Ladies of the Lake
We had just moved into 206 2125 Burtch Estates, a new early 1980s condo development. The condos were located near the intersection of Burtch and Springfield Road. There was a junkyard behind the development, now replaced by Rona Home Depot and a casino. Back then, it was a pile of discarded car parts and other junk, sitting in piles. We used to climb over the playground fence and into the junk. My sister spent hours amongst the car parts.
“You never know what you will find amongst these car parts. Look, I found an old car radio,” my sister said, as she rummage through the pile of junk she was sitting on.
I leaned over the fence and looked. The radio had wires sticking out. She had successfully put the deck from the dashboard of an old truck. I noticed scrapes of red paint along the dashboard.
“I see. What will you do with it?” I asked her. “I mean, it is part of the tape deck.”
“I will put it in my own car,” she insisted and smiled that evil smile of hers.
It was obvious that she was going to excel at the shop class. By the time she was sixteen, she had her own Land Rover and worked on it constantly. She actually owned two, paid for by my father. One she worked on and the other she drove around, when she wasn’t at her full-time managerial job at McDonald’s. During her teen years, Jennifer hardly spent time at school, but managed to get solid straight As. Nobody really knew how. It was not hard for her. She was never disciplined; the principal just sent home note after note. I suspect someone else was signing them; I never saw a note pass before my parents. My guess was Nicki J was signing them for her. She was my sister’s other close friend.
“Can you get that signed for me? Make it look French and calligraphic,” my sister said.
“Sure. I am the expert on faking signatures,” Nicky J. said.
Nicky J. was the daughter of a local businessman. He had started an accounting and data entry firm in the early 1980s. Once a close colleague of my father at the post office, he now focused on his business. Though he took shifts on call during holiday season, he wasn’t around the post office month. Mr. J often showed up on Fridays for dinner, as his wife wasn’t much of a cook. My mother’s cooking was well-known around town.
The reality was, Nicky J. and Nicki G. were Jennifer’s only two close friends. All of the other girls stayed away from her and for good reason. Competition and jealousy ruled her; she was all about winning underneath her deceptive and charming demeanor. I have witnessed dozens of confrontations over the years. Sometimes, her social rejects took their anger out on me, as if I had a privileged position by default. Since I was her sister and considered inferior, these rejects felt that they had to deal with me to get to her or yell at me over her behavior. Her friends were not my friends. I distinctly remember Poppy B. and Alison G. getting worked up over her rejection of them.
They were open teenage lesbians. My sister was uninterested in sex with women. I don’t know what kind of letdown she gave them. Usually, I was gentler with women. They did not interest me but I simply sent them off after an explanation. I worried Jennifer had been harsh with them.
They did not give up on their quest to meet with my sister after Poppy B. and Alison G. faded away. Chris’ group was very aggressive. I subsequently began turning them into the principal’s office. I will not be used by my sister’s discarded and vengeful acquaintances. They were desperate and stalker-like. Nobody I know wanted to deal with them. I preferred getting along with women; it was obvious to me at a young age that it was impossible to get along with the following: Cluster B personality types, mean girls, elitists, narcissists, sexists, racists, homophobes, and sociopaths. The only person I ever knew who was a Cluster B personality type was Michelle K. That is another story altogether.
Later on, Jennifer would befriend most of Peter Auld’s friends. They were a completely different group. Peter had no interest in me; we had nothing in common. He was interested in horses, English Literature, and drama. Still, he was calm and came around peacefully without trouble. By then, some equilibrium was restored.
Burtch Road joined Byrns and Guisachan at a roundabout, near the horse stables. It was the old practice area of the Equestrian Club, where my sister trained. She went through one thing after another; whereas I was pulled from my activities and forced to take sporting classes I did not want, she got to pick out what she wanted. Most of what she liked was expensive: snowboarding, jazz training, helicopter flying lessons, equestrian management. I was content with hiking and singing. It cost $150 to take choir each year.
The condo had a large basement, which was full of the following: my father’s large collection of 45s and 72s, stored in an old imported Italian mahogany cabinet with sliding doors and embossed prints on the front, his large Japanese custom-designed speakers with Italian cabinetry in oak, both of which stood 3 feet tall, his various phonographs, a Lazy-Boy chair, an Arab rug, dancing area, music listening area, several large shelves and stacks of boxes for his blues and soul collection, a specific phonograph for his Johnny Cash collection, and piles of junk left over from my grand-parents and great-grandparents.
As usual, there was a large black and white photograph of my great-grandfather, Conte Eduardo Visconti di Modrone, aka Charles Eduardo Posni, featured. His sociopathic smile and knowing stare, mostly knowing that he got away with it, looked down on my family until I reached the age of eight and the photo was finally taken down
My sister Jennifer was three years older than I. She attended A.S. Matheson as I did and was two grades ahead of me. School came naturally to her as did most things. She had no trouble with mathematics, shop, drafting, music, sports, or any activity she put her mind to. And she was arrogant about it. It was common knowledge to everyone that she was perfect.
