It’s September, 1969, and as usual wars and chaos rage around the planet, but on this particular night, on the Johnstone ranch -- not very far from a depressed little town called Disdain -- young love has blossomed once again as it always will...
(Go here for our preceding chapter, or click here for the first chapter of this epic from the battered Olivetti portable of the legendary Larry Winchester: “...perhaps the only contemporary novelist worthy of assuming the mantle of the great Sidney Sheldon.” -- Harold Bloom.)
When they came up for a little air Attie said, “You got me all excited in that car, Harvey.”
“You got me pretty excited, too, Attie.”
“I think you’re pretty excited now.”
“Don’t I know it.”
They clinched some more.
“Harve, I’m a virgin.”
“You wanta make me not a virgin?”
“You’re not afraid of the radiation sickness?”
“Hell, no,” said Harvey. But then on second thought: “Should I be?”
“The doctors say it’s not catching. It was only people that was too near the A-bomb test.”
“That’s cool. I mean, uh, not cool, but --”
“Where can we go, Harvey?”
“Where can we go right now?”
“Oh," said Harvey. "Well, I got a little bungalow Mr. Johnstone give me.”
“Let’s go then.”
They took the stairway that led down to the parlor instead of the one that led to the dining room, and they slipped out the back way and walked across the yard. The sun was finally starting to shimmer up over that blue smear of mountains out over the desert. They went into Harvey’s little bungalow and he didn’t turn on the light, first of all because it was unromantic, and second of all because the place was already a complete mess even though he’d only moved in the night before last.
They immediately went into another clinch standing up, and in between kisses they started to get each other’s clothes off. Then there was that awkward moment where Attie was completely naked and beautiful and, yes, glowing slightly green in the soft half-light, and Harvey was naked except for his blood-splattered Bill Blass trousers down around his ankles and his silk socks and Oleg Cassinis smooth-calf loafers. Attie pushed him back onto the little bed and pulled off his shoes and stockings and pants and his Johnny Carson Collection boxer shorts and then she said, “Okay, teach me, soldier boy.”
Harvey said that first thing was they ought to get a condom out of his wallet.
“We don’t need one, Harvey.” She got on the bed next to him and put her hand on his chest. “I can’t have babies because I don’t produce eggs because of my radiation.”
“Well, okay, then, I guess,” said Harvey.
They kissed a bit more, sitting side by side on the bed.
“Harvey, I probably won’t live more than a few years more.”
“Shit. That’s harsh, Attie.”
“Yeah. But here’s the thing. I wanta really experience life before I go.”
There was a pause, and then Harvey gently pushed her over on her back.
There was just enough dim light to see her in all her beauty, there was more than enough light.
A minute or two later Attie said, “What’s that you’re doin’ there, Harve?”
“Somethin’ I read about in the Evergreen Review. Just lie back and enjoy it, Attie.”
(Continued here. “Not only a great book, but a great doorstop.” -- Clifton Fadiman, Collier’s Magazine.)