God is My Palm PilotStandard Disclaimer: Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental, except for LFT who will probably sue our asses for sullying her reputation (as if!). If the real Stash ever reads this, please know we borrowed your name cuz it sounded cool as shit.
It's Uber Until It Sells: Call it what you want, just don't call it late for dinner.
Naughty Words and Kinky Stuff: My mom would wash my mouth out with soap if she read this story. Then again, she tats and is a little old-fashioned, so what can you do? Hot girl/girl action! Beware!
What? Another World Was Canceled??: There is melodrama here, so much so that you might weep and cry with sadness, like a little girl.
Vivian's Claimer: I blame LN. She'd make a rich woman beg. She'd make a good woman steal. She'd make an old woman blush. And she'd make a young girl squeal. (And me too: Sooo-weee! )
LN's Claimer: I blame the Solid Gold dancers, no basement in the Alamo, cheetos, and that movie "Endless Love" for my parts. Oh yeah, and my naughty hippy chick who thinks I'm Rico Suave. (ps. Vivvy is my hero!)
The Point (and We Did Have One): This (finger quote) "story" started off as a lark with Viv and LN trading parts back and forth, writing where the other left off. It turned into this. It scares us.
She’s Fabulous: firstname.lastname@example.org
From Hair to Eternity
Super-Lustrous Industrio-Strength Bard" James
Vivian "Where’s My Aveda Discount Card?" Darkbloom
Stash Maleski was tall, dark, and artistic, but that didn't stop her from being hot as hell. She was a babe, ya see, and I knew the minute I saw her, I wanted to find out how she got the name 'Stash'. Hell, I figured it'd have to be a story we could fuck to, you know? I was game and she could stash it anywhere she wanted if you know what I mean.
So at the opening of her new show, I fought my way through all the clowns wearing black, through the funny-tasting canapes, the second-rate chardonnay, until I was at her side. Her blue eyes glinted brighter than a Warhol silkscreen. Yet I could see, deep down, her soul was all tangled up, like a Jackson Pollock.
"You're Stash Maleski, aren't you?" I purred.
"Yeah. Who are you?" she asked apprehensively, clutching her cell phone.
"Nobody, really. A friend."
"Friend my ass. You're the Voice's new art critic, aren't you? Thought you could sneak in and trash me, didn't you?"
"Hold on, sister. I'm no art critic, but I am an art lover, if you catch my drift."
"Yes, I do catch your drift. I would recognize Old Spice anywhere. Uncle Ned wore it."
I ignored her. "Look, baby, I just want to get to know you. I wanna Mapple your Thorpe, screw on your Schnabel, bop on your Basquiat. See what I'm sayin'?"
Her eyes went wild with desire. Yet it wasn't the kind of desire I was countin' on.
"SECURITY!!!" she screamed.
I spent a night on ice cooling off, literally. After I got thrown out of Maleski's opening, I found myself at the Rockafella ice rink. (I call it 'Rockafella' because it sounds sexier than Rockefeller.). Damn, that woman was cold.
You ever ice
skate when your heart's on fire? It ain't easy, honey. Whenever I thought
of Stash and the way she used texture and color, I pretty much melted like
some Dali-clock draped over a tree limb. You'd call that sappy and mushy
probably, but it was true. That artist was deeper than a Rothko and fuzzier
than a Monet.
I wanted her. Bad.
And by the time my fingers and toes were numb from the cold, I knew I had to make Stash Maleski mine. The question was how. And more importantly to my art-lovin' libido, when.
I spent the remainder of the day wearing off my frustration by giving tourists the wrong directions. A nice family wanted to see Ellis Island; I sent 'em to Coney, baby. A pastor from Stockholm, dying to see the Empire State Building, will instead see the tallest projects in the Bronx.
Life's a bitch when you want a bitch.
I strolled outta Rockafella Center. It seemed that on every corner I saw her. But it wasn't her. I would catch a glimpse of black hair, a certain sway of the hips, a lascivious sneer. Stash Maleski was as ubiquitous as a Starbuck's.
And then I turned the corner onto Broadway. And goddamn if it wasn't her: Stash in a Starbuck's. Something inside me expanded, and I'm not talking below the waist, 'cause I wasn't packin'. I felt like the Grinch: I had grown an extra heart. In fact, I had a plethora of 'em, like a Jim Dine canvas.
She didn't want to see me. But that didn't stop me, and before I knew it, I was in that so-called coffee shop, standing before her as she sat in an overstuffed chair flipping through an issue of Artforum.
It took her a minute. Then she looked up at me. I couldn't tell if she thought I was the biggest pain in the ass in the whole Western world, or if I was the greatest thing since Ben & Jerry's.
"You," she hissed. "Why the fuck don't you leave me alone?"
I guess it was the former. Or was it? "Figures an ice queen like you would be drinking a frappacino," I sneered, feeling brave, although my heart(s) were breaking and my Jockeys drenched.
"It's a power frap," she growled.
Damn, that blond chick was relentless. Here she was in my Starbucks. She'd probably follow me into the john if I went to take a piss.
"Would it help if I mentioned Georgia O'Keefe?" she asked, but I could tell she was pulling out the last proverbial stop.
"Not if that's the best cliché you've got, sweetheart."
I was moody. It came with the job. Either that or it was raining and a Monday. Those always get me down. But this woman's eyes flashed and she put her hands on her hips like she was somebody's mom getting ready to use a wooden spoon on a child who talked back. That turned me on.
"Look, my name is Carson, Carson Wilds and I want to do you!" she yelled.
I looked around the coffee shop and everyone pretended not to hear. It was like when someone makes out behind you at the movies and you know from the wet slurping sounds someone's getting it on but you try not to listen. That happened to me once in a Tarantino film. And they say sex and violence don't mix.
"Do me?" I asked dubiously.
Carson, Carson Wilds nodded her head and pointed a finger at me. I wondered briefly if she was going to ask me to pull it. Instead, it shook all up and down at me.
"Yes Stash, I'm a hair consultant and you need a hair plan. Bad."
I saw red. Then I saw orange. What the hell was her hair color anyway? I slammed my frap down with such force that foam shot out of the straw, like a money shot in a Jeff Stryker film.
She looked at the straw, then she looked at me, licking her lips. I felt like she was Bill Clinton and I was a French fry. A giant French fry with...hair problems. This brought me back to the moment and my anger flared anew.
