Bill Todd -- BOLLINGER: A Novel of the Prairie
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 Chapter 12

A Football Game

Howie was glad that he and Mrs. Winton had agreed to tell Chuck that she had turned him away on the doorstep. Although Chuck was disappointed, Howie didn't think he could have managed anything more complex. Even so, Chuck wanted to know what Howie thought. Howie said that she was attractive and looked interesting. He also expressed some surprise at seeing how small she was. Chuck replied,

"Oh yes. We look ridiculous as a couple."

That had been the end of it with Chuck, but Howie had gone on wondering what she did look like. Was she pretty? Was she, in fact, beautiful? Would she look out of place in a movie, surrounded by beautiful actresses? How large were her breasts? What would she look like naked?

Despite Howie's reservations, he got up the next Saturday in a burst of euphoria. This was his day to meet Mrs. Winton in Orrville. This was, as the boys said, the best chance he would ever have to score. Moreover, it would be with a woman who knew how, and with whom he wouldn't have to try to hide his inexperience.

Howie drove over early and easily found the restaurant where they were to have lunch. It was something of a college hangout, and, having an hour to kill, he wandered on to the nearby campus. Orrville College was a pretty little establishment of a sort that lay entirely outside his experience.

There were many signs of the football game that was to take place later. Unlike Harvard students, these ones obviously took it seriously. A band was playing in the main quadrangle, and it seemed that there were pretty girls everywhere. Whenever he saw one, he took it more personally than in the past, feeling both pleased and a little scared.

Leaving the campus, Howie proceeded to the main shopping area adjoining it. Here was a broad street paved with bricks and lined by trees in their fall colors. It was quite different from Bollinger, and it was easy to wonder whether there might be an opening for a young lawyer in Orrville.

The shops were mostly filled with women's clothes. Howie liked them, and paused in front of some of the windows. Mrs. Winton would likely be wearing something she had bought here. Still with a little time to go, Howie went to the restaurant, took a table by the front window, and ordered coffee. The street and restaurant were now beginning to fill up with the football crowd. Besides the students, there were parents, alumni, and townspeople, all milling around in the cool brisk sunshine. Then, suddenly, he saw her, a small figure in a green coat with a fur collar moving quickly toward the restaurant.

As she approached, all Howie's doubts about Mrs. Winton's appearance were swept away. She looked only about twenty five, and no one could doubt her attractiveness. She could be a young alumna, or the older sister of a student. When she passed a couple of college girls she looked much more sophisticated, her high heels and stockings contrasting sharply with their white sneakers and socks. Just then, she saw Howie and waved gaily as she neared the door.

Howie jumped up to help Mrs. Winton with her coat. She said,

"It's a good thing I made it early. I forgot about there being a football game here today."

"I've been here a while wandering around. It's a pretty town."

The conversation drifted until Mrs. Winton brought it to a point.

"I got a good parking space. It's on the roof of the only parking structure in town, and it's right in the corner. The wall there is only a few feet high, so you can see up and down Main Street from the car."

"You sound as if you'd just bought a house with a view."

She smiled up at him, looking innocent in a white blouse with ruffles and long sleeves.

"You don't understand, do you? We're going to make love in my car."

Howie almost recoiled.

"Surely there must be a better place."

"Don't worry, I used to do it with Chuck. It works out because I'm so small."

"I guess it would be tricky going to a hotel here."

"Besides, every American man ought to be initiated in an automobile. It'd be unpatriotic not to."

Howie laughed, but asked,

"Aren't we likely to get caught?"

"My car was well away from the others. The place may fill up because of the game, but then the people will all be occupied at the stadium for several hours. Besides, a little risk makes it more exciting."

She spoke as if recommending a little red pepper in chicken stew, and added,

"By the way, I suppose we ought to be on first name terms. I'm Amanda. You're called Howie, aren't you?"

"Yes. You have a nice name. Were you ever called Mandy?"

"As a child, sometimes. I don't like it, though. Someone my size can't afford any sort of diminutive."

She then took Howie's hand, half playfully, and asked,

"Are you worried?"

"A little."

"We'll take it slow and easy, and we don't have to do it all today. You can keep your tie on if it makes you feel better."

Howie knew he was being teased, but wanted information too much to bother with it.

"Are you going to take off your clothes?"

"We'll see how it works out."

The parking garage had an elevator, and, on alighting on the roof, they encountered swarms of cars looking for spaces. Amanda said,

"I guess the game hasn't started yet, but it will soon. The car's been in the sun and should be warm."

The car, a fairly large one, had a bench seat in front, and they got in just as a car pulled in beside them. Even as the people were getting out, Amanda, her lower body concealed from them by the door, undid her skirt and slid it down to her knees. She then carefully got her feet out of it while hardly touching it to the floor. No sooner had she done so, than Howie noticed a car waiting behind them. He said,

"They saw us get in and must be waiting for us to pull out."

