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Archive for April, 2012|Monthly archive page

‘The Figure For-ummm…What Are You Wearing?’

In The 80's on April 25, 2012 at 11:14 pm

Darla and I drive the twenty-five minutes home to Norwalk. It’s dark by the time we get back, even though it isn’t yet seven pm. The strip mall where Body Design sits is bustling with ‘just got paid’ Friday night shoppers. The parking lot is full, red tail-lights and white exhaust  fumes billowing into the frosty night air.

A turquoise blue neon sign spells out ‘Body Design’ in script, hanging above the front door, sandwiched between ‘Joe’s World Of Golf’ and Jet Variety. One side of the store window, which we snag a spot in front of is busy with classic dance related graphics: silhouettes of ballerinas doing plies and pirouettes, wearing tutus and ballet slippers secured to their perfect, pointy feet with silky ribbons wrapped beautifully from their slender ankles to their dainty calves, like vines on a trellis. These dancers are feminine to a tee: tiny, delicate sparrows who have the good grace not to take up space, girls whose every movement emulates a single ripple in still waters, or a chiffon scarf in a summer breeze. Though often  quiet,they spar constantly with swords of discipline, denying themselves the pleasures of food and drink and leisure and fun: I imagine all of them to be impossibly petite and fluent in french. This is the dream being sold on one side of the store

 

The other side of the store’s floor to ceiling window is why Darla and I – two girls, who take up space, love leisure, can be loud, eat pizza and drink beer without apology, is the reason we’re here. ‘Our’ side displays posters of fitness models and celebrities, decked out in spandex bodysuits, tights, leg warmers and headbands- in colors spanning the rainbow. These are posted beside Aerobics class schedules and 800 numbers for vitamins and various juice diets ‘that work like magic!’ Sale prices and brands (‘Danskin! 20% Off! Capezio! Just In!’) are written on the glass in neon chalk. The models in the ads have big hair and wear tons of makeup, even as they are seemingly in the midst of working out. Just like we will. 

We enter in a clamor, adjusting coats and purses, the sound of chimes announcing our arrival. We’re  greeted by a saleswoman, an older lady with salt-and-pepper hair,  wearing cat’s-eye shaped glasses- a rhinestone chain attached and a sensible gray wool dress. She’s parked at the register.

“May I help you, girls?” she asks, in a croaky, veteran cigarette smoker voice. I bet there are no wire hangers in here.

“Where are your coolest bodysuits, and stuff to wear at the gym?” asks Darla, animatedly, waving her arms. Some customers glance over at her, the walking commotion. Darla continues:

“We’re starting at the Figure Forum on Monday night and…” blah blah. I’m sure the woman wanted our whole life story. Thank god we got here when we did, as she’s obviously on the edge of her seat.

I don’t think I’ve ever answered the question “may I help you?”  with any answer other than, “No, thank you.”

I like to be left alone to peruse, and can’t stand anyone hovering, no matter how good their intentions. I have a way of shopping that utilizes a two-second approval/check size/dive for the price tag/ buy or reject/ system that works for me. Darla, on the other hand, volunteers for suggestions,will try on anything-and model it for the rest of the store- modesty be damned!  She’ll also pay top-dollar if she likes something -regardless of the fact that she’s usually broke. Between her parents and siblings she never runs out of people to borrow money from. We’ve been here for less than five minutes and she’s already giving the sales clerk her size, favorite colors, astrological sign and gym membership number. I wonder if she’ll tell her about Mr. New Wave.

“Let’s get Physical!”

I separate from her, and start at the clearance rack, where I quickly see lots of potentially cool body-suits. I zero in on a long sleeved v-neck number, in black and white chevron stripes.  It’s marked down to 16.99, and since it’s my size I grab it. No snaps on the crotch, which means using the bathroom will be an event, but it’s better than the possibility of an ‘un-snap’ during the stretching segment of our group workout. I move on to the tights section, and choose some  black Danskin tights in “Tall’, and go to look at the leg-warmer selection. I find a great pair of black ones, infused with silver sparkly thread that look awesome. 

