We’ll call her Morissa, because that’s the name she chose to use when she danced. She was not very nervous, the first time she performed. She knew that she moved well, she knew that she was beautiful, and she was an exhibitionist by nature. Still, her illogical courage led her to make her living with her natural attributes.
She began her career at ‘Le Strip’, in downtown Toronto. It was an upstairs theatre setting. Not a bar. In a bar, the girls were incidental to the drinks, and within reach of the drunks. The girls at ‘Le Strip’ were on stage individually, in the spotlight all the time. They chose their own music, usually the latest hard rock. Morissa was different, and chose some swinging Frank Sinatra, and Count Basie music.
One bad thing about ‘Le Strip’ was the lack of a rear or stage entrance. It was above some stores on Yonge Street. A person, dancer or customer, had to mount the long, narrow staircase to the box office. The route to the dressing room led all the way across behind the seats. The dressing room was at the opposite end, and some men would not take a seat, but stand in the dim light at the back wall, so they could get a close look at the girls as they came and went.
Morissa’s first task was to make the gauntlet run, from the top of the long stairway to the dressing room across the theatre. She kept her face away from the back wall of voyeurs and looked at the girl that was on the stage. She was just finishing her set, and removed her tiny pubic covering and strode around showing pubic hair. She strode back across the stage to the dressing room stage entrance and paused, turned to the audience, and spread her legs to reveal her vagina for several seconds before she darted into the dressing room.
Two seconds later, Morissa entered the dressing room from the other door. The dancer that just left the stage was glistening with sweat. She picked up a white towel to wipe herself down and looked over at Morissa.
“Who are you?” she said.
“Call me Morissa. Do we have to do that?” she said.
“Do what?” the dancer said, while she wiped sweat from between her breasts.
“Show our… uh… private places.” A black girl in a cotton robe was sitting on a stool at the cosmetics counter.
“There ain’t no private parts here, honey.” She laughed and took a long toque on a thick joint. The marijuana fragrance flowed through the air.
The drying dancer was naked, moving down the length of the room to the shower at the far end. She called over her shoulder to answer Morissa’s question.
“No, honey, you can if you want to. This is a theatre, so showing your honeypot is legal, and we get a $25 bonus if we do it for a few seconds. They’d jail you if you did it in a bar.” The black girl blew a cloud of fragrant smoke into the air and beckoned to Morissa.
“Come over here, honey. Take the chair next to me.” Morissa did that, and put her costume bag on a back shelf.
“Maybe I should change my name to Honey,” Morissa said.
“She calls everybody Honey,” said a third girl. She was dressed and prepared to go on stage. She walked to the stage door, and when she heard her music come booming through the wall, she darted out the door and began her routine.
Morissa dug into her bag and withdrew first her cosmetics. These she arrayed randomly on her counter space before the huge mirror. The mirror was surrounded with light bulbs. She chose her layers of costume, one by one. She put them on carefully. She had practiced several times, to be assured that she wouldn’t make a fool of herself in the spotlight.
Morissa sat with the black girl, who still wore only her robe. It fell open, and that was ignored because it didn’t matter. Morissa learned that she was called Blue, and that she was transsexual. They passed a joint back and forth. Blue assured Morissa that the smoke would improve her routine, and she’d enjoy it more. They heard a burst of applause as the dancer on stage finished her routine with a revealing spread that earned her $25 for 5 seconds of exposed vagina.
Morissa prepared for her first performance. She was eager to see the smiling, eager faces in the audience, as they appreciated her body and her dancing. Of course, she planned to expose her vagina. She didn’t care about the $25 bonus. She enjoyed the rush of excitement she gets when she’s sexually bold, anywhere in her life.
Her music began. Frank Sinatra sang, “You Make Me Feel So Young”. Morissa flung the stage door open and strode on her long legs into the spotlight at center stage.
