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.


Week Ending

Elevator greetings still going strong. So far only a few grumblings but mostly people seem to not notice anymore. I'm not sure how I feel about that. People tend to have short attention spans. I'm also completely dry on what our next Action Item should be. It'll come to me.

I spent Friday - because I know you're dying to know - in therapy...learning how to walk with a cane! It was their ugly Hospital-Issue and I *Really* didn't want to be lugging it around with me, but it's worlds better than crutches. Especially in the bathroom. You have no idea. Or maybe you do. If you do, you have my sympathy. Or is it empathy? I get them confused.

On Saturday my mom got home from her morning classes (her yoga studio is on the 3rd floor of our building) brandishing a Cane that would make even the Dapperest Dandy swoon. I quickly replaced the Hospital Issue with a sturdy but attractive bamboo cane made by one of her most loyal students.

She promptly took advantage of my moment of weakness to declare Family Weekend. Loosely translated: Only Bec Can Come Over. No Boarding. No Running Around Town Taking Pictures of Your Friends. No Phone Calls Longer Than 5 Minutes. Sudden, and Absolute Boredom Must Prevail.

So then she announces that Bec's mom is gone for the weekend and Bec is staying with us. Aha. It all makes sense now.

It was a good weekend - we screened the Caper Film. We discussed the Secret Society...mom is what we've decided to call a "Cohort." But I feel like I haven't told you about that, for which I apologize.

A Society Tuesday Cohort is a Woman who has graduated high school - henceforth to be alumni of Society Tuesday - who has pull in some way. My mom has pull with her clients (some of whom are very high powered) and my father (I could tell you what he does but I'd have to kill you...kidding. Mostly.) She's also got a fairly comprehensive knowledge of the law and will serve as a sounding board to make sure we don't break it too badly. Cecily is also a cohort because she's about to be back from Orientation and has decided that documenting our summer is the best idea she's ever had. She's also amenable to not telling Lars and keeping most of our secrets. Because what good is it having a secret society if no one knows you exist? They need to know a LITTLE bit, right? Look at the Masons. Or the Skull and Bones.

When Bec went home after lunch mom cornered me.

"Something is wrong with her." I knew better than to argue with this. Madi and I had noticed, as well.

"She did get shot in the stomach. She's allowed to be cranky and off." Madi and I had also decided to give her some leeway, due to aformentioned bullet to the abdomen.

"It's not just that, but it started there. We need to keep an eye on her. She might be out of her depth."

And that was all she said. So I've been sitting here, playing with the photos I took last week, mulling over Bec and her possible need for supervision and intervention.

She is the closest thing I have to a sister. I hope her world is alright...outside of healing stomach wound, that is.

And now that I'm in a funk, I think nothing short of Ice Cream and Guitar Hero will get me out of it.


I'm so clever. And funny.

Here's what happened:

Monday, I get great idea all planned out in my head and hash it out with Hazmat and Crayon (we have *GOT* to find her a new name) who receive the following jobs:

Crayon - troll the web and find perky sound bites.
Hazmat - hack into the computer system and insert said sound bites.

Soundbites compiled and last night at some point after my Vicodin had kicked in and I was asleep, Hazmat completed the hacking.

This morning, the three of us and Mackenzie (to be sworn in eventually and then henceforth known as Smack) were riding down the elevator on our way out to do some boarding. Bec and I have our cameras and our walking implements (she's got an actual old-lady type walker) and Madi and Mackenzie have their boards.

Ground floor lights up, doors slide open and then a very chipper voice says "Thank you for choosing this door. Have a nice day!" We can't help it. We crack up. In the lobby. In front of a ton of people on their way to start their days.

We're laughing so hard that we just hobble over to the benches against the windows and sit. One of the security guards - Al - comes over and tells us that sometime around 5 this morning the doors stopped announcing the floor number and started complimenting shoes, wishing travelers to have a nice day, and a few others he hasn't quite understood.

"Do people like it or are they annoyed?" I had to ask.

"Oh, they seem to like it. They chuckle. One lady looked like the cat that caught the bird after her elevator told her she was having a particularly good hair day." Then one of his phones rang and he left us to observe.

And observe we did. We completely forgot about the skateboards and Bec and I started shooting people's reactions as they left their elevators. Mostly amused, a few confused, and one guy passed us muttering something about his hair looking exactly the same as it had every other day.

By lunchtime we were starving so we got back in the lifts and rode up to my apartment. Once we were sure mom wasn't home, we filled Mackenzie in on what we'd done.

"That's hilarious. Brilliant. You've spiced up the morning a little and no one got shot." Pointed look at me for that one. As though it were my fault what happened before. I leveled a glare at her and she backed off. Even Madi felt the tension in that one. "The only drawback I can see is the irritation for the people who have to listen all day. It'll get repetitive, won't it?"

"I found over 5,000 applicable sound bites in the public domain. They're all in there. And Madi's randomizer will actually earmark each one and not repeat the same bite until every bite has been used. There are some similar ones - the hair compliment, for example, but they have different wording and voices."

"And if they decide they don't like it?" Mackenzie asks the questions we asked when we laid out the plan, so we were at the ready with the answers.

"A simple system reset - the same one they do after a power outtage, and the program is erased completely. No traces. I even masked my IP and then bounced it all over so if they want to track me down it'll take a while."

