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.
“You’re giving him ideas. He’s already horny enough.”
“Well, here’s an idea, Scotty,” Suzy addressed him conspiratorially, “Guess who’s coming to pose tomorrow night?”
“Who?” Scotty asked.
“Suzy!” Bridget remonstrated. Then she lit the joint.
“Sandra Gosset, of course. You should come over that night and pretend like you’re up next and you can be one of the models sort of hanging around and surreptitiously gawking at the little minx.”
“I’d rather gawk at you,” Scotty said matter-of-factly.
“Aren’t you chivalrous,” Suzy said. “Look at Bridget–she’s rolling her eyes.”
“I can’t help wondering if you’re naked under that robe,” Scotty said to Suzy. Bridget guffawed.
“Yes I am,” Suzy said, leaning towards Scotty with a lascivious look. “Under this robe, Scotty, I am completely, one hundred percent, stark naked. I haven’t got a stitch on–just my soft, fluffy skin and my incredibly furry pussy.”
“Scotty wants Iris Rahim,” Bridget brayed.
“You sound like a petulant little girl the way you say that,” Suzy said.
“She’s as fat as you,” Bridget went on. Suzy laughed. Bridget continued, “Scotty wants Iris–or Lucinda–”
“or Sandra,” Suzy put in.
“–and you want me,” Bridget finished, putting an arm around Suzy’s flabby body. She kissed Suzy’s lips and then mischievously raised one flap on Suzy’s robe flashing Scotty a momentary peek at Suzy’s triangle of pubic fur. Suzy saw Scotty’s face light up. She made a round-mouth face of amazement and consternation, comically exaggerated.
“Scotty’d like to see more,” Bridget teased her roommate, giggling immodestly.
Suzy met Scotty’s eyes. “Later,” she said, “or sometime anyway, you can jack off while you watch me take a shower. Would you like that?”
“Yes, I would,” Scotty said.
“Yes he would,” Bridget laughed.
“And he agreed to that with such alacrity!” Suzy said, “It’s so flattering.”
“I guess,” Bridget said with a hint of doubt.
“Well, yeah ... I ... guess.” Suzy shrugged and then laughed merrily.
“But you know, Scotty,” Bridget said, pointing her paint brush at him and wagging it as she spoke, “I could see you with the boyfriend too, you know. What’s his name?”
“Ha! See, you remember it.”
“He is cute,” Scotty said.
“See, you admit it.”
“Of course I admit it.”
“You two!” Suzy ejaculated with mock exasperation.
Scotty dropped by Bridget’s on Sunday night to get a glimpse of Sandra posing naked. He strolled around the atelier while Bridget painted and Sandra stood naked, staring in the middle distance, her mouth open.
“Yes yes,” Bridget enthused, “Give me that slack-jawed gape you do so well.” She turned and looked at Scotty and surreptitiously winked at him.
Scotty tried to appear casually to be examining the almost-finished painting of himself, which was leaning against the garret wall. He moved his gaze with stealth meant to appear nonchalant and gazing with some thoroughness at the object of his visit. Sandra was slender and supple and yellow-haired. Her breasts were flat and the nipples small and pink. Her pubic slit was long and puckered and darker than her other skin. Her mouth hung open in a vacant face.
“You know, Scotty, you’re next,” Bridget told him without looking away from her work. “Since you’re here, I want you to make yourself useful and pose after I’ve got a good start on this Sandra painting. We could suck down some espresso and work into the night.”
“I’m going to do the other version tonight, if you catch my drift.”
“It’ll be good.”
“I don’t doubt it.”
“Go roll a couple joints, would you?” While Scotty was rolling joints in the living room, Suzy came home. “Hey, Scotty, how’s tricks?” Scotty nodded toward the atelier and Suzy nodded with a knowing smirk.
“Bridget said she’s going to paint the infamous so-called other version of the painting of me tonight.”
“I’d like to see that.”
“I’m sure you will.”
“No, I mean I’d like to see that episode of posing transpire.”
“You’re hard to keep out anyway.”
“You like it when I watch.”
“Well, yes I do.”
“You like it when women look at your naked body.” They both laughed together heartily. “That reminds me,” Suzy went on, “I want to get a gander at what you came to see. Give me one of those joints.” He handed her one and she strode into the atelier to smoke it with the painter and get a gander at Sandra. Scotty watched her fat hips with some admiration as she waddled in her tight blue jeans out of the living room.
After Sandra left, Bridget, Suzy, and Scotty congregated in the atelier and Scotty stripped naked.
