Glamourous Rags

Burning Down The House

She always walked away, and you always found yourself noticing the strut and the sway and the little twist of the hip.

You found yourself worrying that other people had noticed you noticing her.

Especially now, when you were standing watching her walk away, and Raymond was standing right next to you and Hannah and Ginger and your whole life.

And ohmigod you cut your hair, so short and spiky, and you turned up at Hannah's graduation in Suzette's clothes with your tits showing like you haven't shown them ever in this state, and you got stoned and you lost control and could you have been more obvious?

And you had spotted Ginger, staring at that girl during Hannah's speech about the truth, and then she bounces around saying she is in love and says it's that dork in the band.

It could not have been more obvious that she was lying. Because even Suzette noticed.

Suzette made that crack about a taste for musos running in the family and she did that little twist of the lip and the cute mole next to it, and that bat of the false eyelashes, when she said it. So she knows about Ginger, which you hadn't until right this moment, because she would have said it straight if she had meant it uncoded, and, if she says it runs in the family, then she knows about you.

Which means that she knows everything. Why you left and why you found yourself a Raymond and what has been going on in your head for thirty five years.

These days, of course, people would say you were abused, the pair of you. And they wouldn't be far wrong, but it would not be the truth either.

Even back then, you were only just the right side of jailbait. Hey, do the math. She had sex, sort of, with Jim Morrison, and he wasn't dead yet. She was younger then than Hannah is now - you were younger then than Ginger is now.

You went to some gig and you got backstage and they asked you to come back to the hotel. It was all new and scary and she was there too, looking like a flower with her mop of hair and her big eyes and that cute little mole just by her lip.

And she owned the room even though she was scared. She swung her legs up onto the table one after another. Deliberately, precisely.

Just like she did it in her room, the other day, when she was telling you off.

And you held hands as you sat in a corner of a hotel room, waiting to see if he would do you too. You held hands for the first time ever.

So of course you clung to each other when it was scary, or when it hurt, or when you had to go to the clap clinic. You were the Sisters, and sisters look out for each other, right.

Frank was a mean-spirited Zapata-twirling son-of-a-bitch who thought all women were a big joke, especially when he got to fuck them. But he totally had his shit together about knowing stuff. Not just the stuff for boys, but the stuff that is really going on.

You got off lightly. He called the others the GTOs. Girls Together Outrageously. You thought that was raw even back in the day.

That was the thing. There was fucking, fucking hot famous guys, which you did a lot, which was fun and what you were good at.

And there was Suzette, who was important. Who was your sister. More your sister than Hannah and Ginger are to each other.

You were sisters. together. The Banger sisters.

You held each other. and it meant more than fucking.

And of course you fucked each other. A lot.

Mick or Jimmy Page or David would say, babes, I'm just too shagged out to screw. But I'd like to watch. You would do what they wanted, because it let you want it too.

And that didn't mean as much as the holding, but that doesn't mean it meant nothing.

And it was cool being watched. Because that meant that they had to watch you holding each other as well.

Holding hands and snuggling, while you pulled out your cameras and took Polaroids of their dicks. And wrote their names on the back, because you weren't going to let them think they were that memorable that you could know just by looking.

You sometimes held hands across the gap between beds as they fucked you and often you would watch each other's eyes across the gap rather than look at them. Because, OK, if it was Mick or Jimmy or Frank or David, that was sort of cool and you might pay attention because, man, the music deserved respect.

They were lean and their eyes were hard and their butts were hard. It was good, most of it.

But she had softer eyes and her little-girl boobs were soft in all the right ways. You wonder how her new boobs would feel, now. Would they be hard as well?

But if it was some damned roadies with hairy backs and dirt in their belly-creases that you were just screwing to get a pass next night, of course you didn't look at them. Of course you looked at each other.

The night the war ended, you wanted to say something.

It was the right time. You were sat up on that billboard, way up high right next the stars, and things were ending.

The music was starting to suck, for one thing, and where's the point if their music sucks? That you did say and Suzette said, the music always comes back, you just have to wait a few weeks, and someone you know will get their shit together again, or there will be some new guy with his shit all new, and the music is bigger than the guys. It goes on when they die, for one thing.

She was always proud that she got to have Jim pass out on her and you didn't.

And she was right about the music. It came back. It always does. Hannah and Ginger think you don't like their music and they are sort of right. This you doesn't, but the you inside, the you that is their age forever, she gets it.

Anyway, that night, you held hands and you looked across at the stars and you thought was this the time to say something, and you went on thinking it, and not saying it, and then the police came and made you get down, and Suzette was mouthy at them, and you were calming her down, and holding her hand. And it was not the time any more.

And it was never quite the time again.

That last six years, you went on doing the same things and you liked it less each year. Each year you were older, and the boys were younger. And you fucked the boys, and you fucked each other, and you hardly ever held hands any more.

Maybe you said more than you meant, without saying it, the night the war ended.

You left, because she had been gone from you for years. Her long legs swaying as she walked away, even though she was in the same room, even though her mouth was on you more nights than not.

And then one morning, you threw up in the bathroom, and she looked at you with hard knowing eyes, and it was time to go.

Time to not be Vinnie any more. Time to find yourself a Raymond so quickly that Hannah might even have been his. If you don't quite do the math.

Time not to be sisters.

She told Hannah that she and Hannah go way back. So she knew that too.

And you think about her for twenty years as you wear beige and prune plums.

Then she comes back into your life and at least she doesn't ask you for money. Though she so needs it.

She makes you cut your hair and get high and listen to the music and dance badly in public and show yourself up to Raymond and your daughters. She lets Hannah think that she is in touch with some great wisdom about the truth. She sets Ginger thinking things she is better off not thinking yet.

And she makes it clear, very clear, that she is having sex with that guy, who is the very last thing she would ever have fucked back when she was with you.

Just so you still can't say anything. Because now there is a last thing after him that she would fuck, clearly, and that is you.

She needs you to know that.

She leaves you needing to hold her more than ever.

She must really hate you, to come here and to burn it all down like that.

Then she walks away with her little heels going clip, clip like doom, with the strut and the sway and the twist of the hip.

She walks away, and you need to say something, and who is there you can say it to?

You have not had a sister for years.

And maybe you need to go, you think as you look after her, and as you look at Raymond and Hannah who does not need you any more, and at Ginger. Who will manage, because you did.

You need to go find someone to hold.

But you don't need to go after her. You need never to hold her again.

You need to burn something down, and maybe it is her, and maybe it is you.

And you need to get the hell out of both your lives. And you need to get the hell out of Phoenix, Arizona.

This page was printed out from Roz Kaveney's website at If you have further questions, please visit that website for more information.