"Given the nature of the prank, it's doubtful they'll even care. No one is complaining, so chances are it'll be left for a while and then erased." I was going for a completely innocuous yet amusing for everyone prank. I think I succeeded for our first time out. Well, second, technically. But first officially.

So we had lunch and filled Mackenzie in on the Society Tuesday. She's officially a "tap" (stole that term from Yale) and will remain a tap until we come up with two more taps and an initiation ceremony. And now we're having a Wii tournament. And It's my turn to box Mackenzie. Oh yeah. This'll be fun. Chick is going down.



So there's progress. Page One of the Debaucherous Escapades. I think that might be what it's called. I left the actual title page blank. Someone with better handwriting gets to take a crack at that.

We're also deep into our next little prank. No guns involved. I don't want to give it away because it's going to be greatness, but let me say that I planned it and Bec and Madi...wait Hazmat and Crayon (notice how that's in pencil?)...are actually executing it. Mostly because they've got skills I don't have.

We decided that our Society Names are being passed down to people who can fill the shoes of the positions we're in. So I need to find a little Pam to fill Lala's shoes. And Madi will find a Hazmat...

What that leaves us with is this:

Lala: leader (clearly), able to create things out of thin air. Read: able bullshitter. So far, that's what I've got.
Hazmat: Computer skills. We're talking coderxcore. Nothing short of genius. Also nice, but not required - complete and total badass.
Crayon: designer, architect, carpenter. She'll build it like you drew it...only better.

I have no idea what Smack is bringing to the table.

Wednesday. Action Item #1 goes into effect. Woot!


Video (almost) Killed the Gangsters

We did it. We’re all in. So now in private we refer to each other as Lala, Hazmat, and Crayon. I’m actually agreeing with Bec, though. Crayon is reading lame. Creature is also a play on her name (her initials are C.R.A.), Crater...Moon...moon pie...satellite...light...shining light...shine a light...Rolling Stones...moss...water...tree...north...compass...Moral Compass...moral support...questionable morals...morality...mortality...death...worm meat...meat pie...apple pie...vanilla ice cream...ice cream cone...creamsicle.

ok now I’m just hungry.

We did agree that we would leave her name as temporary at least until she’s off the meds. So she’s still Bec. We didn’t do any kind of ceremony or ritual, mostly because I couldn’t think of any. I’m still on meds myself, you know. Tomorrow Madi is bringing me a blank book and I’m going to make the inaugural entry. I get the honor since this whole thing was my idea. Looking forward to that.

And now we’re watching the D-Town Molls video. Which also definitely needs a new name. Cecily didn’t lie, though. She’s edited it to look like something the 3 Stooges and David Fincher would have made, had they ever collaborated. And yes, there are kick-ass shadows.

We look like gen-you-wine gangster girls - all marcel waves and fringe and pearls. Lars looks very dapper, a thought I remember having at the time. Madi is hamming it up the bit that she’s on camera.

“Well, there’s been a psoriasis scare among the potato crops and so we’re going to secure some bouillon. That way we can still make the gin we need to attract the jazz we like and good times can be had by all!” Madi actually leaned out of the window and swung her fist in front of her as she said this. Not in a “You kids get off my lawn way” but in a “that’s just dandy, cowboy” way. It’s hard to explain but you know what I mean.

Camera pans up over car and zooms in on the three of us stalking up the stairs to the entrance like we’re the Monkees.

More running around like crazy, waving our Tommy Guns in the air...I yelled something about Jim Carrrey and then the security guys come out.

“Hey, I remember hamming up at the door for the camera!” I say in real life, not the movie. Because I do.

“Yeah, we cut it because she was closing in on Madi’s reaction to the security. And you looked like a deranged elf.” This is Lars’s response. Thanks. Eye roll.

Back to the movie: “Cheese it, the cops!” Yells Madi...then she looks directly at the camera and in what we know to be a VERY eerie prescience, deadpans: “I hope they don’t kill the fun.”

Pan back up and there I am, all up in the grill of one of the officers, affecting a very nasal voice telling him not to get his knickers twisted, doesn’t he know a fake gun when he sees one? As I go to bend it, guard #2 whips out his gun and I’m down.

She zooms out to full frame and lets it roll. In the foreground, Madi shrinks down in the car. I don’t blame her at all. Lars darts over to me, Bec at his heels and then she crumples. Chaos. This is total chaos. He starts to run towards Cecily and then he goes down.

Sirens to the right of the camera and it fades to black.

“We so need a sequel.” Says Bec, who did have top billing. The rest of us sit in silence for a moment. I can’t help but stare at my casted leg. This blows.

“No more guns. Not even fake ones. Not even water guns. People are too twitchy.” The room is nodding at me.

Don’t worry, gentle reader. I’ve got prank #2 all planned out. Just you wait. It’ll start rolling tomorrow and be in effect by Wednesday at the latest. I am a genius.

And now I’m a genius who is going to stop blogging and watch Reservoir Dogs.


Lovin' the Fish Eye

Those pictures I got the other day (and yesterday and this morning) are sooo bitchin. There aren't words.

Also bitchin? Bec comes home tomorrow. She's being released right after lunch. We're going to have a little party for her in her apartment. Nothing too tiring, just Me, Madi, and Lars. He's picking up a bunch of old movies that she loves and I'm bringing Slurpees from the 7-11 in our building. We'll order in whatever she wants to eat and spend the night teasing her. It'll be great.

