Monsieur Chariot

Monsieur Chariot
That Dazzling and Luminous California Metropolis known as The City Of The Angels, USA
June 08
Offering Discreet Tutelage in the Metropolitan Arts to Inquiring Gentlepersons of Variously Misguided Social Persuasions


Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 18, 2008 12:57PM

The Mysterious Antiques Dealer

Rate: 9 Flag

TM_M.Chariot_antq.jpg There lives in my neighborhood a notoriously alluring woman who owns a tiny, moveable storefront antiques shop. I say moveable, because it has been moved several times in the years I've lived here. Suddenly it will be gone, and just as suddenly it will reappear a few blocks down. Someone will have laboriously painted an elaborate trump l'oiel red velvet drapery on the cement block column bordering the windows, and stuffed behind the glass one will see all manner of extravagant golden frippery, enormous candelabra, a mid-century modernist glass vase, opulent velvet cushions and frames studded with gems and filigree, all featuring self-consciously posed portraits of the woman, whose name I don't know but to whom I privately refer as "Mademoiselle Anne T. Quarian".

In the displayed photos and paintings, Mademoiselle Q. is invariably depicted wearing severe gowns and bejeweled cloches and such, staring with high-fashion hauteur at passersby, like someone enduring a thrilling nightlife in Weimar Berlin. Tucked among the baubles in the window will be an extra-tiny black and white ivory frame picturing a menacing and very pale gentleman in an S&M leather outfit and brandishing a whip.

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All of this mad self-spectacularization inspires un sentiment romantique in M. Chariot; after all, it is no secret the French prefer la femme adulte et sophistiquée. But try as I may, surreptitiously peering through the front glass with my monocle, I have never spied her nor anyone else in the shop. I only suspect she is the owner because of the lavish self-promotions.

Mademoiselle Q. can be seen walking to and fro, and is immediately noticeable: her fashion is the antithesis of "street", appearing on the sidewalk like an expensive brooch glittering in a gutter. The coiffure is a spun platinum asymmetrical helmet, and she sports generous amounts of expertly applied maquillage on her wide face. Her torso is somewhat barrel-shaped, but clothed via the most impeccable cut and tailoring, tastefully finished with large, art-ish bracelets and rings.

Unfailingly, she appears to be on her way to a marvelous cocktail party, one where Noel Coward might be convinced to play a little something on the piano. Her expression is imperious, telegraphing absolutely no time for nonsense, but one can tell that she has a taste for it nonetheless. Although I am loath to eavesdrop, I have overheard her flirting with several shortish European gentlemen; she has a deep, German-accented voice, a brusque tone, and likes the in-joke.

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My dear M. Chariot, have you never thought to avail yourself of un petite memento from AQ's shop, thereby possibly gaining entré to her mysteriosity? Perhaps the fires of romance burn brightest when tended from a distance...
Your knowledge of trains and rail etiquette is exquisite. Just the other day you heralded the small rail in the city of angels. Today, you allude to the dour stares of Deutschebahn clientele on the latter leg of the Frankfurt-Weimar-Berlin route. Impressive.
I recall Noel once whispering to me, “Never mind, dear, we're all made the same, though some more than others.”
L_Lazar is as usual correct. Dew-drop-in but perhaps go armed. An insolently fortified Madeira shared in crystal Aperitif glasses by Bottega del Vino has always, for me, proved most efficacious.
Think of the hijinx.
Oui, monsieur, creer une grande adventure. Recruit un accompagner dans le crime. You might mention the Algonquin Round Table to see if you culminer son intérêt. Bon chance!
My dears Mssrs Lazar, Mason et Wegié ~ M. Chariot relies on the considered advisements of gentleman friends and has great confidence in your counsel. Perhaps I might take a casual stroll to the antiques shop this afternoon. If it has not moved.
Or perhaps we might invite Mme Fermier to join us for a cocktail instead?
C_Wegie will give 2::1 on P_Farmer.
I've seen her toes - very impressive.
Won't flag in the stretch.
Mon Vieux, by all means visit the shop. As someone far more experienced and much wiser than I once said,"temptation resisted is temptation wasted" (sorry, I don't have a Bartlett's to hand), which is how they acquired all the experience and wisdom.

The shop sounds like a positive treasure trove of the sort one normally only reads about; dark, slightly musty, sounds dulled by yards of velvet dyed some dark, rich shade of red. With a selection of esoterica reserved for discerning clientèle behind a discreetly closed door . But a word of cautionary advice, if there's a monkey's paw, leave it be.

Bien sur, allez-y.
Such a treat to see someone like that on the bleached and navel-ringed streets of LA.
If you can convince Mlle. Fermiere to come to LA for cocktails, I'd be pleased to trek south and join you. Perhaps I'd take the train.
I do wish now that I had not written of her, as I have been ruminating about the mysterious antiques dealer all day, examining my true feelings and finessing the text to express them. As a result I have entirely missed the opportunity to take a little visit to her shop. I would skip by this evening, but the unwieldy task of choosing the proper waistcoat looms, an obstacle. One does not want to appear too colorful at first introductions! And then one does not want to appear a drab either.
Monsieur, you are a man of letters, purloined or otherwise.