Music Monday: I Will Not Repent

For several years now there’s been a glut of movies being turned into musicals, some getting big unexplainable runs on Broadway while others languished in obscurity.
Dangerous Beauty is one of my favorite movies, featuring the Venice of centuries ago and, more importantly, a beautiful redhead who happens to have the same last name as me. . . the character, not the actress. So imagine my surprise a few years ago when I was reading an online article and saw the ad for it coming to the Pasadena Playhouse, which I lived close to at the time.
At the time, it was the only play I went to twice.
Two things made it particularly special: the score, done by the amazing Amanda McBroom of The Rose fame (as well as her turn as Picard’s lawyer ex on Star Trek: The Next Generation), and Jenny Powers as Veronica Franco.
Among some of the fantastic songs were “I Am Venice,” “Until Tomorrow Comes,” “I Will Love You Now,” “Lions of the Sea,” “Stripping Venice,” and “City of Lies.” But easily the greatest is the closing number, alternatively called “Confession” and “I Will Not Repent.”
Whereas earlier in the show I was taken in by the delicacy Jenny brings to her vocals, a certain sweetness, here it’s the very definition of a power ballad.
Here’s the thing, though. Because it’s a stage production, there’s no video of an actual performance. Instead I found a live recital at a restaurant. Doesn’t matter, it still works. The lyrics, that last note. . . amazing.


Music Monday: Hello

So last time I featured a redheaded actress who’s also a singer-songwriter. So of course I had to do it again. Come to think of it, this is three times in a row with a redhead.
You may not have heard the name Schuyler Fisk, but you’ve probably seen her. If anyone you’ve seen on TV reminds you of a young Sissy Spacek, there’s a good chance it’s her, because she’s her daughter.
I don’t know what to call this song. It’s not a breakup song, because that’s already happened. Is there a genre for “I regret breaking up with you and want you back?”


Music Monday: Anyway

Second week in a row with a song that starts with an A. Second week in a row featuring a redhead. Next week’s will not start with an A. . . but might be a redhead.
Alicia Witt has been all over your TV screen for a long time now, starting back when she was playing the piano on the original Twin Peaks. She played it a lot more on Cybill, but it wasn’t until after that when she took a turn at being a singer-songwriter, and that worked out too. Seen her play live at Hotel Café numerous times, and even carried her keyboard stand once. Not that she’s likely to remember, but hey, I didn’t even realize until after that I’d gotten in free when they’d assumed I was her roadie.
And obviously this is my favorite song of hers. By the way, in the scene where she’s yelling at the musicians, she’s not wearing white tights, she’s really that pale. Redheads. . .


Book Reviews: Modern Women, Actors, and Movies

“Good job.”
“Bad job.”
The fact she understood a James Bond reference means she’s a keeper.

The Teller
In this present tense story—I can still hear Harlan Ellison in my mind grousing, “I LOATHE present tense stories!”—a naïve redheaded bank teller in Brooklyn steals the check of a man who was just run over on the street, over a million bucks. For around half the story it’s about her guilt, but then things turn much more sinister as she’s threatened by gangsters and then kidnapped into white slavery.
The best thing here is the characters, especially the teller and the white knight detective she improbably pairs with to settle things. It isn’t till near the end that we learn who the true antagonist is, and then there’s a psychological tug-of-war to see who comes out on top, with the lead changing hands often. Perhaps a little too much plot there, but overall a satisfying conclusion.

Woman Without Fear
A neurotic self-conscious woman is drinking in a bar the night before her big software presentation when a very confident chemist wants to try his experimental happy pills on her. Also a present tense story, though not first person, because you need to get the snail’s point of view. . . yep, you read that right; I learned a lot more about snails than I ever expected to, or wanted.
At around the halfway mark I couldn’t help but wonder what was going to happen: would she become addicted, or were they placebos? The fact that I was invested enough to speculate tells me how much I was enjoying this.
Despite her crippling anxiety and her love for snails the protagonist comes off as very likable, especially when she strikes up a friendship with the hotel maid, though I think the only reason this is part of the story is so the maid can take a pill and show it works for her too. But the writing style and setting—you never really leave the hotel—were a little below what I desire, though I would have still happily given this a 4. . .
Except for the ending: it’s incredibly ambiguous, and in conjunction with the relative shortness of pages makes me think the story was cut in half, thus setting up a sequel. There were many possibilities as to what really happened, which is fine for a next-to-last chapter, but readers expect the story to be neatly tied up at the end. I felt cheated, and will probably not be reading the sequel; this drops my grade to

Character Kings 2: Hollywood’s Familiar Faces Discuss the Art & Business of Acting
This is basically a series of interviews with a few of what are called “character” actors, those whose name you don’t know but as soon as you see their photo you think, “Hey, it’s that guy from that thing!” (BTW, I saw a documentary on Netflix with that title on the same subject, but there was no overlap in the actors chosen; perhaps they were in Character Kings 1, which I have not read.)
Though there’s plenty of great acting and Hollywood notes, I did get tired of the author asking the same questions over and over. It mostly consisted of “How did you get started in acting?” and “How did you get that movie?” which showed a lot of times it’s more about who you know than how good you are. I was surprised by how many different answers there were to “How do you audition?” with some being contradictory to the previous, but then I suppose you have to go with what works for you. There are tons of photos—how much does each photo weigh?—as well as a selected filmography, though it mostly consists of the films discussed, leaving off some I would have liked to have seen included.

We Don’t Need Roads
While I’m not a fan of Back to the Future the way I am, say, of Star Wars or Twin Peaks—since I’ve reviewed similar books here—I liked it well enough to give this a try. On the other hand, because I haven’t seen them over and over, there’s too many things I don’t remember, but that’s not the book’s fault. I don’t know if it’s common knowledge amongst the fandom, for example, that another actor shot about half of the movie before it was decided he wasn’t working out and was replaced by Mr. Fox. Probably even less known is the accident while filming a hoverboard sequence, which nearly cost a stuntwoman her life, but then it’s said that the studio tried to cover it up.
There’s plenty of photos here, but the best part is the interviews, especially Lea Thompson and Christopher Lloyd, who according to this doesn’t do much publicity. Of particular note is the times Spielberg would go to the studio hierarchy to fight for something he believed in, not knowing the movie had an almost-blank check. Definitely a lot of fun even if you’re not a fan of the series.


Travel Thursday: A Passage to Redhead, part 5

“You are such a bitch!” I laughed.

“I know!” she squeaked. “It gives me warm happy feelings in my tummy!” Then really howled when I poked her in said tummy, then tickled it. She ended up even more out of breath, and it took her a while to retain enough oxygen to tell me she really didn’t think she was a bitch. . . while flashing a huge smile.

