“There’s no one there, honey.”
“Oh, but there *is*.”
I have found you again stone well. Well well well, as they say.
“Who is that girl over there,” said Zach Black in a low tone across the table to Lena Horned. “I’ve seen her before… somewhere. Maybe a fan?”
“Maybe,” Lena said between bites of food, not looking over for fear of *him* again. She knows he’s lurking.
“Did you know I have a hole in my back, Jeffrey? Do you even notice these things?”
“Let’s not argue tonight, Charlene.”
Pause. “Anyway, I guess coming here gave me an excuse to wear that hot pink dress I haven’t worn since, oh well, I suppose since I walked under that marquee in Picturetown and then glanced down the alley at skateboarding Bart Smipson. The bastard.”
“Now now, Charlene. He’s just a kid, a ragamuffin of the streets.” Smaller pause. “Plus, he’s probably dead. We’ll find out soon. Because of the next place we have to visit. Fern’s already been there. Which means you will be there. Eventually.”
“Pheh.” Charlene the Punk reached behind her shoulder and felt the hole in her back, suddenly becoming self conscious of it. She then drew her attention forward again. “And who’s this suppose to be? Me in the past I suppose — presume.”
“That’s the idea. Felicia Mae Appletree, but not the Smipsons teacher, the one who would have taught Bart most likely.”
“Instead, the child, the daughter. Maebaleia tattoo already on her back — she’s too young for that.”
“I have a tattoo of a *hole* on my back,” Charlene complained. “I don’t want to hear about some itty bitty upper back tattoo.”
“Central back.” He had walked behind the bar and checked. That’s how he knew where they needed to head next. Fern must have planted the idea in the young Charlene’s head. If this is Charlene, and it appears it is so.
“Does she *talk*?” Charlene the Punk says exasperatedly, about ready to leave if some kind of music doesn’t start soon. And no Residents this time or she’s outta here real real quick. She’s already told Jeffrey that, who assured her that’s it’s only Pink Floyd music offered here. She checks to see where his hands and fingers are, though, and notices that some remain hidden either in darkness or in clothes. She will not be entertained by the mastications of Homer; she was never one of those kids.
Boxes of donuts were rolled out on the stage. Charlene the Punk was outta here quicker than a pig with wings.
“Have a seat, er, Felicia,” offered Jeffrey after the exit. 10 years younger, underaged even for him. Probably all for the best.
“Tell me about the tattoo; I dig it,” Jeffrey requests after the entertainment starts. Turns out she was one of those kids after all. She’d just forgotten what she had dug.
Afterwards she took off her shoes and sat beside the old motel pool, now closed for dysentery reasons. No details need be applied. She would immediately wash her feet in the Dari-Creme bathroom just behind. Mother had returned to their modest but clean downtown apartment, sterilized like all the rest during the Great Disinfection of ‘011.
Ahh, fate, she though. Having a beautiful mother who everyone is attracted to more than her, even her own classmates like Multiface, like Preston Weston. She then dwells on the brace burdened lad who sits behind her in geography class, taught by the same mother. It’s one of the reasons she got the tattoo — so that he would see it all the time. Satori, she pondered. *Not* Maebaleia. This would teach him and everyone else that she was a Northerner at heart and always would be, despite some dubious origins. Stamped in flesh, as it were. Fixated in time and space and… options. No option for her any longer. “The name — of the continent — is *Satori,*” she shouted at her mother one day. Then it was off to the parlor to ink some color on her neck and back.
She pondered more tonight while daring to dangle her feet in the pool a little longer, like the alley that use to center the village which was so ill of repute. Creepy Alley they called it for a reason. Before receiving her teaching certificate in ’08, her own mother use to hang out in that place. There were rumors — unsubstantiated for the most part. But it was beyond doubt that mother took the occasional walk on the wild side, playing Nico to any Lou Reed who decided to properly peel their banana. Where was Zappa when you needed him? But that was the province of Annie (Anorexia), who isn’t part of the present story. Shame, though. Maybe we’ll be able to fit her in later.
And there she is.
“Who’s out there, baby doll,” Karl gruffed. “Is it *him*?? Let me at him, let me at him!”
“It’s – not – him,” Annie metered out, trying to calm her latest husband down. “It’s *her*.”
Karl waited a beat for an explanation, then: “Her *who*?”
“I think someone’s *flirting* with youuu.”
“Just ignore him,” Felicia Mae Appletree replied to her mother, thinking: Multiface is the craziest guy/gal in the whole of middle school. He’s the kind that gives “the middle” a bad name. She suspects he may be a Southerner at heart.
“Aww, you’re breaking his itty bitty heart by not paying attention to him. Go ahead; turn around. He’s *soo* adorable!” Mrs. Appletree, the geography/art/social disease teacher at Felicia’s (and Preston’s) school, then blows him a little kiss herself — which he, of course, takes the wrong way. He was on her in a creepily short span of time and space.
“Oh,” stated the daughter flatly, trying not to look at the spectacle. “Should have known, pheh.”
“Should’ve known, pheh,” the cockroach dining below echoes in her tiny voice.