Glitter Moons and Acid Rain (Chapter. 2)

 

Isn’t it funny people’s priorities? Some people will spend a literal fortune on costumes but hardly a penny on their homes. That’s what I found out Lady Venus was like. Because I also found myself knocking on the door to his apartment, under his instruction.

When a tall scrawny man with short hair and defined cheekbones answered the door I just stared at him wondering if maybe I had the wrong address or if he was just a roommate. He smiled warmly at me.

“Hello!” He cooed out and I looked around, feeling a bit dissociated as I had to double check the empty hall for any possible people.

“Is… Uhh… Is This Lady Venus’ apartment?” I felt a bit stupid hounding down some stranger for another stranger who’s first name I didn’t even know. But he just perked up his shoulders and giggled.

“Oh my! What a hoot you are!” He laughed, and I recognized the unmissable annoying pitch that was undoubtably Lady Venus’.

And then I was led into a room where a very plump man in drag sat reading a magazine.

“Ambrosia!” Lady Venus gasped. He was rolling up a magazine from the coffee table and digging his acrylic claws angrily into it. “I told you to ska-doodle on along!”

Ambrosia placed an offended hand on his bosom as the other slapped the paper to his lap. “My! Up and out of my own home!”

Lady Venus just scoffed and slapped him with the magazine. “Off! No-nu-uh and I have important business to address!”

Ambrosia shook his head and laughed as he plopped up. “You have business to address with that old waiter? Silly little thing hardly has the sense to know its own name!”

I raised an eyebrow and said something smart, but I can’t remember what. Something about how they don’t need a broom because his boobs brush the floor enough.

Soon enough Lady Venus’ impatience got to point that we just had to settled business with Ambrosia’s constant clucking, my stubborn sarcasm, and Lady Venus’ desperate attempts to be a leader. Honestly as important of a conversation this was, as you can imagine it was boring. Lots of pleading, lots of bargaining, lots of I won’t do it. But in the end Lady Venus offered me cash, And where did it land us-Well me?

On stage. Again. This time with more thought and a gaudier outfit. My face was painted white, and my cheekbones a deep maroon. One eyelid was spray tan orange while the other a bright blue. My lipstick was purposely smudged for whatever reason Lady Venus imagined. And I sang Queen bitch.

And let me tell you it flopped.

Something about not wanting to hear the same act over again? Huh. What a surprise.

But whatever, I was peeved. Naturally, and as I stormed off the stage I was met by a frantic Lady Venus attempting to make emends.

“C’mon Noah, that’s just your first REAL show! There’s out to be some trial and error-“

But I was embarrassed beyond ends as I tousled up my gelled back hair. But it was hard as a rock, so it only came out in chunks that hung from my head crazily. “Forget it. This is stupid.” I said waving him off as I kept walking. “I look like an idiot.”

“No! No you don’t, really, we just need to find a new act-“

I spun around to him and flew my arms in the air. “This is what you want!” I exploded. “I don’t give a rats ass about hopping around on stage.”

He scoffed and crossed his arms over his chest as though offended. He asked me then what else I would do- just half ass my way through life as a pathetic under aged bartender?

I looked around like I couldn’t believe what he was saying to me. How dare he stick his little pig nose in my business?

“Real estate.” I said as though it was a huge game changer. He just laughed in my face.

“You? A real estate agent? Ha!” He poked my chest. “You couldn’t give houses away with your ‘tude!”

I arched an eyebrow as I gaped at him. “What do you know? You worthless little overdressed dick!” And in a blind rage I reached right up to him and ripped his fake eyelash off the ground. No kidding, just peeled the sucker off his face and flung it to the ground.

“You bitch!” He screeched at me as I stormed off leaving him to his tantrum.

The walk home was a short but troubled one. I couldn’t shake the feeling that although this outburst, Lady Venus wasn’t out of my life. Oh no siree- but I tried to tell myself that I would never put myself in his company ever again.

I found myself walking into my apartment, my hair wild and lipstick smeared. My roommate Vivian was up late, per usual, painting some painting. I could feel bad for her if she wasn’t such a know it all, but Vivian was only twenty one and terribly nostalgic. I’m not talking about the simple “oh wowee! Things sure were simpler when boys had cooties!” Nostalgia, I’m talking about the kind you get so bad it hurts. The type heard mainly in old people. She was much too young to feel so nostalgic that it just consumed her life like some elderly person in a home.

Which is weird considering how painfully average her childhood was. Really if her childhood was a food it would be a stale saltine cracker.

“How was the gig?” She asked not looking up from her painting. I stammered into the kitchen and looked around, we lived in a very small apartment- the kitchen was practically the livingroom as it was the same room just different flooring.

“Awful. Do we have any corn flakes?” I asked digging in our cupboard. She told me no, that there wasn’t enough money to go grocery shopping.

“There’s a can of tomato soup, though.” She offered. I made a face to myself- I hate tomato soup.

“I told you listening to that one drag wasn’t a good idea.” Vivian stated fluffing up her short bob with the hand not holding her paint brush. I rolled my eyes as I came back into the living room, And sat on the couch (which also served as my Californian King, ha.) my blankets were still messily strewn across the couch and a pillow still had indents of my head on it.

