Sunday, January 29, 2012

Chapter 5

An unspecified time after the previous chapter, Edguy Dithers came into Daffy Braggart's office holding a newspaper and looking sad.

Daffy didn't notice at first because Ed looked sad so much now and it's not like she ever bothered with the feelings of others. Because only hers were real.

"Uh, Daffy?" he said after a while. "I don't know if you've read this. It's about the d'Ano mine."

"Franky?" Daffy perked up. "Give it here!" and she snatched the paper out of his hands.

Expecting to read that the looters had nationalized the mine, Daffy was shocked - shocked! - to see instead a report title "Copper Magnate a Total Fraud" which detailed for several pages how one Francisco Domingo Carlo Banana Fana bo Binko d'Ano The Third had falsified records and shipments for years, swindling both clients and investors out of millions of dollars.

"I guess Tim was right," Ed said meekly.

"The hell he was!" snarled Daffy. Shaking the newspaper in her hand, she declared, "This is clearly a smear campaign! The looters found Franky had moved everything of value out of the mine and now they're trying to discredit him!"

Ed said placatingly, "I suppose that makes sense..."

No it doesn't.

"Call his hotel in New York!" Daffy ordered. "I want to speak with him as soon as I'm done with my 10:15!"

Her 10:15 being another hour or so of ogling buildings, fitting them into the sort of convoluted and overwrought fantasy view of the world that only a goddamn idiot could appreciate.

She also took the time to muse on what she knew of Franky, how he unlike so many others was deserving of a fortune because he'd wanted it. And he'd look past petty meaningless things - like DUIs - and instead focus on the bigger picture of Great Things. And other longwinded stuff that flattered Daffy's solipsism.

...Though there is that insistence of hers that the two hadn't spoken in years. Have to do something with that - and also since this chapter won't actually advance the plot, just delve into the sordid sex fantasies of an ugly chick.

The Braggart's had known the d'Anos long before Daffy and Franky ever met. We're retconning here, but they met as pretentious teenagers who would talk high-mindedly to each other, usually with Tim off to the side wasting time with another economics textbook. They crafted adorable pet names for each other - "Hi, Frito!" "Wuttup, Slag?" - and would skip rocks across the foreheads of poor people.

In Franky, Daffy had found what she would call a kindred spirit if she weren't so literal minded about everything. The brother she should have had, maybe. Or the boyfriend she desperately craved. He had all the best qualities of a man - angular cheeks and nose, finely manicured fingers, fabulous fashion sense - but most importantly, he joined her in the most important of life's vocations...

Pissing off Tim.

"I'm gonna buy my way into Heaven, bitch!" Franky would always say. Tim sure hated that - he'd launch off into a ponderous explanation of things like "centuries of philosophical investigation" and "That's assuming there's anything such as Heaven, and that it would take your currency."

"I'll pay in gold," Franky replied dismissively. "All those old saint people love the tacky shit."

Daffy adored these exchanges because she was much too stupid to understand the nuances.

Still more? Okay - Daffy and Franky kept up their awkward, non-romantic friendship well into college. Daffy had no patience for all the professors with their insistence on "study" and "critical thinking" so she frequently found aggravatingly platonic relief in Franky's presence. He was a man who understood Greatness was an intrinsic quality, not something developed through arduous work along the course of a lifetime. No, one could just have lots of money. And money equals Great.

And then one day, they just stopped talking. It happens but Daffy always assigned unnecessary layers of significance to anything that happened in her petty, vacuous life - so she let out a girlish squeal of delight when Ed called from the other room, "He's on line 1!"

Daffy snatched up the receiver and delivered a stream of joyful nonsense before noticing she wasn't connected. Punching the button for the line, she could finally say, "Frito, is that you!?"

"Sure is, Slag!" came the flamboyant voice of Franky. "Wanna come out for dinner? I am in some fabulous Manhattan digs!"

"Oh, of course Franky!" Daffy said.

So she travelled to a hotel in New York. What, you're still expecting real transitions?

Daffy met her long lost - friend? acquaintance? awkward romantic interest? - in a fabulous suite in one of New York's most expensive hotels. Truly the mark of a Great Man with Great Things that he could potentially stick in Daffy.

But now we're getting ahead of ourselves...

"Wuttup, Slag?" he greeted as Daffy entered the suite.

"Oh Frito!" she exclaimed because that's an exclamation point. "I heard about your mine. Clearly it's a smear campaign by those dirty looters and -"

"Oh I'm not sweating over that," Franky said, sauntering across to the well stocked bar. "What's your poison? Don't be shy, this and more is all paid for."

"Oh, I'll have whatever you're having."

"Cosmo it is!"

No, she didn't get it.

As he mixed the drink, Franky continued, "I've got some killer plans lined up, Slag. Just killer! You should really think about ditching that ho-hum railroad and joining me."

Daffy was torn - leave Braggart Big Damn Rail? It was her life! Or it was the only thing in her atomized life she could point to as self-validating. That and Franky.

She sunk into a luxurious couch - because luxury indicates intrinsic worth - "I could never do that. Even having to fight Tim to get anything Great done it's all I've ever wanted..." she let the "Besides you!" hang unspoken, hoping Franky would get the hint.

"Sweety, you work too hard," Franky said obliviously as he handed her the fruity drink. "Take a holiday! Take several!"

"But if I don't have the railroad, what's my purpose?" Daffy asked, a leading question.

And it worked. "You don't need all that, Daffs. You're awesome just the way you are!"

That's why Daffy felt such fondness for Franky - his constant stream of hollow validations. "You're a good friend, Frito," she said, the "And more?" hopefully implied as always.

"Well, just so you know you can drop that anytime and come find me. I don't expect it'll be hard."

And it wasn't. Because after the abrupt end of that scene, d'Ano was all over the gossip pages for some time afterwards - since time in this ridiculous tale is handled so clumsily. Just go with it. Daffy read article after article about the flamboyant hedonism now indulged by d'Ano on his roivate yacht in international waters, stories of cocaine and sodomy so absurd one would think they were concieved in the feverish mind of a narcissistic dweeb with no friends.

"It's a trick," Daffy said to no one who cared. "Franky's playing a trick. He isn't really a playboy squandering his family fortune, he just wants everyone to think he is!"

Keep telling yourself that, Daffs...

Seriously, nothing fucking happened in this chapter! You can't have character development when your characters are just mouthpieces for two-dimensional moralizing!

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