Chapters 2+3 Index Chapter 5

Subject:      CODY: THE STAND-IN, Chap.4
From: (Mithryl)
Date:         1997/07/22
Message-Id:   <5r2q8m$>

                          THE STAND-IN

                      By Cody Ann Michaels
                     c. All rights reserved

                            Chapter 4

	'Cody, when you've gone too far, take one step further.'
					 -- Gianni Versace


	"uh, yeah.  Oh, hi."  I had to think.  Who was it?  It took awhile
before I could come up with a name.  Smalhausen.  But there was something
else.  Then I remembered.  What was he doing here? 

	His mother owns the trailer next to Gran's.  In the camp.  'Cept
her's is a double wide.  I had known him for years.  "Hi."  He was maybe
in his fifties.  He always used to watch me.  I mean, like all the time. 
But I never knew he came to New York.  He said he lived here.  Wow.  I
thought he lived with his mother.  He was always there.  Or seemed to be. 
At least whenever I was.  Now it turned out he lived in my block.  In my
building, in fact.  In fact, right across the hall.  It was sort of
strange.  He said maybe we could get together.  I said I was pretty busy. 
This was all I needed.  Having some old guy who knew my grandmother.  From
back home.  Here. 

	I asked how his mother was.  He made a face.  She was as old as
Gran.  And even more evil.  Like, at least my gran had had a life.  The
Widow Smalhausen didn't seem to have ever done anything.  Except complain. 
She was totally into herself.  Poor guy.  I sort of felt sorry for him. 

	I asked what he did?  He said he was an artist.  Maybe I would
like to pose for him sometime.  I said maybe.  I had to go.  I thought his
mother said he was into computers or something.  Maybe she didn't know. 
Anyway, I didn't care.  I had enough on my mind. 

	I had sort of promised my friend, Joe, that I would write him a
story.  About him and his daughter.  And his weird friends.  And neice. 
Did you ever notice, when you start to do something, suddenly everyone is
doing the same thing.  Like, first I had To m telling me what he was doing
to little girls pretending they're me, and then Joe chimes in.  Actually,
it's not the same, because Joe hadn't done anything to Tiffany, or
whatever her name was -- so far.  He's just a guy who's been writing to me
for some time now, with different ideas he has.  One of the latest seems
to be that I become a columnist and crusade for better government.  Oh
please!  For a guy who spent 20 years in the military, he is such an
innocent.  He lives in a trailer somewhere out on the edge of the American
outback and keeps me informed of the various doings of a pack of
characters who seen to have all the attractive qualities of a nest of
rattlesnakes.  The other day he floored me though when he told me that his
fourteen year old daughter was staying with him.  Naturally, that twisted
everything around; gave it a whole nother perspective.  Of course, Joe is
not the sort of guy who would do anything felonious to his next of kin. 
But there are recovered memories.  You know, the dead bodies that bubble
up out of the quicksand of other people's minds; the fantasy world that
any healthy teenage girl takes for reality.  I figured I could have a lot
of fun with that, especially when he told me that it was his job to ferry
his equally nubi le teenage neice and Tiff to the old swimming hole.  And
what the neice looked like.  And what she wore.  Or didn't.  Then he got
off on the subject of how one of his buddies was going to beat up some
rodeo rider when he got back from Panama for sleeping with his slut wife. 
The guy from Panama's wife.  Not Joe's.  Joe's divorced.  The buddy lived
down on the border and shot Mexican immigrants for sport or something
before he shipped out for Panama.  But now he was due back.  And Peter,
the rodeo rider, had better watch his ass.  The woman was named Sheila. 
I wrote and asked Joe why he thought Pete was going to stand around and
get whipped, and besides, why shouldn't Sheila sleep with who she damned
pleased.  Her husband sounded like a jerk.  Joe wrote b ack and filled me
in on the logic of male bounding, er bonding, which I couldn't quite
follow, except it sounded pretty gritty.  Especially the part where Ray
busted up everything in the house except Sheila before he split for
Panama.  There was also a sc ene where Ray's pals, Joe included, sat on
him for days and weeks to give him an excuse for not having had the balls
to shoot Pete down like the dirty dog he was.  Come on.  These guys are
cowboys.  American losers.  Do you ever listen to their music?  I mean the
stuff from the forties and fifties.  These guys are flatter than the
interstate when it comes to rolling over them.  That story made me think
of the song where the old man says how he killed some guy to steal his
wife, Harry Clay's, I think it wa s, and now she gets uglier every day,
"but I got her, boy, and I guess that makes me a winner!"  Yeessh! 

