It was a scene of utmost suspense, the cliché that often made its way into romantic comedies and commercials. Inside Dick's We-Carry-Every-Item-Imaginable-for-the-Filthy-Rich, two different people reached for the last can of Sins-B-Gone in cinematic slow motion. One hand was French-manicured and wore an ostentatious diamond ring (inscribed "Love forever, to my Richard"); the other had "Vermilion Vixen" nails and was likely to never wear such a wedding ring. Fingers from both hands closed in on the blue spray can like eager vultures, plucking it off the shelf in synch. Both ladies blinked in confusion before they realized the other was there.
"Sweetie, I believe I grabbed it first," said the Richard-loving woman.
"No dear," the Vixen replied, "I'm sure I did. I certainly need it more that you do."
The two women stared each other down without batting their fake eyelashes. It wasn't difficult for eitherBotox injections did wonders to their blank facades. The first woman who had spoken, a Manhattan hockey mom named Dominique, sized up her adversary with suspicion. It was the first time in forty-seven days that she had found someone who was as well-dressed as her. This woman was surely part of the Manhattan elite, though Dominique had basically met all the influential people in this city
With a plummeting heart, she realized that the chic beauty before her was Scarlett Lynn, an heiress of old money as well as the city's most notorious socialite. "Why, Scarlett Lynn!" the hockey mom simpered, voice going unbearably sweet. A nearby diabetic balked. "My name is Dominique. What a pleasure to meet you!" She dropped her grip to clasp both hands together in a show of delight.
"It's always a pleasure to meet me," Scarlett replied with ease. She tossed the can of Sins-B-Gone up and down as she pursed her lips in thought. "Tell me," she murmured, glancing around, "have you used this product before?"
"Oh, of course!" Dominique gushed. She tried to look excited, but only managed to animate the bottom half of her face. "I always keep an emergency stash in my closet. You see, my husband is a congressmanDemocratic, naturallyand my two children are getting to that troublesome age.... We simply eat this stuff up!" She puffed out her chest, literally preening herself by combing through the feather collar choking her neck.
Dominique leaned in closer to the heiress, as if confiding a secret. Scarlett instinctively mirrored the movement, having fine-tuned her reflex through many vicious gossip sessions. "I recommend 'Politician Strength'," the hockey mom whispered. "I tried it when my husband got involved in that scandal last year and have used it exclusively ever since. It's multi-purpose, since politicians get involved with everything. It's just as effective as 'Wayward Priest', but with only a quarter of the bad press and lawsuits involved."
Scarlett looked suitably impressed. "How marvelous," she began. "I saw the ads for.... What was it called? 'A-List Ditz'? It's quite popular with my friends. Do you recommend that as well?"
Dominique shook her head in horror. "Oh, honey, that's superficial. It's like slathering on last year's mineral foundation to drown out the screaming pores underneath. Your blackheads are still there."
Scarlett curled her lips. "What a hideous idea. Crass in polite society, don't you think?" The hockey mom tried to stammer a reply. She saw her social life flash before her eyes. One word from the heiress, and it would be over. She would have to salvage the conversation.
"With the paparazzi hounding you about that stripper from Cancun," Dominique tried, "I would recommend going at least 'Vegas Mistake'!" Scarlett nodded slowly, her expression shifting to one of consideration.
"'Spray your sins away'," the heiress murmured, tracing the slogan with a delicate finger. "What a fantastic idea. This will keep my manager at bay for a while." Dominique repressed a sigh of relief and then became enthusiastic as she remembered something.
"Be careful," she warned, pointing at the miniscule print below the expiration date. "It says here that the price depends on what religion you follow. You'll have to go to a salesclerk for consultation." She smirked. "I'm agnostic... so I've never had this particular problem."
Scarlett shrugged, gripping the can with sudden purpose. "It won't be a problem for me," she announced, "I converted to Atheism last week." She chuckled to herself. "I should be able to stick with Atheism longer than I stuck with being vegan."
Dominique tittered. She wasn't sure how to reply.
Suddenly, shouts of alarm pierced the air. A loud crash echoed through the store isle. The shelf next to them broke into jagged splinters, revealing an immaculately dressed (albeit furious) old woman. She pointed a trembling finger at Scarlett.
"Y-y-you did this!" the woman screeched. "My family's name is now tainted with sin!"
A swarm of cameras and men in black suits appeared, bringing blinding white flashes and outraged cries.
"Scarlett! Look this way!"
"Is it true that you faked the engagement!?!"
"Imagine such a scandal"
"Multi-million dollar lawsuit"
"I left my wife and mistress for you!"
Dominique moved in front of the heiress. She whipped out a travel sized can of Sins-B-Gone from her pocket, flicking off the cap with a practiced thumb. "Stand back," she muttered. "It's similar to pepper spray. You don't want this in your eyes." Scarlett backed away hastily. The men in black suits froze, dawning horror etched into their faces.
"No!" one shouted, recognizing the blue bottle. He made a desperate lunge for the spray, but his effort was in vain. Dominique had already pointed the nozzle toward the crowd. She smirked and pressed her index finger down.
Mayhem in the store isle immediately froze. White mist shot from the can, enveloping the people in an impenetrable cloud. It undulated in the air for a minute, swirling around like a lazy snake. The mist quickly evaporated to reveal a group of slack-jawed people. Their hysteria had just... evaporated. The confused men and women trickled out, not even bothering to glance at Scarlett. The heiress in turn gaped after the subdued crowd.
"I always keep this in my purse," Dominique said with a wink.
Scarlett turned to gaze at the blue can with new reverence. "That's incredible," she breathed, gracefully tucking the can of Sins-B-Gone into her shopping bag. "I will have to buy some for my escorts too." The two women then spent a moment dusting imaginary lint off their designer purses before looking at one another again.
"Thanks for the help," Scarlett said with genuine warmth.
Dominique beamed. "Not a problem. It was nice to meet you!" The heiress nodded in acknowledgement before turning away.