Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Tall Tales and Southern Belles

The Coquettes consisted of Madeleine, Sabrietta, Antoinette, Ermengarde and Carlotta. All five shared a predilection for enormous, over-decorated fans, purses and other accessories as well as an appreciation for a truly well-told tale. They weren’t so particular about the veracity of the tale as long as it was well-told! They had been a fixture of the French Theatre for as long as anyone could remember. Naturally, they joined Kennia as soon as they saw her seated at the bar in hopes of hearing a good story.

“Wanta hit the dance floor,  Miss Kennia?”
“Not this evening, chérie. I am here to relax and rest my weary self. Besides, my last pair of fancy stockings got ruined on a mission and I haven’t had the chance to replace them.”
“How about a tale of daring escapades and risky ventures?” suggested Carlotta.
“Now y’all know that I can’t tell y’all about my missions. Not more than just small bits at least. Most of it is secret.”
“Were you chasing after some wicked miscreants, Miss Kennia?” Sabrietta peeked slyly over her fan.
Kennia laughed. “Just listen to y’all with all that ten dollar vocabulary!” If you must know, there was a fat, greasy ole German fella who did not understand that the word “no” means just that!”
“So what happened?” The assembled Coquettes leaned towards her in expectation.
“Nothing happened, y’all! He tried to lay hands on me and and gave him a good, hard kick. . . or two. Then he fell on the ground hollerin’ and tried to grab my ankle. That’s when my good, patterned stockings got snagged and tore. End of story, y’all! Now can I drink my drink in peace?
There was a collective sigh of disappointment from the assembled Coquettes as they sat up, realizing that no juicy details were forthcoming from Kennia.

The Maître d'hôtel approached Kennia as she sat at the bar, all smiles at seeing one of his favorite customers. “I have your favorite table available, if you are ready to order your dinner Madamoiselle?”
“Thank you, Andre, I would be delighted to have some of your wonderful food.”
“For you, Madamoiselle, I have a vertiable feast!”
Kennia almost purred with contentment. This was the life!
Shortly after she was seated, the waiter brought heaping plates of Boeuf Bourguignon, broiled sweet potatoes, fried mushrooms and gravy.

Out on the dance floor the band played while couples gyrated, lifted their skirts and kicked their legs with enthusiasm. The Cancan dance originated in the working-class dance halls of Paris and  was all the rage in the Francophile areas of the world.