I yawned, and she found herself satisfied with that. Picking a safer subject, she tried, “How much more of the temples do you have to shoot?”

“Almost done with the outside. Still got the whole inside to go.”

“There’s an inside?” came the yelp I really should have expected. . . right in the ear. Again. Also as usual, rubbing the lobe did not seem to help. “What did I tell you about that?”

Not to do it!” she replied promptly, but her grin mitigated any type of apology. “Please tell me about the insides. Are they as fun?”

Knowing I was going to get yelled in the ear again sometime no matter how I admoshined her, or how often, I relented with a sigh and set the scene, since I had been inside on previous trips. “More depictions of gorgeous women cavorting with deities as light pours from balconies. Shadows are cast seductively over the carved walls, which is good for an imagination like yours but bad for photos.”

“Take what you can get, bub. Tell me more.”

“The Kandariya Mahadev–fat chanced I pronounced that right–Temple is considered the finest, with almost nine hundred statues inside and out. Ganesh and the seven mother goddesses are the most prominent–”

“How do you know so much?” she whispered furiously.

“I read and remember.”


“Not all of the sculptures are about sex, of course, but there’s an exuberance to their daily activities: one lady is stretching so beautifully, another is playing with a ball–which I love–another is admiring her reflection in a mirror. . .” I grinned at her.

“Better,” she proclaimed with a smirk.

“But of course there’s also the kissing caressing couples, bodies entwined in blissful union. . .”

“Poet,” she whispered, nuzzling her head against my shoulder, like she was getting ready for a nap.

“There’s one very graceful lady who’s taking a bath, but is getting out of it to peek at something, I think a wedding procession.”

“I wouldn’t get out of the bath for that,” she yawned.

“You’re not a normal girl.”

“Thank you!” she purred dangerously, then looked chagrined when I chuckled.

“You’ll like this: the images of Parvati and Shiva in the throes of amorous passion are symbolic of the cosmic union that makes the world go round.”

“That is exactly what I’m talkin’ about!”

She lost that famous exuberance when I told her I had another meeting, and since she was in no mood to go back to her hotel, I told her I trusted her enough to let her stay until I got back. Not that one should ever fully trust a redhead, she smirked to herself, then really went crazy when I told her I had a surprise for her later. . .

This meeting worked out a hell of a lot better, but when I got back to the hotel room I found her fast asleep, no doubt having frittered away all her energy in her nervous quest to figure out the surprise. . . though she was right back to hopping around aimlessly like a demented or rabid redheaded bunny when she was woken up. It was the same at dinner, where I forced her not to order soup or curry, since she’d likely miss the target with the spoon. I made a mental note not to go this route again, if the relationship lasted long enough, figuring it would be better to lie than to have her go through this again. . . or have to watch it.

Eventually the smirking driver dropped us off at an elegantly understated mansion, which only deepened the mystery in her eyes. Handing her out of the car, noticing she was still vibrating, I soothed her with voice and hand along her luscious red hair. “Old friend lives here. . . well, not so much an old friend, more like someone who owes me a favor for something from a few years back. Never thought I’d have the chance to collect. . .”

“This is not helping my nerves at all, bub!”

“That’s just because you’re crazy, and you would be even if you weren’t a redhead.”

“Not helping!”

“Can’t you just go along with it?”

“I can try,” she tried, though she sounded dubious.

Having been in the mansion before, it was easy to find the way to the room in question, with Emily surprised that we’d simply waltzed into the place without anyone greeting us, or even seeing them in the hallways. Nah, he’s fixed it so that we’re alone in here. He’s got everything planned. . .

Not to be continued. . . use your imagination


Travel Thursday: A Passage to Redhead, part 4

Strolling hand in hand now, not allowing me to go back to shooting, she recounted her previous stops on this trip, starting in London and making it almost all the way over here when she suddenly pondered if I would ask where she got the money to pay for all this. Instead I wondered where she’d gotten her love of travel, and she was so grateful she quickly gushed, “We had a station wagon when I was growing up, me and my sister and mommy and daddy riding all over the country every summer, seeking out every historical marker, national park and ‘World’s Largest.’”

Then, blushing at where she’d left that last part for my evil brain, she looked over at my face and was surprised to see me with myeyes closed, looking dreamy.

“Mmmmm, quiet while I try to imagine what your sister would look li–OW!”

She was still laughing about it when we came across yet another tour group, and since she’d had so much success with it the last time, she pretended to linger in order to overhear what the guide was saying. This allowed me to return to my photographic endeavor, so with only a psychic harumph! she let me go and concentrated on the words, trying not to smile at the combination Indian/Oxbridge accent.

“While the sexual nature of these carvings have caused the site to be referred to as the Kamasutra temple, they do not illustrate the meticulously described positions of this famous tome. The strategically placed sculptures are designed to appease malevolent spirits. Sexual images also imply a virile, thus powerful, ruler.”

Yeah, I can see that. . .

“A sculptor was brought in for a television interview to forensically examine the tool marks and construction techniques involved in creating the stunning stonework at the sites. He also recreated a stone sculpture under four feet that took about sixty days to carve, in an attempt to develop a rough idea how much work must have been involved.”

Two months? No way! Hope the models didn’t have to pose for that long. . .

“There were also experiments conducted to see how long it would take to quarry the limestone. It took twelve quarrymen twenty days to quarry about four hundred tons of stone.”

Holy cannoli, these guys musta been highly motivated!

“The temples are now set in a parkland landscape. When India gained independence from Britain in 1947, the landscape setting was semi-desert and scrub. The archaeological park now is compared to an English public park, with mown grass, rose beds and ornamental trees. This is popular with visitors but has no relationship with the historic landscape at the time the temples were built.

“Some people complain that the landscape should reflect its appearance in those times, however there are no records of what that original environment might have been. What he do know is that Indian gardens in the tenth century were predominantly tree gardens, without lawns or flowering plants.”

Dammit, way too early to be bored!

“You’re already in love with me, ain’t ya?” she beamed as she joined me again, not able to come up with a better opening line. . . plus she liked to keep up her image as a redhead, therefore overdoing it all the time.

“I think you’re a couple of folders short of a file. . .”

“Well said, sir. It’s almost like you invented sarcasm.”

I smiled paternally. “Of course I didn’t invent sarcasm.” Beat. “I merely perfected it.”

“Close enough.” Smirk. “Did you get far enough today with your photos that we can leave now? I think the sun’s getting to me.”

“If that’s what you need to tell yourself. . .”

“Hey, you’ve proven you’re the sarcasm king already! Don’t overdo it!”