"Just what the fuck is wrong with my hair?" Even the deepest, butchest, and growliest of tones cannot undo the fundamental petulant whininess of the question. I hated myself. I hated myself for standing there and taking it from her. But I wanted to take it from her. I wanted to take it any way she was willing to give it. And if I had to sit down in an overstuffed chair while she wrapped my hair in pieces of foil while drinking wine out of a plastic cup and listening to Bjork remixes while she made small talk with a stylist named Antonio who had bigger tits than me, well then, I would.
"Look," she said, "your bangs are too long, you're frizzier than Barbra Streisand in a rainstorm, and those split ends--"
"All right, all right. Enough. But why should I trust you?" I gave her my best sneer. And it worked: Her nipples went harder than old biscotti. "I mean, look at your hair. That shag thing. Tell me: Did you win?"
"The Parker Stevenson Lookalike Contest."
Her lips squirmed in such a way that I knew I wanted them all over me.
"Sure, Stash," she replied coolly. "Wanna be my Kirstie Alley?"
And you know what the sick, fucked up truth was? I did. Just as long as Scientology, ugly divorces, and mediocre sitcoms were not involved.
"I swear to God, if you give me a perm, I'll kill you with a bobby pin faster than you can say 'Demi Moore in St. Elmo's Fire.' "
Stash growled this at me as she sank down in my chair. It was genuine Naugahyde but that didn't stop her from sticking to it and making this god-awful squeaking sound like, well…leather pants on Naugahyde.
"Relax." I purred, or at least did my best imitation of Kathleen Turner.
I could tell she was edgy and skittish and that didn't surprise me. She probably hadn't been into a "beauty consultaria" (as I like to call it) in years. I briefly wondered if she used Pert, judging from the buildup, but that thought left my mind faster than a fleeting image of Judge Judy naked when it was replaced by something even more horrifying.
"Oh. My. God." I barely managed this.
Wild eyed and gripping the chair arms, Stash Maleski looked like she was ready to jump out of her skin.
"What?! What is it?! Lice?! Scabies? What?!"
She said this with a tinge of hysteria and I was surprised. She seemed the type to take things a bit more calmly, but judging from what I saw, I understood her terror.
"No, something worse." I whispered.
I hated being an alarmist, I always had. But ever since that time I pointed out the dangers of red dye #3 in M&Ms to the masses (yes, that was me, you can thank me later), I felt justified in my alarming ability to spot trouble in a New York minute. I took a deep breath and picked up a strand of Stash's hair, hidden beneath all others, and pointed to it in the mirror so she could see. I couldn't hide my obvious disdain.
"You frosted your hair," I said solemnly.
And with that revelation, I wondered if, indeed, I wanted to sleep with Stash Maleski after all.
Stash's cruel laughter rang through the salon, punctuated by a giddy squeak from the chair, as if the Naugahyde were her very own personal Ed MacMahon, mindlessly reinforcing everything she said and did.
"Yes," she hissed in a low tone. "Yes, I did, Carson." She paused and fixed me with her Paul Newman baby blues. The preternatural lightness of the eyes highlighted her insanity somehow. "It all started ten years ago. In winter."
"So you could say it was ten winters ago." The words shot out of my mouth faster than Dean Martin at an AA meeting. I felt a strange sense of deja vu creeping all over me, as if I peed myself.
"Why would you say that? That's stupid." Stash was irritated; I had interrupted the flow of her story.
"Sorry. Go ahead."
Her crazy blue eyes got their faraway look again. "I was fresh off the bus from my hometown in Kansas."
"Where are you from, Stash?" I asked nervously, trying to distract her while snaring the attention of Paolo, the senior stylist. I would need his help if I were to restore this woman's hair to its former glory. And I knew, gazing into the black roots, that somewhere, sometime, in someplace, this hair had been magnificent.
Paolo, rolling his eyes, sauntered over. He folded his gym-rat arms over his Dolce & Gabbana black muscle T and waited for me to state my case. I pointed to Stash's head.
"Bison Chip," Stash muttered.
"What's that, honey? Your shampoo?" Paolo asked, distracted, as he probed Stash's scalp, missing the obvious.
"My hometown," growled the hair-challenged one.
Exasperated, I held up the offending strand of Stash's hair.
"AY! MIA MADRE!!!" he shrieked, crossing himself.
Stash shot us a look of sheer hatred and disdain. It reflected off the mirror and hit me between the eyes. "You're all weak and stupid," she sneered bitterly. There was a lifetime of anger behind that statement, and I didn't even need to watch Deepak Chopra to figure that one out. Stash was misunderstood, abused. No one had ever treated her right.
I felt a lump in my throat. On an intellectual level I recognized this as being the sushi from Stash's exhibit opening. Yet on a deeper, more profound level I realized that Stash (and her hair) moved me. Stash (and her hair) needed me. And I knew, as God was my witness, that Stash (and her hair) would never go hungry again.
"Paolo," I whispered, my voice quavering with emotion, "go get the Aveda Brilliant Super-Lustrous Industrio Strength Conditioner."
"We were wild then, and we loved it that way," Stash murmured while I gave her a pre-rinse, pre-shampoo, pre-conditioner, pre-spritz scalp massage. I usually tell clients (as we call them in the business) it's to relax them prior to their hair treatment, but with this hot-bodied artist in my chair, I was doing it for all the wrong reasons. Frosting be damned!
"Go on," I encouraged in my second most soothing voice after my Kathleen Turner impression, namely my Jo Beth Williams.
Stash Maleski closed her eyes and seemed to be transported back in time. Of course, this was aided by Paolo's hypnotic hand gestures a la Wayne and Garth, but it worked and she went down. Well, not down down, but down down. You know what I mean.
"We used acrylics on tarp paper, oils on rice paper, fingerpaint on construction paper. We didn't care. We were ruthless."
Stash was using this ultra-sexy voice as she was telling her story and I nearly dropped the sprayer. As it was, I got as wet and warm as I was making the artist's hair. And that was wet, believe me, honey. I finished top of my class on the "pre-rinse" rotation.
"I once even painted a seascape next to a prairiescape juxtaposed with an arcticscape. I lived by no one's rules for form and function."
