Friday, May 14, 2010


“Her kidneys joost quit.”

This was what Milo had confided to Clay about a week after Stella was buried.

“That wuz ‘ow me gran passed, back in ’76. It wus shortly befoor Oi met ye mum at CBGB’s. She – me gran, that is – had been copin wid doiabetes fer as long as Oi c’n remembah. She did the best she culd, and oll thee ‘ad back in th’ dee wuz theez piss strips an insulin. And they wuz no internet at the toim. All we rully noo ‘bout it was she cun’t eat sugar, she ‘ad to take insulin, piss on a toiny bit o’blotteh paper, and that wuz glucose management. She absolutely ‘ated gerin three oll that, but they wuz noo choice but tae face oop tae it.

“Oi wull admit, Oi’ve becoom a roight fascist aboot this, especially wid ye moother. Oi’ve naever wonted tae be, an Oi doan blyme ‘er fe getting roight annoyed wid me abayt oll that. Boot Oi doan want fe ‘er tae be oppressed boy this evil daemon, either.

“Ye loidy’s lookey. Eat’s a toim when they’s oll this nae info coomin aet, an she’s been a roight neengae ‘baet keepin that evil daemon at bay as brullientloy as she ‘as. Stull…she’ll need ye nae moor thaen ever, seen she’s nae lost family, loik.

“Poor Stella…Oi’m gern miss ‘er. Treely beautiful gull… Wuz they a woy Oi cut tunn beck toim and moybe sive ‘er froom th’ people ‘oo troid t’sive ‘er froom ‘erself, Oi wudda. But whot’s doon is doon, afee oll. Thee’s nae takin thees loif fe granted, nae th’ friends ye ‘ave.

“Sae…Oi’ve got a pressy for ye, lad.” With this Milo presented a ring with a diamond chip in the center amid several garnet chips imbedded in a 14k gold ring. “Oi think rather than gae bout ransakin’ ye mum’s jewelry stash – nae, we wus on tae ye th’ ole toim, wusn’t we. – better ye shud ‘ave me consent tae give ye this, so’s ye caen give ye Cannes this ring when ye ask tae marry ‘er. It belonged to me Gran.”

Clay could only let the tears fall from his eyes as he gazed at the ring. Then he turned to Milo and embraced him saying, “Thank you…thank you.”

Milo returned the embrace and replied. “Nae worries, mate. None a’toll.”

Candace Yossarian was no Anna Nicole Smith.

No doubt about it; she wished to be married to Clay. She had been praying for this moment during the last couple of years of her life. She even imagined a kind of Addams Family themed ceremony, and wanted to dress up like Morticia. However, Stella – whom she would’ve chosen as the maid of honor – would not even be there, now that she had passed on. And so she was forced to confront overwhelming grief and felt a greater need for some solitude…lots of it in fact.

This concerned Richard; his youngest and now only daughter had always been a kind of convoluted social butterfly despite occasionally coming across as anti-social and belligerent at times. Equally disturbing is the realization that she and Clay – who he had come to regard as a kind of surrogate son even if he already had some pretty cool parents – only got to Stella just in time to watch her have that fatal seizure. God only knows what that can do to a person inside.

“Probably my own expectations getting in the way.” Richard thought to himself. “Why wouldn’t she want nothing more at a time like this than to crumble in his arms and wail till the ears of angels begin to bleed profusely from their own ruptured eardrums…

“And how did I suddenly get so damned poetic, anyway?”

Speaking of Clay, he’d had a heart to heart talk with Milo earlier in the day. Milo had passed his late grandmother’s engagement ring to him, along with strong encouragement to propose to Cannes. He’d wanted to propose to her for some time, but agonized over whether the time was right. There’d been a death in the family after all.

Even so, he made his way to the Yossarian “Mansion” with the intention of testing the emotional waters in the family, and to see whether she’d be up for being engaged to him at a time like this.

On any ordinary day he and Cannes would be shagging like rabbits the minute he entered her room. But this was no ordinary day.

So this is how the conversation went.

“How’re ya feeling, darling?”

“I’m numb…shell-shocked.” Cannes paused and then began. “Baby, have you noticed this feeling lately, that maybe you just don’t want to look at anyone at all?”

“Interesting question. I’ve felt bad that we couldn’t save her.” Clay sighed. “I mean, despite that no one blames anyone here, there’s still this feeling that I could’ve driven a lot faster and maybe we’d’ve gotten to her before anyone else. Is that what you mean?”

“Um…not exactly. It’s more like a feeling of having seen way too much in such a short time, and it’s the worst thing that’s ever been seen in your life,” At this point the tears began running down her face and she’d lost count of how many times that had happened by this time. “And you’re afraid that the people you meet every day would look into your eyes and see the exact same horror that stared us right in our faces that day. And it’s like even more terrifying to think that’s actually possible and you don’t really want for anyone else to see -- much less go -- through that. In fact it would make me sick to my stomach if anyone looked into my eyes and saw how she died right in front of us. I feel like I’d rather gouge my own eyes out than subject anyone to that horror. I wouldn’t ever want for you to look into my eyes and go through all that again, since you were with me when that happened!!”

Clay could only nod his head in complicity. What she just described there went way beyond the woulda/coulda/shoulda feeling that accompanies guilt. It was obscene in its vividness. A knot grew in his stomach. It seemed selfish to propose to Cannes at a time like this, yet he began to panic at the thought of losing the love of his life to some invisible rival who seemed to have a bloodlust for her soul.

“I’m sickened by the thought that I would want us to have time apart from each other,” She added. “I truly am. I love you more than anyone I’ve ever met. And yet I cannot shake this feeling of just wanting to be away from absolutely everyone…just get away from all people until the sight of that death gets bored with haunting me all the time. I’m absolutely sickened by wanting even you to just go away and leave me in peace.”

“Is there anything I can do apart from that?”

Cannes shrugged.

“Would it help if I stuck around anyway in case you change your mind? At least a phone call away if not in the same bed?”

“I dunno, Clay. I’d rather not rule that out, I’ll tell you that.”

“I’ll give you as much space as you need to heal yourself on one condition:” Clay said, reaching into his pocket. Seeing this, Cannes raised an eyebrow. He’d brought out the ring Milo had given him. “Will you marry me?”

A new vision filled Cannes’ eyes; a single diamond chip with several garnet chips prostrated on both sides of a thin band of gold. It was a stunning beauty. She didn’t know whether to say “Yes,” or “Look, just hang on to it awhile longer for now and I’ll call you when I’m ready.” Both seemed like inappropriat extremes. So the pragmatic in her stepped in.

“Where did you get this?”

“It was a gift from Milo. It belonged to his late grandmother. He felt…” Tears welled up in Clay’s eyes as he spoke, “that I ought to propose to you with this.”

“Hmmph. After I’d threatened to slash his throat with a pair of scissors to stop him from strangling Teddy at work some time ago.” Cannes said. “That dear sweet stepfather…I don’t know who’s crazier; your family or mine.”

Cannes looked right at Clay and said to him, “You realize it could be awhile before I’m over this bizarre kind of grief, don’t you?”

“I’m not going anywhere, baby.”

She looked at the ring again, smiled slightly, and turned back to Clay to say, “This is all I’ve ever wanted, for us to be together. I don’t expect a normal life or a happily ever after from a marriage, tho. I’ve never considered myself to be any sort of princess. You know me too well. I’m a fierce warrior; I’ve always been among the fiercest in this city. I am to spend the rest of my life battling an invisible dragon that cannot be killed…that maybe at the best can be tamed. I might be damned good at that now, now that I’ve done so several times now. But who’s to say how I will fare within the next few years? I cannot be so naïve about this, I am constantly on guard against this tireless stalker that refuses to take time off and I’m prepared to go down fighting every step of the way. Anybody who would jump into this abyss with me had better expect to be very, very afraid. Are you cool with that?”

“Why wouldn’t I be? I’ve always been in that damned abyss with you; this is it!” Clay replied, looking her dead in the eyes. “You’ve always been my hero, Candace Yossarian. I love you!”

And that was enough to lift the dark cloud that’s been hovering over her head. With that, they embraced and kissed.

Then Cannes said, “Well now, let’s see if it fits, shall we?”


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Last Words

Pearl delivered one hell of a Eulogy for Stella.

She stood at the pulpit in the chapel of St. Luke’s Seaside Episcopal Church with Stella’s diary placed in front of her. It was opened to the page where Stella wrote the very last words that she would ever write.

Before she began to read, she began to reflect on the night she and Stella made love together. After they finished, they had a nap. Stella had awakened a little bit before Pearl had and wrote down the experience in her diary. As she finished, Pearl had awakened. Stella had let her read that particular entry. Flattered to know that Stella trusted her that much and aroused by what she had read, the two of them had made love again that night.

Pearl turned her attention back to the audience and began to read…

“We had just gotten back to Pearl’s place…that is to say, my home…after seeing Grinderman perform live in concert. That was the best damn concert I’ve ever been to, I must say. Looking back, if all the nightlife in Los Osos is as cool as this, I’d surely be happy to live here with Pearl.

“I’m positive that Pearl was reading my mind, because she just invited me to live with her in Los Osos. We talked a little at length about this, and in the end I told her I was so over Magmaville and all the control freaks that barge into my life every day.” At that Pearl briefly addressed the crowd, “Y’all know who you are.” and resumed reading, “Anyway, it feels like the right thing to do.

“Besides, I miss Pearl, my best friend, and I’m sure she missed me, too. Because she told me she wants to be with me. The next thing I know we started kissing each other. She’s really a phenomenal kisser, I’m telling you, truly a phenomenal kisser. The way she can work that agile tongue of hers easily sends a wave of electricity through all of my chakras. I could feel my nipples harden and my snatch began to throb as she took me in her arms and caressed me while we kissed. Her touch was so gentle, with no force at all, just this soft, gentle, flowing sensation in her strokes. I began to touch her in turn, her skin is so soft, irresistably soft, almost like a kitten…

“We began to strip…”

Pearl heard a loud sob interrupt her reading from the diary, and looked in the direction that the noise came from. It was Kent. He was blubbering uncontrollably.

Pearl just rolled her eyes and began to pick up where she left off, thinking, “I’ll give that bitch something to blubber about!” Tears had been streaming down her face throughout all this.

“We began to strip all our clothes off and once we were both naked we really got passionate with our lovemaking. We could not keep our hands off each other. Her breasts are so big and beautiful, and I loved the way they felt when they pressed up against mine. At one point I had cupped one of them in my hand and held it steady so that I could bend my head down to kiss it…”

Kent sobbed even louder. Milo was clearly annoyed by this and turned around to the pew where Kent was seated to say, “Oi, Nerdermoier, shoot th’ fook oop ollreedee!! Th reest of oos ‘re troyin tae listen, dymoind?”

Dylan shook as if he was sobbing as well…but he wasn’t. If anything, he was trying to stifle a guffaw.

Janet whispered to Richard, “You don’t suppose Stella might’ve been gay, do you Richard, or at least bi??”

Richard whispered back, “Either that, or she was just horny as hell!” The two felt guilty about chuckling even quietly at that. This was their first born that had died, after all. They couldn’t help it. They loved Pearl’s spunk.

Fergie was just aghast that this girl was reading such an explicitly sexual story in God’s church of all places!

The rector of St. Luke’s just sat back and enjoyed listening to Pearl’s eulogy.

Pearl continued to read. “And after I kissed it, I fondled that breast. As I did, she began to fondle mine. To feel those fingers stroking my nipples turns me on like nothing else. At this point I was just dying to wrap my legs around one of her thighs. I swear she must’ve read my mind again because she gently nudged my legs apart with her knee. I had my leg between hers and she had one of hers between mine. And we were both squirming on each other’s legs, just grinding our snatches on each other. That felt sooo good to feel that thigh between my legs…especially when she started caressing my ass. God, that made me tingle like I’ve never tingled before…”

“Either our daughter was very gay or Pearl’s very, very good!” Richard mumbled to his wife under his breath. He and Janet quietly chuckled some more.

“We could’ve screwed all night like this.” Pearl concluded. “I don’t know who was making who crazier; was she driving me wild or was I driving her wild? Either way, this is extreme bliss…”

With that, Pearl covered her eyes with her right hand, and broke down as she left the pulpit. She was hit hard with the realization that she would never again experience anything like that with Stella.

With some other woman, maybe, but not with Stella.

The entire congregation milled about in the chapel after funeral services for Stella concluded. Kyle Chapman came out of the men’s room when he spotted his lover Simon Webster, who was fanning himself with his copy of the memorial program and looking more than a bit anxious.

“Uh-oh…this don’t look good.” Kyle thought as Simon’s left hand went to his forehead. He could see his lover sweat a mile off. “There’s gonna be an insulin attack.”

Luckily, Kyle got to Simon pretty quickly and sat him down. He had stashed a Mars bar just in case there was no reception immediately following the memorial, and handed that to Simon. “Wheh! That was close!” Kyle thought as Simon took a bite from the candy bar. Boris the Bartender came up to the two boys briefly to let him know he’d be over at The Stud to reopen…and to make sure his nephew was okay.

Meanwhile, Simon could just see through his hypoglycemic haze the spector of Kent and Pearl facing each other through an open window in the Chapel. He could also hear Pearl screaming and shouting at Kent.