OH - this reminds me. The one movie that we're going to watch first to make sure she's awake for? Our premiere film: D-town Molls. It's not the best name, I know, but it's the working title. And before Lars gets there, we three girls are going to initiate ourselves. There aren't words for how excited I am.

I'm also dragging the laptop up there (so glad the camera bag has a sleeve for the laptop) so I can blog our reactions while we watch the movie. This is for posterity. I'm going to tell them it's for the history of Society Tuesday. Because all Secret Societies have places where they keep their information. Books with locks hidden in the bust of some dead guy. Statue bust, not torso bust. Don't be gross.

Also, according to the physical therapist, I'll have graduated from Crutches to cane by the middle of next week. I'm the luckiest girl in the world.


Society Tuesday

Check. Yay! Society Tuesday. We are the Tuesdays. And I've had that Boomtown Rats song in my head every since we chose it. You know the one about the robot housekeeper who shorts out and kills her family? Right. That one. At least, I think that's what it's about.

So yesterday, Madi and I are on our way out of the lobby when who should arrive but H.B. herself.
"Hey. Where are you guys going?" She asks, eyeing Madi's board with what might have been lust.
"Fair park. Awesome tricking out there if you can get past the guards." Madi has no sense of discretion. I was on crutches with my camera bag on my back so it was fairly obvious what my goal was.
"I've never skated boarded before. Is it fun?" She actually says it like it's two words.
"First off," I say - perhaps a little snarkily, "it's not skateboarding. It's skating." I smile. "Of course it's fun."
"Do you think it's the same principle as surfing?"
"Of course it is. The first great skaters were actually surfers. The kids out of Dogtown. There's a great documentary you should watch." And then I caved. We all saw it coming. As the words were coming out of my mouth two things happened. First, Madi looked positively rapturous and second I was instantly regretting them. Yet still they came. "My board is upstairs and I'm obviously not going to use it. Let's go up and get it and you can come with us."

Bam. Damage done. On the plus side, though, Mackenzie is really cool and I think I made a new friend. I know I took some really great shots - her form is totally wicked.

We ended up spending most of the morning out there and then came back up to my apartment for lunch...where we found Every Single Toilet had been ripped out and was in the process of being replaced with "dual flush" toilets. You know the kind: push button A for Number One and button B for Number Two. I'm not averse to it...I just wish she'd done one toilet at a time because three girls who've been outside chugging water all morning found themselves headed back down to the lobby...

In the elevator on the ride up, Mackenzie speaks up.
"Pam, what does your mom do?" I can't wait until she gets to call me Lala. But not until Bec, Madi, and I are all properly initiated.
"Yoga instructor."
"Yeah? Cool." She pauses. Madi looks at me and cocks an eyebrow. I pretend not to notice. And then Mackenzie asks: "What else does she do?" I cock my head at her. She continues: "Yoga students don't generally pay in cash." What I was so accustomed to seeing that I failed to notice she had noticed straight off.
"They do if they're having a private lesson in their home." Not, technically, a lie. And no - my mom isn't a prostitute. She doesn't do anything that would prove unfaithful to my father. Trust me - they're too in love for that sort of thing. It's nauseating sometimes.
"Ah. What does your father do?"
"Freelance photo journalist. He also has a blog for the Observer of which the primary focus is the every day life in downtown. I'll email you the link. It's pretty cool."
"I second that. Her dad gets some amazing shots. It's like he's the town's social archivist and he takes it very seriously. All of the photos in Pam's room - and mine and Bec's come to think of it - he took or Pam took." Madi held the elevator door so it wouldn't close on me. Then she skipped ahead and opened the apartment door.
"Aren't you a photographer?" Mackenzie asked Madi this and as I passed I gave Madi a look of gratitude for changing the subject.
"I have the knowledge, yes. But I much prefer the computer side of the images - manipulation and editing. I can do anything that needs doing to a photograph. So I let Pam get the great shots and when needed for legitimate publishing like the yearbook or the paper I leave them alone. She's got a great eye and can crop in camera in a way that you wouldn't believe. She can also reliably edit her own photos. But every now and again I take a session and jack it up in the most psychedelic ways. She's got a collage in her room I'll show you. Lots of before and afters. I think I made us all robots...?" I nodded affirmation and then stopped short. Stopping short on crutches is never recommended, but then I didn't expect Cecily to be draped over our couch like Daisy Buchanan in August.

"Hi, ladies. Want to watch a movie?" So we did. And I'll tell you all about it later, as it is now time for more pain medication and physical therapy.


This Is Not Encouragement

“A Secret Society?” This was Bec from her hospital bed. Madi and I went to visit her today and laid out the plan for her. She was understandably skeptical. She was even more skeptical when we told her what her society name would be: “CRAYON? As in coloring-book crayons?”

“It’s a derivation of your name, and not something that can easily be traced back. Pam is Lala, Mack is Smack, and I’m Hazmat. They’re not supposed to make a lot of sense.” Madi was so smooth, Bec just smiled at her. Ok, Madi is smooth or her morphine kicked in. It’s hard to tell.

“We’ve got two more members to recruit and then we’ll be set. I’ll pick one and you’ll pick one and then in the spring next year we’ll pick the juniors who will succeed us.” I petted her head while I told her the entire plan. I knew I’d have to write it all down for her, anyway.

