*Poppy

Reads: 342  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
The local Romeo gets his comeuppance.

Submitted: April 14, 2012

A A A | A A A

Submitted: April 14, 2012

A A A

A A A



POPPY

Poppy’s arrival at the town coincided with several different pieces of news. A butcher was found dead in his car, after having shot himself in the temple. Those in the know said that it was gambling and women that had brought about his ruin. His female customers would never again hear him say in that rich, deep, and devastatingly seductive voice, “There’s nothing like a good piece of flesh,” at the same time contemplating his customers through his gold-rimmed glasses while caressing a turkey or a piece of steak. The market would never be the same without him.
While in one part of the city the suicide of a butcher was the news of the day, in an elegant district a lady dressed to go to work was going through the rubbish bag in the kitchen with a furtive air. At last she found what she was looking for and went rushing to the matrimonial bedroom. She opened the door and gave it to the man who was getting dressed. Getting hold of the repugnant piece, the man put it on his head that was smothered in red lines and fine hair. The lady thought it had to be the new maid who had put it there. When the maid was asked about the object and why it had been thrown in the rubbish, she answered, “I thought it was a dead rat.”
On the page of curiosities in the town, was the news of how two pensioners had wanted their money back because they felt let down on seeing that the film that had been announced as spicy was in fact as sweet as custard, according to one of the elderly gentlemen. And the other one said that the girls instead of looking hot were as overdone as a plate of food reheated too many times.
You might well ask what these things all had in common. Well, nothing. They had simply occurred on the same day that Poppy arrived in that town. A man had committed suicide, a maid had thrown her employer’s wig in the rubbish, and two normally quiet pensioners had got violent. All this is to show that life is made up of incidents of which we are unaware, and that everything is related in one way or another.

Poppy was the commercial traveller for a biscuit company. Her work consisted of delivering samples of new products to old and possible new clients. She usually spent three weeks in a town, or a month if the area required it. The life of a commercial traveller is lonely, but Poppy was ambitious and that’s why she put up with the discomforts of the life of hotels and the road. No sooner had she arrived in a new place, Poppy knew where to go to have a good time during her hours of relaxation. Poppy had it all planned, the only thing that changed was the male company. She had entered the men’s world through her job and she kept it that way even after dusk. Men were essentially a bad necessity, but at the same time a good time could be had with them. The only problem was when they were intent on meaning something important for Poppy and not just a toy. For Poppy men were the means not the end.

Benny got to the shop twenty minutes ahead of time. It wasn’t his, but a branch of a furniture chain. Meta, Benny’s wife, parked the car in the parking area reserved for staff. Meta was a secretary in the office, and Benny was the sales chief. There was a telephonist and two assistants in the shop. During the day, Benny, who was very good looking and smartly dressed, smiled at everyone. He had been born conceited. A lot of women had their eyes on him and he enjoyed himself to the maximum with the situation. He flirted with all of them and it had to be seen how many sofas had been sold due to his own special way of making a sale. With insinuations and hints Benny had sold more furniture than could be held in the warehouse. Women without their husbands were easy prey in Benny’s hands. How many women had gone into the shop with one idea in their heads, to buy a three piece suite, and had left with small tables, bookshelves, and other things that they would never have thought of buying? Benny was indeed a good salesman but a disaster as a husband.
From her desk in the office, Meta had a good view of the shop, but she hadn’t taken any notice of Benny’s antics for years. Why didn’t she change her job? you may ask, and Meta’s answer would be she couldn’t see why she had to change just because Benny was shameless. For a year Meta had suspected that he had a lover or something. But she didn’t want to make a scene and look silly and so she never gave it any importance.
At night, Benny played the saxophone in a jazz club called The Dancing Bear. This was another Benny. In place of a formal suit for the shop he wore incredibly tight trousers and colourful shirts. The girls devoured him with their eyes, but for some time he had been going out with Loraine, the singer, and he didn’t want any more complications. What with life with Meta and their two daughters, plus the shop, and then the jazz club, music, and Loraine – Benny was fully occupied.

