they call me Cain. thug for hire. whatever the job calls
for: a theft, a burning, a kill. quick & clean, it’s my
modus operandi. then I’m on the next train out. nobody
knows my face.
and I stay away from dames, they’re trouble. when I crave
a woman, I call an escort service. escort, courtesan… just
fancy names for a whore.
all of a sudden, there was Delphine. she had the curves to
be a high-class hooker, & the angles to avoid it. sex was
an opera of passion for her. she chose her own lovers.
I met her in a club that was thick with wolves in neckties &
low-cut dolls. I like crowds; a man can disappear in a crowd.
the crush of the inebriated clientele pushed us into each other.
I had to embrace her to keep from knocking her down. ‘we
better dance,’ I told her. ‘it’ll look more respectable that way.’
we danced & talked. we drank, & talked a little more. I could have
warmed my heart on the romantic light in her eyes, so I warned
her about my sleeping habits. ‘after you spend a night with me,’
she said, sultry-like, ‘you won’t waste your money on whores.’
she was right. the sex was beyond my experience, the kind you
couldn’t buy. the way she touched me, held me. like someone in
love. it was precious, & beautiful. too beautiful for an outlaw like me.
she kept me company after that. I spoke about things, maybe too
much. told her I was a wanted desperado. the law knew me only as
a question mark, a ghost with a price on my head. a very large price.
I fell hard in love with her, but I had to run, & I wanted her with me.
she agreed, & we made plans to meet at the train station…
I hid in the crowd & watched her as she came in the entrance. she
glanced to the right, then the left. when she spotted me, she hurried
over & kissed me, deeply. as she always did. suddenly she stopped &
said, ‘sorry, baby.’ I almost believed her.
three grim Feds surrounded me. the meanest one recited the Miranda
legalities, then he said, ‘you’re booked, tough guy.’
how many days, I wondered, will I rot in this crummy cell till they
drag me to the gallows. Delphine never visits me, of course,
but she still kisses me…
…in my sweetest nightmares.
(Art: Christian Gaul)