I didn’t want to, but a bit of my obsessive-compulsive side kicked in and I noticed she hit her morphine button four times in the two hours we were there. It makes me sad that my bff is in so much pain. The morphine did add some interesting options to our Secret Society Name list.

We have:

1) The Icy Black Hand of Death: Bec’s input, a Calvin and Hobbes reference. Cute, but not easy to shorten and what do we call ourselves? Death-eaters? Hello, copyright infringement.

2) The Plaid Skirt Society: funny because we do wear the plaid skirts. Not funny because we do wear the plaid skirts. And then there’s the issue of what to call ourselves. Skirts? 1940 wants their slang back.

3) Society Silence: this one came from me. I like it; it sounds like we should be opening for Coldplay, though, so it might not win. And we’d call ourselves the Silencers....which I do actually like.

4) Society of the Laced Zebra....ok, the comment above about opening for Coldplay struck a chord with Bec and she recommended that we Google “Band Name Generator” and stick in the word “society” so we did and we got Society of the Laced Zebra. So we’d be Zebras.

5) and Society Tuesday...we could have our meetings on Tuesdays. Since everyone hates Mondays.

6) Doped Society And The Fighting Cloud...but then we’d be dopers...and No.

7)Society Organization....or the Redundants!

8) Atomic Society Of The Blistered Misfit. Ouch. Says Madi: “That’s soooo nuclear.” Points for timeliness.

9) Society Puppet And The Cosmic Tv....eh?

10) Cracked Society...feels right, but we’d be the crackheads and again...No.

Now that word is starting to look wrong. We narrowed it down to numbers 3, 4, 5, and 7. We decided to sleep on it and make a decision tomorrow.

Bonus: I did, in fact, have a fish-eye lens waiting for me at home. Apparently my stupidity and antics are rewarded by my parents these days. “This is not encouragement,” said my mom. I said it wasn’t a deterrent, either. And at the very least I could now document Madi’s crazy air in a new and fun way. With the fish-eye. And I got some great shots today. I told Bec that when she gets back out we’ll paper her wall with amazing photos. I can’t wait.

We ran into Mackenzie on our way out of the building to see Bec. We waved but didn’t invite her, even though she was making that puppy-dog face. Ok, Madi waved, I nodded. It’s hard to wave when you’re on crutches.

Time to retire. Tomorrow Madi’s going to drive us into Fair park and I’m going to play with my new lens while she skates around. It’s going to get hot so we’ve got to get out there early when there’s light but not so much heat. Stupid Texas sun. It’s like living under a broiler.



Names Have Been Changed to Protect the Innocent

Finally. Sleep. Minimal disturbances + pain killers = sleep. And lots of it. I think I passed out around 7 Friday (after my early-bird dinner) and didn't wake up for longer than a few minutes until about ten this morning. It was blissful.

Madi brought lunch to me today, which was sweet. Also a couple of movies that we've seen a hundred times but still keep watching. Chief among them: Fight Club. She brought Mackenzie, too. Normally I would have not acknowledge the interloper at all, but she'd never seen Fight Club, which is a grave transgression in my book. So I let her stay and we indoctrinated her. She doesn't suck as badly as I thought she did. Notice that I haven't called her Hawaiian Barbie, yet?

Luckily, she had to leave fairly soon after the movie finished. It's Father's day and she has obligations. Madi, whose father is mostly absentee, got to hang around. She's helping my mom do something heavenly with blueberries and puff pastry right now. We chatted for a bit about the Secret Society and decided the following:

1) It will not be a "secret" that we have so much as a mission: To Rid the World of Boredom and Suckiness. Obviously this mission statement needs to be prettied up. But maybe not, it's got a ring to it.

2) Our "secret names" will be some variation of our given names. Example: she let it slip that Mackenzie's last name is Sapphire. I'm not kidding. Mackenzie Sapphire?!?!?!?! It sounds like a freaking stripper name. Your middle name and the name of your first pet. So, on the roster in the book she'd be listed as "Inaugural member #1: S., Mack. Smack." We shall call her Smack. It giggles me. So then I'm listed as "Founding President, Creator: R., Pam." Rpam isn't a word. Nor is it funny, but LaLa seems to fit with the theme we started. Have to brainstorm for the rest.

That was as far as we got. But I think she's crashing here tonight, so between the Vicodin and the sugar I'm sure we'll come up with the gems.



Movin' On Up

Or out, as the case may be. Apparently my sheer determination to not suck at physical therapy and probably some palm-greasing on the part of my mother has led to my early release. No driving, and I've got an oh-so-aging walker that I'm required to use when not just moving around the loft (it was that or wheelchair) and a cane for inside. I've also got a metal-detector alerting rod in my leg. Did I mention that the bullet shattered the bone? I bet my x-rays look like the terminator. Or a Cylon's.

The sad irony here, is that today is Bec's birthday. She turns 16 in a ward one-step down from an ICU. We had breakfast. She cried when I told her that I was leaving. I promised to come back and visit.

So I leave after lunch. I have days and days of at-home therapy, doses of vicodin, and summer movies on the couch.

