Molly surveyed the assembled crew for a kind compatriot who would lend her a butt. A man, about fifty, was staring at her in her hospital gowns, one opened at the back and the other, worn in lieu of a robe, opened at the front. His dark blonde hair was perfectly coiffed, with silver at the sides that she swore he must have tinted. There were deep creases on the sides of his face from squinting into the sun, she guessed, on his yacht. She stared back, but he was not deterred. He’d already caressed her long thick hair as much with his eyes.
“Michael Dunn.” He held the cigarette in one hand and extended the other.
She thought it was an unusual thing to do. Like they were at a cocktail party in the Valley or something.
“Molly.” She shook his hand.
“Yes, Molly, what?” He stubbed out his cigarette.
“Morris.” Something made her not want to say. Until now she had been anonymous among the crowd of those who smoke, poorer, barely able to pay black market prices, but who long ago gave up good nutrition for tobacco. She noticed the cut of his robe, hand-made and tailored just for him. His nails were manicured.
“I just thought that if I told you my name, you’d tell me yours.” He smiled a soft smile and she could tell Michael Dunn won most of life’s daily wars with a smile and with an absolute minimum of expended energy.
“Morris. My name is Molly Morris,” she repeated.
She felt rewarded for having deferred to him, because he held out his warm hands and held hers in both of his. It was only a second, but a second longer than casual.
“Almost sounds like the rap star.”
“My real name is Emma,” she stammered. Maybe, she reasoned, he came from more money, more position, more everything tangible, and therefore he might be more in the world that measured human worth, and she felt measured.
“And you’re from New York.” He brushed an imaginary speck from his robe, and she wondered, did anyone really wear robes anymore? Maybe only rich, white Angelinos.
“And you’re from L.A., some hot-shot director.” She felt obliged to follow suit and cast him as a type.
“Something like that. Did you hurt your hand?” He pointed to the heavy bandage.
“Something like that.” No more excursions, the day trip was over into who and what she was.
Dunn must have sensed this. “I am an attorney at SONY.”
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