BIG DISCLAIMER: All characters in X:WP are copyright MCA/Universal/Renaissance Pictures. Theyre not exactly here, but no copyright infringement intended and no profit gained. The story is mine, so please ask permission before trying to sell it to Lifetime for a TV movie.
FAT FREE AND UBER-LICIOUS: This is a sequel to the "White Trash Trilogy" ("Love & Death in the Trailer Park," "Ways to Be Wicked," & "Mayonnaise and Its Discontents"). You should read those before proceeding here, otherwise youll have no idea whats going on; its bad enough that I dont know what the hell is happening one of us should be lucid, dont you think?
BABY, BABY, BABY, IF YOU TOUCH ME LIKE THIS, WILL I HIT YOU LIKE THAT?:
Just like your lunch, its all coming back to you now: Our heroines are lovers. If you cant go with it, then please read no further.
SOMETIMES I AM FRIGHTENED, BUT IM READY TO LEARN ABOUT THE POWER OF SPAM:
No snooty British actors, boxes of Raisinets, buckets of potato chips, or bottles of Stoli were harmed in the writing of this fanfic. As usual, there is foul language aplenty, and disturbing concepts, like the Ice Capades.
BETA BABES: Thanks to Heather, my personal druglord! And tears of mushy, Oscar ceremony-type gratitude to Lela, for cracking the beta whip over my un-grammatical ass: When I think about you, I touch my thesaurus.
IVE BEEN TO POCATELLO, BUT IVE NEVER BEEN TO ME
Another White Trash Tale of Depravity, Soul-Searching, and Potato Chips
by Vivian Darkbloom
1. An Interlude in the Manner of Pinky and the Brain
"Gabrielle, are you thinking what Im thinking?"
"I think so, baby. Ill go get your fire helmet and the nacho cheese dip."
"No, Im not thinking about that."
"Okay. Let me try again." A hopeful pause. A batting of fair eyelashes. A comely pout. "Your fire helmet and the vibrator?"
Zina sighed. Her fire helmetthe penultimate symbol of her profession, a
badge of pride, a lifesaving devicehad been reduced, by Gabrielle, to both
a fetish object and a receptacle for foodstuffs. She was just grateful that
Gabrielle had decided the helmet was ill-suited for use as a pitcher for
margaritas (her hair had smelled like tequila for weeks). "Im thinking "
"Always a bad sign, baby."
" like maybe we should go to the movies."
Gabrielle regarded her skeptically. "Really?" She loved to go to movie theaters, but since Zina found the entire experience stressfuldealing with large, inane groups of people was not the firefighters fortethey did not go very often.
Zina cleared her throat. This "being sensitive" shit is really hard. "Listen, Gabrielle, I thought, you know, you deserve a night out, a night where we do something different cause, uh, I know your finals were hard."
"I agree, absolutely. So like I said, let me go get your helmet and the
"Now, how is that special? Weve done that plenty of times."
"Well, this time Ill let you wear the helmet, stud." With a wiggle of her eyebrows, Gabrielle ran upstairs. Grinning, Zina followed. She was more than willing to do whatever it would take to make the little poet happy especially when it involves sex, thought the firefighter, as she took the steps two at a time.
Cyrene stepped out of her Volkswagen, humming the crazy violin part of
"Baba ORiley," her head bobbing up and down, and approached the front door
of the farmhouse. She lingered on the porch as she peered into the daunting
recesses of her macramé purse, looking for the house keys, something that
was hard to do in the evening light. A full fifteen minutes passed, during
which she found some Chiclets from 1977 and the results of an VD test from
1990 (Hey, Im negative! Cool!), before she finally found the keys. Still
humming, she entered the darkened home that her daughter shared with
Gabrielle. She wound her way through the black hallway to the kitchen,
where she snapped on the light. She clapped her hands together and rubbed
them briskly. Okay, Ive got a half an hour before the meeting, just enough
time to make hummus
"Ayiyyiyiyiyiyiyiyiyiyiyiyi!" The strange cry ripped through the room and, not wasting any time, Cyrene grabbed the nearest butcher knife and, with a less exotic shriek of her own, jumped on the kitchen counter. Her daughter was crouched in the doorway, nude, ready to pounce, wielding a baseball bat and with a fire helmet ever so slightly askance on her head.
"Jesus, Zina!" Cyrene cried, as her adrenaline rush subsided. "What the fuck was that?"
Zina grinned. "Just a little something I picked up from the Discovery Channel," she said proudly. "Didnt know you could still jump that fast, Mom." She rose to her full height and leaned the bat in a corner. "Sorry. I thought you were a burglar or somethin."
"I didnt think you were home, honey. Gabrielle said I could use the house tonight for an LPN group meeting."
"LPN?" Zina echoed. Her mother wanted to become a nurse?
Cyrene sighed. Another disbeliever. "Legalize Pot Now."
The firefighter snorted. "Oh, for Christs sake."
Cyrene jabbed a finger of maternal authority at Zina. "Yeah, man, scoff all you want. All I can say if it werent for pot, you wouldnt be here right now!" Somehow a Chevy van, a bottle of Boones Hill strawberry wine, an 8-track tape of Badfinger, and a draft dodger with a droopy mustache had appeared all the more erotic and alluring under the influence of a fat joint.
Footsteps on the stairs announced Gabrielles arrival. The lithe poet had
taken a minute to make herself presentable for dangerous felons, and had
thrown on a t-shirt and shorts. But her mussed hair, reddened lips, and
flushed face announced, louder than a Siegfried and Roy show at Vegas, what
she and her hunky firefighter had been up to. "Cyrene? What the hell"
"You forgot, didnt you?" Cyrene accused gently.
"Oh shit! I did! Im sorry." She apologized to two generations of bad-ass chicks at once. Both scowled at her. "Uh, Zina, didnt you say you wanted to go to the movies?"
2. Mrs. Peel, Were Needed
The trip to the movies also involved babysitting Purdy, who was having a fight with Lila. He had called up Gabrielle a few minutes before they were about to leave for the theater, to see if she wanted to get drunk at the Saddle. Soft-hearted little poet that she was, she invited him along. "Is that okay?" she sheepishly asked Zina after the fact.
Zina shrugged. "Sure."
"Zina, youre so nice to Purdy. Its sweet."
"I figure anyone who dumped you for your sister needs some special treatment, if you know what I mean." She waggled a finger in a circle alongside her head.
They met Purdy at the theater. He stood, sulky, in the parking lot, leaning against his Ford pickup, John Deere cap pulled low in an attempt to make his babyfat face more menacing. "Hiya, Gab, Hiya Zina," he greeted. "So, what movie are we seeing?"
Gabrielle smirked with pride. "The Avengers."
Purdy made a face. "Gab, you always pick these artsy-fartsy foreign films!"
Zina nodded in agreement. "Yeah! With these snooty British people or something," she piped up.
"Knock it off, both o you. Ill have you know that things blow up in this movie, and that Uma Thurman chick runs around wearing leather. It cant be bad."
A skeptical grunt issued forth from the firefighter as they headed into the multiplex. After they bought tickets, Gabrielle immediately took off in the direction of the concession stand. But she didnt get very far before Zina snagged her arm. "Dont do it," her companion purred in her ear.
Such a suggestive, seductive tone made the blonde poet want to do it even more. "I dont know what youre talking about," she protested, lying, trying to squirm out of Zinas grip.
"You know what I mean, Gabrielle. Dont do it. Dont give in."
Gabrielle stopped thrashing and met Zinas eyes. "Okay, okay. I wont. I swear."
The blue eyes held her gaze for a moment. "All right, then." The firefighter released her. "Get me a Coke, okay? See you down front." She headed for the theater.
As Gabrielle waited patiently in line, she drank in the smell of rancid
popcorn and butter. Popcorn. Ill just get some popcorn. With feigned
casualness she surveyed the boxes of candy in the display case; the green
eyes flickered and hesitated for a nanosecond at the Raisinet boxes, but
then continued their thorough scan of the candy. Okay, that was fine. I
didnt feel a thing.
Nonetheless she turned away abruptly and studied the faded wallpaper. Oh
my thats a nice pattern. I never thought green and brown could work
together like that .Then she turned her attention to a new movie poster:
Weekend at Bernies 3: "This Time Its Personal Hygiene."
Then the voices began.
No! She clutched her forehead. "Im not listening," she muttered aloud, causing a glance from the burly gentleman in front of her wearing a cowboy hat and a Charlie Daniels Band t-shirt.
Gabrielle! Its us. Please listen!!!
"Stop it!" Gabrielle growled. The large cowboy shifted away from her slightly.