“Shut up, I’m going to bed.” I grumbled, throwing a blanket over myself and turning my back to her. I told her to also turn off the racket that was playing on the stereo.

“You should wash off all that make up before you go to bed,” She ignored me as her hand made dainty little marks on the canvas. She was used to my infinite grumpiness and tended to let it roll right off.

“It’s not good for your skin.”

“When you’d get a degree in dermatology?” I demanded. She told me it was common sense. I just ignored her after that. I closed my eyes and pretended to go to sleep, hoping for the real deal. And luckily Vivian shut her trap for just that to happen.

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Glitter Moons and Acid Rain (Chapter. 1)

 

One thing about me is that I’m extremely bored.

When I say this, I’m not using it to describe myself at the moment, but more so my over all being. I’m not a boring person. Im just bored. I yearn for excitement, and I live to be entertained. I seek out selfish and self destroying assholes just so I can sit back and enjoy the show. I’m sure that makes me somewhat of a piece of shit, but really just turn your nose to this detail and enjoy the ride.
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Imagine a plain white hospital room. White curtains, a fake white marble floor, a white soon to be mother just screaming on the white bed-really just flipping shit as she screams ‘Give me more Epidural! More!”

As she deals with the second most excruciating pain of her life, she is handed her second. Which is me, myself and I- a perfectly healthy baby girl. But I suppose my parents wanted a boy so bad they looked to eachother and gasped quite comically. “A girl?!” And as my father held my self pitying mother who was crying of the rotten fruit of her labors- they did what any couple denying the fact that there was a slight possibility that their child could be a girl would do and named me Noah. Since who looks up female names when WE WILL BE HAVING A BOY.

I’m sure that’s not how it really went down, but it’s more humorous to me.

But really my parents named me Noah since they didn’t have any female names picked out- because by joe they had a feeling that their offspring was surely a boy!

But I didnt think anything of my unfortunate name until- dramatic cue- school rolled around. What a surprise, kids are real observant, huh?

“Isn’t Noah a boooooys naaaame?” They’d pop out of their little mouths along with other irrelevant gurgle.

“You’re a girl, aren’t you?”

What? Why would you ask that you piece of shit? In this case Noah is a girls name- this girls name. Actually I feel quite bad for you Meredith, where’d your parents get that from hm? Their last visit from the old folks home when an old lady flopped over dead from the excitement that the nurses would let her eat an extra serving of pudding? What a fitting name you shriveled up prune.

As I grew older it only seemed like I was on the losing end of a battleship game. My relationships being my poor ships.

Did I mention my parents finally got their precious little boy AND named him an appropriate name- Remington. Remmy for short. I was four years his elder.

And then began our battles. My father needed to control everything, but by nature, I’m bored. And being bored I tend to just do what I want since I want so desperately to cure my boredom. I’m kinda like a crack addict now that I think about it- well before I actually was one.

Anyway, I couldn’t tie my damn shoes without the old man trying to put his two cents in. And he held strong to his opinions, as did I, but I’m equipped with a different set of morales. So we clashed naturally.

While other girls were being called ‘sweet heart’, or ‘honey’ by their fathers I was affectionately called ‘bitch’. There were other names, but Bitch was his favorite, maybe because it’s simple. Bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch.

So I embraced it. Somewhere in highschool in the girls locker room when Millie Mayers was droning on and on about how her boyfriend prefers her perfume ‘kiss my ass’ over ‘irritating fungal infection’, and how he had the sniffer of a hyperactive blood hound and could decipher the difference a rooms length away. Actually I don’t really remember the conversation, I just remember being bored and telling her to can it. Because really, who gives a day old shit?

But Susanne Filmore decided I was too tough on poor old Milly. “You’re such a bitch!”

The minute she said that, something in me just clicked. She was right- and I decided that I was now queen bitch. Her majesty.

Maybe it was because I listened to David Bowies Hunky Dory album all last night, or maybe it was a coping method for my inner weakness seeping out-but it just clicked. I cut my hair- just chopped it right off without warning anyone and told everyone and anybody off.

I don’t know why I cut my hair off to be honest, maybe it was in the midst of teen angst. But it just clicked too.

Now you might expect me to say, “and everyone thought I was like, so cool!” Because they didn’t, ooh boy not by a long shot. They thought I was an asshole. And I was.

With the prediction that I was going to fall flat on my face as a parting gift from my family I set out to Los Angeles-as everyone without rhyme or reason seem to go. And people who want to get as far away from their hometown as possible.

I couldn’t afford to go to college, which didn’t really matter since I didn’t know what I wanted to do exactly. But I was leaning towards writing. But I was a realist, so I was leaning more realistically towards real estate. But looking back I’m glad my life took a wide turn left of real estate- me? A real estate agent? How rich. What lazy dreams I was cooking up.

So I just worked at this psycho club as a bartender. It wasn’t exactly legal for an eighteen year old to be manning a bar, but it was the 80s and people got away with a lot. And really, if I were the police I wouldn’t want to step foot in this place. It was crawling with freaks.

