Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Mad Props

She was simply amazing, every princess he'd ever read about all rolled into one, stunning woman. She had hair of spun gold, just as Rapunzel had; and skin as white as snow, with lips the color of blood, just as Snow White had. And she loved long naps, exactly as Sleeping Beauty did. Just her passing within 20 yards made Chesmar feel faint with joy, and that, was a problem that needed to be dealt with.

Chesmar was, as his mates had called him most of his young life, a "fraidy cat"; terrified of nearly everything under the sun, but particularly women who appeared to be princess's. And for his fears Chesmar lived as an outcast to all but his dear sweet mother, who needed him only because she was too short to reach the top shelves in her pantry. Now that made Chesmar a truly lonely boy, and one who had far too much time to both think, and read; and worse, think about what he'd read.

One day Chesmar was rummaging through the half price section of the Barnes and Noble, when a strange title caught his eye: "How to make girls fall in love with your effigy, and then, with you!" It seemed a long title, and an odd thing to do as well. "Why not eliminate the middleman" Chesmar thought. "Why not just have her fall in love with me right off the bat?"

But something about the book fascinated him; though he flipped past volumes of "patients of Dr. Phil's recipe books" and transcripts of "Has-been celebrity appearances on reality shows", he kept coming back to "Efficient effigies and the introverts empowered by them", the subtitle of the strange, but colorful tome.

Well, Ches had tried to tell Fiona (the princess-y girl) how he felt, but each time he'd attempted to get close enough to her that he could whisper (so that were she to just laugh at him the whole world wouldn't know what a dope he was)...he'd trip and fall flat on his face because he'd be gazing into her big brown eyes and not the lumpy ground between he and she. So, he thought, perhaps with an effigy in tow, "I'd need to concentrate on the mock up me and how to operate it properly, and be less likely to screw up before I even start!"

It seemed like a plan, so Ches doled out 29.95 and ran home with his chick magnet manual, praying that this would be the answer to his long term virginal suffrage and general loneliness malaise.

It took near a week to build, and almost a hundred dollars that he needed to raise by selling his Fantastic Four comic collection, but at last he had his effigy, a working replica of "his truly" in marionette form. "Surely she'll think this is clever!" Ches thought; "Girls just love creative guys, it says so on page 123!"

The day finally came when all was ready, when Fiona would walk down Hardanger Street on her way to ballet lessons, and she'd pass by Fred Thompson's junked Rambler station wagon in which Chesmar had built a stage where his effigy could prance and sing.

As Fiona approached Ches nearly died of fright, thinking he couldn't possibly do what he'd planned, that he'd look even more a fool than he did when he'd fall on his face while walking toward his lady fair, waving as if he were being attacked by bees.

But he thought about the book and its sage advice: "If she likes it, she's sure to like you. If she hates it, blame your effigy! It's a win-win!" Ches picked his effigy off the rusted back gate of the car and turned it to face him directly. "Don't fail me little effigy" he said, "or it's the fireplace for you!"

"You there!" The tiny falsetto voice squealed as Fiona reached ground zero and the effigy began to soft shoe. "Yes you, the fairy tale princess! Come closer!"

Chesmar had built one tiny flaw into his stage. Once the production was underway, he couldn't see anything but the effigy. So he had to concentrate on the act and assume it was so enthralling that Fiona would stand still and allow her enthrallment to commence.

For twenty minutes he danced, or at least his effigy did. He did a fine John Travolta impersonation, finger pointing toward the sky, bell-bottom pants swaying while he sang the praises of Fiona to the tune of America the Beautiful, the only song he could memorize in such a short time.

"Oh beautiful for Fiona's lips, they're really moist and red
her pastel mountains majesty I dream about each night in my head
Oh Fiona dear, Fiona dear..."

and so on for another ten verses, each one more medically correct than the last. But on the eleventh verse, the one about him offering to shave her legs every day if she thought that'd be a good idea, the rusty rear doors of the junked Rambler swung open, one actually snapping off its hinges in the process. As Ches watched in horror, two sets of hands on muscular forearms slid across the floor, each pair grabbing one of his legs and yanking him toward the front of the vehicle.

"There there Mister Pynt" someone said in an Aunt Julie the cheek-tweaker voice; "everything will be alright, we just want to talk to you for a bit."

Ches was hauled from the car and strapped into a white jacket before the two largest men ever carried him kicking and screaming into the back of a padded van. "Where's Fiona" he shouted; "this was all for Fiona, I'm not crazy, a book told me to do this!"

"Yes yes, we know" said the aunt Julie clone. "We'll take care of that naughty book when we get to the hospital".

And as Chesmar and his new friends drove away, and Fiona wept in the back seat of a squad car parked nearby, his effigy still rattled on the tailgate of the broken down Rambler, a developing wind toying with its perfectly made joints and lifting its tiny appendages, making it look as if it were alive and on its own. The hands waved as Ches' might have, as if on fire and in a rush to extinguish the flame. The legs flailed as if possessed by the spirit of Mister Bojangles, and the mouth flapped though no sound came forth, except for the air working to form words no longer there... the words of its mad creator, recently indisposed.

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