Saturday, November 04, 2006


Elendele had been right about the union thing. Whitey McEntee became the toast of the poorer parts of town and he didn’t forget her for it.

She hadn’t had the organizer job long and yet she understood how the old cigar boys worked. A pungent blackmail devised over cognac one evening, and squeezed was an enormous “consulting fee” from the Waiters and Dishwashers International Union that she swore would be ploughed back into the cause, the veracity of which could never be confirmed. She used me as an intermediary, or perhaps more to the point, as her pick-up man. Word got around and my reputation as an ethical journalist was bruised and left rotting in the sun.

My nose was sore from her consecutive splittings.

Bloated with money, the tender demon called me up to see if I wanted to go see a movie and was a perfect bitch all night. First she got mad at me for holding the door open so that she might pass through on the way in. Then she called me a cheapskate for not picking up the tab completely.

“I suppose,” she rollercoasted, “that you expect me to make love afterward and take the pill so you won’t have to worry.”

Throughout the whole movie she punctuated changing scenes with authoritative remarks: “Lousy establishing shot…Ridiculous place to cut…Just another in the tired genre of Nam flicks…That stinking rotten war…If I had directed this…”

People in front and behind kept shushing her to shush and she ripped me a “conservative” because I was hunkered low and privatized.

When we leave the theater a flash-and-blue-pearl-girl walks up to us, press-kisses Elendele’s lips, and tongues become intertwined for public consumption. A wine blush has the evening been colored now. Elendele introduces her to me as Gina Night, an aspiring soprano and the daughter of a successful Mafioso she met through her union dealings.

Then…she takes off with her, leaving me alone to drive home thinking about Gina Night swathed in perfect passion, her hours before the mirror, her excessive fashion.

And you Elendele. You too are bad. My desire’s a thrill. I want to meet you in a dusty mist, where our loveless kiss with repose and cool will freeze gray branches, freeze them still.

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