Putting On the Ritz

The sleek black sequin dress immaculately complemented Skylar’s form, bringing life to the underfed bag of bones. Instead of bubble-wrap raisin tits, glittering obsidian palms flaunt impeccable apples – they were nothing compared to her glamorous peers, but at least they hid her laughable mesa chest. Classy, black Dior stilettos added a few inches to her 5’8” and made her feel like a titan towering above its subordinates.

Skylar strutted down the lobby of Sapperwhal Center amid camera flashes and confetti: the queen had finally arrived, and she was here to stay – at least until her 9am flight to Miami the next day.

“Skylar! Skylar!” The crowd chanted, grasping at her silver braid. They pretended to merely want pictures and autographs, but Skylar Dolly knew better; she knew the second she appeased the hysterical fans, their sharp talons would tear at her expensive garments and fights would ensue. Her contoured cheeks and scarlet lips reduced to smeared chalk and expired fame, she’d be an A-list laughing stock.

A tiny voice rang through Skylar’s ear piece. “The assistant will take you to the ninth floor and direct you to room 912. As soon as you arrive, you’ll be prepped for the interview.” The agent’s words pierced Skylar’s eardrum. “Oh, and Nigel says hello.”

A fist of bile punched Skylar’s uvula, and she grimaced. “Of course he does,” she breathed. Since Skylar entered the realm of fame, Nigel had been her conniving shadow, seizing every opportunity to send her home in tears. Her manager, Wes, always told her that she’s only paranoid and that Nigel could be a great asset to her. And maybe he was right; she could use someone to personally wipe her ass.

Skylar fumbled with Nigel’s possible excuses of why she should devote a thread of attention to him and his gnarled, perverted figure. Perhaps this time he needed her input on his next fashion line, and he’d go on about how she could never afford his dresses. Or maybe Nigel wanted her to help him select his headstone. “Wouldn’t that be beautiful?” she muttered before stepping into the glass elevator.

Skylar leaned against the elevator wall and lit a cigarette. The scrawny, crater-faced hotel attendant escorting her only stared forward, a cold statue, as she broke the hotel rules. Above all, absolutely nobody should assert any force to the elevator walls, not for residents’ safety but simply because that glass was a bitch to clean. But Skylar was the exception. She always was.

As the doors slid open to reveal the ninth floor, Skylar stomped the cigarette out in the elevator. “Clean that up when you polish that glass, kid,” she grumbled. “Why don’cha stop jerking off during your shift, and actually do some goddamn work like you’re supposed to?”

“Have a great day, ma’am, and I hope you enjoy your stay at the Sapperwhal,” the boy chirped as rehearsed, grinning through his rage.

“Wait, you’re supposed to escort me to my room.” But it was too late; the worker was already heading down to bleach the cum out of 301’s curtains. “So, we’re off to 912,” Skylar growled.

It wasn’t as if the room was hard to find. She only had to peer down the hallway to see the sad display flashing by her door. It was practically a neon sign pubs hang above the bar. The hotel obviously did not get many celebrities.

Skylar softly knocked on the door. “Wes, it’s Skylar,” she called. “The shitty wonderboy forgot to hand me the card key before flying down –”

“SKYLAR, LOOK AT YOU GUUUUUURL. Like OMG you look so fab!”

“Nigel.” Skylar frowned at the crooked body standing in the doorframe. “You do know that you more closely resemble a turntstreet whore than a flapper, right?”

The man snorted hard enough to nearly bust the line of beads around his neck. “Puh-leeze, Sky, know that this dame’s not out to get the ducky of a gimlet.” He snapped his fingers. “’Cause youknow that’s what you is, honey. Don’t you go trying to deny it.”

“My God, Nigel, you seriously just out-Nigeled yourself. I didn’t think it could happen, but it did.”

“Whatever, baby, let’s blouse.” Nigel pulled Skylar into the room. “You’ve got to get prepped for that interview with Marcia Stephens, and you’re sure not going on air with that fluky get-up. Nuh-uh.” He ushered her to a jacked chair facing a large mirror. “Now with this do, girl, all you will ever impress is a father time and a sap, doll. Your game, I’m assumin’ is to catch a hard-boiledswell. And I’m afraid you can’t do that with a face lookin’ like a motherfuckin’ flat tire.”

Skylar swiped Nigel away, his gaudy necklaces chiming against his chest. “There’s no way in hell that you’re doing my makeup, bitch.”

“Unfortunately, that’s exactly what he – I mean she – is here for, Skylar,” Wes choked, coming out of the bathroom. “Matilda left us.”

Skylar’s jaw dropped. “What? Did she say why?”

“Aw, doll, quit makin’ that face; you’ll give yourself wrinkles.”

“Nigel, I swear if you –”

Wes sat on a metal chair beside Skylar. “Well, for one you were a complete asshole to that old lady, and two: you did spray her with some mace last month.”

Skylar wailed, “I already explained and apologized for that, Wes. She can’t hold it against me.”

“Your apology letter was literally I’m sorry with a receipt for a fifty dollar donation to a charity. Money from her own account. I had to beg her not to file a report on you for hacking her checking account.”

“Oh, you slay me, Sky-Sky. And here I thought you was a dumb dora.”

“That’s enough, Nigel.” Wes dismissed the colorful gentleman. “Go stir up some of your paints or whatever you use on a girl’s face, but for fuck’s sake drop the slang.”

Skylar stomped a stiletto into the plush, magenta carpet, its spike ripping the soft fabric. “How was I supposed to know she checks her balance daily? Excuse me for not knowing the routines of a middle-classed old twot.”

Wes gestured for Nigel to stylize the prissy drama queen. “Fix her up, Nigel; do whatever you can to conceal the writhing she-demon that resides in that over-privileged, sad sack of flesh.”

Nigel chuckled. “With pleasure, friend.”

“I CAN HEAR YOU! I’M RIGHT HERE!” Skylar shrieked, her roar echoing through the hotel.

The queen had arrived at the Sapperwhal, but even the fiercest of monarchs can be overthrown by her council. And she hadn’t much time left.

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