To begin, let us assume that, where I am, things remain exactly as they are.
If so, then Gyra could not have been a very nice girl.
When she was seven, and her little sister got a new doll, Gyra snatched it and beat little Lucie with it. That was about the time when they first ‘stilted’ our bridges. Later, when Gyra turned seventeen, she got mad, took her father’s shotgun and blasted apart the biggest crystal pieces of the heirloom chandelier. Gyra loved the way it crashed and scattered fine-dressed people down in the politicking-room. She adored that it made them horrified, first, but then later they were thrilled to talk about it all over town. Better! Daddy was never thrilled, however. Together with news that the amended Beltway Walls weren’t coming back down, it finally got Daddy to cry. Best!
Somewhere after all this, Gyra came home for summer break and then sort of forgot to go back to college. Her mother once called it the evilest of evilness. But only once. After the mistake, Momma couldn’t say it again. She went away just in time, too, before Daddy said she would have needed to get a Federal District Pass. Because people needed one of those now, to go and see Redskins games.
Daddy stopped letting Gyra go see the DC Demoncats even though she didn’t need a fed-diss-pass for it and she always did come home smelling strong enough to trick him into believing he’d left out the whiskey. Oh well. There was only half of a Metro Rail left, anyways, and it was above three dollars, so Gyra eventually resigned herself to playing roller derby with her sister. But only when little Lucie wasn’t looking.
Finally, after the derby incident, little Lucie realized it was high-time she did remember to go to college, did apply for a fed-diss-pass, then threw out all the whiskey in the house before she got on a Greyhound bus and did get her smart-butt ten stories up a bridge then out of the city. Lucie didn’t write. She didn’t even Facebook. Stupid Facebook.
So then, at twenty-seven, Gyra walked the rough-paved, potholed streets with Daddy’s shotgun again. The old dolly (she was a rag of a head) got tied to Gyra’s belt by the blonde hair nobody in their family had.
But where can bad girls even go, at twenty-four, with no sisters to pity them, no fathers with any patience left, no husband in line, nor professions to make themselves even halfway useful?
On a drunken adventure. But first, Dansel had to come along.
Dansel Darrons, when consulted on his availability, felt it necessary to put another cigar in his mouth instead. “I didn’t come to your birthday party last week for a reason, Gyra. So then, of course I’m not leaving the neighborhood with crazy-old-you.”
“Don’t you mean that you left me alone in the house, three hours last week, for a reason?” Gyra flared.
The other men in three-piece finery laughed over brandies. Their social club nicknamed the Red-And-Gold-Reserve was one of the best places on this side of the city to watch a Redskins game, and actually like it, lose-or-lose. A seventeen-point lead now eclipsing the Redskins in the second half made the whole place suddenly go groaning at the big screen, and ordering a fresh round of Forget.
|The Red-and-Gold-Reserve was designed after another prestigious landmark in Anacostia. We are, as of yet, still uncertain that it shall live up to what Frederick Douglass or else the Mayan Calendar perceived about modern society. September, 2012.|
“Gyra, I’m begging you, please… who here can light this? I’m looking for convenient breaks in my speech, dammit.”
The other middle-high-class men in three-piece-suits with him practiced more laughter.
“You shamed me Dansel Darrons.” went Gyra, “You know how hard it’s been, and then you still didn’t come to my party. This time, you owe me…”
“I can’t pay you anything that I owe, of course, until I finish doing business here with my friends. Go bounce. Hit the street real hard, Miss Gyra.”
The Maitre d’ came up with a good reason to interrupt, by then. “Madam, if you please, we can hang your shotgun in the coatroom and provide a ball gown better suited…”
Gyra screamed, cocked the thing, then shot a hole through the ceiling. Oh, were people scandalized. Almost worse than seeing another 58 yard field goal, missed. Now, they wanted fresh batches of hot wings and nachos.
“Dansel Darrons, I don’t like you. In fact, I hate you–”
“Yes, and I declined that unequal offer of companionship on your birthday for just that reason, excuse me…” then he whispered, “Are you bat-shit crazy, girl? Gyra, go home!”
“…Oh, suddenly he can’t talk proper-like, as a real member of the middle-high-class that can still afford to live around here. Or, lives in splotches around the city, having bought in during the seventies then stayed on through fluffed up or failed developments, the first three rounds of property-tax hikes, or whatever Daddy cusses about.” she smiled, fake and big, like that same baby-doll once upon a time ago. She patted the sad childhood talisman at her belt. “Come along now, darling Dansel. Or do I have shrink your fat head first?”
He couldn’t even finish his drink. Dansel went away at gunpoint. And just then, of course, the local football team suffered another embarrassment. “Oh, shut up! You know they’ll be roaring right back next Sunday–Gyra, stop fooling around and tell me what it is you really want?”
