Covert Blogging

My computer was taken hostage by the Barbie twins. Their computers are sub-par (or something equally lame) and they’re in a year-round l’ecole at the moment in preparation for some ridiculous test. Luckily I’ve been taking notes.

So where am I now? In our newspaper lab at school. That’s right. I had to Come To School EARLY in order to use the computer because I can’t even get access to mine. School doesn’t start until the second, though, so no one should really bother me. Except all of the people here who are working on the newspaper and yearbook. Word.

So...a LOT has happened. Not even an exaggeration. Get comfortable, because even in the nutshell storytelling that blogs force, there’s a lot of information.

Starting with:

July 23. Apparently at dinner even the twins noticed Bec’s use of painkillers. Mostly because they were banging on my door and then the three of them came in to “recover from the family saccharine.” Bec draped herself on my bed and popped a pill. The three sober girls in the room exchanged glances. Significant glances. Bec noticed.

“I’m in pain,” she whimpered.
“We’re just worried about you.” It wasn’t a lie.

Dinner was a smorgasbord of the usual tripe that happens the first night family gets together after a long absence. After which Bec took not one, but TWO pills.

Her family took their leave so she could rest. I called Madi, who was conveniently down at Mackenzie’s. Mackenzie valiantly realized that this was a meeting for the family and the Madi was an honorary member and stayed home. Four teenagers and my mother converged in my room. The decision was that Bec has a problem. No one said the A word. In the morning, we decided, we’d talk to Bec’s mom. Madi spent the night. The twins slept in the guest room.

July 24th, too early to be up during the summer. Bec’s mom came up for yoga and coffee with her sister. We went through the yoga without mentioning anything. Halfway through coffee I could see my mom was still trying to figure out how to bring it up without being accusatory or hurtful. I’m 17 (now I am, then I was 16) and felt this was the perfect time to behave as such and not worry about her feelings. Bec mattered more here.

“I think Bec is addicted to the Vicodin.”

“Oh, Honey, it’s not Vicodin. It’s OxyContin.”

Two things crossed my mind: Oh Holy ******!!!!! How is that better???? and Aren’t you her mother? Shouldn’t you be paying attention?!?

and third: WTF?!?!

Luckily my mother opened her mouth before I could.

“Gretchen.” It was one word. It was just her name. But my mother is the oldest. And when my mother says my name in the tone she just said “Gretchen” in, I stop whatever I’m doing and explain myself. Thoroughly.

“Claire.” Oh this will be fun to watch.

“I have a question.” This was Lille. I think. Her voice never raised above a near-whisper and those girls so rarely speak to anyone aside from each other that we all swiveled our heads and watched her as she formed the next sentence.

“I have two, actually. First: how is OxyContin better than Vicodin?” She held up her hand before Gretchen could answer. “Second: have you not noticed your daughter’s blatant abuse of it?” Like a tennis match we all swiveled back to Gretchen.

“She was shot. She’s in pain. My husband and I feel that she needs the best care. And given our professions we felt that this was the way to go.” They’re both in Oncological Research. “And Rebecca is not abusing. We are the ones who get her prescriptions filled for her. I filled it two weeks ago and she hasn’t emptied the bottle, yet.”

“I filled one for her yesterday.” A male voice from the doorway. Heads swivel again and we all see that it’s filled with my father, Bec’s father, and Madi’s mom. Apparently dad made some phone calls when he figured out what we were up to. I’d put money that he was listening at my bedroom door.

The grandparents, thankfully, are still at their hotel.

“You what?” Gretchen sounded like a small child. The gaggle in the doorway found seats in the living room and after everyone sat down I decided it was time for me to speak up again.

“I’ve been watching her. Madi and I have been watching. She takes - I’m guessing - a pill every 2 hours. We thought it was vicodin, which was bad enough. Last night she took one before dinner. Lille and Calais were in my room with us and they saw, too. And then she took two with dessert. Something needs to happen.” Silence. Some nodding. Some meaningful looks between Gretchen and the other adults in the room.

