A Small Blue Bottle
2011 by Peggy Buxton
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The darkened streets of the deeper reaches of the French Quarter were quiet. The air hung thickly with humidity. The stench of unwashed streets filled the nostrils. The horn of a large ship sounded as it prepared to pull away from a wharf. Brick walls interlaced with closed stores and iron gates opening onto courtyards lined the sidewalk.
The alternating sounds of her lone hard sole shoe and clicks of the aluminum crutches were the only sounds June heard. It was not the first time she had ventured this street.
Her behavior was stylish and graceful and matched her beauty. In her mid-thirties, most believe her to be little more than twenty. Family money had offered a wonderful cushion to life that most did not know existed. There had been a husband. She knew Charles was a gold digger, but he had his uses. The prenuptial agreement assured his loyalty as long as she needed him - that point reached months before.
She turned the corner. Already, she could hear the strains of a version of St. James Infirmary by Allen Toussaint, a famous local musician. Her heart raced. Her step was a little quicker. A large man in a black suit and white shirt stood in front of the gated entrance. Showing a card and whispering a pass-phrase into his ear, he unlatched the gate.
The music continued. It was a favorite of hers. She loved all kinds of music, but the jazz of the town was the best. A new song began - My One and Only Love by Johnny Hartman. It suited the early morning well - soft and sultry.
A small crowd of women holding tall drink glasses, milled about the space. All were naked, making it a scene from an Anais Nin story. There were no men. She glanced around. A few were hanging over the other's shoulder, lips lightly touching as they danced and swayed to some sounds not heard, different from the music. A couple grinds against each other in wild abandon unconcerned others would see.