“Let’s grab something cool to drink, or else I won’t make it back to the hotel.”


Not that it was that easy, of course. The first place we tried we were greeted by a nodding smiling man who had no idea what we were asking, but kept on nodding and smiling throughout. Even a redhead with a temper like Emily had been here long enough to sigh and bear it with those supposed smiles of acknowledgement; most claimed it was simple politeness, but I was sure it had to do with ego, not able to admit they had no idea what you just said. Worse than even New York!

But finally we made it back to my hotel, where she tossed herself on the couch with her six-pack of sodas and tried not to yawn as she watched me work on the laptop. I don’t know how long that lasted, but it felt like suddenly she was behind me, playing with my hair. “You look depressed, sweetie. Anything I can do?”

“Not even Carrie can get me out of this depression.”

“Who now!?”

My pretend yawn was a lot more convincing than I’d expected, even to myself. “This redhead I know in the Seychelles. Nurse, one of those girls who’ll do anything for her patient. And simply a monumental body. . .”

A strangled sound came from her throat, no matter how hard she tried to tamp it down.

This time I sighed. “I was thinking of visiting her when I was done here, figuring it wouldn’t be hard to get there from here. But when I called they told me the flight made a stop. . .”

Not quite thinking yet, she nonetheless managed to squeak, “So?”

“In Paris!”

A little shaken by this information–not about the scheduled stop, about the rival redhead’s monumental body–she nevertheless rallied. “Well, I’m better than Carrie!”

I looked at her interestingly. “Really? You realize I can’t just take your word for that. You’ll have to prove it.”

“Maybe I will,” she teased, not having planned anything but quickly becoming challenged. Seeing I wasn’t going to answer, she sighed, “Men! Can’t live with ‘em, can’t shoot ‘em!”

“Women–can’t live with ‘em, can’t have heterosexual sex without ‘em!–OW!”

And that was just what was needed to get her out of her funk, if her redheaded chipmunk giggles meant anything.

to be continued one more time


Travel Thursday: A Passage to Redhead, part 3

The next morning found her, indeed later than most people, back at the temples, though watching the dancing rather than the sculptures this time. To her delight, one of the choreographers, whom she’d befriended the first day, was there, so she was able to sidle up to him and whisper a “Hi!” without interrupting the music. As expected, he greeted her in return but said nothing else until this dance was done, at which point they were able to talk until the next group of girls took the metaphorical stage.

Grinning hugely, he led her over to the side, where they could still watch the dancers but be more alone. For a second she wondered if he was going to try something, like he’d assumed Americans or redheads, and mostly likely American redheads, were total sluts who would go off with any man, but her mind was quickly assuaged as he told her to keep watching the dancers and try to mimic their moves, while he would give her pointers.

This is fun! she shouted to herself as she quickly put her left hand behind her head, the right on her hip, arms bent with elbows out. She‘d just gotten satisfied with the position when she noticed the dancers had their left legs bent similarly behind, bottom of the foot facing up, and she almost fell over in her haste to copy it.

It shouldn’t be, but it’s a lovely position, well worth a photo. . . if only you-know-who was here. On the other hand, this will be great practice, and once I get it down, he can shoot me all he wants. . .

“First thing, do not hurry. Even if you make a mistake, you must be graceful as you return to position.”

She nodded seriously as she squinted, because the dancers were now doing smaller movements with their hands. Determined to get it right, she moved her right hand in front of her face, palm facing toward her, then split the middle and forefinger above and below her eyeline. As she moved it to the right, her eyes followed it, then did the same thing with the left, even copying the slight seductive smirk of the dancer she’d chosen to emulate.

I wish I had that girl’s eyes. . . I wish I could have a braid like that!

This music is really cloying, though. Don’t see how it helps the dance.

Next she moved her head from side to side in classic Indian—or Egyptian—style, the head not leaning to either side, rather staying straight up. Again her eyes followed in the direction the head was moving, only this time the smirk was more than just a hint. . .

“Too much,” came the voice in her ear, causing her to become instantly serious. . . only to have his next lesson be, “not enough. Seductive, not cold or slutty.”

This is tougher than I thought. . .

The next few moves she classified as “cheerleader,” albeit quite a bit slower and a lot more sensual. Finally the dancers reached the meat of their routine, and Emily had to fight to keep the huge grin inside. Moving her body to left oblique, her hands grasped together at the fingers, she seemingly covered her eyes. . . only to lift the hands up and look right into the soul of whatever person happened to be in the right place. . .

“My dear, you are a natural.”

After that she stopped cataloging and simply enjoyed the flow, no longer worried about learning it. . . at least not right now. She was still grinning about it a few minutes later, sitting in a small café with her laptop open in front of her, enjoying some tea while writing an e-mail.

Beside me is a group of women wearing floor-length black robes and black head coverings, and nearby are several men in equally long white robes. Isn’t that the kind of info you’re yearning to know?

It didn’t take me long to find Emily, as she came out of a café or similar-like building right in front of me. I couldn’t help but smile at the view, which was probably visible from miles away: bright orange hair made even more fiery by the sun, that white skin. . .

“A human creamsicle,” I sighed, wondering how she’d react to that if I was ever dumb enough to tell her; hopefully she’d ask me to lick her all over. At least I felt really good when she spotted me and instantly smiled as she waved and came toward me. She might even be said to be running, though I immediately noticed she wasn’t anywhere as graceful like that, like she’d never learned to do it right.

Then I saw she was wearing thigh-high black leather boots. . .

“They’re really comfortable!” she insisted when she caught my glance. “I can dance in these!” Seeing I wasn’t convinced, she tried to quickly change the subject. “Hey, you’re wearing local clothes like I did yesterday. Cool!”

I didn’t see any sense in telling her this would make me stand out less. “There are some places in the world where I bring as little luggage as possible, because I can buy cheap here. I don’t worry about losing them, being destroyed by laundry people, or anything. I just get another one. But they don’t work as well in drier El Lay, so I just give them away before I leave.”

She beamed proudly and scrunched in closer, grabbing my arm and generally making it harder to walk, especially since she had to make sure not to plant the stiletto on my toes. “Hey, look what I got today!” Quickly she plucked a bill out of her purse, shoving it about an inch under my nose. “It’s a one-rupee note!”

“Wow, those are rare! Keep it as a souvenir.”

“I will!” Giving it a quick kiss, she stuffed it back into her purse, though rather haphazardly, for something she intended to keep, I thought.

“You’re a little wacky, but in a nice way.”

