March 26 1927

It was a slow night at the 43 club last Thursday. So I struck up a conversation with Dora, one of the dance hostesses. She’s like a cute little mouse with bright inquisitive eyes. I asked her if she knew “my friend” Julia Smith and she squeaked ,

“Yes, lovely Julia! Are you a friend of hers?” and before I could say any more she called over one of the other girls and they were both looking at me like I was the resident expert on a girl I know absolutely nothing about.

And so here was the turn up. They were asking me what happened to Julia!

“She just disappeared.” Blinks Dora “Did she run off with another man? Poor George looked awful after she left him. Do you know George? How is he?”

I try not to stammer as I think fast on my feet. Blimey I don’t even know what colour Julia’s hair has. All I know is that her real name is Sylvia Stubbs and that she left her will and a wedding ring in the room she rented before me.

So I came up with this. “Well I’m trying to find her too. The truth is I’ve only just moved to London and she no longer lives at the address I had for her.”

“So you’re from Stratford too.” Declares Dora. And I mumble something about my family moving around a lot. Then she gets a cheeky look on her face and asks me if I’m in the same line of work as Julia. That does make me stammer and I’m casting about for a response when her friend, Olive, slaps Dora on the shoulder and says “Dora, you’ve embarrassed her.” And we have a little laugh. But of course I’m dying to know what she means. Was Julia on the game as well? Was she married? Was she murdered? Was George her husband? Will I end up dead too? My silly head spins and I must have looked a bit woosy.

Dora pats my hand and says not to worry. Julia was such a wild girl she probably married an Arab prince and is riding across the dessert right now on a Camel train. Then Dora has to go off and dance with one of the patrons. So I pull myself together and while the bloke is finishing his drink I ask her what she meant by ‘am I in the same line of work?’. And she whispers to me that Julia was a dancer at a very different kind of club. Where the girls wear considerably less clothing. And she makes such a funny face of mock shock with one hand over her rounded mouth as she takes the dance floor that I have to laugh. Dora’s cheeky. I like her.

So now I have two new questions. Who is George? And how much could I earn dancing in my bloomers?

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