Lev and Lauren


"Some of the others have agreed to auction themselves for the fund raiser," Miriam said.

"Has it come to that, Miriam? We are going to prostitute ourselves to raise money for the hospital?" Lauren gave in to her sarcastic streak.

"No, of course not. Lauren, don't be silly. Humph! The auction winners get to take the ladies they win out to dinner and that's that. It will be fun; lots of laughs. Give some of these old codgers a thrill. I hope you'll agree to participate Lauren. I know there are lots of men who'd like to be your date."

"That's just ridiculous. Besides ho wants to buy a dinner date with a 67 year-old broad? They'll go running in the opposite direction. I'm the ice-queen. I know, I know what they call me, these miserable old codgers.

Miriam insisted that Lauren "think about it." She pestered her about the auction until finally, against her better judgment, Lauren agreed.

Wednesday before the auction the SUV appeared and swept away after picking up Reznik. Lauren was relieved. She hoped that he would be gone beyond Saturday, the day of the auction. Why, she thought, do I assume that he would bid for a dinner date with me anyway? She tried to push the notion out of her head; realizing that she was projecting and making an assumption. It struck her that she was subconsciously hoping he would bid. Yes, he would bid and someone would meet his bid and top it until ultimately he quit. It would be good to see this Lev Reznik humiliated as he tried to get a date with her. But more fundamentally she told herself she would be most relieved if he simply did not appear. She would, wouldn't she?

The night of the auction arrived and Lauren thankfully saw no sign of Reznik. When she left for the Community Center his townhouse looked dark. She assumed he was still away; wherever away was.

Auction of the dates with the five women who had agreed to participate were held until the end of the program as a teaser and the highlight of the evening. Thus far 14 men had bid of the 32 who lived in the community. Some of them were married but had wives with Alzheimer's or who had no objection for one reason or another. The others were single, mostly widowers. A few carried oxygen bottles around with them . One afflicted old gent had a urine collection bag strapped to his leg. A catheter disappeared up the leg of his Bermudas. Another 143 residents of the community were single women, all but a few with spouses divorced or dead, or in nursing homes with Alzheimer's or some other miserable gift of M. Nature, and rounded out with a sprinkling of "never marrieds" of indeterminate sexuality.

"OK you alter kakers we come now to our last lady, the lovely Lauren Hoffman." As had the ladies before her, Lauren self consciously stepped forward. There was applause and a wolf whistle and someone, probably Jablonski, said, "Hah! The 'ice queen'!" Lauren smiled although she felt like screaming, thinking to herself why did I do this? I must be crazy letting Miriam talk me into this. But more grim smiling.

"Who will start the bidding at $25.00 to enjoy Lauren's company for dinner," Mordecai Levitz cried out. Mordecai was always the emcee at these community events. "Do I hear twenty-five dollars?"

"I bid twenty-five CENTS for the ice queen," shouted Sam Jablonski, who had first called her that. "Not a penny more!"

"Sam you old zhlub, behave yourself," Mordecai said. "If you gave twenty-five cents the Wailing Wall would collapse. Tokhis oyfn tish," Mordecai muttered. Sam annoyed him for taking some of the excitement out of the moment.

A commanding voice spoke loudly and with rich timbre from the back of the large assembly room.

"One thousand dollars." There was a collective gasp as everyone turned to see who bid.

Mordecai squinted and tried to see. "Ay yay yay!" he exclaimed. "Did I hear one thousand? Dollars then you mean?"

A path cleared and Lev Reznik stepped forward. "Yes, one thousand dollars. Hardly enough for the company of this sheyner froy."

Lauren heard and saw but it took several moments for the full realization of what had just happened to burst in her mind. He had appeared out of nowhere and made an outrageous bid. She was stunned, angry, excited and rather unnerved. The most bid for Alice Cohen, still very pretty and nicely shaped at 71 years, had been $375.00.

"I have one thousand dollars bid. One thousand," Mordecai shouted. The audience burst into applause. "Any advance on one thousand? Are you all done? Going once at one thousand! Going twice! Sold! One thousand dollars for a dinner date with the sheyn Lauren Hoffman. The winning bidder is Lev Reznik. " More applause and suddenly everybody was talking at once.

Lev made his way to Lauren. She dreaded what he might say but he surprised her completely.