She decided she liked that, according to her grin, then beamed some more as I claimed I needed lunch before we set off back to where we’d rather be. At this time of the day, with the usual lunch crowd gone, it was easy to find an empty table, though it didn’t help when a local gentleman next to us wanted to talk religion, which was enough to put a damper on anyone’s good day.

Wisely I let the redhead do most of the talking, and in actually she amused me by being her usual perky self even when getting metaphysical. Every time the man tried to draw me into the conversation, she easily brought it back around to her, making me smile as I realized this was the first time I’d liked a woman I was with being an attention whore.

Finally I saw an opening, standing up and gathering my things while telling the man, “No one gets to their heaven without a fight.”

He looked surprised. “That is very well said, thank you.”

Yet another reason to be grateful for being a Rush fan. . .

Heading back to the hotel, I told her my driver would take us to the temples, if the guy could be pried away from his laptop. Emily agreed to this plan–as I knew she would, considering her stiletto boots–and walked beside me as calmly as she could, though that didn’t last. Finally she gave in to her feelings, begging for my attention with her anxiousness–needing-the-restroom level bounciness–until I finally had to ask what was on her mind.

“Where did that quote come from, you atheist, you?”


“No one gets to their heaven without a fight!”

“Oh, that.” Grin. “Rush.”

“Rush?” she gaped. “The rock band?”


She stared at me while she thought about it, but finally deemed it “Awesome.”

Fifteen minutes later, rather than photographing more temple carvings, she took me to a place she’d spotted before, where a couple of men were in the process of forming new statues, standing life-sized ones. Grinning, the men nodded their permission for her to dance among the unfinished products while I shot her, though I grumbled that this would have been so much better with her sari.

It was more fun when she danced around them rather than with them, and again it looked rather strange with her in jeans and boots, but often enough I moved the telephoto in close to not worry about the statues, considering how absolutely gorgeous she was. At certain times the sun was behind her, casting an amazing sheen on her bright red hair, gorgeous enough so that it didn’t matter that the rest of her was in silhouette.

“You enjoying yourself, bub?”

“I’m not the only one.”

She thought this meant she had an audience, but looking around she found no one other than the sculptors; I caught a great shot of her chagrin. Finally she realized I meant the sculptors, or at least one of them, who was either slack-jawed at her beauty or actually drooling. For the rest of the session she pretended to ignore the man, looking straight ahead at the camera, but her eyes followed him suspiciously, giving the photographer a good laugh.

Finally she proclaimed herself tired of dancing in thin heels, so I took her to a shady spot I’d found on a previous day, where as soon as she sat yoga-style next to my lying figure she begged to see the photos I’d taken of the temple carvings. Figuring that would keep her quiet–well, not quiet, but less bouncy–for a while, I did so, wondering what she would come up with. . .

Humming happily to herself, she examined each photo carefully, not for their artistic quality but rather as close-ups to the sculptures themselves, knowing she’d missed plenty of detail on the really high ones. Every single shot begged the word extraordinary from her brain, and again it wasn’t so much how perfectly they were sculpted as the sexual nature, filled with men and women in every conceivable posture of intercourse. She was particularly entranced by a shot of a standing man holding a woman’s legs over his shoulders, which wouldn’t have been particularly unusual were it not for the fact that the woman’s back was against his chest with her head twisted to suck his penis.

The redhead didn’t think there was a human alive who wouldn’t have found the sculptures stimulating, but she was desperately trying to tamp down her lust and keep digitally flipping through the photos. Such intricate detail and creativity! Some of the couples are just entwined and kissing, but so many are contorted into impossible positions!

Playing it safe, she murmured redheadishly, “Some of these postures aren’t even possible!”

I definitely wasn’t asleep, she saw, or else she’d woken me up, but that would do her no good as she dutifully closed the laptop and laid it next to me before standing up and brushing off her jeans, mentioning she possessed a great admiration for a coun­try that was not only so unashamed of sexuality, but also highly valued it.

But before I could say anything about that, she remembered what her dancer friend had told her, about that attitude being in the past and the people now being very repressed–and felt sad at having been born too late. Then she got mad that the entire country and culture had made her sad, and determined to do something about it, get back at them for being the catalyst of her feelings.

To be continued one more time


Travel Thursday: A Passage to Redhead, part 2

As before, Emily sent me her parts to smush into my recollections, but did not read the finished product. . . (insert evil laugh)

After telling her I had to get to an appointment, and agreeing to meet for dinner, I left her to the tender mercies of the tourists and the sun to make my way back into town. Not one for trusting taxis in many places in the world, I’d asked for and been given a driver, assured the guy was a “good chap.” Now I spotted him sitting cross-legged under a tree next to the parking lot, hacking away at a laptop; on seeing me, he got up and headed toward the car to meet me there, as always smiling brightly when I greeted him with “Namaskar.” It had taken me a while to break the habit, having been taught wrongly to say “Namaste.” For just a moment I recalled the lady who’d first corrected me, during some pillow talk; she’d explained that the literal meaning was “I bow to you, I bow to the divine in you. . . a true recognition that we are all one.” Then I found himself smiling as I realized that girl had looked nothing like the redhead I’d just met. . . variety in a spicy part of life.

Giving time for the car to be air-conditioned properly, we finally got in, with me as always slipping into the passenger seat rather than the back. The drive to town was uneventful, with the driver asking how the photography had gone and me recounting my camera adventures, leaving out the redhead for now. Soon enough we were at the government building, with plenty of time to grab something edible for my very particular taste buds before my meeting began. . .

So it was with a sigh of despair–albeit a bit comical, the driver thought–that I exited the meeting a few hours later and got right back into the car, wanting to go back to the hotel to rest up from the oppressive weather before trying to find out just how much heat Emily brought to dinner. The thought of her brightened me quite a bit, though not enough to remove my mindset from its usual job, in this particular case scanning the surroundings.

A nap in air conditioned comfort cannot be underestimated. Don’t know how long I was out, but I found myself moving a little quicker than usual through the streets until I was sitting at the table the smiling owner led me to, bringing me the soft drink I’d requested as I wondered just how late an American redhead would want to show up. On the walk over I’d noticed the streets were about equally divided between women in Western clothing and those in the traditional garb, so it took me by surprise when Emily joined me wearing a green sari and a huge smile. . . and hopefully a gallon of sunblock.



“I didn’t think the orange one showed my skin off right,” she blushed prettily.

“Orange is my favorite color, but you’re probably right. Any redhead that can’t wear green doesn’t deserve the hair.”

Something about that statement bothered her, but since she couldn’t figure out what, she let it go, brightening when she saw I’d pulled out the chair for her. Being in the perfect position, knowing she was expecting me to look down at her cleavage, I instead ran a hand over the bare shoulder and murmured, “All day in the sun and still porcelain.”