‘Oooh! Bonus!’

By this time, Darla is in the dressing room, babbling to the saleslady, who stands outside of the door holding a pile of clothes Darla wants to try on. You can only take five items in at a time, but five is nothing to Darla. I hear the words ‘Talking Heads’ and realize that she has in fact, brought up Mr. New Wave.

When she steps out I am ill prepared for what I see. She has on a purple unitard, with black zebra stripes. She’s added a pair of black high cut work-out briefs over the top of this get-up. She looks like Pat Benatar, only much bigger, with more make-up, and most importantly: not on stage!  I can’t let her get this outfit if I’m to show up in class with her. It’s just too much.

“What do ya think, Chooch?” she yells across the room.

“It’s….okay, I guess!” I say “But, y’know-It’s a work-out place, not a night club!”

I see a teenage girl out of the corner of my eye nudge her friend, and they both look over. Immediate whispering commences. But truthfully, a part of me admires Darla’s fashion bravery and unwavering confidence.

The ‘general gist’ 

Darla’s already sashaying in front of the full length mirror, and lovin’ what she sees.

“Candace? What do you think?” Darla asks. Candace? The saleslady scurries over from where she’s assisting a mother and her two elementary school aged daughters buy tutus. She squints her eyes, then lifts her cat glasses, staring steadily at Darla. Please, Candace, please-level with her. Forget the commission and be honest! After a long pause,  she says: “You look fabulous, dear! Let’s ring you up!” 

“…and I’ll sell her ALL the unitards I have in stock, if it comes down to it, Missy!”

We go to the register. My total is $18.00 and change. Darla’s is $64.00. She promises Candace that she’ll be back soon for that “pink one!” I make up my mind then and there not to tell Darla about my brother’s party, lest she wear the ‘tard to the party. This is so underhanded and mean-I secretly feel like the kind of villain who ties someone to the train tracks, but I’m exhausted already from our day at the jail, the Trumbull mall and now this. 

   

Jailbreak:Part One

In The 80's on April 3, 2012 at 11:20 pm

The following Friday morning was an ice cold, sunny day. Why was it so freakin’ cold this year? I want answers!  Jess and I had spent the previous evening bar-hopping (including the Pines where we laughed with Louie about his drug induced jig, something that was approaching legendary status) Jess and slept late.  We didn’t have to be in Bridgeport until three o’clock, to pick up the mysterious jailbird Jax. Evidently I’d told Darla that she could come along as well, and there she was, calling me at ten am sharp, waking me up in the process. Didn’t she realize I had the day off?

Thanks so much for that, Darla!

“Where are you?!” she roared “Aren’t we going to get Jax?”

“Jesus, woman!! They don’t let him out until three!” I fumble around the nightstand for my cigarettes and lighter. “Hold on a minute!”  I put the phone down, use the bathroom, then quickly brush my teeth. I can’t enjoy a morning cigarette without first freshening my breath so that the cigarette can dirty it back up. I return to the bed, prop up my pillows and lounge back down. I can hear Darla’s voice through the receiver long before I get it back to my ear. She’s knee-deep in a conversation with herself. 

“Whoah, whoah, whoah- stop the clock!” I say. “Who the hell are you talkin’ to?”

I light up a Newport. Darla stops abruptly.

“What?! Haha! I’m talkin’ to you, dummy!” she says, cackling.

“Well- I haven’t even been here- I went to brush my teeth. What are you babbling?”

“Oh! hahaha” she giggles. “I was just tryin’ to tell you how cute Jax is. Wait till you see him!” I’d seen Darla’s version of cute before. It pretty much encompassed all males, everywhere. Discerning, she was not. 

“Well, Darla….I can’t wait to meet a cute guy who’s fresh out of jail! Sounds like marriage material!” I laughed.

“Oh, Sam!” she sighed “He’s only in there for motor vehicles stuff! Reckless driving, Drag racing-that kind of stuff. Nothing big. It’s just that no one would bail him out! Not even his parents! And they live in Westport!” 

