A beautiful woman with short black hair road a motorcycle onto the backlot of Wombat World. It was a big old hog, with shiny chrome plating and exhaust fumes belching out of the tail pipe.
She didn’t wear a helmet. She didn’t believe in them. She felt the wind in her hair was worth the risk of damage to her brain. She did wear a pair of torn, scuffed up jeans and a leather vest over a plain white tank top.
Naturally, her biker image wouldn’t have been complete without the requisite tats. “Life” was spelled out with a different letter on each of the four fingers of her left hand. “Death” was written out with a letter on each of her four right fingers and her right thumb.
“Jess” was scrawled in neat cursive across her bicep, surrounded by a red heart with a dagger stuck through it.
To complete the look, her eyes were hidden under a pair of aviator shades and a cigarette dangled out of her mouth.
As she putted her bike slowly through the backlot, all the magic was happening around her as cast and crew got ready for the day. Actors, actresses and miscellaneous performers wandered about in a hurry. There were kings and queens, aliens from outer space, monsters, demons, clowns, jugglers, acrobats, and of course people in full furry mascot suits. There was a Ferdinand Ferret, a Chester Chimp, a Lonnie Llama, a Jimbo Frog, even a Wanda Wombat but curiously, Willy Wombat was nowhere to be seen.
The rider parked her bike in front of Studio 1A, a large, warehouse style building. Her leather boots hit the ground and she strutted inside. She passed four teenage boys, each one wearing a white dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up.
They were in the middle of a rehearsal.
“Girl…don’t you know I need you girl, girl you’re my entire world, oh girl, oh girl, tell me you’ll be my girl.”
“Hello Boyz A’Plenty,” the rider said.
“Hello Jess,” the boys sang in return.
Jess moved on, right past a gaggle of clowns. There were male clowns. Female clowns. Happy clowns. Sad clowns. One particularly crazy looking clown with yellow eyes, red hair and a face painted all white but for some simulated red blood drops on his chin jumped out in front of Jess’s path and screamed a guttural guffaw.
“Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!”
Reflexively, Jess kneed the clown in the groin, which knocked him flat on his ass.
“Oh Jesus, Ted,” Jess said as she helped the clown up to his feet. “I’m sorry.”
“Oww,” Ted replied. “No, its ok.”
“Seriously though, buddy, you know I can’t help it,” Jess said.
“I know,” Ted said.
“I see clown and my body immediately goes into ‘knee him in the dick’ mode,” Jess said.
“Most people do that,” Ted said. “It cool. I just have to find a better gig.”
“Feel better, man,” Jess said.
“I will,” Ted said as he limped away. “I need some ice for my clown nads.”
Jess took a right and headed down a long hallway. She passed by a man wearing a pink bunny costume. His human head was visible. He carried his bunny head under his arm.
“How goes the battle, Pete?” Jess asked.
“Eh,” Pete said. “There are worse jobs I suppose but I swear the kids keep getting meaner and smellier.”
“I’ve noticed that,” Jess said.
“I blame the Internet,” Pete said. “There are some things you just shouldn’t be able to look up until you’re able to legally buy enough beer to forget what you just saw.”
“Agreed,” Jess said as she pressed forward down the hall.
An old man wearing a neon orange suit and a ridiculously large top hat stopped Jess and held up two ties, a red one and a purple one.
“Look at these, will you?” the old man asked.
“I’m looking,” Jess said.
“Which one do you like?” the old man asked.
“Norm,” Jess said. “You’re Mayor Diggsley. Mayor Diggsley always wears an orange tie.”
“Yes,” an annoyed Norm said. “But an intern spilled cottage cheese all over my orange tie so now Mayor Diggsley will have to change it up for the first time in his long history as leader of Fancy Town.”
“Oh,” Jess said. “Then you can’t go wrong with purple.”
“I knew it,” Norm said as he tossed the red tie aside. “Purple it is.”
“Break a leg,” Jess said.
Jess walked past a few more weirdoes until she finally reached her dressing room.
It was a tiny space, little more than a glorified closet, but it was hers. She turned on the light and shut the door behind her.
Soon, she was out of her boots and biker duds. Her shades were off and her smoke was extinguished.
In her underwear, she sat in front of a mirror and put on some makeup, being sure to put some nice rosy color in her cheeks. She coated her lips with red lipstick and smacked them together until the color was just right. She finished the look with some mascara, long eyelashes, and just a hint of glitter on her cheeks for a sparkly effect.
An adorable pink, fluffy gown hanged on a coat rack. She stood up and put it on, then put on a blonde wig, followed by a golden crown.
The dress was long sleeved so Jess’s bicep tattoo was covered. She pulled on a pair of long white gloves to cover up her knuckle tattoos.
Jess then returned to her chair, stared at her reflection in the mirror, and batted her eyelashes.
A bottle of water sat on her table. She took a swig, then coughed to clear her throat.
She changed her voice to a Marilyn Monroe-esque baby doll pitch and proceeded to get into character.
“Tra la la la la, tra la la la la! Animals of the forest, how I’ve missed you! What’s that, boys and girls? You’d like to have your picture taken with me, Princess Paulina? Why I would be delighted.”
Jess ran her lines for awhile longer until she heard a disturbing sound coming from the hallway. It was another woman speaking in a Marilyn Monroe-esque baby doll voice.
Yep. Another woman was singing, “Tra la la la la” and it wasn’t her.
Jess stood up, threw open her door and stepped out into the hall way only to find herself staring at another woman dressed as Princess Paulina.
At a time like this, Jess was only able to think of something very un-princess like to say.
“What the fu…”