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[This story is a chapter in a series here but I gave it its own title. The character of Charlotte De Havilland is in another series here.]

The Salient was one of five newspapers that the twice per year student activity fee supported at the City College of New York. Its name was bestowed by returning veterans at its founding in 1947. Over the next two decades it become a conventional competitor to the semi-official Campus, which had endured since the mid-19th Century. During the 1960s it mutated into the school’s “hippie/countercultural” paper. By 1975, as the churn of students in and out was always a fact of university life, it was struggling to become something else yet again but no one there could define what that would be.

In June 1975 I had been there nearly two years and had collected two girlfriends and one ex-girlfriend on the staff, all of whom had been invited there by me. I had the feeling of invulnerability that comes with being young, and for a while no soap operas resulted from my unwise handling of my romantic life.

That month, near the end of the spring semester, Michelle Hanley, the princess of role-plays, proposed a game that would take place in the Salient’s office in the student center building. We were sitting in the office one evening when she outlined her idea.

“I’ve got this character called Clarissa,” she said. “The idea is that she comes up here to join the paper and you are the person that she meets.”

“So what is she like?”

“The way I see her, she imagines herself as some kind of hippie girl.”

“But there are none now, and in fact there never were that many to begin with.”

Michelle and I had discussed this before. We had figured that there hadn’t ever been a large number of young people who truly were “hippies” or in the “New Left” as a dedicated way of life. What there had been was a wide dissemination of these ideas to people who dropped in and out or who just flirted with the concepts. There was an even larger group who just picked up certain styles and attitudes as needed.

Michelle and I and most of our fellow students fell somewhere in that spectrum. As “late-Boomers” we were already developing a feeling of nostalgia. It was for a period that had already been hyped out of all proportion since before Walter Cronkite said he wished he had covered Woodstock.

Michelle said, “That’s true, but you sort of get the type this Clarissa is, I think. She’s going to be a bit stoned too. I mean I’m really going to be stoned, but not too much, just a bit.” A classic Method Acting tactic, I thought. I knew she usually baked pot brownies rather than rolled joints when she had some available. No smoke, no smell, less chance of being caught, as she explained it. She definitely had a practical streak.

“So what is she going to do?” I asked, “And what am I supposed to do when she’s here?”

Michelle smiled at me, “You’ll find out when you meet her. This definitely has to be on a weekend when no one else is here.”

That gave me some big clues. However, I was sure she was going to reveal a surprise or two as she usually did.

******

On a Saturday afternoon I was alone in the office waiting for her to show up. It was a warm but overcast day and I sat around near the windows. I was pondering the large number of new high-rise buildings that had been built in upper Manhattan recently.

I knew Michelle was taking a cab here from the 96th Street station so she wouldn’t have to walk up the hill alone. She usually was punctual, and around the agreed time of 1 PM there was a knock on the door. I went over and opened it without bothering to ask who it was. There in the hallway was Clarissa.

“Oh hi, how are you doing?” I said. Not, can I help you? I noticed a lilt in my voice that I wouldn’t have had with any male visitor on a weekend afternoon.

“Yeah, this is the, ah, Sally-ent, right?” Michelle said her character would be a bit stoned but maybe she was also exaggerating for effect.

“Right, it says so right here.” I pointed to the name painted on the door. “Although it’s usually pronounced Sail-yent.” A lot of people had trouble with the name and what it even meant.

“Yes, Room 336, I see that too. I’m Clarissa, although my friends usually called me Clary.”

“Glad to meet you Clary, I’m Paul.” I was sure I had never known anybody named Clarissa or Clary.

“So – the reason I’m here is because I’d like to join your paper. Are you the right person to talk to?”

If this had been some guy I might have told him to come back on Monday to deal with anybody but me. “Sure, you can talk to me. Come on in.”

When she had passed through I closed the door and locked it. I didn’t know exactly what Michelle had planned but I didn’t want to take the small chance that someone would barge in on us without warning.

Clary sort of glided in, a different kind of entrance from the more forthright way that bahis firmaları Michelle entered rooms. And she actually lifted her nose and glanced around with skepticism at the shabby state of the room. I didn’t know what she expected since the entire campus, except for the new Science Building, was about equally shabby.

