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DRESSING IT UP / Winifred Moranville FRANNIE ORDERS A WHISKEY SOUR, imagining an ambercolored cocktaU in a smaU tuUp glass with a blurry cherry amongst the sparkling ice cubes. But her drink doesn't come in a dainty cocktail glass. No, what Frannie gets is a huge blisteredglass tumbler with melting crushed ice, too much whiskey, syrupy sour mix and a plastic sword that spears three cherries and an orange sUce. She should have expected this much. It's StUl Ught outside this early spring day. The HoUday Inn bar has floor-to-ceUing windows that look south, behind the hotel. There's a hiU, a brown bank, a steel fence and some sky, but it's all they could do with what they had, Frannie thinks. This view is better than what's on the other side of the building—the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and La Guardia Airport. A few businessmen come into the bar and ask the bartender if it's happy hour. Frannie knows the men are here at happy hour just by chance, for surely no one planned to get here at fivethirty on purpose to have big syrupy drinks. Frannie is the only one in this bar who is not imminently on her way elsewhere; she wiU be staying for a while. A grinning middle-aged man furtively looks around the room whUe taking off his overcoat and draping it over the bar. He orders a drink, then he looks at Frannie, and in spite of herself, Frannie keeps looking at him, but only to see if he's stiU looking at her, and of course he is. She tries to muster an "I'm-here-on-business" look, but she knows she's not fooUng anyone. She's too young to be important enough to fly anywhere on business. Her short suit is more cute than businesslike, which, she now realizes, is why she chose it. Her mistake was to be on time. Here's how it should have happened: Maurice should be sitting where she is now, ordering his second drink, wondering if Frannie wUl come. Then Frannie would have walked in. She'd sit down next to him on this mauve upholstered bench seat, and with a downward glance she'd squeeze the hand that had gently taken hers under the table. Something like that. And now she makes another mistake. She glances toward the door and once again catches the eye of the man at the bar. He nods; she looks away. "Goddammit," Frannie thinks, not so much 250 · The Missouri Review dreading getting rid of him, but dreading the chitchat beforehand. Where ya headed? What d'ya do? And worse yet, Where are you from? "You've got to say it Uke it's someplace special," her friend Viv had told her. "When people ask you where you're from, pretend you're going to say, 'I'm from BrazU,' but when you get to the BrazU part, substitute Nebraska." They were in a Soho wine bar with track Ughting that beamed down wherever the chairs were arranged to back-Ught aU the customers. A German photo-journalist had just poUtely excused himself, not coincidentaUy, Viv maintained, after Frannie had told him what she did and where she was from. "Why do you have to say it luce that?" Viv asked. "And can't you tell people you do something else besides work as a secretary?" "Next time I'll teU them that I'm a ballerina. With the Joffrey BaUet." "No, you don't have to Ue," Viv said. "Just dress it up." Viv is a clerk at Madelon D'Arcy's, an exclusive hat shop in Soho. She also helps to sew the hats, and sometimes she'll arrange a hatband or a flower in a different manner than Madelon's patterns call for. So Viv is able, without really lying, to tell people that she designs hats. Viv's from Minnesota, and when she teUs people this, she lowers her voice and looks them in the eye Uke she's letting them in on a big secret. Frannie's job is a Uttle harder to dress up. Secretary...


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