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"A Little Action"

by Lew Rowen



Vol. 2, No. 12,  1958

     George Neyland was tired and hot from the long day's drive when he checked in at the hotel. Also, he was dissatisfied at having had to make the trip at all--but when his sister made one of her "suggestions," it was a lot easier to fulfill it than to endure the campaign of coercion that inevitably followed refusal or delay.
    As the bellhop opened the windows of his room, George reflected on the dubious pleasures of the morrow, when he was to meet his niece, Carla, whom he had not seen for nine years. Carla wa attending an exclusive girls' college in the suburbs, and George's sister had insisted upon his looking up her daughter.
    "From what she writes me," she had told George over the phone only the night before, "she knows no one to visit. Since tomorrow is the start of the Thanksgiving holidays, and Carla can't possibly come all the way to California for just three days, I thought you might look her up and have dinner with her."
    The instructions had been detailed and implicit, as usual. With many an inward groan, George had given up his snug rural bachelorhood for the holidays, climbed into his car and headed for the city. When his sister had moved to California, George had been grateful to have then width of the continent separating them. Since the long-distance call he had been cursing modern science, with special emphasis on the telephone and Alexander Graham Bell, for making the world too small for his comfort. 
    He had no idea what Carla would be like. Truthfully, still haunted by the memory of his sister's domination, he didn't want to know. But he was a man, he was in the city however unwillingly, and he had an evening to kill.
    Pulling a five dollar bill from his wallet, he offered it to the bellhop with the words, "How can I find a little action around here?"
    The bellhop appraised him thoughtfully, then took the money and said, "You're in luck, sir. There's three numbers in room 917 who are out for a ball. Want me to call them for you sir?"
    "No thanks," said George. "I'll do my own pitching."
    "You won't have any trouble, sir," the bellhop told him before departing. "This group is loaded and ready."
    George showered, shaved, got into fresh clothes, then made his call. Less than two minutes later, he was knocking at the door of Room 917. It was opened by a voluptuously figured young redhead in a transparent negligee. She regarded him briefly, then flung open the door and called to someone behind her, "I've got a live one, girls. Come and get him."
    At first, because the three lovely and lively young women who engulfed him with their heady femininity, headier perfume and even headier sexiness went about it so laughingly, George thought it was some kind of joke. Within a few more minutes, however, he resigned himself to the sort of evening Casanova delighted to write about in his old age.
    When he tottered down to the lobby, shortly after noon the next day, for his rendezvous with Carla, even the circles under his eyes had little circles of their own. He could not remember ever having been quite so enjoyably washed up in his life, not even in Paris. The redhead who had first answered the door had been especially ardent, both with him and with the other two men who had joined the party. She had been the ringleader, all the way.
    Since he had slept late, he was understandably half-starved, and hoped Carla would be on time. But the minutes passes, and the tens of minutes, until they became an hour. To avoid any missup, George had Carla paged.
    Minutes later, he looked up to see the redhead standing before him, looking down at him with speculative amusement. She was fresh and innocent as a--he groped for the words--a college girl. College girl! He sprang to his feet with horror, as she said, "My goodness! You must be Uncle George Neyland. I'm--"
    "Oh, no!" he exclaimed in horror. "You can't be!"
    "But I am!" she insisted. "I'm hungry as a bear." And, leading him numbly toward the dining room off the lobby, "I'm Carla's roommate. She sprained an ankle playing field hockey yesterday and has to spend Thanksgiving in the infirmary. She asked me to look out for you."


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