Christmas Time in the City
laurel_hardy
Just doing some housekeeping. LJ was giving me fits when I wanted to post it before Christmas, so it only made it onto FF.net at the time.



It wasn’t like they didn’t know how to deal with crowds. They both had become acquainted with the city as children, knew that the quickest route between two points was rarely a straight line here, that rush hour came twice a day, both above and below ground. And not that either Alex or Olivia would willingly trade life here, except for the most dire cause in Alex’s case. But it didn’t mean they had to like crowds. Well, other than the excuse to rub up against each other in the subway or streets, the downside being that they weren’t the only ones to have that privilege in those instances. The approach of Christmas pretty much meant the whole world got to rub up against them while they negotiated their way through Midtown.

Used to striding, the mincing steps she was forced to take began to wear Olivia’s patience thin within a couple of blocks of leaving Harry Winston’s. She’d agreed to accompany Alex there precisely because of the crowds. She wanted to make sure she’d be safe and Alex couldn’t be satisfied with online shopping when such intimate artistry was involved. Besides, the Cabots had a long history with the firm and received personal attention beyond even the store’s usual impeccable service. Olivia didn’t have that kind of background with the venue and so chose to pretend it was a visit to a very small, very secure museum while Alex conducted her business. It relieved her that Alex opted to have them deliver her purchases, one less cause for her concern.

The giant snowflake was suspended over the intersection just a block away, but they were headed the other direction. Sadly, the few blocks from there to Rockefeller Center were completely and utterly clogged with bodies. At best one could shuffle. Shuffling was interspersed with periods of immobility. Olivia was already grumbling. 

“Oh, holy-ooooofff!” 

Alex had just stuck out her arm to prevent Liv from trampling a child that had only just become visible directly in front of them as the crowd swirled around them. Her elbow had perhaps been bent a little more than Alex intended. Or maybe it had been meant to prevent the impending curse she was sure Olivia was about to share. The child only came up to her waist, after all. 

“Oh holy NIGHT! Geez, Alex! What are trying to do?”

“I just didn’t want the child to get hurt.”

“But it’s OK if I do?”

“No. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt you, but that kid just appeared out of nowhere. I may have overreacted.”

“You think?” 

Olivia stopped herself. She knew that Alex hadn’t meant to hurt her. She also knew that she herself was overreacting. This wasn’t what she wanted the day to become, nor how she wanted to behave with Alex.

“Al, look, I’m sorry, too. These crowds are getting to me. I think I just maxed out on the number of elbows I can take in a 10 minute period. And damn, it’s cold! You would have thought all these bodies would at least warm things up a little.”

“I know sweetie, and I know you put yourself between me and a few of those elbows. It’s just one of the reasons I love you.”

It seemed like an excellent time to share a makeup kiss, but a small opening in the crowd in front of them was heralded by a less than cheerful request from behind that they ‘move it’. Seasoned New Yorkers that they were, they did indeed move it. Christmas, shmistmas; they knew holding up traffic could turn things ugly.

As they resumed their trudge with arms tightly linked, Alex reconsidered the plan. 

“You know, Liv, we don’t have to see the Christmas tree. I think we both already kind of know how it goes.”

“No, Alex, I don’t want to be a spoil sport. In fact, I’m kind of looking forward to it. I’m just frustrated with the lack of forward.”

“OK, let’s do it. But let’s save Lord & Taylor’s windows for another time.”

“Deal. And we’ve got Saks on the way, so we can take a look at their windows. It’s not like we’re moving so fast we’ll miss the details.”

“Ha! You’re being such a good girl I think you deserve a reward.”

Alex reached into her bag and surreptitiously handed Olivia a small silver flask.

“You’re not going to bust me for an open container, are you?”

Olivia put on a look of shocked indignation.

“What kind of ingrate do you think I am?”

She took a swig as discreetly as she could manage. Clutching Alex’s arm even closer, she whispered in her ear, “My heroine” which was punctuated with a brief kiss to Alex’s cheek.

“I think that’s my line.”

Crowd be damned, that earned Alex a full on kiss, if not a terribly protracted one. The grumbling masses were also treated to a brief and synchronized flipping of the birds as they started moving again. Alex took a quick nip of her own before putting the flask away.

The rejoined the slow shamble of the masses as they headed south on 5th Avenue with all the speed and grace of a chain gang. Although counterintuitive, even at that tortuously slow pace they couldn’t afford to pay too close attention to the flashing snowflakes that adorned the approaching exterior of Saks as bodies dodged constantly in front and around them. The closer they got, the more children there were in the mix, the hardest to see, the hardest to anticipate. 