‘Velvet ét Fur’ was a nightclub home to Los Angeles’ biggest drag queens and partiers. It was even ran by a drag queen itself- Lady Venus.

Oh my, poor Lady Venus. Drowning in a fit of cash that leaked in from a fat inheritance from dear old dad. He managed to turn that fat cash into a profit here. He was extremely silly though. Not a serious thought in that head- or so I thought.

“Oh my- Bus boy! What are you doing!” He exclaimed one night that I was writing in my journal. There were two bartenders, myself being one of them and Nick being the other. I was notorious for dumping all the work on my colleges. But Lady Venus didn’t care. Just so long the party went along rolling.

I mean I wasn’t always such a slacker. But I was uh, trying to ‘self-terminate’ as I had found a few other places looking to hire. But why not get a few paycheck a for doing nothing?

Before I could answer he grinned, showing off his pearly whites encased in lips a deep rouge. “Writing! A writer!” He grabbed my journal with his long manicured nails, each nail a different shade of red.

“What the hell-” I demanded reaching for my stolen item. But drat that stupid counter between us! He just simply turned away as he began to read from a random page. His long faux eyelashes batting innocently as he remembered how to read.

“My! A song writer!” He gasped. “What aspirations! What literature- I had no idea I had LITERATE help!”

“They’re poems you snot.” I shot back, hoping he’d fire me. But he just gaped at me. No wonder too, I found out later that Lady Venus only owned a small portion of the club, so really couldn’t fire me.

“My!” He exclaimed. “That’s how you treat your employer? Well makes sense, as you say…’in the bleakest of my adolescence, the accumulation of a golden glamour filled my soul. I stood up tall and christened myself Queen Bitch. Huzzah.” He slammed the book down as his friends began to laugh. He placed one hand to his chest. “Oh my! What fine literature! Your majesty, I really am impressed!”

I just snatched my book back and walked right to the bathroom. Not to cry, mind you. I’m not that petty. But just to get away from him.

But really, my times short so I’m not going to prance around and try to be all cryptic. So I’m gonna give it to you straight. This was an important event.

Not because Lady Venus took a fancy to parading his band of freaks to come poke fun at the poet ‘Queen Bitch’, but well… As the writers before me said and as the writers after me will too- ‘it was a dark a dreary day’.

To me that is. Because my self terminating plain was failing.

“Hey, bus boy get me a Bloody Mary-” An impatient man demanded, clad in some cheap drag that he mostly stole from his ex wife.

“Zack will be with you in a second.” I retorted lazily scanning over the pages of Farhenhiet 451. Before he could argue, Lady Venus swooped in. Her blond wig big enough to be named the eighth continent, as her earring dangled from her ears.

“Oh! Queenie!” He gasped slamming both palms on the counter. I flopped my book shut, my thumb keeping my place as I looked up expectingly at him.

“I need your help-“

“You need my help?” I cut him off before he could go on. I scoffed. “You mean? Help you more than I already get paid for? Fat chance.”

Lady Venus rolled his eyes as he came behind the counter. “We can discuss how you speak to an employer later- but right now I need raw talent.”

This puzzled me, but then I remembered that this was probably a way to embarrass me. As he reached his manicured hand for my arm I jerked away.

“Yeah right. I gotta get back to work.” I said, not really planning on doing much actual work anyway. Lady Venus sucked in his cheeks as he puckered out his lower lip.

“But please! Tonight’s act got the nerve to cancel! CANCEL! Last minute too-“

“As it is with most cancellations.” I retorted. He kept running his trap though, thinking his stupid tale of woe would move me to pity.

“I just need a back up, all you gotta do is go one stage for a couple minutes- then you’re done!” He said grabbing my arm and trying to tug me along. But again I jerked away.

“Please! You’re the only employee here that actually has a talent besides stacking their toenail clippings!” He begged. I laughed and asked what he wanted me to do? Write in front of the whole club? Bravo! What a show!

He crossed his arms and blew out the hair in his cheeks as he looked away annoyed. He tapped his high heel as his long eyelashes batted in an irritated fashion.

“I’ll pay you.”

Isn’t it funny how money can be such a big game changer?

I then found myself in a back room that smelled like deodorant,latex, and coffee. I was placed in a chair in front of a vanity. As Lady Venus quickly tore off my uniform vest revealing my white long sleeved button up shirt.

“Why don’t you go on stage?” I demanded. He scoffed as he blew a brush containing powdered bronzer.

“Oh honey, I’m an entertaineé not an entertainer.” He said wiping the stuff along my cheekbones. He quickly slapped on unblended dark purple eyeshadow, deep red lipstick, and a pink feathery boa.

“We have no time for real glamor!” He wailed as he pinned my bangs back. “What a shame! Oh! The wonders I could do for you!” He placed his hands on my shoulders as he pushed me lightly. I got up only to be dragged out again. This time we stopped by the stage as the last song had finished playing. I hugged myself wanting to die- I couldn’t only imagine how ridiculous I looked!

