The Lives and Times of the Fabulous Cornwall Sisters
My friend, Merry Brooks, has a fun novel out I wanted to call your attention to. It’s called The Life And Times Of Belinda Nicholson, AKA Flapper Girl, and it’s a good read. Merry’s work is cheeky and fun, which really shows in this one. The conceit of a superheroine in the 1920′s, ballting evil and smoking cigarettes in a long holder is just too much for me to resist, and Merry’s humor shines here.
It involves time travel and the life of a “super” (Merry’s word for superheroes) and a lot of interesting twists and turns. At 460 Kindle pages, it’s just the right length to keep you interested and not get lost in process. Well done, Merry!
I can heartily recommend this one, if you’re like me and love a good superhero romp with liberal doses of humor!
Thea likes to tell you people she has a life outside of me, and that’s very much true, I just don’t know what it is. I lead a pretty busy life myself, what with dancing, working for Broomfield Consultancy, keeping Quentin out of the clutches of predatory females (Shecky Hooplemeyer), keeping Brett happy (until Quentin comes to his senses about me), and keeping my girls on the straight and narrow, I don’t have much time to notice all the little intricacies of Thea’s life. Like the fact she was going on a weekend trip to hobnob with her fellow computer wizards. Oh, and she now has a goldfish. Continue reading ‘Burial At Sea’
“How long has it been here?” I asked as I crouched by the big fishtank in the living room.
“Three weeks.” Thea stuffed her sinus med into an overnight bag and zipped it shut. “You really haven’t noticed it in all this time?”
“I’m always busy. When’s the last time you saw me do anything but sleep in this apartment?”
She slipped the bag around her neck. “Good point, but do you think you could at least watch Captain Nemo for me while I’m gone?”
“Sure. What channel does it come on?”
“Captain Nemo is my goldfish.”
I smiled as I stood back up. “Aww. That’s so cute. You named him after the Disney cartoon movie.”
Thea grabbed her car keys from the table. “No, I named her after the Jules Verne character.”
“Jules who? Hey, is that the guy in apartment 3B?”
Thea rolled her eyes. “How did you get through high school without reading Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea?”
I shrugged as I sat on the sofa and grabbed a cigarette. “I probably did, but cut me some slack. I’ve slept since then.”
“Lace, just watch the fish. Feed it once a day, and make sure the tank doesn’t get cloudy.”
And with that, she was gone.
I tried to watch Lieutenant Bumpo. I really did, but ten minutes later, I decided this was the most boring pet in the world. You can’t play fetch, you can’t coax it with a piece of yarn (I tried), and you definitely can’t rub its belly. It just floated there, breathing. Either Thea managed to purchase the most brain-damaged goldfish in the world, or they’re all as pointless as Colonel Demo.
Right before I went to bed, I found the fish food. I had a hard time opening it enough to get a lot into the tank, but I managed to pop the top off and dump it in. I guess Thea forgot to buy more than one container of goldfish chow. I shrugged and went to bed.
The next day, Admiral Benbow was no longer in charge of the ship. In fact, it was floating upside down at the surface. I thought Thea taught it a new trick, until I realized the little sucker wasn’t moving, no matter how many times I applauded or shook the tank. I think it had, as Monty Python would put it, “rung down the curtain and joined the Choir Invisible”. I did a little online research then and discovered I wasn’t supposed to “over feed” a goldfish. Oops!
No need to panic. I decided to just buy a new fish. Now I’m no dummy, but I didn’t know one end of a goldfish from another. I didn’t want to let Thea know I over fed her stupid pet, so I went to the next best source for help, Li’l Bit.
Bit is one of my girls, and she has a pretty big fishtank in her home, filled with all sorts of beautiful little fishies, so I grabbed a new goldfish at Aqua-Rama, stopped at Bit’s place, and then we all piled into her Honda Fit for the trip back to my apartment. Her children, Bannie and Junie, are just so adorable and sweet. Bannie’s three and the oldest, while his little sister Junie, is two. They sat quietly in their child seats, in the back, as we rode.
“Thanks for coming,” I said as we made our way down the streets of L.A.
“No problemo, Gretchen. Just leave everything to me,” Bit said as she slowly and carefully took a right turn. Say what you will about Li’l Bit and her cocaine use, she’s straight as an arrow around her kids, and the most cautious driver in the world. Freaky Frieda could learn a thing or two about driving from her.
I clutched the small bag with the new goldfish in it like I was carrying nitroglycerin. “I haven’t a clue what to do here.”
“First thing is to clean the tank. How many gallons is it?”
“I dunno. It makes its way from the TV to the lamp, and from the base to about here.” I indicated a spot just above my belly button.
“That tells me nothing, but don’t worry. We’ll manage.” There was a sneeze from the back seat, and Bit glanced back in concern. “Awww, poor baby. Hey, look in the glovebox and see if there’s a box of tissues in there, Gretch. Junie still has a little baby cold.”
I put the fish bag on the back seat and opened the glovebox, then pulled out the pack of tissues. “Here they are.”
“Wipe Junie’s nose, please.”
I turned around and started to wipe Junie’s face. That’s when I noticed the bag was torn open and the water spilled onto the back seat, between the kids. “Hey, where’s the goldfish?”
“Oh, shit.” Bit carefully found a parking space and quickly spun around. “Bannie, open your mouth.”
Bannie shook his head, a defiant closed-mouth smile on his face.
“Open your mouth now,” Bit insisted, her hand out.
With a michevious twinkle in his eye, Bannie swallowed, then opened his mouth. “Ahhhhhhh.”
“You’re kidding me,” I said, aghast. “He ate the goldfish?”
Bit lowered her head in frustration. “He ate the goldfish.”
“How did you know?”
“He ate three out of my tank at home, last month. Bannie loves his seafood.”
I rubbed his belly and Bannie giggled. “Is he gonna be okay?”
“Yeah, but I won’t have to feed him at McDonald’s later.”
“What were you going to get him?”
“What do you think? Filet o’ fish.”
We went back to Aqua-Rama. Bit and the kids sat in the car while I tried to hustle up another goldfish.
The guy behind the counter was friendly enough the first time. The second trip, he was a little too friendly.
“Hey, welcome back, little lady. What do you need? Fish food? Tank cleaner? My phone number?”
I ignored that. “Another goldfish.”
“What happened to the last one?”
“It looks lonely. Just give me another fish, alright?”
We got that one home. I suppose I should have read a bit more about the whole thing, but I was in a hurry. While Bit used the bathroom, I dropped the new Sergeant Harpo into the tank, then started cleaning it.
Bit came up behind me and watched for about ten seconds. “Gretchen, what the hell are you doing?“
“Cleaning the tank.”
She grabbed the brush from my hand. “First of all, dumbass, you don’t clean the tank with the fish in it.”
I nodded. “Okay, check. Got it. What else?”
“You don’t use dish soap.”
I blinked at her, confused. “Laundry soap?”
“Water conditioner. Didn’t you say you went to college?”
“What did you study? It sure wasn’t fishes. Basket weaving?”
Bit slapped the brush back into my hand. “At least you can give the current goldfish a post mortem.”
“He’s not dead.”
“He will be.”
“Hey, little lady. Back for more Stu?”
“Back for more goldfish.”
He watched me peer at the tanks, confused. “Why this sudden interest?”
“I have a fetish. How about this one?” I pointed at the cutest one.
Stu shrugged. “It’s your five bucks. But we could so go to Marine World tonight, if you’d like.”
“Just give me the damn guppy.”
We made it back, again, which was a good thing. I removed my seatbelt, but Bit just sat there. “Gretchen, do you have to go to the bathroom?”
“How’d you know?”
“Because you’re making that noise you make when you have to go very bad.”
“I didn’t know I do that.”
“Okay, so I’m home. No big deal.”
Bit sighed. “Here’s what I want you to do: Take the fish upstairs.”
“Leave it on the coffee table.”
“Go to the bathroom.”
“Sorry, Bannie, Junie. Cover your ears for Mommy.”
The kids must know the routine. They nodded and politely covered their ears. “Then, Gretchen, I want you to come back down here and don’t touch a fucking fish, ever again.”
“How do I get it into the tank?”
“You don’t. You come back down here, hand me your pack of cigarettes, and sit in the car and watch my kids.”
“Why my cigarettes? I thought you were trying to quit?”
“Just go pee.”
On the way up, I noticed the goldfish bag was leaking a little, so I took care of that and went to the bathroom. By the time I got back to the vehicle, Li’l Bit had pulled out the toys and was playing with the kids. I handed her the cigarettes and she marched up the stairs to the apartment.
About thirty minutes later, Bit came back down, fuming. She yanked open the driver door and plopped down in the seat.
“All set?” I asked.
“Did you get the tank cleaned?”
“Bit, what’s wrong?”
She twisted her hands on the steering wheel, her knuckles white. “What did the goldfish species ever do to you?”
“What do you mean?”
“What? How can it be dead?”
“You took it out of the bag, didn’t you?”
I nodded. “Yeah, it sprung a leak. I forgot to tell you. Sorry.”
“Where did you put the fish, Gretchen?”
“I didn’t want to use a glass. Someone might accidentally drink it.”
Bit gave me a sour look. “So you put it in the ashtray.”
“I cleaned it first,” I protested.
“I flicked hot ashes on top of the stupid fish!“
“Yes,” Bit snapped. “But the kids and I are going to stay here and clean the tank while you get the fish. That seems to be the only thing you can do right today, and that’s probably only because practice makes perfect.”
“Wow, you sound just like Thea when you say that.”
“I’m beginning to appreciate your sister’s anguish.”
“Gretch, how can you be so levelheaded at work, but a total ditz at home?”
“It’s a gift.”
Bit slapped the car keys into my hand. “Take my car.”
Stu smiled when I walked back into the pet store. “Hey, hey, hey. My favorite customer.”