Westport was a town over, and everyone who lived there was assumed to be extravagantly rich.

“Well, if he’s only in there for driving like a fucking maniac- dare I say- he sounds perfect!”….I blow smoke rings to amuse myself. I imagine a hot rod barrelling through the beach parking lot, crashing into and leaping over parked cars. Flying through a flaming hoop. A bevy of cop cars in hot pursuit, sirens blaring, red and blue lights spinning like mini cyclones.

Darla sighs.

“Okay” she says, “but I’m tellin’ ya- he’s foxy!…Anyway- when are we leaving?”

“Probably around one-thirty” I say “I gotta call Jess. Then I’ll come get you. Be ready!” I demand.

“Oh, I will be!” Darla cracks, “I can’t keep Queen Sam waiting!”

“That’s right!” I say, meaning it.

………….

I roll up to Darla’s a little after one. I pull into her condo complex, follow the road (and annoying  speed bumps) all the way to the end of the development where she lives and stop in front of a huge barrier of freshly plowed snow. I beep the horn, and out she flies, from between a break in the snowdrifts. She dances out, goofing around, dressed flamboyantly (as usual) in a dazzling mixture of fabrics and textures. Hot pink long sweater, thick black belt, black leggings, scrunchy boots, bright glittery scarves piled on, and clunky pastel bracelets. Her signature spiky brown hair (kind of a Carol Brady long shag with spikes) is on point, and she wears lots of makeup. Darla’s an extrovert and she dresses boldly.  I  opted for a neon green sweater, Guess jeans and spanking white high-top Reeboks- the kind with the velcro. My hair, longer, but also spiked on top- is Aqua-netted to within an inch of its life. 

Darla’s hair as modeled by Joan Jett

Darla jumps into the front seat, her presence sucking up all the air. “Sammy, baby!!” she exclaims, leaning into me with an air kiss, and strong hug.

“HOW’S THINGS? WHAT’S GOIN’ ON? WHAT ARE WE LISTENIN’ TO? LET’S GO!”

She’s all in my space and louder than hell. She means well- even when she drives me nuts. Which is often. I check the rearview and pull out onto the snowy main street to the opening riffs of Van Halen’s ‘Little Dreamer’. Darla immediately starts playing a violent air-guitar, elbowing me hard in the process. I give her a look. “Move…over there, will ya?” I say, gesturing towards the passenger door. The Caddy has huge bench seats, and Darla’s over here on my side.

“Sorry!” she says, laughing. She scooches over. Then she turns down the music. Before I can stare daggers she says “I gotta tell you about last night!”

“What?” I ask, mentally trying to trace down when I last saw her the night before. Was she playing pool with a crowd of people?

“Well….I kinda hooked up with somebody” she says, eyes glittering. Oh brother. What now? 

“Yeah?….and?……”

“Do you know that guy William Post?” she asks. I do. He runs with a New Wave crowd. 

“Yeah, sorta” I say.

“Oh, Sam!” she says, hands clapping together. “He’s SOOO cool!”

Darla falls in love every other week, and although I know it’s her business, I think she moves fast, then gets upset when these guys don’t stick around. I’m worried  she’ll get knocked up, and end up having a loud-ass baby she can’t possibly raise, and then I’ll have to step in and help her, which…yikes!

“I hope you used something!” I say.

For someone who’s as active as Darla, birth control seemed to be an afterthought. A She’s tried the pill, but didn’t remember to take it. I’m completely pro-choice and know without question that I wouldn’t have a baby unless I could afford it (and I take my pill…) but Darla says she could never end a pregnancy ‘because it wouldn’t be right!’. Her Mom is very religious, so I see where she gets it from, but I just can’t fathom bringing a life into the world because an invisible man in the sky says so.  

“Yeah- I was thinking…’ says Darla. “I really need a diagram”

I start laughing. “Really? I thought you knew what you were doing in that area! What don’t you know how to do?”

