Carla and I had been planning this night for weeks. My heart pounded in my chest as we entered the dark vestibule and Carla knocked softly on the door. A sliver of light shined through the tiny opening as an almost hidden panel slid sideways in the heavy wooden door.
"Password?" A husky male voice whispered through the tiny opening.
Carla replied, "John Mitchel." Giving the hidden doorman the name of New York's previous mayor who had been voted out of office in 1917 for his support of the 18th Amendment to the constitution better known as prohibition.
The small hatch slid closed with a thud and for a moment I thought Carla's inside information about the correct password was wrong. But my fear of rejection lasted only a moment as the heavy door opened and a big burly Irish looking gentleman in a sharp tuxedo spoke to Carla and me.
"Welcome to Grady's ladies." He said, his accent confirming his Irish ancestry.
As we entered I knew I was taking a step up the social ladder. Grady's was everything I'd heard about the upscale speakeasies of New York. Its lavish appointments a far cry from the blind pigs where two old beer barrels and a rough cut wooden plank served as a bar in the dives of lower Manhattan.
In my mind I'd finally made it to the upper class of society in New York having gained admittance to what I thought was a fancy speakeasy. But perhaps I should explain where I'd come from so you can understand why it is that I felt I'd finally made it.
I was born on the first day of spring in 1902 in an obscure eastern Pennsylvania coal mining town. My father spent his entire life in the bowels of the earth digging out a meager existence bringing anthracite coal out to feed the nations growing need for cheap fuel. My mother, bless her soul, named me Catherine after the blessed saint of our church and wanted her daughter to be educated just like she was. She sent me to Saint Catherine's Catholic School for girls at the tender age of six. Mom worked at the church and was often rewarded for her efforts with bushels of fresh food from the priests. In my teens I grew to believe that her rewards weren't so much for her efforts to help the church, but rather to service the priests, but that's a tale for another time and place.
Other than being known in town as one of St Cat's good little catholic girls I can honestly say that the only good things to come from my formal education was a repugnance for the catholic nuns who constantly preached to us about our generations seeming lust for sins of the flesh and the development of my love for the taste of communion wine Its sweet taste and the warming sensation it had on my throat each Sunday morning was something I looked forward to. You can imagine my disappointment when in February of 1920 the church fathers gave in to the growing admonishment of the do-gooders at St Catherine's and began serving grape juice instead of red wine for communion. Prohibition had made its way even into my tiny little part of the world, and I hated it. By the time I turned eighteen in June of 1920 I was ready to part with St Catherine's and everything associated with it, including my parents. I left the obscurity of my upbringing for the hustle and bustle of the big city, Scranton Pennsylvania. Scranton was to be nothing more than a whistle stop on a journey to my ultimate goal the excitement, the glitz and glamour of the Big Apple, New York. But it took me over 2 years to finally reach that goal. I arrived in Manhattan in September of 1922 carrying a single case and a small old purse containing next to nothing. Fortunately I had one asset that many women arriving in New York didn't have my good looks and captivating smile. Those assets were instrumental in landing a job waiting tables at Momma Roma's which is where I met Carla.
Carla a born and raised New York Italian suggested we share a two bedroom apartment on the west side within walking distance to Momma's and many of the crusty blind pig dives of that part of Manhattan. Carla unlike many Italian girls could have been the master mold for the flapper image that has become so popular in the last few years. Her thin build and small perky tits are perfect with the straight almost stove pipe dresses of today's fashion elite. Many girls pay a lot of money to have their hair dyed the rich jet black color of Carla's natural hair. The bob cut short in back and slightly longer in front so a curl of hair extends from the hats she always wears. At twenty one years old Carla had embraced the entire Flapper life style and has perfected the look almost beyond belief. Her pale almost pallor mortis complexion contrasting harshly with the scarlet red lip stick and richly ringed eyes giving her the debauched appearance embraced by all the flapper girls.
