“I’ll give you a thousand dollars if you spend the night with me — that’s what I pay for my shoes.”
He tightened his tie around her windpipe, but even that violence in his was gentle. Marla was lost. He whispered in her ear.
“If you mention money one more time, I will set you on fire.”
She started to cry, but it was the noiseless whimper of a little girl. She could have phoned the nighttime nurse who looked after Lollie and Mortimer, or even Twittered [Jerome Charyn’s conscious, on-purpose choice of expression] her two girls. They could survive without mother, at least for one night. She’d never bothered to bring pajamas to the St. Regis. Marla’s room had the same glow as the King Cole Bar. She could see the outline of Raoul. His eyes seemed to burn in the dark — she loved that dancing, electric dark of the King Cole. She hummed to herself as Raoul wiped her tears with a finger that had the miraculous touch of velvet fur. Lord, as Lollie would say, I have myself a man. What did she care if Daddy’s detectives came for her tomorrow? Daddy didn’t have detectives. He had to negotiate each step to the toilet.
Let him tumble. She wouldn’t run home to him. Marla was spending the night with Raoul.
Silk & Silk from Jerome Charyn’s Bitter Bronx — Thirteen Stories
Originally published at blog.alexwaterhousehayward.com.