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The Ups and Downs of Skeeter Kitefly

Skeeter Kitefly's Sugardaddy Confessor

13 Black Cats
Under a Ladder

Bolster, Not Molest Her

To Be Honest

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Last Updated

February 24, 2013




a disturbingly hilarious sequel

with further compactifications

Click here for the full-length Split Infinitive Edition

Titles Page

PART ONE:  The Connections

  I—Merely SAD

A deflated young teacher/cartoonist named Peyton Derente is bowled over by Skeeter Kitefly—and her astounding proposals.

“...What I want is, is, is—like a confessor.  Yeah!  What a shame your name’s not Edward—see, that’s an educated kind of joke, right?  An ignoramus wouldn’t have made a joke like that.  And before you say what I really need is a minister-priest-or-rabbi you should know I’m not that kind of girl, I mean I was a Chinese Communist for awhile but other than that I’m not that religious.  What I really need—”
     “Is for me to be your own personal sugardaddy confessor.”

PART TWO:  The Confessions

 II—Proud to Be Short

In the first of seven monologues, Skeeter boasts about her origins, hyperness, compactitude, and "cutiepiety."

...Being all compactified like this, I just can’t help but be extra-intensively alive.  Which explains how come I’ve got these sunspot-baby-blue eyes and this incendiary blonde hair, and all this pixie dust in my brainpan and this bounce bounce bounce in my zap! flash! step—and why it’s my duty to be cute.  Buttoncute, that is.  A cuuuutie-pie, as they say...

("Proud to Be Short" appeared in Unlikely Stories)


 III—The Center of All Eyes

While dining with Peyton at the Addis Ababa, Skeeter (in an improvised harem outfit) talks about her need for attention, distinction, and recognition.

...‘Course, that has its drawbacks too.  Even now, when I’m practically a quarter-century old, these big fat matron-types go out of their way to squnch hell out of my face.  They take it like this, in their big fat matron-paw, and go [nutcracker sound effect] to it.  And then they always say, “What a PRECIOUS little face!”  And every time I want to tell them, “Well no wonder, there’s PRECIOUS little face left when you get done squnching it!”  (I mean I want to say that, but it comes out “Mrmph glub shmug...”)

("The Center of All Eyes" appeared in Ten Thousand Monkeys)


Over a jug of sangria, Skeeter goes on about romance, intimacy, Sven-types, and the significant difference between flirting and teasing.

...Speaking of blows and the Nothingbutt Theater, this really ugly but supertalented guy named Joe Biggins and I once did that wonderful sex scene from Jane Eyre for them.  You know: “I’ve got a blow—I’ve got a blow, Jane!”  “Oh, lean on me, sir!”  So here I am staggering around under Joe, who goes and drapes himself over me; it was disgusting but hilarious.  Hee hee hee!  “My little friend!” sighs Joe.  “Thank you, sir!” gasps me.  “Tell me what to do, I’ll try at least to do it!”  Hee hee hee hee hee!…

("Lustdaze" appeared in Wilmington Blues)

  V—The Quicker to Anger

After sharing a pizza and a six-pack and news about her sister Sadie, Skeeter prepares to lay bare her own darkest secret.

...I’ve never told anyone any of this before.  Not even Sadie.
     I don’t want to talk about it anymore.
     But I will say this.
     It hurt, it hurt like hell, but it could’ve been a lot, lot worse.  Right?  So no tears shed.  See?  No tears.  I swore I’d never cry about him.  And I haven’t, ever.  Not once...

("Never Cry," an excerpt from "The Quicker to Anger,"
in Organic Literature Experiment;
"Pizzazz," another excerpt with addenda,
appeared in
Ten Thousand Monkeys)

 VI—Like a Couple of Horses

A subdued Skeeter reminisces about growing up (somewhat) in Marble Orchard, and the compensations of good food and horseflesh.

