(In our last episode, I was trapped in the home of an ancient stranger who had just announced she would soon be dead of brain cancer. My mother had dragged me to the dying lady’s home during my vacation to Palm Springs in order to charm the woman out of an antique Danish plate. As I sat on the slip-covered settee, imagining my own long, painful death, I spotted what I assumed was a mirage: a group of bikini-clad lesbians gathering at the retirement home’s swimming pool.)
As my mother inched ever closer to her prize, the Danish plate with the image of the Little Mermaid etched on it, I rose from the sofa and walked to the patio door in wonder. Considering the fetid air in the condo, I suspected that neither the windows nor the patio door had been open in decades. I used all my might to force open the door, which had been sealed by a thick band of rust and cobwebs, straightened my skort and marched toward the mirage.
As I got closer to the retirement home pool, I realized to my delight that it wasn’t a mirage. There, amidst the seniors doing water aerobics and riding their “noodles” (if you don’t know what these are, you’ve never been to Palm Springs) were a bevy of younger lesbians scurrying about in revealing swimsuits.
Once again, I tugged at my skort and fluffed my hair. Then I approached the pool. I immediately zeroed in on a group of lovely blondes who were watching a gang of tough-looking senior ladies play pinochle.
“Ladies,” I said with a slight bow in the direction of the older women. I’ve always found that the most direct route to attractive women is the most indirect route. So, my plan was to flatter the older gals and ignore the ones I wanted to sleep with.
“Hey, doll,” said an old broad from the side of her mouth. The other side of her mouth was occupied chewing a Tiparillo.
“Aren’t you a sexy thing?” said another card player whose voice sounded like it had been marinating in whiskey for the past 80 years.
“Aren’t I, though,” I responded huskily, stealing a glance at the blondes to see if any of them were nodding in hardy agreement. I was stunned to see that instead of appreciative leers, I was greeted with looks of hostility. The blondes were squinting hard at me and one of them mouthed a silent threat in my direction.
Confused, I turned my attention back to the seniors. They were eyeing me with the type of greedy hunger usually seen at early-bird specials. One of the women patted her lap and motioned for me to sit on it.
“Sit in her lap and it will be the last lap you ever sit in,” a comely blonde hissed at me. “That’s MY woman!”
“Do you mean that she’s your grandmother?” I asked in confusion, certain that the desert sun had boiled her brain.
“Listen, nitwit,” another blonde said, pulling me away from the grasping clutches of the older ladies. “You ever hear of cougars? Older women who like younger men? Well, we’re called Joeys—like kangeroo babies? We’re attracted to older women. Mother figures.”
I glanced around the pool and quickly noticed that every older gal was being waited on and drooled over by a solicitous younger woman.
“You know, I happen to be much older than I look,” I said, hopefully, eyeing a Grace Kelly look alike who was stroking the blue-gray hair of a woman whose dentures kept slipping out of her mouth.
“Beat it,” Grace Kelly said. And so I made a reluctant return to my own mother figure who was still in the condo, trying to pry a plate out of the hands of a dying woman.