And then Gretchen stood up, hugged me and everyone else, took her husband’s hand and left.

That afternoon we were all called up to Bec’s bedroom where we were informed that she’d be checking into rehab. We all told her we loved her and then she, Madi, and I were left alone in her room while she packed. It was silent as a tomb. She clicked her single suitcase closed and hugged us, walked to the door and without turning around said “Rot in Hell, bitches. I know you’re doing this because you hate me and want me out of your stupid little club.” Then she pulled the door closed and left us sitting in stunned silence on the bed.

“That was the drugs talking, right?” I don’t remember who asked but I know that Madi and I looked at each other and nodded. I should have cried, but I didn’t. I remember thinking that was odd.

Fast forward through roughly a solid week of the following: yoga, breakfast with the (silent) twins, lazing around the pool or in front of the television, lunch, more lazing around, dinner, more lazing, sleep. Madi, Mackenzie, and I were fairly depressed. We weren’t allowed to talk to Bec at all so we mostly stared at each other. Not even a little bit of skating. No Society Tuesday business. It’s like when they locked Bec away we all went with her.

As of this posting, she’s still there. Her 28 days were up yesterday, but they say she’s not ready. We still haven’t been able to talk to her. Apparently she’s taking longer than the normal patient. At some point, according to Gretchen, we’ll get phone calls where she apologizes. We’re supposed to be supportive. I don’t know what she has to apologize about. She just got lost. We all get lost sometimes.


Those Hits are Still coming

I woke up this morning to a lot of chatter in the apartment. I rolled out of bed and limped down the hall (I'm stiff like you wouldn't believe in the mornings) into the living room to see four more people than I'm accustomed to seeing. Mom and Dad were on the sofa with their coffee and the paper. Across from them in the armchairs were my mom's parents and at the breakfast table under the window sat my cousins.

So. Ok. Bec is my cousin. Our mothers are sisters. They also had a brother. He and his wife were Doctors Without Borders. The traveled a lot and did amazing work. They stopped traveling while my aunt was pregnant and then when the girls were old enough they shipped them to boarding school and resumed their traveling. Don't feel sad for anyone, yet. On holidays they all met up at whichever the closet vacation spot was and the Boarding school was a L'ecole so the twins moved around a bit on their own. They've lived all over the world.

Sad part: When we were 12 (miraculously all four of us were born months apart. Bec and I think they planned it.) my aunt and uncle were in Africa and there was an outbreak of something in the water. No one would tell any of us what it was but it was bad enough that the entire town was nearly wiped out and all of the infected bodies had to be burned. I don't even think anyone got to keep the ashes.

So the twins well-being was taken over by my grandparents, whose lifestyle was strikingly similar to my aunt and uncles, with the notable difference that they're not doctors. My grandfather was an Ambassador at one point and my grandmother is a very highly respected human rights lawyer.

They tended to show up from time to time. Not, however, in the middle of July when the weather was better - as my grandmother so delicately puts it - "under the arm of an old farm animal." Also it was that time of year when they truck in loads of sand and dump them along the Seine to make Paris a "beach." They eat that up. I've never been so I can't tell you what it's like.

"Good morning," I might have mumbled before my mother pushed a mug of coffee in my hand. I must have made some noise because my grandparents sprung from their seats and started to fuss over me as though I were still wounded. Then I remembered that I'd slept in shorts and my scar was on full-view of the world. If I were seeing it for the first time, I'd probably make a fuss, too. We got through all of the "are you alright?" "are you sure" and me and mom and dad all saying "yes, healed up just fine" "no big deal" "huge misunderstanding" and then finally one of the twins spoke.

"We're moving here."

That's all she said. And then she blinked at me with her blond ringlets and her huge blue eyes. Her accent was vaguely Italian, so I assumed they'd been in Italy lately. The list of languages they speak is as long as your arm. It's insane.

"Really? Permanently?" They don't do permanent for more than a school year. Sometimes just a single term. They're nomads. Gypsies.

