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"Oh, Lydia the Tattooed Lady..."
by Sylvester Lewis

Lydia lit the wooden match with a scrape of her thumbnail and puffed life into the cigar clenched between her teeth. She sank back into the pillows of her chaise and, with a wave of her hand, commanded “Okay, boys. Shoot!”

Suddenly the dressing room was filled with flashing lights and popping bulbs as the newsmen scrambled to get that “front page shot”. A riot of questions filled the room.

“Hold on, boys,” Lydia shouted raising her arm so they all could get a good look at the huge diamond ring on her left hand. “Lemme give it to you straight. Me and the little guy is finally gonna get hitched,” she continued. 'Yeah, the little runt said he hadda have for me his wife. Imagine. Me. Mrs. Thumb!”

She breathed on the sparkling rock and polished it against her bosom. Hypnotized by the dancing lights inside the fiery stone, she cooed “Fifteen carats! I ain't never seen nothin' like it. We was having dinner at the Claridge and just finished eatin' them Ersters Rockefeller he's so nuts about. He always eats a double order of 'em when we go out on a date, don'tcha know. All of a sudden, he climbs up into me lap, pops the question and slips the ring onto me finger. What's a poor helpless girl like meself's to do?”

“When's the happy day?” someone called out.

“Well, being the Queen of Tattoo, I gotta get a coupla new pitchas first, if they can find room for 'em”. She reached around and dunked her cigar into a glass of champagne. Her robe slipped from her shoulder to reveal a stunning depiction of Washington Crossing The Delaware. She flexed her bicep and Washington bowed. Then, the edge of her gown slid off her thigh to give them a view of the Grand Canyon. The room exploded in blinding flashes of popping bulbs and quivering “OOHS” and “AAHS”.

“Then we's quittin' B & B's Circus,” she continued. “ Ziegfeld called me from New York. He wants us to work up an act for his new show at the New Amsterdam soon's we get back to the States. Maybe we can get married on stage as part of the act. That'd be a show stopper!” She laughed and slapped her thigh. “Then take a little honeymoon trip. Hackensack. Hoboken. Someplace nice.”

She couldn't take her eyes from the ring. She seemed to lose her brashness and became pensive. Her voice softened. “Who'da thunk it. Maybe a new career for him and me. Settle down in a nice little house, not TOO far from Broadway. Live like normal people. I know I'm not dreamin',” she said pinching her arm. “Ain't life grand? Can't wait to get started. A whole new life. I'm so happy I could cry.” She wiped make-believe tears from her heavily mascaraed eyes.

“When are you leaving,” another voice asked.

“Next week,” she answered. “We's takin' the Titanic!”