Thursday, December 20, 2007

Racing to Dixon in a Stolen Chrysler

I once traveled from Chicago to Dixon, Mississippi in less than seven hours. The hardest part of it all was getting free of the Windy City. I’d been attending a presentation by Margaret Sanger in the grand ballroom of the Marquette Building and yes, I can hear your gasp of incredulity all the way from my highback easychair, honey. It was a rousing speech, as you can imagine, though it really was a bit dated in that the old gal couldn’t let the damned albatross of suffrage loose from around her neck and we dames had been voting en masse for more than a decade and a half! Still, she looked stunning in an arctic fox wrap and had good things to say about the plight of the female in the political arena, so there you go.

Rising from my seat in the midst of her speech was nothing short of scandalous and it’s not as if I’d have gone unnoticed, darlings. I am Vivian Delacourt, after all. Usually, though, I find that if I dab at my eyes with a handkerchief, appear distraught, folks will give me a wide berth and have the class to avoid inquiring about my condition upon whence they see me again.

From there, I hotwired a Chrysler (not nearly as difficult as it sounds, my bunnies) and raced to Dixon as if my foot was made of bronze. Still, with the exception of a single stop at the powder room in some godawful roadside slop bin just across the Mississippi state line, I wasted no time in getting to my destination, which is a compliment not typically enjoyed by a town as primitive as Dixon. You see, my delicate petals, I am quite capable of getting to where I'm needed most, when and however I might choose to get there.

And so when Zinnia alerted me to the unexpected kill we were to execute (pardon the pun, but even my sides are atingle at that one), my mind went immediately into the zone in which it functions best. A sudden dinner party and only seven things in the cooler, three of which are dairy. An eyeliner that has been mismarked as water resistant, and I'm trapped in a downpour just outside the Russian embassy. An admirer recognizes me as I’m slipping a set of bloody arm-length gloves into the mouth of a roaring pizza oven. When crisis hits, I’m at the top of my game. But even I wasn’t ready for this one. What does one do when her dear friend, her partner in espionage, approaches her in hysterics, thrusting at her bosom an assignment scratched on a compact mirror? And what acrobatics does that person's mind do, when she realizes that the target is none other than the highest-ranking official in the treasury department— AKA, your dear friend’s husband?

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