She wondered if I’d notice her lack of freckles. “Sunblock 1000. Probably stop a nuclear accident.”

“They have nukes here, so let’s not find out.”

“Agreed,” she grinned as she watched me walk around and sit across from her. “Have you checked out the menu yet?”

“Waiting for you. Hope there’s something I can stand.”

“Picky eater or picky stomach?”

“Both. If I don’t find anything I can tolerate, or the chef is adamant about being spicy, I can always make do with a couple of jalebi. That’ll put him in his place.”

Wrinkling her nose at the thought of a chef being spicy, she asked just what jalebi was supposed to be, twirling a finger through her sherbet locks absently.

“Think of it as a pretzel-shaped churro.”

“Oh wow! Is it suitable for dunking in chocolate?”

“Only with a really wide mug.”

“True!” she giggled, not bothering to mention it could be broken into a smaller dunkable pieces. Instead she picked up the menu, happy to see it was in English, at least the one in front of her. But as she wondered what she would learn about me next, she glanced up from the menu to see me glaring to the side. She’d noticed it too, but apparently I was more susceptible to the cigarette smoke. She wrinkled her nose in support. “Yeah, I’ve noticed everyone smokes around here. Don’t you wonder how they can afford to eat?”

“Wonder what would happen if I told them secondhand smoke was killing their beloved cows. . .” I mused.

A man a few tables away turned to see what the giggling was about. Of course he was too late for the joke, but that didn’t stop him from looking at the beautiful white woman in the native dress. His family had been all for a vacation, though India had not been their choice. Anything was better than the gloomy weather of Scotland this time of year, but they’d been hoping more for the Caribbean. Instead Dad/hubby had explained that they would be visiting places where their ancestors became famous; he’d studied up to the point of knowing the name of every single battle involving the Highlanders, who no doubt would have rather fought in some place like Russia than this unbearably hot and humid place.

When he turned back, he saw that his son, with that permanent smirk/sneer, had taken the “When in Rome” thing to heart and lit up a cigarette. The Scot, without changing expression at all, slapped the offending carcinogen right out of the kid’s mouth, where it flew across the aisle to stick out of some very dense-looking curry at the next table.

The woman across the way, seeing this new addition to her meal, plucked the cancer stick from the dish and regarded it curiously; though she knew damn well what it was, she seemed to be at a loss at how it had suddenly appeared.

“Was that as surreal to you?” the redhead whispered harshly.

I nodded, rather furiously. “I hope they never saw Twin Peaks, because–”

That’s what I was thinking of!” She banged herself–gently–on the forehead. Then, realizing she’d given up something she didn’t have to, chirped perkily as she pulled her hair back from her face, “So where are you from?” coincidentally thrusting her chest forward, as though trying to distract me from what we’d just witnessed.

But I was not to be defeated so easily. “Los Angeles, where we keep our foreheads without palm prints.”

“Nice.” Grinning, she saw the food arriving and beamed an extra-strength redhead-powered smile.

An hour later she was gawking around my hotel room. “Glad we came to your place! Much nicer than mine.”

I joined her at the sofa and handed her a water bottle, this time–unlike when I seated her in the restaurant–taking advantage of the view; her breasts filled the front of her sari when she leaned forward to take it. Knowing exactly what was going on, she looked up to make sure of the path of my eyes, then smiled. “You’ve got a one-track mind, honey.”

“Like you didn’t dress this way to get exactly that reaction.”

She tried to play it innocent, but not very hard, since she knew it wasn’t the easiest move in a redhead’s repertoire. Instead she went with, “Like me yet?”

“So far you’re okay.”

“Thanks loads,” she moaned.

“Drama queen makes me like you less.”

“Gotcha,” she sighed, thinking this would make things more difficult. Or not, grin. . .

“Don’t move.”

Of course she looked up, saw my camera pointed at her, and couldn’t help smiling and posing.

“I told you not to move!”

She had the decency to look abashed, though it didn’t help much, considering my mood.

“You obviously have trust issues.”

She laughed at that, then decided to prove me wrong. “Of course I trust you. Do you know how awesome you are?” There, that always gets them. . .

“I know I’m awesome,” I sighed. “I just can’t seem to convince women of that.”

“You know,” she yawned some long minutes later, “I wanted to come to Khajuraho so much I didn’t do any research on the rest of India. Tell me about it.”

“You’ve got a weird form of date talk, but okay. India has three main regions: the Himalayas in the north, the flat hot plain south of that, and the Peninsular Shield in the south. Since you liked what I said about seasons, the cold months are January and February, with sweltering heat between March and May. The monsoon season is from June to September. South of the mountains it’s hot, dirty and humid throughout most of the year.”

“But the north has to be cool, right? Right?”

I gave her a poke in the ribs for the bad acting, though I would have enjoyed the squeal more had it not been in my ear. “India has some of the biggest cities in the world, but most of the almost billion people live in the country, and most of them are poor.”

“Not that I don’t care,” she whispered, “but don’t bring me down right now. Tell me about. . . languages!”

“The official language is Hindi, but English is second and is widely spoken. All official documents are in English.”

“That’s good!”

“Not for you. They won’t let you get away with anything. There are eighteen other languages, each with its own script.”

“That boggles my mind too much. Hey, how come there was meat on the menu for you to eat? Aren’t the cows sacred?”

“Hindus are the ones who don’t eat beef, but they do eat other meat. . . except the really strict ones, who don’t even have alcohol. Muslims won’t even touch pork. Sikhs don’t smoke.”

“I like them already!”

She quickly perked up even more when I told her there was a light and sound show in half an hour at the temples. Momentarily annoyed that I didn’t want to spend time alone with her, she nevertheless listened as I explained the show was about an hour long and covered the history, philosophy, and art of the sculpting of these temples.

“It’s held on the lawn at the temple complex, so bring a blanket, unless you want to lie on the grass.”

“Can we hang out there after?”

“Not unless you want to stay for the second show.”

“What?” Quickly she saw the effect her squeak had caused and toned it down, but still glared at me accusingly. “If there’s a second show–”

“It’s in Hindi.”

“Fine! Quick shower, at least?”

“No time, and in this weather, won’t do you much good. Don’t worry, I can assure you you’re not stinky. . . yet.”

She made a rueful face as she bounced off the bed, wrapping the green sari around herself before her feet hit the ground.

“Glad you know how to put that on yourself.”

We were early enough to get a good seat, or blanket placing, which made her glare at me, but only for a second, once she saw my grin. Instead she looked around, realizing that while she’d been here in the daytime, she didn’t recognize anything, as well as finding it spooky as hell. So what? Got a big strong man to defend me, if someone decides to mess with the redhead. . .

