TWO SHIPS


(originally published in PLAYBOY)

     Elaine told her husband Mirsky that she would like to visit her sister for the weekend. "I haven't seen her for months and she is in crisis," Elaine said.

     "Peaches is always in crisis," Mirsky replied. "But the timing is good because I've just spoken to my brother and he could use a little jolt of brotherly camaraderie himself. I'll take the weekend and go visit Shelley. I can take the train from New Haven since he's only in New York, and you'll be able to take the car to Jersey to be with Peaches."

     "No, that's OK. I'd much rather take the train myself," said Elaine. "You can take the car. I can read on the train, and I would much rather read than drive. I can always catch a cab home from the train station afterwards."

     "If I drive us into the city," Mirsky pushed, "you can take the car from there to Jersey. That way nobody has to take the train."

     "Mirsky," Elaine said, "you know how much I hate to drive in the city. I'll be OK on the train. Besides, living only ten minutes away by cab, neither one of us has to worry about the other's schedule."

     Of course Mirsky knew all this. Otherwise he wouldn't have suggested it. If he thought for a moment that Elaine would have gone along with these plans, he would have devised others.

     "So it's settled," Mirsky said as he and Elaine packed their suitcases on opposite ends of the king-sized bed. "I'll drive in to my brother's place in the city and you'll take the train to see Peaches. This will work out fine because I sense that Shelley is about to go through another of his depressions. Maybe we'll just jump in the old buggy and take off for a couple of days."

     "Why doesn't he come here to Connecticut?" Elaine asked.

     "No good." Mirsky said. "I tried that, but Shelley won't make the trip. He's in a bad way. You probably won't be able to contact us if we're out on the road." Mirsky said.

     "No problem," said Elaine, nodding and adding more to her suitcase. "Peaches is the same way. Maybe I'll try your tactic and get her out of the house, maybe to the south shore or Atlantic City. Something different. So if you call and no one is home, don't worry. We will just be out and about."

    

     Two hours later, Mirsky, in his red Volvo on Route 95 passed an Amtrak train outside Stamford southbound. Mirsky had no way of knowing that it was Elaine's train, but it didn't matter--Elaine had gotten off at Stamford and taken a cab to the Stamford Marriott where she was preregistered as the Mrs. in Mr. and Mrs. E. Lusting.

     Mirsky didn't notice the Amtrak, nor did he pay much attention to Stamford. His thoughts were occupied by Bernice Ginsberg, his secretary and lover, who was with him as they sped towards New York. She was wearing a new perfume that penetrated his glands and made him want to rip her clothes off. Of course, the fact that he was driving while Bernice lay face down in his lap may have had something to do with this.

     An hour later Mirsky pulled into his brother's garage and he and Bernice took the elevator up to the thirty-fifth floor that overlooked the East River. He dropped their suitcases as soon as they entered the apartment and they made love in the foyer on Shelley's finest Persian rug. Afterwards, Mirsky, still in his birthday suit, went to the bar and poured two scotch rocks with Shelley's favorite and most expensive scotch.

     "Wasn't it lucky for us that your brother had to go away for the weekend?" Bernice asked.

     "Mmm," said Mirsky, nibbling on a well-pedicured toe.

     "It seems that every time you ask him about the apartment, he says yes, because he's heading out of town on a business trip. What luck."

     Mirsky was busy and his ears were partially covered so what Bernice was saying didn't register and moments later she switched from babbling to moaning and all was right with the world.

    

     "Is your depression easing a bit?" Elaine asked.

     "There is nothing like a good family visit to help cure the blues," Shelley said, passing Elaine the hash pipe. They lay in the whirlpool facing each other with Shelley deep inside her and Elaine's legs wrapped around his back. She exhaled, leaned over and kissed Shelley's red mustache repeatedly. He told her that he loved the contrast of her black hair on her white shoulders. Later, they dressed in jeans and sweaters, went to a pub and sat side by side in a booth holding hands, feeding each other, and saying sweet somethings. They were stoned and giggly and oblivious to everyone but themselves. On the way back to the hotel they stopped every few minutes for some kissing and groping and finally, when they reached their room, they made a mad dash for the king-size bed and undressed each other. Then they made slow love and slept as one.

    

     Mirsky and Bernice, dressed to the nines, hailed a cab and went to Lutece, where they dined with the beautiful people. After dinner they went to the Carlysle to listen to Bobby short and then back to Shelley's apartment for another marathon session. Mirsky used Shelley's silk ties to bind Bernice's wrists to the bedposts, and when they were both spent, Mirsky lit up one of Shelley's Cuban cigars and stretched out on the living room couch with a snifter of fine brandy in his hand and Bernice at his feet.

     The weekend for Mirsky was perfect, and Bernice couldn't have been happier, as they drove home, passing an Amtrak train at the Bridgeport station. Elaine was on that Amtrak, curled up in her seat, feeling warm and fulfilled and not the least bit guilty.

     Mirsky arrived home a little after nine p.m. as Elaine's cab was pulling away from the house.

     "How was your visit?" she asked. "Is Shelley feeling any better?"

     "You wouldn't believe what this visit did for Shelley." Mirsky said carrying his bag into their bedroom. "But it was tiring for me."

     As he unpacked on his side of the bed, Elaine showered. When he showered, Elaine unpacked. They both got into bed and under the covers at the same time, he, moaning in fatigue, and she sighing.

     "Good night," Mirsky said, turning his back to Elaine and switching off his light.

     "Mmmmn," she mumbled, as she rolled onto her side, away from Mirsky, feigning sleep.



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