Book online «Diary of an Ugly Duckling Langhorne, Karyn (reading rainbow books txt) 📖». Author Langhorne, Karyn
This book is dedicated to my husband, Kevin,
who loves me in a T-shirt, a towel, or a tiara.
PART ONE: Fat, Black and Ugly 1
“There’s a speed limit in this state, mister.”
“If that’s all you’re getting from what I
“Woodburn wants to see you, Audra,”
Darlene Fuchs, the assignment…
“Something fancy and hip. Fancy and hip,”
Audra sang the…
Too trendy for words.
“My God, Audra! Do you have any idea
PART TWO: Light, Bright and Beautiful 85
“Audra, it’s Shamiyah Thomas again,
from the Ugly Duckling show?”
“Audra! So nice to finally meet you!
Though I feel…
“So which one was it? The Atkins or
“He’s kidding, right?” Audra swung her
face around the room,…
“You want to bring some cameras into it,
Shamiyah stood at the baggage claim
when Audra arrived, looking…
“So, Audra.” Dr. Anna Goddard crossed then
uncrossed her legs…
“So. It’s tomorrow.” Edith’s voice was
heavy with the lateness…
One big, oozing incision.
“So what color are you now?”
“Is that it?” Dr. Goddard nodded to
ward the thick brown…
“No excuses, Audra. It’s time to take
“Okay, I’ve got good news and bad news.”
“Two minutes,” the stage manager hissed,
taking Audra’s gloved hand…
PART THREE: The Final Package 285
“It’s amazing…amazing…” Penny
Bradshaw kept saying the word over…
“You’re gonna need a new badge,
Marks,” Darlene Fuchs said…
Audra knew the woman before she
entered the diner.
Her mind was spinning with a million
thoughts: Ma, Andrew…
“I’m sick and tired of being fat, black
“What’s going on with your face?”
Shamiyah asked, peering at…
About the Author
Other Books By Karyn Langhorne
About the Publisher
Fat, Black and Ugly
Thursday, March 29
Greetings from your fatter, uglier sister! (I know, I
know—but I figure starting this letter like that will get
your mind off the chaos there in Iraq.)
Glad to hear that the latest violence has not
affected you or Michael. Me, the same as always:
work, home to help Ma look after Kiana (who, other
than missing her mom and dad, is doing fine), watch a
good classic movie (Double Indemnity was on last
night!), sleep and back to work.
Speaking of work . . . there’s a new guy. Girl . . .
smooth milk chocolate skin, eyes light as caramel . . .
delicious! Even a married woman like you would lick
her lips! Works the same shift I do, but he’s never said
a single word to me. Actually, he doesn’t talk much at
all. The strong, silent type, I guess. No one seems to
know much about him, so he could be married with
kids. Or he could be a snobbish jerk who thinks he’s
tougher than the rest of us because he worked at
Or maybe he just doesn’t like fat chicks . . . J I
wonder what it would take for him to acknowledge my
Oh well, that’s all from the home front. Let’s be
careful out there,
“There’s a speed limit in this state, mister.”
Anyone else would have told the kid to
walk, to stop speeding through the day room
like he needed Ritalin, but Audra Marks was too
bored to do what everyone else would have done.
Instead, when the kid passed her at run, hurrying
over to a gaggle of young men hovering over a video
game rivalry, Double Indemnity—that great movie
classic of greed and betrayal—rose to her lips. In
a blink, she was no longer Audra Marks, a big-
boned black woman in a size-too-small uniform,
but Barbara Stanwyck—a film noir princess hitch-
ing the hem of her slinky dress to flummox Fred
MacMurray’s careful cool with a shapely, ankle-
Too bad her captive audience didn’t get it.
“Huh?” he offered with the eloquence typical of
young men of a certain age.
“Speed limit. Forty-five miles an hour. And you’re
over it, sure as ten dimes will buy you a dollar.”
Puzzlement creased her listener’s face. He was
DIARY OF AN UGLY DUCKLING
literally her captive—an inmate named Carlton
Carter at the tail end of eighteen months for petty
theft. He stopped short, watching her intently, his
dark eyes skittering in his face, trying to decide if
she was hassling him for a specific reason or just for
Audra sighed. For the half instant before he
opened his mouth, she played out a scene from her
own secret fantasies—that she’d be answered with a
line from one of the old classics, from The Petrified
Forest and Mildred Pierce, Desk Set and All About Eve.
It wouldn’t matter if he was nineteen or ninety, if he
was a convict or a conqueror, once he offered the
words like a magic kiss, Audra would lift eyes of
adoration to his face, violins would begin to play . . .
and they would live together happily ever after,
Clearly this kid wasn’t her guy . . . Audra shifted
her feet as though expecting to hear the telltale
shimmy of anklet beads colliding with each other
instead of the faint scuff of her orthopedic, regula-
tion black lace-ups. She put her hand on her ample
hip and leaned her sizeable frame close to the kid,
tossing her head as though it were covered with
Stanwyck’s flaxen curls.
“Look, kid,” she continued, mimicking the rapid-
fire delivery of a black-and-white film as the boy’s
brow crinkled in deeper confusion. “There are a lot of
losers in this mixed up, crazy world. Desperate peo-
ple, people willing to toss over their own mothers
just for a shot at the brass ring. One day soon, they’ll
spring you from this hole. But if you’re stupid
enough to commit another crime and end up back
here, you’ll regret it. Maybe not today, maybe not to-
morrow, but one day soon, and for the rest of your
Audra stopped short. Crap, wrong movie. She cut
her eyes nervously at the young inmate, but the kid
obviously didn’t know the difference or much care.
She glanced around, wondering if anyone else had
heard the mistake.