Amanda rolled the window down, leaned out, and waved them away. The gesture wasn't understood, and a man got out of the car. Howie, not knowing what to do, sat still. Amanda called back,

"We're not leaving. We're just keeping warm until it's time for the game."

The man, irritated, replied,

"We're not going to get there at all if we can't find a space."

As he got back into his car, she moved toward Howie and kissed him for the first time. She said,

"That man suspects we're up to no good, so we might as well show him he's right."

Soon after the football fans left, Amanda told Howie to lift up. His trousers were deftly taken down to his knees, and Amanda said,

"If a policeman comes up and demands to know what's going on, you can just pull your pants back up."

Howie tried to help Amanda with her blouse, but she didn't seem to need any help. She then undid her bra and fished it out from underneath her slip. Howie had never seen a woman's breasts with such a thin covering, and he explored gently with his finger. She seemed impatient and guided his hand. She was soon guiding him altogether in ways that produced for him a whole series of novel, and very satisfactory, sensations. Barely able to talk at all, he was attempting to say something appropriate when she quieted him and ran her hands over his body.

A little later, after Howie had recovered a bit, Amanda placed herself in some odd positions relative to him, and eventually went into a sort of convulsion. At first alarmed, he soon realized that she was having an orgasm. It was a little scary in its intensity, but he simply held her to him.

After something like an hour, Amanda disengaged herself, poked her head up above the window, and remarked,

"I must have made enough noise to wake the dead, but no one seems to have noticed."

"You did more or less tear your underclothes off at one point. Have you enough to go home in?"

Amanda picked up her things and inspected them.

"These can be repaired easily enough, but this is just the sort of thing Chuck is always looking for. I think, just to be on the safe side, I'll get a new slip down in the street."

They didn't say much as they dressed and left the garage. When they parted in front of a shop, Amanda took Howie's hand briefly and said,

"Thank you. I'll call you during the week."

Howie watched her go into the store and speak to the saleslady. He didn't feel like going home, and instead drifted up the sparsely populated street. As he wandered, it seemed to him that he had done well. He had certainly enjoyed himself, and Amanda had had an impressive orgasm. He gathered from something she said that she hadn't expected him to be skillful enough to bring her to that point. On the other hand, his initiation hadn't changed the world as he had somehow thought that it might. In fact, he was now alone as another man's wife was on her way back to her husband. In this somewhat pensive mood he was drawn to the cheers that could be heard fairly close by.

The stadium was really nothing more than two concrete stands facing each other across the field. Since the game was now entering the fourth quarter, the ticket collector waved Howie in without charge. He ended up in the Orrville student section, and, as luck would have it, the only vacant seat required him to wedge in between two pretty girls.

The game was tied at six to six, and the opposing Wharton Tigers had the ball. The quarterback dropped back, looked to his right, and then threw a flat pass to his left. It was a play borrowed from professional football. The quarterback would fake right and then throw a bullet to the left sideline. Only a few yards past the line of scrimmage, a hot-shot receiver would cut back, take the ball, and attempt to break loose. The Wharton quarterback's arm wasn't nearly strong enough for that. He threw a soft looping ball right at the receiver, who was standing alone. It took an agonizingly long time for the ball to get there, and, when it did, the receiver was no longer alone. An Orrville defensive back, timing the ball easily, cut in front of the receiver, picked off the pass, and took it untouched into the end zone.

It seemed to Howie that the girls on either side of him went through processes not unlike that undergone by Amanda an hour or so earlier. The one on the right also hugged him. Now that he knew all about girls, Howie hugged back, seemingly not displeasing her boy friend. Indeed, that worthy promptly passed a flask down the line. Howie, feeling as if he were back in the thirties, drank deeply, coughed, and passed the flask to the girl on his left.

When the extra point was kicked, there was another tremendous roar. It seemed that the kicks were often missed, and this point might well win the game. The flask came back again, less than half full, and Howie drank, this time more cautiously. It seemed to be a cheap domestic whiskey.

After the kick-off, Wharton made a couple of first downs as the girl on Howie's left bit her nails and the one on his right sought comfort on her boy friend's shoulder. Howie spoke soothingly to the former, who said,

"Those fans from Wharton'll be just awful if they win."

Howie was sure that they would be, and sympathized. She seemed to be with no one in particular, just a group of some dozen students. Howie wondered if they could tell that he had just had sex.

On the next series, a third down pass was dropped by the Wharton receiver, and great happiness reigned in the Orrville stands. The flask, now refilled, made its round trip. Howie did it justice in both directions.

