Once upon a time there was a boy and girl named Donna and Dan, respectively. Certainly in this unisex age she might have been named Dan, and he, Donna, but not in this story. So if you know a guy named Donna and a girl named Dan, please don’t confuse them with the people in this tale, or it might not make any sense to you at all.
Now Donna, the girl in case anyone skimmed over the last part or read it and didn’t understand how it could possibly be that a girl had a girl’s name and not a boy’s, wasn’t very nice to Dan. He liked her, Dan did, but she, Donna, thought he, Dan, was a geek; and she believed with all her heart, not to mention her hormoney like things, she deserved a bad boy with manners in spite of the fact that oftentimes bad boys, even with manners, are just plain bad*. (* See: Jesse James. No, the present day biker guy not the old timey bank robber; though sure, the latter was a bad boy too but unlike the Jesse James I mean at least he had one redeeming quality... he never broke Sandra Bullocks' heart) In fact one time, on a hot summer’s day, when a light breeze was blowing and her auburn hair glinted, except for the black roots which more thrummed, Donna found a hornet’s nest hanging from her mother’s eave, and stood above it on the roof of her house waiting for little Dan to walk past on his way to school; and wouldn’t you know (well, I suppose you wouldn’t and that’s why you’re reading this) she took a big stick and whacked the nest away from her mother’s eave and right on top of Dan, the boy.
As Dan was being smothered by angry wasps, Donna just laughed and shouted “now like somebody else Mister cuz I’m waiting for someone special!” And while he screamed, and flailed, and shouted back “I don’t care what you do, you’re the girl named Donna for me!”, she left him there all covered in lumps and honey.
Another time, later in the summer after Dan’s welts had subsided to the point that he could leave his hospital bed and get around, with the help of a guide dog, since his eyes were still swollen shut, she, Donna, did another mean thing.
It was a dreary and rainy day, and Dan, and Weebly the guide dog, were just standing on the corner just down the street from Donna’s house, doing nothing really, though secretly Dan thought it was a good place to do nothing since he could be within aura range of his true love (based on the idea that her aura was about the size of a small mushroom cloud). Donna, the object of unwanted attentions, was suddenly seen marching from her front porch carrying something that trailed a long rope of some kind, or so it seemed. When she reached Dan, the geek, she, while looking askance, said “here, hold this for me would ya?” and handed Dan a medium sized personal hair dryer sporting two heat options and three fan speeds; and then she marched back toward her home, entered the porch, then the house, and slammed the front door shut.
Dan wasn’t sure what to think, except for the fact that he could now tell the “rope” was not a rope at all but an electrical cord. “Maybe she wants to take a shower and then dry her hair out here where I’m standing because she thinks drying her hair is a tedious chore and doing it in my company would be, while not overwhelmingly pleasant, at least slightly less than completely maddening.”
But Dan had guessed wrong. Within the time it took for him to come up with that very long, though quite eloquent sentence, Donna had plugged the electrical cord into her mother’s house’s living room’s west wall, upper socket, and Dan had only a few moments to admire how strong a wind blew from the obviously powerful hair dryer before it shocked him into submission.
As the ambulance drove away with a now convulsing Dan, Donna, who had returned to the scene of her meanness, yelled after the vehicle, “I mean it geek! Better boys want me, and I will climb over you to get to them!”
It was a few weeks before Dan had regained the use of the majority of his mind and body, and at that very moment, when he’d discovered he could pat his head and rub his stomach at the same time without his mother holding one of his hands and doing the motions for him as if he didn’t notice, that he finally came to the conclusion that creating a relationship with Donna, as amazingly sweet, robust, sensual, financially sound, joy filled, acrobatic, linguistic, merrimental and stuff his dreams made their future together out to be, was just too much like work; and he was only a boy still after all, so work was the furthest thing from his mind, right after bathing and taking out the garbage.
It was hard to give up on a premonition like that, happiness being a brass ring he knew he must reach out for in order to experience, but five times already, three of which I skipped over because the story’s already long and I’m only a few prompts in so far, he had been burned, sometimes literally, by the woman he’d been “called*” to marry one day (*Donna had called him once, but as soon as he answered she screamed “Crap! Not you! Wrong number!” and hung up… and that was the sign he’d been waiting for), and nobody had even seen the time she’d pushed over the city zoo’s piranha fish tank on him so he wasn’t even counting that, even though that’d make six times actually.