"Yes. Permanently. They're going to live here." Mom had that tone that said we'd talk about it later. Which we would. Remember how much I hate change? Life is complicated enough. "Why don't you take them up to see Bec? They're all coming down for dinner but I thought it would be nice for you girls to hang out together. Maybe you can introduce them to your friends?"

Ok, that last bit, the "introduce them to your friends" bit. That had the tone of "Do It." And I know which friends she's talking about and I know what she wants me to do. She knows all about Society Tuesday and she probably has it in her head that by virtue of our having two slots to fill in order to get to our ideal membership of 6 actives coupled with the fact that they are blood-relatives AND sharing my roof means that they should be invited to join. So I ignored that bit.

"Alright, will you call up and see if Bec is awake? I'm going to shower and then we'll head up." I looked over at the blond duo in the corner and they nodded lazily in agreement. Great. They probably want to be here just as much as I want them here.

I'm probably not being very charitable at all. They are really cool. They've always been really cool. They've also always been really on the other side of the planet, with the exception of the odd Christmas or other random holiday. So now these two people who for all intents and purposes were no more than casual acquaintances are going to be living with me? I wonder where they're going to sleep...

Oh, and their names are Lille and Calais, both towns in France. I think they sound like flowers and have always been completely jealous.

So out of the shower and I lead them up to Bec. In the elevator we have little tv screens that play news clips and financial reports and the weather and such for the people who work in the office part of the building. Apparently there's never any need for the mind to wander when you're a mogul. Today there were stats from the American Heart Association about using the stairs and what it can do for you. As we were getting out it morphed into a picture of a cow walking up the stairs and the little tidbit the cows can ascend, but not descend, stairs - due to the construction of their knees.

I wonder who put *that* information there... ;-)

Hey, it's not big, but it's summer. We're all a little lazier when the mercury hits 104 daily. You would be, too.

Bec was thrilled to see the cousins. She can even tell them apart (apparently there's a mole on the cheek of Lille that is absent on Calais) and behaves as if they are old friends.

And now someone is banging on my door. Probably telling me to come out and be social before dinner. Suffice it to say that we spent the entire time talking about the Heist-Gone-Awry and Italy and where they'd be going to school. It occurs to me that if they enroll in the L'ecole at the Plaza of the Americas then they won't be at my school and they won't be in Society Tuesday, since it's a school thing.

I should go, before my door explodes from the impact.


Sic Transit Gloria Mundi

In an effort to lighten the mood of the past few weeks - and take Bec's mind off of the blip with Lars - we decided that the best course of action would be to prank our new recruits. But in order to do that we needed to find new recruits.

Oh - catchup - Bec called after we our conversation with Lars. Madi, Mackenzie, and I went down to her room and she talked it all through: she'd had all the tension from suddenly not being able to share everything with Lars and the healing and the everything else and she was just so overwhelmed. We assured her that she could tell Lars some - but not all - of what went on. By some we decided that when we were meeting was about the extent. Once meetings came to order what was said and done would be secret. This included pranks. There was visable relief and then Madi opened her mouth.

"I have news and I have a question. You have to answer the question and we will have full conversations about both subjects. Which do you want to do first?"
"News, please," Bec answered without hesitation. So out it spilled that Mackenzie and Madi are a couple. Bec paused for a few moments and then all she said was: "Alright. It guess it makes sense, then. I am jealous that you'll have no secrets, but since you're both girls and this is a girl thing I think I can get over it. Oh, and I don't want to see you make out any more than you want to watch Lars and I make out. Capice?" This last directed at Madi who had, on several occasions, made it clear that watching more than a hello/goodbye peck between Bec and Lars made her want to lock them in a room. Good natured laughter and then Madi again, asking the question I had thought but not been able to solidify.

"How many painkillers are you still taking?" You could have heard a pin drop. By this point we're all fairly close to healed. Not yet 100% but maybe a solid 75%. I've seen her take more painkillers in an afternoon that I take all day. On the other hand - she was worse off than I was and there's not telling what the doctors prescribed.
"What it says on the bottle." She answered, plucking the bottle off the bedside table and tossing it to Madi. She read it and aimed it towards me. One pill every 2-4 hours as needed. I tried to remember the timing of seeing her take them, but I couldn't.

