Rosy McConnell is my best “Fan Reader.” I know that the rest of you use my articles to line the bottom of your bird cages and cat litter-boxes…But not Rosy. She faithfully cuts out my columns and sends copies to her sister, Tressie, and her friends.
Rose cried happy tears, the other day, when I showed up on her doorstep . “Four years in California!” she said, “And look at you!” She hugged me like a long lost cousin. “You’re a Cali-girl, now, but you look just the same! “
“Yes. It’s the same ol’ me,” I said, “And by the way…Can I use your bathroom? I forgot to wear a slip, today, but I’ve got another skirt along with me to use as a slip.”
Rose laughed at me. “Oh you!” she said, “Wearing two skirts at once! Really, Vic!”She hugged me again. “You haven’t changed a bit. Why—I remember when we used to work together. One time, you showed up at work after one of your adventures…You had twigs and seashells in your hair!”
Rose laughed at me some more, then hauled me down the street to her favorite eatery…A homey little place where everybody gossips a hundred miles-a-minute. The folks were hard at it when we walked in. They looked us over carefully. A gal from a few tables away soon got jealous because Rose was with me, instead of herself.
Ridiculous woman. We ignored her and ordered lunch.
I sat there in my two-skirted attire, eating my Rueben sandwich with lots of ketchup—feeling absolutely wonderful—until Rose ruined it all.
“I want to tell you something.” Rosy dropped her voice. “You remember Lorena?…that gal we used to work with? Well. She doesn’t believe the stuff in your articles really happens!”
“What?!” I stopped chewing my Rueben, feeling outraged. “Well, maybe the lovely Lorena won’t believe it when she sees her name in my newspaper column, either! “
Rose laughed. “Now, don’t get feisty. You’re dripping ketchup all over yourself.” She always calms me down. Eventually, I forgot about the Lorena-outrage. We forgot about the Jealous Ridiculous Woman, as well. Rose and I reminisced about the old days. We gossiped and giggled and I went on dripping ketchup everywhere. Just like the old times.
At last, Rose hugged me goodbye. “I’ve got to go, but I think you should try out that Thrift Store next door, like I was telling you about.”
“I know all about that Thrift,” I said. “Their coupon has been right next to my newspaper column for many years! Nice place! Yes—I’ll go there, Rosy, if it makes you happy.”
Rose walked away, wiping her happy tears, and I walked away, wiping my ketchup stains.
I was feeling quite cheery and full of myself, thanks to Rosy. Everyone needs a Rosy Fan Club…to move us beyond the Lovely-Lorena’s and all the Jealous Ridiculous folks of the world!
Walking next door to the Thrift Store, I quickly found several items on the bargain rack that suited my fancy. I went toward the check-out stand, but then, on impulse, I took a detour by the back office. The workers there stopped talking and looked at me blankly. Waiting.
I smiled. “I am Vicki O’Neal,” I said. “I write columns for the newspaper. And I was wondering if in exchange for free advertising you might give me a bit of a discount?”
They stared at me silently. Intently. They were probably looking at my ketchup stains.
“How about it?” I said. “I’ll write about you next month and you’ll get free advertising!”
The manager shook her head. “So sorry. Can’t do it!”
I slumped. For the second time that day, I felt thoroughly insulted. It was a real thorn in my flesh. But my trial was hardly over….
It was then that I saw a pile of newspapers in a nearby trash can. All of my newspaper articles were there. They were tossed in the trash, after the store coupon had been clipped out.
Well…! By now, I’d had enough thorns in the flesh to last a lifetime. I walked out of the store, taking my ketchup stains and the last shreds of my dignity with me.
Yep. It’s pretty bad, folks. The article that you are reading now, is already at the bottom of the trash can at the Thrift Store. Yessir. I’m in the can with the good stuff. Apple cores and soda cans and leftover pizza crusts.
So—go ahead, folks. You can do it, too. Stick me in the kitty litter-box or under the bird cage. Pile fish guts on top of me. Shred up my tortured words to put them in the gerbil cage. I can handle these things…All the trash-can garbage. All the Lovely-Lorena’s and th Ridiculous-Jealous folks of this world. I’m used to it. I don’t get no respect. No respect at all around here.
Except with Rose McConnell…Good ol’ Rosy. I’ve still got my little Fan Club. And I’ll tell you what, folks. Regardless of what the rest of the world thinks. Today, at the Rosy Fan Club, I have scored big!
Well…Maybe. At least—‘til the Lovely Lorena gets a hold of Rosy. And that Jealous Ridiculous gal, too.
Oh dear. Oh dear. There goes my Fan Club!