Down For The Count

Started by Blair Blankenship at Apr 04, 2020 11:54 PM
March 15, 1924
1704 Views
94 Posts

Dorothy Dare

Bohemian
290
?Years Young
23 Posts

"Hello, I'm Dotty Dare, I like to express myself in clay!"


Despite being rather open handed with money when she had it, Dotty was rather shocked at the easy way Blair seemed to talk about getting into debt, even in a very temporary way, like using a bar tab. Still, that was his look-out, the English artist would continue to keep herself solvent by never running up tabs and buying things on the ‘never never’.

Then Muff proposed the idea of sneaking in the back way and sitting in with the band.

"Sounds capital," enthused Blair.  "I know some of the fellas there ..er .. not in a professional way but just as good buddies."

Muff frowned. Much as he liked Blair, he had seen some of the man’s spoilt, blue-blooded college-boy friends, like the idiot who had thrown the champagne bottle, and his opinion of them was not high.

“What about me?” worried Dotty “Can I pretend to be your music turner? I’ll need to change first, of course.” she asked Blair

"I think you look great the way you look right now,"  Blair insisted.  "And let me tell you;  you are so charming and so full life that I'm sure you'll be a new fashion setter.  I really do. Er. .. wait a minute.  Can you dance in those duds?"

“Oh, these old rags?” she asked, looking down at the trim tweed day outfit she was wearing. “They’re a little restrictive.”

"So can you?"  he pressed.

She put her hands on her hips and steeled herself to explain something very important to the handsome pianist and singer.

“What you must realize, my dear, dear Blair, is that I, Dorothy Dare, am a bohemian, a free spirit, a sprite who has taken human form for this brief span: when I dance, it is not to the prescribed steps of the Charleston or the Turkey Trot, I dance to express myself, my inner fire: I wear the light diaphanous robe of the ancient seers of Delphi, don the flower ringlet of the nymphs of Bacchus, it’s all … it’s all very Isadora Duncan!” she finished, trying to sum it all up in a nutshell.

What she was getting at was that the management and customers of the Four Deuces might not cotton to a plump lady leaping barefoot about their swanky club wearing nothing but a translucent nightie and a bunch of daises in her hair.


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Blair Blankenship

78
?Years Young
34 Posts

"If I'd known that this is the way it'd all turn out, I never would have kissed my father goodbye."


She put her hands on her hips and steeled herself to explain something very important to the handsome pianist and singer.

“What you must realize, my dear, dear Blair, is that I, Dorothy Dare, am a bohemian, a free spirit, a sprite who has taken human form for this brief span: when I dance, it is not to the prescribed steps of the Charleston or the Turkey Trot, I dance to express myself, my inner fire: I wear the light diaphanous robe of the ancient seers of Delphi, don the flower ringlet of the nymphs of Bacchus, it’s all … it’s all very Isadora Duncan!” she finished, trying to sum it all up in a nutshell.

"Isadora Duncan?   Isn't she the one who gave Mark Twain a coronary when he watched her dancing on one of those Nickelodeons?   But, ya know, we don't have to dance.  We can get some bootleg hootch and listen to the brand."

He pointed to Muff.

"Hey, maybe we can call this a research trip?  See what the fellas are doing in town before we play some sets on the ship?

He was energized now.

"Look Dotty .. how did you get here?  Did you drive or did someone take you?   Because we can take you back to your place so you can get in your fun duds.   Or we could just go straight to the Four Deuces from here?"

Suddenly, in one day, his fortunes had turned much rosier. 

 

 

 

What she was getting at was that the management and customers of the Four Deuces might not cotton to a plump lady leaping barefoot about their swanky club wearing nothing but a translucent nightie and a bunch of daises in her hair.


