Saturday, 19 February 2011

Vera Sunkissed-Virgin Spinster

Vera Sunkissed was a light-hearted girl. "Vera" was a bit old-fashioned, but "Sunkissed" made up for it.

"Hey Vera--we're you born in your grandma's closet? Vera....any relation to Laverne or The Fonz? Vera... where's the beehive? You gotta get some kitty cat glasses."

She became more "Vera" every day. She had flashes of herself dropping a dime in the duke box on Friday night with Fonzi. She really did have retro fifties kitty cat glasses and she did have a frugal but fabulous fashion sense putting odd polk-a-dot finds together from thrift stores with the pocket money from her paper round and her father's secret irregular deposits. She wondered about him as she tied up her hair. "Mirror time," as her mother called it, "will only make you later than you already are. It's not a disco. It's high school. Get going."

Wilma rang the bell to help remind her of the time. They'd walk together silently jumping in snow banks or dodging dog turds depending on the season. "Watch out for that one." Wilma and Vera exchanged glances and everything else but clothes. They had shared pencils since third grade. The V's and the W's were always close on the seating chart. So were the S's and T's. Wilma Tedworth was her best friend by default and rota.

They shared English, Algebra 3 Trig, and World History with Miss Busey. Miss Busey had been called many things; Toto Killer, Virgin Spinster, and Twin sister of the Wicked Witch of the West. Her profile was something out of a Toulouse Lautrec painting. She was a tiny lady held together by plaid wool suits with a crooked nose and a crackling tweak of  a voice. She did a cabaret shuffle with her pointer stick in her upscale librarian attire circling the continents while waiting for an answer..."and the Nile is...?" Egypt did not matter melting in the heat of a June afternoon with half the class smelling of P. E. "Pointless dude. The Nile is pointless." A low belly rumble came from the back of the class. No ever heckled Miss Busey.

Wilma was never teased about her name which was more archaic than the Pharoahs. She was so totally geeky that people didn't bother her whereas Vera was borderline. Trendy or weird? The line was hard to decipher. It was a point of discussion amongst the popular crowd. She didn't mind the ribbing as it was so far from the real reason she was named Vera. If they knew that, she'd just about have to leave town. She'd had to go live with her dad or something.

He lived in an old stone mansion with two floors and an attic that could count as a third. He lived in a quiet suburb at the end of street that lead to the rail station connecting the locals to the city. It was the busiest street at rush hour and the quietest street at all other times. He only had to open his door and pick up the paper if he felt the need for a wave or hello. If he was feeling anti-social, he'd wait for them to pass. The news could wait.

He lived an extravagent but minimal existence. There were only a few things he liked. He survived on a diet of Patisserie Valerie cakes and coke. Patisserie Valerie did not deliver, so he enlisted a currier service to drive from Soho to Surrey with a variety of cakes which he nibbled on all day in between lines. His guests would salivate as they sat at the table pitching a film script or going over the details of a recording contract. It was a game of his not to be the perfect host. How long would it take them to drop a hint? It was a fine indicator of their pain/pleasure threshold.

It told him a lot about how hungry they were for his support in their venture. Some guests said nothing. Others helped themselves while he went to the kitchen to make the tea. A sticky fingered handshake at the end of the meeting....a few tell tale flakes of puff pastry on a lapel. It didn't matter really. He had made his millions. The cakes were part of the furniture. The furniture was dusty. It was fine dust like powdered sugar or cocaine. 

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