Without further ado, here is the next excerpt I am considering. Forgive me if it is long and full of typos- as I said, these are originals.
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“Quincy must’ve come back,” I told Johnny. I went to Aunt Chasey’s room, where there was a better view of the front of the house and the end of the driveway.
Ohhhh boy, said the voice exasperatedly inside my head.
Oh boy! I retorted enthusiastically.
There was Sid, going into the house.
I didn’t rush. I checked myself out in the mirror and walked down the stairs, just in time to hear cries of, “Sid!” “Sid, you’re back!” “We’ve missed you!” “How nice that you’ve come!” from the Aunts.
“Hi Kippie, hi Chase,” was pretty much all he could say as they smothered him in hugs.
“Who’s this?” Abe had been sitting on the couch. He was sizing Sid up intently.
I inferred that Quincy had met Abe after Sid left. I told Johnny this telepathically.
Johnny jumped out of my arms and headed for the kitchen. Food over Phyllis, I suppose.
“Hi Sid,” I greeted him from across the room.
“Hey Philly.” Sid pointed to me. “Happy birthday.”
“Abe, this is Dominick Siddons, better known as Sid,” Kippie introduced.
“Good to know you, Sid,” Abe said, flirting. “My name is Abe, I’m Quincy’s best friend.”
“Really? Nice to meet you. Where’s Quince?”
“He went out to run some errands,” said Aunt Chasey. He was buying me a “surprise” ice cream cake.
“I see.” Sid held up a bag. “I don’t know if you’ll like these, Philly, but I thought of you when I saw them.” He handed me two wrapped objects.
“Thank you Sid.” I looked to the Aunts. “I’m opening these.”
“Fine fine, it’s your birthday,” Aunt Chasey said.
The first present was a candle. It was made of black and red wax entwined beautifully. It came in a small black holder.
“I love it,” I murmured.
“Light it,” said Sid and Abe in unison.
I grinned and blew a flame onto the candle.
“Wow,” said Aunt Kippie. “That’s gorgeous.” She took it and placed it on a table.
The other gift was a poster.
“Johnny Depp! Thank you!”
Sid smiled. “I remembered the cat.”
I smiled back.
“How nice of you Sid!” exclaimed Aunt Chasey. “But you must have felt awfully strange purchasing it.”
Sid chuckled. “It’s all right. I don’t make a very convincing gay man.”
Abe sighed. “You’re straight. Of course.”
Suddenly the front door opened and in staggered Sarah. She looked at us all and blinked her eyes. Her hair was green and black, her face was worn and tired.
“H-hi,” she said. She stared blankly at Sid.
“Sid, this is Sarah,” Aunt Chasey informed him.
“I’m Sid,” said Sid.
“Hi. Um..I’m just gonna’ go to my room for a little whi..a little while.”
“It’s Phyllis’s birthday,” Abe told her.
“Oh really? Happy birthday Phyllis. Trust me, it just gets worse.” Sarah wandered to the back staircase and went upstairs.
“Intriguing woman,” Abe said sarcastically.
“She came to us a month or so ago,” Aunt Chasey told Sid. “I do wish I could help her.”
“She’s beyond all help, I’m afraid,”Aunt Kippie remarked sadly.
“Why’s that?” asked Sid.
“The poor girl’s on drugs, she’s sleeping around, she’s drinking. She doesn’t want to be helped.”
“She was in a gang,” I added. “She told me she’s a knife fighter.”
“Her rent’s always on time though,” said Aunt Chasey, adding a happier note.
Sid half-smiled and it was glorious. “Where’s she from?”
“California,” said Aunt Chasey.
“New York,” said Aunt Kippie.
“Hoo boy,” said Abe. “And you’re sure she hasn’t stolen anything yet?”
“Abraham!” Aunt Chasey scolded.
“I’m just saying.” Abe looked out the window. “Where the hell is Quincy? Can’t he find a damned ice cream cake?”
Abe flinched. “Sorry Phyllis.”
“Don’t worry Abe, I already knew.”