Lady Venus then took the stage, tapping experimentally on a mic. He smiled glamorously to the crowd. My heart pounded in my chest, I have to be honest.

“Ladies, gentleman, and everything in between!” He greeted, his voice breathy. “I introduce to you, on their American debut live performance, all the way from the jungles of… Australia. the one… The only… Uhh…” He then turned to me after a moments hesitation. He covered his hand over the microphone as he asked me my stage name.

“My what?” I asked. He waved his hand motioning me to think fast.

“You’re stage name! C’mon think!” He hissed through his pearly white chompers. I just told him to introduce me as Noah. But of course that didn’t fly with the toad.

“Noah? More like No-nuh-uh.” He criticized. I just rolled my eyes, and he decided he had wasted enough time. So he went back to the crowd who were now fully anticipating the act.

“Now give a warm welcome to the one,” Oh god here it comes. “The only,” Brace yourselves. “Original,” Almost there. “Queen bitch!”

Shocker.

The crowd cheered, and as I came on stage. And for some reason it just now hit me to ask about what exactly I was to do. Lady Venus laughed.

“Sing of course!”

Only he could make the connection between writing and singing. And I told him that I didn’t know any songs, not could I sing. Lady Venus just laughed and assured me that I would know this one.

And I did. And guess what it was? Huh? Guess. I bet you’re stumped.

Queen Bitch by David Bowie. Didn’t that take a whole lot of thought?

So sure enough I was stuck on stage singing a song about a prostitute ex picking up a transvestite. I stood up there monotone, as the lyrics droned from my mouth, my eyes squinted from the bright lights that surrounded me. I looked over at Lady Venus who had sort of a glitter in his eyes. His friends behind him were laughing and clapping.

“How wonderful! Living up to her namesake!” I heard one exclaim.

When the song was over I got my ass off that stage Lickety split. As I ripped the pin out of my hair and let my hair flop lazily back, I cursed myself for allowing myself to be dragged into something so stupid.

But a drag queen in a permed blonde wig and awful eye make up rushed up to me. “Oh! What a show! What a show!” He proclaimed throwing his arms over me. I couldn’t tell if he was intoxicated or drugged, maybe both. But I shoved the baboon away as I sneered.

But more of his colleagues soon rushed to his rescue and proclaimed how fabulous I was, and how I sang quite a fitting song.

I wasn’t too moved by their sudden displays of affection,because really you could throw a bit of glitter on a homeless man who just burped for 5 seconds straight- and you would’ve thought he’d be the next big thing.

But what I did notice was Lady Venus, who was standing in the back. One eyebrow arched as his arms were crossed over his chest under his large fake boobs. I didn’t know it then, but he was cooking up something in his mind.

And what a storm he cooked up.

Daisy Chain Renegades (Chapter 1)

It was the autumn of 1971. Two whole years after the Manson family killed the 60s, a year after the Beatles broke up, and just months away from 4 girls’ lives being destroyed.

The cold wind rustled orange leaves outside of my window as I tried on every sweather I owned, which I modeled obsessively in the mirror. I huffed out loud as I tore off my striped long sleeved shirt for the third time that night. I was feeling defeated by the cage of my own teenage insecurities as there was a knock on my door.

“Im indecent!” I called out grabbing the failed sweather and holding it up to my chest, covering my bra. The door opened anyway to reveal my mother, who I relaxed a little with.

“It’s only me.” She assured fixing an earring into her left ear. Her brown eyes scanned my outfit and a smirk crossed her lips if she teased me by asking if that’s what I’d be arriving to the dinner party in.

“Nows not the time, mom!” I said. “I have nothing to wear.” I whined to deaf ears.

A new family had moved in right down the block, and were having a dinner party as a way to meet the neighborhood. I had heard they also had a teenage daughter- my age and everything. And the prospect of having a new student a month after school had started was exciting, especially to a small town girl. My first impression meant everything to me, and the very thought of spoiling it made me lose my appetite to go all together.

“Oh, hush.” My mother waved her hand at me. Having raised six girls before me, she knew the trials of teenage girls like the back of her hand. “Here, why don’t you wear your charming little yellow turtleneck with that orange miniskirt of yours? Throw some tights on underneath and call it good.”

“That’s too plain, I can’t have the new girl thinking I’m plain!” I ruffled up my shoulder length hair that I had set in rollers the night before to give it a cute curl and volume, which I pinned back with a beret.

“Well, you have to wear something. And we’re leaving in 5 minutes so I’d suggest that you find something quick.” She said nonchalantly perfectly timing her exit to the point of getting her message across without leaving me time to argue.

I threw on the recomended outfit and messed with it in the mirror while I looked distastefully at what I thought where broad shoulders and thick arms. But soon I was in the car on my way to meet the new girl in my families distasteful van.

