Saturday, February 19, 2011

More conversations with Kiki

You are nigh
I know, I’m high
No, you’re nigh.  Soon you’ll be low.
Get down low and go go go
Hey Kiki
Yes mother?
Is it you that decides to emerge or is it me that instigates it?
I think it’s you
Really?  How do I do it?
Well you don’t really decide, your body does
I thought it was you, you start to wriggle down…
Well I guess it depends
Gosh I hope you’re not like I was and don’t wriggle, then they’ll have to get out those awful salad tongs
Yeah then I’ll be all bashed up like you were, all squiggly, too squished up and ugly to even show to Nan for fear of upsetting her
I hope they don’t have to do that
Me neither
Maybe we can collaborate
Maybe.  You could begin by giving me a bit more room.  Jesus…
Sorry!  I don’t know what to do!  Your bottom comes out my side.  Do you know what it’s like walking around with a bottom sticking out your side?
That must be rather freaky.
It really is.  I feel like a mutant!
You are.  You’re mutating.
An alien freak.
It is alien.
I’ll say.  Hey Kiki?
Yes spawner
Did you know your Granddad was here to visit?
Oh that’s who that was with the voice and the pats and the Mutley laugh…
Yeah.  We played euchre.
..and those same Lampoon’s jokes over and over again?  ‘If I had a rubber hose…
Oooh, I liked him.  He has a house at the beach, non?  Does that mean I get to hang out with him and go swimming and stuff?  I hope so.  Will he give me every little thing I want?
Quite possibly.  He came all the way to Paris to visit you and he can’t even see you yet, well except for the protrusion
Must you call me that?
Well, the… pudding.
Yes Kiki?
Have you found a name?
There is one we like, but we don’t know if it suits you yet.  It’s a kind of fruit.
Oh great.  Peaches. 
I bought you lots of clothes in the sales.  I found the most adorable -
I know – you keep buying things you want to wear, but in miniature.
True.  Gosh the things are so beautiful though, in -
Don’t do a Black Swan on me, will you.  I’m not you.  I’ll never be you.
I know, but it does satiate some weird urge.  Maybe it makes me feel better because I’m not actually buying it for me, but still, in some way, it is for me.  You should see the tiny marinière
You wear stripes, if I wear stripes too we’ll look like a ladies’ doubles team.
Can I go back to my kicks now?
Does it hurt when I do them?
No, not really.  I’ve never understood that.  It’s my insides you’re kicking.  Why doesn’t it hurt? 
Yeah that is funny.  I kick really, really hard.
I know.  I worry sometimes that you’re suffocating in there and trying to kick your way out.  Like some Houdini trick gone wrong.  Helllp!  I'm inside here!  Untie me!  Pleeeease!!  I can't breeeea-  
It's not like that, really, I like it in here.  I’m just practising moves.
Oh good.  I don’t mind either.  The dancing on the bladder is pretty intense though. 
Oh sorry about that.  It’s soft.
Exactly.  Let's go to sleep now.
Nigh night mum
Night Kiks
Kiki is already a short name.  You don’t need to shorten it again. 
Whoops – habit. 
I still can’t get used to that.
Soon we won’t be inside each other.
I know.
We’ll split, like an atom.
Like a banana.
I won’t be a subset of you any more.
No, we’ll be mutually exclusive. 
That might be strange, don’t you think?
Yes and no. This whole experience has been mighty weird.
Will you miss the cohabitation?
I think so.  But it will be amazing to see your face.
Yeah!  I wonder what I look like…
I wonder that too.  I sort of imagine you looking like Hit Girl from Kick-ass.  Probably because of the kicks. 
I might be a squidgy alien.  Will you still love me if I’m a squiggly one?
I think so.  Let’s go to sleep now.  Seriously.  I feel like a tired old cow.
I really don’t feel like sleeping.
That’s ok, I’m used to that.
Goodnight mum.
Goodnight kicky
It’s not Apple is it?
Cherry?  Ruby Red Grapefruit?  Tangerine?  Some sort of stonefruit?
At least give me a clue.  Mango?  Ka-POW.  Passionfruit.  Passionfruit!!!  Kumquat?  Feijoa?  Pear.  PLUM!  
Goodnight tiny dancer
You say it last
You say it last!
Stop copying!
Stop copying!
(Etc.  Until sunrise.)

