unfinished / unready / unpublished short fiction = Wor(d)s in Progress & Developing Characters by Jeff Glovsky
Compendium: finished & published from "Underwear Woman Digs The Sea"
Weird Grace Descends
On the island of Hydra, I find Grace. She’s hiked up with her skirt up round her waist, pulling some thorns out…She had sat upon a rose or other local form of hydra. Deep on Hydra.
Finally find some Grace.
Ridiculous, the stress and noise of Athens! Though it’s got a bad rap. Grace says next to Europe, it’s a messy, ugly thing. But I find solace in the fact that next to New York, Athens is paradise. With happy, loving people still, whose kids don’t shoot each other. Simple eyes and engaged smiles, souls and dirty, flirting women.
Grace was one of these…she hiked her skirt up…Listen to her speech rhythms! Like every Greek, fantastic: like a rocket shooting up, then flaming down, or like a question mark. Grace sings to me. The sun comes up. I’m thinking Bette will be back soon…
One ferry every day from Spetses. Several fast boats, though. I’ll BETTE she’s on one! Bored out of her skull (or out of money), she’ll have opted for this – come back to annoy me early (six or seven hours), she will barge into our hotel room, demand to know what Grace is doing…
Licking me. Grace digs the tongue bath…Slicking up my face and neck and shoulders, down my ribs and side…
I ask her if she’s got a condom, then ask why she’s laughing.
“You’re the traveler, not me!” she says. “And I’m the woman too.”
You know? What was I thinking coming here all hung up with correctness? Fuck that! I sink in her sheep-hole, sleep then…Tell her to get dressed.
My wife’ll be back shortly.
* * *
Sure enough, no sooner do I walk Grace to her donkey, then I catch Bette hobbling up the little path from freedom, toward our hotel…
“What happened to you?” I ask her.
Details are fuzzy. Apparently, she’d stumbled from a Priapic pose upon a hillside…tumbled, rolled for several meters…landed with some toes bent up against an olive tree.
“Oh no!” I exclaim. “What happened to the camera?”
“Get inside! You’re embarrassing…Christ!”
We cross, again, a threshold.
Now back inside our pensione, where that afternoon I’d tasted Grace, rude hues of black and gold, and purple, red and even green a little, demand Bette’s foot receive attention.
“No,” I agree, trying hard to enthuse. “It’s good you didn’t take the ferry!”
“Ferry? Please! Can you imagine? Me like this, and stuck there, waiting!”
“I know! And me like this!”
The boat we get to Athens is the slow one. This goes on for hours.
Finally, we arrive with bumps and thunder at Piraeus Dock. Climb down and swear we’ll never, ever do another island…
At the President Hotel we have a balcony, but everyone does; making our stay special are the cockroaches we ride.
“What’s yours again?” I ask lame Bette.
“Mine is ‘Apollo’,” she states, throbbing.
“Look, you’re going to have to not get up here. What did Dr. Zeus tell you?” Bette winces as I pull her toes. “…cries ‘wee, wee, wee’…He told you to wrap your foot and keep your weight off it. Did he, or not?
“I am wrapped.”
“So why are you racing around the room, unpacking, re-packing and chasing ‘Apollo’?”
“It’s he, chases me!”
“And why unpack? We leave tomorrow.”
“I don’t go, my foot like this!”
“Fine. Ciao. He’ll keep you company.”
A giant insect sidles up to Bette’s side of the bed. Godiva-like, she slides up on it cautiously. ‘Apollo’ kneels…and the two, with one bum foot, invade the bathroom as the sun subsides.
“Wake up! It’s Voula…Jeff?”
…The phone rings.
“Hey…Yeah, hey! Wrong number, sorry.”
“Who’s it?” Bette mumbles, slumberingly.
“Nothing! The maids. They’re bringing towels…”
Two hours later, Bette is gone. I’d fallen back asleep after the phone call and she’d limped away. Her bags gone too: her makeup, toothpaste, brush, clothes (and ‘Apollo’)…Nowhere to be seen.
I hiss her name. Fall back asleep. I wake up around eleven and order coffee on the balcony. See Bette down on the street about a block or so from our hotel. She’s making her way painfully along crowded Kifissias. Shielding eyes from feta sun, Bette stops to check her watch and bearings. Crumpled hotel map consulted, Bette sets off again all glacial, slowly melting down Kifissias.
The phone rings. “Voula…” I answer, thinking it can only be her.
“No, it’s Nacia.”
“Who?? Oh, Nacia! Hey, how are you? How do you say, ‘What’s up?’ in Greek?”
“You don’t bother really. ‘What’s up’ to you?” Her tone is cross.
“Are you mad about something?”
“No! Why should I? How is your woman?”
“Woman good,” I grunt, like Greeks must. “Listen, I’m going to have to say ‘ciao’ ’til next time.”
“OK. Where do you travel to?”
“Corinth,” I lie. “Be gone all day.”
“I have to leave tomorrow. Back to the States. I need to get some sleep.”
“I do! You wanna join me?”
Shit! I’d meant to say ‘my woman, she is here, under our noses…Playtime over (’til the next play time).’ Instead, I make a date to meet with Nacia for ouzo.
Then out by the elevator, I meet Voula. Damn…Full with potential (…why I met her in the first place)! Tight square package and thong top protruding (black with little baubles)…Grabs me, kisses me and tells me she could use an English lesson.
“Damn…But you can’t be here now!”
“Jeff! You are suspicious person!”
“What?” The hell does that mean…?
“You hide, you are corrupt and you invent scenes…”
So? “What are you talking about?”
“Why you didn’t call?” she stresses.
“Damn…You are splendiferous!”
We make out in the hall for several moments near the elevator. I tug on her thong and grind my pelvis on her stomach…She is sighing.
Sounds like Greek to me! A maid clucks in admonishment.
I push and pull away. “No, V…You really cannot be here! Look,” I start to say. “I’m married…”
Voula pushes, pulls away. “And…Woman, she is here in Athens! I don’t…You didn’t say me!”
“No?” I ask coyly. Sounding stupid.
“But where, Jeff? Where your woman is? In Athens?”
“When you called this morning…”
“Okay,” she slowly understands, and nods and slys a little smile. We go down (…on the elevator), farewell in the lobby.
“I don’t hurt…Want hurt your woman, Jeff.”
“Ciao, Voula.” Please don’t hurt my woman…
“We can be as friends.”
* * *
I trot west down Kifissias…Pass Bette at first, reclining with a frappé at a crepe place.
“Hey,” she smiles and waves at me. I turn around and realize that I’ve passed her; it’s indeed lame Bette.
Bette’s changes: clouds storm up blue eyes! “…the maids? Are bringing towels??”
“No0o?” (all coyly…stupid sounding) “Oh, maids! Yes! Brought them! Full of towels…Where were you going on that foot?”
“I’m tired of your little games, Jeff! You do not respect me.”
“Yes! Of course I do. Respect you…You’re my woman, Bette…You is my woman now,” I start singing like Porgy and Bess. A waiter applauds.
“Please. Asshole!” Bette smiles for some reason, and we order lunch.
©2003 by Jeff Glovsky
More Wor(d)s in Progress & Developing Characters: Hind Forward (unready, 1999) Precocious (unpublished, 2003) Ripe, Delicious (unfinished, 2004) 2012 Remix: Read (Delicious) from Underwear Woman Digs the Sea Compendium (finished & published) Slice / Life (annoyances, episodes) Jeff Glovsky INK: What's in a Name?