Prolong The Dance.

Jack Vettriano Painting 95

We were both grown ups. 

We knew what was expected. 

I could have pulled my dress up and bent over and he would not have complained. He was always full of passion and I loved it. 

It was me he was passionate about. 

I was doing this to him. 

He could have had anyone but he wanted me.

But despite all that, it was my role to prolong the dance.

That too was expected but not always welcomed.

The war was over and we were happy to have our men back home in one piece. The men who returned were mostly sound of limb, but sound of mind was likely to take some time, and for some, it would never come.

Bill never told me what happened ‘over there’ and I didn’t ask.

He couldn’t be around people all the time. He needed his own space.

And so it was; he would call and I’d be waiting. He’d be full of desire and I’d do my best to be who he needed me to be.

It wasn’t exactly how I wanted things to be but for now it was enough.

He was powerfully built but he never made me do anything I didn’t want to do, but at times we walked a fine line.

Seduction can be slow and gentle or fast and ferocious.

Sometimes we didn’t make it all the way through dinner. Wine got spilt and the fruit bowl on the table lost its contents.

After the things that he had seen, I doubt that he will ever feel safe, but with his arms around me I felt like nothing in the world could hurt me. My man needed me and that made everything alright.

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Illustration by Jack Vettriano

 

Enjoy my work. Then buy me a coffee?

Enjoy my work. Then buy me a coffee?

Coming Home.

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I bought the flowers before I got on the train. 

It was a bit of a gamble because flowers can get pretty beat up if you aren’t careful. 

When I was a little kid, my mum gave me a flower to take to school to give to my teacher. I used to walk to school and fool around with the other kids and by the time I got there the flower didn’t have any petals left on it. 

I was real embarrassed. 

That was a long time ago but I still remember it like it was yesterday, so you can see how worried I was about Velma’s flowers.

I worried about it a lot. 

If I waited till I got to Leviathan there might not be anywhere still open to buy flowers, so I took a chance.

As it turned out, she didn’t even notice the flowers. She just ran up and jumped on me. 

She don’t hardly weigh much so I didn’t mind.

She planted one right on me and wouldn’t let go. I was finding it hard to breathe but Velma didn’t seem to care. 

To be honest, I didn’t care either. 

That’s the way a girl should meet her fella when he’s been away a long time.

She was wearing a red dress. She knows I think she looks great in red. 

I feel bad for saying it but I was thinking about how great it was going to be to peel that red dress off her.

I had a present for her and I didn’t want to leave it in my suitcase. This old coat of mine has big pockets and it’s nestled in there, all cosy like. I’ll give it to her when we get back to our place, but I won’t tell her where it came from. 

She’d only get mad.

Coming home to a welcome like this almost makes it worth going away. 

I say almost but really, I’m more than happy to just stay here with Velma and watch her walk around in that red dress. 

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Illustration; a poster from an original painting by Jack Vettriano

One Of Those Days.

Nightime-Rituals2

The job is not the problem.

I like the job, it’s just that every now and then I have one of those days.

Red is my favourite colour, as you can probably tell.

Red lipstick, red nail polish and red toe nails.

I own a Porsche 356s and, you guessed it, it’s red.

The car belonged to my father and he gave it to me on my thirtieth birthday. The car goes very well with the job.

I drove the Porsche to a meeting with one of our high-profile clients.

I parked it on the street, tripped the kill switch and engaged the steering lock. I wasn’t taking any chances.

No one steals my car.

Of course, I wasn’t factoring in the local council.

Bright red classic sports cars are like candy to a very greedy baby.

Two minutes after the meter expired my little red beauty was on the back of a tow truck being hauled to the impound yard on the other side of town.

Why are impound yards always on the other side of town?

It’s going to cost a bundle to get her out of hock, but that can wait until tomorrow.

To make it worse the client didn’t turn up and he is backing out on the deal.

There goes my Christmas bonus and the deposit on that house that looks out on the bay.

But, like I said, that can all wait until tomorrow.

For now, I’m soaking in the bath, glass of bubbly in one hand and a French cigarette in the other.

Bathing by candlelight is one of life’s special pleasures, and in case you were wondering who the other cigarette belongs to; he’s one of life’s larger pleasures.

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When my father owned the Porsche, it was white.

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Photo Credit: a poster from an original painting by Vettriano.

Never Say Never.

Man in Mirror

Integrity is one of those big words you don’t hear much in pubs and whorehouses.

I wasn’t in either of those places so I could use that word if I wanted to, but I didn’t because what I was doing was one of those things that I said I would never do.

But that was back in those early days, back when I had dreams and hope and integrity.

Never say never.

You just feel twice as bad when you end up doing whatever it was that you said you would never do.

When Miles Archer and I started this firm, we vowed that ‘getting the dirt on husbands and wives’ was not our thing.

I said it, and I think Miles had his fingers crossed, because as it turned out, there wasn’t anything that he would not do for a buck.

Miles is no longer with us, in that permanent kind of way, so it’s just me now. I left his name on the door for about a year because I thought it gave the business a look of class.

Bennett and Archer; it had a good ring to it.

Inevitably it became time to move on so an extremely bored young man came and scratched Mile’s name off the glass door and put my full name up in gold leaf. 

Gold leaf gives the business a bit of class.

My receptionist’s name is Velma, and she likes to eat and pay her bills so in the end it was her suggestion that drove me to take the Enselmo case. I say suggestion, but to be more precise I think her exact words were, “You haven’t paid me for three months so if you don’t take the next divorce case that comes along I’m going to sell all the furniture, set fire to the office and tell your girlfriend that you have carnal knowledge of small horses.”

I knew she was kidding because the office furniture wouldn’t raise dick and we don’t have fire insurance, but even so I took the next case that came through the door.

Victor Enselmo sat in front of my desk and made the place look untidy. 

He was carrying a few extra pounds in much the same way as a young elephant would and he chewed his words. He thought his wife was cheating on him and at that moment I began to like his wife. He wanted the usual; times dates places and photographs.

It seemed that Mrs. Enselmo was loaded, and Victor wanted a good chunk of the booty when the case went to court.

There is nothing a jury likes better than a bunch of graphic photographs.

Catching them in the act was way too easy. It was almost as if they wanted to get caught.

Their favourite meeting place was the Hotel Excelsior.

They would meet at the restaurant at about 8 pm; drink, eat and drink some more. They talked until the waiters started to stack the chairs on the tables and then retired to their room.

For some reason, they usually stayed in room 808.

This room didn’t have any windows so there was no way I could get any shots of them in bed without breaking down a door. I didn’t like that idea very much, so Victor was going to have to settle for a shot of them in the restaurant.

It was a classy joint, the sort of place where the guys never took their hats off, and the females drank red wine and smoked French cigarettes. No one got in without cufflinks or pearl earrings — a real classy joint.

I developed the photographs myself in our darkroom. There wasn’t a lot of light in the restaurant, so the negatives were thin. I used a grade five paper in an attempt to bring up the contrast.

They were just photos of a mark, so I didn’t pay much attention to what was going on in the background.

I blew them up nice and big and passed them on to Patrick Jameson.

Patrick is a particularly fine painter, a real artist and his ability to hand colour prints is second to none. Like the rest of us, he is addicted to eating, so he does jobs for me between creating his masterpieces.

It was Patrick who pointed out the guy hiding behind the pillar.

I didn’t notice him on the night. In the shot, you can see him reflected in the mirror, and that would have meant he was behind me.

I must have led him right to them.

It got messy after that and Enselmo stiffed me on the bill, but I paid Patrick, even though I never saw a dime. 

It seemed like the classy thing to do.