“Sandra called you ‘tall, dark, and handsome, ‘ Scotty,” Bridget said, beginning to paint. “Hold your dick up so I can see your balls. She remembered you from before.”
“Scotty has a nice penis,” Suzy commented.
“I need to see you with it hard,” Bridget said to her subject. “Make it hard for me, Scotty.” “Yeah,” Suzy added, “Make it hard for us. God, your belly’s so hairy.”
“Maybe Suzy will suck your dick to get it hard.”
“Not me, dearie, I’m a lesbian. As you well know, of course. Our tall, dark, and handsome friend–or in your case, employee–will have to will himself hard by thinking of my lips on his weenie.”
“How about this, Scotty, why don’t you imagine the time when Suzy is going to let you watch her taking a shower.”
“Why don’t you just jack off for us?” Suzy suggested.
“That’s fine with me,” Scotty said. He began to masturbate.
“O my god, he’s doing it!” Suzy shrieked, “He’s actually doing it! Before my very eyes!”
“Yes, Suzy,” Bridget said wryly, “He’s really jerking himself off before our very eyes.”
“Gol, it’s so big.” Suzy tossed her dark hair and wriggled her fleshy body. She held her arms out. “Look how hairy my arms are, Scotty. What a forest, huh? Just think how bushy my twat must be. Think about it, Scotty, while you caress your big brown noodle.”
“Take your hand away, Scotty, so I can see the thing to paint it.”
“I love to see you getting your boner painted.” When Scotty got home that night it was nearly two-thirty. Lucinda Dalrimple was just sliding into the door of Iris’s apartment when Scotty got to the top of the stairway.
“Hi, Scotty,” she called gaily. She was wearing sweat pants and a sweatshirt and was barefoot. Her short blond hair was wildly tousled. She was braless and her nipples made points low on her sweatshirt. She was carrying a bottle of vodka. “Come and party with us.”
“I’d love too but I’m tuckered out.”
“Not to worry, we have some toot. That’ll perk you up, don’t you think, Scotty?”
“You’ve twisted my arm.”
Lucinda tucked the vodka bottle under her arm and grabbing one of Scotty’s arms, pretended to twist it, grimacing humorously.
The host and her boyfriend Zing were in the bedroom, sitting up in bed with the covers pulled up to their necks. Iris was in the process of dragging on a joint when Scotty came into the room behind Lucinda, and Zing was laying out some lines of cocaine on a mirror. The four of them sucked up drugs and passed the vodka bottle around and began chatting merrily. Lucinda sat in one corner of the room in a big, stuffed chair, and Scotty sat on a low stool next to her.
“I had this boyfriend once,” Lucinda said just after she drained the last of the vodka, “that I used to shit on.”
“Nobody’s perfect,” Zing said.
“No, I mean, I used to poop on him–actually physically make poops on him. He loved that.” She launched into a sort of lyrical description of the process of squatting over her young man. While she spoke in her low, breathy voice, Iris seemed to be slowly stroking Zing’s penis under the covers. When the anecdote was finished, she sent him to the kitchen to make some coffee. He got out of bed naked. His penis was swollen large and swayed around before him as he strode to the kitchen. Scotty caught Lucinda gawking and then realized he had been gawking himself.
Later, when they were leaving, Lucinda paused in the hallway and said quietly, “Scotty, wasn’t that sexy when Zing jumped out of bed with that big hard on?”
Scotty sighed. “Yes, it was for a fact.” Lucinda kissed him on the cheek and strode into her apartment across the narrow hallway. Scotty went home and jacked off in his bed, remembering a prediction of Bridget’s earlier that evening, when he was posing with an erection. She had said, laughing, to Suzy, “Scotty’s going to go home tonight and jack off again–to his heart’s content. That’s what he always does when he goes home–he jacks off.”
“What’s wrong with that?” Scotty had responded in his own defense.
The telephone awakened him at ten from a dream which was terribly erotically charged, in which he watched Iris taking a shower–but she had Zing’s penis. He answered groggily without getting out of bed. “You’re awake, you’ve got a boner: it’s time to jack off,” a high, soft, lilting female voice said.
“What?” Scotty said, instinctively putting his hand on his stiff, dark penis.
“This is Suzy, Scotty.”
“You do have your hand on your dick, don’t you?”
“Oh, well, I guess I do, at that.” Suzy laughed. “Hey, come on over, the other version is done. Bridget stayed up all night. She’s asleep now. It’s really cool. You have to see it.”
“It must be something.”
“You’ll be surprised. Come now. I’ll make you some espresso and roll some jays. It’ll be a real brunch.”
“I like your idea of brunch.”
