Thursday, July 16, 2009

“Uncle Buddy’s House”, Chapter 2: Deirdre

In our previous episode we left our hero Buddy Best (director of Smith & Wesson & Me, Blunt Force Trauma, and Escape From Death Island among other classics) bonding in Anchor Steam beer and Puccini with his son Philip in Buddy’s only slightly decrepit house on Ivar Avenue, Hollywood, California...

Enter Buddy's fifteen-year-old (or is she sixteen, Buddy's not quite sure) stepdaughter...


“Hi, drunks.”

It was Deirdre, in her St. Vlad’s uniform.

“Hey, Deird,” said Philip.

“Hi, jerk,” said Deirdre in her faux-perky teen-movie way.

“Give me a kiss.”

“No, you’re gross. Did you guys save me any pizza?”

“I got some warming in the oven,” said Buddy.

“You guys are such alcys. It’s what, seven-thirty? And you’re trashed.”

“Getting there,” said Buddy. “Not there yet."

“Long way from there,” said Philip.

Deirdre came back in from the kitchen with a slice of pizza on a plate, a folded paper towel, and a glass of what could only be Diet Coke. They were into Act IV of Bohème by now. She plunked down on the couch and took a big bite of pizza.

“So,” she said, to Philip, “come to visit Bleak House?”

“Come to live here, baby.”

She halted her chewing. Explanations forthcame.


****


A little later they were watching American Movie on DVD when Deirdre said, “Oh, Uncle Buddy -- {Joan had introduced him to the three-year-old Deirdre as “Uncle Buddy”, and Uncle Buddy he had remained ever since} -- now that you’re I hope sufficiently wasted --”

She reached down, got her backpack off the floor and rummaged in it. She’d changed into shorts and a t-shirt, she was all thin arms and legs. She got out an envelope, and flipped it to Philip, who was sitting at the other end of the sofa.

“What am I, your butler?” said Philip.

“You’re closer, dude.”

“Bitch,” said Philip, but he got up and handed the note to Buddy.

“What is this?” said Buddy.

“Note from Mother Mathilde,” said Deirdre. “Since Mom’s not around I guess you get to deal with it.”

She had pulled Ming on to her lap and she waggled her tongue at the cat.

Buddy switched on the lamp, took off his glasses, which he had put on to watch the movie, and read the note. Then he put his glasses back on again and looked at Deirdre.

“So what’d you do anyway?”

“I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Come on, give me a break, don’t make me go in there cold.”

“I got caught making out.”

“Making out? With another girl?”

“It’s an all-girls school, Uncle Buddy.”

“Stupid question, okay.”

“Our little dyke,” said Philip.

“Faggot. Freeloader.”

“All right,” said Buddy, “let’s watch the damn movie.”

They watched the movie for a while.

“So how far did this making out go?” said Philip.

“Wouldn’t you like to know, queer-bait.”

A little bit later Buddy said, “So who was it you made out with?”

“Trish Alvarado.”

“Oh. Okay.”

Buddy was pretty sure he knew which one Trish was, and if she was the one he thought she was then Trish was a hottie all right.

“Is she hot?” asked Philip.

Deirdre got up and grabbed her Diet Coke and her backpack and went off up the stairs. Ming jumped off the sofa and followed her.

“She’s gotten kinda hot,” said Philip. “Except for her braces. Or maybe especially because of her braces.”

“All right, asshole, she’s your fucking sister practically, so don’t be so fucking --” they heard her bedroom door slam shut -- “fucking --”

"Hey, Dad, give me some credit, dude. Anyway, she’s a dyke.”

“Ah, I don’t know about that, Phil.”

“Dad, has she ever had a boyfriend?”

“Well, no -- not that I know of --”

“I rest my case.”

“She’s only fucking fifteen, sixteen --”

“Dad, kids today have boyfriends and girlfriends at fucking twelve. You know how old I was when I lost my virginity? Or, no, hey, ya know how old Liz was?”

Liz was Buddy’s other offspring, aged what, twenty-four?

“No,” said Buddy, “and no, and, no, I don’t fucking want to know.”

“She’s a dyke.”

“Who, Liz?”

“No, not fucking Liz: Deirdre.”

“Oh. Well, fuck it, maybe she is. Who gives a shit?”