“All this time I was away not once have you even bothered to call, visit, or nothing!!! You didn’t care!!! You were too busy hitting on Stella!!! Oh yes, you were!!! She didn’t love you!!! She didn’t even wanna know you!!! She told me everything!! She cared about me if anyone outside of my family did!!! She was a better lover than you ever were!!! You know what?? Yo’ an asshole!!! That’s what you are!! No wonder everyone calls you Kunt!!! Yo’ being a cunt to me right now, trippin on me like you always do…”

Yeah, Pearl was pissed off at Kent. Simon could tell as the oxygen began to make friends with his brain cells once more. “Well, what’s the matter with her alla sudden?”

“She’s really having at the Kunt Nerdermeyer, isn’t she.” Kyle observed as he and Simon watched this whole drama play out. “Knowing him tho, he probably just did something irretrievably stupid like call her out over that diary entry she read.”

Simon guffawed between bites of candy. “That was a hell of a tribute. Man, if you weren 't so fucking attractive I might’ve considered stealing Stella right out from under everyone’s nose…just to see if she could ‘straighten’ me out.”

Kyle added, “If any woman could make a gay guy go straight, Stella could I’m sure. It’d be too easy.”

“Yeah, too easy” Simon echoed. “Except I already tried that once, long before Pearl got to her, I’m sure. Y’think I should tell her about that?”

“It’s up to you, honey. I’m not sure it’d make much difference now and besides, maybe she already knows about that.” Kyle said in reply. Then they turned their attention back to Pearl and Kent. Kent could clearly be seen turning and walking away from Pearl as she continued to cuss him out…giving her the talk-to-the-hand gesture as he moved away from her.

“Go on, then walk away!!! Go home and cry to yo’ mama!! Stupid ass bitch, you got yo’ nerve coming here just to give me yo’ shit!! Who do you think you are, bitch??”

A rush of glucose hit Simon in the brain. As highly amused as he was by the sight of Kent being told off by his ex-girlfriend, the impact caused him to burst into tears as he was laughing. He was still quite low enough to get emotional very easily, but he was fast coming out of it.

“This is too fucking hilarious right now!” Simon exclaimed, his voice breaking. He went careening from laughing to sobbing and back again. Kyle kissed him and urged him to finish that candy bar. “Look at him; he’s walking around like he’s got a bit ole stick up his ass!!”

The boys watched and laughed as Kent stormed out of the parking lot of the church.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Yossarian Diaries

“Dammit, I’m missing her.” Cannes said in a matter of fact tone as she and Pearl passed a dubie between them.

Then Pearl began to tell this story. “The night we went to that concert – to see Grinderman – we went to my house. She and I were watching this TV documentary about Bats after we made love. There was this snake slithering along among this huge swarm that was flitting all around it. The snake would just coil up, waiting to strike. Then it would lash out at a bat, and more often than not it would miss. But eventually there’d be a big ole bat in its mouth. And it would coil up even more and then start munching away on this bat

“As we were watching this all play out, she told me that my aunt Punk Mother told her about how she used to see herself as an old lady, hangin’ with yo mama, passing the joint around and swapping in-law jokes. But instead her life now, she’s just working her ass off jus’ trying to keep her head above water. And it’s like she want’s to care about her diabetes better, but it’s too much work.”

“In law jokes?” Cannes repeated quizzically.

“Yeah, well…” Pearl accepted the spliff being passed to her as she continued. “Aunty Punk Mother used to think that once Stella came to her senses and dumped Jarvis, she and Clay would get together and maybe one day get married and she’d have some grand-hooligans one day.”

“You fucked her, tho.” Cannes pointed out.

Pearl smiled at that, “Mmmm, that I did. Real tasty it was, too!”

“Oh God…” Cannes grinned and shook her head. “Well, she wasn’t as interested in Clay as I was, anyway.” Then an afterthought came and she added, “You should tell Jarvis and Kent about that…just to piss them off.”

“Damn right I’m gonna tell those douche-bitches. I’m gonna rub that shit right in both their faces!!” Pearl laughed. “What they gonna do about it anyway? It’s not like they can kill her!”

Cannes expression darkened; the memory of her failed attempt to rescue Stella flooded her mind all over again. Pearl saw the sadness and said, “Sorry.”

Cannes sighed and began to speak. “Well, here’s the thing; I’m not so sure she’d’ve survived the low being stranded out there in the woods with nothing to eat even if that awful creep woulda just passed her by. From what she told me when she called me for help, she was in pretty bad shape to begin with.” Pearl nodded at this and accepted the reefer yet again.

“You’re probably the only person who could make love to her without making a point of hurting her in order to get what you want.” She added.

“I was probably the best fuck she ever had.”

“Nice touch.” Cannes observed. “Throw that one in there when you tell Kunt and Jarvis about it.”

“None of those other guys gave two shits about her…None of them!!”

There was considerable ambivalence among the rest of the Yossarian family in dealing with the inheritance left behind by Stella. As it was, Janet was fuming that the conductors had kicked her daughter off the train when she was in such a precarious state to begin with. As I write this, Janet was consulting with an attorney to see what legal recourse she may have.

Richard was just plain afraid that he’d start blubbering if he goes anywhere near her bedroom. Therefore, he’s been steering clear, deciding he was comfortable being numb for awhile.

So Cannes figured she might just as well deal with all of her lot. She just wants to bury herself in some sort of work. And at least she can get everything organized before the official Stella Yossarian Memorial Drawing of Lots gets under way.

With Clay’s cousin Pearl by her side, the two of them unearthed a treasure trove. There were catsuits, corsets, platform boots, velvet mini-dresses, paisley shirts, leopard-print, strappy shoes, Doc Martins, white athletic shoes, feather boas, sunglasses, work, boots, purses, all sorts of accessories, wigs, costumes, paddles, handcuffs, riding crops, duct tape, and a cat o nine tails.

On the floor of the closet sat a pile of journals and diaries scribed over the years. Cannes was not quite ready to read whatever smack that may have been written about her and Clay, the parents, Jarvis, Punk Mother, Milo, Pearl, everyone.

“We should definetly have a memorial garage sale in her honor!” Pearl suggested as she perused the collection of c.d.’s that had been accumulated over the years. She grinned slyly as her eyes caught an autographed copy of Frankie Booth’s debut album The Big Flirt. He signed, “To Stella Yossarian…I hope it was as good for you as it was for me…Love, Frankie.” (She had a lot of Frankie’s albums in her collection). How a star as big as Frankie Booth even found the time to sign such a lengthy autograph as what he gave Stella is anyone’s guess, but even so Pearl felt like a pirate amidst all this loot.

“A memorial garage sale…” Cannes let those words roll around in her head as if to let her brain cells taste them. “I like it!”

Then she added. “I just hope she wouldn’t care if we don’t donate the proceeds to any charity, tho. This emergency leave is gonna leave me hella strapped at any rate.”

“It wouldn’t make any difference now.” Pearl sighed. “Poor kid; I can only imagine how sick she must’ve felt.”

Cannes drew a heavy sigh. She felt nothing could ever rattle her anymore after what she’d seen. And with that she reached for the journals that stood stacked in the closet. Dealing with her diaries would prove to be a daunting task. She wrote reams of this shit every day, it appears. As strong as Cannes was, the journals had a heavy feel to them. One of them fell off the top of the pile she was carrying. She nonchalantly set the pile of journals in the box on Stella’s bed. Then she reached for the fallen journal.

A page caught her eye:

“Friday night, Aug 15, 8:00 p.m.: Dylan made a wicked chicken curry earlier this evening. A whole big pot of it in fact. Every morsel was very spicy and tasted exquisite, right down to the homemade whole grain daal bread we had instead of the rice. After we’d eaten our fill, he had me wait in his bedroom. His bed was covered in plastic. I undressed and took a nice long piss. Then after I was done I sat on the bed. I can easily guess what Dylan might have in mind with all that extra curry. If there’s one thing Dylan doesn’t particularly like, it’s leftovers sitting in the fridge for very long…

“This is our favorite game. The remains of the evening meal poured all over one of our naked bodies…in this case mine. I was soon chained to the bed and he poured all this yellow sauce all over me. It was running all over my neck, my breasts, my belly, my shoulders, and between my legs. His tongue cleaning every speck off of me…* sigh * …it makes me gush just to think of it…”

Right about then Cannes noticed a presence looking over her shoulder. Pearl was practically salivating as Cannes turned her head to face her. Pearl blushed. She didn’t know what turned her on more: The description of all that chicken curry being poured over and licked off Stella’s naked body, or the fact that it was Stella’s naked body being ravished. Only days ago Pearl had a similar honor.

It made Pearl wonder: was Stella even remotely as gay as Pearl thought she was, or was she just plain horny? Not that there was anything wrong with just being horny, mind you…

Another stack of Stella’s diaries fell across the floor. As the girls went over to gather them up, Pearl opened one and her eyes fell on what looked like a movie script. There were names of fictional characters and lines of dialog assigned to each character. Then Cannes picked up one and found pages of poetry and lyrics.

It was no secret that Stella wanted to break into show business, and it seemed to Cannes that these reams which were written by her hand were meant to be put to use at a later date…preferably in a soundstage in Los Osos, or on location at least.

Pearl couldn’t get that chicken curry story out of her head. Maybe Stella just liked it when her cootter got wet. “Damn, don’t we all!” She thought.

“They’ll wanna look at all these, won’t they…the parental units.” Pearl pointed out.

“I know that!” Cannes replied. “They’re almost too obsessed with sex.”

Pearl retorted, “You know there’s no such thing as being too obsessed with sex.”

“All the same…all this could be her taking on a new life…free from a body made sick.” Cannes said. “There’s a lot of stories to tell here.” Cannes added. “Yeah, …no, we can’t let this go. Not just yet.”

And with that the journals went into the box. Cannes silently vowed to ghost write her story, to give her late sister this new life.

At some point, Cannes did manage to get Richard into Stella’s bedroom. Milo had accompanied them. Turning to face the two men, she asked, “Well, whaddya think? About a memorial garage sale?”

“Let’s see what we got first. I might wanna buy some of this shit offa ya…just to spice up our own marriage, y’understand.” Richard slyly winked at his daughter.

Milo didn’t know why he couldn’t take watching this exchange. But he seemed to have a real problem with it, coz he just burst into tears immediately.

“Milo…what???” Richard asked, confused.

“Aryeemayd???” was all Milo could blurt out.

Richard sighed, “No, if anything I’m just plain numb.” Clearly he wasn’t at all proud of that.
But…”If it’s all the same to you, I just wanna stay numb for the time being.” He added with a slight snarl. He had every right to go crazy, yet he’s doing his level best to keep his cool. That can never be easy; that was his first child an’ all.

“Milo…” Janet had stopped by on her way to the kitchen. “You want something to drink…a port cider perhaps?” She volunteered. “I know I could use one.”

A port cider was equal parts port wine and hard cider. A very potent concoction, that. She’d been on the phone with her lawyer all day, so of course she could use a port cider.

Err, whot th’ ‘ell…Milo nodded through his tears.

“Richard, man, whot aryee troyin’ tae proove ‘ere???”

“Look, Milo…” Richard began an attempt to explain this. “Hasn’t it ever occurred to you that she might be at peace at long last??? I’m not glad she’s gone, in fact I’m missing her really bad right now…”

“Yeah, so am I.” Cannes echoed.

“It pains me especially the way she died. It was a sick way to die and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. Not on Jarvis, not on Kent, not on Fergie, and not even King Harley, for that matter…

“But on the other hand,” Richard continued, “this disease is a pain in the ass to deal with and I wouldn’t blame her a bit for being sick and tired of having to deal with that, and all us well meaning busybodies on top of that.” Then in a mocking tone, “ ‘You shouldn’t eat that!,’ ‘Aah-aah-aahh!’ and ‘Don’t you dare, young lady!’ Jeezis fuck, how depressing having to hear that all the time…especially when she needs to treat one of her lows, for fuck’s sake!!! Poor little bitch, no wonder she was often so grumpy…”

By this time, Janet arrived with the port cider cocktails.

“Yeah, I wouldn’t blame her for wanting out of that wrecked, though still quite attractive shell of hers.” With that Richard sighed and took a glass from the tray Janet brought the drinks in on, and took a huge swig.

Cannes had been a bit ambivalent about perusing her sister’s diaries even though Stella was no longer around to object or anything.

There was a point where she didn’t give 2 fucks when she was younger, tho. In fact she relished in reading Stella’s intimate and highly personal thoughts, some of which were very sexually charged. Sometimes she would snatch the damned composition book and read all these thoughts aloud to the whole famned damily just to see the reaction of all in the room.

After one too many moments like that, Stella just one day said, “Fuck it!” and decided to write the filthiest, raunchiest, most depraved fantasies involving Jarvis and her favorite pop singer Frankie Booth, and herself.

“Stella!” Richard demanded after Cannes had read some S&M menage au trois where Stella was smearing wasabi over both of their nude bodies while they’re shackled to the bed…just to get off on making them squirm.

“Get over here, woman!”

Stella could not keep from guffawing, even if this could end with being led by her father to the toolshed…maybe.

“Now…is all this true?” Richard could barely contain his own amusement.

“Wha-pffft!” Stella laughed uncontrollably. She seemed a bit high in the glucose at the time…too good a mood, really.

