Writings

In Prudence is the Better Part of Valerie

By Steve Gerber
(Circa 1971)

Cracking the dawn of the dimlit morn
With the horn-thorn thunder of wolves bedeviled,
Killing for money that's sweeter than honey,
I'm sunny but I feel disheveled.
I am Biloxi, Girl Barbarian.

The bat flew into my apartment like some demon just off a hunger strike at the Chevy plant, ready to pick at any scab! Its pelican-like sinews taut, its fearsome claws bared, the horror thing from hell nose-dived at me and caught me off-balance. I jabbed at it with my Girl Scout spear, but managed only to scratch one leg: mine.

"Look out, Biloxi!" cried one of my followers.

The winged rodent had swung around and was streaking through the pungent air toward the back of my neck. Dauntlessly (for I had long since run out of daunts), I leaped into the air and caught the rabid wretch between my tree-trunk legs. Summoning all my copious will-power, I commanded my socket to secrete a massive discharge of propane. The beast died instantly. I separated my knees, and the bat's body fell to the carpet with a muted thud.

I am Biloxi, Girl Barbarian. Thus has it ever been. So shall it ever be. Unto, unto.

"Are you all right, Biloxi?" asked Derangia, my close friend and confidant.

"Nothing can harm Biloxi," I replied offhandedly, noticing that the bat had partially severed my right hand. "Sew me up. We must march on the home of Regis Lobot this morning at ten a.m."

With the deftness of a singer born, Derangia stitched my hand back into place. I asked if Polita, our cook, had prepared the morning's corn muffins. Derangia nodded.

"Then let us sup," I supposed aloud. "I will tell you of my plan."

Soon, Derangia, Polita, Knedelacha, Fecunda, and Imogene sat with me about the formica table in the kitchenette. We supped muffins heartily and shared the bottle of cranberry wine which Fecunda had purchased.

"Regis Lobot must die," I said forcefully.

"Regis Lobot must die," they repeated.

The tiny hairs on the nape of my neck bristled with confidence. Not a follicle failed me. "Regis Lobot wants to rid the world of girl barbarians. Regis is a sissy. A fru-fru guru of the nouveau-riche ladylike establishment. We must stab him and eat of his ribs."

"Yeah, yeah, oh yeah...what condition his rumination will be in!" they chanted.

I stood up and brushed muffin crumbs from my faux fur leotard. I pulled my sandals up by the bootstraps. My fist fell hard on the table. "Now!" I felt a surge of mansonesque rhubarb creep up my spine. It was time! We picked up our spears and marched out the front door.

Being a woman of action and little patience, long marches bore me. So I was glad Regis Lobot lived in the apartment across the hall. I sent one of my barked legs crashing through his door and followed it through with my barbarian body.

"Regis! Regis Lobot! Come to me and die!" I bellowed at the top of my lungs, reserving the lower parts for the fight to come. Regis walked in from the bedroom. He was nude from the knees up.

"Prudence Albright! I thought it sounded like you! It's been years...!"

"I am Biloxi, Girl Barbarian."

"Only in your mind," Regis said cruelly. "To me, you'll always be Prudence Albright, Vicuna High School's only virgin."

I felt a tear in my eye. I asked Derangia to stitch it up immediately. I hate torn eyes.

"Quite a body you've got these days, Prudence."

"It is a tree trunk," I said angrily.

"If you say so. So you're a barbarian now? I remember a few years back you were art director at Milo Phosdum Advertising. Why the career change?"

"Not enough blood," I snarled. But he was too stupid to scare easily.

"Yeah, I suppose you're right. What does a barbarian do?"

"Kill. Sup. Kill. Sup. Swim. Read books. Do needlepoint. Sup. Kill."

"Yep, that's more exciting than advertising any day. Can we go out on a date tonight, Prudie?"

"I have come to kill you and eat of your ribs."

"I don't think you want to kill me, but help yourself to the ribs. They're in the fridge. Great sauce."

"What are you doing now?" I asked, impressed by his ribbing.

"Oh, I'm copy chief at Mudsohp Olim Advertising. Not as exciting as being a barbarian, I guess. I write about women's shoes a lot, though. It's good for my arch fetish."

I suddenly realized I loved Regis. My barbarianettes and I sat down and discussed our footwear preferences with him long into the night, and supped, knowing that the next day we would kill and eat stock broker Lockheed Van O'Shea in new shoes.

I am Biloxi, Girl Barbarian. Thus has it ever been. So shall it ever be.

Unto, unto.

 

 

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Text Copyright © 2001 Steve Gerber. All rights reserved.