THAI ONE ON

NB: This is a humorous work of fiction
with no intention of disparaging
any professions, persons, nationalities or ethnicities.

If you are seeking a woman with beautiful, exotic looks and a lovely disposition, a single Thai lady is the way to go. Thai women love to laugh and tend to be quite happy. They are demure and sweet in public, perhaps a bit shy, but when alone with their partner they are open and sexually accommodating.

Reading that online advert made Frank Morelli’s eyes widen. One of these Thai girls could be just what he was looking for. Intrigued, Frank decided to read a bit more. He scrolled down to see a bevy of available women – 922 to be exact. Beneath each pic was a name, age, contact address and the city in which the woman resided. There were also three options: 1) 💬 Say Hello; 2) 📧 Send a Message; 3) ❤️ Add to Hotlist.

There were some like Primmie who looked like she was just 17 and you know what I mean – a captivating schoolgirl-type with huge brown eyes, pouty lips and dewy skin. Primmie gave the impression of being a sweet, shy young thing with her glossy hair in pigtails wearing a short school uniform when in reality she could have invented sex. She was capable of teaching most men a thing or ten, taking them to erotic levels they’d never experienced before.

Then there were others like Opia who looked like she’d gone a few rounds with Mike Tyson – and won. She had an angry scowl and a leathery face that could stop a clock. She wouldn’t even be able to arouse a blindfolded Wilt Chamberlain – and he is reputed to have had sex with 20,000 women!

More than a few of the girls could easily be adult movie actresses while others looked like the ubiquitous hunchbacked dishwashers in greasy Chinese takeout joints that smelled like burning rancid oil. And by some miracle they were all available and willing to be dutiful wives and make anyone’s wildest dreams come true. At what cost? That part of the equation had not entered Frank’s mind. Even if it had, Frank was the type who acted first and thought later, if at all – a habit that got him into trouble more times than he was willing to admit.

The truth was most of these girls were looking for a ticket to The States, for some poor unsuspecting sap exactly like Frank to get them to fall madly in love and secure a green card and a one way ride out of Bangkok.

Frank made himself comfortable in his battered and patched pseudo-leather Barcalounger, his iPad nestled comfortably on his lap. A 25oz can of Bud Lite to his left and a bag of Utz pork rinds to his right set the stage for what could be the luckiest night of his vapid life. Frank loosened the drawstring of his sweatpants and wriggled his feet out of his Air Jordan knockoffs; this online mating game could take a while.

For lack of a better word, Frank was a “loser” – a thirty-something, short, stocky, balding, bespectacled, single, white, Italian Walmart shelf stocker living in his parent’s basement in Queens, New York. In other words – he was George Costanza.

This wasn’t exactly the ideal living arrangement as far as Frank or his parents were concerned but it didn’t cost him a dime and his mother did everything for him. Besides being as lazy as a slug, he just didn’t have that many friends and most of the ones he did have were married with children. He went on a couple of dates but he wasn’t what you’d call “a catch” and couldn’t hold a woman’s attention for very long. Frank wasn’t attracted to any of the women at work and the feeling was mutual.

There were a few things he enjoyed doing but most of them were solo activities like playing video games, listening to heavy metal music and watching porn. His father called him a no good, lazy bum and dreamed of the day he would move out of the house and stop being a drain on his wallet. His mother called him Frankie Boy and waited on him hand and foot, all the while lamenting the fact that she was not and probably never would be a grandma. She tried matching him up with a couple of her friend’s daughters but Frank left them cold.

Mrs. Morelli cooked all Frank’s meals and washed his laundry, including his fossilized jerkoff rags. She finally got fed up with her fancy hand towels being violated and bought Frank a case of cheap industrial-quality tissues from Amazon which he discovered in his closet one day. Neither he nor his mother ever said a word about the tissues but they kept being used and a new case would discreetly appear every month.

So there sat Frank, comfortably reclining in his “man cave”, taking his time perusing the ladies on the Thai bride website, adding his favorites to his hotlist when suddenly a photo of a girl named ‘Niki ‘ appeared. Frank nearly choked on his pork rinds when he saw her and he believed with all his heart she was the one for him. His iPad began to levitate as he felt himself getting hard. Grabbing a handful of Amazon tissues, he took care of business in about 20 seconds. She was a hot number, that Niki, and Frank was only looking at a still photograph!

Frank made himself presentable and clicked the FaceTime icon, his finger hovering over option #1: 💬 Say Hello. It was now or never so, mustering all the courage he possessed, he pushed the button which could determine the outcome of the rest of his life – a life with the enchanting Niki.

A few strange electronic sounds were followed by a shrill ring, then a child-like yet sultry voice was heard coming from behind what appeared to be a satin curtain:

“Ooh, swasdi. Hellooo, this Niki. You want Niki?”

Frank was flustered, intrigued and aroused all at the same time. “Oh, yes. Hi. Yes, I want nookie … I mean Niki. Hi, I’m Frank; is this Niki?’

Giggles from behind the curtain on the iPad gave Frank an erection. “Tee hee hee! Ooh, Frang want Niki nookie? Tee hee hee! Yes?”

“Yes” replied Frank. “No. Yes and no. Is this Niki?”

More giggles. “Yes, Frang. This Niki. You want Niki.”

