Dalliance in TarrytownbyOtzchiim©
Auctorial Harangue and Preface:
I do not feel that science fiction conventions have gotten their proper due among erotic stories, considering the number of interesting people that they attract. The "Trinity Trilogy" seems one-note, and presents a view of fandom and conventions that is quite at variance with my experience. "Philly," I think by Michael K. Smith, is good and accurate as far as it goes, but one could wish for more. "Memoirs of a Life in the Future," by someone calling himself (I would bet on he) Dinosaurian was great, but only the first of the five parts seems to be on ASSTR, and I am not sure any of it is on Google now.
It has been too long since I wrote regularly (I hope somebody agrees) so here is my attempt to ease the situation. Persons mentioned once are real, and presumably won't mind being described doing what they normally do. Some others have names or details changed. Settings are accurate, but events are chronologically conflated. (I likes dem big words.)
DALLIANCE IN TARRYTOWN
George Evans had taken the Friday off for Lunacon, but he did not get up much later that morning than usual. He got onto the highway maybe fifteen minutes or a half-hour later than he would have started work on a normal day.
George had breakfast before he left, but he went through Maryland, then Delaware, then the New Jersey Turnpike, and it came to mind that he was liable to forget about lunch once he got to doing things at the convention. So he pulled into the Childs' Restaurant in downtown Newark about eleven in the morning, ate, then took another hour to get to Tarrytown. This was a few years after the unions forced conventions out of New York City.
He had been asked, sort of, by Perdita Boardman about coming up early to help move supplies into the consuite, so when he parked and walked in he got right into lugging. They needed him less than they thought, so he sat around a while after. About the time that he could have checked into his hotel room, convention registration was going to open, so he went there instead.
Not so much to register - that took seconds - but to work there a while. A lot of people seem to think that is a dull job, but he never had. Part of it may be that he spent a couple of years in an unemployment office, signing people up for checks, and while the motions are much the same, the job is incredibly different. You don't have to deal with stupid or hostile people, or only rarely, and you don't have frauds to deal with.
What you do get are people who are happy to be in a line that moves fast and a lot of smiling faces, with the female ones particularly nice. And of course for the time you are there you get to talk, five seconds each, to people you recognize.
It was better this year because the head of registration had not been trained in Boston, so registration opened when people wanted to register, not when the clock said it was supposed to. George had never understood NESFA.
They started at quarter to two, and around three o'clock Mike and Judy Goldberg were in front of him, with Jackie Spriggs, all just in from Baltimore. George had marginally known Mike a bunch of years before through the mail, his wife for about five since they moved into the area.
Five years ago was also when the Baltimore club got restarted, some months before George moved from New York to Washington, sort of moved back since he had been brought up in Baltimore and Baltimore was only fifteen minutes further than half the Washington club meetings.
As you could probably guess from the name, Mike and Judy Goldberg were Jewish. Jackie Spriggs was black, rather tall for a woman, and very cute and cheerful. She had been coming to Baltimore club meetings for a year now, or a little less than that since she had found out about it at last year's Balticon.
George had therefore met Jackie perhaps two dozen times since, between the monthly business meetings (which were mostly social after the first half-hour) and the social meetings (which often had a lot of decisions made at them). He talked to her probably at all of the gatherings, but couldn't say he paid much attention to her. She was interesting to talk to and fresh meat, so to speak, for conversation.
Since she just came in ar Balticon, she had not considered going to Disclave eight weeks later, which was also six weeks after her first Baltimore club meeting, where she first learned of the comvention. Worldcon that year was at the other end of the country, and for some reason now forgotten she could not get to the Philadelphia regional in November.
Boston was too far even for George as a usual thing, let alone somebody new to things, do this Lunacon was her first out-of-town convention. Jackie was staying with the Goldbergs here, but she was very happy to see someone else she knew, and she gave Gworge a very bright smile when she spotted him behind the table.
