The Unforgiving Minute

BOOK: The Unforgiving Minute
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A Novel by

Jerome Reyer

Jerome Reyer

20493 Linksview Way

Boca Raton, Florida 33434

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And which is more you’ll be a Man, my son!


By Rudyard Kipling


There is a generation of American men whose older brothers

served in the second world war. Most of them were reaching

puberty when World War II was coming to a close. They heard

their older brothers talking about their sexual experiences,

either real or imagined, and couldn’t wait to date girls so that

they too could participate in this fabulous experience. This

generation had grown up in a sexually repressed society. A

society where in the popular movies of the day, married couples

were depicted as sleeping in twin beds and with those who were

not married, a kiss was the ultimate, forbidden experience.

When men of that generation dated girls, they found out

that sex was impossible to achieve, except with the most

adventurous or most immoral girls and those were not easy to

find. Hundreds of thousands of these men came to their wedding

bed as virgins, as did their brides.

In 1954, Hugh Hefner came out with the first edition of

PLAYBOY. The magazine depicted the suave, urbane male who was

comfortable with women and who was adept at the art of seduction.

These men read the magazine and daydreamed about these women and

hungrily admired the nude photos, previously unavailable for

overt public consumption.

Soon afterwards, the sexual revolution broke out. There

were nubile young women, thirsty for sexual adventure, who

suddenly were available everywhere. Many of the men of that

generation found the temptation irresistible and succumbed. The

intoxication became habit forming and many found themselves

repeatedly involved in affair after affair. These men came to

consider this a normal part of their lives and felt neither

guilty or immoral. Each and every year, in movies, novels,

magazines and conversation, sex became open and almost


The protagonist of this novel is one of these men.

Forgive him.


August, 1985

The country club was filled with bustling life at seven

o’clock on a sunny Saturday morning in August. Strings of golf

carts linked together noisily arrived at the first tee. Men in

various stages of mostly tasteless dress walked sleepily from the

locker room to the driving range or the first tee staging area.

Most had enormous potbellies hanging over their golf pants or

shorts. The air was filled with the sounds of men greeting each

other and vying for the starter’s attention. Some held

polyurethane coffee cups and sipped the steaming black liquid

while watching each foursome tee off.

I stood on the first tee with the dew gleaming on the

lush, green fairway like a thousand diamonds in the morning sun.

Golf, I thought, is a game that is always played in pretty


I was in a situation that most men never achieve in their

lifetimes. I had sold my management consulting firm the day

before and had received seven million dollars up front. Seven

certified checks for one million dollars each now sat in a safe

in my home, ready to distribute to various banks and brokerage

firms on Monday.

I stood on the first tee and felt the first wave of muggy

heat and humidity that is so common to Long Island at that time

of year. I kept my eye on the ball and took a slow, smooth

backswing. As I brought the club through the ball, I heard that

beautiful click that portends a long, great shot, but

alas … the ball hooked to the left and came to rest about two

hundred and twenty yards away, to the left of the fairway and

behind a large tree.

As I strode to the ball with my caddy, I felt a surge of

depression go through my body. It wasn’t the shot I hit. I had

long since learned to cope with the betrayals of that little

white ball. A man who had just been handed the “Golden

Parachute,” at age fifty-five, should have been elated. Instead,

I plodded morosely behind my caddy toward the errant ball. When

I reached it, I stood there staring at it as if I were in a

trance. I was aware of the caddy suggesting the best way to

handle the shot, when I suddenly turned around and walked toward

the clubhouse. The caddy hurried behind me in a state of total

confusion. When we reached the clubhouse, I reached in my pocket

and paid him for a full eighteen holes and walked into the locker

room. I hurriedly changed my shoes, not even thinking of the

rest of my foursome and what they must be thinking. I walked out

the door, got into my car, and left, knowing that I wasn’t going

to be back for a long time.

Chapter 1

August 3, 1985

I turned the key quietly and walked into the house. I

knew that Julie would surely be sound asleep at eight-fifteen on

a Saturday morning. I kept a wall safe in my study, which was

more for knowing where things were kept than for security. I

opened it quietly and withdrew four certified checks. Two were

in the amount of two million five hundred thousand dollars and

two in the amount of one million dollars. I went to my desk and

made out deposit slips at various banks in which Julie and I

maintained joint accounts for all but one million dollars, which

I slipped into the leather pocket portfolio in which I kept my

passport. I replaced everything in the safe and left the house

as quietly as I had entered. I got back in the car and headed

for the Swissair terminal at Kennedy Airport.

