1. Dressing for Work

By Richard N. Anderson

Alan must have set some kind of record for dressing and undressing on Tuesday. At seven thirty he stumbled into the john and turned on WINS, “All News All the Time” to hear the weather. The windows of his bedroom were so shrouded in soot and age that it was difficult to tell if the sun was out, or even if it was really morning. Of course he knew immediately when it was raining outside because of the grey drips along the forty-year old window molding.

Alan looked around the bathroom to assess the cockroach population. Their numbers seemed to have been checked by the boric acid he had accidentally spilled on the floor the night before as he tried applying it according to the directions.

Half way through his shave, WINS began its baseball score segment. He used to love baseball. He saw Don Larsen pitch the perfect game in the World Series. But so many new teams had spoiled the game for him. Or was it that the players were younger than he was? The scores seemed relentless. My God, he asked himself in the mirror, how many teams are there in the majors?

A shower.

Light gray trousers and the stretch socks—with most of the stretch gone out of them—and his fancy boots he bought for that ice-cold trip to Stockholm a year ago. A white shirt.

He enjoyed ignoring the changing standards of fashion. He made a point of dressing conservatively. The young guys told him he looked too square to work in the creative department, but he felt it gave him an edge with agency clients and with his group. A red paisley tie and a light blazer and he was off to work, with a brief layover at the Berkshire Hotel, Room 215.

Kiki was watching the Today show when he buzzed. She had showered, splashed some totally unnoticeable fumes on herself that left a tiny trace of fresh and sweet. She wore a soft white thing that went down to her knees with a slight collar. She answered the buzzer and in walked Alan.

“Lindsay is a democrat,” she said nuzzling his neck with her face.

“Why should you care, you’re from Helsinki.”

“Yes, but he is your Mayor and you should know these things.” She had his tie loosened by the word Mayor.

“If he looked like Abe Beame he wouldn’t be Mayor of New York.”

“Who is Abe Beame?”

“He’s a little guy who always seems to be the comptroller of the city but occasionally runs for mayor and loses.”

Kiki went to the TV set and turned Edward Newman down a little and got into bed.

She watched Alan undress, carefully folding one part of his outfit after the other. He slid in next to Kiki and kissed her on the side of the face. She turned, and side by side close together they just fitted; where she went out he went in and the other way around.

Then, just when Alan was about to make his move, riveters started their work on the new building next to the hotel, shattering the quiet.

Alan laughed. Kiki laughed.

“That’s going to be one hell of a sound effect for the next couple of minutes,” he said.

“Minutes my ass,” Kiki murmured, biting his neck.

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