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Delphine had hatched many a scam before, but this one delivered the big paydays. Previous plots involved dog racing, child modeling agencies and foreign film distribution. The one constant was that only she benefited. At least until the complaints and subsequent investigations started. Then her enterprises would shatter as had the hopes of the daydreamers that had invested in her. But now she had a plan where everyone benefited; even the fools who trusted her. The idea came to her while working as a dance instructor at the Lon Frederick’s Dance Pavilion. Frederick had done a series of low budget musicals in the late '30's through early 50’s, all of which featured his trademark sand dance. No matter what the movie, somehow Lon wound up on some sand. Lon was a marine storming a beach and would stop for a dance, Lon was a cowboy saving settlers from attack and would pause for a sand dance, Lon was an arctic explorer throwing sand on an icy ground so he could gain traction and break into a dance, etc. When his movie career eroded, Lon opened a chain of dance schools, which as time passed, become a meeting place for many a lonely heart. Delphine periodically worked there between her entrepreneurial pursuits. Besides giving lessons she also offered "companionship" to some of the more financially secure widowers. These relationships never lasted long which was just the way she wanted it. Her special friends would come to their senses (sometimes through the involvement of a relative), meet someone near their own age or die. Almost all of these men missed their wives terribly and would tell Delphine about seeing them in their dreams. One old fellow, Douglas, sweared that his deceased wife Ida appeared in their kitchen and reminded him to take his pills. Delphine saw how these men were desperate to keep up a connection with their loved ones. She thought of her Aunt Helena who was obsessed with tarot cards, cloud formations and tea leaves. Even coffee grounds spoke to her. Delphine remembered how Helena, who was only 10 years older than her, become preoccupied with a childhood boyfriend named Gregory. Helena tried to contact him through her "methods" and was sure that it was Gregory's vision in her crystal ball blowing kisses to her. Delphine, callous as she was, did not have the heart to tell her that she had seen Gregory about four years ago shopping at Wellington's with his boyfriend.
Delphine's scheme started to take shape. She easily talked Helena into using her special gifts to bring a few minutes pleasure to lonely soles. Helena felt honored and proud. She was the perfect foil because she was a true believer and wanted nothing more than to help people. All Delphine needed was a fine address, a few computer generated effects and some very personal tidbits about the deceased. Much of that could be obtained from public records and a few well placed Jeffersons. Once word of mouth spread, not only would the old folks come but all those needing a connection to the otherside. She jokingly called it spiritual long distance; but no weekend or evening discounts.
Morrow. Delphine felt she needed a partner to make this work right. She had the ins with the males but not the ladies. That is where Morrow came in. He was a two-bit actor who was the Frederick’s ballroom dance master and resident heartthrob. His major claims to fame were appearing as the maitre'd on the soap opera "Cry, Laugh and Love Again" and having dated one of the stars of the "Sassy Seniors" comedy show (Ella Dahl). He was also known for his snug embraces. A wardrobe full of worn tuxedos and credit cut off at the 7and 7 Club. Never having enough money to supplement his lifestyle, he was not above a little fibbing if it hurt no one and lined his pockets. Delphine and Morrow worked well together and respected each other’s talents. They became as close as any two people who only cared about money and themselves could be.
Gouache, ink, watercolor, etc.
28" x 40"