“It’s Frank and, yes, I definitely want Niki.”

“What you want, Frang? You want tawk Niki, see Niki? You want marry Niki? Niki be good wifey.”

While Frank imagined Niki as his life partner from the moment he saw her photo, this was all moving very fast. On one hand he was thrilled to be speaking to a woman, especially a beautiful willing woman, and he hoped to have a relationship someday but on the other hand, was he ready to fly off and get married to a total stranger?

“Frang? Hellooo? You want Niki?”

Frank said the first thing that popped into his head: “How much will it cost me?”

Giggles. “Tawk free, see free on FaceyTime. Airplane tickie to marry.”

“I want to see Niki” replied Frank with an uncharacteristic smidgen of common sense.

“Okay, Frang. Here Niki” and the satin curtain was pulled back. There she was; Frank recognized her immediately from her photo. She was even more bewitching in person – long silky black hair, porcelain skin with tiny, doll-like features, a small mouth painted red and a diminutive body which Frank found delightfully appealing. Niki looked like Frank could snap her in two, like a delicate glass swizzle stick. She wore a lacy camisole which was surprisingly modest and revealed nothing. Niki was the opposite of all the blonde, busty, Botoxed porn stars he was used to where everything was supersized.

Frank was mesmerized.

Ooh, hellooo. You Frang?”

“Yes. Hi. I’m Frang” was Frank’s dimwitted response.

Giggles. “Ooh, Frang hansom Merican man from USA. You big strong. Niki like you. You like Niki?”

“Yes, I like Niki very much.”

“Niki make good wifey. You come Bangkok. Marry Niki.”

Frank’s head was spinning. “Wow! Yeah, that sounds great Niki! But first can we just talk like this for a few days and get to know each other?”

“Ooh, Frang. Niki no do nookie on FaceyTime. Betta you come Bangkok. You like Niki, marry Niki.”

It was now or never time for Frank and he was squirming in his pants. He had to ask himself what was holding him back. There wasn’t a thing going on in his life; he had nothing to lose by jumping in. This could be his one shot at happiness.

As usual, before Frank knew what he was doing, he blurted out “You know what, Niki? You’re right, dammit! I’m gonna fly over there and make you my bride!”

“Ooh, yay!” Giggles and little hand claps. “Frang let Niki know when you come Bangkok.”

“I definitely will, sweetie. Talk to you soon, Niki. Bye bye” and Frank wiggled his pudgy fingers at Niki like a ten-year-old boy.

Frank jumped up excitedly. He was a man on a mission. He went into the laundry room to retrieve his luggage and there stood his mother. Her face was as red as her hair and her expression said it all.

Mrs. Morelli clutched Frank’s suitcase and screamed at him: “You ingrate! You are a complete moron! Look at you, all hot to trot! Why can’t you go out and find yourself a nice Italian girl like your cousin Gerald instead of traipsing half-way around the world to some Godforsaken place called ‘Bangkok’? What kind of sick, perverted name is ‘Bangkok’ anyway? Oh my God, I think I’m going to be sick!”

Befuddled and feeling like a little boy, Frank snatched the suitcase from his mother’s arms, yelling back at her “You don’t know anything about it. I’m a grown man! Just mind your own business!”

Frank’s father heard the arguing and was now in the basement. “What the hell is going on down here?” he demanded. “You idiot! Look how upset your mother is!”

Mrs. Morelli wailed “He’s running off to someplace called ‘Bangkok’ where he thinks he’s gonna find a wife!

Mr. Morelli slammed his hand on the washing machine. “You ungrateful bum! Can’t you see what you’re doing to your mother? What kind of a sicko are you? I had a war buddy from my time in Korea who took off for Bangkok looking for a little filly. Nobody ever saw him again!”

“If you leave here for that sex den, you better not step one foot back in this house!” Mrs. Morelli shrieked. “I work my fingers to the bone for you and your father. If you think I’m going to start waiting on you and some mail order sex kitten living in my basement, you got another thing coming!”

You’re a disgrace to this family, Frank! A disgrace!” bellowed Frank’s father.

Frank sputtered ineffectually, pulled at what little hair he had and scurried back into his room. He could hear his parents shouting upstairs. Not live here? Where would he and Niki stay? Frank hadn’t thought about that. Well, he’d figure something out. Besides, once his parents saw Niki they’d welcome her with open arms.

“I’ll think about that later. It’ll all work out” Frank muttered to himself. “Right now I’ve got a bag to pack.”

NAR © 2022

AT MY MAMA’S KNEE

My name is Eden.

My mama was a wild child living on the wrong side of the tracks in the middle of Nowhere, USA. Her parents were AWOL most of the time and didn’t give a rat’s ass about my mama. She grew up faster than any baby girl should have to and learned at an early age how to cast a glancing spell at the male population.

By the age of 15 she was pregnant with me. My mama messed around with so many men, she couldn’t even begin to guess who my father was. The promise of a million dollars or the threat of a gun to her head and mama still wouldn’t be able to name my daddy. The guys she hooked up with didn’t hang around for long and none of them was man enough to fess up anyway. Mama had sex, not relationships.

Mama’s only friend was Faye, another lost soul who lived the same impulsive lifestyle. By the time Faye was 16 she already had two babies so it was only natural that she be the one to help my mama when she went into labor. Nobody else gave a goddamn.

