It was the night Andrea spent all month dreading. That one night when the moon was at its brightest and everything Andrea knew for certain came undone. She noticed it first in her hair, becoming lighter and wilder. Nothing could prevent this; neither logic nor prayer made one bit of difference.
On the night of the full moon, Andrea became a ditz.
For most people, perhaps, this might not seem like such a bad thing. After a month of professionalism bordering on obsession; keeping her life in perfect order, a little break from discipline might seem reasonable.
As Andrea saw it, that discipline was necessary. She saw too many lives wrecked by laziness, too many companies fail because they lacked one competent employee to hold things together.
So she was at work before sunrise and often there past sunset. She knew each of her co-workers' weaknesses and what to do when one ran into her cubicle screaming "Andrea, I need your help!" She was mother hen for a brood of clueless chicks, and she took the responsibility far too seriously to allow for any frivolity.
But with the full moon that all changed. She would stay awake far past her 9pm bedtime, going to places she usually loathed. She would dress differently too. Her white blouses and black skirts were in the hamper, waiting to be washed. Now she wore glossier, skimpier items; and fewer of them.
Usually hidden away in her cubicle, her entire goal now was to be seen and appreciated. To have men drooling at her breasts and women jealous that someone her age had not allowed their body to fall apart.
"Fifty?" they would ask, mixing disapproval into the compliment. A few of the bolder ones might add, "spend much time with your plastic surgeon?"
With a giggle and hair-flip, she'd reply, "Didn't think I needed one. Can you recommend yours?"
Her "idiot radar" was still fully functional, she was just more tolerant of BS. And there were a few people for whom the needle remained in the yellow zone, never touching red. She might leave with one or two them for further fun. But these times were exceptions as she usually went home by herself.
This was all simply (and usually symbolically) her ripping off her top, looking up at the full moon, and howling, "Yes, I am a ditz!"
In her normal state of mind, she could remember when it all happened. Her big toe, a large wooden crate, a collision between the two, and a trip to the ER (Andrea in agony, swearing at every car, truck, and pedestrian she almost sideswiped).
Then there was the nurse, a short, slender blonde with a persistent giggle. Something happened there Andrea could not remember. "Yes," the nurse said, stifling her natural giddiness, "it's broken." No kidding, Andrea thought, adding a few expletives to her thoughts. The next thing she knew, her father arrived to take her home. Somehow the nurse was able to pass her own ditziness on to Andrea.
Ditz Andrea could care less about how it happened. Toes were meant to be licked and savored, not broken. How silly of her normal self to be so concerned about trifles.
And so she would wake up the following morning, hair once again darker, slightly hungover, and still in the afterglow of the whole mindless experience. It was all like an annoying dream of her letting her go of her principles and giving in to her desire.
Yet in her nude convalescence, poetic thoughts filled her mind. She mused that on those nights she was part of an ancient blonde sisterhood whose past was shrouded in mystery.
And there were times she considered returning to the hospital, finding and confronting that nurse. But what would that accomplish? The nurse, she supposed, had her reasons (and the tests taken did show Andrea had a mild case of hypertension and was developing an ulcer. Both had been treated and were no longer an issue).
Besides, there might be things about air-headedness she did not want to know. Some dark secrets to this ancient sisterood.
There was a clear downside to this schizoid life anyway. Certainly those who knew the hard-nosed, no nonsense Andrea would be appalled by Andrea the Ditz. Those who knew her on that one night every month would be turned off by the icy professionalism of her normal demeanor.
Of course, that hair-brained version of herself knew the solution to this dilemma. Only she was too busy having fun during her brief time out to be bothered by anything as serious as actually talking to herself.
So the ditz remained.