Gentlemen Prefer Leeds

by Moscowhite • Daniel Chapman,

With apologies to Anita Loos.

Coo-ee! Mwah, mwah. Say, y’mean this ole thing? New? Ha! You ain’t been keeping up with little ole me, have you? A new coat’s more than a girl could ever hope for. Course, I hadda whole wardrobe full, once upon a time, but ole he-who-shan’t-be-named don’t splash the spondoolicks so much on ickle me no more.

What’s that honey, gone sour? Gone sour! That milk he sucked from his old ma’s mangled tits was sour, if you’re asking this lady’s opinion. Oh, that’s one of his old-timey stories – it makes me feel icky. What’s more, he makes me feel icky. D’you know how long I’ve been with this ole crone? Well now, you just guess. No go on, guess. You know the answer, you know you do. Well if you won’t guess then it’s seven years. I do declare! Seven years! If I hadda killed him I’d be outta chokey by now, and I’d have a good piece of his money, too. Well, alright, mebbe the judges are harsher nowadays but maybe if I stood up in that courtroom, gave ‘em some of the ole razzmatazz, hittem with the ole waterworks? Okay, okay, so I’m not gonna kill the guy! Jeez.

Say, d’ya ‘member when I met him? Oh, he swept me offa my feet just like a whirlwind. We was hitched ‘fore I even knew where I was! ‘Course, he’d hadda long thing going with some southern tramp for years. I never approved of that. But I had a past of my own to be considerin’ on: ‘member when I toured all th’ old-timey European cities with Peter? Whadda cold fish that guy turned out to be! An’ the fellas who came after! The thought makes me as like to die. I kept right on kissing them frogs, but there wasn’t a prince among ‘em.

But this guy! This guy was different. He had class – he hadda swank fur coat, y’know? And he promised me the world. He was gonna buy me property: a nice place in the country, and a nice place in town. An’ he was gonna take me round all those classy old places where I used to sashay with Pete. What was it he said, on that first date? “We’re gonna have a lorra lorra laughs.”

That ole snake in the grass! Laughs? Moron this, sickpot that – I declare I don’t know just why I get up in the morning, if it’s to listen to him going on like an ole broke record. An’ as for my property! Property, ha! He’s never bought me a goddamn brick. We just rent rent rent, like some backstreet bums! And as for going to all these classy joints – d’you ever spend a weekend in Yeovil?

You say I should leave him? If I only had the chance! Y’know what that ole stinker does? Every time some high-toppin’ fella so much as looks at me, that old goat starts in on me, so this fella can hear, see, callin’ me names and making out like I’m some unmanageable wildcat! When alls I want is a few fur coats and a holiday. But those guys, they hear him yellin’ all this about whatta horror I am, and those rich fellas they run a mile!

So what’ll I do? What’ll I! I don’t know what I’ll do. I just gotta outlast him, that’s all it is. He can’t live forever, can he? Though knowin’ my luck, he’ll have cut me out the will for that creepy Ben guy! Well, Benny can have his stinkin’ money, I don’t care. I’ll get myself a new man one o’ these fine days. I’ll get myself a real high class gennelman, a guy who’ll treat a dame right!

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From The Square Ball magazine 2011/12 issue six.