Varistor drives her band’s giant RV down through the tree-lined highways from Kingsport to Beverly. She is an odd woman, or girl. She is still working on that distinction. At 25 she feels she is at the crossroads. “Should I feel guilty because, before, kids came of age at, like, fourteen?” she thought. Varistor was too impassive or judicious to even answer the question herself. She is a woman of little words, which she finds makes her stand out even more in a world where women are often accused of having too many words. “Is there no happy medium? Is there not a place where a woman gets to have just the right amount of words?”. Again, she leaves herself unanswered.
The turned low radio in the RV plays the local college radio station, KRKN. The snarky DJ introduces himself as Orpheus, “the Rock n’ Roll Prophet”, and prattles off about the next band. It’s Down the Drain doing a cover of “All My Friends”. Varistor remembers playing a show with them before Ivan had truly dialed in his sound “They’re some kind of gothic rebel, preppy conformist fashion thing. Who comes up with this stuff?” She listens for a few seconds and then decides that she likes the LCD Soundsystem version better. “Is it weird that the Down the Drain band members are so young, play a song about being old?” Like most, she rarely prefers the cover versions. If fact, as a creative person herself, she harbors a little disdain for cover songs but swallows the disdain quickly, knowing that there was probably one or two in her future tomorrow night.
After playing a show and staying a few days in Kingsport they are now approaching Altare Deorum Catholic, one of the largest all-girl colleges in the Northeast, to play the school’s graduation ball. The school is also hosting the mostly boys college of Servi Deorum Chatloic. “So, a historically all-girls school where boys aren’t allowed and a historically all-boys school that, by law, must allow girls?” she poses to herself. “Should I expect secret drinking and hand holding or an explosion of skin, booze, and brawls?”
She turns the monstrosity of a vehicle down the drive of the school taking care not to jostle it, hoping not to wake up the sleeping band members. The band had nicknamed the RV “The Behemoth” and she was a stout broad. “She knew how to take a hit and keep on fighting. Is that a good thing to say about a broad yet? Is it okay for a girl to use the word broad? What, exactly, is a broad?” They had once had a discussion about how in The Bible and pre-that, the Behemoth is associated with being a male and the Leviathan was associated with females, but in the end, the discussion was forgotten and the personification stuck. It still handles pretty well, not as good as when they first got it, but as good as she needs to.
The driveway is long and even in the darkness, she can see the money. The gabled buildings, the manicured topiaries, it is a castle devoted to learning, by and for, the rich.
She approaches the security gate, turning the quiet music down even more, and is greeted by a smiling face with a badge. The man is obviously comfortable in the booth, watching Immaculate Procession, some terrible funeral parlor reality TV show while eating a massive hoagie.
“Evenin’, Hun,” he says chewing and swallowing his bite.
“Hi. We’re the band for the graduation ball tomorrow,” she says quietly so as to not wake the other passengers.
“Oh yeah, Arriving Rocket, we weren’t expecting you ‘till the morning.”
“It’s Ivan Rocket,” she corrects him.
“Ivan Rocket. The band is called Ivan Rocket,” She says politely. They had decided to leave off the ‘Blackness Between the Stars’ from their name for the show in the interest of amicability.
“Well, Hun, you’re way too cute to be named Ivan,” he says, undoubtedly thinking he is being cute. Varistor gets this a lot. While she may be a rather mellow and to herself individual, her look seemed to inspire some sort of adventurousness in the world’s “normal men”. It must be her dark hair and clothes, and white skin, or her air of having something else she’d rather be doing. “Why is it that men in the world associate being socially different as being sexually available?”
“Yeah, well, my parents must have had a sick sense of humor,” she says, figuring that she was beating him to his next line. Beside her, she hears a slight laugh from a half-asleep Toggles.
“Like a boy named Sue?” The guard retorts, in what she assumes is his best attempt at connecting.
“Yep, damn those dirty, mangy dogs that done gave me that name,” she acknowledges.
The guard responds with a flirtatious chuckle.
“Well, we’re dead tired here. Is there a place we can park and sleep until morning?” she asks, hoping to put an end to this torture.
“Sure, sure, Hun. You can park ‘round back. Drive past the main building to the right and you’ll see the Abbey. Park somewhere in there.”
“Awesome, man, thanks!” she calls out, already driving the Behemoth away from the uncomfortable exchange.
Next to her, eyes still closed, Toggles sarcastically asks, “You didn’t get his number?”
“Oh shit, I totally forgot,” she responds with an audible smirk. “Maybe I better turn around?”
“I’m sure he’ll still be single tomorrow,” Toggles mutters, falling back into sleep.
Varistor parks the RV and leans back in the comfy driver’s chair she so often used as a bed. She pulls her phone from her pocket and starts to wind down from the drive. She types into her phone, “What does broad for a woman mean?”