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Divine - R.I.P (RLG)

by Jubbly 

Posted: 04 February 2004
Word Count: 749
Summary: A true story, almost.

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This piece and/or subsequent comments may contain strong language.

Divine - R.I.P

If the parrot hadn't died at that exact moment, I think we would have been all right.

"It's a galah!" Stephen shouted, "Not a parrot, a fucking galah, get it right you stupid bitch!"

I wasn't in his good books you could say. But I'd always had a spiky relationship with my brother Stephen, even as kids we were always at each other's throats. Our mum used to say we'd grow out of it when we were adults, she said we'd get along just fine then, but we didn't, not at all.

I think it was because we tended to fancy the same men. Stephen was gay and quite an outrageous character, every day was a party for him, the music at full blast while he danced around the kitchen creating - his words - 'an effervescent fry up' what ever that was. He liked to wear a ruby red satin robe with gold trimmings for such an occasion. Stephen could best be described as flamboyant, a multi coloured, diverse personality that never stopped talking at an extraordinarily high decibel, a bit like a parrot I suppose.

I was thrilled when I met Hugo, he was so handsome and he drove a Porsche. He lived in a spacious apartment bought for him by his parents and I adored him. We'd been seeing each other for a couple of weeks when I introduced him to Stephen.

"What do you think?" I asked tentatively.

"Mark my words, he'll turn." snorted Stephen.

And he did, my Hugo pirouetted in pointe shoes like the fairy queen in Sleeping Beauty, though to call him a fairy queen is an ill suited comparison, Hugo was such a blokey bloke.

My gorgeous He-man and rampant lover Hugo fell head over heels in love with my little brother and promptly moved him into the flat. My boyfriend had dumped me for my brother, nothing to boast about there then.

Hugo liked to impress, for Stephen's 21st birthday he whisked him away to Hawaii for a week of sun, surf and passion, equally exotic was his gift, a Galah, not a parrot, a pink and white galah indigenous to Australia , a sublime show off and ludicrous looking creature, he christened him Divine after the larger than life drag queen/movie star 'Divine, renowned for eating fresh dog faeces in the film, 'Pink flamingos' a must see in certain circles.

I sat frozen in horror when I heard the taxi pull up and listened intently as their heavy happy footsteps climbed the front steps.

I'd planned it in my head, I'd sit him down, pour a glass of chilled wine, have a stewing casserole on the hob for those familial home-cooking aromas, and then I'd break the bad news to him, gently but effectively, Id tell him that his beloved pet had popped his clogs.

But when the door opened and I saw him there, like a little kid so excited to be home, my face crumpled, revealing a mixture of shock, anxiety and unmitigated guilt, I blurted out the terrible news, damning words tumbling forth as I searched my mind for better ones.

"W W What happened?" asked Hugo grief causing a temporary stammer.

I mumbled something about him catching a slight cold and the vet being closed and I thought the fresh air would do him good and I forgot and I left him out all night and Oh god, I'm so sorry.

For the next few weeks the atmosphere was awful, the magic had ceased almost as quickly as it had begun. I stopped visiting the little love nest, they broke up and Stephen and I drifted apart. He didn't need me and I didn't understand him.

Years and years of bitterness passed, wasted years when Stephen and I were enemies. But things are much better now and I get on very well with Stephanie, it's been a whole 12 months since Stephen's been a post op transexual. We spend hours and hours together, gossiping, cooking, dancing round the kitchen, sometimes we sit late into the night watching the video of that old classic film, 'What ever happened to Baby Jane and when poor bedraggled Bette Davis sits on the beach leaning over the dying Joan Crawford and wrings out that immortal line, "You mean, all these years we could have been friends?" Stephanie and I cling to each other and sob, we're so close now, and in fact we're just like sisters.

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Comments by other Members

bjlangley at 12:55 on 04 February 2004  Report this post
Julie, I think you should change the second line to a "flamin' galah" in a homage to Alf from 'Home and Away'...

Is way certainly an interesting read, and the image of a 'blokey bloke' like Hugo pirouetting in pointe shoes like the fairy queen in Sleeping Beauty will remain with me for a long time!

All the best


Becca at 16:52 on 04 February 2004  Report this post
Hi Julie, neat story, and economical with words, yet lots of different and charming images in it. Why so short? Hey, this could be flash fiction.

Jubbly at 17:14 on 04 February 2004  Report this post
Thanks Becca, as it was one of those Random Line Generator thingy's, I thought I better keep it short, I do like the idea of all this flash fiction though, perhaps it could be used on public transport, like the poems on the tube in the eighties? What say we pitch it to Ken Livingstone?


Nell at 17:21 on 04 February 2004  Report this post
Hi Julie,

Yes, neat's the word, although I could have done without being reminded of what Divine did! ...renowned for eating fresh dog faces... ? not faces as I remember. I saw a clip from the film once and will never forgive John Walters for that image.