Excepting miniature dogs. The sudden, inexplicable appearance of a Chihuahua caused Alex to stop with one foot suspended in the air, the dog taking pride of place over her intended foot fall. Olivia helped her maintain her balance without causing harm to the small creature as Alex, inevitably, was jostled from behind. Olivia’s suggestion to the walker that it might be best to carry the dog given the circumstances was met by the walker’s suggestion that Olivia didn’t need to be so mean, which in turn caused Olivia’s jaw to drop. During this exchange Alex had found a spot to place her foot and the dog had been scared by the passing pedestrians first in one direction, than another, wrapping its leash not once, but twice around her ankles.

“Excuse me, but could you please control your dog? I can’t really move like this and I’m afraid I’ll crush him if I fall.” 

Alex was also concerned that the terrified animal might bite her if she attempted to extricate herself. The owner knelt without a word to release Alex from her bondage and finally did pick up the dog to carry it away into the crowd in a huff. Olivia watched the figure disappear into the crowd, her mouth still agape. Alex held out her hand to coax her back to motion.

“Liv, you can shut your mouth now.”

“Can you believe that?”

“Sadly, yes, I can. Good lord, Olivia, you and I both deal with the dregs of society on a daily basis. What’s a little self entitled stupidity in comparison?”

“Of course. But how is expressing concern for the dog’s welfare mean? And you’d think if she was going to put frou-frou clothes on it, she’d at least make sure to keep that sad little rat on a string out of harm’s way.”

“Ha! I thought you liked dogs.”

“I do. Chihuahuas don’t count. Dogs are lovable, loyal creatures that would lay down their lives for you. I’ve never met a Chihuahua that wasn’t a snarling, barking, biting nightmare. And what’s all that shivering about? Why do people get them when they could have something sweet, a Shih Tzu or a Spaniel or something?”

Alex chuckled at Liv’s rant, recognizing the truth in it while enjoying her girlfriend’s outrage.

“I promise I will NEVER get a Chihuahua, OK Liv? Look, we finally got to Saks. Let’s enjoy the windows.”

Olivia took a breath.

“OK. You got any of that brandy left?”

“Yeah. Here.”

Alex continued to chuckle softly. Olivia joined in, passed the flask back to Alex and wrapped her arms around her as they took in the automatons.

“Whoa, did Busby Berkeley design this?”

“Good question. So is ‘What do flying fish have to do with Christmas or even winter or anything?’”

“Beats me. Let’s cross the street and check out the tree.”

With clasped hands they stepped off the curb mid block and with close attention to the traffic sprinted to the other side of the avenue. Even with zig zagging around the vehicles, it was the fastest they’d moved the entire way. The brief interlude of normal motion was over before they could step up on the opposite sidewalk. It was just as crowded there as the other side had been, as crowded as the entire way had been. They sidled almost sideways offering their backs to the flow and shouldered their way to the Promenade into the heart of the Center. 

They entered and then did their best to follow the disorganized current that headed to the interior plaza and avoid the opposing stream, but at last they were actually in Rockefeller Center and able to see the tree. They smiled, in part because of the sheer sense of achievement, but also at the gigantic splendor of the tree, the place, and the occasion. It was a little like Dorothy’s approach to the Emerald City, without the sleepy sedation. The metaphorical poppies, disguised as boughs of holly and pine, may have afforded some analgesia against the constant buffeting of bodies along with just a touch of euphoria. Somehow a series of incongruities were melded in this place to create a whole that could not exist outside this particular urban niche. The early evening sky was dark, yet this place was brilliantly lit. It was in the heart of one of the largest cities, a fully man made environment of stone, concrete, and aluminum, but was graced by a stupendously large and wholly organic conifer, albeit one bearing countless electric lights. The effect was magic.

The last 100 yards or so seemed to go more smoothly, whether because it was actually but improbably easier or just seemed so with a change of attitude. It took them to the edge of the overlook above the ice rink and they found a place by the wall where they could insinuate themselves to enjoy the show. It was a relief to have at least one side they need not protect and let a bit of their guard down. The flask returned briefly for a moment’s celebration and then they turned their attention to taking it all in. The rink was filled with skaters of differing skill. Regardless, they all seemed quite delighted to be there, even as the less skilled or more daring crashed to the ice. Prometheus, ever the friend to humanity, glowed brightly overseeing the event and was well positioned to see what had come from his gift. Parents lifted children to their shoulders so they could see, smiles plastered all around. Even the tourists, equally entranced, took on a more appealing aura. Olivia’s arm went over Alex’s shoulders, Alex’s went around Olivia’s waist and each pulled the other closer for a kiss.

“So, Liv, was it worth the struggle and stress?”

“Well that’s the eternal question living here, isn’t it? And there surely are times the stress can overwhelm; like when tourists invade. But yeah, it was. This is amazing. Being here with you makes it even better.” 