Muff Miller

Bandleader and Trombonist
290
?Years Young
14 Posts

"And now a little tune called She Sits Between the Cabbages and Peas"


The Four Deuces balanced the swish and the swank, on one side, with the edgy and illegal on the other, and all with the beautiful balance of Blondel walking the tightrope over Niagara Falls. Despite the booze, the gambling and the risque floor shows, there were never any raids: the police knew better than to try and arrest a roomful of people, half of whom either had connections among the rich and powerful who ran the city or actually WERE the rich and powerful who ran the city. This was no seedy dive. There was no ‘entry fee’ as such – the bouncer at the door just told anyone who wasn’t a somebody that the club was full. The Eric Richards, the Freda von Epps, the Vivian Flanders of this world could always simply waltz in, the doorman bowing and scraping, there were always covers available for such rich and distinguished guests.

A blue-blood like Blair Blankenship and his rich college friends, could gain easy entry, too. After all, they were the city, the state, the country’s future leaders. However, sneaking in the back way was much more fun.

It was much later than expected the unlikely trio arrived. For all her bohemian airs, Dorothy Dare was still a woman, and had taken an age to get ready when they had stopped by the Nook on route to the ‘Eight’ as the Club was known to the folk who worked there.

Muff knocked using a peculiar 5/8 rhythm on the plain, green painted wooden door down a grimy back-alley at the rear of the club. It cracked open a little, then a lot and a black fellow in an equally black evening jacket and black tie with a spliff hanging limply out of his mouth grinned sleepily at the bespectacled and suddenly very pasty white looking Muff. “Hey Gate, you come to sit in?” the black man asked. There was then a conversation that took place in some musician’s argot which Dotty failed to understand, apart from picking up that she was called a ‘kitty cat’ which appealed warmly to her chronic ailurophilia.

Then they were in. As they moved through the kitchen it was clear that most of the backroom staff were black, the band was black, in fact, the staff entrance at the back was jovially called the ‘black door’ by the band boy. He was also black. Everybody out front, of course, the customers, (and the dancing girls, for that matter) were universally white, although many of the City’s Anglo-Saxon population wouldn’t have counted the rich Jews and Italians mixed in there as being properly in that category.

Either way, Muff had brought his trombone and was quick to find a seat among the hot jazz band where he fitted in musically, if not visually. Blair and Dotty he conjured to go find a table and send him a drink over when they got a chance.  


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Blair Blankenship

78
?Years Young
34 Posts

"If I'd known that this is the way it'd all turn out, I never would have kissed my father goodbye."


Blair glided past the pickets at the door.  Some nodded, another asked, "Was that be you on the radio tonight, Mr. Blair?" 

Blair looked appropriately chagrined. 

The boys chuckled and Blair heard one say to another, "I done tol' you that was Mr. Blair Blank-en-ship.  Don't you be tellin' me I don't know what I's hear with my own ears."

Then they were in. As they moved through the kitchen it was clear that most of the backroom staff were black, the band was black, in fact, the staff entrance at the back was jovially called the ‘black door’ by the band boy. He was also black. Everybody out front, of course, the customers, (and the dancing girls, for that matter) were universally white, although many of the City’s Anglo-Saxon population wouldn’t have counted the rich Jews and Italians mixed in there as being properly in that category.

To Blair it reminded him of the hot spots of Harlem, New York.  He'd been to some of them when the gang swooped in from New Haven on occasion.  Everyone who was anyone found their way to the Golden Slipper or the Top-Of-The-Town, and the newly opened Cotton Club was gaining popularity.

Either way, Muff had brought his trombone and was quick to find a seat among the hot jazz band where he fitted in musically, if not visually. Blair and Dotty he conjured to go find a table and send him a drink over when they got a chance. 

An usher swayed over to them.  He was a young man --- white, --- whose close attention to walking ramrod straight with little steps spoke volumes about his preferences.   He ogled Blair who, frankly, was used to that attention.   Reaching in his pocket Blair flipped a sliver dollar at the lad who missed it but, luckily, it smacked him on the chin and landed in his coat's breast pocket.

"I've got this," he told the usher, as he moved a chair out for Dotty.

Once they were seated, Blair presented Dotty with an open cigarette case.

"I'm glad you were able to join us tonight, Dotty," he said.  "This place is hot.  It would raised Lazarus from the grave. In fact," he added, looking around, "I think I spot him right over there."

He pointed off into the crowd and then grinned at his table mate.  It was an impish grin of someone who'd blasphemed and well knew it.

