Thursday, June 30, 2005

Pretty Women

Fiction

Marie did her morning meditation taking deep breaths as she looked out the window and thought of nothing but Glynnis. Her customers always came first and appreciated her friendly focus. It took hours to perfect the concentration but she learned that it guaranteed her clients' loyalty. The tips often reached 25% through her purposeful meditation. Her smile greeted Glynnis at the door.

Glynnis smiled down at the woman before her. The salon was private and specialized for the treatment she was accustomed to. She knew nothing but that she was a 45 year old beauty who was meant to be admired. Marie amused her because of her skillful attitude of a servant.

Their aesthetic ambitions were met through each other.

Marie thoughtfully mixed the colors. Glynnis was a level 6 with #10 highlights.
Today Glynnis would be receiving the full treatment, c/c, full leg waxing, brow and upper and lower lip threading and sixty minutes on the bed.
"Will you wear the safety glasses today."
Glynnis frowned as she did not like the lines they left.
"You know I am required by law to advise you to use them."
"Marie, don't you know that if you increase both the UVA and UVB to a nominal intensity, the light will travel vertically and be unable to infiltrate my horizontal exposure. There is no need for those silly goggles." Glynnis gestures added to the explanation of light travel.
Marie's own eyes dilated but she shrugged and put the goggles away.

Six hours later, after complicated instruction on color application and the fundamentals of good waxing technique, Marie and Glynnis hugged. Glynnis was pleased that Marie had learned so much and Marie was pleased by the hearty tip.

Marie swept the hair and bleached the tanning bed, dreaming of another trip to the Bahamas.

Glynnis applied fresh rumbleberry lipstick to her threaded lips as she backed her blue BMW cabriolet out of the driveway, unfortunately for Jolene who was speeding down the street on her green and black girl- skateboard at the same time.
Jolene lay stunned and speechless as Glynnis jumped out her vehicle, rumbleberry across the cheek, screaming at the young girl's total lack of skateboarding skills.
Jolene moved her limbs successfuly, felt gratitude for the helmet she had worn then slowly stood up to face the ranting woman.
"How dare you..." Jolene began a tirade of defense and accusation against the woman whom she discerned could afford it.
Glynnis agreed sympathetically, after noting that the cabriolet was unharmed and Jolene suffered only minor injuries.

Jolene wrote down her license plate while Glynnis drove away, waving.

Jolene was a fit girl of fifteen who carried her large frame well, her stomach protruding proudly over her size 36 skateboarder denims. Her black hair curled at the shoulders from under a khaki cap. The skateboarder's mind was still preoccupied with the golden bronzed image of Glynnis and her finely articulated words which she spoke to herself as she got into her convertible, " Teenagers really have to get a grasp on what courtesy is."

When Jolene arrived home, she examined her skateboard more closely, livid at the closer inspection. It was beyond repair, three wheels were missing and there was a deep crack in the middle which dissected the girl insignia neatly in half.
She turned on the computer and called up her favourite on line detective program. Quickly, she typed in the license plate number and within seconds the screen was filled with information.

Name: William and Glynnis Charleswood
Address: Briarwood Estate...

Everything was there, even their annual income. Jolene smiled smugly.

Jolene started the long walk to Briarwood Estates, but her limp slowed her down so she rested at a bus stop bench. She saw Marie outside her house watering the geraniums and waved. Jolene was a regular at Marie's basement salon. Marie walked over, teasing, "Skateboard broke?" Then her mouth opened wide in alarm as she drew nearer and saw Jolene's blackening eye, bruised cheek and the broken skateboard on her lap. "What happened to you?"
Marie sat down as Jolene told her the tale.
"That sounds like Glynnis. She must've just left from her appointment. " her teeth clenched and her eyes glazed over. "I'll go get the car, I don't have another appointment for an hour."

They drove to the estate. Briarwood was immense and beautiful. A fountain with water flowing from the lips of Athena graced the front yard. The house was Romanesque with solid brick walls and a tower.
"Don't worry, I'll come with you," Marie comforted her shaking cohort.

