Work In Progress

Dispatches from the Wasteland: Passion Flowers

Note: This is an excerpt from another book-in-progress, one concerning a family cruise in the Caribbean. All you really need to know is that Tiffany is my best friend, Terry is my partner, and things can get steamy in the heat of a tropical sun…


Now, let’s venture into a little side story, one involving a torrid love obsession that grew in strength as the days rolled by. It was a decidedly one-sided affair, and no physical transgressions actually took place, but there was definitely an attraction, one resulting in innocent but increased flirtation as the ship plowed onward, much to the extreme amusement of myself and the other family members who were paying attention.

Tiffany found herself a little girlfriend.

Of course, Tiffany was not in the market for an international lover, especially one with body parts that match her own. Tiffany is only interested in callers of a gentlemanly nature, shall we say. But La Tiffany, a sophisticated woman who is accepting and supportive of all the colors in the rainbow, is not above slightly working things to her advantage, should the opportunity arise. And if that opportunity should involve the quality and expediency of bar service aboard a cruise liner? Well, all the better.

And now let’s introduce Fuchsia, a charming woman from an exotic land not our own. (This is not her real name, naturally, we must protect her identity from the overlords at Carnival, especially that hyperactive and cheerleading Hennie the Cruise Director, who has far too much time on his jazz hands.) We met Fuchsia the very first day, working as she was behind the counter of what became “our bar” on the Lido Deck. She had a blazing smile, a pleasing personality, and we loved her instantly. We loved her even more as the drinks kept coming.

Fuchsia treated all of us with professionalism and charm, promptly satisfying all of our needs. But it soon became evident that Fuchsia’s sparkle was brightest when Tiffany had a libation request, especially once Fuchsia determined that Terry and I were not possible suitors of Tiffany. (This revelation was probably most obvious when the two of us would drool as yet another finely-muscled member of the male species would walk past shirtless. Or the Madonna references. Or the singing of show tunes. Quite a lot to pick from, actually.)

Anyway, the one-sided tropical crush soon took on a decided rhythm when Tiffany and Fuchsia would encounter one another, and it went something like this…

Tiffany, always mindful of paparazzi that she envisioned surrounding her, would purposely choose the further away and less-convenient elevator bank on the other side of the deck, away from our bar. This would increase the amount of sun-kissed wooden planking that Tiffany had to cross in order to quench her lushly-glossed lips, allowing her ample acreage on which to stroll saucily while pretending to be disinterested in all her adoring fans in the deck chairs along the way.

Fuchsia, upon spying her beloved making such an enticing entrance, would rush to clear a section of the counter, even if it meant lying to a patron about the availability of free iPads at the back of the ship, just so they would vacate a barstool. Fuchsia would then thoroughly sanitize said section of counter, polish said stool, and plop down a small crystal vase holding native flowers that Fuchsia had brought all the way from her home country for just such an occasion.

Tiffany, once done with her promenade among the fans (and this alone could take hours), would finally wander toward the bar and then pause just shy of it, glancing around contemplatively, as if not certain where she wished to purchase her next cocktail, there were so many choices. If necessary, she would pepper her performance with a dramatic, unresolved sigh.

Fuchsia, quivering in anticipation, would stand as tall as she possibly could, doing her best to look warm, welcoming, and completely available. If one of her co-workers stupidly walked into the visual gap between her and Tiffany, Fuchsia would shove that person under the counter or over the side of the ship.

Tiffany, releasing another small sigh along the lines of “well, I suppose this will do, in a pinch”, pretends to reach a decision that she fully intended to reach all along. She sashays up to the open barstool, and then pauses again, as if she can’t actually see the engraved, golden nameplate and the single rose that has been lovingly placed in the seat by her trembling admirer.

Tiffany finally makes full eye contact with Fuchsia. “May I?”

Fuchsia, sporting a smile so big it nearly splits her head in two, nods vehemently, unable to speak, what with how the glorious gods have just blessed her day and her libido.

Tiffany smiles briefly, then proceeds to arrange herself artfully on the stool, making sure everything is just so, and remembering to hold each movement for the requisite three seconds the paparazzi will need to get an adequate photo. Finally settled, she parts her shining lips to make a request. “Could I trouble you for-”

Fuchsia instantly slams down a drink in front of Tiffany, one carefully concocted of such exquisite flavors and colors that merely contemplating the consumption of such beauty is more than enough satisfaction to last a lifetime. Fuchsia tenderly and carefully removes the last bit of paper from the straw, instantly jealous of the lucky plastic that will soon be nestled between Tiffany’s lips, and worshipfully slides the treasure forward.

