Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the parti poodle here once again to introduce chapter seven of my story Catzilla. This week I spent some time looking up movies that humans find the most rewatchable. It was most amusing. Humans, it seems, watch the strangest and most insipid things. I am a connoisseur of the classics and found very few of them on the lists. I have even been told that I am uncultured because I do not watch enough superhero films. I fear the future. Not only is artificial intelligence about to run rampant because of corporate greed but apparently superhero films are now considered the height of intellectual cinema. I must say some of the loveliest films I delight in watching over and over are shot in black and white and I do so love to watch them repeatedly such as Psycho, Notorious, It’s a Wonderful Life, The Apartment, Sabrina, Dr. Strangelove, Night of the Hunter, Lolita, Repulsion, City Lights, M, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Hustler, The Third Man, 12 Angry Men, Some Like It Hot, and The Manchurian Candidate. But then again, I am a parti poodle and have an altogether different definition of what I would consider refined. And with that thought, here is Chapter Seven of my story Catzilla. Enjoy!
Gigi the parti poodle
The rest of the week I found myself worrying about Lyle. What if the Edevane’s found out he bugged their house? The Edevane Factory stood just outside of town and almost everyone in my town worked there. That is excepting folks like my mother who is a consultant and works for different companies. When Lyle said he would bug the Edevane House, all I could think of was what would happen when they found out.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I had all the confidence in the world in Lyle. He may be a loner and all but there was no denying he was the sharpest tack in my high school’s box. And if not, he was extremely close. I believed Lyle when he said he built his own surveillance bug and I believed he tutored Ellery in science, and I believed he hid the bug in the Edevane house. But I also knew the Edevanes didn’t need a genius IQ to cause vindictive damage.
I couldn’t wait until Saturday afternoon to listen to Lyle’s recordings. And when it came around Lyle showed up at exactly twelve o’ five in the afternoon just as he promised. Apparently, he didn’t want to wait any longer than he had to. It was another gorgeous spring day with tufts of cottonwood floating through the air like tiny fairies. My mother was stunned to find him standing on our porch. He adjusted his ill-fitting spectacles and sported a pleasant smile. “Hello, Mrs. Brook.”
“Hello, Lyle,” my mother said bewildered. “What brings you here today?”
“Briar and I are working on a project together. I brought over the work I’ve done so we can go over it.”
“I see. Briar?”
“Yeah?” I called from my room.
“Lyle’s here. He says you’re doing a project together.”
“Yes,” I said hopping off my bed. “Yes, we are.”
“It’s a sociological project, Mrs. Brook,” Lyle said.
“It’s not sex ed is it?”
“What? No, Mrs. Brook.”
“Let’s hope not.”
“Is it okay if we use your office, mom?” I asked.
My mom looked at me the way the Grinch looked at Whoville. “Snacks?”
“Would you and Lyle like some snacks while you work in my office?”
“Yes, please, Mrs. Brook,” Lyle said. “I haven’t had lunch…or breakfast.”
“Lyle, you’re a growing teenager. You need to eat. Are you allergic to nuts or peanuts?”
“I’ll make you a nut butter and jam sandwich with a side of fruit.”
“That sounds awesome. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome. If you’re still hungry afterwards, I’ll bring you and Briar some snacks.”
Lyle and I headed into my mother’s office. There were two Steelcase desk chairs in there with casters which was why I wanted to use it. It also helped to keep my mother sane knowing we weren’t going into my bedroom.
“Your mom has a cool home office,” Lyle said.
“My mom had a cool home office too until the factory required everyone to come in to work at least four times a week.”
“My mom’s a consultant and works for different companies so she needs a home office. Did you get the recordings.”
“Oh, yeah. I got them alright.”
“Have you listened to them yet?”
“Yeah. A lot of it was stupid but I did make this one file I thought was important. Are you ready?”
Lyle took out his phone. “I just need to find the right file.”
He searched for the file, found it, and pressed play. The first thing we heard was loud meowing in the background, likely from the two Havanans. Then we heard Mr. and Mrs. Edevane talking with someone who sounded like the woman in the suit who answered the door when my mother and I returned the kitten.
“Dr. Grosser, how do you think the experiment is going so far?” Mrs. Edevane asked.
“Brilliantly,” a female voice replied. “The subjects are responding magnificently to the stimuli.”
“How long do you predict the experiment will take at this point?” Mr. Edevane asked.
“It depends on how consistently the subjects respond to the stimuli,” Dr. Grosser said. “If they continue to respond daily, then a couple of weeks. If longer, then extreme measures might be required.”
“We appreciate all the effort you’ve contributed to our company,” Mrs. Edevane said. “The other scientists we interviewed did not understand our philosophy.”
