My Uncle Doolie was what everyone called, “different,” born from a bad egg, peculiar. To me he was just Doolie, my uncle on my father’s side, though I knew to keep a good walking distance behind him, out of harm’s reach you might say, that’s because Doolie had a flash fire temper, that most anything could make flare. When you last expected it, it would come at you like a cyclone and wail the life out of you.
Doolie was what was called around these parts of Virginia, as an “old bachelor.” There were few. Though some frequented Moodies, the pink whore house down on Red Dog Lane. Doolie was a Moodies regular – along with many others, politicians, school teachers, moonshiners, you name it, all husbands, some as dignified as it gets, you know Church on Sunday, work on Monday, sneak around on Saturday types.
Even as a kid, I’d heard plenty about Moodies, but I didn’t know quite what to make of the place, that is, until I got older and took it into my head to hop on my bike and take a ride down there and have a little look see myself. If my uncle Doolie could attend the ladies at Moodies, then why couldn’t I? Everyone said that with my curly black hair and exciting blue eyes, I was the cat’s meow, and from all the sideways glances and giggles I got by the girls, I suppose I was. But, then, they were just high school girls, clean-faced church-going types. I was looking for something else to learn on.
Oh, I’d had my fill. Once, of a girl named Kandylynn dragged me down in the bushes behind the Ferris wheel at the county fair. Kandylynn was yum, yum good, kinda raunchy in a tight orange skirt basted up high, pink bubble gum pink lips, blonde hair from a dime store bottle, popping gum as we rode the rhythm. I swear that Kandylynn was the most beautifulest girl I ever laid my eyes on up until then. But now I was looking for mature, you know, like a peach, not overly ripe, but plump and juicy for a teenage squirt like me. Maybe 30. Yeah, 30 sounded right.
As God is my witness, I remember that day as if it were yesterday. There I was, just pedaling on out to Red Dog Lane when I came to the crossroads just outside of town. If you turned right, you headed back to town. If you turned to the Left, you were on your way to Red Dog Lane. Just within sight, the county fair was setting up. Naturally the Ferris wheel and shooting booths caught my eye.
Shooting booths always had a strong pull on me. I’m a crack shot, I really am. I’m real good with a squirrel rifle. Daddy taught me, but I honed my skills until I could shoot the ear off a mouse, and did plenty of times, for practice. One- eared mice were always scurrying around our place. You’d think they’d learn, but no. they just kept coming back for more, and sometimes I gave it to them too. Ever see an earless mouse? Come on out to our place, and yank up the shed floor board, if you don’t believe me.
Anyway, as I stood there staring at the shooting booths, I couldn’t stop thinking about all I’d heard about Doolie’s doings down on Red Dog Lane. Then, it came to me like a dawning, kind of like switching on the lights in a dark room and letting your eyes adjust. Once they do, you’re not in the dark anymore, or ever will be again. I made up my mind, got back on my bike, turned left and started pedaling toward Red Dog Lane.
As I’ve said, Doolie visited Red Dog Lane as regularly as the Promise Land Righteous made Sunday morning church. Apparently Doolie’s craving for his favorite watering hole never subsided.
Millie, the bordello’s “Madame,” claimed to have hailed from the south of France. The truth was, Miz Millie’s birthplace was a small dusty pueblo somewhere deep in southwest Mexico, nowhere near the azure coast. However, once Miz Millie hit the shores of America, the exceedingly pretty and sharp-as-a-tack Millie “Dubois” got down to the business of marrying and hitting it big. Five times she was said to wed scoundrels or law-breaking men. After ridding herself of Portner Porr,a big tobacco farmer, the last and most well-heeled, Miz Millie bought herself a small, downtrodden tavern on Red Dog Lane and christened it, “Moodies.” Then, Miz Millie bought every one of the pastel Queen Anne houses on either side, for extra entertaining space.