“Just how long have you been into this sort of thing? Stella…” Richard cast a sideways smirk in her direction.

“Oh, Baba!! Those are just fantasies I harbor from time to time!” Stella replied, laughing. “I was just playing with Cannes…just to see if everyone believes all that bullshit I lay down in there!” She was pointing at the confiscated diary in Richard’s hand.

With that Richard guffawed, “T’chuh! You rascal!!” and handed the diary back to her.

“I have yet to have gone that far…at least so far not with Frankie!” With that she started to head back to her room in the attic, laughing heartily.

“Now, just to warn you, you’d better be aware of what you get yourself into, young lady.” Richard admonished. “That’s what we call ‘playing rough’ where most everyone comes from.”

So Cannes became ambivalent about reading Stella’s diaries aloud to the family without her sister’s consent after that. Sometimes, though, she’d still sneak a read every now and again for a bit of sexual stimuli. Eventually Stella stopped writing about her imaginary trysts upon the realization that Cannes was probably getting off on them.

Then as it had happened, she was living many of these fantasies with Dylan throughout her last couple of years alive. And now with Stella was gone, it was as if Cannes was afraid of what might’ve been written in there…about her…about the parental units…about Clay, Punk Mother, and just about everyone Stella was close to. She knew that, although Stella did her best to keep it in check, she had a lot of anger in her.

Can you blame her?

Let’s us digress a moment or so to talk about this extraordinarily talented pop singer named Frankie Booth. Now, Stella had been so freakin’ enthralled about him for quite awhile, I must say. So what’s the deal with this fuck anyway?

Frankie Booth was mixed race child – part african american, part swede, part Lakota Sioux, part Jewish . He grew up to be a very sexy beast with deep set blue eyes peering out from behind some very high cheekbones and very thick yet well-groomed eyebrows. His lips had a natural thickness that gave him the appearance of being a great kisser. I mean, is it any wonder all the girls, Stella included, wanted to make out with him?

His head was topped with a patch of nappy hair, which throughout his musical career was often dyed platinum blonde. Sometimes he’d experiment with other colors, at one point he had it dyed jet black with fuscia highlights added. A lot of how his hair looked depended on the mood he wanted to convey to his adoring public. In any case despite all the treatments his hair appeared to be very strong and healthy, and softer to the touch than it looked.

Frankie stood at about 6’2” without platfoom shoes, and while he wasn’t by any means emaciated, he was quite thin for his height.

If the sight of him didn’t turn the ladies on, his singing voice did. His tenor was as smooth as silk, and he had a vibratto that was outta control

A package like that could easily make the other potential suitors in Stella’s life extremely jealous to say the least. Take Kent for example. He was really jealous of that damned vibratto of his, and felt that it should be obliterated somehow. Seeing that Kent was highly irked by Frankie’s vibratto made Stella smile. While it was never Frankie’s intention to piss anyone off – I mean, Frankie hardly knows the little twerp, after all – anything that would torture the living shit out of Kent Neidermeyer was all right by Stella.

Jarvis only tolerated Frankie’s music because it got Stella aroused. He’d play one of Frankie’s albums and lip-sync to the lyrics using her vibrator as a microphone (He got the idea from Clay sometime earlier – I will explain later). This served as a kind of fantasy to be acted out for Stella – that and it made her laugh – especially when Frankie crooned some torchy-assed ballad like I Wish I Was Fire or I Dream of Orgies.

For Stella’s birthday one year, Frankie was performing in Los Osos, and the whole Yossarian family decided to take her to see the show. While the rest of the family wasn’t quite as enthralled with Frankie as Stella was, even Richard and Janet had to admit that he had a very compelling energy about him.

The Los Osos Theater was packed almost beyond capacity, yet somehow the entire Yossarian family got to the very front of the pit, in front of the stage where Frankie’s microphone was placed. Stella was ecstatic, and her parents were only too happy to see that she was happy. That was a rare occasion, it doesn’t happen very often after all.

Frankie, being typical of most musical personalities, was often later to his performances than was scheduled. It takes time to get ready for the show. In fact, for this particular performance he must have been at least 45 minutes behind schedule. Luckily for Stella, she and Cannes had managed to smuggle a couple of incontinence pants from Fergie Mum-mum’s place, which they wore under their skirts. There was no way in Hell that Stella would forfeit her spot in front of Frankie’s microphone…no matter how badly she might need to piss.

So Frankie finally came on, and he was wearing a gondolier’s outfit under his black leather jacket. He had on a striped black & white short-sleeved shirt, a big red sash, and beige colored flare legged trousers that were so tight that his bulge could clearly be seen. Frankie had a campy vibe about him, and rumor had it that he often got very, very aroused when he performed live…so aroused in fact that he often groped and fondled the front of his trousers while he performed. As a side, I have to say that the man had enormous testicles. The whole family couldn’t believe their eyes; they were – to say the least – quite impressed. Richard could only comment, “Now that’s a Rock Star!!! Am I right, or am I right?”

As Frankie strutted to and fro on the main stage, singing to the screaming crowd, he would often pause and gyrate madly to the rhythm of his more rockin’ songs – particularly The Dirty Boogie. When he turned his back to the crowd, his ass could be clearly seen. He had a nice butt, not a very big one despite his racial heritage, but he obviously knew what to do with it.

He eventually started singing Party Me Down, and as he did he made his way right to Stella. She had been stretching her hand out to him hoping he’d reach out to join hands with her. When his hand clasped hers, Stella was so overcome with ecstacy that she lost control of her bladder – which she had been ignoring for his sake – and soaked her incontinence pants to the point of saturation. This she took to be her first orgasm.

Evidently the touch of Stella’s hand proved to be too much for the man, because he dropped to his knees and brought her hand up to kiss it. As he did, he fell forward until he was lying with the front of his torso on the stage floor. After he finished his kiss, he continued singing, still lying on the stage. Then his hips began to move, as if he was having sex with the stage. His pelvis was grinding against the floor, gyrating in a frenzy like he was gonna cum any second. He cried out, security came and grabbed him by both arms to raise him to his feet. He could barely stand without clamping his thighs together and groping himself, yet somehow he managed to finish the song without missing a note.

And the crowd went nuts, screaming for more. At the end of the song, he shouted in parting just before he exited stage left, “Thank you Los Osos!! G’night!!”

Accounts of this racy performance made all the entertainment news media, which generated a lot of controversy regarding whether the under-18 set should even be allowed to witness this kind of spectacle. But the Yossarian sisters couldn’t care less about the controversy, being controversial themselves to begin with. Cannes and Stella were too busy debating over whether Stella had an orgasm or merely pissed in her pants right in front of Frankie.

In Stella’s defense, Frankie often makes her feel all squishy!

Incidently, Richard thought that Frankie Booth’s interpretation of The Dirty Boogie was the best he’d ever head…almost superior to the original version. However, it was I Dream of Orgies that has caused the biggest stir in Pop Culture. As a result, he’d won Stella’s heart fair and square.

Now, all this fixation on Frankie Booth served to bring out the most irritating qualities of some of the boys who hung out with the Yossarian girls. In fact there was one occasion where Jarvis, Kent, and Clay were all hanging out at Clay’s place. They were all listening to the radio and smoking some of Milo’s stash. At one point the dj announced that after a commercial break he would play the latest hit single called Let Me Come Inside You. Throughout the ad block the boys began to mock the girls’ reaction to Frankie. They’d mimic the girls’ voices, wailing, “Oh Frankie!! You’re so adorable!!! I’m your biggest fan!!! Oooohooohoohooo!!! Marry me, Frankie, Marry Me!!!”

Then just to be silly, Jarvis wondered aloud, “Man, what if the guys behaved like that around some beeg chot teeny bopper like heem?” He then switched to the deepest baritone speaking voice he could possibly conjure up, saying, “Oh Frankie!! Your music is sooo romantic!!!”

Now, Clay had another idea, and this is where Jarvis got the idea. I don’t know how Clay knew where Punk Mother’s vibrator was stashed – it must’ve been when he was ransacking the master bedroom looking for reefer or money or something. In any case he got it out of one of her private drawers and brought it back to the boys in the living room just in time for the dj to play Frankie’s new single.

So the song began and Frankie’s voice could be heard crooning the lyrics to this new number. As he sang, Clay brought the vibrator, which was turned on, up to the front of his face…holding it as if it were a microphone. Then he began to lip sync to the lyrics as the song played.

Now, his single Let Me Come Inside You was a torch song. Frankie interpreted and delivered the song as such. The fact that this song had such a dramatic feel to it added as much to the humour inherent in Clay’s mockery as the fact that he was lip syncing into his mother’s vibrator.

The other boys were really cracking up at the sight of this crazy spectacle. Then Jarvis snatched the vibrator from Clay and began to lip sync as well.

Now, Kent never had any experience with vibrators before – this was a woman’s sex toy, after all – so when he grabbed the “mike” to take his turn lip-syncing, the vibrator buzzed in his hand. That made him freak out and drop it on the floor. This brought out more hysterical laughter from Jarvis and Clay.

Clay then bent down to pick up the vibrator, and then just to be even sillier, grabbed Kent by the arm and held the vibrator to his head as if it were a gun. “Hold it right there!!” Clay joked. “One false move, and this bitch gets it!!”

Jarvis could only laugh even harder.

“I’ve got a vibrator, and I know how to use it!!”

“Man,” Jarvis chortled. “That’s chess seely!! Why you threaten Kunt Nerdermeyer wit de vibrator? Not dat he doan deserve it, mind chu.”

“I hate guns!!” Clay retorted, shrugging.

And Frankie’s voice continued to fill the living room, oblivious to the anarchy and mirth being played out in Clay’s living room. Jarvis snatched the vibrator from Clay again and began to lip sync only this time he threw in some pretty convincing Elvis Presley moves…ending up with one knee on the floor and the foot of his other bent leg flat down as if he was bringing it on home. As the song concluded, Jarvis then brought the vibrator down to the level of his groin as if to imply that Frankie was singing through his crotch.

Clay was really cracking up hard, but Kent was a bit miffed that he ended up looking like a blithering idiot dropping the vibrator and then being held up with it, and that he didn’t get to imitate Frankie. True to form he whined about that.

“We could see by the way you reacted that you’ve never had any experience with one of those things.” Clay pointed out.

“Well, what are they for?” Kent demanded.

Jarvis was clearly dying to see the way Kent would react when he learned the truth. So he told him. “Eet’s a ladies sex toy. When a woman geets reel horny and che’s got no man around, she teks de vibrator and masturbates with it.”

Jarvis was laughing so hard that Kent immediately assumed he was pulling his leg. “No way!! Are you joking, man??”

“It’s true; women fuck themselves with these!!” Clay added. “They jam it right inside their pussies and move it in and out of them repeatedly until they cum all over it. I mean, why do you think this thing is shaped the way it is???”

Well, Kent was really grossed out by this news. “Eyeww!! That’s sick!! You actually held that thing to my head!!!”

His reaction was really hilarious, judging by the way the other boys were cracking up. Kent carried on the way he always does; “My God!!! We all touched it!! That’s so sick!!! I’m gonna throw up, I swear!!!” So Kent went into the bathroom to hurl.

Jarvis was still laughing. “Ee’s such a retardo. How can he not tell dat yu mama keeps dat ding clean? Eet reeks of Bleach, man!”

Anyway, back to Stella’s diaries…

Pearl was about ready to burst.

She had been listening to Cannes read aloud a page from one of the journals. It was no secret also that Stella had been obsessed with Warhol movies and wanted to recreate the whole Factory vibe in some way. But what had come to pass was this exerpt:

“Jan 21: I would love to do a biopic of Little Joe D’allesandro.

“I could cast Simon Webster in the role of Andy Warhol, and Kyle could play Joe, like he did in Ebenezer’s Xmas Package. Cannes could also hook me up with some additional hot talent, I’m sure. After all, now that she works in The Glamourous Beauty Salon, she’ll be making contacts with all the local performers who go there. And I hope to incorporate Frankie Booth in this somehow.

“I so need to work with Frankie somehow…somehow. I’ve got all these ideas and he inspires them all. Coz I know I’ll probably never get to marry him or anything…there’s way too much competition for his gentle hand. But he fuels my creativity and I must feed off that energy if my true work is to continue…

“I would love to videotape him seated at a table with a champagne glass in front of him, singing the highest note that he can possibly reach given his vocal range. So that when the pitch is right, the glass will shatter into about a bazillion pieces. The explosive imagery of all those particles blasting into space right in front of him would be absolutely breath taking to say the least.”

As Cannes read this entry, Pearl could easily see what was being described. Stella’s vision for Frankie Booth flooded her head, and Pearl felt her chin muscles tighten as a sob welled up to overtake her. This death was wrong on so many levels, she thought.

“My God, Cannes!!!” Pearl wailed. “Do you see the treaure that is now lost to the world??? This was my lover!!!”

Cannes felt a moment of attention deficit disorder come upon her or something because her response at first was, “Y’know, I’ve always liked Frankie’s song I Dream of Orgies the best. It’s great to masterbate to.”

All Pearl could do was cry.

“David Lynch…” Cannes continued, sensing a kind of coping or defense mechanism or at the very least an escape route to keep from being overwhelmed by despair. “She seemed to fancy herself as being some sort of David Lynch.”

