Readers: I'm taking the lyrics to a popular country music song and expanding them into a story. Hopefully, I won't offend avid country music lovers by making this song into a sex story. In my defense I'll say this; the original song was implicitly about sexual choices anyways! I have taken the liberty of using some of the song's original 600 words to help setup and move along my 5,000 word tale.
I knew what I had to do but I made myself this solemn vow that I was going to be a lady someday, though I didn't know when or how. I couldn't see spending the rest of my life with my head hung down in shame. You know I might have been born just plain white trash, but "Fancy" was my name.
From the song "Fancy" by Bobbie Gentry (1969) & Reba Mcintire (1991)
Time: 1930s depression era Louisiana
Place: One room shack on the outskirts of New Orleans
Miss Fancy Mae Devereux sat in an oversized galvanized washtub trying her best to scrape and scour the humiliating filth of poverty from her flawless, alabaster flesh. From the corner of her eye she could see her sickly, coughing mother slaving away ironing every wrinkled crease from a satin dancing dress. In a basket under the ironing board an infant fussed and cried.
Now in her 15th year of living, Fancy had carefully shaved her long, slim legs. Sunlight gleaming through a window glistened off the shorn, porcelain-pretty naked skin. Following her mother's instructions, the girl had also tried her best to use scissors and a straight razor to neatly trim the edges of her thin, reddish-blonde bush of pubic curls.
Through no efforts of her own making, Fancy had a 'date' this evening. One of the wealthiest merchants in New Orleans, Mr. Jonas Ward, had stopped by earlier and had a secretive talk with the girl's mother.
After the man left, the mother looked around at the pitiful shack then pulled her daughter aside, took a ragged breath, and said, "Fancy, we don't have money for food or rent. To say the least we're hard pressed. Your Pa's run off and I'm real sick and the baby's going to starve to death. Honey, Mr. Ward is coming back to pick you up later and he will take care of everything for us if you'll just treat him 'nice'."
Fancy had a good-boy boyfriend, but like most males who knew her, he was at times a little bit too grabby-handed with her. While innocent and pure, chastity-wise, this was a young lady you knew men admired the shapely form of her quickly maturing young feminine body.
"Honey, get out of the tub and let me comb and curl your hair," the girl's mama said. "Not that your hair needs much curling. Why, I've never seen such a luxuriously beautiful head full of naturally curly tresses as you have on your head!"
Despite the awkward circumstances, Fancy smiled and her face beamed proudly. "Mama, the bible says a woman's hair is her crowning glory," the girl said. Without a hint of intended conceit, she added, "I guess, in that respect, I've been blessed with glory aplenty!"
Mrs. Maggie Mae Devereux, abandoned wife of a French-Creole riverboat gambler, started crying. The tears brought on a coughing fit. A bit of blood was expelled into the last lace handkerchief she owned.
"Don't worry Mama," Fancy said with uncertainty. "I'll get through this and tomorrow we'll get you to the doctor, we'll buy some food, and everything in this world will be alright."
Fancy stepped from the washtub, dried the shimmering locks of her long, red hair, and allowed her mother to slip the scarlet dress over her head. The satiny cloth slithered snakelike over the young woman's silky skin and fell to cover the ripening curves of an undeniably feminine body. A long, revealing slit running up the side seductively hinted at the womanhood concealed within the sheer cloth.
Stepping to the mirror, Fancy gazed at the stranger staring back at her. Standing back from the looking glass, her eyes beheld the image of a woman reflected out where the figure of a half-grown kid had once stood.
"God forgive me for what I do," her mother said. "If you want out girl it's up to you. But, if you want a better life you'd better start sleeping uptown."
A blaring car horn stifled any further discussion. A hulking Cadillac limousine with a chauffeured driver awaited just outside the yard gate.
Fancy's mother dabbed a little bit of perfume on her daughter's neck and she kissed her cheek. Then, with the tears welling up in her troubled eyes, she handed the girl a heart-shaped locket that said, "To thine own self be true."
From a far off distance, it sounded like somebody else was talking but Fancy heard her own childlike woman's voice quizzically asking a last-minute question, "Mama what do I do?"
Through tear-stained eyes a brokenhearted mother's reply simply said, "Just be nice to gentlemen, Fancy, and they'll be nice to you."
