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I Uncle Bart

I can remember Uncle Bart there at wharf side. Two stevedores were fighting, just pounding each other with their fists. They were standing off and round housing one another and you could hear the blows landing. My uncle walked in between them and grabbed each with one meaty paw, separating them. He talked to them each in turn, head swiveling from one to the other.

I stepped closer when the gunsels moved off so I could hear him talking in a low voice. He was saying, “See hear now, dis is a bad zample for the crews, K? Whatevah you doin’, dis ain’t the time. Dey need this stuff in ‘Nam so you holding up the war effort. “The two bloody battered men looked sheepish and embarrassed.

He rounded them over to a corner amidst the hawsers and pulled his roll out. Thumbing through his spread, he pulled some bills, tucking them into front pockets. “Come by the club, tell Artie give you a bottle on my say so, share it, then getcher some gash over at Maudes.” The two men went off, the gantry started back up with a puff of diesel and the four of us walked through the mist back to Uncle’s big green Chrysler.

Uncle Bart had a social club and he also repped the longshoreman in north Jersey. He made things run smooth if you will, working with barmen, madams, made some book. I kind of grew up at the club and remember when the new Family came in, all bluster, bunch of goons in ill fitting suits. Bart didn’t fight them. He knew change was inevitable. The Old Joes were polite, but their kids were the shits as Uncle would say. But he got along, knew how to make people do right and how to grease the skids. He was also my surrogate father. My dad was second seat in a T-38 trainer in the USAF when the jet lost power at low altitude and burrowed in to a hill outside Austin in ’59.

We moved, Mom and I, from Texas after the funeral to her family’s town back in Jersey and her brother took over my raising. It was he that took me to school first day. I saw him paying the doctor cash when my appendix had to come out. He never missed my high school baseball games, shouting encouragement from the bleachers when I came up to bat. He had a ‘talk’ with the university scout to come see me play and thus I was going to get a scholarship, my grades being so-so.

I wasn’t allowed near any ‘gash’ growing up. Bart said something about germs and peckers falling off, making his wishes known. And mostly the girls my age steered clear. I think not so much because of me but because of my illustrious surrogate father. But in June the year I graduated he came into the stockroom where I was laying in the morning’s liquor order to take me back to his office, where petitioners came every day but Sunday. Huge arm around me, he sat me down, then backed up and looked at me, holding me by the shoulders.

“Bunkie” he said, “You’ve been a good boy for me. I tellya do something f’me, it’s done. You daddy’d been proud see you grow up, take direction, g’wan to college. September comes you’ll start in, learnin’ all sorts of smart things, see, so you can come out, be a man wit letters and be a boss almost right off. Ain’t no future bein’ a flunkie or gofer, you know dat.”Then he paused. He picked up a framed photo of Aunt Mildred, long gone, his wife. “But they’s more to life than schoolin’. There’s real life an I’m gonna tell you secret.”

He turned away to go crank the window open, the portrait like a miniature in his meaty fist. Sounds of a sunny morning flooded in. Birds flitted around in the oak tree across the street, happily chirping, air brakes hissing as a bus went by and the hum of tires starting and stopping at the red light. The sun beamed in across his desk and I could see a well chewed cheroot in the ashtray.

Uncle finished his deliberations as I sat silently, expectantly.”It’s like this. Women run the show. You doan know it and most men won’t admit it. You wanna talk to a lawyer, what happens?”

I shrugged, watching his face.

“First, ya talk to his secretary. You know the man ain’t answering his own phone. It’s a woman! An you gotta be respectful or that lawyer will never know you called. Go to the library to find sumpin out, who do you see? One of the best friends you’ll evah have is a librarian. Seen any man librarians?”

I shook my head no and started to wonder what Uncle was leading up to.

“OK, dos ‘re just zamples of a woman’s power, but in the house, what they say goes too. Otherwise you shift for yourself, burn your own eggs and sleep on the couch.” He paused for drama. “Bunkie, women are good as us. Lotta times they’re smarter, already know what we gonna think fore we get round the corner. They got different minds an’ its best not to make enemies of them, got that?”

“Sure Uncle Bart, that makes sense. I mean, I’ve never seen you disrespect a lady or act superior to one. But you get along with everybody. Why are you talking about just women?”