I have researched the secret societies more. Wikipedia is my friend. I've found that for the most part they're collegiate and all-male. They also have names that bring to mind death, decaying, graces, pain, or some other slightly ominous occurrence that I haven't thought of. The majority have also been around for the better part of a century...or two or three in some cases. Starting one is outlined in many, many google hits. There is some recommended reading (The Prince, ironically on my summer reading list, and The Art Of War) someone suggested silly hats (I think this was inspired by Thomas Jefferson and his Flat Hat Society) and then there's a lot of speculation on the parts of everyone involved on these forums. Most people view them as glorified cliques, which is true, but not what I'm going for. I want social commentary and, ultimately, change. Not to mention the creation of crazy-helpful connections for when we embark into the real world. Or at least when we apply to college.

So - #1 - We're not collegiate, but we're college prep and we're in a fairly exclusive school. Our connections start there.

#2 - We're not going to be male. Clearly. We're going to be female. And I think 6 is a good number. Obviously myself, Bec, and Madi. Then each of us will find one more person to recruit and they'll be the non-officers. As creator, I get to be president. Bec and Madi will be VPs. And I think that when we pass the torch we'll just maintain that hierarchy. I should really make these first rules all official looking, but I want to wait until we can meet with Bec and the three of us flesh it out. It'll be tricky to get Madi away from Hawaiian Barbie for this. I have a feeling she'll be the person Madi wants to recruit. Which means I'll have to stop referring to her as Hawaiian Barbie.

#3 - We'll need a name and a "secret". It cracks me up that in every single hit my search provided me with some moron felt the need to state the obvious. "Question: How to Start A Secret Society? Answer: First you need a secret." It's so much more complex than that. A secret. Anyone can have a secret. A society needs a mission. So we need a name and a secret mission.

#4 - I actually think the first three cover it for now.

And here's lunch...followed by brief review of my Rules For Being Able To Go Home.....finally.


I Have a Plan so Cunning You Could Pin a Tail on it and Call it a Weasle.

Two words: Secret. Society. Like Skull and Bones but significantly less creepy. And more fun. There's isn't one at our school that I know of and we'll be juniors in the fall so there's two years for us to set it up. We'll spend the summer and the first semester laying the ground work and the second semester recruiting fresh blood and then next year we'll solidify our "presence." Apparently the key is to make it known that you exist but to have 99% of the information a total secret and to neither confirm nor deny that you are aware of its existence or that you may or may not be a member.

Like Fight Club. With less blood. First we need a name....

Ok, see this is why I've made up fake names for everyone involved in my life. And I'm trying not to be too specific because when more hi-jinks ensue I want to be able to talk about them freely and protect the innocent. Or not-so-innocent as they case may be.

Had rehab this morning. Who knew learning to walk was such a chore? But apparently I'm doing well and I should be out of here soon. One can only hope.

Back to secret society...name, and a mission statement. And connections. They've all got connections.

I love starting at the ground level and building something awesome. And this awesome will lead to world domination. Word.


Shoot Me Now

My mom went to the Cure concert last night. I was supposed to go, but since I'm laid up in the hospital still (yay, infection in my incision) all I got was a t-shirt. She took Madi and Hawaiian Barbie instead. Faaaaaahhhhbbuuuuulllllooooouuuuuuussssssssssss. They had killer seats (platinum box, center stage) and she greased some palms for a very professional looking camera to get past security and so I've been watching decent footage all day. Still. Made me a little sad.

Didn't help that Madi brought Miss Hair and Butt when she brought the dvd. She said it's the raw one and they're going to use some new program and splice it all together so it's virtually seamless and then she's going to give it to some guy they met to give to Robert Smith "himself" and see if she can get a gig traveling with them and filming their summer shows. I didn't want to be a total buzz kill, but I can't help thinking it's Too Late. In the season. In the tour. Maybe she can do a documentary, but isn't that Cecily's thing?

These drugs are making me cranky. My incision itches. I'm sick sick sick of this hotel room. I have a stupid bullet wound. Shouldn't I be home by now? It's been forever. OK, so on Monday I get moved to rehab, which is a step and a half away from home. Bonus. And Bec is still laid up...

Oh! I got the privilege of being wheeled into her room today. Before Madi brought the dvd so I couldn't tell her all about that stellar plan. We just chatted a little bit. I did tell her about Cecily's dvd plan and she's all about seeing that. She wants top billing. I told her I had no problems and it would probably read something like "Rebecca X starring in a film by Cecily Z...also featuring the rest of us poor slobs!" And with a disclaimer that any and all violence actually occurred. Word.

I'm coming to terms with my wound. I'm tempted to tell people it was a drive-by, because it doesn't feel like that far of a stretch. Except that it got a write up in the paper and everyone knows that it was downtown and not Pleasant Grove so they'd never believe drive-by. I'll just have to watch the dvd so I can add appropriate embellishments. Also it might jog my memory so that I remember something other than the MythBusters marathon I just numbed my brain with today. Tomorrow I think there's a Law&Order marathon. Stellar.

My mom just left and told me about how she and dad finally enacted their grand scheme to give our cats a little bit of the outdoors. She's a total hippie (if a descendant of Irish Royalty can be a hippie) and she has guilt that our cats are having their natural hunter instinct suppressed by the four walls, roof, floor-to-ceiling view of multiple birds, occasional fly, a plethora of cat toys and free food that she offers them. So she bought them harnesses - pink for Asha and black for Idget - and matching leashes and she and dad walked them down to the courtyard today. She gave me pictures. I think they'll be happy when I'm home because then there will be someone sane to blow bubbles at them and give them catnip.

Behold: Kitty Apocalypse:

Oh goodie. More nurses. Lates.


