Stories I Wrote: Vernacular

When I wrote this, I remember specifically that I was experimenting with fully imagining myself as someone else.  This is a difficult thing, and doing it can be a hazard of writing fiction.

I recall that this protagonist was kind of a mashup my best friend’s girlfriend, and one of my other friends, and myself.  She was kind of the best–or what I thought were the best at the time–parts of all of us.  And sassier than any of us can be in real life.

I am kind of embarrassed by this story now, because it seems salacious.  But I’m sharing it today because I’m thinking about how my process is kind of re-evolving as I re-immerse myself in it.  And It’s going faster this time.  And this time, at this stage–this talking through somebody else’s mouth stage–I’m getting better stuff.  Fun stuff.  Stuff that’ll be a joy for you to read in a few weeks.  Stuff that I’ll feel good about sending out into the world.  Stuff that has Bocce in it, and potential to grow into a novel.


We’re inBoston now.  At a seedy little shit-hole club called Vernacular.  They think they’re so clever, they spell beer beah, and bar bah.  They serve yards with “Bahstan Yahd” etched in the glass at the top.  Some wasted Bostonian frat boys were sucking down yards a while ago, until they got kicked out because they tried to start shit with me.  I just screamed and demanded the manager.  I don’t take shit.  I’m with the band.  I sit here, palm my can of Pabst Blue Ribbon, and sip it between verses.  I don’t like the way these skinny girls to my right are looking at Todd.  They’re all giddy and they think they can take these guys home after the show, because it’s a tiny venue.  They think that “Major Tit” (my boyfriend’s band — I know, stupid name, right?) is going to hang out in the crowd after and get loaded with the locals, like we’re on a tour bus.  We’re not.  We’re riding in this full size Dodge van with the back two seats taken out, and all the equipment, dirty pillows, dirty boy smell, suffocating my four little pink duffle bags.  We take turns driving.  I fucking booked their tour, and we have to get toVermonttonight because we have motel reservations.  I shoot Thing 1 and Thing 2 a look, and the trashy looking one closer to me nudges her sidekick and gives her a look like, “What’s her problem?”  I know that shit, though.  I do.  I used to be half of one of those duos, ‘til Todd and I got together, and Monica, my best friend, had to bite it.

I take out a cigarette and light it.  I have only two left.  I remember there was a convenience store on the same block as this stupid club.  A fucking excuse not to listen to this bullshit anymore.  They’re in the middle of this song, “She’s In Me.”  I know all the words, and I mouth along with them out of habit, but they’re shit, so I’ll spare you.  All you need to know is they’re mostly about me.  I wonder what those bitches over there would say if they knew I was this band’s fucking muse.  Todd writes all the songs.  Well, except for the one the drummer wrote called “It’s Alright with Me.”  The drummer’s the coolest one of the four of them.  He’s kind of quiet, and usually doesn’t say much during their Your Mom Fests.  Plus he has kickass hair.  It’s corkscrew curly, and comes complete with enviable eyelashes like so much DNA injustice.  I don’t know any girls with eyelashes or hair like that.  If I ever saw one, I would punch her.  But on him, it is okay, because he’s unassuming, and I’m still a lot cuter than he is.  His girlfriend, Stacy, was gonna come on tour with us, but she had to back out last minute.  And it sucks, because her parents have a conversion van they were gonna let us use.

They finish “She’s In Me,” and I slide out of my chair, shoot Todd an I want you look, and wink.  He nods, and I go out.  I look goddamn adorable today.  I’m wearing three-inch-square-heeled knee-boots from Hot Topic, and a black mini skirt.  A fitted black lace top, and lace-patterned stockings.  It’s June, so it’s comfortable outside when its dark.  There’s a breeze.  I light my next-to-last cig under Vernacular’s awning, and walk like don’t fuck with me, I am hot shit and I know it.  I don’t want anymore frat boy trouble.  I get to the store, and cigs are almost seven dollars.  Fuck that.  I order them, flash the seventeen-year-old clerk when he puts them on the counter, and pull a grab n’ go.  He’s too stupefied by my perfect tits to move much until I am safely back in Vernacular, nonchalantly packing them on the back of my left hand.

Todd is doing the introduction part.  I hate this shit.  I should have waited and gone for cigarettes during this.  He sounds like such a radio-DJ-reject.  He’s trying to be all smooth, and fumbling with the words, and saying extremely unoriginal things, “We’re Major Tit from Annapolis.  Uh, we gotta mailing list.  We got CDs for sale, four bucks.  I wanna’ thank Poppa Smurf and your mom.”  They go right into their heaviest number, “You’re a Shit Head, but I Love You” before the rotten fruit can fly.  I told Todd that he was trying to be Billie Joe from Green Day the first time he played that song for me.  He always acts like I haven’t said anything when I comment on their music.  He’s such a sexist.  Honestly, if I didn’t believe in this guy, I’d split right now.  It’s not like the band’s that great, but he’s dedicated, and he tries really hard.  Their shit’s about as good as the stuff on the rock stations.   And they’re all hot in their own ways, so I figure, by the time I’m twenty-three, they’ll be signed.  I’m twenty-one now.  Todd will be rich, and famous, and if he dumps me, I can sue him because I acted as their manager before they got a real one.  I have documents and everything.  My own fucking letterhead.

