Sally jumped at the sound of the phone. She waited for her family’s ring, one short and one long. “Hello?”
“Hey, Doll-face.” Freddy used his seductive voice.
She giggled. “Mrs. Grundy might be listening. How are things?”
“Copacetic. You putting on your glad rags tonight for me, Baby?”
She whispered, “Why? Are you taking me out on the town? You’re not going to be a piker this time, are you?”
“I’m hurt. The Automat was a classy date. Just plug in a penny or nickel and you can eat whatever you choose. Anyway, I thought we’d see the new talkie.”
“Ooooh…I love Al Jolson. He’s the bee’s knees.”
“What’s eating you? You love Mary Pickford.”
“Pick you up at six.” Freddy hung up.
Sally slipped on her dress. “Hmmm…just below my calf. I’ll be lucky to get out of the house,” she thought aloud. She pulled up her honey-beige colored stockings and slipped on her Mary Jane’s. She fluffed up her bobbed hair and checked the little makeup she could get away with. Assured she looked good, she put on her long coat to cover up her unclothed legs and arms.
Sally soon heard the distinctive sound of Freddy’s jalopy and the incessant scream of the horn.
“Going now, Pops.”
Her dad looked her over suspiciously. “Raise your coat,” he demanded.
She lifted it just a bit.
“What’s your beef, Pops? Don’t be such a wet blanket.”
“Sally, we live and breathe in the Bible Belt. I don’t like how Chicago’s sins are getting into our town. Who are you going out with?”
“Hmmm…the loud mouth that speaks a funny language? Where are you going?”
“You know that’s the devil’s handiwork. I’m going with you. Wait a minute.” Mr. Druthers bounded up the steps and Sally went outside.
Freddy honked again.
She sauntered over and stuck her head in the window. “Pops’s going with us.”
“Your daddy wants to be a fire extinguisher? Girl, how old are you?”
“It won’t be so bad.” She batted her eyes and smiled. “What do you say, Freddy?”
“Get a wiggle on, Doll. Let’s leave him standing.”
Sally looked over her shoulder then jumped in the car.
Freddy honked in victory just as Mr. Druthers opened the door.
Sally looked back and saw her dad shaking his fist. She sank into her seat suddenly aware she just defied her father.
In the theater, they found two empty seats. They settled in close with their popcorn and one drink with two straws.
When the music started, Freddy put his arm around Sally and whispered, “Do we cash or check?”
“Bank’s closed, Freddy. Pops knows where we are, he might catch us.”
The young man groaned, “You beat all, you know that?”
“I’ll make it up to you, promise. Just listen to that sound. Wow! Amazing.”
“Amazing alright,” Freddy suddenly wasn’t interested in the Jazz Singer. The dark balcony with no chaperones enticed him more. He laid his hand on her thigh and blew in her ear.
“Freddy Lee Colburn, you stop that right now. Isn’t Al just the best?”
Freddy tried to entice her back to him, “We could get in the struggle buggy on the way home.”
Sally ignored him, engrossed in the dialogue and music. “This is the greatest thing since hamburgers.” She smiled at the big screen.
Undaunted, Freddy laid down the snacks and grabbed her cheeks with both hands and smooched her good and long.
Sally fought at first then gave in to the sin. She forgot all about the threat of her father showing up.
Freddy had just came up for a breath when he felt the cold hand of death on his neck. Mr. Druthers dragged him out of the theater. Mortified, Sally followed them.
“Wowsers, Pops. You spifficated? What you been drinking?” Freddy exclaimed.
“Daddy, please let him go,” Sally begged.
“The devil’s handiwork,” Mr. Druthers proclaimed.
“It’s just a movie.”
“Not talking about the movies, Sally.”
“Easy Pops. I can’t help it. I’m crazy in love with Sally.”
Mr. Druthers held firm to fast talking Freddy.
“You love me? Seriously?”
“Well, yeah, Doll-Face,” Freddy shrugged out of Mr. Druthers loosened grip and shoved his hand in his pocket. “I couldn’t help myself. I was gonna give you this tonight.”
He produced a ring box and knelt on one knee. “If Pops says it’s ok, will ya marry me?”
Mr. Druthers slapped Freddy on the back. “Wowsers.”
Sally swooned, "Oh Freddy."
1920’s slang from the story:
Mrs. Grundy – extremely tight-laced person
Copacetic – wonderful
Glad rags – going out on the town clothes
Piker – cheapskate
Bee’s knees – extraordinary person
Mary Pickford – movie star in the 20’s
Get a wiggle on – hurry up
Cash or check – kiss now or later
Bank’s closed – no kissing
Struggle buggy – back seat
Spifficated – drunk
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