A Little To Report

I feel like I can’t form complete sentences. Lots of totally effective drugs. Luckily I’ve been reading brainless drivel and watching brainless drivel. Yay for tv.

Not resting. No rest for the injured. I get vitals checked every couple of hours, which requires waking up. Have I sung the praises of many many channels? Hospitals suck.


Lars. Good. Released. He’s recovering the rest of the way at home. No impact sports for him anytime soon. And no skating. I would say that sucks for him, because I know it does...but who knows when I’ll be back on my board again. At least I can take photos. I’ve hinted at gear I’d like to see in my camera bag so maybe I’ll have a nice welcome home gift when I get released. Fish-eye lens, anyone?

Bec had loads of surgeries on her agenda. She’s going to have a gnarly scar when it’s all over with. At least we’ll have good stories. “Remember that time we were gangsters? And real gangsters, not that “Wish I was a Thug” shit. We were Gangsters With Tommy Guns and Pearls.” You’re tough if you’ve got a possie and a gun and you inspire people to action. You’re a total badass if you do it in pearls and heels. Like Donna Reed....armed.

We just won’t mention that the guns were rubber. Because that takes away from the coolness. And apparently they look real on film.

Ok - tip. If you ever have a coke float (or a root beer float) you should drink it quickly. Because if you let it sit then the soda turns white and it’s just not appealing. Also you get more ice cream than soda because the soda bubbles up into the ice cream and gets lost. It’s sad. Sad soda...

Madi came by with Hawaiian Barbie earlier. Apparently they’re hanging out. I would feel jealous but I think the morphine affects that, too. Also Madi spends a lot of time either on the phone with me, sitting with me or with Rebecca, or preparing for sitting. I’ve never gotten so many baked goods. Hawaiian Barbie helps her with that, so they’re spending time together bonding and shit...but the whole time it’s like I’m there anyway. And they told me funny stories today. And brought me books. She’s not so bad once you get past the Surf Goddess look and the general threat to our balance that she poses. I should probably start calling her Mackenzie. I will never call her Mac. I try to stay away from nicknames that remind me of food. Mostly because it makes me hungry.

Oh. I’ve decided that I’m going to become a criminal mastermind a la Artemis Fowl. Except less evil and fairies.

And the people with needles have just walked into my room again.


What Happened

So here’s my great idea. And why we’re in repose at Chez Baylor.

Cecily, the cousin of Lars, was at his party. She’s in town this week from New York, where she lives. She lives upstate but is starting NYU film in the fall. She was talking about how she needed to have something started because everyone has some thing started...

Oh. I’m probably going to ramble. In addition to checking my vitals I got something funny injected into my IV. Yippie!

Anyway. The AFI was just in Dallas (she was here for that) and she said that there was all kinds of greatness and she’s so inspired but she has no plot. Then the conversation veered away to Hawaiian Barbie and her photographic editorialship potential...which is NOT going to happen. I have a plan. I have a broken leg, but that doesn’t change the plan.

So I’m stuck in Florida with my mom’s family for the long weekend. Half of them didn’t even show up because my mom’s youngest sister has decided that humidity just isn’t the ticket for her anymore and so she’s never going to be closer than ten miles to a body of water. I was the one on the phone with her. I dared her to come visit us here in a week. She wasn’t going to come, but now I’m here and my mom just told me that she’s coming to help them “take care of” me. Especially since Dad is traveling all next week. Yippie again.

Anyway, one night that really bad Faye Dunaway movie came on and I remembered that Madison is related to Bonnie Parker. Yes, that Bonnie Parker. And it hits me. So I call Cecily (her name has the emphasis on the “Cec” - like “cess pool”) and outline my plan. She talks to Rebecca, Lars, and Madison and when I got back to town on Tuesday morning it was all set.

We started out at dawn yesterday so that there would be “kick-ass shadows” and so that there wouldn’t be a ton of people around. Madi, Bec, and I are all in flapper-wear. Fringy dresses, funky shoes, tons of pearls. Lars is in a suit that even I will admit looked smashing on him, complete with fedora. They’d rented a classic car - something with space for a driver and 3 passengers and a suicide door, and picked up rubber Tommy Guns from some prop guy Cecily found.

Cecily set up across the street and gave us the signal. We drove into frame on Ervay - so she could get the timely Wilson Building in the shot while we were still in front of a building that is clearly housing a bank. Lars, Bec, and I jump out of the car and begin to run around in true Three Stooges style. We weren’t doing anything more than a complicated game of Dancing Tag, but when edited down with the correct music it would look as though a bank heist was being perpetrated. I even ran up to the door and paused for the camera, a wily look hamming up my face.

“Cheese it! The Cops!” Madi yelled from her place as getaway driver. We look at the door to the bank and there are two security guards with guns pointed right at us. A lot of yelling ensued. I was closest to the door and so I started talking, even bent my Tommy Gun at one point to show them it wasn’t real.

Unfortunately they were twitchy security guards because the next thing I know I’m in the back of an ambulance and I can’t feel my body. I got shot in the leg. My upper leg bone....I have no idea what it’s called and I’m on drugs so I have no motivation to look - is shattered. They told me I had to have a surgery and I might need another tomorrow. I’m on a lot of drugs.