He worked at registration until almost five, getting three hours there to add to the hour of moving consuite supplies, then got his luggage and checked in. He went into the dealers' room, not to buy anything - he may have, he didn't remember for sure - but to look around and talk to people. The Gonzalez brothers almost always have something interesting which he has to debate with himself whether he can afford, Charles Miller is good to gossip with, and the Hendersons often wanted to check his memory on a book or author somebody asked about.
Ned Brooks had come up with the people from the Atlanta worldcon bid, and he had a table, and George probably spent half an hour behind his table talking about strange books, of which Ned has very many.
George left him a little after six (the room stayed open until eight) and ran into the Goldbergs and Jackie Spriggs in the lobby. Mike and Judy had not been up to Lunacon lately, and of course Jackie hadn't been at all. They asked if there was a place to eat nearby and worth recommending.
"Yes," he said, and led them down the road and under a bridge, maybe a quarter-mile to a diner not visible from the hotel. They introduced Jackie there to their saying about conventions: you can travel a thousand miles, but end up eating dinner with people you see every week or two.
And so they did. They took their time over dinner, and did not get back to the hotel until close to eight. Jackie and the Goldbergs went off to the program, and George got talking to people.
Close to ten he went off to his room to change. Now, he was not involved with the Atlanta worldcon bid, but he knew people on it, between those who moved there from places he had lived, those who lived for a while around Baltimore or Washington, and just meeting, especially working with, some of them at conventions from Arizona to England.
He was somewhat known for working as a bartender (beer and soda usually) at Disclave, and he was asked about doing it at the bid party. He agreed, but wanted to give them more than they asked for.
He changed into black pants with a sharp crease, a pale blue pocketless shirt with ruffles down the front and at the cuffs, and a black clip-on bow tie. He slicked back my hair, used a little magician's wax to bring his beard to a point, and showed up for his 10 to midnight shift looking every inch a caterer's bartender.
He even put a tip-jar out, though the money went to (and was marked for) the worldcon bid. Got a fair amount too.
Jackie Spriggs may well have been at the party before he was. She liked the idea of the Atlanta bid, since she had relatives down there. In any case, she came over for soda not long after he settled in, and they talked with frequent interruptions until midnight.
Mike and Judy announced that as old married people (George's age, a bit less in Judy's case!) they were going to turn in. Jackie felt a bit overwhelmed and decided to do the same. He hung around the party for maybe a half-hour more.
On Saturday morning he had the buffet breakfast in the hotel, his semi-obligatory one meal in the hotel, and went through the dealers' room more carefully. After he deposited his purchases in his room, he saw and walked up behind Jackie, who was standing and studying the program.
She asked him a couple of questions about it, and decided that nothing looked that great for a while. George asked if she had been through the Art Show yet. She said no, that she had not even gone to the one at Balticon, and was curious about what it was like.
He answered in a few words: some published illustrations exhibited on principle or for sale, some professional-quality artists doing what they liked for once, a lot of amateurs looking for jobs, cash, or recognition. He offered to go through with her, and she accepted.
They spent 90 minutes there, a lot of it listening to artists shop-talk. Jackie got a lot more out of that than he did, he thought.
When they came out, she headed for a panel, and then the guest of honor speech. As did he, though a different panel, and he did not spot her in the crowd at the speech.
George went to dinner a bit early, because he had promised to work on the masquerade. He was going to be a runner, which really requires no running at all, though sometimes fast walking. He was going to help people (run them) up the steps to the stage to show off their costumes for the audience, and his opposite number, stage left, would help them down.
Now, he had only worn costumes a couple of times himself at masquerades, but had been on staff at them more, and in the audience more yet. Moreover, he had been to the Lunacon masquerade at this hotel, in the room they had it set for, and it got stuffy and warm in there.
So this year, he would be prepared. He was going to wear a dhoti and a turban. The dhoti is that loincloth thing that beggars in India wear in movies; real ones are one strip of cloth wound around, but he was chicken and sewed it to an old pair of briefs. The turban was just wrapped up, but pinned with a huge gaudy pin. With that and a plastic cutlass he was set.
