Monday, June 04, 2007

Monday and the End of the Dang Story Already

Well, I have returned from my trip back "home" to the land of sweet tea and gardenia blossoms in jelly jars, a place where racks are for guns and are on pick up trucks instead of made from silicone and saline and placed a little too high on the chests of insecure young women. I had to go North to get to the real South and once there, once I drove through narrow winding roads with trees taller than any building in South Florida, and once I had a mouthful of real macaroni and cheese, I began to feel a terrible, sorrowful longing which the Brazilians call Saudade. I want to be in that idyllic "home" of my imaginings so badly that I nearly burst into tears on the cracked sidewalk in front of my favorite place to eat biscuits. Then I saw all of my old friends, who had gathered for the wedding of our other dear friend and they all said how much they loved reading my stories. They love hearing about this wild life in South Florida. It's all they wanted to talk about. Imagine that. I was shocked. Who would have thought? So I guess I better keep on writing.

When last we met I was in 8th grade, desperately wanting to be kissed. Another summer passed with nary a glance from a member of the opposite sex. I spent that summer down here in South Florida with Aunt Kiki, who up and decided she wanted to live here instead of in Millpond. My parents were trying to start a cosmetics business selling green lipstick that miraculously turned a unique shade of red once applied. It was like a mood ring. Problem was, you couldn't match it to your outfits and you just never knew which shade of red it was going to turn at any given time. You could start the evening with a nice rose and end up in an unflattering coral by the end of the night, and let alone if you got into a fight with someone while wearing it - it turned a brazen, flaming scarlet. This was a terrible lipstick for lady poker players. It just didnt allow you to hide your feelings very well.

So my mother with her ever changing lip colors sent me down to live with Aunt Kiki who lived in another shack with another mess of animals, a husband (oh my lord she actually got married) and her two kids Alexis and Fallon (remember Aunt Kiki loved Dynasty) who were a disaster. In this story they were actually younger than the other story I told about them which took place the year after this one. Aunt Kiki was raising hell with her girlfriend Delilah back them and both of them couldn't get a rein in on their partying which worried Aunt Kiki's temporary husband something awful. I liked him. I still do actually. He was a shrimper and dreamed of refinishing Corvettes one day. We ate a lot of shrimp that summer. I could act out that scene from Forrest Gump to describe how we ate - fried shrimp, baked shrimp, shrimp pie, shrimp burgers... The other thing we ate a lot of was mangoes because there was a tree in the yard and Aunt Kiki was still on welfare so we had to stretch the food stamps. Apparently shrimping was not lucrative for Aunt Kiki's temporary husband.

This summer didn't work out exceptionally well for me being that Aunt Kiki left me with her kids everynight while her husband shrimped and she partied with Delilah. By the end of the summer her 30 year old husband had a heart attack, a real one, and was in the hospital and Aunt Kiki had taken up with the Colombian dude next door who had a messed up leg from polio and who later became her stalker. Do not even ask. Then I got pneumonia from Aunt Kiki's fouled up, bacteria laden air conditioning window unit and my mother finally took pity on me and let me come home. I was never more thankful to go back to school in my life.

Halfway through ninth grade my parents gave up on the green lipstick and decided to start a junk store with two Persian guys. One was named Farheed and the other one's name was FarSHEED. I kid you not. Farheed was short, fat, dark and hairy. FarSHEED was tall, fat, pale and bald. They were a very odd looking pair and neither had a full command of the English language. I have no idea what my parents were thinking, but they just had to have a junk store with Farheed and Farsheed and the junk store could of course not be located in Riverbank, New York where we actually lived, because there was another junk store nearby from which my mother got the idea that she wanted her own junk store much more than she wanted mood changing lipstick.

The junk store, named Jumpin' Junk was several hours South in a college town outside of Millpond, and was on the outskirts of the middle of ass fucking nowhere. But this is where my parents and Farheed and FarSHEED needed to have their junk store. Who was I to argue their logic? Kids have so much sense sometimes and so little power.

Rather than move again, my parents left me home alone, because that's what all good parents do. They imported a woman from an Indian reservation in Montana to take care of me and Hope, but the woman had never been off of the Indian reservation and thought she was in the middle of New York City, which she was not. She was convinced that there were robbers constantly lurking outside our front door and refused to go out of the house. Literally. She was totally useless. One day I will make that into a story unto itself.

Needless to say, Andrea, my future porn star best friend and I got into worlds and worlds of trouble, some of which involved the police. My parents nearly murdered me for making them drive all the way back to New York when the Indian woman couldn't take it anymore and left.

