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Entering my room after knocking twice, but not waiting for a response, a man of average height with hair of average greasiness – for a showman – came in and stopped behind me. I was sitting at the vanity, powdering, when he looked me in the eyes through the mirror and said, “What’s this I hear about you not going on tonight?”
            “I meant what I told your sleazy little assistant. And while we are on that topic of discourse: If you don’t keep that little pervert out of my room, both of y’all’ll be needing a tomb stone shortly.”
            The man removed his yellow tux jacket that he wore to welcome the guests to Rhomwoire Manor and to start the shows – he always had to start the shows, no one else could do it but him – and he rubbed his eyes – actually the area betwixt the eye and the temple.
            Earlier that day, I decided it best not for me to go on stage that particular night. There was an incident, involving my perfect facial adornment, which could not go ignored. That morning I was in my room sitting here at my vanity wearing my finest imported, red silk robe, hand painted by a harem of some foreign ruler or other. I was looking into the antique mirror framed with hand-carved, wooden bears – a Buvier family heirloom from many generations ago – tending to my secret daily beauty regiment which including brushing my goatee forty-three and a half times with a tortoise shell comb, made from the shell of a century old tortoise, and at that time I happened to notice something quite horrifying.
            I was on stroke twenty-five and I saw it staring back at me. A gray hair! A gray hair in my precious whiskers. I knew what it meant. It was a sign of the beginning of the end! Just as it was for my mother and her mother before her it would be for me as well. I was in such a state of grief that I was compelled to release the most wretched half-glissando, half-wail that echoed the sorrow that poured out from the pit of my soul. A cry that channeled the grief of every tragic heroine that had ever come before the moment and would over shadow any cry yet to come.
            At that time, without even bothering to knock, that wench, Corbina, came barreling into my room. Why couldn’t it have been someone worth my while? She stood in the middle of the room with one of those vile serpents of hers hanging around her neck, hollering, “Vhat? Vhat happened? Are you dead?”
            Whilst I gave sometime to create the appropriate dramatic tension for the situation, I took the opportunity to silently scrutinize the bimbo’s attire. It was her rehearsal costume, a black pleather skirt and top, and it still revealed practically everything – not that there is all that much to reveal like there is on my voluptuous figure. So I coaxed out a few tears and then hid my face in my palms and said, “Oh don’t y’all worry about me, huney. It’s nothin’.”

Leda, the Bearded Diva

Short Story Excerpt
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