“Who’s that?” she asks her dancing partner.“Th manager’s brother. Dictie. Nothin doin, hon.”Dorris tosses her head and dances for him until she feels she has him. Then,withdrawing disdainfully, she flirts with the director.Dorris: Nothin doin? How come? Aint I as good as him? Couldnt I have gotan education if I’d wanted one? Dont I know respectable folks, lots of em, in
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Philadelphia and New York and Chicago? Aint I had men as good as him?Better. Doctors an lawyers. Whats a manager’s brother, anyhow?Two steps back, and two steps front.“Say, Mame, where do you get that stuff?”“Whatshmean, Dorris?”“If you two girls cant listen to what I’m telling you, I know where I can getsome who can. Now listen.”Mame: Go to hell, you black bastard.Dorris: Whats eatin at him, anyway?“Now follow me in this, you girls. Its three counts to the right, three counts tothe left, and then you shimmy—”John: —and then you shimmy. I’ll bet she can. Some good cabaret, withrooms upstairs. And what in hell do you think you’d get from it? Youre goingwrong. Here’s right: get her to herself—(Christ, but how she’d bore you after thefirst five minutes)—not if you get her right she wouldnt. Touch her, I mean. Toherself—in some room perhaps. Some cheap, dingy bedroom. Hell no. Cant bedone. But the point is, brother John, it can be done. Get her to herselfsomewhere, anywhere. Go down in yourself—and she’d be calling you all sortsof asses while you were in the process of going down. Hold em, bud. Cant bedone. Let her go. (Dance and I’ll love you!) And keep her loveliness.“All right now, Chicken Chaser. Dorris and girls. Where’s Dorris? I told youto stay on the stage, didnt I? Well? Now thats enough. All right. All right there,Professor? All right. One, two, three—”Dorris swings to the front. The line of girls, four deep, blurs within theshadow of suspended scenes. Dorris wants to dance. The director feels that andsteps to one side. He smiles, and picks her for a leading lady, one of these days.Odd ends of stage-men emerge from the wings, and stare and clap. A crap gamein the alley suddenly ends. Black faces crowd the rear stage doors. The girls,catching joy from Dorris, whip up within the footlights’ glow. They forget setsteps; they find their own. The director forgets to bawl them out. Dorris dances.John: Her head bobs to Broadway. Dance from yourself. Dance! O just a littlemore.Dorris’ eyes burn across the space of seats to him.
Dorris: I bet he can love. Hell, he cant love. He’s too skinny. His lips are tooskinny. He wouldnt love me anyway, only for that. But I’d get a pair of silkstockings out of it. Red silk. I got purple. Cut it, kid. You cant win him to respectyou that away. He wouldnt anyway. Maybe he would. Maybe he’d love. I’veheard em say that men who look like him (what does he look like?) will marry ifthey love. O will you love me? And give me kids, and a home, and everything?
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