketball games. You may go, Mary Louise.”

“But—”

“She’s not retarded, dear, and she has to learn how to handle boys sometime.”

I raced down the hall to accept before Daddy could object. I’m becoming a woman now. Men, at least one, find me attractive even if my breasts have barely started growing. They still have time, I thought, because I won’t be sixteen for six months.

My first date was a success, although I was embarrassed at first when my purse fell off the seat down to the floor under the bleachers.

Also, I was too self-conscious to go to the bathroom in the restaurant when I needed to pee badly.

Tim liked me well enough to ask me out again and kiss me on my stoop. I liked being kissed, but not in view of the neighborhood and with my bladder bursting.

Tim had had an academic scholarship to a major, private research university the year before but didn’t do well enough to keep it. He was working in the machine shop at the bullet works but planned on taking courses at Southwestern State the next year. He treated me well and tried to have good manners but it was obvious he’d gotten little training in that department at home. Tim was a mixed blessing. He was plenty smart but much too serious and wore his heart on his sleeve. I was able to control him completely. At the least bit of irritation on my part, he’d back away for fear of losing me. He told me I was beautiful very awkwardly, but he meant it. He was smitten and wanted me badly and I enjoyed his touching me. But I blocked his attempts to feel me up.

“Do you want me to be one of those girls who panic every time their periods are a day late?”

“No,” he’d answer sheepishly and pull his hand out of my blouse.

I liked how it felt but didn’t want him to know how little I had. I decided to make him wait until I had more. I didn’t know it then, but I had all I was going to get. I did like it when he rested his hand on my leg when he was driving—I sat right next to him. Cars had bench seats in those days. I especially liked the time he put his hand on the uppermost part of my inner thigh. A tingle ran through me and I wanted to have sex for the first time. But I was far too smart to do anything so stupid and risk ruining both our lives.

Our bliss lasted for just six months. Unfortunately, Tim had to join the air force nanoseconds before he would’ve been drafted and sent to fight in Vietnam. I cried when he was reclassified 1-A, but held back the tears most of the six weeks before he left for boot camp. He wrote often and I answered many of his cards and letters. For fun, I doused some of them with perfume. He came home for two short leaves before being sent overseas.

While Tim was away, my parents became friendly with his mother, Gin. Daddy addressed her as “Mother-in-law” and Mom went out drinking with her whenever Daddy was out of town on business. I hated it when she came home drunk and disheveled. They generally walked to a bar a few blocks away but sometimes she didn’t walk home. One night I’ve been unable to erase from my memory, I was awakened by the sound of a car making an abrupt stop. I looked out the window to see Mom crawl out of a strange car driven by a man I didn’t recognize. I cried myself to sleep.

In the fall of 1967, Daddy was transferred to North Jersey, where I struggled to finish senior year. Not only were my classes harder, the kids were much more sophisticated—and very snobby.

I’ll never forget one particular morning. After making snide remarks about my clothes, some girls in my home room cornered me before the teacher arrived.

“Why do you have two names,” asked the stylishly-dressed ringleader with nice legs.

“I like my names. My mother thinks they’re pretty.” Having never been confronted like this before, I cowered.

“Where were you born—Mississippi,” asked her sidekick.

“No, Arkansas.” I didn’t expect the response or I would’ve lied and said Ohio.

Both girls laughed nastily. “You’re not just Southern. You’re a Southern hick,” said the sidekick.

I must come up with something. “My friends call me Tookie.”

A girl entirely different from the others, muscled through the huddle. “Tookie. Hmmm. That’s a good name for a Jersey girl.” This trashy girl with the big hair and miniest of miniskirts put her arm around my shoulders and guided me to my seat. Raising her voice, she said to the class. “Tookie here’s my friend. Leave her alone or deal with me.”

The room went silent as I adopted a disliked nickname as my own to fit in.

My only dates, just a couple, were with Danny Romalo. He took me to the Senior Prom but his mother squelched what little interest I had. She thought I was trying to take him away from her. She was mistaken. No one wanted her mama’s boy. Soon, school was out and Beth got married, giving me a bedroom of my own for the first time in my life.

I searched want ads daily for a job, filed several applications, but got no offers, not even an interview.

