Black Friday…the biggest shopping day of the year.
The Bauhaus Café closed for thanksgiving and the day after. As tempting as it would have been to reopen the café to cash in on hungry shoppers, Punk Mother wanted to take a break from all responsibility. Between running the café and preparing the thanksgiving feast, she’s earned the right to slack off for a bit…as have her employees, many of which have left town to be with their families anyway.
Save for Stella, that is. After all her family lived right here in Magmaville.
By this time it has been a while since that terrible incident where her now ex-boyfriend Jarvis had kicked her out of her own house without a stitch on while she was enduring an insulin attack. As relieved as she was that she no longer had to deal with his boozed-out temper, she found herself depressed that it was over between them despite repeated attempts by him to initiate a reconciliation. She still loved him and missed him terribly. This emotional state she deemed to be sick and depraved and not necessarily in a good way. There was too much of a possibility of entrapment for her in that state, too easy to just go back to him, fall for his bullshit apologies and promises of never again which would only put her back at his drunken mercy. Well, no fucking way would she let her emotions play her like that, she decided. She was just going to have to get over all that no matter what.
So when Punk Mother invited her to come with on a girls day out shopping, she was only too eager to join her. She smuggled a nice big organically grown Fuji apple in her Kate Spade leopard print bag, along with a couple of joints she rolled from the stash that Cannes had given her as a consolation offering.
First things first of course. Punk Mother had to pick up some prescriptions from the local Pharm-Land drug & department store before she would do anything more. Both hated the name of the pharmacy, but as far as refilling prescriptions goes they were quicker about it than most national pharmacy chains could be bothered with.
Today was no exception, so after Punk Mother paid for her medicine – glyburide, insulin, and glucose test strips and lancets – she decided as long as she was there she’d go for a blood pressure reading. She approached the automatic blood pressure booth and stuck her arm in the tube.
While all this was going on, Stella found her attention turning to the over the counter items stationed in front of the pharmacy station. She noticed how the items were arranged; for some strange reason many of the sexual aids – condoms, lubricant, contraceptive sponges, and mini vibrators – had been placed next to the shelves where the glucose meters, lancets, glucose tablets, A1c test kits, and other diabetes supplies were displayed. With a sly smile she gazed at this arrangement, amused by the not at all subtle message that this was clearly sending to diabetes patients in this city.
Suddenly she felt a hand on her shoulder, which she knew belonged to Punk Mother. “C’mon, let’s get going.” She said to Stella. Her tone was more irritated than it was when they left the Yossarian “mansion” earlier that morning.
“So, how’s yer blood pressure?”
With that the two women moved on.
They found themselves at the Sweet Dreams lingerie shoppe, and were right smack dab in front of the sex toy section. The two of them were inspecting the assortment of dildos and vibrators, french ticklers, ben wa balls, and flavored massage oils. Somehow the conversation turned to the subject of Fergie.
“I tell ya, Lenora, if she had an English accent as thick as her skull, she’d be alright.” Stella remarked.
“I dunno, my dear, it’d take more than an interesting dialect to make her at least barely tolerable.” Punk Mother countered.
“Well, on that note how is it that you could stand Milo as long as you have. His harping isn’t much less grating either.”
“We have too much in common. Plus he’s great in the sack, and can be awfully generous every now and again.
“Years ago, in fact,” Punk Mother continued, “When I had to stop touring with his band, there was a time when they opened for Caberet Voltaire. I don’t know how he managed to find time to pull it off – apart from no longer having to make quite so many rest stops on my behalf – but he bought me a nice big dildo which looked very much like this one.” With that she pulled a reasonably large specimen of a vibrator off the shelf to show Stella.
As Stella examined the contraption, Punk Mother added, “But it was on the condition that I use that rather than go about shagging other men while he was gone. After all, one doesn’t know where strangers have been.”
“That is very generous, I must say.” Stella remarked. “I doubt most guys would even bother thinking of their girlfriends’ needs, much less accommodate us this way.”
“Unfortunately this, on the other hand, probably wouldn’t work for Fergie given her physical state.” she added.
“Well, honey, there’s just no pleasing some people…even when you do what they want you to do.”
“Ain’t that the truth!” Stella agreed as they chuckled. “Anyway, I’m going to go eat this apple outside before I start getting delirious. Otherwise, the shop girl will just kick me out anyway.”
“Just try not to get carried away by that mob out there, ‘k?” Punk Mother warned. She was in no mood to search for her companion during a low when they could be having lunch together instead.
Stella left the lingerie shop and found a huge outdoor windowsill that was just low and wide enough to pass for outdoor seating. A headless, legless mannequin dressed up in a red lace corset stood behind the glass that Stella leaned against as she bit into her apple. As she ate, she watched the crowd as they buzzed by her; a bit too close at times, but it wasn’t anything she hadn’t seen coming on a day like today. She marveled at the magnitude of the pedestrian traffic and the variations of speed at which they moved. They walked towards and past each other as they rushed to get to the shops. There were dogs on leashes barking, little children crying, men and women talking into their cell phones. There was one drunken lout coming out of a tiny pub, and he was speaking in a bastardized french accent. Stella, relieved that she saw him before he saw her, pulled herself further inside that window space as he passed. He was slurring something to the effect of, “Le full moon iz, how you say, so full of itself tonight, yes?” Just then a real french tourist passed him going in the opposite direction, saying, “Not funny, you ignorant American fuckhead!”
“Pardonnez Moi, you howaty-towaty bitch!!” He retorted in that fake accent of his. The tourist moved on ignoring him.
