Glycerina was rather proud of her festive ensemble, as she well should be. After all, it had taken a tremendous amount of effort to put things together, what with The Great War going on and everyone being so bitchy about supplies and late shipments and “personal sacrifice for the greater good” and all that gibberish. But Gylcerina was of a very determined sort, and she wasn’t about to let global conflict interfere with her intense desire to be the star of the debutante season in Upper Crustworthy. As she waited for the taxi that her would take her to the opening-night ceremony at St. Gwyneth’s Social Emporium and Beer Hall, she reflected on her sartorial successes.
The delightful cloche hat had been a rather easy find, initially. Glycerina had been in the midst of conquering a foot-long carnitas enchilada at Alfredo’s House of Tapas and Tire Exchange when she happened to glance over, ranchero sauce dripping from her carnivorous chin, and spied said hat on the head of Esmerelda de Montoya Inigo, a local woman of questionable background and even more-questionable but impressive finances. Esmerelda was just being seated at one of the prime window tables, so she was going to be here for a bit, but Glycerina knew Esmerelda would not be leaving with that cloche hat. Glycerina just had to wait for the right window of circumstance and opportunity.
That window arrived thirty minutes later, when Esmerelda, her face flushing with the side-effects of having ordered and dined on La Sorpresa de Habanero, a potent entrée that did not play, wrenched the cloche off her dampened coiffure and slapped it on her table. (We’ll assume that Esmerelda’s actions were in pursuit of ventilation relief.) One minute later, she fled toward the female facilities, with the door of such located behind a discreet statue of an Aztec Priest sacrificing some form of unappreciative livestock. (The habanero pepper can be a vicious dinner companion, with its startling ability to work through your entire digestive tract in mere seconds.)
Before the portal to the privy had even slammed shut, Glycerina pounced on the cloche, snatching it up and heading for the hills. Unfortunately, there were heels as well, in the form of the high-elevation footwear that Glycerina was sporting. Her hopes of a quick escape were negated by her inability to toddle on her footwear towers with any degree of expediency, stumbling as she did every third step and knocking a sopapilla off yet another table. (It’s so sad how often pastry suffers at the hands of humanity.)
Glycerina was still miles from the exit door when another door flew open, the one attached to the privy, and Esmerelda emerged, much sooner than anyone would have expected, considering the gastrointestinal transgression that had led to her temporary confinement in a stall that smelled of despair. Esmerelda assessed the situation quite quickly and, aided by the sudden loss of five pounds in the loo, allowing her to move more spryly, she raced across the room and tackled the cloche-clutching and sopapilla-violating Glycerina. They both tumbled to the ground and rolled around, with much hair-pulling and spouting of non-appreciative epithets.
(Gladys, sitting at a nearby table: “Well, then. I suppose this is the evening’s entertainment. I much prefer the mariachi band. You?” Husband George: “I haven’t had enough margaritas to care one way or another. And I want a divorce.”)
Eventually, Glycerina was able to escape the clawing hands of an emphatic Esmerelda, using a series of moves she had learned whilst stomping on grapes in southern Italy during her ill-advised until now internship at the Ricardo Vineyards. Glycerina raced out the door and into the night, barefoot, having lost ownership of her high-elevation heels at some point. (Perhaps a gang of disgruntled and vengeful sopapillas wrenched them off her felonious feet at some point? We may never know.)
Once home, Glycerina stood in front of the full-length mirror, her favorite piece of furniture, and lovingly placed the kidnapped cloche on her own head. It was perfect. Sure, the hat was slightly tainted by the imprint of a flaming habanero pepper, a scorching that occurred when the dueling duo had tripped-up a waiter who should have been paying more attention. Glycerina decided the burn mark gave the hat character and it would help her stand out even more in the gaggle of debutantes on opening night. She loved the hat, and she named it Heloise.
Back at the taxi stand, in real time, Glycerina checked her fashionable watch. The taxi was tardy, but she still had plenty of time to reflect on her reflections. So, she did.
The straw-based boa had also been a rather easy acquirement, albeit an unexpected one. Glycerina had been riding shotgun in a turnip truck (we really don’t have time for details) when said truck made a stop at Old Rack Donald’s farm. Whilst the driver engaged in some form of bartering with the proprietor of said farm (an engagement that appeared to involve the quality of a jug of moonshine that may not have proved completely satisfying, it’s not clear), Glycerina grew bored and hopped out of the turnip conveyance, pursuing the possibility that she might find something of remote interest in a place that smelled like the lack of a high-school diploma.
She spotted a barn. Glycerina had never been in such, raised as she was in the inner city, wherein the only cows she knew rented by the hour. Was this a bucket item list, one that she didn’t realize was on the list until now? Mayhap so. She approached the barn doors and threw them wide open, exhibiting a strength she had developed during an ill-fated internship she had done on the Isle of Lesbos, completely misunderstanding some of the fine print on the application form. (“Applicants are expected to perform their duties in a topless manner.” Hmm. Well, that makes sense. It can get really hot in Greece this time of year.”)