“No use keeping secrets from this one,” Abe told the Aunts, gesturing to me with his thumb.
“Oh, by the way. I need to discuss my options with you two,” said Sid.
“Options?” asked Aunt Chasey.
“Well, if you can remember how much the rent was before, I’m sure that’ll be fine,” she assured him.
Aunt Kippie gave her a look.
An understanding expression came across Aunt Chasey’s face. “Oh, yes, let’s go into the kitchen and discuss that.” She looked to Abe and I. “Why don’t you two stay in here and wait for Quincy to get back with that cake?” She smiled, and the three of them went into the kitchen.
“That was odd,” I told Abe.
Abe nodded. “Are you sure you want that poster of Johnny Depp?”
The basement door opened, and out stepped Bill.
“Hi-ya Phyllis! Abe.” He sat next to me on the couch, and swung an arm around my shoulder. In a second, I could tell he’d been watching a Jack Nicholson movie, or at least a Christian Slater one.
“How’s the birthday girl?” he asked me.
“I’m all right Bill...how ‘bout you?”
“Lookin’ forward to some cake. Where the hell’s Quincy?”
“That’s what we wanna’ know!” Abe said, annoyed.
“If he doesn’t get here soon, things are going to get pretty ugly.” Bill cracked his knuckles. “Yep, I might need to get out the old axe.”
If Bill could’ve been slightly saner about who he really was, he could’ve been an actor. He didn’t often change his appearance unless it was a very small change like a hat or something...but somehow he always made it perfectly clear who he was. Aunt Kippie had described Bill’s condition (although she was no psychiatrist) as a “way to escape the real world and his true self.” Whoever that was. I would never know.
Let’s move on to another, better-looking subject — Sid. It had looked to me as though he and the Aunts were all keeping some big secret. No matter, I decided. The Aunts told me everything, what I wanted to know and what I didn’t want to know. They’d tell me after he left, if not while he was here.
The door opened.
“Surprise! Quincy is home!” yelled Quincy, carrying the cakebox. Butch was behind him.
Abe got up. “Thank God. Holy crap Butch! Your eyebrows are blue.”
“No shit sherlock.”
“Shut up you guys! Kippie and Chasey hate cussing. You know that!” exclaimed Quincy.
“Sorry,” they both said.
“But why are his eyebrows blue?!” demanded Abe.
Butch beamed. “I had myself a creative awakening.”
Quincy shook his head. “Some people paint. Butchie dyes his eyebrows.”
Abe raised a normally colored eyebrow and stared at Butch for a second. Then he shrugged. “If you like it, then I like it.”
“I love it!” Butch looked at me. “What about you, Phyllis?”
“Oh Butch, you know I’ve been saying all along that you should dye those things blue.” I did my best Quincy voice.
Butch and Abe laughed. Quincy smirked. “Very funny Phyllis.”
“So does Sid know Butch?” I asked.
“Butch is my man! Of course he knows Sid. Why?”
“He’s here,” said Abe. “Why did you not tell me about this man? He’s HOT.” “Sadly, he’s also straight,” Quincy sighed.
“He could be converted,” Abe insisted.
“Hey, if I can’t convert him then nobody can,” Butch let them know.
“He used to date Anna,” said Quincy.
“Sergeant Anna? The opera singer?” Abe winced.
“Dat be the one mon.”
“Hence the ‘used to.’ They couldn’t handle each other.”
“Ahem. Nice eyebrows Butch.” Sid emerged from the kitchen.
“Homigod, Sid Siddons!” Butch rushed up and hugged Sid, who looked a bit disturbed, then relaxed. “You’re back! I can’t believe it!”
“Yeah, I’ll be moving back in in a little while. I’m glad to see you’re still pals with Quince. How long have you had those eyebrows?”
“Since yesterday, actually.”
“You should do your eyebrows blue, Sid,” I told him.
He bounced his eyebrows at me. “You think so?”
My mind almost totally wiped out. “No,” I murmured, shaking my head.
“Hot pink might look nice,” Bill spoke up. “Now let’s open up that cake!”