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Buddie's best efforts leave me browbeaten

"You look a bit odd today," Maggie said.

"Thanks a lot," I replied, not best pleased.

"Oh, I didn't mean to be offensive, it's just that . . . em . . . I dunno . . . it's like you are missing something," she tried to explain.

"It's your eyebrows," said Patsy. "They've gone."

She handed me her makeup mirror and I had a look. She was right. I had no eyebrows. They were there a week previously when I checked my eyelashes to see if there was any of them left. There were -- just two on each eyelid.

You have no idea how difficult it is to apply mascara to two eyelashes. Now my eyebrows had gone for a burton as the bloody chemotherapy took its toll.

"Never fear, Maggie is here," said Maggie, whipping out her make-up bag. My heart sank down to my bootstraps. "I'm not doing that here at the table," I said. "Okay, into the ladies with you," she insisted.

Josie maintained a vigil over our seats and cream cakes while the other two marched me to the bathroom.

Somehow, the three of us fitted into one cubicle. It's a wonder we weren't arrested for unbecoming conduct.

Maggie filched through her make-up bag and found a stump of an eyebrow pencil and proceeded to painstakingly draw in some eyebrows. Leonardo didn't take as long to paint Mona Lisa's smile as Maggie was taking with my cosmetic enhancement.

"There we go!" announced Maggie, eventually. "Take a gander in the mirror."

I looked like Jack Nicholson when he played The Joker in Batman.

"I can't go around looking like that!" I said. Patsy started to laugh but stopped when I threatened to punch her.

"Okay, okay, we'll rub them off and start again," said Maggie. She wet a tissue and rubbed my brow as if she were a panel beater. I was starting to feel dizzy. Josie rang again. "Hurry up! The bleedin' bluebottles are starting to dive bomb the cakes. I can't hold them back on my own," she said.

I relayed Josie's fears to Maggie. "You can't hurry art," she replied. Another five minutes passed before she pronounced herself happy with her work. Patsy nodded in agreement. "Before you look in the mirror, I want you to show Josie," said Maggie. I was about to protest but they manhandled me out of the ladies and marched me to the table where Josie was picking off bluebottles with a rolled up newspaper. The death count was high.

"Well?" I said to her.

"Jaysus, you look like Jack Nicholson."

"In Batman?"

"No -- The Shining."

"Heeere's Johnny!" shouted Patsy and the three of them collapsed laughing.

With friends like these . . .