They waited at the portico. Finally the door was opened by a old man, no less than ninety with coal black hair in a wheelchair.
Jolene held up her skateboard explaining the tale of a Mrs. Charleswood who ran into her this afternoon. "This cost me $62.50 out of my own money..." her voice quivered.
"Come in, come in."

William Charleswood ushered the pair into his home. His darling had perpetrated another indescretion, no doubt. The fat one went on about her skateboard; he smiled and consoled her by writing a cheque for $100.00. She seemed placated and he patiently led them to the door.

"He seemed nice," Marie was shocked at meeting Glynnis' husband.
Jolene didn't respond. She was riffling through a pamphlet.
"What is that?"
"Oh, just something I picked up on the way out. Look at this!" she held up the cover which featured a joyous, glossy Glynnis. Under her chin was written, " Come and experience her wisdom."
"She is giving a talk tonight! We have to go."
"Not me. I hear enough from that woman besides she is my favorite client and I don't want to cause trouble."
Jolene smiled at Marie's lack of impartiality with her clients, that came with the full treatments.
"Okay, I will go alone!"

That night, Jolene, still hurting but not limping nearly as bad, caught the bus to the hotel where Glynnis was appearing. She arrived just in time to catch her emerging from a gold cadillac. After she disappeared into the hotel, Jolene walked up to the driver who had just parked the car. He was nonchalantly picking his teeth, resting his leg on the bumper.
"Are you Glynnis Charleswood's chauffeur?"
He came out of his reverie and nodded. "This ought to be good," he smiled to himself.
"Would you mind if I ask if Mr. Charleswood took away her driving privileges?"
"Ah, now it is beginning to make sense," he thought as he noticed her black and blue face. "No, Mr. Charleswood took her car to the autobody for a paint job. There was green paint on the fender."
"Ah, now I understand the nice Mr. Charleswood," Jolene thought as she thanked him.

Jolene limped confidently into the lobby.She saw a sign with Glynnis smiling and pointing to the designated conference room. When someone was about to question her, she held up the wrinkled pamphlet and was let through.
The room was filled with women. Jolene found a seat in the second row and looked around. These were not ordinary women. These sat straightly in their padded chairs, muscles taut, hair styled , skin tanned, outfits designed. Suddenly Jolene felt conspicuous and slouched down in her seat.
Music and a spotlight announced the stunning, the glorious, the effervescent Glynnis. Her smile warmed even Jolene's sarcasm but then she spoke.

"You are the epitomy of womanhood. Give yourself a hand." Thunderous applause. Then,"You are the pillar of light in this world of ugliness. Your beauty captivates the hearts of mankind. You are more than just pretty women that encourage and enlighten the world. You are goddesses."
and "Repeat the words that affirm your beauty, your lifestyle, your choices...I am kind. I am loving...
My words are positive. My speech is articulate. I can do no harm..."

Jolene felt sick for the next two hours. When the floor was finally opened for questions, Jolene was the first one at the mike. "I am not a pretty woman, but I am a pretty good girl." Everyone looked at her surprised for not only was she not beautiful but she was also bruised and puffy. Her stomach protruded proudly over her jeans.
Glynnis stared at her. Suddenly recognition overcame her and she fell from the stage. Jolene rushed to her crumpled form and whispered in her ear, "I hope you will understand Mrs. Charleswood."
Glynnis shook her hand loose from Jolene and struggled to her feet alone. Jolene watched her as she left the room,limping because one of her stileto heels had broken off.

Glynnis fumbled with the dressing room lock.
"That was so inspiring!" someone came from behind her with a program. She signed it, nodding and quickly retreating into the room.
She stared at the woman that shrank back from her in the full length mirror with bruised cheek, reddened eyes, dishevelled hair, shaking shoulders. Glynnis felt a desire to to collapse before the reflected image but the words came automatically, "I am in control. I am not weak. I speak truth." Her knees strengthened as she reached for a brush.

While Jolene waited at the bus stop, she meditated on a girl's belly button that decorated the bus shelter, chuckling at her own superimposed refection.