Bart reached into the top drawer of his desk and pulled out a fat envelope.”Cause in order to respect balıkesir escort women; ya gotta know how to treat them. And part o that treatin’ is how to love them as men love their wives, like I loved my Millie.” He opened the envelope. “Long years ago I got an education stationed in Europe. I want you to get the same.”

As Mildred’s portrait gazed on, Uncle Bart opened the envelope. He pulled out an airline ticket with KLM embossed on it along with some other papers.”These papers, take ’em to the courthouse and sign them in front of the magistrate. Take this picture with you, go upstairs an’get your passport. See Doc Almontado, get immunized. You’re gonna stay with Millie’s nephew Pieter in Amsterdam. He’s a bridge and locks inspector and he’s gonna take you to some places, meet some ginch that’ll show you the ropes. They get looked at alla time, so no germs, see? You get home, go off to school, you’ll know how to conduct yourself, be bright with the ladies. Comes a day, you’ll get married and won’t be confused on the wedding night.” He pulled out a row of fresh large bills from the envelope. “This is for your education and meals over there. Airplane leaves JFK next Thursday at, “squinting at the print, “seven in the evening.”

I sat there, dumb as a mouse, disbelieving. Finally, I got up, went around his desk, and hugged him, still at a loss for words.

Uncle grinned, and in a serious tone, laid it out.”Remember, ya gotta come back in the fall, do good at school. You the last of the line, see? You fall outa school, you go to the Board with that 1H and its off to war wit you. You doan wanna end up on the end up on the sharp end of some punji stick or shot to pieces by some monkey with an AK. No, come back, go to school, learn law like you want, mebbe do politics, whatevah you wan’. Just do me proud, do my sister proud, doan let life catch ya by surprise.”

II Highways in the Sky

Time was an eternity slowly passed those next ten days. I had to retake my picture for the passport, but Uncle made a phone call and I got the document in the day before I was to leave. Gil, Uncle’s motorman, drove me to the airport after I said my goodbyes and took me to the gate with a leather bag in his hand. People were milling around and I could see the 707 sitting out on the tarmac. After I turned in my boarding pass, he turned to me and thrust the bag in my hands.”Here’s from me an’ the guys, Bunkie. Open it, see what ya think.”

I did and found a beautiful new Nikon SLR camera with all sorts of attachments and extra Kodak film canisters. I looked up in wonder. Gil was grinning crookedly; cigarette clamped in his yellow teeth. “Take some pictures of the town and some of the fillies for us. Careful where ya step ’cause it’s just you, OK?”

I nodded. I mean, I grew up with firepower always near at hand, but folks overseas had to settle disagreements or turf wars with bit shit things like knives and fists. But I’d been well taught in those departments plus I was already pretty sizable for my age and still growing. The gate called just then. I can remember shaking Gil’s hand and watching him leave, noticing for the first time he had a bald spot on the back of his head and that now he was shorter than I was.

First class was very comfortable in those days. I recognized a well known author across the way and a couple of society ladies I’d seen featured in the Times. My shirt was tight at the collar, but you dressed to travel back then, no Indiana Jones garb like they do now. I got a glimpse of polar ice before the onrushing darkness overtook the craggy frozen tundra of Greenland. I pulled down the shade after dinner, vaguely aware of the stewardess draping a plaid blanket over me.

The Captain’s voice awoke me. We were wheels down, final approach for Schiphol. I raised the shade and saw lots of water, no land and yet we were coming down fast. The stewardess adjusted my seatback and helped me with my belt.

Suddenly we were on the ground. I cleared customs, listening to all the various announcements spoken in English, Dutch and French. In the mezzanine was a slight bespeckled fellow holding up a card with ‘Bunkie’ written on it. This evidently was Pieter. We shook hands as I towered over him. His English was flawless in greeting me and helping me with my suitcases, we wended our way in the light foggy dawn to his Mercedes. I remember it had a column shift and had some official seals on the doors that I couldn’t read.