"Ok, we're moving on," I said. "I'm calling a Society Tuesday Meeting to Order." I flashed a big grin.

"Kaiser, you and I need to find new recruits. Incoming Juniors. Thoughts at all?" She shook her head. "This is a priority. We need fresh blood. We need a nice even number. Right now, at four, we're just a cliche. It hurts me." I reached into my bag and pulled out my new surprise. "These are for us to use . I have two more for the new recruits when they come and an extra case for those who'll follow. I think that we should use them whenever we're executing a new prank. It'll be silly and unexpected. It might distract and it might not, but since we're not doing anything more than minor vandalism - and easily reversed minor vandalism at that - I don't think it'll be a problem. We're new. We need to make a splash. And with that, I give you these." I handed each of them a wrapped package and as they were unwrapping I put myself to the task of filling my own bubble wand and taking a few puffs, sending several bubbles floating into the air. Then I giggled.

"Overuse can lead to lightheadedness and giddiness." Smack read off of her package. "Is 'lightheadedness' a word?"
"Doubtful. Maybe?" Hazmat answered, puffing on her own bubble wand. "This is a great idea. Can you image us all in a line like something out of a Charlie Chaplin movie with our bubble wands? Oh...that giggles me." We all giggled in response.

"Now, time to plan Prank the Second..." I started and exhaled a flurry of bubbles.

Think I'm going to tell you about it here? Think again. I'll tell you about it after the fact like I always do. No need to give away good material, right?

...and thus passes the glory of the world...


...and coming...

This morning I woke up with a new determination to set things right. It's probably not my place to set things right, but as I stated at the outset - I'm that girl. I need things to be a certain way. And the Certain Way in question requires Bec and Lars to be together. So I call Madi - getting her in person this time - and ask her to come over so we can formulate a plan of attack. After waiting the appropriate amount of time I decided to take the elevator to the lobby and pace there.

(Aside: apparently there was a power outage while I was in France and now the elevators have reverted to announcing the floor and direction again. Sigh.)

I open my door and push the button for the elevator. Doors open, and there's Madi...kissing Mackenzie.

Yes. You read that right. I clear my throat...mostly as a way to cover the strangled choking noise I'm making. There are mutterings and blushing all the way around and we rush back into my apartment. Blew past mom stretching in the living room and straight back to my bedroom, where the door was closed and locked.

"What. The...?" I trailed off - mostly on purpose for effect but also because I didn't want to convey the wrong idea. They both started to speak but I held up my hand. "Pause. Must process."

The following went through my head:

1) Liars. Both of them. Secret keepers. Liars.
2) How very trendy. Homosexual teenagers. It wouldn't be a teen movie/tv show without one.
3) But mostly it's the boys that are coming out.
4) Wonder if this has anything to do with Madi's father...
5) Madi had a steady boyfriend most of sophomore year. Beard?
6) How did they figure it out? How did they both know that they were into each other? Or is it like with a guy and a girl? You hang out, you laugh at each other's jokes and then one day you realize you're actually fixing your hair and putting on make up and then you decide to throw caution to the wind and the next thing you know you're smooching?
7) Do I want to know any of this?
8) Huh. Madi and Mack. Huh.
9) Madi and Mack. M &M...I should probably talk before I completely lose track.

And so I say: "Probably none of us were quite ready for you to be outed, yet. Unless everyone knows but me and then I'm going to be miffed."

Madi: "No one knows. You. Us."
Me: "Bec?"
Mackenzie: "On the heels of her breaking up with Lars? No way."
Me: "I'm going to ask you one question which you can chose not to answer on the grounds that it's selfish and bitchy." They nod, so: "Is this an experiment thing? Or is this a relationship? Because I want to know how it's going to effect me."
Mackenzie: "Too soon to tell."
Madi (At the same time): "We haven't even had a real date, yet...sheesh."
Me: "Valid. Just don't get all gooey and we'll be fine. Also - if you break up and it hurts the Society I will be...well...not happy. It would suck. Because I want the Society to be bigger than us. Hear that?"
Madi: "Then I insist on being called Hazmat whenever we're alone."
Mackenzie: "I second."
Me: "Bec isn't here, but I concur. Pass. Which I get to do, because I started it."

