Listen Kitten (short story)

Filed in Gather Writing Essential by on May 5, 2010 0 Comments

It’s not like I want to be gossipy or anything, but you know how these things tend to take on a life of their own, so I’m just going to come out and say it; you know how Trixie was in town and was suppose to meet all of us at Gorey’s?  She didn’t show.

Of course we all were perplexed because it just doesn’t seem like something she would do.  You know she is all party girl despite being a grandmother of one.  I swear the woman has a constitution of one of those Civil War re-enactors who think living in the early 1860’s during a war is fun. We were all prepared for some awkwardness because I’m pretty sure she knows that we know about you know what.  We would all talk about other things to the point that it was obvious that we were talking around the issue and then someone (Josie) would be so bold to ask her what Kami has been up to in California…and only God knows what would happen after that.

I was running late, as usual, so when I got there Octavia said something about Trixie was in the bathroom with Kami which I suppose was supposed to be funny but since I only heard the part about Trixie I didn’t get the joke.  It took me forever before I found out that the guest of honor wasn’t in the bathroom.  Octavia told me that she got a text message from Trixie who said that she couldn’t come because of a “family emergency” which of course prompted a lot of gynecological jokes about Kami.

The day after that I was running around with Marcia and we went to that festival in Cameron, you know the one that celebrates the old wagon trails where everyone left this area of the country to move to California…so essentially it is about celebrating the town’s abandonment.  Marcia had heard that there were going to be a lot of crafts.  I told her that I had gone before, but I didn’t mention that I didn’t think much of the crafts (mostly things that people with mental disabilities do until Wheel of Fortune is on) I just really wanted to get out of the house.  I thought perhaps it was a good sign that we were able to find parking for five bucks until some toothless man told us that he had a special place for us and then preceded to spend the next five minutes directing Marcia on how to parallel park which only served to angry her since she tends to pride herself on parallel parking abilities.

We only had four hours until the festival closed, but honestly that was enough time.  Of course we joked about going on the amusement park rides since neither of us wanted to.  She was still dizzy from taking her kids last month to the House of Mouse and I was still sick from a ride I took nearly twenty years ago where some carney, probably just sprung from jail, kept me in one of those cage spinning rides for too long and I nearly couldn’t walk for days afterwards.  So instead we headed to the tents where the crafts were.

My God, there was so much stuff!  There were booths lined on both sides of many streets as well as their much publicized mega tents.  We spotted some cool purses in one of the booths, but I need another purse like I need a hole in the head…or to find out that someone else’s daughter is embarking on a porn career.  So we left saying to each other that if we really wanted the purses we could come back for them.

Right off the bat Marcia mentions how much Cameron creeps her out.  I told her that Michael, the hairdresser to our little group, said that the powers that be are looking for another place to make into an art district for the city.  They are seriously considering Cameron because of its proximity to downtown (which while you are there doesn’t feel that close) and because the taxes are so low thus affordably for the artistically inclined.  He stated that one of the drawbacks is that only 10% of the population of Cameron has a college education and they don’t know if that will be a detriment in bringing the fashionable set around to the idea.  Seriously, from what I saw 10% might be an overestimate although I think it is safe to state that at least 70% of the population have dental issues.

Listen Kitten, you know I’m a crafty girl, but time hasn’t raised my admiration of the crap this festival deemed to be crafts.  If you spotted one clever thing, such as the purses both Marcia and I liked, you saw it a million times.  No wonder the Chinese economy is thriving!  Every piece of over the top ugliness was mass produced by a Chinese workforce that is still thriving despite the fact that they are supposed to only have one child.  For instance we spotted one booth selling these combs that they said were African inspired.  You know how I love my hair accessories, but this hair accessory was going for twenty a pop.  They consisted of two hair combs connected with these ticky tacky beads which these salesgirls were guaranteeing for at least a year.  Some old codger, whom I still can’t decide if I liked or not, decided to call these girls out and state the obvious that no one is going to mail them a broken hair comb for a refund – especially since their outfit was from Tennessee.  At least we thought the combs were different until we saw all sorts of combs in the tents that didn’t cost half as much but the sales people weren’t cute girls from two states over, just some overweight sad women with stringy hair.

