…Ah, What the Heck. Here’s Chapter Six, “Countertop Discourse” (NSFW)

A new day, a new adventure. Veronique washes her face in her pajamas, a white ringer tee with a bar code design and black silk pants. She knows how long people can take in the bathroom so she made sure to be the first one up. Last night, she checked on Quinevere once the screaming stopped and was told that they could stay.

She gathered her niece from the shallow end of the forest and told her the good news. She knew that this getaway would be good for Fantine. To get her out of the house and to meet other people. After having tucked her in and reminded her that everything’s ok, she went to the bathroom and set her biological alarm. Copious amounts of water. She hit “Snooze” on her bladder a little after sunrise.

Drying her face, she hears a door open and sees Idette shuffle in. Since they met, Veronique wondered if the grass matched the leaves. Now she knows. “Don’t you worry about catching a cold?” The true ginger looks confused, then… “Nah. Besides, clothes get in the way. I toss a lot. My bra always got tangled so I slept without it. Then the fabric of whatever top I wore felt like agony on my nips so I kept that off. Then I felt silly with only the lower half of me covered. I put on something when General Cramps comes charging, though.”

Veronique folds her towel and asks, “Did it hurt?” Confusion finds Idette again until she remembers the glimmer twixt her thighs. “Fuck yeah! But sex feels even better. Ditto motorcycles.” Idette claps, “So. We can talk more if you want but I must number two.”

Later in the morn, the gals settle in the kitchen for a breakfast affair. Fantine’s wearing a bedtime version of her sexless coal sitting on the stool nearest to the theatre. Idette found a red noveltee to wear (a box of cereal with Salvador Dali’s face on it called “Surreal”) with black thigh-high socks and looks in the fridge. Quinevere wears only a black t-shirt but the drawn woman on it catches Fantine’s eye. With a deep inhale… “Who’s that?”

The sole Ainsworth, setting up the morning china, replies, “Cassandra Cain. Do you know about Batgirl?” The younger Karoly timidly shakes her head. Idette notices and gives a you’ve-done-it-now-kid sigh. Her aunt stands at the cabinets trying to figure out what to make. As for Quinevere, she rarely gets to talk about Cassandra because the only people who’d care are Idette and Melissa, and they’ve heard it all. Ad nauseum. So the opportunity for fresh ears has her beaming.

“Cassandra Cain is my favorite character in the Batman world. Do you know about Batman?”

“I’ve seen ‘Batman Returns’ and ‘Dark Knight’.”

“Her mum and father are the best assassins in the world and she was raised by the largest group of murderers ever. They didn’t teach her to speak because they wanted to dedicate her brain utterly to murder.” Veronique takes down a box of something and smells it. The excited Quinevere continues, “She finds her way to Batman’s city after it was shut off from the United States after a major earthquake hit it. They did that because, basically, they got tired of helping the city. I forgot why but she ended up with Batman.”

Idette remembers, but knows these rants can go on for a very long time, so she stays quiet as she fills cups with chamomile tea.

Back to Quinevere, “He keeps her to make sure that she doesn’t fulfill a sort of destiny and become a mass-murderer. That always made more sense to me than the Robins—” her friend mouths with her “—an orphan gymnast, a tire-thief, and a boy with too much free time.” Fantine lets out her first giggle, but not her last. Veronique joking asks if a bird flew in, then settle on making hash and toast. Fantine notices her cup has the “Highlander” logo on it and quietly claims it for herself.

Quinevere, in full geek-professor mode, asks her new pupil if she has anymore questions.

“Only one. Who’s the woman in pigtails the internet loves so much? She dresses in red and black and has a big mallet.” The elder Karoly smiles to herself at her niece opening up. The ginger tries making the perfect slice of buttered toast.

“She would be Harley Quinn,” the professor states, “one of the most misused comic characters ever. Next to Cassandra. She’s a psychiatrist who was corrupted by one of her patients and became his love-crazed lackey. That, I’m fine with. But she’s been around for ages yet no one’s ever taken advantage of the fact that she’s knowledgeable of the human psyche. You a fan of films, right?”

Fantine nods at the understatement.