Poppy had rented a suite in one of the best hotels in the town. It was the time of the year, January and February, that is boring and monotonous if you haven’t got your free time full of activities. The weather just wasn’t for walking about, the only thing people do if they want to go out, is get inside somewhere closed against the cold and damp.
The first morning in a new place, Poppy usually followed up on the list of names and addresses she had been given. The majority were fixed customers and she had little time to talk to them. The last on the list was new, and as it was midday he invited her to lunch. Poppy, who wasn’t a redhead but had brown hair, put all her energy in capturing him as a customer. At the end of lunch Poppy asked if there were places where it was possible to hear music. Her new conquest cited several places like The Painted Scissors, salsa music, some discos, and then two jazz clubs The New Orleans Moon and The Dancing Bear. Poppy was a jazz fan and she told him, straight away he got out a card and gave it to her, saying that if she wanted he would be happy to accompany her. Poppy liked going to clubs alone. She always said that you fish better if you fish alone. Besides she wasn’t going to share what she fished with anyone else. All for me, she thought to herself as she and the customer said goodbye at the door of the restaurant.

In the afternoon Benny had to sort out the matter of a table leg badly affixed. He tried hard with all his persuasion and charm. He needed a good glue but the husband had arrived at the critical moment and ruined everything. The furious husband had gone mad on hearing Benny’s suggestion and wanted his money back or a new table. The man’s wife tried to calm him down and when she apologised for her husband’s bad behaviour, Benny presented her with a smile of instantaneous understanding. Meta had seen everything and when they were alone she warned him, “One day you’re going to get burned. You’re not always going to get away with things. And do you know what? That day will make me very happy.”
Benny was used to Meta’s warnings about what the future held for him, and took no notice. At closing time at the shop, Benny’s mind was on the club, and Loraine. Meta’s warnings could wait.

Loraine gave her son his dinner, and giving the babysitter her last instructions left home. Loraine loved the night, Benny, and singing in the club. It was another world. On divorcing her husband many of her friends advised her to get a fixed job, and in their opinion something more respectable than singing, but Loraine had answered that if she had to work she would do something that she liked, and she liked singing. She was an excellent singer. Benny was a casual lover, and he gave her extra money every so often for her child. Loraine wasn’t very sure whether he loved her or not, but at least he was company once in a while, and she didn’t want anything more complicated. Loraine knew Benny would never get separated from Meta, he had no reason to do so.

At eight o’clock at night the so-called Two Hours of Full Relaxation began. The bars were open and soft music filtered through the loudspeakers. The place was half-full of men and women dressed for listening not for flirting. Apart from the bar, the room was full of little round tables covered by yellow cloths, and in the centre there were bottles holding yellow candles. On one side of the stage, where later on the group would play, there was a big stuffed bear looking as if it were dancing. The decoration of the club went from darkest brown to golden yellow, and honey colour too. The whole place was set up to make even a bear feel at home. The drinks had names like, Forest Liquor, Bear’s Infusion (which was pure alcohol), or Old Honey Bear, and many more. The majority of the menus were of normal food disguised under names that suggested a dinner for bears. The bottles had a fluffy bear’s head as ornament. The idea was to make the most ordinary of places feel like a bear’s cave – comfortable, dark and relaxing, nothing noisy.
Poppy went in and sat down at the bar and ordered a Black Bear. When the cocktail came, she saw it was a variation on vodka and blackcurrant juice. She wasn’t surprised. She watched people’s comings and goings, and deduced that it had to be one of the best places in town by the number of people who were there. It wasn’t long before she was invited to a drink, but Poppy was on the prowl and not to be enticed from her objective.
At ten o’clock the group came on stage to play. Poppy sat down on a chair near the stage. To start, they played pieces that were very famous. There was a pause during which Benny with his tight trousers and hairy chest could be seen as he announced Loraine’s performance. Poppy thought, “This one’s mine. I like him.”
Just thinking of what they could do together made her mouth water. She licked her lips in satisfaction.
During the twenty-minute interval, Benny, the boys, and Loraine approached the bar, and it was there that Benny discovered Poppy’s devastating look. They exchanged glances knowing instinctively what each wanted from the other. Poppy’s eyes were fixed on Benny’s tight trousers in such a way that he understood the message sent.
“You don’t play badly,” she said to him to inflame his machismo.
“Thanks. Can I get you something?”
“I think your singer wants to say something to you.”
Benny turned his head round to see Loraine making a signal to him, and he ignored her. “Is this your first visit here?”
“Yes, I’m just passing through. I’m a commercial traveller. Are you going to get me a drink?” Poppy asked Benny.
“Well, well, I thought that commercial travelling was a job for men. I’ll go and get you a drink.” Benny with all his curiosity aroused went to get a drink for Poppy, and she thought he was handsome, manly, and simple. He was the perfect person to put a bit of happiness in her life during the next few days.
Loraine went up to Benny asking him for information about Poppy. The only thing that Benny told her was that he had invited Poppy to a drink. This exchange of words was observed by Poppy.
Returning to her table with the two drinks, Benny offered to take her back to her hotel. Poppy, who was eager to act ‘the prey’, said, “How gentlemanly you are. Very well, you can take me to the hotel, but on one condition – that you play well.”
Poppy intrigued Benny. She was different, how would it all turn out?

