Monday, May 03, 2010
Kitty's Cloakroom Caper, FFF #30
1953, El Conquistador Hotel, Mexico City.
"Is it me, or does this coffee taste weird?" asked Mrs. Swartz as she set her cup down and reclined a little further back in the lounge chair to catch the sun's rays just right. She looked to see if Kitty was listening but she wasn't. She was too busy digging through her purse. "Does this coffee taste weird?" she repeated.
"I don't care if it tastes like pool water, I need something to wash down my medicine!" Kitty produced a gold pill box and popped a couple of tablets into her mouth and grimaced as the coffee chased them. "Oh dear God, that's awful! I can't drink that swill! Where's that waiter? Jesus!" Kitty yelled.
"Yes miss?" said the young man, "Can I get you something?"
"Yes Jesus. You can take away this dreadful coffee and bring me two glasses, a bucket of ice, and a bottle of your top shelf scotch. Make it snappy."
"I'm sorry miss but the hotel bar does not open until ten. How about some breakfast or some juice perhaps?"
Kitty fumbled in her purse and produced a fifty dollar bill. "This is more than enough to open the bar. If you get back in less than ten minutes, I'll throw in another fifty. Now scoot!" Jesus quickly pocketed the money and set off with long strides. "What time you got?" Kitty said to Mrs. Swartz.
"9:28 and twenty seconds." Mrs. Swartz was used to Kitty's little games by now, but still, it was fun to watch. After all, Kitty had oodles of money to throw around and she went to all the best parties. She had been a Hollywood starlet once. She had been lusted after in darkened theater's across the nation and graced the cover of hundreds of magazines. But that was long ago. Now she just vacationed and partied with old friends, all the while claiming that she was just looking for the right script to leap back into the limelight again. Mrs. Swartz loved Kitty in the morning, as that was when they were at their best. "What are you having for breakfast today Dear?" Mrs. Swartz asked.
Kitty laid back on her lounge chair and adjusted her floppy straw hat to shield her eyes from the morning light. "One of the blue ones. After a night like last night, you have to start with the blue ones and work your way up to the pinks. Start your day with one of the little pink ones and you may as well write off the whole day." Kitty let her mind wander as she stared out at the glistening pool. "It seems like there was something I wanted to tell you this morning...but I just can't think of it."
"Something about last night?"
"Yes...now what was it? Something odd happened at the party and you were out of the room at the time. I promised myself that I would tell you when I saw you...um..."
"Was it Roger falling over the planter and tumbling down the stairs? The poor man cracked his skull!" Mrs. Swartz tittered.
"No. It was before that. Besides, what's so unusual about seeing Roger fall on the floor?" Kitty thought for a moment and waited for either the pill or the memory to kick in. "OH MY GOD! I remember!" she clasped her head in both hands and squealed. She sat up quickly and yanked her chair close to Mrs. Swartz. She leaned in close and whispered as quietly as her cigarettes and gravel voice would allow. "Do you remember Mrs. Hussman?"
"Don Hussman's wife? The lady with the huge horse teeth and the annoying laugh? Who could forget her? You'd think that a guy like Don Hussman, head of the biggest film studio in Hollywood, would have some little young thing with a big rack. But not Don. He married a Missouri plow horse and he is going to keep her."
"That Mrs. Hussman!" Kitty giggled.
"So? What gives? What happened?" Mrs. Swartz loved to dish.
"Alright. Last night at the party, I'm standing there talking to Blake and he says that he wants to talk to me outside away from everyone else. I'm thinking that maybe this is business or maybe Blake wants a little. Either way, I want to hear what he has to say. So I go to the cloak room to get my mink and the door is closed and I don't see the hat check girl anywhere. So I open the door, and wouldn't you know it? Two people have slipped away from the party and here they are, balling on the floor!"
"Mrs. Hussman!?! That old nag was screwing on the floor?" Mrs. Swartz held her hand in front of her mouth to stifle a laugh.
"On my mink coat no less, and she was going to town if you know what I mean. I've seen sailors just off the boat after a six month tour who didn't go at it with that much enthusiasm."
"Well that Don must be one hell of a lover," Mrs. Swartz concluded.
"It wasn't Don Hussman she was riding..." Kitty trailed off with a wicked smile. She let that one sink in.
Mrs. Swartz's jaw dropped two notches lower. She squirmed in her seat with excitement but she just couldn't bring herself to ask. Kitty sat back in her chair and wondered where the boy with her drinks could be.
Finally the pins and needles were too much for Mrs. Swartz, "If you don't tell me right here and now, I swear I'm gonna burst!" She fidgeted. "Was it that handsome David Blythe?"
Kitty couldn't hold her smug look forever and she cracked into a large grin, "You wouldn't believe me if I told you." Mrs. Swartz gave her a hurt look. "Oh alright. Don Hussman's prim and proper empty-headed wife was balling one of the Mexicans that work here at the hotel and she looked like she was having the time of her life. She was putting him to work so hard that neither one of them even noticed me standing there. I was in such a shock that I must have stood there a whole minute before I thought to close the door."
"You didn't see any such thing!" Mrs. Swartz scoffed. "You were out of your head on scotch and the little pink ones by then. You imagined the whole thing!"
"I'll grant you that I had made a few trips to the bar by then, but I know what I saw and years of anti-psychotics and group therapies couldn't convince me otherwise."
"Are you going to say anything to Don? I know he would just be heart broken. She is ugly and brutish but he loves her dearly."
"No, I don't think I'm going to say anything to Don, at least not yet. I would like to sit down and have a little chat with Mrs. Hussman though." Kitty smiled.
"Why to see if I can finagle a movie deal out of this darling, what else? She has Don's ear and she wouldn't want me whispering in it, so she convinces Don to make my new picture. It's a sure thing." Kitty winked.
"You wicked, wicked woman! I don't know why I tag along with you." Mrs. Swartz said with mock indignation. "You're always seem to stir up trouble where ever you go!"
"Here you are Miss Kitty. I have your drinks for you," panted Jesus as he rushed back. "I'm sorry it took so long but I had to get the key from-"
"Time Mrs. Swartz?" Kitty bellowed.
"9:39 and forty-three seconds," she said firmly.
"Well kid, I'm sorry too. Not only did you miss out on the extra fifty bucks by a minute forty-three, you get points off for bringing bourbon. Never mind. Just pour it over lots of ice and hand it over." Kitty held out her hand waiting for the coming drink. Jesus looked crestfallen as he gave her a double.
"Will there be anything else?" he asked softly.
"Yes," Kitty smiled, "A drink for my friend here, and then you can come and sit down and chat for a bit."
"First you can tell me how well you know Mrs. Hussman and then you can run right out and have my mink cleaned, you naughty, naughty boy!" Kitty rested her hand gently on his knee and sipped her drink.