Back in the 80s I was invited to fashion shows by Claude Montana and Azzedine Alaïa. My friend were models and designers. Some have become famous and I was lucky enough to have known some of the most beautiful women in the world. Few were more exotic than Marpessa.
She was half-Dutch and half-Surinam. Her beauty was frightening, but I seduced her into a dinner with the infamous art dealer Vonelli by saying that we wanted to exploit her beauty for NASA.
"Because NASA is broke and they want to hold a lottery to see who will be the first man to have sex in Space," I told her this in Dave's restaurant on Rue St. Roch. His BBQ ribs were exquisite and I piggyback their flavors to bullshit her about Vonelli being a NASA scientist. "He saw your photo on the cover of Vogue and said this woman could launch a Space Shuttle."
"C'est Vrai?" Marpessa spoke four languages and a fifth was saved for her lovers.
"Absolutelment." Vonelli was in his prime. He looked 50% CIA in his Brooks Brothers suit.
"Your face will grace posters across the globe. One night with Marpessa. $1."
"$1?" Millionaires would have halved their fortune for a single night in the glow of her dusky beauty. Broke Paris artists would have bathed to paint her nude.
"Times one billion people. We will make you rich." I couldn't believe she was buying my hooey, but Vonelli dropped a card on the table. It was only partially stained by BBQ sauce. "We will guarantee you $10 million for your efforts."
"And I'll have to go to Space?"
Vonelli and I pingponged a glance.
"Yes." He nodded like a senator okaying a secret assassination. "We call the project IN HEAVEN ABOVE."
"I'll do it."
We toasted our future.
It lasted to the door of Dave's.
Marpessa went her way in a taxi.
Vonelli and I repaired back to our table. Dave sat down and said, "You are mean."
"And beauty is even meaner." Vonelli ordered a bottle of wine. We drank it regaling everyone about Heaven Above.
Everyone wanted to believe, for when the shit gets a foot high the cool step a foot higher.