Short stories and essays by Shaun Costello, as well as excerpts from manuscripts in progress.

SALVATORE’S MAID

SALVATORE’S MAID

She had breasts the size of basketballs.

By Shaun Costello

This story is excerpted from my childhood memoir:

THE LAST TIME I SAW JESUS

Surviving God and Elvis in the time of ‘Duck and Cover’

 

My new friend Jimmy’s family had recently moved to the Gardens from Brooklyn. His father was a famous theatrical photographer who took pictures of movie stars. They lived in an enormous Tudor house on Greenway South, one on the nicest streets in the Gardens where I began to spend a great deal of time. One day Jimmy asked me if I had ever touched a breast. Other than the pictures I saw of Eddie Mann’s mom, I had never even seen one. He told me that he had touched a breast, and if I was interested, he could arrange for me to touch one too. Jimmy had a neighbor named Salvatore, who lived just down the street, and Salvatore’s family had a black maid named Jessie who, for fifty cents would let you fondle her breasts for five minutes. “And they’re really big too”, Jimmy added. This was a shocking revelation. Breasts. Actual breasts. You could touch them and even kiss them, and all for fifty cents. I was nervous but game, and Jimmy made the arrangements.

“What do you do with them?”, I asked. “Anything you want”, said Jimmy. “But why do I want to touch them?” I’m nervous now. “Because they’re beasts, stupid”.

Salvatore lived in a big brick house just down the street from Jimmy. Jessie, the maid lived in a room over the garage, and Salvatore, with Dolphy Maggiore in tow, met us outside. We hid our bikes in the bushes behind the house. Salvatore was very concerned that everyone had their money in their hands because Jessie could get ornery and make a fuss. As Salvatore opened the outside door to the stairway that led to Jessie’s room there was a horrible smell, something I had never smelled before, and it became worse as we climbed the stairs. A smell of something burning. A pungent, rancid smell. Salvatore knocked on the door. “Who?”, came from the other side. “It’s me”, said Salvatore. “Well c’mon honey, I ain’t got all day”. The door opened, and inside, sitting in front of a large mirror, applying hot irons to straighten her hair, was the biggest, fattest black woman I had ever seen. She spoke to us through the mirror. “You chilluns got my jingle?” she asked. Salvatore made a gesture that suggested giving her the money, so we did. At this point she let the robe she was wearing slip to her waste revealing huge brown breasts the size of basketballs, to the amazement and delight of the white chilluns. “C’mon now, don’t be shy. You got five minutes. Love’m up. C’mon now, love’m up”. With hesitation, fearing the unknown but mesmerized by the possibilities, the little fingers of the white chilluns

reached for the huge,  soft, brown basketballs, while  Jessie applied the hot irons to her singed hair, creating an unbearable smell, and Symphony Sid’s radio theme song wafted through the smoke,  and all I could think of was how I could tell this in confession on Saturday.

 *

© 2011 Shaun Costello

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