Published on August 10th, 2022 | by Randy Weeks0
The View from the Balcony: “Dress Coded on The Balcony”
Last Thursday I walked up to the upstairs bar at City Grocery, as is my custom. Before I could reach the top, Sir Coonie, Leader of the Knights of the Long Table, was already pouring my drink, as is his custom. Sir Coonie whispered, “Don’t let the guards at The Balcony doors scare you. I don’t know what’s going on and I got nothin’ to do with it.”
I nodded twice and headed to The Balcony. The two gargantuan guards wore uniforms with a big yellow star sewn on the left chest that said in huge letters “DCE.” Underneath DCE it said, “Dress Code Enforcement.”
I greeted the gestap—oops!—guards, who were about as friendly as a Venus flytrap on steroids. The one on the left—Mongo—forcefully planted his ham of a hand on my chest and said, “Halt!” I halted. He continued, “Dress code violation! One too many open buttons on your shirt!” I looked down. I saw neither cleavage nor chest hair. Mongo the Dress Code Enforcer slapped a humongous red “V” sticker on my chest. “It’s the Scarlet V. Stands for ‘Violator.’ YOU are a V-I-O-L-A-T-O-R. Second offence, you’re suspended off The Balcony for a day. Third offence, a week. Fourth offence, scarlet jump suit for life.”
I put my things down, fastened my criminal button, and straight away sat my felonious butt down.
One-by-one the stupefied old cast of characters stumbled through the door, all the women emblazoned with the Scarlet V for things that could tempt a man. Farrin Hite and Celcie Uss, Two Blondes on The Balcony: “My ankles were showing,” said Farrin. Celcie griped, “My sheer shawl shows my shoulders.” No-Account Addie had a pencil behind her ear. Madame Butterfly’s flowing dress was too provocative. Sparkles’ chest stuck out too much. Mo’ Tuck had spaghetti bra straps. (Joke’s on Mongo. Mo’ Tuck don’t wear no bras.)
Mongo was bending down to measure the skirt of Shawty, Doctor of Juris Imprudence and Babe at Law, when she laser-stared a hole in his head. He slapped the Scarlet V on her for non-cooperation. Shawty laughed and slapped a warrant on his butt. (The only person Shawty cooperates with is herself.)
Noticeably pissed, Brick came out with her Scarlet V. Her open-backed dress showed her cool tattoo. Brick jerked Mongo onto The Balcony and laid into him. “Not ONE man out here has the Scarlet V on ‘em except the Sundown Cowboy an’ we all know he don’t count!”
Mongo pointed to me. “But ain’t he a man?”
Everyone declared in unison, “HE. DON’T. COUNT!”
Brick continued, “You do your job in gender-equitable ways or I will report you to the ACLU, the ASPCA, St. Jude’s Hospital, KAOS, AND the SEC!”
It was the “SEC” that got him.
Mongo got in touch with his inner Barney Fife and commenced to enforcing all over The Balcony. After a “you can’t unsee that” measuring, he cited The Sheik for short shorts. Men’s legs turn women on. Boudreaux Schopenhauer was overdressed. Black blazers turn women on. The Untouchable Man was wearing sandals. Bare toes turn women on. Mr. C.W.P. Thoreau, The Velvet Bitch, had hair colored like a rainbow. Rainbow hair turns women on. The Brooklyn Dodger? “Them foreign accents turn women on,” said Mongo. Keep your bagel hole shut!”
He last came to my good friend, Leon J. Walker, a very inciteful man. Mongo slapped the Scarlet V on him and said, “You’re a Geek God. Your very presence turns everybody on!” (Later Leon got the Scarlet V tattooed on his chest. He likes to pull his shirt open and say, “I’M SUPER VIOLATOR!” I hear No-Account Addie is quite fond of that.)
Before long we all wore the Scarlet V. A guy visiting from Liverpool complained that it was like he’d gotten a participation trophy in football (i.e., soccer). “It’s the women’s fault with their Jezebel sense of fashion,” he said. “We blokes just follow our god-given biological urges. It’s just how we’re made.”
Brick unceremoniously pulled a brick out of the wall and summarily commenced to bricking the bloke into next year. She returned the brick to its place, flippantly saying, “The bloke needed bricking.”
They relocated Mongo south of town. At Daffodil Hill Farm Jake Keiser had to put little smocks on her hens so their breasts wouldn’t show. Jake protested, “But their breasts are covered by feathers!” “Yes, ma’am,” said Mongo. “But you gotta watch for sex-crazed roosters. They could go to pluckin’. Temptin’ the cocks ain’t right. It just ain’t right.”
…and that’s the view from The Balcony.
Randy Weeks is a Licensed Professional Counselor, a Certified Shamanic Life Coach, an ordained minister, a singer-songwriter, and an actor. He has his own dress code. Randy may be reached at email@example.com. Special thanks to Jennifer Mason for helping conceive this piece.