Inside her darkened room with Clan of Xymox blaring from the stereo, Penelope Renselier reclines on her bed and scrawls in a notebook. Her boyfriend, Jeremy Colvin, sits on the floor and sketches a dragon on his skateboard.
Jeremy: This band sucks
Penny: DOES NOT - your retro techno shit does
Jeremy: Hey, I'm creating a special Tori/NIN mix for you
Penny: (Bouncing) COOL - when do I get to hear it?
Jeremy: Soon, I want to run it by Grace, first
Penny: (Sighing) Why do you have to?
Jeremy: She IS my mentor and I trust her ear
Penny: At least she has two of those
Jeremy: That's harsh, Pen
Penny: What, because my mom's a cripple, I'm supposed to be all politically correct and sympathetic? - yeah, right
Jeremy: You nearly decapitate people when they stare at your mom at the mall
Penny: That's different - I made my comment about Gracie in private, I didn't go up to her in public and call her lobster claw
Jeremy: (Still sketching) And that's supposed to be better?
Penny throws her notepad at Jeremy's head. He takes it and looks at what she was writing.
Jeremy: Is this a new poem?
Penny: Could be - I might turn it into lyrics
Now standing on her bed, she recites the words in a brutal, animated tone.
Penny: (Half grin) Thanks
Jeremy: (Looking at her notebook) Except "it's" is wrong
Penny: FUCK YOU
Jeremy: (Smiling) If you went to English class, you would know better - Mrs. Lopez says you have a real gift with languages, you just need discipline... and a college education
Penny: FUCK HER... college is NOT for me - why do I want to whore my script muses to corporate America? - so I can buy an ugly tract house and write horrid product copy for a living? - I might as well slash my wrists now
Jeremy: Unfortunately, that's how the world works
Penny: Someone else's world, not mine!
Jeremy: Look, I am struggling to get a stupid GED while you sit and waste your talent, banking on your family's bank account to spare your sorry ass
Penny: That is SO not true
Jeremy: You know damn well you can easily go to work with your mom at the museum or have your dad place you at one of his political cronies' companies... heh, my mom would kill for an opportunity like that
Penny: I could have my folks make a few phone calls
Jeremy: NO, she EARNS her job - it's not like she knows the wife of the CEO and is instantly handed a director's title
Penny: I am TOTALLY tired of nice people getting screwed - your mom is a great lady who just made a few bad choices when she was younger and now she's supposed to pay for them for the rest of her life?
Jeremy sits in silence as Penny slides down off the bed beside him.
Penny: And my mother, for all of her annoying faults, is a good soul who played by the rules and is rewarded with a chronic illness that will ultimately wither her away
Penny's voice reveals a slight tremor causing Jeremy to give her a hug.
Penny: My father has to hide behind me and mom to cover his homosexuality because society, his society, won't accept him... meanwhile, brainless weasels like Byron's family are getting away with murder because they have the proper connections and loopholes to do so
Jeremy: I know, it's disgusting
Taking out a new pen, Jeremy begins to illustrate Penny's poem in the notebook.
Penny: Solipsistic scum drinking their Starbucks, driving their SUVs with cell phones stuffed in their ears, I want to take a magic machete and chop off all of their heads... decorate my backyard with them
Jeremy: They don't really fit the motif of your backyard
Penny: I'd just hollow out their skulls for potted plants
Jeremy: (Rolling his eyes) Ah
Penny: (Watching him) For a brilliant artist, you aren't very artist-y with your Weltschmerz
Jeremy: I'll be dying my hair three shades of blue tonight
Penny's cell phone goes off and she checks the voicemail message.
Penny: (Groaning) It's Vesper, she's too nauseas to come over tonight
Jeremy: Is she going to have an abortion?
Penny: I'm not sure but she better make up her mind soon
Jeremy: Is Byron or Paco the dad?
Penny: Neither, she says it's some older guy
Penny: And if I ever find out who it is, he's dead!
Jeremy: You would think he would know how to use protection
Penny: She says it was the "heat of the moment"
Jeremy: Sounds like the path my mom took once
Penny: (Kissing his neck) Well, I'm glad she did for purely selfish reasons
Jeremy tries not to smile.
Penny: Hey, I almost forgot, there's a poetry festival in Santa Cruz this weekend, let's go
Jeremy: Can't, I've got to work a double shift
Penny: At the butcher shop? - just bail!
Jeremy: I need the money
Penny: I need YOU
Jeremy: It's for the rent, mom's boss screwed her over again
Penny: (Opening her purse) How much?
Jeremy: PEN, NO
Penny: HOW MUCH?
Jeremy: I can't keep taking your money!
Penny: Look, I want you by my side, I hardly get to see you as it is - this festival is important, Jere
Rubbing his face with his hands, Jeremy thinks for a moment.