“Well- would I have to go to a doctor to get one?”

What? Doctors are passing out sex diagrams? I’ll have to get one at my next check-up. 

“Don’t you have that Helen Gurley Brown book?” I could swear I saw it in her room: Sex and The Single Girl. Though I’m still not entirely convinced she reads. She has borrowed books from me, but conversations about said books are suspiciously vague. And annoyingly, I always have to go in and physically get them back.

 It suddenly occurs to me what Darla is saying.

“Oh my God! Do you mean you need a DIAPHRAGM?” I ask, shaking my head and twisting up my face.

“YESSS! That’s what I said!” she chirps. Oh God. Here we go again…Sometimes when I’m with Darla, I expect springs to start popping out of my head. Or hers. Boing! Boing!

——————————-

Jess is outside waiting when we pull up. He’s wearing a brown leather and lambswool bomber jacket and acid washed jeans, arms folded from the cold, taking furious drags off a cigarette. When he sees the car, he flicks the butt into a snowbank and rubs his hands together until the car pulls up to exactly where he stands. I feel like I’m landing a plane, the snow crunching under the tires, while getting as precisely close to Jess without embedding him in the snowbank on the side of the road. Don’t come to me and make it easier, dear friend-I am here to serve you!

Jess opens the passenger door and starts laughing at Darla.

“What the hell are you doin’ here?” he says. He sounds nasally, like he has a cold.

“Go on! Get yourself in the back!” he says to her.

“No way!” she booms back.

“Sam- Tell Her!” he says, hand on his hip. He’s serious.

“Oh, for God sakes, just get in the back! You can have the front after we go to Bridegeport!” I tell Jess.

He sighs and squeezes into the back seat as Darla holds her seat forward dramatically and Jess purposely pushes all his weight against it.

“Hurry up!” she groans, like the weight of the world is on her. Finally the door is shut. If we’re the Three Stooges, I think -at least I’m Moe.

 

Jail Break: Part 2

In The 80's on April 2, 2012 at 8:14 pm

 

I have no idea what’s on my mix tapes (other than kick ass music, of course!) because I have so many. I’d like to know what songs are about to play, but I never keep ‘track’.haha. get it?  I’m saving up for a killer Pioneer boom- box so I can make  more tapes. It was so much easier using Adrian’s huge record collection and top-of-the-line equipment. But since the break-up that’s no longer an option. The boom-box I have my eye on is huge, and state of the art. Everyone knows that when it comes to portable music- the bigger the better, right? Take it from me: it’s the wave of the future!

We listen to the studio version of ‘Diamonds and Rust’, and in case I forgot to mention it, Darla is also a self-proclaimed singer with a bellowing voice, and since they  already had had an epic power struggle over the seats, Jess and Darla stage a frightening sing-off. Thank God for the power booster is all I can say. No one can sing louder than that.

The wave of the future!

I get on 1-95 and head north towards Bridgeport. The highway is an ink black ribbon, slick and wet, hulking snowdrifts on both sides, boxing us in as the mid-afternoon sun shines in a cloudless blue sky. Jess pulls a crumpled piece of paper from his jeans pocket, where he’s written out directions to the jail.

“Man- you owe me for this one!” I laugh, and Darla rubs her hands together in anticipation.

“I can’t wait to see Jax!” she swoons.

“I’m sure he can’t wait to be let out of prison only to run into you!” Jess says, sarcastically.

Darla sticks her tongue out at him.

Prison?” I say, “I thought it was ‘just’ a jail?”

“You’re not even going in, so who cares?” says Darla, leaning over to grab the lighter, as it pops out of the ashtray. This is quite the statement to make as you get set to break the law.  She lights the half a joint she brought along. I crack my window an inch, as well as hers, and warn her not to get the smoke near me. The last thing I need is to be high and paranoid as I roll into a prison parking lot.

And if they’re cute enough, we might just pick them up! What the hey?!