"Mmm hmmm…go on." This time I used my Julianna Margulies, like when she talked to that one pregnant 14-year old and encouraged her to tell her mom she was pregnant and the girl decided she wanted an abortion so she told her mom and then her mom brought in a priest and well, we all know how that ended up. Anyway...
"Mmmmm..." Stash sort of growled in the back of her throat and I was sure I had an orgasm, but I guess I had leaned a little too close to the hot water faucet. It happens.
"We made quite a team back then, fucking and painting like animals," she continued and I stopped massaging the shampoo in those incredibly long tresses (in the business, we call hair "tresses" just to be creative).
"We?" I gulped, unable or unwilling to think about Stash Maleski fucking and painting with anyone other than me. I was jealous and I had no right. But if she and I were ever going to load up the U-haul and settle down somewhere with a picket fence and make hummus for a pot-luck, Stash was going to have to forget about this other "We" business and start thinking about our "We" business. I had known her for less than 24 hours, but wanted our "We," not their "We." And, ironically enough, all this talk and warm water made me want to wee-wee.
"And that's when I made the biggest mistake of my life," Stash whispered while Paolo handed me a bottle and I took a sip before I started in with the Aveda Brilliant Super-Lustrous Industrio Strength Conditioner.
"What?" I whispered back, in my best Mare Winningham. And what Stash told me next nearly made me swear off tiramisu forever. And that was saying something, sister.
I was such a fool not to see it coming. I knew Stash's reputation, knew it better than the rusty hair clippers I used on Mickey Rourke one fine day five years ago...who knew that vinaigrette-based hair gel would do that to my favorite shears (as we call scissors in my profession)?
I spun Stash's chair so quickly that she (and Paolo) gasped. I would've given my year's supply of Paul Mitchell hair gel just to hear that sweet sound again. Our eyes locked and I pressed closer to her, yearning to straddle her thighs.
"Tell me, Stash," I commanded in Glenn Close tones. I let my fingers woo her, undo her.
Her tongue poked out shyly, instantly reminding me of my Persian cat Ramona, who would make this silly face while in heat and humping my Kenneth Cole loafers: Her little tongue would stick out and she would looked frightened, not understanding the...overwhelming...surging...throbbing desire that tore through her body...the swollen dripping heat at her center, the--
"Do lap dances cost extra?" Stash asked.
My gyrating body froze above her.
"Fuck, yes!" Paolo threw in. "Fifty dollars, chica."
I hopped off the chair. "I'm sorry, Stash. How unprofessional of me." To regain my composure I turned away abruptly, sucked violently at my water bottle, and wiped conditioner off my fingers. I felt deeply ashamed. I had never lost my cool like this, not even when shaving Sigourney Weaver's head.
"It's, uh, okay," mumbled dear Stash.
I gave an everything's-all right-but-it's-not-really-I'm-having-a nervous-breakdown-because-I'm-a-pathetic-twat-like-Helen Hunt kinda smile. "Good. Now tell me...about how it all went wrong."
"It will change everything between us, Carson," she intoned.
Paolo moaned. "Oh Jee-zus. Dyke Drama."
"Just as long as we end up in bed!" I blurted.
Her eyes narrowed and she sneered for what was, I swear, the hundredth time in the hour she had sat in my chair. "Do you really want to bed the creator of the Chia Christ, Carson?"
My desire dried up faster than a crewcut under a high-powered dryer. "You sick fuck," I whispered.
Paolo made a face at me. "What's wrong? That sounds kinda cool. In fact, I bet my mami would love it."
"Cool?" I snapped. "It was the worst piece of kitsch I ever laid eyes on." I glared at her, and went in for the kill. "In fact, when I first saw it, I thought it was by Jeff Koons."
Stash moved so quickly that I didn't know what was happening to me...until it happened. She had grabbed my hair dryer, tied the cord around my feet, and had dragged me the length of the salon. Then she tied me to the sink and squirted water in my face. All the while I could hear Paolo singing his lesbian version of "Both Sides Now": "I've looked at dykes from both sides now/From potluck and bars/And still somehow/It's dyke drama I recall/I really don't know dykes at alllllll...."
Stash stared at me wildly. I could see she was both horrified and excited by what she had done. She was panting wildly, like a stallion.
I too breathed wildly, like Jacqueline Bisset faking an orgasm in that dumb movie where she sleeps with Andrew McCarthy but he's actually Rob Lowe's best friend, see, and she's Rob's mother, see, but Andrew doesn't know, but then he finds out, and it's kinda bad, I guess, 'cause it feels like a betrayal to Rob, and you wonder why Andrew and Rob aren't fucking each other in the first place….
I swallowed, and found my voice. "I usually wait until the second date for this, y'know."
Meanwhile Paolo wandered over, fingering the crucifix that hung from his throat. "So. like, Stash...is the Chia Christ for sale?"
My mind was whirling like some crazy-assed fucked up crack-smacked JethroTull Aqualung psychadelic flute solo and I couldn't think. (Though, in the back of my mind, I briefly wondered whatever happened to Billy Squire.) Carson Wilds had just learned the truth about me and my past and I went whacko Jacko.
"You can't handle the truth, can you?" I hissed, still a little pissed.
The petite hair consultant gazed up at me with this faraway look like Kristy McNichol used to get on that one sitcom, the kind you wonder whether it's drug-induced or simply a wistful wish for those golden Little Darling days. When she began to speak, I began to lust.
"I have a past too, Stash. You're not the only one with a skeleton in your closet."
I looked down at Carson all tied up and tried to imagine this woman with anything remotely resembling the magnitude of the Chia Christ in her past. It was like trying to imagine one of those Olsen twins ending up like Alyssa Milano. Sure, they might enjoy early success but sooner or later they'd pose naked in some tawdry two-bit porno mag or something and you'd wonder who the boss was now: Her or The Man. Though, I had to admit, Carson Wilds sure had the name of a "gentleman's club" dancer.
"What could you have possibly done to compare?" I asked with a hint of healthy Scully skepticism in my voice.
The petite hairdresser wiggled her way out of hair dryer cord and stood before she turned her back to me in one of those melodramatic soap opera turns, like when Hope turned away from Bo on Days of Our Lives right before she told him they couldn't see each other. And I'm not talking about the lame-ass 90's Bo and Hope, I'm talking about the late 80's when it was good. Not that I watched it or anything.
