Leutenant Bowman was the doctor that saved him from a negative entry in his medical file and the scary monsters and super-creeps that were spawned in the submarine accident.
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“Any others?” asked Leutenant Bowman, her khaki shirt open, encouraging compliments. “Don’t remember. Achsahlee took care of them for me.”
He saved her from a tourist and his drool. “I love Hollywood Boulevard. It is full of that cherry-sweet sun,” she said as they took Catalina to the Catalina Islands.
“Achsahlee,” she said, her crisp consonants and dazzling syllables betraying her California girlhood. Her perfectly straight hair, thick with blackness, her faultless lipstick and her exercised body made her look unreal.
The lecher from the snowy Suburbia still gawked at her, the touchable deity of the California pantheon.
“Maybe,” the polite Achsahlee would say to his neurotic invitation. Pose for a video clip in the privacy of his motel room? Join him for a night on the town?
“Do I love a man in uniform!”
Still a stranger, the Captain came to her rescue, smiling and asking a simple “How do you do?” as she was still stroking her olive-toned skin, a wanton stimulus causing the philistine to drool.
“The afternoon of panting and sweating?”
“Yes,” she laughed along with the Captain.
“A video sonata played by twitching fingers?”
“You are turning me on –”
“He promised to take you out to Malibu?”
“But that would not seduce this California gal –”
“Who’s been steeped in the balm of palm fronds, blinding smiles, throbbing biceps and dry winds?”
So much enthusiasm in her prompt, so much wholesomeness in this Tinsel Town siren, he thought.
“Do you like seafood?”
It took two glances and one pause, she said.
One glance at the obese lecher in a K-mart shirt.
One glance at the Captain’s gold stripes symmetrical and decorating the pleasing rectangle of his body.
A pause, a hint of a citrus aftershave over the fumes of Hollywood, and she knew they would later listen to Big Band and stare into each other’s face while cuddling on her Natuzzi chair.
“Dora Lee, Bobbi Lee, Cindy Lee,” he said.
“Who are those?”
“Coalminers’ daughters, flea market salesgirls.”
“And Achsahlee?” she asked playfully.
“Is the goddess of Hollywood,” he said, smooth as her publicity agent.
“Some more, please.”
“A professor of Klimt, Somov, Ortloff and Beardsley. And a reviewer of Bunin and Berberova for English readers.”
Over a cup of hazelnut decaf coffee: “Do you get to wear dress whites? I love a naval officer in dress whites,” she would later confess having been a Navy brat from San Diego.
“You think it’s me?” she asked the Captain as she clutched to her body a peasant’s shirt of soft, off-white cotton.
He looked at the shirt and its cute buttons. “Definitely.”
“It’s gorgeous! I’ll have sex in it!”
Leutenant Bowman swept her hair over to her right eye, freeing a pretty-girl’s curl.
“And how did you feel when she said that?”
“Mesmerized,” he said, staring at the curl, and grew silent.
“Yes, by her loud, thrilled applause, oblivious to the simple mortals in the store."
Leutenant Bowman swallowed hard.