Deck the Halls...A Cautionary Tale


When Don and I were newlyweds we got jobs with a local catering company for weekend work. We enjoyed the extra income and it barely felt like we were working as we were spending time together (All together now - aawwwhhhh...).

One night we were employed to work at a very elegant company Christmas party at the Convention Center. The event was beautiful - everyone was in either a tux or a gown. There was a band, lots of beautifully displayed food and an open bar. Don and I were bartending and got to share a bar which was fun. Our bar had been decorated for us and was extremely festive with many votive candles, holly leaves and confetti. Just working there was putting me in the holiday mood.

There was a table of ten sitting close to our bar and they were rocking the margarita's this evening. Everyone was pretty shit faced. What can I say? I make a mean 'rita. Towards the end of the evening one of my margarita ladies stood up at her table and looked longingly towards me. Or past me. There could have been a clock behind my head. Anyway, she was stunning in an emerald colored gown, carefully applied makeup and hair that I would kill for. It was the color of golden honey and went halfway down her back. She had it teased all around her in a way that reminded me of Diana Ross. She was truly a vision. Until she tried walking. She stumbled in my general direction and mumbled, "AhWannaNuddaMarghhareeeettttaaaa".

I looked around us to see if she had, perhaps, brought a translator. And then I said, "Um...I'm sorry?" She sighed in a way to let me know that she was annoyed as she mumbled in a loud and hissy way, "AhhhSaidAhWannaNuddaaaaMARGAREEEEEEETTTTTAAA."

I still didn't get it. And now I was embarrassed as she was looking at me like I was an idiot. "GIVE. ME. A. MARRRGHHHAAARRRREEEETTTTTAAAAA!" As she was screaming the last part of that she leaned towards me for effect. When she did this she hovered over my festive holiday display like an angry, drunken cloud. Neither she nor I were thinking about the votive candle she was over. Until, suddenly, her hair IGNITED. A fire ball shot up and off the top of her head like a roman candle and she stood there, totally oblivious, screaming at me about her drink.

Well, I was simply stunned. What had she sprayed in her hair that made it so completely combustible? I stood there, unable to speak with my mouth and eyes gaping, and pointed a finger tentatively at the top of her head. I turned my head slightly towards Don who took in the expression on my face with interest. I saw his eyes follow my arm which was pointing at a woman on fire. He sprang into action by shoving me out of the way, leaning in towards the woman and CRACK - he smacked her really hard in the side of the head. Her neck snapped sideways and slowly righted itself. She looked at him with something resembling curiosity and said, "Heyyyyy...."

The right side of her head was untouched and was still teased out and fuzzy. The left side, not so much. It was matted to the side of her head and still steaming from the now extinguished fire. She glanced over her shoulder a few times as she stumbled back to her table, filling the hall with the unmistakable stench of burning hair. The band finished the song they were playing and began looking around. Finally, the lead singer asked, "All right...who the hell is burning cats in here??!"

To this day I cannot drive past the Convention Center without thinking about that woman. I keep trying to imagine her waking up - with a horrible hangover - wondering why the left side of her head is stuck to her pillow. I wonder what she told her friends about why she switched hairdo's from a beautiful, flowing style to something short and choppy. I suppose I'll never know. But I will tell you, that when I am at a bar I pay close attention to the candles.


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