"I-I..." Carson stuttered while I stood there and I felt like I should do something equally melodramatic, so I walked over and put my hand comfortingly on her shoulder. All the while, Paolo had taken a seat and ate popcorn while he watched. I understood now the demographic soap operas really capture.
"It's all right, you can tell me." I said as gently as I could. I may have been an artist with a dark side, but I could do the sappy love song thing. It was like I was Elton John telling her not to go breaking my heart and she was Kiki D saying she couldn't even if she tried. Only I wasn't in love with Carson Wilds, was I?
She turned back to me and put her hands on my chest before she started crying like some…well, like some girl. Now, I've never been the emotional type. I couldn't afford to in the art business. Ever since I was nearly hunted down in the streets and torn apart by those art critic dogs after unveiling the Chia Christ, I hid my emotions like I do my vibrator when friends come to visit. But Carson was crying, Paolo was crying, and I wanted to have a damn good reason if I was going to cry too.
This hot little hair consultant did not disappoint me. Her next words made me feel like everything I had known about this woman was a lie and it might be hours, no…days, before I could imagine sleeping with her. And that's saying something for someone who once hopped in bed right after learning someone lived in Jersey. Not that there's anything wrong with that or anything.
Carson was blubbering into my chest, and I didn't want to think particulars about the viscosity of the fluids emanating from her mouth and nose; I merely made a mental note to slip the dry cleaner an extra twenty when I take the shirt in...do you know how much I paid for this shirt? More money than you see in a month, baby.
She looked up at me, resembling a raccoon with a shag haircut. (Couldn't someone like Carson find decent eyeliner? Really.) I found it oddly attractive, like all the times I saw Mary Tyler Moore cry on her TV shows. I half-expected her to whine, "Ohhhhh, Mr. Grant!" or "Ohhhh, Rob!"
But no. Carson Wilds decided to rock my world with a string of confessions. "This isn't my natural hair color," she whimpered, flinching, as if she expected me to tie her up again. And I wanted to tie her up real bad, but for all the right reasons. "I'm a dirty blonde."
I was having dirty thoughts about the dirty blonde.
Words of comfort were about to come out of my mouth when Paolo guffawed. "Oh puh-leaze, Mary. It's like you took an orange highlighter and went at your hair. Everybody knows, Carson."
Carson glared at him defiantly through her tears, like Audrey Hepburn at the end of The Children's Hour. "Chinga tu madre!" she spat at him.
He gasped like Lana Turner. "Puta!" he cried. "You leave my mami out of this or I'll tell Stash your REAL secret."
My eyes snapped back to Carson, who was nibbling her lip like a compulsively lying chipmunk. I let my voice drop into its darkest Barry White tones. "Tell me, Carson," I purred indolently, resisting the temptation to break out into "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Baby."
She wiped tears from her eyes. "I cheated on my income taxes," she said quickly.
"That's not it," Paolo sing-songed mischievously.
"I'm Jesse Helms's bastard daughter."
"True," Paolo affirmed, "but that's not the worst of it."
"I had a crush on Sylvester Stallone in sixth grade."
"Pretty bad," Paolo said. I affirmed this by giving Carson a LOOK--the kinda look I give critics and snippy waiters still waiting to become actors. "But that ain't it."
Carson was getting mad. She used my shirt sleeve to wipe her nose. Another twenty to Sasha, I thought. "I had a threesome with the Buttafuccos," she forced out from clenched teeth.
"Pretty stinkeroo, Carson, but you can blame that on the tequila," Paolo retorted. I nodded my agreement. Tequila makes you do all sorta fucked up things: My Chia Christ--not to mention my brief marriage to Richard Gere--were testaments to that fact.
"I once ate a jar of spaghetti sauce, all by itself."
Paolo sighed, wearying of the game. "Tell her, Carson," he urged gently, like a Puerto Rican Eve Arden.
"You sonofaBITCH!" Carson screamed. "Stash...oh god, Stash…" How I longed to hear her moan my name, but not under these circumstances! Then it came:
"I'm responsible for Linda Tripp's hair."
When I came to, I distinctly heard the soothing sounds of Anne Murray in the background telling me that I needed her and she was there.
"Wha..wher... am I in hell? Mommy?" I blurted out in reflex.
"Shhhh..no, no, you're just in Queens."
I recognized Stash Maleski's voice in my haze and blinked my eyes open.
"And the difference is..?" I asked sarcastically, before I wondered why I was in Queens. And then I wondered how I got to Queens from my hair consultaria on West 55th Street. I wondered if the A-line went to Queens or was it the 3. I wondered how much a cab to Queens from 55th would cost. I wondered how rush hour traffic was on the George Washington Bridge. I wondered if Anne Murray had ever been to Queens and how she made it out alive. It wasn't until I wondered what I was doing in Queens naked that I sat up and took notice, literally.
"What the fuck happened?!" I yelled before I noticed Stash's lecherous gaze on my bare breasts. "Stop staring, Polanski, it's not like you haven't seen a pair of these before."
Stash raised an eyebrow at me before she shrugged. "You passed out. I carried you here. End of story."
I guess I should have been worried, what with being in my birthday suit with a near-stranger, but the truth was it kinda turned me on. Either that or Queens is really nippy this time of year. Still, that did little to explain why I looked like Brooke Shields in The Blue Lagoon, only without Christopher Atkins, thank god. But I didn't have long hair braided with coral and palm leaves covering up my la-las. And that's when I remembered that I had been telling Stash about my past and...
"Dear God, nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!"
The keening cry that filled Stash's shabby studio surprised us both in its intensity and tone, sounding not unlike the slow exhale of air from a helium balloon when the opening is pinched and pulled. No, better yet, it sounded like a baby seal meeting a very untimely and very politically incorrect death. That would suck. No, no, it was more like you what you would imagine someone would say if they "accidentally" fell off a cliff and were careening down a crevasse straight for jagged rocks that would signal their unceremonious splatter. Yeah, I hate when that happens. Or it sounded like the time I took a ball-peen hammer and a nail and some tobasco sauce and...
When I realized that horrible, horrible sound was coming from me, I clamped my mouth shut and looked at Stash.
"Sorry." I mumbled.
"It happens. No big." She shrugged.
"Anyway..." I scratched my ear.
