Days of Our Pandemic: episode y3

apinkyandthebrainhomage by KZ Rochelle (of course)

See what K & Z were up to in the previous episode of  Days of Our Pandemic or follow K & Z from the beginning.

When last we saw K and Z in episode y, part 2, they had a plan to leave the enclosure of these four walls in order to get K medical assistance. I know, you’re thinking about the multitude of medical assistances K requires, but, in this case, she suffered a laceration to the head. At Z’s insistence, the two were getting ready to leave the bathroom, leave the house, leave these four walls. But Z claimed K was forgetting something….

K held up the toilet paper. “Got the TP, Z.” She looked around the bathroom. She tried to remember if she was supposed to take the plumbing. Or was it the wet/dry vac? There was a towel on the floor. That didn’t seem like the place it should be. Maybe she was supposed to wrap herself in a towel. Was she supposed to stay fully clothed under the towel? That didn’t sound right. She was going to the doctor after all, the place she first attended in her birthday suit…

Z cooed, “What about,” then cawed, “ME YOU PEABRAIN?!”

“I didn’t pee in my brain. Did I, Z? Maybe I did hurt myself badder than I thought and my thoughts are not working. Oh no, a leak in my brain?”

“Nuthead.”

“Nuts, too!? I’m doomed.” K’s hands shot to her neck. She toddled and nearly fell, again. “I’m dying. I’m dying.”

“Then stop choking yourself,” Z told K.

“Oh.” K let her hands drop to her sides. “That fixed it.”

“And the doctor will fix the rest of what she can, but bring me with you.”

“Right-o, Z. Let’s go.”

K took Z to the garage, along with the toilet paper. She set Z on the passenger seat and buckled her in.

“Safety first, Z,” K said.

K started the car. She released the emergency break. She put the car in reverse. 

“Don’t forget to open the garage, K,” said Z.

“Right-o, Z.”

The garage door opened. K and Z began to back out of the garage.

“We’re doing it. We’re doing it,” Z said. “We’re leaving this blasted house behind!”

“Yes! A blast from your behind!”

Z was too thrilled to deal with K, so she pretended not to hear her.

Just before K and Z reached the edge of the four walls of the lavender house with blue violet trimming on Wonky Way Lane, K hit the breaks.

“What are you doing, K? We’re almost out! We are leaving, escaping! Self-liberation! Emancipation! Let’s go!”

“Uhhh? Z? There’s something fishy behind us.”

“What?” Z turned to see, but she was in a mirror so she could not see behind her. “What is it?”

“Well, maybe fishy is the wrong word. There are no fish. It is kind of goldfish colored though.”

“What is it, K?”

“It’s a big, fiery wall of fire.”

“No!”

“Yes, Z. It is. I swear. I promise. It’s for real.”

“It’s a wall of fire?”

“Yes.”

“Are you sure, K?”

“Quite, Z.”

Z’s gaze met the ground. “It’s a firewall,” she said.

“But it’s for real. I thought firewalls were virtual.”

“They are, K, but we live in a world where the lines between reality and virtuality are disappearing.”

“And reappearing as a real live fire wall?”

“Sure,” said Z. 

“Then what will we do about my head, Z? Please don’t say cut it off. I like my head, Z. I wouldn’t like to live without my head.”

“You won’t, K,” said Z.

“Oh, thank you, Z,” said K.

“That’s not what I meant, K,” said Z. 

“Oh, thank you, Z.”

They sat a moment, each worrying over the circumstance they found themselves in but for entirely different reasons.

“Z? It’s getting hot in here. Can we close the garage door, please?” asked K.

Z felt the loss of the near escape and recognized that closing the garage door meant closing the door to a successful escape from the enclosed by these four walls. Again.

Z exhaled a breath large enough to extinguish a fire — on a candle wick. “Yes, K,” she said. “Let’s go inside and call the doctor.”

“Oooh! Can I do a virtual visit, Z?”

“That’s the only thing you can do thanks to the real firewall, K.”

“Oh, that’s much better, Z. That means no shots!” said K.

“Just the one right through the heart of our escape plan.”

K snickered. “That one’s not real, Z.”

“I know,” said a downtrodden Z.

“You’re so silly.”

“Come on now. Back to the bathroom. You can give me a good look at you there and we will get you a bit cleaned up before we call the doctor.”

“That sounds like a plan, Z.”

“Oh, K. I’d slap you if I could.”

