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hs42150.jpgbuy prints of select halfsquatch photographs at etsy or dawanda. (prints of all photographs are available upon request) day 42

Thursday evening at Yoshi Oba’s Art Motel was not a party – it was a salon. There were no invitations issued for the weekly get-togethers, but the interlopers were readily identified by their quiet positions on the fringe, literally hanging-on to the arms of sofas and to the high-backed chairs around the bar. There were no windows, but a warm yellow glow mimicked candlelight, shadows flattered and erased all but the harshest facial lines and the darkest under-eye circles. A pink chandelier hung low in the centre of the room, which was all gold gilt and raspberry velvet furniture; framed mirrors fifteen-feet high leaned casually against walls covered in textured paper. Yoshi Oba didn’t believe in minimalism or taupe.

and/or nudged Rebecca toward Yoshi. She cradled Brady, one of her makeover dolls, in her arms. Yoshi was talking excitedly. Her gravely voice was offset by the soft lilt of her accent. She was telling a story, something fantastical, about a dalliance with a renowned cad of the art world, a story that involved a Paris hotel, too much champagne, a spanking, a camera, and the embarrassment of a credit card declined. When Yoshi laughed her audience took their cue and followed suit. She clutched one hand to her chest as if to steady her hysterics, while the other flailed up and behind her, swatting Rebecca and splashing her with the remains of her near-empty cocktail glass.

“Pardon me,” Yoshi said as she spun around. “Goodness! Rebecca Richman! You made it!” She enveloped Rebecca in a tight hug. She turned to the small group she was talking with and made formal introductions. For all her colourful stories of cads and spankings, Yoshi’s manners were impeccable.

A tiny girl with short, bleached hair and large ears dabbed randomly at Rebecca with a cloth napkin. “It’s nice to… I mean, it’s a pleasure to meet you — everybody,” Rebecca said.

Yoshi regarded her with affection and smiled. Rebecca glanced up from her feet. Standing in front of her, Yoshi met her height (she was in heels, mind you). She was lanky and flat-chested, her hair dyed black and cut into a precise chin-length bob that swung when she talked. Her face was very pale and her blue eyes were rimmed in black. She could be thirty or forty or older. There were still nights she was asked to produce I.D. by club doormenand  liquor store cashiers.

“Come my dear, sit.” Yoshi motioned for Rebecca to join her on one of the raspberry velvet sofas. “I’m so pleased you made it.”

“Thanks. I mean, well, here.” Rebecca offered Brady to Yoshi, who accepted it as though it were the most delicate glass objet.

“She’s stunning. Absolutely stunning.” Yoshi leaned in and kissed Rebecca – once on each cheek and then once more on the left. Then she stood and hopped onto a dark wood coffee table. She extended her hand to Rebecca.

“Everyone! Everyone. I’d like to introduce you all to Rebecca Richman. She has come to stay with us at the Art Motel. You’ll see she’s wonderfully talented.”

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                                                                                                                                                          ©2008 pamela klaffke