"Yeah..." Stash nodded her head.
"So..." I looked around nonchalantly.
"Yep..." She lit up a cigarette.
"Well..." I played solitaire.
"Uh huh..." She tatted a lace doily.
"Ya know..." I made a roast.
"Yeah?" She waxed her upper lip.
"We're in a rut." I vacuumed.
"Already?" She got herself a Busch from the frig.
"Yes." I filed for a divorce.
"Done yet?" She signed the papers.
"All better." I got the cat in the settlement.
"YESSS!" Stash Maleski cried out like some Price is Right contestant who just bid $450 for a Lady Kenmore washer and beat out the oh-so-high-and-mighty woman from Jackson, Mississippi who bid $451 thinking she could win with that clever age-old Price is Right one dollar more ploy. Not this time, sister!
"Ok, so about me being here in Queens naked…" I urged us back to the matter at hand.
"Yes, well...after you told me about your…'association'..." Here, Stash used the pretentious yet effective curled finger quotation gesture before she continued, "with Linda Tripp, you fainted like a rock and we couldn't wake you. So I picked you up and carried you here. To my apartment. In Queens."
I could hear the challenge in Stash's voice, daring me to question her choice of boroughs so I instead questioned my nudity.
"So why am I 'naked' then?" Curling my fingers in the air.
Stash Maleski grinned wickedly and crossed her arms over her chest. With a nod, she purred in a voice as smooth as velvet or satin or silk or even gossamer, "You undressed yourself, sweetheart."
Looking down, I gasped and noticed something even more incredible. Narrowing my eyes, I pointed disbelievingly.
"Don't tell me you didn't have anything to do with my hair plan down there!"
Sure enough, I was shaved almost bare down there, except there was a pattern to it, like when you cut off all the hair on one of those big Barbie heads you could style and put makeup on it, the kind my neighbor, Blake, used to have and now he's gay so it's not too surprising and he lives in Chicago with his boyfriend who I hear is a very nice man, so says his mother.
"It's not a plan, Carson, I like to call it 'Hair Art.' "
I swear to God, if Stash Maleski used that quotation gesture one more time, I was gonna do something homicidal or slutty, whatever worked to make her stop or make me come. I was one pissed-off, horned-up, naked-assed beauty consultant with one plan in mind: Bed Stash Maleski!
Of course, fucking Stash senseless would require a great deal of finesse on my part, not to mention a coochie that didn't itch like the devil. "This obsession of yours..." I muttered.
"My Chia Carson," she burbled to herself. I was her latest creation. Stash sat on the edge of the couch I was lounging on, and she seemed more skittish than Robert Downey, Jr. at the Betty Ford Clinic. I knew that one wrong word, one inappropriate gesture, one more comment about her hair, or Linda Tripp...would send her fleeing.
I sat up slowly. Her eyes detected no movement. With one hand I reached out, carefully, to place it on Stash's hard, black-clad thigh...the other one I used to scratch my newly shaven crotch. It was driving me crazy. Stash was driving me crazy. I needed her. I needed her hair. I needed some calamine lotion to STOP the goddamn itching.
Just as my hand was one-sixteenth of an inch from her leg, and my arm was sending cocky messages to my brain ("The eagle has landed, mistress") Stash bolted. I fell off the couch. Something lodged itself in the crack of my butt. With horror I imagined some huge splinter, or perhaps a cockroach longing for some backdoor action, then I reached around and removed...a Conte crayon.
Stash was pacing the length of her studio. Abruptly she stopped, and fixed her intense, glazed gaze on me. "You are a work of art, Carson," she breathed.
Well! It was about time she noticed! "Oh, Stash..." I began.
I don't know how she did it--well, obviously, by walking, I guess, unless there's something she's not telling me--but suddenly Stash was there, kneeling in front of me, and she swept me up in her strong arms and gently deposited me back on the couch. I hiccuped. It happens when I get nervous. It's annoying, because I get nervous a lot, and everyone thinks I'm drunk, and that's how I got that reputation, thanks to that stupid blind item in New York magazine.
"I'm going to sketch you, Carson," she murmured, "using at first a number 8 hard Derwent pencil to outline your form, then I'll switch to a number 4 soft to fill in the details, then I'll blot and cross-hatch until I can stand the medium no longer. Then I will perform a more detailed drawing in the style of the old Masters, on brown parchment with Indian ink and Conte crayons. Then a watercolor on rice paper that I've made myself. Then I will use mortar and pestle to grind out fresh colors for oil paints and I'll stretch the canvas...and I'll paint you in that fashion. And then I'll paint you again, this time using my own menstrual blood and chunky peanut butter...and in every medium, you will be fresh, you will be alive... yet, I know I will never catch the total, elusive beauty of your nature and your soul."
We were quiet for a long time...well, we were quiet but the borough of Queens was making a lot of godawful racket. An ice cream truck rolled by, tinkering its mindless, sugary song of gluttony. We heard kids yelling at it: "Hey you stupid fuck, stop!" A truck roared by. Someone was blaring salsa music from a car radio.
"What do you think?" Stash murmured, more serious and serene than I had ever seen her in um, oh, the 48 hours or so I had known her--her eyes, bluer than an NYPD cruiser, were locked on mine, which I imagined to be greener than the lime-colored rayon disco shirt that Paolo wore on St. Patrick's Day.
The words were out of my mouth before I could think. Funny, this happens to me a lot.
"I think you should sit on my face, Stash."
For some bizarre reason, the only thing I could think of to say to Carson Wild's salacious offer was something I've never had to say out loud before. Ever. Not even when Fido climbed in bed with me and that Jersey chick.
The bare-bottomed hair consultant looked at me like I had lost my mind, and in a way, I had.
I uttered it again and I know I must have looked like some crazy person or how I imagined Joan Crawford might have looked after a bottle of gin and a coat hanger tirade. Carson was backing away from me just a bit and shaking her head.
"Stash, what the fuck are you talking about and why do you have that look in your eyes?"
Well, if that wasn't the $100,000 Pyramid question now.
"It's my safeword," I choked out.
See, what this hot little number didn't know about me was that I had a lust box the size of all of Queens and the Bronx put together and the kind of words she said to me were the type to make my blood burn like some kinda funky voodoo incense stick you'd buy at a dark shop in the French Quarter, down past the hookers and transvestites around the corner from that one bar I stumbled into at 6 in the morning on Fat Tuesday. Point is, Carson Wilds and her wiles had me by the snatch and I wouldn't be responsible for my wicked ways if I gave in to her temptations.
