Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Ding-Dong( 05/16/13)
By Ann Menschel
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The doorbell rang. Reluctantly I lowered the volume on my chick flick, sat my popcorn bowl down and trudged to the door. A peek through the security hole revealed a middle aged woman -- very coiffured, quite cosmetized, arms folded across her chest. No one I had ever seen before.
“Ding dong. Avon calling.” Her shrill voice assaulted my ears as I pulled the door open a crack. Who knew Avon ladies still made house calls?
Standing in the doorway, I said, “Thank you for stopping by, but I’m a cosmetic dealer myself, so I really don’t . . .” Her cackling laugh stopped me in mid-sentence.
“Don’t you remember those commercials from years ago?” she chortled.
I stood looking at her, dumbfounded.
“Ding dong – Avon calling. It was a joke.”
She stared at me. I stared back.
"I’m not really an Avon lady and I know you sell cosmetics. That’s why I’m here. A friend recommended you.”
I started to ask which friend – but decided it might be better for my “friend’s” sake not to know.
“Come in,” I said, motioning for her to have a seat.
She strolled through the living room. Stopping at the end table, she dragged her forefinger across the surface and proceeded to blow the dust she collected from her fingertip. Her eyebrow rose in disdain.
She quickly covered the eyebrow with her hand and began to massage it, as if coaxing it to line up with its mate.
“Let’s start there,” she said. “I need something for my eyebrow.”
Retrieving a catalog from the sample case, I thumbed through it. “We have quite a selection of eyebrow pencils. For instance, here’s one . . .”
“A pencil will not do the trick. My husband told me he is sick of getting the ‘evil eye’. You know, that raised eyebrow trick I just did. I need something to stop that. Surely you have eyebrow sedation cream – or something along that line?”
Pushing my dropped jaw shut, I stammered, “I’m not sure we have a product for that particular, um, condition . . .”
“Never mind. What about lips?”
Lips I could handle. “We have a wonderful assortment of lipsticks.” I flipped quickly through the catalog. “With your coloring, I would recommend . . .”
“It has nothing to do with coloring. My dear husband also says my lips are drooping. He thinks I’ve forgotten how to smile. I decided to prove him right by not smiling for two weeks. Now my lips are refusing to budge.”
I laughed. She didn’t. I stopped laughing. Turning to the index in the catalog, I solemnly announced, “I’m sorry, but we don’t carry ‘Smile Enhancer’. Maybe you need to try a different line of cosmetics.”
“One last issue. You probably don’t realize it, but I have to color my hair. It’s turning gray!”
I’m pretty sure I didn’t give in to the urge to roll my eyes.
She continued, “It’s because I’m worrying too much, but I just can’t help it.” A tiny tear trickled down each cheek.
My heart softened a tad as I wondered what intense life problems she was experiencing. But before I could express my sympathy, she spoke again.
“I worry about these little bags under my eyes. I worry about the wrinkles on my forehead. I worry about this teensy flap of skin hanging down under my chin.” She gave it a little slap and it wobbled back and forth. “I can hardly sleep at night for fear of what the future holds,” she lamented, laying the back of her hand dramatically across her forehead.
That did it.
“I think I have the answer,” I said. “Let me get my doctor’s card for you.”
As I retrieved the business card off the refrigerator, she exclaimed, “A plastic surgeon! Why didn’t I think of that?” Upon my return, she took my face in her hands and examined it intently. “I never would have guessed you’ve had work done.”
Pulling free, I strode to the front door and dramatically swept my arm across my body, pointing outside. As she walked across the room, she read the card. “Dr. Charles Peabody, huh? “ Looking up in surprise, she exclaimed, “A cardiologist?”
“Yes,” I replied. “I believe your only hope is a heart transplant!”
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