This story contains sexually explicit scenes.
Moe Gafferson tried to sit up, but a fiery stab sliced through his ribs, he slumped back down against the starched white sheets. “Fuck,” he said to an empty room.
Moe had never been laid this low. Sure, he’d had a few scuffles over the years, like when he was ten years old and Mickey Bolls held him down while Larry Beason rearranged his nose, or that sucker punch from the jealous boyfriend, or even a couple of broken ribs from a goon he shouldn’t have squeezed. But this was different. Before, it was just fists that did the damage. This last guy was tougher, sneakier, and chose a dodgier toy. Moe had been out, way out, seeing the white light out. A visit to oblivion was not a trip he’d want to take again soon.
Eating through a straw, pissing through a tube—these were dealings for old men. Moe Gafferson ate red meat, warm and rare, pissed in alleys when it suited him, and he surely wasn’t old, not yet. Moe wouldn’t stay down for long. Not now, not with all the motivators lining up in his head. Being stretched out in a bed and so gowed up he didn’t know day from night wouldn’t get the rent paid. And it wouldn’t teach the hood with the shiv that Moe Gafferson was not a guy to be fucked with. Yeah, Moe had a real mission now.
The blade had been inches from showing Moe a Harlem sunset. A longer knife, or an extra twist, and Moe would’ve bled to death before the meat wagon arrived. As it was, Moe’s gut saw some jigsaw duty. Luckily, the pieces all fit back together, only now the picture wasn’t so pretty. He’d been laid up for three days. The doc said his stint could be as long as two weeks, but not if Moe had anything to say about it. Hospitals were for delicates. If Moe wanted to lie dormy he’d go to the top floor at Flamingo’s and have a sweet little charity girl cuddled up at his side.
He wasn’t complaining about the services at Christ Hospital. Not exactly. The place had one thing going for it: the dames wore less paint and covered more flesh than Moe was used to, but there were still some he found easy on the eyes. One gal in particular, Mona Dale, even had Moe looking forward to the early morning wake-up call. But there was only so much lying around doing nothing a man like Moe could take. Hot dame or no.
There was a job to do. Namely, find the SOB that had landed him here in the first place. Moe was still a little sketchy on the details. He had been doing some easy snooping, following Mrs. Kitty Winslow, married to Mr. Winslow, Mr. Dutch Winslow, proprietor of Flamingo’s, the poshest hotel and nightclub in Cincinnati. Dutch also happened to be a friend of Moe’s, and as a personal favor, Moe was tracking the missus. It seemed Kitty had taken to sharing the goods with another boy. Dutch never did like sharing.
“Find out what she’s up to, Moe,” Dutch told him, his knuckles whitening as he squeezed his 14K gold cigarette lighter.
“You want the overview or the period to period?”
“I want it all. Every breath she takes.”
“Sounds like love, Dutch.”
“What’s love got to do with it?” Dutch took his time lighting a cigarette and taking the first hit off of it. “She’s mine, and no two-bit grifter is gonna move in on what’s mine.”
Moe fingered the lucky shell casing he kept in his pant’s pocket. “You sure she’s stepping out?” he asked.
“No doubt about it. Kitty’s got a few good qualities. Most of them you see upfront.” Dutch paused long enough for Moe to visualize Mrs. Winslow’s endowments and then went on. “Being the brightest jewel in the crown ain’t one of those qualities.”
Dutch Winslow wasn’t afraid to let a man know where he stood, a dame either for that matter. Moe had seen it a few times with some of the broads Dutch had working for him at Flamingo’s. Dutch couldn’t afford his waitresses coming across like pro skirts. If one of them got too edgy, Dutch would take care of it. Many a kitten came back from Dutch’s office with scared rabbit eyes and an adjusted attitude.
Dutch also played it straight with Moe. Gave him a drink when he needed it and a place to flop when a landlord got nasty about Moe’s rent. Dutch could be a good Joe, especially to someone he considered a friend. Moe was obliged to return the favor.
“Sure, Dutch. I’ll tag her for awhile,” Moe said.
“Tomorrow,” Dutch said. “And get pictures. Lots of them.”
Trailing Kitty had started out easy, eggs in the coffee. Kitty liked shopping, going to the salon, and dancing—a regular high class dame. She dropped off a bundle at Chang’s Laundromat, bought a sexy black number from Singer’s, the swank dress shop uptown, got her hair spit and shined at the Curl-n-Go, and then by evening, she found a place that offered cool drinks and fast music. Mongo’s, a place where you wouldn’t expect to find the wife of Dutch Winslow. But Kitty seemed right at home. She sauntered in and found an empty table like it had her name on it. The rest of the joint was packed. Moe hunkered down in a back corner where it was dark and the waitresses seemed to forget about you.
A couple of jokers, too full of alcohol, were arguing the politics of joining the war. Liquor and politics didn’t make for good bedfellows, not in times like these. The sousepots ended up duking it out. Moe might have stepped in, just for the heck of it, if he hadn’t been sleuthing. Fortunately, Mongo’s three hundred pound gorilla earned his keep and tossed the buffoons out on their axles. While all eyes followed the gorilla, Moe shifted to the buffoons vacated table. He picked up a half-empty drink and pretended it was his. This spot had a better view of where Kitty had parked but still gave him a little distance.