Orrville's first play after the punt was an almost exact copy of the one on which the Wharton quarterback had been intercepted. The result was also the same. Amid appalled silence and only a soft, 'Oh shit,' from one of the delightful creatures around Howie, a Wharton defensive back raced down the sideline beneath them on route to his touchdown. The girl on the left, whose name seemed to be 'Danny,' was extremely distraught. Howie, already squeezed against her, put his arm protectively around her shoulders. She didn't object, and had her head close to his as she drank from the flask.

The extra point which would have tied the game was missed, but Orrville was offside. It was kicked and missed again, but the same Orrville lineman was again offside. On the third try, the kick hit the crossbar, but bounced over to tie the game.

During this sequence, Danny seemed to experience almost every human emotion. Howie found just the right quasi- paternal tone, and expressed unwavering confidence in Orrville's eventual success. He also moved his hand up and down Danny's back, and found that she offered no objection when he slipped it under her heavy sweater. Until that day, this would have been, for Howie, the romantic success of the century. He now told himself that this was kid stuff. Admittedly, it was nice to have Danny's blond hair in his face as he whispered encouragement to her, but this was the sort of thing a man of his stamp could expect to have fall into his lap at any odd moment.

By this time, Howie realized that each team was much more likely to score without the ball than with it. He was thus concerned when, with time running short, Orrville had the ball deep in its own territory. Fortunately, the game then got dirty. A Wharton lineman flattened the Orrville quarterback long after he had released the ball. Danny was enraged, but mollified when the penalty was stepped off. There was then a successful end run by a surprisingly quick back who had come in off the bench. Howie couldn't imagine why they didn't play him more until the man came off the field and removed his helmet. He turned out to be the token black. Danny seemed not to care, and, in her somewhat inebriated happiness, turned her face toward his. Howie kissed her, and she kissed back, rather chastely.

Howie next moved his hand under the shirt Danny wore underneath. She looked at him appraisingly, and said,

"Aren't you the friendly one."

It seemed to be neither a question nor anything more than a mild objection. It was also uttered rather mechanically. Howie moved his hand around on her bare back without any further opposition, but noticed that she did have her left arm in position to block any explorations higher and further to the front. Howie, not wanting to arouse her suspicions, moved down to her admirably formed little waist.

The man who had gone in for the black running back caught a pass, but then fumbled away the ball. As depression and gloom settled around them, Howie, seeing that the ball was down on Wharton's thirty, told Danny that the game was in the bag.

The decisive play came when Wharton punted with less than two minutes left. The snap was high, and the punter had to jump for it, juggling it slightly. Without any room to kick, he ran to his right, and then tried to kick. It was impossible to see exactly what happened at the other end of the field, but the ball came loose and rolled into the end zone. There was a wild rush with players tumbling over one another. As Danny jumped up and down and screamed, Howie could see the referee raise his hands to signal an Orrville recovery and touchdown. Howie found himself regarded as a sort of prophet by both Danny and the girl on his right. He enjoyed himself thoroughly as the rest of the game passed in a welter of penalties, fights on the field, and assorted dirty play.

After the game, the girl on Howie's right said pleasantly,

"We usually go for a humburger and french fries afterwards. You're welcome to come along."

Her boy friend also seemed favorably disposed, and Danny made no objection. Howie accepted the invitation enthusiastically and stuck close to Danny in the larger crowd of students. She accepted him, physically, but not socially. She seemed happy to cuddle against him, but talked only with the others, and didn't even ask him for his name. Given the intense crush and the amount that had been drunk, this social intercourse didn't mainly consist in coversation. There was instead an exchange of squeals, giggles, and shouts amid a general atmosphere of happy laughter. Howie found that, by laughing and shouting a bit himself, he could pass.

As it happened, Danny's group detached itself from the main stream when they passed the restaurant where he had earlier had lunch with Amanda. It was already packed, but they jammed in. The restaurant was evidently used to this madness, and the procedure was to pass orders for hamburgers up to the front. They were then eaten in place while students spilled coke, French fries, and catsup on each other. Howie, for the first time, attracted favorable attention when he passed a ten dollar bill up to the front. This had, in fact, been a considerable feat, physical rather than financial, because of the difficulty he had had in getting his wallet out of his pocket with people jammed up around him.

Howie was pressed tight against Danny's back. She twisted her head back and kissed him for his generosity while he, with both hands now under her clothing, explored her further. When a hamburger was passed, an adjoining boy in the crowd recognized Howie's predicament and held the hamburger so that he could bite into it.

After eating, the crowd, still containing Howie, moved off toward the main college quadrangle. As he walked along with his arm around Danny, another girl started speaking softly to him from his unengaged side.

"I'm Danny's room-mate. She gets like this when she has too much to drink, but she has a date for dinner with one of the football players. It's time for us to start getting dressed. We've enjoyed having you, but .... "

Howie thought quickly and replied,

"Ok. I'll just say goodbye to her and disappear."

