The Goodbye Girls' Blog

Funeral: Real Fun

Two For Two

“Good afternoon, gentlemen. Great to see you again. What is it this time? Have I double-parked my bike? Is the license on my trailer expired?

“Alphonso Albertini, I am arresting you for murder.” The officer attempted to read 10-Gauge his rights, but five bikers fired up their Harleys as soon as he began. When he stopped speaking, they stopped their engines.

The officer started again. He was again drowned out by the sound of Harleys starting up. He gave one more fruitless attempt to follow procedure. 10-Gauge, smiling broadly, dropped the mic on the stage, made a big show of bowing his head and putting his hands together in the prayer position. Turning slightly to the crowd, he winked. Then, raising his head, he sought out his lieutenants and nodded to them. They departed at full throttle. As one, the other bikers followed suit.

When the roar of the bikes faded, 10-Gauge innocently asked, “What were you saying, Inspector Clouseau?”

The officer read 10-Gauge his rights, finishing with “Do you understand?”

“Not my first rodeo, as you well know,” said 10-Gauge, winking again at the crowd. Some laughed nervously.

Man Down

Aislin looked wildly around for Nick and Sarah. They had moved closer to the stage. “Hey guys, I just overheard some guests talking about the RCMP raiding the Dogs’ clubhouse. I think things are going to blow. And Letty and Otto are missing in action. I’m ready to call the station to find out his status. Next call after that is to the hospital. I’m trying not to freak out.”

Nick put his arm around her shoulder, squeezed, and then stepped away quickly. “Don’t go there. They’re fine.”

“Yes, they’re fine! Probably having ‘made bail’ sex in The Behemoth,” said Sarah absently, not engaged in the conversation, her attention on Weronika,

10-Gauge was still prancing back and forth on the stage with all the zeal and passion of an evangelical minister pumping up the flock to donate their life savings. He was telling colourful stories. Some even included Twiggy. And he was oblivious to the growing irritation of the women sitting behind him.

But Weronika was not. Every time he mentioned himself, she turned to the women still seated on the stage with their children and imitated gagging. She had them. Kindred spirits. They began to snicker, and the children, quick to know when their mothers were distracted, slipped away to play. Weronika started to do the same to the crowd. They lapped it up. 10-Gauge, believing he was the source of their appreciation, ramped up.

Sexy As Socks On A Rooster

Aislin burned with shame. “Who died and made her God?” she muttered as Jill strode away. Sarah elbowed her and shook her head.

“Don’t go there. Let’s get to work. You call Letty. We do need to find out how things stand with Otto. I mean, he could be in serious trouble if he spills the beans. We could all be in serious trouble. He looked too damn happy to be in the back seat of a cop car. Who knows how far he’ll go to fulfill his badass fantasy.”

“That’s a terrifying thought,” said Aislin.

“Speaking of terrifying, Nick’s waving us over to join him and 10-Gauge. Call Letty after we find out what’s up. Hopefully, our client has the recipe for the secret sauce for curing this insanity,” said Sarah.

10-Gauge was stepping out of his wet leather chaps as they approached. The two men he was speaking to were those who had ridden with him the day he turned up in their garden and charmed Letty and Sarah into going along with this crazy gig. His voice was taut, and he was choosing his words carefully. Nick looked more than a little anxious. He grimaced at Aislin and Sarah.

“Now, I need you two morons to get back on your bikes and pay a visit to Weronika and make sure she feels respected. Listen to her sob story, take her out to dinner or whatever. Just keep her the hell away from here. Pretend you understand. Pretend you give a goddamn. Go.”

Bringing Order To Chaos

“What the hell, Liz?” asked one of the other women on the stage, stepping over Donny’s prone body. “Donny Quinn’s one of the good guys.”

“Really, Jaylene? You just kicked his sorry ass out of your life. We all just heard him say that. Just the way Twiggy kicked your saggy ass out of his.”

“He didn’t kick me out, Liz. I kicked him out. He was about as faithful as a goat.”