To be fair, there was a time when Donna was nice to Dan. After his father had barricaded himself in the house and shot it out with the police, who finally used dogs to break through the windows and drag his bleeding, vulgarity frothing self outside so they could rough him up like they did to Rodney King that time in LA, and then put the handcuffs on too tight, shove him into the back of a squad car after banging his head on the door jamb, pretending that they had warned him to “watch your head” but really they didn’t, and then Dan was just kinda standing outside his house kinda sniveling, watching the ambulance take his mom away to be treated for contusions caused by bad boy disease, Donna walked up to Dan and handed him a rat tail file and a recipe for chocolate cake; just in case he might want to help dad out.
But in the end, Donna was just too damned mean to Dan. He might have been fine with the occasional rap upside the head with a two by four, or being pushed off the curb into traffic, so long as he had time to brace himself before he got hit; but that hair dryer thing was just too much. He was through!
Meanwhile, Donna found herself a bad boy with manners; Dick. Now you’d think it was the author’s doing that he was named Dick, as what else would you name a bad boy, but in fact, his parents had thought of naming him Richard but hated the idea of their son being called “little Ritchie Rich” by their neighbors, even though they weren’t rich but only fans of a certain comic book, so they named the child Dick, because they had their heart set on Richard so firmly they couldn’t come up with anything but a variation on the theme. (Luckily, he hadn’t been born a girl or she might have been named Dicklet, or Dickley or something)
Anyway, Dick would ignore Donna properly, and humiliate her in public now and then. Donna fell head over heels. He was cute, strong, violent, vulgar, a real ass… how could she not love him?! He surely was all man, not like that geek Dan, whose name rhymed with man, but other than that was not in any way, in Donna’s mind at least, mannish.
One fine day Dick was riding around with his friends shouting bad words, though within complimentary phrases, about female body parts to girls that happened to be walking down the sidewalk near Donna’s house, when Donna spotted Dick, ran from her house, stood on the curb and posed in a non geeky, but not too sensuous fashion, as she was too young for that really and her mother would have kicked her ass had she seen her lifting up her skirt or something.
Dick’s friend’s car drew close and she waved at him, then put two fingers in her mouth and whistled so loud Dick’s friend’s car’s headlights cracked. Dick was immediately smitten. What guy wouldn’t want a chick that would not only obviously put out, but could crack glass by only blowing through her puckered lips!
"I gotta have you!" He said.
"I just knew it!" she replied, to herself really, and to her image of Dan who in her mind was standing there all geeky like and looking sad so she stuck out her tongue at him, as if to whistle, only not.
"I just knew it!" she replied, to herself really, and to her image of Dan who in her mind was standing there all geeky like and looking sad so she stuck out her tongue at him, as if to whistle, only not.
Of course, Donna and Dick, or Dick and Donna if you’re not afraid of being suspected of being a misogynist, started dating, in that high school bad boy with manners, smart girl except for her absolutely ridiculous taste in boys kinda way. He’d grab her butt whenever he could, she’d slap his hand away with mock malice, mostly so the kids that saw them didn’t start calling her a slut and she’d have to kick all their asses which would not only take time, but leave her bruised and quite uncomfortable when rolling around on the back seat floor of Dick’s friend’s car with Dick.
But soon, Dick’s little secret presented itself. No, it’s not the secret you might think, once adding up dating and high school and bad boy and the name Dick, which I tried to explain was not an inference but only a poor choice by his creative as a tree stump parents; it’s another secret altogether so wipe that grin off your face.
See, Dick, the bad boy, was addicted to night time cough medicine! Donna might have been able to tell by his smelling like black licorice all the time, or by the fact that he’d excuse himself to go to the bathroom just after making out and he’d come back all woozy and stuff, and she knew it wasn’t because her kissing was all that good because she’d only practiced on her doll Mrs. Bltzflk so she was pretty sure she hadn’t really gotten the hang of it yet, not to mention the time their braces got hooked together, but that’s another story. I say she MIGHT have been able to tell, except she never had seen Dick, the bad boy’s pupils! His eyes were hidden underneath really thick, dark glasses all the time, and whenever she asked if he had a hard time seeing he got all defensive and said “NO! I wear thick glasses because I’m very sensitive to the sun’s viewsta rays and so I need fifty layers of protection! My eyesight is perfect, just like anyone else’s!”
