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She Knew He Was Coming   By: (1925-1980)

She Knew He Was Coming by Kris Neville

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Mary might have learned a more ladylike trade, but one thing is certain: she had a shining faith in that space guy from Earth. Now, about that cake she baked ...

She Knew He Was Coming

By Kris Neville

Illustrated by Ed Emsh

Outside, the bluish sun slanted low across the green dust of the Martian desert, its last rays sparkling on the far mountain tops. One by one, lights flickered on in the city.

"Mary must be expecting that Earthman," Anne said. She held her glastic blouse tight together over her breasts and leaned a little out of the window.

Milly nodded. "The Azmuth landed this morning."

The noises of commerce were fading. From the window Anne saw the neon blaze up over the door. For the thousandth time she blinked between the equivocal words: 30 BEAUTIFUL HOSTESSES 30. Laughter, dry and false, filtered up from the tea bars along the street. She looked westward, toward the spaceport, and made out the shadowy nose of the berthed space liner looming against the night. She could picture the scene a thousand stevedores unloading cargo, refill men and native spacewriters scurrying over the sleek hull, the Earth voyageurs shouting orders and curses.

"Maybe he isn't even on it." Anne turned from the window. She crossed to the couch and sat down, fluffing out the green crinkly glass of her skirt; pendant, multicolored birds flashed from the rings in her ears. She tucked rosy feet under her scented body. "I don't like Earthmen," she said.

"They spend money."

"They make me sick," Anne said. "With their pale skins and ugly eyes and hairy bodies."

"They have strong arms."

Anne's wide, red mouth curled in distaste. "They're like a bunch of kids."

The room was lighted by soft, overhead fire. Heavy drapes hung from the walls. Sweet, spicy incense curled bluely from the burners by the window.

Before the mirror, Milly edged in the narrow line of her pink eyebrows with a pencil. She folded her lips in, rubbing them together, licked them, making them a glistening red. She pinched her cheeks.

"I wonder when they'll catch Crescent?" she said.

Anne yawned languorously. "It won't be long."

"I wouldn't want to be in her shoes," Milly said.

Anne patted her mouth lazily. "She ought to have known she couldn't run away."

"What do you think Miss Bestris will do to her?"

Anne stood up, brushing out the wrinkles in her dress. "I should care."

"But what will she do?"

Anne shrugged. "Whip her, maybe. How should I know?"

"Don't you feel you'd like to run away, once in a while?" Milly asked, turning to look at the other girl.

Anne laughed coldly. "I've got better sense."

"But don't you want to?"

Anne tossed her purple hair. "Where is there to go? Who is there to go to?"

"Yes.... I guess you're right." Milly turned back to her reflection.

Buzzzzzz ....

Both girls turned their heads to the buttons on the wall. The white one was glowing.

"It's Miss Bestris."

"We'd better go," Milly said.

Together they walked down the heavily carpeted stairs to the sitting room.

The Madame was waiting. She was a large woman, rolling in creases of fat, and her pink hair was rough and clipped short. She had a pair of dimples in her cheeks and a single gold band around her right wrist. She was leaning against the piano.

"Hurry now, girls, hurry right along," she said.

More girls were entering the room; they spread out, sitting on the chairs, curling at the Madame's feet. Their eyes amethyst, gray or golden were on her face. Many had pink hair, others had tresses of purple or salmon.

"Now, girls, I suppose you know there's an Earth ship in port?"

The girls nodded.

"So I expect we'll have visitors tonight. I want you to all look your very best." She smiled at them. "Anne, why don't you wear that low cut, orange plastic with the spangles, and June, you the prim white one? You look like an angel in it... Continue reading book >>

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