The Planet – Alice
Shane and I walk into The Planet for a mysterious “emergency” meeting called by Bette, I see something I’ve never seen before – Bette and Kit back in the kitchen. It’s appears they are cooking. This gives me pause.
“Lil Sister has brought a bushel basket of muddy ass kale up in here and dumped it all over my counters.” Kit fusses in that singing way she has, while giving me a look that says, “Help!”
I shy away from the piles of greens to be washed. “I don’t know. Where’d all the mud come from?”
Bette hooks a red apron around my neck and points me back to the sink. “That’s how it grows, Alice, in the earth.”
“I don’t like kale, guys. It’s a fad. Okay? Just saying.” I tie back my apron. I haven’t worn one of these since that naughty role playing bit I did with Dana. She was the organic grower from the co-op farm . . .well, on second thought I could be convinced to like kale.
“Hey guys!” Shane saunters in and puts my beer on the shelf above the sink. My hands are submerged in darkening gritty water, and Bette continues to dump clump after muddy clump of greens into the sink. Looking over my shoulder at Shane I give her my best, ‘Run for your life!’ look but Bette’s too fast for me.
“You know how to cook?” Bette drops an apron over Shane’s neck and trusses her second hostage. Well, at least I’ll have company.
“Yes! Yes, I do know how to cook.” But I can tell she’s trying to think of what cooking really means in Bette’s current state of mind. Does it mean heating something up? Does it mean from scratch? Does it apply to Shane’s Alice B. Toklas Brownie Recipe?
Does Kit – God forbid – need us to actually cook something for the dinner menu tonight?
“Excellent!” Bette seems almost manic, as she finishes knotting Shane’s apron with a flair. Where’s Jodie? Supposedly, she’s an excellent cook.
Kit lifts up a checkered towel and rolled into a nice sized ball is fresh pizza dough. “Sis, the sourdough’s all done.”
Shaking off my hands I dry them on my apron. “Kale pizza?” I make a face.
“No, the kale is for green lemonade. Different subject, Alice.” Bette opens the lid to a deep red tomato sauce bubbling over a flame.
“This is all because of me. Lil Sis has got in her head ’cause the Doc told me I’ve got to watch my weight, and my cholesterol and what else?”
“Your blood sugar, Kit.” Bette says over her shoulder.
“Right, right. You know what?” Kit begins to hum a bluesy riff. “Blood sugar, umpf umpf. Blood sugar, my sugar umpf, yay-yay, umpf. I’m liking it. That would make a damn good tune.” She sways with her eyes closed lost to her musical reverie, and I notice for the moment that Bette lets her be. I wish I knew how to sing.
Standing in the middle of the kitchen Bette takes a poll of her prisoners. “So, I don’t know how to cook; Kit doesn’t either. Alice?”
“Latkes? Do they count?” I offer hopefully, still not sure what Kit’s medical news has to do with kale.
“Chili. I can make Texas chili.” Shane pitches in her native dish.
Being in a kitchen hot or otherwise makes me thirsty. I swig down my beer. “Bette, what can you make? I’m getting the feeling here we’re all one note players.”
“My specialty is actually breakfast.”
Shane nods her head, “I can see that. I bet you’re good at it. Flowers on the tray? A little sweet present inside a dish? A few more surprises to follow?”
“Okay, okay! We get the picture. Let’s move Bette’s morning along.” I wave at Shane to keep quiet while I try to figure out what’s going on in Bette’s mind.
“So, what I’m seeing here is you’ve got breakfast covered. Shane’s got chili. That could be lunch or dinner. I’ve got latkes so I’m of no help except during Jewish holy days. Sorry. But Kit’s improved our chances of survival with pizza.” I add it all up to something that makes no sense to me.
“The entire population of humans under thirty would be dead without pizza.” Shane looks around for agreement as to the pizza pie’s life saving qualities.
“Shane’s right. Without pizza the tech empire would crumble. No Internet!” I shout, suddenly alarmed at the thought.
“Doesn’t matter! We’re learning how to cook, so we can be healthier and live longer.”
“Wait! I thought that’s what sushi was for?” Shane says seriously.
“Eating fucking fishing bait. You realize you people are crazy?” Kit snorts.
Much later that night –
Bette’s bedroom – Bette
In my dream it’s morning and an omelet is browning in a skillet. I rush in from the garden with cut flowers, and I turn off the gas flame and slide the perfectly browned cheesy egg dish onto a plate.
I hear Tina’s voice. “Babe, can you bring in a bowl of strawberries, too? And why won’t you let me get up? I feel like I should help.”
“You haven’t wiggled free of your ropes yet, have you?” I ask playfully walking into our bedroom with her breakfast tray.
Popping a strawberry into her mouth Tina says, “Like I’m ever letting you do that to me.”
I lean in to kiss her, but she’s involved in munching. Well, it’s the thought that counts.
“We’re splitting this, right? You’re having most of this omelet, Bette. This is huge.”
Lying down my robe falls open, and she runs her hands down to my belly and scratches me like a beast. I sigh contentedly. “Nope, all yours. I’m just going to lie in your lap and watch you eat it.”
My view up to her face is through the foreground of her breasts. A beautiful view of the woman I’m in love with on this Sunday morning, as she lightly scratches parts of me awake. I chew the berry she pops in my mouth, and sigh contentedly some more.
It’s very true that women appreciate breakfast in bed. They like it on a tray. They like it pretty and they like it hot. The heat shows effort I’ve come to understand, and it makes them happy. Because of this discovery of mine, over time I’ve become a master chef of omelets. No one can trump me. And as the old adage says, “It’s all in the wrist.” So true for breakfast food and hopefully what follows. That flexible joint is key.
