How's that for an opening sentence? Eat my dust, rubes.
She had had her thumb out--
cute as a box cutter in an angel's hand,
standing in the harsh shine of the rising sun.
She hadn't given a damn about limescale.
She hadn't cared how many ShamWows he had in his trunk.
Now his shitheap Hyundai is parked crookedly on the shoulder,
and one lonesome long-legged caffeine junkie is trying to stash him behind the hollyhocks.
It must be the Bohemian in her.
She has almost got him to the center of the cloverleaf when she hears something.
Shit. She's not alone.
Chloe turns in a slow circle.
Then she sees a dark form nearly obscured in the shade of a trash tree--
it is the Queen of the Vampires in black panther form,
and she is crying.
Have you ever seen a cat cry?
They do it silently, but with their whole soul.
"Here is the place," she says to Chloe,
"where Athena, Artemis, Hestia and I used to hang out.
In those days, we killed all the developers before they could draw their first breath.
Artemis used to turn guys into jackalopes; no construction crews.
Hestia would build a fire,
and the four of us would pass the Mad Dog around.
I liked us better then."
The tv pitchman forgotten, Chloe sits down in the tall grass,
as the Queen of the Vampires resumes human form.
"Now Athena is some muckety muck with the power company.
She lives in a condo,
and her owl is just some detailing on the door of her fucking Audi.
"He used to hunt here, swooping down from the trees,
and Artemis loved him so much, just as if he were her own.
She would coo to him like he was Head Baby at the Adorable Factory.
With a mouse in his talons.
And those big eyes.
"Arty lives with some woman who wears an ankh and runs bullshit workshops.
She's gone vegan, and doesn't even remember Orion at all.
Chloe....?" She falters.
"Yeah, hun? Tell me."
The Vampire Queen lets out a shaky sigh.
"She...she spells woman with a Y."
"I know, right?"
They are silent for a long time, the tv pitchman stiffening up beside them.
"What about Hestia?" Chloe asks, putting her arm around her friend.
"She runs a B&B,
making English muffins for couples from East Candyland,
chatting them up, then washing another god damn load of sheets in the afternoon.
What happened to us, Chloe?
We were cool. Why do we suck so hard now?"
Just then, there is a rustling in the grass.
Chloe looks up, the sun seeming to traverse the lenses of her shades.
"Look what the cat dragged in!"
It's the Succubus, fluttering her black wings lazily.
"What's this?" she asks. "GSA troop 17?"
Chloe explains, shrugging a shoulder at her friend sitting next to her.
"She's feeling old and uncool."
"Fuuuuuck," says the Succubus wisely,
as she and the charming serial killer lift the Vampire Queen to her feet.
"What you need is some coffee, lady.
And guess who's sitting in your favorite booth at Danny's as we speak?"
The QOTV sniffles and wipes her face with her sleeve.
"Uh...Emmylou Harris maybe?"
"Nah. Even better. The Dark-Haired Chick."
"She not in Toronto?"
"Not in Chicago?"
Not in L.A.?"
"She's at Danny's, waiting for you, you silly shithead. C'mon. I saw a Hyundai we can steal. We can be there in fifteen minutes."
So the three of them step over the dead tv pitchman and in fourteen and a half minutes,
they are at Danny's Coffee Shop,
once again the cool queens of caffeine.
|black night hollyhocks|
Athena, Artemis and Hestia are the "maiden goddesses".
|Diana the Huntress (Artemis)|