By the door, Gyra tugged the Maitre’d, who still stalked them, by his lapels. It was a wonder drinkers and diners were more distracted by the terrible game, than a lone woman wandering up and down the tables with a shotgun, or a crumbling hole in the club’s ceiling. “Would this ball gown you offered me have been… complimentary?”
“Ah, but you aren’t staying here, Miss Gyra–
“D.D. and I will have a drink at the bar then. You know where it is, just over there… and if this free dress can be a shade of Jawbreak Blue, then you know I’ll LOVE it, and my Pa’ll give a whole bunch more money to this place.”
“I don’t think your Pa,” he spat in speech, “could do enough to remedy that wound you put in the ceiling.”
“Don’t be so sure of yourself. Pa was a cannoneer in the near-revolution of October 2010. He’d just come up here–drive, even–and finish that hole as a sky-light, if he ever heard ya’ll were mean to me.”
When they were settled with ice-in-chippers, Dansel regained his courage. “You are a girl, a stupid girl, do you know, Gyra? I kissed you once and you turn it into this?”
“Sillies, I was educated at only the finest local academies and out-of-state universities. So, I am not foolish, nor am I a statistic. I’d never be a statistic.”
“I don’t know about how you imagine yourself calculated, you’re more calculat-ing, I’d say. But the rest stands. You aren’t a woman, do you see? You, Gyra, are a mess.”
It hurt her more than she expected. “I’ll put the dress on right here in front of all these people if you aren’t nicer to me, Mr. Darrons. And don’t you complain at me again, either. I’m a smart, fully-functional person. You know very well that I invented Jawbreak Blue.”
Dansel hastened to have his drink, once they poured it out for him. He realized that ice-in-chippers was not a real drink. Previously, when Gyra ordered it, that was no shock to him. But, that the bartender had interpreted her goof-request as some powerful sedative-in-vodka, that had him swerve a little off the barstool. However, Dansel swerved back, when he realized there was also no point in warning Gyra about it.
Dansel sighed. “…Is that made-up Jawbreak color from one of your drawings? Or, your mother’s? I admit, it does sound pretty decent. And this is pretty good, you should go on and have some.”
“I only heard the word pretty, and thank you. Blech, this tastes jive-strange.”
“Drink a little more then, swish it round your mouth a bit. I swear, it’s exactly like wine-tasting… Gyra, just because the world is shit doesn’t mean you can come in here and bash up one of the better places in Anacostia.”
She slipped a little too, on the bar itself. Dansel supported Gyra’s arm, helped her to stand again, then took the shot gun. “Better?”
The Maiter’d came back, a ruffled something folded over his arm. Dansel got his first anxiety attack seeing that, yes, it was some odd shade of blue.
Gyra snatched it, snatched Dansel, then rushed them through the front door and into the foyer. She tripped over her black boots several times. Then, Gyra swifted exactly by eager finger-pointing bouncers, saying she ‘was gonna pee right and there if they didn’t let her into the ladies’ room.’
Which left Dansel wanting to get back inside the Red-And-Gold-Reserve with his friends, banging on the frosted glass, yelling, while men with shades restrained him from re-entry. Gyra emerged after a time, re-fastening her awful belt round the waist of something with grand skirt and stitched everywhere it should not have been with plastic stars. They looked sharp. Dansel was not just panicked now, heart racing, but he also began to feel sick.
“How does it look?”
“Well, it’s the District’s flag… urp.”
“Which is always wonderful, isn’t it? Look! Oh, Dansel, it’s like the dress mommy and me wanted together. This is perfect for journeying. People will know we mean business–they’ll think me a queen, maybe? Can DC have a Queen?” She put a hand on her forehead, wandered a drowsy circle. “If University won’t let me be a student, and Daddy’s afraid to let me be a rollergirl, then at the least, I should be qualified to become queen of the District of Columbia…”
Dansel looked up at the scowling bouncers. He offered to pay them anything…
The Maitre’D returned. “Sir, Miss? You two have been banished from the Red-And-Gold-Reserve and all its affiliates. It’s time to get out.”
“…And affiliates? For how long? I have get back in there, it’s where my living is made!” Dansel slipped and went down on one knee. “God, sometimes I hate living DC. Here I am, begging you to let me watch the Redskins for the price of two limbs and on a regular basis.”
“The ban is for life. And tell the Cannoneer that we’ve lost our last bit of patience for his daughter until he pays his tab.”
“Gyra can come back in, but I can’t? She shot a hole through the ceiling!” Dansel threw a punch, but it never landed.
The Red-and-Gold Reserve, Taxation without Representation Society’s Last Stand Bar and Grill threw Gyra and Dansel out on their asses.
1 The Red and Gold Reserve :: 2 Authentic Agitation :: 3 Bringing the Old Girl to Water :: 4 Message from a World of Fear, Insanity :: 5 No such thing as transitional musak after the Apocalypse :: 6 Fate and Basketball :: 7 Party in Mount Pleasant