The First Romeo
and the Last Juliet
 
by
Lin Stone

Chellie Lace was acclaimed as the most beautiful actress on God's Green Earth by HBO, and two great men of the world were her ardent suitors. Being unable to choose between them, she wanted to devise a test to decide which of the two lovers loved her most, and make him her loving husband.

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Her closest friend, Dr. J. C. Adoniphus (the renowned physician of the stars) told her flat out: "Chellie, if you are the one devising this test you will be subconsciously predetermining who wins, because the one who makes up the test always decides who they want the winner to be. So, let ME help. Let me make up the test for you. That way, you won't be influencing the outcome by knowing in advance which lover you wish loved you the most."

Well, that made sense to Chellie. Under Dr. Adoniphus's guidance, she soon staged a horrible accident which left her face, throat, shoulders, and chest covered with bandages. Dr. Adoniphus called the two suitors in together to see the "unconscious" Chellie. 

"She will be disfigured for life with hideous scars which can never be removed. "Furthermore," he warned. "Insurance won't cover the expenses and she has already lost every penny she ever had. She is in this private room now only because of my charity. One of you needs to begin picking up the tab for her treatments, immediately."

"Oh NO!" Brutus groaned, and tears squirted down his patrician nose even as he turned and lunged from the room with a strangled cry.

Just as soon as the door closed, Tony hastened to Chellie's side and clasped her lifeless hand in his own. "Dr. Adonophus, don't worry about the bills. I'll pay them. These few scars won't make a bit of difference in the way I feel about her. If Chellie would just marry me, she would make me the happiest man in the world."

The words flung to heaven were a stimulant for Chellie's sagging soul. She recovered almost instantly, and groaned from beneath the bandages. "Of course I'll marry you, dear Antonius. You are the man I've waited for all my life!"

Gently, like a kiss of dew on a spring rose, they embraced. Lightly, his lips brushed against the bandages where her soft lips, like cotton candy, fine, would have been pursed in waiting. He moaned as if in ecstasy, or agony. And her sigh echoed from beneath the bandages. It was many minutes before he drew away, and patted her hand ever so tenderly. "I'll just let you rest then, darling," Tony murmured.

On tiptoe he hastened to the door where he turned to blow Chellie a kiss. "And you can count on me to get all the arrangements made for our wedding by the time you can sit up."

J. C. and Chellie were marveling at their good fortune in so quickly discovering which man loved her the most when Lo and Behold, in strode Brutus with his handsome face aglow. In his right hand dangled a gilded cage. Inside the cage was a common sparrow. "Oh Good, you're awake," he chuckled.

"Darling, I knew that with these scars destroying your beauty, the first thing you would need when you woke up was a source of natural beauty constantly distracting you from the lies your mirror would be telling you. So, I went out and ordered a thousand of the finest songbirds from all around the world, one to sing for any second that your spirit droops the least bit."

He held the gilded cage higher. "But the one I brought first is this cheerful little sparrow that sings outside my own window every morning. Her voice is so sweet that I'd rather hear her sing than Connie Francis. I just know that she will soon be your first choice as well as mine. And, the other trillers are being Fed Exed to us, right now. Before the day is out, your heart won't have room to reflect on any sorrows, ever again."

Chellie was so astonished at his thought and care for her that she impulsively threw her arms around Brutus and hugged him in a frenzy of joy. Then she suddenly realized that she had already promised to marry Antonius. She smacked her forehead, and bellowed in anguish: "Lapsus Linguae. I've already told Antonius that I'd marry him!

"But it is you, Brutus, YOU that loves me the most. 
"Oh, what have I done to us, my love?"

Aghast, poor Brutus fell upon his knees beside her bed. A knife, christened with choice red jewels from Maylasia, sprang into hand. "If I can't have you, Chellie, life can never bloom for me again." And he plunged the knife deep into his spurting breast. The sparrow burst into song from her gilded cage. Nurses hurried in to haul Brutus downstairs for a complete autopsy.

 

Chellie was still swamped in tears when Tony surged back into the room, shouting to both of them: "It's all set, Baby! We can be married tomorrow morning, right in this room.

"CBS plans on taping the whole event. ABC is going to air 8 hours of your movies. And NBC wants the syndication rights to the story of your brave recovery."

Chellie rubbed desperately at her face. Her eyes pleaded with Dr. Adoniphus to intercede. He spread his hands helplessly. Wearily, Chellie propped herself up in bed. "Adoniphus, with these hideous scars, with ALL my money gone, why do you still want to marry me tomorrow?"

"Hey," Tony grinned, briskly rubbing his hands toigether and smacking his lips. "With legs like yours, who cares what the rest of you looks like?"

"Out! Out!" shrieked Dr. Adoniphus.

"Yes, Out!" Chellie moaned in the very depths of despair. She turned her face to the wall. "Oh, now I have lost both of them."

While the doctor was thrusting the great Antonius from the room Chellie suddenly opened the top drawer of her dresser and chugged down an entire bottle of sleeping pills. Dr. Adoniphus turned around just in time to observe her put the empty glass back down beside the empty bottle of pills.

For just a second he froze. Then his professional training took over.  He picked up the phone and dialed rapidly. His powerful voice barked sharply. "Nurse, this is Dr. Julius C. Adoniphus. Please prepare an operating room for me."

He gripped the phone tighter and turned to stare at Chellie. "Yes, immediately.

"My fiancÚ needs her stomach pumped.

Chellie shook her head in astonishment, then grinned weakly. "Julius, Julius. I should have known right from the start that You would be The Winner of my heart and soul."

She sighed like a dove finding last year's nest still intact and added:  "You always did know how to treat a woman."

The End

Lin Stone is an author, writer, photographer.  Click HERE for a list of his other stories available for your reading pleasure.

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