Sweet Thyme Baby – 11

 

Copyright © 2012 by Drusilla Campbell. All Rights Reserved.

11

(Start at the Beginning of Sweet Thyme Baby)

(Click here to read Section 10 first)

 

Across the patio and vegetable garden, Sissypuss stalked along the low stone wall. He was a predator and yet so beautiful Dee could forgive him the occasional show of brutality. He brought in mice and lizards; he tormented a baby possum between his paws; and he left his bird kill on top of the refrigerator where she’d be sure to see it, but she loved him anyway.

A baby cried.

 

“You have a child?” Victor asked. “You told me you couldn’t have any more.”

 

Pinkus came through the hedge gate, wheeling a stroller with a pink flowered canopy.

 

“Isn’t it a lovely day?” he asked as he passed by on the path through the vegetables. “Sweet Thyme and I are going up to Greens. Can we get you anything, Dee?”

 

Dee shook her head; and when Pinkus disappeared around the corner of the house, Victor laughed. “Don’t tell me that’s the kid’s father.”
“They’re mine. I’ll never give them to you.”

 

“Then I’m right. You didn’t destroy them.” He laughed with obvious relief. “I was afraid you might have.”

 

She had meant to destroy the reels until she saw that this would be the easy way out. Instead she trashed all but two of them, which she kept in her underwear drawer where she saw them every day. Two sixty-five minute movies of herself having sex with men whose names she had forgotten. Old style cans of film that reminded her of the person she was and of what she had done because she was that kind of person and there was no changing that ever. No going back. Never.

 

“I was kind of hoping I’d find you broke and hurting. I’d make an offer and you’d be grateful. I guess you don’t really need money, huh?”

 

“If I were a bag lady, I wouldn’t sell them to you.”

 

The corners of his mouth knotted.

 

“I’ll give you ten thousand dollars.”

 

Dee supposed the appeal of tits and ass was timeless and said as much.

 

Victor said, “Believe it or not, movies like yours, they’re classics. The stuff they make today is crap but in the old days we told a story, right? And we paid attention to the values, light and sound and all.” Victor leaned forward and a lock of dark hair fell forward across his brow. ”And you were beautiful. My god, you were glorious, Dee.” He brushed the hair away and sat back. “Look, Dee, I’ll level with you. I need those movies, I need them bad.”

 

“Victor, we don’t have anything to talk about.”

 

“You didn’t used to be so hard.”

 

His words struck her as funny and she laughed. She heard how close she was to tears and hoped Victor was too wound up in himself to notice.

 

“Why shouldn’t I have them? What’s the big deal? You think people’ll recognize you? After so many years?”

 

Ah, chivalrous Victor.

 

“What do you want them for?” In spite of herself, Dee was curious. “Let me guess, it’s something to do with gambling.”

 

“You don’t know it, but those movies are worth a bundle now.”

 

“And you’re only offering me ten thousand dollars?”

 

“The money’s just a token. I’m asking you to give them to me because of…you know.” He leaned toward her again, resting his elbows on his knees. “We go way back, Dee.”
As if she had to be reminded.

 

Dee touched the cold lemonade glass to her cheek. “You want the movies so you can pay off your debts. Is that the deal?”

 

“Not exactly.”

 

“Victor, you are the limit.”

 

He stared at her, she stared back.

 

“I think they’ll kill me.”

 

“Who?”

 

“They want the movies for video release. They’re into the business worldwide, and they’ll cancel my debt if I give them what they want. You’re bigger than Linda Lovelace ever dreamed of being. Nobody did it better than Delight Larue. You were so beautiful, you were every guy’s dream. Believe me, Dee, in porn circles, your movies are worth millions on rental.”

 

A thin layer of slime seeped from Dee’s pores and covered her skin.

 

“These guys are big time. They don’t fuck around.”

 

Do I want him to die?

 

No.

 

Do I hate him so much I would let the mob kill him?

 

No.

 

But they would take her movies and make copies and put them in stores. And thousands of men, women too, would see her, watch her… And eventually the rest of the story would come out and the secret she held close would belong to anyone who cared to chat it up. She could not bear that…dilution. What good was shame if it wasn’t intimate, intense.

 

“No.”

 

“What makes you so fucking holy now?”

 

“I’m not holy. And I’m not ashamed of making those movies.” This was not completely true, but she said it anyway. “It’s the other I’m talking about.”

 

That was where the whole truth lay and even a small wince would have gratified her. But she saw in his face that the rest of their story was nothing compared to the money he needed now. For that she hated him.

 

“I don’t want to talk to you anymore.” She stood and walked to the far end of the patio and around the side of the house, not looking to see if he followed her.

 

At the edge of the circular drive, he caught up to her and grabbed her arm. She pulled away.

 

“You should have thought about the consequences before you got in bed with the mob,” she said. “But isn’t that the truth about people like us? We never think of the consequences until it’s too late.”

 

She heard footsteps on the gravel drive and a voice, “Are you okay, Dee? Is this guy bothering you?”

 

The man with Lance said, “This is a bad time. We’ll come back.”

 

Copyright © 2012 by Drusilla Campbell. All Rights Reserved.

 

Click here to read Part 12 of Sweet Thyme Baby

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