“Hey! Gimme some!” croaks Jess, reaching his open hand over the back of our seats in Darla’s direction. 

Darla looks back at him, rolling her eyes. “I shouldn’t……..but I will.” she says, surrendering the joint.

Jess grabs it and takes it to the back, stretching out across the bench seat. “Dam right you will!” he says.

Were these two brother and sister in a past life? 

A few minutes later we get to the Bridgeport exit we’re looking for, and since Darla and Jess are both in a stoner haze, listening to AC/DC’s “Touch Too Much’, I have to turn it way down and yell “Which way? Which way?!” until they both jump.

Jess unfurls his crinkled ball of directions, and starts to read: “Go left up here. Follow all the way until you see a park, then go left…….”

Of course, we pass the park and have to turn back in heavy traffic, but we get there eventually, and pull into the parking lot. It’s almost three o’clock (release time), so we just idle in a parking space and stare at the big, ominous brick building. We don’t see anybody coming out. I tell Jess to go inside and make sure that we’re in the right place and verify that people really are going to get released. I have this ‘double-check’ disorder-because even if I follow orders precisely there’s always a chance plans can change. Maybe the jail is on lock-down? Someone trying the old ‘file in a cake’ move? I’d seen that once on ‘Scared Straight’.

Jess agrees to go, sighs dramatically, and as he’s getting out of the car ,with Darla squished up against the glove compartment, eyes popping, face twisted, he says to her: “Remember: you need to get in the back, Miss Missy!” and then lets the seat fly back into position with a bang. Darla falls back, growling.

“Wait! Wait” I yell to him.

He leans over Darla like she isn’t there and asks impatiently, “Whaaat?”

“You don’t have any warrants do you?” I say, laughing. For a second I see him look up and space, eyebrows furrowed as though scanning his brain.

“Don’t think so!” he says, and heads across the parking lot. 

“He’s a little bitch!” says Darla, as soon as Jess is out of hearing range.

“Oh, c’mon- that’s harsh!” I say. 

“He’s  so bossy. You know- he bogarted most of that joint!” she huffs.

Suddenly, there’s a loud knock on my window. It startles both of us, and it doesn’t help to see a billy club, gun holster,  and the deep blue of a cops uniform, framed in the window. I open the  window partially, and hope the car doesn’t reek of marijuana. A cop, who fits the ‘Officer O’Leary’ description (in his fifties, buzz cut, out of shape,possibly Irish) says: “You can’t park here. See the sign?” I look over and see a sign with ten different blocks of time and various arrows. To understand it would be like deciphering the fine print on my telephone bill.

“Oh, okay.” I say. “Where can I park?”

The cop points across the snowy lot. It’s very imprecise, but I pull out of the parking space and hope for the best. We settle in about twenty spaces down. I back in very carefully, to avoid snow drifts and the cars on either side of me. The Caddy is a beast, and it’s like docking a boat. But I maneuver in, then sigh as if I’ve climbed Mount Everest. 

“Cops are so annoying!” observes Darla.

“Doe!” I say, eyes wide, head wobbling. I bet everyone in this brick building agrees.

I reach over and crank the volume on “Nobody’s Fault’ by Aerosmith, to Darla’s delight. But we’re barely underway with our amazingly realistic air-guitar moves when there’s another bang on my window. Good God! It scares me to death. It’s O’Malley. Again. (Where did he come from? How did we not see him? Did he scale the snow-drift? Crawl under the car next to us? For a pudgy man, this guy moves like a cat!)

“You can’t park here, either!” he says impatiently.

“I thought you were pointing  down here.” I say. “I’m just waiting for someone who will be right out-“

“Well, you can’t stay here. Why don’t you just drive slowly around the lot until they get outside? It’s a big circle” He makes a circle in the air with his finger, his breath coming out of his mouth and nostrils like a dragon in the cold.

War Wagon: Parking Lot Fail!

 “Oooo-kay!” I say, smacking my lips together in a straight line and shaking my head back and forth. Personally I think it’s much safer for everyone if I stay idling in a parking space rather than skating around the lot in a giant battle-axe, but whatever! 