   Wait! This is not the way for a redhead to act! Hell, I’ll probably end up having to protect him! Wouldn’t that be a hoot?

Luckily the show started and despite it being in English she found herself much more entranced by the sights than the commentary. Still, she didn’t miss it when the announcer, obviously reading from a script, inquired rhetorically, “What is the most important thing in life?”


Shocked by the redhead’s uncharacteristic response to the rhetorical question, I could only gape in her direction; she saw my astonishment and blushed, but also smiled.

Other than tickling her hand when she wasn’t looking, eliciting a yelp that garnered way too much attention for her tastes–she’d thought it was a tarantula–there weren’t any other memorable moments in what turned out to be a frankly boring presentation. Walking out, not at all in the mood for sticking around like she’d mentioned earlier, she noticed the hawkers were still there, doing their best to sell meaningless trinkets to the foreign tourists. She wondered if they expected more sales from the local-language show, then stated, “I can’t get into haggling. Feels like I’m taking money out of their kids’ mouths.”

“You have the heart of a brunette,” I laughed, the put an arm around her shoulder and brought her to me. . . so she wouldn’t be able to punch me as hard. “Don’t worry about them, they make out just fine. They start out way overpriced, probably double. If you’re dumb enough to pay that, they figure it’s your problem.”

“That makes me think more like a redhead again,” she assured me, though adding a nudge in the ribs.

“Counter with half of that, watch in amusement as he screams ‘That is less than it cost me to buy!’ then keep going until you’ve reached a price you can live with. Either you or him will be disappointed, but at least he’ll be entertained. . . and I don’t mean by looking at you. If you’re that worried about it, find something you like, ask around to see what it’s worth–”

“That’s too sensible!” she shrieked. “I wouldn’t want people to think I’m wearing a wig!”

From there I walked her back to her hotel, where to my surprise she acted like she didn’t want me to leave yet. Finally she meekly tried, “One o’clock at your hotel?” closing her eyes to curse herself without me seeing it.

“That sounds acceptable,” I informed her formally, making her giggle and move in for a kiss. Right before she turned away to hippity-hoppety up the stairs, she whispered, “Miss me, bub. . .”

“Already do,” I smiled, though making sure she couldn’t hear it. . . well enough to be sure.


Travel Thursday: A Redhead To India

Co-written; Emily wrote her parts. . . though she never saw the finished product. . .


This was it. She would never find another place as amazing, as beautiful, as. . . all-enclosing Nirvana as this. Not that she was feeling any Buddhist inclinations right now, far from it; it was her own special brand of heaven. The amazing artistry of the sculptures, the age of the buildings, the improbability of her being here, and most of all the subject of the visions in front of her. . . if it could be said that her mind and soul were having orgasms, she would heartily agree that this was such a situation. And her body felt as into it as if she was being touched in all her most tender places as well. . . it was truly a completely encompassing experience.

I had once described Khajuraho as the pop-up book for the Kama Sutra, to general hoots from the less stodgy members of the archaeological and historical community. Legend has it that when the moon god saw the young maiden Hemavati bathing in a river–gods allowed to be peeping Toms, of course–her beauty was such that he descended to earth to engage in a passionate affair. Before his return to the celestial realm, he swore she would soon bear a son who would one day erect a great temple to celebrate the beauty of their divine love.

Kinda story that gets you right there, huh? No, not there, higher. . . well, there too. In fact, not one but eighty-five temples were built, though only a very few of them featured exquisite sculptures, right on the outside walls, of men and women joyfully engaging in the most intimate and erotic of arts.

So you can understand my interest in it, as well as any sensual redhead who’d ever heard about it.

By the end of the fifteenth century the temples were abandoned, quickly hidden deep in thick jungle, until their accidental discovery in 1838. But only twenty-two remained, which made me wonder, considering all the variations of sex that survived, what might have been on those lost ones. . .

She found one panel that particularly entranced her, and she quickly put her hands in her pockets of her jeans–not easy, considering how tight they were–to keep from playing with herself–in public, this time–as she allowed her mind to float away and picture herself in the scene. . .

I came around the corner and instantly spotted the redhead, who seemed to be blushing from more than just the sun on her pale skin. I could barely see more than just her profile, but still thought he could spot a gorgeous blue eye above a slightly chubby cheek. And of course that amazing red hair  . . . and she certainly seemed to be in the right place; I could easily picture her up on the stone, a celestial maiden pouting and posing while acting out every page of the Kama Sutra. . .

Going back to my personal project of photographing every square millimeter of every building on the site, I nevertheless found time to observe her, wanting to see her walk, wondering just how beautifully she moved in those tight jeans. . .

And I was already thinking of ways to shoot her against the sculptures. . .

Unbeknownst to me–so she thought, anyway–Emily was keeping an eye on the guy with the camera, because he seemed more interested in the sculptures than her. Howz that for an ego? Sheesh. Still, if he was some kind of expert, taking photos for his thesis or something, it might pay to hang around and learn something. . .

And then I turned, grinned at her, and took her photo.

She laughed. That’s better. . . like I had any doubt! Wow, that made me inordinately happy. Now I owe him one. . .

Having gotten my point across, whatever that point might be, I went back to shooting the sculptures, waiting for her to make the next move.

Which she quickly did. “Hi, I’m Emily.”

“Really? You don’t look like one.”

Big smile. “I was hoping you’d say that. What name would you give me? Colleen?”


“Even better! Now then, tell me about this place.”

I noticed she didn’t ask for my name, but didn’t bother with that as I went into professorial mode, telling her about the Chandella Dynasty and so on, while I enjoyed staring at her incredibly cinnamon-colored hair.

But if I expected her not to notice, she proved herself more observant than I’d thought. “Like it?”


“Good. . .”

“The sun on a brunette’s hair looks red. The sun on a redhead’s hair looks like Heaven on Earth. . .”

“You sweet talker. . .”

Before either of us knew it we were sipping tea in the shade–after I made sure to check where I’d left off on the photos–clueing each other in on what we were up to here. She told me she was basically traveling around the world, and liked it here so much she wanted to learn the local seductive dance. I wasn’t sure if dancing was what she had in mind, considering the statues, but I cut her some tight-fitting slacks, to use a local idiom. It helped her cause that a ten-day festival of dancing performed on the temple grounds was currently underway.

“I’m on a crash course to learn enough to at least tell what moves they’re doing, if not actually join in.”

“Because you’d fit in so well.”

Impish grin. “Can’t you tell by now that I’m the standing-out type?”

“Of course. You’re a redhead.”