Overall, it gave Marcia and I time to talk about Trixie and her “family emergency.”  We speculated that she wanted to avoid all of us for the reasons I’ve already stated.  Marcia kept saying that it was no big deal and that she didn’t care anymore while I said that I didn’t want to get beaten up simply because I Googled her daughter’s name…at least I wasn’t the person who blabbed about it to most of girls.  Okay, I did tell Josie, but only because I wanted to be the one who broke the news to her because I love her reactions.  In fact the first time we bonded was because I knew Kami was in foster care and I was talking about something related to that, but not really, and she had me backtrack because it was the first time she had heard about social services picking up Kami.  I’ll never forget that I was interviewing Josie for a graduate paper on being a cancer survivor (ironic isn’t it) and she made me nervous, as well as the topic, and then I was just rattling on and said something because I didn’t know that Kami’s foster placement wasn’t common knowledge.  From then on the two of us have had a fun friendship based on mutual bitchiness.  Anyhow I just had to be the first one to tell her about the discovery because I knew she would have some hysterical comeback but she really didn’t so I guess it was all for naught.  I told Marcia if Trixie wants to beat me up I’m so using the cancer and chemo card.  I know my hair is now ponytail length but listen Kitten, a girl’s gotta use everything at her disposal.  If that includes using the foot long scar where my cancerous ovarian tumor was to my advantage all I have to say is hooray for survival of the most pitiful!  I have never gotten into any physical confrontation with anyone so why start now?

Of course Marcia was all laughing about the idea of Trixie beating us up.  She kept saying that the thought at our age was ridiculous and that she would be mighty steamed if someone wanted to use their fist-a-cuffs against her.   She was implying that she would definitely hit back if she was hit first.  She was even dropping hints that she would get her husband in on the action and all I could think about was that Trixie could probably take down Thom, Marcia, and me without breaking a sweat…but I kept that thought to myself.

I’ll give Marcia credit in that she is consistent about saying that Kami’s choice of career was no big deal.  As for myself I’m still on the fence.  It’s not like it was a surprise that the girl is doing porn.  She moved out to California to be a singer and an actress without the ability to at least sing.  Do you remember how I told you we went to some fundraiser Trixie organized for her at some hole in the wall bar in order for her to move out to Hollywood?  Her voice could have been used as a torture device if only she had been discovered by Dick Cheney and his cruel elf friends.  It was before Sarah was pregnant so she was there too cheering the child on.  She was full of optimistic spirit telling Kami that someday we would all say that we knew her when.  Marcia was so shocked by the miscarriage of Kami’s voice performance that she could only mumble encouragement such as “Wow.”  I on the other hand wanted to remain truthful, but not cruel, so I tried to stay out of everyone’s way by drinking more than usual.  Of course, if one is to believe Kami’s porn internet bios, she was already stripping and won some sort of dancing competition which now I wonder if that was the purpose of the fundraiser to send her to the national stripping competition.

It’s so easy to lament about Kami’s life.  If there is some sort of recipe on how to make a girl get into porn, Kami’s life is it.  She was molested, emotionally abandoned, her father was in prison for life (I assume he is already dead) she became entangled with the law in her early teens, she was picking up random lovers off the Internet before she was even out of high school.  I suppose I am a bit of a sentimentalist to think that if I had somehow became involved in her life I could have derailed the porn career before it even got started, but the truth is that I didn’t…and even if I did there were no guarantees.

Marcia believes that what was meant to be has come to pass.  She used to babysit Kami and confessed that the Kami as a child was never the type of kid that you want to hold and make the world seem better.  Trixie, when they were first friends and before I even knew Marcia, would drop both Kami and Tim off with Marcia.  The children would be so hungry that she said it was very much like watching hyper dogs attack food.  Kami started to eat peanut butter she had commandeered right out of the jar with her tiny dirty hand pulling out chunks at a time.  Later the moppet would raid Marcia’s closet looking for high heels so she could dress up like mommy going out on a date with a man who wasn’t her stepfather.  Please Kitten, like you don’t think Trixie was doing that at that time?  How many times must a man call a hostess of a baby shower wanting to know where the F*(&^_# hell his wife is?

Porn is one of those things that I understand a need for it, or at least a market for it, and if someone is going to profit from it I would hope that it is the woman who is doing the work.  Kami never struck me as the village idiot, nothing like her brother.  One time at Larry’s party, before both mother and daughter moved to different coasts, Trixie was with Kami as if they were just two girls out on the town.  Forget that Kami had a faux I.D. I think Trixie was just happy that she now had someone young and new to party with.  Listen Kitten, I thought then that either Kami was going to be a Hollywood agent of lore or go into porn.  She worked that gathering like she was a pro, introducing herself to middle-aged men as if she was either their attorney or their escort for the night.  I hope I don’t have to spell out the obvious.

