Compassion, tenderness and a wild humor radiate from this series of short stories about a blundering guy and his thin-lipped gal reaching for each other in the mad chases and infrequent stillnesses of the city. Benny, stocky parking lot manager, agonizes through a sequence of abortive wooing strategies, but Flo, apt to be too ""skinny and picky,"" never seems to glide in on schedule. There is always some unlucky happening or word that gets Flo involved in another direction; the Negro Ray has to break his neck and Flo is after City Hall; Benny organizes a serenade and Flo thinks he has exploited the musicians; Flo brings a horrible friend to a New Year's party where Benny planned to pop the question amid Spanish gaiety. But there are great moments: a glorious snowball fight on a winter morning and two women preparing a cozy breakfast in Benny's apartment; and Benny and Flo laughing and thawing after a crazy, icy walk on the Brooklyn Bridge. However, Benny bumbles and Flo retreats and the two lovers slant away forever. A wondrously noisy clatter of humanity on a cluttered Manhattan street. Some published in The New Yorker.