In an opium den in Kentish Town she was serving previously boiled River Wandle water ‘fresh’ from the jug into almost clean ceramic beakers. Such was the fervour she was all but in her birthday suit. Most punters paid her little heed though, lost as they were in both the purple haze and their private phantasmagorical illusions.
Not so the Cuban! He recalled surprisingly clearly given his muddle that she had posed for him once in the Quartier Pigalle.
“You never paid me.” The Cuban had hoped wrongly that her memory was not as sharp as his.
“Unmasked I am the one who would share my forgotten riches equally with you,” his flustered outlandish riposte.
All but spitting feathers, “You! Riches? How so you have riches? You are an artist…artists are always broke.”
“How does a tobacco plantation in Havana and more slaves than you can shake a stick at appeal?”
“Worth a try though!”
Later, after blackout the Cuban fed and bedded her. Come first blush he was but her tolerable stopgap meal ticket. Upon awakening he adjudged she was nothing more than wishful thinking.