Lew and Pru in Paris

(#1 in a series)

"Gosh, Pru, you wouldn't believe what you can buy in the book-stalls here," he said, holding up his purchase with a happy smile. "Look, it's a copy of that Tropic of Cancer book that I've heard about. It's supposed to be frightfully naughty!"

"Lew," his companion scolded. Her clear skin blushed prettily as she frowned at him, and a few wisps of her dark hair escaped the severe tie that confined it as she shook her head. "You know that reading that book would be very bad for you. Heaven knows what you might get up to. Why, I've heard that it should not even be called a book at all." Her voice warmed as she recalled the stirring words of one of her fellow campaigners for morality. "It is 'not a book. It is a cesspool, an open sewer, a pit of putrefaction, a slimy gathering of all that is rotten in the debris of human depravity.'"

"Gosh," he said, "it sounds great!" His open features broke into a full grin and he attempted to give her a lecherous wink. "I've heard it's got prostitutes, and, um, naughty bits--" "Now, Lew," she said, holding out her hand, "you know that I can't let you read filth like that. Hand it over." "Oh, all right," he said, "but you know the condition. You must promise to read it yourself. You could do with a bit of loosening up." "Very well, if that is the only way," she promised. She gulped as he handed it over, the touch of the book on her hand producing that strange electrical tingle that it mysteriously often seemed to do.

Lew seemed like he was about to make a joke about it, but then movement behind her caught his eye, and he turned and looked over the railing. "It's a trolley," he said, "Pru, it's going to crash! And there's such a crowd on the line, why it will hit five people." Pru gasped and he looked around desperately for something to do. "There," he said, "if we had something to throw at that switch, we could divert the trolley to another line." "Then I must break my promise to you, for the greater good," said Pru, winding up to throw the copy of Tropic of Cancer. This way she'd be able to get rid of it with a good conscience. "Wait, Pru, there's another person on the line it would get diverted to," he said. She hesitated.

It was a difficult moral puzzle. But while they were thinking, the trolley went past the switch. "Oh, dear!" exclaimed Pru. Lacking anything else to do, she threw the book at the back of the head of a fat man standing near them. He toppled over the railing.

They both rushed to the railing to see what had happened. In an extremely lucky crash, the fat man had fallen in such a way as to divert the trolley so that no one was hurt, including him. Lew helped him back up, and Pru felt her heart swell with the feeling of a deed well done. "Thank you," the fat man gasped, "all my life I've felt bad about being so heavy. And now my size has been of use, to save life! Young man, I insist I presenting you with a copy of this naughty book I just purchased, Tropic of Cancer. May you get as much pleasure out of it as I would have." "Thank you -- I think I will," said Lew, as he, smiling, passed it over to Pru.

Pru looked the book and blushed. It was going to be a long, hard job to get through this. But their agreement really was optimal.

2009 Rich Puchalsky

(#1 in a series) E-mail: rpuchalsky1@gmail.com

Last modified: January 1, 2015