Artwork du Jour 107

Just around the Corner

Friday, February 11, 2011

Sunshine and Violet Beauregarde

Today it was a low of 6 and a high of 17 and we all got high that the sun was out and went out and I put on lipstick and a scarf but it was even too warm for the scarf and dad was right with his bare hands and neck and head and the sky was that pre-spring-threatening-summer blue and the steps didn’t even hurt and the metro SMELT GOOD (my god I knew it must have been a while) and we walked and walked and the merry-go-round was silent at St Paul and the Rue Francois Miron was loud and dad bought Kiki a mobile, the one with the boat moving through the sky and the little suitcase and the kite and he also bought a little ball with a bell in it and we found just the right thing for Bunny Sister and her Bunny Beau and Mr Tugny who does fancy handwriting remembered us and our wedding and gave me a free plume and that was just really really nice.
So we sat on the Isle and dad got blind and I put my Raybans on him and we joked about Roy Orbison and he still couldn’t see but the wine and the beer and the Orangina was good and people kept smiling at me and saying Pardon much more than usual and I forgot I was Violet Beauregarde until I saw my reflection in the mirror at the Little Horseshoe.  A big, round beach-ball.  A woman.  A baker.  A bun.  Goodness me, it gave me a fright and I was in the thoroughfare and though the waiters were nice they nudged me and Kiki gently sometimes into the table, which just made her cancan even harder.  And then we went to Les Philosophes and ate all kinds of flesh and talked about existentialism and realised we were just so glad we’d pre-ordered the tarte tatin because golly it was good - one of those real, tumbly, messy, sticky ones.
In the rue Vieille du Temple there were still blinking fairy lights in windows and I thought That’s Late but then I wondered if they had put them up and decided not to take them down like we did one year and I just couldn’t help but feel all full but I had an icecream anyway because dad had to pee and what can you do when you’re waiting outside an icecream shop and they are doing that flower thing?  Seriously.
I enjoyed the metro home once more and I thought a lot about my bike and that feeling I’d get on evenings like this flying through the streets on her and a man got up and let me sit down, which I did, though it made me feel weird and I saw Violet again in the window as the dark walls flashed by and I couldn’t quite believe she was me and after the big lift up from the deep deep tunnel at Lamarck the night was that intense royal blue and all sorts of sexy people were at Le Refuge and little lanterns were lit on the tables outside and we decided not to stop and I made it all the way down the stairs and home and so did The Love and so did dad though he was really tired and I showed him the red champignon lamp, though he reckons red is wrong for kids and then he fell promptly to sleep on the couch.
And now he is snoring.
His glasses are on.
The windows are open.
The traffic is loud.
Sexy people are laughing in the street.
The man in the window is topless again.
Summer will come.
And I won't be Violet much longer.