You must listen. Only you can set us free. Gabrielllllllllllle
Look at us.
She shook her head savagely.
Come. Look. Or do you fear us?
Timidly the poet turned, slowly, and looked.
The box of Raisinets glowed with a preternatural beauty, even more striking
than Zina in full firefighter regalia (or buck naked for that matter), and
the voices of the Raisinets, blending together with mellow effervescence
and sounding precisely like the two midget women in that little box from
the Mothra movies, sang their siren song of freedom to their golden-haired
liberator: Gabriellllllle buy us, eat us!
"Ohhhhh all right!" screamed the poet, scaring away not only the Charlie Daniels guy but also the couple in front of him, and thus effectively shortening the line.
Arms cradling the Coke, the popcorn, a bunch of candy bars, and the evil Raisinets, Gabrielle waddled down the aisle to where her companions sat. She tossed a giant Kit Kat bar at Purdy and thrust a Coke at Zina; both firefighter and mechanic noted the Raisinets lying in her lap.
"Dont say anything," Gabrielle snarled at them.
A long silence ensued. It was finally broken by Purdys guffaw. "Youll be on the can all night long, then havin bad dreams," he chastised her. "Man, I am so glad I dont live with you anymore!"
She gave a lunge toward him, sending popcorn flying, but was restrained by Zinas powerful arm. "Down, girl," said the firefighter.
"They they " stammered Gabrielle.
"Yeah, I know, honey bunny, they were talking to you " Zina replied, as if Gabrielle were a reject from the Special Olympics.
"They were!" wailed the poet, as the previews began.
Twenty minutes later, as Zina snored through a trailer for a Brad Pitt film, Purdy, arms folded, threatened once again: "This better be good."
"It cant be bad," assured Gabrielle, whose childlike faith in Hollywood, while tremendously touching, was sorely misplaced, misguided, and plainly retarded.
It was bad.
"How stupid could I be!" cried Gabrielle, as they left the theater for the lobby. "To think that anyone else could be Mrs. Peel!"
"Well, duh," Zina agreed.
"But things sure blowed up pretty good," Purdy said. Zina nodded in assent.
It was all that mattered, really.
"Hey, isnt that Callie over there?" Gabrielle asked apprehensively,
grasping her beloveds arm and nodding to a small, poorly dressed group
that circled the front of the multiplex and carried strange signs: "THE
AVENGERS" PROMOTES UNNATURAL CLOTHES, one said. LEATHER IS FOR BOOTS ONLY, proclaimed another.
Sure enough, the crazed blonde was in the eye of the protesting storm. However, upon spotting the movie-going trio of Zina, Gabrielle, and Purdy, she bore down on them like a bulimic toward a toilet bowl.
"Well!" sniped Callie by way of greeting, "I can guess what sick film you three have been seeing."
Zina rolled her eyes. "Callie, you are pathetic. There was nothing weird in that film. Hell, it was so boring I fell asleep who knows how many times."
"Five," supplied Gabrielle, with some measure of irritation.
"It figures you wouldnt notice the fine details, Zina," Callie sneered haughtily. "The clothing was scandalous and suggestive. It was perverted." Even speaking of the dreaded film caused Callie to grip her jumbo-sized Sprite a little tighter, even though her hand could barely get around it as it was.
"So I take it you actually saw the film?" Gabrielle asked coolly.
"No, of course not! Im not spending money to see such filth!"
"Lady, you are bonkers," Purdy mumbled.
"What?" hissed Callie.
"You heard me!" he retorted defiantly.
She threw her drink at him, drenching him with sticky carbonated coolness. "You crazy bitch! This is my best flannel shirt!" he cried as she stalked away from them.
"Yeah! You get back here, you bitch!" Gabrielle shouted. She tried to take off after Callie, but found Zinas restraining arm around her midriff.
"What the hells gotten into you?" Zina asked, perturbed that Gabrielle would get so upset over such a matterof course, it would have been different had Callie thrown the drink on her, then it would be acceptable for Gabrielle to flip out. But over Purdy? She makes absolutely no sense when shes PMSing, thought Zina, who nonetheless enjoyed the sensation of the wiggling Gabrielle pressed against her.
"Shes pushed me too far, Zina! I cant have her throwing drinks at my ex-boyfriend! I got my pride!"
"Yeah, and its pretty warped, Id say."
"Lemme go!" demanded the angry poet.
"Gabrielle, dont you remember once you told me the cycle of violence and hatred must be broken ."
Finally Gabrielle slipped out of the firefighters loose grasp. "For Christs sake, Zina, I had four shots of tequila when I said that! Now lemme go kick that twats ass!" She stomped over to Callie for a Meeting of the Blondes. A brief interaction ensued: Callie, motionless, with eyebrows raised, watched Gabrielle gesticulate all over the place.
It ended with one punch.
Zina was amazed at how quickly Callie could run in heels. The minister was in her Camaro and tearing out of the parking lot before she and Purdy reached the prostrate poet.
"Gabrielle?" The firefighter gently shook the unconscious form. Her frightened blue eyes locked onto the anxious Purdy. "Quick, get some chocolate!"
"Mrs. Peel?" The voice, with its clipped British accent, was vaguely familiar to Gabrielle. Nonetheless her eyelids refused to open until she felt something soft tapping her cheeks.
Willpower pried open her eyes, which could not believe what they were seeing.
It was Zina, kneeling in front of her, grinning, wearing a dark blue pinstripe suit and a bowler hat, a white carnation gracing her lapel. "Mrs. Peel, are you all right?" Zina asked again, in impeccable, more-upper-class -than-thou English tones.
Those goddamn Raisinets!!!! She tried blinking several times in hopes of dispelling the hallucination. No go. "Is it Halloween again?" she whispered timidly.
Zina frowned. "I say, my dear, you simply are not yourself. You even sound different, Mrs. Peel."
Why does she keep Gabrielle tried to move and her body, which felt taut, tense, and immobile, made a strange, flatulent noise. She looked down the length of her form. She was clad in a tight black leather bodysuit and boots.
calling me that? She was attired just like Mrs. Peel. "Oh, God," she moaned. She looked at Zina, who was still looking ever so concerned in a restrained, British kinda way.
"So. You must be Steed." Gabrielle ventured the guess nervously.
The tall, dark-haired woman smiled at that. "Verrrry good," she replied with imperial condescension. "Now, do you remember anything else?"
Gabrielle gritted her teeth as she attempted to sit up again, which elicited a protracted farting noise from her leather outfit. This time she was successful. "Like what?"
"Ohhh, lets see," Zina sighed in thought, "The Cybernauts? The Hellfire Club? Castle DeAth?"
"Uh yeah. I do." Except I wasnt Mrs. Peel, I was only sitting on the floor in the living room eating Screaming Yellow Zonkers and wishing I were her.
"Encouraging!" replied Zina/Steed.
And they were off, driving through the countryside, drinking champagne, listening to Petula Clark . Downtown!
She held out her glass for more champagne (and how did Steed manage to pour and drive at the same time?) but when she brought it to her lips there was a telegram inside the glass. "Whats this?" she asked.
"Good news, Mrs. Peel. Your husband, Purdy Peel, has been found in the
In an Amazon? Surely not Effie! "My husband? But II was never married!" wailed Gabrielle.
"So Im afraid its time for all our glamorous adventures to come to an
"But you must do your duty "
The Bentley entered a tunnel. All was darkness .
.and Gabrielle opened her eyes. She was back home, in the bedroom she shared with Zina, and the tall firefighter was sitting on the bed, watching her with concern. Fortunately, sans the bowler hat.
"Sugar booger!" she cried, sitting up. She flung her arms around Zina.
"Gabrielle! How are you feeling, honey?" Zina gave her girlfriend a squeeze, a kiss on the cheek, and rubbed her back.
"Better. Baby, I had this crazy dream"
"Didnt I tell you not to eat the Raisinets?"
"I know. But this was different somehow...."
"You mean you have diarrhea this time?"
"No! Zina, listen. I was going through a tunnel, and you know that usually
"Sex!" Zinas sapphire eyes lit up like a gas grill.
"Yeah, but it scared me a little. Like I feel the tunnel represents something else. Cause I was afraid to go through it. You know how I hate change like I was ready to kill you when you got a different kind of toilet paper. But I think this is something serious, something I gotta think about. Like what Im gonna do with my life. And what everything means. I feel like this dream was trying to impart some important message to me about my life, my writing but what the bowler hat represented, I have no idea " Gabrielle trailed off, and so had Zinas infant-like attention spanthe baby blues were focused on the switchblade she pulled out of her pocket. With a flick of the wrist, Zina began to pare her nails. Gabrielle cleared her throat loudly. "Honey, do me a favor. Would you get that big book out of the bathroom for me?"
