This is the Black Orchid, I who have suffered under the lashings of Caligula’s whip, and I who gave water to Jesus at Calgary. I am immortal and I cannot get through to my three young strumpets whom I am to mentor. Maybe trollops would be more descriptive. Lady Lynda and Auntie Carol had promised to help me with them. They were there at eight sharp at the Memorial School of Misgivings, where I secured my mentoring position;. Lest you forget my former post, their names are as follows: Snagle Toothed Sal, Creep Suzette, and Mums, who had six illegitimate children all from different fathers. They were all seventeen year old drop outs from school, and they were awaiting their “Princes” to appear and sweep them off their feet. The Cinderella Syndrome.

Lady Lynda and Auntie Carol were the epitome of retro chic in their black Chanel wool suits, pink pill box hats and black clothe gloves AKA Jackie Kennedy. They dress in sixties style and leave the leather and lace to me. They were never without their gloves for as Lady Lynda says, a woman must have on her person, a tube of pink lipstick, smelling salts for the “vapors” her gloves, a snatch of expensive perfume. These things along with a good credit card all went in their stylish clutch purses. Anything else was pure nonsense. As they walked the expensive scent of Shalimar trailed behind them like the mist on a waterfront. I, myself, wear Tea Rose as it obliterates all other scents and announces my presence.

I told them of my travails with these girls and how they didn’t take me seriously and they thought I was some kind of beauty guru and not a real person.

“Be mindful of the emerald in your belly button, dear,” said Lady Lynda mildly. “Dear you look and act like a goddess, and that’s why they are not taking you seriously. I’m going to take the bull by the horns, so to speak”

I told them my charges were all looking for a Sir Galahad to come and sweep them off their feet and give them three squares and a cot to flop in. My girls were greeted with laughing, derision and rude remarks. They took it in stride and laughed it off.

“Girls, we feel the same about you. You’re a motley crew If there ever was one. What a repast for my startled eyes. Lady Lynda, get my smelling salts out of my purse: I’m feeling quite faint,’

Lady Lynda did so but not without an admonition to Auntie Carol. “Dear, you should be more stalwart. This is no fool’s paradise, you know. This is serious business we’re about. It’s no time to be singing the blues or murmuring the madness. These girls need our help. We are the thorns to puncture this slothfulness and indifference.”

Auntie Carol rallied to Lady Lynda’sw exhortation and said, “Rule #1, Never bed a man unless you see a diamond ring dangling from his hand. “Why pay for the cow when the milk is free, Dears.”

There was much hilarity at that statement and Mums was the most vociferous. “Ms. Carol, the well has already been poisoned, Dang, women is you for real?”

Lady Lynda got all wroth, and said, “You are but a wart on the derriere of the world. Has this playing loose and wildly brought you any success in life. It’s time to close your damn legs. Especially you. Mums. It seems to me you’re a sucker, to use your own patois.”

“Mums puffed up like a damned black adder and said, “Lady you don’t know me like that. Don’t dis’ me like that!!”

“You think there’s a single adult person who cannot read you, young lady? You keep thinking they’ll marry you if you give them a baby. You haven’t learned much, dear. As for respect, that has to be earned. The act of being born into this life is not enough to confer respect, “ said Lady Lynda.
“Dag, why you even go there, Miz Lynda. Why you so snooty and hostile. I aint’ never done nothin’ to ya’”, said Mums. “You is a bitch, Lady Lynda.

“Yeah,” said Snaggle Tooth Sal, “Why you up in our faces. We aint done nothin’ to ya. She right!”

“We’re here to do just that. To be on your backs. The Black Orchid coddles you too much. We’ re going to wake you up our of your Cinderella dream. As it stands you’ve done nothing with your lives but eat, sleep and have illicit sex. You think you could interest any decent man? Look, what you get for your troubles, babies and STDs” said Auntie Carol.

“What’s illicit sex?”said Creep Suzette.

“The kind you’re having. Without the state of Holy Matrimony,” replied Lady Lynda, in a huff. “Oh, the trials and tribulations of life and you’re not prepared for any of them. You’re the White Man’s Burden, Darling.”

“Well, we’re all white. I thought that’s what black people were,” said Mums.

Nobody replied as it was too stupid a question to answer. :Girls,” said Lady Lynda, “We’re here to see you lead a better life and hunting for Mister Right is not on the agenda. You’ve got to be somebody if you want to get a quality mate, the man who can be a father to your children,”

“And we’re not taking any nonsense. Get your GEDs and seek stable employment. Then you can search for love for then you’ll be somebody. Quit waiting for the man who’ll make it happen for you. You’re all fat and unattractive and pimply. You’ll just get a misanthrope if you try now. Prepare yourselves for excellence and expect excellence and demand excellence,” said Auntie Carol.

“What’s a misanthrope. Some kind of cave man or is Sasquatch,” asked Creep Suzette.

“ A little of both,” said Lady Lynda with the merest smile.

“Well, neither of you is all that hot and you gone tell me ya gots husbands,” said Mums.

“Yes and we have no apologies for how we look,” said Lady Lynda. You must eschew
all men until you can do for yourselves. I said. And also that they would be fine as long as they had fierceness in their hearts. A hard, scarred, battle worthy heart is a fine thing to have. It is a treasure trove.

Snagle Toothed Sal asked how she was supposed to “chew” all men. Was she to become a cannibal.

I explained the term, and told them that they must first become independent of their parents. Then and only then were they to look for a good provider, a man they could lean on in a storm. I told them that if they didn’t care for themselves, no one else would either. I said life was not a rubix cube that it was really kind of simple.

“Life’s a Bitch. Then you die, That’s what my daddy said when he went off to the Big House,” said Mums.

I said that yes that was Lenny Bruce who said that and that he was a seriously depressed person and that someone else said “Life is real: life is earnest” and that was a better way to look at it. I am a Quote Stealer as I don’t know who said that. I felt a new warmth toward these three desert toads as I confess I called them. To be born without brilliance and beauty seems to me a bit unfair. Could it be that fate was unkind? Perish the thought. Truth is a harsh serum, but ah, the coolness of it on the tongue. The majestic coolness.

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