	Don't get me wrong.  I love Joe.  But he's redneck all the way. 
Well, not totally.  He's no racist.  He's more like a biker.  Trailer
trash.  Like me.  Well, more like Kelly.  Kelly is totally trailer trash. 
Me.  I grew up in a house.  It's Gran who li ves in the camp.  I think she
and Joe would get along.  She came from Texas.  Place called Eagle Pass. 

	Joe said his neice was prettier than his daughter.  I suggested he
should dye his daughter's hair red, and then she would look like me.
Though the C cup is a little small.  She's about an inch taller, too.  I
hestitated to go too far, though, because I didn't want to seem to be
encouraging him to do something outrageous, tempting him so to speak.  I
mean, that could get me in trouble, like twenty years.  But I was curious
to know what happened.  Especially to Sheila, the slut mother of Ray's
children.  Pete sounded like a wimp.  And Ray and the rest of them like
dorks.  But a good looking blonde in a border town on the edge of nowhere,
that seemed to have possibilities.  I could picture this place.  A few
trailers strung out in the mesquite along a dirt road leading to nowhere;
junk cars.  Timothy McVeigh reading a copy of True Confessions on the
front porch.  Guys talking about getting O.J.  And Sheila in that tight
yellow silk dress.  I love film noir.  I wanted to make the movie.  I
would play Tiffany.  It would all be through her eyes.  Her old man.  His
buddies.  Their miserable bonding rights.  Sheila. 

	And my cousin.


	Who Dad has the hots for.
	Don't you, Daddy?
	Pretty.  Blonde.  Out to there.

	Do you think I burned too much, Uncle Joe?

	He touches her.  It looks a little red.  He puts something on it. 
She giggles. 

	I mean, in that suit.  You're going to the pool in that?

	Tiffany is wearing a white one-piece bathing suit.  I mean, at
least that's how I see myself.  We were Baptists.  Bikinis were strictly
taboo.  Cut high on the hips with a thong back.  And about a size too

	She walks around the trailer park in it.

	You should hear my grandmother when she sees it.

	For one thing, the hormones have made my tits so big I can barely
keep the nipples covered.  Also, ...  Wait a minute.  This is off the

	I don't want to remember that.  It's ... something else.

	I can feel Smalhausen watching me.  His eyes go right through me. 
What a creep.  It's as if he's trying to get inside.  Become me.  I can't
say I blame him.  I ride my bicycle faster past their house.  I don't want
to get caught. 

	Let me alone.

	Not that he would try anything.  He's always very cheerful.  Hi. 
How are you?  Nice day.  What's up?  Nothing much.  See you around.  Yeah. 
Sometimes he sits on the steps when I come out of the building.  I can
feel him watching me as I walk up the str eet.  Other times he wants to
counsel me.  Or comfort me.  I know he just wants to get into my pants,
but doesn't know how.  Doesn't know the open Sesame.  What makes it
happen.  What will make me lie down and spread my legs.  Ask him for it. 
Beg him.  Please fuck me.  Please.  Piss in my face.  Beat the shit out
of me.  God, do it.  I want it so bad.  What's his name?  I forgot.  Maybe
I never knew.  I always called him Smalhausen.  His mother's name.  She
was as old as my gran.  But a lot nastier.  Not really.  Whinier, maybe. 
Like a damp old armpit.  Sad.  She made sad.  She loved it.  She did
research on it.  Promoted it.  She had a mastership in sad.  I felt sorry
for him.  He seemed like a nice guy.  But what a burden.  I wondered why
he put up wi th it.  Well, why did I put up with Gran?  Or Alec?  Or
Kelly?  I put up with Kelly because I loved her.  She was so stunningly
beautiful.  I had to put up with Alec because he controlled me.  But Gran
was different.  She was so terminal.  I mean, this woman had seen it all. 
And reduced it to shit.  Michael Collins.  Adolph Hitler.  My father's
entire life.  Even his almost winning the lieutenant governorship.  Which
must have been the high point in his life.  She just trashed it all.  That
must mean something. 

