The Ups and Downs of
Bolster, Not Molest Her
To Be Honest
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February 24, 2013
a disturbingly hilarious sequel
with further compactifications
Click here for the
Split Infinitive Edition
deflated young teacher/cartoonist named Peyton Derente is bowled
over by Skeeter Kitefly—and her astounding proposals.
“...What I want is, is, is—like a confessor. Yeah! What
a shame your name’s not Edward—see, that’s an educated kind of
joke, right? An ignoramus wouldn’t have made a joke like that.
And before you say what I really need is a
minister-priest-or-rabbi you should know I’m not that kind of
girl, I mean I was a Chinese Communist for awhile but other than
that I’m not that religious. What I really need—”
“Is for me to be your own personal sugardaddy confessor.”
II—Proud to Be
In the first of
seven monologues, Skeeter boasts about her origins, hyperness,
compactitude, and "cutiepiety."
...Being all compactified like this, I just can’t help but be
extra-intensively alive. Which explains how come I’ve got
these sunspot-baby-blue eyes and this incendiary blonde hair, and
all this pixie dust in my brainpan and this bounce bounce bounce in
my zap! flash! step—and why it’s my duty to be cute.
Buttoncute, that is. A cuuuutie-pie, as they say...
("Proud to Be Short" appeared in Unlikely Stories)
of All Eyes
While dining with
Peyton at the Addis Ababa, Skeeter (in an improvised harem outfit) talks
about her need for attention, distinction, and recognition.
...‘Course, that has its drawbacks too. Even now, when I’m
practically a quarter-century old, these big fat matron-types go out
of their way to squnch hell out of my face. They take it like this,
in their big fat matron-paw, and go [nutcracker sound effect]
to it. And then they always say, “What a PRECIOUS little face!”
And every time I want to tell them, “Well no wonder, there’s
PRECIOUS little face left when you get done squnching it!” (I mean
I want to say that, but it comes out “Mrmph glub shmug...”)
("The Center of All Eyes" appeared in Ten Thousand Monkeys)
Over a jug of
sangria, Skeeter goes on about romance, intimacy, Sven-types, and the
significant difference between flirting and teasing.
...Speaking of blows and the Nothingbutt Theater, this really ugly
but supertalented guy named Joe Biggins and I once did that
wonderful sex scene from Jane Eyre for them. You know: “I’ve
got a blow—I’ve got a blow, Jane!” “Oh, lean on me, sir!” So here
I am staggering around under Joe, who goes and drapes himself
over me; it was disgusting but hilarious. Hee hee hee! “My little
friend!” sighs Joe. “Thank you, sir!” gasps me. “Tell me what to
do, I’ll try at least to do it!” Hee hee hee hee hee!…
("Lustdaze" appeared in
After sharing a
pizza and a six-pack and news about her sister Sadie, Skeeter prepares
to lay bare her own darkest secret.
...I’ve never told anyone any of this before. Not even Sadie.
I don’t want to talk about it anymore.
But I will say this.
It hurt, it hurt like hell, but it could’ve been a lot, lot
worse. Right? So no tears shed. See? No tears. I swore I’d
never cry about him. And I haven’t, ever. Not once...
an excerpt from "The Quicker to Anger,"
Organic Literature Experiment;
"Pizzazz," another excerpt with addenda,
Ten Thousand Monkeys)
VI—Like a Couple of Horses
A subdued Skeeter
reminisces about growing up (somewhat) in Marble Orchard, and the
compensations of good food and horseflesh.
...You know those people who say if you get something really weird
off your chest, you’ll quit dreaming about it? Those people are
wrong. So I got out of bed and headed for the oven—not to stick
my head in it, but to bake swirls. My first in months; it’s been
too hot out to be baking in. Wasn’t so bad in the wee hours. I
shocked the beejeebers out of Sadie, though; she thought wacky
burglars had got into the kitchen...
("Like a Couple of Horses" appeared in The Sidewalk's End)
Envy of the Neighborhood
vodka to lemonade, Skeeter tells more about Marble Orchard, feeling
restless and wasteful, and the need to break through.
...And not just to be trendy, either—but To Be. And How To
is refreshing. When you can stand in front of a mirror again,
staring yourself square in that eye you’re keeping open; and it
doesn’t really matter what you’ve got on (it can be nothing at all!)
so long as you can say and think and feel and
Getta loada me now!
then you can quit your yappin’ and MAKE it happen, any old how…
("The Envy of the Neighborhood" appeared
in The Sidewalk's End)
Laid low with cramps, Skeeter talks about Death—but cheers up after a
nap and returns to Life, especially as enhanced by just-imagine
...So howzabout I take you out, right now, and you treat me to
midnight ham ‘n’ eggs? Ooh and some poppyseed muffins! Aw c’mon—so
what if it is a “school night,” or that we have to be at work in
eight-or-so hours? It’s not like I’m asking for breakfast in bed or
anything. Let’s have a bit of fun! That’s a practical
ambition, isn’t it? I mean, without practical ambition we’d just be
stumblebums and doodlesquats, right? Attaboy! Let’s go. I hope
you know some good all-night eateries around here...
