Lorraine’s sprits were low. At least two weeks had passed since she had entered the scary world of Match.Com, and she hadn’t met anyone suitable. First there was the Popcorn look-alike, then all these guys who looked okay (albeit fat and bald) who, even when she winked at them, ignored her.
Her self-esteem was slipping away, and all attempts at dieting were lost in a tidal wave of chocolate cake and Haagen-Daaz ice cream. Suki enjoyed this new dieting regime, as Lorraine would get nauseated about half way through each pint of ice cream, and she would let Suki lick the carton clean. She noticed that little Suki was getting a bit chubby, and Lorraine hoped she wasn’t putting on too much weight herself.
She made it a rule to avoid all full-length mirrors, which wasn’t easy, considering how many beautiful antique mirrors she had in her apartment. It was hard enough averting her eyes from the mirror above the bathroom sink, which reflected back to her an image of her aged mother. Ugh. Those pouches that hung from either side of her chin were like saddle bags on a camel. She would love to get a nice little lift if only she had the cash. “I wonder if Medicare would cover the procedure?”, she asked herself.
In lieu of facelift, Lorraine applied a tightening mask to her face in the bathroom. Absent-mindedly, her eyes lifted to the vanity mirror, and she jumped when her green visage appeared in front of her. She poured some Chifferobe bath salts into her tub, and ran the water. The label promised “an orgasm in a bottle,” and she was hoping that was not a false claim.
After her bath and after she had wiped off the mask and slathered her skin with Le Prairie skin caviar luxe serum, she slid into her silk Dior nightie and sat on the edge of her bed. Suki leapt up beside her and curled up.
Thank goodness! There on her pillow was Pete, her pet stink bug. Yes, pet stink bug. She loved that little critter! He was the Charlotte to her Wilbur. That little guy would land there every night, and Lorraine would feed him tiny bits of fresh strawberries. She admired the way he looked like a prehistoric knight in his little armored carapace. He would stay on her pillow all night long, like a sweet guardian angel in an armored suit. She wondered how long stink bugs lived, and hoped they had a very long life-span. After she fed Pete a bit of fruit and kissed Suki on her nose, Lorraine curled up and fell asleep wrapped in her freshly laundered linen sheets.
Her breathing became deep and even, and images appeared in her sleep. She was a princess whose mother had died and whose father, the king, had remarried a woman with two ugly daughters. They were all mean to Lorraine and made her wait on them. They were jealous of her beauty and of the fact that she was the real princess and they were just wanna-be’s. Her only friends were a shih tzu and a stink bug.
Every night she would cry herself to sleep on the cold stone hearth. One day a messenger from a neighboring kingdom arrived with a message that the prince of his kingdom would be holding a ball to find a beautiful woman to be his wife. The two ugly step-sisters were thrilled. They went to South Park Mall in Charlotte and selected several ball gowns each from Neiman Marcus.
“I want to attend the ball!” announced Princess Lorraine as she carried in the breakfast tray the next morning.
“Don’t be absurd!” laughed Hazel and Thelma, the sisters. “You can’t go! You don’t have a cute outfit, you don’t have a ride, and you are fat.”
“But I have very narrow feet!” objected Lorraine.
“Another reason you can’t go. You won’t find shoes to fit you,” said Hazel.
Lorraine returned to the hearth where her two friends awaited. She lay down on the stones and sobbed.
Suddenly she heard a deep and resonant voice beside her, “Don’t cry, dear princess!”
She whipped her head around, and where her sweet puppy had been was a handsome man dressed in livery. “I will drive you to the ball,” he announced.
“But what will I wear?” she tearfully asked, seemingly unfazed by the dog’s transformation.
“Just go into Thelma’s room when she is out, and help yourself to one of her dresses. She’ll never realize it is missing. And she is taller than you are, so you can wear your poor clogs and they will be hidden beneath the hem of your gown.”
“But how can you drive me? I have no car!”
The chauffeur gestured behind him, and where the stink bug had been in his armored carapace, stood a black Hummer. The face formed by the grill and the headlights bore a strong resemblance to Pete. All went as planned.
Lorraine attended the ball in Thelma’s dress, driven in the Hummer by the handsome, albeit hairy, chauffeur.
When she arrived at the ball, however, the prince turned out to be a dud. He resembled Woody Allen, but lacked a sense of humor. She danced once with him, and went immediately to the ladies to wash her hands to cleanse them of his nasty sweat.
She left immediately, and went back to the parking lot. There, leaning on the Hummer, was the chauffeur who bore a certain resemblance to Owen Wilson. She threw herself into his arms and cried and cried.
“Why are you so sad?” he asked.
“I was really hoping to find a prince tonight, and the prince was such a loser that I would never marry him. Now I am stuck here as a chamber maid and I am forced to wait on my two ugly step-sisters forever,” Lorraine cried.
“No, my dear, you are not stuck. I am neither a chauffeur nor a shih tzu, but I am a prince from a nearby kingdom. And as you loved me before I was a prince, when I was a shih tzu, I will marry you, because you are pure of heart.”
They were married and lived happily ever after with their trusty black Hummer. And the prince never once told her she was fat, no matter how much ice cream she ate.
The next morning when Lorraine awoke, Suki and Pete were still in her bed. She looked at both of them with love, and decided that today would be a good day.
Some day her prince would come.