That earned her another kiss, even if it had hadn’t been calculated to. She didn’t mind. They stood a little longer enjoying the sights, not so different than the tourists even if they would be loathe to admit it, and even began to enjoy the gentler buffeting from passers by. Better to bend like a reed and if that meant an inadvertent bump and/or grind against the body of their lover, better still. Their attention came to focus more fully on the other and less on the surroundings. Alex turned fully towards Olivia.

“Have you seen enough, love? I’m getting cold standing, here as wonderful as it is. But it’s funny. I’m feeling kind of warm as well.”

“Well, I think I’ve seen enough of this. We should go home and take in the sights there. Maybe even work on getting warmer still.”

Olivia did not need help from the crowd when she brought them closer and gave Alex a bit of a bump focused somewhat below the waist.

“I like the way your mind works, Liv. I’m a pretty big fan of the way your body works, too.”

They mentally mapped the various subway entrances nearby, settled on the nearest and rejoined the fray to make their way to it. With the prospect of the comforts of home before them somehow made the journey less of a trial than the trip to Rockefeller Center. They’d almost wended their way to the street when they spotted a tall young woman, a nanny they supposed, holding the hands of two children and speaking with a cop, which was just the sort of thing that would catch their attention. They had heard the woman asking the officer to please watch his language with so many children around. She’d been respectful, the officer’s retort was rather less so. Olivia looked at Alex and rolled her eyes. She pulled her badge out of her pocket, held it next to her face and tapped the cop on the shoulder. He turned to her with an irritated expression that largely evaporated when he saw the badge. Olivia gave him her most shit eating grin. 

“Hey, Blue Boy! Happy holidays! You just never know when Santa’s listening. And in a crowd like this you just never know who else might be listening, too.”

Alex had produced her official ID with an equally effusive smile. The cop’s demeanor suddenly seemed less belligerent.

“Look, my brother,” Olivia continued more seriously, putting the badge away, “no one wants to report you. And believe me, I get how irritating this can be, but you need some perspective. This here? Compared to what else might be asked of you while in uniform, this is cake. I know AND use all those words, I’m not offended by the words. But what we just witnessed was you dishonoring the uniform. She was absolutely right. There’s no reason for you to make this worse for the crowd or yourself. Remember that ‘Courtesy, Professionalism, and Respect’ thing? Try it.”

The officer by now looked quite abashed. 

“Yes, ma’am. I’m sorry, ma’am.”

“Tell you what. Take a chill pill, stop calling me ‘ma’am’ and we’ll let it go. Just be nice, it’s the holidays.”

“Yes, ma-. Uh, yeah, I will. Thanks.”

As they started to move away Alex offered her own “Happy Holidays” to the officer over her shoulder.

“Well done, Olivia.” Alex told her while she wrapped her arm around her waist as they at last reached the sidewalk adjoining the Center. Olivia shot her a crooked grin.

“Yeah, well, I serve and protect.”

“Oh, don’t I know it. I count on it. Now I’ve had you protect me this evening. I expect the service once we get home.”

“Heh. That can be arranged, my dear. I am at your service once we are behind closed doors.”

They jogged down the stairs to the subway platform, and with it still being fairly early, they didn’t have to wait long for a train, which also meant it was almost as crowded as the scene above ground. They were only going a couple of stops before they would need to transfer, so they happily settled for a spot by the pole, happy now with the crowd that kept them close. They didn’t mind the swaying and the bumps, either, as the vibrations really were quite pleasant.

When they transferred Olivia spied an empty seat and promptly plopped herself down in it, grinning as she pulled Alex into her lap and held her close.

“So little girl, what do you want for Christmas?”

“I know what a lucky girl I am. I only want more of what I have because I already have the very best. I mean it, Liv. We’ve both traveled a long and sometimes arduous path to get here, but we’ve made it and I couldn’t be happier. So what I want is simply to be with you and have you in my life forever.”

Olivia blinked and swallowed at the serious yet joyous turn in the conversation.

“God, Alex. That’s exactly what I want, too.”

Aware that what was passing between them was too private for the captive audience in the subway car, Alex quickly brushed her lips against Olivia’s. 

“There’s a pleasing symmetry in that. I think it bodes well. Don’t you?”

“Yes, I do. It’s the best boding than I’ve ever had in my life. Bodacious, even.”

They shared a smile that had a humorous veneer, but below the surface was warmth and depth and desire. For the remainder of the ride Alex whispered in Liv’s ear her list of desires for when they got home. They were simultaneously naughty and nice and Liv intended on fulfilling each and every one. 


September Mourn
laurel_hardy

(This is old and was originally posted elsewhere where my nom de screen was 'funnyone'.)

