My Life With Courtney
My Life With Courtney is a short story I wrote. I first posted this quite a while back, but I am fond of it and think it's pretty much a good story so I'm revisiting it and so, as a result, dear and gentle readers, are you. Comments and feedback are welcome. Note: This is fiction. I've never so much as written Courtney a fan letter in real life. Had ya going, didn't I?
Our biggest argument seems to be over the choice of television shows. I always want to watch something at least marginally intellectually stimulating.She wants to watch all the trash. The E! Hollywood True Story. The Style Channel. The soaps in Spanish, when I know damn well she doesn't’t speak Spanish. She only does that to piss me off, I know this, but it works. This childish manipulation is something she excels at.
I never thought a kind gesture would turn out like this.
I was never even a big fan. Oh sure, I loved Nirvana. She ain’t Nirvana. I think I remember one of her songs from the radio, Miss World? I’m not even sure if that was her old band or some other angst filled punk chick singing.
She has surprisingly warm moments. Like looking through my CDs, she pulled out a Linda Ronstadt album, old tunes, I think it was her first greatest hits CD, the one where Linda has on the tube socks and roller skates, the red cover background, versus the blue one. She got all nostalgic over it, said she loved Linda Ronstadt. We listened to almost three songs before she got tired of it.
She is impossible to shop with. I keep telling her, she is broke, needs to watch her money. She buys stupid shit, like fishnet pantyhose and more blue eyeshadow. I’ve never seen anyone eat so many potato chips. Every time we get near the HBA aisles at the Super Wal-Mart, we have a discussion about bleaching my hair platinum. During the latest one, she called me a “Stupid petty bitch.” I whacked her upside her head with my purse and security got called. It was in the local paper. This was not my proudest moment.
They would’t take her check at the Super Wal-Mart, so I ended up paying for her stuff.
My husband is clearly unnerved by her. She spent at least 5 hours one rainy Saturday afternoon playing with his model railroad. All of the people on his layout were face down when she was done. When we work in the yard, she sits on an old vinyl lawn chair I was planning on throwing away, drinking gin and club soda. My husband mows the lawn and I work in the flowerbeds. She bellows instructions to him, telling him how her gardener in Seattle used to mow her lawn crosswise. She seems oblivious to the dark looks he throws her way whenever yard work occurs. The mere sight of her swilling cocktails while he and I sweat in the yard infuriates him. Thankfully, she doesn't seem to realize he can't hear her over the lawn mower and the Walkman.
Kurt, she informs him one hot still afternoon, while we are all taking a beverage break, had never mowed a lawn in his life. This is not a big surprise to us. She sniffled a bit after this and maneuvered the broken down beaten up vinyl lawn chair over to the shade of an apple tree. She is paranoid about getting any sun at all. We sent the dogs to wake her up when it started to get dark.
She wanted to go to work with me one day. I knew this was a mistake yet I felt helpless to deny her. She’s so contrite and needy sometimes. The first pair of khaki shorts I gave her to wear, she ripped off all the short part so only the panty size part was left. We tried again. She accessorized that pair of shorts with a bright red bra and nothing else on top with a pair of the fake work boots with high heels that JLo popularized in some video. She looked ridiculous in this outfit and was upset when I told her that. Then, she asked me again how many guys that I worked with were single.
I told her that wasn't’t the way to get guys. I also made her comb her hair. She was resentful of that. I had to help with some snarls, a couple handfuls came out when I combed it, but she did look a bit better. We had another fight about wearing a bra (not the red one) with my white t shirt with the work logo.
She told me she felt like a “total ass squeeze” wearing my clothes.
She lasted at work until 10:30. I took an early lunch and drove her home. Although she had been excited because I worked in a predominately male atmosphere, the construction business, and was only one of two women in the company, she was vastly disappointed when all the guys cleared out by 8 a.m. to go to jobs. Any attempts she made at flirting were met with alarming looks from the guys, like "Lis, who is this crazy chick with you?"
Dinner continues to be a problem. She doesn’t seem to eat in any sort of normal way. We grilled steaks, I baked potatoes, steamed green beans. She asked for ketchup then poured it all over the whole thing and moved the food around the plate, but I didn’t see her eat one bite. She did manage to consume 3 glasses of Merlot, although she bitched that the wine was cheap and her taste was highly evolved from Meridian, and next time would I please get some French wine? I found this to be highly contradictory, as ketchup is not known as an upscale condiment.