But then a wave of emotion overcame Cannes, and she too burst into tears, thinking about that horrible moment when she arrived too late to save her sister. “I tried to save her, Pearl!! I really did!! But it was too late!! She died right in front of me!!!” She wailed. “I’m so sorry, Pearl!!!”

The two girls embraced, sobbing in each other’s arms.

Stella sometimes wrote about how her diabetes impacted her dream life as well as her daily life. There were moments when it was difficult to tell the two apart.

Take this entry from Oct. 27th, 1987:

“I had a kind of – I’m not sure whether to call it a dream or a nightmare. It started out feeling like a nightmare. In any case I was stuck shopping with Mum-Mum and Morty. They’re arguing, she’s all yelling in her little microphone that makes her sound like a robot. I’m feeling a wave of excess insulin coming on, and I’m trying to get the two of them to stop bickering so that we can all just get some lunch or something. But they don’t seem to hear me. For that matter, I can’t seem to hear me. I don’t seem to have a voice because I cannot seem to hear myself.

“I happen to turn my head, and looking across the street I see this gaggle of black leather clad punk rockers. They’re all bedecked in black leather jackets with spikes, Doc Martens, chains, the whole schmeer. Then I see Mama and Baba and Cannes and Clay all hanging out with them. This British looking rebel looks my way, and we make eye contact. I try to scream for help, thinking they might rescue me since they’re with my folks. It comes out as a cartoon balloon with the word “HELP!” spelled out in all capitals. I have to admit that I found that bit pretty amusing, even though it’s not helping my situation at all. The punks seem to want to help, but we seem to be pulled by some life force away from each other.”

There are other descriptions of what Stella goes through each day:

“Just got back from visiting Grampa Jake’s tomb. It had been many years since the funeral and yet I couldn’t help but get a bit choked up this time. It could be a hypo, though. Between these mood swings, the delirium, and the sweating I could either be having pre-menopausal symptoms – which I tend to doubt at my age – or yet another steady descent of hypoglycemia was coming on at that time.

“God, these slow steady declines into hypoglycemia just make my brains ache. And that’s just before the hypo demons go running riot in my head. They’re always bring up bad thoughts, terrible memories, hurtful wishes. They only serve to either bum me out or piss me off. Even so when that happens I just cannot deal with anyone, I just cannot stand to be with anyone. And I feel bad about that, coz all they can do is only stand around looking confused and alarmed, like…”What?!?”

This was what she wrote about Jarvis approximately 2 weeks before she broke up with him for good;

“Damn, I wish Jarvis could just enjoy life without getting drunk. He turns into such a pain in the arse when he gets inebriated. High or low blood sugar levels on my part aside I just cannot deal with his ego when he’s like that at all. It’s so heart breaking because I love to get wasted, too. But I can’t when he does because it just gets too damned ugly. He gets physically and verbally abusive and I feel like I don’t know the guy at all…”

Cannes noticed a couple of wet stains on the page; a few drops of water had warped the page in a couple of spots. From the looks of it, Stella might’ve been crying when she wrote this down. Fighting her own tears, Cannes continued to read.

“God I wish he could see how much sexier he is when he’s clear-headed enough to see which way to piss. He can be very kind and caring and loving to me, especially when we make love. Just the way he touches me, it’s like he knows exactly where all my turn-on buttons are hidden. Just the thought of his touch on my body is enough to make my groin tingle in exquisite agony, and I just want him to cum inside me while he fondles me. I’ve told him this before, but he doesn’t seem to get it at all.

“While I’m on the subject of thought…

“He tends to put more thought into making our nights of desperate passion into an art form of some sort. He must have taken a page from William S. Burroughs’ Naked Lunch at some point in his life…coz he read about a character in the book who either laughed and came at the same time or wanted to laugh and cum at the same time. Either way he wanted to create that experience for us both. I won’t lie to you, I’m in love with the idea myself. The very thought…Oh God…I’m feeling terribly aroused already…

“He never actually announced that he would make a point of trying to make me laugh while we fuck. We agree, after all, that if you try too hard to prove you’re funny – like that boorish ass Kunt Nerdermeyer is always doing – it never fails to fall flat…real fast. What a turn-off! But at one point while Jarvis was penetrating me and caressing my nipples, making me all gushy below my waist, he asked me, ‘Chiquita, mija…how you like me one time to have wichoo some hilarious sex?’

“At that point I’m just getting soo into the way he’s moving in and out of me, and I just said, ‘Oh God, Jarvis…I wouldn’t have it any other way!’ And quite honestly I didn’t really know if there was any other kind of sex.

“Anyway, he’s taking his time, waiting for some spate of spontaneous wit to come to mind while he fucks me, and I just cannot keep from gyrating furiously all over his cock coz it just feels sooo good when he screws me…

“Finally, I’m so close, just soo close to exploding all over him when I hear him do these really funny, really raunch imitations of Fat Bastard – you know, from the Austin Powers movies. So he goes, ’Aaahrr, jiminy crickets!! Me arse is getting all tingly loik!!! This is better than takin’ a crrrap; Oi’m tellin ye!!’

“So I started busting up laughing, and he’s really getting into it with the Fat Bastard voice crowing, ‘I’m dead sexy!!! Luk at my sexy body!!!’ Then he cracks up hearing me laugh, and he’s still moving around inside me, practically swimming in my snatch. I’m not even finished laughing with him at his Fat Bastard imitations when I finally just burst all over his schlong. I just felt myself twisting inside, gushing and pulsing uncontrollably…

“He continued to thrust inside me and roll off one Fat Bastard one-liner after another…until finally I had to beg him “Please just let me finish!” while I was still giggling. I was so turned on that he wanted to make me laugh while he fucks me, but I couldn’t hold back my 2nd orgasm any longer. So he just went on fucking me, alternately chuckling and moaning until soon we were both crying out like Aah, ah, ah, ah, aahhh. My orgasm was making him cum. God that felt so lovely….

“I swear I could fuck like that all night every night, just totally get lost in this hilarious lovemaking of his…”

Cannes felt herself getting aroused as she read, and thought to herself, “My God, no wonder she stuck with this asshole as long as she had.”

Meanwhile, Richard and Milo were still going through the rest of Stella’s things, trying to get everything organized for the Stella Yossarian Memorial Rummage Sale. Milo had found a tickler and Richard found a riding crop. Just for a laugh, the two of them staged a sword fight and began to swashbuckle each other with the props they found.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Clocking Out

After being with Dylan for as long as she had, as much as she appreciated an alternative to the likes of Jarvis and Kent, Stella found herself increasingly bored with the S&M roleplaying. Moreover, between that and working at The Bauhaus Café, she was getting quite exhausted. Furthermore, she longed to go on regular dates – movies, dancing, dinner dates, browsing in shops, heck, she’d even settle for bowling night at the Lucky Strikes Bowling Alley, ferfuckssake! Unfortunately, Dylan got so’s he’s insisting on the S&M Games.

The schism was beginning to take its toll. One night, as Dylan dismissed her protestations of “Not tonight, please…I’m tired,” she began to wonder just who the fuck the “dom” was here. In any case, it does get exhausting punishing Dylan all the time. And being punished for being exhausted wasn’t much better.

Somehow she acquiesced to his insistance and chained him face down on the bed. Then she whipped him as hard as her fatigued body would allow. But it never seemed to be as rough as he liked. So he decided to step it up, taunting her, “Bitch, do it harder!!!” His tones were snarling, contemptuous, outright disrespectful even.

And she found herself just stepping back and listening to this bound man spew his verbal diarrhea, him thinking that this might somehow get her angry enough to flog him harder. And all she could only just look at him lying face down on the bed, he looked like a damn jackass, and she thought, “What a douchebag.” Rolling her eyes, she said to him, “Fuck you!” and threw down the whip.

Still dressed in her rubber cat suit, she grabbed her leopard print Kate Spade purse and stormed out.

“Hey, where you going, Momma?” Dylan demanded.

“Out!” And with that, she left the house – leaving Dylan chained to the bed – and caught the next bus heading downtown to the Bauhaus Café. She got a lot of strange looks from the rest of the passengers on the bus, I might add.

“Stella? Hey Stella!!! Stellaaaaa!!” Dylan yelled loud enough to pull a coitus interruptus on Cannes and Clay, who were both in her bedroom trying to indulge in a love-in of their own. As Dylan called, the two lovers found it very hard to concentrate on each other. Then it dawned on them both that Dylan had been left chained in Stella’s room, and wouldn’t shut the fuck up.

He was yelling loud enough to wake the frickin’ dead!

Clay drew a heavy sigh as he withdrew from Cannes, saying, “I’m sorry, babe…I…”

“What are you apologizing for? You’re not the one who deserves to be punished.” With that the two of them got out of bed and, pulling on their bathrobes on the way, stormed upstairs to the attic. Dylan’s plaintive cries for Stella rang out one last time as Cannes opened the door to Stella’s room.

“Oh, I’m sorry…did I interrupt anything?” Dylan asked, still spread-eagled on the bed.

Cannes saw the whip that Stella threw on the ground in exasperation and disgust, and got an idea. If it was anybody else’s lovemaking that was rudely interrupted, Clay would’ve immediately felt sorry for the dude. Knowing Cannes as well as he did, she could be dead vicious and cruel. But not only did he not care, he was gonna sit back and watch the fun…and maybe laugh.

Poor Dylan, he really should be careful what he asks for, because he got it good! Cannes went beyond the severity that he wanted, leaving some really nasty welts on his bare back, ignoring the safety word, really hurting the dude, till Clay decided he’d had enough entertainment. He stood up, grabbed the arm that held the whip, and laughed as he told Cannes, “Okay, that’s enough now.”

Dylan was crying…those welts hurt so bad! “Where’s Stella?” he sobbed.

“You interrupted our orgy, and drove off your mistress in the process! You deserved to be taught a lesson, bro!” Cannes scolded him as Clay unchained him. “Now get your clothes and get the fuck outta here!”

With that, Dylan grabbed his clothes and left, all apologies. It was a very warm night, so Dylan wasn’t too uncomfortable walking the streets of Magmaville in nothing but his rubber shorts. The welts on his back on the other hand stung like Hell.

The two of them drew a heavy sigh, relieved that Dylan was finally gone and that they finally had the whole house to themselves.

“Wanna watch some T.V.?” Clay offered.

“Yeah, sure, why not.” Cannes replied.

Stella had arrived at The Bauhaus Café. She decided she needed some girl talk. With Richard and Janet out on another video shoot for the Wild Riderz show, she turned to the next best thing she had for a mother…namely Punk Mother. She hoped to plead for some time off, a break from the grind.

Besides, Grinderman was scheduled to play at The Los Osos Theater, in Los Osos, of course, and Pearl scored two tickets for the show, hoping to get Stella to come for a visit.

Kent was in a mood. Maybe he was having his period.

Whatever the fuck his problem was, all Stella said as she strolled into the café, “Look, if you’re going to insist on serenading me, try to pick out a tune that doesn’t suck, okay?” It was a slow night, with only Kent and Stella and Punk Mother, who was in the office, Stella was sure.

Anyway, Kent took offense and whined some crap about snide comments. Stella just continued to make her way to the office, giving the twerp the old talk-to-the-hand signal…A slightly more civil version of the middle finger.

She found Punk Mother at her desk, looking at the employee log book in case some new grievance was written down in there. In this case, one of the employees was using company property for personal tasks – too cheap to invest some quarters at the laundromat, instead of the Magmaville arcade. Kent was ratted out for that, he suspects by Stella. Apparently the timing of Kent’s washer and dryer use was interfering with the company laundry.
“Sounds like the little demogogue’s got his period today.” Stella joked to Punk Mother.

“He’s just mad coz I called him out at the start of his shift, that’s all.” Punk Mother replied just before she turned her head to see Stella in her catsuit. She burst out laughing and then said, “I can tell by the way you’re dressed that you have some kind of statement to make.”

So Stella got right to the point. As shorthanded as Punk Mother was at work, she didn’t really need for Stella to get into some fatigue-induced attitude on the job. She’d just get Milo, Teddyboy, and Clay to pitch in and help out around here till she gets back from Los Osos. It wasn’t that busy this time of year, anyway.

Satisfied, Stella returned home. Dylan was long gone. Clay and Cannes were downstairs watching Snakes on A Plane…the unedited version.

“Sorry about Dylan, you guys.”

“I’d be sorry too, if he wasn’t asking for it. Isn’t that right, Clay?” With that, the two lovers guffawed about the state that Cannes reduced Dylan to.

Stella realized what had happened after she left to talk to Punk Mother, and could only shake her head and chuckle in amusement.

“I’m gonna leave town for a little while…not too long. I’m taking the next train to Los Osos.”

“Oh.” Cannes tried not to show it, but she began to get a little nervous. She didn’t know why, apart from recollecting some nightmare involving a big black dog that lead her to Stella’s dead body somewhere in the woods.

“I’d ask you two to join me, but Pearl’s only got two tickets to see Grinderman.”

Well, once Stella was dead set on something, there was no talking her out of it, really.

“No biggie.” Clay replied. He just wanted to get back to the movie.

With that Stella went upstairs to pack.

Let’s Talk About Pearl…

Pearl Burke’s conception was frightening enough. After school one day, a couple of racist thugs ambushed her biological mother and gang-raped her. Nine months later Pearl was born. The poor mother could neither afford to abort or to care for the child. This left her only one choice; put the child up for adoption.

