An excited hum emanated from the press room; never before in the history of beauty pageants had there been a contestant who had reacted to a misunderstanding in such an ungracious, unladylike manner and the possibility of getting the leading story on the evening news was more than they could stand.
The hum stopped as the host, sporting a bruised face which looked like he’d done 3 rounds with a heavyweight champion entered the room surrounded by what appeared to be a mixture of lawyers and minders.
“Mr Shatney. Mr Shatney.” The press crowd clamoured forward with their proffered microphones, each desperate for a comment from the victim himself but there was none.
Instead, a man who appeared to be the head legal representative of the pageant stepped forward to address the crowd. “Mr Shatney would like to apologise to Miss Texas for any offence his momentary lapse of memory may have caused…”
Mr Shatney reached up and tentatively touched his bruised cheek as he nodded solemnly.
“… but to attack Mr Shatney so viciously simply because he mistakenly called her Miss California instead of Miss Texas is considered, on our part, an overreaction. As a result of this we shall be seeking damages from Miss Texas on Mr Shatney’s behalf through legal channels.”
An Amazonian-like blonde then strutted onto the stage screaming, “I’m a southern belle not a drugged out HIPPIE from California! I’m a Texan! What sort of moron forgets that a woman like me comes from the greatest state of America!”
Mr Shatney cowered behind the lectern and wept as Miss Texas lifted the legal representative above her head. She looked as though she was about to fling across the crowd when Mr Shatney’s minders finally reacted and tackled Miss Texas to the ground.
For a split second the room was silent before Miss Texas looked up and saw the lens of the nearest news camera.
“Hi, Sugar,” she drawled, “be a darlin’ and wait for me to touch up my lipstick. I can’t be going on television looking like such a mess; my momma would be simply mortified.”
The minders helped Miss Texas up and waited as she reapplied her lipstick and posed.
The stunned crowd did not move.
“What?” One of the minders snapped at the frozen journalists in front of him. “Lady has a right to look good on television. It is a beauty pageant after all.”