THE DEFLECTED STONE. 11-15-10
Jenny Waters was sun-bathing one afternoon, in the garden of the New Jersey country-house that she’d inherited, when she saw a snake, a long snake, slithering past her lounge chair. She didn’t, couldn’t do anything, foolish or otherwise and so she kept still and watched in horror as it disappeared into the grass that was about six to eight inches high.
And then she screamed.
From that day on she insisted that the grass be cut, and cut short, every week without fail or else she’d spend her weekends at home in Brooklyn.
Her husband, Marvin, was a non-demonstrative man who liked peace in his life so to get it, and keep it, from then on he dutifully followed his self-powered lawn mower around both the front and back lawns after breakfast every Sunday.
He would have much preferred to go to church but hadn’t been able to do so even before the chore of cutting the grass regularly came up because not only was it was a one hour drive away but, also, his wife was an agnostic and it would have meant leaving her alone for around four hours and he knew that he couldn’t ask her to put up with that.
The two lawns took up close to an acre of their ten acre estate and so the job took three hours and although it wasn’t hard work diligence was required at all times because the ground was by no means level.
The Waters, who had no children, arrived there from the city on Friday evenings and usually spent Saturday golfing, or boating or playing tennis, and then they dined out somewhere and because of all that activity they tried to do very little of anything on Sundays. That had held good until the snake showed up.
Marvin was recovering in his hammock one Sunday morning – admiring his shorn lawn but lamenting the time and effort that it had taken to get it like that – and he was lying there, waiting to be called to lunch, when suddenly he came up with an idea that, if he could pull it off, would kill three – not just two – three birds with one stone.
It revolved around his friend, Jim Fowles. Jim worked for the same company that Marvin did, it was situated in Queens, and they’d both gone to the same high school and had become firm friends. Jim worked on the shop floor whereas Marvin worked in the company’s accounts office and they usually stopped in a local bar after work on Fridays for a couple of beers.
The only fly in the ointment – although the cleverness of Marvin’s plan covered it quite well – was that Jim had been divorced several times and he had a shaky reputation as far as the ladies were concerned and Marvin was loathe to introduce that kind of potential trouble into his life.
Jim liked the country and had often hinted that he’d love to get an invitation to visit them one weekend and do some fishing and play tennis, etc. but Marvin had, cautiously, never taken the hint. However, that was before he’d come up with his problem-solving master plan that would obviate any hanky-panky before it could even get started.
At work the next Monday morning he sought out Jim and after a bit of, “How about them Mets?” he casually mentioned how pleasant his weekend had been and that on the next Saturday they intended to try a promising new place for fishing.
He then, astutely, let Jim be the one to bring the subject up again and the following day, in the cafeteria, sure enough, he again angled for an invitation.
Marvin said that he’d be very welcome but there was a snag. He told him the story about Jenny’s snake and of the evident need to cut the grass every Sunday and he was pleased to find that he didn’t have to use any subtlety, or coercion, because Jim immediately offered to take care of the chore as a way of paying them back for their hospitality.
He also offered to take them to dinner on Saturday night so that he wouldn’t feel that he was sponging off them and, at the same time, doing so meant that he wouldn’t have to shop for food and gifts, etc. to bring with him because shopping and such was not exactly his forte.
The details as to directions and time of arrival – he’d insisted on coming down on the Saturday morning to limit his intrusion – were dealt with and so it was all set-up for that weekend.
The stone had then been launched and the three birds that would be taken care of by it were:
First – Marvin could go to Church on Sunday mornings.
Second – Jim would be cutting the grass and wouldn’t have time to try anything with Jenny.
Third – Seeing that Jim was cutting the grass Marvin wouldn’t have to!
On Jim’s first visit they spent an idyllic Saturday together and even the fish cooperated nicely by taking their bait at a seemly pace.
Sunday morning came around and Marvin showed Jim the where’s and how’s of the lawn-mower and pointed out the lawns’ tricky topography then he happily left him to it and drove off to Church.
