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Skeeter Kitefly Index

The Ups and Downs of Skeeter Kitefly

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
 

Skeeter Kitefly's Sugardaddy Confessor

Part One
Part Two
Part Three

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Skeeter Kitefly's
Titular Assets


COMPACTIFICATION
behind the scenes
 

RoBynne O'Ring's
GRUNTS OF
PASSION

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TO BE HONEST


FINE LINEAGE


13 BLACK CATS
UNDER A LADDER


BOLSTER,
NOT MOLEST HER


MARAT À LA MODE


BAGELANNA


OLD LITTER


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Rotwang

The mad inventor in Fritz Lang's silent classic Metropolis, and Huffman's quasi-godhead from childhood on.

Called "Old Beetlebrow" by Huffman.
 


Thus Old Beetlebrow watches over me, whether he will or nill.  And takes a black metallic hand in shaking up my fortunes, introducing the unbargained-for: let’s see how the little chiseler copes with this...

THE HAND OF ROTWANG
 


Artificialities

Huffman's sculpted panel of Rotwang transforming his robot into the False Maria.
 


So I adopted Rotwang as my crypto-deity, carving his genesis of the False Maria into the panel Artificialities that dominates one side of my studio... 

THE HAND OF ROTWANG
 


Murray Burgher

Cheesy field rep for Formi-Dable; fell out with Big Gag Campbell over kickbacks.
 


“Excuse me,” I tell her.  Deepening her uncertainty, till she finds I’m staring down Murray Burgher.  Who gives us a salute and withdraws—probably to go knock over a competitor’s display. (As Vashti has brusked, Mannay nuph buttered ohs.  Or, demilitarized: “That man ain’t nothing but a turd with toes...”)

THE HAND OF ROTWANG
 


Enzo and Sophia Formi

Boss and boss's wife of the Formi-Dable wholesale supply firm.  Parents of the late Marco; in-laws (and employers) of Judith.
 


     “I suppose you won’t be available for another sitting, then?”
     “Tomorrow?  I’m afraid not.  I mean I’d love to, but I have to go to Trey Hills.  It’s hard for my mother-in-law, Sophia.  My husband was—he didn’t have any brothers or sisters...”

BACK AND FORTH
 


Marco Formi

"Mr. Bluff": Judith's late husband, who was killed in an auto accident on her 24th birthday.

Also referred to by Huffman as the Wastrel and "Asskicker R.I.P."
 


“When my husband—boyfriend he was at the time—first came up to Walse Falls to meet my family, he kicked Rudy’s rear end.  I mean, hard.  Because he’d heard about how Rudy hassled me when we were kids.  So, pow!  Right on the rear.  Didn’t make the best impression on my folks… but that’s when I fell for him, once and for all.  ‘My hero...’”

BACK AND FORTH
 


The Dahls of Walse Falls, Minnesota

Judith's family: half German Catholics and half Scandinavian Lutherans.  Judith was the youngest child, beloved by all (except brother Rudy) till her bout with scoliosis and marriage to Marco Formi.

Grandma Audrey is famous for her frikadeller (Danish meatballs).
 


Dad manages sporting goods for Sears, Mom sells dream houses for Century 21, Judith is their youngest ... the Little Princess of Walse Falls, not spoiled but admittedly indulged all through childhood.  Born with a good face and just kept blossoming.  Grew tall quickly but never gawky, never awkward; loved shooting hoops with her boisterous big brothers.  Volleyball, raquetball, any sport that involved leaping and jumping.  Meanwhile everyone said here was a future fashion model: look at that face, those eyes, those legs...

BACK AND FORTH
 

 

Last Updated

January 26, 2010

 

 


 


Rudy Dahl

Judith's inexcusable youngest brother.
 


Her brother Rudy'd tricked her once into looking at a picture of circus freaks, and the memory still gives her teeth-grinding nightmares.  Now at thirteen she was one of them, gooble-gabble! one of them! and thought she would crack uphad cracked up: become a gruesome misshapen basket case.  Her mother said, “If only you hadn’t roughhoused so much…”  Her father lost all patience with her constant fantods.  And Rudy cut unspeakable capers behind and about her back...

BACK AND FORTH
 


Sister Genevieve

"Sister Geronimo": Judith's guardian angel at Holy Visitation School in Walse Falls.
 


Swimming became her passion, with Janet Evans as role model and Sister Genevieve as coach.
     “We called her ‘Sister Geronimo’—she could do a triple somersault in a tuck position from a handstand...”

BACK AND FORTH
 


Chad the Cad

An unworthy classmate of Judith's in high school.
 