I slapped a credit card down on the counter. “I want every goldfish you have.”
“That’s about fifteen.”
“All of them.”
“Five bucks each.”
“All of them.”
He rubbed his chin. “I dunno. That will deplete my stock.”
“Buy. More.” I rasped.
“It’s not about the money,” he insisted. “It’s about the kids.”
I blinked. “What kids?”
“All the kids who will come here, looking for goldfish. When I’m out, their little eyes are so forlorn and dejected.”
“Sell them a puppy.”
“We don’t sell puppies.”
I reached over the counter and grabbed Stu by the collar, then yanked him across until we were nose-to-nose. “What do you want?”
Okay, so I had to agree to go on a date with Stu. I brought home fifteen goldfish and told Bit to pick her favorite. She chose one and let it slide happily from the bag to the clean, fresh tank.
“What do we do with the other fishes?” Bit asked.
I shrugged as I sat down and resisted lighting a cigarette in front of the kids, but I really wanted one. “Maybe Bannie would like them?”
Bit was aghast. “I’m not feeding my child fourteen goldfish.”
“I’ll take them back to the shop,” I said. “I’m going to be seeing a lot of Stu, anyway … Now can we go back to your place and get my car?”
Things were quiet after that, at least at home. Li’l Bit had to tell the whole story to Shadowcat, in excruciating detail, at work that night. I don’t mind getting ragged a bit at the club sometimes, but the “Gretchen the Shark” jokes got old after the hundreth time. By three A.M., I was back home and dropped into a blissful sleep.
The next day was Sunday, and I was looking forward to sleeping in, but that wasn’t going to happen. Thea was back and she woke me up at eight. Terrific. Five hours sleep.
“What happened to Captain Nemo?” she demanded, shaking my foot.
“Oh lord,” I groaned, staring blearily at the alarm clock. “Is it dead again?”
I stretched. “Long story. But I wasn’t going to tell you.”
“How many fishes did you go through?” she asked as she slid her overnight bag onto the floor.
“I lost count. How did you know?”
“I studied marine biology in college, remember? I told you Nemo was a female. That’s a male.”
“How do you tell?”
“Male goldfish have tubercles… Little, white spots on the gill shields.”
I sat up and grabbed the cup of water I keep by the bed and took a sip. “Only you would know that.”
“Well anyone with eyes can tell the difference between a fantail and a comet.”
“Apparently not everyone,” I grumbled.
Thea grabbed an envelope sticking out of her overnight bag and tossed it at me. “By the way, I found this taped to the door when I got home.”
It was from Li’l Bit. I opened it to find a beautiful card inside that read, “Sorry for your loss.”
When I opened the card, music started playing. “Oh the shark bites, with its teeth, dear.”
I hate Bobby Darin.
Christmas is out of the way, and Brett and I decided to have a romantic weekend in Vegas. At least, that’s what I thought we had planned. Honestly, I was only half-paying attention when he suggested a little gambling trip. That’s because there was this really cool news story on at the time, and since it was about my good buddy Miley Cyrus, Brett’s rather pointless ramblings got dropped by the wayside. Especially after some intense sex, a home-delivered pizza from Irving’s Pizzaria, and something interesting on the tube. The end result was his comment, “Let’s do some gambling this weekend,” left me unprepared for loopholes. Without even thinking, I agreed and even allowed him to make all the plans. Big mistake. Continue reading ‘Little Easy’
“Everybody goes to Vegas,” he said, as he handed me the tickets in the cab. “Let’s be different.”
I stared in shock at two coach-class tickets to Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport. “There’s a reason for that, honey. Vegas is fun. Nobody goes to Baton Rouge to gamble. At least, nobody as close to Vegas as we are. Besides, I’ve never heard of Boudreaux’s Fun-Time Family Casino and Boudin Parlor. What is boudin, anyway?”
“It’s blood sausage. I think.”
“You think? You’re not sure?”
“Nope. But I’ll bet it’s delicious.”
“Somehow, a blood sausage sandwich doesn’t sound as appealing to me as it does to you.”
“Boudin poboy. There’s a lot of interesting Cajun dishes out there.”
I leaned back in the taxi seat and sulked. “Who, in their right mind, eats alligators?”
“Cajuns. They say it tastes like chicken.”
“Well, at two dollars a pound for chicken versus eight dollars a pound for alligator tail, I’d sooner make Colonel Sanders happy than Boudreaux.”
“Trust me, babe. You’ll love it.”
The flight wasn’t too bad. At least, the first leg of it. LAX to New Orleans. We actually had to fly over Baton Rouge to get to New Orleans, and that makes no sense to me. I mean, we were already in the neighborhood anyway, so why not stop that silly plane there and get the actual gambling started? But no, the stupid ol’ airline flew over Baton Rouge without even mentioning it, just to drop us off at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, where we waited for the next flight. Four. Freakin’. Hours.
We had lunch at a little restaurant at the airport, where we paid fifteen dollars for my salad and even more for Brett’s greasy sandwich. Excuse me, poboy. The smell of said poboy reminded me why there are more Cajuns in New Orleans proper than the airport terminal. Honestly, this close to the Acadiana heartland, you’d think they’d find someone who was actually Cajun to cook it, not the fat guy speaking with a Jersey accent who took our order.
I played listlessly with my wilted-lettuce salad as Brett smiled and chowed down on his blood sausage sandwich. Excuse me, boudin poboy.
“I wonder what Thea is doing.”
Brett wiped his mouth with a napkin and tossed in onto the table. “Probably alone in the apartment, dancing in her underwear.”
“Don’t bet on it.” I grabbed the napkin he tossed and slipped it into my purse. That napkin came with a twenty dollar sandwich. No way in Hell I was going to let him throw away a souvenir like that. “Thea has a hard time changing clothes in the dark. I doubt she’d risk grooving in her underwear in front of a goldfish.”
“Why don’t you call her?”
“Because my cell phone’s dead.”
“That’s because you spent the whole flight playing a game on it.”
“Well whose bright idea was it to make the second Lord of the Rings film the inflight movie, anyway?”
“It’s a good movie.”
“So, I’m sure, are the first and third movies in the trilogy. I’ve never seen any of them before, and I didn’t have a clue what was going on.”
“You never read Tolkein?”
I looked at Brett, Mr. Jock, in surprise. “You have?”
“Sure. Just don’t tell anyone.”
“This trip sucks.”
“Give it a chance. Trust me. babe. You’ll love it.”
Once we hit Baton Rouge for this little crapfest, things quickly slid down the long slope of shit-stain to the pool of poop. Not that I wanted to make a bunch of metaphors about excrement, but it ties in nicely with what happened next.
I banged on the door of the motel room’s bath as loudly as I could. “Are you about finished in there?”
“Just a … moment,” Brett groaned from inside.
I spoke loudly to the closed door. “Honey, I warned you not to eat that blood sausage sandwich. It smelled rancid.”
“Boudin poboy,” he insisted.
“Whatever. Still rancid … And I still have to go.”
“I’m dyin’ here,” he moaned. “Can’t you wait?”
“Well I thought we might do something romantic here, like share the facilities on this trip.”
“Maybe … you should use … the one at the … gas station … we saw … coming in.” Brett sounded like he was passing an alligator tail with the hide still on.
“Give me the rental car keys.”
“Lacy, we … didn’t get a … rental car.”
“I know. I was making a point, Mr. Cheapskate. I was there when you insisted we take a shuttle to this little Motel Hell, remember?”
“Don’t you want … to have more … money for gambling?”
“Call me extravagent, but I like the ammenities this place seems to lack. Like those little mints on my pillow. And clean sheets. Now hurry up.”
“I’m sorry … Lacy, but it’s wait … or walk.”
“That’s a half mile trek.”
“You didn’t bring … any shoes … except five-inch heels … did you?”
“Hello. Exotic dancer, here. Have we met? Even my bedroom slippers have heels. Just hurry up in there.”
“Another … half hour … I think.”
“Thirty minutes? Are you kidding me?”
“It’s either the gas station … or wait … for me to … finish.”
“I’ll be right back. But this does not bode well for this trip.”
“Trust me, babe. You’ll … Owwwwww!”
By the time I got back, I was furious. Okay, maybe I’m not the most demurely-dressed woman in the world, but after being mistaken for a hooker three times as I walked the road, including once by a cop who ran a background check, I was fit to be tied. Still, when I saw how miserable Brett was, my mothering instinct kicked in, and I kept my cool. I even managed to get him into one of the beds and nurse him like a child. I don’t have a child yet, and taking care of Brett reminded me why. I have no business teaching someone to tie their shoelaces when I haven’t learned to tie my own yet. But Mommy Lacy took up the banner and made a commitment while Brett let his inner child play havoc with my patience.
I made two more trips to the gas station for medicine, tissues, and more toilet paper. All the while, Brett insisted he was fine, but didn’t object to me rocking him and patting his head while he slept. What a baby.
No sex that night. No sleep either, since Brett made more trips to the bathroom than he makes to the buffet at a casino. By noon, I found him passed out on the throne, clutching the last roll of toilet paper to his bosom.
I shook him lightly and smiled, despite my better judgement, as he slowly opened his eyes. “Brett, honey? How are you feeling?”
“When I first joined the Navy,” he croaked, “they took great joy in making the Smurfs seasick by spinning the ship around in circles.”
I looked at him with sympathetic eyes. “Is that how you feel?”
“No, that was worse,” he insisted, “but it’s been many years since I threw up on myself, and I just relived some of my least-favorite parts of the hazing ritual.”
“I’m taking you to the hospital.”
“No, you’re going to the casino.”
“Because this trip cost me a lot of money, and one of us is going to enjoy it, if it kills me.”
“You know, that’s the kind of logic that kept the Donner party from enjoying the winter.”
“Just do it, Lacy. Please.”