I placed myself behind the desk at the far end of the room and she sat on a table facing me. Clary wasn’t wearing anything that distinctively different from what Michelle usually had except for a floppy white hat. Most of the rest of her outfit was white too: her light sweater, the pullover blouse underneath it, and her sandals. Her short tan skirt was the same one Michelle was wearing when I had first met her the previous fall. Probably it was not a coincidence that she had chosen it for today’s game.

Clary’s straight brown hair and steel-rimmed glasses were part of Michelle’s everyday look. During the conversation I attempted to discern how much cannabis was affecting her system but it seemed pretty subtle.

She started with, “I’ve spent my freshman year here – I don’t know, I feel like I should do something more, like . . . proactive.” She waved her hands in the air as if she had to think of the right word to choose. I now knew she was about a year younger than I was. Then she went into her bag and took out some issues of The Salient.

While she was doing this I tried to fill some conversational space, “Well, yeah, as you might know I’ve been here a couple of years already. I’ll be features editor next semester.”

“Right, I’ve seen you’re assistant now, I mean I saw the staff listings.” She tapped the bunch of issues in her hand. “I think I’ve got most of this semester here. Back in January I saw that help wanted ad, I guess you’d call it that.”

She found it and held it up. It had been on the back cover and contained a photo of Monty Hall, the host of Let’s Make a Deal. Why is this Man Smiling? the headline said, and then there was some text that we hoped would bring in applicants.

“Very clever,” she said. “And I also read the essay you have in here.” It was near the front and she quickly found it. I had written an article about finding an old Lionel model train catalogue and I went on about my childhood memories of owning a train set.

“That was fun to read,” she said.

“Well, it was fun to write.”

I decided to go into interviewer mode. This was a ruse because in recent years the number of students involved with activities, including the five newspapers, had dropped off considerably. This had been attributed to “apathy,” the need for after-school jobs, and various other reasons. I didn’t want Clary to know how desperate we were for new staff, talented or otherwise. I wanted her to join but intuitively I understood this game required my presentation as someone with power here.

“So, anyway, Clary, what would you like to write? I mean, in addition, have you written anything yet I could see?”

“No, not yet, but writing sure seems cool, and this paper seems cool too. I mean, for example, as I said, I like some of the stuff you’ve written.”

I couldn’t help but feel a more than a touch flattered. I also was aware of another thought, it would sure be nice to get into her pants, that is if she is actually wearing any under that little skirt. I then had to remind myself that we were both acting here. Not for the first time I thought, Michelle, you are a genius at these things.

As if reading my mind Clary took her sweater off and I could now see all of the sleeveless top she was wearing underneath, “I was wondering, Paul . . .” Nice touch how she slipped my name into the conversation for the first time. “Do you happen to have a girlfriend right now?”

“Yeah, I do. In fact she’s on this paper with me. Her name is Michelle.”

“Michelle Hanley? I’ve seen her name in there.”

“That’s her.”

“So what is she like? Is she pretty?”

“Oh yeah, she’s really nice.”

I think she fell out of character a bit as she smiled at me. Then she went on, “Pardon me for asking, but does she put out enough for you? Just curious, but you know what I mean.”

I certainly did know but I wanted to draw her out more, “How exactly do you mean that?”

“You know, does she give you enough balling and other things for your satisfaction?”

That was an odd thing to say in the first five minutes but I could see Clary’s motives emerging. I was getting more experienced at roles and I quickly improvised something. I leaned back and sighed, “Actually Clary, I’ll admit she hardly puts out anything at all for me.”

I caught a frown from her that didn’t seem to be faked. She said, “Really? Does she at least give you a hand job when you need it, you know, like when the petting gets hot and heavy?”

I leaned forward and tried to put on a pained look, “The most I get, well I can give myself a handjob in her presence. Often she just kaçak iddaa does her homework or something while I, well, you get it.”

The great thing about this was that it was a plot point I had copied directly from the dialogue of one of her previous characters. I was sure she recognized it.