In late August, a month after my eighteenth birthday, Tim returned from his tour of duty in The Philippines, Vietnam, and Thailand and stayed with us several days on his way to his new base in Upstate New York. He looked handsome with his hair bleached blond from working outdoors on fighter jets. Like mine, his fair skin burned easily, so he wasn’t tanned much.

He arrived late one morning after driving an unreliable clunker of a car overnight from his home in the Midwest. He brought me several nice presents. I still have most of them. He was as smitten as ever but didn’t grasp my readiness to enlist in the sexual revolution. But in his defense, I didn’t give him many clues. Funny thing was, as much as I wanted to have sex with Tim, I didn’t feel romantic toward him and couldn’t bring myself to be affectionate. He often had a look of confusion on his face. I enjoyed keeping him off balance.

Mom and Dad were glad to see him. From the beginning, they liked him and would’ve been pleased if I’d married him. Whenever I criticized him, they defended him. “He’s so much like you: smart, sensitive, and gentle. On top of that, he loves you deeply and would kill himself to make you happy.”

“He has no social skills,” I countered.

“You’re one to talk, Mary Louise. Maybe you two can work together on that one.”

Mike and Jake, however, were still jealous of him and punched him when no one was looking. They feared he’d take me away from them. Their fears weren’t unfounded because, although Tim very much wanted to marry me, I wanted no part of a life like my mother’s.

We had the house to ourselves weekdays after everyone else left for school or work, but Tim wasted the opportunity. One morning, I even dropped down to his bedroom off the kitchen nook with almost nothing on, just panties, bra, and a thin robe. He rose from bed aroused just from seeing me. He kissed me passionately and hugged me tightly. He could’ve had me that morning, but didn’t even try. I’d never before felt anything remotely as good as when his erection rubbed against my clit as we hugged. I just stood there, taking in how good it felt but Tim didn’t press for anything further and released me.

“How was that,” he asked with a guilty look on his face.

“It felt good.” Maybe I should’ve breathed hard, panted, or said something to encourage him, but I didn’t flatter or boost guys’ egos.

I passed up my chance to take matters in hand that day and again a couple of nights when I tucked him in after we’d made out for a little while in the living room. I thought about jerking down his briefs so I could see his hard-on and suck on it if I liked what I saw. But I didn’t, as I was too shy. He might’ve had a heart attack or thought I was a whore. What I was brave enough to do was to stroke his belly just above the waistband of his briefs. His stomach muscles spasmed and I giggled. I remember this well because it was then I first realized I possessed womanly powers over men.

Not long after Tim left for his new air force assignment—he had a year and a half left on his enlistment—I landed a clerical job at Carver-Watkins, a local pharmaceutical company. Most of the young girls were made typists because they’d learned office skills in high school. I didn’t because I only took academic courses. So they assigned me to work with statisticians and programmers. My first tasks were keypunching data cards for statistical studies. Before long, they had me writing simple FØRTRAN programs. I fantasized being a sexstatician, a statistician by day and a woman of intrigue by night, but none of the men at work had hit on me.

Tim drove down to visit me whenever he had a free weekend and enough gas, food, and toll money and when his clunker was running well enough to make the trip. He averaged one visit a month and I flew up to visit him once. My parents let me go because they wanted me to marry Tim, but they insisted I stay with someone and most definitely not in a motel. A married couple Tim’d met at work put me up. We had a nice visit but no sex, not even a good make-out session.

Maybe because timid Tim didn’t screw me, or because he badgered me about marriage, he irritated me frequently and I sliced him up verbally.

He got so intimidated that I had to remind him to make out with me at the passion pit when spring finally broke in 1969.

“Hey, you’re watchin’ the movie.” It’s been ages since we’ve been alone and you’re ignorin’ me. Star or Thoroughly Modern Mille was on the screen, I forget which. Tim liked musicals and thought Julie Andrews was gorgeous.