I pull out carefully, and head to the right. We circle slowly around several times, until Darla yells: “Right there! Stop! They’re coming out!” I’ve already overshot the front door by quite a bit, but I stop the car anyway. and let them walk over. This parking lot deal is irritating the crap out of me. The things I get talked into!

Darla jumps out and I hear her screaming ‘Jax!Jax!” A minute later she opens the passenger door, and the famous jailbird Jax slides into the back, saying ‘Hey!’

I’m fiddling with my tape deck and just say ‘What’s happening’ without looking up. Darla barrels into the backseat, and Jess hops into the front, smiling. 

“We ready?” I ask. “Finally?”I need to book outta here before I somehow get booked!

 I crank up the tunes, some vintage Deep Purple ‘Burn’- and we’re  heading out to the highway. 

We backtrack through Bridgeport, and after a couple of minutes I decide to see what’s doin’ with Mr. Jax. At the next light I adjust the mirror subtly, and suddenly: heelllooo!  I’m looking at a stone-cold freakin’ fox! Dark blonde hair past his shoulders and sparkling baby blue eyes. Arresting! (no pun intended)

Darla’s yapping about something back there, and he smiles: I swear I hear Angels. Beautiful straight teeth, he’s gorgeous! As  ‘Man On The Silver Mountain’ begins, he starts nodding his head with the beat. Come down with fire…lift my spirit higher…..day-am!! Jess might not even have to buy import cassettes- this one’s on me.

Right then: a skirmish! Jess jerks the steering wheel, bringing me back to earth.

“Whoaaah! he yells.

I almost ran straight into a snowbank! My heart beats a mile a minute, partly because I’m scared, partly because I’m also relieved, but mostly because of the vision in the back seat that almost caused me to wreck my car!

the look Jess gave me after the near crash.

 

 

 

Jailbreak: Part 3

In The 80's on April 1, 2012 at 2:38 pm

We head to the Trumbull Mall. Jess wants to get a new pair of high top Adidas, and I’m going to peruse the record store (another Karl Graf’s) for cassettes and rock mags. I also want to get a new Danskin bodysuit because Darla and I are joining The Figure Forum Monday night.

 We jam tunes all the way to the mall-and I find myself  stealing quick glances at Jax in the rearview. He’s mouthing the words on point and knows all the tunes, therefore passing my ‘ musical compatibility’ test. (The ‘picking him up from jail’ qualm is totally forgotten. Hotness overrides everything)

When we arrive at the mall, it’s jam packed Friday afternoon and we prowl the parking lot, looking for a decent space. Against the odds, we find a good one by the front entrance. I pull in and let the car idle, while Darla hands me my coat, which she had stored on the floor in the back (thanks!) so I brush it up and down to rid it of any lint it might have picked up. There’s a St. Pauli Girl bottle cap embedded in one sleeve that ricochets off the dash during the touch up.

Finn was in the market for this model. (Hopefully new)

“Where are we going first?” I ask everyone.  

Jess immediately says “Herman’s for my Adidas!”

“Wild Pair and G.Fox for my boots!” Darla chimes in.

“I don’t even care!” says Jax laughs “I’m just glad to be here!” ‘Here’- means being a free man, I assume.

I finally turn all the way around to look at him, without the added responsibility of driving. Jesus! Looks like Darla called it correctly- he’s such a fox! His eyes are ridiculously blue. I don’t think I’ve ever seen eyes that color before. Siberian Huskies would be envious of his eyes. His hair is dark blonde, with gold highlights. From nature, not frosting. It’s past his shoulders, and hangs softly across the side of his face when he moves, and he keeps pushing it back. He’s wearing a faded jeans jacket, which is not nearly warm enough in this biting February cold- but it’s probably what he was wearing when he got locked up. (I hope to hear about said ‘incident’ soon, and hope the word ‘felony’ isn’t involved. Not that it’s a deal-breaker)

“Maybe I should go to Command  Performance to get my hair cut?” Jax says.

