Tag Archives: chapter four part three

Plaster of Paris; chapter four, part three

“Holy shit!”  I blurt out, pressing my hand to my mouth.  Immediately, I feel like a damned ingénue in a cheap novel and drop my pose.  “You’re Ursula Meadows.”  Talk about fucking coincidences!  This is a big one.

“Yes, I am.”  Ursula smiles and stands up, holding out her hand.  She didn’t do herself justice with her self-deprecating description.  Yes, she’s middle-aged with frizzy blond hair and wide hips, but what she forgot to say was that the hair reaches the middle of her back and the hips are accompanied by a generous bosom and a slim waist.  She is wearing a black dress that shows her assets to their best advantage.  She also forgot to say that she has porcelain skin with dark blue eyes and a ready smile.  This is a woman comfortable in her own skin, and what beautiful skin it is.  “You must be Rayne and?”  She dangles the sentence attractively, waiting for me to fill in the blank.  She stands up, showing off her nearly six-feet in its full glory.

“Uh, Rayne.  Paris’s best friend.”  I suddenly wish I had gone home to change.  “This is Lyle.  Paris’s partner.”  Not a flicker from the cool Ms. Meadows.

“It’s so good to meet you, Rayne,” Ursula says, clasping my hand warmly in hers before doing the same to Lyle.

“Ms. Meadows, it’s an honor to meet you,” I say reverentially.  “They were just talking about your upcoming book at Dog Eared.”  She was a waitress before she hit the bigs.  When And San Francisco Wept burst onto the scene, it shot to the top of the New York Times bestseller’s list.  Critics gushed about her being the ‘trenchant observer of our postmodern, weary days’.  They compared her to everyone from Bukowski to Stein, from Henry Miller to Flannery O’Connor.  She’s been hailed as ‘a refreshing antidote to the ennui displayed by today’s youth’.  She’s a local icon.

“Please, I am only Ursula.”  She laughs and gestures to the seats across from her.  “I’m so glad you brought Lyle along.”  Lyle and I sit down, too awed to speak.  At least, that’s my excuse.  “How is Paris?”  A frown creases her forehead.  Lyle and I glance at each other, wondering how much to reveal.  Though I instinctively like this woman, she is virtually a stranger.

“He’s in the hospital,” I say hesitantly.  “Recovering from surgery.”  That seems safe enough to say.

“I can’t believe the horrible hands of fate,” Ursula muses sadly, sipping on what appears to be a sangria.  Our server miraculously appears out of nowhere to ask if we want anything to drink.  He has a ready smile and dark skin that contrasts marvelously with his white shirt.  I order a dry martini, not wanting to appear uncouth by having a Bud Light or something so horrible domestic.  Lyle asks for a shot of Jack.  Ursula orders us an appetizer consisting of goat cheese and bread before turning back to us.  “It’s utterly ironic that I contact Paris yesterday afternoon, and hours later, he’s had an accident.  So cruel.”

“How did you know it was hours later, Ms., uh, Ursula?”  I ask curiously.  I am fairly certain I didn’t mention when the accident happened, just that it had.

“I was guessing,” Ursula says ruefully, fiddling with her glass.  “I talked to him late afternoon yesterday, and I just assumed it wasn’t this morning.”  Probably true, but it’s hard to say.  She tosses her magnificent mane of hair back, and smiles at us benevolently.  It’s hard to believe this woman is in her mid-forties, but she must be if she’s Paris’s birthmother.  “Well, kiddies, shall I tell you a story?”

Without waiting for a reply, she launches into her tale of woe.  She grew up in Philly.  When she was a teenager, she was a frump who had no social life.  Worse, she was tall and gangly which did nothing to increase her appeal to boys.  She spent Friday nights studying and Saturday nights crying in her bedroom.  Her parents were loving, but distant as they were professors with full lives of their own.  They liked her, were fond of her, but had no idea what to do with a spotty, stuttering girl who had no friends.  Ursula turned to books, especially romance novels that promised a Prince Charming and a happy ending on the last page.  She devoured them like candy, determined to have her romance one way or another.  She dreamed of her own prince, and even had a name picked out for him.  Nicholas.  She thought it was regal without being stuffy.  He would have dark brown hair and flashing brown eyes—she was partially to flashing brown eyes.  He would be the end of all her miseries.

Continue Reading

Rainbow Connection; chapter four, part three

Wednesday is uneventful, and I am grateful.  I wake up Thursday morning, cautiously optimistic.  For once, I have slept for several hours on end.  Paris isn’t up yet, which isn’t unusual for him.  He had gone on a date with Lyle last night and hadn’t return home by the time I went to bed which was a little past midnight.  This morning, I make an omelet because I’ve been hankering for one the last few days, but I hadn’t had the energy to actually make one.  Actually, I want scrambled eggs, but I’m no good at that so I stick to omelets which are easier for me to make for some reason.  I toss in some gouda cheese, mushrooms, and onions.  I am not as good a cook as Paris, but I can get by in a pinch.  I toast two pieces of bread to go with my eggs and pull out the tub of butter for my toast, not margarine.  I rarely use butter, but when I do, I infinitely prefer the real thing.  Margarine doesn’t taste right to me.  I pour myself a tall glass of orange juice and sit down to eat.

