Micky was standing outside on the boardwalk smoking a cigarette when a man approached him.
“You wouldn’t happen to have a light, would you?” the man asked. Micky pulled out a box of Libelulle’s matches.
“Sure,” he said with ease, “You can keep ‘em.” He barely took his eyes off the ocean.”
“Er, thanks…say don’t I know you? You look familiar,” the man said. Micky turned and looked at the man. He was not that old, but prematurely balding. It was noticeable in the way he had his hat pushed back on his head. He wore an ugly tie like someone who didn’t have a lot of money that was trying to be fancy.
“You must be mistaken. I don’t know you,” he said annoyed by the interruption.
“No, I never forget a face. It was up north aways. Father Kerry’s congregation…How is Lena these days?” The man finally lit his cigarette. Micky gave him a cold stare that he didn’t see. No one in this town knew that name, except Cylus and perhaps Dauterive, if the little man even remembered.
“I don’t know no Lena,” he finally said. The man shrugged.
“My mistake, I guess, but you do look awfully familiar.” The man leaned in close, “Say you don’t happen to know where a man can get a wet supply, do you? I’m throwing a little party this weekend, but I’m not from around here. You should come too.”
“You want wet? There’s the ocean, bub.” Micky tossed his cigarette butt off the boardwalk. Delphia stepped out the front door of Libellule and saw him. Her eyes widened for a brief moment. The man grabbed Micky’s arm.
“Why don’t you tell Lena I said hello, Mr. O’Kinney?” he growled. Micky shook the man’s hand off of him.
“Lena ran off years ago. I don’t know where she is and I don’t care.” Micky kept his voice low so Delphia couldn’t hear. Then he laughed and slapped the man on the shoulder before he started to walk away.
“You might want to help me out with my party, if you don’t want your other prospects spoiled.” The man pointed at Delphia, who stood nervously waiting. Micky ignored him and took Delphia’s elbow, steering her away.
“Who was that man? What did he say?” Delphia felt a lump in her throat as she played dumb. She remembered Agent Wilson from her recent encounters, but she didn’t know if Micky knew who he was or not.
“I don’t know, some guy blowin’ hot air is all.” He seemed agitated to Delphia and she wondered what the prohee had really said. She glanced over her shoulder, but Agent Wilson was gone. They continued to walk down to the Cabaret where Delphia was due to work in a couple hours, but she was going to tell the seamstress that she planned to quit. With her debts paid off she no longer needed to work double shifts. The extra bit of money she had since she paid them off was nice and she enjoyed the company of the other girls. Moira had taken her under her wing and even taught her parts of her routine.
“Just for fun” Moira had said after Delphia had denied any interest in being a showgirl and they had laughed late into the night.
Delphia led Micky through the stage door and into the wardrobe. The night seamstress was nowhere in sight.
“I suppose we’ll wait…or I could go look for the manager.” Delphia stuck her head out into the hallway. Bea caught sight of her from the end of the hall. Delphia ducked back inside and leaned against the door. “Shit,” she whispered, she could already hear the stomping stride down the hall. The door was shoved open and Bea stormed in.
“Girl, this strap is ripped!” Bea pointed at a strap that only hung on by a thread from her bodice. She glanced at Micky with heavy lidded eyes and let her silk robe drop off her shoulder.
“Oh dear, it seems to be broken.” Delphia examined the fastener. Bea’s eyes flashed at Delphia.
“Yes, I broke it yesterday. I couldn’t get the damn thing off!” Bea snarled as if Delphia was stupid. The farm girl huffed.
“Well, then you should have said something last night and it would have been fixed.”
“THAT IS NOT MY JOB! YOU’RE THE SEAMSTRESS! CAN YOU SEW OR CAN’T YOU?” Bea bellowed. Delphia shrunk back as the platinum blond released her fury.
“Hey now,” Micky started to stay, but Bea turned on him.
“Who the FUCK is talking you? You’re not even supposed to be backstage!” Bea was livid. A breathless Myrtle rushed in the door.
“Bea, you’re one in five minutes!” she announced. Her eyes brightened when they landed on Micky. “Hi Micky!” She leaned on the doorframe and pouted. “I haven’t seen you around.”