He opened the passenger door of my blue ‘66 Mustang and hopped into the back seat. I stowed my tortoise shell glasses on the dashboard, pulled my loose-fitting spring mini-dress up high as I dashed around the car to join him. Not wanting to miss my first chance in ages, I dressed for sex—panties, bra, easily-lifted dress, and slip-on shoes. Nothing else. No slip. No cursed pantyhose. I would’ve dispensed with the panties but Tim would’ve been shocked. I wanted to frustrate him a little with my bra hooks as I figured it’d increase his desire for me. I slid in and reclined across him in a position which gave him ready access to my body. I wanted to be fondled and much more in the worst way that night, so I gave him a hint.

“I’m not wearin’ anti-attack clothes.”

Mostly for comfort but also to slow Tim down when I didn’t want to be touched, I usually wore slacks and blouses that were hard for a novice to unbutton. I bought the mini-dress before I’d accepted that my legs and, especially, my knees, weren’t designed for short skirts. Tim didn’t care. He liked most everything about me.

“I noticed.”

He kissed me and I kissed back, to encourage him to keep going, and let him put his right hand on my left breast. I liked it when he molested me that time. It’s been way too long since I let him do this. I’ve been such a fool. Soon, his hand was up my skirt but much lower than I wanted it.

“Not yet!” I grabbed his wrist and guided his hand back to my breast but under my dress. He massaged me through my bra. Aaaaah. This feels good, so much better than when I do it myself. When he headed south again, I snapped, “The other one.”

I pulled his hand to my right breast. He obediently fondled it while I kept my hand near to guide him to where I wanted his attention. Apparently intuiting I wanted my tiny breasts touched without interference—by this time I’d accepted they weren’t going to grow any more—he slid his hand under my bra.

“Unhook it,” I said.

He reached around me with both hands and tussled with my bra hooks for what must’ve seemed like an excruciatingly long time to him. I was torturing him but fully intended to give him everything he wanted plus a lot more. Don’t do it for him. He’ll think I’m easy. I wanted him inside me probably more than he wanted to be there. Eventually, he unhooked my bra and pushed it up out of the way. I pulled him by the ears and arched my back to bring my left breast to his mouth so he could suckle me. Whoooo. Please don’t stop. When he flicked my erect nipples with his tongue, my floodgates opened, drenching my panties. This feels better than I ever imagined. I held his head in place, keeping him from pulling away but let him treat the other one.

We took no intermission when the dancing hot dogs marched across the screen. Do I want to suck his hot dog or should I let him put it inside me? The only feedback I gave Tim when I liked something was to let him continue. I didn’t say anything, pant, writhe, moan, bite, or kiss him more passionately. The only thing he could notice was my wetness.

“We’re won’t need lubricants,” he said as he massaged my pussy through the cheap unsexy tricot panties my mother bought me.

This feels so nice. He curled his fingers around my soaked crotch and probed me through my thoroughly saturated underpants. Whooo. Don’t stop. I remained silent and motionless, soaking in all these new, wonderful sensations. I just flinched a little when his hand slipped and his middle finger rammed up my butt. This even feels good. I’m surprised. I let him pull my pants down my thighs and spread my knees as far as I could. I’m ready for anything.

Tim slipped his middle finger inside me slowly, tentatively feeling his way around as if he was exploring a newly discovered cave which was, essentially, what he was doing. Oooh, this feels really good. Much better than my finger. Keep it up. He fingered me until the lights came on at the end of the second feature, taking breaks at intervals to kiss me passionately. I should show him how. No. He’ll think I masturbate a lot. I don’t want him to know that. The problem with two inexperienced people is that neither have any useful experience. He clearly knew nothing about women’s anatomy and erogenous zones. He could’ve gotten me off had he touched my clit a time or two, but I was too shy to tell him what to do. He’s so unsure of himself. Didn’t even start to unbuckle his belt. Maybe I’ve been too difficult in the past. When headlights started shining in the windows, I broke the silence, “Didn’t the Asian prostitutes teach ya anything?”

“Didn’t go. Wanted to be worthy of you.” He pulled up my panties, rubbed my snatch through them, and kissed me some more.

Shit! I’m not getting laid tonight. I smelled myself all over his hand but he didn’t seem to mind. I’m still really wet and want it badly.