When the session had finished, Benny and the other musicians had left the stage and the customers left for home. Benny went straight for the door that he knew Poppy would leave by. Loraine asked him if he would see her home, but Benny said that he was taking Poppy to her hotel as she was new and didn’t know the place very well. This answer didn’t convince Loraine at all, Benny took no notice of her, and cursing all women, went in search of Poppy. She was waiting for him.
“Want to go somewhere special?” he asked Poppy.
“To my hotel, I’m very tired. Tomorrow I have a lot of work.” She was anxious to find out whether Benny was as good in bed as he was with the saxophone.
The two went to the hotel in Benny’s car. Poppy invited him to a drink in her room. They got out of the car, and took the lift up to her room.
“Are we going to have something?” Benny asked.
“Yes, a good time,” she said.
Benny said, “Are you saying what I think you are saying?”
“You said it. I feel depressed, and hungry – but not for food.”
Benny had never experienced such a rapid conquest.
“Are you sure?”
Poppy answered him sounding annoyed, “You wouldn’t want me to die of night starvation, would you?”
Benny was rather puzzled on seeing that Poppy was showing him where the bathroom was. He got undressed as fast as he could and left the bathroom, to find himself in Poppy’s naked arms. “I don’t like wasting time and even less at this time of night.”
Benny, the good-looking lover was rather stunned, for the first time in his life he was at the mercy of a woman who knew how to handle him. His head spun. The only explanation he could think of was that he had fallen into the claws of a nymphomaniac.
The very experienced Poppy was thinking, let’s see if you are as good as you promise. At times appearances can be deceptive.
They both fell on top of the bed, Poppy let out sounds as if she were a cat on heat, it was obvious she liked it. During the next minutes they proved that the bed springs were the quality promised by the manufacturer.
When he finally came up for air, Poppy threw him off the bed. “You have to leave. I have to sleep. See you tomorrow.”
Benny, used to being the one who gave the orders was going to answer her, but only said, “Good night. See you tomorrow.” And left.
Poppy alone and satisfied in her bed, stretched out and fell asleep at once.

Meta, feeling Benny getting into bed, turned over to hug and kiss him. It had been some time since anything had happened between them. Benny ignored her. He was worn out. The only thing he wanted was to sleep, and for a very long time. Meta insisted and Benny answered with the classic reply, “I’m tired.”
Meta sat up in bed and switched on the bedside table lamp, “Have you become gay, or have you been with another woman?”
Benny, who was unable to speak and much less capable of arguing, said nothing. Tiredness was much stronger than him. Meta seeing that she was wasting her time turned off the lamp. How exhausted he is, let’s see what he works like tomorrow, his frustrated wife thought.

