Scotty was thirty when he moved into the apartment in the old building on the narrow, tree-lined Blackbird Street. His best friend, Bridget Durer, helped him move his scanty furniture in. When they were finished, Bridget was sitting on his recamier sipping espresso, looking brightly at Scotty and around the apartment. Scotty sat facing her on the only other possibility, an armless, wooden chair. Bridget pulled a joint out of her purse and lit it. “I thought the two women who live in the other apartments on this floor looked interesting,” she said, “An interesting study in contrasts. And probably both of them would interest you, I suspect.”
“You can see through me like a dirty pane of glass.”
“I bet they’ll be interested in you.”
“You think so?”
“Are you kidding? With your looks, anybody would go for you. I mean, look at you! You’re six feet tall, slender, strong, you have a hairy chest and belly...”
“You’re embarrassing me.”
“ ... and your head is so well shaped and your face is so gorgeous, and the way your short, dark hair lays casually on your head.”
“You’re going to make my head too big and that won’t look good at all.”
Bridget chuckled and shook her head. “Anyway, maybe you’ll find Ms. Right. Which one do you prefer? The plump African-American hippy with the dreadlocks or the petite blond banker with the killer hairdo?”
“‘Killer hairdo’? Is that what you call it?”
“Yes, that’s what I call it. And so anyhow ... which one would you choose?”
“I don’t know.”
“Well, you don’t have to know. You can just let fate decide, like you always do, my dear. You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to make sure you get introduced to them.”
Bridget was as good as her word, because the following Friday evening, when Scotty came up the stairs, Bridget came out of the blond lady’s apartment with the two neighbors following her. Iris Rahim was plump and round-faced with thick dreadlocks cascading over her shoulders. She looked up at Scotty with large eyes. Scotty admired the intense darkness of her brown skin and the sideburns curling in front of her ears, the ears sporting large round earrings. She wore a long bathrobe. Lucinda Dalrimple, who was wearing a tweed skirt-suit, was shorter than Iris and fair, yellow-haired, slender, and flat-chested. Her hair was cut short and swept back on the sides. She had a deep cleft in her chin that enhanced the chiseled look of her facial features.
A young man appeared at the top of the stairs just then. He was about 19 and cute, Scotty thought, in a disheveled sort of way. He had wind-blown brown hair curling abundantly over his ears and the back of his neck. He was Zing, Iris’s boyfriend, as it turned out, and the two of them retreated into Iris’s apartment, as Bridget took her leave with Scotty in tow. “I’m painting his portrait,” she told the others.
“Bridget’s an artist,” Iris explained to Lucinda and Zing.
“You look the artist,” Lucinda commented, “with your black tights, long straight hair, mannish shirt, and black beret.”
Bridget and Scotty rode their bicycles to Bridget’s apartment, an attic garret on High Street, where one room, with a bare wooden plank floor and a single, north facing window fronted by the higher leaves of an enormous old oak, was devoted to painting. Under her easel was a splattered “tarp of many colors,” as Bridget referred to it. Half-painted canvasses leaned in wild profusion against the low walls below the pointed ceiling. On the easel, there was a half-finished painting of Scotty naked. Scotty stripped naked while Bridget rolled a joint and laid out some cocaine. In a few moments they were high and Scotty was standing very still in a romantic pose while Bridget, perched on a stool, painted. The door to the outside opened and in a moment Bridget’s roommate Suzy lumbered–with however a breezy air–through the open door into the atelier.
“Well well well,” Suzy said, with a sly grin as she looked the scene over, her hands on her hips. “Hey, roomy,” she went on, “I’ve never seen your boyfriend naked before. He looks good. Just a minute I’ll get a spoon.”
“He’s not my boyfriend, as you well know, Suzy. And forget about the spoon; we’re working.”
“I can see that,” Suzy laughed. She went around behind the easel. “Oh that looks good. But not as good as the real thing. Oh, look, you’ve got a little naked Polaroid of him propped up on the easel. Isn’t that cute!”
Bridget snorted at her and shooed her away with several flicks of her wrist.
“I want to watch.”
“I know you. You’ll be jerking off.”
“You’re so crude, Bridget. Anyway, you should paint him with a woody.”