I fantasized about how good it would feel when I finally had Tim inside me when I pleasured myself after returning home. I thought about how nice it felt for a man to give my body his undivided attention, even if he was awkward. The night wasn’t a complete bust. We’d gone way farther than ever before and I liked how it felt. A lot. Next time I’ll get him inside me—one orifice or another. I formulated a plan to spend a weekend in a motel with Tim and started to save money for airfare—Mom and Dad wouldn’t let me drive the four hours up to Tim’s airbase—but I didn’t get to put the plan into action.

I shouted, “I’m home” as I walked into the house one afternoon after work. Daddy didn’t respond with his usual “The Carver-Watkins spy is here” because I’d beat him home from work. So I walked into the kitchen where Mom was feeding Mike and Jake their after-school cookies.

“You’ve got a letter from Tim,” Mom said as she handed it to me.

“Did ya read it, nosey?” Why’d I say that? She’s never opened my mail. Maybe because she always takes his side.

Mother glared at me. “Of course not.”

Dear Mary Louise,

I’ve met someone. She’s—

Tears streaming out of my eyes kept me from reading further.

“What’s wrong?”

“Tim dumped me,” I stammered through my crying.

Mother showed me no sympathy. “I’m surprised it took him so long.”

“Huh?” What on earth could she mean?

“He needs affection.”

“Ya think I shoulda screwed him?”

“Boys! Go play outside.” They dashed out while she handed me some tissues. “Sit down.” She pointed to the breakfast nook. I sat down and dried my tears while she got herself a forty-ounce Falstaff out of the fridge and took a large swig. “You need to be nice to him. Show him you’re happy to see him, thank him for the gifts, smile at him, compliment him, show him you want him in your life. He adores you. He’ll wait until you’re married for sex. That’s not a problem.”

“What makes you think you’re right?” How could she know any of this? Things are different from when she was young.

“I see things, lots of things, and I’ve lived a lot longer than you have.” She unconsciously peeled part of the label off the beer bottle while she talked. “I saw him comfort you the time Daddy got in trouble over the Paregoric. He’s a keeper.”

“I don’t want to get married and have a bunch of kids,” I sobbed.

“Beth just rushed out and married the first bum who came along and you’re rushing to get rid of a young man who loves you deeply and would be a good husband and father.” Mother was being the most serious I’d ever seen her. “You can put off having kids as long as you want these days. That’s not a problem. Tim’ll wait and you’ll want children someday. I know you will.”

“What can I do?” Only then did I realize I wanted Tim in my life. I’d always taken him for granted and never considered the possibility of losing him to another woman.

“Write him a letter and apologize for not treating him well and promise to be nicer to him in the future. Offer to visit him immediately. I’ll loan you the money.”

I wrote him, telling him I was sorry for whatever I might have done because I couldn’t think of anything specific. He wrote back that he was going to stay with Zelda and that she was a nice girl, blah, blah. It hurt a lot but I didn’t want anyone to know it.

I decided to explore the myriad of experiences Tim’d denied me. I’d aroused him with the first kiss, but even when he looked like he was about to ejaculate out of every orifice, he wouldn’t give me what I wanted. How boring was that? I was too shy then to take matters in hand myself. I was downright embarrassed to remain unfucked in this time of free love. Girls no prettier than me got all they wanted, and without being nagged to get married.

“You look prettier when you first wake up in the morning than the cheerleaders do all made up,” he had told me early in our relationship. Oddly, he seldom flattered others. Perhaps this was because he was smitten.

With Tim out of the picture, I was free to play the field. Surely, I could find some other guys who weren’t obsessed with big—or even average—boobs. Two co-workers I ate lunch with introduced me to their boyfriends’ friends, but none of these boys interested me in the least—too immature and not smart enough. At least Tim was smart, probably Mensa eligible. Convinced that would be a good place to meet intelligent men, I took the exam and came close—only one point short of acceptance—but not good enough to get me into their gatherings to meet those brainiacs.

Some men at work flirted with me, but were generally awkward about it. Most were intelligent and had college degrees, but many were on the dorky side. Their being older had advantages. First, they could teach me a lot and, second, my body was younger and in better condition than the women they usually had sex with. I saw their wives and girlfriends at the Christmas party and, flat-chested or not, I could compete with them.