Now, now people!!- let’s not get crazy and rush into anything as rash as a haircut! I  blurt out “Noooooo!” a little too loudly and much too enthusiastically.

All three of them shoot me a look.

“What I mean is- don’t let them mess up your hair- like- you know…sometimes…..it’s just that….” I’m doing a shabby job of back-pedaling. Luckily, Darla comes to my rescue.

“Sam’s right! You should see what they did to my hair last year. I said, ‘cut off two inches’ and next thing you know I looked like Peter Pan!”

“Well….you can’t really blame Command Performance for that!” laughs Jess. 

“Shut up!”Darla growls. 

“Hey!” I say, while checking the front seat for my essentials: cigarettes, lighter, purse. “Did you ever think Jax might be hungry?”

I figure he’s been living on bread and water for the last however long- he’s been in the ‘Big House’. 

“Y’know? I kinda am!” Jax says, flashing an Ultra-Brite smile. Straight teeth. Bright and clean. Jesus Christ, I’m gonna faint.

“Then let’s go down to the Food Court first!” Jess says. ‘Get slices or something?”

We all nod in agreement. I grab the keys out of the ignition and say “Let’s book!” as Jess and I hop out, then hold up the front seats so Jax and Darla can climb out of the back. Jax asks me why the back doors don’t open, and I explain it’s because ‘they’re broken’. He leans down and peers at the door handle, then  tells me he works on cars, and might be able to fix them. Oh- really?! Then we’re face to face- he’s an or two taller than me, and looks great in his jeans and Nike swoosh sneakers. He could probably fix a lot of ‘things’ for me. har har.

It’s windy and cold, so we move quickly. Jess and Jax walk ahead of us- Darla  waits up for me while I’m putting the keys in my purse. When I reach her she locks arms with me, smiling. She puts a gloved hand up to her face and says out of the side of her mouth” ‘Didn’t I tell you he was gorgeous?!’ I look at her with the intention of keeping a straight face, but I can’t and I just burst out laughing.

“Yeah…..okay. I’d have to admit you were right about this one!” 

“Haaa!” Darla yells “He IS A BABE!” loud enough that the guys turn around.

“Shhhh!” I say, giving her the wide-eyed, ‘shut the freak up’ look. Like we’re in fifth grade

“Nothing!” I shout, and motion Jax and Jess to keep going with a sweeping motion of my hands. They continue on.

“Just look at that ass!” says Darla in a muffled voice.

I lightly punch her in the arm, and laugh. A car starts to back out of a space we’re walking by and almost hits us, before slamming on the brakes.

“Heeey!” Darla bellows, pumping her fist in the air. Sometimes her voice comes in handy. Both the car and us completely halt. When we’re sure we’re not going to get plowed down, we scoot by quickly.

“What a stunn-odd” I say, in a fake Italian accent, imitating my father from way back.

“Killers on the road!” sings Darla, singing a snippet from a Doors song . 

Ah, the ambiance of an 80’s Mall!

Once inside the mall, we walk directly to the escalator and head downstairs. We walk down the moving stairs, gliding towards the bottom. No way are we going to just stand there like lummoxes. Only old, lazy and majorly uncool people do that!

The food court is at the bottom. We walk to the pizza place, and order a Budweiser and a slice each. We get carded as usual. We’re all of age, and are put out at being forced to prove it. We take our beers in plastic cups and our slices on paper plates and find a table. Jax pulls out a chair for me, and one for Darla.

“Ladies” he says, indicating the chairs. We’re so flattered we start giggling.

Jess can’t help himself:

“Those are NO ladies!” he says, guffawing. I roll my eyes.

Darla scowls: “Y’know-you should try being nice and polite like that sometime!” shaking her head.

“I will, when I find a lady!” he shoots back.

“Thanks!” I say, in my low, dejected voice.

“Not you!” Jess insists, reaching out and squeezing my shoulder. Jax is looking at all of us like: ‘what’d I do?”

