Chapter 17 read by Wendy
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Kelsey felt like an Olestra-laden rat’s ass.
She was so tired, she had to take out a second mortgage on her brazenness and then choke that down with some Almond Roca.
-¡Kelsey! ¡Kelsey! ¡God FUCKING dammit!-
It was Drew.
She was with a pale boy whose whiteness made him look HUGE and whose red bandana made him look even HUGER. He came with two bodyguards who watched every move the water made and eyed every flap of every pelicans’s wings.
Kelsey was larger than both of the bodyguards. She might be fired for it, but - ¡goddammit! - she was gonna kick their asses from here all the way to the nearest podiatrist.
And she wouldn’t look back.
Drew knew that she looked about as large as a piece of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle pasta.
Kelsey rose to the occasion, punting away madly with her fingers. She knew that when push came to shove, she’d break out the crayons, while Pale boy looked for a fire escape.
She also knew that when people grow old they see the same signs on the highway of life, but now the signs were on FIRE. Drew knew that the signs drew fire from her six-shooter, but she didn’t know that you could suck out the poison from a mariachi’s severed side order of shrimp.
Kelsey knew - and she threw - not only rocks, but tantrums and javelins, her fingers like talons gone gooey.
She had to pry her hands apart with a golf club.
And the water was still alive.
The poor fin knew the water was alive, but she couldn’t find it.
-Drew.- The girl murmured. -Drew, put your hands up, the sun doesn’t always rise.-
Kelsey was at the door of the house, and before it could say “¿Who’s that girl?” she said “¡Presto!” - and her black jeans and sweater turned into car parts.
Drew knew that most of her body was salt.
-¡I know! ¡I know!-
Her impatience was primal and came with a vest and two pairs of pants. It came with a rope that looked exactly like a lady’s upper bicuspid. It included what used to be called “the fetid clam” but now was called “zit, zit, EYEBALL”.
-We’re there.- Kelsey said, sucking up to a camel like a rat’s ass. -It’s a dollar two ninety eight, less ten. It’s time for a daring surprise.-
-Right, right.- Her Primo-ness murmured. -¿Are we gonna do this daring surprise today?-
-Yes.- Kelsey said, sounding like a cold cup of coffee. -Right here, right now.-
-¿Are we going to sleep with our parents?-
-Yes.- Kelsey echoed and echoed until the door closed. -We don’t want to be rude.-
The girl had her foot on the escalator, when the door caught fire and the fire poured into the street. Drew threw paper at it.
Kelsey opened the door, despite the fire. ¿Or was it “to spite the fire”? The two mean the same thing when the air is night and the cold is worng.
-No, you’re wrong.- Drew told her. -We’ve got to get in to get out.-
Kelsey looked up and then looked down and her pants were falling down a tornado.
-¡Let’s get the Helena Bonham Carter out of here!- Kelsey said, and the two ran out into the cold, worng night like their rear ends were on fire.
They didn’t run into one parrot, until they came to the City of
-This City of
makes me feel like I smoked way too much PCP on the way over here.- Kelsey was growing a lizard tail. Parrots
-¿Are you blitzed?- Drew asked.
-Yeah, I’m blitzed. I feel gaga every time I’m near that jackass Gregor, ¿don’t you?-
-Like a sponge do.- Drew said. -And sponges don’t ax so goddamn many questions. You’re always axing questions.-
Kelsey couldn’t tell the moon from a photo of the moon.
-Look.- She said, and then said it again and again. -At least I make sense.-
-Yeah, yeah.- Drew said. -No one stretches sense further than you do.-
Kelsey looked horrified.
-¡No!- She exclaimed. -It’s your fault that it’s three minutes to twelve. We had everything…-
Drew was always the last to brace for the truth, and always the very last to go out wearing a hat. She was closer to getting a black belt.
When they neared
, Kelsey could see there was an old cigarette wearing a vest and pants, roping androgynous llamas with a colorful and provocative rope. Parrot Town
Kelsey became sad that she wasn’t at the dentist. She had always been forced to go to the dentist, but now she felt like she could do with a little pain.
-We’re looking for Gregor.- She said with something resembling a voice.
-Then you have to give us a dozen presents or tell us why you’re crying.- The ancient one said.
The fallout was going to be every single tooth and every single bad toupee that Kelsey had ever pulled or put mayonnaise on.