“Okay, Z.”

The two made a virtual appointment, called the doctor, and cleaned K’s head — which turned out not to be bleeding at all. No. K stored several sriracha packets in her hairline and the fall caused one to burst and squirt onto her right eyebrow.  All remained as well as could be in the lavender house with violet blue trim on Wonky Way Lane. Which is, of course, to say things were not well at all.

Is Z out of ideas for good? Or will her ideas go bad? Or worse, might K take the reins to lead K and Z out of the enclosure of these four walls? Poor K and Z. What will they do next? Find out in the next episode of Days of Our Pandemic.

Book Review: French Exit

I’ll tell you from the beginning. This is a post to declare to you that I would make a fabulous casting director. Or possibly a self-deceiving cheat.

I’ve finished reading French Exit by Patrick DeWitt.  I always want to add an article in front of the title, declaring this book to be about the French exit, but apparently there are many French exits, several in the book, more in reality. 

Anyway, I picked it up, knowing it was in production to be a film — but I didn’t know it was a finished film. In theaters now (in LA and NYC). 

The several French exits in the book are declared early. Fanny Price has gone broke. Her immense wealth that grew upon her marriage has run dry. Absolutely. Nothing left after seven years of warnings from her financial advisor Mr. Baker. When the money runs out, he asks Fanny what her plan had been through those seven years. Her response epitomizes her character: “My plan was to die before the money ran out. But I kept and keep not dying, and here I am.” 

Here, at the time, is stateside, but without a place to stay she soon finds it necessary to head to Paris where a friend has an apartment where Frances may stay. She travels to France with her son because it’s their only option (exit 1), all the while with the plan to rid herself of her final spending money and do as she planned: die (exit 2). But she’ll do it her way, as much as she can. 

DeWitt presents Price fully formed, take her or leave her, and take her you must. She’s just quirky enough, just witty enough, and just sane enough to be mesmerizing beyond her beauty. 

When I first began reading, I envisioned Price as Hepburn with a Brynn Mawr accent, an elitist prig from the early scenes of The Philadelphia Story. But as I read, as DeWitt presents flashbacks that explain the why of what you the reader already know the character is, Price took on more color. She could not be caught in the black and white films of Hepburn, held in the distance by time. No, she was fully-fleshed if standoffish, with a flat American annunciation. Her voice became Michelle Pfeiffer’s, flat and flavored as in I Am Sam where her character must hold it all together for appearances sake.

And this is where I return to my premise for this post. Can you guess which actress plays Frances Price in theaters? Why, none other than Michelle Pfeiffer herself. The character could not be played by anyone as well what with the coupling of physical beauty Pfeiffer possesses with her paradoxically cold voice with undertones of rich emotion — such that it made me wonder if DeWitt wrote the novel with Pfeiffer in mind for the role. If he did, he got what he wanted. 

Either way, I got what I wanted and thus I proclaim myself a great casting director without any other evidence than that which I’ve just noted (and will tell myself that is sufficient evidence to make a case — I’m not claiming I’d make a great lawyer). Either that, or somewhere I caught a glimpse of Pfeiffer in the role and have given myself the credit all the while keeping my conscious self from this knowledge. Deceiving at least myself and possibly you in the process. Take your pick.

But if you want to read this book, you’ve got to want to read it for the dark humor and intoxicating horror of Price, whose grown son lives with her because he wants to and she wants him to. Their relationship keeps Malcolm Price from marrying his fiance. (I’m still perplexed as to why the fiance is interested in Malcolm, but that enigma is never meant to be explained. The Prices are an addiction. Logic need not have anything to do with it. And like all addictions, they’re rather dark and a bit dirty.) The book centers on Frances Price, but it’s not necessarily about her. Once you’ve read it, think about it. Tell me: is the book about Frances or Malcolm or someone else altogether? I’ll be interested to know.

Oh! By the way… I’m eager to see this movie — I hope it’s as arty as I want it to be. And since I’m already a fantastic casting director, I can confidently declare it’s in the film’s best interest to follow the notions I’ve never voiced regarding its most apt aesthetic.

Rating: 3.5/5
Target: adult readership, 16 y.o. and up

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RATINGS GUIDE

٭ = DNF, would not recommend
٭٭ = would not recommend
٭٭٭ = enjoyable, would recommend
٭٭٭٭ = very good, would recommend
٭٭٭٭٭ = amazing, would definitely recommend