“Imagine if the doctor in ‘Silence of the Lambs’—” “Hannibal ‘The Cannibal’ Lecter.” “—was a giddy 20-something woman dressed like a harlequin.”

Veronique places a hand on Quinevere’s shoulder and says, “Thanks for letting us stay. It’s doing a lot for the both of us so far, but we’re here because of you. What can we do to help with your choice?” Quinevere places her hand atop Veronique’s…

“Just talk. And listen.”

Most times, if someone tried getting Fantine to talk the way these three have, she would’ve retreated into her inner faerie circle. Like that one time with Alvin. With them, she doesn’t mind. She won’t make things easy for them, obviously, but she feels that she’ll be able to say anything to them before the vacation’s over.

Sitting cross-legged in the center of the table and revealing her black paint-speckled tennis shorts, Idette thinks of an introductory game to play. It took a day, but it hit her that not everyone knows everyone. As they quietly eat their hash and nigh-perfect toast, she ponders. The others don’t see that, though. They see a ginger sitting on a granite slab staring off into space. Coincidence maybe that an idea comes to her as Veronique sneezes.

“We’re going to play a get-to-know-you game I do with new students because we’re all sorts of strangers here. I’ll ask a question and we’ll go in a clockwise fashion until I run out of things to ask. Bob’s your uncle? Alright, I’ll start first. Idette? What’s your favorite word?” She takes the Thinker pose for a while before settling on… “Aeaea.” Veronique, from behind her celluloid mug, asks, “What’s that?” Idette replies, “A Greek place,” then goes back to piling hash onto toast. Quinevere and Fantine never thought about their favorite words before, so they’re glad they’re not next.

Veronique taps her mug for a few seconds before blurting out, “Hypnopompic!” Quinevere and her friend begin to say in unison, “What’s that mean,” but she lets her friend finish. “That consciousness that happens before you’re fully awake. You know, when you’re able to reach for the alarm and still think it’s a rabid pastry.”

“I would have to say… ‘asylum’.” Idette scoffs, “Because of Batman?” Quinevere nods and pops a bit of hash in her mouth. Almost misses, but Idette gave her a pregnant helping of food, so there’s no shortage of ammo.

All eyes on the younger Karoly. She has a word she found in a dictionary once that she’s since committed to memory. However, it’s not until right now that she realizes that she’s never said the word aloud. Eventually, she gets out “echolalia” in a stutter. I’ll leave you to find the cute irony of that. Everyone “claps” by tapping their mugs on the counter and await the next question…

“Idette, what’s your least favorite word? ‘Commitment’. I chide, I chide.” Veronique chimes in, “I think you mean, ‘I kid, I kid’.” “I was trying to be courteous. To the…” The sole Ainsworth sips from her well-loved Batgirl mug and says, “No need to avoid words, so stop being a genious.” Veronique almost chokes on her chamomile. “Har, har, har, har. ‘Genious’. I fucking hate ‘genious’.”

“This may sound like pandering but allow me to elaborate. I can’t think of anything. I’ve… lived a life and as such, have learned what to focus on. And what not to. Hating something would be the latter. But. Since I don’t think any of you will allow me to get away with that one—” Idette sternly shakes her head “—I’ll choose… ‘corruption’.”

Idette points her microphone-shaped mug at the preggers one. “’Canceled’. It’s a word I hear too often with my comics.” She notices her mug’s empty and gets up to refill the others. Idette says, “Well, stop reading those bloody indie book. You know a lot of those artists can’t stay motivated or focused.” “Quiet you. Oh, I want to change my favorite word! ‘Schadenfreude’.” To take pleasure in other’s pain, more or less. “You can’t do that, Quinnie.” “Sure I can. Show of hands?” Quinevere and Veronique raise theirs, then Fantine gives in to peer pressure. A mock-hurt Idette murmurs, “Fanny? My betrayer? Wait, this isn’t bloody America. We’re a part of a monarchy.” Quinevere pops another bit of hash and says, “Well, my father is the king of Queen, so that makes me a princess.” A flustered Idette shouts, “Coup! Coup!” Then she focuses on her betrayer.

