By M. J. Moore
“Go to my room for me, will you? There’s a big plastic barrette on the table next to my bed. Bring it out here for my hair, okay?” He paused on his way out of her bedroom; there was no air-conditioner in there, either. Just her bed. His breathing was hard.
Back in her living room, his shock was complete. She had moved like greased lightening. In less than a minute, she had retrieved the bottle of wine from the kitchen counter and was opening it on the living room floor. Wearing her blood-red brassiere.
Fred Jones almost dropped the barrette. Her audacity floored him. “It must be 100 degrees in here,” she said. “Just pretend we’re at the beach and I’m wearing a bikini top with jeans.” She used the corkscrew like a handyman uses pliers. Fast and loose. He sat down on the couch again, directly behind her. She poured out two glasses of wine, right there on the floor. And the sight of her in a crimson bra, now fixing her hair up so that it was stacked atop her head, with wine flowing and Duke Ellington music—sheer bliss.
He’d never seen such a glorious cleavage. Not in the flesh. And magazines and porno films didn’t count. This was real, all too real. Then she was asking again about the jazz music they were listening to; and it occurred to him that she was letting him be the teacher, now that the summer semester was over and final grades submitted. They no longer had to accommodate the myriad taboos about a 40-something professor and her 20-something student. They could touch now. Ellington at Newport played on.
Her abandoned shirt had been tossed on the couch; he used it like a towel, wiping off his forehead and neck. He’d been perspiring before; now he was sweating. Almost panting. The first part of “Diminuendo in Blue & Crescendo in Blue” was ending, and there was an interlude of piano solo. It was soft enough to allow for conversation, and as Fred began to massage her bare shoulders, she asked him about the performance’s evolution. He had a hard time paying attention to her question because he could barely concentrate on squeezing her shoulders. Looking down at her breasts, so gorgeously enclosed in a finely crafted, hand-stitched lacy brassiere that packed her in and pushed her up at the same time, it was damn near enough to make him scream. He wanted to devour her.
“What was that again?” he had to ask. He began making wide circular movements with his thumbs. And then he started “playing the piano” on top of her shoulders: using all his fingers in a heavy pressing fashion, causing her to sigh and gasp a bit at the same time.
“I said: Can you tell me when the blonde started her free dancing?” Carol Ann asked.
She was referring back to Fred’s earlier anecdote. He’d told her what was known about how after a few choruses of the swinging tenor sax solo, something snapped in a woman at the festival. A platinum blonde in a boxed-seat rose up on her own and started “wigging out,” as they said back 1956. She had no partner. And she didn’t need one.
As tenor-sax man Paul Gonsalves played on, blowing up a storm as Duke Ellington’s rhythm section laid down a masterly rhythm-and-blues foundation (off which Gonsalves just wailed and played and soared and flew and with no honking or squeaking) there was a precise point that a careful listener could hear on the record, because the sound of the crowd began taking on the screaming-shouting-hollering excitement of Beatlemania (on a smaller scale). That’s when the unidentified platinum blonde was highlighted by the roving spotlight. The spotlight stayed on the woman as she cut loose, dancing solo with total abandon; she flailed about, kicked out, swung high, let herself go. And she caused the crowd to get wilder.
“That just made the band even hotter,” Fred explained. “By the time the crowd was reacting not just to Gonsalves’ sax solo but also to the woman dancing her head off like mad. The whole thing became transcendent. It’s here—coming up now—listen: just as Paul finishes this chorus, there’s a cheering going on—it’s for The Dancing Woman!”
Carol heard it too. Especially now. It was subtle at first, but soon enough the roar of the audience was unmistakable. The music was feeding the woman and her dancing fired up the crowd and the people in all of their fabulous yelling and bellowing were about to lift the band into the stratosphere. Meantime, the sax solo went on and on. It was stupendous and ecstatic.
Not just how effortlessly Paul Gonsalves played for 27 choruses: a non-stop flight. Equally amazing was how exquisite Carol Ann now felt, as Frederick worked his oily hands along the back of her neck, pressing in, all her tension dissolving; then giving her a gentle scratch that induced instant gooseflesh. By now her nipples were engorged.
He’d known that for more than a minute. It was the eighth wonder of the world to him. He’d always been aware of her large rack. But now it seemed like walnuts were pushing out the front of her brassiere. Go ahead and ask him, she thought to herself.
“Did you ever see any pictures of the dancing woman?” Carol Ann wanted to know.
“There’s a head-shot on the back of the album jacket. Nothing special. Just a . . .”
She interrupted him, leaving him flabbergasted: “When she danced out wildly like she did, do you think her tits were shaking?” Not using the word breasts is what got to him.
He stopped. He couldn’t think. He was speechless. The sax solo was still going on and on; the sound of the crowd was indescribably exciting. And he couldn’t think straight.
From the floor Carol Ann turned slightly around. “Well, what do you think?” She had a look on her face: a teasing expression. She knew she had him flustered. She loved it. “You’re a documentarian at heart,” she said. “So c’mon now: document this. If you were piecing together a chronicle of this so-called ‘riot at Newport,’ would you assume that the wild woman’s tits were shaking as she danced out all over the place?”
“They must have been!” Fred said, exasperated and tickled and embarrassed all at once.
“Would you like to touch them? As they swung around and shook all over like that?”
Now her look was beyond naughty; she wanted one answer. Down and dirty. And fast. “Both hands. Now! Give me your hands,” she insisted. And as the tenor sax solo reached its peak, while still sitting on the floor with Frederick on the couch behind her, Carol Ann caught both of his hands in hers and placed them against her breasts. His oiliness helped. Not only did his hands smell musky, they also felt warm and wet. That’s when she blew his brains out by eliminating any need for further worry or awkward restraint. The poor bastard, she thought: he’s worried about every little thing, every step of the whole way.
So she put all his fears to rest. As his fingertips slipped along the top of her cleavage, she took both of her hands and grabbed the front of her bra, pulling both cups clear off her bosom and letting her breasts fall out, hanging over the material tucked underneath.
“Hold them for me. For us. Shake me! Show me how you think her tits looked when she danced freely and heated up the crowd and the band and the music. Show me!” The last chorus of the sax solo was now blazing away. And he did as she ordered. It was like waking up in a dream and feeling as though anything or everything could simply be.
Frederick Jones leaned over more and gathered up her breasts in his hands. He shook them and pressed them together; massaged her thick hard nipples, and fought back tears.
Never before in his entire life had he felt so connected to another human being. He inhaled her richly fragrant red hair. The scent of her shampoo made him tingle. The heft of her breasts in the palms of his hands was heavy and light all at once. That mystified him, at first. Until he realized that it made perfect sense. On one hand, she was buxom and the weight in his hand was considerable. On the other hand, the lightness emanated from her excitement and total lack of resistance. She’d broken through to some sort of awareness, and her own hunger to be touched had him feeling as if they were aloft.
(M. J. Moore’s novel, For Paris ~ with Love & Squalor, will be published by Heliotrope Books in October. This vignette is from I Carry Your Heart, a new novel-in-progress.)