Dirty Butter

Iris wasn’t sure what kind of party it was. Two women in matching pink silk jackets and long black dresses stepped in front of her, up the stairs to a big house. The doorman or butler was a very large Negro man, in a white satin suit from the eighteenth century and a white powdered wig tied with a black ribbon. He had two gold teeth and he acted like he was not just pleased but completely delighted to see every woman who walked through the door. He held the door open for Iris and winked.

The women in front of Iris handed their jackets to another man in a white powdered wig and white satin suit and Iris followed them into the larger room. She kept her face still. This was a living room the way Cleveland Stadium was a baseball field. Three girls wearing white satin tap pants and white satin court shoes, and no tops, with pink ribbons around their necks and pink bows in their towering white wigs, walked past Iris, offering pigs in blankets and scallops wrapped in bacon. The girls had little mouche marks near their eyes and rouge on the tips of their nipples. Iris followed the two women in the long black dresses past big satin poufs on the floor and the pale-pink satin divans. (“My goodness, those things’ll stain like crazy,” a girl standing behind Iris said.)

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