"I. Must. Resist." I gritted out.
Carson must have somehow sensed both my weakness and her strength: her artfully shaved vulva. In fact, looking at my work on her body, my Hair Art, made me want to do extremely naughty, naughty things to her, things I had never wanted to do with anyone else. She started to work her body in a hula move I once saw on the Brady Bunch, that time they went to Hawaii and Greg had that surfing accident as a result of that weird Tiki god thing. Carson was purposely teasing me, I think.
"I'm teasing you," she confirmed, her voice getting this sultry Sharon Stone tone. That vixen.
"Don't," I growled.
Now, I only growl when I'm about to jump someone's bones. Or when someone pisses in my yard. I fucking hate that.
"Why, Stash? Don't you like what you see?"
Oh, that minx Carson. She was putting her hands on her body, running them over ab muscles you could bounce one of those really thin Canadian dimes off of, the kind that are only worth 7.34 cents here in the US. Why did her nipples have to be so perky, I asked myself. Why did they look like little kibbles or maybe little succulent raisins just ripe enough for my lips to wrap around and suckle like some breastfeeding fool? Why was I asking myself so many questions when Carson Wilds was now pressing herself against my body?
"Thinkin' bout you's working up my appetite..."
"Lookin' forward to a little Afternoon Delight..." Carson crooned.
Lord help me.
"Rubbing sticks and stones together makes the sparks ignite…"
I felt my willpower slipping away.
"And the thought of rubbing you is getting so exciting…" She sung this while her hand found the zipper of my leather pants.
She was relentless!
"Skyrockets in flight..." Carson smiled at me and raised an eyebrow.
And I lost it. I just couldn't help myself anymore. Somehow my mouth formed a shape that allowed me to simulate the flight of a skyrocket, bursting forth, surging forward, breaking through all barriers, tunneling towards its destination, plunging deeper into space, pushing further and further on its journey toward the mothership of all things estrogen.
"AaaAaaaaAaaafternoon Delight.." I sang all aflush with raging hot molten lava-like desire.
So much for last night's resolution. Carson Wilds had somehow wiggled her way into my heart and into my pants despite my best intentions. Why I ever thought celibacy would work for more than a day is beyond me. All I knew was that I had to have this firecracker hair consultant right now...and preferably many times. When my pants fell to my ankles, I felt the urge to blurt out my deepest darkest sexual fetish. Good god, would she still respect me? And more importantly I realized as her hot little hand wandered over my skin, would she do it?
Let us now praise famous thighs.
Oh, I could coo over Marilyn Monroe's--they were, no doubt, bitchin' but thinkin' about her made me think about JFK which made me think about him getting his head blown off in the Zapruder film and Jackie climbing out of the limo and consequently this brought to mind Halloween two years ago when Paolo dressed up as Jackie, blood-spattered pink suit and all and the rest was a nauseous, tequila-flavored blur and I woke up naked and tied in my chair at the consultaria.
But my hair was perfect.
Stash's thighs were indeed worthy of fame--or infamy, perhaps. They loomed before me, like the columns of the Lincoln Memorial. And like the pillars of this great American landmark, it guarded the finely sculpted beauty of a great American Beard. I longed to part those hot, tremulous thighs like Samson bringing down the Temple of the Pharisees, or the Church of the Poisoned Mind or whatever in the hell it was...and I was on the verge of doing so when Stash spoke.
"Carson," she rasped in a hot voice, sounding like Kris Kristofferson after a case of Pall Malls and two fifths of scotch, as if someone had taken her voice and dragged it over miles of broken glass.
"Yes, my blue-eyed miracle?"
"I need you...to talk to me."
I rolled my eyes. Talk? Why, it was the simplest thing in the world. I am, after all, a hair consultant, for God's sake! I talk all day! "Don't worry, my thighmaster, I can say whatever you want. I can sing whatever you want." I had "Fernando" on back-up in my mind, in case "Afternoon Delight" hadn't worked.
"You don't understand." A pause. "Like Sean Connery."
"I don't understand you like Sean Connery? Jesus, Stash, what's with you banging male celebrities? Was this before or after Richard Gere?"
"No...no. You must talk to me...like Sean Connery." She gulped and added hastily, in dirty shame: "With his accent."
"Oh." I was momentarily stunned, like the time an irate customer once hit me with a curling iron. (Some people do not handle shag cuts well.) But I recovered quickly. Recently Paolo and I had reenacted a five-minute version of Entrapment for the amusement of our customers, and I, of course, was Sean. It was the triumph of my hairdressing/thespian career. And Paolo made a fetching heroine.
I cleared my throat. "So lassie, you'd like a nip of the Scotch, eh?" I ground out in my best gravelly Connery tones.
"OH GOD, yes!" Stash moaned, parting her thighs. I caught scent of her essence, and it was sweet, delicious, buttery...like French toast. How exciting, Stash would taste just like my favorite brunch item! The synchronicity of it all dazzled my faux-blonde head. Or maybe it was just the bottle of maple syrup sitting, open, near a half-completed canvas called "The Last Brunch" which brought on this quasi-Proustian moment.
"Aye, Stash. Yew'll crack me head like a peanut with those thighs then, I reckon. But before we get started"--I dropped a tantalizing kiss on her thigh--"I must tell yew, my safeword is 'haggis.' Got me?"
"Yes. Oh yes, Carson! Now!" she cried.
I grinned, and nuzzled those thunderous thighs, all the while thinking that the pounding I heard was the rushing of blood to my head, or the rapid pounding of my heart, but no, it was the door. Pounding. Pounding. Then suddenly opened.
And there was Linda Tripp. With a photographer who was snapping pictures. She was wearing some long, strange black hat. If the Pope and Patti LaBelle had opened a millinery shop in Soho, this would be the kind of hat they would sell. Obviously. she was still upset...about the hair.
"We meet again, Carson," she proclaimed nasally.
I sneered, although I probably just resembled a chipmunk with a squinting problem. "What the hell are you doing here, Linda? What do you want from me?"
