I consider my”flawed” work and failed characters as my right to passage, my Baptism by Fire, and a darn good way to have excess material I can use for the blog. You see, I was very spoiled. As a verbal story-teller, I didn’t have to follow any rules. All I needed to do was engage my audience, give them good one-liners and the moment was mine. Thus, I invented my Bleeps, Bloopers and Outtakes category.
Back at the ranch, poor Gail is on another hot date. My blind date series should cure anyone contemplating buying a pig in a poke. I can’t decide which is worse than the others. One of these days, we’ll do a recap. For now, enjoy. Counting to six, this week is our fifth hot date … one more and Gail’s salad days will end.
Third Candidate …
His name is Larry Reuben and he’s one of Meredith’s throwaways. To be fair to Larry and give you a clearer picture of my cousin, none of them are ever gone. Meredith is a pioneer of the notion that nothing and no one should ever be thrown out, just recycled on an as-need basis. Thus, Larry.
Larry is wearing a black suit, a deep rose-pink shirt, with a rose-pink double wide, silk tie and is as good looking as his picture. He motions. “Our table is right here.”
He points to the last table in the back of the room, the table near the kitchen, the table where they put the prepubescent, pimply boys and girls. Three chubby girls with thick glasses, braces and blotchy complexions, six boys short and shunken chested, and all giggles, one with straws stuck up his nose, look up at us and giggle.
What is worse than a blind date? A blind date in full view of your entire family. No one in the family ever misses one of Meredith’s weddings. She is prone to marrying well, living better and at the last, sucking all the mutual funds out of them.
Larry politely offers to get us a drink. “What can I get for you?”
“A Pepsi would be fine.”
He returns with a Coke. “They didn’t have Pepsi. I took the liberty of having them squeeze lemon in it for you.”
I hate lemon in my Coke, but it was so thoughtful, I drink it anyway. “Thanks.”
The appetizers are passed around the room. Larry asks to be excused and I nod, my mouth stuffed with a dumpling. During the cocktail hour I eat four shrimp cocktails and a dozen of those tiny egg rolls.
While Larry is visiting various tables, I am the only adult with this group of camp rejects. The girls huddle next to one another and whisper, while the boys tell jokes about “uranus.” The chubby girl in pink ruffles. “You shouldn’t talk like that, Stewart Levinson.”
“It’s a planet.” They slap one another and howl with laughter.
They blow straws from their noses, tell anus jokes and provide comic relief with the sound effect for the word fart. “You’re the fart, Melvin Goldberg.”
Larry sits and is well mannered, jokes with the kids and at first makes normal conversation. The dinner hour starts and we make small talk. “You work in real estate, Gail?”
I smile. “In real estate management.” Makes me sound more important, doesn’t it?
Larry might have been the first blind date that is normal, even enjoyable. He politely asks for a dance and I decline. “I’m having problems with my feet, but go on and dance if you like.”
He smiles and leaves to dance with my Aunt Rachel. I mean every other female in the room is thrilled to dance with him, flattered by his more than attentive manner and bowled over with his sense of humor. He didn’t sweat all over me or try to rub my toes.
The evening is winding down and Larry sits at our table, his tie undone, his feet stretched out on an empty chair. “Gail, you look like a girl who loves a good time.”
I haven’t moved from our table except to graze at the desert table. What good time? I smile. “Thanks.”
He leans closer. “I mean a truly good time.” He winks. “If you catch my drift.”
Actually, I didn’t. “Sure.”
“Maybe we can see a show next weekend. Having a first date at a family wedding isn’t much fun.”
He peaks my interest. “Sure.”
He leans over. “I bet you’re wearing white, cotton bloomers.”
I thought I heard something, but was certain I had been mistaken. Elaine is always telling me to be more assertive, more proactive, so I add, “We could catch a movie downtown.”
Again he leans. “And your fat ass probably jiggles in them … the white cotton bloomers I mean.”
He waves to my sister. “Aw, the ever-lovely Elaine.” He turns. “Is it true your mother dressed you like twins?”
“That was a long time ago.”
His face begins to transform. He licks his lips and points to his pants. “I have on the most fantastic hot pink, satin undies. Straight from the Victoria Secret summer sale catalog.”
The other Gail whispers. Great going, Gail. Mr. Normal just became Mr. Crossdresser.
“Yes, I do.” He pulls down the waistband of his pants and shows me a tiny swatch of hot pink satin. “When I dance they swish against my skin and feel wonderful.”
The picture of pink satin is swishing in my head. Larry is licking his lips. “We could have such a good time. I have this picture of you in tightie-whities, a T-shirt flat on your chest.” He cocks his head. “Or stripped boxers.”
I’ve seen some of the teen girls in the neighborhood wearing boxer shorts, sometimes on the outside of their jeans, other times instead of summer shorts. But I have a sinking feeling he’s not going for the latest fashion trend of the eighties.
I’m worrying about satin and tightie-whities and fumble with my bag. “Oh look, Meredith is throwing the bouquet.”
He puts his hand on my thigh. “After we finish I’ll let you rub the satin on your face. It’s better than face cream.”
“Actually Larry, I’m allergic to satin.”
He reaches for my hand and guides it to his shirt. “Feel that?”
“Reach in and feel it. I have on a matching Victoria bra. And for fifty percent off, I got the same color in a bustiere.”
I quickly gather my stuff. “Gee, that’s wonderful for you, Larry.”
“What movies do you like?”
My head is spinning. “What?”
“Movies, what kind do you like?”
I’m on my feet and Meredith comes over. She takes one look at my face and laughs. “Don’t be such a putz. You haven’t lived until you’ve reversed roles.” She peels down his waistband and smiles. “Victoria hot pink?”
He smiles. “From their Summer catalog.”
“Did you see that bustiere? Is that great or what?”
Meredith looks across the room at her newly betrothed. “Larry, my love. Are you aware this place has private rooms for the bride and groom?”
His eyes sparkle. “Really?”
“Yes, and I just happen to have a key to one of those rooms?” She reaches into her bountiful breast and produces a key.
He suddenly looks downtrodden. “We can’t just leave Gail alone.”
“Don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine.”
Meredith laughs. “Don’t hyperventilate, Gail.”
She grabs Larry’s belt buckle. “Our bags are packed for the honeymoon. I’ll use Steven’s boxers.” She giggles. “If you’re a good boy, mommy will give you a spanking.”
Larry is transported to nirvana. “Yes, oh please. I’ll be good.”
She grabs his arm. “Let’s go.”
He gets up to follow. “I’ll call you, Gail. We’ll take in a movie or something.” With that they scurry out of the room.
Of course we will. We’ll take in a movie and then we’ll exchange undies.
Curious minds want to know.
What do you do with your failed characters?
fOIS In The City
News Flash …
My dear friend, Christi Corbett has been nominated for the Rone Award. These are given for excellence in Indie and Small Press. Along the Way Home, published by Astraea Press, has been nominated in the American Historical category. Congrats, good buddy.