Thursday, July 14, 2011

I was stripped, redressed in a complementary paisley dress (my dress accented Jack’s) and white go-go boots.

I'm posting one of my favorite snippets ever because I am trying to work on this final, restless and basically have a bee in my bonnet. LOL. So here's a giggle (I hope) on me.


From CALENDAR GIRL by Sommer Marsden

I put the breaks on when we rounded the stage and Jack reached for the backstage door. ‘Wait, wait! I can’t. I can’t!’ I could feel tears pricking my eyes and my heart was damn near ready to burst out of my chest.

‘You can. You really can. You’ll be great. You just need to relax,’ Jack said softly. He talked to me the way one would talk to a spooked horse. Smart man.

‘I can’t,’ I whispered, tugging harder.

‘What was Mom drinking the other night?’ he asked me, completely shifting gears.


‘Mom. What was she drinking the night she climbed in my cage?’ Lisa looked up, shocked, opened her mouth to speak. ‘Later,’ Jack said. ‘Long story.’

‘Long Island Iced Tea. Why?’

Bubbles came passing through. Tonight she was a vision in shocking lemon yellow with disco ball earrings and jewel-encrusted stilettos. ‘Bubby! A LIT! And make it snappy. We have a nerve emergency.’

‘Be right back, baby,’ Bubbles yelled and hurried off.

‘A LIT?’ Lisa asked.

‘It’s a bar full of men in drag and horny men and curious men and women too. We need to abbreviate as much as possible. It’s like ... a hospital.’

‘Yes, Jack,’ I giggled. ‘That’s exactly what it’s like. A hospital.’ I snorted but then Bubbles was filling my eyes with shocking sunshine yellow and thrusting a tumbler at me.

‘Drink this. You’ll be fine, honey.’

I took a sip. ‘I don’t think this is going to work.’

‘You have to driiiiiink it,’ she said and tipped the cup so the sweet liquid flooded my mouth. It didn’t even taste alcoholic. Which is why they were so damn dangerous. He tipped about half the tumbler into my mouth, forcing me to spit or swallow. Age-old dilemma. I swallowed.

A warm kind of euphoria flooded me almost instantly. ‘You can do it,’ Jack said again, hustling me up the three steps. He took the offered tumbler of liquid courage and hauled me backstage.

Lisa followed behind, taking in every sight and sound of the backstage scene.

What happened next was a blur. I kept sipping my drink and watching the literal crew of men who rushed at us. It reminded me of a pit crew at a car race. I was stripped, redressed in a complementary paisley dress (my dress accented Jack’s) and white go-go boots. An immense green wig and the makeup ... well, I can’t even begin to describe it. When the crush of burly half-in drag men stepped back, a stranger stared back at me.

I turned to find Lisa and found my doppelganger, only her wig was hot pink. Dear God. We looked like candy-coated sixties sirens. ‘Wow,’ she said.

Anxiety curled in my belly but it was swiftly battled by the effects of my drink. ‘Wow is right,’ I said.

Jack came in, clapping his hands like a headmistress and studied us. ‘My, oh my, you are no drag queen but you are fetching. Good to go, then. We’re on in five.’

‘In five minutes I’ll be racing across the parking lot,’ I said and shifted from foot to foot like I had to pee.

Jack shook his head and handed me the glass. ‘No you won’t, because I’ll tackle your ass. Drink.’

I drank.

Nowhere to run ...

I was in hell. This was hell. This was what Dante wrote about in the Inferno. I stood behind my gyrating brother with one of my best friends at my side. Her hot pink wig shook as mine shimmered around my face, plastic strands of lime green hair invading my mouth and sticking in my frosted pink lipstick.

You’re no good for me ...

Jack was lip syncing the shit out of this song and Lisa and I were doing our best to do a good job with the Vandellas backup bits. I missed my queues, ran long and basically willed the stage to open up and swallow me. My dress was a bit too big as it had been sewn with a large-ish man in mind. My boots were so big my feet had slid forward and I was teetering as I did my grand hand gestures. My wig was slipping and my fake lashes were poking my eyes. How did they do this? Why did they do this?

Lisa’s wig slipped sideways and she grabbed it on the downward slide. We glanced at each other and my anxiety took the reins. All I wanted to do was run like the wind. A gaudy sixties streak of hair and white leather boots.