Bette opened the window shade to take in the stunning urban view her hotel room afforded.  In New York to meet with Peggy Peabody, she'd taken a suite at the Hilton Millennium downtown amidst the dense clutter of skyscrapers concentrated there.  Directly across the street the twin towers of the World Trade Center loomed in a perfect blue sky, the kind one could see regularly in California-if the smog wasn't too bad- but unusual in New York.  The towers were glowing pink and orange with the reflected light of sunrise.  She could tell it was going to be one of those rare, beautiful, autumn days for New York-pleasantly warm and dry for a change-that make you feel glad to be alive.  She was glad she'd woken up early.  She wanted to get out and enjoy the gift of the day.

She quickly showered, dressed, and paused to get off an e-mail to Tina.  It was too early to call, it was still the middle of the night in Los Angeles.  She closed, of course, by trying to convey to Tina how much she loved and missed her, and telling her she wished she could share this lovely day with her.  She'd just clicked  the "send" button when she heard a strange noise.  The sound of airplanes was common enough in urban settings, be it Los Angeles or New York, but this was loud, the engines seemed to be screaming, and it was only coming closer.  Bette went to the window, trying to scan the sky showing between the buildings.  There.  At first the plane didn't appear to be that large, but she soon realised that it was a passenger jet heading in from the north.  Coming her way.  Speeding her way.  Louder.  Coming right at her.  No, just barely off to the west, the sound now deafening.  She watched fascinated, mesmerized, appalled as the plane smashed into one of the towers.

She stood at the window with her jaw hanging slack, feeling stupid for the disjunct between what her eyes could see and what her brain was failing to comprehend.  Orange flame and black smoke ballooned out of the building from the jagged holes the plane had torn in its sides.  Bette heard a long, disjointed, nonsensical stream of obscenities, only vaguely aware they were coming out of her own mouth.  Papers cascaded down like confetti, like some kind of sick ticker-tape parade.  Even through the window she could feel the intense heat.  With a jolt strong enough to finally rouse her, Bette realised that debris from the shattered material of the building was also beginning to rain down.  She turned and ran for the door just as her picture window exploded.  She felt a sting in the hand with which she held the door knob and saw a trickle of blood begin to form.  Deal with that later, she thought.

She stepped into the darkened hallway, thanking God she remembered where the emergency stairs were.  She was aware of other people there, confused and freightened voices shouting as panic swept over many.  She bellowed as loud as she could to be heard over the din, "This way! Follow the sound of my voice!  The stairs are over here!"  She was amazed at the calm and command she heard in her own voice, wishing that was how she actually felt.

Pushing the door to the stairs open, Bette was grateful for the emergency lighting.  She didn't have long to appreciate it as bodies started to pass by, she stepped aside to avoid being pushed.  She heard a small cry of pain as an older woman was slammed into the doorframe.  Bette pulled her to one side so she wouldn't be trampled.  Making sure she was OK, Bette waited for a pause in the traffic before escorting the woman to the stairs.  She kept herself close behind and gripping the handrail tightly, trying to ensure neither of them were inadvertantly crushed in the attempt to escape.  They maintained a steady pace descending through the floors.  She lost count of them by the time they encountered a security guard accompanied by a bellman.  The bellman offered to assist the older woman from there.  She turned to Bette and said, "Thank you, my dear.  You've done more than enough.  I think I'll be alright.  Take care of yourself."  She gave Bette a quick kiss on the cheek and waved her on.  Bette gave the woman's hands a squeeze in farewell and resumed her descent, more rapidly now when traffic allowed.  She was glad she'd forgone her usual Choo's in favor of some Warren Edwards' flats, knowing in New York it was necessary to walk.

Reaching the lobby level, the hotel staff directed her away from the front entrance and towards the side service entrance, slightly safer as it didn't directly face the Trade Center.  Bette tried to orient herself as people and paper swirled around her.  She'd succeeded in getting out of the building, now what to do?  She pulled her cellphone from her pocket only to find it useless, no signal.  She remembered her reason for being in town in the first place, her meeting later that afternoon at Peggy's brownstone.  East 75th just off 5th Avenue.  North.  Away.  Setting her feet in motion, Bette worked her way through the warren of crowded, old downtown streets.  

She glanced over her shoulder from time to time as she went to look at the burning tower.  Papers still came fluttering down around her.  So bizarre, falling like snow on this warm and cloudless day.  In time though, she came to understand that it wasn't just paper falling.  Oh God!  My God! They're people, those are people falling from the sky.  They were leaping to escape the flames they could no longer tolerate, all hope of rescue gone.  She said a prayer for those falling bodies and (she hoped) their rising souls, not sure it would do any good.   Could a benevolent God allow such monstrosity to occur? Knowing there was nothing more she could do for them, Bette set forth once again, the crowd having josltled her back into her own situation.  She tried not to think about them.

