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.

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