Instead I shook my shoulders and tried to keep up. Then I made the colossal mistake. I jumped a bit too high and stumbled in my boat-sized boots and the whole fucking house of cards came crashing down. My hair slid forward, tangled in my rhinestone eyelashes and then slipped down the front of me like reanimated lime-green road kill. I snatched it when it hit waist level and just held it there. Lisa’s eyes widened and when I heard the snickers from the packed audience, I looked down. Only to realise that my lime green hair now resembled lime green pubic hair. Without thinking, I tossed the damn thing over my shoulder and the audience laughed for real this time.

Inside I shook and shivered, but I kept shaking my groove-thing until Jack did his final dramatic flourish. He turned to me, seething. Lisa turned to me, laughing. I just turned and ran off the damn stage like my ass was on fire.

Jeffrey was on me before the curtain stopped swinging. He was valiantly trying not to laugh, after all it would make his eyes tear and then he’d run his makeup. ‘Girl ... that was the ...’ He shook his head, biting his lip. ‘No words. I have no words. Now, I’m on. You want to do backup?’ he asked, before cracking up again.

‘Stuff it, Cloville,’ I muttered.

Jeffrey kissed Lisa and told us to wait for him. She went out to watch his performance and I stood there wondering where the fucking pit crew was to get me out of all this crap. A steady stream of people were approaching Jack and I waited. There would be venom spilled when he was done addressing the masses. When he finally came back to me, I held up my hand. ‘I know, I know. I ruined your show. I’m sorry. I told you not to take me up the–’

‘Are you kidding? They loved it! Everyone is saying the same thing. So funny. So vaudeville. Good to see the humour back. Merritt! You were a hit!’

Well, shit.

I shook my head. ‘Don’t even say that.’

‘Say what?’ Here was Lisa again, her bright pink wig perched precariously atop her own dark hair. Jeffrey came down the back steps and we all stood there like some gaudy flock of birds.

‘They loved her!’ Jack told her.

‘Of course they did,’ Jeffrey said. ‘They love a good laugh. She was great.’

They all twittered around me and I stood there stunned. ‘You done for the night?’ Jeffrey asked my brother.

‘Just the one show. You?’

‘Finito.’ Jeffrey hooked one arm through my arm and one through Lisa’s. ‘Let’s all go out. Few drinks. A few laughs. It’ll be fun.’

Lisa was nodding merrily. I forgot, she wasn’t around us a lot so she was enjoying the sparkling insanity of being around these two. I shook my head no.

‘Come on, Merritt,’ Jack said and stomped his size 12 boot.

‘Come on,’ Jeffrey and Lisa sang out in unison.

‘Fine,’ I sighed. ‘Just let me change.’

Jeffrey put a hand out to stop me. ‘Oh, honey, it’ll be so much more fun if we go like this.’

I looked down at myself through the cockeyed bangs of my green hair. I looked like I was wearing my aunt’s kitchen curtain and Herman Munster boots. ‘In this?’

‘Sure, it’ll be fun. We’ll go out and get drunk.’ Jeffrey said.

‘Speaking of which, hell, shouldn’t I be drunk? I drank the equivalent of a bottle of hooch.’

‘Oh, you did not,’ Lisa said. She grinned at me, loving this whole maniacal scenario.

‘It eats right through the booze. The booze is only a temporary fix,’ Jack said.

‘What eats right through the booze?’

‘Adrenaline, baby,’ Jeffrey laughed. ‘It’s the only way to fly.’

They hustled me out into the night. It was pretty much a blur until we hit Captain Fred’s Fish and Chips stand. I was drunk as a paisley skunk. We’d hit our four favourite bars and created quite a good natured stir. I dance with Lisa. Jeffrey danced with Jack while I gave a nun-like order that they keep a ruler’s worth of space between them. We all danced together and I even danced with my brother. But when the bars booted us out, Jeffrey turned and said, ‘I could destroy some fish and chips.’

So there we were, in line and Lisa leaned in. ‘What’s all this business about the sex toy boy who wouldn’t you know ... do you, but he got you off. Fill me in entirely.’

Drunk and not in an emotional pain at the moment, I was all for it. I didn’t notice how close we had shuffled to the counter.

Lisa’s eyebrows went up as we once again moved toward the counter. ‘Really?’ she said when I told her about the clitoris extending under the outer lips.

‘Really,’ I said. ‘Did you know the clitoris can actually be up to six inches long?’ She kept shaking her head and shaking her head and shaking her head. ‘What?’

‘No. I didn’t,’ said a male voice. ‘Care to tell me more?’

The fish and chips guy smiled at me.

‘Um ...’

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