Doris was a drag. She knew this because Bernie told her so. Not only was she a drag, but she wasn’t very pretty, and she wasn’t very smart, and she was damn lucky to have landed a guy like him. So lucky she should be thanking her god damn lucky stars.
It had taken him months to wrangle an invite to one of M&M’s exclusive summer parties, and this was his big chance. She better not blow it, she better not be a drag.
Bernie told her these things as the white Firebird careened down Highway 118 towards Simi Valley, his thick gold-ringed fingers resting on the gear shift between them, Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog” blaring from the 8-track hi-fi stereo.
“Since we are the new-comers they’re gonna let you pick first. The ladies do the picking, that’s how it works. You’re not gonna be able to see what you’re picking, so you’re gonna hafta feel around, with your hand. You know what it is you’re looking for, don’tcha Doris?”
“Yes.” she whispered. “A Gumby.”
“That’s right, a Gumby. I got insider info that Mikey’s key chain is Gumby, and Marlene’s is a Pokey. So you’ll be looking for a Gumby keychain. You think you can do this one thing without fucking it up?”
“I don’t know Bernie, what if I don’t… like him?” Doris said, her voice small.
“There you go again, only thinking of yourself. What about me Doris? What about my needs? You need to broaden your horizons, Doris. You know, live a little. Like the song says — take a walk on the wild side.”
The woman who opened the door was a stunning blonde with legs up to here, honey- colored hair down to there, green cat-like eyes and a sly, crooked smile. She introduced herself as Marlena, and Doris could see why Bernie had been so anxious to be invited to this party.
“Nice ride.” Marlena said, nodding towards the Firebird. “And who is this stone-cold fox?” Her eyes grazed Doris from head to toe, and Doris blushed. She’d never been called a fox before, let alone stone-cold. At most, she was a lukewarm squirrel.
“This is my not-so-better half, Doris,” said Bernie. “Speaking of which, I believe yours is Mikey?”
“Yes, I’ll introduce you, but first things first.” She pointed a red lacquered fingernail towards an ornate fish-shaped bowl on the entryway table. “You are interested in playing, I hope?”
“Oh you bet we are!” said Bernie, leering, and dropped the Firebird keys into the open mouth of the fish.
They walked through the hallway into a sunken living room where four other couples stood mingling. Ice cubes clinked in sweaty glasses and the sharp smell of Aqua Velva wafted.
Someone passed Doris a joint attached to a long feathered roach clip. She took a deep drag, and immediately started coughing.
“Maybe a glass of sangria is more your speed?” Marlena snaked her arm around Doris’s waist and steered her towards the bar.
“Oh my.” She said, looking directly down Doris’s blouse. “It looks like someone lost a button. That’s ok with me.” She winked. “You could lose them all as far as I’m concerned.”
Doris blushed again, hoping Marlena didn’t notice.
After a few more glasses of sangria, and a few more joints had been passed around, it was time for the festivities to begin.
“Tonight I’m changing the rules, and the hostess goes first,” Marlena said as she reached into the fish bowl. Bernie looked worried, but then could hardly contain his excitement when she pulled out the Firebird keys.
Marlena twirled the keys on her finger and with a sly smile, pointed a red fingernail directly at Doris.
Bernie’s grin turned to terror as Mikey’s beefy arm dropped down around his shoulders.
“But… But… But…” he stammered. “That’s not how this is supposed to work.”
“Oh Bernie, don’t be a drag.” Doris said over her shoulder as the two women disappeared down the hallway towards the bedroom.