A waiter stood at attention.

"What will it be?" he asked Dotty.   "I'm having a Singapore Gin Sling."


Vivian Flanders

Heiress
364
?Years Young
7 Posts

"They say money doesn't make you happy, that's a laugh."


Even as Blair and Dottie were being seated, another party had entered the club - through the front door - and were also being seated not that far off. Two well dressed ladies and a gentleman smiling and chuckling about something. Now whether Blair recognized the taller of the women or not, there were many in attendance who did, especially if they were familiar with Miami high society.

Vivian Flanders, heiress and socialite, eased onto her chair. Reaching into her purse she extracted a cigarette then waited while the man of the trio hastily produced a lighter. A few puffs later Viv was content, at least for the moment. Of course the evening could not be complete without something to drink. The hovering waiter was sent on his way to bring back an expensive bottle of French champagne.

"Good crowd tonight," Viv's longtime friend, Irma, pointed out, simply to make conversation as much as anything.

"I suppose," Viv nodded after exhaling a sizeable plume of smoke.

Florian now spoke up after putting his lighter away, "So how is your father, Vi?"

"Oh, pretentious as always, you know him. And grumpy too, always worried I will  spend him his fortune even before he dies," Viv smirked.

"That's just plain silly," scoffed Irma, being a longtime friend of Vivian she had a pretty good idea of just how rich Viv was. And without delving into specific numbers, let's just say 'filthy rich'.

"Well that's him for you, he exaggerates. But I don't want to talk about it," Viv sighed then sucked in another big puff.

"So how's that big sea voyage party coming along then? As long as you want us to change subjects," Florian was more than willing to branch out.

"Pretty much everything is all set. It's going to be the social event of 1924 I assure you," Viv warmed to the subject.

Viv pretty much lived for parties, it's what she preferred to be known for not being an heiress. While certainly advantageous, there was certainly no glory in it.

 

 

 

 


Javia

290
55Years Young
299 Posts

As Dotty was ordering a Gin & It, and insisting that it be a 'good stiff peg', Kelly Patt, the nightclub’s quick-thinking, wisecracking Mistress of Ceremonies, peeped through some thick velvet curtains behind the band, looking for her targets for tonight. Her act mostly consisted of roasting anyone well-known in the audience, and the 4 Deuces was a club where most of the clientele were well known for one reason or another. She hissed at the trombone tooting musician sitting in front of the curtain, a white face in the sea of black, and asked him about the man he’d come in with.

A few minutes later, the band struck up the tune “Second Hand Rose” in a manner that was louder and more strident than the soft music-for-dancing they had been playing up until now, and Kelly strode onto the dance floor. This signaled that something of a ‘floorshow’ was commencing in the place. The lights dimmed a little and the petite, pretty, slightly chubby Kelly in a spotlight began her act.

This started off with a few a few lines of singing, noted more for its volume than it’s tunefulness.

 

¯ “I'm wearing second hand hats, Second hand clothes

That's why they call me, Second hand Rose

Even our piano in the parlour, Daddy bought for ten cents on the dollar

Second hand pearls, I'm wearing second hand curls, I never get a single thing that's new...” ¯

 

Then, the band still playing, pianissimo, she launched into her patter. First on the list was well known philanthropist and wife of a millionaire pharmaceuticals giant, Esther Peabody.

“Oh hello, Esther! Esther Peabody’s here ladies and gents. You know I think it’s wonderful about that orphanage you run, Esther: those poor kids, they get free bed and board and all the tonics and medical potions they need free!” this raised a light smattering of applause from the audience. “… and is it true that since you opened the place, your husband has stopped testing his products on animals? That’s wonderful, too.” This raised a titter from those who got the dark humor of the joke.

“Oh, and there’s a figure I could scarcely miss, it’s that well known artist Miss Dorothy Dare. Stand up and take a bow Dot… if you can. Maybe your friend could help you up there. Is he your latest model? I hope so, the last guy was a complete dick.” She cracked, it was well known that Dotty’s latest sculpture, which was basically a giant phallus, had caused a riot when it was displayed.

