Roxanne, or "Roxy," as all her friends knew her, was more concerned about her eyeliner than the yellow line as she swerved into the opposing lane. Approaching the tunnel from the other end was a sleepy semi-truck driver.
Roxy was bound for Vegas, eager to see her name up in lights. Marilyn Monroe she wasn’t, but with a bit of judicious padding and truckloads of steely determination, she was sure the world would be bowled over by her irresistible charm.
But somewhere between the yellow line and the dark tunnel, her aspirations to greatness took an unexpected turn.
Next thing she knew, she is standing, dazed and unsteady, with singed dress and tangled hair, in a washed-out no-man’s land, like a TV screen with the contrast knob turned to zero.
After a few moments, the fluffy mist began to dissipate, and in the near distance she saw a sparkling city, looking like Vegas, only bigger and brighter, with more moreness than ever before.
"Well I’ll be damned!" she said, bowled-over by it all. As she was gazing at this great glittery bauble in the sky, a white-suited, well-tanned gentleman approached her:
"My dear Roxanne," he said, in a mellifluous foreign accent, "your limousine awaits you!"
"How do you know my name?"
"Why, your reputation precedes you!"
"Oh, you silver-tongued devil you!" she exclaimed, blushing, giggling, and batting her eyelids all at once. "But did I really make it to the place upstairs?"
"Well, ever since the Copernican Revolution, up-and-down is pretty relative. But you might call this is a dream come true!" He then extended his arm, which she took, and walked with him to the stretched limo.
"Did anyone ever tell you that you look just like what’s-his-name in Fantasy Island?"
"It wouldn’t be the first time," he answered, with a wry smile and a twinkle in the eye.
Inside the limo an angel choir was playing on the radio. Mr. Roarke, or whatever his name really was, offered her a glass of bubbly. Roxy couldn’t tell if the car was driving, gliding or floating in mid-air. When they arrived at the Ritz hotel, Roarke escorted her to the express elevator.
"Where am I going? she asked?
"The penthouse suite has been reserved for you," Roarke answered.
"All that for me?" she said?
"Is it not written, ‘in my Father’s house are many mansions’?" Roarke said.
The glass elevator seemed to ascend forever as they passed through the pink, puffy clouds on the way up. In the suite itself, a small army of beefy, bare-chested manservants tended to her every whim.
That night she stayed in the suite, to clean up and rest up after her accident. She took a champagne bath in her solid-gold bathtub and went straight to bed.
Combing out her hair in the morning, she found out that this was no ordinary comb, but a magic comb with different settings. Depending on which setting she chose, the comb would make her hair come out looking like Farah Fawcett, Maureen O’Hara, Jean Harlow, Veronica Lake, or Marie Antoinette.
She also discovered a pair of magic dance-slippers with several different settings that made her dance as well as Ginger Rogers, Eleanor Powell, Cyd Charisse, and Margot Fonteyn.
The next day she went to the Monte Carlo casino. Roxy was given a million bucks worth of chips as seed money. Every hand she was dwelt was a royal flush. Every throw of the dice came up sixes. Every yank of the one-armed bandit hit the jackpot.
On the first night alone it took a dozen wheelbarrows just to haul all the loot back to the penthouse suite. After the first week, a whole floor of the hotel was set aside to store her winnings.
The day after that she went to Bloomingdale’s. Roxy was issued a Bloomingdale card with an unlimited credit line of credit. It took another dozen wheelbarrows to haul all the diamond rings and emerald earrings and jade bracelets and pearly necklaces and gold brooches back to the penthouse suite, not to mention three semi-trucks to transport all the fur coats.
Because she couldn’t bring herself to choose between the white mink coat, the brown mink coat, and the black mink coat, or between the mink coat with chinchilla trimming and the chinchilla coat with mink trimming, she bought the whole rack. Fortunately for her, the walk-in closet the size of an airplane hanger.
Due to rear-round climate control, the air outside stayed at 70 degrees day and night. So she had to lower the thermostat in her suite just to get a chance to wear her mink and leopard coats.
The day after that she went to the Chez Piggerie restaurant. There she was delighted to find that every gourmet dishe had zero carbs. She could gobble down a twelve-course meal and never gain an ounce. What was more, she could swig as much bubbly as she liked and never wake up with a hangover.
The day after that she went to see Christian Dior. Instead of taking her measurements and then tailoring a form-fitting dress, Dior handed her a catalogue from which she could simply pick out a slinky evening dress, and whatever dress she put on would magically conform her figure to the contours of Dolly Parton.
The day after that, she went to the Sands, where she was invited onto the stage to do a concert. The microphone had ten different settings. Depending on which setting she chose, she would sound exactly like Julie Andrews, Marlene Dietrich, Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne, Peggy Lee, Loretta Lynn, Bernadette Peters, Barbara Streisand, Joan Sutherland, or Sarah Vaughn.
She even got to dance with Fred Astaire and Rudolf Valentino, as well as sing with Frank Sinatra and Evis Presley.
The day after she went to see Richard Avalon. Here she sat to have her picture taken. She could have her picture taken with Cary Grant, Santa Claus, or Jesus. Well, it was really Jeffrey Hunter, but he looked just like Jesus is supposed to look.
She got to sit on Santa’s lap and ask for three wishes. And whatever she asked for was instantly granted by a band of winged chambermaids. "All this and Jesus too!" she shouted out loud!
Wherever she went she was feted like a diva, with an entourage of paparazzi and autograph-seekers. She was truly in seventh-heaven.
A week later she went back to the casino. Roxy was given another million bucks worth of chips as seed money. Every hand she was dwelt was a royal flush. Every throw of the dice came up sixes. Every yank of the one-armed bandit hit the jackpot.
The day after that she went back to Bloomingdale’s. Once again it took a dozen wheelbarrows to haul all the diamond rings and emerald earrings and jade bracelets and pearly necklaces and gold brooches back to the penthouse suite, not to mention three semi-trucks to transport all the fur coats. The walk-in closet was getting to be a bit crowded.
The day after that she went back to Chez Piggerie, where she had another twelve-course meal consisting of caviar, escargot and Brie for the appetizer; followed by fillet mignon, veal Marsala, venison, rack-of-lamb, Australian lobster, wild boar, king crab, grilled salmon, poached sole, scampi, and breast of pheasant; topped off with chocolate mousse, chocolate cake, chocolate ice cream, and French cheese for desert; and all washed down with five bottles of bubbly.
The day after that she went back to Dior to flip through the latest catalogue.
The day after that, she went back to the Sands to do another concert.
The day after she went back to Avalon to do another photo shoot.
After a few more weeks of this, she summoned Mr. Roarke to her suite. "My dear Roxane," he said, "so very good to see you again."
"I wish I could say the same!"
"What’s the matter?"
"For the first few weeks I was afraid that living here was just too good to be true."
"And now I’m afraid that living here is just too true to be good."
"Whatevery do you mean?"
"Well, for one thing, I won the jackpot last night."
"What’s wrong with that?
"The lady sitting to my right won the jackpot as well, while the lady sitting to my left won the jackpot too! Where’s the fun in that?"
"I see your point!"
"Another thing--I can never turn off that damn angel choir! It plays day and night, everywhere I go--whether I'm in the limo, elevator, suite, casino, restaurant, nightclub…there's no off-switch. I can't even turn the volume down to get by beauty sleep!"
"Yes, I can see how irritating that might be."
"I feel like I’m caught between the devil and the deep blue see. If this is the best you can do, I’d rather be in that ‘other’ place, if you catch my drift."
"Where in hell do you think you've been all this time?"