We're all smug and silent for a minute...during which I'm quite sure I saw an indecent look pass between the two of them. I Do Not want to know what it meant.

Time to move us along. I called Lars. I put him on speaker.
"Lars, it's Pam."
"I've been out of the country."
"I heard. How's the cheese?"
"Moldy. How's the big D?"
"This isn't why you called." Hazmat got us back on track. Wait - Lars is on speaker phone, should I refer to her as Madi?
"She's right. What happened with Bec?" I tried to put on my "don't change the subject" voice.
"It wasn't working." Did they agree that this would be their answer, even if questioned separately? They knew me too well.
"Why not?"
"Because Bec was keeping secrets from me. IS. She IS keeping secrets from me. And her behavior is erratic."
"Lars - she got shot, of course her behavior is erratic. You've all been off your games lately. Pam hides in her camera, Madi's behaving like Sorority pledge without the drinking, and Bec's cranky. It's understandable. It'll take time to get back on track." Smack - the only true outsider in the room. Can she still be called that since she was inflagrante with my BFF in the elevator?
"I understand that. I've been playing video games almost non-stop because it's easier than walking out of my apartment. But she's hiding something from me." Poor Lars. I could do something about this.
"Hey, we're going to put you on mute for a minute. Hold tight." I pushed the button and looked Hazmat full in the face. "We tell him. We invite him over and swear him to secrecy."
"Why do we need to tell him in person?"
"We don't. You're right." I pushed the button again. "You there, Lars?"
"Ok. I'm going to tell you Bec's secret. Which I can do because it's not just her secret and I'm not telling you all of it. "
"Right. I decided, around the time of The Heist, that the girls and I would start a secret society. We picked a mission statement and some other secret stuff and have made it very official. In the history of the Skull and Bones and the Funny Hat Society and all of those other Old Boys Clubs, we started an Old Girls Club called Society Tuesday. We're spending the summer laying the foundation and our Junior years getting it running and then over the summer we'll choose underclassmen to join us. The gem of it is that we're going to build a women-centric infrastructure of connections into the best colleges, the best jobs, etc etc. And since the best part of a secret society is that people know you exist but don't know what you do...you get to know. I think Bec was unclear on that. So now you know. No More Secrets. Hang up with us and call her. But tell her that she can't tell you any more than what I've told you."


"Call her."
"Yes. Yes! Right now." He hung up. Smiles all around the room.

"Ladies....we need to start planning our next prank. Let's braintstorm for a bit and then let Bec add some ideas. I think we need a stockpile so there isn't too much lag time between the Fun. Agreed?" I like this Being In Charge thing. Ordering people around is fun.

Now if Lars or Bec would just call me back...


And the Hits Just Keep on Coming

We flew home yesterday. I'm still on French time. I took notes, though. So here we go:

Friday evening, French time, I was able to sneak away from dinner and use the hotel phone -- after mom caught me blogging she decided that the best idea was to schedule every minute of our time together. I've been mud bathed and -edicured into the next decade. But at dinner I told her that I needed to pack and make a phone call and after a staring contest during which my father insinuated that having dessert alone with my mother would be nice and romantic, she conceded. I practically sprinted to my room and dialed out.

