My gentleman friend Lust is driving us to a formal gala. We are all dressed up and looking good for once – and I hear this mosquito buzzing around my head.

Now, I just finished gluing together my coiffure with hairspray, and I know this mosquito is either going to get stuck in there and I’ll have to wear it all evening like a hair accessory, or it’ll bite me and I’ll have a big zit-like bump on my forehead – plus I will come down with West Nile virus afterward.

So I take off my shoe and swat it. At the exact same time, Lust lowers the window to blow it away.

I throw my shoe out the window.

We screech to a stop and U-turn – thank God we’re on a street Uptown and not the Interstate – and I hop out on one foot just in time to see a mini-van roll over my shoe. My sparkly high-heeled sandal is now a sparkly splat in the asphalt. And I only got one shoe.

It figures. That is what my life has been like lately. I ain’t complaining, though. We got a little bit of hurricane season left, and I don’t want to get on God’s nerves.

I am just saying … A couple months ago, my best friend Awlette found the prince of her dreams and he proposed and she said “yes,” and I’m so excited, I run right out to look for a outfit to wear to the wedding.

And I found one.

It is what I call a hundred-year dress – one you find once in 100 years – that’s the perfect color, clings in all the right places and shows just enough leg and just enough cleavage (with little help from my miraculous bra). And the fabric swishes around my legs like I was Cinderella. I spent $200 on it, but my best friend don’t get married all the time. Only three times, so far.

And then she decides to have a luau wedding.

Used to be, weddings went by certain rules. White dress. (Maybe cream, if the bride wasn’t exactly pure as the driven …) Church.

Unless you eloped and then the two of you went to Las Vegas and got married by Elvis. But no, now you got to have a destination and a theme. As if ’til-death-do-you-part ain’t theme enough.

Awlette couldn’t afford a destination no farther away than the beach at Biloxi, and the only theme she could think of to go with that was luau. How about Viagra, I say. As a theme, I mean. She and the groom could sit in matching bathtubs on the beach and hold hands like on that commercial. I bet if she wrote to the company, Viagra would even pick up part of the tab. But no, that’s not dignified enough for her. Guests in grass skirts and coconut-shell bras – now that’s dignified.

I don’t have the money for another outfit for this wedding. I am so desperate I’m ready to sacrifice one of my older Zulu coconuts and make a coconut-shell bra. But that turns out not to be necessary. My mother-in-law, Ms. Larda, makes muumuus professionally for Uptown ladies who want to disguise their trash cans, and she redesigned one into a fitted full-body sarong, I slapped on some plastic azaleas for a lei and that’s that. Thank God, because I don’t know where I would’ve got a grass skirt and they probably aren’t very modest anyway. What do you do for underwear with one of them things?

But that leaves me with my perfect dress and nowhere to show it off. It is in fall colors, so it wouldn’t look right at Christmas shindigs next month. I don’t have much time left.

But my gentleman friend Lust despises dressing formal. He says a necktie squeezes his neck when he turns his head. I tell him my “Belly-Banishing Power Panties” and “Shove-’em-up Bra” squeeze a lot more than my neck, but that don’t win me no points.

Then I get an email asking for chaperones for the Fall Ball at Celibacy Academy, where my daughter goes. Celibacy requires a certain number of “volunteer” hours from parents every year, and it counts double if you chaperone. It ought to count times 20. I know Lust wouldn’t do this at the point of a gun. I also know he has an invitation to the annual New Orleans Biermeister’s Gala. So I drop a hint, real subtle. “Which will it be, Celibacy or the Biermeisters?”

Which is why we’re on our way to the Biermeisters; me with one shoe.

And naturally, Uptown is too lah-di-dah to have a Payless shoe store handy. They probably wouldn’t sell me just one shoe, anyway.

So we swing by my sister-in-law Gloriosa’s. Gloriosa has a shoe collection like Imelda Marcos, but she also got tiny feet and none of her shoes fit me. I feel like Cinderella’s ugly stepsister. Then she gets an idea. She bandages up my foot like I had an accident. So I limp into the gala with one high heel and one bandage. I even dance with Lust a few times, and everybody tells me how brave I am.

 I get to see my dress again, when Lust gets the traffic ticket in the mail. It turns out we stopped in front of one of them traffic cameras, which got photos of us littering with a shoe; stopping illegally in the middle of the street; U-tuning illegally and me hopping out.

The camera was mounted on a post, so the pictures are from above, and the one of me accentuates the cleavage I usually don’t have.

It is now my Facebook picture. Dress: $200; ticket: $200. Picture of me with cleavage: You figure it out.