AUTHOR OF THE WEEK
October 14-20, 2018
Lane Buckman is a former beauty queen from Phenix City, Alabama. Growing up, she wanted to be Miss America, a criminal lawyer, a super model, the President, a Bond girl, a brain surgeon, a journalist, a back-up singer for Duran Duran, and a college professor of Medieval Literature. In order to fulfill those dreams, she became a writer. She lives in Texas with her family, and enjoys every miserably hot second of it.
Read an excerpt from Lane Buckman’s TIARA TROUBLE:
An official pageant photographer asked Tonielle to climb up the wide, white granite steps that led up to the second floor conference area. He wanted to get a few shots of her alone, before having the other girls crowd in to fill the stairwell for a group shot. Tonielle made it up the steep staircase, holding on to the chrome-plated rail. She had a funny look on her face when she got to the top, and I realize she was having trouble walking. I was trying to figure out if the trouble was her shoes, or how tight her evening gown fit her, when she did a little shuffle with her feet. Her arms flew out to either side and she started flailing.
It wasn’t a second before she was falling backwards, crumbling and tumbling. She didn’t even have time to scream before her head hit the edge of that first stone step with a horrible crunch, and then about every other one on her way down, leaving splashes and slashes of crimson on the light granite stairs and the glass partitioning along the rails.
When she finally landed at the foot of the stairs, her limbs were akimbo, and her head was tilted at an angle far too square to her shoulders. Her mouth was twisted and eyes were wide and staring up as though mortified by splatters of blood that painted the gowns and faces of the beauty queens crowded around her. For a moment it was absolutely silent. It was so quiet you could hear the false eyelashes batting, as the gathered girls blinked, squinted and tried to make sense of what they’d just seen. Then, one girl started to scream and that set off the rest of them like car alarms in a parking lot.
Deenie Paul put down her roll, daintily wiped the corners of her mouth with a cocktail napkin, and strode over; bending to pick up the crown that had bounced off Tonielle’s head, somewhere halfway down the stairs. She considered it, turning it over in her hands twice before using her thumb to wipe away a smear of blood. Then, she put it right on top of her hairdo, whipping out a bobby pin from her chignon to hold it in place. That done, she walked back over to where she’d been standing. She noticed me gaping at her, looked me in the eye and grinned. Then, she picked up her roll again and licked it right down the center, her tongue coming away yellow before disappearing back into her smile.
Mother and Harland hustled me on out of there, but as we passed the cooling body of the newly former Miss Alabama American Universe, I swear I saw the slick backing of a butter pat stuck to the bottom of her left shoe. It was enough to put me off margarine for years, but not pageants. No, pageants were already in my blood, no matter how much of the actual stuff I saw that night. That was the night I learned just how dangerous beauty could be, and how quickly some would kill for a title. That night, I thought I’d seen it all.
I was wrong.
Nothing could have prepared me for just how deadly a pageant could turn.