The reality is, Dick was a closet campfire sniffer, a malady that affects young punks throughout suburban America, wherever the city councils have, in their lust for absolute power taken it upon themselves to allow residents little teeny weeny campfires on which to cook s’mores and tell ghost stories and cuddle up to the dog when no one’s looking. Dick, like many aimless young men, would sneak from back yard to back yard, planting his face not five feet above the smoldering ashes of someone’s conflagrated yard waste, breathing in huge snootfulls of the wafting smudge, trying to remember what it was like in his former life when he chased dinosaurs with big sticks and dragged women by the hair. It seemed so basic, the need to be a man, yet it was so difficult unless one was reminded of exactly what that meant.
As a result, Dick’s lungs rebelled, and before he’d begun his love affair with artificially fruit flavored medicinal goo, he would suffer long and painful coughing jags at the worst possible times; like when he would try and explain to his mom that the magazines under his bed were not what they seemed but only anthropology research, or when he was telling Officer Beatem that the car he was driving was borrowed from his good friends at whatever the name was on the plaque that was plastered on the driver’s door and not stolen like the police obviously thought, or worse yet, when he’d finally talked his English teacher Mrs. Kudoz into, well you know, and he had his head, well, down there. “Too little time, too many campfires” he would tell his friends when teased about messing up his big chance, but then, Darwin Delmont told him about the secret of non prescription cough stopper, and once and for all, he freed himself of the humiliating side effect of the therapy known to millions of sub-scientists as “Primal Steam.”
Luckily, before Dick was caught by his family and friends and forced to go on a reality show for being a generic sedating antihistamine junky, Donna followed him into the bathroom one night after he’d excused himself from a particularly unusual bout of kissing, one during which he’d held his breath most of the time claiming he had the hiccups when she knew it was probably… another woman… she saw him swigging from the plastic bottle of doom and forced him to tell her the entire story, from gender incapacity to multisymptom relief!
“No more” she whispered as he puked into the nearest toilet because being honest had always made him ill, even as a child, like when his mom had made him say “I love you mommy” and he’d spit up all over her blouse. In spite of the vomit stains on his nice new Levi jacket, and the sudden snap of nasal drip he would suffer for years to come, he would always thank good mistress Donna for curing him of being a patsy to Big Drug.
A few months later, after Donna had become preggers and Dick had left the country claiming the Sultan of Beejeebers had called and requested an audience immediately and he didn’t know how long he’d be gone but it surely wouldn’t be more than a decade or two, a giant spider attacked the city where Donna and Dan and Dick, or at least until he left Dick, lived, and for some strange reason the great big hairy thing just kept shuffling over toward Donna’s house. Nobody really knew why the predatory invertebrate mesothelae seemed to be aiming to do harm to the little house on Hempberry hill, but as an avowed and processed arachnophobe, Donna, upon hearing the speculation, locked herself in her mom’s house’s basement and wouldn’t come out, except when a little teeny spider, in anticipation of its fifty foot cousin’s arrival began to sing “ding dong the witch is dead” after which Donna fled upstairs to the living room closet and grabbed her Doc Martens, ran back down and squashed the little gloater before he could utter another chorus.
Though nobody feared the Corruptifornia State Militia when they came to town to try and rid it of its recent unwelcome visitor, they might have had they known that the budget for training these valuable soldiers had been spent by injudicious governmental agencies from the Cream Clotting Council to the Shovel Handle Weight Bearing Testing Committee, and the boys were so badly educated that they incinerated the entire city save Dan’s house, Donna’s house, and the Sonic Drive In where most of them stopped to get a burger before they began spider hunting, cuz, as Commander Shitzengiggles put it, “Aracnocide is hard work, and my boys need a healthy breakfast before shovin’ some tarantula’s 6 legs up its butt!”
To everyone’s relief, the spider stopped, surveying the carnage around him and wondering what the hell was wrong with humans, when Dan appeared on the scene. Dan had studied spiders. In fact, Dan had a few pet spiders. Dan was secretly, a spider geek!
Stepping to the fore, as you always want to speak to a fifty foot spider from the front and never the rear, Dan began the question the monster in spiderese, a language he learned while cooing at his pet spiders who got tired of the baby talk and one day had been so fed up that they just taught him the damn language in hopes he’d quit doing that coochie coo thing.
“So, how’s it going” Dan asked.
“Not bad” the spider said; “you?”