"You have to go back to Collegetown with us and work off your punishment at Jumpin' Junk." my parents said.

This was awful. What made it even more awful was that I failed my little sister Hope who had to go live with my grandfather because my parents were too busy and I couldn't be trusted to babysit because I had done terrible, terrible things with Andrea, some of which involved the police. I was miserable.

My parents pulled me out of my fancy private school and took me to live with them and Farheed and Farsheed in an apartment they rented. We all slept on mattresses and there was no furniture because no one was ever home to use it since we all worked non-stop at Jumpin Junk. Jumpin Junk was a really big store with a whole lot of junk, so there was much work to be done. I didn't get around to going back to school for a good month. I just worked and then everynight we stopped at the 7-11 and got pints of Haagen Dazs peanutbutter swirl ice cream.

Eventually it dawned on my mom that I should probably be in school. I was 14 afterall and not old enough to quit. She took me to Collegetown High School and enrolled me. I proceeded to imagine interesting ways to kill myself. Collegetown High School was gigantic, 4000 students gigantic, and was overwhelming to me. I decided to cut most of my classes.

All day I went to school. All day and all night my parents worked at Jumpin Junk. They didn't get home until at least 3 in the morning most nights so I rarely saw them. When I got up to go to school they were still in bed and were not happy if I woke them up. One night I got up in the middle of the night and found Farheed and Farsheed out in the unfurnished living room of our shared apartment. They had pushed their two mattresses together and were engaged in an activity which I would much rather not describe, but which involved Farheed the short hairy one in a dominant position. Turns out my parents found them doing the very same thing a few nights earlier.

No one cared that Farheed and Farsheed were cheating on their wives with one another, but my parents had a rare moment of parental inspiration and thought maybe their 14 year old daughter seeing two oddly matched Persian men going at it on a mattress in an unfurnished living room, might suffer long lasting psychological effects. Needless to say I HAVE suffered long lasting psychological effects but they had more to do with other incidents not having to do with Farheed or Farsheed or their butts and what they were doing to and with them. My parents got us our own apartment in the same complex and we, believe it or not, got some furniture for it and it looked like an attempt at normalcy. My parents still left me alone with the cat and the dog whom we had to also drag down from New York. The monkey, having taken priority over children, dog and cat alike, was part of the original move to Collegetown. What? I never told you we had a monkey?? Surely I mentioned the monkey.

Yes, we had a monkey. When I was in eighth grade I came home one day and my mother had gone and gotten a monkey which she named Minky. It wore diapers, although it normally ripped them off so it could more easily smear its poo all over everything. It also ate fruit and monkey chow and made my life a massive living hell. I hated the monkey and my mother treated it like my sibling, but the monkey was just awful and I never agreed with having an animal like that in captivity. It drove me insane and it stunk and was just plain mean. It attacked me and Hope numerous times and bared its teeth at everyone, making them think it was smiling, though I knew otherwise. Its grin was a sign of aggression and this was one pissed off monkey. I understood. I was pissed off too.

The monkey went to live at Jumpin' Junk because it was a customer draw. People would hear about the monkey, come to the store to see it and end up buying sixty dollars worth of discontinued Pablo Picasso scented nightlights and unicorn figurines that sang Sunrise Sunset. On the way out they might even pick up a glow in the dark feather duster and a case of Pina Colada flavored floor cleaner/ toothpaste imported from Mexico. So the monkey proved to be ultimately more useful at the store than me, who sullenly priced box after box and row after row of cheap, senseless, unwanted products from Asia and South America. I came to believe that because of this, my parents actually loved the monkey more than they loved me. They certainly saw it more often. Instead of thinking of creative ways to kill myself I thought of creative ways to murder the monkey.

Shortly after we moved into our own apartment things got worse. Things got so much worse that the story moves to another level of surreal bizarre, no-that-did-not-actually-happen-ness. But readers, yes, it did too actually happen.

Because God knew that I wanted to be a writer even back then, HE decided to throw not only a monkey, but also some suspense and thrills into the mix of my life.

An honest to God serial killer started dumping the bodies of prostitutes in our apartment complex. It was in the middle of ass fucking nowhere and was all under construction so it was the perfect place to drop off the mutilated carcass of a former lady of the night.

One morning I got up to go to school and on the way to the bus stop I encountered a homicide investigation. When I came home from school my muddy, unfinished complex had been invaded by news crews. And I was home alone.

Imagine my terror when it happened again. I don't think I slept at all anymore.

