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A Makeover for Skeeter


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Name: Eliza Mimski

Genre: Women’s Fiction with humor and romance

 Comps: A sexually-active Miss Havisham meets Catherina Ingelman-Sundberg’s little old lady books meets Mick Kelly from the Heart is a Lonely Hunter….

Hookline:  

When a young woman accompanies her sexually active great-grandmother to an erotic love resort for elderly women and young men, the young woman desperately looks for love in this unlikeliest of places. She struggles to discover her sexuality in spite of the sexual messages her great-gram gives her.  

Pitch:

In the South American resort called Ciudad de las Pumas Antiguas, or City of the Ancient Cougars, elderly women and young men congregate for sexual escapades. A senior fashion beauty contest is underway, the winner splitting the contest money with her seamstress. Skeeter, a lonely young woman who is financially dependent upon Bedda, her domineering great-grandmother, sews for the different challenges while Bedda decides every aspect of Skeeter’s life, determining what she can wear and how she can look. 

The town is geared up for the contest with a huge red tent set up in the town square, with nightly dances at the hotel. With the hijinx in the backdrop of male go go dancers at chubby chaser bars, with gigolos and fetishists, with the Bobby Bitches who celebrate a young man known as the Cunnilingus King, and with an institute for vaginal rejuvination and shops like Battle Axe Wax and Spare Hair, Skeeter befriends a young woman who gives her a make-over and encourages her to make beautiful clothes for herself. Doing this, she soon finds a note on her door with a poem written for her, and an invitation for a blind date. Bobby, the poet, chickens out and stands Skeeter up. He later poses as Skeeter’s friend and acts as her confidant, hoping she doesn’t discover his secret. Skeeter, secretly crushing on him, believes he only likes elderly women.

While Skeeter struggles to keep up with the other seamstresses, striving to become financially independent, Bedda contrives to break up Skeeter’s love interest, exposing Bobby’s identity. Skeeter must find the courage to stand up to her great-gram in order to live her life on her own terms, hoping for not only a physical makeover but an emotional one as well.

Prose Sample:

 Bedda Harris had always loved sex, and at seventy-eight she was still going strong. She was limber for her age, her joints in good working order, no titanium parts, her heart beating like a clock and her bladder – well, no diapers for her. Yet sitting in the front of the bus, her face turned toward the window, she was fighting off panic.

 As the South American sun beat down on the Mamacita Highway, the airport shuttle made its way toward Ciudad de las Pumas Antiguas. No newcomer to beauty pageants, Bedda  was on her way to the 4th Annual Fashion Beauty Pageant for Women of a Certain Age Plus More, and she had to win. But something strange was happening to her body, something she couldn’t bring herself to think about, yet as she caught a glimpse of herself in the window - her angular face beneath an avalanche of big blonde wig, her sculpted cheekbones, her deep-set eyes and skin as soft and powdery as confectioners' sugar - she calmed down. 

Curlicues of laughter floated through the air, one older woman flirting with a young prospective date, another leaning forward and showing off her cleavage to anyone who cared to see. A very old woman with sun-baked skin was communicating with her dead husband from the grave. Eight of the young men on the shuttle harbored an affection for white-haired ladies with soft aging bodies, large relaxed breasts and flabby upper arms. Six of the men adored the womens’ money. One man, short, fat and impotent, his hair styled in a pomp to add inches to his five foot five height, was seeking the comfort of older women for the first time. He was unsure if he’d like anything about them, but was hoping they’d be more sympathetic than the younger ones.

Fifteen minutes later, the airporter pulled into town and slowly drove down the cobblestone street from one end to the other. Bedda glanced at the Cleopatra-themed banners announcing the pageant, ribbons wrapped around lamp posts, bows festooning them. She drank in the men in their twenties and thirties chatting with older women on the sidewalks and in outdoor cafes. Young men were the potion that kept Bedda young and she was ready for her dose.

The town looked forward to the revenue that would pour in from the pageant. While bellhops in dark blue uniforms privately rolled their eyes at the age differences and Father Miguel, the town priest, prayed inside his rectory for all these sexual sinners who had lost their way, the town was about to make more money in the next six weeks than at any other time of year. The sprawling Gina Lollobrigida Hotel with its orange fresco walls and tall arches, its chandeliers twinkling with tiny white bulbs that shone like diamonds, its red leather couches and plants with rubbery leaves stationed in every corner would be home to the tourists for the upcoming weeks. The hotel had tripled its staff, restaurants and cafes would soon be booming, nightclubs swelling, boutiques thriving, selling everything from evening gowns to micro-bikinis to G-spot vibrators to CandyMan thongs. The local shuttle, running every seven minutes from the hotel down the main street, would climb the grade to the world renowned Institute that loomed high on the hill with its many departments: The Department for Failing Memory; The Department for Vaginal Rejuvenation; The Department for Hair Growth; The Department for Grief; The Department for Love…

The shuttle came to a stop in the hotel’s circular drive-way, international flags hanging from the edifice, almost hiding the small simple flag of the host country with its diagonal red and black stripes separated by thin gold lines, plus Ciudad’s flag of a very old woman in a low-cut dress surrounded by smiling young men. Bedda rose to her full height of five feet ten and squeezed the driver's hand as she carefully stepped down. Skeeter, her great-granddaughter, whose only gift in life was that she could sew, trailed behind her.  