"Sorry Dot, I don’t usually pick on old girlfriends. Oh no, now that beanpole you’re with has turned round I can see it’s radio’s latest crooner, Blair Blankenship” She motioned again to where the elderly Mrs Peabody was sitting “Try saying that with your teeth in, Esther!”

“You know kids, I was one of the few people that knew that Blair was going to make his singing debut on the Ginger Jones Hour today, I listened in specially. Oh, hold on, I forgot…” she pulled some cotton wool out of her ears, which again, raised a titter. Then she made out that she was being dazzled by the light from a certain area in the audience.

“Ow, my eyes. Oh! It’s Vivian Flanders and her glittering entourage – or is that just the diamonds?!” she cried, squinting her eyes. The comedienne, like everybody else, had heard the word that Viv was notoriously hard on the waiting-on staff at her famous ‘dos’ and had even been sued by one waitress for assault. Probably just a vicious rumor, but all grist for Kelly's mill: “You know, you might not believe it, but I’ve been along to Viv’s last three exclusive parties!” she drawled, putting on a boastful air “Sure! I was that waitress she slapped!”

The band grew loud again and Kelly, rubbing a supposedly sore slapped face, finished off the song:

“Everyone knows they call me Second Hand Rose, from Second Av-e-nue!”

The band carried on playing the tune as Kelly Patt strode off the stage and a host of hoofers traipsed on to go through a dance routine.

Dotty had been laughing and drinking at the same time and now had the hiccups.


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Blair Blankenship

78
?Years Young
34 Posts

"If I'd known that this is the way it'd all turn out, I never would have kissed my father goodbye."


Settled in, Blair enjoyed the atmosphere at the 4 Deuces.   It was completely illegal but what the Hell?  Prohibition, peddled by prune-faced holy rollers, wasn't going to crimp their style -- no sir.  The was a pure sparkle and earthy elegance to the joint (as if those two words could ever be joined in a sentence) that appealed greatly to Blair. 

He drew in on his cigarette and then vented the smoke out his nose like some Arthurian dragon.

"Having fun, Dotty," he asked his companion and, at the same time, craned his neck to see where Muff had gone.

Then, in a maneuver of optical magic, his gaze went from Dotty ... she now a blur .. to deep focus on a newly seated group of swells.  Two women and one man.  ménage à trois? he wondered impishly.  They were quite well-heeled, that was for certain.

A woman burst onto the scene and began singing Second Hand Rose.

"Doesn't this have something to do with Fanny Brice?" he asked his "date".   There was something unsavory about Fanny and that sharpie, Nicky Arnstein, and though Blair didn't follow the muck racking press, anyone who was alive in the wide radius of New York City, knew something about it.

Too bad he couldn't get up and sing "Rose of Washington Square" to her,"  he thought.  That would be perfect.

Then, the band still playing, pianissimo, she launched into her patter. First on the list was well known philanthropist and wife of a millionaire pharmaceuticals giant, Esther Peabody.

The audience broke into applause.

The routine was wonderfully impromptu  .. regardless of whether she had her recital well prepared in advance.

“Oh, and there’s a figure I could scarcely miss, it’s that well known artist Miss Dorothy Dare. Stand up and take a bow Dot… if you can. Maybe your friend could help you up there. Is he your latest model? I hope so, the last guy was a complete dick.” She cracked, it was well known that Dotty’s latest sculpture, which was basically a giant phallus, had caused a riot when it was displayed.

Dotty seemed a little flummoxed .. blushing, hand to throat.

"Sorry Dot, I don’t usually pick on old girlfriends. Oh no, now that beanpole you’re with has turned round I can see it’s radio’s latest crooner, Blair Blankenship” She motioned again to where the elderly Mrs Peabody was sitting “Try saying that with your teeth in, Esther!”

Blair sat a little straighter at the mention of his name.  It was his turn to blush.  As one from privilege and prep schools he was raised not to welcome the spotlight but it was already shiny on him.

