Saturday, December 19, 2009

“Uncle Buddy’s House”, Chapter 29: go now?

When last we saw our hero, that middle-aged Romeo named Buddy Best, he was sitting in his car outside his house on North Ivar Avenue in Hollywood, USA, waiting, while his would-be young paramour Cordelia speaks with Buddy’s daughter Liz and his son Philip, who has very recently surprised Buddy and Cordelia in not-quite flagrante delicto...

(Go here to go to read our previous thrilling chapter, or if you must, click here to go back to the beginning of this “rollicking romp of a really rip-roaring (as well as rip-snorting) good read” -- (J.J. Hunsecker, in Women’s Wear Daily.)


The three of them were all standing by the kitchen counter. Philip had a bottle of Anchor Steam, the girls were sharing a big bottle of Diet Coke, and they were all smoking cigarettes.

“Dad,” said Philip, “I was just getting ready to come out and get you.”

“Ah,” said Buddy.

“I’m sorry, Buddy,” said Cordelia. “We got to talking.”

“It’s our fault, Dad,” said Liz.

“You want a beer, Dad?” said Philip.

“Uh,” said Buddy, “Cordelia, don’t you have a dance class?”

“Oh, what kind of dance do you take?” asked Liz.

“Modern,” said Cordelia, “but I’ve taken all kinds --”

“I should join up,” said Liz. “I really need the exercise, I am so out of shape.”

“No you’re not,” said Cordelia.

“Oh, yes, I am. Look at my big ass --”

“Oh, please, Liz, my ass is twice the size of yours.”

“Oh it is not, you look terrific.”

“Do you think so? I really want to lose like fifteen pounds, but --”

“No!”

“Well, like twelve?”

“You’re perfect! Philip, tell her.”

“She looked okay to me,” said Philip. “I mean, you look okay, uh, Dad, why don’t you have a beer?”

“Well -- uh, Cordelia, so the, uh, dance class is uh --”

“I can go to a later one.”

“Ah.”

“Yeah, the way they work it at this place it’s a set price per month and you can go whenever, so there’s one at --”

“I should go there,” said Liz. “Where is it?”

“Down in Venice?”

“Like if I had somebody to go with maybe I wouldn’t blow it off.”

Buddy went over to the range and picked up the kettle.

“Dad,” said Liz, “do you want me to make you some coffee?”

“No, that’s okay, I’m gonna make some tea.”

“Let me, Dad.”

“No, that’s okay, sweety.”

Buddy was a little particular about his tea. After his two-week post-Joan self-pity binge he had gone to the Farmer’s Market and bought this good Irish breakfast tea, and he liked to do it his way. He filled the kettle with spring water and put it on the fire. He measured some tea into the filter of his teapot. Then he looked out the window into his back yard, all shimmering in the afternoon light. The kids had sat down as one at the kitchen table and were talking about gyms and workouts. His cellphone buzzed and he took it out; it was the office.

“Yo.”

“Buddy, where the hell are you?” said Debbie.

“I’m home. Why?” he said and then he remembered -- “Oh, Christ, the meeting with what-the-fuck’s-his-name --” The jerk from HBO. No, Showtime -- “Is he there?”

“Yeah, in the other room. We’re waiting.”

Buddy headed through the kitchen and out the door into the sunlight, saying:

“Shit.”

“I called your cell and left a message. Did you have it turned off?”

“Um -- well --”

“So I called Musso’s and they said you hadn’t been there.”

“No, we didn’t, I didn’t, we didn’t, uh, go there.”

“Where did you --? What did you --?”

“Okay, listen, Deb. Tell the guy I had a family emergency --”

“Oh, come on --”

“No, come to think of it, look, just tell him the truth. I spaced.”

“Okay. Do you want me to ask him to wait?”

“No, just have the meeting without me. Whatever you and Harvey decide is fine.”

“Okay.”

“You can call me an asshole now.”

“Asshole.”

“All right. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Wait, Harvey’s coming out.”

“Tell him I’ll see him tomorrow too.”

“Wait,” she said.

“Hey, Buddy.”

“Yeah, sorry, Harve.”

“Don’t worry about it. How’d it go?”

“How’d what go?”

“Your lunch.”

“Lunch was fine.”

“Great. Hey, wait a minute. Deb, go in there, tell him I’ll be right in.” Buddy heard Debbie’s and Marlene’s voices in the background, and then Harvey spoke into the phone again, in a quieter voice. “So, how’d it go?”

“What?”

“Lunch?”

“I just spaced, Harve. Do the meeting without me.”

“Yeah, but how’d it go? What’s up with the Mariner’s daughter? Where are you, anyway?”

“I’m at home.”

“Is she there?”

“Uh, look, Harve, can we not talk about this?”

“Oh, so there is something to talk about. That’s great.”

“Okay, Harve, look, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“So she is there.”

“Harve --”

“Dude --”

“What?”

