We chat over coffee, my pal and me.
My pal and me chat when a truly beautiful woman approaches us, or rather, approaches my pal,
“Hi there! Howayadoin?”
“Hi,” my pal replies, surprised and delighted. Pal’s new pal is accompanied by another pal. Introductions are made and we huddle down for an extended chat, which of course is known locally as a chatterbox, because there are now four of us.
Because they are all American they list off a whole slew of complements to one another with reference to each other’s clothing, personal appearance and visible attributes. I cannot fail to notice that pal’s pals have very obvious and large attributes, quite intimidating ones. I suddenly feel both round shouldered and "flat chested." There is an odd symmetry about the two women, but I don’t think that they are related by blood? It’s not just the fashionable attire. I try and put my American thinking hat on, but I have left the baseball cap at home.
I need to think of something nice to say, preferably something that is not sarcastic. Something that cannot be mis-interpreted. I must not let pal down, by saying something stupid in the presence of her pals. I am not naturally nice. Being nice is very hard work. I wish we were in England where we could discuss the weather instead. I decide to be quiet and polite, which just might be mis-understood as enigmatic. I ensure that my retainer is on public display, but still in my mouth. After only a few seconds, I realize that I have been lax about my smiling exercises. My companions still beam without effort, whereas my mouth’s muscles begin to ache.
“So yur the one with all the jaw surgery huh?”
“Yes that’s right!” Beam restored!
“They’re gonna look just great when they’re bleached.” My crest falls between my knees, never to be retrieved.
I generally abide by the Marquis of Queensbury's rules of engagement, but not always. I decide that I have been ‘good’ for a very long time, too long. I determine to use the only 'advantage' I possess, my BBC accent. For some unaccountable reason, an English accent sometimes lends an air of authority in America. It seems so unfair and unkind that Americans are not more familiar with the "Emperor's New Clothes." I do not feel kind. I wield my unfairness.
“So which surgeon did you use?” I ask in an amiable tone. The name of the doctor means nothing to me, as I already knew. “Oh really? Why did you pick him?”
“Oh all my friends, er……my circle,… go to him,” she demures. Her sunshine falls on each one of us in turn and eventually comes to rest upon the upper torso of her companion. The giggle of school girls is inaudible.
“My! So you both used him then?” They beam back, unanimous. Their smiles match. They could be twins. Other parts of their anatomy are as uniform as the fruit available in the produce aisle. It is mind numbingly disturbing.
“I didn’t use him myself,” I announce to the centre of the table. Out of the corner of my eye, I can see my pal. My pal starts off as horror struck, as if I have kept a secret from her. Horror changes from one kind of horror to another kind of horror, but I refuse to allow her to interrupt or stop me.
“Really?” coo the twins, a tad disinterested. I straighten my square shoulders and thrust forth my pimples, “indeed, I think you’ll find that Dr. Pain did a matchless job. I recommend him to all my friends. The man’s an artiste of course.”
The twins’ eyes flick over my chicken chest, uncertain how to proceed. “Quite! But he’s very exclusive and the waiting list, oh my dear! it’s as long as my arm, twice maybe?” I model arm waving of the extended spaghetti variety. The twins exchange glances. There are times when it is best to show no mercy. “Yes it’s just so wonderful what they can do these days. All the optional extras and so on.” I let it hang there a moment, until one of them feels brave enough to ask.
“Howdaya mean, optional extras?”
“Well, if you look closely, you’ll see that I choose the nipless option, guaranteed to please.” Three pairs of eyeballs glue themselves to my chest, an experience more rare than hen’s teeth.
“Howdaya mean ‘nipless?’”
“Isn’t it obvious?” I add as I raise my ribcage another inch in the air.
“That’s right, detachable ends to ensure that smooth look for those oh so special occasions. They’re right here on my purse, in this little pink container!” I pat the curved plastic box with my finger tips, a mini drum roll. Pal’s pals, look a little green about the gills. They both stand at the same time. One covers her mouth with a couple of quivery flutter hands. Hasty goodbyes are exchanged. “Don’t forget!” I add as they scrurry towards the door, “Dr. Pain!”
Pal and I plop back down on our chairs. I grin at her. “Ohnygod yur bad!” she accuses, with a quite unnecessary venom.
“They weren’t real friends of yours were they?” She huffs in response, “well they sure aren’t now! That’s your empty retainer box isn’t it?” My beam is restored, although still grey.
“Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t!” Smug.
“Shame they’re not made of elastic, so I cud whack em back in yur teeth with a snap!”
Well we all need to escape to dreamland every once in a "while."