The Coiff-Off
Sandy Steinman
Flash Fiction Winner
A t Rumplemeyers, purchasing caramels, a tiny man, no taller than Pamela, my nine year old, tapped my shoulder.

"Ahem. Madame, I am Mario LaRusso." His heavily accented voice was melodic. "Your coiffure is intriguing," he whipped out a card. "I'm a hairdresser."

After small bits of chaff, he suggested we stop for tea. We sat at a Schrafft's booth. He leaned across, playfully tousling my hair and whispered, "Shall we have an affair?''

His shiny leather boots had three inch heels.

"You might pick on someone your size." I sniffed.

He glared. "I'm almost five feet."

"A pee wee."

"Fortunately, we're the same size seated." Winking, he said something in Italian.

I laughed, pretending to understand.

"A pot of of Earl Gray, please." I told the waiter.

"In the old country, short men are sought after; their vilirity is legendary. If the women are caught, the villagers stone them."

I sipped tea, smiled, offered caramels.

"Tomorrow I sail to Paris. Why not come along?"

I was intrigued. Could I miss sewing circle? Find a nursemaid for Pamela? Would Nigel swallow my yarn that cousin Jane invited me to her spa?

"I'll see."

"Meet me here tomorrow at six," he caressed my hair.

I arrived exhilarated, having hired a nursemaid and duped Nigel. I sat alone until closing. No sign of Mario. At home, I found a note under the door.

"From Mario," it read. The rest was in Italian.

I don't understand ltalian. I tore it up.

First published: February 2000