Rebecca got hit in the stomach. I have no idea how she’s doing. And not for lack of asking, either. Lars has a graze on his arm, but the force of the impact spun him like a top and he fell down the marble steps and has a pretty bad concussion. Madi did what any sane girl would do: she slid to the floor of the car and dialed 911. Cecily turned the camera over the minute the cops got there.

She was just here - she’s the one who convinced my mom to give me my laptop. I then convinced her that she has to edit it down and use it somewhere. Maybe cutting the reality down a notch, though.

I’ll be here for another week before they’ll let me get up. There’s talk of rehab. Right now that funny stuff is making the screen go all wobbly. I promise this morning was a total blast, right up until Twitchy McTrigger Finger got involved, that is. Can't wait to see the footage.


Not Dead

Although for a minute there...

I'm not dead. Bec, however, is hanging by a thread. I wish I were kidding. And it's my fault. Vaguely. Really it's the fault of the stupid security guard that we're in this stinking hospital. Rebecca, Lars, and me. Madi escaped unscathed, as did the Cousin, who was across the street with the video-recorder.

Thank goodness for the video. Mom says it's the reason we weren't even fined. And considering the extent of bodily damage they even forgave us for not getting a "film" permit - or whatever.

Hold on. Vitals. Will publish this so you stop worrying and fill you in later.


I have an idea

So I feel that in the interest of full-disclosure I should tell anyone who's reading that the people I talk about don't know I have a blog. In fact, the only people who know/should read are the people who randomly Google a phrase I've used.

So. Big party last night. Not big as in Lots of People, but big as in Important Things Transpired. Lars's (Lars'? I never know which is right) cousin is in town visiting for a week before they go to the Caymans and she's full of interesting tidbits. Needless to say I'm still letting it percolate but once I know where her tidbits will lead I will definitely clue you in. This blog is my sounding board.

Had to sneak in last night because we missed curfew. Luckily, every now and again Bec, Madi, and I get together and bake something for the Concierge staff. This effectively keeps them mum whenever we sheepishly wave as we stumble to the elevators at the butt-crack of dawn.

Yoga this morning. I roped Bec into joining me. Madi couldn't be swayed. She had coffee and a twenty minute shower. We told my mom she had a cough-medicine hangover. It was half true.

Then we all went down to the courtyard outside of the opera house and skated for a while. There was a marathon down Ross and all of the security guards were on that side of the building so we actually got to trick off the railings for once. We had our cameras and I think there are some bitchin shots. In the interest of not outing my friends, I'm not going to post them here. But today I was the Female Tony Hawk. Bec was Mike McGill and Madi was old school - we might start calling her Dog. (Dogtown. Google is your friend.)

Mac was not at the small party last night. But she was sitting on a bench in the shade outside our building reading today. She looked up (Madi says wistfully) as we walked back and forth with our boards. Whatever.

We're going to the keys for the weekend. My mom's family likes to gather on the beach and burn things on national holidays. I'll take gratuitous notes. Happy Long Weekend!


Woot! No More Finals!

Totally excited. Had my last final 8 hours ago (poli-sci, if you care) and I ACED it. Of course. Then we found out that the philosophy final had been canceled because the entire class could fail the final and still pass. Also we think that Mr. P just wanted to leave today. Our class was the only final tomorrow.

So back over to Victory Park for a last-minute party at Lars's place. Oh, and I would fill you in on the past few days, but like I said before. I had finals and parents with expectations. There was a lot of studying, a lot of coffee, some chocolate-covered espresso beans for breakfast, and some finals taking. All to come home and start over. That ends now. Actually, it ended at lunch.

Bec just walked in. She doesn't know I've become a blogger. Out.


Ugh. I'm *that girl*

You know which ones I’m talking about: the control freaks who have to have every moment planned out. Typically, they’re portrayed as having a completely out-of-control sister/mother/brother/father (often an identical twin) and their own need to control is born of the lack of control they have over everything else. I have none of that and yet the need for control still managed to manifest in me...at the rather un-ripe age of 15, no less.

I realized this as I was standing by my locker last Friday with my two best friends, Madison and Rebecca. It was before the first bell so we were discussing the parties that would be happening Saturday. It is a point of fact that Rebecca’s boyfriend - Lars - turned 16 on Saturday and had a huge party.

This is what we do, really. Birthday or not, there was always a rather large party at someone’s house. On nice nights when we feel like doing something vaguely different, we head the forty minutes or so down 45 to one of the last remaining drive-in movie theaters in Texas. Mostly, though, it's the parties.

“I had to practically force my mother to stop at Northpark yesterday so I could buy him a gift. I mean, come on! He’s my first real boyfriend! You’d think she’d be more supportive of my need to spoil him. But no....she’s all freaked out because she thinks there’s been some royal screw-up at Bliss and so she’s hell-bent to drive directly to the Hotel Palomar. She would have run every red light if she weren’t on probation. I swear.” Rebecca is always swearing. “Luckily, I convinced her to drop me off, run to the hotel, and come back. So I’m all set.”

“What did you get him?” Madison was reading a text that came in halfway through Rebecca’s rant, so I asked the question I knew she was dying to answer.

“That new Gehry watch from Tiffany that he likes so much. I hope his mom didn’t get it for him, too. That would be embarrassing.”

“Oh. Em. Gee!” Madison doesn’t swear. So she literally says the letters and leaves it to the listeners to interpret.

“What?” There’s a tone of irritation in Rebecca’s voice because it’s clear that Madison had tuned her out. It was tempered by curiosity.

