Back to Casablanca: Chapter Four

Chapter IV

Testarossa Ferrari didn’t so much climb into her boyfriend Ahmad’s huge Roman bath as trip opening the door and fall face first into it. The soap got in her eyes, but she heard splashing from the far end, and made her way over toward the sound.

“I got shot with a tranquilizer dart,” she said. “I shot myself in the foot, technically. Then Annie brought me back here and knocked me out with something. And I’m all woozy, but I wanted to see you, but now I have soap in my eyes, so I can’t see anything.”

‘But,” she continued, “I heard you splashing.” She went over to Ahmad, and kissed him hard on the mouth. “Soft. You must have just shaved.” She kissed him again, running her hands up Ahmad’s hairy chest. However, there was no hair there. Only two shapely, soapy breasts.

“Oh, shit, Ahmad! Did Annie do something to you?” ‘Rossa finally wiped the soap from her eyes, and found herself staring at the rather stunned faces of The Princess of Lichtenstein, The Baroness von Heidelberg, and Jane. Jane still had soap on her face from where ‘Rossa had kissed her.

“You’re not Ahmad,” ‘Rossa observed, “So why are you in his bath?”

“Um, this is our bath. You’re in our hotel room, ‘Rossa: Room من ستة وسبعين at the Casablanca Inn and Spa.

“This isn’t Casablanca Arms Condidmen, no, wait. Comedidum. No, wait–”

“Condominium?” Jane offered helpfully.

“Yes! That’s it.” ‘Rossa smiled. She stood up and looked around the room, then down at the two women.

“You know,” she whispered conspiratorially. “You’re both naked.”

“We’re taking a bath, so of course we are,” the Princess replied. “And as wet as you are, you can see everything through your silks.”

“Uh-oh. That’s not good,” she looked down. “Yeah, boobies and hoo-hoo muffin.”

“Since you’re already wet, you could just join us in the bath. Hang your silks up to dry, and even borrow a robe if necessary.”

“Then we’d be naked in the tub.”

“Because we’re taking a bath ”

“Oh,” ‘Rossa looked forlorn.

“What’s wrong,” asked Jane.

“You want me to take a bath with you.”

“Right…and?”

“I was hoping for a three-way with two women. Annie won’t play that way, and the little Swedish girl hates me, but I’ve always kinda wanted to be with two–

“The Baroness of Heidlberg Anastasia, the Princess of Lichtenstein,” shut ‘Rossa up with a deep kiss, while Jane unwound what little silk was left.

And they shared  a bath. And all of their backs  got scrubbed repeatedly. And this author never employs euphemism.

“’Rossa, your silks are trashed. There’s a robe over there on the hook. You can borrow it and wear it home,” Jane offered.

“Can I wear it to Ahmad’s instead?”

“Sure. You can wear it anyplace you want.”

“Whew,” said ‘Rossa. “Okay. Thank you. Ahmad works at The Blue Parrot, but that’s my dad’s place, so I’ll see you at Rick’s tonight. I hear there will be awkwardness and subtruge. ‘Bye!” ‘Rossa left.

“What the fuck?”

“Subterfuge,” Jane translated from ‘Rossa-speak.

“Oh, okay,” replied the Princess. “Now—“she smiled lasciviously—“We might have enough time that I could get my back washed againn!”

 

Rick’s was hopping that night. Far from the tired standards Sam had droned out, Ray Charles led his orchestra through “Hit the Road Jack,” “What I Say,” and dozens of upbeat songs that had some people trying to dance, then falling down, because they were so unfamiliar with real music.

Rick sat at a small table with Annie the Soapmaker, downing shots of Reichstagfeuer, and chasing them with bonded bourbon. They were getting drunk pretty quickly. Annie put on the brakes with a large vodka, extra soda, and lime. Rick just laid-off the Reichstagfeuer, and sipped his bourbon.

“Rick,” Annie said quietly, taking a big sip of her drink. “Don’t lie to me. You have those letters of transit, don’t you?”

“And what if I did?”

“You could get Laszlo out of here on the plane tonight.”

“And make a fortune doing so. But?”

“But you’d forever lose the chick who looks like Ingrid Bergman.”

“Right. She dumped me in Paris, and I don’t want her to leave here without me.”

“Well, send Laszlo with someone else?”

“Pity Ugarte bought it.”

“You’re sure he’s dead?”

