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Posts Tagged ‘Juliette’

23. JULIETTE: Dude in Black


She’d suffered through this whole freaking first morning at school, wandering alone through the hallways, the other kids staring and pointing at her like she’d landed here from the planet Zebo, only to finally find her way to the lunchroom, locate the one freaking person her age she knew in the entire school — no, make that the entire country — and discover he looked like an alien himself.

Not like the cool hot guy she met in the gazebo, or smoked pot with at the Futureama.

But like that movie star, what was his name, in that movie, what was it called. Like this:

Except not with the shades and not looking happy. All hunched over and sitting alone. Not only was the entire rest of his table empty, but the kids had left a clear circle around him stretching at least half a lunch table on every side. It was like he had AIDS, the way they thought about it way back in the last century.

For a second she thought maybe she’d just turn around and walk the other way. He seemed even more of an outcast than she was. Figures, that the one kid she’d meet would be the biggest loser in Arkansas, which, from what she could tell, would be really saying a lot.

But then she thought: Fuck it. He was cute that night. Funny. And if the other kids in this stinking place thought he was a loser, that was probably saying something good about him.

She walked over, aware that everybody was watching her.


7. JULIETTE: Are You A Black American?

s soon as Juliette was outside, she wished she were back in. It was so cold, nearly as cold as Paris, and her coat was upstairs.

But she was not going to go back up there, no way, not now. That doctor and her mother would have to get the old man to a hospital or something, and then they’d have to call one of those extreme cleaning crews that wore the gas masks and total rubber body suits to come in and hose the place off. There was no way she was going back in there again, not even for a minute. She was even going to burn her coat, her lovely coat from APC that she’d lined up at dawn practically to grab at the sale, and the entire contents of her suitcase.

The first thing she did was try to call Hugo, in Paris, but of course he didn’t pick up. Who even knew what time it was there? He was in school, or he was asleep, she could never keep the time difference straight. Or he hated her. That was probably it.

Then she dialed her father, heart in her throat as she listened to the phone ring, thinking about how totally pissed her mom would be if she knew Juliette was doing this. Well, who cared, fuck her, it was her own fault. “Daddy,” Juliette sobbed into the voice mail. “You’ve got to come take me away from this place.”

Immediately she felt like a complete fool. What did she think was going to happen, that one of them was going to swoop in from across the ocean to save her? That was so idiotic. And even if Hugo or her father did care enough to get her out of this god-forsaken hole, it would take them at least a day or something to get here. And she was on the street now.


4. JULIETTE: The Alligator in the Bathtub

uliette stood frozen in a corner of the disgusting room, staring wide-eyed at the chaos swirling around her. Her grandfather sprawled moaning on the floor. Her mother shouting and running around, talking on the phone, grabbing a blanket, but not really accomplishing anything.

And then the doctor, who her mother called George instead of doctor, hurrying in with his pajama shirt hanging down from his sweater, his gray-threaded hair standing up in spikes on his head, his eyeglasses held together with some sort of flesh-colored tape — tape! — at the bridge of his nose. How anyone could trust such a man to sell them a newspaper, never mind save their life, was thoroughly beyond Juliette.

Dragging after the doctor, sucking her thumb, eyes bleary behind glasses as thick as the ancient windowpanes of the apartment, was a tiny little girl wearing a ruffled pink nightgown and clutching a threadbare pink bunny. Even as the doctor was bending over Juliette’s grandfather, listening to his heart, peering down his throat, the little girl tried to hang onto the shirttail of her father’s pajama top.

“For God’s sake,” Juliette’s mother said, turning to Juliette and switching into French. “Can’t you amuse this pathetic child for us, Juliette?”

“She’s not pathetic,” the doctor answered, without looking up and in French that was much better than Juliette would have expected from anyone in Arkansas. “She’s just scared, is all, and unhappy about being dragged from her bed in the middle of the night by someone too bull-headed to call a regular doctor.”

He even used the slang tĂȘtu for bull-headed. Impressive.