Southern Fried Austen

Scared as …

A few days later, Lizzy and Jane had another consultant appointment, and Darcy drove again. Charlie had to work, so he trusted Darcy to protect the girls. They arrived at Crowns R Us right on time, and the swimsuit walking coach, Robert Ferrars, came out to show them back to his room. He was wearing shorts and a fitted T, and he told them to call him “Bobby” before he turned with a great deal of flair and sashayed down the hallway. Darcy followed Lizzy and Jane closely as they walked behind him.

Darcy: (whispering) He’s a guy.

Lizzy: Nothin’ gets by you, does it?

Darcy: He’s going to teach you girls how to walk in a swimsuit? Really?


Lizzy: Appears so. I hate to say it, but being behind him and watching him walk, I think he can teach me some moves. In fact, I’m scared as a sinner in a cyclone to walk in front of him.

Darcy: Why?

Lizzy: He’s so much better at walkin’ like that than I am – I feel like I’ll never get it right. I’m goin’ to look ridiculous.

Darcy: I like the way you walk. You aren’t prissy. You walk with purpose, but you’re feminine.

Lizzy: That doesn’t make me feel any better. I’m about to back out of this quicker than a crawfish.

Darcy: Don’t be nervous. You’ll do fine.

Lizzy: Why don’t you get Bobby to enter the pageants instead of me? He’s obviously good at this stuff.

Darcy: There’s a couple of things missing on him, and he has a little somethin’ extra. I think everyone would notice.

Lizzy: Paddin’ covers a multitude of sins.

Bobby: Here we are! Your gentleman friend can sit over there. Jane, you beautiful thing, step up on the platform and walk for me.

Jane: Can you show me how? I’m scared as a cat at the dog pound.

Bobby: There’s nothing to be afraid of, Darlin’. Those judges are goin’ to love you like Honey Boo Boo loves ice cream. You look just like an angel with that blonde hair and those big, blue eyes. Nice figure, too. I’ve always thought that nothin’ beats a country girl. I’m excessively fond of the country. All those little cottages and cows in white fences. Just precious.

Darcy: Do you live in the country, Bobby?

Bobby: Are you kidding?! I grew up in the country and couldn’t wait to get out of there. Snakes, mosquitoes, rats, and dirt. There’s no cable in the country, and no street lights. It’s pitch dark out there in the boonies. Country people go fishin’ for entertainment. When it comes to living in the sticks again, I’m as yellow as mustard, but without the bite. Is he your boyfriend, Janie?

Lizzy: No, Bobby. He’s mine.

Bobby: O-kay. Don’t get your knickers in a twist. Retract your claws. The gorgeous big guy on the couch is yours. I’m sure Janie has one of her own.

Jane: He had to work today. Charlie Bingley’s my fella.

Bobby: Bingley? Is he related to Caroline Bingley?

Jane: He’s her brother. You know Caroline?

Bobby: Everybody at Crowns R Us knows Caroline. She’s been in here every day for the past two weeks. Lovely girl. Thin as a rake and twice as sexy. If you plan to win Miss Sugarfield, you’ll have to get to work. She’s serious as a heart attack about that crown. Her clothes are to die for, and she’s great with hair and makeup.

Lizzy: (whispering) And she’s so spoiled I’d like to buy her for what she’s worth and sell her for what she thinks she’d bring.

Darcy: Behave.

Lizzy: I’m bein’ haved.

Bobby: Your turn, Janie. Let me jack up the music. Now, watch me walk. And turn. And turn. And turn. And look back over your shoulder. And stop. Hands on hips. Shift your weight from one foot to the other. Look over the crowd. Shift again. Make eye contact with the judges. Smile, smile, smile! And turn. And exit. Don’t take your eyes off the judges while you walk off. Keep eye contact with them. Nobody else matters. Now you put on your high heels and try it.

Eye contact

Jane: Like this?

Bobby: Uh. I’ll stand beside you so you can see both of us in the mirrors. Move with me.

Jane: Is this right?

Lizzy: I may not be a chicken, but I’m beginnin’ to think I have henhouse ways. I have trouble walkin’ in five-inch heels, much less doin’ all the turnin’ and posin’.

