Gladys sat on the counter as her head was being yanked back with each brush stroke. “I don’t know where you got all that nappy hair” Matilda exclaimed as she drug the brush through her little sister’s unruly hair “must have been from them circus people who left you under that rock.” Gladys wiped the tears from her eyes not knowing if she was crying because her hair was being yanked out by the roots or because she didn’t know who she really was. It was a huge burden for a six year old to bear, being found under a rock and all. She was brave and courageous and more than anything else jealous of Matilda’s beautiful straight hair.
Matilda stopped brushing long enough to fluff of her coif and then went back to trying to tug the tangles from Gladys’ hair. She stopped mid yank and looked in the mirror examining the reflection of her and her little sister. “I could be Miss America. I could walk down that runway just like those girls on the teevee. I mean I’m just as pretty as they are if not prettier.” Then she took the brush and held it up as a make-shift microphone in front of Gladys’ bucked tooth smile “announce me.” Gladys giggled then replied “huh?” Matilda pushed the brush closer to her mouth and demanded “announce me, stupid.” Gladys’ eyes opened with understanding and she said “Ok I announce YOUR STUPID!” That’s when the uncontrollable giggling began. Unfortunately Gladys thought she was much funnier than Matilda did. Matilda popped Gladys on the arm “no dummy, announce me like I’m Miss Texas being crowned Miss America! You know just like Bert Parks.”
Gladys took hold of the brush and in her best game-show host voice said “Ladies and Gentlemen, the new Miss America is Matilda Lucille McGuilicutty.” Then in her lowest voice she began singing “There she is Miss America…” At this announcement Matilda grabbed the brush from Gladys’ hand and laid it across the crook of her arm like a bouquet of roses and began her walk of honor.
Matilda slowly stepped out the bathroom door and down the hall waving to her adoring fans. She blew kisses and wiped the imaginary tears from her eyes. Gladys jumped down from the counter continuing to sing “There she is our ideeeaaalll”. Then not knowing the rest of the words Gladys decided to ad-lib. “There she goes Miss America. There she goes with big toes. Here she is big and fat. Here she is a blundering rat. There she is a pooper head…” but she couldn’t get out the next verse. The once delicate and graceful Miss America had pounded her way back up the hall and had begun tickling the reserved game-show host turned emcee.
Matilda turned the brush into a sword and began dueling with Gladys. Gladys grabbed the rat-tailed comb from the counter top and contre' parried. She thrust and withdrew then ran squeezing past Matilda racing for the kitchen. Matilda now acting as Zorro would have none of it. She ran after Gladys and countered her thrust they dueled through the living room and onto the screened in porch. That’s when they heard the voice.
“What in the HELL are you two doing? You better be getting ready for school!” came the shout from the laundry room. “Matilda! Did you brush Gladys’ hair yet?” Matilda and Gladys both stopped mid-assuat. Matilda poised the brush over Gladys’ unruly locks and replied “Yes, ma’am. I’m brushing it out right now, but them Gypsies must have had Brillo Pads for hair!”