The next day Benny was a sleepwalker in the shop. It was such fun to watch him trying not to fall asleep in an armchair or a sofa that Meta never commented on his nocturnal adventures. She knew there was something going on with Loraine but preferred to wait.
After dinner Meta told Benny, who now looked a great deal better, “You must tell Loraine to leave you alone on work days.”
Benny answered dryly, “What?”
Meta saw the confusion on her husband’s face and thought that there might be another.
Freshly showered and dressed up to the nines he was on the point of leaving for the club when Meta grabbed hold of him and asked, “By the way can you tell me where you are going and what are you playing at?”
“I’m off to the club and I’ll probably get back late. So don’t wait up for me.”
Benny didn’t want to speak to Meta. There was only one thing in his head, Poppy.
“I haven’t waited up for you for years but at least you could take notice of me once in a while. Want to know something? You should change your hobby from sax to sex, it’s more in your line.”
Benny opened the front door, “See you later, Meta.”

Poppy was at the same table as the previous evening. Benny went up to her and said, “Hello, want to have something?”
“Hello, you know very well what I want, meanwhile you can get me a vodka cocktail.”
“Know what, Poppy, you’re fantastic!”
She sent him a look reserved for the tiresome ones. Thank goodness he was just a ship that passed in the night. It would be unbearable to see him often. But at least he knows what he has to do and he does it well. She thought.
Poppy had the daylight hours occupied with work and there was always some idiot or other trying to flirt with her. The never-ending stupid manly conversations from men who didn’t know how to talk. If they were so bad at conversing what on earth would they be like in bed? was another one of Poppy’s thoughts.
Benny’s lack of conversation didn’t annoy Poppy. She appreciated the detail of not trying to impress her with intellect or sophistication. Benny was nothing more than a provincial flirt, it showed in his haircut, his clothes and his attitude towards women. Poppy laughed when thinking about the expression on his face the first time. The second time was much better, as he had learned with just one lesson. She was more than satisfied with her newest conquest. She thought of inviting him to dinner but then changed her mind. The mere fact of being good in bed didn’t mean he knew how to behave himself at table, was Poppy’s conclusion.

Loraine was fed up with seeing Benny running after the commercial traveller. In the dressing-room, before Wednesday’s performance, which was the third night since Poppy’s arrival, everyone was talking. The drummer, who had the appearance of a sleepwalker about him, was sitting with Loraine trying to flirt with her. Benny glanced at her and Loraine kissed the surprised drummer. She asked the drummer if he would take her home after the performance and he said he would. Benny asked her what she was up to and she replied, “Having a good time. The same as you.”
“ Leave the drummer alone. He’s married,” Benny advised.
“So are you, but that’s never been a hindrance for you.”
And with these words Loraine went onstage to sing. What with Meta’s claims on him, the desirable Poppy, and the scenes with Loraine, Benny was in a mess. Women were wearing him out.

Poppy was naked in Benny’s arms. She moved, which was the signal for him to leave. “You’d best go now,” she said.

Benny felt drained, the journey home was too much for him. He had to invent an excuse for Meta.
“I’m tired, Meta.”
“Don’t worry, I’ve got you some vitamins. You’re probably anaemic. Tomorrow you begin taking them.”
Meta laughed to herself. Poor Benny, do you think I’m stupid. Tomorrow you’ll see.
The ‘vitamins’ had a disastrous effect on Benny, which amused Meta. But it didn’t stop him from going to the club, in spite of his stomach pains.
“She must be very important for you to play in that condition,” Meta told him.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, and what condition? I feel fine.”
“I ought to give you a prize for bravery or for lying. Let’s see if your lady friend likes to see you like that.” Meta knew about Loraine but not about Poppy.

Poppy had no desire to go to the club to drink another bear cocktail and when she rang to tell Benny he almost died of anguish. “Don’t worry you can come up and see me before the show and if you like we can have something to eat,” said Poppy.
Benny wasn’t so sure about seeing Poppy before the show. His reflection in the mirror showed a face full of shadows. His eyes were sunken, his hair had lost its shine. He was a tom cat on the tiles.
Poppy was perfumed and waiting for him, and she began to purr in his ears. At first he paid no attention but eventually after Poppy’s insistence he gave her what she wanted.