As the barn doors slammed outwards, Glycerina spotted someone who was also topless. And bottomless. A naked man was perched on a haybale, just as startled to see her as she was to see him. But she recovered quickly. “Hello. I don’t think we’ve met. I’m Glycerina. And who might you and your penis be?”
Haybale Man recovered with expediency as well. “Good to meet ya. I didn’t realize I would be having an audience or I would have better prepared for this scene. Should I put something on?”
Glycerina shook her head. “I think we’re past that now. But if you don’t mind my asking, what exactly might you be doing that would lead to this current situation?”
Haybale Man: “Oh. Well, I had finished slopping the hogs and it was still an hour until I needed to muck the stalls, so I thought I’d take a health break and attend to some urgent issues that have been troubling me with their turgidness.”
Glycerina: “Yes, I can see that parts of you are very determined. And in the attending to your mental health, what might you be envisioning? A woman? A man? Dolly the Cloned Sheep? Not judging, just asking for research purposes. You never know when you might need to write a doctoral thesis at the last minute.”
Haybale Man: “Oh, definitely a woman. I’ve found that the sheep are not particularly cooperative. And my best friend Hank never really notices me.”
Glycerina: “Terrific. Say, do you have, oh, fifteen minutes left on your break?”
Haybale Man: “Indeed, I do.”
Fourteen minutes later, much to the horrified chagrin of the innocent haybale serving as the foundation for the randy roundelay, the deed was done.
Somewhere else on the farm, a clanging bell clanged.
Glycerina: “I guess we’re not the only ones banging a gong.”
Haybale Man: “Actually, that’s an all-hands-on-deck signal that we have a breech birth with one of the bovines in the lower paddock. This was fun. Can I call you sometime?”
Glycerina: “Oh, honey, no. I was raised better than this. I’ll just let you miss me and write dark poetry about how much you miss me. Fair enough?”
Haybale Man: “Sure, sure. I’m used to it. Hank never notices me.”
Glycerina: “Well, based on my repercussive tingling from your crop-sharing, he’s an idiot. Still, run along and tend to the breeching.”
Haybale Man ran and attended, though he did take the time to slap on some overalls and freshen up a bit in front of the full-length mirror that was mystifyingly located next to a stack of empty milk cannisters that somehow smelled like the French Revolution. Glycerina smiled, in full post-sharing glow, always fond of those who relished full-length mirrors as she did. Birds of a feather.
She eventually left the barn, lugging the violated hay bale behind her and hurling it on the turnip truck. She knew she could make something of it, somehow, couture wise. The inspiration would come to her at some point, as it always did.
Real time and the taxi stand once again, with Glycerina giving her watch another gander. She still had plenty of time, but things were starting to get a wee bit tense. She would allow ten more minutes, and then she would be marching into the building behind her and berating the ineffectual concierge who had rung up the taxi service at her request. Most likely, such a performance would not enhance the issue to any measurable manner, but it would still be satisfying and mildly redemptive.
Besides, the ten-minute allotment to temporary stasis allowed Glycerina to continue reflecting on her couture, which was her third-favorite activity, just a smidge behind calisthenics involving haybales and shoving foot-long enchiladas betwixt her pearly gates. So, she did.
The final showpiece of her runway-worthy outfit, the delicious frock and culottes combo, had also been obtained in a pinball-whizzing cascade of happenstance, which was no surprise to Glycerina. Her flight path had never been a particularly linear experience, so she had grown used to the ricochets and had learned early on to make the best of the careening and seize the day or the hour or the cloche. Or whatever fabulous whatnot caught her attention at the time. Life was too short to spend time on particulars.
Two nights ago, there had been some seizing.
Glycerina initially had no plans for that evening, aside from her general intention to take society by storm in a stunning display of artistic pageantry, but that all changed as she was strolling through a quaint city park adjacent to her domicile. In the midst of such, she encountered one of those street vendors proffering roasted sausages on a bun from his assuredly-greasy cart. Glycerina first thought it best to pass on the proffering, but then she caught a stimulating whiff of the grilled onions which presumably factored in the proffering, and she gave heed to yet another ricochet.
She approached the cart. “I believe I rather fancy your sausage.”
Sam the Sausage Man: “You won’t regret it. How many do you want? Twelve?”
Glycerina: “No, just the one will do. With lots of those onions. I’ll take everything you can give me.”
Sam paused for a moment, but then he quickly sculpted a sublime example of concept art involving a glistening sausage and sizzling condiments. He extended the sculpture across the cart. “Here ya go. Wait, do you want any mustard on-”
Glycerina wrenched the artwork out of his hands and the entire thing was gone in 1.5 seconds, followed by a discreet but aromatic belch.
Sam paused again, then he quickly recovered. “Say, you wanna go out sometime?”
Glycerina: “Thank you kindly, but I’m a very busy girl.”