Her wardrobe matches her appearance. Consisting of a step-in, which has replaced the classic victorian corset, one piece, light, exceedingly brief but roomy. Her dresses are also brief cut low where it might be high, and vice versa. The skirts come just an inch below her knees, overlapping by a faint fraction her rolled and twisted stockings. The idea is that when she walks in a bit of a breeze, you can catch a glimpse of the knee but always in an accidental, Venus-surprised-at-the-bath sort of way. This is a bit of coyness which hardly fits in with Carla's general character. Carla embraces not only the look but also the life style of a flapper, smoking cigarettes using a long holder, drinking illegal liquor as often as possible flaunting herself to men at the drop of a hat and even attending petting parties. She is without doubt the quote unquote ultimate Flapper girl.
I don't quite fit the image as clearly as Carla. My figure is fuller, more on the side of a classic Victorian woman. My full breasts thin waist and flaring hips giving me the nearly perfect hourglass figure with out the need to be constrained in a cumbersome corset. When I arrived in Manhattan one of the first things I did after getting my first pay from Momma's was to have my mousy brown hair bleached platinum blonde. My natural wavy shoulder length hair one asset I couldn't give up to the current fashion and fad of the 1920's. Because of my more shapely form I forego the angular lines of today's flapper fashions opting instead for the captivating look of society's sophisticated upper class of women. I have added much to Carla's chagrin the latest in high fashion that being pants and a suit jacket with silk blouses under the coat. I'm able to show off my shapely hips and when called for my sexy cleavage to the right male suitor.
Carla and I often contrast quite well when we're out on the town, she with the happy go lucky live life to the fullest attitude of the flapper rage, and I with the sensuous alluring style of a charming seductress. We certainly draw our share of attention where ever we may be, and now that we're finding access to the more high class joints around town I'm hopeful that the gentlemen we attract will be of a higher social standard as well. What I really want is to find a gentleman with a huge bank roll who finds me to be his ultimate siren and Grady's was the place that search would begin.
The smoke filled dimly lit room we were ushered into by the burly Irish doorman was just what I expected. Full of people dressed to the nines and everyone puttin on the Ritz. What I first noticed about Grady's was the permanent appearance of its appointments. A real bar and stage where their entertainment preformed. Grady's had no need to be quickly transformed into some other kind of establishment other than what it really is, obviously because the local law enforcement officials were either already enjoying themselves there, or had accepted the gifts of their brethren the Irish owners of the place. In this part of New York most cops' last names started with O' and prohibition was more an inconvenience than a law to be obeyed.
We were hardly in the place before a good looking young man whisked Carla off to the dance floor where I was certain she's spend most of the night fox trotting or doing the latest dance craze The Charleston. Left along I made my way to the bar and found a stool with an open seat beside for my friend just in case Carla wanted a break sometime tonight.
I slipped up onto the bar stool sitting sideways and crossed my legs giving any man who choose to a chance to look at my silk covered ankle. Looking around the room there were more than a few very handsome men some wearing tuxedos some wearing tailored suits and almost all with a glamorous woman hanging onto their arm. I flipped my blonde tresses to one shoulder and turned my head to address the bartender who had walked over to greet me.
"What'll ya have doll?" He asked.
"Wine please red wine please." I replied.
Smiling he said, "Coming up doll."
I turned to face the bar more directly but kept my legs crossed and a hint of ankle exposed and opened my small clutch bag to remove my cigarettes and holder. Just as I pressed a cigarette into the holder the bartender returned with my drink placing it on a tiny napkin directly in front of me.
I smiled at him and shook my head slightly causing my waves of platinum blonde hair to cascade over my shoulders and my bangs to slightly cover one eye. Holding my cigarette up I said, "Have a light handsome?"
The bartender reached into his vest pocket with two fingers and produced a book of matches. He struck the match against the flint and after it flashed extended his hand palm up with the match between his index and middle finger. I leaned toward him slightly and inhaled through my holder and drawing smoke into my lungs.
With the match still glowing in my face and a strand of hair covering one eye I looked up at him and said, "Thanks baby."
"Welcome doll." He replied adding, "You're new here aren't you?"
"Yes this is the first time I've been here." I responded.
"Well doll the first drink is on me but after this one it's a cash bar, okay." He said.
"No problem." I said slipping a fiver from my clutch and sliding it toward him on the bar.
His grin told me he wanted to make sure he wouldn't get stiffed for my drinks
"What's your name doll?" He asked.
