Episode Two

Trump checked his watch...
Ms. Bledsoe faltered;
... 6:55...
she fought for breath;
... he paced...
she gauged the final flight of stairs;
... 7 sharp; he heard an outcry.


Ms. Bledsoe panted, sweated, daunted by the walk-up.
Cecil cracked the door, looked out, down, scowled, then lent a helping hand.

"I only have this."

An overnight bag made an asymmetric arc before--"ker-plunk"--it fell just shy of the top-most landing. Trump retrieved it.

"Thanks. I'm Donna."

"Cecil Trump."

His bow was curt, his aspect formal, his attire a spotless well-worn white duck coverall. Old, yet lean, he was a man who had not lost his teeth. (Hence worrisome? Subtly virile?) Donna's girth precluded letting her precede; he led, she climbed, he plopped her luggage on a footstool as she entered.

The loft was spacious. Stretched its length and breadth was a polished hardwood floor on which were 'outcrops': kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, studio, each distinct, each lit by skylights whose diffusive auras framed the austere furnishings--which Ms. Bledsoe (huffing, puffing) reconnoitered. Then she blinked. Should she have listened to the skeptics who had warned her of "a scam," who had presumed the man "a huckster" (never mind his seeming charity), and condemned him as "a fat freak" not to be trusted, Donna pondered, as she sized up him who likewise sized up her?

"Spin round."

She turned, her caftan swiveling right to left (revealing elephantine ankles), then resettling like a Big Top's canvas tarp.

"Shall we begin?"

Surprised yet pleased by his forthrightness, Donna waited for instructions.

"Over there."

He nodded brusquely toward an Oriental screen.

"Undress, then come out front and stand beside that pole."

No fuss, no bother, as if stripping were an everyday occurrence for his client, or his model, or his victim (Donna felt a bit of each), Trump's tone so flat, so matter-of-fact-ish she complied, she followed orders, stepped behind, at least, the triptych--where she froze.

"You brought the photos?"

"In my bag."

She heard his barefoot steps retreat. Could she remove her clothes entirely... shuck down naked... flaunt her VOLUME in this total stranger's presence?

Yes, she could. She must. She did!

She tiptoed out and struck a pose that stained her scarlet with embarrassment--quite unwarranted insofar as Trump looked elsewhere.

"These won't do."

"I beg your pardon."

Donna's snapshots were the focus of Trump's scrutiny, while her on-exhibit goose-flesh went ignored.

"The ones of you will be okay; but hers..."

He shook his head reproachfully.

Donna's blush grew more intense. Equipped with a Polaroid and a timer she had taken twelve self-portraits, choosing four--as was prerequisite. How impose, though, on a friend? For it had also been required that she provide some svelte alternative.

Trump, examining the


lodged his protest.

"Front; no back."

"There's one that's sideways, sort of."

Fixing "Miss November" to an easel, Trump stepped back. He frowned... he squinted... then compared, at last, her twin--her 'would-be' twin, that is, the mountain juxtaposed to (airbrushed) mole hill.

"Well... at least she's got some meat on her; anorexics aren't my line."

"So you can do it? You can make me look like her?"

Trump glared.

"You doubt it?"

Donna blushed anew, as the sculptor slowly circled... muttered... prowled... his movements jaguar-like... hers jittery, like some flushed-out sow--indignant, yet afraid to make a break for the loft's lone door.

"Hold still!"

She tensed; she let him carry out this rude, uncouth reconnaissance.

"Do you faint?"

She looked nonplussed.

"Black out, lose consciousness as in swoon?"

"I never have. I've been light-headed, once or twice. Why do you ask?"

He gave no answer.