n eerie hush fell over the room. I could feel Poppy the Azalea Bush trembling next to me and Joanne was picking at her face where her eyebrows used to be. Nancy and LeHump held their ground, but they were half the women they had been only five minutes ago. We stood huddled together like a herd of cows. There was a lump in my throat and my heart was bouncing around in my chest like a Ping-Pong ball; I knew everyone could hear it. What in the hell was happening? With extreme caution, I peeked out from behind Shoshanna’s head.
What the fuck was that? That couldn’t possibly be Evangeline O’Hara. Could it? My God, the picture she used on her website had to be at least thirty years old . . . maybe forty.
She prowled the room like a panther . . . with a limp. It had to be the shoes. I’d seen shoes like that only in magazines. They were so high, I didn’t know how she didn’t teeter off. Her body was skeletal thin. But her boobs . . . her boobs were ginormous and didn’t move as she circled the mound of terrified women pressed together in the middle of the room. She was draped in turquoise silk. The same color as her eyes. I’m positive she slept with them open, not by choice . . . by necessity. They’d been lifted to her eyebrows. She looked like she’d just come out of a supersonic wind tunnel; her face was yanked back as tight as a drum. There wasn’t a line on her forehead or around her eyes or mouth, but her neck resembled a flesh-colored rotten prune. Clearly her vision was impaired, because if she got a gander at her neck . . . Hoo Betty. My guess was that misplaced pride in her frighteningly abundant cleavage blinded her to the saggy neck.
There’s just something inherently wrong with an eightyish-year-old woman sporting the triple-D bosom of a twenty-year-old centerfold model. Although to be fair, she was kind of cadaver-ish chic, similar to Cher.
Her mouth was a train wreck. It was a cross between a fish and a duck, and it didn’t quite close. Between the mouth and the eyes, she appeared to be in a constant state of surprise. Her plastic surgeon should be shot. I idly wondered if food fell out when she ate, although it didn’t look like she ate much. I couldn’t look away. I pulled on my bangs, forcing my eyes to the floor, trying desperately not to make eye contact. There was no doubt she could suck out a soul.
“Hello dahalllings,” she purred, and her voice was a mix of Harvey Fierstein and Marilyn Monroe. Her bodyguard, a big burly man in a black suit somewhere in his fifties, quickly put his arm out to steady her as she almost tumbled off her designer stilettos. “Shoshinka, my love, how are we doing today?”
“Fine,” Shoshanna growled, “until about three minutes ago. And my name is Shoshanna.”
“Of course,” Evangeline laughed. Her laugh reminded me of ice breaking off trees after a horrific winter storm. Deadly. “You have such an amusing sense of humor, Shoshushu.”
Shoshanna’s body tensed like a coil about to spring. I gently put my hand on her back to calm her. Her small body shook beneath my touch. Why were these women so scared, and why were they taking this mean old biddy’s crap? I held my breath, watching in fascination as Evangeline’s bulging eyes scanned the crowd. Nancy pushed me down so the scary hag wouldn’t see me. Their protectiveness confused and touched me. Their fear was palpable, but my own terror began to ebb away . . . replaced by anger.
Five minutes ago this room was filled with joyful, kind women who had passions for butt plugs and dishes made with cream of mushroom soup. They’d taken me in and hadn’t laughed at my book idea, and it certainly wasn’t much of an idea. Although with some work . . . Focus, I needed to focus. I needed to save these women. These gals were protecting me. They didn’t even know me and they’d thrown their bodies in front of mine so the viper bitch whore from hell (Nancy’s words, not mine) couldn’t eat me.
My sense of justice had gotten me in trouble before, but that was baby stuff compared to what was about to go down . . .
“So girls—” Evangeline took a seat with a lot of help from her bodyguard. I knew my eyes should be trained on the floor like the rest of the group, but I couldn’t keep myself from looking. I wish I had. Her silk sheath hiked up during her descent to the chair, exposing an ungodly amount of spray-tanned, pickled thigh. She crossed her toothpick legs, and I realized with sickening clarity that she was going commando. I bit my lip to tamp down my gag reflex, but I knew it would be weeks before I had an appetite again. “I’m curious if anyone has any new ideas.”