Things went well, no real problems with getting people on or off, and he was more comfortable than the audience. Two-thirds of the way through the first run, the next face up was familiar, though the body was less so, or not as visibly so.
Jackie Spriggs was wearing a mid-thigh skirt, a large ornate hat, and a tight bodice with lacework under it that made her breasts high and jutting. She was without her usual over-sized glasses.
She had dressed as Belit the pirate, from Robert E. Howard's "Queen of the Black Coast." While Belit is described as lithe, beautiful, all that sort of thing, Howard never actually describes her skin color - but she is operating off the coast of Africa, and all or most of her crew are black, so it made reasonable sense for a black woman to choose. Belit is also the only woman whom you are really told Conan has sex with during the course of a story, so the interracial angle might have been better not spelled out in the 1930s.
Well, both the given and implied descriptions fit Jackie. He saw her and dropped to the floor, arms out, in a deep bow. She thought fast and placed one bare foot on his shoulder, striking a haughty pose. The audience who could see them cheered, as did the rest when the emcee pointed them out, all to the confusion of the poor Deathstar stormtrooper who had just gotten up there.
Jackie got up easily, swaggered across and down, but when she got to the photography area everybody wanted at least one shot of what the two had done spontaneously. So George got pulled off as a runner, went half-blind from flashbulbs, and only got back to his post (somebody substituted) in time for the last few entries.
While the judges deliberated, a storyteller went up on stage, and George headed for the back of the auditorium and from there to the side room set aside for costumers, which had a video feed. Jackie (and he, often) got called out of the room by photographers enough that he never heard enough of any the three stories told to follow them.
They got word that the judges had decided, do he went back to help the winners up. Jackie was one, best novice for interpretation, on her first entry in a masquerade. She jumped, whooped, and kissed George.
Things ran a little late, so he did not have much margin to get to his room, change to normal clothes, and get to the movie room for the sort-of shift he had signed up for there. He had spotted one of his favorite movies on the schedule, and felt that he may as well run the projector since he wanted to see it again anyway.
The movie was "Quest for Love." If that does not sound like science fiction, be assured you it is. If you have never heard of it, you have more company than you really should. It is about a man who is dropped into an alternate history, much like this one but without World War II, and some other small changes. He is married there to a woman with a heart defect, easily curable here, he knows. After she dies in his arms, he comes back to this world and tries to keep her from dying again.
The movie was only a few minutes in, it was maybe 10:40, when a chair was set down next to George's. He looked over and there was Jackie Spriggs, still in costume. He figured that she must have come here straight from the masquerade, though he turned out to be wrong.
He told her in a few words what has happened so far - they were at the point where the protagonist sees that day's newspaper account of John Kennedy's major speech to the League of Nations, in 1968 - and let her carry on by herself from there.
It did not take much more of the story before her hand crept into his, and by the end, around midnight, she was leaning on him and happily sobbing. He took his arm from around her as he raised the lights for a moment and put on the reel of Mike Jittlov shorts. His replacement was due to show up soon.
While he had seen the shorts 50 times before, Jackie was on her third or fourth viewing, so when the next projectionist came, they sat in the back. As his arm circled her this time, he realized that she had gone to her room after all, because the lacework bra was gone, nor had she put another one on. Not that he did anything much, just rested the side of his hand against some nice yielding breast flesh, and felt her hand hold him there.
They went to a party or two, and soon Jackie darted across the room to talk to Judy Goldberg. Not long after, her husband Mike asked how he was getting along with Irene, the woman he had been dating for a while. He answered, quite truthfully, that he had not seen her for four months, that the last time she got mad at him it may have stuck. He shrugged and said, "That is the way it often goes. I noticed that you had not brought her to parties lately."
When Jackie came back, he and she wandered to another party, but on the way she stopped and turned to him at the end of a hallway, near the door to the stairs, and they spent a minute pressed together and kissing. And he urged her to more like that in the next few minutes.
