"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Henry Slough Chapter VI

Fabric Man in Taunton decided to reduce their recession-induced inventory by sending unsold fabric to a factory in Burkina Faso that produced cheap dresses, blouses, and pants even cheaper than the Bangladeshis whose labor costs were rising steadily.  So Dina DiMarco was put in charge of Fabric Man’s Basement, an assortment of shirtwaists, skirts, sundresses, and camisoles.  Sleeves, no sleeves, back, no back, high hem, low hem, the Burkinabe turned out product faster than any factory before.  It didn’t matter that there was no quality control – a Size 6 on one dress was a Size 8 on another of the same line; or whether there were mistakes in stitching or proportions.  Dina quickly learned to gently tug down on one side of the dress to compensate for the droop, sag, or off-centered sewing, the old classic sales pitch always worked when the customer had that I want to buy this dress look when she came in.  All imperfections, out-of-kilter shoulders, puffy pleats, or meandering hems were acceptable as long as Dina spoke assuredly and confidently about how good the dress looked.

It was depressing work, however.  It was one thing to slice yards of cheap fabric off the giant bolts stored in the musty back room, wrap the things up in brown paper and plastic bag chic; it was another to see this parade of white trailer trash prance and fuss before the three sided mirror – how well the color suits your mottled, red-blotched face, thought Dina.  This dress is perfect to disguise your fat thighs (Oh, please don’t go for that short skirt), or drape over your sagging, overused tits, or fit loosely over your enormous hips or obscene butt. 

Black women from Roxbury never shopped at the store.  They spent what little money they had on the bling place on Staunton Street.  Just as cheap, probably from the same factory in Ouagadougou , but gussied up with sequins, rhinestones, and outrageous designs. At least these women knew they were fat, and loved getting that big-ass booty into a an African tent and swinging out the store; or sticking those sequined tits out at the brothers outside.  The Southie trade actually thought that these ridiculous dresses could actually do something for them.

Managing the Fabric Man Basement was a step up for Dina, more money, title on her card; but she was even happier to leave there in the evening than she was before. Dealing with clothes and customers broke up the monotony of those dusty bolts of fabric in the warehouse, always dark and airless, floor to ceiling fabric logs in hangar-sized room; but it added existential angst – Am I going to end up like these women.

While Henry was in Minnesota (he had to extend his stay because of the Pima twins’ legal troubles), Dina kept seeing Joe Fallon.  It turned out that the tightly turned buns, muscular arms, and macho confidence didn’t translated well in bed.  She liked the feel of him, liked pulling him into her and feeling him deep inside, filling her up and hitting all the right spots; but these hits were no more than fleeting glances.  He like most men wanted to get to the finish line quickly (she could not imagine what that was like since she loved the slow progression to orgasm and then orgasm after orgasm), and nothing could slow him down.  She had heard that teenage boys thought of train wrecks or dead people to get their mind off coming, but nothing worked for Joe.  It wasn’t premature ejaculation, exactly – she had had enough of that when one touch of hot, wet pussy sent they guy shooting off like a rocket – just deliberate, impatient, and very egotistical pumping towards the end.

Only once did Dina have truly great sex, and it was with a man 30 years older.  He knew what women wanted, and loved every slow but passionate minute of it.  He loved to suck her pussy, take it into his mouth, work it slowly with his tongue then find her clit and drive her crazy with his licks and little bites.  She had explosive orgasms when he did that, enough to leave her panting on the bed and they hadn’t even begun fucking yet; and when they did, he found all the right angles, moving in her to touch all of her insides, moving in and out, side to side, lying on his left, then his right, still in her, so that the pressure of his penis was almost unbearably pleasurable.  She had to tell him to come – imagine that – when she was completely worn out, exhausted, limp, and satisfied.  She loved to hear him make the big noise, watch his eyes close, his head pulled back, every muscle taut in his body until the big, powerful, endless release.  Now that was fucking.  Why did he have to be do fucking old and so fucking married?

To be completely honest, Joe Fallon was a dummy.  He was a stereotype that was too on target to be true, but it was.  Drunk on cheap beer with his buddies in a piss- and stale beer-smelling tavern in some shit neighborhood; endless computer games killing this or that, smashing heads or cutting them off.  His meals were barely more than scrapings off of the previous day’s plates with some more corn beef hash or Hungry Man stew slop.  He read comic books, went to dummy clubs, slept all the fresh, bright Spring Days of May.  Enough is enough already; and she looked forward to Henry’s return, even if he was a wuss.

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