She stood at the far end of the lot, safely out of sight of the adults, and called out: "Ladies! All girls please report to the emergency meeting."
Vicky watched Letty hover above the picnic table, deftly snatching food. She called out to Letty as she devoured a raw hotdog.
"What's going on, Vick?" Vicky licked her finger and wiped off some mustard from the corner of Letty's mouth. "I've got a plan for dealing with these Neandertalls," she said.
"I don't think that's how you pronounce it."
"Letty, who cares how you pronounce it? There's a bigger issue here, and you know what I'm talking about."
"I know. Ever since that meat-head Tony showed up there's been no peace."
A few of the younger girls tentatively moved forward to see what Vicky had to say.
"Exactly. Let, I want to share my vision with you. When I look over at that space ship, I don't see Tony. He doesn't exist. I see a superb vessel free of all boys."
Now all of the girls stood watching and listening, as Vicky gestured toward the ship: "The Americans wisely decided on an all-girl crew, well trained in the arts of diplomacy and surveillance. Led by the smartest and most loyal Co-Captains in the world."
"Also, the bravest and most bad-ass," Letty added.
"Launched on a most important mission, where the very fibers of their beings burst with importance, thousands of tiny particles, pink and silver, swirling through the Universe, unstoppable and totally free."
Vicky watched the space ship launch into the atmosphere, leaving a spray of emeralds and rubies in its wake. "Do you see it girls? Can you see what I see?"
Letty stared up into the sky, transfixed. "It's beautiful," she said.
Vicky tried to address the girls in the same tone as the Pastor, even going as far as placing her hands on an imaginary pulpit: "Girls, I want to thank you all for attending my meeting. I have a solution to our little problem," she said, motioning her chin at the boys.
A rock flew from the direction of the ship and landed ten feet away from the emergency meeting, a thinly veiled part of Tony's psychological warfare. Two could play at that game.
"All we have to do is pretend that we are going to kiss the boys, and they will run at the first pucker."
Lizzie DeLucca was one of the new kids in church from Brooklyn. Rumor had it, she had skipped a few grades. In a raspy voice, she spoke softly: "But Tony is crazy. I heard he bit the head off of a kitten, and then put a firecracker up its, butt. And then blew it to bits." The girls shuddered collectively.
Heather, the six-year-old redhead, was recently caught starting small fires in the girl's room added: "Yeah and he lives in a haunted house, without parents, because they were taken by Satan."
Even Letty shook her head no: "I don't like it, Captain. Why do you want to kiss the boys?"
Vicky raised her voice: "I don't want to kiss the boys! I'm saying pretend. And those Tony rumors are ridiculous. He's just a boy, and he has no right to keep us from the space ship. Are we going to let him waltz on into our territory and tell us what we can and can not do?"
"Hell no," Letty yelled. Some of the girls gasped, others giggled. "How can you be sure it will work?" Letty asked.
"I just know. Anyone got a better idea?" Vicky challenged.
The girls all looked at one another, and then studied their feet.
"It's worth a try," Letty said. Vicky felt so grateful. No one in the world had a better best friend. She rode that wave: "Jesus is on our side, girls! Now let's take what belongs to us! Let's go get that space ship!"
Vicky moved with a slow, indifferent amble towards the rocket, kicking up dirt in the parking lot as she advanced. Her crew followed closely. A thin layer of reddish brown dust settled on their skin. They moved as one filthy, determined female hurricane toward their target. Lizzie screamed a siren-like battle cry. Then, silence. Vicky could see Joey Beans, covered in brown bean-shaped freckles from head to toe. When he unleashed a series of machine-gun burps, the boys tossed sticks and rocks at the girls.
Vicky puckered up with exaggerated wet and syrupy kisses while the other girls circled the ship imitating her. The affectionate noise assaulted the boys on all sides. The younger boys in particular had no control over the cootie reflex of a kissing-girl advance, but some of the older ones stubbornly held their posts. Vicky was the first to actually climb aboard, but her hands were so slippery with sweat that she nearly slid off the bars.
"Girls, climb aboard!"
Lizzie, clearly misunderstanding the plan, was actually kissing Joey Beans on the cheek. It was not having the desired affect, as Joey stood smiling stupidly at her.
"Hey!" Vicky screamed. "Lizzie!"
Her voice seemed to snap Joey out of a trance, and he joined his brothers running toward the picnic table, looking back at Lizzie one last time.
"What?" Lizzie yelled.
"Let's not lose sight of the goal."
Lizzie shrugged and continued the attack, with a particularly slobbering sort of pretend kiss aimed at Byron, one of the last remaining boys. Letty had already made her way up to the Captain's deck, and was facing off with Tony. She needed back up. Squeezing between bars, Vicky stood opposite her nemesis, close enough to get a good look at him. His greasy brown hair was sticking to his forehead, and his crooked, yellow teeth grimaced as if he was facing rabid dogs.
All seven girls had entered the space ship. "You're out numbered, jack-off. Get out of here!" Letty commanded. Tony's fists clenched and for a moment Vicky was terrified.