...You know those people who say if you get something really weird off your chest, you’ll quit dreaming about it?  Those people are wrong.  So I got out of bed and headed for the oven—not to stick my head in it, but to bake swirls.  My first in months; it’s been too hot out to be baking in.  Wasn’t so bad in the wee hours.  I shocked the beejeebers out of Sadie, though; she thought wacky burglars had got into the kitchen...

("Like a Couple of Horses" appeared in The Sidewalk's End)

 VII—The Envy of the Neighborhood

Switching from vodka to lemonade, Skeeter tells more about Marble Orchard, feeling restless and wasteful, and the need to break through.

...And not just to be trendy, either—but To Be.  And How To Be.  That is refreshing.  When you can stand in front of a mirror again, staring yourself square in that eye you’re keeping open; and it doesn’t really matter what you’ve got on (it can be nothing at all!) so long as you can say and think and feel and mean: Getta loada me now!  ‘Cause then you can quit your yappin’ and MAKE it happen, any old how…

("The Envy of the Neighborhood" appeared in The Sidewalk's End)

 VIII—Lapsing into Indolence

Laid low with cramps, Skeeter talks about Death—but cheers up after a nap and returns to Life, especially as enhanced by just-imagine make-believe.

...So howzabout I take you out, right now, and you treat me to midnight ham ‘n’ eggs?  Ooh and some poppyseed muffins!  Aw c’mon—so what if it is a “school night,” or that we have to be at work in eight-or-so hours?  It’s not like I’m asking for breakfast in bed or anything.  Let’s have a bit of fun!  That’s a practical ambition, isn’t it?  I mean, without practical ambition we’d just be stumblebums and doodlesquats, right?  Attaboy!  Let’s go.  I hope you know some good all-night eateries around here...

("Lapsing into Indolence" appeared in Pulse Literary Magazine)

PART THREE:  The Conditions

 IX—Since My Last Confession

Skeeter wraps up her monologues, cleans Peyton's apartment, and christens his bathtub with her "exquisite young BAHdee"—while he can feel only impending doom.

...Poor little penitent, already on record as having been deceived by a bass-ackwards hoodwinker, having no one better to tell her troubles to than the Wizard of Schnoz.  Himself a a charlatan, a mountebank, “something of a humbug”—pay no attention to that man behind the venetians!...

("Since My Last Confession" appeared in Entropic Desires)

  X—Shivaree Bewitchery

Braced for the coup de grâce, Peyton undergoes resurrection instead at the hoodoo-undoing hands of Skeeter's be-all and end-all.

...How would the old you be handling this?  Well, for one thing it’d be YOU doing the handling, the unfrocking and depantsing, the managing of buttons and zippers and such.  Hamhandedly perhaps, but at any rate upperhandedly; taking and having the advantage instead of being taken and had.  So this is what passive compliance is like, as seen from the inside: stretched out here on the discarded huckaback like a neck-wrung feather-plucked cold dead rooster...

(""Shivaree Bewitchery" appeared in Bastard Fiction)

 XI—If I Fell

Awaking in each other's arms, Skeeter and Peyton take stock of the situation—and Skeeter suggests a further step to seal their compact deal.

“...I may be a natural-born arsonist but I wouldn’t set your chest hair on fire—not with a cigarette, anyway.  Kind of reminds me of this shag carpet I had in my place on Garfield Street, back in Demortuis—except that was lime-green.  And less curly.”  (Nibble nibble nibble.)  “Making love on that carpet was like doing it outdoors, in a field or meadow.  I sure have missed that carpet.  Till tonight, that is.”  (Nibble nibble nibble.)  “Am I talking too much again?  I do make you listen a hell of a lot...”

("If I Fell" appeared in The Shadowshow)

 XII—Oranges and Lemons

Peyton gives his opening Art History slideshow of the semester, distracted throughout by thoughts of Skeeter "making her presence felt."

...Suppose I’ll have to start buying her flowers now, flowers and candy and greeting cards for every occasion, keep her picture on my desk, on my walls, and not stuck in any readymade frame from K-Mart either, nothing less than handfinished hardwood goldleaf molding will do, “if it’s good enough for Botticelli—” so off to the races again, spend spend spend, still: doesn’t she give give give in return? though putting it like that makes it sound like I am paying for it, playing sugardaddy after all, but still: isn’t that the way it always goes? “girls don’t pay, guys pay” and so we do, but even if I AM isn’t she worth it?...

