Sarah Baker Flame and Fortune extrait, brand artwork
It’s five am and I’m watching the city drag itself out of bed and the mugs who live in it sluff off to whatever crummy jobs people do in this part of town. Me, I don’t sleep much. I watch the rain and shadows and wait for a call or a knock from the desperate folks in desperate straits who paid my rent and keep me in Luckys and cheap suits.
I didn’t need to wait long today. Before the sun ever woke up, there were footsteps in the hall. Clicks, more like, from high heels. A dame. The door opened with its usual creak.
I didn’t need to turn around to know it was her. There was that perfume. I knew it. I knew it like I know the red neon that flashes every three seconds across my walls at night. I knew it like the taste of my morning cup of Joe, black with two sugars. I knew it all right: oranges blossoms, tuberose, smoke, a little gasoline for a chaser. I knew it was trouble. And baby, if trouble ever put on a pair of black stilettos and waltzed into a guy’s office, she was standing in my doorway right now smelling of expensive things and arson.
“Mind if I come in?” She asked the question with a voice that sounded like she wanted to kiss you or maybe stick a knife in your gut. I could smell that perfume from here but, like a fool, I went to her.
She walked that walk of hers and turned. “You keep your whiskey in the righthand drawer?” I nodded. Good memory, that one. She took a slug from the bottle and then pulled out a cigarette, but I wouldn’t have been surprised if it had been a berretta instead.
As I reached to light her cigarette, memory slapped me in the face the way hot steam from the manholes smacks you on a cold day. It had been two years since she stood me up at Wong Li’s. The air near her felt thick, full of orange syrup and those white flowers brides wear. Orange blossom. Plenty of it. As I got closer, I could smell the tuberose also: like that thick cream they use in fancy hotels mixed with what goes on in the rooms upstairs. Sexy as hell. That damned perfume I never got out of my mind: Sarah Baker Flame and Fortune. Oh yeah, I knew that scent.
Sarah Baker as Angelina for Baroness X Versace
I switched on the desk lamp. It was too early for overheads. I breathed in that scent of hers again, remembering what I remembered. But something was off. It was her perfume all right, only different. Orange blossom, tuberose, smoke, booze, apricots, check. That whiff of motor oil from one of those big cars movie stars drive. It was all there. Only now there was more of it. A lot more.
She must’ve read my mind because she looked straight at me, opening those big baby blues of hers wide and innocent. That’s when I noticed. Her eyes weren’t blue at all, but hazel.
“I know what you’re thinking,” she smiled. “Yes, we look a lot alike. We’re twins, you see. I’m the younger one.”
“Twins,” I repeated like a fool. I took a quick one from that bottle of whiskey myself. “How’d you know where I keep my booze”?
“My sister talked about you a lot. She told me everything. Especially about how you saved her by getting the formula for that Sarah Baker perfume for her.”
“Well, what can I do for you, little sis?”
“I came because my sister asked me to. She wanted me to tell you helped her more than you could ever know that day. Because of you, she’s somewhere safe and finally happy, I think. Well, happy for her, that is.”
“And you always play Western Union before dawn?”
“I like the city better when it’s still asleep,” she said with a little smile.
Vintage pulp novel free use
I took a good long look at her this time. She was a doppelganger of the woman from two years ago. Almost. This one was curvier, if that was possible, and a whole lot more of everything. She smelled richer but, just like her big sister, probably illegal. There were those notes that called out danger to a guy: not just the flowers and spice but that whiff of gun smoke and gasoline. And the booze: apricot brandy mixed with my whiskey. Up close, she was more delicious than ever. On her, that orange blossom and tuberose was a big, dangerous cloud. It was making me feel kinda dreamy and stupid, like I swallowed a mickey. She smelled a little more like flowers than I remembered – I got some lily of the valley and iris in the mix. She was spicier, too, with that fruity pink pepper chefs like to use, and there was more ripe fruit – apricots, both like the trees blossoms I grew up with and the jam my grandma made. Oh yeah, she was quite a dish and I wanted to eat her right up.
She finished her whiskey in one neat swallow and handed me a small package in brown paper. As she got close, I got a tang of labdanum, that sweaty resin that makes nice girls smell like bad ones. It occurred to me this dame could do in a man just with desire. I knew I should steer clear of broads like her. But at this moment, I didn’t care much. That damned scent had me like a fish on a hook.
“My sister asked me to give you this. Don’t open it until I’m gone. And don’t try to follow me.”
Image by Nicoleta Tomsa©
I glanced outside through the blinds and noticed a jazzy black speedster parked below. It looked too shiny and new for my crummy little alley. I wondered if the hubcaps would still be there by the time she got back. When I turned around, she had gone. I heard the loud rev of an engine outside and moved to the window just in time to see her peel off into the San Francisco fog, headed towards the desert. Little sis’ perfume hung in the air like a gorgeous ghost. I sighed and picked up the package and opened it carefully – you never know whether there’s a bomb or a snake or something. But there were 5 big ones, a bottle, and a card.
It’s me. I had to let you know that what you did for me changed everything. One day I’ll come back to thank you in person. Here’s something to help you remember me.
In addition to the cash and the note, there was a bottle – Sarah Baker Flame and Fortune extrait. I took a spritz and it brought that ghost right back to life. It was her but not her. Like I said, it was more. And just what little sis had been wearing.
Then suddenly, something hit me. The voice. Everything about little sis was that bit different, bigger, richer, sexier, more self-assured. The eyes were a different color, but she could’ve worn contacts. But not the voice. It still sounded like longing and wanting with more than a touch of cyanide. That hadn’t changed.
I took a Lucky from its packet and lit up, thinking about her. I’ll probably never know for sure who visited me this morning. All I can tell you is baby doll was one hot dish. And that Sarah Baker Flame and Fortune extrait was one helluva perfume.
Sarah Baker Flame and Fortune extrait Notes: Orange blossom, pink pepper, apricot, ginger, lily of the valley, tuberose, motor oil, labdanum, mezcal, embers.
Disclaimer: bottle of Sarah Baker Flame and Fortune extrait generously gifted me by Sarah Baker. My opinions, as always, are my own.
Lauryn Beer, Senior Editor
Note: The extraordinarily multifaceted Sarah Baker has penned her own script to accompany Sarah Baker Flame and Fortune extrait, and it comes in a fabulous presentation box adorned with Sarah’s artwork.
Sarah Baker Flame and Fortune Extrait courtesy of Sarah Baker
Thanks to the generosity of Sarah Baker, we have a 50 ml bottle of Sarah Baker Perfumes Flame and Fortune Extrait for one registered reader residing in the UK or U.S. You must register here. To be eligible, please leave a comment saying what appeals to you about Sarah Baker Perfumes Flame and Fortune Extrait based on Lauryn’s “Noir” narrative/ review and where you live. Draw closes 1/11/2023.
Due for wider release in early 2024, Sarah Baker Flame and Fortune Extrait is currently exclusively available online or in-store at My Scent Journey, Mexico City. -MIchelyn
This is our Privacy and Draw Rules Policy.