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1950_08_05--032_SP [Clever Women Are Dangerous Too]

32 He was afraid of being trapped by some gorgeous birdbrain. He forgot that CLEVER WOMEN ARE DANGEROUS TOO HARLIE HARRISS pressed the buzzer, and when the door opened he wondered if he'd come to the wrong flat. He checked the brass number beside the door. That was the right one, all right. He looked back at the blond number in the doorway. An unbiased observer would have said she was all right too. Gray-eyed, beautifully shaped and ninety-nine per cent beautifully tanned. The other one per cent was covered by a Bikini bathing suit. "Is Miss Conlan at home?" Charlie was a tall, good-looking young man, with early streaks of gray in his brown hair, a tired look about his eyes and' absolutely no interest in intelligent, beautifully shaped young ladies. For the last four years Charlie had been surrounded by clever, good-looking women, and now they meant no more to him than stray dogs do to a poundkeeper. "Won't you come in?" The blonde's voice was like bells across a deep valley, musical and empty. Charlie followed her into the flat, automatically but academically noting the well-oiled motion of her hips. "Miss Conlan had to rush out to buy something for her camera —a light meter or something. Though I don't know why. I think there's enough light here, don't you?" "There seems enough," said Charlie, idly noticing how it made itself at home on her curves. "I don't know much about photography," the blonde said, taking her time about the four-syllable word. "Miss Conlan must be awfully clever." " Fiendish" was a better word, Charlie thought; Joy Conlan was one of the clever women who plagued him at his office. "Are you a relative of Miss Conlan?" he said. "Oh, goodness, no!" She lowered her eyelashes and somehow seemed a little more clothed. " I'm a model." "You must be new. I know all the models in Sydney," Charlie said; then added as an afterthought and a precaution, "professionally, that is." "This is my first job," the blonde said. "I've never done it before. It's sort of exciting, isn't it?" " Yes," said Charlie, beginning to wonder how she managed to stay within the limited boundaries of the bathing suit. " What's your name?" " Imogene," said the blonde. She was a friendly girl, putting things on a firstname basis right away. Charlie, too, decided to be informal. "I'm Charlie. An old friend of Miss Conlan." Abruptly he remembered the streaks of gray in his hair. " But not that old." "Oh, I don't mind old men," Imogene said. " I think gray hair makes a man look distinctive, don't you?" " I hadn't thought about it," said Charlie, wondering if they were thinking of the same adjective. " How old are you, Imogene?" " Nineteen," Imogene said, and threw out her chest. By JON CLEARY " Very nice," said Charlie, suddenly deaf to what she had said. "Shall we sit down?" They sat down, and in the new posture half of Imogene's bathing suit seemed to disappear into thin air. Charlie tried to think of other things, but they, too, seemed to have disappeared. This morning the world had been full of news. But now it was just a vacuum, like Imogene's head. Charlie was beginning to realize there were other women in the world besides clever ones. He looked at Imogene with renewed interest, then blushed for the nature of his interest. "Do you work, Charlie?" Imogene said. "Oh, sort of," said Charlie, wondering that she hadn't recognized the lines of slavery in his brow. Maybe I don't look as harried as I think. "I make enough to buy a crust and a glass of beer. Speaking of food, would you have dinner with me tonight?" "Oh, I don't know," Imogene said, the phrase falling glibly off her tongue. " Miss Conlan said a model should never have late nights, not if she wants to last." " Did she say anything about not eating?" Charlie said, wondering why Miss Conlan didn't mind her own business. For four years she had been trying to run his life, and now here she was organizing this poor defenseless girl. "No-o-o. But what about the late night?" Imogene said. " I want to make good as a model, Charlie. I've never been any good at anything else." Again the eyelashes did their best to cover her. You just haven't made the most of your assets, Charlie thought; then realized that for the first time he himself was beginning to realize a girl could have other assets than brains. " Well, don't let's spoil your life by making a recluse of you." "Oh, goodness, I'd never want to be anything like that!" Imogene said, aghast. " Whatever it is." Charlie smiled at her, more and more fascinated with her each time she opened her trap. Then the door opened and Joy Conlan came in. Joy was dressed in a pale lemon linen dress that looked like the leftover from a bargain sale, tan shoes so worn over on their sides that at first glance their wearer looked bandy, and a large picture hat whose brim hung down in front of Joy's face like a curtain. "Sorry I was so long, Imogene." The curtain went up, and Joy saw Charlie. " Greetings. What are you doing here?" She threw her hat away casually, as if it had cost but a few shillings, which it had. "Or are my evil thoughts correct?" " You're a cynical old wench," Charlie said. "I'm just offering to improve Imogene's mind." Joy squinted at him, then shrugged. "Well, we all have hobbies. Some have easy ones, others have impossible ones." She looked at Imogene. " You know who he is, darling?" "Oh, yes," Imogene said brightly. "Charlie." ILLUSTRATED BY JOE DE MFRS Joy closed her eyes for a moment, as if she had just been hit on the forehead with a hammer. Then she opened them. " Yes, he's Charlie. Charles B. Harriss, with two eases. He edits the magazine you're going to be on the fashion pages of." " You have a preposition hanging there," Charlie said. " I always hang my prepositions," said Joy. She looked back at Imogene. "He's the editor and only man around Portia, the Magazine For Smart Women." "But he said he only earned enough for a crust and a beer!" Imogene looked at Charlie with a look bordering on intelligent. " Why, Charlie, you could make me a famous cover girl. Like Dusty Anderson or Gypsy Rose Lee." "How covered do you want to be?" Joy said, talking almost to herself. Charlie shrugged. " I'll see what I can do." "Your job must be awfully interesting," Imogene said. "How much a year do you earn?" " You'd better go and put some clothes on," Joy said. "I'd hate to see you catch cold." "Oh, I'm not cold," Imogene said. "I'm warm." "So am I," said Charlie. "For different reasons, obviously," Joy said... . "Go on, Imogene. I shan't let Charlie get away." Imogene left them with a smile and a ripple of the hips. Charlie looked after her until the door closed behind her. "Put your eyes back in their sockets," Joy said. "Now what is this?" She dropped ungracefully into a chair and drew her feet up under her. She pushed her thick dark hair back with an impatient hand. " Why the interest in Miss Sun Tan?" " Who is she?" Charlie said. " What's she doing here at your flat?" " I'm using her for the fashion spread in the latesummer issue. The studio's being painted, so I brought her here." "Her face is familiar," said Charlie. "Did you notice she had one?" Joy said. "She was Business Girl of the Month in your last issue. But it was just a head study. That was why you didn't recognize her." Charlie had been editor of Portia from just a few months after his breaking relations with the army, and Joy was the magazine's top staff photographer. Six months ago they had dreamed up the idea of a series on up-and-coming young women, and Charlie had left the choice of subjects to Joy. "But, heck," Charlie said, "that series is supposed to feature smart girls." " How can I photograph brains?" Joy's gray eyes lifted toward the ceiling in exasperation. "All the public wants is a pretty face." "Have you been giving me Dumb Doras all through the series?" "Of course. Are you complaining?" (Continued on Paste .59)


1950_08_05--032_SP [Clever Women Are Dangerous Too]
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