Like some big men, he walked with a back-leaning Sidney Greenstreet tilt. He firmly planted one foot in front of the other, rather how I imagine Nero Wolfe walked. Round, he was very round, rotund. He’d dressed head to toe in blinding red– crimson cap, carmine knit shirt, vermillion belt, scarlet shorts, sanguine socks, cerise shoes. As for underwear, I would have bet on blood-red briefs, exactly the same shade as the rest of his costume.
The Arizona sun went into eclipse as he bore down upon me. He looked like an oversized ladybug.
No, not quite. Because he sported curly dark hair and beard, it’s fairer to say he looked like a slightly-crazed Santa’s workshop helper dressed as a ladybug.
|“Melayna Walküre seizes the helm in Wagner’s|
— Jean Poole, Opera Revue
Hold on, this is justified, I promise.
Enter Melayna. See, the adjuster hadn’t come to visit me; I simply happened to spot him plodding through heat thermals rising from the parking lot. Melayna was his client.
And she outshone the sun. He was… thunderstruck. Melayna’s pretty, very pretty. She’s also… how the Germans say… kräftig, robuste, widerstandsfähig. Loaded with tattoos, she gobsmacked him like an operatic Valkyrie.
Hormones sizzled in the heat. Birds began twittering highlights from The Sound of Music.
Trying to introduce himself, his voice squeaked like a hyper-ventilating soprano. Kind Melayna helped him reel in his tongue. I strolled off to let young love blossom like Boraginaceae along the Rhine. That’s when ladybug-dude made a fatal mistake.
Lady Bug SuperheroesBotanical and zoological gardens buy cartons of ladybugs by the thousands. Why? Ladybugs, aka ladybirds, devour aphids. Destructive little aphids devour plants, literally sucking the life out of flora.
We’ve upset the balance of nature, which can no longer naturally produce sufficient ladybugs to munch down on aphid evildoers. Thus botanists and farmers depend on ladybug growers.
Alarmed in the middle of cheeping ‘Edelweiss’, songbirds choked. They scratched to a halt like a needle dragged across a record. Boraginaceae withered on the vine. Ladybug-boy’s overtures sank into the molten tar of an Arizona parking lot.
It gradually dawned on our horrified heroine that the ladybug costume exactly matched the red in Nazi bunting. Melayna, see, one of approximately four Democrats left in Arizona, happened to be the least likely fan of neo-Nazis. This girl hadn’t forgotten America and its Allies fought a war to rid the world of Nazis.
|“Fräulein Layna shows|
Der Ring des Nibelungen
fans how the Valkyries ride.”
— Percy Flage, The Village Vocal
Departing into the red-rimmed sunset, she left the smitten Storm Front wannabe pining. Not that day or the next, but sometime she vowed she’d share a quiet word with his insurance overlords.
Don’t ƒ with the fräulein, don’t mess around the Melayna.
Shortly, a cleansing shower refreshed her. As rushing water sluiced away the slime, she even hummed a little Wagner tune. Nothing’s like Ride of the Valkyries to lift a girl’s spirits.
♪♬ Dum de-de-de dee dah… ♩♫