Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Celia Susan Preparedness

Jodie Diamond, Starr Ann and I were finishing supper last night when the phone rang.

I answered, "Happy Hands Ranch."

There was no hello, no nothing. Just, "Those bastards in Washington are bound and determined to bomb Iran before they leave office, and our lazy, chicken-ass Democrats aren't going to do a single solitary god damned thing to stop it."

I extended the phone. "It's for you, Starr Ann."

Jodie cocked her head and I motioned her to the other room. I said, "That's our friend Celia Susan. This'll be her call to announce exactly when we can expect her to arrive for Starr Ann's birthday next month."

"Well, hell, Margo. When were you planning on telling me her birthday was coming up?"

I've never mastered the sardonic laugh, but I gave it a try. "Let's see. Oh, yes, I recall being about to bring it up just moments before you bonobo'd me in the barn the other day." I fluttered my eyes at the end, because I've noticed Jodie's particularly susceptible to when I do that.

It worked again. She cracked up and gave me a nice hug, saying, "Sorry about the third degree. Now, let's take advantage of Miss Starr Ann being on the telephone and discuss her birthday, shall we? Starting off with what you're getting her."

I shook my head. "Shouldn't tell you that, Jodie. Believe me, it's for your own safety. Starr Ann is relentless about sniffing out presents. All I'm going to tell you is that mine doesn't have a physical presence. It's more an activity than an object."

Jodie had turned me loose and was pacing and muttering. "My first big gift to her. Hmmm. Has to be special. Shit! No. Wait. No. Fuck. No, shit. Wait. No, god dammit."

I felt I should help her break this loop. "Jodie. I have a suggestion!"

"You have?"

I led her over to the bookcase. "See all those astronomy books? Those are Starr Ann's."

Jodie's expression turned real soft. She truly adores my Starr Ann. "Yes, when we walk outside at night, she always has something engaging to say about the heavens."

I nodded and said, "That's because she loves reading all this stuff." I motioned to the books again. "But, guess what?"


"She never has gotten herself a telescope. I'm not sure why that is. Anyway, I've sort of been waiting on getting her one for an extra special occasion. Now I realize it should be you who gives it to her."

Jodie locked her fingers together the way she does when she's concentrating. "Catalogs. I'll need catalogs. No, what am I saying? The Net. I can order it on the Net. God fuck it, I know zilch about telescopes! Well, that's going to change very quickly."

Starr Ann came in from the kitchen full of purpose. "Jodie, do you mind if I cancel the rest of tonight? Celia Susan's coming to town and there are a million things I need to tighten up before she does."

I was about to fill Jodie in on the fact that Celia Susan is Starr Ann's match when it comes to survivalist leanings. It was Celia Susan who gave Starr Ann the idea to build her underground shelters in the first place. Of course, Starr Ann's bunkers have far surpassed Celia Susan's in sophistication and accommodation. But I didn't get a chance to say any of that.

Jodie wasn't any more interested in their former plans for the night than Starr Ann was. Jodie just absently kissed Starr Ann on her way out the door. I'm sure that before tonight's moon sets Jodie Diamond will be the second most knowledgeable telescope expert in the county.

As for Starr Ann, she's off checking the water purification systems, the food supplies, and the vibrator functionality in all her bunkers.

And when Celia Susan gets here next month? All we're going to hear is how even if this ignorant Bush administration doesn't trigger a nuclear disaster, we still need those shelters to avoid constant surveillance by our very own government.