Savage Vaudeville

 Savage Vaudeville

1989, 2009 by Laika Pupkino.

      This is some kind of vaudeville, or else it's magic, or maybe it's the day that the dead hobbled all gimpety-gimp down the wide boulevard sidewalks. Something... 

      This is the story of Shellie Marie Sandoval, who in her nearly twenty-one years of life had never laid eyes on an uncircumsized penis.
 
      Penis, penis, penis...
 
CRAZY,
TALKS
TO
HERSELF
 
      Prior to ending up in Alvin's Love Factory, Shellie had been to bed with only four lovers, since her 9th grade boyfriend Tommy Greenlee, and she just assumed that all men's things would be like the four she had gotten to know (five actually, but I'd said lovers; and those twice-weekly sexvisits from her silver-haired stepdad's between her eleventh & fifteenth years would only be considered love by a vile degenerate like him...)
 
      Although certainly she would have to have heard of it at some point, somewhere, this distinction between the clipped and unclipped; but if she had, she never connected the term "foreskin" with anything so primitive and alien looking. Like a soft little misplaced bladder hanging down, down there...
 
OH NO
NEVER
SHOULD
HAVE
GONE
OFF
HER
MEDS!
 
      And coming face to face with her first had shouted, "What's WRONG with it?!" and had just about killed herself jumping out of the guy's car!
 
      Hurrying back to the cramped & trash-laden little bare walled SANCTUM OF DREAMS where they all lived, and where her friends all rolled around, babbling, stoned...
 
 
HIS DUMMY'S NAME
WAS LITTLE BUDDY BRIGHT...
 SAY HELLO TO THE YOUNG LADY, BUDDY...
 
"HIYA, TOOTS!"
 
 
      And when she ran in, her big green eyes all wild, and described this odious malformation to Alvin and some of the girls in his crew, they all laughed until they were groaning helplessly, tumbling off the battered domino array of mattresses and onto the worn floorboards of the narrow gaps between them...
 
      It was another Shellie joke for the telling and re-telling, a classic example ("You couldn't make something like this up!") of the girl's spaciness, her astonishing unworldiness.
 
RIOTS OF SHAPES
AND ARCANE BUMPS-
WHORLS OF ANODYZED
METAL COLORS
IN HER
HEAD
 
      Even after Alvin explained to her that this was the natural form of the male sex organ, that it was the other kind that was the weird, Shellie would experience an overpowering revulsion of these ones; And Alvin, out of his need to get as much mileage as he could out of the joke, make sure to refer all likely members to her.
 
      Although he would have sanctimoniously denied that there was any cruelty to his humor, or that he had anything but concern and fondness for Shellie, despite the evening when he'd played William Tell with her in the alley, blasting the beercan off her head at twenty paces, while Janine and Tina and Jenny all cheered.
 
      The five of them running like schoolkids down the zigzag alley from the commotion that the noise from that cannon of a handgun had caused.
 
     Shellie smiling, her ears ringing and her eyeballs dizzy with the leapfrogging pastel triangles, their tiny leering schematic faces all working and winking in unison.
 
      Her cheeks shining sanguinely as Alvin praised her courage, call ing her faith in his leadership a beautiful lesson to the other girls...
 
 
BUDDY THE DOLL SET ALL HUMPITY-DUMP
ON THE BLOODLESS OLD GEEZER'S KNEE,
IN HIS MUSTY LITTLE SWALLOWTAIL
COAT & BLACK CANVAS PANTS
W/ THE YELLOW STRIPE RUNNING
DOWN THE CREASE OF EACH LEG-
SNAZZY!!!
 
 
      You had to love Shellie, this tall but childlike woman they'd found wandering down Harbor Blvd ........... Slim, wide-shouldered, her big expressive mouth & tousled sunbleached hair...
 
      Who at one time had been a promising art student at Orange Coast College ......... And though she had not really been able to concentrate well enough to grasp the text material for some of her classes, her artwork was top notch & exploding with pure expression. A voice as unique as Van Gogh or Rothko.
 
       But a few months ago her self-appointed new best friend---Lucy, a manic little born-again Christian girl from her Women's Studies class (who seems to have taken the course just to argue her scriptural beliefs with the instructor.)---convinced her to toss out all her pills and put her healing in Jesus' capable hands.
 