Nothing could be worse, I thought, than showing up in such a plain outfit with my car load of siblings. I came from a big family, a catholic family at that too. At the time Catholics weren’t too keen on birth control, so there was 11 of us. In order it went Jennifer who was married with three kids, Marcia the actress, Vivian who had a kid and a second on the way, Frida who was what my family referred to as a hippie or commie, Angelica the model, Jean who just graduated and was at college(she’d go on to be a very successful business woman), me, Robin, Heather- and finally my father got his boy- or boys. My mother had two twin boys Simon and Dylan before telling my father “Lenord, the factories shutting down!” But my dad was content, finally after over twenty years of trying- he finally had his sons. And my father had been desperate for sons, my mother popped out baby after baby, and each time my dad would proclaim that this was finally going to be the son. But after Heather, he naturally gave up and decided to be content with his nine daughters. But then my mother got pregnant one final time, and with twin boys. Go figure.

Robin, Heather, Simon, Dylan, mom, dad and I all showed up to that dinner party. And when Mr. Chbosky, a lean man in his early forties walked up to us and proclaimed upon seeing us. “Brought the whole school huh?” I had begun to wish even harder that we left the children with Nana at home.

My dad laughed a hearty laugh and nodded. “And this isn’t even half of them!” He said pride thick in his voice for his large family.

“No kidding?” He asked amused. “Dr. Chbosky,” He introduced himself putting out his hand which my father shook. “But please, call me Dean.”

“Lenord Cline.” My father said. Before introducing his wife Patricia, my mother.

“Well, we only have one daughter. She’s starting her junior year up at the high school next Monday.” He said. My eyes beamed at the mention of a daughter, and my age, just as the rumors speculated!

“My Jeneane is a junior over there.” My father rubbed my shoulder as I smiled up shyly at Dr. Chbosky. He smiled a wide perfectly pearly white smile at me. I pulled away from, my father.

“Well, I’m sure Sharon would love to meet you, she’s in the back with the other children.” He said. Being categorized with children stung my underdeveloped ego a bit but it was quickly forgotten when I got an eyeful of Sharon.

She was a tall skinny girl, with long straight light caramel hair. Her hazel eyes glittered with a bit of innocence as she spoke and laughed with a group of eager peers, all wanting to figure out this newcomer. I was a bit envious at her dainty long fingers and chub-less arms, but I was snapped out of it when a felt a hand on my shoulder. There was one of my best friends Linda Miplin. A small girl of 16 with the body of a seventh grader. She was no more than five foot two, and was a skinny little thing. But she was stunning, with willowy sad eyes just like Twiggy. Her chopped hair added to their likeness, which though she’d never admit to, she was proud of.

Before I could greet her properly she cut me off. “Is Anika coming?” She asked. I shrugged, though I knew she’d be there to scope out the fresh meat, so to speak. And sure enough just then I saw Anika Salinger’s wavy long dirty blond hair amongst the heads of chattering guests. She was dressed fashionably in denim jeans, a t shirt and a courdoroy jacket with fur trimming the hood. She was a tall girl, with the body of a model. And everyone expected her to become the next big thing. Even my sister Angelica, the model, would give her tips whenever she came home. It was a bit insulting that she never paid me much mind in that department.

“What do you think?” She asked the minute she walked up to us, she peered at Sharon like a vulture waiting to swoop in on the dead carcass of a water buffalo.

“You think I’m gonna squirm by all that white trash for some bitch?” Linda asked. Anika just rolled her eyes and grabbed both of our arms. She jerked us both in the direction of Sharon.

“Useless.” She muttered under breath as we caught up to her pace. When we came people parted a bit to let us through, well more like Anika. Sharon looked up and I could tell by the smirk that tugged at the edge of her lips she was impressed by the dominance and superiority that radiating.

She was sitting on one of the beach chairs and Anika raised her eyebrow, like a stray dog beckoning a fight, waiting for the other to strike.

“Hey,” Sharon smiled, her teeth were big and perfectly straight like her dads. “I don’t think I saw you, did you three just get here?”

“Nah.” Linda replied for the trio. Anika nodded.

“Not much is going on so I thought we’d pop over here and see if there was a change of pace.” Anika said, offering a smirk. Sharon smiled a bit and tucked her hair behind her ear.

“Wanna sit?” She gestured towards the two beach chairs beside her. Melanie Johnson and Sandra Gray were sitting in the chairs but once we made our way to them they got up. There would’ve been no point in putting up a fight when your hostess wants to replace you.

“So how are you liking it here?” Anika asked.

“Stinks doesn’t it?” Linda asked. The three of us giggled so Sharon joined in.

“Well it’s a change.” Sharon said. Anika asked from what, and Jessie Lynn but in.

“She’s from New York.” She chimed.

“Gee Sharon,” Anika said a bit loud, letting Jessie know she wasn’t wanted. Sharon giggled a bit amused. “New York?”

“Manhattan.”

“Groovy.” Anika smiled. She went on about how she wanted to move to New York to become a model, and mid explanation Sharon cut in. We were all a bit taken back by her sudden bold move.

“My mom was a model.” She said. “Well, and a poet. And an artist. I think she’s taken up yoga now or something. I can never keep track.” She waved that off. “The real woman of interest is my Grandmother. Ambrosia Leroux. She was a French and American actor, she was a big deal way back when. But now she just sits in her little mansion out in Hollywood. We sometimes visit her during the summer.” We would soon discover that Sharon’s mother was serverly depressed and trying desperately and failing at climbing out of her mothers shadow.