“I don’t think I should. Besides, I’ll worry the whole time.”
“Trust me, babe. You’ll love it.”
Brett was insistent, despite my objections, and I reluctantly agreed. I got as far as the MIssissippi River bridge before he called, asking me to bring him some toilet paper. The motel was out. So I had the cab turn around and take me back.
By noon, I got smart. I walked back to the gas station, where I was fast becoming a regular customer (only mistaken for a hooker twice, that time), bought their biggest bottle of sleepy-time cold medicine, and put Brett into a medically-induced coma. Then I called an ambulance and we took a trip to the nearest hospital.
“You’re lucky this young lady brought you here, Mr. Merrick,” the emergency room doctor told us, after the tests. “You have a very nasty case of food poisoning.”
Brett looked up through cloudy eyes at the man. The pain meds must have kicked in by then, because Brett’s response was a weak “Mommy?”
“Not yet,” I said, perhaps a bit too snarky, “but I’ve probably earned that merit badge by now.”
I looked at the attending physician. “So what’s the plan here, Doc?”
I wanted a cigarette at this point, but after seeing the neighborhood, I decided I had less of a chance being mistaken for a hooker again if I didn’t actually go outside and smoke with them. Besides, what some of them were smoking wasn’t cigarettes. Not unless Marlboro comes in glass tubes now.
The doctor smiled. “We’re going to have to pump his stomach and keep him for a few days.”
That got through to Brett. His eyes seemed to focus and he made an unhappy face. “Pump my stomach?”
I grinned and patted Brett’s shoulder, reasurringly. “Don’t worry, babe. You’ll love it.”
The holidays are a crazy time around our place, and always have been. When Lacy and I were kids, Mom and Dad reveled in the year-end activities, but somehow it all ended up like “A Christmas Story” on acid. Well, that spirit of weirdness followed us from Maine to California. To be honest, I’ve seen enough here in Los Angeles to convince me that people are strange in this city and it’s only a matter of time before the nuts are running the asylum. Some people would argue that they already do, but as long as the traffic lights continue to flash red, yellow, and green in the proper order, I have hope that we’re all just going through a phase and will survive another year.
One tradition that Lacy has here is a “Pre-Christmas Christmas” with her friends at the topless bar. Frankly, there are way too many traditions that those erotic delinquents share, including “Dancer Halloween”, the 8th of July (complete with fireworks), and something that they call a “Dancer Bat Mitzvah” that they throw for new dancers. The last one to get one of those was Freaky Frieda, who only started dancing a couple of years ago. I actually managed to look that one up in the LA Times’ newspaper archive. The story starts right off the bat with “Among the injured…” And my God, the pictures! Trust me, it’s not for the squeamish.
Lacy thought it would be a good idea if I joined her and her friends for their own Christmas Day and she’s been dropping hints for it since September. Last year, I managed to worm my way out of an invitation for the big Pre-Christmas Dancer Jamboree by claiming I had the bubonic plague at the last minute. I like Lacy’s dancer friends a little, but a little goes a long way, y’know?
This year, I tried the plague again, but Lacy had looked it up at that point and knew I had snowed her. So I tried telling her that I had Tourette syndrome (“Fuck off, Thea!”), Multiple Personality Disorder (“Bring her along. She’s bound to be more fun than you are.”) and Münchausen Syndrome (“You’re lying.”). The end result was that I ran out of excuses and had to go.
The dancers hold it every year at the bar where they dance. Frankly, there are things in that bar that scare the shit out of me, especially the beer taps. I’m sure that what comes out of them is really beer, just not the brands of beer advertised. It’s foreign and probably not approved by the FDA. Or Homeland Security. Or the governments of the countries where it’s brewed.
We got to the bar about 5 PM, and it was dark. It looked closed down.
“Well,” I said, buckling my seatbelt again. “I guess it got called off. Let’s go back home, Lacy.”
“Hold your horses, cowgirl,” Lacy sniped. She turned off the ignition and dropped the key to her Jaguar into her cleavage, where she knew I wouldn’t dare try to grab it. “It’s closed for the party.”
“How’d you guys pull that off?” I sighed. “That cheap-ass manager of yours keeps this place open on Christmas Day. Why does he close it for your party?”
“You just have to know how to talk to Jimmy. Besides, he goes to a porn industry convention every year at this time,” Lacy said, getting out of the car. “We hold it when he’s not here. He thinks the bar’s still open.”
“Why would he buy that?” I asked, also exiting the car, despite my better judgment.
“Because he leaves the bouncer, Casper, in charge and Casper has a major crush on Shadowcat,” Lacy said, smiling. “He’d do anything for her. Even drink out of the Budweiser tap.”
I shuddered. I saw that tap changed out once, and whatever’s in it, it isn’t Budweiser.
I wore my usual clothes for this little shindig, including jeans, sneakers, and a Florida State t-shirt. Lacy, on the other hand, wore her usual clothes, which means that she was walking in a pair of white kid boots that ran all the way up her thighs. The rest of her mostly nude body, I’m sure, was jealous of the legs, which were warm and well-protected.
We walked through the front door and into the semi-dark bar, where Shadowcat was sitting at one of the tables, buck naked. She had her feet propped up and looking through reading glasses as she did a crossword puzzle in a book.
“Hey, ‘Cat!” Lacy said, walking to the table and sitting down. I sat down beside her.
“Hey, fellow-babies!” S.C. said, putting down the magazine.
“S.C.,” I asked, “why are you nude if the bar’s closed?”
She looked down at her own body and laughed. “Ain’t that th’ shit? I’m so used to comin’ in here and taking my clothes off that I did it tonight without even thinking.”
“You still have the shoes on,” Lacy said, “so you’re not really nude.”
“Yeah,” Cat said. “That’s what I done tol’ that cop when she pulled me over comin’ home from this dump last week.”
“You drive nude?” I asked her incredulously.
Shadowcat looked at me oddly. “You don’t?”
“Thea has issues taking her clothes off alone in the dark,” Lacy said.
“Well you do!” she insisted. “The last time I saw you nude was when you were three.”
“The last time I saw you nude,” I snapped, “was last week, when you came home buck naked.”
“That was the night Shadowcat dropped me off,” Lacy said, smiling. “I told her that I wish that cop had pulled her over before I got home.”
“What good would that have done?” I asked.
S.C. laughed. “We’da convinced her that she shoulda been nude, too.” Lacy and ‘Cat high-fived over that one.
“Heyyyyy!” came a voice from the door. Bianca, Li’l Bit, and Freaky Frieda all walked in the front door, also naked.
“Lacy,” I muttered. “We’re the only ones dressed.”
“You’re right,” Lacy said. “How rude!” She stood up and started taking off her clothes!
“Lacy!” I shrieked. “What the hell are you doing?!”
She stopped and laughed. “Gotcha!” The others started laughing hysterically.
“We always do that to the newbies,” Shadowcat chuckled. “Nothin’ funnier than a girl nervous ’bout bein’ nude on-stage fo’ the first time and everyone else in the room bein’ nude.
“Hey, Gretch! Yo’ remember when we did that t’ the fire marshal?”
Lacy laughed. “Yeah. She hasn’t been back in two years. Jimmy hasn’t had to replace the fire extinguishers since then.”
“Jimmy never replaces them anyway,” Li’l Bit giggled. “We used to do it to the old fire marshal too, but he never complained, just passed the bar.”
“Imma go put on some clothes. It’s chilly in here,” Shadowcat said. She and the other nudies walked back toward the dressing room and disappeared.
“Hey, ladies!” came a familiar voice. Alice The Eskimo was walking out of the back, carrying a beautiful, fully-cooked turkey on a serving tray. She slid it onto the bar and walked toward us. She was wearing a chef’s hat and an apron that said “Kiss the Cook”. Underneath that, she had written “Frieda, this does NOT mean you!”
“You guys let Alice cook the turkey?” I asked under my breath to my sister.
“Do you think that’s wise?”
“Alice is a great cook!” Lacy insisted. “Just make sure that you provide her with all of the ingredients. Do not let her use her own!”
Alice walked over, carrying a huge meat fork and hugged Lacy, who hugged her back. “I see you brought the new girl, Gretchen,” she said.
“I’m not the new girl,” I snapped. “Alice, we go through this every time we meet. I don’t work here.”
“Yeah, I noticed,” Alice said. “You haven’t been in here in weeks. You’re never going to make a living at this that way.”
“Beautiful turkey, Alice,” Lacy said, looking over the large bird, which Alice had set atop the long, wooden bar.
“Thanks, Gretch,” Alice said. “Ginny’s a great cook.”
“Who’s Ginny?” I asked.
“One of the voices in Alice’s head,” Lacy explained. “Ginny’s quite the homemaker.”
I’d heard about Alice’s voices from Lacy and the others. She can hear a whole lot of voices, but she ignores most of them. She always keeps five voices in her head. Any more and she claims that it gets too noisy. All of the voices appear to be real people, which I’d love to see some scientist explore sometime. Last I heard, she had a lawyer, an accountant, a gypsy spiritualist, a cowboy, and Marilyn Monroe living in there with her. Seriously, Marilyn Monroe. Don’t ask.
All of this didn’t exactly fill me with much confidence, but I had to admit that it smelled delicious. Alice cut off a small piece and insisted that I have a bite. I had to admit that it was the best turkey I’d ever eaten.
That’s when the other dancers came back, clothed — I won’t say “fully clothed” since that’s a subjective thing with strippers — but they all had on more than they did last time I saw them. Everybody had brought something, and with a flurry of activity, we ended up with a wonderful turkey dinner with all of the trimmings.
I have to admit that I enjoyed the fellowship with the other women. Bianca told a very funny story about her first boyfriend, back in London. Li’l Bit talked about moving to America from the Philippines, and Frieda listed the forty guys she’d had sexual relations with… in the past week!