      Lucy was as surprised as anyone when her friend disappeared. Did not connect the dots pointing straight to her own criminal idiocy...
 
.IT.
 
.WAS.
 
.A.
 
.BLACK.DAY.
 
..FOR..
 
..POLKA. DOTS.....
 
      Over the next week Shellie had become convinced that several of her male instructors were really her step-dad; believing that he had somehow dug his way out of his box over at Coast Hills Memorial Park, and he was up there taunting her, with comments hidden in his lectures that only she would get the actual meaning of.
 
      Then when she had seen him behind the counter of the art-supplies store and reading the 6:00 news on TV she had run---left her apartment and all her stuff---and wound up here at Alvin's Love Factory.
 
      Shellie the mystery girl, who would not discuss any aspect of her past. Although with as green as she was they knew she must be from some white-bread suburbs around here someplace.
 
      Now ready to suffer just about any spewey degradation for the approval of her pimp & peers.
 
 
THE STEPDAD HAD BEEN A CREEPY OLD NEVER-WAS HASBEEN
OF A VENTRILOQUIST, 35 YEARS HER MOTHER'S SENIOR,
MOM'S ATTRACTION TO HIM (IF THAT'S WHAT IT WAS)
A SOURCE OF BAFFLEMENT & SHAME TO SHELLIE.
 
WITH HIS IMMENSE BENT MATTERHORN OF A NOSE & HIS LONGISH DIRTY-SILVER HAIR COMBED BACK IN GREASY VARIGATED FURROWS.
 
AND HE HAD ASKED HER...
 
 
      She was happy here at this place, even though the girls were paid chiefly in shares of freebase cocaine bought by Alvin with their earnings, which he collected; and since Shellie did not think much of the stuff---it just made her even more confused---she was practically working for free. For the unvarying Dairy Queen hamburger meals, and the wee dawn gatherings around the crummy little black + white TV with the missing knob so you had to use the pliers to change the channel. For these cramped & unhygenic quarters that should only satisfy those who were stoned out of their minds but which Shellie loved; this proximity to the people she loved and trusted, like a litter of puppies piled in a cardboard box.
 
      The sex stuff wasn't too bad, she mostly just going off into the geometric place in her head while the guy did his thing; And her tricks learned not to call on her for anything complex or involving scenarios. There were other girls here for that.
 
       Willing to do anything except for the one thing she truly dreaded, that uncanny fear of it, of these willies with the sweaty sleeve over them, that uncanny fear of it preventing the arrival of the friendly geometries. These bothered her more than anyone could know. But they would soon learn...
 
 
UH OH, JUST A SECOND, PRINCESS!
BUDDY'S JEALOUS.
BUDDY GETS LONELY, I CAN TELL.
I THINK HE WANTS TO JOIN US...
 
 
      She had begged Alvin not to make her go on dates with any of the ones that were like that, but he sadly informed her that they went with this region they were working---an influx of heathen wingwangs from across the border---and that lamentably we all have to do our part.
 
      When they were already hard, jutting out of there, it was okay.
 
      But when they weren't then she was hit by this unreasoning sense-numbing panic, each and every time. And each time it got worse, a mounting tension in those queasy interminable seconds before it came sliding out of there and she could see that it was only the man's cock, instead of...
.
 
 
A SNAPPY LITTLE THIN-MOUSTACHED VO-DE-OH-DO JAZZ AGE RUDY VALLEE OF A DOLL, THE BLACK HAIR PAINTED ONTO HIS TINY WOODEN SKULL AS IF PARTED DOWN THE MIDDLE. AND WHO ALWAYS CAME TO BED WITH THEM, THOSE NIGHTS WHEN MOM WAS WORKING HER DOUBLE SHIFT, AS A TELEPHONE DISPATCH AT THE NURSE'S REGISTRY...
 
THE STEPDAD WAS QUIET FOR SUCH A BIG MAN. SLINKING GREASILY INTO HER ROOM WITH THAT DARK LIMP BUNDLE UNDER HIS ARM-
 
 
      She had liked the bustling corner, the seagulls wheeling over the Dairy Queen, the friendly shouts from the cars going by. But then Alvin would send her off with some guy, and she would go pale and stupid as the fear washed over her, a formless dread of them in those first two weeks...
 
