Bill Todd -- Tim and Sharon
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 Chapter 27

An Interview

     It had taken Tim and Melissa, constrained by his cast and her tight skirt, some time to get settled in the cabin of the boat. Once there, they sat sedately on the settee which faced across the cabin to cabinets storing all manner of useful and useless things. It was so long since Tim had been in a suggestive situation with a woman that he wasn’t sure how to proceed. He did think that she was open to an affair of some sort, but wasn’t sure how to get there.

     The last time, Tim had been a senior in high school in a car crowded with young people, all a little drunk. In the back seat, it hadn’t really been clear whose hand had been on whom or what, and, anyway, everyone was talking and laughing at once. When they spilled out of the car into a secluded meadow at midnight and paired up, almost randomly, events took over. In the present case, events were going to need a little help. As it happened, Melissa asked, “Do you think I’m pretty?”

Tim actually thought that she was only borderline pretty, but there was only one thing a gentleman could say. Moreover, he did like her slim waist, hips, and what he could see of her legs. She then asked, “Shall I take my dress off?”

Tim, this time, responded without any hesitation. Once the dress was over Melissa’s head and hanging on one of the hooks, he put his hands on her waist, feeling her warmth and movement through her slip. She gently released herself, backed off a little, and said,

“The last time, when I was like this at the doctor’s, they let me stay in my slip. But as I spoke with him, the nurse behind me undid my bra and fished it out, which was a little embarrassing. Then she reached under for my panties, but I continued to speak as if I were fully dressed. Finally, when it came time for me to be examined, my straps were taken down to expose my boobies. Would it be a good idea to repeat the procedure?”

“It’s always good to double-check.”

In what followed, the cast was an impediment, but Melissa seemed to have thought out a procedure in advance. Finally, they ended up, tangled together, half off the settee. Melissa said,

“I suppose we’d better get into our clothes.”

     Having emerged from the cabin, Tim carefully lifted his cast over the rail and rested it on the dock, along with one crutch, before he moved his body over the water gap. Melissa, laughing, was helping by pushing gently. Tim would have been a little bit euphoric, but they had been quite a long time, and he had no idea what to say to Sharon. But, then, it probably wasn’t necessary to say anything.

     When he got to the ramp, he noticed that Diana was back, sitting with Sharon and the children. Obviously, they had talked. Diana then called out to Melissa, “It’s okay. Enoch wants the second tape to air, and he knows what he’s doing.”

Tim, sitting down on one of the curved cement benches surrounding the table, said, “Yes, he does know exactly what he’s doing. I haven’t heard the tape, but we’ve gone over the material pretty thoroughly. He’s also checked it out with his lawyer.”

Melissa had a text version which she read, beginning with her own part: “Enoch, you must be pretty pleased with your performance in the last game, even though you didn’t win.”

“I really was trying to win the game, not that it matters.”

“Doesn’t matter?”

“Whoever wins, one group of people is happy and another group is disappointed. In general, neither group is significantly more virtuous or deserving than the other. So it’s always close to being a zero sum.”

“How can you play so hard if you think it doesn’t matter?”

“Because I enjoy playing hard. I also play ping-pong hard when I play with my friends. But I don’t imagine that anyone attaches importance to the ping-pong results.”

“How do you account for the fact that so many people care so much?”

“Many people bet on football. I don’t gamble myself. Even if I did, I wouldn’t bet on our games. So I don’t have that motivation.”

“There are some people who don’t bet, but who still care.”

“Yes. I can’t imagine why.”

Melissa stopped reading, and Sharon responded, “Wow!“

Melissa replied, “I go on to say that Enoch, in fact, has the purest of sporting attitudes, and that there should be more people like him.”

Tim looked concerned and asked, “Could you get fired for that, Melissa?”

“This is quite a scoop for me. I think it’ll carry me. Well, I’d better get going.”

With that, Melissa strapped the children into her car and left.

     When she had whizzed out of the parking lot, skidding a little in the gravel, Tim asked the others, “What did you think about the gambling bit?”

Sharon replied, “I noticed. When he says that he doesn’t bet on the games, there’s the hint that other players might.”

“Yes. The officials of the league are phobic about players betting on games, and don’t want the subject raised at all, even in denial. That’ll drive them crazy. But there’s no way they can punish a man for saying that he doesn’t gamble.”

“Was that your idea or Enoch’s?”


Diana, still looking nervous, said, “America is enough like England in these respects that I understand how much trouble this can cause.”

Tim said, “Yes, indeed. Once I’ve had my say, it may be that no team will employ either of us. But we’ll get to keep the money.”

“Even the signing bonuses?”

“Yes. We’re going to say that, apart from my injury, we’re ready and willing to play. If they don’t want us to, that’s their affair.”

Sharon remarked, “Tim, people are going to notice that you were a philosophy major, and they’ll think that this is philosophy applied to football.”

“That’s okay.”

Diana left soon afterwards. Tim assumed that she wanted to find Enoch and resume their discussion. After she was gone, Sharon said,

“I’m sure that Melissa’s more trustworthy than any other reporter you could find.”

“Yes. Of course, she’s pretty stressed in her personal life.”

“Mothers of young children usually are, aren’t they?”

“I guess so. She also seems to be dissatisfied with her husband.”

“Well, she’s been in the middle of a bunch of naked young athletes for some time now. Maybe he doesn’t compare well.”

It was pretty clear that Sharon was fishing, and Tim was more or less resigned to letting things out by degrees. He replied, “I don’t think she’s like that. A young man surrounded by naked female models might go crazy. But she’s not crazy. She’s just frustrated that her husband is more interested in his business than in his family.”

“That might have been said about our father.”

“Sure. I hope he’s not as bad as that!”

Sharon only smiled and nodded. After a moment, Tim said, “Everyone’s been after me forever to get a girl friend. I don’t think this situation is exactly what anyone had in mind.”

Sharon laughed outright and replied, “You’ve always been good at understatement, Timmy. But, seriously, I’m not inclined to be moralistic. Women in Melissa’s position have already gotten the short end of the stick, and I don’t blame them for seeking something else.”

“As with our mother and Harold?”

“Yes. Someone in her position would have been crazy not to look elsewhere. The odds are that Melissa’s husband isn’t nearly as bad as our daddy, but still.”

“I think he’s probably an ordinary middle-class American man.”

“So she’s just playing around with you a little in her spare time?”

Tim agreed, but wondered whether he was himself just playing around. He was, however, sure that he had enjoyed the interlude in the boat’s cabin.

     When Enoch arrived later, after an interview with his lawyer, he gave a brief, and humorous, account of his current situation relative to the Sailors. It did seem to Tim that he was enjoying himself, and the fact that he was getting ever closer to an exit from football didn’t seem to bother him much. After the ladies had left, he had a present for Tim in a brown paper bag.

     Tim asked, “Are these condoms?”

“No. I hadn’t until just now realized the need for those. They’ll come next. These are for a more immediate need.”

Opening the bag, Tim found a large supply of laxatives. Enoch asked, “Have you yet discovered that a man with sore ribs experiences excruciating pain when he tries to have a bowel movement?”

“Damn! I thought it was just me.”

“No. There’s some sort of muscular connection, I’m not sure just what. These are relatively gentle, and said to be ‘natural.’ Hopefully, the shit will just slide out on cue, but not at other times.”

“This is a problem I would never have imagined.”

“The NFL will get to you, one way or another.”

Bill Todd -- Tim and Sharon
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