Artwork du Jour 106

Rue des Annelets 2

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Year of the Rabbit

Happy Year of the Rabbit!  I didn’t know until just then, when I googled Years of the Rabbit, that I’m, in fact, a Rabbit.  Which makes sense, because I am one.    
Kiki will be a Rabbit too.
Did you know a baby Rabbit is called a Kit?
I’m so happy to know that I’m a Rabbit – it’s much better than say, being a Rat. 
Here is my favourite Rabbit joke:
What do you call a man with rabbits up his bum?
Here is a story about a Rabbit:
Mr L and I were living in a house in Brunswick and there was a backyard and we were sort of Melbourne hippies and I had short hair and I think maybe a diamond nose-stud and we planted things in our nasty little backyard that either died or sprouted bizarrely, like enormous courgettes and weird, curly carrots.  Mr L got fascinated with organic farming and wanted to get a rabbit to help tend the ‘garden’, which in fact, was little more than some piles of dirt that we’d attempted to rake into patches, lots of balding grass and a stinking attempt at a compost heap.  But he was determined.  I bought ridiculous flowers from overpriced city shops and planted them on weekends with the radio on, which was nice, and futile.  One day, Mr L and I drove to Moonee Ponds. 
And we returned with Beverley.
In the pet store there was a big, glass case down the back and inside it a whole pack of cute little fluffy bunnies, pygmy bunnies I think the man called them, and I squealed with delight. 
“I want that little white one with the socks on and coffee on his face!” I said, palms clapping under my chin, cheeks rosy.
But no.  Mr L wanted a ‘good working bunny’.  He’d done his research.  And suddenly the seething mountain of fluff cleared to reveal a giant bunny sleeping at the back of the pen.  A big, ugly, heavy, grey, tired old rabbit.  I’d never seen one like it. 
“She’s been here a while,” said the pet store man.  “The little ones treat her like a mother.  We didn’t mind keeping her all this time because of that.”
“How much?” asked Mr L.
“Twenty,” said the man.
And he put her in a box and we put that box in the car and all the way home there was a THUMP. THUMP. THUMP.
When we got her home and let her out she went bounding madly around the backyard.  She was bigger than even some of the largest courgettes.  I tried to catch her and finally did.  I tried to cuddle her.
Her feet were like two monster fists in my belly.  I fell to the ground, making that winded wheezing sound that is hilarious when it’s not you, but when it is you, you feel like you’re going to die.
And so it was that Beverley came to reign.
Mr L had constructed a hutch for her that he saw in an organic farming book that she didn’t like at all and would sit with such a pathetic look on her face that we’d have to lift it up and let her out.  She would go bounding around the garden, destructing everything in sight.  Every fragile flower struggling to survive the dry soil and my questionable planting techniques exploded in her wake.  She definitely did till the soil.  But not quite as Mr L had anticipated.
And then, one day, she was gone.  With her sheer brute strength she must have simply lifted the hutch in the night and stole away.  She was tough, our Beverley, and smart.  She scared me.  We were anxious.  We put up posters around the neighbourhood:
Have you seen Beverley?  A Good, Working Bunny. 
With a picture of her underneath the writing.  She was no oil painting our Beverley.  She looked like a stone-age battleaxe who tilled the potato fields with her bare hands.  The look in her eye was ‘Do Not Fuck with Me.’
A few days later there was a knock at the door.  A man was standing there with a cat-cage and that familiar THUMP. THUMP. THUMP.
“I found her in the old abandoned market garden next to our house up the street.  She was ruling supreme over the local stray cats and mice. It’s bunny heaven there.  She was not at all happy to leave.”
The man was concerned for Beverley’s welfare and asked to see our yard.  We felt like very bad parents.  The backyard did look like a war zone.  The man looked at the hutch.
“She probably needs more space than that.  And your backyard is very small.”
We nodded ashamedly and the man left.  Beverley gave us a smirk and went back to destruction.
Mr L sighed. 
“It hasn’t worked out how we’d imagined, has it?” I said.  At that moment Beverley punctured the fence in a punctuating THUMP.
“Hmmm,” he said.  “Not quite.”
So we let Beverley roam free in the backyard and boarded up the tiny space under the tall gate she must have squeezed under and any other possible escape route.  The fences were tall.  She was safe.
But three days later, she was gone again.  Images of her high-jumping the fence horrified and thrilled me.  She must have sprung herself like a bullet over those high walls.  I tried to imagine what that would look like from the street – a big, fat flying bunny.  Why did she hate us so much?  Were we really that bad?  Mr L was upset and I was too, that she was so desperate to escape us she would go Superhuman.  Superbunny. 
And sure enough, a few days later the same man knocked at the door.  Beverley wasn’t with him, but we Knew.  This time his look was openly reprimanding.
“I have friends in the hills.  They have a big, big space in which Beverley can roam free.  I think I should take her there.”
We nodded glumly.  And our Beverley was gone.  To her new Bunny Heaven.
That was the story of Beverley the Bunny.  The lesson?  Beverleys don't cuddle.  Pygmy bunnies might.  And if you live in the city and are looking for a Good Working Bunny, you'd better be prepared for the fact that one way or another, they're going to Bunny Heaven. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Actress

Dad worked in film and television.  He filmed actors.  The bottom of our kitchen cupboard was full of onions, potatoes and piles and piles of old scripts.  We used them to draw on.  It was only in high school that I first turned the sheets over and actually looked at the writing.


Marlowe exits, left arm dripping with blood. He follows Susan to the car and grabs grabs her by the hair.

Just gimme the fucken money

I don't know where it is!

He pushes her into the back seat of the van, grasping at her buttocks, fumbling to find the package.

It was something like that.  I just made that scene up, but I remember what I read was sexy and violent and I got very excited.  So from then on I took to secretly reading dad's old scripts with all his scribbles on them instead of Nancy Drew.  It wasn't a secret just because of the sexy bits, it was also the words he'd drilled into me since I was young:

"Whatever you do, DON'T be an actor.  Find a nice, stable career.  An actor's life is frought with difficulty.  You don't want that do you?"

"No daddy."

"Be a lawyer instead.  Then you can perform every day, and be paid for it."

"Yes daddy."

So I kept doing legal studies but I also kept reading the scripts and fantasizing more and more every day what it might like to be a Susan or a Bea or a sweet Felicity or a nasty Edna.  Or all of them at once.  And then when I grew up I became an actor.  Dad said,

"Ok then, be an actor.  But whatever you do, don't be an extra."

But the only way to get your union card was to be an extra so I became that.  Dad said,

"Ok then, be an extra in order to be an actor.  But whatever you do, get some sort of education so you can support yourself.  Otherwise, believe me, you won't eat.  Did you know that the most successful actors in Australia only work three, maybe four months-

"Ok daddy."

So I went to University and when I came out, I got my union card and began to be an actor.  I did lots of awful plays and heaps of terrible auditions for all sorts of wrong parts and many, many embarrassing things in commercials and on tv.  People came to the awful plays, some of which were subtitled or completely silent or involved long-winded passages from characters behind ridiculous masks and they clapped and sent little posies of flowers backstage with little notes attached to them and even went out for drinks afterwards and patted me on the back.

There were highs.  But when I look back on my acting career thus far, nothing sums it up better than this:

Artwork du Jour 103

The Sadness of Frankenstein