They’re done playing, and Todd is next to me in this booth that goes the length of the wall.  There’s a round table in front of us, and Thing 1 and Thing 2 look at me like, oh, we see how it is, and avert their cat eyes.  Todd’s got his arm around me and is cupping my right tit.  I want to sock him and say, “Not ‘tilVermont, ass.”  Instead I shoulder him off me and look away as I take his cig and drag on it.  I think of this one time, right after we got together.  He missed my birthday party, even though he promised he’d come, and so I took home this Kosovian.  His name was Vladmir or something, I don’t honestly remember, and I didn’t say it because I didn’t really know how to pronounce it.  He had a lumpy cock.  Not cancer-lumpy, fat-deposit lumpy.  He kept saying, “Suck my deek.”  I asked him why, because I hate giving blow jobs, and wasn’t so excited about his thick, misshapen wang in my mouth.  I would honestly rather just fuck.  I don’t know how some girls get off on that shit.  It’s like eating a hotdog popsicle that leaves especially aggressive sugar-film in the back of my throat.  Vladmir kept talking about me sucking his dick, he said, “Because I like eet.”  I said, “Well I don’t,” but he was tenacious, so I finally gave in.  I made him wear a condom, but it was his, and it must have had spermicide on it because it was bitter as hell.  I got to feeling sick during from whatever chemical I was eating, plus it gave me cotton-mouth, and before I could finish him off, I had to run to the bathroom and puke.  He was sweaty as hell, but he wouldn’t kiss me, so as punishment, I just lay there, with a burning throat, and let him fuck himself in me.  I was pissed.  Sometimes that shit is exciting, though, but this Don Juan lasted all of twenty seconds, and so it was disappointment all around.  Anyway, later that night, after I sent Mr. Kosovo home, and Todd was blowing up my cell phone, leaving apologetic messages, I showed up at his house.  Shoved him all the way to his room, and fucked him with Vladmir’s stink all over me.  He must not have noticed, or been so glad I came back, that he didn’t say anything.

The other three guys get a pitcher of beer, and join us at my perch.  They talk about the set, and about how cool it is to play shows at bars because of the cheap beer.  I want to ask them how come they don’t thank me for hooking all this glory up for them, but they’re oblivious.  It’s a lost cause, and Todd thanks me often enough.  Usually, after we have sex, he lays with his sweaty head in my armpit, and talks to the ceiling about how lucky he is to have me, and how I make him happier than anyone, and how he’s glad I go to their shows, and all this other sappy shit that I usually fall asleep during, but I recognize that it’s good of him to say.  I just don’t like listening to his bleeding heart.  I wish he were one of those stoic rock-band boys who pour all their sensitive artist shit into their songs, and not into their girlfriends’ eardrums.

Anyway, at least he’s hot.  And at least I booked us two rooms at the motel tonight.  The other three in one room, and Todd and I in the other.  It will be nice to have some solitude.  I want to take a fucking bath.  And I better get some solitude because my ass paid for the motel.  The guys saved up enough to rent the van, and for most of the gas money from their stupid jobs.  They get paid a little bit at some shows, and we all drink free or cheap, but I work full time, and had to use my vacation time to come along.  I don’t think they know that I paid for the motel.

Todd says he loves me.  I think he’s lying.  Not because he doesn’t believe he loves me, but because he doesn’t know what love is.  I know what love is, and this sure as shit isn’t it.  This is warm up.  After Todd makes me well-dressed and “in” with the rock-industry types, I’ll get a real rock star.  This is practical.  He has his head way up his own ass, he pays lip-service to the concept of love, but he loves his guitar, and his stupid bandmates, not me.

The bartender is yelling for everybody to get out, and the guys go load the equipment.  I stand by the front door and smoke.  My ears ring, and the chaos of the bar-exodus is like a buzz, not a ruckus.  I go to the van when I hear the back doors slam, and we get back on I-95.  It’s the bassist’s turn to drive, and I leave him on his own to look for the exit that will take us west to the motel inVermont.  I write down the name and the phone number of the Motel, in case he gets lost.  I give him my cell phone, and the print-out from Mapquest, too.  I pass out, and I expect that I’ll wake up to the ignition switching off.

It is cold, and I am shivering.  My legs goosebump under my stockings, and I jerk alert.  The van is vacant, and we are not in a motel parking lot.  I feel disoriented, and forget my hairstyle, shove my hand in my hair.  It pulls and I wince.  I fumble with the door handle, and slide more than step out of the van.  I rearrange my skirt, and look around me.  We are pulled off the side of a highway.  I walk around to the back of the van, and the guys are there smoking.