Clary gave me a sympathetic look, “That’s not right, you’re a really cute guy and you got in with this totally stuck-up chick.” Then she gave me another look, a look that women have been giving men for millennia and which I instantly recognized. I had a lump in my throat and a bulge in my pants. On another level I was impressed and yet a bit annoyed at the masterly way Michelle was playing me.

Her expression changed again and she went into a series of actions that I was sure Clary had planned beforehand. She looked up as if suddenly remembering something. “I am just such a ditz.” She went into her bag and pulled out a pair of panties. “Look at this, I completely forgot to put these on today.”

When and where she had intended to do that went unexplained and it was in any case irrelevant. I tried a bit of humor, “Maybe you’ve had a bit too much of the evil weed today.”

She did find that amusing. Then she wadded up the underpants and threw them; they landed on the desk in front of me – basic white bikini panties. When I looked up she was leaning back on the table and lifting and spreading her legs, “See what I mean? So, do you like my pussy?” Michelle’s bush was the same medium brown as the hair on her head.

“Of course I do, Clary.” Getting her name in there seemed like the thing to do.

She beckoned me and said, “Come over here and touch me.”

I only had a few feet to cover. As I did she said, “My, somebody’s packing his pants.”

“What did you expect?” I wanted that to sound lighthearted but there was also a tone of eagerness, perhaps over eagerness in it.

I got my left hand on her crotch and then put one finger into her. Almost immediately she began unzipping me. “Let’s get this out.” When my cock sprang out I expected her to praise it or at least comment on it but she was moving at a different, faster pace.

“You’d like a blowjob, wouldn’t you?” I considered some quip like, nah, I really should catch up on some editing but I didn’t have a Groucho Marx level of sangfroid. Then she said, “Have you even ever had a blowjob?”

I hesitated and she put her face close to my cheek. Her voice was low as she said into my ear, “Look, I’ve got a deal for you, a proposition.” A proposition? “I’ll blow you but you have to promise me that you’ll get my article accepted in the paper.”

Michelle and I both knew something about The Salient: just about anybody who could string sentences together could get published. One had to be a truly inept writer to get rejected. In two years I had seen that happen to only one fledgling applicant and he immediately quit.

Of course Clary did not know that. If my character had been a true gentlemen then perhaps I would have informed her of the details. But maybe there were no such gentlemen at that level when a lady’s cunt and mouth were so close by. I wasn’t about to jeopardize by BJ.

I said something in agreement and she got down on her knees and began. Of course I could no longer stroke her female parts, but that didn’t seem to matter to her. Clary/Michelle knew what to do to me, licking and sucking my cock in just the right ways. She pulled my pants lower and stroked my ass. Yet I felt a bit of a letdown. This Clary didn’t really care about me, only what I could do for her. Michelle is a bit too clever, she just had to add some complications to what could have been a fun romp.

I briefly looked back at the windows behind me which completely lacked curtains or shades. The nearest apartment buildings were about two blocks away and I doubted anybody with high-powered binoculars was over there. And even if there is, so what?

Even with these various downsides I still enjoyed myself, at least in a purely physical way. At one point I was running my fingers through her hair and I slipped up. “Oh Michelle, your mouth is so nice on me.” Clary stopped and looked up, but she smiled. “That’s okay, I know you’ve been really short on sex recently.”

“Honey, I’ve always been short on that.” It was a bad idea to ever admit that to a woman but I wasn’t thinking too clearly at that moment.

When I was about to come she pulled me out of her mouth and stroked me with her hand. My own right hand went down there to help out. She pushed me aside just enough so that I spurted most of it over her shoulder onto the table. A bit did land on her.

I backed off; I wanted to hug her but I didn’t know how this Clary would react to that. In fact she flicked at her blouse and said, “Oh, my. Do you have a handkerchief I could borrow?” It was as if I had dripped some mayonnaise on her. After cleaning up she sat down on a couch by the wall and I followed kaçak bahis her there.

Michelle and I would normally get into some post-act cuddling and kissing and then some chat. None of that seemed to be appropriate here, so after pulling my clothes together I improvised the next step. “Hey Clary, let’s go downtown and get something to eat. Maybe in the Village. I’ll get a cab for us.”