"You girls don't know what yas just got yourself into." As he climbed down, some of the smaller girls blew kisses at him, and he raised his hand in the air as if he would slap anyone who came near him.
Joy warmed her entire body, as she stood over Tony, flipping him the bird, and making farting noises to drown out his insults. That little dirt-bag deserved to be put in his place. He didn't even go to church.
Basking in her first victory, ever, Vicky turned to her crew: "Assume the controls ladies! Welcome to the S.S. Girls Rule!" She ran her hands over a rusty purple bar, and whispered, "Isn't she a beaut?" Letty, her proud Co-Captain, raised her hands in the air and screamed: "Girls rule the space ship!" They all chanted: "Girls rule the space ship!" Vicky felt so proud. She noticed Letty staring into the distance and followed her eyes. Some of the dads were starting up the grill.
"Did your mom make her macaroni salad?" Letty asked.
"Yeah, a huge bowl."
Vicky's hunger gnawed at her. She realized that they had a problem. How could they protect the ship and get food at the same time? Already, the boys were lined up in front of the long picnic table, covered with baked beans, pulled pork and soda. They seemed to have forgotten all about the space ship. Vicky began to devise a plan wherein a recon team could go and forage for food, while others protected the ship, when suddenly a loud "Whizz," like a swarm of bees coming right at her, followed by a hot sting. It wasn't until the skinny explosive made contact under her left eye that she realized she was under attack. The pain was searing. She was blinded. Her cheek burned; she nearly let go of the monkey bars and fell to a certain death when Letty steadied her.
"Holy shit," Letty yelled. "You're okay, Vick. Are you okay?"
Vicky burrowed her face in Letty's neck and tried to hide her tears. Panic spread throughout the space ship, as one of the girls screamed: "Bottle rockets incoming!" She could hear her troops scampering wildly away. Vicky opened her eyes, and was relieved to find she was not blind, as she watched Tony running down the block. He was faster than lightning. Letty helped her slowly climb down the bars, keeping a protective arm around her.
"I'm okay," she said weakly. "Let's get away from here before my mom sees."
Letty was clearly infuriated by the attack and started to pace back and forth: "I'm going after him," she declared. "Who's with me?"
"Let, you won't find him. He's long gone." Vicky appreciated the effort and knew that when Letty finally did find him, he'd get what he had coming. But now she felt humiliated in her defeat, and she wanted to be alone, so she said: "It couldn't hurt to take a look around, though." Vicky slinked around to the front entrance of the church, trying hard to go unnoticed. Across the street, fireworks popped loudly on the sidewalk, and she jumped. "Dammit," she muttered, under her breath. She turned and saw Jesus, sitting on the stoop, eating corn on the cob. He must have heard the profanity.
"Sorry, Jesus. I didn't mean to curse. I just got scared."
"Yes," he said, "I saw what happened. Are you okay?"
"Pretty much. I think."
"So, are you going to get revenge now?"
Vicky stared at the ground carefully, knowing all about turning the other cheek. It wasn't hard to figure out the answer that Jesus was hoping for, but she couldn't promise that some payback would not be visited upon Tony. And didn't he deserve it? Jesus tried to pick some corn out from between his teeth.
"You don't have to answer that now. Think about it for awhile," he said
"Can anyone else see you?" Vicky asked suddenly. When Jesus first made an appearance at the dinner table six months ago, she wondered if she was losing her mind. She felt safe knowing that he was close by, checking in on her, but at times it scared her. He never seemed to judge her, but if he could see everything? She cringed at the thought.
"Mostly, no," Jesus said.
She looked at his calm blue eyes, watched the wind blow his long dirty blond hair away from his face. He was beautiful, and she had to admit, she was lucky to know him.
"Jesus, you know I love ya, and I always try to do what's right."
He nodded yes.
"But Tony is a danger to all of the girls here. He has to be dealt with. And even if I didn't do anything to him, I couldn't be held responsible for Letty. She has her mind made up."
At that moment they saw Letty scouting the parameter of the church property. She was holding a softball bat in one hand and a sausage link in the other. She was too busy looking for Tony to notice them.
"She must've gotten that from the new recreation closet," Jesus said sadly.
Vicky sighed. The situation seemed to be escalating. "You know what I'm saying, right? I can't control what other people do."
"It seems to me, Vicky, that sometimes you do have the power to control what other people do," he said. "But that's not what I'm asking. Now I'm going to get some of that macaroni salad before it disappears. Come here, I want you to see this."
Jesus walked around back where the space ship was inhabited by both girls and boys, playing together. Vicky noticed Lizzie and Joey Beans sitting close together at the control panel. She wouldn't have allowed that on her watch. She frowned when she thought, Tony wouldn't have either. Jesus put a reassuring hand on her shoulder and patted her head affectionately. "Go wash up; I'll see you later."
Staring at herself in the bathroom mirror, she pushed the raised bump on her cheek and watched as all the blood flowed back into it. It looked like a deformed third eye, and it was ugly as sin. But it made her look tough, and she liked that.
Share on Facebook
Tweet about this Piece
Poor Mojo's Tip Jar: