The Storytellers Ch. 17byParis Waterman©
The RMS Etruria -- NY to Liverpool
The next morning while I was shaving, Dennis strolled into the bathroom, tossed the newspaper on the top of the commode and announced, "No ballgame for us today."
"What happened?' I asked, and nicked my neck with my Gillette razor.
"My source for today's tickets got himself arrested," he pointed to the headline on the front page of the Herald Tribune. "City Controller Caught With Fingers in the Till!"
I sighed and applied some toilet paper to the cut, "Easy come, easy go," I said examining the cut to see if it had stopped bleeding. It hadn't, and Dennis dug into his ditty bag and handed me a tube of styptic powder. I applied some and after a minute or so, the bleeding stopped.
"Well I can use the time to go down to the main library and do some needed research. Look at some old newspapers, and that should develop new questions to put to you about your playing days."
"All right, I have some business to take care of too. Let's agree to meet around four. We can take the girls out to dinner and screw them silly after."
"Sounds like a reasonable plan to me," I said, laughing along with Dennis.
He left the hotel room about twenty minutes later. I followed him out ten minutes after that, taking a cab to the Main Library at 5th Avenue and 42nd Street.
I trotted past the two Lions protecting the prestigious building, secure in the knowledge that it was the nation's largest public library and one of the country's most significant research centers.
On entering the building, I found myself in the Rose main Reading Room, a majestic room some 78 feet wide and 297 feet long, with 52 foot high ceilings. The room was lined with thousands of reference works along the floor level and along the balcony. It was furnished with sturdy wood tables, comfortable chairs, and brass lamps. I soon learned that the material I sought would be brought to me by library personnel from the library's closed stacks.
I would later discover that the retrieved books were sought out by young people on roller skates, whizzing down the numerous corridors of the building unseen by the typical reader like myself.
But after an hour or so of turning pages in the baseball books I had requested, I concluded that newspaper articles would be more beneficial to my particular needs. A helpful librarian directed me to the Microfilm section, which consisted mainly of The New York Times on reels of 35 millimeter microfilm.
I spooled through the Times baseball pages from 1885 to 1890 without uncovering anything important enough to include in my storyline. Bill had been very through, and although there were several areas he had omitted, I felt they didn't warrant inclusion and was about to hand the spools back to the librarian, when I remembered that Bill had retired in 1884 and maintained he hadn't used the power until 1895, eleven years later. I had strong doubts about this, and that was my reason for being at the Library. I began to think I was looking in the wrong place.
I left the library and bought two hot dogs from a street vendor and washed them down with an orange soda. I walked a block before finding an unoccupied phone booth. I fed enough quarters into the phone to satisfy the long-distance operator and was finally connected to Wesley Hancock, a former colleague at the Tribune in Chi-town.
"Shannon! You old bastard, where the hell are you?"
"No how are you, Roy?" I countered then laughed. "I'm in New York, taking in the Series, Wes."
"No shit! The Series, eh? You must have landed a job with one of the New York Dailies then. I told them you'd land on your feet."
"Not quite, Wes. I'm writing a book."
"Another author from the ranks, that it, Roy?"
"I guess. Say, Wes, you worked the travel section a while back, didn't you?"
"Ten years of bloody travel, Roy. Why, planning a trip to Europe?"
"No such luck. What I'm doing, or trying to do is figure out how people traveled, like, say a honeymoon back in the '80's."
"Not in any car, that's for sure," Wesley cackled.
"C'mon, Wes, help me out, here."
"Let's rule out horse and wagon, for a honeymoon, unless they were strapped for cash," Wes replied. "That leaves two possibilities. Do you happen to know where they honeymooned?'
"Well, how well off were they?"
"He was a baseball player... Major Leaguer."
"So he made more than the average Joe."
"I suppose so."
"My money's on a long train ride, say to one coast or the other. That would certainly be within their means."
"True enough, but I think he might have looked at trains as boring, having traveled them for years as a player."
"Then what's left to us is a steamship, say to Europe if he's from the East Coast."
"He is, Philadelphia. Born and raised. Even played some there.
"Hmmm, let me do some looking. What number can I reach you at?"
"Let me call you, Wes. When would be a good time?"
"Gimme a couple hours, say flourish?"
Fine. Wes. I call you then." I hung up and went back to the hotel. Dennis was still out, so I ventured down to the bar and listened to the game on the radio.