Zina nodded. Still fiddling with the switchblade, she shuffled into the bathroom. Five minutes passed. The toilet flushed. "I dont see anything!" she finally cried.
You damn"Its under your copy of Guns and Ammo!" Gabrielle yelled.
A pause. "Oh." Zina returned, with a large hardcover tome. It was titled
The Womans Dictionary of Symbols, Signs, and Secret Meanings: Dream
Interpretation for Quasi-Feminists. The book had been a Christmas gift from Cyrene. With the book splayed in her lap, Gabrielle flipped pages until she reached this entry, nestled between "Bowl of Oatmeal" and "Butane Lighters":
BOWLER HATS: Traditionally seen as a symbol of male bourgeoisie, the bowler hat takes on subversive meaning in dreams when it is worn by a woman. Its black color represents power, and the round, curvaceous shape calls to mind the feminine form. Nominally the dream figure wearing the hat is seen as powerful, a person whose acceptance of self is something that you strive for.
Gabrielle looked at her companion skeptically. Zina was flipping the switchblade in her hand, then, with a sudden growl and a cry of "Hee-yah!" flung the blade across the room until it landed, bulls eye, in a decrepit dart board. She smirked with pride.
"Zina, Im having a spiritual crisis kinda thing going on. Least you could do is leave the switchblade alone."
The firefighter blinked and looked at her girlfriend. "Oh. Yeah, sorry, Gabrielle." Like a scolded puppy she returned to the bed.
"Maybe this is why Im having a writers block, too," mused the blonde.
"Dont worry, honey, youll get your groove back." Zina admired her neatly trimmed nails, then shot Gabrielle a sly, lusty look. "We could have sexthat usually helps you write."
"Yeah, but I usually end up writing epic poems about your thighs. Not that that isnt a worthy subject, but no. I gotta work this out. Its like a quest. A spiritual quest, you know?"
"No." No, of course not. For Zina, a spiritual quest would be finding the perfect hunting knife.
"Well, it is. I have to discover who I am, and what my life means, and find inner peace."
They were quiet for a long minute. "I still think sex would help," Zina finally said.
Gabrielle pondered this. "Better safe than sorry." She peeled off her shirt.
3. Anything that Moves
The following day found Gabrielle answering a fateful knock at the door.
She blinked at the tall, dark stranger on the doorstep. "I am looking for Zina." He spoke heavily accented English.
Mentally, Gabrielle pulled out the Zina Ex-Lover Checklist (Male Version):
1. Does he have overstyled facial hair? Yes! Not as weird as Arties, though.
2. Long and/or dark hair? Uh-huh.
3. Muscular and/or dangerous looking, like he just got out of prison?
4. An obvious death wish? Well soon find out.
The Male Version of the Checklist did certainly help narrow the field a bit, unlike the Female Version, which was:
She leaned in the doorway. "Okay, man, I got your number. Welcome to Zinaholics Anonymous. Im Gabrielle, and I cant sponsor you, because Im a happy addict."
The man scowled at her. "A simple hello would work just as well."
"Who are you?"
This did not erase his look of displeasure. "My name is Boris. I have come to see Zina about " He paused melodramatically. " our puppy."
"Da. We had puppy together many years ago."
"A puppy?" Gabrielle gasped. Talk about commitment! Zina never wants us to
have a pet! Every time I bring it up "Too much responsibility, Gabrielle."
She stomped over to the foot of the stairs. "Zina!" she roared up into the air. "Get your ass down here now!"
Various curses filtered down from the second floor of the house. "All right, all right, goddammit." A clunk emanating from above indicated that a barbell was threatening to come crashing through the ceiling. Sleek, sweaty, and pumped, Zina trooped down the stairs. And stopped just before hitting the last step. "Boris," she snarled. "I thought you were dead!"
Great, another ex for Gabrielle to deal with. Ill never hear the end of it.
He looked blank for a moment, then threw up his arms. "Cant you read? The telegram said Dagnine killed me in the chess tournament. Not in real life, you eeediot!" He shook his head, dismayed, then gave her a less severe scrutiny. "But Stolichnaya!" he murmured. "You still look fabulous!"
The firefighter ignored this. "What the hell do you want?"
A hurt look crossed his face. "What a greeting! Zeeeeena, I have not seen you for what? Ten years?"
"I thought that was when you met Julie Caesar," Gabrielle interjected.
"Ummm, maybe five."
"Who is Julie Caesar?" Boris said.
"Maybe its closer to eight " Zina mused.
"Or nine," added Gabrielle.
"Maybe I should ask Mom "
"Zina, every other week your mother thinks its 1972. I dont think so." Only a few days prior Cyrene had traipsed up to Gabrielle and said, "Hey, man, theyre starting this cool thing called Earth Day! Wanna go?"
"Who is this Julie Caesar?" Boris demanded again.
"Look, dickhead, Im the main squeeze here, not you, so stop acting jealous. Okay, Zina," Gabrielle pointed at Boris, "lets hear all about this one. Im ready for another long, crude story about your past. I just bought a jumbo-sized tub of potato chips, so Im set. Spill it."
"Gabrielle, I cantits just too damn ugly." There were few things Zina was truly ashamed of doing but this part of her life, with Boris, was simply too painful and hideous to contemplate. And if she couldnt deal with it what made Gabrielle think that she could?
"Come on, I know everything else, baby. The drug deals, the stolen cars,
setting Callies house on fire"
"You set somebodys house on fire?" cried Boris, aghast. The Russians eyes widened in horror.
"the shoplifting, picking up a Girl Scout"
"She told me she was a troop leader!" the firefighter blurted in feeble defense.
"beating up your parole officer, all the ABBA albums you had"
"Why wont you admit SOS is a great song?"
"so the point is, Zina, I know all the bad stuff, so trust me. I love you.
I married you. I wash your t-shirts. Tell me."
"You want the truth? You can handle the truth!" Zina roared.
A stunned silence followed.
The firefighter shrugged sheepishly. "Sorry. I always wanted to say that."
"Tell me," demanded the poet quietly, folding her arms.
The firefighter sighed in defeat, and her beautiful countenance hardened into a spiteful sneer. "You wannna hear about it? All right, Gabrielle, you asked for it " Her jaw shifted defiantly. "Boris and I were semi-professional ice skaters. We spent yearswell, I guess maybe only onetrying to make it big at the Pocatello Ice Follies."
"Pocatello ?" echoed the poet.
"Da," Boris affirmed. "Its a town in thatahhhh, what do you Americans call your potato state?"
"Idaho," Zina supplied curtly. "Anyway, the Ice Follies .Its like a dry run for the Ice Capades."
Gabrielle backed up away from her beloved, and gripped the arm of the
decrepit couch. No. Totally uncool! My big, tough macho dyke girlfriend a figure skater?
"And we made Tonya Harding look good," Boris added glumly.
"Yeah, Boris is right. We were the worst of the worst. The lowest of the
low. I wore a pink chiffon bodysuit. And Boris made Rudy Galindo look
butch." The Russian scowled at this. "We performed to You Light Up My
"And that cute song from Cats. Whats it called, Zina?" Boris started to hum "Memory." Without thinking, Zina picked up the melody and did the same.
"STOP!" shrieked Gabrielle. Pink? Ice skating? Debby Boone? Eyes staring blankly, she sank numbly into the depths of the couch.
"Zeeeeena, I think shes in shock," Boris said, waving a hand in front of Gabrielles glassy, fixed stare.
4. Another Obligatory Flashback
Practice ended badly; a poorly executed triple axle landed Zina on her ass
and ripped her costume. Boris was supposed to catch her, but he was not on
his mark, where he should have been, but was at the edge of the rink with
Alti, their coach, indulging in a prolonged smoke and discussion about
various brands of vodka. Furious, she stomped over to her oblivious lover,
cold-cocked him (eliciting an evil cackle from Alti in the process), and
stalked back to their trailer, which was parked outside the rink
She didnt hit him too hardhe was only unconscious for half an hourand, as she anticipated, he skulked back to the trailer, apologetic, and they proceeded to make up by screwing frantically under the canopy of the fuzzy, musty panda bear blanket they had bought from Woolworths a few months ago.
Afterwards, while she snored he threw on a pair of jeans and hunted for another bottle of vodka. Bah! She hid it again! Greedy bitch! He returned to the bedroom, determined to wake her up and find out where the vodka was. However, sitting down beside her, he was overtaken by a moment of tenderness as he watched her sleep. Softly, he called her name. "Zina."