Faye lived in an abandoned motel which was home to a few hapless drifters. She did her best to keep the place as habitable as possible. Two dresser drawers with thin cushions served as beds for Faye’s babies. Faye was no whore and never took a dime from her gentlemen friends, only accepting candy, stockings or a small bottle of White Shoulders.

There wasn’t much Faye could do about her bed – a discarded Petri dish of a mattress. Whenever she could do laundry, she’d wash the one and only sheet she had. In-between washings she’d just flip the sheet over. That’s where my mama labored with me for two long days. Faye told mama to grab the sides of the mattress. “I won’t lie to you about the pain, hon” she warned. “Hang on, this is going to hurt. A lot.”

My mama screamed and cried and cursed; Faye never left her side. A couple of curious women from the next room would pop their heads in but it was just Faye and my mama on their own. Finally, when it was time, Faye gently drew me out and cleaned me up before giving me to my mama.

The cops knew about the motel but as long as there were no illegal activities, they turned a blind eye. They even arranged for the utilities to stay on – better than having people living in the streets just because they were down on their luck. Every week the local pastor and church youth group would drop off food, toiletries, diapers and detergent. Thankfully there were some people willing to lend a helping hand.

Everyone said I was the most beautiful child they’d ever seen. My face and green eyes were identical to my mama’s but her hair was straight and blonde, her skin like cream while my hair was a cloud of dusky curls, my skin the shade of warm butterscotch. My coloring divulged my father’s race, nothing more.

We stayed with Faye until we started cramping her style, then we moved into an adjacent room. The adjoining door made things convenient; mama and Faye took turns babysitting when the other had company. Mama used a drawer for my bed, just like Faye did.

When you live in an environment like mine, it’s hard not to be influenced. I saw and heard things no kid should and before I realized it, it became ingrained in my soul. By the time I was 13, lots of mama’s boyfriends were checking me out and I liked it.

One steamy summer day, mama was next door putting highlights in Faye’s hair. I was alone resting on the bed when Hal showed up. I liked him; he came by often to see mama. Hal asked me where mama was and I told him. He sat on the bed stroking my hair. I smiled and gave him that look mama always gave her men. Hal slid the straps of my sundress down my arms, revealing my breasts. He gently touched one, then the other. He tongued one, then the other and I got a warm feeling down low in my belly. I arched my back and moaned softly. Hal slipped off my panties and sat me on his lap; there was a momentary sharp pain. I learned what to do at my mama’s knee and it was good.

There was one man who’d come around the motel; he’d sit in his big fancy car looking out the window. He never left the car except the one day he saw me sitting outside on the stoop. He came over, gave me a peppermint candy and said I was the most gorgeous thing he’d ever seen. He asked what I was doing living in that dump. He said with his know-how and my looks I could make lots of money, live like a queen in a big fine house and never want for anything ever again.

This man wasn’t telling me anything new. I smiled just like I smiled at Hal. The man smiled back and lifted my chin. He studied my face intently and said I’d do very nicely. This pompous ass actually thought I needed his know-how; he was mistaken. I already knew how. All I wanted was a ticket out of here, to live my life doing what I was good at and to make lots of money. Let this fool think whatever he wanted to think; he would learn soon enough that I knew exactly what I was doing.

Two days later the man in the big fancy car came back. He opened the car door; I slowly walked over and slid in. Glancing up at my motel room window, I saw my mama staring down at us. When Hal sidled up behind her, she laughed gaily, turned her back and fell into his arms.

Mama had set the stage for me and now I was ready for the show to begin.

NAR © 2022

A BRUSH WITH FATE

It was nothing, really; just an unsettling feeling.

The apartment was deathly silent – no water running, no sounds coming from the kitchen, no television – nothing, not even the comforting, barely perceptible reverberation of Matt’s snoring.

The quiet was oddly disquieting. Lying on the bed on my right side, I eyed the digital clock on the nightstand: 7:15 AM – a little early for our usual Sunday morning sleep-ins.

Gradually I shifted onto my back, staring up at the ceiling for a minute or two waiting to hear something, anything. I slowly turned my head and glanced over at the left side of the bed – Matt’s side. He wasn’t there. “Hmm, wonder where he is?” I thought. I listened again; still silence. I called out “Matt? Babe?” No response.

“Okay, maybe he went to get bagels and The Times.” It’s very unusual for us not to make love on a lazy Sunday morning. Sex in the morning is always delicious but last night was incredible; we really got carried away. I don’t know what came over me; my desire was insatiable and Matt certainly was ready, willing and able to oblige. I couldn’t help smiling as I thought about the night before; the images were so intense, I started getting aroused. I called out again: “Matt, honey! Are you here?” Still nothing.

Matt and I met about seven months ago, shortly after my breakup with Danny. I thought Danny was ‘the one’; we even talked about marriage. We really were a perfect match in all aspects of our lives. The fact that sex with Danny was the best I’d ever had was a bonus. But somewhere down the road things began to unravel and we just sort of drifted apart. That was a very low point in my life; I loved Danny and I still think about him often. It’s only natural that I would.