She rolled her eyes, but giggled too.

“Want to go see some more sculptures?”

“Surely. I haven’t seen stone people fucking for a while.”

“You do know only about ten percent of the sculptures are sexual?”

She waved that away with a hand as she got up and led the way back to the temples. “Not interested. If it ain’t dancing’ or fuckin’, don’t bother me.”

“And here I thought you were a virgin.”

“You did not!“ She stopped in her tracks, turned to look at me, saw my big grin, and kept going.

“Now that you are learned and most experienced,” I laughed, “does that imply you have to give yourself to the first man who propositions you?”

“Oh, no indeed,” the playful redhead replied in the same vein, though you could tell she wanted to giggle. “Now that I know what it is all about, I shall be most discriminating indeed. Even discerning. . . possibly particular.”

“Nice word power.”

“And I certainly wouldn’t want to get you jealous. . .”

“What was your name again?”

“Ouch!. . . hey! You haven’t told me your name yet!”

“I was wondering when you’d get around to asking. I didn’t think you were that particular.”

“I just said I was!” This time she did giggle. “I almost feel like I’m back in London, with all those punkers coming on to me. You’re smoother, though. Thanks for that.”

“You’re welcome. . . I think. You live in London now?”

“For a while, before I went back to wandering. I miss it some­times, especially the coolness and the fog. I do love the fog. It makes everything very mysterious and soft-edged. Here the sun is so hot and strong it seems to expose every tiny detail, illuminating things that would perhaps be better left hidden.”

“Ugh, last thing I need in my life is another mysterious chick!”

“Deal with it!” she laughed. “And that doesn’t mean you’re allowed to look at other possibilities, you swine. As a redhead, I’m allowed to get jealous.”

Instead of the appropriate “You wish, you hypocrite,” I kept to her mood with “What happened to innocent until proven guilty?” I even put an extra whine into it to amuse her.

“Wrong country, bub. Could you reach into my backpack and pull out my sunblock?”

“Good idea. Redheads don’t tan, they fricassee.”

“Yes, my dermatologist says redheads are dry and easily irritated.”

“Still talking about your skin?”

She made a face at me, but had to laugh at how perfectly I’d made that work.

Unfortunately by the time we got back the tourist gangs had arrived, though we did manage to worm through them until we arrived at a place where a not-bad-looking blonde was gawking up at a particular sculpture in puzzlement, while everyone else was wearing a combination of amused, amazed, and aghast.

Puzzled herself, the redhead looked up at what everyone else was staring at, no doubt a particular sculpture the tour guide had pointed out. It took her a while, but finally she figured it out, if her laugh meant anything. “That’s clever! These guys sure knew how to slice up some stone.”

The blonde next to her suddenly gasped as she finally understood what everyone was talking about, her hand covering her mouth in the classic involuntary gesture of pretend innocence. Turning her head away, she looked at us in confusion, then despite herself looked back. “What in the world. . .”

“What did you expect to see on this stop on your tour?”

“Well, temple carvings.”

“Here they are.”

“Don’t leave much to the imagination, do they? Oh my gosh, three. . . four together! And right in the open, where everyone can see! I wonder what kind of mind it takes to think of such things!”

“People who think of nothing else!” the redhead laughed, enjoying herself. She could easily imagine herself living in those times, relaxing all day except when being interrupted by talented practiced men for some amazing sex.

And those who want to carve me, immortalize me, of course.

The thought was so pleasant that she led me over to a side where there was no crowd and posed in front of the carvings, trying to imitate the positions behind her with her dancer’s body. . . alone, of course, without the aid of males.

That’s okay, done that before. . . am I blushing?

“What are you thinking about that’s making you blush?”

Answers that question. “Guess!” she snapped.

“Yeah, I know that, but which one in particular?”

Her blush grew, so she turned away, anything to keep me from seeing it. . . and saw something that made her blush even more, though she sounded incredibly delighted as she squealed, “That monkey’s trying to join that three-way! Get a photo!”

That told me all I needed to know about her. . .

“I wonder if we’ll ever find out exactly why they carved all these beauties.”

She sounded so wistful I knew there was nothing I could say to equal her state of mind. The guide, however, was just coming around the corner and couldn’t resist showing off, of course. “One theory was that men who came would see these carvings, get their desires out of the way–”

No one around here will use the word “masturbate” or any version thereof, she realized.

“–and be free and pure when they approached their god’s temple.”

“Kinda like porn today,” I deadpanned, which made the redhead giggle.