The third body the killer dumped in the creek behind the apartment complex.

By the fourth I was so jaded and desensitized that I was like "Oh jeez, another strangled whore. How dull."

Then I tried to think of a way to disguise the monkey as a prostitute in hopes that the serial killer would make it his next victim. I never worked out exactly how to get that done, so the dang monkey lived on while rural, white trash meth hookers were dropping like flies.

Every day, alone, on the way to and from my bus stop I imagined the serial killer stalking me, waiting to attack me and throw me in a red clay mud puddle, all traces of his DNA rinsed away in the rain. I lived in such a state of heightened anxiety that I threw up every single morning and lived with a constant stomach ache. I was a nervous wreck and from this, not from Farsheed giving Farheed a rim job, I have lasting psychological effects.

By around April things decided to get worse again. The serial killer was still on the loose and then one day, after I ran the half mile home through the mud and construction, hoping I wouldn't trip on any waterlogged prostitute bodies, we had a tornado. I was home alone with the dog and cat, a freakin' axe murderer on a rampage in my neighborhood, and then there is a tornado. After the tornado ended and I crawled out of the shower where I hid, I went outside and yelled at the sky.

"OK!!!" I shouted. "I surrender. I have had it! What else could you possible do to me?? God! I am tired of this shit. I can't take anymore. You seriously owe me for this. You had better find a boy to kiss me or I am going to be really upset!!!"

God responded with a rainbow. I took this as a sign.

In the midst of all my trauma, fear, anxiety, guilt and loneliness I decided maybe, rather than focus on the overwhelmingly depressing things that actually bothered me, I should think about boys. I fell in love with a popular skateboarder in 11th grade who had devastating green eyes and who was going out with a Barbie doll of a girl who was in training to be an Olympic figure skater. She was the prettiest and most adored girl in the entire school of 4000 students. There was no way I could compete with that, which is probably why I chose her boyfriend to fall in love with. I had this thing for unrequited, impossible and unattainable love. I loved to pine for things and people and places I couldn't have. I still do it. I suffer chronic saudade.

My first week at the new school a group of misfit boys crowned me their queen. These boys skateboarded, but they weren't the hip popular skaters who would get "sponsored." My boys liked horror movies and Dungeons and Dragons. They thought I was the most beautiful female creature they had ever seen outside of Japanese Animation. It was like I was their long awaited, prophecied savior-ette and I did kind of enjoy the attention.

To this day, I am still the goddess of geeks. Sci-fi nerds, comic book store guys and boys hopelessly into things I've never even heard of because they are so nerdy, fall all over me. I can't even set foot within a mile of a Renaissance Festival without jousts and sword fights erupting over my honor. It's very dangerous.

My boys got together and made me my own skateboard and then spent an exhausting weekend teaching me to ride it, thus elevating my status in the school of 4000 students to overnight high school celebrity. I was the only girl in my school who could skate. You don't get much cooler than that in 9th grade, let me tell you. And I'm not even saying I skated well. I sucked. I could barely keep up and I tore my left leg to pieces trying to ollie a little curb. I don't even know if I spelled that right. In any event, I was famous in my school.

The boy began to call and talk to me!! The popular boy! The one with the ice skater girlfriend!! He thought I was cool. He said I had skin that was white like porcelain. That's a lame line now, but the first time you hear it, from the popular green eyed boy you LOOOOVE, it's a pretty amazing line. But then the ice skater got mad and my love went back to unrequited status.

I had a lot of boys offer to kiss me that Spring. One brought me daffodils. Others drove me home to save my life from the serial killer. Some gave me reeses cups, a sure way to my heart. I was living it up. I flounced around school in my drop waisted purple dress, skateboard over my shoulder, like I owned those orange lockered halls.

My best friend was a boy named PJ. PJ was a BMX biker who was "sponsored" and rode in shows and events. He wrote stories and skateboarded with me and wanted to make movies when he grew up. All he talked about was going to film school and he was really good in art. I told him I would write movies and he could direct them. PJ and I were committed platonic friends. We watched The Wall together. We ate McDonalds apple pies and wandered the streets of Collegetown listening to The Cure on his walkman. Every second I spent with PJ was perfect and he was a very deep and sensitive boy. I really liked hanging out with him. But AS FRIENDS. Remember I was really in LOOOOVE with the other boy who had the girlfriend.

