Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Wendy Story, Part 8

A bit of love from the kids...

Feldspar's grandson, Thomas Jefferson Airplane "Stinky" Mjolner, came back from his first year at Yale with a profound insight: that the Oedipal origin of the family's wealth was a plot "worthy of Aaron Spelling." This was completely lost on Feldspar, whose reaction was to monitor the college fund a bit more carefully. His granddaughter, Flora June "JuneBug" Mjolner, spent years in a Cervantes-like struggle to, simultaneously turn The Mill on the Floss into a screenplay and rid herself of a nasty Crystal Meth addiction. Neither of these Augean Tasks would prevent Flora June from becoming one of New York's most successful criminal attorneys in the early 21 century, but Feldspar was not to see this.

Feldspar spent years in an attempt to find the right recipe for familial contentment. Why pot roast and "Dragnet" would make anyone get along with anyone else was lost on the grandkids, and his clumsy attempts to please them were their only point of gleeful connection. As puberty occurred, they each took increased pleasure in confounding Feldspar with some sort of intellectual activity that Meant A Great Deal to Them. Never knowing when he was being made fun of, Feldspar would strike back, seemingly randomly, which left everyone confused and afraid.

The stakes were raised when Flora June arranged T.J.A.'s 21th birthday party. Calling upon Feldspar to apply some pressure through his control of the Mjolner Chair for Olflatory Study, a platoon of the prettiest cheerleaders of the Ivy League, in their uniforms, led T.J.A. from his bedroom through the house to the main garden where Feldspar and Flora June were seated on cartoony thrones, a breastwork of presents making it hard for him to approach them. While being oblivious to the dozens of highly educated bosoms bouncing around him, he stammered his teary approval, almost happy for, well, the first time ever. But Flora June was not done; from the back of the garden came Egyptian-style litter bearers, led by the most heavily-muscled men Flora June could find, each carrying an incense brazier with a giant size version of the "Pretty Kitty" Mjolner Incense Burner #16A at the top. The Kiwi-Strawberry smell crushed the more delicate scent of the new June roses. Playing against type, a drag queen with a face terrifyingly like Dietrich stepped out of the litter in a Wagnerian horned helmet and breastplate that would have done Kirstin Flagstead proud. Producing a huge hammer with a large stone head out of a rough hewn wooden box carried out of the litter by two of the brazier bearers, the drag queen met his eyes as he passed it to T.J.A. intoning in his best Dietrich rasp, "Now you are a man." T.J.A.'s blushing, shocked face turned to meet Feldspar's now-clued-in glare and he burst into tears while he ran back into the house parting the cheerleaders like the Red Sea. Days of childish shouting matches were followed by weeks of silence during The Price is Right, which were, in turn, followed by years of generating Caribbean vacations for family counselors throughout Manhattan, all of which produced nothing. Nothing at all.

Flora June did not escape unscathed. Smugly technophobic, occasionally Neo-Gothic, her grand writing project taking the place of joyous human interaction, Flora June's final push was crafted in T.J.A.'s mind and heart for years. On her 25th birthday, a 25 layer cake 12 feet tall. dominated the dining hall. It was an elaborate thing this cake; each layer had candles that ignited from a remote in T.J.A's hand, the color of each layer of flame inching its way up the spectrum. When it was time to ignite the very large candle at the top, the "one to grow on" in T.J.A.'s words, a series of whirs and clicks dropped the outer shell to reveal Flora June's handwritten copy of her screenplay. It was, of course, the only copy; for her art's sake alone it couldn't be any other way. With the highest-pitched scream anyone in the room had ever heard, Flora June made a major tactical error in bolting for the cake and not T.J.A. He had anticipated this and calmly waited while she comically tried to climb the cake, her body-wracking sobs and pleas destroying her electric blue Valentino gown in a sea of Banana and Oreo flavored frosting. He timed it perfectly; the blowtorch descending from the nether regions of the Norman Mailer piƱata directly over the cake (he knew how much she hated him, and she positively squealed with delight earlier in the evening at the prospect of beating him with a stick.) igniting the white phosphorus surrounding the rolled parchment so quickly, not even ashes remained. It would be the 8th and next-to-last time that Feldspar would physically beat T.J.A., but it was far from the last time Flora June would hide in the Bowery for days. The dealers were always delighted when she arrived; plenty of money, no hassles, always wanting the best. And she got it.

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