She’d tell the newcomers she was from California, the blond haired Madame of the Diamondback Saloon. She’d tell ’em the same jokes she’d told a thousand nights: she’d say she got the name of the place after her man got bit by a diamondback. And if they had enough fun, she’d point to three crosses in the back and say that’s where lie the last people who had too much fun.
They’d laugh, then she’d laugh, then they’d drink and she’d drink with ’em. Madame MacDowell was a fine lookin’ woman for her age, her spunk and her drive. The girls she hired were good. Three a those girls she hired weren’t quite up to snuff, though.
See, Madame McDowell misspoke when she talked about her man. She never had one. She was born Patricia Anne Sally Sinclair, the daughter of a successful Borax tycoon. Her father was one of those born-again Christians you hear about. Forbade everything he could, from pork belly to whistling on the Sabbath. Near the time she about had her belly full, the old man up and died. So Madame MacDowell took what was hers and up and left. Took off as fast as she could, and long story short: she opened up the Diamondback.
Nobody else there knew that, ‘cept those three girls. Overheard Madame MacDowell in her office or maybe she was talkin’ by the fire with an old friend when the place closed… Cannot quite recall, but to be sure they found out and they went after Madame MacDowell for all she had.
Cornered her one night. Asked for half of whatever she had left. Thing was, what they’d heard about her and her father hadn’t been entirely true. He was “born-again”. Got the Spirit in ‘im when he nearly drowned on his way back down the coast from Canada. But he’d also had a mean temper, and Madame, well, she had gotten that, along with the old man’s money…
Nowadays, she still tells the newcomers she was from California, the blond haired Madame of the Diamondback Saloon. She still tells ’em the same jokes she’s told a thousand nights. But, if trouble ever rears its’ ugly head, as happens in any kinda brothel, she takes those tenderfoots and shows ‘em three crosses just a stone’s throw from the back door: tells ‘em that’s what happens to troublemakers at the Diamondback. Sometimes they’d laugh. She always did.
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
4 thoughts on “Madame by Matthew Senn”
This one is a lot of fun. I particularly enjoy the ending closely repeating the beginning, yet containing an entirely different message. Very well done.
With this being classified as historical, I looked up the reference but couldn’t find anything. (Making me look something up is always a good sign!)
I loved the simplicity of this – Legend – Actualities – Her handling this which then ,,, – Became legend.
I thought the voice was consistent and for 405 words, it made me smile.
I really enjoyed reading this!!
All the very best my friend.
This was a fun and no-nonsense story. Don’t anger, threaten, or blackmail Madame. She’ll get you good and you won’t even know it. I think that’s both mean and awesome. Written in a simplistic style but will remain in the mind of the reader. 🙂
Short fiction can be effective, and this piece shows why. I also enjoyed the dialect of the narrative.