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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2244748-Dear-Louise
Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Men's · #2244748
Man working through a mid-life crisis leaves home for JAPAN and meets a stripper.


Dear Louise,

I know has been over two months since you heard from me, not that I haven't written. I've composed dozens of letters to you, each full of lies and excuses. I suppose you are starting to wonder where I am or at least why I didn't meet you at the Stetter's pool party after work that Thursday. Well, if this letter gets mailed, you will at least know where I am; Tokyo is a big place Louise. I'd say good 'ol Glenview, Indiana hardly compares. I've been gone long enough now that I can tell you the truth about everything because I am not scared anymore, so this will probably not get mailed. I have developed a taste for HiHi Nika whiskey that I am drinking right now. Oh, I'm not drunk. This stuff is too good to waste on a drunk. Besides, I haven't been really corroded since I stopped being scared. The whiskey just steadies my hands on the keys and keeps the thoughts warm and flowing. I am not in any hurry as Miss Suzuki doesn't finish her last act till 11:30.

What I did Louise, was split. No one knew anything except Berni, and with what I knew about her, she had to keep quiet for the week I told her to. Berni is loyal, at least to me, and a fair secretary. I gave her the money for this year's abortion; I felt rather obligated though it isn't my fault she cannot remember her pill. Don't act shocked for Christ's sake, you suspected us for years but were so grateful to be left alone that you never let on. Anyway, Berni knew. I told her to phone you after a week so the kids wouldn't be upset, and you would not have the law combing the woods since my business trips have never taken longer than a week.

As you should know by now, the savings account was not touched. Larry gave me $88 for my clubs, and I hocked that diamond ring your mother sent me. The $34 ticket is in my shorts drawer if you care to redeem it. I took $68.55 out of petty cash and a book of stamps. Berni didn't know about the stamps. The old Dart ran great though it had to have a rebuilt alternator put on in Milwaukee and two recaps somewhere around Boise. The trip out to Portland was mostly uneventful except for one thing. Outside Des Moines there is a sign on an overpass that reads "Speed Limit 55MPH, Your Speed Is _________." I's an automatic radar thing and flashes Slow Down! if a car goes through too fast. When I was almost to the overpass, the sign flashed "Your Speed Is: 46MPH. The message board was blank. That sign bothered me, Louise. I sort of expected it to say "Speed Up!" I pulled into a truck stop, got some coffee, and tried to shake the creepy feeling going up and down my back.

A waitress asked if something was wrong as I had built up a pile of napkins using them on my sweaty palms. They were really not that wet, of course; it just felt good to wipe.

It is after 10 pm now, Louise. I've switched to Suntory and Asahi boilermakers. Martha should be here about 12. If I'm not finished with this by then, it won't matter as she goes right to sleep. Taking her clothes off five times a night must be exhausting. Maybe putting them on is the tiring part. Anyway, she won't mind the typewriter.

Once I got to Portland, I checked into a waterfront hotel to think some more and be scared. The car sold for $3,375, and I sent the EXXON card back to you. I bought a prostitute for the first three nights but didn't do much; speed 46 and my board blank.

I was talking with a deckhand in the hotel bar one afternoon. He was in town while his ship was being loaded with logs for Japan. The crew had lost its medic on the inbound trip. He jumped overboard in a drug induced frenzy screaming the ship was under attack by whales wearing Greenpeace T-shirts. Without really thinking, I mentioned my experience as an Army corpsman and asked if he thought I might sign on for the voyage back. He said I had a chance because the captain would only need someone one way as the company would assign a union man once back in homeport.

So that's how I came to Japan, Louise. I called Berni, who sent my passport. She wasn't told where I was going and didn't ask. She said you had not been very upset when informed I had left, only embarrassed that I wasn't at the Stetters. Sorry.

Fortunately, no one got sick or hurt on the ship during the voyage.

I did not mention my medical experience in the Army had been limited to two years of giving penicillin shots in a VD clinic. We were twelve days at sea. I kept to myself and tried to write letters but couldn't explain to you something I did not understand myself. The only crewman I talked with much was the guy I had met in the bar. He said I should go to Tokyo.

After collecting $613 worth of Yen, I caught a train north to the big city. My first day was spent in the Ginza area. That's where I met Miss Suzuki. A GI on leave said I might take in the show at the Nitchigiki theater. It was around the corner from a McDonald's where we had Big Macs and he had seen the show four times.

I took a seat next to the walk-out from the stage. The show was great, one of those variety types with all the women topless. Towards the end, the lights went down, and a spotlight bathed a small round stage at the end of the walk-out. The band blasted a fanfare then went into a hard beat bump-and-grind. I saw her. She was slowly coming straight up on the elevator stage right next to me. The spot switched, and she was suddenly pink, hair and everything. The program had her as Suzuki, but this mass of folds, sweat, and two-inch lashes was no Japanese. She started taking off a too-small cowgirl costume. Her nylons had runs, the gloves were makeup stained, and thick mascara, diluted by sweat, began to slowly give her the look of some washed-up prizefighter after three rounds with Ali. Huge breasts swayed like Florida palms, and her thighs squeaked. She was beautiful. The Japanese businessmen went nuts.

She was also Martha Gottlieb from East Newark High School. I recognized her when, taking bows, she leaned towards me, and the filmy bra she was holding touched a hot footlight. It burst into flame. In the half-second it took to hit the floor, it was just ash. She bent down to see if I was OK. That's when I knew who she was. She studied my face, then her own lit up through the makeup goo. "Ralph! Ralph, eh!" I reminded her of my last name. She said to come backstage.

I have been with her three weeks now Louise, and I am not scared anymore. She's put me back together. I found someone more afraid of her age than I. My hormones are flowing again. She told me this afternoon to go home. I can see that sign outside Des Moines again. "Your Speed Is 46" this time, though, the message board isn't blank but reads: "You're Doing Fine."

May I come home Louise? I called Berni today. Is it true she has moved in with you?

Maybe the Stetters have an extra room?.............................................Ralph





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