Last time with Helene Troy: http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2012/02/02/walkingwithaghost/
Helene stood outside her apartment facing the bathroom window. She saw the two gray and white kittens peering through the glass panes. She turned her attention to the two thousand dollars cash in her backpack. She countered her nervousness by putting her knife in the back left pocket of her faded blue jeans. Ramona called. Helene answered with enthusiasm.
“Hey ‘Mona, I can’t wait to see you! I talked to my landlord about keeping the apartment and I have two new roommates!”
Helene could hear people bustling in the background.
“Yeah? So your band moved in with you, Leney?”
Helene picked up her guitar case and duffel bag.
“Nope, two identical twin seven-week-old kittens. They’re fucking adorable. Are you not home?”
Ramona breathed into the phone. Helene couldn’t tell if it was bother or disapproval.
“I’m getting something to eat at the coffee shop near my place. I’ll bring you a sandwich and a tea. You need more than booze in you to get through your show, tonight.”
Helene smirked at the influence Ramona was exerting. She said goodbye, shrugged her shoulders and hailed a taxi.
The door to Ramona’s brownstone was open. Helene’s hands and shoulders ached from the weight of her bags and case. She kicked open the large oaken door. Cat Power was playing throughout the apartment.
“Perfect, ‘Mona! I got kittens and you’re playing Cat Power! I love her!
Ramona appeared from behind the refrigerator door. She smiled and carried a small jar of Dijon mustard.
“I do too. She’s so sassy and unpredictable. I need another minute with this food. Why don’t you show me what you’re rockin’ onstage?”
Helene felt like a teenager. No one ever paid attention to her feminine side without ulterior motives. A few minutes later, she emerged from the bedroom in brown leather pants, a white lace top, and Doc Marten boots. She pulled her long wavy brown hair behind her ears and gave a sheepish grin. Ramona turned her head to one side and sighed.
“Well, if that’s what you’re wearing, Leney, you’ll be beautiful, regardless.”
The opening lines of Cat Power’s Free filled the kitchen. Helene stared at the hardwood floor. She felt ugly.
“It’s the leather pants, right? They’re cliché. I have time to hit my apartment after rehearsal and find something else.”
Ramona placed a pickle in left side of her mouth and began to chew. She moved her hazel eyes up and down Helene’s body then shook her head while pointing at her with the half-eaten sandwich garnish.
“I think women should be able to play in their damn pajamas if they want. But sweetie, there are going to be more judgemental music whores there that you can shake a five-hundred-dollar shirt at. I’ve got stuff from previous tours that could fit you. But, you wear whatever.”
Helene liked her low maintenance style. It wasn’t the first time she’d been criticized. Her ex-boyfriend, Case Hill, once told her she wasn’t sexy enough to be a solo artist so had to be in a band. The desire to succeed was eating at her like Ramona devouring the pickle.
“Show me what you have “Mona. I guess I suck at the whole image thing.”
Ramona smiled and walked over to her with two plates of sandwiches. She leaned in and kissed Helene softly.
“Leney, you made my day. Come on, we can eat in my closet. It’s how I get ready for concerts.”
Between bites of tuna on wheat, they exchanged negative head shakes at various pants, shirts and dresses. A decision was made. Helene walked out of the closet and saw herself in Ramona’s vanity. She slouched at her reflection. Helene placed her left hand behind her head and examined the long sleeve House of Dagmar black dress that hugged her figure. Ramona beamed.
“Leney, you look fucking amazing. Every eye will be on you.”
Helene felt uncomfortable. The dress was tight. She liked to move around when she played. The shoes, three-inch studded Louboutin heels, were gorgeous. She wore heels two or three times a year. She thought she’d fall off the stage.
“Ramona, this isn’t going to work.”
She caught Ramona’s glare and dissatisfied crossed arms.
“You’ve seen me play, I’m crazy when I perform. This is good for a video but a live show?”
Ramona walked to the dresser, picked up the crumb covered plates and retreated to the kitchen in silence. Helene knew she was mad. She followed her, briefly stumbling in the heels.
“Talk to me ‘Mona! Shit, I’m sorry! This is a little out of my comfort zone.”
Ramona placed the plates in the sink and turned around with her hands on her hips.
“This entire night will be out of your comfort zone! For three years I played every dive bar on the east coast with my first group, Kerouac Kids! I wore dirty jeans, t-shirts, and washed my hair in gas station sinks! No one gave a shit outside of booger-eating college radio Djs! Then, I slip on a cocktail dress and some hot shoes for my “On The Floor” video from that first solo record and people were so impressed with my growth as an artist!”
Ramona finished her speech with her fingers performing air quotes. Helene teared up and touched Ramona’s weathered hands.
“Leney, you are so damn talented. But you’re naive about the music business. If you can take that punk fury and bad-ass song writing ability and pour them into a dress and heels while winking at those bastards, you’ll own the world!
Helene was speechless. She let go of Ramona’s hands and wiped away tears.
“Do what you want Leney. I’m just trying to help.”
Ramona turned her back. Helene finally responded.
“I was thinking really dark eye makeup. Not like a baseball player’s eyeblack but more like a slut who would fuck a baseball player wearing eyeblack.”
Ramona turned around and smiled.
“Beautiful, Leney. You can have every ounce of eyeliner I own.”
This is a new story episode of Helene Troy. You can read the rest of the tale, so far, here: http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/the-ballad-of-helene-troy/
Today’s song is the one mentioned in the story. Here’s Cat Power’s Free: