brigit with the peppermint hands

Brigit hated that bell.

She had her miso soup & her Anais Nin book. She didn’t want to be disturbed. Her zebra print stilettos were huddled in the corner, whispering mutinous dissent to her bare feet propped up against the wall. Her glasses slid down her nose as she read, her fingernails flicking against her teeth as she searched for seaweed hiding in their crevices.

She wasn’t ready for a customer.

None of the girls were. They pretended not to hear the bell, and tried not to make eye contact as it rang again, longer this time. Damn, he really wanted service. Fucker probably only had his lunch hour, and wanted to be in and out; no pun intended.

Lucy had her Cosmo magazine, Inneke her psychology textbook. Neither looked up, and their battle of the wills was one Brigit didn’t feel able to partake in. Just as she was looking for her bookmark, resigned to being the one headed out to reception, Inneke sighed, and slammed her glass down.

“So you hussies are sending me out there, hey?”

No-one looked up. Two pairs of scarlet lips smiled, but no words fell out of them. Even Inneke grinned as she licked the last of her juice, shaking her head and gathering her limbs. They all knew the routine and barely registered as she stood and slid her hands inside her dress, pulling her breasts up into the cups as she bit her lips and felt the blood swell into them.

They were all so predictable.

The Inneke that swung her legs off the couch was markedly different to the Inneke that strode out the door, and the remaining girls chuckled at the transformation.

“I think it begins at the bookshelf”, Lucy grinned. “That’s generally the time it takes me.”

Brigit snorted as she tossed her book onto the basket of towels, waiting for attention. “Nah, I can still see the TV from there….there’s no way I can purr with seduction when I have Dr Phil in my line of vision.”

They knew the cackling might creep under the door and out to the customer, but it was an hour til close, and neither of them cared much now. They each stretched with languor even as their heads were angled towards the door, torn as always between waiting for the money the bell heralded, and yet dreading the sound of it.

Lucy had strawberry blonde hair and a coating of random freckles. Brigit loved counting them on the dull days when customers turned into brighter hallways, just as Lucy loved tracing the lines of Brigit’s tattoos with a fingernail bitten down below the skin. Inneke said she couldn’t give a fuck about either of them, but took the prickly customers before they could; the ones who stared with predatory coldness, and held their fists tight until she had to wrench the money out of it. The other girls knew it, and left her the plumpest towels, the ones that hadn’t been worn down with the weight of customers, and the need of the girls to be cleansed with rough cotton.

“There was a new one yesterday,” Brigit yawned. “Black hair, strange accent”.

Lucy nodded. “I got him. Pretended not to know much English – what a relief! – but sure as hell knew how to wrangle a discount when he wanted one. Sexy voice though, I have to say…..”

Brigit’s drawl was low and lilting, and lured her colleague closer. “Hell, as long they’re not asking me to pay “special attention’ to their toes, they all have a sexy voice to me!”

Again the snorts threatened to slide under the door and out to reception, but Inneke would surely have escorted him to the room by now. Probably the end room with the bamboo curtain and bottles of clary sage oil; her favourite. Brigit felt her stomach heave each time she caught the scent of it, and only used the room when hers was occupied. Warming the peppermint oil and gazing out over Tattersalls Lane, her favourite part of Chinatown, she found it easier to shut out her customer and let her hands move of their own accord. Amazing what they knew how to do, really, when you thought about it.

Which she didn’t.

Lucy skimmed through Drew Barrymore’s latest marriage, while Brigit reached for her cigarette packet. Martinis tonight, they agreed, and salsa dancing, followed by men with slow smiles and fists free of cash. They would entice Inneke along, who would linger in dark corners and scowl at everyone, and waltz off with men with the smoothest skin and roughest hearts, who had more of a chance of finding her real name than the women who cackled on couches and washed her towels for her.

When the bell rang, Brigit reached for her heels and slid her hands inside her dress without even noticing. A pinch of flesh, a bite of plump lips, a heavy sigh. Another night sliding to a close with chortling wenches and miso soup. A summoning of her strumpet as she strode to the door, her spine lengthening with each step until her heels held a different woman leaving the staff room from the one who had entered it.

Brigit with the lilting voice and peppermint hands.

Ready for anything.

© bellmusker 2008

Currently unavailable for purchase


brigit with the peppermint hands by 


Inspired by Baubo, who knew that the dirty laughter of wenches could heal even the hardest of hearts.

woman as promiscuous
bawd, besom, biddy, bint, blowzy, concubine, courtesan, delilah, doxy, filly, flapper, floozy, harlot, harridan, hooker, hussy, jade, jezebel, jilt, madam, meretricious, minx, mistress, moll, mount, muff, nymphet, prostitute, scrubber, skirt, slag, slattern, slut, sow, strumpet, succubus, tail, tart, tramp, trollop, wanton, whore, wench

man as promiscuous
gigolo

Seem fair to you?

Tags

women, wise, wench, bellmusker, bellsbrigit

I love the words that fall between the cracks; where I have to roll my sleeve up, jam my arm down into the darkness, and yank the stories up by their hair.

I write with black coffee, and bare feet.

Both seem to help.

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Comments

  • LittleHelen
    LittleHelenover 6 years ago

    I had just written in the forum post ‘Your writing evokes emotion and passion in your readers…I am forever…patiently waiting for your next piece…excited about it!’ and you come out with this!
    Hahaha…what a wicked piece Bell…thoroughly enjoyable read….love it..

