The Ups and Downs of
Bolster, Not Molest Her
To Be Honest
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rhyming with “bolster,”
not “molest her.”
between the beautiful
From edging into her New Girl teens in 1975 to
graduating from junior high in 1977, follow Vicki Volester through her
second volume of hide-and-seek between nurturing support and interfering
—in VICKI IN
VANDERLUND, Book Two of
BOLSTER, NOT MOLEST HER
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July 29, 2018
The Volesters move into their new suburban
house, where Vicki—assigned a less-than-ideal bedroom, and feeling the loss
of best friend Stephanie—speculates about the girl-her-own-age who may have
occupied that room before her.
Here, at least, were a great many girls (and
boys) Vicki’s age. Probably a lot of her future classmates,
potential schoolfriends, even a conceivable sweetheart or two—milling
about, fooling around, yelling up at the sky and its pyrotechnic
Out here in the actual palpable open at Maine Street Beach,
they didn’t seem so intimidating. Young teens were young teens, whether
City or suburban.
The problem was that Vicki remained a stranger to them
She was in exile...
The Bridge of Green
Going out for her first jog through
Vanderlund, Vicki gets lost in Twilight Zone-y surroundings and
ends up on an isolated country road, where she is found by a girl with
an interesting face.
Who to ask now? What to do next?
Even if a car miraculously appeared, would she dare try flagging it
down? Suppose its driver offered her a lift, only to abduct and
subject her to hideous sex crimes? Oh Gahd! Should she hide
in the bushes? Conceal the rank desperation streaming out of every
pore, reducing her to depths of misery unplumbed since that day Goofus
had toddled out of the greystone and off down the alley?
Oh, wouldn’t HE be ecstatic to see her like this, a
quivering blithering puddle of crud—“Hey, lookit what the Kitten
dragged HERSELF in!” Just the sort of humiliation Goof was
prone to spot and shout about.
But Vicki would grant him a full pardon if he did so
Vicki gets acquainted with new best
friend Joss Murrisch and her family in a wonderful old Queen Anne
domicile—some of them present, some passed away, and one invisible.
A little girl materialized in the doorway.
She held one arm out sideways, as though suspended from marionette
strings, and had an inscrutable look on her solemn little face.
“What?” Joss demanded.
“Don’t start with me, I am not in the mood. Go
freak out Meg, I already got her all warmed up for you.”
Owlish little eyes swiveled Vickiwards. Then back
to Joss, who heaved a martyred sigh.
“Vicki, this is Beth.”
“And…” Beth prompted.
(Deeper, more dolorous sigh.) “And our other
sister. Invisible Amy.”
“Um, hi,” Vicki told Beth and her outstretched arm...
Vicki and Joss start eighth grade at
Vanderlund Junior High ("VW, Home of the Beetles") and survive a first
day vastly different from previously schoolyears at Reulbach Elementary,
amidst an entirely new group of classmates.
“Would you cool it, Robin?” Joss requested.
“She doesn’t sell Hondas.”
“Let her speak for herself!”
Vicki reacted as an
I’m-a-City-girl-you-can’t-intimidate-me should. “Oh shut
up! We sell plenty of American cars—used ones. My mom even bought
herself a Pontiac.”
“Well okay then,” Robin subsided. “Don’t mind
me,” she added with a pickle-chippy grin. “I’m a drummer, y’know.
We all fly off the handle—lookit Keith Moon.”
“Robin’s a great drummer,” Joss told Vicki. “Last
year in Band—”
“—don’t say it—”
“—we called her ‘Melody,’ ‘cause she—”
“—don’t say it—”
“—reminded everybody of the
“I’ll get you for that, Murrisch!...”
Vicki joins VW's brand-new girls cross
country team, some of whose "Ladybugs" join her lunch-bunch and become
close friends—despite wide-ranging differences in personality.
By now everyone’s particular strengths and weaknesses were fairly
well documented, and the latter addressed. Lisa pushed herself too
fast too soon; Susan had problems kicking it up in the home stretch;
Laurie could run like a jackrabbit, sometimes, but got discouraged too
easily; Vicki was overconscious of her Klumsy Klutzer past, and kept
reliving it with stumbles. Alex tied herself into unnecessary
knots; Rhonda believed a pastime like running shouldn’t be “practiced
into the ground, honey!”; Susie couldn’t understand why her future
potential didn’t translate into immediate results; Caroline and Karen
Lee sometimes (okay: often) seemed interested only in compelling each
other to eat her dust. Mumbles, while unfailingly well-disposed,
could make even a
pace!!” painful to hear; and Sheila-Q habitually swore she’d
never been told anything she didn’t want to listen to in the first
Vicki is asked to keep tabs on
teammate Alex Dmitria, whose radiant hyperactivity can no longer mask
her underlying hangups.
They found Alex in a spartan bedroom, not at
all like Joss’s aerie or Vicki’s cozy corner. One wall was
dominated by a truly spooky poster of a masked hockey goalie—The City’s
own Mr. Zero, signed by his own bold hand; but still.
Alex, in a tightly-knotted kimono, was staring not at
this prize possession but out a window, with an
posture and attitude. Clutched in her arms was a Chihuahua who
yipped at the visitors with a
Jesus-save-me! tenor and expression.
“Vicki! Ohmygosh!” cried Alex. “I am soooo sorry
about this morning, you would not believe the silliness I’ve gone
through today, all I can say is it wasn’t my fault, my PARENTS
overreacted and jumped to all kinds of conclusions when really I was
perfectly fine, but they went and made me ruin my perfect attendance
record for NO reason...”
