She awoke with a good feeling. The calendar problem from yesterday was solved and the whole thing even made her feel good. She had shown she was capable of improvising. She was a winner.
Of course, using a lice comb as the 48th gift wasn’t exactly orthodox. But then, had she ever wished for herself and her family to be ordinary? By definition winners stood out from the crowd, they showed the way sort of, and the lice comb wasn’t even used after sitting for a year or so in a drawer and thus counted as brand new.
There were many things to be said about Mrs Nemesis and her ladies-in-waiting, the spotless calendar queens, but after all, what qualities did they possess that Mrs A herself didn’t? Weren’t they just a herd of stupid cattle, a limited conclave of individuals of bovine descent following trends blindly?
It was true that Mrs Nemesis was somewhat outstanding, but did it matter? Admittedly, some great-great-grandmother of Mrs Nemesis’ great-grandmother had held a literary salon in Paris a couple of centuries ago where both art, philosophy and politics had been discussed, and it had played an important role in societal development at the time. And yet, with this flashy history from Europe, the main impression Mrs Nemesis would leave was that she was nothing short of the best of Scandinavia- but why feel challenged by that? And yes, by the way – her silhouette was quite slender and sporty, with that little aristocratic and ultra-feminine swing of the hip, but who cared? After all – when at the top of the world, things could only go downhill and this might be her beautiful neighbour’s destiny. It was a possibility.
Flaxen hair delightfully framed Mrs Nemesis’ botox-free, glowing face before curling neatly up like maelstroms on world-class collarbones: Merciless maelstroms into whose bottomless depths men helplessly plunged headfirst whether tinker, tailor, soldier or spy – never to emerge to the surface again. And since Mrs Nemesis and her family had come along, every house in the neighbourhood could boast at least one hair curling iron as well as bunches of hair rollers and yet – there was only one single Mrs Nemesis.
Truth be told, Mrs A had bought a hair curler herself. So she had cared at least a little bit- but she wasn’t able to make either decent or indecent curls and anyway her husband Mr A was a brain researcher running for professor and thus sufficiently disconnected from the world not to see just about anything, maelstrom or not, unless it was graphically presented statistics of some kind preferably published in some international scientific magazine of reputation.
He would for instance never discover that Mrs Nemesis’ smile was surprisingly wide, a phenomenon that made people joke in her presence in order to see for themselves what they had heard so much about. And the ice-blue eyes of the local siren were slightly slanted, a trait that pointed towards another of her neighbour’s family branches: Not only did Mrs Nemesis descend from French pre-revolution nobility, she also descended from indigenous sami nomads in the true Great North, up there in the wilderness, land of vast winter skies with scintillating stars sizzling and singing, land of the most sparkling of summers, with wolves howling and huskies barking. Mrs Nemesis had pictures of her grandfather as a child, sitting with a great grin in an earthen hut eating dried reindeer heart with obvious pleasure. Furthermore and incredibly enough Mrs Nemesis knew how to throw a lasso too, like her ancestors had done for both centuries and millennia to catch their reindeer, and even if Mrs A could never dream up such a thing, Mrs Nemesis would one day save Mrs A’s life with her lasso skills and it would be the news of the day, a happening to be much talked of and debated in the street.
This morning Mrs A had risen in darkness as usual, a couple of hours before dawn. To the sound of some Bing Crosby Christmas «evergreens» she turned the electric heating down and lit a nice little fire in the fireplace instead. She was tearing up some newspapers when it happened all of a sudden. Her eyes fell on the ad that ruined her day, the 2nd of December. It was a tremendous blow.
-I could have done that too, she whimpered to God, -I just didn’t get the chance!
It was an ad for the magazine «Scandinavian Architecture Today», consisting mostly of a big picture of Mrs Nemesis’ living room, decorated from here to hell with all sorts of angels, wise men, baby Jesuses, Santa Clauses and whatever one could think of.
In the middle of it all, the chubby little Nemesians with smiles over the whole of their rosypink, chubby little faces eating chubby gingerbread men. The only non-chubby element was Mrs Nemesis herself towering over the situation in all her cool svelteness, her smile secretly competing with the Koh-i-Noor diamond. And to crown it all, the text said «Welcome to my Christmas Home» and the newspaper was from the 21st of November.
-Jeez!, she said to God.
-In November! That isn’t funny, that’s gross!
A silence, and then she continued, carefully weighing each word.
-You know, I don’t think Mrs Nemesis is one of your regulars. I mean, she goes to church in December, but then, if you permit, who doesn’t? On the other hand, I am a returning customer. Think about that for a while: Is Mrs Nemesis one of your regulars or is she not?
-Why don’t you put me in the next issue of «European Interior Decoration»?
Now it was all in God’s hands. She tried to swallow the stone that seemed to be stuck in her throat.