The dining terrace was already buzzing with activity. Shards of sunlight cut through the blinds and canopies, drawing acute triangles of heat and light across the floors and starched white tablecloths. Olive-skinned staff went to and fro between the tables delivering pots of tea and coffee to the guests, some of whom appeared to be doing a far better job than others of coming to terms with the whole business of being awake, alive, anew, atop the ski-run of yet another day in their many indifferent lives.
Goldberg took up his newspaper and permitted himself another look. She wore a lilac blouse, a white chiffon scarf twirled once around her neck before sweeping down between breasts the ampleness of which she could only imagine. Her skirt, a knee-length number with lace trim, served only to accentuate the workman-like musculature of her legs, stacked on top of some wildly ambitious heels. Where others present looked as though they’d fallen out of bed onto the awaiting chairs, she alone had the appearance of having come direct from yet another gala luncheon.
He found himself wondering why it was that gentlemen drawn to transvestism, however tender their years, felt compelled to dress, decorate and upholster themselves in the style of women with at least three children behind them, and not much to look forward to beyond the next Felicity Cummings novel.
Her make-up was a masterpiece of over-compensation. Alongside lashings of concealer, blusher and eyeshadow, her strawberry red lips were drawn into an exaggerated purse, by which she looked as though she was forever on the brink of taking umbrage at some mischievous remark. In spite of it all, an ominous shadow still fell over the lower portion of her face, the likes of which no razor could remove, nor foundation conceal.
Goldberg had first spied her at dinner the evening he arrived; she was fingering a prawn and dressed for bingo. It was buffet service – Goldberg loathed buffets – and he was already smarting at a reprimand from a Cretan waiter per se the fact that he was wearing a pair of shorts; as if it were possible to apply a dress code to an all-you-can-eat dinner service. It had only exacerbated his indignation to note that the tranny was sporting a pair of chartreuse yellow culottes, apparently without reproach.
At the time she’d been wearing a pair of hoop earrings you could have dunked a basketball through, conceived no doubt to deflect attention away from her broad shoulders and prosaic neckline. Today a pair of tapering silver shards flashed and flickered in the morning sun, in concert with the gentle bobbing of her Adam’s apple as she ordered breakfast.
Methinks, thought Goldberg wryly, the lady doth protest too much.
Regular readers of my blog may have noticed that it’s been a while since I posted anything of substance, or born of any real endeavour. That’s because I’ve been busy creating Goldberg, who I’d promised to unveil to a few of you once he was ready.
The Learned Mr James Scudamore, a trusted friend and published novelist, advised me against pursuing my plan to publish an entire first chapter, on the basis that any feedback I received – good or bad – would distract me from the more pressing business of writing chapters 2, 3, 12, 19 etc.
As such, I decided to put these opening few paragraphs out there, and will be largely disregarding any feedback I receive, unless it comes in the form of earnest encouragement to press ahead.
Those of you who know me well, among whose ranks I count myself, will now be watching with interest to see if Goldberg ever makes another appearance, or if he becomes yet another casualty of my congenital inability to stick to one particular task.
Whatever the case, he has become another creation of mine of whom I am already peculiarly fond, and, for the time being at least, continues to serve as a very satisfying outlet for my urge to write, and to fantasize.