Another Girl, Another Planet


Last time with Helene Troy:

Angry she wasn’t drunk, Helene rose from the white plastic chair and placed the acoustic guitar on the matching table. The bottle of Bushmills was empty and she was convinced there was vodka in Darcy’s bedroom. Helene saw the plastic bottle of Smirnoff inside a milk crate Darcy used as a nightstand. The sting of the warm liquor hitting her mouth made her cringe. 

“If I can ever afford my own apartment, I’m banning this shit.”

Helene tried another swig as she returned to the patio. The vibration of her cell phone startled her. Droplets of vodka bubbled around her bottom lip. The number was unfamiliar but the 724 area code was not. She realized it could only be one person. She put the bottle on the table and answered.


Helene wasn’t on speaking terms with her mother, but her father had called two weeks earlier to tell her that Phoebe, her older sister by two years, was in a drug rehabilition facility in Jamestown, Pennsylvania.

“Hey Leney. You asleep or with a guy. You’re probably with Case, right?”

Helene rolled eyes rubbed her right hand over her forehead. She wondered if Phoebe had escaped rehab since she wasn’t supposed to call anyone.

“No Pheebs, I broke up with Case months ago. I’m just playing guitar, kinda writing songs. How are you able to call?”

Helene turned her back to the bottle of vodka and crossed her right arm under the left as she held the phone. She was braced for bad news.

“Oh, the resident nurse is a clueless fucking bitch. I swiped her cell after bed check. Anyway, look mom and dad won’t let me talk to them but I figured you’d talk to me. I just wanted to hear your voice, Leney. This place is so much fucking worse than last time.”

Helene wanted to hang up. She took her guitar to her bedroom.

“Pheebs, it supposed to be that way. Will they kick your dumb ass out if they catch you?”

Helene sprawled out on her bed next to the guitar and listened to Phoebe ramble.

“Who cares? I mean don’t fucking lecture me. I know I need to get clean or I go to jail. Blah blah blah, mom’s been all over me. I know, right? Look, when I get out I want to come to New York. I know we can’t live together because we’d fucking kill each other but I’m sick of Pennsylvania. I think I’d do better in the city, like you. So I just wanted to know what you thought?”

Helene closed her eyes and tried to not remember what happened last year when Phoebe stayed with her and Darcy for three months. It was like living with two wasted bulls in a china shop.

“Pheebs, I love you, I swear I do. But you need to do your time at Jamestown and then we’ll talk. I’m going through some shit right now, too.”

Helene heard Phoebe walking through a bathroom or boiler room. The sound was echoed.

“I love you too, Leney. Hey, remember that song Dad sang to us when we lived in Pittsburgh and we slept in those bunk beds? It was that band he knew when he played. Do you remember the words?”

Helene smiled then fought back tears.

“Yeah, Pheebs, it’s um, The Only Ones Another Girl, Another Planet. Oh shit, I think it’s like.

I think I’m on another world with you
With you
I’m on another planet with you
With you

You get under my skin
I don’t find it irritating
You always play to win
But I won’t need rehabilitating, oh no

Helene realized why Phoebe called. She picked up her guitar and played the verses again.

“Hey Leney, bitch is back from her break. I think she knows her phone’s gone. Gotta go.”

Helene dropped the phone on the bed and strummed the guitar with anger.

“Perfect Phoebe. That was just perfect.”

****blogger’s note****

This is a new unprompted story episode of The Ballad of Helene Troy. This is from the new reworked opening chapters. You can find the rest of the story, so far, here:

Today’s song is from the story. This is a pretty good one-hit wonder from the late 1970s new wave movement, The Only Ones. Here’s Another Girl, Another Planet.


23 thoughts on “Another Girl, Another Planet

  1. It’s a way of life with these girls, the hard, rough, and bittersweet taste of life in the fast lane without a tooth brush. The call from rehab was a nice addition, considering that it could have been either of the girls that was there, depending on the moments. Nice work up Lance 🙂

    • i rewrote this seven times. I first wrote in five months ago and trashed it. I brought it back after a conversation with a receovering alcoholic friend of mine.

      thank you

  2. Great opening line. It really throws us into that paradox, especially if she is an angry drunk.
    I keep my vodka in the freezer (but not smirnoff!), so I relate to that part as well 😉

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