The Adventures of Miss Real

(Exercise #2, Short story by Eygló Daða, 1960 words.
All comments and criticism welcome.)

When Mr. Knowitall stood Miss Real up at the airport Miss Real was sad for a short while. Then she decided to take fate into her own hands and take the trip to Paris by herself. For the first time in her life she felt like a modern, independent woman.

Her face shone with absolute delight as the airplane landed on Charles de Gaulle airport. She was so excited that she almost forgot to claim her luggage. She took a cap from the airport to the hotel that she and Mr. Knowitall had been planning on staying in and didn’t even blink when she realized that the prize was way to steep for her alone. She would work it out, this was her vacation and her opportunity to do things she had never even dared dreaming of.

The very next day she dressed like she imagined a sophisticated Parisian would instead of dressing like a tourist. She wore a red dress, high heels and she bought a Gucci bag in a shop near the hotel that cost more than her entire outfit. She was used to the high heels but didn’t want to tire herself out so she took a cap to the Eiffel tower.

She was awestruck as she walked past the people underneath the tower. A man in a brown hat and ragged suits juggled small kittens, a naked, bronze colored mime moved when people threw coins in a small bronze colored hat beneath his feet and a woman dressed like Marie Antoinette with the appropriate make up and hair sat on a chair and looked sad.

Miss Real didn’t do what the tourists did and enter the line for the elevators to the tower, instead she walked steady-fast, like a woman on a mission, down the pathway towards the park. All around her people lay on small blankets, ate baguettes with cheese, played football and some even drank red wine out of perfectly presentable wine glasses. Children ran around giggling and elderly people sat on benches holding their purses or their canes firmly.

When Miss Real was a good way away from the tower she turned around and looked back. She smiled a satisfied smile as she saw the life she was now a part of. Then she sat down beside an old woman wearing a straw hat with three roses and too much make-up above her eyes. The old woman was holding the ugliest chihuahua Miss Real had ever seen. It was gray with almost no hair on its body and its face looked like it had been squashed flat and then forcefully blown up again. The woman was snuggling with the dog lovingly, getting red lipstick all over it.

After a moments rest Miss Real stood up again, smiled at the woman with the ugly dog, who only frowned back at her, and went on her way. She walked out of the park hoping to find a really cute coffee house where she could eat like a true Parisian.

After a while she found a small, dark place with open-air serving. She sat down beside a small wooden table and wished she smoked cigarettes. After a while a young woman wearing a tight white T-Shirt, short black skirt and a green apron came to take her order. The girl had a red ribbon in her black hair and several yellow teardrops painted on her eyelids.

She ordered a salad from the girl and asked for a glass of red wine to be brought to her afterwards along with a piece of chocolate cake. Her French was bad but the girl seemed to instinctively know what she wanted and just nodded her head approvingly while scribbling the order down on a small piece of paper with a giant pencil with a red rubber duck on the end.

While she waited for her food she looked at the street life around her. A man and a woman sat down close by her and started smoking long cigarillos, they ordered a bottle of wine and laughed with exaggerated movements of the hands, back and forth, back and forth, as if they were waving a flag. When her salad came she ate it quickly and then waited for her wine and cake to arrive.

Again she wished she had something to do, a book to read or write in, a cigarette to smoke, a mobile phone so she could pretend to be getting a lot of text messages, something that made her look like anything but a lonely girl in a small Parisian café.

When her wine arrived she drank slowly and ate quickly. The glass was big and on the brim of it danced several can-can girls wearing black and white skirts, red tops, big white stockings and when they lifted their skirts she saw a hint of their secrets underneath. On the street in front of her she noticed a man in a top hat, wearing striped suits. He looked at her, waved a cane he was holding, bent forward as he took of his hat as if to salute her. She smiled and tilted her head slightly.

The man saw this as an invitation. He came into the café, sat down in front of her and started to talk quickly in French. She smiled at him, genuinely flattered that he believed her to be French, unwilling to correct him. He talked and he talked and she understood near to nothing of what he said. Then he handed her a business card, stood up and went on his way.
On the card was an address, the current date and a time for later that evening.