I enjoyed the whole thing so much, truth be told, that I almost forgot that these people were exotic dancers and not exactly wound too tight. Once that completely slipped my mind, something came along to remind me.
“So Annie threw the mink coat in the guy’s face,” Li’l Bit said, laughing, “and said ‘If you can get your mother to wear it, go for it!’” We all burst out laughing at that.
After a minute, Alice said, “Whatever happened to Oral Annie, Bit?”
Li’l Bit shrugged. “She sells used cars now.”
“No she don’t,” Shadowcat said. “That bitch sellin’ it online with a webcam.”
“Nah,” Bit said. “Used cars, S.C. I’m telling you.”
“Are you sayin’ I’m wrong?” ‘Cat said, hands on her hips.
“Well, you’re not always right, that’s for sure,” Frieda insisted. “Like that time you told me there was a trunk full of gold buried in your back yard.”
“Got you t’ start th’ diggin’ fo’ my swimmin’ pool, didn’t it?” Shadowcat asked. “It was gold t’ me.”
Bianca looked at her in shock. “That’s when you told me there was a missing piece from the Crown Jewels buried in the shallow hole in your back yard, isn’t it?”
S.C. smiled at her own deviousness. “Guilty as charged.”
“Oh my God!” Li’l Bit gasped. “My missing bag of cocaine? The one you said Alice hid in that big hole behind your house?”
Shadowcat’s smile grew wider as she took a sip of her wine. “Uh-huh.”
Lacy threw down her fork on the table and scowled. “I added four feet to that hole looking for Miley Cyrus’ wallet. S.C., you lied to me!”
“If you wanna finish it out,” ‘Cat said, leaning back in her chair, “I’ll let ya swim in it, Gretch. Once I think of a way to get you guys to pour th’ concrete fo’ free, that is.”
That’s when Frieda scooped her hand into the bowl of mashed potatoes and threw them at Shadowcat. “You fucking bitch!”
Shadowcat just sat there, grinning.
Lacy did the same thing, splattering Shadowcat’s face with whipped potatoes. “I broke two nails digging that fucking hole!”
“You owe me a bag of coke!” Bit said, adding more potatoes to ‘Cat’s breasts.
“And the Queen a new ruby!” Bianca shrieked, pouring lukewarm gravy on Shadowcat’s head.
Throughout it all, S.C. just smiled as she was quickly turned into a pile of potatoes and gravy. Then she calmly stood up and started throwing the green bean casserole.
I don’t shy away from fights, but this wasn’t one of mine. I dove behind the bar as food started flying everywhere, only to find that Alice was already behind the bar, humming to herself.
“Pacifist, Alice?” I asked over the shrieks and name-calling.
“Nah,” she said. “Avowed coward.”
“How’d you get here so fast?” I asked.
Alice shrugged. “You just gotta know what to look for. This happens every year.”
Over the other sounds came that of laughter as my sister and her friends giggled through what was quickly becoming a friendly food fight.
“Oh, what the hell?” I said. I stood up just in time to get a cream pie in the face. After that, I joined in with relish. And cranberry sauce.
My sister Lacy recently called me a know-it-all. While I was very touched by her flattery, I don’t really know everything. I should probably go back to college, but I’m not ready for that yet. Still, to learn something new, I take night classes.
Over the the course of the time I’ve been living with Lacy, I’ve learned a little something about surfing (Night courses in surfing are scary, let me tell you!), car repair, tax preparation (most boring class ever), and cooking. My latest interest is art, so I took a course in still-life sketching.
Now understand that I didn’t tell Lacy about any of these. Not because I didn’t want her to know, but it was just something that I could do by myself, just for the fun of it. If she would have asked, I would have told. Still, because the classes fell on the nights that she usually worked, it just never came up.
One of the great things about this art class was sketching nude models. The human body is a beautiful thing, and I had fun putting charcoal to paper and trying to capture the essence of the various models that the class hired. Nude models, contrary to most people’s beliefs, are not all beautiful people and we had a 50 year old man pose, a heavy-set, 35 year old mother of four, and a professional model named Steve.
I know that I said that not all nude models were beautiful people, but Steve sure was. He and I struck up a friendship of sorts and I felt that he was as beautiful inside as he was on the outside. I was really attracted to him and I got to flirt with him when the class was held, every Tuesday and Wednesday.
The models came and went, although they were usually there three nights each, and after a week of sketching and flirting, I was looking forward to the last time Steve would likely pose. I had thought long and hard about it and decided that I was going to ask him out. I’m not a wallflower and while asking the very sexy Steve for a date made butterflies nest in my stomach, I had no problem asking a guy out if that’s what I wanted. I had stared at Steve for two hours a night, two nights a week, including his package, which was rather impressive even soft. I decided that I was gonna get me some of that!
I set up a little early that night so I’d have time to talk to Steve before the class started. I thought that if we were planning to date, it would make the time flirting during his breaks that much hotter, and trust me, I got the impression that we were definitely getting hot at this point.
I was pulling out my tools that night when I heard the door to the utility room close. Steve must have just walked in and gone into the small room to take off his clothes. I was nervous, let me tell you. My palms were sweating and I was shaking a bit. I worried that my sketching would suck, but I was hoping that my flirting wouldn’t be affected.
I walked to the door of the utility room and stood there for a good five minutes before I screwed up my courage and walked in. I looked at the blobbish figure silhouetted against a blanket put up as a divider and I blurted out, “This is Thea and I know this is sudden, but I’d really like to go out with you and see if we have any chemistry.” Then I screwed my eyes shut and waited for the reply.
“Awwww,” came a familiar, feminine voice behind the blanket. “I love you too, sexy baby.”
The blanket was pulled back to reveal my sister, half-undressed. “Hi, sis.”
“What are you doing here?” I snapped, my eyes wide with surprise.
“I might ask the same of you,” she said. “Do you want to date me so badly that you’re stalking me?”
“What happened to Steve?” I asked, still in shock.
“I’m filling in,” Lacy said. “He got sick and asked me to cover for him.”
“How do you know Steve?” I asked, feeling my world closing in on me.
“When he’s not posing, Steve’s a male exotic dancer,” Lacy said, looking in a compact mirror and fluffing her hair. “We all get together every so often at a Larry’s downtown and swap stories. Nice guy. So’s his S.O.”
“His Significant Other,” Lacy said, smiling. “I think his name is Eddie.”
“Yeah. Biggest flirt I ever met, but all bark and no bite. He and Eddie are exclusive.
“Are you taking this class, Thea?”
I started to get angry. “I was.”
“Well, cool! Be a dear and tell Mr. Ferris that I’ll be out in a minute, please.”
I stomped out of the utility room and almost bumped into the instructor, Mr. Ferris. Ferris is a tall, thin man of about 50, with graying hair and piercing eyes. He’s been a teacher all of his life, and you get that teacher vibe off of him that makes you want to shrink down into your seat. He looked at me through his glasses and successfully resisted the urge to smile, or even be pleasant. “Yes, Miss Cornwall?”
“Um,” I said. “The… That is… The model…”
“Themodelwillbeoutinaminute,” I said as quickly as possible, then walked around him and stomped to my seat.
After that minute, Lacy came out in a green terrycloth robe. She smiled at the instructor. “I’m ready, Mr. Ferris.”
“Ladies and gentlemen,” Ferris called out, “Steve is unavailable tonight, so the gracious, charming, wonderful… beautiful Gretchen has agreed to fill in.”
Lacy walked to the elevated platform, removed her robe and struck a pose: hand on hip, head turned to the left, and smiling.
I wasn’t in a very good mood at that point, but I decided to concentrate on the class and just sketch. Only…
I couldn’t do it. I don’t know why. Maybe because I couldn’t get the idea that this was my sister out of my mind. The last time I had seen Lacy nude was when she was five. That was the last time we took a bath together. I tried seeing her again as a five year old, but I wasn’t succeeding. I kept seeing this nude dancer, my sister, standing there with her double-D’s and a shaved crotch. I didn’t find it erotic at all, just embarrassing as hell. This was my sister, and she had no more problem standing nude in a room full of people than she had a problem dancing nude in front of them. Lacy never blushed, but I was doing enough for both of us.
Ferris, as was his usual, was walking around the room, looking and commenting on everyone’s work, although I noticed that he spent as much time looking at Lacy as our sketches. I had to put something on the paper, so I gritted my teeth and started sketching.
When Ferris got to me, he said, “Miss Cornwall, that is a very nice job. Very artistic…”
I sighed with relief. “Thank you, sir.”
“… and if the point of this class was to sketch the back of Mr. Paulson’s head, I’d give you an ‘A’. However, since the point is to sketch the model on the platform, I suggest you work from that.”
“Yes, sir.” I flipped to the next sheet in my large sketchbook and started over.
Lacy posed for about ten minutes when the timer dinged and she could take a break. She moved quickly to my side and looked at my easel. “How do I look?” she asked.
Ferris made sure that he moved there too. I think my instructor had the hots for my sister, which wasn’t setting well with me, either.
“You’re doing wonderfully tonight, Gretchen,” he said, almost drooling on his tie. I wanted to strangle him. I wanted to strangle my sister too, who was eating it up like sponge cake.
“Why thank you, Mr. Ferris,” she said, batting her eyelashes. “Aren’t you sweet?” She looked at my sketch. “Do I really look that much like Steve?”
I admit it. I had been drawing Steve from memory. I had to draw a nude model of some kind, and I just couldn’t bring myself to draw Lacy.
She looked closer at my work, then smiled. “Wow, I’m really hung, aren’t I?”
“Lac — uh, Gretchen… ” I warned.
“Miss Cornwall,” Ferris said, staring at my artwork, “do you want to complete this class?”
“I’m beginning to wonder myself,” I muttered.