She sputtered, drooled, and grunted. He smiled. How he loved her! Gently,
he shook her naked shoulder. "Zina, my beloved. Light of my life, fire of
my loins, my sin, my soul, Zeeeena"
A bleary blue eye cracked open and glared at him. "Were outta condoms, so dont even think about it."
He laughed merrily. "My darling, your crudeness is so charming. No, I just wanted to tell you " His dark eyes were solemn. "I think I love you."
Like a cultural Pavlovs dog, all Zina could think about was the Partridge
Family. The big yellow bus! Danny Bonaduce! Susan Dey in all her bitchy
glory! "I think Im gonna puke." She rolled over.
"This was not the reaction I had hoped for."
"Too fucking bad."
"Its all this stress, all this nonsense thats making you act like this."
He disregarded the fact that she had always been like this, even when they
were trying to open up the Chinese/Tex-Mex restaurant with Lao Ma. He still
shuddered involuntarily at the thought of it; he loved her, without a
doubt, but he was damned if she didnt have the weirdest ideas when it came
to food. And why Lao Ma indulged her Well, I know why Lao Ma indulged her,
he thought darkly, reflecting upon that miserable day when he caught them
together. She was just washing my hair, Zina had said, and then we both got
all wet, so we took off all our clothes to dry, but there werent any towels, so we were just rubbing our bodies togetherjust to get dry!
But oh, Zina, if thats true, then why were you still so wet? He wanted to
cry, the pain of the betrayal was still so fresh. But he forced back the thoughts. "Zina, please," he continued. "I mean it. We could be so happy if we only stopped doing this crap. Lets face it, neither one of us can skate to save our own lives."
Her body rippled with a sigh.
"You know Im right," he pushed.
"Yeah, I guess you are," she conceded. "We should talk to Alti later and tell her its not workin out. Right now, I wanna sleep."
Unfortunately, a banging commenced upon the semi-sturdy door of the trailer. "Go the fuck away!" Zina shouted, pulling the blanket over her head.
He sighed. Apparently the Big Love Discussion would have to wait as well. He padded over to the door and opened it. It was Alti, a Pall Mall dangling (as always) from her lips, her mascara heavy and smeared, making her look like a cross between an aging Cure fan and an insomniac raccoon. "Boris, is she all right?" She nodded toward the bedroom.
"Is she all right?" he spat, incredulous. "Shes the one who hit me!"
Furious, he pointed at his swollen nose.
"Whatever," Alti grunted. "Can we come in for a moment?" It was at the mention of "we" that Boris noted a lithe blonde woman, wearing a short coat and a skirt, hovering inconspicuously behind Alti.
He frowned with suspicion. "I guess." He stepped aside to let them in, and shouted in the direction of the bedroom, "Zina! We got company! Get dressed!"
A minute passed and the sullen Zina sauntered into the main room, wearing black underwear and a tank top.
"Now thats what I call dressed," Alti rasped with approval in her Brenda Vaccaro voice.
Boris, who had pulled on a sweatshirt, folded his arms and scowled. Ignoring them all, Zina headed for the kitchen and returned with a Heineken.
"What, you dont offer our guests anything?" Boris snapped at her.
"Fuck you. What am I, a maid?"
"Why, I ought to" he raised a hand. She hissed at him.
Alti groaned. "As fascinating as I find this, we need to talk."
"About what?" Zina asked.
"Schedule change. The first performance of the Follies this season is next week at the Shriners Arena, so we gotta pick up our pace."
"A week?" Boris gasped. "I thought it was in three weeks."
"It was. But the Militia Job Fair is all that week, in downtown Pocatello, so they moved it up to this week."
"Bastards!" snarled Boris.
"Look, Boris, what does it matter?" Zina said impatiently. "We might as well tell her now." She turned to Alti. "We were just talking about this whole thing a few minutes ago. Alti, were sick of the skating. Were no good at it. So were quitting."
Rage contorted the visage of the Mascaraed One. "What? You cant quit! We have an agreement!"
"Screw the agreement," Zina retorted. "Im not doing it anymore. Im sick of wearing pink chiffon and skating to Whitney Houston."
"Should I let you pick the music?" Alti growled. "If I did, you would be banging your head on the ice to AC/DC."
Zina groaned. "Look, I just want out."
Alti looked to Boris, who was quiet, his face expressionless. "What do you think, Boris?"
"She speaks for us both," the Russian proclaimed.
"I see," Alti rumbled. She turned her head slightly, catching the attention of the blonde woman, who stepped out from behind the skating coach. "Well, I guess if thats your decision, Zina, then its done. Oh, by the way, have I introduced you to my new assistant?"
With a sensual shrug, the Blondes short jacket fell away, revealing creamy bare shoulders above a halter top, followed by a firm, flat tummy and a short skirt. She pursed her full lips, winked at Zina, and purred a hello.
With delight Alti noted that her star skaters blue eyes were glazed with lust and her jaw shifting with the barely suppressed urge to devour the woman on the spot. So predictable, Zina, the coach thought. She smirked and watched as Boris fumed silently, figurative steam shooting out of his ears like a busy laundromat.
Eyes not moving from the Blonde, Zina groped blindly for her wallet, which was sunk into the pocket of her Levis, draped on the couch. "Hey, Boris baby, why dont you an Alti go down to the tavern for a while, have a couple rounds " Absentmindedly she pulled a twenty from the pocket and tossed it in the general direction of her Russian companion.
Alti intercepted the flying money, and gently grasped Boriss arm, relieved to see that he was not protesting as she steered him toward the door. "Well talk later about next week. All right, Zina?"
Like a bird of prey in a cocktail lounge, Zina took a few steps toward the Blonde, who tittered. "Sure, Alti, sure."
"See you at practice tomorrow?"
"Yeah, yeah, go on." Impatiently, she waved her coach away.
With a final shove Alti scooted Boris out the door and closed it behind her. Immediately, in rapid succession, she heard a low growl, a playful shriek, a giddy giggle, and a tortuous moan.
Boris heard it too. Oh great, now I really have to cheer him up, or else
hell spend all evening talking about Dostoevsky. She threw an arm around
him. "Come on, Boris. Nothing but Stoli for you," she said. If we can find
some in this Godforsaken town.
"Really?" he asked with timid hopefulness and puppy dog eyes.
"Really." Ah, as long as theres no shortage of blondes and vodka .
Gabrielle glanced at the empty bottle of peach schnapps on the kitchen table. After Zina had begun the sad tale of her skating days, Boris had taken over the narrative, trying to explain the hold that Alti, their evil coach, had on them. In the interim Zina had wandered into the living room to watch a football game. It had taken him two hours and the empty bottle of liquor to complete his tale which, unfortunately, had led into further discourse on the larger theme of the evening: Zina was an Evil Bitch Who Could Not Be Trusted.
He drained his glass of schnapps and slammed it on the table. "I put up with a lot of crap from her. First she dumps me for Lao Ma, then were back together again and I thought everything was okay, then all of a sudden shes doing this blonde bitch " A sob escaped him, and Gabrielle, cursing her good nature, found herself patting his arm.
"There there," soothed Gabrielle. "Its all over now, baby blue." Damn
Cyrene, making me listen to Dylan over and over and over .
He sniffled into his shirt sleeve. "Shell do the same to you! Youre better off without her," he said sullenly.
She stood up to stretch. "Boris, trust me. Zinas not like that anymore.
Shes a good person now. Shes changed. She really has."
"WOO-HOO!!!! BUCKEYES!!!!!" came a scream from the living room. A few seconds later Zina strutted out, cocky and proud. "Goddamn forty-five yard TD! Sonofabitch!" She playfully slapped Gabrielle on the ass, grabbed a Rolling Rock from the fridge, then ambled back to the TV.
"Changed, huh?" Boris grunted.
Gabrielle rubbed her tingly butt and smiled. She hoped the strangely named football team would win, because it would put Zina in a really good mood afterward.
Indeed, the fortunes of Zinas favorite college team held, and Gabrielle awoke the next morning with a sigh that signified blissful satisfaction. She wandered downstairs to find Zina in the kitchen, making one of her "power shakes": raw eggs with Tabasco sauce and seaweed.
"No good morning kiss for you," mumbled the sleepy poet as she padded into the kitchen.
The firefighter unleashed her evil laugh. "Thats what you think," she growled happily, and swung Gabrielle up onto the counter, so that she was sitting among cracked eggs and dried bits of ocean gunk. Then Zinas lips fused with her own. And that burning sensation was that the raven-haired womans intense passion sizzling against her with tactile abandon, or was it the Tabasco?