“I may do two versions.” There was a knock at the door. “Who could that be?” Bridget wondered.
“It’s Zippy, my new beau. Boy, am I gonna jump on board his hot rod tonight.”
“God, Suzy, and you talk about me!”
“Well, this guy’s,” she nodded towards the nude model, “got me going, really revved up.”
“Go answer the door,” Bridget commanded.
“How do I look, boyfriend?” Suzy stood in front of Scotty, addressing him. Dark curly hair surrounded her handsome features. She was quite stout. She wore bib overalls and a tee shirt.
“You look great, Suzy,” Scotty told her.
“Oh, I think he’s getting a woody, Bridget.” She turned and headed out of the room, muttering as she exited, “So now you can start on version number two.”
After Bridget’s roommate left with her date, Bridget made chai for the two of them, bringing the steaming pot and a pitcher of hot milk into the atelier. She told Scotty that her advisor, Professor Rath, was coming over to see her paintings. “She’ll be really impressed to see I have my own live model,” Bridget said. Shortly thereafter, Bridget left Scotty in the atelier to answer the door. Scotty heard them talking for a few minutes and then Bridget came back into the room with two other people, Professor Rath, a slightly built, dark lady of forty or so, with a little girl of about eleven or twelve in tow, her daughter. The daughter was small, slender, and blond.
“And this is your model,” Professor Rath said, with some admiration in her voice. “Very good indeed, very professional. Well, you go right on painting–I like seeing you at work–and I’ll just take a peek at your work here.” The professor began to root around among the canvasses, while the little daughter stared at Scotty, frozen in his dramatic and romantic, standing pose. He was never addressed directly while the company was there. The girl stared at Scotty’s nakedness the whole time, seemingly entranced. Bridget, who had resumed painting, paused in her work after a few minutes to serve tea to her guests. Scotty remained motionless. The little girl sat cross-legged on the floor and resumed gawking at Scotty. Bridget went back to painting. After a while, the professor sat down on the floor next to Bridget and while Bridget went on painting–and Scotty went on posing–discussed her art work with her. She looked often at Scotty while she talked but never spoke to him. Bridget also did not address him and hadn’t introduced him directly either. The girl went on looking. Finally, they got up to leave.
When they were gone, Bridget came back into the atelier laughing. “Quite a show, quite a show, Scotty. I think you were starting to get boner there for awhile, with the little girl gawking. She really got a gander at you.”
“You set me up for it, Bridget.”
“Don’t I take care of my little Scotty?”
“I guess so.”
“You bet I do. Of course, little Sandra Gosset looked at me like that too the time I was posing for life class and she sat in with her mom.”
“Who’s Sandra Gosset?”
“Roth’s daughter–the little, wide-eyed moppet you just met.”
“We didn’t really meet.”
Bridget laughed heartily. “Anyhow, you do have a nice penis, you know.”
“It’s so attractively formed. You know, I think I will do two versions of this painting.” They smoked another joint and then Scotty cycled home in the warm and balmy darkness. He met Iris and her boyfriend Zing in the upstairs hallway of his building. They were just returning from their night out and invited Scotty in for a joint. Iris was wearing a light cotton dress which, when the light was behind her, displayed the fat contours of her dark body. Zing wore baggy, olive fatigues cut off short so that, as he sat astride a stool, Scotty could glimpse his balls and penis dangling at the opening. When he finally went to bed, he could hear Iris and Zing having sex next door, ending in a crescendo of Iris, to the rhythm of her creaking bed, crying out in deep tones from her abdomen, “Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh...” Scotty masturbated until he fell asleep.
He slept late and went over to Bridget’s at noon. She was in the middle of painting a still life, she said, and went to make coffee, asking Scotty to roll a joint.
“Did I hear ‘joint?’” a voice called from a bedroom, and Suzy appeared. She waddled into the kitchen, in a terrycloth bathrobe. “Hey hey, Scotty,” she called cheerfully in her breezy, high voice, “I heard about your erotic show the other day for Sandra Gosset.”
“Don’t flirt with him, Suzy,” Bridget admonished her, “he’s a chubby chaser, you know, and he’ll put the moves on you.”
“Well, that wouldn’t be so bad, I guess,” Suzy responded, smiling broadly at Scotty.
.... There is more of this story ...