7.17.2006

Milkshake Moure’s Big Book Of Baby Names

Names have always seemed a bit mutable to me, I first changed my name at eleven or so. To what? To Miranda Michael Terese Myers. Why? Because my friend Monica had recently changed hers to Monica Nelson Brown, and I thought having a boy’s middle name was cute. I dropped Michael sometime in high school and at 15 or so changed my last name to Moore. Then at 17 to More. Then at 18 to Moure. So here I am, m moure, some fifteen years after first deciding my given name wasn’t for me.

What’s in a name, anyway?

Now as the story line has come to a close and I’m facing the huge task of renaming 75% of the characters, I’ve come to a bit of an impass. What the fuck am I gonna call all these people?
Some are easy—they don’t want their names changed. But everyone else? Jesus Christ.

So here’s a preliminary list. It’ll be like a fun game! Try and guess who everyone is. It’ll be fun, and if you have any suggestions, drop me a line. If you want your name changed and want to pick your own, go right ahead. The Peters (Who are combined into the same person) picked “Peter Foster”, although I might veto this for “Peter James”. Note: I will not let you pick something ridiculous. You can’t pick (as others have tried to) something like “Pete Diggler” or “Q the Automator”, and don’t even ask: I refuse to call you “Dick Matters”. This isn’t a fucking porno; it’s barely even about sex. Seriously. Seriously.

Peter James/Foster
Milo Green (this one is so thinly veiled it boggles the mind)
Alistair Fallon
Jackson Doughtrie (hint: initials)
Jack McArthur (this one’s pretty easy after the last one)
Britt Nelson
Jarrod Miranda (Yeah, uh…)
Daisy Rain (laughably close)
Adrianne Ramiro

Sam and Jen looked at me in horror when I asked them if they wanted their names changed, so clearly, they don’t. Hunts, Shaun? Do you? And Mathisen, are you going by Richard or Nicholas? Davey, you don’t have a choice. I will call you nothing but David Hodson. Maybe David Fischer, but that’s as far as I’m willing to compromise.

I’m fucked if Jeremiah wants his changed.

Or Clifford.

Fuck.

So here’s how a passage might sound:

The door to my apartment has been unlocked for eight months, so when I have completed the climb to the third floor I merely have to turn the knob, albeit quietly, to enter my tiny San Franciscan home. Quiet is a must. David will still be asleep. He is visiting me from Florida.
“Hello?”
“Hey. It’s me.”
It’s David, and apparently I have woken him.
“Were you gone? Whoa, what happened?” Now he is looking me up and down and realizing I am wearing the same thing I was last night. The gears are beginning to turn in his head, he is putting two and two and both of us and the events of last night together; now he is smirking at me.
“Right, well, you passed out, and Richard and I didn’t want to wake you. We went over to his house.” He isn’t buying my feigned innocence, not accepting the careful smile I’m trying to wear across my face. He knows, as I know that when 3 AM finds the three of us playing quarters on my floor with whiskey, that something has to give. Something has to happen. I gave, it happened, I didn’t look back. Now, judging by the look on David’s face, I think I might be sorry.
“Didn’t want to wake me?”
“Yeah, you know. Beers and all. Maker’s Mark. Late nights yield loud mouths. You catch me, yeah?” He is not catching me.
“Dude, I was passed out…and oh my god. Apparently rightly so.” His hand has reached his forehead, his thumb and forefinger are now vigorously pinching his furrowed brow, his chin is dipped to his chest as he sits up in my messy bed.
“Yeah. I’m pretty wrecked myself.” I toss my handbag in the corner and take a seat next to David. I put my hand on his leg and squeeze his thigh through my comforter. He puts his hand atop mine, meets my eyes.
“Coffee?” He asks this almost desperately.
“Yeah. I’ll go get some.”

I return again to my unlocked door, heavier two paper cups balanced atop each other, and when I breach the threshold David is fumbling with a small child-proofed bottle of ibuprofen. I set our coffee on my nightstand and David gladly surrenders the bottle into my outstretched hand. I’m only half way to the kitchen when he starts with me again.
“I was thinking last night, about Britt. Thinking about writing a piece about her?”
He says this as a question; he is more so seeking my approval than voicing a thought. We don’t often talk about Britt because we loved them so much, and yet it still rings funny how the end of days will oft leave you allying yourself with someone you never would have thought possible. I’d like to think that Milo and Britt couldn’t possibly have what Davey and I do, but I am having trouble with the lid on the little bottle of pills. Damn childproofing.
“Britt. Hmm. She’s quite the muse for you.” I am washing a pint glass, rinsing the soap off. I have no clean dishes.
“Well, I love her.”
“And you can’t have her.”
“Yeah, you know, that always makes it better. It’s like, we had this fantastic thing that I fucked all up, and now I can’t have her, but I love her. I still write about her--you’re right in a way, but she’s more than ‘quite the muse’, she is the perfect muse. Perfect.”
“Hmm.” I’m twisting the ice cube tray. Breaking the cubes loose and putting a few in the bottom of the still warm glass.
“Do you still write about Milo?”
“No.” I open the faucet and fill the pint to the brim, and I am lying. I still do all the time. Milo is the reference point I use for so much of what I say both on paper or otherwise.
“But Milo was your muse?”
“Kind of.”
“Did you ever write about him while you two were together?”
I am reminded of the automatic doors, the rush of humidity, the clinking of something, the maze like parking garage…I hand David the ice water and shake four tablets into his palm. I remember my half hazard parking job, the slamming of desk drawers, pencils and paintbrushes falling to the floor under my shaky hands seeking a pen.
“Just once, just one morning back from the airport in Miami. I dropped him off and came home, jotted some notes in a notebook. About quarters and risks. Milo was a big risk I took. It all seemed fitting at the time. Now too, I s’pose.”
“Now too?” David tips his head back, dumps all four pills in his mouth and sips long from the glass.
“Yeah, well now, I mean—fuck. Now you’re here, and we have coffee, and I’m just back from Richard’s house and I’ve been in San Francisco a year now and all I want to do is find that notebook. Finish the story. I think I get it now.”
“And this?” He sets his glass on my nightstand.
“And this what?”
“And this. Will you write this all down? This story we’re making. Right now.”
“Yeah. Maybe. Maybe I will.”
I notice that David’s glass is half full.

[In re-writing, it became very clear that this piece didn’t work as a telephone conversation. The drunk-dial portion of this essay will be entered into “For Davey”, combined with the essay described in this passage, and renamed "Common Cents". Props today go to Mindy Buhl for accepting that she simply must take on part of Daisy's character to go with the altered chronology in "Cake". SOLID. Also, there are actually four rules to the Sam-Miranda club, the first one being: "don't ever talk about the Sam-Miranda club".]

2 comments:

charles.bukowski.costanza said...

i like your re-worked piece of this piece. even though i haven't seen the non-worked version; this one's tight and close and i dig. as for names: yeah i'd like mine changed; but don't want to stifle your creativitalisms. so then, please choose from a) Ford Spink, b) Jack Brace, or c) Todd Box. i think you know which one is the right.

Sam said...

"Pants up Milo! Penises stay in the bathroom!"

That's all I have to say about Milo.

Oh, and you've got to admit that Miranda Golanders still has a better hilarious ring to it than any of your faux ones.

Oh, and also, I wasn't trying to lay out the rules to Sam Miranda club, it was just a reference to make you smile and the rest wish they knew the rules. Tee hee.