Several minutes passed as they engaged in swapping heated spit, but as Gabrielle opened a lazy, lustful eye, movement from the living room, quite visible from her perch on the counter, caught her attention. Intrigued, she pulled away slightly from her partner, only to have the firefighter attach her lips to Gabrielles neck. "Zina?"
"Why is Boris still here?"
The dark head flew back. "What?"
Gabrielle nodded toward the living room. "Hes in there " She and Zina peered intently in that direction. " and hes eating my Cocoa Puffs!" shouted the poet.
"And hes wearing my pajamas!" Zina added with outrage. Disengaging herself from Gabrielle, she stomped into the living room and sat down on the couch beside Boris, who was watching "Donny and Marie" on TV.
"Good morning!" he said.
Fucking bastard. Always a morning person. "Boris, what the hell are you still doing here?"
"Zina, I told you last night I am not going anywhere until you turn over our puppy." Boris did concede to himself that he could have picked his moment better. It was right after the Buckeyes won and the postgame makeout session was in full swing. ("Yay, Butt-Thighs!" Gabrielle had cried triumphantly as she was chased up the stairs.)
"I dont have our goddamn puppy! And another thing, hes probably a dog by now!"
"He will always be a puppy to me, Natasha," Boris replied, letting slip the pet name he had sometimes called Zina when they were still together. They were Boris and Natasha, out to destroy Moose and Squirrel, and take over the world ."Well," he continued, with an exasperated sigh, "where is he?"
The firefighter stared guiltily into the distance.
"I, uh, gave him to Lao Ma."
He did an abortive Danny Thomas: instead of spewing milk and cereal all over the place, it only dribbled all over his beard. "You gave OUR PUPPY to Lao Ma??? Are you mad?"
She moaned. "Look, Im sorry. We had broken up, and you left to play chess
in Geneva, so I didnt think I was fit to take care of a dog, Boris "
"But Lao Ma??? She probably turned him into a lunch special with an egg roll and choice of soup!"
"Cut that out. Thats just some whaddya call it urbane legend," she replied nervously, chewing her lower lip. At least it better be, Lao!
"How could you?"
"Believe me, I didnt want to, Boris. I feel bad that I had to."
"Ha!" he shouted. "You felt bad about something. Thats only slightly more amazing than the fact that some TV executive thinks that these eeeediots"he pointed at the mugging Osmonds"still have careers!"
In the interim Gabrielle had entered the living room; she too was munching on the ambrosia of the lower classes, Cocoa Puffs. "Hey, whos that dopey guy who looks like Purdy?" she asked, gesturing toward the TV with her dripping, milky spoon.
5. Enter the Dragon
"This is stupid," grumbled Gabrielle, as she followed Zina into the Green Dragon. "Why cant he track down his own damn puppy?"
"Look, its like a debt I have to repay," Zina muttered as they were underwhelmed by the dim lighting and the Orientalia of the restaurant: blood red and gold tones saturated the murals of Chinese characters and temples, and little figures dancing with giant peaches .
"Debt my ass," retorted the poet.
Just inside they were greeted by the surly visage of Ming Tien, Lao Mas son, who, as usual, was manning the cash register. His skinny arms were folded over his Sailor Moon t-shirt. He sneered at them, adams apple bobbing furiously. "Ah, my mothers erstwhile seductress dares to bring shame to our dwelling once again."
Zina snatched up a pair of complimentary chopsticks from a large bowl in front of the register. "Im telling ya, kid, one of these days " She mimed jamming the sticks into his head.
"Like Im sooo afraid of you!" he taunted. She lunged at him and he skittered off his chair, seeking refuge behind Gabrielle.
"Stop it, both of you," Gabrielle chastised them. "Look, Zina, lets get this over with, okay?"
"Is she in the kitchen?" Zina barked at Ming Tien.
"Yeah," he replied, sulking.
The two women walked through the nearly empty restaurant to the kitchen. They found Lao idly stirring a huge cauldron of egg drop soup, which sat next to a metal table covered with a mini-army of little wax paper bags filled with dried noodles. "Ah, Zina. I knew you would come," she murmured with serene confidence.
Lao Mas mystical side always fascinated the ex-con. "Yeah? Howd you know this time? A vision? Reading tea leaves? A talking eggroll?"
"No. Boris called me."
"Lazy bastard," muttered Gabrielle.
"Your jealous heart reveals itself, Gabrielle. Like a dumpling hiding spinach soon, the truth is wedged bitterly between ones teeth."
Gabrielle rolled her eyes.
"Lao, baby," Zina began, folding her arms so that her supple biceps were
highlighted, then tossing her black hair and grinning seductively, "youll
remember a few years back I gave you a puppy "
"Ah, yes. A most unexpected gesture. Touching and beautiful."
"Until you demanded money for the wretched creature."
"I just thought of that as a loan. Anyway, Lao, honey..." Zina stretched to emphasize her broad shoulders and perfectly rounded breasts. Laos stirring of the egg drop soup grew agitated. And Gabrielles blood simmered hotter than the most potent of Tabasco sauces.
"...I need the dog back. Ill buy him from you, even."
"Yes, I know. Thats what Boris was calling about. He said he was sending you over, and that you would either seduce me or kill me for the dog."
"You know Boris. Loves to exaggerate. Cause if I kill anyone, it would be that bratty kid of yours."
Lao Ma sighed. "Ming Tien is so misunderstood....you see, I had to get rid of the dog for him."
"Whaaaaat?" Zina asked, with a growl building in her throat.
"Ming was the allergic to the animal. And it kept attacking him. So I took it to the local animal shelter."
"Attacking?" echoed Zina. "Lao, its a dachshund, for Christs sake."
"They have many sharp little teeth..."
"Yeah," drawled Gabrielle facetiously, "who can resist the raging dachshund?"
Lao Mas cool eyes flickered to the angry poet. "A sarcastic bitch is like a Barbra Streisand CD: It yields unpleasantness for all within hearing range."
"Oh, yeah? Well, a bitch who drowns in a pot of egg drop soup is like "
Zina and Lao watched, with anticipation, as Gabrielle struggled to find a metaphor. Both women raised eyebrows.
" like .like a bitch who drowns in a pot of egg drop soup!" In sheer
frustration, Gabrielle kicked at the stove. Poor baby, Zina thought, she
really is blocked.
A flicker of alarm crossed Lao Mas face. "Gabrielle, do not kick my stove. Unless you want to find extra MSG in your next Szechuan Chicken." She turned to Zina. "Please, remove your dangerous girlfriend from the premises."
"Cmon, baby, lets go," Zina tugged gently on her companions arm.
"Dont you threaten me with acronyms, you!" roared Gabrielle.
With a sigh, Zina flung the poet over a broad shoulder and exited the Green Dragon.
6. Of Pussies and Puppies
When Boris was not contentedly watching Sally Jessy Raphael, he pondered
his ex-lover, Zina. It amazed him to see her so utterly under the thumb of
this little blonde person, Gabrielle. The dark, dangerous woman who excited
him so, who defied the law and good taste, well, she was now what do they
call it? Ah pussy-whipped!
Now she knows what its like, he thought spitefully.
The door of the farmhouse burst open, interrupting any further Russian ruminations. Zina stomped in, with Gabrielle on her heels.
"Did you have to hit the guy at the pound?" the strawberry blonde was complaining.
"Dont you give me any lectures, missy! You were about ready to cold cock Lao Ma at the restaurant!" the firefighter retorted angrily.
"Well, the difference here is that I didnt hit anyone, Zina. Besides, Lao Ma is a bitch."
"And youre practically homicidal!"
"I know I am! Ive admitted it, Gabrielle! Whaddya want me to do, tell the world Im gay? IM GAY! IM GAY!" Zina shouted to the heavens.
Gabrielle rolled her eyes in defeat. Its not even worth telling her.
"And you youre a fine one to talk about us being homo-cidal. You havent even told your parents yet!"
The poet flushed. "Theyre not ready to know!"
Boris decided that the ridiculous bickering had gone far enough, and it was time for a mana force of reasonto intervene. "Did anyone bring 7-Up?" he asked calmly. "Were all out."
The two women stared at him. "What the hell are you still doing here?" Zina snarled.
"Zina, I told you "
"Yeah, yeah, the dog. Well, I got news for you, Boris. The dog is in the pound and they wont let me have em unless I pay $1000."
The Russians dark eyes swelled with emotion. "A thousandbut, they cant do that! Why is it so much money?"
"Its some retarded county law," Gabrielle said. "Zina was registered as the dogs owner, and since she abandoned him and he ended up in the pound well, theyre fining her. Its a misdemeanor."
