Color, Permanents and Gossip
“I really should have named this Salon de Gossip, Soap Opera de Salon not O'Neara's
Beauty Salon. Honestly, you would think the women of this town would have better things
to do than gossip. Sadie Thompson is coming in this morning for her cut and tint, she
has more gossip than anyone else I know.”
O'Neara disliked gossip; Sadie always told some really juicy gossip, her favorite was the one about Mabel Merriweather. Mabel was always causing a ruckus of one sort or another. She was also on the schedule for today. Mabel and Sadie disliked each other vehemently they had for years. O'Neara figured it was easiest to keep them from coming into the Salon at the same time. O'Neara, just as any good salon owner, knew her customers well.
Things started out quietly, all three beauticians were ready to begin. Cathy O'Neil, always made O'Neara chuckle. She was a real “Lucy” type person. She had over the years, turned Sadie Ballou's hair green and then orange all in one setting. Sadie laughed about it now but then she was in hysterics. Funny thing was Sadie always asked for Cathy to do her hair.
O'Neara's other girl was her old friend from Beauty School, Sybil Latham. Sybil drew the most prestigious clients. She was sophisticated and genuinely gracious to all their clients. She was the most flamboyant. She would cut hair in spike heels, carpi pants that were shocking pink, a dizzying smock with every cartoon character known to man and the brightest fluorescent green shirt she could find. Her blond hair, teased out to the wildest heights.
O'Neara, glanced in her mirror, she was dressed as she always dressed, in black, her red hair the only contrasting thing about her. She had married young and became a widow at a young age. She dated but she had never found anyone she wanted to spend her life. Her dog, Bubba, an English Mastiff, was her best friend. Bubba, usually could be found in O'Neara's office under the desk.
Sadie Ballou was the first to enter the shop. Cathy, walked over took her coat and hung it up. She then offered Sadie a cup of coffee. Cathy knew the moment Sadie sat down, there was some really good gossip she had. It only took a few sips before Sadie began:
“Mabel Merrriweather, came home drunk last night. Seems she's been on the prowl for
a new husband. I do believe that makes number ten. She goes to bars and such, no wonder
she has married so many times. This one is fifteen years younger than she is. Cathy, can you
imagine her marrying someone that young?”
Cathy, took a deep breath, counted to ten, smiled and replied sweetly:
“No, but I bet it will be an interesting relationship.”
“Undoubtedly. I hear she is getting married this afternoon. I have no doubt she will
be here this morning. Please hurry, I really do not want to run into her here.”
Cathy, began to mix the tint, three parts peroxide to five parts Carmel Brown. She quickly checked the schedule to be sure that Sadie did not overlap Mabel. Her eyes became larger as she realized that Mabel was due in less than five minutes. Abruptly, she heard the beginning of what was termed “the cat fight of the century”.
“Well, look who just strode in” boomed Sadie's most obnoxious voice. Cathy hurried out the bowl in her hand. O'Neara already attempting to diffuse the situation.
“Sadie, please, remember you are in public.” Sadie, not one to be deterred:
“O'Neara, you stay out of this. It is time Mabel and I settled this”
O'Neara moved with the stealth of a cat, while Sadie wasn't watching O'Neara placed a phone call to Sheriff Hanover. He ran out his office door motioning his deputy Sam Cade to follow. Sam had never seen the sheriff move that quickly in the last fifteen years, whatever was happening was something big.
“Hey sheriff what is so hot that we are both going?”
Sheriff Hanover, never one to mince words:
“Cat fight of the century my boy, the cat fight of the century.”
Sam did not have to ask any more questions, he had no doubt Sadie Ballou and Mabel Merriweather were fighting, the question was where. The sirens screamed as they headed toward O'Neara's Beauty Salon.
O'Neara, once again tried to grab hold of Sadie while Sybil attempted to keep Mabel from punching Sadie out. Mabel gave Sybil a shove and dove at Sadie who somehow twisted free from Sybil's grasp. Tint began to fly in all directions. Cathy grabbed a permanent as it flew by. O'Neara, attempted to tackle Mabel before she demolished what was left of the Salon. Mabel, contrary as ever had Sadie in a headlock and begun to tint her brown hair whatever tint mixture she had in her hand, that was an ash blond tint that was turning Sadie's hair green. That was the least of O'Neara's problems at this point. Her salon was in shambles as Mabel charged herself like a bull and bowled over Sadie again. Those two were no ladies. Mabel, her hand wound around what was left of Cathy's lunch quickly found its way up Sadie's nose, as she and Mabel fell to the ground. Sadie, never one to be shy, took the last remains of the sandwich, wiping it from her face, she twisted it up Mabel's nose. The three beauticians were slipping and sliding through the permanents and tints, food and coffee. O'Neara was beside herself she had someone's earring in her hair, she had tint all over her white shoes, her blouse was ripped. The other two were no better off.
O'Neara, heard the screams of the sirens arriving. Sheriff Hanover, who bore a rather peculiar resemblance to Jackie Gleason walked into the cat fight. He and Deputy Cade both stood there trying to take in the carnage that had once been O'Neara's Beauty Salon. The Sheriff grabbed hold of Sadie while Deputy Cade took charge of Mabel. The sheriff arrested both of them for disturbing the peace and willful destruction of property.
O'Neara simply stood where she was looking a the total destruction of her Salon, it would be weeks before she could open for business. Thus ended the cat fight of the century.