She trudged north with the crowd.  As she went she tried to compose herself.  It was difficult to do, hard to make any one thought hold still long enought to complete it.  Slowly the sound of a plane entered her awareness.  Such a common sound, part of everyday life, she had become inured to it, but not today.  Again she realised it wasn't quite typical, too loud, too close.  No.  Scanning the sky again, she found the source, another passenger jet incongruously speeding over downtown.  She watched in dumb horror as it struck the South Tower, the billowing flame and smoke now oddly familiar.  She gave up on her efforts to compose herself for the moment but resumed her attempt to get away, her tears streamed as she kept her feet moving.  She could no longer believe that any of this was an accident.

As she walked, Bette heard a loud, strange noise, a crackling and a groaning and a whooshing all at once.  She noticed that those who were lining the street were looking back at the building with renewed agitation.  She turned to look.  Christ!  It was coming down!  That enormous building was collapsing to the ground.  How could it be?  Yet again, Bette felt stupified.  Not for long though.  No time to feel.  She could see a vast cloud of dust heading towards her, swallowing the stampede of humanity that tried to outrace it.  Bette turned and ran for her life.  It was hard to set a course, not every one was as athletically gifted as she and  the slow became obstacles for the swift.  She had to keep an eye out for them, the parked cars, the newspaper kiosks, and all the rest of the street furniture, but she still could not resist looking behind to watch the approach of the cloud, the monster that would swallow her.  Bette now truly understood the meaning of the word "panic".  Each time she looked. it had approached closer.  On some level she knew it was futile, but she ran with all the strength she possessed.  And then in hit her.

The force of it literally knocked her off her feet.  From running at top speed, she suddenly was stopped, tackled from behind, sprawled on the ground.  The force of the blow knocked the wind out of her.  She tried to inhale.  Initially she couldn't, but even when she could it did no good.  She was blind and choking.  Gasping, she stripped off her jacket and put it over her head, trying to reduce the amount of dust she inhaled.  It didn't really help.  She could feel she was next to something hard, a car, a van?  She crawled beneath it like a wounded animal.  Choking, gasping, retching she struggled for air that refused to enter her lungs.  She resigned herself to her death, knowing with out breath it would come for her too, as it had come for so many this day.  She thought of Tina and was glad she had not made this trip.  She thought of Tina and was glad.

How long?  She wasn't sure.  Breathing was still difficult, but no longer impossible.  That meant she wasn't dead.  Her eyes burned like they never had before, but she could begin to discern some daylight.  She dragged herself out from under the... what?  Oh, an SUV.  Whatever.  She sat leaning against the SUV trying to stop coughing and gather enough strength to stand.  As she waited the dust was settling.  She could make out the street signs.  She knew her bearings now, time to go.  She stood and shook the dust from her hair, at least most of it, tried to brush it off her clothes.  Great.  A new cloud of her own creation, started her choking again.  North.  She concentrated on that one thing.  Go north.

Slow going at first with her respiration still compromised.  With the compunction natural to a lady, she was embarrased to be spitting in public but she had to get that awful crap she'd inhaled out of her lungs and mouth.  No one noticed.  In fact everyone around was doing exactly the same.  She looked around noting the sky was returning to a clear blue, but otherwise everything and eveyone was a solid shade of pale grey.  She caught a glimpse of herself reflected in a shop window.  She hardly recognized herself.  She was a mess.   Her hair was a mess.  Her clothes were torn and disheveled.  She looked like a ghost.  Or maybe someone who'd been victimized by that guy on Jackass who threw flour bombs on his sleeping friends.  The only place her own color showed through was where the tears and snot had washed the grit away.  Charming.  Well, she thought, welcome to the unwashed masses.  She started to laugh but she recognised the hysteria in the sound.  She pulled herself back.  No time to worry about it now.  Just go north.

The blocks passed by without her taking much notice.  She kept her eyes peeled only to be disappointed time and again.  All the subways were shut down.  None of the pay phones worked.  She was glad to see that people were being so decent, though.  She'd spent enough time in New York to know that there was more to the residents than their gruff, hard, sometimes scary reputation.  But in the face of this sunlit nightmare, she saw things that exemplified the best and most beautiful in humanity.  All around her she saw people trying to help, be it giving first aid, the strong assisting the weak, and sometimes just plain picking others up and carrying them to get them away.  Strangers aiding and comforting strangers.  And of course the army of firefighters, emergency technicians, and police streaming the opposite way, their sirens filling the air.  Even just the simple kindness of merchants and private citizens handing out bottles of water to whomever might need them on the long walk.  These things too were worthy of tears.

In time she progressed far enough to get beyond the dust.  The world wore it's normal colors.  Strangers had given her water and she was able to drink and rinse her mouth and eyes and face.  That helped, and she was able to increase her pace.  She'd was approaching 14th Street when the gawkers she passed on the street started to murmur, the sound building to screams.  She looked behind in time to witness the end on the North Tower, watching it collapse from sight for good.  She waited to watch the dust cloud rise again, grateful to be beyond the monster's reach this time.  It sickened her but by now Bette was too exhausted to react very strongly.  She needed every ounce of strength she had left to continue her march north.  Still unable to find an operating subway, phones still out, nothing but emergency vehicles on the streets.  She had, what?, another 3 miles to walk, maybe more.  So she walked.

