Her name is Bobbi Jo and she can kick your muse’s ass.
She dresses like Barbara Eden in Harper Valley PTA and thinks it’s a compliment when you tell her that. She has hickies on her neck that she swears she got from the curling iron.
She does all the things I wish I could do, but propriety and a moral compass keep me from it. She drinks like a fish. She smokes cigarellos. She eats the worm at the bottom of the Tequila bottle. She walks around naked, touching herself. She watches Jerry Springer and yells at the TV like the people can hear her. She pops painkillers like they’re Pez.
She eats powdered donuts and doesn’t even wipe her mouth.
She wrote some bad TV movies a long time ago and now she thinks she can rest on her luscious laurels. When you ask her if she’s ever going to write anything else, she snarls, “Harper Lee only wrote that one piece of trashy fiction.”
She thinks Valley of the Dolls is the quintessential American novel.
Bobbi Jo spends her evenings wearing a thong and a wifebeater, sitting on the tailgate of my truck. She drinks 3.2 beer out of cans, picks pickle chips out a jar with her sticky fingers and amuses herself by singing Oklahoma in Spanish. She does this for the benefit of the Mexicans across the street. They laugh at her and jabber at each other about how they’d like to tie her up and beat her like a pinata.
She’s ruined everything nice in my house. She lost my good pickle fork and broke all my Frankhoma pottery. She spilled Ro-Tel cheese dip on my nice Snuggie. I had one of those Roomba robot vacuums, but Bobbi Jo duct-taped a snack tray full of nachos to it and said it could serve appetizers at the next party. She named it Rosie after the Jetson’s maid.
Bobbi Jo didn’t come home last night. I went searching for her and finally found her down at the local watering hole, drowning herself in a pitcher of Coors. I asked her to come home and sleep it off. She replied, “Pour me another and pass the goddamn ashtray.”
I would like to trade her in for… say…Bille Letts’s muse or maybe Janet Evanovich’s. Or even Fannie Flagg’s muse. But the last time they ventured near, Bobbi Jo picked up her own feces and threw them at them like a crazed monkey at the zoo.
I’m stuck with this muse, I’m afraid.
So, until I find another or until Bobbi Jo sobers up, I’ll be writing about weird characters who do unfathomable things. I’ll be writing about damaged women who try to overcome their tragic past. Women who dress like hookers but have the heart of a stray three-legged dog that you rescued off the streets. Women who think a tornado siren means it’s time to go stand on your front porch and watch the world spin around you. Women who hang their clean laundry out on the line and don’t care if you see their tattered panties. Women who bedazzle their bras and call it art. Women who eat M & M’s for breakfast on their way to Vo-Tech and drink their supper.
Such is life.
Pour me another and pass the goddamn ashtray.