It smells of buxom, boisterous women: bosoms tumbling from man-made fabric folds, galloping towards a finish line somewhere far beyond the dawn. Cigarettes and Cinzano; short chubby fingers climbing an inner thigh, a sharp song of painted fingernails played upon an unsuspecting penis; stale breath, body odour and warm whispers, a bed of roses and cackled laughter.
I put the seahorse’s chiselled chrome head back on its glass body; the buxom, boisterous women disappear into the bottle and I find myself in the East Village standing in the rain. I know that I need to buy this perfume bottle and learn, in time, to exact some control over its contents, maybe even harness its power.
A tall black man stands on the kerbside, keeping watch over the table of curiosities and keepsakes. Sensing my interest, he indicates that I need to walk down a few doors where I will find the owner in her shop.
‘I’m interested in the vintage seahorse perfume bottle,’ I tell her.
‘He’s that man,’ she thinks, looking me up and down.
For the next five minutes, she attempts to sell me a suede waistcoat with elaborate fringing. She fails to realise that the seahorse comes first, and then, when I’m truly ready, the waistcoat.