Jim and Jenny had felt the tingling and excitement of physical attraction the day before in the boat. They hadn’t known at once if it was mutual or not but the first – ever so carefully handled – inquiring glance elevated the possibility and the second one, even more closely guarded, confirmed it and, consequently, the sexual tension in their small boat shot up so high that Jim had to go aft and turn his back to them while he was stripping down to his swimming costume, post haste, and then he jumped over the side to separate the poles and thus dampen the attraction.
They’d both thought about little else all through Saturday evening and night and they were fairly sure that something good was going to happen the next morning when they’d been left alone together.
Jenny told herself to hold back and let him make the first move, which came when he took a break after two strenuous hours of mowing.
He found her in the kitchen, starting lunch, and he asked for a cool drink. She gave him some lemonade and got on with slicing open some bread rolls but her re-aroused needs made her nervous and she dropped one on the floor. She cussed, demurely, and then picked it up and, wanting to throw it outside for the birds, she moved closer to him because he was standing near the open window.
The roll landed in one of the piles of grass that Jim had dumped and the build up in tension through her proximity affected his savoir-faire and so he said something silly about their having a roll in the hay and their eyes locked and, by rote and with an intense volition that came from they knew not where, they closed and kissed and hugged and held and marveled at the strength of their needs.
However, marveling at it was all that they could do, as they both knew all too well because that infernal grass had to be cut and it wouldn’t cut itself, so, after 5 minutes or so of holding each other up, sanity returned and they tore apart and he left her, albeit walking rather stiffly, to get on with the mowing.
The incident confirmed what they already knew. What they’d found in each other the day before had enormous potential for giving them a huge amount of pleasure and was thus far too good to be allowed to go to waste.
Ten minutes later, when she could trust her legs to hold her up properly, she filled the glass of lemonade that he’d left behind and took it to him and then walked alongside him and the mower for a while. They could both see the amount of grass that still needed cutting and so they knew that it meant that they’d have no time for themselves when it was done and, because her presence wasn’t exactly aiding him in concentrating on the job, they agreed to drop it for a while and try to think of a solution before the next weekend. She reluctantly left him and went back to making lunch.
Marvin returned to find Jim recovering in the hammock and Jenny working in the kitchen.
“Capital plan, even if I say so myself,” he told himself in glee. “What could possibly be more satisfactory all around?”
He made them all dry Martinis and he thought that his tasted better than any that he’d ever drunk before.
On Monday morning, back at work, when Jim saw Marvin arrive and go into the main office he went outside to a public phone and called Jenny at home.
After several minutes of trying to top each other as to which of them had the biggest need for the other they cut to the quick and began to list the ideas that they’d come up with. Her first one was that they should find a way to cut the grass more quickly and it was immediately seen, by him, to be the right way to go because it best covered the number one essential factor – not getting caught – and so, even though it was only the base of a plan, he dropped his own ideas – one of which was to hire a local to cut the grass while they stayed in the bedroom – as being far too risky.
After going through the regulatory number of, “Love you, babe,” and, “Can’t wait, honey,” he went off to think up a way to flesh out her plan so as to free up enough time on Sunday mornings to be able to change a boring, nasty, sweaty chore into going to heaven-on-earth, which, he fervently hoped, is a fore taste, for all of us, of what heaven-up-in-the-clouds will be like, only much more prolonged, and his rational for that is – why ever not seeing that it can as easily be engendered by an all-powerful-one as any other state for us to take up for eternity?
After lunch that same day he was the happy owner of a fast, wide-reach, riding tractor/grass-cutter with a retention bin, that would be delivered to an address to be stated later but before Friday of that very week.
He consulted with Jenny and then he took the afternoon off and drove to the town that she’d named that was near her weekend place – not, of course, the town where Marvin’s church was located – and made arrangements with a local entrepreneur, who had his own small landscaping company, to accept delivery of the tractor and its trailer and to bring it to the house at 9 o’clock on Sunday morning and to leave with it again at, say, 10.15. Jim told him that if it all worked out well the first time they could make a permanent arrangement and, as payment for his services, he could use the tractor whenever and wherever he wanted for the rest of the week.