I assumed finding men as physically attracted to me as Tim was would be a challenge. Then current fashions put me at a competitive disadvantage as mini-skirts showed my knees, see-through blouses revealed what I didn’t have, and I couldn’t afford clothing tailored to my body type. So I put my brain and creativity to use. Tim liked my bum. He said it’s nicely rounded and perfectly proportioned to my body. I knew it wasn’t a grotesque Kardashian ass. I’ll just say it’s a whole lot better than my chest or legs. I always got more looks in slacks. So I discarded the loose-fitting pairs I wore in high school for ones that fit better. Not skin tight. My behind isn’t that great and I thought I should leave something to the imagination. My work required me to take punched card decks, paper tapes, and reports to people when I finished working on them. Delivering work products gave me the opportunity to present my assets in their best light while looking like I was just performing my daily duties as I meandered through the building.

I carried my compact mirror and aimed it behind me as I walked about. When near anyone I found remotely interesting, I wiggled my butt and noted which guys ogled me, which ones peered cautiously, and those who ignored me. My test had one weakness. Some guys leered at my ass even though they weren’t interested in humping me. AA cups weren’t enough for them. Those who glanced furtively tended to be the best candidates.

Forget about falsies. No way would I disappoint a guy when he saw me naked. There’d be no misleading advertising on my part. No lipstick or makeup or sexy clothing. No, siree. I didn’t want to fool anybody.

If anything, I wanted them to be pleasantly surprised when I undressed. No guy’d feel compelled to give me a charity fuck because he thought he was obliged after I took off my clothes. Anyone I bedded would enjoy it. I’d make sure they did.

Married men flirted the worst, but what’d I care? The last thing I wanted was a serious relationship. This was the best of times for a single girl to enjoy herself. A woman was no longer forced to marry just because she screwed some guy a few times and got knocked up. Birth control flourished and New York had already legalized abortion. Liberalized divorce laws left men with more of their money when their wives got tired of their cheating. Hell, their wives cheated as often as the husbands, maybe more. I know. I worked with them. We single girls found married men ideal. Philanderers had more experience, had better taste, knew how women liked to be treated, and couldn’t marry you, even if they wanted. Perfect!

Before selecting the person upon whom I’d bestow the honor of deflowering me, my parents broke some not totally unexpected news. They were moving again in a month to another state and I could go with them, but I decided to stay. I was tired of moving. I’d never lived anywhere longer than three years and hadn’t kept friends from any of those places except where I met Tim. I liked my work at Carver-Watkins and my car—but not the payments. I might have trouble finding a new job where they were moving. I looked forward to getting out of their goldfish bowl house and living on my own. Freedom sold me on staying behind.

I’d always worried what the few boys who took me out would think of me after meeting my parents. Mom started drinking cheap beer at four every afternoon and was giddy by five. I hated how she acted when she was drunk. I was disgusted by how silly she got and blamed myself for not making her life better so she wouldn’t get drunk every night. I didn’t understand why she needed to escape from the life she’d created for herself. Fortunately, Dad only got drunk about once a week or so because the whiskey he drank cost more than he could afford very often. I recoiled when he slurred his speech and stumbled around. Tim didn’t seem to notice but his parents were alcoholics, too.

A month before my nineteenth birthday, I rented an apartment in the same building as my sister, Beth. The apartment building wasn’t much to look at, but was in a safe neighborhood in easy commuting distance from work. With just two stories with four units on each floor, it offered relative privacy. The owner maintained it fairly well and kept rents low. I barely afforded the smallest unit and spent more than a few rent-collection Saturdays in the public library avoiding the landlord. Beth didn’t hinder me. I ignored her and she and her worthless husband moved to Richmond a year later. Being all alone, with my parents three states away, and having little income, was scary at times, but total freedom made up for any downsides. I did as I pleased, stayed out as late as I wanted, and screwed whomever I chose whenever and wherever I chose.

I loved my tiny apartment and decorated it how I liked—to the extent my microscopic budget allowed—and kept it immaculately clean. Mother was a pretty good housekeeper, but with three boys and a husband constantly messing things up, her house was always junked up. Having few possessions other than books, I kept an orderly home from the beginning. I can’t stand clutter.

I remember coming home to it the night after my family moved away. I walked in the door, flopped on the couch, and shouted, “Halleluiah, I’m free.”