"Mrs. Hoffman, you don't need to go to dinner with me. I was going to give the hospital fund a thousand dollars anyway. I couldn't resist bidding, particularly after that fellow made that remark about you."

Lauren collected herself. "Why would you think I would want to evade keeping my part of the bargain in this silly auction? We shall go to dinner. Make arrangements and call me. We will go and make the best of it." Distasteful as it is she thought to herself. Was he insulting her again telling her that he was going to give the money to the hospital fund drive anyway? So he wouldn't have paid a thousand dollars for her company otherwise?

Reznik said, "Then it will be a privilege. Do you have any preferences?" He continued to look at her with that damned hint of smile.

"I really don't care; just go ahead with what you like. Goodnight," Lauren said and she walked away. Reznik watched the swing of her hips as she strode out of the assembly room. He enjoyed the view of her tokhis . Sheyn gefukremt he thought. Her scent was still in the air where he stood; perfume, yes; but something musky, more urgent and stimulating under the sweet smelling mask. Her ass and her smell made his thick shmekele stir and twitch.

He was out of town, home for two days, gone again for a week, home for three days, then gone again but for just two days. The day after he returned she found a message on her answering machine. He had made arrangements. Did she still wish to go to dinner with him? Would Saturday at seven be okay? She phoned him and confirmed.

Lauren determined to dress in a way that would prompt no mistaken presumption that anything further awaited at the end of the evening. She chose a navy blue button through dress with a flared skirt that reached mid calf, loose fitting short sleeves and a scooped neckline; well it did show some cleavage didn't it? And button through up the middle front was a dress that could be buttoned or unbuttoned to reveal as much or as little leg and thigh as a woman might decide as the evening progressed. In fact button through meant that the dress could be opened completely if circumstances developed wherein one wished to allow another more intimate access. With it she wore a white sleeved wrap that offered lots of flexibility in concealing or revealing arms and cleavage. Although she had set out to discourage false hopes, her libido quickened despite herself. Refusing to admit it, she allowed herself to succumb somewhat to her libido's whisper in her mind's ear, "Have some fun. Make him squirm. He deserves it."

So she debated and rejected panty hose in favor of stockings, with matching garter belt and matronly but sheer, black lace panties. A matching bra completed the lingerie ensemble. She did like to feel sexy. Anyway it was well short of a "fuck me" outfit but one that, if she permitted, would facilitate and heighten pleasure to be had by both her and an enthusiastic groper if allowed to explore the bonanza of flesh beneath an unbuttoned dress. Of course she did not want him, could not imagine wanting him, to do anything of that sort. Such a hairy troll. Ugh! No, she would be civilized but it would be dinner and goodnight. Her libidinous self would have to be content with a towel so as not to soil the bed sheets should her pussy secrete copiously, as it still sometimes would, and a dildo of choice from among several favorites. She liked to pleasure her vagina with a dildo while massaging her vulva and the clitoral tissue crowned with that nubbin of miniature cock flesh. So good. She could make repeated crests of gratification race through her body from the epicenter between her soft and warm thighs.

He was there promptly at 7 p.m., dressed in soft khaki slacks, dark blue blazer and a pullover Murano dress tee. He had shaved his heavy beard free of five o'clock shadow, at least as free as he could without taking off the outer layer of skin on his cheeks . His cologne smelled good.

When he addressed her as "Mrs. Hoffman," she told him, "Oh, enough with the 'Mrs. Hoffman' would you mind! I'm not anybody's grandma. "

He did not say where they were going and he did not tell her. She noted that they were in the city and in a part of it she had not previously and would not otherwise have entered. The restaurant turned out to be a small one in an older storefront . It was run by a family of Ethiopian Jews. She had heard of these people but never encountered them. It was obvious from the warm greeting that Reznik was well known to the family.

A little girl, perhaps four or five, approached Lauren with a lovely bouquet of flowers. The gesture completely disarming her. She flushed when the child said candidly, "You must be the beautiful neighbor, Uncle Lev told my mother and father about."

Momma , Abaynesh, was a tall and strikingly regal woman with aquiline Ethiopian features. She hugged Lauren warmly while welcoming her and escorting them to a table. All the other tables, perhaps 10 altogether in the small restaurant, were occupied.