Anywho, the reason why I called was because I just got an e-mail from Trixie explaining why she wasn’t there for the group lunch.  You realize it is going to be an interesting read when she starts the story off by making the excuse that it was a white trash fiasco and it needed her tending.  Well you know how Tim, that as smart as a box of hair son of hers, fathered a child with some girl?  Well he had to come back to town because of some child support payments, but he was all paid off and I guess it was a court mix-up.  It seems as if the arrangements were for his girlfriend’s parents to pick them up and take them here to this part of the country from Ohio and then Trixie was going to scoop them back up when she came to visit.  Thus living happily ever after in a Cleveland suburb.

As you know nothing ever goes off smoothly when you have Trixie in the mix and so she alleges that she found Tim nearly half starved to death because his future in-laws simply refused to feed him.  Yes, I do realize that scenario surrenders a lot more questions than it answers, but suffice to say that Trixie was ticked.  She was afraid that the girl’s parents were going to shoot Tim on sight so she decided to pour herself into a car with that Susan person who almost cut off her thumb during our Halloween Pumpkin Carving Party.  Remember how she walked around dripping blood from her gaping wound all over Octavia’s house saying that she had one of the hepatitis categories? Well apparently she hasn’t changed much because for some reason she had a 40,000 watt taser in her possession that I assume was screaming to be used in some sort of hillbilly oxycontin drama.

So the two of them show up at the girl’s trailer (Did I tell you yet Trixie said they were heroin addicts?) to grab the girlfirend whom Trixie thinks wants a life away from her folks because she has to support them financially due to their addictions.  Of course I heard that Tim doesn’t treat the girl very well but I suppose like everything else, it is neither here or there.  Suffice to say that the girlfriend was gotten and no one was tasered – much to my disappointment.

I didn’t realize what a poor writer Trixie was until I read the e-mail.  Not once did she use their as a possessive; it was all there trailer, there guns, there dogs.  She also did that no/know thing as well, although I gave her some credit when she used the word profusely correctly when she was describing the girlfriend’s tears.  I think the whipcream on the cherry pie was when she expressed how she was the sort of mother who would lay her life down on the line for her kids which is a complete change of pace from the times she left them at five and six alone so she could go to the apartment pool to tan.  Anyway, who am I to judge since I was relieved that she wasn’t going to come looking for me with a 40,000 watt taser in her hand?

I added a line calling Trixie the Trixieator to something Josie mass mailed about how her boyfriend’s ex wife keeps calling him.  She wanted advice so I told her to hire a hitman.  I mean seriously, was she kidding with that?  The ex-wife obviously wants attention but Josie wants to control the situation…and Ned probably wants to pop open a cold one and watch them mud wrestle.  Because I replied that she should contact Trixie and see if the taser was still available Marcia wanted to know what I meant because she didn’t know anything about the e-mail.  I was shocked because usually I’m the one left off the mass e-mail list, but HA poor Marcia had to beg me to forward the message.  I told her it was good, like hot coco with marshmallows and favorite reading chair good.  That is our code phrase for interesting stories about people we know.  It all started when she told me how Hallie, a woman we used to work with, who spent her off hours entertaining children as a low rent clown, had her car jacked.  You have to understand that the humor doesn’t come from poor Halle loss of an automobile; but that the woman tends to have the worst luck of anyone I have ever met.  If someone was to randomly catch their their hand (she and I weren’t the best of friends so I took special delight in quizzing her on her misfortune) in an industrial sized blender it would be Hallie.  No, really, she caught her hand in an industrial sized blender and some bones in her thumb were crushed.  One time she told us how she had a big lump of fatty tissue on the top of her head and without thinking I put my hand on top of her head to feel it.  She was very small, just like the leprechaun I suspected her of being, and wasn’t pleased I was groping the top of her head, but I tried to play it off as just someone who wanted to feel where her unicorn horn was lopped off at.

Poor Halle, last I heard of her was when her carjacked car was found torched in the middle of the Interstate with all the Christmas presents she planned to give out…of course she still had to make a year’s worth of car payments on the vehicle.  I wonder if the Precious Moments figurines she surely got loved ones for Christmas screamed when they burned?  I would like to think they did.

I’m positive someday I will see her again, at a grocery store perhaps, by then she will have had an appendage or two amputated and one eye will be all clouded with a cataract while the fatty lump on the top of her noggin will just have will have become more pronounced.  I’ll wave at her and ask her how she is doing and then turn away and feel the sweet longing for the laughter of youth.  Listen Kitten, who am I kidding?  I’ll probably dig out my phone and call you.

Westerfield © 2010

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