by David Harker
The working men’s club reeked of stale beer and cigarettes. Its nicotine-stained walls had witnessed many decades of working-class chatter; the rough parquet floor scuffed by hob-nailed boots, Nike Air and everything in between. At the bar Keith was bored; bored with his job, bored with his love life or the lack of one, and bored with the general drudgery of his life. As he flipped the top on another bottle of Theakston’s beer, he wished something, anything, exciting would happen in his life...
He was discussing the Leeds game with his mates when his glass stopped halfway to his mouth, and he froze. Jim, who had been talking to him at the time, nudged Mike and they both grinned, highly amused at the sight of their mate, glassy-eyed, with his mouth wide open. They looked around, wondering what he had seen.
She was gorgeous; skin the colour of latté, huge brown eyes and womanly curves in all the right places. She was wearing a slip-like dress, covered in sequins and layers of tassels. A close-fitting feathered cloche hat topped blue-black short wavy hair.
Her sensual, writhing hips toyed with Keith’s eyes, pushing and pulling at the dress material, a gap peeping open as she walked to reveal her stockings and a glimpse of thigh. Smoke writhed from her cigarette in its long tortoiseshell holder into a suddenly dark space; a solitary spotlight followed her as she stalked cat-like towards Keith.
“Hi! I’m Tullulah... Care to dance with me?” Her breathy voice had a deep South Carolina purr.
“Sorry, lass? Do you mean me?”
“Well yes, who else would I be asking?”
Keith put down his pint and looked around for backup from Mike and Jim but found himself all alone with this woman in the spotlight surrounded by thick, cloying, inky blackness.
Music faded in, lively and jazzy, and Keith found himself drawn into the beat. The step started off with a simple twisting of the feet, to rhythm in a lazy sort of way. Then the dance became a fast thrusting step, kicking the feet, both forward and backward in time and perfect syncopation with this woman.
Lost in the moment, Keith reached forward and palm to palm with Tullulah danced the Charleston as though it were the most natural thing in the world. Faster and faster they danced, Keith completely lost in a confusion of light and music, his eyes rapt in the movement of Tullulah’s body in the writhing tasselled shift. She smiled, then waved towards the apparent source of the music, which immediately slowed.
Muted trombone tones and slow sax now replaced raucous trumpet. Tullulah closed the gap between them and reached forward. He took her slender hand and placed his other hand on the small of her back and slowly shuffled with the new mood of the music.
She pushed her body into his, and he could feel the sizzling heat of her body through its thin covering. Her body melted into his, her perfume filled his senses and her face tilted up towards his. He looked down into huge deep, chocolate eyes, her ruby lips pulled against each other, then sensuously parted as she closed her eyes and raised herself for a kiss.
Keith stooped to meet her lips; his eyes closed, he tilted his head. His body thrilled in anticipation of the touch of those soft gentle lips...
“You alright, Keith?” Jim gave him a gentle slap on the cheek.
“You just stopped for a moment and looked a bit far-off like!” Mike added.
“Couldn’t figure out what you were looking at,” Jim continued. “Then you flushed a bit and then your face kind of tilted and then like... Well, we thought you were havin’ a stroke!”
Keith looked down and gently teased something from his shirt. The sequin shone and sparkled in the club’s smoke-laden air. “Well thanks a bunch, you two! I would have done if you hadn’t bloody well interrupted!”
Copyright © 2011 by David Harker