“Bette, here open your mouth. This is too good.” Tina slides a bite past my lips. It’s gooey and warm. The cheese I selected, perfect. Everything on a Sunday morning like today is foreplay. I reach up and circle her nipple with my fingertips. All night her body was mine and for hours we’d played on the fiery edges of possession. I lean up and suck on her nipple, when she brings another bite of breakfast to my lips.
“Not so fast.” She presses under my chin.
“If I help you eat this, will you do something for me?” I take a sip of coffee.
“You have a habit of asking these open-ended questions, Bette, as if you think I’ll ever fall for them.”
“Did you ever read Zap comics, any stories about, the Checkered Demon?” I ask.
“A comic book? No, I don’t read comic books. Do you?”
“Okay, well you missed something crazy and pretty great. See there was this demon frog in the story, Tina. The Checkered Demon, and when he wasn’t killing bad guys he was this great stud fuck kind of a demon. It was either, Star-Eyed Stella or Ruby the Dyke, who taunted him when he was boasting about his fucking abilities and one ’em said, “I bet I could lay under you all day, eat fried chicken, and do my nails all at the same time.”
“I’m so confused.” Tina leans back with her coffee balanced on her chest. “So, you actually read comic books?”
“These were extraordinary comic books, Tina. But the point is, I’ll eat the rest of the omelet, and leave you half the toast, and all the strawberries, if after breakfast you’ll try to give yourself a manicure. Let’s see how far you get.”
“So you’re going for beating the record of a frog demon? You want me to play Star-Eyed Stella, or what was the other one?”
“Well, you have actually have three to chose from. I neglected to mention, Lady Coozette and then there’s, Ruby the Dyke.”
“I’m Lady Coozette.”
“So perfect.” I smile as Tina gets sold on the idea.
“Anything else I should know?” She hands me a glass of water from her nightstand. “Jesus, Bette, don’t eat so fast.”
“Well, there is the matter of the length of this demon’s tongue.”
“Hmm. Lady Coozette is ready.” She opens the drawer and takes out her nail polish, “I bet I can get a whole hand done, maybe more.”
“I’ll bet you three fingers, tops.”
“Bette, you have crumbs on your face.”
“Sorry,” I brush my chin, as I move away the breakfast tray. “Not for long.” I lie between her legs and hear her shaking the polish.
I begin to a lovely tempo as a lusty verse from D. H. Lawrence’s fig poem floats through my mind.
Folded upon itself, enclosed like any Mohammedan woman,
Its nakedness all within-walls, its flowering forever unseen,
One small way of access only, and this close-curtained from
Tina breaks into the verse of the poem running through my mind. “Oh, dear God.” But I keep my tongue to its focus, moving deeper into her concentration, and now, she’s opening just for me.
“Bette, you have to stop. You never make love to me so fast. I’m not sure I like it.”
“No.” I shake my head, as I take a deep breath.
Fig, fruit of the female mystery, covert and inward,
Mediterranean fruit, with your covert nakedness,
“Sweet Jesus. I don’t know what you’re doing.” Tina takes my curls in her hands and grabs the back of my neck. She pushes herself deeper up the length of my tongue. I can only smile inside, my lips and mouth are otherwise engaged.
Where everything happens invisible, flowering and fertilization, and fruiting.
I replay a circular licking tempo over and over. It’s one of her favorites, and when, I feel she’s there, I slowly slip my fingers out from her.
In the inwardness of your you, that eye will never see
Till it’s finished, and you’re over-ripe, and you burst to give
up your ghost.
“Oh, for Christsake! Please come up here and fuck me. I give up. I promise you, I give up.”
“So, the Checkered Demon wins?” I ask lying on top of her.
“Bette, God, you’re insane and I love you. Yes, the Checkered Demon wins!”
“I love you to, Baby. Is this what you want?”
“I didn’t even get past one finger!” She holds me as we kiss. “This is a rigged game the way you play, isn’t it?”
“How can you say that? Everybody, absolutely everybody wins.” I sigh as she slides down deeper onto my fingers. She looks at me while we make love. In her eyes I see myself in a tiny reflection before each one of her blinks.
My dream changes.
Running through a field with each sprint I have wolf paws that claw into the earth. But who’s chasing me? I feel my breathing, now so ragged, as I crest a hill and try to break through a thicket of thorns. They wrap themselves around my legs and scratch into me as fight them for freedom.
A massive tangle of iron and parts of houses and cars, and the broken detritus of people’s lives swing from cables in a massive sculpture that hangs between the forest trees. I leap onto a platform inside the sculpture and spin fast around to see what’s following me.
On a slow spinning cylinder of shiny metal I see words and curious symbols engraved into it. What does it say? Stop spinning! What does it say? I stretch my neck up to see and out from my throat comes a wolf’s howling that sounds like a cry that awakens me drenched in sweat.
I lie in bed and rub my chest to steady and calm my breath.
My house is too quiet and my panting unnerves me. I remember bad dreams after my mother left. I had them for years and searching for her all night long became what I did. Over and over again it happened. When I closed my eyes at night I hunted for her.
Goddammit! Why does this keep fucking happening to me? I think I give them everything they want but they still leave. This one’s not doing that. She’s not leaving me without a fucking word as to why. She can’t. Jodi, you can’t. I love you and I’m going to find you and make you come back. If Tina won’t come home then, you sure as hell will.
I roll over and push the pillows around. I’m tired of all this abandoning bullshit. This rotating door in my heart is ridiculous and painful and I’m about fucking finished with letting this happen to me again. I was happy with Jodi. Yes, she was a pain in the ass, but she was here and she’d started to be mine.
And punch the pillows again, I’m going to find her – wherever she is – and bring her back to me.
28. A Drink with the Gypsy http://wp.me/p4AUvc-7W
Tina panics and returns to the Gypsy for more insight, and she leaves with a powerful plan.
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