“I bet you are,” Shoshanna muttered under her breath.
“What was that, Shorunka darling?” she asked, grinning evilly. “I thought I heard something unpleasant.”
“It must have been your conscience, dear.” Nancy smiled, speaking in a loving tone.
“I don’t think she has one,” Rosebush Flower Petal burst out, her voice sounding fragile and shaky.
“I don’t think she has one,” Evangeline mimicked Rosebush Gal with an evil hiss. “Well, she doesn’t. And all of you stupid, unattractive old women should know that by now, so cough up the ideas,” she shrieked.
Eyebrow-less Joanne was hyperventilating behind me and Flower Power seemed seconds away from fainting. This would have been funny if it wasn’t real, but it was . . . very real, and these lovely, albeit strange, older gals were terrified. If these ladies couldn’t stand up for themselves, I’d do it for them . . .
“I have an idea.” I shimmied my way out of the huddle and stood in front of her. Holy shit, up close she looked like a wax figure from Madame Tussaud’s Museum.
“No, Rena, no,” Shoshanna moaned in agony. An icy blast of fear shot through me at Shoshanna’s tone, but I figured if I gave Evangeline my idea, maybe she would leave, and my cute little ladies could have fun again.
“Ah, what have we here?” Evangeline eyed me from head to toe. She enviously fingered my long blond hair and winced at my snow boots. “Some new blood. How lovely of you ladies to bring me a gift. Especially one so breathtakingly beautiful.”
Good God, are all these old women lesbians?
“She’s not for you,” Shoshanna said through clenched teeth, stepping forward to stand next to me. “She’s not even a writer.”
Ouch, that stung. Of course Shoshanna was correct, I’m not a writer. I knew she was trying to save me from the plastic surgery experiment gone awry seated in the chair, but I wish she had come up with a less hurtful defense. I put my arm around my little bondage-loving new buddy in solidarity and to let her know I was fine.
“I’ll be the judge of that,” the viper spat, pushing Shoshanna away from me with the pointed toe of her shoe. I quickly averted my eyes to avoid the peep show she insisted on performing. “What’s your name, pretty girl?” Evangeline asked in a silky voice.
“Rena,” I could hardly raise my voice above a whisper. Maybe this hadn’t been such a good idea.
“Rena what?” she pried. The bodyguard took out a pad and pen from his breast pocket.
“Rena Gunderschlict.” There was an audible groan of dismay from the pile of ladies behind me. I knew my last name was awful, but I didn’t think their reaction was to my name . . . it was the fact I’d given it to the idea-stealing hag.
I experienced a surge of panic as the bodyguard wrote it down on his pad. He was formal and official, causing me a hellacious flashback to my recent arrest downtown at the news station after my pathetic attempt to become the new Sunshine Weather Girl.
“So, Rena, my dear,” her strangely hypnotic voice urged me on, “what’s your idea?”
There was no way in hell I was going to tell her about the teacher and the convict bus driver. I wasn’t sure if the girls were blowing smoke up my butt about my story or if it’s a best-seller in the making. Just in case, I wasn’t giving it to the walking Botox experiment. I’d simply have to yank another one out of my rear . . .
“Well . . . um . . . there’s this pirate,” I started.
“Yes?” In her excitement she leaned forward, giving me an unfortunate view of the perky round globes attached to her eighty-year-old bony chest.
“Yep, a pirate,” I said, looking everywhere except at Evangeline’s bosom. I rocked back and forth in panic, having no idea what was going to come out of my mouth. “And he kidnaps these beautiful twins during an earthquake. It was about a four or so on the Richter scale. He’s never seen anything as gorgeous as these young women in his life.” I glanced over at Shoshanna, who discreetly moved her hands to her breasts. “They had ginormous breasts.”
“Ahhh, yes,” Evangeline cooed. “Tell me more.”
“Right, so . . . he steals them in the middle of the night from their mansion in Sydney, Australia. Once he gets them on the ship, he realizes they’re conjoined.” I stared at the ceiling, praying for divine intervention, or a power outage.