Enter Thomas and Geraldine Burke, the brother and sister in law of Lenora’s first husband Henry Burke. The two of them had been married for a few years and were trying to conceive a child of their own…to no avail.

So you see where this is headed. The poor helpless soon-to-be-named Pearl Burke stole Geraldine’s heart. Tom wanted to hold out for a while male baby, but there was a waiting list for that. Geraldine didn’t feel that they could just turn their backs on this infant girl who needed a home now. So in the end they adopted her, all the while Geraldine consoled Tom, assuring them that caring for little Pearl would be good practice in the meantime while they waited for that coveted boychild to arrive at the adoption center.

She was raised in Magmaville, and when she entered high school she soon hooked up with her cousin Clay and his friends Jarvis, Kent, Stella, and Cannes. Kent she liked immediately, mainly because he was brainy like her. Or maybe she felt sorry for him, who knows, really. I mean, she did get picked on a lot and she – being mixed race and adopted – knew too well how that felt.

It was also for this reason that she found herself becoming fast friends with Stella Yossarian. Stella took a lot of heat at school for taking her insulin shots in the girls room, and most of the other girls wrote her off as the schoolyard junkie. But Pearl’s dad had type 2 diabetes, and was put on both insulin and metformin. (yeah, that’s what I said…”yikes!”). He might’ve been prescribed only the metformin if he had taken better care of himself, but he didn’t give a fuck. In any case, the two girls bonded. And as Pearl became a frequent visitor to the Yossarian home she also bonded with Cannes.

Clay liked the idea of having a black girl in his family, so he was like a brother and a friend to her.

After her father passed away, very suddenly at the reception of Henry and Patrice Burke’s wedding reception, Pearl moved to Los Osos where her mother lived (by that time Geraldine and Tom had been legally separated). Her father’s death left her devastated, and she felt she needed a change. She was so distraught she could barely deal with other people, let alone Kent although she was in love with him.

Now, Kent could’ve moved to Los Osos to be with Pearl if he wanted to, but evidently he did have a thing for Stella. Everyone could tell because he was always trying to impress Stella by trying a bit too hard to be Mr. Funny Guy just to get her attention…even when he knew damn well that she was going with Jarvis. That didn’t go over well with Stella anymore than it did with Jarvis. And even though by the time Pearl left town she and Jarvis had split up, she was clearly not interested in Kent Neidermeyer at all

Not only that, but she was a loyal enough friend to Pearl that she didn’t want to be the one to come between Pearl and Kent. So every time Kent hit on Stella, she’d make a point of contacting Pearl to tell her everything. That helped Pearl get over Kent pretty damn quickly.

Anyway, after the move Pearl found work as an aide at the Greener Pastures Retirement Community Center. Part of her duties included helping the residents from their beds into their wheelchairs and onto the toilets, even wiping their butts if need be…

(“I’ll take care o’this m’self!!! Gitcher gawddamn cotton picken hands offen mah business!!! Dag nabbit!!” Some of them would gripe at Pearl.)

…changing their bedding, wheeling them to the dining rooms…

(And occasionally dodging wheelchair drag races between the more competitive and onrey residents!)

…bringing lunch trays to their rooms when they wanted to eat in their rooms, giving them their daily medications…

(“Look, Meredith!! Drugs!!”)

(“Hawt diggetdy dawg!! I’m-a getting’ loaded tonight, Boy Howdy!!!”)

No doubt about it…the job kept her busy…at times too busy!

It was at the Greener Pastures Retirement Community Center where Pearl’s biological mother resided. Many’s the time that Pearl performed her basic duties in her presence. But Pearl never once recognized her. Why would she? She never knew her as a child, so she wouldn’t know her from Emily, really. Nor did Pearl have the slightest interest in finding out who her real mother is; she felt she had enough going on her plate as it was. A full-time job, a couple of health issues of her own, and a mountain of debts being neglected – save for the rent, fortunately – in favor of some of her favorite post-punk bands that might be touring through Los Osos at the moment. So to Pearl, this patient she doted on was just part of the landscape she worked in…like the rest of them.

But her mother did recognize the woman she gave birth to, and deep down she wished she could’ve raised her right, help her develop a taste for some good ole fashioned Soul music like Stevie Wonder, and Diana Ross & The Supremes.

Admittedly, even Geraldine was a bit taken aback by Pearl’s interest in the kind of bands that her friends listened to, like Joy Division and Bauhaus.

As it happened, she was listening to a recording of Joy Division’s Transmission and applying her trademark Cleopatra eye makeup when the call from Stella came through. She was on the train to Los Osos when she called Pearl to let her know whether or not the train would arrive on time or not Stella had taken up Pearl’s offer of a ticket to see Grinderman.

Pearl was ready to bust loose with an old friend. Before Stella had even arrived at the station she was already a sight for sore eyes…especially eyes that had seen far too many angry and bitter old coots – who might be better off set adrift on some ice floe – just because they didn’t always get their own way. No better than children, really, Pearl thought bitterly.

Anyway, on to less depressing thoughts…..

The rendezvous was nothing out of the ordinary; Pearl and Stella exchanged hugs upon meeting and headed over to the nearest Hoagie Queen for a bite to eat.

What struck Stella was that her old boss from the Hoagie Queen in Magmaville, Tarsem Chopra, was running one of the Los Osos franchises. This brought back memories of her first job, where she worked with her ex-boyfriend Jarvis, and how the two of them would stifle the urge to break into “Moose and Squirrel” jokes as he did his best to run the place.

Tarsem was a kind of hero of sorts to her. There was a moment when she was just beginning to feel a low coming on and the last customer of the afternoon rush just wanted to talk and talk and talk and wouldn’t let her break away. Yeah, y’know I’ma gonna say it…

He held her captive with all that incessant jibber-jabber!

To this day Stella didn’t know whether Tarsem is as familiar with the effects of insulin therapy as her family, nor whether he just knew her too well, or whether he just knew that particular customer too well. All the same, he paged Stella into his office.

She went in, Tarsem offered her a coke and decided to have Jarvis make her a 6” sub as soon as he dealt with that last customer himself. So Jarvis made Stella one of her favorites, a turkey & bacon sub with monterey jack cheese on a whole wheat sourdough half a loaf.

So that was a standout moment for Stella. Much of the rest of her employment with Tarsem was spent behind the counter assisting in the construction of many 6” and foot long submarine sandwiches for the long lines of customers that often went in and out the front door. This often made it difficult for the employees to get a piss – let alone a meal – break. Luckily, Stella learned quickly to employ new glucose management strategies to accommodate her job.

“Small fucking world, innit.” Stella said as she layed eyes on her old boss. The two of them ordered teriyaki chicken subs and raspberry flavored ice teas to take back to Pearl’s place. The girls would need to spend almost every waking moment preening and getting ready to see Grinderman perform live before making their way to the front of the ticket line so that they could get a spot directly in front of Nick Cave’s microphone stand.

They stayed only long enough to have a brief conversation with Tarsem, during which Stella had finally got the answer she was seeking. “How did you know I was having a glucose emergency back then?”

“I am former boxing champ!” Tarsem answered in his very thick Indian accent. “When someone ‘bout to go down for count, I know…hokay!”

They came, they saw.

Grinderman disappointed no one.

It felt good to forget about work and diabetes and self-centered boyfriends, and just cut loose and get wild and crazy for one night. Well worth the 4 ½ hr wait at the front of the ticket queue.

Back at Pearl’s place the girls were still keyed up. Stella would’ve loved to hang out at the backstage door for a chance to meet Nick Cave, but she knew her disease too well. The longer she waits before she eats again, the more irritable and impatient she’d become. And besides, there’s never a guarantee of meeting a famous anybody after the show unless they decide to do some kind of meet and greet. Additionally, Stella would rather be at her best when meeting someone new or famous…not her worst.

The Hoagie Queen was closed for the night, so the two of them just went straight home and had the remains of a cheeseless chicken and veggie pizza (Pearl’s allergic to dairy, y’see) that was ordered while they waited in line for the concert. Not atypical of a post-concert high, Pearl put on her copy of Grinderman’s album as they ate and talked.

Now, Pearl and Stella were speculating on what it would be like as a rock star wife…

“I don’t know if the money and fame would be worth it, really.” Stella, ever the pragmatic one, opined. “There’d still be too much competition between me and the other fans, and I’d be forced to accept all that as just an occupational hazard. It sounds boring, but I may as well marry a doctor instead. He’d at least help me score a good health care insurance plan.”

“You’d think that’d be the next logical progression, with the kind of families we come from.” Pearl said.

“I couldn’t be truly happy, though. It’d be too much like my normal life. What about you; do you think you’d be happy as Mrs. Nick Cave?”

“The marriage would last a day, I’d be harping on him about his lifestyle, and then he might, y’know, smack me around like my dad did.”

“Fuck men, anyway.” Stella damn near spat out.

“You did! Look what came of it!” Pearl pointed out. “I’d’ve loved to see you storm into The Bauhaus Café in your catsuit!!” she added, laughing. “I bet you looked really hot…really, really hot!”

“Well, that would go over real well with Kent, you drooling over me in my catsuit!” Stella laughed.

“To be honest I couldn’t give two shits. It’s funny…” Pearl added becoming a bit more thoughtful. “You’d think after such a messy death like what my dad had, I’d become all clingy and co-dependent, and wanting him around me all the time, subjecting him to all my vulnerability….but I don’t”

“So I guess you’re not really interested in getting back together with him, or coming back to Magmaville, then?”

“I might come for a visit from time to time, but I really like it here. I’ve got a good job, I’ve got my own place, and there’s all kinds of cool nightclubs I can go party at.

“Maybe you should move over here, get away from all the control freaks, start a new life, pursue your dreams…”

That sounded like a not at all bad idea. She loved hanging with Punk Mother and with her sister, but was really beginning to feel like her life in Magmaville was getting old.

Pearl continued, “You could move in with me, and Tarsem would probably hire you right away.”

Working for Tarsem again probably wouldn’t exactly be like old times, nothing ever is. All the same the thought of a real change in her life appealed to Stella. Everything she’d want and need would be right here in Los Osos.

Plus Stella sensed something about Pearl that maybe she was dying to reveal, and was curious enough to explore that part of her. After all, here she was extending this invitation to her almost in earnest. In fact, the more Pearl spoke of the idea, the less inclined Stella was to conjure up excuses not to take her up on it. Pearl couldn’t be any more notorious of a diabetes cop than anyone else she’s put up with in Magmaville…seeing as the two of them had been chowing down on pizza, fercrissakes.

Seems every fiber of Stella’s being was just telling her to go for it. There wasn’t that much to lose by it. Lenora would understand. Cannes might prattle on about that damned black dog nightmare she seems to have all the time, but hey her sister isn’t her mother. And isn’t it about time she tried to make it on her own anyway?

“I’m so over Magmaville, Pearl. How serious are you really about having a bitch like me living with you?” She had to ask, y’know. “Coz I’m so close to saying yes to this right now!”

“I missed you, Stella. I want us to hang out together like we used to do. Even if we end up fighting all the time over the dishes or whatever, y’know…I want us to be together.”

So, that’s where this is headed. Pearl was clearly lonely and in love with Stella, that was too obvious.

Suddenly the two girls stopped talking, and looked deep into each other’s eyes. There was no doubt about it; those two wanted each other. So they kissed…

And they kissed again…

And then they started making out.

And before you knew it, the two of them were making love while the entire Grinderman c.d. played on album repeat again and again. Their limbs were entwined around each other, their hands exchanged caresses and more kisses and more fondling each other gently and passionately. Stella enjoyed every second of this. As Pearl began to caress Stella’s pubes, gently stroking the soft curls between her new lover’s legs, Stella let out the most passionate sigh Pearl’s ever heard. And then Stella said, “Oh my God, Pearl. I just love that you’re being so gentle with me. It’s such a turn on!” This was such a nice change of pace from the feigned cruelty and aggression that She and Dylan had been acting out too frequently. She needed this gentleness…She needed this change.

She needed a good woman.

The day came for Stella to return to Magmaville. She didn’t want to leave Pearl, but if she was to move in with her, she had to go home and get all her things packed up and somehow make arrangements to have it all moved to Los Osos.

With that in mind, Stella boarded the train to Magmaville.

As soon as she found her seat, Stella settled down for a nap.

The train was halfway home when Stella woke up, feeling a low coming up fast. She checked her purse and luggage for a snack of some sort, and found that she’d forgotten to pack anything of the sort. There weren’t even any glucose tablets.

Luckily, there was a snack bar on the train. Unfortunately it was closed.

Stella began to look for a conductor who could maybe help her…and as she did she became dizzy and confused and stumbled for a bit. Luckily a conductor saw Stella stumble.

Unluckily he assumed she was drunk off her ass. He pulled the emergency brake, opened the exit doors, and ordered her off the train.

Unluckily also she wasn’t allowed get her luggage. Luckily she had her purse with her.

Luckily also, her cell phone was in it, and was still fully charged from the night before.

Stranded in the woods somewhere between Los Osos and Magmaville, she realized that she was in real danger. She thought briefly about how Cannes prattled on about this nightmare, but saw no black dogs anywhere.

Luckily, amid the hypoglycemia-induced confusion, she’d seen a road sign indicating that she was 13 miles away from the nearest town. She began to dial the number for The Glamourous Beauty Salon.

