When we pulled up to the modest suburban home, I couldn’t help but wonder if Nick was stopping off to see some friend or family member on our way to the illustrious Miss Jenny’s. The house he parked in front of, looked nothing like I had ever dreamed a bordello might look.
No muscle-bound bouncer at the door. No red light on the porch. Just an ordinary family style home on an older, well kept street lined with tall birch and uneven cement sidewalks.
Nick drew the line at Maggie’s accompanying us to the door, which didn’t sit well with Maggie at all. She made a beeline into the front seat as soon as we exited, where she yelped dejectedly, pawing pitifully at the passenger’s side window while we made our way to the porch.
I did my best to ‘hush’ her with hand signals, as I thought yelling across the yard might draw a little too much unwanted attention- and to tell the truth- now that I was actually here, I wasn’t so sure I wanted to be seen entering a house of ill repute. Not even one that didn’t look like one.
Nick depressed the doorbell, and turned to me with a serious look on his face. “Please try to remember why we are here. We are not here to ask silly questions about the nature of her business and very frankly, I don’t get the impression you’d know enough about it to ask any intelligent ones. For the most part, try and let me do the talking, okay?”
I was just about to inform him that I knew plenty about the gritty world of prostitution- after all I hadn’t watched 20 seasons of Law and Order for nothing- when a slight redhead in a rose embroidered caftan opened the door.
“Nicky! Long time no see! Lemme guess.. What brings you here?” She bubbled excitedly, until she noticed me a half step behind him on the stoop. Her demeanor changed instantaneously. “So what? You bringin’ your own talent around these days? You know I got a corkin’ fee…”
“Naw, Jen, nothing like that. Believe it or not, I’m here on official police business. Homicide not Vice, mind you, so don’t get yer dander up.”
Nick nodded stiffly in my direction, carefully avoiding any eye contact that might have distracted from his little ruse. “This is, um, this is Garret. She’s my new partner. Temporarily that is.”
“Oh really?” Miss Jenny perked up. “I hope nothin’ bad happened to Sleezak.” She said as she ushered us both past her and into the foyer. “He was just here last week, and..” She gave me a quick sideways glance. “Maybe I’ve said too much already..”
As Miss Jenny led us through the length of the house toward what I was quick to find out was her boudoir, which also conveniently served as her personal office, I couldn’t help but notice, none of the accouterments one would naturally associate with whore house decor had been spared on the inside of the house. So, somewhat against my will, I drank it all in.
The gold flocked wallpaper, the burgundy velvet settees dotted with sweet painted ladies in various states of undress. Even one of those oil filled statue lamps, the ones where the beads of grease trickle down translucent threads surrounding a golden statuette of Venus, or some other naked from the waist up goddess. Yep, hanging directly to the right of the brass embellished leather and mahogany bar- the one with the smoked mirror tiles running the full length of the wall behind it. Needless to say, I was in gauche sensory overload by the time we reached our destination.
Once inside Miss Jenny’s little love nest, we were immediately greeted by a bed the size of Massachusetts making good on its threat to take over one whole side of the room. I, for one, was relieved when Miss Jenny motioned us toward a small sitting area where an overstuffed rose embroidered divan, and two matching organdy wing chairs quite frankly reminded me of Mabel’s living room, and helped bring my swirling senses back to rest on the reason we were here.
“So Nicky..” Miss Jenny tittered, as she made herself to home in his lap, and ran her inch long magenta lacquered fingernails through the sides of his close cropped hair. “Tell me what you’re really doing here?”
‘Nicky’ wiggled a little uncomfortably at first, but then actually began to look like he was enjoying it. Which I will admit, kinda pissed me off.
“It’s like I told you Jen. I’m on a case and I need some info from you.”
Miss Jenny leaned in and whispered something all breathy like into Nick’s ear. Whatever she said, had Nick wiggling uncomfortably all over again. I felt a little bit better.
“Jenny,” his tone reminiscent of a throaty moan, which only distracted further from the matter of official police business that was to have been the reason for our visit, “wadda ya say we save that kinda talk for another time.. What I need from you right now, is to know how long it’s been since you been in that old Lincoln you have parked out back?”
Miss Jenny leapt off his lap like it had burst into flames.
“Oh, I see. Uhuh. You cheap bastard! If a car date is all you wanted- you shoulda done your shoppin’ in the parlor!” she raged. “Nuhuh. No way. Not today, thank you!”
Although I expected to see a burst of something akin to panic overtake Nick’s usual state of composure, I was pleasantly surprised, in an almost back-handed sort of way, when Nick succeeded in diffusing the situation with just a few well placed words.
“You know I never settle for hamburger when there’s a perfectly good steak on the grill…”
This is yet another installment of Maggie’s Story. The previous installments can be found by following the Maggie’s Story category header located at the bottom of the blogs home page.
I was successful in working in all thee of the phrasal prompts offered by the OLWG #37. The phrases were:
- not today, thank you
- don’t know enough about it