"What do I want? I want retribution, Carson. You will hand over all your assets, and your loft in Tribeca, to me immediately, otherwise, I will hand over these photos to your father, the Senator. And you know what that means, don't you?" Obviously, she was still REALLY upset about the hair.
"You bitch!" I cried, jumping up.
Stash was too much in a lust-induced haze to do anything except mumble, "Diamonds are forever."
"That's right, Carson. Your father, Senator Helms, will no doubt have a fatal heart attack when he sees these photos of his bastard brat fornicating. He almost died when Karen Finley shoved a yam up her ass. So this will be the coup de grace. And with his death, Carson, no more cash handouts for you!"
Dear, gentle reader. Journey with me now, for a moment. Come, take my hand. We've got tonight, babe. Why don't you stay? The words you see before you are swimming, backstroking, dissolving, then reforming, reemerging as a shotgun shack in North Carolina, circa 1977, where I am 9 years old and living with my foster family and awaiting a visit from my real mother, Miss Lulubelle Covington Hockenberry, a simple country girl who knew not the ways of the evil world until she was seduced by a shameless. powerful man....
….Well, the reality of it was that Mama was the biggest whore in the county and she knew a good thing when she saw one. And on that day, when I was cryin' about not having a real daddy, she told me, "Honey, you may not have a daddy, but you got a gravy train. Ride it, and take the old turkey buzzard for all he's got. Lord knows that's what I'm gonna do." And this was how I got to study Hair Design at the Sorbonne, bought my fabulous downtown duplex, and started my business.
Linda Tripp regarded me triumphantly. "You have 24 hours to decide. You'll know where to find me."
"Do you know how many Holiday Inns are in this city?" I screamed.
Linda merely smirked, and turned on her heel. Then she glanced over her shoulder. "Oh, and Stash, thanks for the tip-off. Lucianne will be calling you about buying the Chia Chelsea Clinton." She said this to the naked form who was almost sort of my lover, sprawled in a daze on the couch.
I turned and stared at Stash Maleski, who was humming "From Russia with Love." Was this all an elaborate set-up to betray me, to blackmail me so I would no longer blackmail Daddy? Was the woman I was falling in love with merely a deceitful hack who used maple syrup in a fashion that the good Lord had not intended?
They say love is a battlefield. Well, at least Pat Benatar did. (SHE ROCKS!) If love was a battlefield, then I was a big ol' hole and Stash Maleski was the bomb responsible. Or the hole. I wasn't sure. I should have known those thighs were too good to be true.
"How. Could. You?" I seethed.
Stash looked dazed as she shook her head to remove the last bit of Carson-lust of which she was obviously experiencing. Despite feeling betrayed, hurt, and pissed off, I had to admit that Maleski looked very fuckable at the moment, her wild mane of hair slightly sweaty from the ride she had taken on my face. If it hadn't been for the fact that she apparently tipped off Linda Fucking Tripp to my whereabouts, I'd give her another ride on the Carson-Tilt-a-Twirl. Instead, I wanted to kick her ass.
"Now Carson, let me explain…" Stash said this as she held up her hands like she was preaching to the choir.
"You sold me out to Linda Fucking Tripp. What's that about? What's next, you gonna tell Paolo about how I replaced all his Aveda products with leftover Hair On Tap from 1982?"
Stash at least had the decency to cross her ankles so I wouldn't be forced to gaze at her snatch (I picked up that word from my friend, Keith, who is a gynecologist up in Westchester County and has developed an extensive collection of nicknames for female anatomy. Personally, I'm partial to "swollen bud of love nestled in nether lips of silk," but then again, I've always been something of a poet.)
"Carson, honey, I didn't sell you out to Linda Fucking Tripp. True, I saw her at my opening last night and told her that I'd get you back to my place one way or another and wouldn't it be a hoot if she stopped by."
"And that's not selling me out?!" I asked incredulously. Did I look like a fool?
Don't answer that.
"Listen, baby, it's not what you think," Stash soothed.
I was just about ready to pull out my full Drama Queen routine, complete with yelling, tears, throwing of knick-knacks and quoting from old episodes of Falcon Crest. I raised an eyebrow instead (something I saw Alexis Carrington do once) and put my hands on my hips.
"Explain," I purred out in what I liked to think of as my sexy-yet-menacing voice.
And then Stash Maleski did something equally sexy and Falcon Cresty. She reached over to the endtable by the couch and poured herself a martini, complete with an olive stuck on one of those plastic swords. When her eyes returned to me, she sipped it smoothly and nodded.
"Carson, I've known of your relationship to Senator Helms for years. You see, I used to be an intern in his office. He told me one night after I got him drunk on cheap Mad Dog 20/20."
I lit up one of those Marlene Dietrich cigarettes, the ones that sit on the end of a long black stick, and spun around. And then I spun back around.
"So, you knew about us. I was only using him. Momma taught me that skill. My Daddy never loved me and this was the only way." I wrung my hands together and paced. I felt very Knot's Landingish.
"Yes, but your Daddy had a secret, Carson. A secret only I know. And that secret makes whatever Linda Fucking Tripp has on you look like cotton-candy." The way Stash said this turned me on, mainly because she had uncrossed her legs and now had an arm over the back of the couch. She looked relaxed and hot. Was it so wrong that I wanted her to ride me hard and rough and long and deep and...
I whispered, "What is it?"
What Stash told me next made me want to throw my arms around her and straddle her thigh. I knew Linda Fucking Tripp couldn't hurt me anymore. Not now. With a rich deep voice and a hint of amusement, the former intern/multimedium artist Stash Maleski spilled her secret.
"Let's just say that it's probably a good thing that Reagan can't remember making a certain movie involving him, a horse, and your Daddy. I have the only copy of it over there next to my copy of Bound."
I smiled. "Oh, Stash, you're my hero."
My artiste noir stood up and came over to me and I think I swooned a little bit. I could only hope there would be no more interruptions involving Stash, a bed, and me.
Unfortunately, I was quite wrong.
No sooner that I had wrapped my legs around Stash Maleski than my cell phone rang.
Nothing makes a hairdresser jump more than a ringing phone, dear reader. For one never knows what providence (and I'm not talking that lame-assed TV show with the dead talking mother… Jesus, when my momma dies I kinda want to her shut up and stay dead, y'know? Not that I don't love the ol' hoochie a bunch, but really, life is complicated enough!) might bring...