Everything did work out well.
The next Sunday Marvin left for Church at 8.30 and the tractor arrived at 9.00 and Jim used it to cut nearly all of the grass in less than 1 hour, with Jenny enthusiastically urging him on every time that he came within shouting range of the kitchen window.
The tractor was taken away at 10.15 and that left the two of them nearly one and a half hours – they’d agreed on a half hour security cushion – to enjoy as they wished.
They never made it to the comfort of a bed that first time.
As soon as the sound of the pick-up truck that was towing the tractor, on its trailer, had faded safely away they made a mad rush for the front door and even before it had had time to slam shut behind them they were at each other.
The success of their scheme, and the previous week’s anticipation, had brought them to a high pitch and so they tore their clothes off between kisses and gropes as they made their way in the general direction of the couch in the living room which presented the nearest upholstered horizontal surface.
He flooded her in the same second that he got to be all the way inside her – partially because he’d been excited for days and partially because the bumpy tractor seat had been priming him for most of the last hour – but it caused only a few moments of dismay because of the vast amount of need they had to explore each other’s body and they did a whole lot of that until the offending member was recalled to its duty.
After the second go-around they got some time to use their mouths for talking and Jim made a passing comment about, “All of this wonder coming to us from my silly bit of word play about a ‘roll in the hay.’ ” When she heard him say it Jenny giggled and then first suggested and then insisted flat out that they go and try it right then.
They picked out a pile of grass that was behind the house and they scuttled over and into it, giggling like children and holding their jiggling parts.
It was delightful. The tiny particles pricked them all over even though the general mass was as soft as a mattress.
The novelty of it aroused him again at once and they made love rolling around, sometimes with one of them down deep in it, buried from sight, and the other one riding high and free, and sometimes with both of them completely covered and hidden although they knew exactly where the other one was at all times. To the last inch.
Nature demands respite and she has ways of getting her demands met and so they both, at last, lay spent and exhausted. Jenny recovered first and she played at burying him as if they were on a sandy beach. When she’d covered him completely she, on a whim, reached in to find his penis and she arranged it so that it alone could be seen lolling there. She told him that that was one snake in the grass that she didn’t mind having around the place.
Because of their extraordinary circumstances, seeing his member like that – disembodied, as you might say – made her react to the vibes that were coming at her and she found that she wanted to close with it and so she changed her position so that she could sit and smooth off the grass particles before, uh, paying homage to it and when it was clean she gasped at what was revealed. It’s head was covered with a foreskin and instead of being ugly – as they all are, let’s face it, when their heads are exposed through circumcision or when they’re rampant and resemble nothing less than a formidable weapon – his was close to being cute!
Her husband’s parents had emigrated from Poland when they were still teenagers. Their family surname had been ‘Wasserman’ but, after suffering losses in the war that were too painful to even think about, neither of them wanted anything more to do with a God that had ‘chosen’ them to be exterminated so they’d changed it to ‘Waters’ and vowed to stay away from synagogues and Jewish customs altogether and for ever.
Nevertheless, for a reason that she couldn’t explain, Marvin’s mother had insisted on holding a bris for him when he was born in nineteen-sixty-two and she called on a Rabbi to be the moyle. (Marvin’s father was proud of himself when he’d proved that his English had become fluent by observing that seeing that he lived in Brooklyn too, if the Rabbi had been a girl she would be a goyl moyle.) The Rabbi knew that her request was outrageous but he’d seen so many similar anomalies in trying times that he agreed to do it for them after squaring his conscience by getting a promise from Marvin’s father that he’d send the child to schule when he got to be old enough.
Neither of Marvin’s parents made the slightest effort to persuade him to go to any place other than public schools and he happily worked his way right through the system and ended up getting an MBA in a State University.
Years later, a guy who had happened to be using the next urinal to Marvin glanced over and saw that his member had been shorn of its foreskin and, when Marvin was back at his desk, he went over to him and told him about the ‘Jews For Jesus’ movement and he invited him to visit the local chapter. Marvin liked what he was told about the sect, and was intrigued with what he observed at their service the next Sunday, and so he became a dues-paying member and an avid church attendee.
