Here's a fun little episode from my Starr Ann Chronicles days. Hope you enjoy...
Anyway, Starr Ann and I put on clean chaps and rode on over to the saloon around 8:12. Most everybody had already shown up by then, and it was real crowded inside, so it took a while to catch sight of Nell's cousin.
Starr Ann was the first one to spot her. Even before turning my head in what felt like that dreamy, slow motion speed to gaze upon the sight of her, I knew she was gonna be something else, because Starr Ann whispered, real reverent, "Holy Immaculate Mother of God."
That's when my head turned in dreamy slow motion.
Nell's cousin's name is Eema Allison Jenkins, and looking at her makes you start thinking celebrities like Sandra Bullock, Mariah Carey, and Shania Twain are just a little bit too homely. Looking at Eema Allison makes you start thinking she should be the only celebrity in the whole world.
So, after about 27 minutes, we were able to get close enough that Nell introduced us to Eema Allison. I was pretty crafty about wiping my palms on my jeans right before shaking her hand, but it still felt like they got a little clammy just in the short time it took to reach out to her. If she noticed, though, she was gracious enough to pretend like she didn't. And she even kinda held on an extra second, which I was incredibly grateful for, because I was convinced an introduction was all we'd be getting, and that Eema Allison would be quickly swept away by better partiers than Starr Ann and me for the rest of the night.
Then, around 9:01, I felt a cool steady hand at the base of my back and heard a low smooth voice say, "May I have this dance?"
It was Eema Allison.
I repeat. It was Eema Allison.
John Cougar Mellencamp's Cherry Bomb seemed to take about a thousand years, yet only a few seconds, to play as Eema Allison expertly swirled me around the Saloon Girls' living room and basically reduced my bones to butter. Perfectly timed with the song's final note, Eema Allison slipped her hand into mine and leaned forward to say, "Would you like to see my room?"
I was this close to saying I'd seen the whole house already, when I realized what a stupid move that would be. Heh.
So, up in Eema Allison's room, we walked right on over to the bed without turning the light on or anything. Standing in a graceful blue shaft of moonlight filtered through sheer curtains, Eema Allison motioned for me to sit on the bed. And then she joined me.
Eema Allison looked into my eyes and I know it sounds trite and overused, but I really did feel like I was drowning. Then she said, "Margo, I want to be honest with you from the very start."
"Okay, Eema Allison."
She gently took my hand in hers and, looking down, she said, "I was born without toenails."
Right away, that drowning feeling stopped. "Excuse me?"
She turned her face away slightly. "It's true. I have absolutely no toenails, Margo." Then she looked right at me, almost defiantly. "It's congenital, so don't start imagining some horrible accident."
I said, "I wasn't imagining..."
She stopped me with a finger to my lips. I couldn't help it. I looked down and mentally noted that she did have fingernails.
Eema Allison yanked her hand away from my lips and said, "Yes, yes, the hands are nearly perfect! It's only the toes."
There isn't enough time or space here to describe the delicately nuanced maneuvering it took to get me out of that room without letting on to Eema Allison why I suddenly couldn't stay up there with her for "just a while longer." I even tried to go through with the whole thing. But as soon as I thought we were off the subject and getting back onto more innerestin' ground, out of the blue, she'd just have to say something like, "There's nothing they can do for me, you know. Absolutely nothing." Or, one time, right when I was getting all swimmy again, she said, "With my toes, there's no way to tell whether you're looking at the top of them or the bottom of them unless you can see the rest of my foot."
Anyway, as of now, there's this gorgeous big-city woman from Wyoming who is firmly convinced I suffer from severe, incurable female impotence. It was the best solution I could come up with on short notice.
To top things off, it took me about half of what could have been a stunningly beautiful moonlit ride home to convince my best friend Starr Ann that I'd declined Eema Allison's generous offer. Then it took me the other half of the ride home to convince Starr Ann that it wasn't the fact of Eema Allison having no toenails that bothered me, but her weird fascination with the whole thing that just made it impossible to relax and get, you know, excited.
Very late in the night, Starr Ann slipped into my room and snuggled up to me. She said, "I'm sorry I gave you such a hard time about the Eema Allison thing. No more jokes about how you've got toe issues, okay?"
It sure felt good sinking in close to the familiarity of Starr Ann's body after that surreal trip to Eema Allison's room. I said, "Thanks, Starr Ann. Let's just go to sleep now."
Then, as I nestled in a little tighter, I felt something. Socks! She'd worn socks to bed. Starr Ann never wears socks to bed. I felt just like Anthony Perkins at the end of Psycho - where he's sitting in the prison cell not swatting the fly that lands on him because he wants the guards to think how he's too gentle to even hurt a fly - but I didn't do Starr Ann the good of letting on that I'd noticed the socks.