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…


    1. I believe there is more than a hint of my Brexit anger/frustation/blues in my conclusion. To my mind, Brexit represents the politics of caculating fools, their hencemen willing suicidal lemmings. It seems to sneak in everything I write and think in these squalid UK times. My apologies for such a lengthy answer, plus a major thank you for reading!

      1. It all makes sense Mike. I have been following the Brexit process from afar. It seems Ms. May has a lot in common with the imbecile occupying our white house. May we see better days.

      2. The common link twixt your man in The White House and our Brexiteers is a loathing of the needy from other lands. A thing I will never het my head around. As you said, ‘may we see better days’.

      3. Basically we are dealing with an illegitimate president using the bully pulpit to dictate to our senate under the threat of revenge which he apparently has no qualms about carrying out. If we don’t get him out of office I don’t know where we are going. He has no regard for anyone outside the Trump regime, has shut a quarter of the govt down over the border wall ( 100,000) people working without pay. He’s a racist, bigot, white supremacist and a disaster for America.

      4. I agree. If this wasn’t for real it would make for fantastic fiction. In my mind when thinking of America and Americans I try to isolate Trump; pretend he doesn’t exist. Your country, nay the whole world, deserves better than him.

  1. This post is a literary delight, Mike. I was entranced with the whole piece but the phrase about what is on “the unwritten menu” really caught my eye. I’m going to have to play with that one if you don’t mind. I can see all sorts of inspiration springing from that phrase. Wonderful.

    1. Whatever provokes creativity is a good thing, LuAnne. Feel free. This post is a tiny collation from possibly a book that outstays its welcome…much too many words…now done and complete. Whether it be a good or a bad book only time will tell, yet I am sure you will do the phrase justice. Your enthusiasm shines through. My thanks.

    1. My thanks, young Leslie. Wonderful words from a lovely lady always makes for a fine start to the day…more so this day as ’tis cold as cold can ever be! This calls for my special Joseph Stalin hat that makes strangers laugh at me. Such is life!

  2. “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.” I feel like here’s a hidden sage, who’s recorded the rise and fall of many a’ bacchanal hideaways…as always, Master Steeden, your world fills my inner senses, and I am left in the gutter waiting for the cafe to open, watching the cleaners come in, cursing amongst themselves.. xxxxxxxxxxx

    1. Very kind of you, Ms Lee. Writing is the most confusing thing. At the end of a day’s session when reading back what I’ve written, some days I think ‘rubbish’ others ‘vaguely okay’ then, rarely, I conclude that I must have been on form. ‘Tis the latter that confuses; worries even. It is at those times as if there are two versions of me. One the regular me, the robot on the keyboard, then there is this invader, an alien creature who submitted the words for the tale. You see at those times, reading what has been written I wonder where the story came from; how did the words arrive; are they even my words, for I have no recollection of penning the piece. In short, where those words came from is lost on me. Often, reading back the story it feels like something brand new; something the just happened of its own accord. Do tell me you do the same otherwise I shall no doubt be certified and sent to an asylum.

      1. Oh yes, that’s happened to me, too. When I’m frustrated over a piece of fiction but I MUST write, I just throw myself to the words and something pours out, and suddenly I’m told, “This is amazing!” And I cannot for the life of me work out how I got there. Perhaps this is a trait of being a Fool. 🙂 xxxxxxxxx

      2. Cheese in an asylum? You jest, Ms Lee. I’ll have you know my previous internment…one which lasted 7 years and a day…there the only delicacy was active weevils on porridge oats. What a treat that was.

    1. Cheers, Inese. Oh to escape to the Land of Nod away from the shaven headed beasts of the Brexiteer shires and cities. I’ve still not heard a single argument in favour of Brexit that I cannot shred in an instant. We live in hope.

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