As the big Town Car rolled quietly, counter to the summer

traffic, over relatively empty roads, I thought of the old saw

that a drowning man’s whole life flashes before him. I had the

feeling I was drowning for quite some time now.

I guess about ninety-nine percent of the world would give

their eye teeth for my life, but I felt thoroughly disgusted with


I guess, to put it in perspective, I’ll have to start with

my marriage. I grew up in a middle-class family. My father was

the son of Italian immigrants. His name was Angelo Boisano.

When he met, fell in love, and subsequently married my mother,

the former Roberta Peck, he changed his name to Andrew Boyd and

became a Presbyterian. My father was an accountant and raised

his family well, sending me, my brother Andrew, and my sister

Frances through college. Six years ago, both of my parents were

killed in an auto crash while driving to Florida through an ice

storm in the Carolinas.

There’s a lot more to fill in about me, but let’s get to

Julie and me, which I guess is the crux of the problem. The

religious intermarriage thing gets even better. Julie, the

former Julia Liebowitz of Cedarhurst, Long Island, is Jewish. I

never converted, but religion doesn’t mean a hell of a lot to me

so we were able to work it out, complete with an ecumenical

mixture of all the fun traditions. The kids benefitted the most,

taking off the Jewish holidays and getting Santa Claus and the

Easter Bunny.

Julie was, and is, the daughter of Moe and Esther

Liebowitz. Moe was a successful furrier and is retired to a

beautiful home in Jupiter, Florida, where he and Esther are

currently living happily ever after.

Julie and I met at the University of Pennsylvania in

Philadelphia. She is a year younger than I, but we were in the

same class year because she skipped a year in grammar school.

The first moment I laid eyes on her in a freshman literature

class, I was hooked. I spent the next four years wrestling her,

hoping to take her virginity and lose mine as well. On our

wedding night in 1952 her virginity was still intact. She was a

dark-haired, dark-skinned beauty, and with her dark brown eyes

looked like everyone’s fantasy of Cleopatra. She was

intelligent, charming, well-spoken and had impeccable manners.

She was the epitome of the girl I wanted for my wife.

When we announced our engagement, Moe and Esther all but

called out the Marines, in contrast to my parents who were

instantly delighted. Moe and Esther couldn’t bear the thought of

Princess Julia marrying a goy, who were all known to be wife—

beaters and drunks. Her mother took her aside and told her,

“Don’t you know that the first time you have a fight, he’ll call

you a dirty Jew?”

Her mother and father finally gave their blessing and I

never did call her a dirty Jew or beat her. I did, however, from

time to time get a little drunk, but no more so than some of our

Jewish friends. We were married in October of 1952 and Julie

worked as a bookkeeper in Philadelphia while I got my MBA at


By the time our wedding night came along, I had lost my

virginity and been magnificently educated in the sexual arts,

thanks to my college pals, who, as a bachelor party present,

bought me the most elegant and expensive hooker in Philadelphia.

They paid her three hundred 1952 dollars to spend the entire

night with me. The next morning I was not only educated in all

the erotic arts, but I was so enamored with the hooker, who was a

Ginger Rogers look-alike, that I almost forgot I was in love with


The wedding was held at the Plaza Hotel in New York and my

in-laws pulled out all the stops. Our wedding night, however,

was a shambles. Julie was frightened to death to have sex. Her

mother had done a hell of a job on her. Every time I thrusted,

she backed up. This went on for an hour until I decided that

rape was the only answer. I pinned her down with my forearm,

erect and poised to strike. At that moment I started to wilt and

when I pushed it bent in half. The more I pushed, the softer I

got. Combine that with the fact that she was dry and frightened

and you can figure out the results. The marriage was not

consummated that night. We fell asleep exhausted, her virginity


We honeymooned in Hawaii at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel on

Waikiki beach.

For those of you who have recently been to Waikiki, you

are probably imagining the touristy Kalakaua Avenue of today,

with hotels on both sides of the street and hawkers everywhere.

In 1952, the Royal Hawaiian Hotel was known as the “Pink Palace

of the Pacific.” It was a must stop for visiting royalty and

Presidents of the United States. It stood out like a pink jewel

and Waikiki beach behind the hotel was relatively uncrowded and

exotic, especially to a couple of young kids from the big city.

The plane trip took about fifteen hours, with several stops. We

held hands like true honeymooners for the whole flight, but our

sexual failure was on our minds all the way.

When we reached Honolulu, we got the royal treatment. My

in-laws had, of course, paid for the trip and everything was

deluxe. We were welcomed with orchid leis and driven to the

hotel in a limousine, which was a very big deal in 1952. We had

a suite overlooking the Pacific which was filled with tropical

flowers and fruits and stocked with the finest champagne.