Right off, Miz Millie became a dealer in pleasure, something she knew a thing or two about, something men could not, and would not do without. With Miz Millie’s foolproof legal connections, including a longstanding private relationship with Diggalow Creek’s Honorable Judge Tarbox, among others, she managed to stay clear of trouble. And, with the steady stream of girls that blew into Red Dog Lane on northbound trade winds, Madame Dubois’s irreputable business grew along with her full-figured satin corset with pink twining ribbons.
I hear Doolie was crazy about the place. His times in the big wide-spread houses were the only gestations of peace to his troubled soul, excepting the bliss of the seed shed that is. Moodie’s dim tavern smelled dank of half-smoked pipes and frothy brown beer. On occasion, scents from nearby meadows were said to waft through the open brothel windows sweetening rooms with short-lived innocence.
Sometimes, Moodie’s featured an actress who went by the name of Milagros. Except for the bright pink bustier’s straining laces, and her impossibly red lips, as slick and shiny as nail enamel, Milagros looked soft like a pussy willow. In the tavern play, Milagros was supposed to be attacked by a burglar at the moment she was undressing. Piece by piece she peeled off her gossamers down to a dinky, short-legged combination so sheer Doolie could read fine print through it, leaving precious little to the imagination. Her performance left a primal tingling in Doolie.
Milagros was one of the finest-looking women Doolie had ever rolled his eyes over, but his eyes did not feast on Milagros long, because, in truth, she could not hold a candle to that girl, the Caribbean waitress with the satin, cacao skin, the one that went by the name, Gabriella. Gabriella moved like a thick drawl and reminded Doolie of the beauty on a rum label he’d rubbed a forefinger over a time or two. Her black eyes dropped halfway down her lids, lazy, drugging eyes, her breath, the raisin whisper of Madeira. She gave off an animal scent that drove men wild with desire. Her buttocks, the shape and volume of ripe melons, only stoked Doolie all the more.
Gabriella was a woman who answered to most any man’s call, but Doolie cared as much about that as a primed dog to a used bitch. Gabriella looked to have washed in from one of those islands where women are as brown and rich as nibbling chocolate, their breath as sweet as pralines. She fired Doolie’s lust and caused him to nurture tortured thoughts. He imagined her touch, warm sand running through his toes. He couldn't help but wonder if maybe, just maybe, Gabriella cottoned to him too. Imagining her warm dark regions melding with his, he went weak.
Watching Gabriella waver through the room made Doolie ache deep down in his bones, as if sensing a coming storm. For so long he had been needing a woman like Gabriella, a woman to satiate his cravings and soothe the torments. When he caught Gabriella’s scent, he felt like a spawning fish in an essential stream. She was a woman who answered to most any man’s call, but Doolie cared as much about that as a primed dog to a used bitch. Gabriella looked to have washed in from one of those islands where women are as brown and rich as nibbling chocolate, their breath as sweet as pralines. She fired Doolie’s lust and caused him to nurture tortured thoughts. He imagined her touch, warm sand running through his toes. He couldn't help but wonder if maybe, just maybe, Gabriella cottoned to him too. Imagining her warm dark regions melding with his, he went weak.
But of such pleasure, Doolie was to never know, because he never worked up the nerve to give Gabriella so much as a nod. Instead, Doolie sweated and stared whenever her womanly body swayed by, swaddling him in her wake, causing her bracelets to jingle like a female cedar’s windy notes calling a mate.
The truth is, I do kinda feel for Doolie. None of the girls ever blushed or twittered around him. He’s still an old bachelor, still as mean as a snake, and if it weren’t for those jugs of moonshine he keeps hidden down in the shed behind the seed sacks, he’d be the meanest, most miserable cuss around, and probably is. Once I saw him staggering out of the shed, looking like he had stars in his eyes. But, I have never seen a smile on that gnarled-featured face of his – never, not a once.
Now that I’m thinking about Red Dog Lane, remembering how it went with Doolie and Gabriella, I have to wonder if she’s still over at Moodies. I’ve a mind to go see what Madame Dubois has to offer. Now I’m right where the two roads cross. The fair will hold, but my manhood is in need of arriving.