("Lapsing into Indolence" appeared in Pulse Literary Magazine)
IX—Since My Last
Skeeter wraps up her
monologues, cleans Peyton's apartment, and christens his bathtub with
her "exquisite young BAHdee"—while he can feel only impending doom.
...Poor little penitent, already on record as having been deceived
by a bass-ackwards hoodwinker, having no one better to tell her
troubles to than the Wizard of Schnoz. Himself a a charlatan, a
mountebank, “something of a humbug”—pay no attention to that man
behind the venetians!...
Last Confession" appeared in
Braced for the coup
de grâce, Peyton undergoes resurrection instead at the hoodoo-undoing
hands of Skeeter's be-all and end-all.
would the old you be handling this? Well, for one thing it’d be YOU
doing the handling, the unfrocking and depantsing, the managing of
buttons and zippers and such. Hamhandedly perhaps, but at any rate
upperhandedly; taking and having the advantage instead of being
taken and had. So this is what passive compliance is like, as seen
from the inside: stretched out here on the discarded huckaback like
a neck-wrung feather-plucked cold dead rooster...
(""Shivaree Bewitchery" appeared in
XI—If I Fell
Awaking in each
other's arms, Skeeter and Peyton take stock of the situation—and Skeeter
suggests a further step to seal their compact deal.
“...I may be a natural-born arsonist but I wouldn’t set your chest
hair on fire—not with a cigarette, anyway. Kind of reminds
me of this shag carpet I had in my place on Garfield Street, back in
Demortuis—except that was lime-green. And less curly.”
(Nibble nibble nibble.) “Making love on that carpet was like doing
it outdoors, in a field or meadow. I sure have missed that carpet.
Till tonight, that is.” (Nibble nibble nibble.) “Am I talking too
much again? I do make you listen a hell of a lot...”
I Fell" appeared in
Peyton gives his
opening Art History slideshow of the semester, distracted throughout by
thoughts of Skeeter "making her presence felt."
...Suppose I’ll have to start buying her flowers now, flowers and
candy and greeting cards for every occasion, keep her picture on my
desk, on my walls, and not stuck in any readymade frame from K-Mart
either, nothing less than handfinished hardwood goldleaf molding
will do, “if it’s good enough for Botticelli—” so off to the races
again, spend spend spend, still: doesn’t she give give give in
return? though putting it like that makes it sound like I am
paying for it, playing sugardaddy after all, but still: isn’t that
the way it always goes? “girls don’t pay, guys pay”
and so we do, but even if I AM isn’t she worth it?...
Shaving," an excerpt from "Oranges and Lemons,"
excerpt, appeared in Unlikely Stories)
Peyton to her New Wave friend RoBynne O'Ring, and all three go to see
Risky Business at an ornate about-to-close picture palace.
...The howler slid her shades down a long narrow snoot to inspect
him through eyes adorned by a quarter-pound of purple makeup. They
were very young eyes but immediately recognizable as belonging to a
tough chick, an urban girl, the kind Peyton had first
marveled at from Jazzbo’s car on inner-city road trips: eyes that
looked coolly knowing, sharply appraising, insolently challenging,
and provocative beyond the dreams of mortal man...
Bop" appeared in
Ten Thousand Monkeys)
seduced-and-abandoned, Peyton starts to suspect Skeeter's intentions and
her friendship with RoBynne O'Ring.
...Supposed to have dropped by tonight. Hadn’t shown. Hadn’t
called. And here it was—what?—after nine; a stitch in time.
(“There’s glory for you,” said the Eggman.) Sugardaddyhood could
only extend so far, after all. Or could it? One of these fine
months she might be wanting—what?—“help with the rent,” say. Or no,
better still, help for Sadie with the rent; but “don’t let
Sadie know.” Of course not. Clever. Cunning...
Ditty" appeared in
Demon Bag Lady of
Skeeter tries to
put Peyton's doubts to rest, but only succeeds in unleashing her own
...Her face looked pandemonial in the lurid alley lamplight.
Eyeballs bulging hubcap-huge, their veins thick and spirally as
telephone cords; mouth distorted like McDougal’s Cave with Tom and
Becky trapped inside. And mauling at his arms again she shrugged
off all coverup restraint: CHING! went her winsome pink chest, like
wrathful bowlfuls of jelly...
("The Demon Bag Lady of Skeet Street" appeared in Ten Thousand Monkeys)
XVI— —Or Flounder,
Flounder in the Sea
Peyton and the badly-hungover
Skeeter reconcile over the phone, and Skeeter asks him to tell her a
long boring sleep-inducing story.
“...Now everybody points at me and says, ‘There goes a
“I’m sure no one’s ever called you a dummy—”
“How do you know?! Maybe lots of people have! (Shniff.)