“Pull over for a smoke break?” I ask.

“Nah, man,” Todd says, “we’re lost.”

“Fucking shit.  What time is it?”  I say.

“’Round 4.”

How lost are we?”

“Pretty damn lost.  This is New Hampshire.”  He points, and I look at the exit sign just ahead.  It says, “PortsmouthNew Hampshire.”  Fuck it all.  None of the assholes thought to look at the map when they got off the directions from Mapquest.  I seethe and am this close to throwing an absolute tantrum.  Instead, I get back in the van and fish a blanket out of the back.  I start to doze, and the guys are rapping on the windows, saying, “Aren’t you going to help us?”  I pretend to be asleep.  They got us into this, they can get us out.  They’re guys.  They should know how to read a map.

I wake up in the motel parking lot.  The guys are unloading their crap, and I go to see about keys, etc.  It is6 a.m., the sun is rising.  This is fucking bullshit.  I breeze by them without a word, toss the drummer the key to their room, and hightail it to mine.  I let myself in, unlock the door so Todd can get in, and go to the bathroom.  I start up the tub, dump half the bottle of no-brand motel shampoo in for bubble bath, and get naked.  Good water pressure, excellent.  By the time I’m done peeing, the tub is halfway full, and I slide in.  The muscles in my back loosen.  I fart.  I hear Todd come in the room and he shuffles around for the light switch.  I hear his bag thunk onto the floor and the TV switch on.  He knocks on the bathroom door and asks to come in and take a leak.  I shut off the water and shout, “Okay!”

He always takes down his jeans to pee, and this time his underwear, too, because he knows I like his ass.  He yells at me about not helping them get unlost.  I clench my fists under the water and shriek about how fucking ungrateful and whiny he is for at least twenty minutes, until the phone rings, and it’s the motel office telling us to quiet down or they’ll call the cops.  I am in the tub all this time, and even my ass cheeks are starting to prune.  Todd is holding vigil at the open door to the bathroom, and I want to throw things at him, he is so fucking frustrating.  His goddamn arrogant mood, his self-righteous sense of entitlement to everything I have to offer is infuriating.  I tell him to go to bed, and mean it.  He does not budge.  He is in silent protest, I guess.  I slosh out of the tub and leave as much bubbles on me as I can.  I tiptoe up behind Todd, spread bubbles up and down his arms, bear hug him so his clothes are soaked and hoist myself up on him, straddle his lower back and piss on him.  He shrieks, spins around, and throws me off.  He yells and dances around like a grizzly bear.  I am giddy, simply hysterical.  I am on the floor, naked, red-in-the-face, laughing.  He peels his clothes off, and throws himself into my grayish, gassy tub water.  I laugh harder.  He’s calling me a fucking bitch, and he is genuinely pissed, but I can’t stop laughing.  I get on the commode to finish the peeing job I started on Todd, and then dip my ass in the tub water to rinse it off.  He grabs my ass, pinches it hard so my eyes water, and arms me around the throat, pulls me back against him and snags my ear with his eye teeth.  Not a love bite, but it turns me on.

I whip around, sit on his knees in the water, clench his torso with my knees and grab his dick.  “We have twelve hours ‘til your show.  Whaddaya wanna do?”  I ask.  He stands up, grabs my left upper arm so hard I know I’ll have a bruise, and drags me to the stiff bed.  We have angry, hard sex.  We hump and our pelvic bones beat together.  I’ve got both hands on his ass cheeks.  It’s automatic, easy.  For a moment, I can see us outside of myself.  I am floating in the air, just watching.  I smile.  He’s got one hand on my tit, and the middle finger of his other hand on my clit.  He’s rubbing it raw, and I know it’ll feel like sandpaper in my pants tomorrow.  I love day-long reminders of violent coitus.  We are both pooped:  all fucked out.

I get an oversized t-shirt and slide into it.  It sticks to the smear of cum on my belly.  I get back in bed and lie with my back to Todd.  He does this thing he’s never done before: gets close without touching, slides his hand up my shirt and curls it over my shoulder.  Just leaves it there.  It is not sexual.  He just wants to be near, I guess.  I brace myself for whatever love-babble will ensue, but nothing.  Just his breath on my neck.  Just his beautiful body so close that even though we are not touching, I feel him all around me.

I roll toward the bed’s edge, and Todd whimpers.  His grasp on my shoulder tightens.  I can’t stay.

“I have to pee,” I lie.

“Mmmh,” his breath pushes through his nose and he lets go.

I stand for a moment by the bed and look at Todd’s hair string itself out across the pillow.  The tip of his nose bends upward.  I get my purse and the key.  Open the door gently, close it quietly.  I need a cigarette.  I need a manicure.