"Miss Demeanor? I once knew a drag gentleman by that name."
"Drag queen," Gabrielle corrected.
"Da." Boris looked over at Zina, who was slumped in the recliner, looking defeated. He squirmedinstinct told him something else was wrong. "What?" he prompted.
Gabrielle bit her lip nervously. "Its also a violation of Zinas parole, and if we dont pay the fine shell go to jail."
Zina tried to convey indifference with a shrug. "I dont have that kinda money," the firefighter muttered. Damn. And I swore I would never go back .All the money they recovered from the sales of Barbecue Salsa Mayonnaise was gone, spent on their vacation and on fixing a dent in the ImpalaGabrielles lone attempt at driving the fabled car having gone seriously awry when she accidentally ran over Crassus, one of Julie Caesars dogs. The contrite poet had cried a river of tears on Zinas Black Sabbath t-shirt, but had eagerly agreed to the firefighters plan to bury the dog in Farmer Dracos backyard and not tell Julie.
"I dont either, Zina," Boris implored, "but if we dont pay the money they kill him."
"And youll go to jail," Gabrielle added softly.
"Maybe they should just kill me and send the dog to prison," Zina grumbled darkly.
"Can they do that here?" asked the Russian, a mite too eagerly.
7. You Dont Need Pants for the Victory Dance
Gabrielle found the prospect of connubial visits at Shark Island Correctional Facility quite unappealing, and quickly decided upon the best approach to earning quick cash to keep her beloved out of the pen: She applied for employment at the Shimmy Shack.
Sid Moskowitz, the chubby, engaging proprietor of said establishment, was quite pleased when Gabrielle called him to inquire of job opportunities. Sid had an eye for natural talent, and ever since he had spotted Gabrielle in the supermarket, wearing Daisy Dukes and bending over to pick up a rather large box of detergent, he knew her assets would do well on his stage.
Nervously, Gabrielle walked into the dark, empty club. In the light of day, such an institution is rather like a gutted animalhollow, smelly, dark, and dead. Nonetheless, Sids cheery disposition did its best to dispel this impression. "Hiya, sweet pea!" Sid greeted her happily. "Glad you came!"
"Hows that old psycho girlfriend of yours, baby?"
"Yeah," he sighed wistfully. "I still remember the first time I met her. She was dealing dope in my club and I had her kicked out later that same night, when I was closing up, she beat the crap out of me." He smiled nostalgically. "The very next day, I hired her as a bouncer. She was the best ever. Ive never seen anyone inflict pain and humiliation the way she did!" Tears welled up in his eyes.
"Thats a beautiful story, Sid. It gets more beautiful every time you tell it."
"Yeah." He moaned. "Ach, such memories! Now, honeycakes, before we get in too deep here .Zina does know about this, doesnt she?"
The blonde twitched. "Well, not yet. But I swear, Sid, shell be cool with it. I mean, Im doing it for her. We need the money to pay off all these fines and stuff about the dog."
"Yeah. Poor Killer."
"Thats the dachshund, sweet cheeks."
Gabrielle shook her head sadly. No wonder they never call him by his name.
"It figures," she muttered.
"Okay, angel muffin, shall we get on with the interview?"
"Sure." Gabrielle slipped out of the long raincoat she was wearing, revealing a body clad in a lovely two-piece bikini.
Sid sucked in as much air as he could, as several blood vessels in his head threatened to burst. Having done so, he found himself unable to exhalehe was afraid that if he did so, this woman of sheer perfection might vanish. Or simply run away at the smell of his breath.
"Well?" demanded the poet impatiently, hands on hips.
"Are you kidding, honey?" he wheezed. "Just looking at you takes five years off my life span."
8. Benefits of the Missionary Position
The ritual began.
The lights were dimmed, candles were lit, and empty cans of Rolling Rock were lined up on the floor. Mentally, Zina counted them again. Twenty-four. Yes, that should do nicely. As usual, Gabrielle had requested that Zina play the softest music she had, which, unfortunately, was a tape of Joni Mitchells Blue that Cyrene had left behind one evening. As the guitars tinkled gently and Joni mumbled something about the wind from Africa, Gabrielle entered. She sat on the bare floor near the cans and assumed the lotus position, while Zina wished that she were watching womens volleyball on ESPN. It wasnt that she really minded helping her girlfriend, once everything got started, but getting there just took so long. The firefighter suppressed a sigh .
But apparently not well enough. A green eye opened and peered at her in annoyance.
"Sorry," she mumbled. She stretched out along the floor, waiting.
A few minutes passed while Gabrielle continued to meditate. The firefighter was about ready to fall asleep when the poet announced quietly, "Im ready." The blonde unfurled her body from the yoga position and laid down on her back.
Zina, on her knees, loomed over her beloved. She reached for the first beer can. "Okay." Gently, she placed the can on its side against Gabrielles bare midriff. It sat there precipitously, its green sheen merely the reflected glory of the poets eyes, until the young womans body jackknifed with amazing speed and power .Zina had seen it happen many times, but it never failed to amaze her: The can was now flatter than the topography of Kansas.
"The Amazing Abs," Zina whispered in reverence. She removed the flattened can.
Gabrielle smiled proudly. "Plus the recycling people love me!" she crowed.
Zina placed the second can on the poets tummy. "Cant wait to see you at the club tomorrow night."
Crunch! "Im really nervous, baby. Im so glad youll be there." Another innocent Rolling Rock can was placed in the abs of death. "I still cant believe"Crunch! "youre cool with this. I thought youd be all pissed and everything."
"Are you crazy? Its like the dream of every red-blooded American dyke. To have a girlfriend who is an exotic dancer! I can go up to any slob in the crowd while they watch you dance, point at you, and say, Thats my chick, man. Ha!" she cackled in triumph.
"Youre so fucked up," concluded Gabrielle with a sigh. Crunch!
"But you love me anyway," retorted Zina smugly.
"Like the way I love pork rinds: I know theyre bad, but I just cant resist." The poet affirmed this with another crunch.
Zina pondered this. "Thatll do," she observed, as she selected another can.
9. Thanks for the Mammaries
Sid leaned against a wall in the club. He plucked at his black polyester
shirt, which shimmered in the low light, and sighed. She simply isnt
getting it, he thought. Such potentialI mean, oy! That body! But . He had
spent the last half an hour watching Gabrielle dance, or do something resembling dancing, and it was about as erotic as watching a spastic have a fit. He stopped the tape deck, and ZZ Tops "Gimme All Your Lovin" once again died in an abrupt fashion, which mirrored the disjointed style of his private dancer. As silence filled the room, the young woman stumbled in her heels and fell onto her ass. She looked up at Sid helplessly.
"Sweet cheeks," he began warily, "hasnt Zina ever asked you to shake your titties, eh?"
Gabrielle blinked. "What the hell kind of question is that?" she asked, irritated. "Its none of your damn business." Carefully she stood up, hoping that no part of her skimpy bikini was askance; Im not showing flesh until the meter starts running, she thought.
"Honey thighs, the name of this joint is the Shimmy Shack. You dont have to be goddamn Ginger Rogers to dance here, but you need to shimmy. You need to shake it up. Cmon, stick em out, and vibrate. And later .when you latch onto that pole, you gotta hump it like hell. Okay?"
She stared at the dismal aluminum pole stuck in the middle of the stage.
"But its a pole."
Sid sighed again, in utter exasperation. "Babycakes, arent you a writer or somethin?"
Gabrielle nodded furiously. "Do you need me to write"
"No, I dont need you to write anything. All Im saying isuse your imagination. Pretend that pole is Zinas thigh. Pretend all the guys youre dancing for are, like, a big lesbian soccer team or something."
The poet frowned skeptically.
"All right, a big, smelly, drunk lesbian soccer team."
Gabrielles frown deepened. "All right, Sid. Ill do my best."
Sid smiled; he wasnt buying it. "Shit, sweetheart, Im sorry youre having a rough time with this. Maybe Natalie can help you."
"My best dancer, baby. Look, take a load off, go back in the dressing room.
Shell be here soon."
So Gabrielle went back into the bowels of the club, into the tiny dressing room she was to share with about three or four other women. She pulled on her t-shirtthe chilly air had made her nipples so erect and prominent that they could hail a taxi of their own accord. She sat down in front of a mirror. Scattered on the table in front of her were various accouterments of femininity: lipstick, rouge, baby powder, eyeliner, tampons and a book.
She picked it up, curiouslyit was entitled A Separate Reality: Further
Conversations with Don Juan.