“You know kids, I was one of the few people that knew that Blair was going to make his singing debut on the Ginger Jones Hour today, I listened in specially. Oh, hold on, I forgot…” she pulled some cotton wool out of her ears, which again, raised a titter. Then she made out that she was being dazzled by the light from a certain area in the audience.

Blankenship shook his head in a disarming and charming manner, then waved his hand downward as if to say, Oh don't pay any attention to her.

“Ow, my eyes. Oh! It’s Vivian Flanders and her glittering entourage – or is that just the diamonds?!”

So THAT was her name? Blair thought.  He remembered seeing distance shots of her in the Society page being ushered into elite, black tie benefits and art galleries.  She was a darling of the Miami rotogravures. 

Dotty had been laughing and drinking at the same time and now had the hiccups.

"Just hold your breath, Dotty,"  Blair advised.  "Take a big gulp of air and hold it."


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Vivian Flanders

Heiress
364
?Years Young
7 Posts

"They say money doesn't make you happy, that's a laugh."


It was a good thing Viv liked the music and the drinks because the entertainment, or what was being passed off as entertainment did not meet with her approval. Apparently the woman, Patty something or other, thought she was being funny.

“Ow, my eyes. Oh! It’s Vivian Flanders and her glittering entourage – or is that just the diamonds?!” the hostess cried, squinting her eyes.

Viv tensed, apprehensive about what was going to be said about her as she apparently was the latest target of this acerbic wit, if you could dignify it as such. Debatable.

“You know, you might not believe it, but I’ve been along to Viv’s last three exclusive parties!” she drawled, putting on a boastful air “Sure! I was that waitress she slapped!”

Outwardly Viv smiled graciously and held up her drink glass toward the direction of the performer but inwardly she seethed. She had never slapped a waitress in her life. One husband though and he had richly deserved it. But one of the few drawbacks of being rich and a society bright light was rumors and ennuendo.

One thing was certain though, if this woman had been to any of her past parties, Viv would make it a point to be certain not to let her attend any future events. Poisonous bitch!

Irma patted her friend on the top of one manicured hand, "Do not pay her any mind, dearie, she's just looking for laughs."

"Oh I know," Viv shrugged it off.

"Say have you ever heard of this ...what was his name? Blanketship? I missed his performance today on the radio it seems but the name is certainly not familiar," Irma stole another look at the table where the man sat with that frumpy woman artist.

"He's quite handsome though," she declared.

"No, never heard of him," Viv then turned her head to glance that direction, assessing the fellow, "And no, his face is not familiar either. He's not bad looking though, I'll give you that much, Irma."

 

 

 

 

 


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Dorothy Dare

Bohemian
290
?Years Young
23 Posts

"Hello, I'm Dotty Dare, I like to express myself in clay!"


After the dancing girls had finished their ‘Busby Berkeley Musical Moment’ (which would have looked more impressive seen from above than from table level) Kelly came round the tables, chatting with various patrons, especially those she’d picked on during her routine. Mrs Peabody, a regular and particularly juicy target, got special attention: the way the elderly philanthropist returned Miss Patt’s salutation, and the way they kissed each other on the cheeks, showed that the old girl was a good sport and found the cracks at her expense pretty amusing.

Next it was Blair and Dotty’s turn. Kelly strode over and gave the artist a slap on the back, which semed to cure her hiccups. “Hi Dot, so you and a crooner, eh?” she glanced up at Blair and grinned “Listen Blankenship, if this dame ever invites you to see her 'Nook' and tells you to take off your clothes, don’t get the wrong idea like I did! But say Dot, why did it take you a whole hour before you told me you weren’t ‘that way inclined’?”

This sounded like one of the comedienne’s typical cracks, Kelly made no secret of being an out and out lesbian, until Dotty replied, in her usual devil-may-care attitude “Well, you know me, Kelly, I’ll try anything once!”

Kelly laughed and slapped her on the shoulder again, leaving her hand there this time. “Yeah. Or twice.” she smiled, slyly.

She leant over and looked at Blair and Dotty, speaking in slightly more conspiratorial tones.