I was never jealous of her; I grew up watching her pit girls against each other and treat young men as disposable. I never wanted to be that way. While I was average at gymnastics and baseball, I excelled at singing and track & field. Christine D and I were the top short-to-medium distance runners in the valley; we also placed nationally and were on every relay team at all the matches for five years. She was the only person who outran me.
If I competed against her, I would also be second place. We were on every relay team. We went to the provincials and were alternates for the nationals when I developed a hatred of hurdles and quit suddenly at the age of 14. Christine developed a problem with an old soccer injury, took to wearing braces, and eventually dropped out. Needless to say, our team, coaches, and parents were quite upset. For that reason, my father took me out of choir, so I ended up at the church choir for the next ten years. Each Sunday, I sang for two hours.
Nicole G was a local assistant to the drug dealers. She had long, platinum blonde hair, dark brown eyes, and a menacing smile. She was a couple years older than my sister who was her contrast. With her Asiatic features, dark almond-shaped eyes, and blackish auburn wavy hair, they looked like total opposites. For a few years, Nicole G was my sister’s best friend and partner in crime. They were much closer than we were.
At the time, teenagers had begun producing and marketing drugs. Nicole G and others made use of teenage chemistry home labs, emptied green Excedrin capsules, and a mixture of drugs: Hardee’s headache powder, powdered cough medication, and phencyclidine. Phencyclidine is angel dust, the drug du jour locally from 1987 to 1993. After that, the acid phenomenon set in.
Nicole G and others used the headache powder and cough medication to cut their drugs with. This way, they could sell the green Excedrin capsules for $15 to $25 per capsule to their teenage clients. They made a lot of money this way. Most of their supplies were available over the counter or out of their families’ medicine cabinets. Ours was always locked up, though it didn’t interest me.
I witnessed the production of these capsules on several occasions. I was not the type to try angel dust or acid, and discreetly avoided the producers of these drugs. It was offered on several occasions. All of this production occurred before me between the tender ages of nine and eleven. I came home from choir or track & field after school, went straight to my room with my books, homework, knapsack, and purse, and went to work. After I was done with homework, we had dinner, did laundry, washed dishes, and sat to watch soap operas or play video games.
What It is Like to Me
I have a secret admirer. Unfortunately, I can't say too much. He is lovely. We met through unauthorized channels I won't reveal. This man has the authenticity I have been looking for.
However, he does not live here. Still, I want to see him and have professed my feelings for him. I know he is authentic. Let me tell you, it is nice about being hurt and being cheated on to have an admirer such as this man.
Tests complicate love in the time of coronavirus, on and off flights, borders, and fluctuating daily circumstances. I sense on the street a kind of pandemic spring fever. Men have walked up to me and offered their hand, wanting more. It is kind of flattering and somewhat awkward.
I have never been a forward person this way. You will find me at the back of a nightclub or concert, not at the front. I do not dance around. I usually stop, take note, sing along, and listen. People probably classify me as a sociable introvert.
My suspicions are that my introversion is why I get attention. I am not the type to cheat or lie. I am not prettier than those girls at the front. However, any beauty I have is natural. My looks are hardly feigned or artificial. I suspect some men, having experienced hurt by certain ladies with agendas, like me for this reason.
Still, I have had a hard time in love, like anyone else. I used to feel sorry for myself. Now I appreciate what I have. The past doesn't matter that much. Put into perspective, those people were inconsiderate. They left my life for a reason.
Everything I have been through has educated me up to this point. I now see the reason I have been through what I have been through. That experience has prepared me for this next journey. If you don't believe in love or predestination, you should.
All of life is a moment waiting to happen. Life is about living in the moment.
The future is past. The past is future. Live now. Love is what matters.
Hi. I’m Katy Perry.
I changed my sunglasses during the video. The light was bothering my eyes. I waved up to my people and thought of home. The sun danced across the dashboard as I sang in auto tune. The lyrics were so banal, I couldn't believe I actually wrote them.
We had a break. The video director, pleased with the results, told me that one shot was enough. We would go home early, around six in the evening. He informed me that the overall look pleased him and complimented my professionalism. I did not know what he meant. I once offered to blow him in exchange for a video. Songwriting is not enough, you know.
I kept my human outfit on for my duration on Earth. Since I figured this pop star experiment would be the best way to go for my research, I kept several shape-shifting outfits in my secret drawer. Tonight was Halloween. I was scary and going to appear as Elvira. Our hair style was the same.
The outfit appeared before my mirror. I had closed my eyes and counted to ten. Then zap! I changed outfits. Whenever I got arrested for drunkenness, I shapeshifted into someone else and even had different fingerprints. The cops had a hard time catching me.
I got into my pink Mustand with the top down and drove off. Unfortunately, I was running out of gas, so I shapeshifted into a gas station employee and filled up for free. I conducted my research discreetly and sent back daily reports to the flying saucer. My comrades, thrilled at my progress, praised my ability to appear as one of them and make Earthly contact.