“Just EAT!” Jess commands, and we all bite into our slices.

C’mon kids! Get a good one!

When we’re done, we map out our store-hopping plan, while Darla and I reapply our lipstick. First, the bookstore-B.Daltons. I’m the only one who wants to go there, so I tell them that they have rock magazines, and that I’ll just skim the shelves. (Suckers!) Next, Herman’s for Jess’s sneakers. Karl Graf’s after that. Plus, anywhere that sells dance-wear. We stand up, deposit our empty cups and plates into the trash and start walking towards the bookstore.

Suddenly we hear “Jax! Jax!” in a sing-song voice. A dark haired girl, who looks to be still in high school, comes jogging out of the Fabric Tree, arms spread and heading straight for Jax. She jumps into his arms, they laugh and he’s beaming. Or maybe that’s his normal smile and I’m just vaguely jealous. Awww. They make such a cute couple. (I hate cute couples)

We stand there for a minute, waiting, but Jess isn’t having it.

“Meet us at Herman’s!” he shouts, and Jax gives him the thumbs up, while the girl jumps  around him like a high strung pocketbook dog. When I turn around a minute later, she’s leading him by the hand into her store. What’s she gonna do? Cut him a pattern? Show him some swatches?

 Now that Jax is gone, we can talk about him.

“Well, so much for him!” I say, laying the bait, hoping to get some inside info without seeming too interested. Jess doesn’t even care enough to comment.

“I want to go get my SHOES!” he says as we head towards the bookstore, and I do a sudden U-turn, saying “Oh, for God’s sake- let’s go get those EFFING sneakers, already!” Darla heaves a big sigh in my direction.

“Darla!” I snap,’It’s easier to just get it over with. It’s the only thing that will shut him up. Trust me!” Jess shakes his head up and down, wholeheartedly agreeing and says “That’s my girl!” and smiles sweetly at me.

He has a really nice face.

“You know you love me!” he says, as if reading my mind. Do I? Once again, I roll my eyes and laugh. 

Just get the damn shoes!

We go up the escalator, two steps at a time until we’re blocked by a ‘stander’, who’s old, lazy, and uncool. We find Jess’s sneakers at Herman’s, which cost $55.00 and include an ‘every sneaker in the place’ fashion show by Jess, at no extra charge. We next go to Wild Pair for Darla, but the only pair she wants are sold out of her size. Jess teases her about her big feet, but Drla points out that a lot of girls wear size 10, otherwise why would they be sold out? We are walking towards Karl Graf’s when we spot Jax heading our way-this time with three different girls, and no sign of the one from downstairs. Talk about a chick magnet (and I don’t play the harem game…too exhausting; impossible to win, my crush slowly begins to deflate)

We stop to ‘chat’. The girls, all dressed as Madonna lite, look Jess up and down, practically licking their lips. Since he loves attention, he automatically cranks his charm to ten, and the five of them are all about it. Meanwhile, Darla and I twiddle our thumbs. There’s a stand-off at Hickory Farms.

 

Picture three of these. This one’s trying to lure Finn in with her Adidas….

Jax steps to me and says thanks so much for the ride, but he’s going to catch a ride back home with these ‘friends’ of his. I say you’re welcome. He promises to let Jess know when I can bring my car to him so he can fix the locks.  Meanwhile, the three Madonnas work on talking Jess into going with them as well. You’re kidding me, I think. One thing about these girls- they have some pretty big ‘Ciccones’-if you get my drift. It’s beyond eye-rolling.

“Me and Darla are going to Graf’s!” I say, loudly, and we walk away. I have no interest in front row seats to the flirt festival.  I feel like I’ve been dumped, even though I was never picked up in the first place. I can’t believe I’ve been foiled by the mass-market appeal of freakin’ Madonna copycats! That’s so not rock’n’roll.

Luckily, we eye some long-haired babes in the crowd by the record store, which gives us hope- and  a reason to live after all.  

 

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