Then Matt entered the picture and there was an instant attraction between us. We were both on the rebound and took things slow. We decided not to move in together, not just yet, opting for weekends here or at Matt’s. We were committed to each other but not ready for anything as permanent as living together. We agreed the only thing we would leave at each other’s place was a toothbrush.

The more I thought about last night, the more I wanted Matt in my bed right now. Looking at the clock I was amazed to see that 45 minutes had gone by. Where the hell was Matt?

I got out of bed and padded barefoot into the kitchen, checking the living room on the way. I was clearly alone, not even the usual welcoming presence of a fragrant pot of coffee. I looked around in confusion.

Feeling the strong urge to pee, I raced back to the bathroom and there I found all the answers I needed. A sticky note with angry red letters on the mirror read YOU TALKED ABOUT SEX WITH DANNY IN YOUR SLEEP … AGAIN!! I’M OUTTA HERE!

 And there was just one lonely toothbrush in the holder – mine.  

NAR © 2021

A COLD CALL

“Hi, I’m calling about your ad.”

Her voice was soft and sultry, as smooth and silky as his finest Maker’s Mark bourbon. The image of a voluptuous goddess with long wavy caramel-colored hair, tanned skin and moist red lips immediately appeared before him. He could see her pearly teeth as she smiled, tantalizingly nibbling her bottom lip. He felt himself getting hard.

“Is anyone there?” he heard her say and roused him out of his fantasy.

“Yes, sorry. I’m here. I was distracted for a moment. There’s something about your voice; it’s very … familiar” he replied trying to sound nonchalant.

“I get that a lot” she answered, her throaty laugh arousing him again.

“Are you calling about the apartment or the car?” Please let it be the apartment … let it be the apartment …  he pleaded silently, picturing her sprawled on his bed. 

The Ferrari, of course. No sexy car list would be complete without it, don’t you agree?”

There was that laugh again. He had to meet this woman. Today.

“Of course. She’s an incredible vehicle” he said, a bit disappointed that she wasn’t interested in seeing his apartment. How he’d love to get her there.

“Incredible sounds about right. And exciting, too, judging by the photo in your ad. With her open top she’s as sleek and beautiful as a topless Ferrari should be – a car to melt some hearts and explode others.”

As she spoke, he had a vision of her in the Ferrari, top down, driving along the Santa Barbara coastline, her hair loose and wild like crimson flames. She was laughing as she drove faster and faster, her hand teasing the elongated head of the gear shift. She was wearing a short black leather skirt and a low-neck sweater, her stunning breasts heaving with excitement. She smelled of honeysuckle and peaches. His heart was racing, his erection pounding.

Who is this woman? He couldn’t think straight. Snap out of it, dummy!

“So, when would you like to see her?” Today, today, today raced repeatedly in his brain.

“Today, if that works for you” came the response he hoped for.

“Hmm, today. My schedule’s kind of tight but I might be able fit you in around 4:00” he lied. “Would that work for you?”

“Yes. I can come anytime.

Was that a double entendre? This woman was driving him insane with desire!

“Hold on one sec. I just need to check on something.”

He waited impatiently for her return. His plan: they’d meet at 4:00, take the Ferrari out for a drive and get back to his place just in time for a “spontaneous” dinner and whatever might follow.

“Sorry to keep you waiting. I wanted to make sure my wife would be available at 4:00.”

Wife? Did she say wife? She was married. To a WOMAN! His passion vanished instantly along with his raging erection.

Hey, I’m getting another call. Can you hold?” he lied again.

Deflated, he pushed the “end call” button and the line went dead.

NAR © 2021

KATHMANDU DÉJÀ VU

The other day I got some news that threw me for a loop;
I felt like a headless chicken running ‘round the chicken coop.

You see, I met this awesome guy who made me lose my mind.
A handsome man so witty and sexy can be awful hard to find.

We both had friends from childhood days who knew us oh so well.
They figured if we two hooked up we’d get along rather well.

My friend called me and his called him and we agreed upon a date
To meet at Charlie’s Ribs and Ale next Friday night at eight.

Well, I was pretty keen on the idea of meeting someone new;
The last few dates I had were dull as hell and that would never do

See, I’m the kind of girl who likes to go out and have some fun.
A couple of hours with some boring dude would have me on the run.

I’m really not high maintenance, I just need some stimulation;
The kind that gets my juices flowing and speeds up my circulation.

I know you know what I’m referring to; I can see it in your eyes.
I want a man who knows what’s what, the hows and whens and whys.

So, there I was at Charlie’s, me and my friend waiting for our dates
When in walked these cool guys who made me want to masturbate.

They came straight to my table and I knew right off the bat
This blue-eyed, bearded devil was a curious kind of cat.

He looked at me and I at him and our eyebrows began to rise;
When we thought perhaps we knew each other almost all our lives.

We’d no idea that this blind date would not be so blind at all
For although we thought we knew each other we couldn’t quite recall.

In fact, we never took the time to learn each other’s names.
Our paths crossed countless times before as kids playing kiddie games.

Yeah, we were nameless friends in school in days from way back when.
We even went to church at times, seeing each other now and again.

We attended the same college where we learned a thing or two
But we never said “Hey, what’s your name? I think I may know you!”

Now here we were having loads of fun, hitting it off like two peas in a pod;
But the incredible fact that we sorta knew each other was really very odd. 

