Z OLD – Chapter XXIII

“Everybody wants a slice of Mewsy,” Mewsy groaned, splayed on a Marigold chaise. She’d arranged herself around Big Piercey P’s obliging jaw.

“So which hand did kitty pick?” Ginger prodded. “Is Baker gonna spill on you two?” She gestured vaguely toward the squelching flesh pretzel.

“I guess the puss approves,” Mewsy said. “I’m being sent for grooming.” She adjusted Piercey’s embouchure. “Odd though, this blackmail biz.”

Gams chuckled, “Not for you, I should think! When you were still part-time we all used to say, that’s just how a fella got extras from you!”


“Sure,” said Mewsy. “Back then I did filthier than cunning a bully to keep my marriage afloat. But what’ve I got to protect since we split?”

“How about us?” said Ginger. “We’re cooked if Agopolos hears of your extracurrics! You know he’ll make scandal just to watch Marigold burn.”

“He got into such a froth when you left,” said Gams. “If Fung hadn’t convinced him that you’d be back, and promised him exclusive access…”

“…I’d be back on the corner hocking my cherry pie,” interjected Ginger. “The man’s a monster. Damned attractive while he’s at it, though.”

“Mm. Pardon the salivation,” said Gams. “Sure I loathe the bastard, but there’s not an inch of that silky bod I wouldn’t rub myself off on.”

“I hope you’re taking him for everything he’s worth,” said Ginger. “And I don’t just mean the jewels and the influence.” They all snickered.

“Gals! Gals!” Mewsy exclaimed. “We’ve all had dust-ups with Fut, but at heart he’s as much a victim of his ruthless animal magnetism as we.”

“Dust-up, was it?” said Gams. “As I remember he was ’bout an inch away from poking where he wasn’t wanted. Scared you so bad you converted.”

“Now, Gamsy, he said was sorry! In fairness it wasn’t so sporting of me to go having my moral epiph’ in the middle of mommy and daddy time.”


“I just can’t see you as a nun,” Ginger said. “Didn’t you miss getting sanded and drilled? I couldn’t go a day without my fistful of flesh.”

“Honey, you cannot imagine,” said Mewsy. “Why, I was so starved that I hunted poor Genius Joe to extinction like a tropical mantis in heat.”

“That’s one way to put it,” said Gams, drawing another cig out of her bouffant updo and lighting it off the butt dangling from Mewsy’s lips.

“You did the slip’ry with Genius Joe?” gasped Ginger. “Is that why things’re rocky between him and Finch-Marie? She’s sure been awful glum.”

“More like did the slip’ry TO him,” drawled Gams. “The Genius hadn’t much of a choice. And Finch blundered in just in time for the finish.”

“It’s not like I undid them with a single wayward bonk!” Mewsy protested. “Those two had plenty of-” “Sht!” Ginger hissed. “Here she comes!”


Finch-Marie was backing into the salon as they spoke, scrubbing at the already pristine floor and humming the fag end of a melancholy tune.

The broads shut up and preened, tossing around the occasional lifted brow to the regular thrum of humming, scrubbing, and Big PP’s munching.

Ginger broke out with, “Afternoon, Finchie! WHAT is that charming mélodie?” “Calm yourselves, girls, I know you were goss’ping,” Finch said.


“Funny,” she went on, not looking up, “How you can just lose a thing for centuries in your mind, only to have it come back out of the blue.”

“When I awoke this old ritornell’ was kicking about in my head. I hadn’t thought of it prob’ly for longer than you’ve been alive, Ginger G.”

“It’s the ballet theme from the big final’ of that grand old opera jewel: Heriodonclitus. Joe and I went whenever it played at the Cordial.”

“Joe made a song up you could sing to the tune – the dirtiest thing, you can’t imagine, and based on a real event from our Intimate Life…”

“Oh, I thought I would burst my girdle, laughing! He did know how to give a girl a time and a half, that Joe.” A cloud passed over her face.

“‘Course, nobody puts up that show, anymore, since Otto da Fay left the stage.” She sighed, and the whores shared a look of pity and alarm.

“The world will never again know such a potent Heriodonc’,” Finch prattled on. “A voice, thrilling yet tender, a body moulded by faeries…”

“Well! Enough with maudlinity!” she interrupted herself, dusting her hands off on her apron. “Mewsy, could I see you when your toes uncurl?”

Mewsy, delicately rolling her eyes, thanked Big Piercey for his attentions and sent him off with an objectifying thwack to his perky rumpy.


“‘Moulded by faeries’?!” Gams hollered to Ginger once they two were left alone. “Mama’s gone kookers.” Ginge solemnly nodded, her brow knit.

“Gamsy, we gotta intercede,” she said. “Finchie and Joe belong together like cashew nuts and salt. We’re getting those two unsplit, pronto.”

“I’m with ya, Gingi, but how? Finch won’t see Joe til he says he’s sorry, Joe says his willy acted alone, and both’re intractable as mules!”

“If we could just get them both to that show she was humming they’d remember how happy they were before Mewsy’s poonanny rent them asunder.”

“Didn’t you hear her? Heriodonclitus doesn’t get done. The thing was a fossil before Mr. Gently squindled your ma – now no one can sing it!”

“We’ll find a way, Gamsy. ‘Cause you and me, Gamsy, the pair of us girls, we’re a couple of hookers who care.” And she stubbed out her fag.