Thursday, May 10, 2007

An Hour of Quiet

(Is not this something more than fantasy?)

I am actually a secret agent. One day a sniper on the roof of Southport Middle School takes me out. I lie there, the center of attention, and Thomas Marshall Perry the Fourth (signs all homework T. M. Perry IV, upper right corner) realizes how beautiful I am when my glasses fall off.


After a whole six-weeks grading period exposed daily to my extreme intelligence and cleverness in fifth-hour Gifted class, T. M. Perry IV finally succumbs to the overwhelming seduction of meeting his intellectual equal. We jointly dominate the 8th-grade Quiz Team.

Reality. A semi-successful pool party/D&D game at my house, featuring Thom, his best friend Chris as DM, his little sister Stephany and me. And I lent him some of the Dragonlance books. (Don’t give me that look, they all went in a garage sale years ago and you know damn well you knew about the saga of the Twins.) Around the table, there was the kind of uneasy equality that’s understood won’t last on Monday morning. Thom was gruff and hard and hated his divorced mother for keeping him from his father and protected his sister. I answered more questions on Quiz Team.

(I have remembrances.)

Ever the entrepreneur, I’ve talked the manager into letting me create my own shift, 3-10. School ends at 2:38, I run down the hill from the English building, hop into my little grey car, 4 exits and I’m downtown. The tiny DJ booth is right inside the door, he doubles as the doorman, squinting from cool smoky darkness into the hot white parking lot.

Back to the dressing room, my black and pink Caboodle on the counter. Maybelline foundation on a damp sponge, eye liner, I always remember the VHS box cover of Angel – High School Honor Student By Day!! Hollywood Hooker By Night!!!! I’m no longer an honor student but I will eventually get the highest score ever recorded on the GED in my state as the nation’s only non-graduating National Merit Scholar (780 verbal, 760 math, thank you very much). Right now I’m using a 99-cent Wet-and-Wild pencil to completely fill in my lips with a dark, even mark. Usually I’m on the floor by 3:15, long before the bus I used to ride stops at the end of my parents’ street. Sometimes I arrive and Star, an amazon brunette with glasses and a puffy perm, has been holding down the stage solo since noon, three songs on, three off, the salesmen from the Chevy dealership appreciating her round ass in denim cut-offs, firm boobs in a red tie-front halter.

Shoes, black suede 3-inch from Spring Fling sophomore year. Stockings and garters because this is what I believe is sexy and my legs are fishbelly white from not wearing deck shoes on someone’s dad’s boat every weekend, taking bunny-eared pictures destined for prime yearbook real estate.

On Fridays and Saturdays I work until closing.

I don’t know where my parents think their 17-year-old daughter is.

My stage name is my best friend’s name, she’s back in her home country after an exchange. I dance to the Cure and think about her when I mouth the lyrics. I have met Jim, I have read 9 ½ weeks and oh yes I know what I like.

(The indifferent children of the earth)

Their uniforms glow blue-white in the UV lights that make us all look tan and turn blond hair green and alien. All six little tables are full, the three barstools occupied, girls waiting their turns for the back corridor with four private dance chairs. The boys in the uniforms can get in, it’s a juice bar, you can’t have pastied nipples and alcohol in the same room within city limits. My pasties are silver (an improvement on the cow-print from my first day, they come in sizes and that's what was available), sequined, glued on with children’s craft glue. Wear them home, soften the glue under the shower and it hurts less to take them off. I am having a great night. Good hair, a new teddy pinched from my mother’s drawer. Over to the uniforms, who probably don’t have any money because they’re all around my age.

“Hello, Thomas Marshall Perry the Fourth.”

His buddies break up, “She knows you man, she knows you!” He’s cautious and puzzled and as formally polite as he was in the 8th grade.

“I’m sorry, I don’t think I’ve had the pleasure…”

“Remember Mandy Muse from the eighth grade?”

His jaw drops. I thought that was a figure of speech. He introduces me to the banana heir, the computer heir, and the local scion. They’re all celebrating graduation from the local military academy. I assume he’s a scholarship boy.

(Had he the motive and the cue for passion that I have?)

I dance on the six-foot by four-foot stage (I don’t know how Felicia does cartwheels on it) to the Cure, Madonna, Vanity 6

Tonight, I'm living in a fantasy
My own little nasty world
Tonight, don't u wanna come with me?
Do u think I'm a Nasty Girl?

Thomas clearly does. He tips. I take him back to the private dance corridor.

“It’s five with my top on or ten topless. You can touch me from here…to here… if my top is on.”

I don’t remember his choice. I remember him writing his phone number on a napkin, Thom Perry. I remember his hands on me in the car, after Olive Garden, as swanky as a high school date could get. We sit at the waterfront, the seats reclined, he doesn’t feel the need to talk. He wants to take me to a classroom on his campus with a broken door lock, but I won’t go, I don’t remember why. I’m ready to get out of town, I’d rather not be here for graduation. We write, a little. We phone, a little – there are no cell phones, I stand at the payphone outside Mucho Taco at 3AM.

Midway through his college freshman year, I see his obituary, “self-inflicted wounds.” That's all I know. That's still all I know.

(flights of angels)


Tom Paine said...

I sometimes feel as though I'm on the TGV reading the paper with a dictionary. "Breathless" must've been a film you've seen, and I suspect the French would want to teach you how to smoke, if you don't know already.

PJ said...

I love these little glimpses into your mind. You're a complicated and interesting person, Mandy Muse.

Mandy said...

Smoking's ick - but it does look sexy done by someone young :)

My favorite's actually Monsieur Hire, but Breathless isn't bad.

Thanks, PJ - I'm hoping for the idea of fitting the puzzle together without the box lid, but less frustrating and more opps for masturabtion.

Thomas said...

You keep on surprising me, on so many different levels.

Hearing that you had your state's highest ever GED score was one of the sexiest things I've read all month. The ending of this post was one of the saddest.

Anonymous said...

GED should be SAT, no?

Mandy said...

It's a literary combination of the two - I got a very high score on the GED, and the 780/760 was my SAT, which is what determines National Merit Scholars. I also got a perfect score on the GRE. Not that I'm bragging...