“Oh, I think she’s doing just wonderfully, Mr. Ferris,” my sister said. “Don’t you?”
“Oh, absolutely, Gretchen,” Ferris said, grinning. “And please call me Terrance.”
Lacy smiled her sexiest smile. “Well aren’t you just the cutest thing, Terry?” He blushed, but said nothing.
Terry? I doubt even Mr. Ferris’ late wife got to call him that. He was so uptight that in all likelihood, she had to call him ‘Mr. Ferris’ too. An unwanted image popped into my mind of Lacy in her stupid Catholic schoolgirl outfit, sitting on Ferris’ lap in a school room. I made a mental note to wash my mind out with soap later.
The timer dinged again and Lacy almost ran back to the podium and resumed her pose. I stood there, muttering as I again flipped the page and started over.
“This time,” Ferris said under his breath, “do it right, Miss Cornwall.”
“Yes sir,” I gulped.
After about five minutes, I got an idea. I started drawing Lacy’s body from memory, just as I had Steve’s, only I didn’t draw a head. I imagined it was someone else as I became more comfortable and loosened up.
Every time Lacy took a break, she’d come over and look at my project. She was happy with it, even though I accentuated the breasts a bit. Although maybe she was happy because I did that. Who knows? I shut out her and Ferris and their constant flirting and just imagined that my sister’s body belonged to someone else.
As the class neared its end, I suddenly realized that the body was coming along just beautifully, but I was going to have to draw the head to get a good grade. On Lacy’s last break, she came over while Ferris was on the other side of the room and nudged me.
“How’s it coming?” she asked.
“Lacy,” I whispered, “I can’t do it. I can’t draw your head on this.”
“You’re my sister,” I hissed.
I slapped the piece of charcoal into her hand and said, “Okay, here. You draw my head on it!”
Lacy raised the stick to the drawing pad and froze. She put it down, then tried again. She froze a second time. “Wowww,” she said. “Son of a gun!”
“What’ll I do?” I asked.
Lacy thought for a minute, then whispered something into my ear as Ferris was approaching. I started to smile, then nodded.
“Gretchen,” Ferris asked, “may I speak to you a moment before you pose for the final time?”
I had a suspicion as to what Ferris wanted to say to her, and I wish I could have been a fly on the wall when they walked into the utility room. After a few minutes, I heard Lacy holler “What?!” followed by a loud smacking noise. Lacy suddenly stormed out of the room and took up her position as the timer chimed. She smiled, but I could tell that she was royally pissed as she worked off the last ten minutes of the class. I don’t know what he said to her, but to shock Lacy like that, it must have been pretty graphic.
During that time, Mr. Ferris came slowly out of the utility room, holding the left side of his face and not removing his hand as he wandered around the room, nodding but not saying much. He moved slowly and didn’t get to me until the timer chimed. When he saw my work, his eyes bulged in shock.
“Miss Cornwall!” he shrieked.
I looked at him as innocently as I could manage. “What?”
Lacy walked over to us and looked at it, too. “Yeah. What?”
“This is the most… ”
“Listen, Jack,” Lacy snapped. “After what you said to me, you’ve got no room to complain about anyone else’s handiwork, you dig?”
Ferris scowled “I am a respected member of the facul –”
“You’re a lecher and a pervert,” Lacy said loudly, poking her finger in his thin chest, “and unless you want me to file a formal complaint, you’ll give my friend here an ‘A’ and just forget we ever had that conversation!”
Ferris blushed, then pulled off his glasses with a shaky hand. “All right. Miss Cornwall, it gets an ‘A’.”
Lacy smiled smugly. “Wise decision.”
So I aced another class. We scanned my artwork and emailed it to Terrence Ferris as a reminder. The original hangs in the hallway of our apartment, a testament to two sisters who stuck together. Now we have a conversation piece for when people visit us and ask about the charcoal sketch of Lacy’s body with Mr. Ferris’ head.
It’s Thanksgiving, and what better way to commemorate that than with a list of some of the people in my life and what they’re personally thankful for? I also thought you might like to see what everyone looks like. So without further ado, in no particular order, here’s what the gang had to say to a form I asked them to fill out:
Three Things I’m thankful for:
1. My friends
2. My family
3. A safety-deposit box that Lacy does NOT have a key to.
Three Things I’m Thankful For:
1. My sister
2. My laptop
3. My mad skillz
Three Things I’m Thankful For:
1. My family
2. Larger shoe sizes
3. That guys freeze in their tracks when you kick them in the groin.
Three Things I’m Thankful For:
1. The British Empire
2. My health
3. Guinness Ale
Three Things I’m Thankful For:
1. Fuzzy handcuffs
2. Guys who pay extra for good lapdances
3. Furry conventions
Three Things I’m Thankful For:
1. My kids
2. My boyfriend
3. Recreational chemicals
Three Things I’m Thankful For:
1. My brother
2. My health
3. Crazy, wonderful people like Lacy & Thea.
Three Things I’m Thankful For:
1. My sister
2. My health
3. Thea Cornwall
Three Things I’m Thankful For:
1. My children
2. Lacy (when we’re not fighting)
Three Things I’m Thankful For:
1. That I know someone as beautiful, and wonderful as Lacy
2. That I am allowed to occasionally bask in Lacy’s glow
3. Lacy wuz here
Alice The Eskimo
Waitress/Queen of the Lizard People
Three Things I’m Thankful For:
1. My dad
2. The people who live in my head
3. That I can overcome all of the weirdness in the world with my sound logic.
Three Things I’m Thankful For:
3. Jane, Wanda, Penny, Shiela, Mandy, Denise, Roxanne (again), Annette, Marsha, (continued on back side)
Director of Human Resources
Three Things I’m Thankful For:
2. My brother
3. Chastity belts (After Babs’ list, she’s SO getting one!)
Three Things I’m Thankful For:
1. My sister Thea
2. My friends
3. My new key to Quentin’s safety-deposit box
Thank you all for coming here and reading our adventures, because one thing I am truly grateful for is READERS!
You’ve gotta love your family. Well, certain members of your family, not all of them. I mean, no law says you have to love any of them, but it’s always a good thing to love a few. Otherwise, you don’t have enough pall bearers for your funeral, but there are always ones you could sooner do without. My parents, for example, are not high on my Christmas list. It’s a long story, and if you’ve read any of the Broomfield’s Box stories not on this blog, you know that I have major issues with them.
My sister, Thea, is a different story. I love her more than anything, and I’m always thinking of little things that I can do for her. Like Girl Scout cookies. The girl has a serious jones for GSC’s. Doesn’t matter what flavor. If she had the money, Thea would pile them up beside her computer in crates and be there from Friday afternoon until Monday morning. Add some Diet Mountain Dew and you’ve got yourself a computer geek party right there. If she could comfortably sit on a bedpan, she wouldn’t have to move at all and she’d be in hog heaven.
Well, it’s Girl Scout cookie time again, and the little demonesses (is that a word?) are out en mass, trying to get people to buy them. These swingin’ little cookie-hookers are out there for a month at a time, enticing people like Thea to get addicted to their crunchy little treats. (“No, no. You’re money’s no good this time… Maybe next time. hehehehe!”) To be honest, I don’t care much for them myself, but I usually manage to snag a few boxes for Thea. I got her some last week, then I found out that she was hording a few boxes of her own. So I, in my loving and caring sister-way, decided that enough was enough. I put my foot down.
“Lacy,” Thea whined, “come on! It’s only once a year.”
“Yeah, once a year for a month,” I snapped. “Thirty straight days of those suckers and you’ll be big enough to trade in your Honda for a forklift. What happened to the three boxes I gave you two days ago?”
Thea looked down at the ground and in a little girl voice said, “I ate them… They’re gone.”
“And the four boxes I saw in your room yesterday?” I asked.
She sighed, still looking down. “Gone.”
“Seven boxes in two days?!” I exclaimed. “Are you trying to win Diabetic of the Year?”
“I’m not a diabetic,” she said.
“Two more boxes and you will be. Thea, I don’t like being the adult one. It freaks both of us out. But if I see one more box of those damned cookies in here, I’m throwing them out and when you rush outside to get them back off of the walkway, I’m locking the door behind you.”
“Yes, ma’am.” She knew that she was wrong. Those situations are rare, and I’ve got to admit that I savored the moment.
There was a knock on the door and I got up to answer it. “Remember, Thea,” I hollered back at her. “No more cookies!”
I opened the door to find an Hispanic girl of about twelve standing there, dressed in (you guessed it) a Girl Scout uniform. She was the pretty daughter of Maria Montez, one of our neighbors. Maria’s pretty cool, and she and I like to have a Corona every so often and trash-talk her ex-husband.
“Is Thea home?” she said brightly.
“Hold on, honey,” I said sweetly. “I’ll check.
“Thea!” I hollered. “Are you getting those fuc– I mean, those darn cookies home delivered now?”
The little girl covered her ears. “Slack off, lady! I haven’t earned my swearing merit badge yet. Geez!”
Thea came to the door. “What are you talking about? Oh, hi, Yolanda!”
“Hi, Miss Thea,” Yolanda said brightly. She held up a form and a pencil. “How many can I put you down for this time?”
Thea looked at me nervously. “Ummm…”
“Why are you ordering cookies?” I asked her. “They’re already out.”
“Oh this is for Miss Thea’s order for next time,” Yolanda explained. “I already delivered her first order last week.”
“Last week?” I asked. I stared ice sickles at my sister. “How many boxes did ‘Miss Thea’ get last week?”
“About half,” Yolanda said, shrugging. “The factory had to hire more Guatemalan children to finish her order.”
“The Girl Scouts don’t have a cookie factory in Guatemala,” Thea said in shock.
“We do this year,” Yolanda said. “They had to increase output, just for you.”
“Well, production’s going to be light from now on!” I snapped. Thea looked at me and she could tell by the icy stare I was giving her that I wasn’t happy and I wasn’t joking.
