The California dawn's first blush razored through heavy velvet draperies into the cloistral bedchamber. Surgical light glinted across Victorian soda lime glass vases and walnut appointments, pricking my slumber like a physician's cannula. Where was I? Ah yes: in that very bower of romantic dissipitude, my tiny, state-of-the-art bachelor apartments in Old Hollywood!
Feeling about the bamboo night table for my tophat, wig and monocle, I immediately detected the scent of Bal à Versailles by Jean Desprez, lingering throughout the rooms, in stark contrast to the lady's demure - even I daresay hurried - departure the night before. Collecting myself, rolling off the mattress wrapped in the trailing eyelet bedspread and peeking through curtains, I could see that her enormous pink Cadillac convertible, a sugar-plum pontoon of passion which had glittered on the street at midnight, was long vanished.
Slumbrous yet arisen, I busied with ablutions: the pluckings, the depilatories, the taping on of discreet accessories, and reviewed the previous evening. An encounter most gentlemen could only dream of! But perhaps it was too much to expect a lady of delicacy to display a return on my captivations? The assignation certainly went well enough - and yet the fair sex can be so skittish when it comes to Love's more brutish expressions. Humming a bittersweet melodia, I applied the palest, most masculine hint of rouge.
Earlier, at the nightclub and in a crush of glitterati, she'd been drinking a Pink Lady, egg-whites and cream mixed to a froth over Plymouth gin and grenadine. Through the lens of my tipsitude, her glossy pink lips, pink tongue, pink bubble gum and the pink potation tickled me, well... pink if you don't mind, inspiring a hoarse invitation to the lodgings.
Combing my hairpiece by the morning light streaming in through the picture window, I thought perhaps her devotion to chewing gum had been a bit much, recalling now the sound of popping and chewing during my floundering seductions on the settee. Hadn't I found a discreetly chewed fuschia wad this morning by the washbasin in the bath? To say nothing of the sticky bagatelle glued to the Louis-Philippe china cabinet in the salon. But who's counting?
Far be it from M. Chariot to let a little quibble over confections stand in the way of l'amour! Brushing my frock coat with perhaps a tad too much vigor, I stopped and sighed. Somehow one manages to keep the flames alive despite tiny romantic discouragements. Had loneliness left me too dazzled? A lady's maneuverings, so very difficult to interpret.
O Hollywood, silken city of the sequined sirens! I sent up a tiny invocation. Might you be delivering happiness to M. Chariot at last?
Suddenly I remembered the pink leopard-print chiffon scarf. Certainly my ladylove wouldn't be offended by safeguards required for the spotless silhouette? Gently waking my dozing seatmate and fastidiously passing the tray to his care, I whisked the scarf from my vest pocket with a flourish, spread it on the seat, plonked down and retrieved the salver from the thoughtfully accommodating assassin.
There now! The city spun by as the bus snaked and shuddered its way through snarls of traffic to my first stop, that unique and most cosmopolitan of coffee emporiums, that rarest of venues - Starbuckle Café, where fashionable society gathers in the Arts District on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood.
And there I debarked with the Limoges coffee service, gingerly making my way to the storefront at Starbuckle's, where I peered crossly into the window. Seeing me, the barista finally registered that for some patrons - the crème de la crème - a doorperson is essential. And yet, making my entrance, I was greeted not by the usual smattering of applause from the beau monde, but... giggles. Dare I say it? Sniggers.
Was rapture too visible on my visage? Was 'Love's Fool' written on my countenance? Briskly excusez-moi'ing my way to the front of the line, I ordered - in the crispest French - my libation plus an almond-paste croissant. A gentleman needs to replenish spent vigors! My tiny pot filled and my tray arranged just so, I waited at the rear of the establishment for the pro tempore doorperson. Then wending my way to my little umbrella table on the back patio, I took my refreshments in solitude, the café looming precipitously between my tiny form and the bustling megalopolis.
Time waits not for the caffeinating gentleman, thoughtful reader! So very many pressing appointments to attend! Again I boarded the double-long Metro Rapid, criss-crossing the city like a suture. There was the meeting with my attorney about the restraining order. From there I was expected at the tailor and the vintner, where the little matter of unpaid bills had to be settled. Legal action indeed! But everywhere I went I was met with whispers, sidelong glances, titters. I checked my wig: all seemed secure. Certainly I was sufficiently groomed for polite society? One always wonders needlessly.
A stop at Cafe Côte D'or for a moment's respite from the sun's glare and the merest sip of a martini, followed by a quick look-in with my charmless parole officer (the sad result of a ridiculous misunderstanding 8 years ago; I am loath to say more).
"You have a pink, leopard-print chiffon scarf sticking out of your ass." This, as I was leaving, from Officer Martinez in her usual tone.
"I beg your pardon, Mademoiselle...?"
"There is a pink, leopard-print chiffon scarf sticking out of your ass," she repeated drily.
Nonplussed by this vulgarity, my tea set rattling with displeasure, I exited onto the street once more. What had become of genteel discourse, I wondered, making my way home on the #704? But once submerged by the shadowy interiors of my accommodations, I peered, turning this way and that, into the ornate Victorian looking-glass in the entryway. There, stuck with a wad of bubblegum to the seat of my pristenely pressed striped trousers, I encountered the pink leopard-print chiffon scarf, hanging forlornly, a limp flag of erotic surrender. Let this be a lesson in Love to gentlepersons of distinction!