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By Suzanne Macpherson
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2006 Suzanne Macpherson
All right reserved.
Friendship is constant in all other things
Save in the office and affairs of love.
Patricia Stillwell watched as the curvaceous blonde made her way down the aisle of the company lunchroom. A tiny hot pink handbag dangled from one wrist. It matched the blonde's hot pink lips and her hot pink knit top. The hot pink top brimmed over with a cleavage that seemed almost real. In her slender arms she balanced a salad in a clear plastic box as if it were a gift.
"Look at that. Look how she moves! It's like Jell-O on springs," Pinky McGee hissed across the table to her friend Patricia.
As soon as the woman passed by, Patricia twisted herself backward and watched with fascination as the men in the lunchroom respond in a mass-hysteric Pavlovian response wave.
"Those aren't real." Patricia gave her best friend Pinky a roll-eyed look. "It's silicone on springs, not Jell-O."
As Patricia continued to watch the passing parade, she saw every guy in the cafeteria develop a snap-action Ken doll head as the blonde and beautiful Lizbeth Summers from the lin-gerie department passed by their long tables.
"Unbelievable. You'd think she was a T-bone steak and they were starving dogs," Pinky said."Look at them drool." Pinky pushed her black-rimmed glasses back up in disdain.
"So what? She's a blonde," Patricia said. "She's Marilyn Monroe and we're Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis. Or in our case, more like Geraldine and Daphne, their female alter egos."
"Just find me Osgood Fielding the Third and you're on." Pinky smirked and batted her eyes.
"You are impossible." Patricia took a bite of her sandwich and ignored her friend. The subject of blondes vs. brunettes was not a new one in the Nordquist Department Store's employee lunchroom.
"You use that same obscure movie reference every time I yammer about some bimbo blonde from the lingerie department making all the boys go ga-ga." Pinky crossed her arms and stared, unblinking. Patricia gazed upon her best friend. Pinky's brown eyes looked bigger because of the way her glasses magnified them. Her Mary McFadden bobbed hairdo set the whole picture off. Pinky always made her smile and drove her nuts at the same time.
Patricia finished her bite before she set her friend straight. "Some Like It Hot is not obscure. It's a classic. And besides, Paulie knows what I mean. Who cares about anyone else but you, me, and our honorable landlord and third musketeer, Paulie?" Patricia slumped over her sandwich. She was in a mood. She sucked her diet Coke through a straw and hid her face from Pinky so her blonde envy wouldn't show. The truth was, she wished she could be as beautiful as Lizbeth.
If she had been the pretty sister instead of the plain one, would she be here working at Nord-quist in the catalogue department? Or would she be engaged to an Orthodontic Greek God like her sister Carol, or maybe teaching Russian and Romantic literature to a room full of attentive college students focused on her striking appearance yet still soaking in the wonder of Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment?
"We need new movie references; modern movies, beyond the sixties. We're just getting so inbred; so predictable. Isn't that the same thing you ate last Tuesday?" Pinky asked.
"What's wrong with leftovers?"
"It's the meatloaf Tuesday thing. Every Monday Paulie makes meatloaf. Every Tuesday you eat a meatloaf sandwich."
"So I'm economical."
"No, Patricia, you are in a rut! We are in a rut."
"Okay. I'm in a rut. I admit it. What shall we do, take a cruise to Fiji? Enroll in a knitting class? Go river rafting? Learn to ride a bike again?"
"You're a very pretty girl, you know." Pinky tapped her short unpainted fingernails on the bare woodlike tabletop. "You haven't had a serious relationship in over four years. You should be dating."
"Are you hitting on me?"
"Fesso." Pinky reached over and swatted Patricia's hand. Good thing she'd put down the sandwich.
"Ouch. What's that mean?"
"Idiot in Italian. Paulie is teaching me Italian."
"So what's your point? Under this plain exterior we're both living dolls? We're not. We are the plain-brown-wrapper girls. We are Barbie's best friend whazzername. See? We can't even remember Barbie's best friend's name. And do you know why? Because she was a brunette like us. She probably had a degree in some obscure literature."
"Like you?" Pinky smiled.
"Yes, and that's why we don't know her name, because she's twenty-eight, working in the catalogue department of Nordquist, underutilizing her education, and not even getting a decent employee discount because she doesn't quite have what it takes to be on the sales floor. She's at Nordquist getting the second-tier discount. Sad, isn't it?"
"She was a redhead sometimes. I remember that. But I had her with brown hair. She was probably an Irish Catholic girl from Brooklyn," Pinky mused.
"Like you?" Patricia took another bite of her sandwich. Eating with Pinky always made eating somewhat difficult and slow due to their joint tendency to philosophize over lunch instead of chew.
"Yeah, like me. You think this Northwest land of Norwegians and fish is so great. These Scan-adhoovians have no idea what do to with food. Did I ever tell you about the food in New York? People out here just don't get it. What is with the bagels here in Seattle? Just stupid." Pinky made a very weird face and gestured in the air.
Patricia laughed. "Let's see, did you and Paulie ever tell me about the food in New York? Only about a thousand times a week. Shall I just flop over and expire of hysterics right here? We've been searching for the perfect bagel in this city for five years, Pinky. Talk about predictable!" She snorted in response to her friend.
Pinky made a mean face at her, which abruptly changed to a happier configuration. "Oh, look, here comes Osgood Fielding the Third."
Excerpted from Hysterical Blondeness by Suzanne Macpherson Copyright © 2006 by Suzanne Macpherson. Excerpted by permission.
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