I hesitated for a moment then lied to him, "It's Veronica." I can't say exactly why I lied to this complete stranger. Other than the fact that I don't believe Catherine is a very glamorous name I have no idea why at that particular moment I decided that from then on I would be known as Veronica.
"Veronica huh." He replied, "You don't have a last name Veronica?"
Before I could answer a voice to my left said, "Shawn, let the young lady alone and give us another round down here."
Looking to my left I spotted an older looking gentleman with a younger woman on each arm. He smiled and spoke to Shawn as he walked away from me.
"Same thing Mr. O'Reily?" Shawn said.
"That'll do for now Shawn." O'Reily replied.
I wanted to thank O'Reily for distracting Shawn. His request for a round of drinks gave me time to think of a sir name to go with my new first name. My mind raced knowing this cute bartender would be back for an answer to his question.
No sooner had Shawn finished pouring O'Reily a double shot from a bottle with a Maple Leaf proudly displayed on it and a couple fruity drinks for his companions he turned his attention back to me.
So you're Shawn are you?" I questioned him adding, "Just Shawn or do you have an Irish sir name to go with it?"
Shawn grinned widely and replied, "Smythe, it's Shawn Smythe and no I'm not Irish."
"Smythe is British isn't it?" I questioned him.
"Yes, but don't tell any of these Irishmen that okay Veronica." Shawn whispered as he leaned closer to me.
I took a deep drag on my cigarette and blew smoke in his face before I offered, "Well it's my pleasure to meet you Mr. Smythe."
"Oh please let's not be so formal doll, you can call me Shawn." He offered.
"Now are you going to tell me your last name Veronica?" Shawn asked.
"Can you keep a secret Shawn?" I asked him first.
"Sure doll my lips are sealed." Shawn responded.
"Well actually it's Lacey, Veronica Lacey." I said continuing my lying for reasons unknown to me.
"Your last name is Lacey?" Shawn said with a growing smile on his lips.
"What's so funny Mr. Smythe?" I asked.
Shawn leaned over the bar and motioned for me to lean closer to him. His lips moved right next to my ear. The scent of his cologne wafted into my nostrils a very pleasurable scent that I inhaled deeply.
He whispered, "I'm wondering if your name matches your panties Veronica?"
I turned my face to his, our lips barely inches apart. His eyes sparkled and stared into mine. "Panties? What panties?" I whispered.
Shawn grinned and replied, "I'm gonna like having you visit here Veronica."
As he moved away I again inhaled his scent letting the masculine odor of his cologne burn into my brain. I tried to memorize his look, his eyes and that wonderful scent.
I watched Shawn as he worked the bar making drinks and conversing with the customers seated at his bar. He is probably in his late twenties nicely built and has straight dark hair which he combs straight back along his scalp. I doubt he has the kind of bank roll that I'd hope for but he certainly is a sexy man and having him as an acquaintance may prove to be helpful in meeting the high rollers who frequent Grady's
After finishing my cigarette I turned again to sit sideways on the stool resting my arm on the back gave anyone who was interested a look at my profile from head to toe. The satiny fabric of my dress clung nicely to my figure clearly defining the outline of my breast and shapely thigh. With just a hint of leg showing below the hem I was certain I'd attract attention and hopefully give the appearance of a classy seductress. I left my hair draped slightly over my face hiding most of my facial features but showing off the long wavy platinum tresses.
I sat there sipping my wine not really making eye contact with anyone in the place, but always aware of who may be checking me out. Carla finally joined me with her dance partner in tow. She slid onto the open stool beside me and introduced me to Mickey a youthful looking red haired Irish boy. They both had beads of sweat formed on their foreheads and Carla's hair looked a little wet at the tips.
"Can I buy you ladies a drink?" Mickey asked.
I declined since I still had half a glass of wine to nurse, but Carla and Mickey each had Shawn get them a draught of Grady's finest lager.
Mickey kept checking me out eyeing up my body. I sure he was thinking how much he'd like to fuck me but at the same time knowing that I was out of his league. Carla was more his type, he could keep her busy on the dance floor and if he got lucky get her drunk enough for a quickie in some dark alley nearby. Carla and Mickey finished their lager and headed back to the dance floor leaving me alone once again.