Meanwhile, back at The Glamourous Beauty Salon, Cannes had finished with her last client of the day. She paused before sweeping up the hair clippings to take a nice big drink from her can of Coke. Then she felt a huge belch coming on. So she let out a long, loud, and altogether ungodly sounding croak that came from deep inside of her belly. The other hairdresser and clients roared with laughter at the noise.

Somehow amid all this hilarity, Cannes heard the business phone ring and answered it. It was Stella.

“Cannes!!! Cannes, it’s me Stella. I’m in trouble! I’ve gotten kicked off the train by this dumb-assed conductor who thought I was drunk, and I’m stranded in the woods!!!”

“What?!? Slow down, Estelle…What happened??”

“I got kicked off the train coz the conductor thought I was drunk off my ass. And now I’m stranded in the woods! I’ve got nothing to stop this low that’s hit me!” Stella was really freaking out.

“Okay, can you tell me which part of the woods you’re in?”

“It looks like I’m about 13 miles south of Monterey, somewhere in the Los Alamos National Forest. I can maybe make it over to the side of the highway…maybe.”

“Do you have anything to tide you over in the meantime, till I get us to a fast food place or something in the next town?”

“No! I’m such an idiot! I thought maybe the snack bar on the train would be open.”

“Okay, I’m almost through here. I’m coming to get you, and I’m bringing some food.”

“Please hurry…my head’s spinning right now.”

At that moment, Clay came into the salon.

“Clay!” Cannes was relieved to see him, as he was the fastest driver she knows. “Stella’s in deep trouble. She’d had a low and the train crew thought she was drunk, so they kicked her off and she’s stranded in the woods without anything! We gotta go get her, coz she’s sinking fast, I’m sure!!”

With that she and Clay jumped into his jeep, snagging 2 more cans of Coke, a couple of apples, and 2 sticks of white chocolate almond biscotti that had been stored in the mini-fridge at the salon, and hauled as on the road to Monterey to look for Stella.

Meanwhile, Stella began to make her stumbly way to the side of the road. And as she did, she commanded her liver to action. “C’mon, liver, get to work!! I need glucagon, stat!!”

As Clay floored it, Cannes prayed that she wouldn’t get stuck behind some slow-driving old coot, or get pulled over by a mean cop looking to meet his quota, or hit a dog on the way -- especially not a black dog – or even get into an accident themselves.

In her state it was a struggle for Stella to get to the highway. But she made it somehow. Once there, she sat by the curb to wait for her sister. She felt her head spinning and the adrenaline burned through her arms, and she was shaking uncontrollably.

She saw a powder blue pick up truck approach and decided to hitch a ride to Monterey. Maybe this guy would just drop her off at some truck stop there, and she had money enough to get food. So she’ll call Cannes once she gets there and have her come meet her at the truck stop.

She stuck out her thumb and sure enough the pick up pulled over. It stopped several yards ahead of her, then backed up to where she was seated.

“Please help me!!” she blurted out to the driver.

The driver spoke, “You don’t look so good, little lady. C’mon inside the cab.” He slid over to the passenger side and gave her a hand into the vehicle. There was a can of Coke in the drink holder next to the driver’s seat. He offered her a drink, and she thanked him as she drank…still shaking like a leaf.

As she drank, the driver started getting a trifle frisky and that was putting it mildly. “Come closer, little lady.” She was feeling faint, so she moved closer to him so that she wouldn’t have far to fall in case she did pass out.

The driver moved his arm over her shoulders and his hand fondled her breast. That was enough to jolt Stella out of feeling safe. She realized that she was in a new kind of danger. She struggled to get away from him, but he pulled her closer to him. Somehow she got one of her arms free and jabbed her fingers in his eyes. Her fingernails were long and sharp.

She got out of the cab of the truck and began to stumble back towards the woods to hide. She just needed time to make one last call to Cannes. She didn’t drink much of the driver’s soda at all, and from what she had to drink she detected an aftertaste of Rum. In her state it was dangerous to have any alcohol at all…

Cannes cell rang as Clay drove. It was Stella again. Her voice seemed to cut in and out as she spoke, but Cannes could make out, “…blue pick up…coming after me…” and then no more. Cannes cell phone went dead.

The full sentence actually was, “Cannes, this psycho in a blue pick up truck pulled over and acted like he would help me, but now he’s coming after me, and he means to rape me!!!!”

“Could you make out any of it?”

“All I could get clearly was something about a blue pick up truck.”

“Good God,” Clay exclaimed with alarm. “She could be desperate enough to try something stupid like hitch a ride to the next town and met up with some serial rapist!!” With that he floored the accellerator pedal.

About 5 minutes later they spotted the blue pick up truck parked by the highway. Clay slowed down and pulled over in back of the vehicle. Stella was nowhere to be seen, so the two of them figured she was in the woods somewhere. It was still broad daylight, so it wouldn’t be hard to spot any fresh shoe prints and broken twigs among the shrubbery.

Clay dialed 911 on his cellphone. He had a bad feeling that the police would need to be involved in the growing mess this was fast becoming. Cannes spotted an opening by the side of the road and immediately found two sets of fresh footprints. Clay followed, carrying the thermos box of food and drink, and his bowie knife.

The shrubbery was a crappy hiding place. That slimy thug had no trouble finding Stella. As soon as she turned off her cell phone she saw him towering over her, and let out a scream. She had no chance to get away. He was on top of her in an instant, pinning her down.

“So this is how you treat someone who comes to your rescue? You rude little bitch, I’m gonna have to teach you some manners!”

Luckily, the shrubbery was such a lousy hiding place that even Cannes and Clay had no trouble finding them. “Get OFF her, you creep!!” Clay shouted right before he gave the rapist a good swift kick in the head. The force of that blow was enough to knock the thug off of Stella.

Right then, Stella had a seizure, going into severe convulsions. Cannes raced to her sister and held her as the seizure shook Stella’s body. The convulsions lasted a good 30 seconds and then Stella went completely still…

And then she stopped breathing.

The thug was unconscious as well. Clay had kicked him so hard that his head hit a very large rock in the ground as he fell off Stella.

But it was already too late. Stella was gone.

Between the severe hypoglycemia, the absence of any real food, the scumbag, and finally that seizure, Stella was pretty much screwed.

The next thing Cannes and Clay knew, there was a siren screaming in the distance, getting louder as it came nearer. The police were on the way to help clean up this mess.

It turns out that the police had been on the lookout for a blue pick-up truck belonging to a man suspected of being a serial rapist/murderer. Thirteen women had been brutally raped and all but one of them had been murdered. Somehow, the 13th had survived the attack and was able to give the police a full and accurate description of the man and the vehicle he drove…including the license plate number.

Stella was his last victim.

The two of them returned to Magmaville. They had a long talk with the police at the scene of the crime. No charges were filed against Clay or Cannes. Stella’s attacker was taken into custody after regaining consciousness. Nothing left to do but go straight to The Bauhaus Café, where Punk Mother was anxiously awaiting news about Stella.

When they arrived, they found Punk Mother seated at a booth, trembling and sweating. She was sipping a bit too slowly on some orange juice. In Stella’s absence, she was pulling double duty with Kent. The café was swamped so there was no chance of either one of them to take a break and recharge in any way. Realizing that Punk Mother might be going low, Clay and Cannes sat on each side by her, and held her hand as she waited for the trembling to subside.

“Where’s Stella?” Her voice trembled as she asked. There would be no good way to put what had happened to Stella in words. So they just told her what they saw when they found her.

Punk Mother could say nothing but just sat trembling and sweating. She went into shock; she wanted to cry, but she was just shaking too badly. She couldn’t even bring herself to eat any of the croissant sandwich that was prepared for her, nor take any more orange juice. Clay and Cannes begged her to eat, telling her they’d already witnessed one death and just couldn’t take another death so soon.

She reluctantly began to eat, taking very small bites, barely able to swallow, she was too choked up. Clay and Cannes stayed by her side, comforting her, teary eyed themselves, holding her free hand, and prayed with her.

Despite all her outward rebellion, Punk Mother was a deeply religious person.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Anniversary And Chaos

Those mangy blokes Milo and Teddy boy will pull any crap to get Punk Mother to take some exercise.

Roight, ‘eer’s ‘ow it pleed oot! Punk Mother was just about to drive to the Bauhaus Café, see. Just as Milo was giving her a g’bye kiss, ‘e fookin snatches the keys to ‘er jeep from ‘er ‘and and then tosses them t’ Teddy, startin a game o’fookin’ keepaway roit in th’ bleedin’ froont yard, loik. Nai this malarky gaes oon fee a bit, then as Ted catches them once more, ‘ee breaks intae a roonner with Punk Mother tearing after ‘im, cussin ‘im out callin’ ‘im the roight barstard ‘ee is.

Aftae a fee yards, Teddy gets quoit winded froom oll th’ runnin about, and Punk Mother is gaining on ‘im, see. Se ‘ee feigns trippin on a stone an’ takes a foll, loik. The P.M. gets just close enough t’ beat the living shite outta ‘im, an’ that’s when ‘ee tosses ‘er keychain a fee yards away from ‘im. Sae then she gaers off t’ fetch ‘em, remarking, “Had enough, then?”

Little did she realoize that all this toim Milo’s ‘ad ‘is aen set o’spaerkeys tae th’ Jeep stashed awoy in ‘is pocket th’ ole toim. Sae as she’s muckin’ about w/Teddyboy, ‘ee cloimbs inte th’ Jeep, see, an shooves ‘is key inter th’ ignition, waitin’ fee just th’ roight maement…that being when Teddy gives oop and let’s ‘er ‘ave th’ keys back.

So as soon as she starts gloating at Teddy with the “Had enough” nonsense, Milo starts th’ fookin’ engine an pulls oot o’th droivewoy in ‘er fookin’ Jeep, wunnhe. Punk Mother starts fumin’ loik as that bastard husband o’ers pulls away. Boy this toim Teddy’s back on ‘is feet again and runnin’ tae th’ jeep and then ‘ee jumps intae it as it pulls away from their ‘ouse.

“If ye wont yer Jeep back, coom an’ get it, then!!” Milo taunted as ‘ee and Teddy sped away.

“Yee…Coom an’ gerrus, ye olde sackoo bloober!!” Teddyboy parrotted straightaway.

But PunkMother wan’t about t’ give the bastards the satisfaction o’running. Noo fookin’ woy! She walked th’ entoir moil an ahaff from their ‘ome t’the Bauhaus Café.

Milo larfed. “At least we got ‘er t’toik some exercoise et loong last, dinnwe.” “ee said w/a hoigh foive.

Teddyboy, ‘owever, wuz quick tae point oot, as th’ 2 of them drove t’ th’ café, “Look ‘ere tho, mate. That wus oll well and good, but we’re gonna ‘ave tae troy anoother tack, aintwe. She’s noot gone fancy a bit o’keepway every soddin’ mornin, isshe.”

“Ne’er moind, mate.” Milo chuckled. “Oi’ve gorra big surproise fe’er oon our anniversary. An’ she’s not getting oot of it.”

The two of them were set to throw a huge anniversary party at The Bauhaus Café to celebrate 22 years of marital chaos. Milo no doubt would insist on a bit of skanking (that word used to describe a form of dancing that was done to punk and ska music back in the 80’s, well before the word “skank” became “whore” – ified.) “fee owld toim’s soik!” But that’s what she expects.

What she doesn’t expect is a trip to Jock’s Gym.

Jock’s Gym is no different from any other fitness center, really. You’ve got your treadmills and stationary bikes, stair climbers, rowing machines, weights, resistance training machines, spinners, exercise balls of all sizes, jump ropes, mats, ab rollers, …shit, man, they had every kind of exercise machine and prop that’s ever been invented for the sole purpose of promoting physical fitness. There’s also a separate room for exercise classes like karate, yoga, aikido, tai chi, and kickboxing. They’ve got a private area for massage, spa therapy, jacuzzis, and a steam room. There’s shower facilities, locker rooms, toilets being an absolute must, and a scale to weigh yourself on. And to top it all off, they’ve got a full-on snack bar featuring smoothies, energy drinks, fruits, whole grain baked goods, whatever works for the onset of hypoglycemia which can and does often happen after a good workout no doubt.

Milo’s motive was to a) lure his lovely wife into a realm where she could choose to do any exercise she likes on as much of any kind of equipment as she prefers, and b) terrorize the other fitness buffies. In this matter he’d be killing two fookin’ birds with one stone…literally. So with that in moind, the three of them got dressed up like they were going to a Sex Pistols concert and headed over to the gym to see what kind of reactin they’d get from all the patrons who hang out over there.

Upon arrival, Punk Mother just rolled her eyes and said, “Gawd, another pathetic attempt to get me to exercise.”

She was no dummy.

“Look at it this woy, loov,” Milo said to her. “Itser big ole room brummin’ wid lots o’ goigantic toys and ye get ter ploy wid as many as ye loik.”

“Don’t patronize me, Milo.”

“Anywoy, it’s oither that, or ye get tae sit on yer fat arse being bored oota yer fookin’ skull.”

Immediately realizing which one was the lesser of the two evils, Punk Mother drew a heavy sigh and said with resignation, “’K, fine! Let’s do this!”

