Monday, August 31, 2009

“Uncle Buddy’s House”, Chapter 11: cup of joe

Buddy Best, that B-movie auteur, has just had his wife leave him for a bad actor, and Buddy’s son has moved back home following the failure of his own marriage. In our previous episode Buddy just barely survived the dreaded parental duty of an interview with the mother superior of his stepdaughter Deirdre’s school, concerning a certain infraction of a concupiscent kind. But our hero’s travails are far from over...

(Click here to go our first chapter, and go to the right hand side of this page to find a listing of links to all other available chapters of Uncle Buddy's House. “Makes Jackie Collins seem like Proust.” -- J.J. Hunsecker, syndicated columnist.)

He woke up, and there was Deirdre with a mug of coffee. The clock said five-fifty-eight.

“Well, thanks, Deirdre, how was school today?”

She sat down on the side of the bed.

“I didn’t go, Uncle Buddy. I got suspended, remember?”

“Oh, right -- so, what did you do all day?”

“I slept late and then I read and then I practiced my violin and now I just got back from ballet class.”

“Great. Wow, good coffee.”

Buddy felt a little uncomfortable because he was naked under the covers and because there was some semen-sogged Kleenex on the floor on the other side of the bed. But the coffee was good.

“So did you talk to Mother Mathilde?” she asked.

Mathilde, right, not Hermione. Hermione?

“Uncle Bud?”

“Right. Yeah, we had a good talk.”

“And am I expelled, or what?”

“No, no, not at all, just, you know, one-day suspension. You’re back tomorrow. And try to keep your nose clean.”

Poor choice of words, but she didn’t seem to notice. Ming had followed her into the room. Deirdre picked the cat up and stroked her back.

“So am I grounded or whatever?”

“No, fuck no, I mean, sorry, no, just, you know, be cool. At school.”

“Be cool at school.”

“Right. Damn good coffee.”

“But I can lesbo-out outside of school?”

“Well, you’re probably gonna do whatever the hell you want no matter what I say, right?”

She looked away.

“Do you think I’m a lesbian?”

“What? I don’t know. Are you?”

“I don’t know.”

“Well, if you don’t know, how am I supposed to know? I mean, you don’t seem like a hardcore bull dyke --”

“I’m not a hardcore bull dyke. God.”

“Well, okay, then.”

She sat there with the cat on her lap. Buddy rubbed the cat’s head.

“I’m kind of attracted to boys,” said Deirdre. “But I don’t really like them.”

“Yeah, well --”

“What?”

“I don’t know, teenage boys --”

“Yeah, they’re pretty gross,” said Deirdre.

“Yeah,” said Buddy.

“Do you know, I’m a virgin.”

“Whoa, okay, lookit, baby, tell ya what, save this shit for your mother.”

“I don’t like my fucking mother. And anyway my mother’s in fucking France. With her fucking boyfriend. And besides which she’s a fucking idiot and a shallow stupid bitch you should’ve never married in the first place. God, what did you ever see in her?”

Buddy took a moment or two, and then said:

“Okay, so, hey, tell ya what, why don’t you get outa here, let me get dressed and I’ll come down and have some more of this joe.”

She didn’t get up. The cat had gotten off her lap and sat on the bed looking at Buddy.

“Uncle Buddy, it’s not going to kill you to talk to me, dude.”

“That’s what you think.”

“Ha. Ha. Ha ha ha. Jerk.”

“All right --”

“I’ll bet you never talked to Liz about this stuff either, did you?”

“You’re damn right I didn’t.”

“Maybe if you had talked to her she wouldn’t’ve been so --”

“Ah, come on --"

“What.”

“Get out of here.”

She sat there. She put her hand on Ming’s head and stroked the cat down to its tail.

“All right,” said Buddy. “What do you want to talk about?”

“I don’t know.”

She continued stroking Ming.

“Okay,” he said. “Look, you want my advice? Stay a virgin. For as long as you possibly can.”

“Oh. Wow. That’s helpful.”

“Well, what the fuck, it’s the best I can do --”

“And what about girls?”

“Ah, Christ, get the fuck out of here.”

“Are you naked under that sheet?”

“Come on, fuck off.”

“Sorry.”

She got off the bed, slowly.

“Hey, look,” said Buddy, “thanks for the coffee.”

“You’re welcome.”

She still didn’t leave though.

“What?” said Buddy. “Look, I’m sorry I told you to fuck off.”

“I don’t care about that. I was being a bitch.”

“Okay.”

“Mom’s gonna make me leave here, isn’t she?”

“I don’t know, baby. Probably.”

She looked away for a bit.

“All right. See ya later, dude.”

“See ya,” said Buddy.

She left. She didn’t shut the door all the way. The cat jumped off the bed and followed her.

Buddy was sweating again. He heard voices downstairs, Philip’s and some other guy’s, and Deirdre’s. He got out of the sack.



Buddy came down in his bathing trunks and robe. Philip and some shaven-headed and goateed kid whom Buddy had met but whose name he couldn’t remember -- Chad or Jeremy or Peter or Gordon -- were carrying boxes into the house. Philip was moving back in. Deirdre sat curled up on the sofa with her Discman on, reading a book. The Bell Jar.

“Hey, just in time to help us, Dad,” said Philip.

“Fuck that, I’m taking a swim.”

“Yo, Dad. You swim for exercise, right? So help me and Jeremy carry shit, that’s exercise.”

“Yeah, which you need, now don’t work too hard,” and Buddy went out to do some laps.


(Will Buddy finally grow up and accept some parental responsibility? Who knows? Go here for our next thrilling episode of Uncle Buddy’s House. A Selmur Production, starring Wallace Beery, with Linda Darnell as "Deirdre"; screenplay by Ben Hecht and Anita Loos; produced and directed by Larry Winchester.)

3 comments:

kathleenmaher said...

Buddy might be an unconventional father figure but I don't think he's irresponsible. He's getting a divorce, so he's made a mistake: people do. And he's honest about not knowing what Deirdre's grown-up sexual preferences might be. His reluctance to explore her virginity at 16 seems appropriate and fatherly. Imagine the opposite.

Dan Leo said...

It's nice to get a mother's perspective here, Kathleen. In Buddy's position I think I would have pulled the covers over my head and moaned, "Go 'way!"

Manny said...

From a father's perspective, I think Buddy's doing okay. And from a reader's perspective, he's doing great!