Monday, April 30, 2012

Chapter Three. Boys Meet Girl

Ed liked the flashy girls. He would have gone for Ava or Rita or Lana in a heartbeat. But as none of Hollywood's flashiest dames would have him, he was satisfied to swing on the next rung down.

Johnny liked real girls. He liked girls to play cards with, to take in a picture with, to cook for him and eat his cooking, to go for a walk in the park with and for a long drive on a Sunday afternoon.

The choker was the first thing that caught Ed’s eyes, a strip of silk binding the slim column of her neck. He saw a full-lipped mouth with lips the color of roses at sunset, haughty cheekbones, and black shoulder-length hair that he could so vividly imagine spread over his pillow that he almost gave an involuntary cry.

Black nylons sheathed the graceful curve of her legs, the calves swelling just so as they poised on black pumps with three-inch heels.

Only her eyes troubled him a little, green pools from which a challenge was flung, where he would much rather have found surrender.

The Coral Gables was all pink stucco and glass brick.

Johnny’s suit was of a tan color with a hound’s tooth check, and made from some material that approximated wool with a questionable degree of accuracy.

They both wore dark gray fedoras and black wingtips.

The boys might have noticed the modern Danish furnishings, but then again they might not have.

It would be difficult to say if they heard Artie Shaw's clarinet issuing from the record player. For all their senses were attuned to Miss Leona Sands.

She turned eagerly to Johnny. “Did you know that? About the
"I don't think I recognized three words you said," Johnny answered.

A timer rang in the kitchen and soon they were eating.

“That's so
bold!" Leona cried. "Your exploration of the white man trying to adapt as the Negro assumes his rightful place in the body politic can be an indictment of bigotry and at the same time a testament to the human spirit!”

In truth, following a brutal pitch meeting with Samuel Goldwyn, they had come to see the picture as a comedy starring Danny Kaye and Stepin Fetchit, and all they’d envisioned was a lot of madcap hijinks, but Ed decided not to…well, enlighten her.

"That's wonderful," Leona said. "So when do you think you should break it to Wanger that Joyce has been dead for five years?"

Johnny took one last glance up at the lighted third-floor window in the Coral Gables and released the brake.

"A Mick and a Limey," Warner said. "Friends. I like it already!"

"Wait'll you hear
this switcheroo!" Ed said.
"He finally maneuvers her into the sack, see," Johnny said, and paused for dramatic effect. "But when she whips off her