The Best Pajamas of the Season

* by Leah Weathersby *

Once there were three models: Danni, Suzette, and Jasminka. They lived together in a Manhattan apartment provided by their agency.

The year 2002 had not been kind to the girls. Not only were they crammed into a small condo with only one teensy bed, but their personal ambitions had been thwarted at every turn.

Jasminka's fluffy ringlets placed her squarely on the B list--the fashion industry prized straight hair. Suzette, who planned to marry money, had been jilted by three billionaires that year. And Danni, at 23, was already over the hill.

"What shall we do?" the three friends would wail, when not out drinking at Schiller's, dancing at Lotus, or shopping at Saks. Then one day in mid-December, taking a few moments of "me-time," the friends were wailing in their apartment, when suddenly the room darkened. Footlights emerged from the floor. The bed expanded, turning into a runway. Pounding techno music burst from the stereo. A cloud of pink smoke filled the room and glitter rained down from the ceiling. From this glamorous fog emerged an even more glamorous woman.

"Stop crying," the woman said. "I'm your fairy godmodel. You've all been good and followed your three P's--pouting, purging, and purchasing--and the fashion industry can't stand to see you unhappy at Christmastime. We have a secret weapon for you."

With that, she brought out three pairs of pajamas and coordinating tops.

"What good will pajamas do us?" Jasminka asked. "Only our endless parade of lovers ever see them."

"These aren't just pajamas," the fairy godmodel said. "These are the Best Pajamas of the Season. They're so fabulous that you can wear them outside. You'll be trendsetters. People will copy your style.

"However," she continued, "there is one caveat. These things become passé very fast. You have two weeks until they're completely over. If you're still wearing these pajamas by Christmas Eve, you'll be sorry."

Then the music crescendoed, and the fairy godmodel was gone.

As soon as the models appeared in public in their new sleepwear, the world adored them.Suddenly straight hair was out, and girls across the country were getting perms to look more like Jasminka. Suzette wasn't dating billionaires anymore--unless they were also movie stars. Offers from competing agencies were pouring in for Danni. And everyone--everyone!--was wearing nightclothes outdoors. Vogue featured footie pajamas on the cover. Actresses were reserving flannel nightgowns for the Oscars.

By Christmas Eve, the girls' apartment was stuffed with expensive gifts from rich admirers. But just as they were about to leave for another fabulous holiday party, a familiar techno beat and pink fog filled the room.

"Girls," their fairy godmodel said, "those pajamas are looking very last week."

"Don't listen to her," said Danni. "These pajamas are just as hot as ever!"

With that, the models swept out into the night. But as soon as they arrived at their party, they realized something was different. Everyone was dressed in street clothes. Then, from the back of the room, one shrill voice rose over the din.

"You know what you girls have in common with your outfits? You're both TIRED!"

The models fled the room in tears. It was all they could do to grab a cab back to their apartment.

"Help us, Fairy Godmodel!" Danni cried. But there was no answer.

"I'm going to sleep," Jasminka said.

"Oh no," said Danni. "It's my turn for the bed."

"I know how to settle this," said Suzette, grabbing the biggest cushion in the room. "Pillow fight--this time to the death!"

But suddenly the pillow felt like lead in Suzette's hand and she slumped down onto the bed.

"We'll sit down too," said Jasminka and Danni, weakly. But neither of them could move a muscle.

No one called or visited, and the girls stayed frozen in the apartment. New Year's Eve came and went, and the girls didn't move. Months passed. It seemed that when no one was there to emulate and envy the models, they almost ceased to be.

By early November, 2003, the agency remembered the apartment--but not their clients inside. The agency needed the apartment to house a fresh batch of girls. When some agency interns arrived to get the place ready for new tenants, they found Danni, Suzette, and Jasminka frozen in their provocative poses.

"Maybe Saks will take them as mannequins," said one of the interns.

"They seem a little last year for New York," said the senior intern. "They might work in a department store in a Prada-free zone. Perhaps we can ship these three to Seattle for Christmas 2003." *