Al Grecco watches the attendees at the Stage Coach party. One of them is Frannie Snyder, who is married to a man Al feels contempt toward. Frannie cheated on her husband with Al one day when Al saw her waiting for a bus and offered her a ride. Frannie’s husband is on the dance floor making physical insinuations to Emily Ziegenfuss, another woman in the Flieglers’ party. Al thinks that women “nearly always got the dirty end of the stick.” He thinks about Irma Fliegler and whether she knows what a good man she has.
Al hates the fact that Ed Charney asked him to keep tabs on Helene Holman. She spends her time panning him, and he hates her. He can see her breasts through her provocative dress when she leans forward. When Helene catches him looking, she smiles. Al threatens to knock her teeth out. He realizes that Foxie Lebrix, the Frenchman who runs the Stage Coach, may have been making passes at Helene. Emily Ziegenfuss says that Helene has some nerve calling herself “Holman,” because that’s the name of a famous singer, Libby Holman. Irma defends Helene’s right to use that name. Both Frannie and Harvey, Emily’s husband, say they like Helene’s singing. The couples tease and laugh. Lute orders more drinks and encourages people to get drunk. Everyone takes a partner and goes to the dance floor except for Lute and Frannie. They chat and flirt and spot Julian and his party as they arrive. Julian is drunk, and Lute wonders if he drove. They talk about the people in Julian’s party, specifically about how much money Whitney Hoffman has. Julian approaches their table, and Frannie asks Lute to introduce them. Julian’s manner of speaking indicates that he is extremely drunk. After a chat, Julian goes to find Al, hoping he can get a free Scotch from him. Helene returns to the table after she finishes...
(The entire section is 773 words.)