A welcome back to the entertaining Joy Lennick with a short story about a date in the forties….with an unexpected ending!! Based on her own experiences I am reliably informed!
A Date in the Forties by Joy Lennick.
Josie looked across at the Heathway cinema where she had arranged to meet Dave. He was there all right, glancing at his watch. If only her parents had a telephone installed, she would have rung him and explained that she had to work late. He was the only boy she knew who had a ‘phone. Lucky sod, she said to herself.
“Hallo! Sorry I’m late…My boss kept me till well after 5.30. I missed the train and had to wait ages for the next one.” She was flushed and out of breath.
“Sall-right,” he said, adding “You look like a ripe peach!” Josie thought that very poetic – even though it made her blush. Dave was clean-shaven and looked as nice as she remembered him when he played his saxophone at her aunt’s wedding the week before. Being a bridesmaid for the second time, had been a groovy experience, and having given her ‘the glad eye’ earlier on, during Dave’s music break, he had made a bee-line for her.
“Hello!” he’d said “Can I get you a port and lemon?” At fifteen, it was her first taste of intoxicating liquor, and it had had the strangest affect – as if she were on a cloud, drifting away from reality – especially after Dave had plied her with a second and third glassful. The next day, still in a ‘floaty haze,’ she just about remembered agreeing to go to the pictures with him the following week.
Josie gave Dave a furtive glance as they approached the cinema; he looked somehow different without his musical instrument she thought – smaller, vulnerable and thinner. He did have attractive, dark, curly hair though…She noticed that he was clutching a brown paper bag filled with something or other. Josie’s curiosity was aroused. People didn’t usually give other people chocolates loose in paper bags, did they?
“Two one-and-nines, please,” Dave asked the cashier at the kiosk, and ushered Josie into the cinema ahead of him, firmly gripping her elbow with one hand – guiding her safely into the twilight zone. She rather liked that. It was polite but masterful…An uncertain beam of torch-light wavered towards them, faltered and changed direction, leaving them to stumble to their seats like blind people.
“The Outlaw” was showing that week, starring the celebrated, sexy and voluptuous Jane Russell. “Mean, Moody and Magnificent” the billboards promised. It suggested unmentionable passion in the straw, and Josie didn’t know if she could handle it…Whatever made her agree to see it! Doubts hovered. The marketing media had done its worst. She felt wicked just sitting there; her virginity somehow threatened by the sight of the actress’s revealing cleavage. The heat from her cheeks flowed downwards, filtering and coursing into every part of her being: more especially into what were called her “erogenous” zones. (Her friend Sheila had told her that’s what they were called only the week before.) The fact that she was seated next to a boy she hardly knew, only heightened her discomfort. Perhaps she had a temperature? She was surely sickening for something!
The anticipation of the action ahead, rather than the reality – wasn’t it often like that? – inflamed Josie until her palms were a sticky mess and she didn’t quite know what to do with her hands. And then, Dave stealthily felt for one of those sticky appendages at the ends of her arms, and she quickly wiped the offensive palm on her skirt and let his hand hold hers. It only made matters worse. Up there on the silver screen, Jane Russell was “smouldering” fit to combust – pouting her lips and casting suggestive glances at her seducer. Suddenly, Josie’s embarrassment was tempered by the proffering of the mysterious brown paper bag. Dave plonked it onto her lap without a word, and she received it with a start.
Ah grapes! (It confirmed her suspicions that she was sickening for something.) At least the thought of devouring them and the overriding problem of what to do with the pips, diluted the promised passion ahead. Still damply clutching Dave’s hand, Josie managed to pass a few grapes to him and also managed – with some difficulty – to lay a handkerchief on her lap, on which to let the grape pips fall. It was a tricky business…
The film played itself out without having quite the impact that Josie had expected. It was enough to steam up your glasses but not enough to crack the lens, she thought – even though she didn’t wear glasses. However, she felt enormous relief when the film ended. Dave turned and gave her a weak smile.
‘Okay.Not bad, was it? Thought it would be different!’
‘Was all right, I s’pose’, Josie replied without enthusiasm.
Dave propelled her to the exit. On the train journey home, Josie chattered away like an over-wound magpie, more to cover up her shyness than anything else. As a conversationalist, Dave wasn’t! Perhaps he too was shy, she mused; but he had acted like a gentleman, not like a few other octopuses (pi?) she could name. She still thought him rather nice. As the front gate clicked open, the curtains of the house next door parted. Nosey old whatsit…Josie felt a sweep of affection for the bushy Old Man tree screening off a portion of the doorstep.
‘Thanks for taking me to the pictures, Dave. It was…’she paused and frowned, searching for a suitable adjective, and came up with ‘er…unusual.’ She gave him a warm smile. In return, he gave her a weak grin, and said ‘Sall-right.’
There followed a long silence in which Josie could have knitted a tea cosy (if she’d had the wool and needles that is). The silence grew awkward, and she was aware of the clip-clop of a shire horse pulling an empty coal-cart down the nearby hill – the lull in the stunted conversation giving her time to wonder why the coal-man was out so late… Dave didn’t attempt to kiss her like she hoped he would, but put an arm around her waist and pulled her roughly towards him.
Then he put what – even in her innocence she knew was not his hand – into hers. It may as well have been a hot chestnut, only it was the wrong shape! With a funny, strangled sort of shriek, she dropped it with alacrity, pushed him into the Old Man tree; showered him with the grape pips from her hankie, and called him ‘A creep!’
Frenziedly rummaging in her handbag for her door key, she then made a hasty retreat. What was that her mum used to say about still waters running deep?! Josie never forgot “’The Outlaw”or Dave…
© Joy Lennick
My thanks to Joy for sharing this entertaining story…… I will have to watch “The Outlaw” again to see if my glasses steam up…..
About Joy Lennick
Having worn several hats in my life: wife, mum, secretary, shop-keeper, hotelier; my favourite is the multi-coloured author’s creation. I am an eclectic writer: diary, articles, poetry, short stories and five books. Two books were factual, the third as biographer: HURRICANE HALSEY (a true sea adventure), fourth my Memoir MY GENTLE WAR and my current fiction novel is THE CATALYST. Plenty more simmering…
A selection of books by Joy Lennick
One of the reviews for The Moon is Wearing a TuTu
March 9, 2019
This book comprises of a number of unusual poems that certainly force you to think deeply by Joy Lennick and a few poems, limericks and humorous one-liner jokes by Eric Lennick. There are also two, clever 50-word short stories by Jean Wilson.While the entire book was entertaining to read, I really enjoyed some of Joy’s wickedly humorous poems. She uses her words like little knives to cut into the body of a matter and expose its beating heart in a manner that is humorous but sharply to the point. The one that I related to the most was Think Outside the Box:
“I think out of the box
and why not?
(Are you wary your copybook you’ll blot?!)
I’m fed up with sheep
who seem half asleep
individuals they certainly are not.
To say “aab” not “baa”
For a change why not try it today!
The fox you could fox –
confusing his “box,”
just say “aab” and get clean away.”
Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Joy-Lennick/e/B00J05CJLY/
And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Joy-Lennick/e/B00J05CJLY
Find all the books, read other reviews and follow Joy on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3124773.Joy_Lennick
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