Since the day she first showed up, Eve had always had a soft spot for the idiosyncratic yet intimate Dietrich ‘occasional restaurant come bar’ within the vast ‘Casino Eden’. Later, after I had won her body, if not yet her soul on the spin of the roulette wheel, we would regularly dine together there, although less so of late due to the circumstances born of the rise of hard right factional politics that, by way of ruthless disapproval, coupled with bona fide threats, had blunted Bohemian merrymaking.
Unlike the larger, brassier, showy dining rooms throughout my casino complex, the Dietrich had that certain undefinable magic feel about it only the free-spirited would understand. Discreet with a pinch of clandestine decadence summed it up. I, to the annoyance of others, habitually referred to it as my contradictory provocative overt hideaway. Overly wordy yet true. Defused illumination, under a still-life haze of clinging grey, blue misty toasted nicotine, the perfect innovative setting for errant eyes to seek out forbidden fruits ready to be plucked, a venue where intoxicating drink had the upper hand over irresolute cuisine. After all, diners choosing the Dietrich had much more on their minds than just filling their bellies with all things nutritious, especially so when sensuality and carnality were on the unwritten menu. True devotees of a taste for tastelessness had the additional visual treats of wanton waitresses revealing whatever chance, choice or this boss would have them reveal. Also, the venue boasted self-indulgent, yet seductive, roll in the hay lazy, crazy jazz to massage ‘qui vive’ ears. My nightspot, a place that had turned laid-back, mouth-watering sleaze into a form of artistic expression full of promising promises that wayward painters, fermented writers and festering hopefuls simply adored. What the Dietrich looked like come daylight, only the cleaners knew.
It was at an indiscreet floodlit corner table that Eve had unfailingly claimed as her own, that both she and her new best friend Maurelle guzzled Daiquiri’s. Hardly, and of respective own volition, dressed to kill, Maurelle wore a tantalizing tarty ever so body hugging little sky-blue dress, whereas Eve had opted for a cherry red optimistic close-fitting, inviting satin number akin to those the renowned Parisian fille de joie’s favoured. The pair had incontrovertibly dressed to tease, as much as please. Together, rouged beyond sensibility, they represented a heavenly experience for connoisseurs of cleavage and candid titillation.
For Maurelle this was her first encounter with this bizarre watering hole. Overhearing a cry-baby half-heartedly praying for a tearful priest’s wicked soul, a source of amusement. Eve had suggested that she and Maurelle mimic the pair, only they failed to decide exactly who would pray for whom. Their little diversion was interrupted when out of the grey-blue fog, upon the modest, yet just adequate translucent coloured glass illuminated panelled dance floor a brace of bare scarlet butterflies danced an improvised tango. Close-embrace style they were as one sparkling, orgiastic item. Rhythmic footwork, nefarious mortal parts constantly trading lead and follow, sharing the role of dominator and dominated, their unchoreographed cavort drifting sensuously between breasts-to-breasts, thighs to thighs, hips to hips, all to the pornographic tempo of wide awake strings and ivories. Upon conclusion of the beguiling public indiscretion the dancers, all smiles, respectfully bowed toward their mesmerized audience before comically cartwheeling in harmony off stage provoking an almost entranced Eve to say, “I believe they are very much in love.”
Thereafter, ceremonial entertainment done with, an anything goes party-time of the old-fashioned order. Handbags at dawn, befuddled philosophers throwing spongy punches off target at one another following a heated debate regarding the sectarian ethics of the speechless, gone adrift. No blacks eyes; no blood, just a few ageing juvenile tears, while a loudmouthed seasoned novelist in drink, his odious half-globe paunch his best feature, pinched the bare arse of the pliable young world-wise waitress dressed in The Dietrich’s newest standard regalia, nought but glossy black finest…I should know as I paid for them…leather thigh length boots and a hot pink butterfly bowtie. I laughed out loud noting that the girl sought due retribution in pouring a tankard full of ice-cold Normandie cidre over his mop of oily curls, rather than accepting his bad breath, lewd offer to, “Kiss it better.” To our right a blindman using only sticks of charcoal scribing his memoirs on a discarded red wine stained white linen shirt, no longer fit for a true rakes purpose. And then there was us, a maverick out of balance trinity soaking up life empty of sacrament. As good as it gets? We believed it so. Sadly, the puritans were unable to share our view. So soon this heaven would be cloaked in darkness as it succumbed to a candlelit inferno…