Tiffany embellishes her performance with more dramatic delaying tactics, pausing to turn and intimately wave at what she thinks is Gwyneth Paltrow standing near the chili dog station (“Let’s do lunch, sweetie! Call me!”) but it’s totally not. Then she deftly uses her manicured hand to insert the straw into the favorite part of her anatomy and begins sucking, extending one pinky outwards, because really, shouldn’t you always do that?

Tiffany pauses again, this time unplanned. “Oh my, Fuchsia, darling. This is extraordinary, simply beyond words. My tongue is tingling with satisfaction. What does one call this?”

Fuchsia is barely able to remain standing, thoughts of Tiffany’s satisfied tongue battling with her need to remain coherent and eventually marry her fashion bride. “It does not have a name, I leave that for you to bestow, if you find it worthy. It has 22 different liquors in it, 12 of which I distilled myself, last night, using a colander and a hair dryer.”

“Oh heavens,” mutters Tiffany, basically unable to stop with the sucking because the liquid glory is satisfyingly irresistible. “You really shouldn’t have gone to so much trouble, with the distilling and all.” She pauses yet, again, this time to belch discreetly, and eyes her now half-empty container. “But since you did, how about we fetch another one, yes?”

Fuchsia, gratefully willing to do anything that is remotely thrilling to her beloved, immediately races to the ice machine and begins hacking away to break the chunks, with great exuberance, thusly relieving at least a small amount of her burning desire. Little chiplets of said ice go flying through the air, tinkling down on the two co-workers at the other end of the bar, but they aren’t really a part of this particular story and therefore we don’t care.

Speaking of unconcern for the lesser characters, it is at this point that I arrive on the scene. Well, not arrive, exactly, because I’ve been standing just off to the side the entire time, mentally filing blog notes about the tawdriness and desperation. My own beverage has become depleted, and steps must be taken.

So I take steps to the bar.

Fuchsia is busily adding love-scented garnishes to Tiffany’s second offering when she notices me standing there. Her eyes briefly spark with the horrible implications of what my arrival might bring. (“Go away, little gay friend of Tiffany. Do not take her away from me. Bad gay boy!”) But then she recovers and retains her professionalism. “What can I get for you?”

I wave my empty beer bottle. “Another one, when you have a minute.”

Now her eyes are expressing another situation. Of course she has a minute, that’s what she’s here for, once Tiffany is happy. But replenishments for my particular brand of beer are way at the other end of the bar, with the ice-chip people. If she leaves Tiffany’s front for any length of time, horrible things could happen, like distracting gay friends suggesting other places that Tiffany might wish to visit, places that correspondingly do not have a Fuchsia. Her eyes hate me again.

On the other hand, if I have something to drink, maybe I’ll just go away. Or at least sit down and be quiet and say witty gay things that are mildly amusing. So Fuchsia takes her chances, and takes off running.

I turn to Tiffany. “What should we do next? Should we go see what everybody else is doing?”

Down at yonder bar end, Fuchsia hears my words, her ears being finely-tuned to all things Tiffany, lying in bed late at night and listening to the sounds of Tiffany’s eyelids fluttering several decks away. (Whoosh, whoosh.) She turns and races back, leaping over a co-worker who chose that moment to bend down and retrieve a dropped maraschino cherry.

“I don’t know,” breathes Tiffany, absently fondling her second offering of love nectar. “What do you think?”

Fuschia crash-lands in front of us, practically hurls my unopened beer at me, and completely fails at any pretense of nonchalance. Her eyes implore me beseechingly. Please do not abscond with the fair maiden.

“Well,” I say. “I suppose we could just wait right here and see if anybody comes along. Sound good?”

Fuchsia’s eyes, instantly dewy with mingled lust and gratitude, whip toward the damsel.

Tiffany pauses, artisan of pausing that she is, taking another slurp before responding. “I believe I find that satisfactory. For now. We shall see.”


To Be Continued…


Originally published as a full draft chapter in “The Sound and the Fury” on 11/19/11 and shortened for this post. (Yep, I’ve been fiddling with this book for a while.) No changes made from the working draft, although I’m aware that the verb-tense continuity is a bit hinky, not the first time I’ve been guilty of such. (Because I’m a bad gay.) For the curious, this book is a murder-mystery with dual story lines (one true, one not), and Fuchsia has a minor role in both plots. And yes, I’ve shared excerpts from this mess before, in case things feel slightly familiar…


25 replies »