24 — A
Beetle at VW
In the first of a series of novella-length chapters, Vicki
gradually finds herself having her first serious relationship with a
boy: that expert on the Spirit of Perverseness, Roger Mustardman.
Just how much advantage of this sealed deal
would Roger take? Did he assume she’d be a pushover, an
easy-sleazy? Well, if so he didn’t know Victoria Lorraine
Volester. She might let him kiss her—might even kiss him back, if
she had to—but either way her hands would be on his chest the whole
time, ready to fend him off. NO—on his shoulders, not his
chest; hands-on-chests were not permissible. This would going to
be an academic relationship. Except that kissing was involved.
But no different than to thank a guy for asking you out, buying you a
burger, taking you to a movie. Or in this case, boosting your
chances of a better Science grade.
Only that and nothing more.
Vicki wondered if Roger would ever ask her out for
burgers or a movie.
And how’d she ever keep that quiet, if he did
and she said yes?
And what in the world would she
Whistle Against the Din
Presents the backstory of muttersome protopunk Fiona Weller, and the
events-so-far of Vicki in Vanderlund from Fiona's point of
Stereo off, radio off; listening to internal music
that took the place of food and drink and sleep. Afternoon passed,
dinnertime too (plate to napkin to toilet), evening night and dawn.
Feet no longer connecting to carpets or sidewalks or stairs, but gliding
like a pair of origami moths that might fly her aloft to a paper
How many more days
must I cross off the page
till my body catches up
to the rest of starvation?
(such a diet you should try it)
(such a diet you should try it)
(such a diet you should
The rise of the Rosa Dartles, an all-girl rock band formed by
Vicki's friends, with herself drafted as their manager.
They had finished a mega-tempo version of “Venture Nothing” (Vicki’s
birthday acrostic song) and were taking a substance-enhanced break.
Vicki stuck to Mountain Dew, saying: “Somebody’s gotta keep a
clear head here—guess it’ll have to be me.”
“Well after all you
are our manager,” tra-la’d
“If you book us that Back-to-School gig, that is,” Robin put
“You knoooow,” drawled Britt, winding a long burgundy tress around a
lank finger, “if you seriously want to get gigs in junior high, you
can’t call yourselves Dopesters.”
Fiona bristled behind her vixenish getup. “(That’s who we are.)”
Britt, still twining hair with one hand, cupped the other behind an
Now You Don't
Vicki's second serious relationship
with a guy: the enigmatic Dave Solovay, whom she only sees after sunset
or before daybreak.
Out there! That guy!)”
“The groper guy?”
“(Shhhh! No—the guy who said his name is Dave!)”
She had confided the whole happenstance to Joss, who
sat up now and whisper-demanded, “(Where do you think you’re
“(To see him, talk to him.)”
“(Now??... The sun’s not up yet—hold on a
sec!)” Joss rose, slipping on a lightweight robe. “(C’mon —we’ll use the
kitchen stairs—you go out the back door—I’ll watch through the front
“(Whaddaya mean, watch?)”
“(Do you know this guy’s not the groper?)”
“(Yes I do!)”
“(Well I don’t, which is why I’m keeping an eye
on you both...)”
Born to Spittlecure
Vicki overcomes a harsh winter, the
Duckweight Clique, and her own reaction to being named after Queen
Victoria, to host a concert party at a stripmall disco.
And obnoxious as Gumbo was, insufferable as your best friend’s
boyfriend, you had to admit his layouts snagged the eye.
LIVE AT THE VINYL SPINNAKER—one night only—three hours
only—soft drinks only—
THE ROSA DARTLES (VW’s premier all-girl rock group) would be
saluting Vicki Volester’s QUINCEAÑERA (a term borrowed from
Alex’s birthday in December) on Presidents Day—Shrove Monday—J’ouvert—The
Night Before Mardi Gras: MON FEB 21st 5:30pm-8:30pm
(no cover charge—donations appreciated—free parking at Panama Plaza)...
Vicki, picked to defend two students
accused of cheating on a midterm, discovers they may be connected to a
cult of luded-out rich kids.
“And the Travers gang runs the rings?” Striding faster: “So d’y’think
that means Britt…?”
“(I still say she’s not one of ‘em, not for
real. But I bet you she handles their money laundering, at least at
“What exactly is that, anyway?”
“(Cooking the books, so money you make crookedly looks
like you made it straight. Such as,)” Feef added grimly, “(by selling
rock band T-shirts, and stickers, and pins—)”
Vicki gaped down at hers in dawning horror. “Oh
Gahd, Feef! This is awful! We could all go to
Gonna Fly Now
Vicki and her bunch finish junior high
school in a flurry of yearbook paste-ups, pregnancy scares, and LORD
OF THE FLIES-ish dance décor.
Red and black were predominant, aptly so for the Home of the Beetles (and
the Ladybugs!) but also evocative of fresh blood and dark
shadows. Other colors were vivid on the walls, hung with slightly
irregular bursts of purple, yellow, hungry-jungle green. Tie-dyed
bedsheets shimmered like sky-blue mirages flapping over the South
Pacific; and from cardboard palm trees dangled artful bunches of
Gumboesque coconuts. No pig’s heads on sticks, or with apples in their
mouths; but the night was young...
Click here to return to WISH AGAIN,
Book One of BOLSTER, NOT MOLEST HER
Characters in Vicki in Vanderlund: Book Two of BOLSTER, NOT MOLEST HER
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