She'd made her way to Fifth Avenue and found some comfort in the green of Central Park to her side once she passed 59th.  When she reached 75th Street she turned right.  Peggy's was just yards away.  She used the last of her strength to climb the stairs and ring the bell.  When the butler opened the door she could see the amazement flicker across his face.  He'd sometimes had to shoo bums away but he'd never before seen such a creature turn up at this exclusive door.  Peggy came up behind him, curious who would come calling on such a strange and awful day.  She stared at Bette with narrowed eyes.  It took her a few seconds before she recognized her.  "My God!  Bette, my dear, come in!"  Peggy drew her into the house with a warm embrace.

In short order Peggy got Bette into a hot shower and had the staff round up something clean for her to wear.  Peggy tried to get her to eat something, but all Bette wanted to do was speak to Tina.  The phone lines were still out, but via the computer Peggy was able to establish voice communication for Bette with Tina.  Bette's voice, while recognizable came out a bit strangled.  "Baby?" she croaked.  Her throat was still sore and her emotions raw.  "Bette?  Bette,  is that you?  Oh God, Baby.  You're alright?  I was so scared..." Tina couldn't continue for some minutes.  Bette wasn't much good for conversation for a while, either.  But never had either of them been so glad to hear the other's voice.  And they'd never been so glad to be alive.


Dirty Old R&B
laurel_hardy
These didn't get a lot of airplay back in the day thanks to the rather frank innuendo. I believe white folk were largely ignorant that these existed at the time. I guess they were that delicate. Anyway, no excuses now! Funny, dirty music for EVERYBODY!!! Plus the lead singers both have great voices. (Please ignore the stupid ass illustrations.)




Less famous but better?
laurel_hardy
With all due respect to their more famous versions (especially Peggy Lee-not many can maintain a singing career after losing a  lung), I think I love these more obscure versions better. But that might just be me and my affection for the obscure. What do you think?



Come for the great song, stay for the go-go girls!
laurel_hardy

The Ross Sisters - Eye Catching
laurel_hardy
These girls really like potato salad. They have an odd, yet fascinating way of showing it. The singing is OK, but things start getting freaky about a minute in. And boy, do they know how to make an exit. And let's give up the love for some ol' timey technicolor.



Dirty Robber
laurel_hardy
So I was on a musical archaeology expedition last night when I stumbled across a song I never heard of before called "Dirty Robber".  And I say to myself "Hey, that's the name of the bar Rizzoli & Isles hang out in!"
It sounds like it was recorded in a large mud puddleCollapse )
and it's certainly of it's time. It probably would be best to be a 50s teen with lots and lots of hormones to work off for repeated hearings, there may be some yelping involved. But it's kind of spaz-fabulous:

But the flip side is some crazy power rock/bossa nova (or is it a cha-cha? Anybody know? I'm a little vague on this point) and I think I'm in love:

Manhattan Cable Public Access of Yore
laurel_hardy
I was reminiscing to a friend last night about the unique viewing experience provided by public access TV in Manhattan many moons ago.Read more...Collapse )
Feeling nostalgic I ran across this article which gives a good overview:
http://whitless.com/spew2.htm

I loved me some Mrs. Mouth (aka Mrs. Moskowitz) Show back in the day and not just for the big finale which usually involved watching Mrs. M eat something mysterious. I know, but it was more interesting than it sounds. Here:


But it wasn't always food:



"I LOVE IMOGENE COCO!"
I'll take a wild stab and suggest the other actress was Peggy Cass, who looked nothing like Imogene Coco but whom I used to regularly see on the Upper East Side around this time. 

But there were still other unique things: Sandy Cane's show, in which the former burlesque performer told classic, timeless jokes like : "I went to the doctor the other day. He said he wanted a blood sample, a urine sample, and a stool sample. I said 'Doctor, why don't you just take my G string?'".

The time I watched, in close up, one guy shaving another guy's junk. Or the punk band with the naked lead singer. To prove he was the punkiest, boy took a crap on the floor, picked it up and chased the audience. I tell you, those were the days. Cause this stuff was meant as a goof. Nowadays you get guys wanting to be President who propose with a straight face that a return to the Dark Ages is the way to go. Yikes.

What the Kids Don't Know Won't Hurt Them
laurel_hardy

So we were having a little Rizzoli & Isles fic-a-thon: 
http://rizzoli-isles.livejournal.com/474658.html
And I think I prompted myself and now I feel dirty.
It goes without saying that I own nothing but these words.

