The Last Time I Looked: (Stories, Real and Unreal) - PARTNERS Chapter Four
March 18, 2013

HOWIE’S CLEANLINESS

Howie’s cleanliness fetish was legend in certain circles which were pretty hard up for legend material. His Mother ‘O Mine had changed his sheets daily, and given him clean underwear twice a day.

The first thing he’d do when they checked into a hotel was call housekeeping and ask for a dozen, large, clean white towels. Then he would make a path with them from the shower to his bed, or slippers so that his feet would never have to touch the used tile or carpeting. Bea, on the other hand, was adept at the French bath, pouring cologne on her front and back, and splashing it under her arms. They always had a two-bedroom, two-bath suite, although they always…slept together in one big bed. Their deal was…separate ablutions.

THE ACT

Sometimes, if everything was going all right, he would go into their dressing room, while she was doing her solo part of the act. He would stare at the chaotic assortment of make-up leavings on her side of the dressing table. He’d look into the mirror and do his involuntary ritual. He’d pat the top of his hair, take the first two fingers of his right hand and pull up his deep natural wave and pull down the few locks that always lay across his forehead, his blonde trademark. He’d hunch his shoulders, pull his jacket down, run his hand down his tuxedoed fly, and pat his genitals. He didn’t know why for sure, but he learned it from the comics. They all touched themselves, on stage, off stage, backstage all the time…it was a tic, a riff, a reassurance that they were funny...they were men… they had cocks, didn’t they?… Did they know they did it? Maybe….when they watched their kinescopes from their live TV shows. Or did they just listen for those laughs, marvel at their timing and worry about their talent.

She always insisted on sharing the star dressing room with him. He would have happily let her have it all to herself. He’d pick up one of her many containers of cracked, tan pancake makeup with its permanently soiled, sour smelling sponge, damply resting on it. She had a genius for turning any professionally tidied peach moiré walled, peach shag carpeted, peach tinted makeup bulbed (at her request) room into a Jackson Pollock reject.

Safety pinned, stretched out black bras hung from the peach velvet cushioned chair. An assortment of black sheer stockings lay in a cowering clump on the floor next to four or five pairs of four-inch heels and their black sequined shoes to match. The only item that seemed to keep its dignity and shape was one of her two black merry widow corsets, with its proud stays, ruffled edging and long elastic garters. That really turned him on…even sometimes when it was her body that it was pushing up down and out.

Through the opened door he could hear that she was singing the orgasmic climax of the last song of her set. He patted his hair, his fly, pulled up his shoulders once again, and walked to the side of the stage. She finished with one of her trademark high B-flats. It brought the house down. It always did.

He waited until just the right moment, the moment that the applause was at its peak, and then he walked on, clapping wildly. This pushed the response even further. Instead of dying down, it continued, this time with the sound of “Whoops” and “Yeahs” as he kissed her cheek. He held her at arms length, as if presenting her back to them. She pointed to him and put her hand to her heart. He nodded as if to say, “Yeah baby….What an audience…Heart attack time, right?” Then he pointed to the audience and started applauding them. This time it meant “You are the greatest….And what taste, huh?” This frenzy made both of them hot. Her eyes were shining, his cock was twitching. They kissed each other wetly, and quietly cleared their respective throats, because their knockout finale, their famous medley of love songs by the great composers, was coming up.

Their longtime factotum, Marcie, was waiting when they came off. She put a towel around Bea and handed her a glass of vodka, no ice. “You killed them, Bezie you simply killed them.” Howie stopped and did an exaggerated vaudeville turn and said; “And I suppose I was chopped liver….Huh Marcie, baby?” Marcie screwed up her fleshy, unformed face, opened her mouth; her silent laugh didn’t come out.

Bea took a long drink, hugged Marcie, and said over her shoulder, “Hey cock-sucker...You’re not happy?...I’ll put in a call and see if Rosie Clooney can dig up her high B-flat.”

He pinched her ass and got girdle; he pretended to break his fingers. She finished the vodka, handed the empty glass to Marcie, grabbed Howie by the arm, and went back to their dressing room to receive their fans and their groupetto of hangers-on.

Click here to read chapter five.
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