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Baltimore Sun

another bedtime story

Baltimore Sun, a day in the life
by Felix Rosenthal
A day in the life with perfect hindsight

The mirror was flawed and distorted my torso, making me, I am certain,
much heavier. I had stood naked for some time, contemplating my
forthcoming dinner engagement with a new secretary in the neighboring law
office. I was excited by her walk. I stood trying to decide which suit to wear
for the day.
It was a Saturday, I remember clearly. I had gone in a little late to tie up
some loose ends and make an appearance. I knew my presence would be
noticed, if just for a few hours. It was already hot and Baltimore muggy. The
walk to my stop left me soaked; another oppressive day in the long Baltimore
summer wrapped around me like a rubber suit. Sigmanns, Engalls, and Roth
expected our legal uniforms to be impeccable; foresight had furnished a
fresh shirt at the office. I had entered my bus, crowded with late morning
shoppers. Pushing through the firm but yielding mass I found a sling for
support and began reading the Sun, glancing over the front page while
thinking of the prospects for my day after work. I had apprehensions about
my dinner engagement with Miss Thormfahl. I didn't think we would have much
in common. I glanced around the bus, looking for familiarity among the
sweltering crowd, then down at my right shoe, the lace of which refused to
stay tied. Agitated, I stared at the loose strands lying in the filth of the
public carrier and the naked, dirty toes almost touching my shoes. From the
floor, she drew herself up on her knees, her arms stretched behind. Slowly
her legs slid apart. Resting her head on the cushion, her hands guided him to
her. Her fingers grasped firm, squeezing, pointing the way toward warmth:
penetration. With her hand between her legs she moved back into his
advance. They coupled until her cheeks pressed to his loin. His sack, cradled
in her palm, was drawn forward and pressed against her body. The union had
no blank spaces. He grasped her slim waist to be closer, to hold the moment.
At the instant of solid union she recoiled as if stung by a bee. He rose slowly
to his knees with his projection pointing jauntily skyward; he throbbed as she
touched, feeling his firm mass. She was ready, his wet kisses over her back,
for more. He drew her back as she guided his entry. His pulsing head
disappeared; they were attached. She pulled him to her, filling her more and
more until his trunk snugged to her behind. She pulled him closer to mate
their shapes as one, her head softly cradled on the seat.
A collective sigh hung between them as quiet passion built to lust.
Mindless animal recoils titillated their arousal. They lurched to consume
each other, lost from the present— from reality— sharing a sensual refuge
from their surroundings. Their rhythm coalesced in unconscious
cooperation. The unabashed intimacy progressed; the carnal spectacle
evolved in quicker lunges. Their bodies worked toward a single-mindedness of
purpose. Her mantra of prolonged uoooh -- uoo -- uoooh's sang out erotica,
hali- lujah, broken only by the meter of the impact of their bodies. Time
stood still. Their swaying lurching carriage, like a boat at sea, aided their
quest. Their search for the moment sustained turned their writhing into a
slippery lather. They shone with a glistening as of horses run too hard.
Lurches and quivers accompanied his orgasm. His ejaculation came
swiftly, charged with jolts of involuntary euphoria. In pulsing moans he
dropped to the floor; they reveled in the slime of their collective passion.
Dripping from their labor, they beamed at each other with accomplishment.
We lurched to a stop. My shoe lace, still untied. More passengers
boarded, pressing even closer, compounding the heat of the day. As I
stumbled to make room, my vantage disappeared in the jostle. I heard a
scream: someone must have stepped on them. I hung from my strap,
dropping my paper as I strained to see. I heard more screams as someone
pulled the bus-stop cord. A large Negro woman, dressed in black, rose from
her seat. With her umbrella, she began poking at the prone figures. The
clubfooted woman in her forties and the young hunchback wriggled on the
floor of the bus as we barreled to the next stop.
The passengers were incensed and fell upon them, kicking and screaming.
I watched their misshapen bodies writhe in the filth of the bus aisle floor. A
wad of chewing gum stuck to his elbow and she lay in a slurry of semen and
cigarette ashes. The black woman landed a square blow on his still erect
penis; the hunchback recoiled in a shriek. Snatching clothes, they wormed
under the seat, covering their heads from the abuse. Next stop, the couple
bolted for the rear door. Pushing through the crowd, the door burst open
and the pair stumbled in their disfigurement down the steps onto the street.
Clinging to the remains of their discarded articles, they attempted to hide
their nudity. In a blast of diesel smoke our carriage pulled away, leaving the
couple to themselves in the sultry Baltimore day: fall from Eden onto
shimmering asphalt, July 24th, 1959.
In one week, I will retire, a full partner in the firm of Sigmanns, Engalls,
Roth, and Rosenthal. I have no family and plan to move from my brownstone
townhouse and take up a new life in Florida. The neighborhood has changed; I
haven't felt safe. My street is not the same with the new neighbors and the
noise of children. My investments have been good to me. With my financial
security I plan to embark on a new life in a retirement community near Silver
Springs. Frugality has its rewards. I have never purchased a car, preferring
to ride my bus these years.
Since that hot Saturday morning, I must confess, I have looked forward
to my commute to work each day. There has not been a day in my
professional career when I have not thought of that Saturday's spectacle. I
ride today: glancing the Sun, scanning aisles for that passionate pair.

contribution by: Felix Rosenthal (1922 - 2002)
winner of the Acorn Award, 1988
grant by the Smothers Endowment, 1992
recipient of the Trump Literary Honor, 1997

Mr. Rosenthal was an attorney and writer who lived in Baltimore, Maryland, for his entire life. The son of Julius and Ethel, Felix was published in arts journals on the east coast for thirty five years. The story, Baltimore Sun, is published posthumosly.

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