“Umm, Yolanda… ” Thea said, blushing. “Miss Thea can’t buy any more cookies this time.”
The little girl’s eyes bulged. “Oh, come on! My family depends on this income.”
“How does your family make income off of Girls Scout cookies?” I asked.
“It’s not the cookies,” Yolanda said proudly. “It’s the talk show circuit and the book deals. I always make the news, thanks to Miss Thea.”
“Thea’s only lived here about a year,” I said.
“I know,” Yolanda said. “We followed her from Bangor last year. Can’t lose track of my best customer.”
“You moved… Your mom works as a CFO for a major corporation!” I said in surprise.
Yolanda smiled. “Yeah, isn’t it cute? Mom’s income helps out, and she’s so proud to contribute.”
“Well, Thea has developed a severe allergy to Girl Scout cookies,” I snapped.
Yolanda turned pale. “How severe?”
I glared at my sister. “Trust me. Any more cookies and she could die.”
Yolanda sighed. “Oh well, there’s always my second-biggest customer.”
“I met him when we moved here,” she said happily. “I’m sure Professor Broomfield will take up the slack!”
Needless to say, I slammed the door.
As all of you know (actually, you may not know, but this is a clever psychological ploy to get you on my side), I have relationships with two men: Professor Quentin Broomfield and LAPD Detective Brett Merrick. To be honest, I started dating Brett to make Quentin jealous. What I didn’t anticipate was developing feelings for Brett and now I’m sort of trapped in my own plan. I don’t want to hurt Brett and I’m now able to see a future with him, but at the same time, I don’t want to lose Quentin. This has caused me considerable angst, especially since I looked it up and discovered polygamy is illegal in all 50 states.
I know. Big shock to me, too! Imagine all of those wonderful, exciting women such as myself (I know, I know. There’s only one Lacy Cornwall.), with only one man to make her happy. Kind of a drag, right?
Continue reading ‘Trial Marriage’
When I mentioned the idea of us co-habitating for a trial marriage, Quentin almost choked on his linguine. That’ll teach me to say things like that while he’s eating lunch. He started ranting about how I’m only infatuated with him, how I couldn’t possibly love a man twice my age, how he’s not in love with me, and all of those other little, piddling concerns of his I know I’ll overcome one day. So with Quentin vetoing the idea, I decided to approach Brett.
This time, however, I learned from my mistake and simply asked Brett if he’d like to go away on a little trip for a week. We both had some vacation time owed us, so we decided it would be fun to do something together. What Brett didn’t know about co-habitation experiments wouldn’t hurt him. I wisely chose the exact moment after foreplay, when Brett was at his neediest, to suggest he leave the vacation plans up to me. In desperate need of that relief, he readily agreed and I put my master plan into action.
Marriage is not a vacation and I knew if we were in a fun place doing fun things, I wouldn’t learn jack about living with him. Better to find a place that afforded us isolation with nothing to do but watch TV or stare at each other. I booked us a room at the Howards Inn Motel in beautiful, downtown Tekamah, Nebraska.
Not to knock Tekamah. I’m sure that it’s a swingin’ little community in its own way, but there’s usually not a lot going on in small town America the week before Thanksgiving. Omaha’s only about 40 miles away, but with snow and ice on the ground, I knew Brett, who’s never been in snow, would be too cautious to drive in such conditions.
When I found out the motel had wifi, I managed to convince Thea to knock out their service via her computer as soon as we got there. I’d have gotten her to take out the TV service too, but even for an experiment as important as this, I couldn’t go that long without something to occupy my mind. Besides, sex can only go on for so long, especially since I convinced Brett Mother Nature had come a-callin’ a bit early that month. We weren’t going to be playing in the bed, which would make it feel more like a real marriage anyway, right?
I learned a lot during that week. I learned, for example, that Brett has some pretty annoying habits. For one thing, he hums to himself while he watches TV. Loudly. Except when he’s watching “Wheel of Fortune” and Vanna White’s on the screen. He didn’t stop humming when I walked in front of him, only Vanna. That pissed me off.
Another annoying habit was his strange, relationship-breaking way of clipping his toenails: every other toe, big, middle, and pinkie toe, then the other two. Worst of all, he did the left foot’s toenails one day, and the right foot’s toenails the next. Grrrrr…
Three days into the experiment, we were both on edge and had gone through three fights already. I made sure that they weren’t specious arguments, but important, character-building debates like which side of the bed we each got, why men are being ridiculous when a woman uses his razor to shave her legs, and whose turn it was to make the coffee.
We were, on the fourth day, on argument number four: a rambling group of disagreements that started with personal hygiene.
“I don’t mind you breaking wind in the bathroom,” I said, “but could you please open the window and wait until the air clears before walking out and letting me walk into the funk?”
“I’d gladly do that,” he shot back, “if you weren’t banging on the door, proclaiming to me and the people in the adjacent rooms, that you have to go! And incidentally Lacy, most women are demure enough to call it ‘use the bathroom’ instead of ‘take a dump’.”
“Well excuse me for telling it like it is,” I said, lighting a cigarette. “I’m sure you’ve heard worse in the precinct locker room.”
“And would you cut down on the cigarettes?” Brett fanned his face with his hand. “It’s too cold to leave the window open and I feel like a ham hanging in a smokehouse.”
“If you eat any more snacks, you’re going to have a butt shaped like one, too.”
“I eat the same amount you do,” he said, plopping down on the couch, “and I’m a hell of a lot taller.”
“I’m blessed with a great metabolism. I don’t gain weight.”
“The hell you don’t!”
My mouth flew open in shock. “How dare you? Miley Cyrus envies my metabolism. She told me so, in between the legal threats.”
“And what is this obsession with Miley Cyrus?” Brett grabbed the remote and turned on the TV. “You’re lucky the woman hasn’t come after you with all the shit you say about her on that stupid blog of yours.”
“I can’t believe you called my blog stupid.” I plopped down beside him on the couch. “Thea and I are Internet superstars.”
“The main difference between you and Thea,” he said, “is that your sister isn’t delusional. ‘Internet’ and ‘superstars’ are contradictions in terms.”
“Is it time for Wheel of Fortune?”
“Turn it on.”
Day five wasn’t much better. In fact, it was much worse. The TV stopped placating us and the arguments were more frequent. I was now trying, in my subtle and charming way, to point out that he was parting his hair all wrong.
“It won’t be my fault when you go bald,” I insisted.
“I can say the same for you,” Brett muttered as he flipped channels and stopped on ESPN.
“Meaning, as I’m sure your hairdresser has told you, continuously coloring your hair isn’t good for it.”
I was in shock. “I’m a natural blonde!”
“Lacy, I’ve seen your family photo album, remember? You were a brunette until your freshman year in college.”
“I was dying my hair then, not now,” I insisted, crossing my arms.
“When you were three?”
“Mom was very insistent we have brown hair, just like Dad,” I said. “Can I help it if my parents were in a weird, religious cult that demanded that?”
“You were raised Lutheran, same as me,” Brett muttered, getting wrapped up in football scores. “Show me where the Lutherans say your hair color has to match a particular parent’s.”
“Depends on which synod you belong to,” I snapped. “And do we have to watch ESPN? How about an old movie?”
“Show me an old movie that will give me last week’s football scores and we’ll watch it.”
Day six, it all came to a head. We were arguing even more, although the arguments were still important issues of modern relationships, as exemplified by the following:
“They emptied the dumpster at this motel yesterday,” I said. “How can it be full again?”
“That wasn’t yesterday,” Brett insisted. He was standing there, holding a leaky bag of garbage, with nowhere to put it. “That was three days ago.”
“I distinctly remember the sound of the truck waking me up yesterday. Are you telling me I’m wrong?”
“If the bra fits…”
“Another breast joke,” I said, rolling my eyes. “Like I don’t hear enough of those at the club.”
“Speaking of the club, we’re lucky our cell phones don’t work here,” he snapped, “or I’d have to put up with those crazy stripper friends of yours calling every five minutes, like they do when we’re on a date.”
“Don’t exaggerate, dickwad. They don’t call every five minutes.”
“I timed them once,” Brett sneered. “They called you in shifts: Shadowcat, Bianca, Frieda, and Li’l Bit. Then they started again, in the same order. You know, if we ever have children, we are so not naming them after your friends. I’ve heard those names enough to last a lifetime.”
“You’re such a jerk,” I said, “and stop dripping garbage on the carpet!”
“The dumpster’s full. Where the hell do I put it?”
“I don’t know,” I hollered. “Anywhere but here.”
He stormed to the door, opened it, and threw the garbage bag through it as far as he could. “There! Better?”
I looked out the door. “You hit the fucking rental car, asswipe! Good job.” I slammed the door shut.
“Lacy, I’m going stir crazy in this damn room! If we don’t get out of here tonight I’m going to start punching the walls.”
“No!” I insisted. “We have to see this through. The experiment –” Then I slapped my hand over my mouth.
“Experiment? What experiment?”
I smiled as girlishly as I could. “H-honey? Um, when you hear this, you’re gonna laaaaaugh…”
What else could I do? My period was “miraculously” over and I managed to quiet Brett down with about three hours of solid sex. I even had to put up with a couple of things I hate in bed to prevent a spanking. Although, come to think of it, that was one of the things I had to put up with.
So Brett and I weathered it pretty well, all things considered, and I had to promise that I wouldn’t pull any more experiments. To be honest though, the sex for the last day of the trip was some of the best we ever had.
We’re going back next year.
Hiya! Thea here.
Today’s topic, fellow blog enthusiasts, is grocery shopping. We all have to do it, unless you’re frightfully rich or have a sugar daddy who not only pays the bills but has a chauffeur who goes to the local Kroger with a shopping list for you. Seeing as how neither Lacy nor I are really “sugar baby” kind of girls (that gives a man WAY too much control for our taste), like every other poor shlub or even every amazing computer geekess such as yours truly, we’ve got to do that chore ourselves. Fortunately, we’re sisters in a roommate situation, so we can do it together.
