Anyone Who Had a Heart!

Anyone Who Had a Heart

Anyone who had a heart
Would take me in her arms and love me, too
You couldn't really have a heart and hurt me,
Like you hurt me and be so untrue
What am I to do

Denville, New Jersey, Late October, 1964...

The boy stood in the aisle, trying to look inconspicuous and failing miserably. The girl at the counter stared at him as he walked up and down, looking at all of the items on the racks. He hoped the misdirection would work, but ultimately he had to walk up to the counter with his purchase. He picked a package off the rack and peered through the cellophane wrapper at the picture on the cover of the magazine.

“Need some help?” The girl teased. He looked back at her and shook his head before returning his attention to the magazine. A girl on the cover with garish looking makeup striking a provocative pose. He wondered if the money he had saved from his job at the luncheonette was worth spending on the treasure in his hand, but the ‘protective’ wrapper prevented perusal. He walked up to the counter and placed the magazine in front of the girl.

“Oh…you’re…” His face grew red her hesitation as she stared at the title…”TV Extravaganza.” He really shouldn’t have even been in the store but for the fact that his best friend’s cousin’s brother owned the place. He hoped that the contents of the store wouldn’t get back to his friend to become the fodder of teasing at school, but the girl’s smile helped him relax. She took a drag off her cigarette and blew out some smoke.

“That’s okay, hon…we all have our hang-ups.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out twenty dollars. She laughed before handing him back a nickel.

“I guess they figure they’ll sell more if they price it under twenty, huh? Bon appetite, kid!” She laughed as the door closed behind him.

Rainbow Lakes, New Jersey...

Anyone who ever loved could look at me
And know that I love you
Anyone who ever dreamed could look at me
and know I dream of you
Knowing I love you so

It was a long walk home; the school bus passed the store on the way from the high school, but it was much closer to the start of the trip and his house was on the last block of the route. He arrived home an hour late and made an excuse about just catching the last bus.

“Honey? Vin? Could you take Max for a walk before you start your homework?”

“Sure, Mom!” Vinnie placed his binder on the desk, the magazine safely in a paper bag in the pocket. To be extra safe, he placed his history book on top before running out the door with the dog. A few minutes later he returned and yelled down the hall.

“I’m gonna take a nap before I start my homework, okay?” His mother shouted yes as his bedroom door closed. He nervously grabbed the package from his binder and plopped onto the bed. A moment later the protective barrier was removed along with a corner of the magazine, ripping a part of the ‘girl’s’ bee hive off her head. He hadn’t meant to sigh but he did as he viewed the contents with disappointment.


The magazine was rife with personal ads and poorly photographed pictures; mostly innocuous, but some utterly repulsive and irresistible at the same time. Pretty boys in sexy outfits performing unspeakable acts on bland and disinterested looking men. He didn’t want to, but a minute later he was back in bed with a washcloth from his bathroom. And several more minutes after that the magazine lay splayed open on the floor while he cried softly into his pillow.

The next morning, Saturday...

Every time you go away, I always say
This time it's goodbye , dear
Loving you the way I do
I take you back, without you I'd die dear
Knowing I love you so

“Vinnie? Can you finish up in the kitchen? Daddy and I are going over to Aunt Carla and Uncle Frank’s for the day. Daddy is helping Uncle Frank finish the patio and we’re going to be playing bridge tonight. Connie is at Lynn’s house for a sleepover, so you’ll be home by yourself until we get home.” Jo still saw Vinnie as her baby even though he was almost fourteen.

“Okay, mom…I’ll start that right now.” Most times he’d wait for them to leave, but with the chores at hand, he was in the kitchen working as the car pulled out of the driveway. A half-hour later the kitchen was finished and Max was out in the yard, blithely nodding off under the small apple tree next to the porch. He took a deep breath and entered his sister’s bedroom....

“Oh fuck…fuck it…I give up.” He almost sobbed as he sat at his sister’s vanity. A very plain looking but girlish sort of boy stared back at him. Black low-heeled sandals with black tights and a hip length mini-dress; black and pink wide stripes. His hair was short; Jo had given away that old wig she had saved from her drama days at the “Little Theater” in Montville, and Vinnie was left with his own dirty blond hair to deal with. None of the boys in his school had begun to follow the British Invasion, and short hair was still pretty much the style of the day. No matter. If he couldn’t be his idol, he’d be the next best thing.