Read more…even if I'm a little ashamed.Collapse )





It was quiet in the guest cottage, although to her way of thinking it was lovely home in it's own right. It was late and Jane was with Maura in the main house, Tommy had moved out of the the spare bedroom so now Angela had the place all to herself. She was still getting used to it again, having a place to herself. She'd spent the last several decades tending her own home and family after all. In the stillness Angela shook her head at they way life works out. In the stillness she recalled the one other time she'd been on her own.



God, she and Frank had been so young when they got married. They didn't think so at the time because they'd known each other since elementary school, but they were. Neither one of them was really grown up enough to cope; cope with each other, cope with marriage, cope with a baby. It wasn't that they had stopped caring about each other, not by any means, but where once there had been ease between them there was awkwardness and conflict. That they spent a lot of their time exhausted thanks to the baby didn't help. Neither did the fact that everything seemed to be changing so fast around them that neither of them knew what was expected of them. It was the early 70s and it seemed the whole world was in flux. They'd tried what they had thought was expected of them and failed miserably with it, yet couldn't figure out what else to do. So Frank conceded that his Latin Lord and Master turn wasn't working for either of them, he wasn't really comfortable with the role anyway and Angela sure as hell resented it. They agreed to take a break before things got really ugly. 



Jane had just been a little thing so of course Angela took her with her when she packed a bag for each of them and left the apartment she had shared with Frank. The kids had been shocked when she and Frank split for good, but they didn't know it hadn't been the first time the marriage had been troubled. They'd worked hard to keep it from them and the time Angela split had happened before Frankie and Tommy had been born and Jane had been too little to remember. But Angela did.



She had found a little place in a new neighborhood for herself and Jane, an Irish neighborhood where she wasn't known and where they wouldn't ask about Frank. Instead they cooed over the beautiful baby that the pretty young stranger pushed about in the carriage as she did her shopping between classes and her part time job. It had been liberating for Angela, to be in a new place that had no history for her, nor she for it. Well, liberation was a big word at the time, for women especially, and Angela decided to grab it with both hands.



So when something about the guy she saw hunched over the counter at the coffee shop where she waited tables caught her attention she made sure to get his order. He wasn't handsome exactly, but there was a hint of danger about him that was very attractive. Well built, kinda chiseled. Oh, and blue eyes. Piercing blue Irish eyes. Angela decided they were yummy. Present day Angela then decided if this was where her thoughts were going to wander tonight then it was time to get the whiskey. She'd acquired a taste for it back in the day, but hadn't indulged once she'd moved back with Frank. She enjoyed the multi-faceted burn. She enjoyed the kick that introduced the mellow, which kind of reminded her of Paddy. There was no one present to be disturbed by it so she poured herself another.



Ah Paddy. Angela shuddered a little, both from the memory and the shot. Angela didn't think Paddy much older than the kids in her classes, but he would never be mistaken for one, could never be mistaken for one. Nope, Paddy was no kid and not to be found in a classroom. Even after she'd gotten to know him a little Angela wasn't sure were he could be found when he wasn't with her or in the diner. A lot of things about Paddy were mysterious but it was pretty clear he was a bad boy. Angela hadn't hung around any bad boys before, her mama wouldn't let her. Angela admitted to herself that she liked that about him.



Paddy's blue eyes weren't blind and he saw the effect he was having and in time he accepted Angela's invitation. It turned out he liked playing with the baby, Jane was so cute and lively and looked at him with such trust. It wasn't the kind of look he got often so he fell for her almost as hard as he fell for Angela. He also liked it when Jane slept so that he could play with her mother who also looked at him with trust. They thoroughly enjoyed their time together as work and school permitted. Hot, hectic, heady, wonderful days that made Angela feel the liberation she had sought and Paddy was the most exciting thing she had ever known. Until Angela realized she was late. She didn't talk to Paddy until she was sure.



She had known (and loved) that Paddy was a bad boy and so was not surprised, not disappointed, maybe even a little relieved that they would not marry nor settle down together, that Paddy wasn't about to be a father in any sense other than biology. She HAD been a little surprised to get a better sense of just how bad a boy Paddy really was, that his 'business'  potentially made things dangerous for them all. She was glad he wasn't pressuring her to have an abortion. It had just become legal, but that just wasn't something Angela could do. But still, her hand was forced.



For the first few weeks of her life (they'd named her after the woman that babysat Jane when Angela worked or was in class) the new baby stayed with Angela and shared Jane's crib, until the day Paddy came for her, to get her to a new family and new life that meant they'd all be safe.  It was the last Angela saw of either of them. She would miss Paddy but the good times were already over, but the loss of the little girl broke her heart. She was grateful Paddy quietly sent her updates. 



