The black tassels swing around my knees from my dress as he spins me to the music. The matching black boa drapes around the crooks of my elbows as it sways with my body. Women around the room look at me with three different faces, either; envious, disapprovingly, or with the same smile across their faces as the one on mine. The envious wish they could do what I do, become a “flapper” and fight for women’s rights without their husbands or fathers beating them. The disapproved look at how “short” my dress is, or how much skin I am showing due to the fact my dress was just past my knees and theirs were sweeping the ground. My bright red lipstick highlighted my plump lips as the dark makeup drew much attention to my eyes. Everyone in the room surrounds the two of us, watching us and learning to moves to the fast beat swing as we keep the audience intrigued. The alto saxophone takes a solo as my partner, Anthony, lifts me from the ground and flips me over his head. Without anyone noticing, I make sure that my short, curly hair is perfectly in place as it lays down over my ears and just passing my neck. The black feather is still placed perfectly, sticking out, from the side of my head. I knew that the musicians would make a closing to the song so Anthony and I got ready for the big finale. Though, before we could doors busted open, music stopped abruptly, and a gun shot was fired. People started screaming and frantically running for the nearest exit. When the people who shot the gun came into view I was able to see the police badge that was like a golden star shining on their blue jackets. Then I looked up and saw the stern face, scanning the crowd. Oh no, I thought, they were coming for me. Anthony pulled my hand, “C’mon, let’s go.”
We raced to the back of the bar, through the kitchen, and out the back door into the alley way. As we looked for something to duck under, we heard the police calling for more officers. We ducked under some empty crates that were hidden by shadows as the police’s flashlights scanned through the alley. I tried to keep my breath steady, but my heart was pounding.
One cop looked at the other, “Who are we looking for?”
“A woman.” The other said
“What did she do?”
“She left her husband because she is a flapper now and he is payin’ us a whole lotta money for us to find her.”
“What’s her name?”
“Isabella McBrian.” The man turned, “C’mon, let’s go check out the main street.”
The flashlight led the police officers in the opposite direction as Antony turned to me.
“You’re married?!” trying to sound tough, but you could hear the pain from a mile away.
“I left him for a reason, and have become a flapper for my independence, freedom, and right.” I answered as I could no longer see the yellow light of the police officers, so I stood and brushed the dust from my dress and fixed my hair.
“Why did you leave him?” Anthony asked as he too got up.
“I told him I wanted my rights and was to become a flapper to achieve it. I asked him if he was going to support me with my choice, he said no and gave me some speech ‘bout how men are the superior ones and women are nothing.”
“That is not true,” Anthony acknowledged.
“I know, so when he saw me packing my bags, the next day, he said that he was not going to let me run away from our marriage. I told him I was, whether he liked it or not, so he beat me. That night, he fell asleep and I snuck out of the house. I never liked him anyway, it was an arranged marriage only because of the money and rank he gave my parents, and the dowry I was able to give his family. It was no lose on either part, so I cannot understand why he is looking for me,” I took a breath and listened to the faint sounds of the city night life, “C’mon let’s go somewhere, out of New York.”
“Where to?” Anthony asked
“Pack your bags, we’re going to Paris.” I said as I started down the cobblestone alley street in the moonlight.