And here we have the conclusion of my collaboration with Embeecee, a crazed lark that really goes off the rails in this segment. What else did you expect? Enjoy. (And here’s the link to the first part, if you need it. And you will.)
The van wheezing to a halt on the street was one of those leftover horrors from the 70s, when everyone had slightly obscene murals painted on the sides and the vehicle always reeked of “clove” cigarettes. It parked somewhat shoddily in front of the house now christened Den of Iniquity, a moniker liberally thrown about by the nosy harridan across the road.
“Oh, my LORD” whispered Celia, her futile attempt to gain a look behind the blinds of said Den suddenly aborted. This espionage interruptus was partly due to Bucky Lee succumbing to the strain of the Celia-hoisting, falling over and sending Celia on a brief flight into the begonias, and partly due to the tumbler’s sudden revelation. “It’s my MOTHER” croaked the flora-scented Celia. “Quick, HIDE!” (Bucky, contemplating a life of unceasing back pain and therapy, ignored this sage wisdom and just curled up tighter into his go-to fetal position.) Celia, always ready for anything after a troubled childhood, did the time-honored thing and ran down the sidewalk, intent on fleeing the scene and potential responsibility.
From the depths of the van appeared a Presence. Sporting a wildly-colored muu muu, unnaturally red hair standing out in a wide Afro, a thick-set woman clomped out. (The van, relieved of its substantial burden, rocked slightly and gave a slight vehicular groan of the automotive kind. Those big people ALWAYS drove vans and vans were not appreciative of the attention. Hard on the shock absorbers and tie rods, but that’s another story for another time.)
“CEEEE LIAAA!” Bellowed the apparition, “CELIA CLAMPETT! Get your ass back here girl!” Ma Clampett did not mind making a public spectacle of herself, as witnessed by her wearing of a dress that was meant for Hawaiian beaches and a lot of gin. (Mr. Truffletwit could appreciate that angle, he sure could.) Ma turned to the prone figure on the unnaturally green lawn. “Bucky LEE” (her voice tended to drift upwards when she was irritated, which meant that it was often drifting) “…what have you been doing with my GIRL??”
Bucky Lee, sensing movement or speech would only sully the situation, pretended to be dead. Besides, he couldn’t move anyway, and if he were lucky, he would die. The Clampetts and Buckboards had never gotten along. Only an unfortunate reading of “Romeo and Juliet” and some grade-A weed had prompted, the romantic idea that he, like Romeo, could rescue Celia cum Juliet and they’d live happily ever after. In the current circumstances, though, the whole poison idea from the play was taking on a newfound appeal. Especially since Ma Clampett had a wicked kick, one that any Denver Bronco quarterback might envy. She knew how to hit just the right spots, too. Like kidneys and fractured backs. Bucky moaned a little.
Ma Clampett glared at the rapidly disappearing figure of her daughter. Damn girl would choose this street and this damned house to show off her budding illicit romance. That Ravitz woman would be watching, too, and waiting for juicy morsels to add to her dossier on everyone in town. No wonder nobody wanted to talk to HER, they knew she might start charging to keep quiet. “Goddamned kids” muttered Ma, clamoring back into the old van. The van groaned and thought briefly of not starting at all, but remembered the old woman tended to bite. (Just look at the sad state of the former glorious, shag-carpet upholstery if you didn’t believe that. You’d think they kept farm animals in here.) Besides, refusing to start could lead to another bout at Randy’s House of Thrif-T Car Repair, and Van didn’t know if he could endure such a thing. That guy didn’t know a lug nut from his own.
Ma ground the starter, and the van rumbled to life, producing clouds of burnt-oil laden exhaust. The air turned blue, even bluer than the air at a Peter Frampton concert back in the day. Suddenly, the slightly-chipped green door of the Den of Iniquity burst open. An oddly-attractive, though not handsome man appeared in the door, clad only in a bustier, black silk panties, a garter belt, fishnet stockings and black stilettos. (Kay Ravitz, greedily ingesting the developments from behind her own blinds across the street, let out a gasp and then fell over in a faint, as this was far too much for someone posing as a good Christian woman. On the other end of the line, Miriam, hearing the thud, considered calling 911, then realized she was enjoying the silence. She hung up.)
“WHY ARE YOU DISTURBING MY PARTY??” the oddly-attractive man yelled, “GET OFF MY LAWN AND TAKE THAT HORRID BELCHING VAN WITH YOU!!” Bucky, still prone and ineffective and having never seen a sweet transvestite, just stared, mouth open. A moth, fluttering by, took advantage of this and flew into the boy’s gaping orifice, causing him to choke and bite down, thus ending the moth’s adventures for all time. “BLEAH!” said Bucky, spewing bits of moth flesh and pawing at his tongue in a futile attempt to rid himself of the taste. “Hey man-lady? Do you have some water? PLEASE?”