“Ya got that right,” said another woman seated on the stage, arms crossed. “He was never around for long. Soon as I got pregnant, he was gone. Only saw him on Kyle’s birthday. We had a wedding all planned until you, Liz, showed him your tits.”

“Oh shut up, Sandy,” yelled Liz. “You’re the biggest idiot of us all. You actually thought he was going to marry you? Ha. What a joke. Twiggy was a lot of things, but man, he was not the marrying kind.” Liz plonked herself down again and crossed her arms. Her children sat as still as ornaments.

With three children, all older than the others, the fourth woman quietly cried into a tissue. Her oldest son stood behind her with his hand on her shoulder, his face fused with crimson.

Donny sat up, gingerly feeling his nose which was leaking a thin trail of blood. “I need a drink. As illuminating as it is, the discourse between you lovely ladies is giving me a massive headache. And one of you tried to break my nose.” He gestured to the oldest boy. “You look like a strong lad. Give me a hand up, will you?” The boy cautiously did as told. Donny leaned heavily on his shoulder. “Help me over to the beer tent, and I’ll buy you a beer,” he whispered, forgetting the mic was live.

Sucker Punched

“Donny’s drunk and broken-hearted,” Sarah called out to Nick as he was walking away. “Just sayin’. Okay, Aislin, you stay here, and I’ll go get Otto’s notes and speak to that poor woman sitting there all alone on the stage.”

Aislin did as she was told. She watched Nick masterfully cut Donny from the herd and guide him towards her.

Donny weaved unsteadily. Nick grabbed him just as he was about to topple onto Aislin.

“Donny, you’re a hot mess! What were you thinking? We don’t want people drinking now. It’s way too early,” Sarah hissed at her brother.

“It’s my heart. It hurts to breathe. I have looked love in the eye. I’ll never be the same,” sobbed Donny.

“Thank God for granting us small mercies. Pull yourself together. This is the third time this month your heart’s been broken. This time by a woman.”

Aislin pulled herself out of her reverie. “What are we going to do? Everything’s a mess, everyone’s getting drunk, and we’ve lost our emcee.”

“Yes, but we have Nick! Right, Nick? You have a commanding presence. Can you help us? We need to get this wreck back on the rails, and no one is going to pay attention to Aislin or me.”

Arrested

Otto appeared from nowhere. He hefted a large tote onto the back of the stage, then introduced himself to the sound technician, saying something that made the man laugh. They ran a few tests of the mic, and when both were satisfied, Otto waved Aislin and Sarah over.

“Everything’s in order up here. Quite a crowd already. More than I expected. How are things going on the ground?”

Sarah and Aislin exchanged looks. “Just a couple of hiccups, but we’re working through them,” replied Sarah.

“Anything I can help with? I have some time before I kick things off. Is that Donny over there? Is he alright? He doesn’t look well.”

“Oh, he’s alright. Just sick in the head and sick in the stomach,” said Sarah. The menace in her voice did not go unnoticed.

“Is this one of the hiccups?” asked Otto. “Judging from his posture and demeanour, he has a few under his belt. Unfortunate. We’re relying on him to identify who should sit on the stage. None of us know Twiggy’s various liaisons. This is a delicate situation. Everyone is grieving. We don’t want to pile on public humiliation. I better go have a word with the lad.”

“That man is a saint. If he weren’t already spoken for, I would make a play for him,” said Sarah. “I wonder what he has in that tote.”

Oh no, not I, I will survive

Aislin texted Sarah that she was running late. She tried to stay within a reasonable approximation of the posted speed limit, but her anxiety gave her a lead foot. Nick was standing in his driveway as she shot past. He raised a hand to flag her down. She tooted her horn but kept going. Look at you, Girl. Slaying your dragons.

She pulled over abruptly, scrolled through her playlists for the soundtrack to Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, selected “I Will Survive,” turned up the volume, rolled down all the windows, and burned out. Her driving horrified a couple picking their way around puddles on the sidewalk. Their disgust gave Aislin the giggles. She raced through the wet streets, rocking and bopping to the music.

