We like writers. Especially good writers. And baby boomer Michael James Gallagher of Quebec City in Canada is just that. A writer who puts a picture in your mind’s eye. The tango has become his new pre-retirement passion. Here’s an excerpt from Michael’s new spy thriller, Tsunami Connection, that almost makes you feel like you’re the next one up to dance!
The tango salon opened at about nine-thirty in the evening. Kefira arrived around midnight. The marble staircases and hardwood wainscoting conveyed 19th-Century luxury, and like Buenos Aires’ sidewalks, was a little chipped.
People sat in rows around a decorative mosaic floor. The sound of tango filled the room. Most clients sat alone so that they would be free to dance with anyone they chose. In fact, some couples actually sat onopposite sides of the hall by themselves in order to appear ready to dance with any partner.
Women, pheasant-like, flounced and paraded in elaborate costumes completed by obligatory stiletto heels, while men languished indifferently, casting somewhat pompous glances towards potential partners, never venturing to ask a woman unless she had nodded her approval, thus protecting their easily bruised egos.
Despite all this posturing, there was an air of elegance and pleasure in either watching or dancing in the umpteen-shaped, many-aged kaleidoscope of people in movement on the floor.
When Kefira entered, the music seemed to pause as all the men in the salon took a simultaneous deep breath. The women’s eyes noted another competitor for the attentions of the men; some packed up and left, somehow knowing that the evening would now pass without anyone asking them to dance.
Shafiq looked up too. He was sitting on the far left edge of the hall so he could see everyone who entered without being noticed himself. His gaze mimicked a Bertolucci camera scan, slowly taking in her Chanel red-on-black sequined gown slit to the hip on the right. Then her cleavage startled him into a pause, the subtle smoothness of her rising and falling breast connected to the regal, set-back shape of her exposed shoulders and jet-black hair completed the lustful scrutiny.
She sat close to him. As she bent down to remove her dancing shoes from a string tie-bag marked Narco Tango, Buenos Aires, her dress slipped down from her thigh, revealing the top of an old-fashioned garter snapped in lace frill to a shiny silver-toned nylon.
[Michael James Gallagher's new book - Tsunami Connection - is available at Amazon.com.]
All the men at adjacent tables craned their necks, much to the chagrin of the partners of those that sat coupled. Her shoes were red with three black straps arching over the ankle, suggestive of legs tied together to the kinkier element in the crowd. She breathed in and glanced around as if oblivious to all the attention she was generating.
Within minutes, a man with a military-looking posture received the first nod. It was a tanda of tango salon music reminiscent of the grand ballrooms of the 1940s. A tanda is a grouping of four similar songs in a row punctuated at the end by a short pause permitting partners to either continue or escape each other after every four songs; the composer was Carlos di Sarli.
Kefira swept through the following hour of music leaving most partners breathless both emotionally and physically. She seemed effortlessly able to match the ability of each leader and decorate even the most amateur dancer with diplomacy.