Saturday, July 21, 2007
"The Liquid Life" (installment thirty-one)
(okay, maybe it is Lolita lit)
THE SORORITY HOUSE (and other savory situations)
“You said you’d be gone 18 months,” shot Lana Price across Elendele’s bow. “This whole operation would have been moved out by then.” Lana was talking about the Chi Omega sorority chapter we found ensconced in the salon when we got back.
Elendele, it seemed, had sublet to her.
“Yeah, but we saw a ghost,” parried Ms. tequila-and-lime-time before launching into a typical tirade about the immorality of Greek fraternal groups, in particular sororities, which she considered nothing more than bootcamps for mothers of three or four more future children. “They are class-based,” she said, “require money to get in,” roared, “contribute to old and negative female stereotypes,” she pleaded, “split campuses into haves and have-nots,” reasoned, “leave certain people on the outside looking in,” trembled closingly.
Lana blanched because she’d never given thought to such things. She was still doing what her parents told her was right. And she had no plans to change.
Elendele threw them all out with the help of Gina Night’s father, but it took a long time after the agreement was sealed. All the furniture they had moved into the once-empty and cavernous salon was not removed easily.
The phone calls at 2 and 3 a.m. from drunken rich boys for Little Suzy continued for months, too. Elendele, with little use for statistics, applied this new knowledge to the larger, social picture and drew a distinct conclusion: “Even after the decision is made,” she posited, “it takes a while to take apart and change a system.
“Still,” she collapsed, “I wish these bitches would get the hell out.”
Cortez and I stayed at his place one weekend painting, eating wafers dipped in scotch and talked about the sorority saga. He told me that it may have had something to do with Elendele having been rejected by the Tri-Delts during her freshman rush, “simply because she wasn’t blonde.”
Then he showed me some new painting from his continuing series of religious icons, but again, none of them contained the freshness so typical of his paintflinging period.
After the sorority saga had been over a while, we ran short of money and Elendele went out and got a part just like that. For the audition she did a piece from Orpheus, which she’d learned about from the daughter of a state senator during our separation.
The production was called “The Luddites of Lordstown.” It had to do with a workers’ movement that called for the smashing of machines during the last century. Even in the industrial shadow of the subject they managed to work a part in there where Elendele had to lift her skirt up and reveal her panties for the 99-seat Equity Waiver theatre.
She obliged with noblesse, with a passion for the staged vocation. She’d graduated, and it was a union production. After every performance the cast would come out and have little wine mixers with the audience, because the only people ever played to in risky avant productions like that are those known intimately to the players.
That lasted through fifty bottles of superb wine the spendthrift thrift-spent her earnings on. The soda pop commercial of times past got picked up for a run in Australia because what’s hip there is stale elsewhere, at least according to Elendele, and we went through all that residual money, too.
Louisa threw Lydia out of the house for representing the worst of American adolescence.
She came back to stay with us and lay her little warmth of hand on mine, moving it here, then there...volcanoes erupting all inside her. She was shuddered and she wagged her little tail...still under age.
“But she is older,” I convinced me and caressed the small of her back...she hissed slowly like she was steaming off and placed her chin above her breast in search of composure...but failed to find it, so instead rode my legs down to the floor, to her knees.
When I saw the bobby pins in her hair, that’s when I pulled away. She didn’t care. She knew I knew, now. Her eyes were bloodshot. She’d besotted herself on seduction. It would never matter how old she was again. She was already grown up. I pulled her oh so close.