Robert knew the ropes. I called him Roberto
and the name would come in handy now.
He saw the place and loved it, small enough
for one person to do everything, and time
to carouse in the Quarter if he cared to.
We would do seventy-thirty so I could stay
financially secure enough and he would have
the bread to pay all his overhead. He got
a place in the Quarter, near Rocky’s. They
–Rocky and Belle–liked Bob instantly,
as most people do. I went to see Adore.
She was there with Mister Questionmark,
who left when I arrived. He was like a will
o’ the wisp. I wondered if he was a warlock.
Why ask? Adore welcomed me in and put
me where I had hoped I would be, between
this life and the next. When I was a kid,
we used ropes to hobble the horses as well
as fashion a bridle without a bit or reins
save the rope itself. You could hold a horse
in check or lead it gently around the corral.
Adore’s body was a rope, not only svelte
but rippling to the touch and she touched
every part of me. I told I had missed her
and would miss her now, she should have
let me be. She said she didn’t have long,
and time was to be filled with all the pleasure
she could find. With Mister Questionmark
it was more work than she liked fucking to be.
I went to Madame Peggy’s, saw Paolo
and his squeeze Georgia, assured Peggy
I would find her friend Sally Stanford’s
Valhalla and give her "your regards."
Betsy, I was informed, lived in Atlanta
now. I was happy to hear that she was
happy. After one night staying with Adore
I caught the plane back to San Francisco.
No need to tell Bob–I mean Roberto–
what to do. He knew more than I how
to run a bar. Much of the way back I slept.
(22 April 2011)
copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander