Fiction that explores the monsters and strangers among us.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Jude Nerdworthy Monster Fighter in the Romance of the Twinkler

Part 1: The Twinkler Invasion or Sucked in by the Sparkles

“Jude Nerdworthy, I don’t have to twinkle,” said Marylou Brombach. We sat in my mom's Malibu in Warrenville Grove Forest Preserve parking lot waiting for the submarines to race down the west branch of the DuPage River which runs through the little grove.

I moved in close for another kiss, but she pushed me back. “But Marylou, I’m on your side.”

“I know you are, Jude, but so many students at good old WWSH twinkle these days. What’s a girl to do?”

What could I say? The twinkling began when Marylou Brombach’s cousins, Dorothy and Ferdinand Minglebocker, moved to one of those new houses Harry Grickmacher built off Batavia Road just east of Frank’s Supermarket here in Warrenville.

Before Dorothy and Ferdinand moved to our Chicago suburb, love at WWSH was made of equal parts teen angst and horniness. Now, our young lovers are equal parts moon and spoon. The moon is, well, it’s the moon. With the stars and soft music, tenderness, and variations on the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet except in the backseat of mom’s Malibu. That’s the moon part. The spoon is that old-fashioned use of the word that nobody in Warrenville or nearby Wheaton, Winfield or West Chicago ever heard of. No one in Naperville ever heard of it either. No one alive that is. The living dead remember, but they remember everything.

Dorothy and Ferdinand were Twinklers, the kind of vampires that walk in the sunlight giving off tiny sparkles of radiant evil energy. Spooning is a word they know from the days of our ancient Victorian teenage ancestors. It refers to spending time curled up with your sweetheart on the davenport after you've sent your chaperone in search of more tea.

A “sweetheart” is not a box of chocolates, as you may have imagined. It’s a member of the opposite sex that you are courting. Okay, you may “court” a member of the same sex if you are so inclined, but back in ancient Victorian activities, you had to confine such “courtships” to a closet unless you were a student at Eton. I’m not sure why. I only know that it was in recent times that same-sex relationships came out of the closet.

Okay, back to courting. And here I’m referring specifically to opposite sex courting. And just so you’re clear, “courting” is not that trip to the county courthouse you take every couple of months to pay your traffic tickets. Courting is what you do with your sweetheart.

No, not that something you do with your sweetheart.

Courting is more like foreplay. Or pre-foreplay. It’s the balcony scene. The touching comes later. Okay, you get a little handholding and good night kissing, but that’s the limit to courtship until you pop the big one.

No, not that big one.

I’m talking about the old-fashioned use of “big one” that refers to asking your sweetheart to marry you. Come on, you do realize that the world spun slower on its axis in the nineteenth century, right? It was all the nuclear testing during the nineteen fifties that sped up the spinning of the globe and ultimately to a shorter distance from “Who are You?” to “Uhmm, do you have any smokes?”

Meanwhile back at the Twinkler Invasion. When Ferdinand Minglebocker put the moves on Marylou Brombach, I took it personally. I love Marylou and she loves me. So what was Ferdinand up to? Marylou wasn’t even a cheerleader.

Marylou explained it to me in a way I’m certain she thought would make everything obvious. “I’m sorry, Jude, but Ferdinand just makes me want to sparkle in a new way, not that you don’t generate a spark or two out of me, but when I'm with you, it's more of a glimmer of hope, I don’t actually see you flickering, but with Ferdinand there’s these little blue, green, maroon and fuchsia sparkly things that buzz about in the air and it just perks my lips and does that thing down there that, you know, a girl can’t talk about with boys, and anyway, he just makes me sigh and say yes, so I’m sure you understand.”

“I just don’t want you to turn into a sparkler, Marylou.” I gave her my best hug.

“Oh, Jude, I still care for you, but a girl needs a little extra glow in her life, if you know what I mean.”

“A little sparkle from a twinkling vampire? What about your red cell count?”

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"Higgins was tall and skinny with a face shaped like Bob’s hatchet."
Paul R. Lloyd
Steel Pennies

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