The night flew by, we ate and drank; this guy could talk the talk
And deep inside my womanly mind I knew he could walk the walk.

So, I took a wild chance and asked him to come back to my place;
He looked at me, eyes twinkling and a roguish grin upon his face.

We tried to act all nonchalant, no need to rush the night.
He said he was a poet; I said “No kidding? I like to write!”

We sat real close on my old couch and he said “Tell me, what’s your sign?”
I turned to him, said “Pisces” and he said “Yeah? That’s the same as mine!”

He wove his fingers through my hair and slowly pulled back my head.
I opened my mouth and licked my lips saying “Take me to my bed.”

We started slow, real nice and easy, just feeling each other out
But it didn’t take long before both of us were doing the ‘Twist and Shout’.

This went on the whole night long; he was quite the voracious lad.
I met him thrust for thrust and lick for lick and none of it was bad.

We spent the next few days together; we got along really great.
He told me his name was Kevin and I told him my name was Kate.

He said he lived in Baltimore now but was born in Kathmandu.
His eyes nearly popped out his head when I said “Jesus! I was too!”

Things were really getting eerie now; we both knew this was bizarre
Especially when we simultaneously said “On March 10th at Paropakar!”

Now hold on, wait just a damn minute; how could this possibly be?
We were born in the same hospital on the same day in 1983!

Our piercing eyes stared at each other as we silently sipped our tea.
Who was going to ask the next question? Was it me or possibly he?

I grabbed the bull by the horns, so to speak, and said “What’s your mom’s name?”
He lowered his cup rather slowly and replied somewhat warily “It’s Germaine.”

I heaved an enormous sigh of relief which proved to be premature
Cos he was adopted; his birth mom’s name was Faye, of that he was quite sure.

I think I peed my pants right then and nearly fainted as I screamed “No way!
For you see, Kevin, I was adopted, too, and my birth mom’s name was Faye!”

Now this is no laughing matter, dear readers, for I’d just had me a fuck like no other
Who turned out to be to my shock and dismay my long-lost fraternal twin brother!

NAR © 2021

OUR LITTLE TRYSTS

“Given. Frank Given. Suite 412. Please check again” I implored the unfamiliar desk clerk at the Pierre Hotel. 

I’m sorry, ma’am, there’s no one registered here by that name.” The young man behind the desk looked at me with a mixture of embarrassment and pity. 

“You must be mistaken” I replied quietly. 

“There’s no mistake, ma’am. There isn’t even a reservation for a Frank Given. Perhaps you have the wrong hotel” the clerk suggested, trying to give me a way out. 

Well, of course I didn’t have the wrong hotel! Frank and I had been meeting at the Pierre the second weekend of every month for three years. I noticed two female clerks huddled in the corner looking in my direction and chattering conspiratorially. My face turned red knowing they were talking about me. 

I checked my phone for any texts or missed calls from Frank; there were none. Rather than stay in the lobby looking distraught and abandoned, I walked into the lounge and ordered a martini. 

I sipped my drink and absentmindedly fingered the outline of the crest of the Pierre Hotel on the cocktail napkin. From where I sat I had a clear view of the front desk on the left and the entrance on East 61st Street on the right. I’d be able to see Frank the moment he arrived. 

After thirty minutes and two martinis I began feeling paranoid. It was painfully obvious, at least to me, that everyone who saw me sitting by the bar thought I was either an elegant call girl just past her prime or a now lonesome and tedious woman who had been stood up. 

Now in a state of semi-panic, I took my phone out again and texted Frank. I stared at the screen waiting for an answer which would offer a perfectly understandable and forgivable explanation. 

Feigning nonchalance, I called Frank’s cell; it went straight to voicemail. Laughing flirtatiously, I left a message proving to no one in particular that all was right in my crumbling world. 

My mind drifted back to that night when Frank and I first met. We shared a taxi and instead of continuing to my apartment, I accepted Frank’s invitation for a late dinner at the Pierre. One thing led to another as it often does and we spent the night together. A fling turned into a romance. 

I became aware of someone approaching. Expecting to see Frank, I looked up, smiling; it was the concierge. Whispering discreetly, he handed me a note. It read: “Dearest Christine. I have treasured our little trysts but now we must go our separate ways. Farewell. Frank” 

Our little trysts!” I was shattered. 

Just like that, as suddenly as it began it was over. Looking straight ahead, I gracefully walked out of the hotel. After buying a bag of roasted nuts from a vendor on the corner, I walked over to Central Park. I sat on a bench feeding the pigeons, thinking of everything and nothing.  

NAR © 2021

MAHOGANY HALL

Despite great wealth and prominence, nothing could save Andre Deloitte’s wife Claudine.

The year was 1910. Andre, Claudine and their ten-year-old son Henri lived on Breakneck Lane in the exclusive Garden Heights section of New Orleans, Louisiana. Their majestic manor, “Mon Rêve”, was Claudine’s dream home but she detested the foreboding name of the street. Andre reassured Claudine she was just being silly and superstitious and the family happily settled into their home. The popular couple hosted extravagant parties and entertained the rich and famous from all parts of the world.

Andre owned the illustrious Deloitte Jewelers. His clientele was elite – oil tycoons, judges, entertainers, governors and successful entrepreneurs such as Miss Lulu White, “Queen of the Demi Monde” and madam of the elegant bordello Mahogany Hall in Storyville, the infamous red-light district of New Orleans.