Travel Thursday: Sweet Danish, part 3

“And the rest, as they sa,” Helle wound up her story, “is vile pornography.”
There was only one guy sitting across from her, ostensively listening to her storytelling, but by now every male in the place was alert to the beauty in their midst. Most thought they were doing a good job of not showing said interest, but all were incredibly obvious in turning to other things when I made my way back and plopped on the chair beside the redhead.
“Aren’t you ashamed?” Helle smirked.
“Not yet,” I yawned, “give me time. And when did you learn that word?”
“I’m broadening my horizons, as the diplomats like to say. My turn yet?”
“Go do your thing.”
“But the point is for him to do my thing!”
“Not so loud, stupid.”
Grinning, she got up and walked slowly over to the worker, who was clearing a now-empty table. She sat on the edge of the next table, ignoring the guy sitting there, a guy who’d been annoying her by playing a portable keyboard. The keyboard itself wasn’t annoying, just his selection, or more likely his lack of skill.
“Wait! You’re about to sit on Beethoven!”
“He never had it so good,” she pouted Mae West-ishly, then ignored him and concentrated on her target, wondering what would be the best approach. She could always say she needed a shower too, but didn’t want to be asked why she didn’t do that when she’d first arrived. The obvious answer was to give me time with the blonde, but that might lead to further questions, and right now she wanted me to be the furthest thing from this guy’s mind.
So, remembering how hard she’d laughed when I’d explained the acronym KISS to her, she smiled sweetly and asked in Danish, “Wanna fuck?”
Looking at her chest, the guy nodded about one hundred and sixteen times.
Lisa had been pretending to look through the brochures by the counter, but now that she saw her lover was alone and likely to remain that way, with the redhead depositing her bag in the space left when she’d picked up hers as she headed toward the showers with the guy who worked there, the blonde quickly scampered over to the seat next to me. She was about to ask just what kind of relationship I had with the redhead, but figured it wasn’t any of her business, certainly not at this moment, and why jinx a good thing?
I smiled as she sat next to me, liking her little nervous return grin. By now I was pretty sure the brainy beauty wasn’t involved with the bad guys, just had been horny after several. . . hours?. . . without sex.
“Glad to see you’re not jealous of the redhead.”
She laughed and opened her mouth to reply, then shut it and blushed. Finally she decided what the hell and blurted, “I was about to say she’d be jealous of me, but I didn’t mean it in an egotistical way. After all, if you guys are together and I butt in, shouldn’t she be the jealous one?”
“Except she just went off to do that guy. . .”
“So you guys have an open relationship?”
“Not that kind of relationship. We’re old friends, and when we’re near to each other we get together, that’s all.”
“Damn, I was so hoping I could make her jealous!”
“Thank you for admitting that.”
She laughed. “Some people say honesty’s the best policy.”
I shrugged. “Others lie about it.”
Still laughing, she let her hand drop into my lap. “I wonder if there are hotels around here that rent by the hour.”
“Doubt it. Not around here, anyway. When you coming back through town?”
“Not till next week. Where are you off to?”
“Amsterdam.” I was surprised that, with all this talk of honesty, I could lie so easily. “But just for a couple of days, on business. Be back Thursday.”
“So you’ll probably be here when I pass by again, though I may rush back anyway.”
The next few moments were spent in mutual caressing, she giving it all her attention and me giving just enough to keep her from complaining as I kept an eye on the friendly redhead.
“Ha!” Lisa suddenly giggled. “That guy over there is watching us. . .”
Helle had been looking forward to the shower, one of her favorite venues for sex, so she hadn’t expected the guy to simply lead her a few feet into the next room and grab a hold of her best parts. Not that such a thing was unwelcome, since she was well and truly primed. . . suddenly she realized the guy had left the door open enough so most of the people in the big room, me and blonde included, could watch them, and probably were. The possibility of being voyeured made her all the more frenzied. . . she couldn’t remember the last time she’d been so utterly stimulated, then realized it had to do with the situation: Jane Bond working undercover, she giggled inwardly. Fucking for the cause. . .
It took less than five minutes to bring her to the moment everyone was waiting for, her target thought smugly. She would be too preoccupied to worry about her bags, so his buddies could take all the time they needed to grab her gear and take off. Rarely would any of the people loitering around the big room try to interfere, and if this redhead’s buddy, the guy who’d had his own fun with the luscious blonde, tried to interfere, well, he’d regret it.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw Helle’s familiar orgasmic throes, and it looked like the guy was getting there too, if Lisa’s squeezing meant anything. If there was a point where the bad guys would strike, it would be now. . .
And just as I thought that, the guy with the keyboard, the only person in the big room who was actually bothering to pretend not to watch, got up and headed toward the couple, trying to hide his erection with his keyboard but failing miserably.
“Guy wants some red!” Lisa laughed. “Good thing he didn’t see us!”
Was this a second decoy? I wondered. If all eyes hadn’t been riveted on the scene, they sure would be now, since all the guys were thinking: if the redhead gives it to that guy, she would surely do me too. So I kept my peripheral vision firmly on the bags against the wall.
And at that moment three guys slinked in the door, hugging the wall behind everyone, and nonchalantly made their way toward the place where Helle’s bags were resting. Two watched the crowd while one scooped up her gear; then, when they saw no one had seen them, they let their hands pick up whatever else they could find on the tables or floor next to the voyeurs, who were still too wrapped up in the sex scene to notice.
I let my free hand, the one not being used to keep Lisa happy for the moment, wander down to my pants pocket. . . no, not for that, especially when she could do it for me. Uh-uh. What actually happened was, ten seconds after I pressed the button, before the bad guys reached the door, a dozen cops were making their way into the establishment, freezing all the occupants.
Most people thought someone had informed the cops about the public sex and pretended to be busy with their own stuff, but the cops quickly corralled the three suspects. I did not see this, though, for I had not taken my eyes off Helle and her temporary pleasure giver. Said guy, still apparently enjoying himself, saw what was going on and let his eyes bulge out the way other parts of him were. Stuffing said parts, condom and all, back into his pants, he made a break for the door, hoping to get behind the counter and get out through the emergency door there.
Somehow Helle managed to react during her long orgasm and dove to tackle the guy, which on second thought was a stupid thing to do, with all the policemen out there. The stupidity of her action was brought into full focus by the pain in her ankle as she landed on his legs and brought him down. Some time during the sex her foot had been caught in the tiny crevice between the bookshelf and the side wall, and when she’d turned to tackle the guy, her ankle had stayed right there. Something had to give, and since the foot and ankle were smaller than the rest of her, that’s what gave out.
Two cops went over to lift and handcuff the guy, then march him over to the rest of his gang, like they were going to take photos of the event.
Seeing things were under control, I went over to see why Helle hadn’t gotten up.
“So it was the obvious guy,” she giggled up at me, then winced.
That’s when I noticed her ankle looked a bit. . . gross. “Doesn’t that hurt?”
“Immensely,” she admitted. “Now that things have kind of settled, could you call a doctor?”
I snapped a command behind me, then told her, “Try not to elevate it.”
“Some poor unsuspecting soul might try to look up your skirt.”
“So what am I looking at?” she sighed, trying hard not to look at her ankle.
I knew what she meant. “If it bent one way, it’s broken. If it bent the other way, torn ligaments. Oddly enough, the ligaments take longer to heal than broken bones. . .”
I stayed with her until the paramedics arrived, which luckily didn’t take long because there was always a couple of them in the train station, waiting for just this kind of situation. . . or a situation, anyway. A couple of minutes later the male medic confirmed this was not a life-threatening injury, and that there was nothing he could do for her but make her comfortable for the ride to the hospital. Trying to hide a grin, the female paramedic handed him the air cast, then stepped away to let him try his best.
“Be gentle with me,” Helle sighed as the guy stabilized her lower leg.
“You won’t feel a thing.”
“Not that gentle. . .”
He tried not to grin. “Somebody help her to the ambulance. Her ankle’s broken and we can’t get the stretcher down here.”
A tall, formidable-looking cop scooped her up.
“Well,” she said, surprised but not at all struggling. “I can think of worse ways to travel.”
The cop smirked at the annoyed paramedic, but Helle put a hand on his arm and whispered something that made the big guy blush. Her other hand reached out and squeezed the paramedic’s arm, and then she grinned at the female medic, who seemed surprised but not overly shocked to be included.
So now that things–like Helle–were well in hand, literally, I moved over to grab her gear and say my goodbyes to Lisa, hoping to get her phone number in Rome while I was at it. But I was distracted as the cops pulled the wicked desk clerk across my path on the way out.
The bad guy did his best bad-guy sneer. “Revenge is a dish best served cold.”
“So is gazpacho.”
And that seemed to sum things up quite nicely. . .