sing it, babe… ‘he’s my weakness now’

by dschapman

he’s got eyes of blue… he’s got curly hair… he likes to bill and coo… he likes the saxophone… he likes those rainy days… he likes those long good nights…

helen kane, you pinned it. you doe-eyed doll, you would’ve been the one for me. i would’ve flung you to the floor and stomped the sense right out of you. you would’ve loved every minute of it. you’d miss it when you were older… those wild caravan days, those baile and sax days, when our guts were plump with vitamin c and our skin shone dark with vitamins d. a real well-dressed ladykiller. they never know what he’s up to next. watch your backs, watch your daughters; the bad men are coming into town, slithering under the doorways, and slipping between the sheets. they are made of bones and the bones get bigger with the waxing of the moon. the imposters wear wolf print tee-shirts and crew neck sweats. the authentic ones are wolves, and they howl – in pain, in communication, in awe, in longing, in respect – however one might intrepret a howl, so are wolves howling, and supplying a sound that blankets the wilderness like the knell of a church bell early in the morning.

slipped into town just the other day for a pheasant to broil. along the way i passed the balmoral, that stately and elegant hotel down on prince’s, and paused as i passed. not a bad idea, i think. i’d like to sleep in a nice bed tonight, in a nice room, with good friends – and i haven’t stayed in a hotel this nice in years. so i tip my hat to the doorman as he opens the door. the place is positively grand. well-dressed genteels meander sideways across the lobby, sipping drinks and crossing and uncrossing legs, reading the paper… i’m wildly underdressed and know i won’t be received well. i ask the concierge the price for a night. he doesn’t say anything, looks at me with those cruel careless eyes, and starts checking the books. two seventy-five, he says. that’s not bad; that’s not bad at all. i booked the room under roosevelt. ‘and you’re bags?’ he asks. i tip my hat and say i travel light.

as i step outside i call my ‘old friend’ yancy bates, lounging in a college club down the road with pretty young girls and losing at pool.

-yancy, i’m on prince’s; are you near?

-at the club.

-that’s my boy. you got five grams for me?

-always do.

so i trot on down the road and enter the club. yancy invites me for a drink but schoolgirls never were my taste, even in school, in those bizarre and forgettable days of yore…

the hotel room is a grand place for a party. elegant victorian wallpaper and a clawfoot bathtub. we keep the door locked and the windows wide open for the daring to tempt their will against the ideal of the jump. the television channels flip between softcore porn and humphrey bogart. strato is sipping gin by the mirror and watching his breath condense on the glass; fiona and strauss and fingering each other on the loveseat, and two boys are bathing in the bathroom with the vanity lights shining bright over loupwhile he taps his needle on the faucet and moans a sigh of relief. there is just enough to outlast the moon and settle the mind into morning. someone is fast asleep on the bidet and a voyeur with a camera has the f-stop turned low and is taking pictures of our backs as we turn them to his attempts. we play carpet boules and throw dice and the women casually de-robe as the hours slip past. the walls are flames that bring our blood to a boil. we’re getting thinner. the ashtrays fill up and strange things start happening. poor gentle loup, tempting himself against the jump, hands white against the iron balcony bars.

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