Saturday, September 27, 2008

A HELL OF A DAME (Short Story)

Everyone else in her life called her Marie, but to me she will always be known as Fifi.

Why am I telling you about her? Doesn't everybody have the urge to confess at some point, to revisit those seminal stops on your life's map before they become diluted and distorted by age and cynical romanticism? What the hell, you can just put this down to a pure emotional catharsis.

The rain hammered down its staccato beat on the roof and the haunting strains of the Ink Spots' Whispering Grass filled the smoky air when she first walked into the small, dimly lit bar with the tacky bamboo decor. Yeah, I know what you're thinking, I thought exactly the same thing – "Of all the gin joints in all the world…".

She pulled up a barstool and sat herself down not more than five feet from me, crossing her lithe, black stockinged legs as she signalled for the bartender to bring her a sweet white wine – Bordeaux I believe, from the banks of the Garonne River. A classy drop for a fine lady.

I watched her as she lit up a cigarette, just like I had seen her do countless times during her shift breaks at work, pressing the filter between her seductive lips and squinting her eyes slightly as she exhaled the first plume of smoke through her perfectly rounded nostrils.

Those eyes. Little pools of cobalt that you just wanted to dive into and get lost within. You looked at them and you got damn jealous of the lucky son of a bitch who got to gaze into those eyes when they were inflamed with passion.

I love ya Fifi.

Yeah, I knew her alright. Sitting there at the bar, she had no recognition of me save for the short polite smile that you usually shoot a stranger when they are drinking next to you. If she knew who I was, she didn't bother letting on.

It was a relief to this fool's heart. I felt stupid but I wanted to tell her….I wanted to tell her how every day for the past twelve months I had watched her from behind my desk at the office block we shared, wallowing in her serpentine grace as she busied herself about the floor, a corporate vixen who probably had little to no idea of the kind of lust she was stirring up in sad little men like me. I called her Fifi in the fertile playground of my mind because her mannerisms reminded me of that cute little feline sexbomb that was always getting pawed at and accosted by the randy skunk in those Warner Brothers cartoon shorts. In my dreams, I was going skunk on her every night.

She was pushing forty but sure knew how to keep it together well. That European complexion worked wonders for her it seemed, she had the kind of olive skin that radiated heat at twenty paces, and a man could whip himself into a frenzy at the mere thought of his body melting into hers. Her mouth looked like it could eat you alive and have a helluva good time doing it, and her deep chestnut hair always shimmered and looked so damned perfect. Her body curved in all the right places and at all the right angles. She was the kind of dangerously gorgeous dame that even the most rational man would gladly flush his life down the toilet for if it meant spending just a single night in a cheap roadside motel alone with her. If she didn't have a man and three kids waiting for her at home, I would have taken her to Vegas in a second. Hell, I'd have taken her anyway…..

What she was doing in this part of town and at this time of night was a curious question that I didn't try to ask. The string of pearls that hung around her supple neck and the quality of the rocks that adorned the rings on her slender fingers spoke volumes. No way a woman on her salary – or her old man's - would be buying gems like that the good old fashioned legal way. The rash of cat burglaries that had plagued the neighbourhood in recent times, and the outline of the .45 automatic pistol that I spied when she opened her leather bag to pay for her drink, told me I may have just solved a riddle that had had the cops scratching their impotent heads for months. I wasn't gonna be making their jobs any easier by ratting her out. I just wanted her even more now.

Closing time came. She stubbed out her last cigarette and we made for the exit. I heard the barman locking the door behind us. She gave me a quick smile that set fire to my heart then turned and left. I took a last look at her exquisite caboose as it shimmied its way down the wet street, and I nodded to myself in admiration before my eyes began hunting for a taxi-cab to take me screaming away in the opposite direction.

I love ya Fifi….Forever and Never.

Copyright John Harrison 2008

(Note: the above story was originally published in issue 2 of the US magazine Bachelor Pad. Visit them via their website at