Wicked Game

I guess I better tell you something about my older sisters. You think I was good at pretending my mother didn’t exist? I was even better at pretending Lilibeth and Janine didn’t exist, and when we were growing up my life was a lot better when they pretended *I* didn’t exist. When my big sisters were paying attention to me it was to make my life hell.
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Two Worlds Collide

Ziggy was much better at pumping Remo for information. He quickly determined that the reason Claire was in Tennessee and not Kansas was that her high-falutin’ religious leader husband had dropped her like a hot potato when they figured out that her problem wasn’t her gallbladder after all, but cancer of the pancreas.

I didn’t even know what the pancreas was, but it didn’t sound good. I told Remo I’d call Courtney and we’d figure out what we were going to do.
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Born of Frustration

Okay. So I had touched the guitar a couple of times, but only to like get a note for vocal exercises and maybe once or twice to hit a chord to practice the hymn. I had not “played,” for what I considered playing.

I was nervous to really play. Which sounds stupid, but I was.
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Ordinary World

We got in late that night and I tried the number where Remo had said he’d be. By the zip code it looked to be somewhere in Tennessee and I wondered if he was doing another trip through bluegrass country or what. I got a hotel voicemail system and left him a message. He’d have to try me again when he got to his next stop, but at least I had made an effort.

Courtney came over for dinner the next night. She brought the food for us to cook together, which made for a fun, if a bit of an eclectic meal. We made chicken wings and a kind of almost-lasagna casserole and baked potatoes and berry cobbler. “The theme is ‘hey, I’m heating up the oven to warm up my place because it’s winter, might as well bake everything,’” she explained.
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I Advance Masked

We ended up staying in New York until Monday night (or maybe it was Tuesday, doesn’t matter). We stopped by the office before heading out of town so Ziggy could sign something (or meet someone or whatever, doesn’t matter).

Carynne was there and I sat down next to her desk and played with the Wonder Woman Barbie doll she had sitting on the tissue box. I asked Carynne about the “skinny white chicks with attitude” thing and she laughed. “Sarah has me so pegged,” she said. “Even if I’m not remotely skinny anymore.”
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Camouflage

“Can I borrow your phone?” Sarah said to Ziggy after we were done with vocal exercises. I was feeling very calm afterward. So calm it was like being stoned.

So calm that I sat there, zoned out, listening to Sarah call her mother. She stood in the kitchen, leaning against the wall, holding the phone to her ear, while Ziggy bustled around her making tea.
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Tie Your Mother Down

So it turns out you don’t have to do a lot of drugs or have a lot of sex to have what I–and probably most people–would consider a rock star weekend. Magenta seemed determined to prove us “kids” weren’t going to outlast her and when you have three lead-singer types hanging out together, they will sort of compete with each other for the spotlight. Okay, maybe “compete” isn’t the right word, but whenever one would cede center stage, another one would step up. It meant things never got dull and I was content to be along for the ride.
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Too Much Joy

We didn’t leave Jordan’s until brunch time the next day, when Sarah insisted on showing Magenta the best breakfast spot in the city, which was a diner in Hell’s Kitchen. It didn’t strike me as all that different from a hundred other diners in Manhattan but Sarah had settled on this one as her favorite so we were happy to go along with that. From there we kidnapped Magenta to Sarah’s apartment in a cab.
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Give It Away

Jordan and I got talking some time after midnight. Of course we were still there. Jordan had eventually put a small tumbler of fine bourbon into my hand and I had been nursing it slowly like a long conversation with an old friend. J and his beau had left but a couple more people had dropped by and we were having fun watching Sarah and Magenta move from circling each other cautiously to being attached at the hip like they’d known each other forever. It hadn’t really occurred to me because it wasn’t something that affected me personally–I mean, it’s not like I cared–but Madge was older than we were by a fair bit. She and Toph were goths and I pretty much thought of goths as a Generation X thing, but the first generation of them were from the Baby Boom.

But it came out when we were talking about Wednesday’s Child. “The band’s name is totally ironic, you know,” she said, taking a hit of some very fine California weed Jordan provided. “But my stage persona is basically demented fifteen-year-old girl psycho killer.”
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Good Time

A minute later Sarah burst in. “Oh my God, I’m sorry to crash your party but arrrghhhhhhhh!” She made a long, low scream of frustration. “I had to get away from my mother.”

Jordan shooed her toward the table, where there were more chairs than people, while he went to get another wine glass. “I thought there was some chance you might show up.”
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