The Amazing Adventures of Dryer Lint Woman
For many years OryCon's tradition has been to present something skittish (in any meaning of the word you can imagine) and ill-prepared by the Not Ready for Sidereal Time Players. Over the years we've done such things as a game show, the interspecies dating service, tabloid news, and the salute to Ed Wood. This was done mostly to see how many men of the OryCon Committee could be coaxed into dresses. It was more than we thought and it took me all evening to get my fluffy sweater back.
Last year's theme had been a magician's show. Our one real actor, David Levine, was the magician and had asked for me as his assistant. We both know how to dress and turned up for the one rehearsal; him in full tux, me in a strapless 50's dress and long gloves with a feather in my hair. I looked very much like Rosanna Arquette's magician's assistant in the movie Desperately Seeking Susan. We looked perfect. Since we always work with a script, and I knew my only real line was to ask each GOH whether they'd be willing to be sawn in half with a rusty saw while holding it maniacally I figured I was safe. No, there were props, a rough outline with large magic props, and no script whatsoever. David is brilliant. The props were lovely; trying to hide a foot tall playing card in my bosom worked nicely. I smiled a lot and waved an arm at David while we both frantically consulted a list of tricks taped to the prop table.
This year we decided that we wanted a script. It didn't need to be a great one, just a script. The theme for this year was a good one, for some definitions of good. The Mystery Fen were to save OryCon from the most dread SF menace of all; Jar Jar Binks who had kidnapped our GOHs. David and I couldn't resist this as it was a chance to dress up as really, really bad superheroes. Dressing right is very important to us.
My part involved me being the superhero chosen by an audition of potential heroes from the audience heroes even worse than me, if you can imagine it. David's rendering of The Cybernaut "I'm always on-line" was cheap but classy. When asked who I was going to be I knew exactly. I had once seen a persona I'd always meant to steal, and here was my chance.
So Dryer Lint Woman it was to be. I would tiptoe around and leave lint on evil-doers' shoulders. When noticed I could tell them, "Oh, look, you have something on your shoulder." When the gaze followed my pointing finger, I could deck them. My real super power though, was the power of static cling. My secret weapon ("We all must have a secret weapon", said David) was The Static Cling Camisole of Doom. I had this lovely, rather psychedelic bit of lingerie that was quite visual with the straps stretched out over one arm. It gave a cape-waving effect and added to the fresh-from-the-dryer look I was shooting for.
I had discovered that a dark green velvet dress will drop dryer lint off of it when you walk, even when held on by duct tape. I had already added some underwear hanging from a hair scrunchie and some fabric softener sheets. The D made out of lint needed more tape every time my static cling weapon malfunctioned pinning me to my fellow Mystery Fen, allowing Jar Jar Binks to tie us up with his tongue. I saved a large baggie of lint to put on in my seat in the audience before I was called up for my audition.
We were as ready as we ever were going to be. GOH Charles Sheffield was one of the better sports we'd ever had, having offered to be a superhero we chose, rather than just do a walk-on as most guests do. He didn't know us or he a) never would have allowed us to choose and b) wouldn't have been so professional as to try to actually learn his lines.
Charles Sheffield announces he's Captain Orycon. Well, no, he's not. Captain Orycon sounds better, but he's actually Incredibly Cute Little Girl Man. A blanket and confetti (higher than our usual level of special effects) is used to turn him into my insanely charming small eight year-old, Lillie. Lillie asks Jar Jar if he will please have some of her yummy liquid nitrogen sorbet. Jar Jar freezes solid. Lillie produces the squeaky hammer from behind her back. Sounds of broken glass as a frozen Jar Jar hits the floor. The audience suggests that Lillie hit him again. She does so a few times. His death twitches as she hits him some more are the high point of audience participation in the show.
My high point had come a little earlier. Every now and then, I have the secret desire to make even fans realize that I'm a complete madwoman. As I sat in the audience I had my daughter Zoe (Smelly Sock Girl) on one side of me, but the chair on the other side had been taken by a fan who wasn't in on the joke. As the lights went down, I took off my cape and began duct-taping my D to my chest yet again. Then I took out my big baggie of multi-colored dryer lint, made little rolls of tape, and starting fixing it to my skirt. The fan next to me started looking at me. I could tell that she found this a touch strange, even by fannish standards. She was watching me and not the introductions on stage. A nice person would have explained. I started affixing the dryer lint more slowly and painstakingly. I put some on my bosom. I artistically draped some on the side of my skirt facing her, smiling at her cordially. I finally took one strand of long red hair and carefully affixed the dryer lint where it would add best to the underwear in my hair scrunchie.
After five minutes of this, she had stopped looking at the stage, splitting her gaze between me and the escape route out of the ballroom. Then I leaned over to tell her I was part of the show. Her relief was obvious. I had that lovely feeling of accomplishment before I went on stage to zap people with my Camisole of Doom. Weak script or not, it made me happy. My shedding dryer lint on stage and all the way down the hall afterwards, marking my territory, didn't hurt either.