“ ‘ang on a tick! You’ll need th’ roight gear.” Milo pointed out as he handed her the bag of workout clothes to her.

“A jazzercise costume…” Punk Mother rolled her eyes yet again. The outfit looked a bit too 80’s. “Well, I know what I’m gonna wear for Halloween; the very type of outfit no sane person would be caught dead in!” She guffawed at the end of this sentence. And with that the three of them changed into their exercise clothes and as they stepped out of the locker rooms sure enough all they needed were superhero capes to complete their looks. As it was they could totally pull off a campy parody of comic book heroes with all those leotards, headbands, and leg warmers.

They knew they looked absolutely ridiculous.

Putting on airs of being “dandy twits” as Milo put it, “coz ‘ats whot we look loik, innit, a load of dandy twits, daynwe..”

“Speak for yourself, you dandy twat!” Punk Mother remarked.

Ignoring her, Milo turned to Teddy and said, “Roight then, Oi’m oll dressed oop an ready t’ leep toll buildings at a single baynd!”

With that they went straight to the exercise balls with the intent to play dodgeball straight away. Milo and Teddy eyed the medicine balls – weighted balls about the size of the average soccer ball though some were a bit smaller – to get a feel for just how heavy they were.

“Cor blimey!!!” The look on Milo’s face when he grabbed one of them was priceless.
“’ees weeah fookin’ toon!!”

Just then a giant exercise ball, tossed by none other than Punk Mother herself, bounced off the back of Milo’s head. She was laughing. “These balls are bigger than what you lot have got!”

Then she tossed another exercise ball at her companions…and then another. Then the boys threw the balls she tossed back at her in retaliation. Soon the exercise balls were flying all around the exercise area where the three old fart punk rockers had congregated.

Then Punk Mother chased Milo to the cardio area where the stairclimbers and stationary bikes and treadmills were. I don’t know how the two of them managed to pull it off, Punk Mother being a woman of very large figure – I mean, go figure! lol! -- but somehow after Milo got the treadmill up to speed Punk Mother jumped on behind him and the two of them were running on the same treadmill. I’m sure the supervisor was as puzzled by the site of this as I am, but that didn’t stop her from reiterating the “one person at a time on the cardio machines, please!” rule to them both. She must’ve been secretly amused because she was shaking her head and chuckling quietly to herself as she went back to spotting some other gym patron.

It wasn’t long before the staff at Jock’s Gym decided they had enough of the chaos brought to them by the old punks. Regardless of whether it was Milo making the most obscene squawking noises while working the back exercise thing or Punk Mother tying Teddyboy to one of the weight machines and doing her imitation of Stella Yossarian’s dominatrix schtick that put the staff over the edge didn’t seem to matter. The three of them were unceremoniously thrown out of the fitness center.

“Well!” Punk Mother did declare. “That was a great waste of time and money! Fun while it lasted, tho.”

Poor Teddy, tho. He was just starting to feel a tad low in his glucose levels. His heart began beating erratically and he began to feel dizzy.

Just then along came a very old friend in their Punk Rock circle – One Cheetah Bikini. Cheetah was a black British woman with massive dreadlocks who in the good old days played keyboards for Smegma. She happened to be in town and as she was in the parking lot, she came up to Milo and Teddy to chat them up. Punk Mother would’ve been glad to see her except for the fact that she was already late for her hair appointment at The Glamourous Beauty Salon with Cannes. And she was impatient to get a move on. She decided not to wait for Milo to wrap it up, so seeing an opportunity to get revenge for the game of keepaway earlier, pulled out of her parking space away from the two men and out of the parking lot…and on her merry way to the salon.

“Whot wuz that oll about, then?” Cheetah asked.

“She’s loit tae dee ‘er ‘air, dahling!” Milo responded. “Saeryee coomin tae th’ pahty, then?”

“Yea! Wouldn’t miss it f’th’ world, wouldeye. Been tae loong since oy’ve attended any o’thaes disahstehs o’yers. Sae Oy’ll seeyer then, shall I!” Cheetah replied as she made her way to the thrift store located in the same mall as Jock’s Gym.

Milo turned to the now empty parking space and realized that Punk Mother had gotten her revenge. This was followed by a rather long blue streak of expletives shouted out loud, “Lenora, ye bloody bitch!! Ye fookin’ hooer!! Where’d ye fooking bugger oof tae, then??? Get back ooer ‘ere and coom get us, ye fat slag, ye!!!”

He could dish it out, but he couldn’t take it, that Milo. * snrk! *

The patrons at The Glamourous Beauty Salon could hear him all the way across the street, and were busting up laughing at the sight of the two men in jazzercise leotards in front of the gym, one of them throwing a right old fit!! At one point, Andre Simmons shouted back at them. “Shut up already, bitch!!!” before he resumed cracking up. By this time, Punk Mother had a hairdresser’s apron wrapped around her body by Cannes, which returned at least a little bit of her dignity anyway, and was getting her hair washed in preparation for her hairstyle.

Back at the parking lot, Milo turned to Teddy and noticed that he’d broken into a bit of a sweat. Additionally, Teddy’s neuropathy was getting really bad now; his fingers were tingling and he kept trying to shake off the growing numbness.

“Ye ollroight, mate?”

“Nae, Oi’m not well a’toll!”

Realizing how potentially dire the situation was, Milo reasoned that there was only one thing for it. The two of them would have to brave a jay walk across the highway in rush hour traffic to get to the salon.

You can only imagine the mixture of reactions from the motorists as Milo and Teddy crossed the highway dressed up like washed up comic book heroes; shocked, horrified, amused, some a bit angry about the danger these two men were putting themselves and everyone else in. One particularly irate motorist who bore a striking resemblance to Johnny Knoxville shoved his head and fist out of the driver’s window of his car to shout, “HEY GET OUT OF THE FUCKING ROAD, YOU JACKASSES!!!”

And here’s where it turns into the “Big white bird with fuzzy pink feet” moment. A couple in a mini-van reacted this way:

“Did you see that?”

“Yeah! Looks like a couple of washed up comic book heroes on kryptonite!”

A cell phone rings in the mini van and the driver answers.

“Hey, did you see that?” the voice on the cell phone exclaims.

“What did you see?”

“Looks like a couple of washed up comic book heroes on kryptonite!!!”

By some unexpected miracle, the two washed up comic book – ahem – Milo and Teddy made it safely across the highway to the salon without causing any accidents, without getting killed themselves, and without Teddy passing out from low blood sugar.

As they entered the salon, they saw Cannes Yossarian in the process of combing out Punk Mother’s hair in preparation for adding new purple highlights to the jet-blackened tresses. The entire clientele and staff of the Glamourous Beauty Salon erupted in laughter at the sight of those jazzercised looking men in their ridiculous get up bursting into the suite.

“Look ‘ere!” Milo bellowed. “We’ve got a sever glucose emergency roight ‘ere!”

“The jeep’s in the back, you know where the stash is. Don’t you dare make Candace go fetch it!” Punk Mother retorted. “She’s busy and she’s on the clock.” So Milo was forced to head through the back door, grumbling under his breath.

Cannes snickered, “You’re so mean, Lenora!” As she began to apply the peroxide, Punk Mother continued as Teddy sat down holding his head in his hands, “For the record, it serves you right! First off making me walk to work – it’s a wonder I didn’t go hypo myself because of it, btw – and then for making me late for this appointment!”

“Oh, shut up, Lenora! We wuz joost troin tae get yer soom exercoise loik!” Teddy retorted weakly.

“How typical; you two can dish it out but you can’t take it!”

“Look, that’s enoof nae, missiz!” Milo ordered, poking his head back into the salon. “’ee’s quite close to doying nae oll thanks t’ye!”

“Don’t gimme that crap, Milo. He’s not gonna die! Anyway, it’s his own fault for not having pockets so that he can keep a granola bar on his person…Dumbass! If you care for him so much, why don’t you get his stash instead of fighting with me?”

“Foin!” No point arguing with her, as it might turn out she’s right anyway. Milo went back to the jeep for Teddy’s stash.

Cannes resumed work on Punk Mother’s hair. “Don’t be stingy with the purple, love. It’s our anniversary.” Punk Mother requested.

“Lovely. What’ll you two do to mark the occasion? Beat the crap outta each other? What’s the cover charge for that?” Cannes wisecracked.

Meanwhile, amidst the hypoglycemic confusion that caused his head to spin, Teddy was sure he felt something jab him in his right hip. It turns out his leotard did have pockets after all. So as he reached into his right pocket he found that he did have a substantial stash of Starburst fruit chews stashed away in it.

“Oy! Well, fook me, then! Turns oot Oi ‘ad a bit o’candy on me person the ‘ole toim!” Teddy declared. Just then Milo returned with Teddy’s emergency stash and saw the packet of Starburst in his hand.

“Whoy, ye steepid fooker!! Ye fookin’ bastard!! We’ve joost risked our loives on yer accunt, and ye’ve ‘ad fookin’ candy on ye th’ ole toim!! Oi’ll…”

Milo was just about to lunge for Teddy’s scrawny little neck when Cannes barged right in front of him with a pair of scissors. She yelled, “Don’t you dare!!! Don’t you even think it!!!” She held the scissors to his face. “You back off him, I mean it!” It was a kind of reflex she had, culled from back in school when she had to defend Stella anytime Jarvis or Kent tried to bully her snack away from her.

Milo backed down and tossed the stash at Teddy’s feet, as Teddy remarked. “You’re barkin’ mad, Milo.” Milo said nothing. He just sank down into an empty chair, feeling like a right arse!

Sensing that Teddy was safe and could treat his glucose emergency in peace, Cannes resumed her work on Punk Mother, apologizing to Andre and the other patrons that they had to see that.

That very same morning at the Yossarians’ “Mansion”…

Fergie Mum-Mum and her stepson Mortimer had spend the previous night with Stella and Cannes. Fergie being Fergie, she wanted to check on her granddaughters to make sure that both were on the straight and narrow in their diabetes management…especially Stella.

By this time, Stella’s kinky little romance with Dylan had really been heating up. And for his part, Clay could not stay away from Cannes for five minutes it seems. So, between all the B & D games in Stella’s room and the steamy lovemaking that took place where Cannes “slept”, Fergie and Mortimer found it quite noisy and could not fall asleep at night. So they ended up moving into the nearest Econo-Lodge…where it isn’t expected to be quiet.

How Fergie rued the day that Richard Yossarian decided that he would rather be a “biker hooligan” instead of a nice, quiet, shy little nerdy boy he used to be in High School. He’d’ve been a better influence on her daughter’s children if he had, she felt.

Whatever… Anyway…

As Mortimer carried the last of the luggage into his stepmother’s Cadillac Seville, Fergie had a stern warning for Stella. “My dear, you are far too strict with your men. You’ll never marry as long as you insist on being so darned uppity all the time. It’s very unattractive in a woman.” With that she pocketed her electronic voice amplifier in her purse and wheeled towards the passenger side of the automobile.

Morty confided to Stella, “She’s got a point, y’know. You can get away with that attitude when you’re old and crotchety like your grandmother!” On that note he packed their luggage in the trunk and proceeded with the cumbersome task of assisting Fergie into the passenger side of her ride.

The two of them could be quite amusing with their friendly enemy routine, Cannes thought.

“Good God! That’d better not be my future, young lady!” Dylan said to Stella. “I’d otherwise have to give you a good ole fashioned spanking…yet again!

“I mean, geez, I love both my parents, but don’t I have to listen to enough of them going at each other already? Guyyy!”

As the Cadillac pulled away, Stella could only roll her eyes and go, “Cccchhh, she’s such a nag! GRRRRRRRR!!!”

To which Cannes snorted and commented, “Anybody with a slight hint of diabetes in the house and she’s on food patrol.”

“Anybody??? Really, Cannes, ‘Anybody???’ “ Stella retorted. “It’s me she harps on the most if she harps on anybody!!”

A cough of authority left Cannes’ throat as she interjected. “ * Ahem! * um, excuse me, but since I went into that coma, she’s been getting on my case as well!”

“Well, so what?? Because of that she probably thinks I’m a bad influence on you with what she calls my attitude problem. In fact, “ Stella added. “I’m putting $20.00 on her making a comment about me indulging in even one of his…” -- at this she points her thumb in Dylan’s direction – “ever so healthy low-carb though still extremely decadent desserts!”

Dylan blushed, not sure whether he should be embarrassed or flattered.

“Oh yeah?!? Well, $50 says Morty will go bananas trying to keep her off both our backs!” Cannes countered.

With that the betting pool began. Dylan responded to Stella’s demand, “Who’s with me on this?” by placing his $50 on Stella’s side. He knew nothing of Fergie and Morty save for what Stella had told him on a couple of occasions.

Clay new better than to bet against Cannes, even though his gut level feeling told him that he and his lover would be out about $100 altogether. All he could say was, “Sorry, Stell.” and pray for Mortimer’s incessant intervention.

“T’chuh! You think you’re sorry now?” Stella chortled. “Wait till Mum-Mum rolls by our table.”

Back at the Haskin’s “estate,” Punk Mother and Teddy were preparing a meal; poached salmon with wild rice pilaf and Caesar salad. Milo was in the living room crying his eyes out. I guess the events of the afternoon proved too much for the man. Either that, or the frustration of trying to get his Lenore to take some fookin’ stock in her well being and take on a more proactive role in managing her diabetes just got to him and not for the first time, either.