And what a game it turned out to be! The Yankees chose Bill Bevens, who had only won seven games during the regular season, and the unlikely hero pitched one of the most amazing 9 2/3 innings in World Series history. Although he permitted a fifth inning run (on two walks, a sacrifice and a ground ball), he entered the ninth with a no-hitter and a 2-1 lead.
The crowd at Ebbets Field was almost drowning the announcer's voice out as Edwards came to the plate to start the Dodger's off in the bottom of the ninth.
I looked around the hotel bar; it was cloudy with cigarette and cigar smoke. I had a scotch and soda tightly clenched in my hand. I mentally cursed the man who'd gotten himself arrested last night and in doing so had denied me the chance to be at the ballpark watching Bevens make baseball history.
Furillo drew a walk, and a comingled murmur of hope and despair echoed through the mahogany walled bar. Jorgenson fouled out, bringing Bevens within one out of the first no-hitter in World Series history. Shotton sent reserve outfielder Al Gionfriddo in to run for Furillo and Pete Reiser came in as a pinch-hitter for reliever Hugh Casey.
"He's gonna do it!" said a man two stools down from me.
"Who's gonna do what? Bevens gonna get the next one out, or is the Bums gonna rock him with a barrage of hits?" said the man to his right, a working man in overalls who on any other day would have been out of place in the hotel bar. But there was a construction site directly across the street and the worker's had congregated in the bar to listen to the final innings of the dramatic game.
The man two stools down waved off the worker and everyone strained to hear what happened next. Gionfriddo promptly stole second, and Reiser was walked intentionally, despite the fact he represented the potential winning run. Eddie Stanky was due up and Red Barber, the Dodger's great announcer with the flare for southern phases that revolutionized the way games were broadcast, was taking about the fact that Stanky had broken up Ewell Blackwell's attempt at a second consecutive no-hitter back in June. In the background noise during that comment, I heard the P.A. announcer saying that Miksis was running for Reiser.
Then Barber said: "Wait a minute... Stanky is being called back from the plate and Lavagetto goes up to hit... Gionfriddo walks off second... Miksis off first... They're both ready to go on anything... Two men out, last of the ninth... the pitch... swung on, there's a drive hit out toward the right field corner. Henrich is going back. He can't get it! It's off the wall for a base hit! ....Here comes the tying run... and here comes the winning run! ... Friends, they're killin' Lavagetto! His own teammates, they're beatin' him to pieces! ... and it's taking a police escort to get Lavagetto away from the Dodgers! Well, I'll be a suck-egg mule!
Everyone in the bar was stunned. The Bum's had tied the series and shaken the Yankees to their core. Or so I thought at the time.
I hung around listening to the various comments and offering several of my own for another hour, and then I headed back to my room and found Dennis waiting for me.
"Great game wasn't it?" he said for openers.
"It was. Were you there?"
"If I'd gone you would have joined me, Roy. I'm not that kind of guy. How'd it go at the library?"
"Um, I spent a couple hours working the microfiche machines. I found a couple things you didn't bother to mention. But when I thought about it, I decided they weren't really vital.
You seem to have covered the most important issues. Besides, why weigh down the story with minutia from the '80's?"
"Or the 90's, for that matter. I didn't pick up on Lajoie until 1895."
"That's true. Say, are we meeting the girl's tonight?"
"Yes, I called Lizbeth after I got back to the room. We'll pick them up around eight, if that's okey-doke with you."
"Oh, sure it is. I can't wait to poke Beatrice again."
Dennis laughed. "She certainly has a tight asshole."
"As does Lizbeth," I added, laughing along with him.
"Say Bill," I said, remembering to use his given name and thereby avoid another jolt or worse as he tried to enter my body. "When you married Florence, where did you go on your honeymoon?"
"We didn't, at least not then. I had to help run the family hotel and when Flo's Pop passed on; I spent a lot of time on his farm, helping the family out."
"But you did take her someplace, eventually, didn't you?"
"Oh, sure, we went to England and France. I think it was in '89 and 90, but I'm not sure."
"Do you happen to recall the ship you sailed on?"
"As a matter of fact, I do. It was the RMS Etruria, of the Cunard Line. She was a fairly new ship back then, built in, I believe, 1885. The Etruria had many distinguishing features, including two enormous funnels which gave the outward impression of huge power. She also had three large steel masts which, when fully rigged, had an extensive spread of canvas. Another innovation on Etruria was that she was equipped with refrigeration machinery, but it was the single screw propulsion that brought her publicity later in her career.