At that next party, she looked at him with her liquid brown eyes, and as he brushed his fingers on her little curls, she said to him, "I think I know how I want this evening to end.
"I want to spend the night with you," she said to him, there in the middle of the party.
He looked at the chocolate-colored face she turned up to him, at the broad smile on it, into the big brown eyes behind her over-sized glasses, and let himself picture for an instant those tight curls of hair pressed down on a pillow as his body lay over hers,
"I would honestly have to say, Jackie, that I would not have imagined hearing you say that. I don't know quite what to say to you. I hope you are not offended if I say that I have never thoughr about you that way -- or anyway not for more than a second or so.
"I suppose that you may just be more -- well, decisive -- about such things than I. Or that you know me better than I do you."
Her curls bobbed. "Yes, I think I do know you better than you do me. You have paid no more attention to me than to a half-dozen other women in the club -- you are polite and kind to all of us, and attentive to all the single women, but not to any in particular. You are just friendly and nice. That made me pay attention to you, because that it less common than I would like.
"I do know about you, because I have asked. I have asked the people who have known you for years, and I know about the women you have been involved with --"
"Well, there are one or two you probably don't know about..."
"Were they very different? I doubt it. You have treated all of them well, as far as I can find. Except for -- two whom you wanted to have nothing to do with, and that speaks well of you, since they were sluts.
"I want a man who would be good to me, and I decided to get hold of one. If things go no further than tonight, it will be a very good night, I am sure. I have not gotten any reports on how you are in bed," she smiled again, "but I am willing to take my chances there, with a strong slim body like yours. But George, you haven't said yes or no..."
"Ouch. In all honesty, Jackie, I am hesitant. I probably am taking things too seriously, but... I am not sure if, with the way the world still is, an interracial marriage is not a lot to ask a woman to go through. I am stubborn enough for it, but are you?"
"My dear George Evans, I was propositioning you, not proposing!"
"Yes, but I have a lot of trouble being casual about such things, and want to worry in advance."
"Yes. You are definitely taking things too seriously."
"Well... God, I can't possibly look at you and say no.
"But I would have to warn you that me may not be able to do very much in any case. I had expected to sleep alone at this convention, so I did not bring any contraceptives."
"Probably another point in your favor, that you were not on the prowl for a woman. That is not a problem - I am on the pill and from your reputation you would know about any diseases. We can act natural!"
They stayed and talked a while, but every time that he was far enough away from her to see her body in that pale blue dress, he got an erection, and she kept catching him looking at her and grinning. Every time he was close enough to see her face he wanted her, and Jackie kept looking at his erection.
After a while, she put her fingers to his lips, then tugged on his hand. She led him to the elevator and said, "Wait here."
And he did. When she came back out from a car, she had a shoulder bag with her. They walked around the corner, holding hands, and down three floors to his room.
When the door closed behind them, she dropped her bag and he took Jackie into his arms and kissed her, lightly at first, but her tongue soon crept into his mouth and his big hands moved up from her small waist to circle around her ribcage and touch at her spine while his thumbs went under her bra and lifted her breasts a bit. His hands rested on her back where it was bare and pulled her to him, then gradually went up to touch and gently raise her breasts, then undo the knot that held her bodice closed.
Without the support of the costume bra, her breasts might not be quite so startling, but she did not need support there, and they were much more interesting with nothing at all covering them. Beautiful, in fact, with smooth brown flawless skin and black nipples raised for him.
Her brown eyes grew wide at the passion that his tongue showed and he broke away to take her glasses off and set them on a dresser, then stared at her face before kissing her deeply once again.
The next time he raised his head, she lowered her hand to hold it around the erection that had been pressing against her. "Yes," she hissed, "that is easily as big as it looked!"
"This has been a long day," he said to her. "Even without - our emotional state recently. I think it would be a good idea to cool off by taking a shower together."