On the Upbeat, Positively Carolan

Americans in France – part 2

My hubby playfully patted my backside and we sat down in high-backed chairs with frayed leather seats at the worn oak table in our French apartment, ready to try my pressure-cooked roast beef.

“Well?” I held my breath.

“Mmmm … not bad … yeah, this meat is really tasty, hon.”

“Who’d ever have thought it would work? Who’d ever have thought I wouldn’t have an oven! Or a refrigerator or hot water or a bathtub or television or anything?!” I thought to wipe away the tears I knew were forming but at that moment we were startled by a knock at our door.

John opened the door to none other than the mademoiselle across the hall. I could only stare at the most glamorous woman ever seen upclose. Not young anymore but it didn’t matter with black hair swept up into deep waves, dark eye makeup and raspberry mouth, heavy cloying perfume, longish beige dress and suede spike heels in the same shade.

In his halting Army Conversational French John asked the woman to come in. She held out a hand dripping with diamonds, then spied the baby and asked permission with her eyes. She rocked Dena slowly, purring, nodding her head in perfect rhythm, At last she turned back to John, gesturing toward the pack of Camels on the table. She made him understand that she meant to purchase American cigarettes. Could he get them for her? And would 500 francs per carton be good each time he came with them?

John glanced at me briefly, but nodded to Mademoiselle, mumbling, “Uh, oui, oui. Toute de suite,” and the woman smiled, shook hands and was gone.

Yes, we knew this was black market but — omg — the price was five times what John paid at the PX!

(to be continued)

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1 Comment

  1. I can’t wait to read more!

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