“Yeah. That’s what Louis told Laszlo when he and Strasser were `interviewing’ him this morning.” Rick took a cigarette from his case and offered one to Annie. He lit them both.

“The sad thing,” he said, blowing smoke toward the ceiling, “is that all Ugarte wanted was to leave. He didn’t give a damn about Laszlo or the Free French movement or any of that crap. He just wanted to sell the letters, get an exit visa from his source, and get the hell out of here.”

“Yeah,” Annie ashed her cigarette. “Why didn’t he just use the things himself? Get on the plane at the last minute with his letters, and be gone from here?”

“He wanted the money, kid.” Rick sipped his bourbon. “He told me last night he was going to sell them for more money than even he had ever imagined. He wanted the whole pie. Not just a slice.”

“Nice metaphor.” Annie smiled.

 

At the bar, a French Resistance soldier and an SS enlisted man were arguing over Yvonne the bar floozy, who was now a proper woman eager to try out her new vagina. The problem was, the men started to scuffle, which caused Jane to spill her two glasses of Reichstagfeuer. In a flash, she smashed the glass against the bar, kicked the soldier’s knee sideways, and held a pointed piece of glass an inch—or about 2.5 centimeters—from the man’s eye.

“You fuck with me again, and I’m jabbing this into your brain, get it?”

“Oui!”

For good measure, she kicked the man square in the nuts. Annie the Soapmaker walked over from her table and kicked the Nazi in the balls as well. Fuck it. This wasn’t The League of Nations; it was Casablanca. Rick walked over.

“Sascha? Could you help this green-faced Nazi back to his table, then sweep this up?”

“Yes, boss.”

Sascha dragged the excruciated soldier back to the Luftwaffe table.

 

Major Strasser walked over from the Nazi part of the bar. Rick stood up, his head only reaching the officer’s shoulder. Annie stood up, only reaching the tall man’s xyphoid process. Concerned, Police Captain Louis Renault came scurrying in from the roulette wheel.

“There is far too much anti-Nazi sympathy in this club,” Strasser said.

“Well, it’s because you are a bunch of twatwaffles.”

“’Twatwaffles’?”

“’Fotzewaffeln’!”

“See what I mean? Captain, I want this club closed down immediately.”

Annie snapped.

“No, you don’t want it closed down. First off, you schwanzsaugenden Nazis would have to drink at The Blue Parrot, and there’s no way your Wagnerian brains could handle such speed and mysticism as John Coltrane has on sax over there. And second, Rick was just about to say how he was going to offer you 10% of the gambling profits as a goodwill gesture, wasn’t that right?”

“Um, yeah?”

The tall Luftwaffe major in his dress uniform and the diminutive young genius in a worn pair of Chucks and an “If You Can Read This: Suck My Balls” t-shirt locked glares.

“Very well, Mister Rick,” the Major said, breaking his gaze first. “That arrangement will be satisfactory to me.”

Rick and Annie nodded.

“Herr Rick. Frau Annie the Soapmaker,” and the Major took his leave.

Louis looked concerned. “I overheard what he was saying, Annie. If he has a complete dossier on you, that means he’s had you researched and watched closely. We all know you’ve done some…unusual things here.”

Testarossa Ferrari had remembered to wear panties tonight, Annie noticed.

“Sascha,” she called. “A round for our table, for Yvonne, and the two pairs of Risk-playing lovebirds over there.” She gestured toward The Baroness Anastasia von Heidelberg, Princess of Lichtenstein, and Jane, sharing a table with Lisbeth, and Hermione–fresh back from “Restrepo.”

Annie looked skeptically at her friend. “’Rossa, you never buy drinks for that many people, because you never have anyplace to carry money.”

“In my panties I do.”

Everyone cringed simultaneously.

“However, tonight? It’s on Major Heinrich Strasser of the German Luftwaffe,” she said, taking a big wad of cash from the wallet she’d just stolen from the Nazi. Sascha mixed the drinks grinning ear-to-ear. Even Rick laughed. “They’re all on the house, Sascha.”

“Oh, and that dossier? I can’t believe you lost your virginity when you were—“

“GIVE ME THAT!!”

And later that night, the Nazi report on Annie the Soapmaker’s virginity loss (and other skills, crimes, and sexual predilections) crackled in her ever-fired stove, their smoky secrets wafting away into the desert night.

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