We usually ride in my Honda Civic to do that. Don’t get me wrong, we ride around in Lacy’s Jaguar XJ a lot too, just not to places with huge parking lots. As my sister explains it, there are some pretty jealous people in this world who would ding her car doors in a heartbeat. She also says that no one’s really jealous of my little Honda, so we take that. Lacy doesn’t want to risk spilling something liquid in the interior of her precious baby car, Licious. My car was once owned by a little old lady who only drove it on weekends, when she would take all ten of her cats on a joyride. So if anything sprays on my interior, Lacy argues, it’s okay… It’s already been sprayed.
We usually go to Albertson’s, not that I’m plugging them. (However, if anyone from there wants to send me a gift card for mentioning them, well, please and thank you!) We can get pretty much what we want there, and the prices are okay. I like that particular one because it has a small coffee shop inside and I take great joy in hacking their password-protected wifi with my cell phone while we shop.
Speaking of food and Lacy, I wish I had my sister’s metabolism. The girl eats like she survived the winter with the Donner Party and never gains an ounce. As for me, I should just skip eating the food and tape it directly to my hips, saving my digestive system a lot of work. I keep the weight off with a rigorous exercise plan, mostly in bed. With any luck, with a partner.
At this point, we were going down the aisles of the grocery store, and Lacy was dropping every fattening snack we passed into the cart. She’s not much of a drug user these days, but the speedy way she stuffed three packages of Mallomars into our cart, I suspect she had a joint before we got here. Maybe three.
“Oh, I love these potato chips,” she said gleefully as she dropped two large bags into the cart. “Memphis bar-b-que flavor. Mmmmm.”
“I hope you break out in hives,” I muttered as I pushed the increasingly heavy cart down the aisle. Then more loudly, “Lacy, we have over a hundred dollars worth of stuff here already and the most nutritional thing we have is a German chocolate cake from the bakery.”
“I know,” she said happily. “Isn’t it cool? And we haven’t even reached the candy aisle yet.”
“I like a good Snickers bar as much as the next girl, but if you’d eat before shopping,” I pointed out, “you wouldn’t buy as much junk.”
“I like my junk food.” She grabbed a bag of Cheetos and dropping them on the pile. “Remember Mrs. Crenshaw? The old lady who lived across the street from us in Bangor? She ate junk food every day of her life and lived to be ninety-eight.”
I grabbed the Cheetos and put them back on the shelf. “Mrs. Crenshaw had too many preservatives in her body to die. She’d still be with us today if she hadn’t over-exerted herself with that fifty year old boyfriend of hers.”
Lacy looked off dreamily. “My hero. When I die, I want to go like Mrs. Crenshaw.”
I snorted. “As healthy a lifestyle a you lead? You’ll go the exact same way. But you’ll be twenty-five.”
I probably should have watched where I was going rather than talking so much to my sister. We turned the corner and BAM! I bumped carts with Mr. Right… He was wearing a pair of tan slacks and a dark polo shirt — neither of which did anything to hide his endowments. He was tall and muscular, with beautiful black hair, a gorgeous smile and a dimple on his chin. (I love chin dimples, almost as much as butt-dimples!) Well, maybe he wasn’t Mr. Right, but he sure looked like Mr. Right Now, which more than suited my tastes at the moment.
“I beg your pardon,” he said in a British accent, smiling that dazzling smile.
“Ummm,” I said intelligently, gawking.
“Watch where you’re going, Jack,” Lacy snapped. “We drive on the left side in this country.”
“I’m so sorry.” He extended his hand. “I’m Charles Marston. And you are?”
“Busy.” Lacy ignored his hand. She grabbed the front of the cart and tried to steer it away from Charles and toward the next aisle. Fortunately, I had a tight grip on the handle and she was shopping in five-inch heels. She slid back toward me. That cart wasn’t going anywhere, and neither was I.
“I’m Dorothea,” I said, giving him my sexiest grin. “Dorothea Cornwall. Call me Thea.”
Charles took my hand, shook it gently, then raised it to his lips and kissed it lightly, staring into my eyes. “My pleasure, Thea.”
“The measure is all pline,” I sighed.
“Come on, sis,” Lacy insisted, tugging on my sleeve. “The cinnamon rolls are over this way.”
I managed to tear my eyes off of our British gentleman long enough to make a quick survey of his basket: fresh veggies and fruits, all-natural baking products, extra-virgin (ha!) olive oil, and no meats. He was obviously a health food enthusiast, and judging from his (ahem) healthy frame, the granola had paid off.
Unfortunately, he was taking a similar look at our purchases and that smile slowly faded into a frown.
“Oh, this is my sister Lacy,” I said, quickly trying to salvage the situation. “I’m helping her shop. I do my own shopping at the health food store down the street.”
“Since when?” Lacy muttered.
“The one that closed last week?” he asked.
“Um, yeah. Well, I’m stocked up for another week. I didn’t know they’d closed.”
“If the men of Los Angeles all knew you shopped there,” Charles said, “they’d still be open.”
Lacy smirked. “I hear the health inspectors shut them down. Come on, Thea. I’d like to get this over with before the tobacco store closes.”
I laughed nervously. “My sister’s a smoker. Isn’t that awful?”
“Thanks for reminding me.” Lacy grabbed the e-cigarette from her purse and took a drag. “That’s better.”
“So do you live around here, Thea?”
I nodded sweetly. “We live just up the road. The Vista Pines Apartments. Number 1524. 213-555-3425.”
“Don’t forget your Social Security number,” Lacy added dryly. She grabbed the cart from my grip. “I’ve got this. Why don’t you help Charlie Healthnut shop? The two of you can brag about all of the wheat germ in your diets.”
Muttering under her breath, Lacy steered both carts down the next aisle as I walked close to the scrumptious Mr. Marston. We all walked together and as Lacy grabbed some canned vegetables, Charles and I looked for the vegetarian beans, chatting the whole time.
“My mother was a flower child,” he said as we scoured the freezers for all-natural frozen dinners. “I was born in London, but we lived in a commune outside of San Francisco. I was raised on granola.”
“Oh, me too,!” I said. “My parents are very healthy.”
“Yeah, Dad’s very health-conscious,” Lacy said snidely. “He threw me out before I had a chance to kill him.”
Charles laughed. “What a delightful sense of humour your sister has.”
“Oh yes,” I agreed. “We laugh all the time. You never know what Lacy is going to say next.”
“Pickled pigs’ feet,” Lacy exclaimed, grabbing a jar. “You can never have too much meat and salt in your diet, I say. Speaking of which, did we pass the beef jerky yet, sis?”
“I haven’t a clue.” And I didn’t. I spent all of my time looking at Charles and didn’t know which aisles we’d gone down.
“Charles,” Lacy said, “could you do us a favor and get Thea some organic radishes from the produce section while we have a quick sister-to-sister chat about something personal? thank you.”
“Sure, be right back.”
Once he was gone, Lacy whispered, “Okay, Miss Thang. Get your head out of your rectum and really look at this guy.”
“I did as he walked away,” I sighed. “His backside looks as good as the front.”
“He’s a jackass.”
“If that’s another word for ‘charming’, I agree. What has he said or done to give you that impression?”
“Not a thing… yet. But dancers have a sixth sense about men,” she insisted. “Why do you think I tried to brush him off? I don’t care how wonderful he is at the moment, I’m telling you he’s a dickwad.”
I grabbed something random off the shelf and threw it into the cart. “You just hate the thought of me having a boyfriend, don’t you?”
“You have more boyfriends than I do,” she countered. “Thea, honey, I’m just trying to save you some heartache here.”
“No, Lacy, you’re not. Don’t you see? Remember what happened with Niles? Henry? Arthur? The only man you want me with is Donnie.”
“What’s wrong with that? Donnie’s perfect for you,” she said. “Not some slimy limy you met in a grocery store.”
“If you don’t –” I stopped. That’s when Charles came around the corner, carrying radishes.
“Thanks,” Lacy snapped. She grabbed the bag of radishes and threw them into our cart. “Thea, I’m going to check out. You two lovebirds talk… And I mean talk a lot. I’ll be in the car.” Then she stormed off.
“What’s wrong with her?” Charles asked.
“Just a little tiff. Don’t worry about it. Let’s just finish up your shopping.”
We got as far as the last aisle, talking the whole way. I learned that he was a graduate of UCLA, lived not far from us, and he had no brothers or sisters.
“Lacy and I work for Broomfield Consultancy,” I said. “It’s a detective agency. Kind of. Sorta. She also works as a topless dancer. What about you?”
“Wow, it’s really fortuitous I ran into you two.” He smiled. “I used to be a model, but now I’m a photographer.”
“Oh? What kind of photography?”
“For major magazines. I’m doing a pictorial now. It’s about sisters.”
He nodded. “Yes. A pictorial for Playboy. Sisters who sleep with the same man together. Seeing Lacy is a topless dancer, and I’ve been a model myself, I thought you two might be open-minded enough to pose with me.”
I opened the passenger side door of my car, where Lacy was sitting. “Get out. You’re driving.”
Lacy got out and walked to the driver’s side as I slid into the passenger’s seat, shaking my right hand. “Why am I driving?” she asked as she started the car. “And what happened to your hand?”
“I hurt my wrist decking Charles,” I said grumpily. “You were right about him.”
“I don’t want to talk about it. Right now I’m freaked out, frustrated and hungry.”
“Grab something from the bags in the back seat,” she said, backing out.
“We didn’t buy anything for me,” I said testily. “I got so wrapped up in that asshole I didn’t put a thing in the cart.”