It was during one of their lavish soirees when the Deloitte’s dreamworld turned into a nightmare. Claudine was making her usual grand entrance down the marble staircase when the heel of her shoe became entangled in the hem of her gown. She fell, landing at the foot of the stairs like a mangled doll, her lovely neck snapping like a twig; she died instantly. Claudine’s apprehension towards Breakneck Lane wasn’t so silly after all.

Andre was devastated by Claudine’s death and threw himself into his work. Henri was left in the care of the household staff and a kindly au pair named Josephine. The boy missed his mother very much but thrived under the tutelage of his caregivers. As he grew into his teen years it became obvious to Josephine that Henri needed his father’s guidance more than ever. Andre decided the best course of action was to bring Henri into the family business.

Henri enjoyed being in the shop with his father and soon became quite knowledgeable about gems and precious metals, even demonstrating a flair for designing jewelry. Andre told Henri he had a highly regarded client located across town who was interested in buying several one-of-a-kind pieces. Andre urged his son to accompany him to his patron’s residence where they would display Henri’s unique creations. The cient was Madam Lulu White.

Mahogany Hall was home to “women of the night”. Girls lounged on sofas, their unfastened robes revealing supple naked bodies. Others wore filmy shawls with intriguing thigh-high striped stockings with high heels. Henri blushed when he realized a few of the girls were eyeing the bulge in his pants – something that bewildered yet excited the inexperienced teen.

Henri spoke to his father about the allure of Mahogany Hall and his desire to return. Andre realized there was no stopping Henri and smiled knowingly as he drank his cup of Bowdoin Chicory Coffee. “Just don’t fall in love, son” was Andre’s advice.

Fascinated by everything about Mahogany Hall, Henri returned the next day. As he walked around the estate he became aware of soft music and followed the sound to a small parlor. There, at a spindle leg table in the middle of the room sat the most alluring creature imaginable. She sipped a glass of Raleigh Rye, her lacy manteau barely covering her breasts. There was a hint of a smile on her face and her eyes fluttered in a dream-like state. Sensing Henri’s presence, she looked up and smiled. Placing her glass on the table, she slowly removed the pins from her hair. Her eyes danced seductively as waves of chestnut hair cascaded around her shoulders. Mesmerized, Henri could not control his burgeoning erection. He smiled back.

Enchanté. I am Henri Deloitte.”

The girl replied “I know who you are. I hoped you would ask for me. I am Isabelle Badet.”

Despite his father’s warning, sixteen-year-old Henri fell hopelessly in love.

For the next year Henri was a frequent visitor at Mahogany Hall. He made his wishes clear to Madam Lulu that Isabelle was to see no other men; he was happy to pay dearly for the luxury of having her exclusively to himself.

In November of 1917 the government abruptly shut down Storyville and Mahogany Hall was forced to close its doors. Henri searched frantically for Isabelle but Madam Lulu and all the girls were gone. Despondent, Henri joined the army, fighting overseas in World War I. The young lovers never saw each other again. The birth of Evan Deloitte the following May was Isabelle’s most treasured memory of her blissful love affair with Henri.

NAR © 2020

JUST DESSERTS

Death comes suddenly to some; for others it takes a lifetime.

It was Good Friday of 1946; Kathleen O’Brien walked through a narrow cobblestone passage way to St. Brigid’s Church. She hated walking by Sully’s Bar with its overpowering stench of booze and abundance of seedy characters hanging around but she was late for services (a terrible habit) and this was a convenient shortcut. She was twenty-two years old – no longer a kid – yet she’d rather die than admit to her mother that she missed the Veneration of the Cross. It was bad enough she was late for everything.

Seeing an unfamiliar man drinking a beer and leaning against the wall outside Sully’s, Kathleen quickened her pace. She heard him chuckle and say “What’s ya hurry, toots?” She walked even faster, opening the side door of the church; it creaked loudly. The elderly priest paused in mid-sentence and made a grand gesture of looking in Kathleen’s direction; he stared at her over his glasses, giving her a withering scowl. Embarrassed, she quickly found a seat at the end of a pew next to Mrs. Callahan who huffed at having to make room for this rude latecomer.

As is the tradition on Good Friday, everyone remained after services for a period of silent prayer. It was a time to reflect and meditate, one of Kathleen’s favorite parts of Holy Week. When the ushers opened the church doors the sense of peacefulness and solemnity was instantly shattered by the loud music and drunken laughter emanating from Sully’s Bar. “Some people have no respect” thought Kathleen angrily. “An Irish pub shouldn’t even be open on Good Friday!

As she began her walk home Kathleen noticed the same man from the bar standing at the corner. Had he been waiting for her or was this just a coincidence? Warily Kathleen took a step when suddenly the man started walking right toward her. She was taken aback as he stood in her path and extended his hand. “Name’s Harry Selkin and you’re one fine lookin’ dame. Ya need somebody like me to walk ya home. It can be dangerous for a good Catholic girl like yourself to be alone in this neck of the woods.”

Where do you get off saying something like that to me?” Kathleen snapped. “And how do you know I’m a good Catholic girl anyway?”

