William Fitzgerald Delivers the Goods

Beautiful women did not please William Fitzgerald. He resented as a hindrance to his work their awareness of their bodies, their expectation of regard. When you expect people to be looking at you, you notice most powerfully when someone does not look at you, and from long habit William Fitzgerald did not look at people. Lovely women remembered William Fitzgerald, not as a person, but as a type, and this was most especially damning, because he was a singular type.

But beautiful women were his bread and butter, married as trophies to rich and flaccid husbands, vast and insipid bores. Sooner or later, he knew, everyone falls: into boredom, into despair, into drug use, into alcoholism, into infidelity, into his sphere.

He had been hired by a man more rich than sensible to keep his particular beautiful woman satisfied. She was a doper, the lovely flesh of her arms pricked and dimpled with tiny, hair-white scars, and it was William Fitzgerald’s job to purchase and deliver the drug that she preferred. He made his deliveries in the midmorning, when the sun had risen above the buildings and the rooftop gardens, openly, phlegmatically. He watched over her as she wound the cord about her bicep, watched the injection, his nostrils slightly flared. Afterward, he removed the traces, wiped the drool from her mouth, and departed for another week.

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