I first noticed my second wife because of her walk. I was a writer in an ad agency, and she was a temporary secretary to cover someone’s vacation absence. I’d sometimes be able to watch her walking down the long corridors in the office layout. From the rear, she looked wonderful. She was petite, about 5’2″ and 105 pounds.
There was as rhythmic sway to her walk that exuded sexuality. She swayed, but there was also an endearing little irregularity, in that she didn’t go in a straight line, but staggered slightly, side to side. It was cute. I spoke to her a bit at the coffee machine. She’d been born in Israel while her parents were making their way from Poland to Canada. Her older sister was born in Poland, and her younger sister was born in Canada.
Naomi had a shapely dancer’s body, and the sweet face like an Asian doll. I felt she liked me, and one day I did a reckless and illegal thing. She was walking down a corridor, carrying a tray of buns and coffee for some executives in a meeting room. I came up behind her and reached around to cup her breasts. I expected her to accept it, and she did. She laughed and admonished me gently that she could drop the tray. I went back to my office.
Later in the week, she came to my office during a break. We made a date. I eventually left my first wife and took up with Naomi. I got the punishment I deserved. Soon after I let her move into my apartment, she left the office temp job and became a stripper. She was very good at it, and she made a lot of money for working just an hour a day. She performed four 15 minute dances per day at about $100 each – plus tips, stuffed into her G-string.
Anyway, years later I realize she’s a sociopath, and doesn’t feel anything about anybody. I remember that early in our relationship, she told me she didn’t know what love is. I should have paid attention. She doesn’t know what any emotion is, because she’s never felt them. She was a beautiful, wonderful lover, and a disgusting, amoral person. Good luck to her.
The hostess was a former model and a friend of my wife’s. My wife was an art director and many of her friends and associates were models, photographers, designers and other assorted phonies. My wife, I learned too late, was the Queen Phoney over all other phonies. So we went to the dinner party at the interesting old home of the boring old model.
I found out after I got there that the party was a bon voyage affair for a man who was moving to New York for an interesting job as a writer for a news magazine. His wife was to move with him of course. I looked across the table at Mrs. News Writer and was not able to stop looking at her. She was Israeli I was told. Her face was stunning, her complexion was smooth and tawny and something made me desire her. Her name is Rebekah.
I hope you’ve experienced that kind of thing so you’ll understand what happened to me. I looked into her eyes, dark and deep as an ocean. She spoke with a knowing smile, her voice low and throaty yet I could hear her in spite of the conversations going on around us. I didn’t notice if her husband noticed that his wife and I were flushed with unexpected and unwanted stimulation.
“Arthur is leaving in two days,” she said. “I’ll stay here while he finds a home in New York. I’ll fly down and we’ll make the final choice together. Then I’ll come back here for a couple of weeks to arrange the rental of our home and moving of our belongings to the new place.”
“Do you have kids to put into school there?” I said.
“My kids are adults,” She said. “One’s in university and the other is in the military.”
“You look much too young,” I said.
“Thank you,” she said. Conversations around the table had quieted as a next course of the meal was served. I was embarrassed to think that everyone had been listening to our conversation, although nothing out of line was said. I’m sure the intellectual mating dance was obvious to all, with the possible exception of her husband. He seemed to be oblivious to the incredible hotness of his wife.
“Where is your home here?” I said. “Perhaps I’d like to rent it from you when you’re ready to rent it.” My wife heard that and glared at me. I didn’t care. I’d already decided I was done with her phoniness, and had to move on.
She gave me her address and phone number and asked me to call first if I decided to look at the place so she could make it nice. I said I would, and we dropped the dance of seduction we’d been doing below the surface. We returned to the general gab around the table while we enjoyed really excellent squab. The hostess graciously accepted my compliments on the meal. My wife later told me that the hostess hadn’t cooked it, just ordered it from a caterer. It came with the uniformed servant who had brought the courses to the table.
Three days later I left the office at noon and drove to the address that Rebekah had given me. I called ahead from the car and she told me it would be convenient for her as well. She opened the door in a white terrycloth robe, a white towel wrapped around her head, drying the just washed hair.