"'lo..." Bec was either asleep or sedated. My guess was both. I launched in anyway.
"I'm in France. I'm STUCK in France. I've been laying on the beach for days and days rubbing sunscreen on my scar and hiding under large floppy hats. I've read so many French fashion magazines I want to vomit. Mom decided that the best way to spend our time is joined at the hip and the only thing that came of that is she knows more than anyone about Society Tuesday and I have skin like a baby's bottom. But All I Can Think About is why in the world you broke up with Lars."
"Want to know my theory?"
"You hit your head. Or he hit his head."
"Rebecca - " Yes, I pulled out her full name, "is that what happened?"
"What happened?"
"I got shot. He wasn't here for me."
"Yes he was, Bec. He was there as much as they would let him. He's never been anywhere else."
"Did you hit your head?"
"No, but I'm starting to worry that this conversation is a hallucination. Lars has never been ANYTHING but an amazing boyfriend. He's set the bar so high I refuse to date anyone who doesn't meet or exceed it - "
"Pam, you just refuse to date."
"Bec..." I tried the use mom's warning tone, but it didn't work.
"If he's so great, you date him."
"Absolutely not."
"It wasn't working." She sounded tired so I relented. This was probably a better conversation to have in person anyway.
"Alright. We fly home Saturday. Let me know if you need anything."
"I will."
We hung up.

I immediately redialed out to Madi and then to Lars and got voice mail for both. I, of course, obsessed about it so much on the flight home that mom handed me sleeping pills.

Which feel like they're just now kicking in....



The last time I tried to do this, their server was down or something. Or it could have been that I'm blogging from exile. Don't worry, I've been taking notes so I'll be able to accurately update you. Because I know you're DYING to know what happened.

First: I realized after I logged off last Wednesday that I forgot to tell you about the Smack/Lala bonding that happened. It was during our picnic and pre-Bec/Lars bomb dropping. (I'm still trying to figure out when to use our "mundane" names and when to use our Society names. Let me know if it gets confusing.)

We were sitting on the blanket, eating our yummy treats and discussing things like how fabulous we all looked and how great my new cane is and how great it is that Kaiser was out of bed and moving around and Hazmat/Madi points out that she still hadn't seen the latest group of shots I got with the fish eye lens. I told her I was still editing them and they mostly bad in a way that only hardcore photographers can create. Smack offered to have a look on her editing program if I liked.

"What makes your Photoshop better than her Photoshop?" Kaiser/Bec asked.
"I hacked it." Was the very smooth answer. We all paused for a minute because, well, that's what Hazmat does. The hacking. Hence the name. After a slightly too-long silence and several long looks she continued: "I have no technical skill with a camera. I can't tell the f-stop from the aperture and basically I'm useless. What I can do is edit it. And when I discovered that my lame parents sprang for the oldest possible photo-editing program they could find I got together with a friend of mine in Hawaii and hacked it. It's like Photoshop....if Photoshop were psychic."
"Didn't you want to be a photo editor for the paper?" Kaiser ventured...bravely, too, since it was based purely on hearsay.
"Yes. I was in Hawaii."
"You can't. Not if your photo skills are as crappy as you say they are." This from Hazmat. Thus far, my mouth had been closed since Smack entered the conversation.
"Why not?"
"Because in order to be an editor you have to have a commanding skill of every position below you. You'll need to get your photo skills up to snuff and even then the best you can hope for Junior year is a staff photog/layout position." I added this. With some authority and a small dose of sympathy. I knew this was the case because when I made the newspaper scene my freshman year it was the only thing I accomplished. Our editors were there because they were pets, not because they were talented. We had staff doing everyone's job and not getting credit. I staged a coup. I'm not modest about it because I'm very proud of it. Madi, Bec, and Lars backed me up, along with some very frustrated juniors. So when the year wrapped and decisions for the next year were being made everyone had to turn in actual WORK. Submit inches and photos to a TEAM of people for consideration. Well, I say team and that year it was the entire newspaper/yearbook staff. We voted as a collective (all 15 of us) and the best were chosen. And given our experience and the fact that we NEVER slack off (notice how it's summer and we're still working on this stuff?) our positions are practically locked until we graduate. It's only up from here.

The look on Mackenzie's face crushes me. So I sip my soda and regroup.
"We'll spend the rest of the summer and all of next year teaching you what you need to know. How are you in the dark room?" She looked at me as though I were speaking Greek. "We shoot a few rolls a month so that we don't lose the art of it. Mostly for yearbook. Don't worry - someone will help you there, too. Think of it as honing your skills and strengthening your talent. It will only make your college applications that much stronger." She nodded. And then Bec dropped her Lars bomb.