Inside the lobby, Bedda turned in a circle, arms spread wide as she threw her head back and laughed. “Oh, it’s so good to be alive. So very good to be alive.” When she noticed that no one was watching her, she studied the women, none of whom could hold a candle to her. A wench with silvery hair chatted with an Asian-looking Harry Potter. A Ryan Gosling twinnie nuzzled up to a blue-haired matron wearing turquoise jewelry. A Helen Mirren wannabe shared a lip-lock with a Will Smith look-alike. The woman failed to carry off Ms. Mirren's sexy style, but who was Bedda to criticize? She laughed. Why, she didn't have a critical bone in her body.

Bedda carefully eased herself onto a red leather couch that let out a whoosh of air. She glanced at the lanky Skeeter, the girl dragging her sewing machine along with her. "Stand up straight," Bedda had instructed her. "Own your height. It's not a sin to be six feet tall." Had the red-haired, freckle-faced, hump-shouldered Skeeter listened to her? Of course not. At twenty-one, she'd nary had a boyfriend and didn’t seem to understand a thing about men. The girl’s father had died six years ago, and Bedda prided herself for taking her in out of the kindness of her heart. But even though it was useful having a live-in seamstress, the girl made her nervous with her fresh freckled skin and full, tangled head of red hair. To ensure that Skeeter would never compete with her for men, Bedda had forbidden the girl to wear make-up and only allowed her to wear brown, navy blue and gray clothing of the baggy variety.

Bedda sat back on the couch. On the seat beside her lay a copy of the Geezer Gazette. 

Welcome senior cougars! Welcome handsome hunks! Welcome contestants and talented seamstresses – we can't wait to see your dizzying creations! This year's $100,000 winner will split the prize with her seamstress. Cougars: have fun with this year's crop of young male specimens! They look mighty tasty! Bon appetit!

 Listed below, in alphabetical order, were the first names of the thirty contestants: 

Alice, Azalea, Bedda, Bertha, Blaise, Carmen, Cecilia, Dixie, Evelyn, Francoise, Giselle, Hazel, Ingrid, Isla, Jean, Loretta, Mingzhu, Muriel, Natalia, Opal, Patience, Qiang, Reina, Sadie, Sofia, Trina, Ursula, Vickie, Willow, Zahra… 

Unlike some pageants where contestants were required to have won prior contests, for this one the women had to pay a large entry fee. 

Bedda touched the loose skin on her neck that collected in a latticework of wrinkles while ignoring her hand that was shaking. She smiled at a lad in glasses standing near a statue. The heavy black frames made him out to be the intellectual type. “Hello, darling,” she called. “My name is Bedda C. Harris. Perhaps you'd like to have a drink with me later once I get settled in my room and have my nap?”

“Cool,” he said, smiling. 

She couldn’t wait to get Mr. Intellectual into bed. She’d take those glasses off.

****

Skeeter Jones stood in line waiting to check in, her portable sewing machine beside her on the floor, her loneliness breathing alongside of her. Young men milled about – short ones, tall ones, thin ones, fat ones - but none would be interested in her.

She glanced at her great-gram seated on a red leather couch. A guy with a buzz-cut was staring at Bedda. At the same time, a guy with an Apple logo on his T-shirt gave Bedda a thumbs-up. A guy with big lusty lips tipped his head back and flared his nostrils at her great-gram. Skeeter observed all this in the course of seconds. An unbearable feeling of sadness washed over her. She'd never felt more unattractive in her life. 

She removed the rubber band from her ponytail, ran her hands through her frizzy hair, smoothed it back and put the rubber band back in again. Bedda was all she had, and Skeeter did what she was told. But if they won the contest and she got that money, she could live on her own, away from Bedda, the pageant being her only chance at freedom. They had to win, had to win, had to win, a chant repeating in her head. 

Skeeter edged her foot against her sewing machine while glancing at a gigantic statue in the middle of the lobby, a bronze woman with a bronze tiara atop her bronze head, her hair arranged in a bronze flip, her waist cinched, accentuating her pointy breasts.

“That's Gina Lollobrigida,” a voice behind her volunteered. Skeeter turned to see a short stout woman with a moon-round face, springy gray curls and crinkly blue eyes that had all kinds of fun in them. "She's an Italian movie legend from before your time. Miss Lollobrigida was my role model. Her boyfriend was tres tres young.” Skeeter sucked in her breath. She hated the statue and what it stood for.

“My name's Pinky,” the woman offered. Her pink dress strained across her middle and pink feathers shot out of a little pink hat tilted on her head. Pinky glanced at Skeeter's sewing machine. Her eyes then moved to Skeeter's brown dress. Skeeter wished she could wear a bright, fitted, colorful dress like Pinky’s, but her great-gram said that young girls like herself had plenty of time to call attention to their figure later. Pinky's eyes settled on the hand-painted pink rose that Skeeter had pinned to her dress.

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