A group of fashionable women in a speakeasy. The central figure is a mannish woman in a tuxedo holding a younger woman suggestively.
“Violet and Vivian” by the author © Teresa Wymore

PULP FICTION | HISTORICAL FICTION | PROHIBITION | SAPPHIC | SERIES

Tales From the Velvet Trap #1

Violet entered Vivian’s world an eager victim.

Tantalizing Tales
Published in
6 min readNov 29, 2023

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THE VELVET TRAP …a shameless speakeasy in Chicago’s warehouse district, where the jazz and gin flow as freely as the sin. Nights dissolve into pleasures only the most perverse can provide and the most wicked enjoy…

VIVIAN …the mature deviant whose family money and mob ties give her the power to fix problems — for a price. She inhabits a depraved world hidden from decent society. She knows what she wants and who she wants it from…

VIOLET …the neurotic young woman with a proper home and husband, but for her, love is only a word and, as she comes to learn, not her favorite. Hedonistic cravings drive her from her marriage bed into the arms of a notorious sapphist…

Read all the stories from the Velvet Trap here

Autumn eased in, misting the streets of Prohibition Chicago, and adding a gray slop to the nightly threats from thugs and raids. Still, nothing could deter the desperate. The sins of civilization sprawled in ever bolder colors under the guidance of gangsters and corrupt cops.

Where night ate away at the electric light, commerce fed the prurient. Burlesque offered fantasy, but the night trade offered skin. Bootleg and dancing hid in basement enclaves, but the most salacious offerings hid along the lakeshore.

It was there a silhouette slid through the shadows in the narrow between the warehouses of a valve manufacturer and importer.

After a knock and a whispered word, the visitor passed through a door to a freight elevator. When the ride ended, the door opened into a room that boasted such luminaries as members of the bankers’ trust and a judge.

A piano, a saxophone, and a beautiful girl entertained the mix of men and women — all respectable and all white. If this was the visitor’s destination, she might have stayed at the bar with an illicit gin-and-tonic and cigarette, tapping her foot until midnight.

But this wasn’t Violet’s destination.

She glanced repeatedly at the paper in her hand as she walked across the polished floor, around tables and loud clusters of people to a green door that opened to a stairway. She descended one story and walked through a wood-paneled office, through an accounting cage, and down a long hallway. The sounds from the upscale club faded as she passed into another warehouse.

She checked the directions on the paper one more time before she continued. The hallway was dark and silent, except for a distant glow that grew brighter and a discordant thrumming that grew louder.

She knocked, and the door opened slightly.

After she gave the word her friend had shared, a man in a cap low about his eyes opened the door wider and drew aside a heavy velvet curtain. Smoke and a riot of music and voices assaulted her. She crushed the paper in her hand and tucked it away in her pocket.

She had found the Velvet Trap.

Violet Sinclair was a boyish beauty with short strawberry blond hair and emerald eyes. Far from a flapper, she wore a conventional length and Mary Janes under a wool coat with fur collar. She moved in a timid way that suggested innocence and caught the attention of every decadent sapphist in the club.

Or so it seemed to Vivian.

Vivian Moreau was a striking woman with raven hair touched by gray, high cheekbones, and rather broad shoulders. A sharp wit and taste for danger shared time with her more deviant passions for women and whiskey. Her casual lean and easy grip on her glass, as well as the weight from a pistol inside her tuxedo, told the more careful patrons she was in charge.

She warned the lesbian wolves away with a shake of her head when they rose to greet the fresh face. After a pause to slug down her whiskey, she stepped through the haze of cigarette smoke.

The Trap was a black-and-tan club and home to a twilight aristocracy. In other words, any color of skin and social proclivity were welcome to spend their cash in the magnificent room trimmed by half paneling and topped in velvet textures of dark rose and jade green. The legal nightclubs boasted hundreds of tables. The Trap had fifty tables, one bar, a low bandstand, and a dance floor.

Vivian made her way through the crowd until she reached Violet. She touched Violet’s elbow and guided her toward the bar. She leaned in, pausing as the clean scent of soap urged her to breathe more deeply.

“Can I get you a drink?”

“I don’t — ” Violet cleared her throat, drew back, and said more loudly over the music, “I’m here to relax.”

Vivian observed the young, tremulous lips and the emerald eyes — haunting and wistful, yet not all that innocent. Rather curious and needy. She recognized hunger when she saw it.

Her gaze lingered, a thrill coiling inside, but she denied the thought. She had reserved the night for another beauty, and she wasn’t sure this one had staying power.

“Gin rickey, Sam!” she shouted at the bartender.

She tapped a man’s shoulder, and a padded stool became available. She offered her hand to Violet, who let her take her coat as she slid onto the stool. Vivian gave Violet’s coat, gloves, and hat to Sam.

“I’m Vivian.”

“Violet.”

When the drink arrived, Vivian pushed it a little closer to Violet.

“You picked a hell of a place to relax.” Vivian turned and leaned against the bar. After a while, she leaned closer to ask over the music, “Have a fight with your mother?”

She glanced sideways to see the green eyes cloud with indignation. Violet’s eyes filled with emotions she was incapable of hiding.

After another pause to observe the nervous woman, Vivian shrugged. “I won’t say I rarely see wives here.”

Indignation became despair as Violet picked up the glass.

“That’s all right, darling.” Vivian turned and raised a finger at Sam. “It hardly matters.”

A whiskey arrived, and Vivian enjoyed a long drink. “Now that you’re here…” She pressed very close. “…have you imagined what might happen?”

Fearful eyes flashed at Vivian and then away. “I just want to have a drink and go.”

“You made your way alone through the Loop to the docks — a woman at night. Someone gave you the password and directions.” Vivian wiped whiskey from her lip. “You took a lot of risk…just to relax.”

Violet nursed her gin. “You scare me.”

Vivian blinked with surprise and laughed. “You don’t play this game well, darling.”

When the music ended to shouts and applause, Vivian watched Violet trying to make sense of what she saw. The musicians were men and women. They were men who looked like women and women who looked like men. They were of several races.

Violet continued to stare at the stage as a large black woman began to sing Ain’t Misbehavin’.

“But he’s…” Violet started to say, and Vivian prepared to rebuke an ignorant remark, but then Violet finished, “…she’s beautiful.”

Violet seemed to know little of the world and maybe less about herself.

But Vivian knew.

Music Referenced

It’s unfortunate that recording technology from the 1920s made the music tinny because jazz always carried a rich bass. Take time to love this early jazz because it led to swing, jive, boogie woogie, and rock n’ roll.

This is Fats Waller, recorded in 1926. Ain’t Misbehavin’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=pZ8fWP6a3Q4

6 stories
A woman wearing a tuxedo stares at the viewer, a crowd of club patrons in the background, warm palette
Two women intimate on a couch in a cozy home, the brunette wearing a tuxedo, the blonde in a dress, circa 1929
Woman in a tuxedo with two fashionably dressed women in a dark, 1920’s speakeasy

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Teresa Wymore 🏳️‍🌈
Tantalizing Tales

Author Artist Athlete | Morally ambiguous lesbian fiction & dark eroticism | she/her | *Pursuing Jouissance* https://linktr.ee/teresa.social