“Oh I’m great, except that I have this constant itch in my crotch that doctors tell me has something to do with having once been overloaded with hornet venom. Well and there’s that nagging pain I get…”
The spider raised two of his legs to his gaping maw and shushed. “Yea yea” he said, “I get it. Life’s a bitch. So, whatdya want?”
“Well” said Dan, marveling at the spider’s agility and manners, though the two aren’t related really but just happen to have struck him at the same time, “I was kinda wondering why you were goin over to Donna’s house? Is there some fifty foot cricket hiding in her garage maybe? Gosh, I hope you’re not thinking of doing Donna any harm because I’d have to stop you.”
“Actually” said the spider, “I’d heard there was this evil B-word that lived in the neighborhood, and since bugs are a little small for me if you get my drift, I thought I’d wrap me up a few days drinkin and be on my way, if you get my drift.”
Dan pondered the spider’s words. It was obvious spiders weren’t very creative, unless it was just some cultural thing that made it permissible to be repetitive.
“Oh, you wouldn’t want to web her sir” Dan replied at last, once clearing his throat and then swallowing a few times because he’d recently smoked the roach of a joint his mother had nearly finished and he had cottonmouth something awful, “her blood is poison! I know, trust me! She head butted me one time but missed her target a little and nearly broke her nose so she bled on me and I got the worst hives you’ve ever seen!”
“Well gosh “said the spider, “that’s a shame. And I had my heart set on Donna for dinner. Know anyone who’s not so deadly?”
Dan smiled. “I do in fact. See his name’s Dick, and he is!” Dan went on to explain that Dick was not only a bad man for running out on his preggo gf, but was actually a geek pretending to be Fonzy behind coke-bottle thick shades!
“He’s juicy I hear”, said Dan; “not that I’d know personally of course” he added, rescuing his manhood from certain gossipy innuendo.
The fifty foot spider jotted down the directions to Dick’s new house, not in the Sultanate of Beejeebers at all but just on the other side of the railroad tracks from what used to be Marabelle’s Sudz and Snoozin, the laundromat that was one of the first buildings to have burned down when Sergeant Krakow ordered his men to fire on the monsters and they set fire to the washers, and he scuttled off to the east.
When word got to Donna that Dan had saved her malicious hide, she smiled, hideously, but a smile nevertheless.
“Dan” she crooned as he walked through the piles of rubble that once were her neighbor’s homes on the way to his own rubble strewn street, “Dan, I think I was wrong about you Dan” taking a cue from really old movies where the femme fatale repeats the freaking love interest’s name over and over ad nauseum.
“Shucks ma’am” he said in his best Clint Eastwood when he’s playing a good guy which isn’t very damned often so think real hard and you’ll get what I mean, “It weren’t nothing”. He nearly choked on the last line as it wasn’t proper grammar and Mrs. Kudoz, with whom he had just begun a satisfying relationship, would hand him his ass if she’d heard him talk like that.
“Was it… scary Dan?” she asked, continuing that annoying affectation as if she were never going to drop it.
“Well no Donna” Dan replied, dumping the Eastwood and trying more for a sophisticated man about town because to him it was second nature to be a geek, and geeks are very sophisticated, “I wasn’t scared at all! I just called upon my Boy Guides training in hand to hand combat, and I taught that spider to not mess with my acquaintances; even the ones who have, more times than I can count, done me grievous mental and bodily harm.”
“I heard you talked him out of it!”
“Well ok, I did, but only because the tongue is the geek’s weapon of choice!”
“Dan, hon, would you like to use that tongue on something besides spiders?” Donna’s bosom was heaving, like in those books they sell at the airport that somebody obviously buys or they wouldn’t be there.
“I’m afraid not Donna” Dan said almost reluctantly, but then he changed his mind and thought of it after the fact as having been firmly, “you see Donna, I’ve changed. You’re no longer the girl named Donna for me.
Donna watched as Dan picked his way through Mr. Jackson’s collapsed chimney and Sally Fockenwulfs kitchen utensils which had been the victims of a particularly egregious explosive screwup. She couldn’t help but feel she may have made a mistake so long ago, when at six she began to stick long hat pins into a wax replica of Mr. Dandrige the school principal and then at eight, the first time she noticed Dan looking at her so she broke his face. In serious reflection, she cried, and then, went back into her mom’s house to find the cleaning chemicals so she could make a bomb with which to kill Dan because NOBODY walked away from her like that!!!