One night PJ and I wandered the streets of Collegetown til very late. PJ wanted to go the hospital and look at the babies in incubators in the maternity ward so we did and PJ said some very deep things for a 15 year old, involving the innocence of new life and how in 15 years those babies would be just as cynical and sorrowful, wandering as lost as we were. Then we listened to Love Cats and skipped and danced our way back to Jumpin' Junk, where my parents were ready to kick my ass for wandering the streets until 1 in the morning without them knowing where I was.

I got grounded until the last day of school. I thought of ways to invite the serial killer to come to my house and put me out of my misery.

PJ and I cut the last day of school so we could wander the streets again.

"I have to confess something." he told me, as we strolled the grassy, gravelly patch beside the train tracks and kicked stray kudzu vines from our path.

"What?" I asked. I stepped down to pick a wildflower, Queen Anne's Lace I think.

"I totally love the new Rick Astley song."

I started cracking up. How lame of PJ to like that cheezy pop. We were way cooler than that.

"No, come on! I know it's corny, but it's really sweet. You have to listen to the words. I"m going to buy the single right now."

PJ went into the too cool, college record store and confidently purchased the Rick Astley single, which he popped into his walkman. Back beside the train tracks, he made me listen to it.

"Never gonna make you cry, never gonna say goodbye, never gonna tell a lie and desert you." he sang. Loudly.

"I LOVE this song!" he yelled.

Then, without any warning whatsoever PJ grabbed me, wrapped his arms all around me, causing me to drop my skateboard, and with the song still playing "never gonna run around and hurt you" PJ kissed me a perfect Hollywood kiss.

All of the nervousness, performance anxiety and intimidation I had before was gone. I kissed back. We kissed for a long time and then, just as if we were in a John Hughes movie, it started to rain and we kissed more. When I finally opened my eyes I realized that I never noticed that PJ had the bluest blue eyes in the whole world. So we kissed some more.

Then we layed (or lie?) down in the kudzu patch by the train tracks and kissed and kissed while it sprinkled and while trains passed and I even let him look at my bra. God looked down from Heaven and smiled and I secretly told Him, inside my head "God, it was definitely worth the wait."

The other day I googled PJ for fun and pages upon pages of results came up. Guess what? PJ really is a movie director!!!!!!! I am so infinitely proud. He's on imdb. He's making a documentary right now and he's written and worked on all sorts of neat projects. Current pictures also show that he grew up to be really cute and he has a wife even. I could not be more overjoyed to learn that he really did end up living his dream. So thank you PJ, if you even remember me, for giving me a perfectly framed, timed and well lit first kiss. I'll be cheering you on on Oscar night next year, or some year.

Ok readers, you can't not hear the song after all that. Please go listen to it. I found the video on YouTube and almost started to cry and laugh at the same time. HERE, my present for you all. Theee Rick Astley video.


Anonymous said...

You are GOOD.

For some reason, some of these personal stories remind me of "To Kill A Mocking Bird." Not the book but the movie version. The voice of the narrator, pace of the story... humanity and the good/bad/humor.

Hope that makes sense. Also, I find a bit of Kate Chopin, actually quite a lot. Wonderful stuff. Thank you for sharing.

JDogg said...

If you didn't link to the song, I was going to do it for you.

I disliked the monkeys about as much as you did.

Anonymous said...

Even though I miss reading about the stupefying lunacy of Wide Lawn's denizens, I LOVE the personal stories. Your first best-seller, like your first kiss, will be worth the wait.

Anonymous said...

Great....just simply great writing!!

Jen said...

Wow, wow, wow.

What a great post....the whole thing. YAY for pj. Yay for you.

I bought that Rick Astley single..on a 33" record!

I'm so glad you're still around exsw

Anonymous said...

That was so cool--it was straight out of a movie.

(This is completely unrelated to your post, but why is it when something really cool happens, we always say "that was straight out of a movie"? Has the silver screen become the standard for real life? Weird.)

Anyways, I've been reading your blog for a while, and I've been feeling guilty for not delurking for a couple weeks now. It's kind of embarassing that I'm picking a story like this, but I figure that I'll only be young once. I can always go back to being cynical in a year or two.

China Doll said...

Typically I tend to enjoy the sordid, gossipy stories like the ones you used to tell, but I'm so enthralled by your life stories. How are you not clinically insane? How is it that you didn't turn into a serial killer yourself?? I have crazy respect for you, both as a person and as a writer. Keep going, I have no doubt that someday you'll have a book deal!

MP said...

First off, great post..wild life. I'm lost though, what area of the country are you in during these. I was thinking up East..but w/ a tornado?

