A novel by EJ Spode.
Chapter 16: The Rocket Sisters
“Dude, did you hear me? What are the rocket sisters?”
“Their name is Rocket?”
“Fuck yeah it is.”
“No, it is.”
“Their last name is rocket…”
“Let me guess, one of them is named Booster.”
Climax didn’t get the joke. “No they are sisters, and their names are Juno, Saturnia, and Titania.”
“Are you fucking with me?”
“Dude I didn’t name them.”
“They are all named after rockets.”
“Yep. A Juno rocket launched the first US satellite into space. Titan is a warhead launcher. And Saturn V was the Apollo program rocket.”
“That’s fucked up.”
“Yeah, whatever, don’t you remember these girls from high school?
“How do you not remember them?”
“How do you even know them?”
“I took Home Economics with Juno.”
“You took Home Economics.”
“Yeah, with Juno.”
“When was that?”
“I dunno, sophomore year maybe?”
“That’s fucked up.”
“Yeah probably. Anyway, these girls are the best cooks in Minnehaha County. They win all the 4H food contests, you know, best pies, best cookies, best hotdish…”
“They give a prize for best hotdish?”
“Sure, I dunno, why not?”
“It’s fucked up. Prizes for best hotdish. What’s next, a prize for the best spaghetti?”
“Huh, I see what you mean.”
“Did you know that in New York they don’t call it hotdish?”
“The fuck? What do they call it?”
“I dunno, casserole or something.”
Climax stared at me like I was from Mars. “Are you telling me that when someone dies, and the neighbors bring over a tater tot hotdish they say ‘so sorry for your loss, here is a tater tot casserole’?
“It seems so.”
“That’s fucked up.”
“Goddamn right it’s fucked up.”
“Anyway, what I’m saying is that these girls are really good cooks.”
“Good, cuz I’m fuckall hungry.”
“Damn right you are.”
A couple miles down from the Larson house Climax had me take a left on a pitted-out gravel road. We followed it for another mile and then we turned onto a driveway that led to the Rocket house. From our conversation I had guessed that these girls were big, but I was really not prepared for their actual enormity. They were undeniably big, but they were also undeniably friendly. When we walked up to the front door I heard someone yell “Johnny!” and then I saw what looked like a Hungry Hungry Hippo in a tight red cotton dress charging towards us with a giant smile. She gave Climax an appropriately giant hug that more or less swallowed him up whole. For a second I thought I had lost him in that sea of flesh. He emerged from the hug unscathed and seemingly in good spirits.
“Juno, this is my friend EJ.”
Juno spread her wings, said “EJ!!!” really enthusiastically and, again with a great big smile, swallowed me up in her epic hug. You might have thought I was her long lost relative, returned from war or perhaps the island of the damned. Still, I emerged from the experience feeling her strangely positive energy.
Juno brought us inside and introduced us to Titania and Saturnia. Saturnia, the smallest of the three by a few pounds, offered us victuals. She too was wearing a dress, although it was some bluish color –I want to say teal – with black polka dots. Titania was rocking a denim top over brown stretch pants. Saturnia offered us victuals. They all had curly blonde hair and had a passion for makeup that matched the color of their outfits.
“Can we get you boys anything? Are you hungry at all?”
Climax didn’t miss a beat. “Funny you should say that babe, because we have had a rough day so far and we are famished.”
“Well then you two sit down and tell us all about it while we make you a little lunch.”
If you have ever read How to Talk Minnesotan, which is a book by those Prairie Home Companion people, you know that “a little lunch” is a massive meal thrown together on the fly for no apparent reason when a couple carrot sticks and crackers might have been sufficient.
The three girls flew around the kitchen in an intricate ballet that looked like it had been choreographed for the hippo ballerinas in Fantasia. It was impressive. Doors and cupboards open and closed and platters of foodstuffs began landing on the kitchen table. First it was a bowl of home cured olives, then a giant log of deer sausage, three kinds of home made bread, homemade jams, preserves and honey. Titania began battering walleye filets and frying them in a heavy iron skillet. Juno pulled a hotdish (casserole, whatever) from the freezer and popped it in the oven. Saturnia put some water in a giant pot and put it on the stove and then pulled out some spaghetti. While the water was heating she poured us some drinks from an antique pitcher.
“My cute little boys, this is my super special mix of sweat tea, lemonade, and Everclear grain alcohol. I call it a ‘Zombie Palmer’.”
I made a mental note to add that one to my “New Drinks for Old Friends” book.
Eventually the table was overflowing with food, and the Rocket girls joined us for what was maybe the funnest and most delicious meal I ever had. After several Zombie Palmers I worked up enough courage to ask them about their names.
“So, if you don’t mind my asking, why are you all named after rockets?”
Juno fielded my question. “Honey we aren’t named after rockets, we are named after Greek and Roman gods.”
“But what about the Saturn V rocket…”
“What about it.”
“Well, that’s a rocket…”
“Well… Saturn, Saturnia?”
“What is your point, sweetie?”
“Well Saturnia is from Saturn, and a Saturn V is a rocket.”
“The gods came before the rockets, honey.”
“No I know that; it’s just… nevermind.”
Someone got the conversation off of rocket names and back onto something else – the newly discovered dinosaur I think — and eventually everyone was too full to eat another bite and I figured it was time to move on.
“Well I want to thank you lovely ladies for this sumptuous meal, but Johnny and I have to be moving on.”
The girls were all like “awwww do you have to?”
And then Climax totally threw a curve at me. “EJ I think I’m going to stay here and entertain the girls, you go on ahead without me.”
Juno clapped her hands and said something like “good boy Johnny!”
I was truly at a loss. “Uh, ok, cool, I guess, but um, Johnny can you come outside with me for a sec I have some business to discuss with you.”
Climax and I threw on our coats and stepped outside.
“Dude, what are you doing? How are you going to get home?”
“Oh it’s cool, Juno can give me a ride tomorrow.”
“Yeah sure, why not.”
“You are going to spend the night here.”
“Yeah…what’s your point, Judge.”
“Stop calling me Judge. My point is what the fuck are you going to do here?”
“I dunno, bang some chicks?”
“Bang some chicks…. Wait, chicks plural?”
“Yeah all of them probably.”
“Dude, they are enormous.”
“EJ what is your fucking problem; they are fun girls. Let us have some fun.”
“I get why it will be fun for them but why is it fun for you?”
Climax stared at me like I didn’t know about the birds and bees. “Dude, you like skinny ass bitches, some people like big girls, I like all girls. What’s the problem?”
“But like, how do you even get it up?”
“Dude, they’re beautiful women.”
I dunno. In the abstract I know that Climax is in the right there, but still, what the fuck. It struck me as unnatural. On the other hand, ok, they had a right to sex like everyone else and Climax had a right to like whatever he liked. I guess.
“Fine dude, I’m gonna go to The Stockman I guess.”
“Sure thing bro, say hi to Penny.”
I got in my car and once again pointed it towards Sioux Falls.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Image: Jana Astanov.
Chapter 1: Giants in the Earth:
Chapter 2: The Welcome Inn:
Chapter 3: Dimebag Bob’s:
Chapter 4: The Trojan Horse:
Chapter 5: The Turtle Diaries:
Chapter 6: The Cartagena Diaries
Chapter 7: Penny
Chapter 8: San Pedro
Chapter 9: Triggered
Chapter 10: Letters and Dreams
Chapter 11: Helena and Steady Eddie
Chapter 12: Circe
Chapter 13: Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Chapter 14: The Sleepover
Chapter 15: The Bittermilk Road
First published in 3:AM Magazine: Monday, February 13th, 2017.