The one thing I hadn’t counted on was how much I’d miss my brothers, as they were such a large part of my life. I missed them terribly, especially the little ones I helped raise, Mike and Jake. I looked at their pictures on my desk often, but that wasn’t enough. I drove the two hundred forty-three miles to see them as often as I could afford.

The pill and relaxed social mores permitted young women more freedom than ever before. No woman I knew admitted to having contracted diseases and over a decade passed before AIDS came on the scene. “Hooking up” and “friends with benefits” hadn’t been coined and serial monogamy existed on such a small scale, it wasn’t labeled as such yet. I had few role models to follow other than the ones who wrote for women’s magazines. So I made it up as I went. I pioneered my own unique lifestyle.

Fortunately, I lived minutes from New York City in North Jersey, a densely populated metropolitan area where a person easily remains anonymous. And few of the tons of available guys desired anything serious. Self-absorbed coastal types didn’t want to marry and cooperated gleefully. They agreed with my grandmother, “Why buy the cow when milk is free?” Even then, most men, especially those lacking social skills, had few or no women willing to give them sex with no strings attached. Conditions were perfect for me. But where should I, a novice, start?

Monday mornings at break, the girls in the office shared their exploits from the weekend.

“Friday night, I had this hunk in the back seat of his car outside the dance,” bragged Sybil, a true Jersey girl with a blonde beehive, push-up bra, skin-tight pegged pants, and high heels.

“Where was Bob?” I can’t believe she’s sayin’ this. Sybil had said he was ready to pop the question. Maybe this was her last chance to get some strange cock before she was stuck with Bob’s every night.

“You didn’t!” said Cynthia, the perfectly put together secretary who’d make some lucky guy the ideal wife—provided he’d wait till she had a ring on her finger.

“Friday’s my night,” Sylvia said sounding irritated.

“Weren’t ya afraid someone’d see ya?” This is a surprise. Sylvia acted like she really wanted to marry Bob. Maybe she’s just braggin’.

“Half the cars in the lot were rockin’.”

“I overhead Henry say he got Sherry in accountin’.” I didn’t exaggerate much. That was the impression he gave the guys at the water cooler.

“In ’is dreams. She was gettin’ ’er butt bounced in a Ford next to me. What about Adam?”

“He’s goin’ with someone.” I better not sound too interested in any of ’em.

Jackie smirked as if she’d had all of them. “Maybe not for long. Frank and Gary are available, Mary.”

“Mary Louise. Rather have ya call me Tookie if that’s too hard.” I feel half-naked when people say just half my name. They must not think I’m worth two more syllables.

“I’ve been with both of them,” chimed in pretty, buttoned-up Sally. “Gary wanted me to blow him. Yuck. He settled for a hand job after I told him I was on the rag.”

“That Frank wanted me to swallow. Eeeuuuuw.”

Sybil’s lyin’.

“Kid.” Cynthia, the poised, decade-older, stylishly-dressed executive secretary, took me under her wing like a younger sister. “You better be ready to put out if you want to go out these days. It’s a whole different world now.”

“I’ll keep that in mind.” No problem. I’m one who wants to put out.

Knowing these guys all had more experience than Tim—who had none—convinced me sex’d be better with them than if I’d waited for him.

The girls’ stories got repetitious, but I was still jealous and unpenetrated. Work provided several sophisticated and worldly college-educated co-workers who might do the dirty dance with me. I didn’t mind that some were married because I wasn’t looking for a husband, at least not one of my own. I wanted adventures and experiences. I steered clear of a life like Mother’s. My wonderful father loved Mother deeply, but he was the only man she was supposed to sleep with. Being bored in bed could’ve explained her drinking.

In 1969, for an almost nineteen-year-old virgin getting a late start, fun and freedom meant sex and lots of it, soon. So I’d sleep my way across the office, not to the top, just through the roster of somewhat attractive men. I didn’t use sex as a weapon or tool. I’d get ahead through my brains and hard work. Women who fuck their bosses for promotions or raises are sluts. I’d screw men for the pleasure I got from it and for the pleasure I gave them, not for personal gain. But who’d I get to pop my cherry?

© 2015 George Kaplan