Two magical-realist coming-of-age Weetzie Bat stories from Francesca Lia Block: Witch Baby and Cherokee Bat and the Goat Guys.
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Goat Girls EPB Upon Time
Once upon a time. What is that supposed to mean?
In the room full of musical instruments, watercolor paints, candles, sparkles, beads, books, basketballs, roses, incense, surfboards, china pixie heads, lanky toy lizards and a rubber chicken, Witch Baby was curling her toes, tapping her drumsticks and pulling on the snarl balls in her hair. Above her hung the clock, luminous, like a moon.
Witch Baby had taken photographs of everyone in her almost-family -- Weetzie Bat and My Secret Agent Lover Man, Cherokee Bat, Dirk McDonald and Duck Drake, Valentine, Ping Chong and Raphael Chong Jah-Love, Brandy-Lynn Bat and Coyote Dream Song. Then she had scrambled up the fireplace and pasted the pictures on the numbers of the clock. Because she had taken all the pictures herself, there was no witch child with dark tangled hair and tilted purple eyes.
What time are we upon and where do I belong? Witch Baby wondered as she went into the garden.
The peach trees, rosebushes and purple-flowering jacaranda were sparkling with strings of white lights. Witch Baby watched from behind the garden shed as her almost-family danced on the lawn, celebrating the completion of Dangerous Angels, a movie they had made about their lives. In Angels, Weetzie Bat met her best friend Dirk and wished on a genie lamp for "a Duck for Dirk and My Secret Agent Lover Man for me and a beautiful little house for us to live in happily ever after." The movie was about what happened when the wishes came true.
Witch Baby's almost-mother-and-father, Weetzie Bat and My Secret Agent Lover Man, were doing a cha-cha on the lawn. In a short pink eveninggown,pink Harlequin sunglasses and a white feathered headdress, Weetzie looked like a strawberry sundae melting into My Secret Agent Lover Man's arms. Dirk McDonald was dancing with Duck Drake and pretending to balance his champagne glass on Duck's perfect blonde flat-top. Weetzie's mother, Brandy-Lynn Bat, was dancing with My Secret Agent Lover Man's best friend, Coyote. Valentine Jah-Love and his wife, Ping Chong, swayed together, while their Hershey's-powdered-chocolate-mix-colored son, Raphael Chong Jah-Love, danced with Weetzie's real daughter, Cherokee Bat. Even Slinkster Dog and Go-Go Girl were dancing, raised up circus style on their hind legs, wriggling their rears and surrounded by their puppies, Pee Wee, Wee Wee, Teenie Wee, Tiki Tee and Tee Pee, who were not really puppies anymore but had never gotten any bigger than when they were six months old.
Under the twinkling trees was a table covered with Guatemalan fabric, roses in juice jars, wax rose candles from Tijuana and plates of food -- Weetzie's Vegetable Love-Rice, My Secret Agent Lover Man's guacamole, Dirk's homemade pizza, Duck's fig and berry salad and Surfer Surprise Protein Punch, Brandy-Lynn's pink macaroni, Coyote's cornmeal cakes, Ping's mushu plum crepes and Valentine's Jamaican plantain pie.
Witch Baby's stomach growled but she didn't leave her hiding place. Instead, she listened to the reggae, surf, soul and salsa, tugged at the snarl balls in her hair and snapped pictures of all the couples. She wanted to dance but there was no one to dance with. There was only Rubber Chicken lying around somewhere inside the cottage. He always seemed to end up being her only partner.
After a while, Weetzie and MySecret Agent Lover Man sat down near the shed. Witch Baby watched them. Sometimes she thought she looked a little like My Secret Agent Lover Man; but she knew he and Weetzie had found her on their doorstep one day. Witch Baby didn't look like Weetzie Bat at all.
"What's wrong, my slinkster-love-man?" Witch Baby heard Weetzie ask as she handed My Secret Agent Lover Man a paper plate sagging with food. "Aren't you happy that we finished Angels?"
He lit a cigarette and stared past the party into the darkness. Shadows of roses moved across his angular face.
"The movie wasn't enough," he said. "We have more money now than we know what to do with. Sometimes this city feels like an expensive tomb. I want to do something that matters."
"But you speak with your movies," Weetzie said. "You are an important influence on people. You open eyes."
"It hasn't been enough. I need to think of something strong. When I was a kid I had a lamp shaped like a globe. I had newspaper articles all over my walls, too, like Witch Baby has -- disasters and things. I always wished I could make the world as peaceful and bright as my lamp."
"Give yourself time," said Weetzie, and she took off his slouchy fedora, pushed back his dark hair and kissed his temples.
Witch Baby wished that she could go and sit on Weetzie's lap and whisper an idea for a movie into My Secret Agent Lover Man's ear. An idea to make him breathe deeply and sleep peacefully so the dark circles would fade from beneath his eyes. She wanted Weetzie and My Secret Agent Lover Man to stroke her hair and take her picture as if they were her real parents. But she did not go to them.
She turned to seeWeetzie's mother, Brandy-Lynn, waltzing alone.
Weetzie had told Witch Baby that Brandy-Lynn had once been a beautiful starlet, and in the soft shadows of night roses, Witch Baby could see it now. Starlet. Starlit, like Weetzie and Cherokee, Witch Baby thought. Brandy-Lynn collapsed in a lawn chair to drink her martini and finger the silver heart locket she always wore around her neck. Inside the locket was a photograph of Weetzie's father, Charlie Bat, who had died years before. The white lights shone on the heart, the martini and the tears that slid down Brandy-Lynn's cheeks. Witch Baby wanted to pat the tears with her fingertip and taste the salt. Even after all this time, Brandy-Lynn cried often about Charlie Bat, but Witch Baby never cried about anything.Goat Girls EPB. 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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