When I got back to Montague Street, Marder was there. Florrie had slipped off her drawers so she could recline on the purple satin divan with her legs splayed, and Marder could get his eyeful. She winked at me when I walked through the door.
“Ah, the lovely June returns, “ said Marder. “Where, oh where, could she have been? Meeting her lover? Florrie was just confiding some details of your domestic ménage.”
“Was she?” I said.
“What she does to soothe you when you cannot go to sleep.”
“Ah, yes, Florrie’s soothing ministrations,” I said. “I would like a cigarette.”
“My interest is purely avuncular,” Marder said. “I look upon you two delightful creatures as the nieces God deprived me of by making me an only child.”
“Avuncular,” said Florrie. “That sounds dirty.”
“Take off your blouse, Florrie,” I suggested. “It’s hot in here.”
Florrie’s tits were big with nipples that were only slightly darker than the bloodless, white, anemic skin around them. There was a vast chasm between them, and they drooped over the sharp little bones of her tiny ribcage so that there was a kind of hiding space beneath them. When Florrie was drunk, which was often, she would slip things under her breasts. Just for fun. Just to stay in practice. Here, in the apartment we shared, those things were pencils, typewriter ribbons, the occasional Krupniok sausage, but in Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdale Brothers, Bonwit Teller, and the other emporiums on Ladies Mile that she haunted before hiking the half mile to the Orpheum Dance Palace where I'd first made her acquaintance, those things were pairs of silk stockings, kid gloves, pearl necklaces, flower clips for her hair.
Stripped to the waist, her sweet little pussy shed of those lacy underthings that—let’s face it—were often not quite as clean as they might have been, Florrie was seized with a sudden impulse to perform acrobatics. She stood on her hands. She performed a jeté. She sank into a split.
Marder watched this performance absently.
Florrie claimed to be the scion of a famous circus family, much celebrated throughout the French Riviera for their cloud swings, aerial trapeze, and other daredevil acts, all performed 50 feet off the ground and, more often than not, without a net. Somehow—a part of the story Florrie glossed over—her family had ended up touring the Michigan and Indiana farm town circuit by the time Florrie was born.
Alas! Florrie herself was so terrified of heights that she’d never gone near a tight rope. For a while, she straddled a unicycle during the circus’s opening clown act and rode an ancient nag bareback in the closing parade. When the nag finally dropped dead of old age in South Bend one night, Florrie decamped.
At least, this was what she told me.
I have no idea what she told Marder.
(I thought it was just possible what Florrie had told me might be the truth. Florrie was much too stupid to keep track of an elaborate lie.)
Florrie executed a perfect front roll dive over the davenport. She landed too hard, and the cups on the coffee table rattled.
Marder pretended to watch with an indulgent smile, but I saw him sneaking a peek at his watch. There was no sign of lust. Marder was too old for lust. In his advancing years, lust had metamorphosed into a kind of anthropological obsession for Marder. What he was really interested in phrenology.
Sometimes he would pay Flossie to bring men to our little haven on Montague Street and fuck them on the very sofa she disported so spiritedly upon now. Marder would hide behind a closed door in the kitchen. He’d paid a carpenter handsomely to install a peephole in the door between kitchen and living room, and he’d peer through that peephole, attempting to read the expression on the faces of the young men who lay on top of Florrie, buttocks pumping, faces contorted in primal rictus.
On such occasions, my company was always demanded.
“Just look at him!” Marder would demand. “What do you think he’s feeling? That little cunt is sliding up and down him like a dairymaid’s fist. If it gets any tighter or hotter or wetter in there, he’s going to explode. And he doesn’t want to explode – just look at that perpendicular forehead. I’m afraid that denotes an utter deficiency of understanding.”
Myself, I doubted that Florrie’s cunt was overly tight. I knew for a fact that she’d had three abortions. I imagined that the candles and the curling irons and the other instrumentations she’d subjected herself to in the back room of those Lower East Side abortion parlors had left her considerably stretched.
“Look at her nose,” Marder said to me now as Florrie deposited herself upon the davenport and worked her legs in back of her neck so that her pussy displayed itself to us, slithery and pink, like a slit in an underwater calla lily. “The very personification of predacious energy.”
“I really must get ready to go to work,” I told him.
“Must you?” Marder asked. His face crumpled. He snapped his fingers at Florrie as though she were a dog. Instantly, Florrie brought her legs down, unearthed her drawers from under a sofa cushion.
Marder and I maintained a polite fiction that I continued to work because I enjoyed my autonomy and was too independent to allow him to do more than to subsidize my living arrangements, pay for my food, gift me with the occasional fur or garnet trinket—
Never a diamond trinket. I noticed that.
In fact, my independence meant nothing to me whatsoever. But I was aware that Marder was a very small fish indeed in the world of wealthy, concupiscent men and thus it would behoove me to continue casting out my net.
The Orpheum Dance Palace was my waters.
This entry was originally posted at http://mallorys-camera.dreamwidth.org. You may leave comments on either Dreamwidth or LiveJournal if you like.