	So yeah, you could say I put up with Gran.  Maybe I thought I
could learn something.  I mean, like, what was it like to sleep with Jodl? 
She said he was okay.  Goring?  A faggot, but he had a nice art
collection.  I said he stole it from jews.  She shru gged.  Well, she
would have if 1. she had heard me, and two if she could, what with the
mastectomy.  It hurts her.  So she's sort of sunken in.  A shrug would be
a major no no.  Frankly, Gran doesn't know about the holocaust.  She
worked in a prison durin g the war.  An internment camp.  Like they have
in Arizona.  I forget its name.  Bob Dole was entranced by it last year. 
Just the place.  Stalag 13.  She voted for Clinton. 

	Okay.  You might think someone like Gran would be pretty right
wing.  And she is.  She's somewhere east of the Wagners and Sigfried's. 
To her, Wotan would have been soft on communism.  The only other time she
ever voted Democrat was for Jimmy Carter, bu t only because she was pissed
at Gerald Ford for taking Richard Nixon's job.  So that might give you
some clue what she sees in Clinton.  But I am not going to get political
here.  I am through with politics, except for the column I write for the
Canberra paper.  I wanted to call it "Growing up in America," but I needed
them to think I was older, so I just call it "Letter from America".  Sort
of like Paul's letters to the Ephesians.  Except mine is to the kangaroos. 

	Oh shit.  I just remembered.  This was supposed to have a
dedication.  To the muse.  You know how in the old days, nobody wrote
anything without writing five or six pages calling on the muse and
dedicating it to her.  Or whoever.  I was going to do that.  And I forgot. 
Shit.  Fucking Smalhausen.  Distracted me.  No wonder I can't get it
together.  That and the weed.  Boy, this is good stuff.  Living on the
border has its advantages.  We just pretend to shoot wetbacks.  Actually,
this is a way station on the underground railroad.  A way way station, if
you get what I mean.  So that's why it's important no one goes messing
around with someone else's old lady.  You get what I mean?  Sort of messes
up the train schedules.  Having dead bodies all over the tr ailer park. 
Very messsy.  You get it, asshole?  He held me by the collar and banged my
head against the trailer.  Wham wham wham.  Then he let go and I dropped. 
I lay on the ground and he kicked me in the gut.  I lay huddled up,
clutching myself while h e walked away.  Fucking Marlboro man.  Joe would
never let him do that to me.  Smokey Joe's daughter.  I'd fix him.  "What
happened?"  I walked back in the trailer.  "Ray beat me up."  Dad got up
and went outside.  Later, we heard the police cars.  Arizona BSDF.  What
were those initials?  He told me once.  Guys with cowboy hats and big
mustaches.  And shotguns.  Come out, Joe.  We got your daughter. 
Daddddedddddyyyyyyyyyyy.  It sure got interesting around here.  Especially
with the choppers.  And the na palm.  I love Peckinpah.  He's one of my
main influences.  The one with the cowboys.  In Mexico. 

	They dragged Shiela.  Behind their bikes.  In that yellow dress. 
Her long yellow hair dragging in the dirt.  Big tits flopping.  Around and
around in a circle.  Shooting off their guns.  Joe's neice was somewhere
around there.  But I couldn't see her.  One of the rancheros must have
gotten her.  Boy, were we high.  I guess keep thinking, what else could I
do with that story.  Turn it around.  What did it look like? 

	Miami.  South Beach.  8:44 in the morning.  Gianni lying on the
sidewalk.  Running down the street.  He went into the house.  Later, they
found the clothes next to the truck where he had left them.  He's still
there.  Living in Versace's house.  What bet ter place for someone like
Andrew to hide out.  I mean, come on.  This is no penny ante killer.  This
is Andy C.  Anti-Sea.  Anticapatory.  Angel.  Dust.  He moved through the
rooms.  Effortlessly.  That Gianni had crafted for him.  Now we are seeing
the effects of this evil fallout.  The body was brought back to the house
one more time.  Then it was taken to be burnt.  The pyre drifted out to
sea.  He watched from one of the upstairs windows.  Naaaa.  Too trite. 