Scotty was surprised when he saw the painting. “That’s great! I like it.”
“I thought you would,” Suzy said, smirking. The painting was a portrait of Sandra, gawking and slack-jawed, full length and naked. The canvass was four feet high. Her body was lithe and willowy, but she sported the erect, dark penis of Scotty, his hairy scrotal sack hanging loosely beneath it. They had some cappuccino and smoked a few joints. Bridget was still asleep in her bedroom. Suzy and Scotty decided to go out for breakfast. He in chinos and a sweatshirt and she in jeans and a sweatshirt, they walked down the tree-lined street, a row of two-storey wooden houses on either side. “It’s the first day autumn,” Suzy commented as they turned on Oak Street towards the heart of campus, “You can feel it in the air–a certain cool blue crispness.”
“There was a day like this in August but you weren’t here for it.”
“Let’s stop into the bank so I can cash a check.”
Lucinda was at her desk in the bank. All the executives’ cubicles were in plain view behind glass walls. She rose when she saw them and strode over, her hips and torso sleek and sinewy beneath the businesslike gray tweed of her skirt suit. She wore black-rimmed glasses. “Scotty, Suzy, hi.” She stood before them smiling.
“You guys know each other.”
“Suzy and I were in Economic Theory together several years ago.” Lucinda turned to Iris: “You were the smartest person in the class–the brain.”
“Thank you. That guy was so conservative.”
“Smith? He’s a Marxist.”
“He seemed like a stick-in-the-mud to me.”
“I guess he was at that,” Iris agreed, nodding absently as if she were just realizing this. They had Middle Eastern food at Zorina’s with Turkish coffee. “Lucinda likes you.”
“We’ve become good friends. I enjoy her company.”
“No, I mean she likes you. She’s so pretty.”
“Yes. She’s no prettier than you are.”
“You are nice, aren’t you.” She shook her head and laughed. “What a line!”
“It’s just the truth.”
“I’m buying lunch.”
“You’re so nice to me.”
“You make people want to be nice to you. There’s something about you.”
“You’re embarrassing me.”
“I mean, even over and above the good looks.”
“This is hard to listen to but it will sound good in my memory.”
Suzy laughed at Scotty and he laughed quietly with her. “She loves to party,” Suzy said.
“Lucinda. Back when we were in the class together, or maybe a year later, way back when so to speak–I’m surprised she remembers me–I was at a party she was at and she got so drunk, she urinated into a whiskey bottle as a sort of spectacle for everyone there.”
“You should see the look on your face.” Suzy pointed at him and put her other hand to her mouth. “You look like little slack-jaw herself.”
“I’d like to see that.”
“I can tell.”
“Is that jealousy?”
“Hm, maybe I should take that shower for you–or I’ll lose my chance.”
“I’m looking forward to it.”
“We’ll see. I’d like to see that again myself–Lucinda pissing into a bottle. If I could finagle something like that, it would be worth spending some time with her.”
Scotty did not return home until five. He met Lucinda in the doorway and they walked up the stairs together.
“We should party tonight,” Lucinda said, leering.
“Let’s go to Iris’s.”
Inside his apartment, Scotty stripped naked and lay on his sofa masturbating. Zing knocked and Scotty answered the door naked, his penis swollen and black and blotchy. He liked being naked for Zing and offered to roll a joint. He sat in a chair with his penis swinging between his legs in front of Zing. They smoked the joint and Scotty lay back in the chair, one leg draped across the chair arm, his penis lying across his thigh. Zing, gloating and smirking, looked him up and down.
“Come over for some brewskies tonight, Scotty.” Zing laughed at his own wit concerning the euphemism “brewskies.” “Lucinda’s coming,” he added, “and a few other people.”
Zing got up to leave and Scotty saw him to the door. He went back to his chair. It was dusk and the room was darkening. Scotty wondered whether to nap or write. He heard someone in the hallway and went to the door, silently opening it a crack to peak out. The slender eleven-year-old boy who delivered the paper knocked on Lucinda’s door. Lucinda opened her door wide. She was stark naked. “Timmy, hi,” she purred in her low voice as if off-handedly. She was apparently strutting around getting the money for the paperboy. She paid him off, facing him with her naked body, her pubic bush, her smooth flat stomach, and her flaccid, low-slung breasts. When Timmy lingered in the doorway, she shut the door on him and he left. Scotty’s telephone rang. He sat on his bed, his whole apartment dark and picked up the receiver.
“Do you know what she said? She saw the painting this afternoon. She said, “You put Tall-dark-and-handsome’s penis on me.”