“Jeneanes sister is a model. Angelica Cline.” Anika said. I felt a little proud that she would use something of mine in an attempt to one up Ambrosia Leroux.

“And her sisters Marcia Cline is an actress.” Linda added. “And Anika’s mother was almost a big model but she got knocked up with her.” This earned her a glare from Anika but Sharon was looking at me in shock.

“You’re related to Angelica and Marcia Cline?” She breathed. I shrugged humbly, despite enjoying the attention.

“It’s a big family.”

“No kidding!” She breathed. “I loved Marcia Cline in Love and Unrest, it’s my favorite. And Angelica is just gorgeous. I don’t know how I didn’t see it myself, I can really see the resemblance.”

I smiled, my chest filling with warm pride at being compared to my two prettiest sisters. “They’re coming home in a couple months for Christmas, they’ll be here for a week. You should stop by for dinner one night.” I offered. She waved it off.

“No, I wouldn’t want to intrude!” She said. “I doubt they’d want some fan gawking at them.” She smiled sheepishly.

“No it’s fine really. You’ll see they’re just like everyday people.” I assured her. She nodded.

“Well, alright.” She giggled excitedly. “Think, I’ve only been here a few days and I’m already lined up to meet two celebrities. And I’ve already practically have already met one.” She tapped Linda’s thigh making her jump a bit.

“Has anyone ever told you, you look exactly like Twiggy?” She asked. Linda smiled and shrugged.

“Yes, but I don’t see it.” She said, fishing for more.

“No really.” She said sincere thick in her voice. “I was hoping you were gonna chime in and say she’s your sister, I love Twiggy.”

Linda was eating it right up.

We chattered some more until I could tell Anika growing bored. But I didn’t mind as I found our new friend very interesting. That was until Anika said that we should take Linda’s car and go get sodas.

“I’d love to,” Sharon apalogized. “But, I have to stay at the party.”

“No worries.” I said, smiling warmly at her. “We’ll see you at school Monday, right?”

She nodded and soon we said our goodbyes and left. Linda’s house was within walking distance so we strolled to her house giggling about how that Jessie Lynn had the audacity to but into our conversation. Teenage girls really are picky and meticulous things. Insecurity pumped through our veins and pettiness kept our hearts beating.

“And did you see the look on Melanie and Sandra’s face when we took their spots? I’m surprised they didn’t die of embarrassment right then and there.” I giggled reminiscing over the intoxicating taste of power. Linda and Anika laughed along with me.

“So what do you guys think about that Sharon girl?” Linda asked.

“I like her, she’s nice.” I said. Linda nodded in agreement.

“And pretty-“

“She’s a suck up.” Anika muttered. Linda rolled her eyes and laughed.

“You’re just mad because she wasnt sucking up to you or impressed by your knocked up reject model mother.” Linda giggled.

“At least my parents are still married.” Anika shot back. “How about you send a postcard to Mathew and Betty and they’re replacement baby for me.”

Mathew was Linda’s dad and Betty was his wife. They lived all the way in California with their baby girl Magnolia, or Maggie, which at the time felt worlds away to Michigan in the 70s.

Linda held her tongue, you had to give able to take shots and give shots to tango with us. And it wasn’t as if we had much of a selection of friends in this small town, or that’s what it felt like at least. But really I loved Anika and Linda, they had been my best friends for as long as I could remember. But the prospect of adding a new girl to our trio seemed a delicious way to spice things up, and spice things up it did – in ways I could have never imagined.

“I think we should give Sharon a chance.” I said not ready to change the subject. Anika rolled her eyes.

“Why? She already gets on my nerves, she never stops talking.” Anika said. “And her nose is weird.”

It was at that moment that I got the impression that Anika was jealous or at least intimidated by Sharon. Something I thought impossible, as Anika had always been the top dog around this junk yard.

“It is not.” Linda said. “She was just nervous, I talk a lot when I’m nervous too.”

“I’ll say.” Anika mumbled.

“So I say Monday we take her with us to lunch Monday.” I pressed on. Linda looked over at Anika hopefully, and feeling our eyes glued to her Anika’s gaze shifted defeatedly to the ground.

If I could go back I would have forced myself caved into Anika and save everyone this mess. But I didn’t. And when Anika muttered “Whatever.” Under her breath, fate was already taking its course.

.

.

That Monday morning we gave Sharon an invitation to come with us to my fathers grocery store for lunch that day. She seemed happy to accept and ditch her previous plans with Jessie Lynn, Melanie Johnson and their clan.

We drove Anika’s car over, and on the way we discovered that Sharon’s family moved here because they were tired of the city life.

“How could you ever get tired of the city?” I asked, pictures of bright flashing lights, fashionable men and women in bell bottoms and turtlenecks strolling the streets as an endless array of boutiques welcomed them in danced across my eyes.

She shrugged sheepishly, and looked as if she wanted to say more, but decided against it. “We needed a change, that’s all.”

