Tattooed Blonde – Ellery Watson Calder (1935)

sascoverA young, lithe and beautiful blonde is on stage at a rally screaming at the crowd.

You spineless cowards!  Are you going to let the Dixon interests get away with their high-handed methods?  Are you going to let them pay you slave’s wages forever?  Are you going to let them treat your women as they’ve treated me?

With a dramatic gesture, the girl’s hands went to the neck of her cheap cotton dress.  She ripped at the material — tore it open.  Terry Dixon gasped.  In the nickering flare of the torches that lighted her, he saw her suddenly-bared breasts, unbrassiered, and incredibly lovely.  Across her milk-white bosoms, standing out boldly against the satin-smooth skin appeared the word “Striker”.

Terry Dixon is appalled and knows his family would not have abused the girl like that.  A “huge, hulking man, beetle-browed and powerful” takes the stage — Stanislaus Slavich implores the crowd to strike against Dixon Mill.  After his speech, the girl finally “drew the torn shreds of her dress over her naked breasts.”  Dixon follows her to a one-room shack at the edge of the company compound.

He peers through a window and sees she is alone.  He breaks down the door, ties her wrist and ankles, and gags her.  “With a savage gesture, he tore the cheap cotton dress away from her shrinking shoulders, baring her body to the waist.  For an instance his eyes rested upon her exposed beautiful breasts.”  He grabs a washcloth and begins scrubbing the tattoo, although we are sadly lacking the critical 4-page scene where he soaps her up.

Slavich bursts in and tells Dixon that he has played right into his hands by coming to the shack.  He plans to hold Dixon hostage until his father gives in to the strikers’ demands. Now Dixon is the one with his wrists and ankles tied.  Thankfully, he is not stripped. They stuff Dixon into a car and take him to a cabin in the woods.

The girl sneers, “With this guy captured, his old man will have to agree to the demands of the workers.  If he does, the increased wages will bankrupt him.  If he doesn’t, the men will strike — and the mill will close anyhow.

Slavich — no rocket scientist — leaves to personally deliver the ransom note.  In his absence, the girl breaks into a trunk and retrieves a document proving that Slavich is an agent for a competing mill.  His agitation for a strike is just to bankrupt Dixon Mills.  The girl reveals that she is a Pinkerton operative who was undercover to get the goods on Slavich.

Unfortunately, as she is cutting Dixon loose, Slavich returns.  Ticked off at being described by the author as beetle-browed for the third time, Slavich lunges at the girl. “He grabbed at her, ripped the tattered dress from her shoulders.  Naked to the waist, she backed away from him, her bared breasts rising and falling swiftly, pantingly.” This girl’s boobs get more fresh air than Bear Grylls. [1]

Dixon manages to get free and beats Slavich to a spicy pulp.  He averts the strike, foils the competition, and gets the topless girl.


  • [1] Alternatively:  Her bare girls get more fresh air than Bear Grylls.
  • First published in April 1935.
  • As far as I can tell, the girl never has a name.
  • Maybe the only book, short story, poem, movie, TV show, play, or folk song in history where Management is the good guy.

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