An Unexpected Butterfly.


Finally, Crazy Jeannie and Pleasant Terry got married again. Fair play to them. But, somewhere, somehow, along the way, in exchanging names twice, they confused each other’s nicknames, so that he, at last, found her, pleasant, and she, him, eventually, crazy.

The actual details of how, or why, this confusion occurred are obscure. That’s a lot of commas. But, that’s love. A lot of pauses, breaths, hiccups and heartbeats can go into the make up of a sentence. Not everyone will agree. It’s subjective. But, what a sentence! Some wag will say that you get less for murder.

She was always an unexpected butterfly. Thick, black corkscrews crowned her. Silvery-white markings adorned each wing. They didn’t always show, but it was always just so. No one can help themselves. You are what you are.

Being just what the good Lord made her, Jeannie banged about a billion dudes and then she found God. So she banged him, too. And, having got the big boy under her Versace belt and, finding no solace there, she felt it best to settle and do the decent thing, again. So, to restart this story, Crazy Jeannie and Pleasant Terry got married again. There’s no finally.

A short, balding, frustrated man – a pleasant man, they said – Terry was pleased to have her back. She had mucked him around in the past, but that was the past. Forgive and forget, that’s what he was heard to say sometimes. He bought a smart house on the outskirts, away from the littered and rundown town, near the beach, with eleven rooms and a lawn out front and a lawn out back and had the whole shebang fenced and gated. She collected driftwood and shells, combing the beach in white linen rather, she imagined, like Stevie Nicks might do. He paid for her lips and her tits, and after a year and a day as new newlyweds, they threw a party and a proper Penn Beacon buffet at the house. As much as you could stomach. A renewal of vows was something Crazy Jeannie had read something about in a magazine at the hair salon. So they renewed their vows.

Pleasant Terry (it was still so), walked tall in his built up heels, stacks, as they had it in those American gangster films he favoured, and only some of those invited wondered anew at his height or even at the gel that held the few mousey scraps of hair in place like a halo. The priest who had presided over both their weddings came back for the show and they said, I do, I do and later they danced a slow dance, Terry’s proud cheek upon her proud new bosom. It was an old tune from the 1970s and only guests of a certain age would remember it. The globes of light spun, passing like benevolent searchlights over the realistic, pretty expensive laminate, the clean shaven gents, the waxed ladies, the champagne flutes, the gelled halo, the new ample bosom and everything became really quite dreamlike. She rested her thin chin on his thin crown and pouted at all the faces as she and he turned, an approximation of young lovers. A baby, a flutter of a baby really, later Jasmyn, turned in Crazy Jeannie’s belly that night. Even Crazy Jeannie didn’t suspect. But, a year and a day later they were throwing yet another party, after christening Jasmyn at Saint Blaise’s in Westwell; another proper Penn Beacon buffet. And, hardly any, well, not so many, commented on how that unexpected new butterfly resembled, with all that dark hair, almost any number of people but Crazy Terry.

14 thoughts on “An Unexpected Butterfly.

  1. An unexpected butterfly – indeed!!! You always have a great ending to your great story lines. But, I do love your take on punctuation (not the first time I’ve loved something like this of yours, last time it was re italics).

    “That’s a lot of commas. But, that’s love. A lot of pauses, breaths, hiccups and heartbeats can go into the make up of a sentence.”


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Where (and where not) to put commas taxes my paltry decision-making skills to their limit.

    How refreshing to discover a sentence in which they’re scattered with such carefree abandon! Respect!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s remarkable, the way that the mind makes connections. The first time I read this story, I felt an urge to listen to ‘Haitian Divorce’ by Steely Dan. I’ve only just figured out why.

    If you know that song, I wonder if you can guess the linkage?

    PS. This isn’t to imply plagiarism on your part. The (two!) connecting threads are microscopically fine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hiya Bill. I’m not too familiar with Steely Dan. I’m going to go find this song now!
      (Thanks! Rereading this – which is rare for me to do – I see that this is where we first made our acquaintance… ‘comma-gate!’)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Steely Dan is one of those bands which I ‘rediscover’ every several years or so. I’m surprised, all over again, by how good they were, and obsessively trawl through their oeuvre.
        And yes! That initial sentence still stands up as a masterclass in Applied Comma Usage.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Me, too! Sometimes i’ve been introduced to bands in the wrong way/by the wrong people/at the wrong time (blah blah blah), until they crop up again and I see something in them.

        I looked up SD last night and realised that I knew the five (?) ones that I knew. Good stuff. Haitian Divorce, I didn’t know. But I think I heard what you heard.

        Applied Comma Usage (I love their early material). x

        Liked by 1 person

      3. It’s funny how that works, isn’t it! My initial perception of a band can be greatly influenced by the person who’s recommending it.
        There have been a few people in my life who’s opinion I trust almost implicitly. Even if I don’t initially *get* what they’re hearing, I’ll persist until the penny drops (Ugh! Sorry, but I can’t think of a synonym for ‘penny drops’).

        Liked by 1 person

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