“Holy shit,” Shoshanna choked.
“Be quiet, Shoshoodoo,” the viper hissed. “Continue,” she demanded.
“At this point he realizes he only loves one of them. The other one is a total bitch.”
Evangeline clasped her hands greedily. “What’s her name?”
“Whose name?” I asked.
“The name of the one he loves.” She rolled her eyes at my stupidity.
That was really alarming. Bulging eyeballs with permanently open lids should not be permitted to roll. Ever. “Oh, her name is, um . . . Shirley, but it just so happens that the pirate is a time-traveling vampire warlock.”
“I’ve never heard of that.” Intense astonishment touched her waxy face.
“Of course you haven’t,” I stammered. A wave of apprehension swept through me, and I started to sweat. “There’s only one in existence.”
Her head whipped around to her bodyguard, “Are you getting all this, Cecil?” He nodded his huge head and kept writing.
Cecil? His name was Cecil? That so didn’t work for me. He looked like a Butch or a Rocky. “So . . .” I had no idea what was going to come out of my mouth next. I needed to wrap this baby up or I was going to pass out from anxiety. “The pirate—”
“What’s his name?” the pantiless meanie asked.
“Um . . . Dave, his name is Pirate Dave. So Pirate Dave time-traveled to the future with the conjoined twins to John Hopkins Hospital.”
“What year?” she asked, reaching out to touch me with her claw.
I backed away, feigning deep thought. “1974.”
“Why 1974?” She sounded bewildered.
“Pardon my rudeness, but if you keep talking, I will never finish.” I made eye contact and held it. She narrowed her eyes. I narrowed mine . . . and waited.
“Fine,” she snapped, “I’ll be quiet.”
“Good. Anyway, Pirate Dave held his massive sword to the surgeon’s neck and demanded that he separate the twins. So the surgeon did and Dave gave him three bags of gold and some Elvis trading cards he found when he visited the 1950s. He magicked up some limbs for his love and her bitch of a sister because . . . um . . . it would be too hard to live a regular life, you know, missing half a torso and arms and legs and half of your butt and . . .” I stopped. The entire room watched me, mouths agape. I didn’t take that as a good sign . . . I skipped the rest of their physical description. “So they time-traveled back to the year they were from.”
“What year?” Evangeline bounced up and down with excitement. Her boobs did not.
I paused and gave her the evil eye. Her bouncing stopped and she looked passably contrite. “Sorry,” she muttered.
“The year was 1492. The very same year that Columbus sailed the ocean blue. But what most people don’t know is that Pirate Dave discovered America, not Columbus . . . not Leif Erickson.”
The crowd gasped.
I can’t believe they’re buying this shit. I wonder how far I can go . . .
“If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Pirate Dave is a time-traveling vampire warlock. He’s already been to America in the future a bunch of times and he knows exactly where it is. He doesn’t want to take credit for the discovery because he likes being a pirate too much. He garners great enjoyment out of kidnapping beautiful women and having sex with them. He has a medical problem that causes a constant erection and he has to have sex four to six times a day.”
“Is this based on a true story?” Evangeline inquired.
“Yes, yes it is.” I nodded, biting the inside of my cheek so hard I drew blood.
“I thought so,” she said, impressing herself with her vast knowledge of history.
“So when they got back to the ship, Pirate Dave and Shirley started to have sex on the deck of the ship while everyone watched. They were so in love, they couldn’t wait to ravish each other and they were so into each other, they didn’t even realize anyone was watching.”
“How romantic.” Evangeline was breathing hard; her left hand cupped her right breast.
Ewwww, she was turned on. I was going to shower for a long time that night.
“Then they lived happily ever after. The end.”
“Wait,” Evangeline shouted. “What happened to the bitch sister?”
I hesitated. What in the hell happened to the evil sister? Shit. “She . . . um, tried to kill Pirate Dave and Shirley while they were having intercourse on the deck, but the crew got so mad they threw her overboard. They were all voyeurs.”