She has yet to tell me about Chad the Cad, her first serious boyfriend at Holy Visitation, who got off on the back brace and dumped her when she was at last able to discard it... 

BACK AND FORTH
 


Boaz "Ruthless" Luther

Local music legend, best known for the Demortuis city anthem "Empty Tomb Blues."
 


     They tell me that we’ll meet again, somewhere up there in the sky,
     They tell me that we’ll meet again, somewhere up there in the sky

     All I know is that I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye…

BACK AND FORTH
 


Coaches Beltz and Sparger

Two instructors from Huffman's schooldays.
 


Takes me back to happily forgotten phys ed classes taught by crewcut jutjaws with names like “Coach Beltz” or “Coach Sparger.”  Their concept of treating asthma was to make me run laps nonstop...

TAKE MY BREATH AWAY
 


Noir

Judith's Persian cat, whom Huffman suspects of being the reincarnation of Johnny Ajahr.
 


Judith scoops it effortlessly into her arms.  “This is my baaaaaaaby,” she croons, “this is my sweetheart.  You’re not allergic to cats?”
     “Not really, no,” I say.  Meaning this can’t really be a cat.  More like an enormous shaggy panther cub...

TAKE MY BREATH AWAY
 


WhooHoo Mob

Riotous revelers at the closing night of the local "Summer Kickoff" festival in Portal Park.
 


I
t’s closing night of Whoopjamboreehoo! squander all reserves! on chugging, on frothing, on screeching and howling, on demented demanding that chunks be blown and tits be shown!...

TAKE MY BREATH AWAY
 


Sleepy LeThean

Long-ago football pro; now runs a lumber yard and provides Huffman with choice sculpting material.

 


Sleepy LeThean appreciates those who value good wood.  Forty years ago he was one of the original Cutthroats, playing for dime-store wages in the old AFL.  A lot of aging fans seek Sleepy’s autograph and stories about tackling the likes of Jack Kemp.  He always obliges—after they buy some lumber...

DEPTH CHARGE
 


Calypso Judith

Appearing six times in Huffman's dreams: combining myth with modeling.

 


We’re on the bus and it’s in the river, drifting merrily downstream.  Except for a sailor cap, Judith is thoroughly nude.  “No,” she says, “I’m in my birthday suit.”  Yet perfectly safe, I having climbed a bamboo limbo-ladder that lacks any downward rungs.  “What are you doing up there?” asks Calypso Judith.  “Trying not to break my neck,” I reply.  “Hi-dee-ay-hee!” chime in John Denver and Jacques Cousteau... 

DEPTH CHARGE
 


Nicolette (Nikki) Ningal

Spacy silversmith and reigning belle of Jackdaw Square.

 


A meld of Sparkle Plenty and the Moon Maid (for those who remember Dick Tracy in the Sixties).  Many a time I’ve tried persuading Nikki to pose for me, but she distrusts wood as a medium.  “If it splinters, I might too...” 

DEPTH CHARGE
 


Lillian Rhine ("Rhino") Huffman

Huffman's mother: achieved minor celebrity as a film critic before succumbing to various cancers.
 


Our mother—before she ended up in the urn in Cassie’s handbag—worshiped bright lights and action sequences, and so became a movie critic... 

THE HAND OF ROTWANG
 


Chester Alan Arthur Huffman

Huffman's father, Professor of Physics at several state universities, who loved assembling things.
 


He taught physics and worshiped the scientific method, which I thought meant taking things apart in order to put them back together... 

THE HAND OF ROTWANG
 


Cassandra

Huffman's older half-sister, to whose Mrs. Joe he played Pip.  (Her father had been a "folksinging fellow traveler.")
 


From my half-sister Cassandra I receive a tract demanding to know “Where will you spend eternity??”  Not, I hope, like our mother, whose urn accompanies Cassie everyplace she goes... 

ARMATURE STANDING
 


Mary Iris Monica (Rozay) Franzia

MIMF: the Girl Next Door in Huffman's Lawrence KS boyhood.  Not liking his first name, she called him "Aitch."  Committed suicide at age 21.

Called "Wednesday" by Cassie.
 


The Girl Next Door and I were allowed to watch providing we kept quiet; which we always did, having found other ways to communicate.
     What’s this one about?
     There’s supposed to be a robot in it.
     I thought you said it was a silent movie.
     Yeah.  So?  Robots don’t have to talk.

     Silent movies are from the olden days.  Robots are from the future.
    
(This with the lofty-learnèd air she felt entitled to, being eight months older than me...)

THE HAND OF ROTWANG
 


Baseless Mime

Rozay Franzia's suicide journal, published a quarter-century after she jumped off a bridge into the Kaw River.