("Close Shaving," an excerpt from "Oranges and Lemons,"
appeared in
The Sidewalk's End;
"Slideshow," another excerpt, appeared in Unlikely Stories)

 XIII—Pandora's Bop

Skeeter introduces Peyton to her New Wave friend RoBynne O'Ring, and all three go to see Risky Business at an ornate about-to-close picture palace.

...The howler slid her shades down a long narrow snoot to inspect him through eyes adorned by a quarter-pound of purple makeup.  They were very young eyes but immediately recognizable as belonging to a tough chick, an urban girl, the kind Peyton had first marveled at from Jazzbo’s car on inner-city road trips: eyes that looked coolly knowing, sharply appraising, insolently challenging, and provocative beyond the dreams of mortal man...

("Pandora's Bop" appeared in Ten Thousand Monkeys)

XIV—Liquid Ditty

Feeling rather seduced-and-abandoned, Peyton starts to suspect Skeeter's intentions and her friendship with RoBynne O'Ring.

...Supposed to have dropped by tonight.  Hadn’t shown.  Hadn’t called.  And here it was—what?—after nine; a stitch in time.  (“There’s glory for you,” said the Eggman.)  Sugardaddyhood could only extend so far, after all.  Or could it?  One of these fine months she might be wanting—what?—“help with the rent,” say.  Or no, better still, help for Sadie with the rent; but “don’t let Sadie know.”  Of course not.  Clever.  Cunning...

("Liquid Ditty" appeared in Entropic Desires)

 XV—The Demon Bag Lady of Skeet Street

Skeeter tries to put Peyton's doubts to rest, but only succeeds in unleashing her own jagged grievances.

...Her face looked pandemonial in the lurid alley lamplight.  Eyeballs bulging hubcap-huge, their veins thick and spirally as telephone cords; mouth distorted like McDougal’s Cave with Tom and Becky trapped inside.  And mauling at his arms again she shrugged off all coverup restraint: CHING! went her winsome pink chest, like wrathful bowlfuls of jelly...

("The Demon Bag Lady of Skeet Street" appeared in Ten Thousand Monkeys)

PART FOUR:  The Confusions

 XVI— —Or Flounder, Flounder in the Sea

Peyton and the badly-hungover Skeeter reconcile over the phone, and Skeeter asks him to tell her a long boring sleep-inducing story.

“...Now everybody points at me and says, ‘There goes a dummy.’”
     “I’m sure no one’s ever called you a dummy—”
     “How do you know?!  Maybe lots of people have!  (Shniff.)  Like one of those big dumb happy broads that hang around bars and clubs and—Ramada Inns, places like that.  ‘Cept I’m just a little dumb happy broad.  When I’m happy, that is…  (Shniff.)”

("—Or Flounder, Flounder in the Sea" appeared in The Sidewalk's End)

 XVII—A Very Bad Wizard

A bedtime story of Peyton's early life as "Lumpy," his evolvement into the Wizard of Schnoz, and what turned him into a babe magnet ... for awhile.

...Popping the buttons off a Rapunzel’s blouse (“This is brand-new!” she would wail) or wrenching the hooks right out of her bra (“I just bought this!  I don’t BELIEVE you!!”)  The incredible pitfalls of getting to second base.  Cornwallettes almost always dressed expensively, and Lumpy had to shell out a hell of a lot—without any reciprocation worth mentioning—to make amends after each infrequent date.
     (But I’m a wizard, dammit!...)

("La Belle Debbie," a poetic excerpt from "A Very Bad Wizard,"
was published in The Duckabush Journal)

 XVIII—Dilated Nostrils

A flashback look at Peyton's attempt to beguile Skeeter's stepsister Sadie, years before being bowled over by Ms. Kitefly.

