It was the day of Regina and Baron’s big cocktail party. My hair looked like it had been cut with an unsharpened scythe, the result of a very bad cut at the hands of Jose Luis at Olympus. Rico, the owner, had gone on a sudden vacation. How dare he?
Max, however, was my savior. In the morning, he had gotten up early and went to work. Just before leaving for the party, I swirled into the kitchen in a flowing pastel caftan.
“Let me see it!” I cried, clasping hands to my chest.
My hair looked like it had been cut with an unsharpened scythe, the result of a very bad cut at the hands of Jose Luis at Olympus.
Max reached into the fridge and pulled it out with a flourish. “Tah, dah!” he said, holding it up. He had fashioned a crown of purple and green cabbage leaves, lavender sprigs, cucumber rosettes, radish roses and carrot curlicues.
Placing it on my head, he announced, “I crown you Queen of the Cocktail Party!”
I glided to the hall mirror and turned my head this way and that. The hair disaster was completely covered. I smiled and kissed him. “Max, you’re a genius!”
He stepped back, head tilted, checking out his handiwork. “All you need is a scepter and an orb.” He raised his eyebrow. “I still have veggies left.”
“No, no! How would I hold my champagne glass and hors d’oeuvres?”
He looked in the mirror and combed his hair back with his fingers. “Will I do as the Queen’s Consort?”
He was handsome in his white linen shirt and black pants. “You are a prince amongst men!” I headed for the front door. “Let’s go before birds take dives at my crown!”
Regina and Baron’s home sparkled with candles, flowers and champagne bubbles. I felt confident. As we passed guests, they did double takes and complimented me.
“All due to Max’s creativity,” I tossed over my shoulder, my head held high.
From across the fountain courtyard, I saw Regina. Her slender body looked terrific in a silk sheath dress, her face looked smooth as always. But wait! Where were her long, lustrous tresses? She was wearing a crown of silk flowers, a few stray tufts of blonde hair poking out.
As she came closer, she had the same brave expression as I. One that said, “I may be on a sinking ship, but I’m not going down!”
We pointed at each other. “Jose Luis!”
She encircled her arm with mine and led me to a corner table. A waiter presented a tray of filled champagne flutes and we each grabbed two glasses. She downed one. “My hair looks like it’s been styled with a lawn mower!”
I downed one. “Mine looks like a ratty piece of shag carpet.”
She downed the contents of the second. Then she got a fierce look on her face. “I could kill Jose Luis.”
I drained my second. “I’ll help!”
The waiter presented the champagne tray again. We both grabbed two more glasses.
She said, “It’s all Rico’s fault. The nerve taking a vacation.”
I nodded. “Just wait till he gets back. I’ll give him a piece of my mind.”
Regina giggled. “He already has most of your hair!”
I giggled and pointed. “And yours!”
I brushed my hand over her silk flowers. “That’s really pretty! Regina, honey, you look great as always.”
She eyed the vegetables on my head. “That’s gorgeous. Did Max make it?”
Regina sighed. “You are both so talented. I just loved the Mexican Chicken and Vegetable Casserole you made for our welcome.”
“Really?” My mouth dropped open. “I thought you didn’t.”
“I did.” She sighed again. “I was just jealous of your cooking talent. I burn water.”
“You have flair for fashion and decorating.” I waved my hand toward the happy, laughing guests. ”And entertaining.” I patted her hand. “You should be proud.”
Regina blushed and pointed to her headpiece. “I made this myself.”
Regina and I were bonding. It’s always better to have a friend than an enemy.
When we came home, I was happy but Max was fuming. “What’s wrong?” I asked.
“The party was nice and I tried, really I did, to like Baron. But I can’t forget he stopped me from getting my sixth Golden Radish Award.”
The vegetable crown was starting to wilt. I took it off and put it in the fridge. We sat at the kitchen counter, cups of coffee between us. I told him about Regina and me bonding over our haircut disasters.
“Max, dear,” I said, “it’s time to let this old chestnut go.”
“Yes, you can.” I sipped my coffee. “The ice is beginning to melt.” I touched him on the arm. “It’s time to let go of that old grudge.”
Max still had his frowny face on. Oh well. Blocks of ice have to be chipped at little by little to make sparkling ice sculptures.