“It all started after the disastrous fire in the woods,” Victoria says, her white heels clicking on the hardwood floor. She moves around the kitchen, pushing a plate of food just a bit one way, sliding another just a bit the other. I watch her fingers, long and thin and the way her gaudy ring glints in the low lighting.
“The wildlife moved closer to the house,” she continues, “and there was this horrible little woodpecker that just kept peck peck pecking away at the tree that was right by my bedroom window.” She shudders, and I can’t help shaking my head. “About drove me crazy. Anyway,” she says as she picks up her wine glass, “That’s why my parents sold the house. There were just too many pests. We moved up here my freshman year of high school, and your brother was my knight in shining armor. But you already know that story.” Red nails and white wine, she swirls and sips.
Oh yes, I know that story. I was there for that story, just a lowly freshman, watching the princess in distress having a meltdown over NOTHING. No, really, there was nothing happening to her to cause the crying and drama she unleashed as a sob story all over my brother like vomit. ‘Oh I’m so sad, woe is me I’m new and all the boys want to take me out.’ And, like the good dog that he has become, James lapped it up and vomited it right back over top of his now bride to be.
This vapid woman will be my sister in law within the month. And here I am, sentenced to spend the night pretending to have fun at her bachelorette party, my only solace that I was able to cause a terrible grimace when I showed up dressed all wrong in a plaid skirt and black wife beater tank top, my tattoos on full display. As part of the fun, her bridesmaids are to be in all black, while as the bride, she wears white. Take that, Victoria.
Turn my gaze down and realize the bottle of PBR I’ve been drinking has been coastered. At some point in time, while I was sitting here listening Victoria drone on and on, she ninja slid a coaster under my PBR. How did I not notice this?
“So, what caused the fire?” I ask, picking at the label on my bottle.
“What? What fire?” Pale complexion and red lips, her black hair frames her face in a severe bob. The white dress she wears accentuates her long legs and slim physique, and despite the lack of material, she pulls off an almost regal look.
“You know, ‘the disastrous fire in the woods’, with the peck peck pecking woodpecker.” I tilt my head and raise an eyebrow, blow a stray piece of green hair out of my face.
“Oh, I don’t know. Probably some stupid kid or something.”
The fire burned half the forest down a few towns over, killing five people and decimating the wildlife. It was all over the news for weeks.
I pull the flask from my satchel and ignore the look she gives, take a pull of the vodka because it is necessary. My brother James is three years older, and he used to be sane. We’ve never been close or anything, as he’s more sports and competing and I’m more throw a party and play darts while we listen to loud music. But this woman, she just keeps on pulling out the surprises. My conclusion is that James has gone crazy. His noodle is thinking for his brain, which has been disastrous to men throughout history.
“Excuse me,” I say, standing and pulling out a Camel. I stick the cigarette between my lips, head outside and light up before the door closes. My buzz is finally kicking in, and as I watch a fire engine red car make its way down the street, Beethoven’s 5th automatically starts playing in my head. This car is filled with females. These females are friends of Victoria.
I’m not sure there’s enough vodka in this flask to dispel thoughts of a disastrously miserable night. Then, for some reason, I picture Victoria’s head on a woodpecker. There is beer spurting out of my nose when four meticulously beautiful women exit the fire engine vehicle, and within moments their heads have been superimposed over with the wildlife of Victoria’s past.
Far more sane to imagine human headed wildlife than the disastrous fire that led to Victoria’s arrival. Jesus, she is right. That fire did cause the pests to move closer.