“That would be great Paul – one thing though. It’s only fair to tell you, I’m not going to have any more sexual stuff with you until the article is actually published.”

“Wait a minute, we just said. . .”

“We agreed to acceptance, then there’s actually getting it printed and out there.”

Wow, this hippie has a ruthless side. “What’s all this concern about getting published in the first place?”

“That’s obvious, I need some clips for when I go out, you know, looking for a job.”

“But you don’t even know what you’re writing about. And our next issue doesn’t come out until September.”

“More time to think about it then.”

“I’ve got to ask you something; do you have any boyfriends out there?”

She seemed to brighten, “Oh yes, I’ve got several orbiting around, you might call it that.”

“I see, and in my case . . .”

“Let me give you a bit of advice, sweetie,” she said. “You might think of replacing that tight-ass Michelle if you don’t want to spend all summer jerking off.” She seemed to think that was very amusing and she giggled.

“Thanks, Clary, I’ll keep that in mind. So, anyway, all this was just sort of a down payment then.”

She giggled again, “You could call it that.”

I pretended to let my mind wander for a couple of moments. “Oh, another thing, Clarissa, in my opinion you are a complete, straight-up little whore.”

I looked in her eyes and tried to discern her state of mind. All she said was, “I beg your pardon?” That sounded familiar; it seemed to be from a scene in some novel I couldn’t quite remember.

“You heard me, everything with you is pay to play. I don’t think I need to explain it further.

She jumped up so quickly that she surprised me; she collected her book bag, sweater and then her panties from the desk. I said, “Don’t bother with those, you don’t need them if you’re turning tricks in Riverside Park.”

She lashed out at me, “You’re a complete asshole.”

I tried to remain calm but I failed, “Maybe, but you’re a total slut. Get out of here and peddle your ass over at The Campus [the rival paper next door]. You can bang the gang in there and see how far you get.”

She strode over to the door and opened it. Before leaving she lifted her skirt and mooned me with her bare ass. “Don’t expect to ever see this again.”

“No great loss,” I said.

She had to have the last word, “Fuck you and the horse you rode in on.” I had heard that insult before and I assumed it intensified the sentiment. “And fuck your stupid electric trains too, you little prick.” Then she was gone.

*******

I closed the door and went back to the desk. This has been not been an entertaining day. Michelle and also Charlotte had that ability, the tendency for taking a carefree sex game and turning it into a production written by Arthur Miller or Tennessee Williams. Miss Hanley, Miss De Havilland, you are sharing the Tony Award for best actress this year.

I felt jangled from the sudden bout of oral sex followed by the equally sudden argument and insults between the two of us. We hadn’t specified if she was coming back or if I was supposed to go out and find her. The huge old building was deserted on weekends and I didn’t think she’d go far. She was probably somewhere on the floor, maybe sipping a soda in an alcove.

I decided to wait in the office for a bit; I went back to the desk by the window and sat there for a while considering things. There had been an interesting twist to this game. I had let Clary keep her misconceptions about the paper just to get some sex out of her. I wondered what would have happened in September when she found out the truth. Oh well, it’s fictional, it doesn’t mean anything anyway. Except, Michelle’s little morality play had revealed just how crass my character was willing to be. In addition, I had lost my temper somewhat, lost it for real I mean.

A few minutes went by and then I heard a knock on the door. I went over and called out, “Who is it?”

“It’s me, Clary.”

“Go away, we don’t want any.”

I heard a laugh, “Come on, it’s Michelle, you know that.”

When I opened it she rushed in and kissed me. When we pulled back she said, “Weird game, right?”

“I’ll say.”

“Let’s sit down and decompress.”

We went over to the old couch near the desk. Once seated there I said, “That Clary girl was deluding herself if she thought this place is a big career move.”

“There are a few lucky ones. That guy recently, Mike, he got a newspaper job in, what was that town again?”

“Stuttgart, Arkansas. I don’t even know where it is, but it’s not a big state.” Then I asked her, “Are you actually stoned at all today?”

“Just a buzz. I’ve got more if you’d like some now.”

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