“New girl. Hawaiian.”

“So?” Rebecca didn't care. I did, but I tried not to show it. New girl! From Hawaii! This. Upsets. My. World.

“She got here this morning and the first thing she did was sign up for newspaper and yearbook. She said something about being photo editor at her last school and wants the position here.” Ah. Competition. And not just for me. Madison is the photo editor for the sophomore sections of the yearbook and for the social and arts section of the newspaper. Since her quest in life is to be the next Annie Leibowitz, you can see why this rattles her.

“Meh. She won’t get it. She might be assistant editor or staff photographer, but they won’t give a new girl a top position. She’s got no idea about the pulse of the school.” I say. What I’m thinking is that I hope she doesn’t want to be the sports photo editor. That’s my job. One I take very seriously on my quest to be...whatever it is that I’ll be. But the fact that they could -- and have been known to -- give this position to a newbie is very real. And I don’t like it.

“You’re right,” Madison sighs.

“How are you always so calm? I swear, it’s like you do yoga in between classes or something. Get ruffled every now and again, why don’t you?” Rebecca demands, but I am saved from answering by the bell.

The rest of Friday was completely uneventful. Went through classes and not one glimpse of Hawaii-Girl, even though there are only, like, TEN people in our entire grade. Fifteen if we're all healthy. Then I skated home, did my homework, and met Madi and Bec at the little courtyard park thing by our building and skated some more.

Saturday morning I woke up, did yoga... Bec was almost right - I do yoga constantly. I used to not because it's so fruits, nuts, and flakes, but then I pulled a quad on a really bitchin' ollie and my mom...who teaches yoga...made me. Then I realized that it improved my balance and my flexibility, which definitely improved my skating. So here I am. Downward dogging daily. (hee hee....alliteration. Mrs. G would be so proud.) Anyway. After yoga, breakfast and then no skating because there were birthday presents to buy so I hopped on the train to Mockingbird Station and went to Urban Outfitters and picked up some t-shirts. A couple for Lars and a couple for me. And then Mad came up (she sleeps waaay later than anyone I know) and we had lunch and saw a movie and then took the train home and got ready for the party. Mad lives in my building - One Arts Plaza, but Bec lives two blocks over, actually in Deep Ellum.

Luckily, Lars lives downtown, too. Madi skated over to our building and got ready with us. Then we walked to the DART station and took the train to the station a block away from his building. Generally you want to arrive at parties looking as though you've showered that day, so no skating. Not in May, at any rate. We get waved through without pause because the doorman knows us. All good, all good and then WHAM.

Hawaii Girl is there. We walk in and she's just standing there, looking like Angelina Jolie and Pocahontas had a love child. All cute in her waist length black hair and beach dress. And she walks right up to us and starts talking like we're long-lost friends. We are not friends. We are not even acquaintances. We're barely at Smile In The Hall Because We're at the Same Tiny School.

"Rebecca, right? You're Lars' girlfriend? I have Geometry with him. He's very nice. I'm Mackenzie but my friend call me Mac."

Ok - she held out her hand. Like we're old and are going to shake it. Maybe Dap hasn't made it to Hawaii, yet. And yes, you read that right. Her friends call her Mac. Like mac-n-cheese. Gag. And she was buddying up to one of my best friends. I only have two. No room for sharing.

To my horror, two hours later we're out on Lars' terrace with a bunch of guys and a hacke-sack. I'm not hacky-sacking. I wore a skirt. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. Bec didn't. She wore these little shorts that are so almost r-rated. X-rated unless you're Sharon Stone. The boys are loving playing with her more than normal. Madi and Mac (I really hate the way that looks) have bonded over a shared love of sushi and I'm looking at the stars waiting for the clouds to roll in as promised earlier by Troy Dungan.

Finally Bec gets tired of kicking hacky-sack ass and pockets the thing. The boys wander over to a corner to burp the alphabet or whatever they do and she and I leave Madi and Mac and go inside to be catty. Bec is worried about Lars.

"Whatever!" I say when she voices this.

"I swear. She was totally flirting with him when we brought out his cake. She's like, totally flirtcore."

"Bec." I told her, putting my hand on her arm and trying not to laugh at the ridiculousness of Hawaiian Barbie upsetting our world that much. Well, laugh or cry because I'm clearly in a state, myself. "Did you see the look on Lars' face when he opened your present? Do you see him now? He's in deep smit. Trust me." And since I'm completely believable she smiled and we hit the snack table and had some cokes and then Madi came in completely freaking out because her mom had called and heard all the people in the background and therefore knew we weren't back at my place like we said we'd be by then and so we had to cab it home because her mom called my mom and it's way too late for young hotties like us to ride the train alone. You know how this goes. Bec freaked out in the elevator about leaving Hawaiian Barbie with Lars. Luckily/unfortunately it took forever for the doorman to get us a cab and while we were waiting HairandButt herself got out of the elevator looking tired and lost and a little lonely and revealed that she lives in my building and then Madi offered to cab-share and we were stuck with her.

Quietest Cab Ride Ever. For Reals.

So yesterday was quiet (yoga, skating) and today was school, but it was Monday and it's the end of the year and I didn't see Hawaiian Barbie all day. I can live with that.

Thursday is the last day of school. Who transfers a week before school lets out? She came in for finals? WTF?

Speaking of finals. I need to Apply Myself. I have parents. They have expectations. Word.