“I wanted to be nice and clean for you,” she said. “I have a feeling you’re a cunnilingus kind of man.” I was caught off guard and hesitated a moment before I replied.
“You’re right,” I said. “Perhaps you’re a fellatio kind of woman, so please show me where the shower is.
We enjoyed each other that way three or four afternoons each week, until she moved to New York. It had to end, so it was just as well. My wife and I split up as we would have anyway. I enjoy my freedom, but I miss Rebekah.
I had grown fed up with the rampant mendacity in my high pressure, high pay profession. The others all seemed to really believe in what they were doing, but I couldn’t see how they could do that. Word games, puffery, fancy presentations and liquid lunches were a way of life. I couldn’t live it. I decided to take time away from it and get a job where I could be alone, outside. I’d had enough of being stuck in a studio, with windows that don’t open and recycled air is pumped in.
One Friday evening when I left my office on the twenty-ninth floor, I caught the express elevator. A courier driver named Jeff got on the elevator with me.
“Do you like your job?” I said.
“Yeah, I love it,” he said.
“Why?” I said.
“I’m alone, but have contact with the dispatcher. He feeds me calls to pick up and drop off things – small packages, envelopes, stuff like that.
“Do you make a decent living?” I said.
“I get along.”
Out on the street in front of the building I saw the guy’s car. ‘Winged Wheels Couriers’ was on a sign in the back window, and a phone number. I put the number into my iPhone and went home to my empty apartment.
A few days later I was on the road, car S17 on ‘Winged Wheels Couriers’ fleet. I started early in the morning for some regular, every morning runs, and then fielded calls by Herbie the dispatcher.
“S17,” Herbie said in my radio.
“S17 here,” I said into the hand microphone. Herbie gave me a pickup at a small book publisher and I set off to get it.
I walked into the reception area, and the young woman there somehow caught my attention. She was not particularly pretty, but good enough, and had a lovely, creamy complexion. The thing that intrigued me, however, was that she seemed to be hiding herself from herself.
She wore large, round glasses with thick tortoise shell frames. She wore a huge, thick, dark green sweater that was totally shapeless. She kept her face down, and seemed to avoid actually looking at me. The second time I went there she was the same.
The third time I was sent to that publishing house was about two weeks later. That time, I wanted to see her look at me.
“Will you have dinner with me on Friday?” I said. She lifted her head and looked at me for the first time.
“Yes,” she said. We made our arrangements and I departed.
When the end of Friday work time came, I picked up Maria at her office and took her to a nice Chinese buffet restaurant. We had a nice time, talked about her job and about how happy she was to be there with me. It was the first time she’d gone out with someone since she had split from her husband.
When I took her home, we agreed that she’d come to my apartment to have supper with my son and I. He was twelve years old and lived with me. I was having an old boyfriend over too.
She arrived by taxi at the appointed time. It was remarkable how comfortable we all were, even my quirky son. It just was a rare evening when the people and the conversation all flowed together comfortably.
After we had several happy hours together, I drove her home. She invited me in and I went. We made love with the same inexplicable ease and comfort as we had enjoyed at supper. The following evening I was invited to her apartment where she made supper for me. We then made love again, and it felt very loving.
The next day she phoned me. It was nice to hear from her. There was a blush of happy excitement in her voice. That somehow made the sad message that she delivered to me not so sad and almost sweet.
“I want you to know how wonderful you are, and you have saved my dismal life,” she said.
“What do you mean?” I said.
“You reminded me of why I loved my husband in the first place, and what our marriage was meant to be, and I’ll be grateful to you forever. I can’t see you anymore. I’m going back to Keith and I just thank you so much. I didn’t realize that I needed help to make the transition back into my marriage. Keith agreed we’d do it right this time.”
I wasn’t really happy that I’d never again enjoy Maria’s body, which is magnificent. Her skin was just wonderful to touch and taste. But I’m just a transition man. I don’t get to have a real relationship, I guess.
