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Bride of Traps 3
Act 14.3: Doris Synchronus, Runaway Slave of the Censor
© 2024 James LaFond
JUN/9/24
Internment, Breadday, Fifth Day of Sepulcher
The candles had burned low as the men capered, diced and roared, served by the miniature tavern keepers. Good Ma Ann had devoted the handful of hours to educating Doris on what she knew to be a decent girl’s concerns about the coming bed turns.
‘Will he want me?’
“Oh, like lighting seeks the tree—you are a fair and rare beauty!”
‘Will he take me?’
“If he gets much more drunk, I’d say that will wait until morning, at his age.”
‘I don’t want to be a virgin.’
“You have too much soul in you to be fitted for a nun… and we know, girl, that so long as you are unsullied, the price perverts will pay the vile new Censor for your innocence to take, will evaporate. This man who took you, if he does take your virginity, makes an enemy forever of the master of this city.”
‘So he won’t take me?’
“There is a chance, that his oafish decency and high regard for you—like as if you are a Jap doll of glass—might move him to save you for his brother—a better bed mate by ten, I’d say; Rex Born is the very perfection of manhood, this, his lesser, battered brother well knows. He desires you for a certain, I see, and I see desire often in men’s eyes from behind that bar. To make enemies drives him like friends new made for lesser men. Censor be dammed—you will leave your girlhood down this cozy hall and I’ll gift you the bed sheets for your nursing shawl.”
‘That is risky, to be saved for the better brother—I want a baby,’ she made of her invisible belly a swell of hands.
Ann thought a bit, “I’d say there is a fair chance, that if you arrive with your new and illegal owner, before your just owner, that you might be taken or given; your brute and your brother will both be fighting in the arena for their lives—over matched. The Lictors might simply take you away.”
Ann thought deeper.
“Why a baby? It is a lovely thing to have a child, and I have had three, but the two boys were nabbed off…”
‘I know. I am sorry. I saw my mother die when I was pulled from her. I want a baby, a girl with a voice, a boy with a choice.’
Ann turned on the bench, her skirt dropping on either side of her seat. “You see those men back there, those two champions, drunk so as like children. Billy is heating their medals in the fireplace and they will brand the pillar in the middle of the bar, where navy captains and army centurians have branded it too, putting this house under their protection—meaning a man, even the Censor, gives me guff, I need only send for such a man of that band. Look,” said she as she turned, lifted her dress and showed her rather ample bottom with the brands of two centurians, a lictor and a captain.
She snarled lusciously, “I rode those men like a hussy—and you may bet your beauty that I will ride that boxer until he promises to knock any head that affronts Ann!”
‘Oh my, ride a man? Like a horse, you mean?’
Ann laughed harshly, picked up a mug of beer and drained, and snarled playfully, “Girl, in case that giant oaf falls off drunk, let me tell you why women rule this world of men!”
Doris was at first horrified about the particulars of sexual intercourse, then mesmerized by the varieties of postures, then grew sure that Orpheus, with his serpent like agility and Nymphic beauty, would take the hearts and legs of many women, then thought, with a growing glow, that she might be perfectly designed by God to tether the heart of some such giant as Max Born…
Ann, through all of her increasingly drunk explanation of the bedtime acts of women and men, keenly saw the nymph imagining her self in such acts and looking worriedly at her own long legs and elongated form under her shift.
“Girl, confidence should be yours. If I were as tall, and beautiful and golden-voiced as you—and young as May—I’d have my self carried on a litter to the door of the House Equis for Rex Born to adore. You, looking like Venus—with that brute Scot boar! Crack that veneer of decency he is holding up ‘cause he knows he’s no good enough for you, man whore that he is, keepin’ the beds of patrician dames for drinking change!”
‘They do—those I sing for bed the likes of him?’
“Girl, do you know who he is?”
‘No—a great bull of men, is all.’
Taking more beer, Ann scooted near and whispered, “The highest tower in New York, the one on Rock Park with the clock upon it, its brick banded in iron.”
‘Yes, I have seen it—have once sung beneath and up to it.’
“Of course you have, Girl. ‘Cause the grand slutty Dame of Pannonian Fame, Victoria McClellen, mother of our very Caesar, asked her son to have you sing to her. I see you have been spared—due to the decency of Increase Publico, only man of power with a decent hand—the gossip that such as I traffic in.”
The men were branding the pillar with growls of drunken adore. Orpheus could barely stand.
“Girlfriend, I tell you true, that, angry at Old Caesar McClellen for leaving her alone while he crusaded in Africa, that old dame entered the prison were the crew of a long ship of Norwegian reavers were held for the arena and gave her charms to the greatest man of arms, a giant. Their son is your new master, your bed-sharer.
“The lady was locked in the tower over the birth of that mighty bastard, a year old when his “father” returned. Then, the randy bitch, bless her slutty soul, had that same great chief, now a champion of gladiators, of the House Equis, smuggled into her chambers so he might seed her again—that brilliant bastard, Rex Born, better in all measures to this one, is set to cross blades with him on Carnival, in a mere two days.”
‘I want to be sick.’
“Your hero is slated for the bier. Send him off with a smile.”
Ann then slapped Doris’s thigh, rose, danced a bit in her hard clogging shoes, drank another cup of beer in one swallow and then leaped into the arms of the boxer, who carried her up the stairs.
Little Annie then gathered Minicus in her hand and led him up behind her mother and across the balcony into the toy house.
Orpheus was passed out on the bar.
Billy Gear picked up an iron pike and sat with his back to the barred door, on the floor and nodded off.
Sandy Max, as she would have to know him, for that was the name to be put into prayer, blew out the candles, leaving only the fire place lit, and walked over to her and looked tenderly down.
She rose and stood under him, like a shrinking willow under a soaring oak, and heard two giggles up and above. Turning, she saw the children peeking out of their shadowed window with smiles.
‘Oh my!’ she felt a rush as she was hoisted in one hand and thrown like a sack over the unarmored shoulder—'thank God'—and carried off as the children clapped their little hands.
Doris had never the inclination—like rude Ma Ann—to discuss the particulars of conquering a man. She would often though, describe the morning of her conception to her daughter, curled lovingly in those old, scarred, man-breaking arms, as Little Annie and Minicus Thrax jumped up and down on the bed around them, having torn open the drapes of the one snow frosted window, “Snow, snow—the Lady Nymph called down the snow.”
Naked as they were under the covers, the man grumbling still asleep as if killing something in a dream, Little Annie knelt down next to her and pulled aside the blond hair from Doris’s ear, “Lady Nymph, I think Mother Mary sent the snow for your wedding dress.”
Wrapped in his arms, Annie hugging her neck and Minicus hugging the giant, dented head of her lover, she fell, smiling, back into sleep.
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