Prosperity vs. Adversity

She seemed like such a lovely lady.  A beauteous form can hide the darkest of hearts.  The face of an Angel, a lithe and exquisite body, however, does not the Holy Writ say that the devil is disguised in the purest of forms? Was he not known in the beginning as Lucifer and could he have not had a female counterpart.

And what is the appearance of a Fallen Angel? It is thus, a slightly prominent forehead, below are wide deep set eyes, high sculpted cheekbones,  an aristocratic nose, full sensuous lips with a generous mouth encasing small pearl like teeth, and a sturdy jaw line. Such a classic face was enveloped in a halo of thick curly black hair with a shock of white in the front.

All these gorgeous outward features contained in alluring golden brown skin kissed by the sun. This regal head was attached to a small lissome body.  Her fine-looking face and petite frame hid the advancing years very well.  

Being diminutive enabled her to pass quickly through narrow spaces without touching the sides, almost like an apparition, you felt air, looked back only to see the rustle of drapes or curtains but not the actual being. Leonarda’s physical movements whilst working the room at a cocktail party were not unlike her charming yet devious personality.

And when Leonarda was speaking with you the entire world fell away, you became the complete focus of her intentions and she seemed to exalt your small ideas, thoughts and words just with a nod of her classic head. That night as would be the case in future events, every guest in the room magically disappeared leaving only me, Leonarda and the martinis we held in our hands

 Who would have thought she was really a succubus, sent to drain men’s souls. Every night when I lay down beside her I would become as vigorous as a lion to meet her insatiable demands which left me as weak and mild as a lamb.  She drained my daylight strength from me. Yet at the dawn of the next day her preternatural words would enliven me so I could carry out her wishes. 

Those wishes which at the time seemed the mildest of suggestions caused my former friends to fall away from me much like the strangers in the room where she and I first met. Somehow my boon companions sensed her evil and knew from whence she derived her wealth, power and authority but alas I did not or rather I did not want to listen when they tried in their various communications to alert me to the danger I allowed into my life.

Leonarda La’Velle hailed from New Orleans. She was rumored to be a direct descendant of the mulatta and sorceress Marie Laveau. Leonarda had anglicized her name in an attempt to throw off track anyone who tried to research her background, but her attempts were futile to the superior talents of my friends and co-workers who were by trade paranormal researchers trained to recognize the schemes and incarnations of the wicked.

Like her infamous ancestor Marie Laveau, Leonarda La’Velle had as her patron an elderly rich white lover, so enamored of his mistress’ guile and subtleties that he scarcely realized that he was being cuckolded on a daily and nightly basis.  From him she drew money, from me, Christophe Dumell she was able to drink my very essence because I made the error of falling in love with the witch.

No doubt when I was under her spell, whenever I expressed some dissatisfaction, no matter how small she would caress my face with her tiny hands all while singing soothing melodies, songs which proved to be carefully crafted spells designed to keep me under her power. I only lived to satisfy Leonarda.

We all resided in Ulster county section of the Hudson Valley within the small town of Monrose, New York, population, 6666, one more than the devil’s number, not more than one hour from Satan’s major domain of New York City.

Monrose was a town comprised of transplants, those even too freakish for New York City proper. Small trade guilds of artisans flourished in this place, an abode of freethinkers, magicians and curiosities steeped in their own rituals and rites they believe preserved Monrose and allowed it to prosper.

Leonarda was a consultant of sorts. Wealthy businessmen came to her with their dilemmas which she solved for them all while extracting personal information which she later supplied to her primary patron, but unbeknownst to him, she used these intelligences to blackmail her clients. She had files and illegally taped conversations on all of them. She had witnessed either firsthand or via her spies, who operated all over the city compromising positions and conflicts of interests of the most powerful city fathers. Some o f these power brokers when called to Leonarda’s boudoir to confess their sins and make restitution initially balked at the idea of paying her blood money until she showed them her evidence and threatened to expose them. Fearful of being stripped of their power and positions they all acquiesced except one…………

Work Shoes


Work Shoes

SAS —  Not quite fashionable but very functional. Serves the purpose and provides comfort during long hours on my feet as a silent sentinel over a dystopian universe.

Crocs — the ugliest shoes in the world. Not sexy at all. More ugly than the Earth Shoes from back in the 70s. Have had and worn both. Both comfortable. Believe now what used to be called Earth Shoes have been renamed Birkenstocks.

Brooklyn Museum Funky Fresh Exhibits
Brooklyn Museum Funky Fresh Exhibits

Those of us in professions where you stand on your feet all day long value comfort. Ugly is relative. Comfort is paramount. Comfort is not just your feet but your back also. Being a security officer at a museum I’m on my feet for sometimes eight or more hours a day. During the 7 years I’ve worked at the museum I’ve had relationships with many shoes that advertise themselves as being comfortable. Ecco is just expensive with no really good built in arch support. Merrell has so far turned out to be the best. Good arch support, soft, flexible, slip on-slip off. Skechers MBT knock-offs, forget it. Returned them. Can’t stand that rocking and rolling motion. Plus these rocker type shoes are really made for walking not standing. My job requires me to stand. Very bad for my already poor back. No good. Reject.

Latest acquisitions – SAS work shoes. Black just like the rest. The museum mandates that we must wear black shoes with our uniforms. We do get issued black work shoes from the museum but they are like rocks, so most guards, me included buy other black work shoes, get the reimbursement to keep our feet and pockets at least somewhat happy.

Nameless, faceless, meaningless in my blue suit with gold plated brass, red tie, white shirt, black socks, black shoes. I blend into the walls taking on the form of a silent exhibit programmed to protect the art, give directions and aid to tourists, visitors, VIPs.

Shoes, specifically women’s shoes, I’ve seen them all. At the special evening events I see the young hip girls in their 20s with the sky scraper high 4, 5, now 6 inch heels many times hanging off sugar daddies who are my age. Balenciaga shoes, Christian Louboutin Shoes, Chanel, Prada, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Fendi, Manolo Blahniks on women who are already giraffes. Shoes signifying status, youth, beauty, availability, opportunity, wealth, access. Access to a world closed to me.

If one day given the opportunity to slip into those designer shoes on my blue collar feet would a new world suddenly open? Would I be transported to another dimension where I’d find myself on the arm of a rich handsome man, cameras clicking all around us, attending premieres at movies, theatres, museums, exiting the limo striding down the red carpet, my face gracing fashion magazines worldwide. Would I be sent back in time thirty years, my destiny changed all by a pair of shoes?