The bus bounced and lurched intermittently, Jolene held fast to the strap and to the thoughts of the day. "She is powerful. All those women applauded her every word. You would think that she knew something. When I offered her my hand, she walked off without a word. If she really knew anything, she would have spoken it then."
"Who am I to talk? What do I know?"
"I do know I'm a good skateboarder. I've broken two wrists and an ankle to get here. There is one thing with boarding, you can't lie to yourself; the falls speak for
you."



copyright 2005

15 comments:

Elle said...

I like it!! You really drew me in!! So what does Jolene say?? Next chapter please.....
;)

Cjara said...

Ok. From the point of view of an ex-writer, avid-reader and bookwormseller... I like it.

If you want technical details let me now.

Carol said...

Thanks Elle for the encouragement. Everyone visit Elle's blog to read her story of Rosa!

Cjara, yes, I would very much like to hear the technical details.

k8 said...

i will read it sometime this weekend!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for inviting me to read the story. Though the female pursuits of beauty escape me, this is creating writing indeed.

To the extent my interest is sustained, I will follow the twist and turns of the story as it develops.

L'Envoi

Hick said...

I came across a comment you made on "How Not To Guide to Parenting..." so, I hope you don't mind my dropping in. I read your draft and you certainly kept my interest. Complicated characters.

Allisino said...

Wow, I honestly didn't want this story to end. Really enjoyed the subtleties, the movement among the characters, the exposing of superficiality.. I do hope to see more, although it works well as is. Thanks for inviting me to read this, enjoyed it muchly :)

zeb said...

I agree with Allisino, I want to read more. I don't really know what kind of writing this is. Is it satire or a prose/poetry mix? I don't really care though, I just know I like it. This could even be a new style of writing. I encourage the author to continue and to relax into this new mode of self expression .The football has dropped into your hands, all you have to do is run with it. Maybe this time next year we will all be able to pick up a copy of this work at our local Chapters
a fan
Zeb

trisha said...

I really, really like this story, and, more than that, your writing. I love this style, and I, well, just love this.

Love.

Carol said...

K8-hope you got a chance to read the story. It is longer than my other posts, for sure.
Hick-Of course, I am glad you dropped in.
L'Envoi,Allisino and Zeb-I wasn't really planning on another installment, but after your encouragements, I am working on chapter 2.
Trisha-I am very grateful for the positive responses. Thanks.

Pearl said...

Hi Carol,
I got your message. I want to sit down and have a proper look at it but I won't have time until at least the 12 or 13th to do so when I'm back to non-paying connections. I appreciate your wanting my opinion.

Pearl said...

You've got great richness of details of images and people and keep us in touch with the story through common threads like the limp reminding us of what came before, the image of Glynnis as beautiful seen by a second set of eyes. Very interesting look at what it is to be strong, to be female, to be a strong female, what the image of wise strength is. The Jolene character is very admirable but at the same time with the tremble in the hand of Glynnis and her route a affirmations and the context of her husabnd, she too is a deep character. Well done.

Some minor linear things, I might suggest a flow movement because Jolene came into the story unexpectedly and with three female characters the she got a bit ambiguous for me. If you shuffled a couple lines that resolves itself.

--
Jolene was a fit girl of fifteen who carried her large frame well, her stomach protruding proudly over her size 36 skateboarder denims. Her black hair curled at her shoulders from under a khaki cap. She was speeding down the street on her green and black girl- skateboard. Glynnis backed her blue BMW cabriolet out of the driveway while applying fresh rumbleberry lipstick to her threaded lips.
--

By the time Jolene arrived home, she was livid. She examined her skateboard...Or she thought the board wasn't damaged and when she realized how badly it was she became livid?

--
I hear enough from that woman. [thought she liked her?] besides she is my favorite client and I don't want to cause trouble."[why would it cause trouble?] I'm a bit foggy on Marie and might like to see a paragraph more introducing her and where her aetehtician practice is set up.


Strong ending. Love the self-acceptance of Jolene looking in the refection at the marketed image of femininity and defining it for herself.

Carol said...

Thanks Pearl, I really appreciate your comments and suggestions!

David said...

yay,, i found something new to read online ( and healthy, too)

Anonymous said...

its nice to come here to find there is story waiting to be read ..sure will be back