Darcy: You can practice for me when we leave. I love watchin’ you walk.

Bobby: Lizzy, you should be lookin’ at us, not him. You’re up next.

Lizzy: I’m nervous as a pregnant jenny. All the other girls are good at this stuff, and the whole town will be laughin’ at me.

Bobby: Do it again, Janie. That’s right. Beautiful! Lizzy, nobody’s going to laugh at you when I’m finished. You’ll be struttin’ around like a rooster in a barnyard full of hens.

Darcy: Is that a good thing? Lizzy’s a hen, not a rooster.

Lizzy: Chickens don’t win beauty pageants. I need to be a swan.

Bobby: Just think of your happy place, Janie. Glide, glide, glide. Pretend I’m a judge. Charm me. Eye contact. You’re a natural at this, Sweetheart. Turn. Turn. Turn. Hands on hips. Shift your weight from one foot to the other. You’re wonderful! Such a natural! Everybody’s goin’ to love you, Sugar. You can sit by gorgeous now. Okay, Lizzy. Time for you to come up here.

Lizzy: Am I green? I feel so sick, I’d have to get better to die. I’ve never been one to drink, but right now, I’d like to be commode-huggin’, knee-crawlin’ drunk.

Darcy: Where’s my Lizzy who’s not afraid of anything?

Lizzy: She’s hidin’ behind that giant poster of Marilyn Monroe over yonder, feelin’ shy as a crocus.

Bobby: (hands on his hips and tapping his toe) I’m a dollar waitin’ on a dime here, Lizzy. Haul yourself up on this platform, or I’ll come get you myself. Don’t make me go all mama on you. Workin’ with you is like tryin’ to bag flies.

Lizzy: I’m comin’. I’m comin’. Wash off your warpaint. I’m about to break my neck in these heels. Good thing I don’t have to run in them.

Bobby: Time to put up or shut up. You want Caroline to beat you?

Lizzy: That she-bear in satin? She makes a hornet look cuddly.

Bobby: You want to finish dead last?

Lizzy: Behind every girl in Sugarfield? I don’t think so. The laughin’ stock of the county? You must be overdrawn at the memory bank. I don’t enter anything I don’t plan to win.

Darcy: That’s my girl. There’s no slack in your rope now.

Lizzy: Take notes, Honey. There’ll be a test later.

Bobby: You’re startin’ to scare me a little. You came in here wound tighter than a new girdle. You made a pressure cooker look calm. But now, you’re ready to charge Hades with a bucket of ice water. Your boyfriend’s a brave man.

Lizzy: Better be nice to me, Bobby. A dead snake can still bite. And my boyfriend? He’s so strong he makes Samson look sensitive. Let’s stop talkin’ about it and walk.

Darcy: This is goin’ to be good. Time to get the video on my phone.

Jane: Mine, too. I’ll use a different angle.

Darcy: Doggone. My girl’s good. She’s givin’ Bobby a run for his money.

Jane: Move over, Caroline. There’s a new queen in Sugarfield.


6 thoughts on “Southern Fried Austen

  1. Laura Hile

    “Just think of your happy place, Janie. Glide, glide, glide. Pretend I’m a judge. Charm me. Eye contact. You’re a natural at this, Sweetheart. Turn. Turn. Turn.”

    Beneath all the fun Southern smack talk lie serious experiences with the pageant industry. Miz Robin, you must be an expert. This fellow’s speech pattens–Robert Ferrars, ha! –have an authentic ring. Yes, we are in for one interesting ride.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. tgruy

    I’m trying to write while laughing, not easy…
    I can definitely identify myself with “I’m about to break my neck in these heels. Good thing I don’t have to run in them.” I have always hated high heels!
    Can’t wait for the pageant! I think I will learn a lot of things from an insider!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Robin Helm Post author

      I think you’ll be amazed at what really goes on in the dressing rooms and backstage. Things have really changed between the time I was a teenager in pageants and my daughters were in them. My younger daughter was in a couple of pageants about five years ago, and she was selected for a TLC reality show about pageants. It was eye-opening.

      Hang with me. It’s going to be a wild ride.

      Liked by 2 people


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