 


About this note.  I’ve been told before you take your own life you’re supposed to write a note explaining yourself.  Testify your testament and say goodbye.  Catholic doctrine would have you damning your soul whatever the explanation.  Hell awaits, so abandon all hope or go repent your pants off...

ROZAY IS READ
 


Irene Franzia

Rozay's mother, who worked in the Kansas University Dean's office.  Separated from Rozay's father, whom Huffman managed to never meet.
 


Mrs. Franzia and my mother were soon close friends.  Rozay’s mom was the only woman I ever knew who smoked more than my mine did; at kaffeeklatsches they seemed to compete as to who could fill an ashtray the fastest...

ROZAY IS READ
 


Richard (Dick) Franzia

Rozay's father, who appeared—very briefly—in the movie Carnival of Souls.  Called his daughter "Rosé"; she always insisted the name was spelled Z-A-Y.
 


Very early in our acquaintance, Rozay informed me that her father had acted in a couple of recent films.  One was a “business movie” about the Reuter factory where he worked, testing pipe organs for churches.  The other, she said, was a “ghost movie.”  To me that meant sappy Casper and his feeble cartoons...

ROZAY IS READ
 


YiaYia

Rozay's Greek maternal grandmother.

 


Everyone’s schedules were coordinated so Rozay and I could go to one or the other of our houses any day after school, and find either a mom or Cassie or Rozay’s grandmother YiaYia (who had high-piled hair too, tinted blue)...

ROZAY IS READ
 


Jerome Gullip

Local intimidator, whose sudden demise came immediately after Huffman's first tentative prayer to Rotwang.
 


Anyway: as a kid I was convinced the meek would inherit the earth, having had my face crammed into it (plus the sidewalk and curbstone) by the neighborhood bully, Jerome Gullip...

THE HAND OF ROTWANG
 


"Snaggle" Feist

Went to Brown Elementary School with Huffman; his older brother had an extensive Playboy collection.
 


She wouldn’t confirm or deny a rumor spread by Snaggle Feist (a dentally-challenged classmate of mine at Brown, who was forever getting hit in the mouth by baseballs or tripping facefirst onto concrete).  Snag said if you weren’t a Catholic and ventured too close to St. Teresa of Avila, nuns would come out and beat you up...

ROZAY IS READ
 


The Forgotten Door Nocturne

Original composition for organ by Rozay, inspired by Alexander Key's novel.

 


Her performance excited some coverage in the local press (as did her appearance, “in carnation-colored miniskirt and Marlo Thomas flip...”)

ROZAY IS READ
 


H.D. Sonata for Organ in G Minor

Collegiate composition by Rozay.

 


Girl from Kansas gets whirled away to New York City, wows them all at Juilliard, wins acclaim for her H.D. Sonata for Organ in G Minor (inspired by the poetry of Hilda Doolittle) before succumbing to the affliction of genius...

ROZAY IS READ
 


A Perfect Fit

In-the-round remembrance of Rozay, who was "subject to fits." 
 


Part Marcello’s Pythia from the Paris Opera; part Bernini’s Ecstasy of St. Teresa; part Mel Ramos pop-art pin-up.  A nearly nude girl frozen in midwrithe, couched on a Delphic tripod in the form of an open hand.  Would you call it oracular?  Or simply obscene, the girl barely in her teens (as was I at the time) with hair in a ponytail and “Friday” on her panties?...

BACK AND FORTH
 


Gramps Rhine

Huffman's grandfather, an Indiana boilermaker (who drank the same and rooted for Purdue's).  Sparked Huffman's first interest in whittling and woodcarving.
 


“Boy, you best think of that as your tool, and treat it same as you would any other.  Keep it clean, keep it dry, and don’t be monkeyshining with it.  Else it’ll end up the boss of you.”
    
(An accurate forecast.  Thanks, Gramps...)

ARMATURE STANDING
 


Grandma Rhine

Long-dead mother of the five Rhine Maidens.
 


Grandma Rhine I never knew; shed succumbed long ago to cancer, as was the custom in her family.  All five of her daughters feared getting it, though not to the point of quitting smoking...

SHAKEN, NOT STIRRED
 


The Other Four Rhine Maidens

Lillian's sisters.
 


Each was given a solid respectable hausfrau name—Mabel, Clara, Louise, Lillian, Thelma—but with Gramps being an incorrigible girlwatcher and moviegoer, he might have had the Misses Normand, Bow, Brooks, Roth, and Todd in subconscious mind
...

SHAKEN, NOT STIRRED
 


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