The Round Table meets at Trader Vic’s. Would I come as their guest? They need a woman. I don’t know, I say: I’m no Dorothy Parker. “No,” my host agrees kindly, “but you’ll do.” Nervous, I follow him up the stairs to the Captain’s Cabin. I meet the famous movie producer, the famous architect, the famous director, the famous columnist, and there he is, the famous writer, Norman Mailer—just like his photos, twinkly blue eyes, curly silver hair. We sit. They talk. Books. Money. Movies. Money. Boxing. Money. Jazz. No one speaks to me, so I don’t say a word. Carafes of wine appear and plates of food. Norman Mailer starts to move his silverware around with his tiny hands; I have never seen such tiny hands. Baby hands. He lifts his knife up, sets it down. Is he strong enough to cut his steak? Without thinking, I, oldest daughter, mother of three, reach over and begin to cut it for him. The table stills, stares. Well, I think, looking up, they said they needed a woman. Mailer beside me grunts and starts to eat.

The second novel of Molly GilesThe Home for Unwed Husbands, just came out with Leapfrog Press and her memoir, Life Span, will be published next spring with WTAW Press. She is the author of five award-winning short story collections and has a piece in the current Pushcart Prize Anthology.

Artwork by Barbara Gillette Price