“’Helpless’…”

“Idette,” the MC’s voice drops an octave, “what turns you on?” The elder Karoly and Quinevere laugh, but the youth turns a Fantine shade of red. Idette comforts her by saying that it doesn’t have to be sexual. Veronique shoots up suddenly from her stool. The ginger recants as Veronique snatches her niece’s mug. She dumps what’s left of the tea in the sink, goes to the fridge, and pops open a bottle of champagne. Over the sink. Once it calms down, she tops off the mug and hands it to Fantine with a warning: “Slowly.” Idette grins as Fantine begins her very interesting journey, then says, “What really gets my squirrelly nub standing tall is a guy dressed all in black. Mm! I’d drop my knickers so fast they’d catch fire.” Quinevere queries, “Or would that be because you’re a fire crotch?”

“The ‘medium’ setting. But seriously, kinda long hair on a fella is fun. When it stops by the chin, like a bob. A Bob with a bob. He’s sexy whether he has it in a ponytail or decides to be Cousin-fucking-Itt. And it’s great when he’s on top and I can grab a handful… my, my, my.” Idette mock-quivers and asks, “What was his name?” “Can’t recall. But he remembers me. He better, I was picking bits of him from my nails for half an hour.”

Quinevere is about to say something— “Don’t say Batman or Doctor Who.” —then snaps her fingers in defeat. “But really, I wasn’t going to say them. Understanding. A guy who’s understanding would do me some good. That and a little domination.” Idette chuckles, “You kinky tart. I think we all are. Right, Fanny?”

With a mug that’s slightly less full, Fantine says, “I -hic- like hugs. And guys.” “…how strong is that champagne, Ronnie?” “Not very, but it’s her first time,” the aunt says as she takes her niece’s medicine away. “You’ll get it back soon.”

“Ms. Rudelle, what turns you— wetha-beaten hoochie bitches. Apologies for my candor, Quinnie, but… you know.” “Yeah, I know.” Fantine asks, “What do you know? And what’s a… a…” “Wetha-beaten hoochie bitch? Hope you never find out, young one.”

“I’m going to take a stab and say that you meant to get out ‘What turns you off?’ To which I would answer, boredom. You can find the most snog-worthy man with a padded wallet, but if he can’t entertain you he’s not worth your time. I’ll take the fun hippie over the bland billionaire any time.” Quinevere teases, “They do have nice, long hair, those hippies…

“I wouldn’t say I’m a fan of disrespect. In fact, I would say that I despise disrespect. Idette, do you remember Ward?” Idette growls as she stretches her arms. Quinevere to the Karolys, “Ward Fagen. Avoid him if you can. He’s quite possibly the worst human being in a three-town radius. He’s self-absorbed and can’t draw and whines, yet managed to find more than one person who’d put up with his bullshit. Last count was four or five in his merry club of wankers. Fuck that bloody twat up his four-colored arse.” Idette tries bringing a bit of levity as she lies on her back, “As you can see, we’re not fans of Ward.”

“I don’t like it when people scream when they argue. Then it stops being about whatever the topic was.” Being hetero life-mates, Quinevere and Idette immediately feel bad about last night. The latter then slides the “Highlander” mug back to its settler.

Veronique taps the table, “I have another turn-off: double-dates. If it’s the woman’s idea, it’s really a cunt-sniffing affair. If it’s his idea, he just wants to publicly wag his cock.”

“Idette, love of my life, what’s your favorite sound? I’d have to say breaking glass. If someone threw me through 71 stories of glass, I’d love every second of it. Then I’d hit the ground and die a happy death of shards.”

“I love the sound of truck doors that’re rusty and old.”

“The turbines of the Batmobile in ‘Batman Returns’. I’d make that my doorbell.”

“Meowing.” Everyone awws.

“Oi! Idette! What sound do you hate?” She points to her friend, “Earmuffs,” and Quinevere covers her ears. The ginger whispers, “Baby sounds. All of them.” She snaps and the preggers gal refills everyone’s mugs. Except Fantine’s.