After I make a dent in my food (ok, six bites.  It’s a dent for me these days), I open the Chronicle to aid digestion.  I toss the front page aside as I save it for last.  The funnies aren’t very funny; the sports’ page only brings bad news.  After I read every other section, I glance at the headlines of the front page.  What I see makes me almost throw up my breakfast on the spot.  There is a big picture of Ashley, only she looks more like Marilyn Manson than Courtney Love.  Her hair is dyed dark brown but that’s not the remarkable part.  The knife slashes across her pretty face overshadows anything she’s done with her hair.  Her shirt is torn to shreds by a knife as well, and there are gaping wounds decorating the top half of her body.  At least, that’s my inference as the picture is cut off right above her breasts, and that part of her shirt is sliced to ribbons. Her eyes are wide with shock.  A moan rises from inside of me, forcing its way out.  My first impulse is to fling the paper in the corner and pretend that I never saw the picture, but being an ostrich is not an option.

I make myself to read the headline.  ‘Punk Princess Perforated!’ would have been appropriate, but the Chron is not that crass.  Or that ballsy.  Instead, the headline read, ‘Marin County Debutante Slain!’  Not nearly as catchy, but nevertheless accurate.  My eyes drop to the article.  Ashley Stevenson, seventeen years old.  A senior at Marin Academy.  Her daddy is a CEO with Godiva Chocolatier.  Her mommy was independently extremely wealthy before she died of cancer.  I steel myself to read the rest of the grim news.  Her body was found in the tennis courts of her school which were usually locked for the night, but were open last night for some unfathomable reason.  Her body was found by the cops who patrol the grounds once or twice a night.  They wouldn’t have noticed except the door to the tennis courts was wide open which it never was after school hours.  By the time they reached the body, she was already dead.  Stabbed.  Suspicion of drugs.  The paper hints of sexual interference, but refuses to elaborate.  “Mr. Stevenson is devastated,” a ‘close family friend’ says tearfully.  “My daughter should not have died,” Mr. Stevenson declares, looking twenty years older than his age.  “I know the police will get to the bottom of this.”

Continue Reading

Dogged Ma: Chapter four, part three

Chapter Four, Part Three

“How dare you,” Mr. Chang boomed, the minute everybody was gone.  He turned his wrath upon me, and it was pretty awesome to behold.  Unfortunately for him, I didn’t scare easily.  Besides, I’d done battle with the Angel of Death and came out of it no worse for the wear, so really, what could Mr. Chang do to me?  On top of that, I couldn’t die, so I figured I could handle anything else.  “You embarrassed Mrs. Chang and me in front of our dearest friends.  Edward, I’m not sure you should be marrying this girl.  She’s no good for you.”

“Dear, I agree with your father,” Mrs. Chang said, nodding her head several times.  “While I’m sure Margaret is a lovely girl,” she sent an insincere smile my way; “she just doesn’t fit in with the family, you understand?”

“I understand,” I broke in.  Might as well go for broke.  “I have too many of my own opinions to be a satisfactory Chang wife.  I don’t know how to keep my mouth shut and my legs spread.”

“That’s exactly what I’m talking about,” Mr. Chang shouted, his fact turning red.  I wanted to tell him to sit down so he wouldn’t have a heart attack, but I figured it was Ned’s turn to speak.  Which he did after an eon.

“Mom, Dad, I need you to sit down and listen,” Ned said, struggling to keep his voice steady.  He stood ramrod straight, clutching my hand as if it were a lifesaver.  His grasp was clammy, which meant he was experiencing abject fear.  Mr. and Mrs. Chang looked at each other before simultaneously lowering themselves on the divan.  Mrs. Chang peered expectantly at Ned whereas Mr. Chang looked as if he was waiting for a bomb to drop.  I squeezed Ned’s hand to give him strength, which spurred him to continue.  “I have something to tell you.  There’s no easy way to say it, so I’m just going to blurt it out.”  He took a deep breath, looking from his mother to his father.  “I’m gay.”  He tensed his body as if awaiting a blow.  Knowing what I knew of Mr. Chang, it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility.  He believed in ‘spare the rod, spoil the child’.

“What did you just say?”  Mr. Chang asked, starting to rise.  I tensed my body as well, prepared to get Ned the fuck out of there if things got too dicey.

“I said—”

“I heard what you said,” Mr. Chang interrupted, on his feet by now.  Mrs. Chang, looking shell-shocked, stayed frozen in place.  “You come into my house and start talking that kind of filth?  Your mother and I didn’t raise you like that.”  He was advancing towards Ned who watched his father approaching as if his father were a snake.  “It’s this girl, isn’t it?  She’s been a bad influence on you—got you thinking things that aren’t true.”  I almost laughed at that one.  Who got me drunk the first time?  Why, Ned, of course.  Who took me to get my first tattoo?  Ned again.  Who scoped out the boys to make sure I didn’t fall for a gay boy?  Ding, ding, ding!  It wasn’t I who corrupted Ned but the other way around.  Besides, why the hell would I want Ned to be gay?  That didn’t benefit me in any way.

“Dad, please,” Ned said, holding up a hand.  I was glad to see him not backing down, but I thought it might be prudent to leave so his parents had time to digest Ned’s proclamation.

“Ned, maybe—”  That was as far as I got before Mr. Chang reached me and pushed me to the ground.

“Shut up!”  He screamed, totally out of control.  “It’s all your fault, you stupid cunt, for making him this way.”  I sat on the floor in shock, stunned that he’d actually pushed me over, not to mention him calling me a cunt.  I paid no attention to what else he was saying as it didn’t make any sense, but I could feel my tailbone bruising.

“Dad, no!”  Ned shouted, his eyes flashing.

Continue Reading