Penny: Forget useless school, forget your slave jobs, life is meant to be lived... every beat of your heart is like a ticking clock and you never know when the alarm is going to go off
Jeremy: (Looking at his watch) Speaking of time, I need to take my brother to the skate park, he's learning the Varial today
Penny: Please think about the festival, please?
Jeremy: (Grabbing his board and kissing her goodbye) I will, I promise
Moments after Jeremy leaves, Penelope hears a tapping at her bedroom window. She deliberately ignores it. A few seconds later, it slides open and Brad Martel enters the room.
Penny: (Not looking at him) Don't snakes usually crawl in through the toilet?
Brad: (Going over to her) Is that any way to greet your uncle?
Still ignoring him, she holds up a middle finger to his face. He sucks it.
Penny: (Disgusted) Excuse me while I go disinfect my hand
Brad: (Pulling at her arm) No time, let's go
Penny: Go where?
Brad: C'mon, I have something to show you
Penny: That line is as old as my grandparents
Brad: I'm serious, do you have anything better to do?
Penny thinks for a moment.
Brad: Except maybe watch your gigolo boy toy at the skate park
Penny: (Sighing) How long will this take?
Brad: (Evil grin) Not long - let's go, the truck is still running
Penny: Fine - but we listen to MY music on the way, none of your Southern Fried Rock shit
Brad: (Extending his arm) Deal
She pushes his arm away, grabs her purse, a few CDs and starts to climb out the window.
Brad: We could just go out the front door
Penny: (Still climbing out the window) Yeah, we could
The youngest Martel brother chuckles and follows Penny out the window. They take off in his truck and drive into the south side of Santa Conchita. After heading down a block of dilapidated commercial buildings and a pothole-covered street, they finally pull up to an abandoned storefront.
Penny: Is this where you're going to rape, torture and kill me?
Brad: Not this time
Brad: (Winking) Don't look so disappointed
Penny: (Raising her eyebrow) This place is a little small for a rave
Brad: I agree
Penny: Then, what's it for?
Brad: (Getting out of the car) Something else
Penny: (Reluctantly following) That's specific
Brad: No, that's the name - "Something Else"
The two walk inside the dark, dirty property.
Penny: I'm still not getting it
Brad: (Stopping and turning around) I'm getting it... for you
Brad: Happy Birthday, Merry Christmas, Super Solstice, whatever!
Penny: (Trying not to look impressed) Is there a shortage of flowers and candy?
Brad: (Half smile) Like you're a flowers and candy type of girl
Penny: And what exactly am I supposed to do here?
Brad: I was thinking we could turn it into some kind of eclectic shop, a hangout - you could showcase your writing, maybe even your fey boy's drawings
Walking around the room, Penny smiles to herself as she considers what Brad is saying.
Brad: (Now standing next to her) We can even throw in a tattoo and piercing parlor... I'd love to help you ring your nipples
Penny: Sorry, my nose was painful enough - and where are you going to get the money for this?
Brad: (Shrugging) You know me, I have means
Penny: Does that mean you are no longer living with your mom?
Brad: (Clearing his throat) I have some investors lined up... speaking of which, it's time to go
As Brad starts for the door, a surprised Penny grabs his arm.
Penny: (Folding her arms and stepping back) Aren't... aren't you going to try anything?
Brad: Sorry, Sweetie, I have a date tonight with a lovely manicurist by the name of Amethyst Hill
Penny: Sounds like a bar of soap
Brad: She could supply the store with candles, crystals, and her joujou magic crap... what's the matter, are you jealous?
Penny: (Turning away) No, I'm just overwhelmed by the stench of dead rats in the walls
Brad: (Heading for the door) I say we leave 'em, give this place some atmosphere - c'mon, let's go
Before he can reach the door, Brad is suddenly slapped on the ass by Penny.
Penny: This is cool...thanks
Now, before she can reach the door, Penny is pulled into Brad's arms and is pushed up against the wall. She tries not to smile they kiss passionately.
Penny: (Wrapping her legs around him) Is that your cane, old man?
Brad: (Feeling her up) Is it time to meet your boyfriend at the skate park, little girl?
Penny: (Feeling her panties starting to slide down) Gee, you might be late for your date with Lavender Lake
Brad: I'm gonna take you right here!
Penny: (Trying to unzip his jeans) Mmm
Brad: I knew you didn't regret what happened at the beach
Penny: (Freezing up) No, I didn't regret the lifeguard stopping us in time... I don't want to end up pregnant like my friend
Brad: (Dropping her down) Hold on, I have some condoms in my truck... or did I use them all?
Penny: Heh, sounds like pregnancy would be the least of my concerns - I think it's time for you take me home and go on your date... Uncle Brad
The two look longingly at each other for a moment.
Brad: You're probably right... let's go
Surfaced on July 1, 2000
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