The man, having gotten an eyeful of Bucky in the begonias, and noting that he was tall and tanned and blonde, albeit a bit scrawny, got an odd look on his face. (Perhaps he sensed a Pygmalion project at hand?) “Oh, you poor thing,” purred Frank, “DO come in. I’ve got a few friends over and I’m sure you’re going to be a big hit, just the thing to liven up this dull party!”
Ma Clampett, still trying to get her truculent vehicle to cooperate in any way, stopped her ministrations and stared out the smeared windows of her van, bemused in wonder at the man in women’s underclothes. This was a sight which had never been seen in Utah, outside of those few odd people who clustered around the Blue Mouse Theater at midnight, chanting something about “Rocky” and “Touch-a Touch-a Touch Me”. Suddenly inspired, Ma slapped the engine into gear and the van lurched across the property line of the Den of Iniquity, destroying a bit of decorative hedge that had never done anything to anybody and shouldn’t have been violated in such a manner.
The van, upon encountering this minimal bit of innocent hedge, instantly stalled, causing fumes of burnt oil to billow lavishly, just like some of the special effects at the closing ceremony of the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002. Ma rolled down her crusty window. “Hey,” she hollered, “can I borrow your phone? My car has broken down.” She then smiled winsomely, but no one could really see this, what with all the billowing.
(Truth be told, Ma couldn’t care less about her broke-down hoopty. Her real motivation was to get beyond the green door, as she had noticed another bit of billowing from said door, a wafting that smelt of Mother Nature’s Green and Peter Frampton. Ma hadn’t been able to find such fine herbology in a very long time in this faux religious corner of God’s world. Truth be told, part two, Ma and daughter Celia both yearned for this particular Holy Granola, but the younger Clampett had stupidly run away at a critical moment.)
Frank, alternately appalled by Muu Muu Mama and titillated by Begonia Bucky, turned to the sallow apparition who had just appeared in the green doorway (whose hair resembled dead corn silk, and whose shoes gleamed brightly) and said “Bernie? Could you assist the… lady… with her issue? I’m going to help this nice young man here.”
As Frank stepped off the porch, his stiletto caught in the crack where the sidewalk joined up to the porch and he fell, crash-landing directly on top of Bucky, who had now grown weary of all the unexpected acrobatics this evening had proffered. Bucky started to protest, but then he realized that something felt so right. “Oh,” said Bucky, who had never been all that verbose, “I think I’m happy to meet you. Could you squirm a bit more so I can make sure?”
Suddenly, Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis came walking up the street.
Susan: “Before I accept this Academy Award, I must protest about the stereotypical treatment of female characters in this screenplay.”
Geena: “And I must apologize for that stupid pirate movie I made that destroyed my career. I don’t know what I was thinking. Perhaps I was distracted because I was banging the director.”
Susan, glaring at Geena: “Sister, did it ever occur to you that maybe you shouldn’t vocalize everything that pops into your brain?”
Geena, glaring back: “Did it ever occur to you that I won my Academy Award before you did?
Susan: “But I’m the one who drove us off the cliff in Thelma and Louise. We were superstars after that.”
Geena: “But we died, Susan. What does that say about standing up for your cause?”
Frank, a bit breathy as he continued to indoctrinate Bucky’s begonia: “Hey, Susan. Long time, no musical drag routines. Are you here for the party?”
Susan: “I’m here for the Green Party. I voted for Jill Stein.”
Geena: “Blow it out your ass, Susan. If you hadn’t pulled that Green Party crap, Trump would never have won the election.”
Bucky Lee: “There are so many things about this situation that I don’t understand right now.”
Claudette, an otherwise innocent Australian who just happened to be walking down the other side of the street for no apparent reason: “Oh, honey, I hear you. When Bonnywood gets political, you just have to hunker down and pray for daylight.”
Celia, suddenly running back down the street from wherever her irresponsible ass had fled: “Speaking of Australia, what about me? It isn’t fair. I’ve had enough now I want my share.”
Claudette: “Oh. Okay, I’ll approve that song reference. I might regret doing so, but I’m good right now.”
Ma Clampett: “Girl, don’t listen to Celia. She is anything but good. I should know, since I failed to raise her in a respectable manner.”
Frank, suddenly performing a dismount from the Begonia Patch: “I seem to have lost focus for a minute. Let’s all go inside and meet our host.”
Bucky Lee: “But I thought you were the host. You’ve been hosting me for the last fifteen minutes.”
Celia: “And I thought the guy with the shiny shoes was the host.”
Frank smiled. “Nothing is ever as it seems. Join me in the foyer?”
The ensemble cast piled through the doorway, in that haphazard manner which is the hallmark of many poorly-directed independent films.
Frank made a grand flourish. “May I present to you the master of ceremonies.”
Vladimir Putin stepped forward. “Welcome to Amerika.”
Bucky Lee: “Oh, shit.”
Ma Clampett: “I really need some of that weed right now.”
Note: Many thanks to the lovely Embeecee for her creativity, inspiration and patience. It wouldn’t have been the same without you. Smooch.