	Joe would track her down and kill her for what she had done.  He
would make the pig die slowly.  Her betrayal would eat her out.  Like
cancer.  From smoking too much.  It would sneak up on her.  And she would
have it.  But he was taking no chances.  He w anted to see the bitch die. 
He crawled over to where she had fallen.  She was already out of it. 
There was nothing more he could do.  Except put her out of her misery. 
But why should he do that?  Let her rot, he thought.  I hate her.  But did
he?  What was it like to truly hate someone.  So bad that it had an
effect.  That it actually changed things.  Like a lazer.  He wanted to
hate Cody that way.  Cut her to ribbons.  But what if she was already
dead.  What then?  How could you kill a dead woman?  Or even make her
bleed?  That was a problem.  The smoke died in her head.  There was
something else.  She picked up the two bottles. 

	Oh Joe, it hurts so.  I didn't aim that at you.  You just took it. 
I hope it's okay.  I didn't mean to hurt you.  Here, let me lick it.  She
took it away with her tongue.  My god, what happened?  I was alive again. 
I wanted to breathe.  I wanted to liv e.  Don't hurt me again.  Joe wound
further back into the trailer.  Following her.  Daddy.  Please Daddy.  The
other girl waited outside.  She heard the screaming.  You could hear it
all over camp.  But this was really it.  Stop breathing.  Now everything
was quiet.  The girl waited.  He came out.  Okay.  They went and got in a
car and drove off.  I don't know where they was heading.  Why do you want
to know? 

	He's her father.  Why?

	You don't want to know.
	What happened.
The bridge washed out.
I told you to fix it.
I did.
She's dead.
It wasn't my fault.
He wrote like that.  Crisp letters against a blue background.  It was very
He knew everything about color.
What it did
and who owned it.
Very important.  Who owns blue?
Is there a copyrite on it?
I think so.
Get it.
Boggie down.
Game match
more oxygen, you asshole.  Let it in.  Breathe.
they were totally out of it.
out there on the edge of space.
What a camp.
Riding the airwaves.
Around mir.
That's it.
It all takes place in a trailer camp in the sky.

A big junky trailer camp with space junk orbiting it in all sorts of crazy
patterns so no one can get into them.  Even the police.  And Joe's
daughter is fucking everyone in camp.  And you are only allowed to breathe
once every five minutes to conserve air.  Oxygen.  To conserve Oxygen, not
just air. 
Who owns the oxygen on Mir?

Good question.  Do the Russians do it or the Yaks.  You had to wait your
turn.  To breathe.  It produced some interesting side effects.  Thought
patterns.  Somewhat like the space junk outside.  Whizzing around.  Old
hacksaw blades.  Needles.  Shotgun shells.  Space mines.  Old data
printouts.  Remember those?  Hillary's billing records.  So that's where
they were.  Versace's brains.  They didn't tell you.  The entire cranium
was empty.  Gianni's brain ooozed out between his legs and went on down
the sidewalk.  That's what they caught on camera. 
  Versace's brain.  Leaving.  So what?> It's space junk.  No one reads it. 
You'll never get caught. 