As the evening wore on more and more people filtered into Grady's. Most of the seats at the bar were taken with the exception of Carla's stool next to me. Shawn was kept busy filling customers drink orders, and didn't have a chance to return to me so I could flirt with him again. I finished my wine and held the empty glass up so Shawn would know I was ready for a re-fill.
"Same thing Veronica?" Shawn asked as he grabbed for the iced bottle of wine next to his work station.
"Yes please." I replied smiling widely at him.
"You're very busy tonight." I said as he slowly poured my wine.
"My helper will be here shortly then I'll have some time to relax and visit with you doll." Shawn replied.
I continued smiling as I said, "I'd like that Shawn." batting my sexy eye lashes at him.
My little flirt didn't go un-noticed either as Shawn took my five dollar bill and returned with five ones which he placed on the bar spread apart so I could see that he was covering up the fact that I'd would be drinking for free. After all the three or four glasses of wine that I'd have that evening could easily be lost as spillage and Shawn's employer wouldn't know any better.
I pulled another smoke out and pressed it into my holder. Shawn was there in a flash again lighting me. But this time he let his hands cup mine as he moved the burning match to my cigarette. His fingertip slid along the back of my hand, soft gentle fingers that moved ever so slowly along the length of my fingers as he withdrew the match. I leaned forward and blew the match out looking into his eyes as my pursed lips directed the air toward burning match.
Some people communicate an interest verbally, but Shawn and I had just made physical contact that clearly indicated to us both just how interested we were in each other. He smiled and moved away returning to his duties as bartender.
A short while later Shawn approached me once again.
"Miss Lacey, the gentleman across the bar would like to buy you a drink." He said.
I looked across the bar. A middle aged gray haired gentleman dressed in what appeared to be a very expensive tailored suit raised his glass in a toast to me. I smiled and turned my eyes to Shawn.
"Please tell the gentleman that I appreciate his very kind gesture, but I will have to decline his most generous offer." I said
Shawn looked at me and said, "Veronica do you have any idea whose offer you are declining?"
"I don't care if he is the god damn king of Ireland. I don't let strange men buy me drinks." I shot back at Shawn.
Shawn leaned close to me and said, "Doll that's Patrick O'Malley he might as well be the King of Ireland lord knows he's as powerful. Are you sure about the drink Veronica?"
"Absolutely Mr. Smythe, tell the gentleman I declined." I replied.
Shawn shrugged his shoulders and shook his head as he turned and walked across to the other side of the bar.
O'Malley listened to Shawn then broke into a huge smile and laughed loud enough for almost everyone in the place to hear. I have to assume he isn't used to being rejected by women in here and found it completely amusing that I had refused his offer.
I could have been making a huge mistake declining O'Malley. I'm certain his bank roll is twice the size of his cock but at this point I wasn't so sure I'd want to take his cock just to get at his bank roll.
I was enjoying watching all the people having a good time, but was more than a little surprised that no men closer to my age had approached me. Carla came bouncing back to her stool. Even more sweaty than before and looking somewhat disheveled from the nearly sixty minutes of constant dancing.
"He wants to take me back to his place." She said.
"You just met him Carla, you're not really considering going back to his place are you?" I responded.
Carla said, "He told me I'm beautiful!"
"Carla, he looks like he's maybe nineteen or twenty at the most. He'd tell you that you remind him of Venus de Milo if it got his dick in you." I replied.
"But I like him." Carla wined, "He's so cute." She added.
"Well Carla you do what you like, but I bet you'll regret it in the morning." I remarked.
"I might regret it in the morning, but I'll enjoy it tonight." Carla replied giggling like a teenager about to get her first kiss.
"Will you be okay Catherine?" She asked.
"I'll be fine Carla it's a short walk home." I said.
This wasn't the first time she'd left me alone like this and I was certain it wouldn't be the last. As I watched Carla and Mickey leave I wondered if I'd actually be making that short walk home alone.
Grady's was really jumpin by this time. Almost every table and stool at the bar was taken and the band was into full swing. Shawn was starting to look like a chicken with its head cut off by the time his help arrived. Once his helper got into the swing of things behind the bar Shawn came over to me.