Ten years ago I was a twenty-six years old woman, through college and on my way to Paris. It was time to get past art history and art appreciation and down to capital A-R-T… art itself. This was to be the trip of a lifetime, so I didn’t fly to France… I took a boat. It was a cargo ship that has a few cabins, for passengers who are not in a hurry. It was going to take almost three weeks to reach Marseilles and most of another day overland to Paris. I had studied French so I could study texts in their original form. I am comfortable and fluent in the language.
My cabin was small, but clean and comfortable. There were four other cabins on the ship, two near mine and two on the other side of the ship. My cabin was smaller than the others were, but it was all I needed. I spent most of my time on deck, anyway. I just loved the feeling of the ship when it trembled with the effort of plodding through the rolling waves.
The first night out, the captain invited all the passengers to have supper in his cabin with him. The captain sat at the head of the table, and asked me to sit on his right. I introduced myself, Paulette Lake, and explained my reason for this voyage. On my right were a tall, beautiful black woman about fifty years old and her nephew, who was about twenty. The behaviour between them told me that he was not really her nephew. The woman was a French poet, returning home after a successful tour of readings at universities around North America, and I was sure that the rather gorgeous young man was her lover, not her nephew. A fifty-year-old woman doesn’t share a cabin with her twenty-year-old nephew, but a twenty-year-old lover is a different story.
On the far side of the table sat an older man, tall and lean, with a handsome, angular face. He was a violinist with an orchestra that was going to tour Europe for the summer. He hated to fly, so he was going on this boat ahead of time so he could meet the orchestra members who were flying over together. Beside him were two men in their thirties. They occupied the cabin next to mine and were obviously gay. The short, overweight one was a theatrical costume designer and the tall lean one was his assistant. For “assistant” I substituted the word “lover” in my mind.
The ship rose and fell quite a lot out on the Atlantic. Fortunately, I had taken some patches that I wore behind my ear. They prevented seasickness, and I was able to enjoy the action of the ship pushing through the water, sending salty spray into the air. Each day I took a brisk walk all the way around the ship’s deck. I circled the ship fifteen times, and that equalled a couple of kilometres. It was a healthy workout, and it gave me a chance to see the crew doing their duties. They seemed to be cleaning and painting some of the ship every day.
There were shipboard flirtations, of course. It was hardly avoidable with a handsome captain aboard, and several big, strong crewmen always around. The only women aboard were Agnes, the ship’s cook, Gardenia Comden, the black poet, and I. The men aboard who were not members of the crew were the violinist, the costume designer and his “assistant,” and Gardenia’s “nephew,” Bradley. The only lone passengers with private cabins were the violinist, Barnard Trumble, and I.
One day, the wind was quite high and the sea was rolling. Tall breakers had white foam dancing on their crests; I took my daily deck walk all the same. I had to travel more slowly, with one hand on the railing to steady myself. I wasn’t afraid at all… I was up for everything on this voyage. I had chosen this method of travel for exactly this kind of excitement. I had been buried in academia for quite long enough, and it was time for me to taste some sharply flavored life.
I was passing Gardenia Comden’s cabin when an especially wicked wave smacked the side of the boat. I was thrown against the wall where her cabin porthole was. I grabbed for the handrail below it and held on for dear life. The ship rolled to the port side and gravity as well as wind pressed my face against the glass. I didn’t intend to look, but I opened my eyes and found myself staring into the cabin.
Bradley was standing behind his “aunt.” He was stark naked, shining like chocolate. He had zipped down the back of Gardenia Comden’s dress, and reached around to fondle her bare breasts. She squirmed around in his arms and kissed him hard. They fell back onto the bed.
I was embarrassed and excited at the same time. I looked away. As soon as the ship righted itself, I made my way back to my cabin. I sat on the edge of my bed. My whole body was tingling while my mind kept re-running the brief scene. The boat swayed and shuddered in the sea swells. I imagined what they were doing on their swaying bed. What if they had seen me? How would I face them tomorrow?