Sam: “Sure, sure, I can see that. But I got tickets to a play tonight. It’s the opening of ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia’s Woofing’ at the Faux Art Theatre.”
Glycerina: “Oh. I read about that on PlaceBook. What time does it start?”
Sam: “In three hours. And I’ll bring extra sausages. And onions.”
Glycerina: “Sounds delicious. Here’s my address. Pick me up there in two and a half hours. And ignore that eviction notice on my door. I’m sure that it’s a misunderstanding that would have been resolved by now if the landlord hadn’t outsourced his billing procurement to Bangalore.”
Sam: “Got it. I’m so excited I could spit!”
150 minutes later, all but seven of which involved Glycerina standing in front of her full-length mirror and muttering things like “I can’t decide which outfit makes me the prettiest” and “I wonder if I should shave”, she answered an onion-smelling knock on her door.
Sam: “Wow, that’s a rather intense eviction notice. And is that blood splattered around the signature? I think they might mean business.”
Glycerina: “Oh, no worries. That’s just some ranchero sauce that got away from me when I was lugging home another crate of enchiladas from Alfredo’s House of Tapas and Tire Exchange. It’s not easy unlocking a door when your arms are full of scorching wrapped meat. Shall we sally forth?”
25 minutes later the duo was perched in the second row, center, of the Faux Art Theatre. Sam: “Wow, I didn’t realize these seats were so primo. I guess I should sleep with my sausage supplier more often.”
Glycerina: “I understand the feeling. I also understand that I must have those curtains immediately.”
Sam: “I’m not sure I follow. Am I missing a page in my script?”
Glycerina: “The curtains on the stage that will be opening once the play starts. Look at the way the black velvet shimmers. They speak to me in a way that I’ve never been spoken to before, and I hear a lot of voices in my head.”
Sam: “You’re starting to unnerve me just a trifle. No offense, just sharing.”
Glycerina: “None taken. But I should warn you that your onion-scented nerves might be taxed a bit further once the house lights dim. I have a plan.”
Sam: “Oh. Does that plan involve my sudden running in the opposite direction of what you’re doing?”
Glycerina: “Perhaps. It was nice knowing you, Sid. I’ll always remember your sausage and the way it enticed me.”
Sam: “The name is Sam.”
Glycerina: “Darling, I’m giving you an out by already constructing my fake alibi. You should do the same. Pretend that my name is Gwyneth, should you get sucked into a deposition.”
Sam “Got it, Gwyenth.”
The house lights dimmed.
The play lasted roughly 27 seconds and it went like this…
The curtains opened. (Glycerina Gwyneth sighed in rapture at their fluid movement.)
Lead Actor: “Darling, must you always be such a miserable drunken wench? It’s so tedious.”
Lead Actress: “I drink because you ignore me!”
Lead Actor: “And I ignore you because you always drink!”
Lead Actress: “We are doomed to hate each other for the next two hours until the completely contrived resolution involving a dark secret from my past!”
Glycerina was not interested in waiting for said revelation. Life, as mentioned, was too short.
She leapt out of her seat, hop-frogged over the surprised man in front of her (his reaction: “somebody should have shaved her legs”), clamored onto the stage, and raced to the left section of parted curtains, ripping them down and absconding with such as she deftly located an emergency exit and promptly utilized such, as this was clearly an emergency of the sartorial kind.
Sam leapt out of his seat and raced the opposite direction, repeating to himself “Gwyneth, not Glycerina. Gweneth, not Glycerina”. Luckily, no one pursued him, because folks who attend pretentious plays are generally not all that athletic.
27 minutes later, Glycerina not Gweneth was at her sewing machine, fashioning the filched fabric into the centerpiece of her visionary debutante ensemble, filled with rapture. (She had three distinct orgasms by simply constructing the left leg of the culottes. This was going to be a glorious night, very worthy of an entry in her addled diary.)
Flash forward to real time, taxi stand, denouement. Glycerina was on the verge of checking her fashionable, slightly onion-scented watch once again, when she spied the errant taxi motoring her way. We were back on track, finally, and she was more than ready to deal with whatever ricochets might boomerang in her direction. She took a deep breath and relaxed, somewhat.
Back behind this tableau, two men stood outside the hotel wherein dwelled the lackluster concierge who was not all that adept at ordering taxis from a reputable, timely company.
Man on the Left: “Say, did you check out that dame at the foot of the stairs over there? She’s got a certain kick about her. Those black-velvet culottes are really shimmery.”
Man on the Right: “That’s no dame, kind sir. That’s Fred the Butcher. He has the best meat in his shop over on Sorpresa Street. That sausage of his? I can’t get enough.”
Man on the Left: “How intriguing. But does he offer grilled onions as well?”
Man on the Right: “He’ll give it to you anyway you want it.”
Previously published in “Crusty Pie”, massively revised and extended for this share on Bonnywood. In fact, I didn’t retain any of the brief, original story. The black velvet curtains spoke to me and I merely followed the ricochets…
Categories: Past Imperfect