    My fav lines and thoughts ‘Martinis tonight, they agreed, and salsa dancing, followed by men with slow smiles and fists free of cash’ and Plump towels and Peppermint!
    Well done Bell ;)

  • Ah thanks babe; your comments mean so much to me! The story is often in the small details…and the plump towels are the best. x x x

    – bellmusker

  • Luckyvegetable
    Luckyvegetableover 6 years ago

    Belle, I just love this. I know I always say that, and I know I’m repeating myself, but this kind of familiar and lyrical writing is so much of the stuff that I crave to read, and to learn from.

    xo

  • So pleased to get your feedback, as always, my favourite little vegie! In some of my pieces the plot isn’t the backbone, but rather, the minutiae & peccadillos of the people who populate and enrich my life. I love the fact you gain pleasure from that. x x x

    ps you’ll pay for that! hehe

    – bellmusker

  • jcmontgomery
    jcmontgomeryover 6 years ago

    Thanks to Helen for mentioning you and your writing or I would have missed this. She was dead on in what she said about you. Stunning work.

  • Thank you, I really appreciate that. I always follow Helen’s tips and they’ve lead me to some wondrous people. Damn, that woman knows what she’s doing!

    – bellmusker

  • mstrace
    mstraceover 6 years ago

    Ah Bell, you went and painted another picture for me with your words! You developed character depth and a story arch in less than 900 words. And in the small moment it took me to read it, you told me a big story…a deep story. You dear girl, amaze.

  • jtaft
    jtaftover 6 years ago

    You never cease to amaze me with the quality of your writing! Yet again, fabulous prose!

  • Luckyvegetable
    Luckyvegetableover 6 years ago

    Hahahaha! You are so cool!

    and you’re gonna pay for that too

    xo ;)

  • aglaia b
    aglaia bover 6 years ago

    fuck bell, you are SO good and i too learnt something here!
    i thought that moll was spelt as mole, like the furry creature. WOW, i’ve now learnt the correct spelling of a word i despise and hence giving this word a little more credit. so sorry i’m rambling a little.
    just love your weird and wonderful descriptive writing, it takes me to a great place, it always stays with me and it gets me thinking deeply.
    so love this part:
    Lucy had strawberry blonde hair and a coating of random freckles. Brigit loved counting them on the dull days when customers turned into brighter hallways, just as Lucy loved tracing the lines of Brigit’s tattoos with a fingernail bitten down below the skin. Inneke said she couldn’t give a fuck about either of them, but took the prickly customers before they could; the ones who stared with predatory coldness, and held their fists tight until she had to wrench the money out of it. The other girls knew it, and left her the plumpest towels, the ones that hadn’t been worn down with the weight of customers, and the need of the girls to be cleansed with rough cotton.
    tis so beautiful and warm!
    so love your muse here too!
    can’t wait to read more. ;-) xox

  • WOW, i’ve now learnt the correct spelling of a word i despise and hence giving this word a little more credit.

    Don’t get me started on my wench words! I wanted to do my Linguistics thesis on the words used against women, & it remains a passion of mine. Historical linguistics is called philology, and the history of particular words is etymology – just bliss for me! My Linguistic degree is in the philology of the Germanic languages, & I love few thing more.

    I have a hideously expensive 1300 page etymological dictionary and get lost in it. The power of words should never, never be underestimated as they contain so much of our culture and identity. You can see attitudes to women evolve & deteriorate, and it’s reflected in the language to an astounding extent.

    wench
    This originally meant a young child (around the year 1200), but as soon as its meaning narrowed to denote only a young woman, it developed negative sexual connotations.

    hussy
    This originally only meant housewife (from earlier husewif, around 1300), but again, this allowed it to attract sexual connotations and it also became an insult.

    Don’t get me started on cunt either. Its etymology is debated by linguists, but you can see their attitudes reflected in their research. A dictionary printed in 1811 described it as “a nasty name for a nasty thing”.

    One day I will put it all together, into a thesis or article, and have my say.

    In the meantime, I slide wenching characters into my stories and let them dance!

    PS thank you for the encouraging comments! x x x

    – bellmusker

  • aglaia b
    aglaia bover 6 years ago

    wow, thank you so much for that!
    psssst, i knew your were special from the moment i lay eyes on you!
    i can’t wait to read and see more! ;-) xox

  • ytsumner
    ytsumnerover 6 years ago

    I’m not sure if I’m supposed to have a lump in my throat but this was just so damn…touching, Belle. Saving the plumpest towel for their scowly wench. Oh, my dear, you and your fine oh so fine details just kill me. Beautiful…you will pay for this. x

  • Your comments often make me tilt my head to the side and view my own words differently….and that’s such a special gift to give another writer. Thank you kindly, my little Cricket. x x x

    – bellmusker

  • fireandice
    fireandiceover 6 years ago

    Im gutted. I feel like my end is about to come to a very fast short stop..
    And all because the story ended..
    Whens the next installment?

  • Whens the next installment?

    Well, I never…..these women could bring forth words from my fingertips forever, but I hadn’t really planned on it. Thanks for the compliment! And for making me now wonder…..hmmm…could I possibly?

    – bellmusker

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