“Listen, can you kids help me out? I gotta go talk to that Flanders Dame. That’s the first time I picked on her and I could tell she didn’t like it one little bit – she gave it the old crocodile smile routine, know what I mean? Grab your drinks and come over with me for protection.” she looked them over to se if they were up to the job and said to Blair “Yeah. You look pretty tough” then to Dotty “and you look even tougher!”

Before Blair could even have a chance to object, Dotty had grabbed her G and T and jumped up. “Oh rather!” Kelly took her hand and offered Blair the other.

The three off them approached Vivian’s table looking like a line of soldiers going into battle, but Kelly let go of their hands when they got there.

“Hello Miss Flanders, folks!” she saluted the throng there “Hoped you didn’t mind my little crack at your expense. You know, some folks don’t like being picked on like that, but I heard you had a good sense of humor!” she opened.


Blair Blankenship

78
?Years Young
34 Posts

"If I'd known that this is the way it'd all turn out, I never would have kissed my father goodbye."


The girl with the glib patter sidled over to Blair and Dotty's table.  She had a confident swagger that was appealing but also put Blair on high alert.
 
She spoke right up as if she'd already been in a deep discussion with them and had just paused to clear her throat.

“Hi Dot, so you and a crooner, eh?” she glanced up at Blair and grinned “Listen Blankenship, if this dame ever invites you to see her 'Nook' and tells you to take off your clothes, don’t get the wrong idea like I did!

"Ah don't worry about me," Blair said with confidence.  "My Brooks Brothers suit is stuck to me like like a fly to honey."

But Kelly kept to her script, ignoring Blair completely.

"But say Dot, why did it take you a whole hour before you told me you weren’t ‘that way inclined’?”  To which the clever Dotty replied, "Well, you know me, Kelly, I’ll try anything once!”

Kelly laughed and slapped her on the shoulder again, leaving her hand there this time. “Yeah. Or twice.” she smiled, slyly.

To all this, Blair was not exactly a babe in the woods. 

There was a time he stopped off in Harlem as he was heading to up-State New York.   It was a hot spot called "The Waggin' Tongue" and he soon made it to the bar and ordered an absinthe; It was all the rage.  It didn't take long for a gorgeous woman to park on the stool beside him.  She was flawless, and Blair was quite sure she was as interested in him as he was in her.   They struck up a conversation and as they talked and laughed, she kept nudging her stool closer to his.  Soon their knees touched. 

Blair, emboldened by the Absinthe,  placed his hand on her thigh and began working his hand up under her skirt (oh these "modern daughters") and soon he came in contact with the silk and laces of her unmentionables.   She rolled her eyes and issued a soft, mewling sound.   So Blair kept moving northward until he pushed up against tightly bound testicles.

He blanched.

"Oh .. excuse me," he said, and withdrew his hand as if it were on fire.

She smiled at him and said, "Too bad, dearie.  I thought you had promise."     Then she left.

He was roused from his reverie by Kelly.

“Listen, can you kids help me out? I gotta go talk to that Flanders Dame. That’s the first time I picked on her and I could tell she didn’t like it one little bit – she gave it the old crocodile smile routine, know what I mean? Grab your drinks and come over with me for protection.” she looked them over to as if they were up to the job and said to Blair “Yeah. You look pretty tough” then to Dotty “and you look even tougher!”

Before Blair could even have a chance to object, Dotty had grabbed her G and T and jumped up. “Oh rather!” Kelly took her hand and offered Blair the other.

Blair was helpless to argue.  Besides, the Singapore Gin Sling had worked its magic on him just like the Absinthe had a couple of years earlier.

The three off them approached Vivian’s table looking like a line of soldiers going into battle, but Kelly let go of their hands when they got there.

“Hello Miss Flanders, folks!” she saluted the throng there “Hoped you didn’t mind my little crack at your expense. You know, some folks don’t like being picked on like that, but I heard you had a good sense of humor!” she opened.

Blair, who was, as always, bland, handsome and elegant, smiled at the group seated before him.  "This is indeed a pleasure," he announced.   "I am Blair Blankenship and this is, as you might know already is Miss Dorothy Dare."   He made a brief, stiff, bow.


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