“I’ve just got one request.”

“What?”

“Put it in once for me, pal.”

Buddy folded up the phone. He realized that he was looking at the garden, and that Liz had made it look nice again. The freeway hummed, the little birdies chirped. Cordelia was sitting in there in the kitchen with his son and daughter. What he wanted to do was to walk around to the front of the house, go inside and go upstairs, go to his room, lock the door, close the curtains and take to his bed with a pillow over his head. But of course he couldn’t do that.


****


“So, Cordelia,” said Philip, “what’s up with you and Dad?”

“Philip!” said Liz.

“What?”

“Shut the fuck up!”

“It’s okay, Liz,” said Cordelia.

“No it isn’t. You don’t have to tell him anything.”

“God, you’re such a hypocrite, Liz,” said Philip.

“Fuck you!”

“Uh, no, uh, fuck you?”

“I’ll slap you.”

“Oh, help.”

“Jerk.”

“So, Cordelia,” said Philip, “back to you.”

“Uh-huh?”

“You and Dad?”

Liz glared at Philip. Cordelia put her hand on Liz’s.

“Liz, really, it’s okay.”

“Fine,” said Liz, “but he’s still a jerk.”

“So?” said Philip.

“Well,” said Cordelia, “it’s kind of a strange story.”

“Great,” said Philip.

“It’s strange because of who I am.”

The kettle began to whistle.

“Oh, I’ll get that,” said Cordelia, starting to get up.

“No, I’ve got it,” said Liz, waving Cordelia down and getting up herself. “Go on.”

“I’ll wait till you get it,” said Cordelia.

Liz went over to the range and, since Cordelia was looking at Liz, Philip admired Cordelia’s bosom and the little tattoo of some mysterious object which tantalizingly hove into and out of sight from under the top of her dress depending on Cordelia’s breathing and her posture of the moment. Cordelia glanced back and busted him, they both smiled weakly.

Buddy came in.

“Oh, hi, Dad,” said Liz. “I’ve got your tea for you.”

She studiously poured hot water into the teapot, and Philip and Cordelia silently looked at the table top.

Deirdre appeared in the kitchen doorway. Why was she home so early? Or did she always get home this early on whatever day today was?

“Hi, everybody,” she said. “You’re back,” she said to Liz and Philip. “Hello, I’m Deirdre,” she said to Cordelia. “Who are you?


****


They ordered pizza, they ate and talked, and then everybody helped move Liz’s stuff in from the rental truck. Cordelia went up to Liz’s room with Deirdre to help Liz put her stuff away, and Buddy and Philip cleared the table and washed the dishes.

Buddy told Philip about the new concept for Return to Death Island Part III.

“So,” said Philip, “it’s now gonna be like Triggerwoman III?”

“Right, except Triggerwoman II isn’t called Triggerwoman II anymore. We gotta think of some new title.”

“Cool.”

“So, you wanta make a few bucks and give the script another pass, make it more like a sequel to Triggerwoman II which isn’t Triggerwoman II anymore? I’ll give you the other script and a rough cut on DVD to watch.”

“Sure.”

“You know, just change it so the two leads are the same characters, shouldn’t be too hard to do.”

“I’m your man, Dad.”

They went out to sit by the pool with a couple of beers. Ming had come out with them and she jumped up onto Buddy’s lap.

“Oh, by the way --” said Philip. “Cordelia?”

“Yeah?”

“She rocks, Dad.”

Buddy didn’t say anything. Sunlight shimmered in the garden and on the tiles, sparkled in the pool.

“I mean she totally rocks,” said Philip.

“I know she rocks. But dig. She’s not my girlfriend, Philip.”

“That’s cool. I’m just saying she rocks. Like, pass her on to me when you’re finished, dude.”

Buddy turned and looked at Philip, didn’t say anything, and looked away. People were killing each other in Iraq.

“How did you meet her, Dad, anyway?”

Buddy rubbed Ming’s head.

“That -- is kind of strange.”

The door behind them opened.

“Hey, Buddy,” said Cordelia.

He twisted around.

“I guess I should go now,” she said.


(Continued here, and until the chickens come home to roost.)

(Please go to the right hand column of this page to find a listing of links to all other presently-available episodes of Uncle Buddy’s House™; a Larry Winchester Production, filmed on location in and around Los Angeles, California, and at Monument Pictures Studios in Hollywood.)

4 comments:

kathleenmaher said...

Uncle Buddy rocks. He heads one amazingly happy family. (I had to go kinda agro to get my hands on my daughter's laptop even.) Can't wait for more.

Dan Leo said...

I know what you mean, Kathleen. Buddy's is the dysfunctional family that brings the fun back into dysfunctionality. As we sink into the holiday season I think we could all learn a thing or two from the Best ménage.

dianne said...

Bloody Brilliant.

Dan Leo said...

Aw, thanks, Di.