“Huh? Yes, of course. This is Suzy. But it was Sandra Gosset who said that about your penis.”
“Did she like it?”
“She was thrilled. She really liked it. I have to go. I’ll see you around.” She hung up. Scotty crouched at the open window and looked out. The building next door was an old, dark brick apartment building. A group of four or five young people walked by on the sidewalk in front, their laughter slicing the warm, moist, and still evening air. He lay back on the bed and fell asleep. He woke up to the sound of the party next door in Iris’s apartment. He trimmed his toenails and fingernails and took a shower. He put on baggy chinos with no underpants and a conservative sport shirt and went barefoot to Iris’s. There were two groups of five or six people each, chatting and passing joints in the living room. Lucinda saw Scotty and lifting an arm holding a drink, called out to him, “Vodka!” as if it were a cheer or a toast. She took a swig, wiped her face with the back of her free hand, and smiled smugly at Scotty. Zing put his arm on Scotty’s back and massaged it in a friendly way. Scotty melted at his touch. He saw Iris emerge from the hallway that led to the bathroom and the bedroom, proceeding majestically with her characteristically erect, slow, and stately steps. He melted again–with lustful hunger for her. She wore a filmy shift that flowed as she moved against the fleshy and shimmering contours, which were obviously unrestricted by a bra or underpants. She was laughing gaily as she approached Scotty, embracing him warmly by way of welcoming him. Scotty held her an extra moment after she had squeezed him briefly. He stroked her back tenderly for a moment. Extricating herself from his embrace, she gave him however a little peck on the cheek and then introduced him to a woman standing next to them. She left them together and went to the kitchen. The woman was average height and terribly slender. Her light brown hair was shaved to a nub. Her face was narrow and her cheeks sunken and pock-marked, her nose big and hooked. She wore a floor-length shift and black leather hiking boots. Her feet were huge. Her name was Cheryl.
“Do you know everybody here?” She asked.
“I only know the neighbors. I’m one of the neighbors. I live next door.”
“What do you do?”
“I’m an artist’s model.”
“I hate good looking men,” she said sourly.
“I guess that’s a compliment,” he replied with a cheerful smile.
“Well, actually,” she conceded, “I hate men.”
“I know what you mean. So do I.” He smiled at her and then she smiled back.
“You win,” she said, laughing, “I give up.”
“What’s your occupation?”
“I’m an artist.”
Lucinda Dalrimple came up to them, wearing a short cotton skirt with a silk shirt. “I’m not wearing any underpants,” she began.
“Neither am I,” Scotty said. Cheryl gasped, holding her mouth open for a moment in amused shock. Lucinda turned toward her and asked:
“Well, how about you?”
Cheryl stammered and giggled and then said, “Well, as a matter of fact, I’m not wearing any panties either.”
“That’s the advantage of a long dress,” Scotty said.
“I don’t worry about that stuff,” Lucinda laughed, shaking her short skirt.
“I guess your friend here will be watching when you sit down,” Cheryl commented wryly.
Lucinda looked at Scotty with feigned shock. “Scotty! Shame on you!”
“I didn’t do anything,” he protested.
“Yet,” said Cheryl.
“Yet,” he admitted.
“What hasn’t happened yet?” Zing wanted to know as he joined them.
“I haven’t looked up Lucinda’s skirt yet,” Scotty explained.
“But you’d like to?” Zing asked.
“It’s a long story,” Scotty said, “I won’t bore you with the details.”
“You mean you wouldn’t like to see up my skirt?” Lucinda asked with affected disappointment.
“Look, he’s blushing,” Cheryl giggled.
“Well, of course I’d like to see up her skirt,” Scotty responded with an effort to sound chivalrous but thinking about the vista he had glimpsed of her playing a scene before the paperboy.
“Who wouldn’t?” Zing asked rhetorically. He took a joint from his pocket, handed it to Scotty, lit it for him with a lighter, and rubbed Scotty’s back while Scotty took a hit and passed the joint to Cheryl. The great bulk of Iris loomed into their midst then with a platter of highball glasses.
“What’s in these?” Cheryl asked Iris.
“Martinis: vodka and vermouth,” the fat lady answered, “These’ll knock you on your tush.”
“I want one of these,” a very short lady said, reaching from behind Iris for one of the glasses on the tray. She squeezed in between Iris and Cheryl and sipped the drink with a satisfied smack of her lips. Scotty had not noticed her before. She was apparently a dwarf, four feet tall, with thick stubby legs showing beneath her short dress. Her front was adorned with the bumps created by bulbous breasts. She had long, thick, wavy brown hair. She took a drag on a kretek and blew smoke with obvious satisfaction out her big, mobile mouth and broad nose. Iris introduced her to Scotty and Lucinda. Cheryl obviously already knew her.
