Dahlia walked in the door with her Mary Kay bag in hand, stepped over the yapping white poodle and greeted Florence with a smile.  

"It's so nice to see you again."  She said, her $200 shoes clacked across the tile floor as Florence led her into the living room to set up.  

She opened her bag on the coffee table and wiped her hand across the cream colored, linen tablecloth .  

"This is just lovely. "  She began unpacking her stylish display materials and chose several items from the "velocity" line that, she hoped, would go over well.  

"I was a little nervous about the whole thing, but I don't think it will do any harm."  Florence gave a weak smile.

"I'm so glad you decided to host the party."  Dahlia gushed, a few more parties at places like this and that spanking new Mary Kay car would be hers.  "My house is such a mess after the twins came back for the summer.  I can't imagine setting up a show right now."  She didn't mention the fact that her husband had not only forbidden 'those snooty bitches' from entering her house but had threatened to crash the party in his boxers.  Florence had a nicer home anyway.

"Well, I knew that you were getting antsy to get some sales going."  She took a breath. "I thought that a combo party would work fine."

"A combo party?"  Dahlia was confused but not opposed.  "I didn't realize that there would be someone else?"

"Well, Renee has..." Florence hedged. "It's not cosmetics, but - "

"Oh!"  Dahlia said, suddenly relieved.  "That's fine.  You  know I would feel just completely out of place if someone was trying to sell Avon next to Mary Kay."

"It's not Avon - " Florence tried to speak again.

"Of course not!" Dahlia waved her hand in the air.  "Longaberger, Amway, I don't really care.  Women just love Mary Kay, I'm sure this will be just a bundle of fun!"

Florence reached down nervously and grabbed a handful of coasters, distributed them to various tables.  "Oh, I'm sure."  The shaking in her voice went completely un-noticed in Dahlia's single minded daze.

A total of twelve ladies showed up around 3 and they sat chattering about kids and husbands and manicurists.  

Dahlia's part of the show was lukewarm at best.  She managed to sell three shots of perfume, that came with some nice bonus gifts, a tube of lipstick and one blush pack.  She hid her frustration with a gritted smile and a spray of perfume - her usual closer.

Renee , a special education teacher at the elementary school, delivered the second sales pitch.  It started as she unpacked her bag from her perch at the far end of the couch.  She had a glint in her eye. 

Florence interrupted "I could use some more tea!"  she stood.  "Anyone else?"

No one bit.

"I could use some help getting desserts..."  Florence walked to the door and stared at Dahlia.  "Anyone want to help?"

There were no takers. 

"Dahlia?"  Florence pleaded.

"We're just getting started, Florence." Renee looked back, annoyed, her hand inserted in her open bag.  "Can't we wait?"

Florence looked back at Dahlia and sighed.  "Sure.  I guess so." She walked silently back to her seat and crossed her legs, bit her lip.

"Now," Renee continued.  "This, ladies, will turn your man into an animal!"  from her bag she withdrew a devilishly red pair of crotchless lace panties.  She waggled her fingers through the opening in the middle as the women around her giggled girlishly.

Dahlia gaped across the table into Renee's black bag. She saw a bewildering variety of vibrators, massagers, strap-on's, flavored body oils and ... buttplugs: those were the things she could identify.  The smell of "velocity" perfume hung dead in the room and she watched in humiliating silence as Renee removed item after item- announcing them as either "No more lonely nights!" and "He can use it too!".

She glared over at Florence who mouthed "I tried to tell you" but was silent.  Trying to be polite, she sat through a few items, the panties, a "massager" that more resembled an large, albino penis, and something called a 'rabbit'.  When Renee withdrew a huge chrome dildo, Dahlia finally stood and stormed out of the room. 

"This," Renee said triumphantly behind her. "Is a little thing I like to call 'the silver bullet'!"

Dahlia kicked the poodle on the way out the door to the "oohs and ahhs" in the living room.

On the way home she threw her bag out the window.  She was never going to get that god-damned car.

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