As she started to page through the book, someone quietly entered the room.
"Its a great book," said a womans voice.
Surprised, Gabrielle gave a little jump, then turned around. A woman with short blonde hair stood in the doorway, wearing jeans and a flannel shirt. Red alert! Red alert! Lesbian in the vicinity! Gabrielles gaydar screamed. Nervously, the poet placed the book back where she found it. "Was this your book?" she asked the woman. "Sorry, just curious."
"No, no, its all right," replied the woman. "Its nice to have someone around whos interested in the same thing." She walked over to Gabrielle and offered a hand. "Hi, Im Natalie. Sid said Id find you back here." Natalies grasp was warm and tingly; Gabrielle felt a thumb brush lazily over the veins in the back of her hand. She squirmed slightly, partly uncomfortable and partly aroused. "Gabrielle, is it?"
"Yeah, thats me." Natalie wouldnt let go of her hand. With a little tug, she finally reclaimed it.
"Cool. Sid said youre a student at the community college."
"Im majoring in English."
"Wonderful! I used to teach there, you know."
Gabrielle brightened. "Really?"
"Yeah. I taught ethics. But then they got rid of the philosophy department. Cheap bastards. So Im reduced to doing this." Natalie waved her hand around the dismal dressing room.
Natalie unleashed a dazzling smile. "Well, its certainly not your fault." She began to strip rapidly, tossing her clothes over a lonely chair and revealing a thin, bikini clad form. "Okay, I guess I should show you some moves, like Sid said."
"Uh, sure, thatd be great. And, um, maybe afterward you can tell me all about this book," Gabrielle replied, picking up the Carlos Castaneda tome again.
"Oh, Id love to!" responded the blonde stripper enthusiastically. She
knelt down in front of Gabrielle, between the young poets legs, and gazed
at her with shining eyes. What the hell is she on? Gabrielle wondered, all
the while fighting the delicious chills that turned her thighs all
goose-pimply. "Its such a wonderful book. One of my favorites. It helps
you see the world in a totally different way "
The blue Volkwagen sputtered to a halt in front of the Shimmy Shack. Cyrene took the keys out of the ignition, and looked over at her daughter, whose knees were pressed uncomfortably against the dash; she had forgotten that cramming Zina in her tiny VW bug was like putting Michael Jordan on a tricycle: It was not a good fit.
"Yknow, this is the kind of place I used to picket in the 70s, Zina," Cyrene grumbled.
"Look, Mom, dont start. Shes just doing it for the money." Zinas muscular forearms were folded. While the firefighter was quite happy to show off her lovers body to the world, she was rather concerned that the look, dont touch policy firmly entrenched in her mindand echoed by Sids frequent admonitions to the crowdwould fall apart within the reality of the Shimmy Shack. She had been a bouncer too long at the dump to think otherwise. It made her tense. And a tense Zina was a hairsbreadth away from punching out anyone who dared annoy her.
Cyrene sighed. "You owe me for this, honey."
"The White Russians are on me, Mom."
"I-I think Im getting stage fright," Gabrielle stammered.
"I think youre just nauseous from eating three Snickers bars," Sid rumbled at her.
They were standing backstage. Natalie was on, dancing to "You Spin Me Right Round (Like a Record)."
"Oh shit, Sid what if I bomb?"
"Honey, youre not gonna bomb. Just remember, you got the bod. Youre halfway there. Shimmy the T, wiggle the A, hump the pole, and youll be fine."
Wild applause and wolf whistles followed the sweaty Natalie as she left the stage. The number of $20 bills stuffed down the enticing pouch of her g-string made her look like she was packing in an odd kind of way. "Whew!" she said to Sid and Gabrielle, pushing damp strands of her blonde hair away from her face. "Those boys are primed now. Theyd go nuts even if Shelley Winters went out there and danced."
Gabrielle gave a look of despair.
"Aw, Gabrielle! Im just kidding!" Natalie hugged her impulsively. In her nervous state, having an attractive sweaty female body rubbing up against her own was almost too much. Almost. Natalie pulled away and all parties present noticed that the poets nipples were harder than bullets.
"Well, somebodys ready to perform," Sid noted wryly. He patted her behindGabrielle resisted the urge to deck himand headed onto the stage, in order to announce her.
"Just remember your mantra, Gabrielle," Natalie reminded her.
The young blonde nodded. "Yeah shimmy the T, wiggle the A, hump the pole " she mumbled.
"Actually I meant the other one we came up with. You know, your personal
one: love, pop-tarts, and peace. "
"Oh. Right. But hey, Natalie, like, arent you supposed to not say it out loud?"
"Aw, shit!" the former professor winced.
"Gentlemen, we have a new performer tonight Id like you to give a warm welcome to GABRIELLE!"
The poet stumbled toward the stage, and hesitated; her nerves felt so exposed that she imagined themand not her bodybathed in lurid swaths of multicolored stage lights.
"Go toward the light!" Natalie shouted.
And which fucking light was that?
"Wow, man, that was awesome," Cyrene babbled as she and Zina wound their way through dark hallways to the dressing room. "I mean, I never knew that she was so" Cyrenes hands cupped imaginary breasts.
"Mom, shut the fuck up. You are seriously freaking me out," Zina retorted, while pondering the closed door in front of her. Her blood seethed with lust who knew Gabrielle could dance so seductively? Zina had only ever witnessed the pogo-like maneuvers of the poet as she did the "Blitzkrieg Bop" to her favorite Ramones song. But now, she wanted nothing more than do ravish her companion after that.
She kicked open the door. Cyrene rolled her eyes. Drama queen.
Zinas baby blues were greeted by the sight of Natalie painting Gabrielles toenails while the poet pored over the Castaneda book. She did not miss the adoring look that the strange blonde woman was giving to her scantily-clad girlfriend, even though Gabrielle was clearly clueless to the attentions of the ex-professor. Indeed, if Oblivion were a town, Gabrielle would be mayor.
Nonetheless, at the startling sound of the door bursting open, both women turned their attention to the dark-haired firefighter.
"Baby!" Gabrielle squealed. "What did ya think?" She jumped up and ran over to Zina. The furious exchange of saliva prompted Natalie to read the label on the bottle of Dangerous Pomegranate nail polish and Cyrene to examine a selection of tassels hanging from the wall.
Zina broke off the kiss. "You were fantastic, baby. The best ever."
"Thanks hey, I made almost $25 in tips!" she pointed to the bureau, littered with crumpled currency.
"Yeah, I mean, I cant believe it couple more weeks, we should have your fine paid off."
"Er, Gabrielle, why dont you introduce me to yourpartner?" Natalie piped up unctuously.
" Partner? " echoed Zina. "We dont work together. We sleep together."
She glowered at Natalie.
"Oh, uh, Zina, this is Natalie she, uh, used to teach at Olympus." Nervously, Gabrielle looked from one woman to the other. Her new "mentor" and her beloved were not getting on well at all. "Honey, Natalie taught me how to dance. Aint it great?"
Zina arched an eyebrow. Natalie smirked. "Yeah, great," muttered the firefighter.
"Well, Im off " said the blonde stripper breezily. She sailed past the three women, giving Gabrielle a wink. "See you tomorrow, Gabrielle." And she was gone.
Gabrielle disentangled herself from Zina. "You coulda been nicer, you know," she chastised sullenly, as she slipped on a t-shirt.
"I never said I was a nice person," Zina shot back.
In the interim, Cyrene had noticed the book lying on the bureau. She picked it up. "Oh man!" she cackled. "I havent seen this used as a seduction technique since 1972!"
"Whddya mean, seduction?" snarled Zina. Her blue eyes snapped to Gabrielle.
Who looked away.
"Dont be silly, Cyrene," scoffed Gabrielle. "Excuse me, I have to go see Sid about my schedule for next week." With a cultivated, haughty air borne of careful examination of Joan Collins in Dynasty, the exotic dancer left the room.
Zina half-leaned, half-sat against the makeup table, looking defeated.
Ah, my articulate child. "Look, honey, who knows what this chick is all about. But Im sure Gabrielle is happy with you and doesnt want to look elsewhere."
"Im not so sure," mumbled the firefighter. "Maybe she needs to be with someone like that. You know, who reads and stuff. Who understands poetry."
" And who doesnt sit in an open pot of rouge." Cyrene concluded, nodding at Zinas behind. Zina jumped up, cursing. Her mother patted her arm affectionately. "Ill wait outside, in the car." The older woman ambled out the door.
After confirming her schedule with Sid for the following week, Gabrielle was about to return to her dressing room when she was intercepted at the bar.