Papa, Kabede, also tall and sinewy looking, poured wine for them and toasted "Mazel tov!" before they sat. "Now enjoy. No menus. We will serve you what we have. Ethiopian. You don't know it madam. Now you are having an adventure. You will enjoy, I know this."

She did. It seemed exotic because it was exotic. There was injera, of course, the Ethiopian flat round bread, and on it three kinds of wat or stew. They ate without utensils which Lauren found off-putting at first. But they all insisted with good humor that she forgo a fork or knife. After a bit she gave herself over to enjoying the food and the atmosphere, and the family, even Reznik, and she ate enthusiastically using pieces of inerja to scoop up the wat. More wine; their glasses always topped off. A second bottle. Israeli wine Lauren noted. The little girl, Chekolech, was shooed away from the table but returned repeatedly to smile shyly at Lauren, who was captivated. Finally desert and a strong coffee and a liquor of some sort. Lauren was glowing with drink and flushed at all the attention heaped on her by the family. She could not remember what she and Lev had talked about but she knew that without realizing as it happened, Reznik had skillfully drawn her out and she had chatted away while he listened. He is quite a clever troll she thought smiling to herself. Am I being cleverly seduced? She excused herself and in the ladies' impulsively unbuttoned the skirt of her dress to above her knees. She returned to the table carrying her wrap. Both Abaynesh and Kabede hugged her warmly when they were ready to depart and the little daughter hugged Lauren around her legs.

When they left the restaurant he asked her to wait while he retrieved the Corvette and brought it to the door. But she demurred. "Nonsense," she said. "Why shouldn't I walk to the garage with you just as I did when we arrived?"

"After dark this neighborhood is sometimes risky ."

"If the food had not been so delicious and the family so wonderful and friendly," Lauren said, "I would have concluded you brought me here to insult me. So now you're trying to frighten me instead?"

"That never entered my mind," he said looking at her or what he could see of her face in the dim light that filtered out of the shaded restaurant window. "This is one of my favorite restaurants; a jewel in the rough. I wanted to please you. I hoped it would be a new experience."

It had been and, although she resisted telling him, he food was delicious. The bouquet from Reznik presented on their arrival by the little girl had thoroughly charmed her. She had enjoyed the flattering attention of the restaurateur, his wife and their children; all of them worked in the family business. It had been to this point a very enjoyable evening.

They walked together, neither spoke. Ahead, still some distance away two figures appeared on the sidewalk and began walking towards them. Lev knew immediately they were trouble. How ironic he thought.

Reznik touched her arm lightly. "Keep walking Lauren. Look at me. Talk. Say anything. Laugh. Hold my arm. These two approaching us are going to try to mug us. They will not succeed but you must be steadfast and do as I say. We will be okay then. Do you understand?"

Lauren felt a shiver of fear go up her spine. Oh no, she thought. Why didn't I listen to him instead of insisting on walking to the car with him.

"Lauren, did you hear me?"

"Yes," she said. "How do you know?"

"I know," he said.

The distance between Lauren and Lev and the two approaching figures closed rapidly. Lauren could see that they both wore hooded sweat shirts and the hoods were up. They had their hands in their pockets. Hooded sweats in this warmth and humidity?

Lev said quietly, "Fall back just a step so that you're slightly behind my right shoulder."

The hooded muggers, it was clear in a flash that is what they were, drew to within a couple of steps and blocked Lauren and Lev's further advance. What took place next happened so quickly that Lauren could not follow it.

First mugger whipped out a large automatic pistol and simultaneously yelled, "Give it up mothafu...OWWWW, AHHHG!" He was down and his arm was oddly crooked. He screamed when Lev stepped on the crooked part. The pistol was now somehow in Lev's hand, pointed between the eyes of the other would be mugger. But this second mugger also was fast and as his partner went down he grabbed Lauren from behind and held her tightly in his arms with a stiletto knife pricking her throat.

Lauren felt the prick of the knife where he held it against the delicate skin. His rancid body odor made her gorge rise and she fought not to gag. Spittle flew on the side of her face as he shouted, "I'll stick the bitch, fucker. I'll stick her. I'll fuckin' stick her. Fuck. Fuck you. I'll fuckin' do it dude."

