“My mistress is a powerful woman. She is somewhat...how do you say...eccentric,” says Daphne.
“You mean she’s rich?” She’d better be - Armani suits don’t come cheap, and regular work just doesn’t do it for me.
“If you prefer.” Daphne forces a smile.
“That’s cool, I dig an eccentric chick.”
“Good. In that event, she would prefer you to wear this.”
Daphne draws a length of black silk from her bag. A damn blindfold.
“Whoa, she’s kinky?”
“No, she would simply have you judge her on her conversation.”
“Hey, I’m cool with that.”
You always have to play along with them. It lets them think they’re in control, which makes my life a whole heap easier. I put on the blindfold as the taxi turns down the track towards the beach.
The road slopes downhill, and the air coming through the open window feels colder. The breeze smells strange, but I just figure the fishing boats must be heading back in. The taxi lurches to a stop, and Daphne grabs my shoulder before I headbutt the driver’s seat. She helps me out of the car and pays the driver. The taxi pulls away as she leads me along the track. I stumble up a couple of steps, and I figure we’re inside when the temperature drops again.
Daphne leads me down a passage, and down a flight of stairs. That’s weird - how many people live in the basement? This chick must really be a whack job. She’d better be loaded after this. I notice that smell again. I’m about to say something to Daphne when the most beautiful voice interrupts me.
“You have arrived. I am pleased.”
I smile in what I hope is the woman’s direction. Her voice echoes and I’m guessing there’s a whole heap of marble in here. I smile again, but this time it’s for me. Marble isn’t cheap.
“Would you care for refreshments?” she asks. Her English is good for a Greek broad. Good, but stilted. It’s that voice though. She sounds like that actress - Kathleen Turner. Call me a fool, but I was always a sucker for her voice.
Daphne takes my arm and leads me after the woman. I realise I don’t even know her name. I figure I’ll just make up some pet name. Daphne sits me on a sofa and presses a wine glass into my hand.
“Would you care for something to eat?” asks my date.
“I’m good with the wine for now.”
“As you wish.”
I hear the slow, steady drip of water somewhere off to my right. It echoes – this room must be huge. I wonder if the old dame has installed an indoor fountain or something. I get an itch under the blindfold. I slip my finger underneath to scratch my eyebrow. A hissing sound starts in front of me.
“What the hell’s that?”
“What is what?” asks my date.
“That hissing noise.”
“I hear no noise.”
I drop my hand back to my lap and the hissing stops. Weird. I hope she’s not so much of a whack job that she has pet snakes. If there’s one thing I don’t like, it’s snakes.
“So...darling...can I take this blindfold off now?”I ask. It’s making my face sweat and I’m starting to feel uncomfortable.
“I would prefer that you did not.”
“Why? I mean, I’ve come all the way down here, I’d like to see how beautiful my date is for myself,” I say. I’m flattering her now – I just want to make sure she’s not one of those hideous chicks. Not that it would stop me if she was, it just makes this sweeter if she’s attractive.
“Beauty – it is only skin deep, Christopher,” says my date.
Wow, I can hear her gritting her teeth. Yeah, she must have fallen out the wrong side of the ugly tree – she’s one of those “oh the real beauty lies within” hippy types. I don’t care – her real beauty is her bank balance. Still, I can’t stop being curious. I pull the blindfold down. Daphne gasps and I lay eyes on my date.
* * *
Medusa sighed. She walked across the cavern to inspect her new statue. The face held a mixture of conceited pride and shock, the hand still clutching the blindfold frozen near the face.
“He is a handsome man, is he not?” asked Medusa. Her snakes hissed in agreement and Daphne nodded. “He will go nicely with the rest of my collection. So handsome...it is such a pity, but they are always so obsessed with looks.”
She looked over her shoulder. Hundreds of niches carved into the rock wall held statues of all sizes and poses. All of the men, all of them frozen by Medusa’s beauty forever.