Cody's brains are in her tits.  She has two of them.  Somehow they got
split in half.  And they've been crawling all around her body ever since. 
Sometimes one gets up inside her face and looks out.  And watches while
the other one gets beaten to a pulp. It's an interesting arrangement.  Now
breathe.  She took in a whiff and let out one.  Then the hallucination
came back to her.  They were on a country road, she and Charles Kuralt. 
He was interviewing her.  She was telling him about her father's running
for lieutenant governor.  It was a big thing in her life.  Florida is a
big state.  Can you imagine the banquets?  The line up.  The
contributions.  We almost made it.  I put out a lot for my Dad while he
was alive.  I'd do the same thing now for you.  I could see he was
thinking.  Well, maybe.  That yellow dress on the front porch turned him
on.  Made him think of Utah.  What a big bang it would be.  Blowing up
Utah.  Those smug mormons.  Don't Cody!  Joe's hand locked on my wrist. 
Bending it backward.  You're hurting me.  Drop it.  I let go the gun.  It
floated off down the corridor.  You do that again, I'll kill you.  I
really will, you fucking cunt.  Jeez, he was mad.  I was just going to ... 
Never mind what you was going to do.  You give us away.  You hear, girl? 
okay.  okay.  He gave me a push and I hit the opposite wall.  WHAM.  My
only consolation was, he did too.  Opposite and equal reaction, r ight? 
You hit me.  You feel it.  So go on, do it, sucker.  He pasted her across
the mouth.  Fucking slut.  They bounced sideways.  Wham.  Wham.  Body
pong.  Body ping pong.  Body slamming in space.  WHAM WHAM WHAM That shook
the bejesus out of star fl eet.  I thought, all the way back through the
Cody stories.  Guys were just getting it.  Right about.... NOW!  Earth
screamed.  On target.  Nice.  Who needs bullets.  I could feel it all the
way up my spine.  My brain sluiced sideways as the lazer nipped it./ the
girl was on her knees.  Down, Cody.  Good girl. Kick.  aooooww/ Animal
rights.  You ain't got no animal rites in space.  You got Cody on the Mir. 
No wonder it's space junk.  The soyuz was coming around for another blow. 
My batteries are down.  Mine are even weaker.  What is that thing?  Cody. 
Come back.  Come back, Codddddyyyyyyyyy mission control.  we have lost
mission control.  mission control is dead.  fused metal and old condoms. 
Slapping the window.  Stuck to it.  Seeing the earth through a used trojan
is not a pretty sight.  MNaybe we should go back.  Can't.  Way's shut off. 
 I lost track of Joe.  Where is he?  I thought he was with you.  Red
Dwarf.  Of course.  They're red dwarves.  Bread in space.  Spare some
change.  Which one is Crighton?  There's only three of them.  There were
only three on the space craft.  One was a h ologram.  And the computer. 
Your turn.  He breathed.  Deeply.  And let it out slowly.  What is this
stuff?  Versace's mansion was featured in a Vogue spread when he first
moved in.  It was fabulous.  He had taken two old hotels and turned them
into a Gre ek palacio.  There, he would walk in the garden, wearing a
robe, like a friar.  Father Andrew.  Who had come to them from outer
space.  And one was a robot.  Such a beautiful man.  Crichton, get me a
martini.  As you wish, sir.  Who were the other two?  I
 forgot.  Rimmer was the hologram.  Technically, he wasn't there.  The
robot was a woman.  Wrong.  The robot was a robot.  The woman was in the
computer.  Oh yeah.  Right.  Then what?  You could be anything, and you
chose Rimmer?  Space junk.  On Mir, Cod y was the mirror.  Everything
happened through Cody.  The russians spoke a patois of old English.  Mixed
in with their native language.  The Americans clung to their old ways. 
Others lurked in the interior or floated with the scud, crafting strange
arran gements of parts and old paper.  Trying to form a habitation that
worked.  Then there were the Wing Surfers.  Gangs in space.  They skirted
the edges of the camp, always trying to seek an entry into the compound.
Sometimes they broke through.  But were r epulsed by our lazers.  I was in
the Fourth Division, Cadet Second Grade.  I looked cute in uniform.  My
father was the Company Commandant.  I was slated to the Citadel when he
found out.  That I was fucking a space rat.  It was so absurd.  They
drummed m e out of the corps.  I was humilated.  My father cut off my
epaulettes himself.  And whipped me there in the center of the compound in
front of everybody.  Fill in the gaps.  Then I was put in stocks and made
to stand in front of the entire company.  Whil e they used me.  As my
father watched.  I forgot all about it until later, when I accused him of
child abuse and devil worship.  He had moved back east to North Carolina. 
Home of the new Salem.  Witchhunt.  Jesse Helms.  Guys went to jail for
working in a nursery.  We told the most improvidable stories.  They ate
them up.  Especially the part about the gorilla.  We said he was three
stories tall and liked to eat little girls.  While my daddy watched.  Mary
Beth said it was just that way.  She remembered it.  Watching Daddy do it. 
But then she suppressed them.  Repressed.  Whatever.  Until just now, when
she's remembering it in living color in front of a jury.  Best audience in
town.  A jury of my peers.  Night court in the Carolinas.  Under the
magnolia trees.  Honey blossom.  Let's all wander down to the center of
camp and see who is getting her ass flogged tonight.  Whore alley.  On the
space craft.  Was an unyielding number of bars.  Whiskey bars.  Mahagony. 
Old tars in from the star fleets.  Gerbil s wiggling their hyknees to get
picked up.  Hi.  Want some?  That yellow dress.  There on the border.  Out
there on the edge.  Is it better in a dress?  Want some?  Space Tramp. 