Dropped it and shut up about it.
And then Madi's mom called. And then Mackenzie's mom called. So we got back in the car and headed back home.

And then I blogged and when I woke up on Wednesday mom decided that the best way to spend Independence Day was Out Of The Country.

We packed.
We boarded a plane.
And we came to spend out weak dollars in the country that helped us throw off the shackles of oppression and unfair taxes.

That's right. I'm in France. Luckily we're in the South of France and there's at least a beach. Who even knows how much longer we're here. It's not crappy - don't get me wrong - but it's not great. Who wants to loll around on the beach in a bikini when there's a fresh bullet wound scar in her leg? And do you have any idea how easy it is to walk with a cane on the beach? Not easy at all. And finally - I'm here with my parents. Who may or may not be spending an inordinate amount of time drinking lots of wine and then locking themselves in their suite. Which is how I'm able to blog now.

Mom had one strict instruction when we packed: no computers. No cell phones. Nothing. So I really don't have much to report but I'm going to call Bec tomorrow and find out everything. I hate being so far away when there's such a good reason to be home. My friend needs me and I'm a million miles away. She's getting cheese. And wine. And maybe a cute boy in a beret...if I can find one.

Speaking of being found: Mom just found me. She's saying things like "this is family time" and "who are you talking to anyway?" I told her I didn't think I was included in the family time she was having with dad and she rolled her eyes, pointed to the monitor and said "Wrap. It. Up. It's the middle of the night and we've got a lot to do tomorrow." She was not pleased when I told her it was actually early morning and none of us had slept and whatever her huge plans are...mine include napping. On the beach.

Happy Freedom Day.

oh - PS - I did bring my camera. And since there were packing edicts to be adhered to, I just brought my prime lens. We'll see how these shots turn out. Clearly the computer in the lobby is not the place to upload them.


Uh Oh

For starters: I suddenly bonded with Mackenzie yesterday. We were initiating her and then there was talking...and as I write this I realize that I should probably let you in on our initiation routine.

I did some research on this and decided that I wanted significantly less pomp and circumstance than the Skull and Bones have...but still it needed to be something significant. (Also - we won't refer to ourselves as "matriarchs" or "elders" or anything naffy like that. We'll be Cohorts...and maybe Esteemed, Revered, Goddess-like Founders.)

So we all went for a walk: Bec, Madi, Mackenzie, and myself. Down the still-chipper elevators to the 7-11, where we fortified ourselves with Slurpees and Twix. Yum. Then we piled into Mackenzie's car and headed to Fair Park.

Bec, Madi, and I were in what I like to refer to as "Daisy Buchanan" dresses: long, flowing, white. Perfect for the weather and for dressing comfortably over our respective accutrements. I was carrying a bag with Mackenzie's outfit in it: similar dress, white veil. Also we had three cans of spray-chalk: black, pink, and white. The glorious bit about the spray chalk: behaves like spray paint, washes away with a hose or a rainstorm.

Fair Park - I don't know if you know so I'll just tell you - is the largest collection of Art Deco buildings in one place in the country. It's wicked. We picked the Esplanade for the most visibility. And don't go thinking that Fair Park is deserted when the State Fair isn't going on - it's always got people there. The Mounted Police Headquarters is there. A Ton of museums. The DAR house...rehearsal halls...The Hall Of State....you get my point. And we were going in broad daylight. None of this chicken-shit "under the cover of darkness" crap. We're getting in everyone's little faces. We're here. Get used to it. Lighten up because is nothing else, we'll make you laugh.

Except for this. This was serious. It was relatively quick, especially since we'd already given her a lot of information. So when we got there I handed her the bag and told her to change in the car and put on the veil and bring the cans when she came. The rest of us trooped over to the Esplanade and spread out a picnic blanket: Madi had the basket of food. We settled down with cheese and crackers and Coke and chatted while we waited.