Punk Mother took little notice. Instead, her thoughts turned to the way those two crazy Scots had braved crossing a very busy 4-lane highway during rush hour traffic, while Teddyboy struggled to keep from going unconscious along the way – from “sinking,” as Teddy often put it. She turned to Teddy and asked, “How ya doin?”

“Oi’m ollroight, arnteye!” Teddy answered, then pointing towards where Milo was seated, added matter of fact, “ ‘Ees not so good nae, issee.”

“The trouble with him is that he takes my so-called problems way too seriously.” Punk Mother stated with all authority. “I wish he’d stop worrying about me all the time. He’s only driving himself insane along with the rest of us.”

“Nae, missuz. Ye noo it’s coz ‘ee looves ye a’noll.”

“That’s all well and good, Teddy…” Punk Mother countered. “But look how his fixation on my welfare has affected you! You couldn’t last a half-hour at that gym before you started running low, and the two of you damn near killed yourselves trying to get to your scooby snacks and had completely forgotten about the Skittles in your pocket in the process!”

“Stahbust cheehs, loov.”

“Whatever. My point is you need to mind your own affairs and your own health, alright? Don’t kill yourselves on my account, that’s all.”

“Wull…Oi’m not disagreen with ye point, loik, Lenora. Boot ‘ow many toims ‘ave we rescued ye from gerin intae a self-induced doiabetic cohmer??? If only ye’d toik yer aen advoice, moother, perhaps we’d oll get a jolly good noight’s kip at lerng lahst!”

“Look, neither one of you are really doing anyone any favors with all this incessant intervention on both your parts. Dare I say that the only difference between Stella and Candace’s grandmother and the two of you is that at least one of you proved to be better in bed?

“Doan think fe one moment that Fergie ain’t coomin froom th’ same level of concern abayt this mad disaez that ye, Oi, and thaez tee gulls daen th’ street are living with. Oi’m livin booth soids o’th feenz, loov, y’oondestand. Booth soids!”

“Pfft! For fuck’s sake, Teddy, you and Milo are old punk rockers, man! Don’t you think the more you force the issue the more you get rebelled against? Why do you think Stella and Cannes have that kind of attitude towards their own grandmother? They’ve got a little betting pool on whether Fergie will harass Stella or whether Morty will try to keep her off their backs…which will surely be settled at the party!

“Really, Ted. We see your point, but it gets so tiresome when other people judge who we are by our health issues and fail to see the whole picture. You know I’d much rather be defined by that black leather jacket Milo gave me for my 50th birthday. Isn’t the rest of the world repressive enough?”

“Wull, Oi reckon Oi can’t ‘elp but reloit, seen as Oi’ve ‘ad moi sheer o’gleecase coppers joompin oon me back, loik.”

“And I might add that I’m not much at juggling anything. I mean, you try running a café and taking care of your health to the extend that diabetes demands of all the slaves it lays claim to. For that matter, try helping me run the café, managing your own health, and getting your band together for a comeback performance on our stage.”

On that note, Punk Mother and Teddy began bringing the food to the table. By that time, Milo had moved himself there, still a bit teary-eyed, trying to compose himself.

“Awright, snap out of it already, you overgrown baby!”

“Look, Oi’m sorry, moother!” Milo wailed. “Oi’m sae fookin sick o’beatin me ‘ead aginst th’ brick wool ye’ve turned intae.” Then he snerfed.

“Well, don’t do that anymore, please, both of you, seriously!” Punk Mother gently ordered as she rubbed Milo’s shoulders. “Just be glad when I do let you have your way with me once in awhile. I ended up walking to work, which wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. We’ve been to the gym and had a good time up until we got kicked out. And just look at this meal! You couldn’t have a healthier meal unless we were all vegetarians! Now, in a few hours we’ll be going to the café to celebrate the fact that we’ve put up with each other for 22 years which is much longer than people far more famous than you have endured each other. So my advice to you, at least just for tonight, just stop taking this life we’ve been given so fucking seriously, and let’s just have a good time tonight.”

A small betting pool had formed around whether Fergie will start harping on Stella at the first opportunity or be prevented from doing so by Morty by the time the anniversary party at The Bauhaus Café was in full swing. Both the Yossarian sisters were on pins and needles awaiting the outcome.

But first Stella wanted to tease Kent, who had placed a bet in Cannes’ favor just to spite Stella for going out with Dylan the pastry chef. This was another thing that put Stella off of having much more to do with Kent than what was obviously unavoidable as an employee. Who wants to date a vindictive asshole with passive aggressive tendencies? Jarvis was bad enough with his drinking problem and abusive behavior, after all.

Everyone had hit the dance floor when the d.j. started playing the best England’s post punk era bands. Stella was dancing with some of the dudes who attended Clay’s surfing classes just to tease Kent and Dylan. Dylan, she suspected, would probably be in a mood to be the dominator for a change afterwards…as she’s had way too much fun punishing him so far. So to provoke that, she played the naughty little girl to the hilt, even going so far as to tell Dylan that she’s gonna do what she wants and he can’t do nothing about it, so neener-neener!

After all, Dylan loves a bad little girl.

Kent, meh, would just have to deal. He could do with being taken down another notch, anyway. She could see Kent going over to Dylan to talk shit about her to him. But Dylan found Kent a bit too easy to read, and was all like, “Oh, shut up willya, you bitchy little anal-clamp!”

Just the idea that anyone would come up with an insult like anal clamp still cracked Stella up!

Anyway, the happy crowd danced away to the tunes of Bauhaus, Joy Division, Caberet Voltaire, Siouxsie, Killing Joke, Motorhead, Caberet Voltaire, and The Fall to name but a handful. But soon the Yossarian sisters began to feel a bit peckish, and headed over to the banquet table for a bite to eat.

Now Dylan can make a mean low-carb chocolate cheesecake, which was precisely what Stella went for. Cannes decided to indulge in a slice of that as well, a nice big slice that she intended to split with Clay. The three of them found a table and carried their desserts there. Dylan decided to join them, admitting to himself that he was just as eager to see what either Fergie or Morty would do. Kent followed to join them with a drink in his hand.

Stella was about a quarter of the way through her sliver of cheesecake by the time Fergie took notice of any activity going on at the Yossarian table. Immediately Fergie made a bee line for their table before Mortimer even had the chance to stop her.

She pulled right up beside Stella with a disapproving look on her face, and brought her voice amplifier out of her purse and right up to the base of her neck. “Honestly, Stella! I cannot leave you alone for more than 2 minutes without you pulling schenanigans like this!!! You know better than to eat that cheesecake!! I ought to take that away from you right now!!”

That was all Stella, Cannes, and their dates needed to hear, so she turned to the rest of the table and said, “That’s it! I won! Everybody pay up!!” Stella became about $150.00 richer thanks to Fergie. Dylan got to keep his money, having wisely placed his bet in Stella’s favor, and an additional $75 was paid to him by Stella.

Mortimer had only arrived in time to see Fergie go all aghast at the realization that her granddaughters were placing wagers on her, making a damned game of their disease. She was really going completely ballistic in that little microphone of hers. “I suppose you crazy young hooligans think this is all some funny joke, do you? Well, when you lose your eyesight and have both legs amputated, don’t come crawling to me for sympathy!!! Just let your empty gambling victories pay for your insulin from now on!!”

“Mortimer!” Cannes snapped with some amusement. “How could you be so derelict in your duties as a caretaker for our grandmama???”

“Yeah, Morty!! Your slacking has cost the rest of us $50 apiece!!” Clay scolded.

“How was I supposed to know you were all placing bets on me and your grandmother???” Mortimer protested. “Nobody ever tells me these things!!”

Fergie had no more to say; she was mortified. She insisted on being taken home, and Morty could only oblige.

Now, Milo and Punk Mother and Cheetah and Teddy were all slow dancing to some Psychedelci Furs tune. Punk Mother and Milo could hear Teddy grumble, “Aw, bugger! Oi’ve lost th’ bet, loik!”

Milo laughed as he said, “Troost ye tae bet on that nae accunt Morty, ye stupid twat!” Then both he and Punk Mother busted up laughing.

After dessert, Clay and Cannes began to dance again. The d.j. played a song off of Stereolab’s Fab Four Suture album called I Was A Sunny Rainphase. This was one of Cannes’ favorite bands. She feels a bit tearful, and stops dancing long enough to wipe away a tear in an effort to collect herself. Sometimes a song will move her to tears, sometimes it’s the beauty inherent in some present moment that might touch her very deeply. Either way, she recovers quickly and resumes dancing to that very favorite song of hers.

Now most fans of very, very early Caberet Voltaire will realize that their song, No Escape, is not really a slow dance number. But that didn’t stop Cannes and Clay from going into a cheek-to-cheek dance while the d.j. played that song. As they danced together, Clay began singing along to the lyrics in Cannes’ ear…not too loudly, but audible enough for her to hear it above the speakers. Cannes could only beam inside. At least he doesn’t suck!

There was another anniversary surprise in store for Punk Mother and Milo. Cheetah had somehow procured a nice big bottle of some brand of top quality absinthe. While the liquer was still illegal in the United States, Cheetah B. had some pretty good connections.

But they would need to go somewhere more private in order to enjoy this concoction the right way. So Milo, Punk Mother, Cheetah B., and Teddy all made their way to the office…in time to find Dylan and Stella making out.

“They’re cool, ma’am!” Milo defended the couple. “Actually, whoy doan ye join oos feah drink loik?”

Realizing what was about to be served, Dylan said, “Don’t mind if we do.”

“Roight, let’s get daen t’ brass tacks then, shall we.” Cheetah said as she removed the slotted spoon that was taped to the bottle and opened it. Milo found about 8 glasses, and figuring that maybe Cannes and Clay might be open to joining them, went out to look for them. He decided that this was too good not to share with his most trusted friends. Teddy found a bottle of imported water and a box of sugar cubes, which Clay had picked up on an inventory run earlier.

By the time Milo had brought Cannes and Clay over to the office, Cheetah was in the process of pouring the absinthe into each glass. This was followed with a sugar cube placed on the slotted spoon, which was set on top of each glass, one at a time. Then some water was poured over the sugar cube, filling each glass. Clay and Cannes had initially assumed that they would all be passing the peace pipe…perhaps even get to indulge in some high quality hashish.

Cannes doesn’t usually drink anything alcoholic, as it tends to make her extremities go all tingly and numb. But she was curious about absinthe, and she trusted that even with most of Dylan’s catered feast being ¾ devoured by the revelers there’d still be enough carbohydrates available to avert any severe glucose plummets.

Cheetah raised her glass. “A taest…Tee Milo and Lenora. Still croyzy after all dese yeez!!”

“Cheers!” Everyone clinked each other’s glasses. And then the group began to drink. Cannes took a sip. It was quite bitter from the wormwood, but the sugar and water took much of the edge off the taste. She had heard that the effects of Absinthe were similar to most hallucinogenic drugs. So she waited to see what visions the green fairie would bring to her.

What she saw, while it was nothing really new to her at all, really scared the shit out of her all the same. She’s had this recurring nightmare many times; the cemetary, the black dog, the woods, some random psychopath hovering over Stella, who was having a massive seizure. Cannes screamed in terror!!!

Luckily for the group, the D.J. had the volume on The Prodigy’s song Fuel My Fire cranked up all they way “past 11” so that even the loudest scream was drowned out.

“Holy Crap!!!” Cannes exclaimed as Clay made efforts to comfort her. “Even my first acid trip didn’t scare me that bad!!!” The rest of the group looked at her all terrified. “What was that all about, Cannes?”

“It’s my recurring black dog nightmare playing out right in front of me!!”

“Ooer, whot’s she on about?” Cheetah asked.

“She ‘as a phobier of black dogs.” Milo answered.

“No, Milo, not the dog. It’s what the dog had to show me that was terrifying.”

“Whot, a talking doggie?” Cheetah asked. “Oy should think that’d be rawther amusing…like a cartoon on the telly!”

“Look,” Stella interjected. “What she means is that she’s apparently foreseeing my death so she seems to think. Like I’m gonna be raped and then have a seizure in the woods. Like I plan on going camping anytime soon.”

“Oh dear…” Cheetah muttered. “That don’t sound like any fun a’toll, that.”

“Well, let me know when you want to go camping, coz I know where there are some great trails to hike.” Dylan said to her.

“I hate camping, tho.” Stella pointed out.

“Oh, look, never moind.” Teddy said as he pulled out a huge spliff. “Let’s oll get stained, ollreddy!”

So everyone finished their drinks as Teddy lit up the spliff and passed it around to everyone. And sure enough everyone mellowed out. Then they headed back to the party after everyone was satisfied that they were thoroughly ripped.

“I’m bummed, Clay. I was hoping to see fairies and gnomes and unicorns and things like that.” Cannes complained. “It wasn’t even a new vision, forcrissakes!”

“At least you saw something. I didn’t see a damned thing!” Clay responded. “What did you see, Milo?”

“Your mum on a bleedin kidney dialysis unit!” Milo replied bluntly.

“That not even funny, Milo!!” Clay shouted. Milo’s statement only served to remind him of his own childhood nightmare, which showed him the same damn thing. “Don’t even joke like that!!!”

“Cor blimey, lad. If oonly Oi were jaykin.” Milo could only hope.