Many hoped to be contenders and dreamed that this day would be the day they would meet their match. For others the race grew tiresome and they showed signs of fatigue and sadness. The glass door opened. The ladies reacted in frenzy of excitement, as Duchess, the woman responsible for their romantic future entered.
Duchess waved her hands in the air to halt the commotion and there was silence. “Ladies, please!” She separated a path through the sea of ladies, as they beseeched her with pleading eyes and begging hands.
She took a seat at a wobbly table in a wobbly chair at the far end of the room. She paused for dramatic effect and then surveyed all her contenders. “I have been watching your performances. I have inspected your grooming. Although many are making magnificent strides, only a selection of you will be racing today. If your name is not called, do not despair. Many future races lie ahead.”
A slender, red-haired woman stepped forward. “What if I don’t make the cut and my match wins another?”
“Then he is not your match.” Duchess noticed the crushed woman drop her head. She decided to address this one woman’s worry to the whole crowd. “Ladies, there is no need for desperation. The day will come and your match will be there at the finish line. One of the most dangerous things any contender can do is to assume to be a winner before the race is run.” She looked at the woman intently. “Honey, what is your name?”
“Desperately Devoted, if love makes you feel desperate then it is not your love. You cannot mourn for something you do not have.” Duchess checked her race list. “You are not racing today, so I suggest you spend the day reading my book Desperation and Doubt, the Lover’s Dilemma.”
The woman bowed her head before Duchess and tearfully backed away. “Yes, Duchess.”
“Ladies,” Duchess surveyed the rest of the ladies. “Here are contenders for today’s races. In the Bad Biker Babe division we have Hell on Wheels, Dating Terrorist, Medusa’s Touch, Witches Brew and Black Widow. In the Tomboy division the contenders are Babe Ruthie, Surfer Girl, Derby Queen, and Judy Jock.”
Many ladies left the racing office excited to prepare for their race. Not hearing her name called in the Tomboy class, Janey was certain she would not be racing today. She just figured that would be her race.
She waited in the room to show her support for her friends, who most likely would be racing.
Duchess looked around the room at the remaining ladies. “Here are your Hopeless Romantic contenders: Saving for a Soul Mate, Bucking Bronte, Dare to Dream, Wuthering Willamena, Once in a Lifetime, Saddle Up Sal, and Weak in the Knees.”
She skimmed the faces in the crowd. “Saddle Up Sal, please step forward.” Keri made her way through the ladies and stood politely before Duchess. “Saddle Up Sal, are you going to actually saddle up? Because if not I’m not even going to put you down.”
“Yes,” Keri responded, uncertain of her own actions.
“I see fear in your eyes. Where there is fear, there is weakness and insecurity. A contender in a race will lose at the first emergence of weakness. Are you weak, Saddle Up Sal?”
Keri squared her shoulders and lifted her head. “No, ma’am.”
“All right, I’m putting you down.” She pointed her pencil at Keri. “You better race.”
Duchess glanced down at her racing sheet. “In the Nice Girl division the contenders are Mama’s Choice, Suzy Q, Pocketful of Posies, Girly Girl, Everything Nice, and rounding out the competition Spoonful of Sugar.”
Amy shoved to the front of the crowd. “Excuse me, Duchess, but I am able and willing to race today.”
“My Little Pony, you raced six times last week and in three separate classes. Are you sure you’re up for another?”
Amy squared her shoulders and lifted her head. “I am.”
“Honey, you are going to wear yourself out, and honestly I don’t think you are conditioned to handle too many races at a time. You’re going to have to sit this one out.”
“My Little Pony doesn’t mean everyone’s little pony.” Amy dropped her head in shame as Duchess continued. “What kind of man is going wager on a woman who has been over-played? You’re going to wear yourself out and then you will appeal to no one.” Duchess nodded Amy away. “You will have your day in the Winner’s Circle, I can assure you.”
Amy sighed deeply and shrugged her shoulders as she headed for the door. She was so close to victory she could sense it, just hated all the delays.
Keri rested her arm around Amy’s shoulder. “I’m sure you’ll be a winner soon.”
Amy smiled. “I trust Duchess’ judgment. I’m sure a day of rest will get me in tip top shape for the next day.”
“Come on, guys.” Janey urged her friends to leave.
“She has one more race to announce,” Liz stated firmly.
“For the prime race of the day, the Hot Chick division, here are the contenders: Gold Digging Hussy, Hot to Trot, Hot Legs, Teeny Weeny Bikini, Porn Star Body, and Spirited Sister. For the rest of you ladies, take this opportunity to study and prepare for your next race. There is always an opportunity.”
“What?” Janey turned back toward Duchess. “There has been some mistake.”
The crowd of ladies dispersed, some excited by the opportunity and some disappointed. The ladies in the Hot Chick class grinned, hearing Janey was in their competition. “Good luck,” Hot to Trot snickered to Janey as she left the room to prepare.
Liz stood before Duchess. She had been training so hard, and doing well, or so she thought. She couldn’t understand why she wasn’t getting called to race.
Duchess looked past Liz for Janey. “Spirited Sister. May I have a moment?”
“Duchess,” Liz addressed carefully. “I have been training for a while but I still have not made the cut.”
Duchess folded her hands before her and gazed at Liz. “Too Much for Naught, in order to make the grade you need to learn the rules of competition and playing fair. You need to go back to your stall and read my book Mean Girls Finish Last.”
Liz lowered her head shamefully. She had spent much of her effort criticizing other ladies without giving a hard look to herself. She was frozen by Duchess’s cold words. It made it difficult for her to leave.
Duchess turned her attention to Janey. “Spirited Sister.”
“Hot Chick division? This is my first race. Gold Digging Hussy and Hot to Trot — how can I compete with them?”
“I don’t know. How will you?” Duchess questioned daringly. “Now go get suited up. Your race is last. You have plenty of time to watch the other races to get a feel for the action.”