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Maxine's Provencal Moves to Town

Maxine's Provencal Moves to Town: Part I
Mrs. Mac — 29 Sep 1998, 8:18 AM

Maxine smoothed down the folds of her red silk robe and eyed Miss Racine as her hostess unwrapped the last of the contemporary HiroMing vases. "Careful with that, Dolly!" Maxine often called Miss Racine by the nickname old Mike inexplicably adopted for her. It seemed a little, well, Folies-Borg-ère. Folies-Borg-ère? Maxine mentally tossed the term around. When I retire from this business, she thought, I'm going to open up a joint in Paris and call it the Folies-Borg-ère. Maxine always wanted to reacquaint herself with a certain young man she met there on her last visit. What was his name? Manet? Monet? She sighed and glanced over at the little oil painting, by the grand stairway, that Max thought was perfectly ghastly. She, on the other hand, thought it was forgiving enough to frame. Besides, it brought her fond memories of the young artist and his little brother.

"That's the last of them, Madame Maxine!" Miss Racine placed the heavy dirileum vase on the mahogany table. The light from the window fell on it giving it an iridescent glow of colors that reminded Maxine of Reverend Windes' church windows. The last time she saw those windows was the day before she opened her establishment. After that, Reverend Windes hailed her with words of fire and brimstone and threats of repossessing her soul. Maxine was comforted by the sight of Bijou poking her nose at a leg of the table. She then wrapped her long sinewy body around it, leaving her scent behind, and wandered off to explore anew.

RE: Maxine's Provencal Moves to Town: Part II
Mrs. Mac — 29 Sep 1998, 8:19 AM

Maxine surveyed the parlor of her new home. The girls were comfortable now and she was sure the clients would return. Last week old Mike got ill on her best Persian rug. He claimed it was the stench from the stockyards but Maxine knew better. One sniff of his breath told her that it was the stench of too much scotch from her husband's private collection that took him down. Maxine walked wearily to the front porch where Max was rocking in the chair he won in a poker game with Senator Owen Paris. He lifted his Hirogen skin boots up on the railing while he sucked deeply on a long, thick cigar. Max sensed his wife's presence by the delicate smell of hyacinth. "I'm going to miss the old buzzard."

"Who's that?" Maxine placed her hands on her husband's shoulders and gently propelled his rocking. She bent down to smell her husband's hair. Whatever they may call him, she thought, he still was the cleanest man in town. Only Maxine alone was allowed to bathe her husband, washing him gently with a delicate balance of the finest toiletries for men she could import.

"Old Mike."

Maxine could see the pain on her husband's face and bit her tongue. "Honey, you know why I kicked him out and it's not like he doesn't have a place to live! Besides, he's been seeing that chorus girl, Elaine, lately. The girls get all upset when she's around because she's pretty enough to steal our clients." Maxine searched for the right words that wouldn't strain their relationship. "Look Max, old Mike was getting a little too fresh with Dolly. Last week he was doing magic tricks with her. He would make a nickel 3-cent piece 'disappear' and then pull it out of her bosom. I'm sorry, but I don't like the way he's playing with my best girls."

Maxine ran her hand gently through her husband's hair. He pushed back so that his head rested against her, which prompted her to bend over and put her arms around his neck. She continued. "Look, if it makes you feel better you can invite Mike over any time and the two of you can share a smoke and scotch on the porch. But I don't want her near the girls! No lewd remarks! No bouncing pennies into their bosoms! Okay?"

Max smiled, got up and turned to grasp his wife in a bear hug. He planted several kisses on her delicate neck and said, "Thanks honey!" With that, Maxine smiled and toyed, "Hold that thought for later. Right now, I have work to do." She turned and strode back into the house but not before Max landed one hand on her buttocks to send her off. He watched her disappear through the hallway door that led to the kitchen. Max sat back down in his rocker, leaned back, grinned, and let a low signal whistle out into the stale air.

Answering to the whistle, Mike peered out from around the corner of the house. "Is the coast clear?" he said in a whisper.

"All clear, big guy!"

Mike, as spry as ever, jumped over the railing and presented a bottle of whiskey to his buddy. Max ran his tongue over his lips as he eyed the bottle. "Don't just stand there like a propped up Betsy, take a seat and pour it out, boy!"