by Jack Swenson
All the attractive women in the building had secrets. He wanted to know their secrets, but they wouldn't say.
The Crier lived next door. Everybody called her The Crier because from time to time they would hear her crying. The sound carried. Once he knocked on her door and asked her if she was all right. "I'm fine," she said and closed the door in his face.
He had a brief fling with a nurse who lived in an upstairs apartment in another wing. Her secret was that she had very small breasts. Black hairs grew out of one her nipples.
A very pretty girl with long dark hair lived down the hall from him. One day he helped her hang a picture in her apartment. He took her to a basketball game. She seemed to like basketball players, especially if they were black. He wasn't black, and he didn't play basketball, and when she kissed him goodnight, she did not put a lot of zing into it.
For a time he dated a redheaded girl named Annie. She wasn't very pretty, but she was nice. It surprised him that her pubic hair was blonde, not red. He thought for a time that that might be her secret, but it wasn't.
The girl with one boob was a home-wrecker. He spent one night with her. By coincidence, he also knew the woman whose husband left her for the woman with one boob, but she wouldn't go to bed with him, so he never did find out how many boobs she had.
The ballroom dancers lived on the other side of the quad. They may or may not have been married. The girl was pretty and graceful but coarse. She referred to her partner as "him"; she did not seem to think highly of the poor fellow. He was a little guy with red hair and a red face. Maybe her secret was that she was going to leave him.
The one he liked best was a middle aged woman who didn't wear underwear. He got to know her a little because he would see her in the laundry room when he was washing and drying his clothes. He talked her into coming back to his apartment with him one night, but after a few kisses she panicked and left. She called him later and apologized. Her husband drove a truck. She was afraid that he would come back from a trip and raise hell if she weren't home. She didn't say what would happen if that occurred, but he had a pretty good idea.
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Snapshots from the album of a wide-eyed Midwest boy let loose in wild & wicked California.