Miss Real tickled the can-can girls, finished her glass and waved for her bill. She payed the girl with the red ribbon, tipped well and went on her way. She hailed the next cab and asked to be taken to the hotel. In a small boutique beside the hotel she bought a white lace dress with matching gloves, white shoes and a feather for her hair. Then she went to the hotel, showered,did her make-up and hair, put on the dress, the shoes and the gloves. She placed the feather strategically in her hair pushed money in her bra and looked at herself in the mirror for a long time. She looked like someone else and nothing like herself.

In the cab she said nothing but showed the card to the driver. He looked at her twice with his white beard and his yellow hazy eyes and then he sped off.
“Here we are, Mademoiselle” the driver said as he stopped the car outside of an old, worn building. She  payed the driver and stepped out of the car gracefully. Then she walked up the cracked stairs and entered the building without hesitating.

There was a narrow stripe of red carpet on the concrete floor pointing her which way to go. She walked down the hallway, admiring clowns dancing with skeletons on the walls. A gargoyle towered over an entrance, it had a dragons head and the body of a lion. It nodded its head towards her, hissed and spat its tongue out quickly, like a frog catching a fly. Then she went inside, through the entrance and entering a large ballroom. There were huge chandeliers sparkling their crystal light in the air, big white ribbons decorated the walls along with paintings of beheaded people dancing and clinging their glasses together. On the floor in front of her were people dressed in the most peculiar fashion. A young innocent  looking girl was wearing a tight leather top and a blue leather skirt which hardly hid her buttocks. A man wearing a tailcoat and latex pants took his hat off to her. A woman wearing a chastity belt and an iron bra greeted her and offered her a glass of sparkling, bubbling champagne.

Miss Real accepted gracefully and entered the ballroom as if she belonged there. She saw a clown kissing a queen in the corner and a monk lifting up the many skirts of a fat dame with white hair, the monk had his other hand gripping the woman’s big, left breast tightly. On the dance floor kings danced with a milk maids, stable boys danced with princesses, princes danced with princes and ladies danced with tramps.

She was soon swept into a dance with a woman wearing a harlequin suit. The entire night she ate shrimp and caviar, drank champagne and danced like she had never danced before. She danced with anyone who would, a prince, a beggar, a sowing lady, a prostitute and a king, a concrete gargoyle and a queen. No one spoke a word to her and the music echoed between the walls of the room delightfully.

After a few hours of this a man wearing a beggar’s outfit jumped up on a table and started speaking. She understood little but saw the gleeful anticipation in the eyes of the guests. When the man stopped talking she heard several squeals and suddenly people were running, laughing and chasing each other back and forth and out of the room.

The man in the striped suit, with the top hat approached her and pinched her cheeks. “Run and play” he said and pinched her buttocks. “Run and play or we’ll get you” and then he laughed maniacally. Miss Real wasn’t sure what she was supposed to do. She looked at the man questioningly and noticed the baneful look in his eyes.

“Run” he exclaimed and soon she was running as he chased her down the corridor where she had come from, she ran down staircases and was greeted by skeletons, chattering their teeth and poking their fingers at her. She ran forward, terror ripping at her heart. Then she entered a room, closed the door and caught her breath.

It was a small room filled with lilies and black satin cloth, hanging from the ceiling, waving in the air. She sighed a breath of relief as she bolted the door behind her and then walked over to a window which led to the pavement outside. It was a small window but she would be able to climb out of it if she could get it to open.

She felt the satin fabric kiss her cheeks and the lilies playing softly with her feet. And then she turned from the window.
“No” she said aloud to herself, “I will not be chased out of my dream” she exclaimed rather loudly and walked briskly to the door. She opened it and faced the man in the top hat. He bowed to her courteously and smiled wickedly.
“Come with me” she said and pulled the man inside the room. Then she took his hat, placed it on her own head and took the man by the arms and started dancing. They danced like that, without music, without a sound, careful not to tramp the lilies. Then she kissed him on the mouth and sighed deeply. The man kissed her back, softly, passionately and they fell to the floor, making love amongst the flowers and the satin curtains.

When he fell asleep she slid silently out of the room and out of the quiet house. The air outside was cold and the sun was just peaking up above the horizon. Smiling gladly Miss Real walked towards a larger road nearby and hailed a cab to her hotel. She packed the white dress in her suitcase and fell into her bed.

A week of this, she thought to herself, one more day of this and I will never want to go back home. She smiled shyly and fell asleep smearing lipstick on her white pillow.

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