As she opened the door and walked down the path, the chauffeur opened the car door. With her trim-limbed legs tucked safely inside, the door was shut and Fancy's world was changed forever. Twisting her head, she caught a glimpse of her mother's bloodstained handkerchief waving goodbye.
The Ward house was one of several stately mansions aligned along a tree-lined street. After pulling under the secluded canopy of a roofed portico, the chauffeur opened Fancy's door and escorted her through the home's backdoor and into a sweet-smelling, well-stocked kitchen.
The overpowering aroma of food made Fancy's belly grumble from hunger. A dour-faced woman dressed in the nondescript uniform of a housekeeper took the young lady's hand and led her down a long, wood-paneled hallway.
Stopping at the heavy library door, the housekeeper knocked, entered, and pulled Fancy in after her. "Mr. Ward," she announced. "Sir, Miss Devereux to see you."
"Come in, come in, Miss Devereux," a hearty gentleman's voice said. "How are you Fancy? How is the family, your mother and the baby? All well, I hope. Have a seat on the settee over here."
The housekeeper retreated and closed the door. Following the elderly gentleman's instructions, Fancy took a seat beside the gray-haired man. Her eyes watched intently as he withdrew an overstuffed wallet from his breast coat pocket and took out three pieces of paper currency.
Fancy's dilating eyes fixated on the treasury notes as they were laid out side by side on the coffee table. The denominations of each bank note jumped into her mind. She gazed in fascinated wonder at the $5, $10, and $20 bills.
"Fancy, my dear," the man said. "I believe we have no need of 'small talk' at this time. We both know why you are here. Young lady, I'd like for you to choose which bill you would like to accept for your services. Pick the $5 and we will have no more than some simple 'petting' and kisses. Take the $10 and we will go upstairs for a more intimate encounter. Choose the $20 and I'm afraid I can't make promises as to what will happen."
Fancy's mind spun dizzily. The $5 would pay for the doctor her mother needed so desperately with enough left over for a week's groceries. The $10 would pay two month's rent on their one room home. The $20, why that single bill would relieve all her family's burdens for the foreseeable future!
Through her dizzily spinning fog of fascination, Fancy recalled an old saying she had once heard which went something like this; "In for a penny, in for a pound."
"Mr Ward, may I choose all three bills?" Fancy abruptly blurted out. Having 'made her bed', she added, "Sir, I'll accept whatever consequences this decision might lead to!"
As she was speaking, Fancy's hands were tightly clutching the alligator purse she held. The handbag was the only material reminder she had of her gambler father who had won it in a poker game with a riverboat gambling lady.
The alligator bag was removed from Fancy's trembling fingers and a man was stuffing three crisp bills inside. One was a $5, one was a $10, and one was a $20. The man had taken her hand and was escorting her to an upstairs room.
"Fancy, you need not have worn such a pretty dress for me" Jonas Ward said. "Why don't we get you into something more comfortable? This is my daughter's bedroom and I bet she has something to fit you. Rachel and her mother have gone up to Baton Rouge for the weekend. My daughter and you share classes at school, don't you?"
Without awaiting an answer, Jonas Ward held a garment up to his nose and inhaled its scent. He spoke triumphantly, "Here girl try this on! This is something Rachel sleeps in. How about just leaving all of your undergarments off? And girl, jump into Rachel's bed when you're dressed."
Surprisingly, the man turned away as Fancy stripped her own clothing off and slipped on another girl's silky, satin white pajamas. Following instructions, she slid under the covers of her schoolmate's bed.
With his back still turned to her, Jonas Ward whispered, "Fancy, you must play my game if you are to fulfill your obligations to me. When I turn around, I want you to pretend you are Rachel and I wish for you to call me 'Daddy'. Okay, Honey?"
While not understanding this game at all, Fancy nonetheless new how to play 'make believe'. No child raised in poverty could survive childhood without a vivid imagination. "Of course it's okay Daddy! I'm in bed now Daddy if you want to turn around."
"Why there's my little girl all snuggled up in her girlie girl bed!" Jonas said when he turned. Taking a step forward he sat on the edge of the covers and added, "It's not yet dinner time Honey, is my baby feeling alright?"
.... There is more of this story ...