Frau Mina seemed to soften as she spoke. “Mr. Zidler and are very close. We met years ago in Germany.”
I got the sense that she wasn’t about to elaborate with a stranger. “I see. So it’s, in essence, ‘who you know?’
“In some circumstances, ja. But take, for instance, the new girl, Valerie, with whom I am working. She’s young and beautiful. Exactly how Mr. Zidler likes his woman.”
I had to lean to hear the end of her sentence as she’d grumbled the words.
“Go on,” I encouraged and took another nibble of my cheesecake.
“One day, this girl wanders into the Moulin Rouge and I instantly knew she’d be a perfect addition to our bill.”
“Was she seeking employment at the time?”
“No. In fact, I thought she would turn us down. I began her training this morning.”
“Did you, indeed? What sort of training?”
She eyed me for a moment, but pushed on. “I am teaching her to stand in ballet positions.”
“You mean on tip-toe?”
“That must be extremely difficult.”
“Not if one has the correct shoes. It’s only a matter of balance then. She is slim and with consistent training under my tutelage, her strength will build in no time.”
As I finished up my late-night snack and Frau Mina emptied her mug, I observed her take another glance at the front entrance.
I got the impression that Mr. Zidler had forgone his evening’s libational indulgence. “Is it past time for Mr. Zidler to make an appearance?”
“Perhaps,” she said tightly. “But I am a patient woman. He’ll come around. I just know it.”
I understood perfectly what she’d meant. My heart went out to Frau Mina. Some of us wait entire lifetimes for men to ‘come around’ and to be quite honest, we have wasted generations on such practices. However, I’d just made a friend and didn’t wish to impart my wisdom on someone not ready to hear it.
I placed a few coins on the table and stood. “I must be off. Thank you for the chat and I wish you all the luck in the world with your new endeavor.”
She inclined her head. “Be sure to stop by the Moulin Rouge when it opens. I predict we are going to be the talk of Paris.”
“I shall definitely keep my eye on it.” I winked and departed for home.
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