“How’s tricks, Beth?” Cheryl asked her, “been gettin’ any?”
“Cheryl!” Iris exclaimed, “the things you say!”
“Well, Cheryl,” Beth said with some acerbity, “if you’re not getting any action, I’m sure it’s not my fault.”
“I’m not interested in that kind of action.”
“You only like women,” Beth responded and stuck out her tongue.
“What’s wrong with that?” Scotty wanted to know, looking back and forth between the two women.
“Scotty loves women,” Iris said, “Don’t you, Scotty?”
“He’s blushing again,” Cheryl said.
“Maybe he’s somebody I should get to know,” Beth mused, biting her lip coyly and looking at Scotty sideways.
“I’ve seen enough,” Cheryl stated and taking a drink from the tray Iris was still holding, turned to join the other little group of guests, which consisted of two men and two women. One of the women and one of the men were remarkably tall.
“Let’s sit down,” Beth said, grabbing Scotty’s hand and pulling him to the sofa, while Scotty heard Zing commenting to Lucinda, “Beth’s very aggressive.”
“I see,” Lucinda answered. Iris laughed heartily.
Beth arranged herself on the sofa with her little fat legs tucked under her and her body turned toward Scotty. “I heard you’re a model. Do you pose in what my maiden aunt used to call the ‘altogether’?”
Cheryl approached them. “What a great pose–a ‘model’!” she interrupted and laughed at her own witticism.
Scotty said, “Ha!”
“Are you really a model?” Beth asked.
“It’s just a sideline.”
“That’s something at least. I’d hate to think of those staggering good looks going to waste,” Beth laughed.
Cheryl rolled her eyes, said “O god,” and turned back to the others again.
“Enough about me,” Scotty said humorously. “What about you?”
“I’m a circus performer.”
“Yeah, I smoke a cigar and do somersaults and stuff like that.” Scotty heard laughter and turned to see Iris looking at them and laughing heartily again, a big belly laugh that shook her big belly.
“You’re ribbing me,” Scotty said to Beth. Beth laughed and looked at Iris and the two of them, facing each other from across the room, laughed and laughed for a few minutes, until as their laughter subsided, Iris tried to take a drink and then spit it back into the glass as she continued laughing, and Beth started guffawing again. Scotty looked on, smiling. He could see Cheryl on the other side of the room, rolling her eyes and then shaking her head. She was sitting on the floor with the two couples with whom Scotty was not yet acquainted, as well as Zing, and they were all smoking hashish out of a large water pipe. Beth and Scotty joined the crowd on the floor. The tall people were a couple: Richard, a man of fifty or so, had short gray hair and a closely cropped gray beard; his partner, Sally, was well over six feet and nearly as tall as Richard. She had blond hair, cut in a long shag, and also had a beard–that is, some abundant brown hair growing under her chin and almost connected on the cheek with her long, furry sideburns. Her eyebrows grew close to her eyes and nearly met in the middle. Rhonda, a woman in her thirties with chin length brown hair and a “cut” voice, like a person with laryngitis, wore a white blouse, a dark wool skirt, pantyhose, and black pumps. Her boyfriend Andy was a clean-cut young man in a button-down oxford shirt.
“Neumann understood postmodernism in such a basic and fundamental way,” Rhonda’s voice was sawing through the hashish smoke, “I mean, here is the sublime, the place where nature and artifice meet, where emotion and intellectuality become one thing. He blends the elements of art into a living breathing experience.” Dramatically, she moved her arms and waved her hands as she expostulated. She passed up her turn at the hose of the hookah so she could continue holding forth. She went on at some length about art. Lucinda was drinking directly out of a vodka bottle, her legs spread in a mannish and risque fashion. Scotty saw Cheryl purposely looking up Lucinda’s skirt and remembered Lucinda’s comment about not wearing underpants–and remembered the scene she had played before the paperboy.
Beth put her lips to Scotty’s ear: “I have some toot in the bedroom.” She stood up. Scotty followed her into the bedroom. Cheryl came in after them and then Lucinda. Beth laid out line after line of cocaine for the four of them, while the radio played Renaissance music. When there was a lull in the music and the four of them were grinning stupidly and wiping their noses, they heard Rhonda’s cut voice from the living room: “My boobs hurt. I’ve got to pump them out.” A moment later, she came into the bedroom dragging Andy behind her. She looked around. “My goodness, there are people here.” The rest of the party came in then also–Iris and Zing, Sally and Richard.