"The public rooms in First Class were full of ornately carved furniture, and heavy velvet curtains hung in all the rooms. There was also a Music Room, Smoke Room for gentlemen, and separate dining rooms for First and Second Class passengers. Both Florence and me thought they did a bang-up job."
There it was. I had a ship's name; Hancock could easily verify what Bill was telling me. Had anything of import happened on the voyage? Maybe Hancock could answer that too, I thought, and felt like I was getting to the heart of matters for the first time.
I excused myself and went to a row of public phones in the lobby and called Hancock. He answered on the second ring. It turned out he had nothing on a Bill or William Harbidge sailing anywhere in the 80's, but that meant little at the moment, since he had other venues to check when I provided him with the ship's name.
"Let me check the National Archives with that name and that vessel. I should come up with the arrival and departure dates. Call me tomorrow, Roy."
I told him I would and hung up. It was nearly time to pick up Lizbeth and Beatrice.
What follows I learned several days later after talking with Beatrice and Lizbeth, both together and separately. It was a notable lesson in how women react to men and what they're actually capable of on their own.
Beatrice: "I awoke at dawn as usual. I recall stretching lethargically, and wondering why I felt so achy all over. Then the memories came flooding back, and with them mortification. How could I have surrendered myself to such lustful acts? and not only with two men but also with my sister as an active participant?
Lizbeth: "Nonsense, Sis. You're not mortified at all. For God's sake, you did it with them on the train and then the next day you and I did almost everything imaginable with them."
Beatrice: "But I ache all over! My thighs, arms, back and... and behind are sore."
Lizbeth: I bet it's a good sore though. I know I'm sore too, but in a delicious, pleasurable way. I needed a good fuck. You'll come to know what I mean. A woman needs a good fucking every once in a while. Oh, I could have lain in bed all day reliving last night's moments."
She laughed happily. "I didn't get much sleep, although I feel rested. I lay there thinking about the two of them; comparing them."
Beatrice: "You compared them?"
Lizbeth: Of course I compared them! And they were both wonderful although both were different in many ways."
Beatrice: "Yes, I would say the same thing about them; wonderful, but different."
Lizbeth: "So tell me, Beatrice, did you want them to take your virginity?"
Beatrice: "Honestly? Yes. There was a time with each of them that I wanted to scream, 'Take it! Do me the honor of taking it!' but I managed to control myself, at least to that extent."
Beatrice suddenly found herself enfolded in a warm hug. And a moment later, Lizbeth was setting a brimming plate of bacon and eggs in front of the stunned, openmouthed younger sister.
Forking a huge portion of scrambled egg into her mouth, Lizbeth said, "And there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed about. We all have needs and desires, and it is stupid to have to wait until marriage to fulfill our desires. We aren't hurting anyone. Oftentimes the only carnal pleasure we will ever know is what we find before us at a given moment.
"Look at me. My man is off in Germany. I don't know if I'll ever see him again. War could erupt tomorrow, or he might meet a German slut of a whore. God knows there seem to be millions of them, all too willing to spread their legs for nothing more than a candy bar.
"And you, Beatrice, you might marry the man of your dreams and find that he's inept in the bedroom. Don't look at me that way. It happens. I know it does. Not to me, but I have several girlfriends who go dancing every Friday night looking for a man who can get it up like James and Roy did last night."
Beatrice unglued her tongue long enough to gasp out, "Lizbeth, what are you saying?"
"I'm saying let's enjoy their cocks while they're waving them under our noses."
Beatrice: "Are you suggesting that I let one of them take my virginity?"
Lizbeth: "Why not? They know what they're doing and won't muck it up like some guys do."
Beatrice: "But what about the man I marry?"
Lizbeth: "What about him? Odds are he won't know if you're a virgin anyway. Women have fooled their husbands for thousands of years in that regard."
Beatrice: "They have?"
Lizbeth: "Of course they have. You think I was a virgin on my wedding night?'
Beatrice: "No, you gave it up in the backseat of a Studebaker. You told me so."
Lizbeth: "That's right, I did. Well, it was long gone before the wedding."
Beatrice got up from the table and walked slowly toward the bathroom. "Beatrice, you seem to be walking with a bit of a limp."