While I appreciated the opportunity and support, coming across 50,000 light years from the constellation of Sagittarius has its downside. Talk about jet lag! Wow! I was so dehydrated. Since I arrived here, I stopped aging. I seem to be getting...younger. I don't know if it's the yoga or the Botox. Maybe it's the Einstein effect. It works well for a pop star-the younger, the better.
Excerpt from The Menacing
When I was a child, I loved music. I sang with the church choir from the age of fourteen to twenty-three. I took five years of choir at elementary school. My parents eventually opposed this interest and forced me to withdraw.
They had controlling tendencies, based primarily on their desires to sabotage a future for my sister and I. Outside of their control, trust and freedom were disallowed. My mother had abandoned my older brother, Philippe, when he was seven. She married my father and left France for Denmark.
My brother, raised by my grandmother and grandfather, Susanne and Georges, escaped this cycle. He also wrestled with a sense of abandonment because of my mother's decision and the neglect of his biological father.
We moved around a lot, owing to my adoptive father's comic business and various career interests.
My adoptive mother hated work and staying at home. No matter the circumstances she lived in and they were privileged ones, she seemed miserable. She occasionally took hostessing shifts or helped in the comic book store and then complained about not being at home, and vice versa.
Mostly, I think my sister and I craved our own identities, escape from constant Comic Con trips across the border, and personal time alone. Raised to excel in sports and academics, nothing was good enough for them. These activities served as nannies and babysitters of sorts. My mother spent a lot of time checking on our progress. If there was any event, she was there.
Music was what accompanied my sister and me on our long road trips through various parts of the United States and Mexico. A lot of time was spent in the desert heat of Southern California.
My father liked to avoid the main seaside highways between San Francisco and San Diego. The area has always been a hubbub of traffic, movement, and commerce. I still remember those trips.
A musical enthusiast who actually valued the art form above money, my father had a large blues, country, classic rock, and soul collection. Stacks of 45s filled up a large, imported wooden cabinet. He played the Platters, the Supremes, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Willie Dixon, and others constantly. However, rock had to be more like the Beatles and less like Black Sabbath; he was convinced it was the Devil’s Music. I loved the stuff. The more punk and metal, the better for me.
I always loved this music and it led to a love of other types of music. His usual attitude towards art was that it was good for making money. He was hardly an enthusiast about literature: any cop book would do. So would reruns of Forensic Files. Art was like pornography to him; it was there to make money.
I felt that children should receive permission to pursue their own interests. My parents felt otherwise. As they had demanding lives, they spent a lot of money on babysitters, trips, and activities for us.
They placed me in a long list of activities: baseball, gymnastics, swimming, art, First Aid, self-defense, field hockey, floor hockey, skiing, ice skating, and many other sports. I rarely missed a party or event. My sister and I had carte blanche rights to go to other people’s houses as children. What we lacked was the right to have others over.
They also had a habit of pulling me out of activities I enjoyed. We received tickets for all sorts of events and were placed in summer camp each year: movies, parties, waterslide events, apple cart racing, etc. I was a relatively simple child.
My Saturdays were spent at the pool or movies. I simply enjoyed the choir. My adoptive father took me golfing, conching, or fishing occasionally. He was devastated as a talented water skier when I was unable to get off the docks and stand up. Coordination was never a strength of mine.
They pushed their convoluted agenda of control once I entered my teenage years. If I enjoyed an activity or became good at something, they would inevitably cancel their support. They would whine, nag, and make threats until I caved in. That is, if I ever questioned them or found some loophole. Usually, they pulled their support and that was the end of it.
This back and forth desire for control extended to boyfriends, birth control, travel, clothing, and driving. Incapable of accepting that their youngest refused to be under their control, they refused to relent on their pushy agenda of hostility to growth and arrested development.
All debates were treated like a Communist committee meeting with them in control of the outcome. Consensus sounded like another word for control to me. It was not a consensus. It was psychological warfare.
The sky is clear.
The aurora of the clear sky full of azure is boisterously and predominantly without cloud, creating a shimmering glow of aquamarine blue clarity above us today.
Tears of scarlet rose
Stained fingernails touch the bud
Beautiful as lips
Cries of red drop down my cheeks
I'm gracing thorns, mild and meek.
A scarlet tear drips o'er the thorn,
As she runs her stained fingernails along the edge.
The blade digs a little deeper:
Beautiful like her lips that speak so silently;
In the irony of a moment, she fades.
As a summer rosebud in blossom penetrates;
The starlit sunlight's gasp against twilight's chill;
A sharp cold turns to the flu.
Dances of fever and anger o'er the horizon:
Blood splatters across the sky.
After the battle of her dreamy cowboys against bison;
She stares up in wonder at this moment.
As she continues to caress the blade;
That lovely rosebud cuts a little deeper into the flesh.
She blesses the curse of roses.
Tears of scarlet rose
Stained fingernails touch the bud
Beautiful as lips
Cries of red drop down her cheeks
She graces thorns, mild and meek.