Seven o’clock in the morning is an hour that does not exist on the clocks in New York City. If you are invited to early breakfast, your host means 10:00 a.m. Nevertheless, seven o’clock is when Jan Kellerman Marshall wanted me to meet her for breakfast at her hotel in Midtown. She had news before she had to fly to Los Angeles.
I thought she wanted to congratulate me on my hilarious new book, Shortstack, due at Amazon in October 2013. Or maybe she wanted to announce our love child. It turned out she wanted scrambled eggs and doesn’t like to eat alone.
I took the 2/3 subway train from Brooklyn and got off at 34th Street at Penn Station. A couple blocks away I found her hotel on 7th Avenue at 31st Street. I went to the restaurant. It was 6:50 A.M., and the restaurant didn’t open until 7:00. I had ten New York minutes to kill. I found a seat in the lobby and whipped out my Kindle. Two chapters later, I headed back to the restaurant.
Jan waited at the door — radiant, desirable, hungry. She looked as I remembered her from her photograph with Steve Allen. Her short black hair swept over her forehead. Her pouty lips were fire engine red, as was her rouge. Her black lashes fluttered. Her earrings dazzled with the sparkle of Tiffany’s & Co. on 5th Avenue. Her v-neck gown was adorned with a red rose shyly shielding her cleavage. I was captivated. I moved in closer for a hug. Her brown eyes met my blues. We said nothing. No words were needed. Our faces drew near. She parted her lips. “Let’s eat,” she said.
“Okay,” I replied. “And coffee. What time is it?” The waiter deferentially held a chair for the famous authoress of Dancin’ Schmancin’ with the Scars. She delicately lowered herself into the seat. “I’m so happy to see you again, Timothy.”
“Likewise,” I said. “What time is it?” I peered into my cup. “Have they brought coffee yet?” Jan placed her hand upon her cheek and ordered scrambled eggs, well done, and a demitasse of espresso. “A bagel,” I said. “No cream cheese.” (I’m carrying an extra pound or two.) “And coffee.”
Jan slid a copy of her book across the table to me and smiled coyly. The cover showed her dancin’ and schmancin’ with Steve Allen. I flipped the book open to her inscription. To Timothy, it read. I will name our child Timothy.
“Congratulations,” I said. “When do you go back to Los Angeles?”
“I must depart at noon, my love. May I have a lock of your hair?”
“Of course,” I said. I picked up my butter knife and sliced a hunk of my gray hair. I handed it to her over the salt and peppershakers. Our hands met. Our fingertips lingered. She reached up with her napkin and wiped butter from my hair.
“I must dash to the airport, my sweet. My limo awaits. I will not forget this moment, or your manly face.”
“Nor I yours,” I replied. The limo driver took her arm and she turned to go. I looked at our waiter. “More coffee, please.”
Jan Kellerman Marshall turned back and waggled her gloved fingers. Then she tugged her broad-brimmed hat over one eye. “Toodles.” She said. Her red dress was sleek over her swaying hips.
“Toodles.” I replied. “Oh, and Jan — ?”
“Yes, my love.”
“What if it’s a girl?” She laughed, turned away, and was gone — poof, like the wind.