Basket and blanket in hand, Lady Speed-Stick strolled the pebbled back alleys to market every morn, her eyes arched for transsexual wolves – she was nobody’s hoodwink. She was, rather, an upstanding young member of the plutocratic nubility. None drew attention in the market like Lady Speed-Stick drew attention – she painted it. But Lady Speed-Stick, pretty as she was, was never very happy because no one ever thought she was witty. She went to market to show off her bons mots but all anyone saw were her powdered, bouffant breasts, vibrating like obese hummingbirds as her miniature high heels found each cobblestone’s crack. So when she came across Herr Bull-Weevil, a strange, new man, preaching on a soapbox in the center of the market one morning, she thought to herself, here’s a man obviously uninterested in appearance, let’s see if he really does prize the Good Word over the likes of looks.
“You’re new here,” she said, interrupting Herr Bull-Weevil’s speech.
The Christian faith hardens the heart against the poorer aspects of life. Christians are taught invisible beauty so as to make it easy to build houses for the visibly ugly. But what then should a Christian do, standing next to T and A, put face to face with a piece of lost paradise? Herr Bull-Weevil encountered exactly that question as he watched Lady Speed-Stick approaching his soapbox. He was transfixed. But he eyed the Lady suspiciously, unsure of where to attribute his transfixion. Was she God’s behemoth to Job? Or was she the garter in the garden?
“I’ve come with my wife as a missionary,” he said. “I’m here to spread the good word.”
“Is that right?” she said with a glint.
Herr Bull-Weevil decided she was the magical behemoth after all. “You look very beautiful today, my lady,” he said.
“Ah, but whoever stopped to ask beauty if it was happy?”
Lady Speed-Stick went about feeling peaches for firmness at a neighboring produce stand. Herr Bull-Weevil followed her.
“Well, I meant to say – ”
“Thank you, kind man. It’s those cappuccino baths.”
Herr Bull-Weevil stopped, stunned. “Cappuccino baths? Really? But that’s so decadent!”
Lady Speed-Stick sighed and rolled her eyes. “Don’t be simple. I meant half-foam.”
“What? Oh. Right. Cappuccino baths. How lovely.”
“Good day, sir.”
And with that, Lady Speed-Stick was gone, leaving Herr Bull-Weevil covered from head to toe in nonplus. He spent the rest of that day and well into its evening – at his wife’s irritation – beating himself over the head for so stupidly misinterpreting such a beautiful woman. How condescending I have been! he thought as he flagellated. To think a woman depraved just because she’s beautiful, and to accuse her of debauchery when she was only being witty! Lord, I am witless in thine eyes! Tomorrow I will tell her how funny she is!
Back at the castle, Lady Speed-Stick was undergoing a similar change of heart. You know, it’s not a bad idea, she thought as she disrobed, even if he didn’t get it. It was terribly condescending of me to think him a simpleton just because he’s a Christian. I will tell him tomorrow how funny he was, for wit can only be witty if taken literally.
Lady Speed-Stick rang the chef and ordered five-dozen cappuccinos. She waited on the toilet as the chef poured first the espresso and then the steamed milk into the tub.
“Chef,” she asked, “why are they called cappuccinos?”
“From the Capuchins. The monks,” said the chef. “They wore golden robes.”
“Monks?” said Lady Speed-Stick, surprised.
She lowered herself into her new bath one toe at a time, all the while thinking about the Christian. I’ll prove to him I’m not just a stupid, rich girl with a one-track mind, I’ll show him I have a spiritual side -- monks took my bath! Once submerged, she leaned her head back, opened her legs, and prayed.
“Oh, Mr. Preacher, Mr. Preacher!” Lady Speed-Stick called to Herr Bull-Weevil.
“Why, good morning, my lady,” said Herr Bull-Weevil. “Don’t you look – I mean, are you feeling happy today, my lady?”
“Quite. Thank you for asking,” she said. “But how do I look?”
“My lady, your curves are my hors d’oeuvres.”
“You’re so witty, Mr. Preacher.”
Herr Bull-Weevil blushed. “How did you get to be so beautiful?” he asked.
“I’ll tell you. Last night, I took a cappuccino bath.”
“Ah, my lady, it is you who is witty. That really is a very funny little joke. Half-foam! I told my wife your joke and we laughed all night!”
“No, no, I actually…you see, the monks…” Lady Speed-Stick suddenly found herself unable to explain her midnight baptism. Herr Bull-Weevil’s compliment of her wit took her completely off guard. A twit she’s been called, but never a wit.
“Do you really think I’m funny?” she asked.
“Yes, you’re very funny.”
“Yes,” said Lady Speed-Stick, as she fell asleep that night, “I’m very funny,” and she slid into her boiling, five hundred-shot cappuccino bath as if it were the strong, forgiving arms of Him.
Herr Bull-Weevil fell asleep at the same time thinking much the same thing. “I’m funny,” he said, and he gripped his wife’s waist as if it were Her.