At my count of 9 going up the ANGEL escalator it becomes vertical. After this magical number the down horde are dropping like half-baked fiends into my field of vision, not a lotophagous animal amongst them. This is not a winding stair of excuses, this is the sheer drop to absolution, the place to hand in petitions or elicit an erotic stare. A place to invoke with all the power of derided mind, while poised on the brink of salvation, the arrival of a new amour. So if this angelic bastard's grip on reality can be subverted & we are able to slip into the tight space of her imagination without being denounced. We might get it. Without her being aware of our presence. Anything could happen. Even consummation.

"You can forget that kind of anticipation & all those rich promises you're making yourself. She'll slip out of sight as soon as she sees what a rough-cast grind you'll turn out to be." Rosine commented idly.

I emerged & stopped to watch him paint the picture. Velasquez intoned his recipe for the picture while working & as he hummed I caught snatches of the rules he went by.

One brief touch.

One venture towards the slit.

One dizzy loss of touch.

One obsessive piece of dickering about.

One slight mistake in that horizon line.

One night of graft.

(And the same plus relief of everything to do with oneself).

Once out of yourself . . .

Wait a minute.

Is that a princess the shaft of light strikes from the door chink beam? A comic zap.

Is that the character I've been searching for to love?

The calm dwarf. Can we take her with us? And the massive dog.  Will it ever shift? Lying there like abundant stone.

By premonition.

Beyond the dimension of similarity

Margarita again stands off the painting waiting for any stranger. Determined as usual she would have the first that happened along.

Margarita was posed by a fallen flower, a rare blue rose underscored with carmine tints & stood expecting, with a lack of normal concern, to exchange secret glances with an innocent stroller & lead him into danger.

Margarita seemed to lurk, developing a full-lipped pout & painting it with crimson. No longer a child. Rounding her firm breasts & hips. Her grey eyes scintillating in the shadow of the alcove were rapaciously narrowed & questing a mirror while her hands lightly dabbed onto her dress as if stencilling a gloss with which she hoped to enhance her egregious appeal.

Margarita was ready to take on, to enjoy this spectral existence.

Margarita was again submerged in a personal night.

A long, long faint shadow dimmed the gleams on the corridor floor & Margarita's fingers flew to a pocket. She picked out a plastic phial, cracked it deftly & held the glutinous pessary under her nose to savour its acrid & corrupt odour; then opening her legs wide slipped it into her split, closed her legs & gasped as it was sucked up & burned the delicate flesh.

From cover she flagrantly watched the man she intended to defile approach; her look, if he engaged it, would swathe & engulf him in a feeling of anguish impossible to ignore. The compelling gaze she fixed on the distant face was that of a waif, lost & utterly alone. And she knew it would conjure up in him the idea she was so unloved & vulnerable that it would be impossible to resist. Who would want to deny her the pleasure of a touch a caress a kiss?

I approach. She only sees me when I'm near & hurriedly takes a decisive step out of the alcove into the light as I saunter down the corridor drawn to finger the golden stitches of her richly embroidered dress. Surprised, she lets my hand linger. Her waist is barely the width of my hand. Encouraged by her smile, not knowing she can't feel the touch, I grope deeper into the layers of succulent colour. She is still. She wonders.

What stiff stuff to caress. Now I wonder. Can she feel my hands? I get invited inside the bodice as it pops open & find two peaches that I grasp by their pink ends & pinch tight & shuffle backwards over onto the canape still holding her, pulling her with me to swing into the soft cushions. She lifts up the frock whale hoops exposing her sex as she sinks in a swirl of rough dabbed lace. With flecks of foam bubbling out of the slit & speckling the oyster as we hastily scramble together there are highlights crackling like frost over a pink grey frill & the shimmering lining under colour, too hastily slapped on, became transparent in the exertion like grilled bacon fat. The crimson slash becomes rusty with heat & the skin around takes on the sweat rainbow of petroleum.

"Keep going she demanded. And at that I always failed. I can't forget her look of disappointment seeming to accuse me of betrayal as if the orgasm would release her."

I glanced over at Rosine. She gave me an absent look back, "You misunderstood her."

Margarita lifted herself off. Felt briefly an immense yearning yawning gap open up in her heart then snap shut as tight-lipped she walked back, as if on a tight-rope, to the alcove.

As later x-rays of the ageing layers revealed, many more hand positions had been tried. One daintily was pulling down the satin pants with a provocative exactitude. Another was fingering apart the line which gives the lay to left & right & opens slightly blood coloured. Pubic hair like fluttering eyelashes she starts the vigil once more. Her thighs tightly wrapped in cling film down to the knee to cover blue-black bruises, showing the wear of successive attempts at satisfaction. She stands poised on a single house brick. Ready on tiptoe. The light of the bright camera flash boldly splashing out from the invisible reflecting wrapping in the photograph gives the gloss & denies the wear & tear. And gives her by that instant the shimmering skin she never had but longed to possess, forever.

Or was she simply my chance record become a simulacrum of an impossible desire? I know he had made more changes to this figure since that day than any ever, but dare not place her in the centre. Now she was laid under the melancholy shadow of a tree like thistledown caught in the grass her hair floating in gentle waves on the green pillow. Her unusually large hands resting like abandoned spades, beside the torn sheets. Instead the hard favoured siren occupied the chosen spot. Standing, legs apart, in the bare, wooden-walled box-like hut; her eyes glittering as if reviewing a succession of priceless jewels, or fixed on a fabulous scintillating robe, weighing up what flesh they would trade for. Had she at last come to believe she had the right to do what she liked with her own body? (So the former beautiful slot with a plenitude of intricately incised pubic hair was denied a look in: it had now become unacceptable & replaced by a smooth & impenetrable sweep of pink barbie plastic).