“Sure we did.” Lacy grabbed a small bag and tossed it into my lap. “Have a radish.”
I sighed, crunching into a raw radish. “Terrific.”
Hiya, Thea here.
Just because we’ve been out of the loop for a bit, don’t imagine that Lacy and I have been leading quiet lives. Far from it. When you’re as crazy as my sister is, you can almost guarantee that there’s going to be drama.
Take last week, for instance. Lacy and Gisele got into it again. Gisele, as some of you know, is a woman of French ancestry and our next-door neighbor at the apartment complex. She’s a runway model and the only person I know with an ego to match Lacy herself.
Neither one of us really likes Gisele and since she’s French, Lacy has lately taken a dislike to the whole freakin’ country. Since whatever started this current Anglo-French War the previous week, you’d have thought that the French had fought on the side of the Nazis during World War II. At least, to hear Lacy tell it they did. In fact, she specifically said that over dinner last Thursday night.
“You and your revisionist history,” Lacy snapped as she sat down grumpily to the table. “How you even got through Mr. Thurgood’s 11th grade history class is a mystery to me.”
“I aced Thurgood,” I said, pouring myself a glass of wine. “I aced every class. I was valedictorian, remember?”
“I would have been too,” she insisted, “if it hadn’t been for Miss du Marchaud, who was another French bitch, I might add. Her and her ‘no student really deserves an A’ policy. I got a B+ in trigonometry that year and David Horne gave the vale dicere for my class.”
“Maddie Thurgood aced her class,” I pointed out. “In fact, she was in du Marchaud’s class with you, as I recall.”
Lacy grabbed the wine bottle from me and filled her own glass. “Du Marchaud had a thing for Maddie’s uncle, your history teacher. The two of them humped every evening in the teacher’s lounge.”
“You don’t know that!”
She snorted. “You were too involved with your own extra-curricular activities to notice anyone else’s. I worked in the library, remember? That was right next to the teachers’ lounge. You could hear them through the walls every day at 5:30. We used to set the library clocks by it.”
“So your point is… ” I asked, leaving it dangling.
“My point is that the French were on the side of the Germans, just like the Merry Model, next door.”
“Twenty dollars says you’re wrong,” I said, extending the pinkie on my right hand.
Lacy hooked pinkies with me. Then we pulled apart, each spit in our right hand, and slapped them together. Afterwards, I immediately rubbed my wet hand on my jeans. If you have a sister, you two have gotta have a secret handshake, but try to come up with one that’s less messy than ours.
Proving Lacy wrong was easy. Getting her to admit that she was wrong was not. We tried Wikipedia (“Never trust Wikipedia,” Lacy pointed out.), History.com (“If they’re so accurate, why is their site less popular than Wikipedia?”), and Oxfordjournals.org (“What do the British know about France?”). The Internet is huge, but in the end, believe it or not, I ran out of websites.
“Why don’t you believe every site on the Internet?” I asked in frustration. “The Internet is the world’s largest library.”
“It’s also home to the strangest collection of idiots in the galaxy,” Lacy pointed out. “Namely, the human race. No, we need an expert.”
“The only person I know who knows the history of France backwards and forwards is Babette.” After I said that, we both looked at each other and smiled.
Babette Fontenot is the receptionist at Broomfield Consultancy, where Lacy and I work. She’s okay if you like French snobs. At least she’s better than Gisele. Babs is a lesbian and she can’t keep her panties on, if you know what I mean. She’s also Samantha Williams’ significant other. Sam runs the H.R. department for Professor Broomfield and she takes a lot of crap from Babette. In fact, I sometimes refer to her as The Carpet That Babette Walks On. She’s more clingy than kudzu, but she also has a Nidan black belt in karate. Go figure.
Well, it was fairly early, so we invited Babs and Sam over for a drink. That worked out well, because they just happened to be shopping at the Bed Bath & Beyond in our area for a new shower curtain and rod. They were over within thirty minutes, and true to form, arguing with each other when they walked through the door. That made more sense than the fact that they brought their new shower purchases in with them.
“Va te faire foutre!” Babette screamed at Samantha as they both stormed into the apartment.
“Stuff it, Babs!” Sam snapped back as Lacy closed the door. “If you had your head any farther up that woman’s ass, your forehead would be bumping her colon.”
“Are we interrupting anything?” Lacy asked, peevishy. “Because we can just do this on a night when you two aren’t arguing like a couple of… well, like a couple. But then, we’ll all be old and gray before that happens.”
Sam blushed and pinched the bridge of her nose. “S-sorry, guys. We just met the most… the most ch-charming girl in the world at Bed Bath and B-Beyond. At least, that’s how B-Babette sees it. I caught Marianne Faithfull here s-slipping her cell phone number to some snotty b-bitch.” When Sam was really upset, she tended to stutter a bit, and I guess Babs and this woman had her pretty riled at this point.
“She asked about Broomfield Consultancy,” Babs insisted. “I was merely trying to help her contact Le Professeur.”
“Liar!” Samantha snapped, turning away from Babs.
“Vous ne sauriez pas la vérité si elle peu vous,” Babette said, staring daggers at Samantha’s back.
“Look,” I sighed, “do you two think you can stop arguing long enough to have a drink and just relax for a moment? You can go back to insulting each other when you leave.”
“Fine!” Babette said, sticking her hand out toward Samantha, but not really looking to see if Sam had noticed.
“Fine,” Samantha said. Without looking, she grabbed Babs’ hand and shook it vigorously. Then they looked at each other and smiled. They may argue a lot, but they make up fairly quickly too.
We sat down in the living room and had some wine. To be honest, we had a whole lot of wine. Well, all of us had a lot except Babette. As I said, Lacy was currently in a French-hating mood, and had bought a bottle of California table wine for dinner that night. Babs took one look at the label and you’d have thought we’d spit on a portrait of Joan of Arc. She refused to have even a drop and muttered obscenities in French under her breath as the rest of us drank our wine and chatted. Fairly soon, the three of us were more than a little inebriated.
“We were discussing World War II tonight,” I casually mentioned after the fifth round was poured. “Lacy got it in her head that the French fought with the Nazis during the War.”
“Oui, we did,” Babette said, smiling now that the conversation was about Mother France. Lacy beamed with an “I Told You So” look.
“No, no,” I slurred, trying to clarify. “I mean, she thinks that France was with the Nazis during the conflict.”
“Quoi?!” Babette shouted. “Lacy, vous êtes un crétin!”
I spent my high school sophomore year as an exchange student in Paris, so I knew exactly what Babs had said. Lacy knows just a touch of French, and probably would have torn Babs a new anus if she’d had time to think it through. Fortunately, there was a knock on the door at that point, distracting all of us.
I was closest to the door, so I got shakily to my feet and answered it. When I opened the door, Gisele was on the other side and thrust a large box into my hands.
“Here, Thea,” she said haughtily. “Here’s that cheap electric blanket Lacy loaned me when my heater broke last winter. This piece of shit was as warm and toasty as a penguin’s breakfast. I hope she chokes on it.”
“Only took you ten months to return it,” Lacy shouted drunkenly from the living room. “Sure you wouldn’t like to hang on to it until the warranty runs out, bitch?”
Our neighbor stormed past me and into the living room. “Look here, you little trollop… ” Gisele started, then stopped dead in her tracks. She looked in open-mouthed awe at our guests.
“Gisele!” Babette blurted out.
“You!” Samantha snapped, standing up as wobbily as I felt. “I should have known you lived around here. I thought the complex smelled like shit tonight!”
Even drunk, I knew exactly what was going on. “Gisele’s the woman you two met at Bed Bath & Beyond tonight, isn’t she?”
“Oui,” Babs said, smiling. She sat back and crossed her legs with a practiced grace. She made sure that she crossed them slowly too, and that Gisele got a good look. Babette seldom wears panties and I’m guessing that she wasn’t that night, the way Gisele’s eyes bulged.
“I was buying a new electric blanket… ” Gisele muttered, staring at Babette’s crotch while she answered my question.
“Well I know a French tart that can keep you warm,” Samantha said drunkenly. “And you can have her! You deserve each other, you sluts!”
She started to walk past Gisele and out the door, but that was not to be. As I said, Samantha, Lacy and I were pretty drunk, and Sam wasn’t expecting trouble. Gisele, who’s never been known for fighting fair, tripped Samantha as she passed, and Sam was on the floor in a second. Gisele was about to kick our friend in the side of the head when there was a loud, metallic noise and Gisele staggered forward and across the room, completely missing Samantha. Gisele hit the far wall and sagged to the floor, disoriented.
Standing just behind the spot where Gisele had been, breathing raggedly, was Babette, holding the aluminum shower rod in her trembling hands. She immediately dropped it and fell to her knees, cradling the drunken Samantha’s head in her lap.
“Samantha!” Babs said with obvious concern. “Elle a fait mal?” She brushed the sides of Sam’s head and rocked her gently. I swear to you: Babette Fontenot, Little Miss Selfish herself, was crying. If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I’d have never believed it.
Lacy was sitting in her recliner, snickering at the whole thing as Babs and I helped Sam to her feet.
“If my dad could see me now,” Sam said sadly as she rose, “he’d tell me I was worthless. Again. Sucker-punched by a bitch who can’t even fight.”
“Don’t let it bug you, girl,” Lacy said, walking over to help Gisele stand up. “You were drunk. Besides, the Merry Model here fights dirty. Come on, bitch. I want you on your feet before I throw you out.”
Contrary to her last statement, Lacy gently assisted Gisele out of the apartment and to her own door, then pushed the groggy woman inside and closed it. She got back to our place just as Sam and Babs were saying their goodbyes.
“Thea explained to me about your bet, Lacy,” Samantha said. “Sounds like you owe her twenty dollars.” She reached down and gently took Babs’ hand in her own. “When the chips are down, the French are on our side.”