Saturday, March 23, 2013

Out The 1950s Film Night- Robert Mitchum and Rita Hayworth’s Fire Down Below

From The Pen Of Frank Jackman
Naturally a woman came with it, came with the story, or it probably would not have been worth the telling. And not just any woman, some housewife from Cleveland (although that category has some tales to tell, some spicy tales once you get them out of Cleveland, out of the women’s club, and away from hubby for a few days, but later on that), or some New York City professional woman (ditto on the tales, except they involve getting away from that damn office, and ditto the later too) but a femme fatale. A little older femme although one who would still have guys looking hard and figuring what they could do to get next to that, older though that a guy would like in a femme story where young buds who don’t know every single rotten thing to pull on a guy make things, well, interesting.But she was nothing but the real thing from that first look through the cigarette haze and the scotch neat sitting in front of her all enflamed red-head and looking like she just came out of some society magazine. See here is where you can learn a few things in life, important things, femmes, don’t retire or fade out they just kind of keep being femmes until they stop drawing breathe, maybe later, and will rattle guys just as bad, maybe worse since they know the score, as the young femmes all filly firepower and that wicked perfume as they enter the room. Once you've heard this story then you will know what I mean.

Yah, she was the real thing alright, Rita, Rita from somewhere, Rita from nowhere by name (let’s dispense with road monikers and call our crowd, the ones that count,by their real names or at least by the names they gave the cops or immigration when they alit from that somewhere or nowhere), a dazzling red head who had given up her virtues, given them up gladly up for whatever it was that she really wanted , a very long time ago and had been working off of that hard fact of life ever since, and making it stick, and making guys, rough guys, punks, and pussycats snap to without a murmur. Someone said (and she would embellish the stories as she went along, all plausible, all with an ounce of truth and all, in the end, worthless, worthless in trying to figure her out) she had started out in Europe, maybe before the war, World War II if anybody was asking, had moved fast on both sides of the line, had to flee one thing or another there, headed to North Africa with either some on the run Nazi general or some old communist partisan fleeing with the party funds, these things are hard to pin down. From there to South America running wild with senor this and mister that’s dough, and them not saying a peek-until she snuck out of some hotel room with a fistful of diamonds and wound up in San..., well, let’s leave it as in the Caribe with some pussy cat from Detroit. And didn’t work up a sweat all those fifteen or so years she was on the run. Some guy was always there to provide a soft landing. And glad to be run over. You had to say that about her, whatever she did for the guys, or to them, they never squawked about it. Beautiful.
Just then though, just out in that Caribe night, she was stateless, persona non grata, no papers, no way to get papers (yet) and no prospects since that pussy cat had a very waiting wife in Detroit and so he slipped her over to Robert and Jack, two guys who knew their way around the Caribe and around women, even a femme or two in their travels. So they thought. Rita practically licked her lips when she saw this pair, one, the older one, Robert, kind of rough-hewn, kind of an old salt whom she had eyed as the tougher of the two, weary, wary of the world, easy, easy in her hands, the younger one, strictly a college boy on a lark, learning a few things but still just on a lark, easier still. She would have them paired off against each other before a few days were done, especially if they could be coaxed into helping her, greased by some dough, to get to where she wanted to go next on their trawler, their fishing boat. All she had to do was look helpless, not school girl helpless but maybe a few nights under the sheets if they helped helpless. They both had that look although the younger guy looked like it would not take even that much to hook him, hook him bad.

And it worked, worked for the who knows, the fiftieth or sixtieth time in her crowded life, worked like a charm. Worked too that she had them at each other throats within forty-eight hours of getting on board that wreck of a trawler.See Robert knew, knew damn well, that she had her hooks into the soft young Jack and while he said, said like they all say, he was just keeping his young companion out of the clutches of a flash dance scheming woman, she knew he had flamed eyes for her. Especially after that night she went “native” on him at some island Marti Gras port stop where she practically replicated some Kama Sutra sex act in front of him, make him drink her in, and drink a few more rums to try to forget that sight. He would have some restless hours over that one. And so they, Jack and Robert fought, fought to the death, at least Jack did, or was ready to. See he had big plans, marriage and stuff like that. Yah, she had her hooks into him. Her, she just licked her lips.

But see water seeks its own level and so while Jack was ready to die for her she had already made up her mind that she would go with the survivor-type, her own kind, Robert and one night she snuck into his bed, and well that was that. Well not quite since that afternoon she had agreed to marry Jack and he was waiting for her the next morning like the dew outside her door. As they headed to the town hall to do the wedding deal they were stopped by an island cop, a big brute of a black man, who asked for their papers. She had none, although she did not mention that to the cop (or to Jack previously). And as things developed that question did not come up. Jack showed his papers first and while doing so a few bindles of heroin fell from his pocket. He had not explanation, none, for that as the copper led him away and left Rita to her own devises.

It did not dawn on Jack until later, until he had been in that stinking jail for a couple of weeks that he had been set up, set up either by Robert , by her, or by the both of them. He swore if he ever got out he would kill Robert if it was the last thing he did. Her, well maybe they could still work something out. And it might have been, might have been the last thing he did, since Robert and Rita had taken off for parts unknown. And had left no forwarding address. Robert did note that as they were ready to cast off a couple of days after the heroin incident, along with a passenger , a paying passenger, a businessman from Miami he said looking to head there, all dressed in white and wearing a Panama hat against the day’s sun that Rita was making some eye contact with that guy.Yah, that Rita was a piece of work, a real piece of work…

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