I opened one eye and noticed Skeezix yawning in the corner of my library, sucking my oxygen when he should have been dusting my books. Even from my lounger, I could see they were filthy. I cleared my throat. Within moments, my red-faced butler bent over me like a praying
'And what is the will of the wisp'' he asked. The faker. He was one of those promenading poodles that pranced when the judges were watching, but slurped their balls when they thought they had privacy.
'I'm anything but a wisp,' I said. 'I'm a walrus, stuffed with so much of your terrapin soup that flesh ripples from my bones.'
'Hardly, madam,' Skeezix said.
Nonetheless, he stepped backward, probably fearing another stroke from Bat Segundo, my walking stick. Naughty me, I enjoyed spooking Skeezix, who'd served me since the day I won him in a poker game from that dimwitted Duchess of York.
'Don't contradict me, Skeezix. I pay you too much to endure your snark. The pounds I've gained are torturing my bunion.'
'Shall I massage it, madam''
Ah, the look I loved so much, a combination of eagerness and horror. I would inject him with Botox myself if I thought I could preserve it for all time.
'Do my feet horrify you, Skeezix' I do have rather long toes.'
'No, madam. They are ' elegant.'
'Good,' I said. 'I command you to drop everything, and give me ten ''
Skeezix blanched, no doubt thinking of the time I had him lick my gnarled toes when I was in a particular mood. He pressed his fingertips together, as if in prayer. I let the silence linger a moment, sucking the moment like a lemondrop.
'Books,' I said finally. 'Drop everything and give me ten books.'
'The day I read one of those is the day your mother wears army boots,' I said. A witty line, I thought, considering Skeezix's mother lost her feet years ago in an escalator accident.
He loaded a silver tray with a variety of books, taking care to avoid the mysteries section my late husband had amassed before he succombed to poisoning by arsenic. The man simply couldn't resist a powered-sugar tea cookie. He spent his last days in a muddle, calling our
pointy-eared schnauzer 'galleycat,' and muttering tonelessly about the roar of the greasepaint and the smell of the crowd. Perhaps his rotting mind had transported him to one of those dreadful American basketball games. Damn Yankees.
I selected a romance with a bare-chested man on the cover and leaned into my lounger.
'I've changed my mind about the foot massage, Skeezix.'
My toes clattered like dropped marbles beneath his strong hands. Had I the power to decide when I'd breathe my last, I would not have minded going then, with an airbrushed Fabio in my hands, and a cowering butler at my feet.
I closed my eyes and dreamed ' if I recall correctly -- of musclebound men and terrapin soup.
That powdered sugar tea cookie is looking better every second.
Scoring to come