And so Angela moved once again to leave the memories behind, this time to back with her folks. In the old neighborhood it was only natural to run into Frank. He'd always had a special place in Angela's heart and always would. They each learned some things in their time apart and were able to work some things out. They got back together and got a house. Angela's studies were shelved when they knew Frankie was on his way. By the time Tommy showed up, the Rizzoli house was so busy she rarely had time to even wonder about Paddy, but there never was a day her heart didn't ache for her absent girl. Angela kept that to herself and did her best by the kids she had with her and over the years her brood grew and thrived even as they worried her to death, eventually growing up and moving out on their own in succession.



A sliver of concern had slithered down her spine when Jane started talking about her new friend right about the same time Paddy's update included news of their daughter's return to Boston as the new medical examiner. She would prefer to keep parts of her past quiet for everybody's sake and so bided her time. Angela's concern ticked up again when Maura found a genetic match between herself and a body in her morgue. Angela felt a little guilty that Maura was so caught up in finding herself Paddy Doyle's daughter that she never found the connection to Jane, Frankie, or Tommy. To her. No, the search had stopped once a match to a lab worker showed up and Angela could breathe easier.



That lasted until Tommy got out of prison and needed a place to stay. Angela knew that boy was a handsome devil that could charm the birds from the trees if he set his mind to it so she panicked inside when she saw him turn his gaze towards Maura. But she bit her tongue and waited for the kid to blow it. Angela knew her son (she had gotten to know Maura, too) and knew this could not end well, that he inevitably would disappoint and he did. She was just glad it was before anything serious took place and she would have to show her hand. Besides, she could see what it was doing to Janie. Yeah, Angela could see the jealousy simmering under the lid Jane put on it so Maura couldn't see. Tommy didn't mean to, but  the ne'er do well in him actually did his big sister a solid. He was the catalyst that finally got Jane and Maura together, after all their months and years of dancing and denying and diverting. They were together, they were good for each other and there would be no accidental pregnancies between them. Angela thought she just might be able to keep her secret, the one meant to keep her family safe, safe.



Yeah, Angela knew her daughter. Both of them. Up in the main house. Maybe some day, if she thought it was safe, they'd get to know her, too.


Orpheus & Eurydice
laurel_hardy

She sat yet again in the back of a black SUV, yet again leaving her life behind tinted glass. Perhaps the familiarity made the pain both greater and duller. Details of her soon to be life were contained in an unopened folder. She wasn’t ready for it yet, couldn’t care about it yet. She had hoped her mind would remain blank a bit longer but it was too agile to permit that.

 

Unbidden a tale she had first learned several lifetimes ago came to mind. It had been expected that she would be conversant with the hallmarks of the Classical World, at least in that long ago life. Orpheus and Eurydice. Orpheus the greatest poet and musician, golden tongued singer, who made the very rocks and trees dance to his tune and made the Gods of Olympus swoon. In another life she had used a gifted tongue to move hearts and minds in the name of justice. That had been in a life now lost.

 

Orpheus’ power to move his audience moved within him as well. His love for Eurydice was extraordinary. But Eurydice, whose name meant ‘She Whose Justice Extends Widely’, died. His grief was also extraordinary. He descended to the Underworld, lulling the guardian with his lyre, moving the Lord therein with his song. He won her back, with only one condition. He must lead her on the path back to life, but he must not look back so long as they were in the Underworld. Orpheus crossed the threshold and glanced back too soon; she had not yet stepped into the light. Just a glimpse out of the corner of his eye and she was gone. Again.

 

She understood why this tale came to her. It resonated for her far more than it ever had before, more than when she heard it as a child as a tale of tragic love, more than as a college student where it was conjured in literature courses. It spoke of her own life that had been chopped into separate lives. The one where she had striven for justice in the courts of New York County, the one where she sought justice for Livia Sandoval, the one where she realized her hubris too late. The one she had only hours earlier revisited too briefly. She Whose Justice Extends Widely. She tasted the bitterness of irony, not for the first time. Eurydice died and died once again, just within sight of life and daylight. She understood that in a way her previous life would not let her.

 

She’d had a glimpse, earlier this same day, of life and light. She’d been back in her court room, still seeking as much justice as mortals could render. It was hollow at best, but still better than nothing. When the verdict had been read her handlers swept her out a side door, a deus ex machina that left her just enough time to glance over her shoulder for one last glimpse of Olivia before she was snatched away again. She understood Eurydice’s multiple deaths. She understood Orpheus’ need to look back, She had needed to look back. In Wisconsin she had needed look back. And wherever she was going, whoever she was going to be next, the Alex that persisted in all the pretense meant to keep her alive while it killed her would need to look back; at all that had happened, all that hadn’t, at all the choices, for good and ill, that she’d made. No matter the cost. And hope to hang on long enough to make the mistakes right, hope that there would still be a life for the once and future Alexandra Cabot someday. She opened the folder to find which life would be next.


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