I liked the song when it came out..then it became part of my Aqua Aerobics routine and it makes my arms hurt thinking about it. I checked out the link and realized I have NEVER seen him before. He's kind of a little hottie..

Back to your post, that is an extremely romantic first kiss, beats spin the bottle and forced making out in a closet.

Anonymous said...

OMG, I remember that song. I was quite grown up and on my own...probably just married, but I really liked it until I saw the video.

What was with the gratuitous gymnast bouncing raound? Was he there for the gay guys? IDK...

And I agree that these stories from your life are truly the best.

saintseester said...

This was a fantastic series of stories. I loved it! Sorry about the trauma/drama in your life, but you sucked me in completely.

MamaD4 said...

I was SO in love with Rick Astley...probably why I didn't get kissed until 12th Grade!! Thanks for the great stories and the great 80s memories. I'm going to go dig up my Rick Astley tape TONIGHT!

xtine said...

Oh my GOD! You ALMOST rickrolled us, your readers.

Lovely story, as always.

booda baby said...

Sweet. Very very sweet.

Anonymous said...

Just curious - the wedding wasn't in Waverly, AL was it?

Tere said...

"I had this thing for unrequited, impossible and unattainable love. I loved to pine for things and people and places I couldn't have. I still do it. I suffer chronic saudade."

No wonder we're kindred spirits!

Gucci Muse said...

I love that song-I was living in England at the time, so that is what I think about when I hear it-actually I just found the TAPE CASSETTE I had of it and I popped it in and listened away.

Anonymous said...

WOW! Your blogs just get better and better!

Coming from Texas

Anonymous said...

GREAT post!!!! I'm so glad you decided to keep writing. Lucky us!!

: )

Anonymous said...

Ex SW! You are so amazingly amazing and wonderful! I like your real life stories so much more than the others. Yay for girl skateboarders, the Cure and innocent first kisses next to the train tracks! I'm glad you didn't quit writing on us. Every day when I go to creative writing class I think of you. You are my inspiration!

Anonymous said...

I love your stories. Yay! Your life sounds so interesting. Please keep going!

Anonymous said...

Ah, unrequited love...takes me back to...well, this past semester actually. Ha!
Love the stories, keep it up.

Ziz said...


Anonymous said...

A friend of mine grew up on the same block as Rick Astley---apparently he was quite a jerk. Still, gotta love that big black man's voice coming out of that pencil-shaped, red-headed, white guy.

Anonymous said...

I have to say. I am completely engrossed by your real-life stories. I too miss hearing about the nut jobs at Wide Lawns, but this is just as good.

I do have to ask - did you know about getting Rickrolled? Or is this just a hilarious coincidence?

Susan said...

Not kidding, I always loved that song. I had just finished reading your blog when the song came on the tv for a commerical. You are a lucky woman to have had such a wonderful first kiss and then to find your husband!! I can't wait to see what you write about next!! BTW did they ever catch the serial killer?

M.Amanda said...

TOTALLY worth the wait. The kiss AND the end of the story.

Architect Critic said...

Absolutely incredible. Your writing was good before - now it's even better. Your life-story is very captivating, probably because it is so different from mine. I am glad you are letting us catch a glimpse of your unique, beautiful character.

Leonesse said...

Wow. Are we separated at birth?

Similar lives, people surprised we survived, but it is now that I am surrounded by skateboards and geeks! I live it every day.

Thank you for your stories. I could never write like you.

Chris Hanisco said...

Wow, you're early life sounds kind of like mine. We didn't have a monkey, but I felt a lot of the anxiety and sadness that you did. It sucks, but it does give us character.

Anonymous said...

I agree w/ the "To Kill A Mockingbird" comment. Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for not quitting and and for continuing to give us these great stories!

Maya said...

I have to say - I really, really enjoyed the WideLawns stories - but this stuff? I LOVE. Thanks for sharing. Had a really great first kiss(es) myself, even though I didn't have to wait nearly so long. Keep 'em coming!

That Girl said...

I remember the green lipstick

Anonymous said...

I have to ask you, during the time of this story, were you living in Delaware? Too many parts of this story (serial killer of hookers, "Collegetown", "Collegetown record store near train tracks), just give me that sneaking feeling.

Elizabeth Watson said...

Wow. I'm not sure if details were dramatized or anything, but... if not, I think this story took place in the little town where I spent half of my childhood. Wierd!

Anyway, I'm happy to hear that things are looking up and that you're still writing. While I loved the trashiness of Wide Lawns, you're so much more interesting than anorexic cokewhores and people who have more money than brains. Thanks for doing this!

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