“That sound Mrs. Sphincter’s next door neighbor makes sometimes during sex. It sounds similar to breaking wind, which is not attractive in any situation. I embraced kegels full-heartedly after that happened to me once. The guys I’ve been with since think sex is fantastic with all the flexing, but I’m just trying to keep my panty hamster from letting out the odd toot. Because the alternative is turning frigid and then I’ll end up with coochie cobwebs. Or worse: prolapse.” Idette sits up after the barrage of feminine delicacy and says, “Two things. My students call that sound a ‘queef’. It also works as a verb. The other thing… what the taco does a coochie cobweb smell like?” Veronique sips her tea and regally answers, “Like a dog with no nose.”

“I hate the sound of desperation in someone’s voice. When you can tell that they don’t have an opinion and are looking to be wanted. Then when you catch them in their lie, you’re the villain.” Idette, muffling her voice, “Like Ward?” Familiar fury builds in Quinevere’s walnut eyes, “Yes, like fucking Ward. He’s the bloody genious, not you. Bloody, curdled, and scabbed.”

“I dislike people eating noisily. I wish they’d get kicked in the mouth by the offended horse they’re trying to copy.” Her aunt cheers, “Me-ow!” Everyone awws, then laughs.

“Idette… heh. An offended horse. Idette: What. Is. Your.  Most. BELOVED. SWEAR?!” Veronique and Quinevere let out a sound of giddy awe. “At the risk of sounding scatological, any instance where I can replace ‘fuck’ with ‘shit’. Those are hilarious to me. ‘What the shit?’ ‘Shit me…’ ‘Shit off!’ ‘Mothershitter!’”

“’Cunt’. It was a positive word once, but time had other things in mind. Is it a fool’s errand to re-reappropriate it? I don’t know, but I enjoy saying it and having one so I guess that’s what matters most. That and keeping it fit.”

“’Mothershitter’? Really, Idette?” The ginger shrugs. Quinevere continues, “’’Putain’.” Fantine asks, “Poo-tahn?” Quinevere nods, “It’s French for ‘fuck’.” Veronique sighs, “They love sex so much they even gave it a pretty name…” Idette pouts, “They’re not so endearing. Or maybe it’s just guys with big balls.” Her audience stares at her with tell-us-more eyes. “Are you sure you wanna know?” They don’t break eye contact. “Ok… I blew a guy with massive grapes once and he exploded on my chest. Completely drenched my dirty pillows. There were lumps in his cum. He licked my breasts clean.” Veronique continues staring, Quinevere vomits in the sink, and Fantine guffaws to the point of tears. “Oh yeah? Well, what’s your favorite swear, Fanny?”

After composing herself, the younger Karoly says, “Fuckmook.”

“Idette: what’s your greatest fear?” Quinevere interrupts, “Can… we not talk about this right now? Please?” Idette looks into the eyes of the potential matron and nods understandingly. “Hey, sexy: What superpower would you love to have?” The sole Ainsworth and the younger Karoly perk up. “Knew it. Well, I’m not going to get in the way of you two, so I’ll settle for… radioactive hearing.”

Idette belts out a heroic fanfare as Veronique makes her choice. “I’d want to be a necromancer. Conjure murders of undead. Vampires, not zombies or ghosts. They’re so stupid.” Idette shouts, “Coup! Coup!”

Idette lets out another few notes, Veronique joining in, as a milk-haired lady prepares to drop some grievous science. “I was thinking about controlling the weather but I thought about the specifics of it. I wouldn’t actually be commanding storms, but air currents. With that, I could compress the moisture in the air in such a way that I could… make sudden waterfalls or… gargantuan arctic boulders. And if I tried really hard, I could form ersatz gravity wells. But I was also thinking about being able to manipulate light. I could make things very bright and hot, but I also could make things very cold by abstaining light and its by-product, heat. I could also do cool things like make swords or armor. Bombs that act like miniature black holes.” Veronique claps in awe of her brain.

The lover of faeries knows when to let the best idea reign, so, with a three-piece human trumpet section trying to say otherwise, she drops the baton.

The ginger says that those are enough questions for now. Plenty of fodder for conversations and plenty of life left to get to know each other. Also that it’s best to to let these sorts of things happen organically. Then she burps.

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