“Well, I wouldn’t get your hopes up.” Anika said from the drivers seat, glancing at Sharon and I through the rear view mirror. “Its boring as hell around here.”

Sharon was quiet and took to looking at the window. She looked as though hurt by Anika’s remark that I found decently innocent enough. Especially compared to her past bites I had fallen victim too, this was a gentle nuzzle.

“Sharon,” I asked. “Did you want to move here?”

She looked over at me with big brown eyes, a bit glazed with tears. She smiled through it though, and shook her head.

.

.

Sharon invited us all to her house for dinner after school had ended.

“I’ll have to run home and check to make sure it’s alright with my mom first.” Linda said as they waited for me to pack my bag.

“You can use our telephone if you want.” She offered. I smiled at her and asked if I could use it too, she nodded and asked Anika if she needed to use it too. Anika laughed and shook her head.

“No, my parents don’t care.” She said. Anika’s lack of parental guidance was the envy to all us girls. While we were stuck with lying and sneaking, Anika could just walce into or out of her home at 3 in the morning no questions asked. But the older I get the more I’m thankful that my mother wanted me home by 11 o clock.

So we all went over to Sharon’s home, which was even nicer on the inside than it was on the outside. It looked straight from the magazines my mother bought and drooled over fantasizing for when us kids were out of the house so she throw out our old fashioned ‘safety’ couch. It was clean and calming, no fights for the tv remote being held by the tv, no loud stereo blasting your old Beatles records- the home of an only child.

The mouthwatering aroma of meatloaf hit us the minute we got in, as Sharon’s mother called out to her from the kitchen.

“Sharon is that you?” She asked. Her mother was a beautiful woman, tall and lean with blond hair and red lipstick that looked as if it were manufactured just for her. Her voice was warm and inviting and reminded us of our own mothers- or what we wished she sounded like.

“Yeah,” Sharon said. “I brought some friends over for dinner.”

Her mother looked a bit puzzled at us, her brow furrowing, and suddenly the power trio felt not good enough in their own territory. “I thought you were bringing along those girls from the part-” with a glare from Sharon she stopped before resuming her warm smile. She asked for introductions which we gave eagerly to.

“Well, Dr. Chbosky should be home shortly and we’ll be having dinner by then. Do you girls need to phone home?” She asked. Linda and I nodded and after we called our parents (my mother was eager to have one less mouth to feed, and Linda’s was eager to have a nice super with her boyfriend.) we went back to the front door only to discover that Sharon and Anika were gone.

“Oh they’re probably up in Sharon’s room.” Mrs. Chbosky said as Linda and I both shot each other a nervous look. “Up the stairs, second room on the right.”

We went and when we opened the door, Anika was laying on Sharon’s bed giggling with her as she sat on a chair by her desk. I smiled, happy to see Anika finally warming up to her.

We talked about Sharon’s first day of school, and how she liked it. Anika listened with a forced politeness, her almond shaped eyes squinting a bit as she studied some piece of lint on the floor to pass the time. When she decided she heard enough she looked up at all of us.

“Did you get invited to Chase Onstead’s bonfire?” She asked. Linda and I nodded, he asked us both in English. Anika grinned and moved to her belly on Sharon’s bed, already marking her territory.

“I say we spend he night at my house and go.” She proposed. Sharon laughed lightly with a hint of embarrassment evident in her sweet giggle.

“My parents would never let me go.” She said. “Some parents had warned him about the Onsteads at the party.”

We laughed at her innocence. “Neither would mine.” I said. Linda nodded in agreement.

“That’s why you don’t tell them.” Anika grinned a devilish grin, like a shark smelling the smell of blood- she thirsted for the spill of innocence. “Just say youre coming over to my house and leave it at that.”

Before Sharon could muster an argument from her unsure lips, her mother was already calling us down for dinner. We all hopped up, just now feeling the grumble in our stomachs for food.

“Just say you’re coming over for a sleepover and leave it at that.” Anika coached in a hushed voice to Sharon as we shuffled out of her room.

The table in their dining room was fixed up like they were expecting the queen to come over for a bite of meatloaf. Mrs. Chbosky was finishing up fixing everyone’s plates while inquiring Dr. Chbosky about his day.

I felt a bit pushed to be on my absolute best behavior, but the normal respect and fear of someone’s parents was heightened with the doctors status.

But Dr. Chbosky was an easy going man, who inquired each of us about ourselves- which coming from an older attractive man was flattering to 3 hormonal teenage girls. He was charming, and playful, and by the end of dinner he had us all belly laughing. And thus the awkwardness melted away and we all felt at ease.

“Oh Darling,” The doctor said, making our focus go to his sullen looking wife who picks mindlessly at a bit of meat. It was then that I realized that we were the only ones under his charismatic charm, and I suddenly felt a bit uncomfortable. “Do cheer up, we have guests.”

She laughed a bit as she touched her cheek lightly with her hand. “Im sorry dear,” She said. “I was just lost in thought a bit.”

