True Friends Bare It All

I am so sweating this new effort of mine! I am so...pregnant with it!!! That's how books come to me...I start accumulating thoughts, then they grow inside my unconscious until at last, I'm thinking consciously...little snippets of ideas and pieces of characters...but I can't write until I hear their voices.

Sounds psychotic, doesn't it?

Well, this...thing...I'm working on now is about to drive me crazy...that is, if you accept the premise that I'm not nuts now! (Which if you ask my kids is an even up bet!) Anyway, I want to tell the story of this character and she just won't speak to me yet!!!

It is sooo frustrating when you want to write a book and she is refusing to tell the damned story!!!

Anyway...I tried again this week...for the 5th time. I wrote the first 20 pages AGAIN and took it to my friend, Marti, who reads every rough draft and puts her two cents worth in.

She read it while she was getting her nails done. Should that tell me something?

Anyway...she meets me at Starbucks and she says "It's nice, Nance. It's good."

She delivers this with all the enthusiasm of a warm fart.

It is the kiss of death.

"Nice," she says...."Good."

Finally she says...."It's just not there yet. I don't know your main character."

Well, her and me both!!!! I say, "Look, I've had it with that Molly! She just won't come out and tell me a thing about herself....She's just been dumped by her husband, furthermore, he's running off to California and not paying her any child support and her lawyer says he hates it for her but it'll be months before he can get the courts to catch up with him and well, that's all he can do."

"And what, Molly just accepts that?" Marti says. "I don't like women who just lie down and take it. That's not like one of your characters."

"No," I say. "That's just the problem. See, she's been home for 15 years, sweating the small stuff and "taking it" without getting mad. She does the same thing, over and over in life, and each time she expects the results to be different, but how can they be when she just does the same old thing. She doesn't feel she deserves any better because she blames herself for not seeing the divorce coming and ruining her kids' lives."

Marti yawns and who could blame her?

"But she won't let her kids grow up and she's so busy trying to fix everything for everyone else, she forgets that this ain't no dress rehearsal and her life is passing her by. So when the lawyer says he can't wave his magic wand and make the world just and right, Molly gets mad...and then she gets a life. She decides she has to recreate herself into someone who goes out and gets what she needs."

Marti's staring at me. "I thought you didn't know her?" she says. "Sounds like all you have to do is piss her off and you'll have a book."

Well, damn. Why didn't I think of that?

Well, I guess I did.

And then we walk out to go home and Marti starts off toward her truck, stops, and walks back over to my truck and opens the passenger side door. I figure she's got another pearl of wisdom to drop on me and I'm right, only it's not about writing.

She looks back over her shoulder at the kids sitting outside Starbucks smoking, then looks back at me. "They're going to think I'm nuts," she says, "but oh, hell!" AND SHE STARTS UNBUTTONING HER SHIRT!

"Look at this bra," she says. "I mean, I'm wearing a black bra with a white shirt but who cares? This is the most comfortable bra in the world!"

Marti is looking like one of those undercover, caught-on-video-surveillance, sex-for-hire tapes you see on TV shows like COPS...Her shirt's unbuttoned and there she is in her 38D black lace bra, doing a commercial for Victoria's Secret!

"They're 40% off," she says, like the general public will excuse her for this because it was on sale and who wouldn't strip to show off a deal like this?!

"You have just got to go get one!!" she says.

Do I say, "Marti, those kids can't see you but the rest of the shopping center can so button your shirt?"

I do not! Instead I say, "That lacy and good support, too?"

"Oh, yeah, the best! See? They're called Sexy something or others. They're in a bin."

She steps back and appraises my chest. "36B, right?"

I nod wondering if it's somehow printed on my forehead or if she's just that good at sizing up her friends. I mean, judging my cup size when I'm in a camisole and buttoned up cardigan is no small feat.

"They've got plenty of those," she says. "There was only one 38D in the whole store, but you won't have any trouble!"

Now she's taking my small breasts and turning them into a retail bonanza!

I look at Marti, half-undressed in front of God and everybody, just so she can clue me in on a deal, and think, this is a true friend. In fact, this is true friendship. I'd always heard true friends bared all, I just never really understood the depth of that statement before today.

On the other hand, maybe I did, unconsciously, because I was the one who gave her the sign that read "A friend will bail you out when you're arrested, but a true friend will sit next to you in the jail cell, laughing and saying "Damn that was fun!"

That's me and Marti.