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The Juggler
by Jerry Guarino

Many people think that college was the best time of their life. That’s when you develop friendships, prepare for a career and possibly find the love of your life. In 1971, Tony was a junior at a large California university. It became his year of living dangerously.

As fate will sometimes pour blessings on you, Tony had somehow managed to be dating three coeds at the same time. He was in a state of grace. Who were these wonderful women?

Pam (pancake) Johnson, a lovely blond woman, athletic with blue eyes. Pam dressed in preppy clothing and even wore penny loafers (look it up). He nicknamed her pancake, because she only had time to meet with him at breakfast, usually at the pancake house and sometimes after love making at her apartment. Moreover, Pam only had time for Tony on Mondays and Thursday mornings. This made dating Pam a scheduled, pleasant experience.

Lisa (pizza) Donatelli, an Italian student from the East coast. Lisa had a bohemian bent and often dressed in torn jeans, peasant shirts and clogs, much like her neighbors in the Haight. Her dark hair and brown eyes popped as she smiled. Lisa loved pizza and only had time for Tony at lunch time and only on Tuesday and Friday afternoons. Tony loved Lisa and pizza, so it was a match made in heaven. He thought she might be the one, before meeting Sasha (see below).

Sasha (pasta) Romanov, a fiery Russian woman with bright red hair, lipstick and fashion clothes. Unlike most coeds, Sasha wore designer pants and satin blouses. She was, after all, an exchange student from Moscow. And yes, you guessed it, she only had time for Tony in the evening and only on Wednesday and Saturday nights. His nickname, pasta, derived from the fact that she loved Italian food and of course, so did Tony. They went to all the Italian restaurants in the Bay Area.

You may have noticed Tony had no paramours on Sunday. Thank God. That was the day to catch up on reading, writing papers and prepping for exams the next week. Although his lovers had ample time for their studies, Tony had to juggle his time constantly. As long as this schedule held up, he would be all right. It was unlikely that any of the women would see him with one of the others because the campus and population was so large. Remember, when they weren’t seeing Tony, they were probably in class, the library or studying.

Tony had a DJ gig on the campus radio station, Sunday, from six to nine at night. He often had call ins from his listeners requesting songs. Pam would ask for The Beatles music, Lisa favored Jefferson Airplane and Sasha loved the wild ones, Steppenwolf and Led Zeppelin.

The radio station asked him to do his show at the student union, a dance party. He thought he would be safe from running into his girlfriends, since they would all be home studying.

Not really.

As he spun records, lovely coeds would come up to him and whisper requests in his ear. This was the reason he became a DJ in the first place, to meet women.

Then he saw her, Sasha, in a red satin blouse, black pants and high heels. She sashayed up to him and gave him a kiss on the neck. In her delightfully broken English, she greeted him.

“Hello lover. I thought you did your show in the studio.”

“Yes, Sasha, usually, but they needed someone for the dance. I thought you would be home studying.”

“I needed a break. Besides, I always think of you at dinner time.”

Tony looked around, among the hundreds of people dancing.

“Well, you should go dance. There’s a lot of guys who would love to dance with you.”

“Won’t you be jealous? Aren’t you afraid someone will take me away from you?”

“We have a great time together, but I don’t own you. This is college, not the politburo.”

Sasha bent down and gave him a long, passionate kiss. Tony’s eyes were closed but he worried who might be watching.

“Do Svidanyia Tony. Maybe you can stop by after the dance.”

“I’d like that Sasha, probably not until ten.”

Sasha disappeared into the crowd. Tony was relieved.

“What’s a girl have to do to get a Beatles song?” Pam snuck up behind Tony and put her hands over his eyes.

“Pam, darling. You’re out late.”

“I called the station and they told me you were doing your show from here. I couldn’t wait until tomorrow morning. Where are you going after the show?”

Tony glanced around to see if Sasha was in sight.

“Oh, no where special. What did you have in mind?”

“The IHOP is open late. Would you like some pancakes and maybe back to my place for an early date?”

“Sounds great. Can I meet you there at 11?”

“Cool, lover.” She whispered something in his ear.

Pam glided out of sight. Tony hoped he was in the clear.

No such luck.

Lisa saw Tony at the DJ desk and ran up to him.

“There’s my guy. How are you, Tony?”

Lisa, the iconic flower girl, was as pure and beautiful as usual.

“Lisa, I thought you had an early class tomorrow.”

“Don’t you want to see me?”

“No, that’s not it. I just thought…”

“Gr00vy. How about we get a pizza after the dance?”

“All right, a quick one. Come back at 9 and we’ll…”

Tony was overwhelmed. How could he see Lisa at 9 for a pizza, Sasha at 10 and Pam at 11 for pancakes and romance? The next hour was torture, as he played music and tried to find a solution. Maybe he could reschedule Sasha and have time for Lisa and Pam.

But a solution did not present itself.

Nine pm. The dance was over. As Tony put away equipment, he looked up to see his beautiful girlfriends all walking up to him.

I don’t think I have to detail how that went.

Having lost his three girlfriends in one night, he wasn’t ready to go home. He headed to the theater for the midnight “Rocky Horror” show. Sitting in the middle of the seats, he wondered how this had all gone wrong. A goth girl with all the Rocky Horror makeup sat next to him.

“Hey, where’s your costume?”

“Oh, I just came from the student union dance. My name is Tony.”

“I’m Karen. Would you like some popcorn?”

Tony smiled and thought to himself.

“Yes, thanks.”