“...You,” said Mercedes, “have been talking to our chests for the past ten minutes.”  “That’s because I’ve been talking to you from my chest,” he responded, clapping a hand on his heart.  “Oh gag!”  “Not at all—entirely in earnest.  I plan to be an art historian, you see, so it’s my duty to penetrate to the heart of things.”  “Not by staring down my front you’re not,” said Mercedes...

("Dilated Nostrils" was published in Rhapsoidia)


Times having changed in the Reagan era, Peyton's artwork is no longer welcome at a magazine he helped found.  Skeeter meanwhile plans her return to college.

...Downstairs the phone began to ring again.  That would be Skeeter, calling from Wheeville as had become her nightly habit.  “I’m here.  Talk to me,” she would say—and hang up.  At which point Peyton would call back and assume the charges, Sadie having squawked about the triplex phone bill.  “Why don’t you simply call collect?” he’d asked.  “I like to hear the phone ring,” Skeeter’d replied.  So he would dial her number and she would say, “Whoever can this be?” and they would have long nonsensical conversations...

("No-Nazz" appeared in Unlikely Stories)

 XX—As Per Usual

Peyton joins Skeeter's family for Thanksgiving, but absorbed in his own stagnancy he feels (and acts) far from thankful.

...The old question: What is the purpose of Life?  The old answer: To puncture romances, O Tillie.  So take off your green spectacles and see your Emerald City as the handiwork of a hoodwinking Wizard, a snake-oily charlatan peddling purple-bark sarsaparilla to the unwary.  A fraud and a sham: I am, I am—
(And there was Skeeter peering through the window, Skeeter popping through the door, Skeeter in a bright red apron and ovenmitt, radiant as any sled-in-the-furnace rosebud...)

XXI—Fine Lines

Skeeter's effort to snap Peyton out of his funk causes a fresh breach between them; so the penitent Peyton offers a confession of his own—about Joyce Finian, the spectral Girl of His Dreams.

...Peyton had grown somewhat accustomed to her hollow brink-of-drowning eyes, but tonight he was struck by how infinitely dry they seemed: all tears shed.  The very pupils losing their Glocka Morra glint, dissolving into the irises to form two black holes—
     And then; and then.  A lass and a lack.
     Like that scene at the end of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, where Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter hide in a cave from the pod-people who’ve replaced their friends.  Dana’s exhausted, dozes for just a second … and awakes taken over, body-snatched, having become a pod-person with coldblooded eyes in a blank masklike face, one of the chillingest images in Peyton’s picturewatching memory: you’re next! you’re next!!...

("Swandive," a poetic excerpt from "Fine Lines," was published in
The Lithic Review;
"Heightened Clarity," another excerpt,
in Organic Literature Experiment; and
"Banshee," another excerpt, appeared in The Swamp)


In the middle of a Yuppiefied winter, Skeeter and Peyton face different interpretations of faith and joy.

...They sat awhile in silence then.  Weary of confession-making and -taking: the confusions of absolution.  Skeeter disentangled her hairbrush, setting it down among the sprung-loose flaxen threads.  Split ends in need of gathering up and tying together; winkle winkle winkle.
      “So,” she said, “is that It, then?”
     His eyelids twitched, and turned to her.  “Lately,” he said, “I haven’t been so sure…”

PART FIVE:  The Conclusions

 XXIII—The Ruby Hotstuff Skeeter Kitefly

Springtime comes: Skeeter graduates from college after only seven years, and Peyton marks the occasion with a validating present.

“...Jeez, what have you got in here?” Skeeter gasped.  “Big flat emeralds?  Or, I know—my thousand pairs of fishnet stockings!  You went to Tickle Me and bought out the store!”
     “Guess again,” said Peyton.  “Take your time and take your choice,” he added, laying a small sealed envelope beside the box, and holding Skeeter back as she lunged for the loot.
“Wha-utt?  Do I only get one of these?  I have to choose between them?”
     “Ask me another.”
     “I want another, I want ‘em both!  Why should I have to pick just one?”
     Gallic shrug: your life, my love...

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