We entered town as the fog was lifting. I knew right then I wasn’t in America, not even close. The colors seemed so bright. People lived on houseboats in the canals and no one ever bothered them or stole their things. There were flowers anywhere you looked. The brownstones weren’t really that at all. They were way to narrow. Pieter told me homes used to be taxed on how wide they were. The citizens seemingly all rode bicycles. I asked if it was some kind of law. Pieter laughed as we pulled up to his narrow residence. He told me there’d be a lot to get used to, all in good time. He took me in, showed me my room. The house smelled of fresh coffee. It was so good it didn’t even need sugar. We visited for a few minutes before he had to leave and that his house keeper would be back shortly. I kept looking at his suit. The lapels were shorter, the jacket cut differently and I doubt I could have bought his glasses stateside. I wondered how much culture shock I might be in for since everything was the same in one way but so different in another. After he left, I thought about the girls I was there to meet. I folded my clothes over a straight chair and took a jetlag nap on the high featherbed in my room.

III at Pieter’s House

Gauzy dusk light was entering the room when I awoke. The door was cracked and an older woman’s face was peering in at me. Her face crinkled into a smile as she pushed open the door to bring in my freshly laundered traveling clothes. “I am Greta. I worked for your aunt and raised Pieter. I was in this house when the Germans marched in and still I am here.” She paused. “And how is your mother?”

We talked as I got up. My nudity didn’t faze her as she drew my bath and laid out my shaving stuff. And I was entirely comfortable visiting with her as I bathed. She scrubbed my back with a brush as she told me about my extended Dutch family and of her daughter, a nurse in Rotterdam.

Pieter was in the second floor kitchen when I came down. He was peering under the lid at what smelled like stew on the stove. “Ah, there you are. You have met Greta and all is well, yes?”

I averred and joined him at the bubbling pot. Greta came in and laughed, said we looked like two hungry little boys. I went and got their gifts out of my case, Levis for Pieter, who beamed happily, and a family locket for Greta, along with letters from my mother and Uncle Bart.

Soon, Greta gathered her things and left. I watched from the window as she pedaled off. My nephew and I watched TV as we ate the sumptuous stew. I was amazed at the casual near nudity in some of the commercials, although I didn’t understand what was being said. Pieter remarked that the USA must be a very prudish country and opined that religion had much to do with it. He pointed out that nearly everything enjoyable therefore had guilt attached to it, which made everyone miserable. “Here,” he said, “even a lonely old man can have a few moments of comfort with a young woman without remorse or having to expiate his sins to some old virgin man with a pointy hat.” He drew on his cigarette. “America makes war so much because it is sexually frustrated. Hopefully we’ve learned our lesson.”

I nodded, filing this information away. As Uncle said, I was here to learn. One thing I had just learned is that I would also be learning a philosophy and a lifestyle utterly alien to American mores, but as I was beginning to see- a lot like how my uncle conducted his life and businesses.

IV My First little Visit

Pieter and I sat at a stoplight on the avenue. The diesel idled quietly and I remarked on how Spartan the appointments were compared to the Mercedes to be had Stateside. He laughed. “We consider these cars good for taxis and government vehicles. They’re reliable and easy to repair. But they ride like trucks, whether they have electric windows and leather seats or one like this. To me, luxury is either a Lincoln or a Cadillac. I’ve ridden in both and believe me, they have more comfort.”

We puttered on, passing bicyclists with their little reflectors and lights on their baskets and I thought about the Amish and their bikes in Sarasota, where Uncle had taken me one year. I didn’t want to think further than the front tires of our car, not just then.

The roads we turned onto seemed to get narrower which each successive turn and eventually I got a glimpse of a street divided by a canal and what appeared to be some ladies sitting in front of windows. We nosed into an alleyway, Pieter throwing a placard on the dash. “We are here to inspect the waterways and locks” he announced, “and to have a ride home when we leave.”

We grinned at each other and climbed out. We went to a side door of the adjacent building. It was a good solid looking door set into a steel frame. Pieter pushed the buzzer and turned around, smiled and waved at nothing. I looked askance at such a strange maneuver. He winked and pointed to a mirror on the opposing wall. The lock buzzed and we entered the vestibule. In just moments, a small girl came down a flight of stairs. She wore a makeup robe and ballet slippers. Her wavy blonde hair reached to her midriff and she and Pieter evidently knew each other enough to hug as they chattered in Dutch with one another.

Turning to me, Pieter made the introductions.”Bunkie, this is Veronika. She works here and has been looking forward to meeting you.”

I looked down at this wisp of a girl. “Well, hi. Do you speak English?”

She smiled and I noticed a gap in the front.”Yes, yes I do, but I’ll teach you some Dutch if you like. I hear you’re a student, this is so?”

I looked at my nephew, “Yes, and I’m learning that there’s a lot to learn yet.”