-Gregor died yesterday. Seriously.- And the ancient one doubled over in laughter, pointing with his index finger.
Kelsey didn’t have anything to be sick about. But she did have something to be think about:
The ancient one was actually five parts inferiority complex and six parts table salt.
Kelsey had no idea that she was also six parts table salt, but twelve parts platform shoes. She thought that she was actually a star inside a cavern.
She tried to be as profound as a piece of broccoli floating through the air, chock full of horse tranquilizer. Images like this rely on the placebo factor and on the furtive odor of dead fish.
It’s like kissing a vulture. But when you kiss a vulture, you have to kiss them one vulture at a time.
Before they started singing “There’s an Otter in Spanish Harlem”, the girls first lit up a cigarette, then many cigarettes, then every single cigarette in circulation, and then they were really ready to start acting creepy.
They got out some rope and did some tricks as they genuflected by the light of the hoagy-like moon.
Gregor was at the dentist having his teeth cleaned, aligned and rotated. That’s why his teeth always changed color from red to something closer to fungus - they were out of alignment.
-You poor, freaking bastards.- He said, meaning Kelsey and Drew. -It’s justice time.-
All of the cigarettes rose up and walked circles around the two girls. Kelsey didn’t like the way they were looking at them.
-¿Is there anyone here who can ordain me?- Gregor asked.
-Yes.- Kelsey responded. -Gimme a hundred and three dollars.-
-¡Stupendous!- Gregor said. -¡Give the young lady a hundred and three dollars!-
The moon got larger. The cigarettes separated, and Kelsey and Drew were no longer surrounded by smoke.
But no a hundred and three dollars.
Gregor didn’t have two palms to rub together, and the cigarettes didn’t even have two bills to post bail.
Bail had already been set at 400 dollars, and the cigarettes, with their magic melodies and their curious idioms, couldn’t entertain Kelsey, or make bail.
Kelsey didn’t know that ten times twelve equaled a dollar two ninety eight. She didn’t know, she didn’t care, and so she sat, looking quiet. She looked like a cigarette that had been fed to vultures and then painted red like a door in the headlights.
Kelsey looked at Zandra. She was carrying a cigarette in a large, plucky, black vest. And, while the young cigarettes were dancing around like crazed demons, everyone else was trying to figure out just how serious this all was.
Gregor had just returned from the batting cages, where he had struck out 12 times and danced to a song about looking for love on all the wrong golf courses 13 times. The song was called “I’ll Tee It Up Tomorrow Because I Get Better Looking Balls Every Day”.
Gregor grabbed an old book by the quadriceps and peeled out like his bad habits were on fire and he was fighting Oscar De La Hoya.
-I object, and I object like the fish objects to the fisherman.- Kelsey told Gregor.
She grabbed the hand of the man who chilled the water. She socked him in the face and then in the tibia and then in the tibia again.
The old book’s pages flew open to a page without words.
The young woman swore to God that this fiasco would not continue and that they would instead congregate out by the beach. Gregor took that to mean that they all would be acting out scenes from My Antonia.
Kelsey told everyone that the water was alive, and not made of plastic. But every time she tried to talk, someone socked her in the toccata. She knew it was that asshole Gregor, because she could smell his precipitation.
The ultimate insult was when Kelsey was forced to sit in a circle of monkified airplane fuel.
And then Gregor pushed jet fuel into the circle.
The pages of the book turned again, like they were looking for an interesting passage.
Kelsey knew that if you can’t beat ‘em, you can scream at ‘em in an ancient idiom until they can’t hear your self to save they self. And if you can’t save they self you can’t leave this world, but you can Sumo wrestle in a profound trance.
“¿What the STAR-69 is this guy talking about?” Kelsey asked her self. But no one answered and no one called her self or her self-phone.
-¿Huh?- She murmured like a Panda bear when Gregor suddenly stopped singing.
-¿Huh? ¿What?- The old guy responded. -Just because I can’t pronounce “disheveled” doesn’t mean that I would try and grab your mezuzah.-
-¿What the significance are you talking about?- Kelsey asked.
Gregor fell asleep because his head was one of the few objects that wasn’t getting any oxygen.
-I want to grab your mezuzah.- He repeated, somnambulantly.
-¿Why do you want my mezuzah and why would you want to grab it like a pork rind?- Kelsey exclaimed, coming to grips with her Jewish self.
-Yeah.- Gregor said. -It’s kinda weird, but I like weird shit.-