“Not me.”

“Okay then. She’s probably better off anyway. I mean when you look at the nincompoops Liz has hooked up with --”

“Word up,” said Philip. “You talk to her lately?” Adding helpfully, “Liz.”

“Um, uh, two weeks ago? Three?”

“How’d she sound?”

“She sounded --”

“She still in school?”

“Oh yeah. But --”

“What?”

“She wanted to borrow some money to take this weekend retreat with this Deep -- Deepok -- Chopchop -- Deepsix --”

“What?”

“Chokra? Fucking Indian --”

“Deepak Chopra?”

“That’s him.”

“Oh, fuck that.”

“Right,” said Buddy. “I mean, first it’s your mother with the fucking Buddhism; then it’s fucking Joan with this Tony Roberts guy’s Personal Bullshit seminar --”

“Tony Robbins, he’s cool, love his tan.”

“Right -- now it’s Elizabeth with this Tupac Shakur --”

“Deepak Chopra.”

“Whatever.”

“So you send her the dough?”

“Fuck no. I told her she should be concentrating on her goddam course work and not taking some jive-ass mystico-spiritual self-help load of --”

“Yeah, fuck that shit.”

“All the fucking dough I laid out for that Betty Ford clipjoint? And now she’s living with this fucking Keith guy --”

“You mean the Craig guy --”

“Right -- another fucking drug addict, alcoholic, loser --”

“What else is new? Chicks dig losers. She does, anyway --”

“Yeah, but that’s the trouble, with these rehab joints and these meetings,” said Buddy, getting up -- “you want another beer by the way?”

“Yo,” said Philip. “You want me to pause the movie?”

“Don’t bother.”

Buddy headed off into the kitchen and Philip called after him:

“What’s the trouble?”

“What?” yelled Buddy.

“What’s the trouble with the rehabs and meetings,” yelled Philip.

Buddy yelled out, louder, “All they meet are other fucking junkies and alcoholics.

“Look who’s talking,” said Philip.

“Hey, I bring home the bacon, pal.”

You guys are the alcoholics!” This was Deirdre, yelling down from upstairs, going to or from the bathroom or to or from Buddy’s room in search of his pot stash.

Buddy came back in with two more Anchors and gave one to Philip.

“Al-co-hol-ics!” Deirdre again.

“Thanks, Dad. So -- I guess Liz doesn’t know about you and --”

“Uh, no, I guess not. I should call her.”

“Yeah, me too,” said Philip. “What about Mom. You talk to her lately?”

“Nah, it’s too hard to get through to her up there.” This was the vegan ashram up in the High Sierras where Philip’s and Liz’s mom Madge, now known as Shakira, lived with her husband, Om, and their son, Mukund. “And she hasn’t called me,” said Buddy. “What about you?”

“Nah, not lately. I should call her.”

“Yeah. Tell her I say hi,” said Buddy.

“Okay. So she doesn’t know about Joan either.”

“Nah. Fuck it. That’s just, that’s just -- look, look at these fucking idiots --”

Buddy was referring to the movie they had on. Being good Americans they were watching and following the movie as they talked.

“Yeah. What nimrods,” said Philip. “So what is it that’s just something?”

“What?”

“What you were going to say, before the nimrods.”

“Oh, right. That’s just -- one of the toughest things about this whole load of shit is just -- just having to tell everyone about it. It’s very fucking --”

“Tedious?”

“Yes. Oh. Shit.”

“What.”

“I just remembered that you’re about to go through the same shit.”

“Thanks for reminding me, Dad.”

“You’re welcome. You want my advice?”

“Sure.”

“If people ask how things are going, just say, ‘Fine.’”

“Okay.”

“Fuck ‘em.”

“Okay. So -- how are things going, Dad?”

“Fuck you.”

“No, really.”

“Ah, shut the fuck up, Phil. Watch the movie.”

“Okay.”

They watched the movie. And then Philip said, “I really hate Cynthia.”

A couple of minutes later Buddy spoke up.

“That’s the fucked-up thing --”

“What?”

“You go to all the trouble of marrying a chick and then you just wind up hating them.” Three seconds later he added: “And vice versa.”

“Uh huh. Um --”

Instead of completing a sentence Philip stared at the TV.