The Winslow broad didn’t seem to be meeting anyone in particular. She sat at her table, sipped on some tonsil paint, and waited. The law of averages said a dame who looked like Kitty—shimmery midnight hair, great gams and a pair of maracas that could haunt a man at night—wouldn’t have to wait long.
Sure enough, her dance card quickly filled. She swayed with one man after another, building a healthy sheen that made her glow under the dim lights. The GIs and the college boys that jammed into places like Mongo’s were goo-goo eyed at dancing with a dame like her. Kitty kept them interested enough to keep them trying. She let them all get close, run their hands along her bare back, sniff at her perfume, and maybe even steal a kiss, but none of them got a second dance.
Moe had pretty much figured on an early night when a mug in glad rags, classier than all the others, escorted Kitty to the dance floor. This guy’s gray suit was a little too tailored for this dive, and his hands a little too clean. Kitty allowed the guy the same liberties she’d allowed all the others, but when the song ended, she didn’t send him on his way. A few words passed between them that Moe couldn’t catch, but his gut told him the night wasn’t over. Kitty and Mr. Smooth parted after the second dance. She went back to her table. Mr. Smooth slipped out the door. Moe watched as Kitty made her way to the dance floor again. This time she was awkward and jumpy, like the dance couldn’t be over fast enough. This last bastard never even got close enough to feel her tits against his chest or grab a handful of her ass. With the last note barely blown, Kitty rushed to the exit.
A ‘37 Studebaker coupe was waiting.
Moe followed Kitty and the suit back to a dump Over the Rhine, a greasier side of town, where in the light of day, Kitty Winslow would stand out like a cherry in a bowl of lemons. Moe parked at the corner and waited while the pair hustled from the car and through the worn door of a small cottage. The lights in the house flipped on as Moe got out of his car and circled around back. The windows were open. The shades were up. It was easy. Too easy. Warning bells should have been ringing in Moe’s skull. Maybe they were, but Moe’s attention was instantly drawn onstage, where things had gotten juicy real quick.
By the time Moe found a perfect perch, Kitty was naked except for black stockings and high heels. It was easy to see why Dutch had taken a shine to her. Kitty was what you call voluptuous. Grable style: high kicking legs, handful spilling tits, and an hourglass waist. It didn’t hurt that all that body was housed in porcelain white skin.
Mr. Smooth hadn’t wasted any time either. He was slipping out of his skivvies just as Moe lined up his brownie and snapped the first picture. Moe kept his eye on the action during the camera wind up, partly for business, partly for pleasure.
They didn’t wait to find a bed. Kitty had her back to the wall with Mr. Smooth pinning her hands above her head. She didn’t seem to mind. Her eyes drooped shut and her head fell to the side, exposing a long, lean stretch of neck. Mr. Smooth nestled in, licking and sucking, with his chin resting on her tit. Moe snapped another picture. Too bad her flushed red skin wouldn’t show on the black and white photograph. Moe liked the color of an excited woman, although he was sure Dutch would be less appreciative.
Kitty lifted her leg and wrapped it around the guy’s waist. Nothing clumsy about this dance. It was practiced and effortless like only familiar partners can do. He released her hands and they went immediately around his shoulders. Her freshly manicured nails streaked along his muscled back while the heel of her shoe excavated the edge of his ass.
Moe grabbed a couple more pictures, a close-up of Kitty and Mr. Smooth lip-locked, and another close-up that featured body parts without the faces. He figured he had enough evidence but decided to stick around for the grand finale.
Just then, Kitty’s eyes popped open and looked right in Moe’s direction. Finale or not, it was time for him to scram.
Moe never saw it coming. The burning stab sliced into his skin as easy as butter. The second stab was easier, less burning, less surprise. Moe tried to focus on who or what had snuck up on him so easily. But it was too dark, too hazy. He was falling and he couldn’t stop. The slap of his body hitting pavement echoed in Moe’s ears. He heard a loud crack and wasn’t sure if it was his camera or his skull.
The next thing Moe knew, he was being poked and prodded by a dish dressed in white with red hair and the greenest eyes Moe had ever seen. An angel for sure.
“We in heaven?” Moe croaked.
The angel laughed. A husky, sexy laugh, and Moe knew he was still alive. Heaven wasn’t in the cards for a guy like Moe Gafferson.
That was three days ago. The angel’s name was Mona Dale, R.N., and with her help, Moe was finally feeling human. Human enough to know he’d underestimated either Kitty or her lover. From what Dutch had told him, Moe figured Kitty for diamonds on the outside but paste everywhere else. So it must have been the lover. Mr. Smooth wasn’t a fly-by-nighter. He had at least one friend. A friend with a shiv that had carved a calling card into Moe Gafferson.
Rough Cut originally appeared in Ruthie’s Club http://www.ruthiesclub.com/
Copyright © 2004 by Desdmona.