“And we’re astounded by how much progress you’ve made in such a short time,” Mr. Edevane added.
“But of course,” Dr. Grosser said. “I appreciate the need one has to expand one’s business. It is much like trees in an orchard. The owner wants all of them to flourish and bear profitable fruit.”
After Dr. Grosser said this Ellery must have entered the room. “Are going to lunch or not?” he snapped.
“Why don’t you go ask Brenda to make you a sandwich?” his father said.
“Brenda’s sandwiches suck. Besides, you promised to take me to Hamburger, Hamburger this afternoon so I could get a blue cheese and potato chip burger.”
“Son, sometimes you’ve got to change plans. Go ask Brenda to make you a sandwich and next Saturday I’ll take you to Hamburger, Hamburger.”
“How did your tutoring with Lyle go?”
“The guy’s a doofus. He’s smart but he’s boring. All he talks about is math. The guy is never going to get laid.”
“Well, it’s true. A total snore-job. He’s one of those losers everyone will forget about once high school’s over.”
I looked at Lyle who seemed hurt, but he struggled to keep a brave face.
“But your grades are improving. Last time we went online to check them you had gone from a C- to a B-. That’s an entire grade.”
“Look, I don’t know what you guys are worried about. You’re just going to shell out the money to send me to a small private school. What difference does it make if I’m getting good grades or average ones? I have other things on my plate.”
We heard Ellery leave the room.
“It’s time I should be going,” Dr. Grosser said. “I will keep you updated on the experiment…ah! There’s your little kitten.”
Lyle and I heard the kitten mew.
“It sounds like someone is hungry. Perhaps you should name the little creature.”
“What would we name it?” Mr. Edevane asked.
“Why, whatever strikes your fancy. Perhaps you could ask Ellery to name it.”
“We’ll take that under advisement.”
We heard Dr. Grosser walk out of the room. Lyle stopped the recording and turned to me.
“So, what do you think?” he asked.
“I think Ellery’s a bigger jerk than I thought.”
“Yes, but what do you think their experiment is?”
“Well, obviously it’s to make the Edevane’s more money. Beyond that I’m not sure.”
“Who do you think the subjects are?”
“I don’t know. But I think that Dr. Grosser was there when my mom and I dropped the kitten off at their place. In fact, she was the one who answered the door and took the kitten inside.”
“Dr. Grosser and the Edevanes must be tight.”
“She’s making them money somehow. We should see if there’s any information about Dr. Grosser on the internet.”
“I already did. She’s got a doctorate in zoology.”
“Zoology? So, are the subjects she’s referring to animals?”
“They must be.”
“Where do you think she’s conducting the experiments?”
“She must be doing them at the factory.”
“If that’s the case, we need to get in there.”
“We need a keycard to get in.”
I thought about this for a moment. “Your mom works there.”
“So does my dad.”
You can check out my books Chicane and all five installments of the Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!, Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!, Musicology: Volume Three, Twist!, Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! and Musicology: The Epiquad on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. You can also check out Musicology’s web site at www.musicologyrocks.com and vote for who you think will win Musicology!
STREAM OF THE WEEK: SWEETIE (1989)-HBO MAX
This week’s 80’s pick is a dark comedy co-written and directed by Jane Campion. Gerard Lee also helped pen the script. It was two-time Oscar winner Campion’s first full-length feature film. Sweetie tells the story of an introverted Australian woman in her early twenties named Kay (Karen Colston) who has an intense fear of trees and doesn’t quite fit in. Everyone at the factory where she works teases her about being a serial monogamist. Recently, being a bit superstitious, she has had her tea leaves read and has been told she is going to meet a man with a question mark on his face who will play an important part in her life.
Kay has a vivacious sister named Dawn (Geneviève Lemon), whom Kay has held a long-seated grudge against. Dawn goes by the nickname Sweetie. Sweetie was a talented child who has long suffered from mental illness and her family has suffered right along with her. One night, Dawn breaks into Kay’s house after serving a stint in a mental institution. Tagging along is Sweetie’s boyfriend Bob (Michael Lake), her drug addled would-be agent who has promised to make her famous. The couple has decided to stay at Kay’s flat despite Kay’s protestations until the sisters’ doting father Gordon (Jon Darling) shows up and tries to take Sweetie home.
The film deals brilliantly with the ways families struggle to deal with a mentally ill family member and the way it distressingly affects their lives. The results are sometimes quite funny and at other times profoundly sobering. This is a deeper and heavier comedy than the other three 80’s films I’ve recommended but it is well worth the watch. Rounding out the cast are Dorothy Barry as the sisters’ mother Flo and Tom Lycos as the mysterious man with the question mark on his face.