      But then jelling into the idea that what emerged would not just be her appointed boyfriend's boner but some alien being, tendrilous and repulsive with eyes in rows like little knobs of black jelly. Because at first you couldn't see it, and that could be bad.
 
      She had gotten that much---at least---out of her Physics And Modern Man class before she'd had to drop out of it ................ That nothing was determined or definite until you SAW it, and the seeing made it real. The cat in the box could be dead or it could be alive or it could be a porcupine in striped pajamas smoking a cigar...
 
     Shellie had always known this, but now a professor actually said so.
 
 YELLOW MOONS,
 
 PINK HEARTS,
 
 GREEN CLOVERS,
 
 BLOODY BOOGERS...
 
      She had a fear of some hellish thing being sprung on her, her own personal apocalypse (hadn't her Christian friend Lucy said that the Greek word Apocalypse meant "uncovering"?) as that fleshy flap slid back-
 
      A lewdly grasping dwarf's arm, all hairy and obscenely tattooed with vulgar pictures, its fat thorn-shaped nails caked with grime.
 
      Or a vicious steel-needle toothed eel to go plunging and twisting up her soft crack.
 
      Or like that sign that always frightened her---PAY AT THE PUMP---a fat metal gas nozzle. Thick gush of stinking gasoline, burn them both up in bed while the man smiles hollowly, demonically...
 
      Or anything. A dick that would just emerge and emerge from there, a lumpy grey knot of muscles many times too large for her to take inside of her but not letting this trifling fact stop it,
the man behind it crumpling downward like an empty suit of clothes while it swayed there, cruelly sentient, inhumanly demanding.
 
 
THE OILY-FACED STEPFATHER USED TO TREMBLE. WOULD BE ALL SWEET AND CARING. TALK ABOUT HOW PRETTY SHE WAS. HIS BREATHING RAGGED AS HE PULLED DOWN HER LITTLE PANTIES, ALMOST APOLOGETIC...
 
AND WHICH WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN NEARLY SO HORRIBLE---ONLY
SICKENING, SICK & GROSS---EXCEPT BUDDY WAS THERE.
MEAN BUDDY, ORDERING THE OLD MAN AROUND!
 
AT ELEVEN SHELLIE COULD STILL BELIEVE IN THE DEVICES
OF THE VENTRILOQUIST'S ART, ESPECIALLY AS THE STEPDAD SEEMED
TO BELIEVE IT TO SUCH AN ALARMING EXTENT HIMSELF....
 
BUDDY SNARLING, "SLAP TH' LITTLE BITCH'S FACE!!"
....AND 'DADDY' ACTING ALL WOUNDED & PERPLEXED,
"NOW BUDDY, THAT'S NOT NICE..."
 
WHICH MIGHT POSTPONE IT FOR A SPELL, BUT HE WOULD EVENTUALLY
("DO IT, YA GUTLESS OLD PIECE OF SHIT!!!") BE BADGERED
INTO OBEYINGTHE TRUE MASTER OF THESE OCCASIONS.
 
 
.
      Alvin noticed that the top drawer of the old delapidated dresser in the room he had to himself was open just a bit, and he checked it. The long-barrel Colt was gone.
 
      FUCK! One of these greedy ungrateful skanks went and fenced it for more dope.
Goddamn it, this was what he got for being so trusting & leaving the door unlocked...
 
      It was probably Janine, that strung-out snake! Certainly not Shellie.
 
      Though come to think of it she was just in there, banging around, talking to herself, answering herself, about the GOOD WIDGET OWLS and the BAD WIDGET OWLS. A very weird girl but in no way conniving or selfish enough to steal from him-
 
      Holy fuck, what if the crazy bitch intended to shoot someone?
 
      Naw, that was stupid. Ridiculous. Just the runner he'd been on. Bad brain splice.
Not Shelly, he couldn't picture it.
 
      Or could she have wanted it for protection? But damn it, if she was really that scared
of the men she could've come talk to him! And of this "Dan" she was going to see?
Hell, the way this character acted Alvin was surprised he even wanted a girl.
 