Loraine saw him arrive at the club and asked him if he was going to perform in such a horrible state. Benny told her that he felt a bit weak but that he would play. Benny was suffering terrible pains in his stomach but he went on stage and played.

The next day, Poppy received a call from the head of the region, “You must go to the opening of a new commercial centre and help the other girls set up a stand for our products. Then you have to pay visits to possible new clients. The usual work.”
“When must I go?” she asked.
“Better if you leave early tomorrow morning to be there at midday to begin setting up for the afternoon. The opening is on the next day.”
“Very good. Thank you, goodbye.”
“Goodbye, Poppy, and good luck.”
Poppy packed her suitcase and hid it in a cupboard, she didn’t want a scene with Benny.
On her last night Poppy was more affectionate than ever. Benny had even more rings under his eyes. He tried to free himself from the woman’s sexual demands but without success. Poppy was once again naked in front of Benny, why did he have to be a pain in the neck. If he felt tired then he could sleep at home, meanwhile he had to carry out his promise. To get him going she began to start making noises, this time more like a cat on heat, in his ears again. Benny was afraid that the other guests in the hotel would hear her. His tiredness soon passed and he felt better.
When Benny was on the point of leaving for the club, Poppy told him about the call from her boss and the journey to the next work place. Benny didn’t have to return to the hotel any more. He was so tired he was incapable of arguing with her. On opening the door for him to leave, Poppy said, “Know what? You play your instrument very well. Bye, Benny.”
Poor Benny felt a disillusioned musician and an exhausted lover.
Poppy slept better than ever and during the night she forgot all about Benny.

Poppy’s leaving the city coincided with the reopening of the butcher’s shop, now under the control of his widow. A hatchet-faced woman dressed in widow’s weeds. The customers gazed at her in fear. Just by looking at her they understood the gambling and womanising of her defunct husband. With the butcher’s widow in charge the butcher’s lost the atmosphere of ambiguous jokes, to become a place where meat was sold and nothing else. The late butcher got only sympathetic comments among his old customers. His widow, firm and cold, lost some of the customers.

The man made sure he was alone at home when he opened the parcel. It was an adhesive wig which was proof against hurricanes, swimming-pools, etc. The wonderful item was the answer to his prayer. Once it was on his head he looked at himself in the mirror from all angles, and satisfied with the result said to himself, “Goodbye Baldy. Hello Hairy,” and to celebrate his improved look, put on a new shirt and tie.
The maid couldn’t believe her eyes.
“Next time you’ll have to put me in the rubbish too! This wig and I are going everywhere together,” he said to the startled girl.

On opening the DVD and video shop, the owner saw the two pensioners waiting to enter. They wanted to rent a couple of spicy films. So as not to get involved, he let them choose on their own. If they have heart attacks it’s up to them. Among their selection of porno films there was one with violence. “For a change,” one of the old boys said. “These are for the Pensioners’ Club, and there are some who prefer guns to girls.”
The owner stood watching them as they left the shop and went along the street carefully carrying their precious goodies.

Benny was still asleep. Meta had rung the doctor. “What’s he got, doctor?”
“He’s suffering from nervous exhaustion. He’ll have to put sexual relations to one side for a while. I’ll give him something to revitalize him. Don’t worry, ma’am,” and seeing the look on Meta’s face, which was a mixture of disbelief and amusement, added, “He’ll soon be as good as new. Good morning.”

First thing in the morning, Poppy went down to reception, paid her bill, got into her car and set off. By the time she reached the edge of the town she had forgotten everything except her sales, and she was trying to decide which would be the best route to take her to her next destination. At the traffic lights a car stopped next to hers and the owner opened the window and asked her where she was heading for. When she told him, he replied, “ Follow me, I’ll show you the way.”
Poppy thought, “That’s what you think!”


© Copyright 2019 Georgina V Solly. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

More Fantasy Short Stories