	hi.  just like on irc.  Only different.  Like, she's really here. 
Hi fellas.  That smile.  Give us a song.  Someone will take me home to
night.  Lotta Lenya.  Kurt Weill.  Oh show me the way to the next whiskey
bar.  Oh, don't ask why.  I tell you, we must die.  hi.  breathe. 

	She couldn't let go.  Back out of it.  no way.  She was trapped. 
The doorbell rang.  It was Smalhausen.  Could I come in?  My mother just

	The man was in tears.  She consoled him.  Maybe it's for the best. 
She was old.  She had a good life.  No she didn't.  She had a terrible
one.  Smalhausen wiped the sleeve of his robe across his face.  It was
covered with mascara.  He was in drag.  I fo rgot to mention.  He was
dressed like well, who?  Dietrich.  No.  Madonna.  No.  He looked like... 
I'll tell you what he looked like, an old photo of Gran.  Like maybe when
she was fifty.  Before she started to look like a muppet.  An old racist
muppet living there on the edge of the sea.  She hated niggers, but she
loved Tiger Woods.  And Bill Cosby.  America's dad.  Ha!  Shows you the
kind of way my grandmother thinks.  And she voted for Clinton.  Think
about it.  Madonna sat there devastated.  They had just killed Gianni, and
all he could think about was his mother.  I wanted to scream.  Do you know
who is dead?  Yes.  Your mom, too.  My mom?  Yes.  Isn't that your mother? 
Mrs. Seinfelden.  The old lady.  She's dead, too.  I sat down.  She's my
grandm other, you asshole.  What about her?  She's dead.  I told you,
she's dead.  Gran?  Yes.  How do you know?  I killed her.  oh. 

Don't you see?  So we could be together.  Smalhausen, this is so sudden. 
That's all I needed, a lunatic serial killer in my house.  I suppose you
killed Gianni, too?  No.  That was my brother.  Andrew.  Oh.  Like, what's
your name?  George.  Oh.  I'd nev er known.  Maybe the whole family was
nuts.  I like your corset.  Do you?  Sixteen inches.  He lied.  He was fat
as a turd.  The last time he'd been sixteen inches was his last erection. 
You can't imagine.  I mean.  At least.  Why did your brother kill V
ersace? I asked.  How should I know?  Aren't you glad to see me?  Well,
yes.  Sort of.  He was sort of spectacular.  If you like sixty zeeee tits. 
I was amazed.  They looked real.  They were.  How did you?  Everything
seemed twisted around.  The red hair .  The makeup.  The hump back.  I
wondered, was Smalhausen trying to look like me.  To become me.  Then it
hit me.  Kelly.  He wanted to look like Kelly.  Why hadn't I thought of it
before?  He farted.  I said I was sorry about his mother.  What happened? 
I couldn't tell if he was lying or not.  Ich bin Erica vonn Smalhausenn. 
Erica?  I thought he said his name was George.  Ich bin Erica Slutmadchen. 
He was screaming.  Right.  Sig Heil and all that.  Look, I said.  I love
the Fuerher as much as you, but it's been a long night.  Couldn't we talk
about this in the manana?  The next day, he looked like he always did. 

	He said he was sorry.

	I said forget about it.

	I called Gran.  She said he was a nebbish.  What did I expect? 
They're all that way.  Like she knows.  She started to talk about Jodl.  I
hung up. 

	Well, that's about the best I can do off the top of my head.  I
hope you liked it. 

	Your daughter,

	Tiffany Ann Grosnick

	I woke up on the floor.  Smalhausen was on top of me, drooling.  I
shoved him off.  Get off me, asshole.  What are you doing? 

	Giving you c.p.  I think you OD'd.

Chapters 2+3 Index Chapter 5