“Philip, let me tell you about love, okay?”

“Oh, great.”

“Okay. Now, I made the same exact mistake you did with, uh, whosis --”

“Cynthia.”

“Right. Same mistake I made with Joan, that you did. Not so much your mom --”

Buddy paused, musing on his profundity while watching the movie. He was a little fucked up on the beer. Plus he hadn’t been sleeping well at all. And he’d been working hard. And he had been drinking too much and smoking too much pot for eight or ten days now. And his wife had left him for one of the biggest assholes he had ever met.

“What’s your point, Dad?”

“My point --”

“Something about a mistake. Handed down through generations.”

“Ah, yes. Mistake being I married someone while I was hot ‘n’ heavy with ‘em. Big mistake, and only afterwards did I realize what a fuckin’, fuckin’ --”

“Uh-huh --”

“Okay, you wanta hear Buddy Best’s Rule #1 of Marriage?”

“I think I’m going to.”

“Never marry someone you’re sexually attracted to.”

“O-kay --”

“I mean, you probably wouldn’t even think about marrying someone you were never attracted to, but the thing is, wait -- wait until you’re not attracted any more -- and that day will come, brother --”

“Tell me about it --”

“It will come. And then, if you still want to marry them, knock yourself the fuck out.”

“Good rule, Dad.”

A minute later:

“Um, you and Joan, Dad -- I guess I can say it now --”

“Phil --”

“Yo.”

“Do me a favor.”

“Yeah?”

“Don’t say it.”

“Okay.”

They watched the movie. It was a good movie about some idiot in Wisconsin trying to make a bad movie. Except he thought he was trying to make a good movie.

“But, Dad, can I just say something about Cynthia?”

Bud picked up the remote and pressed pause.

“Phil, can I be absolutely honest with you?”

“Uh-oh.”

“Right. I mean, okay. Some time. But -- not now. All right?”

“Okay. Cool.”

“Good.”

“But one little question,” said Philip.

“Fire away.”

“You got any pot?”

“Later, after Deirdre crashes.”

“She’s probably up there smoking weed herself right now.”

“Later.”

“We could go out by the pool.”

“All right.”

Buddy had the better part of a nice fat one in his shirt pocket. They left the movie on pause and went out back and sat in the deck chairs by the pool in the dark.

Philip flicked his Zippo, and the twinkling hills looked down upon them as father and son passed the joint back and forth. The air hummed softly with the sound or the sounds of the freeway, and the water in the pool looked like chocolate Jell-O, chocolate Jell-O sprinkled with leaves that had fallen in from the backyard flora -- the bougainvillea hedge, the eucalyptus, the palm tree, Joan’s roses and snapdragons, her mums and tiger lilies, her fucking veggie garden.

Upstairs in her darkened room Deirdre leaned on her window sill, smoking a joint she’d rolled from Buddy’s stash and spying down on Philip and Buddy. She could hear them clearly when they started talking again.

“What was this dude’s name?” said Philip.

“What dude?”

“The dude that Joan ran off with.”

“Oh, him. The Mariner.”

“The Mariner?”

“The Ancient Mariner.”

****

(Who is the Ancient Mariner? Why is Buddy so ill-disposed toward him? Keep your shirt on. Go here to find out. Please refer to the right hand side of this page for a complete listing of all other published chapters of Uncle Buddy's House. A Sheldon Leonard Production.)

8 comments:

blue girl said...

Great! I'm hooked. This is one wild family.

Dan Leo said...

Welcome to the family, Auntie Blue.

Manny said...

Love the interactive thing you've got going on here. Like a 3-D novel.

Dan Leo said...

It's the multimedia generation, dude! If only I could get the smell of pot through the computer screen somehow...Oh well, provide your own, son.

dianne said...

love it! Thanks Dan!

kathleenmaher said...

Where would the world be without these super-achieving addicts?

Deirdre's the Catholic school girl I always aspired to be. Of course, my family was not as laissez-faire.

Dan Leo said...

I've got just one word for you, Dianne: "No, my dear, I thank you!"

Kathleen: It was 12 years of Catholic schooling that made me the goddam pagan I am today.

Manny said...

I hear smell-o-vision will be coming soon to the internet.