"Oh. I came up with a new name for you," I said to Bec. She looked visibly relieved but also a little trepidatious, understandably.
"Really? When?" Madi asked around a cube of cheddar. That girl likes her cheese.
"Last night. I was watching the History Channel and it just came to me." I smiled and took a deliberately long drag of my drink. Bec just stared at me. I smiled back at her.
"Stop looking smug and tell me!"
"Kaiser." I was rewarded with two slow blinks.
"Kaiser? As in Wilhelm?" Madi, but I didn't answer because as she was speaking, Bec was saying: "I'm to be named after a dictator?" I just nodded. This clearly needed to sink in a moment. As luck would have it, Mackenzie walked up at that moment.

She looked great in white, I must say. It's a little unfair, since I love wearing white. My Shirley Manson complexion makes it not so flattering, though. (I get Shirley Manson a lot. Except that I'm IRISH.) Mackenzie, however, is native Hawaiian...with just enough Japanese to give her eyes that cat-like quality the boys love. White was so natural on her. The veil was corny, but as Rite-Of-Passage garb goes, it could be worse. I pulled out my camera, snapped a couple of shots of the rest and then handed it to Bec, who took over in her role as "secretary."

"Mackenzie Sapphire," I said, standing and trying to hide my 5-year-old snicker. I cleared my throat and continued: "You have been chosen to join the Society Tuesday. The goal of our Society is to bring laughter and light to a world full of dullness and drudgery. By joining us, you welcome the bonds of a Sisterhood that will never break. By joining us, you become an accomplice." I paused and smiled. "Do you wish to join?"

"Yes, please." It was sweet, the way she said it as thought I'd offered her dessert.

"Your Society name - the name you will be called when in the presence of other Society members - and ONLY other society members - is Smack." She snickered and nodded. "In your hands are three cans of paint. Pick a column, and tag it with your new name." She nodded once, marched over to one of the middle columns, and painted out an almost professional looking grafitti. The 's' twirled out and encompassed the other letters. Pink outline, black interior, and white to make the letters 3d. It took her less than five minutes and she was sitting on the blanket snacking with us before anyone in any of the surrounding buildings had any idea what was going on. Naturally. we shoved the veil into the picnic basket the minute she came back. Well, we wrapped the cans in it and then shoved it into the basket.

"Can we go back to "Kaiser", please?" Bec said after we'd settled in.
"Sure. I think it's perfect. Unless you'd rather be "Kaiserin," which is the feminine." I popped some cheese and watched her.
"I'm not the empress. I'm not the leader. I'm just along for the ride."
"Hardly." Smack snorted. "You've been incapacitated the majority of the time I've known you, and even I can tell you're never just along for the ride. You've got more of a plan than Pam does." She hooked her thumb at me. I chose not to take offense because she was right.
"The leadership is a trio. It's perfect. Lala brings the fun and the plan. I - Hazmat - bring the action and the strategy. Not always in that order. And Kaiser keeps the initiates in line. Hell, Kaiser keeps everyone in line. And sane. And makes Lala's plans make sense. You take her abstraction and make it applicable. It's perfect."
"I rescind my objections. I'm not tagging anything, though." We fell into a few minutes of silence, which was broken by the sound of horse hoofs. Bec stiffened but the rest of us managed to remain calm.

"Yes, officer?" Madi asked.
"Hi ladies. Having a picnic?"
"Yes, sir. I just read The Great Gatsby for a summer class that I'm taking and I thought it would be fun to come out and see the period architecture and have a little snack. I'm going to write a paper on design eras. Is that alright?" Madi lied so smoothly it scared me.
"Just be sure to pick up after yourselves." He nodded, we said "good afternoon" and he left.

And then Bec/Kaiser dropped her bomb:

"Lars and I broke up." Then she popped a pain pill and refused to talk about it.

The problems there: that was her 3rd pain pill in as many hours. And she Broke Up With Lars. There will be conversations about that. I need details. And I'm not very patient.