Let Down Your Hair...
(Part seven of a novella fairy tale)
The Jig Is Up
I had a hard time getting to sleep that night, and I felt pretty shitty abusing my yoga class like that. It didn’t stop me from jumping out of bed the next morning before my alarm went off, and digging for my elixir in my purse. I repeated my ritual from the day before, ‘doop, doop’, I dabbed on the precious serum behind each ear and wished myself luck in the mirror. I didn’t look like had I tossed and turned all night, and that even my tried and true go-to fantasy of me and Dino doing it to put myself to sleep, didn’t work.
I loved my bed. Even when I couldn’t sleep. It cocooned me in its soft fluffy cotton embrace, encouraging me in ever more far-fetched fantasies with Dino. On restless nights, I’d usually start out with a believable scenario, say Dino needs something from me at work. Since last Friday, and our dance combo that segued into the horizontal mambo, I had been incorporating that scenario into my sweet dreams at night. It doesn’t get any better than that when reality actually makes it into your fantasies.
I applied a swoop of lip gloss, blew a kiss to myself and headed off to work. If I didn’t know me, I would swear I was some sort of femme fatale. Men were holding doors, standing when I entered a room, almost sniffing the air as I went by. I told myself it couldn’t really be Rapunzel and the Phux factor, but the truth is, I knew it could be nothing else.
I wasn’t myself, and that was causing people to stop and take notice. My laugh floated on air, nearly visible ripples of joy, my skin was perfect, my pores were miniscule, my hair bounced with je ne sais quoi, and I don’t even speak French, for Pete’s sake. I had on my highest pair of heels and unlike the beautiful mermaid sacrificing all for her one true love, my feet didn’t hurt a bit. I shook my fanny when I walked, shimmied my shoulders when I talked, and praised the universe for the nerd scientist who developed Phux. Note to self: buy stock in that company.
I was humming to myself so at first I didn’t hear the incoming missile of doom.
“Ahem,” La-ura said, obviously repeating something to me. “What are you so happy about?” she asked.
“Oh, nothing,” I said. I believe I even simpered for the first time in my life. Pity to waste it on La-ura. I even looked over her shoulder to see if Dino was anywhere in the vicinity.
La-ura snapped her fingers in my face. Day-um I hated when she did that.
“Sorry. What’s up?”
“Obviously, you.” She said, staring me down with a concentrated look. “Did you get your hair cut?”
As if. I wouldn’t need a haircut until sometime in the Fall of 2020. “No,” I shook my head.
“Botox?” Her necked stretched out, pushing her face even closer to mine.
I laughed. She didn’t.
I even blew out a breath, not even self-conscious about the coffee fumes that had to be there. Even my bad breath felt cute.
“So,” I tried to make boss talk. “We’re all ready for the presentation tomorrow.”
“Yeah, right,” La-ura said. “That’s why I’m here.”
“Hand it over?”
“Give it to me.”
Sweat spurted between my breasts, which had been bouncy and perky only moments before. My mouth went dry. Acidy oily coffee residue sprung from my tongue, making me want to gag. I could feel grease build up flattening my hair. I itched my scalp, making it worse. My left eye started to twitch, and itch. My chin was sore.
“Give you what?” My voice wobbled.
“The jig is up,” La-ura said. She held out her hand slowly, palm up, her perfectly french-manicured nails gently unfolding to seek, and receive their treasure. She wiggled her fingers. “Gimme.”
My eyelids twitched, rapidly, and not in a flirty motion, either, more like in the frenetic spasm of a moth caught on a hot strobe before it fried. I had always been way too good at playing stupid before, but I couldn’t speak a word to save my life. “Gggg,” was the only sound that came out as I tried to manufacture a little saliva.
“Come on, MaryBeth. Give me the Rapunzel. I want to see what this Phux is all about.”
In hindsight, I should have at least said I forgot it at home, or it was stolen, or I didn’t have any change and I gave it to a homeless man on the street. Not known for being a fast thinker, the fear of losing my beloved potion rendered me even slower on the uptake than usual.
In slow motion, my hand reached for my purse under my desk. As my hand passed by my feet, I felt my toes throb and swell as my heart churned out extra beats in sorrow, mourning the loss of the best thing that’s ever happened to me.
Goodbye, sweet Phux, I thought. Parting is such sweet sorrow.
My eyes were watering as I handed her the most magnificent little brown bottle in the whole world.
“Are you crying?” she asked.
“No,” I said. “My contacts are just bothering me.”
She grabbed the bottle, no ceremony, how blasphemous, and turned and marched back to her office. She didn’t even say thank you.
Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion!