LOLA - MARY ANN BACK
Stiffs had a way of piling up at The Blue Note Lounge. I made it my business to stay out of that pile, which wasn’t easy for a gin-swilling, shit-for-brains mook like me. I sat at the bar slouched behind a copy of the Times, popping peanuts and tossing back Tanqueray, eyeing the door like it was the muzzle of a gun. Typical night for a gumshoe. But this time it was personal. I was expecting a dame. And she was inching me closer to that pile of stiffs than I wanted to get.
It started yesterday when Big Dom Genovese gets me on the horn. I was into him for ten large on account of betting a horse that turned into glue in the middle of the track. Dom wanted a favor.
“Pauly,” he calls me Pauly, “You tail my wife, Loretta. Tell me who she’s stepping out with. You do this for me we’re even, capiche?”
“Sure, Dom,” I says, thinking I got off easy. “You want I should dance on his face a little?”
“Naw, Pauly. That’s okay. He won’t have no face when I get done with him.”
So, he gives me a picture of wifey. My mouth goes dry and my eyes burn ‘cause they can’t blink. She’s all boobs, legs, and hair. A long, tall drink of water, with double D’s so firm they’d poke your eyes out. It was an okay picture, but it didn’t do her justice. The eyes were wrong; they looked sad and lonely. She wasn’t sad. And she sure as hell wasn’t lonely. I should know. I’d been the one putting a smile on her face three nights a week for the last six months.
She might have been Dom’s Loretta. But she was my Lola. And I made her eyes dance like the fucking Rockettes.
The door opened and rain swept into the bar. Lola stood in the doorway. A street light behind her burned through the swirling fog, making her look like an angel. She sauntered up to the bar, hips swaying like coconut palms in the breeze, pouty red lips wrapped around a Lucky, working it soft and slow.
I thought of the last time we were together, when it was me in her mouth. I was way past wanting her. I needed her more than air.
“Hey, Baby. Miss me?” Her breath hot and moist in my ear.
“Have we met? I’m Pauly. Loretta, isn’t it?”
Her smile disappeared. The scent of fear skunked her Chanel No.5.
“He’ll kill us both if he finds out, Pauly. You know that, don’t you?”
“Why’d you lie to me, Baby?”
“At first it didn’t matter. It was just a fling. Sure I should have told you later, but I was afraid I’d lose you. You’re not gonna leave me, are you Pauly-baby?” Her voice shook and the waterworks started.
“The only way I’m leaving you is in a pine box, Dollface. But we gotta amscray! Stop your blubbering.” I handed her my handkerchief and chucked her under the chin.
She wiped her eyes and moved between my legs. She wallpapered herself against me and stuck her tongue down my throat. I was lost alright, lost in her scent, lost in her taste, and lost in her eyes. So fucking lost I didn’t notice the back door open.
“You’re not too bright, are you, Pauly?” It was Big Dom and two of his mopes.
“Let the dame go, Dom. She’s nothing but a two-bit floozy. It’s me you want!”
“What’dya say, Baby? Once more - for old time sake?” He grabbed at Lola.
I plugged him with my snub-nose through the pocket of my trench coat and nailed the other two goons before his head hit the floor.
“Let’s blow this popsicle stand!” I yelled, pulling Lola out the door.
We ran down 53rd street leaving Big Dom and the body count piled high at the Blue Note. Life was good. I was in a spin, loving the spin I was in. All for a woman.
Her name was Lola – she was a show-girl.
BIO: Ms. Back, of Mason, Ohio, was awarded the 2009 Bilbo Award for creative writing by Thomas More College. Her writing has appeared in many publications, including: Short Story America, Every Day Fiction, Bete Noir, Eclectic Flash, The Loyalhanna Review, Flashes in the Dark, and Flash Shot.
RIP Coleen Gray 1922-2015
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