You have a light and contemporary touch, more power to your typing fingers!

Best, Nell.


I thought a galah was a parrot though?

Jubbly at 18:06 on 04 February 2004  Report this post
Thanks Nell, good God how can I get those two words mixed up? A galah is an Australian parrot, they're usually pink and white, that's the only difference I think and I still feel guilty to this day.

Sue H at 18:34 on 04 February 2004  Report this post
Very colourful piece. Lovely - and I did used to work with someone just like Stephen! Great stuff.

Account Closed at 19:35 on 04 February 2004  Report this post
in fact we're just like sisters.

It's amazing what a sex change can do!!

Lots of fun this one, Julie

My gorgeous He-man and rampant lover (Hugo) fell head over heels in love with my little brother

How about this one as next month's RLG as a treat for the poets?


Jubbly at 19:42 on 04 February 2004  Report this post
Thanks Ben, Elspeth and Sue, I enjoyed writing it too. Ben my late uncle Bernie was so like Alf, brilliant angry lines like - "An alpaca? An alpaca? An alpaca's a flaming animal not a country you bloody idiot of a woman!"

Dee at 21:27 on 04 February 2004  Report this post
Ace, Jubbly. Wonderfully tight writing to pack so much into so few words.

It reminds me of a time when a vet - A VET for christ's sake - asked me to look after his kitten while he went on holiday and it collapsed in a very dead little heap in my kitchen the day he came home... that took some explaining, I can tell you.


Jubbly at 07:22 on 05 February 2004  Report this post
Thanks Dee, Goodness me that is scary, my neighbour's just asked me to look after his cats for a few weeks, think I'll say no now.



Ralph at 10:06 on 05 February 2004  Report this post
Hi Julie

I definitely wanted this to be longer. There's some great imagery, and some lovely lines.
I did wonder, though, if with a few more words in there the character of Stephan(ie) could have been a little more enticing. I think there's a lot hidden under that surface that it would have been great to bring out.
Sorry if this is just me. I have a huge soft spot for Divine - an interesting character to work from, I think. Started life as a drag-queen, changed everybody's mind about what that really meant, and all the time longed for the chance to prove himself as a genuine actor in male and female roles. Actually, some people reckoned he was just getting to that level when he was found dead... So, the metaphor's a fascinating one. Especially in relation to Stephen(ie). I'd love to read more of this so that could be brought out more...
Then again, that's probably just me. Sorry to go off on one!!!

Big huggs


Becca at 13:50 on 05 February 2004  Report this post
Julie, what a good idea to pitch the idea of short fiction on the tube to Ken. Not sure it would fit into the slots where the poems go, though. Could be pasted onto the windows.

swandale at 14:49 on 05 February 2004  Report this post
I really enjoyed reading this, there's some wonderful imagery in it. It's amazing how many completely different pieces that line has thrown up!

Elsie at 16:40 on 05 February 2004  Report this post
Jubbly, How about cross-track posters..they're bigger, agencies buy them for long copy ads - the theory being that you've got a long time hanging around..

Jubbly at 17:01 on 05 February 2004  Report this post
Thanks Elsie and Swandale, Elsie but what is a cross track poster, is that just a big road side poster? I know some one who sells ad space for those.

Jubbly at 17:02 on 05 February 2004  Report this post
Becca, do you think we could do it? Perhaps as a Writewords team - then we could all get commisions. Maybe we should put it to Anna and David, what do you think?


Becca at 20:42 on 05 February 2004  Report this post
I was at work when I read what Elsie and Swandale wrote, so I didn't reply immediately. But I wondered what a cross track poster was as well. Of course we can sell it, especially if... well some of the poems I've read on the tube have made me think ... not good things. The poems on the tube thing seems to have lost energy. How about we talk to each other in 'real' time, and see what we can do. Email me. But if we want to keep the momentum going there has to be a lot of 'flash fiction' stories to keep underground sheep, (of which I am one), interested. Email me.

ChrisB at 20:40 on 06 February 2004  Report this post
Hi Julie,

I really liked this, the narrators voice is extremely quirky, sharp and very funny which results in the story whizzing along at a hundred miles an hour.

Personally, I couldn't help but feel there is a huge amount of potential from what was told that could be used to turn this into a very tight smart and humorous novel.

A lot of what was being told, could easily be shown in chapters and completely drawn out. The characterisation is very good and the situation that they find themselves in is highly original and has the potential for something bigger. So expand it out and see what develops !

Rock and roll with it, Id love to read more.

Jubbly at 21:36 on 06 February 2004  Report this post
Thankyou ChrisB, you're very nice. Funnily enough versions of those characters appear in my novel, The Rose Lane Musical Society. A novel which has been rejected by everyone in the world but was very cartharic and loads of fun for me. I am doing re writes with the help of WW crits, so who knows perhaps I'll incorporate this story.


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