Well, I ain’t no Einstein but I seen ya practically runnin’ to St. Brigid’s like ya pants was on fire and I’m guessinya ain’t no altar boy – not with them gorgeous legs.” Harry replied in a very ‘Bogey’ sort of way. He smiled and his tough guy persona became surprisingly charming. Kathleen found it hard not to laugh just a little at this roguish stranger and she shocked herself by allowing him to walk her home.

Harry and Kathleen were as different as a gorilla and a swan but there was an undeniable chemistry between them and they started falling in love. No one was more surprised than Kathleen; Harry was like no man she had ever met. Sure, he was rough around the edges but she loved how his face lit up like a kid whenever he ate dessert, especially his favorite – homemade apple pie. Kathleen was known for her baking skills and would make a pie for Harry every couple of days.

They had a whirlwind courtship and Harry popped the question, much to Kathleen’s delight – and her parent’s chagrin. At first they tolerated the relationship thinking it would blow over, but the more serious it got the more concerned they became. There was a major obstacle her parents couldn’t overlook – the fact that Harry was Jewish. Kathleen’s father was dead set against Harry, calling him names like ‘Christ killer’ and ‘kike’. He was enraged when Kathleen announced that she and Harry were going to get married with or without his blessing. Her mother was crushed. “Jesus, Mary and Joseph! Can’t you see he’s no good for you? I don’t trust him at all, Katy girl, not at all!” she warned, crying into her apron. Kathleen hated defying her parents but would not be dissuaded; she was in love! Her father said she was a blind fool and if she married “that good-for-nothing bum” she was dead to him. With a heavy heart Kathleen closed the door of her childhood home behind her and never looked back.

Harry and Kathleen got married in city hall, the judge and his clerk their only guests and witnesses. After a weekend honeymoon in Niagara Falls the couple settled into Harry’s tiny apartment – a walk-up on the fifth floor and almost within arm’s reach of the elevated train. Kathleen was startled by the scream of the locomotive but Harry said she’d get used to it.

The dilapidated condition of the apartment shocked Kathleen but she was determined to turn it into a lovely home for them. She sewed curtains and towels for the kitchen and bought bed coverings from the thrift store. She also bought sacks of apples from the fruit stand to make Harry’s beloved apple pies. She read in her cookbook that it was alright to freeze apples until you were ready to use them – a handy tip Kathleen didn’t know.

Harry worked the graveyard shift as a printer at the local newspaper, seven days a week from midnight till 8:00 AM. His fingers were permanently stained with black ink. The first morning he came home from work and saw the newly decorated apartment, he got angry at Kathleen for spending his hard-earned money on unnecessary things. Uncaring, he left ink stains on the bedspread when he sat down to remove his shoes. However his mood lightened considerably when he eyed the sacks of apples and Kathleen forgave his angry outburst when she saw that boyish grin.

While Harry slept during the day Kathleen cleaned, shopped and cooked. She wanted a vacuum cleaner but Harry said it was too expensive and the noise would keep him awake so she settled for a carpet sweeper. Their only chance to be together was at breakfast and dinner time – and of course for coffee and dessert. Kathleen suggested a few times that it would be nice if Harry worked during the day so they could be like a normal couple and spend more time together but her words fell on deaf ears.

She also longed for a baby. Each time she thought she was pregnant it turned out to be a false alarm. She saw a doctor who wasn’t very encouraging; he shrugged his shoulders, gave her ambiguous explanations and performed a couple of routine tests. He told her it was just one of those things; not all couples could get pregnant. When Kathleen finally got up the nerve to mention to Harry what the doctor said, he laughed and said it wasn’t his fault she couldn’t get pregnant; “Just ask that sweet little Frenchie I knocked up during the war” was his mean-spirited reply. Kathleen felt like she’d been kicked in the gut. When she cried that she needed something else to fill her lonely days Harry yelled to “go get a job and start earnin’ ya keep around here! Who needs another mouth to feed anyways?” Kathleen was reeling; how could he say such hurtful things? Heartbroken, she eventually gave up on having a baby and found a job as a presser in a shirt factory. The work was exhausting and she still had to maintain the apartment and cook for Harry.

What happened to the guy she married? Harry was constantly annoyed about something or other and drank more now than usual. He got mean when he drank and and Kathleen bore the brunt of his anger. When he demanded sex every night before going to work, she kept her mouth shut but she was silently screaming. This was no way to exist, like a piece of property and not a person. She’d lie awake at night remembering her mother’s warning words. The only thing in her God-forsaken life that she truly enjoyed was baking and she did it all for Harry. She would fantasize about how lovely it would be to have her own little bake shop; she’d make lots of delicious cakes and pies for her large following of loyal customers – not just for her selfish husband. She knew she could do it if she only had the chance.

A few weeks after Kathleen began working she started complaining about backaches and being very tired – probably from constantly lifting the heavy pressing machines at work. Harry, as usual, was unsympathetic and said she better toughen up because no way was she giving up that job.

One morning Kathleen asked Harry if he could bring down the mixing bowl she kept on top of the fridge so she could make an apple pie. He was tired from working all night and wanted to get to sleep but he obliged her at the prospect of dessert. Harry put down his bottle of beer and got the step-stool out of the closet. As he started to climb, Kathleen hoisted a five pound sack of frozen apples, wincing at the pain in her back, and bashed Harry as hard as she could on the back of his head. He fell backwards onto the kitchen floor, his lifeless eyes staring up at the ceiling.

