By Mary Shanley
Artwork by Sloane Adler
Lenny and I joined Susan, his wife, a sociologist,
at a political science party. It was held to celebrate
Fordham’s survey results being featured on the cover
of the New York Times. I worked on this survey;
it was about changes in race relations. We conducted
our research at the Harris polls on Fifty-Seventh Street
I suggested to Terry, the Political Scientist who
ran the survey, that if he really wanted to know if
there were changes in race-relations, we should be
allowed to ask participants, “Would you approve
of your child marrying someone of a different race?”
Terry got very annoyed with me and said, “There is no
way we are asking that question.”
Since Mario Cuomo’s campaign is paying for the
information, the answers needed to fit his script.
The results were most welcomed by the Cuomo people
and another stretch of political maneuvering came
to a close.
Lenny and I escaped the monotony of the party
and climbed the fire escape to the roof. We began
smoking joints under an overhang, to protect us from
the rain. While on the roof, Lenny confided that he
was one of the four activists who organized Kent State
in 1970. He freaked out after the students were gunned
down by the Ohio National Guard, and disappeared
into the underground.
He remained underground for six years, during which
time, he: changed his identity, gained and lost fifty
pounds and developed talent as a pointillist. When
Lenny met my friend, Susan, he fell in love and they
were eventually married. Lenny took Susan’s last name
and when he resurfaced from underground, his name
was Lenny Grey.
I was very high, and Lenny’s story blew my mind.
Although the rain had stopped, there were a number of
puddles on the roof. As I took a walk, preoccupied with
Lenny’s story, I noticed a mass of city lights, reflecting
in the huge puddle in front of me. Lenny called out to me,
“Hey Mary! Aren’t you going to stop?” The puddle,
ten feet in front of me, was the lights from the street,
below. I almost walked off the roof! Shit! I was shaken,
but didn’t let Lenny know he had saved my life.
When we returned to the party, I was still shaking
inside. I found the boring conversation mind-numbing,
which was fine with me. A few drinks in rapid succession,
along with a joint, and I didn’t have a care in my head.
I hung out. Did the chit-chat and Lenny,
Susan and I took a cab downtown.