“Shut up, Myrtle!” Bea barked. She pointed at the strap and then Delphia, “You! Fix it!” She glared at Micky, daring him to say one word. Delphia scrambled in the drawers and grabbed the first needle and thread she could get her hands on. She knelt down and started to sew the strap back on. Bea stood like a fuming statue. Myrtle still lolled against the doorframe pouting as Bea blocked her passage across the room.
“Hurry up,” Bea said sternly.
“YEOW!” Bea shrieked as she leapt a few inches in the air. She stumbled into Myrtle as she tripped on her heels.
“…done,” Delphia said brightly. She still held the needle in her hand. Bea’s face was pinched and she turned pink. Myrtle was stifling a laugh. Bea held up a finger at Delphia.
“I’ll have you fired for this!” she threatened.
“You can tell Bennie that I QUIT!” Delphia shot back. Bea shoved Myrtle out of the way and stomped towards the stage. Myrtle caught herself and giggled again.
“So you gonna tell me your room number?” Myrtle cooed as she sauntered in. Micky still sat frozen in his chair after the glare from Bea.
Myrtle froze in her tracks, “Oh,” she said surprised. She glanced between Delphia and Micky. “Oh!” she repeated and slowly backed out of the room blushing. Delphia slammed the door and locked it before Myrtle had even turned away.
“And I thought my line of work was dangerous,” Micky commented. “You got a little bit of a mean streak.” Delphia kept her back to him as she went over to the work table. She was angry. She wasn’t the seamstress on duty and Bea had no business bossing her about. If she had only reported the mending that needed to be done or perhaps not ripped the costume in the first place… Then there was Myrtle slinking around. She must have enjoyed her last romp with Micky if she was coming back for more. She realized she was clenching the needle tightly in her fist and opened her fingers. She plucked the needle out and shoved it in a pin cushion. One tiny speck of blood dotted her palm.
“Are you okay, Dollface?” Micky asked. She heard the nervousness in his voice.
“So you like showgirls, huh?” she finally said. Micky thought about his answer before he spoke.
“They’re all right,” he said cautiously, half afraid that he’d be the next one stabbed with a needle.
“Then maybe you’ll like this.” Delphia turned around with a set of large feather fans. Of course, they had been set aside for repair and were missing several ostrich plumes, but she tried to make her way through Moira’s routine until she couldn’t stop laughing at how silly she felt. Micky pulled her onto his lap and she went willingly this time.
“I couldn’t imagine having to do that every night! It’s ridiculous!” she exclaimed.
“Ah, but it seems to work wonders,” Micky grinned, “Let’s say we get out of here before there are any more interruptions.” Delphia tossed the fans aside as she got to her feet and unlocked the door. As they stepped into the hallway, she saw the manager, Bennie hurrying towards her.
“What’s this I hear about you quitting? And stabbing Bea!” he hollered. A look of intense worry sat on his face as he blinked through his thick spectacles.
“That’s exactly it, Bennie! Goodbye!” Delphia and Micky hurried out of the stage door. They strolled down the boardwalk towards the Cormorant laughing. As they neared the hotel, Spots came rushing out.
“I’ve been looking for you!” he said urgently to Micky. He glanced at Delphia, then said, “There’s been a situation… with the you know…at the place. Sicero wants you down there…NOW!”
“You got to be kidding me right now!” Micky grabbed the young man by the shirt front and dragged him a few feet away. “What is it?”
“Some guys tried to rob one of the shipments,” Spots whispered. “They caught ‘em down at the docks.” Micky sighed and turned back to Delphia.
“It’s okay. Go deal with what you have to. I’ll just…I’ll head home.” She took a step backwards. Micky shoved Spots away to get the car and walked over to her.
“I’m sorry, but if Mr. Sicero needs something done. I got to go do it. My hands are tied.”
“I understand, you need to go,” Delphia agreed calmly. Spots roared up in the car and screeched to a halt. “Go.” Micky hesitated, then quickly got in the car. Spots took off before the door was even closed. Delphia was left standing alone on the edge of the boardwalk. She turned and started making her way back home.