Tonight's Suggested Television Viewing
By D.A.F. Sutherland
26th January 2008 - 04:51 pm
Summer short story season: David Herkt presents D.A.F Sutherland's story of just how loaded a choice of TV programme can be in a lesbian household.
'Anorexic Cow!' exclaimed Ricki.
'Bitch!' Ricki interjected.
'See! See! She does look like a duck!' Ricki observed.
'Quack-Quack-Quack,' Ricki shouted at the screen, delighted.
'We could always change the channel,' Kiely suggested.
'No, no, no,' said Ricki, not taking her eyes from the TV. 'I like watching it. I know what the little cow is thinking. I know exactly what she thinks she's doing.'
'Yes, Missy, I know what you're up to,' Ricki spoke to the TV.
The telephone rang.
'Kiely, here. Oh, hello Hoot. Yes, she's in. No, she's not doing anything. I'll just get her for you.'
'It's for you,' Kiely said, muffling the phone. 'It's Hoot…'
'From Rainbow Labour,' she added unnecessarily and with emphasis.
'I'm watching the TV,' Ricki grumbled, but took the call.
'Hello,' Ricki said. 'No, No. I was just watching that ex-girlfriend of mine on 'Celebrity Sings'. No, no, she's not singing. Bitch can't hold a note. She's doing the backstage links. You know when they cross backstage to see what April or Lana or Don Brash are doing. She interviews them. It's garbage.'
Kiely took that as her signal, picked up the remote and changed the channel.
'I was watching that,' said Ricki.
Kiely, annoyed, changed the channel back.
'Two years,' Ricki grumbled into the phone, 'and then she decides a penis will help her career. And after all that I'd done for her.'
The word 'penis' hung on the air.
'Some little rat in the media, some rodent she picked up,' Ricki exclaimed.
'Now what's it with the what's-it, the Community Hall? Mmm. Mmm. No. You can't? She can't? They won't? Well, there's Tessa, phone Tessa, Tessa used to live with Rosalind, sorry, Rory, nothing between them of course, no, no, no, just convenience, not cohabitation, well cohabitation but not concupiscence. What? Concupiscence? It means, Hoots, I don't know how you missed out on it, 'lustfully', you know, 'with desire', all that rot! So Rosalind, sorry, Rory, knows Lucia Browning, you know Lucia Browning, that's right, her, and Lucia'll sort it. Not for nothing is she an HR Head. That one could get the very law of the land altered in her favor. She's got channels so deep into Wellington Lesbiana that she's practically got a hot-line to the 9th floor of the Beehive.'
Kiely changed the channel again, just a flick, to see.
'I'm still watching that, Kiels,' Ricki snapped warningly.
'She wasn't on.'
'But she'll be on again in a moment. It's their format. See there's the silly bitch again. Oh to think I was head over heels with that one. What? What? No, no, Hoots. Just Tori on the TV again. Whoever dressed her should be shot. They don't choose their own clothes, you know. Silly cow couldn't dress her way out of a frock shop.'
Kiely refreshed her wine from the box of Long Flat Red on the top of the fridge.
'Kiels,' called Ricki, gesticulating.
Kiely took the box over to her and slopped some wine ungraciously into Ricki's empty glass.
Ricki frowned at the slopping, but managed.
'Of course I'm not in love with her still! Why on earth would you think? Hoots! Hoots! Listen to me! Out of sight, out of mind for that one. One of life's users. Now the keys, you will tell Andrea that we need them early so Carol can set up her stall, no picking the key up just before we start, Carol needs to get her stall organised, not that the Lesbians of Grey Lynn and points further West have ever been known to be great spenders on impulse. No, they need time to think. Weeks of it. But Carol likes to get in early. She lives in hope. Kiels, where's my smokes?'
Kiely found Ricki's Holidays beneath the near-completed Listener crossword and handed them over brusquely without looking at Ricki.
'Oh no!' Ricki exclaimed, fiddling with the cigarette packet, her lighter and the phone.
'Are you watching TVOne? Hoots? You should. You should. Flick over now. See! The silly little cow is trying to use her breasts to impress. Look at her. Kiels! Kiels! Look at her! Those little bumps. It's a wonder she hasn't talked The Penis into buying her a new set.'
Kiely took a large mouthful of her wine and made a face because of its sourness.
'Mm. Mm. Mm,' murmured Ricki. 'Ngahuia? Ngahuia? Which one? Oh, that Ngahuia. What's Ngahuia? Ngahuia's what? She isn't? She is? Oh you mean Ngahuia's Famous Rainbow Labour Fundraising Barbeques that always cost more than they raise? Another one? No, it's a big No from me. Not that I'm anyone. It's a no-no-no. Look at last time. A hundred dollars in the red…'
Kiely lit a cigarette for herself.
'What? No, I can't see the TV. Kiels has just moved. Too young. Too restless. Kiels, I can't… That's better. I see what you mean. In profile. Underbite. You know she was always looking for which side of the bread had been buttered. You were there that night that what's-her-face from the modeling, that model agency woman, that's right, Rebecca Rawthorne. She said that Tori had thrown herself at her, at Rebecca Rawthorne, at the ALBA thing I couldn't go to because my back. Thrown herself. Little tart. Probably thought she'd end up on the cover of the Woman's Weekly. And she had her bread buttered here, I can tell you. Well and truly. Waited on hand and foot. She had her cake and ate it too. Kiels, the ashtray?'
Kiely passed over the glass ashtray with a thump.
'Really,' said Ricki. 'Really. I never knew that! What! Hmm. Mmm. Really. And then she? What a little tramp. Yes, you've told me that before. Of course I don't dwell on her. Don't think about her at all! It's only when the flaming, the bloody, the TV puts her in front of my face. Ricki Phillipson doesn't cry over spilt milk, Hoots. No, she doesn't. At fifty-six I think I have learned a lesson or two. Number One is no crying over little gallivanting tarts. Kiels! Kiels! You're in my way again. Honestly! I can't see the TV when you do that.'
Kiely stood up abruptly.
'Kiels, that isn't helping. I still can't see…. Kiels? Kiels? What are you doing? Where are you going? Kiels! Kiels! Oh Kiels! Oh nothing, Hoot, hang on. Kiels! Kiels! Oh the blame girl has gone off in a snit. Kiels! Kiels! Can you hear me? Are you there, Kiels? Kiels! Are you in a snit, Kiels?'
D. A. F. SUTHERLAND was born in Nairobi and has lived in the USA, France, India and South Africa. 'I think I'm really a citizen of the world,' she says, 'which is probably why I find the characteristics of New Zealand lesbian life so fascinating.' She has always written fiction and thinks that short stories are much more appropriate to modern life than novels. 'There is something about trying to squeeze life into a few hundred words that I enjoy.' She now lives with her partner of 11 years, three cats and a flock of bantam hens in Hamilton, where she teaches.
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