They grew in different sizes, but David seemed to prefer
them larger and larger and...
"The Melon Patch"
by Martin Courtney
Vol. 2 No. 3, 1958
IT WAS, HELEN thought,
a typical Noreen trick to keep her waiting, after Noreen had called first
to suggest their rendezvous in the Leopard Room for cocktails. What made
it rankle the more was that she herself had arrived a careful twenty minutes
after the present hour of five, with a reverse idea in mind. After all,
as David's wife, Helen felt she was entitled to some prerogatives.
She tapped a smartly shod foot silently on the soft
carpet, readjusted her mutation mink stole for a third time and looked
about her at the opulent lounge and its occupants. The decor was still
the same as when David had courted her here--the leopard skin upholstery,
the gold-framed mirrors, the cellophane palms and the pale blue sky-ceiling
with its unwinding constellations, courtesy of General Electric. It was
softly gay and flattering, yet viewed after so long an interval, it seemed
to Helen a tiresome trap.
The magic was rubbed away, from room and customers
alike. She found herself half-studying a flamboyant, Titian-haired young
creature sitting alone at a small round table three rows away. Really!
she thought, regarding the exaggerated breastworks that strained against
the confinement of the girl's low-cut black dress. There was no question
about their being for real, but, to Helen, the girl looked positively top-heavy.
From somewhere, she recalled the remark about the ill-fated Carole Landis,
who had been described as resembling a chiffonier with the top drawer open.
She regarded the trimness of her own firm bosom with approval...
"My dear! I'm so sorry!" It was Noreen, at
last, swathed in sables and a perfume both unfamiliar and obviously expensive.
"My driver got caught in the most dreadful traffic jam just outside my
"Have you thought of moving to the suburbs?" Helen
Noreen laughed reproachfully as she settled across
from Helen and said, "Claws sheathed ... remember? It was your idea."
"But you suggested the meeting," Helen countered.
"Touché!" Noreen said gaily, lighting a cigarette.
A waiter approached, and they ordered their drinks, and Noreen noticed
the girl sitting alone and said, "Goodness! There's a fine potential dairy
mother for some misguided male."
Helen had not intended to note the incipient Jayne
Mansfield in Noreen's presence--after all, Noreen's breasts were considerably
larger than her own, if not in the same league with the nameless redhead.
It was a point that had caused Helen to remark bitterly, when she first
learned David was dividing his off-hours between Noreen and herself. "Why
don't you go out and buy a cow? At least, a cow gives milk!" A stupid show
of jealousy, that had caused David to stay away from home for four frantic,
Now, however, Helen said, because the thought popped
into her sleekly groomed blonde head, "It's odd you should call her a dairy
mother, dear because food and female breasts seem to go together where
David is concerned. He once told me that I had 'biscuits like a Boticelli
Noreen's handsome dark eyes sparkled as she made
a grimace. "You did rather better than I," she said. "David said mine were
like 'rissole potatoes in a Poussin still-life.'"
The drinks arrived then, and they sipped their martinis,
and then Noreen said, "I never knew anyone could like food so well and
eat so much and still stay as thin as a rail. Honestly, the way I have
to watch my calories, and to sit there with David while he's devouring
all the things I simply don't dare eat."
"David" Helen said, drily, "burns up his food with
"You can say that again," said Noreen. And,
to change the subject, "You know, this was the room we did our courting
"Only the barest preliminaries, I'm sure," said
Helen, her voice etched in acid.
"Claws sheathed," Noreen reminded her.
"Sorry," Helen told her, "but your drill hit a nerve,
doctor. You see, David courted me here, too."
"Apparently neither he nor the room has changed
its spots," mused Noreen. Then, with a shrug, "Why should they? They both
seem to be pretty successful."
Helen drained her glass, looked idly past Noreen
and started. "What is it?" Noreen asked, turning to follow Helen's
gaze. Helen said, "I must be David-happy or something. I could swear I
just saw him peeping in at us."
"Where?" asked Noreen eagerly.
"He's gone now ... whoever it was," said Helen.
She laughed a deprecatory little laugh. "I'm probably just preparing myself
for another series of visits to my psychiatrist. But after last Friday."
"Friday?" said Noreen. "It's Saturday I want to
discuss with you. I know it's not exactly conventional, and you're a dear
sweet thing to see me at all about it...but then, our situation is hardly
"What did David do Friday?" Helen asked,
signaling the waiter to bring two more drinks.
"It's not what he did, as far as I'm concerned,
but what he didn't do," Noreen said with a trace of sharpness. I had some
rather important people in for dinner, especially to meet him. When he
called to tell me you had a sick headache and were keeping him at home,
it was most embarrassing. I know my position is anything but socially secure,
but you've always been so fine about not interfering. I had to see
you to learn what it meant."
There was silence while the second round of martinis
was deftly served. Then Helen said, "You got your revenge Saturday, taking
David to Westhampton with you when we were supposed to go to Old Greenwich."
The two women stared at one an other, and then Noreen
said, "But I never saw David all weekend. He told me he was going to Connecticut
"And I had no sick headache Friday night," Helen
informed her rival. "David told me he was having dinner with you and some
friends, and I didn't dream of interfering. After all, you know how David
gets when he's thwarted."
"I know said Noreen with a sigh. Her dark eyes lit
up with sudden alarm and the full picture got home, and she said, "Then...."
"Exactly," said Helen.
"I wonder who she can be?" Noreen asked.
Involuntarily, their eyes followed a waiter, who
appeared, carrying a telephone, and plugged it in after setting it on the
lone redhead's table. They could not hear what she said into the instrument,
but she smiled, and with her smile, she was very young and very beautiful
and very much in love. Then she rose and moved swiftly, gracefully, eagerly,
toward the door, her magnificent superstructure proudly thrust forward.
"You did see David just now whispered Noreen.
"That girl...this place...it has to be!"
But Helen made no direct response. Gazing thoughtfully
after the girl, she said quietly, "I wonder what artist is famous for painting
cantaloupes." Then, re-focusing her attention on Noreen, "Drink up, honey.
It looks like a wet evening ahead."