Kathleen hurriedly tore open the sack of apples and dumped them into a pot on the stove. She shoved the empty apple sack into the garbage bag, bunched it all up and threw it down the incinerator chute outside their apartment door. Placing a new bag in the garbage can, she looked at Harry’s body and felt sick to her stomach, vomiting in the sink. She washed her hands and face, then placed a call to the police.

HELP!” Kathleen screamed into the phone. “My husband fell! I think he’s dead!” Then she calmly sat at the kitchen table and waited, crying over misspent years. The police and ambulance arrived quickly; after examining Harry, he was officially declared dead. Blunt force trauma, they said, obviously from smashing his head on the kitchen floor. Everyone was very conciliatory and sympathetic and they respectfully removed Harry’s body. “If there’s anything we can do, Mrs. Selkin, please let us know” the officers said as they left Kathleen alone in the quiet apartment.

Kathleen cleaned up the kitchen and called her boss at the shirt factory to say she wouldn’t be able to work that day. Her boss barked that if she didn’t come in to work she shouldn’t bother coming back at all. Kathleen simply said “Goodbye”. She put the pot of apples in the fridge and after changing her clothes she went to the funeral parlor to make arrangements for Harry.

When she got home she received a phone call from her doctor. “Mrs. Selkin, I’m calling because your test results came back; you and Mr. Selkin will be thrilled to know you’re pregnant. Congratulations, Mrs. Selkin!” Kathleen swayed in stunned disbelief and grabbed onto the edge of the table. She managed a weak “Thank you” and hung up the phone. “Pregnant” she whispered in awe and her slight smile slowly grew into a broad grin. She gently touched her belly, truly happy for the first time in years.

The next morning Kathleen baked a large apple pie with the same apples she used to bash in Harry’s head. When the pie was done and still warm, she placed it in a box and delivered it to the nice policemen. On the way home she stopped in the little bakery near her apartment and inquired about a job. It was a start, a new beginning for her and her baby.

NAR © 2020

NIP TUCK

Attribution, retribution, convolution, resolution! All I am saying is give Reese a chance!”

Sprawled out in the stern of our cabin cruiser, my wife Reese drunkenly belted out her version of John Lennon’s hit song. I was piloting the boat on our return trip from a weekend wedding celebration on Catalina Island; Reese’s sister Margaux had gotten married … again.

Like her sister, Reese had a terrible track record in the marriage department. She was on her third husband – recording industry mogul David Hamlin – when we began our affair. I was a confirmed bachelor living very comfortably in an exclusive penthouse in the city. After her divorce I moved into Reese’s mountain-top estate in Bel-Air, California. I had the dubious distinction of becoming husband number four.

I’m Dr. Jeremy Phillips, plastic surgeon to the rich and famous in Beverly Hills; Reese was one of my patients. As her doctor and lover, I learned her deep dark secrets: her expensive cocaine habit, compulsive shopping on Rodeo Drive, her penchant for Grey Goose and an addiction to plastic surgery. She was beautiful in everyone’s eyes except her own. She wanted me to turn her into a goddess, which I did.

When drunk Reese could be either a sexy vixen or a slutty bitch; tonight was definitely the latter. She struggled into an upright position, slowly got to her feet and staggered toward me, one hand grasping the boat railing and the other a bottle of vodka.

For fuck’s sake, Jeremy, why do you always have to wear that ridiculous outfit? You look like a stupid overgrown kid playing dress-up!” Reese slurred. She drained the bottle, dropping it on the deck.

This is proper nautical attire, darling, perfectly appropriate for every occasion” I replied. “But you don’t know the meaning of proper and appropriate. You’re all but falling out of your dress.”

Reese ran her hands up and down her tanned body, laughing as she hiked her dress up around her waist revealing her perfectly sculpted derriere. She wriggled herself between me and the steering wheel and lowered her top; her magnificent breasts shimmered in the moonlight.

What’s wrong, Captain? Don’t you like the way I look? All the other men do” Reese purred tauntingly. “Margaux’s new husband loves every inch of me. He can’t get enough! You know, Jeremy, you always were a lousy lay. Maybe that’s why you got this big bad boat – to compensate for your tiny dick!” and she laughed again.

Darling Reese, you’re nothing but a drunken whore. You disgust me!” I snarled and she reached up to slap my face. I grabbed her wrist and she looked up at my enraged face, her eyes wide with uncharacteristic fear. And in that moment she knew.

I shoved her out of the way and she fell, hitting her head with a sickening thud. Putting the boat in neutral I quickly checked on Reese; she was dead, a large jagged crack in her forehead oozing blood. Carefully I adjusted her dress and looked around the boat making sure nothing was out of place.

We were near Marabella Marina but just out of earshot. Heading for the dock I placed a frantic phone call. “Mayday! Mayday! Emergency on board the ‘Nip Tuck’! We need an ambulance at Marabella. My wife is badly injured. Hurry!”

The police asked me a few routine questions but it was obvious Reese’s death was a tragic accident. My wife clearly had too much to drink; she lost her balance and fell. It happened so fast I couldn’t prevent it … even if I wanted to.

NAR © 2020