Charles could tell she was a whore right away. Nice girls didn’t respond that quick, even if they were wild. He’d never actually been to a real whore himself, but he’d read about them and considered himself quite the sophisticate. It wasn’t the first time he'd managed to lure a girl into the manikin storage room at Sweeger’s department store, however. Charles had happily discovered that sometimes the sight of a good-looking young man arranging the limbs and adjusting the clothing of the female manikins turned a gal on. It was a sweet little extra benefit of the job. But to get hold of a pro, for free? This was his lucky day.
While adjusting the garters on a blonde, So Moderne II manikin in the Young Miss department, he felt someone watching him and glanced over at a sweet little brunette browsing through blouses. She was staring at him boldly over the top of the blouse rack, and she looked like a very fun girl. He pulled the manikin’s skirt up higher and ran his hand up the leg to smooth the stocking. The brunette smiled like a bad child and moved over past the end of the blouse rack where he could see her and hiked up her own skirt mimicking his gesture. He smoothed the manikin's sweater over its hard-molded breasts with a sly grin. She gave her own breasts a cute little squeeze and winked at him. He gave her "the eye," a look he'd perfected in the mirror at the onset of puberty and ran his fingers across the manikin’s crotch in an unmistakable gesture. It was a risky move, but it paid off.
“You sure know your way around women’s undergarments, young man…” she said sweetly.
“Well, I get lots of practice… in my line of work, miss,” he answered, flashing his most irresistible smile.
In the back of the storage room, she was kissing him with an enthusiasm that he found very encouraging. She undid his pants with one hand and deftly navigated. He grinned. “You sure know your way around men’s undergarments, young lady…” he said. They giggled.
She glanced around at the manikins in pieces on shelves and standing in rows, naked. They seemed to watch the couple with dull interest. “I’ve never had such an audience. It makes me feel like showin’ off,” she purred in his ear.
Sudden voices outside the storeroom door sent them both into an unwilling imitation of the manikins around them. Their eyes met and laughter threatened, but the moment passed and he held her tight, whispering in her ear, “Should I go on calling you miss, or you gonna tell me your name?”
“It’s Dolly,” she whispered back.
He laughed. “You’re joking, right?”
She laughed too, shaking her head. “It is, I swear!”
“Well, darlin’ that is just too much… I finally got my living doll.”
"Well, what's your name?" She asked.
"It's Charles." He grinned, "Well, I go by Charles, but my first name is John."
She collapsed against him in stifled laughter, then looked up at him shaking her head. "I do believe we were made for each other," she whispered softly.
He tried to move the lipstick smeared around her mouth back onto her lips with a playful finger. “My shift was almost over. I don’t think anybody would notice if I disappeared,” he whispered beneath raised eyebrows.
“You got someplace we can go, sugar?” she asked hopefully.
He frowned. “I live in a young men’s Christian boarding house. We got a old lady in a rocker with a Bible and a fist full o' knittin' needles on the front porch, and a old man with a Bible and a shotgun on the back porch.” He shook his head firmly.
She bit her lip and considered a minute. “Well, I live in a similar situation. But today is everybody’s day off. We might get away with it if you promise to be quiet…”
His awe at being smuggled into an honest-to-God whorehouse was considerable. But as they'd managed to procure and consume two bottles of beer in between Sweeger’s department store and Dolly’s room at the Shy Violet, he had an immediate need. “Where’s your little boy’s room, darlin’? I gotta pee me a river…” he whispered.
She pointed to a door hung with a rainbow of feather boas from the dressing table, where she stood removing her dangly earrings. He stared in mock amazement, “We do not have private baths in our rooms at the Young Men’s Christian boardinghouse.”
She smirked. “Don’t keep me waitin’ too long, sugar.”
He stumbled over a tiny satin footstool on his way across the room and they both laughed like children.
He opened the door, still giggling, turning his face away from the cloying boas, then jumped back screaming, “Holy Jesus Christ Almighty!”
Dolly whirled around from her dressing table and crossed the room, crashing into him as he flew away from the bathroom doorway. She whispered urgently, “Don’t scream like that, you’ll get us…” and then stopped short staring into the bathroom.
The girl was hanging; knees hooked over the shower curtain rod, trussed up like a pig in a slaughterhouse. Her throat had been gashed to drain her blood. Her lower belly had been sliced open and the slack bloody folds of flesh looked disarranged. Her face was purple. The bathroom was awash in red.
Dolly’s voice could only come out on exhale, gasping gibberish until she managed to say the girl’s name. “Hillary… that’s my… that’s Hillary!”
Charles sat down on the floor involuntarily and began scrambling backwards like a crab toward the door. Dolly ran over him and grabbed for the air in front of the doorknob. “I gotta get Violet, she’ll know what to do, Vie! Mama Vie! Help!” she wailed and grabbed hold of the knob.
The door flew open forcefully, throwing her back on the floor next to Charles. Six foot, six inches, 280 pounds of coiffed, bejeweled, and silk-clad madam filled the doorway.
Mama Violet took one look through the bathroom doorway, one look at Dolly, one look at Charles. Without a word she pulled a small pearl-handled revolver out of the folds of her gown and expertly shot first Charles, then Dolly clean in the middle of their foreheads.
“Son of a fucking bitch!” she hissed, as she crossed the room and stepped out into the hall to a phone. She dialed a number, seething while it rang.
The number answered. She did not say hello. She growled into the receiver, “Never, never, are they to be done in my house! He is out of control and I will not have it!”
She paced, listening to half a sentence. “There are seven girls due back in the next three hours from their day off. You get someone here to help me clean up this mess right now! I’ve got three... problems to dispose of and that carny cock waste cost me one of my top earners, in addition to the green girl!” Sweat ran down the sides of her cheeks, leaving white streaks through her rouge as she listened to a response that didn’t placate her nearly enough.
“You’re damn right you’ll pay for her too, and much more besides!” She slammed down the phone and stepped back into the room, blowing out her breath in bursts like a steam engine while she stomped around furiously.
Dolly and Charles lay tangled on the floor together, staring up with the same dull interest as the manikins had, and just as dead.
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