As she approached Picnic Park, she increased the volume. She spotted Sarah instructing the tent set up crew. They all turned and stared. She parked beside a delivery truck but didn’t get out right away, just sat there, letting the music pump her up.

Sarah, dance stepped over to the car, singing along loudly to the final lines, did a shimmy shake, then struck a pose with one hand on her hip, the other pointing skyward.

Chasing Sleep

Rain falling heavily on the roof provided the soundtrack for Aislin’s fragmented sleep. It teased her by increasing and decreasing intensity. Each time the flow ceased, she tensed, hoping the storm had moved on. In the vacuum of sound, she relaxed, giving in to her need for sleep, only to startle awake as a new round of rain pounded on the roof.  

Was cancelling due to weather a possibility? With that thought came the image of hundreds of bikers, wet and angry, denied their ritual of sending off one of their own. She had a feeling that bikers were not the fair-weather type. Then she thought of Twiggy’s vest, drenched, draped over his bike, being towed by 10-Gauge. Such a sad, miserable image. But, before she wallowed too far in that puddle of despair, Weronika came to mind. And sprung a new waterspout of anxiety.

A few days ago, Aislin and Sarah, curious about her appearance, did an online search. There were plenty of interviews with her about her missing husband but no photos. In each interview, Weronika said she knew her husband was murdered. She did not come right out and say it, but she implied she knew by whom. 

And when she needed a break from that source of anxiety, her thoughts landed on Twiggy’s extended family. It was Donny’s job to invite Twiggy’s wife and their children to the podium. He tried to wriggle out of the assignment by saying he wasn’t sure how many women Twiggy had married. And what about long-term girlfriends? He had no idea who they were or how many. Was he also supposed to invite them? And what constituted long term? More than a week? Sarah had fingertwacked her brother.

Aislin The Ageist

“Gran, dinner’s ready!” she called up the stairs. No answer. Aislin bounced up the stairs and tapped on Letty’s door. No answer. Letty’s car was sitting exactly as it had been all day. Aislin slipped her shoes on and went out to The Behemoth. At that point, she began to have a slow-motion, out-of-body experience. From afar, to a chorus of birdsong, she saw her hand reaching out to knock on the metal door. She saw herself leaning over to peer through the window by the door. She saw herself peering at Letty and Otto tangled together on the sofa. She saw them turning towards the window and looking back at her. She saw her shock reflected in their faces. 

She spun and scrambled back to the house. Grabbing the bag of chips and her wine, she flew upstairs, slamming the door behind her. She texted Sarah. 

Sarah called immediately, but her words were lost in a volley of snorting laughter. “Sorry, I can’t stop laughing. You stumbled into your gran and her lover getting it on! God, I hope I meet someone I want to get it on with when I am seventy-five. That’s just the best. I can picture your face.”

Sarah continued to snort and snuffle wetly. She stopped long enough to blow her nose. “Sorry. Under control now. Come on. You must have known this was on the horizon. The sexual tension between those two was intense. Why are you so horrified? They are both well over the age of consent.”

Calmness Through Order

He waved his hand, silencing her retort. He picked up a sandwich, studied its contents, took a large bite and chewed slowly, nodding. Three more bites and the sandwich was history. “Oh, I needed that. Sometimes I go too long between snacks or meals, and I feel a bit faint. Beverly, bless her, always kept a full assortment of snacks in her desk, which she pushed at me throughout the day to keep me fueled. After a Scotch, I used to go in there in the evenings to see what I could rustle up. Not sure why I never bought my own snacks. I think it was the joy of doing something illicit, however minor. I do miss her.

“So, back to you. You and your best friend, your soulmate, your business partner had a difficult conversation that led you to pack your bags and leave. Without saying goodbye to your grandmother. Or taking your turtle. Am I on track here?”

She stared at him. She was so invested in nurturing her anger she had forgotten all about Secretariat. She had impetuously packed up and moved numerous times, and he was always with her. He was her one constant companion. If it had not begun to hail, she would have driven off without him. A tide of shame rolled over her.

“I guess I really am the shallow, selfish, self-absorbed twit everyone says I am.”

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