They were near the corner of a building, and Howie guided Danny to the left while the others went to the right. They soon reached a secluded nook with bushes to shield them. Danny looked at him with glazed eyes, seemingly somewhat lost. He told her that his car was nearby and suggested that they go somewhere for dinner. Danny didn't exactly refuse, but did make some vague movements toward her dormitory. Howie started kissing her around the neck and ears, something that Amanda had taught him so recently. It brought a good response, so much so that Danny seemed no longer inclined to go anywhere.

Howie, enjoying himself considerably, was conscious of how much bigger Danny was than Amanda, and how much stronger. Indeed, she took the initiative to a large extent, and it was only partly Howie's doing that her skirt dropped to the ground. It was just then that she seemed, for the first time, to realize what she was doing. With a little cry, she pushed Howie away and got her skirt up.

While Danny had suddenly sobered up considerably, Howie, undeterred, repeated his invitation to dinner. She thanked him, but declined, saying that she had a date with one of the players, and would have to rush off. Howie responded brightly,

"A football player isn't such a big thing around here. This team couldn't beat most high school teams."

It was just then that Howie was aware of people behind him. Trying to seem composed, even though Danny showed alarm, he continued to speak to her, carefully not looking behind him. As Howie was making further remarks about the game, a man brushed past him, took Danny firmly by the arm, and started to lead her away. He was large, and looked exasperated, but didn't seem to have hostile intentions. Danny snuggled up to him in her usual fashion, and he paused only for his two companions. They were also large, probably Orrville football linemen just returned from the game, and their attitude was more menacing. One of them asked Howie who the fuck he thought he was. Howie, unimpressed with Orrville football players, either on or off the field, responded whimsically,

"I am inclined to think that I am myself, as opposed to being someone else."

The other man, seeming to think that Howie was making fun of him, drew back his fist. Howie ducked the right hand he had seen coming and countered quickly, moving to his left. He was scoring almost at will, and hadn't even been hit, when he felt a blow to his right knee which caused intense pain and dropped him on the spot. He was aware that one of the other players had kicked him in the knee, and was now kicking him in the ribs. There was nothing he could do about it, but he heard Danny scream and come to his aid. The kicking stopped, and his next sensation, apart from the pain, was that of Danny's soft hair falling in his face as she knelt beside him. She was trying to ask where he was hurt when she was dragged away.

After Danny's departure, Howie gradually decided that he would probably walk again. Indeed, he slowly raised himself, and started to walk shakily when one of the remaining players yanked his coat half off, rendering his arms useless. The other, the one he had hit repeatedly, was now laughing as he yanked down Howie's trousers.

Howie ended on the ground in only his underwear. The football players were making off with his clothes when one stopped and threw his wallet and keys on the ground. Howie shouted indignantly,

"You can't do this. I'm a respectable person."

There was a good deal of laughter on the part of the others as they disappeared.

Howie's knee still hurt, but it was working. His next thought was to find a men's dormitory, where some kind soul, no doubt, would lend him a pair of trousers. Looking in a window of the building he was huddled against, he saw that it contained classrooms, empty on Saturday. He might be able to find a large wall map or chart to wrap around himself, but that would render him only marginally less conspicuous. In any case, the building was probably locked.

Another possibility would be to sprint for his car, two blocks away. He still had his necktie which had remained when they ripped away his shirt, and a man running along in underwear and tie would be thought to be part of some college prank. Picking up his wallet and keys, Howie set off. His knee held up surprisingly well, and he ran on the grass rather than the walks. It was easier without shoes, and maximum speed was desirable. Absurd as he felt, there was also a sense of exhilaration as he zoomed out into the open. He was certainly flouting the conventions strongly, but, not being naked, would probably not be seen as a sexual pervert.

Howie got some distance before people seemed to notice him at all. When they did, they started laughing. At the edge of the quadrangle there was a gate, and three girls coming through it in the opposite direction seemed quite delighted.

Out on the street, Howie's embarrassment increased. Running along the sidewalk, he had to pass close to ordinary people, not just tittering co-eds. But, still, it was funny to see the look a middle-aged woman gave him. A little further on, a town lout called unpleasantly, and a number of people stopped to stare. When he finally reached his car and fumbled with the key, a man on the sidewalk stared at him with great hostility and shouted,

"You wait there! I'm calling the police."

Although Howie was sure that he could explain things to the police, he very much didn't want the publicity that was likely to result. He replied,

"This isn't my idea. It's those damned students. Some kind of prank."

The man didn't look convinced, but he did nothing as Howie drove off.

Bill Todd -- BOLLINGER: A Novel of the Prairie
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