Stella continued to watch the crowd move by as she polished off the last of her apple. She found this stream of people moving past her fascinating to watch. She likened them to videotaped images of sperm swimming through the shaft. Hundreds of these cells making their all important way to their goals as quickly as possible. She didn’t even think in terms of which of these people had diabetes, which had type 1 or type 2. She preferred the sperm analogy overall, as it made it easier for her to detach herself from all the mental rumination and was far more accurate besides.
And yet, considering the nature of what had been right in front of her eyes and on her mind that day, she felt that if something didn’t happen soon, she’d end up breaking down, marching right back into that lingerie shop, and buying one of those sex toys.
She would’ve preferred to sit in that space and watch the crowds than to have to wade through any of it, but Punk Mother had made her purchases and was ready for lunch. They were both in the mood for Middle Eastern cuisine, and The Casbah Café was close by. Punk Mother signaled Stella by bringing the newly purchased dildo with her to the window where she sat and tapped the glass with it. Stella turned to her and laughed at the sight of her companion using this huge vibrator for a middle finger.
A crazy thought entered Stella’s head as she and Punk Mother were seated at a booth at the Casbah Café, eating Moroccan Curry w/Basmati rice and roasted eggplant salad. This isn’t exactly unusual for Stella of course, being a woman of a very avant garde brain. Nor was it unusual for her to share such thoughts in the company of at least one close trusted friend.
And fortunately for both of them, Punk Mother was a woman of a very strong stomach.
“So Lenora,” Stella began. “Do you mind a highly personal question?”
“Depends.” Punk Mother replied through a mouthful of curried chicken. “What do you want to know?”
“Have you ever tried testing your menstrual blood?”
That question didn’t sit well with some of the other patrons that sat within hearing range, however. Particularly the couple that sat in the booth next to where Stella and Punk Mother sat, as a shower of Merlot was spewed from the lips of one anonymous brunette cougar right into the face of her date.
The question didn’t phase Punk Mother one bit. “Y’mean have I ever checked my glucose levels by shoving my meter up my cunt?”
A few more diners began to cast grimaced expressions as the conversation progressed.
“Naw, I can’t say that I have.” Punk Mother replied. “Teddy’s bragged about running a test on his cock once and assured me that the lancet hurt like hell there. Apart from that I saw that Hardball guy on TV test on his thigh. Never heard of testing in the vagina, tho. Have you?”
“Nope, I haven’t either, but I’m contemplating just such an experiment.”
“Hmm…” Punk Mother thought for a second and then added, “That might be a rather awkward process, wouldn’t it? I mean they don’t ever make the test strips much longer than half the length of an average pinky finger do they.”
“True, but at least you probably wouldn’t have to lance yourself if you test on a really heavy day.”
“That would be a relief; those finger jabs are often more painful than I’d like. I’d think it would hurt even worse if you had to jab your own wazoo.” Punk Mother chuckled, clearly oblivious to all the inner “eyewww’s” radiating from the grossed-out expressions of the other patrons.
“Obviously you couldn’t have a tampon inside you if you’re going to test the blood of your twat.”
“No, that wouldn’t work…” Stella agreed thoughtfully. “Unless…”
“Well, sometimes I forget that I have a tampon inside of me until it’s past the saturation point, and by that time I’ve bled all over my underwear.”
With that a tall redhead got up from her booth with her hand over her mouth and frantically rushed to the ladies room to throw up.
“Oh, well, that’s happened to all of us at one time or another. But even so I should think all that cotton would somehow contaminate the blood, and then you’d get a reading that would be much higher than if you were to test through your finger, or your arm, or your leg, or even your eye for that matter. Not that I would ever discourage you from such experimentation, mind you.”
“Well, I definitely want to give it a go if I can ever figure out how to do it the right way!” Stella declared.
“Let me know when you do it, ‘k? I might want to try that one myself. I’d love to see the look on Milo’s face when he checks my meter for high readings.” Punk Mother chortled by the end of that statement. “He’s as bad as Fergie, that Milo.”
So the two ladies finished their lunch and the maitre d was only too glad to get their check to their table as quickly as possible. They left the money and a generous tip and made their way to the ladies room before resuming their Black Friday shopping.
As they entered the restroom, they could both smell vomit, no doubt from the redhead who was in there earlier.
“Ecch, that smell!!” Punk Mother exclaimed.
“God, I hope whoever was in here last simply drank herself sick!” Stella added.
“Really! If there’s one thing we don’t need is any kind of food poisoning.”
“Fuck man; I’m scared to death of throwing up…especially when I’m hit hard with the hypo attacks.”
Luckily for Stella and Punk Mother they suffered no ill effects from the food, and were able to continue their Xmas shopping.
After their shopping spree, Stella and Punk Mother went online to browse through some of the matchmaking sites to see if they could find a suitable replacement for Jarvis. So far, most of the potential candidates didn’t move Stella enough to yank a “yes” out of her.
“They’re all so fucking normal!” Stella complained. “I mean not one of them would know a Warhol from an A-hole. Even if any of them were good in bed, I doubt I’d click with any off them.”
Going through site after site, all Stella could say about every photo of every guy she saw was, “Douche…douche…douche…major douche…douche…” Punk Mother couldn’t blame her. She was far from impressed by what she’d seen on these sites as well. But then she’s married so it’s not such a big issue for her. This was really an attempt at a favor for Stella.
Even so, Punk Mother could only comment, “If their cocks were as big as their egos, they’d be all right.”
This brought to mind a circumcision joke she’d read in William S. Burroughs’ Naked Lunch:
“One day they’ll get wise and cut the rest of it off!”
On that note Punk Mother was glad she’d bought Stella a vibrator for Xmas. She hoped that it would be the right size for Stella.