Two darkly magical Weetzie Bat stories about the search for self from Francesca Lia Block: Missing Angel Juan and Baby Be-Bop.
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Two Weetzie Bat Books
Angel Juan and I walk through a funky green fog. It smells like hamburgers and jasmine. We don't see anybody, not even a shadow behind a curtain in the tall houses. Like the fog swirled in through all the windows, down the halls, up the staircases, into the bedrooms and took everybody away. Then fog beasties breathed clouds onto the mirrors, checked out the bookshelves, sniffed at the refrigerator -- whispering. We hear one playing drums in a room in a tower.
Angel Juan stops to listen, slinking his shoulders to the beat. "Not as good as you," he says.
I play an imaginary drum with imaginary sticks. I am writing a new song for him in my head.
He sees something on the other side of a wall and picks me up. I feel his arms hard against the bottom of my ribs. Jungle garden. Water rushes. Dark house. Bright window. A piano with the head of Miss Nefertiti-ti on top.
"You look like her," he says. "Your eyes and your skinny flower-stem neck."
"But she doesn't have my snarl-ball hair or my curly toes." My toes curl like cashew nuts.
He puts me down and messes up my messy hair the way he used to do when we were little kids. Before he ever kissed me.
A black cat with a question-mark tail follows us for blocks. He has fur just like Angel Juan's hair. Angel Juan crouches down to stroke him and I stroke Angel Juan. We are all three electric in the fog. The cat keeps following us. I hear him wailing for a long time after he disappears into the wet cloud air. Angel Juan has one arm around me and is holding my inside hand with his outside hand. It is our brother grip. We are bound together. My outside hand is at his skinny hips, quick and sleeky-sleek like a cat's hips. I could put one finger into the change pocket of his black Levi's.
I want to take his photograph with his hand at the cat's throat, his eyes closed, feeling the purr in his fingers. I want to take his picture naked in the fog.
The shiny brown St. John's bread pods crack open under our feet and their cocoa smell makes me dizzy and hungry.
Then Angel Juan stops walking. It's so quiet. Nothing moves. There's a shiver in the branches like a cat's spine when you stroke it. The green druggy fog.
I remember the first time he ever kissed me. I mean really kissed me. We had just finished a gig with our band The Goat Guys and he put his hands on my shoulders. His hair was slicked back and it gleamed, his lips were tangy and his fingers were callusy and we were both so sweaty that we stuck together. Our eyelashes brushed like they would weave together by themselves turning us into one wild thing.
I say, "I think I missed you before I met you even."
"Witch Baby," he says. He never calls me that. Niña Bruja or Baby or Lamb but never Witch Baby. I start to feel a little sick to my stomach. Queased out. Angel Juan's eyes look different. Like somebody else's eyes stuck in his head. Why did I say that about missing him? I never say clutchy stuff like that.
"I'm going to New York."
New York. We were going to go there. We were going to play music on the street. What is he saying? He just told me I looked like Nefertiti. He just had his arms around me in our brother grip.
"You're always taking pictures of me and writing songs for me but that's not me. That's who you make up. And in the band. I feel like I'm just backing up the rest of you. I've got to play my own music."
"Just go do it with her," I say.
"There's no her. I don't even feel like sex at all. Nothing feels safe."
For the last few weeks we've been snuggling but that's about it. I've been telling myself it's just because Angel Juan's been tired from working so much at the restaurant.
"But we've only ever been with us."
"Do we want to be together just because we think it's safer? I need to know about the world. I need to know me."
Safer? I've never even thought of that.
My heart is like a teacup covered with hairline cracks. I feel like I have to walk real carefully so it won't get shaken and just all shatter and break.
But I start to run anyway. I run and run into the fog before Angel Juan can go away.
By the time I get back to the house with the antique windows, I feel the jagged teacup chips cutting me up. I go into the dark garden shed. The doglet Tiki-Tee who has soul-eyes like Angel Juan's and likes to cuddle in the bend of my knees at night whimpers and skulks away when he sees me. Skulkster dog. I must look like a beastly beast with a cracked teacup for a heart. I lie on the floor listening for the broken sound inside like when you shake your thermos that fell on the cement.
We used to lie here hugging with a balloon between us. Angel Juan's body floating on the balloon, his body shining through its skin. Then the balloon popped and we giggled and screamed falling into each other, all the sadness inside of us gone into the air. All over the walls are pictures I took of Angel Juan. Angel Juan plays his bass -- eyelash-shadow, mouth-pout, knee-swoon. Angel Juan kisses the sky. Angel Juan the blur does hip-hop moves. There's even one of us together in Joshua Tree standing on either side of our cactus Sunbear. It's like Sunbear's our kid or something.Beautiful Boys
Two Weetzie Bat Books. Copyright © by Francesca Block. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Meet the Author
Francesca Lia Block, winner of the prestigious Margaret A. Edwards Award, is the author of many acclaimed and bestselling books, including Weetzie Bat; the book collections Dangerous Angels: The Weetzie Bat Books and Roses and Bones: Myths, Tales, and Secrets; the illustrated novella House of Dolls; the vampire romance novel Pretty Dead; and the gothic werewolf novel The Frenzy. Her work is published around the world.
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