Stephanie barely recognized Lorraine when she waltzed into Chifferobe and plopped down in Ron’s big leather chair. Her cloud of jet black hair, usually a trademark of Lorraine’s, had turned a lovely Covid-gray. Still it was coiffed into a helmet as always, and she wore her signature big sunglasses, white linen shirt, and black pants. Her feet were clad in Eileen Fisher shoes, triple A width. She had Frederick with her, looking dapper.
“I love your hair!” Stephanie enthused. “The gray becomes you!”
“Ugh,” Lorraine responded. “Stop!! I have an appointment for color. This gray hair makes me look old! I don’t care what you say. The natural look is overrated.”
Lorraine then filled Stephanie in on the news about 44 Cherry Street. She reported that her new neighbor, Sauce Quatch was settling in nicely. He still smelled to high heaven and didn’t seem to understand the logistics of using a bathroom, but Lorraine had taken him on as a project. She had already bought him some strong soap, shampoo and Ax Body Spray, and she sent Frederick downstairs to show him how to bath himself. When Sauce had practiced a few times and the stink had dissipated some, Lorraine made him an appointment with Glen at Michelle’s for a shave and a haircut. She was searching for someone to wax the thick hair off his body parts not covered by his shabby clothes. Clothes shopping would definitely follow. She was searching for a Big and Tall Shop. Was there one at the crappy Asheville Mall?
“He is my latest project!” Lorraine declared proudly. “But I just hope he is vaccinated! And he absolutely must wear a mask! 44 Cherry Street is a Covid-free zone, and we must keep it that way. I am just now comfortable enough not to take my temperature morning and night.”
“I know that you are a kind person,” said Stephanie, “But why are you taking such an interest in this new neighbor?”
“Remember how hard I searched for a husband on Match before I met Frederick? Well, I believe there is some lonely woman out there who would be delighted to meet such a big, strong man. I am doing this for the women of Western North Carolina.”
“You are a humanitarian, Lorraine!” declared Stephanie. But was Sauce actually a human? She had never seen anyone who was quite as hairy and large. Stephanie pictured this creature, dressed in designer clothes and smelling of after-shave, downtown in Asheville picking up women at popular bars. Frightening! She changed the subject: “Any prospects for the apartment on the top floor opposite you? There are Susan and Sauce on the ground floor, and You and Frederick upstairs. Only that one unit is left.”
“I’m not sure. The landlord mentioned that a local guy had made some inquiries. He sounds interesting! Maybe you know him. He is a retired meteorologist and practicing dog whisperer. He’s single too. Could be that 44 Cherry Street will be Hot Guy Central!”