Pieter grinned behind his hand and gestured us up the stairs. I noticed Veronika’s robe was faded where she sat on it and one slipper kept trying to come off her heel. As we climbed, I saw that the florescent lighting was mounted to the side wall rather than the ceiling, making weird advancing shadows of us. At the third floor we entered a landing with three doors. Veronika produced a key, unlocked the front most door, and ushered us in. My nephew pushed some colorful notes into my hand, his treat tonight he whispered. We’d meet downstairs later. He let himself out, waving to Veronika. Everything seemed to suddenly be happening a little too quickly. I thought I might choose my first lover myself. And whom would I meet up here and what would she look like?

Veronica bustled around, drawing the drapery and setting a small pot on an ancient hot plate. The room wasn’t large. There was a cot in the corner, one of those with a mattress set on steel springs and a pair of small upholstered armless chairs arranged at the window. There appeared to be a commode and wash basin behind a beaded curtain opposite the bed. I heard voices and drawing aside the drapes slightly I looked down at several boisterous souls with arms linked singing their way up the narrow street.

“Sometimes they get drunk and fall in the canal. Of course we don’t let in those types. It is too much trouble.” She indicated a cup on a chipped saucer. “You will have tea with me?”

“Sure, sounds good.” I wandered over by the door. There was a paper tacked to the wall with Veronika’s picture and some sort of writing with a seal affixed to the bottom. Turning, I saw a small valise under the cot and the fact that my hostess was no longer wearing her robe. In fact, she wasn’t wearing anything as she offered up my cup.

The robe had done well at concealing her features. She was gazelle thin with high firm breasts, tiny waist, boyish hips and a prominent pubis with just a wisp of hair. Her legs were perfectly formed, just in miniature. Her shoulders and neck had a hint of tan, below the skin was alabaster.

I sucked in my breath, blushing hard. I’d seen some of the doxies in undress back home, but they seemed liked draft horses compared to this Lilliputian delight.

She giggled. “Do I surprise you? Maybe you will stay with me for a time. Come and sit.” She indicated the chairs. “Do you have something for me?”

So this tiny waif was to be my instructor, at least tonight. I handed over the bills and she put them in her valise just as quick. Returning, she perched on my legs. A light fragrance of flowers washed over me and she nuzzled my neck, playfully nipping me. “It’s OK to touch” she breathed.

Taking the hint, I allowed my hands to trail up and down her flanks and thighs, feeling what I’d only dreamed of up to now, when in urgent moments of self release I’d only fantasized about. This was the living flesh, soft and pliant, real and sitting on my lap. Her tiny hand squeezed me through my jeans while her other rubbed the side of my face. The little room seemed very quiet but my heartbeat seemed loud enough for the world to hear. I could hear passersby on the pavement talking and laughing and the distant gong of church bells. The light on the little table between the chairs was just strong enough to cast shadows between her breasts as I began to touch and knead them.

Veronika arose, standing me with her and began gently unzipping me. In short order, my nakedness matched hers and she stepped forward and hugged me. My phallus, freed at last, stood proud just under the swell of her mounds, her head turned against my lower chest. “Come over here for a minute” she whispered. At the sink, she warmed the water, using her wrist to gauge the temperature. For the first time she grasped my shaft in hand and began soaping my genitals, frowning in concentration. Her tiny hands, so soft and gentle rubbed me and squeezed, then tickled the underside.

It was sensory overload for a virgin. I felt it coming, the warning tingling in my belly and in my balls. I didn’t believe it. Whether I wanted to or not, those talented cleansing hands took me up and over. There was only time to gasp before I sprayed into the sink. I was dimly aware that Veronika was rapidly fisting my length, nodding and muttering encouragement. As my storm subsided, she pushed up from under my sac and up the shaft, pushing all that remained out of me. Then more warm water, holding me as she dried my tumescence.

V Not over, not just Yet!

“Wow,” I gasped, “how did you..?”

Finger to my lips, shussing me.”It’s magic. It happens to a lot of horny boys. It happens more to boys that play in the shower, but its better when I do it, yes?”

“Are we done? I mean, was that it?”

A gentle laugh.”No, now we can start. You couldn’t have paid attention before. There was too much you inside of here” patting my balls. “Drink some tea, recover yourself. Soon, you’ll have interest again.”

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