Some time later...

He peered back at the image. The misapplied makeup made him look like one of the girl-boys he had seen in the article in Life Magazine about ‘those’ kids who liked to troll for johns on the strip. One false eyelash was sitting in place on his right eyelid, but the other was lying on his cheek under his left eye. The eyeliner was thick in places and hardly noticeable in others. The clip-on bangle earrings looked okay, and he took a deep breath, telling himself that if he couldn’t be Dusty, at least he’d be Edie…Edie Sedgewick. She was really a boy, wasn’t she? Or at least she looked like one. But so did he and he dissolved in a sea of frustrated tears.

“Everybody needs help at first, Vin.” He turned around and saw his sister standing in the doorway.

“Lynn’s mom has the flu, so we’re going over to Donna’s house. I just stopped off to get some records and my record player.” He noticed her holding some 45’s.

“We’ve got some time before I go over, so let me see…” She had already found some makeup wipes and was cleaning his face off. Nothing spectacular, but minutes later the boy looked in the mirror and spotted not one but two girls. One who looked just like every other teenage girl. But the girl next to her looked almost exactly like a boyish waif-like model that he had seen on the photo layout about Andy Warhol.

“Just don’t start smoking, or Mommy will kill me.” Connie laughed and handed the boy-girl a candy cigarette.

“Wanna look as authentic as possible, okay?” Vinnie stared blankly at his sister, who nodded and smiled before saying, finally,

“Lynn and I are going as George and Paul. And Bobby too.” She said, referring to Lynn’s sister. I think you look really good as Edie, but Lynn’s mom has a nice teased blond wig. With a mini and a nice top and some go-go boots?’

“You mean it?”

“Would I kid my own sister? Sure as shootin’, Dusty!”


“Really. And Mommy and Daddy will be home at midnight. Try to get cleaned up before then, ‘cause Daddy’ll hit the roof.”

“What about Mommy?”

“Who do you think told me to stop by before I went to Donna’s” She laughed before kissing Vinnie on the cheek

“See you later, Edie.”

Vinnie turned around and looked at the girl in the mirror. Her makeup ran only slightly as she cried a bit before turning her attention to the music playing on the radio.

And she sighed.

Anyone who had a heart
Would take me in her arms and love me, too
You couldn't really have a heart and hurt me,
Like you hurt me and be so untrue
What am I to do

Halloween Night...Parsippany, New Jersey...

Four girls stood on the front steps of the house; the outdoor lights were draped with orange and black crepe' paper and a large scarecrow sat on the porch swing. The doorbell sounded loudly, and the door opened, revealing a middle-aged couple dressed as a wizard and a witch. The man looked a bit disappointed at the appearance of four older 'kids,' but the woman beamed broadly as the four shouted loudly,

"Trick or treat." A moment later they were on the street once again, laughing. Lynn stopped and looked at Connie before smiling. A one-time moment; never before and never to be duplicated, she leaned closer and kissed her best friend hard on the lips. They parted with giggles and smiled.

While one of the girls didn't quite match the singer she adored, she and her friend did make reasonable facsimiles of Lulu and Cilla Black. The two stared at their companions as Lynn remarked,

"You never know until you try, right?"

And of course the two looked odd, but that would be expected for two mop top musicians from the most famous group in the free world kissing in a suburb street in Northern New Jersey. But the next moment, the two that were with them followed suit, kissing much in the same manner. That they kissed harder and longer wasn't lost on their respective sisters as Vinnie and Bobby continued what would be the most memorable Halloween of their lives as they kissed again...

and again...

Anyone who had a heart
Would take me in his arms and love me, too
You couldn't really have a heart and hurt me,
Like you hurt me and be so untrue
Anyone who had a heart would love me too
Anyone who had a hear would take me in his arms and love me too
Why won't you

for Ginger, who knows where we came from,
and for my dear MoonGoddess Diana, who knows where we're headed!

Anyone Who Had a Heart
words and music by
Hal David and Burt Bacharach
as performed by
my dear sweet Dusty Springfield

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This story is 1814 words long.