Her next was an artist who placed her on all fours, with the bedspread draped over her like a caparison, and who painted her face in forty nine shades of grey, the chiaroscuro so effective that she shone from the canvas with such unreality, that the prolegomenon of the book later published on his work, suggested the image had been photoshopped.
The ripples of the latest youthquake had reached her rooms, scouted by this urbane oneironaut whose powered wig required her kimono be used as an antimacassar to protect the headboard from the substituted hair and scented starch, while he channelled Rousseau, and she was Julie.
Her next was a frugal vulgarian, who entered with a short holophrase that wasn’t pleasant, and afterwards gave her mala fide greenbacks she could never cash.
She'd giggled when the man had come in and declared himself a sexton, and she'd laughed when he'd rubbed limbs and stridulated against her, and she'd nearly cried at his swansong and literally gasped at his floccinaucinihilipilification of life; he was hanging up his spade, and putting down his bell, his wife had died, and he was going to hell.
She didn’t understand the jiggery-pokery, or how this phreaker had hacked her landline, and taken the place of her usual Tuesday two o’clock, but with this guy (a police officer, she thought), she would consider progeny and an end to her enforced sinecure.
Amazing that even in the laissez-aller of the cat house, amongst all the other bodacious females, she still held clients agog at twice the price: “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” said one of her regulars, his apothegm putting the other girls in their place.
Her next caller was a soi-disant writer from a foreign land, a fictioneer really, and his technique was as middling as his regard for character development, so she whiled away the time gazing up at the crown molding and thinking who she could ask to fix it.
She beckoned him with a curled finger: “What man shall gainsay this woman?” she asked, but the fake tan and stuck-on eyelashes, while de rigueur in her line of work, was antaphrodisiac, and a reminder that he would be read the riot act if he didn’t get home now.
“I mean, Tom called me a fanfaron, when braggart would have done, and he referred to you after his little gander as Lamia, whoever that it is, and he’s no bardolator,” – Brad clutched his head – “see what I mean!”
“Yes, my love, it transpires that he’s gonna crawfish his way out of any legal action,” said Brad, kicking the quoin until the building bombilated, “and anyway , what I want to know is why we talk in crosswordese?”
Ena span the lazy Susan and picked up a strawberry daiquiri for Brad, who was standing at the corner of the roof, kicking the quoin: “For its demulcent effect, I heard you overawed young Tom,” she said.
Brad appeared holding a capias warrant and uttering xenophobic insults, but his mouth fell open at the sight of the well stocked lazy Susan and Ena sunbathing with her hair styled into a soigné updo.
Ena opened an emergency, ready-made gin and tonic from the rooftop lazy Susan, knocked a veritable cornice of ice into her drink from the frozen chimney top, and lay back on her sun-lounger, unadmonished and debauched.
And it was in this milieu, amidst the soft music and candles and cereal foods, that doubting Thomas questioned his father about the sausages, while Ena decamped to dress on the roof, escaping her oubliette and the inquisition that carried on below her.
Ignoring Ena’s grunts, squeals and other surds of delight, Brad Cheetum spotted the nosy parker, put down his bowl of kasha and dragged the boy into the bandbox of a room he let as an apartment.
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