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45—A One and a Two

Vicki and the Volesters meet the Monticello family, including Sandro the new Maestro of the Kickshaw Conservatory of Music, and his restlessly intense daughter Zerlinawho reacquaints Vicki with a figure from the VW past.

     “Pray let me keep this tureen just a tad longer,” Sandro told Vicki.  “I must commend the cook for an especially scrumptious hors d’oeuvre—indeed I seem to have eaten most of it.  I trust the rest of you don’t want any of what’s left.”
     “Hog, that’s the uborka WE brought!” chided Midge.  To Felicia: “There sits the sax player who popped the question in a Havana honkytonk after only a week’s acquaintance!  Simply scandalous!  Well of course I had to accept—how can you turn down a man who buys you a pair of black satin Cuban heels so he can drink rum-and-Coca-Cola out of them?”
     Vicki noticed Zerlina mouthing along with these words as they withdrew to the kitchen.  There Zerl laid her stack of dirty dishes on the drainboard before bracing tricolor limbs against the breakfast nook’s doorframe, then straining away with isometric vexation: c‑r‑e‑a‑k it went, as did Zerl’s joints.
     “(Hey, take it easy!)” Vicki cautioned.
     “(I know exactly what they’re gonna say, line by line!)” grunted Zerlina.
“(Well, don’t hurt yourself over it.)”  Or damage our house, either

46—This Is How Samson Was Shorn

Vicki finds herself involved with two senior boys just in time for the high school's Valentine Turnabout: one a domineering overbearing dramaturge with a certain fatal charm; the other a stubby deadpan stoic with half-hooded eyes who was an electronics genius but unlucky in love.

     “…I-I-I do so have a ride tonight…”
     [Echoes from both wings: “…she-she-she does so have a ride tonight…”]
     Bearing down relentlessly, like a bulldozer or steamroller: “So you DO.  It’s with ME.  So let’s GO.”
     Oh Gahd—here it comes—inevitably, inescapably, unavoidably—the moment of overpowering overwhelment: I’m about to get flattened like a pancake    
(Make that a cherry blintz.)
     “In fact,” said a voice like the chop of a chef’s knife, “her ride is with ME.”
     Falstaff, rising up to gargantuan height, responded with the sound of a hundred crossbows being drawn to shoot a hundred arrows: “This does not CONCERN you, Lo‑der‑haus‑er!”
     Standing his ground, the White Knight in tin armor which seemed to fit him very badly (some might just call it a too-large letterman’s jacket) unfolded a voice like a well-honed Swiss Army blade: “Think again, Tergeist.”
     Heatedly, like an iron in the fire: “Oh, is that SO??
     Strikingly, as if upon an anvil: “Yeah, that is SO...”

47—Another Music in a Different Kitchen

On the same frigid Saturday in February, Fiona hopes that a demo tape will get Downbite a gig at the AnaRCHonda Pit punk club, while Vicki is taken to see her new maybe-boyfriend's star-crossed sister appear in a "naughty farce" at the Holdahl Dinner Theater.

     “Wouldn’t call this the Ritz,” he said, gazing with a critical set designer’s eye at the tiers of ersatz fin-de-siècle chairs and tables.  The latter grew larger (two- to four- to six-seat) as they advanced toward the empty stage, looking like they’d been equipped with hand-me-downs from the Benelux Café and upholstered by donations by Suzi’s Suede & Leather Cleaning.
     “Well, I still got to ‘doll up,’” she told him, using Avery’s own words from when he’d rejected bowling as a Saturday-night first-date activity.  “You’ll want to doll up,” he’d stated with question-markless certainty, “even if you can’t dance.”  And Vicki did happen to have gone to the Della Verita Boutique and bought what incorrigible Joss had promptly dubbed “your sexy purple dress”—the upper half of which was now on winsome display and being eyed sidelong by Avery.
     Feel free to make an admiring (yet gentlemanly) remark.
     “You’ll do,” he told her…