"Sweetie!" shrieked Chad, her fellow homo student at OCCC. He hugged Gabrielle. "You were fabulous!" Gabrielle was relieved to note that Chad wore no incendiary t-shirts, like IM NOT GAY BUT MY ACADEMIC ADVISOR IS (an advertisement actually true). Although sporting a lilac-colored Ralph Lauren Polo shirt among the Shimmy Shack crowd was asking to be noticed.
"Aw, Chad, you came! Im really glad."
"Oh, mary " He took her face in his hands. "You have no idea how many
screwdrivers I had to get through this "
Vodka-influenced breath wafted over her. She blanched. "Yes, Chad. Yes I do."
"But Good God, Gab. I didnt know Natalie Hood was strutting her stuff here too."
"Hey, so you know her?"
Chads eyes widened. "Oh yeah man, Im so glad they fired her."
"Fired? She told me they closed the philosophy department."
"Oh. that little liar!" Chad exclaimed petulantly. "No, she was canned for sexual harassment. She would pick a student she liked, and try to seduce them. You know, say shed give them a higher grade." His thin lips trembled. "She even tried it with me once!"
"Duh, cant she tell youre gay?"
"Thats what I said!" Chad wailed.
Gabrielle frowned in thought. Maybe Zina was right not to be suspicious of
her. I mean, the big dope is right about some things I should give her more
credit. "Chad, I gotta go I have to finish dressing" the collective eyes of the bar were devouring her bikinied bottom, making her nervous"and Zinas waiting for me."
" Kay, sweetie Tell Zina I said hi, and that I want a date with a firefighter real soon."
When Gabrielle returned to the dressing room, Zina was swatting her Levi-clad butt with a towel.
"Baby, what the hell are you doing?"
"I got stuff on my ass." Upon closer examination, the poet saw that some reddish powder clung to the denim. She chuckled. Zina scowled.
"I swear, youre like a big kid sometimes " Gabrielle took the towel from her companions hands. She dampened a corner with some bottled water left behind by Natalie, then successfully removed the powder. "Maybe thisll teach you not to sit on things a body shouldnt be sitting on."
"Yeah, right," grumbled Zina.
They were quiet for almost a minute.
"Do you like her?" prompted the firefighter quietly. To mask her nervousnesswhich only emphasized it even moreshe toyed with a stray cosmetic applicator what it was exactly, she had no frigging idea.
Gabrielle shrugged. "I guess I did at first. I thought she was kinda cool "
"And you thought she was cute."
" Yeah, shes cute but so what? I just saw Chad outside, and he told me shes really an asshole."
"Really?" Zina frowned. "I had a bad feeling about her."
"You were right, honey. Im sorry." The poet wrapped her arms around Zinas waist and propped her chin on the firefighters broad shoulder. "So, um, Im sorry. I didnt mean to make you jealous or anything. I love you, you big jerk."
Zina grinned. "And I love you too, you little bitch." She exhaled with relief. "Wow so I was right about her, huh?" Gabrielle nodded. "Im glad Im right about something."
"You have good instincts, Zina. Except about your own strength."
Gabrielle nodded at Zinas hand. Which was covered in inky black stuff.
"You just crushed my eyeliner."
Three weeks passed and the appropriate funds were procured, upon which
Killer was sprung from the pound. Now, Boris was sprawled happily in the
backyard with his dog. "Theres my boy," he cooed, as Killer charged at him, the dachshunds ears flopping merrily.
"Your move," Zina grunted. The firefighter sat at the picnic table, where a chessboard lay before her. She had spent 20 minutes pondering how to put Boris into check. Having failed this particular objective, she opted for rearranging some of his pieces.
With a sigh, Boris stood up and returned to their chess match. Tomorrow he was off to Brussels for another tournament, with Killer in tow, and had decided to get in some practice with Zina before leaving. She was a good player, he admitted to himself, but her endgame was a weakness: She would grow impatient and then, ultimately, lose.
He sat down in front of the board and frowned, glaring at her. She simpered. He restored his knight and queen to their original positions.
Meanwhile, inside the farmhouse, Gabrielle was fending off Sids advances, such as they were: "But, honey tits, are you sure you wanna hang up your G-string? Youre my most popular dancer now!" the club owner protested as he stood in the kitchen and watched the lovely blonde make chocolate chip cookies.
"Its tempting, Sid "
Gabrielle stopped mixing cookie dough. "What do you mean by that?" she demanded.
"I got a good look at that car of yours. Oy, baby. An Escort? And its gotta be rustier than Jesse Helmss dick."
A new car would be nice Her lips twitched, but she said nothing.
Sid stroked his beard thoughtfully. He knew she was tempted. He decided to try another offer. "Look, sweetie, you know I make movies too." He sidled up next to her. "And the money for that is even bigger than the dancing!" he whispered gleefully.
Gabrielle dropped her wooden spoon, covered in yummy cookie dough gunk.
"You want me to be in porno?" she sputtered.
"Baby lamb, just one film will net you close to ten thou. You could buy yourself a Saturn, for Gods sake!"
Her expression remained doubtful.
Damn. I almost had her. "Look, Gab, its not really porno. Its erotica. Theres a difference, yknow. Smart girl like you should know that." Still, she looked less than convinced as she rinsed off the wooden spoon. "This film that I want you to be in its ground-breaking, sugar cake. It really is. I can honestly say that there is no other film like it in existence. It touches me on a deep, religious levelin fact, I consider it a service to my people, because its the first of its kind." Her green eyes fluttered with intrigue. He grinned. "You wanna know what it is?" he said eagerly.
"Yeah!" she exclaimed, caught up in his enthusiasm.
"The first ever Orthodox Jewish erotic film: Rabbi or Not, Here I Come."
Gabrielle groaned. "Jesus, Sid."
"Now thats one personage who will not be in this film." She shook her head and wiped her hands on a kitchen towel. "Come on, Hasidim deserve to have lively sex lives too, you know."
Through the back door Gabrielle saw a flash of movement: It was Zina, pinning Boris to the ground and trying to jam a rook into his ear. "Poor baby, she lost again," the poet murmured.
Sid noticed this too. "Ah, good old Zina. Making the world a little more dangerous," he sighed appreciatively.
"Yep, good old Zina," Gabrielle agreed happily.
"Whos that fine-looking fellow, babycakes? I think he would make a good rabbi."
Gabrielle flung open the back door. "Zina! Boris! Both of you knock it off, or no cookies!"
"She started it!" shouted Boris.
Zina sulked from her position, sitting on Boriss chest. Angrily he slapped her muscular thigh. "Get off me, you eeediot! I want cookies!"
She raised an eyebrow in disdain, and stood up.
Sid bustled past Gabrielle. "Zina, baby, what do you think of your girlfriend starring in a porn movie of her own? Eh?"
The blue eyes froze. Sid raised his hands in hapless self-defense. "But sugar lump, I got this great idea...maybe you could play the rabbi who seduces Gabrielle..." Sid brightened at his own idea. "This is great," he murmured to himself. "It increases the kink factor!"
"Rabbi?" Both dark eyebrows lifted, and a strange expression came over Zinas lovely face. With a shock, Gabrielle realized her lover was...thinking.
"Zina!" she cried. "You cant be serious!"
"Well, why not? You were real good in that home video we made"
From his position on the ground, Boris nodded vigorously. "I agree! It was a wonderful performance!"
The blonde poet went pale. "You showed him...the tape?" Many months ago, a rainy Sunday and a borrowed video camera had yielded a long-playing tape filled with about five hours of frenetic sex, fifteen minutes of arguing, twenty minutes of eating pizza, and twenty-five minutes of Gabrielle napping and snoring between orgasms.
"Well, when Hank and Effie saw it they both thought that you were faking it in that one scene, you know, the one with the"the firefighter made a vague hand gesture which could have represented anything from a kumquat to a plastic water gun"and Ed wasnt sure, so I wanted another opinion..."
"For myself, I must say I was very convinced!" Boris declared solemnly. "A scream like that, it comes from the heart. Or someplace, um, similar."
"Thats what Mom said too." Zina replied, feeling affirmed.
Sid, hands on hips, whined, "Now why havent I seen this?"
Zina recognized the fury in her companions green eyes and, throwing down the gauntlet of a shit-eating grin, took off running.
"Oh, you better run!" Gabrielle shouted after her. "Cause someones gonna be on the receiving end of the strap-on tonight, and it aint me, missy!" Which is probably exactly what she wants anyway. As she dashed into the twilight, leaving the menfolk alone with the cookie dough, Gabrielle felt her anger dissipate as she followed the unmistakable laughter of the firefighter.
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