I knew a woman that did anything that a ‘gentleman caller’ liked to do. This was not a young, pretty woman with a nice body. This was a woman around fifty years old, with a puckered, homely face and a pear-shaped body. An outdoors man was dating her. I don’t know why, except that she was sexually available and she was a research nurse working on the HIV epidemic. Perhaps, because of that, he felt that she was a person safe for coitus.
Despite the fact that this woman was the complete opposite of an outdoors person, she went along with whatever he suggested. She preferred to sit in dimly lit rooms, reading by a single lamp. She rarely left the heart of the city. However, when this man suggested a day in the country, she accepted and was off for an outdoorsy weekend.
When parked by a river in a secluded spot, he urged her to join him in an impromptu ‘skinny dip’ in the river. Her natural habitat was a dimly lit room with one light by which to read romance novels. She has the poor judgment to pretend she also likes what the man likes, wallowing naked in the outdoors, her pendulous breasts bobbin on the surface. I don’t know how the scene unfolded, but it set my mind to thinking about what might the future hold for that woman.
In the unlikely circumstance that the man wanted to share his life with this false front of a woman, how would she handle it? She would be asked to go wilderness camping, canoeing and portaging and maybe sometimes shooting the rapids. Gathering firewood so food could be cooked and coffee made. All of this is totally wrong for this woman. On the other hand, if she had been real, the man would have had dinner with her, seen that they were incompatible, and a pleasant evening is all it would have been.
If that woman would be real, she might be browsing in a bookstore, or attending a gallery vernissage, and meet a completely suitable companion. They could discuss some books, or comment on artworks. Perhaps, some day, they would co-habit, and enjoy quiet evenings in a dimly lit room, with two small reading lamps and recordings of chamber music playing softly in the low light. At bed time, they would enjoy sex.
My wife pointed out to me that I don’t have any friends that are not strange in some way. It causes me to look at myself, because if I like them even though they’re nuts, maybe they like me because I’m nuts. I know I’m not typical nor do I live an average kind of life, but I think I have the “nuts” part of myself under control and properly directed. I’m much too productive to be totally nuts.
First, there was Harold. It’s difficult to know just what’s wrong with him, but if one watches for it, one can tell that he’s on a rusty track. He is often out of work, because no sooner does he acquire a job, than he starts telling the boss that his business is doing everything wrong, and he, Harold, can straighten it all out. Although Harold is very intelligent, he just can’t inter-act with anyone, including women. When he’s out of work, it’s because of the interference of others. The Asians are to blame. It’s the blacks. It’s the Italian immigrants, or the Estonians. It’s because of them.
When he was a boy, Harold could not abide anyone having a preference other than the one he prefers. I remember a time when Michael from down the street was wearing a Detroit Red Wings shirt. Harold freaked out. We had all been friends for years, grown up together, but Harold said he was through with Michael. It was obvious that the Toronto Maple Leafs was the team to adore, and Michael’s preference for the Red Wings deemed him unworthy of Harold’s friendship.
The crises over the hockey teams passed, and several years more passed. We were all into sports cars and sports car racing, and most of us participated. On the fringes of our group was a girl, a woman, really. She was a bit older than we were, and she had a 12 year old daughter. She liked race car drivers, and slept with some of them sometimes. Eventually, Michael, who was about 10 years younger than the woman – I think her name was Christie – announced that he was going to marry Christie and adopt her child. Harold freaked out again, and that was it for Michael forever as far as Harold was concerned. Poor Christie came to me and asked if I would attend the wedding, and I told her I would, of course.
Harold was very good looking, and was a wonderful storyteller. Women were attracted to him, but he did not respond. He was not gay, he just could not deal with an emotional situation. He liked sex, and he liked prostitutes. Good sex (he thought) and no involvement. It takes all kinds, and my kind of friends are kind of nuts.
I will write about another crazy friend, and another, and another, sometime soon.