I let her do my makeup once. This is called “Setting Yourself Up for A Big Fall.” My one year old daughter was scared of me and screamed when she saw me and my 11 year old son could only snicker and ask me, “Mom, are you going to be in a Night of the Living Dead movie?” My husband laughed so hard he had to leave the room. She, of course, thought my makeover was a huge success.
This all started with my big heart and love for the underdog. I had been reading about all her legal troubles and other issues in the news and felt sorry for her. She was losing her homes in both Seattle and New York through foreclosure, her car was repocessed. She had clearly been fleeced by her financial manager. She had a tenuous relationship with her family, at best. I sent an email to her website, offering to help her get back on track, to live within a normal family situation. I really never expected much of a response, after all, she was a celebrity and who was I? Just a thirtysomething working mother who lived in a very unglamorous area and led a fairly mundane life.
Maybe I craved a brush with fame subconsciously. Maybe I had just finally lost my mind, as my husband has suggested.
We talked on the phone several times and emailed each other. Arrangements were made. She would live in our “mother-in-law” apartment in our basement. It had a separate entrance, a private bath and a nice bedroom. Since my mother-in-law is hale and hearty, and lives 15 minutes, a comfortable distance away, we used it primarily as a guest bedroom. I made the effort to make it cheerful and inviting, placed fresh flowers on the dresser and nightstand, put in a phone extension, placed the latest issues of Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair and Interview within easy reach, put a portable CD player next to the easy chair. I put scented candles throughout the room, thought better of the fire hazard and hid them in my linen closet upstairs.
I thought the room looked cozy, homey without looking hokey. I'd be delighted to sleep there as a guest in someone's house.
When I picked her up at the airport, she was drunk. She held my hand while we waited for luggage and although she was trying to bite her tongue, she complained all the way to the parking structure because not only did I not rent a limo, I had parked so far away. One of my biggest fears did not come true: she was not recognized at the airport. I barely recognized her. She had on some goofy couture hat that would have looked appropriate on say Queen Elizabeth or if she had been dressed in some manner that matched the hat. She instead had on ripped up jeans, a very very old Ramones t-shirt that didn’t smell too fresh and bare feet. When I asked where her shoes were, she pulled them out of her big tote bag. I noticed also that she had several Jack Daniels nips in there. It took some strong persuasion on my part to convince her she probably shouldn’t drink them walking through the airport.
She wanted to sit in the back seat on the way home. I suggested she sit up front so we could get to know each other a little better. She was delighted to find that I smoked and disappointed that I wouldn’t drink the JD nips while driving her back to the house.
She proclaimed my house “totally adorable” and was very pleased with her space downstairs. Since it was a beautiful Midwestern summer evening, we decided to sit out on the deck and have some cocktails. (She really didn’t need any more at that point, but I badly needed a martini. It is an hour- long drive from the airport.)
We talked far into the night about the things women talk about. She is surprisingly articulate and was very interested in my life. She said she had always known she was destined to be famous but she wished it was for her music, not her notoriety, being famous for being infamous. She told me gossip about some celebrities and laughed and said you couldn’t believe half of what was in the tabloids, generally it was either much worse in reality or just a total fabrication.
We talked about goals. She said her main goal was to get her daughter back. I asked her how she could reconcile that with getting arrested for drug related things. She cried for a long time and said everything she had was prescribed by a doctor. “Oxycotin?” I asked. “What kind of pain are you in that you need that shit?” I told her about 3 recent overdoses right here in my quiet corner of the world from Oxycotin.
She explained to me that she just liked to be fucked up. She knew it was wrong and there was no positive outcome to it, but she liked it too much.
The final straw came when she tried to seduce my husband’s friend Sam. Sam is my friend as well. A former Army Ranger from the 82nd Airborne Division. Sam is a straight up, buttoned down nice guy in great shape. Sam has had women thrown at him and run away. He’s a virtuous guy. She thought he was hot. Sam was clearly frightened of the whole package of her, the bleached hair, the excessive black eyeliner, the bizarre outfit. After she flashed her boobs at him for the third time, he fled. She called him 18 times the next day. Sam told us he didn’t feel comfortable hanging out with us anymore. This was very upsetting to us, as we consider Sam extended family.
This episode spawned a huge whispered fight between my husband and myself held in the bathroom. My husband pointed out things I already knew, such as the fact that she was always wasted, was a horrible slob, treated me like her maid/chef/chauffeur/personal shopper and wore my clothes on top of everything else. That we were supporting her and she ran up a $653 phone bill.
She sniveled a bit when I told her she needed to go home and called me some more names. But I was so weary and disillusioned, I didn’t even argue. I even called for a limo to take her back to the airport.