The Porch…A young blonde girl in her late teens, wanting to earn some extra money for the summer, decided to hire herself
out as a “handy woman” and started canvassing a nearby well-to-do neighborhood.
She went to the front door of the first house and asked the owner if he had any odd jobs for her to do.
"Well, I guess I could use somebody to paint the porch" he said. "How much will you charge me?"
Delighted, the girl quickly responded, “How about $50?”
The man agreed and told her that the paint and brushes and everything she would need were in the garage.
The man’s wife, hearing the conversation, said to her husband, “Does she realize that our porch goes ALL the way around the house?”
"That’s a bit cynical, isn’t it?" he responded.
The wife replied, “You’re right. I guess I’m starting to believe all those dumb blonde jokes.”
A few hours later the blonde came to the door to collect her money.
"You’re finished already??" the startled husband asked.
"Yes," the blonde replied, "and I even had paint left over so I gave it two coats."
Impressed, the man reached into his pocket for the $50 and handed it to her along with a $10 tip.
"Thank you," the blonde said, "And, by the way, it’s not a Porch, it’s a Lexus.""
The morning itself, although the Chaillot section of Paris gleamed in its sunshine, was not usual at all. For one thing, evil men had gathered at a table on the Café Francis terrace. For a second, a youth named Roderick was about to attempt suicide.
But the Countess moved with angular grace through her own private world.
Because of this, they called her a madwoman. But no name could have disturbed her less. She was secure in the knowledge that every friend in Chaillot loved her - the Ragpicker, the Waiter, the Sewer Man, the Deaf Mute. And, of course, the stray animals.
Strolling along, she paused to water doorstep flowers from a window-washer’s pail. Cutting through the park, she encountered her dear friend Constance, the Madwoman of Passy, who walked her imaginary little dog Dickie. On a park bench, as they proceeded, they found Gabrielle, the Madwoman of St. Sulpice. Gabrielle was enjoying the sun and exchanging smiles with a dapper old man who stood behind the shield of a nearby pissoir.
The Countess was inclined to chide her innocent crony on making such acquaintances. Everyone knew that in these modern times men had lost all sense of decency.
But Constance whispered an admonition. “Must you speak about sex in front of Gabrielle, Aurelia? Gabrielle is a v-i-r-g-i-n.”
“She can’t be that innocent!” the Countess sniffed. “After all she keeps canaries.”"
- Madwoman of Chaillot excerpt