  1. This is gloriously written and had me smiling from ear to ear the entire time. Not least because I myself enjoy cruises with a fabulous gay couple and it evoked many happy memories. I hope you finish this book, I would certainly like to read it.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. B!!!!! More of this PLEASE!!!!!!
    I have never (well maybe once…) smiled so much while reading something. This is glorious and gigglesome and naughty and cheeky and all the things I painfully ADORE about you. What else…you’re my favourite person today. LOVE you FIERCELY.
    “…Hennie the Cruise Director, who has far too much time on his jazz hands…”
    is…genius! I had friend at uni, exactly like that! Although he was gay, he enjoyed smooching me a LOT. Apparently my kisses were very exotic. I took it is a huge compliment, obviously.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dearest One,

      It’s comments like this one that have me swooning in rapture, no sarcasm intended. Those four adjectives you used are perfect, as I strive to meet all those objectives. It’s sometimes a little intimidating when I release my little child stories into the ether, but responses such as this give me the strength to keep being just as obscure and random as I’ve always been.

      Much love,
      (Not a fan of Hennie)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hahaha, brilliant. Smiling from ear to ear this morning.
        Also, I made you swoon! La la la la laaaaaa la! *Doing a silly, dance to make fun of you*
        You’re the bestest 💜🤗

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I am heartened that Tiffany knows the correct way to drink anything at all is with the pinky finger cocked, just so. This was taught as a whole module at my finishing school – you would be amazed at how many hours it took to really perfect. Maestro – this is a tour de force and as a billet doux, a spritzy taster of this novel of yours it is beyond enticing and provoked a splendid Osythian Snort thus alarming the Bison rather satisfyingly. A jolly find interlude, good sire!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you kindly, Osyth. Your generous words have once again given me the inspiration to continue banging away on my tawdry little manuscripts. When I eventually accept my Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay (“The Benign Trollops of St. Tropez”), I will surely mention you as one of my guiding muses…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I am all agog to find out whether Fuschia realizes her goal…..or continues to only to serve and worship from afar off… I’ve never been on a cruise, but this tempting morsel of a story makes me wonder if I shouldn’t give it a whirl. Avoiding Hennie of course, because who needs that kind of mess in one’s face, when one is seeking forbidden love amongst the palm fronds and has beautiful things to contemplate? Of course the experience might be lessened, given the fact that I don’t drink, and of late my indulgence of the other love that dare not speak its name (food, food, FOOD, not exotic females that could theoretically light a girl’s fire) is restricted, so…. maybe what would be the point. I can save the money, stay stateside and land locked, and read about it from a certain brilliant author’s point of view. I hope the book is published soon, or at least that you drop a chapter on us now and again (frequently) because I’ve been bereft since I finished ‘Screaming” (twice) and “Unexpected’ was finished..

    Liked by 2 people

    • In my current vision for the story, Fuchsia does indeed realize a goal, but it’s not quite the one she expected. But since I keep screwing around with the plot, some of exploits may end up on the cutting room floor. We shall see.

      As for the cruise, I’m torn between whether or not I should recommend such for you. I had a swell time, but I must confess that my pleasurable experience was aided to a considerable degree by the flow of alcohol. Without this enabler, I probably would not have had as good of a time, as I would then have to soberly deal with a number of things that we both dislike (rude people, screaming and unsupervised children, idiocy, etc). I’ll have to ponder this one.

      This book WILL eventually come out. I’ve spent far too much time on it to let it wither in a dusty drawer. Keep the faith. And thank you for double-reading “Screaming”. I’m not sure that anybody ever has… 😉


    • I feel behooved to mention that you might somewhat identify with a certain character in the story named Annabelle, who starts out as a Singing Telegram Dancer but then gets recruited to help solve the crime. I don’t know if you can sing or dance, but her offbeat humor is something that I imagine hearing from you… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m typing as fast as I can. Well, except for the times when I spend the entire day lolling about on the couch and reading and reading an entire novel, because it’s raining outside and why wouldn’t I do such?…. 😉


    • Thanks, Lynette. By the way, and I’m only asking this for story-research purposes, would you happen to know the best way to hide a body whilst on a cruise ship? Because this IS a murder mystery and I want to be creative with the deception. Text me! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. How flipping funny. I demand to know how to receive such service from CARNIVAL cruise line!?! The ships of fools who float around the Caribbean with botulism and cabins full of infectious passengers unable to access a port of call until all of its typhoid Annie’s and Andy’s are cleared for human interaction. If nothing else their decidedly ugly decor keeps gives me insomnia.

    Liked by 1 person

    • While there are certain aspects of Carnival Cruises that annoy me (there are FAR too many children running around in what is basically a drunkfest, some of the clientele just don’t know how to behave), it all comes down to this: as long as you are traveling with the right people, most things are bearable. Most things… 😉


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