Steamy scene from a lesbian classic
What Sappho was to poetry, Ann Bannon was to pulp fiction. Dubbed the “Queen of Lesbian Pulp Fiction,” she changed the landscape of how fiction depicted gay relationships with her Beebo Brinker chronicles, six books penned from 1957–62 that employed the eponoymous hero (a butch lesbian) to bring life and light to a whole world of people who went—and still largely go—unseen and unheard.
Excerpt from Beebo Brinker
“Do girls ever get over their crushes on you?” Venus said.
“Every day,” Beebo protested. “Venus… would you ever lock me out… if people knew?”
Venus rolled away from her, sitting halfway up. Her face was dark. “I’d have to,” she said. “For Toby, if for no other reason. And even without him, there’s my career. It’s my life, my anchor. I can’t afford to jeopardize it, especially now that I’m 38.” She glanced at Beebo. “Is that unforgivably selfish of me? Don’t answer. It is, of course. I want you, and all the rest, too. And that means you’re the one who’d have to sacrifice. It’s just that… for some people a job is a job. For me, it’s self-respect. Acting is about the only thing I’ve done in my life that I’m not ashamed of. Is it too much to ask, Beebo—secrecy?”
“Is it possible?” Beebo said.
Venus nodded. “There are ways. I’ve had to learn them.”
“With the other girls,” Beebo said resentfully.
Venus stroked her shoulder. “You don’t have to be jealous,” she said. “I do.”
“I’m jealous of all your husbands. All your lover, male and female. Every slob who ever saw you in a movie.”
Venus chuckled, letting her tripping voice twist her body back and forth on the blue silk, and Beebo suddenly forgot everything in her life that had preceded this moment. She lunged across the bed and caught Venus by the wrist, whirling her around just as Venus got to her feet.
For an instant they stayed as they were, breathless: Beebo stretched out the length of the bed, looking at Venus with her blue eyes shining like a cat’s. Venus could feel the avalanche of passionate force trapped inside Beebo, ready to burst free at the flip of a finger. Already it was near exploding.
Venus stood there pulling against Beebo; warm, even hot to the point of perspiring. The light sweat excited Beebo far more than the perfume Venus usually wore. Her body was a soft pearly peach and between her breasts Beebo could see the quivering lift and fall of her sternum.
Beebo gave a swift tug on Venus’s arm and brought her tumbling down on the bed, laughing. That laugh sprang the switch in Beebo. She stopped it with her mouth pressed on Venus’s. And at last Venus submitted, all the twisting and teasing melting out of her. She let herself be kissed all over.
Beebo looked at her, stripped of the tinseled make-believe and the wisecracks; her lips parted and her eyes shut and her fine dark hair spilling pins over the pillow, coming down almost deliberately to work its witchery. Beebo kissed handfuls of it.
She fell asleep a long time later, still murmuring to Venus, still holding her possessively close, still wondering what she had done—or would have to do—to deserve it.