Like one of those big dumb happy broads that hang around bars
and clubs and—Ramada Inns, places like that. ‘Cept I’m just a
little dumb happy broad. When I’m happy, that is… (Shniff.)”
("—Or Flounder, Flounder in the Sea" appeared in The Sidewalk's End)
XVII—A Very Bad
A bedtime story of Peyton's early life
as "Lumpy," his evolvement into the Wizard of Schnoz, and what turned
him into a babe magnet ... for awhile.
the buttons off a Rapunzel’s blouse (“This is brand-new!” she would
wail) or wrenching the hooks right out of her bra (“I just bought
this! I don’t BELIEVE you!!”) The incredible pitfalls of getting
to second base. Cornwallettes almost always dressed expensively,
and Lumpy had to shell out a hell of a lot—without any reciprocation
worth mentioning—to make amends after each infrequent date.
(But I’m a wizard,
("La Belle Debbie,"
a poetic excerpt from "A Very Bad Wizard,"
was published in The Duckabush Journal)
A flashback look at Peyton's
attempt to beguile Skeeter's stepsister Sadie, years before being
bowled over by Ms. Kitefly.
“...You,” said Mercedes, “have been talking to our chests for
the past ten minutes.” “That’s because I’ve been talking to you
from my chest,” he responded, clapping a hand on his
heart. “Oh gag!” “Not at all—entirely in earnest. I plan to
be an art historian, you see, so it’s my duty to penetrate to
the heart of things.” “Not by staring down my front
you’re not,” said Mercedes...
("Dilated Nostrils" was
published in Rhapsoidia)
Times having changed in the Reagan era,
Peyton's artwork is no longer welcome at a magazine he helped found.
Skeeter meanwhile plans her return to college.
...Downstairs the phone began to ring again. That would be Skeeter,
calling from Wheeville as had become her nightly habit. “I’m here.
Talk to me,” she would say—and hang up. At which point Peyton would
call back and assume the charges, Sadie having squawked about the
triplex phone bill. “Why don’t you simply call collect?” he’d
asked. “I like to hear the phone ring,” Skeeter’d replied. So he
would dial her number and she would say, “Whoever can this be?” and
they would have long nonsensical conversations...
("No-Nazz" appeared in Unlikely Stories)
XX—As Per Usual
Peyton joins Skeeter's family for
Thanksgiving, but absorbed in his own stagnancy he feels (and acts) far
...The old question: What is the purpose of Life? The old answer:
To puncture romances, O Tillie. So take off your green spectacles
and see your Emerald City as the handiwork of a hoodwinking Wizard,
a snake-oily charlatan peddling purple-bark sarsaparilla to the
unwary. A fraud and a sham: I am, I am—
(And there was Skeeter peering through the window, Skeeter
popping through the door, Skeeter in a bright red apron and ovenmitt,
radiant as any sled-in-the-furnace rosebud...)
Skeeter's effort to snap Peyton out of
his funk causes a fresh breach between them; so the penitent Peyton
offers a confession of his own—about Joyce Finian, the spectral Girl of
...Peyton had grown somewhat accustomed to her hollow
brink-of-drowning eyes, but tonight he was struck by how infinitely
dry they seemed: all tears shed. The very pupils losing
their Glocka Morra glint, dissolving into the irises to form two
And then; and then. A lass and a lack.
Like that scene at the end of Invasion of the Body
Snatchers, where Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter hide in a cave
from the pod-people who’ve replaced their friends. Dana’s
exhausted, dozes for just a second … and awakes taken over,
body-snatched, having become a pod-person with coldblooded
eyes in a blank masklike face, one of the chillingest images in
Peyton’s picturewatching memory: you’re next! you’re next!!...
a poetic excerpt from "Fine Lines," was published in
The Lithic Review;
Clarity," another excerpt,
Organic Literature Experiment;
"Banshee," another excerpt, appeared in The Swamp)
In the middle of a Yuppiefied winter,
Skeeter and Peyton face different interpretations of faith and joy.
...They sat awhile in silence then. Weary of confession-making and
-taking: the confusions of absolution. Skeeter disentangled her
hairbrush, setting it down among the sprung-loose flaxen threads.
Split ends in need of gathering up and tying together; winkle winkle
“So,” she said, “is that It, then?”
His eyelids twitched, and turned to her. “Lately,” he said, “I
haven’t been so sure…”
XXIII—The Ruby Hotstuff Skeeter Kitefly
Springtime comes: Skeeter graduates
from college after only seven years, and Peyton marks the occasion with
a validating present.
“...Jeez, what have you got in here?” Skeeter gasped. “Big
flat emeralds? Or, I know—my thousand pairs of fishnet stockings!
You went to Tickle Me and bought out the store!”
“Guess again,” said Peyton. “Take your time and take your
choice,” he added, laying a small sealed envelope beside the box,
and holding Skeeter back as she lunged for the loot.
Do I only get one of these? I have to choose between them?”
“Ask me another.”
“I want another, I want ‘em both! Why should I have to
pick just one?”
Gallic shrug: your life, my love...
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