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Diamond Spider From Another Planet

(SCHNUCKS, LADUE)

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Staring up from the hand of the woman in front of me, a metallic bug with numerous sparkling eyes. An alien insect. An enormous gold ring, actually, exquisitely sculpted, studded with a bouquet of glowing diamonds, shining like a B-movie spaceship.

Is she showing it off? Something in her stance says yes she is, and it's my job to 1) notice and 2) be impressed. I am inconsequential, a shapeless bystander in the line of fire. My name is Audience; I could be anybody.

It gets worse. Fastened to the ring is a hand, endeavoring to look younger than its years, fingertips polished with a manicure job that's a match for the gaudy bauble.

Think of Burt Reynolds' face-lifted mug: a cosmetic surrender with a Frankenstein result.

Maybe she's the alien, not the ring, with human skin as a cover.

Or maybe I'm the alien!

But how did I get here?

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