The first day I arrive in this country of sparkling cubic zirconia, my English could have been gooder. But I speak the universal language of currency and my vocabulary overflow thanks to my family’s oil wells in the motherland. I bring only a brief case and lots of cash. I have no immediate plan but maybe one. And I tell it first to my cab driver.
I grunt to clear the throat. I sit up straight as a rod. The others awaiting transport can see how regal I am–they avert the eyes in deference. My driver, he say: “Whereto?” I say, “I am looking for the Disreputable Women.” I add a pause after each word for effect. Just like I practice in mirror. “What?” I repeat my line. He shrugs and we drive off.
Long have I heard of the female treasures housed by this country. Of this, I am thinking. He stop at some type of office. I don’t read the English so good, but I pay, and jump out. A little angel greets me when I open door. “Do you have an appointment?” she say. It is the amber waves of grain I see upon her head. Just like I picture. Such soft skin. “Excuse me, do you have an appointment?”
“Uh. Eh. No. I come to see the Disreputable Women.”
“There’s no one here by that name. Is it okay if Mary sees you?” she say.
“Mary? Mary. Like the Virgin Mother. Yes. Yes!”
She pick up the phone and say, “Mary. Walk-in waiting in the lobby?” Picture of autos, beaches, houses–all this, they hang on the walls. One minute more, and this Mary comes to greet me with the white teeth and the ample bosom. She lead me to an office and sit me in chair. “Tell me about your insurance needs, Mister… Mister… what did you say your name was?” “Nabrovsky”, I tell her. “Mr. Nabrovsky, what kind of insurance are you looking for?” “I want that you ensure I meet the Disreputable Women.” Then I repeat, just like I practice, “I am looking for the Disreputable Women.” She bat her eyes and say, “Ah, for that you absolutely need health insurance.” Then, such a flurry of papers and signings of this and signings of that and such happiness over the payment in the cash form. She give me traveler insurance too telling me it help me with the disreputable women. Then she tell me the first girl I meet out front will call for ride.
I get in new cab and hand driver the business card Mary hand me. He drive to big hospital and give me back the card. I pay, get out, and hand card to front desk. “You’re here for Dr. Felicity?” “Uh. Yes. Mary send me.” “Just a minute,” they say. I wait long time. An old woman in white coat come for me. She lead me to a room. “Sit on the table and take off your shirt.” I am wanting to get excited but she is not of the amber waves of grain. She take my blood pressure, she listen to my heart, and she give me little blue pills in a bottle. “This will help with the women,” she say. “Mary said you would pay in cash?” I point to briefcase and she help herself while I try to read the tiny letters on the bottle. “Now I meet the Disreputable Women?” I am losing the hope. “The bus can take you there,” she say.
I wait for the bus. I get on and tell the driver my line: “I am looking for the Disreputable Women.” He say, “You ain’t gonna get no ladies riding the bus, brother. You need to get yoself a car.” “You can take me?” I say. “Stop 18A, Geldin Street,” he say. I pay and ride. Is long ride. When I get off, the driver, he say, “Ask for Franceena.”
In front of me is big pavement full of the autos. So many kinds. A man in suit, he shake my hand. His hand is like dead fish. I say, “I come to see Franceena.” My shoulders are heavy, but Oh! Franceena!!! She wear the skirt that is like a napkin over the lap. She tell me many things but I no really hear her. I… how you say it? I… “runt” a car for five days only. Everyone is so happy to see American dollar. I want for Franceena to be what I look for but she send me out in shiny car.
It is dark and I drive for long time. I find hotel. I take a blue pill. I cannot sleep on my belly, but I’m so tired. So tired. Just like if I had find the Disreputable Women.