Dr. Chbosky was quiet for a moment, he took a sip of his wine and forked up a piece of meatloaf. “It must be all that yoga-hoo-ha you’ve been doing,” he chuckled. “It’s making you drowsy.” He glances over to us to see if his joke stuck.

We giggled a little, yoga seemed so exotic; something misplaced in the predictable organized life of a housewife. The thought of my own mother practicing it seemed ridiculous. But a part of me felt envious for a mother who did something

After dinner I rode home with Anika and Linda. The whole way there we chattered about how much we like Sharon, and her dad.

“He’s gorgeous.” Anika said. We gasped and I slapped her shoulder.

“Anika, you can’t think Sharon’s dads hot!” I said, mortified at the thought. Even for Anika this was pushing it.

“Why not? He is.” She laughed, and Linda giggled along too. “He’s loaded too, did you guys see how nice that house is?”

“You have a nice house too.” I said.

“Not as nice as that.” Anika said, and picking apart my sensitivity cooed. “Imagine- Anika Chbosky-“

“Can it!” I punched her shoulder laughing. The three of us giggled as Anika reached back as swung her palm at me.

“Don’t get your panties in a bunch, I’m just kidding, man.” She giggled that cute adorable coo that made boys ears perk up.  It was the opposite of my howl that made even the dogs whimper.

When I got home I opened the door only to be snapped to the reality of my home. The stained reliable couch sat in its mismatched glory to the rest of the living room, as Dylan and Simon raced about the house playing Cowboys and Indians pretending to shoot guns and bow n arrows at each other. My old Beatles records were blasting upstairs in Robin and Heather’s room. My dad was sitting on the couch watching the News on his worn out lazy boy. A stark contrast to Sharon’s picture perfect living room with breakables like glass and chine for decoration instead of stepped on comic books and nail polishes without their caps.

Like I said we werent poor, but we were smart enough not to have nice things that are just going to end up broke or stained.

“Honey, was that Jeneane that just came in?” My mother called from the kitchen. My dad turned to face the kitchen as he squinted his eyes.

“Huh?” He called as Simon and Dylan continued going ‘Bang, Bang!’ and crashing against walls.

“I said, was that Je-“

“Yes, im home!” I groaned going into the kitchen. My mother had elbow length yellow gloves on as she scrubbed dishes with an old sponge. She smiled when she saw me and turned down the radio that had previously been playing Elvis.

“So,” She grinned. “Was it a dream inside, or what?” My mother like me dreamed of a nice house once, but she grew more practical with age.

“It was wonderful,” I sighed reminiscing over her house. “It looks like a magazine cover in there, so clean, so quiet-“

“The opposite of here, huh?” My mother laughed.

“You’re telling me.” I said. She just smiled and shook her head.

“You’ll grow to miss it one day, you know Jean’s already phoning and saying that exact thing.” She said. Of course I couldn’t see it then, but those years spent in that house were going to be the best of my life.

Daisy Chain Renegades (Introduction) 

The three things I’m most thankful for in life are sunsets, peach tea and plea bargains.
One saved my life. Or at least the direction it was headed in. A cold small cramped room is no place to watch a decent sunset in, and I’ve never heard stories of Charles Manson sipping peach tea in confinement. 

I think these type of things while I rock away on my old rocking chair, it’s a heirloom from my grandmother.  It’s cracking mint colored paint goes well with the homely looking hut I call home. But I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else, no one recognizes me here in the upper peninsula. And if they do, they don’t say a word. People don’t come to northern Michigan to relive old memories. And everyone seems to have a mutual respect of that.

It’s summer time, and though the mountainous amounts of snow that was belched from the heavens has now come and gone, in its place are the wretched mosquitos and little black flies. Bug spray keeps them away mostly, but on this particular evening they seem to be especially persistent. I wear a headnet that I lift ever so often to bring my cup of tea up to my lips, which I gingerly sip. 

The bright oranges, yellows and purples paint across the calm waters of Lake Superior, looking exactly like a work of art created by the master painter. Sometimes I get out my easel and water colors, and set to work trying to mimic the bright and intoxicating colors- but tonight I’m content with watching. As I seem to have always been.

The sun dips softly into the water which ripples sadly to see its departure. But even once the skies colors have long gone, I sit and listen to the waves crashing against the shore. It brings me back, to better times, and to worse times. I’ve spent my life in Michigan, and much to the discontent of her citizens it’s my home. I’ve lost myself in the colorful sunsets, the snow banks upon snow banks, the frigid cold waters of the Great Lakes- the girl that the reporters so desperately picked apart was lost in it too. She was shed long ago, like how a snake sheds its skin or a bird mulches. But time does that to the best of us, and I know that the rare occurrence that the reporters are able to sniff out my little slice of heaven, they still expect that 17 year old girl from 1972 to open up. Just as doe eyed and rosy cheeked as the day she sat on that witness stand. But no one ever thinks that people like that can change.

They like to pin our disturbances on everything from rock music, to television, to catholic nuns- but their favorite is our homes. That’s where they say the beginning of our disturbed minds is- our troubled home lives. 
But really the beginning was at Mr. Chbosky’s dinner party, October 1971.