Knowing how fragile Shellie was---and not motivated by the same needs as his other girls---he had done his best to shelter her from all but the most bland and pedestrian tricks, directing the rough ones to Carlie---who sought such out on her own & was great to have around when Alvin wanted to work out his frustrations---and the ones with obscure fetishes to Jessie, his cynical seen-it-all pro who reminded him far too much of himself.
 
Alvin hated to think that Shellie just wasn't going to work out in any capacity. What would he do with her then? He imagined taking her to another city, maybe pointing her toward a homeless shelter down the block and then driving off, like abandoning some dog you couldn't keep...
 
     Well if she had taken his piece at least she would bring it back. And then he would have a serious talk with her.
 
THE WIDGET OWL HITS J-J-J-J ON HIS TYPEWRITER BANJO.
 
      AND HERE WE ARE. Shellie going now for her third visit with Dan, one of her repeat customers. With Alvin's hand-drawn map so she wouldn't get lost this time. Going to meet him at the Norm's restaurant on Euclid. Buying her dinner first, a nice bonus, and 2 slices of chocolate cream pie that she didn't have to share with anyone. A really nice person, Dan...
 
      Except that it's not Dan, it's HIM. Nice man not nice at all.
 
      Oh he looks different, but she knows it's him. He likes her to call him Daddy, just like he used to do on those horrible nights, his eyes two dull slits in his puffy red face and that damned doll with its shrill self-importance, its deep malevolence seeming far more conscious and alive than her stepdad was...
 
      Knows it's him by his worried, feeble smile. By the dead-meat smell of corruption about him. No mistaking. That new face and stupid perm hairdo, the skin-deal that now shrouded his fat prick not fooling her at all.
 
      It's part of the change that the dead can do, or maybe that they have to do, having a hard time holding onto their form.
 
      Like Jesus, who had changed so much that when he came up to his disciples later---out on their fishing boat---they did not even recognize him, walking on the water on his pale and bloodless feet. Or the astronaut guy at the end of 2001 THE SPACE ODYSSEY.
 
      Shellie's was not primarily a religious mania, or hadn't been, but from her lunches with Lucy on the lawn at school---those exhoratory lectures about THE END OF DAYS---she'd picked up bits and pieces of powerful disturbing imagery, that she tacked on to her pantheon of shapes- the whispering, plotting blackness, jeering hostile red,or smiling friendly pink, yellow, blue, and green...
 
NOW SHE WAS CONFUSED.
THE LITTLE SWASTIKAS WERE
FIGHTING WITH THE PEACE SYMBOLS AGAIN.
I DON'T THINK I HAVE TO TELL YOU WHO WAS WINNING...
 
      She thought she was having lunch with Lucy, but for some reason she didn't go to school anymore, and she was having lunch with this guy. Something horrible was happening. Our Savior was in the catbox now neither dead, alive nor risen.
 
      She visualized the "Shroud of Turin" that cloth that the supermarket tabloids all said had miraculously been imprinted with the image of Jesus. Shroud. Dead. Ground. Worms. Confused thoughts of the Devil. Devil Face. Fish and Spoons. Blind boats down the darkened grotto. Of cockroaches hatching into horrid little assymetrical skin-disease colored butterflies, now flying up the hollow center of a whirlpool of vomit. Rainbows of pearlescent jizz arcing over a black shit landscape. Lumpy desert. Shit Jerusalem. Taco fumes. The fan whirling on the cottage cheese ceiling of that Super 8 Motel she went to a lot. Magic 8 Ball. 76 Trombones. The temptation in the Desert. 40 days. Noah's 40 days until the dove, the rainbow. Lizzie Borden took an axe, gave her father 40 whacks. Thirsty. 30. Triangles. The devil dead in a shroud. God a poop in an Easter basket. Now the sky filled horizon to horizon with yacking ventriloquist dummies! The Yacks! The Yacks! The Yacks-
.
 
      NO!! THIS WAS BLASPHEMY!
 
 
      Then she understood. The picture came into focus. Into definition. Resolved. What would be coming out of there---this trick this time---and why she needed this gun. Today, tick tick...
 
      Now for sure, and even more because she had thought of it, this thought of hers throwing the switch, bringing the reality into being.
 