...um, what was I saying? Oh. About the cell phone: You never know when someone is going to cancel/reschedule on you. It's a matter of life and death, which happens to be one of my favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger films (these gentlemen together were known as the Archers and made a spate of wonderful films together throughout the 30s, 40s, and 50s but I'll save the rest for my film discussion group at the public library), and you gotta love the way David Niven dies in that very British way, going down in a fiery plane, talking over the plane's radio to the woman he's kinda falling in love with, saying, "This is it, old girl, chip-chip, bye-bye!" and MOTHER OF GOD I felt like I was going down in fire myself given the way Stash was kissing me, it was exquisite and mind-blowing and better than eating Haagen Dazs (it's the only kind of vanilla in my life) while whacking off (I highly recommend the combination) and even though I was humping her and she was sucking on my neck and had her thumb discreetly lodged in my ass, snug and layin' lower than a runaway housewife at Motel 6, I couldn't ignore the ringing phone just like David Niven couldn't ignore his plane being on fire, but now I'm kinda mixing my metaphors and similes up because just thinking about Stash--the mere thought of her--sends every synapse in my body singing.
"Ignore it," Stash commanded, in her best "belay that order lieutenant" Patrick Stewart tones.
"Mmmm...ngggghhhaaaaaa," I said. Nonetheless I reached for my phone. I have carried on conversations with fewer consonants. I am a hair consultant, you know, and we must always be prepared for the more strenuous after-effects of a liquid lunch. My hands shook violently as Stash started sucking on my breast as if she were a newborn who recently discovered the concept and joys of nursing, but I grabbed the phone and managed to hit the talk button by smacking it on Stash's head. She moaned in delight. Just as I thought she would.
"Carson...Carson...WILDS!!!" I screamed into the phone, while Stash was playing my clit as if I were a gee-tar (oh, my redneck roots! As shamelessly persistent as my dirty blonde roots!) and she were Chrissie Hynde, the Great Punk Bitch Goddess herself.
"You are DEAD, puta!" It was, of course, Paolo.
"Uh. Uh. HUH!" I grunted. Stash Maleski was trying to stuff as many fingers as she could inside me.
"Yeah, that's right, baby, Uh-HUH!" Paolo's pissed off Puerto Rican accent crackled over the phone like a fire. "Carson, you have done an awful lot of evil shit to me--"
Stash's head popped up from between my breasts. "Fist?" she asked politely. She must have been a wonderful waitress, in those wild days when she first came to New York and actually had to work for a living instead of trying to paint with Hershey's syrup and a toothbrush. I longed to see her in a tight white waitress uniform, even if she had bacon grease on it, servin' me up a big slice of hair pie--er, strawberry-rhubarb pie--with her little nametag bobbing up and down on her cleavage, just like I was bobbing up and down on her hand.
"Please baby, please," I moaned. I was slicker than snot on a doorknob (as Momma used to say, one of her quaint "country" expressions), slicker than Mickey Rourke's hair on a rainy day, slicker than a Republican presidential campaign, slicker than KY jelly on the toilet seat. (God, I hate it when that happens.)
"Don't you give me no 'please baby please,' you little bitch!" Paolo shouted. "This ain't no damn Spike Lee joint and I ain't playin'!"
Stash Maleski flopped me on my stomach and, as an appetizer to my main course, started rimming me. I moaned. I melted. I clutched my cell phone for dear, sweet life.
"--I mean, how could you? How could you do that to me? Hair on TAP? I'm your business partner! I'm your best friend! I almost went down on you once when I was drunk!" The resemblance to Parker Stevenson is almost annoying at times.
If my asshole were the Bronx, then perhaps one could picture my coochie as the glittering isle of Manhattan. Stash's tongue took the 6 train local downtown, got stuck around the Upper East Side, hopped on a crosstown train which made my whole body shake, and by the time her mouth hit Christopher Street, I was in heaven.
In the interim, Paolo ranted: "Are you, like, jealous of me? Is that it? Carson, I can't help it I turned the shampoo girl straight. I'm like candy to everyone, dig? Why can't you understand me? Why can't you just accept that I'm cuter than you are, everyone will always like me better, and I do color better than you. If you had trusted me, your hair wouldn't be orange. If you would only accept that--didn't you watch the Deepak Chopra videos I got you for Christmas? It's all about Acceptance, Carson. You must accept that you are just a cracker. But look at the good things: You have a fabulous apartment."
I gasped as Stash Maleski started to fill me up with her hand. There was a pause on the phone.
"Oh, don't go all Lana Turner on me, girl. You know I can't stand that. It reminds me of the time we rented Imitation of Life and I cried at the end and said, 'I love you, Carson' and then you threw up on me. But I told you not to eat two whole burritos from Benny's...." Paolo started sniffling gently, then broke into a full-on wail like Patty Duke at the end of Valley of the Dolls. "Oh, Carson! I just can't stay mad at you!"
My body was convulsing in ecstasy around Stash's fist. And I started to do a Neely O'Hara of my own. "Oh God...God...GOD!!!!!" I keened.
"You don't have to say you love me, just be close at hand," Paolo sang, dusting off his Dusty Springfield.
I was close, oh God, I was close. And Stash was at hand. Or fist, rather. "Oh God YES!" I screamed, as the final wave consumed me and I drowned in it quickly, as if Natalie Wood had given me swimming lessons.
Paolo sighed. "I'm glad you finally came around to my way of thinking, chica. I really hope we can put this all behind us now. No more Hair on Tap, and no more secrets between us. 'Night, honey." The line went dead as various bodily fluids shot out of me. I felt beautiful, like my water had broken and I had given birth to a healthy, bouncing, lively, four-scream orgasm.
"Ew, you came all over my body pillow," Stash was saying.
"God, that was incredible."
"You thought that was incredible? Just wait until later," she purred.
"I don't even care that you told Paolo about the Hair on Tap."
"Actually, I told Linda Fucking Tripp and she must've told Paolo."
"Oh." Did I care anymore, about all my dirty little secrets? I turned over to face the wonderfully fuckable Stash Maleski, who had captured my heart and private parts, the kind of woman I could see settling down with (if only I could get her out of Queens), and made the biggest Freudian slip of my life:
"I love you, Snatch. Uh. I mean, Stash."
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