Because Marvin was the only man that she’d ever been with Jenny had never before seen an adult’s penis that hadn’t been snipped and so she was fascinated with Jim’s as it was lying there imitating a snake and looking like a pork sausage complete with a ‘purse tie’ at its end. When neither it, nor its owner, responded to her touches she became emboldened enough to try easing the skin back and was delighted with how effortlessly she could do so. She enjoyed playing with it and was peculiarly proud of herself for having the power to transform it from toy to weapon at will but it came at a high price – from then on she couldn’t bring herself to buy pork sausages again, ever, and so she and Marvin had to be content with ones made with beef or veal.
Jim’s wrist watch alarm went off before she’d been able to get properly acquainted so she gave it a goodbye-for-now kiss and then they brushed each other down, an experience that they both remembered with delight well into the next week, and then he rigged a hose to wash off most of the grass cuttings that were clinging to her body and then she went inside to wash her hair and take a shower and then get on with preparing lunch. He used the hose on himself and then he got dressed and started up Marvin’s conventional lawn mower and he used it to cut the swathe of grass that he’d deviously left uncut so that the machine would get hot and the grass sludge that accumulated at the discharging end would tell the world that it had been used.
When Marvin came home he knew, of course, that his stone had already killed one of the birds – that is that he’d been able to go to church – and he was given immediate proof that another one of them had met the same fate – all of the grass was cut – and, although there was no proof positive, it stood to reason that the third bird had fallen too and therefore he couldn’t have been fitted with a set of horns.
However he wasn’t completely happy with his Martini even though he’d used exactly the same proportions of exactly the same ingredients that he’d used with outstanding success the week before.
The weather stayed fine all through the season and Jim came visiting every single weekend without fail and, an hour or so after lunch on Sundays, he never left without a grin on his face that stretched from here to here.
The owners always shut down the house at the end of October, for the winter, and Jim and Jenny agreed to stay away from each other until the next spring, to be safe. However, when spring did arrive their delightful arrangement began again, where it had left off, to everyone’s obvious pleasure, although one third of it was somewhat tarnished.
As is typical in such affairs, Jim’s ardor started cooling off in July and in August he called to say that that he couldn’t make it on two and then, in September, on three of the four weekends that made up those months.
He made a careful point of calling the guy who was storing his tractor to tell him to not take it to the house on the Sundays that he wasn’t going to be there and, in September to be doubly sure, Jenny, despairingly but super carefully, called the same man and told him that in future he should only bring it around if she told him to do so directly.
Jim didn’t visit them at all in October and both Marvin and Jenny were most put out.
Marvin saw Jim at work every day but, to avoid possible acrimony in their friendly get-togethers in the local bar, it wasn’t until the spring of the following year that he brought up the subject of weekend visits to the country again and he was dismayed to find that every time that he did so he got an evasive answer so, one Tuesday evening in May, after having been forced to cut his own grass four Sundays in a row, he suggested to Jenny that they call Jim at his apartment that very minute so that she could talk to him and try to persuade him to come visiting again.
Jenny hadn’t dared to contact him on her own but she still longed to be with him and so she told her husband that she thought that it was a good idea and she tried to appear calm as she said so.
Marvin and Jim talked baseball, and whatever, for a while and then Marvin said, “Just a minute Jim, Jenny wants to have a word,” and he handed the phone to her.
She knew that she had to stay away from the phrase, ‘roll in the hay’, because Marvin was listening, but she was determined to find a way to bring up, ‘snake in the grass.’
Succeeding at her task had become ultra important for her because she knew that if she did so she would be able to kill three – not just two – three birds with one stone:
First, – Two hours of savage, fundamentally satisfying bliss on Sunday morning.
Second, – Around seven days of feeling young again, and wanted, and attractive.
Third, – Several months of contentment knowing that she was again a player in the main stream of life.