      It would be Buddy. Sliding out. Face first. His back straight. Rigid as a beam. His ankles planted, "feet" fused with the man Dan's pelvis bone. Glossy varnished eyes pivoting brightly.
Talking lewd leering smackity.
 
      Buddy Bright. Buddy Bright Hot Pain. Here to-
 
 
EAT YOU---HEH HEH---WOT A DISH!
HOT TUNA, SLUT CASSEROLE, MIGHTY TASTY!
THE OLD FOOL NEVER DID YOU LIKE YOU DESERVED;
BUT NOW BUDDY IS DRIVING! DRIVING, DRILLING, LAYIN' PIPE...
NO QUARTER GIVEN TO 2-BIT WHORES LIKE WE ALWAYS KNEW YOU WAS;
AND WHEN I EAT A BITCH THE BITCH KNOWS SHE'S BEEN EATEN.
CHEW MY WAY TA THEM PINK INTESTINES OF YERS, GIRL!
EAT YOU OUT TILL YOU'RE WHISTLIN' HOLLOW...
 
THE SHARP WOODEN JAW CLOPPING NOISILY, OPEN-SHUT-OPEN-SHUT:
CLACK! CLACK! CLACK!
 
.
 
      But no. No more. Buddy would not grind his all-the-same-size teeth on her pussy
until the tears came. Not this time or ever again!
 
       And oh yeah. The safety.
 
      A riot of squiggles. An octapus basking on a roman sundial smiles up at her, points that it's one o' two o' three o'clock four o' five o' six o' seven o' eight o' nine o' eleven fifty three o'clock! Shellie checks, giggles, checks the cylinder again just to be sure.
 
      She smiles. Reaches in her purse, much heavier today. Clicks the big gun's safety lever to off. Smiles again. Boy that would have been dumb! Silly if it didn't have bullets...
.
 
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
 
THIS STORY: Back in 1979 I was part of a band of homeless guys who adopted a very pretty schizophrenic girl as a pet. Doodlebug Mary, who spent her days watching and talking to bugs, and about "widget owls" and other weird stuff. We made a pact that no one would touch her, she wasn't in any shape to give meaningful consent. I was surprised and proud of my wino friends for that...
 
One night at 3 a.m. she woke us up a horrible scream: I WANT CHICKEN!! She apparently wanted chicken.
 
Over the 3 weeks she was with us I tried to talk to her, and got a very garbled account of her stepdad abusing her. It was disturbing and heartbreaking. We probably should have called the county to come put her in a home or something, but we just didn't think like that. The authorities were someone to be avoided at all cost.I thought about where Mary could have wound up if she hadn't come across us, and where she might have gone to after she wandered away one day. I wrote this story a decade later. I couldn't write anything this brutally clinical about sexual child abuse these days, but I decided not to rewrite it...

 

Or Homage to a Doodlebug?

R.K.Galvez
This again was really complex for me and I needed to read it a couple of times, but I truly believed the reality and your endnote confirmed my faint assertions that this might've been once a reality. But I wouldn't've have known anyway; reality is a warped beast to be toyed with daily. I was interested by the way you conveyed this reality; it's psychosexual realism still trying to fathom the absurd powerlessness of Shellie. Even when it looks like her reality is, somehow, being corrected she's actually seems to be getting worse[is she going after her current and past clients?]. But it's the Alvin character who troubles me - sure he's got out of his depth with her, and he wants to off-load her, but isn't he actually using her, treating her like a fuck-machine? This is his business and he's meant to be a pimp, so is he having some sort of moralistic crisis over Shellie? And I'd love to know what meds Shellie would've been on, because the resistance to her meds and not to the cocaine is an interesting behaviour[psychologically speaking].
Shellie's phallic-topia reminds me of Acker and Burroughs-esque coveyances, I love a lot of the language here, quite astounding imagery, which is really effective and disturbingly funny, while still in check with the grim reality. Did you ever find out what happened to the real Shellie? Doodlebug Mary must've been on your mind for a long time and I would be interested to know, as schizophrenia is in my family also. But if she just vanished into the ether, she will be forever eternal, and I hope you continue to keep her alive through your words. Peace.

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