Soon after we were settled in, Julie went into our ornate

marble bathroom to shower. I quickly peeled off my clothes and

jumped in with her. We stood there, the warm water cascading

over us while we soaped each other’s nude bodies, exploring,

probing and squealing with delight. We were young, good-looking

and passionately in love. We left the stall shower, soaking wet,

and fell onto the bath mat. We were so taken in by the moment

that we forgot about our failures. In order to be a superb lover

I closed my eyes and imagined I was with my Philadelphia whore.

I performed as she had taught me and hearing Julie’s screams and

moans was a tremendous sense of accomplishment for a twenty-two—

year-old with a .500 sexual batting average. Julie later

complained of some pain and mild bleeding and I felt like a

conquering stud.

After a marvelous day of sightseeing, including an

emotionally moving trip to the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial and a

sumptuous dinner, we got into bed with a balmy tropical breeze

blowing from the sea through our window. I felt amorous and

aroused and, knowing that Julie was in pain due to the loss of

her virginity, I decided to introduce Julie to another delight my

wonderful whore had taught me. I straddled her head with my

knees and attempted to lower myself into her mouth. She sat bolt

upright and said, “Oh my God, you’re disgusting; you’re an

animal. What do you think I am, some kind of tramp?” She ran

into the bathroom and locked herself in. I couldn’t believe it.

The whore told me that women loved this. I lay staring at the

dark ceiling for what seemed like hours. Julie finally got back

in the bed, turned her back on me without a word, and either went

to sleep or feigned sleep. Oral sex from either party didn’t

come up again for five or six years. The next morning she acted

like it never happened and so did I.

We flew home two weeks later, very much in love and ready

to settle into our new apartment in Manhattan.

My mind was so occupied that when I reached the approach

road to Kennedy Airport, I didn’t even remember driving there. I

pulled into one of JFK’s outrageously expensive short-term

parking lots and walked into the Swissair terminal in the

international arrivals building.

The counter was empty and I walked up to a charming girl,

who was obviously an American, but well schooled in the

courtesies that Swissair is famous for. I purchased a one-way,

first-class ticket to Zurich on Swissair’s Flight 101 leaving JFK

at five-fifteen Monday evening, August 5, 1985. I paid the girl

in cash and left with the ticket in my pocket.

I drove back to the country club, this time creeping

through Saturday morning beach traffic. The same trip that took

me twenty minutes to the airport took me one-and-a-half hours on

the way back.

I walked into the club dining room, which at eleven—

fifteen was fairly empty, and eyed the manager’s office. I knew

the manager didn’t arrive until lunchtime on Saturday and that

his secretary only worked weekdays. I made sure no one saw me

and I stole into his office, locked the door behind me, and sat

down at the typewriter and typed three letters.

Dear Julie,

I don’t quite know how to begin this letter,

except to say that I really love you and the children very

much and I hate to do what I have to do. Enclosed find

deposit slips for six million dollars. I have taken one

million with me.

I feel that I am drowning in a sea of torment. It

isn’t your fault; it’s mine. I must drop out for a while. I

don’t know how long or where to. I know we will worry

about each other, but I feel this is the only way I can get

my life in order. Please try to explain to the kids. I can’t

bear to write them.

I hope to snap out of this soon and return and

give you the life you so richly deserve.

All my love,


Dear Laura,

What can I say to you that I haven’t said a

thousand times before? I thought that you and I had the

supreme love affair. I really thought it was forever and

would never end. I feel such a sense of loss that it is as if

someone has died. The feeling is so much like it was

when my parents died.

You will not be receiving any more annoying

phone calls from me. I am dropping out and

disappearing to God knows where for God knows how


I’ll always love you.


Dear Ann Marie,

You’ll always be my best friend, so I’m going

to level with you. I’m dropping out for a while and no

one but you will know where I am. I’ll keep you posted

as to where I am, so that if any emergency comes up in

my family, you will know where to reach me.

My first stop will be Zurich, but I probably

won’t stay there longer than it takes me to do some

banking. I will write you and probably call you, because

you know I will need you desperately from time to time.

It’s so good to have you in my life. I don’t know what I

ever would have done without you.

You’ll hear from me very soon.

Va Bene Belissima,


I addressed two of the envelopes and stamped them,

courtesy of the country club, and merely wrote “Julie” on the


I would mail the two immediately, and take the third home

to leave in a prominent place on Monday afternoon.

The hard part now was to get through the usual weekend

social events without tipping my hand.

I carefully escaped the manager’s office, walked over to

the bar, and ordered a double vodka on the rocks.

BOOK: The Unforgiving Minute
2.88Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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