Beatrice glared over her shoulder at her sister. Lizbeth cried out sympathetically, "Oh, you poor darling! Let me see it. They may have torn something. Are you bleeding back there? I have a salve that will help."
"Do you? Oh that would be wonderful! Especially if they come calling this evening."
Lizbeth giggled, "I think they might. You do want more of their love sticks don't you?'
"Love sticks... that's a new one."
"Oh, there are so many names for their... cocks and balls, Beatrice, so many...."
Beatrice began to unbutton her dress. Lizbeth quickly turned to Beatrice, "I'll be right back, darling."
By the time she returned, Beatrice had removed her clothing and draped herself face down over the back of a couch. Lizbeth knelt behind her, her hands running all over the welted skin of Beatrice s buttocks.
"Oh! Which of those dreadful men did this to you?"
"What? What it is it you see back there?"
"Why, I believe he may have drawn blood right here," Lizbeth said as her hand went in between Beatrice's legs, sliding into the wet and welcoming warmth of her pussy. Beatrice gasped in pleasure. "Yes, I feel some moisture, spread your legs further and let me see what this is."
Beatrice said nothing about Lizbeth's probing about the wrong hole and continued to play the game, spreading her legs further apart, feeling deliciously exposed in the bright sunshine that streamed in through the windows. Her eyes closed as Lizbeth's finger explored deeply into the wet lips between her legs.
Is this soothing, Beatrice?"
"Mmmm, it is... very soothing."
"Your bottom is bright red and the butt hole is still open. It's usually closed up tighter than a clam by this time."
"Well, Lizbeth, I did pass some stool this morning," she said, trying to be helpful.
"Well that may explain it, but let me try something here," Lizbeth said, and then leaned in and began to sensuously lick the red marks on Beatrice's ass, leaving a trail of wetness behind which gleamed in the sunlight. Her hand continued to stimulate Beatrice's pussy which was now very wet from her juices.
By now, Beatrice was panting and unable to speak. Moments later, she came, crying out her pleasure with a series of grunts and groans.
"Feel better now?" Lizbeth inquired with a giggle and gave one last rub to the reddened cheek in front of her.
"Oh yes!" the younger sister replied.
"I see where one of them, probably Mr. Dennis, was a little rough with you back there. If you like, I can lick it some more. Would you like that?"
"Yes... please do lick me there, Lizbeth."
Lizbeth didn't wait for the response, but was already combing through the damp curls of her sister's pubic hair with one hand while the other anchored Beatrice to the couch. She bent forward and Beatrice suddenly felt something soft and wet touch her rosebud. Lizbeth's tongue! Oh sweet Jesus, Lizbeth was licking her where she had just gone to the bathroom. Surely that could not be right.
Beatrice jerked convulsively, but was easily controlled by her older sister. "Don't move, there's a good girl," Lizbeth cooed.
"But... you can't... it's dirty there." Beatrice moaned somewhat incoherently. Despite her shock, she couldn't stop the waves of pleasure as Lizbeth's tongue intruded delicately into her sore rear passage. Indeed, all pain was miraculously gone!
Lizbeth knew enough to ignore her sister's protests and continued to tongue and lick her delightful asshole. She sucked gently, knowing from her own experience that it would cause a lovely turmoil in her intestines.
Beatrice cried out immediately, all thought of protest forgotten. Lizbeth used her hands to hold her buttocks open so as to help her tongue reach its maximum depth in Beatrice's rectum. Moments later she sent a hand, or rather its fingers into Beatrice's pussy and helped usher a shower of juices over them as Beatrice came a second time.
Lizbeth withdrew both tongue and fingers from her sister's orifices and helped her into the shower to clean up and whispered, "You can return the favor later. I'll show you how."
When Beatrice stepped out of the shower in a terrycloth robe, Lizbeth deduced that she was not ready for anything more of a sexual nature that morning, and the abrupt return to a "normal" topic was calculated to reduce what had happened into a bizarre, perhaps even imaginary event in Beatrice's mind. Thus, Lizbeth could keep her from thinking too much about what had just happened. She was right. After a dazed look at her sister, Beatrice took up a palette and brush without further comment.
The morning was spent in desultory conversation and idle painting of still life. By lunchtime, Beatrice had almost convinced herself that none of it had happened, so removed did it seem from the current behavior of her and her sister. They ate lunch together and then took a walk about the grounds. Beatrice was feeling decidedly tired and retired for a nap until two hours before the men were expected to pick them up for dinner.