She could feel him trembling against her and knew that he was wildly frightened, as much or more than she was herself. How quickly what should have been an easy mugging of two old fuckers had gone awry. What the fuck had this old shit done? On the ground the gun wielder continued to writhe and scream.

Lev's face was composed and calm. His voice was calm as well and he spoke to the one who held Lauren. He spoke with deadly resolution in direct and explicit language. "Shut up now and listen to me. You do not need to die tonight. Do you understand me? You do not need to die. Listen carefully. Don't move in any way to hurt the woman because I will kill you instantly. I am going to count to five. If you are still holding that knife and holding the woman when I say five I am going to shoot you between the eyes. You will die instantly before you can move your knife to harm the lady. Your brains will blow out the back of your head. Your body will be dead before you collapse."

"You fuck! Fuck you! I'll so fuckin' cut her!" He shrieked. The mugger was in a panic. He could not understand why his partner was on the ground with his arm, like totally fucked up and the old fucker had the gun. It was wrong, just goddamned wrong! He was so preoccupied he did not hear Reznik say "One."

But he did hear "Two". His darting eyes swept across Reznik's face and snapped back to the geezer's eyes. Motherfucker, the old man, his eyes held death; the mugger had seen it before. This bastard old man was a stone killer. The panic surged up and without conscious thought his grip relaxed and the knife clattered to the ground. In the same instant he bolted down the street and in a flash was in an alley and gone.

Lauren could not stop shaking and was actually too frightened to cry. She tried to absorb what had just happened in the last and longest 30 seconds of her life. She clutched herself and watched as Reznik operated the slide on the semi-automatic pistol and a round flew into the air then fell to the ground. He took the magazine out of the weapon and thumbed the rounds into his other hand. When the weapon was clear he flung the ammunition to scatter far down the street. He did something to the weapon and the slide came off and then he had the barrel in his hand. He stepped to a nearby storm drain and dropped the barrel down between the grates where it plopped into standing water. He flung the slide in one direction and the grip and frame in another.

The formerly armed mugger rolled around groaning and crying and holding his arm. He rolled off the sidewalk into the gutter.

Reznik leaned close to the man's ear. He said, "My name is Lev Reznik. Lev Reznik. Remember that name. If I see you again here or anywhere you are a dead man. You don't know how close you came to dying tonight. You would have died if not for this lady being present. I want you to tell her now, 'Thank you for saving my life. Mr. Reznik would have killed me if you had not been with him.' Repeat that back."

"Fuck you! Motherfucker! I need a fuckin' doctor; you fucked up my arm."

"You're not listening to me, asshole. Tell the lady what I told you to say. Let me help you." Reznik stepped on the broken arm. The mugger shrieked. He told Lauren as he had been instructed. Reznik took her by the arm and guided her away. They continued to the garage where Reznik used a pass card to open the locked door and gate.

Lauren thought this must be a dream. I am going to wake up and none of this will have happened.

"Reznik, I thought you were a thug the first time I saw you when you moved in." Her voice was shaky. Now I see you really; and truly are. We could have been killed. Why didn't you just give him the money like he wanted?" Now she began to weep.

He got her into the passenger seat of the Corvette then leaned in and fastened her seatbelt across her lap. She had unbuttoned several buttons up from the hem of the skirt earlier and it hitched up as she sat. Now as she slumped in the bucket seat she was distracted and her knees opened wide. He could see her lovely thighs almost to the bare flesh at the tops of nylons. His lusty gaze at her thighs was not lost on her and a warm flush rose so that blotches of red spotted her chest. But she did not close her knees. She wondered if looking at her this way had aroused him. She sniffled and he produced tissues from somewhere. She blew her nose loudly.

As he drove he said, "Some situations are only dangerous if one does not have superior personal resources to neutralize the danger. I know these kind of people and my training just kicked in. I have handled these foolish sorts many times. Most much more dangerous than these two. I very much regret that this has frightened you so. I did ask you to wait at the restaurant while I went for the car. Well, that is not so important now. There is a flask in the glove box. Why don't you take a drink; it will help you calm down."

She found the flask and took a swallow. It was very good single malt Scotch. Her hand trembled and the adrenalin impact on her body still had her keenly apprehensive and alert. The whiskey warmed her throat and her stomach. She took another taste. Shit, she thought, my makeup must be a mess and fumbled through her purse to set about repairing the damage. .

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