Monday, December 17, 2012

The Fall Back

Ladies and gentlemen, over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been telling fortunes at a couple of parties. It’s fun, easy money and gives me a chance to meet some new people.

This past Friday, I worked a party that I had been laughingly referring to as ‘the cougar party’ all week. The lady who hired me was definitely the cougar type. A real man-eater although I didn’t realize how big a man-eater until later.

I left early to make sure I could find the address. I’m glad I did as the house did not meet my expectations; it exceeded them. It was a rambling, two-story brick set in a very chichi neighborhood. A country club, thoroughbred-horse-raising sort of neighborhood.

I wasn’t certain I had the right address until I rang the front door and there was my employer, La Cougar. You would probably recognize the type if you saw her. Older, tan, moisturized, oozing confidence and surrounded by a cloud of expensive, floral perfume. Every strand of her platinum hair was in place and she wore a strand of pearls around her neck that she would toy with all evening.

She led me into the living room, an open space with pale walls and pastel-colored, soft furniture. La Cougar’s guests were obviously cut from the same cloth as herself. They sat around the glass coffee table, sipping cocktails and quietly congratulating the guest-of-honor on her recent divorce.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I was working a ‘divorce party.’

The fortune telling went over well. The ladies were relaxed and amused. They wanted to know about their love lives, their sex lives.  Would they get married again? Would the trip to Spain work out?

As the night passed, the wine flowed and the ladies became more relaxed. More salacious. The conversation drifted to talk of husbands, ex-husbands, boyfriends and even the occasional liaison. It was informative, if not always flattering.

After I had finished the last reading, La Cougar took me by the arm and led me into the dining room to pay me. She was very relaxed at this point, leaning into me. Her words were a little slurred, her fingers toying with her pearls. She sent her housekeeper to fetch her checkbook and patted my arm, told me how pleased she was with my performance and that she would recommend me to all of her friends. Even if she was genteelly tipsy, I think she was sincere.

The doorbell rang just as the housekeeper returned, but one of the guests announced she would get the door. La Cougar started to write me a check when her guest returned, followed by a young man wearing a Domino’s delivery jacket.

The young man, said the guest, was lost.

"I have a special delivery with extra sausage," explained the delivery boy. "But I don’t know where it goes."

He walked up to the guest of honor, a plump, pink older lady.

"Could you tell me where it goes?" He asked her.

At which point somebody turned on the stereo and the guy began to strip.

La Cougar had been writing my check, but the minute the stripper began to dance, she lost all interest in paying me. She was too busy staring at this young, lanky, blonde boy peeling his clothes off.

The housekeeper shook her head and led me into the kitchen. We sat at the kitchen table, where she proceeded to have a glass of wine, while looking through the shutters at the action in the living room.

"Scandalous," she said, shaking her head. But she had a little smile on her face when she said it.

From the noise in the living room, it looked like it’d be a while before La Cougar returned, so I asked the housekeeper if she wanted her cards read for free. She declined, saying she didn’t hold with fortune telling. However, I couldn’t help but notice she had no problem ogling the stripper. Or opening another bottle of wine.

The wine loosened her up some and she told me about La Cougar. How she had been married and widowed three times, each of her husbands richer and older than the last. No wonder she could afford such a nice house.

After a while, the music and noise from the living room ended. La Cougar returned, face flushed, eyes bright, patting her hair into place. She apologized for keeping me waiting, but she hadn’t known her friend had hired the stripper. Then wrote me a check and showed me to the front door where the stripper reappeared, mostly dressed, clenching a handful of cash. We walked out the front door together.

"Do you work for that lady?" the stripper asked me, looking at me, trying to figure out what someone like me could possibly be doing for La Cougar.

"She hired me to work the party," I explained.

He gave me a funny look. "What do you do?"

"I tell fortunes."

"Oh. I thought you were another stripper."

I just looked at him. "You’re kidding. Right? Is there a demand for fat, white strippers?"

He thought about it for a minute then said, "Probably."

So, gentle readers, if the writing thing doesn’t work out, I may have something to fall back on.

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